The Spectator

Barometer | 13 July 2017

Also in Barometer: who finds all the lost golf balls, and the long, slow death of coal mining

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The joy of Sixtus

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and his wife announced the birth of their sixth child, a son called Sixtus Dominic Boniface Christopher. But is that appropriate?

— A sixth child ought to be ‘Sextus’. Five popes were called Sixtus but the name is believed to derive from a Greek word meaning ‘polished’.

— Among the living, there is Sixtus Henry of Bourbon-Parma, whom some believe to be the rightful monarch of Spain, and Sixtus Preiss, a Viennese hip-hop artist whose work includes Samba Feelin Beein This, Trilingual Dance Sexperience and, appropriately, given the Tory performance in the general election, What a Fine Mess We’ve Made of This.

Mine decline

Jeremy Corbyn addressed a record Durham Miners’ Gala crowd, estimated at 200,000. How many might have been miners? Coal industry employment over the years:

1920 (peak employment)

1,190,000

1945 (Labour’s post-war victory)

702,000

1964 (election of Harold Wilson)

502,000

1973 (three-day week)

252,000

1984 (miners’ strike)

139,000

1997 (election of Tony Blair)

14,000

2015 (last UK deep coal mine closes)

200

Source: ONS

Employ yourself

The Taylor Review into work practices was published. Which industries have the highest number of self-employed workers?

Construction

966,000

Professional, scientific and

technical activities

597,000

Wholesale, retail and repair of motor vehicles

393,000

Admin and Support Service

352,000

Transport and storage

292,000

Old balls please

The owner of a golfing company was jailed for manslaughter after the death of an amateur diver he had paid between £20 and £40 a day to retrieve golf balls from a lake. (Professional divers would have cost £1,000 a day.) How many golf balls must you find to make a living from it?

—A pack of 40 secondhand Titleist NXT Tour golf balls costs £12.99 online.

—At that rate, ignoring costs, you need to find 23 balls an hour to earn the equivalent of the national minimum wage.

—There are lots to find; US golfers lose 300 million golf balls a year, says CNN.

— Texas-based LostGolfBalls.com claims to find and sell between 40 million and 50 million a year. It has 50 full-time staff.