American academia

Kenneth Womack is the author of a two-volume biography of the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin. He is Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University.


Recorded 50 years ago this month, “Maybe I’m Amazed” launched McCartney’s solo career in fine style. It would become a concert staple for the ages, a much-covered rock classic that would stand among his finest Fab Four achievements. In 2009, he acknowledged that it would be “the song he would like to be remembered for in the future.”

The point is that it’s not among his Fab Four achievements even while it can stand alongside them.


This is shocking, shocking

It’s like finding gambling going on in a Tangiers boozer:

Kings Cross Steelers, the world’s first gay-inclusive rugby club, have said that the shocking levels of homophobic language revealed by a study conducted by Harlequins shows the need for clubs like theirs.

Ahead of hosting the world’s first ever professional LGBTQ+ Pride match against London Irish in the Premiership this weekend, research commissioned by Quins among clubs in their catchment area has revealed that that the majority of male rugby players, 69 per cent, had heard their teammates use homophobic slurs in the last two weeks, while 42 per cent of those same players admitted to using such language themselves in the same time period.

Hearty male sporting society uses language to shock maiden aunts? Tell us all it ain’t so!

There’s a certain oddity here

More than 300 children as young as six have been deemed suspects in so called “sexting” offences, Scotland Yard has revealed.

Officers said they had seen an increase in the number of youngsters sharing sexual photos and videos of themselves and others, but warned that they could be breaking the law.

The oddity being, well, what children of 6 do themselves – no, not done to them – is pretty much the definition of childhood activities, isn’t it? Something which perhaps ought not to be criminalised?


Just a heads up.
We have been getting a few reports of people receiving emails asking them to donate to and via Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency with offers of rewards (of the payment variety, not sexual (sadly). We only process donations through DonorBox using Visa, Mastercard and PayPal.


Donors should have received a copy of:
Tim Worstall – Fact Checking Pollyanna
Kristian Niemietz – Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies
Dr. Eamonn Butler – The Condensed Wealth of Nations

If you didn’t get your links, let us know.

We will be issuing free resource each month from January 2020. 

Guess who?

I have to admit I do not think this attack happened either by chance or without co-ordination in some way.

In addition, I very much doubt that all the names used to post comment are unrelated: apart from making the obvious point that all are likely to be false I rather suspect there may be multiple identities for a single person involved.

Apparently my writing about his mistakes here is “coordination” now.

So, just for the avoidance of doubt Snippa. I have not told anyone to go comment on your blog. I never do in fact. I have also not coordinated anything. All I have done is indulge in a little free speech by reading, then considering and commenting upon, your proposal.

As I’m now about to do again:

Then SCA suggests that a business must have a plan for becoming net carbon neutral, including on Scope 3.

Scope 3 emissions belong to those using the product, not those making it. This is a fundamental error here.

After then it is claimed that there is double counting by including Scope 3. And yes, there could be if a product does, after sale pass through multiple further business hands before reaching an end consumer. But this entirely misses the point of SCA.

No, we’re talking about your assumption within SCA. The end consumer is the one travelling, cooking, consuming and thus emitting. And it’s consumer behaviour we desire to change too. This is all made entirely plain in the Stern Review and other such basic documents.

That double counting would matter if SCA was a macroeconomic measure. But it is not. It is a microeconomic measure. What it is seeking to appraise is what an entity’s contribution to global heating might be.

It’s still double counting and it still matters.

And if it is in a supply chain that delivers global heating it is playing a part in that process.

Jeebus, you’re not even understanding your own point. The supply chain is Scopes 1 and 2. Scope 3 is not the supply chain, it’s consumption.

Then it is claimed by critics that SCA prices this carbon that has been measured. Quite specifically sustainable cost accounting does not do that. It prices the cost of eliminating the carbon.

Which is another mistake being made. The cost of eliminating the emissions isn’t the important thing. The damage the emissions – their cost – do is.

It does not require the creation of an artificial market in carbon, thankfully. That’s not least because that market is not going to exist at any price that might be required at any foreseeable time in the future.

Trying to do economics without considering prices is, well, it’s rampantly stupid actually. And to claim that carbon is going to have no price at all is insane. It might even be a high price but there is going to be one.

Simply glorious:

As a consequence I propose that a precautionary principle must apply: only proven technology can be included in a plan to be net carbon neutral.

The world must become carbon neutral, today, with extant and proven technologies only. Entirely missing the point of Stern, Nordhaus et al, that the task is to develop the technologies which allow industrial society without climate change.

I am well aware that those who do not like sustainable cost accounting will wish to continue to take issue with it, and I m entirely happy about that: if I did not believe in constructive debate I would not have facilitated comments on this blog for as long as I have. But, those who raise repetitive, and continually inappropriate questions on the subject, not least because they make false claims as to what SCA is about, will simply be referred to this blog post. And those who are here to troll can expect to be banned.

And anyone who continues to point out Snippa’s errors will be banned. Got that?

This is fun

I am not sure that there is much more to add t that, except to note that the tax spend total is actually £400 billion once allowances are taken into account. And what is clear is that these sums are being remarkably poorly managed.

OK. So, total taxation is what, £600 billion? £800?

So, abolish all allowances – absolutely all – and cut tax rates on everything by 33 to 50%.

Amazingly, I don;t see Ritchie proposing that. Even though it’s a logical deduction from his observation.


When Ladysmith Black Mambazo came on stage, Mandela, seated in the Royal Box, rose to his feet and started swaying and clapping. The Duke of Edinburgh joined in followed by the Queen who, as a newspaper report the next day put it with considerable understatement, “has seldom been known to boogie in public”.

And this is lovely:

“Singing cleanses the soul,” he said. “It is my prayer and my comfort. There is nothing else.”

There’s many a musician who would take that to be buried to.

Ahh, business as usual

The president of the European Commission has admitted that she made mistakes in allowing lucrative contracts to be improperly handed out to consultants during her time as Germany’s defence minister.

Glad to see that standards are being maintained. The entire continent is back in the hands of someone who can’t count – or if they can, makes sure that the numbers prefer her friends.

European politics, business as usual.

Depends who by

Democrats accused the president of holding up military aid for Ukraine and essentially using it as an incentive to get Kiev to investigate Joe Biden’s son Hunter and his business dealings in the country. Trump’s detractors said Trump was hoping to find dirt on the Bidens that could damage the elder’s chances in 2020. Neither have been accused of wrongdoing.

Top holiday tip – Barcelona in a ten days’ time

One of the biggest experiments in algorithmic price management is currently underway, as the GSMA, the mobile industry’s lobby body, has scrapped this year’s Mobile World Congress gabfest.

MWC Barcelona was due to start in ten days.


And that experiment in algorithmic price management? 100,000 aircraft seats are suddenly empty. 100,000 hotel beds slumber undisturbed. Expect the biggest fire sale ever, and for those who can take the time, the last few days of February in Barcelona will be idyllic this year. It’s going to be fun watching the travel websites.

Such wondrous ignorance

It’s time for these denials of responsibility to end. BP is responsible for the oil it sells. No one else is. And on that basis it is clear it has no intention of being a net-zero carbon company.

Reasonable adults think that if we burn a litre of petrol then we’re the people – having done the burning – responsible for the pollution stemming from the burning of that litre of petrol.

Snippa insists that it’s BP responsible for his drive to the shops.

No doubt Helios is to blame when he gets sunburnt at the beach, not his own damn stupidity.

From the FT

Raising tax is always politically difficult. But Britain can no longer afford a delay. The proximate cause is a shortfall in the public finances. Likely downgrades to productivity forecasts, spending commitments already announced and a change in the accounting treatment of student loans all mean the government will need to raise funds to meet its fiscal rule of balancing day-to-day spending by 2023. Truly “ending austerity” and reversing the cuts of recent years will cost even more.

Well, yes. Except the tax burden (percentage of GDP that goes in tax) is already at record highs. The shortfall is because they’re pissing away what they do collect.

Bird gets fat – Capitalism to blame!

Nearly three decades ago, when I was an overweight teenager, I sometimes ate six pieces of sliced white toast in a row, each one slathered in butter or jam. I remember the spongy texture of the bread as I took it from its plastic bag. No matter how much of this supermarket toast I ate, I hardly felt sated. It was like eating without really eating. Other days, I would buy a box of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes or a tube of Pringles: sour cream and onion flavour stackable snack chips, which were an exciting novelty at the time, having only arrived in the UK in 1991. Although the carton was big enough to feed a crowd, I could demolish most of it by myself in a sitting. Each chip, with its salty and powdery sour cream coating, sent me back for another one. I loved the way the chips – curved like roof tiles – would dissolve slightly on my tongue.

After one of these binges – because that is what they were – I would speak to myself with self-loathing. “What is wrong with you?” I would say to the tear-stained face in the mirror. I blamed myself for my lack of self-control. But now, all these years later, having mostly lost my taste for sliced bread, sugary cereals and snack chips, I feel I was asking myself the wrong question. It shouldn’t have been “What is wrong with you?” but “What is wrong with this food?”

Back in the 90s, there was no word to cover all the items I used to binge on. Some of the things I over-ate – crisps or chocolate or fast-food burgers – could be classified as junk food, but others, such as bread and cereal, were more like household staples. These various foods seemed to have nothing in common except for the fact that I found them very easy to eat a lot of, especially when sad. As I ate my Pringles and my white bread, I felt like a failure for not being able to stop. I had no idea that there would one day be a technical explanation for why I found them so hard to resist. The word is “ultra-processed” and it refers to foods that tend to be low in essential nutrients, high in sugar, oil and salt and liable to be overconsumed.

It’s never, ever, the fault of the individual woman, is it?

In The Guardian

At least one or two of them might understand this:

Imogen West-Knights (Journal, 6 February) informs us that it is, by definition, impossible to level up the needy without redistribution of wealth or opportunity from the wealthiest. Back when Adam Smith became a professor in 1751, GDP per capita in the UK was some $1,800 a year (by Angus Maddison’s inflation-adjusted numbers). Today it is around $39,000. Reality is telling us that the economy is not a zero-sum game.
Tim Worstall
Senior fellow, Adam Smith Institute

Aha, Aha, Ahhahahahahahahahaha

The Swiss government has ordered an inquiry into a global encryption company based in Zug following revelations it was owned and controlled for decades by US and German intelligence.

Encryption weaknesses added to products sold by Crypto AG allowed the CIA and its German counterpart, the BND, to eavesdrop on adversaries and allies alike while earning million of dollars from the sales, according the Washington Post and the German public broadcaster ZDF, based on the agencies’ internal histories of the intelligence operation.

“It was the intelligence coup of the century,” the CIA report concluded. “Foreign governments were paying good money to the US and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign countries.”

Gurgle, snort…….