I’m probably reading too much into this but maybe not

In a tense press conference alongside his British counterpart David Davis after the third round of exit talks in Brussels, Michel Barnier was scathing about the UK’s approach to the financial settlement, citizens’ rights and hopes for future access to the single market.

He said some of the recent British proposals showed “a sort of nostalgia in the form of specific requests which would amount to continuing to enjoy the benefits of the single market and EU membership without actually being part of it”.

His remarks drew an acid response from Davis, the UK’s Brexit secretary, who remarked that Barnier should not “confuse a belief in the free market with nostalgia”.

Over there (or, to me, over here) one can read the attitude as that free trade is some great privilege, some prize for which a toll should and must be paid to the bureaucracy. Over here (or, me, there) at least among the sensible free trade is the natural order of things and why wouldn’t everyone want it anyway, whatever the bureaucracy?

Thus some of the incomprehension here.

Of course, if that analysis is correct then we’ve really got to leave. Who wants to be run by people so wrong on something so basic?

Well, you know, maybe she’s right?

So much for Ivanka Trump as America’s moderate savior. The favored first daughter – who wants her name to be synonymous with women’s equality at work – has failed again and again to provide a measured influence on her father’s obsessive rollback of women’s rights. Her presence in the White House, a polished false promise, has done almost nothing to protect the most vulnerable victims of Trump’s policies.

This week, for example, the Trump administration decided to do away with a policy that would have mandated employers document their workers’ pay alongside gender and race information and provide it to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The idea is that requiring this kind of accountability from employers will help to narrow the wage gap. Tracy Sturdivant, executive director of Make It Work, called the administration’s decision “an unacceptable and deliberate attack on women in the workplace, especially black and Hispanic women”.

Given Ivanka’s “Women Who Work” campaign and her repeated claim that she wants to level the playing field for women’s wages, you would think the businesswoman would have rallied support to keep the policy in place – or at the very least disagreed with her father’s decision. (“Where I disagree with my father, he knows it and I express myself with total candor,” she once told Gayle King on CBS.)

Instead, Ivanka supported her father’s move, releasing a flat statement that claimed while “the intention was good … the proposed policy would not yield the intended results”. Watch out, Gloria Steinem!

For what this will record is the raw gender pay gap. Which isn’t actually all that useful. In fact, it’s positively not useful when in the hands of the harpies. They get to say “but look, women are paid less than men” when in fact the explanation for that gap today is very much more that mothers earn less than non-mothers, fathers more than non-fathers. The more I look at the figures (and I’ve not seen anyone test exactly this in the literature but someone should) the more I am coming to the view that this explains all of the observed gap.

That is, the gender pay gap is a result of discrimination among parents about primary child care and providing for children. There just isn’t any room left for any other causes like taste discrimination etc.

So, why give people a misleading stick with which to beat us all?

Tee hee

An Uber driver terror suspect arrested outside Buckingham Palace had originally headed for Windsor Castle but his SatNav sent him to a pub of the same name instead.

There’s the beginning of an Ealing comedy there.

This isn’t an error in the law, rather in the CPS

But there have been calls for a review of the law after the first prosecutions involving laughing gas were dismissed by the trial judge, following successful legal challenges.

The wide-ranging law banning so-called legal highs came into force in May 2017 to stamp out the distribution, sale and supply of substances capable of producing a psychoactive effect.

A number of substances, including alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and medical products were excluded from the legislation.

Last month two men accused of trying to sell nitrous oxide at the Glastonbury music festival walked free from court after their lawyer argued the gas was exempt from the new psychoactive substance legislation, because it was also used for medical purposes.

Earlier this week a second case, involving an alleged supplier in London, also collapsed after the prosecution’s own expert witness admitted nitrous oxide was exempt under the current legislation.

Maybe MPs did mean to ban nitrous oxide. But the entire point of the CPS is to have someone deciding what should be prosecuted. And they should, above all, know what the actual law is.