Brexit dividend at last – labour shortages are a feature, not a bug

Ah, diddums. Employers are yelling the house down that they are having labour shortages in, ahem, the lower end of the skills range. That’s your fruit pickers, kitchen porters and the like.

Now I am not a fan of Brexit. It is a pain in the arse – if one could travel to Europe it’s difficult to say if I could drive there, what sort of IDP I would need etc etc. I’ve stopped using places like Thomann and any EU suppliers, because you can’t say what you will pay. Curiously enough the Chinese can still deliver ebay components into the country, but you can’t reliably order from the EU. So if you want to buy things in Global Britain, buy it from anywhere but the EU it seems. UK Component distributors are bellyaching about supply shortages.

cpc

Brexit is delivering

Back to the Brexit dividend. I would say these low-end skills shortages are a sign of Brexit working, in delivering what many people voted for. If you look at Lord Ashcrofts reason for leave  a third wanted more control of immigration. The sentiment is stronger in the 2018 ESRC report, which also notes Remainers have a less accurate sense of what drives Leave than vice versa. The immigration issue is split in some unknown element from people who dislike immigrants and people disliking immigration separate from disliking immigrants, and the latter usually boils down to economic fears of spreading a pie that’s too small (jobs, schools, NHS, housing) more thinly. Although we have seen an increase in racist talk and events since the Brexit vote it’s nowhere near as much as feared at the time, perhaps favouring the economic over the racist. The West in general and perhaps Britain in particular is in a secular economic decline, against that background such concerns will rise in importance.

It’s just not true that Brits won’t do those jobs

I an old enough to remember a time when Brits did these jobs. I was one of them – a kitchen porter in the City of London in the university holidays. KPs are one of the labour shortages enumerated. Scaling for inflation I was working for less than today’s minimum wage. That’s not as bad as it sounds, because the rest of life, in particular rent/housing was cheaper in real terms in the 1980s than now. For some reason inflation figures do not usually reflect the cost of housing, though it’s very often the dominant part of a young person’s outgoings.

Fruit picking wasn’t always done by EU immigrants, although itinerant labour has historically been associated with that, so it’s not totally a freedom of movement thing. Back in the day (before Thatcher, roughly), Kent strawberry farms were big on PYO (pick your own) presumably because of the cost of labour meant packing all this stuff into plastic punnets wasn’t cost-effective.

Sure, people’s kids presumably scoffed half the weight paid for before it got weighed, but that was probably allowed for. In Suffolk, as I started in the late 1980s, I used to walk past the CITB training facility on the way to the pub – that’s the construction industry training board, where they used to teach local apprentices how to lay bricks and all the other good stuff that goes into construction. These same companies that are bellyaching now used to accept that they had to train their raw recruits.

So to be honest, I have little sympathy for these employers, particularly employers at the bottom end, yes, hospitality, I’m looking at you. Of course the rest of us will have to pay a bit more for our lobster. With a bit of luck the bottom end dirty chicken shops selling factory farmed fried chicken will go to the wall and there will be fewer Mickey Ds, and yes, Waitrose fruit and veg is going to be dearer for Guardianista metrosexuals, presumably Lidl and Aldi will find a different way.

Beach cafe
I will get to pay a little bit more for this beach view and the accompanying fish and chips/lobster. London metropolitan types will get to pay a little more for eating out. It’s not the worst thing in the world that could happen…

People at the bottom end have been treated like shit for a long time due to a semi-infinite pool of young cheap labour that could be drawn on to push wages down. The official pack drill from erudite sources such as the Bank of England is basically move along now, nothing to see here.

There seems to be a broad consensus among academics that the share of immigrants in the workforce has little or no effect on native wages.

Hmm, so the usual laws of economics and supply and demand are suspended in this specific case? Let’s take another look

“If you look at the evidence of why we have seen wages going down, there is actually very little evidence that that is being caused by migration, aside from in construction.”

Labour MP Anneliese Dodds, 24 May 2018

And they wonder why Labour lost the red wall, FFS. Before somebody charges the Ermine with being Nigel Farage and claiming their £5, it is perfectly coherent that perhaps immigration is great for the UK economy as a whole, after all you get more shit done, perhaps for less. But at the same time a bit shit for some sectors of the population. I believe the art of managing who is in the end of the boat going up and who is where it’s going down is called politics, so it behooves a politician to not explicitly deny the reality of folk they want support from. Our present PM is a lesson in how to do that indirectly without copping flak for your BS 😉 So it does appear that you can come unstuck generalising the ‘it’s the economy, stupid‘ Clintonism too far.

Because  – life experience the economy for those on the margins. Guess what – the poor tend to be the lower skilled, and jobs for the lower skilled are being stripped out of the economy and either automated or sent to lower-wage countries in the process of globalisation. For some of them, Brexit was a massive vote against globalisation, in a sort of stop the world, I want to get off way, by people who were shat on by it. Maybe they were allied with old gits dreaming of Imperial glory days and not needing a job, along with a fair few other reasons for disaffection, some of which are considered less than pretty. In a rare retrenchment, perhaps the unskilled will become a bit more/better employed, until clever people work out how to automate their jobs or eliminate them.

But if you want to avoid pushbacks like Brexit then you have to ease the pain of the people who get crushed by the policy and spread the win – Universal Basic Income, go steady on the whole Protestant Work Ethic, there’s nothing inherently beautiful about getting meaning from work, and just STFU about work is the route out of poverty – it hasn’t been since the 1970s. Particularly at the bottom end of the ability range. And before you start going on about education being an answer to that, you need to find something to put in the water supply to raise the ability range, because not everybody has skills that are valued in the marketplace. Or the inclination to develop suchlike. Not everyone has skills at all.

I am not sure there will be graduate jobs for the third of a million university applicants this year, though bless their young hearts if nursing and medicine are the rising star subjects, perhaps I am just being a cynical git…

And you may have to pay a bit more for your food, and hopefully bottom end fast food will be run out of town. Still, look on the bright side. Australian beef with free growth hormones will be cheaper. I guess the wine should be cheaper, though I’m not personally a great fan of Australian wine.

The return of the Great Barrington Declaration

Looks like Britain is adopting a modified from of the Great Barrington Declaration as far as dealing with Covid, starting with a Wembley super-spreader event to get it going.

We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e. the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.

The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.

The GBD

I guess that’s one way of battle testing the irresistible force of contagion against the immovable object of vaccination, and the best of British luck to us all, eh. I do think if we are going to go the whole ceremonial magic approach of the GBD, which is basically the state of things will be what we declare, then we need to go the full Monty and do something about that NHS app. Ceremonial magic only works as a method of changing consciousness according to will if enough of the participants get with the program. That app’s gotta go.

There’s a small company supplying the project the Ermine is occasionally working on and they have been absolutely pole-axed by the self-isolation requirements. It’s not that there’s a pyramid of dead bodies piling high in the machine shop stinking the joint out. It’s that they haven’t got enough boots on the ground because of self-isolation, and they are running about trying to shovel jobs out as best they can, so they are sending out production jobs before the prototypes and occasionally measuring things from the wrong reference plane, presumably because the old boy who does that is self-isolating and the poor devil press-ganged into filling his shoes doesn’t have the domain knowledge.

Hospitality is spitting bricks on this subject, for once not on the vexed question of Brexit, but in a situation designed to serve lots of the general public, you will easily have waiters close to carriers, who then get close to kitchen staff, and all of a sudden you lose an entire shift of wait staff and back of house.

Magic only works in the places it will work if you believe in it, so if we are going to eschew epidemiology for English exceptionalism and the Great Barrington Declaration, or at the very least state that vaccination is going to save us, then you gotta believe in vaccination, and act that way – give all the vaccinated a free pass on the self-isolation thing and get those suckers back to work, pronto. All the time crossing one’s fingers and hoping that the Chirac doctrine that

“If you look at world history, ever since men began waging war, you will see that there’s a permanent race between sword and shield. The sword always wins.

doesn’t hold in this case. The shield has held in other germ fights – polio, TB, smallpox. But at the moment this is more magic than science IMO. It reminds me of another piece of magical thinking that didn’t quite go according to plan –  George Bush’s  Mission Accomplished speech

Dubya tells the world Mission accomplished. Eight Eighteen years later the United States Army switched the lights off in Bagram and beat it in the middle of the night

We shall see.

On the subject of magical thinking to assist the economy, Grant Shapps has decided that, in a similar vein, we don’t really giveashit about road safety – fresh in from the Twitter

We’re aware of a shortage of HGV drivers, so I’m announcing a temp extension of drivers’ hours rules from Mon 12 July, giving flexibility to drivers & operators to make slightly longer journeys.

“We’ve ramped up the number of driving tests available & will consider other measures.”

What the hell is it with man-children and Twitter? Grant Shapps’ Twitter feed really is an absolute delight of magical thinking and a blessed unfamiliarity with elementary logic and the scientific method. Sustainable aviation, for crying out loud. In a theoretical and intellectual way, sure it’s possible. It’s just that a 747 jetliner would take 1.5 hours of the output of Sizewell nuclear power station at full tilt, so something tells me this won’t scale – you get 18 daily long-haul aircraft movements per Sizewell… Heathrow is gonna need a hell of a lot of nuclear power stations for sustainable aviation1, and fuelling your 747s with biofuel stealing land for food in a world where that appears in short supply is just plain…wrong IMO. You’re gonna have to fly less or burn fossil fuels. Simples.

Right, capt'n, where do I plug this sucker in? Photo Dave Croker, Geograph

Dr Strangelove would like to fly sustainably. You know the pack drill, too cheap to meter…

Grant Shapps seems to have a very tenuous grasp of epistemology in general. Apparently there is no sign people are deleting the NHS app to avoid being commanded to self-isolate. Grant me old mucker, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It’s the oldest trick in the book – don’t ask questions to which you don’t want to hear the possible answers. Pity David Cameron didn’t jump to that re Brexit, but  presumably Grant had his fingers in his ears and closed his eyes when the pretty young thing on t’telly said she was icing the app for just that reason. Curmudgeonly Ermines never installed the app, but that’s because I don’t carry a tracking device plugged into the hive mind around with me.

And avoid having big trucks behind you on the motorway at the end of the day, poor devils….

Now I’m not inherently against ceremonial magic and magical thinking. It’s not a bad way to change consciousness in accordance with will on a smallish scale. But use the right tool for the job. It’s a rum way to run something on the scale of a country. I guess we will find out about the wisdom of the Great Barrington Declaration in a couple of months. It is closer to fiat lux! than e=mc²


  1. There is a reasonable debate to be had as to whether nuclear power counts as low-carbon, given the amount of concrete you have to pour to keep the Bad Shit in, and there’s also a good argument to be made that it is a fossil fuel, albeit a low-carbon fossil fuel, particularly if the idea of sending nuclear waste by train to fast breeder reactors doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Considering something sustainable where you have to post keep-out warnings for tens of thousands of years is also stretching the definition of sustainable for some people. But I just don’t want to try to imagine the amount of wind power or solar to keep leisure flying at current levels. We will have more pressing uses for it, anyway 

31 thoughts on “Brexit dividend at last – labour shortages are a feature, not a bug”

  1. I suspect those people that wanted to lower immigration are going to be disappointed when immigration from India ramps up to replace the Eastern Europeans. Anyway it did give me some pleasure to hear that twat that runs Weatherspoons complaining about not being able to find staff.

    It’s certainly going to be interesting to see what happens with Covid over the next few months. Back in December it seemed obvious to me we were opening up too early and it would result in unnecessary deaths. This time I’m not so sure. If anything I think the problem the government will have is convincing people it is safe to go out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “it’s nowhere near as much as feared at the time”: feared by whom? Project Fear worked for you, did it?

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    1. > Project Fear worked for you, did it?

      Nice claim for an easy win, but bollocks. For the record, what you call Project Fear I expect to fully transpire economically in the round, in the form of a slow car crash and lowered general living standards, though not necessarily for the low-end unskilled workers end.. Whilst so far the charges of racism were perhaps overblown, note that the population of Continental Europe is primarily white, so the nasty othering that has happened has so far been on things like antisemitism. The proportion of Brexiters who are out and out xenophobic has yet to be determined IMO. So I do not agree that it has been a terrific success are Brexity folk claim.

      But I am prepared to tip a hat to that in the specific case of EU immigration hammering low-end wages, the course of events seems to support that it did hammer those wages, and that was a fair enough reason to be against EU membership for those affected. The rather entertaining spectacle of the Wetherspoons boss calling for more EU immigration permits supports the observation. I am not one of those people, so IMO Brexit sucks bricks. But I do respect their different experience of life, and am trying to honour it. OK?

      Also – WTAF are you lot so goddamned angry about? You won. You got exactly what you wanted.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good to see a more balanced piece – even now it’s very rare to read something that isn’t rabidly Brexit or Remain.

    You have to wonder if labour shortages will help resolve the UK’s productivity puzzle. More machines, better paid jobs. Despite the robots are coming narrative, that’s still the only route to real wealth. Also reminds me of something you wrote a few years ago about hand car washes replacing automated ones, and how that really wasn’t a sign of progress.

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  4. > For some reason inflation figures do not usually reflect the cost of housing, though it’s very often the dominant part of a young person’s outgoings.

    As I understand it, owner occupiers’ housing (OOH) costs is one of the perennial problems in inflation calculations. So much so that the CPI, CPIH and RPI all treat OOH differently. The CPI excludes them, the CPIH uses a form of imputing ‘rental equivalence’, and the RPI adopted a proxy for mortgage interest rates and depreciation. Capital costs are excluded from all three indices as house ownership is deemed an investment rather than consumption.
    Rental costs do appear in all three indices.

    More details are at:
    https://uksa.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/reports-and-correspondence/reviews/uk-consumer-price-statistics-a-review/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. > Rental costs do appear in all three indices.

      I was surprised, to the extent that I plain didn’t believe that at first. The rent I paid as a student in London ~40 years ago was paltry in comparison to what people pay outside London now. Sure, four decades of inflation take their toll, but the Bank of England inflation calculator claims inflation was 3.8% p.a. – for every £10 I paid in rent you would expect someone now to pay £4.30. This just patently feels wrong.

      In the ONS’ discussion they say

      The price index for private rents has risen much less quickly than the simple observed average for private rents for a long period. The explanation for most items in the basket would be implicit quality change; that is, that the houses available on the market today are of higher quality than those several years ago. ONS and VOA are continuing to investigate.

      and also they explicitly say they don’t include council tax. So there’s some recognition that the representation of housing costs is borked in inflation figures, and underestimated. Which is a bit rough for a major component of the cost of living, possibly over half for people early in their working lives.

      So yes, rental costs do appear, but they appear wrongly, and the ONS still seems to be scratching their heads about why 😉

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      1. > for every £10 I paid in rent you would expect someone now to pay £4.30. This just patently feels wrong.
        I agree – I think you meant to say circa £44.50 or possibly £1 rather than £10.

        Quality changes are one of the most contentious parts of inflation calculations. Quality changes encompass, amongst other things, the very small number of items that undergo hedonic adjustment. Hedonic adjustment seems to exercise quite a lot of folks but I would personally contend the whole area of quality changes is much more influential. Having said that , there is no doubt that the type and standard of accommodation I rented as a student at the start of the 80’s was of much lower quality than what is available today. And, it is worth bearing in mind that inflation is not a measure of the cost of living – but rather the price changes of a representative basket of goods and services.

        It is also worth noting that CPIH lost its national statistic badge for a period a few years back due to issues around the imputed rental equivalence – and IIRC this was down to problems with the collection of rental prices.

        CPIH does now include Council Tax.

        Like the rest of us the ONS is far from perfect. Their most notable recent faux pas is probably the International Passenger Survey (IPS), see e.g. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/56846637. Surveys are amongst the favourite tools of the ONS and I suspect the IPS is not uniquely inaccurate or non-representative. The ONS has had to adapt its data collection during C-19 and perhaps some longer term goodness will flow from this.

        BTW, the paper I referred to dates from 2015 and is not an ONS document but rather a UK statistics authority publication.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oops, two elementary arithmetic fails in one post 😉 Saved by context.

        > there is no doubt that the type and standard of accommodation I rented as a student at the start of the 80’s was of much lower quality than what is available today.

        That is true. I was on the third floor of a converted house, we would call that a HMO these days, where each room had a gas meter and an antiquated cooker. We started the oven by lobbing matches into the back, the piezo start to the gas burner at the back having failed long ago. The thing would start with a whoosh. There was no fire alarm, and a single staircase. We did have the presence of mind to acquire a long knotted rope…

        You wouldn’t be allowed to even think about that nowadays, which is not such a bad thing

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      3. > You wouldn’t be allowed to even think about that nowadays, which is not such a bad thing

        Yeah – I have many similar tales too.
        Perhaps rather oddly I still do look back at those time rather fondly. Perhaps this is the real definition of rose tinted or should I say beer goggles?

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      4. > I still do look back at those time rather fondly. Perhaps this is the real definition of rose tinted or should I say beer goggles?

        Survivorship bias 😉 Those that didn’t get taken out write the history. It’s like me and a friend deciding to cross the M20 motorway which wasn’t shown on our old one-inch map borrowed from someone, when I was around 11. Even starting when there were no cars visible on a clear stretch the blighters appeared very very fast, and the event has stayed with me over several decades. And that it was an serious effort to get over the central reservation barrier.

        And playing on the building sites, like when they were building Goldsmith’s college’s halls of residence and looking down the empty lift shaft and thinking that it is a bloody hell of a long way down there

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      5. Blimey – takes me back though!
        The things we have all “survived” are really quite scary.
        As a kid we had many fun adventures around and in (and I do mean in!) a recently closed (and therefore nowhere near full of water – as it is now) quarry site which is described as “one of the biggest man-made holes in Europe.”

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  5. Good to see that finally (after the fact) you could see the possible benefits of Brexit that were glarringly obvious to most people! lol

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  6. Great point about the woeful state of on-the-job or employee-sponsored training nowadays. Perhaps it’s a symptom of the increasingly capricious nature of employment that employers no longer regard it as a worthwhile investment.

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  7. Scariest ‘prank’ I can remember from the ’70s was riding the paternoster with a friend over the top in the physics block at my university.

    We had no idea what transpired as the lift units swapped sides – did they turn upside down, squash flat like a milk pack or just shuffle over?

    As we went past the last possible exit, the point of no return, I remember thinking that it was a fairly addle-pated experiment. Luckily for us, the designers must have taken undergraduate stupidity into account.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Life sciences building at Imperial still had one of those in my time. And we did the same, though we were prepared to scramble upside down at the top the first time. You do wonder what they would be like running the risk assessment for the design of something such terrific fun these days 😉 A but like if we didn’t have highways and you proposed in a meeting that we could communicate between our towns in boxes of a ton of metal at 60mph along strips of tarmac with no dividing line between opposite directions they would probably rugby-tackle you to the ground and send for the men in white coats for even thinking about it, never mind allowing such an obviously dangerous idea to pass your lips 😉

      I always wondered what would happen if you tripped up getting into a paternoster, which let’s face it would be easy enough to do even without alcohol, and left a foot sticking out whether is would get sheared off or there was a limit switch. A little bit like the bizarre foot passenger hostility of European railway stations, which are hardly designed for the disabled of even the able carrying any significant amount of luggage – it is grunt enough for the fit and healthy to hail all their luggage down from the ticket hall and up all the stairs again to the relevant platform!

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  8. Thanks for this great post.
    Maybe I enjoy reading someone who has the same (or similar) opinions but has done the thinking aleady for me.

    Up here north of hardians wall, things are a bit different. Covid has apparently been a big problem but unless you are personally affected it’s more of just an inconvenience.
    Except WFH works great for me and with kids, pubs and discotheques are an anethema.
    More family time and I get an extra 4 hours a day that was a commute and have stayed mostly paid and busy – what’s not to like.
    Unlike many, I am in favour of the lockdown and the virus!

    In other news, the top family wealth decile are 50k up in net worth since the pandemic and we (scraping into the top cohort) are up £200k.

    Glad to hear that you are still keeping busy – FI shouldn’t mean you stop working/doing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was somewhat disturbed to read Hadrian’s Wall is under English Heritage though at least I should be able to park for free 😉 Mind you, I expect to live long enough that I get to show my English!!?? passport at the checkpoint on the way to take a butcher’s hook at some of the fine stones up your way…

      Covid seems to throw a harsh light on the haves and the have nots. Even on a stock market basis it seems shocking, though I fear the roadrunner/Minsky moment in a big way. OTOH I am an old git and age is a primary risk factor… I have the feeling it could be a tough winter.

      > FI shouldn’t mean you stop working/doing

      Yeah. Resistance is futile, eh? If you can, do, just for God’s sake don’t derive meaning from it 🙂

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  9. Very interesting post as ever. I still cannot believe the freedoms the UK have given up for Brexit. From what is going on in Northern Ireland to the freedom to live and work in Europe. UK as ever acting like the victim when EU don’t dance to our tune. And these so called new fabulous world beating trade deals… what a load of baloney. Think I read one was for supplying apples to India. What they don’t tell you was that Denmark was already doing this, so we didn’t exactly have to leave the EU for our freedoms there.
    Would be laughable but for fact that I think the workforce are going to get shafted with increasingly poorer working Contracts, prices are going to go up for food etc.
    Already mobile phone providers re-introducing roaming charges that the EC banned. Genuinely can’t see any advantages in Brexit for any of us.
    Anyway fear we have another good few years of far right Conservatives in power

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  10. Well, the fruits of brexit are starting to bloom, it wasn’t just bigots of every stripe who voted for it, sovereignists voted for it too and now you see inconvenient laws can be changed at light speed or simply ignored, whichever works the fastest. Problem with too few truck drivers for the economy to run? Why pay for training to create 100 000 real jobs lasting a guaranteed lifetime, a real quality national investment we could all get behind, (and the politically toxic interim measure of EU drivers) when you can extend the existing overworked drivers hours by scrapping health and safety? Employers can still treat them so badly that the profession continues to not attract enough entrants, while getting rid of foreigners and obesity will be reduced as crops rot in the fields, a circular win-winconomy. I’ll be alright because I really really really believe new tech will step into the vacuum with delivery drones tomorrow, almost like flying unicorns. Whilst some might ridicule this today, they also laughed when the horse and buggy was replaced.

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    1. Talking of flying unicorns, there’s nothing some fairy dust and unicorn magical thinking won’t fix. Take a look at Jet Zero, the UK’s strategy for sustainable aviation

      It is a strategy that will deliver the requirement to decarbonise aviation, and the benefits of doing so, whilst allowing the sector to thrive, and hardworking families to continue to enjoy their annual holiday abroad; we want Britons to continue to have access to affordable flights, allowing them to enjoy holidays, visit friends and
      family overseas and to travel for business.

      Bollocks. You’re going to have to fly less or slow-cook your grandchildren – low-cost air travel was a pathology of late 20th century capitalism externalising all the downsides. You’re not going to decarbonise it at scale. Better get in there and stop all those billionaire wankers and their wet dreams in space, too, because that’s the crack version of aviation.

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      1. Yup, I fully agree, historically all periods of prosperity have come at times when there was a huge, cheap energy windfall that allowed standards of living to seriously outpace the existing population usage for those previous lifestyles, the last of these being the transition from coal to oil. But these unearned gifts were always quickly squandered, on population explosion, wars and narcisistic status competitions like how big is your house, car, holiday, family, friend circle, hobby collection etc., etc. Now that affordable oil is rapidly tailing off, we have a relentless slow puncture in quality of life, exacerbated by inequality, whereby billionaires keep trying to recreate or better the concorde effect by visiting other planets even as the rapidly growing precariat choose between heating and eating, another win against the obesity crisis innit.

        Smooth move on your part by the way not downloading the Isolation app in the first place, (thereby sidestepping the whole ‘Am I being jerked around for nothing’ dilemma) that has raised questions as to how well it works, was £37 billion a fair price (that’s a lot of top wall paper, bruv) and were there competitive bids re: cui bono ‘n that ?

        It’s all very interesting times we are obligatorily enduring, but I do wonder though if the pent up tension of the ever-growing brexit consequence losers will explode, as you also noted they seem very angry for nominal winners. I don’t think the Wembley showcased thuggery beamed out to the world as Cool Brexitania did the UK any favours. It looked like the rule of law has been severely weakened, the thug-life feels liberated and enabled by the example of Bullingdon spirit, so while the title Bojo don’t apply to all boy-men, all boy-men have a little bojo in’em.

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      2. > I do wonder though if the pent up tension of the ever-growing brexit consequence losers will explode, as you also noted they seem very angry for nominal winners.

        There be some folk worrying about a summer of discontent. Still, Bojo know what the answer is – water cannon ISTR… But yeah, I do wonder WTF Brexiters are so pissed off about, they got pretty much the most pure Brexit imaginable. It’s almost as if they have trouble imagining that sovereignty does actually stop and the borders, because that’s where you rub up against other people’s sovereignty… If you want sovereignty over other people, then you gotta start wars. And win them … I’ve heard of bad losers, and arguably most of Remain was/is just that, but bad winners is a whole new novelty angle to me.

        > Smooth move on your part by the way not downloading the Isolation app in the first place

        I’m in the mood to take the battle all the way to the enemy. The smartphone seems to be tracking device and spying device all rolled into one. Just get rid of.

        I don’t need a bloody computer with me all the time. What the hell is the equivalent of task manager on one of those things, and why can’t you take the battery out these days?

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  11. I so agree on the smartphone, its ironic that people who’d consider getting microchiped by the state like a labrador a Toryism too far, carry around a device by nominal choice that performs the same function. I suspect the battery issue is route-one simplicity, built in obsolescence, battery burns out first & so you then have to chuck the whole thing.

    Re: the summer of loathe, the difficulty for rule of law in a state which just elected a hooligammon is how does he then punish hooligans committing hooliganic acts? We saw a taster of this in how he couldn’t sack Hancock because there was nothing contentious Hancock was up for consideration on that Bojo didn’t have well-recorded previous for. What’s he like eh, what a character, the English do love a good Cad, what what, bloody good show and all that.

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    1. Funny old game, eh,. I saw the vid of Hancock feeling Coladangelo’s bum and thought to myself she’s a bit outta your league mate, but otherwise well, so what. Compared to Cummings’ midnight ride no huge deal, and it appeared consensual. The boss has more form there. Carrie’s obviously got a thing for power, because looks ain’t Boris’s strong suit, and history doesn’t show him a reliable partner. As you say

      > the English do love a good Cad, what what, bloody good show and all that.

      As for the smartphone, it’s strange how the tinfoil hat brigade checks their principles at the door for convenience. There’s one sort I know who installs wired Ethernet for fellow tinfoilers because, well, WiFi, the Rays. Fair enough, WiFi uses Rays. Seems a tad churlish to charge wifi with following you around with Rays with its 100mW while the phone in your pocket is prepared to chuck out 4W max and you’re going to stick it next to your head, OK so it’s 900MHz or around 2GHz rather than the exact resonance of water. but it’s still pretty loud Seriously, when was the last time you rammed the old noggin up against your wifi router? And the phone has got to follow you around the country so as you can receive in incoming call, we’re not back in the 70s with analogue VHF cells covering 100 miles radius. At least the labrador only gives up its name rank and serial number when the vet waves the old RFID wand over its head.

      And then GPS, Google Maps, Fitbit. GPS is a marvellous thing, I have Garmin GPS64 with OS maps. But it’s receive only, as GPS was designed, if I want people to follow me around with the GPX track then I have to upload it, or transmit on APRS. There’s a tiem and place for tellign the world where you are, and going to work or pootling around town to shag someone is probably not that time… Phone GPS is as useful as a chocolate teapot out in the sticks, because it is assisted GPS – it downloads the ephemeris to lock up the GPS from the network. As I found out on Dartmoor – use a phone to know where you are on the moors and it took about half an hour to find me, and I’d got back to the car park by then, gee, thanks bud. A phone hasn’t got the performance of real GPS to locate in the wilds.

      I have a Nokia bananaphone dual sim with changeable battery. Because I have it for hillwalking should I need to raise assistance, dual SIM dual providers to have a better chance of getting a connection and a spare couple of batteries because at a distance from the base they are going to be running at the 4W end of things. Much better RF performance than your average smartphone so it locks onto a signal better, and I leave it switched off unless necessary, which thankfully hasn’t been ever so far. I don’t need to take toys onto the hills, if I want to take photos I will use the camera I have and if I want to talk to people I will go to the pub or do it from home.

      So I dunno what it is with smartphones, but it seems to make people’s brains fall out of their head. If there’s an app for that you probably should be doing something better with your time IMO.

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      1. I’m not up to your par with the technical understanding on phones but have a sibling who helps, so I do what I can and have it spend as little time next to my head or in the heart or nut pockets as possible. I loved the old nokia phones, they were like an uzi, you could take it apart in easy repairs or bury it for days and it was so forgiving, I bet they survived domestics a lot better than most people. It’s amazing how much people will pay for the new shiny objects too, given they then sell your most private info to anyone with money and many times over, in a business sense the guys who dreamed it up must not believe how gullible people are. Dare to dream indeed. (ironically, just about the only thing left it can’t rat you out on are your dreams)

        ‘At least the labrador only gives up its name rank and serial number when the vet waves the old RFID wand over its head.’

        The rebel in me likes to imagine a scene, call it a hallucinatory comedy (easy to do in these post-truth Trumpian times when our leaders stand up in parliament and tell lies so big you’d get slapped as a kid) wherein a lab is on an examination table being scanned by a vet making comforting baby noises. The lab gurns cretinous friendliness like a redsetter letting go the odd rivulet of drool as its chip gives up Roger Simpson, 7 years old, Oak Drive SW5, but its inscrutable brain is thinking ”You don’t really know me pal, that thing doesn’t tell you 99%, that I like opera music, hillwalking, car chases, liver sausage, soft carpets, dust baths and the occasional dryhump, also Roger isn’t my real name, I just respond according to voice tone.” In a way, that’s how most of us got through worklife, sitting there awkwardly amongst strangers we don’t even like, faking bonhomie with a dumb smile and running down the clock until we could relax and be free. We were just paid to be obedient and all forgiving labradors. That’s the worst thing about the smartphone, it reduces escape time.

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