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….

Well, there’s a lot of truth here

‘Devoid of personality’: BBC verdict on early Bowie audition unearthed
A new documentary reveals the scathing dismissal of the BBC Talent Selection Group on one of Bowie’s first groups, the Lower Third

That was DaviD Bowie as Davy Jones.

The audition took place four years before Bowie found fame with his eponymous 1969 album and the single Space Oddity. While the BBC’s decision looks comic in retrospect, no Bowie aficionado would suggest that his mid-60s output contained much intimation of his future genius.

I’ve said this before and there’s a truth to it even if it’s not the whole and entire such. He adopted a personality along the way. There’s much more of Bowie being an actor performing a role in each song – perhaps album, perhaps character across a few – than there is with most. Yes, extremely talented musician and all the rest. But an untrue but useful view is that he performed a series of 3 minute skits in character rather than was “Bowie.”

As to why, well, Davy Jones didn’t cut it, did he?

Seems sensible

Fracking laws on earthquakes could be relaxed to encourage more drilling, the energy minister has suggested.

Homeowners living near Britain’s shale gas sites may have to put up with more powerful earth tremors under plans revealed in a letter by Claire Perry.

The current rules can force frackers to down tools following even a minor quake measuring above 0.5 magnitude on the Richter scale.

A tremor of this intensity would be barely perceptible to most residents, but would register as a ‘red’ on the Government’s fracking safety traffic light.

It’s difficult to say that a tremor of that intensity actually exists.

Anyway, these rules were put in place to kneecap fracking in the first place. Want fracking, relax the rules.

This isn’t actually useless research

That doesn’t mean it’s an appropriate use of lottery money etc, but this isn’t useless at all:

A study carried out to investigate the so-called ‘Portsmouth accent’ spent more than £30,000 of lottery funding before it concluded there was nothing to discover.

Researchers at Havant and South Downs College spent 10 months examining the dialect of people in Portsmouth and any differences it has from surrounding parts of Hampshire and Sussex.

But in announcing the end of the project, the college conceded that had “not unearthed anything”.

The college was given £34,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year to investigate the city’s accent and discover why it was so different to the ‘country’ dialect spoken in nearby areas.

The Pompey dialect includes words such as ‘squinny’, which means to constantly moan and whine, and the insult ‘dinlo’, which infers stupidity.

Hmm, dunno there, I use squinny and I don’t think I’ve ever been there. Sisters were born there (Naval families, eh?). A reasonable assumption, one I’d offer absolutely no proof for, would be that some of those words move over into standard naval speech.

However, how the accent differs will be obvious enough. Urban accents tend to be faster versions of the surrounding rural ones. Tend note, tend. Twerton is a very fast version of Somerset etc.

As to the value, those students have learnt a great lesson. The vast majority of all research projects find nothing notable. This applies wider – the vast majority of all business adventures fail dismally. Failure is the modal outcome for all human adventures. That’s worth learning, no?

Political perspicacity

And, of course, there was the approval of Brett Kavanaugh. Even if he never committed a crime, that a person so deeply misogynist could be confirmed as a member of the US Supreme Court on the basis of a strictly partisan vote shows a break down in all the norms of decency that underpin representative democracy as the price of loyalty to a party that has lost touch with the most basic of respect for large parts of the population, and women in particular.

What is depressing is that this does not even seem like an accident. It appears very deliberate. And that to me stinks.

But it also suggests something else: it suggests that breakdowns such as this, grim as they are, can and, I think will, be the catalyst for the changes that are coming closer.

Of course I can misread mood, and I am under no illusion about the fact that the Republicans and populists in general have significant support, but what I think will happen is that a moment will arrive when anger will spillover and people will simply declare that they have had enough of being abused.

There is a chance that will be brutally suppressed.

Entirely missing why Trump/Brexit happened, which was “a break down in all the norms of decency that underpin representative democracy as the price of loyalty to a party that has lost touch with the most basic of respect for large parts of the population”. You know, the progressives deriding 90% of the population as hicks and rubes?

An email

Sorry Tim, I don’t wish to be offensive but I’ve looked at your web-site and given the conceptual resources you use (or lack of) there’s nothing you can say that would be of interest to me,

Note that he wrote to me.


Welcome to the new world of what might be called inequality therapy.

In a hyper-capitalist world where advertising and financial pressures channel the drive for status into an obsession, no one can really win – even those who appear to have it all. Commerce infiltrates even the language we use to describe our deepest concerns: am I worth it? Am I valued? Do I count?

This problem is exacerbated by the market system because, Glantz says, it values a particular type of identity, one based on “achievement rather than on belonging”.

Inequality makes that harder to see as it unendingly promotes what psychologists call “materialistic values” that are harmful to mental and physical health. These involve prioritizing the pursuit of “money, status and image over things like family, spirituality, helping the community and just having fun”, says Tim Kasser, professor of psychology at Knox College and co-author of the book Hyper-capitalism: The Modern Economy, Its Values and How to Change Them.

The bit the idiots are missing is that a market system allows you to choose what you value. And pursue it. That’s rather the point.