Err, why?

Jolyon Maugham is at it again, this time he wants to stop Britain leaving with a deal. He has just tweeted “I intend to lodge an immediate petition for an injunction in the Court of Session preventing the Government from placing the Withdrawal Agreement before Parliament for approval. We expect that petition to be lodged tomorrow and to be heard on Friday.”

Seems entirely fair

Barrie Masters was born in 1956 in Rochford, Essex, one of four children to Margaret, a hospital orderly, and Barry, a mechanic. He was educated at King Edmund secondary school and misspent his youth in boxing gyms and youth clubs around Southend and Canvey Island. “It was as boring as Belgium. It was dreadful. That’s why we started a band,” he later said.

Presumably that explains Dr. Feelgood as well.

The tedium of what came to be known as “the Essex badlands” persuaded several others to do the same and the area produced a statistically improbable number of successful 1970s groups, including Dr Feelgood and the Kursaal Flyers.

Err, yes, it does.

The line-up also briefly included the harmonica player Lew Lewis, who received a seven-year sentence for armed robbery after holding up a post office with a fake pistol and attempting to make his escape on a bicycle.


Millions more people in Britain are without a job than shown by official unemployment figures, according to a study that suggests the jobless rate should be almost three times higher.

According to research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Centre for Cities thinktank, large levels of “hidden” unemployment in towns and cities across Britain are excluded from the official government statistics.

The study found that more than 3 million people are missing from the headline unemployment rate because they report themselves as economically inactive to government labour force surveys, saying that they believe no jobs are available.


Unemployment is not having a job and desiring one sufficiently to go look for one.

Not economically active is not desiring a job sufficiently to go look for one.

We collect figures on this:


Claiming that people without a job are unemployed is wrong. Because our definition insists that they must desire one sufficiently to be looking for one.

Worth noting two other things here. Even if we accept that definition being used, it’s still true that the level of such unemployment is the lowest it’s ever been. Because that employment to population ratio is higher than since we started measuring it.

That is, we’re getting the labour market right even by this critique.

Oh, and from the report:

While the UK has one of the lowest levels of economic inactivity across the OECD

We’re getting the labour market right even by the standards of this report……

These people are cretins

Environmental groups have warned the banks linked to Saudi Aramco’s planned market float that they risk financing the destruction of the planet by supporting the public listing of the world’s biggest oil producer.

The eight green groups, including Oil Change International and Friends of the Earth, warned that the world’s largest IPO would be “the biggest single infusion of capital into the fossil fuel industry” since global governments signed the Paris climate accord in 2015.

There is to be no infusion into the fossil fuel business. The Saudi state is to sell some portion of the company it owns, Aramco. Not, Aramco is to sell new shares in Aramaco.

This puts no more investment into fossil fuels than Legal and General divesting itself of BP shares by selling them does.

Actually, if the Saudis sold all of Aramco that would be them divesting from fossil fuels and you’d have to praise them then, wouldn’t you?

Depends upon what you think religion is really

My husband and I rock up every Sunday to church. Sure, we are barred from preaching, we are excluded from all meaningful leadership positions, and I have lost count of the number of times we have been made to feel deeply ashamed of our very presence. But this week we, along with our strongest allies, have finally been asked to leave, and by none other than our own archbishop, Glenn Davies. Why? Because we are those who have found deep beauty in the blessing of gay and lesbian marriages and we long for others to share in this joy.

From his address, it’s hard to discern whether he is ousting individuals or those dioceses that have made moves to bless same-sex marriage, but ultimately there is no difference – if an entire region is blacklisted for pursuing something we hold dear, what message does that send me? Needless to say, his words have a deep impact, and I am, all things considered, exhausted.

If you think religion is something to make you feel good, perhaps to foster that community feeling, then sure you can be pissed that there’s no support for gay marriage. The answer is also obvious, go found your own community that fosters that inclusive feeling you desire.

If you think that religion is in fact the revealed word of God then you’re pretty much stuck. Because if God says “Nope” then you’re pretty stuck, aren’t you?

Which gives us the third possibility, you agree that it’s The Word but that it is being misinterpreted by those currently doing the preaching.

OK, that means off you go and preach the correct Word.

Err, yes, without the cathedrals and churches and all built by those who believe as you don’t. But then to be as the lilies of the field is to be rather religious, isn’t it?

Owen Jones’ weird definition of investment

First, why politics is a lousy way of running things:

Labour MPs who vote for a Johnson Brexit deal should lose the whip
Owen Jones

Whether or not to Brexit is now a party political issue. To be determined by which political party wins on it. Not by the merits – or demerits – of the policy itself.

Which is why politics is a crappy way to run things. Decisions will be made by which political party benefits rather than the actual merits of the underlying proposition.

But then there’s this:

(Even New Labour, which struck an accommodation with Thatcherism, invested in public services, the minimum wage and tax credits to improve the lot of millions of working-class people.)

Tax credits are not an investment, they’re current spending. There is also no return from them.

And the minimum wage? Forcing other people to spend more of their money as you desire isn’t investment, is it? Ad theft normally isn’t…..

Ah, that explains it then

Walsh’s report strongly suggested a theory: that radical urban planning decisions from the 1950s onwards had made not just the physical but the mental health of Glasgow’s population more vulnerable to the consequences of deindustrialisation and poverty.

After you account for the poverty, deep fried mars bars and the rest it’s the socialist planners that are killing the people. They built machines for dying in.

A question we can answer

Why is it so hard for economists to get their forecasts right?

Because economies are complicated things. The interactions of 7 billion people simply are tough to predict.

And, obviously, if you can’t predict an economy then it’s not possible to plan one either…..

Seriously stupid

The essence of sustainable cost accounting is simple. It would require that every large business prepare a plan to show how it would manage the consequences of climate change. That plan would have to state how it might become net carbon-neutral by a specified date, both within its own business and within its supply chain.

We don’t actually want each part of the system to become carbon neutral.

The desire is that the system as a whole becomes carbon neutral.

Think slightly differently about the wider sustainability idea. Say, the use of metals – as the Club of Rome did.

So, do we want washing machine makers to be recycling steel so that washing machine manufacturing is using a closed loop?

Nope, we don’t. We’re overjoyed that there is a system to recycle the steel in washing machines of course. Meaning that the wider world of steel use is at least getting closer to being a closed loop system.

But we’d be mad to insist that each and every player in the system had to recycle their own steel. For the division and specialisation of labour is a real thing.

So too with this narrower idea of carbon neutrality. Division and specialisation. An airline doesn’t need to be growing algal jet fuel, or planting trees, or iron fertilising the ocean. Nor retrofitting gas boilers to equal the plane’s emissions.

We want reductions and reversals of emissions to be made where they’re easiest, by those who are best equipped to do them.

Standard, basic, economics. In fact, that damn pin factory again. The divisions and specialisation of labour means we don’t want to try to force every business and or organisation to be carbon neutral. Even as we desire the system as a whole to be so, we still don’t want that from each component.

And as ever if you can’t even understand Adam Smith then you’re not going to have much useful to say about economics.

Erm, actually, didn’t we know this already?

Boosting testosterone levels significantly improves female athletic performance, according to one of the first randomised controlled trials.

The findings come as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced on Monday it would impose an upper limit for testosterone levels on trans female athletes competing in middle-distance events.

Testosterone was assumed to be performance-enhancing and a factor in explaining differences in strength and endurance between men and women. However, there was a surprising lack of evidence on the impact of testosterone in women and the question had become mired in controversy following a series of rulings in professional sport.

The latest research confirmed that testosterone significantly increases endurance and lean muscle mass among young women, even when given for a relatively short period.

I’m sure we did you know. Either that or the East Germans were not winning all those gold medals.

Isn’t this cruel

After #MeToo, I wondered if my real problem with young feminists was how little they seemed to need us older ones. As far as I could see, they didn’t even want to know us

And we all thought it was the patriarchy that meant past-fertile women became invisible. Yet no, it’s those who still retain that ability who blank those who don’t.

Tsk, really, tsk.

What’s the cheapest and fastest way to process milk?

Quick, quick. A high risk but lovely opportunity exists.

What’s the fastest to build, and cheapest, method of processing raw milk? Make butter? Powdered milk? Use it to raise veal?

Northern Ireland risks being swamped by thousands of litres of raw milk after a no-deal Brexit, farmers have claimed.

Livestock owners have warned they would be obliged to keep milking their cows without any means of processing or legally disposing of the product – meaning huge amounts could ultimately go to waste.

Mike Johnston, the head of Dairy Council Northern Ireland, said that businesses had received no guidance from the Government on how they would break out of the looming “vicious circle”.

You’ve got 15 days to be up and running in business……

Wow! Sex hormone has sex effect!

As we know humans are sexually dimorphic. Sure, the modern world wants more than just that di- but still. There’s a different set of hormones which do different things to the basic body plan. This ends up with two variations on that plan (again, ignore the modern world’s insistence upon more diversity for a moment).

More subcutaneous fat on the one version, less on the other. Muscle mass differs. Pelvic structures, thus mode of walking differ.

OK. We even know that it is the hormones. For we have a condition, total androgen whateverthehellitis where the genetic structure is XY but the output in terms of body version – muscle weight, subcutaneous fat etc – is XX. And the tawhatever is, we know, not being influenced by those hormones.

Sex specific hormones thus matter:

Women with higher testosterone levels could run the 2,000 metres 10 seconds quicker than their rivals, a new study has found.

On Monday, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the governing body for athletics, ruled that trans female athletes must lower their levels of testosterone if they want to compete in women’s events.

The new regulation already applies to female athletes with unusually high levels of testosterone, such as the South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya.

But there has been little science to show if the rulings are fair, or if the hormone is having a major impact on performance.

In new experiments, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, raised the testosterone levels of 24 women over 10 weeks using a hormonal cream, and tested their athletic ability against a control group of the same number who were given a placebo.

The end result here is that if we are to have this separate category called “women’s sport” then we need to have a definition of who is a woman. One that’s going to have to deal with this hormone issue.

We can, of course, abandon the idea of segregating based upon the difference. But those are our only two choices. Have women’s sport with some definition of who may compete based upon a biological definition of female, not a social one, or don’t have the separate classification at all.

All of which sounds most difficult of course. Except the answer is actually very easy indeed. Don’t have any societal rules on the point at all. Allow each and every sport, or fraction of it, to do as they wish. Yes, some will complain that they’re not allowed onto the sex segregated baseball team because that’s how that version of baseball has decided to do it. Others will find that this version over here of women’s rugby welcomes all in any state.

And then we just let people get on with it as they wish. You know, be liberal about it?

Of course govt healthcare means higher taxes

How can it not?

Democrat candidates rounded on Elizabeth Warren, the new putative front-runner in the race for the party’s nomination, accusing her of being “dishonest” for not admitting her healthcare plan would raise taxes on the middle class.

And no, you can’t tax the rich enough to pay for it. There aren’t enough rich and they don’t have enough money. Private health care is, after all, some 8 or 9% of US GDP. Not even in your wildest dreams can you tax the 1% enough to cover that.

Even if you believe the “the 1% have 20%” you can’#t. Because that 20% is pre the taxes they already pay.


EU competition regulators on Monday approved a 380-million-euro German bridging loan to Thomas Cook’s German airline Condor, saying the measure would ensure the continuation of air transport services.

Condor ran into a liquidity problem after its parent company and the world’s oldest travel firm Thomas Cook collapsed last month.

In other words, the UK government need not have let Thomas Cook fail. It could have guaranteed a loan that meant it did not have to fall to ABTA, which is guaranteed by the UK government, to spend more than the value of the required loan guarantee to repatriate vast numbers of people who could have instead continued their holidays uninterrupted whilst an orderly reorganisation of Thomas Cook could have been arranged. And EU law permitted that.

It’s often said that the EU obstructs commercial matters to promote competition: the reality is it very clearly takes reality into account. This is a case in point. It’s the UK government and free-market ideologues who promote the idea that the EU is a problem. Very often it is not. And the left should take note.


That a parent company goes bust does not mean that the subsidiary is also bust. That T Cook went bust does not mean that all subsidiaries of T Cook are bust.

Further, that Condor is perhaps viable but that T Cook airline is not are different issues. Whether or not T Cook could have been bailed out by the UK government depends upon whether T Cook was perhaps viable. With that £3 billion hole perhaps not.

Whether or not T Cook airline could have been subsidised depends upon whether T Cook airline was perhaps viable or not.

That a possibly viable subsidiary got support doesn’t mean that a possibly not viable one would be legally able to have the same.

But then, you know, Snippa, accounting, the law……

We can explain this

I could hardly disagree, could I? It’s been more than a decade coming, and about 440 blogs worth of effort here to help keep it going, but the time for the Green New Deal has arrived. And it’s now.

But not a word of it was heard in the Queen’s Speech, which hardly mentioned climate-related issues at all. Which is how out of touch this government is.

The current government disagrees with you Ritchie. That’s why your foolishness is not in the Queen’s Speech.