Rational irrationality and how the #livingwage works


What animals are poached where?

On playing God at Pharmac

20+ treatments have a higher priority than Keytruda. The Chief Executive of Pharmac just said that in a television interview. I was declined access to that information when I requested it under the Official Information Act.

Utopia, you are standing in it!

I unsuccessfully tried to get a list of all the drugs that has had a stronger case for funding than Keytruda. The Labor Party wants that to be given priority – jump the queue.

I asked for the cost of each drug that is above Keytruda and the cut-off point for PHARMAC funding of drugs in the last four years. The first part about the cost of drugs was refused on commercial in confidence grounds.

My inquiries about a list of drugs queued up for funding that will get funding as soon as money becomes available lead to an intriguing answer by Pharmac in their response to my Official Information Act request:

For the second part of your request, PHARMAC makes its funding decisions based on its legislative objective, ‘to secure…the best health outcomes that can reasonably be achieved from pharmaceutical treatment and from within the amount of funding. Therefore…

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Unexpected Conservative Victories We Have Known

RGS History

Major_1992_PA_372 David Cameron’s sensational win today was certainly predicted by very few (should’ve bet on it). The comparison everyone is making is with 1992. It is certainly one I think the Conservatives were making themselves. When Mrs Thatcher was defenestrated in 1990, she was deeply unpopular. Tory canvassers called it the ‘that bloody woman’ factor. I would vote Tory, they heard, if it wasn’t for TBW. In retrospect, ditching Thatcher, in modern politico-speak , helped detoxify the Conservatives.

Nonetheless, as the campaign opened, the opinion polls gave Neil Kinnock’s Labour a a six point lead. Come polling day, the opinion polls had become more equivocal. However, on the night, the BBC exit poll predicted a hung parliament. In the event, John Major’s Conservatives polled more votes than any Conservative government in history.

There a several explanations that could be advanced. One was, surely, the fact that John Major was not Margaret Thatcher…

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The Joy of Small Majorities: Labour & 1974, & the end of Consensus

A great summary of the rise and fall of the Labour governments in the 1970s. The fall of the Callaghan government in 1979 by one vote is the stuff of history and intrigue.

RGS History

_80175979_wilsonIn the 20th century, the two governments with the smallest winning majorities were Labour. The election of February 1974 was, in effect, a draw. Both major parties saw their share of the popular vote fall, and the Tories were some 200,000 votes ahead of Labour. However, with 301 seats to 296, Labour were the largest party in the Commons. Heath tried to broker a deal but, wisely one might feel, neither the Liberals under Jeremy Thorpe, nor the now separate Ulster Unionists, would not play ball.

Harold Wilson thus formed a minority government. Wilson had won a tiny majority in 1964, as explained here; in 1966, he went to the country and won a handsome victory. In October 1974, he tried the same trick. In some ways it was a result very similar to Cameron’s. Labour had a majority of 3, and polled 3Wilson_1974electionaddress2_CPA9% of the popular vote…

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Britain and Europe (4) – The 1975 Referendum, part one: How it Even Happened

RGS History


If I have some memories of Britain entering the EEC, I have very strong memories of the 1975 referendum. Arguably, the reason we are having an EU referendum now has far more to do with the internal politics of the Conservative party than the issue itself (something I will go on to argue anon). Certainly, the reasons for the 1975 referendum had almost everything to do with the internal politics of Labour.

In short, Labour were split three ways over Europe. There was a strongly pro-EEC minority, most associated with Roy Jenkins. In the other camp, were those for whom entry to the EEC was anathema. Then, there were those who were either undecided, ambivalent or for whom it was primarily a matter of political manoeuvre (probably, one of those was Harold Wilson).

Several strands of Labour politics did not sit easy with the EEC. One was the romantic patriotism…

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England Moves To Bar Support For Israeli Boycott Movement


England flagWe recently discussed the highly disturbing cases of 12 protesters who called for the boycotting of Israeli products. France’s Supreme Court (the Court of Cassation) upheld the shocking prosecution of the twelve anti-Israel activists in a blow to free speech. Now, England is moving to bar local councils, public bodies and even university student unions from boycotting “unethical” companies.

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This @amprog lead in picture and its 1st figure about minimal improvement in living standards in 30 years just does not gel somehow

Source: When I Was Your Age | Center for American Progress.

The claim by the Centre for American progress is that despite being more educated and working in a more productive economy, 30-year-olds today barely make more than 30-year-old Baby Boomers did in 1984.


Source: When I Was Your Age | Center for American Progress.

Effective marginal tax rates on single and dual earner families in the USA, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand

Some countries including New Zealand and Australia do not give ordinary families much of an incentive to earn more. Effective marginal tax rates on low income families is one of the few times that the Left discovers supply-side economics.


Source: Taxing Wages 2015 – OECD 2015.

I can’t believe I made it

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