Tuesday 24 July 2007

"Shot for saying 'Stop smoking'"

Is the headline in today's Evening Standard.

A bouncer went up to three men standing outisde a night-club smoking and asked them to stop. One of the men shot the bouncer in the face.

While I abhor the carrying of handguns, violence in all its forms and vigillantism, in this is instance, I can't help thinking that it serves the miserable f***er right.

Update - the bouncer has since died. Not sure if that changes much.


I'm on holiday for a couple of days.

Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Saturday 21 July 2007

Whining NIMBYs

With a breathtaking lack of understanding of economics, the Council for the Protection of Rural England have claimed that building more houses won't get prices down.

There are two ways to get prices down:

1. Build more houses. And I agree that most new housing could and should be built on "brownfield" sites (rather than on floodplains!), but there is a maximum density in towns and cities as well. The next best place is in the Hallowed Greenbelt. Most people don't seem to know that only 10% - 15% of UK land by surface area is developed, 15% to 20% in the South East incl. Greater London. The Greenbelt does not separate one town from another. It's fields that separate towns from fields.

2. Encourage more efficient use of available housing. Land Value Tax (or a Progressive Property Tax as in Northern Ireland) would encourage people to bring empty homes back into use and would encourage single pensioners to trade down into smaller homes. The proceeds of a fiscally neutral LVT could and should replace Council Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax on sales of second homes and investment properties. Two thirds of households would pay the same or less in LVT as they did in Council Tax. A third would pay more, but there would be no SDLT (which costs rich people 4% of the value of their home every time they move) or Inheritance Tax (pensioners would be allowed to roll up LVT at low or no interest until death - unless they live to be a hundred, the rolled up LVT will be much less than IHT would have been).

Is either solution acceptable to the Whining NIMBYs? Nope. The CPRE is a pressure group for rich old people who live in the countryside and want the value of their homes to be kept as high as possible, and damn the rest of us.

*The CPRE qualify for a "Liars" tag but not "Fuckwit", as they know exactly what they are doing.

Friday 20 July 2007

Vaclav Klaus, Czech President

He ended a recent article in the FT with this:

"As a witness to today's worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:
■Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures
■Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided
■Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants
■Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term "scientific consensus", which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority
■Instead of speaking about "the environment", let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour
■Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction
■Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives."

Poetry, pure poetry.

Thursday 19 July 2007

Cash for dishonour

Goblin King "Tony, I have a file on you one inch thick, I have been waiting thirteen years, give me the keys to No. 10"

Tony Blair (the Vampire Slayer) "OK then, I can't be bothered any more ... one last condition, when you're PM, you'll get the CPS off my back"

Goblin King "OK"

... and so the Goblin King and Tony Blair (the Vampire Slayer) finally struck a bargain. And stuck to it.

Wednesday 18 July 2007

The Insitute of Directors

It appears the IoD is headed up by a rather simple minded fellow, in yesterday's FT their D-G was quoted as saying:

"[Business] Rates are a cost levied on property values and have no correlation with a business' profits and hence its ability to pay"

Erm ... yes. But the rents or mortgage repayments that a business has to pay are also "levied on property values".

Further, as various attempts in this country to stimulate business by cutting business rates have shown, all that happens is that landlords put up the rent by the amount of the cut in business rates.

Which is why Site Value Rating is the least worst tax.

Three years at Oxford wasted

Per David Cameron in today's Metro "... that housing is so unaffordable to young people is partly to do with his ... rampant council tax".

Completely and utterly wrong. Council tax doesn't make much difference - as we all well know, houses are cheaper in areas where council tax is higher. So the first time buyer is paying less on the mortgage but more in council tax. A higher council tax depresses house prices.

One of the reasons why Land Value Tax is the least worst tax.

Tuesday 17 July 2007

George Galloway

The Parliamentary standards committee has criticised George Galloway for "concealing the true source of Iraqi funding" to a charity he set up and failing to co-operate with the parliamentary commissioner for standards..


a) Can we please stop referring to him as "Respect MP" and start referring to him as "former Labour MP"? He was a Labour MP when the charity he set up received said funding.

b) Can the Daily Telegraph have their money back?

Our PM is a lying fuckwit

From today's Independent :

Mr Brown, who was in Berlin yesterday for dinner with Chancellor Angela Merkel, said it would be possible to make rapid progress on setting a date for the treaty agreed in principle at last month's Brussels summit. "We will not require a referendum on this. It is something that can be worked on closely by Parliament. I think we can make progress quickly on this," he said.

Saturday 14 July 2007


Those Nulab fuckwits have spent another few £ million on some crappy research and established this much:

"From the qualitative research itself we learned that ... 'good' citizenship is perceived to be based around 'horizontal' relationships -within and between households - concerned with morals, manners, self reliance and good behaviours"*

So far so good, quite reassuring really.

What bothers me are the words I omitted from the above quote between "that" and "good"

"... the public do not equate being a 'good' citizen with engaging with the State. Rather ..."

*See Executive summary, paragraph 8. Why waste money working this out? Why the apostrophes around 'good'? I'm assuming that 'horizontal' is not as in 'jogging'.

The effect of tax rates on unemployment

Here is a summary of "Work and families" by Annette Walling of the ONS. The stat's are for 2004-05 but they won't have changed much.

Unemployment rate among married/cohabiting parents - 19% (men 9%, women 29%).
Unemployment rate among lone parents - 46% (women 47%, men 33%).

Lone parents (90% of whom are women) have very high out-of-work benefits and a very high total marginal withdrawal rate (i.e. for every £ they earn, they are paying 33p PAYE and losing at least another 37p in Working Tax Credits). If an unemployed lone parent finds an average job paying £450 a week, the household's net income goes up by barely a third of that, about £160.

Hardly surprising then that 47% of single mothers are out of work - there's not much point working (the figure is lower for lone fathers - but men are highly unlikely to get the kids if they don't have a job, and men tend to earn enough to break free of unemployment trap).

91% of married/cohabiting fathers are in work. These households are entitled to little or no means-tested benefits. If a mother goes back to work earning £450 a week, the household's net income increases by around three-quarters of that amount, about£340 (paying £110 in tax).

Hardly surprising then that only 23% of all married/cohabiting mothers are out of work (once the children are at school).

Conclusion - if you reduce the total marginal withdrawal rate from 64% to 25%, you halve unemployment.

Not rocket science is it?

Affordable housing

This latest pronouncement by the Goblin King is not going to help anybody.

What he should have done in 1997 is to introduce Land Value Tax aka Site Value Rating for residential land at about 5% of site-only unimproved land values and get rid of Council Tax, Stamp Duty, Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax. This would have fiscally and politically neutral and made life easier for everybody.

More importantly, the current price bubble would never have happened: a 5% annual tax on the value of land would have kept land prices, and hence house prices, much lower.

Ah well, better luck next crash.

Religious fanatics

This particular religious nutter was clearly delusional.

Will it ever happen that an English judge describes an Islamist terrorist as "delusional"?

Friday 13 July 2007

Our Prime Minister is a fuckwit

Per today's London Lite:

"We need to put school sport back where it belongs - as much a part of the school day as algebra and Shakespeare".

Algebra? Shakespeare?

So that's sounded the death knell of sport in schools, then.

Saturday 7 July 2007

The Doctor Rocks

Ah well ...

I've set up a blog. Next post will be in a few months, no doubt.