God Help Us All

Peter Hitchen's is on point in his latest Sunday Diary:

"And then mark that the pretext for this bizarre rocket attack was an unproven claim that President Assad of Syria had used poison gas.

Yes, unproven. The brutality of Sisi and the Saudis is beyond doubt. They didn’t use gas, but our leaders’ outrage at Assad’s alleged gas attack looks a little contrived if they keep such company.

Also what happened to the rules of evidence? Many people have written, spoken – and now acted – as if the charge was proven. Why the hurry?

Now, Mr Assad is not a nice person. I have been writing rude things about his bloodstained and wicked regime for years."

Can't disagree with a word of this - it is saying a lot when Hitchen's analysis is not so dissimilar to that of arch-youtuber loon Paul Watson and yet remains the most apt.

There are 2 likely consequences of the behaviour of the West in this:

1. Despots the world over challenged by the West will simply thumb their nose at them: we ignore the most aggressive, cruellest of belligerents; from Duterte to Kim Jong Un the key to avoiding western intervention in your own little fiefdom is to either overtly challenge the "evil" West or subvert it with a smile and state visits but ultimately not changing a damn thing about your behaviour to your own people; you invite western intervention, as proven by Saddam, Gaddafi, and very soon Assad, by complying with their demands.

2. The "centre" cannot hold: do we really believe Clinton would behave any differently in this situation? And if Trump isn't willing to try something else what does that mean for voting in any real change?

Everywhere we look, whether it is an encroaching spy-state, social media clamping down on "fake news" or even the slow motion corruption of Western public structures, from police seizure rules to the general "fuck-off" loop of challenging the petty injustice of the state do we really see modern western values as something worth supporting anymore? The article is by Peter Hitchen's for God's sake.

In all of this it is worth remembering the story of Mohamed Bouazizi:

"According to friends and family, local police officers had allegedly targeted and mistreated Bouazizi for years, including during his childhood, regularly confiscating his small wheelbarrow of produce; but Bouazizi had no other way to make a living, so he continued to work as a street vendor. Around 10 p.m. on 16 December 2010, he had contracted approximately US$200 in debt to buy the produce he was to sell the following day. On the morning of 17 December, he started his workday at 8 a.m. Just after 10:30 a.m., the police began harassing him again, ostensibly because he did not have a vendor's permit. However, while some sources state that street vending is illegal in Tunisia and others that Bouazizi lacked a required permit to sell his wares, according to the head of Sidi Bouzid's state office for employment and independent work, no permit is needed to sell from a cart.

...Bouazizi, angered by the confrontation went to the governor's office to complain and to ask for his scales back. The governor refused to see or listen to him, even after Bouazizi was quoted as saying, "If you don't see me, I'll burn myself." Bouazizi then acquired a can of gasoline from a nearby gas station and returned to the governor's office. While standing in the middle of traffic, he shouted, "How do you expect me to make a living?" He then doused himself with the gasoline and set himself alight with a match at 11:30 a.m. local time, less than an hour after the altercation."

This single event precipitated the Arab Spring; a single act of despair and destitution in the face of petty corruption which led to the overthrow of many autocrats in the middle east as well as introducing many worse.

Are we really so sure we aren't getting towards this in the West?


Chickening Out

Having chickened out of entering the IEA's Richard Koch Essay Competition* I will instead list my 5 top policy changes that I feel would best improve conditions for the UK people's in the shortest amount of time:

1. The "Bow Tie": Adaptive Negative Income Tax (ANIT)
This was actually the title of my essay and was nominally advocating a Negative Income Tax system albeit with some twists to encourage work instead of treating it like the dole; in essence work that paid below the tax free income region (call it £15k) would be topped up in my Tax Scheme based on the number of hours worked: for instance if you worked 5 hours a week the base NIT income (£8k) would be topped up to £9k per annum (pro rata); at 20 hours a week it would be topped up to £12k. The advantage of this is that voluntary work and entrepreneurial start ups could hire staff with no minimum wage precluding job creation and the regulatory impact of hiring staff would also be soaked up ; training, effort and keeping busy could be rewarded in both business and the voluntary sectors. Children would also be eligible for the ANIT but at a much reduced rate in order to cover the sunk-costs of education and healthcare and the rump would be payable to the parent until adulthood/emancipation (see point 2).

Dwell on this for a second; we could have local charitable groups like a citizens action fund which would coordinate road clearing in heavy snow to get Britain moving along the back roads in winter or organise meal making and home visitations for the weak, infirm and lonely elderly; an internet startup could sink their resources into getting their SME off the ground by registering their business in order to sign off on their staff to work pro bono, acting as valuable experience and training or getting friends and family to buy-in to your vision.

This also has one additional advantage: it puts the DWP completely out of work as every function could be managed by HMRC and local government; combined with a zero-base policy rethink of taxation and government spending this would do wonders for productivity and employment.

2. Transferable Tax Free Income
I wrote about this some years ago before I had even heard of negative income tax and to this day it still seems strange that it hasn't been adopted; it's almost like the government can't trust us to organise our own tax and household affairs. 

The idea is relatively simple; the ANIT is transferable all the way up to the tax free income bracket of £15k; what could be worth £12k to a spouse working 20 hours a week would become £15k to the other, enabling one to raise children and/or keep house, one of the hardest jobs in existence. The effects could be extended to the ANIT value of children too so higher-earning parents would see a larger proportion of their income retained or a balance so the non-working spouse had a separate income, in any case the arrangement of tax affairs would no longer be the remit of the rich and powerful; it would be habitual for the poorest and least well off to the middle classes to be self-starting and supporting too and glue families together to tackle problems.

3. A Regressive Business Inequality Tax
It is right for business owners who take a risk on new ventures to claim the rewards for doing so as Stephen Crowder so eloquently put it in this take-down of the legacy of the Obama administration and Bernie Sanders tax plans. However, it is entirely possible that the less scrupulous bosses out there might take advantage of underpaying their workers at the expense of their own income and so I would like to see variable income tax brackets for business owners who abuse the ANIT system based on the net income difference between employer and employee (not entirely dissimilar to what Corbyn was somehow mutterin recently here**). For instance if an owner of several chicken shops is using no-pay ANIT to not pay staff but is receiving a net income of several million (after inventory and payroll if any) then there is something wrong with that; this becomes less of a problem as a business expands and becomes profitable because so too would the income of all staff; it would only start to become a problem again when a business goes large or mega-sized by which point you are in the top tax bracket anyway. In any case this policy should be kid gloves and only designed to stop predatory use of the ANIT to supplement low pay and poor conditions for a profitable business so the inequality metric would be large.

4. Revise Public Sector Salaries Downwards By De-taxing Them, Making The Change Neutral/Small Pay Rise
The average public sector salary (as of 2011) was £28,802; adjusted for tax take and NI the net income on this is £21,727 - so why not make that the salary and make the value tax free? We could adjust give every nurse, doctor and street sweeper in the country a 5% pay rise (again we could regressively target this to increasing the lowest salaries whilst not changing the highest) making the average £22,813 then not bother recycling a chunk of it through the tax system, which would start to seem more like a make-work scheme; the cost of payroll for the Public Sector would go down as would this internalised tax take - likely this would be Pareto efficient as it would eliminate the recycling of tax income from the public sector.

5. Evolve The National Insurance Scheme into a National Savings Scheme
I envision something similar to this or even this expanded to cover healthcare and old-age maintenance costs; in essence a tax-free savings pot that could pay for long-term illness and old-age costs that could be transferred to different savings funds and allow people to payout for health insurance. Yes we would have to include a safety net for the most extreme cases and something that would mitigate the costs of pre-existing condition but the effect would be to put the individual more in control of their funding. Monies would be used to pay for health insurance, pension plans or even as a kitty to pay for entrepreneurship and business building and taxed (if at all) accordingly. The ANIT would be the ultimate protection against destitution in old age.

*: combination of writers block, laziness and work and child related issues.
**: (note to self: burn close and shower profusely to rid self of dirty feeling citing a Corbynista idea, well, kind of citing it, but, you know, making a better go of it)


25 Questions for Brexiteers? I'll Give It A Go.

This bilge was on the Facebook thingy; thought I'd give it a go at answering:

Twenty five questions for Brexiteers to answer (okay I'll give it a go then):

1. Have you seen a Brexit plan?

No for precisely the same reasons the other negotiating parties haven't; giving away your negotiating tactics early is to undermine their effectiveness.

2. Remind me, what does Brexit mean?

Brexit means British Exit from the European Union: a severing of political ties from Europe that don't have the oversight of our own elected officials who we can hire and fire if those political ties displease us, not who shrug and say "it's an EU competency init'?

3. What’s your problem with parliament?

They got us into the EU and denied us a say on its current makeup and direction for 40 bloody years; it used the tools and arguements it is now saying don't apply to article 50 for both implementation of Lisbon and Maastricht and thus has proven mendacious and inconsistent enough to exclude itself from the process and likely the long term running of this country; I expect that 2020 will see the biggest drumming out of parliamentarians ever.

4. Do you know what the odds of winning in a game of 27 to 1 are?

You've just stated them, which is lucky given that Brexit isn't. A. Fucking. Game. Cretin.

Beside this is hardly what you were saying before the referendum was it? I thought many countries arguing as one was good for trade negotiations and the like?

5. What’s great about being out on your own?

I'm trying desperately to determine a more polite way of saying "you dense ponce" but am struggling so ho hum.

I think I'll just settle with saying that Brexit was never an argument for isolation; literally no one, not one single Brexiteer to adopt your vernacular, said this - we envisioned a wider world of influence and trade. This isolationist ad hominen was frequently used by remain'derps I met though.

6. Tell me precisely which EU regulations you want to get rid of?

I believe part of this Brexit plan we haven't seen yet is to appropriate the entirety of the acquis communautaire into the national legislative book and work backwards - shedding the unwanted through parliamentary processes rather than government fiat (you now, respect for parliament and all).

Personally though I'd start with the Working Time Directive; from a personal experuence it's implementation led to me ultimately quitting a job due to worsening conditions and benefits. 

7. Have you seen that £350 million a week bonus yet?

No - because we haven't left yet, Dipshit.

8. Precisely what control have you got back?

None, yet - because we haven't left yet, Dipshit.

9. Are you expecting two million UK nationals living in the EU to return home soon?

No - simply put I feel Theresa May will work something out that will bypass much of the hyperbole from both sides; however, expelling UK nationals who have settled from EU countries will be breaking international law.

10. How are you going to decide who you’re sending home?

We aren't sending anyone home, just controlling who arrives once we leave; likely all who are currently here (including my current boss) will be allowed to stay. Afterwards there will likely be some kind of vetting or points system put in place like every other developed non-EU country on this rock.

11. Do you know what someone who is forced to leave the country where they live is called?

Yes: unwelcome. It is unlikely that those willing to pull their own weight and behave themselves will be made to feel unwelcome here as has always been the case since long before we were a part of a political union with Europe, or do you forget we were once the biggest empire on earth with multiple ties to people's all over it?

12. How are you going to make sure the NHS has the nurses it needs when we impose migration controls in 2019?

Do you not understand how a points system works or are you being deliberately facetious?

13. Which UK universities are you happy to see go bust because of a shortage of EU students?

Again noone is saying we close our borders except remain'derps, merely control them. Change the fucking record already.

14. Do you know who picks most of the UK’s fruit and veg? Who do you think will be doing so in the future?

I thought EU migrants were all nurses and doctors? In any case again see above about controlling not closing the borders. Wouldn't hurt to see a few kids round my local council estate picking lettuces; character building.

15. Why are you so keen to deny our young people the chance to live, learn and work abroad?

I know, it's terrible; we've no political union with Africa which stop our kids taking gap years building orphanages nor with Thailand nor South Korea which stopped some family members living and working in both countries for several years till recently when they moved back.

Oh wait, it didn't and doesn't. Knob head.

16. The EU was intended to prevent war ever happening again in Europe. How does leaving help that? What’s the plan?

Have you not been paying attention to the news nor recent history? ISIS insurgency and lone Wolf attacks throughout? The Taharrush "rape game" at the heart of mass assaults throughout Europe? The Yugoslav war? The fact that the EU is still technically at war with several countries in Africa both actively (Libya) and in-actively (Chad)? How about fomenting war with Russia by its actions in the Ukraine?

17. How is increased paperwork for every single import and export going to save British business money?

Again without knowing the precise details of the deal negotiated there is little point in discussing; as an aside though several non-EU countries have mutual recognition of standards for multiple products, Saudi Arabia being just one; nor should we forget that the WTO Uruguay round accord saw an agreement of all signatories to reduce non-tariff barriers like these by making them globally recognised.

18. How precisely will we be better off when we have to pay tariffs on most things we import?

First of all failing a trade deal why would we raise tariffs on imports? It's exports we'd have a problem with, tariffs being raised abroad.

Second it would only be imports from the EU; we are already in a trade deficit and with a rapidly collapsing proportion of our imports coming from the EU I can't see how this will remain a problem except for EU exporters if we suddenly did decide to raise tariffs.

Third, WTO rules state tariffs for most things are limited, no doubt meaning business could be easily compensated.

19. We import more than we export. How are we going to win from tariffs?

No one wins from tariffs (free markets 101), but if you can direct me to a quote by anyone in a position of power saying we will raise tariffs on imports you let me know.

20. How are the 30,000 new civil servants working on Brexit cutting red tape?

I was shocked I tell you, shocked, that the civil service union announced it'd need more staff for...I'm sorry what was it this time?

21. Did you want to encourage Northern Ireland and Scotland to leave the UK?

I'd be willing to put a bet on Scotland not leaving; as for Northern Ireland? Who knows and who cares; remarkably expensive white elephant which I'd be happy to see reunite with Southern Ireland; it'd be like Eastern and Western Germany reuniting: we were all very happy for them but East Germany had a huge shock of culture and funding to them. Don't see it happening to be honest.

22. When the City is based in Frankfurt where will you find replacement tax revenues?

Dunno, it'll be fun to find out though won't it? Other thing that are fun to find out: The maximum distance a flying pig can cover unladen; the resting temperature of hell post-freeze.

23. Did you want the UK to be a tax haven with no chance if you benefitting?

Yes because I don't want to benefit from government largesse at the parasitical teat of big business; I want the opportunities that attracting big business and new medium and small enterprises offers.

24. What is it that the Australians are going to buy more of from the UK?

Dunno - let's ask them, and Africa, and China, and America, and Canada, and New Zealand and every other country we have limited trade with.

25. Where are you going on holiday next year? Expecting a warm welcome?

Personally I think this is why Remain failed; you whinged and whinged about how difficult it was to travel but never stopped to think that still for many of us international travel, heck, plane travel of any kind, is still a luxury most people cannot afford.

This year marked the first we've been on an airplane as a family of 4; we went to Bulgaria. We were made very welcome. I resent the implication I should feel ashamed of voting Leave because you might find the very low likelihood of a little more paperwork inconvenient to you and Jontey when you fuck off to the French Alps for some skiing whilst I know of friends and family who struggle to make rent.

That above all else is why you fail; a profound lack of self-awareness.


Speaking Out Against Your Thousands

"Officials at North Park University say a student by the name of Taylor Volk is no longer enrolled there after an investigation determined her alleged receipt of Trump-inspired hate messages to be a total fabrication."

For each fabricated story the left churn out to prove their case ruins the legitimacy of a dozen genuine stories, whether hate crimes, homophobia or islamophobia or climate science.

You need but look at Brexit to see this; there were real examples of racism and abuse that had clearly fomented during the campaign but who could take any seriously when you had every slight and gloat reported as abuse to the police.

A pliant, client media was busy telling us the Leave campaign was a racists' paradise, whilst giving a platform to every lunatic trot who claimed unintelligently that a rise in national pride equaled fascism, with little understanding in either; it has consistently blamed all ills that beset this country on us saying no to a defunct and pointless technocracy; all the while ignoring the uncomfortable fact that nigh on EVERY doom scenario predicted by Remain has stubbornly refused to come to pass.

Most galling has been the persistent passing of every positive bit of business or economic news as being unrelated to any political momentum of Leave #DespiteBrexit, and forcing the same boring conversation and polished turds of arguments to be replaced in a vain hope this might magically make us all change our minds on something that hasn't happened yet.

And they wonder why noone takes them seriously.


On The Paradox of the USA's Electoral College System And Brexit

The New York post has an interesting article on the Electoral College system, it's inherent flaws and advantages; it's a good read, but I dont think it addresses a more primordial problem with the establishment in general.

Here's the paradox I see at the heart of the electoral college conundrum: say for a minute we ignore the now mounting reports of Vote rigging, the illegal immigrants voting in the election and vote machine code tampering potentially mounting into the millions it was a closely run thing with perhaps less than a percentage point or 2 between Clinton and Trump; to my mind this gives neither candidate a mandate for full execution of their manifestos.

That said the electoral colleges gave it overwhelmingly to Trump; how? Simple: some smaller states have an in-built weighting to the value of their college vote - put simply they get more votes between fewer people's meaning targeting specific states who waver but have a larger clout in voter college numbers, even in aggregate, is a winning strategy.

So it's a terrible system sure; however, do you know what would be a worse system, nay, a system that would split America pretty quickly? One in which policy decisions were made by a minor majority of rich states like California, New York and New Hampshire which permeated every aspect of life and identity for every other state. Texas alone would secede within a minute of such a system.

The electoral college is a break on this hegemony and whilst it is a bad one perhaps it stops a more difficult question from needing to be asked: has federalism gone too far in the lives of ordinary Americans? Has state power? If the establishment believes it hasn't (which is what the answer would be if the elites ever manage to take down the electoral college system) I guarantee this questions would re-emerge.

This is the paradox at the heart of Brexit too; so Remainers don't like the Brexit Vote - Too. Fucking. Bad; we played by your rules, tolerated the cheating in promoting your cause at every level and column, put up with the abuse of being called xenophobes, racists and bigots, and still won, and the rules said we left as a country. If you don't like those rules and are moaning about it now, or complaining that Leave'rs were uninformed or that they were lied to necessitating a de-icer reinforces the point; we give too much weight to too few people in our lives and sometimes that means we get answers we don't like.

You get used to it; some Leave'rs have been putting up with that bullshit for nearly 50 years. 


Anti-Brexit Breaks It.


Here's the thing peeps: I quite like Nigel Farage.

Deep down I don't think I'm alone - he's affable, gregarious and quite likes a pint and has managed to project an air of commonality with the common man that few politicians could match. He is (was) in an enviable position in terms of popularity (sorry but a few agitators reading socialist wanker at a Anti-Brexit rally don't count. For anything).

But here's the thing: we can be disarmed by likeability in a person, in a movement; Farage did more to move UKIP from being an intellectual exercise in liberal conservative thinking to a populist right movement based on superstition and myth surrounding how this country is run and how it is oppressed; he moved it's thinking to a place where it dips it's toe in far left scares about a bourgeois elite that overturns the demos at will and he has capitalised on that in this debate. Simultaneously he has made UKIP as a force in the EU parliament less a principled stance and as corrupt or worse than the rest there; serving little as an actual party as a symbol of rejection - fine if your about to leave, less so if you've been on the take for decades.

All that said Mr. Butler here has made a point not dissimilar to my own before and after the referendum; UKIP will rightly disappear now if we let it - we will still have a relationship with the EU and it's member states but one that isn't mutually abusive and one that is based on comparative advantage and less on mutual loathing. This is a good thing.

Unless we hand UKIP the victory by being proved right by an elites actions, no doubt dressed as the will of the people.

That never works out well, for us plebs and certainly not the elites who thought they knew better; just ask Germany, ask Russia, ask any number of countries that were oppressed along an ideological fault line.


The Only People Who Won't Benefit From Brexit Are The Political Class, The Far Right And The Far Left

Small-minded idiots hijacking a message. Picture from here.
Yesterday my wife came across an unusual sight.

Out shopping at a local Aldi in Leeds, she saw a saloon pulling a handmade ad trailer sporting a Vote Leave logo and a graphic spouting something along the lines of:
"...we want our country back...go home!"
Sadly she didn't have the presence of mind to take a picture of the car nor the trailer and was as confused as the other customers of Aldi, a major German supermarket chain that has just about made buying our weekly shop a significantly cheaper and less worrisome prospect where I live.

It is sad that some people have conflated the Brexit message with that of a racially motivated exercise in ethinic cleansing; worse, it is saddening that many would seek to tar one side of the debate with fault here or claim outrage in exactly the opposite manner than they had for similar events mere days before:
This following Owen's walking out of a Sky News Morning Papers Debate in which everyone appeared to agree with him on every point but were apparently breaking some unknown rule about a member of one group owning the right to outrage and language surrounding a sad event in that group (well, assuming you were the right kind of member of that community anyway.)

Sadder still, though, is the fact that anyone thinking immigration is just going to stop when we leave is laughably naive and/or mistaken; net EU immigration makes up less than half of all that incoming to the UK: 

Taken from this report
Migration is great for the UK; we get all these clever migrants schooled and paid for by other member countries who pay into the treasury without having taken out to get them there; unhelpfully, and perhaps with a mere whiff of the conspiracy given how pained the government has been to show the benefits of migration, the number of recipients of UK benefits of any kind are less than 3%.

What is apparent, as even InFact's admitted in one of their pieces, is that there is an inequality in who benefits from this boon, with NEETs with low educational and skills attainment benefitting the least; further, because of appalling monitoring of abuses of the minimum wage system, housing and countless other social problems brought about by cultural differences between arrivals and natives the effect is to disenfranchise just the sort who will be liking the Britain First facebook page or listening to the likes of the BNP twerps. They will take advantage of what are legitimate concerns on immigration because our political class has objectively failed to. 

In many ways the StrongerIn Crowd are right; the problems we see with migration are actually problems with the mediocrity of our own government; however, they perpetrate the myth that with greater reform at an EU level we can some how get past these problems: the short answer to this is that Europe isn't going to change in the way we would like and our remaining is preventing it from changing in the way it wants. Even David Cameron's renegotiation has no real legal binding and this was backed up with a threat of Brexit.

So what is the answer here? Why Leave if a major motivation behind leaving in the ability to control our borders is unlikely to happen? Smarter people than I have put it down better but the short answer is simple: options.

Brexit gives us options; we've tried to get our terms from the European member states and commission and we have failed - with a clear majority supporting the right of freedom of movement and continual access to the single market post-Brexit our parliament will likely opt for an EEA agreement and adoption of the whole acquis initially with a view to working through it and replacing where applicable (as per the plan); EEA states are only obliged to adopt parts of the acquis relating to the single market and even then retain a right of reservation; not obligating themselves to access that part of the market unless business in their country is happy to meet that particular regulatory regimen.

A Brexit doesn't oblige us to adopt "open borders" but "freedom of movement"; as the good Dr North pointed out freedom of movement can mean a variety of things. That said the one thing Brexit doesn't mean is giving in to the Far Right; I am happy to accept the asshole that did this was one such idiot because I don't identify with such a vapid waste of oxygen; and so people understand my mood I would gladly take in 30 refugees escaping genuine life threatening turmoil for every one of these malcontented pond scum that identifies with those folk in the first image, whom I could happily throw into the sea, preferably by trebuchet.

I look forward to 3 things from a Brexit:
  1. The Mandelson's, Kinnock's and European Union wage-slaves and political claque suddenly becoming unemployed. I particularly look forward to everyone realising there is little point to UKIP post-Brexit and get back to holding our main credible parties to account.
  2. Our own broken parliament coming out of the madness of the last 40 years and having to take responsibility for it's many faults and seeing a revitalisation of democracy as a consequence of it's profound stupour. Those in parliament who can will shine and those who cant will be drummed out.
  3. The far right's victory being cut short when they realise they will get none of their desired outcomes from leaving; it will be almost as funny as the look of dismay when none of the doom and gloom of the remain campaign comes to pass.
Few things are sweeter than seeing wrong people proved wrong and put back in their embarrassment holes where they belong.


Reasons I Am Stup'ed #527

I like to think of myself as an enlightened guy who has carefully weighed up the EU referendum question whether to leave or remain over many long years and has heard nothing of substance or value about the remain'derp position that isn't immediately outweighed by that of leaving.

Which is why it came as quite shocking to be called a "RAYSEEST NARTZEE!" out of a student digs' window by a yogurt-weaving sandalista; I'm not racist?! Am I? I don't know I guess the virtue-signalling was oozing out of my very flesh hard enough, just the BO from my corpulent person on what was a long leafletting stint through the streets of student-ville, Leeds*.

That was brought depressingly home to me yesterday when this vile and honestly baffling exchange on twitter came about, in which kippers' referred to me as "stupid" and cultish for stating that unravelling decades of ties with the european union would likely be a decadal journey and evolution for both divorcing parties but that a divorce could and should be amicable.

This in their humble opinion was the stupid suggestion.

As compared to their counter suggestion that any withdrawal wishlist should see a push for a GE and a UKIP landslide (no really) and the blocking up of the channel tunnel for use as a "migrant prison"/nuclear waste dump.

The intellectual prowess of these giants was at once pungest as it was noxious, but I am glad to have known it, if not to know what metaphorical windows are for (opening, BTW).

* = otherwise known as Hyde Park - not the cool one, the Yorkshire one.


Tax Credits & Welfare: A bite-sized recent history

Osbo yesterday, as a bobby looks on with envy at him showing off his massive crayola box set.
Blair, 1997: we've got some ideas about welfare, thats more than those clowns in the bory's have in any case.

Public, 1997: Let's hear them. 

Public, 2003: we are still waiting; why not raise the threshold in line with inflation?

Brown, 2003: oh right...naw won't do that; I'm gonna take ever increasing piles of your cash and give some back to labour voters in deprived areas who have the time to fill out a convoluted multi-page form stating why you deserve it. I'm also going to increase the budget of HMRC past that of our standing army. I'm sure they'll manage it with the same focus and efficiency they do collecting debts from big business on money owed.

Public, 2003: that sounds like a shit idea. We'll take it.

Brown, May 2010: do you know that increase in tax threshold thing? Let's talk about it...

Public, May 2010: too late. bye now.

Brown, May 2010: awe...

Osbo t'Clown, first budget: right then, under duress from my Lib Dumb colleagues who I'm obliged to listen to due to the coalition agreement, here is some more of your money not being taken away in the first place (or as I used to dub it: "my mate Lord Fondleboys champers fund").

Public: YES! GET IN!

Osbo T'Clown, 2015 GE: YES! GET IN! Lib Dumbs get in the sea with ya!

Lib Dumbs, 2015 GE: Awe...

Public: yeah; Milliband? Really? Urgh...

Osbo, t'Clown, post-2015 GE: BTW public, I'm taking your tax credits. Peace out (2-fingered victory salute follows as he backs in to heavily fortified #11.)

Public: like f**k you are.

Osbo t'Clown: pretty much am, but it's OK I'll be raising your tax threshold to meet less than half the drop, so long as you aren't on minimum wage or unemployed or anything you'll be fine.
Public: like. f**k...

Cameron: 'hm hum...'

Osbo t'Clown: apparently I'm not doing that...for now...
Adam Smith Institute, Oct 2015(and me, pretty much for a decade or longer): why not a negative income tax? That way you can abolish your massively convoluted welfare system, abolish the DWP and recognise true hard work and determination in the tax system while remaining a progressive force for good?

Osbo t'Clown: sounds complicated, and I heard reducing government departments somewhere in there, so naw.

Me: but, but, you could abolish an entire government department: the admin savings alone for the DWP's £170Bn budget would be enough to give everyone a massive tax break; with all benefits folded into a simplified tax system the poorest would get a great deal too, all with fewer wage-takers needed!

Obso t'Clown: yeah. still no.

Me, pretty much continually: cretins, the lot of ye'.


The Derpuous Circle

...and then there's this cleft. (Raheem, not Bahar, who has been summarily dealt with elsewhere)

No one is for a minute saying this daft bint shouldn't be hoisted upon her own petard (a term historically related to the misfiring of seige munitions used to destroy rampart defences in revolutionary France, killing the ordinance man in the process), only that the banal, asinine assertions of her ilk are really starting to be shown for what they are: banal, asinine assertions, espoused by losers and maybe the rules designed to protect us all from incendiary calls to arms are a little overzealous.

I would rather have hate speach, racism and unsavoury types espousing all kinds of things in plain site so that we can easily tag and manage them, either through intelligence or through...intelligence. The number of losers on the web following this kind of idiot are VANISHINGLY small and mainly promoted by an echochamber of idiocy on social media designed to echo sentiments of such losers (I'm looking at you Twitter); we never see the very quick and powerful dispatch of their stupid ideas post-utterance but they are there, convincing the likes of joe-public to do the right thing, ditch their twitter ribbons and unfollow these cretins.