The Evil Diaries: “It’s great being bribed with your own money”

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The Evil Diaries: “It’s great being bribed with your own money”

Poundland (PLND) faces legal problems at the hands of the Competition and Markets Authority in taking over 99p Stores since the authorities have invented the notion that this particular band of discount retailing should be treated as different from all others. I trust that further reflection amongst those who impose these pointless costs of enquiry will scrap the notion altogether and, swiftly, pay a large cheque to the shareholders of the combined group for having wasted their money and time so far. I use ‘trust’ in the ironic sense but still think the deal will go through.

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On Thursday I contacted David Lenigas to congratulate him on his stunning presentation campaign to publicise UK OIl & Gas (UKOG) and the potential bonanza arising at Horse Hill and environs – his publicist will certainly get a case of Foster’s for Christmas. The British like him since he is so gungho. So much so that they suspend disbelief. However, the facts remain: there is an awfully long way to go before this oil field is established let alone shown to be economic. I shorted UKOG too early at around 2p, little guessing the shower of bull that was yet to emerge and be gobbled up by the public. I’ll still make a profit.

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On Saturday, Ali Mortazavi of Silence (SLN), which I fingered last week, came on the dog to point out to me that I “must be mad in view of…..”. Here I held the phone away from my ear for two minutes or may be longer since Iranians, even clever ones like Ali, can get emotional. To appease him I freely admitted my ignorance of much in the world of biotech.

However, Ali, reverting to his rational self when presenting, did point out that junior oil explorers are ridiculously oversold. He may be right. There simply remains the problem of timing.

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For some years now the starting prices of runners in the Grand National have been shortened by the leading bookmakers such that it is most improbable that the prices returned reflect the truth which should be that the price reflects the rate obtaining to reasonable money right at the off. On Saturday Shutthefrontdoor was returned at 6/1. The true price was at least 12/1 on Betfair and, further, the true (because Betfair’s is the true price) place price was at least 7/2 as against the implied each way place price of 6/4. Time for the Competition and Markets Authority to step in and make fools of themselves. They should have time on their hands (see above).

For ease of comprehension, readers should be aware that this degree of shortening in the last hour improves the bookmakers’ profit margins on turnover by at least 30%.

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The clever thing about the Oxbridge women’s boat race is that women, when rowing, are not seen sideways on as palpably inferior to their male counterparts – although whether viewers want to have two boat races on the same day remains to be seen. (In contrast, women’s football continues to be overtly useless as a spectator sport. It is simply publicised to supply the right on crowd at the BBC and elsewhere more yap-yapping material.)

I checked with my father whose first direct experience of an Oxbridge boat race was in 1947 as to whether oarsmen then wore gumboots. He had no recollection of such accoutrements since there was no TV coverage. But oarsmen (and, for the sake of inclusivity – after all, we should never ever forget inclusivity – I add oarswomen) do not wear gumboots when rowing – after all it might be dangerous through a risk of causing drowning. So those getting out of their boat are bound to get their feet wet, whether male or female. Here it got mysterious: all rowers stepping up for their prizes on the prize-awards platform were wearing gumboots. These must have been slipped on between getting ashore and ascending to the platform. They had no water exclusion purposes. They were merely part of the scene. To me, the coordinated trotting oarspersons looked as if they were firepersons in Trumpton. No doubt, this was all anticipated by the promoters and so arranged. At least, the women were not wearing high heels. Perhaps next year….

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IHT: The Conservatives now declare that they will slash inheritance tax in practice since they say they think that the “family home” (whatever that phrase may mean) should be kept out of taxation such that the de facto joint exemption band goes up from £650,000 to £1m. The Conservatives certainly do not bu**er about when it comes to electoral bribes.

No doubt there’ll be chaps in HM Treasury who will wring their hands at having seen a colossal supply of easy tax revenue in the years to come all lined up and now nicked from their grasp. And those who do not have “family homes” will simply have to pay more tax. It’s great being bribed with your own money.

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