28.3.11

Will stupidity enslave the children?

Prior to the protests against spending cuts in London last weekend,
this advertisement was released to help drum up support. It starts
off with a reasonably accurate analogy, but ends with an entirely
nonsensical conclusion that: a reduction in spending in order to
reduce the debt will somehow be what leaves the next generation with
a mountain of debt.


Watch the video here:


News sources reporting on the protests focus primarily on the fact
that it was mostly peaceful, with just a few exceptional cases of
vandalism and violence. While this may be the case, I find this much
less important to discuss than what their message was.

Contrary to arguments made by UK Uncut, there is no doubt that the
government is in debt. Yes, they got us in to this mess through lavish
unnecessary spending; but No, the answer is not to keep doing it!
By looking at the budget, one can see that the UK spends £50bn on debt
interest annually, which is more than it does on defense (£36bn)! This
is an incredible amount, and I really shouldn't have to stress further
why it is important to reduce the debt, for the sake of future generations.

It is important to note that the cuts are not just necessary, but desirable!
The aim is to reform and make permanent change, not just a temporarily
tightened budget.

I spoke on this topic last year at a conference, where I outlined the
idea that crises can be beneficial by being an opportunity to achieve
reform; as well as why in such times reform and an assessment of the role
of government is essential, not just small cuts here and there.

You can watch my speech here:

25.3.11

Now I know my (budget) ABC's...

Here is a more unique budget briefing that
took place at UHY Peacheys, an accountancy firm:

Osborne the Magician

On Wednesday, George Osborne revealed his budget for the year.
This was the first political press conference I've taken the time to
watch in its entirety. The whole affair was pretty amusing, as with
every statement the crowd of MPs reacted very audibly: cheering
or booing, and regularly requiring Osborne to quiet them down.
... I suppose at least they were listening and not falling asleep.

The following day the TaxPayers' Alliance and Institute of
Economic Affairs
hosted a budget briefing event to discuss
what it really means for people.



Some of the most notable points to me were:

- Many of the announced changes were in fact just reversing
previous budget decisions made in the past couple of years.
So even though these measures are being taken to promote
investment and business, it doesn't, as uncertainty is one of
the greatest discouragements to investment. Companies will
not leap to investing in the UK because of the reduced tax
levels and other incentives, for they cannot be sure that things
won't just change back when the next budget comes around.

- Enterprise zones, though seemingly good for businesses, are
likely to not be beneficial. If they are effective, with great enough
incentives to influence firms, it will cause distortions in the
market and regions. If the incentives are not sufficiently large,
then they will not be effective, and there is thus no point to have
them. As Philip Booth wittily concluded,
there should just be one enterprise zone: the UK.

- Booth also asserted that regulations imposed since 1998
alone have cost business £90 billion; thus at just 0.4% of this
amount, the £350 million that businesses stand to gain after the
budget is really nothing compared to the total cost of regulation.

____
There were many tricks up the government's sleeves that were
exposed at the talk. It's amazing how without knowing the whole
picture, one can be taken by the declarations of support for
business and growth.

23.3.11

Coeliacs in London

The topic of this post is quite different from my general theme,
but hey, I thought I'd share anyway:

_There are some people unfortunate enough to have a particular condition
as a result of which they are unable to eat products with wheat and gluten.

I wasn't aware of this until recently when I began living with some people
who have this issue. As a result I compiled a brief list of restaurants
in London that cater to such needs, so that I could find places where they
could eat out. In any case, if you live in London and are a Coeliac then
perhaps this can be of use to you!

There are definitely more out there, but a bunch of them were vegetarian
restaurants... and my friends really like meat.



Be sure to comment if you have any opinions about the restaurants I've listed,
or if you have more to suggest to me!
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