Posts tagged ‘Telegraph’

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.

Calling a spade a spade

It seems that someone at The Telegraph has the same opinion of Kier Starmer and his authoritarian ways as I do. I wonder if he’ll claim to be grossly offended by this?

The original image is in use on this article and (at least until they take it rename it) can be found here.

h/t @iamDarragh

Pick a sport, any sport

Telegraph sub confuses swimming with football

#fail

Pick a country, any country

Telegraph sub confuses Afghanistan with Bangladesh

#fail

A half-formed Gift Aid thought

Browsing through the letters page of yesterday’s Telegraph (generally the third – and last – useful thing in the paper after Matt and Alex) whilst at my parents for dinner, I came across this:

SIR – If the Government is considering backtracking on its proposed cap to tax relief for higher-rate taxpayers who donate to charity, it will lose what little credibility remains.

Gift Aid is morally dubious. By what right am I forced to donate my taxes to a charity which I might disagree with?

George Osborne, the Chancellor, should show courage in facing down the pressure groups that represent these charities.

Joseph Adam-Smith
Patna, Ayrshire

Little comment is required about the first paragraph except to note that I’m fairly certain that the credibility of this government has already long since disappeared.

It was the second paragraph though which caught my attention. Whilst Mr Adam-Smith is quite right to point out that, with Gift Aid, some money is more then likely to go to causes which he might not agree with, he doesn’t appear to have followed this thought through to its logic conclusion.

Anyone familiar with the fake charities concept will already know that millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money has been shovelled into the hands of groups such as ASH, Alcohol Concern, CASH (amongst others) which do nothing but lobby the government on ‘our’ behalf.

All of which though is peanuts compared to the amount of money which the government steals from us each year in order to fund its own bloated existence. If Mr Adam-Smith can’t find something in that to complain about I would be very surprised.

Thus he would, I feel, be far better off worrying about the approximately £750bn elephant standing on his chest rather than the £1bn spider riding on the elephant’s shoulder.

Patsy Pasty

Of all the tax changes in the budget which the politicians, press and public could have got themselves worked up about – cutting the top rate, freezing grannies allowance, the ongoing process of pulling people into high rates, the marginal rates levied on those earning between £50k and £60k with children, the ever increasing duties on petrol, alcohol and tobacco – it is changing of what is charged VAT with respect of hot, take-away food which seems to causing the government the most trouble.

The ludricous lengths that that our elected wastals and the copy-and-paste artists in the MSM have gone to over the whole matter is laughable in the extreme. Thanks to them we have had to put up with, amongst other things, iDave and various cabinet ministers attemting to remember if, where and when they last ate a pasty (and the MSN chasing these recollections up); Millipede Jr (with his likely Brutus in tow) going to Greggs for lunch as part of a staged photoshoot; and supposed ‘quality’ newspaper The Telegraph resorting to live blogging the entire fiasco.

Fankly, if the whole business means anything, it is as

  1. yet another reminder how pathetically out of touch the inhabitants of the Westminster village really are,
  2. showing how woefully ignorant and stupid the so-called reporters who are paid to fill up the output of the media really, and
  3. a demonstration of how utterly stupid VAT is.

As I’m certain my readers are aware, VAT is an EU tax and thus subject to the whims of Brussels and the rent-seekers to be found in that city. It is therefore no surprise to learn that the reason for impsition of the ‘pasty tax’ is somewhat more than the bland statement Osborne made to parliament during his speech:

We will also address some of the loopholes and anomalies in our VAT system.

[…]

Hot takeaway food on high streets has been charged VAT for more than twenty years; but some new hot takeaway products in supermarkets are not.

A fuller account of the reasons why the children supposedly running the country are in the mess that they are in comes from Richard North of EU Referendum:

Enter Manfred Bog who, back in 1994 was running three mobile snack bars. After a series of disputes with the German tax authorities, Bog in 2006 fixed upon one particular issue, that 70 percent of his sales were being assessed for standard rate of VAT, while the remainder only attracted the lower rate of five percent.

The German authorities here were arguing that the larger proportion of the food sold was consumed “on the premises” (i.e., under a shelter provided by Bog) and, therefore, the trade was a “service” rather than the supply of goods – thus attracting the higher rate of VAT.

We should not detain ourselves with the finding of the German financial court, the Bundesfinanzhof. Down that path lies madness. Suffice to say that the case was joined by others, including a firm called CinemaxX, arguing the toss about popcorn sales. Again, the service/supply of goods argument was in the cooking pot. And then there was Mr Lohmeyer, with his snack stalls and a swinging grill, plus – of course – Fleischerei Nier. Don’t even go there.

Cutting to the chase on this bundle of cases, the judgement on 10 March last year ruled that the supply of food or meals freshly prepared for immediate consumption from snack stalls or mobile snack bars or in cinema foyers is a supply of goods rather than service – as long as the supply of services preceding and accompanying the supply of the food were not predominant.

Ostensibly, this did not apply to the UK – or so HMRC said at the time. Yet the Fish Fryers Federation and others disagreed, because the essence of the ECJ judgement was that they were supplying goods (as in foodstuffs), not services. And as the UK zero rates food, they were thus salivating at the prospect of a mega-refund.

“Ahah!”, said HMRC batting away such insolence. The fish fryers are caught either way. Their tax category – devised uniquely by the UK – includes “hot take-away food” and well as catering services. It matters not whether it is food or service, VAT still applies, regardless of Bog.

And there gripped the cold, mindless jaws of the VAT Sixth Directive, of which the ECJ had so cruelly reminded us. To their horror, HMRC have confronted their worst nightmare. If the fish fryers are selling hot food rather than services, and have to charge VAT on it, so does everybody else who sells hot food.

That’s right, Osborne had no choice in the matter.

Can we leave yet?

Someone send The Telegraph a dictionary

On September 11, 2001, more than 100 unborn children were orphaned. Philip Sherwell talks to some of the mothers.

As Julia would say: /facepalm