Ecks? Ecks?

Philip Hammond is preparing to lead a battle within the government to soften Brexit by keeping Britain inside the EU customs union, The Times has learnt.

The chancellor believes that ministers must rethink their decision to pursue an entirely independent trade policy, according to several sources.

Start your purge gentlemen.

Isn’t this excellent then George?

The election was a crushing defeat – but not for either of the major parties. The faction that now retreats in utter disarray wasn’t technically standing, though in the past it has arguably wielded more power than the formal contestants. I’m talking about the media.

The rightwing press threw everything it had at Jeremy Corbyn, and failed to knock him over. In doing so, it broke its own power.

So, no power left it doesn’t matter who owns it does it? Approve the Murdoch bid for Sky immediately.

Well, there’s your problem

Initially planned by Richard Rogers, CB1 was to be a world-class arrival point, with park, piazza, heritage centre and affordable homes. Instead, it’s ‘a future slum’ plagued by antisocial behaviour and sex-trafficking

So what did go wrong?

It is hard to believe how this handsome city’s flagship scheme – masterminded by one of the country’s most feted architects and just a stone’s throw from the Stirling prize-winning Accordia housing development, could have gone quite so wrong. The answers can be found in its chequered history. The project began life in 2004, when local housebuilder Ashwell Property Group appointed the Richard Rogers Partnership to develop an outline plan for a new “business and cultural centre” on a 10-hectare site around the station.

Partly it’s using Richard Rogers and partly it’s trying to plan so much of a city.

Cambridge, I’m told, has a library or two and I would say it’s odds on that at least one of them has some Jane Jacobs in it.

Fatty lardbucket writes book about being fatty lardbucket

Then complains when people mention her being a fatty lardbucket:

During the interview Gay spoke about how the world was not built to accommodate people like her.

“It’s very stressful because you just never know if there a space that is going to accommodate me. Are there going to be sturdy chairs? Are the chairs going to have arms? How wide are the arms? How low is the chair? It’s just a constant series of questions that you are asking yourself every single day before you go into any space, and it’s exhausting because people don’t think, they just assume that everyone fits in the world like they do.”

In tweets from May, Gay complained of interviewers who told her they did “special things” to accommodate her weight.

“Am I supposed to be grateful you provided a sturdy chair?” she asked. “Why would you tell me this?”

Gay being the lardbucket being interviewed over her book about being a lardbucket. So, it’s part and parcel of the shtick then, right? So, this is what she is complaining about:

In a now-deleted article which was published on Monday, a cached version of which is still available, Freedman said the requests had been sent to her by Gay’s publisher, detailed in “more than a dozen exchanges”.

“Her size is imposing and also a logistical nightmare for her,” she wrote. “The requirements back and forth with her publishers who had brought her out to Australia to promote her books were extremely detailed.

She continued: “How many steps were there from the [kerb] to the door of the building? Were there any stairs? How many? How big was the lift and was there a goods lift? How many steps from the lift to the podcast studio? There was also a lot of talk about chairs – making sure we had one sturdy enough to both hold her weight and make sure she was comfortable.”

Speaking on her podcast, she said the “breach of confidence” was justified.

“I would normally never breach the confidence of what goes on behind the scenes of an interview but in this case … it’s a fundamental part of the story.

“You see, Roxane Gay is … I’m searching for the right word to use here. I don’t want to say fat so I’m going to use the official medical term: super morbidly obese.”

I dunno, maybe there weren’t enough donuts so her sugar level was low?

They’re not really getting this, are they?

Macron backed efforts to allow the security services better access to encrypted communication, echoing the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge to examine how to tackle encrypted communications between extremists. The plans have already raised concerns among privacy campaigners about state access to private citizens’ communications and how it might act as a potential gateway for hackers.

Macron said both countries “were committed to improve the means of access to encrypted content in conditions that preserve the confidentiality of messages”.

Encryption is encryption. End to end encryption is just that. The companies, Google, Facebook, don’t have keys or backdoors.

It’s like trying to stop people using one pad techniques by telling the paper makers to do something.

Owen’s positioning himself

What now for Labour as the Tories flap around panicking in their hubris-inspired wreckage? There is no shortage of briefing in the press about so-called “moderates” rejoining the shadow cabinet in the interests of party unity. This “moderate” term – which implicitly portrays the left as dangerous extremists – should be abandoned for ever. Nearly 13 million British people voted for a Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn, after all, and it’s not exactly feasible to dismiss them all as extremists. Should Labour’s right flank be brought back into the shadow cabinet? As a general rule, surely not: and not for reasons of retribution on the part of Corbyn’s team, but sound politics.

This isn’t informative and it’s not even very interesting. But what it is is Owen showing the Corbynistas, Milne especially, that he should be back inside the tent pissing out. It’s a job application masquerading as a newspaper column.

Hmm, well yes Diane

And in her first interview since stepping aside because of illness at the end of the campaign, the Labour frontbencher also revealed for the first time that she had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes two years ago, and said that was why she had taken a break.

Flaunting a 2 year old diagnosis of Type 2 is OK but it’s pretty weak against a PM with Type 1, no?

Thanks Macco, thanks

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has claimed the door to the EU will remain open to Britain during Brexit negotiations that get underway next week.

In remarks that will be taken as an encouraging sign by opponents of a hard Brexit that there may be room for compromise, the newly elected French leader said the decision to leave the EU could still be reversed if the UK wished to do so.

Most kind of you.

That’s the EU all over, isn’t it? Referenda aren’t done until the vote goes the right way…..

News Just In!

Alia makes the legal minimum wage for her job in her province: 2.3 million rupiah, or about $173 a month – but that legal minimum is among the lowest in Indonesia as a whole, and as much as 40% lower than in Chinese factories, another labour source for the Ivanka Trump brand.

Poor people in poor countries make shit wages.

Film At 11!

They do rather bury Paul Krugman’s point:

And Yuma, a young unmarried woman, said, “I’m glad that I work at Buma now, because my parents are farmers and it’s a tiring job. Here, at least there is air conditioning.”

Yep, sweatshop[s are shitty but they’re still better than a life of staring at the south end of a north moving water buffalo.

Those Satanic Mills weren’t too great either but they were better than what people left to enter them.

We’ve had people muttering about this around here

Several people have been injured, including a police officer, in a shooting at a Munich metro station.

Munich police said in a tweet that the police officer’s injuries were serious. The suspect was also injured and is in custody.

The shooting occurred during a morning police check at the Unterfoehring metro station, the Munich police spokesman Michael Riehlein said.

He had no further details, but Munich’s Merkur newspaper reported that witnesses said the suspect took a police officer’s pistol and shot her, and also injured others at the scene.

How tough is it to nick the gun off some slip of a girl?

Most sexist, of course, patriarchal even, but, well, how?


A man filmed having sex with a woman on a Ryanair flight was reportedly on his stag do while his pregnant fiancee was at home.

So much modernity in one sentence. Actually quite a bit of archaism as well. There was only a short period of history when, for the normal folk, pregnancy didn’t come before the marriage. Marriage being what happened when the betrothal had shown that pregnancy did indeed happen in this couple. Obviously, not always and everywhere and so on but entirely usually.

So, we can call that bit modern or archaic as we wish. So too in fact the stag do part. shagging on such is hardly unknown.

Must have been a young couple though. There’s not much room on Ryanair, is there, gotta be supple to manage it.

Dear God this is appalling economic analysis

And from a Nobel Laureate no less:

When Obamacare was enacted, Republicans had some claims, almost a theory, about why it was a terrible idea. It would, they claimed, fail to improve coverage. It would be a massive “job-killer”. It would cost far more than predicted, and blow up the budget deficit.

In reality, the percentage of Americans under 65 without insurance fell from 18 percent in 2010, the year Obamacare was enacted, to 10 percent in 2016 (and less than 8 percent in Medicaid expansion states). Unemployment was 9.9 percent when the ACA was passed, 6.6 when it went into full effect, 4.8 by January 2017. Costs have come in well below expectations.

The comparison is not what happened coincident with Obamacare, it’s what actually was the effect of Obamacare. That is, what would have happened to unemployment with and without it, not observing that the economy was recovering from the worst recession of modern times coincident with the introduction of Obamacare.

We want to know the effect of the change in health care insurance, not the effects of QE, ultra-low interest rates, the business cycle and all the rest. The analysis being offered here is about as useful a noting that Greggs now has cheap breakfasts and look, renewables output is rising!


He has, has he Paul?

Once you accept that, you begin to understand the scale of Corbyn’s achievement. Even if he hasn’t won, he has publicly destroyed the logic of neoliberalism – and forced the ideology of xenophobic nationalist economics into retreat.

Everyone else thinks youngsters were voting for free stuff.


The reality of working in a factory making clothes for Ivanka Trump’s label has been laid bare, with employees speaking of being paid so little they cannot live with their children, anti-union intimidation and women being offered a bonus if they don’t take time off while menstruating.

Decades and decades of the insistence that menstruation doesn’t mean that women can’t do the work and now they’re claiming this is an imposition?

Seems fair really

Nurses have been told to shape up so they are fit enough to do their job and to set an example to patients, in new standards from their regulator.

Amid spiralling obesity levels, the watchdog’s new rules for the first time say that Britain’s 650,000 nurses and midwives have a “professional responsibility for adopting a healthy lifestyle”.

More than half of NHS staff are obese or overweight, contributing to a £5bn annual bill for the health service on conditions caused by obesity.

Nurses will be told they must “maintain a level of personal fitness and wellbeing required to meet people’s needs for mental and physical care,” amid concern that too many are too unfit to carry out physical tasks.

Physician heal thyself and all that.

Wonder what the punishment for breaching professional standards will be though…..

Really, Snippa Spud hasn’t got it

Those reports assume that the state is limited by its capacity to tax and borrow
​This completely ignores the fact that the state need do neither. It need not tax to spend. And it need not borrow. It can instead create all the money it needs at the stroke of a computer keyboard. The government asks the Bank of England, which it owns, for a loan and technically it can provide it in unlimited amount. We know this is true. £435 billion of quantitative easing proves it.
We do tax though. That is to prevent new money causing inflation.
And we do issue debt. Partly that’s because EU law, which is a slave to defunct dogma, demands it. Partly it’s because a century ago when we were on the gold standard we had to borrow and no one in the Treasury has noticed the world has changed as yet. And partly it’s because the banking, pension and savings systems needs to be underpinned by a safe place to save – which is government debt. But it’s just a convention and remember that right now the real rate of return on government debt is negative.
So in fact money is no obstacle to social care. We can have as much money as we want and need. And we only need to tax enough to stop inflation. And both are subject to the real constraint, which is having enough available people. If we have them we can afford to look after the elderly. If we haven’t we can’t. But the IFS ignore this economic reality, and even real need, and show their neoclassical economic roots by thinking money is the issue. They also show their neoliberal roots by implying that we can only look after the elderly if private wealth creates the means to pay through tax, which implies they think there is no value in itself in looking after the elderly or those needing social care.
But this is nonsense: the act of creating the money to create the employment to provide the care will also create the means to pay the tax to balance the equation, and if interest gets to be too much, don’t worry: QE wipes out debt and interest. If you doubt me, rest assured that not a penny of interest is now paid on the £435 billion of its own debt the government repurchased.
So, we can afford social care.
And we can afford to pay people to provide it.
All we can’t afford are bankrupt economists who produce nonsense because they don’t understand money or tax, even if the do call themselves the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

We’re not allowed to monetise spending without a Hard Brexit.

Nope, Spudda still hasn’t got it

Re-regulating and restricting the international finance sector to transform national economies and the global economy. Finance will have to be returned to its role as servant, not master, of the global economy, to dealing prudently with people’s savings and providing regular capital for productive and sustainable investment. Regulation of finance, and the restoration of policy autonomy to democratic government, implies the re-introduction of capital controls. These are vital if central banks and governments are to fix and determine one of the most important levers of the economy – interest rates

You can’t do that without Hard Brexit now, can you?

This would be a bit of a bargain

The Mountain Pass rare earths mine, located about 50 miles south of Las Vegas, was owned by Molycorp, a US natural resources group that filed for bankruptcy in 2015.

The mine is now due to be sold at auction on Wednesday, and Mr Clarke’s ERP Strategic Minerals has teamed up with Swiss private equity firm Pala Investments and Australian rare earths exploration group Peak Resources to offer $1.2m.

I would expect that $1.2 million to be a misprint though.

There is scandium in that thar tailings pile…..part of their frantic thrashing around before bankruptcy was to discuss it with me.

They are just sodding idiots, aren’t they?

Theresa May is to be told the EU will take a year to draft a new mandate for its chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, effectively killing the Brexit negotiations, if she insists on discussing a future trade relationship at the same time as the UK’s divorce bill.

In a sign of growing impatience with the shambolic state of the British side of the talks, senior EU sources said that if London insisted on talking about a free trade deal before the issues of its divorce bill, citizens rights and the border in Ireland were sufficiently resolved, it would be met with a blunt response.

“If they don’t accept the phased negotiations then we will take a year to draw up a new set of negotiating guidelines for Barnier,” one senior EU diplomat said, adding that the EU could not understand Britain’s continued claim that it would be able to discuss trade and the divorce terms in parallel.

Look! Look! Look what you Brits are missing! You’re leaving a system so bureaucratic that it takes a year to decide what a Frenchman may talk about!

I recognise this policy

When I first joined Ukip, I was attracted to the anti-establishment nature of the party. I don’t fit well with Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat bland establishment mediocrity – as I was reminded at a polling station with only those options on the ballot paper on Thursday. The Ukip of old loved to breathe new life into policy – whether it was no tax on minimum wage (raising the tax threshold to help the poorest earners, later part-copied by the Conservatives)