Well done Telegraph subs, well done

It’s not tax cuts here:

Drastic tax cuts mean tens of thousands of NHS staff are fleeing their gold-plated pensions


NHS workers are abandoning their generous gold-plated pensions in droves, with a quarter of a million opting out since 2015, according to new data laying bare the extent of problems first revealed by Telegraph Money.

Experts are blaming the exodus of 245,500 NHS staff from their defined benefit pension scheme in the past three years, including 100,000 during 2016 alone, on the creep of tightening tax rules.

Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at wealth manager Quilter, said: “The impact of the lifetime allowance is beginning to rear its head, a trend likely to continue as the Treasury has made it clear that taxation on pension is no longer for the substantially wealthy.”

Well, no, the lifetime allowance rules show how a defined benefit pension makes you wealthy in fact.

And it still ain’t all a tax cut, is it?

Interesting concept really

Stock markets are trying a little recovery this morning.

But the question remains as to by how much they are over-valued, since few would really dispute that they are. The answer is, by a long way

Given that around and about half of all market transactions are people buying at the current price I’d suggest that some, around and about you understand, half of all people think the market is currently undervalued. Or at least not over so.

But then I’m not a professor of economics, so what do I know?

They’ve not grasped it about planning, have they?

Pizzas must shrink or lose their toppings under Government plans to cap the calories in thousands of meals sold in restaurants and supermarkets.

Pies, ready meals and sandwiches will also be subject to the new proposed calorie limits, in a desperate bid to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis.

Under the draft proposals, a standard pizza for one should contain no more than 928 calories – far less than many sold by takeaways, restaurants and shops. And the recommendations suggest that a savoury pie should contain no more than 695 calories.

Why not 925 calories? And who is going to check and how?

Letters in The Times

I make something of a prediction. One that is obviously true, also one that everyone is going to ignore:

Sir, Further to your report “Employers must reveal ethnic pay gap of staff” (Oct 12), Sir John Parker’s independent review into the ethnic diversity of UK boards found that just 1 per cent of the directors of our top companies are black Britons. The leadership of our professions and government looks little better. Not only are we ignoring the potential of many of our people, the face that we show the world is lamentably redolent of a bygone era for which many of our hoped-for post-Brexit markets in Asia, Africa and the Americas feel no nostalgia.

The government’s proposal for ethnic pay reporting stands a good chance of illuminating this waste of talent and of nudging organisations, both private and public, in the right direction. But it is vital that such reporting is mandatory, otherwise the prime minister’s words will amount to nothing more than a pointless wish list. Worse, it would be a travesty if companies that voluntarily published their data were to find themselves pilloried while other, less scrupulous organisations skulked in the shadows.

Transparency works, but only if everyone is required to be equally open.
Trevor Phillips
Chairman, Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2006–12

Sir, Theresa May’s idea that all employers should publish their ethnic pay gap is going to be expensive and misleading. Expensive because such statistics cost to collect and collate, misleading because the age structure of the population differs by formally defined race. From the 2011 census, the whole population median age was 39, that of the white population 41, Asian, black and other, 30, 30 and 29 respectively, and mixed 18. Pay rises with age, as promotions to better-paid positions are earned through experience.

Populations with higher median ages have higher median wages therefore. No one will pay attention to this simple truth when the figures are announced — thus misleading us all. Given the age structure of the varied populations, ethnic minorities should have lower median pay than whites. This won’t be the reaction to the finding of an ethnic pay gap, though, will it?
Tim Worstall
Senior fellow, Adam Smith Institute

And a decade really is quite a long time in a career and pay structure, isn’t it?

This is probably true isn’t it?

Ministers need to be “honest” and admit that they have quietly shifted the burden of basic public services onto households and volunteers, a new report has found.

The Institute for Government said that households are increasingly having to pay for public services ranging from their care in old age to garden waste collections.

Who is there to pay for government but us chickens?

Subs! Subs!

Wilde’s uncle was John Kingsbury Elgee, who emigrated to New Orleans in the early 19th century and owned a sugar plantation with 515 slaves. Elgee was the brother of Wilde’s sister, Speranza, and “an Elgee family trait was a fondness for white supremacy”, Mendelssohn writes.


Also, the idea that someone in the 19th century might have been racist by modern standards. How much of a surprise is this? It’s like asking whether they had bad teeth by our standards, isn’t it?


The simple reality is that the premise of the report is wrong. The way to fund £20bn of extra healthcare spending is for the government to create the necessary funding for that purpose. And it can do this at any moment. The fact is that tax does not precede spend. It is always, and inevitably, true that spend precedes tax. In that case the hypothesis that extra tax must be raised before the NHS can be funded is incorrect. What actually happens is that if the government spends an extra £20 billion into the economy, and increases GDP directly as a result (because government spending is part of GDP, because it creates wealth) then the government can, if it so wishes, claim back some, all, or even more of that spend in tax if it so wishes, with the possibility that it might claim back more than is even spent being made possible by multiplier effects, which are quite high in the case of NHS expenditure.

Ritchie’s new theory. We don’t have to tax £20 billion in order to spend £20 billion more on the NHS.

No, no, don;’t be silly, MMT and all that.

Instead we should tax £30 billion extra in order to spend £20 billion on the NHS.

Much, much, better and MOAR TAX, d’ye see?

How does this work then?

Mondelez UK accounts reveal that its turnover rose from £1.64billion to £1.66billion and its profits increased to £185million from £22million. The rise was mainly due to £146million of dividends from two subsidiaries – its Terry’s chocolate business and a coffee business in the Netherlands. This cash offset its profits and helped cut the corporation tax – which is payable on profits – to zero.

Mail butchery there, obviously. But what actually is the allegation? That they received tax paid dividends and then didn’t pay tax on them again?

To be a little harsh here Honey

“There’s your baby’s heartbeat,” said the sonographer, pointing to the screen as we listened to the thump-thump-thump that was the most magical sound I had ever heard. A week later, the next scan showed that this beautiful twinkling heartbeat had gone, and our baby had died. I couldn’t face having to wait to pass the pregnancy sac, so I opted for surgery: a procedure called an ERPC: “evacuation of retained products of conception”.

I remember thinking that “evacuation” sounded like something you’d have done to your bowels. “Products of conception” might be the correct clinical term,  but to us, as a grieving couple, that was our dead baby: our much longed-for baby, who was already loved and anticipated as a unique human being, not simply an object to be discarded.

From the outset of your antenatal care, the NHS refers to “your baby”,  acknowledging that the stage of gestation doesn’t determine the meaning of the pregnancy to the family. But as soon as the pregnancy is “non-viable”, there’s an immediate and stark switch in the language used. Bethan Raymond lost her daughter Bella at 16 weeks. “I was told over the phone that my – still very much alive – baby girl had a fatal chromosomal abnormality, and would therefore die,” she told me. “I’d barely had time to process this when I was asked how I wanted to dispose of the products of conception.”

Well, what language should we be using then? If you didn’t want the baby and were having an abortion then you’d scream blue bloody murder if we all went around saying you were getting rid of your baby, wouldn’t you? It’s a gob of meiotic cells or summat if you don’t want it.

And the thing is, what it is isn’t dependent upon your view. It is – it is what it is too.


So it is with fascism, which is rather more than spiffy uniforms and being beastly to everyone not of the Volk. There’s a specific set of economic policies which go along with it, followed by all who themselves claimed to be fascist. From Mussolini through Salazar and Franco to, yes, Hitler and on to such people as Stroessner in Paraguay. Uniforms and beastliness, certainly, but also an insistence that it is the national that matters, the point that an economy should, as far as is possible, be entirely self-supporting. What can be made at home should be so, and trade across borders should be kept to a minimum.

Further, government shouldn’t take over private sector business (that’s state socialism) but should most certainly direct, in detail — define what wages should be, profit margins, who makes what and even how.

Female musculature

OK, perhaps we’d not expect the average male Plod to beat a special forces bloke in a hand fight but still:

Prosecutor Catherine Donnelly told Canterbury Crown Court officers Jessica Arnold and Marie Roostan initially tried to reason with Palmer however Palmer grabbed PC Arnold around the throat and pinned her to the stairs in the house.

PC Arnold told Judge Catherine Brown: “I have attended many volatile and aggressive situations in my time as a police officer and yet this incident is far beyond anything I have previously experienced.

“The level of violence that was directed at my colleague and I came from nowhere.

“I had just been assaulted and my colleague was being strangled, listening to me screaming at him to let go of her throat and hearing him repeatedly say he will choke her is hard to listen to.

“I felt a real threat that my friend and colleague would lose consciousness and that it was my responsibility to protect her.”

She added: “It was only the realisation of what he was doing I think, made him release his grip.”

Perhaps a more aggressive physical intervention might have been called for? If she were capable of it, of course.

Does Australia produce cotton?

Wearing wool pyjamas to bed instead of cotton gives up to 15 minutes’ extra sleep, new research has found.

Experts say wool helps keep the body in the “thermal comfort zone” most conducive to restful sleep.

Scientists in Australia carried out two studies of young and older sleepers to test the theory.

No, but Australia does produce rather a lot of wool.

Not that this would bias the research, Heaven Forfend, but it might have an effect on how much its publication is publicised….

Looking at the GCSE syllabus they’re already doing this aren’t they?

School children should be taught about the “grave injustices” of the British Empire, Jeremy Corbyn will say on Thursday, prompting a furious response from Tory politicians.

The Labour leader will announce plans to improve the teaching of black British history and the history of the British Empire, colonialism and slavery “to help ensure their legacy is more widely understood across the country”.

Mr Corbyn will outline Labour’s plans to support a new Emancipation Educational Trust, aimed at educating future generations about slavery and the struggle for emancipation.


What the IPCC delivered on Monday was the most massive warning. We have twelve years to save the planet from global warming. And Shell’s response is to avoid discussion of oil and instead suggest we plant trees without providing the slightest indication of where, who would fund it and why countries will be persuaded that they should do this when deforestation has been the trend throughout human history.

What he did not do is discuss the only obvious solution to this crisis. That is to leave oil in the ground. Of course, he can’t do that. His company is valued on the basis that it can burn all the oil reserves that it claims to have. The only slight problem with that plan is that it burns the planet as well. It is simply not possible for him to admit that controlling climate change and the continued existence of his oil company in anything like its current form are incompatible goals.

But there is a solution to this issue. It comes in three parts.

The first part is to ration oil. It can be done directly, or it can be done indirectly, but either way it needs to be done. So, we can ration flights. And car usage. We could even ration some food stuffs – like meat, in particular. We have, of course, done such things before, and I’m well aware that the immediate response will be that there will be a black market. And I agree, there will be. Which is precisely why each person’s ration could be traded. The person who wants to fly a lot could buy the ration of the person who does not want to fly at all. The person who does not have a car should be able to sell their right to have one. And so on. A meat ration might be tradeable as well. The goal is achieved, and virtue would be rewarded. Indeed, the whole policy could be progressive: the sale of rations could redistribute income to those less well off. Externalities could literally be priced.

The second point to note is that rationing would also increase the price of oil: that is what happens when a product is in short supply, which would have to be the case if fixed quotas for production were imposed, as would have to be the case. In other words, oil company values need not be imperilled by this. But they would be required to invest in clearing up their own past messes.

And third, government revenues need not be imperilled. If the oil price increases, so might government revenue.

Oil companies are not valued on the basis of their reserves. Rather, on their likely level of profits over a forseeable time span. Also, they don’t burn oil, we do. They sell it to us so we can burn it.

Rationing the price of oil will reduce its price, not increase. Oil is notably inelastic to price in its demand over the short and medium terms.

The Tuber manages to get one thing right, the solution is indeed rationing. Which is why William Nordhaus has just been awarded the Nobel for suggesting we ration it with a carbon tax. Something he’s been saying for at least two decades now. But then Nordhaus knows something about economics….