[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Today I received a note from my publisher telling me that the greatest book ever written has sold a total of 82 copies! Ok a few fewer than you might expect from a new Harry Potter book, but a (small) step towards being a millionaire.

I’m certainly not writing another one without a decent advance….

[syndicated profile] el_reg_odds_feed

Posted by Alexander J Martin

More like National Fail amirite?

On the heels of an IT error leading to Great Western Rail advertising a first-class journey from Taunton to Trowbridge for £10,000 comes an exponentially more expensive offer from National Rail.…

[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Judy Abel

As well as appealing to the 48% of voters who are deeply disenchanted with Brexit, I think there are many other policy areas we need to focus on, if we are to make an electoral breakthrough.

In this week alone, there have been three fatal stabbings in London, innocent people (all men) aged 17, 40 and 60, robbed of their lives because of mindless violence. We have to show that we care about violence and people having the right to live in peaceful streets and neighbourhoods.

Let’s also tackle the inequitable housing situation, whereby overseas buyers are buying up London’s properties at prices that are completely unaffordable for locals – who often aren’t even given a chance to buy them before they are marketed overseas, as apparently happened with the new Heygate development in South East London. Switzerland has placed restrictions on foreign buyers, why can’t we?

And what of mental health services? They are sparse, and not always joined up, and young people are suffering disproportionately, faced, as they are, with so many pressures – many of which we adults are sadly responsible for. Excessive exam pressures, a lack affordable housing, family breakdown, bullying and awful working conditions in some part-time jobs are all fuelling anxiety in young people. Many can also no longer afford dental services, and social care is excruciatingly, and unjustly, expensive for those that have to pay. We need to address this urgently.

What about rail fares? Rail travel is completely overpriced, especially on commuter routes. An annual season ticket from Swindon to London is almost £8,500 a year. A peak hour single from Bath to London is around £90. Unfortunately some people just have to pay that because our national lack of a regional policy means there is a high concentration of better-paid jobs in the South East, strangling the life out of the surrounding regions.

People, I would argue, also need more annual leave and flexible working patterns. Why not allow everyone to take up to two (or more) weeks’ additional unpaid leave each year for family reasons and caring duties, instead of using up their holiday? People need more time to live, care, rest and be creative – as well as working, especially with today’s pace of life.

And what about the environment? Admittedly the Mayor of London is now taking action on air pollution, but are other cities doing as well? And with increases in high-density housing are we making enough provision for green spaces at ground level for people to walk, and children to play in? Some parts of London are like high-rise glass and concrete deserts. And have we forgotten about protecting our biodiversity? Ninety-five per cent of wildflowers are now found in roadside verges rather than the countryside. Whatever happened to conservation?

Some things have improved and we should acknowledge that. London’s Tube and bus services are infinitely better than they were a few decades ago. We certainly need to admit to progress where we see it, and not just to focus on the negative. However, libraries are closing, playgrounds are not being maintained and once affordable activities such as adult education classes, are out of reach of many.

Brexit is going to impact horribly on all these things because of the terrible toll it will take on our economy, jobs and scientific community. However, we still need to make our case in terms of the things that matter most tangibly to individuals and families now.

And if we need to raise taxes – so be it. The Danes pay more tax than we do, but they are happier than we are according to every international survey, because the state looks after people well. We need to make quality of life – and not just Brexit and purchasing power – our number one priority in this election campaign. If we want to be a mainstream party we need to respond to mainstream concerns. This doesn’t mean taking the middle road though – it actually means being radical about social justice, well funded health and care services, environmental protection and wellbeing for all.

* Judy Abel Is a Lib Dem member in Bath, who works in London

supergee: (Salamanca)

You probably knew this.

Apr. 26th, 2017 05:29 am
[personal profile] supergee
Numbers on how most of the terrorist violence comes from the right and most of the publicity goes to Muslims.

Thanx to RAW Illumination.

Ely Sage basic income

Apr. 26th, 2017 08:39 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Of course, there are objections to UBI, mainly revolving around how it would be paid for. However, since the financial crisis we know that governments really can create money out of “thin air” so in reality that argument is a non issue. UBI would perhaps lead to problematic inflation but the best guard against this would be to introduce it gradually. Additionally, government creation of money for UBI would be from a non debt source and thus banks’ money and credit creation could be more substantially controlled with much less effect on the economy, with the added advantage of less indebtedness to create the same amount of money overall.

We’ll just print the money and give it to everyone.


Ely Sage Productions

Apr. 26th, 2017 08:36 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Why are there so few Credit Unions in Britain?
Credit Unions are non profit organisations run by members for members, which are part of the co-operative movement and run for mutual benefit. They are very much to be encouraged and indeed their promotion is certainly part of the Progressive Pulse vision. However British credit unions have strikingly failed to become widely established despite strong government support (on both sides of the house), leaving the ‘sub-prime’ sector vulnerable to pay-day lenders such as Wonga with very high interest rates which can reach as much as 1509% APR.

In contrast Credit Unions have a capped rate of 1% per month or 12.7% APR.

Err, the rate cap means they can’t attract the deposits?

[syndicated profile] markpack2_feed

Posted by Mark Pack

In brief: Labour MP Clive Lewis has tweeted out a graphic, claiming to show the results of a constituency poll carried out by “ICM”. ICM Research, however, says it has no knowledge of every having conducted such a poll.

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[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Bernard Aris

First of all, on behalf of the tens of thousands D66 party members (over 25.000; and we’re gaining members every week for the past year,  our heartfelt congratulations to the Lib Dems on passing the 100.000 members threshold. And you’re not done yet, I know.

If we look to our Spanish and French social-liberal, pro-EU sister parties, Ciudadános and Macrons movement “En Marche”, they too are booking spectacular results in gaining members, and getting members active on the street. According to the French Wikipedia and the Economist, En Marche (EM) claimed 88.000 members in October 2016, and  250.000 now.  The Economist reports about EM-activists canvassing the British way in Strassbourg streets (and elsewhere).

That is the big difference I noticed in the Dutch European elections (2014) and our recent General Elections (March 2017):

  • whereas D66 activists were visible on the (high) streets and at train station entrances handing out leaflets months before (and until) election day,
  • other progressive parties (PvdA/Labour, GreenLeft, and old-style Socialists\SP) were strangely absent, where they dominated the scene until about ten years ago,
  • the center-right parties (VVD/NatLibs and CDA/Christian Democrats) and PVV never were very active in that way.

D66 has also started canvassing the British way in “friendly” neighbourhoods, talking to people on the doorstep; but we seldom hear that from other Dutch parties. Only PvdA/Labour appears to do that, and the Socialists/SP say they do it.

D66 sees itself as the decent, rational answer to Geert Wilders’ PVV populists, and the left-populist Socialists/SP; from the moment in 2006  PVV got parliamentary seats our leader Alexander Pechtold MP, and all our parliamentary parties (Commons, Senate and Europarliament, but also on local and provincial level), have answered back when populists use alternative facts or racial slurs in their debate contributions or policy proposals.

Whereas the European social democrats stumble from one identity crisis to another, failing to find the way(s) to counter Populism, we remain staunchly (but not uncritically) pro-EU, internationalist, and multiculturalist. By having a massive “street presence” at every election campaign, we, and not the leftist parties, are the physically approachable politicians, open to remarks from citizens. We’re also very active online; we pride ourselves on our “webcare” (responding to email inquiries, and putting out our standpoints on Twitter, Facebook, etcetera) being prompt and up to date. Dutch journalists and NGO’s measuring our webcare (in comparison to other parties) are very positive.

I think that using both old-style (“street force”)  and new-style (webcare) types of being approachable to citizens is a special strong point of Social Liberals, and exemplifies the parties that brought universal (including female) suffrage to western democracies.

D66 gained 7 seats (now: 19 of 150) that way last March, the third  gain in a row; Macron flattened the hapless Socialists and Républicains; so good luck to the Lib Dems!

* Bernard Aris is a Dutch historian (university of Leiden), and Documentation assistant to the D66 parliamentary Party. He is a member of the Brussels/EU branch of the LibDems.

And now for something true

Apr. 26th, 2017 07:08 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Don’t bother with a low salt diet – it may not lower your blood pressure after all, study finds
Researchers followed more than 2,600 men and women over a period of 16 years
They discovered that consuming less salt wasn’t linked to lower blood pressure
New findings call into question salt limits recommended by dietary guidelines

Quite, that’s one of the things kidneys are for, regulating salt levels.

happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)

My father-in-law

Apr. 26th, 2017 08:39 am
[personal profile] happydork
My father-in-law passed away on Monday morning.

He was a kind man. Brilliant, playful, curious, funny, generous, loving — and kind. He loved to laugh and he loved to share, and his love for Amy shone out of him. He was so open to and enthusiastic about anything that made her happy — even if I hadn’t loved him for himself (and I did), I would have loved him for that.

I know he wanted to be remembered for who he was before the last few months of his life. The lively, silly, driven man who raced his small daughter down corridors (feinting the wrong way and giggling as she followed his misdirection), who trekked the world for charity, who took beautiful photographs, loved music, cooked and ate with gusto, and took great pleasure in so many things. But I’ll also remember how, at the end, he kept his kindness and kept his warmth. Every time we visited, I was struck again by how clearly he wanted Amy to feel welcome, to feel loved.

I was so lucky to have him in my life for the last few years. I'm far from the only one who'll be carrying him in my heart from now on.

Well, yes, this happens

Apr. 26th, 2017 07:06 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

The changing size of British breasts: How the average woman’s bust has bloomed from a modest 34B to a curvy 34DD like Kim Kardashian in just 50 years

The female figure does tend to blossom out over the decades, no?

Nope, Owen doesn’t get it either

Apr. 26th, 2017 06:44 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Labour will rip up Theresa May’s Brexit plan but respect the referendum result. The benefits of the single market and the customs union will be on the table. EU nationals will be protected from day one. Human beings won’t be bargaining chips. The great repeal bill will be scrapped; Labour will introduce a EU rights and protections bill instead. All workers’, consumers’ and environmental rights will be protected.

That repeal bill being, as we’ve noted, actually the enactment of all those protections into UK law….

watervole: (Default)

Maypole weekend

Apr. 26th, 2017 07:46 am
[personal profile] watervole
 I'm going to be pretty croaky by Sunday evening.

Today I'm teaching maypole and longsword dancing at a local school.  I do this every year on Wednesday afternoons in the run up to Wimborne Minster Folk Festival.  The children will perform on Saturday at the festival and they always do me proud.

Saturday, I'm calling maypole at the Dorset Venison Fair for two half hour sessions.

Sunday, I'm calling maypole at a private event at Rockley Park and teaching a longsword workshop as well.

May bank holiday weekend is always a busy time.  We turned down a request for May 1st as we knew we'd be knackered by then.  (We being Anonymous Morris, who will be dancing at the two weekend events)

The catch is that calling for dances, even using a mike, always leaves me with a rough voice.   Time to get out the glycerine!


Apr. 26th, 2017 06:41 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Labour will give pay rise to ‘overworked and underpaid’ NHS staff
Shadow health secretary to unveil plan to lift 1% cap and introduce independent pay review body to agree public sector wages

Blimey, who would have thought it eh?

Labour plan to lift the 1% cap on pay rises for NHS staff and move towards public sector wages being agreed through collective bargaining and the evidence of independent pay review bodies.

How independent though? They going to put the likes of me or Ecks on the review? Or Snippa?

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Saturated fat does not increase the risk of a heart attack by clogging up arteries, three cardiologists have said in a challenge to medical thinking, sparking a furious backlash.

In an editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine the cardiologists also write that relying on foodstuffs marketed as “low fat” or “proved to lower cholesterol” to avoid heart disease is “misguided”.

A key previous research study, they say, “showed no association between saturated fat consumption and all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, CHD mortality, ischaemic stroke or type-2 diabetes in healthy adults”. Instead they say that a Mediterranean-style diet and 22 minutes of walking a day are the best ways to prevent heart problems.

The paper co-authored by Pascal Meier, a cardiologist at University College London and editor of the journal BMJ Open Heart; Rita Redberg, the editor of the American journal JAMA Internal Medicine; and Aseem Malhotra

And when we reach that word Malhotra we can stop because we know the whole thing is bollocks.

Doesn’t even matter if they’re right, it will be woo and bollocks.

Err, yes, and?

Apr. 26th, 2017 06:05 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Britain will have to pay into the EU budget up until 2020 if it wants Europe to grant the UK reasonable terms on a Brexit transition deal, senior sources in Whitehall have told The Telegraph.

The idea, which is being actively discussed by British Brexit negotiators, would require a softening of British negotiation red lines in order to buy leverage and political goodwill in talks with the EU over a future trade deal.

Britain’s departure from the EU will leave a €10bn black hole in Europe’s finances which is causing significant anxiety in chancelleries across Europe, including in Berlin, which fears it will have to pick up the bill for any shortfall.

Err, no, we wouldn’t have to. We might agree to in return for something we think worth more than £10 billion of course….

And they’re not even thinking it through. £10 billion is the net figure. So, if we’re still paying in up to 2020 then they must still be paying out to us until then….

Would you like to fly lots again?

Apr. 26th, 2017 05:35 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Another conference but this time they want some media coverage. They’re just getting to the point where they pay to cover steerage class to the US. Amazingly I am able to resist so far….

Nope, that’s as far as that went.

[syndicated profile] craig_whittaker_twfy_feed

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions his Department has had with the Governments of Bahrain and Kuwait on future investment and trade deals; and what assessment he has made of opportunities available to UK businesses in those countries.

matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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