@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

ChrisMayLA6

@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us

Retired Professor of Political Economy
(Lancaster University, UK - retired 2021)
(also #ProfDJ across the Lune Valley)
Contributor: North West Bylines #NoBridge

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ChrisMayLA6, to random
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[sound of grinding teeth]...

Someone needs to sit the Guardian editorial team down & explain to them:

Rising house prices are not 'growth' - this is asset price inflation driven by financial instruments & constrained supply... read my lips: IT IS INFLATION!

(just because its excluded from RPI/CPI measure doesn't make it growth!)

And most inflationary areas are not 'best performing' - they are areas of housing crisis!!!!

https://www.theguardian.com/money/article/2024/may/27/house-price-growth-in-rural-areas-outstrips-towns-in-great-britain

ChrisMayLA6, to random
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

The number of chefs coming into the UK on skilled worker visas has been rising quickly.... the bad news for the hospitality sector is once the new threshold for wage levels for visa applicants kicks in, the average wage of chefs means they will earn too little to get a visa...

Perhaps more interestingly if we compare chefs with software developers, we might suggest that the UK's strategy of more IT training seems to have worked... even if we seem unable to train chefs?

ChrisMayLA6, to random
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

Before Brexit you'll recall the easy journeys to Europe & how this has become more difficult since... well sadly, you ain't seen nothing yet.

The EU's new border regime (which of course we are now outside; more outside than we were from Schengen), will require prior registration (like the US system) and biometric uploads on entry to the EU.

From 6th October the cost in time & inconvenience we have visited on ourselves (or was visited on us by Leave voters) is going to get a while lot worse!

ChrisMayLA6, to random
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

Given the long term policy of the pensions 'triple lock' has lifted many pensioners out of relative poverty (even if our pensions remain low by international standards), it make sense to suggest that a similarly long-term political commitment on child poverty is required - a 'child's lock' commitment to raise child-related benefits to a higher level & track them to rises in earnings & inflation.

Whether Labour will commit to this is another Q.


https://www.theguardian.com/society/article/2024/may/25/next-government-urged-to-wake-up-to-uks-shocking-levels-of-child-poverty

ChrisMayLA6, to random
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

While in many ways this is a crucial election for the future of the country, for many, Labour no longer offer much hope of salvation.

The next six weeks will see the (normal) pre-election media driven battle between the two main party leaders, but sadly, this aspect of the election is going to be as edifying as watching too bald men fight over a comb;

the real politics is likely to be away from the leaders; perhaps for once the media might give the Greens more airtime?

ChrisMayLA6, to politics
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

How soft has the UK been over the years on the regulation of global corporations?

The infected blood scandal is a key example of why global corporations like working in Britain... one word: impunity!

Elsewhere, the suppliers of blood plasma have been held to account & paid damages to victims (in many cases some time ago).... in the UK, not so much.

As always, the victims' interests have been well down the list of who matters!

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/article/2024/may/26/infected-blood-scandal-call-for-drug-firms-to-pay-part-of-10bn-compensation

ChrisMayLA6, to random
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

In the battle for the youth vote we now seem to have some clear blue water between the parties;

Labour is (at least at the moment) offering to lower the voting age to 16 - perhaps hoping that 18 year olds will see this as a positive move for their younger siblings?

Meanwhile the Tories are offering mandatory 'national service' at 18 to build character & experience....

Hmmm... while actually, I'm not sure the Tories idea is nuts, I can't see many 18 year olds going for it.

ChrisMayLA6,
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@richardknott

Yes, for this to have a glimmer of hope, national service would need to be seen much more like a social service - providing young people to work in socially useful roles across the economy... not in the armed forces - as a policy the devil would be in the detail (of course)

ChrisMayLA6,
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@etchedpixels @GhostOnTheHalfShell @richardknott

For me the purpose of the national social service would be to build community solidarity & cross-class empathy/interaction, towards seeing society not as factions competing for resources, but rather more as a collective endeavour. Clearly this would not be achieved just by this policy, but handled rightly it could create a real social good.... certainly it might not have instrumental worth, but the general social benefits would be great IMHO

ChrisMayLA6,
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@etchedpixels @GhostOnTheHalfShell @richardknott

The key thing about the compulsive element (and this would need to be class blind - no buying your way out) is that people from diverse backgrounds would physically/socially interact - I'm not convinced that this is achieved online (but then again I'm over 60 & am sceptical about many of the claimed benefits off online 'community')

ChrisMayLA6,
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@etchedpixels @GhostOnTheHalfShell @richardknott

I'd agree that works for those who want to go to university, although even then it can become quite tribal - but having worked in universities for a quarter of century, it is not what everyone one wants nor is universally beneficial - but I've always been interested in a pre-university (or other route) period when young people could work together in different situations but also across social classes/groups....

ChrisMayLA6, to random
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You couldn't make it up....

The Co-Op Live Arena, already dogged by delays & problems, tonight has had to cancel the Nicki Minaj concert after she was detained by police at Schipol (and only released way to late for the show to go ahead).

You wouldn't want to be the venue's insurers, now would you?

ChrisMayLA6, to Horizon
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So the good news is that the bill to exonerate the SubPostmasters gained Royal Assent last night, freeing up the fixed compensation scheme for those whose convictions are now quashed (or allowing them to apply to have their individual case assessed).

The, perhaps, not so good news, as much legal commentary has been focusing on is the (potential) precedent it sets for governments to reverse the decisions of Courts.

In this case it would seem pretty just, but in the future?

ChrisMayLA6,
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ChrisMayLA6,
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@LillyHerself

That's a good point; and the timing issue may be crucial.... but overall, as a supporter of the rule of law, I'd have preferred to see a judicial solution - that said, given the time that might have taken, this might have been pragmatically (and in isolation) the most just response

ChrisMayLA6, to ArtificialIntelligence
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

Tom Gauld is having a great run... today's cartoon for the Guardian is another corker...

Yes, of course.... the robot apocalypse is fiction, sure.... nothing to see here

#artificialintelligence #AI #robots #Technology

@bookstodon

ChrisMayLA6, to politics
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

As Michael Gove joins the nearly quarter of Tory MPs standing down at the election, the joke that 'would the last person leaving the Tory party please turn off the lights' seems to be ever more apposite.

For many Gove's departure will be welcome, but it also reinforces the notion that the post-election Tory party may be very different from its most recent manifestation.

The Q. will be, will they swing further to the right, shift to the 'centre', of collapse into fragments?

ChrisMayLA6,
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@christineburns

Yes, in a sense, as Labour seems to be angling for the old One Nation Conservatism slot (now vacant), the Tories are being squeezed to the right (not that many of them are complaining)... what will be interesting is how the media create a narrative around that (with the rump-Tories working perhaps being satisfied with being 'right' but unelectable, for now)?

ChrisMayLA6, to random
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

Of course, one of the the things we all need to be considering is how to vote tactically... so here for your consideration is one guide to how to vote tactically in your constituency.

Just type in you postcode for advice (based on polling) on how you might vote tactically to get the Tories out (or if you have other priorities, how to maximise the impact of your vote under the current FPTP system)

https://tactical.vote

ChrisMayLA6,
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

@simon_brooke @ScottishGreens

I think one of things that people are unhappy about with Tactical Voting, is that it confirms the notion that democracy is about voting against rather than for....

ChrisMayLA6, to Russia
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

This week I've been mainly reading, no. 154.

Nikolai Gogol's satirical classic Dead Souls (1842/1961) is (in the first 2/3) a highly effective & biting satire on the pretensions & idiocies of the landed class in C19th Russia. However in the unfinished 2nd part, he sadly seeks to humanise & dignify his anti-hero, which under-cuts the satire & leaves the narrative as one of agriculture improvement. My recommendation: only read the completed first part, which is great.


@bookstodon

ChrisMayLA6, to random
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

In the worst 'Ghost Enclaves' over 50% of local homes are owned by investors for short-term holiday lets (or as seldom used second homes).

This, of course, has knock-on effects for locals trying to stay in the area for work or family reasons - the housing crisis is driven by inequality & them compounds that inequality.

The Q. is will the next government have the political will to expand social housing & clamp down on non-residential uses of homes?


https://theconversation.com/the-uks-coastal-ghost-enclaves-are-the-result-of-government-failure-on-low-use-homes-227743

ChrisMayLA6, to random
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

hmmmm.... I know things are tough in hospitality, but when trading standards find 70% of test drinks purchases are short measures, a new area of shrinkflation has surely been found.

Of course, we could argue this is a useful (organic) public health action which massages down the consumption of alcohol, but I'm guessing that's not what's actually going on.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/article/2024/may/24/short-measuring-wine-beer-costs-uk-drinkers-115-a-year-each-trading-standards-says

ChrisMayLA6, to food
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

Its difficult to assess what % of food (or food based energy) consumed is ultra processed, but here is a chart that aggregates a number of studies to suggest the range of % for a selection of countries.... & then when you know Big Food in the USA spends more on lobbying than the Tobacco industry (which is likely to be similar in UK)... it starts to make sense.

Link that to public health & we have some more context for the UK's health crisis.

More food regulation is needed now!

ChrisMayLA6,
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

@sunflowerinrain @peterbrown

as I have noted before (& this is not an idea original to me) - 'its expensive to be poor' where that expense may be in lost good health (also)

ChrisMayLA6, to random
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

Vital point:

The date of the general election seems designed to disenfranchise young people as much as possible, since most university students who vote do so at their term-time address. Universities are in recess on 4 July & many students will be at their parents’ or between university accommodation. Please make sure anyone you know in this situation registers at an appropriate address, preferably with a postal vote.

Michelle Kimber
Plymouth
(Guardian letters)

ChrisMayLA6,
@ChrisMayLA6@zirk.us avatar

@timrichards

we have postal voting (which is effectively early voting) - indeed I have a postal vote...

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