Saturday, September 22, 2012

I f**king hope not

Of all the drearily predicatable and unpleasant responses to the mindless rioting, this is the one I dread the most:
The rally was attended by Muslims from across Edinburgh who were demanding action to curb religious hatred. ... The SNP MSP Jim Eadie was among the speakers to address the group and pledged their concerns would be heard.

The SNP will currently do just about anything in order to win the referendum. Pandering to a bunch of 7th Century-revivalist misogynist religous fanatics probably seems, to them, just a bit of good sense.

I am a somewhat more than nominal, if unconventional, Christian. I am entirely happy that blasphemy laws are being gotten rid of. Many people in this country are non-religious or non-Christian. They do not believe that Christ is the Son of God. That's fine - and I'm happy for them to say so. I have some beliefs that many, even most, Christians would consider heretical. And I'm happy to talk about them and be challenged about them.

It would be a pity if the effect of the Scottish Independence Referendum would be the crushing of the post-Enlightenment civilisation in Scotland. Especially in the name of the religion of permanent offence. Pat Condell, who disrespects my beliefs nearly as much as he disrespects Islam, says it best.
We're sick and tired of the needless conflict and intimidation that comes from this religion at every turn.

Eck, don't do it. Don't stamp on free speech for a few votes. It is a betrayal of your heritage, the vast majority of the country and of basic human rights. But it wouldn't surprise me if you did. After all, you are a politician.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Eoin Clarke, you are being illogical ...

While I am no respecter of Atos (in this or any other field) and have sympathy for people who have fallen or, worse, been forced through the cracks in the system, this is a (yet another) defective argument:

A minutiae of intelligence is required to grasp the fact that if these people who are found fit to work are now a) not working b) not actively seeking work then they must not have been fit for work in the first place.

Nope. They could have not bothered. They could be doing something that makes them ineligible for benefits, for example (i.e. university, won the lottery). Or they may, indeed, be suffering on the scrap heap of uncaring Coalition-dom.


From the table he posts (p37 of this), there is a note attached to his 43% figure. What does it say?:

Most in this category answered ‘other to’ the question; ‘other categories’ included in training or education or on a government scheme.

Okay, so - and although this does not mean we don't need to do something - his 43% figure is at least halved? Let's look at the next table on p38. This seems to be difficult to make consistent with the note above - unless you assume they are looking at completely different things.

Ah. 14% are self reporting as permanently sick, 8% temporarily sick (no job), 5% temporarily sick (from a job - so on SSP as a minimum?), and 8% simply unemployed. Now, why that latter 8% are outwith the benefits system, I'm not sure (Savings? Partner's earnings? Not bothered applying? Tried but failed to jump through the DWP hoops?).

So we have 22% of people who are not "fit to hold a job" in their opinion (or that of the market) - even if we assume they are all correct - we've already halved Eoin's headline figure.

I'm probably making mistakes here. But then, I'm a PONPI (person of no political importance).

Update: Table 5.9 on p51 says that only 15% of claimants who were FFW or withdrew their claim, at Wave 2, expected to be "unable to work due to sickness", with a further 12% "don't know'. The summary on p54 states that 23% of FFW saw themselves as permanently unfit for work.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Things that are currently pissing me off - 9

This really doesn't help my blood pressure.
Richard Bradford, chairman of the Restaurant Association and the Earl of Bradford, defends the charge.

"No service charge is compulsory, it can only ever be suggested," he says. "It actually works out better. If it was included in the price of the meal, the customer would have to pay VAT on it, and the restaurant would have to pay national insurance.

"Staff have to be adequately rewarded for the work that they do."

Paying staff adequately is the job of the employer. Not of the customer. And staff, if not employers, do have to pay NI on tips in some cases.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Double take

A Mars spokes-weasel, on the deep-fried version:
Should an application be filed, unfortunately, we wouldn't be able to support it as deep-frying one of our products would go against our commitment to promoting healthy, active lifestyles.

Americans. Failing, yet again, in the irony para-olympics.

Err, what?

This from Lady Gaga, quoted at the end of a "climate skeptics are murderers" article here:

Because we as a society are taught politically and religiously that the Apocalypse is coming, it's on its way. But what I'm saying with my show is, ‘We're there right now: this is the Apocalypse.' The fact that we're surrounded by cement and we've already killed everything means the Apocalypse has happened.

Okay, your show may indeed be saying this. But it's a big fat (unlike you) ugly liar. Let's just start with the fact that you are apparently alive, as was your interviewer.
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