What would an economist say?

Retail sales growth is unsurprisingly depressed.

The pound has fallen below $1.30 this morning.

Beyond the UK, the Fed is having problems making the idea of interest rate rises stick.

They’re just a banking fantasist’s pipe dream here.

And the FTSE 100 sales on at near record highs

The markets are trying to ignore reality.

Reality is biting back.

And its message is deeply uncomfortable. I do not see that changing. And sometime the markets will note.

An actual economist would note that 75% of revenues to FTSE 100 firms are from outside the UK and not in sterling. A declining pound therefore raises he £ value of such receipts and profits.

Actually, that in the absence of any other influences (you know, that ceteris paribus bit) the FTSE 100 and the sterling exchange rate are inversely correlated?

But then that would be an economist, no a Senior Lecturer in international political economy at the technical college of a London borough.

As we get from the comments, on 21 May we had:


The peak is because the pound is fallen. These are wholly connected variables. Because so many FTSE 100 companies earn their profits in anything but sterling if the pound falls the value of their profits (in sterling) rises and so does the share price.

Not one of their brightest moments.

How so very Guardian

Drag queen (his description) meets nutter on bus. Nutter screams at drag queen. This is because:

Britain’s acute culture of intolerance breeds this conviction that “the other” deserves to be denigrated. Rather than critique our own systems of power, we are taught to blame immigrants for economic turbulence; instead of protecting trans women from acts of patriarchal violence, some of the British press seeks to vilify them as its culprits. Current waves of divisionism foster an environment in which violence towards minorities is pitched as protection, and it’s conducive to toxic forms of masculinity. For instance, in the three months following the hate-fuelled Leave campaign, attacks on LGBT people rose by a startling 147%. And during the World Cup, searches for helplines and resources about domestic violence markedly increased following matches where England lost to foreign competitors, another instance of national disappointment provoking male violence.

Maybe, y’know, you just met a nutter on the bus?

No, I don’t see it really

Theresa May has warned that giving suspects anonymity will hamper police investigations after Sir Cliff Richard won a landmark High Court privacy battle against the BBC.

The Prime Minister said that publishing the name of a suspect “enables other potential victims to come forward” in some cases and therefore “strengthens the case against an individual”.

I do understand the argument. Just as I also understand the one where anonymous accusers, who stay anonymous for life – in the absence of conviction for false accusations – might be tempted to accuse out of malice and thereby cause problems for those publicly named.

Given human nature I regard the second as the greater risk of the two.

Where accuser gains privacy protection, so should accused.

Modern language is really rather good, isn’t it?

Katy Perry had ‘situational depression’ after Witness album

Katy Perry says she had “bouts of situational depression” following the release of her latest album.

Witness reached number six in the UK charts when it was released in 2017, while her two previous records both reached number one.

The 33-year-old says she’d put a lot of “validity” into the public reaction, “and the public didn’t react in the way I had expected, which broke my heart”.

What is meant is that Katy felt a bit sad after releasing an album which was a bit shit and failed to sell in the expected train loads.

Well, OK, and what should the reaction have been?

He’s really very perceptive you know

Again, I use the word deliberately. Let’s assume that somehow or other the most potent indications of separation will not happen. Let’s assume then that, against the odds, planes do still fly to and from the EU. But let’s assume there is Hard Brexit, without agreement, because nothing else seems plausible right now.

This will men that planes might fly and ships might sail. But how long it then takes to get into and out of the UK is anyone’s guess. Unless the UK decides to abandon all border controls, the flow of people into the UK will take longer than it did before. And IT systems previously shared with the EU probably just won’t work. But we may get round this by simply giving up migration control. But the EU, I think we can be fairly sure, will not be so relaxed. Getting out of this country next year is likely to be hard work.

We’re not in Schengen. You already need a passport to enter the UK…..

And again, even if we decide to throw open our borders (with considerable risk to loss of existing tariff revenues arising as a result)

We pass those tariff revenues along to the EU….

The possibility that VAT will be due on import will be devastating for the cash flow of many small businesses.

We already have a system of suspense accounts…..

I just hope I will be proven wrong, but systemically, this is, I think, by far the biggest and potentially most dangerous crisis Brexit might create, and the most urgent that has to be addressed. But I am not hearing that this is happening.

Well quite. After all, we do expect the government to be sharing its plans with the Sage of Ely, don’t we?

Well, I’m willing to believe

Hotdogs and other cured meat such as salami and beef jerky may be causing manic episodes, according to a new study.

Scientists say they suspect the chemical preservative nitrate is causing the disorders.

They found people hospitalised for an episode had more than three times the odds of having ever eaten nitrate-cured meats than people without a history of a serious psychiatric condition.

The study was backed up a further experiment in rats who were fed a diet with added nitrates and had mania-like hyperactivity after just a few weeks.

Well, I would be, if they then fed people leafy veg (spinach, arugula) and then found the same effect.

But the larger idea, that there might be harmful effects? Sure, why not? For as with so many things we’ not be surprised to find more than one thing going on.

Those who, historically, ate such cured meats would not be deaded through starvation. The minor effect of mania would be swamped by that carrying on living thing.

Yes, amusing

London is known as a bastion of liberal values.

But by some measures the capital city is less progressive than you might think.

Findings from the British Social Attitudes survey found that residents were the least likely to say that pre-marital sex and homosexuality were rarely or never wrong.

Just 73 per cent held this view about sex before marriage and 67 per cent about same-sex relationships.

The trend is despite London having the largest proportion of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the country.

Researchers said the regional variations were down to “religious differences” between different areas of the country and Londoners’ social conservatism was “largely driven by religious factors”.

“Controlling for religion, a factor significantly correlated with views towards pre-marital sex, differences between London and other regions became statistically non-significant,” the paper said.

So, what’s the explanation? Which religion and its association with immigration?

Part of it would be Judaism – not that I claim to be an expert but isn’t London home to the only substantial Hassidic or equivalent communities in the UK? But much of the rest of it would be Islam, no?

Better not let the state have much power then, eh?

That. though, is the least of it. What we have is a Rudderless State. I once thought the opposite to my vision of the Courageous State was the Cowardly State, where politicians ran from all issues to let the market decide what should be done. But now I realise that things can be worse than that. Now I see that politicians, so out of touch with reality that only dogma and the security of their own wealth matters, will destroy the state and so the underpinnings of the very market they profess to favour in pursuit of their wish to inflict harm on rhe process of government itself.

This is the point we have reached.


On Swiss bank accounts:

Another way to put this is that in an economy not really going anywhere, those who do make something from it have a very strong temptation to extract their gains. But when we’ve got an economy transforming and growing as fast as any has ever done the desire runs the other way.

Not to take money out but to invest and reinvest in that great opportunity. That is, the greatest disincentive to offshoring money out of Bangladesh is the economic growth rate inside Bangladesh.

As ever in matters economic we’ve more than one thing going on. We can state with absolute certainty that all of them are. Our difficulty is in knowing quite how much of each. My preference, prejudice if your prefer, would be to say that it’s the money to be made at home lowering the amount being sent offshore as the greater influence. Feel free to disagree with that as you wish. I do though insist that this is part of it.

May’s Knights Who Say Ni!

May’s decision improves her prospects of making it through to the summer break without a leadership challenge. On Monday night, it emerged that No 10 had proposed bringing forward the summer recess to Thursday, to reduce the time available for Conservative MPs to hold a confidence vote if one were to be called, although Labour and some Tory MPs indicated they were considering voting against any attempt to impose an early holiday.

It is the Knights Who Say Ni! whose catchphrase is “Run Away, Run Away!”

Or is it Arthur himself?

So much for international diplomacy

EU institutions are far from perfect. They can appear remote and rigid. They have an infuriating habit of delaying crucial decisions until confronted with a sense of impending doom. And yet, by the standards of international diplomacy, the EU is both efficient and democratic.

If the EU’s as good as it gets then perhaps this international diplomacy gig is something we should ignore?

Just what has government managed to get right?

Drinking full-fat milk could lead to a longer life by protecting against strokes, scientists have suggested.

While conventional diet advice has for decades dictated that skimmed and semi-skimmed milk is much healthier for us than full-fat milk, a study suggests that the opposite may be true.

There’s that Hayek bit, that government health care will mean government becoming more than a little fascist in how it tries to manipulate our health. But just feel the incompetence with which they do so…….I’m not entirely sure that any of their dietary advice has been right. Well, OK, don’t eat the m#lump or arsenic maybe, but other than that?

The truly important thing here

Children’s books must have more black characters, a study funded by the Arts Council has said.

Only 4 per cent of books published last year aimed at primary school children featured a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic character, according to research commissioned by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE).

When analysing how many children’s books had a main character who was from an ethnic minority background, researchers found that the proportion dropped even further down, to one per cent.

Meanwhile, almost a third (32.1 per cent) of pupils in primary schools in England are from minority ethnic backgrounds, the latest official figures show.

“The demographic make-up of the UK did not align with the presence of BAME characters in books published in 2017,” the report said. “Each ethnic minority category was significantly under-represented.”

Yes, there’s that rather fascist demand that children’s books must be propaganda.But the much more important one is that 32% of children are BAME.

That replacement of the British seems to be working well then?

All most amusing

The growth of modern capitalism is being charted at the National Theatre in London in the swashbuckling, immigrant-entrepreneurial tale of the Lehman brothers. They sold overalls in 1850s Alabama, bought farmers’ raw cotton to sell to factories, diversified into coffee, rail and oil, and finally gave up on solid objects to deal only money.

In the final moments of the play the last family board member (40 years before the financial crash) prophesies that the next stage in banking is to exploit credit, “break the barrier of need” and make buying as routine as breathing: “Anyone can buy anything, and everything is a bargain!”

And so the mass-consumption society was born, and skidded all the way to the modern subprime mortgage crisis.

Well, no. Actually, entirely the wrong way around. Lehman went bust – truly, properly, bust – as a result of investments in real assets. Property in the Inland Empire if memory serves, but it might not. The bank run, the subprime mortgage crisis, these were to denouement, not the cause.

So this stuff that everyone knows about what happened is entirely, wholly, wrong. Which is going to cause certain problems when people try to apply the lessons, isn’t it?

They’re just not getting the implications here, are they?

A new study reveals an “alarming” 50 per cent rise in levels of prenatal depression in a single generation.

Researchers believe that while many women continue working throughout the bulk of their pregnancy due to career aspiration, others are forced to stay in their jobs longer than they would like because of financial demands such as increased house prices.

Both are contributing to a rise in anxiety among expectant mothers, with a “compare and compete” culture on platforms such as Facebook also fueling the trend.

One contributory factor to those house price rises is the availability of two incomes to pay for them of course.

We’ve thus got women working, women having careers, as a cause of this unhappiness and depression.

OK. The implication being? Well, either we withdraw the career bit or we put up with the depression, no?

Not quite sure what to make of this

An initiative launched by Facebook and Snapchat to help children combat online bullying has resulted in no calls to a national helpline.

Facebook and Snapchat’s parent company Snap entered into a trial with the NSPCC last year to help young children on their sites who might be subjected to bullying.

Through this initiative, if someone reports that they are being bullied, they will see a message suggesting that they talk to Childline for support and advice. Choosing this option will launch more information and the option to speak to a counsellor.

No one wants to call childline? No one is being bullied? No one pays any attention to anything on Facebook or Snapchat?

Presumably the net step is to demand tax subsidy as it isn’t working.