Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gordon Brown - Election Planning

The Progressive Contrarian again brings you the latest top-secret goings-on at Number 10. This latest on the election planning still going on shows Gordon Brown in conversation with his Chancellor, Alistair Darling.

PM: Ah, Darling, I want to have a word.
Darling: Yes, PM.
PM: The election, laddie. What are we to do?
Darling: I'm sorry, PM, I'm not sure I...
PM: It's time we took the initiative, Darling.
Darling: Yes, PM.
PM: What do you suggest?
Darling: That we take the initiative, sir.
PM: Excellent, Darling.
Darling (blushes): Thank you, PM.
PM: I'm thinking we go on the road. Let's take politics to the people.
Darling: Yes, PM.
PM: I want every member in the cabinet to stand up and be counted.
Darling: Yes, PM, every member standing up.
PM: The length and breadth of the country needs to see our members.
Darling: Yes, PM. Length and breadth.
PM: Take this down, Darling.
Darling (gulps): Take what down, PM?
PM: Notes. I want Blears to go to Manchester. Jowell to Birmingham. Milliband - Bristol.
Darling (scribbling furiously): Yes, PM. Milliband - Bristol.
PM: Straw - Bury.
Darling: Strawberry, PM? Have we switched to fruits?
PM: What are you wittering on about, laddie. Take it down, take it down. We can button Hutton for Sutton.
Darling: Pardon?
PM: Balls to Liverpool.
Darling: I agree, sir.
PM: Finally, Benn - Dover, Darling.
Darling (sighs): Yes, sir, if you like.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Raising School Leaving - The Truth

The truth behind the plan to raise school leaving age in the UK. Direct from 10 Downing Street...

Gordon: How are the soundings?

Anon1: Not good, Gordon -

Gordon: Pardon?

Anon1 (contrite): I'm sorry, sir.

Gordon: Let's start again, shall we? How are the soundings?

Anon1: Not good, PM.

Anon2: No, PM. The whole 'Gordon is human' thing's fallen flat, I'm afraid.

Gordon: Never mind. At least I don't have to do the smiling exercises any more. What else?

Anon1: The Britishness thing's been commandeered by the Tories again.

Gordon: Never mind, we'd been using it for long enough, they can have it back now that I'm done with it. Next?

Anon2: Well PM, it looks like the civil liberties thing has still got legs.

Anon1: Yes, PM, you can sound statesman-like and concerned while at the same time clamping down on liberties.

Gordon: Ah yes, it's my Iron Chancellor stance all over again. A safe pair of hands. I like that. Do we have anything else?

ANon1: I'm afraid not, PM.

ANon2: Frankly sir, we're not sure where we're going with this raising the school leaving age idea.

Gordon: Do you not?

Anon2: Well...er...we...

Gordon: We?

Anon1: It's more him than me, PM.

Anon2: But...

Gordon: It's simple. If the laddies are in school they're not causing trouble for the polis.

Anon2: Yes, PM. But won't they be causing trouble in school?

Gordon: What's your point, laddie?

Anon2: What are they actually supposed to be doing in school?

Gordon: Lessons, of course. Mostly Global Warming Studies and Voting Studies. They'll be compulsory, obviously.

Anon1: Global Warming Studies?

Gordon: Aye. They can learn that there's a consensus and that anyone who disagrees is some kind of lunatic who'd probably not vote for me in the election and therefore can't be trusted.

Anon2: And Voting Studies?

Gordon: They learn how to vote, what I look like, how to spot my name on a ballot paper and so on. Important stuff.

Anon1: And the West Lothian angle?

Gordon: Good point. We'll be dropping the school leaving age in Scotland. The boys and girls can skip school from the age of 14 so long as they've passed the Voting Studies exam.

Anon2: And how do they do that, PM?

Gordon: By signing over their votes to me, in perpetuity, obviously.

Anon1: Is that legal, sir?

Gordon: Aye laddie, if I say it is. Now, bugger off and find me some lame policies that I can convince Cameron he wants to take off me again...

Anon1 + Anon2: Yes, your Highness.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

BBC Highlights CO2 Growth

As per usual the BBC has given a good deal of prominence to the story that researchers have found an 'unexpected' growth in CO2 levels (about 35% faster than expected since 2000). This is put down to a combination of decreased fuel efficiency and a reduction in natural CO2 sinks (which the BBC high-lighted in a separate story a few days previously).

However, nowhere in the story do the obvious questions get asked. Firstly there's no mention of just what the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is. 35% sounds like a big number, but given the low level of CO2 in the atmosphere and the prominence of water vapour in the greenhouse effect the numbers won't look so alarming.

But the big question is this. If the level of atmospheric CO2 has been rising faster than expected in the last seven years, where is the corresponding increase in temperature? Global warming seems to have stalled during this period of unexpectedly high CO2 increases. Surely you'd expect to see some correlation, even if you believe that there's a time lag... You can bet that if there had been any evidence of a correlation it would have been trumpeted from the roof-tops.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Race, IQ and Political Cowardice

So much for scientific debate and the willingness of academia to challenge ideas. The decision by the Science Museum to drop the talk by James Watson (of double-helix DNA fame), because of his objectionable views on race is down-right idiotic. Instead of cancelling the talk they should have invited scientists to debate the point that black people are less intelligent than white. You don't tackle bad ideas by refusing to debate them. Watson's a reactionary bigot by all accounts, but he's a molecular biologist not a neuro-scientist or psychologist.

Yet again academia reveals itself to be a timorous world ruled by a pervasive political correctness that outlaws debate on any issue that it deems offensive - from race to gender to climate change. Bad ideas should be attacked and demolished by better ideas, not by political sensibilities.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Nobel Piss Prize

Really, my honest reaction is just to howl. What more can you say about the Nobel Peace Prize handed out to Al Gore and the IPCC? This in the same week that a British court ruled that the Gore-film is riddled with inaccuracies and down-right lies. Predictably Gore's defence team in the British media have rushed to (1) play down the ruling, (2) admit that lying may necessary in the cause of a 'higher truth' and (3) start the process of demolishing the reputation of the man who brought the case to court in the first place.

This process is being carried out by the same people who screamed blue murder when Channel 4 attempted to redress the balance by showing the Great Global Warming Swindle. They complained about inaccuracies and smears in that film, yet are willing to defend the same from Gore. Let's not forget that Martin Durkin's film isn't the one being shown to school kids as though it's gospel truth.

And it's not just Gore, the IPCC is now the latter-day Vatican. It alone is the infallible voice of authority, forever to be believed and never to be doubted.

For a while it has looked like the 'man-made global warming' myth was starting to unravel. There's been a stream of papers that have poked great big holes in the theory, and the empirical evidence has been pointed away from warming towards cooling. Now, in one fell-swoop the Warmists have stolen a march on the opposition and granted themselves another badge of legitimacy. What's more it's enabled the alarmists to rally the troops and prepare themselves for victory.

If there's one hope it's that the backlash against Gore will spill over into a backlash against the IPCC itself.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The impartial BBC

Despite its own report into impartiality specifically criticising the BBC for its record on climate change, there does not appear to have been any fundamental shift on display. The BBC continues to report the most alarmist of stories, cherry-picks which scientific articles or papers to report on and injects a 'global warming' angle into every conceivable subject.

For example, the Lockwood and Froehlich paper from the Royal Society Proceedings was reported prominently with the headline 'No Sun link' to climate change. This was splashed across the main BBC news page, as well as the Science and Technology page (where it remained for some time). The story carried no dissenting views, and several very strong quotes from Lockwood. The paper has subsequently been criticised heavily in several places, (here, here and now, finally, with a response by Svensmark and Friis-Christensen. Can we hope to see the BBC giving even a mention to the rebuttal of Lockwood and Froehlich's paper? Rather than there being 'no sun' link to climate change (which is a patently ridiculous headline anyway), it is clear that the science is far from settled.

To take another example, the BBC has been heavily reporting the recent news of Arctic ice-melting. Again, the tone is both partial and hysterical. However, has there been any report based on the NASA story that the melting might be due to wind patterns (with no mention of CO2)? Nope. Not a bit of it. If the story had been about CO2 causing the melt (which is what the imply in most of the BBC reports), then there's little doubt it would have been front page news.

In the same way, the story earlier in the year that black carbon (soot) may be responsible for a significant portion of the apparent global warming was missed by the BBC completely.

Despite paying lip service to impartiality, the BBC remains one of the most biased voices reporting on climate change. BBC? It really does stand for Broadcasters for Banning Carbon.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Nobody could be that stupid...

You would think that the disaster that is Iraq - and let's face it, nobody could seriously describe it as anything but a disaster - would be enough to make even the most hawkish voices in the US and UK stop and think. But here we are desperately trying to extricate ourselves from the mess and there are some who are making a serious push for war against Iran. Nobody could be that stupid, could they?

What we've done to Iraq is criminal, and Blair and Bush deserve to be tried as the war criminals that they are. But now the same voices that pushed us to that war are edging us ever closer to confrontation with Iran. Bush and Blair are the biggest recruiting sergeants Islamists have ever had, and now they want to up the ante again.

There's a good piece on the Cato Institute site that outlines some of this. Here in the UK it seems to be the Daily Telegraph that is most vocal in this campaign.

This isn't to say that we shouldn't oppose the Islamist regime, nor that we should be happy about the nuclear issue. But war isn't the answer, it'll just make the problems much, much worse.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A public good from a private need

There's a nice little story on the other end of the link to the BBC news site. It shows how anti-spammer measures on interactive websites are being used to verify the digitisation of old books. It's a neat example of a private need (to keep spammers off web site forums) results in a public good (old books digitised and made available to all).

Friday, September 28, 2007

The NOzone Layer

In the same way that I used to believe that the science of man-made global warming was settled, I've always believed that the science of ozone depletion in the atmosphere was also done and dusted. Not only that, I believed that only a fanatic would dispute it.

That was then. Now I no longer accept that there's a consensus on climate change science. More than that I now believe that the science of CO2-induced warming is deeply flawed and that there are other climate forcings that are much more important (particularly solar factors, including the magnetosphere and the relationship to cosmic rays). However, there now looks like there's evidence that the ozone hole science might be flawed.

Why is this important? Because the science of climate change is more complex than ozone depletion. In both cases models were used extensively even though the underlying theories were not fully developed. If the flaws in ozone depletion are further verified then it ought to cause more people to doubt the CO2 theories on climate change.

And, as an end-note, it's worth mentioning that Pat Michaels, recently moved out of his role as State Climatologist of Virginia because of his climate-change skepticism, was also an ozone depletion skeptic...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Science By Consensus

There's a predictable sense of glee from Warmists everywhere with the results of an opinion poll that shows large parts of the population across the world believe that human activity is responsible for global warming. What does this show us?

Firstly that the propaganda machine, of which the BBC (who carried out the poll) is a large part, has managed to persuade lots of people that we're responsible for global warming despite the lack of evidence or even a viable theory. The constant diet of alarmist stories, repeated ad nauseam, has an effect. And of course the Warmist mantra that there is consensus and that the science is done and dusted is hugely convincing to large parts of the population, most of whom who lack scientific knowledge or the time and energy required to understand the details.

Secondly, it also betrays a lack of understanding about the way the world works. Sorry, but the Universe does not run according to democratic principles. No matter what we believe, the climate pays no attention to our beliefs. Just because there's a big majority agreeing that CO2 causes global warming, that doesn't make it true. No doubt opinion polls in many parts of the world would show big majorities against evolutionary theory. Does that make evolutionary theory wrong?

Of course this poll makes for another weapon to use against those of us who dispute the 'consensus'. It means that we will continue to be painted as a small, undemocratic and lunatic fringe in the pay of big oil.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Madeleine McCann - Reality TV For Real

The McCann saga is now bigger than any reality TV program ever. Forget Big Brother and phony 'racism' controversies, forget all those 3rd rate celebs desperate for attention, the Madeleine McCann circus has by-passed them all. With minute by minute updates, rumours aplenty and the attention of the world, it's going where no reality TV program has been before. All it needs is for the Portuguese police to open the premium rate phone lines and the calls will come flooding in. Which candidate will get voted into the winning (losing?) slot? Mum, Dad, oddball Englishman abroad or mysterious kidnapper?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

BBC switches off climate special

How saddening it is for some people to see that the BBC is pulling back from some of the more overtly propagandising activities on behalf of the man-made global warming lobby. Forget the BBC's own report on its lack of impartiality - so far as some 'environmentalists' are concerned this is just about the BBC caving in to a tiny group of 'climate change sceptics' (or 'climate changed deniers' as some would have it).

However, the cancellation of one program amongst many is hardly likely to make much difference to the overall tone of the BBC's one-sided programming. More insidious is the news coverage, which manages to be both alarmist, partial and extremely selective. News stories which are pro the CO2 theory get massive news coverage, stories which are anti are ignored or downplayed.

BBC really ought to stand for Broadcasters Bashing CO2.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

UK Flooded...

...with pundits desperate to pin the latest floods on to 'man made climate change' (anyone else notice that the phrase 'global warming' is being rapidly replaced with the phrase 'climate change' - you can bet your life that when it gets hot again they'll revert to talking about warming again).

There's been frequent mention that these floods are the worst since 1947, but the obvious question of what caused the floods in 1947 is never asked. Given that 1947 was in a cooling period and that that man-made CO2 emissions were lower it's easy to see why the obvious questions aren't asked. Instead we're treated to 'we told you so' comments along the lines of 'more rain is precisely what the climate models predict' - again conveniently forgetting that the predictions are for wetter winters, not summers.

The epitome of this was one anonymous listener emailing Radio 4's Today program to comment that no wonder we're suffering such disasters when people are complaining that the 8 litres a day of clean water being distributed to victims is not enough. I've tried to parse the logic (I'm being generous here...), and the best I can come up with is along these lines... We demand so much (i.e. more than 8 litres of water a day) and that these demands are met by industries that pump CO2 into the atmosphere and that this is causing the floods.

How can one even counter that kind of thinking?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

True Confessions

There's a great little article by Dr David Evans, who used to work for the Australian Greenhouse Office. He was, as he admits, doing a well-paid scientific job modelling the effects of man-made CO2. It's the sort of thing that Kyoto, and other future schemes, would depend on implicitly. However, as Evans explains, once he had a chance to look at the science he's had a change of heart. Where is the observational evidence, he asks? After 20 years (and billions of dollars) of intense investigation why is the evidence so scant?

Read his article, as true confessions go it, it's a good one.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

It's not all bad...

Good to see that much of the British population retains a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to climate change. While there's a predictable wringing of hands from environmentalists, for those who've still got some sense of perspective the news is something of a relief.

No doubt that this sort of news is going to push some environmentalists towards ever more authoritarian policies in an effort to get us to change our ways in spite the lack of evidence or a credible theory that CO2 emissions cause global warming.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Not for the first time Scott Adams' Dilbert is right on the button....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dirty snow warming the planet

The story that 'dirty snow' (snow with soor particles) may be responsible for a sizeable part of Arctic warming seems not to have generated massive amounts of coverage compared to some of the more alarmist climate change stories. For those who missed it, the science is straightforward enough - snow that contains soot and other dark particles absorbs sunlight for more than cleaner snow does. This promotes warming as less light is reflected back into space. The research suggests that up to 20% of the warming attributed to man-made CO2 emissions may be down to this dirty snow.

Now, what does this mean? Firstly, this is a factor that seems to have sprung up from nowhere. It's not accounted for in those models that are driving the most apocalyptic visions. It should prompt the question what other unknown effects are there? How can we be taking action to cut CO2 when something like this can come out of nowhere?

Secondly, it also offers a relatively cheap and fast means to ameliorate the situation. Reducing man-made particulates is easier and cheaper than cutting down on CO2.

Will this finding cause any change in the current climate change discourse? Don't hold your breath...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What U.S. immigration policies mean to Google

There's a blog piece on Google about what US immigration policy means to their company. What it doesn't state is also worth mentioning - that those immigrants working in the US and other Western economies now send back more money to their home nations than they receive in aid. What does this mean? It means that those who want to block immigration and who want to speed economic development in poor countries can't do both. Immigration to the West is now a key driver of economic development and change in poor countries.

It's a win-win situation - the host country gains economically and so does the country that immigrant came from.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

When the global warming bubble bursts

While climate change remains at the top of the political agenda, it feels as though the myth of scientific consensus is beginning to crumble. It's too early to say that the tide has turned, but it seems to me that the voices disputing the idea of 'man-made' global warming are growing more numerous. Just as important are those who don't dispute the theory of 'man-made' global warming but who are saying that tackling global poverty, lack of development and disease should take higher priority.

The big question for me is what happens to public perception of science and scientists when the bubble bursts? Do those scientists who've made the loudest noises and most extreme statements regarding global warming realise that when their theory falls flat the millions of people who listened to them will feel that science itself is a con? Public antipathy to science will rise rather than fall in response to this. Rather than 'man-made' global warming acting to make science important and relevant, it could in the end fuel the biggest backlash against science ever.

On the plus side, perhaps it'll be another nail in the coffin of those leftists who jumped on the bandwagon. Having lost any way to connect with ordinary people, the 'man-made' global warming theory has been a lifeline to them. With it they find legitimacy and relevance, and the more gloomy the prognostications the better as far as they're concerned.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Lie Detecting

The news that our increasingly authoritarian government is turning to the use of lie detectors to winkle our fraudulent claims at the Department of Work and Pensions shouldn't be much of a surprise. This is after all a government that prefers to put it's money into the hands of consultancies selling dubious technological fixes to all manner of problems. Lie detectors are just another weapon in that grim armoury of CCTV, ID cards, huge centralised databases and so on.

Of course, the rest of us in the general population have our own lie detectors when it comes to the government. If their lips are moving chances are they're lying...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Gordon Brown - Pensions and Britishness

More from Gordon Brown's secret campaign meetings:

Gordy: Let me repeat once more just how concerned I am at this ugly turn of events.

Anon1: Which one is that, sir?

Gordy: The budget.

Anon2: Which one, sir? The last one or your first one?

Gordy: This whole pensions thing is a bit of a surprise I must admit. Isn't there a statute of limitations on theft anyhow?

Anon1: We'll investigate, sir.

Gordy: Good. As I've said before, I take full responsibility. I kept quiet for about it for 10 years. I would say that's a true mark of statesmanship. But all this is beside the point. We need to win back some popular support. What do we have in the suggestions box today?

Anon1: Well...

Anon2: To be honest...

Gordy: Well?

Anon1: Nothing, sir.

Gordy: In that case we'll have to revert to Plan A.

Anon2: Britishness again, sir?

Gordy: Exactly. Never fails to win some support. So, let's have another round of Britishness. Where did we get to last time?

Anon2: All migrants should be tattooed and implanted with micro-chips and tracking devices.

Anon1: I thought we were saving that one until the end of the first hundred days as PM.

Gordy: So we are.

Anon2: In that case we're onto 'make migrants do service to the community'.

Gordy: An excellent suggestion, even if I do say so myself. One of my better ideas I think.

Anon1: Do you want us to develop it further, sir?

Gordy: Yes. I've had some thoughts myself. Firstly we need to make sure that these migrants take part in traditionally British past times...

Anon2: Getting drunk, fighting and puking in the gutters?

Gordy: While I appreciate that any uplift in receipts from duty on alcohol is to be applauded, I was thinking of more socially useful activities...

Anon1: Got it. How about migrants will provide visits to the elderly when they're in hospital?

Anon2: Good idea. Lack of English won't be a barrier. The old dears won't be able to hear and the migrants can mumble all they like in exchange for a cup of tea and a scone.

Gordy: Make sure it's only one tea and scone per visit, mind.

Anon2: Got it. How about trying to engage these migrants with the British political process?

Anon1: You mean you want them to set their dogs on us when we go canvassing as well?

Gordy: We don't want to encourage apathy...

Anon2: No, sir. I was thinking of leafleting, canvassing, attending meetings and so on.

Gordy: I see where this is going...

Anon1: You mean you want them to fully engage with the political process by canvassing for a political party?

Anon2: Not just any political party...

Gordy: Excellent. It's the Celtic fringe model applied to the migrants. Excellent indeed.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The UK Indymedia swamp

I must have a masochistic streak a mile-wide. That's the only way I can explain my compulsion to visit the UK indymedia site. It used to be that I'd like to find out what was going on in the non-Trotskyist, vaguely anarcho Left. Of course I'd find plenty to irritate, but there'd also be stuff that was interesting, challenging and worth following up. Increasingly these days I find nothing but conspiracy theorists, apologists for dictators (Mugabe, Castro etc), Islamist fellow travellers and those self-flagellating Leftists who vie to out-PC each other.

Anyone who dares to question the Leftist orthodoxy on race is instantly a white racist; anyone who dares to question man-made global warming is assumed to be in the pay of oil companies and so on and on and on ad nauseum.

It's a sorry state of affairs, it really is.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Apologising for slavery...

There's a brace of pieces on the orgy of breast-beating about slavery over at spiked. As you would expect Mick Hume and co find the spectacle faintly nauseating and not a little bit racist. But it's not just the official 'anti-racist' line that is sickeningly racist in perpetuating victimhood, it's also the self-perpetuated wallowing in it from many black commentators.

As someone who grew up in the 70s in London, I can remember what real racism was like. Vicious, pervasive and oppressive. To pretend that we are still in the same place now is delusional. And to blame every ill suffered by black communities on enduring racism and the by-products of slavery is insulting to those who really suffered racism in the pas. It's also a convenient way of avoiding the hard questions about black culture that need to be addressed if things are ever going to change.

The fact is that crime and economic under-achievement are related to economic factors. Working class kids - white, Afro-Caribbean, Bangladeshi - do worse than their middle class counter-parts. Race is almost incidental when the norm is that working class kids (and their families) see little value in education or hard-work. The 'respect or else' culture is endemic to many communities, black and white, and it's bugger all to do with the heritage of slavery.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Gordon Brown - no to food wastage

More from the secret campaign meetings held in 11 Downing Street by Gordon Brown and his team:


Gordon: I'm still concerned that the public don't have the correct impression of me. The 'I'm cute and cuddly Gordy' campaign isn't working yet. We need to do more.

Anon1: It's that bastard Cameron, sir, his team just seems to be fast off the mark. The moment there's a whiff of something in the air he's there.

Anon2: He's out-greened the lot of us in the last few months...

Gordon: That's the trouble, I think. People still have the impression that I'm too cautious. They think I can't do off-the-cuff, spontaneous stuff.

Anon1: We tried with the ad-libs, sir, really we did. We still don't know how the press got hold of the scripts...

Gordon: Well, it's time we hit back. How about some off-the-cuff thinking right now. Come on, let's do what Tony does and make it up as we go along. It can't be that hard, surely...

Anon2: OK...What issue?

Gordon: How I single-handedly stopped us going into the Euro?

Anon1: Does that resonate with the public at the moment, sir?

Gordon: Surely it does.

Anon2: But it's not the sexiest issue of the minute, sir.

Gordon: I see. What is it you suggest?

Anon1: Something green, sir.

Gordon: How about how I will single-handedly reverse global warming?

Anon2: What about this food thing?

Gordon: Haggis?

Anon1: No, sir. The report that over a third of the food on our tables goes to waste.

Anon2: There's a lot of fuss about this one.

Gordon: Has Cameron won this one?

Anon2: Not yet, sir. We've still got a chance.

Gordon: OK. How about this, we'll add an extra tax on every kilo of wasted food...

Anon1: Surely that's one for putting into practice rather than using to score points...

Gordon: Very true. What do you suggest?

Anon2: If we could link climate change and obesity into this we'd be on Cameron territory.

Gordon: I have it. In a bid to reduce this food wastage we'll bus homeless people around to eat the scraps going to waste.

Anon1: Wow! That's good.

Anon2: Well... It's good apart from the bussing around. We'll be attacked because of the carbon footprint.

Gordon: You may have a point there.

Anon1: Besides, I'm not sure how well it will play with the public. Do we really want druggies that smell of pee dropping round to eat our left-overs?

Gordon: You say that won't be popular?

Anon2: That bastard Cameron would probably offer to come round and eat the scraps himself...

Anon1: Got it! Anorexic girls. We could bus them round to eat the scraps. It's a win-win situation - we tackle food waste and eating disorders at the same time.

Gordon: Excellent! And the carbon footprint? Can we supply these girls with bicycles?

Anon2: How about we get obese teenagers to carry the anorexics? No carbon footprint and we tackle childhood obesity. A triple win!

Gordon: Excellent. Now, if you can script some ad-libs I'll make another speech to the city...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

Anyone who missed the 'Great Global Warming Swindle' documentary on Channel 4 (and later repeated on More4), should know that there are plenty of copies of it already out on the web.

It's a great polemical piece, though judging by the furore surrounding the film (which dares to question the consensus that global warming is caused by man-made CO2 emissions) you would think that the film was advocating compulsory euthanasia o something. Whether you agree with the central thesis of the film or not, the fact is that the science isn't all done and dusted. The film includes interviews with many eminent scientists who've dared to voice doubts or to put forward alternatives. Given how tackling climate change is now a central part of the platform of politicians right across the spectrum, it's depressing to see the extent to which the subject has been made taboo...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Silence on Zimbabwe

Yet again there is grim news from Zimbabwe as we witness the latest round of violence and repression from Mugabe's regime. We also see silence from South Africa and most other African governments. The occasion of Ghana's 50th year of independence would have been an ideal opportunity for African governments to make a strong statement on Zimbabwe. But the fact is if attendance had been restricted to heads of state with clean hands then Accra would have been host to very few heads of government. It's one of the tragedies of Africa that its leaders have exploited, repressed and stolen from the population continuously for the last 50 years.

And in the West we've abandoned the people of Africa to this exploitation by turning a blind eye to it, focusing exclusively on colonialism or supporting various 'progressive' leaders on the basis of which superpower they bought their arms from.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Gordy Brown - Man of the People

Deep in the entrails of 11 Downing Street, Gordon Brown has summoned a meeting of his top secret campaign team. Our mole has managed to smuggle out this verbatim extract from the meeting exclusively for the Progressive Contrarian:

Gordon: The polls don't look too healthy at the moment. I'm worried that this Meacher thing isn't going to wash with Joe Public. Therefore I want us to switch to plan B.

Anon1: Plan B?

Gordon: Yes, we've got to do something about Cameron.

Anon2: What did you have in mind, sir?

Gordon: We'll have no more of that for starters. Joe Public needs to know that I'm no stuffed shirt. I'm a real human being. I can be relaxed. I can be informal. I'm a man of the people just as much as the next chap. We need to meet the Dave factor head-on.

Anon1: You mean we convince the public that there's more to Gordon Brown than meets the eye?

Gordon: Yes, that's it precisely.

Anon2: So, er, how should we address you, sir?

Gordon: If David is too formal for Cameron, then Gordon's too formal for me. So how about we go for GB?

Anon1: GB? As in Great Britain?

Anon2: You don't think that's a teensy bit presumptuous, sir?

Gordon: Possibly. How about Gordy?

Anon1: Gordy?

Gordon: Yes, that sounds very matey to me. Very nice indeed. Now, there's one other thing. I notice that there's a compound effect with Cameron. He has surrounded himself with other Davids. Why, his entire party seems peopled with them. I want the same effect here.

Anon1: But there aren't many Gordon's to choose from...

Gordon: Nonsense. We've got to defeat Cameron on his home ground. I'll need at least another half dozen Gordy's on my team.

Anon2: I'll see who we've got. Anything else er, Gordy?

Gordon : Splendid. See how easy that was? Why, we almost sounded matey then.

Anon1: Yes, sir, I mean Gordy. Anything else?

Gordon: Yes. I want you to get on to London Zoo immediately. I need to get a skunk.

Anon1 and Anon2: A skunk, sir?

Gordon: This drugs business has done Cameron no end of good. Sipping a single malt doesn't have the same resonance with the public. I've looked into this cannabis thing and it seems that young people are smoking skunks. I can't say it appeals to me, but if I need to smoke a skunk than London Zoo should have the necessary. If they cut up rough remind them of the plan for my new Rare and Exotic Animals Tax.

Anon1: But...

Gordon: And another thing, his bog habits have been a hit to. If Cameron has a web bog I can have one too. Rig up the cameras as soon as possible. Use the gents downstairs if you must. Bogging is the way to win hearts and minds, I can tell you.

Anon2: But...

Gordon: By the way, that pen you're using...

Anon2: You mean this...

Gordon: Is it a Cross or a Mont Blanc?

Anon2: Mont Blanc. It was a present from...

Gordon: Did you pay the Luxury Writing Implement Duty?

Anon2: I'm not sure that I've ever heard...

Gordon: I'll tell you what. Why don't you leave the pen with me and we'll say no more about it?

Anon2: Yes, Gordy...

Gordon: Wonderful. Off you go now, if we can get that skunk while I'm on the bog that'll be grand.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

ID Card Successes

The Progressive Contrarian is pleased to announce details of the latest Home Office briefing on ID cards. Obviously we're not going to share such privileged information with just anybody who drops by. Instead here are some excerpts to give you all a taster...

"As has been made clear by Her Majesty's Government, ID Cards are an essential weapon in the war against terror, against identity theft, for helping clear up unsolved crimes and for controlling immigration. These successes are all the more startling given the fact that ID cards are not in place yet. We should all feel proud of these successes.

However, we must make clear to those few who retain doubts that ID cards will prove to be even more effective in the following areas:

  • Childhood obesity
  • Global warming
  • Gun crime
  • Hoodies
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Eating disorders
  • Community cohesion
  • Road pricing
  • Iraq
  • Third world poverty
  • Sustainable development

Her Majesty's Government fully intends to push forward with ID cards to tackle all of these problems. After all, only a fanatic would claim that civil liberties are more important than addressing the issue of climate change."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Zimbabwe Vigil - London

Notably absent from this Saturday's picket of the Zimbabwean embassy in London were the massed ranks of the SWP and other leftists. Where were the piles of newspapers to force onto passers-by? Where were the placards announcing solidarity and advertising the Party? In contrast to the anti-apatheid days, the Left were notably absent, leaving the picket mostly to Zimbabweans (black and white).

The people of Zimbabwe need solidarity as much now as they did under the days of Ian Smith. Surely nobody on the Left can claim that the Mugabe regime is anything but a corrupt and authoritarian regime making war on its own people.

Anyone interested in joining future protests please take a look at: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/index.asp

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Police State For Muslims

According to one of the men arrested (and released) in the Birmingham anti-terror raids, the UK is a police state for Muslims. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Libya, Malaysia, Algeria, Sudan and those other Islamic states which are beacons of freedom and democracy.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of this case, you can bet that all of those arrested were accorded the right to legal help, medical assistance, religious worship and so on. In contrast to the police practices in many of the Islamic republics, there will have been no attaching of electrodes to gonads, no beatings, there will have been no fake drownings or pretend shootings.

Those bleating about this being a police state have obviously forgotten what used to happen to the Irish in this country in the 1970's...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Celebrity Big Brother - Racism Row

Having thought deeply on the subject, here's a modest proposal for addressing the underlying issues of racism, class difference and social cohesion that have arisen from the most recent series of Celebrity Big Brother:

1. Arrest all the alleged racists - Jade and co - and lock them in a room
2. Arrest the alleged victim and lock her in that room
3. Arrest all of the commentators who've pontificated endlessly about CBB, racism, celebrity culture etc and lock them in the same room
4. Arrest all of the politicians who've commented on CBB and lock them in the room
5. Arrest the police bosses wasting police time interviewing people about CBB racism and put them in the same room as the others
6. Arrest the people who make CBB or who are in any way associated with the production and broadcast of the program, and lock them in the same room
7. Get some Russians in to administer polonium enemas to all those locked in the room. Vaseline not required for this operation.
8. Now shut the fuck up about CBB

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

All spikey on organics

Good piece in spiked-online today discussing the science (or lack of) organic food production. Does a nice job of getting to the heart of the matter - the tuth about organic food is that there are no really scientifically proven merits for eating organic. People go to organic food because of perception issues with modern farming techniques. Commerically of course, there are sound arguments in favour of organic produce - it acts as a differentiator between consumers who aren't driven primarily by pricing. Buying organic tells the supermarket or manufacturer that you'll pay more than those who don't.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Zimbabwe - The other African story

While there's a lot of attention rightly focused on Darfur and Sudan (a country that has been at war continuously since independence - and for much of the time before that too), let's not forget that life in Zimbabwe isn't getting any better either.

Mugabe continues to exemplify the 'hero of the independence struggle' who turns out to be a vicious authoritarian, corrupt and corrupting and clinging to power at all costs. Unfortunately it's a familiar story - and there are few signs that his kind are disappearing.