August 2018

Does Owen Jones have absolutely no sense of self-awareness at all?

There are several species of spider whose young hatch and gradually eat their own mother. The term for this macabre practice is matriphagy. This is now the fate of the Conservative party and its hungry Ukip offspring. Remainer Tory MPs are reporting sharp rises in applications to become members of their local associations – of up to 30% in the last three months. While dozens of Tory councillors defected to Ukip under David Cameron’s leadership, one report suggests at least 10% of Ukip councillors have gone the other way since 2015.

This is what Militant tried with the Labour Party, what Momentum has succeeded in doing.

Wibble, purest wibble

The disability charity Scope has criticised the decision to cast an able-bodied actor as Joseph Merrick in the forthcoming BBC adaptation of The Elephant Man.

Presumably we’ve got to find someone with Proteus Syndrome to play him. After all, using a legless actor – not a great challenge as it happens – would still be using someone without Proteus Syndrome and thus not meet the demand being made.

We could just say that it’s all playing dress up but that’s just so counter to modern mores, isn’t it?

All a bit Brezhnevite

The prime minister of Samoa has called climate change an “existential threat … for all our Pacific family” and said that any world leader who denied climate change’s existence should be taken to a mental hospital.

In a searing speech delivered on Thursday night during a visit to Sydney, Tuilaepa Sailele berated leaders who fail to take climate change seriously, singling out Australia, as well as India, China and the US, which he said were the “three countries that are responsible for all this disaster”.

“Any leader of those countries who believes that there is no climate change I think he ought to be taken to mental confinement, he is utter[ly] stupid and I say the same thing for any leader here who says there is no climate change.”

If you don’t believe that we’re building True Communism and that we’ll get there then you’re mad and must be sectioned.

Not politically correct but true

Women should pay higher taxes and gain lower pensions:

Middle-aged women face a health timebomb and will need 5½ years more care than men after they hit 65, a study has warned.

Women now in their 50s will spend an average of 12½ years at the end of their lives depending on carers to support their daily needs, researchers predict, as growing numbers live with multiple illnesses.

If women, as a group, are going to take more out of that welfare state then they should pay more in, no? Today’s strong and independent women do wish to stand up for themselves after all.


Dom S says:
August 27 2018 at 6:54 pm
“But let’s also be clear that the stereotype of capitalism that so many want to believe in is as simplistic, and as wrong, as that of socialism I have noted above. That stereotype is widely taught by economists as if it is true.

It assumes that all markets are ‘perfect’. That means there are masses of firms engaged in the supply of any product and each competes only on price because consumers have all the information they need on all of them to know that the products are indeed identical.”

I’ve never heard of an economist that argues that all markets are perfect.

Can you please name one economist, and cite his or her work where he or she makes this claim?

Richard Murphy says:
August 27 2018 at 9:27 pm
That is the foundation of micro and in turn all macro

Rational expectations are built on this idea

Find me neoclassical economists who do not think this, or at least think this is the model from which all other models deviate

That would be all of them then.

What is the ‘Rational Expectations Theory’?
The rational expectations theory is an economic concept whereby people make choices based on their rational outlook, available information and past experiences.

He’s missed the importance of “available” there.

Obviously people on’t have all information. If this were true there would never be any new information which moved markets and the efficient markets hypothesis would be wrong, wouldn’t it?

Maduro’s latest mistake

They’ve seized a printing plant. Something we might even – if we thought like fools that is – think might be useful in a country with a 1,000,000 percent inflation rate. But then there’s the mistake, isn’t it?

Someone really needs to tell Nicolas Maduro that a paper bag printing plant is different from a bank note printing plant. On such misunderstandings is the ruination of a nation built.

There is another way

As the Guardian reported yesterday:

Official figures showed that the UK’s net worth rose by £492bn between 2016 and 2017 to £10.2tn, with the lion’s share of the increase accounted for by a £450bn jump in the value of land.

The overwhelming case for taxing land and wealth, in general, has to be repeated time and again.

This gain is more than 60% of total UK government spending last year, and the vast majority will never be effectively taxed.

This has to change.

Land Value Tax is part of this. But it is not alone. We need capital gains tax on housing, including that used as homes (even if only on final disposal by the survivor of those in a relationship) and we need effective wealth taxation. Inheritance tax is so far from that it needs to be abolished and a fresh start made.

It’s the land with planning permission which has risen in value. If we increase the number of planning permissions then we’ll stop that rise in value. Does seem simpler than having ever larger government really.

Lucky we’re in a capitalist society then really

You can make an argument that the Federal Reserve is entirely responsible for the fracking boom,” one private-equity titan told me. That view is echoed by Amir Azar, a fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. “The real catalyst of the shale revolution was the 2008 financial crisis and the era of unprecedentedly low interest rates it ushered in,” he wrote in a recent report. Another investor put it this way: “If companies were forced to live within the cash flow they produce, US oil would not be a factor in the rest of the world, and would have grown at a quarter to half the rate that it has.”

That being what capitalism is, the provision of capital to a project by outsiders to that project.

Interesting from a science blogger

I believe, like many, that we are living through a dangerous era of untruth, one that will be recognised in the history books as a dark blight on our civilisation. Fascists, charlatans and propagandists are as old as time, but never before have they been mobilised with today’s powerful tools, which can coalesce forces globally and amplify messages in a flash. Ne’er-do-wells formerly had their village pub, their back-alley rendezvous, their circus stall – an influence confined by geography to a small canker. Newspapers reached more widely, but still they were binned each evening to yellow with irrelevance. Even the terrible dictators of the past who managed large-scale atrocities were constrained by the limitations of an internet-free world.

Now, it’s a free-for-all, and we’ve all witnessed the shocking spread of lies and the way their sheer frequency has numbed us into impotence. Any one of Donald Trump’s dodgy dealings would have brought down any other president, but the creeping paralysis of untruth-overload has de-sensitised the population to his many scandals as effectively as “aversion therapy”– as when an arachnophobe is thrown into a pit with a thousand spiders and soon cured. Even definitive proof that the Russians have been meddling in the elections of Western states and sowing general discontent via social media has met with a collective shrug from the inured populace – while individuals might get riled up, each bit of fake news is just another defused spider to the collected whole.

So it’s science to buy the Democratic campaign that Hills didn’t lose the election, it must have been stolen from her?

Can we guess what’s in Michel Barnier’s deal?

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator has said he would offer the UK a trade agreement “such as there never has been”, while the French President Emmanuel ­Macron is also reportedly softening his ­position in a bid avoid a “no-deal” scenario.

The EU has long resisted a bespoke deal, with Britain essentially being forced to choose between existing trading models such as those used by Norway and Canada.

But in comments that prompted a rise in the value of the pound, Michel Barnier told reporters in Berlin that the EU is prepared to offer the UK a unique agreement which would mean an unprecedentedly close relationship with the bloc.

1) Pay into the EU budget
2) Free movement of people
3) No independent trade treaties
4) Full regulatory alignment with the EU.

In effect, your special deal is to be in but with no say in anything. Won’t that be special?

As Tim Newman has been noting

A police force have criticised the “disgusting” behaviour of members of the public who chose to film an injured officer on their mobile phones rather than help him.

Policing does rather change when you lose the cooperation of the public. Might, thus, be worth changing the manner of policing before it’s too late to reverse that loss.

Shock, Horror!

One child in every primary school class has been sent a sexual image by an adult, major NSPCC study finds

The kids of today don’t seem any worse than those of yesteryear, before digital photography was commonplace.

From which we should probably conclude that being sent a sexual image by an adult doesn’t do much to children.

That rather being something we think is true about children, why we insist they cannot give valid consent for example, they don’t really understand what sex is and thus sexual imagery.

Amazing how quickly it all moves on

The few kids who are persistent, insistent and consistent about their gender identity have to spend months and sometimes years being assessed before even something as simple as puberty blockers may be prescribed.

How long ago were puberty blockers complicated and complex, not simple?

And thus business should not be paying taxes to educate people

At the end of the day I believe very strongly that we live in community, but that what we have to offer is intensely individual. Finding the balance between those two is essential in life, in our communities and in our politics. And that starts with education that has to be focused on the individual’s pursuit of who they are, and not moulding them for a life of work.

It so happens that if the passion is released in education so will the real work they want to do be discovered. And that’s what far too much so-called education has forgotten.

Nor should the taxpayer either…..

Reasonable thought

An Ivy League college is embroiled in a row with trans activists over an article which suggested gender dysphoria was spreading among children.

Brown University has removed research from its website which hypothesised that teenagers who came out as transgender were more likely to have friends who were transitioning and were influenced by YouTube videos and social media.

Academics accused the university of bowing to pressure from activists after it removed a news article and link to Lisa Littman’s research. A tweet promoting the paper has also been deleted.

The research concluded “social and peer contagion” was a plausible explanation for “cluster outbreaks” and a high number of cases where the majority of children in a friendship group became “transgender-identified”.

Things do spread among peer groups. Be important to know if being transgender is one of them. One side says this is just bad research. The protestations being a little odd on reading. The other side sways it’s being suppressed as politically incorrect. Dunno the answer to that but it would be good to find out, no?

I mean, we know peer group effects exist, otherwise fashions wouldn’t. But how much?