So, so, Guardian

I consider myself polyamorous – but my girlfriend finds this hard to accept
She wants us to be faithful to one another, and I want her to feel loved and valued. But I also want more for myself

We used to have a much easier – even more understandable – description of this. “Being male”.

We also used to know what to do about it. Sure, OK, so, and no, don’t. Because that’s what being adult means – controlling some part of who you are.

As that line goes, “In my day we called that shagging around”

Today’s business idea

A word of warning before you go toy shopping this Christmas: beware the rapping cactus.

The toy, marketed as educational, may teach your children more than you want them to know, as a woman in Brampton, Ontario, discovered the hard way. The miniature, bright-green dancing cactus Ania Tanner bought sings in English, Spanish and Polish while squirming to the beat. After buying it for her granddaughter, Tanner discovered that one of the songs in its repertoire was an explicit tune about cocaine and hopelessness.

“​​It just so happens that I am Polish, and when I started to listen to the songs and I heard the words … I was in shock,” she told CTV News. “I thought: what is this, some kind of joke?”

OK, so the production line exists, the factory, the templates, the molds.

Changing what it says is just a matter of programming the chip. So, create a chip that is nothing but swearing. Real, total, blue. You’ll end up selling at least one to bro’s everywhere. Got to be really and totally blue though, to shock a CPO blue.

Sure, it’s just transitory

Pressure is mounting on Christine Lagarde, the European Central Bank chief, to get a grip on soaring prices on the Continent as inflation hit its highest level since the birth of the euro.

Figures showed eurozone inflation hit 4.9pc in November, far worse than the 4.5pc expected, as energy costs jumped a record 27pc compared with last year.

Ms Lagarde has insisted that the inflation surge is a one-off but that stance is coming under increasing pressure from hawks such as Germany, where prices are rising at the fastest pace for almost 30 years.

Uhn hunh.

Sure, they’ve been trying to create inflation for a decade now. But it’s one of those strange beasts – hard to create and perhaps harder to tame once created.

As so often, St Milt was right:

Wool over eyes

Zac Goldsmith said he planned to “look very closely” at how wood used in industrial biomass burners run by energy company Drax was sourced.

Speaking to the environment, food and rural affairs committee, the environment minister said: “When you’ve got a system as big as Drax, then if you get it even slightly wrong in terms of the input that’s going to have big implications, so we’ve got to be sure that we’re not.

“I’m not an expert on this, and I probably will never be an expert, but I will be looking more in detail.”

It comes after an investigation by The Telegraph linked Drax’s suppliers to logging in some of Europe’s most important forests, including rare habitats that are supposed to be protected under EU law.

Similar concerns have been raised over trees used to make pellets in the US and Canada which are then shipped to be burnt in the North Yorkshire power plant.

Drax and its suppliers argue that they abide by the strictest sustainability standards and that all allegations about the supply are unfounded.

Despite Drax receiving £2.3 million a day in green subsidies from the Government – on the basis that the trees are a renewable energy source because they are replanted – the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has admitted it does not collect information on where the trees are replanted.

Entirely and wholly missing the point. The energy required to produce (not grow, but cut, chop up, transport) the wood chips makes this entirely not CO2 net zero over time.

Which forest is cut down doesn’t matter – no forest should be for this stupidity. But guess what they’re going to go check? The stupid bit, right?

Give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile

The guidebook noted that officials should never “presume” a person’s gender or sexual orientation. “Do not ask what pronoun a person ‘prefers’. This assumes that gender identity is a personal preference — it is not,” according to the guidelines.

Look, we’re all happy enough to say Miss to the prop in a frock, it’s merely being polite. But it’s a bit much to start insisting that we actually believe all this, isn’t it?

Preserve the old varieties, sure

The mission started when Joan Roca, and his younger brothers Josep and Jordi, heard Montserrat Fontané, 86, tell an interviewer how she wanted to revisit her family’s old country home and revisit the dishes she grew up on in Catalonia’s La Garrotxa mountain region.

Yep, OK, madelines of my youth and all that.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, 75 per cent of crop varieties were lost in the 20th century.

Tsk!

A handful of varieties now make up most of the food eaten in the world today, and millions of people could see their main source of nutrition wiped out by a solitary instance of disease or rot.

The brothers’ search to relocate old varieties such as the Olot black turnip and white aubergine once typical in La Garrotxa is recorded in a documentary which is released online on Wednesday.

The brothers hope the film, called Sembrando el Futuro, or Sowing the Future, will kick-start a global movement among chefs to save dying crop varieties to maintain biodiversity, encourage the use of local produce to reduce transport and rediscover lost flavours.

All is fine except that eat local to reduce transport. Because the transport is a trivial portion of the emissions from the food chain. So trivial that it gets entirely lost in calculations over greenhouse and forced, or sunlight grown, or extra feed needed or just grass fed, or even what form of transport is used to get it back from the shops.

A richer society most certainly can afford to not worry quite so wholly much about yield and sacrifice a bit in order to gain a bit more variety of cultivars. Which, if you look around us or the grocery stores is exactly what is being done.

Sign o’ the times

‘Biggest cancer catastrophe ever’ to hit NHS as up to 740,000 potential cases missed

Note that it’s the NHS hit, not the three quarter million folks with cancer hit by the NHS.

The article is better, it’s just the headline – but symptomatic of that disgusting idea that we’re here to save the NHS….

Announcing the EV capacitor

OK, so, we know that folks who drive ICEs sometimes run out of petrol/derv. So, hitchhike, get a can of gas, return, carry on.

Can’t do that with a ‘leccie. Got to get power source to come to car, or tow car.

So, an American small fry company has just seen it’s stock jump from $3 to $10 by announcing the mobile charging solution. Which is a diesel generator on the back of a truck. Which is pretty cool I thought.

But that’s not good enough. We here, we stout readers and creators – for you are all such with your comments – of this blog are going to go one better.

We’re going to create the company which sells capacitors for EVs.

Well, maybe capacitor isn’t the right word. But, back when, you used to be able to buy little gadgets – they were a big craze for a short while – which would short an AA battery or the like into your mobile phone battery. Give you 10 mins or whatever of charge. So, how do we do this with car batteries? What’s going to be that emergency burst of 5 miles (say) of ‘leccie that can be carried in the boot, on the back of a two truck, to get a power stranded EV up the road to a charger?

I assume the answer is either a diesel engine or nowt, given that shorting enough power to actually charge an EV would kill but is this so? And anyway, who cares, just think of the stock price!

Explaining The Guardian

The Guardian editorial: how does a newspaper decide what it thinks?
Our chief leader writer compares today’s team with a golden period of leader writing in the run-up to the first world war

The reason it’s so shit today is that we’ve got a modern history graduate writing our economic editorials.

Not that they actually say that but then as with all editorials getting to the point isn’t the point.

I’d not realised how out of whack it had got

So, new gig means having to read the Mail financial pages. Sigh.

At which point, properties for £3.25 million:

3 bed flat in St John’s Wood, 3 bed flat in Victoria (they call it Westminster) and 9 bed Georgian on 32 acre estate on Lansdown in Bath (OK, Battlefields, up by Beckford’s Tower maybe?)?

In what rational world are these all valued the same?

Yes, yes, I know, markets, what folks will pay and all that. But still. Really.

Oh Aye?

Jussie Smollett “is a real victim” of a “real crime,” his attorney said in opening statements at the ex-Empire actor’s trial Monday, rejecting prosecutors’ allegation that he staged a homophobic and racist attack in Chicago.

Defense attorney Nenye Uche said two brothers attacked Smollett in January 2019 because they didn’t like him, and that a $3,500 check the actor paid the men was for training so he could prepare for an upcoming music video, not as payment for staging a hate crime, as prosecutors allege. Uche also suggested a third attacker was involved and told jurors there is not a “shred” of physical and forensic evidence linking Smollett to the crime prosecutors allege.

“Jussie Smollett is a real victim,” Uche said.

Be interesting if the jury ends up believing that…..

Who is this damned idiot?

Soldiers and other Armed Forces personnel accused of rape should no longer be tried in military courts because of “shockingly low” prosecution rates, the Victims’ Commissioner has told the Defence Secretary.

In a letter to Ben Wallace, Dame Vera Baird warned that the integrity of the military was at risk unless it ended a culture of protecting its own by giving victims of sexual assaults access to “independent justice” in civilian courts.

She cited figures showing that conviction rates in civilian courts for rape were five times those of military courts, at 50 per cent versus 10 per cent in the five years up to 2019.

As these things work a low conviction rate implies a high prosecution rate and vice versa.

Sigh.

Ah, so that’s how they’re going to play it, is it?

Civil servants have been banned from inviting “woke” speakers who criticise Boris Johnson’s policies to address internal events in Whitehall, a leaked memo reveals.

An “official-sensitive” email circulated across Whitehall warned that invitations should not be issued to individuals who have “spoken against key government policies”.

Officials were told to carry out “due diligence” checks on speakers, including examining their social media posts.

At one level, well, why not? The people have spoken and Bojo and his policies are what was chosen. Running a guerrilla campaign inside the civil service against this ain’t on.

Or, we can look at this the other way. The come back to the ban on idiots parlaying wokeism to the civil service is that it’s all about Boris. When, in fact, it’s an entirely sensible move to not be teaching wokeism to the civil service. But given that it’s a good gig – and part of that long walk – it has to be dressed up as something else for propaganda purposes.

You don’t really sack a barrister

Stonewall is facing a tribunal over claims it tried to have a “gender critical” barrister sacked, after a judge refused to throw the case out.

Allison Bailey, a lesbian criminal barrister who helped to found the LGB Alliance, a charity that allegedly broke away from Stonewall over its stance on transgender inclusion – is currently suing Stonewall.

Ms Bailey claims that the charity collaborated with her chambers, because it was a fee-paying member of the charity’s embattled Diversity Champions scheme, to place her under investigation.

The barrister claims that as a result of a row over her views on transgender issues, she had lost work and income.

Given that barristers are self-employed and all. Apparently they tried to get her thrown out of chambers, fewer cases going her way and so on. But not really sacked – although we know what they mean of course.

It’s good this

Has not demanded that Covid treatments be made available patent-free when many of the vaccines have been developed with state aid;

One of those things about proposing public policy is the desirability of accuracy. A vaccine is not a treatment, it is a vaccine. A treatment is not a vaccine, it is a treatment. That vaccines have been developed with public money has nothing at all to do with treatments and vice versa.

He’s demanding that the rugby ball be free because the match is at a state school.

They’re really, really, missing the point

A unified pricing mechanism. Integrated trading. Shared information, and standardised rules. The European Union this week pushed forward with plans for what it calls a “capital market union”. It is attempting to build a common rule book and a single market in money that will, in theory anyway, make it cheaper for companies to raise capital, and strengthen the continent’s key financial centres.

A threat to the City? That would be the knee-jerk reaction. In fact, it should be a gift to London. Why? Because, in the real world, the more Brussels harmonises its rule books the worse its performance gets. And because the common rules will undoubtedly be far more cumbersome than the national ones they replace. If London plays it right, it should emerge from this process in a much stronger position.

There is no questioning the ambitions of the commissioners in Brussels to create a single market in finance to serve the whole bloc.

On Thursday, it unveiled the latest round of proposals to bring national capital markets under a single umbrella. There will be a single tape for pricing, as in the US, shared rules on transparency and settlement, and common standards on disclosure.

The reason London – and New York – wins is because it is flexible.

You can have an idea during the Morning George, be selling it by lunchtime and counting the money by tea. The rules are that any such idea conform to certain general rules about fraud, ripping off and so on, something that we’ll sort out later after we’ve seen how it all does.

The EU version of regulation demands that everything be approved before it can be done. In a static world that might not be all that bad an idea. But our whole point here is that the financial centre which can innovate will win. It’s not even which rules the EU will install. It’s the very fact that there will be one set of detailed rules to govern all which will kill the project over time.

Such a desperate surprise

But nearly a decade after London hosted the 2012 Games, Stratford’s regeneration still faces scepticism from local residents and politicians. With ballooning costs, delayed buildings and limited footfall, it seems to have failed to realise the social and economic Olympic legacy intended for host cities.

You mean blowing tens of billions on a drug fest – instead of spending the money on actual redevelopment – isn’t the way to do it?

We’ve thought about this before

Democrats desperately scrambling to find a potential successor to Joe Biden in 2024 are whispering about a potential nuclear option that could see Kamal Harris, the current Vice President, nominated to the Supreme Court.

While the scenario is highly improbable, and perhaps a reflection of a Washington rumour mill in overdrive, the fact it has come up at all shows the depths of the predicament the Biden administration currently finds itself in, amid rising inflation, a stalled domestic agenda, and foreign policy disasters.

And come to the conclusion that there’s nothing in it for Ms. Harris. She’s a more than reasonable chance of inheriting that Presidency, so why move? Further, there’s a certain doubt as to whether the current Senate would approve a successor as VP. Why would Repubs vote in someone less disastrous for the Dems?

And, of course, there might even be some Dems who think the Supreme Court to be a real and important thing and not a place to boot the incompetent on the Peter Principle.

BTW, an interesting commentary on politics as a way of running things. That KH is that heartbeat away from doing so, isn’t it?