It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Archive for November, 2014

Don’t treat me like an idiot!

Posted by chrisrick13 on November 22, 2014

It is obvious: it is easy to try to fool the people

British Gas sent me a big advertising package last week.  The big, front-page message was:

We’ll pay the VAT on your new boiler
Cutting 20% off its price

Suppose that the boiler costs £100 and has £20 VAT added to it before you can get your hands on it.  The boiler will cost you £120 and British Gas are taking £20 off that price.  So they are reducing the price by 16.666666% and note that I am only giving the approximate percentage reduction.

They are inaccurate in their claim and are out by 3.3333% or 20% depending on whether you take an absolute or relative point of view of the error.

Is it an error and British Gas are an incompetent bunch or is it deliberate and they are duplicitous.  Perhaps nobody has noticed.  It depresses me to think that most people looking at the advert will not realise it is incorrect – a lie.

Of course the “error” is in the direction that is of most benefit to British Gas.  They never go the other way.

It is obvious: it is easy to try to fool the people because the Advertising Standards Authority won’t do anything.


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Thankyou again BBC – idiots

Posted by chrisrick13 on November 12, 2014

It is obvious: I AM NOT STUPID

Did you know that ‘fresh’ has no legal definition?  If you are selling something you can call it fresh with no come-back from anyone.  Fresh bread – made this year.  The person reading it has to go and find the definition.  If you are buying bread you are unlikely to go to the baker and check his definition.  You will need it in writing if you are to do anything about it.  We don’t find the definition we just supply our own…and it is nearly always a lot more generous one than the real definition

While I’m at it what about the sign on the car park entrance of one of my local shops: Customer Parking Only.  I have written and lengthy article on this.  Can I park before I buy something or do I have to park my car on the high street then go and fetch it when I have bought?  Having bought am I a customer?  If I am then I have got free parking on the high street forever more.  Suppose I park with the intent of buying does that make me a customer?  What if I change my mind do I have to run out and remove my car only to bring it back in again if I change my mind?  My wife will change her status hundreds of times while spending two hours in a shoe shop vacillating between customer and not-customer…while I wander the high street looking for a bus to jump under.  I need to have a serious word with the shop about their sign.  Wonder if I can park my elephant there?  (Yeah, I know.)

NEW, Improved XXX.  XXX has been improved a lot.  it costs half as much to make as it used to and our profits are hugely improved.  Does not work nearly as well as the old version.

50% EXTRA.  Means 50% extra air in our product making it look a lot bigger.

We are great ‘fillers-in’.  Information is missing we will supply a set of our own.

I remember at school we did experiments and then wrote them up.  One of the key areas was to declare our assumptions: we oiled the board so when pulling the weight along it we assumed no friction.  The results could then be viewed in the light of a small error because there is some friction no matter how little.

We need all the assumptions to be declared.  Simpler would be to have honest unambiguous advertising.  Naah.  Never sell anything.

Today the Governor of the BoE was talking about inflation at 1.2% and then made a mistake.  He said that with our assumption of 3% wage growth we will all be better off.  An assumption!  I think I’ll assume 6% wage growth and I will be even better off.  I can do assumptions for a lower rate than the Governor gets.  Things will be a lot better off under my stewardship.  I would like to hear him say that his prediction of inflation assumes…green men from Mars land in Hyde Park, China invades Japan, May the first next year is a Saturday.

He was keen to point out that wage growth was bigger than inflation.  Given that this has been Labour’s attack since plan B was discredited it is a huge coincidence that approaching the election the number suddenly destroy that attack.  But you missed it didn’t you?

The inflation measure is not the RPI that was recently used in press releases about rail travel but CPI the ‘official’ inflation measure.  CPI is the inflation measure that does not include housing costs because of course they don’t count.  They are non-core.  If they were to compare to RPI then we find that wage growth is actually wage shrinkage of more than 1%.

It is obvious: I AM NOT STUPID but I don’t have a loud voice.  One vote doesn’t do much either.

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You know…what I mean

Posted by chrisrick13 on November 7, 2014

It is obvious: do not think of red camels

I am pinned in my car at the moment for 2.5 hours a day.  Much of that time is spent listening to Radio 4’s Today and PM programmes.  There is a lot good and bad about both programmes and note that I can spell it properly.  Some items drive me to distraction.  These are peaks and troughs.  However there are some enduring themes that I find difficult to handle.  I try to develop a ‘deafness’ to them.

We all know the ‘you know’ syndrome.  It really is a new word: ‘yunno’  Notice that politicians and CEOs do not use it.  They are image trained.  Academics and subject matter experts do not use it. They have too much to say and are desperately trying to get the information across in as efficient a way as possible.  The main offenders are people with their 15 minutes of fame, footballers and entertainers.  Perhaps that is only 2 categories?

Yunno is not the only one.  I think Tony Blair started the: Look!  When asked a question they exclaim, they do not say, ‘Look’!  I expect them to follow it with, ‘there’s a UFO’, or ‘there’s a greater spotted warbler’ of ‘at the arse on that and the price of bacon’.  I often find myself jerking my head around in Pavlovian response.  But I am hearing it now on radio every day!  I thought it was a sound only medium?

When there is a link to a reporter it is usually done as a question.  “Over to our reporter in Tehran.  John, what has happened, blah, blah”.  The response almost always starts with: “well”.  I find myself counting the wells and awarding points to reporters who do not use it.  No chance of a drought on Radio 4.

There is a new kid on the block.  Again it usually happens the hand over to another person but I’ve heard it in a simple question during an interview.  They are beginning to start their response with “So”.  For example, after the bomb blast: “So we are standing by the crater…”  Perhaps it will replace the “well” which will give me some temporary relief.

Well look so I want you to count all the yunnos you hear.

It is obvious: do not think of red camels – you did, didn’t you?

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Reports of my demise are premature

Posted by chrisrick13 on November 4, 2014

It is obvious: do not worry about conspiracy theories

I have been busy but I am still in denial trying only to talk about happy things with no cynicism.  It is not easy.

The BBC has amused me twice in recent times.  One morning they had a 30 second video report on a paper, published that day, which found that banning insecticides will cause huge problems to our food supply.  (Let us not bother with the inseciticdes killing bees which simplifies the problem as then there will then be no crops growing to produce food.)  The report was produced by independent researchers…paid for by the NUF and agrochemical companies.  So it obviously had no bias.  At the end there was a 5 second mention that environment groups had a different view.  I wonder who got paid for that one?

A couple of days later there was the kerfuffle over the demand from the EU for a couple of billion from the UK.  Such a piffling number hardly worth the mention nowadays.  A conservative representative was interviewed on Radio 4.  He declared the demand ‘outrageous’…at some length.  The reporter asked if they had seen it coming.  A good question as this rebalancing of contributions happens at regular intervals and everyone knew that with the improvements in the UK economy there would be a demand for money.  The conservative spokesman again declared it ‘outrageous’ at length.  The reporter said that her question had not been answered and asked it again.  At this point I had my mug of coffee and was settling down for an ‘I was there moment’ in the same vein as Paxman when he asked Michael Howard the same question 12 times in 2007.  Same ‘outrageous’ response.  On the edge of my seat and she said oh dear he is not answering the question and moved on with an embarrassed laugh.  All the reporting awards for the year, fame to match that of Paxman, a stellar career all spurned.  She will not get that moment again.

The Labour party continues to amuse me.  Such a fine line they have to tread.  When Dennis Healy became Chancellor in the 60’s he said that he would squeeze the rich until the pips-squeaked.  The Labour party demanded it of him.  The unions did.  The Labour voters did.  82% was the top rate of tax.  Then Mr Laffer walked into the room.  Those in their 50s who were the best of the best decided that they might spend 10 years earning what they could earn in 2 before and they had enough money and now had the incentive to stop working and enjoy life.  They did en-mass. Those in their 40s discovered that a lot of very pleasant places to live and work were now paying a lot better net income so upped and left: the brain drain.  In consequence Mr Healey had a lot less money to give to the people who demanded he increase taxes so that they could have some.  They don’t learn.

So now we are approaching that time where candidates are being interviewed for their suitability to stand for constituencies.  A Labour party interview is a long affair.  The candidate has to tread a careful path.  Social justice, distribution of wealth and jobs for all, but not far enough to the left to be a communist.  Then there must be some grounding in reality by encouraging entrepreneurship and getting industry to regenerate, all without moving too far to the right.  The Conservative party interviews are a much simpler process: What do you think of money.  I like it. You’re in.

Overnight the BBC stepped in on bees.  The government have come out in favour of bees and the BBC covered it extensively.  Clearly the agrochemical companies did not pay enough money.

I’ve been busy as I have converted from being a writer to an author by publishing a book at the weekend.

It is obvious: do not worry about conspiracy theories they are just a conspiracy theory

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