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Lisa Armstrong prepared to part with her half her fortune to get shot of Ant McPartlin

When Ant McPartlin’s lawyers thrash out any divorce settlement with his estranged wife Lisa Armstrong, they may refer to the Sun’s reporting on the family fortune.

In today’s paper the news is that Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon have been “comforting” Lisa and offering “real support”. That news of their good hearts should emerge just as Britain’s Got Talent, the show on which the pair work as judges hits the PR circuit, is surely coincidental and not opportunistic tosh pulled from cynicism’s deepest mine.

 

AntLisadivorce

 

Of more interest is that Sun’s news that Ant is “prepared to part with half his £62m fortune”. You might suppose that money accrued by childhood sweethearts who’ve ben married for 11 years would belong to both of them. The message could be: “Lisa is prepared to part with half her fortune”?

And it’s not £62m. Well, not according to the, er, Sun it isn’t.

 

 

One thing is clear: in the tabloids the money is always his and not hers.

 

Posted: 16th, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, Money, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


John McDonnell will bankrupt the Tube and there’s no such thing as a free market

No sooner has John McDonnell outlined his ambition to renationalise energy, rail and water than news reaches us of a shortfall. The Guardian notes:

Transport for London (TfL) has insisted it is not facing a financial crisis despite planning for a near £1bn deficit next year after a surprise fall in passenger numbers.

Mr McDonnell told BBC Radio 4’s Today earlier:

“It would be cost free. You borrow to buy an asset and when that asset is producing profits like the water industry does, that will cover your borrowing cost.”

The assets make the profits. The profits pay the bills. What about if people alter their behaviour?

He went on:

“We aren’t going to take back control of these industries in order to put them into the hands of a remote bureaucracy, but to put them into the hands of all of you – so that they can never again be taken away.”

But bureaucrats will still run the entity, albeit ones appointed by the State, right? Who are they accountable to? How does anyone get redress for poor service? Is McDonnell seeking to serve taxpayers best or just tying to give meaning, direction and authority to the State?

“Public ownership is not just a political decision, it’s an economic necessity. We’ll move away from the failed privatisation model of the past, developing new democratic forms of ownership, joining other countries, regions and cities across the world in taking control of our essential services.”

So you take over the London Underground, and budget accordingly. And then there’s a £1bn deficit. Which means..? As Ronald Reagan put it in 1986: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

 

 

But business has never been independent of the State. What of PPI, regulation and subsidies, which rather dampen the idea that immense profits are being made? (In 2006-7, the Government spent £6.8 billion of public money in the the privatised rail industry – around half what it cost to run the entire thing.) What of Government calls for curbs on executive pay and vows to “fix the broken housing market”? So much for the free market.

Tony Blair told us “Stability can be a sexy thing”. Theresa May wants to be “strong and stable”. They seek to maintain the status quo. Doesn’t that add up to the established businesses and their links to Government rolling on and on and not entrepreneurship, the best of which is often triggered by volatility and daring?

McDonnell’s monocular and forgetful call for re-nationalisation has not come out of the blue. It’s just an addendum to current and recent Government policy and a crisis of purpose.

Posted: 15th, February 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Stuntwoman wigs out over men in drag taking her jobs

Does pulling on a wig and acting like a woman make you a woman? In Hollywood there’s a backlash against wigging. It’s when men pull on wigs, dress like women and perform stunts in place of the female star for TV and movies. the thinking is, perhaps, that the stunt men in wigs are more expendable than the actress.

But stuntwomen – well, one stuntwoman – say wigging is preventing her getting work. It’s a man doing a woman’s job.  Deven MacNair, a Los Angeles-based stunt artiste, is looking to sue Hollywood’s acting union and a production company because a man in drag did a stunt she could have done.

“The practice is so common, ” she says. “It’s historical sexism – this is how it’s been done since the beginning of time.”

 

glamour woman of the year

 

Fair enough. We can’t have men in wigs taking jobs women can do, even if it they do well enough to earn them plaudits.

 

 

And let’s make it law that 50% of all primary school teachers are men, too.

Posted: 12th, February 2018 | In: Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Studies in the mafia’s lemons

Big news on Mafia money. Queen’s University, Belfast declares on February 7 2008:

Researchers from Queen’s, in collaboration the University of Manchester and the University of Gothenburg, have uncovered new evidence to suggest that the Sicilian mafia arose to notoriety in response to the public demand for citrus fruits.

Who knew? Well , in 2012, this academic paper produced at the university of Gothenburg us:

In this paper, we study the emergence of an extractive institution that hampered economic development in Italy for more than a century: the Sicilian mafia. Since its first appearance in the late 1800s, the origins of the Sicilian mafia have remained a puzzle. In this paper, we develop the argument that mafia arose as a response to an exogenous shock in the demand for oranges and lemons, following Lindís discovery in the late 18th century that citrus fruits cured scurvy.

And this from 2009:

And improbable as it sounds, the birth of the Cosa Nostra, in part, was down to…the lemon…

The first evidence we have for the Mafia is in an account by one Dr Galati. Galati was certainly not the first to be persecuted by the Mafia, but he was the first person to leave a detailed account of his dealings with them. In 1872 Galati came to inherit a pristine four-hectare lemon grove only a ten-minute walk from Palermo. However, all was not well inside its walls. Its previous owner, the doctor’s brother-in-law, had died of a heart attack following a series of threatening letters. Some time before he died, he learned that the sender of these letters was a warden on his own grove, Benedetto Carollo, who had dictated them to someone who was literate. He said that he swaggered around the grove making wild threats against Galati and it was well known that he creamed at least twenty per cent off the sale price. He even stole coal for the steam engine. Eventually lemons started to go missing from the grove. Orders couldn’t be met and the grove got a bad reputation. Carollo was trying to ruin the grove so as to buy it himself. Galati sacked him and hired a replacement.

Some ‘good friends’ of Carollo’s came around and advised that Galati should take him back, but Galati refused.

At approximately 10pm on 2 July, 1874, Carollo’s replacement was shot several times. The hitmen had built a platform behind a stone wall so as to shoot him in a winding back lane. This method became a staple of early Mafia hits. The police were called and they tactfully ignored Galati’s convictions that it was Carollo, arresting instead two men who had no connection with the victim and then promptly releasing them. He received a series of threatening letters, seven in all, which said it was a disgrace for a ‘man of honour’, such as Carollo, to be fired.

Eventually he was forced to flee the country after a series of attempts on his life.

And there’s a book:

As Helena Attlee writes in her history of Italian citrus, The Land Where Lemons Grow, “the speculation, extortion, intimidation, and protection rackets that characterize Mafia activity were first practiced and perfected in the mid-19th century among the citrus gardens of [Palermo].” In fact, the association was so strong that some historians and political economists now think the group actually arose directly from the citrus trade: life gave them lemons, and they made organized crime.

And another book:

Ever since it was born in the fragrant lemon gardens of Palermo a century and a half ago, a sworn brotherhood has pursued power by cultivating the simple, terrible art of killing people with impunity.

That cutting-edge research, then, bit of a lemon…

Spotter: Tim Worstall

Posted: 8th, February 2018 | In: Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United’s Sanchez accepts a 16-month suspended jail sentence for tax fraud

How’s Alexis Sanchez fitting in at Manchester United? Pretty good. The new Manchester United striker has accepted a 16-month suspended jail sentence for alleged tax fraud. This means he’ll avoid a trial. He will repay the full amount plus interest.

The BBC:

The ex-Barcelona player faced going to trial in Spain over unpaid taxes amounting to around 1m euro (£886,000). The unpaid taxes derive from image rights deals in 2012 and 2013. When Sanchez, 29, was first accused in 2016, his agent said the Chile forward had “fully obeyed” laws and his image rights income “has been declared”.

Sanchez now earns £14m a year after tax. United pay his tax bill so any future alleged miscalculations might be best avoided.

You wonder how playing a man with such a record impacts on Manchester United’s brand values. We looked up what those values are. On the always entertaining Red Cafe, a conversation headlined “What are Manchester United’s ‘values’?” tells us:

Personally for me it’s hard to look at the modern iteration of United without seeing commercialism written all over it. They must be the only club in the world with an “official noodle partner” for Christ’s sake.

This idea of United being “different” is a bit pretentious for me given they are probably the most commercial football club in the world and commercialism is seen by many as the biggest issue in football behind corruption.

Agree with the OP that the club is entirely about profit and it will remain that way I’m afraid.

We are different because of our history. From Munich to the Busby Babes, to the 70s and 80s of the club. Then the 26 years of SAF. We are a unique club. We have done things differently with our attacking football, our breading of youth, which has continued with the call up of Lingard into the squad. We do have ethical values. We won’t sack LVG if we feel he is doing a good job just because a shiny new manager (Ancelotti/ Pep in this case) has come along. We really tried with Moyes even though after just a few months we all knew he was out his depth. That season could have been saved but we stuck to our guns and kept faith in him.

Now we have coaching staff with Giggs and Butt in it. We have ambassadors such as Charlton, SAF, Robson, Cole. We have kept with traditions and have tried to maintain the culture throughout the club.

It’s what makes me proud to be United.

That was then. But it’s something to hold on to next time the ‘keeper bypasses the defence and smacks it long to the front players. For many people, football’s all about the money. Now pass the official prawn sandwiches round…

Posted: 7th, February 2018 | In: manchester united, Money, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Wax your pay gap: Love Island mating pairs are not all equal

Love Island finalist Olivia Attwood claims the reality TV mating show does not secure all would-be breeding pairs the same level of income. She’s part of a story that female stars were “reportedly offered less than their male counterparts for the same work after leaving the show”. Yeah, different human beings earn different amounts of money on account of their popularity, skills and reaction to limelight. WTF! It’s the ‘gender pay gap’, dummy. And no, it’s not something you can wax.

The women and men who participated in the reality television show, in which single contestants are sent to an island and instructed to couple up and find love, were given a variety of employment opportunities with outside companies after the programme ended.

Two went to work as sub-title writers for ITVBe, one became the German chancellor and another scored a job testing NHS  orthopaedic treatments on a pro-celebrity ice dancing show.

Although ITV offers an equal prize for winning the show, regardless of gender, stars have allegedly found that other companies they have worked with offered women less money.

Work like…

The jobs on offer included nightclub appearances, paid sponsorships on social media, media appearances and partnerships with brands. Ms Attwood claimed that women were offered less money for these roles than the men who participated in the reality television show.

Might it be that the punters would pay more to see the boys than the girls?

Spotter: Telegraph

 

Posted: 7th, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, Money, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dear daughters, an apology: grid girls and darts babes are worse than porn

grid girls sexism

 

This is an apology to my three daughter. I’m an idiot. I never realised women could only do certain jobs and should dress a certain way. I thought you could do it all, and maybe make up some new roles and fashions that offer fun, fulfilment, independence and a living. And you, the eldest, when the school rang to tell me what you’re life choices amounted to “Get lucky or be a Victoria’s Secret’s model”, I should not have said, “Well, luck’s great and – wow! – what a great life that must be.” I should have gasped and steered you toward something you don’t want to do, and a life which, crucially, more educated and caring people know you need.

Thankfully, these better more paternalistic people are helping you and me by setting new rules. You must not be a Formula One grid girl or accompany an overweight, white, male darts player to the oche. If you are attracted to traffic and multi-millionaires in very expensive cars, you can get a job as a Transport Minister or cleaner roads campaigner in Knightsbridge.

Radio presenter James O’Brien explains: “Unless there are lots of parents who would genuinely prefer their child to dream of wearing a skimpy outfit & being sprayed in the face with champagne for money rather than dreaming of being a racing driver, this ‘grid girl’ business seems rather straightforward.”

It’s not about choice for you; it’s about preference from them. They are here to steer us towards a more dignified and ‘appropriate’ you.

Lauren-Jade (@laurenjadepope) is one women who wasn’t privy to the Twitter School of liberal conservatism. She notes:

“Because of these feminists, they’ve have cost us our jobs! I have been a grid girl for 8 years and I have Never felt uncomfortable! I love my job, if I didn’t I wouldn’t do it! Noone forces us to do this! This is our choice!”

She doesn’t know her own mind, of course. You might wonder why dressing like an air stewardess or bank clerk by fast cars is outrageous but going naked in Vogue, a film role and for Peta, say, or dry humping a building site is empowering? I thought the answer was something to do with class, wage and articulation. Strong-minded upper and middle-class women take off their clothes and have on-the-clock sex to lampoon society, take a stand and become a broadsheet-loved, ITV-endorsed, best-selling author (see: Belle du Jour); working class women take off their clothes because they’re mentally negligible aids to masturbation, and know no better, having been conditioned to limit their lives and imaginations by a society that knows what’s best for them.

We’ve come a long way, I’m told. Now women should prioritise not what they think they want but what others know they really want.

Sorry, girls.

Posted: 4th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


What BBC gender pay gap? Gracie and Sopel are just different people

Is it about equal pay or equal recognition? And do BBC staff do comparable jobs? What price reputation, on-screen charisma, popularity and individuality? Or is it a simple fact that you need a knob to earn the top whack at the BBC?

Former BBC China editor Carrie Gracie was giving evidence to the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee yesterday. She was angry and upset to learn that the BBC’s male Middle East and North America editors earned “at least 50% more” than their two female counterparts – the women taking home around £100,000 a year less. She left her job and is to work back in the BBC newsroom. Gracie, 55, has been at the BBC for over 30 years.

“We’re not in the business of producing toothpaste or tyres at the BBC,” she said. “Our business is truth. We can’t operate without the truth. If we’re not prepared to look at ourselves honestly, how can we be trusted to look at anything else in reporting honestly?”

Adding: “I could leave the BBC tomorrow and get a better paid job. I don’t want to leave it in this state. It is in deep trouble and we need to sort it out and I need to be there alongside the other great BBC women, helping the BBC to sort it out.”

Always interested when well-paid people at the Beeb talk about how much more they can earn elsewhere. The question is always: where? Working at the BBC for big bucks is not a sacrifice.

She then added.

“I do not want any more money, that is not what it’s about. This will not resolve my problem. My problem will be resolved by an acknowledgment that my work was of equal value to the men I served alongside as an international editor. An apology would be nice….

“One of the things that’s made me sad is the tendency for this to turn into a comparison between me and the North America editor, and me and the Middle East editor.”

But don’t we have to compare the jobs to work out how underpaid she was? Do we consider the jobs of China editor and North America editor the same?

 

 

The BBC offers some guidance:

BBC head of news Fran Unsworth said that when Gracie was appointed as China editor, her salary was actually higher than that of the Middle East and North America editors.

“At the time that we set Carrie’s pay in that role, there was no issue around gender at all,” she said.

However, after Gracie’s appointment, Jon Sopel was hired to be the new North America editor. “Jon Sopel came with a different pay history,” she said.

“He had been a BBC One presenter, he had been a presenter on World News. He was a former political editor of the News Channel. He was a former Paris correspondent. And he had accumulated a much higher salary than Carrie was on at the time as a presenter of the News Channel. And we did not cut his pay in asking him to go to North America.”

The North America editor was on air “twice as much in peak time – and that is at a busy time in the China story”, she explained.

She added: “It’s a different job, the China job. It’s a more features-based agenda, it’s not on the relentless treadmill that something like the North America editor’s job is.”

Lord Hall [BBC boss Tony Hall] added it was “a mistake not to review Carrie Gracie’s pay when the new North America editor was put in place”.

The gender pay gap wasn’t news until the BBC was forced to publish a list of its best earners. It was only then that we saw that US editor, Jon Sopel, and the Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, were earning a lot more than Gracie and Katya Adler, the Europe editor. Sopel and Bowen are familiar faces on the magic box. Adler would be hard to identify in a crowd of two women, and until Gracie became news, relatively few viewers would have known her name and face. In panic mode, after Gracie complained and a lengthy review, the BBC offered her a lump of backpay and assured her that the oversight had nothing to do with gender pay discrimination.

“I didn’t want the money,” she said. “I wanted robust data for people’s different salary levels. I wanted acknowledgment that my work was as good as my male colleagues.” The BBC told after decades at the corporation her work was in “development”. That’s absurd.

But she was well paid. And the question as to whether she was working at the same level as the more recognisable Sopel and Bowen is pertinent. Comparrisons do need to be made.

Posted: 1st, February 2018 | In: Money, News, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Tax the brains: BBC should pay less to stop Amazon and Netflix

About those BBC salaries – and overlooking the bit about you needing a bellend to get top whack at dear old Auntie – the Telegraph tells readers:

The BBC is under pressure to cut the salaries of “untouchable” male stars including Chris Evans and Gary Lineker, ahead of a report into the on-screen gender pay gap.

Only male stars? What about female big earners? We won’t know what everyone’s on because the very well-paid bureaucrats running the BBC – spending your money – operate what former BBC China editor Carrie Gracie called a “secretive and illegal pay culture”.

Women at the corporation questioned why the the pair are maintained on such exorbitant salaries – £1.75m for Lineker and at least £2.2 million for Evans.

Evans is seen as a versatile crowd pleaser. Lineker fronts the BBC’s Premier League football highlights show, Match of the Day – the only show terrestrial TV show broadcasting Premier League highlights. It could be presented by a masturbating gibbon and fans would still tune in. Any number of good journalists could do it for much less.

The BBC claims that it cannot cut the pay of entertainment and sports personalities as it has done for news presenters, because there is too much competition from Netflix, Amazon and BT.

So why not make a commitment to producing stuff the BBC’s rivals can’t or won’t? Netflix, Amazon and BT don’t do broadcast news. Let’s have more of that, then. And would you follow Lineker to an Amazon PL show? The BBC shuold give new blood a chance – investing in experimental and daring telly. If you can’t compete with private outfits, use the vast sums raked in through tax to play a new game.

Spotter: Tele

Posted: 29th, January 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Action on Sugar and the new Puritans know what’s best for the poor and chilled

You don’t need to share a big back of crisps of chocolates, you know, the small sacks of the stuff you can buy in cinema foyers. A friend of mine eschews the small packets and asks for the “fat bastard” popcorn bucket. He finds it just the right amount. But some people thinks he’s spending his money on too much nosh. They want a return to those halcyon says of less, when rationing was all the go. The Guardian says the country is gripped by an “obesity crisis” – which it isn’t –  and wants us to listen to the uncharitable charity Action on Sugar, which is demanding a 20% sugar tax on all sugar-enriched confectionery.

The poor will pay more for their sugary treats. The better off and thick won’t much notice. (Unless they add a new tax to wine, which is full of sugar.)

AoS also wants a ban on supermarket deals for “sharing” bags of treats like M&Ms, Maltesers, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Giant Buttons. The stuff’s being made too cheap. People are buying too much. There is too much freedom.

Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar is outraged. “It is shocking that food companies are being allowed to exploit consumers by manipulating them into purchasing larger size bags of chocolate confectionery on the cheap,” he says. “Theresa May is letting companies get away with this despite pledging to help the socially deprived when she first became the prime minister. Companies must be held accountable and reminded to reconsider their ethical and corporate responsibility.”

It turns out you help the deprived by, er, depriving them of things they enjoy. And the easily manipulated should be manipulated not by Bertie Bassett but by anti-sugar campaigners. No money for a skiing holiday this year, but you’ve got a few quid for a big bag of Revels on the sofa in front of the telly. You get your pleasures where you can. But other people know what’s best for you. Step back from the Minstrels trough, fatso. Stop being chilled about your weight and diet. It’s panic stations time. (Call 0800TASTE4STRESS – Our therapists are waiting for your call.)

According to the data, the most sugary sharing bag is a pouch of Brookside Dark Chocolate Pomegranate (198g), which contains 29 teaspoons of sugar in one bag – “four times the maximum daily limit for adults”. Maximum limit? It’s not a limit that if exceeded causes you to overdose. It’s a recommendation.

The Guardian doesn’t mention the reply from the Industry body the Food and Drink Federation. “There is no substantive evidence that they make any meaningful difference to obesity,” it says. “Instead of demonising individual nutrients, products or categories we should instead be promoting balanced diets.”

They all agree on one thing: the purpose of life is health and longevity. So wrap you and yours in cotton wool, avoid all risk and take your five a day. It might not be fun. But at least you’ll be miserable for longer…

NEXT UP: The Pension crisis and people living longer than ever!

Posted: 26th, January 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, News, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Presidents Club Dinner: moral outrage trumps cancer victims

presidents club dinner

 

Lots of reaction to the President Club do, a charity fundraiser in London in which a soak of rich men (is that the correct group term?) convened in Park Lane for a night of extempore giving in the company of able-bodied, attractive female serving staff. The event’s been going for 33 years, but this year’s shindig at the flashy Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane has been damned. A journalist for the Financial Times says while working undercover she experienced lots of wandering hands and the needy blokes who equate being minted with sexual attraction treating young women as chattels.

Many upset voices have taken to the airwaves. #SexistDinner runs the hashtag on social media. Kate Maltby, the woman who survived Damien Green MP touching her knee, says it’s a game-changer. David Meller, who worked at the event, has quit the board of the Department for Education. The Prime Minister is “appalled”. Jess Philips MP says the women were “bought as bait”. Ubiquitous TV face and pal to the super-rich David Walliams says he had no idea he was at a slave auction when he entertained the bastards and is crawling over broken glass to get back in with the right sort of people.

 

 

The money raised is tainted. In the rush to damn, the actions of a few men at a “notorious” dinner  are hurting the most needy.

Great Ormond Street hospital – sending the money back, will not accept future donations
Received: £530,000 between 2009 and 2016.

Comment: “We are shocked to hear of the behaviour reported at the Presidents Club charitable trust fundraising dinner. We would never knowingly accept donations raised in this way. We have had no involvement in the organisation of this event, nor did we attend and we were never due to receive any money from it.”

Evelina children’s hospital (part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust) – sending the money back
Received: The Presidents Club pledged £650,000 to fund a six-bed high-dependency space within a new intensive care unit. Construction is under way. At the dinner, Richard Caring pledged £400,000 to put his name on the unit – Evelina confirmed that would not be going ahead.

Comment: “We are very alarmed by the allegations about the behaviour of some of those attending the Presidents Club fundraising dinner. This is not the kind of event we would wish to be associated with and we will therefore be declining funding from it and returning all previous donations from the Presidents Club.”

Clatterbridge cancer charity – sending the money back
Received: £15,000 towards the building of a new specialist cancer hospital in Liverpool.

Comment: “We can confirm that we received a donation of £15,000 from the Presidents Club charitable trust last year.

“Following reports of completely unacceptable behaviour at their event we will be returning that donation.”

Royal Academy of Music – sending the money back and will not accept future donations
Advertisement

Received: £10,000 scholarship for a child violinist with special needs.

Comment: “The allegations of sexual harassment are deeply disturbing. The Royal Academy of Music received a £10,000 donation from the Presidents Club in July 2017, which was awarded as a scholarship to a gifted violin student. We had nothing to do with the event last week, or previous Presidents Club fundraising events.

“In light of today’s allegations, we will be returning the £10,000 donation and will not be accepting any future donations from the Presidents Club. The student will not affected by this course of action. We would never knowingly associate with an organisation which condones the type of behaviour we have learned about today.”

Cancer Research UK – will not accept future donations
Received: £20,000 towards equipment for children.

Comment: “We are shocked by the allegations of inappropriate behaviour. Such behaviour is intolerable and completely incompatible with the values of Cancer Research UK.

“We have never had any involvement with the Presidents Club and no one from Cancer Research UK has ever attended the dinner.

“We did receive a one-off donation from the trust in the past, which has already been spent to fund research into childhood cancers.”

Can it be right that these charities think grandstanding is more important than helping the pained, in need and deprived? Do the women who worked at the event want this? Has anyone thought to ask them – or are they mentally negligible dolts whose views are worth less than their wages and contacts books?  Madison Marriage, the Financial Times reporter who worked at the event, says the 130 hostesses were asked to sign a five-page non-disclosure agreement about the event upon arrival at the hotel. But surely that doesn’t include a ban on reporting criminality?

And on what planet can it be right that moralisers and the offended trump the needs of cancer patients? Answer: this one, apparently. Let’s spot the real victims and not let a few sad men and moralisers hold sway.

Posted: 25th, January 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


New Leeds United badge looks like an advert for Gaviscon

The news Leeds United badge – the one on which the club claims to have consulted 10,000 people (how many of whom are Leeds fans is not know but I’d guess none) – looks like…the design on a bottle of Gaviscon, the treatment for upset stomachs.

 

SLAL-leeds-gaviscon

Posted: 24th, January 2018 | In: Money, Sports, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Data proves that owning a bulldog is for idiots

Thanks to David McCandless we know which dogs make the best pals. Considering six facts – intelligence, costs, longevity, grooming, ailments, and appetite – McCandless crunched the numbers and concluded that bulldogs are not worth the effort an expense.

 

best dogs to buy and own

 

best dogs to buy and own best dogs to buy and own best dogs to buy and own

 

Spotter:  Knowledge Is Beautiful

Posted: 23rd, January 2018 | In: Money, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United: Mata is the antidote to Sanchez and Pogba’s greed

How much does Manchester United’s Paul Pogba earn? This is not to shame ‘Old Pogba’, as the BBC dubs him, to cast him as a footballing mercenary, a barb former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has aimed at Alexis Sanchez as the Chilean prepares to leave Arsenal for a £450,000-week deal at Manchester United.

The vast majority of us work for the money. Footballers should be no different. Although some of us want footballers to be role models for the slack-jawed masses, which is why the Guardian has made Juan Mata its footballer of the year. The Manchester United midfielder heads the Common Goal project, in which players and managers donate 1% of their salary to charity. Good for him and the recipients of his generosity, but relegating an athlete’s ability with the ball to somewhere below their morals is unhelpful to anyone who sees football as a fun leisure pursuit. Does journalism award prizes to commentators and editors on the strength of how many charities they give to? Do newspapers publish staff earnings in league tables and link wage packets to their owner’s net worth? The maximum fee for professional footballers was scrapped in the 1960s. The current obsession with footballer’s earnings and spending power looks a lot like snobbish disdain.

 

Young man from working-class background buys house!

 

And in the rush to sneer at footballers, facts are manipulated to suit the narrative. When Pogba signed for United on 2016, the Daily Mail stated his wage at £290,000-per week. Today the Mirror reports that Pogba earns £200,000-a-week. That’s quite some difference. And the Express says Pogba wants his wage”doubled” to match the “£500,000-a-week” Sanchez is set to earn.

Pogba’s basic salary is £165,000 a week, says the BBC. But his 41-page contract contains substantial incentives to earn more.

Will United give Pogba such a massive raise because his agent senses an opportunity? You wouldn’t bet against it. If the club are desperate enough to pay Sanchez a massive wage and in so doing risk destabilising the team – the reason Pep Guardiola gave for Manchester City pulling out of any deal for Sanchez – they’ll pay through the nose to keep their main marketing asset happy. Good for them. The rest of us should all agree on one thing: everyone should be on huge wages.

Posted: 22nd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Money, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Sex with a plastic doll in Gateshead cost twice as much as a London prostitute

How much does on-the-clock sex cost in the UK? You can get a shag for £4 in Liverpool; £25 in London; and alcohol and cigarettes in Newcastle. Grim stuff. Bug not as desperate as the blokes spending £50 shagging used sex dolls in Gateshead. The Daily Mail reports:

Businessman selling sex dolls offers customers a £50 ‘try before you buy’ scheme for a half hour session at an industrial estate in Gateshead Customers can ‘test drive’ sex dolls at the industrial site in Gateshead for £50
Service was launched in December and business has had a ‘few’ customer since

The owner tells BBC radio:

“We’ve sold used dolls for a long time, which may come as a surprise to some people, but each one goes through anything from a one-hour to a five-hour [cleaning] process. It’s as clean as can be.”

Spotter: Daily Mail

Posted: 21st, January 2018 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United’s fee for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez confuses the Daily Mirror

Manchester United are going to pay an “incredible” £182m for Alexis Sanchez. So says the Daily Mirror. And it’s wrong, of course. A desperate and rich United have agreed to pay a £35m transfer fee for the 29-year-old Chilean. That’s pretty much it.

But the Mirror tots up the £500,000-a-week ages Sanchez will earn before tax on a four-and-a-half year contract and adds £117m to that £35m. It then adds a further £20m Sanchez will get by way of a “signing on payment”. That’s £172m. But the Mirror conjures £182 by double counting £10m Sanchez’s agent will earn, which is already incorporated in the £35m transfer fee.

 

daily mirror sanchez

£10m becomes £20m at the stroke of a pen

 

But aside from the pisspoor accounting, readers have to imagine that United will pay Sanchez over four years wages in one tranche. They won’t, of course.

And there’s the wages. The Sun says Sanchez will earn £505,000 a week. The Mail says it’s £450,000, a week – £350,000 basic plus £100,000 in image rights. That’s a licence for United to exploit Sanchez’s name commercially on stuff like mugs and other merchandising spin-offs. Buying Sanchez is not just about buying his ability on the pitch. United will earn from Sanchez’ name. It’s not wages. It’s a partnership.

Sanchez stands to earn a fortune. But the Mirror thinks his vast income is simply not sensational enough and needs inflating.

But you can get to £180m if you include wages, fees and tax:

 

 

Posted: 18th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, Money, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Insurance or the NHS: who pays for the rising cost of childbirth?

What does it cost to have a baby on the NHS? The Guardian says: having a baby without complications costs £2,790; having a baby with complications costs £5,000. Those figures are supplied by the Nuffield Trust, an independent charity. The Mirror says it would cost you “tens of thousands of pounds” to have a baby were it not for the NHS.

Would it? Would you all really pay tens of thousands of pounds to have a child?

In the Guardian, another question arises today: “Why does it cost $32,093 just to give birth in America?” The inference, of course, is that the NHS does it much better and much cheaper that any other alternative system.

The answer to the Guardian’s question is simple: there’s insurance that covers it. It’s less about what it costs than it is about who pays the bill and how it’s paid. Indeed, in paragraph five, the paper notes that “insurance typically covers a large chunk of those costs”.

And then this:

Medicaid, a program available to low income households that covers nearly all birth costs….Childbirth Connection put the average out of pocket childbirth costs for mothers with insurance at $3,400 in 2013.

But things do look pricey in the US. The BBC has this graph from 2015:

 

 

Prof Gerard Anderson of the Johns Hopkins Centre for Hospital Finance and Management explains the costings:

“If you can make more money as a doctor by ordering more tests, you are going to order them and therefore patients end up getting more tests.

“You also pay a fee for services a la carte in the US so if you are worried about the pain of the childbirth and have an epidural, you’ll have to pay for it. If you ask for a painkiller after giving birth, you’ll have to pay for it. And all those costs rack up.”

Money is the incentive that encourages more expensive care? The piecemeal approach can create a higher final bill. The NYTimes reports:

Recent studies have found that more than 30 percent of American women have Caesarean sections or have labor induced with drugs — far higher numbers than those of other developed countries and far above rates that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists considers necessary.

And here’s the hook. Anderson explains;

“If you don’t have health insurance in the US, hospitals and doctors will ask you to pay three to four times what someone with insurance will pay for the same service because no-one is negotiating rates on their behalf.”

Andrew Sullivan:

Matt Yglesias drools over the possibility of getting the entire country under the government’s healthcare thumb. Medicare is a particularly revealing program idea in this respect. At a deep level, the left sees all of us as the equivalent of senior citizens, dependent on the benevolence of government for our needs and wants. Of course, they will provide our needs as they see fit – they’re good people, you know. And so much smarter than the rest of us. There will be none of that wasteful drug spending we now have. How dare Americans spend their own money on treatments they actually want? It’s inefficient! This remains the key template for liberals: citizens as permanent supplicants. Those who do manage to look after themselves? Don’t worry. They’ll tax you till you really do need the equivalent of Medicare. And expect you to be grateful for it.

Is the NHS efficient, providing heath care at the points of need? Not always. It spend lots of money on other stuff. In 2014, the NHS’s future was outlined in a policy document:

‘The first argument we make in this Forward View is that the future health of millions of children, the sustainability of the NHS, and the economic prosperity of Britain all now depend on a radical upgrade in prevention and public health… The NHS will therefore now back hard-hitting national action on obesity, smoking, alcohol and other major health risks. We will help develop and support new workplace incentives to promote employee health and cut sickness-related unemployment.’

Does your private quack do that? Would you want them to? Would you pay them to?

And is it fair to take one part of your ‘cradle to grave’ health needs out of context?

The OECD tells us that the UK spends less on health as a share of GDP than the USA:

 

 

The message seems to be: if you can afford it, get insurance and read the small print. If you can’t, be poor enough to qualify for help but don’t expect many of the optional extras. And then ask if the NHS – a tax-funded, free at the point of delivery healthcare provider – serves the needs to the patient best, how it compares to foreign alternatives and if we shouldn’t be looking at other solutions, including better funding for community care?

Posted: 16th, January 2018 | In: Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


BBC staff should be paid less than ambassadors says new Culture Secretary

Does the BBC pay staff too much? No, not the cleaners and caterers. This is about the presenters and mangers – people doing skilled jobs. New Culture Secretary Matt Hancock thinks they earn too much. His benchmarks for what a top BBC editor earns is Her Majesty’s ambassador to Costa Rica.

“This isn’t just a matter of levelling women’s pay,” says Hancock, picking up the story that the BBC employs less women on big salaries than men,  it is a matter of equality. Working for the BBC is public service, and a great privilege, yet some men at the BBC are paid far more than other equivalent public servants.”

So what? It’s a different job. Why not compare what the ambassadors earn to, say, the bloke who empties your bins.

“The BBC has begun to act and I welcome that, but more action – much more action – is needed, especially when BBC foreign editors can earn more than Her Majesty’s ambassadors in the same jurisdiction.”

Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North America editor, earns £200,000-£249,999 per year. Sir Kim Darroch, Britain ambassador to the US, earns £180,000-£184,999.

Add in the perks of free board and lodgings, boarding school for children

The Foreign Office spends more than £14m per year on private school fees for children of its staff, including £6m for staff based in the UK…It meant that last year staff stationed in the UK received school fees worth on average more than £33,000 per year.

Factor in the perks and the BBC editor earns less.

But Hancock’s point is, presumably, that the BBC is either a public service or it isn’t. It can’t be commercial and public, not if it’s funded by a tax, which it is.

It also reminds me of the moan many GPs guff out when they see the bigger money consultants earn. Never mind the fact they are very well paid for doing their jobs; look instead of what they would be earning as a specialist had they only not made the sacrifice.

Posted: 10th, January 2018 | In: Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


If Harry Kane is worth 194.7m why is he playing for Spurs?

The facts are in and it’s clear: Spurs striker Harry Kane,24, is the third most valuable player in the world. Well, he is according to CIES’ Football Observatory, which calculates that Kane is worth 194.7m euros. Ahead of him are Paris St-Germain’s forward Neymar, 25, and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, 30.

In euros, this is the Top Ten:

1. Neymar (PSG) – 213m
2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
3. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
4. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
5. Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
6. Dele Alli (Tottenham) – 171.3m
7. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City) – 167.8m
8. Romelu Lukaku (Man Utd) – 164.8m
9. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) – 150.2m
10. Paul Pogba (Man Utd) – 147.5m

The most valuable Arsenal player is Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) – 97.6m. Which pretty much sums it up. As Arsenal tie themselves in knots over Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, the clear message is that both wantaway players should have been sold the start of the season. The Gunners rejected Manchester City’s £60m in the summer. Since then Sanchez has been average and Arsenal are now trying to offload him for £40m, which in the inflated world of football transfers equates to one uninspiring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain . Ozil has said to be winding down his contract and thinking of joining Manchester United.

But as Arsenal’s palsied board, absentee owner and spent manager make a mess of things, Spurs fans should contain their delight. Harry Kane knows his value. His wages of £100,000-a-week are roughly a third what he over-hyped Paul Pogba gets at Manchester United. And Spurs win nothing. As Kane says, “I’ve always said, just keep progressing, keep getting better. We want to start winning trophies so that’s the aim. As long as the club keeps doing that then I’m happy here.”

But other clubs are winning trophies. And each week Kane  and his agent know how much money he’s forgoing to remain at Spurs. “If a player wants to go then why would you stop him?” Kane adds. “He’s not going to be at the club, he’s not going to want to play every game, he’s not going to put his heart on the line.” See Ozil and Sanchez. And if he has a decent World Cup. next year it’ll be Kane…

Posted: 9th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Money, Sports, Spurs | Comments (4) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Indian bookmakers offer to fix The Ashes and offer odds on Pope wearing funny hat

After two matches played, England’s cricketers are two down in The Ashes best of five series. You might think the results so far were down to a combination of poor England performances and a superior Australian team. But you’d be wrong. Maybe. The Sun leads with news that bookmakers have been plotting to fix the games.

The paper says it’s been handed a “bombshell dossier to the International Cricket Council which details attempts to fix” the Third Test.

 

fix ashes the sun

 

Would it be possible to fix a Test without anyone realising? You could argue that an England victory would be so shocking that no-one would notice peculiar betting patterns. We’d be too busy head-butting one another, dousing themselves in beer and arranging time off work to watch the victory bus on its way to Downing Street. And if Australia win, well, plus ca change.

The Sun shines a light on two men. Sobers Joban and Priyank Saxena allegedly asked for up to £140,000 to “spot fix” markets, such as the exact amount of runs scored in an over. It’s alleged that when a cheating player gives a secret signal – a fielder moves to a certain position; bowling a first-ball wide; wearing a long-sleeve top; tugging his ear; tugging the umpire’s ear; etc. – a network of bookmakers gamble “millions” on the sure thing. We also hear of India’s ‘Mr Big’ and Australian cricket’s ‘The Silent Man’.

Who they? Dunno. So the Sun tells us a bit more about the people it did meet, who can allegedly reveal all for a not inconsiderable consideration. Around a photo of Joban dressed in cricket gear we read about his “lavish lifestyle”, house in the “swanky, diplomatic area of Delhi” and his engagement “to a Russian martial arts specialist”. Saxena “was described by his partner Sobers as a tobacco and spice tycoon with business interests in South Africa”.

They urged our investigators, who posed as financiers for underworld London bookies, to pour millions into a new Zimbabwean league where matches would be fixed.

Corruption. In Zimbabwe?! Say it ain’t true, Joe!

Joban allegedly told the paper:

“I will give you work in Ashes Test. Session runs. Maybe day one, two, three. We have two session work, one session costs 60 lakh rupees (£69,000), two sessions 120 lakh rupees (138,000).

“If you are interested Priyank will talk to the Silent Man. If you want to go with him alright, but you will not sit in meeting. I don’t know what he give, script or session.

“Right now if I tell you he want one crore (£116,000), he might want five crores (£580,000).”

Fast forward a few hours and the ICC is on the case. “We have now received all materials relating to The Sun investigation,” says Alex Marshall, the ICC general manager anti-corruption. “There is no indication that any players in this Test have been in contact with the alleged fixers.”

England captain Joe Root tells BBC Test Match Special: “It’s very sad that this has been written about. We’ve got to focus on this Test match and do everything we can to win it.”Australia captain Steve Smith adds: “As far as I know, there’s nothing that’s been going on or anything like that. There’s no place for that in our game.”

In other news: anyone who wants to know the result, can contact us on the usual address. For £850,000, we will tell them who is going to win The Ashes. But given that you’re our loyal readers, we’ll let you in on the secret: keep your eyes on Joe Root’s wicket. When the umpire raises his finger, it’s on!

 

Posted: 14th, December 2017 | In: Back pages, Money, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Tania Amisi jailed: Express turns crook into a story about immigration

If Tania Amisi is “Queen of the Scroungers”, are her subjects also scroungers? And where might they be found?

The Express leads with Tania Amisi, 27, who on Monday began a four-year prison sentence for defrauding 22 councils out of at least £244,000. She raked in the cash by claiming benefits on properties she did not live in. To put the tin id on it, she was living in a swanky flat in Chelsea Harbour.

 

Tania Amisi

 

Congo-born Amis, who came the UK as a 12-year-old asylum seeker (she was granted indefinite leave to stay) after her father was murdered, would have most likely gone to prison earlier, having pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud. But she legged it. The law caught up with her in Paris in July.

On Monday the judge at Southwark Crown Court told her:

“You had a flat in Chelsea paid for by your fraudulent activities and your son had all the material benefits he could want. Once discovered, you could not face up to the consequences and you fled to mainland Europe until you were brought back.”

So how do you tell the story?

The BBC told it in a story called Britain on the Fiddle:

 

 

Over in the Express, there’s no word on why Amisi was granted asylum. The paper punctuates its front-page story with a “Daily Express Vote” (page 5) in which readers are invited to respond to the question “Should Britain be more careful about who get asylum?” – which begs another question not asked by the paper: how can you best vet a 12-year-old whose dad’s been murdered for any future crimes she may commit?

To help Express readers reach an answer, on page 12 the paper delivers the editorial: “Fraudster made fortune from soft-touch Britain.” Amisi is the “pregnant mother-of-three, who came to Britain from the Congo as an asylum seeker”. When she was 12. She didn’t come when she was pregnant and take Britain as a soft touch by pointing to her kids and her bump. This is a story on benefits fraud. But the Express makes immigration its thrust.

The London Evening Standard mentions Amisi’s place of birth not once. The Guardian doesn’t report on the story at all. But to the Express she is “the shameless former asylum seeker”. Why can’t she just be a crook?

 

Posted: 13th, December 2017 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Apple’s huge stash of cash is invested in the global financial system

Much financial illiteracy in the Guardian, wherein there’s talk of Apple and its billions. Writing beneath the headline “The tech giants will never pay their fair share of taxes – unless we make them” Guardian readers are told about Apple’s tax avoidance schemes and how they must be stopped. It begins:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and the accountants of Silicon Valley have proved Arthur C Clarke’s third law to be as true of tax avoidance as it is of tech.

Clarke’s third law features on the writer’s essay Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination, as seen in his book book of 1973 (originally published in 1962) Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible. The law states: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

But it’s nothing like magic what Apple does. Fortune has a decent take on how it works. And it can be argued that Apple has painted itself into a corner, albeit one of sublime luxury on small islands. “Apple and firms like it are hoist by their own petard,” says Professor Edward Kleinbard of the University of Southern California. “They have gigantic pools of cash that are the fruit of their tax-avoidance labour but they can’t enjoy it in the way they want because that is the deal. The way to look at the cash is not that it’s a problem but that it’s the result of the success US firms have had in generating stateless income.”

And so we get to this nonsense in the Guardian:

The most recent outrage is Apple’s $252bn offshore cash pile, as exposed by the Paradise Papers investigation. More valuable than the foreign currency reserves of the US or the UK, it represents all the money that the world’s most valuable company has siphoned out of the global financial system for the benefit of its shareholders.

Bizarre stuff indeed to view Apple’s billions as cash dumped in a treasure chest. There is sits, not being used for investment in bills, bonds, overseas goods and services, nor even earning interest in its host nation.

CNN helps us know how the money is used:

So Apple has actually been going into hock to help fund some of its stock buybacks and dividends. The company raised $10 billion in debt last quarter and now has about $47 billion in long-term debt overall.

Apple can use its cash reserves to buy unsecured debt, paid back at a much lower rate than 35%. As Bloomberg noted in May:

The iPhone-maker has $148 billion of its record $257 billion cash pile invested in corporate debt alone, according to a company filing from Wednesday.

Buy debt and wait for a tax window to repatriate the cash? If Apple moves the cash from overseas to the US, it’ll receive a gigantic tax bill.

…the Cupertino, California-based company invests in corporate bonds and other assets like money market funds and U.S. Treasuries.

With more than 90 percent of its war chest abroad, the company regularly issues bonds of its own to help fund programs like share buybacks and capital spending.

Shareholders and investors see that huge stack of cash and want some.

Apple said Thursday it’s selling what may be $7 billion of debt, and will use proceeds in part to support a 63-cent dividend and an increased stock-repurchase program.

The money is not siphoned out of the global financial system. It’s just in another part of it.

PS – if you have business idea and don’t live in a high-tax juristiction, call Apple.

 

Posted: 13th, December 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Ryan ToysReview: meet the 6-year-old YouTube multi-millionaire

ryantoysreview

 

Ryan is 6 and the host of Ryan ToysReview on YouTube. Last year he earned – get this – $11 million. Yah, and The Washington Post:

What has grown into a viral phenomenon began with a simple, unremarkable 15-minute video about a Lego Duplo train set. When his family started recording and posting the videos in March 2015, the 3-year-old barely had any views let alone reviews, according to a profile of Ryan in Verge. In his first video, he simply opened a Lego box, set up the blocks, and played with them.

“Ryan was watching a lot of toy review channels — some of his favorites are EvanTubeHD and Hulyan Maya — because they used to make a lot of videos about Thomas the Tank Engine, and Ryan was super into Thomas,” his mother, who declined to be named, told TubeFilter last year.

“One day, he asked me, ‘How come I’m not on YouTube when all the other kids are?’ So we just decided — yeah, we can do that…

If every child made toy videos like Ryan, and every child agreed to watch them all day, would all children be rich? During the 12 months, Ryan ToysReview counted over 8 billion views. How many children are there?

Posted: 11th, December 2017 | In: Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


A thrilling story of how a man threatened with rape over a bogus debt got revenge

You know those terrible phone calls: we hear that you’ve been in an accident; we know you owe money; we are collecting a debt and you need to pay now. But don’t worry. Money is cheap and easy. Why not take out a payday loan? Bloomberg has a cracking story of how when one man was harassed by loan sharks for a debt he never owed he sought revenge. When a debt collector threatened to rape his wife, Rhode Island resident Andrew Therrien made it his mission to expose the scumbags running the fake debt scams.

A few minutes later, Therrien’s phone buzzed. It was the same guy. He gave his name as Charles Cartwright and said Therrien owed $700 on a payday loan. But Therrien knew he didn’t owe anyone anything. Suspecting a scam, he told Cartwright just what he thought of his scare tactics.
Cartwright hung up, then called back, mad. He said he wanted to meet face-to-face to teach Therrien a lesson.

“Come on by, asshole,” Therrien says he replied.
“I will,” Cartwright said, “and I hope your wife is at home.”
That’s when he made the rape threat.
Therrien got so angry he couldn’t think clearly. He wasn’t going to just let someone menace and disrespect his wife like that. He had to know who this Cartwright guy was, and his employer, too. Therrien wanted to make them pay.

And so began the quest. And, boy, is it satisfying.

Eventually FTC charges were brought against the scam’s bigshot, one Joel Jerome Tucker. In October, Scott Tucker, Joel’s brother, “was convicted Friday of 14 criminal charges against him in connection to a $2 billion payday lending enterprise that authorities said exploited 4.5 million consumers with predatory interest rates and deceptive loan terms.”

Scott [Tucker], the oldest, was the brains. He’d served time in prison for a scam in which he’d pretended to work for JPMorgan Chase & Co. … Joel, tall and handsome, was a natural salesman. But when he was 21, he was selling furniture and working at a mini-mart, so hard up that he got arrested for bouncing a $12 check. (The case was dismissed.)

In the mid-1990s, Scott opened a payday-loan store and gave his brothers jobs.Lending money to people who don’t have any is surprisingly profitable. In states where such stores are legal, such as Missouri, they’re more common than McDonald’s franchises. … Scott pioneered what he thought was a clever legal loophole that would give him access to that market: He created websites that were owned on paper by an American Indian tribe, which could claim sovereign immunity from regulators. …

The loophole was ridiculously lucrative. Scott’s operation generated $2 billion in revenue from 2003 to 2012. He bought a private jet and spent more than $60 million to start his own professional Ferrari racing team. Around 2005, Joel split to start a company that would allow anyone to get into online payday lending—supplying software to process applications and loans and offering access to a steady stream of customers. All the clients had to bring was money and a willingness to bypass state law. Word spread around Kansas City’s country clubs and private schools that if you wanted to get rich, Joel Tucker was your man.

Read it all.

Posted: 8th, December 2017 | In: Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Seeing students as a welfare issue demeans education

Do we agree that university fees are too high for students? And do we agree that the real debate should not be about any rights for everyone to go to university and if leaving with a student debt is right or bad, but what the point of a university education is? Why do you need to study for a degree? Is the degree an investment in a career and sound future, because that’s what successive governments have sold you?

Current fees are £9,250 a year. Jeremy Corbyn says a vote for him means a vote to end the fees. Little wonder the young like  that policy. One 18-year-old Labour candidate at the last General Election, Eli Aldridge, stated: “I could not be more proud to represent a party that is promising 400,000 undergraduates starting their courses this September that they could do so safe in the knowledge that their education will not saddle them with decades of debt.”

Good for them. But education is politicised. Sod the learning; get a load of that welfare package. You see how bad it is for today’s young?

In today’s Guardian Kehinde Andrews writes:

On the same day that news broke that staff at the University of Birmingham are protesting the obscene pay of their vice-chancellor, I opened an email asking for donations to a food bank that my university, Birmingham City, has started for students. This Dickensian contrast in fortunes demonstrates the widening problems of inequality in universities since fees have been introduced.

Sad news that students need a food bank. But what does that have to do with pay for a non-student’s job?

The very fact that staff have had to reach out for food charity demonstrates the failure of higher education “reforms” to provide for those that need it most.

Education and welfare? They’re not the same thing.

It is chilling to think what future generations of students will have to overcome in order to participate in higher education.

But that’s not right. The student isn’t looking for food banks because they can’t pay their student fees, because those fees are only payable after graduation when your income is more than £21,000 a year. Repayments are set at 9% of everything earned above £21,000, operating more like a tax than a loan. Loans not repaid within 30 years are written off.

Being in debt is not great. And it should make students question their value of their courses offered by the government, which operates a cartel over them. Are students simply investing in the State and the education industry? Maybe students can answer – or maybe they can’t because critical thinking skills, the kind of stuff universities should teach, are being replaced with a need to keep everyone controlled and cosy.

Education, a tool for promoting economic mobility and equality, looks capable of doing just the opposite.

Posted: 8th, December 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0