When David Cameron used his speech to Conservative party conference to announce that he wants to increase income tax thresholds there was uproar from his critics on the left. How dare the Prime Minister promise a tax cut when the UK is still running a giant deficit and adding to the debt burden with each passing day?
The UK Treasury’s ‘Ready Reckoner’ estimates that the changes to the higher rate of tax and an increase in the personal allowance would “cost” £7 billion. Officials have been briefing that they have concerns about whether the threshold changes are “affordable.”
But this is nonsense, pure and simple. A hike in the thresholds doesn’t cost a penny – it just means politicians have less of our money to spend. So you can either cut back, or you can borrow; we’ve tried the latter, and we’ve now got a £1.45 trillion debt pile to deal with whilst paying more in debt interest every year than the country spends on defence. I’d counsel, therefore, that the former is a rather better option.
Indeed the very concept of tax cuts costing anything at all implies that all the money in the economy belongs to the government, and that which it deigns to allow us to keep is some sort of present from a Chancellor who once a year puts on a jaunty Santa hat to hand out alms to the masses.
– Johnathan Isaby
According to the Daily Mail, one of the largest circulation MSM publications in the UK, British special forces are in ground combat against the daesh Islamic State in Iraq. As in “boots-on-the-ground” ground combat.
One might think this would get a mention from Dave Cameron and the MOD. Now whilst I have never been a great fan of the Daily Mail (to put it mildly), surely they cannot just be completely inventing what would be a MASSIVE story, can they? And if so, why is that not front page news in other newspapers?
If your go-to image of a student is someone who’s free-spirited and open-minded, who loves having a pop at orthodoxies, then you urgently need to update your mind’s picture bank. Students are now pretty much the opposite of that. It’s hard to think of any other section of society that has undergone as epic a transformation as students have. From freewheelin’ to ban-happy, from askers of awkward questions to suppressors of offensive speech, in the space of a generation. My showdown with the debate-banning Stepfords at Oxford and the pre-crime promoters at Cambridge echoed other recent run-ins I’ve had with the intolerant students of the 21st century. I’ve been jeered at by students at the University of Cork for criticising gay marriage; cornered and branded a ‘denier’ by students at University College London for suggesting industrial development in Africa should take precedence over combating climate change; lambasted by students at Cambridge (again) for saying it’s bad to boycott Israeli goods. In each case, it wasn’t the fact the students disagreed with me that I found alarming — disagreement is great! – it was that they were so plainly shocked that I could have uttered such things, that I had failed to conform to what they assume to be right, that I had sought to contaminate their campuses and their fragile grey matter with offensive ideas.
– Brendan O’Neill
My only objection to this…
The England band were completely unaware they were providing the background music for anti-IRA songs during Tuesday’s friendly in Scotland, their leader has said. The band, loosely associated with the Football Association, unwittingly provided the tune for chants of “Fuck the IRA” in the first half of the 3-1 win at Celtic Park.
… is that it was ‘unwitting’
In a Reuters article titled British EU exit debate scaring off investment – Hermes funds I hit a line that made me go: say what?
Political rhetoric raising the possibility that Britain may leave the European Union could already be deterring foreign investment and harming London’s financial services industry, a top UK investor said (…) Another effect could be to weaken the allure of the City of London as a base for international financial systems with rival banking and investment hubs New York, Singapore and Zurich likely to benefit.
I was particularly struck by “and Zurich”. So Zurich, also in Europe but not in the EU, will benefit if London is not in the EU? Really?
Hannah Thoburn has an interesting article on World Affairs called Putin the Unifier:
There’s nothing like an invasion to bring a country together. Ask any Ukrainian on any street and they’ll tell you the same thing, almost thankfully: Vladimir Putin has united Ukraine like never before. His actions in eastern Ukraine have proven a kind of catalyst that have forged a nation out of a group of people that once squabbled incessantly about politics, language rights, and tax dollars.
Southern Ukrainians who once sighed in exasperation at the “nationalists from the west” of Ukraine (as the common saying went) are now excited about the election to Parliament of a new, youthful, pro-European party, Self-Reliance, which hails from that region. Perhaps, one woman told me, they can teach us how to begin to “live in the European way.” Some in customarily Russian-speaking areas have taken to purposefully speaking Ukrainian so as to not perpetuate Russian soft power.
This pretty much squares with what I have heard from people I know or correspond with in the Ukraine. They tend to be deeply cynical about domestic corruption and local politicians generally, but all have told me hostility to the Kremlin and pro-western sentiments now largely transcends narrower political groupings, making for some eye widening collaboration amongst very unlikely allies. A guy I know also said much the same thing about many Russians becoming very vocally Ukrainian, with some going ‘deep nationalist’ as only Russians can these days, just not in the way the charming Mr. Putin might have expected.
The correct response to this is…
“I should give a shit why exactly? But please leave your name, address and accomplishments so I can critique your sartorial style in the unlikely event you are ever involved in something never done before in human history.”
But Matt, listen to me buddy… never apologise. Seriously, your friends do not need it and your enemies will still hate you regardless, so either ignore your detractors, or better yet, tell them to shove it.
hat tip: Darryl Watson
I only just spotted this on CapX and it does help explain why I have a high opinion of ‘Guido Fawkes‘, warts and all: he has been on the side of the angels for a long, long time.
Simon Gibbs has an excellent article pointing out a ‘media worthy’ story that the media probably will not cover. Short version: the 2014 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year award has gone to a book ripped into tiny bleeding shreds previously in… the Financial Times.
And lets not forget Piketty and the Shoe Event Horizon!
There is an excellent VICE News report from Lebanon on how things are continuing to spill over the border from Syria, with a good range of local views presented. I like how the VICE team mostly just lets things speak for themselves rather than doing excessive editorialising. They really do make CNN look like Disney’s Mickey Mouse News Network. Also there is a rather splendid clip from an anti daesh Islamic State musical performance.
When Hezbollah starts to sound measured, you know things are messed up almost beyond the ability of sane minds to comprehend. Recommended.
On the ECB’s own website, they say that negative interest rates will “benefit savers in the end because they support growth and thus create a climate in which interest rates can gradually return to higher levels.”
I’m not sure a more intellectually dishonest statement could be made; they’re essentially telling people that the path to prosperity is paved in debt and consumption, as opposed to savings and production. These people either have no idea how economies grow and prosper, they’re outright liars, or they’re completely delusional.
– Simon Black
As has been pointed out before, we are not edging closer to be becoming a police state in the UK, we already are one.
Two effigies of Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond have been withdrawn from bonfire celebrations in an English town after a storm of protest on social media. Thousands of people attended the bonfire celebrations in the East Sussex town of Lewes. Sussex Police said the effigies of Mr Salmond would not now be set alight (…) Just before 21:00 on Wednesday, Sussex Police tweeted: “For those enquiring we have been advised that there won’t be any burning of the Alex Salmond effigies this evening in Lewes. It is understood three effigies – two Alex Salmonds and one Nessie – were confiscated and removed”
I would be curious to know what legal grounds were invoked to confiscate these items of private property that were being used for political expression.
UPDATE: The BBC article has been changed and now no longer contains the following section which I cut and pasted from the original article:
“Just before 21:00 on Wednesday, Sussex Police tweeted: “For those enquiring we have been advised that there won’t be any burning of the Alex Salmond effigies this evening in Lewes. It is understood three effigies – two Alex Salmonds and one Nessie – were confiscated and removed”.
And indeed I do not see that on the Sussex Police twitter either. Removed? Interesting.
UPDATE 2: Ah, this makes me proud to be English