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Day: July 1, 2012

Should politicians decide whether or not free refills of coke are legal or not? Well one politician thinks so…

As much as Baroness Ros riled me up last night in believing that bankers are in fact one entity she wasn’t the winner of my own version of ‘stupid politician making a stupid statement of the week’ award. That dubious honour fell to a mayor in the United States of America.

Cambridge (Massachusetts) Mayor Henrietta Davis wants to make free refills of sugary beverages illegal because they aren’t exactly that good for you. You can read the full story on CNN behind the link. Speaking as she unveiled her proposals she said, “Our environment is full of way too many temptations, this is one temptation that isn’t really necessary.” Well she is right. Many temptations aren’t ‘necessary’ but I don’t recall a lot of things being banned either. I don’t recall a ban on buying a whole box of Krispy Kreme donuts in the city. I also don’t recall a ban on buying pitchers of beer. I also don’t think smoking tabacco is illegal. So why on Earth would free refills of fizzy pop be deemed as illegal?

Cambridge is best known as the home of two of America’s finest higher education establishments with both Harvard and MIT calling Cambridge home. So a significant number of the population are students who in general like the free refill option when they go into a place to eat. It saves money and they are big enough and ugly enough to make up their own minds – as is everyone.

The idea of banning free refills of sugary beverages doesn’t concern me as much as the actual premise of a politician thinking that she has the right to decide whether it is legal or not. It is up to individuals to decide what they might consume as long as the beverage is deemed legal. It is not illegal to get drunk. Being drunk is perfectly legal but if you behave badly when you are drunk or attempt to drive or many other things then that is what makes it illegal. So surely sugary drinks shouldn’t be dealt with at a harsher level than alcohol?

I understand why the proposal is on the table and it might help with obesity levels but it will also affect those who aren’t obese. It would be totally unfair on those people. It is different to the smoking ban in public places because smoke can affect others but drinking lots of coca-cola or sprite or 7up or whatever doesn’t adversely affect other peoples health.

It is just another example where elected officials want to play God as they deem God should be played. It goes against my core beliefs that the state should never intervene when no-one else is being directly affected by someone’s actions. Free refills are an individual choice and not that for the law makers. To think that they have the power and the right to make such decisions is to be frank beyond the pale.

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‘I dumped my man because he was too reliable’ – the words of my generation

Sometimes you read an article and your head shakes in despair and your soul tries to self-combust. This is what happened to me earlier when I read that Kerry Katona had dumped her new man because he was too dull – which is arguably a fair reason to dump a man (but it doesn’t tend to lead me to be thinking I’m Kerry’s guy) but more pertinently for the purposes of this blog the other reason he got the old heave ho was because he was ‘too reliable.’

Yes a man was just too damn reliable and that is a bad thing. A very bad thing. I mean what fool would want a reliable man – certainly after having a failed marriage with a guy who got a blowjob from a stripper on his stag do and then your next relationship being with a man who leached off you both emotionally and financially? Yeah reliability in a man is such a bad trait to have.

Look I know I shouldn’t throw Kerry Katona up there as the bastion of the women of my generation. However she can’t be ignored – as much as we might try – so lets have a look at what the source said in the article in The People:

“She has made her mind up and Steve’s pretty gutted. But he accepts he and Kerry are very different people.

“She is a party girl and loves being outrageous whereas he is a gentleman and likes a quiet life.

“Kerry was smitten with him at first. She loved that he wasn’t interested in all the celebrity glitz and glamour.

“But now she’s got into partying again and wants to be out on the town.

“Since Steve moved in, in March, she has barely been out with him and has been more bothered about partying with her friends.

“She just says the magic has gone and he’s too quiet, serious and boring for her.

“When Kerry was smitten she ­encouraged him to give up his job and set up a studio at her house.

“He did all that but then she was moaning he was under her feet all the time. Meanwhile Steve felt like a home help and an unpaid babysitter. Now they’ve both just accepted they are totally incompatible. It’s been sad for Steve.

“His family are quite well-to-do. He uprooted from his home in Cheshire and really thought he could make it work.

“But as far as Kerry is concerned she’s just happy to move on.”

So yeah there we have it. She liked the idea of a gentleman, got him to uproot himself and quit his job and now she has realised that they aren’t compatible as she is too wild for him. She likes the crazy lifestyle and instead of a bit of stability she would prefer to go off the rails again and party all day and all night.

I know the love life of a former member of a second rate girl group should not be a story, however it is and all it goes to show is that there are people out there who don’t want a stable and reliable partner – even if they have been treated like shit by arseholes in the past. You can’t help some people and all it does is make me sigh that sometimes just being good and solid and reliable isn’t enough.

In this day and age even more so than seemingly in previous generations people look for the higher highs but with that become lower lows and that is ok. A nice serene existence isn’t for all I get that but it seems that less and less people are looking for that these days…

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Lib Dem Baroness Ros Scott has caused me to blow a gasket

Oh Lib Dems what are you doing to me? I sit her in my toothpaste stained jogging bottoms and a t-shirt saying ‘Brain Loading…47% Please Wait’ and feeling good playing Bejeweled Blitz and then I see a tweet and my anger soars to record (well that’s a lie – nowhere near record levels but still I’m pretty pissed off) and why I hear you ask? Well because of this tweet from a Liberal Democrat Peer…

Baroness Ros Tweet
Lib Dems…the grown-up party – or so I thought…

It seems pretty innocuous but still, ‘We were told if we didn’t pay huge bonuses to bankers they would all go abroad. And the problem with that is? ‘ I think I need to respond for what the problem with that might be.

First of all the city is actually a vital part of our economy. As much as it is hard to say in this day and age when everyone wants to crush the bankers and the banks as I have blogged about on numerous occasions before, I think it is fair to say that the city helped us get into this mess but that without a strong city it is highly unlikely that we are going to get out of it. We can’t just kill the city because all that will do is stunt growth. It isn’t rocket science but it seems like it might be for some people.

The winner of the Best New Lib Dem Blog last year Richard Morris agrees with the Baroness:

Richard Morris Tweet
Richard agrees with the Baroness…

@neilmonnery @baronessros of course you are presuminging (sic) that A)they would go & b)we wouldn’t find anyone equally ‘talented’ to replace them

Well first of all I think the presumption that bankers might leave the UK if they get offered more money overseas is a fairly safe one to presume. I know – and I repeat – I know – that this is already happening. People that I know are losing staff members because their bonus cheque for the last financial year was shall we say lacking. These are people that actually make money for the banks – and in turn therefore make money fr the UK tax payer – but they are going because they can earn more money elsewhere.

I also think it is fair to say that this happens in all forms of life. People will move on if they get a better pay packet elsewhere. It is why I can never understand why football fans get so worked up when a player leaves for another club and a huge pay increase. People go where the money is and everyone has their families to worry about and such. Even if they don’t then why wouldn’t they take more money to do a similar job? You would as would I. If someone offered me a job to do the exact same as I was doing today for a lot more dosh then I’d be off like a shot. We all would.

So I think we can safely say that the very best will move on – and we know they are the very best because other banks will want to hire them. The people who are crap and make no money won’t be highly sought after. This is how it works. That is purely logical. If you are good at your job then you will have more doors open to you to move onwards and upwards. If you stink then you try to tread water and stay where you are.

As for presuming that it would be hard to find people equally talented enough to replace them, well this one is simple. If they wanted to work in the banking sector then they already would. Rightly or wrongly the banking sector is motivated by one thing – money. If you work in the city then it is highly you like money – and a lot of it. You may also like women and drugs but these aren’t as big of a prerequisite as liking money. No-one gets into the banking industry because they want to save the world. They get into it because they are clever enough to and want to live a good lifestyle.

People say that they want the bonus culture slashed because it is obscene that bankers get huge bonuses when they do a bad job but what about doing a good job? If regulations are put in place in the K (and for UK based firms operating overseas) that reduce the bonus culture then all it will succeed in doing is force the good workers who make money to leave. They won’t stay and enjoy seeing their salaries culled they will just move on.

Going back to the original tweet what is the problem with all the people who make money going overseas and stopping making money for UK firms who employ people in the UK and pay plenty of tax in the UK (both the company and the employees) well let me think…I think I may have showed exactly the problem in that previous sentence.

Look I know it’s cool to bash the bankers. It is cool to see them as a collective and they are all as bad as each other. Well one thing I have learned in life is not to tar everyone with the same brush. Not all redheads are fiery and gorgeous (although most are), not all fat people are jolly, not all Tories were born with a silver spoon, not all Labour voters think pie & mash is the best meal ever invented, not all my online dating experiences have been horrific (well this one is close) but yes you get what I mean.

Yes the bankers who were dishonest and screwed things up should face the consequences but should those who have done and continue to do a good job face the same sanctions? Morally of course they don’t. You have to be an idiot (or a member of #ukuncut) to believe such nonsense but putting aside the moral argument it doesn’t make sense from a financial standpoint going forward either.

Like it or not many bankers are terrific at their job and earn their bonuses. If a department earns a company say £50million profit then what is wrong with a percentage of that money going to the people who helped earn the money? There are two things that motivate most people and money is the big one and the other is the promise of sex. They are the things that will motivate most people so if not money then do we propose lots of free sex on tap for good work? I’m not sure that will go down well in some departments so if it’s neither money or sex then what motivation do bankers have to work those extra hours and get business done? Not a great deal.

Some bankers are bad. Many more aren’t. Until we can get our stupid heads around this fact then bankers aren’t going to fare well. The sad fact that both the media and the government (both sides of the house) are willing to throw the banking industry under the bus because it fits in with what the electorate want to hear is depressing and when Lib Dem peers think that the bankers are one entity – and in so think they are all bad and wouldn’t be missed – then even the Lib Dems are starting to lose their sense of the real world.

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