Says a press release from businesswaste.co.uk that somehow landed in my inbox:
Local and national charities are being cheated out of income by ambitious criminal who have started leaving fake clothes banks in towns and cities...
According to BusinessWaste.co.uk, it’s got to the point where local authorities are impounding dishonestly-placed “charity” bins which only exist to make crooks richer.
“The people are a blight on decent society,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, “They prey on people’s charitable instincts just for personal profit.”
It's another job for Land Value Tax Man isn't it?
The council can just rent out pitches for recycling banks to the highest bidder and spend the proceeds on 'charitable purposes' (or give local charities a discount on the rent). The highest bidder gets a little placard to attach to his clothes bank to make it easier to spot the fraudsters/non-payers, whose banks are repossessed and rented out to a winning bidder.
If businesses can recycle more efficiently than charities, the super-profits arising from favourably located clothes banks will go to charity. If businesses can't recycle more efficiently, then charities will outbid them, and all the rent they pay ends back in their hands anyway.
Thursday, 30 June 2016
Says a press release from businesswaste.co.uk that somehow landed in my inbox:
Wednesday, 29 June 2016
From the Australian Financial Review:
Australia's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Alexander Downer, says Britain's departure from the European Union will not hurt free trade negotiations with the bloc and suggested Brexit could be an opportunity to ease restrictions on Australians working in the UK...
"No this will definitely not kill any chance of us negotiating a FTA with the European Union. I think we can negotiate a high quality Free Trade Agreement with the European Union. Obviously, the UK is our closest partner in the European Union but we do have very close relationships with other countries - France, Germany, Italy and obviously Ireland as well."
From The Times (via MBK):
Mr Johnson wrote in The Daily Telegraph that he wanted “access” to the single market, but also said he wanted Britons to be able to work and stay in the EU, along with a points-based system for new arrivals from the EU.
This approach is unlikely to be agreed by the rest of the EU, according to officials and experts. They added: “It is a pipe dream. You cannot have full access to the single market and not accept its rules. If we gave that kind of deal to the UK, then why not to Australia or New Zealand. It would be a free for all.”
Now a lot of this is Doublespeak (which takes somebody with JohnB's mental gymnastic ability to decipher), but most countries have "access to the single market" without having any sort of explicit free trade deal (USA, China etc). But let's assume that in the second excerpt the Eurocrat uses this as synonymous with "tariff and quota-free access to the single market" (what the UK has at present, by and large). He implies that free movement of people and adopting EU regulations are pre-conditions and/or follow automatically from this.
Which will be news to the Aussies and Kiwis. Or is it genuinely expected that ANZ will be able to negotiate FTAs which are refused to the UK out of spite?
Tuesday, 28 June 2016
From the LVT Campaign:
The EU began as a noble concept. Unfortunately, it has consistently got the economics wrong, thereby sowing the seeds of its ultimate destruction. The EU gave us VAT, CAP, a tariff wall and expensive food. It would be difficult to conceive of a worse combination.
Bearing in mind that all taxes apart from LVT amplify the effects of locational disadvantage, it is not surprising that support for Brexit came from the country's margins, not excluding parts of the South-East*. This is not to suggest that those who voted to leave were making a reasoned and calculated choice. At that level it was a gut reaction, with nasty overtones. However, if one neglects one's back garden, weeds will grow. Some, such as knotweed, can undermine a house. The UK has neglected its fringes for many decades.
The first of the ugly sisters is VAT...
For rest of article, follow the link above.
* At the other extreme, beyond the margin (NI, Scotlan), a majority also voted Bremain because the EU-related subsidies they receive blind them to the fact that those subsidies are only part-compensation for the underlying and nigh unquantifiable economic damage.
From an IBISWorld press-release:
Britain’s exit, or Brexit, from the EU also sent the pound plunging to its lowest level since 1985. While the sharp drop in the pound makes British imports comparatively cheaper for US buyers in the short term, it poses a serious long-term threat: disruption to trade.
US companies sourcing British imports face looming uncertainty over the price and availability of a wide range of goods. The United Kingdom is a major exporter of petroleum products, such as hydraulic oil and gasoline, as well as gas turbines, hydraulic motors and other aerospace and industrial equipment and machinery. In fact, the United States imports about $58 billion worth of goods annually from the UK, according to the US Census Bureau, making it our seventh-largest trading partner.
Pending the formal exit process, which could take up to two years, Britain will remain a member of the EU. However, trade relations with the United States will need to be renegotiated once Britain’s separation is complete. Given political gridlock in Congress and the often lengthy nature of trade negotiations, it could be many years before a new bilateral agreement between the two countries is hashed out—in an interview with the BBC in April, President Obama warned it could take up to 10 years. Meanwhile, Britain will face higher trade barriers with the United States.
For now, tariffs, quotas and rules governing trademarks and patents with the UK will remain unchanged; however, these trade mechanics may change with whatever new agreement emerges from future negotiations. IBISWorld suggests that buyers looking to maintain continuity in their supply chains to consider alternative sources for any British products. By diversifying their supply chains, buyers are less likely to experience supply disruptions or price volatility associated with Brexit.
A good piece on 'Progressives'. Here
Personally I think (on the definitions in the piece) that the progressives are right. We will end up with some sort of global universalism. It's just that I don't think that trying to speed it up by coercion and' based on a model established by a small cabal, is at all acceptable. And especially where it needs to be made and 'run' by a huge unaccountable specially privileged bureaucracy.
Driving along on our holibobs Mrs L reading out snippets of the news from her iPhone:
"Coo, the Pope has announced that the Catholic Church has been too harsh on communities like gay people. Just because someone is homosexual it does not mean that they are not Christian. The Church needs to reform" [slight paraphrase].
"He's right. It's about time the Catholic Church fucking reformed!".
Collapse of stout party.
Posted by Lola at 07:24
Sunday, 26 June 2016
Do you understand this Nation State, Property Rights and Sovereign Nation State thing?
Seriously chaps. How dare you.
Posted by Lola at 20:16
Saturday, 25 June 2016
This headline from the Torygraph.
As I understand it this is France's problem not ours. That is these migrants have entered France illegally (or perhaps legally) and now want to transit on to the UK illegally.
If they manage to enter the UK common sense suggests that were they intercepted at point of entry they could be immediately sent back to France because that can be identified as to where they came from.
Also as I understand it if there immigrant makes an asylum claim, then we have to host them while the case is considered, but if found to not supportable then again the immigrant is returned to the previous destination - in the case France.
I cannot find the international law rules relating to this. Anyone know anything?
Posted by Lola at 14:09
Friday, 24 June 2016
The responses to last week's Fun Online Poll were as follows:
What's the most likely outcome of next week's referendum?
Majority for Bremain - 21%
Majority for Brexit, followed by actual Brexit - 15%
Majority for Brexit, months of (re)negotiations and a rigged second referendum - 65%
So we managed to guess the result in the referendum, only time will tell whether we were right about the next bit...
This week's Fun Online Poll:
"Now that their mission is accomplished, will UKIP MEPs resign en masse and renounce their Euro-pensions?"
Vote here or use the widget in the side bar.
Thursday, 23 June 2016
Although if we weren't so obsessed with binary politics and full YES or full NO and we had a "copy Norway" option I'd have been tempted to go for that.
This'll be our last chance for another forty years to give them all a good kick up the arse.
It is highly unlikely that we would actually leave the EU, even in the event of a largish majority for Brexit, that's not the point, is it?
The point is to shake them up a bit/a lot and give our pol's a stronger hand when they go back to Brussels to do some serious re-negotiation of how the EU is supposed to work, not just on behalf of the UK but on behalf of all those countries who are getting a far worse deal than we are, maybe they'd have the nerve to speak up this time.
Tuesday, 21 June 2016
Quote from an email from an old mate of mine that emigrated to Oz years ago.
""I guess for Australia the big positive for out is that we would be able to have free trade agreements with the UK & that the rite of passage couple of years in the UK would come back for young people. (Apparently due to the number of other foreigners the UK takes people allowed in from Aus. & NZ has dropped dramatically)."
Discussions with Austrian waiters in Salzburg:
Really could not see the point of the EU. Were furious about EU debts and house prices in Salzburg. Were much happier with Schillings than Euros and think Euro has led to high prices, i.e. 'inflation'. Think UK should go to set the ball rolling.
Discussion with Scots holiday-maker in Vienna.
German Waiter in Vienna hotel.
Couldn't really see the point of the EU.
And to cap it all Her Maj:
Please could someone give me three reasons for staying in the EU?
Posted by Lola at 21:38
From the BBC:
David Cameron has urged people to think of the "hopes and dreams" of future generations in a direct appeal to them to vote to stay in the European Union.
Speaking outside No 10, the prime minister said he would not recommend a Remain vote if he didn't feel it would make the UK safer and more prosperous…
Mr Cameron's former adviser Steve Hilton, who backs leaving the EU, called it a "weird statement" and a "rather amazing thing to hear".
"What you just saw from the prime minister was an admission that they've lost the economic argument, they've lost the argument on immigration, so he's being wheeled out by rather panicky spin doctors to try to change the subject," Mr Hilton told the BBC.
I don't like Hilton or most of his views but he's got this one right.
Monday, 20 June 2016
From the BBC:
George Osborne echoed this message in his Peston on Sunday interview on ITV, saying:
"There is no turning back. It is a one-way door to a much more uncertain world, where people's jobs and livelihoods are at risk.
"British people can't take their money out of Britain. Brexit may be for the very rich but it is not for the working people of this country who will be paying the price for many years to come."
George's Help to Buy is also for the very rich and is not for the working people of this country who will be paying the price of it for many years to come etc. So what's the difference?
... but if they had done, they'd probably been called Glenn Freight.
Sunday, 19 June 2016
David Cameron, in The Telegraph:
So much is at stake on Thursday. And so rarely will we ever make a decision of such magnitude. And here’s the thing: it’s irreversible.
There is no turning back if we leave. If we choose to go out of the EU, we will go out – with all of the consequences that will have for everyone in Britain.
That's the whole point, isn't it, if there is a slim Brexit majority on Thursday, then it is unlikely to lead to an actual Brexit.
It's just a way of giving TPTB a good kick up the arse and temporarily delaying things, giving our pol's a stronger hand in the next round of negotiations.
The outcome of the referendum is not binding on the UK government, anybody who thinks otherwise is deluded and people like Cameron who know it isn't but pretend it is are just lying.
… or something or other.
From the BBC:
Mr Macron told Le Monde: "Leaving the EU would mean the 'Guernseyfication' of the UK, which would then be a little country on the world scale. It would isolate itself and become a trading post and arbitration place at Europe's border."
And he said the European Council would have to deliver an ultimatum to the UK about its intentions and that France's President Hollande would be very clear.
"If the UK wants a treaty of commercial access to the European market, the British will have to contribute to the European budget like the Norwegians or the Swiss. If London doesn't want that, then the exit will have to be total."
It's not clear whether he's just insulting us, making predictions or making threats, either way, it makes me even more determined to vote Brexit.
Saturday, 18 June 2016
BMG #EUref polls:— Politico Daily (@Politico_Daily) June 17, 2016
Excluding Don't Knows.
So, shy Brexiters?
Not really surprising when I see the amount of guff from people I know on Facebook, how we're all racists and old fuddy duddies. I just can't be bothered...
Friday, 17 June 2016
With 4 days to go, I think this is going to be the winner:-
A father whose infant son was born 12 weeks early has made an emotional appeal for Britons to vote to stay in the EU – to save the lives of children like his.
Joe and Nicola Jackson's baby boy Jamie was delivered at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital in early June at just 28 weeks, after struggling for months with growth restriction in the womb.
Mr Jackson has since posted a powerful message of gratitude on Facebook to the medical team responsible for his son's care, saying that without the attention of European doctors he would not have survived - and urging those who haven't yet decided which way to vote in the EU referendum on 23 June to #voteinforjamie.
Sorry, but the 5 countries providing the most doctors to the UK are: India, Pakistan, South Africa, Nigeria and Ireland. Even if we go with the worst case of no visas FOR DOCTORS that means no effect, as we've always had deals with Ireland on free movement. India is 8 times bigger than number 6, Germany. But this not net by actual. Assuming we stop German doctors coming here, that also means that British doctors don't go to Germany.
So, in the worst possible case, assuming we don't let Germans in, but some of our doctors leave, we then lose 1.3% of medical capacity. Are we going to let premature babies die so that people can have hip replacements? I mean, seriously.
I'd rather have left this alone. I wasn't going to join in with showing what a nice guy I am by doing an RIP. A woman with young children was murdered. That she's an MP and a representative of the people makes it worse. I felt pretty crappy about it, frankly.
Reading people then blaming it on the culture that's been around, though, well, that had me into a fit of rage. It's generally accepted that we don't do that. We don't try and make political capital. Even if we think something, we just don't try and score points. But as the likes of Polly Toynbee are trying to, it's time to weigh in.
It appears now that the murderer was a Nazi. Memorabilia found at his flat, records of him signing up for pro-Apartheid magazines and other nazi materials dating back to the 1990s.
So, let me ask this question: do we think that a nazi, someone buying stuff like this is more likely to have carried out this murder because of the sort of vague nods and winks about immigrants (and I'm not denying that some groups and sections of the press allude to things) or that Jo Cox was actively seeking to bring more immigrants into the country? The guy's a Nazi. You can't argue with Nazis that brown skinned people will come over here and do useful jobs, because Nazis don't care. They just don't want any brown skinned, Jewish or any other sort of foreigner around.
And please understand: if Jo Cox was trying to bring more Syrians here, she had every right to go to parliament and make the case. I wouldn't support that, but she certainly didn't deserve to be murdered for it. I'm just trying to address the argument of motive.
See, my problem with the argument going on is that there are people who simply want anyone who doesn't like immigration to be silenced. These are the people who spent years calling anyone who questioned it a racist. Anyone who then wanted less of them a racist. When the BNP appeared and made speeches, they supported their prosecutions. These people then saw political parties grow and complained about their existence while doing nothing to address the problems. And now, they've stooped to telling people that because they don't like immigrants, someone has been murdered.
I don't buy it for a second, and I think it's foul.
Posted by The Stigler at 18:12
The responses to last week-and-a-half's poll were as follows:
What are fire extinguishers most commonly used for?
Propping open a fire door - 88%
Extinguishing fires - 4%
Other, please specify - 8%
Wigner's Friend: Demonstrating how to use a fire extinguisher.
This week's poll:
What's the most likely outcome of next week's referendum?
Majority for Bremain
Majority for Brexit, followed by actual Brexit
Majority for Brexit, months of (re)negotiations and a rigged second referendum
Vote here or use the widget in the sidebar.
Kenya, the world’s biggest exporter of black tea, is considering introducing the world’s first futures contracts for the leaves to help stabilize prices and enable growers to guarantee income from their production...
“The ability for farmers to be able to hedge out their pricing risk will be a big win,” Terrence Adembesa, head of derivatives at the bourse, said in an interview. “Another plus is the ability to provide a platform for investors who want exposure to a certain asset class that they currently don’t have.”
Firstly, who says that futures stabilise prices, they can smooth or exacerbate fluctuations in underlying prices, but long term do not affect them much.
Secondly, let's assume our farmer expects to harvest 100 units and is happy to sell them for $1 each, expected income $100. He can now, if he likes, sell his harvest forward (goes short).
If harvests are up ten percent and the price falls ten percent, he is even happier. He sells his first 100 units for the fixed $1 and the surplus ten units for $0.90. Total income $109.
If harvests are down ten percent and the price rises ten percent, he is knackered. He sells his 90 units for the fixed $1 and has to pay his counter-party the difference of $0.10 on the missing ten. Total income $90.
So what's in it for the farmer? Hasn't he just increased his upside and downside risks?
For the speculator who bought the 100 units forward, the calculation is the other way round. With the good harvest, he loses $10 and with the poor harvest he wins $10. Fair enough, he is just gambling with his own money, mainly against other speculators, but ultimately, all farmers' total gains/losses are the equal and opposite of all speculators' losses/gains.
Thursday, 16 June 2016
From the BBC:
The Bank of England has warned that uncertainty about the EU referendum is the "largest immediate risk" facing global financial markets.
The Bank said there were "risks of adverse spill-overs to the global economy" from the 23 June vote. It was "increasingly likely" that sterling would fall further - perhaps sharply - in the event of a leave vote, the Bank added.
They clearly think we are totally gullible.
Emailed in by MBK from The New Statesman:
The expectation at the Bank is that a Leave vote would trigger a sharp decline in the value of sterling…
GBP might indeed fall, good for exporters, not so good for importers.
… and a period of heightened inflation.
If GBP falls, there is no reason to assume there will be high inflation. There wasn't after precipitous GBP falls after White Wednesday and during 2008.
In that case, the expectation is that the Bank would have to increase the basic rate of interest, which has been held at 0.5 per cent for seven years.
Why would it "have to"? Central banks should not be trying to control exchange rates, FFS, and if you want a fair exchange rate, the best thing to do is have similar interest rates to other major countries, i.e. very low at present.
Further, if a doomsday economic crash scenario, the BoE would be advised to reduce interest rates, not increase them.
That would trigger an immediate crisis in Britain’s housing market – several banks estimate that about one-third of buy-to-let landlords would be unable to pay their mortgages in the event of a 2 per cent rate rise.
We don't have a "housing crisis", we have a "transfer of wealth crisis", we've done that topic.
The rest is more wild assumptions. We know from 2008 how banks will respond. They will certainly not be increasing interest rates and repossessing landlords, thereby pushing down house prices. Banks want house price to stay up more than anybody else, it seems, even if it means making losses on the interest margin.
According to officials at the Bank of England, the true figure may well be higher, as many buy-to-let landlords have mortgages with multiple banks.
WTF difference does that make?
Renters would face a toxic cocktail of rent rises, banks that were unwilling to lend even as house prices dropped…
Again, no reason to assume rents would rise, rents are dictated by tenants' disposable incomes and not the landlord's costs. Seeing as we going with doomsday economic crash scenario, tenants' income down = rents down, not up.
Banks would be no more or less willing to lend than they are now, that is another wild assumption.
… and homeowners stuck with mortgages greater than the equity in their homes, unwilling and unable to sell up – even if buyers could be found.
Apart form being more wild assumptions (and wrong - see above), that's a tautology. What he means is "negative equity", anybody with a mortgage of more than half the value of his home has a mortgage greater than his equity, by definition. Twat.
The most sickening bit is that the NS is supposed to be left wing, is it heck, this article is just as pro-bank and pro-landlord as The Daily Mail.
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
Tourist commentary on the Vienna city tram tour. Passing the old Vienna stock exchange building the commentary remarks that the actual Stock Exchange has now moved out of the building as the rent became too high...
Posted by Lola at 17:39
Emailed in by MBK from The Independent (the Irish one):
On Thursday week we will know if Britain is going to stay or leave the European Union...
No we won't. The referendum outcome is not binding on the government, and precedents tell us the most likely outcome is a fudged renegotiation and another referendum even more rigged than this one. Even if the government respects a Brexit outcome, it will be years before anything changes.
And if Britain decides to go - Irish farming will be the first in the firing line. Britain has 64 million people and is the world's fifth largest economy. They are also hefty net contributors to the EU budget with a contribution of £13m last year. CAP, which still accounts for 37pc of the EU budget, and could take a big hit if Britain leave [sic].
Fair point. Subsidising our own landowners is insane, subsidising land owners in other countries is beyond insane. So that's a modest win for us.
Some 50pc of Irish beef goes to Britain in trade worth €1.1bn per year. Britain buy 60pc of our pigmeat worth €3.3m per year. Ireland also buys heftily from Britain, importing €3.8bn, against exports of €5.1bn. Of course people will argue, with some justification, that Ireland and Britain have always traded, long before any EU.
So why would we stop buying it all of a sudden..? We buy food and drink from all over the world, from EU and non-EU countries alike.
But the real rub here, and it is still not taken properly on board by many people engaged in this debate, is that if Britain leave [sic], our trade arrangements with them will have to be fixed via Brussels and the other member states.
Aha, so the Eurocrats would punish the Irish to teach the UK a lesson. Whose fault would that be? FFS.
From The Evening Standard:
Jeremy Corbyn today claimed free healthcare could be scrapped if Britain leaves the European Union…
“A vote to Leave is a vote to put our NHS in jeopardy,” he told a TUC event, adding it would put it “in the hands of those who want to break it up, to end it as a service free at the point of use”.
Firstly, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have never said they want to break up the NHS, but that is irrelevant. This is not a general election, we are not choosing who runs the NHS, we are voting to stay in or leave the EU. Mentioning Nigel Farage as another Brexiteer who would like to break up the NHS is even more far fetched, he is not an MP, he is not even un the party of government and frankly, he never will be in a UK government, let alone a minister for health.
The leaders of the Brexit campaign signed a pledge that they would not slash grants to family farmers, universities and scientists that get money from the EU. The letter signed by Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Ms Patel followed a backlash when they had promised to save £350 million a day by axing EU spending.
Mounting a rearguard action, Ms Patel insisted there would be “more than enough money” to continue subsidies at the same level as EU grants.
The Leave campaign has bandied around the figure of saving £350 million a week, about £17.5 billion a year, which is the gross amount of our contributions to various EU budgets and programs*. Nobody ever said £350 million a day, which is £100 billion a year (or slightly more than we spend on old age pensions).
* Nearly half that is paid back to UK recipients, mainly agricultural land owners. So it's fair to criticise these Brexiteers for being just as corrupt and wasteful as the EU with that part of their planned spending.
From The Evening Standard:
“Sterling is being tossed overboard as our EU membership nears an iceberg,” said Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight.
“The klaxons are sounding for sterling across the City. The pound is sinking fast and the FTSE is being thrown about in turbulent seas.”
He's going for the nautical theme, but completely messes it up.
Yes, yes I know I know. It is for, as in pro, ever greater union. But what is it actually 'for'? That is does anything it does have any any unique usefulness and purpose that could not be achieved without it? I really cannot think of anything that it does that could not be better and more cheaply achieved on a government to government basis or internally on a state by state basis.
The things it has 'achieved' - the Euro for example - have not been what you might call successful. Have they? Or common standards? Why? Better to have competing standards from which we can continually test which works best.
Or 'security'. We already have NATO. And police forces have long had informal and formal cross border co-operation, even prior to the EU.
The 'single market'? Well strictly speaking it isn't a single market. It's a customs union, at best, or at worst and probably more accurately a giant single regulation area presided over by the biggest quango on the planet. Traders across borders have for centuries dealt with varying regulations, Yes it makes things easier, but again it reduces competition between regulations from which we can chose the best, and which are constantly evolving.
I just cannot for the life of me think of anything that makes the EU uniquely useful.
Posted by Lola at 06:47
Tuesday, 14 June 2016
"The tragedy of the commons is an economic theory of a situation within a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting that resource through their collective action."
We all understand the concept of the Tragedy of the Commons. Today, most of us know that over fishing and deforestation are symptomatic of this.
In the case of fish stocks, we have recognised that they are a common resource which needs to be regulated in order to achieve a sustainable level of “catch maximisation”.
So, like all things there is a Laffer Curve, by which to the left of the curve there aren't enough fish being caught to maximize yields, and to the right too many for the stocks to be sustainable.
These is why we have quotas. Quota systems are not the most efficient way of allocating the rights to catch fish, but that's a separate issue (an auction system would be better, but for some reason, Governments love grandfathering property rights to natural resources). Point is, we no longer allow a fishing free-for-all around our coasts.
Our shared environment, is also a common resource. And without the right framework of property rights and regulations, will lead to an over consumption of horizontal and vertical location, lowering our stock of wealth and welfare.
As land values are derived from the efficient exploitation of agglomeration effects on one hand(development) and a preference for spending on locational amenity over alternative goods and services on the other (preservation/enhancement), there is a sweet spot for the maximisation of our stock of wealth and welfare, which can be measured as the aggregate rental value of land (location). In other words there will also be a Laffer Curve of planning.
At zero, there are no restrictions. That is no rules, restrictions or property rights over land.
At 100, there is no development allowed. That is there cannot be any changes to the environment caused by human actions.
The trouble is that while high aggregate land values are a good thing, they go bad when capitalised into private rental incomes and selling prices because they are not spread evenly throughout society. This not only transfers incomes from the young and the poor to the elderly and the rich, lowering the discretionary incomes of typical working households, but causes excessive vacancy, under occupation, land banking and urban sprawl.
The solution to this are just property rights, whereby we equally share the value agglomeration effects and good planning gives to locations, via a 100% tax on it’s rental value.
As the State would be collector of rents on our behalf, it must therefore align itself with our interests in order for it to maximise revenues in order to pay for public services. In other words, it would have to get very interested in the subject in finding that planning sweet spot, as it would be competing for our spending (LVT is about choice, not coercion) against privately provided goods and services.
It’s not that an LVT causes more or less development, but the right kind of development where it is most needed.
Efficient markets are not the same as "free-for-all" markets.
From The Guardian, after some vacuous drivel from Gordon Brown which is not even worth taking the piss out of:
Enda Kenny, the Irish prime minister, has said that a vote to leave the EU would lead to the return of some form of border controls at the border with the Republic. Speaking at the University of Ulster, he said:
"The re-establishment of customs checks on the border, or indeed of any customs arrangements, would be a regrettable and backward step for North-South trade and cooperation...
"We are standing here today less than 50 miles from the United Kingdom’s only land border. Can anyone credibly suggest that nothing would change if that became the western border of the European Union? We remember when it was a hard border. We remember the delays, the cost and the division. One of the most beneficial effects of the peace process and our common membership of the EU has been the virtual elimination of that border."
There was a very open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland/UK until The Troubles, 1970 or thereabouts, when neither country was in the EEC. Ireland and the Irish retained preferential treatment after it/they demerged from the UK in (the 1920s or 1930s? Never really clear to me), for most purposes, they are still treated on a par with full UK citizens (Irish passport holders have the right to vote in UK elections, certain tax advantages etc).
Both countries joined the EEC as was at the same time in 1973.
The armed police, border controls persisted until the 1990s when the worst of The Troubles had died down again (thanks to The Peace Process i.e. massive bribes and diplomatic spadework by John Major, with Tony Blair riding in to get the glory).
To thank the EU for this is laughable. I'm sure it did no harm, but it deserves little or none of the credit. For once, the Yanks were a moderating force in all this.
Monday, 13 June 2016
From The Times
During 38 years in British intelligence, I worked at the heart of the Cold War in Europe, including Moscow at the end of the Soviet Union. In the post-Cold War period, I witnessed the final stages of the Balkan wars and the growth of international terrorism. I worked with security and intelligence services across the globe, and in closest collaboration with the so-called Five Eyes partners (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US as well as the UK), France and other long-standing EU allies.
Good to see Remain scraping the barrel with John Scarlett, the man best known for writing the dodgy dossier into Iraq WMDs. I wouldn't trust this scumbag as far as I could throw him.
Emailed in by View From The Solent, from Reuters:
If Britons vote to leave the European Union in a June 23 referendum it could be the beginning of the end for the 28-nation bloc and for western political civilization more generally, European Council President Donald Tusk said.
In an interview with German newspaper Bild, Tusk said a so-called Brexit vote would provide a major boost to radical anti-European forces who he said would be "drinking champagne".
"Why is it so dangerous? Because no one can foresee what the long-term consequences would be," Tusk said. "As a historian I fear that Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also of western political civilization in its entirety."
Project Fear appears to have moved so far beyond satire that it I'm starting to take it seriously again.
Clearly, I'm still not particularly worried about the negative consequences of Brexit, which will be negligible unless TPTB fuck things up deliberately to teach us a lesson, I'm now starting to worry about the sanity of all these people.
Sunday, 12 June 2016
From the Guardian
As the home of titles such as Angry Birds and Clash of Clans, Finland is where many ambitious game developers – not just Finns – go to make their mark in the industry. Where I work, at Rovio, nearly 40 different nationalities are represented within our workforce alone.
As there are 28 members of the EU, 12 are outside, so have no problem bringing workers in
But whatever the case, a crucial part of the magic is the openness of Finland itself. While Rovio recruits from all over the world, the lion’s share of those nearly 40 different nationalities are in fact European. Thanks to Finland’s membership of the European Union, Rovio and all Finnish companies are able to very easily, with a minimum of bureaucratic hassle, draw upon on a high-quality pool of talent from all across Europe. In our offices, Finns work in high-performance teams side by side with Poles, Germans, French, Swedes, Estonians and Britons, to name a few. Finland’s openness to Europe has led to the cosmopolitan clustering of artists, coders, engineers and other game professionals that we see in the bars and clubs of Helsinki today. Rovio is undoubtedly richer for it.
Well, we'd expect the lion's share to be from Europe. People living in Sweden, Latvia and Estonia aren't going to spend as much on trains home or feel so out of place as someone from China.
So as the CEO of an entertainment company delivering globally competitive products, to me Europe means business. Europe means talent. Europe means that a company based in a small country such as Finland has a fighting chance of assembling a world-class team that is able to compete head-to-head against the largest companies anywhere.
I worked in a team in Switzerland with someone from France, Portugal, Spain, America and a few Britons. Switzerland isn't in the EU.
What would happen, then, if the UK were to vote to leave the European family? From my point of view, at least, it would create a challenging and disorienting situation. We would be obliged to review our business arrangements regarding the UK, a worrying and potentially costly prospect. And if the law were to suddenly force us to restrict British talent from future hiring considerations, that would be a sad loss both for Britain and for Finland. That’s my opinion as a businesswoman, anyway.
Jesus Christ. Look, I frequently work with Indians working in the UK on visas. At the last site I was at, we had 2 South Africans on site and outsourced work to the Phillipines and China.
As a Finn, as a person, I would also be saddened that, despite being surrounded by the technology and the means to reduce barriers between peoples like never before, yet another wall would seem to be going up, when in this century, in these thrilling times, they should be going down.
And that's why I'm voting out. The barriers of distance and time matter less and less, which is why our dependence on EU trade is falling in favour of more global trade.
It's also worth noting here (something that the article doesn't mention) that Rovio received EU funding worth €25m from the European Investment Bank in 2014.
From the BBC
Meanwhile some of Britain's largest developers have also urged voters to back Remain.
House building companies and housing associations, including Barratt Developments and Wates Group, say a vote for Brexit would cause economic uncertainty and damage investment which would make the housing crisis worse.
How? Sorry, but how does it make the housing crisis worse? Are even more people going to come here if we leave, adding extra demand on land?
"What any developer requires is confidence and continued support from their financial investors - and those investors need certainty over wider market conditions," the developers wrote in an open letter.
But if the housing crisis gets worse, that will raise prices and create confidence for developers.
"Leaving the EU would also have an impact on the UK's housing supply chain companies, which employ millions of people across the UK. This could disrupt the production and import of the supplies needed for building such as bricks and blocks. This will further delay and add costs on Britain's house builders."
What? OK, let's roll with leaving the EU affects imports of bricks. How is that going to destroy jobs in brick making? Right now, we import around 400,000 bricks out of a total of 2.2m, something the industry blames on high energy costs. If we stop getting imports, what that will do is mean bricks have to be made here. They'll cost more and that's bad for consumers, but in terms of effects on British manufacturers, that would be a good thing. They'd make more bricks.
From the BBC
In a letter to the Daily Telegraph the group said science should be "front and centre in the EU debate" as it was a key driver in health, innovation and economic growth.
"The EU contains a critical mass of expertise, with more than one in five of the world's researchers moving freely within its boundaries.
"EU decisions about scientific policy, funding and regulatory frameworks affect science the world over, and are influenced by British scientists. On the inside, Britain has access to people and funding and wields global scientific influence, far greater than we have alone."
The signatories also include Sir Martin Evans, the chancellor of Cardiff University who was awarded for his work into stem cells, and Sir Andre Geim who won a Nobel prize for groundbreaking work on graphene, a material expected to revolutionise manufacturing.
Sir Andre Geim? He was born in Russia, and moved to this country from the Netherlands 10 years before the Free Movement Directive. He's living proof that you don't need a centralised bureaucracy managing free movement to get good scientists into the country.
This has just never been a problem. When Enrico Fermi got the hell out of Italy (his wife was a Jew) he walked straight into an academic job in the USA. Acorn computers (later ARM) was co-founded by Hermann Hauser from Austria, who had come to Britain to study a Phd at Cambridge, at a time when Austria wasn't even in the EU.
The letter comes as MPs urged ministers to draw up contingency plans to protect the UK's science sector in the event of a vote to leave the EU on 23 June.
The Commons Science and Technology Committee said the UK benefited "significantly" from access to EU research budgets and would have to seek other sources for funding if it was withdrawn.
We just stop paying the EU that money and give it to the scientists. Simples.
A spokesman for Vote Leave said: "The biggest myth in this campaign is that money that funds our universities, our farmers comes from a magical money tree in Brussels.
"There is no such thing as EU money - it is all paid for by British taxpayers as part of the three hundred and fifty million pounds sent to Brussels every week."
Dave flailing around desperately now.
From the BBC:
David Cameron has said the government might not be able to protect spending on pensions, the NHS and defence in the long term if the UK leaves the EU.
The prime minister said Brexit could cause a "black hole" in the public finances and threaten the "triple lock" guaranteeing state pension increases. He told Andrew Marr "our economy would be smaller" if the UK left the single market leading to "difficult choices".
And the schools, Dave, and the schools! there'll be no money for new school buildings either, or have you already forgotten that one?
Saturday, 11 June 2016
Friday, 10 June 2016
... says View From The Solent, who spotted this in The Register:
Any reader who's still undecided as to how to vote in the forthcoming, and increasingly tedious, EU referendum, should consider a Brexit future without the culinary protection afforded us by membership of the happy European family of nations.
Last week, the Cornish Pasty Association came out in favour of Britain remaining in the European Union, because "after working so hard for so many years to gain recognition for the Cornish pasty through the EU Protected Food Names scheme, it would be wholly inappropriate for it to support anything that could potentially impact on that status".
In a brief statement, association chairman Jason Jobling said: "As an organisation that has benefitted from the EU protected food names system, and no clear evidence available to demonstrate that Brexit would enable that protection to continue, the CPA supports Britain remaining in the EU and being able to participate in that system."
Protected Geographical Status is indeed an typical EU protectionist thing.
But... from Wiki:
This regulation (enforced within the EU and being gradually expanded internationally via bilateral agreements between the EU and non-EU countries) ensures that only products genuinely originating in that region are allowed to be identified as such in commerce.
So if we want to protect our pasties, all we have to do is sign up and preserve the status quo.
(If we didn't sign up, then UK producers would be able to use all the other protected names and sell their produce to non-EU countries, probably a net gain for them overall, and I can't see the EU letting us get away with that.)
Thursday, 9 June 2016
Via MBK, from politico.eu:
“Take one of our … products, Magnum,” Polman said, sending a (raspberry) ripple through the Brexit debate. “If you have trade restrictions, because undoubtedly if the U.K. will leave the conditions will not be as good as if they stay in. That is a fact that I think is broadly accepted.”
“How does that affect ice cream?” asked Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow.
Polman’s chilling response was: “For example, you will have import duties on dairy; anybody from outside the EU has import duties that could be up to 40-50 percent. So the price of dairy products will go up, the price of ice cream will go up, and ultimately the consumer will pay the price for that.”
He's taking it as a given that the UK would impose import duties on milk from overseas, false assumption, fail.
And it's a good thing the internet never forgets, from The Guardian five months ago:
Unilever, the consumer goods group behind Persil and Magnum ice-creams, has said it will not scale back its UK operations if Britain votes to leave the EU.
The comments from Paul Polman, the chief executive of the Anglo-Dutch business, echo those of Akio Toyoda, his counterpart at Toyota, who said the Japanese carmaker would continue to produce cars in Derbyshire even if Britain left.
In an interview with the Guardian, Polman said Britain should remain in the EU, but that Unilever’s UK sites, including three research and development centres, would not be affected by a vote to leave. “The effectiveness of my research centre is the quality of the people I have there and the ideas coming out in terms of the innovations that we produce. We don’t make a decision on moving research centres around depending on if you are in the EU or not,” he said.
Far beyond parody, from The Evening Standard:
Couples are delaying having children because of worries about the uncertainties of a Brexit, a senior London academic said today. Professor Michael Bruter of LSE discovered evidence that young voters in particular were “far less likely to make family plans” before the June 23 vote.
The extraordinary finding came as a think tank calculated that economic turmoil after leaving the EU could cost low-income families up to £5,500 in reduced benefits and tax credits to rebalance the public finances.
The operative word is "could", if you read the article for the list of assumptions and caveats, a fairer term would be "is highly unlikely to", but hey.
The next one is beyond logic:
Brexit would “drive a wedge” between London and the rest of the UK as more Europeans live, study and work here than in any other part of the country, a report said today.
The Centre for London think tank said the capital was “more closely linked” with continental Europe than ever before, with 850,000 EU nationals calling it home.
It warned that with over 600,000 employed in London, any visa regulation following a pull-out would deal a major blow to the capital’s economy.
In which case, London would become more like the rest of the UK (again), which is the opposite of "driving a wedge between", is it not?
Wednesday, 8 June 2016
From Sky News:
British exporters are at risk of paying up to £5.6bn in duties if the UK votes Out, the head of the World Trade Organisation says.
Although director-general Roberto Azevedo believes Brexit would not stop the UK from trading with international partners, during a speech in London he warned "it could be on worse terms".
The WTO chief also said "it is impossible to tell how long it may take" for the UK to re-establish terms of trade within the EU - and said negotiations in the past had been known to take 10 years or more.
We've done this one. The UK would have no problems getting the same tariff-free terms as Iceland or Turkey, that is EU policy; or the UK could remain in the EEA/rejoin EFTA. As to third countries, there is the basic principle in international treaties that we would continue on the same terms. For example when Czechoslovakia split into two, each new country entered into a double tax treaty with the UK on identical terms to the old UK-Czechoslovakian one.
More to the point, this is the head of the WTO talking. His organisation is there to try and remove trade barriers and tariffs, and has been doing a reasonably good job over the decades, albeit at a slow pace. So it's like the police warning people to stay away from certain streets instead of policing them properly.
If he were taking his job seriously, he would be issuing a stern reminder to the EU that Brexit is not an excuse for stupid retaliatory mercantilist meaures.
As I've said before, I'm as cautious as the next man, if TPTB could come up with a couple of really good arguments for Bremain, then I might chicken out of voting for Brexit, but so far it's just been complete crap.
Tuesday, 7 June 2016
Bill Bonner, the man behind Moneyweek, has a go at the idea of Citizen's Income:
This is crazy!
If you can earn $30,000 a year without working, it will be hard for anyone earning less than $60,000 (about the same as $30,000 after taxes in many places) to get up in the morning and put on his overalls.
The waiters will abandon us at our tables, our glasses unfilled and our dirty dishes still in front of us. The valet parkers will drive off in their own new cars. The burger flippers will leave their hot patties in midair as they head home. All the low-paying jobs, and more than a few middle-income posts, too, will be vacated.
To be fair to Bill, who normally speaks sense, he is against the whole idea of a welfare state. However, what I'd like to ask him is "why do the rich work, then?" Why did Lord Rothschild, a man who earned millions a year and was already worth many millions more, work a longer week than I did, as I discovered to my amazement when I was working on his house. Even his clerk of works had enough money never to have to work again, but still put in a full week's work. It doesn't seem to have occurred to Bill, though, that if someone who earns $30,000 a year after tax can earn $30,000 a year without working, they would rather continue to work and earn $60,000 after tax than remain on $30,000 in idleness. If everyone on $30,000 a year would rather remain idle than earn more, why does anyone on that salary in the absence of a CI ever look to augment their income?
I also heard the selfsame argument being put forward on Radio 4 today, with the same whiff of classism - the rich may work when they don't have to, but the poor are different, they are all feckless, idle layabouts who wouldn't get out of bed unless they face the threat of starvation - a piece of economic and social claptrap easily disproved by the numbers of people who draw the dole and work illegally.
It's things like this that give campaigns bad names. Following on from TS earlier post, it just shows how infantile things have become. It's not an argument, and it is absolutely untrue.
It is precisely because it is damaging to our international (non-EU) ambitions and our engagement with the wider world that we need to leave the EU. The EU's customs union and regulationism frustrates trade with markets external to the EU and the glacial pace of its sclerotic bureaucracy in negotiating anything (other than more perks for themselves) makes us miss opportunity.
In regards to immigration, which is what I think is behind this type of thing, the UK has an excellent record of taking in and integrating all sorts of people from all sorts of places.
It reveals more about the mindset of its creator than anything.
Posted by Lola at 13:25
Monday, 6 June 2016
Elsewhere someone has said that Dave and Co. are running around telling everyone that the sky will be falling in if we don't for Remain.
Ever heard of the story of Chicken Licken?
In other words we are being led to the Fox's earth for his supper.
Posted by Lola at 17:36
Emailed in by MBK, from The Daily Express:
The Chancellor, who kicks off a two-day Ulster visit today, will say unemployment in the region will skyrocket if British voters opt to ditch the 28-member bloc later this month. And the Remain campaigner will insist prosperity in the Republic of Ireland – the only EU state that shares a land border with Britain – would also be hit.
Osborne is the latest high-profile Europhile to claim that Northern Ireland faces a grim future outside of the EU. Labour grandee Lord Mandelson was last month slammed as "ridiculous" for claiming that Brexit would bring an end to peace in Northern Ireland.
Osborne will argue that the economic shock caused by a vote to Leave will wipe £1.3 billion off the value of the Northern Irish economy by 2018 – despite claiming that the region is a "great success story"...
He is also set to warn of the impact on trade with the Republic, warning that border and custom checks will have to be introduced. The Chancellor will also question whether the current free movement of people across Ireland under the Common Travel Area arrangement between the UK and Ireland could be maintained.
Of course those 'open borders will be maintained', it is in the interests of people in both parts of Ireland for them to remain open. The only reason to change that would be sheer spite. End of discussion.
Sunday, 5 June 2016
Spotted by Shiney Mart in The Economist (register for three free articles a month):
An economy as rich as America’s could afford to pay citizens a basic income worth about $10,000 a year if it began collecting about as much tax as a share of GDP as Germany (35%, as opposed to the current 26%) and replaced all other welfare programmes (including Social Security, or pensions, but not including health care) with the basic-income payment.
That level seems a little on the high side to me, why not just assume it is set at current welfare rates and try again? Either way, it would not mean an increase in 'taxes' if you count the CI as a simple tax break or negative tax. The net cost is always zero.
Shiney reckons that the idea must be gaining traction, which is why TPTB are now setting out to ridicule it. Most of the comments are far better informed that the writer of the article.
Saturday, 4 June 2016
I thought I'd share a personal insight, and one that I suspect isn't that uncommon.
While many readers may know that I love wine, I am about quality rather than quantity. I'm trying to be healthier and succeeding. With that in mind, I popped around to my neighbour with the bottle, offering a glass. My neighbours are Guardian left, to the point of it being cliché. I should also add another way I'm trying to improve myself which is to avoid politics with anyone that isn't similarly minded or likely to be persuaded. So, I just don't talk politics with them. Except this time.
On entering, I noticed my neighbour had a Stronger In badge. No real surprise, but hey, I'm not going to talk politics. Here's some wine, would you like some etc... how was the holiday etc.
Anyway, they asked my opinion, how would I vote. And we had a discussion about it. One fascinating point was that they supported the EU because of all the social and environmental law that Brussels passed that Cameron won't, because Murdoch controls him. At this point, and I don't know if it was the wine, or the general bullshit about Murdoch, but I felt the rage rising, quietened it a little and then asked why they were against the unelected Murdoch changing things, but not against the unelected Brussels.
I think this is a lot of the In support. It's that rather than fighting for elected power and winning over the electorate by argument, they see the EU as a way of bypassing them. Establishment people like the EU because they can get them to do the job instead, to bypass those grubby proles that aren't the bien pensant.
I reflected further on this matter, and how I think this is the root of Euroscepticism across Europe. Over time, what the establishment and Brussels think the EU should be about has been shifting away from the public. Euroscepticism was, in the 1980s almost non-existent. It's growth (and not just in the UK) has been about ignoring the public. Based on the nothing that David Cameron received in his renegotiation, the EU has no intention of addressing this. It is full march ahead to full integration.
So, I'm voting with absolute certainty now for one simple reason: I believe exit is inevitable. The EU will push things too far and the public will want to leave. We are going to have to bear whatever pains we are going to have to bear sometime, so it may as well be now, before we integrate still further, than later.
Friday, 3 June 2016
From the BBC:
Mr Dimon said: "After a Brexit we cannot do it all here and we will have to start planning for that. I don't know if it means a thousand jobs, two thousand jobs, it could be many as 4000, and they will be jobs all around the UK."
He added: "Brexit will result in years of uncertainty and I believe that this uncertainty will hurt the economies of both Britain and the European Union. If the UK leaves the EU, we may have no choice but to re-organise our business model here."
And here's the obvious response:
Steve Baker MP, a Leave campaigner, said: "The British people will not be bullied into voting to hand more money and more power to Brussels by someone whose bonus would make even some eurocrat's eyes water and whose bank helped crash the economy. It's time for the 'In' campaign to engage in an honest debate, not make unsubstantiated and illogical threats which are the real danger to our economy."
I don't get this whole "uncertainty" thing, that is just a threat, that is not something that would just happen of its own accord, that would be something that people would deliberately and maliciously do. And there's only one way to find out if it was all just idle threats or whether other countries' leaders really are psychopaths... either way... it's better to find out.
Thursday, 2 June 2016
Emailed in by Lola, via Professional Pensions from NIESR:
Our main conclusions are that reductions in immigration would have a negative impact on the public finances. To offset these impacts policy change in the form of increases in national insurance contributions, reductions in pensioner benefits, or increases in the state pension age could be used. More restrictive immigration policies would, not surprisingly, have more negative impacts.
Aargh! Disasater looms, but what's that "however" leading up to..?
However, these impacts could be mitigated, and indeed reversed, were the government to be able to successfully implement a very significant change in the incomes (and implicitly the skills or qualifications) of new migrants by introducing a skills or points based migration policy (perhaps similar to the policy in Australia).
The reduction in EU migrants, an increase in total non EU migrants and an up-scaling of skills are all possible policies which have been aired in the referendum debate. However, an important policy question, which we do not address here, is whether these policies would and could actually be delivered in practice.
Most migrants from other EU member states are net contributors, of course, so a sensible points system would have little impact on them; I don't think we want an increase in non-EU migrants, again, a sensible points system would weed out the half we don't want. Of course it could be "delivered in practice", we managed perfectly well up to 1997.
Wednesday, 1 June 2016
Spotted by ShineyMart, in article from FT:
Yet simple arithmetic shows why these schemes cannot work. Decide what proportion of average income per head would be appropriate for basic income. Thirty per cent seems mean; perhaps 50 per cent is more reasonable?
The only meaningful debate to be had is what level the basic income could be (whereby £zero is a number worth considering). Pitching it at a random target like 30% or 50% is idiotic. So a sensible start would be to set it at current unemployment benefit rates of about £80 (excl. Housing Benefit)). That is perfectly affordable, assuming it replaces most cash welfare payments and the tax/NIC-free personal allowances. Relatively few people would be noticeably better or worse off (more than £10 a week either way).
(Personally, I'd like to see it a bit higher than £80 a week, maybe £100 or £120, but that is pie in the sky for the time being).
To see the average tax rate implied, add the share of national income taken by other public sector activities — education, health, defence and transport. Either the basic income is impossibly low, or the expenditure on it is impossibly high.
No, set the rate correctly (£80 a week) and nobody's tax rate would go up - for those on means tested benefits would see their tax rates fall dramatically.
There could be no low-paid or part-time positions. Few work as refuse collector or shelf stacker for the love of the job. So such employment must pay more than the guaranteed basic income. Higher unemployment and radical redistribution of income would follow.
Yes there would, provided you can keep most of your earnings and lose none of the basic income (instead of under current rules where you lose half your earnings and all of your unemployment benefit - hence the whole sanctions regime). To be fair, he is attacking one specific proposal which recommends means testing the basic income, in which case it is not a basic income, full stop.