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Friday, March 25, 2011


Never mind having a minimum age for voting -- which really should be much higher than it is now, say maybe 21 at the very least -- pretty soon we're going to have to introduce a maximum age for voting. I can't see any other way of avoiding the coming age riots of 2025 (when the youth of the western world will commemorate the Watts race riots of 1965 by going on the rampage to demand equality) than by stopping the old from voting. Otherwise the inevitable, inexorable steamroller of the dismal science will guarantee intergenerational conflict. The problem is simply that neither politicians nor journalists nor voters can understand the basic facts.

Politics is not about economics tutorials. Political journalists can’t or won’t understand anything more than a soundbite, so giving them a lengthy lecture about economics makes as much sense as reciting poetry to a pig.

[From Stumbling and Mumbling: Expertise in politics]

Now that may be a little unfair to all journalists. For example: hereditary celebrity and Oxford graduate Stephanie Flanders, the millionaire BBC Economics Editor and former girlfriend of new Labour leader Miliband, E., went to one of the most expensive private schools in the country (St. Paul's) and so can clearly understand economics tutorials. And she noted recently that

Here's the stark reality: employment in the UK has risen by 296,000 since the start of 2010, and 75% of those jobs - or 222,000 - have gone to people over 50. Just under 44% of the jobs have gone to the 3% of workers over 65. For comparison, the number of 16-17 year olds in work has fallen by nearly 8% over the same period

[From BBC - Stephanomics: Jobs for the boys - and the over 65s]

But not all journalists have this excellent grounding and a great many of them know perfectly well that even if they did understand the economics, it wouldn't make any difference to what they might report.

As someone once said, in politics, if you have to explain you’ve lost the debate.

[From Stumbling and Mumbling: Expertise in politics]

Well, that's just a sad, but true, signpost on the road to disaster that we seem unable to turn off. Why does this matter?

At the last election, over 55s accounted for more than 10 million votes cast - 40% of the total. In 24 constituencies, they accounted for more than half the votes cast (and there will be more constituencies like them when we next go to the polls).

[From Nick Cohen: Loth as I am to give Joan Bakewell a kicking... | Comment is free | The Observer]

You won't see an article in the Daily Mail arguing that old people should start paying back some of the largesse that the Joan Bakewell generation acquired through political capture, but the truth is that as they come to dominate the political environment so it will become impossible take even the slightest steps to redress the balance. Meanwhile doctors are thinking of going on strike because they want to continue to retire at 60 while the rest of us work until we drop.

the true cost of these pensions ranges from 34.7 per cent of salary for a male teacher, up to 71.8 per cent for a policewoman. No wonder the Government Actuary’s Department calculates that taxpayers will have to find a total of £770bn in future to deliver unfunded pensions already promised to public sector workers.

[From Arresting cost of police pensions – and five steps to boost yours – Telegraph Blogs]

This is why I am telling my kids to leave the country before the civil war between the unemployed or highly-taxed young and the retired old begins.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I think I prefer British Airways business class to American Airlines. I like the ergonomic "cocoon" seats on BA and I find them more comfortable for working. But there were three things that struck me about AA that BA ought to adopt immediately. First of all, they had much nicer coffee than BA. Whether it's the coffee itself, or the way it is brewed I don't know, but it was definitely better. Secondly, instead of the crappy headsets you get on BA, they give you Bose noise-cancelling headsets and these are so much better and so much more comfortable than normal airplane headsets. Watching TV shows, movies and listening to Eric Clapton's greatest hits were all made considerably more pleasurable through the simple expedient of better headsets. At, what, $100 per seat to buy these would be an excellent investment for our flag carrier. And finally, the toilets are much bigger and much more comfortable than even the first class toilets on BA. I guess AA have the plane configured with less galley space? I couldn't quite figure it out, but they were definitely way bigger.

Now, I do realise that when the burning issue of the day that I am moved to blog on is the comparison of business class seats on transatlantic flights it can reasonably be said that I do not reflect the median, but it's budget day back home and by the time I post this I will be considerably poorer.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Confused by the news

Internet safety has been back in the news again. Reminds of something I saw a few weeks ago.

The IWF circulates a list to ISPs of sites found to be hosting illegal images of child sexual abuse

[From BBC News - Internet porn block 'not possible' say ISPs]

Is there another list of the sites found to be hosting legal images of child sexual abuse?

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Chicks dig jerks

I don't get it. I really don't. I just watched a movie where a woman who works at a bank falls in love with one of the bank robbers. He is a thief and part of an armed gang that murder people. Now, I know it's a tradition in movies to see bank robbers as heroes (oddly, in my opinion, since none of them have ever robbed anything like as much from banks and their own management - Barclays paid £150m in bonuses to top management last year and I doubt that they've suffered £150m in robberies in their entire existence) but the film left me really puzzled. Why would the attractive and sexy (and apparently smart) woman fall for the criminal? He was, of course, very handsome, but surely in real life this wouldn't happen.

Wrong. That is real life. A sad lesson that was brought home to me in early puberty. Chicks dig jerks, as the old saying goes (doesn't it?). You don't get the girl by doing your homework, passing your British Constitution 'O' Level and helping with the lighting deck for the school play. Rudimentary evolutionary biology would surely indicate that fertile females would value these secondary signals of long-term ability to support offspring through to reproductive maturity, but no-one had told the girls at the Richard Jeffries Secondary School in Swindon.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Fruit and cakes

Another bonkers New Labour doomed experiment in social control hits the buffers. I should explain to foreign readers that the British welfare state has been optimised to ensure that middle-class people face severe penalties should they decide to reproduce, part of a post-war Marxist drive to eradicate the bourgoisie, and find themselves taxed to penury. Meanwhile, the people least able to support and nurture the next generation are encourage to reproduce without limit. Anyway, hilariously, under the Brown junta, is was decided to give 600,000 women on benefit shopping vouchers for £322 per year while they are pregnant or have babies. Now, the results of this mental programme were entirely predictable to anyone with even the most rudimentary acquaintance with the British underclass (eg, people like me who have to live near them, but not Cherie Blair or Harriet Harman). And guess what?

Now a Government survey of more than 2,000 retailers, health professionals and recipients has found that more than one in five knew of occasions when shops had swapped the tokens for products outside the scheme. Critics said the findings showed that the nanny state had encouraged “shameless behaviour” by those keen to exploit the system. As well as trading vouchers for alcohol and cigarettes, supermarkets and small convenience stores had allowed them to be used to pay for nappies, baby products, general groceries, bread, eggs and meat, the report found.

[From New mothers swap fruit vouchers for booze and cigarettes - Telegraph]

Who would have thought?

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]