Amazing

But voluntary lockdown seems to be another factor to me. People are still, quite reasonably, isolating. They have more sense than this government, which is a cause for hope.

It’s the inability to see the link there. If folks are doing it anyway then we don’t need government to tell them, do we?

Of course, the economy won’t come back

As the P³ keeps telling us people save after a recession. There will be no economic bounceback:

U.S. GDP growth remained strong at 6.5% in the second quarter, sufficient to push GDP above its pre-pandemic level. Growth topped the fourth quarter’s revised 6.3%, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ preliminary estimate. Annual revisions altered prior data back to 1999. Strength was led by consumer spending as consumers benefited from two rounds of stimulus. Fixed nonresidential investment and exports also contributed to growth. Inventories and imports were the largest offsets. Real disposable income plunged 30.6% as stimulus faded. Income soared 57.8% last quarter. The saving rate dropped to a still-high 10.8% from 20.9%.

Oh, right.

Here’s an interesting solution

Some problems are intractable because there are too many competing interests. Some are hard to solve because they’re hard to predict. And then there’s social care, which is very straightforward. It may be terrifying to plot our ageing population’s needs into the future – local authorities used to call it “the graph of doom” – but it’s not difficult. All a government needs to do is to work out how to pay for it.

How about, umm, not having government pay for it?

Interesting

The world is at a perilous point and we, the special envoys of the World Health Organization’s director general, are calling for a renewed commitment to a comprehensive approach to defeating this pandemic. We have to accelerate along two tracks – one where governments and vaccine manufacturers support all WHO member states in their efforts to create vaccine manufacturing capacity and vaccinate their most vulnerable populations, and the other where individuals and communities maintain a steely focus on continuing essential public health measures to break transmission chains.

Note that there’s nothing there at all about patents. The problem is not premission to manufacture vaccines it’s how to manufacture vaccines.

Meaning that Global Justice Now and their boss, Dearden, are just producing their usual bullshit when they do scream about patents.

Race matters

I think that paper looks pretty good,” says Sir John. “We haven’t seen a big problem with blood clots in Latin America, in southeast Asia, and we haven’t seen a lot of blood clots in Africa.

“There is an interesting question over whether there’s a differential liability to blood clots in Northern European Caucasian people in Norway, where they first appeared, as compared to everyone else.”

OK, so it’s some subset of genes prevalent in a population, not actually race. But as it runs out with cystic fibrosis, sickle cell and so on, that concept does actually matter. So too with Vitamin D in high latitudes and so on.

The trick is in working out when such things – as with gender etc – don’t matter and when they do. An adamant insistence – either way, that we must measure by race, or we must not – isn’t a reflection of reality.

Umm?

Scott, who had qualified second fastest for the final, is a freestyle specialist and so it was of little surprise that he should lag back in sixth place after the opening backstroke leg. He then moved up to fifth in breaststroke and butterfly before unleashing a ferocious finish over the final 50m to surge through the field into second.

Backstroke first leg? Really?

Second leg, surely?

And this is from the Chief Sports Reporter?

As the Swedish pointed out

Rising numbers of people testing positive for Covid-19 are refusing to hand over details of close contacts, as the numbers forced to self-isolate reached a record high.

Official statistics show almost one quarter of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in the week ending July 21 would not provide details of any recent close contacts.

In total, 76.9 per cent of such cases provided such details – with compliance falling by almost 10 per cent in the past month.

Folks will only do whatever for some limited period of time. Therefore save the imposition of doing whatever until it is really necessary.

And the Swedish experience is looking better all the time, isn’t it?

It’s the lying, the lying

Jennifer Francis: ‘We cannot wait’
We need to immediately stop subsidizing all aspects of the fossil fuel industry. According to this report, the fossil fuel industry received $66bn in 2016, while renewables (excluding nuclear) only received $9.5bn.

From the extended version of her source:

Biodiesel Producer Tax Credita (26 U.S.C. 6426)

This is counted as a subsidy to fossil fuels, not renewables. A few billion a year as well.

Sigh.

The things people will complain about

For consumers, the current food system is defined by abundance and low prices. Americans spend just under 10% of their disposable income on food, among the lowest rates in the world,

No, really, that’s a complaint. About how food is too cheap because capitalism made it so.

Two things brought us to this grim place. The first is a profit-led drive for ever-increasing efficiency in agriculture, which has been in train for at least two centuries.

We’ve been trying to get more efficient at agriculture since the Neolithic. In fact, that’s a useful definition of when we started to try to do so – the Neolithic.

And they’re complaining!

Sure, of course it is

But. there are serious questions to ask here. First, never let it be said again that strategically important companies cannot be nationalised in the public interest.

Not let it be said that the government cannot decide who should be winners and losers in our economy.

And come to that, never let it be said that investment to secure important government goals is not possible, because it very clearly is.

In other words, let it now be said, loud and clear, that nationalisation is definitely on the agenda, at least when it suits the government.

Always has been too. The question is always when is that “suits the government” something that the rest of us want to have happen? Nationalising a fragile business in the middle of the defence supplier chain might be a case – might! – where it does. Nationalising all food shops might – might! – not be.

Government have, after all, done both……..

Isn’t this lovely?

For FT copyright reasons I cannot note much else of what she said, but the essence was simple. Her suggestion was that capitalism without democracy is oligarchy, with winners and losers determined by autocrats. In that case, those tasked with institutional saving of pension and other funds have, she argued, a duty to fund those who support democracy in the USA and defund those who oppose it before it is too late to save, as it would be if Trump won in 2024. Her suggestion was that pension funds, university endowments and others have a duty to pass this message to companies: defunding Republicans is in the interests of mainstream America, she says.

I think she is right. I do not have to believe that all that the companies that she might invest in is useful, good or even right to think that they have a critical role in opposing the spread of the far-right anti-democratic forces that threaten to undermine the USA. That process is already underway as voter laws are changed to end democracy as anyone might reasonably recognise it in some states. It can only get worse if Trump runs for the Republicans again, as he might.

I would add that there are other issues where such an alignment of institutional investors and endowment bodies with political interests is required: support for action on climate change is the other that springs to mind.

So the establishment clique that controls institutional investment should invest on the basis of political bias in order to preserve democracy?

Cool!

This could be exceptionally fun

A Belgian judge has opened an investigation for possible manslaughter over floods there that claimed 38 lives, the prosecutors office in the city of Liege announced.

The investigating magistrate has the task of identifying who might be responsible for “involuntary homicide by lack of foresight or precaution” the prosecutors office said in a statement on Wednesday.

There’re a lot of if’s to string together here as I know very little about this. Possibly some would like to inform me?

So, we know that the enviros have managed, at EU level, to curtail dredging and flood maintenance. Those vital wetlands must be allowed to regenerate. This was the explanation for those Somerset Levels problems.

There are large areas of Northern Europe where doing this will leads to substantial flooding. We’ve just had substantial flooding in areas of Northern Europe.

So, now, magistrates investigation into why the floods. Will that end up being fingered as part of the cause?

Nope, dunno, but would be fun…..

Yields work two ways of course

City centre landlords are cashing in as surging tenant demand means yields have jumped this year.

So far in 2021, the average investor purchasing a buy-to-let in a city achieved a gross yield of 5.3pc, according to Hamptons estate agents. This was boost of 0.6 percentage points from 2020, when returns slumped in the wake of the pandemic.

This being – or at least could be – neatly explained by capital values having declined by the necessary amount. Yield is, after all, rent as a percentage of that capital value……falling prices not being the usual background to people “cashing in”.

This isn’t a great argument

Dan Bibby, an inspirational stand-in captain in Tokyo after Mitchell got injured, has proved a vegan can compete at the highest level of his sport. Rugby traditionalists may think this is too touchy-feely, but it is the future and this is why these sevens players need to cherished. We need male role models who can talk openly about their feelings and aren’t afraid to break the stereotype of whatever a rugby player is supposed to be.

Well, maybe we do and maybe we don’t.

And who was there years ahead of their time, discussing mental health, veganism, the importance of sharing resources with female counterparts, learning from women’s sport with regard to openness and LGBT athletes? The sevens men. They are a team for our times.

OK, super. But here’s the problem. The rest of the whingeing is about how they only came fourth. Meaning that all this wokeness might not be all that helpful in the base aim of sport, to win.

There’s also one other point. All this “support” the sevens teams should get. Well, that sevens circuit is pretty mature now. Ongoing global competition. Does it make enough money to support the teams playing it?

Nope? Then why make other people subsidise it?

Yes, yes, start up investments and all that. But that sevens circuit is mature now.

Not the normal explanation, certainly

Roman Abramovich is not Vladimir Putin’s “willing tool” or “cashier” and did not buy Chelsea FC to help Russia corrupt the West, his lawyers have told the High Court.

One muttering going around was that by buying a non-Russia trophy asset he was signalling that he wasn’t interested in – or worried about – internal to Russia power struggles. “Look Boss, I’m out of that game”.

Somebody woke up

Second, I am, one day a week, Professor of Accounting at Sheffield University Management School. Sheffield has now confirmed that they wish me to focus on research work around auditing, accounting and tax and that I will only be doing occasional lectures, rather than being responsible for teaching a course.

Eminently sensible, having made the original mistake of the hire. Actually exposing students to him would not be nice….

Are we now claiming they got something right?

People advised to shield in the first wave of the pandemic were five times more likely to die after a confirmed Covid infection than those considered at low risk from the disease, according to research in Scotland.

The study, led by the University of Glasgow, found that efforts to shield the most vulnerable did not prevent substantial levels of infection in the most high-risk groups, with many patients succumbing to the virus.

So the people advised to shield were those who should have shielded, being the more vulnerable?

Be interesting if government actually got something right, wouldn’t it?

The findings raise questions about how effective shielding was in the first wave of the pandemic and show that other measures, from reducing transmission in the community to Covid-safe support at home, are crucial for those most vulnerable to the disease.

“The only way you can protect these people is by stopping them getting infected in the first place because they are such a high-risk group,” said Prof Jill Pell, the director of the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing. “You cannot simply dump the responsibility on high-risk people to protect themselves because, as we’ve shown, they cannot protect themselves 100%.”

Ah, no, don;t be silly. They’re looking for someone to blame. The insistence apparently being on a zero infection rate during a pandemic.

Sigh.

Well, this is where I’d go for analysis too

Jana Bacevic is assistant professor of sociology at Durham University. Linsey McGoey is professor of sociology at the University of Essex

The reason Britain has had a bad pandemic:

It may be tempting to explain the government’s lagging public health advice by a lack of clear evidence, the novelty of the situation, or just “bad luck”. But this obscures the degree to which the government has also exploited the uncertainty generated by the Covid-19 pandemic for economic and political gain, by using the facade of incompetence to narrow the political choices available to the public.

In a report released last December, the cross-party joint committee on national security strategy condemned the government for having “failed seriously to consider how it might scale up testing, isolation and contact-tracing capabilities during a serious disease outbreak”. But the report missed a key aspect: the delay in scaling up public testing helped to prime the space for private UK-based firms to enter the market.

Yep, it’s all been done so as to privatise the NHS. Obvious innit? ‘Coz Tories is bastards.

What other analysis would you expect from sociologists?

No, this is the other lot

A cutting-edge start-up founded by a quartet of British university scientists has been valued at $3.2bn (£2.3bn) in one of the largest bets yet on a breakthrough that it is claimed will revolutionise computing.

PsiQuantum, launched by professors at the University of Bristol and Imperial College London, has raised $450m from backers including BlackRock, Microsoft and Scotland’s Baillie Gifford.

Our reader here, who is also a British professor of quantum computing, is in the other lot. Who have not just been invested in at such a valuation.