Note for Spud

UK tech start-ups and the next rung up, so-called “scale-ups”, secured £12.4 billion in venture capital funding in the first five months of the year, with a record £9 billion being raised in the first quarter of the year alone. This puts the UK second only to the United States in terms of start-up investment, and ahead of China.

This is where investment in new things happens. Stock markets are where the successes can be cashed out. The existence of the ability to sell those second hand shares on the stock market is what incentivises these investments in new things.

To increase homegrown sources of funding, the government’s most recent digital strategy paper said it was proposing to relax rules preventing UK pension money being invested in riskier funds such as venture capital, something that has been debated for years.

Of course Spud will be against that, won’t he?

Ah, France

President Macron’s economy minister has angered farmers by suggesting that he will fight inflation by allowing buy-one-get-one-free offers, which are banned under French law.

Farming union leaders expressed indignation at Bruno Le Maire’s plan to allow supermarkets to sell food products at up to 50 per cent off the list price.

Where the producers get to demand the price at which things are sold. Rather than having to compete…..

Cackle

Some UK cinemas have banned groups of young people wearing suits during screenings of Minions: The Rise of Gru.

The decision came after some young moviegoers were criticised for rowdy behaviour after a viral trend erupted on the social media app TikTok.

The trend involves large groups of teenage boys, who call themselves The Gentleminions, filming themselves going to watch the latest instalment in the Despicable Me franchise dressed in suits.

The movie is panned in the reviews. So, how do you get folk to go watch it? Create something viral which works off the standard human crowd behaviour lark.

Somewhere out there there’s a PR bod awaiting a very large bonus this year.

No George, no, they didn’t

It feels like the end game. In the US last week, the third perverse and highly partisan supreme court decision in a few days made American efforts to prevent climate breakdown almost impossible. Ruling in favour of the state of West Virginia, the court decided that the Environmental Protection Agency is not entitled to restrict carbon dioxide emissions from power stations.

What they said is that the EPA sure can reglaute. Bit when it’s a big regulatory ask Congress actually has to pass a law specifically stating that the EPA should do that big regulating.

And that is all. Want big stuff done by government? Pass a law.

It’s democracy v plutocracy – this is the endgame for our planet
George Monbiot

It’s, erm, more democratic that way, d’ye see? The elected legislature passes a law, the bureaucracy gets on with implementation. Instead of the unelected bureaucracy inventing rules which it then enforces itself. Democracy?

What, again?

Zimbabwe will begin selling gold coins to the public in an attempt to rid the crisis-wracked country of triple-digit inflation after a collapse in the local currency.

The “Mosi-oa-tunya” coins, which are named after the Victoria Falls, will act as an alternative store of value and can be converted into cash and traded as officials attempt to shore up the crumbling Zimbabwean dollar.

The country is desperately trying to battle the crisis caused by inflation hitting almost 200pc in June and a slump in the local currency. The Zimbabwean dollar has shed more than two-thirds of its value against the US dollar this year.

It’s almost like Modern Monetary Theory has a hole in it, isn’t it? That if you keep printing money then the money you keep printing becomes worth nothing…..this is, at least, the third time in this one country…..

Absolutely damn right

Ukrainian plans to seize as much as $500bn (£418bn) in frozen Russian assets to fund the country’s recovery have met firm resistance from Switzerland, the hosts of an international two-day Ukraine recovery conference.

The Swiss president, Ignazio Cassis, pushed back on the plan, saying protection of property rights was fundamental in a liberal democracy. He underlined at a closing press conference the serious qualms of some leaders that proposals to confiscate Russian assets will set a dangerous precedent and needed specific legal justification.

“The right of ownership, the right of property is a fundamental right, a human right,” he said in Lugano, adding that such rights could be violated, as they had during the pandemic, but only so long as there was a legal basis.

Having your house nicked just because you carry the wrong passport ain’t liberal democracy now, is it?

Goddamit stop being so damn stupid

When the news presenter Lukwesa Burak first started working at the BBC, she was told that her afro-textured hair was “too ethnic”.

Ten years later, a photograph of the black British broadcaster wearing sweeping braids as she presented the news went viral on Twitter.

“Yes, I had braids while reading the news and yes, even on a national bulletin. Times have changed!” she tweeted last week.

The image of the 48-year-old presenter prompted an outpouring of support, particularly from parents and teachers who wanted to instil confidence in black children.

Huzzah and all that. But what does anyone damn well expect?

The norms of culture move with, well, the norms. Large scale immigration into the UK is still a pretty new thing, so, those norms are only catching up with that immigration. In 1945 the black population of the UK was some 10,000 people, max, concentrated in the old port cities. Now it’s some 3% of the population, about 1.5% Afro Caribbean, 1.5% African. That second group almost all having arrived in the last couple of decades.

No, leave aside whether you think the whole game is a good idea or not and just think for a goddam moment. Culture is indeed malleable but not instantly so. It takes time for change to happen – and?

Odd

Treat the Empire with extreme care, BBC tells Antiques Roadshow hosts
Presenters are being urged to address colonial history with more sensitivity to avoid backlash, documents reveal

“Empire”, when used of furniture and antiques, normally refers to the Frogs, doesn’t it? Why would anyone have to be sensitive in what we say about them?

For an economist this is weird

Ongoing challenges in component supply, exacerbated by restrictions in China, hampered the industry’s ability to fulfil demand.
….
There is good news in the product mix. Diesel and petrol fell and battery vehicles rose. But overall the marked decline is the issue.

We are in a country in recession territory now and the government is showing not the slightest sign of being aware of it.

Excess demand over available supply is evidence of recession now, is it?

For a political economist this is weird

But, fifth, most of all Labour needs to come out fighting rather than be apologising for its very existence. It should be saying Brexit has failed, because it has. It should be saying that this was because the decision was made to leave the single market and it will seek to reverse that. It should say that leaving he single market was never discussed as an option in 2016 and so this option was never endorsed by the electorate. It should say it was Tory hardliners who created this crisis. It should say that it is confident that the EU would have us back in that market. It should commit to rejoining that market now.

A very large part of Labour’s core vote doesn’t want to go back in. We know this from the analysis of the referendum vote.

Hmm

The scientists said the more frequent large Azores highs could only have been caused by the climate crisis, caused by humanity’s carbon emissions.

“The number of extremely large Azores highs in the last 100 years is really unprecedented when you look at the previous 1,000 years,” said Dr Caroline Ummenhofer, at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US, and part of the research team.

“That has big implications because an extremely large Azores high means relatively dry conditions for the Iberian peninsula and the Mediterranean,” she said. “We could also conclusively link this increase to anthropogenic emissions.”

“Could” and “conclusively” don’t really belong in the same sentence, do they?

The horror, the horror

The price rises put family holidays in jeopardy, with the cost of flying to eight of the top 20 most popular destinations in Europe climbing year-on-year.

The median cost of a return trip from London to Alicante in Spain has jumped from £20 to £50, 150pc more than a year ago, according to Kayak.com, a travel search engine.

Flights to Faro and Lisbon soared by 72pc and 83pc respectively, rising to £43 and £42.

5 hours minimum wage labour to travel 2.000 km.

The horror.

Nice try but no ceeegar

Ukraine must be rebuilt as a fortress of Western values – here’s a blueprint
If the people of Russia look across the border and see a beacon of Western capitalism, it will be the final rebuke to Vladimir Putin

How about the place be rebuilt as a fortress of Ukrainian values? That’s what folk are dying for isn’t it?

One of those human oddities

Competitors are given a personal daily allowance of £90 to spend on food and drink in various dedicated restaurants, and one coach per player is allocated about half that much.

The system – integrated with accreditation tags – is intended to make sure that those preparing for big matches do not need to worry about bringing their own nutrition to the south west London grounds.

However, it has emerged that numerous competitors have been treating the allowance as more of a target than a cap, with restaurants at times running low on certain products as a result.

One of the things that makes creating targets – whether for salesmen or for the economy more generally when planning and all types in between – difficult. Human nature can be, well, odd.

How excellent!

Exceptionalism is the idea that a country is different to others, and better as a result.

Brexit was powered by exceptionalism. So too is Russian aggression. So is the indifference of those in power in the USA as to the impact of their decisions on its currency on developing countries a form of exceptionalism when that currency is used by so many other countries.

Exceptionalism is based on arrogance, mythology, and straightforward lies. Its founding assumption is that there is an indigenous people who are possessed of superior traits that occupy a territory. Racist and eugenic within itself, the claim is also very obviously false. The only truly identifiable human trait is our extraordinary commonality, rather than our differences. Exceptional individuals might exist. There is no evidence that exceptional populations do, although those capable of being deceived into brutality seem to be a recurring theme of history.

The logical conclusion being that there’s no reason the indigenes should be ruling Africa. Bring back colonialism!

Umm

In practice, the paper argues that the greatest unused resource in our economy are people’s savings.

They’re savings, being used as savings. The problem with this is?

As a result most of the £8.4 trillion of financial assets owned by people in the UK are not being directed towards any useful social purpose in the UK at present.

Ah, yes, there’s the problem. Spud wants to spend the £8 trillion.

This is pretty good

The increase in interest costs for the most vulnerable households makes this worse. And let’s be clear that this policy is targeted on the most vulnerable households, which borrowers and renters always are as they have always the smallest budgets available to meet other costs.

Mortgage interest rates rise. Renters hardest hit.

So, the families and households most likely to be most under stress in the UK will see their bills for mortgages and rents rise rapidly if the Bank gets its way.

Someone’s also going to have to explain how higher interest rates increase rents…..