* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4165 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Swedish prosecutors finally agree to London interview for Assange™

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Good for him… maybe?

Police do not prosecute crimes at this level of political interference.

Not sure what that's supposed to actually mean.

As you say though, it's the CPS who decide whether a prosecution occurs. The police aren't supposed to drop an investigation without their say-so, and it's the CPS who make the call as to whether a prosecution goes to court. It has to have a realistic chance of success - and be in the public interest.

Although is skipping bail a normal criminal offence? Or does it come under contempt of court? In which case the CPS may not even get a look-in - and any decision would come down to the original judge who set it.

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Re: Good for him… maybe?

I understand your sentiment but do not understand. In Govt there must be a way for political back-peddling in a legal sense?

swampdog,

Theoretically there should have been no political involvement at any point in this case. There is no constitutional method for this to occur. The police and courts are independent of government.

Broadly the courts actually are. The police, in particular the Met, operate a lot more closely with the Home Office - and so high profile cases like this will obviously be discussed. But short of going through some very complicated legal gyrations, a Home Secretary can do nothing if a Chief Constable tells them to get stuffed. There is a mechanism to sack one, but it takes a long time, and a lot of political capital.

I think it would be embarrassing if Assange were to escape. But it would be equally bad for both police and government, so it's in both their interests not to allow it to happen. Even if it costs a bobbie or two.

But there's no deal the Foreign Office or Home Office can offer Assange, or Ecuador. The police are bound by the court-issued arrest warrant, and there's presumably one out also for contempt of court, for breach of bail conditions. Those were both issued by the courts, and can only be reversed by the courts. A Home Secretary (and why would they care?) might be able to "put the word out" to the judge about what they want. The judge is under no obligation to take any notice. The Judicial Appointments Commission is independent, and comes under the Ministry of Justice anyway. So there's not even much informal pressure that can be brought to bear, let alone the direct type.

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Re: Good for him… maybe?

It doesn't matter which government wins. They can't wash their hands of it. There is no mechanism for the Home Secretary to tell the police what to do.

Of course, in reality, this sort of affair will probably have all sorts of people consulting each other. But if the Met wanted to be bloody-minded, there's nothing that ministers can do. Dropping the skipping bail charge is down to the courts.

The government could do some sort of backroom (nod-and-a-wink) deal, where Ecuador are allowed to slip him out the back, while we're not watching. But this would be illegal - and when he got to Ecuador and went on telly, a minister or senior Met commander (depending on who agreed what / how much came out), would probably have to be sacrificed to appease the Daily Mail. A junior one that nobody likes perhaps?

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Timeout, Time Lords: ICANN says there is only one kind of doctor

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Re: Sad if they go through with it

doctor.doctor/i/feel/like/a/pair/of/curtains.php

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Re: I can foresee lawsuits against ICANN over this.

Whenever anyone talks about ICANN in the way you do in your first sentence, the only thing my brain processes is: ICAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER

Is that wrong?

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Re: Suggestion nobody will listen to...

New gTLD suggestion: dot.itsjustfuckingwater perhaps?

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Re: Sadly the wrong answer.

Well they're going to come across the same problem with dot.bank.

As I understand it, one of the potential registrars is going to set up some sort of system where you have to be registered as a bank with a national regulartory authority. And I guess a similar system can be built up for dot.doctor.

However, once you do that, you're basically no longer dealing with a global system. So in this particular case, it might then be better off to go through the national TLDs. A dot.doctor.uk would make a lot more sense - as it can then be managed within the country's laws, and governments could even make it an offence to register a domain on there without the appropriate qualifications. Instead of, or as well as, administering the local register, by whatever local rules apply.

At least most of the useless gTLD aren't actively going to do any harm. Bank, Doctor etc., could end up going horribly wrong.

I'm just off to pay my $10 to register icann.sucks, or failing that my $150,000 to be registrar of .fuckingupthenamespace...

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Re: "legitimate medical practitioners"

But what about legitimate supervillians (many of whom hold advanced degrees) ?

The super-villain problem is easily solved. They don't want the .doctor name anyway, since Dr is usually the first part of their name. What they need is the new gTLD .evil...

There admittedly might be a touch of confusion between the two domains: DrNo.evil and DoNo.evil (as owned by Google), but I'm sure it would all come out in the wash...

The next question is a domain for superheroes. I was thinking .man. Hence you'd have super.man, ice.man, spider.man, bat.man. And robin too...

Also mannersmaketh.man and the less pleasant superhero herpes.man.

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RIP Sir Terry Pratchett: Discworld author finally gets to meet DEATH

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I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects,

No man is an island,

Entire of itself,

Every man is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less.

As well as if a promontory were.

As well as if a manor of thy friend's

Or of thine own were:

Any man's death diminishes me,

Because I am involved in mankind,

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

It tolls for thee.

I thought of this yesterday, because I was musing on the fact that Terry Pratchett's death has affected me, even though I never knew the man. And normally I wouldn't say that about someone I didn't know. It might be sad, but I rarely feel it personally. Anyway it didn't seem to quite fit, so I didn't bother.

However it's appropriate here I think.

Whereas I'm not sure your sentiments were. I didn't know Sir Terry, but after reading 40-odd books of his (maybe 8,000 pages or a couple of million words) - I think I can safely say that he wouldn't agree.

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Re: Turtles all the way down

How can any man whose writing desk had 6 monitors on it, not be relevant to an IT site?

I remember being quite impressed by that setup. Although I don't know how he ever got any actual writing done...

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Re: It's sad but also not sad

Good post. With which I whole-heartedly agree.

I'm still sad though. I'm not normally one to feel this way when someone famous dies. I didn't know them, after all. So I wouldn't normally post. But I've loved his books for years, and also really admired his programs on the Dignitas clinic and the one on possibly Alzheimers treatment.

But as you say, it cannot be counted anything but a success to die with your loved ones around you in your own bed, after a good life, having made some mark on the world and had a positive effect on many peoples' lives.

Sniff sniff... I appear to have something in my eye...

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$17,000 Apple Watch: Pointless bling, right? HA! You're WRONG

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Re: Clickbait

Tim,

Thanks for your correction. I noticed I'd typed pail, instead of pale afterwards. Oops. I used to proof-read my posts to the interwebs, but life's too short. I'm not getting paid, so I just type my screed and move on...

I didn't know UKIP had an official blazer. Is it in yellow and purple? If so, the internet demands pictures. Although maybe wait a few weeks, until we've got our special dark glasses for staring at the eclipse...

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Re: Clickbait

Charlie Clark,

Thanks for your reply. I don't know what your complaint is about El Reg though. If you don't like Worstall, don't click on his articles. It's an IT site, so I don't know how he persuaded the editor to let him write about economics on here, but then he gets comments (and interesting discussions in them), so he obviously attracts readers. But were El Reg a newspaper, little of his stuff would appear in the news pages, as it's often comment, rather than news reporting.

However, I wouldn't call this an Op Ed piece. He's just talking about economics and stupidly expensive Apple watches. Saying that it's a Veblen good isn't "off economics", it's just economics. Like Giffen goods, it's one of those areas where price and demand don't relate in the normal way - but it's someting that's continually observed, so I guess someone wrote a paper, and got the credit for the "discovery". I don't see what's not to like about this piece. Or even what's controversial. More it's a look at this new thing, here's how it's seen in economic terms.

Anyway he works for the Adam Smith Institute. Which gives him some credibility, even if it suggests quite a lot about his economics and politics. He's also a kipper. But that's no reason not to take his economics seriously. It's a long time since I studied it, but I've not seen him make a mistake on El Reg, and he's made me think quite a lot. Obvoiusly there's an ongoing academic debate in economics, but he's quite good at telling you which view he's going with, who disagrees, what the mainstream view is (if there is one). And he's also unusually good at saying when he's giving his own opinion, and when he's using standard economics to make a point.

FWIW UKIP is not just about being anti-Euro and anti-EU. Those are handy fig leaves for some fairly reactionary ideas which Worstal's articles typify. A pox on all populists. And a pox on the mainstream for giving them air to breathe.

This however is unacceptable. I agree with you about a pox on populists. But giving them air to breath is a fundamental freedom of our political system. It's a fundamental right too. I would argue that it was the lack of space allowed for discussion on Europe that directly caused the rise of UKIP. And allowed them to continue in the unhealth 'anti-politics' platform they now use. The closing down of debate on immigration, the euro and the like damaged our political discourse, and led more people to look to to the extremes, as the mainstream media (and some politicians) shouted them down.

Look at the eurozone debate in Southern europe. Because there's a media and political consensus on staying in, no matter the damage it's inflicting, voters are starting to move to the extremes. So you get Syriza and Podemos, who can play the populist card, because they've never had to make the comopromised required to govern. And look how well it's worked out so-far for Syriza, as they've run their impossible election pledges into the brick wall of reality. To be fair, I think Syriza may have been willing to make a reasonable compromise, but it looks like the rest of the eurozone aren't. And also, Syriza didn't tell it how it really is to the voters.

UKIP is a mess. According to the polls there are quite a few ex Lib Dem supporters who now say they'll vote UKIP! So they've moved from a pro-EU, pro-Euro socially liberal party, to one that isn't. They're probably the flipside of the coin to the voters who say they're going Green, as Labour aren't left enough. But I guess that's as much an anti-politics, "bollocks to the lot of you", vote.

Obviously UKIP started as a single-issue party. But they've gained support and members from everywhere, which makes it very hard for them to come to a consensus. How to you make a manifesto to please a libertarian free-marketeer like Worstall and an ex-Labour northern working class lefty/protectionist? Let alone the ex BNP lot, the older worried-about-social-change voters etc.

AfD in Germany are having the same problem. A pro-EU but anti euro party, founded by economics professors and business people as a reaction to the seemingly insoluable euro-crisis. Suddenly they started getting popular, so they've now been joined by lots of people who don't like the euro or the EU, and quite a lot of them because of the large growth of immigration in Germany and/or the drop in wages for lower skilled workers. So they're now having the same fight as to who dominates the party agenda. I think Syriza are a bit of mirror of this problem, from the left.

Anyway, I believe in politics. It works better than the alternatives. And that means open debate, and not dismissing someone just because they disagree with you. But trying to find some common ground. I don't think terms like reactionary help. If you think he's wrong, argue your case.

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WTF?

Re: Clickbait

from the Register's own Kipper not marked as such.

Charlie Clark,

What the fuck's wrong with you?

So the man supports UKIP. So fucking what?

If he was subtly making Ukippy points and propaganda in his articles, then you might have a point. But this article doesn't even relate to that. It's a discussion point about the new Apple watch and luxury goods from the standpoint of economics. i.e., it's not about the money, it's about the sex. Or as that song a few years ago said, "Girls don't like boys. Girls like cars and money."

There's nothing wrong with supporting UKIP anyway. Not that I'm a fan, I don't like one-policy parties, and I like even less one-policy parties that succumb to delusions of adequacy and start to pretend to having a proper manifesto and makking stuff up on the hoof. But they address a genuine constitutional issue, of serious democractic importance. And that can only be a good thing. That's democracy.

Trying to treat UKIP as somehow beyond the pail is the whole reason for the success of UKIP in the first place! I remember the good old days, when if you opposed the Euro you were some kind of little-Englander, swivel-eyed loon, to be subtly insulted and patronised by our betters at the Guardian, BBC, Times and FT.

Now it turns out that the euro is economically unworkable without unaccepable political integration. Oops. That kind of sneering nastiness is what causes the growth of anti-politics. And despite its fault politics is what gets stuff done. The alternative to working politics is Russia or Greece. Neither of which are good options.

Oops. Rant over. Apologies to everyone other than the OP. And breathe...

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There's nothing wrong with blowing your cash on whatever takes your fancy. It's just that this Apple watch seems such bad value. At least you can justify a Swiss watch by saying that lots of lab-coated craftsmen have hand-built it, while smoking their pipes and yodelling. And that it'll still be useful in 2 years, and working in 10.

None of that's true of the Apple watch, which is just $350 of mass-produced mechanism shoved in $1,000 of gold.

For $17k, I could pay a special assistant to follow me round holding my phone within my eyeline - or maybe walk just in front of me with it taped to their back. Financially that makes just as much sense, as I can then do the same next year - rather than paying for the upgrade from Apple. And that's showing off even more.

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Re: The difference is …

The longevity of a Rolex compared to an iWatch is completely irrelevant for the very reasons the article discussed. Wasting resources proves that you have resources - Hence the old Rolls Royce in a swimming pool antics.

Dave 126,

Doesn't this depend on motivation though? I've heard guys talking about buying cars because, "they're a babe-magnet." I don't recall talking to anyone who's bought a stupidly expensive watch saying that though.

The way they've sold the purchase to themselves is often because they're into nicely engineered things, they like the idea of it, and they can justify this because they're going to have the watch forever, and pass it to their kids. Or even sell it for a profit. There's also an element of "rewarding myself for working hard - now I can afford it".

There are some who buy it as an addition to their wardrobe, and I guess that pretty much is about sexual display.

But it strikes me that people do need to justify a purchase in their own minds. And quality and longevity is the big thing for the posh watch industry. But Apple are selling a $350 watch covered in gold, but not in a gold case, so therefore it's going to be worthless after 2 years. Do people with this much cash use Cash-4-Gold?

Obviously, once you've got a few tens of millions, the cost is irrelevant. And this is just another impulse purchase. But the watch comopanies do so well, because they're selling watches for £5k to people who only earn £30-£40k a year - and there's an awful lot more of them than there are millionaires.

Then again maybe Apple only want the millionaires? There's still enough of them, and it's not like these watches are costing much to make, as that's covered by the mass market production line, it's just the easy job of making the gold cases.

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

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Pint

Re: He'll be missed in my house

I don't know. Should you raise a pint to him? Or should it be a glass of something blue or green and sticky, that's been lurking in a crusty bottle at the back of the bar since a holiday about 20 years ago?

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Happy

In my opinion he started off with one style 'Colour of Magic' and 'Light Fantastic', and then spent the next few books tweaking things*, and changing his writing styles and techniques. In my opinion Sourcery and Pyramids were some of his weaker books because of this. I still enjoyed them, but didn't feel much desire to re-read them. Admittedly they've been in a box for the last 15 years, and I've only just dug them out after several moves, and some time in storage - perhaps they're due another read?

Anyway, I think he'd really got himself going again with Wyrd Sisters. Which I very much like (and have re-read). And might be a good starting point. I love the way he can be doing a multi-page literary parody, sometimes within a book that is already a literary parody (Wyrd Sisters / Macbeth for example) - and then he'll put in a proper groan-inducing pun and suddenly there'll be a knob gag, or he'll drop in a stupid footnote for the hell of it. His writing style plays on so many different levels that you can appreciate the books in different ways, depending on your mood, and that makes them worth re-reading too. So Wyrd Sisters then Witches Abroad (where I loved the short Hemingway parody) then hooked.

Or you could go for for Guards! Guards!, and read along with the Watch, as someone else also suggested. There's also the Death novels. But I didn't think Mort was one of his strongest books, so I wouldn't start with it, just like I think Equal Rites (the first witches one) isn't even in the same style as his later stuff. Everyone likes different things though. And I do fear recommending books / music that I love to people, because so much of it is personal. And then when they don't like it, they've stabbed me in the back. The bastards!

You've got a whole load of books to look forward to. Assuming you liked the first couple you read. Happy days. There's a bunch of kids/young adult books in the Discworld series as well, but I just ignored that and read them anyway. I really enjoyed the Tiffany Aching books (Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith). More witches.

He then did a bunch of other stuff. I remember not particularly liking Strata and Dark Side of the Sun - but that's all I remember, I read those sometime in the early 90s I think. There was Truckers, Diggers and something else, which I've never read, and I seem to recall the name 'The Carpet People'. All kids books I think.

Then finally, Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman). Radio 4's recent adaptation was excellent. The book is even better. Hopefully, happy reading to you. Oh and the ones with Stephen Baxter, that I haven't read, the first one's on my bedside book pile.

* I just had a major fat-finger issue and typed twerking1 (should I have left that in?).

1 I put this comment in brackets, then realised that in honour of the Master himself, it should obviously be done as a footnote2. I also particuarly liked his footnotes inside footnotes gags.

2I should probably have stopped after 2...

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The voters hate Google. Heeeeyyyy... how about a 'Google Tax'?

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Amazon don't make profits. They re-invest their profits into expanding the business, and growing into new areas like Cloud Computing and phones/tablets. Thus it doesn't matter what jurisdiction they're in, they still wouldn't be paying corporation tax.

Google, MS and Apple are a different matter.

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Re: Who benefits?

VAT isn't a tax on turnover. It's a tax on consumption.

The reason for this is that any organisation that's VAT registered gets to claim back any VAT it pays. So any company that sells business-to-business is almost totally unaffected by VAT. You charge it, pay it on the stuff you buy from other businesses, then hand over the difference to HMRC. But becasue the companies you sell to are businesses, they claim back the VAT you charged them as well.

It's only when that final invoice in the chain hits a consumer, or a company too small to be VAT registered, that someone finally has to swallow the VAT element.

Until then, all VAT has done is create lots of paperwork and sometimes cashflow problems. Also it means you're reporting quarterly sales and costs to HMRC, which really helps with working out the state of the economy.

As you say though, corporation tax is a tax on profits. Not turnover. Hence all the arguments about Amazon seem ridiculous, given they don't make much profit. The problem with Amazon is the distortion they create with the Single Market VAT system, helping them to out-compete local companies on price.

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Re: MP's Outside business interests

Boris the cockroach,

You don't appear to understand the British political system. Almost any bill that affects the tax code is going to be written by the Treasury. Probably with mininmal influence from back-benchers. You might get some input from the treasury select committee. But the efficient way to lobby on the tax code would be to offer future employment to HMRC and Treasury officials. Or I guess the Chancellor himself (if you're feeling ambitious).

On the other hand, Gordon Brown has been the cause of a lot of the recent extra complication in our tax rules. And the introduction of various incentives (which often become loopholes). And for all his faults, I think he did it because he wasn't very good at his job as Chancellor, and becasue he has a tenedency to focus on detail. This made him a great electoral tactician, but not a very good Cahncellor or Prime Minister. I wouldn't put it down to corruption.

Quite frankly I'm sick and tired of this lazy cynicism about politics, as some sort of replacement for critical thought. The answer is more likely to be cock-up than conspiracy on almost any topic. It's basically a bollocks argument.

British politics is by any global standards very clean. Our biggest recent scandal has been about a few million quid paid out on excessive expenses - which was basically done as a dodgy backroom deal in order to avoid the bad publicity of giving MPs pay rises. But our politics compares favourably in these terms to US, French, German, Japanese, or anyone else in the G20 (with the possible exception of Canada, which I don't know anything about). I've not even mentioned Italy, Spain or Greece, let alone Russia/China etc. I bet the Scandinavians are better than us, given they place higher than us on Transparency International's list. You'll never get totally clean politics, because power attracts (and affects) money - but a fair analysis of the limits of our political system is much needed from the electorate.

Oh, and the subject of this article was about avoiding tax due to the rules of the Single Market. Which is a problem at a European level, that MPs have even less influence on.

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I have no idea what the tax position of IKEA is, I know almost nothing about the company.

However I think it very unlikely that it's due to pay corporation tax on €40 billion.

€40bn is its sales. Corporation tax is paid on profits. That's likely to be a much smaller number - and therefore look far less impressive. There is a rather enormous difference between the two. It's like the mythical £6 billion Vodafone tax bill that they supposedly avoided paying. When that number appears to have been plucked out of thin air, and much of the story seems to have related to the profits of the German company they'd bought. Where whatever tax was due, was probably Germany's.

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It is when your "home country" is a brass plaque on a lawyers office in the Caribbean.

That might be so. But when you operate in the European Single Market, you only have to set up your legal entity in one of those states, to then be able to operate in all the others. That's how the system was designed, and that does convey economic benefits. There are also downsides though, and this tax issue is one of them. On the other hand, it makes it harder to tell what's being done for the purposes of tax avoidance, and what is being done becuase it's the most efficient way to run an organisation.

There will never be a perfect solution to this problem. Something will always be left to individual interpretation of what's "right" or "moral", or what the law means. Since we try to make everyone equal before the law, that means it'll go to court, and be decided on the letter of the law. And that may create political pressure to change that law. But whatever we do, someone will either be disadvantaged by an unintended consequence, or find an unintended way to profit from one of the exceptions created to avoid disadvantaging someone else. Such is politics.

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It would make this whole area of discussion a lot easier (and more pleasant), if people could lay off the childish point-scoring crap. MPs don't pay corporation tax, nor are most of them likely to operate across international boundaries. So they'd personally be much more likely to take advantage of loopholes in personal taxation law. Sure there are some MPs with outside business interests, who will be involved in this. But the big problems here tend to be large global corporations, who by definition operate very complicated structures across many international boundaries. And even if they were trying to pay as much tax as possible, would still have very complicated tax affairs.

Having some juvenile dig at MPs does not help matters.

In this particular case, one of the major problems is that there is almost no way a single parliament and/or government can address this issue. Even if we weren't in the EU and the Single Market, we still couldn't please ourselves on this law, as it's all subject to international tax treaties. We're plugged into a global economy. Mostly that's a good thing, and makes us all better off. But it has some downsides. There now looks to be an international consensus that corporation tax needs fixing, but even if that goes full speed ahead, and every government in the world shared the same political beliefs, it would still take years to get all the agreements hammered out and implemented.

Plus we're in the EU, which severely limits our freedom of action. As the article discusses.

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Re: more UKIP nonsense

cap'n,

I'm not sure your argument makes much sense. We can tax things that effect companies who are resident in the UK for tax purposes (Windfall taxes / bank taxes etc.). It's much harder to do that to companies that are resident in other tax jurisdictions. Particularly if they are using the rules of the Single Market to trade within the EU. I'm no tax lawyer and I haven't looked at this legislation, but Tim Worstall makes a decent argument as to why it may not comply, and will quite possibly end up being decided by the ECJ in several years time.

Having dismissed his argument, you then go onto some sort of attack, possibly on UKIP, possibly on Worstall, though you don't specify. And it's not relevant to the article.

It's possible that the UK, being the second biggest economy in Europe (although that may depend on how you measure it between us and France), has a lot more negotiating leverage than Switzerland. And can carve out a better deal. Particularly as we run a trade deficit with the rest of the EU (a surplus with the rest of the world) - and there would be lots of political pressure from big EU companies wanting to keep access to the UK market. Espeically as the only plans for Eurozone recovery seem to be based on exporting, rather than stimulating internal demand, and for that they need markets willing to import.

On the other hand, the irrationality of the way the negotiations are currently being handled with Greece suggests there's a second option, where the EU plays the rejected lover and decides collectively to punish the UK for the insult of leaving. Despite doing more damage to its own economy in the process than it does to ours. I believe if we do decide to leave, that the agreement has to be unanimously approved by all member states, the Commission and the European Parliament. There don't seem to be many genuine Federalist believers left in politics at the national level, but there are many at the EP.

It's interesting that Cameron has not even put it on his list of things to try to negotiate, any restrictions on free movement. He's decided it's just not possible, so there's no point asking, he's better to try to negotiate on things he can actually get. One of which is to try deal with the technical differences between benefits systems. Many EU countries have contributory systems, so poorer migrants have much smaller incentives to go to those places. Where as we have in-work benefits for which you don't need to have contributed beforehand. So that could be acting as an incentive for people to come here, and take low-paid jobs - and price down the wages of the lowest paid. There might be a deal there, as Germany has similar issues.

However I presume you were attacking UKIP rather than Cameron. Myself I'm no fan of UKIP, but I can understand why they've become a political force. If Cameron were to win the election, attempted to negotiate and got nothing, I'd be very tempted to vote to leave in a referendum. I don't buy the argument that our economoy couldn't thrive outside the EU - although the EU has some nice advantages. But there is a major democratic problem, and rather like Scotland, if people feel that the downsides of the political compromises required to stay in the union outweigh the upsides of the trade it promotes, then it's time to think about leaving. As democracy is really important. The Eurozone crisis proves that the voters of the EU do not feel that they are one people - whose taxes and laws should be shared - and that means if the EU pushes integration past a certain point, it will lose all legitimacy. UKIP argue that point has already been passed. On that, I think I agree with them.

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Facepalm

Re: The voters hate Osborne

and his millionaire school bottom friends.

Hadvar,

Well done for keeping the debate on such a reasoned and mature level...

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Re: Hmmm

Perhaps the way around all this is to legislate that all sales in this country must be done by a company registered in this country. That way all sales to UK clients occur in the UK and are therefore taxable at UK corporation rates. However IANAL and expect that runs contrary to some trade treaty, tax agreement or whatever. And all EU countries would likely need to enact a similar law at the same time to be effective. I dunno. Just putting it out there.

Jimmy2Cows,

I'm afraid that defeats the whole object of the European Single Market. The idea is supposed to be that any EU company in any EU country can sell to any other EU country. That means that companies only need to comply with one set of laws and taxes. It's an awful lot of hassle to harmonise this stuff, and it's taken a very long time to build the single market.

Even if we vote to leave the EU in a few years, there's still a very good chance that we'll want to stay in the single market and EEA, so we'll still have to agree to harmonised taxation and regulation.

There are some changes to tax law that might help. For example, I believe Ireland have a system where you only pay corporation tax on sales within Ireland, and none on sales elsewhere, and that's attracted many companies to operate there. If companies had to pay all their corporation tax to Ireland, it might be less attractive to move there, just for a couple of percentage points off their tax. Luxembourg are being investigated for doing special sweetheart deals to attract companies to move their headquarters there. That's the negotiation that's going on at an EU level, and that may be able to fix some of the problems.

I'm not a tax lawyer, so I've no idea if this will work. But those negotiations are going on at an EU level, and I beleive that it's also something that's been quite seriously discussed at the G20 as well, so there may well be broader international action. But all that moves very, very, very slowly.

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Paul Allen hunts down sunken Japanese WWII super-battleship

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Re: And the thrid ship

Destroy all Monsters,

Thanks for the correction. I'd completely forgotten that the Japanese pulled out first.

I believe a bunch of their cruisers were absolutely huge, and simply ignored the treaty size limis. But Japan didn't have enough cruisers. One of the things that Churchill complained about was the admiralty building bigger and bigger destroyers, to match the enormous German ones - that he said were getting towards light cruisers in size. I don't think they were close really, but they were twice the size of normal destroyers. And his argument was that you should have enough good ships, not too few great ones. The Germans suffered a shortage of destroyers. Especially after the Norwegian campaign.

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Re: AA guns

They did have a pilot training issue. And couldn't scale their aircraft industry up to cope with the losses. I'm sure it didn't help that the army and airforce did everything separately as well. I read a piece somewhere about how one of the late-war aircraft carriers was actually built by the army. They wanted to show the navy how to do it right.

Bad decisions don't help. Another piece I read was that the Japanese navy stopped building torpedo bombers before the war. They'd got enough for the carriers they operated, and so why keep building them? Odd, given that they were planning for a war, and you might expect to lose the odd plane in a war, not to mention normal training accidents.

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Re: Who trained the Japanese to torpedo bomb?

I seem to recall that he opened fire at something stupid like 5,000 yards at Matapan. Which isn't terribly sporting. And the Italians apparently decided that night naval fighting wasn't a great idea and didn't do much training for it. That would have been a pre-radar decision.

As for the Yamato and Musashi fighting the US battleships, one of the huge problems these two ships had is their horrific fuel consumption. The Japanese simply couldn't afford to use them very often. That's the downside of being so big.

The Italians had a similar problem, in that they were reliant on Germany for fuel supplies. And the Germans didn't give them enough to use the fleet. It wasn't a priority. At one point (mid 41 I think), the Royal Navy had zero operational battleships in the Med, as the two at Alexandria had been damaged by Italian frogmen - and I can't remember about those in Gibraltar. Torpedo or mine damage and/or being withdrawn for other duties.

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Re: And the thrid ship

Wasn't one of the reasons for secrecy that they were in massive violation of the Washington Naval Treaty. Which is why the Bismarck and Tirpitz were officially supposed to be only 35,000 tonnes or some such silliness.

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Jackie Fisher's original idea for the battle cruisers was that they weren't supposed to fight battleships. They were for use as sea-lane protection, because they were almost as fast as cruisers, and could blast them out of the water. I think the problem was they were very expensive and very shiny - so got collected into the main fleet. Plus they had these big guns, and could therefore sink battleships (if they could survive long enough), so if you got into counting guns, and weight of shell, you suddenly started getting delusions of adding them to the battle line.

Obviously they were useful for scouting ahead of the fleet, because they could beat up the enemy's screening force and then run away from the battleships. The problem was failing to run away at the right time.

At Jutland the British battlecruisers also suffered more losses than the Germans. Partly this is because the Germans chose to have more armour on theirs, because they didn't have a huge empire and so carried less fuel and could burn more. But another suggestion is that the Royal Navy spent a lot more timei on training for speed of gunnery than they did on saftety, so they opened all the blast-proof hatches between turrets and magazines, with the obvious danger that explosion could then travel down into the magazines and destroy the ship with one hit.

Convenenience so often trumps safety. The General Belgrano was sailing in waters its officers knew had enemy submarines in, and yet had not closed its internal watertight doors. This meant that it got sunk very quickly by 2 WWII vintage torpedoes.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Smažený sýr

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Haggis pakora is apparently the thing to deep fry.

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Re: The Greek version - Saganki...

Off to scour your throat more like...

Still, is it any worse than akvavit? Which the Danes seem to like to chill, so you're forced to actually taste the stuff. Looks like urine, tastes like it too...

Grappa, like calvados, seems to vary from undrinkable filth, but good for cleaning the drains, to smooth, warm, tasty and mellow.

I randomly buy calvados, as price and age seem to be little guide - drink the nice stuff, and make ice cream with the rest.

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Apple Watch: HOT WRIST ACTION plus slim $1299 MacBooks - and HBO TV

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Re: This was a cringeworthy launch...

I believe the correct thing to shout into your wrist is: "KITT, I need you!"

Admittedly that needs to be a black digital watch, while wearing a black leather jacket, and talking to a black car. But I guess it explains the rumours that Apple are researching self-driving cars. There's no other reason to talk into your watch is there?

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Cash'n'Carrion restocks atomic keyrings

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Megaphone

I hope you don't have those boxes of NUCLEAR DEATH KEYRINGS stacked up next to somone's desk? Otherwise it won't only be The Daily Planet that has a reporter with superpowers.

Since going to an El Reg lecture last December I've developed the super-ability to consume my own bodyweight in pork pies in a single evening.

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Win! El Reg exceedingly fine mug collection

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Re: Ummm

It's appalling! I would never lie online, as I was saying to David Beckham and Lord Haw Haw the other day...

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Re: Black, White or Green???

Isn't the red stuff not actually tea, but from a completely different plant? I am no expert. I keep meaning to try some, and see what it's like. I've been on a tea experimenting binge for the last year, I've decided I like darjeeling, and the occasional earl grey. I've even decided I quite enjoy a fruit tea. I've got some proper fruit tea from Tea Palace, which is ordinary black tea with pieces of dried fruit in it, which is lovely, as well as some of the usual not-actually-tea stuff.

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Re: Yorkshire Tea is fine, but...

That's right. You great Northern softies.

Daarn Saaarf, even the water's 'ard.

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What is grey tea?

I've heard of black, white and green. Is grey what you get when sweeping the leftovers off the tea warehous floor? Or a mix of black and white? Or the blend preferred by smallish aliens who like to stick probes up rural people's bottoms?

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Re: Yorkshire Tea is fine, but...

No, no, no, no! You don't warm the mug. You warm the teapot! Then you make tea in the teapot, and then pour it into the mug. That way there's the all-important second cup of tea waiting for you, when you've finished number one.

I'd also suggest using loose leaf tea, but I don't want to risk sounding like the Tealiban.

I prefer the teapot so I can have 2 cups. But it really comes into its own when you've got a few people over, as it's stilly to be trying to make 5 or 6 cups at once in individual mugs.

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'Hi, I'm from Microsoft and I am GOING TO KILL YOU'

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Re: People like this...

I love The Register's pro-active no-nonsense attitude to customer service!

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Re: Bear in mind...

On the Windows scam I actually checked this, so that I could feel morally allowed to tell them to fuck off. They could be on the version of the scam where they just do the script, and then the actual theft bit is done by someone else - as they hand the call over when it comes to selling the "anti-virus product".

But that's not how it works. And from talking politely to a couple of the guys who've phoned us, it was abundantly clear that they knew that they were doing was both immoral and illegal.

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Re: calling about your accident

I'm liking the amnesia idea. I think I might use that. I've not had a Windows call in weeks, but the accident ones are common.

The people who were calling me claiming to be from Microsoft have now changed their script. Now they're calling from your ISP, as they've noticed virus acivity on your broadband line. I believe some now have a script for finding virus activity on your Mac too. Not sure they've got round to bothering with one for Linux.

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Happy

My colleague did very well with one once. He was polite and slighlty confused but helpful. His voice is already quite posh, but he was playing up the RP a bit as well. The scammer must have thought he was onto a winner.

Then he suddenly changed. Incredibly aggressive tone of voice, "are you lying to me? You're lying to me aren't you. There isn't a problem with my computer! You've already lied to me once, your name isn't Bob is it?" etc.

Onto speakerphone. There was a bit of a shocked pause from scam-central. Then suddenly, "fuck off you fucking pakki!" Then they played a version of the lovers refusing to be the first to hang up, with "you fuck off." "No, you fuck off first!"

Which continued for another couple of minutes. By which point I was crying with laughter.

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Upper house of Parliament joins the drone debate

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Re: Why are we asking the EU?

Perhaps it's going via the EU as it's one of the harmonised areas of policy. A lot of product regulations come our way from the EU because of the Single Market (for example). Note that there's already been some discussion at the EU level, so the Parliamentary committees will study the issue and report to government, so that ministers and civil servants can take their opinion into account when deciding our position in EU level negotiations.

Government works slowly, and via various stages of consultation and discussion before progressing to legislation, or not. Once you add in the various extra layers in the EU process, that gets even longer, more complicated and involved.

Some of these modern drones are very large and powerful, and could pose a serious danger to other air-users, or people on the ground. Therefore government wouldn't be doing its job unless it looked at whether changes in legislation are needed. And that's happening seemingly at both national and EU level. The system (so far at least) is therefore doing what it's supposed to.

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East Timor was officially removed from the internet yesterday

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Happy

Re: While they're sorting out the country codes

That's a bit unfair. How would the Wicked Witch of the West get her email then?

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Also there can be much complication with politics. In this case it's probably relatively easy. As one single country is simply changing its ccTLD. But in the case of the split up of Yugoslavia you've got 2 new successor countries, so you can't just set up automatically on the new domains.

So there are many technical pitfalls. And if you're unlucky political ones too.

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You're outta here! Baseball star strikes out sleazy trolls who targeted teen daughter

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Re: Violence for comments

Intractable Potsherd,

I don't support the use of voilence where it's not necessary. And I wouldn't respond to anything other than physical force, or the threat of it, with violence (hopefully anyway - I'm sure everyone has a breaking point somewhere).

On the other hand, sticks and stones may certainly break peoples' bones - but anyone who thinks that "words can never hurt you", is an idiot. There are plenty of things that people can say that are far worse than a bruised jaw or a bloodied nose. Of course one punch can kill/seriously injure somone. But then people who've been verbally bullied have killed themselves too.

If you got punched in a pub because you'd made obscene comments about someone's daughter, you would almost certainly find yourself lacking in sympathy.

The law and peoples' sense of fair-play/natural justice don't always perfectly coincide.

Also, caution about what you say is just common sense. You don't know how good random people you omeet are at controlling their temper. A good deal of our social conditioning is fear of the consequences of offending the group. Of getting ostracised or smacked in the chops. We might have computers and be able to put a man on the moon, but sometimes we're seemingly still just shaved monkeys. I guess it's also part of our less civilised instincts that means we celebrate when somone who's stepped out of line gets brought down a peg or two. Especially when they'd done it in the expectation of safety by being somewhat anonymous and quite far away.

There's also a certain sense of natural justice that many people have. Which would like the punishment to fit the crime. And often wants the one who provoked someone else to get punished, not the person who was provoked (even if they've also broken the rules).

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Curiosity rover RENDERED ARMLESS by short circuit

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Happy

We all know the real reason, despite the NASA cover-up. As they've improved the capacity of the deep space network, they are now able to get video to Mars. The rover has been watching too much material of an 'artistic' nature - and obviously the wear-and-tear on the arm wasn't factored into a design that didn't expect high-grade porn to be accessible.

As to what porn a 2 tonne laser-armed space tank watches, I leave that as an exercise for the reader's imagination...

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