Some people really don’t like Cummings

The latest evidence:

Alarm in Cabinet that Boris Johnson’s decision to back Dominic Cummings could cost lives

This being nothing to do with any rules about lockdown or anything. Rather, a significant portion of the establishment doesn’t like him. He wants to upset the cosy apple cart. Which is a threat to said establishment, that’s the point. So, something, anything, to get rid of him. Any story that’s even vaguely believable that enough people will coalesce around.

Very funny

No, really, just great:

I’ve been chuckling about this all day so I had to share it with you.

Fergus Walsh, the BBC’s medical correspondent, has written about how he was ‘gobsmacked’ to repeatedly test positive for the coronavirus antibody (meaning, obviously, that he has had the virus).

Hmm, OK, and?

The National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House are facing financial collapse because of the pandemic and are jointly calling upon the government to throw out a lifeline.

“It is really serious now,” said Greg Doran, the artistic director of the RSC. “And if we lose our performance culture, we lose it for good.” The leaders of the theatres also warn that while they struggle to stay afloat, the whole performing arts sector is in “huge jeopardy”, and that without swift action there will be little left for audiences to see across the country when restrictions are lifted.

If this was a profitable sector laid low by he emergency then we would have one answer – temporary support until the end of the emergency perhaps. As it’s a chronically loss making sector, never does make a profit, then why bother?

When is racial equality not racial equality?

This is fun:

When the NFL first was made to formally address the embarrassing lack of diversity in its coaching and front-office ranks back in the early aughts, a scant three of the league’s 32 teams were helmed by minority head coaches. Seventeen years since the introduction of the Rooney Rule, which requires all clubs to interview at least one minority candidate for its openings at head coach and general manager, the grand total entering the 2020 season has inched upward to four: the Dolphins’ Brian Flores, the Chargers’ Anthony Lynn and the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, who are African American, and Washington’s Ron Rivera, who is Hispanic.

Lately it feels like we’re moving backwards. Only three of the 20 head coaching gigs that have opened up since the end of the 2017 season have been filled by minorities, an unacceptable outcome in a league where more than 70% of the players are African American.

Management of American football must reflect the society which is being managed. But the player roster of American football does not have to match the wider society.

Fun, eh?

Sexism! Sexism!

On coronavirus, men are calling all the shots. We’re seeing why it matters
Gaby Hinsliff

Women are naturally more cautious: would the government have made so many missteps over the lockdown if it was more inclusive?

But men and women are the same, right? Which is why outcomes must be gender equal.

Hmm? Men and women are in fact different? So what’s the beef with outcomes being different then?

Is he now

New mother stunned as Archbishop of Canterbury arrives at bedside to bless her son
Most Rev Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Church of England, has been visiting patients at St Thomas’ Hospital in London

Umm, not sure here. Sure, Welby’s supposed to be the spiritual leader of the nation as head of eh established church. But he’s actually the temporal head of the church, isn’t he?

Yeah, but, yeah, but

And because that new money simply replaces that which would normally be created by commercial bank lending which isn’t happening right now there is no chance it will deliver inflation. Instead it just keeps is going. Thank goodness for gov’t and its ability to create new money in that case, I say End/

OK, cool.

Twelfth, in that case without the injection of new government-created money that is happening right now into the economy it would literally grind to a halt. Would anyone prefer that to this new money creation which will be used to clear a large part of this so-called debt? 13/

And when the economy stops being ground to a halt and the banks start lending again which creates that new money again then what happens to inflation?

Tenth, anyone who claims we cannot repay ignores the fact that the government can buy back its own debt any time it likes: it has had the Bank of England create £575bn of new money via QE to do this over the last decade and none of that has to be repaid because the gov’t owns the BoE 11/

Well, actually, that’s when the BoE has to sell those QE bonds back into the market in order to remove that QE created money from the economy. The only alternative to that being to increase tax rates to do the same. Which is, of course, indistinguishable from increasing taxes to pay off the government debt.

And incoming from this blog’s Swiss wine expert…..

The information on which of the good wines will be sold under which of the vin de table labels?

Swiss winemakers are to receive state aid to downgrade their finest appellation labels to cheaper vin de table after sales of quality vintages plummeted during the coronavirus lockdown.

Swiss wineries will receive 10 million Swiss francs (£8.5m) of government funds to repackage thousands of quality bottles unsold after restaurants and bars remained shut for two months in the Alpine nation, leading to a 40 per cent drop in sales, according to producers.

In a boon for wine buffs, wines that have received the coveted “controlled designation of origin” (appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC)) designation – some of which can sell for hundreds of pounds – will now be on sale for a fraction of that price starting from June 1….

Umm, this blog does have a Swiss wine expert, doesn’t it?

Well, you grasp the point, but…..

MPs will be asked to support new quarantine measures for all international arrivals which will give police the power to carry out spot checks at homes and impose £1,000 fines.

The Government is on Friday expected to unveil its long-awaited quarantine plans which will require all arrivals, including returning Britons, to provide an accommodation address where they will self-isolate for 14 days.

Border Force, police and Public Health England (PHE) officers will run and enforce the quarantine where travellers will face spot checks at the addresses they submit on forms on arrival at airports or ports. It is expected there will be about 100 spot checks a day.

Wedge issues.

Currently the police do not have the right/ability to ask who are you, what are you doing here. After this they will – and it’ll not be rescinded, once granted. It’s the start of “Your papers, please”.

It’s Thursday

Raise the zero rated income threshold to £36k.

By all means, increase tax on the rich but it won’t make any difference. They are already at their maximum propensity to consume and an extra 10 or 20% tax won’t change that.

Richard Murphy says:
May 21 2020 at 11:24 am
How would the government be paid for if more than 60% of people in the country did not pay income tax?

Today is a day when tax does pay for government spending.


Towering over the average human and weighing as much as a grand piano, the bears found in south-west Alaska are considered among the best in the world to observe as they pad around in a largely untouched wilderness of soaring mountains, pristine rivers and rocky beaches.

About a third of Alaska’s 30,000 brown bears are found on the Alaska Peninsula, which separates the Pacific Ocean from Bristol Bay, a place that hosts the most productive wild salmon fishery in the world and draws large numbers of bears to catch their food in the tumbling waters once they emerge from their winter hibernation.

How cool is that?

Most salmon species migrate during the fall (September through November).

Oh. Not very then.

Part of this is terrible

Another part not so much:

New figures compiled by the non-partisan APM Research Lab and released on Wednesday under the title Color of Coronavirus provide further evidence of the staggering divide in the Covid-19 death rate between black Americans and the rest of the nation.

Across the country, African Americans have died at a rate of 50.3 per 100,000 people, compared with 20.7 for whites, 22.9 for Latinos and 22.7 for Asian Americans.

More than 20,000 African Americans – about one in 2,000 of the entire black population in the US – have died from the disease.

The disparity, sure we’d like to know why it happens. But the overall rate – 0.05% of the population. Not, exactly and precisely, an horrendous pandemic. Black Death, for an extreme contrast, was 30%.

As to the why, until we see figures corrected for socioeconomic position we’ll be able to extract nothing of use from he numbers.