May 2018

Europe cut off by Brexit

France is blocking Britain’s attempt to remain part of a European Union security system that helps to identify foreign criminals and is designed to keep the public safe.

The government wants a guarantee that it can continue to access and share vital DNA, fingerprint and vehicle information with other European countries after Brexit.

Ministers have said that Britain’s participation in the so-called Prüm Convention is “clearly in the national interest”. The system allowed French and Belgian authorities to identify the terrorists responsible for the Paris attacks in November 2015.

Britain has been rebuffed, however, with France leading the resistance at a recent meeting to its efforts to join a “Prüm 2”. A senior government figure said: “Normally France is quite helpful when it comes to security co-operation but on this they are being awkward.”

Trust the Frogs not to grok cooperation. Sure, we get access to their information – but they also get access to our.


That’s nice of them, isn’t it?

Mattarella’s decision set off a chain of events that roiled Italian markets: Conte resigned as prime minister-in waiting and new elections appeared to be imminent, worrying markets and officials in Brussels. Their concern was that new elections could strengthen populist gains in Italy, leading to even greater uncertainty about the country’s future in the eurozone.

If your finance minister threatens the EU and the euro then you can’t have him. But if having elections to sort this out threatens the EU and the euro then we’ll change tack so you don’t have them.

There’s a little batsqueak somewhere telling me this isn’t quite how democracy should work really.

Just an everyday story of normies

Nic Chandler, 27, from Tennessee was born male but identifies gender neutral
Met Rachel Kouris, 26, a transgender woman, on a dating site
Then met Xander, a transgender man, through work and he joined them as trio
Trio share same king size bed and insist their relationship is very conventional

OK, whatever floats your boat.

Interesting reading of the UK economy

One of the central motivations for austerity was the idea that our deficits and debts were so high as to inspire a lack of confidence in the economy. The narrative was always that we needed austerity to ‘bring the public finances under control’ – even as the government simultaneously cut corporation tax, inheritance tax and income tax for the highest earners. By making sharp public sector cuts, the government would restore confidence and the UK would move towards a swift recovery.

This is from the Progressive Economy Forum.

There are a couple of problems with it.

1) There were no public sector spending cuts. Spending is up in cash terms, in real terms and is still higher in %ge of GDP terms than it was in 2007. What sodding cuts?

2) The stimulative effect is the size of the deficit, not the amount of spending. Cutting taxes to increase the deficit is stimulatory itself.

Not a good evidentiary base to start from, is it?

Simon Wren Lewis has been klnown to insist that even so there has been austerity. His definition being any amount of spending less than the amount which would have entirely prevented the recession.

Black aids is because racial capitalism apparently

However, these ARVs only helped the individual and communal bodies who got the drugs. And in the US, this largely meant that white gay men got the drugs early and often, while black gay America largely never got them. The inability to end HIV/Aids isn’t a failure of medicine, but a failure of racial capitalism.

Hiding this epidemic is a choice, and Mike Pence and Donald Trump have made it worse. Denial, stigma and shame don’t help. This crisis requires using treatment as prevention, increasing sexual education, and undoing the homophobic health disparities caused by racial capitalism in general and the apartheid-like US healthcare system in particular.

Apologies as it is necessary to be a tad crude here.

To avoid HIV as an epidemic – there are other infection routes but they’ll not cause an epidemic – it is necessary to abstain from two behaviours, sharing needles to inject and taking it up the bum without a condom being used.

Neither of these have anything to do with race or capitalism.

Steven W Thrasher is a PhD candidate in American studies at New York University. He contributed to the recently published book The Unfinished Queer Agenda After Marriage Equality and was formerly writer-at-large for Guardian US. Twitter @thrasherxy

Ah, we’ve a PhD thesis to complete and a campaigning book to write, career to launch….

About Tommy Robinson

From the comments:

Tim–why don’t you put your article about Tommy Robinson up on here?

It is not to your credit that you are with the likes of Seaman Staines, Ole Holebone and others buying the state’s COCrot.

OK, so here’s how I read it right now.

Tommy Robinson has been an idiot and broken a law he had been warned about, indeed convicted of breaching before.

Contempt of court is a serious crime. As it should be. As is potentially prejudicing a trial that’s underway.

Why is it a serious crime? Because everyone does deserve a fair trail. And the worse the crime, the more the possible criminal is someone we don’t, or might not, like then the more essential is the fairness of that trial.

Tommy’s in jail because he was being an idiot tosspot. Nowt else.

This just in from Anne Pettifor

The NHS pays for itself, because all the people who work in it pay tax.

Great, that’s easy then. We don’t tax anyone else to pay for the NHS. We only tax those who work in it because, as we’re told, that tax pays for it anyway.

Note what the real error in her argument is. Student loans don’t cost government anything because all the lecturers employed pay tax.


So let’s be clear about this: the UK’s state-within-a-state, otherwise known as the City of London, is using Brexit as a chance to say that it wants to go back to governing its own affairs without control from Westminster on behalf of the only people it thinks matter, who are those associated with the City.

No one should be surprised by this: it was ever thus. But the EU restrained ‘two-state’ Britain and helped keep the bankers under some degree of control. But not now they won’t. And the bankers want to tun their own state again, with the rest of the UK being required to comply with its wishes.

This one is a real fight, with money behind it. The fear that some want to turn the UK into tax haven Britain post-Brexit has never quite gone away. This spat makes clear there is real reason for concern on this issue. And that’s another reason to stay very close to Europe indeed.

We want Westminster to rule The City. Therefore all must be ruled by Brussels.

Oh dear, oh dear

Richard Murphy says:
May 29 2018 at 2:58 pm
Murphy Deeks Nolan never had less than 66% of partners female

I was always outnumbered

And they were on equal pay pro rata hours

I think any research we have done is vastly better than yours

The current reporting on the gender pay gap ignores hours worked…..

I object to this

We can agree that heavy-handed price controls are poor economic policy, but even free market commentator Tim Worstall of Forbes conceded that this only indicts non-market forms of socialism, since we can “conceive of a socialist economy that does work, it just needs to be a market and prices based economy among socialist organisations like cooperatives.”

How is a free market commentator conceding anything when he insists that markets work, non-markets don’t?


Alternatively, researchers have shown that health spending is one of the best ways to stimulate the economy, so the government could opt against tax increases in the short term and instead let healthcare spending act as a fiscal stimulus, at least until purchasing power had increased.

Seriously? Who the hell has claimed that?

Isn’t this a little problem

Richard Brooks is the bloke who gets tax wrong for Private Eye. He now says this about accounting:

The demise of sound accounting became a critical cause of the early 21st-century financial crisis. Auditing limited companies, made mandatory in Britain around a hundred years earlier, was intended as a check on the so-called “principal/agent problem” inherent in the corporate form of business. As Adam Smith once pointed out, “managers of other people’s money” could not be trusted to be as prudent with it as they were with their own.

Audits are for shareholders.

Rather kills Ritchie’s ideas about stakeholders, doesn’t it?

Oh aye?

Theresa May ‘must prove she is a feminist by imposing abortion reform on Northern Ireland’

Theresa May has been accused of betraying the legacy of the suffragists by failing to impose abortion law reform on Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister has insisted that Ulster’s strict abortion laws can only be relaxed by the power-sharing government at Stormont, as abortion is a devolved issue.

But with the Northern Ireland Assembly suspended for the past 16 months, Mrs May is under pressure to pass laws in Westminster to bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK, following a landslide vote in the Republic of Ireland to liberalise abortion laws.

Err, we’ve already said this is something for the people of Northern Ireland to decide. So, we must let the people of Northern Ireland decide, no? Instead of being all colonialist about it?

Isn’t this just appalling about the tax law?

Owners are liable for UK tax on the rents they collect from students, but can receive the money before tax and reduce the amount they have to pay by offsetting expenses and debt repayments.

And isn’t this an indictment of the higher education system?

The National Union of Students vice-president for welfare, Izzy Lenga, said UK students were seen as a cash cow by overseas investors, and often had no choice but to take rooms in “overpriced glass towers”.

Lenga said: “Overseas investors make billions of pounds building luxury apartments and charging sky-high rents for students. There is a cost of living crisis and finding good-quality affordable accommodation is a huge barrier for low- and middle-income students attending our world-leading institutions.”

Building more student housing does rather reduce the cost of all student housing, doesn’t it?

Will you look at this casuistry?

Second we have the perpetuation of an economic creed that says that money is made by individuals as result of their own effort, when this is palpably untrue. Money is made available by government and the income it is used to measure and distribute is without exception ( even if the degree varies) result of communal effort.

Second, it is promoted to encourage the belief that it is the genius of the owner of capital that makes money, when in fact government does.

Money, the physical cash stuff, is made by government. Fair enough, although do note that societies without such government created money have also had methods of keeping account, of working out who owes what, who commands which resources. Try taking part in a round in a pub without standing one for too long and you’ll fin out we’ve very effective social methods of enforcing such too.

But money is made by government. Therefore, people who accumulate it do not do so by their own effort?

Rilly? ‘Coz the Mint makes the money, JK Rowling didn’t write nor sell all those books?


Why would a law banning abortion cause this?

Any more grieving couples having to smuggle the remains of their cremated baby back to Ireland.


Well, seems reasonable enough to me

Reasons why there are more men at the top of the career ladder in medicine include the fact that taking time out for maternity or carer responsibilities can affect the opportunities women get for career or pay progression, as consultant training takes time and pay progression rates are based on time served.

And why would we want to change that?

What the heck is salmonetta?

Our local little prix fixe restaurant is a bit of a bargain. 19 euros for lunch for two – in total that is. Olives, cenoura salad, mixed such, bread, bottle of wine (vino plonko obviously, but entirely fine) water, amuse guele for dessert, coffee, plate of grilled fish, plate of the best chicken piri piri for 50 km, chips – the last being made from real potatoes, our shorthand for somewhere doing something right. Portion size on the chicken is half a bantam, the Portuguese still eat properly.

And chicken piri piri comes from these parts. It’s “estilio da Guia” more formally, Guia being a village just outside Albufeira. That Nandos is exactly that filtered through colonial Mozambique then South Africa.

There is always the chicken and then whatever fish seems decent that day. Sea Bass, Sea Bream, Golden Bream, sardines, mackerel, horse mackerel, all have been on offer – but usually only one on any particular day.

Saturday there was “salmonetta” and I am struggling to find out what it is. Google gives me a couple of pictures of it from Spain but nothing else. No English name for it. It might be small red mullet – it’s got the pinkish tinge to the skin.

Anyone actually know? That it’s most yummy might not aid all that much in identification….