None so blind

The removal of trade barriers would, it was always argued, increase growth and so employment and well-being. This was a core idea at the heart of the Washington Consensus, that delivered neoliberalism around the globe.

The problem was, as has now been realised, that even if tariff free trade did deliver growth (and that was open to question in some cases) it was also apparent that the benefits were not equally shared. Data in the disparities of income growth in society over the last thirty or more years are now well known: most benefits have gone to a few. This leaves obvious questions for many on the benefits of growth.

These decades of neoliberalism and global trade have been the most pro-poor eonomic movement ever, the cause of the largest decline in absolute poverty in the history of our species.

This leaves a question on the benefits of growth?

How annoying

Thunderstorm, lightning strike, morning spent hunting modems….no, not electricity surge. Rather, phone lines got hit, modems blew up because of that.

And, amazingly, Worten and FNAC don’t sell modems. Only routers. Because the modems all come from PT so why stock something which everyone with broadband has already?

Fortunately, nice bird at the PT office replaced the blown one. Out of warranty but apparently I didn’t tell her that.

So, err, hello to you all this mornin’

Economics sure is hard

And the honest answer is also much the same: by running the economy for the benefit of a few; by imposing austerity in an attempt to shrink government and by killing demand in the process;

How big’s the deficit? This is austerity killing demand? In what might be the best performing economy in Europe?

Well, yes, I suppose so

Everyone in government knows the Bank’s cut in the base rate to 0.5% in the aftermath of the crash and injection of £375bn into the financial system to reduce borrowing costs is what allowed Osborne to apply a tourniquet to public spending.

You have two stimulatory tools, fiscal and monetary policy. One can indeed offset the other. That’s rather the point in fact.

Has no one explained this to The Observer yet?


One of the world’s leading institutes for researching the impact of global warming has repeatedly claimed credit for work done by rivals – and used it to win millions from the taxpayer.
An investigation by The Mail on Sunday also reveals that when the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) made a bid for more Government funds, it claimed it was responsible for work that was published before the organisation even existed. Last night, our evidence was described by one leading professor whose work was misrepresented as ‘a clear case of fraud – using deception for financial gain’. The chairman of the CCCEP since 2008 has been Nick Stern, a renowned global advocate for drastic action to combat climate change.

Mail investigations are, of course, Mail investigations but still……

No doubt Bob Ward will Twitter all about it soon enough.

Passporting for financial services

Obviously it would be nice but:

There is a consensus that the EU’s integrated financial market is one of its great success stories. It makes it easier and cheaper for French farmers, German manufacturers and Italian fashion designers to secure funding. It helps EU citizens get better returns for their savings. And it also creates jobs, not least in the UK, where financial services as a whole employs more than a million people, two-thirds of them outside London.

But it is now at risk. It is underpinned legally by the “passporting” system enshrined in EU legislation, which allows banks based in the UK to sell services to customers in Europe, and banks based in Europe to sell services to customers in the UK, and access the global financial centre that is London. It also allows banks based in one EU country to set up branches in any other EU country without going through local regulators.

Banking is probably more affected by Brexit than any other sector of the economy, both in the degree of impact and the scale of the implications. It is the UK’s biggest export industry by far and is more internationally mobile than most. But it also gets its rules and legal rights to serve its customers cross-border from the EU. For banks, Brexit does not simply mean additional tariffs being imposed on trade – as is likely to be the case with other sectors. It is about whether banks have the legal right to provide services.

The system is 14 years old so I am told. The City was the financial centre of Europe before that too. It isn’t therefore quite as much of a deal breaker as is being said.

Further, he’s talking about £20 billion of exports. OK, that’s real money. We’ve also got a £1.8 trillion economy. How much should we subjugate that to the EU in order to get those exports?

Slightly scraping the barrel, no?

Donald Trump faced fresh allegations of making unwelcome sexual advances, with his 11th accuser being Jessica Drake, an adult film star and director.

She also claimed that she was offered $10,000 for Mr Trump to come to her room, which she declined. She was unable to recall whether it was Mr Trump or a staff member calling on his behalf who proposed the alleged payment to her.

Mr Trump’s campaign dismissed her allegations as “totally false and ridiculous”, adding “Mr Trump does not know this person, does not remember this person and would have no interest in ever knowing her.”

Not that I wish to offer money to a porn star for a shag but it’s not exactly entirely out of possibility that she’d say yes, is it?

And this furore about “unwelcome sexual advances”… is still generally the bloke who goes ? and the woman who possibly responds ! isn’t it? Or not, as the case may be, in which case she’s just received and unwanted sexual advance, hasn’t she?

A day late but very good

As the two battle fleets made stately progression towards each other in the gentle morning breeze, Admiral Villeneuve made a signal. Having read the flags the midshipman on duty rushed to Lord Nelson and said “I don’t understand the flags sir – With water, it is time.”
Nelson decided to check the signal. Having considered the signal Nelson turned to the snotty and replied “No, you need to read the signal in the original French – A l’eau, c’est l’heure.”

Well of course the Puritans liked sex!

They were undoubtedly odd but they were not mad:

The famously strait-laced 17th-century sectarians who helped settle America weren’t nearly as priggish as you might think.
A leading scholar claims that the Puritans were in fact sexy, and saw sex and love as important factors to help form a passionate relationship.
The claim is based on letters penned by Puritan forefathers including Colonial Gov John Winthrop, which are said to evoke more passion than prudishness.

They took a very dim view of sex outside marriage and a very hearty approach to it within.

One way to tell is to look at the size of their families……

On the gay pardon thing

What, exactly, is the offence that all are going to be pardoned of?

That gross indecency? Buggery?

The latter would be something of a problem perhaps. There was one year when England hanged more for buggery, or sodomy, than for murder so I’m told.