Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Freezing Cancer Patients

One of the stories that appeared in the press over Christmas was based on a report from Macmillan Cancer Support about cancer patients and fuel poverty. According to its own figures, the number of patients needing financial support for fuel payments has increased markedly in the last few years.

Of course nobody should be surprised by this. Our politicians regularly admonish the fuel companies for making 'fuel poverty' worse - conveniently ignoring their own role in driving the increase in costs. It's the natural consequence of environmental legislation to fight 'climate change'. And, as I can attest as a trustee of a small cancer charity, cancer patients are especially vulnerable.

However, we mustn't ignore the part played in all of this by our medical establishment. The medical profession are among the front ranks of climate alarmism. They have trumpeted the lies and the hysteria from the beginning, from journal articles and papers in the BMJ and the Lancet, to working for the NHS to become 'carbon neutral'.

How many of those medics will stop to think of the effect that this climate alarmism is having on their patients?

And it's not just fuel poverty - how much money that could be spent of cancer treatments is being wasted on fighting 'climate change'? As one blogger has put it:

the NHS will be paying our money on carbon off-setting instead of investing in new treatments, or improving the existing treatments.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Climate Change Sceptics - Craving A Cause

Climate change sceptics, according to Lisa Jardine, Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, have:
...created an intricate web of their own associations and allusions, to produce their version of an alternative story which runs contrary to that of mainstream science.
This is an article on the BBC news website ostensibly about the novelist Umberto Eco, and in particular about his second novel, Foucault's Pendulum. As she describes it, the novel is about "...the credulity of those who crave a cause to believe in." She describes the outlines of the novel, which involves an elaborate conspiracy and a manufactured alternate history of the Knights Templar. In time one of the authors of this occult history is killed by people who believe it is true, and who are convinced that he holds more secrets that he is unwilling to reveal.

Aside from being very pleased with herself for being clever in front of Eco during an interview, the article says a lot more about Jardine's mindset - and that of the BBC - than it does about climate change scepticism.

You see, Jardine feels that only those people who are on the outside looking in, those who feel excluded in some way, become sceptics in order to have something to believe in. We are, as the title of the article suggests 'craving a cause'. To climate scientists she says:
Perhaps it is time to acknowledge that international scientific near consensus is not enough to allay the fears of those who feel left out of the whole debate.
Now, personally, I feel deeply affronted by all of this. I have a PhD in a scientific discipline, I work as a mathematical modeller, I read the scientific literature and I do my research. Like many sceptics I started out wanting to understand more about the science. I had seen the hockey stick graph, I was a Guardian reading warmist who despised the United States for not signing the Kyoto Treaty. I saw the IPCC as representing an honest and robust view of the science. It was settled, I just wanted to find out more. And that's where the problem started.

In reading more widely, and at a deeper level than the New Scientist or Scientific American, I came away deeply disturbed. It had simply never entered my consciousness that so much of the evidence was model output. As a modeller this is stuff I am familiar with, it's what I earned my PhD doing. And as for the physical evidence, I was amazed at the lack of it.

And, it has to be said, far from craving a cause, I thought I had had one in wanting to fight climate change. If ever there was a cause that inflamed peoples passions and gave them something to believe in it was the fight against CO2-induced climate change.

What I discovered has caused me to question so much of what I took for granted. The people I once saw as political allies I now see as pernicious and dangerous. This has caused all kinds of arguments and strained relationships with family and friends. It's certainly not been an easy ride - I would have been better off ignoring the science and sticking to the Guardian. But I couldn't. You see, unfashionable as it might be to some, I actually believe in the scientific method. I actually think that science is not just another discourse, science is different, science has to be honest.

Jardine is blind to all of this, of course. In her simplistic world there is the 'near consensus' on one hand, and the cranks, conspiracy theorists and the excluded on the other. It would not enter her head that there are many scientists out there who disagree with AGW. It would not occur to her that the state of ignorance about climate is vast, and that far from being settled, the science is becoming more uncertain as more research is performed. And it would not occur to her to actually look at what Climategate revealed, or to look as the inner workings of the IPCC. To her and to her kind, the favoured circle of climate scientists are the good guys, the rest of us are not.

If we're talking about Umberto Eco, I would say that it's his first novel one should look at. In The Name of The Rose we have the story of a fanatical priesthood prepared to go to any steps to keep people from getting at the data (in this case a manuscript by Aristotle). The hero of the novel is William of Occam, the archetypal sceptic and one of the founders of the scientific method. The parallels with climate change are obvious, and require none of the intellectual contortions that Jardine has to go through tp make her point.

Come to think of it, maybe I do feel excluded now, thanks to people like her. But the feeling of exclusion came second, long after I had changed my mind because of the science.

Silence On Europe

Given my stated desire to see the Euro and the EU collapse and die, my recent silence on the matter might seem strange. However, there's a simple explanation - the fact is that there are two blogs which say it all: Richard North's EUReferendum and Mary Ellen Synon's blog at the Daily Mail. These two blogs are streets ahead of the mainstream press, ahead of most commentators in the blogosphere and way, way, way ahead of anything I can say on the topic.

I know it goes against the blogging credo, but I won't pretend a knowledge or competence I don't have. Instead I'd refer people to keep an eye on what North and Synon both have to say - and to then compare and contrast with the drivel that most of the media produces. In particular, the contrast between these two and the BBC is striking. The BBC would make the North Korean state media proud.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Stunning Endorsement...

Seema Malhotra, the newly elected MP for Felthmam and Heston, claims her "victory" is a vote of confidence in the leadership of Ed Milliband. And she's right. It's a stunning vote of confidence. At a time when the global economy is heading over the edge of a cliff, the Euro is collapsing and we all look ahead with a deep sense of foreboding, a massive 15.7% of the electorate in her constituency felt that Ed Milliband's leadership was worth a vote.

It's a truly sad state of affairs that our political classes have colluded in making politics about as relevant as a Christmas Panto in Easter. Having ceded real power to the EU, been up to their necks in fiddles and graft and pretty much focused on making political debate an idea-free zone, is it any wonder than so few of us can be bothered to get up and vote. You can bet that they'll be earnest discussions on how to make politics relevant again - but by relevant they mean something very different to what we mean by it. To them relevant means that you go through the motions and vote in elections. That you sign up to their moribund parties. That you appear engaged in whatever narrative they're offering.

What we mean by relevant is entirely different. It means having real influence and power, of forcing our elected representatives to truly represent us. It means having a handle on how things are run, how decisions are made and being able to change things. It means being able to control the purse strings, vote directly on issues (yes, that means holding referendums) and having the ability to recall and reject politicians.

Instead of these ideas, we'll be subjected to those favoured by our politicians, many of them imported from the Euro class. Ideas like compulsory voting, various forms of proportional representation and the state funding of political parties. All of these should be rejected. Instead we need to push for our alternatives - and we need to push for things like Richard North's Referism. The idea might or might not work, but it does represent a radical departure from what the political class want.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thank you, Canada

Thank you, Canada. Thank you for formally dumping the dead treaty that is Kyoto. For leading the way so that hopefully others can follow.

All you need to do now is withdraw from the UN's various climate bodies - to follow through completely. Do this and you'll have the undying love and admiration of climate realists the world over. The BBC will of course declare war  on you, but that's a small price to pay for daring to show true leadership.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chris Huhne Visits This Site

As has long been suspected, Chris Huhne is a visitor to this site. We now have definitive proof. The trap was set when a poll was added to the site - our first ever. The question was straightforward enough:

Who is the most stupid person in the government?

There was one clear front-runner: Chris Huhne. He lead the pack from the beginner, with a clear 100% of votes going to him. For a while it looked like the poll would end with that clear and overwhelming result. However, at the last minute somebody visited the site and voted for somebody else. This voter can have been none other than Chris Huhne himself. He cast his vote for David Cameron, confirming once and for all his identity.

Chris, should you drop by again, please do us all a favour and resign...

Friday, December 09, 2011

Polar Bear Cannibal Holocaust

Delingpole has already picked up on the Polar Bear Cannibal Holocaust story from the the BBC. A story that is illustrated with a photo of the nasty deed being committed. Of course according to the BBC it's not just the polar bear cub who is the victim, it's also the male polar bear who has killed and eaten the cub. It's a victim, of course, of global warming. We all know that before CO2 sizzled the planet polar bears would never have devoured their own...

When I mentioned this strange occurence to sprog #3, he reminded me that he had an old book on polar bears that he bought at the local library when he was younger. This august tome is entitled Polar Star, by Sally Grindley and John Butler, and was published in the dim and distant year of 1997 (ISBN 1860394221). In this kids book we discover that, shock horror, male polar bears sometimes devour young cubs, and the book even features a sequence where a mother defends her cubs from the predatory male...

Here's the cover of the book...

The sequence where the predatory male attacks the cub begins here:

The text itself states:

And all of this without mention of melting ice, rising sea levels, global warming or CO2.

Where's David Attenborough when you need him, eh?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

40% of cancers caused by life-style choices

Well, at least that's what the headlines are telling us - and there are plenty of headlines based on these figures right across the media.

Now I know it's a bit much to expect scepticism from the likes of the BBC, but I'm really surprised by the lack of critical comment or scepticism that has greeted such a shocking claim. So far I've found two places where the figures are queried.

Spiked Online take a gander here: discuss it here:

Has anyone found other articles that do more than regurgitate the press release?

Seeing as this report is being seized on by 'health activists' the world over, you can bet your life that these figures are going to be quoted again and again to support all kinds of new restrictions on food and alcohol.

Scottish Madness

In a bid to out-mad the rest of the UK, the Scots government decided that the EU's commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020 was piddly, that the UK's commitment of a 34% drop was derisory, and that Scotland could out-mad the world by going for a massive (and impossible to acheive) target of a 44% reduction. Yep, 42%.

Of course there's a massive cost to this madness, which has just been estimated at £11bn, which seems mighty low to me. But then again we are in the world of make believe here. How else could you explain statements such as this one, from SNP MSP Rob Gibson, convener of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee at Holyrood:
The SNP Government has made a commitment to this country which has the world's best developing technologies and energy resources in wind, hydro, biofuels, and the exciting future industries of tidal and wave and photovoltaic (solar) technologies.
Photovoltaic in Scotland?

Absolute madness that shows no signs of abating. Of course, this kind of nonsense is aided and abetted by the BBC, who in their report on the topic insist on describing CO2 as pollution. Perhaps BBC journalists don't breathe in the same way we do...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

And for our next trick...

There's a fair amount of comment about the Merkozy plan for a European fiscal union, much of it along the lines of 'they're having a laugh, they'll never get treaty change through in any time frame that makes sense.' Critics point to the glacial pace of treaty change, and the high probability that the first referendum on change will give a resulting no vote (in whichever country it's in). So, is Merkozy just blowing smoke and hoping that the illusion of change will be enough to calm the markets so the Euro can ride the storm enough to survive?

Unfortunately all of that is predicated on the theory that our Euro class politicians play by their own rules. Having engineered two coups - Greece and Italy - do people really think the Euro class are not emboldened by the crisis? The stakes have never been higher, there is no way on earth that the Euro class can afford to pay attention to the wishes of any electorates.

Mary Ellen Synon can already see the lie of the land. She has a must-read blog at the Mail, which ends:
What we have now is a German and French-led EU cartel which has so far pulled off coups in Greece and Italy. Each of those states is now ruled by unelected governments dropped into office by Berlin, Paris, the European Commission and the European Central Bank

These successful coups have made Germany and France confident of further success. They are on a roll: next target, a coup of the entire system of EU treaty law covering fiscal powers.

And here’s the surprising part – or maybe not so surprising, given his history of Vichy-like behaviour – Merkozy can count on the cooperation of David Cameron in this manoeuvre to stop any chance of any of the peoples of the eurozone countries being given a chance to vote ‘No!’

What we saw today in Paris was an announcement by Merkozy that they intend to go ahead with their drive to destroy democracy across 17 European states. By agreeing to this -- and he will -- Mr Cameron will act as collaborator in establishing Germany and France as the fiscal commanders over these nations of Europe.

Across Europe, one can only feel dread. In Britain, one ought to feel shame as well.
Keep that in mind when you hear reports that:

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said Standard & Poor's (S&P) threat to downgrade eurozone countries is the "best possible incentive" ahead of Friday's summit.
Statists never let a crisis go to waste.  Merkozy need the threat of disaster to keep their less confident colleagues in line.
Our politicians can bleat about how we are protected from further treaty change by a referendum, but what if everything that the Euro class needs can be magicked out of existing text? Expecting the Euro class to play by the rules is as naive as believing that Cameron et al are really Euro sceptics at heart.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Frermany Calling! Frermany Calling!

With the moves for political union gaining afoot, any talk from 'our' Euro-class about 'the national interest' is more smokescreen than anything else. We can expect the usual prattle about losing our influence, of being left out in the cold, of being in the slow lane of a two-speed Europe etc. We've heard it all before. But time and again our Euro class puts it's own interests first. And that interest lies firmly in the EU.

With Merkozy making all the running, Cameron and co will squirm, pout and pose in front of the cameras, but they'll not say no. They never do.

Our only hope is that the Euro does collapse - even though the consequences fill most of us with dread...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Ten Days To Shake The World?

The headline in today's Metro is certainly eye-catching: Save the euro in 10 days or see the EU fall apart, European leaders warned

The destruction of the Euro is necessary - it's the best chance we have of destroying the EU. Let's be clear, no amount of Euro-plastic tinkering is going to make any real difference. The colleagues are all-out for political integration, only the collapse of the Euro can stop that. They've already beggared Greece for generations, and they have no qualms about doing the same to the rest of us. For the Euro-class, economic destruction across the continent is a small price to pay to make sure the 'project' succeeds.

However, what's the likely cost of a Euro collapse? To pretend that because we're not in the Euro we have any real insulation is a fantasy. It's going to hurt like hell.

According to economist Danny Gabay, an economist at Fathom Consulting (quoted by the Economist ), we can expect:
Our simulation implies that the impact of a disorderly euro break-up on the UK will be roughly half as bad again as the collapse of Lehman Brothers.The UK economy contracts by over 7% between now and 2013, assuming a euro default in early 2012.

Moreover in the absence of massive monetary easing to prevent sterling from rising by upwards of 35%, we see the UK slipping into deflation, which would make servicing its debt even harder. And you can forget those fiscal targets, In our simulation, the austerity measures are simply overwhelmed by the impact such a huge sovereign default event has on global bond yields. Even with austerity, we see UK bond yields rising above 10% by 2013
In other words we're talking major recession again. It's time our political class started to prepare for this, but Osborne and the Office of Budget Resposibility are decidedly looking the other way. Can anyone really believe that public debt is not going to sky-rocket above the magic 80% figure when all this goes off?

If there was ever a perfect time to seriously cut back on climate change spending, the endless layers of quangos (still largely untouched by the promised 'bonfire') and pointless foreign adventures, it's now.

Update: It looks like things are hotting up, with the latest spate of announcements from Mervyn King et al. Meanwhile, there are more important things to think about... Like the faux outrage over Jeremy Clarksons comments.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nobody Rules The World

Looking at the news these days I am increasingly reminded of something from one of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's books (probably The Black Swan). He describes life in civil-war era Beirut, with shelling and bombardments a daily occurrence. Taleb had family members high up in the government - he comes from a prominent Orthodox family - and he recalls life in the bunker during a period of prolonged shelling from the other side of the city. He saw senior politicians reading the newspapers trying to work out what was going on - and these same newspapers were assuming that they, as well-connected politicians, could explain it to them. The fact was that nobody really knew what was going on and why. Who was bombing whom? Why this particular outburst of shelling? Nobody knew, it was random, chaotic (which is why Taleb describes it, of course), but the presss and politicians were desperate for a narrative that took away that essential element of randomness.

I see the same things now. Our politicians are in the bunker. They don't have a clue as to what's going on. They avidly devour the newspapers looking for clues. And our mainstream media search for oracular scraps in the half-baked musings of our politicians, as though they have any idea of what's happening. They don't get. Deep in the bunker they're desperately searching for the narrative that will take away the randomness. But the truth is that the global economy is a chaotic, turbulent system that nobody can control. All those who think that Wall St controls the world - you're nuts. All those who think it's the IMF - nuts too. The Jews? The Illuminati? Nuts. Politicians? Nuts. The truth is that nobody runs the world.

But that doesn't stop our political classes meddling. The hardest thing in the world for a politician to do is to stand back and do nothing. That would have been the right thing to do a few years ago. All that bollocks about too big to fail? Well, all that did was making the teetering failures even bigger. Let Greece fail? If it had been kicked out of the Euro and allowed to default, then it might have worked. As it is, now it's the Euro as a whole that's failing.

Of course, in the European bunker the urge 'to do something' is strongest. And the Euro-class only has one game plan - greater political union. And they'll carry on with that script regardless of how bad it actually makes things. Regime uncertainty is a killer - and so long as politicians keep coming up with this initiative and that initiative, that uncertainty will persist. The way to stop that uncertainty is to step back and make no new plans, create no new mechanisms, do nothing. But then to do that means admitting politicians do not rule the world. And it means stopping the moves towards full political integration.

As if that's ever going to happen.

Monday, November 28, 2011

99.9997% impressed

I am always 99.9997% impressed when I see predictions quoted with levels of accuracy that far exceed measurement error. Take for example the latest OECD prediction of a contraction in this quarter (according to the BBC):

For the UK, the OECD's predictions are a 0.03% contraction this quarter, and a further 0.15% next.

Wow, 0.03%. They can measure a massive economy like ours to that level of accuracy? That's impressive.

It's like believing that we can predict global temperatures to fractions of a degree.

Sometimes I think we should just take Excel away from people who really don't have any common sense skills when it comes to numeracy...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shock Horror - BBC Reports On Lowered CO2 Sensitivity

Is this a sign of things to come as the latest UN climate fest Durban looks set to be a wash-out? There's a report on the BBC web site about a new paper in Science that looks again at climate sensitivity. And, as the BBC reports, it finds a much lower range of sensitivity than the current IPCC estimates. To quote the report:

The new models predict that given a doubling in CO2 levels from pre-industrial levels, the Earth's surface temperatures will rise by 1.7 to 2.6 degrees C.
Now what is interesting here, over and above the results themselves, is that the report doesn't come from Richard Black or Roger Harrabin, who are arch climate alarmists and who normally cover these stories. Furthermore, there are no quotes from any of the Hockey team, none from Bob Ward or indeed any of the other usual suspects.

Of course, there are the obligatory boiler-plate warnings about CO2, but even this is relatively circumspect:

The authors stress the results do not mean threat from human-induced climate change should be treated any less seriously, explained palaeoclimatologist Antoni Rosell-Mele from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, who is a member of the team that came up with the new estimates. 

But it does mean that to induce large-scale warming of the planet, leading to widespread catastrophic consequences, we would have to increase CO2 more than we are going to do in the near future, he said.
Could this new cautious tone from the BBC be the shape of things to come. Perhaps the recent spate of reports that show just how compromised the BBC is when it comes to climate change is starting to have an effect. The Climategate 2.0 emails can only help. Hopefully...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Climategate 2.0 - Phil Jones on Judith Curry's 'inferiority complex'

More from Phil Jones and Tom Wigley. As bluegrue has pointed out in a comment below, the capitalised sections are Tom Wigley's. This is from #5256 - where we learn about Judith Curry's 'inferiority complex...' The more interesting bits I've bolded...

     THanx Phil. Some comments in caps ....
     Phil Jones wrote:

         Off tomorrow and not back in CRU till March 10. I'm not supposed to
      talk to anyone of the report authors !  There was a lot of odd things
      said after the presentations in Chicago last week. We're charged with
      writing a report, which will be published, but you get to rewrite the report
      and no-one sees the one we looked at !  What is the point of publishing it !
         Roger Pielke didn't come out of it too well. Some thought he had some
      good ideas but didn't express them very well. Most thought he just didn't
      express them very well. All thought Ben's was the best chapter. Almost
      all think RSS is right. Also why is Fu et al. dismissed as controversial?


       Likely most work will be needed on Ch 6 and 1, then 2-4 and least for 5.
      The Exec Summary was deemed OK, but it isn't a summary of the report,


      so you'll have to do some major reworking.
         Remember I didn't tell you all this. Lots of details to come - not sure when.
      Seems a long-winded process.



Climategate 2.0 - More errors that Al's DVD

From the Climategate 2.0 emails - this from #5215. It's Phil Jones to Kevin Trenberth:

>  Kevin,
>         Just sent an email to Martin and also Renate suggesting that
> when Patchy
>   collects the prize in Oslo, IPCC gets it scanned and sent to all of us
> on
>   AR4. We can then print it off, frame it and put it on a wall!  They
> won't
>   get it for ages. It might be worth a few more of us suggesting
> something like this.
>        I know its for more than just AR4, but for all the Assessments, but
> they
>   will only have these recent email lists.
>         Secondly, next time you see Chris Landsea, maybe you can tell him
> he
>   opted out the prize!
>        All weekend op-ed pieces here were very begrudging in their praise
> for
>   Al Gore.  The award was for IPCC and Al Gore, which most also got wrong
> here.
>   Also, some said it was from Sweden and not Norway. Reporting was quite
> poor.
>      Finally, that idiot Lord Monckton or Brenchly, is making his own
> DVD, based
>   on that awful Ch 4 program 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' !
> Hopefully soon
>   Ofcom (the UK group who assesses complaints against programs) will have
> ruled
>   on that program - which had many more errors than Al's DVD.
>   Cheers
>   Phil

Aside from the snide remarks aimed at Chris Landsea and Monckton, there's an admission that Al Gore's DVD contained errors. Anyone ever hear Phil Jones criticise An Inconvenient Truth before?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Get Ready For Climategate 2.0...

Documents downloadable here:

Discussions already started by Jeff Id here and Steve McIntyre is also on the case...

Also quick off the mark are the BBC.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Prince Phillip Is No Friend

There was some glee in the media over the weekend regarding the Duke of Edinburgh's comments on windfarms. While we can take it in good fun because it pokes one in the eye of the establishment line, let's not go too overboard with whether his comments have wider significance or not. Firsly, the comments are in the Prince Phillip tradition: highly non-PC. Where his number one son is ultra-PC on everything, Phillip delights in mocking the pieties of the day. And, let's not forget, the media takes just as much delight in reporting his comments, with varying degrees of mock outrage attending. So, in this respect at least, it's business as usual. There's the added frisson from diving cracks in the family, but again, that's par for the course when it comes to royal reporting.

And, lest we get too carried away, let's not forget that Prince Phillip is no friend of humanity. He is as misanthropic as they come, with a history of comments on over-population, environmentalism and the like. He might not like wind-farms, but it's only because they get in the way of his view of the landscape. He loves Earth first, humanity are an after-thought, and not a very welcome one at that. For example how's this for a quote:

In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.

There are plenty more such quotes here:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Remember, remember the 17th of November

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the 1973 Athens Polytechnic uprising against the Junta of the Greek Colonels. It has long been the key date in the calendar for Greek radicals, and often the demontsrations that commerarte the rising end in violence. It was also chosen as the name for the Greek terrorist organisation 17N, which was active for many years.

Given the current crisis in Greece it will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. Both in terms of the size of the demonstrations and also how violent they get - if there was ever a date for expressing opposition to the EUnity government it's the 17th. More interesting will be the response from the state. Will they let things slide or can we expect a swift and violent crackdown?

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Menace To Society

Sprog #1 is a teacher in a primary school in south west London. Her intake this year is a barely socialised rabble of five and six year olds, many of whom have difficulty with things like going to the toilet, getting dressed, eating at the table and so on. The class also includes a small group of boys prone to bouts of quite extreme violence, which, when allied to hair-line tempers, does not make for an easy time. Fights are common, and we're not talking a bit of pushing and shoving. The parents are often as feral as the children, and most weeks the school ends up having to call the police to remove parents who are aggressive or violent at the school.

This week one of the kids got into a fight on three separate occasions. When the kid was removed from the class and sent to the headmistress there was at least some expectation that at the third fight of the week some sanction could be applied. Ten minutes with the headmistress and the kid was back in the classroom, with a pile of play-dough to keep him happy. My daughter expressed her displeasure and demanded that something be done. At the very least the kid should miss play-time. No, the headmistress countered, the child could miss two or three minutes of play-time. Any more, the headmistress continued, would be to infringe on the child's human rights.

Nope, I kid you not. The headmistress really did say that, and she was being dead serious. To say that my daughter was incredulous is to understate things. So, a kid who is repeatedly violent and disruptive cannot miss out of play-time because it infringes his human rights. The teacher has no other sanction. None.

What about the human rights of the kids on the receiving end of the violence? Or the human rights of the whole class? Or even the human rights of the staff? None of those matter. What matters is the human rights of the a child who is violent and disruptive. Indeed, what about his human right to an education?

This child, and the others like him, runs riot at home and school. His parents don't care or can't control him. School is the one place that ought to be able to help him learn that he cannot carry on like that. But no, this headmistress, and the rest of her senior staff, will not help that kid at all. Better to let him trash the place then to impose some form of discipline - even of the mildest sort, such as missing play-time.

What does that kid learn? That being disruptive means you get to play with extra stuff and that there's no down-side. What do the other kids learn? That there's no profit in being good. And what does my daughter learn? That she's in the wrong school and that she can't help these kids, so has to leave for a better school.

This headmistress is a menace to society, as are the others like her, both in schools and in the education system as a whole. She does a disservice to all, including the kids who can't control themselves. She's making sure that the kids in her care are sabotaged in their education, trapped by their circumstances and the misfortune to be born poor in that part of London.

Two of our kids have gone through the system and the third is still working his way through secondary school. We've seen some great teaching and some good schools in the state system. But what we see, year on year, is a steady deterioration. And we look and we despair when we see what's going on.

It's not just the schools, what we see and hear about the next generation of kids, the ones in primary school now, really does scare the hell out of us.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chris Huhne Is A Moron

Chris Huhne does a really good job in the Telegraph. As Andrew Orlowski notes in The Register, Huhne helpfully "shows us why we need a new Energy Minister."

Huhne's contention is that this government will not bow to demands to 'abandon everything else for shale'. This is another example of the straw man argument that environmentalists love to attack. In the same way that they can pretend that sceptics dispute that there has been warming in the last two hundred years - which allows greens to state that 'warming is real' as though that's the end of the argument - so Huhne makes the claim that advocates of shale want to drop all other forms of energy generation. Of course it's absolute nonsense, but it enables Huhne to stand firm and tell us that windfarms are here to stay.

Another of his statements is worth picking out: Government should not pick winners.

Now, a truth almost universally acknowledged is that governments can't pick winners. Neither can most investors or business people. Winners emerge through an evolutionary process, bad ideas lead to bankruptcy and loss (or they would if governments didn't keep deciding that politically favoured industries or companies are too big to fail or in need of some other form of protection). But Huhne is unable to see that what his government is doing is shielding 'renewable' energy companies from the competition that would decide whether they are really winners or losers. In point of fact, even with plenty of subsidy, wind and solar are pretty much losers.

The real question to ask, and one which Huhne ducks, is whether shale will even be allowed to enter the competition. Huhne enumerates the many reasons why gas is a good source of energy, but in his eyes it is clear that what stands in its favour is the ability to provide back-up power for when the wind doesn't blow and the windfarms stand idle. And, to this effect, he states that:

We are keen that the market continues to invest in the capacity, storage and infrastructure to support our import needs, and are working with Ofgem to sharpen the incentives to ensure that suppliers can meet demand.

So, it's OK to import the stuff, but that's as far as it goes.

However, it's also clear that the pressure to go for shale is building. Good. We need to increase the pressure. Once shale is up and running then we'll see just how competitive the windfarms, solar and other 'renewables' really are. Anyone care to bet on windfarms coming out on top? No, I thought not...

Pap Is Gone - For Now...

Do not imagine for one moment that Papandreou is finished. He took a major gamble and at times it looked like he had pulled it off - but in the end spooking Merkozy was a step too far. And the ploy of going to the people with a referendum was never going to play well with the colonial masters in Brussels. However, the fact that he's temporarily vacated the premiership doesn't mean he's finished. Far from it.

First, PASOK is not an ideological party in the same sense as the Greek Communist Party (KKE). PASOK is an organisation based around Papandreou - patronage and nepotism are everything. Parties are assembled around strong leaders, and how they chose to deck themselves ideologically is a secondary concern. Without Papandreou there is no PASOK.

Secondly with a Eurocrat now at the helm, Papandreou can remain on the side-lines until it all goes horribly wrong. When it does, he can rightly point out that he wasn't in charge, that he had been pushed out by the EU and that he's the one who wanted to let the people  have their say. It's a sensible move on his part, even if he was unwilling to let go, he can now side-step some of the blame when it all fails. And of course, he play the martyr card - he has suffered just as the Greek people have suffered...

But, if the miracle occurs and the new government staves off the disaster, Papandreou can still benefit. PASOK was there getting things done. He runs PASOK, therefore he gets some credit. And he could argue that without his interventions things would have been much worse.

It might well be then, that for Papandreou handing over power might only be temporary.

In the meantime, the Greek people are being written out of the story completely. This ought to be a lesson for all the peoples of the EU.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

In Praise of Judith Curry

It sometimes seems that Professor Judith Curry can do no right. She is a prominent mainstream climatologist, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who has broken ranks and has, for a number of years now, been engaging with the sceptic side. One of her interests in this is to get away from the tribal nature of the climate debate, and indeed  her blog 'climate etc', is one that attracts all sides of the debate. Aside from her strong condemnation of the 'team' after the Climategate scandal, she also went on record with some fairly scathing criticisms of the behaviour of Richard Muller and the science by press release around the preliminary BEST results (see her response in the Mail on Sunday, for example).

As you would expect, this has not endeared her to many of her more alarmist colleagues. In the latest spat, former IPCC author Richard Tol has accused her of spreading misinformation because she allowed two sceptical scientists to post details of their peer-reviewed papers on her blog. Apparently in doing this, she has lent her authority and credibility to scientists whose work should have been ignored.

The attacks from the warmist side are what you expect - she is guilty of consorting with heretics. If not a traitor, she is seen as aiding and abetting the sceptic cause, even if she is not herself a sceptic.

However, the fact that she is not an out and out sceptic also gets her flak from some on the sceptic side. For example, prominent sceptics like Willis Eschenbach has been quite forthright in some of his comments. At the moment most of the flak seems to be coming from the warmist side, but that seems to buy her no respite from some people on the sceptic side.

So, Judith Curry get flak from both sides. On the one hand for being too sceptical, on the other for not being sceptical enough.

This 'shot by both sides' perfectly encapsulates the tribalism of much of the climate debate. For two many people there can only be two camps - there's little room for shades of grey. As I have blogged before, there are more dimensions to the science/debate than most people care to acknowledge.

In terms of the science, as a non-climatologist I would characterise her position as increasingly 'luke warmist' - she is rowing back from the alarmism exemplified by the IPCC, the Hockey Stick team and people like James Hansen. In fact, I really do wonder now what the major difference is between Judith Curry's position and someone like Pat Michaels, who is considered firmly on the sceptic side.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Greek People Must Respond

After all of the high drama of last week - political theatre in the birth-place of theatre, rather than democracy in the birth-place of democracy - the dust is starting to settle. What is already abundantly clear is that the referendum was simply a high-stakes ploy by Papandreou. He needed to rein in elements of his own party and to scare the hell-out of the opposition. To do this successfully meant he had to rile the Merkozy monster - which is what happened. The response was swift enough - Papandreou is still in power and the threat of a referendum has been withdrawn. It was a smart game plan, but then Papandreou has got politics in his genes.

What we have to watch for now is the reactions on the streets in Greece and the reactions in Brussels. The Greek people were promised a chance to have a say, that is withdrawn. By rights that ought to lead to even more anger and a refusal of the Greek people to let the political classes have their way. Rather than calming things down, it ought to inflame them even more.

It will also be interesting to see how things develop in the rest of the EU. The prospect of Greece leaving the Euro, and of the EU altogether, has now been raised. Even if the politicians in the EU would want to pretend it never happened, the voters of France, Germany and the rest have seen the prospect dangled in front of their eyes.

The future needs to be decided by the people of Europe, not by the political establishment. It's up to the peoples to make their anger felt - and that doesn't mean more lame 'occupy main street' events designed to appeal to the liberal media, but in real street protests and in voting for those who reject the cosy EU consensus.

Let's have no more talk of 'renegotiations' or 'bringing back powers' - the only way forward is to change our political classes once and for all, and in destroying the EU completely. You can only do the latter by succeeding in the former.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Wily old Pap?

Richard North of EUReferendum has some interesting things to say about Papandreou's decision to call a referendum. Perhaps it wasn't such a surprise after all, and that Papandreou had previously signalled his intention to 'go to the people' in some way that didn't involve calling a general election that he'd most likely lose. However, the fact remains that he's playing a high stakes strategy, and the potential is there for the Greek people to really upset the EU apple cart. And, to stop this we know that the colleagues will go all out to cajole, frighten, bribe and otherwise ensure that the Greeks make the desired choice.

But, given the mood in the streets, it's not clear that the old strategies that worked in Ireland, for example, will work here. As a piece in the New York Times notes:
Many Greek voters say they are tired of hearing about decisions taken in foreign capitals and political initiatives that do not represent ordinary Greeks. “The government is no longer in control - others are calling the shots,” said Akis Tsirogiannis, a 42-year-old father who recently lost his job at a furniture workshop in Athens.
He said he would vote against the debt deal in a referendum. “This deal, like all the others, is a life sentence of austerity for Greeks,” he said. “We need to reclaim our country.”
As always, when it comes to the EU, nothing should be taken for granted. They've got plenty of previous when it comes to subverting popular opinion. The question is, can they pull it off when the stakes - and the anger - are so high?

Matt Ridley on Scientific Heresy

An absolutely must-read article is Matt Ridley's Angus Millar lecture at the RSA in Edinburgh, reprinted at Bishop Hill (

In discussingwhy it matters that the pseudo-science that is climate alarmism has become so powerful, Ridley points out:

Well here’s why it matters. The alarmists have been handed power over our lives; the heretics have not. Remember Britain’s unilateral climate act is officially expected to cost the hard-pressed UK economy £18.3 billion a year for the next 39 years and achieve an unmeasurably small change in carbon dioxide levels.

At least sceptics do not cover the hills of Scotland with useless, expensive, duke-subsidising wind turbines whose manufacture causes pollution in Inner Mongolia and which kill rare raptors such as this griffon vulture.

At least crop circle believers cannot almost double your electricity bills and increase fuel poverty while driving jobs to Asia, to support their fetish.

At least creationists have not persuaded the BBC that balanced reporting is no longer necessary.

At least homeopaths have not made expensive condensing boilers, which shut down in cold weather, compulsory, as John Prescott did in 2005.

At least astrologers have not driven millions of people into real hunger, perhaps killing 192,000 last year according to one conservative estimate, by diverting 5% of the world’s grain crop into motor fuel.

That’s why it matters. We’ve been asked to take some very painful cures. So we need to be sure the patient has a brain tumour rather than a nosebleed.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Greek EU Referendum

George Papandreou's announcement of a Greek referendum on the latest EU-imposed bail out package seems to have blind-sided everyone. You can almost hear the sphincters tightening in Berlin and Paris. Like a lot of people who want the EU to crash and burn, I'll be hoping for a solid No vote from the Greeks. It ought to be a clear cut decision, but like anything to do with the EU, nothing should be taken for granted.

For example, the Greek political class will do all they can to convince people that beggary under the EU is preferable to beggary outside of it. They'll be all kinds of dire prognosticians in the media, particularly the international media.

We should also expect an increase in civil strife in Greece. There are already significant differences between the forces out on the streets. In particular there's a deep distrust between the Greek Communists and allies, and the anarchists and autonmists on the other. There have been times when this has turned violent, with Greek communists siding with the police to attack the anarchists.

In the case of a referendum the anarchists would be ideologically opposed to it because they distrust politicians and because they will see it as a means of taking the focus away from the streets and back into the formal political process. Perhaps this is one of Papandreou's reasons, because taking the heat out of the street protests is becoming increasingly hard to do. The more he unleashes the police and military forces, the more it ramps things up, and the more dangerous it becomes for the police and military to be involved in politics...

A Perfect FIT?

There have been predictable howls of outrage following the announcement that the UK government is to halve the feed in tariffs for solar panels. It's not just the direct vested interests from the solar industry, it's also those indirect vested interests from environmentalists, climate change campaigners and their supporters in the liberal media. Some have seen this change of policy as the first signs of a deeper change in government. Is the solar FIT a harbinger of change, is the grip of climate change orthodoxy loosening? Unfortunately, I see no sign that this is happening.

Firstly, let's be clear about the scale of this apparent change. The most important point is that it only applies to new installations. In other words those who have already boarded the gravy-train and have installed solar panels are guaranteed the premium rate of feed-in tariff for the next 25 years. In practice, it means that those who could afford to go ahead and install early on, when installation costs were higher than they are now, will continue to benefit at our expense. Who could afford to go ahead and install early on? People with the money to spare - i.e. the rich. Yet again, as with wind energy, the rich are being subsidised by the poor. For those who missed out early on, the FIT is being reduced, not abolished completely. They'll continue to be subsidised by the rest of us, but the level of profit won't be as high.

Secondly, it's also clear that the move to reduce FIT is driven by political expediency and not any fundamental shift in ideology regarding climate change. With fuel poverty on the rise, and all the signs of a hard winter ahead, the government has to be seen to be responding in some way. The really difficult decision would be to stop with the hidden green taxes that inflate our fuel bills. This won't happen. The next option would be to cut the FIT for all of the 'renewables', including wind. Again, this won't happen. What we have instead is a largely symbolic gesture that will make very little difference to rest of us.

It's worth noting that this policy change has occurred just around the same time as the release of the BEST climate change results. Our political classes will have been bombarded with the simple message that global warming is real. They will, without doubt, accept that this is the gospel truth. It will reinforce the dogma. The timing of the BEST message - amplified by the BBC, Guardian, Economist and co - is perfect. It hits the news just before winter sets in, and it's in time for the next climate-fest in Durban.

So, when it comes down to it, I see no reasons to be cheerful. What we have is not a monumental shift in opinion or policy, but a minor piece of political theatre to please the masses.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What next?

Last night's political panto around an EU referendum should, at the very least, skewer some common myths and misconceptions. These myths include:
  • Cameron and Hague are Eurosceptics
  • The Tory party is Eurosceptic
  • There's any substantive difference between the main political parties
  • The political classes are in touch with popular sentiment
  • The political class cares what we think
  • The mass media are not part of the problem
  • That petitions (electronic or otherwise) can lead to change
  • The what we see in politics is real, not theatre
  • That UKIP and the rump of 'Tory rebels' hold any sway in the country at large
  • The EU is the topic around which a mass movement against the establishment can coalesce
The real question we need to focus on is this: what do we do about it?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Something In The Air?

Richard North over at EUReferendum regularly asks the same question about our leaders: "why should we not rise up and slaughter them." It's a good question, though a tad melodramatic. So I was a bit surprised to read similar sentiments on the normally interesting but sober Cato Institute web site:
The real villains are those in the political class who pandered to the voter by promising more in benefits to be paid for by others — "the evil rich." But if the rich people are taxed too much, they opt out by moving or no longer being rich, and then the tax revenues fail to keep up with the increases in spending until finally, the debt burden slowly sinks the ship. This is precisely what is going on in the United States and most European countries at the moment.

As more and more people lose their jobs, the demand for government payments grows, making the situation worse and worse. The U.S. government is spending roughly 40 percent more than it is taking in. President Obama and others are demanding higher taxes on the "rich" — more correctly known as job creators — to pay for more government benefits. The self-delusion of the political class goes on, and the numbers get worse. Notice that the president, when arguing that his "jobs" bill is going to increase jobs, quotes the same economists who also said his "stimulus" would keep unemployment under 8 percent, rather than referring to those economists who were correct in saying it would fail. The president's assertion that by increasing the taxes on the rich he will be able to "pay" for all his new spending is fantasy, or worse.

The simple fact is that the amount of explicit and implicit debt that the United States and other governments have incurred cannot and will not be paid back in full. The political class will try to cure the debt mess with inflation, price controls, tax increases and confiscation, but it will only make things worse. Greece is only the first canary to die. As more and more jobs and homes are destroyed by the debt crisis, the ranks of the revolutionaries will grow until, finally, the new "peasants" realize that the rich are gone and it is the political class that is responsible for the mess.
Perhaps there's something in the air after all...

A Letter From Dave

Is this the letter that Dave Cameron and co are going to write to us regarding energy prices?

I'm sorry, really I am. We've screwed up. We've let you down and we're all very, very sorry. We've messed up the economy. We've frittered billions of your hard-earned cash on pointless windfarms, useless solar and provided massive subsidies to big landowners - all in the name of tackling climate change. We know you've felt this most acutely when your energy bills coming thudding on your door mat. We could have helped by cutting green taxes and investing in proper power stations and a grown-up energy policy, but we didn't. We appointed Chris Huhne to take charge, and all he did was point the finger at the power companies while making things worse. We all know he's a useless sack of shit, but it's in his genes and there's nothing we can do about it. As has been pointed out before, Chris Huhne is the man who pisses on your shoes and tells you it's raining.

And so, as a government, we're writing to urge you all to do some shopping around for a new government, because we're irredeemably broken. I know the other big government suppliers, like Labour, are no better, but at least you can pretend that there's hope rather than rising up en mass and slitting our throats.


Dave Cameron
 Instead we're likely to get a fatuous pile of shite telling us to swap energy companies, as though there's a chance of finding one not subject to green taxes, dependent on fuel imports and desperate to ingratiate itself with big government...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Occupy Wall St vs Stop The City

Another must read post over at Autonomous Mind looks at the 'occupy Wall Street' and the associated 'we are the 99%' movement. Following on from the mass media reports from the States - while at the same time the protestors insist that they are being ignored - we have seen similar protests across Europe and beyond. Does this represent the beginnings of a global movement that we lead to positive change? AM suggests that the movement has missed the point and that it's not Wall Street to blame, but the state itself. He also suggests that the movement is largely a creation of the Left rather than a spontaneous outpouring of anger. To quote:

Occupying Wall Street will change nothing. Sleeping outside St Paul’s Cathedral will change nothing. The first thing to do is focus a campaign on the politicians – because it is they who have encouraged and embedded this situation – and demand a change in the scandalous government spending priorities and regressive policies which are driving up the cost of food and energy, hitting the poorest hardest.

I have a lot of sympathy with this viewpoint. I write this as someone who was very active in Anarchist politics a long time ago, so I write from a position of some experience (including being arrested at a Stop The City protest in London back in the 1980s). And, to some extent, Occupy Wall Street is Stop The City brought bang up-to-date.

The first thing to note is that, like the original Stop The City, there is no single and over-riding issue that drives the protests. While there is a very obvious 'anti-capitalist' theme, this is a very broad church - environmentalist, third world debt, poverty, climate change, anti-war activists... Any and every grievance is welcome and represented in the movements and actions. For many this is a good thing, as it brings together a variety of grievances and then points the finger at 'neo-liberal' capitalism as the cause of all of them. In point of fact what it does, primarily, is bring together activists from different campaigns together. How much it really involves 'ordinary people' is open to question. It draws towards it those who are already motivated and active.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Regime Uncertainty and Climate Change

A leading article on the BBC News website covers the report by the Environmental Audit Committee, which suggests that the government has developed a "schizophrenic attitude" to climate change, and that this is starting to impact investor confidence in low-carbon industries. It quotes committee chairwoman Joan Walley saying that

Unfortunately, the government's somewhat schizophrenic attitude to climate change seems to be undermining that confidence. The chancellor's comments last week show that five years on from the Stern report, the Treasury still doesn't get climate change - or the risk it poses to global stability and economic prosperity.

And, this being the high church of global warming, the report wheels on additional fire-power to make the point, including Zac Goldsmith and Nick Molho, head of energy policy at WWF-UK. Molho states that:

Failing to clearly endorse the fourth carbon budget now will not only slow down urgent action on addressing climate change, it will also seriously undermine investment certainty in the UK's low-carbon sector and result in the UK missing out on the opportunity of creating hundreds of thousands of UK jobs in low-carbon manufacturing.

This is standard BBC fare of course, right down to a reference to the thoroughly discredited Stern report. And let's ignore the fact that a lot of these investors are just exploiting government subsidies - they're worried that the gravy train might slow down just a little. Ignore too the mythical green jobs that end up costing real jobs...

Ethanol, troops and books

One of my sidelines is reviewing technical and scientific books, which I've done for a number of years now. This means that I regularly get emailed by authors and publishers asking if I'd be interested in their books. I have no problem with this, though to be honest the supply of books far exceeds my capacity to read and review them. So I was not suprised to receive a request from a small company publishing specialist computer science books - there's a small readership for these types of books, so getting publicity is essential. What caught my eye though was the sig line in the initial email:
U.S. troops have never lost their lives defending our ethanol reserves
The first thing to say is that this is shockingly poor business practice - and believe me, the author of the email was initiating a business transaction. Why assume that the reader - me - gives a toss what your views on politics are? Particularly when the topic is completely technical. I'd have no problem reviewing a book on the subject of biofuels and geopolitics, but that's a million miles from the books being offered for review.

Secondly, the sentiment expressed reeks of that fatal liberal conceit that motive trumps reality. The idea is that having your heart in the right place is what counts.

That's the motive but what about the reality? Aside from the huge subsidies without which biofuels would be dead in the water, what has the move to ethanol achieved? A reduction in CO2 emissions? Nope. Even the Guardian reports that Biofuel farms make CO2 emissions worse.

So, a main plank of the push to biofuels is a bust.

OK, but our emailer wasn't talking about CO2, he specifically mentions the lives of US troops. Strictly speaking he is right. But in terms of human lives overall? The biofuels are a disaster that is growing worse. The push to burn food crops for fuels is causing food prices to rise, causing poverty to rise and has alrady been linked to a number of food riots and conflicts in the developing world. And, it's not just poor brown people affected by all of this. A report from the Congressional Budget Office in 2009 concluded that:
...the rise in food prices attributable to increased production of ethanol will lead to higher federal spending for those [food] programs: specifically, an estimated $600 million to $900 million of the more than $5 billion increase in spending projected for fiscal year 2009 as a result of the rising price of food.
So, the policy is leading to increased poverty even in the US. In all respects the move to ethanol production for fuel is a disaster that will lead to loss of life, increased poverty, increases in government subsidy and more environmental degradation.

It's a complete failure as a policy, though as in all big government policies it will take years for the US, the EU and others to admit they were wrong. So, trying to sell me your books on the back of a policy fail like ethanol is itself a fail. Forget it.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Fuel Prices Up - CO2 Down

Two bits of news ought to bring a smile to the face of Chris Huhne and to warmists everywhere. The first is a report that the cheapest annual gas and electricity deal for UK households has hit £1,000 for the first time ever. With all of the big six energy companies dropping the cheaper tariffs, it means that prices are continuing their inexorable rise just as we're heading into what is predicted to be a hard winter. Get ready for the mass chorus of 'weather is not climate' from the AGW apologists if it does turn out to be another bitterly cold one. And look out for the figures for the numbers who die of hypothermia or weather-related accidents and then compare to the virtual deaths predicted thanks to a marginal increase in warmth.

So, energy for light and heat is getting more expensive. Energy usage is likely to drop as some people decide that food trumps heat.

The other bit of news to cheer George Monbiot and co is that the AA estimates that petrol consumption has dropped by 15% in the last three years. And it's not just domestic users who are cutting back, businesses are doing the same. Aside from the financial side effects, this reduction will also impact emissions targets.

So, an all-round good news story for the warmists - CO2 reductions down, thus helping us save the world from global warming (oops, sorry, climate change). On the face of it then, the greenies should be celebrating. Chris Huhne should be jumping with joy.

But what's interesting is the reaction of the high church of global warming (also known as the BBC). Have these stories made it to the BBC environment pages? Nope. Both stories are filed under the personal finance section. This is about your pocket, with no mention of CO2. The nearest the BBC gets to this is a rather coy admission that 'One result has been lower emissions of potentially damaging exhaust fumes.' No mention of CO2.

Does this mean that the AGW mantra is dead and buried at the BBC? No, of course not. What we have is a clear example of bias at work.

CO2 reduction stories are only allowed if they are positive. High energy costs - whether it's petrol of domestic fuel - are negative, so they have to be divorced from the CO2 narrative. Nothing can be allowed to sully the story that reducing CO2 emissions is a good thing.

This is not an isolated case. As Maurizio Morabito has noted, we saw the same thing with the recent spell of hot weather. Normally we see that any unusual weather pattern is likely to be attributed to climate change. Especially hot weather, because then it's not just climate change, it's global warming. But in the case of the all to brief hot weather in October, the press were notably silent on the topic - despite the acres of coverage of the heat. Why? Because most people saw the heat as welcome, a change after a dull, grey and cold summer. Again, nothing can be allowed to sully the overwhelming narrative that warming is bad.

The bottom line is that the worse things get for us, the better it is for CO2 reduction, and the less likely it is that the warmists will draw attention to it. And the more we have to do to remind everybody that this is precisely what Huhne, Monbiot and co have been campaigning for.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Politics As Panto

I try as little as possible to listen to the news, and aside from one or two columnists, I avoid the mainstream press. Like an increasing number of people who reject the mainstream media I get the bulk of my news and information via the web - including a range of scientific and political blogs (including spiked online, climate resistance, EUReferendum, Autonomous Mind, cafe Hayek, Watts Up With That, Indymedia and others). However, try as I must I do occasionally slip up and catch a blast of something noxious from the radio or TV. Such was the case yesterday, when the non-headlines were all about Theresa May, Ken Clarke and whether a cat is legally qualified to decide on deportation for criminals, or not.

This is, of course, yet another example of politics as panto - the cat was there, so was the villain, all we needed was Theresa May to don her panto boots and Ken Clarke to slip into his ugly sister outfit. In the real world, it's all bollocks. What the press were doing is selling us soap opera headlines about splits in the government, complete with tales of bitter in-fighting. Politics as entertainment. Noticeably absent from the story was the reality that the whole thing is decided elsewhere - Europe trumps Westminster, as should be clear to anyone with half a brain cell still functioning.

And, as should be clear as day, this government is not about to take us out of the EU or withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights. It's play acting, the whole thing. The media know this, and yet they play their part in the game. Even the most brain dead of Tories must realise by now that their leaders owe allegiance to the greater state, not the tiny province we inhabit.

While they try desperately to breathe life into the stinking corpse that is the British body politic, the reality is that increasing numbers of people are waking up to the looming disaster. The sinking of the Euro will cause more pain than most care to think about. And when it gets bad, then the calls for the political class to be called to account will be impossible to ignore. The beggared populations of Europe will need to take revenge on those who have caused this mess.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Go Forth and Multiply

Following on from the previous post, here's the list of email addresses for the Freedom of Information officers for each of the London boroughs - except for Enfield, which does not appear to publish a direct address. There are so many questions to ask... Easy examples that come to mind:
  • How many days did senior council officers spend at off-site "team building" sessions. List the dates, number of personnel and the cost.
  • How much foreign travel was undertaken by councilors and council employees. List the dates, the number of personnel, the reason for the trip and the cost
  • How many council employees are full-time trades unions officials. List the number, the job titles and the salaries.

And let's  not forget Richard North's campaign on bailiffs and council tax...

Barking and Dagenham
City of Westminster
Enfield Unable to find an email address
Hammersmith and Fulham h&
Kensington and Chelsea
Kingston upon Thames
Richmond upon Thames
Tower Hamlets
Waltham Forest

A Thorn In The Side

There have been some interesting pieces on the Autonomous Mind and EUReferendum blogs about taking positive actions to assert a degree on control in local politics. The starting point in both cases is a wish to exert direct, democratic control in opposition to the current ruling elites (both at the national and trans-national level). While it's part of established political conversation to bemoan the political apathy that is a persistent feature of the scene in this country, the establishment seeks only to address this through means which are largely symbolic and designed to further entrench it's power.

We see, for example, discussions about the central funding of political parties - as though this is anything but a means of securing the continued existence of political machines structured to protect the current system. And, as we see in Europe, central funding of political parties leads not to a renaissance of political activity in the broader population, but to increased levels of fraud, nepotism and corruption. At the same time there are suggestions that the key is to make political involvement easier - through postal voting, reducing the voting age, electronic voting etc. Again, rather than leading to greater involvement, it creates more scope for electoral fraud and serves again to entrench the current cosy system. The same goes for things like proportional representation or the alternative transferable vote - another fix that ignores the fundamental problem - our political class sits above the rest of us and treats us all as voting fodder.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Barnet Shale Bonanza

Yet another in our compare and contrast series...

This time compare the myth of 'Green Jobs' propagated by the entire political class on both sides of the Atlantic, from Obama to Cameron to the many and varied functionaries of the EU politbureau - along with their allies in the bloated NGO sector, with the reality of job creation and economic activity surrounded shale gas in the United States. Look at the Spanish experience:

The internal report of the Spanish administration admits that the price of electricity has gone up, as well as the debt, due to the extra costs of solar and wind energy. Even the government numbers indicate that each green job created costs more than 2.2 traditional jobs, as was shown in the report of the Juan de Mariana Institute

Now take a look at the report high-lighted by the Global Warming Policy Foundation:

The Barnett Shale natural gas field has generated $65.4 billion in economic activity and created more than 100,200 jobs over the 24-county area since 2001, according to a new study commissioned by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

The full report can be found here:

This should be cause for celebration in the UK. Given the scale of recent discoveries of vast shale gas deposits in the UK, we too should be looking forward to a major boost to jobs and economic activity. This really is a no-brainer. You'd have to be totally ideologically blinkered and/or have some personal financial stake in "renewables" not to see this. Not that we would suggest that David Cameron's father-in-law or Chris Huhne's wife would have much of an influence, despite their financial profit from wind farm subsidies and the like.

It's such a no-brainer in fact, that it really begs the question, yet again, of why our leaders believe what they do.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weather Is Consistent With Climate Change

Leading scientists revealed today that weather is consistent with climate change. In a stunning vindication of climate models, the scientists have revealed that there is a very high probability that increasing CO2 is causing weather every day. In what is widely seen as a major set-back for climate change denialists, the models give clear and unambiguous results that weather will appear almost every day.

Dr Kevin Trenbeth interrupted his search for missing heat to state that: "Our model's show that weather is almost certain to happen on most days, even weekends when you'd think it was resting. Only CO2 and an atmosphere can explain this unexpected finding."

When pressed as to what type of weather the models predict, his response was clear: "What kind of weather you got?"

Whether it's hot, cold, wet, dry, snow, drought, sort of starting nice and then getting grey in the afternoon, it's all weather and so consistent with the models.

Leading researcher, Dr James Hansen, was also clear on the importance of these results. Fresh from a court appearance for trying to stop stores selling toy "death trains", Dr Hansen stated: "Look out of the window. Look now. See that weather. You did that. Think of your grandchildren. Go on, think of them. OK, you don't have grandchildren, so think of your grandparents. OK, so you've only got one. Think of someone else who has grandchildren or grandparents. Now, do you really want to inflict weather on them? Shame on you. Shame."

With these new results to hand, the IPCC will make another push for a globally binding and stringent agreement to limit CO2 production. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC and former "death train" engineer, was in strident mood. "This is a damning indictment of the skeptic position. There is no room for voodoo science any more. We can predict that there will be weather, therefore give us the money. It's that simple."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

IWCA and the riots

For a long while now it has been clear that what passes for the 'radical left' in this country have been a spent and demoralised force. The anti-cuts activity that has been organised by the unions has largely been about public sector workers protecting their special interests and have pretty much failed to mobilise other sections of the population. But this hasn't stopped the left from dusting off their old slogans and getting those anti-Thatcher badges down from the attic. The recent riots were yet more evidence of the decline of the left - who were completely side-lined by what went on and have largely chosen to ignore it as if it never happened. Compare and contrast with the riots in the 80's, which saw anarchists and other on the frontlines, but also triggered considerable organising and campaigning afterwards.

Just about the only 'left' group that seems to be doing any actual thinking is the Independent Working Class Association, which largely grew out of the Red Action side of Anti-Fascist Action. The IWCA has just posted an article on the riots entitled The Lumpen Rebellion. While I have no time for the formulaic pronouncements against 'neo-liberalism', the article is worth reading, in fact it's one of the few articles on the riots that shows any signs of having understood the forces at work during the riots.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A cloudy day for the IPCC

Anthony Watts over at Watts Up With That draws attention to a new paper that looks at the effects of cloud cover on climate. The paper (Combining satellite data and models to estimate cloud radiative effect at the surface and in the atmosphere, by Richard P. Allan and published in the journal Meteorological Applications), appears to support the Spenser and Braswell paper, which has been such an active example of 'redefining what peer review is'. Should we expect the ritual Seppuku of the journal's editor? Or will the BBC front page the story and pepper it with quotes disputing the consensus?

Perhaps they'd care to quote Anthony Watts:
The cooling effect is found to be -21 Watts per meter squared, more than 17 times the posited warming effect from a doubling of CO2 concentrations which is calculated to be ~ 1.2 Watts per meter squared.  This -21 w/m2 figure from Richard P. Allan is in good agreement with Spencer and Braswell.
For the IPCC this comes at a bad time. A successful hatchet job on Spencer and Braswell will mean that it can be safely side-lined in AR5, but what about this one? With sceptics highlighting the existence of the paper, it's not going to be possible to pretend that this new result doesn't exist.

In the rest of the news, the direct results of global warming hysteria are there for all to see. Increasing energy costs are causing pain, and so we see the despicable Chris Huhne yet again attempting to shift the blame anywhere but himself and his colleagues in the political classes.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Destroy the EU

The EU is the ultimate expression of crony capitalism. It is by nature an undemocratic body that is an alliance of unelected bureaucrats, favoured companies and bought-off NGOs. It has no natural constituency and engenders no loyalty from those of us unfortunate enough to fall under its jurisdiction. Instead it follows a single over-riding directive - to perpetuate and expands its powers. To do this it channels funds - which are derived from unwilling populations - into those projects that are most politically expedient:

  • subsidies to favoured companies, NGOs, and local 'governments'
  • constant encroachments on local sovereignty
  • expanding the size of the central bureaucracy
  • furthering of its favoured agendas (climate change, green regulation, political union)
  • political cronyism (national politicians that toe the line are rewarded with well-funded EU jobs)

From the ground up it is a body that is staffed by a patrician class that believes democracy is an impediment to its grand visions and views local democracy as intrinsically suspect. It has co-opted politicians from 'left' and 'right', as if those fictions are still meaningful categories.

The recent spate of Eurosceptic maneuvering in the UK is largely a symbolic activity - more political panto, like the arguments over the 50p tax rate. It will seek to channel anger into activities that ultimately do not pose any real challenge to the EU.

The lesson is simple. The EU cannot be reformed, reworked or remade, any more than the old Soviet block could be reformed from within. The EU needs to be destroyed. It's that simple.