Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The London Blitz

The Bomb Sight project maps the London WW2 bomb census between 7 October 1940 and 6 June 1941 to show where the bombs fell on London whilst Hitler's Blitzkrieg was at its peak. The project has scanned original 1940s bomb census maps, geo-referenced the maps and digitally captured the geographical locations of all the falling bombs recorded on the original map.
The snapshot overview pictured here shows how comprehensive the Blitz was. I wonder if anyone has embarked on a similar project for Dresden and Hamburg?

Friday, 7 December 2012

Corporation Tax

A few years ago while I was sorting out my late father's estate, a solicitor said half-jokingly that Inheritance Tax is entirely voluntary. This is true: there are many ways a chap can prevent his estate having to forego 40% above £325,000. Chief amongst these is to spend your money before you die, or to give it away. Yer average tax consultant can find lots of other legal ways to do it, of course, just as David Cameron's father's advisers did. In a way, I can sympathise with avoiding Inheritance Tax because, after all, in most cases the money is mainly money which was taxed when it was earned (although not apparently in Cameron's case).
But it seems that Corporation Tax too has now become 'voluntary'. Starbucks have magnanimously announced that they will pay £20 million Corporation Tax over the next two years despite the various dodges which permit them legally not to do so. Well, thanks a bunch! No doubt the fat cats at Starbucks have reached the view that they can do without the negative publicity of the current campaign to boycott tax-dodging corporations.
The boycott campaign, however, won't solve the problem in the long-term. Corporations might do the decent thing for a while, but once the heat dies down they'll go back to their old ways. In any case, a boycott against the likes of Amazon and Google just isn't going to work.The tax laws need to be changed and the tax-dodgers should be pursued with the same vigour that the authorities employ to hound benefit claimants, issue parking tickets and collect council tax etc. And there should be no 'settlements' such as the one HMRC agreed with Vodafone. On the Government's own figures there is a tax gap of some £32 billion between what is expected and what the Treasury actually receives. The so-called structural deficit could be rectified remarkably quickly!

Star Trek

Benedict Cumberbatch embarks on the next phase of his plan for world domination.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Congratulations to all those who grew a sponsored moustache during November to raise funds for cancer research
Members of the B Company, 3rd Battalion of the Brigade of Moustachioed Turks, however, have reacted sceptically to the news that gentlemen in the western world consider that not shaving one's upper lip area for a month constitutes a moustache. "A moustache is a philosophy, a discipline, an emblem of spirituality and devotion to duty," said Brigadier Mustapha Tash, "and not a mere tonsorial whim to be sniffed at."