Modern slavery, same old stupidity

Slavery still exists along the supply chain of some of the most reputable businesses.

FTSE 100 companies have a major influence in eradicating modern slavery,” said Hyland. “Therefore, I have written to 25 companies identified in the BHRCC research as non-compliant, and which had still not corrected their omissions by December 2017, to encourage improved efforts in the coming year.”

A quarter of the FTSE100 are not taking seriously the risk of slavery in their supply chain? That’s pretty dire.

Taking action on modern slavery and human trafficking is not just a moral obligation – it is in fact good business sense: forced labour in company operations or supply chains has potential to disrupt business, weaken investor confidence, incur litigation costs and cause significant brand damage.”

Well, that’s not strictly true, is it? The Romans built an entire empire off the back of slaves and it’s doubtful the Southern plantation owners would have sold as much cotton if the price had included market rate wages as input costs.

Slavery has been the primary route to wealth for most of human history. It’s only recently made bad business logic since the Judeo-Christian culture decided it was immoral and put severe sanctions in place to prevent it. It continued elsewhere in the world, however, a fact which ought to kill any conversation about cultural equality dead.

So which are the companies who so callously flaunt the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act and what are those requirements?

The BHRCC research, from October 2017, commended Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Unilever, British American Tobacco, Tesco and Vodafone for their work against modern slavery. Hargreaves Lansdown, Paddy Power Betfair, Pearson and Worldpay rated poorly.

Under the MSA firms with a turnover of £36m or more must produce slavery statements approved by the board, signed by a director and published on a website with a link from the homepage.

It feels like another outing for our old friend Pareto.

Let’s work back from the outcome we wish to achieve; something like eliminate slavery from the supply chain of goods and services entering the country.

With that goal in mind, it would make sense to address the supply chains of those companies with the largest risk of discovering slavery in their supply chain, so the largest by revenue might be one crude measure but it may be more effective to target those most reliant on imported goods and service, surely?

The bookmakers Paddy Power Betfair, for example, may have very large revenue but is unlikely to be reliant on any significant value or volume of imported goods and services, maybe a bunch of IT equipment but little else.

The same could be said for the others named in the article. Let’s also remind ourselves what it is they haven’t done; written a statement and posted it on a website. Not exactly commensurate with the efforts of William Wilberforce, is it?

Bill’s Opinion

Naming and shaming organisations for failing to comply with legislation is fine but let’s not delude ourselves into believing it actually achieves the outcome we require.

The revenue trigger for the MSA legislation is a crude measure and risks leaving smaller firms with more potential of finding slavery in their supply chain unexamined.

In fact, this is simply yet another example of this lesson on setting KPIs.

Two incompatible approaches

Many have shared this interview on social media and various blogs already, commenting from their particular position.

We would like to offer an alternative to the Red vs Blue Team arguments and discuss this interview as a proxy to explain why we are currently seeing so much polarisation in, well, every area of public debate.

The two participants, while nominally discussing the same subject are using two incompatible approaches to the discussion.

On the one hand, Peterson talks in terms of statistics showing trends, while Newman uses his description of a trend as a specific for an individual.

A great example of this disconnect is when Peterson tries to explain why hierarchies and the human response to them are ancient and even predate hominids. His nuanced point was that the serotonin reaction to status is shared with lobsters, so (a) status cannot be a social construct to be quickly dismantled and, (b) probably has some deep evolutionary cause, reminding us of Chesterton’s fence.

The discussion around the causes of the pay gap is even more poignant; one person is approaching the data point that, on average, women are paid 9% less than men, with a reasonable question about how we might isolate the multiple variables which may be responsible and cautioning against drawing the conclusion that it must be entirely or, in a large part, due to bias.

On the other hand, the other person is either unable or unwilling to consider the possibility that other factors may be at play.

Peterson remains remarkably patient during this exchange while Newman reverts to hyperbole, invites Peterson to argue against her strawman summaries of his points and begins to raise her voice.

Bill’s Opinion

One doesn’t need to take a position on the content of the discussion to see that the two approaches to this debate are incompatible. The form of the discussion is a wonderful embodiment of the current standard of debate between those with a cultural Marxism tendency and everyone else in the world.

Even the best girls are boys

A 9 year old female relative received this inspiring book for Christmas;

100 stories of inspiring women role models to underline the message that girls can achieve whatever it is in life they desire.

Most of the examples are uncontentious with wonderful tales of intelligence, tenacity and bravery to achieve outstanding outcomes in various disciplines; Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale, Ada Lovelace, Hypatia, etc.

The authors could be accused of a little padding however, especially as 8% of the heroines they include were queens from history, women who epitomise one of the Left’s favourite insults; unearned privilege by birth.

There seem to be an over-representation of women with “activist” (or synonym) as their title (12%) versus those notable for academic achievements (23%).

However, to ensure balance, it was nice of them to include this surprise addition to the collection;

Although mentioning the abolition of “free” milk presumably softened the blow.

There were two additions which made me chuckle. Firstly, a woman most famous because of her husband’s surname and a remarkable inability to tell the truth or win elections. Not the greatest role model one can think of, certainly not in the top 100;

To every little girl who dreams big, I say YES, you can be anything you want – even president…. especially if you tell the truth and connect with middle America“.

Even worse is the second example, another person famous only through marriage (creepy picture too);

But lastly, how about this for a confusing message for a young girl;

Bill’s Opinion

It’s admirable that the authors of this book inspire girls to not be limited by their imagination. How commendable it is also that they have given the same message to boys; if you want to be a girl, just say you’re a girl. Simple!

After all, in 2015 the most inspiring woman of the year was a man. See, men are better than women at everything…. including being women.

 

 

Tricky this

File under; “Questions not asked or answered by the journalist“.

As reported, this is a tragic story of disadvantage, abuse and desperation.

As the Grauniad reporter Ben Doherty expects, our natural reaction is one of sympathy for a fellow human being whose entire life has been a series of events of terrible luck.

Can we ask some questions though, please?

First question; when did Said Imasi arrive in Australia and under what circumstances?

He admits to travelling on false passports, he says, because it is impossible for a person without a country to gain one legitimately.

Imasi arrived in Australia – by plane and intending only to pass through – in January 2010.

He got on an international flight with a false passport? Hands up who, in these post-911 days, likes the idea of getting on a plane with someone travelling under a false identity? You sir, Mr. Guardian Reader at the back, would you put your family on that plane?

Ok, next question; to an accuracy level of the nearest year, how old is Said?

He doesn’t know where he was born, or when. He has few documents to demonstrate who he is or where he comes from.

Imasi was born on or about 27 March 1989. He doesn’t know his exact birthdate, nor precisely where he was born.

That’s sad. It would make competing in a junior athletics competition a little tricky too, wouldn’t it? Yet somehow…..

That’s a mighty fine set of biceps and quadriceps the “teenage” Said is sporting there, relative to the weedy kids running next to him. It’s almost as if….. no, we’re imagining things.

Third question; other than for the international crime of travelling on false documentation, why is Said in a detention centre in Australia (well, on the Australian territory of Christmas Island)?

Oh, because he claimed asylum when he arrived in Australia due to fear of persecution. So perhaps the reason he’s not at liberty in Australia is because he’s undergoing the due process required by the Australian state to ensure the validity of the claims made by asylum-seekers?

Penultimate question; given that he’s living at the expense of the the Australian public and has requested they allow him to live among them permanently, is he motivated to help clarify their points of confusion about his background and the legitimacy of his claim?

The government has previously raised doubts Imasi is from Western Sahara and said he has been uncooperative, a claim rejected by the UN working group.

Oh, that’s awkward.

Final question; if his claim to be at risk of persecution were to be found to be valid, is he the type of person Australians would like to have as a neighbour?

From the article we can see that he has admitted to being a member of a criminal gang, drug-running, traveling under stolen or forged passports, violence and rape.

Although many of Australia’s citizens can trace their ancestry back to British and Irish criminals who were transported to the various penal colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, it is no longer a requirement or, indeed, desirable for new immigrants to be hardened criminals.

Bill’s Opinion

There is no doubt that Said Imasi has lived a difficult life beset with many cruel twists of fate. He has, however, lied like a cheap fake Rolex at every opportunity offered to him to explain his identity, background and any other pertinent facts which might support his claim to asylum.

The people of Australia are well within their rights to detain him away from their society until these uncertainties have been cleared up.

What happens next to Said is entirely down to Said’s choices; he can either come clean about who he is, where he’s been and what he has done prior to arriving in Australia or he can give just enough information to prove that he has been resident of another country long enough to be able to claim asylum elsewhere.

In the meantime, enjoy the free food, high definition TV, internet and Xbox games at the expense of Australia.

On “shitholes”

The Outrage Bus continues to pick up passengers, presumably none of whom have ever visited Lagos, Nigeria.

Bill’s Opinion

Some countries are more pleasant places to live than others.

This is not necessarily a function of climate or geography but often mainly due to culture.

If this were not true, we would see boats full of French, Italian and Greek refugees heading south to the North African coast to claim asylum each summer.

President Oprah

Tim Newman has a fun discussion about the latest hope of those Americans who are still tearfully nursing a heavily-underlined and bookmarked copy of “What Happened?” by Hillary Clinton; Oprah Winfrey is being groomed for a run at the 2020 Presidential election.

Is it possible that the TV show host is exactly the person who can make President Trump join the ignoble ranks of Presidents Carter, Bush Sr and other one termers?

Well, it very much depends on which of the reasons offered in “What Happened?” You feel contributed most to Hillary’s shock defeat, or indeed, whether there are reasons not listed which may be the root of the problem.

In case you’ve not consulted Hillary’s definitive assessment of the 2016 election recently, here’s a quick recap of the reasons she offered for losing having the election stolen from her;

  • James Comey
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Barrack Obama
  • Mitch McConnell
  • The New York Times
  • The media in general
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Jill Stein
  • Sexism
  • Racist white people
  • Deplorables, and
  • Hillary Clinton

Most of the above will be completely irrelevant in the 2020 election but Candidate Oprah may still have to deal with the Washington Post, the rest of the media, sexism, racists and those inconvenient deplorables.

Which of the reasons from this residual list might we deduce is the biggest challenge facing Oprah Winfrey for the 2020 race?

Yes, you there at the back?

What’s that? Sexism, racism and people who were labelled deplorable?

Top prize.

Now, if we were to produce a Venn Diagram of those three demographics, how large do we feel the common subset would be between all three?

10% of the total? 20%? More?

Next question; what would Hillary Clinton or Oprah Winfrey answer?

Bill’s Opinion

The answer to that question is why Winfrey stands little to no chance of beating Trump.

Privately, it’s possible Winfrey believes there is close to a 100% correlation between those deplorables who elected Trump and and America’s racists and sexists and for this reason, and this reason alone, her campaign will be unlikely to change the minds of the disaffected voters who perhaps objected to the label “deplorable” in 2016 and may still not enjoy that inference in 2 years’ time.

For those who are that way inclined, Sportsbet are offering 3.5 for a Trump 2nd term.

Perspective is relative

Melbourne, Australia has a problem with gangs of young African men committing violent crimes. It’s been occurring for a while now, this example is from just under a year ago and there plenty more similar reports in the media.

The relative size of the problem can be debated and crime statistics are available to point to this particular ethnic group’s contribution to the total number of incidents and, indeed, the ratio of that group who are arrested and/or convicted of violent crime compared to other ethnicities.

On this basis, the Australian Race Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, has called for less “panic, more perspective” over the issue, going on to claim that perhaps there are mitigating excuses for the crimes, such as “social and economic disadvantage”. He urges us to not reduce the issue to race and ethnicity.

We’ll address the debunked Cultural Marxist theory that poverty produces crime shortly. His request that we shouldn’t reduce the issue to race and ethnicity piques our interest primarily.

The chutzpah of Tim’s request is admirable; this from a department and a Commissioner with a recent track record of Identity Politics. Tim, for example, rushes to the assumption of racism for anyone who struggles to pronounce an unfamiliar 4 syllable name. It’s an overused sentiment  but really, this kind of hectoring and haste to label everything as racist and everyone as bigots “is why we got Trump“.

Tim requests that we don’t revert to labeling these crimes by the ethnicity of the perpetrators. He has a point, justice should indeed be blind. People in fear of being physically attacked are usually not blind, however, so is there perhaps some rationality to their response?

Consider the fact that people of an African appearance (no, not this type of African) are extremely rare in Australia, 92% of the population is European in origin, is it surprising that an uptick in crime from an easily identifiable ethnic group receives more attention than say a crime wave where the perpetrators are from a Scottish or French ethnic background?

In fact, does it not make logical sense that, if there’s a set of identifiable features (for example; males, between the ages of 15 and 25, African appearance, congregated in a group of 3 or more) linking a series of crimes that the police have a duty to focus their investigations on those sharing these features (without diluting the legal duties such as the presumption of innocence)?

In the same way that we would condemn the counter terrorism agencies for allocating resources to investigating potential violent Buddhists and Jihadists in equal measure, why would anyone question profiling groups of young African men if there have been multiple recent cases of violence reported at the hands of that demographic?

Bill’s Opinion

It’s not racist to report that there have been violent crimes committed by gangs of young men of South Sudanese origin. It’s also not racist for the police to focus on that demographic during their investigations and efforts to prevent further such crimes. It makes perfect sense and the police would be in derogation of their duties, in fact.

Lastly, poverty does not result in crime; crime results in poverty. If the South Sudanese have a culture which tolerates criminal behaviour, that culture will trump most efforts to integrate them into a law-abiding culture.

By the way, Australian taxpayers, you are paying Tim Soutphommasane’s salary for him to tell you how awful you are. If that’s not the definition of an abusive relationship, I’d be interested in hearing what is.

 

What’s not being said here?

Ellen McArthur, the legendary solo circumnavigator is leading a campaign against plastic pollution in the oceans.

Hopefully she’s not another of these Cultural Marxists who dislike inconvenient facts.

Oh, wait;

 

Is that correct? Did the massive global whaling industry stop because we ran out of whales?

Or… was it made uneconomical in the face of the new advances in refining crude oil? Whale oil became an expensive and smelly product compared to the much cheaper products of Standard Oil.

Yes, that’s right; J. D. Rockefeller should take the credit for saving the whale.

Let’s see what else she’s confused about;

Yes, that’s probably not wasted effort but, does it agree with what our old friend the Pareto distribution tells us? i.e. are we getting the biggest bang for buck, have we targeted the largest sources of pollution first?

The article is silent on this. There’s actually no figures about where the pollution comes from mentioned in the article at all, which seems strange if we’re serious about the desired outcome of preventing the plastic entering the ocean, surely we’d need to know where and who to target first?

In fact, one has to sift through several pages of comments (I wouldn’t recommend this; the Grauniad comments section has its own DSM-5 category) until we find a lone voice of reason…. which everyone else ignores!

Bill’s Opinion

90% of the plastic pollution comes from just 10 rivers. Depending on your definition of what constitutes a major river, there’s about 165 major rivers emptying into the oceans. There’s that Pareto rule again…..

If we are serious about halting the suffocation of the oceans, perhaps we should be working with China, India and the countries of North and West Africa to find ways to reduce their reliance on one-time use plastic. Don’t expect a journalist at the Grauniad to ask difficult questions like that though.

Statistics are fun

More numerical ignorance on Creepbook for Business (TM);

To which my favourite reply is;

The WEF is obviously trying to make a point along the lines of #notallmuslims that our fear of Islamic terrorism is not rational, based on the relative causes of death, and the compliant Katja has bought the idea in full.

Let’s ask some additional questions;

Interestingly, there’s something nearly all of the categories have in common except the terrorism one; there’s a large factor of personal responsibility which could be exercised to avoid demising by each method.

Gun-toting toddlers, for example; why is there an armed weapon within reach of a toddler? In all states, that would be a violation of your gun licence (assuming you have one, of course).

Lightning; electrical storms don’t just appear overhead without warning, so it would be extremely unlikely that you didn’t have several loud and bright clues that seeking safe cover would be a good idea.

Lawnmowers; the words “user error” and “read the fucking manual” come to mind.

Being hit by a bus; don’t jaywalk? Oh, hang on, that prompts another question; where’s the category for automobile accidents? There’s about 37,000 deaths on the road each year. That’s more than all of the categories chosen above combined.

Falling out of bed; really? That’s a medical category on death certificates is it, rather than “elderly and infirm person died from complications following being hospitalised after falling out of bed”, for example? Sniff test failure.

Then lastly, being shot by another American.  At least the WEF is fair-minded enough to only show homicides, as the vast majority of deaths by guns are suicide (2 for every 1 homicide). Being murdered by a gun is terrible, of course, but there are always things one can do to reduce the probability of this occurring. Top of this list would be “not having a criminal record” as various studies suggest 3 out of every 4 gun murders are of people with criminal histories.

Another good avoidance technique might be to keep away from several specific metropolitan areas, such as Washington DC, Baltimore, Puerto Rico in general, etc. and certain specific neighbourhoods in every other metropolitan area. You know, keep away from the bad part of town like Mum and Dad used to tell you, perhaps there was a good reason for that advice.

Also, the statistics tell us that a really good avoidance technique would to not be a black male between the ages of 17 and 24 and to certainly not be in the proximity of anyone involved with crack cocaine. No judgment here, that’s just what the data is telling us.

In contrast to all these sensible methods we can deploy to avoid an early death, terrorism is a little trickier to pre-empt and avoid. I suppose we could steer clear of tall buildings in New York in 2001, travelling in planes or trains, crossing the road in France, attending Christmas markets in Germany, using the underground in London, being a priest in a rural church in France, a concert in Paris or Manchester, a marathon in Boston, etc. etc. etc. Not so easy after all, eh?

Which is perhaps why it’s called “terrorism” rather than “an avoidable accident” or simply “a murder“.

Bill’s Opinion

This relativism using statistics is fun but deliberately misses the main point about terrorism, that is, it is intentionally unpredictable and difficult to defend against because the entire point is to terrorise the surviving population.

In the future, historians may look back at apologists like Katja and WEF and diagnose a form of Stockholm Syndrome as the cause.