It may well be honey

Today a coalition of women’s healthcare organisations and Royal Colleges have written to the national broadcaster demanding its ban on providing information about abortion is reviewed.

“Abortion is not a ‘contentious issue’ — it is a routine part of NHS-funded healthcare, provided by doctors, nurses and midwives every day in hospitals and clinics across the country,” they write.

It’s still contentious. To prove that it isn’t you’d have to prove that there were no votes against the most recent changes to abortion law when it went through Parliament….


Ana Joaquim, from Wood Green, who is originally from Portugal, earns £8.50 an hour as a barista at BEIS, which outsources its catering to a company called Aramark.

Looking out my window into Portugal where the minimum wage is €600 a month or so.

So, Ana, you should be paid more why?


Part of our Ever Popular Series, Headlines In The Guardian Which Prove Betteridge’s Law.

What is the focus of sexual attention, which bit of sex is emphasised, changes with fashion. But not the attention nor the sex:

What women wear has always been part and parcel of sexual politics. But, 18 months after MeToo was born, has fashion’s centre of gravity moved away from sex?

That’s over here

Owen Jones and his suggestion that is.

As Andrew C points out:

Off topic but hilarious:

“Let’s give citizens free cash to save not-for-profit journalism”
says Owen Jones

Not for profit journalism being one thing I concede that Owen Jones and the Guardian are experts in.


For Owen is insisting that this £10 billion be spent upon his mates. Instead of £10 billion being spent upon what we want. You know, us out there, us whose money is being allocated. That we all have £200 more a year to allocate as we wish is a great idea. But what if our preferred allocation doesn’t include any form of media. Instead of a Pigeon Fanciers’ Monthly subscription, we’d prefer a few pigeon chicks? Instead of reams more of snowflake outpourings we’d prefer to Easyjet to the Alps for real snowflakes? What if, and perish the very thought of it of course, our desires for spending our money don’t conform to what Jones thinks it all should be spent upon?

Fortunately, we’ve a method of dealing with this. Jut cut taxes by £200 a head. Then we all go spend that on whatever it is that we want and not what Owen Jones thinks we should have. Everyone’s happy here – other than Owen and seriously folks, who gives a damn about that?

There becomes a point when….

The singers Phoebe Bridgers and Courtney Jaye claimed Adams behaved inappropriately during their relationships.

In an interview with The Telegraph last year, Bridgers said she met Adams in 2015. “A mutual friend in LA was like, ‘Ryan would like you’. He really was just trying to get me recording and trying to get Ryan to hear me, but Ryan was like, ‘Let me see a picture of her’.”

Bridgers says that she and Adams “ended up hanging out all night and recording a song together called Killer. Then, a couple of weeks later, he was suddenly trying to hook up with me. I was super-down and had just broken up with my high-school boyfriend. We slept together on his 40th birthday and I’d just turned 20.”

Moore, one of the stars of NBC’s award-winning “This Is Us,” burst on the scene as a teen singer and had musical success in the late ’90s and early 2000s. She claimed Adams stalled her music career and told her, “’You’re not a real musician, because you don’t play an instrument.’”

“His controlling behaviour essentially did block my ability to make new connections in the industry during a very pivotal and potentially lucrative time – my entire mid-to-late 20s,” 34-year-old Moore said to the Times.

These are adult women. You know, the strong independent types who should take over the world. The mutterings about underage stuff are of course different. But adults, come along ladies, whining about who you take your knickers off for is usual enough but we expect a bit more than he wasn’t very nice to me.

Well, yes, so, what do we do?

Transgender men’s ability to access fertility treatment to have children should be reviewed by the Government, Britain’s most senior family court judge has said.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division of the High Court, invited Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, to review fertility laws after hearing the case of a transgender man who was able to access a sperm donor 10 days after legally completing his gender transition.

The man, who was born a woman and is identified only as TT, became pregnant and has taken his case to the High Court to be registered as the “father” on the child’s birth certificate.

No problem whatsoever with he fertility clinic bit. Even fine with the NHS bit.

Father though, isn’t that rather confusing the two different concepts of sex and gender?

But this then takes us one step on. Are there in fact any good reasons why we do want to distinguish? Other than order, that’s just the ways things are and should be? Do, we, for example, trade genetic diseases through birth certificates? In a manner that would be cocked by this in a manner that sperm donation wouldn’t already cause?

That is, other than that the demand is ridiculous, what’s the argument against here?

This was the damn point

He made an interesting comment. It was that his employer now holds no gilts in its pension fund. It has invested in much riskier corporate debt instead. This, as he put it, was being done in a ‘chase for yield’ and a need to ‘match the liabilities’. In other words, the trustees have abandoned caution in an attempt to match income to their obligations. Short term accounting demands have made them leave prudence behind.

But, as he noted, this explains where the debt is in the UK economy. In 2008 it was on bank balance sheets, and they failed.

This time regulation will have reduced bank exposure so it is on pension fund balance sheets instead.

The aim of QE was to get people out of gilts and into corporate bonds. That’s the damn point.


As is explained to him in the comments:

QE has had the impact of sending investors such as pension funds further down the rate curve, and ultimately into higher rated corporate debt. This is not the trustees ‘abandoning caution’ as you term it, but because of an obligation, mandated by legislation, that certain liabilities need to be matched. (Something that Gilt investments are not able to do because their yields are so low, because of QE).

To which:

So, QE has created risk fir the next financial crisis

As I said it would in 2010

All you have done is confirm that

Well, that and a blasé indifference


That’s the QE that Ritchie says should be our major government funding mechanism with MMT, right?

Suppose so really

Corporations, from large to small, and right across the globe fail to tell us what they are doing and yet expect to enjoy the extraordinary privilege of limited liability, which is (and was proven to be in 2008) a massive risk for all of us. The least they can do is tell us what they’re doing in terms we can all understand. And since we do not know which ones are really creating the risk, I do mean all, without exception need to be reporting in full, and on public record.

I do mean that I want their accounts to be comprehensible. It is absurd that much corporate reporting is now no better than gobbledygook to most users, and that is especially true of the directors and owners of smaller companies who have absurd standards imposed upon them, and are expected to sign accounts that they have little way of knowing are right.

It is true that accounts are difficult to read. Ritchie certainly has problems at times….

No love

However, when I began to write extensively about female health and sexuality, I realised that by not using the word vulva, I was doing myself and my genitals a disservice.

Euphemisms for the naming of the parts is a not a disservice. To worry about such things is a narcissism showing that you’ve not got anything to do in your life.

Why not try reading something other than the Guardian?

The same goes for the democratic emergency. Almost everywhere trust in governments, parliaments and elections is collapsing. Shared civic life is replaced by closed social circles that receive entirely different, often false, information. The widespread sense that politics has become so corrupted that it can no longer respond to ordinary people’s needs has provoked a demagogic backlash that in some countries begins to slide into fascism. But despite years of revelations about hidden spending, fake news, front groups and micro-targeted ads on social media, almost nothing has changed.

There are other newspapers, some of which even print some of the truth.

It’s astonishing what he doesn’t understand

The claim that economists have lost control is based on the absence of a cost-benefit analysis in the Green New Deal and the fact that carbon pricing is rejected.

Of course, the Economist is wrong. There is a cost-benefit analysis in the Green New Deal: we cannot afford not to do it, whatever it costs.

And carbon pricing does not work. Marco Fante explains why here. The essence is simple though: renewables are cheap enough to ensure that carbon pricing is itself priced out of the market.

So, a carbon tax raises the price of emitting technologies, reducing the relative price of non-emitting.


Our task with climate change is to replace emitting with non-emitting technologies.


Renewables are now so cheap that we don’t need a carbon tax to change those relative prices.


So, we’re done then, right? Everyone will, from now on, install non-emittive technologies as they’re cheaper and we’ve solved climate change.

So why is Ritchie insisting we still need the Green Leap Forward?

This is a fair enough question actually

Was it planned? There’s something so gothic about being asked if your baby is wanted. Clearly the only response to this is, “No, so I’ll put it in the recycling bin along with the other unsolicited junk mail.”


As well as my two children, I’ve had the odd abortion and miscarriage, so this is not my first time on the pregnancy rodeo.

Given that one did, voluntarily, get put out for the recycling bin it seems like a fair enough question actually.


The alternative to this is that, as Toynbee suggests, we must all be re-educated in order to hate inequality. Then we would ask for, and would get, greater action to reduce it. Democracy would indeed produce what we want but only after we’ve elected another electorate to accord with a Guardian columnist’s ideal society. That seems rather against the spirit of democracy, even it was Brecht’s solution to the same problem.

Attitudes toward inequality do differ across societies, it’s no great surprise that their levels of inequality differ as well.

Interesting, isn’t it?

An unborn baby was removed from its mother’s womb for life-changing surgery before being put safely back inside, her mother has revealed.

Surgeons performed the pioneering operation at 24 weeks’ gestation after scans revealed the feotus had spina bifida.

The condition can leave sufferers with walking difficulties and even paralysis because the spinal cord does not fully develop during pregnancy.

Surgeons from University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital, along with Belgian colleagues, managed to repair the spinal cord and it is now hoped the baby will be born healthily in April.

At what point does the ability to correct defects means that abortion of one with defects isn’t morally justified?

Don’t forget, the 24 week limit doesn’t apply in the case of defects.

We are already saying “24 weeks is close enough to human that no abortion. Except in the case of defects.” So, at what point of repairability does the “except” no longer apply?

Quite so Professor, quite so

It could be that the UK is heading the world into a downturn: it’s happened before.

It could be Brexit, which is what most commentators outside the UK think.

What it is not is good for the conventional view of the economy.

The conventional view of the economy is that there is a business cycle, Gordon Brown did not abolish it. It’s largely diven by animal spirits, something that uncertainty undermines.

Thus Brexit, uncertainty, lack of animal spirits, well, why not a recession?

That’s actually the conventional view.

And who it is also not good for is those Brexiteers who said that those who suggested Brexit would cause a downturn were wrong. We’ve now got to the point where that prediction can be tested. And those who made it, me included, are being proved right.

No surprise there then. It was glaringly obvious.

Mrs – Ex might be able to correct him on this. A doctor can confidently predict that someone will die. It’s the timescale over which the prediction is made that matters. A century is piss easy and useless. The moment people vote to leave the EU is useful but wrong.

Logic Fail

This isn’t a movement of stupid people, or uneducated people, although some anti-vax posters on social media might persuade you otherwise. The demographics skew heavily in favour of reasonably affluent, reasonably well-educated middle-class white women.

The proof that educated middle class women are not stupid is what?

Didn’t we have a phrase for this?

Something strange is going on in India. Women are becoming more educated and confident. Pre-marital sex is on the rise – a hotel chain called StayUncle offers rooms for an hour or two to couples seeking somewhere to have sex. But at the same time, so are the number of women alleging rape on false promise of marriage.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, a total of 38,947 rape cases were reported in India in 2016. In 10,068 cases – about a quarter – the women claimed it was rape on false promise of marriage. In Andhra Pradesh state, 45% of all rape cases filed in the past two years fell into the false marriage category.

That’s “breach of promise” rather than rape, isn’t it?

Us worrying about it all being rather before my time so if anyone knows how it did used to work?

Even more troubling is that the notion of sex constituting rape if a man “reneges” on a promise of marriage is not in the penal code. It has evolved on a case-by-case basis as a result of judges choosing to interpret the notion of “consent” in this fashion. As a consequence, men can be charged with rape if they falsely obtain consent for sex by promising to marry a woman and then changing their mind.

How different from our own current system where the bird can simply allege rape if she just didn’t like the experience very much.

The rest of the piece is actually rather remarkable. It’s, for The Guardian – actually, for anywhere – an entirely reasonable discussion of the subject of rape. I don’t mean that everyone’s got to agree with what’s happening etc, but the reporting is pretty straight. There’s a problem here, this is what it is. Men aren’t the ogres, why the women are making false allegations is explained. And something must be done other than just believing the complainant.

Guess you can only talk reasonably about such subjects when they’re occurring in another country.