Odd to see him taking the bosses’ side, really

The UK’s suffering a labour shortage. There are four causes. a) Covid deaths b) Long Covid c) People not working because of no Covid restrictions d) Brexit. We can’t do much about (a) and (b) but we can protect older workers from Covid and we can reverse Brexit. Problem solved.

A shortage of labour is what pushes up the workers’ wages. So, by reversing Brexit Spud wants to increase the labour supply and thereby not raise the worker’s wages. Just odd thing to be arguing for really.

25 thoughts on “Odd to see him taking the bosses’ side, really”

  1. I don’t often comment on these entries. I can’t be arsed, but this is just fucking nonsense.

    Most “Covid deaths” were people over 80.


  2. Why is it odd? Immiserating the working class (especially the white ones) while handing out the odd welfare trinket to make them dependent has been mainstream Left opinion since the 90’s.

  3. BiND

    To answer your question – I see no evidence he has the required skill set to do research. I’m still convinced he had some kind of ‘Skullion’s scholars’ arrangement to pass his accountancy exams. But as you say:

    a) ‘Covid deaths’
    I’m tempted to say either he’s an utter moron or a Green party supporter (the terms are fairly interchangable) As the Great Steve has said the Greens want us all to work until we are well into our 80s so from that perspective he is at least being honest

    c) People not working because of no Covid restrictions’
    so we need to bring back COVID restrictions? Or alternatively the ‘fascist’ Tories must be paying people sufficiently well in terms of welfare/ universal credit that they can afford not to work? Which is it?

    Strange – both he and Soapy Joe are proclaiming that ‘democracy is under threat’ from Johnson – yet seem quite happy with overturning the result of a democratic process where they disagree with the outcome.

    I think a couple of people summed it up – he is A C%^t – plain and simple. And credit to the hostelries of Downham Market pubwatch who gave him a complete ban. Would that we could do the same on the internet.

  4. Unless brexit is reversed the potato can’t hitch onto the EU grifto waggon. Funnily enough I’m sure I remember him obtaining an Irish passport and promising to move abroad. I can only dream.

  5. @Anon

    One of the things Spud is obsessed is ‘ventilation’. Obviously he read some article about this and is now an expert.

    One of the commentators on this blog lamented the lack of people to pick asparagus. Apparently, better ventilated fields would solve this shortage. Or something.

  6. @ Moqifen

    “Funnily enough I’m sure I remember him obtaining an Irish passport”

    He wasn’t born in Ireland and has never lived there. IIRC correctly he has one Irish grandfather – who left Ireland so even his ‘half-Irish’ parent wasn’t born there either. But being 1/4 Irish entitles him to apply for an Irish passport and also claim to have suffered terrible racism in the past.

  7. Dennis, Septic to the Masses

    Read his four causes and ended up launching a mouthful of coffee onto the screen of my computer. Best laugh I’ve had in a week.

    Never read Richard Murphy on an empty stomach or with a mouthful of coffee.

  8. Bloke in North Dorset


    Covid infections have fallen heavily in the last few weeks if you look at the ONS survey so I’m not sure what c) is meant to do

    The ONS is useful in tracking cases but all its really telling us is how many people have the sniffles. Zoe has gone the same way, a useful tool at the start but now only being used by tools.

    Hospitalisations aren’t a good indicator either as something like 60% are “incidental” cases and because of that the died within 28 days, not the best of indicators, and died with Covid on the death certificate have completely decoupled and diverged.

    The only indicator worth considering is ICU beds occupied. These are people who are seriously ill from Covid and in England that number is the lowest its been since mid June 2021 and is falling steadily. Covid is still a threat to the old and those with other illnesses or compromised immune systems, but as a health threat its just another circulating Coronavirus.

  9. I haven’t noticed any comments (from remainders or anyone else) on the proposal that EU countries are not to prioritise their own energy supply needs so as to prevent any one nation gaining‘competitive advantage’.
    Aren’t we glad we’re not in it.
    Won’t stop them turning off the inter connectors though.

  10. Thus demonstrating that problem-solving is easy if you pay no heed to facts or the consequences of your spastic suggestions.

  11. I haven’t noticed any comments (from remainders or anyone else) on the proposal that EU countries are not to prioritise their own energy supply needs so as to prevent any one nation gaining‘competitive advantage

    Faster, please. We don’t want the frog to be slow-broiled.

    It would be ironical if Vladimir Putin / Volodimir Zelensky (take yer pick) inadvertently saved Europe from Net Zero.

  12. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    Doesn’t there come a point where you just conclude people are totally beyond reason and you give up on them?

    You are never going to persuade this guy.

  13. His preference for European immigration over immigration from the rest of the world would have made him a great fit for the Australian Labor Party circa 1955.

  14. Bloke in North Dorset


    it’s not about trying to change Saudis mind, that was a lost cause about 15 years ago, at least. It’s about warning the rest of the world care in the community has failed and there’s a dangerous nutter on the loose

  15. As it happens, I went yesterday for an MRI scan and a consultant’s appointment to deal with what turns out to be a herniated disc.

    It came on 10 days ago, genuinely agonising sciatica of a type I’ve never had before.

    My GP made an urgent referral to the Gloucestershire Musculoskeletal Triage Service, but not having been born yesterday I also booked myself in privately (actually booked myself in with two consultants, one in Bristol and one in Cheltenham, to make sure I got as quick an appointment as possible).

    I saw the guy in Bristol on Wednesday (250 quid for half an hour) and the guy in Cheltenham yesterday (650 quid but that included the MRI and consultations either side of it).

    I now know where I am which is either in need of a steroid injection or a discectomy, or a two or three week wait to see if it settles down on its own.

    As it happens, I today received a letter from the Gloucestershire MSK team inviting me to make an appointment for a consultation with an NHS person.

    The earliest date they have given me is eight days from now, and that is merely for the triage process.

    How they will triage me via a video call (“because of Covid“ they’re not seeing people in person at the moment) is unclear to me.

    Both of the private consultants I have seen spent quite a lot of time checking my reflexes, watching me walk and perform various movements with my feet and physically checking the numb areas on my leg, none of which will be possible via zoom.

    Assuming I get properly triaged I’m told to expect a 12 week wait at least before I get put in front of an actual NHS consultant, and then likely another 12 week wait for surgery.

    I can have the discectomy privately next week for £10,000.

    I will probably do so but lots of people don’t have that choice.

    There is certainly no way I could work like this, and there must be plenty of people in my position who are utterly stuffed.

    We spend £120 billion on the NHS each year.

    They employ diversity consultants on £100k a year.

    Why aren’t people building gallows?

  16. @BIND

    “The ONS is useful in tracking cases but all its really telling us is how many people have the sniffles. … The only indicator worth considering is ICU beds occupied.”

    In terms of threat to healthcare capacity, and hence whether further restrictions are required in the event of another wave (can’t rule out that a new variant will arise with greater immune escape and fatality rate, but the horizon is all clear atm), yeah fair enough. But for days of labour lost, which is worth keeping track of for purely economic reasons, you still want to check the trend of the sniffle count. ZOE’s algorithm seems to have gone potty, understandably given a lot of people’s focus has moved on now, but the ONS stats are still reliable with their more serious attempt at random sampling. Their disadvantage compared to ZOE is the lag, but right now there’s no particular urgency so as a guide to level and trend, they’re as good as it’s going to get.

    Suppose a new treatment became available for the seriously ill: it would reduce ICU load, and reduce the cost (both financial and health) of an average infection, but wouldn’t do much to shift the workdays lost. A slight reduction due to a handful of very ill working-age people getting back to work sooner, but it doesn’t do anything about the hundreds of thousands of people missing a few days of work due to symptomatic infection. And to be fair, even with Omicron, it’s not just “sniffles” for everyone. Plenty of people report feeling very lousy with it, though others are asymptomatic or near enough to it.

    Richie’s not completely mad to note that Covid causes economic disruption due to people missing work while sick. That’s a real phenomenon, and probably one we need to pay a bit of attention to in a restriction-free environment. (When there were restrictions in play, they caused so much disruption that the sick-days were basically a drop in the ocean, with some exceptions where staffing ratios are important and the bug was rampant, e.g. it was a serious problem with staffing some hospitals and at times got hairy for some schools.) The mad bit is failing to notice that infections among working-age people are currently falling rapidly, and thinking that now is a good time to bring more restrictions in (all without paying attention to the knock-on disruption the restrictions themselves will cause, obviously).

    I wouldn’t be surprised if over the next few years there’s an uptick in average sick-days taken by workers, particularly given people may self-isolate for non-Covid respiratory bugs they would have trooped in to work with in the past. Maybe enough to make a difference to the GDP stats. Or alternatively, if more people work from home, it may allow them to keep working while a bit off-colour when they wouldn’t have wanted to spread their lurgies in the past. Who knows? Worth keeping an eye on though.

  17. Interested

    I am reminded of 4R’s experience within the Reich’s system, compared to what family medics tell me is relatively normal within the NHS. As in similar to yours assuming you don’t expect anything even vaguely better to that you’ve just quoted from the NHS. And heard the anecdotal experiences (again from family) as to the sheer waste in productivity as people that “need to do on a daily basis” are rendered pretty much economically useless throughout that extended period.

    There are tricks / games for those in the know as to how to beat the system (of course at the expense of others), but for the rest, wtf.

    Utterly fucking useless, to put it as politely as I am able. Economically, for the country, it’s a huge lose-lose scenario.

    Why aren’t people building gallows?

    Perhaps too preoccupied supporting “The Latest Thing”?

  18. Bloke in North Dorset


    Good points but I think its time to stop treating Covid as an exception. We, the public have learned a lot about during these past couple of years, or at least I have. For example that ‘flu vaccinations weren’t sterilising or 100% efficient, some years they were less than 50% efficient, and that we had become complacent that a serious mutation was always just round the corner. This is a good thing and I don’t have a problem with more effort being put in to the monitoring and and research in to new vaccines and treatment.

    To talk about lost work days to Covid in isolation ignores the fact that we have had almost no ‘flu cases during this period and still don’t by comparison to the previous 5 years. We haven’t measured ‘flu and its impact in the same way as we measure Covid so its hard to compare, but the chart on the Spectator data site gives some indication of its impact in the recent past. So the question should be what is the current net effect of Covid and our Covid policies?

    Its probably a good thing that people will be more likely to self isolate when they have an illness and may even increase productivity as it reduces the spread of the disease so we don’t get the peaks in absences and hospitialtions we have been used to seeing every winter.

    What we can’t allow is the panic over Covid to become an excuse for the likes of Murphy and idiot SAGE to implement their crazy ideas every time cases rise. Perhaps its time to take a leaf out of Cowperthwaite’s book and stop measuring it, or at least making such a fuss about the numbers. The NHS did run ‘flu monitoring schemes and even published the numbers, that’s probably where we need to get be.

  19. @BIND

    Cowperthwaite’s not a sensible approach to public health. If the problem’s that people don’t trust politicians to use the figures in a beneficial way, then it’s time to vote in different politicians. But the data about flu (and other respiratory virus) has been tracked for years, vaccine efficacy data has been available for years, and while the public don’t usually look for it, necessary but essentially technocratic decisions rely on that data (eg choice of vaccination strategy, demand forecasting for hospitals). If you took the Cowperthwaite approach then you’d have to give up on the flu vaccine programme, among others, as you couldn’t judge who to offer a jab to or even what to put in the jab (flu changing a lot between seasons).

    Covid atm is still exceptional. There’s an expectation it may well settle down into a regular seasonal pattern like flu but that might not happen for some years. It does need extra monitoring at the moment compared to other diseases. It’s also (partly due to previous restrictions and other behavioural changes) disrupted the usual cycle not just for flu but for a whole range of respiratory bugs. You do need to make the data gathering exercise proportional to the threat, which is reduced now, but in turn the testing and monitoring programmes are being cut back.

    The long-run aim seems to be to combine the flu and coronavirus monitoring, which makes sense as both are seasonal, driven by different variants, can infect millions of people, and have epidemic or pandemic potential. Something along the lines of the ONS Covid survey had been suggested for flu before BTW because the study design is a good one, so it may be that the ONS scope is eventually expanded rather than the survey being abolished. We will see.

    Personally, I think politicians are marginally more likely to make crap decisions if they’re given crap data. And the ONS survey is good data, produced by random sample, so I would rather they have that than rely on the algorithm behind a logging app like ZOE, or based on Google symptom search trends, or other cheap ad hoc methods that are currently in vogue. Flu and Covid do, I’m afraid, have exceptional characteristics as infectious diseases that make them worth keeping track of properly. And it isn’t just health analysts who need the data.

  20. is there a labour shortage? Not seeing much evidence of wages risng, perhaps apart from in the NHS

  21. @Wonko the sane

    Labour market’s in a place it hasn’t been for a while – recovery means there is demand for labour, but for the first time in decades, we aren’t tapping into poorer parts of Europe for it, while at the same time the total number of people in the UK either working or looking for work has had a very large fall. Check out what happened to self-employment compared to employment, it’s very striking. The disappearance of a large chunk of the labour force has given rise to lots of competing explanations from Brexit-related (all buggered off?) to Covid-related (clinically vulnerable people too scared to leave home? people disabled by “long Covid”?) to other trends having been accelerated (people deciding they don’t really enjoy working and would rather stay at home if they can afford it?). I haven’t seen a really convincing unpicking of it yet.

    Contrary to what you might think, nominal pay is up sharply, particularly if you include bonuses. Just not as much as inflation, sadly. Also, the rise was higher in the private than public sectors. https://twitter.com/julianHjessop/status/1526462467672514560 and https://twitter.com/andyverity/status/1526445471035801600 are quite instructive (“Average total pay growth for the private sector was 8.2% in January to March 2022, while for the public sector it was 1.6%”).

  22. The self-employment malarky is exacerbated by IR35. Challenging and difficult jobs that required lots of experience and expertise but essentially short-term / limited in scope.

    By offering them as short-term contracts via Ltd company and dividends route you essentially removed about half the cost (mostly employers and employees NI) making them attractive enough for the experienced expertise you were trying to attract. Take that away as IR35 did and those people you are trying to attract decide to take a less stressful job closer to home or just plain retire.

    That’s a factor as well that has kicked in hard in the last few years, but because of COVID, can’t see the wood for the trees to understand how much damage it has done.

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