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Should children be invited onto Accountingweb?

Given that they demolished Brexit in the media yesterday, do they deserve a mention here?

Didn't find your answer?

I gave it a day, just to see what happened but....for those of you returning from Mars, here's what you missed yesterday: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/15/young-climate-chan... in fact, if it was a long trip, you've missed months of it.

The 15/16 year old Greta Thunberg (follow the link) told both COP24 & the WEF that they (the grownups?) were not mature enough and had been fiddling whilst the planet broke down and I have to say that, with a few execptions, this is how I feel about the business community and you lot.

Anyway, just needed to sow a seed and make sure something really important got a mention on here, I'm off to plan my veg planting, 

Replies (108)

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
19th Feb 2019 16:09

I’ve been following the effects of the food industry, and in particular livestock/dairy, ever since a damning UN/FAO report over a dozen years ago. This has since been updated and followed by significant new research over the past couple of years, one by Oxford uni last year involving a survey of 40,000 farms in 119 countries covering over 90% of the foodstuffs we consume. So I’m not making this stuff up.

Think on this, about 83% of the world’s farmland is utilised to rear animals, that’s both to hold them and provide food for them. These animals provide us with 18% of the calories and 37% of the protein we consume. As accountants I don’t need to say what the 15% provides us with.

It varies widely around the world but chunks of the farmland used for grazing are not immediately suitable to grow crops for us but the last estimate I saw was that between 30-50% of arable land is currently used for us which leaves 50-70% of arable land used to produce those calories and protein, via meat/dairy.

One scary example, 80% of the soya grown in the Amazon basin, ie deforested land, goes to feed animals.

Finally, the reports identify huge inefficiency and waste both in food production and at consumer level that could easily make up any shortfalls.

So, yes, the scientists advise that if we start acting now, we can turn the food problem around. On the other side however, for people wedded
to meat and dairy, its consumption is estimated to increase by 50-70% in the next 30 years, meaning we’d have to find a couple more planets.

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
RLI
By lionofludesch
19th Feb 2019 16:18

Paul Scholes wrote:

Think on this, about 83% of the world’s farmland is utilised to rear animals, that’s both to hold them and provide food for them. These animals provide us with 18% of the calories and 37% of the protein we consume. As accountants I don’t need to say what the 15% provides us with.

Be honest, Paul, you don't think animals have a right to live.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
19th Feb 2019 16:29

I don't understand where that comes from? Do you imply from what I say that all food/dairy animals need to be killed off?

No, if I had my way no animal would ever die or be abused for our taste needs.

In reality they will not all go, we will continue to eat & milk them but we need to dramatically reduce our reliance on them, meaning we stop breeding them, ie just let them live out their lives.

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
19th Feb 2019 17:09

Good luck in Ettrick, Yarrowford and large chunks of Argyll using the land for crops for humans.

For large amounts of it you can forget forestry as trees will not grow, it can anyway can cause significant environmental issues (Read the late Bruce Sandison on Flow Country planting and the damage done planing all the trees and the current projects now needed to reverse this)

The really easy bit in Scotland is just look at the maps, look at where the settlements are and ask why there are no roads in places, this tends to indicate the type of terrain.

I originally come from south of Edinburgh, we lived in the foothills of the Pentlands on their southern edge, there was a small bit of arable land next door to us (The Wilson's farm), I used to watch the combines as a child. After that the land climbs and there is not much arable land right up over to Balerno, if there are no sheep on these hills there will be no anything

Same applies re that large area between Stow and Eddleston, that large area is high, you may get some cattle at say Stagehall farm (well certainly you used to) but as you climb the hill sheep is really all that is possible.

Your percentages are totally misleading re the art of the possible, not all land is equal, hence the vast price differential per acre between say East Lothian arable and the Ochils.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
19th Feb 2019 16:22

You forgot the bit about teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony.

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By Mr_awol
18th Feb 2019 11:53

I clicked the link, saw the picture of the great unwashed of the future, and read a few lines of inane drivel. I even skipped down the page a bit to see if there was anything of substance in the article further down, but didn't really find anything, just more columnist filler.

What I do find interesting, is that Paul's written a pointless thread referencing a pointless article (albeit about something quite important) and I've now written a pointless reply, yet there are tax cases that Justin quite clearly labels as 'fascinating' which pass without comment...……….

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RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Feb 2019 17:29

Where's the electricity coming from to power all these electric cars we'll be getting?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By andy.partridge
18th Feb 2019 16:55

Migrant factory pedal power. In effect, late 21st century chain gangs.

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Replying to andy.partridge:
RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Feb 2019 17:31

andy.partridge wrote:

Migrant factory pedal power. In effect, late 21st century chain gangs.

Oh right.

And will they be stopping breathing ?

Or will they be breathing more heavily ?

Thereby contributing to the CO2 problem.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By andy.partridge
19th Feb 2019 15:57

Good point. This planet would be fine if it weren't for those bloody humans.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Tornado
By Tornado
18th Feb 2019 17:07

Well, a good source of electricity is from Anaerobic Digesters on farms where surplus slurry from animals and crops produces gas which can generate electricity. Nearly free electricity, what a great idea.

Or maybe not.

By not spreading back the slurry on the fields, they soon become unable to sustain crops or grass for animals and become unusable. The only way to deal with this is for the Farmers to buy very expensive nitrogen rich fertilizers that are not climate friendly to produce and cost a fortune, possibly more that the value of electricity being generated in the Digester.

As we know : The first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another."

There are a multitude of ways to make electricity, but which is the way to make an electric car and run it in the most environmentally friendly way?

Perhaps we should ask the children?

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Replying to Tornado:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
18th Feb 2019 17:19

Do not forget the phosphates.

Somewhere in the office I have calculations re average phosphate outputs from cattle and sheep, we once managed to obtain a planning permission by executing a section 75 (think you call them sec 106) agreement removing x cattle from some farmland we owned which would then balance re the phosphates we would introduce by building 35 family homes near same.

Always reminded me of Bethselamin.

" The fabulously beautiful planet Bethselamin is now so worried about the cumulative erosion by ten billion visiting tourists a year that any net imbalance between the amount you eat and the amount you excrete while on the planet is surgically removed from your body weight when you leave: so every time you go to the lavatory there it is vitally important to get a receipt."

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Replying to DJKL:
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By 356B
19th Feb 2019 10:23

You know you've lost the argument when you have to quote Douglas Adams.
I'm always amazed by the arrogance of mankind when they state that we cause global warming.

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Replying to 356B:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
19th Feb 2019 10:40

What argument?

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Replying to 356B:
Quack
By Constantly Confused
19th Feb 2019 11:03

356B wrote:

I'm always amazed by the arrogance of mankind when they state that we cause global warming.

Wow, be careful not to fall off the edge of the flat Earth you live on...

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Replying to Constantly Confused:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
19th Feb 2019 11:15

The Disc.

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Replying to 356B:
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By Tax Dragon
19th Feb 2019 11:51

356B wrote:

I'm always amazed by the arrogance of mankind when they state that we cause global warming.

They also claim that we cause deforestation. Idiots. They claim we have thrown enough plastic into the ocean to form a floating island the size of Texas (update: it’s now twice the size of Texas). Where’s the evidence? They say the oceans are becoming more acidic. What, like they’ve measured that kind of thing.

And who cares? Not you obviously. Why should you? All the bad stuff is happening “over there”. (Well, some of it is over here, but so long as it's just other people, you're AOK, yes?)

You can even change channels to keep your castle of denial pure from all that unpleasantness. With social media, you can choose to live in Trumpland, behind your wall, without even having to leave your armchair; then the bad stuff isn’t anywhere – it’s all just fake news.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By andy.partridge
19th Feb 2019 15:55

You know what it's like with humans. When something can be done we sit around thinking about it. When it's already too late we are stirred.

If I were to believe the predictions from 20 years ago it is already too late. So I am not going to panic. Instead I'll sit and hold hands waiting for the inevitable.

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Replying to andy.partridge:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
19th Feb 2019 17:03

You are right. It’s already too late.

To clarify, I wasn’t saying there’s much, if anything, we can do about it. And your attitude, while I may not like it, at least I can understand it. But to say that mankind as not brought this on him- and herself (and indeed on the planet’s non-human populations) is hard to forgive.

I’ve said too much in this thread already, so I’ll finish with this edit and bring Paul’s opening analogy full circle: we are reaping what we (and the previous few generations) have sown. I can’t say the reaping hasn’t been fun: Aweb would not exist without the progress they made. Sadly, the price of that fun is starting to catch up with us.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
19th Feb 2019 17:29

I too once felt "what's the point, what can I do?" but, if you think of the old going paperless era, once you start, it's amazing what there is you can do to make a difference.

As so often is the case in this country, and certainly on here, changes like this are only ever seen as losing something with no imagination to see that the net effect of the change is positive.

This is exactly how the kids see it and, again, they shame us.

I have 4 brilliant and full of life grandchildren under 5 years old, to not try and make a difference for them, is unthinkable.

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Replying to Tornado:
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By Tax Dragon
18th Feb 2019 17:30

What is your definition of "surplus"?

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Replying to Tornado:
RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Feb 2019 17:37

Tornado wrote:

The only way to deal with this is for the Farmers to buy very expensive nitrogen rich fertilizers that are not climate friendly to produce and cost a fortune..

They need keeping separate from any icing sugar, too.

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Replying to Tornado:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
19th Feb 2019 13:47

Hi Tornado - the other way of looking at this is to stop using the land for animals, thus avoiding both a major source of greenhouse gasses and the slurry, much of which runs off into rivers and the sea. There will be sufficient crop waste to feed the digesters.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
19th Feb 2019 13:21

Hi Lion - having a lot of difficulty posting on here, this was supposed to be a response to your query over how to power EVs:

- Over 95% of mine is powered by a mix of my solar panels and Ecotricity, which is 100% renewable.

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
RLI
By lionofludesch
19th Feb 2019 14:19

And would there enough there to supply all cars - not to mention the rest of our energy needs - were there to be zero CO2 emissions ?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
19th Feb 2019 16:44

Not sure if you saw it, but maybe 6-7 years ago, there were a series of discussions (to put it nicely) on here along the lines that EVs would be stifled at birth, the battery and infrastructure technology was never going to be good enough, the manufacturers were too wedded to the ICE and the oil companies were too powerful.

Since then several pennies have dropped for consumers as well as the industries and, despite a scared .GOV, good old capitalism is doing its job. If consumers require new technology there will always be people there to provide it.

Even though ICEs (Int Combustion Engines) are way passed their sell by date the manufactures have teamed them up with electric motors and batteries in the hybrids and so much, if not all, the electricity comes from the ICEs. Not ideal but it makes them far more fuel efficient.

Still early days but the technology and models available are way ahead of where I was when I bought mine 2 years ago.

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By Tax Dragon
20th Feb 2019 09:26

Although I dropped out of the thread with my previous post, this morning's news is too much of a coincidence to let pass without comment.

Australia has formally declared the Bramble Cay melomys extinct. The cause cited is (in the colloquial) manmade climate change - this first time this has been cited as the cause of extinction of a mammal.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
20th Feb 2019 10:46

Worldwide we are now in the 6th Mass extinction (the 5th was 65M years ago) with 150-200 species of plants, insects & animals becoming extinct every day. This is 1,000 times higher than the natural background death of species and is directly associated with human activity.

Australia is perfect example of how climate breakdown is going to effect us all, with years of draught and then one area in Queensland suffering a year's rainfall in a week recently, flooding 20,000 homes and killing perhaps half a million cattle.

The government there have as bad a reputation for ignoring climate change as the US but a milestone last week was a court refusing to allow a mining company to open a new coal mine because of the effects on the environment and greenhouse gasses, a first in the world I think.

Still, not to worry, where are those tax cases I'm supposed to have read about?

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
18th Mar 2019 11:42

Watering the seedling.

A month on and last Friday's school strike spread to over a hundred countries with an estimated 1.5m students taking part.

Hopefully some of you saw and were even effected (in the one I attended in Exeter the city centre came to a standstill) and, before you dismiss it, just bear in mind that over the next few years many of these people will get the vote.

https://www.itv.com/news/2019-03-15/thousands-of-students-worldwide-skip...

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
Tornado
By Tornado
18th Mar 2019 12:10

"before you dismiss it, just bear in mind that over the next few years many of these people will get the vote."

Paul -

When they get the vote, then they will be able to express their views within the legal framework of this country, just like everyone else.

All I see at the moment is children being cynically manipulated by those with ulterior motives, and if you are not worried by this, then I think you should be.

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Replying to Tornado:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
18th Mar 2019 12:26

Are you suggesting that there may be people in power who are using the privileged position we give them to educate our children, and they are abusing this privilege to manipulate them?

Surely not...

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Replying to Tornado:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
18th Mar 2019 17:25

Do you have proof of the people cynically manipulating them?

They are up against vested interests such as oil, gas, industrial farming (especially livestock), chemicals, the motor industry and the media, so must be someone pretty powerful.

From what I've read their main influencers have been the thousands of scientists who give their time free to the IPCC. But if you're right you need to tell the Nobel Prize Committee as Greta Thunberg has just been nominated for the peace prize.

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By andy.partridge
18th Mar 2019 12:30

Yes, frightening that the poor souls will be getting the vote. They need to grow up and appreciate that to change things they need to win people over. Chanting that Theresa May is a f u c k i n g w h o r e is charmless and, worse, factually incorrect. Fake news!

If they could start by winning over their parents that could make a big difference. Trouble is tidying their bedroom is a whole lot more difficult and far less exciting than bunking off school and shouting obscenities in the street.

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Replying to andy.partridge:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
18th Mar 2019 17:40

How many parents have you spoken to?

The ones I spoke to on the last two events I attended were fully behind their children and, as for winning people over, in Exeter city centre where cars, busses & vans were all brought to a standstill all I saw was thumps up and clapping from drivers, passengers and passers by.

Also, in both events, with probably over 2 thousand marchers, I neither heard nor read one obscenity other than "Unf*** the Earth" which, I think, puts the case neatly.

Did the daily Mail give any numbers for the people chanting that in London, what % of the total?

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Mar 2019 18:00

Paul Scholes wrote:
......in Exeter city centre where cars, busses & vans were all brought to a standstill ....

How many of them had their engines running ?

Probably the biggest contributor to global warming - if CO2 is indeed the cause - is too many people, needing too many cars, too much energy in assorted forms and too many animals breaking wind. Childless folk are doing their bit to save the world.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
19th Mar 2019 11:15

"if CO2 is indeed the cause" - are you joking? CO2 represents about 80% of the greenhouse gasses followed by CH4 (Cows belching rather than farting) at 10%.

My son and his wife are desperate to have a child and are about to start IVF, shall I console them by telling them not to worry they are saving the planet?

Cheap and crass comments, if you doubt climate change and our role in it then stick your head back in the sand and let the adults try and deal with it.

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
RLI
By lionofludesch
20th Mar 2019 10:06

Paul Scholes wrote:

"if CO2 is indeed the cause" - are you joking? CO2 represents about 80% of the greenhouse gases followed by CH4 (Cows belching rather than farting) at 10%.

But greenhouse gases are still less than 1/2500 of the atmosphere. Sure - there's global warming. Maybe there's another cause. Sun more active perhaps. Who knows ?

My son and his wife are desperate to have a child and are about to start IVF, shall I console them by telling them not to worry they are saving the planet?

Cheap and crass comments, if you doubt climate change and our role in it then stick your head back in the sand and let the adults try and deal with it.

Now who's making the cheap and crass comments ? Unworthy of you, Paul. You can't just pick out the solutions which suit you if the global warming problem is to be solved.

The growth in population is most definitely a significant factor in global warming and the pollution of the planet. It's dangerous to pin the blame on one single cause - whether or not that be greenhouse gases. It's almost certainly a cocktail of factors.

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
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By andy.partridge
18th Mar 2019 20:31

Maybe they are the same children who want to travel the world and work abroad and also march for the unfettered right to do so. No joined up thinking with these kids or their indulging parents.

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Replying to andy.partridge:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
19th Mar 2019 11:18

First the parents need winning over, now they're indulging?

Again, have you spoken to them, or just switching belief?

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
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By andy.partridge
19th Mar 2019 11:36

No belief switch. You seem to think of humanity as a homogeneous mass. Some clarity for the hard of understanding:

"Winning over" - on the basis that the parents are in the decision-making generation, 'good behaviour' from children might be more persuasive than 'bad behaviour'.

"Indulging" - those parents who back their children's 'bad behaviour'.

PS. I'm not a big fan of IVF either.

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Replying to andy.partridge:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
19th Mar 2019 12:23

Andy, it's pointless getting into this stuff, it's off topic, either your believe that this topic is the most important the world has to deal with and applaud the students for doing something to get people and governments interested, or you don't.

You may not have had the opportunity to speak to students or parents but I'm sure if you did, you'd get to see something other than misbehaving children. Many of them are 16/17/18 year olds and even the younger ones have a far better grasp of the issues, than adults I speak to.

For example, the equivalent of Greta Thunberg in Sweden is a 13 year old student in New York, Alexandria Villaseñor. You have to see passed the tabloid "misbehaving kids" headline and imagine a real 13 year old, with her whole life in front of her, suddenly discovering that the world she is inheriting is sick and likely to pose a threat to her life, can you imagine that?

Just spend a few minutes listening to her:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbVn1XlZPsA

If I had discovered this when I was her age, I'd have planned to bomb an oil refinery or something similar. With enthusiasm, intellect and social media they are changing opinions and making a difference.

If you really can't appreciate any of that, then just wait a few years and have another think.

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
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By andy.partridge
19th Mar 2019 13:14

Paul, you raise a thread inviting views. I give you mine
Your resurrect your own old thread. I give you my view
You start nit-picking about an inconsistency in my view which isn't there. I correct you.

Now you say it's pointless getting into this stuff, it's off topic. Well Paul, all you need to do is have a bit of self-control and stop wilfully mispresenting other intelligent people's views when they might be contrary to yours.

Kids are kids. They are easily led, that's why laws are in place to protect them. They grow up, they change their views, they argue with reason not emotion and they have life experience and intellectual rigour to back them up.

In the meantime, I will not take too much notice of their views or the views of adults that manipulate them or adults that use children as an emotional weapon to distort a debate.

I am not a climate change denier, but kids marching leaves me stone cold.

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Replying to andy.partridge:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
19th Mar 2019 13:51

OK Andy thanks - a far more considered and comprehensive answer.

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By 356B
19th Mar 2019 12:49

I can confidently say that in 50 years of dealing with adults and children I've never found a 13 year old with any knowledge of accounting or taxation principles. What would they bring to the table?
(Do I get a prize for being the only one to answer the question?)

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By 356B
19th Mar 2019 12:55

double post

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
24th Apr 2019 12:30

It is with great pleasure that I make this my last post on Accountingweb.

With the help of David Attenborough, the BBC came off the fence last week and yesterday we saw a bright light in the House of Commons:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/23/greta-thunberg

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
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By andy.partridge
24th Apr 2019 13:58

Impressive, but easier to be so when allowed to speak unchallenged because of one's youth. I found the fawning listeners, smitten like teenagers, a little nauseating.

She's no Malala, bruv.

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Replying to andy.partridge:
RLI
By lionofludesch
24th Apr 2019 14:03

At least the lass came by train instead of flying over like Emma Thompson.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By andy.partridge
24th Apr 2019 14:25

I'm not sure video conferencing was developed to enable folk to take the train instead of a plane.

If only she had walked - now that would have been impressive!

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Replying to andy.partridge:
RLI
By lionofludesch
24th Apr 2019 14:41

She'd have breathed too heavily.

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