18 November 2010

18/11/10


If you drink, don't drive.  Don't even putt.
-Dean Martin

157 comments:

  1. London to Scotland by train, now yours for only £300: the efficiencies of privatisation.

    (or fly for £50)

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  2. Which poses an interesting conundrum Jay:

    When paying for their staff/interviewees to travel around the country, should environmental organisations minimise carbon footprint or cost (and spend the money on other ways of helping the environment)?

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  3. I do not seem to have time to properly catch up on the threads from the last couple of days or even the news.

    Are we at war?

    Has The Daily Mail found a cure for cancer, in all its forms?

    Are the Three Daves still running the show, sponsored and operated by Pepsi, NewsCorp and McDonald's?

    Have the clown and the babymaker got m@rried yet and produced more goggle-eyed, clumsy spongers, who will never know the meaning of work?

    Anyway, it has just dawned on me that people kept saying that students were completely apolitical these days, which you would probably expect, since they have to be taught what facts are before they are let loose on their courses.

    So, what made them demonstrate this time?

    Not something like apartheid, clearly.

    Oh, yes, of course!

    It was lovely money, wasn't it?

    So, shall we safely assume that nothing will happen about anything unless enough people suddenly find themselves at the cash machines of the banks which like to say "No!"?

    So, it looks like we are going to have to rely on a middle-class tantrum to save us.

    The poor, unsurprisingly enough, have always known what it is like to live without enough money.

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  4. Dotterel

    I think it was Sting's (snigger) wife - whose name escapes me at the moment, but it's something like Tallulah Styrofoam - who cracked this one.

    Put simply, if you are a famous environmental campaigner, it's OK to charter a jumbo-jet for just yourself and your hairstylist and publicist.

    Otherwise, it's get on your bike for the little people.

    I think it was RapidEddie who nailed her, along with her subtle Dayglo colours, to the mast of her own vast global ego-tripping at the time.

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  5. Five years ago, it cost me £17 to do London/Hull, then our local company was bought out by a much bigger one, with all the usual 'better value and services for the customer.....Synergy......*jazzhands*' fanfare, and......

    Bang, last week it cost me £73 for the same journey.

    Bravo!!

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  6. Moonwave - more excellent posts
    When they made education a business – that’s where it really started to go wrong
    Hell yes. The House of Dust, and all that.

    Good piece up from deb orr.

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  7. Atomboy - oh, I remember that thread. 'twas excellent. up there with beacampbellobe. and the one about the badgers.

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  8. Philippa

    How spooky I have just been reading that Bea Campbell article, I missed it first time around, it is bloody marvellous.

    'No, no, no, I love women not men' beyond parody.

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  9. the sheffield massive might want to stick a hand up on the John Harris thread.

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  10. jen - I think that was the site of my first modding!

    (after the bidisha confusion, that didn't count)

    it wasn't actually for being rude, it was for possible breach of copyright re: the estate of beatrix potter.

    and, possibly, for being a bit rude...

    great fun, that thread.

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  11. Did we ever find out who the intergalatic film star was?

    I like JohnYardDogs suggestion of Predator. ;)

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  12. jen - sadly no. although the reality couldn't possibly be as funny as some of the suggestions made, JYD's being one of my favourites as well.

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  13. From the DebOrr thread:

    EricOlthwaite
    18 November 2010 9:13AM

    Perhaps there could also be a graduate tax for employers who employ graduates. That might also discourage them from asking for a degree for jobs that don't need one.


    That is an excellent idea.

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  14. hevers - I promise you it was nothing personal.

    I don't actually think what you (appear to /may) think I think. I find your contributions interesting and stimulating and you, on my reading, appear a civilised and would be decent sort.

    I confess to a little mischief and idleness sometimes when I'm posting with the resulting ambiguity and potential nonsense in what I write.

    There are of course innumerable respectable and widely shared positions and views on the question/role of incentives in the modern world.

    I guess many of us would agree that the vast majority, if not all the currently popular positions on incentives, boil down to one or other variant on the "carrot or the stick" continuum

    I also think that many with a leftist leaning would probably agree that these days the practice/theory of incentives seems to be very much....... the already rich/would be rich have to be incentivised with lucre .......whilst the already poor/would be poor need a good thrashing with a stick.

    I do think that carrot and stick are really two sides of the same coin and neither are desirable in my would be Utopian/wildhackia world. Personally, I'm not convinced that incentives/disincentives are that effective in practice. I worry that they pander to the undesirable.

    Many of the great questions in life fall to be considered in simple broad brush categorisations (carrot/stick etc) and most admit noble exceptions.

    I first became interested in incentives as a youngster behind the 'bike shed" when my thoughts turned to what my childhood female companions could be persuaded to reveal for threepence. (Even though farthings were still in circulation in the early 1950's you didn't get to see much for less than threepence)

    I'd like to say ....as I matured my thinking turned to other things ......but sadly I never grew up .....and my thinking never quite turned away from the old problem of incentivising behaviour and performance.

    As a young man I became very interested in the perennial question - how do I motivate this adored young women to separate herself from her knickers.

    Let me be clear in my moral maze, carrots and sticks were out. I never ever paid a women for sex and I never raped one either.

    What the experience of life taught me was that the most honourable and surest way to the nethers of my adored objects d'art was to try to be amusing.(in my fantasy world I dreamed of coming across a first edition of sublime poetry and wooing endless lines of lady librarians.......but it wasn't to be)

    Not being a goodlooking or rich chap I found more success with women by trying to be funny - I was never that perfect at it, I collected a few slaps too, but making ladies laugh was the best recipe I could find.

    I accept that my 'eugenics. quip was indeed extreme - but truth is that when the stick fails to motivate that's were some with a propensity to the stick would go next. I would never suspect or suggest that you are in this part of the spectrumhevers

    Sadly financial incentives are still seen as important by many. I think it unlikely that they really motivate the already rich at all (power lust etc may be what is at work) and and thus probably financial incentives operate mostly only on the would be rich (potentially greedy)- but these kinda folk in my book are not to be encouraged at all.

    Hopefully I'll get back to you when your next around.

    Regards.

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  15. ps - if your like me, not that good at being funny, can I say that a suggestion of a game of 'doctors and nurses' sometimes works if all else fails....

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  16. Deano said:

    "Sadly financial incentives are still seen as important by many. I think it unlikely that they really motivate the already rich at all (power lust etc may be what is at work) and and thus probably financial incentives operate mostly only on the would be rich (potentially greedy)- but these kinda folk in my book are not to be encouraged at all."


    I can back you up on this. As it's coming towards year end, all the directors in my company are thinking of their bonuses, which are based on meeting certain profitability markers. I report the numbers and have been put under a lot of pressure by some to reallocate costs away from their particular sector, so as to make the figures for their sector look "better." Has been very tiring being used as a ping pong ball between directors and standing up for honesty.

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  17. On Next12:00-12:57 BBC RADIO4
    You and Yours
    A housing officer reveals why tackling benefit fraud is just not that easy

    Sipech nice to see you, frog2

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  18. bitey-phimai's up to his old tricks on Whaddya. That didn't take long.

    @Phimai

    But it's fairly standard where BTTP is concerned and probably acquired from someone he has expressed his admiration for, Yuri Andropov. who he says he would like to have seen as Soviet President.

    Oh, bitey, bitey, bitey, you never change do you? Would you care to quote the entire post where I "expressed my admiration" in full, instead of drawing your warped, twisted conclusions?

    I'm afraid I'm so rubbish at stalking that I'm not sure how to trawl my entire posting history for the word "Andropov", but I'm sure you can tell me where it is. After all, you must have spent hours looking through my posts to choose something you felt you could twist.

    I think you'll find what I actually said is that it was a pity Andropov died so soon, since he represented the last hope of effectively reforming the USSR on socialist lines. I suppose the Wiki entry on his time as Soviet leader is as good a place as any to start to see why.

    And why on earth would I have wanted to see him Soviet President? He was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the most powerful position in the USSR.

    Really, bitey, for someone who spends his life poring over other people's back posts to stalk them, you really haven't learnt very much, have you?

    So shall I use your "logic" and conclude that since you're so happy Andropov died, you must have been in favour of his successor, Chernenko, in other words the rule of the CPSU conservatives under a dummy leader? I didn't realise you admired Brezhnev's people so much, bitethehand.

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  19. Anyone up for a bit of mod-baiting? T0ny B1air's just published an article on Cif Belief...

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  20. Here is the link for the piece Sipech mentions above.

    I cannot be bothered to sign up for CiF again, since it is better to just watch it eat itself, so I will not be commenting there.

    Woohoo!

    Tony Blair for President of the World!

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  21. He has to be deranged or he'd be an atheist out of simple fear. How can he think that if all the Catholic mumbo-jumbo were really true, he'd be going anywhere except straight to hell, directly to hell, do not pass purgatory, do not collect 200 indulgences?

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  22. Turminderxuss

    Good luck and best wishes for tomorrow.

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  23. Best wishes from here too, Turminder. Fingers crossed etc.

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  24. turminder,

    the very best of luck, I have a feeling in my water the job is yours.

    Just looking through the Orr tuition fee thread. The country's fucked isn't it? The blind refusal to countenance that investing in the young of the country now could pay dividends in the future.

    I posted a couple of links explaining the enormous benefits to a society that invests in University education regardless of degree but it's ignored as the loons bang on about "soft" degrees blah, blah, blah...why should I pay an extra few quid per year....blah blah blah....

    They have no idea that a more educated population leads to less impact on health services, higher tax brackets, less impact on policing and social services, healthier lifestyles etc etc.

    So all the while they complain about working class scum/chavs etc etc, they would no more pay a few more quid to give people life chances.

    What kind of society is the UK that would deny somebody a University education just because they cannot afford fees? A gifted, talented individual that would be denied their full potential (and the enormous benefits that brings to society where the benefits far outweigh the costs) because they cannot afford it.

    That's one boat that left me on the shore.

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  25. I see Cif's 'Don't Miss..' feature managed to elevate a sock-puppet troll comment (profile now deleted) to #2.

    link

    The comment is so obviously a piss-take that it really makes you wonder what sort of numpties actually work for Cif (although it did get 60 recommends, which also says something about Cif readers).

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  26. Wybourne and anon

    I think you will find that CiF has basically become Argument Central.

    People seem to think that the function of commenting is either to leave a little cryptic (or vacuous) one-liner or to pick fights, which is probably due to the fact the drifting and tangential discussions - which used to make it work so well - are now kicked back into line.

    It probably also has a lot to do with people thinking they are creating an international brand of themselves when they post, coupled with the avatars and the recommend/delete/ban button, along with the funny blue "C" being dangled in front of the credulous.

    Even many of the frothers are probably reasonably OK in real life and capable of listening to various opinions.

    CiF is an artificial world, an arena in which people are shaken and prodded like insects trapped by a child in a jar.

    They have to perform. They have to be spotted. They have to comply with the image of themselves they have concocted in their heads and are now hell-bent on displaying on - as many keep saying ad nauseam - the best international forum on the internet.

    It's all a complete joke.

    Occasionally, it is even funny.

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  27. Re the Dean Martin quote at the top of the thread, I once received my tax demand in France in an envelope carrying the message:

    Drink or drive: you have to choose

    Back then when I was poorer, I looked at the amount of the tax demand - a month's wages - and thought, "I probably can't do either".

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  28. @Atom

    As any of us know who've mailed the mods, "off-topic" is simply a way of deleting stuff they don't want on but can't admit why.

    I can imagine nothing worse than a strictly on-topic thread. As you say, one of the most appealing things on any thread is the weird and interesting directions the discussion veers off in. Well, for me, anyway.

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  29. Sipech

    "Has been very tiring being used as a ping pong ball between directors and standing up for honesty."

    I've been in that situation before. It's a fair bit of power - use it for good things. I sacrificed integrity to help a director who was more concerned about her department than herself.

    Not the right thing to do, but I lost no sleep.

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  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. Spike

    As you say, one of the most appealing things on any thread is the weird and interesting directions the discussion veers off in. Well, for me, anyway.

    Once you prevent this, of course, you tend to foster and promote the adversarial and antagonistic, the aggressive and blinkered approach which no doubt suits CiF's plans.

    Put dogs or cocks together with enough space and they will probably leave each other alone. Push the face of one into the other's and arm them with spikes and blades and it's a whole new ball-game.

    It is the essential artificiality of CiF which is making it so ridiculous.

    You get the predicted parade of posturing from the usual suspects, like cartoon characters running through their repertoire in an endless, stultifying loop.

    It's like being trapped in a constant re-run of a Teletubbies episode, stuck in the bit where they just repeat what you saw two minutes ago.

    The main thing with CiF is how jaw-dislocatingly yawningly boring it is, not just occasionally, but as a matter of course.

    Still, no doubt the wonderful new editor will fix all that, eh?

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  32. Spike,
    "As any of us know who've mailed the mods, "off-topic" is simply a way of deleting stuff they don't want on but can't admit why."

    To illustrate your point, I got modded for posting on a thread entitled "Should we mourn the decline of British libertarian blogs?"

    In less than twenty words, I said no, because they were ego driven rather than ever making a point, citing examples of one poster who had talked about himself ten times in an hour.

    Response:

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  33. "Hi Habib,

    Thanks for getting in touch.

    I've had a look and your comment was removed because it was a) off-topic and b) could be seen as personal abuse aimed at another Cif user. This goes against the participation guidelines for the Guardian site, which can be seen here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/community-standards

    Kind Regards,
    Cif Moderation Team"

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  34. G M G I S W A N K

    7 letter word this time!

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  35. heyhabib

    I would imagine getting a response of any kind puts you in a group which probably contains about 0.1% of CiF users.

    Privileged and blessed, indeed.

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  36. @deano

    The thing about subjecting a noob to "mischief" is it can kinda oblige them to respond in kind and if they have to deal with that repetitively early on it can look like that is pretty much all there is to them and they are associated with "trouble".

    Of course, if sometimes someone gets the wrong end of the stick, they may claim it was an attempt at mischief to save face.

    And I'm not sure it's all that useful to have noobs keep defending things they didn't say.

    Still, whatever floats your boat, and when in Rome and all that... I wasn't offended, I found it funny and had some fun with it myself. I think the barricades thing was my favourite.

    Regarding incentives, you're kicking at an open door since I have already said that yes, financial incentives do not always work, and can even be counter-productive. But other incentives may work better, of course.

    I do agree that the way incentives are misused in practice can lead to differences in the way deployed regarding the rich and the poor, but again, this is an argument for better use of incentives, not against incentives per se.

    Do not agree that with incentives must come sticks. That's an example of trying to connect something with something dodgy. As with eugenics.

    Obviously, in practice, some may choose both. In education, it's now commonly regarded as desirable to favour reward over sanction.

    Financial incentives may not work as well with the rich, but then, this distracts from the fact that they may work with the less rich. And the rich curiously and frequently seem rather keen to acquire more.

    So, the case for incentives, provided used properly remains. The existence of sanctions, your sense of humour with women, the possibility the rich may be less motivated by further cash, none of this challenges the idea that financial incentives may work with those less-flush.

    Anyway, for a fun take on motivation, including some of the counter-intuitive aspects (and ways financial incentives don't work), take a gander at this rather good RSA animation.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

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  37. Thanx for the wishes guys!

    @Nap. Good luck! Just remember;

    Shit <>Shinola
    Don't trust Whitey
    See a doctor and get rid of it.

    n dont take any wooden Roubles. ; )

    Can't mind who bought a car from Carol Christmas. I started playing D&D with.. Kris Carrol!

    Re: Wills and Katie, captions for commemorative T-shirt

    4th generation immigrant welfare dependence

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  38. Cif's rapidly sliding downwards in my google chrome-most-visited-flashy-box whatsit.

    When it does finally plunge off the end, it'll almost certainly be with a resounding 'Meh!!

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  39. "...Not the right thing to do, but I lost no sleep..."

    Sounds OK to me. Sweet dreams,habib

    sipech - seems to be a fairly common experience for basically honest folk trying to to do a a decent job and maintain their personal integrity.

    AS I said last night most of my experience has been that 'incentives' mostly incentivize deviant behaviour. More energy is expended in trying to fiddle the system than in reach the alleged objectives/goals of it.

    But as Duke in his fine UT2 piece ( a few months back) on Adam Smith noted - what's new? We knew of the possibility/inevitability of deviant economic behaviour in the eighteenth century

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  40. @Atom & Habib

    One case was when I had virtually all my posts deleted, one by one, on an I/P thread (as usually happens these days). This particular one was about further measures to annex East Jerusalem.

    In my first post, I'd pointed out that by this kind of action, Israel was accumulating huge amounts of hatred and resentment for itself and if it should lose its military might and protection one day, another diaspora would probably result and it would only have itself to blame.

    "Off-topic", apparently.

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  41. Atomboy,
    "Privileged and blessed, indeed."
    Aye, reckon so, I still can't believe they didn't at least put me in premod for the monkeyfish comment. Maybe Hank was right, after all; I do just fill a quota.

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  42. @deano

    The problem of incentives is usually associated with poor understanding of systems.

    When a system is simple, then it's easy to make an incentive work. Cut the price of something, and you may well see sales go up (though not always, if price is perceived as linked to quality, usually when people don't know much about the goods in question).

    But with complex systems, like education, incentives and targets can have strange knock-on effects and can be counter-productive.

    The problem, is that frequently the people designing the incentives and targets are not necessarily good with systems.

    Or sometimes, they find a way to game the system, because it becomes so complicated few understand it. E.g. banking.

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  43. Thauma,
    "MASKING"
    Then I'm Dancin'

    Spike, PetraMB complained and got several of my posts removed for that exact same point! I gave up on IP about a year ago, after that.

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  44. Habib

    Maybe Hank was right, after all; I do just fill a quota.

    You're joking right?

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  45. Habib, I think the mods had carpal tunnel by then.

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  46. Far from it Paul.. I had a friend who went for an Interview at a bar where she knew she'd be expected to wear a short skirt, and flirt with the punters. That was ok with her, btw, it was an upmarket wine bar not a stripclub.

    So the interview goes well and she's about to leave when the manageress says, "I think you'll fit in well, we don't have your type in the team yet" My pal is Chinese, she said she had a Stepford wives moment, looking round the bar the waitresses were white, blonde, white brunette, asian, and black. She realised she would just be 'completing the set'. She turned the job down. Why GMG any different?

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  47. Fuck me....me post went walkies ...?

    Got to go - I'll be back on the issue of unintended consequences etc later

    No initiation ceremonies on UT (shudder the thought) more the consequences of slack writing on my part and near terminal cynicism.

    I'd love to believe that we shall see needed change by debate and discussion but sadly after more than half a lifetime engaging in political debate ....................I think it's the barricades for me.............but then I'm not much of a shot

    laters

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  48. "...The problem of incentives is usually associated with poor understanding of systems...."

    I tend to the view that the problem is they have inbuilt assumptions about natural behaviour (often predicated on the assumption that humans are idle and or naturally greedy) that even if true would be better discouraged than encouraged.

    When looking around IRL we do see that many fine people are simply not like that all - other more complex and desirable forces are possibly at work

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  49. I summoned the head of the fruit and veg section of my local Auchan hypermarket the other day and had a good go at his employers.

    A sign said:

    Avocados - Origin South Africa or Israel

    WTF? What next? Tomatoes - Origin Netherlands or Burma? Potatoes - Origin New Zealand or North Korea?

    They're supposed to give the country of origin, not play fucking guessing games.

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  50. @Deano

    The problem with the barricades thing is that in the ensuing tumult and power vacuum things may not necessarily wind up better off. They might be worse.

    I agree that it is facile to simply consider all humans as idle and greedy. I have already made that point, in considering the intrinsically-extrinsically motivated spectrum, and the altruism/sociopathy spectrum.

    And if incentives do not reflect the reality of this, then they are liable to be suboptimal.

    But that doesn't mean you cannot have more enlightened financial incentives, or indeed, other incentives for the more intrinsically motivated. And some situations can lend themselves to more intrinsic motivation, as shown in the animation. But some things are not so easily motivated in other ways.

    Incidentally, as an aside, when it comes to trusting the selflessness of people in society, and the issue of sanctions as opposed to incentives...

    It was a nice, selfless thing to do, to not drink and drive, but people still did it often, until sanctions, of course.

    I give examples where incentives are more liable to work - cutting prices, getting more heart specialists etc., and you haven't really dealt with them.

    In other words Deano, you could invest a lot of time in suggesting examples of incentives poorly conceived or applied. Just as we could consider many poor uses of knives.

    But this does not mean one cannot use incentives, or knives, better.

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  51. Afternoon all

    All digits crossed for you Turm!

    Interesting article in G2 about a poet with MS

    Colette Waller


    The sun
    The other day I woke and said to Paul
    Oh, look at the sun
    And he said to me
    Collette
    That sun's the street lamp

    My quiet Niagara
    I've cried more in the past year
    Than any time in my life.
    Alone. Alone.

    My quiet Niagara
    I can't stop my silent tears

    My quiet Niagara, my silent tears

    Because I do not want to be a burden
    to anyone
    A lump, a lump.

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  52. Paul, "You're joking right?"
    You know me well enough, so you decide.

    Turminder, aye not worth working for idiots in any capacity.

    Thauma, I've heard some excuses for the moderators but carpal tunnel is by far and away the best. And funniest :-)

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  53. Spike

    WTF? What next? Tomatoes - Origin Netherlands or Burma? Potatoes - Origin New Zealand or North Korea?

    I think you will find that most supermarkets are neither hugely concerned nor inquisitive when it comes to the origin of their goods.

    Certainly, with regard to food, if you saw the labels on the pallets in the warehouse out the back, they would probably say something like: "Stated country of origin - Morocco. Probably - Israel, imported from China" or other such guff.

    The number of people who would make moral choices on the basis of supplier countries is small, so why would supermarkets expend any energy on it?

    Further, supermarkets - or any other business - do not want you to make moral choices at any point in the chain from factory or field to shop and trolley and, ultimately, larder, fridge and cupboard; gob, shitter and sewer.

    The less you allow thinking to intrude into the lovely process of buying wonderful things, the easier it is for everyone.

    After all, if you started to think that your trolley full of muck and tat and stuff was the output of some slave operation in lands far, far away, you might start wondering whether the world is quite the way it is portrayed on television or in the output of Hollywood or The Guardian.

    "Would you like any cashback? Vouchers for school computers? OK, thanks very much. Bye!"

    (Now fuck off. Just remember to come back here once you've worked your way through that little lot).

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  54. "....I give examples where incentives are more liable to work - cutting prices, getting more heart specialists etc., and you haven't really dealt with them......"

    As you seemed to be saying the effect of cutting prices depends entirely on the relevant market conditions type of product etc ( I seem to recall the technical phrase for this was price elasticity) thus for me it did not seem a particularly relevant example. I didn't wish to be rude to a noob/would be friend and say load of bollocks

    I think the issue with getting more heart surgeons is more about dismantling restrictive practices and increasing limited training opportunities than incentives in the system. Essentially a problem on the supply side rather than a lack of would be surgeons to be corrected by throwing more cash at in incentives.

    Sure if you want to reduce it all to mathematical curves and then apply differential calculus to look at and measure the shape/steepness of the presumed incentive curve ....well what can I say .....that could be taken as a proxy of the effectiveness of the the potential incentive effect. Leaves me cold and unconvinced.

    What I am saying is not that you cant get folk to jump through hoops by offering liquorice - problem is what they tend to become after they jumped through a few.

    I remain more interested in the damage to society and individual dignity that is caused by misguided financial incentive schemes.

    I stand by my simplistic view that they have a greater propensity to promote cheating and other unhealthy patterns of behaviour more than they produce good and desirable outcomes. But I can't prove it.

    We can happily agree to disagree and I'm happy to do so. I have the suspicion that incentives actually take us all closer to the barricades but it's just a hunch, not a scientific theory.

    I travel in hope that one day incentives will if they are used at all will be used better- but I doubt it.

    Problem is I think that it is intelligent predictable behaviour for humans to try to rid themselves of the constraints and controlling effect of incentives. That's one of the reasons they invite fiddling.

    They start from a poor picture of mankind and then go rapidly downhill from there. I'm not a fan.

    But knives ..........as instruments of castration .... now there's a topic quite near to my heart.

    I might argue that incentives stifle initiative and suppress progress as much as they promote or release it

    regards

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  55. ".......
    Because I do not want to be a burden
    to anyone
    A lump, a lump...


    I jump. I jump.


    Nice one sheff - poems to commit suicide to

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  56. Quantative Easing Explained for those, like me, with nursery standards of economic understanding

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  57. Oh that was lovely Sheff - thanks for that.

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  58. So fucking good I had to watch it twice

    Absolutely class.

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  59. Thanks Sheff that is brilliant, call me shallow but I now want everything explained to me by cartoon animals.

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  60. Inressting thaum

    "....Vine's report says the UKBA's civil penalties compliance team have been "too accommodating" towards attempts by employers to reduce penalties, and goes as far as to imply that their approach was so lenient that it actively encouraged them.

    As one member of the team quoted in the report put it: "We seem to have adopted the 'customer is always right' approach when dealing with objections and appeals, because we accept everything at face value."


    Funny how the DWP don't see Incapacity Benefit/ESA claimants as customers any more.......

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  61. "".. call me shallow but I now want everything explained to me by cartoon animals..."

    Jen - I think that national understanding of economic affairs would leap forward if they ended the evening news with a showing of that strip.

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  62. Afternoon all

    Latest unemployment figures show a small drop but this is almost certainly the calm before the storm.Plus more people than ever are now working part time because they can't get full time jobs.

    The BBC published this map of claimant count unemployment in the UK.Simply move your mouse around and it will show you the claimant count unemployment level for each area.

    The true level of unemployment is however much higher than the claimant count suggests.Up to 3.5 times higher in some of the most deprived areas.The map also doesn't highlight the relatively high levels of unemployment in some ethnic minority communities as well as the differentials based on age,gender,qualificatiions etc.Plus the fact that increassing numbers of people of retirement age are working because of poor pension provision.

    The map however does give an indication of the wide and growing divisions that exist in this country.And as a rule of thumb those places with the highest claimant counts in unemployment will also have the highest levels of hidden unemployment.And it is these places that will bear the brunt of the ConDem Welfare Reforms.

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  63. Blimey Paul I had no idea Birmingham was in such a bad way, I dread to think what that map will look like in a years time.

    ReplyDelete
  64. hevers - you can't make it up......

    "....There are no precise figures on the levels of discards because they usually go unrecorded by fishermen, but it is generally accepted among experts that about a quarter of the tonnage taken in the North Sea is thrown back.

    Incentives for fishermen are likely to become a common means of getting them to cut discard rates. In Denmark some fishermen have been given 30 per cent bigger quotas for demonstrating that their bycatch and discard rates have been slashed...."


    [from todays Indie]

    We don't know what the rate/volume of disacrd is ......but let us not confuse ourselves with sense or facts .....we'll have an incentive scheme to cut it anyway. Thus if we now throw more away today we'll get to show more savings tommorrow.....

    An incentive to cook the books as much as preserve the fish stocks? I'd like to see the system details and fine print.....

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  65. Thauma

    I saw that piece this morning and forwarded it on to a biggish cheese in the Gangmasters Licensing Authority in the hope that they'd jump up and down about it. We'll see.

    ReplyDelete
  66. @deano

    Yes, market conditions etc. may have an impact (I gave an example of an exception myself) but can you really deny that cutting prices can serve as an incentive?

    Yes, there may be supply bottlenecks etc. with heart surgeons. But it may also be that people are choosing other careers. In that situation, incentives can help. Similarly, when they need more maths teachers, it's not really a supply side issue, but one of incentives to attract them.

    I wasn't trying to reduce it to curves and calculus. I am just pointing out that cutting prices/offering financial inducements has its effect. Can you really deny this?

    OK, on the point of damage to society of incentives. If people were already sufficiently intrinsically/altruistically motivated to begin with, financial incentives wouldn't have been attractive. To some. Obviously, some are motivated to discount money in such decisions. Sadly not by any means all.

    You do not need to prove to me that incentives may promote cheating etc.... I am already happy to accept that fact, where they are poorly chosen/implemented.

    The question is whether that is always the case, that is what needs proving.

    I think you may be right that part of the reason people fiddle stuff may be to escape constraints. But it can also be because it is easier than doing things properly.

    That is the point about Moonwave's example. Instead of teaching better, teachers may help do the work, and dumb down the work.

    If it were not possible to do this, as used to be the case before coursework etc., teachers would have to consider teaching better instead. There are hence issues with the system. (Though of course it may be politically expedient for results to rise regardless, so from a politician's point of view, the targets are working just fine).

    The real problem, is that a target is unlikely to help in this circumstance, because teaching better is often hard. Hard to the extent teachers would rather do the work for them.

    Incentives invite fiddling, when it is easier to fiddle than to meet the target in the way intended. That's a bad target, or bad system.

    I understand that you may consider incentives as starting from a poor picture of mankind and moving downwards, but the reality is that there are sociopathic people in society (and there is no proper remedy for this), and some less disposed to intrinsic motivation than others.

    Hence the drink-driving example. I think we kinda have to start from a position of how things are, with people.

    I think incentives may indeed stifle, the way they are used in practice. But again, it doesn't have to always be this way.

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  67. deano30 said...

    hevers - you can't make it up......

    "....There are no precise figures on the levels of discards because they usually go unrecorded by fishermen, but it is generally accepted among experts that about a quarter of the tonnage taken in the North Sea is thrown back.


    Deano, we're on the same page on this. I am well aware targets and incentives can be screwed up.

    So can surgery, but that doesn't mean it's automatically a bad thing.

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  68. @thurm

    Good luck, mate!

    @Atom

    Oh I have no illusions about retailing chains. But the thing is, here in France, I believe they're legally obliged to show the country of origin (otherwise they wouldn't bother) and giving you a choice of two isn't exactly doing it.

    @Sheff

    Excellent vid. I've sent it round.

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  69. hevers Points taken - since it's more than 15 years since I worked, you may be far more in tune with contemporary practice than a tramp in a field in East Yorkshire.

    I do know that I 'sense' a steadily rising tide of frustration and disatisfaction amongst would be decent public servants who increasingly find themselves shackled and even bullied by the target/bonus culture.

    It is true that it might be possible to better design the 'straight jacket' but it will still be a straight jacket.

    What I used to argue, when active in the labour movement, is that incentive schemes were in truth as much about the control of workers as they were about rewarding them. Many a skilled man had his work secrets stolen and his work deskilled by incentive scheme merchants.

    I'm not a fan but each to their own - I enjoyed our banter on the subject. We share some important common ground and differ at the margins.....................or is that differ at the core.

    cooking calls.

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  70. You will I guess know the yarn of Stalin and the tractors and the Kulaks....?

    Talking of sociopaths ...another favourite rant is the under diagnosis of sociopaths amongst contemporary senior managers and politicians.

    I might be persuaded to argue that incentive schemes, for the more affluent, tend only to reward/promote sociopathic tendencies.

    but I need to eat.

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  71. A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am".
    The woman below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."
    "You must be in IT", said the balloonist.
    "I am", replied the woman, "How did you know"?
    "Well", answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip."
    The woman below responded, "You must be in Management".
    "I am", replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

    "Well", said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my f****** fault."

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  72. ""....I give examples where incentives are more liable to work - cutting prices, getting more heart specialists etc., and you haven't really dealt with them......"

    This is back to classic S&D of labour - and the picture completely changes depending on the job. So unskilled labour - you can increase supply very easily (price ELASTIC) by increasing wages. Offer £100k for binmen, and you'll find plenty of binmen.

    But a job like astro-physicist is far more restricted by ability (inherent), time and money to train, etc - so if you doubled the wages of astrophysicists, you wouldnt get much change in the level of capabable astrophysicists coming through (price INELASTIC).

    Interesting QE vid, Sheff, if deflation and expanding the money supply were the real desires the governments currently cutting services would be better printing money for this purpose (the expansion of the MS is the same whoever "prints" the money, and whatever it gets spent on) - instead central banks are buying up bonds, mainly from banks, because banks still need more liquidity: all the money thrown at them has gone on shoring up the balance sheets (replacing the money they lost gambling) - so they dont have enough to lend/still need more for their balance sheets.

    So everyone's money is deflated to hand billions more over to them.

    But QE, in the grand scheme, shouldnt be too alarming, a far worse crime goes on every single day - like QE, every loan made by a private bank is around 98% money created from thin air. When the central bank does QE, the money used for it is created from nothing, it is backed by no additional resources or security. Thats why it causes inflation, it increases the supply of money for the same level of resources (goods and servics in the economy, so all prices rise).

    When a bank lends you £1000 it does the same thing. The £1000 never existed (or about £20 of it did, depending on the capital requirements) - the rest is created as a book entry. You then pay them back the grand with interest, the only difference is you have gone out and worked for X many weeks to earn that money. They made it with a "flick of the pen". Trebles all round.

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  73. @deano

    The irony, of course, is that while you ascribe much positivity to human nature, when it comes to incentives, your criticism is that people fiddle them.

    In other words, not only do some people want the money, they are prepared to cheat to get it. This does not speak highly of the prospects for altruism to take over and make everything happen sans targets and incentives. You're kinda trying to have it both ways.

    Have you always found people equally motivated everywhere you have worked? Because having worked in the public sector WITHOUT targets myself, there was quite a spread on that score.

    Sure, some public sector workers may be adversely affected by targets. Of course, adverse can mean the target is unfair or counter-productive, or simply that their true performance is being revealed.

    You'll find some teachers protest about SATs, and some rather like them. Not everyone likes being measured, but that is not necessarily because the measurement is unfair. A target or incentive is not a straightjacket when it promotes effectively and fairly the necessary performance.

    I agree incentive schemes may be abused, but workers have had their secrets stolen without the need for incentive schemes. It is not the incentive schemes that magically create the desire to steal stuff where no desire existed before. It's just that incentive schemes can be co-opted to facilitate. Absent of incentive schemes, they often find another way.

    Again, you are pointing out ways incentives can be abused, but many things can be abused. Work itself, can be. Cars can be. Knives.

    You have not given a fundamental reason why incentives cannot work. But when they are broken, are they really incentives any more? If they are being used for bullying, they sound more like a sanction than an incentive.

    Because of the quasi-neolib system bequeathed us by Thatch and those who followed, we have structural unemployment and more power to capitalists, who are able to put more pressure on workers in a whole variety of ways. Abuse of incentives in this regard is as much a symptom as a cause.

    If you have crappily motivated people in a position of undue power, they may try and exploit everything and everyone, including the use of incentives.

    Equally, if you have the well-intentioned and less competent. Who may unwittingly set crap targets. Since numerous public sector areas are rather challenging, it's hard to set good targets. But it is still rather early days in all this.

    I can't help but wondering Deano, that you want us to differ at the core. Far as I'm concerned, I don't much care for a situation where people can buy undue advantage, or inherit it, and I don't buy the idea that the poor should be left to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Trickle-down is a load of shite.

    I might have said that maybe we differ on human nature, but I'm not sure we do. Because you are very cynical about human nature when it comes to targets and stuff, more so than me.

    Anyway, enjoy your meal, Deano, you've earned it, haha.

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  74. JayReilly said...

    This is back to classic S&D of labour - and the picture completely changes depending on the job. So unskilled labour - you can increase supply very easily (price ELASTIC) by increasing wages. Offer £100k for binmen, and you'll find plenty of binmen.

    But a job like astro-physicist is far more restricted by ability (inherent), time and money to train, etc - so if you doubled the wages of astrophysicists, you wouldnt get much change in the level of capabable astrophysicists coming through (price INELASTIC).


    Sure. That's why I added in the extension of an existing surgeon being encouraged to develop, or the maths teacher thing. I picked a surgeon to highlight the potential life-and-death value of an incentive.

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  75. Dear Friends

    This really takes the shortbread! Following the trying vicissitudes of recent days I took Miss Meerkat's advice to me last night and went for a soak in the bath. Far from curing this wretched back, I seized up like a rusty Newcomen engine and was beached. And as luck would have it, it was Mrs Selfmade's night for car maintenance classes (she is the tutor) and by the time she returned I was in so grey and wrinkled a state as to have her reaching for the port and lemon. To her credit, she eventually managed to hoist my corse to safety but the whole thing left a nasty taste in both our mouths and now, to cap it all, my bronchial tubes are congested.

    In the circumstances I will have to cancel my invitation to Ms Thaumaturge for a Friday lunchtime sherry. Apart from the fact that I feel distinctly under the weather, I feel it would be poor reward for Mrs Selfmade's loyalty to immediately go on the gadaround with a younger model.

    Realy, it is too much. I started the week as an upstanding member of the community and yet will end it a figure of ribald speculation at the Manchester Guardian and much diminished in the eyes of my wife. If anyone can tell me what I have done to deserve this I would like to know.

    Having in my salad days pulled myself up by my own bootstraps it is galling not even to be able to lay hand on them.

    Yours morosely

    Selfmademan

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  76. @deano

    Regarding sociopathy in senior positions, some of it may be narcissism but there can be a fine line between that and sociopathy.

    That is an argument for trying to reduce the numbers of sociopaths in positions of power. Because there are many things they can abuse besides incentives. Want to ban everything a sociopath can abuse, including jobs themselves?

    Regarding incentive schemes for the more affluent, I think we already have some agreement they may not be a great idea? Or if they are, maybe incentivise better things.

    Depends what you mean by affluent, but I am not defending the status quo as it pertains to bankers and all the rest. Their pay has massively outstripped performance because they sit on each others' boards. A lack of democracy again.

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  77. Jay

    I don't really understand all this high end economic stuff. I heard Peston on the news talking about the situation in Ireland - it seems that they're in the shit in large part because speculators have been betting on the failure of their economy and if, or when that gets sorted by whatever means, said speculators will simply turn to another country in trouble - probably Portugal and start betting on the failure of theirs..

    This seems like total madness and the very worst kind of greedy behaviour. Do they get off on ruining the economies of entire countries and the lives of millions just so they can make a few bucks? Is there a buzz to all this?

    I simply don't understand why the politicos permit them to get away with it, or why we sit on our hands rather than take to the streets.

    And don't talk to me about vulture funds - that business has me reaching for my kalashnikov.


    Oh and good evening selfmade - sorry to hear about your bathing woes. I'd offer you a massage but I'm a bit distant from Weston-Super-Mare

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  78. Evening all!

    Work finished. Tummy full of shepherd's pie. Glass of Theakstone's Old Peculiar on the table.

    Sorted.

    Good luck Turm!

    Off to nose round CiF for a while...

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  79. BeautifulBurnout said...

    Off to nose round CiF for a while...

    Erm... I hope you like recipes...

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  80. Right - I'm off out with MsC and Princess - it's quiz night at Princess's local. If only we could get Redminer to join us - he's in South Yorks somewhere....

    Laters

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  81. Sorry for the intermittent transmission.... need to catch up with today's thread, I'm reading much but not posting .... Something kindly posted to me by a lovely friend!

    (Dott - don't throw any rocks!!! unless they're 23 million quid Pink Diamonds of course.... hehehehe)

    Unemployed English Girl to Wed Soldier from Welfare Family

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  82. hevers!

    I just saw that on waddya! :o)

    Your post of "NURSE!!" made me laugh out loud.

    Sheff, PCC and MsChin - have a nice evening.

    LaRit - Like the headline there!

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  83. Evening all.

    I'm never going to catch up on these looooonnnnggg threads here, never mind on CiF.

    Flying visit as I'm off out, as sheff says, to PPC's local. Which used to be my parents local, years ago. Should be interesting as both sheff & I are apparently crap at quizes!

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  84. I dont think they care really, Sheff, on a good year they;re making millions of pounds each: they have zero interest in other people's lives. If they did, considering whats happened, they might have got together, as an industry, and decided to skip bonuses for a few years. Not a word of it, they extracted the maximum possible and even complained when the government urged restraint.



    On inflation, if there is a capital requirement of say 10%, some people think this means if someone deposits £100 with them, they can only lend out £90. Thats false, that doesnt increase the money supply at all.

    What they actually do is say

    - someone has £100 deposited with us
    - if we create (issue loans) of £1000 (created from thin air) then we will have 10% capital - thats the £100 someone deposited with us. Thats where the new money comes from and the MS increases. The loan is simply entered onto someone's account - it comes from nowhere.

    "Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money." (Josiah Stamp, former director of Bank of England)

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  85. "Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin."

    Excellent quote from Josiah Stamp, Jay - he obviously knew what he was talking about too being a banker.

    I still find it hard to believe that these people can be so detached from reality and do what they do - and all for money, more than they could ever need in several lifetimes of extravagant living. They're the real terrorists!

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  86. Indeed. It beggars belief that we still allow private firms to create money. These are the "masters of the universe" we are told do such a wonderful job.

    I cant say for certain, but i reckon most people could turn a decent profit if allowed to create money from thin air with the states approval.

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  87. Do you think they will let me pay my credit card bill with imaginary money?

    I could always try...

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  88. Dear Mr Unmade,

    Do not think that you can trifle with my affections this way. Just recently on Waddya, I have been reading about successful suits for breach of promise. Granted, I think the most recent case mentioned was in 1889, but the laws of this land are enduring and steadfast.

    I shall be consulting Mrs. Burnout.

    Yours in miffedness,

    Thaumaturge.

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  89. "Do you think they will let me pay my credit card bill with imaginary money?"

    They should do - it was imaginary money when they put it *on* the card ;)

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  90. Successful Suits for Breach of Promise
    - Sounds like an Edwardian era article in Nuts Magazine.

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  91. Tru dat, Jay :o)

    Ms Thaumaturge - I shall send you a copy of my terms... :o)

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  92. Sheff

    This seems like total madness and the very worst kind of greedy behaviour. Do they get off on ruining the economies of entire countries and the lives of millions just so they can make a few bucks? Is there a buzz to all this?

    I simply don't understand why the politicos permit them to get away with it, or why we sit on our hands rather than take to the streets.


    The politicos don't just allow it; they encourage it. After all, they are all mates.

    Good article on the Irish meltdown by Joseph O'Connor today: very well-written (as always).

    Jay - 'conceived in iniquity and born in sin' - that's excellent.

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  93. You're safe La Rit, this thread has made me realise that I probably need to resign my membership of the UT anyway, and certainly can't cast any stones:

    This weekend I was talking to a friend of mine, he's something up and coming in the city and agrees with bankers' bonuses, even in the wake of government bailouts (the old "they'll only go elsewhere arguement). Anyhoo, after a lengthy pub discussion neither of us persuaded the other of our case, we agreed to disagree and remain friends.

    It's a bit sad that I have to hand in my membership card just after earning the "premod" strip, but hey ho.....


    ;-)

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  94. Dot - you can still be friends with complete numpties. I have complete numpties in my social circle as well. You just have to keep chipping away at them... :o)

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  95. Dotterel - don't you dare!

    Sheff - just watched your vid: brilliant. Good luck to the three of you tonight.

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  96. He's not a complete numpty BB, he's actually a really nice guy, he just has this one tiny flaw.....

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  97. Dot

    I'm confused, why would you have to hand in your membership card?

    And why haven't I got a membership card, I want one. ;)

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  98. Montana - think you should print up some membership cards and sell 'em off....

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  99. Fraternizing with the enemy Jenn!

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  100. Ah Dott I see, I think we all probably have some dodgy people in our lives, although off hand I can't think of anyone I know who would defend bankers bonuses.

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  101. Takes all sorts Jenn!

    Anyone else p*ssed off with the Boots "here come the girls" crap generally, and the recent manflu advert specifically?

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  102. Evening all , thanks Sheff for the vid which has been distributed .

    Jay Reilly -- £100 to a £1000, they've done better than that -- £3300 is the best I've seen...

    Comrade GolemXIV is on fire at the moment, on the "" Irish"" banks . Investigative work that you would really think just might perhaps possibly be done by " journalists" .

    g.o.a.k.

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  103. Dott

    Charlie Brooker did an excellent rant about how the 'Here Come the Girls' adds made him hate every single woman in the world, he had a good point.

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  104. Dear Mr Unmade,

    Having received a copy of Mrs Burnout's terms, I fear I may have to retract my hasty threat of a lawsuit.

    May I say that it was all down to a very great disappointment.

    I trust we shall be able to meet next Thursday instead?

    Yours in anticipation,

    Thaumaturge

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  105. Dear Ms Thaumaturge

    I was distressed to read your response to my predicament. But let us not bring in lawyers at this stage. I believe that the preferred coalition approach is mediation and whilst not wanting to do MrsBB out of a lucrative fee I wonder if we could go down that route?

    There are faults on both sides, I am sure, and if there is one thing that a life in import-export has taught me it is that there is always a deal to be made.

    Without wanting to play the sympathy card, I am just about at my wits end with everything that has been happening this week, so the last thing I need is a litigagious situation on my doorstep (not least because Mrs Selfmade is bound to involve herself in same, probably as a witness for the prosecution, and I'm not sure her heart will stand it).

    To be honest, there's no more lead in my pencil. So do with me as you will.

    Your lachrymosely

    Selfmade

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  106. Dear Ms Thauma

    I see that our letters have 'crossed'. I am delighted that we are en d'accord, as they used to say in Morocco where I did a certian amount of business in the '50s and I look forward to next Thursday in keen anticipation of the spanking I so richly deserve.

    Yours ever

    S.

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  107. If we're issuing membership cards can we offer SMM one please?

    (and reissue Jenn's, it must've got lost in the post)

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  108. Dear Mr Selfmade,

    How interesting that you have done import-export business in Morocco! What equisite Eastern artifacts you must have brought back, and how delighted your customers must have been with your finds.

    Acquaintances occasionally wax lyrical - if somewhat incoherently - about Moroccan exports that have now, apparently, become a rarity. Perhaps it all has to do with EU regulations.

    I look forward to our meeting on Thursday.

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  109. evening all

    just a quickie as I am truely knackered

    Turm

    really good luck for tomorrow.......!!!

    Duke

    did you say 10 MPs condemned in the netherlands? Well I raise you 24 definitive sentences, i.e they have been through the extensive appeals process, quite a number are actually ministers: Berluso, Maroni,minister of the interio, Bossi head of Lega, del'Utri senator etc etc and another 64ish parliamentarians undergoing judicial proceeding.......not bad eh

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  110. Turm - best of luck tmra from me too.

    Getting very sleeeepy....

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  111. dave from france,

    that's an excellent article about the 21st century "Irish question" and posits an exceptionally important point at the end,

    They are bankers losses. It is NOT a question of Irish or German. It is question of wealthy bankers from all countries not just Germany (almost every nation, Germany, America, Russia, France Britain, we did dirty work in Ireland) and their corrupt Irish helpers versus the people. It is not a question of should the Irish people or the German people pay. Neither people should. It should be the bankers who made the losses who should take them.

    DO NOT allow the bankers to set us against each other as a cover for their crime and guilt.


    Almost all the media coverage and BTL comments on Irish articles have been focused on the corruption of the Irish political class and "failings in the Irish moral character" (for want of a better collective term).

    I've noticed Irish posters BTL criticism has focused on their own countrymen for "swallowing the property dream" and that "we've always been an impoverished nation and don't know how to deal with money". NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.

    As usual, the introspection is on personal moral and political failings as a country. The Irish economic meltdown as the Golem XIV article makes quite clear can be traced to shady International banking deals.

    The Irish dream and speculation in property is a microscopic cause of the meltdown. Compared with the sums involved in criminal International banking deals it is nothing, yet the result is introspection and blame of the Irish character, both personally and politically.

    Which is exactly what the international bankers and speculators want, deflecting attention whilst the media can wax lyrical on "poor benighted Ireland" and how the Irish went from poverty to starry eyed ignorance in the face of wealth as if somehow this was unique to the Irish character, all the while avoiding the hard investigations into the real cause.-

    "Ladies and Gentlemen bankers, we will shortly be arriving in Lisbon..."

    Once the PIIGS have been sucked dry, the real fun starts as the attention is moved to the larger economies.

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  112. Turminder

    All the best with the interview tomorrow.Knock 'em dead mate!

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  113. OOH! I almost forgot! I had the "....killed by freemasons" bloke on my bus today, with his two big bags of canvases. Poor soul, he was muttering away to himself about all the conspiracies.

    His latest one, on display, was "Mark Saunders - Killed By Freemasons".

    I was kind of tempted to try and engage with him, but thought the better of it because he did seem to be on a bit of a rant and I wasn't too sure what might happen if I said something that he didn't approve of...

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  114. Whoa, BB met GIYUS on the bus! Film tmra BB!

    Early nite 4 me. Thanx for all the good wishes. P x

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  115. Break a leg, Turm xx

    I'm on a Yes trip now, my brain having played a bizarre word association from cheese and pineapple.

    I can honestly say I haven't listened to any Yes since I was about 17 or 18. This is most weird and magical. And I have only had one pint of beer.

    I wonder what they are putting in Old Peculiar these days...

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  116. Good luck Turminder! If you want it may they offer it you.

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  117. Thaum - where's Tascia? I could annoy him all bloody night with this! :p

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  118. Deano, I've put up some baby photos. (Baby dog, not baby child...)

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  119. So cute Meerkatjie, I think I might be broody, for a pet obviously not a child

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  120. Hi All

    dave from france--Thanks for the Golem link. Really shows our Fifth Estate up for what they are. Again.

    Meerkatjie--Good pics, got to like the way new pups just snuggle down in one's lap.

    Turm--Best of luck.

    BB--Have the whole YES collection, but must play them when wifey is not home. She thinks they are shit. No accounting for some people's tastes.

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  121. Duke

    ..nail..head etc.

    brilliant post..."As usual, the introspection is on personal moral and political failings as a country."

    "I have sinned; I have most grievously sinned"

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  122. Big up to the angry fella with the waistcoat on QT!!

    And good luck tomorrow Turm!!

    Night all.

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  123. Duke, Boudican -- he really is on a roll, legal threats already from one bank too. You see it Monkeyfish ?

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  124. Oh, and fuck Kelvin Mackenzie.

    (and may his driver 'divert' to Liverpool on the way home!)

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  125. Some people have no taste at all, Boudican :p

    Heh - I saw a sign on a wall in a cafe today that made me laff

    "Sometimes bacteria is the only culture some people have..."

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  126. James, I can't actually listen rationally to Kelvin MacKenzie. There's something about his smug little face that makes me scream 'oh fuck OFF!' before he's even started to speak. He is such a complete and utter nobber.

    I hate that kind of utterly emotional, mawkish rubbish around torture 'well, if it saved my family, I don't care'.... I'd like to bet if it was a member of *his* family with the water over their face, he'd feel far less sanguine about the whole idea.

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  127. Phew!!

    It's all OK! We can stop worrying and enjoy ourselves.

    Apparently, by being in this all together, not only did we have nothing to worry about but, in fact, our lives are now even more wonderful than they were before the global economic meltdown.

    Lord Young [of Graffham, Dave 1's Enterprise Tsar] has suggested the Government had overstated the impact of spending cuts to shore up the value of the pound. He told the Telegraph: "For the vast majority of people in the country today, they have never had it so good ever since this recession - this so-called recession - started..."

    Those complaining about the cutbacks, totalling more than £80 billion over four years, were "people who think they have a right for the state to support them", suggested the peer, who was appointed Mr Cameron's enterprise adviser earlier this month after completing a review of health and safety laws.


    I don't know about anyone else, but I have been clicking my heels and approaching strangers with a cheery grin and a cheeky whistle since I heard this.

    I just knew it was not as bad as all those horrible wreckers were trying to pretend.

    Hurrah! for The Three Daves and this glorious ConDem regime for saving us all from penury and misery.

    You see, recessions can be fun when we all relive the spirit of the blitz and never forget to kick a poor person at least once a day.

    Merry Winterval to one and all!

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  128. Meerkat -- it's one of the delights in living in France, without TV apart from a little local stuff on the Net -- I don't know who 3/4 of the celebs are that people talk about . Maybe more than 3/4 actually . Lovely ! frog2

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  129. Hi Atoms, you seen Golem recently ?

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  130. I'm sorry, frog2, but I haven't really been able to keep up with things lately.

    I will try a bit of catch-up tomorrow evening and over the weekend.

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  131. "Meerkat -- it's one of the delights in living in France, without TV apart from a little local stuff on the Net -- I don't know who 3/4 of the celebs are that people talk about . Maybe more than 3/4 actually"
    He used to be editor of the sun. he is a complete prat.

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  132. No obligation ! He's really prolific, but the last one sums up well . here

    Seeya frog2

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  133. At which point, I must get some sleep.

    BTW - I did not mean Merry Winterval to any poor people, obviously.

    I hope they will be feeling sufficiently guilty for causing all this that they will sell their flat-screen televisions and drug-stashes and hand the proceeds over to their struggling local bank manager.

    Of course, you can never trust people without money to be moral, though, can you?

    They are just complete and utter filth.

    Luckily, the government will step in and take whatever they do have and give it to the deserving bankers.

    Lovely haircuts the Daves have, don't they? And suits.

    And manners!

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  134. There are plenty of evil dumbfucks around, but the UK seems to have more in the public eye, and being listened to . .

    We have evils, in the sense of being servants of the Oligarchs, but not quite so gross I suspect. Maybe the brit culture is more proudly anti-intellectual ?

    f2

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  135. Even write letters of thanks to the Staff, real toffs.

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  136. What on earth has Hazel Blears done to her hair???

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  137. Meerkatjie,

    'Complete and utter nobber'

    Brilliant!!

    (if perhaps a little kind!?)

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  138. Bon soir tout le monde;
    @dave from france: yeah I've been following Golem's analysis for a while.
    I don't pretend to understand it all (apart from it being a stitch up which I knew already) but why hasn't anyone from the mainstream press picked up on this scam?

    Do they think "Joe Public" won't be able to make any sense of it or just that they are not bothered and would rather watch "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here"?

    Well I'm not a celebrity and want to get out of this shithole.

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  139. Hey everyone who's still around! Parking a comment (my own -- in reply to JimPress) from Waddya, as he obviously reads UT and I'm not sure that the comment will survive over there.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    JimPress:

    Montana, if you've got a problem with a comment that I make here you could always post in the place I'd most likely see it - right here. But anyway, you're in luck I did get to read this so I'm happy to respond.

    Why? I really didn't give a flying fuck if you saw the comment, Jimbo. Wasn't addressing you. If you had a problem with something I said over there, why didn't you address it over there instead of quoting it here? See, there are a lot of people here who act like they're too good for that place, but none of them seem to be able to stop their grubby little selves from reading it.

    Are you sure that I took you to task for being unnecessarily rude to Angie124? I really don't remember doing that and can't see why I would need to given that Angie is more than capable of dealing with you herself. I do remember once asking you for clarification when you suggested that another poster was a racist, but, so far as I'm aware, that's been my only interaction with you. Have you got a link to the post that pissed you off? Or did you just invent it?

    No, I wasn't sure it was Angie124. I couldn't remember who it was, but I did remember you lecturing me about not being very nice to someone here. She seemed the most likely, since the only time we've really "interacted" with each other was when she was on her jag about how sexist Cif is.

    To be honest, it seems a little bit sad and stalky that you use your blog to incite attacks on people here. But most of all it seems cowardly. But heh, whatever, if malicious misrepresentation is your thing then go for it. You're so lacking in bite it's not as if you're going to hurt anybody.

    To be honest, it seems really sad and stalky that you read a blog that you take no part in. Seems really cowardly to me. As for malicious -- I'm not the sick fucker who suggested that it would be a good thing for another poster to shoot himself. That was what you were suggesting, was it not? I'm hardly one of Bracken's fans, but that's despicable.

    But, hey ho! You carry on thinking that you're morally and intellectually superior, if that's what gets you through your day.

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  140. Montana, I'd never claim to be morally superior to anybody - I'm always happy to drag things in to the gutter - but, yes, on the basis of your misplaced fabrications regarding me I'd be in a pretty sad and sorry place if I didn't think I was intellectually superior to you.

    Up until now my only interaction with you was asking for clarification as to what the feck you were talking about when you accused Martyn of being a racist. That wasn't a declaration of war, and it wasn't a lecture, it was a simple and polite request for you to explain what the issue was; I still don't know. I'm not even an admirer of Martyn - his vacuity chills me - it just seems a bit seedy when people are falling over themselves in an effort to land ever more kicks and punches on the puniest kid in class who you know is incapable of hitting back.

    As for the one-liner to Bracken, it's not up to me to flag my comments as sarcasm as a precautionary measure to prevent any passing American taking bovine offense.

    Until now I've felt no hostility towards you, and I like and respect a number of people who post here, so why not just stop the petty sniping? But if you do need to snipe, at least have the decency to target things that I've actually said. There are enough genuine battles to fight without you creating imaginary enemies.

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  141. For a longer and more relevent discussion of whisky and the revolver, readers might like to look here:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1176438/PETER-OBORNE-So-hand-Brown-loaded-revolver-bottle-whisky.html

    If anyone is to hand Gordon Brown the revolver and the bottle of whisky, it will be Peter Mandelson.

    I don't think the expression should be taken literally Montana.

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  142. As it appears that Phimai has ben banned from CiF, so congratulations to Spike/TonyShallcross.backtothepoint for more successful censorship, here's one of mine that's been removed from CiF.


    BeautifulBootstraps

    Call me a tinfoil hatter if you like (and I wish I could remember KT's neoligism for it), but does anyone else believe this pile of steaming crap?

    According to your linked report, Mark Stephens, Juian Assange's London based lawyer stated:

    "Both women have declared they had consensual sexual relations with our client and that they continued to instigate friendly contact well after the alleged incidents. Only after the women became aware of each other's relationship with Mr Assange did they make their allegations against him.

    "Media reports had reported the basis for the rape charge "purely seems to constitute a post-facto dispute over consensual, but unprotected sex days after the event," he said.

    So certainly not "a steaming pile of crap" by any stretch of the imagination.

    This might be a 'sting' perpetrated by the CIA with the women prepared to perjure themselves, assuming that crime exists in Sweden. In which case it would be of major interest to all who have followed the story to date.

    Or it could it be that each woman only consented to sex with Assange on the condition that he wasn't having sex with another women in Sweden and elsewhere. This is a quite normal understanding that couples come to before engaging in sex. But having discovered that wasn't the truth and they'd been lied to, they are now seeking a legal redress in the Swedish courts.

    I am reminded of the recent case where an Israeli women claimed she was raped because her consent to sex was obtained through lies which resulted in her rapist being jailed. I don't know what the law is in Sweden, my recent knowledge of the country coming from the pen of the late great Stieg Larsson's trilogy, but it appears that Assange's lawyers are treating this case very seriously.

    As for Mr Assange practising casual unprotected sex, that alone, for a man in his position may not deserve an international arrest warrant, but it does deserve international censure.

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  143. Just exactly what am I fabricating, Jim? You're not going to try to claim that that wasn't the implication behind your comment, are you? I do recognise sarcasm, but sarcasm or not -- that's a fucking offensive thing to say to anyone. As offensive as when Martyn told Monkeyfish to fuck his mother and wished bowel cancer on him.

    And, yes, it was Martyn that we tangled over. You questioned me calling him racist, I explained what he'd said and you didn't seem to think that calling a black man a n****r was enough evidence to justify calling him racist.

    My comment wasn't petty sniping -- it was expressing disgust that someone would -- even jokingly -- suggest that someone should shoot himself. I am still disgusted by it. It was a reprehensible thing for you to say and, if you had an ounce of decency, you'd apologise to Bracken.

    It just cracks me up that people go on about how horrible the UT regulars are -- such crude, brutish bullies we're supposed to be. And yet, I don't recall a single UT regular ever suggesting that another Cif commenter should commit suicide or wishing a painful, fatal disease on someone.

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  144. For goodness sake Montana, from the little I know of Peter Bracken I'm surprised he didn't ask someone to bring the revolver to his home as having consumed half the whisky he was in no state to drive.

    Have a debate with JimPress but please don't pretend that his revolver comment was in any way comparable to what you claim Martyn wished on Monkeyfish, who himself is hardly a stranger to hurling insults.

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