Monday, December 16, 2013

Polar Ice All Gone - Just Like Gore Predicted It Would

Five years ago the Goracle himself predicted that the Arctic would be gone in five years. Yep. Five years. So on the day that even the BBC publishes a story on the spectacular rebound in Arctic ice extent and volume, here's a view of Gore in action...


Is anyone in the real world even listening to Gore these days?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mandela: The Anti-Mugabe

It's hard to believe that there's anyone who isn't sick to death of the wall to wall adulation accorded to Mandela, particularly by the BBC. Now I admit that I've got a soft spot for Mandela. But I'll be honest, it's as much for what he's not done as for what he did do. I like Mandela because he didn't declare himself President for Life. Because he didn't raid South Africa's treasury and treat it like his personal bank account. Because Mandela didn't lock up his tribal and political opponents. Mandela didn't decide to blame every problem the country faced on "white settlers" or "colonial meddlers". He didn't hand power over to his children. He didn't say that Africans are too child-like to be trusted with democracy, or that Africans and elections don't mix. I like Mandela because he gave up power at the right time.

It's these non-achievements which mark him out as different and superior to most politicians. Mandela is great because he's not Robert Mugabe.

I doubt you'll see the media discuss his life and work in those terms, but it's what he didn't do that really marks him out for greatness.

Personally, I think the best thing for South Africa, and the thing to make permanent his legacy would be for the ANC to lose power at the next election. Already the corruption is endemic and there are plenty of 'liberation heroes' doing very nicely thank you, and who show no compunction in shifting the blame to other people for the problems the country is facing. A period out of power is exactly what's needed to halt the creeping Mugabism...

Now, if only we could shut the BBC up because the sycophancy and adulation have turned into aversion therapy.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Media - Stealing Material

Richard North has a piece on EU Referendum entitled 'Media: The Story Stealers', which is about the way that Christopher Booker's story about an Italian woman who was forced to have her baby by caesarean so that it could be taken from her and be put up for adoption. It's a horrific story, and it's easy to see why it has been picked up right across the media. The only thing is that Booker, who's been writing about the reign of terror that social workers and the family courts have imposed on many families, hardly gets credited with brining the story to public attention in the first place.

I've had a little taste of it here too, with the Balakrishnan and the Lambeth Slaves story. It started when I guessed the likely identity of the group involved before it had been revealed in the press. Once it was confirmed that it was Balakrishnan and his group I wrote a few pieces about my contacts with them years ago in Brixton. Not only did that lead to a massive spike in traffic, it also lead to numerous contacts from the mass media.

To date I have spoken or had email contact with the Independent, the Sunday Times, the BBC, the Huffington Post, the Sunday Telegraph, Sky News and more. I gave them information about the group, what it was like in Brixton at the time, the ins and outs of the different far Left groups active at the time and more.

And the result? Only one person has given any credit to this blog and that's Cahal Milmo of the Independent. Many of the rest have quoted verbatim from text I've given, used extracts from conversations I've had with them or else picked up facts that I supplied and have given no credit or attribution. I shouldn't be surprised, but when I've had long and detailed conversations with journalists and they've promised to give the blog a mention it's galling for them to use my material and not credit me with it.

Not only that, I see the same idiocies and errors of fact repeated again and again. Even when given correct information some newspapers seem unable to get it right. For example, the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Communist Party of England (Marxist Leninist) and the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist Leninist) are not the same, and Balakrishnan was only ever involved with one of them. And the stories about Balakrishnan proclaiming himself Jesus are as idiotic as the garbage about Carlos the Jackal staying with Balakrishnan in Brixton.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Politics - Then and Now

The last few days has seen traffic to this blog shoot up massively, attracted by my posts about Ara Balakrishnan and the Lambeth 'Slavery' case. These visitors have included members of the mainstream media, many of whom have been in touch and who I've spoken to. Some, like the reporter from the Independent have credited this blog directly, others, like the Huffington Post have been happy to take what I've offered and then used it without attribution. However, that's material for a future article, for today I want to just make a few things clear about my politics as it's clear to me that some people haven't looked at anything else on this site.

Back in the days when Balakrishnan and his group were active, that is in the mid to late 1970s, my politics were far Left. I was a teenage Marxist, from an immigrant working class background. The world was clear to me. I knew that I was on the side of history and that proletarian revolution was the only solution to the poverty, racism and violence around me. I was driven by a strong sense of injustice, that people like me were excluded from society, that we were poor and would remain so. It was also clear that class society was organised to preserve the status quo and that the country was run by a political class that did everything it could to keep us down. On the streets the National Front and British Movement were active neo-Nazi movements that were acting as tools of the ruling class, and that the police were there to defend them and to fight those of us who were anti-fascists. And these views, though they may seem extreme now, were not that uncommon. Brixton, and places like Brixton, were home to numerous far Left groups, and though they differed in degree, the views I've described were common across most groups, whether they described themselves as Communist, Maoist, Trotskyist or Anarchist. And it was all so black and white - the temper of the times would not admit shades of grey. And, to be fair, being a teenager makes it easy to be certain, dogmatic and intolerant of ambiguity.

That was then. Here I am more than thirty years later, and I still believe that society is run by a political class that is intolerant of dissent and divorced from the lives of most people. I still care about poverty and racism and the struggle for economic and political justice. Only now I think that the victims of racism are as likely to be, or even more likely to be, white and working class as they are to be black. I believe that multi-culturalism is a poisonous ideology that enshrines and fetishises difference whereas I had wanted to eliminate difference and to aim for a society that was truly colour-blind. Where I wanted race to become inconsequential, todays anti-racists elevate it to a guiding principle and turn victimhood into a virtue. I now believe that you fight poverty locally and globally by economic development - and that free trade and globalisation are the best means to acheive this - whereas now it is the establishment that hates development. I believe that the green agenda is shared by our political classes and what sadly now passes for 'the left'. Rather than aiming to pull people from poverty and exclusion by giving space for them to work and to grow their economy, we instead try and shoe-horn them into 'sustainable' paths that actually means they stay poor.

And finally, where I used to see the world as black and white, I now see that it's all grey. Maybe it's the wisdom that comes with experience, maybe it's the fact that I've deliberately decided to test my assumptions repeatedly over the years and have to tried to adopt a sceptical attitude in politics, science and life in general. And perhaps, finally, it's the fact that I was so closely involved with the far Left for a number of years which means that I can be so critical of where they are now - the mind-set is familiar to me in the way that it isn't for those who've not been there.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Balakrishnan's Red Guards

The thing about Balakrishnan and his group is that they were completely inspired by the politics of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. It was a bizarre combination of violent radicalism, self-sacrifice, utter egalitarianism and devotion to the leader - Mao or his representative here on earth. They saw themselves as Red Guards, ready to do whatever was required in the name of the Party. There could be no room for doubt, shades of grey or ambiguity. So, to make sense of what happened to Balakrishnan and his group, you have to let go of any preconceptions you might have about conventional left or far left politics.

And the spark of all this madness was the very real glamour of the Red Guards and the zeal of those who wanted to be like them. People forget that radical Maoism had quite a following in many parts of the third world (as it was then called) - and many of those attracted to Balakrishnan came from those countries. What's more, you didn't just wander into their centre and ask to be signed up. To become a member you had to work hard at it. You had to prove you could be trusted, you had to show ideological purity, exhibit devotion to the group no matter what. All this and put up with the world around you actively telling you that you're crazy. It's the ideal recipe for cultish behaviour.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Did Comrade Balakrishnan Try To Break Into Whitehall?

It's been years since I've thought about this stuff... A persistent rumour back in the late 70s, when Balakrishnan's group were at the height of their public activity, was that Balakrishnan had been arrested trying to break into government offices in Whitehall. Lots of people on the Left believed it at the time, though it's also true that it was the sort of rumour that some of the other Maoists could have spread around.

And how's this for a little historical snippet... During the Queen's 1977 Jubilee visit to Brixton, the route took her right by the Maoist centre, replete with huge red portrait of Mao Tse Tung. Balakrishnan's supporters were inside clutching copies of the little red book...

Balakrishnan In Action

How's this for Maoist style:

The Party Committee of the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, which upholds the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chairman Mao, with profound indignation and deep class hatred, denounces the British fascist state for its repeated political persecution of our worker comrade, Ekins Brome, a member of our Party Committee. Comrade Brome was arrested on February 13th, 1976 together with Comrade Najeeb Norman, another member of our Committee, when both these comrades went to Brixton Prison to visit two of our other leading comrades who were then in unjust detention from February 1st, 1976 – Comrade Ara Balakrishnan, the Secretary of the Institute and Comrade Wee Hock Seng. A surprise attack was made on Comrades Brome and Najeeb by some prison wardens who pounced on them and violently assaulted them inside the Brixton Prison compound. Both their spectacles were smashed and their faces were covered with bloody bruises. The fascist prison wardens bared their anti-communist fangs further by tearing off a badge of Chairman Mao from Comrade Najeeb’s coat! These fascist hoodlums revealed only too clearly that they were acting on the direct instructions of the panic stricken British fascist state when they turned truth upside down and hastily charged our comrades with assaulting them! From then on we witnessed yet again the mockery of the British legal system – the rubber stamp of the dictatorship of the fascist bourgeoisie of Britain. Our comrades, as soldiers of Chairman Mao and servants of the working and oppressed people, militantly resisted at every step and resolutely denounced the fascist courts and the moribund criminals who sat in “judgement” of them. They vigorously shouted the slogans: “Long live Chairman Mao!”, “Long live the Communist Party of China!”, “Death to the British fascist state!”, “Victory to World Revolution!”

Yep, that's the authentic voice of 'slave keeper' and Marxist-Leninist Aravindan Balakrishnan
in action, exactly as I remember him...

So what we have here is not anything to do with 'modern slavery' or people trafficking or anything of that ilk. What we have is a Leftist sect that has imploded and collapsed in on itself. This lot might be more extreme, but it's what we've seen again and again with the Left.

Anyone want to talk about Gerry Healey and the WRP? Or even good old Rev Jim Jones if we really want to get dramatic.

Slavery = Democratic Centralism

Earlier this morning I blogged about the Lambeth Slavery story - (for non-UK readers, the police have retrieved three women from a house in South London, alleging that the women had been held against their will for 30 years) - and guessed that this was really a case of political brainwashing. At the time I suggested that the most likely culprits were Marxist-Leninists/Maoists. I even mentioned a specific group who ran a Maoist bookshop on Acre Lane.

The police have just revealed that the couple accused of being the 'slave keepers' were Aravindan and Chanda Balakrishnan, who ran the Maoist bookshop on Acre Lane. As a curious teenager I had been in there a couple of times and it was weird. The group were spreading the line that the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army were going to invade the UK and bring the revolution to the people. They were preparing the ground by holding study groups in Mao Tse Tung (as it was spelt in those days) Thought. The rest of the time they spent in attacking all other leftist groups. In particular they hated another Maoist group called the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist), now known as the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist). Balakrishnan had actually been a member of the CPE(ML), but had left/been expelled and therefore hated them more than anything else in the world.

The really were the most paranoid people I ever met. On the second and last time I visited their shop a fire engine passed outside. No siren blaring or anything, it just cruised by. One of the people in the shop looked up and told me that it was an example of psychological warfare by the British government. I never went back.

So, remember where you read it first...

The Lambeth 'Slavery' Story

I'm betting that it turns out that the people involved in the Lambeth 'Slavery' story were Marxist-Leninists of some sort. I grew up on the estates of Brixton in the 70's and 80's and the place was home to every far Left sect you can think of. We locals were considered to be fertile recruitment material, which meant that every Left group in the country parachuted people into the area. Aside from the usual Trotskyite suspects, there were mutliple flavours of Marxist-Leninist/Maoists, including a Centre for Mao-Tse-Tung Thought based out of a bookshop on Acre Lane that was adorned with a 20 foot high portrait of olf Mao himself. In contrast to the largely white and middle class Trots, the Maoists were more multiracial and included a fair few local working class members. And of course, they were way more authoritarian and paranoid than some of the other Leftist groups active on the ground. Later on when the Shining Path were active, they too had a front group active in Brixton.

It wouldn't surprise me then if it doesn't turn out that rather than a case of 'modern slavery', the three women in Lambeth, and the couple accused of being the slave keepers, aren't actually just practising 'democratic centralism' they way they did in the height of the fervour of the 1970s.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Warsaw Climate Talks - Key Agreement Reached

It's in the nature of bureaucracies that self-preservation is the primary and over-riding feature. No matter what the original intention might be, once the organisation is established it will slowly evolve so that it can survive and prosper no matter what.

And so it is with so many of UN's bodies. Which is why the talks in Warsaw, which look like they'll follow tradition and 'go to the wire' and do everything to try and inject a sense of dynamism into the global warming corpse (which, like the real world, shows no signs of warming up...), has already reached the most important decision: the next stop for the roaming global circus. And the lucky winners this time are the French...

With that out of the way the pointless bickering can carry on as if it matters.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

They Have No Shame

So listening to the warmists on the BBC this morning proved once again that they have no shame. Predictably the discussion with head honcho at the World Bank included an attribution of Typhoon Haiyan to man-made global warming. Sure, it was prefixed with 'scientists tell us that it's impossible to attribute a single event to climate change' but this segues into 'but we know that extreme events will become more frequent and more extreme, and this was an extreme event so...'

And so we have warmists using a natual disaster and the suffering of the people of the Philipines to continue to campaign for policies that will make such calamities worse in the future. As Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, points out in the interview with Evan Davies, poverty makes the impact of such disasters much worse. So what does he suggest? More sustainable energy, a reduction in the use of fossil fuels and the rest of the green agenda. Access to cheap energy is essential for economic development to take place, and yet he advocates, and the BBC clearly promotes, the very policies that make energy more expensive and which hold back the development that means people can build homes that don't collapse every Typhoon season.

Of course, completely missing from the entire discussion, is any mention that warming stopped more 16 years ago. Where is the warming that is supposed to have made Haiyan more likely? The pause in warming is the most embarassing fact in climate science and yet it is routinely ignored by the warmist establishment.

Instead we get them using natural disasters as a cue to propagandise and promote failed environmental policies that actively work to keep the poor people of the world poor.

Really, they have no shame whatsoever and it's sickening.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Einstein At The Office

The scene: the office of the Chancellor of the University of Zurich. A diminutive Albert Einstein is sitting in front of the imposing oak desk of the Chancellor.

Chancellor: My dear Einstein, I am afraid that your head of department has expressed some unhappiness with the current situation.

Einstein: I'm sorry, Herr Chancellor, I don't quite follow...

Chancellor (Sighs expressively): Let me be to the point, Einstein, there's some concern in the department about some of your recent work.

Einstein (alarmed): An error in my work? I am presently revising my work on the Avogadro constant and believe I have made excellent progress on a new estimate...

Chancellor (interrupts): You misunderstand once again, Herr Professor, and alas it does make me wonder whether you are truly of the right cloth for a career in the academy.

Einstein: I apologise once again, Herr Chancellor, but perhaps you can enlighten me as I am clearly not following your line of thought.

Chancellor: The department are concerned that your recent funding applications are insufficiently compelling and that they cast the department in a poor light.

Einstein: But my work on Brownian motion and the photoelectric effect have been well received, Herr Chancellor. Very well received in fact.

Chancellor (looking distinctly unimpressed): I agree that your refinement of Helga von Thurinberg's theory on the photoelectric effect has some technical interest.

Einstein (shocked): Refinement?? Sir, I beg to disagree. Thurinberg's assertion that the photoelectric effect is caused by the sun smiling benevolently on grateful solids or liquids is not physics. It's not science of any description at all. It's pure metaphysical nonsense...

Friday, November 01, 2013

The BBC, Wine and Climate Change

Alarming headlines in the last couple of days have highlighted a projected a global wine shortage that is likely to raise prices as demands outstrips supply. Much of this is driven of course by changing patterns of demand, particularly relating to increased demand from China. The other side of the equation is also subject to changing patterns. Buried in the story on the BBC is this little snippet:

They say this could be partly explained by "plummeting production" in Europe due to "ongoing vine pull and poor weather".

Poor weather? But surely the BBC has been warning us for years that wine production was a risk because of rising temperatures, not because of cooling or wetter summers. For example on 20 October 2010 the BBC were warning that 'Best loved wines at risk from climate change'  - and here they meant increased warming.

Or perhaps we can go back a couple of years further and find that warming was the key concern on the story from 6 September 2008: 'Spanish wine makers fight climate change'

Go back to July 2007 and we have 'Winemakers keep weather eye on climate' . Again the story was that global warming was going to negatively impact wine production.

And so here we are in 2013 looking at what's really happening rather than on model projections and the story is very different. The climate is changing, but not how the models told it should. Rather than hotter, drier weather causing shrivelled vines, it's colder, wetter weather reducing the crop. For those of us who view a glass of wine (or two) as one of our five a day, this is worrying news, and as sceptics have been saying for a long time, it's global cooling that is the real danger to humanity, not the little bit of warming that we experienced nearly 20 years ago... But don't expect to read that on the BBC any time soon.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gordon Brown- I Am An Ex-Human

Ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown has angered constituents by declaring that he is an ex-human. Speaking at a panel discussion on education in the Gulf state of Qatar, Mr Brown was asked his views as a "human being" by Radio 4 presenter Mishal Husain. Mr Brown responded immediately by declaring that he was now an "ex-human". In response it was pointed out that Mr Brown was still nominally an elected, though largely absent, MP.

"I repeat," Mr Brown insisted, "an ex-human."

Parliamentary colleagues rallied to Mr Brown's defence. "Where does it say in the rules that you have to be a human to be an MP?" former MP, convicted liar and never-human Chris Huhne demanded.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair joined in the fray. "It's. Like. This," he said. "If we only elected humans. Then. We'd have no MPs."

Mr Brown has earned more than a million pounds since leaving the human race, most of which he has ploughed straight back into his pocket.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Posioned Bags

The mainstream media seemed to have picked up on Professor Hugh Pennington's recent comments about the bacteriological risks of using 'bags for life'. For example the Daily Mail announces 'How your bag-for-life could POISON you'. It's the sort of headline you'd expect from the Mail, but the same kind of thing has been carried across the rest of the media to a certain extent. Of course there's no hint from the Mail that it could be responsible for the push to 'bags for life' as a consequence of its 'banish the bags' campaign.

The risks that Pennington highlights are not a new finding, but it was one that I did not cover in my recent essay on Carrier Bag Scepticism simply because the argument against plastic carrier bags is fundamentally weak. But the fact is that the argument isn't about facts or science, like many greenist causes, the campaign against carrier bags is about punishing us for our consumerist and materialist ways.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Another Lunatic Lib Dem

No, not Nick Clegg (or Nick Clunge as he's been nicknamed at the Banger), or brain-dead Ed Davey. Not convicted Lib Dem and child pornster Derek Osbourne, or uber slime bag and ex-convict Chris Huhne.

No, the latest Limp Dump to prove yet again that this is not the nice party that they like to pretend to be is John Larsen, an ex-mayor with a pathological interest in explosives. Larsen, now doing a nice long 18-year stretch, was found guilty of setting off explosive devices in Denbigh, Wales. Not content with setting off home-made bombs, including some packed with shrapnel, Larsen liked to report his 'concerns' to the police and media. A bit like those parents who poison their kids so they can get sympathy and be close to doctors and nurses, Larsen liked to cause the problem and then get close to the investigation and media interest.

One can only imagine what the media would have made of the story had Larsen been a member of UKIP, Respect or some other minor party. But being a member of the Limp Dumps doesn't even warrant a mention on the BBC.

Grangemouth and Fracking

Who said this?

Ineos has been flagging likely cuts for months but instead of engaging with the situation and organising a coherent plan to save jobs, Unite called a strike over a pathetic and petty issue related to Labour Party internal politics.  By the time the union woke up to the reality workers faced, it was too late.

Of course the threat to the refinery itself is palpable, and of course local MPs, MSPs and ministers will do everything we can to try to find another buyer for the closed plant. But what’s the proposition as it stands?  Come and enjoy a non-relationship with a militant union acting with its workers’ interests at the bottom of its priorities?

Ineos is a very tough, world-scale company and exists to make as much money as it can – what did people think was going to happen once the company’s offer was rejected following the stupidest of strikes for the most idiotic of reasons?

Workers at Ineos need proper union representation – right now, they’re getting the fumbling, dumbed-down, politicised opposite.

Some die-hard Tory? Someone from Ineos itself? A horrible libertarian?

Nope. This is Eric Joyce, Labour MP for Falkirk,

And let's remind ourselves of what the company offer was to the workers:

The plan would have seen bonus cuts, changes to working terms, a reduction in pension benefits and a no-strike pledge, sweetened by a £15,000 one-off payment. 

For those of us who've managed to cling to our jobs through the financial downturn this would look like a pretty good deal. Not to the Unite though.

Nobody can be surprised at the response of Ineos to the rejection of this survival plan. It's tragic that so many of the workers ignored common sense and voted the way the union said they should vote. The 50% who voted the other way have every reason to feel bitter and pissed off at their co-workers.

There is also another factor at play here, beyond the employer-employee conflict, which is that Ineos needed to invest heavily to cater for the import of cheap shale gas from the United States. A consequence of the reduced flow of gas from North Sea pipelines. This is yet another example of the revolution that fracking has brought to the US. An alternative option is to look to UK supplies of fracked gas - but of course this is a much higher risk proposition because of the opposition to fracking from environmentalists (in and out of government), from the Labour Party and the EU.

If Unite had any sense of vision it would have been pressurising the company and the government to invest in UK fracking as a way of securing jobs and investment locally.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Christiana Figueres Is An Irrelevant Old Hag

Oh for f*cks sake, do we really have to be treated to the sight of Christina Figueres shedding crocodile tears on stage? Of course this is faithfully reported by the BBC, where reporter Matt McGrath seems to be fitting comfortably into the shoes left by arch-warmist Richard Black (also known around here as the 'odious Richard Black'). The ostensible reason for Christiana Figueres (head on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) blubbing is that she is crying for 'the children' of the future, who are doomed by global warming.

Yeah, right. The only time I want to see Figueres and her like in tears is when she's sacked and the whole stinking edifice of UN climate structures is dismantled for good. Unfortunately this is as likely as Edward Davey finding a brain cell or the BBC admitting that the global warming game is up for good.

In the meantime, we have to put up with our licence fee being wasted on the daily vomit of warmist propaganda.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Insane Nuclear

I hope environmentalists are happy with the news of the government's deal with EDF and it's Chinese partners for the first new nuclear power station in the UK for a generation. Nuclear is the logical outcome of the climate alarmism that greenery has foisted on the world. A climate alarmism that the nuclear industry and it's supporters have largely supported along the way, knowing full well that 'renewables' could not deliver and that ultimately governments would have to turn to nuclear as the only acceptable option. It's the same logic that has seen a succession of high-profile environmentalists, like James Lovelock (who views carbon dioxide as more dangerous than the radioactive waste from power plants, nuclear accidents or bomb tests) and George Monbiot, opting for nuclear to keep the lights on.

For those of us interested in promoting new forms of energy, such as thorium power, this is a major setback as it sets huge trains of investment into a technology that is inherently expensive, has huge clean up costs and which has still not solved the problems of waste disposal. While nuclear may not be as dangerous as some of the more extreme anti-nuclear activists claim, it's still carries greater risks than existing non-nuclear generation.

It fails in economic terms too. What the government has done is signed us up for decades more of over-priced energy. Far from bringing our bills down, this guarantees that we'll be subsidising another energy gravy train to match wind and solar.

But we all know that energy policy is no longer about economics and the supply of cheap energy. It's about reducing CO2 emissions to avert 'climate change' that shows no signs on happening anyway. Nuclear, expensive and as dangerous as it is, fits the bill because it's proponents claim that it produces no CO2 emissions. It produces electricity, which is a bonus compared to wind and solar, but not at a cost that makes sense. Absent the concern about CO2 emissions and we'd be looking at coal and gas as the economically viable forms of energy generation.

And of course, what's missing from all of this is any discussion of what shale could do. The capital costs would be lower, the fuel costs lower and of course the potential problems should anything go wrong are significantly lower. In a sane world this would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately this is an insane world where people can think that carbon dioxide is more dangerous than radioactive slurry from nuclear power plants.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Unemployment Down - Now Cut Taxes

The continuing improvement on employment figures is something that we can all agree is positive - even though there's widespread disagreement about why this should be happening. Whether it's more accident than design (which is normally the case when it comes to the economy), the falling number of claimants and rising number of people in paid work is positive for the economy. But that's scant reward for those of us who are in work and haven't had significant pay increases for years now, while at the same time inflation has continued to strip away at our standards of living. Our pathetic pay 'increases' are in reality pay decreases as inflation is running at a higher rate. This doesn't look to be changing any time soon.

While economists can argue that this is a necessary rebalancing of the economy, what we're seeing seems to be that we're keeping employment high by taking pay cuts. Maybe it is as simple as basic supply and demand - the demand for labour has increased as the price has gone down, and there's been a steady supply of unemployed to fill that increased demand for labour. Those of us in work normally pay for unemployment because our taxes and national insurance contributions go towards paying benefits to the unemployed. This time round we're paying for unemployment through lower wages. From the point of view of society as a whole that's probably the better way to do it - it's healthier for society if we're all that little bit poorer than if we've got a large pool of unemployed who want to work and can't.

Whatever the explanation, it's clear that the state is saving money by paying less on unemployment benefits, while taking in more from new workers who are starting to pay tax and national insurance. It's a double win for the government. So perhaps it's time to put the pressure on for the state to give something back in the form of tax cuts. Increasing our tax allowances so that we get to keep more of what we earn would give us back some of what we're losing to inflation. It also means that many of those who are newly employed and on low wages (a significant portion of the newly employed in fact) get to spend more of what they earn rather than handing it to the state.

The net effect is to give us all a bit more money. At the very least it can make all this talk of 'recovery' something that we can feel directly rather than viewing it as an abstract thing that others benefit from and that doesn't touch us in the least. Because the sad fact is, that despite all the postive talk about recovery, for most of us it doesn't feel like it's happening - in fact it's the reverse.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Plebgate - The Bigger Story

The evolving drama around the Plebgate incident is catching fire again after the intervention of the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the subsequent refusal of the police chiefs to play ball. For those readers not from the UK, this is a domestic drama in which a senior government politician was effectively forced out of office by serving members of various British police forces. Some of these officers were acting on behalf of the Police Federation, which is the police trades union and which was in disagreement with government policy. And, it seems, these officers saw no problem with adopting a strategy of 'retoxifying' the Tory brand by suggesting that Andrew Mitchell, who was Tory chief whip at the time, had called serving offices 'f*cking plebs'.

Aside from the specifics of the row - and let's be honest here, the three representatives from the Police Federation outright lied and were stupid enough to have their lies caught on tape (standards of fitting people up are obviously not what they were) - the story illustrates an important princple that many people are apt to forget. It is that 'servants of the state' - police, doctors, nurses, teachers, civil servants etc - are not disinterested parties who put into play whatever policy we vote for. Civil servants of all stripes, those in uniform and those not, are special interest groups who work, like all special interest groups, to further their own interests.

There are plenty of people who are willing to seek out the special interests at work when they come from the corporate sector but who are blind to the same thing when it comes from trades unions, NGOs, charities and so on. It's the same thing at play in all cases, whether they work in the private sector or the public, for profit or for a 'cause' - special interest groups will work to further their own agendas. While this particular case is big news - because of course we are all wondering what the police can get away with when dealing with ordinary citizens who don't have the influence and power of a top politician to help them - there are lots more cases that are more damaging to society at large than this one.

How much government policy is being steered by special interest groups from green NGOs, charities and campaigning organisations (many of whom are actually funded by government - local, central and European)?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Up Is Down, Black Is White

Today's Daily Mail covers a speech that Nick Clegg gave to a group of young people in London in which he makes the bizarre case that cutting the green tax gravy train that is raising our fuel bills will actually lead to even higher bills. This is so far from the truth that it should count as science fiction. The Mail quotes the clueless deputy prime minister as saying:
Actually what will happen is that you will have less investment, probably higher bills over time and an increase in fuel poverty. That cannot be the right answer. The whole point of putting some of these levies on bills is to make sure that we do keep lights on
Surely if the point of all of this is to keep the lights on we'd stop funding useless wind farms and pump that money into shale gas exploration, research into thorium power and other new energy sources. We'd also stop closing down our coal and gas-fired stations that provide cheaper and more reliable energy supply than wind and solar.

But of course what Clueless doesn't say is that the real reason we're paying all these levies and taxes is not to keep the lights on, it's to cut down on the carbon emissions which are supposed to be driving 'climate change'. This is the same 'climate change' which has seen global temperatures flat-lined for the last 17 years, during which time CO2 emissions have gone up around 10%. And, of course, Clueless cannot say that we have to do this because of the Climate Change Act of 2008, (thanks to Ed Militard for that one), and because of our commitments under EU legislation.

If there is any better illustration of the insularity and divorce from the real world of our political classes I don't what it is. They insist that black is white in the face of all the evidence, this is Lysenkoism on steroids and there is no sign of any reigning back from people like Nick Clegg, Ed Davey, Ed Miliband, David Cameron and the rest of the rotten bunch.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Krugman Taken Down

Been too busy to blog for the last couple of days - but still had time to read a few interesting articles here and there. One that stands out is Niall Ferguson's take down on Paul Krugman - one of the Labour Party's favourite economists...

It's a long piece but well worth a read - particularly as Krugman's behaviour is so typical of the Liberal/Left establishment. No wonder the BBC love him so much.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ed Militard - Time To Change The Narrative

There's no doubting the fact that the announced energy price rise from SSE, and soon to be followed by other providers, is a gift to Ed Militard and the Laborious Party. It means that he can get all worked up about unscruplulous capitalists exploiting the poor consumer and therefore pose as our friend and saviour. It conveniently ignores the part he played in bringing the high costs of energy through (hidden) green taxation - and the fact that he continues to support the same policies as part of a 'fight against climate change'. And lest we be accused of being one-sided here, Militard is doing no different to what that lying piece of shit Chris Huhne did. And brain-dead Ed Davey does the same thing - they all bleat about energy poverty but ignore the part they play in making this happen.

This is nothing new. We saw the same thing with the banking crisis. The popular narrative soon became that it was all the fault of the nasty bankers, conveniently ignoring the part that the politicians played. It meant that Gordon Brown and Barack Obama could both attempt to grab the moral high-ground and yet ignore the part that they had directly played in the fomenting the crisis. How many people really know that Obama pushed hard for policies for 'affordable housing' that ended up giving us the sub-prime crisis?

This isn't to say that the greedy energy companies meme is all wrong - but the problem is way more complex than pinning the blame on greedy executives and their shareholders. The fact is that governments have been dicking with the energy industry in all kinds of ways - green taxes, subsidies in 'renewables', changing the energy supply mix, closing down cheap coal-powered stations, dragging their feet on shale and much more.

So, it's important then that at every conceivable opportunity we remind people of the part that Militard, Davey and the rest have played  - continue to play - in creating the precarious energy supply situation and the high costs that we have to pay. We must not let the politicians do what they do best - create or exacerbate a problem, pin the blame elsewhere and then pose as our saviours.

Quotes like these, from Ed Militard, should be repeated again and again until the message gets through:

November 2009:  It needs a willingness to take the argument to people about the tough choices involved in tackling climate change. This is the starting point: a willingness to engage with people on, for example, the fact that to deal with the problem of climate change, energy bills are likely to rise.

January 2010: Yes, there are upward pressures on energy bills, and that makes life difficult for people, including those in fuel poverty, but it is right that we go down the low-carbon energy route.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Apocalypse Soon(ish)

Just when you thought things couldn't sink any lower in the weird world of climate 'science', someone comes along to prove you wrong. According to a widely publicised paper from the University of Hawaii we are facing global climate catastrophe within a few decades. The study, headlined as 'Apocalypse Now: Unstoppable man-made climate change will become reality by the end of the decade and could make New York, London and Paris uninhabitable within 45 years' in the Daily Mail, will be published in one of the world's leading science journals, Nature.

According to lead author, Camilo Mora: "The results shocked us. Regardless of the scenario, changes will be coming soon. Within my generation, whatever climate we were used to will be a thing of the past."

Scary stuff of course. And there are lots of frightening graphics and scenarios that make The Day After Tomorrow look like a walk in the park. Not only is it worse than we thought, the paper suggests that we've gone past the tipping point and that there's nothing we can do to avert this looming disaster.

So, well, if there's nothing we can then can't we just scrap the IPCC and enjoy what little time we've got left as a species? Er, nope. According to the Mora:
Scientists have repeatedly warned about climate change and its likely effects on biodiversity and people. Our study shows that such changes are already upon us. These results should not be reason to give up. Rather, they should encourage us to reduce emissions and slow the rate of climate change. This can buy time for species, ecosystems, and ourselves to adapt to the coming changes.
Get that. We should have listened more, now we need to take note and let these guys buy us time. Of course the evidence for all of these is remarkably solid. How can anyone doubt it when it's based on model outputs. Lots of models in fact:
The data came from 39 Earth System Models developed independently by 21 climate centers in 12 different countries.
So, that all clear then. This is just another one of those classic alarmist scares. Model outputs, dire prognosticacians, it's worse than we thought - and of course it grabs headlines world wide and fuels the alarmists who have been feeling like they've been losing the battle recently.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Greg Barker - Warmist Tory Scum

To those who think that the labels Left and Right still carry an ounce of meaning, close your eyes and tell me whether this is a Leftist or a Rightist making this statement:

I think there is too much focus on trying to stimulate an increasingly sterile debate on the science, given the overwhelming body of opinion that there is now in favour of the science, and perhaps if they are wanting to have an active debate they should be talking about the policy responses to that science, rather than the science itself. I'm not trying to ban all dissenting voices but we are doing the public a disservice by treating them as equal, which is not the case.

This in the context of the BBC giving too much prominence to the 'sceptic voice' when it comes to climate change. The BBC??? Sorry, I must have blinked and missed it.

So, who is it that is completely unaware of what's going on in the world outside his window? Who is it that wants to shut down what little debate there is, and who believes still that the science is settled? A Labour politician? A Lib Dem?

Nope, this is none other than Greg Barker, a Tory Minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. A man close to Cameron, whom he famously accompanied on that husky hugging trip to the Arctic in 2006 (where's a polar bear when you need one, eh?).

When it comes down to it there is no difference - political parties are a flag of convenience for people like Barker. He would be at home in any of the three main parties, subscribing as they all do to the same core beliefs in environmentalism and statism.

OECD - Climate Bailout

Writing in the ever wonderful Watts Up With That, Dr Richard Lindzen of MIT, points out that:

Each IPCC report seems to be required to conclude that the case for an international agreement to curb carbon dioxide has grown stronger. That is to say the IPCC report (and especially the press release accompanying the summary) is a political document, and as George Orwell noted, political language “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

And right on cue we have arch-alarmist Roger Harrabin of the BBC reporting that the head of the OECD, Angel Gurria, is going to make a speech attacking governments for not making progress on tackling CO2 emissions. In other words applying more pressure to move towards binding emissions targets.

Given the absense of warming now for 17 years, how can Gurria (or anyone else come to that), inject a sense of urgency into the situation? The only way is by appeals to authority - it's certainly not through pointing to any concrete evidence. The climate is not changing catastrophically, islands are not sinking beneath the waves, ice caps are not disappearing, the world is not awash with climate refugees or any of the other nightmare scenarios that the alarmists have constantly predicted. Instead there are the IPCC reports, or at least the summaries for policy makers. And here we do get that sense of urgency - the "consensus" numbers get higher and higher, the rhetoric shows no signs of a pause and continues it's upwards trajectory.

So, while the real world refuses to abide by the models, the trans-national bodies like the EU, the UN, the IPCC and the OECD will contiue to work in concert to drive through the policies that they have previously agreed. The political establishments that have made "fighting climate change" one of the core beliefs that binds it together, across national boundaries and across "ideologies", show no sign of disengaging with the juggernaut they've set in train. And we, poor citizens, just have to tow the line and pay for their madness.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Militard Tendency

The big focus in our media yesterday was largely around the movement of non-enitities in and out of cabinet and shadow cabinet positions. While the details are deathly dull it's worth noting that Ed Militard carried out a bit of a mini-purge of the remaining Blairites in the shadow cabinet. As you'd expect he's shoring up his support and doing more to draw support from his union sponsors. Of course this is being interpreted as a 'further move to the Left', as though those labels mean anything any more. Despite some valiant attempts to put space between the parties, when it comes down to the fundamentals of the EU and climate change/environmentalism there's still nothing in it.

However, one thing that may start to happen is that some of the moribund 'Left' who've drifted aray from New Labour may start to be drawn back into the fold. A basic cleavage of the Left in years gone by was between those who brandished the slogan 'Vote Labour With No Illusions' and those who refused to back Labour no matter what. The various Trotskyite and Stalinist proponents of 'No Illusions' preferred a Labour government because they felt it energised the unions and that it opened the way for 'Left' influence at grass roots levels. The hope was that a more energised union movement would inevitably make impossible demands of a Labour government and that when the conflict came it would create the space for the far-Left to organise and grow.

Tony Blair put an end to all of that. The 'No Illusions' line was harder to sell when there was so little difference between New Labour and the Tories. In some ways this has given us the Respect coalition (formed to oppose Labour's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) on the one hand and the various organisations and alliances around Bob Crow and the RMT. While numerically small in number there's a hard core of militants who are actively anti-Labour and on the Left. It may be that the more that 'Red Ed' postures and makes moves apparently in their direction, the more likely it is we'll see the return of the 'No Illusions' line.

In such a case it may mean that a part of the old Left that has moved away from Labour and put its energies elsewhere may switch tack and give Ed the conditional support and activists on the ground that he will need. This is something that Ed needs. Not because these are people who are likely to vote for the Tories, but because these are people who can get to working class voters who are attracted to UKIP.

Let's not forget that it's not just the Tories who are fearful of losing support to the anti-EU voter, it's Labour too.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Bob Geldof Is An Irrelevant Old Hag

Bob Geldof is right. We should all take note of his announcement that we're facing a 'mass extinction event' connected to climate change. One has to assume that he's talking about the coming extinction of the IPCC and the climate alarmism that it has so assiduously propagandised. Of course it faces an 'existential threat' as Geldof has claimed - after all the IPCC was founded on the premise that CO2 is the driver for catastrophic global warming (how quaint that sounds now) - so without the catastrophy the reason for the existence of the IPCC gravy train has to be called into question.

Now is the time for all concerned citizens to make their feelings known. Let's join together, in that Bob Geldof Live Aid all in together kind of way and drive the IPCC into dust. Bring on the mass extinction event and destroy the great warming con.

What??? You mean that St Bob really did mean that he thought the world was suffering from some kind of climate emergency? That at the very nadir of the warming con he's still trying to sound the alarm? Why, that's like suggesting that St Bob is a has-been rockstar who's had nothing sensible to say for years now...It's like suggesting he's the Viviene Westwood of popular music...

Militard - The Statist

While the Daily Mail may have shot itself in the foot with the story about Ralph Militard - I mean anything that provokes sympathy for Ed Militard is an own-goal - perhaps there will be some good that comes out of it after all. Now emboldened by the positive response to his calls for regulating our energy bills - bills which are highly directly because of policies he put into place - and by the sympathy the Mail has garnered for him, Militard is showing his true statist colours.

According to a piece in the Guardian, Militard is quoted as saying:
Yes, we will be doing more to show the difference a Labour government would make … we will tackle the cost of living crisis and one of the ways we'll do it is by making markets work in the public interest
Because, of course, only under the guidance of the enlightened few can markets be made to work. Because, as history has shown us repeatedly, politicians have worked their magic and have been successful every time they have done this. Apparently our nice Ed Militard is as ignorant of history as he is of economics or even the world of work in the real economy. And yes, like many of our leaders he may have studied economics at some point in his life, but it clearly has made no real impression on him, except perhaps in some simplified Keynesian way.

Still, Militard the statist and his penchant for price controls and other interventions is clearly on show now. The danger is of course that his simplistic calls for state intervention strike a nerve with the electorate. And of course the BBC will continue to do his bidding as his interest coincides with theirs.

We have been warned...

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Kingston Lib Dem Leader's Child Porn Habit

A while back, in connection with the reptilian Chris Huhne, I remarked that that the Lib Dem's had once been considered the 'nice' party, but that:

But thankfully Chris Huhne through his behaviour has shown that the Lib Dems can be as bad as the rest of them - part and parcel of the British political class, no different in kind to the ambitious and ruthless bastards that make their home in the other major parties.
Derek Osbourne, until recently the Lib Dem leader of Kingston Upon Thames, has just been convicted of possessing and distributing more than 5000 indecent images - including some at the the worst end of the scale - of children. The prosecution showed that the material Osbourne shared :
Some of the material depicts children as young as three being subjected to acts of rape or serious sexual violence...The case is significantly aggravated by virtue of the fact material was shared with or distributed to other paedophiles.
Sentencing has happened yet, but it looks likely to include prison.

So much for the nice party. And ironic that sitting Kingston Lib Dem MP should be Ed Davey, the brain dead minister who took over from that other Lib Dem jail-bird, Chris Huhne.

One can't help but wonder what would have happened had Derek Osbourne been a councillor for a minor party. What would the BBC and the Guardian have made of it had he been a member of UKIP?

The IPCC Has Delivered

The IPCC has delivered something of a crowd pleaser in its latest assessment. There really is something for everybody in this latest report. For the true believers we get the "95% confidence" that humans are the dominant driver of climate change. Forget the models diverging ever more from reality, forget the 15-17 years flat-lined temperature increase despite record CO2 levels, forget the lowered estimates of climate sensitivity to CO2. Just focus on that 95% figure and everything else pales into insignificance. There's little doubt that it's a crowd-pleaser and the true believers will take that number and batter the sceptics with it repeatedly.

For the political classes who pay for the IPCC gravy-train, this is just what they wanted. Here's the justification for the continued green policies and the subsidies for grandiose and futile schemes to reduce CO2 emissions and stop us boiling the oceans. For those in power in the Westsern countries, they've bought themselves permission to carry on as before with failed policies that we citizens are paying dearly for. Obama, Cameron and the rest will quote the IPCC ad infinitum and continue with the refrain that the evidence is incontrovertible and that it's worse than we thought.

And, let's be honest, the IPCC has done a great service to the sceptic cause too. There was a chance that it could have taken a more honourable course and admitted that it's models were wrong, that there was less cause for alarm, that we know less than we pretend to. It could have admitted that the 'science' is far less settled than it has previously claimed. But it hasn't. The IPCC is like a super-tanker set on a course and is unable to nimbly change direction in the face of the obstinate reality in its path. So it continues with statistically incoherent pronouncements and politically acceptable sound bites. For us sceptics this is confirmation that the IPCC is irredemable, and the voices that are being raised against it are growing more vociferous and increasing in number. Witness Judith Curry saying:
We need to put down the IPCC as soon as possible – not to protect the patient who seems to be thriving in its own little cocoon, but for the sake of the rest of us whom it is trying to infect with its disease.
For the moment though, the IPCC have bolstered the confidence of the diminishing band of true believers who are immune to evidence. For them, the 95% number, along with the fake 97% 'consensus' number from Cook and his band of crooks, is all they need to fight off the mounting evidence (much of it in peer-reviewed journals) that climate alarmism is not warranted. In fact it wouldn't suprise me if another 90+ number appeared soon. Having three 9s to quote will feel so much better than just two - as if that's enough to close off reality.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Carrier Bag Scepticism

Cut to the haunting image of a sea turtle, thousands of miles away, struggling through the deep ocean waters as discarded plastic bags wrap themselves around its flippers and body.

These majestic animals are dying in alarming numbers because they mistake the flimsy translucent bags - which could in theory come from British supermarkets - for jellyfish, a key element of their diet.

The endangered Green Turtle provides a potent symbol of the deadly threat to wildlife and the blight on the natural world caused by throwaway plastic bags handed out free in their billions to shoppers. [Daily Mail, 27 February 2008]

Who can fail to be moved by the image conjured so vividly in those few sentences? Scourge of the oceans, destroyer of marine life and polluter of the eco-system, the carrier bag is everything that is wrong with our throwaway life styles. Only the most hard-hearted and selfish could say otherwise. Except that, as with many environmental scares and controversies, the reality is considerably more complex than these often simplistic narratives would indicate. Perhaps the case for the prosecution is not as strong, or as straightforward, as would first appear…

At first glance the case against the carrier bag seems self-evident. It is wasteful – the bags are throwaway by design. They use up resources – plastic carrier bags are made from oil and obviously use up energy in their manufacture. They pollute the environment – famously being a key ingredient of the ‘great Pacific garbage patch’, (or the Pacific Trash Vortex if your language tends to the dramatic) or the similarly described patch in the Atlantic. And finally, the great and the good have come out firmly against them – from hardened environmentalists to the BBC to the Daily Mail and Marks and Spencers. In fact, in some more environmentally conscious parts of the world, Wales for example, the carrier bag already incurs a surcharge – a guilt tax to nudge us towards greener alternatives.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Halloween Costumes Go PC

Says it all really - what a sad state of affairs we find ourselves in. For those readers not from the UK and a bit perplexed... a news item doing the rounds at the moment concerns two major supermarkets withdrawing Halloween costumes that depicted psycho mental patients because they allegedly help stigmatise those suffering from mental illness. The Guardian covers the story thus:

They even get slime-master Alistair Campbell to mount the soap box and whine that :
Those defending these costumes say they are a bit of fun and we should lighten up. They are not a bit of fun. They are offensive. They commercialise prejudice and stereotype and they reinforce stigma.
So, let me get this right. It's OK to invade Iraq and enter a conflict that leaves thousands dead and injured, but it's not OK for a supermarket to sell a tacky costume depicting cartoon-character psychos? Yep, makes perfect sense to me too.

Is there anyone in the country who's not going to be offended by something someone does somewhere? It seems that the only human right we're not allowed to glory in is the right to offend...

At least one person has got it right:

BBC and 'Well funded sceptics'

The BBC has a piece online today that looks at climate sceptics. As you'd expect from the BBC it's heavily weighted towards the IPCC side of things, but still managers to give a superficial impression of being fair. For example, there's a side bar that states:

Although there are only a small number of mainstream scientists who reject the established view on global warming, they are supported by a larger group of well resourced bloggers and citizen scientists who pore through climate literature and data looking for evidence of flaws in the hypothesis.

Aside from repeating the lie that there are only small number of 'mainstream scientists' who are in the sceptic camp, it also repeats the bigger lie about 'well resourced bloggers'. Come on, who's well resourced? Is it the sceptic camp or is it the alarmist camp funded by governments, trans-national bodies (like the UN, EU etc), big green and a host of environmentalist activist organisations. The disparity in resourcing is staggering - back in 2009 Australian blogger JoAnne Nova pegged the money spent on climate science as $79 billion ( - yet the implication in the BBC story is that well-funded sceptics are attacking plucky little climate scientists.

But let's also focus on the last bit of that quote:

well resourced bloggers and citizen scientists who pore through climate literature and data looking for evidence of flaws in the hypothesis.

Excuse me, but isn't that what scientists do? Doesn't the scientific method depend on this process?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Militard's Record on Energy

For those with short memories, a few reminders:

  • First Secretary of State for the newly minted Department of Energy and Climate Change.
  • Committed the government to cut CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050, up from a mere 60% that had previously been announced.
  • Announced that any potential new coal-fired power stations would be unable to receive government consent unless they could demonstrate that they would be able to effectively capture and bury 25% of the emissions they produce immediately (even though, or perhaps because, no such technology exists).
  • Represented the UK at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit, where he pushed hard for binding agreements to cut emissions.

All of these are policies which have cost, and continue to cost, billions and which have directly impacted our fuel bills.

That Militard Speech

So, let’s get this straight. The Labour Party were instrumental in putting into place the green subsidy gravy train that is screwing the UK consumer (and which our current leaders are in no hurry to dismantle). Having helped deliver fuel poverty the Labour Party sees no reason to do anything positive to address the problem – for example by aggressively supporting the introduction of fracking, stopping the rush to build more useless windmills, cutting down on other costly green subsidies. Instead, brave Ed Militard will take control of fuel pricing directly. Because, of course, price controls have been so phenomenally successful everywhere they’ve been tried.

Ed’s speech was supposed to impress us with his strategy and vision. Well, it’s impressed me with something, but it’s not strategy, vision or intelligence. What it has done, though, is show once again the nasty statist bent of Militard and the Labour Party. And, should he fail, it sets up his credentials for a cushy little number in the EU Commission...

Sadly, bashing energy companies and promising to make better the problems you’ve caused seems likely to be a more popular bet than being honest and helping to put right the wrong policies that you helped put into practice in the first place.

Monday, September 23, 2013

GWPF Call For Review of UK Climate Model

Today's email post bag includes a Press Release from the Global Warming Policy Foundation calling for an independent review of the UK's Official Climate Predictions from the Met Office. To quote from the release:

Nic Lewis, an independent climate scientist, has published research that shows that because of the way the predictions are prepared using the Met Office's computer climate model, they are bound to predict fairly high warming in the UK whatever observational data are fed into the process.

The UK climate predictions programme informs decisions to invest billions of pounds in climate change adaptation measures across the public and private sectors. The inherent warm bias in the predictions means that much of this spending is probably unnecessary.

Andrew Montford, the author of the GWPF briefing paper, said:

“There are potentially billions of pounds being misspent on the basis of these predictions. The government has little choice but to withdraw them pending a review of the way they are put together”.

GWPF chairman Lord Lawson is calling for an independent panel of climate scientists and statisticians to review the UKCP09 predictions.

The full briefing paper, which is well worth a read can be downloaded here:

And for those interested in the detail of the science behind the call for the review, it's available from Nic Lewis here:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

UKIP - Bloomed Again

At the time of Godfrey Bloom's 'bongo bongo land' outburst I wrote:

Let's be clear, if UKIP is a serious political party and not the vehicle of a handful of leaders safely esconced in Brussels, it needs to appeal to a wider range of the electorate. It needs to appeal across racial and class barriers, it needs to appeal to those who look for signs of intelligent policy as well as wanting to have a go at our ruling elites. And it won't do that with people like Godfrey Bloom slurring racist comments to the party faithful.
Now, we get a re-run and the effect on the wavering voter are pretty clear to see: 
What I do care about is that he’s sounding like the boring bloke in the pub who drones on in a loud voice and vents his bigotted bloody spleen all the time. And that Nigel Farage doesn’t seem to be much better. He sounds like another charmless twat who’s got no brains and no ideas apart from how to make good for himself.

Friday, September 20, 2013

David Attenborough Should STFU

David Attenborough should just STFU. The misanthropic old git has been much in the news again spouting off his usual doom-laden drivel about over-population. Just as an exercise he should just take a look out of the window at the real world around him. In the 87 years that he's been around the planet the population has shut up from 2 billion to around 7 billion. A huge jump, we're all agreed. But at the same time global life expectancy at birth have doubled according to some statistics - and while I'll admit the actual numbers may be dubious the trend is there in every set of numbers you look at. Poverty levels have been dropping in percentage and absolute terms. Wealth has increased massively. Pollution has decreased in the developed world and is starting to drop in other parts of the world too.

By any conceivable metric the human race has prospered even as the population has increased. What about the 'natural' world (as though somehow humans are not part of the natural world)? Well, deforestation is no longer seen as the problem it once was - though it's clear that some of the policies inflicted on us by greens like David Attenborough are making things worse as forests are cleared for bio-fuel crops. Global warming never was a problem and it's becoming clearer by the day that this scare is dying on its feet.

Of course we're not living in utopia and there are real economic, political and environmental problems in the world. But by any objective measure the doom and gloom propagated by Attenborough, and those who have preceded him (Paul Ehrlich being the most obvious example) is not warranted.

National treasure? Possibly. But he'd be more of a treasure if he just STFU or else dared to look beyond his fixed ideological position and see how the real world has changed in his life-time.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Read it and weep

Climateer Tim Flannery sacked in Oz

Now we know why they call Australia 'the lucky country'. From here in the UK we can only look on jealously as the new Aussie administration starts to dismantle the climate alarmist gravy train. In the UK, across Europe and the US, the alarmist establishment continues to soak up our money even as the 'consensus' withers and turns to dust. Alarmism is so firmly embedded in the DNA of our political masters (regardless of what party label they attach to themselves) that there is little chance of us learning from the Aussie example. The only thing we can hope is that there are enough second-rank leaders looking and learning so that when the time comes and they step up to leading positions they can be as ruthless in cutting out the rot in the heart of the establishment.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

HS2 - Huge Subsidy Too

The recent report from KPMG that suggested that by 2037 the HS2 rail scheme could be benefiting the economy by £15bn a year was pretty much wishful thinking paid for by the quango behind the scheme. The made up numbers were meant to impress, but they've been treated sceptically by pretty much everyone who's commented, aside from the government of course. Interestingly the made up numbers are not based on decreased travel times but by an increase in the number of journeys and an increase in economic activities that this is supposed to magically lead to.

If, for a moment, we ignore the nonsense numbers and accept that more journeys will mean more economic activity, then we have to ask are there cheaper alternatives to HS2? The answer surely has to be yes. How about more road building? How about improving the existing motorway infrastructure? And, given the long time scales involved, we might even try and take a futuristic stance. For example, Google and others are making real strides in the development of autonomous vehicles. If this continues then perhaps we can think about providing special lanes or even separate roads for these vehicles - which will be able to travel more closely together in loosely associated convoys with the ability of individual vehicles to come on/off as required. With continued improvements in control systems, enhancements to engine design for fuel efficiency and other technological advances, we can get the increased journeys, possibly improved journey times and the economic benefits that ensue without the need to pump the billions into HS2.

Better yet, if we make the new roads (or new lanes on existing roads), toll roads, then the users of these vehicles will pay for the privilege of travelling on them.

Ultimately, the problem with long-term substantial infrastructure projects like HS2 is not just the huge cost over-runs and massive tax-payer subsidies, it's that they're always out of date by the time they come on line...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Vivienne Westwood Is An Irrelevant Hag

As you can imagine, I'm not really one for fashion - whether it's politics, music or sartorial - but every so often something will grab the headlines and eventually impinge on my consciousness. Vivienne Westwood was in the news a few weeks ago when she attended the 'anti-fracking' camp at Balcombe. She was dutifully interviewed by the massed ranks of the old media where she gave us the benefit of her vast insights into energy policy, climate science and economics. To call her clueless would be kind. The degree of vacuousness was unbelievable. But still she's a celebrity and had once, for a short while, been considered incredibly radical. Now she was spouting environmentalist drivel and sounding like a doddery old granny on day release from a hospital ward.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and her latest collection is in the news. Gasp! It's so radical again. So engaged. So... Clothes with the words 'Climate' on them! Models with zombie faces to symbolise the death and destruction we've wrought on Gaia. Yawn. This at the time when the climate scare is gasping from lack of oxygen and most people have realised that the game's up. But like a French aristocrat on the eve of the revolution, she has no idea that history is about to leave her and her brand of empty climate alarmism behind.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thank You Chris Huhne

A big thank you is due to Chris Huhne, all over the papers complaining that the media ruined his life and that being a lying, deceitful and arrogant bastard had nothing to do with it. There was a time when the Lib Dems were seen by many as the 'nice' party. Where the Tories and Labour were the nasty beasts of government - full of scheming, dishonest and conniving careerists and the power-hungry who'd do anything to get into government - the Lib Dems were portrayed as the slightly naive, idealistic and slightly eccentric party that the 'real' politician types would avoid. But thankfully Chris Huhne through his behaviour has shown that the Lib Dems can be as bad as the rest of them - part and parcel of the British political class, no different in kind to the ambitious and ruthless bastards that make their home in the other major parties.

Of course it's not just Huhne, we all know that Lib Dems policies are the epitome of big green thinking - Europhile, statist, collectivist and most of all radically environmentalist. But when it comes to the personal ethics of Lib Dem politicians, Chris Huhne has done us proud. Sadly, that won't stop him prospering from his former position in the political establishment, but we can hope that he's helped make his party unelectable in the future.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Living Wage

Much has been paid of the report that up to 4.8 million workers are earning below the 'living wage' (currently defined as £8.55 in London and £7.45 outside). If we take it as read that the research, from the think tank the Resolution Foundation, is accurate, and that the amounts set for the living wage are about right, the obvious question is what do we do about it?

Well, there's a simple solution and then there are various shades of complicated solutions which, no doubt, will be the ones discussed by politicians and media commentators. First the simple solution: just take people on minimum wage out of the tax and NI system. You can do this by adjusting tax thresholds appropriately and then you don't need to install new systems of bureaucracy, create new classes of benefit or even track conformance. Just stop taking money away from the people who need it the most. Hell, you don't even need to employ a single addtional civil servant to make this work.

That virtue - simplicity and no additional bureaucracy - means that it's unlikely to happen. So then we look at the other options. First is the relatively simple one of raising the minimum wage. But this has some serious down-sides, like stifling job growth and putting some people out of work. And what do you do about the living wage differential between London and the rest of the UK? Do you institute regional minimum wage scales? Now you're in the realm of additional complexity for employers and having to put new systems of inspection and control in place. The net affect is to add to the costs to the state (in reality to the tax payer, including those on minimum wage...) and to increase the costs of employment.

So, what looks like a simple solution of increasing miminum wage turns into something a bit more complex and expensive. What next? Well, you leave minimum wage where it is and put into place additional benefits. Or you get employers to increase pay then then give the employers some to make the difference. Or... You get the picture - more complexity, more costs and an increasing bureaucratic burden.

Which takes us back to the really simple solution that I first mentioned. If we really believe that people should be paid this living wage, then we can increase the tax thresholds so that people on low wages can get to keep their money. Why do it any other way?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Syria - TFFT

As is usual the defeat of the government in last night's vote on "action" against Syria is widely being replayed as a personal defeat of David Cameron (and to a lesser extent Nick Clegg). It was, of course, but it's more than that. It's one of those rare moments when Parliament has acted as a parliament and has reflected on an issue and how the public feels about it, rather than ignoring us and voting the way they've been told to vote by the whips. It happens all to rarely so we should savour the reminder of what politics could be like if we had more direct control of our politicians. If that had been the case it is unlikely we would have invaded Iraq, or even Afghanistan come to that.

In the meantime, the senseless rush to be seen to be "doing something" for the sake of it can carry on across the water. Heaven forbid that Obama miss an opportunity to claim the moral high ground...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lab-grown brains and Syria

On the day that scientists reveal that they've grown human brain tissue in the lab, we have our own leaders parading their lack of the stuff. How else do we explain this rush for yet another military intervention? What the hell are these people thinking - indeed, are they thinking?

Reaching for the missiles seems to have become a stock response. The siutation in Syria is appaling, but the complexity of the situation seems too much for our leaders to comprehend. Like all politicians their first response is always to be seen to be doing something. It doesn't matter what that something is, it just needs to be something that means they can't be accused of standing back and doing nothing. And, like it or  not, the simplest way of showing that they're doing something is to drop bombs on people. To make this palatable you need to have a simplistic narrative. You know, something like evil regime versus freedom-loving rebels, good versus bad. Forget the fact that the rebels include jihadists of the worst kind who hate the regime for being soft on religious minorities, women's rights and so on.

Do our leaders think that the these jihadists will show gratitude when the regime falls? Like hell they will. Recent history is littered with jihadists we have supported turning their weapons on us as soon as they get the chance. There are plenty of Syrian rebels who hate the West as much or more than they hate Assad and his clan. Those brain cells grown in the lab? They've got more memory than our brain dead leaders.

We don't know for sure what these chemical weapons were or who fired them. Both sides are capable of such an act, but the Syrian state had more to lose than the rebels in doing such a thing. In any case it seems that it's enough to give us the WMD moment when our sanctimonius leaders can play elder statesmen and bomb another country. And then conveniently look the other way when it helps to lead to the slaughter of Christians and other religious minorities, the institution of Sharia law and the inevitable blood bath as rebel groups fight it out for the spoils.

Lab grown brains? I'd vote for that rather than the brainless morons now in power.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

UKIP - Not Serious

While the immediate storm over Godfrey Bloom's 'bongo bongo land' may have disappeared from the front pages, the affair continues to reverberate. From my perspective - not aligned to UKIP but becoming sympathetic over the last few years - the effect has been pretty depressing. Like an awful lot of people in this country I've got little time for the three main parties - there's little to differentiate them and most political discourse runs on predictably tribal lines. I hate our political classes with a vengeance but at the same time I care passionately about politics and where the country is headed. So, in many respects I'm exactly the constituency that UKIP should be appealing to. And at times I've felt that perhaps UKIP was the way to go. Not just on the European Union, but also with respect to climate change, wind farms and a critique of the liberal mindset that predominates in our political and media masters. Even on the economy UKIP seems to be on the side of economic liberalism and free markets - though it has to be said it's often hard to figure out where UKIP stands because it rarely seems to talk about the economy in any substantive way. The bottom line is that on a wide range of issues UKIP seems to offer something that 's different to the main parties and appealing to a libertarian (note the small L).

The one sticking point has been race. Although I vehemently disagree with the ideology of multicuturalism (which elevates difference and segregation to the highest degree), I am an anti-racist and have got no time for racists, whether they are BNP, Islamist or BBC. In the past I've been Paki-bashed by Nazi skinheads, racially abused and suffered from racism and discrimination. That was a long time ago and thankfully my kids haven't had to suffer this kind of treatment. Although the left will never say so, we do live in a very different world to the days when the National Front was out on the streets and casual racism was everywhere. Nowadays things have gone the other way and it's the white working classes who suffer unfair treatment - they are the only people not allowed pride in their culture. Multiculturalism is triumphant and to real anti-racists this is a betrayal of the struggle againt racism.

You would think that this too would make me align to UKIP - and at times it has. But this latest affair from Godfrey Bloom makes me pull back for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I have to say that Bloom comes across as an ignorant bigot. He can spin it how he likes, makes half apologies or attempt to front it out, but he comes over as the sort of half-drunk bar-room racist that I would run a mile to avoid. While I don't want politicians to be all smarm and professional blandness, I do expect them to display some signs of intelligence. Ignorance is not attractive to the voter, any more than dishonesty or disdain for Joe Public. Now the fact is that there was a real point in what he was saying - the discussion on the aid budget is an important one which many people, me included, would agree with him. Listening to interviews with many of Bloom's constituents one is struck by the fact that so many people, of all races, were agreeing with him. But it was also striking how so many criticised him for his language and behaviour. So, the end result is that a point on which he has people agreeing with him has been drowned by the furore over his racist language.

Much worse than this however is the attitude of so many UKIP supporters and indeed the missing leadership from UKIP itself. There are plenty of comments of blogs and forums from UKIP supporters who seem to glory in Bloom's display of ignorance. Maybe it's that frisson of outright racism that they find appealing. Is this what UKIP really wants? To go after the BNP vote?

Let's be clear, if UKIP is a serious political party and not the vehicle of a handful of leaders safely esconced in Brussels, it needs to appeal to a wider range of the electorate. It needs to appeal across racial and class barriers, it needs to appeal to those who look for signs of intelligent policy as well as wanting to have a go at our ruling elites. And it won't do that with people like Godfrey Bloom slurring racist comments to the party faithful.

In the blogosphere I see people like Autonomous Mind and Richard North of EUReferendum having intelligent conversations and discussing policy options to a depth that I don't see from UKIP itself. If there's an issue related to some EU policy in the news, where do I go to gain an understanding of it? It's not to UKIP. So, while some are happy to snigger at the 'bongo bongo land' jibe, I suspect there are plenty more who've decided that perhaps the mass media are right after all and that UKIP is a xenophobic little hub of racists and embittered cranks.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Dirty and Unnecessary

Commenting on news that the one of the companies with a licence to explore shale gas deposits in the UK has reported that they think the fields are even bigger than first imagined (reported on the BBC here) - we get this comment from Friends of the Earth:

Environmental group Friends of the Earth has described fracking as "dirty and unnecessary", arguing that the UK should instead focus on investing in renewable energy.

They, and the rest of the green fraternity, must be having fits as the pressure builds for us to fully exploit fracking. The prospect of cheap and abundant fuels is the anti-thesis of what the environmental movement wants. Forget the stuff about climate change - it's not the real issue. If it were then the greens would be cheer-leading the move to fracking as it leads to lower CO2 emissions, as the experience of the US has shown. No, the real cause is de-industrialisation. Cheap, clean and abundant energy means we can carry on with manufacturing and consuming and raising living standards. The greens want expensive, intermittent and unreliable energy so that we cut back on development and regress rather than progress...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cyprus Needs To Quit

Whatever happens the Cypriot people are going to be suffering for the next few years - just as they've been having an increasingly hard time in the last few. There's no avoiding the pain. But now is the time to see whether there are any Cypriot politicians with the balls to lead the country out of the Euro. Even better, the Cypriots should take the opportunity to leave the EU completely.

A Euro exit will mean that the newly resurrected Cypriot pound will be lower in value than the Euro. The value of people's savings will drop compared to the Euro, but that's unavoidable. While imports will be more expensive, it does mean that Cypriot exports will become cheap, and that tourism - the biggest sector of the economy outside banking - will become more attractive. In time the influx of tourists and the increase in exports will mean an increase in value for the Cypriot pound. And if banks have to fail, as seems likely, then that's what has to happen. Bleeding the people dry to keep the banks of life support ultimately does the economy no good.

Leaving the EU completely will also mean that Cyrpus would be in a better position regarding the influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe. It's a simmering issue in Cyrpus, which has had high rates of immigration from Romania, Bulgaria etc. It's precisely the issue which has given rise to the fascist Golden Dawn party in Greece, and the same thing could happen in Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot far-Right has never lost the desire for Enosis with Greece - a resurgent far-Right, whether it's Golden Dawn or some other local variant - will present even bigger problems in the future.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Huhne Down - Who Next?

I'll admit to a certain grim satisfaction in seeing Chris Huhne sentenced to eight months, I also think he's got off relatively lightly given the charges and the way he did everything in his power to deny the truth for so long. There are plenty in the blogosphere who are saying that Huhne should have been charged for crimes against the economy, the environment and science. That's true enough, but it misses the point that political class that Huhne (and Vicky Pryce come to that), remain firmly in control. The green agenda remains at the heart of political power across the western world, even though the scientific rationale is rapidly unravelling. So, given that, what can we do?

The answer is to attack the powers that be with every weapon available to us. And that means focusing on their areas of weakness, such as expenses, corruption, lying and cheating. It means using the law to bring down individual politicians for all of their transgressions. If we can't prosecute for the lies and hypocrisy implicit in their politics, we must prosecute for the lies and hypocrisy in their personal lives and activities.

Remember, Al Capone was brought down not for extortion, murder or violence, but for tax offences.

A strategy like this won't dislodge an ideology directly, but in time if we can clear out the current lot of thieves it may make room for a new generation to emerge and hopefully, just hopefully, a new generation rid of the green poison that our current masters are imbibing.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jimmy Saville vs Socialist Worker

As a former leftist (yes, I admit it, but I was young, dark-skinned and working class and trapped on a council estate..) I still keep an eye on what the "comrades" are saying. The latest edition of the Socialist Worker (and to be clear, I was never keen on the Trotskyite SWP, especially as an ex-anarchist), includes this snippet from the annual SWP conference:
Julia from Sheffield pointed to the establishment cover-up of the Jimmy Saville case saying that it showed that "the ruling class protect their own".
Who knew that Jimmy Saville was a member of the ruling class? There was me thinking that he was just some creepy light entertainer from up North... Now we know, Saville was a member of the grand bourgeoisie out the keep the proletariat in chains. Still, the comrades of the SWP are on the case. Yep, so long, that is, as the abuser is white and a member of the working classes:
She contrasted it to the racism that has gone along with the discussion of the grooming and abuse of young women.
The moral of this tale is that if you're going to abuse young women make sure you're my colour and not Jimmy Saville.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Thorium Power - In The News Again

I've written about the prospects for thorium power a few times in the past, here for example:

Periodically the subject rears it's head in the mainstream press, the latest example being a piece by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at the Telegraph. He finishes his article thus:
If the Chinese can crack thorium, the world will need less oil, coal, and gas than feared. Wind turbines will vanish from our landscape. There will less risk of a global energy crunch, less risk of resource wars, and less risk of a climate tipping point.
Well, forget the nonsense about climate tipping points, the real good news is that cheap power is essential for global economic development. And, as he rightly points out, a cheap source of power - like shale, as well as thorium - could finally tip the balance away from wind farms once and for all. And that's precisely why the greens will do all they can to fight thorium power in the same way they're fighting shale. Some of the more far-sighted environmentalists will even concede the point about wind farms but will advocate we go for fusion power instead - precisely because that's so far from reality.

Still, if does look as though the prospects for commercial thorium power are improving. However, it would be a shame if the cheapness and relative abundance of shale actually ended up stifling thorium research...

Friday, January 04, 2013

No correlation between global temperatures and CO2

For a good start to the New Year how about taking a look at a recent paper published in the journal Earth System Dynamics? Entitled 'Polynomial cointegration tests of anthropogenic impact on global warming' the paper, which is published as open access and can be downloaded for free, the paper uses robust statistical methods to test for spurious correlations between global temperature and the main drivers of the greenhouse effect (eg CO2, aerosols, total solar irradiance).

To quote from the abstract:
We show that although these anthropogenic forcings share a common stochastic trend, this trend is empirically independent of the stochastic trend in temperature and solar irradiance. Therefore, greenhouse gas forcing, aerosols, solar irradiance and global temperature are not polynomially cointegrated. This implies that recent global warming is not statistically significantly related to anthropogenic forcing. On the other hand, we find that greenhouse gas forcing might have had a temporary effect on global temperature.
Or from the paper itself:
We have shown that anthropogenic forcings do not polynomially cointegrate with global temperature and solar irradiance. Therefore, data for 1880–2007 do not support the anthropogenic interpretation of global warming during this period.
Given the complexity of Earth’s climate, and our incomplete understanding of it, it is difficult to attribute to carbon emissions and other anthropogenic phenomena the main cause for global warming in the 20th century.
Also worth reading are the reviewers comments, which are very positive, a point to keep in mind when the paper is attacked by the climate faithful. And, as always in these situations, we can only speculate on the orgy of publicity (not least from the BBC) the paper would have generated had the results shown a true correlation between CO2 and global temperatures...