Blimey, that’s brave

Gareth Thomas, a former captain of the Wales rugby team who was beaten up and suffered head injuries in a homophobic attack on Friday night, said that he decided to have a face-to-face meeting with his assailant rather than press charges against him.

Now yes, obviously, we all know that all shirtlifters are in fact effeminate cissies. But how damn stupid do you have to be to attack someone as effeminate a cissie as Gareth Thomas?


The ‘battle of the sexes’ has pitched men against women for thousands of years, usually with the connotation that women provide the brains and men the brawn.

Sensational contests include Billie Jean King defeating Bobby Riggs in three sets, Donald Trump defeating Hillary Clinton in one election and Girls Aloud beating One True voice with ‘sound of the underground’ to clinch the top spot in the Christmas chart of 2002.

But a new study suggests that the notion that females aren’t physically as capable is outdated, and that with the right training, women are in fact just as tough as men.

After testing a group of six British female soldiers who trekked across Antarctica, researchers found that they showed no more negative health effects than would be expected in men.

Physicality is expressed along different axes.

We’ve long known that men are stronger, faster – sprints – and so on. And that women’s stamina can be as good as. It’s long been mooted that women might in fact beat men at ultra-marathon distances.

It’s the spin here that’s new not the finding.

Why would this help?

Britain must appoint a minister for cyber security because it is lagging behind Russia and not doing enough to protect critical national infrastructure, MPs have warned.

The Joint Committee on National Security Strategy found ministers are failing to act with “a meaningful sense of purpose or urgency” in the face of the growing cyber threat to the UK.

It said while states such as Russia were expanding their capability to mount disruptive cyber attacks, the level of ministerial oversight was “wholly inadequate”.

Why would a Minister in charge aid us? Don’t we do that when we want something to fail? And given the British state’s proven competence at things online (NHS for Change anyone?)…..

Froggies not living in real world

Advocates of new Brexit deal ‘not living in real world’ – Irish minister
Pro-Brexit British ministers are “not living in the real world” if they think they can renegotiate the divorce treaty agreed with the EU last week, Irish Foreign …

Reuters UK

France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal
President Macron and other member states fear Britain could gain advantage over them by undercutting EU environment laws.

The Guardian

Google News headlines……

Umm, well, umm,

A 20-year-old man charged with raping a high school student as she died
from a drug overdose was sentenced this week to less than three years in prison.”

Well, I guess she wasn’t going to spend years traumatised by the memory of the attack…a lifetime, yes, but not years.

Guess I’ll not chase those outstanding invoices then

The newspaper publisher Johnston Press has confirmed it is ending its debt crisis by entering administration and handing control to its lenders, as revealed by The Telegraph.

The embattled publisher of The Scotsman, The Yorkshire Post and the i newspaper is applying for court approval to appoint administrators and execute a pre-packaged sale to a new holding company controlled by the New York hedge fund GoldenTree Asset Management.

I’ve a couple of different times written for the company, widely separated in years. This latest was, umm, three pieces I think, earlier in the year. They’ve managed to keep up their perfect record of not paying me …….

Their underlying idea, buy up those failing newspapers and profit from running them down had merit. It’s rather what the Barclays have done at the Telegraph, sweat out the final years of an assets life. Little to no maintenance, no investment, just such the positive cash flow out.

Hey, it works, or at least can do. Perfectly respectable strategy. Thing is though, you’ve got to buy everything cheap enough for the sweat from those assets to pay for it. Not what they did….

Brexit means Caroline Lucas will become PM.

From the Sage of Ely:

What then? I’m told on the grapevine that Leavers will not accept this outcome: civil disturbance is likely. I think that is possible. Hence the route to a coalition; a national government after an almost inevitable general election as the Commons fails to agree again – or is pulled down by such a coalition acting to do so. Then there will be the fundamental reforms to make sure that UK politics will never again present people with three options in England and Wales that almost no one finds especially palatable. The Scots are in a different place, of course.

And I should add, in all this the move towards another Scottish referendum is almost inevitable, and likely to pass – just to escape the mayhem.

Who will lead that Coalition? Caroline Lucas, most likely. Precisely because she would not be from any major player in it.

As far as I’m aware Poe’s Law is not involved here.

To define civil society

They say of the project:

The Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism is a global not-for-profit organization that was founded in 2014 by Lynn Forester de Rothschild, the Chairman of E.L. Rothschild LLC. The organization was established to engage leaders across business, government and civil society in their efforts to make capitalism more equitable, sustainable, and inclusive. The Coalition develops practical thought leadership and convenes the Conference on Inclusive Capitalism to bring together renowned leaders from the world’s largest and most influential asset owners, asset managers and corporations to positively influence the future of capitalism. The organization works with other like-minded groups through our Allied Efforts program and extensive public outreach.

Note those words ‘and civil society’. I checked their website. There is no hint of a single civil society organisation involved.

So, err, what is the definition of civil society?

Amazingly, it’s not only those groups which have a mate of Ritchie’s in them. It’s, umm, any gathering of peeps in society. The Cub Scouts are civil society. The FA – to the extent that it’s not enshrined in legislation – is civil society.

Slightly odd

The UK’s strength in science is because of the EU – not in spite of it

The UK was strong at science before 1992, when the EU came into existence. It was strong at science before 1973, when we joined the EEC.

So, err, how?

That the current institutional arrangements are entwined just means adaptation to current circumstances, not cause and effect. You know, that scientific method of analysis?

These people are idiots aren’t they

Alston asked a group of Glasgow kids who it is that should help those in poverty. “The rich people,” one shot back. “It’s unfair to have people earning billions and other people living on benefits.” Out of the mouths of babes.

How do you get the benefits if there are no richer people to tax to pay them?

Lying toads

Legal experts have accused the Government of sneaking in a new “death tax” by the back door without proper parliamentary scrutiny.

New rules will mean estates worth £2m or more pay £6,000 in probate fees, up from £155 currently. The 3,770pc increase is a reduction on the original plans, which would have meant a bill of £20,000 for the largest estates.

A “grant of probate” allows the executor to access and distribute someone’s estate when they die.

The fiercely unpopular changes have been dubbed a “stealth death tax” and a de facto increase on top of existing inheritance levies (IHT). Experts have now warned that the probate fee structure will not be thoroughly debated in Parliament, as any other tax rule changes would.

The changes are expected to be introduced in April 2019, but the rules already form part of the law, it has emerged.

Making use of a parliamentary procedure called a “negative statutory instrument”, the Government is able to write the changes into law without debate.

The procedure dictates that an amendment is made to existing legislation on the day it is announced and remains so unless a motion to reject it is agreed within 40 days.

Given the use that is made of these things – despite the entirely true case that they have positive uses – perhaps it’s time to abolish SIs altogether?

Further, the best argument against more government is what government currently does.

There’s a reasonable response to this complaint

Year 13 students are worried they might fail their history exam because they didn’t know what the word “trivial” meant.

The senior students have launched a petition asking for the essay to be marked based on students’ own definition of the “unfamiliar” word. It has so far received more than 1300 signatures.

Students sitting the NZQA Level 3 History causes and consequences paper on Wednesday were confronted with the word in a quote from Julius Caesar: “Events of importance are the result of trivial causes.”

Students were asked to analyse the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with Caesar, with reference to the causes and consequences of a historical event.

“You’re too ignorant to pass this exam” being a reasonable response perhaps?

Via Matthew in standingonheadland

Yes, a carbon tax

Efficiency isn’t just some economists’, or accountants’, insistence on doing things cheaply. As Stern himself notes, if we do this inefficiently then we’ll avert less of that warming. The more resources we devote to growing mushrooms the fewer we’ll be able to expend upon the real problem. The more you worry about global warming the more you should be pushing for the most efficient solution — market forces properly incentivised — and the further you’d like politicians from the subject.

That, unfortunately, is not how things have worked out. The biggest problem with the climate change debate is that those most insistent that something must be done are those most insistent that the wrong something is done. That isn’t quite the way we’d hope to deal with the greatest threat to our civilisation. Or even the manner we’d like to deal with any problem at all.

Now that we’ve made the mistake of trying those centralised plans, can we get on with solving that climate change problem? Stick on the carbon tax and allow market forces to chew through the problem? As Hayek would have told us to, as Stern actually did insist, as the manner we’ve splashed the cash so far tells us we should have done.