Tim Worstall

Saving democracy

I have a suggestion that elaborates on what I did last night. It is that those who support democracy have to act to deliver it, working in cooperation to do so. They should demand from their politicians:

An agreement on a new economic settlement – that we will promote full employment, the meeting of need and the delivery a climate transition within a framework designed to deliver that goal;

That is, we’ll save democracy by insisting that the base economic structure can never be challenged by the result of an election.

Agreement to enhance accountability so that never again can a party, a person or a government hold the country to ransom to support the interests of a few at cost to the many;

Ditto – what the folks vote to be gimps for the tories?

Ho Hum

Oh well done, well done indeed

Michael Gove has threatened to block major housing developers from securing planning permission if they fail to come up with a £4bn compensation scheme for victims of the cladding crisis.

Nice business you’ve got here, be a shame if something happened to it…..

And at a time when it’s all hands to the pump to increase the amount of housing being built the country’s largest housebuilders will be prevented from building houses.

Well done indeed.

I think we can say covid is endemic now

So, a daughter is double vaxxed, boosted, has had covid once. She’s just tested positive again. True, she’s a primary school teacher so works in the world’s most efficient germ factory. But I think we might be able to say that this is endemic now, no action is going to stop it.

So, no point in closing society again, is there?

Ah, so they’re spouting bollocks then

It added: “The evidence is clear: any level of alcohol consumption can lead to loss of healthy life. Studies that claim otherwise are based on purely observational research, which fails to account for other factors, such as pre-existing conditions and a history of alcoholism in those considered to be ‘abstinent’.

Complete, utter and total bollocks.

There is a well known – and entirely obvious in the numbers – J Curve here. Moderate drinking is associated with – to put it as weakly as possible – longer lifespans than either teetotalism or heavy drinking. The only point that needs to be discussed is the definition of “moderate” which is, in fact, substantially higher than that 14 units a week nonsense.

Absolutely any other result is the result of prodnose tosspottery.

Mr. Snowdon will be along soon to give you the details.

Antinomianism

Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into leaders of the German Green Party over coronavirus bonuses they paid themselves.

Annalena Baerbock, the foreign minister, and Robert Habeck, the vice-chancellor and business and climate minister, are among six party members under investigation.

They are being investigated on suspicion of breach of trust after they awarded themselves €1,500 (£1,245) special bonuses to cover the cost of working from home during the pandemic. If found guilty, they could face up to five years in prison or a fine.

The payments broke party rules limiting bonuses to €300 (£250). As members of the party’s national executive it was the leaders’ responsibility to uphold the rules.

Classic case of it, right there.

OK, very cool, now, how much?

Last year John Leyland, the Environment Agency’s chief of staff, said rivers were “not there for human swimming” despite the rising popularity of wild swimming.

Campaigners have pushed for more rivers to be made designated bathing sites to pressure agencies and water companies to clean them up.

A reasonable enough aspiration, that folks should be able to swim in the rivers. But as an aspiration – OK, so how much will this cost? There’s only us folks here to pay those costs of course. So, how much? Af ew million? Sure, get on with it. Hundreds of billions? Fuck off, you can wriggle in the shower a bit instead.

So, how much?

What lunatic damn idiocy is this?

Last year, seabed options around the coast of England, Wales and Northern Ireland were awarded at much higher prices at a leasing round held by the Crown Estate. However, Crown Estate Scotland capped the lease payments at £100,000 pounds per km2. As a result the payment for leases per GW were 94% lower than the average in the English auction, said analysts at Bernstein.

The English/Welsh auction last year raised £9 bn, but that article doesn’t say how many GW or km2 were involved so I will accept the “94% lower” figure.

So it wasn’t really an auction at all, it was a freebie for those who were awarded the rights. I hope that Scottish citizens kick up a stink about this and that heads roll, starting with Wee Krankie.

Yer wha’ ?

He is a wonder, isn’t he?

As is apparent these are related objectives but with the auditor being required to take an active rather than a passive role in ensuring that stakeholder needs are met.

Right now the value-added in audit is very far from clear. In the proposal that we make the role of the auditor is decidedly proactive and the added value is clear. Audit would, as a consequence, be both an attractive career option and one that would provide a very much more obvious role than a career in box-ticking.

KPMG is failing, but the task it is failing at is one so badly defined that systemic reform is required.

Auditors thereby become the shadow managers of every firm.

Which would be fun, given that no significant auditor has ever been willing to give the Fat Controller a post-training job.

Idiot fucking cretins

One of the main impacts of the crisis has therefore been to further consolidate the power of the big six in an already heavily concentrated energy sector. And at present there is little reason to believe that the dominant players are in need of government support. The financial impact of the energy crisis on suppliers will only be confirmed in the months ahead once they begin to release their financial reports for the fourth quarter of 2021. But early indications are that some of the largest companies in the sector fared very well during the initial onset of the energy crisis. For example, in its latest financial statement, SSE plc enjoyed truly eye-watering operating profit margins (operating profits-to-revenues) of 55% from April to September 2021, a period during which wholesale price hikes were already rattling energy markets.

The bit of SSE making a fortune is the energy generation arm. Which is likely to do well in a time of high energy prices. The bits of the energy industry going bust are the retail distributors who face a price cap on their charges and market prices on their costs.

If properly designed, a windfall tax targeting the large energy suppliers and the large North Sea gas producers offers an effective and just way of curbing the most regressive effects of the energy crisis.

Tax suppliers at a time of short supply. Genius.

Sandy Hager is a senior lecturer in International Political Economy at City, University of London. This piece was written with Joseph Baines, a senior lecturer in International Political Economy at King’s College London

Ah, yes, idiot fucking cretins.

Well, depends on your definition, doesn’t it?

So, men are wildly misogynistic about women’s sport:

Researchers have claimed that more than two-thirds of male football fans harbour hostile, sexist or misogynistic attitudes towards women’s sport.

The definition being used:

Media reporting of women’s sports – a sphere regarded as intrinsically inferior – was seen as “positive discrimination” or “PC nonsense”.

Allow me to create definitions like that and I can prove anything I damn well want.

Gosh, d’ye mean that social housing isn’t all that good?

Kwajo Tweneboa adored his father. They were very similar: they both enjoyed a laugh, had an interest in current affairs and made sacrifices to care for others. Then, in January 2020, Tweneboa watched his father, who suddenly became terminally ill with cancer, die. All the while, cockroaches, mice and flies infested their dilapidated housing association flat on the Eastfields estate in Mitcham, south London.

Tweneboa, a 23-year-old student, shared the flat with his two sisters, 24 and 21. He says he asked the housing association, Clarion, to make repairs for more than a year, with little success, before deciding to take further action. Since then, he has become a champion for his neighbours and all those living in similarly squalid conditions, forcing landlords and housing associations to acknowledge their responsibilities and make urgent, necessary repairs.

But, but surely killing the profit motive makes everything perfect?

As Bjorn Lomborg point out, predicted, those 20 years ago

And wasn’t Bjorn Lomborg shouted at for making the point?

Half a million fewer people died in England and Wales as a result of cold weather as the climate warmed over the past 20 years, latest data from the Office for National Statistics has suggested.

Between 2001 and 2020, there was a decrease of 555,103 deaths associated with warm or cold temperature, about 27,000 a year, with the vast majority of the fall, 509,555, because of fewer people dying from the cold.

We probably should acknowledge Lomborg as one of the great climate scientists in fact. Two things he predicted (this is just from memory) have indeed come true. This, lower deaths from warmer winters, plus also that solar was going to continue to plummet in price and would so largely solve the problem anyway.

Might be worth giving the whole thing a reread and seeing which else of his predictions have come true…

How excellent

A record number of students applied to study nursing last year, official figures show, as the pandemic inspired a rise in applications.

In 2021, 45,235 students applied to study nursing, up from 39,365 the previous year and 33,105 in 2019, data from Ucas revealed.

So we’ll not have to increase nurses wages for a good few years yet, we’ve got no recruitment problems at all….

Weak but fair

Perhaps not a fair evaluation of BoJo but a fair way of evaluating someone:

Boris Johnson’s wins outweigh his mistakes

There are plenty out there we can think of who wouldn’t even pass that test, no?

How weird

Tories are evil, fascists, exploiters:

In that case worry if you are young, because you have no economic value, unless you were born with a silver spoon firmly in place.

Umm, what’s the point of exploiting the young if there’s no economic value in exploiting the young? Idiot’s got it the wrong way around. His actual claim is that you’ve no moral value, therefore can be exploited for your economic value.

Another proof that this is all just word salad.

Amazing as it may seem his political rhetoric is even worse than his economic.

Tech folks

Anyone got a pointer to a good primer on SEO? Some work I’m doing would definitely benefit from guidance on this. Something better than Google’s own “write good articles and they will come” stuff. How many times to repeat a keyword, where, all that? Possibly even something aimed at Google News, not just the main engine?

Oh, and obviously, it needs to be fairly up to date, a recent version of what the engine does today?