Newspaper Watch

Err, Jeff?

Yes, I know that small business is important, but this much so?

Small businesses employ more than 10m people, nearly half the private-sector workforce, and contribute almost £1,000bn to the British economy.

The British economy is what, some £1,2 trillion? And we\’re saying that 50% of the private sector workforce alone is providing 83% of that? Don\’t think so, somehow. That\’s the sort of number that should set journalistic alarm bells ringing, surely?

Great Britons

So the Telegraph is running something to try and find the Great Britons. One suggestion:

Or John Gummer and Zac Goldsmith who brought the Conservative Party up to date on green issues – and duly had some of their policies pinched by Labour?

They\’ve clearly lost their minds then.

Whatta Guardian Leader!


Capitalism\’s great advantage is supposed to be that it ensures the economy can learn from failure. That only really happens, though, when someone takes the rap.

Weel quite. But instead of wibbling about managers getting payoffs for failure, why not note that someone has indeed taken the rap? The shareholders?

They are, after all, the capitalists in this capitalism thing so it\’s all working as advertised.

Bollocks Ms. Sarler

Sorry, but this ain\’t true.

The higher moral ground, in a democracy, belongs to consensus drawn from the values of the majority and implemented by the flawed beast that is the law. Those who would exempt themselves from it, no matter how enjoyable the fleeting fame of their martyrdom, deserve no more endorsement or admiration than any other petty delinquent.

That is what is known as the Tyranny of the Majority. It\’s the recipe for an authoritarian State. You must do as we the majority say you should, rather than follow either your individual conscience or desires. There was a majority at one time that said that those who believed in consubstantiation were heretics and so they were burned. Not too many decades distant from that point those who believed in transubstansiation were heretics and thus burned in their turn.

At another point there was a societal consensus that homosexuals were an abomination unto the majority consensus and so were to be hanged. It\’s actually true that in one year (admittedly, I think there was a particularly homophobic Lincoln Assizes at the time) more people were hung in England and Wales for playing shirtlifter than were for murder.

The mark of a free and liberal society is exactly the opposite of Ms. Sarler\’s statement. That flawed beast, the law, should not be used to try and impose the majority\’s moral consensus. Rather, it should protect the individual and their decisions from it.

Oh For Fuck\’s Sake Will!

Jesu Christe and Good God Almighty. How on earth does this man get regarded as an expert on the economy? Will Hutton:

And there is Bruce Wasserstein, the larger-than-life, extravagantly rich current CEO, who now lives in London to escape even the US\’s minimal taxes.

He\’s a US citizen. Thus he pays US taxes. The US is unique in this regard, that you do not escape their minimal taxes (which, in NYC at least, are not minimal, they\’re higher than the UK…when you add Federal to State and City income taxes they\’re over 50%) by moving abroad. You still cough up to Uncle Sam what you would if you lived in the US (barring some minor adjustments fo amounts under $100,000 or so, which certainly aren\’t going to bother someone like Wasserstein).

Not knowing that simple and basic fact really rather makes anything else Hutton has to say on the subject a little suspect, doesn\’t it?

Daily Mail Quandrary!

Just seen the front page today:

"Will We Have Room for Them All?"

or some such.

The UK population will increase by a third, to 81million, in the lifetime of children born today, experts predict.

So a small competitionette: what should the headline have been?

"Immigrants support house prices"?

That Postal Strike


More than 100,000 million letters and parcels have already been left undelivered by to the present walkout, but officials at the Communication Workers Union are planning a fresh wave of strikes that threaten to cause constant disruption beyond Christmas.

100,000 million? You mean some 2,000 for every adult in the Kingdom? Impressive, I must say.

On one day, sorting office staff will strike, a union official disclosed. The next day it will be the turn of delivery staff, with drivers walking out the following day and technical and support staff on other days.

So they\’ll cripple the service indefinitely uty only lose one day\’s pay each week each. Clever, in a sense, maximum disruption at the least short term cost to the workers. But I have to admit, I\’m really not sure what they hope to achieve in the long term. The monopoly over delivery has gone hasn\’t it? They\’ll just be building up their own competitors.

The Investigative Standards of the Daily Mail

I think this is actually quite a cute way of doing the research but your mileage may vary.

The beatroot can reveal that in their zeal to prove how ruinous recent immigration by new EU members – meaning Poles – has been to the very fabric of the United Kingdom, the Daily Mail (London) will go to any lengths – including giving people money to break the law.


Who Trains These People?

Who is actually training journalists about the subjects they write upon? Anyone?

He is expected to make an audacious raid into Labour\’s natural territory by promising a clampdown on so-called "non-doms" – non-domiciled workers who live in the UK but are not registered to pay tax…

That\’s not what a non-dom is. We make two distinctions in UK tax law, between residents and those who are domiciled. Roughly speaking where you are resident is a year by year thing, domicile is a life-long thing (although it is possible to change it). I\’m reasonably sure that we\’ve got this distinction (which I\’m not sure that anyone else really has, at least not in quite the same form) because until the last decade or so it brought more tax money in that it lost. Because you could run off to Monaco or wherever and lose your residency, meaning that you didn\’t pay income tax in the UK, but your domicile was much more difficult to shake off and that left (I think I\’ve got this right) your estate still to be taxed by the UK.

Still, that quote isn\’t what non-doms are. Non-doms are registered to pay tax. They pay income tax on their UK earnings, just like everyone else. However, they do not pay income tax on their non-UK earnings. That\’s the difference: if you\’re UK domiciled you pay income tax on worldwide earnings. If non-dom, only on UK.

Perhaps this system needs to be changed, perhaps not, I don\’t think it really matters all that much either way. But reporting on it and not understanding what it is is really pretty sad.

Note To Telegraph Subs

This headline:


Tories must do or die in Blackpool

It\’s a party conference they\’re having, not a rerun of Zulu. They\’re going there to talk to fellow minded people, get drunk with them and if the past is any guide, screw a few of them (both physically and metaphorically).

A tad over the top, don\’t you think?

Ukraine, Uzbekistan, All the Same Place, Right?

This is why those journalists get paid the major bucks folks. Commenting upon Usmanov and the way in which his attempt to close down a few blogs has led to the story gaining new wind, Kevin Maguire tells us:

But in brief Usmanov hired fanatstically expensive London law firm Schillings to gag our former man in the Ukraine, Craig Murray, who wrote some very disobliging things about a businessman as touchy as he is rich.

It\’s those multiple layers of editors and fact checkers that make the major media outlets so useful, nay, invaluable.