Tim Worstall

Holy Lord, seriously?

Restaurateurs are hoping the scheme will boost a struggling sector. Hawksmoor, the high-end steak restaurant chain, said it received 5,500 bookings in six hours after it advertised the “best steak and chips in Britain” for a tenner (it reduced the cost of a 300g portion of rump steak and chips from £30 to £20 before applying the discount).

£30 for steak and chips? And that’s rump?

I’ve been out of England too long, obviously, given my surprise at that number. I’d expect dinner for 2 including the wine for that. Actually, we do go for – lunch, agreed – for two for significantly less than that. Including the wine, coffee, amuse guele and tip.

Today’s cretin

Nobody benefits from a world of 8 billion or 11 billion people, except for large capital interests that need cheap labour and mindless consumers.

It might be possible to argue that 8 to 11 billion people benefit from being able to have a life…..

Difficult one really

Crispin Odey, one of Britain’s most high profile hedge fund bosses, has been charged with indecently assaulting a woman more than two decades ago.
The Brexit donor, who founded and runs Odey Asset Management and has an estimated wealth of £825m, was charged over an attack alleged to have taken place in Chelsea in 1998.
The attack is alleged to have happened at Swan Walk in west London, where Odey owns a home and several of his businesses are registered, the Evening Standard reported.
Mr Odey said: “The allegation is denied and I will strongly contest this matter.”
The case was due to come before Westminster magistrates’ court next week but has been postponed until 28 Sept due to a backlog of hearings created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Odey, 61, has been charged under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 with a single offence alleged to have occurred in July 1998, the Crown Prosecution Service said. He is charged with “indecently assaulting a woman over the age of 16”, the Standard reported.

Actually, not so difficult as all that. Sexual assault is a he said, she said offence. Because the act itself, sex (one assumes that is what it concerns) is entirely legal. It’s about consent. And 22 years ago? Probably no witnesses other than the two participants? The likelihood of a fair trial – you know evidence ‘n’ all that – is what?

One of the things the Americans have got right in their legal system is that insistence of taking statutory limitations seriously.

And nineteenthly

And fourth, there is the sheer hypocrisy of my approach when appealing for independence for Scotland whilst opposing it as irrational for the UK to have it from the EU using the mirror image of the arguments in each case.

Sometimes is not just what he says but that he cannot see what he has said:

And fourth, there is the sheer hypocrisy of Johnson’s approach when appealing for Union in Scotland whilst opposing it as irrational with the EU using the mirror image of the arguments in each case.


Way back when Britain had a much bigger industrial base than today,

So, when was that?

Agreed, manufacturing used to employ many more people. Manufacturing used to be a larger portion of a smaller economy. But manufacturing output is only a shade off the record levels of the 00s. And distinctly larger than pre-Maggie etc. Like times larger.

Tsk Nicola, Tsk

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of misleading the UK public after she was criticised by a statistics watchdog for making unsubstantiated comparisons about coronavirus rates in Scotland and England.
Scotland’s First Minister repeatedly claimed earlier this month that the prevalence of the virus was “five times” higher in England, and opponents said she had deployed the figure to suggest her policy was working better than elsewhere in the UK
She also used the statistic to justify her controversial refusal to rule outimposing quarantine on visitors crossing the border into Scotland and taking a different approach to Boris Johnson on air bridges
But in an intervention described by her critics as “damning”, Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation at the Office for Statistics Regulation, said that the uncaveated comparison should never have been made as it was not backed up by sound data.
An investigation also found that the justification for the claim provided to the media who questioned its basis was different to the one provided to regulators, after Ms Sturgeon’s officials changed their story.
The accusations of citing false figures will prove embarrassing for Ms Sturgeon, who has won widespread praise for her handling of the pandemic despite separate statistics published on Thursday confirming that Scotland has the third-highest rate of excess mortality deaths in Europe.

Politician quotes dodgy figures, well I never.

And of course what’s really important here is that how may get it is not the point. It’s how many excess deaths are avoided which is. Oddly, something that would be improved by lots of people getting it then not dying from it. Because that means we can open up again earlier and do nice things like treat cancers thereby reducing the number of excess deaths.

Herd immunity being a real thing even if we’ve not got there yet.


As a Council Member of the Progressive Economy Forum I was involved In drafting this letter to the FT, published this morning

OK, not quite, but isn’t that just rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty?

The OBR’s focus is on how the government might pay for the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. We do not think that this is appropriate. That is because this approach is essentially microeconomic, and assumes the government is an entity independent of the economy as a whole. The implication is that the government is an agent too small to influence the direction and level of activity in the economy.

We do not agree with this view. In the macroeconomy the government shapes the direction and size of the economy through its regulations and decisions on spending, taxing and borrowing.

OK, so how about loosen the strictures of regulation so as to increase the size of the economy?

Patrick Allen (Chair),
Ha-Joon Chang,
Stephany Griffith-Jones,
Will Hutton,
Robert Skidelsky,
John Weeks*
Carolina Alves,
Danny Dorling,
Daniela Gabor,
Will Hutton,
Sue Konzelmann,
Johnna Montgomerie,
Richard Murphy,
Natalya Naqvi,
Ann Pettifor,
Guy Standing,
Geoff Tily

Ain’t that a set of people you don’t want to be agreeing with? And look at Will Hutton, so important he has to sign twice.

Job creation

And yet although these companies that might fail might employ 6 million people in all apparently unemployment is not going to be more than 3 million in total, a figure which the claimant count suggests is fast being approached Even before furlough has come close to ending.

Put bluntly, this makes no sense at all. Simply extrapolating the data in the article (and I can see no reason why not: the sample is big enough in all cases for that extrapolation to be fair) and the number of jobs at risk looks to be around 6 million (16 million, times 75%, times 50%).

Apparently the thought that new businesses might arise to employ a few of them doesn’t occur to our Snippa. Which , given that the economy destroys about 3 million jobs a year, creates about 3 million jobs a year, is odd. An economics professor should know that…..

And yet sex goes on

Police officers are killing Black people, Covid-19 is killing all people, and poverty and unemployment are reaching giddy heights around the world. Communities and victims’ families are asking us to amplify photos of Black people who’ve died in custody such as Tanya Day, David Dungay and George Floyd. And a local campaign to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 is encouraging people to post childhood pics of themselves and sign a petition so Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids stop being sent to prison at alarming rates.

Terrible things are happening out there. We get you.

So it was with incredulity that this Tuesday past I watched as a rapidly increasing number of women on my Instagram feed posted beautiful photos of themselves. Of course, hot selfies are the bricks upon which the house of Instagram is built, so this alone wouldn’t have piqued my interest.

But these were different. These stood out. They were all black and white, they were all aggressively artful and they almost universally opened with #ChallengeAccepted. Each woman acknowledged having been “challenged” by another woman and subsequently nominated 10 more. Most praised “strong women”, exalted empowerment and ended with #WomenSupportingWomen.

These weren’t just random selfies. This was a movement. But for what?

While the intention seems pure and intellectually feminist-lite, there was, at first at least, no groundbreaking or even mildly new point being made. The overarching message seemed simply to be that women are beautiful and wonderful and we should help each other out. But as an awareness campaign, it seemed futile at best. We’re already aware.

Hmm. Our lassie seems not to have met many actual humans. Nor quite understood what drives them. Which is, as with all other animals, to have grandchildren. Which means making the most of whatever assets one has to gain and keep a mate to have them with and to aid in raising them. That’s actually the base game of the species.

This, often enough, going into hyperdrive the worse the surrounding environment is.

‘E was right you know, eppur si muove but it’s sex that makes the world go ’round.

That’s proven then, socialism causes prostitution

“Eating from rubbish bins to survive was no life, so we left. But, now with the pandemic, we are in limbo, we are stuck in Colombia, and hungry again. We have gone from one crisis to another.”

Venezuela’s total economic collapse has fuelled a large-scale, complex and underfunded humanitarian crisis. An estimated 4.5 million Venezuelans have fled a country blighted by unemployment, collapsing utilities, a defunct healthcare system and severe food shortages.

And as refugees, it is women who have been the most vulnerable to labour and sexual exploitation, trafficking and violence.

Would be a useful tagline for Labour, no? Elect Corbyn and the women have to go on the game…..

Makes sense

Transferwise has consolidated its status as one of Britain’s biggest private technology start-ups with a $5 billion valuation.

It’s good at what it does. Anyone working in more than one currency should at the very least check it out.

If you haven’t then do so here.

Yes, there is a referral fee if people start to use it. But it is a good product – I use it extensively. And Bloke in Spain sings the praises too.

Dear Rhiannon

I popped down to my local when it opened and had a glance inside, but it was a mask-free zone, so I didn’t go in. It’s such a simple thing, putting on a mask. It says: “I care about your welfare, as well as my own, and do not want to infect you.”

That could be because browsing and sluicing are things done with the mouth, requiring the absence of a barrier in front of it.

Other countries haven’t needed to legislate, perhaps because they had higher levels of trust in their governments.

In both Portugal and Spain they are compulsory, by law.

Will the fact masks are now obligatory in shops in England finally – please God – mark the end of the mask culture wars? Will this spark a political and public commitment to sane and effective public health policies? Well, yes and no. On the one hand, it’s a relief that the government has finally listened to what the World Health Organization has been saying in increasingly desperate tones since early spring.

And now you’re really missing the point. The earlier advice against masks was issued because the NHS is so inefficient that Ministers were convinced if we did then medical staff couldn’t – not enough masks around, d’ye see?


Grime artist Wiley – with his half a million followers – unleashed a tirade of undiluted antisemitism on to Twitter.’ Photograph: Ollie Millington/Redferns


The main image on this article was changed on 29 July 2020. An earlier version incorrectly used an image of the rapper Kano.

Apparently they all look the same to The Guardian.

That Scottish Debt

Whilst, seventh, whatever is owing must be agreed to be due in Scottish pounds, fixed at independence.

Err, why should a foreign currency debt not be in the foreign currency?

So let me offer some rational comment on this situation.

This’ll be good, right?

There should also be common ground on another issue. And that is that there is actually already agreement that Scotland will have no liability for any of the debt of England, Wales or Northern Ireland (although for all practical purposes, this is English debt) if it chooses to become independent. We know this because the UK government issued a publication on this issue in 2014 under the title[1]:

UK debt and the Scotland independence referendum

In this the UK government, based in London, said:

In the event of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom (UK), the continuing UK Government would in all circumstances honour the contractual terms of the debt issued by the UK Government. An independent Scottish state would become responsible for a fair and proportionate share of the UK’s current liabilities, but a share of the outstanding stock of debt instruments that have been issued by the UK would not be transferred to Scotland. For example, there would be no change in counterparty for holders of UK gilts. Instead, an independent Scotland would need to raise funds in order to reimburse the continuing UK for this share.

They added:

An entirely separate contract between the continuing UK Government and an independent Scottish state’s Government would need to be established. The respective shares of debt and the terms of repayment would be subject to negotiation.

In addition they said:

In the event of independence, the full spectrum of assets and liabilities – past, future and contingent – would need to be considered in negotiations between the continuing UK and Scottish Governments, on a case-by-case basis. This means that the negotiations would need to cover the arrangements for all forms of debt covered in this note, not just gilts and Treasury.

I think this really rather helpful because much of it summarises what appears to be legally, practically and politically both true, and necessary. In the process it resolves the first question. The UK government has said Scotland will not be liable for debts managed by London before independence. Instead anything owing is entirely down to negotiation.

Err, no, that’s not what has been said. Rather, to reassure the holders and buyers of gilts – where that’s not the BoE – they’ve said that the UK, or England if you prefer, will continue to honour them. That the UK, or England, will then go after the Scots. Rather than current holders of gilts having to watch their Scots share of the pile being inflated away by the porridge wogs.

That isn’t the same as declaring that there is no debt due by Scotland, it’s a comment about who to.

They say that the UK debt is as follows

He’s used gilts there, instead of the useful number from government accounts of total liabilities.

The rest of it is just the pursuit of verimine from a party that doesn’t recommend for it.