Sunday, 27 November 2016

Floriferous November

There are still quite a few flowers blooming in the garden, pansies, campanulas, hardy cyclamen, erigerons, and even antirrhinums that usually expire long before this, but the water lily is tantalising us. It's had a bud just below the water for months, but there's no sign of it opening.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Friday's Colour

Why is cheap Friday called Black ?

Black days are usually bad days, so I'd have expected a bright cheerful colour for the day of cheap cat food (we got a wonderful deal from one of the supermarkets)

I suggest Scarlet Friday, though vermilion, lime green or shocking pink might have their advocates.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Pernicious Regulation

I've long been puzzled by the frequency with which people seem to change energy supplier in the hope of reducing their bills, suspecting that many of the savings might be illusory.

I've just heard a discussion on BBC Radio 4 that confirms that suspicion, explaining that the 'projections' of savings usually exaggerate the likely savings of any change. Apparently that error is not the fault of the energy companies, but arises because the regulator 'Ofgem' compels companies to use  an unsound method of calculation that is almost certain to overestimate the savings. Ofgem introduced the relevant regulation in 2014, ignoring representations by people who pointed out the error.


I wonder what disciplinary action will be taken against the incompetents responsible. My guess is none.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Futile Disorder

I doubt the utility of public demonstrations, preferring a lucid, cogently argued complaining writing.

Demonstrations that involve damage to people or property I consider criminal, whatever the cause they are supposed to further.

The demonstrations in America, protesting at the result of the presidential election seem particularly absurd. The only valid ground for protesting at an election is that the election was not properly conducted. I understand that no such complaint is being made in America, but that the protests are just about the result.

There may well be some grounds for complaint once the president elect gets round to doing something, but so far all he's had time for has been to visit the White House to see the outgoing president.

The main effect of pointless, violent protests against the election result is likely to be to strengthen the resolve of the winners and convince them that their opponents are delinquents.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Who is Nick ?

Every few weeks we hear some news item about 'Nick' the false witness who persuaded over eager police officers to conduct an expensive witch hunt against innocent elderly and formerly prominent men.

The targets of Nick's accusations have suffered great hurt, and Harvey Proctor lost his job as a result of the fuss. They should at least have a chance to sue for damage sustained, but it is hard for them to do that if Nick''s identity is secret.

Police justify publishing the names of suspects by saying that it encourages other victims to come forward. It might similarly be argued that publishing the identities of alleged victims might encourage people who know some of those victims to be dishonest or untruthful to come forward with evidence of their mendacity.

In both cases there are also reasons for not publishing the names. A compromise might be to treat accusers and accused alike and either disclose all names, or keep all secret.

Monday, 7 November 2016

The Damage Done by Libel Damages

A retired police Superintendent was recently convicted of several cases of child abuse. When the abuse was reported in the press many years ago the abuser sued for libel and was awarded £370 000 damages.

Will he now have to pay it back?

An award of damages for libel does not injure just the person who has to pay; it also injures others who are restrained from discussing the matter.

Even a threat to sue for libel can be damaging. Rupert Murdoch prevented free discussion of the parlous state of his companies just by threatening to sue for libel. After he disappeared and was assumed dead it was discovered he had stolen about £400 000 000 from a pension fund.

Perhaps anyone suing, or threatening to sue, for libel could be required to take out an insurance policy to compensate any person suffering loss as a result of the suppression of free discussion.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Ups and Downs

We talk of 'eating up' 'finishing up', 'tidying up', and in recent years some people have even started to talk of 'meeting up' . In all those cases 'up' seems to be redundant. There are no alternative ways of eating or tidying, that need to be distinguished by using 'down'. so we don't need to say 'up' either.