* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4704 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Hey, folks. Meet the economics 'genius' behind Jeremy Corbyn

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Oh puhleeze

A bit too ranty, and very much too ignorant of basic economics.

Inflation is too much money, seeking too few goods. That pushes the price up, as you've only got so many goods to go round - however much money you have. Hence the spectacle of billion mark or Zimbabwe dollar notes.

If the government sells bonds, then someone has to buy those bonds. With money. They give that money to the government in exchange for the bond. So the government can spend that money. So the money supply has remained the same.

If the government has printed money, and therefore not sold a corresponding bond, then the money supply has grown. Thus there is now more money around, so all things being equal that will result in the price of goods and/or labour going up.

Obviously if you're way below full employment, then wages need not rise. The government of Greece say could easily print a few billion (if only they were allowed to) and pay some of those unemployed people to do something useful. That would grow the economy, as they'd then have cash to spend on other people's goods and services - and yet with unemployment at 25% - you need to employ a lot of people before you start pushing wages up.

Actually it would cause some inflation, but as Greece currently has -2% inflation, that would actually be a good thing for their economy.

For Britain, which has much lower unemployment and is now getting some welcome small wage inflation, printing would be inflationary. Inflation is low, we might even get away with bit anyway. But the hit to the credibility of our government might be disproportionately large, such that inflation expectations suddenly rise, leading to an inflationary devaluation in the currency - and the requirement to have higher interest rates or inflation than otherwise needed.

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Who's pursued "austerity at all costs though"? The UK are still running a budget deficit of nearly £80 billion. Down from £150 billion in 2010. Sure there have been cuts, but not as huge as some people would have you think. The US continued stimulus for longer, and then had some pretty steep cuts because of the gridlock, and not renewing various tax cuts.

Now austerity at all costs was imposed on Greece. With truly disastrous results. But even then, there was an alternative. If Greece were willing to leave the Euro, they could have a sane economic policy.

Ireland, Spain and Portugal have had some pretty heavy cuts though. But again - that's more part of being in an unworkable currency union and trying to force economics to submit to politics. Which they're still managing to do - but I'm not sure how long they can keep it up. Of course they only made less than half the cuts that Greece was forced to, and 2 of them are back to growth.

The really ideological austerity fetishists are in Germany. Who are running a budget surplus, despite having the cheapest government borrowing in their history available - and infrastructure investment at a low. But they're also running at historically low levels of unemployment and huge levels of exports. Actually I'd argue that's a bad thing, Germany is becoming a less equal society and damaging the Euro because of it.

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Your comment comes across as a bit of buzzword bingo - so I'm afraid you're going to have to say why you think Worstall's understanding of money mechanics is poor.

Worstall's understanding of the quantity theory of money and QE seems pretty mainstream to me. There's certainly plenty of debate about cause and effect though - I don't recall whether he's outed himself as a monetarist a Keynesian or somewhere in the middle.

But my understanding from studying economics, politics and history is that if you get large rises in the money supply you get inflation. The argument in economics is whether the rise in the money supply is the cause or the effect. If you print money, you raise the money supply. If you do it to buy things from foreigners then you get currency devaluation, leading to higher inflation and the need to either make cuts or the temptation to keep on printing, leading to a vicious inflationary cycle.

You can get away with it for a short while, or on a small scale. Particularly if no-one finds out. But not long term.

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Re: At least you declared an interest this time

No, abusive means exactly what I meant it to "using hurtful language".

Will 28,

You're really going to have to go and find some of this hurtful language that you see, because I really don't. I even went off and read that Morozov article you linked to. I see no vitriol there.

Worstall spends both that and this article debating the issues. So he explains the technical points that he believes are important and then talks about the things that he believes they've got wrong.

He might make the odd comment about how he doesn't know what Morozov is banging on about, but that's by no means abuse. And to have a go at Murphy for having failed economics is perfectly legitimate if Murphy is trying to claim expertise in economics. Particularly as I've now had Murphy's arguments pointed out to me three times, and each one of those times he's made a basic error in understanting how accounting or economics actually work - and then refused to accept it when his error is pointed out to him.

He then uses these misunderstandings to build startlingly huge figures like the supposedly £190 billion tax gap, which he then uses to get publicity, in a sort of Daily Mail headline writing method writ large. Those figures then get into the mainstream political debate, and need to be challenged - otherwise we may end up with people making policy based on them.

Even if there was 7% of GDP of tax avoidance, you can't just magically grab all that cash for government with no effect on the economy.

There's plenty of legitimate economists, who do understant what they're talking about, to make the left wing argument. Such as Wren-Lewis or Krugman.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Bonds

Be that as it may, it doesn't have to be inflationary - as long as the government isn't competing for *real* resources - commodities, people, etc, then inflation doesn't have to follow.

G Mac,

You can't follow a statement like the above with this:

Again, MMTers know this because they follow how money works in real-life, not just a theory on how it should work in a perfect world.

You're basically trying to say that in theory, in a perfect world, the government can print money to spend without inflation. Just so long as it doesn't compete with everyone else in the rest of the economy.

But unless it's paying unicorns to do the stuff it wants, of course it's competing with the rest of the economy. If you print money to build a road, then you're going to be employing people who would otherwise be doing other stuff - using their mechanical diggers (that now won't be digging holes for other clients), and concrete/aggregate/fuel that other people now won't be using.

The same if you employ more nurses, someone else now won't be paying those people to do stuff.

Now you can get away with this in Greece for example. Where they have deflation and mass unemployment and under-utilisation of resources. Printing money in Greece is exactly what the Eurozone should have done, but they deliberately decided to exclude Greece from Quantitive Easing - due to being incompetent fuckwits.

In the UK, with much lower unemployment, and wages already slowly rising, printing money to spend would be inflationary.

Secondly you have to remember that economics interacts with politics and public expectations. If enough people believe there's going to be a recession, then there will be. Banking crises are all about confidence. People's belief in what future inflation will be, drives their current actions, and can cause that future inflation. So if you allow the feeling to develop that you're going to lose all monetary discipline, you'll get more inflation than a government that is believed to be prudent doing the same thing.

As an example, I don't believe that QE will in fact be unwound. The Central Banks will use it as a tool to dampen money supply growth without having to raise interest rates so much. So they'll sell some bonds back to the markets. But at some point, I believe a Chancellor will stand up at the budget and quietly just write-off a chunk of the government debt held by the BofE. Because it's a one-off, we'll get away with it with just some minor harrumphing from The Telegraph and the FT. I think that'll have no effect on inflation, and be seen as a one-off. Although it's important not to do it until we're sure we won't need QE again for a nother few generations. As it would make QE (and us) much less credible if say we did that now, then China and the Eurozone economies both collapsed, and we needed to resort to it again.

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Assange™ is 'upset' that he WON'T be prosecuted for rape, giggles lawyer

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Apparently there is a statute of limitations in Sweden on rape. And that's 10 years. So if they don't drop it, he may have to hole up for another 5 years in the Ecuadorian embassy. Then it's just the UK bail-jumping sentence to face.

I hope Ecuador are charging him rent. Knightsbridge is an expensive area...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Guilt all round

From the High Court hearing into the Assange case it was shown that the accusations of rape met with the UK defnition of rape. At the time there were two accusations:

1. That he'd been told no sex without condom. After a bit of sulking they went ahead. So it was made fully clear what the rules were But when she was asleep he allegedly had another go and didn't put on a condom. That's clearly sex without consent, as her consent was conditional. The definition of which is rape. Obviously it's not rape with violence, but it's still rape. And the UK judges confirmed this would also be so under UK law. I could equally imagine it getting prosecuted as a less serious charge though.

2. In the other case he also had been told no condom, no sex. But in this case he's accused of not just complaining but trying to carry on regardless. She claims to have closed her legs, while he was lying on top of her trying to force himself on her. No violence is alleged, just superior size, weight and leverage. Eventually he realised it wasn't working, put on his condom like a good boy, and got some sex as a reward.

Not the most serious accusations ever for sure. But not minor either. As Ken Clark got into trouble for saying, there are degrees of rape, and some are more serious than others.

But if using your superior size and weight to force yourself on an unwilling partner isn't being counted as rape - then the people trying to make that claim in Assange's support need to take a long, hard look at their idea of morality. Because they're doing it wrong.

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Re: WTF?

This is why he's unhappy about not being able to have these trumped up charges put before a court.

Craigness,

You're quite right! He was so desperate to clear his name that he fled the country, went to every legal effort possible in the UK in order to avoid being sent back for his pre-charge interview, and then when that also failed broke bail and ran away again (as close to South America as he could manage). Incidentally costing his "friends" a few hundred grand that they'd put up to cover his bail.

Then he loudly shouted how he was eager to be interviewed in the Ecuadorian embassy, but amazingly, that hasn't happened either! Who would have thought it? Ecuador and/or he, managed to find various excuses as to why the interview couldn't happen until the statute of limitations kicked in.

Now were I an uncharitable chap, I would be mighty suspicious of this series of actions, that has led to him not having to face any of the charges he's apparently so eager to have his day in court about.

If you put an impossible condition on your willingness to do something, that suggests that you are in fact trying to avoid doing it. Being given a legal indemnity against unspecified future charges is impossible. QED...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: So is there a statute of limitations about skipping bail?

I don't think we have a statute of limitations on crimes in English law. I'm less good on the Scottish legal system.

Civil matters usually have time limits, but I don't think there's anything even for minor crimes. Although the longer ago something is, the harder evidence is to produce.

I remember there were a bunch of rape prosecutions and convictions in the 90s, based on the new ability to process DNA evidence. I think the police had a program where they re-opened unsolved cases where they still had physical evidence from the crime scene, from as far back as the 70s.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Here’s an idea for the journo’s

Do people still send faxes?

Horrible, nasty things fax machines. I was very glad when email finally killed them. We killed our company fax number 3 years ago, I had one request to send us a fax about a year later - but haven't had anything since.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: generic comment form

Is there an option for beer and a pork pie? My local pub has started selling enormous (and delicious) pork pies. They've always sold beer. I like beer and pork pies! Where's my option?

They also sell scotch eggs. The perverts!

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: WTF?

william 10,

Your ignorance of UK law is total.

How would we charge Sweden for policing our laws? I suppose we could pass some fancy new law to do so. Although it wouldn't be worth the vellum it was written on in Sweden of course.

And there is no legal mechanism for a UK government to give a guarantee not to prosecute or extradite someone for an unspecified crime - of which no charge currently exists. It would have no validity with the courts. I know nothing about Swedish law, and what their government is allowed to do.

There is also no ministerial discretion in either the European Arrest Warrant, or the US extradition treaty. They are entirely a process for the courts to enforce, only our extradition treaties with everyone else allow for the Home Secretary to have the final word.

We did admittedly give letters of guarantee to certain IRA suspects, as part of the peace process. But that was not legal and therefore done in secret. And only came out as one seems to have been given out to someone in error. The Blair government managed to combine their usual lack of respect for due process and competence again... I don't know if the letters would stand up in court anyway, but of course political influence could be brought to bear on the police and prosecution services to stop any investigation from getting to court in the first place. It was also a rather unique situation, and frankly, Julian Assange just isn't that important.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Is there any point in having a comment section?...

Astroturfing for who? There's plenty of comments both for and against St Julian. Plenty of them from regular posters on here, who'd be going to an awful lot of effort if they were posting all their usual crap just a cover for the odd bit of shilling on behalf of Uncle Sam / the UK / Sweden / Space Lizards / whatever...

I can confirm that my opinions (not very sympathetic to Assange) are entirely my own, and not paid for by anyone. If you can tell me where I can sign up to get paid decent money for posting any old crap online, please let me know. I might be tempted to quit my job, and sign up. So long as the hours are good.

Otherwise, if you're going to accuse people of shilling, kindly come up with some sort of evidence, or at least argument. Put up, or shut up.

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I ain't Spartacus
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He is indeed innocent. I have to say that he's innocent of these charges, because Swedish law says they have to be dropped, if you can successfully hide for 5 years. And I do believe in the rule of law. Although in the UK we don't run our system the same way, so the same trick wouldn't work.

But the Swedes have a much more liberal judicial and penal system than us, and there's much to admire about how the Nordics go about running their societies.

Of course that, and the fact that Assange said he was planning to seek permanent residency in Sweden, does rather undermine his claims about fearing that he's been set up by the evil Swedes to be fitted up for a crime he didn't commit without fair trial, then shipping off to the States. Given that he'd chosen to hang out in Sweden when he already claimed that the US were after him, and then chose to run to the UK - not a sensible place to be if you want to avoid Uncle Sam!

So I am entitled to be of the opinion that everything he says is total bollocks. And that he's got a proven track record in this case of getting his lawyers to put out misleading statements, and has many loyal supporters willing to do the same.

And no, he wasn't in hiding before all this blew up. He only went into hiding after the UK courts had finally blocked his final attempt to avoid being sent to Sweden to face the charges he'd already run away from. At which point he broke his bail, and fled to the Ecuadorian embassy.

So he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Which means I am very careful with my language. But, I am entitled to take a view on his actions too. And I find them rather objectionable. He came to my country, got a more than fair hearing from our courts, who ruled that there was at least enough evidence to answer to charges of rape, but obviously it wasn't their job to rule on how good that evidence was. Only that it was enough for charges under UK law. Then he abused our hospitality, and buggered off, costing us quite a bit of money to enforce the laws of the land.

The only conclusions that I find that fit the data are that he's insanely paranoid, or that he's guilty. Admittedly the paranoia bit is quite likely, from everything I've read about him. But his attitude to women and what he's said about the charges could equally be interpreted to say that he's guilty as hell, and getting away with it.

Although as he's voluntarily locked himself in a tiny embassy for years, "getting away with it" obviously isn't true.

From a distance it's hard to know what combination of narcissim, his political beliefs, paranoia, publicity seeking and a weird childhood drives his actions. But he doesn't strike me as a particularly admirable human being. His supporters are often as self-righteous and annoying as he is. And I'm not all that convinced by Wikileaks. The Afghan war logs don't seem to have shown anything untoward, certainly I've seen nothing to justify the risk to the life of innocent Afghan locals of publishing them. Although I believe Julian Assange did say something like "they're informers, so fuck 'em". Which was nice...

Anyway the 'Collateral Murder' video showed nothing of the sort, just the usual fuck up you get in warzones. Someone pointed a camera at a helicopter during a convoy escort operation, and got shot at. The initial version edited out the weapons that the party who were attacked were carrying too, not that those weapons were a reason to attack them, but the cockpit audio suggested that the crew thought they'd seen an RPG and so fired. They sounded more inexperienced, and a bit panicky, than malevolent.

The diplomatic cables were interesting. I'm not sure they told us anything we didn't already know. It's hard to know whether they did more good (political transparency is worth something after all) than the probable slight harm to diplomatic communications - but I'm not sure they were worth Chelsea Manning going to prison for.

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Re: Just to clear this up...

Bloody hell! Are people still peddling this shit? Have you guys never heard of the separation of powers? It's only basic political theory, not complicated, or new or anything...

We have separate judicial systems for a bloody good reason! So that politicians can't pick and choose who gets tried and who doesn't. It's not perfect, but it's set up that way for a reason.

And Assange is asking for a get out of jail free card, where he gets a guarantee of immunity from unspecified crimes he's not even been charged with. The legal advice given to a UK Minister would be that this would not be legal for them to do, as they have no legal power to give immunity. Also even if they gave such a guarantee, it would have no legal validity, and would be ignored by the courts.

There is normally a right for the Home Secretary to use discretion in the case of extradition. But the last Labour government, in some bout of collective insanity, decided that in both the case of the posspoor US extradition treaty and the European Arrest Warrant, the Home Secretary would give up that power to protect out citizens. Sadly the coalition failed to correct this monstrous fuck-up, and so far the Conservatives haven't talked about it either.

I don't know Swedish law. So don't know what their ministers can or can't do. Although I believe they have a standard block on extradition for "political crimes", so would be unlikely to extradite anyway. And of course with a European Arrest Warrant in place, Sweden would not be able to extradite without the permission of the UK courts as well.

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Huge explosion kills 44+ in China, blasts nearby supercomputer offline

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Re: Talk about risky locations..

(*) EG: Oil depots. I was a little surprised when first I moved to the UK and noticed noticed that none of the major storage depots have containment berms.

They should do. I thought that was a requirement.

It was actually the cause of the Buncefield explosion a few years ago. So loud that I heard it 50 miles away - and went downstairs to see if my telly had exploded (as it made a louder version of that noise you got when you hit the degauss button).

There was a weird combination of events, where the main and back-up float valves/switches in a stororage tank that was being filled had failed. Petrol continued to flow in, but obviously started coming out of the overflow. But the temperature was just a few degrees, and so it started to form a cloud of cold vapour. This vapour was heavier than air, and so started to collect in a huge massively explosive mixture inside the berm. There's a reason that it's illegal to store gas in a bunded area.

I don't recall if they found out what caused the spark, but the vapour cloud had built up for several hours, and I believe it was called the largest peacetime explosion in Europe.

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Cheers, Bill Gates. Who wouldn't want drinking water made from POO?

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Re: nice

Since the dawn of time, people have been drinking water from natural sources.

True. And suffering child mortality of staggeringly high proportions, such that only half or fewer of their children would survive until adulthood. Perhaps you feel that this is "natural" and isn't a problem?

However most other people would disagree. Hence we in the developed world, developed. We got sewerage, and healthcare, and pharmaceuticals and food hygene standards and health and safety. And the X Factor - but nothing's perfect...

Pure mountain spring-water might be totally safe to drink. But anywhere where the temperature is warm (water temp above 20°C), will have contaminate water. Bacteria require light, nutrients and heat to thrive. This is why drinking water tanks are sealed, made of non-translucent materials, insulated and should be tested, cleaned and chlorinated regularly under your legionella control plan.

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Larry Page was held back by Google execs from flooding world with new dot-word domains

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I don't see how this move to alphabet will help him anyway. Presumably the only suits than can stop him are the board. Seeing as all the old Google shares are being converted to Alphabet shares, so that Google will simply become a wholly owned subsidiary of Alphabet - nothing is changing. There'll still need to be shareholder representation on the Alphabet board.

To be honest, Page and Brin can probably overrule them anyway. As I understand it, they still control lots of votes, as they kept high voting weight shares for themselves at the float. Much as Zuckerberg did with Facebook, so he had 50% of the votes with only something like 5% of the shares.

Then again, as with Amazon, the shareholders can't complain they didn't know what they were getting. Google still make big profits, but like to invest heavily in odd areas of R&D, of which something might pay off handsomely. And Amazon don't do profits, they spend them all on growth.

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Budget UHD TVs arrive – but were the 4Kasts worth listening to?

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Re: Sky and UHD

It's funny, because we're not even fully in an HD world yet. The TV broadcasts are mostly only 720, rather than 1080, and yet we're upping the ante even more. Cricket is better in HD, and so I'd imagine tennis and golf are too. I'm not sure it really matters for slower moving sports with bigger euqipment like footie.

There's a brief mention in the article of HDR. And I think that could be a big leap forward with 4K. I've never even bothered getting a Bluray player, DVD is enough for me - I don't believe there's enough of a difference to be worth shelling out so much extra per disc.

I've also got very poor eyesight though, so my opnion is of less value in judging what other people are seeing. Although given how poorly set up many peoples' tellies are, I think it's safe to say that they're not really caring.

But I do struggle in those films and shows where the director wants to shoot everything in moody darkness. I've even had to resort to changing the picture settings, if turning off the lights doesn't help. And HDR might be excellent for that.

Otherwise, it'll have to wait until my TV dies. At which point I'll get whatever's sensibly priced. If we aren't on to 16K by then...

Although the smart stuff can bugger off. If I want smarts, I'll get something not coded by gibbons, which is what the TV companies seem to use to write their user interfaces. At the moment that's a Chromecast, so the UI is my tablet or PC.

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Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines

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Happy

Re: Ah, spirit copiers.

Ah, happy days. But you're all wrong. It wasn't the march of technology that killed them off.

Bandas died out because they won't breed in captivity...

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Labour Party website DDoS'd by ruly democratic mob

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Re: it may backfire?

I douobt Labour are dead. People were making just the same silly point about the Conservatives, round about 2003. They'd never win an election again etc...

In a two party system, there will be an opposition party eventually, because people will want to "vote the bastards out". And of course, to go for PR, and not have a 2 party system, means some party (or coalition of parties) winning an election and giving us PR.

So it's possible that Labour may irretrievably split, say Corbyn wins and a huge chunk of the Blairites and Brownites bugger off to form another party, or invade the Lib Dems. But then that new party will become the opposition. What's more likely though is that Labour will have some sort of internal strife for a few years, and then come to a conclusion of who they want to be, then campaign and win an election.

There's an argument that they could agree to try and win, get PR and then split up. After all Labour are made up of several distinct groups of people. But then so are the Conservatives, the Lib Dems, the SNP and UKIP.

It seems to me that the voters aren't willing to accept socialism. As in strong union power, heavy regulation or state control of business, very high taxes and lots of government spending. That seems to be what Corbyn stands for, and if he's Labour leader they therefore can't win. But maybe enough of his supporters won't believe that until they've actually lost an election on that platform.

I strongly suspect that Labour could win on Miliband's platform of being to the left of Blair, but still believing in a market economy. But with higher taxes and a bit more regulation. However Miliband himself was rated in all the polls when he was leader as being a rubbish leader (and being less popular than his party - so actively losing them votes).

Also they had no answer on the economy. Whatever the truth of it, the public came to believe that Labour over-spent but wouldn't admit it. And that cuts were necessary, which Labour in opposition opposed almost all of. In my opinion this was because Miliband had no coherent economic policy, and so couldn't convince the electorate to trust him, but even if he was the greatest leader ever, recovering from a heavy defeat like 2010 is very hard, especially after so long in office, and so it was going to be very hard to win in 2015 as the economy was growing.

But I'd say Miliband is the furthest left the Corbyn supporters can get (similar to John Smith say), and win an election. If they're happy to put up with that eventually, Labour will be back in power in a few years.

P.S. I don't think the Scottish electorate are that much to the left of the rest of us. The SNP seem to be more nationalist than they are socialist. But even if I'm wrong, Labour had a small majority in 2005, even without any Scottish seats - which won't be going to the Conservatives after all. And they won that election on a smaller percentage of the vote, and a much smaller lead, than Cameron got an absolute majority with in 2015. So a victory in England and Wales alone is perfectly possible. They just need the marginals in the Midlands and North, which are Tory/Labour ones.

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Assange™ to SQUAT in Ecuadorian broom closet for ANOTHER FIVE YEARS (maybe)

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Re: Statute of limitations

Check your Vienna Conventions. They are quite clear that embassies are not sovereign territory.

However, the hosting state makes an agreement not to enter diplomatic premises without the prior consent of the ambassador, or their government.

There are then rules that say that no embassy is allowed to be used for activities incompatible with that diplomatic status, such as spying, criminiality and the like.

However, there's no enforcement mechanism for either. Or even a proper means of arbitration. Which is a problem with international law generally. So how do resolve disputes? Generally negotiation. So we let the Libyans off with murdering a British police officer - because to do otherwise was too damaging to vital tools of international diplomacy. We did however kick their entire embassy out of the country afterwards. Sending the police in might have led to some poor UK ambassador not being able to face down an attempt to force entry to a British embassy in the future. For the same reason, nothing was done about Assange, even though we don't recognise a right of sanctuary in embassies - something that is common in South America, but not recognised by the international conventions. In South America it means the government can get out alive during military coups, if they can reach an embassy.

However, it is true that Ferroro Rocher are compulsory at all ambassadorial receptions...

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Microsoft co-founder recovers ship's bell of 'The Mighty Hood'

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Re: The Impact On The Public Was Terrible @Vorland

naive,

I'd dispute most of your post. Bismark and Tirpitz were modern ships, Hood was built around 1920. Technology had changed. The admiralty were well aware of the ship's weaknesses - the refit had been planned and put off for years. But budgets were tight, the Hood was doing much showing of the flag (actually an important job when you're trying to influence neutral powers), and other ships were a higher priority.

You're quite correct that Hood and Prince of Wales were pretty likely to lose. One was still working-up, and not fit for combat, the other had obsolete defences, though was still very dangerous as it had large guns. And it's not that the Hood hadn't had work done, it's just that it wasn't sufficient. Apparently it was too heavy when fully loaded, as they'd added some deck armour, but that didn't really account for when it had a full wartime stores load.

Using what you've got is very dangerous of course, as the admiralty should have learned from the battle cruisers. Jackie Fisher had designed them as a counter to counter German commerce raiders. So they'd be armoured to fight cruisers, and need the speed to keep up, while having the guns of battleships - to defeat them quickly, before they could get away. Being so bloody shiny, they got lumped in with the main battle fleet because they were there. And got punished when fighting real battleships. They were ideal scouts, for the same reason they were ideal for sea-lane patrol - speed, and the ability to run away from anything they couldn't kill.

The Germans built their ships on a different philosphy. They weren't trying to defend a huge empire, keep the sea-lanes open for trade, and blockade an opponent permanently. So they didn't have to carry as much food or fuel. Which meant more space for engines, armour or guns. They tended to favour speed and armour above guns. So Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were direct descendents of their WWI battlecruiser designs. 11" guns, rather than the British 14"-16", but almost battleship levels of armour - and high speed. German destroyers were huge, almost light cruisers sized but they suffered by not having enough of them. The Royal Navy were starting to build huge ones by the outbreak of WWII, and it was one of the first things Churchill put a stop to when he took over at the Admiralty. The Navy needed lots of destroyers, and quantity has a quality all of its own.

The Germans had the luxury of building a few very high quality ships, but the Royal Navy had to do duty in too many places at once to be able to afford to do that. So the RN had to cover a wide area, and have reserves to deal with any German threats, whereas the Kriegsmarine only had to get lucky, and break through, once to be dangerous. But by having fewer ships they'd often fight outnumbered, when it came to it - and they could never win permanently, only be an annoyance.

They did have superior rangefinding gear though. I think it took radar guidance for the RN to catch up.

Finally, I don't know what the Glorious has to do with the subject. That looks to have been a command mistake, in detaching it to return home with minimal escort. But carriers do not survive combat with battleships, if they're ever unfortunate enough to get caught.

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Re: The Impact On The Public Was Terrible @Vorland

The Prince of Wales still had dockyard crew onboard fixing various problems. I seem to remember the captain gave up and buggered off at the point that 3 of his turrets had stopped working due to mechanical failures. The ship wasn't ready for combat.

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Re: The Impact On The Public Was Terrible

So please stop repeating the result of the board of inquiry which was more worried about morale and public opinion at the time, not finding the real cause.

Voland's Right hand,

That looks like a rather niche reading of history. I've not read enough about the actual battle to know whether Hood failed to take avoiding action after being straddled.

However WWII battleships did regularly survive hits from other battleship guns. Which had larger than 11" guns too. I think the Bismark had 16" guns.

The problem for the Hood was that it exploded. Which meant that plunging fire was able to enter the magazines - and blow the ship up. Unless it was destroyed by too much live ammo being around, able to take a flash back to the magazines (and it was due for work on the loading system - I've not read about this in years). Thicker deck armour should cause the enemy's shells to explode at deck level, which is not much fun for the people up there, but stops them destroying the ship in one go. So you then lose whatever systems they hit near, and that's for damage control to try and fix so you can contine the battle. Or if you lose too many turrets and can't fight, you try to run away. And that's what faster speed or a destroyer screen is for.

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Texas senator Ted Cruz serves up sizzling 'machine gun bacon'

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Happy

Re: He's Canadian. Born in Calgary

What is it with you Americans? You're so indecisive.

Speaking as a Brit, the answer is no! You said you wanted Piers Morgan, now you've got him, and we have a no refunds policy.

I'm not a Canadian, but I can't imagine they're any more eager to repatriate Bieber either.

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Windows 10 climbs to 3.55 per cent market share, Win 8.1 dips

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Happy

You poor fool! All I can say is that I hope you posted this from your smartphone...

If not, nemesis will hit you with multiple issues from now on. It's a bit like saying out loud that you need the printer to hurry up, as this document is for a meeting in 5 minutes. The speech recognition in the printer OS will detect this, and it'll go into a cleaning cycle, dump all its ink if it knows you're out of cartridges, or suddenly become incompatible with your PC.

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Re: Darn - they saw me rolling back those laptops to XP last week

It will be interesting to see if W10 increases from now draw more from 8/8.1 or 7 though.

Having just upgraded my work laptop from 8.1 to 10 this morning, I'd say that we'll be upgrading the 2 Win 8 machines, but the Win 7 ones will probably stay where they are. I don't think it's a got anything extra that's shiny to make it worth the change in UI. Being a small business, we don't have IT, there's only me. Anything I can't do we pay outsiders for, like hosted Exchange and CRM.

The last sad user with Vista will be stuck with it until the laptop dies. I'm amazed it's lasted this long. Hmmm. I'd forgotten how old that was, I might suggest our first ever upgrade of a laptop not due to it falling apart - they never seem to live that long.

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Power Bar: EE was warned of safety risk BEFORE user was burned in explosion

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Re: Er, have you ever heard of "risk assessment"?

One hair-raising quote from the report is a concern about the variable quality of the power cells. Eeek!

Were they fishing them off the floor of random factories round China, and just shoving them into the power bars or something?

It is hard to assess with the limited information available. We have to rely that El Reg aren't quoting the report horribly out of context, or haven't been had by some internal leaker who's only giving them half the information.

In general, my experience of El Reg is that they do tend to quote in context. They strike me as reasonably honest, even if they do have a weakness for an exciting headline - and they will twist people's words in order to get a good pun...

On the other side though, we have to rely on the management of EE not to be arses.

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Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

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Happy

Re: Light FIXTURE will affect the sound!

Only if it's set up with a timer, so I can have this song played whenever the fridge is opened after bedtime.

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Re: Lightbulbs are a great "form factor" for smart-home devices

Little Mouse,

No. No. No. What a stupid idea! I don't think you've understood this internet of things malarkey at all!

You need to create lightbulb microwave which you can shine on anything you want to destroy, and then connect it to the internet. Then random teenagers all over the world will be able to burn your house down.

Right, now to pick some random letters out of a scrabble bag to come up with my company name. Not forgetting to remove most of the vowels first of course.

BuRnR

I think the icon to use is obvious...

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Blighty a 'smartphone society' amid rise of 4G middle class

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The difference I noticed when we moved to 4G wasn't so much the extra speed, as pages seem to take similar times to load. It was the massive improvement in upload speed, to send out your requests. It still doesn't feel as fast as on a wired connection though, even when it's notionally much faster.

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My Mum has celebrated her 76th year by joining into the smartphone gang. But there are still some holdouts. I've still got a few friends who refuse to upgrade from ancient candybar phones - and I know a couple who don't even own mobiles.

I don't understand it. They're so useful. I've had a mobile since as soon as they were sanely affordable, in the early/mid-90s. I stayed out of smartphones too long, until the company forced my hand. But now I wouldn't be without access to my diary/address book/phone/sat-nav/public transport/weather app/shopping list - and I also use email and a bit of light browsing.

I still think it's horses for courses. I think the ultimate computing experience is sat at a desktop, where you can have the keyboard and screen set up ergonomically. And have access to a keyboard. As a touch-typist all other input methods are hugely frustrating due to their slowness and inaccuracy. I guess it's probaby different if you're not - as they're probably equally bad.

I hate laptops with a passion, due to the horrible closeness of keyboard to screen. Also I've got fat hands, the keyboards are often a few percent smaller than standard, and I keep knocking the touchpad and losing the cursor. Why can't they implement palm detection and/or have an off-switch? My old HP swivel tablet (TX2000) had a little off switch on the touchpad, along with other thoughtful features, although sadly also Vista and a deeply rubbish fingerprint scanner.

If I read El Reg, it's skiving at work on the desktop, or at home on the tablet - on the sofa. Tablets are great for t'intertubes. I can't imagine why anyone would choose to use a laptop on the sofa, when they have a tablet. Except for typing of course. Sadly I love pen input, but I'm in a minority.

Phones are too small for me. But that's mostly due to dodgy eyesight, so I have to have the text too big. I browse on there when I need to know something, when out and about. Otherwise it's the tablet.

As to "other", are people using smart TVs or smart watches?

Me it's probably half desktop / half tablet for personal stuff. The smartphone is only a tool.

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HAM IN SPAAAAAACE! ISS astronaut contacted by Gloucestershire bloke in garden shed

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Mushroom

Re: If it had been me...

That would be an embarrassing way to discover the secret orbital weapons capability that's been fitted to the ISS for a few years now...

Still, you've got to go eventually. So why not impress your friends with your originality.

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Want to avoid a hangover? DRINK MORE, say boffins

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Happy

I have another solution

I just don't get hangovers.

I do sometimes drink non-alcoholic drinks during the evening, but only half the time, and that seems to make little difference. In order not to wake up thirsty, and with a horrible taste in my mouth, I drink as much as I can before going to bed. Which does substitute the waking up needing the loo problem, but I think that's preferable - and stops you over-sleeping.

To make myself totally tip-top, I then have some fruit juice, bacon sarnie (or bacon and eggs) and a shower. I've never got hangovers, so the only problem for me is when I drink so much, or get so little time to sleep, that I'm still steaming drunk when I get up. Which isn't that nice.

Sorry if that annoys the afflicted.

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It's Suntory time: Japanese whisky to be distilled in SPAAAAACE

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Re: Risky Experiment [Geddit?!]

joms,

Interesting. I'd not thought about it, but of course you must be right, smaller barrel, faster ageing. Proportionately more of the alcohol will evaporate (boo!) - and it'll take on more flavours from the wood.

The only thing is that for £40 I can have a bottle of Balvenie Doublewood - which is one of my favourites. Or the 15 year old when it's on special offer. So I'm less likely to want to try the Japanese ones. But I must give them a go, just out of interest. There are still far too many whiskies that I haven't tasted. Must try harder.

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Re: Fat chance

I predict that a slightly smaller than usual amount of space piss will be making its way into the space toilet, after a few months - and instead will be deposited in the nice wooden casks so thoughtfully provided.

They should be a little dehydrated afterwards, so it should be about the right colour. And then the research will just show that the conditions in space are not favourable for the maturation process.

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Re: Risky Experiment [Geddit?!]

You can get Suntory 10 year old in Sainsbury's. I've heard that it's very nice - but I seem to remember that it's £40 a bottle, and I can get a nice 15 year old for that, so haven't bothered to try it yet.

There's also an English Whisky Company, I saw a bottle of their 10 year old in Morrisons. Just imagine the horror if they were to win an award...

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Re/code apologizes for Holocaust 'joke' tweet

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Was it some kind of test?

I did a survey once, got picked off the street to a local building which they used to use for lots of market research things. I had happy memories of that building, my Mum doing a test on tinned spaghetti when I was 4 or 5. My favourite at the time. While she was answering the questions, I polished off all the samples in sight. Yummy. My vote was for all of them. This time I got a voucher for my troubles.

It was on behalf of ITV, and they gave me a bunch of cards with TV program ideas, and I had to rate them in order of likelihood I'd watch and enjoy.

Some of them were obviously real programs, so there was a description of the Bill and London's Burning (or programs very like them). And then in the comedy ideas I found "a sitcom about the holocaust, set in a concentration camp". I'd love to know if someone genuinely wanted to make this program, and it was being market tested, or if the researchers were actually testing my reactions.

Obviously I rated it as more fun than Emerdale Farm...

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OFFICIAL SCIENCE: Men are freezing women out of the workplace

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This is where you loudly declare your scottish heritage, and come in wearing your kilt.

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Re: Set to a range

Things like chilled beams help as well, because you don't have to have cold air blowing on people - which is one of the things that makes them uncomfortable.

One of the problems with the building services industry, is the insane way that procurement happens. As a client you order a nice building - and you get it designed by a consulting engineer. But then you put the job out to tender to the lowest bidder, who is usually the contractor who will often work out how much it will cost to build at zero profit (or even a slight loss). They will then expect to make their profit on saving money on the specified equipment. Some in discounts on original quoted price, but if they've been aggressive in tendering for the job, then they'll substitue for the cheapest crap they can get away with.

The clients know this, and yet still pick the lowest bidder. Then wonder why all their plant keeps breaking down.

The trend is even worse now. Often, to save costs, the project will be design and build. So you pay peanuts to the consulting engineer to give you a 'reference spec', which they don't care about andjust throw together. This should provide the minimum that the contractor must produce, but the consulting engineers are often not paid to defend the spec during the building process. You're then entirely relying on the honesty and solvency of the contractor that you choose. While paying them the minimum amount you can get away with. One doesn't need to be an expert in psychology to work out how this often ends up...

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Yes. It infuriates me the amount of people who don't understand how a thermostat works. Set it to the temperature you want, not as high/low as it will go. It won't work any faster.

I work in an engineering company - and still can't get people to do this. Then they leave the heater on for an hour, and then open a window because the office is too hot! Aaaaarrrrggghhhh!!!!

If I murder them, but promise to compost the bodies, can I use the climate change act as my defence in court?

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VIAGRA found in Chinese 'Kung Fu rice wine'

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Devil

Re: Corrent Medical Name for Viagra

But they knuckled down to it, and were soon finished off...

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Coat

You can't. It's only for hardened drinkers...

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SPLAT! STAR THWACKED, GUTS flung into space at 15 per cent of LIGHTSPEED

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Devil

Re: Had an encounter like that at Sainsburys

Unexpected item in the bagging area!

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Bacon and egg sushi

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Happy

Re: A true post-pub nosh..

*My mom taught me that there's no such thing as blue, fuzzy food.

Sad. If you've never had smurf en croute, you've never lived...

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And on that bombshell: Top Gear's Clarkson to reappear on Amazon

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Re: Small potatoes?

I wouldn't imagine they've have signed up if Amazon weren't promising them a decent budget. After all, Wilman is the original producer, so knows exactly what he can do for what amounts of money.

For Amazon it's a big ticket item that might win them lots of susbscribers and viewers. And even at a few million an episode is still pretty cheap in terms of the the marketing money they'd have to spend for the amount of global headlines it'll get them.

And if the worst comes to the worst, they can just do what the BBC made loadsa money doing and sell the rights to various TV stations around the world.

One thing you can safely say about Amazon is that they're willing to invest/risk large chunks of money on something that they don't expect to make them money for several years.

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Re: non-compete

I think non-competes are now a bit of a legal minefield.

Case law over recent years has made employment contracts an awful lot less enforceable, in terms of notice periods and non-competes. Although the higher the pay and position, the less likely you can get out of it.

But Clarkson and Wilman at least were owners of the production company, and sold it to the Beeb only a few years ago, so there may have been terms in that sale contract. Or it might be in their BBC series contract. And it may just be that they're not allowed to work on car shows on other channels, rather than all shows.

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Re: Good news for us all !

I don't recall ever finding anything I saw on Top Gear particularly offensive. Actually I do, watching him lear pathetically at some 19 year old actress who was driving the reasonably priced car was very uncomfortable. There was lots of stuff that wasn't funny - and some stupid stuff on their various road trips. But it always struck me that most of his critics were looking for something to be offended by, so they could have a moan about a show and/or presenter that they didn't like anyway.

I also thought that the show had run its course, it was starting to seriously repeat itself, and they were going further and further in creating 'funny' accidents that they could then pretend to react spontaneously to. So stopping was probably a good thing.

But obviously you don't have to like all the jokes to enjoy a particular show, or no-one would watch any comedy/entertainment at all. And it's not been a show that I've gone out of my way to watch for years now. But still has some good bits.

The thing that shocked me was that so many people were willing to sign a petition to save Clarkson when he'd punched one of the junior staff. That's just unacceptable - and sacking is the only reasonable response.

Obviously I had no objection when he punched Piers Morgan though...

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue dictionary definition: Countryside - Killing Piers Morgan.

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Windows 10 in head-on crash with Nvidia drivers as world watches launch

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Devil

Re: Update Clash

Everyone screws up updates. Let's hope MS have planned for dealing with this - although they already do tens of millions at once, so they must have. I still think it's better for ordinary users to risk that, than for them to risk virus infection. I've never had a Windows update screw up my PC in 17 years of running 98, Vista, 7 and 8 - nor any of the company PCs I support, or had to fix one for a friend. So automatic updating is a small risk I'm personally willing to take for the extra security.

I do agree it should be possible to disable. Perhaps only on powershell, so ordinary users can't do it by accident.

Perhaps they can scan user comment forums for people who are rude about them, trace back the IP address (or just cross reference with the typing logs they can download from everyone's PCs) - and make them the guinea pigs to get updates before everyone else does...

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