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Tim Worstall

Issa good question

If you’ve spent a lot of time reading about Africa, a thought may have occurred to you as it did to me: how are there no successful post-colonial African countries? By “successful,” I mean consistent strong economic growth, political stability, and a reasonable income distribution so the new oil/gold/mineral wealth isn’t all held by the dictator and his friends. For awhile, you could say South Africa or Rhodesia, but only if you ignored the apartheid. It feels like one of the other 50+ African countries should have achieved success, even if just by chance.

The extremism, the extremism

Donald Trump backs abortion ban in ‘later months’ — but says states can decide
Former president rejects nationwide ban and supports exceptions for rape and incest.

For vicious ideologues like me this is far too weak tea. But it’s around and about what the general population thinks is the right apprpach. It’s also what the law is. Abortion is not a right in the Constitution, nor is it one of the reserved powers of the Federal Government. It is, therefore, a matter for the States.

The Donald is the reasonable and sensible one here. Who saw that one coming?

Yeah, right

Rachel Reeves has said an incoming Labour government would launch a £5bn crackdown on tax avoiders to close a gap in its spending plans exposed by Jeremy Hunt scrapping the non-dom regime to finance tax cuts.

That is, of course, simply a £5 billion rise in taxes. Because avoidance is the entirely and wholly legal process of organising your affairs according to the tax law. Changing those rules will indeed change how much tax is paid. But it’s a tax rise all the same. Because avoidance is that legal thing, therefore to change the rules so that it cannot be done is to raise taxes.

Oh, well done subs, well done

So, the story:

Abrdn has been the victim of “corporate bullying” since changing its company name, an executive at the asset manager has claimed.

Peter Branner, Abrdn’s chief investment officer, accused the media of being “childish” after ridiculing the fund’s decision to drop most of the vowels in its name.

The headline?

Mocking our company name is childish, says Abrdn exctve

Well played, well played….

Nigel speaks

I have watched the William Wragg scandal develop with mounting incredulity. First, this Conservative MP showed an astonishing lack of judgment by sending intimate images of himself via a gay dating app to a man he had never met before. That was stupid. But what horrified me was that he then handed over the personal telephone numbers of public figures to somebody who was blackmailing him. His excuse for this incredible lapse is that he was “scared” because the individual “had compromising things on me.”

When it’s laid out like that it is pretty stupid, isn’t it? Certainly not relective of the sort of intellect we’d like among our rulers……

So, here’s the plan then

They’re called “Pell runners” — after enrolling at a community college they apply for a federal Pell grant, collect as much as $7,400, then vanish.

Since fall 2021, California’s community colleges have given more than $5 million to Pell runners, according to monthly reports they sent to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. Colleges also report they’ve given nearly $1.5 million in state and local aid to these scammers.

Should be possible to automate that, right?

Actually, at $7k a time, why automate? Spend the time to do it right.

Man’s just ignorant

The data shows that food inflation is falling to levels last seen before the Ukraine war. This is also true of raw material prices. In other words, the shocks that caused an unnecessary market reaction that hiked international prices, largely as a result of the onset of that war but also in reaction to the reopening after COVID-19, have now all gone away or will cease to have much impact very soon.

This is, of course, exactly as a few of us predicted and which was denied as being a possibility by the likes of the Bank of England.

Did their increasing interest rates have any effect on this? No, not at all, although Brexit did have an impact in leaving our inflation higher than anyone else’s.

Did anyone else’s interest rate rises affect this? Again, no, because the lag effect on any impact from such changes is usually reckoned to be two years, and the downturn came long before they could have had an impact.

We can measure inflation in two ways. General – ie, all prices, weighted across the consumer basket – or core. We observe that certain prices are highly variable, both up and down. Food and fuel, largely enough. Sure, such prices changing change the consumer lifestyle, most assuredly they do. But they can also be a misleading guide to inflationary pressures in the economy. For they’re highly variable for reasons nothing to do with interest rates, money supply, magic money tree printing and all the rest.

So, we do measure inflation in both those ways, everything and also core – without those highly variable food and fuel. And it’s that second one, core, which is used as the policy guide because that’s the one containing more information about interest rates, money supply and magic money tree printing.

Which does mean that posturing about food prices and interest rates is the activity of a fool, an ignorant or, possibly, a propagandist deliberately attempting to mislead.

British politics is an hereditary stitch up

Sir Lindsay Harvey Hoyle (born 10 June 1957)[1] is a British politician who has served as Speaker of the House of Commons since 2019 and as Member of Parliament (MP) for Chorley since 1997. Before his election as speaker, he was a member of the Labour Party.
….
During Doug Hoyle’s long career as a Labour MP he experienced significant changes in the party’s fortunes and its policies. A man of the left, he shifted his views only slightly under New Labour and Tony Blair. He became something of a grandee when he was elected by MPs as chairman of the parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) in his last spell in the Commons (1992-97); and having once called for the abolition of the House of Lords, he took a life peerage shortly after his retirement as an MP.

Yes, second is pop of the first.

Not a record by any means. Hilary Benn is, if I’ve got my numbers right, a 6th generation MP and a 3rd generation, at least, Cabinet Minister (or, obviously, has been).

Erm?

No watering-down, no new red tape: it’s time to fully decriminalise abortion in England and Wales
Stella Creasy

So any bird should be allowed to kill any kid – right up to the point of birth itself – for any reason or none?

Might that not be considered something of an extreme position?

Also, fuck off.

Snigger

Scottish football fans face hate crime complaints from members of the public who hear chants on TV at home, a senior lawyer has warned.

Police Scotland, which has already received 8,000 reports since the new laws came into force last week, is facing warnings that as many as 2,000 further complaints will be made on Sunday due to the Rangers vs Celtic clash at Ibrox.

Sectarian songs are often heard at Old Firm matches, raising fears that partisan supporters watching the game live on TV could swamp the force with new hate crime reports.

Tis an idiot law.

And, as I read it, physical presence – of the insult being made, or of the insultee – in Scotland is not necessary. It is, purely, that the supposed and felt to be insult is read or seen in Scotland.

An idiot law.

Horrors

A rightwing Christian lobby group that wants abortion to be banned has forged ties with an adviser to the prime minister and is drawing up ­policy briefings for politicians.

The UK branch of the US-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has more than doubled its spending since 2020 and been appointed a stakeholder in a parliamentary group on religious freedoms in a role that grants it direct access to MPs.

The ADF’s efforts to boost its UK influence are revealed as part of an Observer analysis that shows a surge in activity within the wider anti-­abortion movement.

Ahead of a historic vote on abortion later this spring, in which MPs will vote on a law that would abolish the criminal offence associated with a woman ending her own pregnancy in England and Wales, several anti-abortion campaign groups have expanded their teams, ramped up advertising and coordinated mass letter-writing campaigns targeting MPs.

People campaign about upcoming change in the law. Where would democracy be if this sort of thing catches on?

Mr. Parkinson to the white telephone please

The choice to defer payments has been available for more than a decade but became more popular during the pandemic as people relied more on online shopping, and demand for credit was strong.

A review by Christopher Woolard, a former interim chief executive at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), found that the deals were a “meaningful alternative” to payday loans, but represented a “significant potential consumer harm”.

Woolard recommended in his 2021 report that legislation be changed “as soon as possible” to ensure that all such products were regulated by the FCA.

Bureaucrat suggests new thing must be regulated by his bureaucracy.

C. Northcote to the white telephone, please.

Erm, Dave?

The UK has lost influence since Brexit to become just one of many “middle powers” in the world, former foreign secretary David Miliband has said.

Writing for the Observer, Miliband, now president and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee, said that in order to reverse the decline, the UK needed to enter new “structures and commitments” with the EU on foreign policy.

The 7th, 10th, whatever it is, largest economy, and one of what, 5 nuclear (admitted at least) powers, loses influence by being independent instead of 1/27th of a collective?

Oh, right.

So, the Gyppoes move in next door

The group is fighting back by creating a GoFundMe page asking for help.

Luke Salathiel wrote: “Our family and kids need somewhere to live to raise our family. The council is not providing us with the right needs so we are doing our own property up which we are entitled to do. We are sick of living in need.”

Hmm.

It is believed that the group started removing the earth from a sloping field on Porters Road in Nantyglo, south Wales, on March 27.

Yvonne Bell, 55, in an interview with the Daily Mail, added: “There are old mine shafts under our houses. We’ve had non-stop rain for months and now the land supporting our road and houses have been stripped away.

‘‘We are worried sick that what they’ve done could cause another Aberfan [disaster].”

You are invited to consider what’s the motivation here. Those landslip concerns or the neighborhood ones…..

Umm

Μπορείτε να παραλάβετε τη φορολογική σας δήλωση για τον τρέχοντα μήνα.

Κατά την προσπάθειά μας να καταθέσουμε τα χρήματα στο λογαριασμό σας, δεν μπορέσαμε να επιβεβαιώσουμε τον αριθμό λογαριασμού.

Παρακαλούμε χρησιμοποιήστε τον παρακάτω σύνδεσμο για να επιβεβαιώσετε τον τραπεζικό σας λογαριασμό και το ποσό της επιστροφής φόρου σας, προκειμένου να διασφαλίσουμε ότι τα χρήματα κατατίθενται στον σωστό λογαριασμό.

Eh?

You can collect your tax return for the current month.

While attempting to deposit the funds into your account, we were unable to confirm the account number.

Please use the link below to confirm your bank account and your tax refund amount to ensure the money is deposited into the correct account.

Oh…..first time I’ve had one in Greek…..

Hmm

There has always been respect for Disher, but not always recognition outside the crime cognoscenti. “He’s the crime writer’s crime writer,” says author Michael Robotham, who has sold 8.5m books. “He’s the crime writer that other crime writers read. He’s incredibly influential.”

“It has always puzzled me as to why he wasn’t recognised more widely,” says Sue Turnbull, crime fiction expert and senior professor of communication and media at the University of Wollongong. “He’s always been a brilliant writer. He’s certainly in the same league as Peter Temple and Peter Corris.”

Those last two household names ’round my way.