Saturday, 17 September 2016

Scribblings V:

This was the best SF TV series.

I must admit that Scribblings V sounds like the spaceship's name in some sort of proper comedy SF series (and for the avoidance of any doubt Star Trek is the worst sort of SF - second rate morality tales wrapped up as space opera).

On to what others might have written...

We'll start with the dull stuff - Mark Wadsworth talking about rent controls. I don't agree with him and there's loads wrong with his argument but it's good that someone's putting up a rational case for fixing the price of renting a pad (other than the left's "it's expensive and that's not fair"):

The UK had rent controls for most of the 20th century, but that did not mean that housing supply disappeared. All that happened was that landlords left the market - meaning there were more homes for owner-occupiers to buy, who also acquired all new supply.

But then I'm a development economist (mostly forgotten) so what do I know about rents.

Which brings us to Brexit and Raedwald's observation that there are two sides to any negotiation - we need to explore the other side's case a little maybe?

I never knew much about the EIB and the UK's stake in it. It seems we have some 40bn€ in share capital - 16%. The EIB can lend 2.5x its share capital. They're worried that if we take our 40bn€ back, the bank's loan ceiling reduces by 100bn€. Of course the UK has some outstanding loans - but we've made the least use of any EU member of the facility, and despite having 16% of the share capital have only 8% of the loans. Again, all eyes will be on Germany to make up the shortfall.

Of course, the EU could slash its budget - taking the UK's 13bn€ contribution from the CAP would still leave 42bn€ in place, for example. But the French, who hog the lion's share of the CAP, would never agree to a 24% cut.

Things are never as simple as they seem are they!

Such as those international treaties. As you'll know we (ie the EU natch) have signed up to some sort of concordat where any smoker has to be tarred and feathered, paraded through the main street and made to eschew parenthood before he can spark up his fag.

It seems the Dutch courts have some doubts:

The court ruled that CAN cannot call on the World Health Organisation treaty which requires signatories to actively combat the use of tobacco and to protect people against tobacco smoke.

The text of the treaty does not state that there should be a ban on smoking or that countries are obliged to introduce one, the judges said in their ruling.

A small victory for civilisation. Not that this will stop the fans of bans - they'll be on the next plan for a ban next week.

Meanwhile the Houses of Parliament need a refurb. And, instead of shutting them down for a few years and not bothering with the theatre (pantomime?) of politics, we've instead got to cope with them moving to a school hall round the corner while the main building is redecorated.

It's not just me who thinks this a missed opportunity. Move the whole shooting match out of that expensive real estate in Westminster:

The quickest and best way to administer a radical cure would be to move Parliament and Government out as soon as possible. Some time in the 1960’s a journal, was it “The Economist”, did a think piece about moving it all up to a new town to be built on the North York Moors called Elizabetha. Perhaps, but it would be a pity to disturb the insect life there with a lesser form of species.

Now Demetrius loses the argument by suggesting Tamworth as the location (it should be Bradford) but he's right to say that there's no reason - tradition aside - for parliament to be in London. There's always Birmingham of course!

All this is, as you know, of no consequence. Cats rule the world:

Well, yes, entirely predictable. He posed with a cat for crying out loud. A cute cat at that. Come on, what did he expect? The power of the kitty is strong, very strong…

And before my fellow politicians replace kissing babies with hugging cats - this is a special power, it doesn't work that way.

In other news the parents of Britain are still feeding their offspring properly:

The Leeds University study published on Tuesday found just 1.6% of packed lunches for primary school children met tough nutritional standards set for their classmates eating in the school canteen.

I feel for the classmates - no cheese strings, no Kit Kats, no gin.

And finally (as the people on the telly say), here's Tim Newman meeting a trot in New York:

I thought about a response. What are we going to do about it? I was going to suggest hanging politicians and lawyers, but I guessed his victim list would differ from mine and I didn’t want to encourage him. As I was pondering the question he chimed in with “And no, war with Russia isn’t the answer.”


Happy Mid-Autumn to y'all!



DMM said...

Thought Autumn didn't start till Wednesday coming?

As I understand it, officially Autumn begins on the Equinox which is, I believe, Wednesday.

Enlightenment appreciated.

Simon Cooke said...

The Mid Autumn Festival is a big deal in China, Korea and Japan. I only know this because the fabulous East Asian supermarket on North Parade in Bradford sells 'Happy Mid Autumn Festival' cards - and this year (East Asian calendars being bonkers by our standards) this festival fell on 15th September.