Blimey, Gosh, That Is a SURPRISE!

The QE programme has come to an end. The total government cash requirement is to be funded by financial markets. And, in addition, QE may begin to be unwound.

But this is the man who has spent a decade telling us that QE will never be unwound. That the debt, because it is owned by the BoE, does not in fact exist and is not part of that national debt.

What, possibly, could have changed?

The requirements of his argument, obviously.

Summarise this, and the massive reversal of economic policy that the end of QE, rising interest rates, and QE reversal simultaneously represent look likely to create a significant fall in assets values, across the board in the UK, with the US looking likely to do much the same.

Given that the man whines incessantly about wealth inequality why is he complaining about this?

So what is the actual liberal answer?

More than half of women are childless by the age of 30, according to official figures which show later motherhood, or choosing not to have any children, has now become the norm.

The statistics show that for the first time, the majority of women enter their 30s without having started a family.

The Office for National Statistics data paint a stark picture of changes in fertility over the decades.

Current day liberals start shouting that we’ve got to have more free childcare, or better maternity leave, or summat.

The problem being that this starts from the wrong end. They’ve got some idea of what society should be – all the wimmins entirely free, economically liberated, yet also fecund and a rising population. Which is;t liberal.

Liberal – real liberalism – is to set the people free and then see what they do. And accept what they do too. If free people have fewer children then, well, that’s what free people do. There is no result to be aimed at, the process of being free is itself the point and purpose.

It’s also rather self solving. We are, clearly, all the descendants of those who had kids. Those who didn’t want them breed themselves out of subsequent generations. Now that we’ve more choice about such matters this effect will snowball. The next generations will be the offspring of those who desire kids and so it will go on.

Never, ever, trust the government

The Ministry of Defence is gearing up for a legal battle with private equity tycoon Guy Hands as it seeks to reclaim tens of thousands of military family homes that were sold off more than two decades ago.

Some 55,000 properties were sold and leased back by Sir John Major’s government in a deal that was later denounced for losing taxpayers as much as £4bn.

The MoD argued at the time that taking out the 200-year lease would free up money to spend on improvements.

But with the annual rent bill now spiralling above £200m, the department has admitted it may be cheaper to buy back the remaining 33,000 properties from Mr Hands’ Annington Homes.

It is pushing ahead with a test case to repurchase a single home in Cranwell at market value under leasehold “enfranchisement” rights and claims this could clear the way for similar deals across the entire portfolio if successful.

There is the issue that they sold cheap and are now going to try to buy back expensive. But then govt can be so wasteful with their inability to time markets.

But here’s the real difficulty. Leasehold enfranchisement law was different back at the time of the sale. So, they’re trying to take advantage of their own law changes to change the price. Can’t trust govt at all, can you?

His other jokes were good too

He compared analysing comedy to dissecting a frog. “Nobody laughs and the frog dies.”

Also very good:

Were all of his stories strictly true or did he sometimes exaggerate them for effect? “You do neaten them up a bit,” he admitted. “Real life can be so badly written.”


The report added: “Music creators could also be harmed by lack of competition to sign artists and offer them distribution services. Such harm could be reflected in the share of revenues that music creators take overall.

The streaming companies are barely profitable, if indeed they are. So, the limitation is what we consumers will pay for the music. It’s not about the split of the revenues, it’s about the lack of revenues.

Well, I suppose they are young adults

A university has added a trigger warning to its English course covering Harry Potter, telling students it could lead to “difficult conversations about gender, race, sexuality, class and identity”.

The “Approaches to Literature” module at the University of Chester’s English department has also offered undergraduates the opportunity to “get in touch” if they have “any issues with the content” of the course.

JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is among the literary texts for the course, run by Dr Richard Leahy, a lecturer in English literature, alongside Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights.

But we do tend to think that uni students should be reading adult novels, not YA, don’t we?

A course in kiddie’s lit also seems worthwhile, but using teen lit as adult?

Not sure this is how tax reliefs work

HM Revenue and Customs is urgently reviewing a rule that allows anyone who works even a single day from home to claim a yearly sum of up to £125 in tax relief, The Telegraph can disclose.


However, the rules were relaxed at the beginning of the pandemic to help the millions more people told to stay away from the workplace – with the tax-free amount raised from £4 a week to £6.


Claims can also be backdated, meaning that anyone eligible who worked from home because of Covid but never made a claim is entitled to a two-year payout of up to £250.

Payout? Is this a tax relief or what? A relief, I assume, being you can earn £125 without paying tax on it to cover these costs of working from home? Or maybe a £125 knocked off your tax bill to cover it?

But payout? Like, an actual claim against govt? Whut?

This should be fairly easy

That task joins a long list of priorities: Democrats have to pass a bill on government funding by February 18 in order to avoid a government shutdown; they are trying to complete work on an update to the Electoral Count Act and a bill aimed at increasing the US’s competitiveness with China in the next few weeks; and they hope to restart talks on their massive climate and social spending initiative, the Build Back Better Act,

Stop trying to pass BBB and increase the US competetiveness with China….

Something very human about this

When electronic screen trading took off in the 1980s, Tullett resisted, aware of how much he used to learn from tones of voice. “The screen gives you the price,” he said, “but the voice gives you the market.”

No, not at all that we should all be old fuddie duddies. Rather, we humans have evolved with other humans as our main competitors in everything. We’ve thus become very good – really, very good indeed, whatever women say about their husbands – at reading other human beings.

Again, it’s not that direct interaction gives you tells as to what’s really going on, it’s that we’ve evolved to spot the tells….

Sounds perfectly sensible to me

Leading climate scientists have ridiculed and criticised comments made by controversial Canadian psychologist and author Jordan Peterson during an interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

During a new four-hour interview on Spotify’s most popular podcast, Peterson – who is not an expert on climate change – claimed that models used to forecast the future state of the climate couldn’t be relied on.

Peterson told Rogan that because the climate was so complex, it couldn’t be accurately modelled.

He said: “Another problem that bedevils climate modelling, too, which is that as you stretch out the models across time, the errors increase radically. And so maybe you can predict out a week or three weeks or a month or a year, but the farther out you predict, the more your model is in error.

“And that’s a huge problem when you’re trying to model over 100 years because the errors compound just like interest.”

Peterson said that if the climate was “about everything” then “your models aren’t right” because they couldn’t include everything.

This doesn’t sound sensible.

“He seems to think we model the future climate the same way we do the weather. He sounds intelligent, but he’s completely wrong.

“He has no frickin’ idea,” she said.

Different models produce different outputs. Different assumptions put into the same models produce different outputs. We have no one model, with fully known interactions, which all accept as being valid.

Different runs of the same model produce varied outputs.

We have a range, that is, of answers, not the one true and valid one. What Peterson has said is entirely true.

Not, really, quite true

“Spike wrote 250 episodes of The Goon Show in a 10-year period,” says Newman. “In every series, there are many, many references to the war. Pretty much after that, he stops – and in his later work, hardly mentions it again.”

Sorta missing the books there, no?

Is this how they get rid of Kamala?

Joe Biden is under pressure to nominate the first African American woman to the US Supreme Court, after it emerged one of its three liberal justices plans to retire within months.


Patty Murray, a senior Democratic senator, said she trusted Mr Biden would put forward an “exceptional nominee” who will “break barriers and make history”.

Well, that ensures it won’t be Screechy K.

And yet the Dems do have a problem. Ms. Screech is the heir apparent and is in pole position to run after Joe goes to meet his senior diapers. But no D with any sense desires her to be the actual candidate, given how the performance will pan out. So, stick her over onto the SC and clean up aisle 7 that way.

Thing is, are even the Dems that cynical?

The definition of sexism seems to have got a bit weird

Konta groans. “As a woman, you start getting to a certain age, hitting certain milestones and then it is straightaway assumed – ‘okay, well, when’s the baby coming?’” she says, flatly.

Umm, yes?

Taking the decision to retire at the relatively young age of 30, and after indicating in previous interviews she had no intention of playing on tour as a mother, Konta understands there is “no malice” intended in the question. But she does query whether it exposes a double standard. “I don’t think it’s done with any harm, but it would be nice to talk about my career and things like that – like my male counterparts in the sport,” she says.

“I’m not sure they’re asking Rafa Nadal when he was finally going to marry his girlfriend before he did, or when he is going to have kids.”

That we are a sexually dimorphic species, viviparian, mammal, does make the question of rather more salience for one half of the species than the other.

In a first interview since retiring, the former British No 1 reflects on sexism,

Note that it’s the weasels at the Telegraph who call this sexism…..

Not sure about this

Raising National Insurance contributions will lead to higher prices in the shops, a report by MPs has warned Boris Johnson.

The Commons Treasury Committee says that the planned increase in April risks driving up inflation while the country grapples with a cost of living crisis.

Standard analysis would say that sellers, being profit maximisers, would already have pushed prices up as far as they can go. Wages are sticky downwards, therefore profits will take the first hit. But that hit itself will lower the gains to be made from employing people. So, fewer people will be employed. At which point nominal wages might not fall, but real wages will not rise as they might have done. Also, fewer people will be employed than without the rise – therefore wages also take that second hit.

Eventually the system reaches equilibrium, the net effect being that profit margins return to whatever rate employs all the capital and all the people but at a lower wage rate than in the absence of the NI rises.

So, where’s the gap for prices to rise?

Leave ‘im Tim! ‘Ee’s not worf it!

The programme set out to say that the rich got richer, and it succeeded in making clear that this was the objective of the Bank of England and the 2010 government, but beyond that little was added to understanding. Call it an opportunity lost, if you like. I will still, however, watch the second programme when it comes out even if I have a little expectation that it will really seek to answer the question that the program should have addressed, which is why this was allowed to happen.


The entire aim was to increase the price of assets. So as to reduce the yield on safe assets. Thereby pushing investors out along the risk curve in search of yield. That was the announced plan, the intended one and the performed plan.

Why does he still not understand this a dozen years later?

Just a little though about miners

I’m testing something elsewhere but still a little point about the mining of minor metals.

Clearly, supply anything and you’ve got to be slightly worried about all the other suppliers. OK, you’re a wheat farmer and one more wheat farmer doesn’t;t change very much. An entire country getting it right for the first time in a century – Ukraine exported wheat under the Tsars, does independently, but couldn’t under the Soviets – does make a difference.

So, with many minor metals it doesn’t take much to upset the price applecart. China restricted rare earth exports in 2010, Lynas and Molycorp both opened up and both effectively (Lynas only needed a recapitalisation) the one killed the other. The market might have supported one but not both that is.

So, graphite, hot new thing for the battery market. But how many people are going to go mining for it? Which might be a problem for one of those miners, Tirupati Graphite:

How many other people are prospecting for, financing, opening graphite mines? Note that this one mine is 5 to 7% of global demand. Tirupati’s profitability is going to depend upon how many other people also add 5 or 7% of global demand to global production.

You don’t need that many mines each at 5% of global d[production to rather change that supply and demand calculation, do you?