05 October 2010


Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


  1. Let's have some more support for the BBC and counterattack against the Murdochs. I've just posted this on a Guardian Media thread.

    Well, ITV basically shows a load of crap and peppers it with adverts, so I'm not surprised that fewer and fewer people watch it.

    What annoys me is that you're forced to pay for it with a stealth tax. Every time you shop at a supermarket, buy a car or take out insurance, you're forced to pay for ITV, Sky, the Mail, etc.

    At least with the licence fee, you have some say on how it's spent and get a great deal of good-quality programming.

    Why not get rid of ITV and Sky, turn the advertising revenue into a levy you have control over and spend more on public broadcasting? I'd far rather have another mainstream BBC channel than ITV.

  2. Paul,

    sorry I never got back to your reply yesterday.

    Yes,I agree with everything you say re: the Dutch checks and balances. Just yesterday the Dutch Govt National Statistics for 2009 were published.

    In amongst the statistics, it said that 11% of Dutch children live on or under the poverty line. Although it is 11% too much, it is far, far below the UK levels which is at 33% or around if I'm not mistaken.

    The agenda of the new Govt will only see poverty levels increase under the mantra of 'the competitive economy'- reducing minimum wage, slashing student grants etc etc.

    Where the UK and the USA already are, the leaders of the other OECD countries appear to want to take their countries to. International capital demands it.

    It will be fought against and fought against vigorously and this as you correctly identified, is one of the major differences between the two countries.

  3. @Spike:

    Sorry mate, you’re going to have spell that post out for me, I’m thicker than usual this morning. What’s the stealth tax levied on consumers? And what say do you have over how the licence fee is spent?

  4. @Swift

    a) Unless you never buy anything advertised on TV or in the papers, you're paying part of the price to fund advertising on commercial TV and in the press. Try asking Sainsbury's to take the percentage they spend on advertising off your bill.

    b) The licence fee is set by the government and the BBC is quite heavily supervised and monitored - unlike ITV and Sky. So you have as much say over the BBC as you do over anything the government controls. In other words, you can campaign, and vote according to party proposals, with regard to the BBC. The Murdochs know this well, since they campaign against the BBC and the licence fee all the time.

  5. Triumph over adversity, from the Telegraph. The boy named Sue had it easy.

  6. Oh dear, back in premod again!!

    It simply doesn't do to have a pop at Julian Glover old beans ;)

  7. @Spike:

    ”…BBC is quite heavily supervised and monitored - unlike ITV and Sky…”

    Really? Go on then, I’m interested – what special “light touch” regulation does OFCOM afford ITV and Sky that they don’t afford to Auntie?

  8. Bitterweed: immensely enjoyable evening - thanks for the hospitality; I guess you'll have to sleep with the windows open for a week to clear the fug. And thanks to the other UTers for being such goddam good company.

    That said, the last posts by Spike are hogwash. Advertising serves to drive sales, reduce unit costs and make products and services more competitive - i.e. cheaper. You might just as easily thank Sky and ITV, not that I would.

  9. @Swift

    Oh, it's not light touch and it's not Ofcom. It's more regulation by the government, sometimes against its will, to appease the Sun and Daily Mail.

    The BBC were frightened to broadcast the Gaza appeal, have been forced to cut half the content of their Internet portal and as for the Ross/Brand affair, whatever you think of the two, BBC policy was shaped by a pitchfork-waving mob led by the Mail.

    When the government doesn't like what the BBC does, there are always thinly-veiled threats to reduce the licence fee - and that spineless little wanker Mark Thompson caves in faster than a tinfoil submarine. I couldn't abide Greg Dyke, but at least he stood up for the BBC - and got kicked out, of course.

  10. @Spike:


    One other thing I’d say… Sky isn’t a great example to show the evils of advertising. Its total ad revenues for FY2009-10 were approx. 6% of its total revenues. It’s basically a subscription business – ad sales across all its operations contribute something like 2-3% to the bottom line, if you were being charitable.

  11. @Swift

    Sure, ITV's a better example. But I like to make the point to all those who, prompted by Murdoch & co., whine about being forced to pay the licence fee and not for for commercial TV. Well, they actually are forced to pay for commercial TV, even if the amount varies depending on the network.

    With Sky, we can go into other points, like their monopoly of Premiership football. Shouldn't football be considered as a national heritage? I suppose not these days - it's just another source of profit for the ultra-rich.

  12. Sky doesn't have a monopoly of Premiership football. I can watch it on Sat and Sun on the beeb.

    And before Sky revolutionised sports programming, I could never watch premiership football live, unless I paid £35 or £40 to sit in the terraces.

  13. Just reading the Harker thread ... dear god! Left and right unite!

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. garbled version above deleted.

    Braken. - never thought it would happen but finally we agree about one thing. The crew you spent your Saturday with are indeed "...goddam good company".

    It is a sincere regret that I didn't get to meet you, the more so since those you met (and whose opinions I rate) hinted that you might be more civilised than could reasonably be expected from your ramblings.

    That said your usual indulgence in fantasy economics shouldn't go unchallenged.

    "Advertising serves to drive sales, reduce unit costs and make products and services more competitive - i.e. cheaper"

    Bollocks - advertising adds to unit costs and seeks to manipulate consciousness to make a product that is not naturally good enough to sell/appeal on it's merits/reputation sell - it thus makes goods unecessarily more expensive.

    First lesson in elementary economics is that we have economic systems to allocate resources because demand is always greater than supply ie resources are in finite supply and for all intents and purposes demand is naturally infinite (the talking shit market is excepted).

    If the demand exists then adding advertising costs to manipulate it simply increases the price. (and produces an income flow for Tory twats like Satchi/Murdoch et al)

    Good news gets around like wildfire it spreads by word of mouth for free amongst honest and decent folk. You free market nuts really do buy a lot of twaddle

    Fuck me it's an eternity since Vance Packard was stimulating discussion/thought on the subject.

  16. BTW - MsRobinson hope your well. If your lurking or calling by today......you promised us a piece on the black art for UT2!!

    We are still waiting.

  17. @deano/PB:

    Advertising exists to satisfy the producer’s need to create demand. If we lived in a world where there was a single company who had the absolute monopoly on making one single model of car, and another with the absolute monopoly on one single model of guitar, or detergent, or meat pies, then there’d be no need for advertising. You’d just go to the only shop in town that sold meat pies, and buy the only brand of meat pie available.

    Of course, as soon as some bright spark thought “Hang on, check out how much money ‘The Meat Pie Co.’ is making, I could fancy a slice of that…”, and set up “The Other Meat Pie Co.”, then you’d have another bright spark saying “Tell you what, you give me 5% of your sales and I’ll make sure everyone in town knows your pies are better”… bingo – the birth of advertising.

  18. You can see Premiership football on the BBC?

    Oh yeah. I can see film extracts on Film 2010 too, so apparently cinemas don't have a monopoly on new releases.

  19. Swifty youu notice we're starting contempalting a get together of the UT on the Western Terrace at a Headingley match next year? The Sri Lanka match in July has been floated.....

    “Tell you what, you give me 5% of your sales and I’ll make sure everyone in town knows your pies are better”… bingo – the birth of advertising. - which is another way of saying gimme 5% and I'll manipulate the market.

    Decsion decsion the ssame 5% could have gfone to reduce the price.

    Of course I simplify. (but we are talking with comrade Braken here)Tthe notion of product differntiation and illusion creation and false consciousness are all very interesting.

    Sadly I've a lot on today helping with a complex Incapacity Benefit appeal so I can't join in fully but I'll be back later.


  20. Of course the double shit is that product differentiation, illusion creation and false consciousness ................fuck up any notion of considered democracy and civilised political progress towards decent values that one might aspire to.

    As our old friend Arthur Seaton from Sat Night and Sunday morn said - "...its' all fucking propaganda."

  21. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

    One of the best lessons I ever had in what a difference a good teacher can make. Had to read it for an English Lit class many moons ago in college. It was assigned to us on a Friday, we were to have it completed so that we could start discussing it on Monday. Monday morning, everyone arrived at class before the instructor. To a person, we all agreed while we were waiting for him to arrive that it was the worst book we'd ever read. Boring. No plot. etc.

    Instructor comes in, starts leading the discussion. We all walked out 50 minutes later still talking about what a great book it was.

    Thank you, Mr. Sheridan.

  22. Well of course product differentiation is inherent in advertising; that's the point of it. And of course it is an expenditure, like labour and transport costs. But the idea that without advertising products and services would be cheaper combines banality with stupidity to create a new brand of home-cooked economics.

    Advertising is a consequence of competition; and competition drives prices down. Indeed, the mere fact of sophisticated marketing is a sure sign of an efficient buyers' market.

  23. And thank you to Thauma for starting a thread. I was having technical issues last night -- kept getting kicked offline. Didn't seem to be able to stay online for more than 2-3 minutes at a time. Weird. All the little lights were on on the modem, but whenever I would try to navigate from one page to another, I'd get a page telling me that Opera couldn't connect to the server. Gave up in frustration.

    I'll go find a pretty picture and pithy quote now.

  24. "Advertising is a consequence of competition; and competition drives prices down. Indeed, the mere fact of sophisticated marketing is a sure sign of an efficient buyers' market"

    Sophistry comrade Braken - free market economics, and it's alleged efficiency, is built in the presumption of "perfect knowledge" all in the market have equal access to open freely available knowledge (ceterius paribus)

    Insider dealers share with advertisers the desire to create/profit/benefit from/manipulate imperfect knowledge.

    Adam Smith told us all in the eighteenth century that you put the bastards free marketeers together and the first thing they do is enter into a conspiracy to rig the fucking market.

    The world is busy currently trying to persuade us that the banking crisis was not a systemic fraud but the work of one or two rotten apples.

    As Seaton said fuck off apologists and propagandists

    I start out wanting a vacuum cleaner - others try to persuade me that I really want a Dyson vacuum cleaner

    Dyson are class vacs but are not produced in a competitive or open market because it is/was protected by patents - (a device designed to make sure that the free market ( and it's alleged benefits) remains a myth)

  25. Advertising makes stuff cheaper??

    Is that why the heavily-advertised, nationally-known brands at the supermarket cost so much more than the little-to-non-advertised brands?

  26. Hi Bracken

    Glad to hear you enjoyed the meet up and got on well with everyone, even if the Cortina story turned out to be untrue (which was a shame).

    "Indeed, the mere fact of sophisticated marketing is a sure sign of an efficient buyers' market."

    This is wrong though. Sophisticated marketing can be caused by a number of things, one of which is non-price competition, collusive, implicitly collusive or otherwise. Rather than compete on price to their collective disadvantage, firms in an industry, particularly more oligopolistic ones, will often compete on product differentiation instead - and the primary tool of that is branding (via marketing).

    Thats why some adverts actually say virtually nothing about the product, they simply reinforce the brand. Its also a sign of an unhealthy market in some respects, through psychologically complex marketing they build a value into the consumers mind over and above the utility from the product - this is the mark up from branding and is not, by any stretch of the imagination, either allocatively efficient or a sign of a "buyers market".

  27. Could i ask as well, out of genuine interest and not looking for a row, what your degree was in? We have discussed my trash degree so i feel at a small disadvantage.

  28. Good to see you Jay - I can get off on get on with the IB appeal secure in the knowledge that the twaddle won't go unchallenged.

    You hit it square on with your comment Montana stop confusing the issue with good sense and verifiable observation!

  29. Hia Deano, hope alls well mate. Saw your photo of Mungo sitting on top of some hay in a field, he's a fine looking beast, looked happy as larry in that picture.

  30. For those who haven't seen it: genius.

    Sorry couldn't get pic & quote, Montana - bit tricky at w*rk!

  31. Thaum, that is superb. God bless the internet, the scourge of useless writers the world over.

  32. Jay: My degree was in history. I have a masters in business studies. I also have a PGCE, but the less said about that the better (!)

    I agree with your point about price sensitivity and how some brands seek to elevate themselves above it, but you're making a different observation: Rolls Royce cars are less price sensitive than Ford Mondeos, but they still compete with other luxury brands.

    Deano: efficient markets do not assume perfect knowledge - for perfect knowledge would render markets meaningless, since there would be no uncertainty about the price of, say, oil in 10 years' time. Rather, markets assume knowledge is equally but only temporarily distributed and available.

  33. ...which therefore means there is scope for speculation on future trends.

  34. Peter,

    what period did you do your History degree on? Was it general or specialised in one particluar area?

  35. Hi Peter

    Competing with other brands isnt the sign of a buyers market though, it says nothing other than that the firm is not in a purely monopolistic industry. So for neither Ford nor RR does their advertising tell us that its an efficient market or a buyers market, but it is good evidence to the contrary.

    "efficient markets do not assume perfect knowledge"

    No, but truly efficient markets must have perfect knowledge as a necessity, in the same way that a perfect circle must have 360 degrees.

    These are all relative terms, but perfect knowledge is absolutely central to the perfect competition model which in turn has been central to economic discourse for donkeys years (despite there being no "perfect" market anywhere in the world).

    That the chasms between theory and practice have been so regularly ignored or trivialised is a major part of the problems the world faces these days. Take for instance comparative advantage, then look at our Northern industrial towns after Thatchers textbook purge. On paper, these people magically reskill and slide into those industries we enjoy comparative advantage in.

    In reality...

  36. Rolls Royce and Ford Mondeo are hardly a comparison though -- two totally different target consumers.

    But (and these are American brands, sorry) there really is no qualitative difference between Del Monte green beans and Allen's green beans. But Del Monte green beans cost 30¢ more than Allen's because they've spent a shedload on national advertising to convince people that Del Monte green beans are somehow better than Allen's. And far too many people will pay that 30¢ more because they're too stupid to think it through and remind themselves that a green bean is a green bean is a fucking green bean.

  37. TV advertising has long been known to be decreasing in effectiveness. At the McKinsey & Co. study shows this trend is increasing. Newspaper and radio advertising return on investment continues to decline rapidly.

    The original concept, to move punters along the line from Ignorance. to Need (Ignorance, awareness, interest, desire, need) has been superceded by 1) competition for Brand penetration and market share, and 2) Pester power and mostly by 3) the Marketing Industry, seeking to sell the Emperor's new clothes and line their own pockets. Look at how Compare the Market want to cut the Meercats, because despite being hugely 'sucessfull' adverts, they fail, in that they don't drive people to the website, cf Go Compare.

    >>Indeed, the mere fact of sophisticated marketing is a sure sign of an efficient buyers' market.

    As you say,

    >>From whence does garbage like this originate?

    Well, mine from a degree in Marketing and 20 years experience, Arec's from studying history, yours? It would seem from the top of your head, and despite multiple pwnings, an undented confidence that if you type it it must be true...

  38. PeterB - I believe you are mistaken on this.

    The demonstration that free markets produce the most efficient allocation of resources requires a model which in fact is mathematical in construction, it uses the calculus, but it is critically based on assumptions which are held to be true (other things being equal, ceteris paribus).

    Plainly if the assumptions are not true, or are not held constant as the variables within the calculus change, the conclusion cannot be held to be unequivocally or ineviatbley true.

    As our friend Jay says:

    "..but truly efficient markets must have perfect knowledge as a necessity, in the same way that a perfect circle must have 360 degrees...

    Looks at first sight a bit tautological but what he says is true, or it was so held when I did my degree in economics.

    A bit of a difficulty for the free marketeers who always like to forget the inconvenience of the reality of life and wicked intent when pronouncing on the the alleged virtues of the market or making excuses for it's failings.

    The political classes are not the sort to be held back by the inconvenience of the truth, but Arthur Seaton and I, and many other UT's all know that already.

    There really are a lot of guys around here who can help to make up for the shortcomings in your education - stick around and read this Ceteris Paribus according to Wiki.

  39. @Thauma:

    No worries -- actually I was a bit afraid that you'd be irritated with me for attaching a quote & picture from The Little Prince to a thread that has your name on it. Can't see you as a big fan of it, tbh.

    That link is too good.

  40. "Rolls Royce cars are less price sensitive than Ford Mondeos"

    Smokescreen - the relative price elasticity of the two is not in question.

    The objective of the Rolls Royce advertising is to delude twats into believing that the car competes with nothing else because it is by definition unique and exclusive.

    It does not seek to increase the number of units sold and promote economies of scale and bring down unit costs. That would defeat the exclusive unique branding.

    As so often is the case you are confusing apples and pears and failing to differentiate the two 'cos you think it advantageous to you to do so.

    I'm not convinced my block headed friend.

    Regards - I must fuck off and get on with the appeal.

  41. afternoon all

    Glad you enjoyed the meet up Peter - hope you got back to HGS in one piece (didn't scratch the Jag or anything like that)

    I know damn all about the advertising industry, other than it annoys the fuck out me and will move mountains to avoid it, which is becoming increasingly difficult these days.

    I think it was rapideddie who devised that charity page for the Harker person - a hoot! and I'll def. donate a few quid to Barnardos on the strength of it.

  42. What's a pwning, turminder?

    deano: efficient markets are not the same as perfectly efficient markets; the lack of perfection does not, in other words, make them inefficient.

    You may as well say that because a man is not a saint he can't be a good man.

    Duke: modern history, from around the turn of the 19th Century.

  43. "It does not seek to increase the number of units sold and promote economies of scale and bring down unit costs. That would defeat the exclusive unique branding."

    Absolute tosh, deano. By that reasoning it should seek the fewest sales possible.

    "Hit your target this month, Jason?"

    "Yes, sir; I've sold 50% fewer cars."

  44. Besides, if you read my post deano, I wasn't comparing RR with Ford; I was merely highlighting the fact that price points don't mitigate competition; they merely discriminate between would be competitors.

  45. Montana - you are right, I'm not a Little Prince fan, but it's a lot better having that up than nothing at all! It didn't occur to me to be irritated. Must try harder.

    The justgiving site was set up by Oroklini.

  46. Pwn, like when people provide refferences and evidence to counter your baseless assertions, and you can't respond, and slink off the threads for a couple of days. Like the OU. Your friend Brooklynowes will have a dossier of your pwnings no doubt. : )

  47. Sorry, my mistake thauma - I thought rapideddie posted it.

  48. turm

    In fairness turm, I don't think biteybrookly has any friends - but he will definitely have started a file on PB - he has them on anyone who says anything that resembles an opinion.

  49. Sheff - RapidEddie did post a link to it, but Oroklini started it!

  50. You know, it didn't surprise me that Peter was decent company IRL, just wonder why he's such a twunt online? Since his outburst at MW, and subsequent failure to appologise, his presence on a thread genuinely revolts me. I'm posting a lot less, and that's a big reason why. Shouldn't let it get to me I know.

  51. Just to stick my ore in on the advertising debate, my conclusion is that the more a product/service is advertised the worse the item. There are numerous examples: Tiscali (AKA Tiscrapi now (not!) sadly missed), Tesco (won't shop there on principle but also they have ripped me off in various ways), SKY HD (I don't subscribe but I believe the up-scaling is dire and is nothing like real HD - prove me wrong by all means), insurance companies (never ever have I managed to claim except for the most obvious cases where I was not at fault. When my aerial blew down I was told there is a £50 excess, when the garden fence blew down I was told it was not covered....and so it goes on. They wriggle out of all and any obligations.) BT, well I am with them now but they let your rolling BB contract carry on without telling you of better deals. I threatened to leave and got a discount, but what a plarver. All the TV ads for cars, I wonder what they are like in reality. My car is now 8 years old but I am not tempted I would rather have the 300 pounds per month to spend thanks.

  52. Damn!! ***oar*** (My only excuse is I used to live near Ore - Hastings where the pier caught fire today).

  53. Braken my dear sir, the problem is that you have a passion for bandying around words that often have technical and difficult to grasp meanings. You use them like the drunken statistician the lamp post - for support rather than illumination.

    The word efficient like like the word productive is a complex ratio concept that require a consideration of outputs relative to inputs. Strange as it may seem it is sometimes possible to improve productivity by reducing output.

    The trick is to get the reduction in input to fall by more than the reduction in output. I knows about these things because as well as being a dustbin man and an encyclopedia salesman in my younger life I was also a work study engineer in manufacturing.

    (I also know how bonuses beget 'deviant' behaviour because I used to design bonus schemes for working men. The first motivation for anyone on a bonus scheme is to work out how to fiddle it - I later used to teach people how to do just that too (I didn't have a PGCE though))

    Actually if you want a lesson in the technical efficiency of a market study the generation of electricity under the UK post war nationalised industry. The productivity of the CEGB in getting kilowatts of electricity from given therms in pieces of coal was staggering. A truly impressive record.

    The efficiency of the Drax et al stations in Yorks was an example of something special - it took a load of twats who believed in privatisation as political philosophy and the 'truth' produced by bent consultants and accountants to fuck it all up.

    Nationalisation does not inhibit economies of scale which can materially reduce costs - it can sensibly promote the reduction in costs by eliminating wasteful competition and cheaper electricity really requires no advertising at all.

    If I may say so your problem is you believed that the shits like Blair and the uber creep Mandelson actually knew what they were talking about. Problem was that the little shits got their PPE's all mixed up and their philosophy politics and economics was all a self serving jumble. They like you simply ignored the inconvenient as they went in for selective reading and politics by the Nelson's eye.

    Adam Smith saw that economics was best seen as a study of the political economy. He had more wit than to simply worship the market and spew the rhetoric of it's empty promise at every opportunity

    But you know all this because our friend, from the OU Jay, has already patiently and diligently explained it to you.

    Don't tell me I know that you have on occasion conceded that some regulation of some markets might be called for.....

  54. Thauma: The link is hilarious. Can someone please do something equally eevil on Glover so I feel vindicated in my ooutbursts at him which got me pre-modded again? LOL x


    You can always have a chat with me if you want ;)

    All this advertising talk is making my head spin a bit but I've always wondered why I've never seen an ad for an Aston Martin....or a Rolls Royce for that matter.

    I was pleasantly surprised in Paris on the Metro - the advertising on the trains themselves is minimal and in the stations - it seems to be largely for cultural events and for SNCF. I breathe a sigh of relief when a newly refurbed Tube station has yet to be plastered from floor to ceiling with ads - it's so much less stressful.

    Oxford Circus has to be one of the worst - adverts stuck all over the barriers and up the steps as you're leaving announcing McDonalds' prescence. Personally, I think it should be banned on the Underground altogether - I feel like I'm being shouted at.

  55. Cheers LaRit, always enjoy your posts and 'company' ; )

    When's your interview? Couple of books by Max Eggert, Perfect Interview and Perfect CV, were a great help to me, and the graun's interview tips ain't bad. I've applied for three jobs in the past two days, let's see if I get called in...

  56. Nothing wrong with advertising if you're happy to live in a capitalist world.

    La Rit you're in pre mod???? My advertising has failed.

    If anyone wants to direct anything to anyone on CiF, but doesn't want to get banned - I'll do it for you, free of charge.

    (no racism, sexism, or homophobia, terms and conditions apply, offer available until The Guardian finds a new editor.)

  57. Here's a burning issue:

    Why does the white of a boiled egg sometimes stick to the shell so you end up peeling half of it away with the shell?

  58. As with so many things in life, just to piss you off, Spike.

  59. I'm off out, deano, but just two quick points.


    "Nationalisation does not inhibit economies of scale which can materially reduce costs - it can sensibly promote the reduction in costs by eliminating wasteful competition and cheaper electricity really requires no advertising at all."

    It's a wank argument. Anyone who - as you seem to - waxes nostalgic about the halcyon days of nationalised industries has their head firmly up their ideological arse. You can cheery pick your examples all day long, but the fact is capitalist competition has delivered innovations, products and amenities that make states' efforts look positively stone age.

    And two, please give the laboured condescension a rest: I'm not a fuckin' schoolboy.

  60. >>I'm not a fuckin' schoolboy.

    You just think, write and act - online - like (a primary 6) one.

  61. La Rit - sorry to read of your employment horrors and the injustices therein.

    I'm way out of date with contemporary employment law but it used to be the case that you could go to an Industrial Tribunal and even the EAT (appeals) without fear of costs being awarded against you.

    You should always assume that lawyers are fucking liars and whores (who prostitute the language for a living )who will seek to intimidate you by threatening costs.

    (I always make an exception for BB who I consider to be decent and human despite the slagging she sometime gets from Bitey and Scherf - that said she is the only exception all the rest of her profession without exception are whores etc.....)

    I have had bitter experiences of employment disputes and lawyers.

    I'm the only ex public servant that I know, that was in an employment dispute which lasted ten years and had me blasted with the nuclear weapon of the lawyer (the Mareva injunction - a legal device which freezes you and takes control of your bank account and all assets (house included) and requires you to get permission from the High Court in London before you spend any of your own money on feeding your kids.) I thus hate the fucking evil immoral money grubbing bullying fuckers (BB excepted etc).....

    That litigation, which I was involved in as a litigant in person took a decade of my life took me to the edge of madness and involved costs of over £100k. Fortunately 'They' could only ever get a fraction of that awarded against me and in the event they never got a penny.

    I still hate the fuckers though and in another life I hope to come back and be employed as a lawyer scyther

  62. Gosh, I bet you UK residents are glad you've got your shiny, cheap, efficient privatised railways and not our Stone-Age French SNCF. :-)


    Just to piss me off personally? Doesn't it happen to anyone else? Now I'm getting paranoid...

    Right, he's going up aisle 4. Put all the eggs where we've superglued the membrane to the white on top of the stack!

  63. Hello world.


    'Why does the white of a boiled egg sometimes stick to the shell so you end up peeling half of it away with the shell?'

    Something to do with the (not so) freshness of the egg, I think.

  64. Well nobody else seems to have mentioned it, Spike.

    Maybe it's a bit like being gay before the 60's - everyone knows it happens, but collectively refuse to acknowledge it.

  65. @MsC

    Ah. I must check the dates of my eggs in future.


    Hmm. Do you have a thing about eggs?

  66. Enjoy your evening PeterB - you final comment was a bit rich coming as it does from the Master of patronising insults.

    I know you are not a schoolboy, but you are by your own words a failed teacher.(PGCE - Post Graduate Certificate in Education (currently unused)) and by your picture a portly opponent.

    Cheers our kid.

    I would like it if in my next but one life I were to come back as a trader scyther though.

  67. " but the fact is capitalist competition has delivered innovations, products and amenities....." ......like urgently nationalised banks and national bankruptcy.

    Braken economics are fucking surreal even if he is an ok guy.

  68. Braxonomics. You should write the book Deanno! Evenin Habib : )

    @ Spike, try boiling them in a larger pan, rolling boil, with a drop of lemon juice. is the sticking from them resting on the base of the pan?

  69. Spike, I don't mind eggs, just as long as they keep themselves to themselves.

  70. "Since when does an English art school student get to be knighted for inventing a vacuum cleaner? You do if your name is James Dyson and you invented the worlds' greatest vacuum, the Dyson. It's yellow (but also available in other colors) and is considered an excellent buy because it doesn't use bags, and is designed to last forever. Many may scoff at the idea of being made knight for designing the worlds' greatest vacuum cleaner. But the reality is that James Dyson worked relentlessly to actualize his vision; something that every true artist does almost reflexively.

    To quote Mr. Dyson's philosophy, "Each failure, the 5,126 failures taught me so much. Success teaches you nothing. Failures teach you everything. Making mistakes is the most important thing you can do.""

    Nah what naive simplistic tosh - it was red bloodied, full on, no holds capitalism that gave us the Dyson vacuum cleaner...

  71. @Spike:

    I don't know the whys/wherefores (probably something to do with the relative freshness of the egg), but I think that if you plunge them into cold water for a bit before you peel them, it's supposed to prevent that.

    General comment:

    Just read the Harker piece & most of the thread following it. Not quite sure how to react to the whole thing.

    I'm obviously not one of the "if you can't afford to care for them on your own, don't have them" brigade -- even the childless do benefit from other people having children and I think that it is an important investment for society to make sure that children grow up in an environment where their material needs are met. (Think of it this way: would you rather my son grow up to be the doctor who treats your Alzheimer's or the guy who mugs you at the bus stop?)

    Still, it is incredibly difficult, when you're raising your one child on less than £7000 pa, often struggling just to cover the essentials, to feel any sympathy whatsoever for the 'plight' of a man who earns more than £44,000 pa who is about to lose the £3840 pa subsidy his been getting for his brood.

  72. Turminder:

    What a nice thing to say - hey thanks ;) And thanks too for the tip re the interviewing/cv techniques Max Eggerts book - I'm going to get that out of the library - Brixton Library is tops and I've used it more than any Library in the past 20 years (apart from Barbican Music Library who I still owe £45 quid to and who refuse to have a fines amnesty)

    The interview/assessment went very well and had to do a training exercise today, tomorrow will be the clincher.... feeling good about it though and it's actually a 'proper' job for a reputable organisation - as opposed to the fiasco that was the Guide Dogs.....


    Hello ;) Yup, back on the bloody naughty step - so bloody tedious. I should have paid closer attention to your ads! Just when I think I'm safe to use the La Rit irony tactic, some fucker with a misguided sense of righteousness (in this case a trivial argument about political correctness) who's got an axe to grind, got me into pre-mod. The arsehole must have beeen pressing the 'Report' button like mad and writing scathing essays about my CiF Gross Misconduct.

  73. @habib



    I'll try that next time.


    Yeah, I always cover them with cold water immediately.

    Thanks to both of you.

    * * *

    Bit of ding-dong on Whaddya at the moment. :-)

  74. That's a tight budget Montana not surprised it's a struggle.

    Lot of ill considered nonsense and ranting on the Harker piece.

    It's a maths thing but if some couplings don't produce more than two kids the population eventually dies out.

    The childless and the angry might give some consideration to who will eventually be working to pay their pensions if some folk don't have more than one child (he says as a dad of three)

    Seem to recall that by the next millennium the last Japanese person on earth could be turning out the light as herm left.

    Like it or not there is something in the idea that the kids are all of our futures

    One of the more interesting questions is what happens in China as the one child policy slowly works it's way through their society.... ...who the fuck will they encourage in as immigrants to do the work....

    The Japanese already seem to be importing some Chinese folk to deal with their problems

  75. (apart from Barbican Music Library who I still owe £45 quid to and who refuse to have a fines amnesty)

    Pah! The Matilda J. Gibson Memorial Library doesn't piss around with trivial little fines -- they go straight to the letter from the County Attorney threatening to charge you with 5th degree theft if you don't return Karen Armstrong's Islam: A Short History within 10 days. Because there are obviously tons of people in Bumphuque, Iowa, lining up to check out a sympathetic history of Islam.

  76. Montana, although I sometimes go off on a rant about children I'm (mostly) only joking. I have no problem paying for other people's kids' education and health care. Also no problem paying child benefit for those who are not so well off.

    People on the higher tax rate who choose to have 5 kids, though ... not so much.

    More in a bit!

  77. Deano:

    Thanks you know ;) Thinking about it, I'd blanked it all out how horrendous it was at the time. Those desperate situations are like a cruelly extended labour/childbirth - you become incapable of rational thought and for a fighter like me, nothing worked, there was no bouncing 'baby' in the form of vindication for the wrongs done to me and no financial compensation for being thrown to lions and left wiothout a pot to piss in.

    The problem I had was that the lawyer who was helping me was a lovely person, giving her advice and help for free and she was, I think, genuinely worried about me being ripped to shreds by the NHS lawyers, no matter how good my case - she felt it was her duty to advise me to withdraw - which is fair enough - but in my heart, I didn't actually care and I was livid but not strong enough to take the risk and go it alone. Never again. I'd rather I went through with it on my own and risk owing thousands, than let those smug liars.

    My new policy these days is... "can't pay, won't pay" oh and fuck Barclays and all the other blood suckers... LOL.

  78. Spike:

    SNCF - bloody marvellous - Toulouse to Paris and Paris to Calais - standard class is the equivalent of British First Class on a decent INtercity train and I can only say one thing about the level of customer service from the lovely lady in the station at Parmiers who sold us our tickets - parfait!!

    Her spoken French was so clear and so concise and she was so good at her job - I understood everything and she made us feel like we were being treated like royalty ;) That's what you get when people are paid a good wage, take their jobs seriously and are treated with respect.

    Something we do not understand in this post-rail privatisation world in the UK. It's an outrage.

  79. Montana;

    The Matilda J. Gibson Memorial Library doesn't piss around with trivial little fines -- they go straight to the letter from the County Attorney threatening to charge you with 5th degree theft if you don't return Karen Armstrong's Islam: A Short History within 10 days. Because there are obviously tons of people in Bumphuque, Iowa, lining up to check out a sympathetic history of Islam

    That.... made me piss myself laufing ;) :)

  80. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/ben-chu-its-bankers-who-are-the-real-drain-2097685.html

    It's just a shame that the majority of people about to be or already being royally shafted aren't going to reading stuff like this.

  81. Hi Leni

    Have just picked up your post from yesterdays thread.

    The average salary in London is around £40k pa but it's a fairly meaningless average given the disparities in income levels.But as you've rightly identified getting on the housing ladder on £40k pa is near impossible given a one bed flat in the cheaper suburbs can cost £150k +.Social housing is hard to get unless you're a priority which leaves the private rented sector the only option for many people.And just renting a room in a flatshare/houseshare in a decent area can cost circa £100pw excluding bills.

    London has a real problem of child poverty especially in inner London.Economic activity rates of lone parents are less than 50% compared to a national average of 56%.Also there's a problem of couples with kids who are both unemployed or where only one or both parents are working n low paid jobs and rely on benefit top ups.Excluding HB and CB many of those who are unemployed in London are existing on less than £5k a year.One can only assume that those who are able are doing cash in hand jobs to surive.God knows how those who are full time carers or sick manage to cope.

    The ConDems are looking to cap benefits at a maximum of £26K pa(including HB).This is going to drive out low income families from Central and Inner London who may well not even be able to rent a property in the cheaper suburbs.So where will they go?And will they be forced to live in communities already blighted by social deprivation.? And will their arrival increase social tension in these communities?

  82. Deano

    The childless and the angry might give some consideration to who will eventually be working to pay their pensions if some folk don't have more than one child (he says as a dad of three)

    Seem to recall that by the next millennium the last Japanese person on earth could be turning out the light as herm left.


    One of the more interesting questions is what happens in China as the one child policy slowly works it's way through their society.... ...who the fuck will they encourage in as immigrants to do the work....

    Deano, can't agree with you here. The planet's population is out of control and will only lead to famine and resource wars. Keeping families small should only be encouraged.

    As for importing immigrants to do work, we currently have millions of unemployed people who could be working if we didn't have more people than jobs.

    The "funding pensions" argument is a massive Ponzi scheme that can only end in tears.

    So: create jobs, train people to do them and encourage everyone to keep reproduction below replacement level. That's my solution for a happy planet.

  83. Hi Paul

    The average salary in London is around £40k pa

    I find that astonishing. What's the mean salary?

  84. "What's the mean salary?"
    Having to collect it there?

  85. Habib - that's beyond mean, that's outright torture.

    But there must be quite a few seriously rich bastards skewing the average.

  86. OK, found it for 2009.

    The results of the 2009 ASHE show that median weekly pay for full-time employees in the UK grew by 2.0 per cent in the year to April 2009 to reach £489. Median earnings of full-time male employees were £531 per week in April 2009; for women the median was £426.

    So £489 * 52 weeks = £25,428. And that's just for full-time workers, assuming they get paid for all 52 weeks of the year.

  87. Oh. Should read further to find that stats I'm actually looking for:

    Median full-time weekly earnings in London were £627, significantly higher than in other regions, where they ranged from £436 in the North East to £514 in the South East.

    So £627 * 52 = £32,604. Again only for full-time employees assuming 52 weeks of pay.

  88. Ha ha ha, I love southerners, they're so quaint.

  89. chekhov

    Enjoyed that piece from the Indy.

  90. Offence, Habib? I ain't no suvverner!

  91. LaRit + Paul

    Thanks for replies.

    I was looking at hose prices (buy or rent) across country.

    One site claims Mountain Ash in S wales as the cheapest with Middlesbrough close by. Lack of jobs main reason. This is , of course, self evident.

    Pay differentials for those in work are quite considerable. Makes it very difficult to actually work out living costs against income.

    Benefits are paid at standard rate - apart from HB which considers rental costs. (There has been some talk of different benefit levels for London - just talk so far).

    What is lacking in this debate is any clear stats about actual need. All discussion is around cuts and where they will fall.

    If the average wage in London is around k40 then the situation is very different to Wales or northern cities. k40 here would make families very rich - housing costs are much lower - though some food costs are higher cos of transport costs.

    The picture is very confused - particularly when you factor in the level of service provision and transport costs.

  92. "GiyusandTrolls4300

    5 October 2010 9:17PM

    'Mutton in Europe mentioned Giyus and Trolls'"

    Hello MF. Not enough room on Planet Fuck?

    I dont know why this is funny, but this cracked me up something shocking, stomach pain and all sorts, its genuinely taken me a few minutes to compose myself.

  93. Paul

    should have said I realise 'average' is meaningless - particularly in areas such as London with many high earners.

    It would be more of an indicator here as we have few very high earners.

  94. This is worth a look.

  95. Hello Leni, don't what the going rate is for buying a hose but you can hire one around here for about £5 a day from HSS;-)

  96. Thauma, perhaps in capitalist models, the modal average gets ignored in preference for the mean.

  97. Thauma

    just seen your posts.

    the figures you give make sense to me.

    looking at local community economies when you factor in unemployment rates you start to get a clearer picture of the amount of money going round - maintaining shops and other small local businesses. Deprived areas with high unemployment are going to plummet even further.

  98. Leni/Thauma

    In my experience, if the 'mean' wage in London is calculated at circa £25,000 now - then I suspect, this is only including those in long term, permanent, full-time/or well paid part time work.

    Neither I, nor Mr LaRit have worked consistently in the 13 years we've been together and our combined rates of pay have fluctuated wildly. I've not worked out my average wage over the last 20 years, but suspect it would even out at around 14,000 (or less) per year. Between us, with no proper scientific analysis, we reckon we've scraped a maximum of £30,000 per annum in the good years and considerably less in the bad.

  99. I'm not arguing for unbridled population growth thauma and agree the world would have more secure future with an overall population decrease.

    It's the who where and when that poses the problems.

    I'm happy that in having three kids, as did one of my sisters, we only evened out the other sister and brother who both had only one child....and also made a contribution to produce future taxpayers to help those who decided to have non when they aged......;-)

  100. ALL PROPERTIES: Click headings to re-order table AREA AV PRICE QUARTER ANNUAL SALES
    Greater London £406,608
    South East £271,966
    South West £227,866
    East Anglia £203,115
    West Midlands £174,932
    Northern Ireland £169,497
    East Midlands £160,069
    Yorks & Humber £157,959
    North West £153,126
    Wales £151,642
    Scotland £147,854
    North £143,381


    these figures are from Jan 2010.

    Again they are distorted by the number of very expensive houses.

    Small terraced houses in some former mining villages cost less then k40 - but there are no jobs and none in sight.

  101. Brusselswatch - despite the pressures of her high-powered sinenis-related Eurojob la belle dame d'hypocrisie racked up an impressive 34 posts today. She also claimed (apparently without any sense of irony or self-awareness) that work-wise it had

    Been a busy day.

  102. LaRit

    with so many agency workers and other short term contract employment I suspect your situation is fairly typical.

    I suspect that many childless people are among the 'hidden poor' who get no help and no mention at all.

  103. Just a quickie before bed.... (post, that is)

    Leni/LaRit - exactly, the figures I found are for those in full-time employment. Which leaves the unemployed / part-timers completely out of the equation. No idea whether it counts full-time employment for part of the year, ie someone who might have lost their job at some point. So the actual median income is obviously much lower.

    Deano - wasn't trying to have a go at you; obviously some couples having 3 kids is going to balance those who have none or one.

    But I think a one-child *goal* (not enforced!) is worthwhile for full employment and to alleviate resource depletion, housing shortages, environmental destruction, etc.

    But that's just my silly ideological side talking.

    NN all. xx

  104. Hello MsChin: well at least you bloody read it!
    I send all sorts of stuff to my sisters and they don't even bother to respond unless it's along the lines of "do you spend all your time reading stuff like this? No wonder you are so depressed!"

    I don't deny there is an argument for those in the ignorance is bliss camp where "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds" but I'm afraid once the Rubicon has been crossed that Panglossian nonsense doesn't cut the mustard anymore.

  105. cekhov

    just read the Indy article - all too true but it is convenient to ignore these simple truths.

    People don't want to understand what is going on - we no longer think in terms of society or connectedness. The links between the doings in the city and the banks have a direct bearing on institutionalised poverty - I wish more ordinary people would look at this and start demanding change.

    So many seem to find it easier to blame the poor - not apparently realising they could soon be joining them.

  106. This comment has been removed by the author.

  107. That last was to Chekhov - sorry.

  108. @Thauma:

    No, I've never taken you for a child-hater. I think your attitude towards children is like mine towards bats. I know they're useful. Even kind of like them on one level. But I sure as hell don't want one in my house.


    The really irritating thing is that I'd been a member of their goddamn "Friends of the Library" for 3 years and had logged quite a few volunteer hours for them. They had my phone number and I'd known the assistant director since I was 12 years old. Would it have killed them to pick up the fucking phone?


    I don't think self-awareness is one of her stronger points.

  109. This comment has been removed by the author.

  110. Anon

    Regarding Sprouts it doesn't surprise me his/her posting rate is so high.And if you add the posts of his/her two sidekicks you're talking the equivalent of a cyber tsunami on cif.Tweedle Dee,Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber just about sums up that sad little trio.

  111. IMO any attempt to find an accurate mean salary level for London is highly problematic given the huge disparities in income levels,the distorting effects of volatile bonuses etc and the impossibilty of determining the impact of pay in the informal economy.The ONS from which you quoted from tends to underestimate pay levels in the same way it underestimates population levels.And as i said to Leni the figure that i quoted is also pretty meaningless.You've heard of the saying 'There's Statistics,Statistics and Lies' well i think there's a lot of truth in that.IMO it might be more accurate gauging average pay levels by job title but even that won't be 100% accurate.

  112. The above post was for Thauma