Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Corporate Tax Evasion

Many newspapers have led today with the story of Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC, or as colloquially known in my trade of financial services, 'the Enemy') being accused of double-standards when it comes to collecting tax from big companies.

As many of my regular readers (I am assured there are a few!) will know, the taxman is no friend of mine. Indeed, the taxman is a thieving bastard who puts his hand up your shirt and squeezes your tit until it turns purple, gives your hard-earned cash to politicians, who then proceed to spend it on alternative dance classes for reprobates.

I think that, generally, we pay far too much tax in this country, and that the current level of tax is actually hampering the economic growth that we so desparately need, and indeed, is actually reducing the amount of money we collect in tax.

However...

I also believe a little thing called the Rule of Law.

Now, the Rule of Law is a very important thing. It means that we have a set of rules which are supposed to be uniformly enforced, and that everyone - from the richest old thain in the county, to the lowliest serf in the field (apologies to Rudyard Kipling) - is equal before it.

Now, at this point, it would be helpful for a little explanation of another set of concepts which are often misunderstood and confused with each other: tax avoidance, and tax evasion.

Tax avoidance is the careful arranging of your financial affairs, or your company's financial affairs, so as to minimise or negate any tax charge before that tax charge is incurred. In other words, planning to make sure you don't pay any more tax than you absolutely need to.

Tax avoidance is perfectly legal, and in the case of companies, I would absolutely expect it's officers to engage in as much tax avoidance as possible, as their primary duty is to return a profit to their shareholders. I engage in tax avoidance when I pay money into an ISA. We all engage in tax avoidance when we pay money into our pensions. Tax avoidance is good. It legally deprives the bastard, thieving Enemy of funds.

Tax evasion is deliberately not paying tax that is due. Tax evasion is illegal. Tax evasion is, effectively, fraud - the deliberate deprivation of monies that are due to the State.

So, putting aside the argument that tax in this country is generally too high, I expect anyone and everyone to do everything they possibly can to legally avoid paying tax. But, the Rule of Law must apply, and it must apply uniformly. In other words, HMRC shouldn't be corporate shills happy to be fellated by the board of Greedy Fuckers plc in exchange for illegally scrubbing millions of pounds off their tax bill, but be happy to screw small businesses in the arse until their mouths bleed. And if certain people working in said HMRC are accused as such, the following should happen:

  • Evidence of said behaviour should be produced, and passed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Police;
  • The relevant accused should be suspended, pending the outcome of a Police investigation;
  • The outcome of the Police investigation should be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, to decide whether a prosecution is in order;
  • If a prosectution is in order, the accused people should be arrested, charged and tried in open court;
  • If found guilty, they should be sacked for gross misconduct, and sentenced according to the severity of their crime. Given that it is likely to amount to a multi-million pound fraud, a custodial sentence seems appropriate.
And of course, the same should be applied to the greedy, cocksucking fuckers who decided it would be a good idea to fellate them in the first place.

Nice little backhanders for HMRC. My backhander involves a fucking knuckle-duster. Cunts.

That's the Rule of Law. Uniformly enforced.

Once that shit is out of the way, then we can have a nice little chat about perhaps, why, we pay so much bloody tax, why so much of it is wasted on diversity co-ordinators, equality outreach officers and fucking useless Council Chief Executives on £250,000 a year, and wouldn't it be nice if we all paid a lot less.

Bastards.

Friday, 16 December 2011

The French

Following Cameron's veto of a new EU treaty, which would have involved further transfers of sovereignty to Brussels, it appears that the French are resorting to their favourite pastime - Anglo-bashing.

The President of the Bank of France is criticising Britain's economic condition, and saying that we should be downgraded by the major credit rating agencies.

Allow me to explain, in very simple terms, why we are not fucked - and the French potentially are.

A country is effectively a legal structure separate from an individual. It has income, in the form of tax revenue, and expenditure, in the form of public spending. It gets into trouble if it starts spending more than it earns.

Britain is currently spending more than it earns. But unlike an individual or an ordinary corporate body, it has a degree of flexibility. For if it cannot borrow the extra money it needs, or cannot afford to make the repayments on the debt it already has, it may choose to create more money out of thin air to satisfy this debt.

Of course, this is a power not to be used lightly - it deliberately devalues the wealth of everyone in the country, and pisses them off as a result. If used excessively, it can lead to hyperinflation, which is particularly unpleasant.

But the crux of the matter is this - if you are in control of your own currency, it is almost impossible for you to go bust. You are sovereign. That is a reason why our currency was once called the Sovereign.


France is not in control of her own currency. She abrogated that responsibility to the European Central Bank, and, de facto, Germany. Therefore, she is not sovereign. She is a body corporate, just like any other company or mutual. And they can go bust.


I'm not saying they definitely will. I'm just saying that, by opening her legs to Germany, France is much more likely to than us.

See, Frenchies? You fucked up big time, although that's not unheard of, is it? I mean, coming from a country whose greatest military leader was a Corsican dwarf with venereal disease, or arguably a teenage girl with a fetish for armour who hears voices, who you couldn't even be bothered to pay the ransom for, and were much happier for us to cook her.

And let's have a look at France's greatest military moments, shall we? Crecy. Poitiers. Agincourt. Moscow. Trafalgar. Waterloo. And let us not forget the efficiency of the Maginot Line, which held back the tide of the Nazi invasion... oh, wait.

So, just remember, numpties, that having spent the last thousand years having the shit kicked out of you by us, that you wouldn't even be speaking French if we and the Yanks hadn't bothered to pay Normandy a visit in 1944. You owe your freedom to les anglais, which makes it all the more ironic when you promptly give it to Germany, the other nation that's been smacking you senseless for the last millennium.

The only areas where you are qualified to provide us with lectures are wine, cheese, bread, cruelty to geese, and, of course, losing. We can get wine from Australia and the US, cheese from the Dutch, bread we can make ourselves, raping poultry isn't the done thing, and we tend to win our wars.

Hush now.

A Frenchman, yesterday, surrendering just in case.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Labour's Five-Point Plan

Labour keep on banging on about jobs and growth, and how we'll never get out of the mire if the economy doesn't start growing.

And, of course, on that aspect, they're right. The economy is stagnating, largely because of the ongoing confidence shortfall because of the Eurozone mess.

They have laid out their plan for economic growth here:

  1. A £2billion tax on bank bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs
  2. Bringing forward long term investment projects
  3. Reversing January's damaging VAT rise
  4. A one-year cut in VAT on home improvements
  5. A one-year break in National Insurance.

Okay, point one. Taxing the most productive aspects of our economy (in terms of revenue) to fund more people on the public payroll does not stimulate economic growth. It's just shuffling the pack. If you want to genuinely stimulate economic growth, get people doing real jobs in the private sector, not pushing bits of paper around for the Government.

Point two. Building infrastructure is all well and good - it has a positive effect on private sector growth. How do you plan to pay for it? If you say 'borrow more money', I'll be sorely tempted to hit you in the face. Repeatedly. With a cricket bat.

Point three. I didn't agree with a VAT rise in the first place - it artificially raises prices, and stifles consumer demand, which is generally bad for the economy. However, cutting it now will make no difference - struggling companies will not pass the cost onto consumers and simply absorb it into their own profit margins. A little more creative thinking is required.

Point four. Your stated aim is to help home-owners and small businesses. That's nice, but I think they'd be better served by actually having the money to afford the things in the first place, don't you? Plus, how are you going to fund it? The aforementioned cricket bat is now being hafted, and test-swung.

Point five. The only point I agree with so far. Employer National Insurance is effectively a Payroll Tax - it should be cut as soon as possible, but on a permanent basis, with a view to abolishing it in the next 10 years. I'd fund it through much deeper spending cuts, especially in benefits, healthcare and education, where huge amounts of money are wasted on bureaucracy rather than public services.

Identifying the symptoms, not the cause.


My plan:
  1. Cut spending. And I mean deeply. Ministers should go into their departments, roll up their sleeves and start cutting out vast swathes of middle management and bureaucracy that do absolutely fuck-all. The current spending cuts don't go far enough, and are just being passed down the line until the front-line workers lose their jobs. This is not the way a business would do it;
  2. Rather than direct capital spending on infrastructure projects, open it up to the private sector. Invite offers on installing super-fast broadband at no cost to the taxpayer, in exchange for exclusive contract rights for 10 years. You will have telecoms companies queuing out the door then. Extend the same for roads and rail. But for God's sake, apply a bit of common sense - not every private sector involvement has to end like Brown's PFI fiasco;
  3. Merge National Insurance with Income Tax, and increase the Income Tax threshold to £15,000, delivering big tax cuts to the lowest-paid. Match this with big reductions in the rump Employer National Insurance (Payroll Tax) to make it a lot cheaper to employ people. Limit benefits payments to 80% of the net minimum wage - no one out of work should ever be paid more than someone in work full time;
  4. Cut burdensome and ineffective regulations which tie business's hands, and stop new entrants to the market. Break up the big banking cartels by forcing organisations with more than 15% market share to divest their assets, putting more banks on the High Street. Competition will increase, and they'll start lending again. If they continue to act as a cartel, threaten negative interest rates and prosecutions.

Interesting to note that the Government aren't doing much of this either. The jackasses.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Keep Calm and Sod Europe

To my great surprise, Dave actually grew a backbone and exercised the UK's oft-spoke-of-but-hitherto-unused veto to block the passage of an EU treaty.

This proposed treaty had several purposes:

  • To create a more stable and permanent mechanism for bailing out Eurozone countries that get into financial difficulties;
  • To introduce a system where there is centralised oversight over national budgets, and strict controls and penalties for Eurozone countries who break the rules;
  • To introduce a raft of further financial services regulations, as the EU leaders deem that it is primarily the financial services industry which is responsible for the mess they're in;
  • To lay the foundations for an EU-wide financial transactions tax to be levied directly from Brussels, effectively bypassing national governments.
In other words, although some news sources describe it solely as a deal to resolve the Eurozone crisis, it really isn't. The proposed treaty is an attempt to deepen the fiscal integration of the EU, using the crisis as a figleaf.

Now, don't get me wrong, if this fiscal union were to go ahead, with the European Commission effectively becoming a quasi-federal government and the nation states reduced to the status of glorified local councils, much like the system in the US, this would go some way to restoring market confidence. But that is just a happy side-effect. It doesn't, and has never been intended, to solve the root of the problem - it is simply another step on the road to a United States of Europe.

Fortunately, we have decided to take a step back from this - to allow the fiscal integration and consolidation to go ahead, if that is what the rest of the EU wants, but not us. We stand apart.

Good.

This does pose a few problems, though. A treaty between the 26 other members in the wake of our veto would effectively create a 'two-tier' EU, with only us on the lower level. However, the 26 members still need our permission to use the established EU institutions - the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Court of Justice, etc. Otherwise, they face the prospect of having to set up entirely new institutions, which will take a long time.

Assuming a treaty between the 26 goes ahead, and we allow them to use the established EU institutions, the new forum for further deepening of EU relationships will be the inner core - effectively excluding us. Over time, we will become increasingly isolated - not involved in policy discussions, but due to the 'qualified majority voting' clause of the Treaty of Lisbon, compelled to obey. EU membership will become increasingly bad for us.

But of course, cutting off all ties with Europe would be ridiculous. 40% of our exports go there, and we are tied into the affairs of the continent. So, Dave, here's your next announcement:

In the wake of our veto of the most recent EU treaty proposal, is has become obvious that Britain's national interest is no longer served by deepening our involvement in the EU. The other nations have concluded that it is in their interest to continue that process, and we will make no attempt to stand in their way - that is for them to decide.


The group of 26 will need to use the institutions of the EU in order to enforce any new Treaty between them. We will not oppose any moves to that end. However, it is likely that a new Europe will emerge as a result of this Treaty - one fundamentally different from the current structure, and which, in all honesty, it would neither be convenient nor appropriate for Britain to be a member of.


We want to continue doing business with Europe. It is profitable for us, and it is profitable for them. But it is no longer in our interest to be part of the continued New Europe project, and therefore, rather than continue to stick spokes in the wheels, I think it would be in everyone's interest for us to go our seperate ways amicably. 

That is why I am now announcing my intention to engage in direct, bilateral negotiations with the European leaders and the European Commission to create a new Treaty - not between Britain and the other nations of Europe to constitute our membership into this emergent New Europe, but one between Britain and New Europe, as friends and neighbours.

Our aim is, as a result of that Treaty, to see Britain leave the EU, to allow the institutions of the EU to serve its remaining members in the best way possible, but to preserve the aspect of the EU that are beneficial to both us and Europe - the single market. What I propose is, effectively, a free trade agreement between Britain and New Europe, which will continue to benefit us both, but without our involvement in the political and constitutional settlements of the EU.

Many people may be critical of this approach, but it is not a unique one. Both Switzerland and Norway enjoy strong bilateral relations with the EU without being a part of it.

The time has come for Britain to stand apart, but not alone.

Which is a polite way of saying:

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Facts About Public Sector Pensions

Today marks the largest strike in my memory, and perhaps the largest in a generation, and all on the subject of public sector pensions. I have noted that there is a lot of misinformation from both the Unions and the Government on this issue, so I thought I'd stick my oar in to dispel some myths.

Pension strikers.

Public sector pension schemes are viable in their own right.
This, I'm afraid, is utterly wrong. Public sector pension schemes are operated on what the Government Actuary's Department (GAD) refer to as a 'pay-as-you-go' basis. This basically means that the contributions paid in for current members go straight out of the door to pay for the pensions of people in retirement. The 'pension fund' does not actually exist - only on paper. In the private sector, such arrangements are referred to as Ponzi Schemes, and they are illegal.

Public sector pension schemes are, in effect, insolvent. The only thing that keeps them going is the fact that they are guaranteed by the taxpayer, who is liable for any shortfall. If they were forced to stand up on their own, they'd go bust.

Public sector pension schemes are unaffordable.
Again, this is total bollocks. They are heavily subsidised by the taxpayer, yes - but to say that they are unaffordable is a rather subjective statement. The NHS costs £115billion a year, and the annual benefits bill comes in at around the £190billion mark. We don't consider these unaffordable. The public sector pension schemes are subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of around £23billion (GAD figures), which is a mere snip in comparison.

The Government could afford to continue paying for the schemes, if it so wished - it would simply have to cut other things instead. This is not an economic decision, it is a political decision.

The changes the Government is making are unfair.
Really? The taxpayer is subsidising these pensions by about £23billion a year, as discussed. That means that the taxes of people on minimum wage are being used to subsidise the very generous pension provision for public sector workers.

This may be a political decision, but that doesn't actually make it wrong. The changes the Government propose will not eliminate the public subsidy to these schemes, they will merely reduce it. In exchange, the scheme members will have to pay a bit more, accept a little less and work a bit longer.

It should be noted that, even after the Government's proposed changes, public sector workers will still have pension provision far in excess of what is generally available in the private sector, and it will still be subsidised by the taxpayer. What is unfair about that?

Public sector workers pay tax too!
Yes, they do. Everyone who has a job pays Income Tax and National Insurance. The point is, though, that a public sector worker's wage is derived entirely from tax revenue, which by definition has come from the private sector. The private sector gets its money through sales and competition, not just with people and organisations in this country, but throughout the world. Exporting goods and services is the exclusive preserve of the private sector, and brings money from other countries into the UK, making us all richer. It is this which is the ultimate source of all tax revenue.

People in the private sector have better pay than those in the public sector.
This used to be true, but isn't any longer. As reported by the BBC, using the Office of National Statistics as its source, on average, those in the public sector earn 7.8% more than those in the private sector. So the old deal of less salary, better benefits is no longer true - the public sector, on average, have better salaries AND better benefits, all funded by... you guessed it, the taxpayer.

We're facing a new age of union militancy.
I don't think so. Union membership is a fraction of what it was in the 70s and 80s, and labour laws are much tougher to make strike action more difficult. I think there are some in the union movement who long for the rabble-rousing days of old, but they're certainly not alone - I find it difficult to imagine that Cameron and Osborne aren't rubbing their hands with glee at this confrontation.

The private sector should have better provision, rather than the public sector having worse!
Yes, they should. But is it really up to the Government to dictate to private employers what remunerative packages they offer their employees?

The level of pension provision in the private sector isn't particularly good, but it is market forces that have driven it that way, combined with a general ignorance of the importance of long term retirement planning. The answer to the discrepancy is not simply to force the private sector to make more provision for retirement. Whenever there is coercion involved, it is effectively a tax, and tax strangles economic growth. Not really what we need to be doing at the moment, is it?

Personally, I can't see the Government's changes as unfair, in light of the generous subsidy and the poor level of provision in the private sector, and I think it's a bit rich of public sector workers to cynically strike to protect their own vested interests at a time when we're all suffering because of the economic conditions. However, having said that, given that the Government's proposals will only trim the public subsidy to the pension schemes in question, one wonders why they are bothering with all the fuss for the sake of a few measly billion quid. Far more effective measures would be:
  •   A 10% pay cut for everyone in the public sector earning more than £100,000 a year. There are around 38,000 people earning £100,000 or more in the public sector. This measure alone would save £3.8billion a year;
  • A recruitment freeze on public sector administration jobs for the next 5 years. Loss of staff through gradual turnover would make for a far more sleeker organisation, and is much better than top-down re-organisations. That's why it's favoured in the private sector.
Just a few thoughts.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Tram Racist

This video has popped up on the Internet today:


For those of you who don't have video means, or simply can't be arsed to play it, it depicts a woman making some quite unpleasant remarks to her fellow passengers about the colour of their skin, and how, because of that, they have no right to be in the UK.

What has astonished me is not the senseless bigotry displayed by this misguided woman, but that many people seem surprised by it.

Really?

I mean, seriously? You've not seen this coming from about ten miles off?

To be quite honest, with the immigration this country has seen over the last twenty years or so, I'm surprised it's not kicked off sooner.

That doesn't mean to say that I condone what this woman has to say. I most certainly do not. She is a despicable bigot of the worst kind. However, her reaction doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Immigration and the political cult of multiculturalism has permanently changed this country, and people in some communities have witnessed a pace of change which has been unbelieveable. They have seen different communities spring up alongside and amongst them within a matter of years. They are confused by it, and they don't understand it. And so, in a natural human way, they fear it. And some are now starting to lash out, blindly, irresponsibly, and indiscriminately.

That doesn't mean her reaction is right. It isn't. Just because she is afraid of people with a different colour skin to hers, because they behave slightly differently, or because they have a different accent, doesn't mean that they have no right to be in this country. For my part, I'd accept a hard-working immigrant over a lazy white Briton any day of the week. It's not immigrants I despise - it's the misplaced sense of entitlement that permeates our entire culture. But I can't say that I'm surprised by her reaction, and indeed, it certainly isn't unique. I have found similar attitudes in many different people, driven by the same fear. The politically-correct multicultural brigade would like to pretend that these reactions don't happen, that people don't think like this. But every now and again, reality rears it's ugly head, and reminds us.

The sad thing about this, is that it was predicted.

'As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see "the River Tiber foaming with much blood".'
- Enoch Powell

Tell me he was wrong. I dare you.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

State Funding of Politics

Oh, for Christ's sake...

Apparently, we should now all pay 50p every year to political parties in exchange for putting a donation cap of £10,000 in place, because without unions/non-dom lords chucking them massive wads of cash, our poor old politicians won't be able to afford those duck houses.

How about, FUCK YOU? How about eat my shit, you dick-brained cunts? Maybe I don't want my bloody money going to fund any sodding political party, because you're all as bad as each other - a bunch of social democrat, champagne socialist, authoritarian WANK STAINS, who can't run a bath, let alone a fucking Government?

Here's my proposal for the reform of party funding:
1. The only people who are allowed to donate to political parties are registered, UK-resident & UK-domiciled voters. That's it. No unions, no non-dom lords, no companies, no lobbying organisations. Just voters - the only ones who should have a say in a democracy;
2. A maximum annual donation per voter of £10,000 - and that applies across the board, so you can't donate £10,000 to three parties. That's it. Who in their right minds would want to give £10,000 to a bunch of lying, thieving, incompetent fuckwits anyway?

The effects of these policies? Well, first of all, policies would cease to be at the behest of the major party funders, be it unions, Lords, criminals, lobbyists, or whoever else donates to these shysters. Good. I'm sick of their bloody vested interests. They make me sick.

Second, it would actually make the political parties work hard. To get members who are prepared to fund them. It'd require actually talking to and engaging with the electorate, and finding out how they want their country to be run, rather than just bombarding them with a marketing campaign hoping for their rubber-stamp approval every five years.

For the umpteenth time: IT'S MY FUCKING MONEY. GET YOUR FUCKING PAWS OFF IT.

Dear Government. This is mine. You can't have it. Fuck you.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The €uro Has Failed

Capitalism is a truly wonderful system. Across Europe, it is now forcing political leaders to accept reality. The markets continue to punish Greece, Portugal and Ireland for their debts, and now they are punishing Italy. The single currency project has failed utterly. Sovereign nations are not sovereign if they cannot control their own currencies. They are reduced to the status of corporate bodies. And corporate bodies can become insolvent and go bankrupt.

I was talking to a leading fund manager on Thursday. He told me the following:

'Italian 10-year bond yields have passed 6%. No nation has ever come back from 6% without needing some form of assistance. If they reach 7%, that's normally the point at which you call in the IMF. And if that happens to Italy, we are screwed. Italy is the 3rd largest bond market in the world - it's worth €1.3trillion. Nobody - not even Germany - has that kind of money. If that happens, Italy will default on it's debt - causing massive write-downs across the global banking industry. It will simply mean the complete collapse of the financial system as we know it.'

We may be utterly fucked.

Italian 10-year bond yields are now 6.7% and climbing. Yet even now, there is a way out of this mess. In fact, there are two.

Scenario 1 - United States of Europe
The Eurozone countries agree to form a permanent fiscal (and implicitly political) union, which amounts to Germany agreeing to massive transfers of wealth to the peripheral economies in perpetuii. Even then, the might of the German economy will still not be enough. With the condition that Italy is in, the ECB would have to also slash interest rates embark on an immediate campaign of Quantitative Easing (money-printing) to cover the debts that even Germany can't pay off. The entire USE would have to de-value and suffer inflation to make themselves more competitive to grow their way out of recession.

The problem with this is Germany. The Germans seem loathe to work until they're nearly 70 so the Greeks can retire at 68. Furthermore, Germany is fundamentally opposed to the idea of printing money. The last time a German nation undertook such an exercise was the Weimar Republic. And we all know how well that ended. The markets would prefer this option, but it seems unlikely.

Scenario 2 - Breakup of the Eurozone
Quite simply, the countries which are struggling - Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy - maybe Spain as well - leave the Eurozone and adopt their own currencies. First, these currencies would be fixed at 1:1 with the €uro, at least until they'd managed to get new hard currency into circulation. This would take about a month. This would be followed by a smooth but pretty rapid de-coupling from the €uro, pegging at 90%, then 80% and so on until their currency was freely floating. This would be accompanied by reductions in interest rates and expansive QE programmes.

In all seriousness, we're probably looking at a combination of the two - some peripheral economies will probably leave, and France and Germany will probably cleave together. One thing is becoming increasingly clear, however - the markets will not tolerate inaction. Something has to be done, and quickly - otherwise the Masters of Europe risk falling over a cliff, and taking the global financial system with them.

Monday, 7 November 2011

I Disagree with #OccupyLSX

Last week, I blogged on how I agreed with the #OccupyLSX crowd on one particular point - their arguments for the democratic reform of the City of London Corporation. I stand by that. They are good ideas - the City does have too many vested interests in the political system, and that should be addressed. Not because it's the City that has them, but because they're vested interests in the first place.

That said, I find myself in increasing disagreement with what else they have to say, and what others have to say about them.

Ed Miliband, for example, has said that the protesters outside St. Paul's Cathedral are 'danger signals' symptomatic of wider public sentiment aligned against capitalism. In the same article, the BBC describe the protesters as protesting against 'corporate greed'.

Really?

I was down in London a few days ago, and had a brief stop outside St. Paul's Cathedral. What struck me the most was two big banners outside the encampment, one reading: 'INSISTENCE ON SOCIALISM' and the other reading: 'CAPITALISM IS CRISIS'. No mention of corporate greed.

I didn't get a chance to talk to any of the protesters - it was raining and fairly late in the evening, and it appeared that most of them had gone home. Or perhaps they were in Starbucks. They'd left their tents, mind you. Empty. But I digress. I didn't get a chance to talk to them, but some excellent folk from the Commentator did.


Let's get this straight. They are not protesting against corporate greed. They are protesting against capitalism - the most successful economic system in human history, which has lifted millions of people out of poverty throughout the world.

I've spoken to a fair few people about the protests, from various positions along the political spectrum. The general consensus appears to be, far from the protesters' assertions, that they are not representative of them. Nobody I've spoken seriously wants to abandon capitalism, on account of it actually being quite good at alleviating poverty. Perhaps the #OccupyLSX crowd should think about the benefits it has brought them:
  • The phones they text on;
  • The web servers they host their website on;
  • The coffee they drink;
  • The tents they don't sleep in;
  • The clothes they wear;
  • The tobacco they smoke;
  • The e-mail & messaging services they use.
All arising as a result of capitalism.

I'll be the first to admit, capitalism is not a perfect system. It encourages the pursuit of wealth for it's own sake. The acquisition of wealth is not inherently a virtue, but neither is it inherently a sin. Being rich does not automatically make you a bad person. Yet the #OccupyLSX protesters try to frame it as such. Indeed, as Ken Costa remarked in the Telegraph, there is a moral imperative to create wealth via the capitalist system, for the precise reason that doing so alleviates poverty.

Yet the behaviour of banks in particular over the last few years can be described as anything but moral. And why is this? Simple. Morality requires both incentive and hazard. The system we currently have provides incentive: bankers are easily able to become very rich. What they lack is hazard. Hazard manages risk. It prevents them from being stupid risk-takers. It forces them to deal with the consequences of their actions.

When you implicitly guarantee to nationalise a company if they get into trouble, you take away the hazard.

When you allow the market to be dominated by a cartel of massive organisations, you take away the hazard.

When you inhibit new entrants and therefore new competition through burdonsome regulation, you take away the hazard.

These are all symptoms of socialism. The #OccupyLSX crowd have correctly identified the symptoms, but ascribed them to the precise opposite condition which we are suffering. They have recognised that the building is on fire, but they propose to put it out with petrol. We don't need less capitalism to counter the ills of our society - we need more.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November...

Remember, remember, the 5th of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Bonfire Night approaches. The preservation of British liberty from destruction at the hands of a religious terrorist will have its anniversary.

Because, of course, 406 years ago, Parliament was the only semblance of elected democracy in Western Europe, and was the only guardian we had against the tyranny, oppression and inquisition threatened by the European Catholic empires.

Is it not now ironic that Parliament has now become an institution of the status quo, servile to wretched European hegemony, which seeks to dominate the entire continent at the expense of democracy? Is it not ironic that protesters don the visage of Fawkes, to protest against the failed institutions - the greedy City, the colluding Bank of England, and the corrupt Parliament?

Fawkes, an agent of a foreign power, attempted to destroy our safeguard against tyranny to usher in an age of terror and oppression. And now, the safeguard he sought to destroy, and the institutions that ally themselves with it, have become masks of the tyranny they once guarded against.

The Guy Fawkes mask is now used by protesters around the world.

The guardians have become the oppressors. It is only fitting that the terrorist becomes the liberator.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Why the Robin Hood Tax is Nonsense

So, I see that the Archbishop of Canterbury agrees with the idea of a 'Robin Hood Tax' on inter-bank financial transactions. He argues that it would be one way of advancing the 'moral agenda' of the #OccupyLSX crowd outside St. Paul's Cathedral.

Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

In theory, this 'Robin Hood Tax' sounds like a good idea. A small tax on large transactions resulting in large revenue for the Government to plough into good causes. However, the Archbishop is incorrect, for the following reasons:
  1. We now have a global economy, where different nations (and by association, tax regimes) have to compete with each other in order to secure the residency of big companies which generate tax revenues. If we introduced such a tax without it being on a global scale, many larger, more flighty banks would probably decide to re-locate their Headquarters to somewhere without such a transaction tax. Zurich, New York and Hong Kong immediately spring to mind. Increasing taxes in this way could actually reduce, not increase revenue;
  2. Even if the levying of such a tax were to be successful and not result in any capital or commercial flight from the country to competitor tax regimes, surely the supporters of this idea (the good Archbishop included) are not so naive as to think that the cost of it will not simply be passed on to customers? A company's only loyalty is to it's shareholders, and they will not accept to reduction in profits. The people who will end up paying this tax are people with current accounts, savings and mortgages;
  3. Off on a slight tangent, why is it called a 'Robin Hood Tax'? Ah, because it takes from the rich and gives to the poor. But, it actually doesn't, does it? It takes from the poor (by proxy) and gives it to the Government. Robin Hood did not advocate taxes - indeed, he was defined by his campaign against the Sheriff of Nottingham's punitive taxation regime, taking the revenue and giving it back to the people who raised it in the first place. Robin Hood was an anti-tax advocate;
  4. Why is paying a tax 'moral'? What is moral about the Government taking money off people under threat of violence, and how does kow-towing to such extortion make it righteous or good? Did Jesus advocate that money be ploughed into Government to account for our moral shortfall? No. Charity is only charity if it is freely given. Tax is taken under threat of violence, and therefore any nobility in handing the money over is lost;
  5. And finally, who is the Government to decide what is or is not a 'good cause'? While I do not discount their worth to some people, I do not actually want to give money to some charities. I do not personally value the work they do, ergo I fail to see why I should fund them. Some charities, of course, I do value, and I give generously to them. But that is my choice, as it should be. Money given to charities by the Government is not my choice. But it is my money.

Levying yet another tax to feed the ever-hungry State which will actually reduce revenues by driving business abroad and will ultimately be borne by consumers rather than corporations is not a solution to our problems.

Friday, 28 October 2011

I Agree with #OccupyLSX

Astonishingly, I find myself in agreement with a two-bit, half-arsed, pre-dominantly socialist, hard-left, minority protest group, currently residing in tents outside St. Paul's Cathedral, complaining about capitalism, playing bongo drums and no doubt exploring their 'inner selves'.

The aforementioned bongo-playing #OccupyLSX movement are mostly pre-occupied with protesting against the spending cuts (even though they're necessary, and they're not really cuts, given that public spending has actually risen under the Coalition), ranting about how evil capitalism is (whilst drinking Starbucks coffee and tweeting from their iPads - irony klaxons sounding loudly at this point) and preaching that socialism is the panacea solution to all our woes (although every example of large-scale socialism has failed utterly and actually made things worse, e.g. Soviet Russia, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam - need I go on?).

OK, I don't agree with them on that bollocks. But in the demands that Guido has published, I do agree with them - they are demanding the disestablishment of the City of London Corporation.

Coat of Arms of the City of London Corporation

The Corporation is a political body. It has more devolved power than the Scottish Parliament. It has its own police force and its own permanent lobbyist in the House of Commons. It's officials are elected by the residents and representatives of the companies working in the City of London. Not exactly what I would describe as democratic.

They are calling for its disestablishment and reform. Can't say I disagree with them on that one. They have a point.

The Corporation can keep its police force. But it should submit itself to the exclusive authority of the residents of the City, not the companies that work there. It should have no lobbyists in Parliament - political representation should be undertaken by voters.

So, Murphy's Law has it again - every now and again, even a bunch of pot-smoking numpties will occasionally come across a glimmer of sense. Much like monkeys eventually bashing out the complete works of Shakespeare. Doesn't stop them being numpties, though. Just correct - on this point only.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Engagement with Politics

I have heard many complaints from many different people about the nature of politics, mainly there is virtually no difference between the main political parties in terms of policy. The Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the Greens, all of them tend to a view of authoritarian social democracy.

And they're right. There isn't that much difference. Oh, sure, the Tories are cutting £1billion a year more than Labour would've, but it's less than 1% of the deficit. A tiny difference. The Liberal Democrats secured the abolition of ID cards, but the anti-terror laws still remain. You can still be convicted without a jury.

The only thing that has changed if the colour of tie that the social democrats are wearing. Labour tribalists now bay and hoot measures which are alarmingly close to ones passed by the previous Government, but they were waived through without so much as a whimper. The Coalition still trumpet 'public spending and investment' which they derided as waste while in opposition.

Our democracy is truly in a sorry state.

However, the people that complain do just that. Complain. And I have to admit, I'm guilty of it too. This blog mainly consists of rants against things I disagree with. Why don't we stop complaining, and actually get up off our arses, and do something about it?

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cold Callers

Transcript of a telephone conversation I just had:

[RING RING]...[RING RING]

Me: Hello...? (pregnant pause) Hello... HELLO?

Phone (broad foreign accent): Ah, good evening sir (FYI, it's now 10.00 in the morning), how are you today?

Me: Bloody marvellous. What do you want?

Phone: Excellent, excellent. My name is Ahmed and I am phoning on behalf of [some fucking market research company] to conduct a survey to assess consumer habits in your...

Me: (interrupting) I'm not really interested, thanks.

Phone: Oh, but sir, this will only take a few minutes of...

Me: (interrupting) Didn't you hear me? I said I'm not interested.

Phone: It will only take a few minutes...

Me: No, I'm really sorry, but I couldn't give a BLOODY FUCK about your GOD DAMNED CUNTING SURVEY. You've phoned me up OUT OF THE CUNTING BLUE on a fucking SATURDAY MORNING, I can barely understand a word you're saying and the fucking phone connection to BLOODY BANGLADESH or wherever the FUCK YOU ARE is so utterly PISS-POOR THAT MY OWN VOICE IS ECHOING BACK AT ME. I AM ACTUALLY BOLLOCKING MYSELF AT THIS POINT.

I fucking HATE cold calling, you got that? I fucking HATE the way that you phone up, just expecting that I can just DROP EVERYTHING to dedicate my time to GIVING YOU DUMB-FUCK ANSWERS to COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT QUESTIONS, or spending my HARD-EARNED CASH on SHIT I DON'T NEED, or even worse, assuming that I'm so fucking stupid that I will happily send my BANK DETAILS to some FUCKING ROBBING TERRORIST IN NIGERIA.

So I'm not going to answer your questions, and then MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, when people like you have had enough ABUSE, you'll realise that FUCKING PEOPLE OFF BY PESTERING THEM SENSELESS is not a VALID MARKETING STRATEGY.

Phone: But this survey will only take a few minutes...

Me: (interrupting) FUCK OFF.

[HANGS UP]

Fuck the fuck off out of my fucking face.
 Ah, I feel better now. Coffee.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Why QE is Bad

So, the Bank of England has announced that it intends to print £75billion and spend it on an assortment of gilts and corporate bonds (IOUs from the Government and companies) to get the economy moving again.

I will explain why this is an absolutely contemptible idea.

The amount of money in the economy is not fixed. It goes up and down every day, with currency exchanges. Sterling can be bought and sold. The more people buy it, the more £s there are, and as such, they are worth less. The less people buy it, the less £s there are, and as such, they are worth more.

Quantitative Easing means that the Bank of England, instead of allowing the normal rules of supply and demand to govern the worth of our currency, will artificially create more of it, therefore making all of the existing currency worth less. This is inflation - the purchasing power of your money decreases.

Inflation is bad. You see, inflation erodes the value of hard currency - and the vast majority of people in this country hold most of their assets in that currency. Their pension funds are denominated in £. Their investments are. Their properties can only be exchanged for £. Their bank accounts hold £.

Tax is a method of transferring wealth from the people to the State. Inflation is far more insidious - it doesn't transfer wealth itself, but it transfers its value. Your wealth remains the same, but what you can actually buy with it doesn't.

The Bank of England. Raiding your assets since 2009.


Of course, you can hedge against inflation. You can invest in a variety of different assets and currencies, or purchase warrants and derivatives. But you need disposable capital to do that. In other words, you need to be rich.

Inflation: the State fucking the little guy over. Again, and again, and again.

What's the alternative? Uh, how about cutting tax? How about really getting public spending under control, instead of allowing it to actually increase in cash terms?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

What Cameron Should Have Said

This week, in Manchester, this party has shown the discipline, the unity, and the purpose that is the mark of a party of government. I’m proud of my team, I’m proud of our members, I’m proud to lead this party – but most of all, I’m proud of you.

Look at all we have achieved in office so far: civil liberties are being restored. A million people are being taken out of the tax system altogether. NHS spending is increasing. Educational reforms will equip a new generation with the skills needed for a new economy. Market confidence in the UK is restored. We have helped to depose the tyrant Gaddafi in Libya, in conjunction with our international allies. Our troops in Afghanistan now have the equipment they need to get the job done.

But, of course, there is still a long way to go. In the face of economic uncertainty, we are still perilously close to the edge. The situation in the Eurozone still affects us, and we are at risk of being dragged back into recession. Our own society still shows signs of rotten decay, illustrated by the summer riots. Our economy, struggling with the effects of our necessary spending cuts, and strangled by regulation, has yet to produce the strong growth we need. Everywhere, normal people up and down this country are feeling the pinch: in the rising cost of energy, fuel, food, tuition fees, mortgages. As a Government, we need to do more to help, and we need to show that we are listening.

But the fact is that this Government has its hands tied, by treaties and regulations and directives and diktats handed down to us from our real masters - I am talking about the European Union. The European Union, which would see us take liability for debts that aren't ours. The European Union, which dictates to us that we must give prisoners the vote. The European Union, which stops us from cutting taxes to stimulate growth. The European Union, which insists on regulations which hamper our economic recovery. The European Union, which demands we hand billions of pounds over to Brussels each year, which could be spent on paying down our debts.

That is why I am now announcing Britain's immediate withdrawal from the EU. We are no longer prepared to fund the failed European project. We are no longer prepared to prop up socialist states who refuse to pay back what they have borrowed. And we refuse to kowtow to any more political interference.

Tough times call for tough measures. We are borrowing over £100billion a year just to make ends meet. Under these circumstances, we cannot afford to be giving money away to other countries, only for it to be abused by corrupt regimes. That is why I am also announcing the cancellation of the International Aid budget. Perhaps when we have restored order to our own finances, specific projects can be considered, but right now, we cannot afford it.

We are also spending nearly £100billion a year on out-of-work benefits. Only 60% of people of working age actually have a job. Immigrants come to Britain to do the jobs that the workshy refuse to do, and we pay them to stay at home. This is a contemptible situation. So, my Government will bring forward legislation to limit all benefits claims to 80% of the National Minimum Wage, so that you will always be better off in work.

We will raise the Income Tax threshold to £15,000, lifting millions more out of the tax system. We will move towards a flat rate of Income Tax, to incentivise, not punish, wealth creators. We will scrap high rates of tax which prohibit growth. We will slash the regulatory red tape which unjustifiably increases costs for businesses.

We will press ahead with equality - but real equality, equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. We'll give the poorest children in the country the chance to go to the best schools. We'll reform the education system so that excellence is rewarded. We'll legalise gay marriage. We'll push for more women to get onto the boards of Britain's biggest companies. But what we won't do is discriminate against anyone - and that includes men, and it includes whites. Let this be a country where talent and ability are the defining factors of someone's position, not which ethnic group they belong to, or what sexuality they have.

The mistakes made in the defence review will be undone. A Conservative Government will never again put the lives of our soldiers and the defence of our nation on the back burner. Defence spending will increase. We will invest in a new range of deployable weaponry and technology, making best use of remotely operated drones, which, although controversial, have been demonstrated to be effective by our American allies.

The issue of society is a difficult one. For too long, ours has incentivised laziness and fecklessness, and punished thrift and responsibility. It is a travesty of our times and a damning indictment of our justice system that criminals are let out early, if they are imprisoned at all, re-offending rates continue to rise, and that despite our failed banking system bringing our proud nation almost to the brink of collapse, that no banker or director of these ruined and toxic institutions has had charges brought to bear on them.

Never again.

Sentencing guidelines will be re-drawn. Charges will be brought where they are due. And prisons will be re-focused on deterring people from crime, and also educating them so that they do not re-offend.

But it is also true that our society is too small. And the reason for that is that the State is too big. For too long, Governments have pandered to the whims of a minority, nannying us into believing that we cannot survive without everything being handed to us, regulated and approved by the State. The State tells us what to eat, drink, how to behave, how to exercise, even mandating what opinions we can express.

Never again.

The State will roll back. Some people will fear this. Social housing will be privatised - the State has no business engaging in property speculation. The State's nationalised bank assets will be returned to private ownership as soon as possible, whilst ensuring no loss to the taxpayer. The public sector will be re-aligned and re-organised to provide maximum services for minimum cost. This happens in business every single day - there is no reason why we cannot do the same.

We haven't got everything right in office so far. And it would be easy to lay the blame on our coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats. But that wouldn't be honest. They're wrong on a lot of things. But we've not been entirely right. Now, we strive to be - to act in the best interests of the country. I invite them to support us on this new direction, but if they feel that they cannot, then I will have no choice but to call a General Election, and let the people decide what they want: more of the same failed socialism and sentimental thinking, or level-headed, pragmatic, fair and compassionate conservatism. Yes, compassionate, for looking after the most vulnerable in our society and affording the poorest the same opportunities as the other does not mean abandoning reason, or common sense, or prudence.

The time has come to continue the work of some of our greatest men. The time has come to forge ahead with the building of the New Jerusalem. The time has come to put aside petty sentimentality. The time has come to rebuild our nation, to make it once more the envy of the world, so that our people can speak with pride wherever they go, and say: 'I am a British Citizen.'

He'd have had my vote then.
 Maybe... in a tangent reality...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Christian Pastor Receives Death Sentence

Cranmer has raised a campaign which I think warrants considerable attention: a Christian pastor in Iran has been sentenced to death for apostasy, despite this being in breach of Iran's own constitution, and its obligations under international law.

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani
 
Pastor Nadarkhani is under threat of the death penalty unless he publicly recants his Christianity and re-affirms his Islamic faith. This kind of sentencing hasn't been seen in Europe since the Spanish Inquisition.

Predictably, however, because Pastor Nadarkhani is a Christian, nobody gives a shit. Twitter came alive last week when the US executed Troy Davis, a convicted murderer, but when Iran moves to execute a Christian simply for expressing his own faith in a Muslim country, nobody bats an eyelid.

I have e-mailed the Iranian Embassy to urge the Iranian Government to intervene in this case, acquit Nadarkhani of all charges and release him immediately. I ask everyone who reads this to do the same by clicking here. Nobody, regardless of who they are, should be persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

I Just Got a Mention by Norman Tebbit

I just got a mention by Norman Tebbit.

Thought I'd just share that with you all!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Science is a Theory

It has been widely reported that (subject to confirmation), researchers at CERN have managed to propel neutrinos (sub-atomic particles) faster than the speed of light. This is monumentally important, as Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity, one of the fundamental cornerstones of the modern science, states that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. If Einstein were to be proven wrong, then a new, more accurate model of our understanding of the Universe is required.

Now, this makes me laugh. Does it ridicule the scientific establishment? Certainly not. Scientists continue to do what they have always done: postulate theories, and test them to destruction, before coming up with something better. No, this makes me laugh as it highlights a massive flaw in the arguments of some militant atheists.

Militant atheism contends that organised religion (particularly Christianity, because nobody complains about that) and its doctrines are fundamentally wrong. We are descended from apes. Evolution proves it. The Earth was not created by God. Relativity proves it. When I have pointed out that science is often not fact, simply a collection of theories that fit most of the facts, I have been derided as a creationist, a zealot and most ridiculously, a child abuser for putting my children into a Christian school.

And now, science has delightfully proven my point. One of the most fundamental theories of science appears to have been proven as incorrect. And therefore, not fact. If it is not fact, then it is opinion, or belief, backed up by empirical evidence, but belief nonetheless.

Clever chap, this one. And if he can't get it right, why should I believe some anti-Christian moron?

Is it therefore possible, with that inherent uncertainty that science presents, that science cannot explain everything? And that, in the gap that it cannot explain, there is a space for faith?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Capital Punishment

The Twitterverse came alive last night in protest about Troy Davis, convicted of murder and executed by lethal injection. The US was roundly condemned as barbaric for permitting the execution, with Davis's conviction largely based on eyewitness accounts, many of which have since been recanted. However, the decision was upheld unanimously by the 9 Justices of the US Supreme Court.

Now, I'm not going to weigh in on the merits of Davis's case, or indeed on the merits of the death penalty. My opinion on the death penalty is that I personally disagree with it. In the case of a miscarriage of justice, a fined man can be recompensed; a jailed man can be freed. A dead man cannot be resurrected. However, I am a democrat, and if a country has a democratic will that a death penalty is an appropriate form of punishment, then I will accept that.

However, I do find it vaguely ridiculous that the US has been singled out as particularly barbaric in this case. At the risk of coming across as a bit of a statist, the following table shows the 23 countries which Amnesty International have obtained information on executions from, the number of executions undertaken, the populations of the respective countries and the rate of execution. The table has been ordered according to this rate.


Country No. of Executions Population Rate of Execution
Equatorial Guinea 4 676,273 0.0005914771%
Iran 252 72,903,921 0.0003456604%
Libya 18 6,419,925 0.0002803771%
North Korea 60 23,906,070 0.0002509823%
Yemen 53 23,580,220 0.0002247647%
China 2000 1,331,460,000 0.0001502110%
Bahrain 1 791,473 0.0001263467%
Palestinian Authority 5 4,403,218 0.0001135533%
Saudi Arabia 27 25,391,100 0.0001063365%
Somalia 8 9,133,124 0.0000875932%
Syria 17 21,092,262 0.0000805983%
Botswana 1 1,949,780 0.0000512878%
Belarus 2 9,663,000 0.0000206975%
Singapore 1 4,987,600 0.0000200497%
Taiwan 4 23,071,779 0.0000173372%
US 46 307,006,550 0.0000149834%
Sudan 6 42,272,435 0.0000141936%
Bangladesh 9 162,220,760 0.0000055480%
Egypt 4 82,999,393 0.0000048193%
Malaysia 1 27,467,837 0.0000036406%
Iraq 1 31,494,287 0.0000031752%
Japan 2 127,560,000 0.0000015679%
Vietnam 1 87,279,754 0.0000011457%

As it can clearly be seen, the US is well down the list. You are far less likely to receive a death sentence in the US than in Iran, Libya (although given that those executions were sanctioned under the rule of the deposed Gaddafi regime, it could be argued that they should be given the benefit of the doubt), North Korea etc. But I don't hear the Twitterverse endlessly protesting the brutality of other countries. The facts show that, compared to other countries with the death penalty, America is not particularly barbaric. China has an execution rate ten times higher than the US, as does the poster-boy of new statehood, the Palestinian Authority. I also find it quite interesting that some of the people who were protesting about Troy Davis were the same people who are campaigning for Palestinian independence.

I don't support the death penalty, and I wish that Troy Davis had been spared. But I also don't support rank hypocrisy levelled at anyone that doesn't deserve it. If you're going to criticise the US for being barbaric, don't single them out - speak out against the other regimes throughout the world which are considerably worse than they are.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Equality My Arse

I wish to pass comment on another bout of complete stupidity and total bollocks ejected from the maw of the Beast Politic. In this instance, the mouthpiece is Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister for the Coalition Government, who has stated that she blames men for the 'mess the world is in'.

Verbatim:

'In terms of decision making I have always gone out and advocated to women you must get your hands on levers, you must get hold of power, you must be where decisions are made... Because otherwise if you leave it to - I'm going to say men in this case because that's the way the world has worked - you get terrible decisions. Look at the mess the world is in, and look who has been in charge. I leave it there.'

I have no problem with equality. I have no problem with equal pay, equal rights, feminism, all the rest of it. Equality is something that we all deserve. And because of that, I despise discrimination, in all its forms, especially when people dress it up as something else. It smacks of rank hypocrisy, and misandry (man-hating) dressed up as feminism is one of the most insidious examples of it.

To people who conform to such views, such a statement is completely obvious, and totally acceptable. Of course men are to blame. Those evil, misogynistic pigs. They're all bastards. Cut their balls off. Or if that doesn't work, just make them fucking manicure themselves, emasculate them totally, convert them into walking, talking Ken dolls.

But of course, it is totally improper for me to say that women can't be trusted to run things. That they're better off in the kitchen. That the only things they're good for is cooking and fucking - they'd screw anything more complicated than that up. Such comments are unacceptable.

So why is it OK to piss on men, but not on women?

Allow me to highlight it another way, by changing only two words in Featherstone's contemptuous statement:

'In terms of decision making I have always gone out and advocated to Germans you must get your hands on levers, you must get hold of power, you must be where decisions are made... Because otherwise if you leave it to - I'm going to say Jews in this case because that's the way the world has worked - you get terrible decisions. Look at the mess the world is in, and look who has been in charge. I leave it there.'

Ah, yes. All of a sudden, the despicable prejudice becomes apparent, doesn't it?

Gives real feminists a bad name.

So, Lynne Featherstone, take your fucking penis-envy, man-hating, fascist agenda, and choke on it. Preferably after boiling your head in the foetid bottom-juice which has just spewed from the hole in your face.