Terrors, terrors

Editing the human genome brings us one step closer to consumer eugenics
Dr David King
Hijacked by the free market, human gene editing will lead to greater social inequality by heading where the money is: designer babies

Whereas how it should be done is GoodThinkers determining who else may live or die.

If you peel away the hype, the truth is that we already have robust ways of avoiding the birth of children with such conditions, where that is appropriate, through genetic testing of embryos.

Yep, he really does say it. It’s morally fine to kill off those disapproved of but not to modify those who don’t exist as yet.


Gay bars in London are closing down at such an “alarming” rate that the redevelopment of the Joiners Arms, an east London pub that counted Alexander McQueen, Rufus Wainwright and Wolfgang Tillmans among its regulars, will only get the go-ahead if it includes an LGBT club venue – and the mayor’s office will send an inspector to make sure it is gay enough.

Tower Hamlets council has told the developers of the Joiners site that their plans for offices and nine luxury flats will get planning permission onlyif it includes a pub that will “remain a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-focused venue for a minimum of 12 years”. It is believed to be the first time that the sexual orientation of a venue’s customers has been included as a condition of planning approval.

How in buggery does that work?

It is the clientele that makes a place a gay venue or not. Do he developers have to start bussing people in to meet the quota?

Meurig can bugger off quite frankly

The NFU has called on the government to grasp Brexit as an opportunity to reverse a steady decline in self-sufficiency over the past 30 years.

The farming union said that with the right support it would be easy to replace the salad mountain imported from east Africa, pork from countries such as Denmark and New Zealand, and beef and dairy from other EU countries such as Ireland.

“We’re not advocating a fully self-sufficient nation – we recognise the need for importing food which can only be produced in different climates. But what we should be doing is maximising on the food production we are good at,” said Raymond.

At which point they say this:

The NFU said farming was such an important contributor to the economy – generating 3.9m jobs and revenues of £109bn a year – that the government needed to recognise the sector’s needs.

Lies, flat out lies.

That’s the whole food and booze sector. Almost all of which would exist with or without farming anything at all in Britain. Actual British farm production is more like £9 billion, tops. And then there’s this:

The NFU said it wanted a clear transition period after Brexit, during which the UK will remain in the customs union, that the UK remained within the external tariff area, which would guard against the country being flooded by cheap imports of questionable quality.

So we’re going to continue to import lots of our food but it must remain expensive eh Meurig?

Sorry, bugger off.

Make me a professor of practice in medicine please

For I have a new theory, one uncoloured by any knowledge, theory or even sense, but it is mine and candidly there must be a technical college out there who would pay me as a senior lecturer to tell everyone that I’m a professor.

People who drink alcohol every day are less likely to get dementia, according to a new study

That theory being that there’s a certain amount of befuddlement in every life. Those who don’t get their ration after 8 pm every night from the sauce get it as a block in their golden years.

A professorship please. Don’t worry, I’ll not do something so gauche as teach anyone. I shall just apply for more grants.

Second order does so confuse

“The economic logic for inheritance tax business property relief being granted on investment in Aim quoted shares is baffling,” says Richard Murphy, professor of practice in International Political Economy at Islington Technical College.

“Rarely are these companies real start-ups, and their flotation is more frequently linked to releasing funds for founder shareholders than it is to raising new funds,” he adds. “The merits of attracting funds into this market seem few and far between for a government critically short of tax revenue. If there was an obvious candidate for a wholly unjustified tax relief to be removed then this one should win the prize.”

How do you raise funds for a new business? But showing that there’s a likely exit route to the investors.

Thus, an exit route for investors in a successfully achieved start up aids in raising money for start ups.

If only Polly could understand

What happens at the top end of the market knocks on all down the chain – and what’s happening at the bottom is a disaster.

Quite so Polls, quite so.

Therefore if the Candys build more high end housing then that will knock on down the chain, won’t it?

That is, we don’t need to build more affordable housing. We just need to build more housing.

Chakrabortty doesn’t understand PFI, does he?

Almost two decades later, we can see the results. PFIs have produced more fleecing than Millets. A PFI primary school in Middlesbrough, only opened in 2006, was demolished in 2015 because its foundations had been built on “defective fill material” – literally, dodgy ground. Children and staff moved to another site – nevertheless, payments on the contract had to be made. In Liverpool, a PFI school has been shut since 2014 – because there aren’t enough pupils to keep it open – yet taxpayers still pay £12,000 a day under the contract. These aren’t one-offs: they are inherent in the structure of PFIs, which dump all the risks on the public and hand the private sector all the rewards.

So, let us consider other contractual arrangements and payment methods.

Say, the government borrowed the money and went out and built these schools. The government would still be paying the interest on those loans, wouldn’t it?

Perhaps the government taxed the rich bastards and paid for the schools that way? The money would still have been spent, and gone, on a school that doesn’t have enough pupils.

That is, changing the method of payment doesn’t change the fact that the money was wasted, does it? And the problem is that the money, those real resources, were wasted by incompetent state planning, however it was paid for.

Black footie bags here we come

Venezuela’s president has accused the company that provides the technological platform for the country’s voting system of bowing to US pressure after it said the official turnout figure in Sunday’s vote had been manipulated by at least a million votes.

Nicolás Maduro stood by the official count of more than 8m votes and said an additional 2 million people would have voted if they had not been blocked by opposition protesters. “That stupid guy, the president of Smartmatic, pressured to the neck by the gringos and the Brits, said there were 7.5 million [voters],” Maduro said in televised remarks. “I think there were 10 million Venezuelans who went out.”

Antonio Mugica, the chief executive of London-based Smartmatic, had said on Wednesday that results recorded by the company’s systems show “without any doubt” that the official turnout figure was tampered with.

Maduro provided no evidence to support his claim, but his remarks were received with resounding applause from a meeting of about 500 people elected to the assembly on Sunday.

He never quite does get the effects of his musings, does he

Spudda tells Scotland how to do it. Then explains some more:

Let me unpack that a bit. The two things that a government may want to hold fixed with regard to its currency are its value, reflected in the exchange rate, and it is interest rate. The third dependent variable is the amount of debt in circulation, which used to be considered a matter largely beyond its control. I’ll return to this third point in a moment and stick with the first two for now.

A government might want to fix an exchange rate for three reasons. First is the old fashioned one of national pride. This departed the scene with floating exchange rates in the 70s. The second is because it has agreed to do so. This was why the UK was vulnerable to attack 1992: it had agreed semi-fixed exchange rates with Europe that speculators knew were economically unsustainable on the basis of trade fundamentals. It laid itself wide open to attack as a result. The third reason is to control inflation. This is pretty much a forlorn hope in exchange rate management: if trade indicates that the currency needs to fall in value come what may it will. A government needs to let that happen and address the domestic issues that necessitated the move in value (lack of investment, poor products, poor productivity) instead of wasting money supporting the currency. It would also better tackle inflation with changes in domestic tax rates than intervene in international markets. The important point is that if it agrees on all these three things it cannot be held to ransom on the exchange rate. The risk disappears.

On interest rates the threat is from the bond markets that might refuse to buy new bonds issues unless the rate rises. This threat was possible when it was thought a government had to sell its bonds come what may – effectively the third, uncontrolled, variable noted above. But this risk no longer exists because QE now eliminates it. If there was now a market based attack on interest rates it would require the sale of bonds already in existence to force their price up. And the answer to that now is that a government would just buy those bonds back and so neuter the attack using QE. The weapon the attackers used – that there was no other buyer for debt and so governments were beholden to markets – has gone because the government can itself be a buyer. The interest rate weapon is history.

To put it another way, Scotland will not be beholden to markets if it chooses not to be so. But it has to have its own central bank and currency to achieve that. Nothing less will do.

So, exchange rate starts falling for whatever reason. Thus there is import led inflation. Hmm. So, as said, the interest asked for by the markets (ie, the price at which they will buy newly issued debt falls) rises. We’re going to solve this by printing more money into an inflationary environment, are we?

Is’t this what Zimbabwe did?

Yes, they’re still lying

Even when they’ve been told not to:

This is undoubtedly reflected at a national level: women working full-time in the UK earn on average 13.9% less than men,

From the Fawcett Society:

The current overall gap for full time workers is 13.9%

They’ve been told, again and again, that the mean is misleading, it is the median – just under 10% – which should be used.

NHS wheelchair provision

Frances Ryan tells us all that wheelchairs aren’t available on the NHS to those who need them. Then fails to ask the correct question. So I do in the comments:

What would be interesting to know is, has there ever been a time when the NHS provided, free at the point of use and on time, the correct wheelchair for all who needed one?

That is, is this a new problem? Or an old one that has just come to your/our attention? Knowing that will aid in understanding why. For example, perhaps it is about tight money these days. But if it has always been true, then perhaps it’s about the structure of the system itself?

That something is wrong seems obvious. But we can’t fix it until we know what is wrong, can we?

So we’re more than paying for climate change then


The Office for Budget Responsibility said that cost of the subsidies, which are levied on household and business energy bills, is expected to rise from £4.6billion in 2015-16 to £13.5billion in 2021-22.

Add the effect of the fuel duty escalator (as Ken Clarke said, to pay for our Rio commitments) and we’re paying that £30 billion a year. Or, that $80 per tonne on 500 million tpa of CO2-e as a carbon tax that would be the Stern Review solution to climate change.

As Stern said, a carbon tax would be the cheapest way of dealing with it…..

Look at the structural inequality!

In the UK, what the TUC called the “massive pay gap” for black people widens even as we achieve more qualifications. According to the Fawcett Society, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women see the biggest overall gender pay gap, at 26%, to white British men, while black African women experience the largest full-time gender pay gap, at 19.6%. But while black African women have seen virtually no progress since the 1990s, black Caribbean and Indian women experience a smaller pay gap than white British women, despite higher unemployment rates.

Our situation is very different from that in the US, but the root causes are still the same: deep inequalities, embedded by our historical colonisation, and everyday racism combine to create a toxic environment for many black women to progress economically.

So, black women have a smaller gender pay gap than white women. This is the result of our structural inequalities and racism.


The why is actually quite simple, the black African (including Caribbean) population is concentrated in London, where wages are generally higher, more than the other varied ethnicities.

The other why is equally simple. We have here the triumph of theory over reality. We know that there are inequalities, racism, colonialist hangovers. Thus the fact that the black women don’t have a larger pay gap can simply be ignored. Sure, mention it, but then ignore all of the implications. Because theory trumps reality.

Prediction is difficult

Experts have said families and loved ones are being needlessly worried after new research showed the tool over-predicted the chances of death more often than not.

The so-called “surprise question”, encourages doctors to ask themselves “Would you be surprised if this patient were to die in the next few months, weeks, days?”

A wide scale analysis by University College London found that more than half of those predicted to die within a specific time lived longer than expected.

More than half meaning what? 55%?

Not that bad I would have thought as an average of guesses.