Cost of different types of fraud to the UK economy

I just knocked up this little bar chart based on data from this article  by Polly Toynbee

I think it illustrates quite nicely how benefit fraud really isn’t a problem in the grand scheme of things. Given that fewer people commit financial fraud than benefit fraud (the amounts are larger in the former) surely on a pragmatic level, it would be easier for the political parties and the press to go after the tax avoiders and the financial sector fraudsters than the benefit cheats, but then again, they’re the ones who donate to the political classes, aren’t they now, whereas the underclass, well they’re just all a bunch of feral scum.


How to get away with benefit fraud – become an MP

1 week – time for which David Laws, Yeovil MP and former cabinet minister has been excluded from the commons after paying back #56 000 he wrongly claimed in benefits – although he is being investigated by police

15 months – prison sentence received by Timothy Harris – from Northamptonshire for benefit fraud which cost taxpayers #54000 – in fairness he was a total thug too.

Stats from ‘the eye’

Barclays Unequal Rewards


Just a small contribution to the wonderful world of pie charts – taken from the data supplied by M Bunting and mentioned here too

‘Just over 200 “core” staff at Barclays took home £554m last year, while thousands of shareholders, who had lent £51bn of equity capital, were left with £653m in dividends. This is an ongoing institutionalised bank raid.’

The data never tells it all – but it so often works so nicely to make the case against neoliberalism….

Global Giving – Ebay meets Global Development

Half Term – means i’ve got time to discover all those things I really should’ve known about years ago – I just listened to a great podcast of an interview with William Easterly, I am much more sympathetic to his views than when I saw him speak at LSE last year – anyways, he plugged an orgasation called global giving - It’s basically ebay meets global development – some details from the web site

You can browse projects from all over the world, give to the ones you are most passionate about, and see the impact of your donations.Most of the projects on are in the developing world where a small amount of money usually goes a long way, benefiting communities that wouldn’t otherwise have access to supporters in the UK.

Over £17 million has now been raised for 1,500 projects, across GlobalGiving’s US and UK websites. launched in the UK in September 2008, and the website has been averaging 300,000 annual unique visitors.

This might sound completely random, and not that I’ve anything against the man, but Lewis Hamilton has about ten times as many followers as Global Giving on Twitter – Which maybe suggests why charities spend so much time courting celebrities – I think in addition to the obvious coin-jar and vote on a project to sponsor thing, I might start a class project to try and get this global charity more followers than Lewis, I’m sure he won’t mind…

Bankers caused the crash – now they’re stifling the recovery

Nice article by Polly Toynbe outlining how banks are failing to lend to small businesses and when they do how they charge huge interest rates – of around 15% – while at the same time inflating their profits and continuing to pay out huge bonuses to their chief executives. Well worth a read, although it will depress you.

Toynbe mentions that part of the problem is that, even though we own RBS, there are no hard and fast rules or targets on how much it has to lend to small businesses – just loose promises, which is so unlike the strict conditions you have to sign up to when you take out a loan or a mortgage. Yet more evidence of the Transnational Capitalist Class (Bob Diamond is very much definitely part of this) having too much of the wrong kind of freedom -

Police ‘assaulted’ disabled guy for ‘his own safety’

You may remember this incident from a protest last December -

The Met acknowledged that “there is evidence that Jody McIntyre was inadvertently struck with a police baton.” But the inquiry found this was “justifiable and lawful” because of the “volatile and dangerous situation.” “The investigation has found that violent disorder was occurring at the location where Jody McIntyre was positioned,” the DPS found.
“At this location officers were under sustained attack and were required to use force to protect themselves, whilst attempting to control the disorder.”
The DPS said McIntyre had been tipped out of his wheelchair and pulled across the road for his own safetyYou may remember this from last December – Jodi McIntyre being pulled from his wheelchair by violent police thugs
In recent internal investigation the police said of the incident above  “there is evidence that Jody McIntyre was inadvertently struck with a police baton.” But the inquiry found this was “justifiable and lawful” because of the “volatile and dangerous situation… McIntyre [was]  tipped out of his wheelchair and pulled across the road for his own safety.”
But although this should technically be in the police  records as an assault, because of the context and the fact that the  police are allowed to investigate themselves this event is not defined as an assault – even though it clearly is.

I mean if I were a man of violence – which I’m not – I would seriously look into becoming a riot cop – you can get away with murder, well, almost

Only 50 out of 14000 British Professors are Black

This means that only 0.4% of British Professors are Black compared to 2.8% of the population – (2001 data – a figure which I think is likely to be higher in the next census)

The research, carried out by Heidi Mirza, is due to be published this October. Although I find this area of reserch fascinating I might wait for that until I comment in depth on this -To my simplistic mind, I would break this down into two basic possible explanations for the under-representation

  1. black children could get fewer and/ or worse A levels and then be less likely to go to university, get PhDs and get jobs in universities
  2. For those Black people working in universities it could be that subtle institutional racism that holds them back – and if so, is it worse in some subjects than others as?

As to the former, UCAS notes that 23% of white students got three As at A level compared to 9% of black students (I’ll check this at some point – those stats can’t be right!) – this doesn’t explain the huge discrepancy mentioned above, but a higher proportion of black compared to white kids might choose not to go to university, or those that do might take earlier routes out of academia –  getting a job after graduating or after a masters qualification.

Meanwhile, Harry Goulbourne, professor of sociology at London South Bank University, suggests the later effected him –  “as a black man aspiring to be a professor, he had had to publish twice as many academic papers as his white peers. He said he had switched out of the field of politics, because it was not one that promoted minorities. He called for a “cultural shift” inside the most prestigious universities.

Heidi Mirza also appears to think that racism is at work , she says UK universities were “nepotistic and cliquey”. “It is all about who you know,” she said.

Glencore’s Floatation and Rising Food Prices Hitting The Poor

Nice piece of editing of a BBC news programme(s?) that makes the link between Glencore’s speculative investments and rising food price rises. No doubt these links would not have been made explicit by the Beeb!


Glencore only recently floated on the stock exchange and revels in its reputation as ‘the biggest company you have never heard of.’ Valued now at somewhere North of $36 Billion, Glencore plays and dominates the commodities market – trading in everything from rape seed oil to coal.

Glencore seems to be a major player in the Corporate irresponsibility stakes – CEO Ivan Glasenburg is described by the FT as ‘one of the great enigmas of the corporate world’ and another major player in the Glencore game is Marc Rich (seriously, this looks interesting!) was charged with racketeering, tax evasion, and trading with the enemy (Iran) – until he was controversially pardoned by Bill Clinton in the closing hours of his Presidency. Glencore used to be named Marc Rich& Co.