Yeah, I know, cheap headlines and all that but still

A woman who broke her wrist in a car crash involving the Duke of Edinburgh has said she feels “safer” now he has given up his driving licence.

Emma Fairweather, 46, who was a passenger in a Kia Carens that collided with the Duke’s Land Rover last month, said: “He’s making the most sensible decision he can. It’s a shame he didn’t make it a bit sooner but it’s the right thing to do.”

Sure, victims should have a voice and all that. But that’s enough, eh?

Well, not quite so much

France’s most illustrious Italian import was Napoleon Bonaparte, who came from a family of Tuscan nobles and was born in Corsica as it changed hands from Genoa to France.

The nobility came because Papa made good wasn’t it? Rather than it being a long familial line, it was an appointment to – umm, tax collecting? – which ennobled Papa and thus gained free fees at the military school for Nappy?

What fun

A powerful ‘mafia’-like syndicate operating within the trekking industry in the Himalayas is threatening to derail a government investigation into a lucrative scam involving the poisoning of tourists.

It was revealed last year that parts of the tourist industry have been conspiring to spike hikers in order to reap insurance payouts for costly and unnecessary airlifts from Everest and other high-altitude peaks.

An alliance of international insurers has threatened to pull cover for the country by Friday if the government of Nepal does not crack down on the elaborate scam.

Not in the sense of my approving of hikers being spiked but I am an aficionado of scams. Incredibly inventive, some of them.

Beats staging car crashes to claim on whiplash…..

A contract is a contract

A “piece of paper should not stand in the way” of women coming forward to make allegations of sexual harassment, one of Sir Philip Green’s accusers said on Saturday night.

This specific contract apparently stating – as an NDA – that you don’t make public accusations of sexual harassment. Seems fair enough that you keep it as you did sign it.

Worth noting that it doesn’t stop you making complaints to the police. Making a formal complaint, alleging criminal behaviour. For a contract which tries to do that doesn’t stand.

So, tell us all, why shouldn’t you stand by your word, your agreement?

Amazingly, this isn’t true

Common, in-clinic procedures performed by other specialists have far greater risks than abortions. The death rate associated with colonoscopies is 40 times greater than that associated with abortion, according to the American Public Health Association.

I’m really pretty sure that one person doesn’t die per colonoscopy.

Yes, yes, I know. Person and foetus etc. But still that’s an incorrect statement above.

No it isn’t

The answer is that our healthcare system is currently undergoing the greatest structural market reform in the history of its existence, and it’s happening along American healthcare lines.

There’s nothing American at all about how the NHS is being reorganised.

True, ACOs exist in the US. But they’re an attempt to move the US health care system in a more European – continental Europe, not the NHS – direction.

Quite apart from anything else they’re found in Medicare – government paid for medical services.

Interesting history here

Still, that same exhibition leaves the visitor in no doubt that what will befall these islands in less than 50 days is of epic significance, breaking a thread that has run through our long history. Even in the age of Mercia, the kingdom strained hard to connect with its neighbours in “Francia”, Rome and Ireland. The 10th-century court of Æthelstan was a cosmopolitan magnet to scholars from all over the continent.

Although not, quite famously, in political union with any of them.

But it’s not sane. Even the softest, mildest Brexit-with-a-deal represents an act of national folly that would have had Cnut shaking his head in disbelief.

He famously tried to join the Holy Roman Empire, didn’t he?

Well, yes

Woman dies after being stabbed to death by fellow motorist in Surrey

The “to death” part tells us she died, doesn’t it?

Headline writing used to be a skilled trade……perhaps an art, an arcane one and part of the subs’ toolbox. But we no longer have subs these days….

For Biggie

A slightly puzzling thought here:

Of course a privateer statelet like Singapore or Hong Kong can get rich that way. The upper bound seems to be approximately Switzerland, and plenty of smaller states ain’t no Switzerlands. Britain is well above that upper bound.

So, small states and small states only can prosper by having low barriers to trade with hte rest of the world. Large states cannot.

Hmm.

But large states have no internal barriers to lots and lots of trade among their large population. Something which makes those places richer. The internal economy is always much larger than any international trade.

So we seem to be saying that tariff free no barrier trade is just super except when it crosses national borders. Which doesn’t seem to work either as a piece of logic nor empirically.

How long does it take to cross the bloody Channel?

British exporters sending goods to far-flung destinations in the coming days risk being locked out of harbours around the world as a no-deal Brexit looms, business leaders have warned.

Independent trade experts and the UK’s biggest business groups said exporters could be dispatching goods from UK ports imminently that would not arrive until after the 29 March deadline. This raised the prospect of goods being stuck in ports or facing hefty additional costs in the event of a disorderly Brexit.

The Bangladeshis are going to lock out our cargo of sewing machines because we’re having a spat with Brussels?

It’s not sexism Dame Sally, it’s politeness

The country’s chief medical officer has hit out at “sexist” attacks after being accused of a “nannying” approach.

Professor Dame Sally Davies questioned the BBC’s Nick Robinson on whether a male counterpart would have been given the label.

She was speaking after the UK’s chief medical officers said families should ban phones at bedtime and keep them away from the dinner table.

In an awkward exchange on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Dame Sally was questioned about the nannying claims by Mr Robinson.

He asked her: “You always have this question, so I know you are familiar with it – this balance you have to get between nannying on the one hand, or being accused of it at least, and on the other hand banality, stating things that are obvious.”

Dame Sally shot back: “I thought you were going to be sexist.”

Robinson asked, “What bit of that is sexist?” and Dame Sally replied: “I wonder whether you would say to a male chief medical officer…”

A man who came out with this tosh would be told to fuck off you cunt.

So it’s not sexism it’s just politeness. Or even, it is sexism and aren’t you glad we are being so?

To be slightly more serious there’s an interesting point here. Yes, indeed, women are equal and can and should be doing any and every job and all that. And yet there’s something that all too many still don’t quite get. Quite how brutal men are to each other. And we’ve still got, very strongly, the social insistence that we don’t treat women in the workforce in the manner we entirely happily would men.

That is, we’re nowhere near equal treatment and women would, in general, be entirely horrified to find out what that would be if we were.

I’ve forgotten why

A former New York Times executive editor has been accused of plagiarism in a new book looking at how journalism has evolved over the last decade.

Jill Abramson, whose book Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts was published this week, has denied claims of plagiarism but promised to “review the passages in question”.

The claims were made by Vice journalist Michael Moynihan, who accused Abramson of lifting passages from publications such as The New Yorker, Time Out and the Columbia Journalism Review.

The forgotten being why Abramson left – or had to leave? – the NYT. And I’m not interested enough to go look it up. Her Guardian pieces don’t fill with enough glee to bother. They’re not loopy enough to mock, wrong enough to fact check. Just very boring mainstream – mainstream for a NYC liberal that is, considerably loopy by real world standards but still not sui generis. I’ve never seen any piece where she’s said anything you could’t guess at before reading once you knew the underlying subject.

Now we know why of course, we’d read it before elsewhere.

Timmy elsewhere

Brexit is about to give us a problem with this, though. Karl Marx was right: wages won’t rise when there’s spare labour available, his “reserve army” of the unemployed. The capitalist doesn’t have to increase pay to gain more workers if there’s a squad of the starving eager to labour for a crust. But if there are no unemployed, labour must be tempted away from other employers, and one’s own workers have to be pampered so they do not leave. When capitalists compete for the labour they profit from, wages rise.

Britain’s reserve army of workers now resides in Wroclaw, Vilnius, Brno, the cities of eastern Europe. The Polish plumbers of lore did flood in and when the work dried up they ebbed away again. The net effect of Brexit will be that British wages rise as the labour force shrinks and employers have to compete for the sweat of hand and brow.

Back in The Times.

On the subject of stagnant wages, the rate for these sorts of things hasn’t changed in 15 years. No wonder we hear so much about earnings – it’s journalists who are affected.

Fair comment really

Moyo’s attorney, Kagiso Jani is demanding his client be discharged and acquitted.

Jani was left a frustrated man after the case, which was set for trial for Monday and Tuesday, had to be postponed as the State did not bring any witnesses and thus were not ready to continue.

“The State think the court will rubber stamp whatever it says. And it does not care about the welfare of the accused person. He is not able to see his wife and this attitude of the State will affect his marriage because as a married man he must have sex with his wife!” fired Jani.

Anyone asked the wife?

Great political moments

Sen. Cory Booker made himself look the fool yet again this week while questioning judicial nominee Neomi Rao.

At Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, the Jersey Democrat senator went after Rao with the clear suspicion that she’s some kind of religious bigot, asking first: “Have you ever had an LGBTQ law clerk?”

Her reply exposed Booker’s total lack of preparation: “I have not been a judge, so I don’t have any law clerks.”

Why not?

Speaking separately Mr Fox admitted a zero tariff approach was among a range of options being considered.

But he insisted that was not “what I would propose and I have not actually heard anyone else in government propose it”.

Is there no one in government who understands the basic economics of trade? That unilateral free trade is the only logical stance?

But, but, services must be universal!

Middle class parents should lose their free nursery hours because the Government’s flagship policy is “entrenching inequality”, a select committee has said.

Under the policy, working parents who earn up to £100,000 between them are entitled to 30 hours of free childcare for three to four-year-olds, which is double the 15 hours they were previously entitled to.

The multi-billion pound taxpayer funded scheme, which came into force in September 2017, was aimed at encouraging parents to get back into work rather than getting put off by prohibitive childcare costs.

But MPs on the education select committee found that the policy has given a boost to affluent families while leading to “perverse” consequences…

We must all use the NHS because a service only for the poor will be bad. We must abolish private schools because only when the middle classes must use public education will their pressure raise standards.

Double standards, who’d have any without them?