Workplace schemes “in chaos”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/poundland-ruling-backtowork-schemes-in-disarray-as-nopay-placements-judged-unlawful-8491398.html I must admit that I’m on two minds about this scheme. On the one hand, as a taxpayer I’m in favour of the people I am funding the so-called safety-net for actually, you know, looking for work as opposed to the Jeremy Kyle And Special Brew option. In fact, I’m not even entirely opposed to those reticent safety-netees being forced to look for work, or forced to attend workplace schemes to make them more attractive to employers I’m also well aware that these schemes, well managed, can do a lot of good. The corner of Big Retail that I inhabit has had a constant supply of them since they started ruinning the scheme and quite a few have been given permanent jobs as a result, In fact, at our branch it has become almost a de facto recruitment process, allowing the store to take on people we’ve seen in action rather than who can bullshit best in an interview and giving employment opportunities to those who may, you know, be quite good at working in a shop, but not terribly good at bullshitting their way through interviews. On the other hand, It’s corporatism pure and simple isn’t it. I haven’t heard of much work-placement free labour being sent to sole traders and corner shops, the captive forced labour pool (and it IS forced labour, no matter what they claim) is at the disposal of Big Retail, Big Distribution and Big Whatever Else. It’s another government subsidy for big business.

Scary

(Wired.)

The Scottish city of Glasgow has won a £24 million grant from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to become Britain’s first “smart city”.

The money will be spent by the council on services for residents that will make the quality of living in the city better. Glasgow beat 30 other UK cities to the prize.

Projects on the table include real-time traffic information, apps to check when buses and trains are arriving, and a pothole reporting service. Facial analysis for the city’s CCTV network and energy use monitoring to make electricity and gas delivery more efficient are also mooted.

“Glasgow has some quite extreme challenges – it has the lowest life expectancy of any city in the UK for instance – and the hope is that if we bring together energy, transport, public safety and health it will make it more efficient and a better place to live,” Scott Cain, the TSB’s project leader for Future Cities, told the BBC.

Spot the scary part?

Facial analysis for the city’s CCTV network and energy use monitoring to make electricity and gas delivery more efficient are also mooted.

Jesus.

!!!

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Via Google + Oh Yeah, I’m on Google + now. Plus one me. Oh Yeah. As “Steve Samson.” Apparently “Mr Wh00ps”, my original Google ID, didn’t convince Google’s algorithm that it was a real name. I blame my parents.

Eleven

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

-Wilfred Owen.

Inflation

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Usually, we talk about inflation in airy-fairy terms. A disincentive to save, or a sop to borrowers, or a way of inflating away debt (usually governmental). The picture above is two identical packs of 40 Iceland sausages, one I bought a few weeks ago, the other that I just discovered in the bottom of the freezer. This is really what inflation means. You get less for your money. This information is usually quite hard to discern, the general upward trend in prices hidden somewhat by retailers playing with the margin, upping prices for BOGOF deals, computing with each other and all the things they do to make their shop the most attractive. Discount retailers like Iceland operate a slightly different model, keeping to round pound price points as much as they can for the own-brand products that make up most of their offer. This affords us a look at the cost of sausages (assuming that the costs involved in changing the size of sausages (and presumably other frozen manufactured foods) is a disincentive to changing them often as other retailers do with prices, which is a simple day-to-day task. I make this assumption fairly confidently as I actually noticed the sausages were smaller as soon as I took one out of the bag, I just didn’t have an old pack to hand until tonight.).

Compared to a few months ago, GBP2 gets you 400g less sausage. Actually quite a high proportion of the pack size. And that’s what inflation is. Every time the government prints a few more pounds to pay for some dumb scheme, increase costs for businesses or raise fuel duty, they don’t just attack hauliers, or fat cats, or “the rich” they take food out of YOUR mouth.