We keep getting news stories about contact tracing call-handlers with nothing to do. The Guardian is especially keen on these and seems to either think they are just idle and need scolding, or else they should be laid off for reasons of economy, as there’ll be no problem bringing them back in future. Strangely, it…

Read More How bad is the contact tracing – really?

Back in the first week of the virus lockdown, before “non-essential” businesses were closed, I went to my local bookshop. Business, they said, was as good as Christmas with one important difference: rather than Boring Postcards-style toilet funnies and gifts for relatives you don’t actually know, people were buying serious literature they actually intended to…

Read More Boooks

Following Dan Davies’ tracers here. The guy who the care-home industry pushed out to pick a row with the prime minister this week, hoping it would divert attention from their atrocious labour practices and how they helped their customers catch COVID-19, turns out to be the very same whose £100m-big operation got caught perpetrating £20k…

Read More Alternative, Terrible Models of Ownership

There has been quite some concern about what policy Labour can pursue in the context of a Conservative government that has essentially abandoned fiscal austerity as a goal. The good news is that there’s been a natural experiment on this in the United States, as this salty tweet points out – the $1200 emergency aid…

Read More Can’t Buy a Thrill: Keep the Furlough Scheme

Via Adam Tooze on Twitter I saw this piece by His Seriousness, Martin Wolf, in the Financial Times. There’s a way to start a blog post, no? Anyway I was interested by this chart: I think this is an example of what I called, years ago, the North Atlantic Bullshit Conveyor, taking inspiration from the…

Read More From the Atlantic Bullshit Conveyor to the Anglospheric Bullshit Conveyor

James Butler has thoughts! You should probably read’em! However, this take seems stale: Such permeating cynicism arises above all from depoliticisation: the claim, advanced over the past few decades, that ideological difference is dead, markets ought to be insulated from political contestation, and politics is merely a set of technical quibbles between administrators. Depoliticisation has…

Read More Depoliticisation and after

While I was writing the previous post, on a table outside my flat, I noticed some sort of commotion in the street. Then somebody shouting from the third or fourth floor of the block: “There’s…someone behaving…oddly in the road…do something”. Looking across the street I could see some people who might be doing something, and…

Read More Do something