Showing posts from 2023

A Dangerous Species

 Beware of the Financial Advisor. It hangs around in ex-pat haunts such as Doha's Champion's Bar, listens in to conversations for hints of affluence, and ingratiates itself with unsuspecting individuals who might be looking to invest some hard-earned money. It is likely to use a pseudonym, like Decent Bloke, Helpful Guy or John Hunt. But what it is really trying to do is scam you with some  dubious investment scheme   Having received its commission, it won't want to know you any more.

The need for pragmatic politics

Personally, I see no convincing evidence for the existence of supernatural beings. But even supposing I am wrong and the firmament is positively teeming with spirits, ghosts, angels, demons, saints, archangels, deities of every flavour, even that would not be reason enough for our political life to concern itself with anything other than immediate secular pragmatism. Politics, like ethics, should not ask "How did we get here?" Apportioning credit or blame for the status quo is an exercise for armchair philosophers. Government should address two questions: "Who is suffering genuine hardship?" and "What can we do to help?" There is work enough in a programme based on these two questions to keep politicians busy for years. If in doubt as to the meaning of genuine hardship, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a good starting point. As long as we have people struggling to find food, shelter and basic security, we should not even give ear-time to the complaints o

Gamma corrected payscales

Instead of wasting time with prime ministers, chancellors and 'independent' pay review bodies (all of whom seem only to understand percentages and not very well at that), we should give the task of resolving the various pay disputes to a Broadcast Engineer. Here's how it would then work: Decide on the salary level at which nobody can really justify a further increase right now. For argument, let's say £100k. Call that 'peak level' and normalise to it. Now apply gamma correction to the entire workforce earning less than £100k. By this approach, the hierarchy is preserved (i.e. nobody overtakes anyone else) but those most in need receive proportionately more generous increases. This is far cheaper and fairer than applying a flat rate percentage. It is also simpler. Having fixed the peak figure (e.g. £100k) it only remains to decide on gamma. For example, for gamma = 0.7, someone currently on £10k would receive an increase of £9,950, someone on £50k an increase of