links for 2008-11-24

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 24 November 2008
  • I missed this somehow when it was published.
  • "The council says it is important for residents to be aware of what is being done in their name, though when I was a young reporter this was a function of the local newspaper. The council's magazine is just a self-servingly uncritical account of its activities produced at taxpayers' expense."
  • "While 54 per cent of people believe in God, 58 per cent believe in the supernatural. Researchers found women were more likely to believe in the supernatural than men, and were more likely to visit a medium. Nearly a quarter of the 3,000 questioned by researchers claimed they had an encounter with the paranormal. Some 37 per cent said aliens and ghosts were the basis of their belief system. The study, to mark the DVD release of X Files: I Want to Believe..." I bet they didn't ask how many people thought that movie was actually any good...
  • He admits he is over-stating the case for dramatic effect, but Michael has screenshots of people already forcing pr0n spam into the new Google feature that you can't switch off: "Google has a dominant lead in the search market, in some sectors it approaches near monopolistic levels. The fact that google is unchallenged by its closest rivals gives them some breathing room to have the bad combination of ego and recklessness, and have no fear of repercussions."
  • "According to government sources, Ofsted has now privately admitted this figure is 'misleading' and should have been explained or broken down. The figure of 282 is made up of all children who died while receiving any kind of local authority help - including terminally ill children receiving social care and accidental deaths of nursery age children."
  • "The popular press, with its sensationalising and sentimentalising of every distressing case, bears the heaviest responsibility for this ugly and atavistic culture of vigilantism. Its coverage of Baby Peter has been virtually pornographic in its lingering upon every horrific detail of the child's suffering. In portraying the adults involved as simplistic avatars of evil they have done little to explain, or give any sense of, what might actually have occured."
  • "Just about the worst tax cut they could design is a VAT cut. It’s not fair on the poor. Essentials that make up most of the budgets of the lower paid are already VAT free. The biggest gains will be for those who buy expensive wines, flashy cars and use lots of petrol. Whilst any tax cut is better than none, too big a cut in the wrong tax is not going to solve anything". John Redwood's blog has featured some consistently well-argued peices about the economy over the last few weeks. Perhaps he fancies a stint as shadow chancellor?

1 Comment

Got to love Redwood trying to recast the most regressive tax we have as somehow working in favour of the poor.

As a proportion of income, normal people pay more than one pound in every ten they make to VAT. People buying "expensive wines, flashy cars and lots of petrol"? Not so much.

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