Bradley Manning Convicted

Bradley Manning has been convicted of embarrassing the government of the United States by exposing the crimes and errors of its armed forces and its administration. This is a serious offence. I am sure that it will be dealt with far more seriously than less serious crimes. Continue reading

The Banking Crisis Continues

The banking crisis has not gone away, but is still with us. Banks have thinly disguised their shortcomings. They are still diseased, even though they have the appearance of modest health. Regulators, at the behest of governments, are trying to cure the patient without killing it. Whether they will succeed remains to be seen. Regulators are prescribing unpleasant medicine which will prevent banks from being as profitable as they once were, in order to try and reduce the risk of bank failure, which is catastrophic not just for the banks and their shareholders, but also for society. Continue reading

Should Subsidies for Renewables be Paid out of Central Taxation?

Energy bills have been rising since 2005 which means that in the United Kingdom people are paying more and more each year for their electricity, gas and heating oil. The rise has been exacerbated by the government imposing levies on energy bills to pay for things like wind turbines and photovoltaic electric solar panels. Now it is being suggested that instead of the renewable subsidies being paid out of levies on electricity bills, they should be paid out of central taxation. Is this suggestion the right way to deal with subsidies for renewables. Continue reading


Privacy is the antithesis of transparency, although many who urge transparency do not understand that in many cases the effect of more transparency will be to have less privacy. Continue reading


Society adopts good concepts from time to time but usually does so in an abusive way. The concept of equality is a good concept but should not be adopted at the expense of treating someone in accordance with their worth. The concept of democracy is a good concept, but should not be abused by using democratic means to oppress the minority. The latest good concept that is now being abused is the concept of transparency. Continue reading

The Archbishop and the Camel

Oh dear! The investment policy of the Church of England has embarrassed and irritated its most senior priest, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This Archbishop is not exactly a man of the people or a person who has lived a life of poverty. Eton, Trinity College and the oil industry isolates those who follow this career path from the trials and tribulations of ordinary folk. I do not say that a rich man cannot become a priest, but I am suspicious of the motives of rich privileged people who enter the church and climb to the top of that greasy pole because climbing every greasy pole involves an element of getting a good shove upwards from others. Continue reading

GM Crops and the Test of Time

Genetically modified crops are becoming unfashionable. The European Union has steadfastly resisted the advances of Monsanto to permit the introduction of GM crops in Europe, and Monsanto has given up on the idea of introducing its crops in the EU. They say that the EU will be the loser as a result. Monsanto will still try to persuade the Europeans to permit the sale in Europe of GM crops grown elsewhere, but the European is suspicious by nature of food that is created artificially. Continue reading

A Day Without Much Qwertying

I will not add to the qwertying that I usually do every day, because sometimes it is good to rest awhile and think. It can be hard to think clearly, these days, without the keyboard and computer screen in front of my hands and my eyes.

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The Only Game in Town

High frequency trading is not real trading at all; it is a question of who can invent the best algorithm and pitch it against other algorithms and any sucker who joins in the market. These so called trades are carried out hundreds of times a second, and the fractional profits or losses that are created as a result can quickly mount up. So far high frequency trading is not illegal unless there is an element of market manipulation involved, although it is hard to see how high frequency trades can do anything other than create an artificial market. The market, whether in shares, bonds, commodities or esoteric derivatives is enough of a casino, but high frequency trading tries to play the odds, just like a skilled poker player. Continue reading

Fine Words But No Action

The members of the G20 recently released a statement about their plans to prevent tax avoidance by multi-national companies. In reality what they mean is they will prevent tax avoidance by multi nationals in all jurisdictions except their own. I am reminded of people who have all agreed to swim in a very cold pool. They line up on the edge, wearing their swimming costumes. “After you” they say to each other, but no one jumps. No one wants to jump in first because he fears the others may not jump in after him. It is a case of deadlock by “after you” , rather than a case of politeness.