Tim Worstall

Not so much Brexit as the EU

Dutch TV news has aired footage of customs officers confiscating ham sandwiches from drivers arriving by ferry from the UK under post-Brexit rules banning personal imports of meat and dairy products into the EU.

Officials wearing high-visibility jackets are shown explaining to startled car and lorry drivers at the Hook of Holland ferry terminal that since Brexit, “you are no longer allowed to bring certain foods to Europe, like meat, fruit, vegetables, fish, that kind of stuff.”

To a bemused driver with several sandwiches wrapped in tin foil who asked if he could maybe surrender the meat and keep just the bread, one customs officer replied: “No, everything will be confiscated. Welcome to Brexit, sir, I’m sorry.”

Sure, we can say that Brexit has meant that we’re now subject to these rules. But the rules predate Brexit. This is actually how we – and the EU – have been treating 6.5 billion people these past 40 years and more.

That is, the more we’re subject to pettifogging stupidity the more we should realise what the project actually is – pettifogging bureaucracy.

Certain physical characteristics

A Turkish court has sentenced the leader of an evangelical sex cult to one thousand years in prison for a litany of sexual offences and fraud.

Adnan Oktar, who promoted creationism on his conservative Islamic TV channel, was known for surrounding himself with scantily dressed women whom he called his “kittens” before his arrest in 2018.

A quick images search for Mr Oktar plus “kittens” shows that he was in favour of certain physical characteristics. Few of them were likely to drown face down.

There might be no meaning to this at all. Or perhaps Mummy weaned him a little early.

This might not be the correct answer

As Murph (no relation) says:

Why is it that politics now apparently demands that vast numbers of people must not be represented by the two mainstream political parties?

The correct answer might be something more along the lines of, well, there aren’t vast numbers of people who think that way……

No Tom, really, no

Israel has already reached the goal Britain is hoping to achieve in over a month’s time. Despite beginning their vaccination drive over a week after the UK, Israel has now vaccinated 70% of citizens over the age of 60. This is enough coverage to have prevented the majority of all possible future Covid fatalities.

No, herd immunity comes from the whole population, not the vulnerable one.

Sigh.

Misquoting is one of those journalistic sins Ms. Malik

Nesrine:

As far back as August of last year, the World Health Organization warned that a vaccine alone would not end the pandemic, that “throughout history” the only way viruses have been vanquished is via “permanent adjustments” to economics and societies.

Hmm, the actual quote being lifted:

Throughout history, outbreaks and pandemics have changed economies and societies, he said.

That’s not quite the same thing, is it? The Black Death led to money wages and free labour. That’s certainly a change, but it’s not quite true that the Black Death was vanquished by money wages now, is it?

Tsk.

Interesting number

Bodies are being stored at a temporary facility in Surrey after the county’s hospital mortuaries reached capacity amid rising Covid-19 cases.

Some 170 bodies are being kept in the temporary mortuary at Headley Court in Leatherhead, which first opened in April to alleviate pressure during the first wave of the pandemic.

More than half of those kept at the facility died from Covid-19, a Surrey Local Resilience Forum spokesman said.

The county’s hospital mortuaries have the capacity to store 600 bodies but are currently full, while the temporary facility has room for 800.

I think that’s with, not from. But still. The big question is why this number?

An increase in deaths, the rate of them? Could be, obviously. Or is it that funerals and cremations aren’t taking place?

It would be interesting to know, obviously. And a newspaper might tell us but in the absence of one of those any more…..

Telegraph subs!

This League Two side did not just surprise opponents ranked 62 places higher but dismantle them, wrapping up the victory so comfortably that they could afford to bring on reality TV’s Mark Wright, star of *The Only Way Is Essex*, as a gimmicky substitute in injury time.

The ” is a different key than the *. So too is the <em></em>.

Death by solidarity

Germany has come in for criticism over a bilateral vaccine deal with Pfizer/Biontech to secure an extra 30 million doses of its vaccine at a time when talks between Brussels and the pharma firms were still ongoing.

Berlin ordered the extra doses of the vaccine back in September at a time when it was trumpeting the virtues of a common EU purchasing strategy during its role as rotating president of the European Union.

Well, y’know, national government doing stuff for the nation. But this is tsk, tsk, stuff in the eyes of the EU:

The terms of the EU’s vaccine strategy, published in June, state that the 27 member states agree “not to launch their own procedures for advance purchase of that vaccine with the same manufacturers.”

The pact was supposed to be an act of solidarity towards smaller members with weaker purchasing power.

Well, there’s not one single EU government that doesn’t have the fiscal ability to purchase vaccines for their own population.

But now look at what the demand is. Power over life and death – for that’s what a vaccine is – must be given to the centre for reasons of “solidarity”. And no cheating! Even if the centre is incompetent or, as actually happened, driven by the French insistence not to buy more non-Frog vaccine even when the Frog vaccine will be a year late.

Death by solidarity that is. Because the European Project is far more important than a few tens of thousands of deaths.

The aim of the EU is to stop Germany invading France. Again. Macron’s insistence upon the Sanofi vaccine makes this more or less likely?

Oophagy – the word of the day

I sorta vaguely knew this:

Researchers say the data also indicates that like all present-day lamniform sharks, embryonic Megalodon grew inside its mother by feeding on unhatched eggs in the womb – a practice known as oophagy, a form of intrauterine cannibalism.

Although I was under the impression that it wasn’t necessarily unfertilised eggs that got eated.

Gives a new insight into twins really, doesn’t it?

Yes, Will Hutton is this thick

Libertarianism has led to rich countries vying for vaccines. Collaboration, not competition, is the only the way forward

The solution?

There has to be an international effort, marshalled by the World Health Organization, of state-led vaccine production and distribution on a scale never seen before and done over the next 12 months.

That capitalist and market system has just produced a vaccine faster than anyone has ever done such a thing before.

From their Britain-only approach to vaccine production and mockery of the EU

We’re using a vaccine developed by an American company in Germany and manufactured in Belgium. And this is Britain only? We’re also weeks if not months ahead of that collaborative EU system in doing so.

This must all be stopped and we use the EU/WHO system instead?

Will Hutton might actually be as thick as he looks hard though that might be to believe.

Weird numbers

The Department of Health and Social Care spent more than £75 million on transporting ‘Moonshot’ tests from China that could miss up to half of coronavirus cases, The Telegraph can reveal.

A total of £76.59 million has been spent on air freight alone for lateral flow tests since the announcement of ‘Operation Moonshot’, analysis shows. The proposed mass-testing scheme had initially intended to perform 10 million tests a day.

Yer Wha’?

Air freight from China is about $5 a kg. Sure, it’s higher for smaller amounts but they’re not talking about small shipments. If anything, they’d be chartering a plane and that’s cheaper per kilo.

15 thousand tonnes of tests?

There’s a zero or more going missing here. Or, the bill isn’t for the air freight, it’s for the tests as well. But summat there isn’t right.

This could be a mistake

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have quit social media and will refuse to use platforms such as Twitter or Facebook to promote their activities, it has emerged.

The move is thought to have been prompted by the couple’s disgust at the hatred and abuse directed at them on social media, particularly against Meghan.

Not that I actually know about these things but it is fun to surmise.

Prince Harry and his wife have significant reach on a number of platforms, having more than 10 million followers on Instagram alone.

But they are understood to have said they will not be using any of them to build and promote their work in the United States, such as the new Archewell Foundation.

Those 10 million, plus Twitter etc, are the very thing that they’re selling.

Surely to God they don’t actually believe in their dreck do they? They do know it’s all a marketing exercise?

Well, yes, and?

On the fiscal front, Republican members of Congress appear content to let transit and other COVID-ravaged sectors languish. The perennial inability of Congress to act indicates that states and local communities increasingly will have to find their own way to pay for transit, though they will never have the sums at their disposal that the federal government can muster.

There is a reasonable sorta argument that if the people of an area want buses then the people of that area can pay for buses, right?

Numeracy 2

Right now, Amazon is campaigning against the efforts of its employees in a Birmingham, Alabama, warehouse to win bargaining rights, notwithstanding the fact that Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, whose current estimated wealth is roughly $180 billion, could personally buy the entire state of Alabama if he so desired.

GDP for Alabama is $220 billion a year. GDP is the annual value add. To buy something you have to pay the capitalised value of the annual income.

You don’t get to buy an annual $220 for $180.

Even if GDP isn’t quite the same as either gross margin or profit in a company it’s still true that you can’t buy Alabama for a mere $180 billion. Not unless you’re talking about the legislature but then we all know politicians are cheap.

Numeracy 1

There’s no way that, a year ago, you could script the scenario where the death of over 4,000 Americans in a day would not be the top news item.

Gonna make the news pretty boring. With some 2.8 million deaths a year in the US there’s near 8,000 every day. So, the top news item each and every day must be that near 8,000 people died yesterday, right?

There is a slight problem here

A few congressional Democrats have said that we should just wait until the inauguration and turn the page. This is an active threat situation. Millions of people have been told, falsely, that an election was stolen and that a new government would destroy everything they hold dear. They are following that logic to its conclusion, and one riot with, thus far, no consequences will only embolden them. We have seen this happen throughout history, often tragically. Swift punishment rather than placating those who have distinguished themselves as sworn enemies is the proper course of action.

If the statement “The election was stolen” is sedition to be punished then what happens when an election really is stolen?

You know, like the Russians did in 2016?