Saturday, 18 January 2014

Women in their 60s shun magical sex memories

Apologies for the headline, but you'd need a heart of stone not to chuckle at Paul Daniels' complaint in the Mail this morning that no women in their 60s have come forward complaining of having been sexually molested by him in the 1960s and 70s. "I had sex with hundreds of girls and had no idea of their age" said the midget magician "it was all a big blur".

Despite which not one has come forward to complain. Perhaps there are some things still too shameful to admit ...

Friday, 17 January 2014

YouGov puts UKIP in 2nd place for Euros

As analysed over at Political Betting, the 'certain to vote' poll shares for the Euros are astonishing:-

Labour - 32%
UKIP - 30%
Conservative - 21%
LibDem - 6%

Whilst this may take the wind out of the sails of Farage's critics, I have a feeling that his teflon coating will last just as long as May's election; that whatever Farage / UKIP does between now and May will not dent the desire of the British public to deliver a painful kicking to the political establishment. What happens in 2015 is up for grabs. Current polls show voters returning to the old three, but it's all to play for. If this May brings some big-name Tory defections to UKIP and enough Lords to make up a cricket side, and if Farage loosens his grip on the party, then 2015 is within reach.  

Interesting times.   

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

What the heck is MiFID?

I picked up the story in Kleinezeitung - the EU has passed a law to stop speculators artificially raising food prices - and didn't understand exactly what it meant. So I looked up the story in the Wall Street Journal - and am really none the wiser. Yes, I know what derivatives are, and what high frequency trading is, but 'dark markets' are a new one, and exactly what will be the effect on UK competitiveness of the measures is beyond my understanding. 

That this isn't a story featured in the UK press doesn't mean it's not important. But once again I must wait for Dr North or C@W or Tim Worstall or Booker to let me know if we should be concerned about this or not. Hey ho.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Rise of the Corporates

It must be frustrating if you're the CEO of a global corporate with a turnover equal to the GDP of a middling State. For a start, your company has to obey lots of laws made by ordinary people - laws which (horror!) even prevent your full profit-making. And then there's the impertinence of elected governments which won't allow you to sell your most profitable products; for firms like Monsanto, pumping out GM seeds sterile in the F1 generation, or Beyer pumping out Neonicotinoid pesticides, such State interference in their trading activities is insufferable.

But help is at hand. A new EU / US trade treaty contains provisions for a 'dispute settlement' process between the large corporates and sovereign states. Any government that 'discriminates' against free trade (i.e. against the big corporates) can find itself at a tribunal - and liable to a hefty fine. 

The Indie reports the current fight against the introduction of the ISDS proposals in the new treaty. This round, the protests may be successful. However, the day is coming when the big global corporates claim equal status with sovereign states. Today it is a block on our ability to ban their products - tomorrow it may extend to a veto on all national legislation 'against the commercial interests' of international firms.

Monday, 13 January 2014

If only they were truthful ...

One of the greatest problems about the coming Euro elections for the incumbent parties is that they are simply unable to tell the truth about their real position for fear of compromising their chances in the 2015 General Election. Well, if they can't do it themselves, perhaps we can do it for them:-

Conservative Party
Frankly, you should all vote UKIP for the Euros. Only if we lose practically every MEP we've got (Hannan excepted) will it give our party the impetus needed to take a common and united position on Europe. A part-cull in 2014 will only lead to ongoing attritional warfare in the party until 2015 - when we will face wipe-out. We need to lose badly in Europe to stand a chance in 2015.

Labour Party
Yes, we know the EU and the corporates are acting in concert to make the workers pay for the economic crisis, at a cost of driving down wages and millions upon millions unemployed in the EU. But we're really not the party of the workers any more - just the employed ones, who are also union members. The deal is that as long as the EU sweetens the pact with generous social measures for those in work (a diminishing number, but they pay subs and dues - the unemployed don't) we'll support the stitch-up in league with the big corporates. And it's not in our long-term interest to see workers do too well. So vote for us if you're employed by large firms or the public sector - we'll see you alright. To an extent. 

LibDems
Well, we've blown it and it's only a matter of time before we're down to single figures in the Commons. The best we can hope for is to maintain some high-profile public figures and screw as much as we can before electoral wipe-out. No, we don't actually believe in anything any more - political power is an end in itself, isn't it? And if voting for us gives you a warm glow at having done your democratic duty by voting without actually making any political choice about anything, it's not entirely a wasted vote, is it?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

'Mirror' destroyed by own readers over UKIP

The editor of the Sunday Mirror, Lloyd Embley, must now be regretting having published a daft feed from the Labour Party's press office as a news story. Labour researchers had obtained details on the expenses of UKIP MEPs from the European Parliament, and Embley dutifully trotted them out in today's edition to provoke voter anger.

The whole thing has backfired. The comments, and their reader ranking, destroy the Mirror and display massive support for UKIP. Go and enjoy the bile ...

Bed space

18th Century bed cupboard

21st century bed cupboard

The Mail pretends indignation this morning at the advertising of a sleeping cubby-hole for rent in a London house, but such things have a long history - in historical terms it was only comparatively recently that we enjoyed the luxury of each person sleeping in their own room. 

Servants, in particular, were stored for the night in some peculiar places. Privileged body servants sometimes slept on the 'truckle' - a wheeled board stored under the Master's bed; in one of the historic royal palaces, servants' bed-nests were hidden in a void between the ceiling and the floor above, and kitchens and parlours of the more humble sort were often provided with bed-cupboards. Sleeping in the kitchen after the family had retired for the night was common. In the eighteenth century not only were even normal sized rooms commonly partitioned with thin boarding into several sleeping-holes, but guests unknown to each-other would be expected to share beds.

One imagines a future Monty Python:- "You grew up in a shed in the garden? We would have killed for a shed. Four of us lived in the under-stairs cupboard ..."