Archive for May, 2014

How the UK Treasury could be losing four times as much tax as it thinks it fails to collect – that would be £40 billion each year

May 22nd, 2014 by Roger Darlington

“The size of the total gap between what taxpayers owe and what they pay was last year estimated by HMRC to be £35m, or 7%, shortfall for 2011/12, but that includes legal and illegal tax dodging, fraud and errors. It said the shadow economy and evasion was costing it £10.5bn.” BUT: “The Treasury is losing […]

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How to survive a walk down ‘chugger alley’

May 21st, 2014 by Roger Darlington

The term ‘chugger’ has been coined for a charity mugger, someone who tries to stop you in the street and sign you up to a particular charity. You’ll find a fuller – and less kind – description – here. Now I’m fine about contributing to charities. I support many on an ongoing basis. But I […]

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The American dream has now become the Canadian (and European) dream

May 20th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

Who says so? An American: two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize Nicholas Kristof. In this piece for the “New York Times”; he argues: “… today the American dream has derailed, partly because of growing inequality. Or maybe the American dream has just swapped citizenship, for now it is more likely to be found in Canada or Europe […]

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How in 1945 the American Brigadier General Bonner Fellers was instrumental in saving the Japanese Emperor Hirohito from execution as a war criminal

May 19th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

We all know that, after its defeat in World War Two, the Japanese were allowed to retain their emperor, although merely in a ceremonial role and without his previous god-like status. But who made the decision and why? Although the decision was made by General Douglas MacArthur on pragmatic grounds, a key role was played […]

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My Thought For The Week now 15 years old – have you signed up for it?

May 18th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

“Life isn’t a matter of milestones but of moments.” American philanthropist Rose Kennedy (1890-1995) Thought For The Week No 750 Fifteen years ago, I saw a quote in a newspaper, liked it, and sent it in an e-mail to the 12 people who worked with me in the Research Department of the Communication Workers Union. […]

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Reviews of two “Godzilla” movies

May 18th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

In 1998, there was a disappointing American version of the Japanese monster tale [see my review here], but this weekend we saw the release of a much superior re-boot of the franchise [see my review here].

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Best week ever for Roger Darlington’s World – thanks

May 17th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

The number of visits to my web site – which includes this personal blog and my professional blog – varies throughout the week (obviously weekdays are higher than weekends) and throughout the year (again obviously holiday seasons see less traffic). But this past week has been really encouraging with an average for the five working […]

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Love is a many splendoured thing – except in 76 countries where being gay is illegal

May 17th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

“Five countries – Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen – still have a statutory death penalty for homosexuality, while a further 71 countries punish same-sex couples with lesser sentences of imprisonment or corporal punishment. In total, 2.79 billion people live in countries where being gay can lead to prison or death – seven times […]

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Two versions of the early life of author Jeanette Winterson

May 16th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

Not so long ago, I read the memoir of Jeanette Winterson which has the wonderful title “Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?” (2011). You can read my review here. This week, I finally got round to reading Winterson’s first novel, “Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit” (1985). You can read my review here. […]

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How the rich get richer and richer – and richer

May 16th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

In this news story, it is explained that: Britain’s richest 1% have accumulated as much wealth as the poorest 55% of the population put together, according to the latest official analysis of who owns the nation’s £9.5tn of property, pensions and financial assets. In figures that also lay bare the extent of inequality across the […]

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