Tim Worstall

As the Swedish pointed out

Rising numbers of people testing positive for Covid-19 are refusing to hand over details of close contacts, as the numbers forced to self-isolate reached a record high.

Official statistics show almost one quarter of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in the week ending July 21 would not provide details of any recent close contacts.

In total, 76.9 per cent of such cases provided such details – with compliance falling by almost 10 per cent in the past month.

Folks will only do whatever for some limited period of time. Therefore save the imposition of doing whatever until it is really necessary.

And the Swedish experience is looking better all the time, isn’t it?

It’s the lying, the lying

Jennifer Francis: ‘We cannot wait’
We need to immediately stop subsidizing all aspects of the fossil fuel industry. According to this report, the fossil fuel industry received $66bn in 2016, while renewables (excluding nuclear) only received $9.5bn.

From the extended version of her source:

Biodiesel Producer Tax Credita (26 U.S.C. 6426)

This is counted as a subsidy to fossil fuels, not renewables. A few billion a year as well.


The things people will complain about

For consumers, the current food system is defined by abundance and low prices. Americans spend just under 10% of their disposable income on food, among the lowest rates in the world,

No, really, that’s a complaint. About how food is too cheap because capitalism made it so.

Two things brought us to this grim place. The first is a profit-led drive for ever-increasing efficiency in agriculture, which has been in train for at least two centuries.

We’ve been trying to get more efficient at agriculture since the Neolithic. In fact, that’s a useful definition of when we started to try to do so – the Neolithic.

And they’re complaining!

Sure, of course it is

But. there are serious questions to ask here. First, never let it be said again that strategically important companies cannot be nationalised in the public interest.

Not let it be said that the government cannot decide who should be winners and losers in our economy.

And come to that, never let it be said that investment to secure important government goals is not possible, because it very clearly is.

In other words, let it now be said, loud and clear, that nationalisation is definitely on the agenda, at least when it suits the government.

Always has been too. The question is always when is that “suits the government” something that the rest of us want to have happen? Nationalising a fragile business in the middle of the defence supplier chain might be a case – might! – where it does. Nationalising all food shops might – might! – not be.

Government have, after all, done both……..

Isn’t this lovely?

For FT copyright reasons I cannot note much else of what she said, but the essence was simple. Her suggestion was that capitalism without democracy is oligarchy, with winners and losers determined by autocrats. In that case, those tasked with institutional saving of pension and other funds have, she argued, a duty to fund those who support democracy in the USA and defund those who oppose it before it is too late to save, as it would be if Trump won in 2024. Her suggestion was that pension funds, university endowments and others have a duty to pass this message to companies: defunding Republicans is in the interests of mainstream America, she says.

I think she is right. I do not have to believe that all that the companies that she might invest in is useful, good or even right to think that they have a critical role in opposing the spread of the far-right anti-democratic forces that threaten to undermine the USA. That process is already underway as voter laws are changed to end democracy as anyone might reasonably recognise it in some states. It can only get worse if Trump runs for the Republicans again, as he might.

I would add that there are other issues where such an alignment of institutional investors and endowment bodies with political interests is required: support for action on climate change is the other that springs to mind.

So the establishment clique that controls institutional investment should invest on the basis of political bias in order to preserve democracy?


This could be exceptionally fun

A Belgian judge has opened an investigation for possible manslaughter over floods there that claimed 38 lives, the prosecutors office in the city of Liege announced.

The investigating magistrate has the task of identifying who might be responsible for “involuntary homicide by lack of foresight or precaution” the prosecutors office said in a statement on Wednesday.

There’re a lot of if’s to string together here as I know very little about this. Possibly some would like to inform me?

So, we know that the enviros have managed, at EU level, to curtail dredging and flood maintenance. Those vital wetlands must be allowed to regenerate. This was the explanation for those Somerset Levels problems.

There are large areas of Northern Europe where doing this will leads to substantial flooding. We’ve just had substantial flooding in areas of Northern Europe.

So, now, magistrates investigation into why the floods. Will that end up being fingered as part of the cause?

Nope, dunno, but would be fun…..

Yields work two ways of course

City centre landlords are cashing in as surging tenant demand means yields have jumped this year.

So far in 2021, the average investor purchasing a buy-to-let in a city achieved a gross yield of 5.3pc, according to Hamptons estate agents. This was boost of 0.6 percentage points from 2020, when returns slumped in the wake of the pandemic.

This being – or at least could be – neatly explained by capital values having declined by the necessary amount. Yield is, after all, rent as a percentage of that capital value……falling prices not being the usual background to people “cashing in”.

This isn’t a great argument

Dan Bibby, an inspirational stand-in captain in Tokyo after Mitchell got injured, has proved a vegan can compete at the highest level of his sport. Rugby traditionalists may think this is too touchy-feely, but it is the future and this is why these sevens players need to cherished. We need male role models who can talk openly about their feelings and aren’t afraid to break the stereotype of whatever a rugby player is supposed to be.

Well, maybe we do and maybe we don’t.

And who was there years ahead of their time, discussing mental health, veganism, the importance of sharing resources with female counterparts, learning from women’s sport with regard to openness and LGBT athletes? The sevens men. They are a team for our times.

OK, super. But here’s the problem. The rest of the whingeing is about how they only came fourth. Meaning that all this wokeness might not be all that helpful in the base aim of sport, to win.

There’s also one other point. All this “support” the sevens teams should get. Well, that sevens circuit is pretty mature now. Ongoing global competition. Does it make enough money to support the teams playing it?

Nope? Then why make other people subsidise it?

Yes, yes, start up investments and all that. But that sevens circuit is mature now.

Not the normal explanation, certainly

Roman Abramovich is not Vladimir Putin’s “willing tool” or “cashier” and did not buy Chelsea FC to help Russia corrupt the West, his lawyers have told the High Court.

One muttering going around was that by buying a non-Russia trophy asset he was signalling that he wasn’t interested in – or worried about – internal to Russia power struggles. “Look Boss, I’m out of that game”.

Somebody woke up

Second, I am, one day a week, Professor of Accounting at Sheffield University Management School. Sheffield has now confirmed that they wish me to focus on research work around auditing, accounting and tax and that I will only be doing occasional lectures, rather than being responsible for teaching a course.

Eminently sensible, having made the original mistake of the hire. Actually exposing students to him would not be nice….

Are we now claiming they got something right?

People advised to shield in the first wave of the pandemic were five times more likely to die after a confirmed Covid infection than those considered at low risk from the disease, according to research in Scotland.

The study, led by the University of Glasgow, found that efforts to shield the most vulnerable did not prevent substantial levels of infection in the most high-risk groups, with many patients succumbing to the virus.

So the people advised to shield were those who should have shielded, being the more vulnerable?

Be interesting if government actually got something right, wouldn’t it?

The findings raise questions about how effective shielding was in the first wave of the pandemic and show that other measures, from reducing transmission in the community to Covid-safe support at home, are crucial for those most vulnerable to the disease.

“The only way you can protect these people is by stopping them getting infected in the first place because they are such a high-risk group,” said Prof Jill Pell, the director of the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing. “You cannot simply dump the responsibility on high-risk people to protect themselves because, as we’ve shown, they cannot protect themselves 100%.”

Ah, no, don;t be silly. They’re looking for someone to blame. The insistence apparently being on a zero infection rate during a pandemic.


Well, this is where I’d go for analysis too

Jana Bacevic is assistant professor of sociology at Durham University. Linsey McGoey is professor of sociology at the University of Essex

The reason Britain has had a bad pandemic:

It may be tempting to explain the government’s lagging public health advice by a lack of clear evidence, the novelty of the situation, or just “bad luck”. But this obscures the degree to which the government has also exploited the uncertainty generated by the Covid-19 pandemic for economic and political gain, by using the facade of incompetence to narrow the political choices available to the public.

In a report released last December, the cross-party joint committee on national security strategy condemned the government for having “failed seriously to consider how it might scale up testing, isolation and contact-tracing capabilities during a serious disease outbreak”. But the report missed a key aspect: the delay in scaling up public testing helped to prime the space for private UK-based firms to enter the market.

Yep, it’s all been done so as to privatise the NHS. Obvious innit? ‘Coz Tories is bastards.

What other analysis would you expect from sociologists?

No, this is the other lot

A cutting-edge start-up founded by a quartet of British university scientists has been valued at $3.2bn (£2.3bn) in one of the largest bets yet on a breakthrough that it is claimed will revolutionise computing.

PsiQuantum, launched by professors at the University of Bristol and Imperial College London, has raised $450m from backers including BlackRock, Microsoft and Scotland’s Baillie Gifford.

Our reader here, who is also a British professor of quantum computing, is in the other lot. Who have not just been invested in at such a valuation.

Tax them! Tax them!

The endowment fund behind the Guardian will pump more money into the booming private equity market after the value of its assets increased by nearly a fifth in the pandemic.

The Scott Trust, which owns the left-leaning news publisher and funds its persistent operating losses from its investment returns, said the overall value of its assets increased by 19pc – or £178m – to £1.1bn for the year to March.

If they’re profiting while millions die we must tax them!

And as Elynomics³ keeps pointing out, government running a deficit simply does produce a rise in private wealth which must be taxed back…..

Pushing up prices to reduce supply

Police have bought up small boats in a bid to curtail Channel migrant crossings, The Telegraph understands.

Officers have used the tactic as part of a series of operations to disrupt the supply of boats, the biggest expense for the people-smuggling gangs behind the record number of migrants crossing the Channel this year.

It is understood officers have bought the boats not only to deny the gangs access to them but also to push up prices and reduce supply in an attempt to break the traffickers’ commercial model.

That only works for a bit. Higher prices increases supply of course…..

Why, the beasts, the beasts!

Far-right accused of aiding German floods clear-up to win support


Far-right groups in Germany including Covid vaccine opponents and supporters of the rightwing, populist AfD party are reportedly attempting to win support by offering assistance to salvage operations in flood-stricken parts of the country.

About 30,000 people remain homeless or without water and electricity in large parts of the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate as a result of the floods that devastated swathes of Germany just under two weeks ago.

An investigation by a team of reporters on the ground for the news weekly Der Spiegel found that social media channels operated by the so-called Querdenker (lateral thinker) organisation, which includes vaccination opponents and preppers (people who prepare for catastrophic events), have put out calls for helpers to travel to Ahrweiler in Rhineland-Palatinate, one of the worst-hit areas.

How could they?

Do something to help in order to gain a reputation as people helping?

What a terrible surprise

More than half of Covid hospitalisations are patients who only tested positive after admission, leaked data reveal.

The figures suggest vast numbers are being classed as hospitalised by Covid when they were admitted with other ailments, with the virus picked up by routine testing.

Experts said it meant the national statistics, published daily on the government website and frequently referred to by ministers, may far overstate the levels of pressures on the NHS.

The leaked data – covering all NHS trusts in England – show that, as of last Thursday, just 44 per cent of patients classed as being hospitalised with Covid had tested positive by the time they were admitted.

The majority of cases were not detected until patients underwent standard Covid tests, carried out on everyone admitted to hospital for any reason.

Overall, 56 per cent of Covid hospitalisations fell into this category, the data, seen by The Telegraph, show.

Now some of those will be, obviously, those suffering from Covid but not known to be at time of admission. As in suffering meaning the reason they were being admitted. Some other will not be. They’ll be people who have – just to have an example – a broken leg, this is the reason for admission and the Covid is purely a byblow.

Then, of course, there will be those who catch it while in there.

Be useful to know the relevant numbers, wouldn’t it?

Well, yes, things do happen

Mr Khan said: “If we don’t get further Government support in December, there could still be a £500m gap this year and so I urge Ministers to treat TfL as they do the private rail operators, and commit to a long-term funding agreement. This is vital not only for the good of London, but for the whole country.”

A key pillar to the London mayor’s first five years in office was to freeze fares across the capital.

Don’t charge enough and you’ll run out of money. Funny that.

Eventually, of course, you end up running out of other peoples’ money too.