Tuesday, 29 September 2009

I'll show you mine, if you show me yours, Polly

From Toynbee yesterday:-

Back in my home constituency, voters may not note the finer points now, but a good case repeated over and over with conviction will get heard. Economists of every hue support the pragmatic Labour view against a shoddy Tory opportunism. Fatally flawed and almost universally derided, Cameronomics might yet fall apart under electoral fire

Unfortunately for Polly, that's completely incorrect. Most economists don't support Keynesianism at all.

You want proof? Here's 300 economists who gave Obama a large slice of Shut The Fuck Up over Keynesian spending (including 3 Nobel laureates):-


So, Polly, come up with 300+ economists to back your case and I'll believe you.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

A Little Note About Capitalism...

Or Free Markets, if you like....

One of the things I find when people criticise either is that when you talk to them about their criticisms, you frequently find that it has nothing to do with capitalism (or free markets), and that government is more frequently the problem.

Reading an article about Michael Moore's new film Capitalism: A Love Story reminded me of this:-

alongside the corporations (including Wal-Mart and Amegy Bank) which take out insurance policies on their employees and cash in big when they die young. These ghoulish derivatives go by the charming name of "dead peasants" insurance – which says it all, really.

Now, this sparked my interest because I've heard of employee insurance policies which fit into the pattern of "derivatives", in terms of offsetting risk. Imagine a fragrance company - they employ a small number of highly paid, very skilled perfumers. If one of them drops dead prematurely, it could have a major effect on the operation of the business. Now, it's not likely to happen, so the insurance is very cheap. But it offsets some risk.

The thing is that companies don't generally bother for regular staff. It's not worth it. The impact of 1 shelf stacker dying young isn't that great on the profits.

But I found this on Everything2 (a bit like Wikipedia):-

Described as, " A product actively marketed by the insurance industry as an 'attractive, off-balance-sheet asset,'" so far it's been the source of an estimated $6 billion in lost tax revenue to the U.S. Treasury annually and the subject of several pending tax court cases.

So, it's really not about "capitalism", or the free market. It is instead about government and how they create labyrinthine tax rules (often to either please lobbies or to bury how much tax you are paying) and then companies exploit them. Simplify the tax system so that businesses can't bury away money in various ways and this will stop.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


From The Times:-

The BBC wildlife expert Chris Packham has questioned the millions spent trying to save the giant panda from extinction and suggested that the bamboo-eating bear should be allowed to die out "with a degree of dignity".

I'm with Jim Jeffries on this one (NSFW):-

Err No, Mr Timms

From The Scotsman:-

Financial Secretary Stephen Timms denounced tax avoidance as "morally wrong" and said the PBR would contain measures to "tilt the game back towards honest, hard-working taxpayers".

Well, this is all somewhat dog whistle stuff, of course, hitting big, evil companies, when the 2 biggest problems in terms of the governments budget are the bloated public sector and the benefits system.

Personally, I don't see tax avoidance as morally wrong, especially avoidance of taxes at the current levels which pay for millions of pointless bureaucrats.

Mr Timms told a conference of international tax experts at the Treasury in London that the global economic downturn had created a "different world" in which tax cheats would be pursued more vigorously than ever before."

Fine. But tax avoidance isn't cheating. It's just working within the rules to minimise your tax.

A minority of companies – including large and small businesses – behaved as if they were playing a "game" with the tax authorities, in which their role was to find ways round government efforts to improve the efficiency and equity of the tax system, said the minister.

But the impact of their efforts to get round measures like the new 50p income tax rate was to increase the complexity of the tax system and harm the wider interests of British business.

Oh, do fuck off. The efficiency of the tax system? The government have done nothing about improving the efficiency. They've added more and more complexity to the tax system in order to create more stealth taxes to avoid people noticing that their taxes are going up.

And as for the 50p tax rate, that's completely the wrong way around. It's not that avoidance creates rules, it's that rules create avoidance. Really simple tax systems are difficult to avoid.

Monday, 21 September 2009

It's Over...

George Monbiot in the Guardian

Professor Latif suggested that the long-term warming trend could be masked - perhaps for as long as 10 or 20 years - by a temporary cooling caused by natural fluctuations in currents and temperatures called the North Atlantic oscillation. "Thereafter," he told the Today programme, "temperatures will pick up again and continue to warm."


We know that the world's climate system is a noisy one, in which natural variations of all kinds jostle constantly with the man-made warming signal. No one ever proposed that the global warming trend would be a smooth one, in which temperatures move up a notch every year. What we have seen so far are minor fluctuations weaving around a solid long-term trend.

OK, natural variations affect global temperatures as well as man-made global warming. Let's explore this a little...

What this seems to be saying is that 20 years ago, they didn't predict the natural events that are causing temperatures to fall now (there was no mention of it at the time), but that we can say now that natural events which will stop global warming will last for only 10-20 years?

Sounds a bit desperate, doesn't it? And you know that when temperatures go back up in 5 years that there will be another model to match that.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Jack Straw: Legalise Heroin on the NHS

From The Times:-

JACK STRAW, the justice secretary, has called for the NHS to give out heroin on prescription to addicts for whom other forms of treatment have failed.

He claims “imaginative” solutions to hard-drug abuse are needed and believes there could be “huge benefits” to issuing the drug to chronic addicts.

Straw said: “For the most problematic heroin users it may be the best means of reducing the harm they do themselves, and of stamping out the crime and disorder they inflict on the community.”

If I'd heard this from Jack Straw 12 years ago, I'd have welcomed it. I suppose I still should really, seeing as how it's close to my own view on things.

But quite frankly, it makes me seethe with fucking anger. All the reasons for it are reasons that were put to him again and again as Home Secretary, and every time, he shrugged them off with a smile and kept pushing the "War On Drugs" line.

It's one of the reasons I came to despise politicians, actually. Because once their careers aren't at risk, when either they're in the Lords or on the Shadow back benches (and can do nothing to make a damn bit of difference), they'll start saying how dumb the war on drugs is. The careerist cunts.

I'll count Straw's statement as yet more evidence that Labour know they're fucked at the next election.

The Conservatives Cuts List

John Redwood has published a list of Conservatives Cuts. I have my thoughts after...

We recommended major changes in the way Whitehall works, and big cuts in the overhead costs. Our list of cuts included some now familiar items:
1. ID card scheme to be scrapped
2. Abolition of unelected regional government
3. Cutting the number of quangos
4. Recruitment freeze to cut the number of civil servants
5. Reduction in use of external consultants
6. Changing the culture of public sector management, with PM and Chancellor providing a lead for higher quality at less cost
7. Clarifying accountability so any higher paid staff that were retained had specific tasks and performance monitoring
8. More trials and fewer errors – always pilot new schemes before national roll out
9, Break public monopolies – competition will drive higher quality and lower cost
10. Reward best practise

1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.
4. No. OK. I want to see the number of civil servants reduced, but are the Conservatives saying that in every single area of government that we are overmanned to the point where natural wastage won't present problems? Because I don't and nor do the Conservatives (although most are overmanned).
5. So, you have a new government requirement because of an EU directive (which the tories will have to implement). Who's going to do the software considering that you've got a recruitment freeze and you aren't prepared to increase the level of consultants?
6. Naive stupidity, as though leadership by one group influences people (rather than incentives).
7. Target bollocks which will be written in haste and the civil servants will game the shit out of.
8. More bollocks. Some things can't be targetted except nationally.
9. Yes. But I'll believe it when I see it from this lot.
10. See point 7.

The real problem with all this is it is soundbite simplification which will be translated into terrible policy. It's "across the board" bollocks and it never works. It requires:-

1) Working out what you want government to do.
2) Planning how to organise that
3) Adding or subtracting the required number of staff to do that in the right places.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

David Mitchell on MPs salaries

From the Graun:-

The expenses scandal demonstrated three things: first, that British politicians can be dishonest, albeit in a petty way that genuinely corrupt political cultures would find quaint; second, that they can be idiotic, either in their stubborn refusal to concede that there were any irregularities or their spineless acceptance of every criticism hurled; third, that they weren't paid enough either to stop them ferreting for perks or to preclude the aforementioned morons infiltrating their number.

Some of the MPs who did things were quite wealthy, actually. And they knew what the salary was before they stood for the job.

Steve Punt did a bit of salary research for Radio 4's The Now Show and takes a different view: "Another way of looking at it is that they do a rather thankless and time-consuming job under relentless public criticism and yet they're paid less than the head of estate capacity procurement at the Ministry of Justice or the head of consumer services at Calderdale Council.

Which might just tell you that those jobs are overpaid, too.

The fact is that most people I know in the private sector who earn what MPs do have much, much more responsibility. They're typically running a team of 100+ people, or running a highly specialised function. Most MPs have what responsibility? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. As someone pointed out this morning, they can get sworn in as an MP and then go home for 4 years and never do a day's work. They can ignore every letter from their constituents and claim a generous pension at the end of it.

Friday, 11 September 2009

More Global Warming...

From the NOAA:-

For the contiguous United States the average August temperature of 72.2°F was 0.6°F below the 20th century average and ranked as the 30th coolest August on record, based on preliminary data.

Of course, there might be a very good reason for this, and I welcome any climate scientists telling me where I can download the data and source code for their climate models to prove this.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

This all sounds very good. But....

From David Cameron:-

But perhaps the biggest change will come through transparency. With a Conservative Government, every item of government spending over £25,000 will be published. Online. In full. No ifs, no buts.And if we win the next election, we’re going to publish online all public sector salaries over £150,000 too.
I don’t think people understand yet what a big difference this is going to make to government and how it spends.

Actually, it will make very little difference. If Cameron had any real world operational experience, rather than being a PR flunky, he'd know this.

Because anyone who's been through a bureaucracy knows that getting around these rules is fucking easy.

Let's take Cameron's favourite example: The yacht that the NHS has that sits on the Humber. Yup, it sounds like a spectacular waste of money too. The yacht is valued at £400,000 and used for encouraging youngsters to do healthy things.

Now, if you think that Cameron's plan is going to expose things like that, you should think again. What will happen instead is that instead of buying and running a yacht, they'll just rent one each time they need it. If they have to pay for youngsters to get there, that will be paid for separately. See how that works? Everything disappears into sub-£25000 invoices and none of it appears.

It's just like the impact of targets in how they create incentives. People just work to meet it over and above things like delivering value.

The only answer is to accept that government generally performs badly and that the answer is to just have a lot less of it and leave as much as possible to the market.

Phil Collins Will Never Drum Again

From the Daily Mirror:-

Phil Collins yesterday revealed he will never play the drums again because of a spine injury.

Which is a bloody shame as he's a great drummer. Couldn't someone use a part of his vocal chords to fix it and solve 2 problems?

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

I can't help but smell a rat about this...

I've been having a bit of a read about this Michael Shields case, and got round to reading Jack Straw's statement about it. These paragraph stood out:-

5. However, during the meeting on 28 August with Mr Shields’ parents, important new evidence came to light which, when looked at alongside all the previously available evidence, has now satisfied me that Mr Shields meets the high test set by the Court.

6. At this meeting, following a series of questions which I put to the family, I was told for the first time about a visit by two members of the Shields family to the home of a man alleged to be responsible for the crime for which Michael Shields was jailed. I was told that in the course of the visit that man made an oral confession to the crime in front of several other people. This episode, I was told, happened on 22 July 2005, a day after the start of Mr Shields’ trial in Bulgaria."

Now, I'm not a lawyer, but would the testimony by two members of the accused's family concerning an oral confession ever seriously be considered as evidence that would release a suspect? Wouldn't they consider that as family, you're hardly unbiased witnesses (they may well be telling the truth, but that's hardly the point).

But here's something interesting that we probably all missed at the time:-

The father of a football fan jailed for 15 years for a violent attack in Bulgaria is set to stand against Jack Straw in the next election.

Campaigners say Michael Shields, 22, was the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

His father, also Michael, is considering standing for the Blackburn seat to protest after the Justice Secretary indicated he would not pardon his son.

Then 2 weeks later, he did pardon him.

And this is why we shouldn't have political pardons. Because whether Straw made a sincere decision or not is irrelevant, there's enough about the last 3 weeks of this story to give the appearance of a politically motivated decision.

Political Pardons

I find this really uncomfortable:-

MICHAEL Shields was today set to be freed from jail after he was finally pardoned by Justice Secretary Jack Straw.

The 22-year-old has won his four-and-a-half-year fight to clear his name after a dramatic Government U-turn on his case.

In July, Mr Straw ruled he was not convinced the Edge Hill student was “morally and technically” innocent of the attempted murder of a Bulgarian waiter in 2005.

But today he announced that new evidence has convinced him to release Michael.

The reason why I find this uncomfortable is that it is a bypassing of the legal system by a politician.

Now, I know nothing about Michael Shields' case. Jack Straw may very well have evidence that would free him of his crime. But the process should be that this is presented to the Court of Appeal for them to decide.

It comes after Mr Straw held last-ditch talks with Michael’s parents and City Labour leader Joe Anderson at his constituency office in Blackburn on August 28.

It is understood new evidence presented to the secretary of state for justice at the meeting has led to his re-think.

Mr Straw has also come under increasing pressure from Merseyside MPs and crucially from Britain’s leading unions.

And this is why I'm especially uncomfortable. We have no evidence of this evidence even existing, and an alternative possibility is that Straw has no evidence and is releasing Shields on political grounds. I can't prove that, but nor is my hypothesis any weaker than Straw's.

If there is evidence or witnesses, it should be heard in a public court where judges can consider it in terms of how it affects guilt beyond reasonable doubt. That is the correct process.

More Flight Taxes

From The Times:-

Tens of billions of pounds will have to be raised through flight taxes to compensate developing countries for the damage air travel does to the environment, according to the Government’s advisory body on climate change.

OK, I have no problem with the principle of "polluter pays". If I damage your environment, I should pay for that. How much? Well, that's subject to debate.

But if we're saying that we give these countries something for something, what the fuck are we getting for the billions that we throw at them? And what the fuck are they going to do with any money we throw at them? I don't see much evidence of all this aid leading to much improvement.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Scouting and Knives

From The Telegraph:-

New advice published in Scouting, the official in-house magazine, says neither Scouts nor their parents should bring penknives to camp except in "specific" situations.

Civilisation in the UK is officially over.

Dave Budd, a knife-maker who runs courses training Scouts about the safe use of blades, wrote that the growing problem of knife crime meant action had to be taken.

"Sadly, there is now confusion about when a Scout is allowed to carry a knife," he wrote. "The series of high-profile fatal stabbings [has] highlighted a growing knife culture in the UK.

"I think it is safest to assume that knives of any sort should not be carried by anybody to a Scout meeting or camp, unless there is likely to be a specific need for one. In that case, they should be kept by the Scout leaders and handed out as required."

Oh for fucks sake.

When I was at school at about the age of 8 or 9, about half the boys at school had penknives. I seem to remember that taking one out in a lesson might get it confiscated and that was the end of it. Number of kids who got stabbed that I knew? None. Number of kids who got stabbed in my town growing up? None.

To paint another part of the picture of the fucking dangerous shit that they allowed us in the 1980s, I was a member of a school rifle club at 15. And these weren't little air rifles but .22s. A couple of mates were in the ATC and shot .303s after school.

I never was a scout, but wasn't getting out there and making knots and learning manly stuff like how to make fire part of the point? And yes, this stuff has an element of risk to it.

Gun and knife crime have absolutely nothing to do with the vast majority of kids who used to keep knives or shoot guns. They are about ill-disciplined children and the gang culture that comes from the stupid war on drugs. Getting rid of the guns and the knives isn't going to solve much of this, but dealing with personal responsibility and the war on drugs will.

Not Much Left at the BBC

I have a list of Things I Like At The BBC:-

- Top Gear
- QI
- Eggheads
- Terry Wogan

Now my license fee is even poorer value than it was.

Incidentally, I met Wogan once at a book signing for a friend. The guy was a real gent who really seemed to understand that his fans were the people who put him there.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Hardcore Profits

Unsurprisingly for the BBC, here's a series which is basically anti-porn. Surprisingly is just what a fucking hatchet job it is.

The main thing about tonight's programme seems to be about investment, and ethical investment. Now, I can understand that someone might not want to invest in say, Larry Flynt, but the examples given were ridiculous. They included companies like Vodafone or Amazon, and then went on to do a really nasty bit of reporting about Amazon.

The Amazon report included the fact that they'd bought hardcore porn from amazon.co.uk. Shocking really. Except that it wasn't Amazon, but a 3rd party seller, and they'd been suspended before the report came out. In other words, Amazon had done about as much as they possibly could.

Now, the fact is that you can look at almost any product and say that churches shouldn't invest. If you buy into a bed company, then some of the people who buy them will use them for fornication. If you buy into almost any food company, they will sell alcohol. How far do you go?

And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, up comes that complete fuckwit Richard Murphy to say that companies don't like to talk about how much money they make from porn and should have to reveal things so their shareholders understand what is being done, despite the fact that that's never been part of what accountancy is about and that people always have the option not to invest in companies because of a lack of information.

It struck me as a one-man anti-porn crusade to try and bully people to get rid of porn, despite the fact that will never work. If someone stops buying shares in hotels because they supply porn, then someone else will. There's plenty of people who don't have a bung up their arse about this.

A Little Unscientific Thought...

From The Mail:-

Women have long complained that their faces are often the last thing men look at – and now a scientific study has proved them right.

Researchers found that virtually half – 47 per cent – of men first glance at a woman’s chest. A third of the so-called ‘first fixations’ are on the waist and hips, while fewer than
20 per cent look at the face.

Not only are breasts often the first thing men look at, they also glance at them for longer than any other body part, the experts discovered.

I think we're into pope being catholic territory, here?

It’s thought that the reason might be evolutionary, as women with larger chests and slim waists – such as opera singer Katherine Jenkins – have higher levels of the female hormone oestrogen, indicating greater fertility.

I suppose that's possible...

But the researchers conceded that there could be a more prosaic explanation. ‘Men may be looking more often at the breasts because they are simply aesthetically pleasing, regardless of the size,’ they said.

Or maybe it's that subconsciously we seek out larger breasts and finding them then meets this subconscious need. Could it simply be that we seek out larger breasts to ensure that our offspring will get the food that they need?

And if women are so offended, why do so many wonderbras get sold? Why are there so many breast implants? The fact is that women almost subconsciously know that they have to get them out there, too.

Irish Referendum

From The Telegraph:-

Party chiefs are struggling to prepare alternative policy blueprints to unveil to grassroots activists, as the mood in Ireland suggests the vote on October 2 could go either way.

If the Irish vote No, it will give a huge boost to David Cameron's campaign to derail the EU Treaty and will open the way for the Tory leader to promise the British people a referendum on the issue.

I really don't buy this from the way that Cameron talks. I sense that he's actually hoping that Ireland vote for it in order to avoid having a referendum which would doubtless be voted against and create a whole load of Tory divisions.

However, if Ireland votes Yes, the Treaty will move a step closer to becoming law before the end of the year, and the Tories will be plunged into a deep dilemma as to how they can possibly overturn it.

Both Mr Cameron and William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, have already said that they would "not let matters rest" if the Treaty was ratified by all EU member states before a Tory government came to power.

That's precisely why I'm suspicious of Cameron over this. Because a statement about "not letting matters rest" is a pretty empty promise. There's enough lawyers and Constitutional experts in the Conservative Party who can advise Cameron of his possible actions that they could right know what they could do. "Not Letting Matters Rest" sounds like spin to let it look like they care about it while not actually showing any teeth.

And no, the promises of something being in a manifesto aren't enough. Brown isn't going to steal this, so just come out with it and be done.

A poll for the Irish Times last week, the first since the campaign was launched, found that the Yes campaign was still in the lead, with 46 per cent support, but had dropped eight points since the previous poll in May.

The No campaign had 29 per cent support, up by one point over the summer, whilst the size of the Don't Know category had increased sharply by seven points to 25 per cent.

Pat Cox, campaign director of Ireland for Europe, a group promoting ratification, appeared nervous, saying: "Ireland is a very different place today to what it was a year ago. The financial crisis has rocked our confidence. We are reeling from a series of body blows over the last 12 months.

"There are those on the No side who will seek to exploit our present uncertainty to encourage the Irish people to vote against our own interests and reject the Treaty."

It doesn't sound good, but it still sounds possible. A loss of some of that lead and it might just tip a no.

Then Cameron's really in the shit.

World Leader Question...

Is there another world leader out there who doesn't have top place on Google for his name?

I've just looked up Ali Bongo, and the famous British magician still holds the top 2 places over the newly elected leader of Gabon.

No Country For Old Men

Watching No Country For Old Men, I was reminded of an old Spitting Image sketch in an auction where the famous photo of "tennis playing woman scratching her arse" is up for sale. There's a whole load of mumbling, and little interest until the auctioneer announces "it was painted by Van Gogh" at which point everyone goes mad, offering millions of pounds.

I like a lot of the Coen Brothers films, but I tend to run hot and cold, and frequently against the direction of critics. I didn't get the appeal of Barton Fink or The Big Lebowski, but I think Fargo is a masterpiece and that Intolerable Cruelty is that rare thing - an intelligent romantic comedy.

But if this didn't have the Coen Brothers name on it, no-one would be interested. It would be sat in the bargain basement basket at Blockbusters along with various Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal movies as yet another crime/revenge flick. How this beat There Will Be Blood to win Best Film, I don't know.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Jonny Greenwood on MP3

In case you don't know Jonny Greenwood, he's the guitar player from Radiohead, and also did the brilliant soundtrack to There Will Be Blood

From The New Yorker

We had a few complaints that the MP3s of our last record wasn’t encoded at a high enough rate. Some even suggested we should have used FLACs, but if you even know what one of those is, and have strong opinions on them, you’re already lost to the world of high fidelity and have probably spent far too much money on your speaker-stands.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Hedge Funds

From The Times

Boris Johnson encountered stiff opposition in Brussels yesterday as he set out to soften European regulations on hedge funds.

London’s Mayor was told by the leader of Europe’s Socialists that the City was getting off lightly in a draft directive on alternative investment fund management and that Britain’s Conservatives lacked the clout to influence the legislation as it passed through the European Parliament.

Now I'm sure this is how Boris and the Conservatives would like this reported. Those nasty, pro-European socialists want to destroy Britain with regulation and we're opposing that.

One little problem: The Conservatives in the European Parliament voted for this directive.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Change in Political View

I try not to write about things I don't understand, so I've avoided taking much of a position on global warming. Much like Sam Cooke, I don't know much about Geography or Biology.

And while I don't know much about the Science Book, I do understand some fundamental principles of science. One of which is that experiments should be reproducable.

The Climate Research Unit has not only refused to release data under the Freedom of Information Act (due to confidentiality with other countries, but they won't say which) but now say that they don't have the original 1980s data from weather stations, just "value-added" information.

So in other words, there's actually no way to verify any of their experiments, except to trust them, which frankly means that whatever they've produced as results belongs with perpetual motion machines and religion.

As this is all done with computers and models, it should be perfectly simple to provide the raw data that went into the model and the source code of the model to allow for full interrogation. When they do that, I'll start taking this seriously as science.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The Office

I've never really quite got BBC's The Office. I watched a couple of episodes and thought it was not funny at all. It's probably because I've worked for years in offices and that I've met more extreme versions of the main characters who did far, far crazier shit than went on. So, really, I got nothing from it than turning up at work would have done.

Now, I don't have a problem with people reflecting the monotony of office life or mid-life crises. The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin did it marvellously, precisely because it exaggerated the monotony including the repeated train delays, the boss who always says different sage-like words in the same ways, but also, that the protagonist created comedy from the drama of breaking out from it.

But I think this Guardian piece has illuminated why people like it:-

The Office still feels unique in its commitment to the bleak monotony of the average British working day. "We didn't want anything sexy or cool," Ricky said in last night's interview. The sea of bored, distracted faces, the greyness of the soulless strip-lit set and the repetition of deadly dull punctuating images like a churning photocopier created a sitcom environment which still strikes me as unusually authentic in 2009.

In other words, The Office is part of the rockist ideology to that writer.

To anyone not familiar with rockism, I will try to explain. Rockism was originally termed by the singer Pete Wylie to describe the belief that some forms of music are more authentic than others, and therefore more worthy. It comes from the desire of people to show how smart, clever or part of a particular group they are by their musical choices, rather than enjoying music for what it is (the best example of rockism around is Later With Jools Holland which eschews pop music for dull-yet-worthy world music).

So, back to The Office, is it just that people like it for that reason? That liking The Office says something about them? That instead of watching something funny like TV Burp or whatever Peter Kay has produced, they'd rather demonstrate how hip and clever they are?