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Voluntary transactions should be illegal apparently

Let’s stop pretending that paying for sex is anything but abuse
It’s revolting to see men casually boast about how they treat prostitutes — they should be shamed and jailed

Sigh.

Things that are illegal to do to people – beat them up, say, or cheat them – should obviously be illegal for all people. But things that people voluntarily agree to do – rent out a body part for 10 minutes, say – should be legal.

And leaving sex work where it is, legal, means that it’s possible for those who undertake it to report and therefore be protected from those things which are illegal for all people.

Legal prostitution is safer than illegal that is.

Now, obviously, those who charge for sex in a different way might not like the cash but otherwise cost unencumbered supply but that’s just one of life’s little toughies.

It’s also possible to put this a different way. Why should middle aged women be allowed to control the sexuality of other adults?

An alternative view

Never mind. There will be another Menzies or Wragg next week, accused of grifting for dosh, or generously sharing their genitals with the rest of us — or, as in the case of Paul Maynard MP, allegedly siphoning off vast amounts of taxpayers’ money for his own campaign funds. It all points to one thing: death, like a big black bat, is flapping its wings over this administration. It has become wholly enmired in complacency, arrogance and corruption, and with each miscreant dragged, bellowing their innocence, into the daylight, it becomes more and more evident that the centre cannot hold. Any notional discipline has gone. The ship is sinking, and the honourable members don’t really give a monkey’s.

Could be, could be.

Personally I don’t think so though. Rather, all politics is like this all the time. The fin de siecle part is just that as it’s obvious this lot are at the end of their rope folk are willing to talk about it, write it up, reveal.

Of course, that I think all politics is like this all the time is why I think it’s such a lousy way of running anything.

John Naughton, sigh

One symptom of their anxiety is the way they have been throwing unconscionable amounts of money at the 70-odd generative AI startups that have mushroomed since it became clear that AI was going to be the new new thing. Microsoft reportedly put $13bn (about £10.4bn) into OpenAI, for example, but it was also the lead investor in a $1.3bn funding round for Inflection, Deepmind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman’s startup. Amazon put $4bn into Anthropic, the startup founded by refugees from OpenAI. Google invested $500m in the same outfit, with a promise of $1.5bn more, and unspecified sums in A121 Labs and Hugging Face. (Yeah, I know the names make no sense.) Microsoft has also invested in Mistral, the French AI startup. And so on. In 2023, of the $27bn that was invested in AI startups, only $9bn came from venture capitalist firms – which until recently had been by far the biggest funders of new tech enterprises in Silicon Valley.

This is used as evidence of imminent monopoly in AI.

Sigh.

Blimey, this man’s bright

When royals marry among themselves, it brings an unexpected peace dividend
Torsten Bell

The more monarchies across Europe were intertwined, the fewer wars there were

Millennia of stationary bandits marrying off daughters to the sons of the stationary bandit next door. One the ground that if his son is fucking my daughter then perhaps he’s less likely to come kill me. You know, one grandpops killing the other is a bit tricky to explain?

People deliberately created such familial networks in order to achieve such peace. For millennia.

Got to hand it to the Resolution Foundation. They have caught up eventually.

Blimey

By 1974, the situation within the Portuguese military had reached breaking point. Portugal was in its 13th year of fighting a colonial war on three African fronts, forcing the authoritarian, ultra-nationalist Estado Novo regime to sink increasingly untenable levels of manpower into maintaining control.

Given the gay abandon people throw around the word fascist these days you’d think they’d call actual fascists actual, you know, fascists?

No foreigners! No, no, no foreign money!

Royal Mail is a critical national asset. Selling to a Czech billionaire would be extraordinary
Britain is already suffering for its naive ‘help yourself’ approach to foreign takeovers

Not allowing foreigners to invest in the country is a strange attitude for a place that’s been running a trade deficit for decades.

But then there are those more nationalistic than is possibly sensible, eh?

The triple ferret

The comedian Al Murray has suggested he could turn himself in to the police in anticipation of falling foul of Scotland’s new hate crime laws.

Murray, best known for his act featuring a politically incorrect pub landlord, fears the legislation could land him in trouble.

“This is a very interesting moment actually, that piece of legislation. To be honest, for comedians it is a wonderful opportunity to get yourself arrested and get written about. Or maybe next time I go to Scotland I should simply turn myself in,” he said.

So I’ll not get arrested, nor turn myself in presumptively, but will gain the publicity by talking about being arrested, talking about turning myself in presumptively.

The Triple Ferret in all its glory, Laydeez ‘s’ Gennelmen.

Well of course. Obviously

Oxford University college scraps St George’s Day event but will host Eid dinner
Banquet to mark end of Ramadan replaces formal celebration of England’s patron saint which ‘stretched back decades’

We English haven’t made much of St George’s Day for centuries. No need to, we’re top dog and that’s that. Also, we’re polite – famously so – meaning that we’ll not pressure lesser unfortunates by rubbing their noses in it in a celebratory manner.

Which entirely leaves time and space free for those less secure in their beliefs and identity to bolster their sorry lot.

How’s he calculating this?

The interest rate went up from 0.1 per cent to 5. 25 per cent. It’s unusual for anybody to have earned 5.25 per cent on their deposits, of course, over that period. But real interest rates have risen from well under 1 percent in 2021 to over 4 percent still if you search around.

How’s he getting to 4% real rates?

CPIH is 4.7%, Base rate is 5.25%. It would be rare for a retail depositor to get more than base rate and if so not by much. So I’ve got real interest rates running at 0.55%. How’s he getting to a 4% real rate?

What a great surprise. And what a news story that is. A news story that’s not being said on any of the mass media, which is why I thought I’d mention it here.

Could be that even journalists know what a real interest rate is. As Spud clearly doesn’t.

Worth getting the Body Shop story right

The Body Shop collapsed after HSBC withdrew a line of credit and the chain’s private equity buyer failed to secure new funding, The Telegraph can reveal.

A shortfall worth at least £100m arose after Aurelius acquired the retailer in November, much of which stemmed from HSBC’s decision to withdraw credit facilities.

This “unplanned” funding gap led to the retailer’s rapid downfall in February, just three months after Aurelius bought The Body Shop from Brazilian cosmetics company Natura for £207m.

The revelations shed fresh light on the events that led to The Body Shop’s controversial administration and are likely to raise more questions about the collapse of the business.

Not necessarily wholly and really. At lesat, my contention is that it’s all a plan to screw the landlords.

In my day we called it shagging around

My husband is my co-parent, friend and lover – but he isn’t the only person I have sex with: the inside story of an open marriage

Another way to look at this is that aristocratic marriage has moved down into the bourgeoisie. After all, once that heir and spare had been delivered it was thought somewhat uncouth to even try to determine the paternity of any others. The same being true of other such aristocratic marriages of course so it all evened out.

All a bit Stasi, isn’t it?

A primary school teacher was sacked after she taught pupils as young as nine how to do a TikTok dance.

Georgia Rogers was fired after bosses found she had “condoned” under-age students using the social media site – which bans children aged under 13.

She was also accused of breaching the school’s safeguarding procedure by failing to report her pupils’ use of the app, an employment tribunal heard

It was after, but not because of, teaching them a “TikTok Dance” (which meerely means something seen on a video there).

So, the kids saud “Please Miss, teach us this!” and she did. Nowt lacivious or what, just some dance steps. Filmed it on hte school iPad and that’s that. No, no uplopading or anything. Kiddies get to do what kiddies have seen and all have lots of fun.

So she gets fired. Because if 10 year olds are talking about TikTok then this means that they’ve been loking at it and they shouldn’t because they’re under 13. Therefore she needs to be fired because she didn’t nark on the 10 year olds watching TikTok.

Sounds a little Stasi, doesn’t it? Winston, where art thou now sort of stuff? Possiblky a whiff of Victory Gin about it?

It’s even possible that 10 year olds shouldn’t be watching TikTok but if this is the sort of end result of such an insistence might I recommend bloody revolution as a suitable response?

Eh?

Queen Charlotte was a “person of colour”, a museum’s LGBT audio guide has wrongly claimed.

The audio guide for the Royal Museums Greenwich tells visitors that despite what “insecure white boys” have said, George III’s wife was the first British royal from a non-white background.

Queen Charlotte’s purported ethnicity has been sidelined because of “structural racism”, according to the guide, which states that she was a “person of colour”.

Someone been reading too much Bridgerton?

Err, yes, appears so.

Just weird history

I almost felt like asking on Twitter “Whatever did the Glorious Revolution do for you?“ Apart from the suppression of Catholicism, the creation of the Bank of England, the institution of the national debt, the imposition of a monarch who believed in the importance of the navy, largely as a weapon for imperialist, colonialist inspired territorial expansion,

The Glorious Revolution got rid of James II, formerly Lord High Admiral, for Billy III, who was hugely invested in land wars in Europe.

Is even history beyond Spud?

It’s possible to agree with this, yes

It really is time that the IMF worked out what the economic priorities of the 21st-century are. In particular, they should appreciate the promoting an environment in which the interests of rent-extracting global monopolies are prioritised is never going to meet the needs of most people. When they have got over serving the interests of that lobby group, we might get more coherent policy from them.

The worst rent extracting monopolies are the governments of countries – so, the IMF should be down on them. Sure, agreed.

Abigail Disney supports a billionaire’s tax

This week, finance ministers and central-bank governors from G20 countries will meet in Washington DC at the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They will have a chance to commit to raising the taxes of wealthy people.

At the recent São Paulo, Brazil meeting in February this year, economists and G20 finance leaders floated the idea of instituting a global minimum tax on the world’s billionaires, who are now more abundant in number (2,781) and in combined wealth ($14.2tn) than ever before. This tracks with countless recommendations and requests from economists and communities all over the world, including a proposal for a 2% tax on billionaires from the EU Tax Observatory in its groundbreaking report last year.

Finance ministers from both Brazil and France came out publicly in support of this idea, and a handful of other countries have quietly assured activists they are supportive of the policy framework.

Abigail Disney can voluntarily pay more tax if she so wishes.

Abigail Disney is, apparently, worth $120 million.

Taxes for thou richer than me, apparently.

Snigger

NPR needs a serious critique not a politically charged parting shot
Margaret Sullivan

How Uri Berliner went about his complaint made it clear he was not interested in constructive criticism, but a viral moment

Ah, so NPR is terminally woke then, entirely progressive populated and in no way reflective of the nation at all?

Yes, yes, that’s what I am saying – but he shouldn’t have said it out loud.

Dickie Betts

Dickey Betts, Allman Brothers Band co-founder and guitarist, dies aged 80
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer who wrote the band’s biggest hit, Ramblin’ Man, dies at home in Florida ‘surrounded by his whole family

Yep, it’s hackneyed now after so much play. But in their day they really were a cracking band:

Are there no Guardsmen left?

A source close to Mr Menzies told The Times he met a man on an online dating website and went to his flat before then going with another man to a second address and continuing drinking.

The source added it was falsely claimed he was sick at one point and several people at the address demanded £5,000 they asserted was to cover the cost of cleaning and other expenses.

Traditionally it was the bushes in Hyde Park wasn’t it? Such winter activity being one of those things that made you proud to be British.

Still, makes the solution fairly simple. Increase the defence budget and keep the Household Division up to muster.

Worstall’s Law Of Acting

Is, as we know, “If she’s fugly, she can”.

The point is not that pretty women – even beautiful ones – cannot, by definition, act. It’s that some people – male and female – get acting jobs simply because they’re so stunning looking. An actual ability to act is not a necessary requirement for a job as an actor that is.

However, if we find someone who does not have those stunning looks who also gets acting jobs then the assumption – even, if we are to take the law seriously, not something that is wholly necessary – is that the individual can act.

If she’s fugly she can.

Sydney Sweeney has hit back at a “shameful” Hollywood producer who criticised her acting ability and asked, “Why is she so hot?”.

The actress, who was nominated for two Emmys this year, said that she felt “unjustly disparaged” after hearing the comments made by Carol Baum.

Earlier this week, Ms Baum told the audience at a film screening that the 26-year-old was an “actor that everyone loves now” but that she “didn’t get” the hype surrounding the White Lotus star.

“I said to my class, ‘Explain this girl to me. She’s not pretty, she can’t act. Why is she so hot?,” Ms Baum, who teaches at the University of Southern California, said.

Ms. Sweeney has a couple of distinctive assets which may – or may not be – the basis of her career. Thus not a proof, either way, of the law – as yet.

So, the question becomes, who thinks she’s going to be gaining headline acting jobs in 20 years time?