El-Twatto on the weekend

There is, then, to be a hard Brexit. Any pretence to the contrary has gone.

It is exceptionally difficult to understand Javid. What he is saying is that although the world is now very obviously dominated by just three markets, with the standards of at least one of which business has no choice but comply if it is to compete on an international stage, the UK is to go it alone with its own standards which will not comply with those of any of these markets.

Lessee now.

So, British standards will be different. That means that any foreigner wanting to sell here must abide by British standards. Which most won’t bother with because a tiny market. Which means that most foreign competition will now be removed from the British market as it doesn’t meet our standards.

Snippa complains about this presumably?


I struggled to see themes in this morning’s news that were initially worthy of comment. Then I realised that is almost certainly deliberate.

Because Snippa’s a bit slow this morning it must be a conspiracy

The UK is set in course to leave the EU in two weeks time. No one has ever successfully explained why we are so desperate to depart the single market and customs union, most especially given that the former was Margaret Thatcher’s creation, which is a point the Tories seem keen to forget.

Because we want to have free trade with everyone, not just with the countries of Europe. That means being outside the tariff barriers that the EU imposes.

Sounds fun

The appointment is unpaid, but the Corporate Accountability Network has an agreement with Sheffield at present to supply research support on a project that we hope might lead to suggestion for an accounting standard on reporting productivity. I am being paid on a salaried basis for that work by the CAN.

Do we have any evidence that Ritchie knows anything about productivity? As with profit, it’s a residual so we never can measure it ……


This is to encourage governments to issue simple savings products – in effect, time limited bonds exchangeable for cash at any time, but with a penalty for early redemption – and make these the only or main products that can be offered by tax favoured tax savings schemes like pension funds and the equivalent of the UK’s Individual Savings Account schemes.

Entirely missing the point that bonds are the wrong investment for the long term. And he’s entirely missing the liquidity problem of everyone having a put on the bonds, hasn’t he?

Say the bonds are issued at 3% – he’s mentioned this number before. So, inflation rises to 5%. Everyone and their Granny sells their bonds back to the government.

And then what?

Fun how this works, innit?

Second, to argue that to deny the people of Scotland a vote is to uphold democracy is absolutely absurd: it is very obviously the opposite of that.

For having a referendum on leaving the EU was something that should not have happened.

And the bizarre thing is that any thinking person knows that he is on the wrong side of history here. Scotland cannot be held in a Union against its will forever. And the more that Union is imposed the greater the will to leave will be.



Won’t pay for carbon? Don’t fly then. Or, why Flybe will be history

Yes, that’s the point of a carbon tax, a Pigou Tax. To insist that the consumer pays the full cost of their consumption choices.

The suggested mechanism for saving Flybe is for it to be permitted to waive payments of air passenger duty owed to the government. Air passenger duty is the tax charged, in effect, to compensate for the externalities of flying and varies according to the flight taken. It is a very basic carbon levy.

It’s not a carbon levy, it’s a Pigou Tax.

Deferring or cancelling this payment does, of course, make no sense. This duty has already been collected by Flybe from its customers. It merely acts as an agent in collecting this sum.

Yes, quite so. It has already performed its function therefore. Which is to change the prices consumers pay in order that they face the full costs of their consumption.

What happens to that revenue is of secondary – possibly tertiary – importance. The job is done by getting costs into consumption decisions.

And now the stupidity which is a necessary component of any Murphesque:

So is Flybe over? Maybe not. I think carbon insolvency needs to be planned: transitions are required. A temporary stay of execution whilst alternatives are prepared may be appropriate. But, the key word is temporary. The carbon must be eliminated. If Flybe customers won’t pay the price of their pollution then their flights must end. All I would permit is an orderly winding up rather than an overnight cessation. But the game is over, come what may. This type of travel cannot survive in a net zero carbon environment.

But you’ve just told us that the FlyBe customers have paid the tax.


Monetary policy does not work

So says the Great Tuber:

There is widespread speculation that the Bank of England will cut interest rates as reaction to the UK economic performance that Johnson’s election timing conveniently hid from public view.

My reaction is, so what? The official rate is 0.75%. What is it going to be cut to? 0.5%, again? Well, whoopee. That’s going to change the square root of diddly squat in the real world.

It really is time that we faced reality. Green QE apart -and that is not possible because there are no green government bonds to buy – the role of the central banker envisioned by neoliberal economists is now over.

Monetary policy did not work.

OK, monetary policy doesn’t work. So we can go back to having 5% interest rates no problem then. Because the cut from 5% to 0.75% didn’t work, didn’t have an effect.

Hmm, well, actually, putting it that way the idea that monetary policy doesn’t work is a statement of the utmost stupidity, isn’t it.

But then Great Snippa and all that…..

Gosh, that’s interesting

I don’t wish to knock profit. It’s important. But I also suspect that most users of accounts really do not know what it is.

Some might think it’s something tangible that they might see, or even physically count. But of course, it is not. It’s a residual. That’s because it is the difference between income and expenditure.

We can’t count residuals, eh? Makes a true buggery of attempts to tax what can’t be counted then.

Well, yes, suppose so really

And so we end up with, for example, the vast amount of effort that has been dedicated by the profession to accounting for derivative contracts when (let’s be honest) there is no such thing as a derivative beyond its contractual form.

It also being true that there’s no such thing as a company beyond its contractual form. Which is why it’s impossible to tax them of course.

Not that this has ever stopped Snippa.

No royals, no vermine

Pity he didn’t think of this before:

What is the future role for the head of state in whatever the UK might become? That is a question that needs to be asked. And at the same time the question as to who might have that role, and why, needs to be addressed. The assumption that it should be a royal seems, to me, to be naive.

As for the reason we do have a Royal someone, somewhere, has to pin the VC on people. And we’d prefer Chuckie or President Spud?


The mark is awarded by the company Fair Tax Mark Limited, a not-for-profit community benefit society, incorporated 18 February 2014, company number IP032308.[6] The Tax Justice Network assisted in raising initial funding, and it is supported by a number of other organisations[7] including the Public and Commercial Services Union.[8] Before the present company was formed, an “earlier incarnation” undertook a pilot study in June 2013.

Very impressive:

The number of Fair Tax certified businesses passed the ’50’ milestone in March,

Under one punter a month since foundation….

This is rather the point

Second, it is to effect the social, industrial and economic policy of the government. Fiscal policy is utterly different from monetary policy. It expects a government that intervenes to achieve its goals.

Yes, and when we see what Snippa, Owen Jones and John McDonnell want to do to society we understand why we’re against fiscal policy.

Quite amazing

Then we get tracker funds. Or, worse, the manufactured funds like ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) and REITS (Real Estate Investment Trusts), which wrap equities and bonds inside a second vehicle which is itself quoted and charges a fee for the supposed insight that the managers supply (but rarely do) and we have an outcome that is opaque, potentially illiquid and very often downright exploitative. It is the place where the rentier goes when all else has failed.

So, without an ETF (or unit trust, or investment trust, both usually more expensive than ETFs) how is the retail investor to gain diversification? Without Reits how to gain exposure to commercial property at all?

Re Dominic

Seriously it is worrying that he’s after the ‘hard’ scientists with apparently no respect of social sciences. That’s a mindset I distrust. Where is the moral compass of social purpose to come from ?

I rather think that’s the sort of mindset that Mr. Cummings is rather against…..

Ritchie’s written a law

(6) Each local authority in England and Wales is required to inform the Secretary of State by 1 January each year of:

The number of homeless persons residing in its area; and

Anyone else spot a slight problem there?

Further. It sez the Sec State must build enough housing to eliminate homelessness. OK, so, there are circa 5,000 rough sleepers out there. Build 5,000 houses and we’re done, right?

Hmm, what, that doesn’t solve homelessness? Then it’s not a shortage of housing that’s causing homelessness, is it?

So, CbyC doesn’t work then

I argued for years that we needed country-by-country reporting. We did. We still do. And so far we have not got it. The only public country-by-country reporting data we have to date is from banks. And so that’s what we have to look at.


The data is interesting. I will get to it, in other posts. What really got to me when working on this data was just how poor it was

So, CbyC doesn’t work then as peeps don’t have that information to hand.

Presumably that’s the death of the idea then.

Well, the twattishness hasn’t stopped this year then, has it?

The idea is much more important.

That idea is that a great deal must change. That is the essence of the Green New Deal.

In the face of climate crisis – and Australia appears to be at the forefront of the immediate, or at least newsworthy, crisis right now – the idea that we can carry in as before is notjust absurd, but is profoundly dangerous.

OK, so let’s deal with climate change then.

Second, there is no market solution to this crisis: markets cannot cope with externalities of this sort.


As Nordhaus, Stern, Weizman, Quiggin, Tol and every other economist who has even looked at the problem insist, only markets can deal with such externalities. We add a Pigou Tax and then leave markets be to chew through the problem.

But then of course Snippa disagrees with the entirety of the economics profession – for he doesn’t know any economics.

Won’t work

Half of the nation’s farmland needs to be transformed into woodlands and natural habitat to fight the climate crisis and restore wildlife, according to a former chief scientific adviser to the UK government.

Prof Sir Ian Boyd said such a change could mean the amount of cattle and sheep would fall by 90%, with farmers instead being paid for storing carbon dioxide,

Sorry, can’t do that. Spudda insists that each and every business become carbon neutral. Therefore there’s no one to make carbon sequestration payments, is there?