Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
This has to be one of the more stupid claims being made presently: that Susannah Constantine is a bad mother because she’s teaching her daughter where food comes from. No, seriously, apparently there are those who think that teaching the kiddies to get the blackberries from the hedgerows, or the mushrooms from the forest, or in this case the duck from the pond, is in some manner “bad motherhood“.
Keen hunter Miss Constantine shared a picture of ten-year-old Cece proudly clutching a dead duck and with her face smeared with blood to mark her first kill.
The little girl is also shown holding guns and taking part in hunts in a series of photos dating back almost a year and published on her and her mother’s public Instagram profiles. The photographs are accompanied by captions such as ‘First duck’ and ‘No food left after Christmas. Cece off to save the day’.
But Miss Constantine has been condemned by animal rights campaigners, who claimed the pictures call into question her abilities as a mother and branded the decision to let a child hunt ‘depressing’, ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dangerous’.
“Call into question her abilities as a mother”? What tosspottery is this?
Pretty much the most basic and important task of any parent is, once the babby has been taught to piss and shit in the pot, to get it to understand what food is and where to go get it. This has been true for the hundreds of millions of years that mammals have been around, most certainly, and it obviously long predates the history of our own species.
Our forefathers, both Homo Habilis and earlier, then Homo Sapiens sapiens, that being us, actually succeeded in surviving precisely because parents would teach children what was OK to eat and also how to go get it. We were hunter gatherers: that means that we had to know what to gather and how to hunt.
It’s also true that we generally think that it’s the men who did the hunting, with the boys being taught, and the women who did the gathering with the daughters being taught. Here we have a daughter being taught how to hunt: shouldn’t we be celebrating that as a smashing of the patriarchy?
This is most certainly an interesting idea. Perhaps not an overly sensible idea but an interesting one all the same. The thought that instead of carefully plucking the ceramic poppies up out of the moat of the Tower of London instead we should send in a regiment of tanks to roar around and crush them all. That would really remind people what war really is all about:
The poppy memorial at the Tower of London should be mown down by a tank to commemorate the horror of war, the actress Sheila Hancock has said.
Hancock, now an author, said leaving the ceramic poppies “shattered and broken” would symbolise the sacrifice of the men who went to war.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, she added it would avert “any danger” of the public thinking of the First World War memorial as simply “beautiful”, bringing home its true meaning.
Well, yes, as we say, interesting but perhaps not all that entirely and completely sensible. For several reasons.
The first being that they’re rather hoping that people will pay for those poppies, to keep them as mementos. And in paying for them thus pay for the entire installation itself. The second being that it is supposed to be a memorial. Racing the tanks through it would be on a par with racing a squadron through the Menin Gate and over a few thousand of those massed and ranked gravestones. Or blowing up the Cenotaph to show what happens when an artillery shell goes off.
As we say, interesting but probably not all that sensible. But then perhaps Ms. Hancock is really showing a deeper truth about actors. There’s a reason we give them a script which tells them what to say rather than let them project just their own ideas.
Because there’s many more people who want to be dancers than there is demand for people to be dancers. And then there’s some special cases:
Dancers at the Royal Opera House are being paid less than box office assistants, the union which represents performers has revealed.
Professional freelance dancers in one production were paid just £9.14 an hour for entertaining thousands of audience members each week, according to Equity.
Meanwhile, the income of those selling tickets to customers was £10.70 per hour over the same period.
The wages paid in a market reflect the balance between the demand for those to do the job and the supply of those qualified to and able to do the job. London is flooded with those who would dance upon the stage. With those who would sit in a ticket office not so much. For, you know, dancing upon the stage is rather fun in and of itself. You don’t have to talk to such dancers for long to hear them say “But I just love to dance” and the like. Ticket office workers tend to express the same sentiment rather less often.
And as to why the ROH is paying such shitty wages there’s a clue in the union complaint:
The letter goes on to ask: ‘Why are we not paid above or at least equal to that amount when working for one of the largest, most heavily subsidised arts organisations in the country?
“Most heavily subsidised” also means “losing the largest amount of money”. That’s why wages are low: the value added seem to be low compared to the revenue that is brought in. You know, that market thing again?
All of this is clear and obvious to anyone who has ever spent any time at all around the West End. Why it still befuddles the union is something of a puzzle.
There’s politics, there’s eccentricity and then there’s out and out madness. Given the strangeness of Russia it’s difficult to know which pot to put this latest proposal in. But here it is: Putin should artificially inseminate all Russian women in order to create a new super-race to govern the Russian state for all eternity.
No, really, that is the proposal:
A lawmaker wants to hand out Vladimir Putin’s sperm to Russian women en masse in a bid to create a new generation of ‘military and political elite’.
Yelena Borisovna Mizoulina, the Chairwoman of Parliamentary Commission on women’s affairs, children and family, told colleagues that giving the president’s sperm to would-be mothers would improve patriotism in Russia.
Note that this women is actually elected and that she does in fact chair a parliamentary commission. In the Russian system she’s about as senior as Margaret Hodge is on hte Public Accounts Committee in the Commons.
According to the Russian-language newspaper, Trust, she told the State Duma that Putin’s brood would then be given ‘special allowances’ from the state, in return for their ‘devotion’ to the country.
She said: ‘The essence of my proposition is simple.
‘Every citizen of Russia will receive by mail the genetic material of the president, to get pregnant from him and have a baby. These mothers will receive a special allowance from the state.’
The only person in history who tried anything like this at all was Genghis Khan whose DNA can now be found in some 10% of the entire human race.
However, there is a bright side to this. The usual numbers are that you can get some 10 pregnancies from each “dose” of sperm donation. There’s 130 million or so Russians of whom perhaps 20% will be women in their child bearing years. 26 million women then, all looking for a donation and Putin would need some 2.6 million donations to cover them all.
So, if he were to crack out 10 donations a day (he is, after all, a real man, isn’t he?) it would take him 712 years to cover them all. Not really going to work out, is it, despite the amusement of him wanking himself to death rather than bugging the rest of us as he does now.
TO Chelsea, where, as the Sun reprots, “JOHN TERRY vows this week to speak to Chelsea’s board of directors about the sky-high ticket prices at his club.”
Good old JT, sticking up for the fans.
But the Chelsea players are hoovering up all that cash – “69 per cent of it [income] went on wages.”
DO you work hard at the office? Roland Paulsen, author of Empty Labor: Idleness and Workplace Resistance, counts the minutes:
Most work sociologists tend toward the view that non-work at work is a marginal, if not negligible, phenomenon. What all statistics point towards is a general intensification of work with more and more burnouts and other stress syndromes troubling us.
Yet there are more-detailed surveys reporting that the average time spent on private activities at work is between 1.5 and three hours a day. By measuring the flows of audiences for certain websites, it has also been observed that, by the turn of the century, 70 percent of the U.S. internet traffic passing through pornographic sites did so during working hours, and that 60 percent of all online purchases were made between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. … Even if the percentage of workers who claim they are working at the pinnacle of their capacity all the time is slowly increasing, the majority still remains unaffected. In fact, the proportion of people who say they never work hard has long been far greater than those who say they always do.
Slacking off, jacking off and clocking off…
I once worked as a ‘marketeer’ in brothels (placing cards in phone boxes, mostly). They were flats in London’s West End, rented out for the day by owner’s who’d gone to work. The prostitutes were bright and making a choice. They had not been trafficked and were, as such, the victims of repeated rapes.
They offered me ‘freebies’ instead of cash. No thanks. I wanted the money.
None of the women were on hard drugs. But what I noticed – what any one would notice – was that Class A drugs and other criminality followed them. These women were forced into a world of crime.
That prostitution is illegal is iliberal. Shouldn’t consenting adults be allowed to buy and sell their own bodies? Plans are afoot to make the buying of sex but not the selling a crime. You might not like prostitution, but it exists. Turning consenting adults into criminals is unhelpful.
Laws that should apply to commercial sex are those that apply to non-commercial sex: consent, age, rights.
As ever the boffins researching that subject of great fascination to most human beings, sex, have come up with another startler of a result. That while there’s definitely some odd sexual desires and behaviours out there most of them actually aren’t that weird. On the entirely logical and simple grounds that weird means unusual and if lots of people have roughly the same kinks then they’re not weird.
Do you ever worry if what floats your boat sexually might be a little unusual? Or even downright bizarre?
If so, a new study claims to set everything straight – and define the demure from the deviant.
Its conclusion? Men hoping for sex with two women is ‘normal’ – for women, the general theme is more 50 Shades of Grey.
These were just two of the findings of a research project that claims to scientifically define sexual deviation for the first time ever.
There’s definitely things that are still deviant of course. That bloke who likes to make love to cars is indeed off his rocker. Not in the sense of being mad you understand, but in the sense being used in this study. As there’s only a few other people who like to get it on with automobiles (rather than in the back seat of someone) then he’s weird. But a little bit of S&M, a tad of troilism, these are such common fantasies that they’re actually normal, not weird.
Which, we all can now say, is a bit of a relief really. That Ferrari does produce a phwoar, but not for sexual reasons, so that’s OK, and the jumbled images of what it would be like if the wife’s best friend joined in for a slap as well as the tickle is so commonplace as to be normal.
So, at least, says a particularly repellent Russian commentator. That Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, should be banned from Russia after his recent public coming out as being gay. The reasoning being that he might bring Aids, or even Ebola, to Russia:
Hours after Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly addressed his sexuality for the first time, a St Petersburg politician has called for him to be banned from Russia.
According to a translation by Buzzfeed, anti-LGBT campaigner Vitaly Milonov, a member of the Legislative Assembly of St Petersburg, drew on stereotypes of homosexuals to suggest Tim Cook could bring “Aids and gonorrhea” to Russia.
He told the FlashNord website: “what could he [Cook] bring us? The Ebola virus, Aids, gonorrhea? They all have unseemly ties over there. Ban him for life.”
Quite what the connection between being gay in San Francisco and Ebola is is uncertain. And the connection with Aids is truly absurd. For Russia has an HIV problem of immense scope. A toxic combination of no clean needles and rampant drug injecting has meant that an horrific percentage of young Russians is already infected. These days you’re actually more likely to get infected screwing around in Russia than you are in a gay bathhouse in SF. Which makes this contention, that Cook should be banned from Russia for being gay, ludicrous.
But, err, only with women. That’s real science too: the more female sexual partners you have over a lifetime the lower your risk of getting prostate cancer. And the more male sexual partners you have over a lifetime then the higher the risks of prostate cancer. That’s an effect that has actually been observed and there’s also a couple of convincing stories about why that should be:
Association between sexual activity and prostate cancer risk was examined.
•Having had >20 female sexual partners associated with decreased prostate cancer risk.
•Having had >20 male sexual partners were suggestive of greater prostate cancer risk.
•Self-identification as a homosexual was suggestive of greater prostate cancer risk.
•No association found between sexually transmitted infections and prostate cancer.
Don’t forget that just having some data isn’t enough: torture the data for long enough and you can find patterns in absolutely everything. It’s only when there’s some theory theory about what’s going on that we can start to take it all seriously.
An the basic theory about more female sexual partners is as follows: the prostate actually produces the seminal fluid which is part of the ejaculate. More sex more often means this gets flushed out more often and that’s why they think that the cancer risk declines.
But, of course, that isn’t all. for presumably the same effect could be gained simply by having lots more sex with just the one person, rather than having many partners. The response to that being, well, yes, but that ain’t the way that relationships work as anyone who has ever had more than one of them will attest. The early phases of a new relationship are going to involve a great deal more rumpy pumpy than the later stages of one: meaning that someone who has had a larger series of new relationships almost certainly will have had more rumpy in total.
As to the rise in cancer from the number of male lovers this is explained in the paper simply by the mechanics of anal sex.
One of the amusements of recent times has been watching the tax campaigners like Margaret, Lady Hodge, huffing and puffing about how terrible it is that Amazon doesn’t pay much tax here in the UK. And it’s true, it doesn’t. But there is actually a good reason for this: Amazon doesn’t make much in the way of profits either:
Amazon, the US retail giant, has revealed its lost nearly $500m in the past three months, the largest amount in its history.
Shares in the company dropped 11pc in after-hours trading, wiping more than $15bn off the value of the company. The company increased sales by a fifth to $20.58bn in the three months to October, but it plunged $437m into the red as it spent heavily on new projects. That figure is more than 10 times the $41m loss Amazon reported in the same period a year earlier.
We’re generally told that the solution to the way that Amazon dodges UK tax is to adopt something called “unitary taxation”. This means that we entirely ignore all the various dodges and loopholes they use internally. We simply look at their sales around the world, the profit they make around the world, and say that if 10% of sales are in one country then so are 10% of profits. A reasonable enough system you might think.
But look at what happens here when we talk about Amazon: exactly the company that the tax campaigners have been saying this rule should be applied to.
The UK is about 10% of Amazon’s sales. So, therefore, 10% of Amazon’s profits (or losses) must be applied to the UK. So, in the last 3 months Amazon has, under this system, lost $50 million in the UK. And companies that lose money in the UK do not pay profit tax in the UK.
So, Hodge and those campaigners, all of whom are screaming for Amazon to pay more tax, are really arguing that amazon shouldn’t be paying any tax at all. Rather sweet of them really, isn’t it?
Asda is about to find itself having to explain a slightly uncomfortable set of facts: the men in its warehouses who load up the trucks get paid rather more than the women who unload the trucks onto the shelves do. And, since it can be argued that loading and unloading a truck is rather the same thing then, given that it’s mostly men doing the one, and getting paid more, and mostly women doing the other and getting paid less, then therefore this is sexual discrimination.
And that’s exactly what is being alleged:
Legal firm Leigh Day said it had been approached by 19,000 people – mostly women – after it announced it was taking action against the retailer.
The legal business said the case centres around women employed in Asda’s stores being paid less than male colleagues doing a similar work in its distribution chain.
“In the supermarkets the check-out staff and shelf-stackers are mostly women,” said Michael Newman, an employment law specialist at Leigh Day. “The people in the warehouses are pretty much all men. And, as a whole, the group that is mostly men gets paid more.”
“Our investigations suggest that the jobs are pretty much the same, in that warehouse staff are responsible for taking items off shelves, putting them on pallets and loading them into lorries.
“In the supermarket, they do the reverse: taking the pallets off the lorries, unstacking them and putting the items on the shelves.
“Where the jobs are not similar, we still think they are of equal value.”
Paying people for the same work differently is illegal of course. Illegal if it’s based upon such things as gender or race that is. There is another view possible, of course there is:
An Asda spokesman said: “A firm of no-win, no-fee lawyers is hoping to challenge our award-winning reputation as an equal opportunities employer.
“We do not discriminate and are very proud of our record in this area which, if it comes to it, we will robustly defend.”
And then there’s the more nuanced view that an economist might offer. Those warehouse jobs are indeed largely being done by men. Those instore jobs are indeed largely being done by women.
The obvious assumption is that there’s something about either end of the work that preferentially attracts (or repels) men and or women. None of us do think that Asda is being stupid enough to insist that only men can work in the warehouses, or only women in the stores: that’s so illegal that we really don’t think they’re that dumb. so, why do we have this gender segregation? We can come up with all sorts of theories but the most likely one is that there’s a difference in the physical strength required. Manhandling a tonne or two of pallet onto a truck is going to be rather different from placing the tomato sauce bottles on the shelf. And that is one area where there really are differences between the sexes: men do have greater physical strength (on average and in general).
Quite how the case will play out no one is at yet sure: but I’d run with the lawyers trying it on as my own opinion.
DID you sign up for Bachelor of… degree? Did you borrow money to pay your fees? The UK is not America – yet, where sky-high college fees are an affront to ideal of freedom. B ut it;s getting that way. Higher education is big business. And you owe it:
It is likely that there are at least as many adult Americans with student-loan debts outstanding as there are living bachelor’s degree recipients who ever took out student loans. That’s right: as many debtors as degree holders! How can that be? First, huge numbers of those borrowing money never graduate from college. Second, many who borrow are not in baccalaureate degree programs. Three, people take forever to pay their loans back.
Some retire before the loan the paid off.
That pension pot is shrinking:
“A]n estimated two million Americans age 60 and older … are in debt from unpaid student loans, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Its August Household Debt and Credit Report said the number of aging Americans with outstanding student loans had almost tripled from about 700,000 in 2005, whether from long-ago loans for their own educations or more recent borrowing to pay for college degrees for family members. . . . While older debtors account for a small fraction of student loan borrowers, who have accumulated nearly $1 trillion in such debt, the effect of owing a constantly ballooning amount of debt but having a fixed income can be onerous, said Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.”
Families need to pay more for food and have become ‘far too used to paying too little’, Masterchef judge Jay Rayner told MPs today.
The food critic and author told a parliamentary committee that food was too cheap to support British farmers.
He said: ‘We pay too little. We’re far too used to paying too little. And the only way we have at our disposal, I think, to secure a robust food supply is by investing in British farming and that does mean consumers pay more and look for that label.’
There’s four sets of idiocy here.
The first is that no one at all is insisting that you must buy cheap food. If you want farmers to have more money you can quite happily go out and buy more expensive food: locally produced, organic, free range, whatever tickles your fantasy. If you really want to you can just stick some cash money through the farm gate.
The second is that a robust food supply is not achieved by relying upon the farmers of one country to supply it. You might have noticed that there’s not been any famines in the UK for the past century and a half or so. Which is about the same time that we’ve been importing a decent fraction of our food. The connection between these two being that when the weather makes the crops fail in this country, as it still does from time to time, we’ve got other places to get our food from.
The third is that the falling real price of food is one of the things that has made us all richer in recent decades. It really wasn’t all that long ago, within my lifetime, that food made up 30% of the average poor families’ monthly budget. It’s now more like 10%: freeing up money to be spent on other things, making us richer.
And finally, the fourth, is that if British farmers can’t make a profit doing farming this is the universe’s way of telling them to bugger off and do something else other than farming. In short, there’s just too many people trying to be farmers.
Yes, Jay Rayner is being an idiot here.
The usual lefties and liberals are up in arms about the fact that Facebook seems to have paid no corporation tax here in the UK for a second year. There’s a couple of really very impotant points they’re missing though:
Facebook paid no UK corporation tax for the second year in a row in 2013, while employees received shares in the company worth tens of millions of pounds.
The world’s largest social media company reported a pre-tax loss of £11.6m in the UK last year, despite its US parent company reporting a net profit of $1.5bn (£900m).
The company employed an average of 172 UK staff, who were paid £40.8m last year, almost double the 2012 figure of £21m.
This is because of a £15.5m payment cost for “share-based payments”.
UK staff received 1.52m free Facebook shares worth $118m at their current share price of about $78.
So, why didn’t Facebook make a profit in the UK? Because it gave out shares in the company to the employees. And over in leftyland we always thought that was a good idea: you know, the workers owning the means of production and all that? And Facebook UK has actually given the workers absolutely all of the value created in the company: the workers get the lot, the bastard capitalists none of it. So why isn’t there singing and dancing in the streets?
And there’s one other rather important point to make: those workers will have been paying 45% income tax on most of that money that they’re being paid. And if getting tax revenue is what you’re interested in that’s a rather higher rate than the 24% corporation tax rate for that year. And if you do care about the tax revenue then getting more tax is better than less, yes?
It’s just difficult to see why people are whining so much.
It’s possible to surmise that the use of a dildo might turn a woman off more bipartisan forms of sex. Pleasuring oneself with the “Extra Large Mandingo” model could lead to a certain disappointment with the more regularly sized equipment provided by the average male. That Rampaging Rabbit’s ability to still be firm in 20 minutes of activity, the lack of required recovery time, might make the more normal masculine two minutes of squelching less appealing. But over and above that we’ve the possibility that the dildos themselves could be causing women to desire less sex:
Chemicals found in PVC flooring, plastic shower curtains, processed food and other trappings of modern life may be sapping women’s interest in sex.
A study has linked low libido with the additives used to soften plastics which are found in every home.
Women with the highest levels of phthalates in their bodies were more than twice as likely to say ‘not tonight dear’ as those with the lowest amounts.
The problem here being that phthalates are used to soften plastics. This softening meaning that they don’t have hard edges like the earlier artificial products like Bakelite used to have, and also that softening leads to their being warmer to the touch. Those are quite desirable attributes in the manufacture of sex toys and so all of those sex toys that are indeed made of plastic do indeed use phthalates. Where, of course, they are being introduced directly into the female body and thus, presumably, contributing to that loss of desire.
There are material alternatives, of course there are, for there were sex toys long before there were plastics. But wood (splinters!) glass (rather cold) stone (ditto) were all superseded by those plastics when they became available precisely because of those drawbacks.
But it is fun to see that modern dildos are actually solving the problem they were created to solve. Women not getting enough sex: great use this to have sex and you’ll want less sex in the future.
You and I might think that giving blokes with weak hearts Viagra so that they stride around with stiffies might not be all that good an idea. Which shows how much we know, eh? For the medical profession is urging exactly that: got a weak heart, get a stiffie!
A daily dose of Viagra could become a safe treatment for heart disease, researchers have said, after finding it improved blood flow.
The drug, normally used to treat erectile dysfunction, was found to prevent changes to the heart associated with disease.
Because it is already on the market and known to be safe, the researchers said there was no reason it could not be used immediately but said larger trials would be beneficial.
It’s not actually quite as stupid as we’ve made it sound. for there is a certain section of heart muscle that is very similar indeed to the muscles used to gain an erection. And Viagra works on those extremely similar muscles in exactly the same way, beneficially in both cases. So, for that particular kind of heart problem it’s not a bad idea at all.
But the real joy of this finding is that it brings the whole story full circle. For Viagra was originally designed as a drug to treat heart disease (a very slightly different kind that it’s now being touted for). And they found out, when they tested it on various groups of both male and female pensioners that the men didn’t want to give their extra tablets back at the end of the trial while the women didn’t are a hoot about that. At which point a little more investigation was done into why the men didn’t want to give the pills back and thus was found the effect. That the drug didn’t do all that much for the heart but it provided those stiffies that the older male can find so elusive. Especially, given the way that erections work, those that have heart problems find so difficult to attain.
Of course, Viagra has actually been treating heart disease all these years anyway. Even a few minutes now and then of gentle and stimulative exercise is known to have a beneficial effect upon the heart so those stiffies have been put to good use in the treatment of the more general condition.
This might be the finest offer of corporate sponsorship ever. It is simply, in it’s initial form, so perfect that the refusal of the donation is absurd. For what one of the porn sites on the web did was offer a donation to one of the charities dealing with breast cancer. More than that, it offered a sum of money for each video of boobies watched in the relevant, let’s all be aware of breast cancer, month:
In 2012, the Susan G Komen Foundation declined a donation from Pornhub.com which had raised one cent for every boob video viewed on the site,
WHAT to to with your library book if you catch Ebola:
A fiver for catching Ebola is a small price to pay when compared to the late return charges…
One of the founders of Greenpeace has hit out, yet again, at that organisation. The example he’s using of how Greenpeace has slipped its original moorings is that of golden rice. One of the big killers in the world is Vitamin A deficiency. And so a type of rice, this golden rice, has been genetically modified to produce it as it grows. This is entirely non-profit, there are no patents, this isn’t big agri-business. And half a million children a year die from the vitamin deficiency: so rolling out this rice would be a rather good idea.
Yet Greenpeace won’t allow it:
On the organisation’s position of golden rice, he said: ‘The thing about golden rice is it’s a least-favourable option and it doesn’t actually exist yet, it’s been many years in proposal and… it doesn’t work
‘The real solution to this is a proper, balanced diet like the home gardening initiatives in Bangladesh have achieved.’
That’s flat out lying. Golden rice exists and it’s good to go. But such is Greenpeace’s resistance to any GMO that they’d prefer that half a million children a year die than that their ideological purity be affected in any manner. There’s a word for bastards like that. So it’s not all that much of a surprise to see one of the founders of the group saying the following:
Dr Moore told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘My problem with Greenpeace is they have lost any humanitarian roots they had.
‘When we started Greenpeace it was to stop nuclear war and the destruction of human civilisation, that of course is the “peace” in Greenpeace.
‘The “green” is the environment and that’s good as well, but they lost the concerns for humans… They have turned, basically, into an evil organisation.’
He gave the example of so-called ‘golden rice’, a crop enriched with vitamin A which supporters say would help millions of the world’s poorest people improve their diet.
Dr Moore said the fact that Greenpeace opposed the idea showed that they no longer care about people.
The Save the Whales part of Greenpeace is just great. But it would be a vastly better organisation if there was also a part of it that would turn it’s mind to Save the Kiddies.
There’s been a great deal of confusion over the years about Apple’s tax, what it pays, what it doesn’t and how it doesn’t. And there’s now been a change in the law that will impact, a bit, on one of the ways that it doesn’t pay tax. However, it’s not going to make all that much difference in the long run:
US companies including Apple and Google could be hit with demands for billions of dollars after Ireland yesterday unveiled plans to close the ‘Double Irish’ tax loophole.
However, a new tax break and pressure to tackle avoidance elsewhere in the world means US companies are unlikely to depart from the struggling eurozone economy.
Analysts and tax advisers predict that corporations which need access to the European Union’s 500 million consumers will find it difficult to set up equally effective schemes in other member states, as Brussels investigates other arrangements that involve paying minimal tax rates
No one’s going to move out of the EU over this, that’s obviously true.
But it’s worth thinking through what Apple used to do. The most important thing is that Apple hasn’t actually dodged any tax at all: it’s only delayed the date at which it might have to pay it. Yes, all the money they make in Europe ends up in Ireland and Ireland doesn’t tax it very much (the tax rate is about 2%) and the money ends up sitting in Bermuda, having paid very little tax at all.
But, and here’s the thing, Apple isn’t home and free, not just yet. Because in the end it wants to get those profits into the hands of the shareholders, the people who own the company. That’s what companies are for, to feed profits to the shareholders. and to do that Apple must move that money into the US: that’s just how the system works. And once it does that Apple will pay the 35% US corporate income tax, minus that 2% already paid. There is no way out of this: if Apple is to give the profits to the shareholders, which is what a company is form, then it will have to pay US corporate income tax.
So, the worst we can say is that Apple has delayed having to pay tax, it’s not got away without paying it at all.
This recent change does mean that Apple can’t use exactly the method it has been to do this. But there are plenty of other options (this is all about royalties for the use of the Apple name and technology, to add a bit of boring detail), for example, Holland has a 5% tax rate for royalties. So, instead of the Double Irish Apple could use the Dutch Sandwich instead. And that would mean a 5% tax rate, which is indeed higher than 2% but it’s still a lot less than 35%. So, we’ll still see those profits being parked offshore, just through a different network of companies this time.
Things will change, yes, but not very much.
And to be fair to him there’s a certain amount of evidence that Apple did indeed screw over important parts of the Finnish economy. The invention of the smartphone did screw over Nokia and that paperless computing environment is at least partially here which doesn’t help Finland’s paper making industry all that much:
The prime minister of Finland has blamed Apple for the economic downturn his country is experiencing which saw it lose its AAA credit rating on Friday.
Alexander Stubb said the remarkable success of the California-based tech giant has had a negative impact on his country’s two biggest industries – technology and paper.
‘We have two champions which went down,’ Stubb told CNBC on Monday.
Not only has handset manufacturer Nokia suffered due to the success of smartphones such as the iPhone, but Finland’s paper industry has also fallen on hard times.
The country is a key production site for Europe’s biggest paper producers, UPM-Kymmene and Stora Enso, but Stubb said the success of tablet devices like the iPad had hit the sector hard.
‘A little bit paradoxically I guess one could say that the iPhone killed Nokia and the iPad killed the Finnish paper industry, but we’ll make a comeback,’ he predicted.
That’s always the problem with any new technology, there’s people happily making a mint out of the older technologies being replaced and they get screwed. There weren’t all that many buggy ship makers left after the success of the Model T Ford either.
However, I’m not entirely sure that the iPad killing the paper industry is all that important. Years back, Alan Coren, when editor of Punch, told of how he’d gone to Finland to meet their paper suppliers. And he’d pointed to some trees and asked if they were for the paper they printed Punch upon. The Finns all fell about laughing and said no, no, these trees were far more valuable than that, these trees were to be made into toilet paper.
So if loo paper is more valuable than printing paper then why’s the Finnish paper industry having problems? Surely no ones wiping their arse on their iPads are they?
This isn’t a definitive diagnosis just a potential indication that we might have a problem here. But it’s possible that Alan Sugar has just gone stark staring. He’s arguing that however bad Ed Miliboy is as a potential Prime Minister what we should really do is bring back Gordon Brown.
Celebrity Labour peer Lord Sugar has called for Ed Miliband to be replaced as party leader – by Gordon Brown.
The Apprentice star said Mr Brown had been handed a ‘bad deal’ after taking over as Prime Minister from Tony Blair in 2007 just before the economic crash.
Lord Sugar welcomed the former PM’s return to the Commons today – where he spearheaded the Labour’s opposition to Tory plans to ban Scottish MPs voting on English laws.
He added: ‘I wish he’d come back as leader of the Labour Party to be honest with you.’
He told Iain Dale’s LBC radio show: ‘He took over from Blair in 2008 or 2007 when the real problems in the world economy broke and he got the blame, as far as England is concerned.
‘It’s absolutely wrong. It wasn’t his fault.’
Well, that’s not actually quite right. For the deal between Brown and Blair was always that Blair would do the posturing and the leading and Brown would do all of the economics bit. And he was Chancellor right from that first election victory through to taking over aw Prime Minister. We can’t really let the Chancellor of the entire previous decade off the hook if the economy falls over now, can we?
But there’s something else about this: we’ve had Brown as Prime Minister, we’ve seen him operate as Prime Minister and when we had the opportunity to vote on it we said “No, ta, someone else please”. And it’s not for nothing that Guido Fawkes refers to him as the Prime Mentalist.
On the other hand we might be able to read some runes here. If Sugar knows all of this and still prefers Brown to the Miliboy then just how sodding bad does he think Miliband is then?
OIL is tumbling in price. But rising in value.
Roger Boyes looks:
Cheap oil may yet turn out to be the food of love. Plunging prices will hammer shareholders in the big multinationals, and rattle the Emiratis, but they could also produce an extraordinary peace dividend. The course of war is about to change in Ukraine, Iraq and Syria — and Vladimir Putin, who has been busy rebranding himself as a generalissimo, may find himself confined to barracks.
To make the sums add up in Russia, Mr Putin needs to be earning between $100 and $110 per barrel of Brent crude. Yesterday it was down to $86 and all the signs from Saudi Arabia are that it could stay that way, perhaps for as long as 18 months. That’s a disaster for Mr Putin and his growth model whereby oil and gas profits were funnelled into the consumer economy. The failure should show the US that the most potent way of responding to Moscow’s aggression is to produce more oil and consume less of it…
Two years ago I attended a simulation game at an Israeli security conference, which imagined what would happen if an Iranian-backed group attacked a Saudi refinery, causing the oil price to rise to $250 a barrel. The conclusion was miserable: war, bread riots, coups in the Gulf. There was only one winner, and that was Russia.
Now the reverse is true. Russia, so heavily dependent on oil revenue, is a loser.