Well, yes Polly

Boris Johnson’s crew will repel voters – there’s no need to fear him
Polly Toynbee

No deal isn’t the will of the people, and a hard Brexit policy will alienate moderate Tories – especially when they see the costs

The only people currently in Parliament who are complying with the stated wishes of the 52% of the voters in the referendum are – Boris and the Hard Leavers. Everyone else is Remain.

Way to repel voters, right?

You what?

Greta Thunberg to sail across Atlantic for UN climate summits


But she said she did not yet know how she was going to get there. “It’s on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean,” she said. “And there are no trains going there. And since I don’t fly, because of the enormous climate impact of aviation, it’s going to be a challenge.”

Owned by a German property developer, Gerhard Senft, based in Brittany and sponsored by the Yacht Club de Monaco, the 18-metre (60ft) yacht is a high-speed planing monohull built for the 2016-17 single-handed, non-stop round-the-world Vendée Globe race. The club said on its Facebook page it was “honoured to be able to sail Greta Thunberg emission-free over the Atlantic”.

The yacht is fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate zero-carbon electricity. Greta will be accompanied on the voyage by Malizia II’s skipper Boris Hermann, her father Svante, Pierre Casiraghi, the grandson of Monaco’s late Prince Rainier III and the actor Grace Kelly, and a film-maker.

Greta told the Associated Press before the announcement that she had not wanted to travel to the US by cruise ship because of their notoriously high emissions, while the Atlantic could be dangerous for sailing boats in August because of the high risk of hurricanes.

Anyone want to try proving that taking a 60 ft yacht across the ocean for two weeks is going to have lower emissions than a seat on a plane or boat that’s already going there?

Baron Cohen is right, again

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge, who led the study: “We are interested in understanding autism, not preventing it.

“This new finding supports the idea that increased prenatal sex steroid hormones are one of the potential causes for the condition.

“Genetics is well established as another, and these hormones likely interact with genetic factors to affect the developing foetal brain.”

Surge of hormones in the womb he’s been musing on this as the (or a, perhaps the trigger) cause for at last a decade and a half now.

There’s a reason she’s a guest editor

For some, the sound of the monthly copy of Vogue through the letterbox signals some much-needed escapism into a world of glamour and beauty. For others, it is the fashion bible which will inspire their wardrobe for the season to come.

Next month’s edition of Vogue, however, may be a little different.

The Duchess of Sussex has laid out her plans for a new era of women’s magazines to swap the “superficial” focus of the fashion industry into pages of “positivity, kindness, humour and inclusivity”.

Her September edition of Vogue will see a beauty section “that puts its energy towards internal beauty”, and workouts to “use the heart” instead of sculpting the body.

The “power of breathing and mindfulness” will be celebrated, along with “ethical and sustainable brands” and interviews with fashion designers that focus not on clothes but “heritage, history and heirloom”.

Magazines, as we all know, chase the prejudices and desires of their readers, not shape them.

Defining choice

Research shows that eating habits people pick up in their youth tend to track into adulthood, which makes the teenage years an important stage to start forming healthy habits. So rather than placing the full responsibility of food choice onto teens, more needs to be done to enable young people to make healthier choices.

This can include consulting with pupils to engage them in making decisions about the dining room environment and better food education. Reducing choices and streamlining menus has also been shown to improve healthier food choices.

Reducing choice” “enables young people to make healthier choices”.

After all, if all you’re offered is gruel then all you’ll eat is gruel.

As the Senior Lecturer points out, capitalism is efficient

This isn’t what he thinks he’s saying, isn’t what he means to say and isn’t something he understands. But it is so:

The consequence is real. As a matter of fact I think Brexit will lay waste to large numbers of British businesses. Most are marginally capitalised at best, meaning that they have access to relatively limited resources to deal with a period of significant disruption on their supply chains.

That is also the statement that British business is economical with capital, is efficient in its use of it.

Neoliberal capitalism is efficient – your lesson for the day from the Senior Lecturer.

I think I can guess why this

Medical trials
Women have historically been excluded from medical trials, resulting in drugs that are less safe or effective for them. In the US, eight drugs that had unacceptable risks for women were withdrawn by the Food and Drug Administration between 1997 and 2001. Even today, representation in medical trials is still skewed towards men, and not all drug research takes gender into account when analysing results.

Given falling fertility rates perhaps less so now than back then but there is always that difficulty that a trial of a drug would end up treating two people instead of just the one…..


Boris Johnson proposes a Worstall policy:

Increasing the starting point for national insurance contributions to £12,500
Cost: £11bn. At present people pay NICs when they earn £166 a week and income tax when they earn £12,500 a year. Johnson wants to gradually align the two systems by raising the NICs ceiling to an annual £12,500. Doing this in one go would cost £11bn a year and take 2.4 million people out of paying NICs altogether, but would still offer most benefits to those on higher earnings.

Huzzah and Gloria etc.

And how do I know it’s a Worstall policy? Because of the £12,500. That’s what the full year, full time, minimum wage was when I made the proposal. Which was my proposal – income tax and NIC should be aligned with the full year, full time, minimum wage.

Sure, inflation and minimum wage changes have moved the number on, but the policy is still living in that old form.

Yes Love, now, the important question

My husband Kevin and I have three young boys, and I have worked part-time since our eldest was one. Henry is now eight, Aldous is six and Magnus is three. I’m 37 and left my full-time job when Henry was born and so my partner became the main breadwinner.

Because he had the steady income while my hours have fluctuated depending on the ages of our children, it has made sense for me to meet the varying cost of our childcare and to balance my working hours against the expense. Many families I know do the same.

The cost of care has risen and fallen depending on my hours as well as the ages of our children but it has averaged more than £10,000 a year in fees for nursery, childminder and holiday club. I tallied up what I have paid to work for the last seven years and it came to more than £72,000. Not only that but I’ve probably lost around £370,000 from my pension.

Our middle son was in time to qualify for 15 funded hours a week but our youngest is the first to be offered 30 hours. Like many freelancers, I have only recently been able to make use of the government’s childcare tax break — tax-free childcare is open to the self-employed but childcare vouchers were not.

It’s dizzying to realise that I have spent £72,000 on childcare in just seven years. Even more bonkers is the thought of how much more I would have spent if I had worked full-time instead of typically three days a week, fitting in extra hours around naps and bedtimes.

Yes, I did choose to have kids and, no, I didn’t think they would be cheap. I do not resent spending money on them. However, in many other European countries parents do not face the same childcare bills and the same subsequent penalties for their incomes, jobs and long-term financial wellbeing. That can make a big difference to the work and financial prospects of the primary carer parent, which is most commonly the mother.

That important one being – well, who should pay?

Who should pay for raising your children? If not you that is?

When even the doctors are worrying…..

School counsellors and mental health service providers are bowing to pressures from ‘highly politicised’ transgender groups to affirm children’s beliefs that they were born the wrong sex, a leading expert has warned.

Marcus Evans, a psychotherapist and ex-governor of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, whose Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is the only NHS clinic to provide gender counselling and transitioning, said many experts were living in fear of being labelled transphobic, which was having an impact on their objectivity.

“I believe the trans political agenda has encroached on the clinical environment surrounding and within the Gender Identity Development Service,” Evans told the Observer.

Political agendas intrude on every other part of life, why not here?

Just as one example, everyone knows that inequality has risen under the Coalition and Tories, amirite? I mean, we all know this in our bones.

It hasn’t. Inequality is lower than at any time that G. Brown was PM.

So why wouldn’t we believe that political agendas infest other areas of life?

A tentative solution

Theatre staff have called for abusive members of the audience to be thrown out of venues in response to growing levels of aggressive behaviour.

Front of house staff in some of the country’s most famous theatres are reporting an increasing amount of unacceptable behaviour by audiences, ranging from verbal abuse to outright physical confrontation.

Why not put on better plays?

Of course it’s cronyism. That’s how the system works

Theresa May is facing a new cronyism row as it emerged that her controversial chief of staff is expected to be appointed to the House of Lords.

Tory sources said that Gavin Barwell, who was appointed to Downing Street after being ousted as MP for Croydon Central, headed a resignation honours list drawn up by the Prime Minister before her departure.

A peerage for Mr Barwell would infuriate many Tory Eurosceptics after he was blamed for helping to orchestrate the Brexit deal that Brexiteers insisted could leave the UK tied to the EU’s structures indefinitely.

Every Prime Minister has done it on their departure. That’s why we have the Resignation Honours list itself.

Well, yes, OK

Until pundits and regulators take seriously the deep perversions of our public spheres we can’t address the problems these companies have generated. We need radical approaches to these companies. Our responses must be as broad and deep as these companies’ hold on our minds and purses.


Siva Vaidhyanathan is a professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia and the author of Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2018).

What is it we do that is radical, broad, deep? Response comes there none….

The reason for a mass brawl aboard ship

‘Mass brawl’ breaks out on P&O cruise ship Britannia


He said one witness “explained to staff that things kicked off when another passenger appeared dressed as a clown. This upset one of their party because they’d specifically booked a cruise with no fancy dress. It led to a violent confrontation.”

Brexit! Brexit!

Just everything will go wrong if Brexit happens:

The British government will need to introduce legislation to impose direct rule on Northern Ireland in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, incoming Johnson administration ministers are being warned.

The highly politically toxic move would pit the Johnson administration squarely against the Irish government and effectively suspend the Good Friday Agreement, with Belfast ruled from London.

However, without the imposition of direct rule, officials and experts warn that Northern Ireland, whose devolved government collapsed in January 2017, would become essentially ungoverned as it faced its biggest crisis since the signing of the 1998 peace deal.

Err, why?

Stormont is suspended without Brexit. Therefore Stormont’s suspension is nothing to do with Brexit or not, is it?

It’s, rather, Remoaners becoming increasingly untethered from reality. Brexit will make your big toe turn blue! Your hamster will rape the cat!

Well, it’s a theory

Homosexuality is usually a problem transferred to a foetus, when a pregnant woman has anal sex and enjoys it, the Bishop of Morphou Neophytos said during a recent speech, LGBTI rights group ACCEPT said on Thursday.

During his speech in June to a group of people in Akaki, the bishop said Saint Porfyrios made mention of the issue in his writings. “It is a problem, which is usually transmitted by parents to the child,” the bishop said.

He added that it occurs when the couple has sex while the woman is pregnant, and the sex is “unnatural,” as he characterised anal sex.

The bishop said that when the woman enjoys anal sex, “a desire is created, which is then transmitted to the unborn child.”

Sounds a bit Lamarckian to be honest. Maybe evolution works differently in Cyprus?