Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sorry !

I have been a negligent blogger.  I have left undone those things which I ought to have done.  Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.  I'm not apologising for failing to inflict my views on the world for nearly two weeks.  I've been busy and you may even appreciate a period of silence on my part.  No. I'm apologising to people who posted comments which I did not see and therefore did not publish.  I've published them now.  Truly sorry.

Monday, June 18, 2012

5 myths about the UK economy

The graph above shows  that the coalition's current deficit-reduction plans are actually slower than Alistair Darling's.   It comes from Stephen Tall's great article which shows the emptiness of the economic debate between government and opposition. If only we could spend more time and energy on who should bear the tax burden and what scarce resources should be spent on, politics might become about real choices again.

I plead guilty to spreading some of the myths that Stephen destroys and, in the spirit of scientific enquiry, thank him for correcting me.

I note Stephen calculates

"Overall, the marginally higher growth of Labour’s looser fiscal policy would have resulted in 70,000 fewer unemployed. However, that reduction would have been obtained with an increase in debt across the three years of £26 billion — the equivalent of £370,000 per job — to be repaid by the nation later."

which compares with  

"The £1bn contract for reactors for the next generation of the UK's nuclear-armed submarines to be announced by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will create 300 jobs.  I make that a mere £3,333,333 per job"

which I reported yesterday.   In either case what we want are sustainable jobs at sustainable prices. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Useless, expensive and dangerous

The £1bn contract for reactors for the next generation of the UK's nuclear-armed submarines to be announced by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will create 300 jobs.  I make that a mere £3,333,333 per job.   Why is defence spending always justified by the jobs it creates ?   Also, could someone explain exactly what Trident is defending us against ?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I can't stand it

For a long time now, I have felt great disappointment (to put it mildly) with the conduct of Liberal Democrats in government.  We have failed utterly to advance Britain's role in the European Union; indeed we have kowtowed to the Conservatives' deep-seated euroscepticism.  We have supported, promoted and defended a disastrous economic policy.  We have compromised too far on the green agenda.  We have failed to reform the voting system and are en route to fail to reform the House of Lords.   Today our MPs will abstain when they should vote for the motion calling for Jeremy Hunt to be referred.  The country today has lost what little confidence there ever was in politicians and has less idea of what Liberal Democrats stand for than at any time in my life and for good reason.  We have lost thousands of voters, hundreds of councillors and at least one fifth of our members.  I am seriously considering for the first time ever joining that last group.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Yes, but an hour later they'll be hungry again
Chinese direct investment into Europe tripled in 2011 to $10bn, according to a new study that estimates Chinese companies are in the early stages of a global shopping spree that could see them spend as much as $500bn a year in the region by 2020.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Opik: Sad when the lust for publicity turns to masochism

This is when a great weight landed on Lembit Opik and broke his ribs, two minutes after he entered the wrestling ring in Welshpool.  Lembit's poor judgement and lust for publicity, which cost him his seat in Montgomeryshire, continue to dog his life.   After the match, he commented, "I think I need to think about what I am doing in future, because I think I may have gone a step too far this time."     As a child of ten might say, "Well duh ! You think so ?"  Perhaps if Lembit had learned that lesson long ago, Montgomeryshire would still have a Liberal MP.

I am not a fight fan and I do wonder about people who enjoy this spectacle.  After Lembit's opponent, Kade Callous, threw him on the floor he stood looking on while the crowd urged him to do more, which he did as the picture shows.  In the video you can hear the mob cheering and one man shouting "Stomp him !" repeatedly, after he had been stomped already.   According to the Shropshire Star, one fan commented "It was the best show we have seen in Welshpool in my 35 years.”.   A fight that lasts two minutes between grotesquely unequal opponents is "the best show" ?????   Clearly life in Welshpool could be better.