Tim Worstall

It’s possible that we may have employment law wrong you know

A Labour MP unfairly sacked a senior adviser and ex-girlfriend after she called him a “first class idiot” in an email with Sir Keir Starmer copied in, an employment tribunal has ruled.

Khalid Mahmood fired Elaina Cohen, his long term aide, after she sent him a series of messages accusing him of being “bullying”, “spiteful” and an “insecure crooked womaniser.”

The former shadow minister – an MP for more than 20 years – dismissed Ms Cohen, who he had previously dated for several years, for disrespecting and trying to intimidate him.

But the tribunal ruled that by overseeing the disciplinary process himself and deciding to fire her, the 61-year-old had treated her unfairly.

Jeez, if you can’t fire your ex bonk…..

Rather more seriously, it seems it’s the process that matters, not reality. Which is absurd. So that’s another area of life ready for 90% cuts come the day then, eh?

This does require explaining

I believe that there are some things where the state can deliver more cost effectively than markets. Where there is only room for one supplier if everyone is to have access to a service, whether paid for (such as water, energy and railways) or supplied for free (such as the NHS and education), then I think that it is the state’s job to supply such services so that access is universal and either abuse or denial of service does not arise. Who would want anything else?

Why does universal provision require state monopoly provision?

Everyone in the country eats, everyone wears clothes, we have universal provision of both and yet no government monopoly there. So, how can this be?


I believe in the state as the mechanism for delivering much of this, because there is nothing else. So I think those arguing for a small state do not want them. Why else would they argue as they do?

Possibly because they disagree with you as to the best way to achieve desirable things?

Knew he would get this one wrong

Earlier this year I wrote a Twitter thread explaining why the profits of energy companies would rise dramatically this year as a result of the fuel price increases resulting from the Ukraine war.

The reality is that the profits have not increased by as much as I predicted. I have a very strong feeling that energy companies will at this moment be booking every loss that they can find within their companies in a desperate attempt to disguise the scale to which they are benefitting as a result of war and the exploitation of people around the world.

Well, yes, at which point he looks at BPs profits.

There is blatant profiteering going on here. War is being exploited and as a consequence people will die. In the meantime shareholders will laugh all the way to the bank, investment in fossil fuels will rise and the planet will burn.

What to do? I thought a tax would help. I still think it might. But the rate has to be close to 100%. This is what wartime situations demand when exploitation happens. Just read Keynes on the issue, writing in WW2.

It is also, you know, maybe, possible to actually look at the results announced:

So far this year BP has dropped over $10 billion of shareholders’ money. That’s the cost of writing down the investment in Rosneft. That’s still net down $10 billion on the half year.

So, how much you gonna tax a company losing money, Spuddo?

The alternative is price capping. The government has to impose price limits. And if the energy companies withdraw fuel from the UK market as a result it will be clear who is causing this.

Facepalm. What happens to prices at that point?

Doesn’t anyone ever read any of the French novels?

When a wealthy French couple let it be known they intended to bequeath their fortune to their small village, the residents dreamt of a prosperous future.

Instead the 146 villagers of Fresnes-sur-Apance in eastern France have succumbed to infighting and insults over claims that the bequest, which some say amounts to more than €6 million, could be a poisoned chalice.

They’re all about how rural idylls are destroyed by jealousy over inheritances, aren’t they?

Always believe the victim

The prosecutor of Brindisi appealed that decision to the court of Lecce after Laforgia presented what he said was “irrefutable and objective evidence that the woman told multiple lies to investigators and the court, with facts and witnesses completely contradicting her story”.

Yes, do indeed believe the initial claims. Then verify before trusting.

Opening lines of a novel….

Vova had done his Benito tribute act out at the Lukoil in the Ring Road, his Petacci had declined her supporting role and was arguing about who really owned that $40 billion of gas money from Switzerland. Jason was doing well enough to be living well and getting laid, not so well that he had to be paying for sex. Then came the phone call.


“I got this wrong,” was the blunt verdict delivered by the chief of Shopify as he laid off a tenth of his workforce last week.

“We bet that the share of dollars that travel through e-commerce rather than physical retail would permanently leap ahead by five or ten years. It’s now clear that bet didn’t pay off.”

A leap forward, sure, and a fall back to somewhere above the starting point. But not that much.


Now, however, the pony and his owners have been brought crashing down to earth as council enforcement officers told the pub they would need planning permission if Patrick wanted to continue grazing in the garden.

They say that the land needs to be reclassified from “pub garden” to “official grazing land”.

Yesterday, Mr and Mrs Petrakis began removing the fencing surrounding Patrick’s pen.

Apparently there’s such a thing as classifying a patch of grass. With actual people employed to do so.

At which point clearly we can kill off half the state, can’t we?


The two Lamborghinis were impossible to ignore. Printed with the company logo, the company JuicyFields had parked them in front of a hotel in Barcelona when the international cannabis industry gathered there for a conference in March. The message was clear: this is where the real money is made.

This turned out to be a Ponzi scam.

Which is one of those little Worstall TEsts of an investment scam. If there’s lots and lots of money to be made (“Three months later, they were told, after the medical cannabis was cultivated, harvested and sold, returns of up to 66 percent could be reaped.”), if we’ve a literal money printer here, then why does anyone need your capital?

Alternatively, custom Lambos are the sign.

Obesity does not equal better nutrition

“The age at which girls are reaching puberty has been trending downward in recent decades, but much of the attention has focused on increased body weight as the primary culprit,” said study lead author Julianna Deardorf at the time. “While overweight and obesity alter the timing of girls’ puberty, those factors don’t explain all of the variance in pubertal timing. The results from our study suggest that familial and contextual factors — independent of body mass index — have an important effect on girls’ pubertal timing.”


Or rather, better nutrition and this faster childhood development are not the same thing as obesity.


Just a little aside about politics – there are those who point out that the billionaires made trillions during the pandemic. They always start their counting from the nadir of the index, that 14 to 18 March time period, conveniently leaving out that 30% fall beforehand. But then, you know, politics.

This is simply ludicrously joyous

Having had Covid before I expected to feel ill, and did. This is much worse than whatever we usually call flu. But I had not expected the fatigue to continue as it has.

Sure, I have been working, but probably less than usual precisely because of this, so that is not the real explanation.

That real explanation just seems to be that this thing can be vicious.

My appeal to people is based on the simple fact that getting this is not fun, and very large numbers of people are doing so. So why aren’t we trying to prevent that? It baffles me when mask wearing is so easy.

So presumably Spud was wearing a mask – it is easy after all – but still got covid. So, mask wearing prevents covid, does it? Or, of course, he wasn’t wearing a mask, in which case there’s some proof that it’s not easy then.

Strong action

Queen Mary University of London, a member of the prestigious Russell Group, has been branded the “worst university employer in the UK” after it withheld 100% of the wages of staff taking part in a national marking boycott in protest at pay and working conditions.

The University and College Union (UCU) says more than 100 staff members at Queen Mary were left panicking about how to pay rent and bills this month after the university deducted full pay for 21 days in their July pay cheques, because they refused to mark students’ work in June. The union says many staff opened payslips with nothing in them, although they still carried out the “vast majority” of their duties including teaching and research. The university is threatening 100% deductions for partial work again in August.

Strong and welcome action we might say.

There’s a reason central banks are independent

The government should use a firehose better aimed at the conflagration, which won’t so badly burden the bottom 80%.

For starters, impose a temporary windfall profits tax on big oil, on giant sellers of consumer staples and on big ag. This would reduce their incentive to engage in price gouging.

Bolder antitrust enforcement – even the threat to block mergers and break up giant companies – could also reduce their ardor to raise prices.

If Congress refuses to allow the government to use its bargaining power to reduce the prices of pharmaceuticals, big pharma is a good candidate for temporary price controls. (FDR controlled prices via executive order.)

Finally, higher taxes on the wealthy – such as Democrats seem finally ready to enact – will help dampen total demand, thereby dousing some of the inflation fire.

The Fed’s single tool for fire-fighting – interest-rate increases – is aimed in the wrong direction. It’s hitting working people rather than corporations responsible for most price increases (over and above the rising costs of global supplies).

We need to fight rising prices, not working people.

Because that set of policies to fight inflation – not that it would – would cock the economy for the long term. Whereas an independent central bank raising interest rates will calm inflation and not cock the economy long term.


So, here’s the reason why nationalising energy won’t work:

By November, it had run out of cash. Yet despite being provided with £1.9bn by the Government to keep the company going, administrators have remained hamstrung by Treasury rules which prevent any state-owned entity from hedging.

Not that hedging late works either. But whoever owns it, given the price cap that just does mean that the company (Bulb) will lose fortunes. Nationalisation doesn’t help.