The death of the banana republic

US-based banana producer and importer Chiquita, the world's largest banana company, is almost certain to be bought by a Brazilian consortium, after the collapse of its attempted tax-dodge reverse takeover of Irish-based banana importer Fyffes. In some ways, this is an entirely normal business story. It features the collapse of the easy, painless [1] tax … Continue reading The death of the banana republic

The Heywood & Middleton result shows Ed Miliband will be the next PM

There were two by-elections this Thursday for UK parliament constituencies, both in England: Clacton-on-Sea, in Essex, and Heywood & Middleton, in Greater Manchester. The Clacton one isn't particularly interesting: a vaguely crazy Tory MP decided to defect to UKIP, as MPs are allowed to do in a Westminster system, and decided to waste everyone's time … Continue reading The Heywood & Middleton result shows Ed Miliband will be the next PM

Not a case of political correctness gorn mad

The picture is a Banksy mural. It was painted on 30 September 2014, and erased by the end of 1 October 2014. The story was reported by UK media on 2 October 2014 as being "erased after 'racist' complaint", with the implication being that - despite its clear antiracist message - minority groups were offended … Continue reading Not a case of political correctness gorn mad

Spot the difference competition

Pictured: 1) Vivian James, an embarrassing stereotype of outdated social attitudes and behaviours; 2) Vivian James, an Australian writer. If you've no idea what I'm talking about, then you've probably missed #gamergate, the latest example of of socially inadequate men attempting to drive women out of 'their' space of video gaming. Here is an excellent … Continue reading Spot the difference competition

Twitter won’t kill the general feed, cos that’d kill Twitter

Long-time Twitter users, myself included, value it mostly for the general feed (everyone you follow, live and in chronological order) and the ability to replicate the general feed model for specific lists you've made of people you follow and for specific search terms and hashtags. At the same time, Twitter is a confusing experience for … Continue reading Twitter won’t kill the general feed, cos that’d kill Twitter

Abbott, Birthers, written constitutions, judges, hilarity

Australian PM Tony Abbott was born in the UK in 1957. Being born in the UK between 1948 and 1983, he immediately became a British citizen by birth. His mother was an Australian citizen, so he also immediately acquired the right to Australian citizenship by descent. Paperwork and patriotism The law in force at the … Continue reading Abbott, Birthers, written constitutions, judges, hilarity

A Qantas of solace

Qantas announced its financial results today. Predictably, they were a car crash (Qantas still hasn't had a plane crash [*], but they're definitely a crash). $646 million operating loss, and $2.6 billion in one-off write-offs from revaluing the company's aircraft fleet. No rock and roll fun. Fiddling and burning As Qantas CEO for the last … Continue reading A Qantas of solace