Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
How can roads be made safer? Well, you could do what they’ve done in London and charge a high fee for cars to enter the ‘nondom zone’ and make parking very expensive. Less cars. And more chance of being hit by an insured driver with an executive motor. Win. Win.
In Australia, academics have picked up the idea:
More than 200 lives could be saved on Australian roads a year if fuel prices were increased to the same level as prices in Britain, a study by an Australian National University academic suggests.
Dr Paul Burke and his co-author, visiting Japanese academic Dr Shuhei Nishitateno, compared road deaths and petrol prices from 144 countries between 1991 and 2010.
They found that eliminating fuel subsidies around the world would mean 35,000 fewer deaths a year among drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians – 3 per cent of the global death toll.
Higher fuel prices meant fewer vehicles on the road, shorter distances travelled and lower-speed driving to save fuel. Lower prices also had a disproportionate effect on high-risk drivers – the young and old, who were especially sensitive to prices, according to the study.
Worse than that, worse than trying to tax Brits who want to jet off for a bit of sunshine, Yvette Cooper is also proposing that that tax money should go to foreign governments. This is not, you might think, really all that sensible a thing to be proposing.
What’s she’s suggesting is that foreign types who desire to come to the UK to enjoy our lovely weather should have to pay 10 quid for the privilege of not having to pay 100 pounds for a visa to come here. That income can then be used to hire more immigration officers.
Labour will seek to beef up its pitch to voters on immigration with a pledge to pay for 1,000 extra border guards by imposing a charge on visitors from the US and 55 other countries.
Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, will criticise other parties for engaging in an “arms race of rhetoric” on the issue, which has been thrust to the centre of political debate by the rise of Ukip.
But she will accept that the opposition “needs to talk more” about public concerns and will say action to restore public confidence that illegal entrants are being caught and dealt with is “vital for a progressive approach”.
Under the proposals, nationals in countries enjoying a “visa waiver” system of fast-track permission to enter the UK will be hit with a charge of around £10 per visit, which the party said would more than cover the £45m cost of the additional staff.
Well, yes, except that there’s a problem here. Which is that all visa systems work on the following basis. Whatever you do to our citizens then we will do that to your citizens. So, if we start charging Johnny Foreigner to come to Blighty then Johnny Foreigner will start charging us to go in foreign. And it’ll be the same amount too.
And here’s the thing. We’re pretty certain that more Brits go out of our country than Johnny Foreigners come in. So, we Brits will then be paying more money to foreign governments in visa waiver fees that HM Treasury will be collecting in them.
This isn’t a great way to raise money in tax really, making sure that foreign governments get more than the British one does.
Just not thought through this proposal, just not thought through.
We’re often told that there’s some 60,000 to 80,000 prostitutes in the UK. And there’s some assumptions made about how many clients they have, how much money they make and so on. And we’ve also got various bits and pieces of evidence about how many men actually pay for sex. And when we compare the two numbers with each other it just doesn’t seem to add up really. Someone, somewhere, has to have some of the numbers wrong.
For example, the ONS (the government’s statistics arm) thinks that there are around 60k tarts in the country. They each have 25 clients a week as well. Each trick pays around 60 and that’s how we get to the idea that prostitution amounts to 6 billion a year or so in the economy. That’s actually part of the official figures of how large the economy is now (and is part of the reason we’ve got to pay that extra €1.7 billion to the EU).
However, on the other side we’ve also got this:
One in nine British men have paid for sex, according to a new study.
And the likeliest to do so are 25 to 34-year-old single men in managerial or professional occupations, and those who have had a high number of partners.
The research, published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, revealed that 3.6 per cent of the 6,000 men surveyed admitted visiting prostitutes in the past five years.
One in nine have ever done this. And it’s only just under 4% who have done this in the past five years.
Well, how many men are there in the country? Roughly 25 million (64 million of us, take off the children and then 50/50 men and women). 4% of that is 1.25 million men who have, at any time in hte past 5 years, bought sex.
But back to our 60,000 tarts and their 25 customers a week. That’s 1.5 million visits a week: and yet there’s only 1.25 million men making those 1.5 million visits?
We’re supposed to believe that all of the men (on average) who have ever bought sex in the past 5 years are buying it more than once a week?
This just doesn’t add up. It simply cannot be true that all of these numbers are correct. Someone, somewhere, is very wrong.
At a best guess it’s the number of clients that each tart has in a week. Rather than there being that number full time there’s an awful lot of them doing a bit of part time work here and there. But through the fog of these incorrect numbers it’s difficult to tell.
WHAT happens after you win millions on the lottery?
The Daily Mail says it’s mistery and more msiery:
Why so many lottery winners like me end up losers in love: Every week it seems another couple splits after scooping a Lotto jackpot
But it isn’t. That just makes the losers feel better. Money does buy happiness:
Dean Allen: 26 when he won £13,861,061:
Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
NEWSPAPERS are in peril:
– One of California’s largest newspapers has asked reporters and other employees to help deliver papers on Sundays, according to a memo obtained by Reuters, the latest sign of the toll that financial woes are taking on print journalism.
The Santa Ana-based Orange County Register, which recently stopped contracting with rival Los Angeles Times for delivery services, is offering $150 gift cards to staff members if they deliver 500 to 600 papers, according to the memo sent on Thursday, which was confirmed by the paper’s top editor.
“The entire company — all departments, including our newsroom — has been asked to help during what has clearly been a difficult situation,” editor Rob Curley said in an email to Reuters. “It’s strictly voluntary.”
Looks like another job for the interns…
And it’s not what you might think either, it’s not just an aesthetic preference, it’s all about evolution. And as we know, evolution is science and science is right, right? The fact is, the reason men don’t go for fat birds is because fat birds are less fertile.
‘These changes may reduce the chances of conception for overweight women, and may even have long-term health implications for the children of overweight and obese women.’
The latest study found that eggs from women who are overweight or obese were significantly smaller than eggs from women of healthy weight, and less likely to reach a crucial stage of development called the ‘blastocyst’ at around five days after fertilisation.
Researchers found embryos from overweight and obese women that reached the blastocyst stage did so on average 17 hours faster than comparable embryos from women of a healthy weight.
This acceleration in early development meant fewer cells were formed in blastocysts from overweight and obese women, which could have a deleterious effect on the placenta – the ‘support system’ for the growing baby.
Now, given that the vast majority of us spend a great deal of effort in making sure that our sex lives don’t lead to there being a baby on the way this might sound like a good thing. But of course our basic desires aren’t driven by what we think right now, nor what has been happening in the past few decades. Those are drive by evolution: what has been happening over the past few hundred thousand years?
And there, if fat chubbies are indeed less fertile than slim little things then there’s the explanation. No, it’s not to say that we consciously think of how fertile someone might be before we try to shag them. It’s because we’re all descendants of those whose preference was to shag fertile people. Thus we find attractive those signs of potential fertility.
Assuming that this finding is true, that overweight women are indeed less fertile then that on its own explains why men tend to find fat birds less attractive than their thinner sisters.
Well, OK, perhaps it is news that Benedict Cumberbatch is Alan Turing’s 17th cousin because the Mail has decided to give us a story that tells us that he is. Other than that through it really isn’t news at all. What would be much more remarkable is if any two random Englishmen were not 17th cousins, at least.
In fact, we generally assume that pretty much everyone in the UK (except the most recent immigrants) is at least a 12th or 13th cousin. So this finding is in fact really telling us that Cumberbatch and Turing are less related than any other two random Englishmen.
He has been praised for his star performance as the code breaker Alan Turing in his latest film role.
But it seems Benedict Cumberbatch’s uncanny resemblance to his subject may be down to more than just good acting…because it turns out they are related.
The actor, 38, is a distant cousin of the celebrated mathematician, who broke the German Enigma code during World War Two.
Both men share a common 15th century ancestor, John Beaufort, the Earl of Somerset, making them cousins 17 times removed on his father’s side, experts from the genealogy website Ancestry said.
The problem with this is that as we go back in time the number of our ancestors increases exponentially. We’ve two parents, four grandparents, 8 great grandparents and so on. By the time we reach 17 generations back we’ve got 131,000 ancestors just in that one generation. And back then the population of the UK was 4 million or so. And yes, that does mean that the odds of any two of us being 17th cousins is higher than 50/50. Much higher: it’s close to a certainty.
The math is here:
To answer the question of “How likely is it that somebody is your 16th cousin” we can just look at how many ancestors you have back there. 16th cousins share with you a couple 17 generations ago. (You can share just one ancestor which makes you a half-cousin.) So your ancestor set from 17 generations ago will be 65,536 different couples. Actually less than that due to duplication, but at this level in a large population the duplication isn’t as big a factor as it becomes later, and if it does it’s because of a closer community which means you are even more related.
So you have 65K couples and so does your potential cousin. The next question is, what is the size of the population in which they lived? Well, back then the whole world had about 600 million people, so that’s an upper bound. So we can ask, if you take two random sets of 65,000 couples from a population of 300M couples, what are the odds that none of them match? With your 65,000 ancestors being just 0.02% of the world’s couples, and your potential cousin’s ancestors also being that set, you would think it likely they don’t match.
Turns out that’s almost nil. Like the famous birthday paradox, where a room of 30 people usually has 2 who share a birthday, the probability there is no intersection in these large groups is quite low. it is 99.9999% likely from these numbers that any given person is at least a 16th cousin. And 97.2% likely that they are a 15th cousin — but only 1.4% likely that they are an 11th cousin. It’s a double exponential explosion. The rough formula used is that the probability of no match will be (1-2^C/P)^(2^C) where C is the cousin number and P is the total source population. To be strict this should be done with factorials but the numbers are large enough that pure exponentials work.
That’s for everyone in the world, not the much smaller number of people who are descended from 15th century England.
There is one thing remarkable about this through. That’s that they can actually trace the connection back to one named individual: that is more remarkable. But the 17th cousin thing? That makes the two less related than the average Englishman is to any other random Englishman.
There’s a certain joy in watching someone manage to get ahold of entirely the wrong end of the stick. And so it is with this story about the sandwich making factory in Northampton. The one that can’t find enough people locally to make the sandwiches and has thus gone off to Hungary to look for people who would be prepared to come and do it. There are those insisting that this shows that the UK is a low wage economy, making low productivity things like sandwiches. And this is, of course, all the fault of the Tories if not of Thatcher the Milk Snatcher.
So, as The Guardian tells us:
The UK, I fear, persists in the delusion that it is a high-skilled high-productivity, high-pay economy when for at least a decade or more it has been nothing of the kind.
Umm, really, just quite remarkable how the wrong end of that shitty stick is being firmly grasped there.
so, think it through for a moment. If there’s only low pay jobs around (and by definition, low pay jobs are going to be low skill and low productivity) then when a company offers some low pay jobs then there’ll be plenty of people who want them. Because they’ve not got anything else to do so why the hell not? £6.50 an hour is better than starving, right?
And what’s happening here? People are not turning up in droves to do those low pay jobs. Which must mean that they’ve got something else, something better to do. Like, a job elsewhere for higher pay. And that’s why they’ve got to go to Hungary, to find someone, some people, willing to do this low pay work.
It’s exactly because wages are higher in the UK than Hungary that people are willing to move. That shows, obviously, that the UK must be a high wage economy. And the only way you get high wages is by having high productivity.
So, exactly the thing The Guardian is using as evidence that we’ve a low wage economy is exactly the evidence that we’re actually a high wage one.
Just perfect, isn’t it?
NEWSPAPERS are dying. So are the readers who grow up with them. That’s tragic. But it’s life.
Print sales of The Sun dipped below two million a day for the first time in its modern history last month.
Average sales of the paper dipped 8 per cent year on year to 1,978,324 making it still the UK’s best-selling daily.
Publisher News UK is expected to release an update later this month on the progress of the paper’s digital subscription strategy which may soften the blow of falling below two million.
The Daily Mirror dropped below two million copies in 2004 and fell below the one million mark last December.
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.