Wednesday 9 March 2022 used to be a web site about over-loading Russian propaganda websites with requests from browsers, as well as harder sites to crack like MIL.RU and commercial sites.

It's good to have revived an old blog and published a page with that link just in case it helped.

Sites like stop-russian-propaganda probably made a very slight difference, specially to enemy web sites that weren't used to defending themselves with the likes of Cloudflare. There was probably a morale-reducing or morale-boosting effect to either side. Imagine if you work in IT and are asked to help defend a Russian web site against individual activists from all over the world. Wouldn't you think that it's time to emigrate? is where I found the stop russian propaganda link with various ways that people can help - mainly adding money to what taxpayers in the UK have already contributed. 

Another idea: tanks and military hardwire.

I don't understand why donor countries like the UK want to donate lots of reserves of equipment, but not the whole lot. The idea seems to be to keep essentials like recently-made tanks, but donate what we can spare like the previous model. I don't get this idea. What are the tanks for if not to stop Russia and China invading? Russia is already invading power lines on sea beds; it is already invading with assassins to kill people in Salisbury. Russia funds daft politicians, if I understand right, in order to make democracy fail. Russia and China will not stop at some treaty line like the Minsk agreement that said they would stop after Crimea. If they win, and win, and win, it is only a matter of time before they annexe the UK or countries so close that we have to be close to the buffer zone and ignore what they do while moving closer and closer. Finlandization used to be the jargon word.

I don't understand the argument the other way. Maybe I have missed it. Why would we not donate every single tank to Ukraine (or whatever other piece of hardware)? You cannot do much else with most of this hardware. You cannot hoover the carpet with it, or generate electricity for a town, or 

Monday 7 March 2022

A balding man with a laptop gets grandiose when given power, whether it is a power to write this little-read blog, or a power to command conscripts to kill. The balding little man in Moscow looks pretty unwell, mentally and physically, which is bad for the careerists who endure him face to face and try to carry out his orders. looks a good link for ways of trying to help people in Ukraine. One of them is free to do, but I have not worked out how to do it. Maybe there is some online service for checking whether some Russian sites like banks and Gasprom and are still down due to other people checking. I have not worked out how to use the more intense software suggested, but somebody reading this might get it going straight away. As it's likely that the Kremlin will find a way of closing down the internet in Ukraine. I guess that any outside help is welcome.

Monday 9 August 2021

Free trade has made Vietnam factory workers poorer when not linked to national insurance

This post will change a bit as I get the facts together but here's a start
says that wages in Vietnamese manufacturing have not much risen recently; the bar chart shows a big peak and then a fall. says that people in Vietnam have benefited from a recent free trade deal with the UK. The link is to a consulation document which states this as a fact. The same consultation process leaves-out any questions on wny the UK is paying other countries to under-cut UK manufacturers; consultations on each deal, such as the recent mexico deal consultation, are silent on the subject and give no clue that a subsidy to the other side might exist.
It turns-out that I'm wrong: Vietnam has a firtility rate of about two, and some kind of national insurance and welfare state. I don't know if it's a good one, but it's enough to stop the firtility rate going as high Mexico (where the UK wants to pay to get a trade deal!) or Nigeria, where women have about four children and I expect that women in poor families have more, boosting the unemployment queue and lowering wages however many cut-rate products westerners buy from there. Also, I forget where I got the firtility rate figures, but welfare / national insurance information is here -

Sunday 8 August 2021

Low cost of reducing evil: Afghanistan Iran and Pakistan

I was going to write a review of the sneakers exhibition at the Design Museum in London.


Afghanistan and the rounding-up of wives

Wikipedia says that the Afghan Army payroll has varied over decades and is quite low at the moment, for a country that is always at war. AFN 717,857 or GBP 6,600 is an average salary, a bit below average salaries overall in the country but with a pay-rise promised out of despiration.

To fund an Afghan soldier you need to work well and hard or have £6,600 x 10 invested at 10%: £66,000 or half the cost of the cheapest house in the UK. If you have the cheapest house in the UK, and no costs or debt and somewheere else to live, you have the money to fund two Afghan soldiers if you can invest at 10%. Ask me how. You need an expert intemediary or to trust whatever the Afghan embassy suggests.

There might be someone who could add noughts on the end of that figure and is looking for something to do with their money, other than funding political parties of sponsoring the Olympics. Suppose that politicians in the UK declared a halt on all party funding, and urged donors to fund other causes instead, that might release one who could fund a lot of Afghan soldiers. If the situation is too dire in the non-taliban parts of Afghanistan for many soldiers to be recruited or trained and show value for money, there may be a way of paying for help from over the border if the Pakistani government is forced to allow.
I crossed those paragraphs out as US and European taxpayers already pay a bit towards the Afghan army, according to an Al Jazerrah article on my phone today

There is another problem. People in Pakistan and Iran are doing exactly the same thing, individually and via their governments I suppose. There is no way to hold Taliban prisoners in a more stable country like Pakistan, so there's a risk of their prisons being in areas where they are released and allowed to kill more people and round-up more wives. Countries like Pakistan Iran are run for monotheists who has no respect for other opinions and minorities; it's obvious that a proportion of people there will go further, and be the crusaders or the violent puritans or just fund such people from beige living rooms while watching MTV

if the UK's new tariff system fined countries where this happens, such as Iran and Pakistan, the problem would be made more obvious and there would be bit of tax revenue coming-in from tariffs. It might even fund something good in whatever country often has pages where you can put a reasonable point of view on record, maybe informed by facts, and demonstrate how little I have done the same. I thought there was one on the general direction of UK trade deals for example, but can't even find it, for all my talk of funding Afghan soliders.

Update: people who are better-informed than me in Afghanistan do this: Meanwhile the UK
...shows open consultations on trade, and with a bit of a search I see that there's an open consultation for India and for "developing" countries. It think there has also been a UK government trade sanction on Belarus, but no mention of it on the trade pages. Sanctions and trade deals are worked-out in different offices, and in different parts of the brains of the people who make these decisions in government. UK government trade pages write about deals with Myanmar and probably even Belorus as though sanctions didn't exist

A better scheme would mix the two. Sanctions on Myanmar have not much effect, I think, because the regime there is past caring. Sanctions on Pakistan would have an effect because civil society, the economy, and the thing goverment says when it is trying to sound western, all might influence decisons there.

One such sanction could be a low extra tariff on countries that promote monotheism in schools. The UK might have to sanction itself, but it's still a good idea. That way of thinking can justify anything; the reward is in heavan. In someone on the borderline of violence, it is an added factor, like heroin use and a peer pressure, which can over-ride concience. In the Pakistan religious acadamies, boys might have all three. According to Al Jazeera -
"The Taliban militia emerged as a substantial player in 1994. Many of its members had studied in conservative religious schools in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan."

Tuesday 22 December 2020

Ethical credentials for free, scraped-together from the country where a product is made

The pages are set-up already by my shopping cart software which expects them to be used for brands or manufacturers, but I don't have much for sale with a known brand name on it, so the pages were going spare.  Under each list of scores I write
  • "more than a vegan shoe brand, but these costs reduce what's left for brand advertising, PR & packaging for smart retail, rapid style changes and air freight, new moulds, or fiddly sewing. You can draw your own brand, like a smiley face or a black spot or something if you want."
This is a great relief to someone who is used to getting ethical credentials for free just by writing "vegan" on a product on a home made web site, next to "wash at 40 degrees" or "postage three pounds". Other producers have always had a tougher job trying to justify one factory in Bangladesh as being a better employer than another factory in Sri Lanka. If we know where a product was made we can compare free information about each country, just so long as someone has done the work already and put some kind of number on it. Not that there is a number for human rights in China because that country is off the bottom of the scale, but most countries have a number.

For a long time, I didn't know that a human rights index existed and I think it's quite new. Mary Creagh mentioned it on a video of the Environmental Audit Committee that I sat-through, and I immediately stole the idea. Another came soon after on a Make it British virtual trade show where Mr Nieper of David Nieper Ltd gave a video speech about his company's carbon emissions, as reported by Nottingham University who realised that electriciy units take more CO2 to make in China than in the UK. The UK v China CO2 emmission report is buried on the David Niaper Ltd web site, but after some googling I found the International Energy Agency. It shows each country scored on a few boxes. The ratio of electriciy output to CO2 produced making electricity is a simple number, in some unit or other. in the USA was a previous google discovery. It publishes a concise guide to the social security system, if any, in each country and adds a list of government spending on headings like health and education. The guide seems to come from the International Social Security Association, who have a permanant link for each country but a much slower web site and a series of drop-downs for each one that makes it impossible to glance at; you have to know what you're looking for before you can find it. So I have stuck to and their information pages called a "world factbook", published by the CIA.

Monday 23 March 2020

UK government forms for medical and emergency procurement

The UK government has no database of UK manufacturers.
They have two forms to show interest in providing medical or emergency goods and services.
  • The first is general including personal protective equipment like face masks
  • The second is for ventilators. I guess that manufacturing quickly in the UK is what they're most interested in; there is a "where" box next to each item on the second form.

Goods and Services Assistance: COVID-19 - or


  • Food
  • Hotel Rooms for any use
  • Hotel Rooms for lodging
  • Manufacturing equipment
  • Medical Equipment -
  • PPE Medical Equipment -
  • Testing equipment Medical Equipment -
  • Other Office space for any use
  • Warehouse/Industrial space
  • Other (please provide a description of these goods):


  • Community Support
  • Consultancy for Medical Equipment
  • Design Consultancy - other
  • Construction expertise
  • Engineering expertise
  • IT services expertise
  • Manufacturing expertise
  • Medical expertise
  • Project management / procurement expertise
  • Social Care
  • Transport - logistics or courier
  • Transport - people
  • Other (please provide a description of these services)


  • Do you already produce regulated ventilators that are used in a UK clinical setting i.e. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), approved with a CE mark?
  • Have you made parts or systems for ventilators:
  • for human use in clinical setting? Yes No
  • for use in veterinary setting? Yes No
  • use in any other setting? Yes No If you answered yes to any of the above, please provide further details. Please indicate whether you design, manufacture or supply any of the following medical devices or component parts and, if so, where.
Category: Design / Manufacture / Supply / Location
  • Air Compressors / Pumps
  • Bellows
  • Self-inflating bags
  • Gas mixing valves
  • Pressure Regulators
  • Flow Control valves
  • Solenoid valves
  • Pressure relief valves
  • Check valves / one-way valves
  • Industrial Automation components (Safety Relays, PLCs)
  • Power Supplies
  • Electric Motors, and motor controllers
  • Linear actuators and controllers
  • Tubing and fittings
  • Pressure Sensors and Indicators
  • Oxygen Sensors and Indicators
  • Flow Sensors and Indicators
  • Manometers
  • Heat and moisture exchanging filters (HMEFs)
  • Air Filter, HEPA Filters


6. Please indicate in
  • which of the following activities your organisation has relevant skills,
  • which is your specialism, and
  • where these activities take place.
Category: Relevant skills / Specialism / Location
  • Design / specification
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Manufacturing (manual)
  • Manufacturing (automated)
  • Machine Shops/sheet metal/tool manufacture
  • Pneumatic part manufacturers/suppliers
  • Contract/Product Assembly
  • Certification/regulation/testing
  • Logistics
  • Medical Training
7. Please indicate which enabling resources are you able to provide in service of this initiative.
  • Suitable space
  • Equipment
  • Trained personnel
  • Other - posts in The Engineer - post in The Independent mention a GTech contract and that GTech will make the plans open source. Headlines seem to go to party donor Dyson instead.
This one from a college doesn't mention a manufacturer There is also an open source design project in Ireland which I don't understand - it's about slack channels and github for those qualified to help.
has been promised orders

Party donor James Dyson has been promised orders, with no web page findable yet

Thursday 20 February 2020

Have your say on the UK Global Tariff

This is emotive. People have to write positive, simple reasons why
(a) tariffs can help prevent the next Syria by taxing badness.
(b) tariffs can help Bangladesh by giving it a reason to introduce National Insurance, and help the UK at the same time.
(c) talking of clothing and footwear, consumers in the UK can benefit from less throw-away thin cotton, which they often pay a lot for in M&S even if it is cheap at Primark, while there is a landfill problem just getting rid of all this stuff because it is too thin to sell secondhand.

There is more similar.

I will transcribe the questions and have a go online before sending-off my answers. Meanwhile, search "Have your say on the UK Global Tariff" to see the kind of thing the civil service asks.

The rule applies unless you have a customs agreement with a specific country or are part of a customs union

so the rule can be "if you are bad you pay" to all WTO members "without any regard to size or economic development"

To inform the development of the UK Global Tariff, the Government has launched a four-week public consultation on the UK Global Tariff policy, beginning on 6 February 2020 and closing on 5 March 2020. The Government encourages everyone with an interest to take part and provide their views.

This consultation will provide the opportunity for you to provide:
  • views on a potential series of amendments to the Common External Tariff to create a bespoke UK tariff regime;
  • specific feedback on individual products or commodity codes of importance to you, including on the corresponding tariff rate; and
  • information on your interactions with Most Favoured Nation tariffs, and the importance of tariffs to sectors that are important to you.
Throughout the consultation respondents are encouraged to provide evidence to support their view, including the possible impact (costs and benefits) of amending or not amending the tariff on businesses, consumers and the economy.

ambitious, transparent and inclusive UK trade policy that takes account of the views of all sectors of society and international stakeholders; including the general public, devolved administrations and the regions, businesses, civil society groups, consumers, associations and any other interested stakeholders.

In line with this, the Government has launched a 4-week public consultation on the UK’s future tariff schedule.

  • to design an effective UK specific Most Favoured Nation Tariff (the UK Global Tariff),
  • to ensure that the UK Global Tariff captures the views of its stakeholders,
  • to enable HM Government to follow up on the points raised in the consultation.
Section 2 Tariff Rates

Section 2 : Tariff Rates

Tariffs are duties or taxes paid on imported goods entering a country.

Those who import the goods into the UK pay the tariff, which is collected by HM Revenue & Customs.

The new UK Global Tariff will apply to all goods imported into the UK on 1 January 2021, unless an exception such as a preferential arrangement or tariff suspension applies. In particular, this tariff will not apply to goods coming from developing countries that benefit under the Generalised System of Preferences, or to goods originating from countries with which the UK has negotiated a Free Trade Agreement. The Northern Ireland / Ireland Protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement provides for certain specific arrangements as regards Northern Ireland. It will be designed specifically for the UK economy and will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff which is currently applied on imports into the UK.

The UK is required to apply the same tariff rates to all goods imported from countries with which the UK does not have a preferential arrangement in place. This is in line with the World Trade Organisation’s Most Favoured Nation (MFN) principle.

In this section you will be able to provide:
  • specific feedback on products or commodity codes of importance to you, including on the corresponding tariff rate;

    sewn cotton knit from Bangladesh

  • information on your interactions with Most Favoured Nation tariffs and the importance of tariffs to sectors that are important to you.
Slippers and all goods discouraged in the 1930s onwards and 1979-2009

Please note: this consultation is asking for views on applied tariffs only. It does not cover any other import duties or measures, including anti-dumping,
countervailing or
safeguards duties,
or any other form of restrictions on imports.

Were you aware of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) applied tariffs prior to hearing about this consultation?

Which of the following sectors are important to you when considering the current applied tariffs (the EU's Common External Tariff)? 
For example, for importing, producing and/or consuming.
Please select all that apply.

  • Agriculture
  • Energy and Mining
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction services
  • Business services
  • Broadcasting, creative and digital sectors
  • Transport, storage and distribution services
  • Public Services
  • Retail and hospitality

Would you like to provide comments on specific tariff rates?
This will involve selecting commodities at the 8 digit commodity code level by searching either by code or description.
If you are unsure of the commodity code for the good you wish to comment on, please refer to the tariff look-up (opens in a new window).


Please provide any further comments on the UK Global Tariff.


Section 3 : UK Global Tariff Principles

Policy objectives
In setting the tariff rates, the Government will have regard to the following principles set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018:
  • the interests of consumers in the United Kingdom,
  • the interests of producers in the United Kingdom of the goods concerned,
  • the desirability of maintaining and promoting the external trade of the United Kingdom,
  • the desirability of maintaining and promoting productivity in the United Kingdom, and
  • the extent to which the goods concerned are subject to competition.
The Government will also seek to balance strategic trade objectives, such as the delivery of the UK's trade ambitions and FTA agenda, including maintaining the Government's commitment to developing countries to reduce poverty through trade.

Proposed changes
The Government is seeking views on a series of potential amendments as the UK moves away from the EU’s Common External Tariff. These are set out below:
  1. Simplifying and tailoring the tariff. The Government is considering:
    1. Removing tariffs on goods with particularly low tariffs currently (less than 2.5%).
    2. Rounding tariffs down to the nearest standardised band.
    3. Taking steps towards agricultural tariffs that are applied as single percentages.
  2. Removing tariffs on key inputs used in the production of other goods.
  3. Removing tariffs where the UK has zero or limited domestic production.
These principles, alongside the strategic objectives outlined above, represent considerations the Government is inviting views on; they do not represent final decisions.

Please refer to the Statement of Direction and Information Packregarding the proposed tariff changes.

In this section you will be able to provide views on a potential series of amendments to the Common External Tariff to create a bespoke UK tariff.

The Government is considering removing comparatively low tariffs, commonly known as "nuisance tariffs", of 2.5% or less which in some instances could reduce the administrative burden on UK businesses.

Should the Government remove tariffs on goods of 2.5% or less?

Developing a bespoke tariff schedule provides the UK with an opportunity to simplify the tariff schedule it applies, so that it is both easier for businesses to understand and use.

The UK is considering rounding tariffs down to the nearest standardised band which would be:
  • 2.5% for tariffs currently under 20% (e.g. a 19.2% tariff becomes 17.5%, a 12.3% tariff becomes 10%),
  • 5% for tariffs currently between 21% and 50% (e.g. 48% tariff becomes 45%, 22% becomes 20%),
  • 10% for tariffs currently above 51% (e.g. a 68% tariff becomes 60%).
Should the Government round tariffs down to the nearest standardised band?

The Government is considering taking steps towards applying agricultural tariffs that are applied as single percentages.

Should the Government consider moving in this direction?

Inputs are goods which businesses import for the use in production and manufacturing of other goods. The Government is considering removing these tariffs with the aim of reducing input costs for UK producers to support UK manufacturing.

To assist identifying which goods are classified as inputs to production, the Government may consider the non-exhaustive goods listed in the following documents:
Please note that these documents are not exhaustive.

Should the Government remove tariffs on key inputs to production and manufacturing?

The UK is considering removing tariffs on goods where there is zero or limited UK production with the aim of benefiting UK consumers by lowering the cost of these imports.

To help identify which goods are classified as having zero or limited domestic production, the Government may consider the non-exhaustive goods listed in the following document: List of tariff suspensions that currently apply on inputs to production. Please note that this document is not exhaustive.

These goods, by definition, represent areas of low production in Europe. The Government may consider these goods when identifying areas of limited to no production in the UK.

Should the Government remove tariffs where the UK has zero or limited domestic production?


If you would like to provide any supplementary information in addition to your response, please upload below:
You can only upload one file.