A certain untruth

Stuart Adamson says:
August 6 2020 at 8:28 pm
I remember one prediction you made..

“deaths of more than 10,000 a day are likely in little more than a week”

That was off the mark

Richard Murphy says:
August 6 2020 at 8:39 pm
Lockdown then happened

Unemployment need not be as high as I forecast if action is taken

Context matters

Hmm, well:

As he says, what is notable about the first chart is that everyone else is succeeding in curtailing covid-19 now. We are not.

If the UK current trajectory continues – and as we run out of medical facilities that is a reasonable assumption for the next week or more – then deaths of more than 10,000 a day are likely in little more than a week if the rate of growth seen yesterday continues.

OK, that was on April 2.

Except, UK lockdown started on March 16, went into overdrive March 23. His prediction was 10 days after lockdown, not before.

Does he just think that no one will check these claims?

It’s not corporate Britain you fool

Corporate Britain is cutting its dividend payments. Despite this, the FTSE 100 index of the largest quoted companies is 20 per cent higher than it was on March 23, the day Boris Johnson announced lockdown.

75% of FTSE 100 revenue comes from outside the UK. The FTSE100 is companies listed in London, not companies working in Britain. Some of them have no connection nor business in the UK other than their listing.

But then Ollie Kamm, everything that’s wrong with the establishment view, always.

The old days, eh?

For the deer on the Isle of Rum it was mating season, but for Gerald Lincoln the nights were lonely. He was on the island to study their breeding cycle, and would not see his girlfriend for weeks at a time. As the chance to see her approached, Lincoln noticed something strange. His face stubble seemed to grow faster. To check that this was the case, he decided to weigh his shavings every morning, and indeed they were heavier by the day. From this he deduced something remarkable: that the level of testosterone, which determines the pace of beard growth, must be controlled by the cerebrum, the part of the brain from which complex thoughts emerge. The more he thought about his girlfriend, the higher his testosterone rose and the faster his beard grew.

He wrote a paper about it, which the prestigious scientific journal Nature agreed to publish. Highly unusually, the piece appeared anonymously, to spare his mother from the knowledge that he was having sex before marriage.

The truly old days, there was also that interim moment when it would have been her father spared such news.

Full marks to The Guardian here

On the Bristol Bus Company boycott:

At the time, the Bristol Omnibus Company was notorious for racial discrimination in recruitment. Hackett says labourers from the colonies and former colonies were allowed to “wash the buses at night”, but barred from the better-paid work on the bus crews. This segregation was not only upheld by the bus company, but also vigorously defended by the local branch of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, which did not want its members to lose jobs to immigrants.

They even point out that it was a nationalised company too. government and unions, at the time, being more racist that the society around both. Good on them for actually telling the story straight.

Is this a rathole we want to try and go down?

Understanding gender identities and personal pronouns?

The musician and poet formerly named Kate Tempest has changed their name to Kae Tempest, and announced they are non-binary.

No, me neither. But let us progress:

In an interview with Notion in August 2019, they discussed their queer identity: “It took me a long time to be able to stand with my own queerness and where I sit on the gender spectrum.


So, queerness – where it doesn’t mean odd – means same sex attraction. If you’ve just declared that you are non-binary you cannot have same sex attraction. Well, presumably. For to do so would require identifying as the sex one is attracted to, no? Or would this mean that one is only attracted to other non-binaries?

So, can you be both non-binary and queer? And if so are peeps being logically serious or just playing around with words?


Of course I know nothing at all about the Maori language but then entire ignorance doesn’t stop most economic commentators either. I think what we’ve got here is euphemism:

A Canadian brewery and a leather store in New Zealand have found themselves in a hairy situation after using te reo Māori to unwittingly name their respective brands after pubic hair.

Canadian brewery, Hell’s Basement, called its New Zealand Pale Ale Huruhuru, while a shop in the New Zealand capital, Wellington, gave its entire outlet the name.

“Some people call it appreciation, I call it appropriation,” te reo Māori exponent and TV personality Te Hamua Nikora said on Facebook, after explaining that most Māori would use the word “huruhuru” as a reference to pubic hair.

Most, use, reference……that is, the word doesn’t actually mean pubic hair at all. It’s a euphemism often used to refer to it. As with, say, the word twat. It can of course mean the female genitalia but that is a euphemism, the correct and actual meaning is “Richard Murphy”. We can see how the euphemism arose, obviously.

This though is more controversial:

“To those who feel disrespected, we apologise. We also do not think pubic hair is shameful, though we admit it may not go well with beer.”

Some portion of that beer is bought in order to gain access to that type of hair….

A slightly unkind thought

In their collective resignation, submitted last month, the seven signatorieswrote: “Nobel Women’s Initiative, in our view, requires profound organisational reforms – based on transparency, equity, inclusivity and a commitment to uproot embedded patriarchal practices – in order to fully uphold its values.”

They said the decision to resign followed several attempts to raise their concerns. “Failure to prioritise and address our concerns in a transparent and inclusive manner, and attempts to devalue and diminish our voices, led to our collective resignation. We speak out today to protect future staff and women activists.”

A wimmin’s organisation run by and for wimmins. And all the concerns seem to be about how the organisation is organised, not very much concerning what the organisation does.

It’s not exactly shattering the stereotype that it’s the men who get things done, actually advance society.


The Navy could be called in to help reduce the number of illegal migrants crossing the Channel after 235 reached the UK in a new record for a single day.

Don’t they already do this? In fact, didn’t we build/buy some new ships so they could?

Welcome to the banana Republic

The attorney general of New York took action Thursday to dissolve the National Rifle Association following an 18-month investigation that found evidence the powerful gun rights group is “fraught with fraud and abuse.”

The level of self dealing and near looting looks almost Clintonesque to be fair. But it’s this:

The turmoil at the NRA also could have political ramifications ahead of the 2020 elections. The NRA spent tens of millions of dollars in 2016 to support then-candidate Donald Trump — a role it appears it will be unlikely to be able to repeat given its current financial condition.

Gosh, that is a surprise.

The AG of NY is a D.


Little earthquake a couple of days back. West of Gib, SE off into the sea from here. Three of us in the house felt it. None mentioned it at the time to not worry the other two. All three of us have, over the couple of days, mentioned it privately to each of the other two to say “Didja feel that – no worries, it’s only small etc. Didn’t mention it not to worry the other”


Economic heuristics

I think it fair to say that whatever we once thought we knew about economics, we no longer know. Saying so, I am not talking that much about economics theory, which few have ever comprehended, and whose relationship with reality has been so remote for so long that this might be a blessing. I am instead talking about the economic heuristics that govern what most people think about the way that the economy works.

No. The two things everyone needs to know, the base heuristics of the subject, are:

1) Incentives matter

2) There are always opportunity costs.

These haven’t changed and they’re not going to either. Not that Spud acknowledges either of them but then that’s what explains his misunderstanding of the subject under discussion.

Let’s increase taxes to end the recession!

Sooner or later, there will have to be a reckoning. As the recession drags on, more and more debts will simply become unpayable, whether the government and creditors like it or not. We can either wait for this to happen, and brace ourselves for the economic and social chaos it will bring with it; or we can act now to rebalance the burden.

Calls for wealth taxes and debt write-downs must be seen in this context. They are not about the well-off making sacrifices to help the less well-off. The point is that the least well-off are already making eye-watering sacrifices to maintain income flows to wealthy creditors. If this does not change soon, the UK’s recovery will be slow and painful. Tackling growing inequalities between those who own assets and those who owe debts is no longer simply a matter of justice: it is an urgent economic necessity.

Keynes – sensible chap a lot of the time – and MMT both say that raising taxes in a recession is not a good idea. Even if it is to beat inequality….

Christine Berry is a researcher, writer and consultant

The Lord save us from The Guardian’s economics, eh?

Not good but OK, it’s a fact we have to deal with

Female doctors going through the menopause are reducing their hours, moving to lower-paid roles or retiring early from medicine due to sexism and ageism in surgeries and hospitals, research has found.

This is going to cause problems:

The findings will concern the nine out of 10 hospital bosses in England who fear understaffing across the service has become so severe that patients’ health could be damaged: there are currently more than 30,000 female doctors aged 45-55, when menopause typically occurs. This number will rise significantly as the new cohort of medical students progress, almost 60% of whom are female.

So our all seeing, all knowing, perfect planner that is the state is increasing the numbers of doctors being trained then, is it? To take care of this known problem, just as it did with greater part time working and career breaks among the increasingly female workforce?

Like it did ‘eck.

As ever the best argument against state planning is the planning the state has donoe.


First, this was in the ‘Wild West’ days of 2005 when tax campaigning was in its very early days and adverse publicity for tax planning was unknown. It’s important to remember how much has changed since then, largely due to that campaigning and the resulting publicity.

Second, tax justice was never rewarded by HMRC for its work on this. The question as to why that did not happen is relevant.

What’s the argument here? That Tax Justice Network – or whoever – should be given some cash for their work? Get the HMRC Gold Star for their lapels?


I’m the expert and I dunno

I’ve written two books on tax havens, and the honest answer is that tax havens come in so many varieties that it is very hard to define what one is.

That leaving Snippa to argue that his roses failing are the result of tax havens. Because if we can’t define it it’s everything, innit?

We’re surprised, right?

Sexual abuse and violence are rife within French figure skating amid a culture of secrecy that has allowed generations of coaches to prey on their protégés, a government report has concluded.

The report, published yesterday by the sports ministry, said that a government inspectorate had gathered allegations concerning 21 coaches suspected of offences ranging from sexual assaults to physical and verbal violence.

Take hugely ambitious female teenagers, mix with older men with power over them.

This is not to comment on what should happen, nor what we’d like to be happening, it is though to note what is likely to happen.