Thursday, 27 January 2022

Pushing buggies. Reading headlines. Price rises. Terry Pratchett.

I’ve just walked our small grandson round the village in his buggy. Apart from the fact that my poor confused Fitbit will think I’ve been for a bike ride and will not have counted my steps properly, pushing a 2 year old around is like a major workout. I have great admiration for my daughter and other mothers of small children as they do this on a daily basis. I don’t remember pushing ours being such hard work forty years ago. Either buggies have got a lot heavier or maybe you just get used to it and your ability to push heavy weights around grows as the child grows and weighs more!


Headlines are misleading. This is not surprising as I have heard that sometimes headlines are written by subeditors who have not actually read the article fully. It must drive the writers of news articles crazy. Yesterday I wrote about Neil Young and Eric Clapton having opposing views regarding Covid vaccination. Neil Young had asked Spotify to remove the podcast of Joe Rogan, on the grounds that his anti-vaccination statements are spreading false information. Today I saw this headline: “Spotify removes Neil Young music in feud over Joe Rogan’s false Covid claims”. I jumped to the conclusion that Spotify had come down on the side of Rogan, who earns the, plenty of money, and decided to remove Neil Young. Well, I suppose ai was correct about the first bit: they did refuse to remove Joe Rogan. But it’s Neil Young who has asked Spotify to remove all his music from their service, in protest. I expect Neil Young can afford to do whatever he likes. He doesn’t need to depend on Spotify. 

A Spotify spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday that the platform was taking down Young’s music: 

“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” the spokesperson said.

I like Neil Young and I never use Spotify, so it’s not making any difference to me. 

According to The Labour List, “Laura Pidcock, the former Labour MP for North West Durham, has resigned today from the party’s national executive committee, citing a “hostile territory for socialists” under Keir Starmer’s leadership”. What a sad state for a supposedly left wing party to be in. Apparently, Laura Pidcock “explained in a statement announcing her resignation that her “deep unease” in the party was compounded by “the cheering of a Tory MP crossing the floor in the House of Commons”.” 

I’m saying nothing about Jeremy Corbyn’s not being accepted back into the party. 

Now, I’ve sometimes found Jack Monroe, food writer, social commentator, a bit annoying to listen to but her comments on price rises make sense. Here are some things she has said:-

This time last year, the cheapest pasta in my local supermarket (one of the Big Four) was 29p for 500g. Today it’s 70p. That’s a 141% price increase as it hits the poorest and most vulnerable households.”

“This time last year, the cheapest rice at the same supermarket was 45p for kilogram bag. Today it’s £1 for 500g. That’s a 344% price increase as it hits the poorest and most vulnerable households.”

“Baked beans were 22p, now 32p. A 45% increase year on year.”

“Canned spaghetti. Was 13p, now 35p. A price increase of 69%  price rise.”

I expect she could go through a whole week’s shopping! It’s quite shocking. 

Terry Pratchett’s estate has authorised Jack Monroe to use the “Vimes Boots Index” as the name of her new price index, which is intended to document the “insidiously creeping prices” of basic food products. 

Here’s an explanation, based on Sam Vimes, who in the Discworld novel Men at Arms lays out the “Sam Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socio-economic unfairness”.

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money,” wrote Pratchett. “Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of okay for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while a poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.”

There you go.

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment