Saturday, 29 June 2013



It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. A harmless suggestion from an advisor that would help people appreciate the man behind the red briefcase.
But George Osborne's tweeting of a picture of him eating a burger the evening before the comprehensive spending review prompted almost as many headlines as the financial or political details. Hundreds replied, saying it was a publicity stunt, an attempt to project a populist image. But it was the forensic reporting of The Sun which revealed that Osborne's burger was not any old burger but a "poshburger", bought from upmarket chain, Byron.
The paper contrasted the cheapest Byron burger, at £6.75, with the lowest priced MacDonald's at 99p and said Osborne was "ridiculed".
Osborne's attempt to sidestep the issue by claiming that MacDonald's did not deliver only made it worse – Byron does not deliver either and it later emerged that Treasury staff were sent to pick up the burger from Waterloo station.
During his budget speech on Wednesday, Osborne made a joke at the expense of Eric Pickles, the minister for communities and local government, which he described as "the model of lean government".
Is that with fries?
Pickles exacted his revenge on Osborne as he joined the mockery of the chancellor's burger picture. In a photo staged to mimic Osborne's, he replaced the burger and fries on the chancellor's desk with a bowl of salad at his own – and tweeted that he too was pictured "putting finishing touches" to a big speech.
Osborne said that he was new to Twitter. "There I am working late on my speech, and I've got a takeaway hamburger, but it puts you on the front page of The Sun. It's an occupational hazard," he said.
One of Gordon Brown's former advisors, Damian McBride, revealed that Brown had simpler tastes. "Gordon's standard 'finishing touches' evening meal was a Tesco's microwave lasagne. And a Kit Kat."

The Sun Inn
136 Westgate
North Yorkshire
YO18 8BB
Tel: 01751 473661


Sunday, 16 June 2013


Coffee giant Starbucks has paid £5m in UK corporation tax - its first such tax payment since 2009 - the company has announced.

A company spokeswoman said it had listened to its customers and would pay another £5m later this year. That's a lot of coffee beans!

The move follows pressure from politicians and campaigners, and an agreement by world leaders last week to clamp down on corporate tax avoidance.

Starbucks has only reported taxable profit once in 15 years in the UK. It announced late last year it would pay more corporation tax after a public outcry and an investigation by MPs.
"We listened to our customers in December and so decided to forgo certain deductions which would make us liable to pay £10m in corporation tax this year and a further £10m in 2014." a Starbucks spokeswoman said.
Starbucks reportedly paid just £8.6m in corporation tax in the UK over 14 years and nothing in the last four years - despite sales of £400m last year.

As part of its tax affairs, the firm transferred some money to a Dutch sister company in royalty payments, bought coffee beans from Switzerland and paid high interest rates to borrow from other parts of the business.
During an investigation into corporate tax avoidance, the company's global chief financial officer told a committee of MPs last year that the tax deal struck with Dutch authorities was "an attractive reason" for basing operations there.

 The Public Accounts Committee of MPs said last year it "found it difficult to believe" Starbucks "was trading with apparent losses for nearly every year of its operation in the UK". So stick that in your skinny latte frappuccino - with or without sprinkles!
What is the attraction of coffee houses anyway? People wandering around with cartons  of - I don't know what - trying to find somewhere to sit and proclaming - "Oh, look - there's Tarquin over there! He must be back from his holiday in the Maldives! Such fun!" What is wrong with the British pub where the architect can rub shoulders with the artisan and class distinction and accidents of birth remain firmly outside the door!
And here's another thing - why do people who go to these places have their professional status emblazoned on the back of their garments? One young lady last week - as I was passing a Costabucks - had the word "BARISTA" displayed on the reverse of her rather dull shirt. I thought - not only is it vulgar to tell everyone your business - so you're employed within the legal profession - get you missus! - but your spelling is appalling to boot! You don't see Buzz Aldrin in a coffee house with "Retired Astronaut" on his back or Sean Connery and "Deluded Scottish Nationalist" displayed for all to see...Very sad! 


Fellows, Morton and Clayton
54 Canal St
Tel: 0115 950 6795


Friday, 7 June 2013


I visited the Scarborough Tourist Information Centre  earlier this morning and must confess to being more than disappointed in the response to an enquiry that had been bothering me for some time.

"Do you have information on the number of tourists of sino-japonica origin who visited the twin resorts of Scarborough and Bridlington in the first quarter of last year?"
It would seem the TIC at Scarborough do not maintain any information at their centre  to answer my request and, in fact they informed me, they do not carry any information on tourists at all! Which beggars the question - what is the point of a Tourist Information Centre - when it provides no information on tourists? Plain stupid!  
Ahh - cricket... There is something deeply satisfying - in late spring sunshine - to hear the thwack of hardened cork on willow! Summer is just around the corner and maybe the world isn't such a bad place after all. On several occasions I have tried to explain the laws of cricket to my colonial friends across the Atlantic - it's not easy, is it? And to be honest it is a difficult sport to describe and put in context. Then again American Football - what's all that about? A 60min game that lasts three hours - the two halves are separated by a halftime period, and the first and third quarters are also followed by a short confusing is that?  

North Riding Brew Pub
161-163 North Marine Road
North Yorkshire
YO12 7HU

Tel: (+44) 01723 370004