Showing posts from May, 2020

67. Making predictions is difficult, especially about the future

The title quote is attributed in different places to Yogi Berra and Nils Bohr. Even attributing quotes is difficult sometimes. The quote is important today, when the analysis of policy responses and decision making at the start of the coronavirus pandemic is gathering pace, now that some countries are past the worst. In conducting this analysis, we must not fall in the trap of judging the decision makers with hindsight. It appears clear now that those that went for a more aggressive crunch the curve rather than flatten the curve, got it right. But this we know now, after the experiment has been run (and bear in mind, it’s not over, we still need to see what happens with second waves). It is hard with what we know today to put ourselves back 4 months ago, to understand how decisions were made with what we knew then. Policy selection was a throw of the dice. Those who got it right, mostly got lucky. It is easy to know what the dice will say after they roll, but much tougher before they d

66. The disappearance of Europe from the British public eye

The biggest news this week, in global terms, was the announcement of the EU recovery fund which I covered in post 63. A huge effort in economic terms but, even more importantly, a rare exercise in cross border solidarity. However, despite its seminal importance, it is practically impossible to find in UK news. The EU is one of the subjects I read about the most. Tales of EU failure and woe often feature prominently at the top of my digital news, selected by algorithms which, day after day, try to build an understanding of my interests. But news of this fund was number 43 in the list presented to me, well below items of little importance which I have little interest in. This is peculiar. I am not given to believing in conspiracies, I have trained myself to reject them as oversimplistic explanations of haphazardly converging interests and motivations and, again, I am confident there is no conspiracy here. But it is worth studying. Big news should be big news, even if it is about the EU L

65. Supporting science in normal times

Remember normality? That time before the pandemic, when we used to be able to hang out in bars, visit our relatives and friends at will, go out as we pleased? Great times. They were also the times when, as a society, we ignored the funding needs of science. The media is full of stories of research groups who abandoned successful research lines in coronavirus vaccines and treatments due to lack of funding and no interest from pharmaceutical companies and institutions. The former is logical, commercial companies don’t invest in treatments for illnesses which are no longer a problem. But as a society, and through our institutions, the focus should be different. However, national cuts in research budgets are only vehemently opposed by scientists. The rest of citizens haven’t cared. We should remember this in future, as the groups working on antibiotic resistance, climate change reversal and diabetes control meet the same challenges as those working on coronavirus vaccines did in the past L

64. The multiplying effect of investments in new technology

I have seen several social media threads objecting to the proposed EU Recovery Plan on grounds that the funds are earmarked mainly for technology sectors related to the new economy, and it does therefore not help companies that suffered most directly from the pandemic. This reveals a misunderstanding of how the economy works. Rather than direct compensation and support (MEDE fund is for that purpose in any case, not the RF), funds given to new technology companies with the potential to dominate a growing sector multiply as these companies grow. Money is spent locally, through purchases and salaries, and reaches traditional business that way, in larger sums than the direct help. Can you imagine the amount Google employees spend at restaurants, shopping malls, car dealerships or cafes in Mountain View, or Microsoft employees in Seattle? More than direct help to restaurants, we need to grow our own next generation globally leading companies, and this is what the Recovery Fund aims to do 

63. European solidarity

The EU has announced a 750 billion (American) euro recovery fund. It will be used by countries as they need it, will be deployed to fund strategically important sectors and, unlike recovery cash in the aftermath of the last financial crisis, will be repaid from EU funds. This sets up the scene for poorer countries to benefit the most and for richer countries to pay most of the bill. The EU has, finally, after over 20 years in the wilderness, remembered that solidarity is one of the values at the heart of its project. It’s only one policy, one announcement, but it has the potential to be a paradigm change, to build a more equal, faster growing and more competitive Europe. I’m both relieved and heartened that, when we expect to be let down by our politicians, the leaders of the European economic powers and the top European bureaucrats have answered the call of history and stood up, refusing to withdraw from the fight against exacerbated, selfish nationalism. The EU has a chance. We all d

62. Tales of a coronavirus survivor

I had coronavirus a few weeks ago. A fairly severe case, when you consider the whole range of gravity for the illness, although not enough to hospitalise me. Since then, many people ask me what it was like, with a tremor in their voice. This is peculiar. They are, I think, looking for reassurance. Hoping you will say it was not too bad, so that they can tell themselves that this thing is not so fearsome, and they can somewhat assuage their fear. This makes no sense. We know each individual will experience the illness differently, from asymptomatic to ICU. Therefore, what my experience was like makes no difference and holds no clues to anyone else. But in extreme situations, this rational thinking seems to be even rarer than it already normally is, giving way to all sorts of superstition and resorting to empty comforts. Ok, ok, I will stop bumbling on and I will tell you. It was long, tiresome but bearable, and after 7 or 8 days things started to steadily improve. I hope that helps  Len

61. 2 speed lockdown easing. It just get worse

For someone who casts a critical eye on social injustice, the UK lockdown easing is the gift that keeps on giving. Concerned with policies which prioritise the interest of the wealthy above that of others, I have already posted on unsafe return to work and on cleaners and nannies entering households when friends and lovers cannot. Today I turn to schools. Cabinet ministers state that going back to school is completely safe, this is by definition false. Nothing in life is and, even if referring exclusively to the context of coronavirus, the more social contact, the greater chance of infection. At the same time, Eton school announces lessons will resume in September due to health concerns. A number of the cabinet are Old Etonians and it seems they deem the safety of their own as more important and worth preserving than that of others. Not surprising, I know. The double standard is obvious at the ‘we do not care’ level. It has been for a while, with the connivance of the working classes L

60. Scylla and Charybdis, and the games of deceit of today’s politics

I’ve already posted on coronavirus dominating the news above all else and the public boredom and informative exhaustion this generates. This also has another side effect. Governments can pass controversial legislation which, in this context, goes through unnoticed. This is the wet dream of the dishonest politician. In the UK, Johnson’s cabinet is taking full advantage, announcing in the last few days a relaxation of food standards and, mark this, an ultimately failed attempt to charge additional tax to foreign health workers for accessing NHS services. The latter beggars belief. I wonder how they thought they would get away with something so crassly unjust. The fact they even tried tells us all we need to know about this cabinet. As a more general, global point, citizens and oppositions must remain vigilant despite coronavirus distractions. Maybe more than ever. These are politically tricky times which must be navigated with the same care Odysseus’ mariners took on the Messina Straits

59. The Mean World Syndrome

It’s that time of the year when the Hay Festival is on. This festival represents a unique opportunity to partake in inspiring and thought provoking debates in an atmosphere of tolerance and open mindedness. I strongly recommend it. Yesterday, one of the sessions was a talk with Rutger Bregman, the brilliant Dutch historian, one of the most exciting social thinkers of our time. Bregman changes the frame of reference by starting from the premise that humans are, in the most part, good and intrinsically motivated. And this is not just a hopeful opinion. In his work, he provides plenty of evidence for this. Modern economy and policy making are based on the central idea that humans are selfish. This premise is crippling. National social policy, trade agreements and employment conditions are designed to control for abuse and cheating and fundamentally limited in their scope. It is high time we change the World and, to do so, we must shake off the Mean World syndrome and believe in us, humans

58. The hero's tragedy

I had the misfortune a few days ago of hearing Donald Trump talking about health workers drawing a war hero metaphor. They go to work, with no protection, they probably should not, but they risk their lives for us. Trump concludes that It is beautiful to see them do this. In this conclusion, he is misunderstanding the concept of the hero. It is not beautiful that anyone has to put their life on the line, in war or in a pandemic. It is, rather, a tragedy. The sacrifice of the hero may be exalted, admired and praised. It often deserves it. But it is also reflective of a failure. The failure of a society that puts its soldiers, or its health workers, in a position in which they have to choose abandoning their dignity or making the ultimate sacrifice. This failure is ugly and unbecoming. I would expect a leader to describe as sad, to undertake to do everything possible to prevent it. We don’t want heroes. We want effective, well supplied, well funded and well organised emergency services  

57. Exiting the lockdown. Class does matter

I’ve now spent several days trying to understand the UK's so called guidance for lockdown exit. It is not easy. One of the main conclusions I can draw, which I referred to in a previous post, is that we are exiting to the benefit of the upper social classes, as it could be in no other way in the UK. The most glaring example, in addition to the expectation that workers will return to work when their employers may not have had time to implement good protection measures, is cleaners and nannies being encouraged to go back to work. You cannot visit your girlfriend/boyfriend and go into their house, but your nanny can on a daily basis, as can your cleaner. I can only imagine the cabinet’s sympathy for the predicament of those deprived of these services. Their return may pose significant infection risks, as clearly nannies will not be able to keep social distance, but it’s a price worth paying to spare the wealthy from having to continue to look after their children or clean their bathro

56. The end of epidemics. How to stop viruses and save humanity now

This post will be no surprise to many, but it does speak of our collective mentality. Whilst making a book purchase on Amazon a few days ago, I came across a book titled ‘The end of epidemics. How to stop viruses and save humanity now’, by Jonathan D Quick. The book is temporarily out of stock. You can just imagine it, languishing on shop shelves and Amazon warehouses, most of the public oblivious or uncaring to the threat of an epidemic, last February. And suddenly, in a clear case of serendipity, a global pandemic explodes and this book, which has the perfect title for it, is thrown straight into the toilet paper and flour category of things you cannot be without. Disappointingly to many buyers, it probably will offer no quick (pardon the pan) fix to our current or future problems, but rather a whole range of well planned measures requiring investments and concerted global policy changes which will have little chance of being implemented once the next precarious recovery ensues Lengt

55. Impossible social distancing

As a society, we have had no choice but to control coronavirus through lockdown and social distancing. Our technological capabilities have made huge differences, I will post separately on this, but not enough to avoid having to ask citizens to make great social sacrifices and having to put many of our businesses at risk of failure. The UK lockdown easing measures unveiled recently have taken the former demand to a new extreme. Many measures were announced, but one really caught my eye: you can now see your girlfriend if she lives in a different household, keeping a distance of 2 metres. I really have to wonder how many behavioural psychologists had to be consulted to find one who thought this might be viable. The government is most likely over asking in the expectation of under delivery, but this policy really does not look like it has a chance to be successfully followed, never mind enforced. This masochist exercise in temptation looks more like a psychology study than a public policy

54. The coronavirus pandemic. We knew this was coming and did nothing

The coronavirus pandemic has brought a significant percentage of the World population to the realisation that this shock was actually not unexpected and that we had been warned by experts. This generates fury and frustration in the population at large, we demand of our politicians that things change in the future. In fact, coronavirus is not a big killer, but a democratic and noisy one. The vilified by some WHO is predicting there will be 330 million diabetics in the World in 2030, and that 8.5 million people will die each year with diabetes as the main cause of death. That is 10 times the worst predictions for coronavirus, repeated every year. It is a slow motion pandemic we have known of and have been warned about for a long time, and which we are doing nothing about. Let us make our political and lifestyle decisions from now on in a way that does not see us react with shock, surprise and fury when the long announced diabetes pandemic starts to make it into the daily news Length: 989

53. The importance of entrepreneurs in the fight with coronavirus

I have written about a certain class of coronavirus entrepreneur in post 43. However, there is a second kind. These are the entrepreneurs who also seize on an opportunity, but who will develop new technologies which will improve our position as a society against challenges such as the coronavirus. These are the entrepreneurs who will develop new vaccines, new tests, new treatments, new digital means to monitor pandemics. They take a much bigger risk than the previous kind. Their investment is much larger, headily large in many cases, and the chances of success much lower. Many will fail and lose their shirts. A few may hopefully succeed. If they do, they will make huge amounts of money, lead successful companies and, from my observation of the general public, be resented by many. There will be complaints about the prices they charge for their development which will ignore the investment and the risk they took. I am on their side, cheering every effort, hoping they become filthy rich Le

52. New lockdown sports. Supermarket rugby

Rugby is one of my passions, and I miss it at the moment. I take both an escapist and analytical interest in it, as the coach of a fairly successful school team and a keen veteran player. So, at times, I feel a bit of void. No rugby to watch, analyse or play. This is alleviated by my visits to the supermarket, which are peppered with examples of exquisite rugby technique. Old ladies showing deft sidesteps (off either foot!) when you intercept their line of travel or come within tackling distance. They would make any first class backline proud. Determined shoppers who hold their line and plough through, scattering others all over the shop (sic), fiery aggression in their eyes. Any forward pack with designs on domination would not hesitate to throw them onto the field. And the playmakers, the most interesting of all, as is the case on the real pitch, surveying the whole shop for space, before choosing their line. When will it be on TV, so that I can watch from the comfort of my own home?

51. Coronavirus boredom

I have noticed that the public’s interest in coronavirus news is dwindling. This is hardly surprising, it has been an information onslaught. Everything else has retired into a discreet second plane, with coronavirus issues, be it lockdown, PPE, ICU admissions or economic impact, dominating the agenda. It taints all aspects of life. The news, printed and broadcast. Our shopping expeditions. Our WhatsApp groups and Twitter threads. Our exercise. And this has been going on for weeks. No wonder our sensibility to it is dulling and our interest fading. I, like many, cannot wait for a more normal situation where life becomes multi issue again. And then I thought of the World War generations. They would have experienced the same, but for 4 and 6 years respectively. The constant hammering of the same issue into their perception, the inability of anything else to rise above it, the dull, repetitive, unrelenting cacophony of different news which are really the same. Tough times. Tough people Len

50. Exiting the lockdown. Does social class matter?

Many countries in Europe, including the UK, are starting to exit the lockdown. As cannot be otherwise, despite what post-marxist neoliberalism tells us, the risks and consequences of the exit are distributed unequally throughout society. Curiously, risk of infection is distributed more or less inversely proportionally to wealth. Immediate return to work is expected of those who cannot work remotely. In the UK, with 48 hours notice and without time for employers to take appropriate measures. No PPE is recommended, just make your own. Most white collar workers can still work from home, but blue collar workers are confronted with a sudden return to work with no protection. Their employers need them back, whatever the risk. And on they march, into the midst of the storm, to discharge their duties stripped of guarantees of workplace safety that were, until the pandemic, unnegotiable. The infection consequences will be known in a few weeks, social consequences are obvious already Length: 989

49. Coronavirus borders. Where is the data?

Still on the strictly national preoccupation with coronavirus, there is another glaringly conspicuous fact which reflects how we think about it. I’ve spent a good hour today surveying UK media in search for information about the situation in a range of third countries. This is futile in most cases. There is no information. We are up to date on the numbers and situation in neighbouring countries, China and US, which must be drawn, in our consciousness, in our same group in the coronavirus Nations League. But what about others? Mexico? Indonesia? India? Very populous countries with much weaker defences than ours. Not to mention Uruguay, Sri Lanka or Lithuania, for example. Of course, I can find the information by going to their respective national media, but this requires significant effort and wherewithal. The passive news consumer is, and will remain, blissfully unaware of the situation, handling and challenges in those countries. Only the virus really understands this crisis is global

48. Coronavirus borders. The strange case of pandemic nationalism

Nationalism is a feeling that I have observed with fascination in recent times. Brexit and Trump’s America First are just a couple of examples of movements which seek to build walls (virtual, although in extreme cases and for symbolic reasons real) between those born in different countries. Nations have been around for several thousand years and they are really ingrained in our thinking. Coronavirus provides a startling example of this. Its effects are being reported strictly in national terms. The coverage cares only about the numbers in our country, whichever one that turns out to be. We compare to other countries in competitive terms, to try to deduce who is handling it better, in some kind of perverse Pandemic Nations League, which is filling the gap normally occupied by sporting events. It is hard to think of many problems which are as global in their nature as a global pandemic is but, in the public consciousness, they are still bewilderingly understood in strictly national terms

47. The new normality

Several countries have published the stages to exit coronavirus lockdown. Typically, 4 stages, very similar in most places. Spain has, for example, numbered them 0 to 3, the first one being preparation, and then a gradual relaxing of lockdown measures as we progress from 1 to 3, in hopefully 2 week intervals, all being as expected. At the end of 3, we enter what is called the New Normality. Well, let me tell you something. That is not the new normality, it is Stage 4, and it has indeterminate length as we will need a vaccine, a treatment, or at least herd immunity to exit it. But it is not normality and we should not accept it as such. There is only one normality, which was already not normal enough, and citizens should expect and demand to go back to it as soon as feasible. We should not accept a reduction in our freedoms, personal rights or duties as a result of this pandemic. Temporary sacrifices to protect public health are of course a civil duty, but they must be temporary Length:

46. Coronavirus mutations

Something pretty weird is happening at my local M&S during lockdown. It’s slowly mutating into Ikea. Let me explain. Before lockdown, you were able to access the Food Hall by entering the general shop and turning left. About 20 steps from street to Food Hall. As lockdown continues, the shop is being reorganised and M&S are creating a path, under the excuse of accommodating queues, which lengthens every few days, and which is designed to have you walk past more and more of their clothing displays. Initially, 2 bends and maybe 15 displays. Now, 6 bends and many displays, in a set up á la Heathrow immigration queue, clothing displays deputising for separation bands. I expected to see many things during my life. Maybe the Artificial Intelligence singularity. Maybe Mars colonisation. But this specific mutation I really did not expect. I would have never thought that M&S and Ikea could evolve to converge into a similar shopping experience, from the very distant points from whence

45. Strategy and bias in stock trading

Still on the stockmarket and its randomness, I am reminded of a conversation I had no long ago with a big time market trader who was trying to understand the potential impacts of coronavirus to finetune his investment strategy. This, of course, is a pretty hopeless aim, which is brought about by the illusion that previous investment strategies yielded returns. The chances are that some beat the market, whilst others underperformed it. The illusion is born from bias, traders (as well as politicians, business people and the public, to name just a few) are much happier to take ownership of their successes than of their failures. Success is put down to strategy, failure to unforeseen circumstance. This ego building may be necessary to survive in the city, but it is not a good counsellor to devise future strategy. Danny Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote extensively about biases, and you could waste your time in much more unproductive and less entertaining ways than reading some of their work

44. The random nature of the stockmarket

The economic shock brought about by coronavirus has resulted in a partial collapse of stock market valuations. This presents opportunities – even for supernormal returns if you read Somerset Capital Management advice - which have attracted a significant number of newcomers to the stock investing game. I happen to know a couple of them and it is fun observing them each day, trying to make some sense of how the market has reacted. Like journalists, they seek a causal relationship, attempting to bring some certainty to an uncertain world: ‘It must be because of this…’ The short term behaviour of the stock market is normally random, as it synthetises the decisions of many people with very different backgrounds, objectives and incentives to yours. Embrace the uncertainty, take long term positions and enjoy the ride, without trying to find logic in every move. ‘A Random Walk Down Wall Street’, by Burton Malkiel, can provide good understanding of the uncharted waters you have just sailed into

43. The moral dilemma of coronavirus entrepreneurs

The current coronavirus lockdown will have negative consequences for the economic prospects of most people, catastrophic for some. However, every crisis brings opportunity, and some people will make a lot of money out of it. Some financial investors, and specially coronavirus entrepreneurs. As soon as PPE, tests and other critical goods became desperately scarce, entrepreneurs jumped into the fold, manufacturing them or, more often, providing access through intermediation. They are making money and governments and consumers are paying much higher prices for these goods, with the subsequent impact on public and personal finances. We are outraged by this. This outrage is incongruous. We have long accepted a system in which making money is prioritised over anything else and where many have enriched themselves by exploiting people’s need for energy, health and sustenance. These entrepreneurs are behaving rationally in economic terms, we need to change their context to change their behaviou

42. The meaning of Life, the Universe, Everything

This is Twitteretter’s post 42. Not a milestone in biblical symbolism (40 would have been), one of the frames of reference of Western culture, but a milestone in another, more irreverent, frame of reference. 42, in Douglas Adams’ ‘The Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy’ is the answer to the question, asked of the World’s most powerful supercomputer, ‘What is the meaning of life, the Universe, everything?’ This is an iconoclastic and, in fact, quite profound answer, in the same way as Monty Python’s humour was always iconoclastic and sometimes profound. Adams died prematurely, yet another star that shone brightly and burnt out early, and I cannot help but thinking that it is a pity he is not around today. His commentary on the pandemic would have been quirky and off kilter, providing variety which is well needed in the midst of the monotone information hammering we are being submitted to. Post 42 makes me realise that we are missing a light, iconoclastic and profound take on today’s trouble

41. Another possible positive impact of lockdown on (some) families

Yesterday’s post generated a few reactions outside Twitteretter. One, from my mother, made an interesting point. It is to do with education within the family during lockdown. I am not referring to parents educating children while schools are closed, which is another interesting subject. Rather, to the lockdown providing an opportunity, for those who used to leave the house to go to work every day and are now homeworking, to understand better what it takes to make a household run smoothly, the challenges, complexities and monotonies of good housekeeping. This was my mum’s viewpoint, even though she also worked all her life outside the house. But the reverse is also true. Husbands, wives, sons and daughters will have had, over a number of weeks, a partial glimpse of the day to day reality of the work of their wives, husbands and parents. These mutual revelations have the potential to improve understanding in households, to shine a light on the challenges of others, fostering empathy L

40. The positive impact of the coronavirus lockdown on (some) family lives

There is at least one thing that must be said about this lockdown, as a positive. Most parents know that, once their children become teenagers, most of them will disappear into their own world, limiting contact with their family as much as possible. The thought of being seen walking with their parents is, to teenagers, tantamount to social scorn and exclusion. But coronavirus has changed this. What really catches the eye when out at the moment is seeing 16 year olds walking in the countryside with their parents, with a smile on their faces. And parents smiling too! Both sides communicating, actually talking to each other, whilst exercising together. I never thought I would see the day, and I would not have expected a global pandemic to be that powerful. Will some of this remain, once normality is resumed? That would be a huge positive change, both groups understanding that there is more to intergenerational communication than homework and house chores, that it can be enriching and fun

39. The eBeer. Here to stay?

There has been a lot of writing, during lockdown, about whether our habits may change, whether we may not go back to shops and bars. Online shopping, family walking and eBeers may replace high street shopping and bars for good. This speculation is justified but I think will be proven to be just that, speculation. Miles long queues outside the B&Qs which opened a few days ago give us an idea of what will happen with shopping. As for bars, I’ve been thinking about it. I am meeting my friends for ebeers because of lockdown. But many of my friends live in other countries, and we never did this before. Why not? Because we rather wait until we can meet at a good bar, for some beers and tapas, than have an ebeer. We rather build the anticipation of a superior experience, than tone it down by indulging in occasional inferior proxies. My rugby friends are planning 6 different food related events after lockdown, compared to our average 2 a year. Bars and restaurants are going to be just fin

38. How incompetent is MY government in the procurement of critical pandemic supplies?

Maybe there are not enough global supplies of PPE and coronavirus tests. But why is my government not securing a bigger share? Why are we losing the race with other countries? This does not depend on competence. The ability to quickly procure these goods in a global supply market is mainly a function of the commercial contacts a country’s industry had before the pandemic. It is akin to what might happen if an effective, cheap treatment was discovered and all restrictions lifted. Imagine 500 people suddenly flocking to a bar which has 100 beers, where beer price is fixed in real time, because of excessive demand, and payment is on a loyalty card. Not everyone will get a beer, and your competence is not really an advantage. Knowing the barmen and already having an account from before lockdown will be. While other people are filling registration forms and having their credit worthiness checked, you will be happily sitting in the sun outside, drinking your cold beer, looking competent L

37. How incompetent are our governments in the procurement of critical pandemic supplies?

I am bemused by the aggressive criticism that the public, fuelled by the media, is directing at governments because of lack of PPE and test availability. How, after weeks of going through this, can these materials still not be widely available. This is a simple problem of supply and demand, which is at the heart of economic theory, and it is global even though we think about it in national terms. Nowhere near enough of these things are manufactured in normal times, to cover a pandemic. When it comes, there are not enough factories and raw materials, no established supply chains. And these take time to set up. In normal times, we don’t buy these goods, and this explains the lack of supply. We live in a market economy and, in this system, who would invest money and effort manufacturing goods that nobody needs and nobody would buy? Let me tell you something. If each consumer had purchased, in the last 20 years, 20 KN95 masks per year, we would certainly have enough production capacity

36. Do not ask a front line doctor how this crisis is being managed

There has been a lot of criticism of the management of the coronavirus pandemic by government coming from the medical profession, particularly from those in overwhelmed emergency rooms. The criticism is not only on specific local problems, but often on national or global policy decisions, it’s given a podium by the media and it’s listened to by the public. This makes sense, right? It is a health emergency, listen to the doctors. But this is a mistake. Doctors in the front line don’t know what effects policy decisions are having at large and they don’t know what their close environment would be like if they had not been taken. Their view, at the height of the crisis, is catastrophic, because of where they are. Their opinions are coloured by availability bias, which we should all be aware of, and this means we should all read Kahnemann and Tversky. Would you ask an extremely busy, single, divorce litigation lawyer whether marrying is a good idea? You do not get the wider view from the s