Alf Bentley

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Alf Bentley last won the day on 26 June

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About Alf Bentley

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    First Team
  • Birthday 29/02/16

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    Floating through space and time
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    Situationism (passive & active)
    Words and verbosity
    Music with passion
    Consuming mind-altering liquids to defray the tedium
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    Richard III took his helmet off

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  1. I don't think those sceptical of Brexit are negative towards opening ourselves up to the world. They're negative about placing barriers between ourselves and Europe, the part of the world that is closest to us. They also have negative expectations about how easily, how quickly and how beneficially we'll be able to open ourselves up to the non-European part of the world. That scepticism may prove to be misplaced, but it's likely to be a long, rocky road until that happens, if it does. Anyway, opening ourselves up to the world does not require Brexit. The EU has just signed trade deals with Canada and Japan. Other EU nations already trade much more with Asia and other parts of the globe than the UK does. There was / could be a role for the UK pushing the EU further in that direction, if the EU is too inward-looking in that regard (and I'm not sure whether it really is). My naturally pro-EU tendencies are based on the need for wider horizons, with the EU as a minimum level for that. Capital and communications are global so political administration and democracy need to head in that direction to ensure that "progress" serves the interests of the people, not just the interests of global capital. Democratic politics needs to find a way of being more global (with the EU as a stepping-stone) and more local, through devolution of power and less centralisation, be that in London or Brussels.
  2. A better speech than most and I'm all in favour of diversity. Politics needs more articulacy and more diversity - and white working-class, not just black upper-middle. But I wonder if she's being painted as something she's not ("pulled themselves up by their bootstraps" etc.)? I was curious, so checked her Wiki page: "Badenoch was born in Wimbledon. Both her parents are doctors and her childhood included time living in the United States and Lagos, Nigeria. Badenoch returned to the United Kingdom at the age of 16. She studied Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Sussex and later graduated in 2009 with a degree in Law at Birkbeck, University of London. Badenoch then pursued a career in consultancy and financial services, working as an associate director of private bank and wealth manager Coutts and was also a director at the centre-right magazine The Spectator. She is married to Hamish Badenoch, [COO Global Markets UK], Deutche Bank". Sounds to me as if she had a fairly privileged upbringing, albeit that she is black and spent time living in Nigeria. My curiosity then took me to Diane Abbott's page, expecting a similarly middle-class (if UK-based) upbringing. Apparently she grew up in Paddington, her Dad was a welder and her Mum a nurse. She just went to a nice school in Harrow & to Cambridge. So maybe Diane offers more diversity....even if she struggles with sums and comes across as awfully shrill and tin-eared?
  3. I don't think he should whore himself out like that. He's just prostituting himself.
  4. That family has certainly had a run of bad luck with health issues. I considered recommending that they make an appointment with my GP, Dr. Shipman.
  5. Top, top comedians but there were 4 Marx Brothers, weren't there? Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Webbo.
  6. Analysis of Brexit prospects by Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator for the the FT - sounds dire:
  7. What did he say about Putin? If spilling the beans might lead to your sudden death, feel free to wait until you're in Blighty before answering.
  8. Maybe. It may transpire that the perpetrator was some sort of sadist intent on ruining people's lives as well as taking their possessions. Alternatively, it might just be a particularly ruthless form of robbery that he saw as lower-risk. Yes, if you want to rob someone, you can just threaten them with a knife - but you run the risk that they also have a knife or weapon, particularly if possession of knives is becoming more common among the young, as we read. Throw acid in someone's face and there's little risk of them fighting back or knifing you....of course that also entails some sort of nihilism or contempt for the lives of others. Disgusting stuff either way - and I hope it gets clamped down on rapidly. I've not heard of many previous cases of acid being used in criminal scenarios, mainly just revenge attacks, particularly against women (often Asian women). We don't want it happening at all, but we certainly don't want it to become commonplace in street crime.
  9. Police seem to think all the attacks were connected - probably done by the same kid who's been arrested. Robbery seems to be the motive - the bloke worst injured was a take-away delivery driver and the aim was to steal his moped.
  10. I keep hearing footballers talk about "the gaffer". Didn't know it was Zieler they were talking about all the time.
  11. Maybe I'm being thick, but I don't understand your point, Jon. The Auditors (or NAO, in this case) have done the job they're paid to do and pointed out the risks - massive risks to the national economy and to countless thousands of traders, if they're right. The auditee (HMRC) has denied that the risk exists in a rather vague manner. I'm assuming that the NAO know what they're talking about and are identifying a real, important risk. Maybe not, maybe they've done their job poorly or are just covering their backs and have raised a false scare. Or maybe HMRC just said what they said for public consumption and will address the risk identified behind the scenes. As I've said, there are also circumstances in which the risk wouldn't matter (if we stayed in the Customs Union or Brexit is extended by a transitional period). On the face of it, it sounds an extremely serious risk. But only time will tell, I suppose.
  12. Somehow, this exchange sent me to Youtube to watch "Come again" by the Au Pairs. Great, great band of yesteryear, though Lesley Woods is a candidate for the most scary woman ever (or maybe I'm just a chauvinist).
  13. I might apply for a job myself. Language skills (about the only thing I have to offer) might come in handy dealing with foreign importers - and I was briefly employed by the civil service, including Customs, 28-31 years ago. Or I could offer to provide my services as an overpaid private consultant, as the private sector is always more efficient. Someone always has to "have a good war".
  14. Indeed. We've been running down civil service numbers for years as we didn't like all that "red tape". Now we're leaving the EU, partly because we don't like all that "Brussels red tape". In doing so, particularly if we leave the Customs Union, we'll be creating masses of extra "red tape" at a national level......and might need to employ a lot of extra "red tape" people to deal with it.
  15. I find the HMRC statement unclear. Are they saying that the new system will definitely be ready or that the old system will cope, if necessary? The words "the service remains fully capable of dealing with..." suggest the latter. Yet the National Audit Office has specifically said that post-Brexit there would be about 255m customs declarations, but that the old system (currently handling 55m) could only cope with 100m. They don't seem to be querying the ability of the new system to handle 255m declarations, but are questioning whether it is likely to be ready by March 2019. It's like the auditors telling a firm that there is a major problem with their accounts that risks causing a catastrophe in 20 months time - and the firm responding that there is no problem. There are ways in which there might be no problem: e.g. if we don't leave the Customs Union (but we currently plan to do so - and our ability to make new trade deals depends on us doing so) or if the Brexit process is extended by a transitional period beyond March 2019 (but that will depend on deals being done over the "divorce bill" and other issues, where the 2 parties are currently miles apart). There will be brinksmanship in the Brexit negotiations and the possibility that there will be no deal or that any deal may not be finalised until March 2019. So, HMRC will have to plan on the basis that we're leaving in March 2019 and that the new system needs to be in place by then (unless they're questioning the Auditor's view that the old system couldn't cope). New government I.T. systems don't have a great track record for problems & delays.