14 September 2010


It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.


  1. Very interesting three part Radio 4 programme 9am yesterday, today, and tommorrow on the tax system:Euan Loves Tax

    "....The Coalition is keen to simplify our tax system. But why, asks Evan Davis, has it become so complicated in the first place?

    To find out, Evan talks to former Chancellors Geoffrey Howe, Nigel Lawson, Norman Lamont and Alistair Darling; to Gordon Brown's former economic advisor Ed Balls; to Dave Hartnett, the head of HM Revenue and Customs; and to John Whiting, who now leads the Government's new Office for Tax Simplification

    Hartnett tells him that, as the man charged with administering it, even he thinks the tax system is too complicated....

    Well worth a listen on Iplayer.

  2. Caught the first one yesterday Deano. It's prety good.

    How's tricks ?

  3. BW - Tricks are fine my friend. Given the privileges of my lifestyle it would be ungracious to complain.

    Hope to get down to see you in October.

    This morning's R4 programme was, I thought, meatier than yesterdays.

    What seemed clear is that all the Chancellors were agreed that cynical manipulation of the electorate was inevitable (given the contemporary political model).

    Still the programme nearly answered that question which is so very important to many of us -"is a jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit and how can you tell ?"

    Almost simples - evidently a cake (from the VAT man's perspective) is something which starts out soft and goes hard when stale. A biscuit, on the other hand, is something which starts out hard and goes soft when stale!

    Ah the mystery life nearly solved - what the fuck does a jaffa cake do when stale? - I've never kept one that long.

    What is clear is that a "platinum cake" is very good dodge for the no-pay tax industry.

    A R4 programme that was/is worth the time. I'll listen again when all three episodes have been broadcast

  4. Sheff, from last night: iplayer is not available in France, otherwise I'd listen to the programme.

    Also, wrote a cracking 300 word post in follow up to Monkey and Jay and Leni and Alisdair and the system dumped it in the ether. Perhaps some distant galaxy will chance upon it and conclude there is intelligent life on The Untrusted.

    .....Nah, you're probably right.

  5. I've an idea; let those that can afford it, place £100 into a pot. If say 30 regulars here stump up that'll raise £3 grand. Someone can open an account wit IG markets (for instance) and provide me with the password in order to trade on the account. Every six months, the account holder distributes the profits to an agreed worthy cause.

    Of course, you'll have to trust me to make a decent return, but what's there to lose (besides a few bob?) Make the market pay for some of the things you value. Why not?

    And BTW if someone else would prefer to trade the account - that's fine by me. But the deal should be that only one person is in charge.

  6. Deano -- thanks mate, great programme. It'd make a good subject for class dicussion in General Studies / Civics in schools .
    I do remember at Poll Tax time being surprised at a well-heeled couple of brits being all for it, and for paying less tax in general. Also on CiF we see so many fervently believing that everything they're paid gross is "my money". The piece early in the programme about John Smith's shadow Budget was particularly telling.

    A very few years ago , when the ' British Economic Miracle ' ( hehe ) was being lauded this side of the Channel, the lower NI and charges on labour were held up as examples to follow, would reduce unemployment etc . We pay more, we get more back. Unemployment entitlements starting at 56% of salary are actually too generous when you look at how much the better-paid receive. Been there .

  7. @PB:

    Odd. I got a similar email this morning from a certain Mr Moses Odiaka who, as it happens, works in the credit and accounts department of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Lagos, Nigeria...

  8. "Also, wrote a cracking 300 word post in follow up to Monkey and Jay and Leni and Alisdair and the system dumped it in the ether. Perhaps some distant galaxy will chance upon it and conclude there is intelligent life on The Untrusted."

    Unlikely, they'd still have access to all your other comments...

    As for your IG proposal I cant think of many things more absurd. You been at the crack again old boy? Would we like to give you £10 each to flutter away with IG, hmm.... probably not.

  9. So that's a No then, Swifty and Jay?

    Markets are not a roulette wheel, Jay. They may seem a gambler's paradise to non-practioners, but pension fund managers and the like don't gamble; they calculate, mitigate and manage risk.

  10. Also, wrote a cracking 300 word post in follow up to Monkey and Jay and Leni and Alisdair and the system dumped it in the ether. Perhaps some distant galaxy will chance upon it and conclude there is intelligent life on The Untrusted.

    I,m sure the little green people made of cheese who live on Mars are as nonplussed as the rest of us !

  11. You're not a pension fund manager, Peter. You trade online from whom. About 90% of online traders lose money. A tiny minority make any money. And you are kidding yourself if you think there is no element of "gambling" involved - the amount of pure speculation and idiots influencing the markets, the irrationality of people, the ease of scares, false information, insider trading, etc - there is a *degree* of gambling in any position because you cannot rationally predict all the factors at work.

  12. trade online from *home

    god knows what i was typing there...

  13. Afternoon All


    Martians are red, Venusians green and Moonmen are made from cheese. This is what I have always been made to believe.

  14. There is a degree of risk, of course Jay. But risk and gambling are very different things. The roulette wheel is devoid of information and judgement. The markets are anything but.

    The vast majority of retail traders lose their shirts, that's true.

  15. "Stocks inch lower in cautious trading
    Traders pause for breath ahead of US retail sales" --FT now .

    Nor me peter, I just enjoy lurking around the marchés these days , I see the footsie bumbling along at c5560...

    You said " but pension fund managers and the like don't gamble; they calculate, mitigate and manage risk" -- well that is the story , but when 99% of them get it wrong, no-one gets fired ! Nice work .

  16. Paul

    i'm sure you have already found this site - lots of info.


  17. Leni

    Martians are red, Venusians green and Moonmen are made from cheese. This is what I have always been made to believe.

    Well whatever they're made of i bet they taste great in a toasted sandwich.

  18. Peter

    Gambling takes many different forms, from rolling a dice to poker to trading the markets. They all have a common factor - people bet money on something with a strong degree of unpredictablity, though the level of this factor obviously varies from game to game and person to person.

    Poker - you have a certain amount of factual knowledge to hand, an understanding of various probabilities, remaining cards, but also the unknown factor - other people's cards. This is really not a million miles away from the markets, at all. The fallacy of perfectly managed "risk" was blown apart in 2008; risk was horrendously misjudged and hence mispriced.

  19. Incidentally, Jay - you should read David Lodge's novel 'Thinks' (if you haven't already); it's an excellent comedy-cum-lifestyle narrative on the theme of consciousness.

    True enough, dave - added to my SHORT on the FTSE, FWIW. And will keep adding unless I'm forced to close. I suspect a correction is imminent.

  20. Peter:

    Markets are not a roulette wheel, Jay. They may seem a gambler's paradise to non-practioners, but pension fund managers and the like don't gamble; they calculate, mitigate and manage risk.

    I think an event driven fund is an excellent idea. How about calling it The High-geared Superior Quality Structured Continental Runaway Fund?

  21. You can't seriously compare a game of poker to the markets, Jay. Markets don't deal anyone a hand. On the contrary, one gets to chose the cards one plays with.

    Seismic difference.

  22. "You can't seriously compare a game of poker to the markets, Jay. Markets don't deal anyone a hand."

    You can be very obtuse at times, Peter. Of course markets dont "deal hands", but there is an irrefutable chunk of completely irrational and unpredictable influence. That is entirely comparable to "unknown hands" even though the size of this wayward element is smaller in the markets. It is not a seismic difference.

    Take 2008 - in what possible way is that not comparable to an "unknown hand"? People used all the information to hand to manage their risk and still this unknown factor wiped them out.

  23. You can't seriously compare a game of poker to the markets, Jay. Markets don't deal anyone a hand. On the contrary, one gets to chose the cards one plays with.


    I've made my life out of readin people's faces,
    And knowin what their cards were by the way they held their eyes, so if you don't mind my sayin, I can see you're out of aces.I'll give you some advice.

    You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run. You never count your money when you're sittin at the table, there'll be time enough for countin when the dealin's done.

  24. Leni

    Yeah i,ve seen that site thanks.Apparently diagnosing the type of MS someone has can be notoriously difficult.So at this stage there really is no way of telling whether our friend has the benign type and is currently suffering what will hopefully be a rare relapse or more seriously whether the benign type which has lay dormant for so long has progressed to the secondary progressive stage.Anyway she's been put on a course of steroids which will hopefully clear the inflamation in her body and fingers crossed that will be that.She was feeling a bit more positive earlier this morning and i'm sure a positive attitude can help.But it's early days.

  25. @PB:

    It’s a “no”, yes. Thanks for the offer, but for a start off, I don’t have a hundred quid spare – genuinely. My budget is pretty well mapped out, and there’s not a lot of room for a hundred quid’s worth of slack. Secondly, and don’t take this the wrong way, I don’t have any confidence in an amateur trader like you to make anything of it.

    Oh, and in case you think I’ve got some po-faced aversion to punting… I’ve a very good friend, an ex-bookie (my line of work, tangentially) who makes me a lot more cash (for a very reasonable slice) on Betfair than you could make me in a year. So I guess that’s the third reason – I’m already up, I don’t need to spunk what I do win on your DIY trading efforts.


  26. frog4 just called . Wanted to know the english for the bod who fixes stuff in schools . I suggested 'handyman', but now realise it should be 'caretaker' ? I remember we had one at school, but maybe they've been outsourced now ?

    Pursuant to our 'tax' discussion,& complete coincidence, a teaching couple pay 1.78euros an hour for the baby's creche, and nothing for the Maternelle for the three year-old. Rather different !

  27. Well, if you're making more from Betfair than I could make you in a year, Swifty, a hundred quid shouldn't be that difficult to russle up, should it?

    Jay, you're twisting in the wind. Your analogy with gambling in respect of the markets is pox.

  28. @PB:

    OK then, how much can you get me back on that £100?

  29. Bird and Fortune on the ' High Grade Structured Credit Enhanced Leverage Fund' . ( At 7min of 8.50-- How The Markets Really Work.) "The 'ingenuity of the markets" -- Gordon Brown . " It's not us that will suffer, it's your Pension Fund ".

    Ace !

  30. Not going to boast, Swifty. And if I were to give you my average ROI over the past 8 years or so that's how it would be construed.

    And incidentally, the living that the markets afford me gives lie to Jay's gambling analogy: when you're playing Aces High, the House always wins.

  31. @PB:

    "...if I were to give you my average ROI over the past 8 years or so..."

    Well, to be honest, that little bit of info is rather key to whether I'd invest the hundred quid with you or not...

  32. "Jay, you're twisting in the wind."

    Back to this old tactic - simply assert that opponent is "crank", "twisting in the wind", "gullible", "naive", etc...

    For me to be "twisting in the wind" it would have to be the case that there is no element of irrational or unpredictable influence in the markets - an unknown factor. That is quite clearly not true. Perhaps you havent quite progressed from the textbook view of people as "rational economic agents"? Give it time...

  33. "And incidentally, the living that the markets afford me gives lie to Jay's gambling analogy: when you're playing Aces High, the House always wins."

    Deary me, this really is a very silly comment, Peter. There are plenty of millionaires, professional gamblers, plenty considerably wealthier than you i suspect. Using your "logic" this means gambling has no element of risk and is all sound strategy and risk management.

  34. Posting without link html becos system swallowed before .
    Bird and Fortune on the ' High Grade Structured Credit Enhanced Leverage Fund' . ( At 7min of 8.50-- How The Markets Really Work.) "The 'ingenuity of the markets" -- Gordon Brown . "You have to bail us out because it's not us that will suffer, it's your Pension Fund ".

    Ace !

  35. And incidentally, the living that the markets afford me gives lie to Jay's gambling analogy: when you're playing Aces High, the House always wins.

    There seems to be quite a thriving market in dialogue rejected from "Swiss Tony" scripts.

  36. My comment isn't silly at all, Jay. I was merely trying to make an unexceptionable observation: namely, that if my profession amounted to gambling I'd already be financially dead.

    I have no idea why you're persisting with the ludicrous notion that markets amount to a roulette wheel or poker table. They don't. Markets price assets. That is not the same as a throw of the dice.

    For example, were you to take a LONG position in gold you would probably base that decision on the likely effects of QE on sovereign currencies, especially the dollar. You might also factor in the risk aversion that still prevails in equity markets - gold has a safe-haven quality about it. In the mix, too, is a low inflation environment that is less than good for stocks.

    These considerations amount to judgement - the weighing of global economic forces that do not amount to arbitrary chance, but events. The risk one takes relates entirely to the quality of the analysis one applies.

    I've tried to explain that risk is not synonymous with gambling, but you won't have it.

    Your position is utterly bizarre, and contingent - I might add - on the ignorance it betrays.

  37. Peter

    You seem, yet again, unable to comprehend any form of nuance in debate or ideas. I have tried to explain the "similarities" between, say, poker and trading, of the various elements that compose it, knowledge, probability, risk, *chance* - the unknown factor. Yet you seem completely unable to comprehend this. In your world, markets are either a roulette wheel or they arent, you dont seem capable of understanding the enormous area inbetween.

    As for my "ignorance", i suspect most economists would recognise the similarities i mention far more readily than the pristine fiction you maintain exists as a reality - a "natural" mechanism with no irrational or unpredictable factor. You dont seem to appreciate the chasm between economic theory and practice.

  38. Hmm. Not the same as casino gambling Peter, but distinct affinities with say, sports gambling:there you make a decision on the form/past events, your assessment of the key actors/players,the influences upon them, where the sentimental/mug punters might be making a plunge, giving better value elsewhere etc.
    Then of course, the horse pulls up or the striker misses a sitter...

  39. "The risk one takes relates entirely to the quality of the analysis one applies."

    This is the fantasy world you live in. Every conceivable market action and event can be fully and accurately predicted with the correct "analysis". This is pure fantasy, Peter. Before you throw accusations of ignorance around you should really have a better grasp of what you're talking about.

  40. It is like casino gambling, but with a marked deck...

    "Mr Bracken, in his role as Group Head of Communications, learned on 26 September 2002 that WMG was likely to issue a negative trading statement in the near future. Within an hour of receiving this information Mr Bracken had approached his broker placing an order to short sell 5,000 shares in WMG at 190p to settle by 10 October. WMG subsequently made an announcement at 8.15am on 27 September 2002 stating that the Company's expected profit would be at similar levels to 2001 due to difficult trading conditions. Mr Bracken, at 9.47am on the same day, then instructed his broker to buy 5,000 WMG shares at 138p to close out his short position, on which he made a profit of 2,430."


  41. PeterB

    Like what Alisdair said.

    Also, if you're so minted/good/confident, why don't you stick the 3k in the fund on our behalf, then give it to good causes when it performs well?

    Then, everyone's a winner, right!!??

  42. But there are no similarities between poker and markets, Jay. You may as well suggest that there are similarities between trading and the odds you'll die of a heart attack, for all the good it'll do you.

    Alisdair: you're confusing risk with gambling, too. Jay won't see it, but I've said repeatedly that risk is inherent in markets and that it needs to be managed. Twenty two players kicking a ball involves chance that doesn't apply in markets. Why? Simple. Markets are the sum of billions of decisions made daily.

    That's why judgement matters. That's why Jay is twisting in the wind; he doesn't understand markets.

  43. I've never contested those smears, turminder. And I won't start today. All I'll say is that for someone so bereft of character, you've got a fuckin nerve.

  44. But Peter, the blanket term markets is so misleading. The analogy with sports betting holds true with say, season-long markets: in fact, with professional sports, and many clubs now being publicly listed, the sports betting markets and the financial ones for the clubs directly mirror each other. There are sports betting markets which are less subject to fluke or caprice, just as there are financial ones (usually the very short-term 'uns)which are enormously subject to chance.
    Some markets are more manageable than others, just as some are more subject to chance.

  45. >>someone so bereft of character..

    Und ve call this 'projection'... : )

  46. Peter, i work with markets all day every day. I work with online traders like you all day every day. Its my job, sadly. That you are incapable of understanding *any* common feature between poker and the markets is indicative of your ignorance, not mine.

    Lets imagine a fictional but entirely typical situation. The most knowledgable trader in the world has a huge long position on an American airline on Sep 10 2001. It has posted excellent figures, by every conceivable measure it is going to rise. So he takes a big position based on his immaculate risk assessment.

    But there's a big unknown element, isnt there. He doesnt know whats going to happen the next day.

    Lets take another situation - Enron has posted fantastic figures for years. Using the best analysis available someone took a huge position on them. Again, there's a big unknown element isnt there - people, and their irrational and unpredictable capacities.

    You can manage risk in poker, thats why some people make millions from it (forget roulette). Is the odd freak hand anymore "freak" than 9/11? No, its actually far less so - it has a specific mathematical probability that is known to the player. 9/11 didnt (by any reasonable use of the word probability).

    Thats why this claim of yours,

    "The risk one takes relates *entirely* to the quality of the analysis one applies."

    Is so obviously false.

    Lets not get tied up on semantics, nor roulette, nor am i saying poker is identical to the markets in terms of the split between rationality, knowledge, risk and probability. What I am saying is that there is a common element of unknowable or irrational factors. That you would contest this point genuinely amazes me.

    It may be much smaller, but if the sums are big enough it can be catastrophic, like 2008.

  47. Peter, but ALSO of general interest to everyone .

    GolemXIV gave us a link to moneymorning.com.au today. It is another evil website. I was particularly interested in the banks, but on the Home page there's a goody on 'infrastructure spending' . The US subprime auto financing bubble is alive and well , etc ...

    It complements very well the Bird and Fortune video on sub-prime. Too well.

  48. Always preferred 3 Card Brag over Poker meself.

    Just thought i'd mention it.

    As you were Gents!

  49. JayReilly -- poor old stevehill couldn't or wouldn't ever admit the widespread nature of fraudulent accounting and general miss-selling either .

  50. Peter, but ALSO of general interest to everyone .

    GolemXIV gave us a link to


    today. It is another evil website. I was particularly interested in the banks, but on the Home page there's a goody on 'infrastructure spending' . The US subprime auto financing bubble is alive and well , etc ...

    It complements very well the Bird and Fortune video on sub-prime. Too well.

    (anything with proper links goes to the bin it seems )

  51. Spread betting and betting exchanges were pretty much invented by city traders, and work on the same principle as financial markets.

    What these people realised is that to create a market, all you need is the infrastructure for cheap, continuous trading, and something to hang it on - whether that's the price of coffee, the BP share price, or a load of horses running around a race track isn't important.

    I've a friend who's a professional gambler.He treats it as a real job, and spends 8 hours a day or more buying and selling bets. He rarely still has any bets open when the sporting event takes place - he makes his money on predicting the movement of odds, rather than predicting the result of the sporting event. He is very successful.

    What's the difference between what he does, and a day trader on the stock market? I can't see any basic difference, and neither can he.

  52. Home unexpectedly. Possibly not for long. Long story. Anyway -- cleared out spam folder. Published 2 comments, deleted multiples of the two that were published. Have complained multiple times to Blogger.

    All I'll say is that for someone so bereft of character, you've got a fuckin nerve.

    Hmm. And by what evidence do you assert that Turminder is "bereft of character"? We know you're an unscrupulous motherfucker -- the legal evidence is on the web for all the world to see. Don't think you have any right to be throwing any stones, Bracken.

  53. "What's the difference between what he does, and a day trader on the stock market? I can't see any basic difference, and neither can he."

    But I can see the difference, exiled. it shouldn't need pointing out, but BP's share price is not contingent on a race.

    There is no finishing tape or show-your-hand finality to stocks. I can't believe I'm having to spell this out.

  54. Dunno if anyone's interested but according to the London Evening Standard a certain George Michael has been jailed for 8 weeks for driving under the influence.Apparently he'll spend 4 weeks inside and 4 weeks on licence.No doubt a film will be made of George's experiences whilst 'in chokey'.

  55. Peter

    But I can see the difference, exiled. it shouldn't need pointing out, but BP's share price is not contingent on a race.

    Nor are the fluctuations in odds before a horse race.

    He doesn't bet on the result of the race - he bets on the odds changing before it's run.

    Just as a day trader doesn't bet on the success of a company, but on short-term movements in share prices.

    Both are examples of people betting against the opinions of other players, rather than on the final result. Both contribute absolutely nothing to what they gamble on.

  56. My misdemeanors are published for the world to see, and I'll happily put my hand up for them. Plenty of character here, not all lily white.

    I love

    >>I've never contested those smears..

    'cos it implies that the fsa are wrong in their retelling of events and poor 'ickle P-Brax is much maligned.

    Is that some other Peter Bracken then? Or is that you PB? And it a reasonable version of what happened? My analysis of past performance predicts... an embarrased silence.

  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

  58. Link to Bird and Fortune at 14.14


    Montana that one at 16.05 may interest you I think . The US subprime auto loans --


    I didn't know they'd gone that far, YeeHaw we're in fer a rough ride. I clicked it once to check, it worked, once .

  59. From my small knowledge and experience of betting the profits of the big bookies (not to mention successful professional gamblers) owes very little to the results of individual races or matches.

    There is a massive amount of buying and selling behind the scenes, it is possible for a bookie to come out on top no matter the result if their layers do the job properly although the margin of profit will vary massively.

    The bigger the company the less likely they are to worry about individual results, small betters can be wiped out by a really suprise result (like when Phil Taylor lost at 50/1 on) but the bigger companies have got all eventualities covered.

  60. Jesus Peter that last post is so out of order I don't know were to start.

    You are disgusting beyond belief.

  61. Hi Jenni

    I know someone who takes bets at home - he does mysterious calculations before ringing the bookie he works with - transfers bets or something.

    I know nothing about it but this chap generally finishes the day in pocket.

  62. Leni

    Being the person taking the bets is always more profitable, in the long run, than the person placing them (if you know what you are doing).

    I don't know how it works but even if I did I don't think I would make a living from it.

    Still shocked by Peters last post.

  63. turm - you're a naughty boy too. Got a bet on or something :)

    PS think you'd enjoy that video ...

  64. Wildhack is all "I'm, I'm, I'm."

    That's what fucks me off about the I'mmers. Their prism is me, me , me.

  65. Honestly - my family....

    Had a long chat to my old Ma this afternoon. She told me, my extremely right wing, tory Aunt Monica (aged 91) who is very well off, was told by someone that she could make a claim for disability living allowance or whatever its called now.

    Although she's very fit for her age, still drives a car and can get around without problems and is always swanning off here and there - it turns out she does qualify and has been awarded £75 per week and £500 in back payments. How come she qualifies - when people who have genuine problems don't?

    My Ma upbraided her about taking a benefit she clearly doesn't need. She responded - "Oh alright then, I'll give it to the boys" (her sons).

    This is a woman who will happily moan about the iniquities of the lower classes at every possible opportunity.

    I wonder how many more there are like her, taking benefits they don't need and ranting in the daily heil and torygraph about lazy, scrounging dole lifestylers.


  66. Sheff

    I was amazed to find out that 97% of parents collect child benefit.

    Hypocrites the lot of them.

  67. Thauma I don't think there is a word for what Peter said, despicable is too kind.

  68. In Australia if you have too much loot your basic State pension is reduced. I think most people have a Superannuation pot which is in the " markets" --- so they took an immediate hit a couple of years back.

    Two years anniversary of Lehmans' collapse tomorrow ...

  69. Just read the thread....interesting discussion on markets/gambling. My grandfather was a gambler both on the horses and the markets, it was how he made his living. He kept (an illegal) book for his cronies and did very nicely out of it. Personally I can't see that there's any real difference between speculation and spread betting etc...


    Have a little grace and delete that post.

  70. "Personally I can't see that there's any real difference between speculation and spread betting etc..."

    Good point. Financial spreadbetting (indistinguishable from actually buying shares) is legally classed as gambling in this country. Says it all.

    That was a particularly vicious and uncalled for post, Peter. To remove it would be for the benefit of your dignity, not Montana's.

  71. What sheff, you mean I should afford someone grace who calls me a 'motherfucker', and in reply I call an attention-seeking, bombastic whinger?

    Not likely. Just can't wait for the sob story Part Ten.

  72. Jay Reilly

    Read your link from last night...on the whole, still not convinced about 'non-physical facts'...seems to me she has all the 'equipment' to deal with the new phenomenon (ie redness); it's just that she has yet to encounter it; once she has...she's acquired a new fact but by purely physical means

    There seems to be nothing in your link btw, that justifies 'redness' as an attribute...there is a notable school of thought which denies redness other than as a common attribute of 'red things'..redness in itself is a useful but ultimately redundant concept..which I know looks like a cop-out but it does rather dispense with any conundrum since in the absence of an attribute of redness, the non-physicality question becomes moot

    Quine..the materialist's materialist

    Here's another analogy

    A guy called Bill is working on the proof of a mathematical conjecture ...he's nearly there but there's just one line, which seems self-evident, which he's not absolutely certain he can justify. However, if he can, the way to the result is clear.

    He calls his mate Frank, who tells him "Yeah, proving that's just not a problem..it's a bit long I'll drop it into an email". Bill's delighted and works long into the night, finishes his proof-a fundamental and profound one..and goes on to discover several significant corollaries which radically alter our understanding of the world etc.

    Next day, he opens his inbox and there's an email from Frank; subject "Here's the proof you wanted"...now as it happens, Frank's proof of the particular line in Bill's proof is sound.

    Once Bill actually opens the email, surveys the contents and pronounces himself satisfied with the details..has anything actually changed?

    The significance of his own work remains. He might declare himself to be completely happy now..but he always had faith in Frank anyway...he knew the proof would be forthcoming...and yet he's just encountered a new fact..there is, at some level a new arrangement of 'matter' within Bill's head the whole world is now in possession of a new theory (which might involve something radically non-physical...say, 8 dimensional complex points) but this new fact that Frank's landed on him (ie. the methodology of the minor proof) and the new conceptual world (arguably as 'non-physical' as you want to make it) opened up by it...are ultimately formed in microscopic interactions in Bill's head and nowhere else.

    Now there are still mathematicians who take a sort of Platonic view of the subject (ie. they believe in the external existence of Mathematical truths) but they're not particularly convincing.

    The only one who is (or was) was Kurt Godel who produced perhaps the most brilliant piece of Mathematical logic ever heard of. (apparently Einstein remained for years at Princeton just so he could chat to Godel on his way home from his office every night).

    This is an excellent book on the subject and its claims to establish Mathematical Platonism...It's actually a very easy and enjoyable read

    ..and my hedging my bets when I'd finished it is as close as I hope I ever come to acknowledging 'non-physical' facts

  73. Peter Bracken

    I'm hardly in a position etc..

    but that was a bit much

  74. Hi Thaum! afk=away from keyboard, which is where i'm heading now. I think we can all see Maj. B for the petulant blowhard he displays as. The only thing to do now is to goad his easily stoked apoplexy to the point where he self harms, biking off a bridge or sucking the 12bore are my prefs. Back after a couple of pints.

  75. peter

    If you can't tell the difference between being called a motherfucker and claiming that someone wears rape on their sleeve then you are stupider than you seem.

    Oh sorry I forgot to mention the you are a single mother 'no suprise' jibe.

    You are a disgusting piece of crap.

  76. Vive L'Entente Cordiale !

    More French than Brits online at the moment!

    Let's give 'em a Right Royal UT Welcome !

  77. Oh come on Peter - why so sensitive all of a sudden? Not a trait I've ever noticed in you before. I think you're shit stirring.

    As Jay says - your comment reflects more on you than it does on Montana and its not pretty.

  78. MF

    I dont think its a convincing case against physicalism, just an interesting debate, the argument and the counter-arguments.

    "she's acquired a new fact but by purely physical means"

    For this to be the case though, assuming you mean she acquired a *physical* fact through physical means, she would have to have been ignorant of some facts before she left the room - but its stipulated that she knows all the facts about red.

    My own view is that the problem is within the question, in that it seems to assume some sort of dualism and then use the scenario prove its own point. Or, in reverse, if you start off with the assumption that physicalism *is* true then i dont think its possible for her to possess all the physical knowledge about red without knowing what it looks like.

    If she herself is a purely physical machine (which she must be for physicalism), then how this physical machine (Mary) responds to another physical stimulus (redness) is surely a fact about it. Just as its a fact that if you mix red with blue you get... (cant remember, but you get my point).

    Redness is surely simply light of a certain wavelength. Our subjective interpretation of "red" is obviously just that, subjective, but i dont think that casts any doubt on an objective "red" that is light of a certain wavelength etc.

    Interesting link. I came across that argument not long ago somewhere, that to deny something exists must in itself confirm its existence. I've always found it a particularly stupid argument.

    I've never had much time for arguments about mathematical notions actually existing in themselves, in some form, but looks an interesting book, i've put it on my amazon list thing. You read Fermats Last Theorem? If not definitely a good read.

  79. I am not sure if I should hate Peter for his stupid comments or if I should feel sorry for his random striking out.

    He is obviously in pain.

  80. Jay,

    The Untrusted has no claim on dignity. You have no claim on it, for sure. Let's not come on all holier than thou, shall we?

    This website is by turns hateful, spiteful and, occasionally, illuminating. I've been on the receiving end of most of the former, among a few others. So don't lecture me on decorum, please: just because one of your own kind gets it in the neck is no cause for - what do you call it? - 'faux' sanctimony.

    "You are a disgusting piece of crap.", says jennifera of me. She's been peddling that line for yonks now. Fine. I'll live with it. But don't for one minute believe it says nothing about the nature of the clan on show here. It tells an awful lot.

    And sheff, just for you: can't you see the hopeless hypocrisy of your diatribe against your wealthy whoever? Here you are, day in, day out banging on about the scurrilous practice of benefit assessment, and the moment some 'underserving' scrounger qualifies, you're up in arms.

    Couldn't make it up.

  81. We are here for you Peter. x

  82. "The Untrusted has no claim on dignity."

    ok, so there have been some foul comments on here. Are we not ever allowed to say "that was over the line" then?

    "You have no claim on it, for sure."

    I might frequently be unpleasant, rude or obnoxious, but pure spite is not something i think i do an awful lot of (by all means correct me). Im pretty sure i've never spoke to anyone the way you just did Montana. Its not an issue of "holier than thou" - it is simply saying that was over the line and uncalled for.

  83. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAOTCtW9v0M

    Have a listen and calm yourself down, Bracken, pure magic.

  84. Actually {this clipis a lot cuter.

    btw my last comment was in no way francophobic but rather a harmless albeit puerile joke.Things are getting a bit heavy around here so i thought i'd try and break the tension with a good old fashioned rasberry.Always stopped me daughter crying when she was a baby.

  85. "This website is by turns hateful, spiteful and, occasionally, illuminating. I've been on the receiving end of most of the former, among a few others. So don't lecture me on decorum, please: just because one of your own kind gets it in the neck is no cause for - what do you call it? - 'faux' sanctimony."

    Funnily enough though PeterB, a little while back, a visitor turned up and made some particularly obscene allegations in your general direction, and a fair few people objected to that too, even though, I think it's fairly safe to say, they don't class you as 'one of their own'!

    Not that you'd particularly give a shit, but, you know, while you're throwing accusations of hypocrisy around and that, it might be worth considering.....

  86. Peter

    All I did was ask you to show a little grace - I did think you had it in you but apparently not.

    As to my wealthy aunt taking what she doesn't need when there are others who desperately do - she's just greedy.

  87. So who are the ten other frogs ?

    Thanks for the raspberry, Monsieur Paul !

    Peter, while I'm buffering your Liszt, you totally missed Pixie's point on Here you are, day in, day out banging on about the scurrilous practice of benefit assessment, and the moment some 'underserving' scrounger qualifies, you're up in arms. !

    Most odd.

  88. dave from france

    So who are the ten other frogs ?

    Thanks for the raspberry, Monsieur Paul !

    You're most welcome.I'm pretty sure that most of the other French UTers are actually French -based Brits as well.

  89. Peter, spikeparis, me, PhilippaB, four to start with ... so

    My Ma"s poor old hands can't do it any more, but she was really good on Chopin, practiced 8 hours a day in that previous Austerity Britain.

  90. Dave from France

    So who are the ten other frogs ?

    They must have got wind of the EP conversation and MF and Jay's discussion of redness - there's nothing the French like better than abstruse discussions about obscure topics. If people drop in a little Lacan, Lyotard, Althusser, Debord et al they'll probably double their number.

  91. Jay

    No major problems with your post until..

    "Redness is surely simply light of a certain wavelength."

    except that 'redness' was around and well 'understood' as a property long before anyone knew what a wavelength was..

    personally, I hold with the view that essentially 'redness' in and of itself is an artificial concept..it's simply shorthand for that property held in common by red objects-objects, here essentially corresponding to regions of space time which may well be devoid of matter..sunsets etc-it's hardly a robust concept if it ceases to exist when the lights go out etc.

    I still tend to think that once you dispense with 'redness' the problem takes on a fundamentally different character

    Yes..I have read Fermat's last theorem...not a patch on this other one which, remarkably, is a far simpler read in a mathematical sense...'remarkably' because the theory it describes and its proof is possibly the most ingenious piece of thinking I've ever encountered..absolutely riddled with self-reference and paradox but wholly accessible.

    It's also good on the abuses of relativists in concocted uses of: 'incompleteness' and 'undecidability' (in Godel's case); relativity (in Einstein's); and 'uncertainty' (in Heisenbergs). I think Sokal mentions abuses of Godel's theory in Fashionable Nonsense, but it goes deeper here...it came to severely affect Godel that his work was abused, misrepresented and basically cheapened by a bunch of charlatans trying to justify any old bullshit with dodgy semantics..as it goes, their interpretation was the polar opposite of its actual 'meaning'.

  92. Pixie - you may call me frog, it's quicker :)

    I adopt it when winding up the reddneck pre-Eyerack-Invasion, got many most highly satisfying insult, but never the hole in one of Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey. Can't win em all as we old market hands do know.

    Peter obviously missed Point8 of HankScorpio's late-nite manifesto, where he dealt with yer real scroungers.

  93. I want to be a French-based Brit!

    Not going to happen as long as my lad is digging his heels in though. Sigh.

    I will have to think of another plan.

    MF and Jay - didn't catch all of your convo, but it all sounds very Shroedinger's Cat to me. I have to confess that my eyes glazed over like Asok in Dilbert. I ain't got much of an educashun, me, if it ain't the law, like. Very impressed to read discussions like that, even though I feel too stupid to be able to interject in any meaningful way.

    Evening all to everyone else.

  94. Frog

    I am sure I have told this story before, but one of my husband's Bostonian friends - very anti-Iraq invasion - got so pissed off with the "Freedom Fries" business that when she was coming on holiday to France that year she made a special point of telling everyone she was "Going on vacation to Freedom". :o)

  95. BB - and depending very much on which bit of France, he'd probably love it too . I'm in a backwater 100k south of Cherbourg where it's like twenty years behind the rest of the world. Similar to NZ forty years ago where the air hostesss joke about "put back your watches twenty years, we're landing in Auckland " applied. I love sitting in my pub and enjoying the civility of 99% who come in to buy a packet of fags. Bonjour Madame, S'il vous plait, Merci, Bon fin de journée, a simple pleasure .

    It's changing. But our pub landlady even sometimes refuses to serve impolite people -- pretty rare eh ?

  96. Turm - thanks for the explanation! It seems so obvious now.

    BB - Jessica was looking for you to write an article on Waddya yesterday (I think) - did you see it?

    James - OMG! It's Adam Jones!

  97. Thats one of the things I love about France, Monsieur Grenouille, the civility. People always meet and greet in ways they never do over here. You always exchange the time of day before you buy your fags, beer etc.

  98. James - just winding up the mister, eh? ;-)

  99. Love it, Frog.

    My old village is like that - a few locals in the little bar chewing the fat, discussing politics, reading the paper.

    Thaum - didn't see it. Will take a look.

    Rugby players... mmmmm.....

  100. Thauma

    I didn't know you were a chubby chaser:-)

  101. At the simplest playing the markets is a form of gambling if only because as a starter you are frequently gambling that the other players don't have insider knowledge, or have rigged or attempted to manipulate the market in some other way.

    As our old friend Adam Smith observed (to the effect)..."men of the same trade seldom get together but that the conversation turns to a conspiracy..."

    If it was all about evaluating variables and making judgements thereon )(if..then) the activity could just as easily be reduced to algorithms and reduced to a computer programme...

    It's delusional to look upon trading as either a valuable activity or a victimless crime - one man's profit is another's loss (of pension etc)

    I too thought the Montana comment was spiteful and in the time I've been reading here I think she has mentioned being raped and being a single mum less than the digits on one hand
    and then only ever in a relevant context.

    Reading and understanding the words on the screen is not something Trader Peter seems to spend much time doing. For the life of me I can't say I found anything hypocritical in Sheff's comment about her aunt. I don't specifically recall anything against means tested benefits being advanced by her

    BTW is milk an optional extra in an omlette - or is that scrambled eggs?

  102. Sheff - I dunno, I lived in Paris yonks ago and I don't remember a lot of civility then. But oot in tha coontry here, there's a bit of it, although the closer you get to town, the less!

  103. BB - erm, we're discussing forwards here, not pretty but effective (in a scrum).

  104. Sheff - I was always struck by the "Bonjour messieurs, dames" thing when you walk into a shop, and it's true that it is the height of rudeness not to say hello to people, but "s'il vous plait" and "merci" appear to be more optional than here.

    "Dis bonjour a la dame" seems to be the annoying, nagging thing said to French nippers where we would be more inclined to say "Say thank you to the lady".

    Couple of pix up of my local restaurant on the UT photo page, btw. Three course meal, aperitif, wine and coffee for less than £25 a head. And that view... should have taken a pic of the abbey out to the other side of it too. Beautiful.

  105. Thaum - I like a man with something to get my teeth into...

    (I'm not exactly sylph-like mesself these days. Sigh. Again.)

  106. That's Paris Thauma - as different from the French hinterland as London is in the UK. In my experience even the French think Parisians are rude.

  107. BB - well, a forward is for you, then, if you decide it's time for a change of scene! ;-)

    Sheff - yes, I think it's more of a city/country divide than a national divide.

  108. Talking of pianists, Bolet was the greatest since Rachmaninov himself. Here is Bolet in rehearsal with Berglund for a performance of Rach's Second. If anyone doesn't know the descant at 4mins 5 sec he or she should, since it's probably the most hauntingly beautiful melody ever written for piano.

    The rest is just a lesson in musicianship, and how to keep a conductor in check.

    Fabulous stuff.

  109. Pixie -- not so universal maybe in Paris and similar (Ugh) but still is around here .

    Apropos of absolutely nothing, the Australian basic state pension is non-contributory. You can be a right drongo all yer life, and you get it .

    There's a thought .

    And I had that from a retired judge and a former investment manager just now, so there. Perhaps not a huge step to thinking of Basic Income ... but this site hates links at the mom so anyone interested has to wiki themselves...

  110. Peter- admit it . You're angling for a job as the graun's music critic .

  111. Peter

    Being a lover of Rachmaninov would suggest you have a romantic soul - just doesn't seem to go with the rest of your persona. But then maybe you're just sentimental and you know what is said about that....

  112. Frog

    You can be a right drongo all yer life, and you get it .

    Would never catch on here mores the pity - can you imagine what the Daily Heil et al would have to say about it?

    I've always been rather in favour of giving everyone a stipend when they get to 18 - enough to live on modestly. Then if you choose to work - which most people would, that'd be a bonus.

  113. "The Over 80 Pension is a State Pension for people aged 80 or over who have little or no State Pension. Unlike other State Pensions, it's not based on National Insurance contributions.
    Who is eligible?
    You can claim if all the following apply to you:

    •you are aged 80 or over
    •you don't get basic State Pension, or your basic State Pension is less than £58.50 a week
    •you live in England, Scotland or Wales, and have done so for 10 years or more in any continuous period of 20 years which included the day before your 80th birthday or any day after it
    How much do you get?
    •£58.50 a week if you don't get basic State Pension
    •if you're on a reduced basic State Pension - you'll get the difference between this reduced amount and £58.50"

  114. Pixie -- music brings out the very best in Peter, and that best is considerable . Since I've noticed in myself that different bits of our personalities mature at VERY different speeds, I can also see that with Peter. No condescencion (sp!) whatsoever, I trust.

    I've played the hardman phantasy myself in the past, where really I underneath that was a right softy. Much cooler now with age and illness and just time, so the real strength hidden all along was allowed to come out .

    Help ! Telling the truth of a philosophical journey without mentioning Heidegger and many rather surprising others .

  115. Deano, my love. How are you doing? Hope all is good and Mungo dog is behaving himself.

    I am sitting here sipping some wine that has worked out at about a quid a bottle. Filled a plastic beer keg with about 25 litres of the stuff when we were on our hols and bottled it at the weekend. A Cotes De Rhones Villages that is a shedload better than the stuff they try and palm off on us for over a fiver a bottle here.


  116. deano - so what happpened before they were 80 ? Where is housing benefit in there ?

    Mean stuff.

  117. BB

    Am jealous now - it'll be ages before I can get out to France again.

    Am spending a few days in Berlin next month though. My daughter and her partner are going to a Grinderman gig and have invited me to tag along (giving the gig a miss though...I like Nick Cave but his G sessions are a bit much for me). Ages since I've been to Berlin too - not since the wall came down.

  118. Now that's synchronicity for you - one of my mates has just been talking to me about Grinderman online too. I have to say I had never really paid much attention to Nick Cave. I quite like some of his stuff with the Bad Seeds but I don't think I have ever spent any money on him, poor soul.

    I was in Berlin for two lots of school hols in 73 when my Dad was working there. Have been wanting to go back since the Wall fell, and never got round to it. It would be kind of weird and amazing to walk through the Brandenburg Tor. I envy you!

  119. @Sheff

    Berlin's very fashionable - my daughter's there at the moment, and another friend of hers arrived to work there today. Like you, I haven't been there since the mid-80s.

    On another subject: exciting times in the Halifax Ziggy's Spice House League! Sowerby Bridge knocked off top spot on goal difference thanks to Stainland United's 5-1 win over Hebden Royd RS Res. But note Volunteer Arms' 5-4 away win at Denholme United...

  120. BB - We're staying in the heart of hippy Kreuzberg - so it should be fun. I'll bring you back a sausage and some beer.

  121. Volunteer Arms won 5-4, quite a match then!! I did say something about them being worth watching...didn't I?

  122. BB - Ace ! On the wine that is, I haven't yet got to the stage of " now I know men, I prefer dogs" but having been brought up in a dog-worshipping family I still do appreciate them as individuals but don't invert it to read 'god' , as the other well-known one said .

    Not a dig at deano there, I had some lovely times with the family whippets, but the general brit 'adoration' is over the top for me . They're like people, some are great !

  123. Sheff

    Will happily swap bratwurst for wine! :o)

    PeterJ - are you making those teams up?!! :p

  124. hey Deanno, milk is a mistake in an omelet, 2 eggs +1 yolk is perfect, hot pan, oil + butter, flip, fill and fold. So P-Brax has deleted his comment, good. The sad bully has a chance of self awareness. Doubt he'll take it. Cf me @ quarter to 5. If he were to take his own life it would save his own children the influence of a mercenary amoral shit for a father.

  125. They're a genuine pub league BB - you can choose your own team. Peter put a list up the other day.

  126. This comment has been removed by the author.

  127. @Sheff

    It was the Duke's list - I just nicked the table-toppers, shamelessly.

    Here you go, BB.

  128. Hah! Excellent. I think I will go for Brighouse OB (only cos of the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band, mind you).

    Turm - I didn't see what P-Brax posted cos it was deleted by the time I arrived tonight. I gather, though, that it was bloody vile.

    But that is a pretty harsh thing you have just said too, imo. Jus' sayin', y'ken...

  129. I always put a dash of milk - or a spot of cream if I've got it - in an omelette, me.

  130. turminderxuss

    I don't want to get involved in this current PeterB spat.But fwiw i think Montana was wrong to call PB a motherfucker,PeterB was wrong to post his now deleted post to Montana and you're wrong to suggest PeterB's kids would benefit from him taking his own life.Whatever you think of his online personnae i think you're being OTT there.

  131. BB - I'm fine thank you young miss.

    Glad you had a good holiday. The photo of Abbey Port is class, I could well enjoy a wine/dine there.

    Hope you managed more than one keg of wine. You should understand that next year the lad may lay claim to his share .....on the grounds that his not taking a seat in the transport and making more space for wine entitles him to a share in the loot.

    My youngest was an expert in that kind of convoluted self interested logic thus I forewarn you.

    Any chance that you and yours will make the get together at Bitterweeds in October?.

    Dave I'm not uptodate with the benefits system so I don't know the answer.

    I was amazed to find that we had a non contributory pension if you can hang on till 80. £58 ain't much but current levels of unemployment benefit are only about £65!

    They'll probably increase the qualifying age to 95.....

  132. Deano

    What date is it in October? I have missed the info on that one by the looks of things.

    I would like to. Is this the one in Leamington?

  133. Gentle sentiment, Paul - thanks.

    But don't worry about my feelings. Turminder is an ugly cunt who can't write or think. None of which bedevils me.

  134. Deano

    The Abbey Port got its name because it used to be a sea port, until a bunch of Dutch monks decided they were going to dyke the area and extended it out by about 20 miles in the 11th century. The old abbey still has a sea wall, which is pretty amazing.

    Some lovely aerial photos here

    My place - which I bought for £16k in the late 80s when I was living there - is partially built from stone from the abbey, like most of the houses in the village.

  135. P-Brax

    And that's just you being a twat, too. Shhhh.

  136. BB Thauma's at Leamington that's later I think?

    Bitterweed's is just up the M1 in Northants I think the provisional date is October 2nd

    Sheff - can you confirm date?




  138. BB, Deano

    Bitters hasn't given us a date yet - just that he's planning it for October.

    Gyius is on form over on waddya and Hank's bête noire, Hermione, is flirting outrageously with him.

  139. Cheers BW. I will do me best. Northampton is not that far. :o)

  140. Time for beddybyes for me, chaps.

    NN xx

  141. PS am going away tomorrow for a bit of playing and a bit of a holiday; more details to follow...

    Suffice to say will provide details of venue and local doss houses in good time...

    Hope that ok

    Anyone in need of clarification...


  142. It's that procrastination time of night for me again.
    If you want to while away ten minutes or so, this kept me watching, mindless spectacle as it is. Dime to a dollar says you will involuntarily go "Whoa" or somesuch at one or another point. The photographer especially shows admirable snag-froid.

  143. Bitters - And about bloody time too! The 2nd it is then.

  144. You couldn't loose on that one Alisdair. Amazing fortune for some!

    Man there sure are nimble footed guys out there!

  145. >>an ugly cunt who can't write or think.

    Yo PB, I know you are, but what am I? Not willing to stand by what you said to MW? A school yard bully and a coward? C'mon Peter just admit you are an opportunist fraud who got caught. Ah, not got the nads for that eh?

    Well you just go on blowing hot air at whoever is prepared to read it, not me anymore ya sadsack. ttfn chums. p x

  146. Alisdair
    Cheers, and, I might add - "fwoah!!!"

  147. Alisdair

    Good link.Was that bloke lying on the railway line when the train went over him for real though?That was a stunt right? Most of the rest seemed to be for real.Some very lucky people there.

  148. @ Paul, I agree that one looked deliberate. The others not so.

  149. "Well you just go on blowing hot air at whoever is prepared to read it, not me anymore."

    As if, turminder. You'll go on reading and stewing like the rest of us.

    Can't help but remind you of this, though: you had a chance to say something on CiF an' all you did was fuckin' whinge about service, or the lack of it. "My phone was off-line for a day or two because I wouldn't pay the bill that my partner had inadvertently racked up", or some such banal, look-at-my-problems-please-I-can't-cope bollock-crushing shit. That and some hilariously inappropriate-if-apposite cadaver misfortune. Rather not dwell on the happily receding memory of that brush with the after-life (bless her, his, soul).

    Where the fuck do people like you emanate from? Actually, I know the answer to that question: Brent Cross, missed your bus, and you're reflecting on the deal you never had.

    Makes Hitler's of us all.

  150. And BTW, turminder. You owe me. I could have - should have - killed you for the shite you published for public consumption.

    Next time - eh - if you ever get one.

  151. Turm -- I refer you to my 21.37 .

    I can to some extent see where Peter is in his life. Letting yourself go in something close to hatred, is what he does too often, and you are doing the same back ?

    AS I said to Peter on waddya, on the famous occasion when he was completely out of his tree and even some of our hardliners became seriously concerned for his health,I'm not into flamewars and foul language .

    I 'could' do it all, but chose not to. Life is too short and there are plenty of real live enemies out there.

    I reserve what paltry ammo I have for those mothas.

  152. Alisdair

    btw Hope all's well with your wife.Can,t be long now before you become a dad.All the best.

  153. PeterB and turminderxuss

    Come on guys chill ffs.All this talk of taking life etc ain't healthy .Here's a track for you both from a Miles Davis cd i'm listening to at the moment.

    psTurminder i hope something turns up for you soon on the job front.Something usually does for most people.

  154. Peter -- the old expression " Don't be a cunt, all your life" could maybe be better expressed-

    Don't be a cunt ! ... All your life ? ? ? ?

    AS I said at 21.37, about your great qualities, I wonder why you make such hyper-exaggerated efforts to portray yourself in a bad light .

    Frog3 the family's clinical psychologist is otherwise occupied and I'm not going into long words and misunderstood jargon myself.

    Just seems to this layman that you are taking an unholy delight in publicly shooting yourself repeatedly in the foot .

    That gives me no pleasure .

  155. Hello everyone:
    @Deano; I caught that Radio 4 programme this morning by Evan Davis.
    What struck me was a comment by Ed Balls.
    I can't quote him verbatim but he said something along the lines of "It's virtually impossible to make the case for raising the threshold for the poorest so it makes sense to reduce the income tax, since that it what the proles will understand."
    I'm no economist but I'd have a stab at explaining the difference to my daughter who is 8 years old and with the help of a few jelly beans I think I could explain what Ed Balls can't
    We really are in trouble if the likes of Ed Balls can't explain what he means to his peers in Parliament!

  156. chekhov -- prog 1 or 2 ? Listened to 1 and don't have that same memory as you .

    My memory is of him saying he'd have prefered being up-front and honest about tax, but blairbrown against .

  157. Fucking hornet came through the kitchen door, and now I've found the 'bomb', is lying low.

  158. A Politician being "up front" and "honest"....Nah.....that doesn't work somehow!
    My middle name is "cynical"

  159. Frog

    Just seen your comment on waddya.

    Of course I know why everything is privately owned - why our money funds them. Question was partly rhetorical and partly because it is sometime better to ask the question and try to make people think than to give them an answer they will blindly refute .

    Hi Chekhov

  160. chekhov -- been around a bit meself.

    Leni -- just putting the ball back in that guy's side of the court . Direct Action, and very much preferably non-violent, is one of the very few things left . Humour too.

    People just are not going to begin to 'think' , magically, their attention has to be gripped , and how ?

  161. Hi Chekhov,Leni,Dave

    Bob Crow of the RMT is calling for pensioners and benefit claimants to bring Britain to a halt by staging sit-ins on all the main motorways and roads.Would be great if ordinary people responded although i doubt the middle classes would want to know.But so much could be achieved if only we could get co-ordinated action.I hope it' not a false dawn but i have a real sense that the first stirrings of effective revolt against the ConDems are in the air.I just hope they don't lose momentum.

  162. Paul

    I have long advocated simply sitting down in the middle of major roads. Block up the arteries.

    There are stirrings - how much response there will be we can't yet judge.

    Bob Crow is not a man to go down without a fight. The TUC as a whole have been rather silent on the subject of pensions and benefits - unless it has been under reported.

    The mc may feel safe - wait until the cuts start biting into the private sector - jobs will go, mortgages will be imperilled and holidays cancelled.

  163. Frog

    saw your comment - I'm all for non violent direct action.

  164. Frog

    I hadn't realised the London fire service didn't own their own equipment.

    a few years ago some firemen in Swansea were killed when they entered a sewer to trace a chemical spill - fumes.

    I was speaking to a local fireman recently and he told me that then , as now, lighter, smaller breathing packs were available but the fire brigades couldn't afford to equip all men with them.

    The men died because the heavier packs were too big for them to wear in a confined space. Like the soldiers - dying for lack of equipment.

    In the mean time - back at the Mansion House ...

  165. Paul - most interesting !

    I prefer very much the US 'middle class' -- the skilled working people, which is far far more inclusive of far far more people than the old brit meaning . It was either leni or Annetan who spoke of the ' New Proletariat' , the 'us' against 'them' .

    Going by my RP accent I'm the hated middleclass of some brits, which is why life is so cool here, because good french is good french, whether spoken by a bloody good mechanic who left school at 14 fifty years ago, or his 'Tory' MP.

    They can communicate without that awful British 'divide'.

  166. frog

    Accent and language are still significant in Britain. There is a very fine line between pretension and 'having arrived'

    Those who feel they have risen away from the old wc - generally speaking - don't like to be reminded of it . Many live very sterile lives devoid of any true cultural roots and often also cut off from the natural world and the turning of the seasons.

    They own a lot of substitutes which they fear losing - accounts I think for a lot of the downward pressure on the poor.

  167. I will add that in truth you can't really hate a whole 'class' of people. This is the mistake often made - mistaking the symbols for the person.

  168. Depends on When ? Got to hold fire until the maximum effect?

    OR, start off maybe ineffectively, but get some off their bums and get them used to the fact that Wey Hey - we can stop traffic -- and later absolutely masses of people can follow.

    The perverse weakness of a complex society is that it is very bloody easy to bring it to a grinding halt.

    And just to think I bought Che's Partisan Warfare at the age of sixteen to understand my enemy ... PS I grew up since .

  169. Frog

    a couple of inches of snow and the whole country grinds to a halt.

  170. I notice quite a lot of nouveau brit mc around here, but since I'm not that brit-sociable I haven't done my anthropology. I'll get my local restaurateur anglais to help when I've sussed him properly .

  171. NNtime i think unless you stimulate my neurones excessively !

  172. dave

    my synapses are closing their gates.

    Nightnight all x

  173. JayReilly said...

    Redness is surely simply light of a certain wavelength. Our subjective interpretation of "red" is obviously just that, subjective, but i dont think that casts any doubt on an objective "red" that is light of a certain wavelength etc.

    Interesting link. I came across that argument not long ago somewhere, that to deny something exists must in itself confirm its existence. I've always found it a particularly stupid argument.

    Yep, "redness" can be thought of in physics terms as, well, perhaps a "range" of wavelengths, with perhaps some vagueness at the margins.

    Of course, we don't "perceive" it as a range of wavelengths, we just see colours.

    Redness as a concept is, if we like, a means of categorising light according to its wavelength.

    Now, philosophers may well tie themselves in knots over semantics and the question of whether something really exists or not.

    But at the end of the day, if you sat a philosopher at table filled with various objects, some of which are the colour red, put a gun to his head, and ordered him to pick out the ones exhibiting "redness" on pain of death, then short of some visual impairment or deathwish or something, he's liable to do it quite quickly and effortlessly.

    What he probably won't do, is go "Sorry, that task is impossible for me, because I do not believe there is such a concept as redness, or if there is, then it doesn't have any meaning!!"

    Similarly, he'll probably stop his car at a red light.

  174. Oh I wish I wasn't so thick...

    Honestly to have made such a wicked comment that leaves me open to abuse on so many levels. I'm glad I removed it and expressed regret.

    But hang on! Expressing regret means I made the vile comment in the first place. No I'll just remove it, so that people know I've made it and I've said what I wanted to, with enough people hearing it.

    Now I can pretend I never said anything.

    It's a good job nobody would be vindictive enough to save the comment and pass it on to every e-mail recipient on the Guardian, isn't it? Bracken?