Sunday, March 19, 2017

Light slowly dawns?

Well, it is almost the equinox :)

Something has obviously been added to the water* at the SNP Conference:

He said: “There’s obviously a very sophisticated intelligence network that exists currently as part of the UK and it would make no sense to tear all that down. Once Scotland is an independent country we are going to cooperate extremely closely with our immediate neighbour.

Well, replace "intelligence" with "economic" and that's the whole SNP ideology (except the "evil English oppressing us whenever we couldn't find any Scots or French to do it) down the loo with the rest of the excretia.

As a note, why should RUK co-operate with an untrustworthy socialist pro-EU neighbour? "5 and one squinty one Eyes"?

* It's Trump, that evil SNP appointed Ambassador for Scotland, in control of MI6, I tell you.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

I'm shocked, I tell you, schocked!

How dare intelligence agencies gather intelligence!

BBC:
Wikileaks has published details of what it says are wide-ranging hacking tools used by the CIA.

The alleged cyber-weapons are said to include malware that targets Windows, Android, iOS, OSX and Linux computers as well as internet routers.

Err, well, yes?

Seriously, what do you expect them to be doing? Spending their time finding faster ways to crack Engima?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Those income requirements for spousal visas ...

This is something I feel quite strongly about, my daughter having married an American and having had to wait to bring him across. The principle, I agree with the Supreme Court, of not requiring HM's Government to import people who will be dependent on benefits (outside of our obligations to refugees and asylum seekers, who ought not to but seem quite often to be economic migrants), is reasonable.

The BBC, as always, with its full SJW hat on, gets it badly wrong:

Satbir Singh is a British citizen who is unable to bring his wife to the UK from India, because his more than £60,000 a year income comes from more than one source.

I went through this with daughter. She had income from three sources - her part time job, research assistant work at her University, and research assistant work with our company. The big question was whether she would build up enough income from her three jobs, or eventually reach the full income requirement from her university job.

Here are the rules. And remember this guy is on £60k per year, according to the BBC - more than three times the current £18,600 requirement.

Category A - if any of his sources of income is a job that pays £18,600 or more a year, salaried or not, he can apply to bring his wife over after 6 months in the role (lowest salary in the period counts, non-salaried get it slightly easier and it is total gross income over that 6 months.) And you can add non-employment income, a savings contribution or pensions.

Category B - (and the example c in the rules is a good one) - this is how my lass qualified in the end.

Part 1: Gross up your employment over the last 6 months and do you exceed £18,600 annual equivalent? If you are salaried, you can use your current salary rate. If you are non-salaried or have multiple earnings, do some trivial arithmetic.

Part 2: Did you earn more that £18,600 over the last 12 months?

Pass both parts and you can apply. And you can count your partner's income (if they are in the UK with permission to work) and, as above, non-employment income and pensions count for both parts and a savings contribution can be used for Part 1 but not Part 2.)

So, I reckon somebody on £60,000 p.a., an average £5k per month, would be trivially able to meet category B after about 3 months and 22 days, before adjusting for lumpiness of income?  That would be enough time to earn £18,666.67 - covering you for both Parts 1 and 2 of Category B.

There are various adjustments, to the benefit of the applicant, for sick leave (and maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave) and other categories, C through G, for different circumstances.

I call "Bollocks" on the particular instance (rather than that there are specific people who have particular issues with the system.) Unless, of course, his income is undeclared - but that's his problem, not HMG's.


Monday, February 13, 2017

He hit him with the cluebat!

Somehow, I've got on to the "Medium" daily mailing list. Quite a lot of it is just the usual pathetic SJW whining with a strong levening of "This shit is only relevant to Yanks. And, even there, it is probably still wrong."

But this cracked me up:

Though the vaunted Free Market has no incentives to, say, take care of babies with cancer, a well-functioning market can definitely be a great way to see which provider offers the cheapest price for a roll of toilet paper or a bushel of apples.

Sighs.

It is fairly obvious that there are:
  • people with babies with cancer, 
  • and their Friends and Relations, 
  • people who have had babies survive cancer, 
  • people who have had babies die from cancer, 
  • people who have other tragedies to do with cancer, 
  • medics who care about babies, 
  • medics who are just doing their job, 
  • medical researchers who want fame and fortune
All of these people have things to contribute to taking care of babies with cancer - money, insurance providers with money, time, skills, tear-jerking stories that can get in to the press and raise awareness.

How best can they co-operate to ensure that these resources are brought to bear to provide the most effective treatment or palliative care for babies with cancer? Well, medicine is a not-really-but Free Market - loads of guild controls, loads of government interference - some of it justified, much of it less so - but there is no reason that paediatric cancer treatment should be any different to, say, adult cancer treatment. Or hip replacements, frankly.

Luckily for my still-too-high blood pressure, at the bottom, this was linked:

Are you really going to indirectly compare “babies with cancer” and “getting a ride?”

If anyone was wondering why the endlessly breathless hipster-press gets the stink-eye, I think I can hook you up.

Okay, timeout.

When you open your article — when the lead paragraph — is patent bullshit, you significantly undercut your credibility.

“Though the vaunted free market has no incentives to, say, take care of babies with cancer.”

You mean, aside from all those people who care about babies with cancer?
Well worth reading the response in full (much more than the OP.)

Now, of course, that the cluebat has struck home, let's see if it has any lasting impact.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

British Values?

So Jeremy Corbyn thinks that John Bercow is right to reflect "British values" in signalling that the Trumpocalypse will stop at the gates of the Palace of Westminster.

I wonder if these values are the murderous homophobia and anti-semitism and the legalised misogyny that he loves so much in his friends from Hamas and Hezbollah, or the torture and murder practiced so freely by his friends in the IRA?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

BBC goes Daily Mail

Roman houses found under park in Chichester:

"It is thought the houses, which would have been worth millions today, were owned by people of importance."

A quick skeg at Zoopla suggests that they are probably wrong.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The stupidest thing I've heard all year ...

And it has been an exemplar year for idiots and their utterances: 
Elf on the Shelf is easily the most violently dreadful thing to happen in 2016.
FFS. You've had Aleppo, a regular if discontinuous series of Islamist murders, Daesh / ISIS / who cares, Trump, anti-Trump riots and Jessica effing-Valenti,  and people are worried about a bloody doll?

Well, okay, not "people". Guardian commentators**. If I got an invite to their New Year bash, and unlikely amounts of weaponry*, there might just be a violently beautiful thing happening on the cusp between 2016 and 2017.

* Well, and a morality bypass. Which sufficient gin might just enable.

** Who can't use Amazon. Apparently EoS costs £31.95. Without looking hard, I can get that down to £4.44. Which takes it from the "this seems unreasonably expensive" to "the sort of cheap tat that kids can be bought without thinking about it too much***."

*** From an unreasonably okay-ish professional pov. I appreciate that four quid is quite a lot of money for some people. 2/3rds of a bottle of Buckie, for a start.

Notes: Mind you, he's not the only one who doesn't like EoS:


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Another graph for Tim W

Apropos of this discussion, here is a graph of annual incomes for the 25th and 50th percentiles of British (GB) households. These are "before housing costs" and in 2013-14 "prices" (so I'm assuming normalised to 2013-14 Pounds).

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Some Musings on Tax

So, pace a discussion chez Timmy, a couple of graphs. Firstly, the distribution of UK after tax income in 2013-14:

Tax Year 2013-14, UK Govt Figures
At Richard's request, the same distribution for tax year 1999-2000:

Tax Year 1999-2000, UK Govt Figures

Then we have the %age change (NB: all positive), for each centile, in after tax income between tax years 1999-00 and 2013-14:
%age increase in income 2000-2014
Note that the above chart isn't corrected for inflation or anything else - raw figures from the data published here, as of the 1 Mar 2016 update. But Bank of England inflation figures state that inflation 2000 to 2014 was 50% (suspicious but true - check yourself) so, for clarity, the inflation adjusted graph is here:
Inflation Adjusted %age increase in UK after tax income, 2000-2014

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The BBC - They hate Britain, don't they?

From here:

Argentine forces landed on the Falklands on 2 April 1982 to stake a territorial claim, but by 14 June they had been ejected by a British military task force

In non-BBC speak:

Argentinian forces invaded the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982 but by 14 June they had been defeated by a British military task force.
Also, I'd note that I technically agree with Fallon that Corbyn is a bigger threat to the Falklands than Argentina, but that is a comment on the current (and changeable) military capabilities of the UK and the detached and local Falkland Islands forces versus the current Argentinian capability, as opposed to the understandable views of the un-named, by the BBC, "chairman" of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly. Un-named, possibly, because there is no such role? They may mean the Speaker, Keith Biles, who chairs the Assembly.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Guardian - ignorant again.


Is any painting really worth $179m?


Sarah and Tiffany scream at each other, ignoring, across the hardly-crowded bar of Comment is Fatuous, the public. Sarah is, apparently, a "cultural sociologist", while Tiffany has the job that rightly belongs to Brian Sewell* at the Torygraph.

They add:

Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O) set a new world record last week for the most expensive painting sold at auction

What they fail to realise is that value is purely in the eye of the purchaser, or potential purchaser. That's it. All of it. The definition of value. To the purchaser, who almost certainly doesn't care what a fundamentally unimportant pair of British metro-ignroant harpies decide.

On a personal equivalency, I've paid a couple of hundred quid for various bits of debris this month, much to Mrs SE's disgust. Admittedly, they are 4.6 billion year (a few 100,000 years less for some of them) debris so I think I have a point. Her opinion varies.

Would I have paid staggeringly large amounts of cash for that Picasso? No. Even if I had the wodge. Which I don't. Would I have sacked my entirely hypothetical investment portfolio manager if she had? No. Because she isn't interested in art. She's interested in gain after tax.

* Who is, actually, for all the acerbic front, a really genuine bloke. Well, not "bloke". Possibly "chap".

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Christians should resist persecution without violence

Dear ++Cantur,

Whilst I understand the theological derivation, even certainty, behind your message, can I politely suggest that reality will generally say "Sod that for a game of victims"?

Yours,

Surreptitious Evil.
(A clerk under minor holy orders.)

Monday, February 09, 2015

Now, I got this completely wrong ...

BBC headline:

"Lawyers bite over 'Left Shark' model"

So, there's me thinking some lawyers complaining about some other lawyers new form of sales strategy which describes the participants as sharks.

Nothing so amusing. Instead, it's a rather boring IPR thing about Katy Perry's Superbowl show.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Politicians. Why are they so ignorant?

Okay, so there was some politician* ranting on the Today programme about how utopia would arrive when she became Lord Protector (I think.) Anyway, the usual spend, spend, spend (costings to be explained in our manifesto in March) but this wasn't, definitely, not, a manifesto for the 2015 General Election. No way.

Anyway ...

One of her key points was "to raise the Living Wage to £10 per hour". Now, this is pig ignorance of the highest quality, and went unchallenged by the leftists on BBC Radio's flagship programme. Demanding that, or stating that they would, increase the Minimum Wage, that would be logical, if not necessarily sensible.

However, the Living Wage is a measure of what you need to be able to spend to not be considered poor. It is a combination of Purchasing Power Parity rates and social expectations (Adam Smith's linen shirt example.) Raises the Living Wage is a matter of general inflation and changes in social attitudes, not political diktat. In an ideal world, the Living Wage should be very low (although as social attitudes and spending expectations change, it is unlikely ever to go below Minimum Wage levels, whether legally enforced or set by the markets.)

If you assume that the Living Wage Foundation, who have taken this over from the Joseph Rowntree Trust, spend reasonable care in their calculations, then this probably is a better guide to an aspiration wage (remembering in work benefits) although I'm still more convinced by Tim's arguments about the difference between the taxed Living Wage and a putatively untaxed Minimum Wage (both at current rates.)

* Google suggests it was Natalie Bennet. This means that what she is actually talking about is the maximum wage anybody can afford to pay once Green Party economic policies have been widely implemented. 
 
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(c) 'Surreptitious Evil' 2006 - 2017.