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Everything posted by Cogs

  1. What the hell happened there. Have they really bricked up their own windows to make them smaller? If you look on the aerial photograph at max zoom you can see they've also decked the entire garden so its basically a wooden box with an open roof. I suspect this is the home of an agoraphobic. Edit: A keen naturist perhaps?
  2. I sense the dread hand of The Krusty One in this, as usual.
  3. If you look at the debt figures (we've had threads here about it before now) you'll see that young women are very indebted relative to young men. Far more likely to be attempting to live the "sex and the city" lifestyle than the blokes who are still at home with mum. I don't know if women "want" a rich husband (I think this sociobiological stuff is a bit over-sold as an explanation for things) but for some it looks like they haven't got much choice, its the only practical way they can have any quality of life (e.g., afford to have children) as a couple in the future. No wonder Jane Austen has had a revival of late, its all becoming very topical again.
  4. For tied housing you are looking at more like 60% off your wages (bearing in mind you don't get a choice which house etc). One thing to lose your job and get fired, another to be kicked onto the street. The other thing associated with these 'model villages' was that the employer would impose his values upon you (most notable: no pubs, no drinking, no shops selling anything they didn't like, no entertainment during church hours etc). The behaviour in the US of business with regard to their "company towns" is just a catalogue of abuse quite frankly, you'd be more at liberty in low-level prison. It was supposed to be philanthropy but you don't need to be a genius to spot that there might have been other agendas involved. In theory its a nice idea, in practice you are going from being a citizen to a serf doffing his cap to his lordship. Not having a direct link between your employer and your dwelling is probably for the best when it comes down to it.
  5. So can a 36 year old Dentist today afford to spend £1.65 million on a home today? I know they are relatively well paid but I doubt it somehow. This is no different from the shop worker's flat @ £150k or the nurse's terrace @ £250k, where is the money going to come from?
  6. This would be the prudent and thoughtful management the Tories in opposition never actually bothered calling for? It was the only job they've had to do for the last decade, one might have though they could spare the time from their directorships and after dinner speaking to make the point in the House? Certainly Labour have been incompetent and mismanaged the economy, and George Osborne signed up to their spending plans. Part of the reason we are in so deep is because an incompetent government was paired with an incompetent opposition who didn't hold them to account. I have no argument with seeing labour for what they are, I'm just amazed at how generous people are being to the Tories. Can't we grow out of this childish belief that whoever isn't in power is the answer to all our problems? This is how we got into this mess in 1997.
  7. But where were the Tories in all this? Doing what exactly? Their only job is to criticise and they couldn't even bothered to do that properly until very recently. I think that is a form of incompetence as well and if we had something approximating a functional democracy they'd have lost their seats over failing to discharge their responsibilities as HM's Loyal Opposition. Its funny how people here are always saying the Tories would "never" do something and then when you give them an example you never hear anything back. I think Labour will lose the next election and rightly so, but I'm not particularly excited about that posh little PR man becoming the PM. Not that I'd advocate that nihilism sets in, its important to vote and a difficult but necessary responsibility to choose the lesser evil. Still, you can save all this ra-ra-ra talk for the messiah in waiting, we've all heard it before numerous times.
  8. Well, they won't do anything different with regard to the economy. Remember Osborne signed the Tories up to Brown's own spending promises. I fully expect the Tories to ram home any advantage or criticism of course but they are being (publicly) wise after the event despite what some people here would have you believe. And if Brown frittered away a good economy over 10 years, that is at least a few years longer than a Tory Chancellor has ever managed. Its all nonsense really, a curse on all their houses.
  9. Its still there, try again: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/sep/23/5 My own feeling is that the most important point isn't coming out (and this article was back in Sept anyway), and its that having royally messed up there is still not an ounce of humility to be found in the City. That is really what is beginning to irritate the hell out of people. Edited for a missing word.
  10. Pls explain the logic! Not being argumentative, I genuinely don't understand your point.
  11. You sort of preclude any sensible discussion of your points with that. You say "artificially closed shop", I say closed shop and with damn good reason. One hears a lot from fierce-talking free traders but one doesn't see many of them in reality wanting to use backstreet heart surgeons (qualification: Bronze Swimming Certificate). In short, anything safety critical. So thats most engineering/science/medical degrees covered. As to the rest it just depends on the economic costs of incompetence. Not that any amount of education completely eradicates the possibility of incompetence of course, it does however make it less likely all things being equal. If I was going to play along with you a bit more I'd say any degree whose content relates to the minimum entry requirements of a professional body, such as one that awards Charters. Whilst such orgs have their critics, I'm usually one of them, it is very hard to have a functional market where there is no way of telling the difference between an expert and cowboy. Cue: A load of people whining that they hired a Chartered Engineer and he wasn't any good, but that doesn't necessarily undermine my point.
  12. You'd have to begin by explaining to these low-cost tutors why they have to leave chairs at MIT, Caltech and Cambridge and go home to Delhi to work for peanuts...
  13. Here is 25 quid, go and do some private equity restructuring with it for me will you? After all, its purely a question of your individual skill isn't it. Or maybe there is something else to it? I'm not sure January 2008 is a good time for you to be crowing about the superpowers of the elite financial fraternity anyway. Turns out many of you were paid millions to make bush league mistakes.
  14. The issue is more whether JK Rowling's children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren or great-great-great-great-great-great (given the constant extension of copyright) children should never have to do a day's work in their lives or whether it would be right that they should be richer than JK Rowling herself ever was. The Tories would enthusiastically say yes to both. The issues regarding earned money are rather less important than those regarding unearned money.
  15. EAs are the modern day sin eaters (a sin eater was someone you'd pay to come and take on the sins of the recently deceased to allow them to go to the afterlife cleansed). They exist because people are greedy and selfish. People don't however like to be seen as greedy and selfish so they pay someone else to do it for them in public. Sin eaters were reviled as well, its what people are paying for in the end, part of the service. If people were ever in danger of liking what EAs do they'd have no need for them. "Professor Evans of the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen, actually saw a sin-eater about the year 1825, who was then living near Llanwenog, Cardiganshire. Abhorred by the superstitious villagers as a thing unclean, the sin-eater cut himself off from all social intercourse with his fellow creatures by reason of the life he had chosen; he lived as a rule in a remote place by himself, and those who chanced to meet him avoided him as they would a leper. This unfortunate was held to be the associate of evil spirits, and given to witchcraft, incantations and unholy practices; only when a death took place did they seek him out, and when his purpose was accomplished they burned the wooden bowl and platter from which he had eaten the food handed across, or placed on the corpse for his consumption". Just like how people see EAs today
  16. Lets just begin with the national IT system that would be required. Then there is health and safety. Appeals and complaints. Pretty soon this adult babysitting service will be the size of the NHS. No thanks.
  17. They already do this in many parts of the country, just not in a portacabin. The only problem is its ruinously expensive but if you are offering to pay higher taxes, pls do write to your MP setting out your arguments. And here we get down to it: the administration of benefits is fiendishly expensive. It is far more expensive to the tax payer to means test than it is to hand out buckets full of money. Exactly how much of your money do you want to hand over to serve as the funds for "teaching people a lesson"? Difficult stuff, no wonder so many people prefer to live in the fantasy world of black/white good/bad promulgated by the Daily Mail.
  18. I think maybe you have me at cross-purposes. I apologise if I inadvertently offended you or something.
  19. Well it isn't really for chaps is it. I had cause to visit a GPs recently for the first time this century. Turned out a bit complicated and I had to get some tests and general messing about. What was strange was everyone seemed to naturally assume I (1) knew the not very obvious layout of the building (2) knew how their systems worked (ie. such and such doesn't work on Thursday afternoons since they got married or something, you collect your test card from person X and take it to person Y and then return it to someone else, but not on a Tuesday unless it is the second week of the month). Now it probably didn't help I was feeling pretty rough but I didn't see any info and nobody offered me any and seem amazed I had to ask. Got the general impression that everyone they see is in there on a weekly basis and that I was considered something of a gatecrasher turning up ill without having paid my dues as a member of the surgery community.
  20. Maybe its something to do with the almost heroic amounts of anti-depressants they hoover up?
  21. Sadly I think this sort of thing is gathering momentum with the rise of the US-style unpaid internship. They sound good on the surface but in practice turn out to be exercises in giving plausible excuses for nepotism and a posing a tough barrier to entry into certain professions for those who can't be supported by their parents for an extended period of time with little or no real income.
  22. Just renegotiated my rent after 4 years without a rise. They've played hardball and under pressure I've acquiesced. Up £5 a month! "Prime" Brum (stop sniggering at the back) and rents aren't going anywhere. In actual fact my feeling compared with 4 years ago is that rents are weakening. Certainly a lot more choice around.
  23. Two words: Johnson Matthey. In the early 1980s the bank expanded its activities outside the bullion business, and by making high-risk loans provided over half of the parent company's profits in 1983. The quality of some of these loans turned out to be worse than expected, and the size of them exceeded the capital of the bank. To prevent a wider banking crisis, the Bank of England organised a rescue package in the evening of 30 September 1984, including purchasing JMB for £1.
  24. So, prices down more than 11% and Ron Paul for President '08
  25. On the radio they didn't say "average" anything, they said FTBs were priced out of 2-bed mid-terrace properties in 93% of towns. Which is slightly more meaningful way of talking about their stats I think. If a 2-bed mid-terrace isn't a starter home what is, a caravan?
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