From the FT

Raising tax is always politically difficult. But Britain can no longer afford a delay. The proximate cause is a shortfall in the public finances. Likely downgrades to productivity forecasts, spending commitments already announced and a change in the accounting treatment of student loans all mean the government will need to raise funds to meet its fiscal rule of balancing day-to-day spending by 2023. Truly “ending austerity” and reversing the cuts of recent years will cost even more.

Well, yes. Except the tax burden (percentage of GDP that goes in tax) is already at record highs. The shortfall is because they’re pissing away what they do collect.

Bird gets fat – Capitalism to blame!

Nearly three decades ago, when I was an overweight teenager, I sometimes ate six pieces of sliced white toast in a row, each one slathered in butter or jam. I remember the spongy texture of the bread as I took it from its plastic bag. No matter how much of this supermarket toast I ate, I hardly felt sated. It was like eating without really eating. Other days, I would buy a box of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes or a tube of Pringles: sour cream and onion flavour stackable snack chips, which were an exciting novelty at the time, having only arrived in the UK in 1991. Although the carton was big enough to feed a crowd, I could demolish most of it by myself in a sitting. Each chip, with its salty and powdery sour cream coating, sent me back for another one. I loved the way the chips – curved like roof tiles – would dissolve slightly on my tongue.

After one of these binges – because that is what they were – I would speak to myself with self-loathing. “What is wrong with you?” I would say to the tear-stained face in the mirror. I blamed myself for my lack of self-control. But now, all these years later, having mostly lost my taste for sliced bread, sugary cereals and snack chips, I feel I was asking myself the wrong question. It shouldn’t have been “What is wrong with you?” but “What is wrong with this food?”

Back in the 90s, there was no word to cover all the items I used to binge on. Some of the things I over-ate – crisps or chocolate or fast-food burgers – could be classified as junk food, but others, such as bread and cereal, were more like household staples. These various foods seemed to have nothing in common except for the fact that I found them very easy to eat a lot of, especially when sad. As I ate my Pringles and my white bread, I felt like a failure for not being able to stop. I had no idea that there would one day be a technical explanation for why I found them so hard to resist. The word is “ultra-processed” and it refers to foods that tend to be low in essential nutrients, high in sugar, oil and salt and liable to be overconsumed.

It’s never, ever, the fault of the individual woman, is it?

In The Guardian

At least one or two of them might understand this:

Imogen West-Knights (Journal, 6 February) informs us that it is, by definition, impossible to level up the needy without redistribution of wealth or opportunity from the wealthiest. Back when Adam Smith became a professor in 1751, GDP per capita in the UK was some $1,800 a year (by Angus Maddison’s inflation-adjusted numbers). Today it is around $39,000. Reality is telling us that the economy is not a zero-sum game.
Tim Worstall
Senior fellow, Adam Smith Institute

Aha, Aha, Ahhahahahahahahahaha

The Swiss government has ordered an inquiry into a global encryption company based in Zug following revelations it was owned and controlled for decades by US and German intelligence.

Encryption weaknesses added to products sold by Crypto AG allowed the CIA and its German counterpart, the BND, to eavesdrop on adversaries and allies alike while earning million of dollars from the sales, according the Washington Post and the German public broadcaster ZDF, based on the agencies’ internal histories of the intelligence operation.

“It was the intelligence coup of the century,” the CIA report concluded. “Foreign governments were paying good money to the US and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign countries.”

Gurgle, snort…….

Christianity has been learnt well here then

They say if you want something done, ask someone busy, which Julian Richer certainly is.

Alongside the hi-fi retailer he founded as a teenager under the arches of London Bridge in 1978, the entrepreneur runs seven non-profit organisations, including the Good Business Charter (GBC), an accreditation scheme that launches on Monday.

Baptised at 47, Richer speaks freely of his faith. He says he is motivated to do good “for Jesus”, so it is perhaps no coincidence that the charter is comprised of 10 commandments to commit companies to improving their behaviour voluntarily.

These include pledges on paying fair tax,

This all being funded by having sold the business free of CGT and income tax.

An impolitic thought

The Home Office and the Department of Health have vowed to tackle the “harmful practice” of “virginity repair” surgery and the “deeply regressive” attitudes that drive women to have it done.

It’s now government and societal policy that crafting a new cock for a woman is a ‘uman right. Crafting a new hymen is not.


That history sure does echo

Robot rugby is squeezing out free spirits like rebel Finn Russell

Well, yes. Barnes, when playing, was rather the free spirit and was markedly short of caps given the manner in which Rob Andrew, a more robotic player (his excuse being that he played the way he was told to by the coach) gained many more caps.

This being something that Barnes himself notes of course:

I empathise with Russell. It’s a lifetime ago but I recall an England team meeting. I was asked what I would do when we threw a ball to the back of the lineout and crossed the gainline with a battering-ram runner. I suggested I might look up and see where the opposing defenders were before making any decision. Wrong answer. A few of the lads laughed. I hadn’t been paying sufficient attention to the pre-ordained plan.

That year I walked out on England and missed the first World Cup.

This isn’t entirely so, no

Metropolitan Police bosses said they may have to cut recruitment of officers to fight violent crime after being told by ministers they would have to foot a multimillion-pound bill for policing the XR protests and other events.

In a letter to the Home Office, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, who has responsibility for the force, said it was “unacceptable” and “deeply concerning” to expect the Met to pay the £31 million bill for such exceptional events when he said officials had previously indicated they would meet the cost.

He told Kit Malthouse, the policing minister, that refusal to fund the bill through a special grant could have a knock-on effect that “risks reducing the money available for officers”.

This isn’t the police saying anything. It’s a politician at one level of the system demanding more money from the next level above him. As all politicians always will demand.

So, err, why is this a problem?

From the earliest ages of cinema, the “prostitute with a heart of gold” has been a stock character in comedies, romances and dramas alike. The legendary producer Samuel Goldwyn is reputed to have roared: “Get me a P with an H of G!”

But that was the 20th century. Goldwyn died 46 years ago and there will be many who assumed the most clichéd of fictional female characters had been laid to rest after years of debate about sexism in the entertainment industry and the rise of the #MeToo movement.

Instead, the cheerful, resilient prostitute epitomised by Julia Roberts’s performance in the 1990 film Pretty Woman is about to make a comeback in London’s West End.

There are some number of ex-prostitutes out there. Who have married, had families, carried on life just as in any other such nuclear unit.

Why the problem in portraying such?

It has all proved too much for anti-sexism campaigners such as Sandi Toksvig, the broadcaster and co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party. “I wonder if the all-male creative team that produced Pretty Woman have had much experience of being prostituted?” she said. “If not that may explain why their dance moves leap so nimbly over the links with trafficking and abuse. Better representation of women on screen and stage doesn’t just mean picking things with ‘women’ in the title.”

Sandi’s getting dangerously close to the line that if you’ve ever once shagged for money then that’s that, no more normal life for you. Which will come as a hell of a surprise to a certain number of women.

Sorta the one drop of semen, as opposed to blood with the colour bar, damns you.

Bit of an oddity, isn’t it?

Is this actually true?

Fifteen years after every Briton was obliged to start acknowledging that someone they knew somewhere had entered a civil partnership, –

Depends what you mean by “know” I guess. I know of someone, I have met someone, sure. But know, as in that circle of people I might phone up for a beer if I were in town?

15 years ago would be 2005. In which year there were:

18,059 couples entered into a civil partnership between December 2005 and the end of December 2006

Is Ben Summerskill really trying to claim that the 65 million of us all know one of those 36,000 people?

Well, actually, yes, he is but that’s because Summerskill spends most of his time talking out of his arse.