Oooooh, Goodoh!

No wonder many remain concerned that we are heading for being Singapore-on-Thames. The rhetoric used suggests that the fear is justified.

Someone’s going to have to remind me what’s so terrible about Singapore on Thames though.

A distinctly richer place, with a better health care system, a government that can actually produce the housing the population needs, with a bit more inequality.

The problem being?

The Gini coefficient – which measures income inequality from 0 to 1, with 0 being most equal – fell to 0.452 last year, lower than 0.458 in 2018 and the lowest since 2001, according to the Department of Statistics’ Key Household Income Trends report released on Thursday (Feb 20).

Government transfers and taxes reduced the Gini coefficient further to 0.398.

About the same level of market inequality of incomes as here, the outcome being a little more post- tax and benefit inequality.

Shrug. That a deal you’d accept for a 50% pay rise?

American academic writing again

This week marks what would have been George Harrison’s 77th birthday. Back in February 1988, the Quiet Beatle marked the occasion with a bona fide hit record, “Got My Mind Set on You,” which was soaring among the American radio airwaves at the time.

That’s pretty cool. George celebrated his 77 th birthday 32 years early. Nowt’s beyond a Beatle of course.

The source of this is our old friend:

Kenneth Womack is the author of a two-volume biography of the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin. He is Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University.

Well, I suppose so

In “Life in Synchro,” this hyperfeminist sport empowers women to work together

Synchro is women skating in skimpy uniforms. To music.

I guess it’s hyperfeminist in the same sense the Rockettes are.

OK, fair enough, they’re both difficult, require coordination, have skimpy outfits and are done to music. Just as long as we know what the definition of feminist is these days of course.

Hmm, right

San Francisco declares state of emergency over coronavirus

An emergency over something that isn’t happening:

San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) declared a state of emergency for the city on Tuesday amid concerns over the international coronavirus outbreak.

While no coronavirus cases have been confirmed in San Francisco, “the global picture is changing rapidly, and we need to step-up preparedness,” Breed said in a statement.

And tens of thousands shitting in the streets is something they don’t declare an emergency over.

Ho hum, the art of government being to find the alarums that allow you to spend the crap out of everything then, eh?

Isn’t this an amusing contention

The reasons should be obvious. Coronavirus would not be the issue it is in economic terms if we did not have such an interconnected world, where supply lines are stretched to their limits so that many companies are at risk from the slightest disruption to their systems, which coronavirus is already creating, and which could get much worse.

Far better to have entirely local economies. So that when the local farmer drops dead then all starve in that area.

Hmm, what’s that? Security comes from having multiple suppliers? Gosh, that’s right! So, having all the world as a potential supplier is safer then, right?

Err, yes?

Frank Field, the former Labour MP for Birkenhead, where many of his former constituents work for Shop Direct, said that the Commons business committee should consider looking at how such huge private business empires are run. He said that while public companies could be called to account by shareholders and by City investors, many large private companies were controlled by wealthy individuals.

I don’t need to steenkin’ evidence!

I have blogged throughout the austerity years and made the NHS such an issue at one point that I think I was noted as the fourth most active social media campaigner against the 2012 NHS reforms that increased the impact of market forces upon it.

Those reforms have failed. A healthcare system that was intended to, and did, deliver worse health outcomes in a political environment of hostility towards large parts of the UK population is indicative of a chronic political malaise within government during this period.

NHS England has had more market based reforms than NHS Scotland or NHS Wales. NHYS England has improved outputs better than NHS Wales or NHS Scotland.

One useful proof of this being the absence of reports from the usual suspects crowing about the outperformance of NHS Wales and NHS Scotland. They’d be there if it were true…..

Bugger the farmers

Tough mammary gland mateys:

Farmers fear they will face a flood of cheap imports undercutting high-standard British produce, and the potential for the EU to ban UK-produced food if standards were relaxed.

We ought, should, be regulating for the benefit of consumers. If no consumers want this cheap shit then they’ll not buy it if available. Therefore it’s not a problem. If consumers do buy it that means they want it. Therefore, given that they want it, it should be available.

That you want to ban it is proof that you think consumers want it. And so, well, why should you be allowed to ban what people want?

Estate’s not quite the right word here

A husband is being held on suspicion of murder after allegedly shooting his wife dead and then attempting to kill himself on the Prime Minister’s family’s estate in Somerset.

Stanley Johnson, the Prime Minister’s father, who was friends with the couple, expressed the family’s deep shock and paid tribute to the victim who died in a cottage on his 500-acre farm.

Sure, it’s possible to call a 500 acre farm an estate. But it wouldn’t really be normal to do so now, would it? A 500 acre farm is a 500 acre farm. An estate is a large house surrounded by grounds with, perhaps, a Home Farm and then other farms surrounding under the one ownership, perhaps let out as tenancies.

Just grates a bit to call one t’other.

A certain amusement here

This is partly linguistic. And partly fashion.

Harvey Weinstein trial: Jury finds Hollywood producer guilty of rape

Well sorta. He was found guilty of something called rape – rape in the third degree. Which isn’t “rape rape” and isn’t rape perhaps in the English sense of the word.

One reason we know this being that the sentence is 1 to 4 years.

It’s the “criminal sex act” which carries the much heavier possible sentence. He was actually cleared on the charge of rape, as in “rape, rape”.

This is, as I say, partly linguistic. American legal terms use rape far more widely than the English language does. But it’s also fashion. That he’s the evilest man who ever walked etc is simply known and true in certain sectors. There is an implication of this too. I guarantee there will be a Guardian column after sentencing comparing his sentence for “third degree rape and a criminal sex act”, comparing it to rapey rape sentences and demanding to know why he was treated so leniently.


The only argument in favor is that large numbers of recent graduates will vote, entirely selfishly, for someone who promises to alleviate their debt. Or, as we could also put the same idea, Sanders wants to buy their votes with $1.6 trillion of our money. Again, this is a private benefit to Sanders at the public cost to the rest of us.

At least that does show us that Sanders is not some new and different sort of politician. After all, politics is the art of buying sufficient votes with other people’s money, isn’t it? It appears that he’s pretty good at that.

Err, yes

Our new Chancellor should not try to find a new fiscal rule. He should have an economic rule instead. He should target full employment at low inflation. Only government spending can deliver that. Turn it on.

That’s actually what the Bank of England’s target is. One they’re currently hitting.

Spud is upset

Whilst its respect for the rule of tax law is not great. Just read Richard Teather’s book on tax havens for them published in about 2005 as evidence of that: it got as close to endorsing the merits of tax evasion as a mechanism for undermining the democratic choices of government as I suspect it dared go.

Both Richard and I would go further than that. One of the merits of tax evasion is that it limits the amount that government may tax – those democratic choices.

So online advertising is another thing Snippa doesn’t understand then

So, our polymath notes this:

And comments that:

I presume KPMG did not ask to be associated with this feature from Mark Littlewood of the Institute of Economic Affairs, but as the biggest tax havens operator amongst the Big 4 accountants I doubt they object.

Except online advertising isn’t determined by the publication. It’s determined by you the reader.

The ad companies check up on what you read, see what it is that you might like, then advertise that to you. Different people looking at that same page will see different ads therefore.

Presumably Snippa saw it because he logs in to KPMG in order to fulminate over how much those who were asked to remain with the company after training now make.

We have to apologise for the truth these days

A police force has apologised for publishing leaflets linking rape to drinking alcohol after sparking accusations of ‘victim blaming’.

The flyers, which were distributed in Belfast, were discontinued several years ago, describe alcohol as “the number one date rape drug” and advise people to be wary of potential sexual assaults while drinking.

Sara Haller, who posted an image of the leaflets on Facebook, which has since been shared hundreds of times, wrote: “The tone, language and arguments all add up to ultimately saying that if you’re intoxicated you’re allowed to be raped.

“The issue with this leaflet is that the core message it gives out is that those who are raped are responsible for it.”

No Honey. The leaflet states that if you are drunk to incapacitation then you’re more likely to get raped than if you’re not. Just as you’re more likely to get mugged if you are than if you’re not.

Today’s noodle armed word salad

What we eat and the way we eat it has always told us a great deal about politics and society. The explosion of trendy food courts and walled-off markets is no exception. They are exemplars of the financialisation and privatisation of urban space, of a middle-class ennui and yearning for authenticity, and a profits-first, pick-and-mix version of diversity. And such small portions!

Yeah, being able to eat indoors. Such a perversion caused by capitalism.


The original contention, that regulation can make markets better, is entirely true. It’s just that we’ve got to be careful about how and why. Only when we’ve gained our justification for regulation will we get those two right.

Essentially, regulation from outside the market is only needed when we are dealing with things that have one of the two features: Effects that spill over to those not part of the transaction, and things that we don’t do very often. Things that are just the direct voluntary interaction of buyer and seller, and in commonplace transactions, we can leave to self-regulation.

A market that regulates itself, or one that is regulated by the participants in it, is not an unregulated market; it’s just one not regulated by those outside it.


Ullmann, 55, announced in 2017 that all executive pay would be capped at £400,000 — 20 times that of the lowest-paid worker — and that the group would cap dividends to its family owners at £3m a year.

Ullmann, a father of four, said in 2018 that “capitalism isn’t working any more”. “I had an epiphany and realised business can’t all be about profit. It has to be about creating an environment where people thrive,” he said.

Hey, cool or what?

One of Britain’s biggest recruitment agencies is racing to raise new investment after the family-owned business came close to collapse because of a clash with its lenders.

Cordant Group, which finds jobs for 125,000 people a year at more than 5,000 clients, including Amazon and Tesco, is rushing to secure a deal with new investors — a move that would end the majority-ownership of the Ullmann family.

Go woke, go broke.

Or, as we might put it, that’ll be what then.

We used to have just such a system

After the horrific murder of Grace Millane, it’s worth reflecting on safety measures for dating

Seems fair enough, there ought to be such rules.

Which we used to have of course. Don’t bed anyone you’ve not got to know for example. Dropping knickers making on vulnerable and thus something to be done either sparingly or after due consideration.

Sure, that then reduces the amount of fun the blokes are having too but it was a set of rules that did largely work to address the problem.

Possibly a pity that the set of rules was abandoned as being unfashionable, eh?

This is somewhat unkind

But there’s also a certain amount of truth in it. The question being, well, how much of it is simply being unkind and how much is the simple truth?

Greta Thunberg’s extraordinary transformation from a near-mute 11-year-old into the world’s most powerful voice on the climate crisis is revealed today by her mother.

In an emotional account, Malena Ernman describes how her daughter came to be diagnosed with autism, and how activism helped her overcome an eating disorder.

Ernman writes of the first indications that her elder daughter was unwell in extracts published in the Observer from Our House is on Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis, a book by the whole Thunberg family.

How much of this is Mummy living and being famous vicariously through her daughter? My suspicion is quite a lot.