Skip to content

Weird detailed silliness

The former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown receives the highest award of companion of honour for his public service.

One of the little conventions is that a subsequent PM doesn’t decide upon which gong he wants until the previous one has done so. Not written down anywhere, just is.

So, with Brown not having picked up anything that meant Cameron could have the Earldom he so clearly gasps for. No, the Barony to get him to be Foreign Sec isn’t the same thing. This then also applies to Boris, May and Truss.

Now that Brown is accepting the CH this might then clear the way. So, I’d say Boris is odds on to want an Earldom. Anyone else?

I recognise some names here

At the point Nigel Farage announced his intention to stand for parliament “my heart sank”, admitted Trixy Sanderson, 42, formerly known as Annabelle Fuller. “It’s very triggering,” said Farage’s former lover and press aide.

The overriding emotion of Doug Denny, 76, a former member of Ukip’s ruling body, was frustration. “I don’t like frauds,” he said, with a shake of the head. As for Nikki Sinclaire, 55, one of Farage’s former MEPs, she said she felt cold anger.

It was inexplicable to her that this particular political bandwagon was still rolling on. “I get very frustrated because the media have had the tools for many years to down Farage.”

It’s a bit of a hit job and those are – from politics – the three basically doing the hitting. Having been there at the time (or for some of it at least) I’d not put a huge amount of credence to the hits. There are, shall we say, backstories.

The bits about he can be ruthless and all that, sure. That’s sorta a given in someone capable of running an organisation of campaign.

But, you know……

An interesting question

Argentina’s inflation rate (MoM) has now fallen 5 months in a row. Javier Milei was sworn in December 10, 2023 just 7 months ago.

Down from 25.5% to just 4.2%

How did Argentina’s President Javier Milei do it?

Slashing government spending.

OK, that’s simple enough (and not fully correct either).

But I wonder what Spud’s answer would be to “How did he do it?”

New Vermine!

Many of these suggestions will be familiar to readers of this blog because it looks as though Plaid Cymru, like the Greens and the Liberal Democrats, have adopted many of the ideas in my Taxing Wealth Report 2024: some of the figures look remarkably similar. I cannot be sure what the relationship between that Report and those three manifestoes is, but the coincidences do appear high.

PC does, in my opinion, play an important role in Welsh politics, even though it remains a minority party. It champions Wales and the Welsh language.

Unlike Labour, which dominates the Welsh scene, it is a party of ambition.

It is willing to promote the interests of the people it seeks to serve, and not vested interests.

Its role in promoting the opinion of those who live in West Wales in particular, which is an area for which I have a strong affection, is important, and from my conversations there, I realise that it is appreciated.

I think he’s realised that, as a matter of policy, the SNP does not nominate for vermine.

Technological change is a bitch

The other day, I got yet another job offer to “train AI”. The company had the audacity to list $15 an hour as a “perk” of the job.

I’ve spent much of my 25-year writing career as a freelancer. I was always excited to scoop a story for a major publication, but I couldn’t have survived without the bread-and-butter jobs: web copy, corporate blogging and product descriptions.

Now I can’t survive. I’ve made $3,000 this year, which is only 40% of what the US government considers a poverty level income. I’m living off my credit card while crafting an endless flurry of cover letters as my career prospects grow ever more depressing.

Fifteen dollars an hour to train AI to steal my livelihood?

There were a couple of years just back there where I was doing very well indeed (no, I am not crying poverty now!) scribbling little pieces for stock market pages. $5k a month for three hours mornings Mon to Fri. Trivially easy stuff in fact. That’s now all – all – done by ChatGPT and the like. There aren’t even any jobs advertised in the sector, let alone the pay being like that.

Technological change just is a bitch. Ho Hum.

Really? My Word!

Publicly naming trans criminals could harm them, Scottish civil servants fear


The report was made following a visit to Scotland by Victor-Madrigal Borloz, the UN independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, in May last year.

It came a few months after the scandal over Bryson, a double rapist previously known as Adam Graham who was initially placed in Scotland’s only female jail.

The initial decision, based on the principle of gender self-ID which was championed by the SNP government, was reversed following an outcry.

However, the disclosures in the UN report suggest civil servants were unhappy that the case became a focus of public debate.

Since the backlash over Bryson, the Scottish Prison Service has stopped proactively disclosing how many transgender inmates are in its care.

Ah, the “them” in the headline is the civil servants, that now makes sense.

Ahahaha, snigger

A YouGov survey put Mr Farage’s party on 19 per cent, ahead of the Tories on 18 per cent. Labour remains ahead on 37 per cent, a lead of 18 percentage points, while the Liberal Democrats are placed fourth on 14 per cent.

Obviously, it’s not going to work that way on seats. But it is a delight, all the same.

It’s delightful logic, isn’t it?

The quantum tax required from the economy is, then, always the balancing figure within the fiscal equation, seeking to find the appropriate compromise between controlling inflation and providing economic stimulus.

All this nuance was lost when focusing upon tax alone, without ever discussing why that tax might not be at an appropriate level given the demand for public services in the country.

The difficulty with Spud’s framing here is that we know we can get two different answers from the electorate.

1) What free gifties would you like?

2) How much tax are you prepared to pay to get them?

This isn’t changed by tax being the thing that pays for those gifties or the balancing figure within the fiscal equation. Humans don’t work that way.

My theory

The enduring mystery of why women outlive men may come down to the smallest and the largest cells in the body: the sperm and eggs that are central to human reproduction.

Scientists in Japan have shown for the first time in vertebrates that cells that develop into eggs in females and sperm in males drive sex differences in lifespan, and that removing the cells leads to animals with the same life expectancy.

Don’t think fish work for mammals. Because in mammals it’s the pregnancy itself which is the difficult bit – not something that affects fish.

Of course I say this from that glorious position of knowing fuck all about the subject.

With humans I do have a theory though. To survive pregnancy and birth you’ve got to be a pretty tough little human. If you can do that then you’re likely to survive longer than those with a body built to not have to do that. Historically the average outcome was probably shorter female lives – those lost to childbirth exceeded the extra years of life from those who survived it. I think. Now we’ve drastically reduced the deaths in childbirth and so the innate toughness gains its expression.

Again, this is from a position of invincible ignorance of the details but it’s my theory and I like it.

To translate

The Guardian view on Europe’s imperilled green deal: time to outflank the radical right

The voters have spoken but fuck them, harder and faster we go!

The burden of transition on economically insecure voters must be eased via a more ambitious fiscal approach by governments

More tax, Yay!

There will be idiots who do this, yes

City law firms have been urged to stop hosting work socials at the pub over fears they exclude Muslim staff.

A report by Rare, a UK graduate recruitment company specialising in diversity, said the legal profession’s “big drinking culture” is unfair to those who abstain from alcohol.

It suggested that law firms introduce more cooking, painting or pottery classes to boost team bonding, rather than hosting events centred on booze.

We’re in a society where a pint and a natter is a usual and normal method of social bonding. Apparently we’ve got to change this in order to incorporate the immigrants. Rather than they picking up our habits. Even if that does mean an OJ and a natter.


This does sound a bit silly

Sir Keir Starmer is standing by a pledge to ban new drilling in the North Sea, despite New Zealand abandoning a similar policy amid blackout fears.

Labour’s manifesto, due out on Thursday, will feature a pledge to block all new licensing for oil and gas as one of its key energy policies.

We’re not going to stop using gas and oil, not in this immediate future. Maybe in 30 to 50 years, but not right now whatever Greenpeace says.

Such warnings are echoed by energy experts in the UK, where over 75pc of total energy consumed still comes from oil and gas.

Half comes from UK waters – but it too will drop off a cliff if Labour implements a ban on new drilling, warns the industry.

Stopping drilling in UK waters isn;t going to build the renewables or whatever that’s supposed to replace it. It’ll just mean imports. Which means lower tax revenues – no tax on the drillers, they pay up to 75% – and a fall in recorded GDP, imports are a substraction in that calculation.

Can’t see it’s worth it, whatever the value in elite virtue signalling.

We can explain this

Yesterday, this post of mine was removed from TikTok for a while……Apparently, it violated rules by encouraging hate speech……..This morning, I had a warning from Facebook that this post in which I discuss the Tory manifesto costings might also encourage hate speech……Far-right thought and deep misogyny thrive on these sites. But I am getting warnings for providing reasoned political comment.

What is going on?

A system of censorship has been built around and over online content. As Spud would applaud if it were dedicated only to no-platforming climate deniers etc. But that’s not the way censorship works, is it?

One possible answer

The European election results both confirmed and invalidated a widely expected rightwing surge. But what does this mean for Europe’s place in the world at a time when Putin has the upper hand in Ukraine, war in the Middle East shows no sign of ending, Trump is a threat on the US electoral horizon and China is throwing its weight around?

Who gives a toss?

Today’s business idea

We need something that uses electricity, where the cost of the electricity is the or a major cost, which produces something saleable and can be run on an intermittent basis.

This should also be possible at domestic scale.

So, mining bitcoin is an obvious one, tho’ that no longer works at domestic scale at all. Might be possible to imagine a net which does it tho’.

The electricity grid operator wants to pay people to use more electricity when supplies from wind and solar farms are abundant under an update of its “demand flexibility” service.

The system was launched in 2022 to help the National Grid lessen the risk of blackouts by paying families and businesses to use less electricity when supply was tight. Last winter 2.6 million signed up to use the service.

They will pay us to use electricity. So, we’ve a negative input cost. We can use that to make what? Note that it will be intermittent…..can’t, therefore run a furnace etc

It’s possible to see why shipbuilding left these isles

The embattled shipyard that built the Titanic is facing the threat of strikes over plans to force workers to come in on Fridays.

Members of the GMB union at Harland & Wolff’s Belfast shipyard overwhelmingly voted for industrial action on Monday, amid a backlash against proposals to extend their working hours.

It is understood that managers are seeking to move away from a four-day week to a mandatory five-day one as the amount of work at the shipyard increases.

The yard is trying to refinance. It’s not obvious that it will be able to do so – and therefore will go bust.

But the plan for longer hours has sparked outrage among workers, who currently receive overtime pay for working Fridays under arrangements secured by unions decades ago.

But they’re willing to strike over overtime on Fridays.

Proof that it’s a bad idea

It is a strange moment when an idea that you have promoted suddenly moves towards the political centre stage, even if Nigel Farage is the person who is doing the pushing.

This happened yesterday when the Reform Party presented its idea to eliminate payments of interest to the UK’s commercial banks and other financial services organisations that enjoy the privilege of having a central bank reserve account balance with the Bank of England. As I have noted here many times, the payment of bank base rate on these accounts at one time cost in excess of £40 billion a year, and still costs in excess of £35 billion per annum now.

What other proof do we require?