My interest in continued fractions was sparked by working out how to knit the stars in the EU flag earlier this year. It turned out that 13/15 was a remarkably good approximation for √3/2, which was crucial for placing the stars. While exploring the world of continued fractions, I came across a reference to a … More Powers of the golden ratio
Since my first knitting blog in March, I’ve been occupied with a much bigger project: a “log-cabin” blanket. The log-cabin design is based on traditional American quilting, translated into knitting: each square panel in the blanket is built up from a series of “logs” around a reddish central square, supposedly symbolising the hearth, surrounded by … More Knitting through the looking-glass (Or how Martin Gardner helped me design a blanket)
Tax incentives – the start of a debate? The tax community has long been exercised about the differences in taxation/NI between the employed and the self-employed. In 2010, the IFS’s Mirrlees review recommended reducing the distortions by moving towards greater neutrality. By the time the review was published, the distortion had been exacerbated by an … More Tax and the Taylor Review
At a meeting with Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker during yesterday’s NATO summit, Donald Trump reportedly said “the Germans are bad, very bad” for selling millions of cars to the US. That comment, directed at a supposed NATO ally, is damaging enough. But when it hit the press last night, it was mangled into something … More The perils of translation
Following reports of last week’s Juncker/May dinner (see Monday’s blog), there has been renewed interest in Angela Merkel’s speech to the German Parliament (Bundestag) the day after. So I’ve translated it in full below. The bits I’ve highlighted in bold are particularly striking in relation to Brexit. But the speech – quite short by Merkel’s … More Merkel’s 27 April speech to the Bundestag: full translation
Last Wednesday, 26 April, Theresa May invited Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker to dinner at No.10. Tim Shipman’s report (May is living in another galaxy) in yesterday’s Sunday Times gave an insight into some of what went on and is well worth a read (I downloaded without £). But the full horror becomes apparent in … More The Brexit dinner: delusion at every course
Last week I joined my piano teacher, Sebastian Stanley, at the beautiful Rosslyn Hill chapel in Hampstead to record some piano videos. The immediate purpose was to submit the recordings for an amateur piano competition, but I decided to put some of them together into a micro-recital for the blog. You can view this as … More Micro-recital for Europe
Back in 1988, the economist Larry Summers explained why the US had no VAT: ”Liberals think it’s regressive and conservatives think it’s a money machine. If they reverse their positions, the VAT may happen.” Nearly 30 years later, the US still doesn’t have a VAT. But recent tax reform proposals by the Republican party would bring … More US tax reform: badly needed, but is the destination right?
My EU-flag cushion is finished at last. I’ve spent the last couple of days frantically sewing it together, in a race against Parliament to ensure it’s ready by the time Theresa May triggers Article 50. Don’t ask me to explain why, but it makes me feel slightly better equipped to face the political chaos in … More Knitting for Europe (or Woolly Surds)
One answer to that question might be “when it’s a probate fee”. The government has announced a new regime for probate fees, linked to the value of estates, which will replace the current fixed fee from May this year. Instead of the current £215 (or £155 through a solicitor), executors will pay on a sliding … More When is a tax not a tax?