Thursday, 28 April 2011

Chaser, Australia, Free Lunches and the Royal Wedding

The Breadstealers are joining in on the bitching about the Royal Wedding coverage, following the Americans whining about the fact that they’re turning the Palace lights off at midnight to save money. They were hiring two live feeds on the wedding. One for the official Royal Wedding with the official commentary, one for a bunch of Comedians to put their own take on it. The Palace turned round and said – err no. You can do a factual programme or none at all. Save the Comedy for the Australian Cricket Team batting line up.

Now the Aussies are divided on this, those that say this “Chasers” team are about as funny as a day trip to Auschwitz are saying “bravo” to the Royal Household. The ones who have spat the dummy (including Kevin Rudd – remember him - short really crap ex Aussie PM) are whining about free speech and Republics, born equal, Mel Gibson in Gallipoli, blah, blah, blah.

As far as free speech is concerned, there's absolutely nothing stopping these people flying to London, hiring a camera crew, doing the filming themselves and saying whatever the hell they want. But they’re too cheap to shell out any money themselves, despite the Commodity led strength of the Aussie Dollar. Quite frankly these people need to shit or get off the pot. Put up or shut up etc.

If you lend somebody your front lawn because they're too cheap to buy their own; then instead of having a Barbie they have a monster truck rally, you're quite within your rights to tell them to fuck off. Doesn't make you the Stasi.

Calm Down Dear

The hypocrisy of T’Brothers stinks on this one. They slag people off left right and centre – see here. And it’s a damn site more nasty and unpleasant than a gag from a TV commercial. There’s lefties I’m aware of who are going to drink Champagne on Lady Thatcher’s (PBUH) Death. So for them to whine about a little putdown by Cameron taken off a TV commercial is pathetic.

If Call me Dave had said to Angela Eagle “Would you kindly shut the fuck up you hatchet faced Harridan. You’re voice is as grating as a donkey with laryngitis and a traffic cone up its arse. Your face is like a waxwork Munch left on a radiator and my pet hamster has a larger IQ” then perhaps he could be called out for being a bit rude and patronising.

The only people who will give a shit about this are people whose lives are so shallow and pointless they look to take offense at anything.

Obamas Birth Certificate

Donald Trump has been leading "birther" claims

Hopefully this has now been put to bed. Quite frankly the Birth Certificate issue looked like insane ravings, and did the Republicans no good whatsoever. It deflected fire on Obama, as time spent saying he was born somewhere else wasted time on what they should actually be saying – that he’s actually utterly crap. I now expect Sur Allun Donald Trump will now show the dangerous materials license he needs to have for being in possession of his hair. It’s certainly unsightly, definitely a fire hazard, probably a trip hazard, and the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds needed to mould it require Pandas to wear factor 15.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

More on the AV Vote

Guido quite rightly points out that the Yes vote deploying Peter Mandelson to encourage you to change the political system is a bit incongruous vis a vis their claim about AV reducing corruption and make MPs work harder. This is mostly due to the fact that there hasn’t been a dodgier little shit in the British political process since they got rid of Old Sarum in the 1832 Reform Act.

The other thought that occurred to me this morning is that First Past the Post is almost as good as an IQ test. All the people that vote Nazi, Yogic Flying Party, Socialist Worker Party, Official Monster Raving Loony Party and Liberal Democrat find that their votes don’t count. Since we’re not allowed to test for how many hours you sit on your arse watching Jeremy Kyle; the First Past the post system is the next best thing for weeding out those who aren’t best suited for the rigours of Parliamentary democracy.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Are you stupid enough to vote no? The AV Vote

It seems the No to AV vote has had a big boost coming up to the Holidays where any canvassing – For or Against - will result in a hearty go forth from the British public. The conversation will go something like this…

Evangelical Canvasser: “Would you care to Vote Yes to AV”
Doorstopee “I’m off to B&Q to get some wood grout for the windows”
Evangelical Canvasser: “It’s a vital change to our political process…”
Doorstopee “I’m Covered in Paint, have just nearly electrocuted myself and my knuckles are bleeding from trying to get wood screws into a breeze block. I’m not interested”.
Evangelical Canvasser: “But your vote would count twice if your first choice…
Doorstopee “Look, Fuck off and fuck off now”.

So basically the Pro-Yes strategy of roping in a few Luvvies, and calling anybody who doesn’t want a permanent coalition government Stupid has backfired. Their only hope is that they can encourage enough Scots to bother turning up.

Personally I’ll be voting no because AV is more expensive and I am unwilling to spend any more money on our elected scumbags – even if it doesn’t directly go into their Mortgage/Plasma Telly/Mock Tudor Beams/Moat cleaning (although with Neil Kinnock having a stake in the voting machines needed for this voting process a lot of money will). It will give Nazis and Communists a say in our political process, and will mean every election is ultimately decided by whining smug tosspots like Vince Cable. Oh and because when Fiji introduced it, it was so shit that there was a Military Coup - in a part of the world where nothing controversial has happened since they ate their last Missionary in 1867.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Ow Much!?

A few years back a Colleague of mine was wandering through a brand new Waitrose – the first in Yorkshire to open. He said the only thing he heard wandering through the store was the fine Yorkshire Accent everywhere in the store saying “Ow Much?!”. This sprang to mind when one of our Great Universities – Oxford, Cambridge, Hull has decided to charge the grand total of £9,000 per year for its courses. Now Hull isn’t my Alma Matter so I can’t be too certain how good its courses are, but its hardly mentioned in the same sentence as Harvard Business School .

If you are studying science and get to boil Gold Filings in Test tubes every day then I reckon £9k per year is about fair. But a pointless degree in Media Studies for £9k from Hull – Ow much?!

A Hiatus

Fear not, though the volume may drop, this is evidence of an improving economy, for I am busy, as is TravelGal with work and impending nuptuals. I will be away for a couple of weeks after easter. Hopefully then I will be able to entertain you all once more.

Do not desert us, and fear not! We shall return.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Icesave and the Icelandic Referendum

Look, I like Iceland. I like the scenery, the tons of stuff to do and the fact that 90% of the women are hot. Doesn’t stop them being a bunch of thieving bastards though. The simplified version of what happened is this:

The Icelandic government Passported their financial institutions and guaranteed minimum levels of protection for savers so they could go after UK money. The Icelanders did this to earn more money from taxes so that their citizens could enjoy more than one £35.00 Rum and Coke on the weekends in downtown Reykjavik. The banks in Iceland screwed up by doing pretty much what Northern Rock did – rely on excess levels of liquidity in the world’s financial markets. When this magic tap turned off they realised that the jig was up and they were going bankrupt. A mere hours before the announcement was made they transferred money from British and Dutch investors to Icelandic investors - one of the big names can be found here – with the assistance of the Icelandic government.

The reason they did this was very simple, there’s 300,000 people in Iceland and even though they are all called Dottir or Son, everybody knows each other so you can track a politician down within about ½ hour and punch him in the face, whereas British and Dutch people are a bit further away and can't spell Keflavikurflugvollur.

In traditional financial terms, when a bank is bankrupt, it has for example three depositors Thorette Odinsdottir, Pieter Van De Fordtransit, and John Longdong. They all have 100,000 Krona in the bank but only have 30,000 Krona in assets. What is supposed to happen is that Thorette, Pieter and Joe get 10,000 each. What actually happened is that Thorette got 30,000 because she was in dog shit lobbing range of the Prime Minister's house, Pieter and John got the square root of bugger all.

This is what is known in the Banking community as “Theft”; and why the British government was so pissed off they used Anti-Terrorist legislation to seize Icelandic assets. It then got even worse diplomatically. Remember kids, they promised minimum protection to British and Dutch savers when fishing for business in the UK. But when John and Pieter were compensated by the British and Dutch governments the Icelandic government said no, we’re not paying up, after a Referendum was held. "OK" said the British and Dutch governments, we’ll charge less interest and get the money back over a longer period. That’s a good deal, vote again. They did and the answer was “Nei, Fyrirgefðu. farðu í rassgat” and went back to their Job pulling Cod out of the sea or being chief Curator of the Penis museum. Since nobody understood what that meant, it was just easier to take them to court. So now Iceland can’t borrow any money in the international institutions because their credit raiting is as Radioactive as a Japanese power plant, their boats are all mortgaged up to the hilt, nobody is buying £35.00 Rum and Cokes in Reykjavik. In short, the Icelandic turkeys have voted for Christmas.

Its not all bad though. They won’t be able to join the EU.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Pull Over

“Quiet family man” who went nuts and shot a Senior Officer should have been weeded out according to numerous card carrying geniuses who have a 20/20 vision when it comes to hindsight. Certain things can be spotted before a tragedy happens, social services should be able to work out when a kid that is under their care isn’t seen outside an A&E for 3 months then something is wrong. Ditto an angry nonce with access to a shed load of firearms who took pictures of boys in the nip. But changing your name to Fifi Trixabelle and listening to Rap music isn’t a great big mental klaxon in most people’s head – outside swerving an invite to the pub with him.

At the same time you have the usual whining from the family of said whack job. Instead of apologising to the family of the deceased for fathering such a fuck up, they have to whine about the fact that it isn’t their little precious’s fault. Par example Grandpa said of Grandson lunatic "I know he had become disillusioned with it all. I am angry that he hadn't been allowed home if that's what he wanted.”. Well Boo hoo he got disillusioned, Man the Fuck Up. And what does Grandad expect a Nuclear Attack submarine to do whilst on patrol? Surface in front of the first “Russian Trawler” it finds and leave him onboard to get drunk on Cod and Vodka, pull into the nearest Club Med resort?

First we had the whining little fuck that blubbed when the Iranians confiscated his Ipod and now this. I don’t know what a bunch of Pansies the Royal Navy are producing, but I’d put all your money on the Army at Twickenham this year.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Lefty Logic & the Minimum Wage.

Lefties' double-think on the minimum wage is quite staggering. It is perfectly fair to argue against low wages as immoral and perfectly fair to suggest that the state should not be subsidising meagre wages. Howver to suggest that the minimum wage has no effect on the labour market, as Truth Reason & Liberty does, is absurd.

By comparison, the effect of the minimum wage upon the labour market has been negligible. Not least because employers have been able to offset it with reduced staff hours, increased prices, and measures to increase productivity - as the Low Pay Commission reported in 2005 (PDF).
especially if you cite "measures to increase productivity", which typically means firing your low-skilled workers and buying a machine. That is an effect on the labour market, and he, as most lefites do, contradict themselves within a single sentence.

The losers in the minimum wage are the low-skilled who find their labour worth less than they are legally allowed to sell it for. They are forced to subsist on state hand-outs instead. Of course the minimum wage was introduced at a time of plenty, which went on for a long time. This masked the effect of the minimum wage, which is steadily rising youth unemployment. This becomes apparent when the music stops, as it did abruptly in 2008.

It is terrible that some people can't find decent-paying work, and the minimum wage outlaws companies employing people who are only able to survive with additional state benefits. However denying people a paying job means they will never get the skills to get anything better. please don't pretend raising the minimum wage is without cost.

Minimum wages either have little effect, or they cause unemployment. They cannot raise living standards without increasing the number of people without work.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

GINI and wealth.

Over in the Twittersphere, I occasionally argue with lefties, who occasionally make points which cannot be refuted in 140 characters.

socialism wins: if left wing ideas don't work. How come the richest nations tend to have low gini (high equity)?
The answer is simple. The poorest nations tend to be the ones with either a) socialist command economies or b) robber barons looting the economy (or more likely in practice, robber barons using socialist rhetoric). As you move up the economic chain, you have freer markets, and better wealth distribution. Capitalism is good at making goods cheap enough for everyone, and paying everyone enough to afford their needs with some surplus for luxuries. The steady increase in wealth enjoyed by capitalist economies is because of the incentives to increase productivity per worker. Because a western worker is more productive than his Chinese counterpart you need fewer of them, and the low value added jobs tend to concentrate in the developing economies. The idea expressed that socialism leads to wealth is so easily dismissed by the near-perfect experiment of Post-war Germany in which the capitalist Federal Republic got much, much richer (and much more equal) than the savagely repressive misery-box that was the Democratic republic. In the words of the famous political theorist, JCR Clarkson
"Socialism is such a crap system, it took a nation populated by Germans... and made it poor"
The best means to get rich in a developed economy is to serve the broad mass of the population well by giving them what they want at a price they can afford, things, especially manufactures but also services get steadily cheaper. Thus most people get "free" bank accounts. Mobile phones and computers are in the range of more or less everyone. Everyone can have access to a car. Providing these things to a lot of people makes a lot of people very wealthy, and makes everyone a bit wealthier. Rich countries "capitalist" economies are very much more egalitarian than most so-called socialist ones. Separate lanes for the nomenkutura's cars, comrade?

Contrast with a typical poor country, where nepotism is rife, and civil servants' remuneration is only worthwhile when bribes are taken into account. The second best correlation with wealth is a lack of corruption. An un-corrupt country will tend to avoid robber barons in positions of political power and tend to lower GINI inequality. There is no incentive to supply goods and services to the population because any wealth generated will be confiscated, or be eaten up by the bribes for "permits" to do business.

Thus low GINI is correlated with high wealth. However to suggest that it follows that a government should follow redistributive policies to lower GINI by aggressively taxing the rich to promote growth, is a cum hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy. Put another way, it's stupid.

The best correlations are between wealth and economic freedom. This is independent of the size of the state sector, redistributive nature of the tax system or total tax take as a percentage of GDP. Thus the Nordic countries, though they have a very high tax rate (though not, thanks to Gordon Brown, that much higher than the UK) they are rich because they score highly in terms of economic freedom. There is low corruption, and relatively little red tape. The UK falls down the GINI list because of 1) a big regional divide: socialist shit-holes to the north and a rich south east, and 2) the presence, not shared by most of Europe, of a relatively large number of ultra-rich and 3) a big, for a rich country welfare-dependent underclass.

So. If you think (as I do) that it is to the UKs benefit that London is able to attract the international super rich, then focusing on GINI is going to be counter productive. Ever higher tax rates are not conducive to economic growth, nor do they lead to happiness - they are correlated to these things - only a relatively happy, stable, rich country will tolerate high taxes for example. Causing your richest, most productive citizens to flee to more amenable economic climates (added to the allure of better weather) is not going to help anyone.

The causes of high wealth are economic freedom - something the Nordics could teach Labour's northern fiefs a thing or two about. The state funds services in Scandinavia, but PROVIDES less than the UK state does. Belief and trust in Markets as a means to efficient allocation of resources leads to wealth, because government intervention usually causes more problems than it solves. A market, even a state financed one, but with consumers making decisions rather than bureaucrats makes for better, and more efficient allocation of resources. A more efficient allocation of resources is another way of putting 'more wealth'.

A simple, fair tax system (ie not one designed by Gordon Brown) leads to fairer distribution of the tax burden, rather than enormous burdens put on the working poor, whilst the rich enjoy loopholes in the overly complex code. A welfare state with perverse incentive against work and in favour of single motherhood, as the UK's keeps the numerous underclass down. None of the UK's excess inequality (to the extent you believe that's a problem in and of itself) is caused by "capitalism". The UK's high inequaltiy is because poor incentives in the welfare state mitigate against the poor getting work, and living in stable families. At the top inequality is increased because London attracts a lot of super wealthy, about whose presence, no-one should care.

So where does this leave New Red Dawn's assertion that low inequality causes high wealth? The are correlated, for sure, but amongst rich world nations, even that correlation breaks down. Above a certain level - middle income countries around Portugal's GDP per capita (funnily enough, this is where the Easterlin paradox starts), GINI's correlation with wealth becomes more tenuous. The richest large country, the USA is also relatively unequal. The unequal UK and France are about as rich as the egalitarian Germany.

It is ironic that the people most obsessed by GINI are the people most likely to oppose the one policy of the UK governing Coalition most likely to do something about it: free schools.

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