Archive for May 2013

The Business Journalist and her tax muddle

My timeline was, on Thursday evening, chuckling about the fact that Margaret Hodge had run into a little difficulty when being asked by Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Channel 4 News about her own tax arrangements.

Whilst it was certainly quite amusing to watch her use the same answer about her affairs that she has publicly derided the likes of Google, Amazon and Starbucks for, my attention was caught by the clip which proceeded it.

I am not an accountant nor an economist – let alone a business reporter – but so far as I can see Siobhan Kennedy made two glaring errors in that piece.

The first is one same one which everybody seems to make these days: confusing sales with profits. Whether this is deliberate or due to ignorance I leave up to you, dear reader, and your personal prejudices.

It was the second one though which had me, to use the modern parlance, facepalming. Indeed I even went back and listened to it again just to make sure I was hearing correctly:

…making sales which could be subject to income tax under UK law.

Frankly, I’d expect better from a business journalist.

About the world-renowned author Dan Brown…

As I have mentioned before, I have never tortured my eyeballs by subjecting them to a Dan Brown novel. This was a personal choice and Geoffrey K. Pullum’s The Dan Brown Code simply further entrenched my desire never to do so.

However it is because of Pullum’s piece that I am able to appreciate Michael Deacon’s excellent skewering of Brown in the Telegraph on Friday:

The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was swamped in a sea of mixed metaphors. For some reason they found something funny in sentences such as “His eyes went white, like a shark about to attack.” They even say my books are packed with banal and superfluous description, thought the 5ft 9in man. He particularly hated it when they said his imagery was nonsensical. It made his insect eyes flash like a rocket.

If you haven’t already, do please go and read the whole thing. If, like me, you have chosen to avoid Brown’s oeuvre then read Pullum first.

State good, individualism bad…

On Sunday Barack Obama gave the commencement address to the graduating class of The Ohio State University at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio…

Ronald Reagan who?

h/t Maggie McNeill for re-tweeting it into my timeline.

Logical fallacy

Self-styled ‘Child Protection Expert’ and teller of tall tales about Jimmy Savile and Duncroft, Mark Williams-Thomas (MWT), has – I assume in order to be able to pontificate in great detail via any media outlet which will let him – been keeping a beady eye on the trials of Mark Bridger and Stuart Hazell, and today came out with these words of wisdom…

MWT’s argument here is that if you do, watch or indulge in X then Y will happen as night follows day. By the same logic the following statements are true:

  • All cannabis users will take harder drugs such as crack cocaine, heroin etc.
  • Anyone who has watched pornography will become a rapist.
  • Owning a firearm means that one day you will walk into a school and massacre a classroom full of children.

But, since we know that they aren’t, you really do have to be a complete cretin to assert that possessing an image of child abuse (as distasteful as it is) means that you will automatically become a killer of children for kicks.