Mark Wadsworth

This is a spare 'blog in case my main 'blog at isn't working

Monthly Archives: May 2011

Another one in the queue for porridge

Lord Taylor


Fun Online Polls: Stuffed toys & Chris Huhne

On a good turnout, the results to last week’s Fun Online Poll were as follows:

Which stuffed toy is cooler?

The PG Tips Monkey -44%
The Bird’s Eye Bear – 16%
Other, please specify – 3%
Don’t ask me, I never watch the adverts – 38%

So, well done PG Tips Monkey (formerly known as The ITV Digital Monkey) and thanks to everybody who took part.
This week, let’s put Chris Huhne to Trial By Internet, vote here.

If you really want to know a bit of background you can read up here.

More Monday Moose Madness

From The Guardian:

Last seen several thousand years ago loping through the ancient forests and glens of Scotland, two moose have arrived at a remote reserve in the Highlands as part of plans to reintroduce wild animals now extinct in the UK.

The male and female moose are part of ambitious and controversial proposals by a millionaire landowner to recreate an ancient mountain habitat, complete with wolves, lynx and brown bears roaming freely within a vast fenced-off wildlife reserve north of Inverness.

It has of course never, ever happened that a moose, wolf, lynx or brown bear has jumped or climbed over a fence, or somehow pushed through a break in one.

From Next Nature:

Hans Jørgen Olsen, a 12-year-old Norwegian boy, saved himself and his sister from a moose attack using skills he picked up playing the online role playing game World of Warcraft…

When the moose attacked them, Hans knew the first thing he had to do was ‘taunt’ and provoke the animal so that it would leave his sister alone and she could run to safety… Once Hans was a target, he remembered another skill he had picked up at level 30 in ‘World of Warcraft’ – he feigned death.

The moose lost interest in the inanimate boy and wandered off into the woods. When he was safely alone Hans ran back home to share his tale of video game-inspired survival.

Well, even assuming there’s a single word of truth in all that, he could have saved himself a lot of faff by telling his sister to play dead and running off himself.

Spotter’s badge, both articles: Derek.

I hope he enjoyed having porridge for breakfast

That’s one way of looking at it…

… Mr K drew my attention to Tullett Prebon’s lastest Strategy Note

Government and opposition alike base their thinking on the assumption that, by one means or another, growth can be restored. We see no reason whatever to assume this. To focus on the deficit is to ignore the fact that the British economy had become debt dependant long before the financial crisis.

Together, private and public borrowing has averaged 11.2% of GDP since 2003. Over the past decade, borrowing has driven up output in financial services (+123%), construction (+27%) and real estate (+26%), whilst lavish public spending has propelled expansion in health (+35%), education (+27%) and public administration and defence (+22%).

Real output in all other industries is now 5% lower than it was ten years ago.

Between them, real estate, finance, health, education, construction and public administration are six of Britain’s eight largest industries, and account for more than 58% of output. Yet the future prospects for at least five of these six sectors are grim, because:

– Public sector spending cuts are modest, but growth is now a thing of the past.
– Net mortgage borrowing, critical to the real estate and construction sectors, has crashed, from £113bn in 2007-08 to a derisory £3bn last year.
– The aggregate of private (mortgage and credit) borrowing has now turned negative.

That sectors which account for 58% of output are hamstrung in this way leads us to believe that the fiscal and economic outlook is drastically worse than is generally assumed…

Average monthly house price changes

There was some consternation over at HPC at the fact that Nationwide’s May 2011 house price index showed a small uptick, even though prices are still down marginally compared to a year ago.

So to put things in perspective, here’s a chart showing the average monthly change in house prices according to the Nationwide average house price post 1991:As you can see, the April change was above average and the other changes were either lower than or the same as usual.

NIMBYs Of The Week

From the Basildon Recorder:

A DEVELOPER has been accused of trying to “sneak” extra homes on to a controversial green belt site.

Campaigners from Save Our Spaces Billericay are angry Banner Homes submitted a planning application to build a further 19 homes on the former Billericay School Farm, in Noak Hill Road.

Banner Homes has permission for 51 homes, after an initial application for 70 properties was rejected by Basildon Council. Billericay School sold the 1.7-hectare site to the developer for £5.5million…

Here’s a picture of the Basildon, pop. 40,000, from Google Maps. To give you an idea of the massive devastation this will cause, I stuck on a white square* (showing how big 1.7 hectares is) over the affected area:* It’s more of a rectangle shape actually, see here, but a rectangle is more difficult to cut out.

Caught like a Ratko in a trapko

Ratko Mladic

“Mother Moose Shot After Attacking Woman Near Palmer”

I love the attention to detail in this write-up:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A woman was severely injured when she was attacked by a mother moose near Palmer mid-day Monday.

A cow moose with two newborn calves attacked the woman in a neighborhood off Clark-Wolverine Road, near the Knik River. The woman was able to call for help on her cell phone. Officials said the woman’s injuries to her chest could have been life-threatening, but that she is in stable condition and was transported to Mat-Su Regional Hospital. Troopers shot and killed the cow moose when it again charged the victim and troopers as they arrived.

Fish and Game has the two calves, which will be taken to a wildlife center where they will hopefully be rehabilitated, raised and released into the wild next fall. A charity salvaged the meat.

This is the second cow moose with calves shot and killed for aggressive behavior in the last week. Wednesday in East Anchorage, a cow moose with newborn calves was put down after exhibiting aggressive behavior by attacking a girl on her bike and chasing a jogger.

Falling Real Wage Fun (3)

A certain commenter over at HPC insists that using National Insurance receipts to guesstimate a ten per cent fall in real wages during the period April 2008 to April 2011 is completely wrong, and that we should use Average Weekly Earnings (see Historical Time Series, Regular Pay tab) and the Consumer Price Index.

OK. There’s no figure for April 2011, so let’s use March instead.

March 2008, AWE £408, CPI 106.7
March 2009, AWE £417, CPI 109.8
March 2010, AWE £424, CPI 113.5
March 2011, AWE £433, CPI 118.1

We then adjust AWE for the CPI deflator to express AWE in terms of March 2011 prices:

March 2008, AWE £451
March 2009, AWE £448
March 2010, AWE £441
March 2011, AWE £433

That looks like a real fall of exactly four per cent, which we can further adjust for a 1.2% fall in total employment (from ONS Labour Market Statistical Bulletin) which gives us a total real fall of just over five per cent, which, intuitively, seems closer to the mark than a ten per cent fall.