Issue 85: Crossword – Noel, Noel – printable

22 December 2016

Crossword by Boffles

Noel, Noel

 

Across

    1  Not only a shapely leg at this time (8,6)

  10  In ‘Secret Santa’ you do not know who  is (5)

  11  Fall-out from crackers (9)

  12  Where the Magi came from (4)

  13  In one version, FC lives at one of them (5)

  15  The haul on this day was French Hens (5)

  17  In another version, FC lives here (7)

  20  Key feature popularised when Albert married Victoria (5)

  21  Poultry that do not feature much on the table at this time (5)

  23  The best kind of cobnuts (7)

  25  Cranberry or bread or rum, for example (5)

  26  Person singing the title (8)

  27  What a laugh! (2,2,2)

  30  Marmite-like seasonal vegetable (7,7)

 

Down

    2  Fruit that could be a 1ac (9)

    3  A house of them not necessarily precarious at this time (5)

    4  It lacked accommodation (3)

    5  Sometimes hard to on Boxing Day (3,2)

    6  Where do St Nicholas and Dark Peter land? (2,7)

    7  What the family does on the sofa (5)

    8  They bring home the bacon with turkey (7)

    9  Do you need a calendar to tell you when it is? (6)

  14  You may hear one or more when FC goes by (6,4)

  16  Key followers but not around in the early stages (9)

  18  ‘……. Christmas, don’t be late’ (The Chipmunks) (6)

  19  Halls are likely to be with boughs of holly (6,3)

  22  Cooking instruction to be jolly? (6)

  24  Vegans will have neither fish … fowl. Just a nut cutlet for them! (3)

  26  May need one after the office party (3)

  28  Gravy ingredient (3)

  29  Suitable present now vinyl is back (2)

 

 

Issue 85: 2016 12 22: Book Review “The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy” by James Anderson (Tim Marshall)

22 December 2016

The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy

by James Anderson (not the cricketer).

Review by Tim Marshall

The book is published by Allison and Busby Ltd and has all the elements one would expect from an old-fashioned detective yarn.  The events take place in Alderly, a country house (possibly a minor stately home) which has extensive grounds and a lake.  The house also has a secret passage which is shown to any guest who wishes to have a look.  The house is owned by the Earl of Burford who lives there with his wife, Lavinia, and their daughter, Lady Geraldine Saunders.

For various reasons, an extensive cast of characters assembles there one week-end. The dramatis personae are set out in a list at the front of the book and include a Texan millionaire, Hiram S Peabody and his wife, a foreign diplomat, two representatives of the British Foreign Office and a French adventuress. The Texan millionaire is an obsessive collector of guns and firearms of all kinds and he has been invited to stay at Alderly in order to examine and admire the rival collection of the Earl of Burford.

The butler Merryweather is an old retainer.

There are strange goings on during the night and it transpires that most, if not all, of the guests, for different reasons, leave their bedrooms and skulk around in the dark. The secret passage plays a part, as does the modern and efficient burglar alarm.

When a murder is committed, the self-deprecating Detective Inspector Wilkins arrives to solve the crime(s).

There are so many strands and threads involving international intrigue and the relationships between the guests that it is impossible to summarise them and would spoil the fun.

D.I. Wilkins solves the crime and all the loose ends (of which there are many) are neatly tied up.

The plots are quite complicated and intertwined, so the reader has to pay attention, but it is worth the effort. It is a pity that no-one has thought of dramatising the book. There is an American element which would appeal to a US audience and there is a mixture of “Downton Abbey” and Agatha Christie. Surely an unbeatable combination!

James Anderson has written two other whodunits set at Alderly: “The Affair of the Mutilated Mink” and “The Affair of the 39 Cufflinks” so there are two more of his books to enjoy.

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Issue 85: 2016 12 22: Stepping Closer, US political appointments- (JR Thomas)

22 December 2016

Stepping Closer

Donald Trump chooses his team.

by J.R.Thomas

Whether you see it as a rising black cloud carrying the threat of great storms and endless night, or if you look in the same direction but see the rising sun throwing a brave light across an awakening vibrant landscape, what you cannot avoid is the certainty that Donald Trump will become 45th President of the United States of America on January 20th 2017. Mr Obama is packing his golf clubs and bundling up his papers, whilst Mrs Obama picks the last vegetables from that famous plot on the White House lawn as they prepare to retire to suburbia. And the Trumps will be moving in, or quite possibly not – Mrs Trump is not such a keen gardener and both The Donald and Melania have hinted that they will stay in their penthouse apartment in New York, only using the White House as an official residence.

But the housing arrangements of the new President are not really of such great interest at the moment as the make-up of his cabinet and top advisors, and what that may suggest about the policies and strategies of the new Administration. Practically all those jobs are now announced – though many of them will have to be confirmed in the Senate committees which oversee this process. The nominations confirm what might have been inferred from Mr Trump’s speeches during the Republican primaries and the Presidential campaign itself. It is a strange feature of the campaign that a common complaint from the media and from the Democratic party was that there was no clarity as to what policies a Trump Administration would pursue – and his supporters did not know what they were voting for. Actually, it all seemed clear enough, if not in detail, and maybe the problem was that some of his opponents did not believe that they were hearing what they were indeed hearing. The bad news for them is that what they had trouble believing seems likely to be what they will be getting. And they will be getting it; the challenges by Jill Stein of the Green Party to the results in three States finally fizzled out in Wisconsin, the only one State that actually did a recount – and found it was the Trump support which had been undercounted.

So, here it comes, as promised: a less interventionist foreign policy; possibly attempts for a new and less aggressive approach to Mr Putin’s Russia; a programme of a more focussed but cheaper military which contributes at least proportionately less to NATO. In domestic matters, greater intervention in commercial matters, especially for those American businesses utilizing offshore manufacturing; a move to free trade only on a reciprocal basis, lower tax on the poor and on corporates, and an attempt to drive growth into the American economy by fiscal means – essentially running a short term deficit by borrowing to pay for a massive public works programme. As we have noted here before, the tone might differ from that of Senator Bernie Sanders – but he probably is not quarrelling that much with the detail.

Senator Saunders though might be expected to be less than keen on the tone of the Trump team. It is, above all, rich. Not since the nineteenth century have so many rich businessmen occupied so many influential positions of political power. The core team is very much in The Donald’s own image – wealthy independently minded older men, many of them even richer than their new boss. There are also three senior generals in the group, and two more candidates with military backgrounds. Quite how such mavericks will manage to work together is not yet clear, but American executive government is not like the UK cabinet system, where a group of ministers led by a “first amongst equals” makes decisions collectively (at least in theory); in the American “cabinet”, a much looser concept, each Secretary and office holder runs his own fiefdom, reporting direct to the office of the President, which is very well staffed to be able to deal with that weight of reporting and consideration. Where there are matters which conflict between two areas, or involve fundamental matters, they may be settled by the intervention of the President – or indeed, the Vice-President, a key strength and contribution of Mr Obama’s Veep, Joe Biden – or discussed in cabinet meetings. Biden’s role seems likely to be closely replicated and even enlarged by Trump’s Veep, Mike Pence, who will be effectively Chief Operating Officer. But in the end the decision and the responsibility is the President’s – and the check and balance on him is the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Which is why it looks as though there has been some considerable strategic thinking done, somewhere. Yes, the nominated ones are rich, ageing and male, (and very white) but investigate a little further and things look relatively carefully thought through. The great executive offices are mostly filled by those who are used to holding big jobs and getting things done. What one might call the ideological jobs are filled by those of (strong) views on those subjects – mostly views unlikely to appeal to liberal Democrats (this is not going to be a government promoting green issues). And those jobs which have a political dimension are proposed to be given to seasoned political operators. Though some of them are unlikely to appeal to the present leadership of the Republican Party (which was presumably not expecting joy from their new President), though at least one of them might – Elaine Chao, proposed Secretary for Transportation, is the wife of Mitch McConnell, Republican leader of the Senate. She is one of four senior women in the cabinet group – the same as in Mr Obama’s cabinet, rather negating criticism of the lack of female appointments in the Trump initial selection.

Some interesting names do not appear on Mr Trump’s little list, and presumably are not going to, unless roles are created for them. No Gingrich, no Giuliani, no Christie (that bridge again), and so far no Palin – though she is apparently on the list for Secretary of Veteran Affairs. But Ben Carson is among the chosen ones – as Secretary for Housing and Urban Development – a biggish job for a man who said that he did not want an executive role. The Commerce Secretary is Wilbur Ross, 79 years old but still a man of great energy and focus, occupying what is likely to be a key job in the early months. And perhaps the most important job, for a president who seems to have little interest in overseas matters, is his nomination for Secretary of State – Foreign Secretary in Brit speak – Rex Tillerson, a tough conservative Texan who has headed ExxonMobil and has no political experience but a lot of overseas negotiating practice – not least with Vladimir Putin. Quite what that implies we will have to wait and see.

To those devotees of American politics who have been around a bit, this all has a 1980s feel; déjà vu all over again you might say. A surprise popular choice for President, derided as light weight, not likely to be unduly hands on, from a background so different that his true opinions were a source of much speculation at least initially, proudly old fashioned, with a cabinet of mostly unknown outsiders, themselves conservative and (not to use the term in a derogatory way) simplistically patriotic, and whilst mostly members of the Republican party, not from its powerbase, and with strong business links. Donald Trump is not Ronald Reagan though, and he has not come to office with the sweeping victory that Reagan did.

Trump undoubtedly has spotted a popular desire for change, just as Reagan did; but another less controversial candidate would probably have beaten Mrs Clinton by a much bigger majority – or by a majority one should properly say. But his cabinet selections are perhaps more surefooted than might have been expected, so he may carry through some of what he wants to do.

American politics is in for change, that is for sure.

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Issue 85: 2016 12 22: Where should we invest in 2017? (Frank O’Nomics)

22 December 2016

Where should we invest in 2017?

by Frank O’Nomics

This time last year I was rash enough to discuss what we should do with our savings with a view to making the best returns over 2016. It would be easy to brush this under the carpet and try to pretend that I had not missed some key trends. It is also too easy to use the number of unpredictable events (Brexit and the Trump election, to name but two) as excuses. What I did possibly get right was that the outlook at the start of last year was very uncertain, and for this reason I was very cautious about the prospects for many asset classes, especially given that most looked somewhat overvalued. You might then suggest that, with a similar degree of uncertainty facing the world again, coming up with investment suggestions is an exercise in futility. However, there are signs that some long-term trends, notably those for inflation and hence interest rates, are starting to turn and, if this is the case, there are some implications for what we should do with our cash. Yes, as with last year, equities, property and bonds all look very expensive, but the beginning of a re-steepening of yield curves points to a potential “great rotation” out of bonds into equities (at least for some sectors), especially if you believe that the pressure on interest rates is part of a broad global economic recovery.

The argument goes that with inflation returning (and we could see a level of 3-4% in the UK next year), even if the Bank of England decides to keep base rates unchanged through most of next year, longer-term interest rates will have to rise. We have already seen some steepening of yield curves, but so far this is just a small reversal of a fall in yields that has been a trend for several decades. If the rise in long yields continues, then the attractions of bonds and property will be very limited until the process has run its course. For equities there are some negative implications, particularly for those stocks that have been bought as bond proxies due to their attractive dividend yields. Indeed, the level of price-earnings ratios for most developed equity markets are towards the higher ends of their historic ranges. So why should we consider buying equities rather than bonds or property?

As always the key driver of equity markets should be the economic outlook. While historic price-earnings ratios may be high, if earnings are expected to grow, the prospective p-e ratios will still leave stocks looking attractive. If part of the pressure on inflation is a function of increased demand, which in turn has partly been helped by the cheapening of sterling, then we should be positive about equities. In the current scenario, the sectors of the equity market that should perform well will be the cyclical stocks, such as miners – who will benefit from an increased demand for resources – and financials. Banks make their money from borrowing short-term and lending longer-term, and have suffered for a long time due to low rates and a flat yield curve. If we are at the end of the period of heavy bank fines for past misdemeanours, then their earnings should start to be rebuilt quite quickly by a steepening yield curve. Perhaps a more important factor for corporate UK overall, a rise in long-term yields can have a particularly strong impact by cutting the size of pension fund deficits. These deficits have been largely the product of low long-term yields. As this pressure reverses, companies will have more money to invest in their businesses, thereby creating the capacity for long-term growth.

At this point it is quite correct to raise the spectre of continued uncertainty, and I see 3 areas of note. Firstly, we have to go through the lengthy process of Brexit, a process about which we still know very little. However, the market has recovered all of its summer losses and more, and the economy has yet to suffer to any great degree. Indeed, you could argue that many of the corporate deals that have been held in abeyance since the referendum have not gone away and, if confidence develops further, some of these will come to fruition. There are those who argue that the EU is ultimately a flexible entity that has always made exceptions when needed, and that the prospect of a bespoke deal for the UK is quite high. There will undoubtedly be some market wobbles concerning Brexit over the next 12 months, but these may just provide a buying opportunity. The second area of uncertainty surrounds the incoming US President. The markets may be looking too much at the short-term, but the current sense that tax cuts, to encourage the repatriation of US corporate cash, along with increased infrastructure spending, will be a positive for the next couple of years. This is likely to be inflationary, but still supportive for US stocks, even at the current record highs. The final key uncertainty is China, where we have been worrying about the consequences of an economic slowdown for some years. However, economic management in China seems relatively sound and a 6% growth rate might be a lot slower than it was, but it is still the envy of everyone else. For those that feel I have put too strong a spin on these risks (and I have), there is always recourse to buy the “fear” index, or VIX, which measures the level of volatility in markets. In the US this index has actually been falling since the US election, which suggests that the fear factor was previously overstated.

Markets are efficient to some degree, and there is a danger that many of these arguments are already priced in. The counter to this is to look at just how far they could move. Yes: US and UK financials have rallied 15% since the election, but this is a small part of the extent to which they fell after 2008. A stock such as Barclays may be 5% up on the year, but is still 10% down on a 3 year view and is one third of its level 10 years ago. The tentative conclusion then is to favour stocks over bonds (where you are paid little given a risk of rising rates) and property (where you risk getting trapped in a falling market), but to be very selective regarding the sectors that you favour. On that positive note, it just remains for me to wish you a prosperous, but more important, happy New Year.

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Issue 85: 2016 12 22: It was t’Night before Christmas (JR Thomas)

22 December 2016

It Was t’Night afore Christmas

A morality tale of Crafty Folk

by J.R.Thomas*

As Mr Thomas* is busy with his late Christmas shopping he asked Mr B, his source from the City, for a seasonal tale. He assures us this is a true story – but then, he does work in the City.

Picture of a Yorkshire landscape of rolling hills and plains and fields

‘t Yorkshireman’s dream – the Vale of York from Sutton Bank

There is a legend, begun no doubt in Scotland, that Yorkshiremen are a miserable lot, not given to celebrating anything and especially not Christmas. Indeed, in one version it is alleged that the innkeeper that December night two thousand and sixteen years ago was a Yorkshireman on a tax free contract (two years all expenses) running The Flat Cap and Whippet, Bethlehem branch. But this is all untrue; a Yorkshireman likes a good Christmas knees-up as much as the next man; he just likes somebody else to pay for it.

For yes, this is a story of Yorkshire folk, away from their home turf, but still delighted to get together and celebrate the festive season, and, as anybody who is acquainted with that proud race will recognise, it shows them operating at their finest. Half a dozen of us, long exiled to the south but keeping up old acquaintance, like to meet before Christmas to wish each other the delights of the season, discuss our eventual intention (but not yet) to move back to the dales and moors, and try to work out how much each is earning, with a chorus of “Ilkla Moor Baht” echoing across Hanover Square at midnight.

What we should be doing of course is dining on beer and pies, but such things being inadequately provided in London W1, and the years of southern self-indulgence having taking their toll (“your’e reet soft” said my cousin, still living safely within the dreaming towers of Barnsley), we tend to favour such local diners as the Connaught or Wild Honey. The time was approaching last May to organise things when Freddie, a lawyer formerly of Leeds, emailed us all (much cheaper than a phone call) to, firstly, make it known that he was having an exceptionally good year, and secondly, to suggest that this Christmastide we could push the boat out a bit and we could upgrade to a well-known French establishment of longstanding and supreme repute in Brook Street (London that is, not Leeds) which he was happy to book. The other five of us thought this was a touching and generous idea and the evening was duly booked.

The Yorkshireman likes his night out and we were all there on time – indeed four were early and made good progress at the bar before we even got to table. But we were seated soon enough among the tasteful, if not meagre, Christmas decorations, the menus produced and perused, and the orders given; and we can pass over the scoffing and quaffing simply by saying that a blxxdy good time was ‘ad by all, ba gum. Crackers were pulled, grumpiness by those who got the empty end overcome, paper hats carefully discarded, and waistcoats loosened and then unbuttoned. Our grandfathers would have been proud, if astonished at the prices.

So you join us again later, considerably later, in a more or less empty restaurant, dregs of fine wines in the glasses, plates scraped clean, and the brandy glasses being regarded thoughtfully. The shooting stories had worn out a bit, the business environment was agreed to be appalling, the merits of Range Rovers and the new Porsche 4×4 compared, summer yacht charter costs complained of, bonuses of unlikely proportions subtly alluded to, and several juicy bits of gossip analysed and thoroughly wrung out. The chairs were not quite being put on the tables, but the waiting staff were certainly leaning on the furniture with meaningful looks. In short, it was that awkward time of the night when reality must be faced and unpleasantness must intrude. It was indeed time for the ceremony of the presentation of the bill; and eventually the estate agent present (there’s always one) turned to Freddie and said “Great idea this, Fred, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks very much old lad.”

Freddie suddenly looked as though a violent bout of indigestion had overcome him, but not so much that he did not manage to splutter “Nay, nay, I was just organising, I thought Tom might pick up the bill this year, accountants are doing very well, so he’s just said”.

The food poisoning seemed now to have spread to Tom as well, who went slightly puce and said chokingly “I paid for t’pies year before last, it must be Kevin’s turn; or is it B—‘s?”

With that instinct with which they are born, the maitre d’ had suddenly materialised close by, looking a little anxious. We all looked, one to each other, trying to avoid the maitre’s increasingly steely look; and then, as if possessed by the same idea at the same time, we all turned to Frank. Frank is our token group billionaire, a classic tale of progression from bricklaying to a fortune made in construction and clever land buying, going public at the top of the market (twice), leaving his main care (as he had told us earlier, several times) being which banks to keep the stash in. We all smiled gently at Frank; but Frank did not get where he is today…. “Na then, lads; share and share alike, that would be reet. What’s t’damage, Freddie, lad?”

£1,500 was the damage.

The ebonised Chinese tray, replete with a curling and impressively long till roll, was elegantly lowered to the table, dead centre. With a groan that was not heard, but could certainly be felt, six hands pulled out six wallets; cash was clawed unwillingly from the dusty recesses and counted, and recounted. The maitre relaxed and the cash was piled up on the bill until the elegant tray spilled its burden on to the table. Or at least, £1,250 was. At that point a huge rugged hand reached out, grabbed the cash, and put down the company credit card. The cash disappeared into some mysterious inner pocket of Frank’s jacket.

£1,250 cash, tax free.  And a bill payable by the shareholders. Truly a Yorkshireman amongst Yorkshiremen, and, in one northern household at least, a Happy Christmas.

Mr B – who is a Yorkshireman – runs the blog “Bowler Hats and Flat Caps”, occasional insights into town life and country life, and the joy that ensues when they collide.

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Issue 85: 2016 12 22: Theatre review, Pinocchio at the King’s Head (Adam McCormack)

22 December 2016

Theatre Review: Pinocchio

at the King’s Head Theatre

by Adam McCormack

My love affair with panto has been rekindled. The prospect of going to yet another interminably long, hackneyed vehicle for fading soap stars filled me with dread, and was to be avoided other than for the contractual obligations of fatherhood. Charles Court Opera has changed my view with their latest production of Pinocchio at the King’s Head in Islington. Yes, we still get the awful puns, standard characters, and a plot that bears little examination, but this is a panto with real charm and humour.

The songs – adaptations of classics by Queen, Abba, Spice Girls, Pointer Sisters, Meatloaf, the Beatles and many others – are given great humour and topicality in David Easton’s rewritten versions. The turning of Eleanor Rigby into Jiminy Cricket is a work of genius that delivers proper comic pathos. Using performers from an opera company also helps a great deal, partly because of the strength of the singing, but also because they really can act, and this gets them through any shortfalls in the dialogue, of which there are very few. Robin Bailey is an especially impressive louche and calculating fox, and Francesca Fenech delightful as the love interest snail, Michelle (a name which helps a rapid-fire stream of one-liners).

A point should also be made regarding the strength of this company. On the evening I attended, the actor playing Pinocchio (Joshua da Costa) was unwell and struggled to sing. The dearth of resources meant that, without an understudy, he had to perform. However, not only did his acting carry his performance so that his necessary sotto voce did not matter, the rest of the cast and the musicians supported him admirably; with the former accompanying him more when needed, and the latter playing more quietly so he could be more easily heard. A true team effort. The usual panto moments of audience participation are hilarious (you may not want to sit in an aisle seat if you are shy) and work much better for this being billed an “adult” panto – although the company does a toned-down version for children in matinees. The staging and props are basic, but the show is all the more endearing for this, and the dogfish is made with a creative genius almost worthy of the team behind War Horse.


This show is on:
at the King’s Head until 7th January.

Is it time to revisit panto? Oh yes it is!

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Issue 85: 2012 12 22: Book Review – Toby’s Room, Pat Barker (Neil Dunlop)

22 December 2016

Toby’s Room

by Pat Barker

reviewed by Neil Dunlop

One hundred years ago they did not know that they were only half way through the ghastly war that was engulfing Europe. Pat Barker takes you to the heightened emotions and rapid changes in the social atmosphere that the Great War created, drawing you into the lives of a small group of artists from the Slade school in London. Their varied social backgrounds add ferment to a mix that is as compelling as Pat Barker’s prose is sparkling.

This is an easy read that still engages you with the changing issues and makes you face the horrors of the First World War and its deep impact on young and not-so-young lives. Their dark secrets and wandering loves weave a spell and there is even an element of ‘who done it?‘ as the plot unfolds. Cleverly weaving the artist’s studio, the battlefield and the hospital, the life of the young protagonists will have you gripped.

Published by Hamish Hamilton & Penguin Books, ISBN 978-0-241-14457-2 & ISBN 978-0-241-14522-7, first published 2012.

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Issue 85: 2016 12 22: Book Review – Doing good better – Creative Altruism Alan MacAskill, (Frank O’Nomics)

22 December 2016

Doing Good Better – Creative Altruism

by William MacAskill

reviewed by Frank O’Nomics

As a sixth former I was encouraged to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M Pirsig, a book that was supposed to change the way I thought and felt about my life. Sadly, it was a road trip story that proved beyond the levels of my teenage attention and I gave up on it relatively quickly. Maybe it is time to revisit, but I feel more comfortable recommending Doing Good Better to provoke a similar self-examination. While it is not a novel, this book, in introducing us to effective altruism, gives a very solid grounding in how best to make a positive difference. A sentiment well worth exploring at this time of year.

Even if you earn somewhat less than the average for the UK, around £20,000, you are in the top 5% of global incomes, with the bottom billion of the world living below the poverty line. We need to ask ourselves what we can do about this and this book helps us to answer the question in the most efficient manner. With the use of economic analysis, MacAskill demonstrates the best way to help the poor and disadvantaged in society, or our environment. Overall it seems that giving to good causes, rather than devoting our working lives to doing good, is the right course to take. Clearly this is different if you are one of the few that is capable of producing the research to provide cures for disease, but even if you are bright enough to be able to join one of the caring professions, there is no need to do so if you are going to be happier doing something else – all you will be doing is taking a role that many others can do – whereas, if you become a successful business person, you can do more good by giving a proportion of your earnings to good causes. Think about how many lives are saved by donating a few pounds to buy mosquito nets, compared to the cost of educating a doctor or nurse. We undoubtedly need people to work in the caring professions, but we also need income generators to support causes.

At its heart, this book is about working out which causes are the most deserving of your hard earned cash and some of the results are quite surprising. As an example MacAskill cites the development of a children’s roundabout in Africa that channelled the energy of play into pumping water when there was insufficient wind to drive wind pumps. It sounds like a win-win situation and the charity behind the idea was able to raise a huge amount of money for the cause, which, by 2009, had resulted in the installation of 1800 “PlayPumps”. However, the problem was that children got tired (or injured) and adults had to push the roundabouts. What was worse was that old fashioned hand pumps were in fact 5 times more efficient, but many had been abandoned due to poor maintenance or construction. So the $60 million programme was very sub-optimal and anyone that donated would feel very frustrated. From examples such as this MacAskill introduces the concept of quality-adjusted life years, which is a way of measuring, for a range of different charities, the added benefit that results from each additional £1 that we donate. The calculation takes account of both the increase in life expectancy generated by a charity, as well as the improvement in the quality of life. Clearly, there is a big difference if yours are the last few pounds that provide a cure for a particular form of cancer, instead of just launching the research process, or your money helps save a starving child with a potentially long life expectancy, rather than prolongs that of a ninety-year old. Further, there is a danger that some charities (particularly those that help animals) will lose out from the use of such analysis. There are some arguments presented that are clearly calculated to provoke debate, such as suggesting why we should not contribute to disaster relief funds (in fact it is an argument for giving to aid agencies and letting them decide where to allocate the cash according to need). Nevertheless, this is a very stimulating book that does provide a valuable framework to help us to take the right option when we want to make a difference.

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Issue 85: Crossword – Noel, Noel

22 December 2016

Crossword by Boffles

Noel, Noel

 

To see a printable version of this crossword