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Chag Pesach Sameach
at 11:05 22 Apr 2024

With Passover beginning this evening, a happy Passover to any on TWTD who are Jewish or have Jewish ancestry, family or connections.
[Post edited 22 Apr 11:06]
Free movement for 18-30 year olds?
at 15:33 18 Apr 2024

As someone with children aged 20 and 23 who might well take advantage, this is potentially great news. I doubt the Tories would go along with it, but let's hope Labour don't rule it out in an effort to appeal to the Red Wall. I rather fear they will though.

Commission proposes Brexit deal for 18 to 30 year olds
Lisa O'Carroll

The European Commission has proposed opening negotiations with the UK to allow free movement enjoyed before Brexit to millions of 18 to 30 year olds in a major post Brexit concession.

It said it will now seek approval from individual EU leaders to start the talks which will see one of the most controversial elements of Brexit, a block on the right to live in each others countries visa free, partially eliminated.

Under the envisaged agreement, both EU and UK citizens aged between 18 to 30 years would be able to stay for up to 4 years in the destination country, the European Commission said in a detailed statement.

“The objective would be to facilitate youth exchanges, making it easier for young EU citizens to travel, work and live in the UK, with reciprocity for young UK nationals in a member state,” the Commission said.

EDIT: Here's a link to the Commission's proposals.
[Post edited 18 Apr 15:35]
Covid vaccines available privately
at 15:37 26 Mar 2024

As someone aged 64 who thus missed out on the Autumn Covid booster, I will be very tempted to get the vaccine when they go on sale imminently at places like Boots.

I'm a sucker for punishment, and would be more than happy for a Bill Gates' microchip to be inserted into me. The only consideration is whether it is strictly necessary at this time of year given we are moving into the summer months.

As regards the Spring 2024 booster, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that a COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to:

adults aged 75 years and over
residents in a care home for older adults
individuals aged 6 months and over who are immunosuppressed (as defined in tables 3 or 4 in the COVID-19 chapter of the Green Book)

However, cost effectiveness is an important factor in JCVI's advices. This makes me think that it is probably worth someone my age paying for the vaccine because they would probably give them to those 65 and over if cost were not a factor.
[Post edited 26 Mar 17:28]
The Brexit bonus?
at 10:11 20 Mar 2024

Interesting article from Bloomberg

Below are a couple of passsages.

Far from being the bloated, inefficient bureaucracy derided by Euroskeptics -- led by former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he was the fabulist journalist for the London Telegraph -- who colored the prevailing Brexit media narrative, the EU economy is growing 2.3 percentage points faster than the UK’s on an annual basis, with GDP advancing 24% since 2016, compared with the 6% for the UK. During the 10 years before the Brexit referendum, EU GDP lagged behind the UK annually by 12 basis points, since 2000 by 9 basis points and the two decades preceding Brexit, by 149 basis points, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The dichotomy is similar for GDP per individual among the 20 countries sharing the euro. The bloc’s per capita GDP increased 19%, or 2.19 percentage points more than the UK on annual basis since 2016, an overwhelming reversal of the decade prior to Brexit. During the 10 years preceding Brexit, annualized euro zone growth was barely eight basis points better than the UK, and between 2000 and 2016 the euro zone trailed the UK by six basis points.
Taking back control and increasing complexity for businesses
at 18:00 17 Mar 2024

The post-Brexit overhaul of alcohol taxation, which would tax drinks on alcohol by volume (ABV) rather than the type of alcohol, was brought in officially last August after being put forward by the Treasury when Rishi Sunak was chancellor. Under the plan the amount of duty paid rises by 2p for every 0.1% increase in strength.

The government acknowledged the new administrative burden for businesses and put an 18-month “easement” period in place. During this period all wines between 11.5% and 14.5% would have to pay £2.67 in tax, the 12.5% ABV duty rate.

This has prompted businesses such as Majestic Wine, which has more than 200 shops around the country, to speak out, saying it will spell higher prices and a huge administrative burden on sellers.

The wine sector has been lobbying the government to keep the easement rules in place permanently, but Gareth Davies, the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, confirmed earlier this month that it would press ahead.

“The minister demonstrated in this debate a worrying lack of understanding of our sector, suggesting that the alcohol duty system has become simpler and easier since Brexit,” said Colley. “That is simply not the case. In fact, the system in place pre-Brexit was much simpler to administer.”

The changes will lead to huge administrative costs for businesses, which will have to work out the tax due on each wine. Even small shops can sell hundreds of different wines.
[Post edited 17 Mar 18:02]
at 19:34 12 Mar 2024

I am sure there have been threads on this series before but nice to see it voted the most influential UK TV series of the last 50 years.

I first came across it in the early 80s and have been hooked ever since.

Sadly, there are no current plans for a 70 Up.
[Post edited 12 Mar 19:46]
Socialism is an ideology leading to terrorism
at 14:01 7 Mar 2024

A document from Prevent, the official scheme to stop radicalisation, includes believing in socialism, communism, anti-fascism and anti-abortion in a list of potential signs of ideologies leading to terrorism.

As someone proud to call themselves a socialist, I'd better hand myself in now. And Keir Starmer ought to be on the look-out if he is elected because Clause 4 of the Labour Party constitution describes it as a democratic socialist party.

But I suppose this just goes to show how far to the right the country has moved, and not surprising in relation to Prevent given the appointment of William Shawcross to lead a review it led to a boycott of the review because of his alleged anti-Muslim and rightwing views.

EDIT: "alleged" is the wrong word given the following from Wikipedia, but how can a person with such views have anything to do with Prevent? Sadly, it follows a pattern of the Tories in recent years appointing to public bodies people with very right wing views.

In 2006 Shawcross warned of "a vast fifth column" of Muslims in Europe who "wish to destroy us"; we should not shy away from labelling the problem "Islamic fascism".

In a 2010 article for National Review Shawcross described Britain as a "mere piece of the bland but increasingly oppressive Bambiland of the E.U., promoting such PC global issues as gay rights (except in Muslim lands) and man-made climate change." In the same article, Shawcross described Labour's "'multicultural' ideology" as a "catastrophe" and implied that Labour's immigration policy was designed to "dilute Britishness".

[Post edited 7 Mar 21:30]
Wealth taxes? Pah!
at 13:52 6 Mar 2024

The higher rate of capital gains tax on residential property will be reduced from 28% to 24%.

Only fair, I suppose, because those with second (or more) homes must be struggling.

But feel free to add any Budget-related comments to this thread.
[Post edited 6 Mar 13:56]
The nonsensical fiscal rules
at 08:41 6 Mar 2024

I've mentioned on here before my scepticism about the fiscal rules which both parties are wedded to and which only require national debt to be falling in the fifth year, but on a rolling basis.

It is this rule which on current forecasts will give Hunt the headroom of £13 billion to help make tax cuts. But as the following article indicates such forecasts are very inaccurate rendering the fiscal rules, in my view, rather illusory.

This from the article explains things.

"Right now that "headroom" is £13bn. But national debt figures move about rather a lot, as do GDP figures.

A sudden economic shock can send the debt load soaring higher, as can a rise in interest rates. And forecasting anything five years hence is tremendously difficult.

So these very numbers - the ones upon which everything else depends - are, to put it lightly, quite volatile.

That brings us back to the question we started with - about how accurate those forecasts turned out to be in the past. The answer is: very, very inaccurate.

The average forecasting error over the past two decades - in other words, the difference between the projection for the national debt five years hence and what actually happened - was just over 15% of GDP.

Let's put that into context. It's about £415bn. That is more than double the NHS budget; it's four HS2s (the whole thing, not just the London to Birmingham rump); it's nearly 70 aircraft carriers (we currently have two).

No one thinks you should pay all that much attention to forecasts of government debt five years hence. They are a useful signpost of fiscal policy, but hardly a biblical truth.

Yet since Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said he'll do everything to avoid breaking his rules, the budget will end up paying a staggering amount of attention to the difference between these two highly unreliable numbers."
Mob rule
at 08:38 1 Mar 2024
[Post edited 1 Mar 9:07]
Over 25.000 women and children killed in Gaza
at 20:06 29 Feb 2024

I've avoided creating new threads on Gaza up to now, and instead posted new developments on the main Palestinian thread but I think the following (which I've also posted there) deserves a thread of its own.

The US defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, said earlier today that more than 25,000 women and children had been killed by Israel since 7 October 2023, adding that Israel can and should do more to protect civilians.

During a US congressional hearing (ostensibly about his health), Austin was asked how many Palestinian women and children had been killed by Israel, Reuters reports.

He said: "It is over 25,000."

That's an absolutely astonishing figure, as it must be impossible to regard these as Hamas fighters. There will no doubt be thousand of innocent men killed as well, in addition to members of Hamas.
[Post edited 29 Feb 20:07]
Songs spoilt by use in adverts and the like?
at 20:11 28 Feb 2024

The introduction to Blitzkrieg Bop in the AO advert springs to mind, and I was rather disturbed to hear the following in an advert recently.

Anyone else with examples?
[Post edited 28 Feb 20:13]
What a day!
at 09:48 25 Feb 2024

Ipswich and Scotland win.

That doesn't happen very often, and but for a dodgy TMO decision in the game against France, Scotland could be going into the game against Ireland with the Grand Slam for both at stake.
[Post edited 25 Feb 9:48]
at 09:30 25 Feb 2024

A big shout-out to Massimo who I thought had an excellent game yesterday. Indeed, I think he's been doing he business these last few games, although the TWTD ratings don't reflect this.

Maybe there are aspects of his game that those who watch on Town TV don't see. But having seen his last few games in person from behind the goal where you can see all that he does, it's clear to me that he continues to be a very key player, and I struggle to see any drop off from early in the season.
[Post edited 25 Feb 10:10]
Andre Dozzell
at 09:22 25 Feb 2024

He was a bit underwhelming in the first 30 minutes or so (as were the rest of his team) but I thought he had an increasing influence on the game from then on until he was substituted. Indeed, I am not quite sure why he was substituted because from around that time Ipswich started to gain back control.

What do others think?
Old Hall Community, East Bergholt
at 10:51 20 Feb 2024

Interesting article about Old Hall, which I walked past many times in years gone by on walks in Constable Country.
[Post edited 20 Feb 12:53]
Robin Windsor RIP
at 09:13 20 Feb 2024

This is sad. He was born in Ipswich and, according to Wikipedia, went to my primary school (Clifford Road) and Copleston.
The benefits of rail nationalisation?
at 17:27 16 Feb 2024

Private Eye flagged this up in its latest edition, and the intention is for the abolition of off peak return fares (which include the ability to break a journey) to operate throughout the nationalised LNER network following the pilot.

Nationalisation these days thus means fare maximisation with no regard to the public good, a concept which was at the heart of old school nationalisation. So beware Labour proposals to bring franchises in-house (ie. nationalise them) once they expire.

[Post edited 16 Feb 17:55]
Mick Mills
at 20:28 10 Feb 2024

was effusive in his praise for the team, and knows a bit more about football than all the doomsters out there.

You need a BBC account to listen, and his comments (which are well worth listening to in full) kick in just after 1 minute.

For those that can't access it, his opening comments were.

"What a wonderful game. Really, really good game, some excellent stuff. I'm sure the fans will be delighted with what they've seen from the team this season. We came back against Leicester on Boxing Day. We've come back today, but today we've almost got the victory. That last onslaught was absolutely outstanding. When the final whistle went, I don't know how many West Brom players went down on their knees. They were absolutely shattered, and no wonder, we put them under so much pressure."

I would second all that. If we were drawing or losing and playing badly, that might be a concern but we are not, so let's all be positive. And we're 15 points clear of 7th place, so let's just get some perspective, because that is more than we could ever have hoped for a the start of the season.
[Post edited 10 Feb 20:32]
Economic illiteracy
at 16:41 9 Feb 2024

This doesn't seem to have been widely reported but is astonishing given it is the Chief Secretary to the Treasury talking. It could also be said that it shows the fiscal rule (to which both parties are wedded) to be a bit of nonsense.

[Post edited 9 Feb 16:42]
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