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Tim Worstall

Ooooh, the decline of Britain

They toured the UK in 1962 and returned in 1968. During this visit they were filmed for the BBC and had a two-week residency at the Batley Variety Club in West Yorkshire.

“They” is Louis Armstrong and his All Stars.

You’d not even manage to get Acker Bilk’s coffin to visit Batley these days…..

And this is rather sterling work, no?

The church played a fundamental part in family life. At the age of five, she joined the junior choir. She began to enter — and win — talent contests at a local masonic temple from the age of nine, having learnt songs from listening to records at a local “jukebox joint” where youngsters would congregate on Saturday afternoons. She saved all the money from her talent show prizes and put it towards the house that she was able to buy for her parents when she was 17.

Now, fair enough etc but…..

Donald Trump was welcomed with resounding cheers of “USA! USA!” and “Fight! Fight!” by delegates at the Republican convention as he made his first public appearance since his assassination attempt.

Trump, his right ear covered in a white bandage, was formally crowned earlier in the day as the party’s presidential candidate by a roll call of states.

The man did get shot, it’s not just an elastoplast needed etc.

But just a little prediction. When that bandage comes off isn’t going to be something the doctors talk about. It’s a political thing now. A badge. So, when it comes off will be a political badge.

The question will be, come off ealry so pictures can be taken of how close it all wass, still rough, even raw? Or keep the bandage on because big and white is easier to see?

Yes, yes, of course this is cynical. But the correct question about politics is always “Am I being cynical enough?”

Define it first

Conversion therapy will be banned under a new law to be announced in the King’s Speech.

Sir Keir Starmer will push ahead with a ban at the first opportunity by including the proposals in Labour’s legislative agenda for its first year in office, to be set out on Wednesday.

The move comes despite fears that outlawing the practice, which attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, would risk criminalising parents who try to help children who think they are trans.

Strapping someone down, Clockwork Orange-style, might not even work let alone be morally permissible. And so , OK, illegal then.

Being anything less than wholly supportive would be seen by some as an attempt to deter the conversion.

So, what’s the definition of conversion therapy then?

So much he doesn’t know

For the government, if it wanted to cut NHS costs whilst simultaneously increasing growth in the UK, cutting alcohol consumption would be a very obvious thing to do.


Fatties, boozers and gaspers save the NHS money, not cost it.

It is a lifetime health care system. As we all know the majority of lifetime health care costs are in that final 6 months. Those final 6 months happen to everyone. Thus the major determinant of lifetime costs is how many years are the other costs to be bourne? Those with shorter lifespans cost less…..

Oh well, petrol it is then

Toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” used in lithium ion batteries essential to the clean energy transition present a dangerous source of chemical pollution that new research finds threatens the environment and human health as the nascent industry scales up.

The multipronged, peer-reviewed study zeroed in on a little-researched and unregulated subclass of PFAS called bis-FASI that are used in lithium ion batteries.

Researchers found alarming levels of the chemicals in the environment near manufacturing plants, noted their presence in remote areas around the world, found they appear to be toxic to living organisms, and discovered that waste from batteries disposed of in landfills was a major pollution source.

You know, we tried and all that, but it’s just not going to work, is it? Back to petrol and derv then…..

Now then, now then

Injured Russian soldiers are being sent back into the line of fire in “meat wave” assaults.

The Ukrainian army has reported capturing Russians already suffering from their wounds sustained in previous attacks.

They had been given minimal medical attention before being sent back to fight.

The tactics show an apparent disregard for foot soldiers as commanders throw thousands of men into the front lines in a slow and grinding summer offensive.

Some Russians have been captured re-entering the battlefield on crutches.

This particular war is not exactly free of the propagandistic arts. So, pinch of salt and all that.

On the other hand the basic Russian attitude toward recruits and troops is pretty vile, so could be. Which doesn;t get us very far, just tells us that if it’s propaganda then they’re using something that’s easy enough to believe.

Comments should be back to normal

Cost to me £128 a year to make it so. So, play nicely folks. There’s no advertising that pays for that (latest Google numbers were 50 pence for 10 days).

There were 56 spam comments killed off in 10 minutes this after noon. Dealing with that by hand is what has made comments stutter this past week.

Hello Mr. Bourlag

Ahundred years ago, the plant scientist Arthur Watkins launched a remarkable project. He began collecting samples of wheat from all over the globe, nagging consuls and business agents across the British empire and beyond to supply him with grain from local markets.

His persistence was exceptional and, a century later, it is about to reap dramatic results. A UK-Chinese collaboration has sequenced the DNA of all the 827 kinds of wheat, assembled by Watkins, that have been nurtured at the John Innes Centre near Norwich for most of the past century.

In doing so, scientists have created a genetic goldmine by pinpointing previously unknown genes that are now being used to create hardy varieties with improved yields that could help feed Earth’s swelling population.

Of course, population’s about to top out and we’re probably very close to peak wheat. But if it makes them happy…..

Twatto is Twatto

Now, the measurement of GDP, as it’s called, has many problems inherent in it.

Yes, true.

When are you going to talk about the growth in our well being, Rachel Reeves and not just the growth in the bank balances of some within the UK?

It also doesn’t measure bank balances nor the change in them. It’s the value added, at market prices, within the economy that year. A useful but not complete thing to measure. But when critiquing it it helps to know what it is.

Ah, but could she parallel park?

Baroness Ewy von Korff-Rosqvist obituary: rally racer who banished myth women can’t drive
The Swedish ‘Baroness of Mercedes’ was part of the first all-female crew to win an international rally against men and did so by more than three hours


Serving a network of farms in the surrounding area, she had to learn to drive. Jönsson passed the test, but only because her traumatised driving instructor wasn’t sure if he wanted to spend any more time in a car with her. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” he asked. “A rally driver?”

Possibly one of those stories that got polished over the years….

Ah, yes, dictators

Mr Bukele is hugely popular, with an approval rating of around 85 per cent, thanks to his draconian approach to the mara gangs, which has ended their reign of terror in El Salvador.

He has locked up nearly 80,000 young men, often without evidence that they are gang members, in harsh conditions, with dozens to a cell and paraded before the cameras in their underwear.

But it’s not necessarily true that all ideas crossing synapses are going to be good ideas:

Yet the economy has long been Mr Bukele’s Achilles heel. The poverty rate, now 30 per cent of the population, and the national debt, now $30 billion or roughly 80 per cent of GDP, have surged since he took office in 2019.

Basic foodstuffs such as bread, eggs, meat, beans and fruit jumped 30% in Mr Bukele’s first four years in office. But government inspectors say some prices have tripled in recent months.

Meanwhile, his flagship economic policy, adopting Bitcoin as the national currency, has baffled ordinary citizens, failed to generate jobs or growth, and antagonised the International Monetary Fund, whose support he badly needs.

So, you know, dictators.

is increasingly associated with the hard Right

Is that how they’re doing it these days? If socialism isn’t working it becomes hsrd right populism?

Interesting idea

That is because, in their opinion, growth supports the value of a currency. For once, they are likely to be right. If growth increases either the value of trade from a jurisdiction or productivity within it, then the value of its currency invariably increases.

The UK exports more than it used to, hte UK economy is larger than it used to be. The £ is worth less than it used to.

Proof is, therefore, somewhat lacking for this contention.


British Airways comes to rescue of England fans with more flights and bigger planes for final
Supporters had been facing travel misery for Euro 2024 showdown with Spain in Berlin due to lack of direct flights

Business spots profitable short term niche, no?

I have a theory

Pod of 77 whales found in worst mass stranding in century

We are, generally, seeing more strandings, more whale corpses and so on.

My theory is that this is simply a reflection of that we no longer hunt them. Populations are recovering. The sheer mass of whales out in the ocean in the “natural” state is something we’ve not seen for many a century. We may be getting back to it, at least partially. Which is what explains these increases in sightings of the dead via varied forms and methods.

One of those definitely something to it but how much? ideas.

The part and the whole

Our accountant turned economics professor has an idea:

That means that the interest charge on this will be around £3,000 plus a year, and the average student is repaying in England and Wales, a little over £1,000 a year in student loan. The total repayments in the last year for which I can get data from HM Revenue and Customs, who actually collect student loan repayments, is about £4 billion in a year.

The total interest charge on the £200bn outstanding in student loans was at around that 6 – 7 per cent figure. – well, you can work it out for yourself, £12 – £14bn. In other words, the interest being charged is never being repaid by the students who are borrowing this money, supposedly.

So, what is the point of charging this interest to students when we know that over 30 percent of all student loans will never be repaid? because people will reach the age where the cut off on repayment arrives well before their loan balance is settled out of their wages, and that’s true even under the new schemes just being introduced.

So, let’s not charge interest on student loans!

Erm, some number – from the above, 70% of them – of student loans are repaid, including the interest. This aids in subsidising the cost to everyone else of the 30% which are not. As, you know, that’s how interest rates work – there’s the time value of money plus the risk of default. So, if we stop charging interest at all then those richer, higher earning folk – those who do repay their loans with interest – stop subsidising those lower paid – who do not repay – and the taxpayer has to pick up the balance.

Well, interesting in a way I guess. First time we’ve seen Spud arguing for the higher paid to stop subsidising the lower paid. But other than that there’s not a lot to recommend it.

If only he knew

First, interest rates are not coming down soon, if Pill gets his way. Apparently, inflation at 2% or thereabouts is not enough to justify bringing interest rates down from 5.25%.

Someone who wishes to comment upon matters economic really, really, ought to know about matters economic.

Smurf is the one who has kept saying that it’s food and energy – things not amenable to interest rate changes – which have been driving inflation. Therefore interest rate changes won’t change inflation.

No, leave aside the truth or not of that. Let’s just accept his reasoning. OK:

Core CPIH (excluding energy, food, alcohol and tobacco) rose by 4.2% in the 12 months to May 2024, down from 4.4% in April; the CPIH goods annual rate fell from negative 0.8% to negative 1.3%, while the CPIH services annual rate eased slightly from 6.0% to 5.9%.

Core inflation is inflation stripped of those non-interest rate concerning items. And is, thus, the inflation that is amenable to interest rate changes. Core is well above the inflation target. Therefore the puishment beatings won’t stop.

Note that we can reach this by Spud’s own reasoning. But Spud can;t reach it by Spud’s own reasoning. Ho Hum.

This is before we get to the real crux of the matter. Spud is arguing that the real interest rate should be negative. Why?


‘Everyone was paddling to get away’: seals with rabies alarm South Africa’s surfers
Seals have been biting people in the first big outbreak of the disease in marine mammals, writes Nick Dall in Cape Town

Yes, obviously, rabies is a problem for a mammal, death will ensue, no? By hydorphobia in a marine mammal is gonna be tough.