In a bid to divert attention from the wet blanket of Philip Hammond’s budget last week, the Establishment has been attacking Labour’s plans for borrowing (only) for investment.
Channel 4’s FactCheck issued an article criticising Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s supposed lack of understanding of how government borrowing works – allowing Tories to crow briefly and erroneously – only to have to issue a corrected version. Other ‘MSM’ piled in with similarly-misplaced attacks.
The push-back against this nonsense has started. A group of twenty-three renowned economists also made a firm, public statement of support for the sound economic principle of government borrowing to invest to strengthen the economy – and the tax take.
Now the impact of government investment – and the reality that it pays for itself in economic growth and improved tax-receipts – can be seen in these previously-unreleased case studies of three planned Labour investment projects:
An appropriate tribute to Martin Luther on the 500th anniversary of the nailing of the theses to Wittenburg church, courtesy of Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK. Below the link I offer you numbers 28-30 inclusive as a preview:
The latest in a series of strikes around the country are set to hit rail operators who are pushing for DOO (driver-only operation) in a drive to eliminate guards on their trains. For the operators, it’s all about saving money – a leaked report put that beyond doubt.
For unions, the key issue is the critical role played by their members in the safety of rail users and the general public – even the leaked report on cost savings acknowledges the risk of more – and more severe – accidents if guards are eliminated.
The rail operators, at least publicly, claim that the guards’ role is non-essential and that putting a customer-service manager on some trains is enough – but considering that they don’t think their trains need guards, they seem to be going to extensive lengths to cover shifts of guards during the strike action.
My name is Andrew and I work for Nicola at Tour London. Nicola is a tour guide in London UK who takes individuals and groups to the most famous landmarks in London, as well as discovering hidden gems along the way! We were wondering if it were possible for us to appear on your “links” page in any way given that we share such a similar topic.
Alternatively would you be interested in content pieces? Nicola has a vast knowledge of London and would love to share it with your audience. Finally, If not content, do you have any other advertising opportunities?
Naturally, I was delighted to receive such a communication, and I have since put in some links, done a special post about this site and ‘pressed’ a couple of their pieces. Please visit londontu.be to read about this in more detail, and then explore tourlondon to see what they have to offer.
WE OWN IT – TRANSPORT
The campaign group weownit have created a resource with the catchy title Privatisation Fails. Below is a screenshot of the homepage for this resource:
30 years ago, our bus services were deregulated and privatised. This has been a disaster for our buses. Fares went up and routes that weren’t profitable were cut, meaning you now pay more for less. In 2017, the Bus Service Users Bill was passed, which included a clause which bans local councils from creating their own public bus companies.
On this page are the Big Five bus companies that grew out of deregulation and privatisation in the 1980s – together they control 70% of the bus travel industry in the UK. Many of these companies either own, or are owned by, rail companies as well.
Read more about bus services, and how and why we want to bring them into public ownership, here.
British Rail was broken up and privatised between 1994 and 1997, and since then rail services in the UK have been provided by private companies. There are 16 rail franchises in the UK, where the government gives train companies funding to run services for a certain period.
Many of the companies that run our trains are European state-owned companies who reinvest millions of pounds a year in dividends from their British operations into their own transport systems. As you’ll see, these companies often own franchises within franchises. You might be surprised to learn who owns your morning commute! We’ve also listed three ‘ROSCOs’ or rolling stock companies, who lease trains to rail companies.
Read more about the privatisation of rail and what we can do about it here.
Royal Mail workers have voted by a huge margin to take strike action. The official voting figures are:
This means that 65.593% of all those eligible to vote cast their vote in favour of strike action. I did this calculation myself, entirely in my head, but here for the record is how to get there…
Calling Turnout T and Yes votes Y and Overall Percent Yes as O we have O = TY/100. Putting the known figures into this we have O = (73.7 x 89)/100. To avoid decimals until absolutely necessary we change this to O = (737 x 89)/1000. To calculate 737 x 89 we can reduce to single figure calculations as follows:
737 x 89 = (700 x 89) + (30 x 89) + (7 x 89), and then splitting these up 700 x 89 = (700 x 80) + (700 x 9), 30 x 89 = (30 x 80) + (30 x 9) and 7 x 89 = (7 x 80) + (7 x 9). We now have a series of multiplications which can all be treated as single figure multiplications, with in some cases zeroes to be stuck on the end. Multiplying them out gives us 56,000 + 6,300 + 2,400 + 270 +560 + 63. Adding these together we get 65,593, and dividing by 1,000 requires a decimal point to go between the first and second five, giving us 65.593%. PS It took a lot longer writing this out than performing the calculations in my head!
This is a particularly excellent piece from Richard Muprhy of Tax Research UK. His suggestion of going after directors of companies who allow criminal activity to take place through deliberate negligence (e.g. a telecom company who allow someone to obtain bulk telephone numbers knowing damn well whatever they may say to the contrary that they will be used for criminal purposes) is spot on. I would take his reasoning a step further and suggest that they be treated as guilty of the crime they have facilitated – I think a single director going down for fraud in these circumstances would soon stop the facilitators.
Jimmy Anderon’s 500th test wicket, some links, some puzzles and some photographs.
As well as the title piece this post will feature links, pictures (items that will be going under the hammer at the end of September principally) and puzzles – including answers to a couple.
ANDERSON JOINS 500 CLUB
As predicted by me in a previous post the third and final test match of the England v West Indies series has featured a moment of cricket history as James Anderson duly collected his 500th wicket in this form of the game. Among bowlers of anything other than spin Glenn McGrath leads the way overall with 563 (off-spinner Muralitharan’s 800 for Sri Lanka is the record, followed by leg-spinner Warne’s 709 for Australia). The two spinners have set marks that are not realistically within Anderson’s grasp but the 563 of McGrath is well and truly catchable.
The historic moment came near the end of play yesterday, in the West Indies second innings (btw as I write this Anderson has increased his tally to 504) and it was a dismissal worthy of the occasion. He was denied in the West Indies first innings not by their batting (they managed a meagre 123 all out) but by a remarkable spell from Ben Stokes who finished that innings with figures of 6-22 – a test best for him. England led by 71, which looks like being decisive – the top score coming from Stokes (60). This combination of circumstances leads to me to finish this section with a raft of predictions/ hostages to fortune:
The Brian Johnston champagne moment – James Anderson’s 500th test wick – 100% certain whatever happens in what is left of this match!
Player of the match – Ben Stokes barring miracles.
Player of the series – Ben Stokes – 100% nailed on.
Match and series results: England win and take the series 2-1 – West Indies have just been dismissed for 177 in their second dig leaving England 107 to win – Anderson a career best 7-42 taking him to 506 test wickets.
I am grouping my links in categories, starting with…
With the unprecedented sight on weather maps of America and the Caribbean of three hurricanes poised to make landfall simultaneously (by now one of those, Irma, is already battering Cuba), A C Stark has prodcued a very timely piece whose title “Climate Change: The Elephant in the Room” is sufficient introduction.
This subsection closes with links to two posts from Anna. First we have Part 7 of her series about Butterflies in Trosa.
The other post features a link to a video of a swimming sea eagle (only viewable on youtube) and a picture taken by Anna in which 11 sea eagles are visible.
My remaining four pieces concern a single individual who is widely tipped to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. It is this latter fact which has exposed him to intense scrutiny, resulting in the following collection about…
To set the scene we start with Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK’s piece simply titled “Jacob Rees-Mogg“.
The second and third pieces in this sub-subsection both come courtesy of the Guardian:
Harriet Harman, referring to comments of his about how even though he is the father of six children he has never changed a nappy labels him as a “Dead-beat dad“.
My final piece comes courtesy of the Skwawkbox. It is titled “MOGG: “DENY ABORTION TO RAPE VICTIMS”. PHILLIPS: “LET’S DO CHELTENHAM!”” referring simultaneously to one of the more odious statements to have emerged from the ‘honourable member for the 18th century’, and Jess Phillips’ friendship with him. The body of the piece fleshes out the difference between the Phillips approach and the more forthright approach of new MP Laura Pidcock.
A SEGUE LINK – A QUIZ
With apologies to those of my readers whose first language is not English, and who therefore cannot take on this quiz, I offer you courtesy of quizly a test on one of the biggest sources of grammatical mistakes in English, safe in the knowledge that my own score in said quiz can be equalled but not beaten:
I appended a question to a link that featured the year 1729 in a recent post. This was the question:
The puzzle I am attaching to this is: which two famous mathematicians are linked by the number 1,729 and how did that link come about?
The two famous mathematicians linked by the number 1,729 are G H Hardy and Srinivasa Ramanujan. The link came about when Hardy visited Ramanujan in hospital during the latter’s final illness and mentioned the number of the cab in which he had travelled – 1,729 and went on to suggest that this was a very dull number. Ramanujan said in response “No Hardy, it is a very interesting number, the smallest that can be expressed as the sum of two cubes in two different ways”.
The other puzzle I set in that post was this one from brilliant:
If the statement on door 1 is true, then the treasure is behind door 2, which makes the statements on doors 2 and 3 both false = not acceptable.
If the statement on door 2 is true then the treasure is behind door 3, which makes both the other statements false = not acceptable.
If the statement on door 3 is true, then the statement on door 1 could also be true, making the statement on door 2 false – this scenario is acceptable.
Thus we open door 2 and collect the loot.
I finish by setting you another puzzle, again from brilliant, the 100th and last problem in their 100 DayChallenge, and a cracker:
Don’t be intimidated by that maximum difficulty rating – it is not as difficult as the creators thought. Incidentally you still have a couple of days to answer the problems properly on that website should you choose to sign up – although it would be tough to them all in that time!