Official: Wind Farms Are Totally Useless

Wind farms: scarring the English countryside (Photo: John Taylor)

Wind farms: scarring the English countryside (Photo: John Taylor)

Before I take my break, I cannot resist drawing your attention to a new report on wind farms – perhaps the most damning I have ever read. What makes it even more significant is that it has been sponsored by an environmental charity. Normally the people most busily pushing these bird-chomping, bat-crunching, taxpayer-fleecing monstrosities on our magnificent landscape are those who claim, ludicrously, to be green. Thank you, John Muir Trust, for reminding as that being green doesnt necessarily have to include economically suicidal schemes to destroy perhaps our greatest national asset: the British countryside.

Heres its summary:

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS in respect of analysis of electricity generation from all the U.K. windfarms which are metered by National Grid, November 2008 to December 2010. The following five statements are common assertions made by both the wind industry and Government representatives and agencies. This Report examines those assertions.

“Wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year.”

“The wind is always blowing somewhere.”

“Periods of widespread low wind are infrequent.”

“The probability of very low wind output coinciding with peak electricity demand is slight.”

“Pumped storage hydro can fill the generation gap during prolonged low wind periods.”

This analysis uses publicly available data for a 26 month period between November 2008 and December 2010 and the facts in respect of the above assertions are:

Average output from wind was 27.18% of metered capacity in 2009, 21.14% in 2010, and 24.08% between November 2008 and December 2010 inclusive.

There were 124 separate occasions from November 2008 till December 2010 when total generation from the windfarms metered by National Grid was less than 20MW. (Average capacity over the period was in excess of 1600MW).

The average frequency and duration of a low wind event of 20MW or less between November 2008 and December 2010 was once every 6.38 days for a period of 4.93 hours.

At each of the four highest peak demands of 2010 wind output was low being respectively 4.72%, 5.51%, 2.59% and 2.51% of capacity at peak demand.

The entire pumped storage hydro capacity in the UK can provide up to 2788MW for only 5 hours then it drops to 1060MW, and finally runs out of water after 22 hours.

Related posts:

  1. Wind Farms: the death of Britain
  2. Sorry, but wind farms are useless even against vampires
  3. Wind farms kill whales: blubber on the green movement’s hands
  4. Wind farms: even worse than we thought…

10 thoughts on “Official: wind farms are totally useless”

  1. Walt O’Brien says:7th April 2011 at 3:33 amWell, the other bit is they are a super device for hoovering up British subsidies ostensibly intended for British developers which are instead shell corporations for foreign interests which are taking the money the British taxpayer shells out for these monstrosities and pockets them offshore. They are a real job for the SFO, IMHO.

    A happy and safe vacation, and do something about the bloggatosis twitches, if this routine has chewed on your mind at all to the extent your feel a little suspicious of your own behaviour. The story of Hercules in its original version is the first clinical portrayal of PTSD, and he wasn’t fighting Viet Cong, he was fighting himself.

    Where the DT finds such achievers I have no idea, but I get the impression it is another General Electric or Rolls Royce: the best fuel yields the brightest flame, but who cares about the ashes, right? As Otto Lilienthal put it in his last words when he was dying as a result of trying out a new wing configuration on his test glider: “Sacrifices must be made.”

    I still want a piece of your editor. This was meant to be your apprenticeship and instead it has been damn near a hazing.

  2. Walt O’Brien says:8th April 2011 at 7:17 amHello, James. Thought you might be interested in who are possibly your main tormentors arisen from the depths of Hell, paid or otherwise.

    Please take a look at who is the contact person here, then please check with Damien to see if the IP address gives a location anywhere near Amherst, NY: Tonawanda, Buffalo, etc.

    http://jobs.powermag.com/c/job.cfm?vnet=0&str=1&max=25&site_id=2669&sort=date_&jb=7814219

    Sorry, I am just completely exhausted with blogging altogether by these bar stewards. Do have a nice vacation. That they should go to the lengths they have indicates with what significant effectuality your work has put a properly cobbled bespoke boot into their smelly crab-infested groins.

    General Physics, BTW, are major-league consultants to the utilities on climate change and carbon trading. Please check out their ‘Climate Change” offerings.

    I rather suspect this would amuse Lord Tebbit as well.

  3. chris says:8th April 2011 at 5:48 pmPlease don’t stop writing about inefficient wind farms and their outrageous subsidies.

    Eventually, the lights are going to go out.

  4. Velocity says:9th April 2011 at 9:04 pma technology backed (subsidised, tax breaks, funded etc) by Govt …you can 100% guarantee it’s a pile of crap (see buses, trains, electric cars etc)

    ..add Windfarms to the list of crap

  5. David says:10th April 2011 at 4:03 pmEveryone who claims that wind farms are completely useless is wrong. Every effort to promote the sources which produce electricity and protect the environment at the same time is worth making.
  6. Don Stuart says:11th April 2011 at 10:23 am‘David’ – What do you mean ‘protect the environment’? In what way do windmills protect the environment?

    You’ve said absolutely nothing there. Typical windy rhetoric from a flatulent greenie.

  7. Nige Cook says:11th April 2011 at 12:28 pm“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” said Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (“L’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs”).
  8. Axel says:15th April 2011 at 1:29 amLord Monckton is standing as a candidate for election to the Scottish Parliament on 5th May 2011. Vote UKIP in Mid-Scotland & Fife to GET MONCKTON ELECTED. Let’s all hear Lord Monckton lambast the Carbon Fraudsters on a Daily Basis in
    The Scottish Parliament. All you Scottish voters in the forthcoming Scottish Elections
    who want to see the Carbon Hoaxes and Frauds brought to an end have a clear choice
    for an eloquent voice to speak on their behalf on the Public Stage at long last.
    Vote UKIP to get Lord Monckton elected and the Carbon Crooks Exposed.

    See the website linked to my name. Click the name Axel above to see loads of Lord Monckton Videos and other materials. Hundreds of arcane videos at that website.

  9. Nige Cook says:19th April 2011 at 12:26 pmAxel: I think the CO2 AGW killer is figure 4 in Roy Spencer, et al., “Cloud and radiation budget changes associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations,” published in the Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 34, shttp://www.drroyspencer.com/Spencer_07GRL.pdf

    It proves that increasing cloud cover from extra ocean evaporation due to CO2 warming reduces the thermal radiation getting through: negative feedback. All IPCC models ignore this and assume water has a positive feedback effect. That’s why the greenhouse effect is a myth: no greenhouse is 71% ocean with 62% cloud cover, like earth. It’s not rocket science. If you look at the asymptotic limit for a boiling ocean, the rising, condensing steam droplets would give us 100% cloud cover. Any temperature rise of the warm ocean surface layer will increase cloud cover, producing negative feedback. The scandal is that all the predicted temperature rise of CO2 AGW is supposed to be due to positive feedback, which doesn’t exist.

  10. Velocity says:19th April 2011 at 6:32 pmAxel – great news, i truly hope Lord M gets elected but i fear the Scotts are a lost cause (sooner England peels away from them the better). Here’s your average Scottish voters choice;

    Labour Party (Marxists)
    Liberal Party (closet Marxists)
    SNP (Marxists)
    Conservatives (Socialists)

    Let’s hear it for ‘democracy’ (pass the sickbag)… Scotland is well and truly f**ked and they deserve it quite frankly!

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Earth Does Not Have a Cancer; the Cancer Is Not Man

Some deeply unpleasant remark

Chris Packham, 'wildlife expert' (Photo: Paul Grover)

Chris Packham, ‘wildlife expert’ (Photo: Paul Grover)

Any minute now I’m going to lay off blogging for a while, for health reasons. But I can’t pretend I’m going to find going cold turkey easy, especially not when there are stories like this around.

It concerns “wildlife expert” Chris Packham – presenter of some of the BBC’s most popular nature programmes including Springwatch and a new series called The Animal’s Guide To British Wildlife – and some deeply unpleasant remarks he made in the course of an interview with the Radio Times.

“There’s no point bleating about the future of pandas, polar bears and tigers when we’re not addressing the one single factor that’s putting more pressure on the ecosystem than any other – namely the ever-increasing size of the world’s population. I read the other day that, by 2020, there are going to be 70 million people in Britain. Let’s face it, that’s too many.”

So what does he suggest we do about it? Get people to stop having children?

“Yes. Absolutely. I wouldn’t actually penalise people for having too many children, as I think the carrot always works better than the stick. But what I would offer them tax breaks for having small families: say, 10 per cent off your tax bill if you decide to stick with just one child. And an even bigger financial incentive if you choose not to have a family at all.”

What frightens me almost more than these remarks – whose loathsomeness I shall gloss in a moment – is the response of the Daily Mail’s readership. All right, perhaps the Mail’s online audience is not representative of the entire country, but I do think they’re probably close to embodying what the reasonable other person from Middle England thinks, and in this case what they seem to think is frankly bloody terrifying.

All right, so I don’t imagine many of us here would quibble with the most popular comment so far, with 1300 plus positive votes:

How about offering people nothing for not having children as well as not giving them anything when they have ten children? Let them pay for their offspring with their own money for a change. That might make a few people consider the population even if it’s the one in their own home.

This is in line with the very sensible remarks that once got Howard Flight into such trouble. And of course the Tory peer was quite right: it’s absurd to have a situation where the most feckless, unproductive sector of the economy is subsidised by the state to have children they would otherwise be unable to afford.

But here are the second and third most popular comments, with well over 1000 positive votes each:

He is quite right you know, the most eco friendly thing you can do is not breed.

Well done Chris I couldn’t have said it better myself. That is the main problem with this planet — too many people. We require a massive birth control programme, never mind growing more food and building more houses — cut back on breeding is the only answer.

There are so many things wrong with this attitude I don’t know where to begin. But why not let’s start with the plight of only children? Almost everyone I know who was brought up without a brother or sister wishes it could have been otherwise. I myself grew up in a family of seven, and while it’s true that I have never quite forgiven one of them for voting for Caroline Lucas in the last election I count the friendship and kinship of my wonderful brothers and sisters one of the greatest joys of my existence. I know there are many in China who feel much the same way: the tyrannical one-child policy, it is now being recognised, has not only led to much unnecessary unhappiness but is also leading to potentially disastrous economic consequences (especially in its battle for economic supremacy with India, where no such restrictions have applied).

Yet such is the misery that Chris Packham wishes to import to Britain. And to be fair, he is far from the only high profile figure who thinks this way. Very much of the same view is that famously nice, caring natural history TV presenter David Attenborough, concerned environmentalist the Hon Sir Jonathon Porritt, actress Susan Hampshire, Gaia theory inventor James Lovelock, ex UN apparatchik Sir Crispin Tickell (the man who – briefly – persuaded Margaret Thatcher of the imminent perils of Man Made Global Warming) and chimp expert Jane Goodall. All of these luminaries are – with Packham – patrons of the Optimum Population Trust, an organisation which believes that the world’s growing population is “unsustainable” and which is dedicated to finding ways of reducing it.

The problem with the Optimum Population Trust – one of them anyway – is that its very existence is predicated on a vilely misanthropic view of the human species: that there are too many of us, that we do more harm than good.

And yes, superficially, this view of the world makes a kind of sense. It’s what I call an “I reckon” argument: the sort of argument you’d make in a pub, after a few beers, based on information you’ve established from a gut feeling so strong it doesn’t need any awkward details like facts getting in the way of your opinion. I mean obviously more people means less space, and more demand on “scarce resources”, so the more people there are the more trouble we’re in. Stands to reason dunnit?

This is exactly the kind of wrong thinking I address in my new book Watermelons. You’ll forgive me if I don’t come up with all the counterarguments here. (Read the bloody book!). But in a nutshell, it’s that this Neo-Malthusian pessimism – as warped and wrongheaded today as it was in the era of doom-monger Thomas Malthus (1766 to 1834) – is based on fundamental misconceptions about the ingenuity of the human species and about the nature of economic growth.

Sure if all populations did as they grew and grew was use up more finite “stuff”, then we would indeed have cause to worry. But they don’t: as populations increase in size, so they learn to specialise and adapt and find ever more ingenious ways of making more with less. That’s why, for example, the mass starvation predicted by Paul Ehrlich in his Sixties bestseller The Population Bomb never happened: because thanks to Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution, crop yields dramatically increased while the area of land under cultivation remained unchanged. If you want to read more about this, I recommend not just my book, but also Matt Ridley’s superb The Rational Optimist or anything by Julian Simon (known as the Doomslayer because of the way he constantly confounded Neo Malthusian pessimism and  junk science).

The reason I have become so obsessed with “global warming” in the last few years is not because I’m particularly interested in the “how many drowning polar bears can dance on the head of a pin” non-argument which hysterical sites like RealClimate and bloggers like Joe Romm are striving so desperately to keep on a life support machine. It’s because unlike some I’ve read widely enough to see the bigger picture.

One thing I’ve learned in this wide reading is how obsessed so many of the key thinkers in the green movement are with the notion of “overpopulation.” As one of their favourite think tanks, the Club of Rome, puts it: “Earth has a cancer and the cancer is man.” This belief explains, inter alia, why the “science” behind AGW is so dodgy: because the science didn’t come first. What came first was the notion that mankind was a problem and was doing harm to the planet. The “science” was then simply tortured until it fitted in with this notion.

I do not share this view. Indeed, though I believe that while people like Chris Packham (and Prince Charles; George Monbiot; Al Gore; David Attenborough; Robert Redford; Mikhail Gorbachev; Ted Turner; et al) may believe what they do for the noblest of reasons, their ecological philosophy is fundamentally evil. And I do mean evil. Any philosophy which has, as its core tenet, the belief that mankind is the problem not the solution cannot possibly be one that pertains to good, can it?

This is why I have been fighting this Climate War so hard for so long. And why I have no compunction whatsoever in calling the people who promote that repellant philosophy by the names they deserve. The ideological struggle that is being fought now over the issue of “Climate Change” (and related, quasi-Marxist weasel concepts such as Sustainability) may not yet involve the bloodshed caused in the wars against Nazism and Stalinism, but the threat it poses to individual freedom and economic security is every bit as great. But there aren’t enough of us fighting this war on the right side – and I’m knackered.

I want to leave the last words here to one of my favourite commenters, Tayles, who brilliantly explained the other day why there is moral equivalence between the green/liberal fascist side of the argument, and the one libertarian, empirical one for which I’m so frequently vilified by some of the posters below this blog. It really should be a separate post but that might confuse commenters as to where to go.

UPDATE

Just one more thing before I pass you over to Tayles. While of course I value the rich panoply of varied opinions I’m seeing appear below this blogged, I’m disturbed by the number which seem to determined to conflate “immigration” with “overpopulation”. These are entirely separate issues. It’s quite possible to believe, as I do, that unchecked immigration (encouraged as a deliberate policy under Blair) has been a disaster for Britain, especially when allied with the pernicious philosophy of multiculturalism which encourages division and separatism, while yet disagreeing violently with the loathsome Neo-Malthusianism of Chris Packham and his ilk. Do not confuse the two issues. Many – indeed the majority – of Britons are rightly concerned about how the character of their country has been changed and the infrastructure swamped by deliberately poor border controls. But this is a separate topic for discussion.

So, here he is: Tayles on why James Delingpole is right:

Such an approach is the one Delingpole adopts. Why do you never have a go at him for “cherry picking internet sources”? – Endeavour

That’s a fair question. There is a straightforward answer, which is that the Left’s evidence is normally one-eyed, misleading or downright dishonest. That extends to the AGW sham, which is propped up by a bunch of cobblers, peddled by scientists and politicians with much to gain from the spread of their dogma.

There’s a more philosophical answer too, which I’ll indulge you with if you’ve got a minute. The fundamental condition of mankind is one of liberty – which is to say, freedom from the constraints imposed by higher authorities. The only real ‘rights’ are those that exist in the absence of other people’s intervention, such as freedom of speech and property rights. Taxes, laws and so-called positive rights are man-made constructs that require the enforcement of a higher power, such as a government. Clearly they are no more naturally-occurring than iPods or Ford Fiestas.

When some new constraint is scrawled onto the blank page of freedom, it must be justified. The onus is on the person who wants to enforce that constraint to justify the need for it, rather than on those who must suffer its effects to explain why they should be spared. Just as a person is innocent until proved guilty, and the burden of proof is always on the True Believer, so the defenders of freedom should not really have to defend their position.

For this reason, the benefit of the doubt must be always be given to those looking to protect our freedoms, while those who wish to take them away should be required to be especially thorough and honest, and deserve to be treated with suspicion. The consequences and trade-offs of what they intend to impose should be weighed and analysed. We should be especially concerned if they try to brush aside the concerns of their opponents or ignore contrary evidence.

I think that the arguments put forward by AGW zealots should be a lot more convincing than they are. And I think that the defence of our freedoms advanced by James Delingpole are perfectly good enough. There is more at stake here than our climate.

Related posts:

  1. Pandas: do we need ’em?
  2. Pope Catholic; night follows day; IPCC found telling pack of lies about sea level rises
  3. What on earth is Bob Ward?
  4. ‘We must live more sustainably’ says Jeremy ‘Seven Homes’ Irons

5 thoughts on “Earth does not have a cancer; the cancer is not man”

  1. Max Eastern says:6th April 2011 at 9:16 pmWatermelons: is it really a book or is it just a joke? You inisit in your last blog that we read the bloody book, but where? At first I thought there really was a book, then, when I couldn’t find any evidence of it even on your own website, I thought it was a joke, then you mentioned the book again in a blog and I wasn’t sure. I might even be tempted to read the bloody thing if I thought it existed.
  2. Nige Cook says:8th April 2011 at 5:06 pmJames, can I just say well done for today’s Daily Express article, “What Exactly has the World ever Done for Britain?”, http://www.express.co.uk/ourcomments/view/239388/What-exactly-has-the-world-ever-done-for-Britain-

    “The fact is that we in Britain have done far, far more for the world than ever it did for us.

    “And it’s about ruddy time that pitifully ungrateful world gave us something back.”

    It’s spot on. We’d at least expect some respect, but the rest of the world is too full of bigotry against Britain’s history of colonialism to remember that, for example, slavery continued in America for 32 years longer than in Britain. If we had no immense deficit, we could afford to play God and sort out the world’s problems, if others were genuinely deserving and genuinely grateful for the help. But borrowing money to throw down the drain “helping others” while we cut jobs and social spending here is not generosity, but stupidity.

    Because we’re virtually throwing money at the recipients in a stupid manner, it comes across in the wrong way; we even don’t get respect in return. It’s perceived that we’re stupid and frivolous with our money, that we have “more money than sense”, that the giving of money is some kind of reparation for our colonial past, or that the leaders who agreed to give the money are corrupt and must be doing it to get a secret private brown envelope of cash back from the recipient, etc. Nobody is grateful to Britain under these circumstances. The fastest way to make false “friends” is to start giving money for nothing. You don’t get genuine respect, instead you’re looked on as a loaded fool. If Cameron wants to help the world, let him write his cheques on his own private bank account, not increase Britain’s debt burden by giving unwanted help to selfish anti-British regimes, while making cut backs here.

  3. Velocity says:9th April 2011 at 9:16 pmConsider Prince Phillip said if he was re-born (God help us!) he’d like to come back as a virus as there’s too many of us. He’s on the WWF and ‘surprise surprise’ has born 3 children himself!!!

    The problem i see with eugenicists is that they’re still alive and having children adding to the population ‘problem’. A ‘problem’ that would disappear overnight if they were all eradicated

  4. Deadpeoplestuff says:21st April 2011 at 12:40 pmWell JD, down targets, patch-out. That’s to say, don’t stay away too long, recharge the batteries or should that read ‘stoke the coal fired boilers’ and come back fighting! (although I entirely understand the need to take a break….the trolls wear everyone down eventually)

    Please try to remember, you are one of the few writers prepared to represent the ‘other side’ of the great global warming racket. These ‘deep greens’ can not be given free run or those who respect and care for all life would lose an important voice.

    Anyone concerned about the ozone layer may wish to consider the nuclear tests and the continued deployment of so called ‘low yield’ depleted uranium (er..nukes) around the globes war zones (there are a few to choose from..) and may care to look deeper into the whole CFC story

  5. Nige Cook says:21st April 2011 at 10:00 pm“Anyone concerned about the ozone layer may wish to consider the nuclear tests and the continued deployment of so called ‘low yield’ depleted uranium (er..nukes) around the globes war zones (there are a few to choose from..) and may care to look deeper into the whole CFC story” – Deadpeoplestuff

    But 438 megatons of atmospheric nuclear tests, including high altitude tests in the ozone layer, had no measurable effect on ozone: see Nature (vol. 244, pp. 545-551), http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/79bias/Goldsmith.pdf

    Nuclear explosions in sea level air produce a strong blast wave which heats and compresses air to produce nitrogen dioxides. Simplistically, a tiny amount of nitrogen dioxide can set off a chain reaction that destroys the entire ozone layer – ignoring reactions with water vapour to form nitric acid, which is of course what happens to most nitric acids formed in shock wave “thunder” around lightning bolts (it was proved that this happens in nuclear detonations too, when America flew sampling aircraft through a Chinese megaton yield mushroom cloud in 1976). Water vapour is entrained by afterwinds and is sucked into the cloud, where it mixed with nitric oxides, forming nitric acid.

    High altitude nuclear explosions which don’t produce a significant blast wave, don’t produce significant amounts of nitric oxides, but the gamma rays released from such bursts do produce a massive amount of ozone, which gives a good boost for the ozone layer. This is still deliberately covered up by the American military, who are still classifying as secret early-time thermal radiation emission which shows the absorption of ultraviolet by the ozone created by the action of gamma radiation on the air around the fireball.

    People think this kind of data either (1) doesn’t exist, (2) isn’t precisely measured, or (3) is “controversial” (ignorable), when it’s merely still being classified as restricted data under the US Atomic Energy Act of 1954!

    This shows the danger of believing early scare-mongering “scientific” claims from armchair theorists. There’s also a media “selection principle” where only nuclear disaster claims are deemed newsworthy at all. Facts debunking widely-held dogmas don’t sell the Guardian and aren’t objectively reported. Scientists always pick up on this and ensure their reports are scary stuff that attracts more funding and research, like the self-perpetuating AGW scam. Lefties rely on lies (using dogmatic “science”) to camouflage their ecofascist eugenics policies: they censor out science criticisms as if they’re the same as religious heresies.

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Britain’s state school system is a conspiracy against the public | James Delingpole

April 2, 2011

Britain’s state school system is a conspiracy against the public

The other day Girl’s class found themselves with time to spare in the vast play area behind the Imperial War Museum. The children looked wistfully at the swings, roundabouts and climbing frames. ‘I’m not sure we can go there,’ said the teacher. ‘I haven’t filled in a risk assessment form.’

(to read more, click here)

11 thoughts on “Britain’s state school system is a conspiracy against the public”

  1. Martin Lack says:2nd April 2011 at 8:42 amSo are you.
  2. JimmyGiro says:2nd April 2011 at 9:53 amDuring last Christmas, I was working in the local sorting office as a casual. From one sixth-form college, we received a large assignment of postcards, with the term’s ‘student reports’.

    Needless to say, no meaningful assessment of the student could be gleaned from the language of the reports, which used superlatives and neologisms, as though ready for the plasterer’s trowel. But the plasterer’s art was instantly revealed, as all reports from the same teachers about different students, were identical.

    And to simulate individuality, each card was hand written. One maths teacher had misspelled a word in his multi-batch, thence tip-exed out that mistake in all the post-cards from him, so that you knew from a glance the author.

    Why don’t parents with children from the same schools, gather and swap school reports, so as to get insight into the con, that is modern state education.

    And don’t get me started on Ritalin.

  3. Nige Cook says:2nd April 2011 at 11:58 am“Britain’s state school system is a conspiracy against the public on an epic scale. Over a period of at least three decades, generations of children have been sacrificed on the altar of an entrenched ideology which — in the name of ‘progressive’ values — has successfully removed from a once-functioning system every last vestige of rigour, discipline, aspiration and competition. Thanks, Miss Snuffy, for telling it like it is.”

    I attended comprehensive state schooling and then red brick colleges, and I agree 100%. To maintain discipline during the late 80s, my form tutor (“Ms” with dyed pink hair, who was also my English teacher), allowed us to watch “Neighbours” at 1:30pm after half an hour’s free discussion (usually on the topic of socialist ethics, Marxism, the perils of the May 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, etc.). She was disillusioned and confided to us that despite using up here grant allowance on higher education, she was planning to study law (in the fine socialist legal tradition of defending the guilty-as-sin, at great public expense, thus upholding law and social justice). One other memory was the chemistry teacher, who deliberately used explosions and bromine to wake everyone up. Nobody bothered him, since he carried around a jar of uranium acetate in his pocket.

    The great thing about state education is the complete freedom to do your own thing, to think for yourself, to resist conforming to the dictatorship of others, in fact the necessity of doing your own thing if you want to pass any exams ever. Everyone who I knew who got grade A’s did so on the basis of out-of-school study, tutored by parents or by elder siblings. I swim and run regularly for exercise, but I refused to do any competitive sport as a matter of Marxist/Christian principle when at school: competitive sport is immoral prize-grabbing and (trying to) make others losers, hardly the kind of thing Jesus would do. I think it’s curious to see that instead of producing the intended clones, the socialist system of state education backfires and produces innovators and freethinkers. Looking at the products of English public schools, you find prime ministers, civil servants, Nobel Laureates, and other high status clones like fashionable writers.

    They mostly tend to suffer from customs, ethics, groupthink ideology, and conservative political correctness that stifled free thinking and genuine innovation. The exception to this rule (James) is the moral equivalent of Blair’s “plastic copper”; a “visible presence” who won’t overcrowding the prisons. Ideal. You find all socialistic dictatorships have a special “complains department”, the BBC’s Raymond Snoddy, the Guardian’s “Reader’s Editor”, etc. The more open and proud they are of their procedures for dealing with dissent, the more of a problem they end up creating, the self-fulfilling prophecy problem.

    If they don’t have procedures in place to allow “concerns to be redressed”, they’re more careful about doing their research and getting their facts straight in the first place. With the BBC and the Guardian, you find that they immediately refer their damned “proudly” to their “unbiased” complaints departments as soon as they receive a complaint. It’s the same with government departments. The more procedures they put in place to deal with problems, the freer they are to get things wrong and make use of those departments, and the more impossible it is to get any direct and honest reply from the people who actually make up the lies. Instead of lying to the public being considered a sackable offense, the mechanism is in place to turn lying into a social nicety, just a matter of giving James Delingpole something to complain about.

  4. Velocity says:4th April 2011 at 12:58 amBritains State schools are going (have gone) the way of everything else run by Westminster and local Councils (ie. politicians). They are being run, expensively and incompetently, into into the ground

    Everything Govt touches turns to crap

  5. Felicity says:7th April 2011 at 11:09 amWhat type of parent would send their child to a school which they won’t even set foot in themselves?

    Oh right – the type of parent who can’t be bothered shelling out the extra cash for something as frivolous as their daughter’s education. It’s especially important to limit your daughter’s opportunities in life if you have a son which you wish to send to the most expensive type of school in the country.

    Nowadays rich and successful men are just hanging around, waiting to marry a state educated girl as soon as she finishes highschool. There is never a time she will need to support herself, support loved ones – or God forbid, actually have dreams & ambition in life!

    I read your article in Tatler. It was the most sexist piece of trash I’ve seen since we had to read a ‘housewive’s handguide’ from the 1950’s in my history class at school.

    Thank you for making me value my father (who worked to give me opportunities in life) a lot more.

  6. James Delingpole says:7th April 2011 at 11:30 amThanks “Felicity”. Until I read your comment I was all ready to bankrupt myself sending Girl to private school. But now I see that even when you do send a young lady to private school she still emerges bitter, angry, wedded to the kind of self-destructive feminist outlook which one might have hoped had died in the Seventies, and sends pseudonymous hate messages to people she doesn’t know based on one article she only half-understood in Tatler, well, maybe I’d be better leaving her at the local comp.
  7. JimmyGiro says:7th April 2011 at 3:14 pmHehehe… outch!
  8. Felicity says:10th April 2011 at 12:14 pmI wished my parents had sent me to the local state school along with my primary school friends at the time – but now that I’m older I’ve realised how low the rates of University admittence were, as well as how high the rates of teen pregnancy were. I’m sure I would have done just as well academically – but I would have been exposed to a lot of things I wouldn’t want my kids to be exposed to.

    You’re more than happy to bankrupt yourself for the sake of your son – why not send them both to a cheaper private school if money is a problem?

    As for being bitter and angry – well I do believe that this is the pot calling the kettle black in this scenario. I am right to be angry when people treat children unfairly – but this blog spews outrage over even seemingly trivial topics.

    Whilst I don’t believe you intend to cause your kids any harm, I do believe you’re setting your daughter up for a lifetime of self-doubt and resentment if you offer her sibling more privilege than you do her.

    I have very different values to you – yes I do believe in gender equality, I worry about the environment, I believe gay people should have the same rights and I’m strongly against racism. I do however, believe we both care for children – so I think you should reconsider how your decision will affect your kids emotionally.

  9. Felicity says:10th April 2011 at 12:16 pmOh and Felicity is my real name.
  10. Nige Cook says:10th April 2011 at 3:36 pmIf you will read James Delingpole’s book How to be Right, you’ll find he argues for all the liberal equality values that you claim to be differences. What you call “seemingly trivial topics” concern the continued wasting of billions which actually sent this country into serious financial and moral bankrupcy, led to a culture of lying for Marxist ideology (the EU financial corruption is worse than that of USSR), and reduced individual freedoms.

    Oh and Felicity is my real name.

    How appropriate, the derivative of a Roman goddess! Did your privileged girls education include the etiquette of snobbery?

  11. Felicity says:19th April 2011 at 10:57 amIt was a co-ed private school and not that privileged. I don’t believe state school education is bad overall. Some are great, some are terrible – the one in our local area just happened to be the former.

    The problem I have is that one child is being afforded more privilege than the other and that the author seemingly planned to give his daughter just one option for her future – marrying a rich man.

    It’s unfair and completely unrealistic in this day and age – what if marries late in life or not all? What if she gets divorced? What if she falls in love with someone with little money?

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The Ideological Rot That Is Destroying English Conservatism

Letwin: let them holiday in Bognor

Letwin: let them holiday in Bognor

One of the greatest advances for personal freedom in the last twenty years was the rise of the low cost airline. Suddenly, thanks to Ryanair, Easyjet and their many imitators, European travel was transformed from the rare luxury of the few into something almost everyone could enjoy, often two or three times a year. The range of destinations opened too, as smaller airports Bydgoszcz, Montpellier, Beziers, Wroclaw, Kaunas, Riga became part of regular flight schedules. This in turn enabled people to buy properties in parts of Europe which, hitherto, they had barely realised existed. And with flights so cheap they could visit their second homes regularly, enjoying with their family and friends the glorious escapism which comes of owning your own special realm in another country remote from the cares of quotidian existence.

Sure the cheap travel boom had its downsides, for no social and economic advance is without its side effects. Obviously Prague, Riga and Wroclaw could live without the drunken stag parties (though possibly not without the boost they have afforded the local economy); and no one is pretending that Ryanairs Michael OLeary is Mother Teresa, nor that a crowded EasyJet flight is the last word in sophistication. But you would need a really warped sense of priorities to argue that the disadvantages of cheap air travel outweighed the advantages, let alone that it is something which should be actively discouraged.

Yet bizarrely, disgracefully, this is exactly what one of David Camerons ministers is reported to have proposed. According to the excellent Iain Martin (formerly of this parish), the minister in question is Eton-educated former merchant banker Oliver Letwin. And his remarks have prompted a row with London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson has had a blazing row with a Tory Cabinet minister who privately told the London Mayor that the Government doesn’t want people flying abroad on holiday.

Johnson told a ‘People’s Question Time’ event: ‘I was absolutely scandalised the other day to hear a government minister tell me he did not want to see more families in Sheffield able to afford cheap holidays.

Absolutely disgraceful, a bourgeois repression of people’s ability to take a holiday. It is a matter of social justice.’

Who was the Tory minister concerned? Impeccable sources tell me it was Oliver Letwin,  the Hampstead-born minister of state at the Cabinet Office, ‘leading Cameroon thinker’ and former investment banker.

Once again we see Boris positioning himself as the ideological conscience of the Conservative party. Im not suggesting he doesnt also believe this stuff: Im sure he does, with a passion. But politically it makes sense too for Boris understands clearly, as his party leadership apparently does not, the Conservative party in Britain is in dire, dire trouble. And the root of this malaise is precisely this mix of snooty remoteness, intellectual woolliness and odious wetness exhibited by senior party figures like Oliver Wetwin.

Wetwin, let it not be forgotten, is not some random pillock on the fringes of the Tory party. He is the Prime Ministers key policy adviser. If somebody that influential cannot understand why trying to clamp down on cheap holiday flights (as indeed the government is doing: through the swingeing eco-taxes imposed on air travel) is inimical to Conservatism, then truly the Tory party is doomed.

One of the reasons Margaret Thatcher was so successful was that she understood what it means to aspire to a better life. If youre Oliver Letwin (or indeed a baronets son like George Osborne, or indeed David Cameron) you dont need to worry about such things: youve had it all handed to you on a plate already. But to Thatcher, the kind of snobbery that suggests that only people with chalets in Gstaad (like Nick Clegg) or homes in Tuscany (eg Polly Toynbee) should be able to afford to fly abroad regularly would have been total anathema.

One of the key tenets of Conservatism is a desire to set people free: free of the shackles of the state, free to forge their own destiny, free to spend their money on as many exciting new opportunities as a burgeoning market is prepared to offer them. This is also how economies grow: by harnessing the mightily powerful urge most people have to improve their own lot and create an even better world for their children.

Oliver Letwin is not the only senior Tory who completely fails to understand the point of conservatism, but he is probably the most egregiously misguided.

The only consolation here is that David Cameron is unutterably ruthless. If he believed for one fraction of a second that his political survival lay in ditching the wets in his party and rediscovering his true inner Tory, he would do so in a trice.

As Martin argues earlier in his article, while Cameron is busy grandstanding over Libya, his domestic policies are falling to pieces. Not only is the Coalition under threat, but Camerons brand of managerial, Heathite faux-Conservatism too. I still fancy Camerons chances because, beneath that plausibly charming veneer, hes a principle-free thug. Thats why, I suspect, sooner or later hes going to be forced to do the right thing.

And one of those right things should definitely be this: sack Oliver Letwin.

Related posts:

  1. Cameron’s coalition of liars, trimmers and charlatans are destroying Britain’s landscape
  2. A refreshing weekend of real conservatism
  3. Cancun suffers its final indignity: a visit from ‘Two Jags’ Prescott
  4. ‘Compassionate’ Conservatism isn’t Conservatism

16 thoughts on “The ideological rot that is destroying English conservatism”

  1. Martin Lack says:3rd April 2011 at 3:14 pmSorry to be so outrageously predictable but, the main disadvantage of cheap air travel is that its cost does not reflect the environmental damage it is causing: Being of the same generation as you, James, I too benefited greatly from the expansion of affordable air travel in the 70s and 80s. However, back then, our parents could be excused their self-indulgence on the grounds of ignorance. Today, the situation is different in that we now know what damage is being done (and most of us are even willing to acknowledge it). Therefore, armed with this knowledge, to carry on taking advantage of cheap air travel is selfish. However, as Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) observed, such is our “state of nature” – and such is the truth of Garrett Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons” – that we do indeed need governments to make some anti-libertarian choices for us.
  2. Nige Cook says:3rd April 2011 at 7:42 pmWhat “environmental damage” is air travel causing, Martin? Aircraft release just 3% of total CO2 emissions.
  3. Velocity says:4th April 2011 at 1:38 amHaving sold up in the UK and moved to The Med i’m not up with UK politics much, especially as the BBC, ITV and SKY News is totally unwatcheable mind-numbing dross (is it made for patronising 13 year olds?). So i’ll take your word for it James that Tory policies are falling apart at the seams.
    This is what i told your ‘small Govt’ mate Daniel Hannan would happen. If the Tories were piss poor in opposition they’d be even more shambolic in Govt faced with real (as apposed verbal) challenges.
    But forget re-arranging the deckchairs, or in Oliver Letwins case he’s the trash in the bin, on the Titanic James.
    The real iceberg is the economy. Everything else is bunting.
    Housing, consumers and retail have all just started tanking again.
    When the economy rollercoasters down into its 2nd Double-Dip the public, the real ones not the current bleating pigs of the public sector, will (finally) lose their rags and (finally) kick off into the streets (Circa. 2012-2014)
    The current Lib-Con jokers will find a hell on earth and at last awake from their cushy elite educated socialist slumber ….welcome to reality retards
  4. Martin Lack says:4th April 2011 at 8:29 amNige, that is just yet another “and who is my neighbour” excuse for taking no action!
  5. Nige Cook says:4th April 2011 at 11:30 amMartin, you’re ignoring the NOAA data from 1948-2009 and supposing that humidity isn’t falling to compensate for greenhouse CO2 emissions (negative feedback), but even if you did have your facts right, your “action” is wrong because it will have no significant effect on the problem, yet will have a very significant effect on the global economy, on people’s lives, etc. If you really care about making a brighter future, I suggest you join the “big society” bandwaggon and consider complaining about the marketing of popular poisons like alcohol and pseudo-science.
  6. Martin Lack says:4th April 2011 at 6:17 pmAlcohol is not a poison, but it is a socially-acceptable-yet-highly dangerous drug.As for pseudo-science, I complain about what you say almost every day but will you shut up. Not a chance.

    But, since you still have not invalidated his argument, I return to the central point made by Greg Craven, that we should stop arguing about the science and start debating about the cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of whether or not we should take action to mitigate the potential consequences of AGW being/turning out to be true.

  7. Nige Cook says:5th April 2011 at 9:57 amMartin: you’re missing my point. The analogy of alcohol to pollution is very important. Pure alcohol is a poison: it’s taken up like water but doesn’t perform the same functions, dehydrates the brain, damages the liver. Diluted sufficiently, it is less toxic but it is still a poison.Saying “Alcohol is not a poison, but it is a socially-acceptable-yet-highly dangerous drug,” is wrong. Every poison has a lethal dose, and well below that dose, the effects are mitigated. Alcohol is an addictive poison. CO2 and radioactive pollution are not addictive poisons, and even if they were, the bigger problem is the natural level of each, which is way bigger than human emissions. All of these scare mongering scams rely centrally on the ignorance of the public to the lies being used for political ends, to suck away taxpayers money under false pretenses, etc.

    Feynman came up against this in the 1960s with radioactivity. He found the natural background radiation in Denver is double that at sea level altitude cities (on account of the extra cosmic radiation at altitude). Then he noticed people protesting about a 1% increase in radiation due to nuclear tests. Why, he asked, were the people not protesting against the much bigger radiation, the 100% increase in sea level radiation from living in Denver? Why not protest to have such cities closed, if you claim a hazard exists?

    Feynman classic repudiation of 1960s radiation lies for political scaremongering:

    http://www.i2o.uva.nl/BGB/KIN/Feynman-unscientific.doc

    Richard Feynman, This Unscientific Age (Danz Lectures, April 1963):

    You can play games and show that you will kill 10 million people in the next 2000 years with it. If I were to walk in front of a car, hoping that I will have some more children in the future, I also will kill 10,000 people in the next 10,000 years, if you figure it out, from a certain way of calculating. … How much is the increase in radioactivity compared to the general variations in the amount of radioactivity from place to place? The amounts of background radioactivity in a wooden building and a brick building are quite different, because the wood is less radioactive than the bricks.

    It turns out that at the time that I asked this ques-tion, the difference in the effects was less than the dif-ference between being in a brick and a wooden building. And the difference between being at sea level and being at 5000 feet altitude was a hundred times, at least, bigger than the extra radioactivity produced by the atomic bomb testing.

    Now, I say that if a man is absolutely honest and wants to protect the populace from the effects of radio-activity, which is what our scientific friends often say they are trying to do, then he should work on the biggest number, not on the smallest number, and he should try to point out that the radioactivity which is absorbed by living in the city of Denver is so much more serious, is a hundred times bigger than the background from the bomb, that all the people of Denver ought to move to lower altitude. … I ask you to ask that question to get some idea whether you should be very careful about not walking into a brick building, as careful as you are to try to stop nuclear testing for the sole reason of radioactivity. There are many good reasons that you may feel politically strong about, one way or the other. But that’s another question.

    What depressed me what the way this argument of Feynman’s was ignored by reviewers in science magazines when the essay above was republished as part of the Feynman book The Meaning of it All. I recall that one reviewer, probably in New Scientist wrote that Feynman’s views of radiation risks were outdated and shocking to readers: he made no mention of the point Feynman was getting at, which is the lying and deception. Yes, Kennedy signed the atmospheric nuclear test ban treaty on 5 August 1963, four months after Feynman’s lecture. But it had a terrible price in “justifying” pseudo-science.

  8. Martin Lack says:5th April 2011 at 1:53 pmYour attempt at obfuscation by means of a lengthy digression regarding radiation will not deflect me: You say “CO2 and radioactive pollution are not addictive poisons, and even if they were, the bigger problem is the natural level of each, which is way bigger than human emissions.” However, the human race is addicted to fossil fuels, the waste product from combustion of which is most definitely polluting our environment. Yes that’s right, CO2 is an atmospheric pollutant because it is now being generated faster than the environment can assimilate it. For the same reason, we can enjoy drinking whisky but not pure ethanol; and above a safe level of consumption even whisky is poisonous.I am not too proud to admit I mis-spoke earlier when I said “alcohol is not a poison“; clearly it is – or people would not die of alcohol poisoning (silly me)! However, will you also admit you are wrong to deny that CO2 in the atmosphere can be – and is – harming our environment (i.e. the defining characteristic of a pollutant)?
  9. Nige Cook says:5th April 2011 at 5:32 pmMartin: I am grateful to you for stimulating me to complete my paper which debunks the basis for your CO2 scaremongering: http://nige.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/5-april-2011-climate-change-paper-nigel-b-cook.pdfIt’s only 8 pages long, and compiles the latest key facts debunking AWG.
  10. Martin Lack says:5th April 2011 at 10:50 pmInteresting stuff but, unfortunately, the entire premise of your crusade is wrong because AGW is not an “anti-capitalist conspiracy“: If it was, it would be an entirely motiveless crime, whereas AGW-denial has a very clear motive, which is to justify the continuance of “business as usual” and the maintenance of our “hydrocarbon habit“.Furthermore, with regard to water vapour, it does not matter how many times you, he, or anyone else repeats the flawed water vapour hypothesis, it does not negate the extremely high probability of the correctness of the scientific consensus.

    Unfortunately, while denialists prevent more effective mitigating action being taken, the climate is changing (as Greg Craven would say, “the experiment is running and we are in the test-tube“); and the time lag between cause and effect means that by the time this mad “debate is finally over, the cost of preventing significant change will have escalated enormously because, as Nicholas Stern has pointed out:
    This is not an investment project like a new road or a bridge. The costs and benefits of such projects can reasonably be understood in terms of a marginal change, set in the context of a given growth path for the entire economy. What we are discussing with climate change are strategies concerning patterns of growth, or possible decline, for the world economy as a whole in the context of uncertain outcomes. The analytical tools and policy constructs must be capable of taking on these issues directly. All too many discussions – and it is astonishing that they have done so – see policy on climate change as a single-investment decision, analogous to a new bridge. Standard or marginal cost-benefit analysis is appropriate for the latter kind of decision. For climate change, however, the relevant economics are much more difficult and profound“.
    Page 13 of “A Blueprint for a Safer Planet” (2009).

    In other words, Stern was right the first time, the longer we delay taking action, the more expensive it will be to take action that achieves the same result. The fact that the libertarian ideologues at the Institute of Economic Affairs do not accept this just shows how blinded they are by their idolatry of the free market. Again, Stern was therefore also correct to conclude that AGW is the biggest market failure in human history.

  11. Richard Treadgold says:6th April 2011 at 6:21 amMartin Lack:You ask:

    However, will you also admit you are wrong to deny that CO2 in the atmosphere can be – and is – harming our environment (i.e. the defining characteristic of a pollutant)?

    Please describe the harm you say CO2 is causing. Remember, as you describe it, that CO2 is emitted by natural processes, such as by animals breathing, and that it is the single most important plant food, even for aquatic and oceanic plants.

    I am interested to hear what harm this natural ‘pollutant’ causes to our environment.

    Richard Treadgold,
    Convenor,
    Climate Conversation Group.

  12. Nige Cook says:6th April 2011 at 8:29 am“Furthermore, with regard to water vapour, it does not matter how many times you, he, or anyone else repeats the flawed water vapour hypothesis, it does not negate the extremely high probability of the correctness of the scientific consensus.” – MartinWhat “high probability of the correctness of the scientific consensus”? It’s a fact, not a hypothesis, that heated moist air rises, just as hot air from politicians/BBC correspondents/Dr Phil Jones rises to form an effective “smoke screen” called cloud cover. The bouyancy of warm air is a fact that at an equilibrium of pressure (pressure equalizes quickly), warm air has a lower density than cold air, causing it to rise like a hot air (or helium) balloon. When warm moist air rises, it expands as the ambient pressure falls, and the expansion causes the moisture to transform from a greenhouse gas (H2O vapour) into small droplets which form a white reflective cloud, cooling the air and surface below.

    No amount of consensus based on ignoring the facts can ever be science, it must be called pseudoscience.

    The page you link to, http://www.skepticalscience.com/Evaporating-the-water-vapor-argument.html states the old positive-feedback IPCC hypothesis (used in every IPCC model) that sunlight warmed water vapour doesn’t rise to form clouds in the low-pressure at thousands of feet above air pressure.

    The positive feedback hypothesis is disproved by the data in my paper, and what we’re dealing with a socialist conspiracy called popular fashion, which is the most prevalent conspiracy you can find, even sucking in “conservative” nutters like David Cameron!

  13. Nige Cook says:6th April 2011 at 9:55 amSee also the new paper, Lutz Bornmann and Werner Marx, ” The Anna Karenina principle: A mechanism for the explanation of success in science”, http://arxiv.org/abs/1104.0807 (5 April 2011):

    The first sentence of Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina is: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. Here Tolstoy means that for a family to be happy, several key aspects must be given (such as good health of all family members, acceptable financial security, and mutual affection). If there is a deficiency in any one or more of these key aspects, the family will be unhappy. In this paper we introduce the Anna Karenina principle as a principle that can explain success in science. Here we will refer to three central areas in modern science in which scarce resources will most usually lead to failure: (1) peer review of research grant proposals and manuscripts (money and journal space as scarce resources), (2) citation of publications (reception as a scarce resource), and (3) new scientific discoveries (recognition as a scarce resource). If resources are scarce (journal space, funds, reception, and recognition), there can be success only when several key prerequisites for the allocation of the resources are fulfilled. If any one of these prerequisites is not fulfilled, the grant proposal, manuscript submission, the published paper, or the discovery will not be successful.

    As I’ve written before, I was pushed into statistics before mechanical applications of mathematics. Suppose you toss an unbiased coin, observe how it landed, but don’t tell me. From my perspective, I still have to assume that there is 50% probability of heads or tails, even though the event is done and dusted, and you know the result with 100% accuracy. In this case, probability is just is a measurement about how ignorant you are of the facts. As soon as you have the facts, probability ceases to have values between 0% and 100%, or 0 and 1, yes and no. There is no fuzziness, no probability in the real world. Probability is just a subjective measure of ignorance, varying from person to person, depending on the knowledge available to that person. It’s subjective, not objective.

    What you’re trying to do, Martin, is to ignore the fact the coin has landed tails up on the AGW controversy, by asserting that there is some probability that warm moist air doesn’t rise. This reminds me of the fallicious argument that there is some small probability that all the air molecules will cluster in one corner of your room, suffocating you (or causing you to explode in the vacuum thus formed around you).

    It’s fallicious because although it looks like solid “probability theory”, it violates the conservation of energy, the third law of thermodynamics, etc., like the “probability” that a ball will roll uphill of its own accord. As soon as any slight pressure enhancement in one place arises, that air expands, physically re-establishing an uniformity of pressure. To get all the air molecules in one corner of your room would require a lot of work energy to be expended in greatly compressing (and thus heating up) the air into a corner, and that large amount of energy needed to reduce the entropy of the gas is simply not available. Even if you assume that quantum field vacuum energy is “borrowed” to power a temporary re-arrangement of air molecules in your room, you find that it is impossible to achieve because the amount of borrowed energy (Joules) = h-bar/time (seconds), so the time taken by 500 m/s air molecules to all reach one corner of your room prevents enough energy being borrowed to compress that that air.

    So in the real world, things are impossible, contrary to the popular fashion that probability is a statement of reality. Furthermore, the “self-fulfilling prophecy” principle is alive and well in “science”, well explained by Shaw:

    The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

    – George Bernard Shaw

    The tolerance of criticism and the need to debate openly is the definition of progressive libertarian freedom. The pretense in mainstream physics that science is a “consensus of experts” is useful in showing such mainstream physics to be politically defended. Democratic politics, where the “consensus” is supposedly established every four years by elections, shows some of the problems with such consensus.

    First, a consensus means nothing where everyone has been misled by liars. Second, a consensus can form behind a liar who makes false promises that people want to hear (vote for Nige Cook, I promise everybody I’ll cut tax and provide millions of new public sector jobs, and better services for everyone). Third, nobody decent and moral and uncorrupted by the sewer smell of power wants to go into politics any more that they would want to board the Titanic while it was sinking, because they can see the country is bankrupt and there is nothing that can be done without money. So the consensus of liars ends up attracting more liars to it, just as overripe fruit attracts flies until they become very unattractive. At this stage, it’s too late for would be critics, because there’s a supercritical mass of bullshit exploding.

  14. Nige Cook says:7th April 2011 at 9:14 amMy paper compiling the negative-feedback evidence is now hosted at the preprint server http://vixra.org/abs/1104.0013
  15. Martin Lack says:7th April 2011 at 9:23 amApparently, the US Congress has recently repealed legislation that recognised the danger of AGW. In an editorial piece entitled “Into ignorance“, this is what Nature had to say about it:
    It is hard to escape the conclusion that the US Congress has entered the intellectual wilderness, a sad state of affairs in a country that has led the world in many scientific arenas for so long. Global warming is a thorny problem, and disagreement about how to deal with it is understandable. It is not always clear how to interpret data or address legitimate questions. Nor is the scientific process, or any given scientist, perfect. But to deny that there is reason to be concerned, given the decades of work by countless scientists, is irresponsible“.
    Nature 471, pp.265–266, 17 March 2011.Is this how you want your children to remember you?
  16. Nige Cook says:7th April 2011 at 10:02 amMartin, duplicity is the word for the decades of work by countless self-deceived groupthink apparachiks who are paid to tow the party line (thus having a vested interest in continued lying scare-mongering) by sneering attacks on genuine evidence that debunks their lies.The editorial in Nature shows how far the smell of money has corrupted not just research but the definition of science itself, which is morphing away from the idea that facts override prejudices, into the ancient idea that superstitions override reason, because it uses “decades of work by countless scientists” as an argument, forgetting it can apply that deceitful “majority is right” lie to Piltdown Man, centuries of work on Ptolemies epicycle based earth-centred universe, Phlogiston, Caloric, etc. Do you want your children to remember you as someone whose support of money wasting for a lying “ethical” scam increased their debt burden, and reduced the ability of governments to spend money on real human needs?

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Our Island Story

I vividly remember the moment when I saw my first black person. It was December in either ’68 or ’69, so I would have been three or four at the time, and my father’s works had arranged some kind of coach outing to meet Father Christmas. Seated near me was a black child a bit older than me, and I recall gazing fascinated at the blackness of his skin and noticing that it had white blotches on it like a mirror image of the dark freckles and moles on my skin. ‘Daddy, what are those white things?’ I asked, pointing at the boy’s skin. ‘Pigment,’ my father explained.

It’s not the sort of detail you could make up, is it? And I’m sure most Englishmen of my generation or older will have had similar experiences. It’s not a racist observation, merely a statement of fact, that in our youth Britain was much, much whiter than it is now. So white that unless you ventured into the inner cities, it was quite possible not to see a ‘coloured’ person at all.

Suppose, then, you wanted to create a cosy, long-running TV series which would have especial appeal to the group of people who most watch TV. No, not students and the long-term unemployed: they’ve got Countdown and Shameless. I mean all those oldsters who don’t do Facebook and Call of Duty (Black Ops), who know the words to the ‘Beer at Home means Davenports’ ad, whose schooling included being taught how to add up and write in joined-up handwriting, who think Britain isn’t what it was and that nobody has any manners or respect any more. If you were designing a show just for them, how would it look?

Here, I would suggest, are some of the key ingredients: chocolate-boxy, unspoilt English villages with honey-coloured stone; a total absence of wind farms; a solid, reliable, if slightly dull detective of a certain age — ideally played by that wonderful chap who used to be Jim Bergerac, ah, remember Bergerac, happy days; plot lines involving country-house mysteries of the kind that greats like Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple used to solve; sly, shifty old rustics, blimpish colonels and bluff Mine Hosts; churches and churchyards and churchgoers; extremely limited use of iPods, iPads, Xboxes and PS3s; no ethnic characters.

You’ll have noticed that the series I’ve described, more or less, is Midsomer Murders.

Read the rest at the Spectator.

Related posts:

  1. Government’s £6 million ‘Bedtime Story’ climate change ad: most pernicious waste of taxpayers’ money ever?
  2. What Labour has done to our education system is criminal – as this heart-rending story shows
  3. Why the BBC cannot be trusted on ‘Climate Change’: the full story
  4. When Lego lost its head – and how this toy story got its’ happy ending

 

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10 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Be In Libya | James Delingpole

March 30, 2011

“It is one of those times when I feel estranged from the country and not comprehending of what we are doing and why everyone is so gung-ho for it all.” Rod Liddle on the Anglo-French/American Libyan intervention Spectator May 26

“One can only gape in stunned amazement at the extent of the idiocy being displayed by the leaders of America, Britain and Europe over the ‘Arab Spring’ – which should surely be renamed ‘the Arab Boomerang’.” Melanie Phillips on Libya in her Spectator blog.

Is this the first time Rod Liddle and Melanie Phillips have agreed so strongly on any subject, ever? I think it just might be. Which gives a pretty fair indication, I think, of how stupid, misguided, wrongheaded, counterproductive and suicidally dumb our current intervention in Libya is. It’s the war which no one outside the political class wants to wage because almost no one outside the political class is so foolish as to imagine any good will come of it.

Here are just ten of the reasons why we shouldn’t be there:

1. We cannot afford it. Liberal interventionism belongs to another era: the era when we imagined we had enough money to prosecute wars. Now our armed forces are so straitened by Cameron’s defence cuts that we don’t even have sufficient trained Typhoon pilots. And as for those bloody silly Storm Shadow missiles at £1 million a pop….

2. The Arabs won’t thank us for it – which kind of defeats the object, given that the sole real point of this misbegotten enterprise was to show the Middle East how lovely and caring we were and sensitive to Islamic feelings. Only once we’d secured the Arab League’s approval did we dare launch the mission. And now, guess what: they’ve decided they think it’s a bad idea after all.

3. We are fighting for Al Qaeda. Not traditionally one of our allies.

4. According to this video from the Cato institute, there are five key questions to be asked before actions of this kind: Is it in the national interest? Is there public support? Have the costs and consequences been considered? Is there are clear military mission? Have we exhausted all available options? The Libya debacle fails on ALL counts.

5. It’s the French’s colonial war, not ours. They sucked us into this. As Jonathan Foreman reports in his superb analysis:

For more than two decades the biggest threat to French dominance of Chad – and other Francophone countries in Central and West Africa has come from Libya. Qaddafi’s forces have battled those of Chad four times since 1978. During the first three invasions, in 1978, 1979 and the winter of 1980-81, the Libyans allied with local rebel forces, supporting their infantry with armored vehicles, artillery and air support. The third invasion resulted in the de facto partition of Chad in 1983 with Libyan forces controlling the country’s northern half, above the 16th parallel.

6. President Obama’s heart obviously isn’t in it and given that US provides the bulk of our military muscle, this doesn’t augur well for a happy outcome.

7. What kind of message does it send out to the Middle East generally? That we’ll only intervene in countries where we have no real strategic interest and which are weak enough to knock about, while leaving the really big nasty regimes – Iran’s, say, or Syria’s – to do what the hell they like. As Melanie Phillips reports in a superb blog post, all we are doing is alienating Middle Eastern moderates through our mixed messages and double standards:

So no air strikes to get rid of Bashar Assad. Of course not. The rule of thumb for western ‘progressives’ is that tyrants can stay in office if they are the mortal enemies of freedom, democracy and human rights and are helping the jihad – in which case it is a ‘war crime’ to get rid of them; the only ones they want to get rid of are those who are resisting the jihad.

Particularly damning is the verdict she quotes of Tariq Alhomayed, editor of Al Sharq al Awsat, on the US’s failure to understand the nuances of Bahrein’s politics (where the Shi’ite protest movement is in fact sponsored by Iran)

How can the U.S. defense secretary say that Bahrain must enact speedy reforms to put an end to Iranian interference… while the Americans are also issuing statements saying that in Yemen, protests are not the solution, and that there must be dialogue? Why must the Bahrain government to act immediately, while the demonstrators in Yemen must to wait? This is wrong, and it raises both suspicion and doubt.

…This is not to mention that that the U.S. is ignoring what is happening in Iran, where the state oppresses its minorities. [As recently as] yesterday, the Iranian opposition has tried to come out and protest in Tehran, only to be repressed, and its key figures have been arrested. This is a perplexing matter indeed, but it clearly tells us something – that is, that Washington does not have a clear picture of what is going on in the region, and that even if it does, it is too weak to act.”

8. Britain, France and the US now run a drastically increased risk of a Lockerbie-style revenge atrocity. Obviously we shouldn’t base our international policy on our fear of being punished for doing the right thing. But, er, being punished for doing the wrong thing?

9. If this goes on much longer, Britain’s beloved former minister Lord Mandelson may run a severe risk of never landing a coveted shooting invitation again with his chum Saif Gaddafi, nor will the London School of Economics be able to go ahead with any plans it may have have had to establish a new School of International Terrorism Support and Apologism, perhaps with someone like Professor Ken Livingstone as its head.

10. If, according to President Obama, Libya was a “looming humanitarian disaster” that would have “stained our conscience”, how come similar rules don’t apply to his biofuels policy which may be responsible for as many as 200,000 Third World deaths per year? Here is a genuine problem (see this paper by Indur Goklany) which could be solved without costly military action and bring about a guaranteed happy outcome.

Increased production of biofuels increases the price of food worldwide by diverting crops and cropland from feeding people to feeding motor vehicles. Higher food prices, in turn, condemn more people to chronic hunger and “absolute poverty” (defined as income less than $1.25 per day). But hunger and poverty are leading causes of premature death and excess disease worldwide. Therefore, higher biofuel production would increase death and disease.

Research by the World Bank indicates that the increase in biofuels production over 2004 levels would push more than 35 million additional people into absolute poverty in 2010 in developing countries. Using statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Indur Goklany estimates that this would lead to at least 192,000 excess deaths per year, plus disease resulting in the loss of 6.7 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) per year. These exceed the estimated annual toll of 141,000 deaths and 5.4 million lost DALYs that the World Health Organization attributes to global warming. Thus, developed world policies intended to mitigate global warming probably have increased death and disease in developing countries rather than reducing them. Goklany also notes that death and disease from poverty are a fact, whereas death and disease from global warming are hypothetical.

Thus, the biofuel remedy for global warming may be worse than the disease it purports to alleviate.

 

3 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Be In Libya”

  1. Nige Cook says:31st March 2011 at 7:46 pmGadaffi was drumming up support for months by jamming free unbiased TV transmissions around Tripoli while broadcasting state TV propaganda accusing all his opposition to be drugged Al Qaida terrorists, which is why he dominates Tripoli with propaganda and gets back so much support there.

    The Libyan intelligence technical administration building south of Tripoli has jammed Arabic language Russian Today (Rusiya Al-Yaum) TV transmissions relayed by the Nilesat (AB4) satellite, Al Jazeera TV on the Arabsat, and Alhurra TV on the Nilesat satellite.

    To help free democracy in Libya, the first thing is to get unbiased Arabic language TV news (not BBC propaganda) into Tripoli, stopping Gadaffi’s propaganda lies by jamming them! It’s cheap and risk-free, compared to having the risk of aircraft shot down in a no-fly zone!

    On CNN on 9 March, Senator John McCain argued for the jamming of Libyan state TV’s lying propaganda from the Gadaffi regime, which is an obvious and technically easy undertaking.

    (For technical details on military jamming capabilities, please see the February 2009 U.S. Army Field Manual FM 3-36, “Electronic Warfare in Operations”. There is spare communications satellite capability over North Africa which can be adapted for this purpose, while terrestrial radio transmissions could easily be jammed using a ship off Libya.)

    Of course, Cameron won’t use electronic means to counter Gadaffi propaganda. He prefers to use expensive cruise missiles, etc. We all know how this happens. The great British top brass deny jamming exists, so they can do their bit to further bankrupt the country with the alternative of a no-fly zone. Cameron asks no questions and believes whatever people tell him, so the worst choices are taken.

  2. Bernie says:1st April 2011 at 7:48 pmJust imagine how the Soviets feel about the matter: it is manna from heaven. If Quadaffi prevails they can say that we never supported the idea of your overthrow. Thje imperialists fof the west did that. If the “rebels” win they can say that we supported you all along. Our agents were in the forefront of the protests along with whatever fundamentalists that we could scrape together. The only reason that we didn’t supply you with arms is that the United States was already doing that. It’s a win-win situation.
  3. Velocity says:4th April 2011 at 12:54 ambut David Cameron, not content with 2 wars (illegal foreign occupations) and going for a ‘lucky’ 3, says “it is absolutely the right decision”.
    When you’re born wrong, and a Home Counties village idiot, how do you know what the right decision is David???

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George Osborne’s New Eco-Bullingdon Club

Grotesque and pointless quango

Green-wishes-230Imagine if a cabal of privately wealthy upper middle class and lower upper class public schoolboys got into power and began using taxpayers’ money to dole out special favours to all their rich friends: cushy sinecures for their banking and management consultancy chums from Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Logica and the Oliver Wyman Group; subsidies for landowners like Sir Reginald Sheffield (father-in-law of one D. Cameron, Esq) to blight their local countryside; investments in companies almost 100 per cent guaranteed not to make a profit but nice, all the same, for those plutocratic rent-seekers who’ve been tipped the wink by their chums in government. (H/T Barrie James)

Imagine if this were found out. There’d be riots on the street, right?

WRONG!

This is exactly what happened in chancellor George Osborne’s latest budget. And almost no one noticed. So thank heavens for Andrew Orlowski of the Register:

Last week, Chancellor George Osborne announced a new body that would make loans and issue debt. In a harkback to the 1970s, poorly performing and deeply unprofitable businesses will be the beneficiaries – and investors in them will be rewarded for their poor judgement. So much for moral hazard.

The Chancellor even found an unexpected £775m from the Government’s sale of the HS1 rail link to kickstart the venture. £3bn has been pledged: £2bn from the sale of publically-owned assets, and £1bn from taxes. This is a considerable sum that could alternatively be used to pay off the government borrowing, or pay for public services.

Or indeed, pay for a new aircraft carrier. Or buy five squadrons of F-18s. Or pay for the share of the Portugese bailout so kindly imposed on Britain (with Cast Iron Dave’s tacit agreement) by Osborne’s even-more-useless predecessor Alastair Darling. OrWell I’m sure we can think of lots of more sensible ways a Chancellor of the Exchequer could spend £3billion of OUR money. What I seriously doubt though, is whether anyone could think of a worse way of spending £3 billion, than on the grotesque and pointless quango  that is the Green Investment Bank headed by Bob Wigley.

The point to note about the Green Investment Bank is that it is based on one massive lie, promulgated by everyone from David Cameron to Chris Huhne to Greg Barker to every other two-bit chancer who wants to get on the Coalition, viz: that green investments and green jobs are the future. (See this brilliant Dilbert cartoon) (H/T Philip Foster)

They are not. The reason private investors don’t want to invest in environmental projects is not that they’re frightened of making too much money, as this chart shows:

http://regmedia.co.uk/2011/03/25/ftse_stocks_2010_large.png

Can you see which category of investment comes right at the bottom? The one so abysmally poor that investors lost on average 52.3 per cent over the course of the year? That’s right. Alternative Energy.

Now imagine you had a Prime Minister who had a first in PPE from Oxford and a Chancellor who claimed to be a classical liberal. What kind of intellectual contortions must they have gone through to persuade themselves against all evidence that it makes any financial sense to use taxpayer’s money to bribe investors to allocate their scarce resources in companies that are so inefficient they can only possibly ever turn a “profit” through massive state subsidy (paid for by imposing a national energy tax concealed in electricity bills)?

And you don’t even need to be on the libertarian right, like me, to believe that this is a crying scandal. It is, as Orlowski notes, above all a conspiracy against the poor.

Osborne’s programme really a continuation of his predecessor’s as he invented very few of the policies – is a set of deeply regressive measures at which the Left has traditionally bridled. The Left has historically thought of itself as being on the side of the poor, and opposed measures which hurt the poor disproportionately. It likes to think of itself as being on the side of the weak against the strong, and so has traditionally favoured a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Yet the policies depend heavily on regressive taxation and more expensive essentials.

Forty per cent of the cost of a carbon floor price is paid for by consumers, the Treasury’s own documents suggest. The Budget measures alone add £17 to a family’s household energy bill. As even climate Jacobin George Monbiot has noticed, green measures distribute wealth from the poor to the middle classes: FITs are “extortionate, useless deeply regressive”. Not all on the Left are happy with this. Graham Stringer MP said Parliament needed to look much more closely at the policies, and the justification for them, because the measures hit the poorest people in the country. (He is MP for the North Manchester constituency of Blackley and Broughton.)

It’s a hard one for many on the Left. The number of households in “fuel poverty” – where energy swallows up more than 10 per cent of household income – has trebled. In Wales, more than one in four households is in fuel poverty, according to Wales Online. Left to the market, energy prices would plummet: even with profiteering and heavy Government duties. Gas is cheap, and set to be even cheaper for years to come; gas requires no subsidies.

Really, honestly, I have absolutely no objection to living in a country run by people who’ve had the best education in the world and who belong to the kind of old aristocratic families which tend to take the long view on what Britain’s interests really are. What I do object to, though, is when they abuse their power by behaving like selfish, ignorant, caricature toffs out of a Guardian cartoon by Steve Bell or Polly Toynbee’s most perfervid class-war fantasy. It is precisely such weapons-grade pillocks who govern us now.

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Simon Singh’s for the Joy of Solar Energy

Tonight, as I’m sure you’re all aware Simon Singh Britain’s third most famous celebrity mathematician after Carol Vorderman and Johnny Ball appears at the Spectator debate speaking in defence of the great AGW meme.

I do hope his spirits havent been dampened by the recent news that the government is planning to slash subsidies for large-scale solar installations.

The proposals would reduce the tariff for roof-mounted schemes of more than 50 kilowatts by 39pc to 49pc and the tariff for stand-alone schemes may be reduced by more than 70pc.

The  reason I mention this is that Simons entrepreneur brother Tom who runs the Tom Singh Family Trusts appears to be quite heavily exposed to the solar industry.

Entrepreneur and retailer Tom Singh has purchased a stake in solar power developer and producer mO3 Power.

Singh, who is the founder of high street retailer New Look, will become a non-executive director of mO3 Power after buying into the company during its second investment round.

His stake in the company has not been disclosed but a statement says it is a ‘substantial investment’.

Tom Singh Family Trusts, which made the purchase on Singh’s behalf, have interests in a range of sectors including retail, real estate and renewable energy.

mO3 Power develops, builds, owns and operates a number of large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) panel parks in the Midlands, southern England, East Anglia and south Wales.

mO3 Power chief executiveKen Moss says: ‘[Singh] has demonstrated a clear and deep understanding of the solar PV sector and the importance of increasing electricity generation from renewable resources.’

Let’s hope for Simon’s sake it adds extra passion to his oratory at the Spectator debate. After all, he wouldn’t want to let down Big Brother, would he?

Related posts:

  1. The curious double standards of Simon Singh
  2. Simon Singh: is there anything he doesn’t know?
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  4. We need to talk about wind farms…

 

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How the TUC’s Day of Innocent Family Fun Was Destroyed by Evil, Fascist Media

They came in their thousands from across the land – babies, pensioners, Ed Miliband, both the people who still watch 10 O’Clock Live. Their aims were simple, their intentions pure. They were marching against INJUSTICE. They were yearning for a Better Britain.

They were campaigning for a brighter, nobler, fairer world where:

Britain’s economy can compete on almost equal terms with those of Albania and Burkina Faso.

Media studies, golf course management and windsurfing technology students can watch Bully, Countdown and Fifteen to One, down 15 pints, a couple of special K and a pack of plant growth stimulant in the subsidised Mandela bar before retiring for a night’s gaming on their PS3s unencumbered by the fear of ever having to pay for their vital, economy-boosting education.

All those selfish greedy bastards who work for a living can have more of their money taken by the government and spent on worthwhile causes like million-pound-a-throw bombs to drop on Libya, diversity outreach consultants and communitarian think tanks run by Will Hutton.

Guaranteed job security and ring-fenced pensions for the people whose vitally important job it is to collate hospital reports showing whether you are a) white British, b) white, Irish, c) white, Traveller c) black, Caribbean d) black, African, e) black, Other…….

Britain’s international credit rating to be brought down to a more “fair” level, so as not to make the Greeks or the North Koreans feel jealous.

Anyone who runs a successful business enterprise – eg evil Philip Green of the wicked consumerist Top Shop chain – to have their legs cut off and their eyes gouged out and all their money spent on iPad 2s for the unemployed.

Was this really too much to ask?

Apparently so. What these poor innocent protestors had reckoned without was the vile prejudice of the fascist news media. Instead of reporting on the really important things – smiling babies, families having family fun in a TUC-endorsed family atmosphere, the astonishing fact that they actually managed to rope in some Gurkhas – the slavering hounds of the bourgeois running-dog lackey press and Goebbels-esque broadcast media decided instead to focus on the mildly inappropriate behaviour of a tiny minority. Shame on you, BBC! Shame on your Sky News! Shame on you, newspapers with your misleading pictures of masked figures accidentally pushing a table through the window of the Ritz hotel and policemen being carried off with (clearly faked) injuries!

(to read more, click here)

Permanently broken link. Possibly complete version.

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3 thoughts on “How the TUC’s day of innocent family fun was destroyed by evil, fascist media”

  1. JimmyGiro says:28th March 2011 at 1:38 pmI dare say there must have been some independent protesters, but isn’t it odd that so many ‘independent’ protesters manage to have made identical placards?

    Clearly, any protest that is genuine, would stand on its own merits; therefore the Marxist-Feminist organisations which invariably hide behind women and children, must be up to no good.

  2. Nige Cook says:28th March 2011 at 8:18 pmI love the fact Ed Miliband’s trade union financed and block-vote based party created the financial mess, the solution for which the TUC march is now opposing. Of course, the Government cuts should be slower.

    Thanks to the financial acumen of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling (bless him), we only have a debt of £900 billion, increasing to £1.1 trillion later this year, and our interest repayments (since interest rates are now low) are only £43 billion a year, £118 million a day, £4.9 million an hour, £82,000 a minute, or £1,400 a second. Nothing to worry about!

    We owe £14,464 for every man, woman and child
    That’s more than £31,421 for every person in employment
    Every household will pay £2,128 this year, just to cover the interest
    http://www.debtbombshell.com/

    Why not wait a few years (when interest rates rise further) before paying some of it back? It’s a brilliant Labour Party plan: the longer we wait, the more likely interest rates will rise as the rest of the world recovers (America is already starting to recover). Then we’ll be really be f***ed by rising interest rates. Then what does Labour recommend? Guess it’s to follow the Greek example and riot against the Government, claiming that the people didn’t create the mess (yes they did if you claim it’s a democracy).

    Additionally, think how much money we’ll pay back on that interest. I love the argument that we should accumulate more debt for future generations. It’s funny, because these socialists have been complaining about tiny safe nuclear waste dumps as a threat for future generations, but they don’t see the debt legacy the same way! Unlike debt, radioactivity decays with time of its own accord (waste from the 2 billion year old natural nuclear reactors in water-moderated uranium ore seams at Oklo in Gabon, stayed safely in place for 83,300 times longer than the 24,000 year half life of plutonium-239). Radioactivity decays exponentially with time. Debt grows exponentially with time!

    You just have to love the deep sincere ethics of the Labour Party. When it’s voted out of office – unlike the Conservatives – the Labour union power base gets even more influential indirect power over the media headlines and protest marches, than ever. The electorate kicks Labour out, but the unions ensure it continues to have its say via union organized protest marches, industrial action, strikes. Very fair and proper democratic political ethics: “heads I win, tails you lose”.

    I’m completely in sympathy with having a mechanism in place to ensure workers are not completely ripped off by exploitative, imperialistic, Capitalistic fat cat bosses and investment shareholders, but there is a strong smell of corruption. Unions are far dictatorial, with the “closed shop” ethos forcing all workers in many industries to be union members, then there is the coercion of doing what the Union groupthink decides (picket line scabs, helpful “flying picket” mentality, and so on). One example is the good old gangster “legal protection racket”: school sports teachers are told they need union membership in case one of the kids accidentally throws a javelin through a rival, or slips on the mud, and the parent sues for criminal negligence.

    Then you have the whole issue of socialism versus unions. They’re supposed to be pro-socialist, anti-capitalist, moral, etc. However, while they have voting within the union membership, it’s not really that democratic: the unions are themselves are not biased in favour of their members interests, yet always claim falsely to be pro-socialism. There are serious conflicts of interest here. The union opposes pay cuts and strikes for higher salaries, which is fine when the enonomy booms, but leads to unemployment or the business going bust when a recession comes. Or it pushes up prices and makes the goods less affordable for large sections of the wider public.

    When the BBC shows scenes of closed steel mills, dock yards, mines, etc., from up north, what they don’t say part of the problem of the loss of British heavy industry is very simply the terrific success in unions in the past in negotiating higher wages and putting Britain out of business, since the Far East can undercut us. We’ve lost a huge amount of business because of the effect of our high salaries on products made in Britain, compared to China.

    There is no simple fix. If you ban imports by heavy import duties (and we already suffer heavy import duties on most goods), you just reduce natural competition, and force the British public and businesses to pay more than the odds in either being taxed to high heaven for foreign goods, or forced to buy expensive British goods which have a smaller production run with its associated problems of more “bugs”, and problems with expensive spare parts. The union action of driving up wages and therefore goods prices is equivalent to an additional taxation on consumers to boost the wage packets of union members.

    Then there is the really deep ethical problem. Unions that don’t end up sinking businesses down the plughole, end up in some kind of a collaboration with the management and shareholders, i.e. they end up effectively in some kind of profits sharing scheme when the workers get a payback from the success of the business. This is unethical, because it’s collaborating with Capitalists and profiteering from it. This is the opposite of the Marx’s socialist ideal, which is to cut the cost of goods by cutting salaries towards zero. It was particularly funny when some “communist” political agitators tried to infiltrate unions during the Cold War, unaware that despite all their “socialist ethics” talk, unions are actually anti-Marx and in complete idealistic sympathy with Capitalism: they just want a bigger share of the profits. There is nothing wrong with this unionist aim, provided it’s honestly admitted. What really p***es some people off, though, is the doubletalk union propaganda, where they claim they’re socialists and ethical and anti-Capitalist.

  3. JimmyGiro says:28th March 2011 at 10:45 pmNige,

    I think modern Marxists and Capitalists are not ‘opposites’ as Marx might have made out, but more orthogonal to each other.

    Old Marxism was about empowering the worker; I suspect new Marxism is about controlling them, by dictating what they can do and think. This allows new Marxists to enter a symbiotic relationship with Capitalists, using the worker as a mutual resource.

    The Marxists take over the bureaucracy, and effectively govern the workforce, deciding who can be offered jobs, and who works for their dole, or community service, from 4000 new criminal laws to entrap us by. And the large corporations, which are the only players in the economy of the nation, get virtually slave labour, only paying a relatively small premium to keep the bureaucracy fed; plus they have no threats to their monopolies, as the bureaucrats create crippling red tape to stymie the growth of any competition from small businesses.

    The new regime is like the old feudal system: with Knights, Clergy, and Surfs, cemented by religion, to be replaced by CEOs, Civil Servants, and ‘workers’, cemented by the Gleichschaltung of political correctness.

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‘Budget for growth’? Wot budget for growth? | James Delingpole

March 26, 2011

When George Osborne and I briefly had children at the same inner London primary school, I used to harangue him every morning over the limp-wristed uselessness of his faux-Tory party.

“Just you wait till we get into power,” Osborne used to reply to me, eyes agleam. “Then you’ll see what real Conservatives we are!”

I’m still waiting. Sorry to disagree with Lord Tebbit on this but I really don’t see how the Chancellor’s bold decision to remove 50p from the (still-rising) price of a tank of petrol (by stealing £2 billion from oil company shareholders), give very small businesses a brief holiday from the insane equality legislation (but not EU legislation) which in opposition the Tories were too cowardly to oppose, and driving up the cost of energy through carbon taxes in any way represents a “budget for growth”.

Apparently, Osborne still doesn’t believe in the thing he calls “unfunded tax cuts.” But cutting taxes is what stimulates economic growth by driving down the cost of labour (thus creating jobs) and enabling people to keep more of the money they have earned and therefore leaving them more to spend. Also – as Arthur Laffer has demonstrated – it actually increases government revenues. Osborne may not believe in the benefits of tax cuts, just as he may not believe in gravity. But his adamantine stance against reality doesn’t make him principled or bold or “not afraid to be unpopular”, just a useless, economically illiterate prat.

And what of these savage cuts that the great unwashed are planning to waste more and more police time protesting against in the next few months? Well, as Fraser Nelson notes in the Spectator, they are small to non-existent:

The “total cuts” figure is, oddly, not printed in the Budget. Perhaps because it’s so embarrassingly small. After the Autumn Statement, it was 5 per cent over four years. Now it’s back to 3.7 per cent over four years: that is to say, total cuts of just 0.9 per cent a year. The Chancellor’s cuts are mild — milder than Denis Healey’s now-forgotten cuts. Over the next five years, the spending total has risen: in 2014-15, we’ll be spending £744 billion, an extra £11 billion. A relatively small figure, but you get the overall direction. Remember this next time Ed Balls talks about “deep and fast” cuts.

And here’s the verdict of the Institute of Economic Affairs:

“As a budget that was intended to be about encouraging growth, this is a disappointment. Even on the areas where the Chancellor is doing the right things, his reforms are tiny. He committed himself to simplifying tax rules, but has only eliminated 100 pages from our 10,000 page tax rulebook and has added many more.

“He stated a desire to relieve business from the burden of regulation. But even on his own numbers, the burden is only being decreased by 0.4%. That’s not a slashing of red tape. It’s barely even a trim.

None of this was in any way unpredictable. I wrote the epitaph on Dave Cameron’s Tories the day they were elected. It has been downhill ever since. And don’t get me started on this bloody pointless new war….

18 thoughts on “’Budget for growth’? Wot budget for growth?”

  1. Nige Cook says:27th March 2011 at 8:56 pmOsborne’s pathetic efforts are of course probably a reflection not on his weakness but on the inertia of Whitehall bureaucratic procrastination. I assume that his civil servants are “helping” him to do nothing, spinning up this nothingness as a great budget (in the way the spivs sold the Emperor his great New Clothes, leading him to parade them proudly before the crowd).

    See The Economy Drive (Yes Minister, 1980: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgSmUGnNiqQ ) where the civil service secretly takes on 400 new civil servants in order to organize an economy drive, another fact based tale largely based on the experience of Wilson’s political secretary, Marcia. What the Tory-Lib Dem coalition is now achieving is the worst of all possible worlds: no significant savings, loads of resentment! It’s feeding fuel to Ed Milliband and his Union croonies.

    You can bet that Osborne is being severely restricted by the civil services, in a devious non-transparent way. Also, while Whitehall is cutting back, the EUSSR is squandering ever more money, and we’re the ones paying billions for it, even after rebate. I can’t understand why Cameron defended the EUSSR from a British referendum by saying that it wasn’t in the British “national interest”. We have a massive trade deficit with other EUSSR countries, so in a trade war they’d lose and we’d win. If we pull out and then ban imports of our goods (as Cameron fears), we could ban imports of German engineering and French agriculture. Since we’re the ones with the trade deficit, they would be hit harder. We could go on trading with other non-EUSSR countries, the USA, Canada, the Far East, etc.

    Seeing that the EUSSR dictatorship is exactly the oppression of European Integration we fought to prevent in both World Wars (which were fought to preserve freedom and independence, things then valued), and also deterred in the Cold War at great cost (Polaris and Trident), it’s sickening that we’re actually paying for the priviledge of being robbed and constitutionally mugged by these unelected Strasbourg thugs.

    There is a question how much money we’d save by pulling out of the EUSSR. But I think we must go one way or the other. If we’re going to surrender our liberty, let’s burn our currency and take on the Euro, so we have a common currency instead of having to pay commissions to change money and having that currency exchange factor affect business make business more expensive and complex. Also, the EUSSR recently opened 137 new embassies worldwide. Why all this duplication between Whitehall’s Foreign Office and our EUSSR’s embassies? Why not save money and tell British subjects to deal with EUSSR embassies overseas? Closing the Foreign Office would really save a lot of money. We have the worst of all possible situations right now.

    Britain has more in common in terms of defending liberty, freedom, democracy, and the English Language, with the USA than the EUSSR, so we should strive to become the 51st State, not a non-entity under the thumb of Strasbourg nutters and Brussels. Instead, we propping up failed banks like Northern Rock, which was offering sky high interest rates a decade ago, based on giving doling out mortages on the pie-in-the-sky assumption that it couldn’t lose in because house prices would go on rising. People who invest in most businesses accept they can lose money, and the government doesn’t bail them out in other industries.

    If the government wants to bail out banks using public money (unlike other businesses), it must nationalize the banks and drive away all bonus-seeking fat cats, and tell them to go abroad to some other country to make terrific profits by gambling other people’s money, not ours. If I wanted to gamble, I’d go to Las Vegas, not to a bank. The people at the top of banks should be down-to-earth civil servants, not private sector cowboys. Alternatively, if it doesn’t want to nationalize banks, it shouldn’t bail them out. Banks should not be permitted to have their cake and eat it.

    Lord Tebbit said on TV when the coalition formed that Cameron should have forced the Lib Dems and labour to make a coalition, and then attacked it from opposition until it collapsed, so he would then have got another general election and possibly an outright majority. The Lib Dem business secretary Dr Vince Cable knows more about business than Brown, but that’s hardly a big compliment. The only good thing about the Lib Dems is the name of their party. Lib Dems must have significantly more coercive influence in Cabinet than Cameron cares to admit publically, because the Lib Dems have the power to end their involvement in the coalition anytime they please, bringing down the government whenever they want.

    So, James, you should be wary of attacking your old school gate friend Osborne. He’s probably got his feet tied together by the civil service, his hands in cuffs behind his back by the Lib Dems, and a gag over his mouth by fellow Conservatives, preventing him from even daring to discuss really effective EUSSR-cost-cutting measures. Anyway, the state of the deficit inherited from Brown gives no power to this government. All they have is talk and spin, the debt is so big that we’re paying immense interest on it and can’t afford any nice budgets; they’re just going to preside over downward spiral and decay of Britain. Tebbit was right to argue they Cameron should have let Brown remain in his hole, digging deeper.

    It’s the old story that by trying to stop the crisis before it was clearly visible in terms of decay to everyone, Cameron was stepping into power at just the worst possible time possible. It’s like General Pershing’s correct 1918 forecast that an armistice before Germany was invaded was a mistake and would lead to another war in 20 years time. The soldiers returning home to Germany saw no destruction, no physical proof that they were defeated, other than by a “sellout” through their politicians. Similarly, all the public sector cutbacks are opposed by the trade union-backed party responsible for the mess, who deny that there really is a problem because they can’t see physically the deficit!

    Lord Tebbit’s argument against the coalition on TV was exactly the same as Pershing’s 1918 argument: it’s worth the price of allowing labour to completely destroy Britain, so that strong opposition could develop to fix it properly. Instead, the worst nightmare has become reality. Osborne and Cameron have taken on responsibility, without having power. I predict more strikes and media pressure on the Lib Dems via Labour spin doctors, until the Lib Dems withdraw from the coalition (which will happen I guess soon after the AV referendum, if union activist increases to escalate), bringing down the government.

  2. Martin Lack says:29th March 2011 at 12:37 pmAs I have said elsewhere, the Limits to Growth hypothesis of Meadows et al (1972, 1992, 2004) – and William Ophuls’ Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity (1977, 1992) have yet to be invalidated because, as Herman E Daly has pointed out, “the Earth may be developing but it is not growing!” (see my comment on the Wikipedia article on “Climate change alarmism “[Subsection “Economic alarmism“]).

    Furthermore, as John Dryzek has said, in response to the Promethean/Cornucopian critique, “The driver of an accelerating car about to hit a brick wall might well say ‘so far so good’ – but that does not mean that the wall is not there” (p.70 Dryzek, 2005).

    The real myth is that perpetual growth is the solution to all our problems. It cannot be the solution to anything; it is our ultimate problem… Therefore, what this country – nay the world – needs to get to grips with is Prosperity Without Growth.

  3. JimmyGiro says:29th March 2011 at 1:04 pm“Therefore, what this country – nay the world – needs to get to grips with is Prosperity Without Growth.”

    Didn’t they try that in the Soviet Block, where the state pretended to pay the workers, and the workers pretended to work.

  4. Nige Cook says:29th March 2011 at 3:02 pmMartin: the world’s population is growing, so the idea of “Prosperity Without Growth” is just sophistry.

    We must face the facts, instead of concentrating on wishful-thinking which don’t apply to this actual universe we live in. Handing out “family planning” education and devices doesn’t actually help limit population growth abroad where people need large families to earn money in poorer nations, or here to collect maximum child benefit security. You won’t stop problems by “family planning education at ever younger ages to get the message across“. They all get the message, they don’t do what the message says.

  5. Martin Lack says:29th March 2011 at 4:58 pmJimmy/Nige – From even the most cursory of glances at “Prosperity without Growth” it would be ovbious that it is not just a piece of Optimum Population Trust propaganda (as you both appear to think). The Earth may well have enough mass-energy to feed 10 billion humans (as Cornucopians believe – according to Wikipedia) but…

    This fails to address the central conclusion of Meadows (et al.) and Ophuls, which was that the Earth is likely to run out of the “ability to cope“, as a result of:
    1. the ever-more expensive business of extracting diminishing reserves of natural resources from awkward places;
    2. “treating environmental capital as if it were income” – E.F. Schumacher (1973);
    3. overloading global pollution sinks with quantities of waste they cannot asimilate or process (e.g. atmospheric CO2) ; and
    4. dealing with the other problems associated with over-population (civil unrest caused by shortages/price rises of life’s essentials – such as that we are already witnessing).

    All of this is do-able but not if we continue to make excuses for the poverty trap in which Africa is stuck; rather than investing in actions that will help it solve its problems.

    You really need to pull your heads back up out of the sand – and that’s the polite way of putting it!

  6. JimmyGiro says:29th March 2011 at 7:08 pmRich people don’t breed so well. Poor people breed well, but don’t survive so well.

    Your problem, Martin, is to convince the poor of the world, to not aspire to good health, so as to maintain their low survivability, in order to gratify your Malthusian utopia. Alternatively, to make everybody wealthy, without the aid of industry, so they become as childless as the average rich westerner, but without the resource ‘abuse’.

    Since we are all destined to die, I say that the only morally responsible choice to ‘dictate’, is that we optimise the life quality of the living, and disregard the unborn. They will also die if they are spawned, but with wealthy parents, their one life will be better and longer, else miserable and shorter.

    If, or when, the final days occur, it will be better for fewer happier people to meet it, than for generations to rot slowly towards it, in the misdirected policy of making it last for the unborn. As survivors in the last ark, with no hope of rescue, we may as well go down with a bang and a party.

  7. Martin Lack says:29th March 2011 at 9:01 pmWith regard to the impossibility of perpetual growth (in resource consumption) in a closed system (i.e. on a finite planet), you have no answer because there is none.

    With regard to poverty eradication, my point is – and always has been – that we need to help Africa/India get control of their birth rates. Therefore, despite your protestation to the contrary, the evidence is that too many poor people are being born and surviving; thereby ensuring that they remain poor. We can – and should – break this cycle by educating and emancipating women from a life of unnecessary – and now self-defeating -reproductive slavery.

    With regard to climate change, despite my best efforts – both here and on my blog – I must accept defeat; and admit that Greg Craven has said it all much better than I ever could…

  8. Nige Cook says:29th March 2011 at 9:16 pm“With regard to the impossibility of perpetual growth (in resource consumption) in a closed system (i.e. on a finite planet), you have no answer because there is none.” – Martin Lack

    There are answers. (1) Resources are recycled. Fossil fuels themselves are recycled atmospheric CO2. The atmosphere was flooded with CO2, as I’ve told you before, during the Cambrian. Plants locked up the CO2 in vegetation, which was compressed into coal and oil. Growing plants today for “biofuels” is just repeating the process, albeit more cleanly because you don’t have to burn the dust and minerals that have polluted the coal and oil.

    (2) Perpetual growth is not an issue, because the rate of increase of the population is no longer strictly exponential. It’s slowing down. But Malthus’s argument that resources increase at a slower rate than population, repeated by the Club of Rome in false computer models during the 1970s where the resources were assumed to increase at a non-exponential rate, until population, is fake. In the real world, technology keeps increasing efficiency. There are enormous possibilities for the future. No amount of self-aggrandising doom-mongering by self-deceived dictators at greenpeace will change the future by one iota.

  9. Martin Lack says:29th March 2011 at 9:40 pmResources are recycled…‘ I don’t know about you, Nige, but I don’t have time to wait for the next generation of fossil fuels to form!

    Growing plants today for “biofuels” is just…‘ removing vital land from use for food production!

    Perpetual growth is not an issue…‘ I fear that you are focussing on population again (when I have already conceded that it may yet stabilise)!

    So, to re-state the key finding of Meadows et al another way (such that perhaps you cannot fail to see it)… societal collapse is likely if too much of global economic output has to be diverted to tackling environmental problems!

  10. Nige Cook says:30th March 2011 at 4:58 pmMartin: I don’t agree with your claim that biofuels are a complete waste of time. Until the pagan mongols of Hulagu Khan (grandson of Genghis) invaded Baghdad on 13 February 1258, the deserts of Iraq were used for agriculture. Irrigation canals provided water to turn the desert in Iraq into farmland for thousands of years until Hulagu killed the people and allowed the canals system to disintegrate. We can in the future reverse the process and turn deserts into arable land. What was done thousands of years ago with primitive technology can be done more efficiently today with modern technology.

    Water a desert and you can immediately start to lock down the sands (preventing erosive sandstorms) with vegetation, even if there is high salinity in the sand (you can use many of the weeds you find in coastal areas to start with). Once you’ve consolidated the sands in a desert this way, you can go on to grow crops.

    In addition, recycling can include currently wasted abundant nuclear fuels uranium-238 and thorium-232, created in a supernova 5 billion years ago. We can recycle these into fissile nuclear fuels in nuclear reactors, turning them into plutonium-239 and uranium-233 by neutron capture.

    You also ignore my point about the history of CO2: all the CO2 in fossil fuels came from the atmosphere to begin with, as shown by GEOCARB III modelling, http://www.shef.ac.uk/aps/apsrtp/taylor-lyla/geocarbmodel.html

    During the Cambrian the model shows that the CO2 in the atmosphere was 26 times the current level, which is an unprecedentedly low level of CO2 in the history of the planet. As rainforests laid down CO2 in fossil fuels between the Cambrian and the Carboniferous, the CO2 level in the air dropped, but for most of history it’s been far higher than the current level. We’re just re-releasing CO2 by burning fossil fuels. Plants obtained their carbon from the air in the first place! So burning fossil fuels is just a recycling strategy.

  11. Martin Lack says:31st March 2011 at 1:25 pmNige, The GEOCARB III model is interesting because the 26-fold CO2 peak you highlight (550 Ma BP) does indeed appear contemporaneous with the flourishing of marine life found in the Burgess Shale. However, it is also interesting because the sudden 10-fold increase in CO2 (induced by the Siberian Traps volcanic eruptions [lasting 1 Ma]) at the end of the Permian (250Ma BP) caused the extinction of more than 90% of all life on Earth.

    Therefore (1) the benefits of excessive CO2 in the atmosphere must be, at very least, debateable; and (2) we cannot dismiss the rapid anthropogenic release of fossilised carbon into the atmospheric as mere long-term “recycling! Here we are back to Greg Craven – who has rightly suggested we should stop arguing about which row our future lies (i.e. is AGW true or false?), and decide which column we want to chose (i.e. are we going to take action or not?).

    Evolutionary biologists argue that the Permian extinction made way for ultimately for Humans (and that 99% of all known species that have ever lived are already extinct). However, that does not change the fact that, as a terrestrial species, we are now at the front of the queue for an extinction event of our own making.

    I think I have already made clear my reluctantly-positive view of nuclear energy and that it is long-term madness not to use the 99% of uranium that cannot be put into a conventional thermal (low eV) reactor. Therefore, I am sure that fast neutron/breeder reactor technology will have its day (circa 2050), as is the DECC apparently.

  12. Nige Cook says:31st March 2011 at 7:31 pmMartin, as GEOCARB III shows, http://www.shef.ac.uk/aps/apsrtp/taylor-lyla/geocarbmodel.html , the Siberian volcanic eruptions at the end of the Permian increased atmospheric CO2 to about 10 times the current level. Compare that to the factor of 1.4 increase increase in atmospheric CO2 due to the industrial revolution (280 ppm pre-industrial revolution to 388 ppm now).

    Volcanic eruptions don’t kill by CO2 emission, but by polluting the environment with hydrogen flouride in the sharp irritant silicate ash downwind, plus (for big enough emissions) global atmospheric poisoning by hydrogen sulphide (sewer gas) and sulphur dioxide. The volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo on 15 June 1991 expelled 20 million metric tons of sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere, which absorbed sunlight, causing a 0.5-0.6°C cooling of the Earth’s surface in the Northern Hemisphere. Scaling up to the Permian events, you would have a severe global temperature drop from this effect, causing the extinctions. It’s not a CO2 effect, which isn’t toxic at 10 times normal concentrations.

  13. Martin Lack says:1st April 2011 at 10:40 amThanks for quoting back to me my own statististics (CO2 is now 140% of its 1850 level). I think we are therefore agreed about what the geological record tells us (and I agree that the Permian extinction cannot be blamed on CO2); but not about its implications for complex life forms today (because rapid temperature changes do happen [e.g. 5000BC]).

    If this happens now, as Greg Craven points out, human bieings will survive (although not as many as 6 to 10 billion). Therefore, again as Greg says, we should stop arguing about which row our future lies (i.e. is AGW true or false?), and decide which column we want to chose (i.e. are we going to take action or not?).

    CO2 may not be toxic; and it is only a significant pollutant now because we are pumping it into the atmosphere faster than either it or the oceans can assimilate it. In “Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity Revisited: The Unravelling of the American Dream“, William Ophuls points out that, “The liberal ideas of [John] Locke and [Adam] Smith have not gone unchallenged but, with very few exceptions, liberals, conservatives, socialists, communists, and other modern ideologies have taken abundance for granted and assumed the necessity of further growth.” (Ophuls 1992: 191-2). Then, a bit further on, referring to Garrett Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons” (1969), he re-casts the analogy like this: “The cows are standing almost shoulder to shoulder, many are starving, and the manure is piling up faster than the commons can absorb it“(ibid: p.204)

    Hardin correctly identified the core of what the Club of Rome would later call “the human predicament“; namely our inability to voluntarily exercise self-restraint. Thus, the ‘tragedy of the commons’ is equally visible in the failure of the EU’s fisheries policy; and in the failure of the UNFCCC process. Both are mired in a multi-faceted blame-game – wherein nobody is willing to take responsiblility for the consequences of their over-consumption; or willing to act alone to reduce it (because they will be disadvantaged if others do not act).

    We are all behaving like the rich man trying to justify himself to Jesus by saying “And who is my neighbour?” (Luke 10:29).

  14. Nige Cook says:1st April 2011 at 12:08 pmMartin: while its still April 1st and you’re feeling agreeable, can I just try to quickly establish agreement with you that the rate of population growth is slowing down. The rate of world population growth peaked at 2.06% per year in the interval 1965-70, but fell to 1.74% per year in the interval 1985-90, and is now 1.14% per year.

    Currently the population is 6.5 billion, so it will take 61 years to double if the rate remains 1.14% per year (1.0114^61 = 2). But the rate itself has been falling. Since the rate of increase seems to be falling exponentially, extrapolating from the fall from 2.06% annual growth in c. 1968 to 1.14% 42 years later suggests that the annual rate of population increase halves every 50 years, so the future rate of population growth will be 1.14exp(-0.014Y) % or 1.14 [0.5^{Y/50}] %, where Y is the number of years into the future. Hence, if this extrapolation is true, in 61 years time the rate of population growth will be 0.49% per year, which implies a population doubling time of 142 years (1.0049^142 = 2).

    My point is, there is no “population bomb” threat. The population increase timescales are such that we can adapt to the rate of change of population, without racist eugenics to cut population growths in deprived areas, or fascist liebestraums about lebensraum.

  15. Martin Lack says:1st April 2011 at 4:23 pmHi Nige,

    Happy April Fools Day to you too! Did you hear Rob Brydon impersonating Ken Bruce for 2 hours on Radio 2 this morning? (I just caught a snippet of it in the car this afternoon – being repeated by Steve Wright)… It sounded very funny (if you like that sort of thing!)

    I am sure you have told me before – and I have conceded the point before as well – that, for all the reasons you state, global population is not projected to go above 10 billion. However, I find it easier/quicker to estimate doubling time by dividing 70 by the percent growth rate (because the natural logarithm of 2 is approximately 0.7).

    Far more importantly though, none of this changes the fact that, as a species, we have already exceeded the safe carrying capacity of the planet; especially if everyone aspires to live like we do in “the West“. Therefore, if we accept that everyone has such an aspirational right, then we must live more frugally. Otherwise, ecological collapse awaits us.

    Why? Because AGW is only one of the consequence of our failure to differentiate between environmental capital (i.e. finite resources) and income (i.e. solar radiation), oh yes, and our failure to recognise that the Earth’s ability to recycle our wastes (including CO2) is also finite. [See E.F. Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful” (1973)]

  16. Nige Cook says:2nd April 2011 at 10:52 am” I find it easier/quicker to estimate doubling time by dividing 70 by the percent growth rate (because the natural logarithm of 2 is approximately 0.7).”

    Martin: as I said, the annual percent growth rate is falling. It’s been falling since 1968. If you use the current rate, therefore, you’ll overestimate future populations.

  17. Martin Lack says:3rd April 2011 at 3:22 pmAs I think I have made clear, most analysts accept that the falling growth rate will lead to a stabilisation of global population in the latter half of this century. However, your silence regarding the rest of what I said is truly deafening.
  18. Nige Cook says:3rd April 2011 at 7:30 pmMartin,

    What’s interesting is that you keep avoiding responsibility for exaggerations, such as the example immediately above. I’d suggest that you try reading Julian L. Simon and Herman Kahn’s The Resourceful Earth: A Response to Global 2000, for historical perspectives on green scare-mongering, plus James Delingpole’s How to be right for vital updates on key issues. My position is that your content-less arm waving assertions like

    “Therefore, if we accept that everyone has such an aspirational right, then we must live more frugally. Otherwise, ecological collapse awaits us.”

    is missing the whole point that Red China is not us. It’s a heresy you won’t hear from the BBC, but sadly we’re not the main problem in the world, and we’ve signed up for eco-eugenics anyway. The money we’re paying into the wallets of green carbon traders will offset our tiny contribution. Your attitude reminds me of the CND propaganda during the Cold War, where it was our nuclear weapons that threatened freedom, not the USSR which had invaded Eastern Europe. I recommend a reading of Janis’s Victims of Groupthink. Even top politicans like President Kennedy made serious mistakes. (His Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961 by 1,400 all-talk-no-guts Cuban exiles firstly failed, and secondly worked as leverage for Castro to pressurise Khruschev into supplying 42 nuclear IRBMs to Cuba.)

    Science is supposed to be critical, in contrast to politics. Dissent is supposed to be the basis of science, after the trial of Galileo for heresy. Instead, we’re living through a retreat in which the modern Galileo’s are again being dismissed as unqualified outsiders, data is avail being hidden (despite the data protection act), obfuscation is becoming the language of science, and politics by contrast is becoming relatively democratic. Science is redefined as an occult club of experts that uses peer-review not to boost objectivity and quality, but as old-fashioned “blackballing” censorship.

    In the January Horizon documentary, Sir Paul Nurse spends almost the entire program “defending” as consensus the errors in orthodoxy, then at the end he delivers a pretty good sermon saying the exact opposite, that “theories must be tested to destruction”. The contradiction in appeal at the last minute to win over precisely the people who have been repulsed by the groupthink of main part of the documentary, is vital in politics. The politician who is successful is full of contractions (we’ll cut taxes and improve services). So Nurse was using political tactics, trying to say the different things different people wanted to hear. Think of professional science as a trade union, and Nurse’s position as union secretary makes a great deal of sense. He’s defending a profession from media criticisms. His token gesture towards science at the end, as distinct from “scientists” (union members) is just what you’d expect.

    If you look at the science correspondents in the media, traditionally they shy away from skepticism, treating science with kid gloves or as a high-and-mighty form of religious genius to worship. Most scientific news reports are written in awe and praise of the research, provided it comes from the right places. This is a perfect recipe for breeding elitist corruption based on institutions, not quality. Science is more likely to become a cult dictatorship than politics, because it relies on criticisms and has no parlimentary mechanism in place. Directors of research are simply dictators under another name. Reading peer-refereed journal articles is the whole cause of this problem, because you have to trust the data reported. No peer-reviewer repeats the research before passing it.

    The actual basis for peer-review is not checking data by repeating experiments, but checking that the paper follows current fashions, i.e. is politically correct and not damaging to the research funding contracts that other scientists of the discipline depend upon.

    I’m not bashing peer-review where it’s valid, which is within a peer-setup. Where it breaks down is obvious: where a critic writes a paper and doesn not have any “peers”. He then gets an enemy who doesn’t want to know or understand the criticism, acting as a “peer” reviewer who blocks publication. Galileo didn’t have any peers when invented the first telescope and found himself censored before arrest:

    “Here at Padua is the principal professor of philosophy whom I have repeatedly and urgently requested to look at the moon and planets through my glass which he pertinaciously refuses to do. Why are you not here? What shouts of laughter we should have at this glorious folly!”

    – Letter of Galileo to Kepler, 1610, quoted in Oliver Lodge, Pioneers of Science.

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/science/sc0043.html

    Refusing to look at the NOAA evidence for negative feedback from H2O vapour on CO2 injections since 1948 is the modern equivalent to refusing to look through Galileo’s telescope. The professor of Padua used his authority status to censor science; the Pope used his political power to arrest Galileo. In 400 years we haven’t quite come full circle, since religion has weakened, but the censorship role of peer-review and political backing for fraudulent science remain as strong as ever.

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