Portugal, Jobs, and Banks

I’m back from Portugal, where I spent almost the entire time in dingy bars watching the world cup and drinking heavily with an American mate, joined briefly by a Venezuelan ex-colleague who happened to be transiting in Lisbon airport on his way back to Angola. I saw a tiny bit of Porto and nothing at all of Lisbon, which made me rather glad I’d been there before. That said, I had a great time: catching up with friends and getting drunk in foreign countries is as good a holiday as any, even if it could just as well take place in your basement. The first thing I’ll do today is eat a vegetable: I don’t think I saw one the whole time I was there. I consumed copious amounts of pork, bacon, sausage, potato, and grease though. I was also offered, quite brazenly, all manner of illegal drugs in the street of Lisbon, something which didn’t happen last time.

Anyway, this morning I found this on my Twitter feed:

It’s the second story I find interesting. Leaving aside the high probability that not a single person working at The Times knows the first thing about fruit picking and they’re likely just repeating whatever they’ve been told, since when was a job being fun a requirement to taking one? It’s little wonder we rely on foreigners to pick fruit if the local youth are permitted to refuse jobs and collect welfare because the work being offered isn’t fun enough for them. Perhaps The Times, rather than engaging in Brexiit scaremongering, could have gone into the reasons behind this extraordinary sense of entitlement in today’s unemployed and reflected on their role in supporting the various governments under whose watch it developed.

Incidentally, the chap I was drinking with in Portugal works in banking and, according to him, the giant American banks are shifting thousands of jobs from London to Paris. I asked how they’d cope with the unions and labour laws, and he said they’ve done their homework and they’re simply not going to deal with the unions. If they run into any labour disputes, they’ll simply up and leave. I have every reason to believe what my friend says is accurate, but I suspect these banks have been lured in with promises of special dispensation and once they’re installed the reality is going to hit them right between the eyes. I wonder how long it will be before the CEO of an American bank realises by law he must form a work council:

Any company with at least 50 employees must set up a works council (CE). This committee is composed of representatives of the staff and trade unions, with a mandate of 4 years maximum. It is chaired by the employer. It has economic, social and cultural attributes. To carry out its missions, it has hours of delegation.

We’re not in London any more, Toto.



This story and accompanying video crossed my Facebook page late last week:

Gina Martin was at a festival when a man took a photograph up her skirt and shared it with his friends. When the police told her they could not do anything because upskirting was not a crime, she started a campaign. This is how a 26-year-old woman with no legal or political experience is trying to change the law.

The first thing that crossed my mind was that these festivals probably attract weirdos and sex pests who mark down lefty women with facial piercings, tattoos, or funny-coloured hair for special attention. Trying to change national law based on what went down at a festival is a bit like campaigning for restrictions on alcohol after a bad experience on a stag do in Prague. Now upskirting – the practice of taking a photo up a woman’s skirt without her permission – is an unpleasant thing to happen and I can see why women want it stopped, but there are a few points I’d like to make before we rush headlong into creating yet more laws.

Firstly, let’s not pretend this is something so traumatic it needs to be dealt with as matter of priority by the national government. I haven’t seen any upskirting pictures but I can’t imagine they show very much other than some blurry skin and what might be knickers. As the police mentioned in the video said, they’d show more than you’d them to show, but they’re hardly pornographic and you couldn’t identify anyone from them. When the woman in the video says “I had no rights over my own body at that point” she is engaging in laughable hyperbole which is all too common when talking about women’s rights in the modern era.

Indeed, this looks to me like a campaign by middle class British feminists to further their credentials as perpetual victims; there are fewer more middle class pursuits than attending festivals and complaining about the behaviour of the people they encounter. Another sign this is more about advancing the political aims of feminists than women’s rights is the immediate demand the national government makes new laws criminalising men. Never mind how they are to be enforced: how is upskirting to be defined exactly, and what is deemed admissible evidence? The woman in the video snatched the offender’s phone and ran off with it, which is usually described as theft. Existing laws cover the creation and distribution of pornographic content especially where minors are concerned, and there are already laws regarding voyeurism. But the people pushing this don’t care, they just want more laws with which to threaten men who might be behaving in ways they disapprove of. How long before some poor sap is arrested for taking a picture on the tube while sat opposite a radical feminist in a short skirt, or for taking an innocent photo beneath an escalator?

The other issue is that feminists are in many ways responsible for what’s going on here. In order to fend off Cathy Newman, I am not saying women deserve upskirting for wearing revealing clothing. Instead, I’m saying their relentless campaign to emasculate ordinary, decent men and insist traditional gender roles are obsolete relics of a bygone era has left them vulnerable to the inevitable weirdos that prowl any society. I’ve written about that recently:

From what I can tell the main beneficiaries of feminists’ efforts to remove traditional male roles from society, and the collapse of common-sense policing, are sex-pests who are free to operate without fear of either.

There was a time when peeping Toms and upskirters would have been swiftly dealt with by those in the immediate vicinity of the offence; basically, a couple of blokes would have given him a good kicking and sent him on his way, and if he persisted or targeted children he’d have got a lot worse. Indeed, this is pretty much how it works in places where men are generally still expected to behave as men. But modern women decided they were strong and independent and didn’t need a chaperone. Only actually they do, just nowadays the chaperone is the government. Notice the first thing the woman in the video did is run to a policeman: having decided men no longer have a role to play in society as protectors of women’s decency, modern women rush to find a policeman as soon as they’re subject to what they believe is an indecent act. How this is supposed to demonstrate progress is beyond me.

It’s also revealing when she says “the authorities that were meant to be there to support me, now weren’t”. Well, yeah – imagine how the girls in Rotherham felt. One would have thought British feminists concerned with women’s rights had learned a harsh lesson in not relying on the police and other authorities to protect them, but it appears they haven’t. Instead, having seen the authorities utterly abandon working class girls to be raped by gangs of men from an alien culture, they think things will be different for them, presumably because they’re nice upstanding middle class girls with Instagram accounts and home counties accents.

Despite the defeat of the upskirting bill thanks to a Tory MP who thought the opposition shouldn’t be making laws, this will likely be railroaded through the legislature by Theresa May; this sort of thing is right up her street. We’ll see much celebration from wealthy, middle class feminists which will drown out the ongoing and actual sexual abuse of women up and down the country, followed by some token prosecutions of hapless men who took a photo at the wrong time in the presence of some deranged harpy. Otherwise, things will carry on much as before and soon we’ll be hearing how the childlike faith women put in government was misplaced, decent men have largely abandoned them, and we need yet more laws.



I’m going to be in Porto until Wednesday then Lisbon until Friday, and next Saturday is looking busy. I’ll try to put something out while I’m in Portugal, but I might not be blogging until next week.


A Typical Job Advert

A reader sends me a job advert for an “HR Business Partner” which is worth fisking. For a start, what is a “business partner”? Is this a fancy title for someone working in what is often laughably called a support service?

Act as a Strategic Partner to 2 major portfolios with circa 200 staff

Act as a what? I think what they’re trying to say is they’ll provide HR services to about 200 staff working across 2 areas of operations.

Be a leader of HR Initiatives developed in conjunction with supporting Centre’s of Excellence

Provide HR services while taking into consideration other support services. “Centre’s of Excellence” indeed.

Opportunities for promotion and development within a company that is rapidly growing

Really? How high can an HR Business Partner rise?

As Senior HR Business Partner, you will be responsible for supporting, shaping and driving our ambitious organisational strategy through your business portfolios.

So now it’s a Senior HR Business Partner, so they weren’t lying about those promotions after all. And if this is the person’s role, it raises the question of what the managers of those business portfolios are doing. Isn’t it their job to implement company policy through their organisations?

You will act as a true strategic partner influencing and supporting leader’s decisions that have an impact on people, processes and business operations.

“True strategic partner”. Presumably there are false strategic partners on the loose in this outfit. Now meddling in leaders’ decisions might not be a bad idea from an HR perspective, but it has little to do with strategy.

We operate under a strong HR Framework, which encompasses being a strategic partner, a talent developer, employee advocate and an HR functional expert.

I can see what they’re trying to say here, but it’s written terribly. Who is we?

Across your two portfolios, Supply Chain and Quality you will be expected to;

Provide expertise to functional HR responsibilities. This includes ER, talent development, portfolio management and HR processes and procedures whilst managing day-to-day issues that arise.

Okay fine, but surely the candidate needs to know something about Supply Chain and Quality to properly deliver this service? How can they engage in talent management if they don’t know what the employees are doing? So far, there is nothing in the job description which even mentions the industry this job will be in. Presumably they don’t think it’s relevant.

Have a strong grasp on strategic consultation; ensuring leaders create and implement plans to improve organisational effectiveness and change management processes through our framework.

This is gobbledegook. Who are these “leaders”? Why not call them managers? And what change management processes are they on about? Are these leaders currently aware of them?

Drive the design of our current & future workforce that will ensure talent vitality and prosperity across your business portfolios.

You mean hire the right people?

You will be responsible for ensuring we have workforce plans in place that will enable us to achieve our growth aspirations and work with Centre of Excellence in the wider HR team to achieve optimal results.

And what, specifically, does that entail? What actual, measurable tasks is this person supposed to carry out? This is less a job description than a list of desirable outcomes.

Actively monitor, shape and drive a positive change through employee engagement. Coach leaders to develop their skills…

Okay, fine.

…and ensure you are advocating for diversity and inclusion within the workforce.

I’m sure the leaders will just love that.

You will be the SME and the leader’s advisor when it comes to dealing with discrimination, harassment, conflict and poor performance.

SME? Small-medium enterprise?

To set you up for success in this position we believe you need to have the following skills and experience;

A minimum of 5 years’ experience working in a Business Partner Position in a large complex organisation

Note there is no requirement to have any industry knowledge whatsoever.

Able to think critically and use diagnostic & Intervention tools to assess & achieve higher organisational performance

I assume they mean poring over diversity statistics and sending out endless employee surveys.

Strong business acumen, understands how businesses, teams and individuals operate

How are they going to do that if all they’ve ever done is HR?

Have an undergraduate degree in Human Resources Management / Organisational Development / Psychology or business related subjects


Quickly able to establish rapport and credibility amongst the business leaders

Despite having no knowledge of the operations or even the industry.

I’ve read this job description several times and I’m still none the wiser what the person is actually supposed to do. Will they be conducting interviews, writing procedures, drawing up organisation charts, creating skills matrices, developing training programmes, and participating in the operational decision-making? I have no idea, and nor does the person who wrote the advert. This is normal.


2018 FIFA World Cup

So the FIFA World Cup kicks off today in Russia, which will probably be as much about how awfully backward and racist the Russians are as it will be about football, at least where the media is concerned. From what I’ve read so far, people seem to think the bulk of travelling football fans will be on the LGBT spectrum and risking their lives as roaming bands of Cossacks hunt them down. There has already been criticism from gay rights groups that Liverpool’s Egyptian star Mohammed Salah posed for photos with Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov, who has a nasty reputation that is thoroughly deserved. If Salah had the faintest idea who Kadyrov was, or where Chechnya was, I’d be amazed.

For my part, I’m finding it hard to get excited about this world cup. I don’t know if it’s an age thing, but international football tournaments don’t hold the same excitement for me as they once did. I don’t remember too much about Mexico ’86 or Italia ’90 but I know they were massive events. USA ’94 I remember better and it was pretty good, and France ’98 was magnificent. I was a keen follower of British and European football in the year before France ’98, and I was desperately looking forward to whole rosters of star players clashing. Just look at the lineup for the Netherlands for example, and that  was just one country.

Nowadays, I feel there’s a dearth of superstar players to look out for, and no massive clash of teams bursting with talent. The last seriously talented side to take part in the World Cup or Euros was the great Spanish team from 2008-12, and they clobbered everyone. Since then, it’s all been mediocre sides with the occasional star player who may or may not show up, or surprise packages like Uruguay in 2010 or Wales and Iceland in 2016. The last Euro competition was possibly the worst in terms of football quality I can remember. There were very few decent players: the standout player in one of the best sides was Dimitri Payet of France, a journeyman at West Ham who was sold to Marseille a year later. Paul Pogba, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, and the other superstars of the national leagues did very little of note, and Christiano Ronaldo was best known for his coming off injured in the final amid floods of tears and miraculously turning into the coach for the last 20 minutes of the game. The final was a dreary affair, with the solitary goal being scored by Portugal’s Eder who was a bit-part player for Swansea City. He didn’t even make it in the starting XI when they played West Brom in a cup match earlier in the season, yet there he was deciding the outcome of the second biggest international football tournament on the planet. This wasn’t a repeat of the Greek unknowns winning in 2004, it was simply there isn’t much talent around. Who are we all supposed to watch this time around? Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar? Who else? Harry Kane? Hardly.

I’d had the idea international football was on the decline for a while, but it was confirmed in Euro 2016 when Croatia (who had beaten Spain in the group stage) played Portugal in the first knockout round. It was set up to be a very good match but as I listened while driving from Exeter to Basingstoke on my way back to Dover and then France, it was clear neither team really wanted to be there. It was absolutely dire, and the commentators were scathing, their frustration boiling over. As they put it, neither side showed any interest in playing football, let alone winning, over the full 90 minutes plus 30 of extra time. I thought the same when I saw later games, including the final. There was nothing like the determination, passion, and desire I saw in France ’98 or Italia ’90, or the Euros in 2000. Just a bunch of players who looked as though they’d been roped into doing something they didn’t really want to.

My theory is players are far more individualistic these days, being multi-millionaires in a way that all but the top stars of France ’98 could only have dreamed of. Their primary loyalty is to themselves and their focus is on their bank accounts, sponsorship deals, and whatever their agents tell them. Most of their money comes from their club so they put in considerable efforts in the league, although some don’t even bother doing that. So while I think clubs have managed to retain loyalty from players and buy their efforts, the national teams have been less successful. Does playing for their country mean much to these players any more? Does winning? I don’t know. What I can say is a lot of players don’t seem interested in playing internationals, perhaps fearing injury which will cost them a domestic season or perhaps a whole career. Are you really going to go 100% into tackles in a group game against a third-string side and risk an injury which could cost you tens of millions in wages? Probably not.

But we’ll see. Maybe this tournament in Russia will prove to be every bit as exciting as France ’98 or Mexico ’86 complete with titanic clashes in the final knockout stages, but I doubt it. I think it’ll be a dreary affair like Euro 2016 which, when it ends, will have people asking “What did I just watch?”


Drinks in the Smoke 4

So last night a number of my readers and commenters joined me in The Parcel Yard pub, thus ensuring I didn’t have to buy all my own drinks. I think there were 16 of us in total including me, which is a splendid turnout given it was a Tuesday night and there was no free bar or buffet. We weren’t the most diverse bunch, being all men except The Devil’s wife, and we were so pasty you’d think we were the golf team of a nearby merchant bank. Sadly there were no turquoise-haired polyamorists present, although a table of trannies behind us might have fit the bill. Topics discussed included polyamory (of course), the numerous shortfalls of my first novel, other people’s blogs (namely, Tim Worstall’s and David Thompson’s), my new career in HR, the importance of a good comments section, and a whole load of other stuff. There was much lamentation that Mr Ecks didn’t show up, as we wished to use the occasion for the launch of his much-needed purge.

So big thanks to everyone who came, even bigger thanks to those who bought me drinks or offered to, and thanks to those who wanted to come but dropped me a note to say they couldn’t. It was a fun evening, great to put faces to pseudonyms, and I’ll do it again next time I’m in London.


Gloves Off!

As a transgender female I have often been bullied, intimidated and harassed. These experiences left me with mental scars.

moans one Melissa Griffiths in The Guardian.

And much of this assault happened in public. One day I was walking through a train station towards an escalator when I was approached by a man. As we both went down the escalator he put his hand on my leg and moved it up towards my genitals.

Any man who goes around putting his hand up the dresses of transgendered women in public is likely to be mentally ill and in dire need of help.

“No!” I said. He stopped and moved away from me. I was too stunned, scared, and shocked to do anything more about it.

Perhaps not as shocked and stunned as he’d be if he moved his hand up a little higher, but his reaction is fully consistent with one who isn’t in possession of a full set of marbles.

I went home thinking there must be something wrong with me.

Lord no.

I began to believe that being treated like this is part of being a woman, when it is not and should never be.

So you never consulted with any women about what being a women entails before transitioning? You just went right ahead and learned on the job, as it were? Sounds like something a reasonable person would do.

We must value ourselves and recognise we are worthy, because we deserve dignity and respect.

Dignity and respect are earned, not demanded.

People can say you “brought it on yourself” or the perpetrator is “known” for it, or is “just joking around”. When you mention it to someone or even dare to complain about it, they try to dismiss it, telling you to move on, forget about it. But you can’t. The damage is done.

The damage is done all right, but I’m not sure some nutter’s hand up her dress is the main culprit.

This ends now.

If part of being a woman means seeking out high drama, Ms Griffiths is taking to her new role like a duck to water.

We can no longer allow our schools and workplaces to act as breeding grounds for bullies.

Sorry, is this about bullying at school or sexual assaults on escalators?

If we stand back and do nothing, well, nothing will change. This is why I decided to become involved with Now Australia: I want to change society and the workplace for the better.

Society must change at the whim of a bloke in a sun dress.

Too many people suffer in silence. In my community, the rates of suicide and attempted suicide are among the highest in the country.

That’s because your community is rife with mental illness and rather than getting treatment their fantasies are indulged. When reality inevitably bites, they can’t cope. Now, are you helping or hindering?

Interestingly, the true figures around sexual harassment in the transgender community are yet to be measured.

The true figures around sexual harassment of bluegrass-loving cricket fans are also yet to be determined.

There is evidence to suggest that particular groups, such as young people, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds and people with a disability may experience higher rates of sexual assault and sexual harassment than the general Australian population.

This appears to be saying that sexual assault of minors in Aboriginal, Islander and foreign communities is rife.

I have heard many stories of what transgender people go through, in job interviews or the workplace.

Questions regarding their abilities? Concerns over the mental health? Doubts over whether they can work in a team or handle criticism?

Imagine being a transgender woman in an interview situation, nervous yet excited about the prospect of finally gaining employment.

I’m trying, but I keep getting hung up on what I’ve been doing to date if not working.

You arrive only to have the information sheet on a clipboard chucked on your lap.

Are you sure you’re not confusing this with a public hospital?

Once you fill out the form, it’s picked up by an employee wearing gloves. GLOVES.

Really sure?

If this is not intimidation, then I don’t know what is. This happened to somebody I know who prefers to remain anonymous.

The horror. Only now is the full trauma of living life as a transgender woman becoming apparent.

When one goes through these experiences, there is often nagging self-doubt. Sadly, stories like these are not uncommon.

Another interviewer was wearing socks?

We must create workplaces free from bullying, intimidation and sexual harassment.

And gloves, apparently.

We now have an opportunity to do this, as well as support those who are suffering in silence.

Could their silence also not be a sign they are quite content and don’t need your “support”?

The mission of Now Australia is to clean up toxic workplaces.

Nothing in the article indicates she has any experience of Australian workplaces, unless the interview room counts.

Our message will be heard across the land.

Including those Aboriginal towns, which doubtless you’re intending to visit? Do let us know how that goes.

(H/T William of Ockham, who asks in relation to the picture which accompanies the article: Session musician for The Sweet, Mud or Slade?)


Lunatic Asylum

I don’t know if this is true:

If so, it’s insane. Firstly, domestic violence is an extremely complex issue at the best of times, so much so that police in every country avoid it like the plague. By its very nature it is something to be handled as locally as possible, preferably by other family members  or the immediate surrounding society. Failing that, local authorities and police are the next-best placed to intervene, then the national government who one would hope understands the societal nuances surrounding domestic relations in whatever country we’re talking about. The idea that the US government is in a position to evaluate claims of domestic violence in Guatemala is ludicrous.

But that’s not all. If the conditions for asylum have widened to women who are “unable to leave their relationships” you might as well do away with the borders altogether. There was a time when wealthy, organised societies granted asylum to those fleeing war, famine, and appalling persecution; now it appears to include women who’ve made poor relationship choices (one wonders if men fleeing punitive alimony payments can also seek asylum in the US). Any society taking this approach is not going to remain wealthy and organised for very long, after which it won’t be in a position to take in asylum seekers of any sort. Perhaps that’s why Trump’s administration is looking to change it?


An Illustration of a Changed Society

This thread was worth a read but it’s now protected, perhaps because of the reactions the author was getting to it. Basically, the lady in question was on the train in the UK and some creepy older guy sat down right beside two girls in their late teens and started harassing them. The lady intervened and the man spent the next few minutes yelling at her and became very aggressive, but ultimately left them alone. The girls thanked the lady, who lamented that nobody else in the carriage intervened. Now good on her for stepping in and rescuing the girls from this sex-pest, but there are good reasons why nobody helped her.

British feminists – of which the author is one, according to her Twitter bio – have spent decades eradicating traditional gender roles, and have been so successful that the role men now play in society is a mere shadow of what it once was. Indeed, many aspects of what was normal male behaviour is now illegal thanks to feminist lobbying. Now this may be a good thing for women in some ways but, like everything involving societal trade-offs, it came at a price. Men, having been told women don’t need their protection, having been accused of being rapists and sex-pests simply for being male, and having been told endlessly their natural behaviour is “problematic” to the extent young boys are given powerful drugs to control it, are now behaving very differently to how they used to. They are no longer chivalrous, they are no longer willing to assist strange women in distress, and are extremely risk averse. Feminists have worked extremely hard to emasculate men, and now they’re paying the price of living in a society where their efforts have been successful. Unbelievably, many seem to think their work is only just beginning and men are still a problem, but here we are.

In addition, men are now well aware that common-sense policing has long since disappeared and any interaction with Plod could well leave them in a world of trouble. If a man had intervened and a fight ensued, he would probably have been arrested. If he has a wife, a family, a job, or a mortgage the process in front of him might be very costly indeed. Why risk it? And how does he know what the circumstances are? For all he knows this might be a domestic dispute, and any intervention involving kids might see the idiotic police and feminist-driven CPS conspiring to put him on a sex-offenders register. Wasn’t there a story some years ago about a man being charged as a sex-offender after grabbing the arm of a young girl who was about to run into a busy road? Again, why risk it?

A few generations ago plenty of men would have done something in the situation described by the tweet’s author but society has changed, and this didn’t happen at the behest of the sort of men who would have come to the girls’ aid. Rather, the shift in societal behaviour was demanded by those who now lament the current state of affairs.  From what I can tell the main beneficiaries of feminists’ efforts to remove traditional male roles from society, and the collapse of common-sense policing, are sex-pests who are free to operate without fear of either. Well done, folks. Well done indeed.


Modern Britain

There’s a lot going on in this story:

A community iftar meal traditionally held during Ramadan has this year been opened to members of the public.

Usually the only non-Muslims who flock to these events are politicians looking for a photo op. I’m curious as to who will show up to this one.

The free event has been organised by Qamar Abbas, president of UK Islamic Mission Solihull, and his team. He will also speak at the event, along with Idrees Sharif, vice president of UK Islamic Mission Midlands.

Taste Ramadan is an invitation to “share food and share friendship” and will take place at St Edburgha’s Church Hall in Church Road, Yardley, on Saturday, June 2.

Heh. This is either some serious high-level trolling, or Britain is being subject to a shit-test it’s failing miserably.

Confirmed attendees are councillors Babar Baz and Neil Eustace, West Midlands Police and representatives of several local churches including Stechford Baptist Church, All Saints Stechford and Corpus Christi RC Church.

I suppose this makes sense. Church attendances in Britain have been collapsing as proper Christians die off and the population switches to other forms of worship. Those running the Church of England and now even the Catholics seem little interested in taking religion seriously, so why not hand over the infrastructure to people who do? And how comforting to see Plod involved; we wouldn’t want them to miss out on free iftar food and not be on hand should anyone tweet something Islamophobic.

Mohammed Yasin, chairman of Stechford Mosque, some of whose congregation helped put together the event, said: “We have people from all religions and communities coming together to share an iftar meal and more.

“This is the first community iftar we have held in a church rather than a mosque and the first one we have opened up to the public. We hope to see people there from all walks of life.”

This all sounds rather positive. What’s not to like? Oh, wait:

He added: “This is a male-only event and the church has a capacity of 100 people.”

Over to you, feminists!