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More Doctors.
at 18:53 10 Jun 2024

One of the many downsides to deciding that universities should sit in a kind of quasi-market and treat students as consumers (rather than as government institutions that train and educate according to societal need) is that you take this option off the table. No longer within the government's remit to just tell universities to provide free medical degrees.
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Are you a true lefty?
at 18:48 10 Jun 2024

Only really in the last few decades that "libertarian" came to mean a sort of extreme ultra-capitalist. Pre-Second World War it's basically a synonym for anarchist. Some anarchists even used "libertarian communist" as a descriptor, which most people would regard a bit of an oxymoron these days.
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Are you a true lefty?
at 16:36 10 Jun 2024

Yeah, very left wing from quite young. Passed through a few radical left groups (generally anarcho-syndicalist/anarcho-communist ones). Always recognised I was quite out there politically and never felt I influenced much in the world but got to defend the things you believe in, haven't you?

Most productively fed into little things - being an active trade unionist my whole life, joining local community food co-ops, bit of volunteering with tenants' rights groups and workers' rights groups. Least productively fed into arguing about it on the internet.
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More Doctors.
at 16:23 10 Jun 2024

It's a thoroughly globalised labour market and the UK health system doesn't pay competitively.
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Was the U.K. just ahead of the rest?
at 16:22 10 Jun 2024

Of course, it wasn't always the case that asylum seekers couldn't work and needed expensive specialist accommodation with 24/7 guards. They weren't always an expense in this way. That was a political choice made under successive governments (and again, a result of political class and media refusing to engage with or explain the nature of the global refugee issue to the wider public).
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Was the U.K. just ahead of the rest?
at 15:26 10 Jun 2024

The issue is that too many people in the Global North are unwilling to face the underlying realities that shape human migration and none of their political class or media have any interest in explaining those realities.

We've had basically a quarter of a century of government promising radical cuts in immigration. They haven't delivered because they can't deliver. All the economic and geopolitical forces that make people migrate are out of their control, so every law they pass is just pissing in the wind.
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Was the U.K. just ahead of the rest?
at 10:59 10 Jun 2024

Looks more like a ratchet effect than an ebb and flow to me.

Essentially, the system that drove economic growth in Western Europe and North America was largely exhausted and discredited in 2008 and there's been no serious systematic attempt at reforming it.

Each election cycle is characterised by anaemic economic growth and a largely dissatisfied population. A left-wing exit from the crisis is largely impossible (for a combination of reasons both related to the structure of these societies and the flaws in left-wing political forces). So the ultra-right makes the running - "what Farage says today, the Conservatives says tomorrow and the Labour Party legislates on the day after."
[Post edited 10 Jun 14:48]
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England Left Back options
at 15:14 7 Jun 2024

You're getting a lot of flak for this, but he just broke the Championship assists record set by the guy who'll probably end up playing there (out-of-position).
[Post edited 7 Jun 16:14]
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VAR Vote
at 15:36 6 Jun 2024

Ultimately though, there's no point in having complaints either way. With or without VAR complaining isn't going to change outcomes in your favour.

In a way football club's investment in "correct decision making" is entirely illogical. When it comes to refereeing errors every team is as likely to be victim or beneficiary, so why would you particularly care either way? You're in an entertainment business, the rational thing to do would be to ask (a) what's cheapest? (b) what do my customer prefer?

It's definitely cheaper to scrap VAR and your customers would almost certainly prefer it. Not sure why people in football are so wedded to it.
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Hladky
at 08:47 5 Jun 2024

I do wonder about the received wisdom that goalkeepers are defined mainly by their errors. Not a very common way to concede, even when your keeper is quite calamitous. Worst PL keeper last season gave up 5 that way and whilst any goal conceded could be season-defining, a good keeper in all other aspects could definitely make that up in general play.

Tend to think what you want to worry about in terms of shot-stopping is more at the margins. Like Gavin Bazunu's performance at Portman Road - beaten by three shots all of which a good shot stopper probably saves.
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Hladky
at 09:58 4 Jun 2024

Weird take on Onana - literally made more saves than every other goalkeeper in the Premier League.
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Ingerlund at euro 2024
at 09:55 4 Jun 2024

Not impossible, but both have objectively weaker squads and worse recent tournament records than England.

There's probably only 2 positions that Germany are stronger than England in and one of them is goalkeeper.
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Ingerlund at euro 2024
at 08:31 4 Jun 2024

Especially in positions like full back and centre midfield, where your positioning and decision-making are so important, a good specialist is almost always a better option than a very good non-specialist. Think this is particularly true in international football where players don't have endless time to learn new roles.

Don't think Southgate has ever really got that "6" role right and it probably cost England at least 1 actual trophy. Here's who he's picked for it this season: TAA, Henderson, Phillips, Gallagher - looks very muddled to me.

[Post edited 4 Jun 8:42]
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Ingerlund at euro 2024
at 14:22 3 Jun 2024

Having a few positions where you've got to pick between a few fairly mediocre options is the lot of an international manager.

France probably have the most complete squad, but look pretty short at right back and centre forward to me.

England probably won't win Euro 2024 but it won't be because they're weak in a few positions (every team will be) or their manager is that great (no international team has an actually elite manager). It'll be because it's tournament football and the likeliest outcome is you end up losing at least one of the 4/5 fine margins games at the end.
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A broad church.
at 13:33 29 May 2024

The "barred from standing" reports were briefed to The Times and appeared on Tuesday evening, before the whip being restored story came out.
[Post edited 29 May 13:34]
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A broad church.
at 12:48 29 May 2024

One thing that's going to become very apparent is just how unpleasant some of the more right wing people in the Labour Party are.

Particularly some on the "Labour to Win" slate on their National Exec, some of whom are about to get gifted a safe parliamentary seat (with the incumbent getting a House of Lords nom as a quid pro quo).

Apparently they'd struck an agreement with Abbott to be re-admitted and then retire, with eulogies from all and sundry about her accomplishments (first Black woman in parliament etc.), but likely someone in that little knot of creeps just couldn't bare to show a little respect and started briefing the press about her being banned from standing.
[Post edited 29 May 12:51]
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If you had to guess now how many of last seasons squad will make this seasons?
at 12:15 29 May 2024

Think ideally you want to be concentrating your resources on raising the ceiling of your squad rather than the floor. When the aim is essentially to win 9 or 10 games out of 38, it's the quality of your 11 best players not the quality of your 11 worst players that enables you to do that.

I think on that basis 17 continuing, 8 coming is about right. You're keeping your best 10 from last season, plus 7 more who'll be squad players and all play less than 500 minutes or so. Then you're concentrating your resources on 8 big new signings.
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The Wacky World of Football Journalism - ITFC Edition
at 15:25 28 May 2024

For national outlets football rumours are low stakes fun that drives traffic. If you're wrong it's not like politics or anything else serious, no one is going to sue you for running a speculative story that turns out to be wrong.

To stand up that first story the journalist just had to find someone who was a plausible inside source on McKenna's thinking. Didn't have to be McKenna, didn't even have to be his agent, just someone with a reasonable claim to have an inside track on his thinking in that moment. Doesn't really matter if you have to write the opposite five days later because things move on so fast in football.

I think we're just going to have to get used to how the national media does football journalism: https://jacksaunders.substack.com/p/blinded-by-the-lights
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My read of it
at 11:40 28 May 2024

By my reckoning over the last 10 days all we've discovered is that at least some of the people around McKenna were keen to tell the press he wanted to move on, potentially to any of the three.

Don't think anyone in the press had an inside line to KM himself and the people around him could mean agent, close acquaintances, people on his staff, anyone really.

Beyond that, are we in much of a position to speculate? The person briefing the press could have been an agent, they could have been generically doing their job by generating interest in their client or could have been specifically instructed to get a specific offer that didn't materialise. Or instead of an agent, it could have been any acquaintance close enough (friend, family, staff) that the press thought they could justify a story off it. The stories seemed to stop near the end of last week - which could be KM telling someone talking out of turn to knock it off or it could be KM initially wanted to leave and changed his mind.

We can't know but provided everything works out, I'm just going to assume the best in our manager and look forward to next season.
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McKenna rumours
at 08:07 27 May 2024

Could we get just the tiniest bit of common sense media literacy, ffs!

Who in the world is going to start packing all their stuff in advance of officially taking a job? You're in this high pressure situation where 10,000s of people are hanging on your every move (not to mention dozens of club staff and players), you're managing delicate conversations (possibly even negotiations) with your club/other clubs and for some reason, you're like "ooh, better get a head start on picking up the family photo and my favourite pen from the office".

If you've got a mate telling you this stuff then congratulations, you've just learnt a valuable lesson that said mate is either quite credulous or not in fact a reliable source. Useful information for the future.
[Post edited 27 May 8:18]
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