Yes, let’s have a teetotaller examining booze sales at airports

The way alcohol is sold in airports is to be examined after a number of recent incidents involving drunk passengers, the new aviation minister has said.
Lord Ahmad said he did not want to “kill merriment”, but that he would “look at” the times alcohol was on sale, and passenger screening.

Nothing could go wrong could it?

Lovely typo

The second reason for concern is that I think that the whole fabric on which successful change in the UK political environment has been built has been the democratic process. To pout it bluntly nothing but political power secured through the ballot box has been able to challenge the power of capital. Those on the right who are open on this issue call this the tyranny of democracy. By this they mean that democracy has given a majority who own little capital the power to make claim on that capital through tax and regulation to make sure that some of it at least is used for social good.

No, that’s not what we call the tyranny of democracy.

However, pout is a pretty good description of Ritchie’s general attitudes, isn’t it?

So, so, Guardian

The American summer tradition of clearing out of cities for the beach every weekend is at odds with an equally strong tradition of avoiding inconvenience. But for some reason the beach always wins.

Six hours on the road with small children in the back? No problem. A two-hour tailback? Just part of the package. A three-hour journey out of Penn Station to East Hampton, on a train so crowded you have to stand the whole way? Deal with it.

I have, in my nine years in the US, done every one of these journeys multiple times and now approach the summer with a certain dread. Granted, unlike in Britain, where you can stand up for hours on a train to get to a beach that looks like a large mudflat, at least the sand on Long Island is pretty. The dunes are pristine, the weather is hot and, if you trudge far enough from the path, you don’t have to see another human for hours.

How fucking much does a place in the Hamptons cost?

The English equivalent of this is some Londoner whining about how long it takes to get to Rock on a summer weekend. It’s rather a 0.1% problem, isn’t it?

There are times when that urban intelligentsia really does have a tin ear.

Darling, darling Polly

She really has missed something important about the British left:

But presumably most people signing up to a political party actually want their party in power,

That part of the British left represented by Momentum and those further left aren’t concerned about power, no, not power as in Parliamentary power. They’re also not interested in this universe nor actual human beings. They’ve a vision in their heads and that’s what is important, clinging to that vision and nothing else. And it always has been that way too.

Still, at least this is an improvement on her welcoming of the last Labour leader but two, the one eyed Viking.

Julie Bindel on how we should treat false accusations of rape

Something like this fills with dread of course. How bad its the logic and argumentation going to be? And La Bindel doesn’t disappoint. Because she never does even coming lose to answering her own question:

The tragic case of Eleanor de Freitas has provided more questions than answers. What should be done about those few cases in which women make false allegations of rape?

It’s not actually that few though, is it?

Home Office-commissioned research on rape attrition from 2005 found that around 3% of reports of rape are false. The impression given by some sections of the media and men’s rights groups paints a very different picture.

From the report.

There are false allegations, and possibly slightly more than some researchers and
support agencies have suggested. However, at maximum they constitute nine per
cent and probably closer to three per cent of all re p o rted cases.

From memory in this field don’t we take “possibly up to” as being the absolute lower bound? But perhaps more importantly:

Twelve per cent of all reported cases, or 14 per cent of those where the outcome
is known, reached the trial stage.

I’ve forgotten what the conviction rate at trial is. But we are getting to the stage where the number of false reports, ones we know are absolutely outright simply made up, is around and about the same as the number of reports that we can and do prove to the standards of criminal justice. Myself I just wouldn’t be calling that “few” but then I’m male, aren’t I?

And as I say, La Bindel doesn’t disappoint in living down to expectations. Because the one thing she doesn’t even manage to broach is, well, what should be the punishment for someone who lies so as to destroy the life of another? I’d think a great deal more of her (and for all the jokes I do admire her tenacity if nothing else) if the answer was something along the lines of, well, come down like a holy terror on those who really do egregiously just flat out lie for some reason or personal gain but be very, very, careful about who we conclude that of. Or summat like that. But we don’t even get that, do we?

My word, this is fun

Stephen Hawking on the real meaning of wealth (which he gets rather wrong) in The Guardian.

So I would be the last person to decry the significance of money. However, although wealth has played an important practical role in my life, I have of course had a different relationship with it to most people. Paying for my care as a severely disabled man, and my work, is crucial; the acquisition of possessions is not. I don’t know what I would do with a racehorse, or indeed a Ferrari, even if I could afford one. So I have come to see money as a facilitator, as a means to an end – whether it is for ideas, or health, or security – but never as an end in itself.

Interestingly this attitude, for a long time seen as the predictable eccentricity of a Cambridge academic, is now more widely shared.

Err, no, not really, standard economic structure is that wealth is the ability to increase utility. How utility is increased is entirely up to the individual, as our utility functions differ.

Or, if you’d like to put it this way, wealth is a facilitator, something that facilitates us increasing our utility.

Not unusual this, someone looking at an economic question from basic principles, getting close to the right answer but not realising that economics got there a century or more before. A better try at it that Ritchie of course, who usually manages to glom onto something which has been disproven via the same logical route but…..

Anyway, what’s really fun about this is that’s it’s a PR puff piece for a new web site run by UBS. You know, the Swiss bank and wealth management people?

Oh yes, we need a national development fund, Ho Yus

According to lawsuits filed last week by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ), at least $3.5bn has been stolen from 1MDB. The purpose of the fund, which was set up by Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, in 2009, was to promote economic development in a country where the median income stands at approximately £300 per month. Instead, the DoJ alleged that stolen money from 1MDB found its way to numerous associates of Prime Minister Najib, who subsequently went on a lavish spending spree across the world. It also accused Najib of receiving $681m of cash from 1MDB – a claim he denied. Money from 1MDB, the US also claimed, helped to purchase luxury apartments in Manhattan, mansions in Los Angeles, paintings by Monet, a corporate jet, and even financed a major Hollywood movie.

Nothing like that would happen at all, Ho No.

I recognise these two

Nor do entry barriers guarantee quality. Indeed, many of the faults blogs are accused of apply as much to old media, where they played out in elephantine slow motion and with a tenured complacency symptomatic of a medium blessed with too much protection from competition. Some of the most questionable analysis I have ever read came dressed in academic clothing, and is all the more dangerous for that. One paper from Sheffield academics, for example, purported to prove that Britain doled out £93bn of corporate welfare and had Labour politicians hopping with excitement. Another I recall from 2009 was an analysis issuing from a “radical” think-tank, claiming to show that childcare workers generated £7 for every pound they are paid, while advertising executives destroyed £11.

That seond was described by Giles himself as “not economics frankly” and I was one of those who leapt in upon the first.

Snigger, oh snigger indeed

It always was outrageously fascist:

A flagship government plan to assign a state-appointed figure to oversee the welfare of every child in Scotland has been blocked after the Supreme Court ruled that the controversial named person’s scheme was unlawful.

Judges said the proposals breach rights to privacy and a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Note that that’s not the EU but the Council of Europe…..

I am enjoying Indian English

The more the rant media drives itself to orchestrated frenzy over Kashmir

“Rant media” describes just so much of that media landscape, doesn’t it?

Dubai-Kozhikode flight makes emergency landing in Mumbai due to ruckus by passenger

“Ruckus”, lovely word.

And here’s a lovely example of that rant media:

It clearly seems that the lobbies at the international level are working to make sure that the opinion in the US becomes so much gripped with the fear of “Radical Islam” that Trump’s arguments of hate and the need to exterminate this hate through “destruction” of the very “roots” of Islamic radicalism start echoing in the heart of every American.

ISIS kills people to get Trump elected.

Yeeeees…, how’s your lithium dosage?

So, let’s ban the sale of sugar then

Here instead is a grab-bag of ideas that would convey the same message, some or all of which will one day be enacted. Ban fast-food outlets from stations and airports. Ban the sale of confectionery and sugary drinks to the under-16s. Ban the sale of over-sugared products in supermarkets (as measured by a ratio of sugar to other nutrients). Ban the bringing into schools of unhealthy foods. Ban the presence in offices (like our own here at The Times) of vending machines that seem to sell mainly crisps and chocolate. Specify a weight-to-height ratio limit on air passengers wishing to avoid a surcharge.


My word this is one hell of a shock, isn’t it?

They may enjoy looking after their children while their wives go out to work.
But house husbands may pay a high price for their modern take on marriage.
Research shows that couples are more likely to divorce when the man does not work full-time.
The US researchers say that while the gender stereotyping of women has relaxed, men still suffer from the expectation that they should be the breadwinner.

There is an tiny part of the united States which is still Merrie England

As the Mail says:

The future is gray for British English: How american spellings are taking over the world with flavor, center and defense becoming the norm

I take great delight in writing for Forbes using the English spellings. I discussed it with editors when I started and they were fine with it. And I have been amused at people shouting at me because I can’t spell labour, colour and the like.

I’ve gone further than this too. I used to take great pleasure in using the -ize endings, archaic English which American retained as English switched to -ise. Just because some pendant might come along and complain. But now that that joke is buried under writing for Americans I’ve switched to -ise.

I know, petty, petty stuff. But, you know, why not?

I wish someone would tell me where this is

This is a continual claim:

One of the legitimate complaints against the EU is its determination to drag us into treaties that claim to be about trade but are really about releasing multinational corporations from democratic control. Three of the agreements it is trying to impose – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) – make a mockery of parliamentary sovereignty.

They threaten to reduce to the lowest common denominator the laws protecting us from predatory finance, the exploitation of workers, food adulteration, climate change and environmental destruction. They threaten to force the privatisation of public services.

Specifically that privatisation. I have at least skimmed two of those three. And I cannot find anything, anywhere, which advocates, insists upon, determines, hinders or advances privatisation.

I can find things which say that if you do privatise and then reverse then compensation must be paid but that’s a standard part of current law anyway.

Anyone help me out here? Where is this insistence or advancement of privatisation?