Phillip Hollobone can kiss my fat, hairy, freckled arse*

Enforced servitude is something this country stamped out a long time ago – although we kept the vile principle of national service long after we freed our slaves and stopped other people trading in them. The state, however, seems to think that slavery to the state is, somehow acceptable – or, at least, this particular state apparatchik does. It is not. It never will be and it should be opposed vigorously.

Damn right.

I own me.

Nowt else to say about the fat fucker’s idea, is there?

*Both sides and the middle.

This isn\’t the Holy Grail of emissions reduction, no

Scientists believe they have achieved the ‘holy grail’ of the green economy by designing a hydrogen production plant that can split water with sunlight.

The University of Colorado at Boulder envisages an array of mirrors that would focus sunlight onto a central tower several hundred feet tall.

The tower would heat up to around 1,350 °C – enough to liberate hydrogen from steam with the help of a metal oxide compound.

Reforming steam with an iron/cobalt oxide catalyst to produce hydrogen isn\’t new, no. I think I\’m right in saying that hydrogen is generated in steel furnaces as any residual water passes over the iron oxide that is the ore in fact. Nor is using sunlight to heat water all that amazingly new. Combining the two is interesting but it ain\’t a Holy Grail of anything at all. For this reason:

Commercialisation of such a solar-thermal reactor is only likely to happen when the economic conditions are right, claims Professor Weimer.

‘There would have to be a substantial monetary penalty for putting carbon into the atmosphere, or the price of fossil fuels would have to go way up,’ he added.

It ain\’t economic.

And we\’ve many ways of producing energy, of storing energy (which is what this is, a storage method, not a production method), that are not economic. Even if we look to the hydrogen economy we\’ve got ways of doing this that are not economic. For example, take the electricity from either solar or wind power and electrolyse water to release the H2. That might be better or worse than this method but they\’re both still uneconomic.

What we\’re looking for of course is something that is economic. And what we\’d really like is something that is cheaper, unsubsidised, without a carbon tax, than fossil fuels at which point the entire climate change problem goes away. That would be the Holy Grail….

Shouldn\’t a tax piece know about tax?

This is because British law allows relief on a quarter of the money spent on items including debt interest payment, spectrum purchases and installing equipment such as masts and radios. The relief is equal to the tax rate – an average of 25% in recent years.


Hang on, you buy something to make the business work. This is a cost. If it\’s something that makes the business work for a long time then you get a piece, not all of it, as a cost each year. That cost is obviously deducted from your income before calculating tax. Because profit, the thing being taxed, is income minus costs.

It\’s not just the alarmingly cack handed way in which they\’re describing this process: they really do seem to be arguing that you cannot deduct the costs of doing business before you calculate your profit.

Ah, Prem Sikka is involved: we know that it won\’t make sense then.

But critics say that its ability to send large sums abroad while making no corporation tax contribution to the Exchequer highlights the unfairness of British laws.

Cash made here should be taxed here. A fair enough idea in isolation. And then in the companion piece we have:

Vodafone has ceded just £156m in UK corporation tax, but paid £6.7bn to other countries during the past three years.

And, err, profits made elsewhere should be taxed here? Again, fair enough in isolation, but you really cannot go around believing both.

The latest threat from the Murphmeister

If you comment here then you won\’t be allowed to comment there.

I want to note that several commentators who fall foul of the ban on those who openly support the policy of blogs where abuse is commonplace have placed abusive comment on this thread, as might be expected.

Their comments have been deleted.

One also suggested I wished to create an echo chamber – which is exactly, of course, what right wing think tanks set out to do

Yes, that combination of right wing think tanks and promoting a culture of abuse does indeed mean here.

Participating in web sites that approve abusive language and an aggressive tone, frequently laden with sexual innuendo and all with clear intent to oppress those calling for greater equality in society, which comment carries with it the clear message that violence in pursuit of greed and manipulation to secure advantage is acceptable, means a commentator is not welcome here, ever.

Apparently either disagreeing with someone or pointing out their errors is oppressing them these days.

Who knew?

Becoming Self Employed: Taking the First Steps


Starting your own business can be an attractive concept, especially when you can utilise your skills and work from home, giving you the ultimate in convenience. Regardless of what your new venture is, there will be various steps that you will be required to take to ensure that your plans are optimised to the best they can be. From choosing the right business insurance from Hiscox to thinking of a business name that will pack a punch, you need to plan every last detail – and if you’re planning on heading down the self-employed path, you only have you to rely on.

Choose your business wisely

You may have a flurry of ideas whizzing around your head and while many of these may be pipedreams, you need to establish which one is realistic for you. Make sure that the idea you have is something that suits who you are and what you’re passionate about and ensure that this new venture is well and truly set in your mind before you start planning further.

Insure yourself

Whether it’s adding your business to your home insurance if you’re working from home, or looking into public liability insurance if you’re providing a mobile service, you need to make sure that you’re covered. If, further down the line, you’re faced with prosecution or a compensation claim, you’re going to need that insurance to cover your back. With plenty of customer reviews on Hiscox insurance available, you can be sure that the cover you choose is right for you.

Plan, plan, plan

Even if you’re not planning on applying for financial help, a business plan is highly recommended – if only for your own good.

Plan what marketing strategies you’re going to implement and what platforms you’re going to use to spread the word about you and your service. Being self-employed is often about who you know and with plenty of networking facilities online, you can build your customer base in no time.

Don’t stress!

The last thing you need is for your head to be full of doubt and for you to have cold feet when taking these first steps. Taking the plunge and going for it is often the best policy and as long as you have the passion, you’ll succeed.

A small note for the TUC

We\’re getting a certain amount of whining from the TUC (and also from the AFL-CIO over the Pond) that wages have been growing more slowly than productivity in recent years. And that this is the real, underlying, cause of our economic woes.


German wages grew more slowly than productivity over the last decade, helped along by Gerhard Schröder\’s labor reforms in 2003-05. This meant Germans consumed vastly less than they produced, fueling an export boom and keeping unemployment low.

Does Germany have different laws of economics then?

Gadgets for online gaming

Smartphones have become the most preferred type of phone today. Not only do they receive calls but they can also perform many tasks that were previously restricted to computers, all from a device that fits right in your pocket. Online gaming is one of the most common uses for smartphones. In fact, each time a new device is released, it is analyzed for its capability to run online games. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the most popular phones out today and is well respected as an online gaming gadget.

There are many features of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that make it an ideal gadget for online gaming. The display screen is fully HD compatible and measures in at five inches. long with that is its fast processor which is a quad core. The RAM within this phone is an impressive 2 GB which is double the needed amount for gaming. As games continue to evolve, this phone can keep up. If gaming on the go, you needn’t worry about getting the phone wet. Another great benefit of this phone is that its body is fully waterproof. During the winter months, gaming can be accomplished quite easily thanks to the increased sensitivity of the touch screen. This means you don’t have to remove your gloves to play.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 can access the numerous Android online casinos such as Lucky Nugget casino. Slot machines are fun to play with the touchscreen. Many five reeled slot machine games can be accessed. Thunderstruck is a game with nine paylines. It also provides additional bonus features that provide free spins. Tomb Raider is a slot machine game that was inspired by the fictional character, Laura Croft. It has more paylines than Thunderstruck with 15. With Tomb Raider, activating additional paylines can increase one’s chance of winning. Like Thunderstuck, Tomb Raider also comes with a free spin bonus game.

A thought about Cyprus

North Cyprus doesn\’t have a banking problem.

The rest of Cyprus has a very large banking problem.

North Cyprus isn\’t in the euro.

The rest of Cyprus is in the euro. And the EU.

Sounds like we\’ve found our natural experiment to judge the effect of being in the EU/euro. It\’s not an experiment that leaves the EU/euro looking good really, is it?

Timmy in Czech, weather edition

So, I\’ve hired the production engineers. We\’ve a neat and simple plan from here to production then.

Part of which is that we need a few hundred kg of rock to test the precise tolerances of that production (for those with a technical bent, we want to test the liberation point). Excellent, off you go geologists, go get a few hundred kg. Should take an afternoon, it\’s only 10 km from your house anyway.

Err, yes Tim. We\’ll get to it in about 10 days time.

Err, why not now?

Temperatures have not risen above -5 oC at noon for a week now. We\’d need blasting powder, thus licences, to collect samples. Better to wait a week until it warms up a bit.

Oh. Fair enough. Thought it had been a bit chilly.

Fun technical note. The geologists are on a short project in Kosovo anyway. Where their email access is better than it is at the bottom of the little valley they occupy in Saxony.

Let\’s Ban Woodchip Imports! And Watch The Lights Go Out!

What a clever idea this is:

Ministers have been urged to consider banning the import of woodchip made from ash as part of measures to prevent the spread of ash dieback disease.

Given that the disease is now endemic not really going to achieve much. Except of course accelerating the day when the lights go out. For we\’re converting several coal fired stations (inc. Drax, the largest of them all) to burning woodchips.

Which will need to be imported as the nation just doesn\’t have enough wood to cover the needs. And if we ban woodchip imports (and no fair saying it\’s \”only ash\”. Here\’s a 300,000 tonne boat. Now sir, you promise and hope to die that there\’s no ash anywhere in your 300,000 tonnes?) then we can\’t generate the \’leccie any more.

But Barry Gardiner, a Labour MP and member of the environment select committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today there should be further action to stop woodchip used as “biomass” fuel being brought in.

He said: “It seems to me that the Government, in addition to banning seedlings, which are a clear factor of transmission of this disease, should also be considering banning not all biomass but the ash woodchip that contains twigs and leaves.”

And don\’t think that the little fucker doesn\’t know that.

How to lie with numbers Climate Change Committee version

Household energy bills will be about £600 higher per year by the end of the decade if the UK relies increasingly on gas, the government\’s climate advisers warned on Thursday.

But the Committee on Climate Change found that bills would only be £100 higher than today\’s average dual fuel bill of about £1,300, if the country concentrated on renewable power generation, such as wind power.

Entirely done and dusted then, eh?

Renewables will be cheaper than gas.

Their core assumption? The DECC one that gas prices will rise from where they are now. They take the DECC middle estimate.

What is the one thing that none of the DECC estimates take account of? Not even the low estimate?

Fracking for shale gas gets green light in UK

Ed Davey has lifted a suspension on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, on the condition of strict seismic controls

That\’s right, they\’ve entirely, and deliberately, ignored the impact of shale gas. Which has, as we know, reduced the US price to what is it, one third of the current UK price?

Decc has been, entirely laughably, known to insist that all shale produced will be exported and thus not affect domestic prices.

They\’re all lying, absolutely and deliberately. Hang the fuckers, all of them.

Can\’t economists do maths any more?

In the last decade and a half China, which has grown at an annual average of 10%, has increased its spending on research and development by 170%.


Of course, we need both general stimulus spending – in areas such as healthcare, education and infrastructure – and directed investment in strategic new technologies and sectors. But the global economic race will be won mainly on the latter, and the winners will earn more profits for welfare programmes. Indeed, as has been shown in research by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the investment multiplier is higher when public investment is directed to growth areas rather than just \”digging ditches\” and filling them up again. But direction requires vision, courage, and solidarity – all casualties of the latest European crisis.

I do hope I\’ve got this straight. China\’s increase in R&D spending is used as an argument that we Europeans should increase our R&D sending, yes?

China\’s been growing at 10% per year for 15 years. GDP of 100 at the start of that period would be 417 at the end of it. Or a 317% rise in GDP if you prefer.

And R&D spending has risen by 170%. That is, fallen substantially as a portion of GDP.

This is used as an argument in favour of increasing R&D spending, is it?

@RichardJMurphy tries tax law: not a pretty sight

Following on here I am advised that the House of Lords agrees with Ritchie so there.

Richard Murphy ?@RichardJMurphy

@worstall Shame you ignore the fact that the House of Lords agree with me. But why let facts get in the way of diatribe?

This is what Ritchie says the House of Lords said:

Tax avoidance …. is a course of action designed to conflict with or defeat the evident intention of Parliament.

This is what the House of Lords actually said:

In order to understand the line thus drawn, submitted Mr. Henderson, it was essential to understand what was meant by \”tax avoidance\” for the purposes of section 741. Tax avoidance was to be distinguished from tax mitigation. The hall mark of tax avoidance is that the taxpayer reduces his liability to tax without incurring the economic consequences that Parliament intended to be suffered by any taxpayer qualifying for such reduction in his tax liability. The hall mark of tax mitigation, on the other hand, is that the taxpayer takes advantage of a fiscally attractive option afforded to him by the tax legislation, and genuinely suffers the economic consequences that Parliament intended to be suffered by those taking advantage of the option. Where the tax payer\’s chosen course is seen upon examination to involve tax avoidance (as opposed to tax mitigation), it follows that tax avoidance must be at least one of the taxpayer\’s purposes in adopting that course, whether or not the taxpayer has formed the subjective motive of avoiding tax.
My Lords, I am content for my part to adopt these propositions as a generally helpful approach to the elusive concept of \”tax avoidance\”, the more so since they owe much to the speeches of Lord Templeman and Lord Goff of Chieveley in Ensign Tankers Leasing Ltd. v. Stokes [1992] 1 A.C. 655 at 675C-676F and 681B-E. One of the traditional functions of the tax system is to promote socially desirable objectives by providing a favourable tax regime for those who pursue them. Individuals who make provision for their retirement or for greater financial security are a familiar example of those who have received such fiscal encouragement in various forms over the years. This, no doubt, is why the holders of qualifying policies, even those issued by non-resident companies, were granted exemption from tax on the benefits received. In a broad colloquial sense tax avoidance might be said to have been one of the main purposes of those who took out such policies, because plainly freedom from tax was one of the main attractions. But it would be absurd in the context of section 741 to describe as tax avoidance the acceptance of an offer of freedom from tax which Parliament has deliberately made. Tax avoidance within the meaning of section 741 is a course of action designed to conflict with or defeat the evident intention of Parliament. In saying this I am attempting to summarise, I hope accurately, the essence of Mr. Henderson\’s submissions, which I accept.

It\’s worth noting that this was in the course of telling the IR (as then was) ever so politely to piss off and stop accusing a retired professor of tax avoidance.

This I think is the important part:

The hall mark of tax avoidance is that the taxpayer reduces his liability to tax without incurring the economic consequences that Parliament intended to be suffered by any taxpayer qualifying for such reduction in his tax liability. The hall mark of tax mitigation, on the other hand, is that the taxpayer takes advantage of a fiscally attractive option afforded to him by the tax legislation, and genuinely suffers the economic consequences that Parliament intended to be suffered by those taking advantage of the option.

To take an example, the Greens. Parliament has expressly stated that the transfer of assets between spouses is not a taxable event, Parliament has also expressly stated that dividends from UK companies payable to foreigners non-resident nor domiciled in the UK are not subject to UK income tax.

Given that Lady Green really does own Taveta, which owns Arcadia, and that Lady Green is not resident or domiciled in the UK, her dividends are not taxable in the UK.

Allow us, just for a moment, to accept the Ritchie/UKUncut claim, that Sir Philip transferred these shares in order to avoid such dividend taxation.
But he has absolutely taken the economic consequence: he no longer owns those shares. They are not his property. He cannot vote them. If his wife decides to throw him out of the house she can and keep the property (until a very interesting divorce case at least). She can fire him from his job.

This isn\’t tax avoidance, this is tax mitigation, for he meets that test that Ritchie has pointed us to.

We can then trot through almost all of the cases that Ritchie regards as tax avoidance and show them to be the entirely legal tax mitigation. Using a personal services company? This isn\’t tax avoidance because one does indeed take the economic consequence of running a company. The costs of doing so.


Boots going to Switzerland? This isn\’t tax avoidance it is tax mitigation: they really have gone to Switzerland. Loading up on debt? Economic consequence is that you\’ve got to service that debt in an uncertain environment. Mitigation, not avoidance.

By pointing us to the law and going \”There! See!\” Murphy is actually revealing that his entire construct is nonsense.

Perhaps he\’d better stick to making things up rather than trying to deal with reality, eh?


But this is the problem Polly

The aim is to rubbish the poverty measure accepted by all international organisations and to call for new measures that ignore inequality.

All of those international organisations use a definition of poverty which is about inequality, not poverty. So if you wish to insist, as is perfectly reasonable even if you don\’t happen to agree, that poverty should be about absolute poverty not relative poverty then you\’re going to be entirely out of step with all of those international organisations.

For example, if we measure UK child poverty by deprivation then we\’re 9 th in the OECD (out of 29).

If we measure by relative child poverty then we\’re 22 nd out of 35.

That is, we are a more unequal country than many other places, thus we have higher relative child poverty, but we have less child deprivation than many other places that are more equal than we are.

It is indeed possible to discuss which measure we ought to be using: but all those international organisations measuring it only by relative poverty are rather closing down that conversation, aren\’t they?

The Greek solution


We could give it back to the Turks. Supporting Greek independence was always a mistake. Seems better than the last two solutions we tried – allowing some Germans to run it. Plus they had a third go in the 1940s. Never seems to work out well.

We can tell the Turks we will throw in half of Cyprus for free.

But would the Turks take it?

And SMFS gets this week\’s prize for the most outrageously wonderful joke of the week. Prince P, Duke of E, would approve.

The Glory that is Ritchie!

He\’s done a long interview. Here.

Anyone who wants to teach economics or accountancy these days has to subscribe to neoliberal economic thinking.

Blatantly untrue. Prem Sikka is a Prof of Accounting and he\’s certainly not a neo-liberal. George Irvine most certainly ain\’t a neo-liberal and he\’s a Prof of Economics. Murph might not have noticed that he\’s actually working with academics who refute his very own contention.

In my first year of economics and accountancy at Southampton University in 1976 to 1979, I realized that the assumptions that underpinned the course—including that competition was “perfect” and that this would always lead to “correct” outcomes in the markets—bore no relation to reality.

Absolutely no one at all believes this. Here, for example, are some extracts from the 2005 GCSE Economics syllabus.

The ownership, control, finance, management and aims of different forms of
business enterprise
Candidates should be able to:
 distinguish between different ways of organising production through private and
public enterprise;
distinguish between different ways of organising production through sole trader
and plc;
 distinguish between different ways of organising production through cooperatives;
 distinguish between different ways of organising production through municipal

The aims and effects of government intervention on producers
Candidates should be able to:
 illustrate knowledge of advantages and disadvantages of competition within an
economy (knowledge of theories of monopoly and perfect competition is not

So we\’re actually teaching the 14 year olds that there are advantages to not-competition?

The role of public enterprise and the arguments for and against privatisation
Candidates should be able to:
 give examples of public enterprise and privatisation;
 assess the arguments for and against privatisation.

The determination of the allocation of resources in different economic systems
Candidates should be able to:
 analyse the main features of market, state planned and mixed economies and
assess the advantages and disadvantages of each;
 distinguish between private and public goods.
The determination of price in market economies
Candidates should be able to:
 construct demand and supply curves from basic data;
 explain shifts of the curves;
 understand the market forces that determine equilibrium;
 explain the impact of government intervention e.g. taxes, subsidies, minimum and
maximum prices.

We\’re really not teaching them that competition unadorned is perfect, are we?

Differences and changes in factor rewards
Candidates should be able to:
 analyse the effects of changes in demand and supply;
 give arguments for and against government intervention e.g. wage and rent

I don\’t think that Ritchie\’s quite managed to prove that idea that the neoliberals have taken over the basic teaching of the subject, do you?

One of the things I recognized as exceptionally dangerous was the discounting of future cash flows, which entered mainstream economic theory in the 1950s and became prevalent in accounting from the 1970s onwards. What I found extraordinary about this was the assumption that you could dismiss the future consequences of current behavior and appraise it only with regard to its impact on the present. Of course that drives a short-term mind-set where business pays no heed to future consequences of its actions, one where all that matters is peak performance now.

Snigger. Discounting future cash flows is to bring the future in to influence the present. He\’s got it entirely arse about tip.

Modeling is now the bedrock for the teaching of all financial disciplines. However, future consequences are never built into the models, since they are literally “discounted,” which is a very close synonym of “dismissed.”

No, discounting is how we assess future consequences.

It has been undermined by the requirement that all accounting academics must have a PhD, which is quite a hurdle to jump and rules out a lot of talent.

Translation: I couldn\’t get an academic job when I left my marriage and company.

Ho hum