Friday, March 31, 2006
Anyway, for the first time in ages there's a post worth reading. It's angry, amusing, humane and pointed. Worth reading.
Here the positive spin that some green politicians put on things is exposed for what it is. There are some solid alternative technologies available, from solar to wind to hydrogen fuel cells, but the task of slotting these in as direct replacements to oil is next to impossible. There's little doubt that hydrogen is the economy of the future, but how we get to that future is not certain. Roberts proposes that natural gas is the bridge between the current fossil fuels and the next energy economy
Of course given the recent issues with natural gas, it looks like the transition period has already started, and it's going to get rockier...
Thursday, March 30, 2006
It's all the more worrying when you think that the government pretty much got what it wanted on ID cards. Despite talk of 'compromise' the government has finally got it's own way again. All this despite not having any real justification of why we need ID cards. And of course there's going to be a huge - and costly - IT disaster waiting in the wings for this too.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Peter Tatchell has written a good defence of his involvement with the demonstration on his web-site. Predictably his integrity is being questioned on places like indymedia...
Thursday, March 23, 2006
It's not about delivering services to the public. If it were then we'd not be creating non-jobs, handing out huge contracts to consultants and forever expanding the layers of management and control. The first rule of any bureaucracy is to defend it's existence and to expand as much as it can. That's what the state does. Despite Lenin's catchy slogan the state does not 'wither away' - ever.
Labour have got themselves a win-win strategy. If they expand the public sector then they hope that will buy them votes. If they lose the next election then any new government that tries to slim down the bureaucracy can be attacked for slashing public services. Either way, Labour come off as the defenders of public services. The unions and what remains of the Left will fall into line like sheep. No doubt the 'vote Labour with no illusions' slogan will be dusted off again...
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
The most interesting aspect of the whole story is the degree to which leading members of the establishment, including Cherie Blair, supported Begum. Again it just prompts the question, where is this Islamophobia that's supposed to be sweeping the country?
Thankfully civil libertarians like Peter Tatchell take liberty and free expression much more seriously.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
And planting fast-growing trees for paper makes sense for CO2 absortion, particularly if we can use the wood waste for ethanol production as well.
Guest doesn't take the easy way out and pin the blame squarely on rapacious Western coporates and governments. Nor does he paint Africa as a continent full of victims waiting to be rescued from poverty by enlightened Westerners. What he does make clear is that Africa's curse is a surfeit of statism. The African peoples have been saddled with governments that were as bad, and often much worse, than the colonial powers that were there before. Corruption, rampant bureaucracies run as personal fiefdoms, tribalism encouraged by venal politicians, and endless wars have kept Africa poor, sick and barely limping along.
As an antidote to the guilt-ridden breast-beating of many Western liberals, the book makes a clear case that development and freedom go hand in hand. And, just as importantly, freedom means economic as well as political freedom. Without the freedom to trade, to work and to kick out corrupt regimes, Africas peaoples are doomed to life support in perpetuity.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
George Monbiot was on the radio a day or so ago discussing the increasing use of ethanol and bio-diesel. As an environmentalist was he pleased at the prospect of replacing fossil fuels with renewables? Absolutely not. He went into great details about the problems that might possibly occur when we grow crops for fuel – even though the prospects for cellulosic ethanol (which uses waste bio matter, such as corn stalks, wood chips etc) are looking very positive.
In the course of the interview it became clear that nothing would satisfy Monbiot except for us to cut back on the use of energy. New forms of energy seem to be of no interest, only getting people to stop travelling would work. Any sane person would agree that developing new sources of energy is essential, and that energy use has to go up if we want people across the world to share the benefits that we have in the west. Is there any better way to characterise Monbiot than to call him and his like reactionary and anti-human?