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February 27, 2010

French Lessons For Sale

Fromgirl.jpg From’ Girls très glamour pour défendre les fromages du terroir français !

Provocative dairymaids or a hint of more serious matters, the From'Girls Calendar appears for its 4th year. It is fulfilling a civic duty: to inform the public of the vital need to protect what is left of the unique national heritage of French cheese, and to promote life's pleasures. New for 2009: l'Association Fromages de Terroirs (non-profit making organisation) asked one of the remaining producers of Munster from unpasteurised milk to pose for the calendar. Virginie Haxaire, cheese maker with sex appeal, appears as Barbara Munster. Gruyère received its "Appellation Controlée" this year and appears in the calendar as Jeanne Gruyère.
Appreciating life's pleasures, its refinement and beauty is very French but is under threat. Our food has lost the human touch. "Nutrition" has become the watchword while flavours are becoming uniformly insipid. The From'Girls Calendar opens our eyes and stimulates our taste buds reminding us that to eat good locally produced cheese is the surest way to find happiness...

For Surrender Monkeys they don't half look tasty....

Posted by The Englishman at 11:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

French Lessons For Free

And for this afternoon...

(This video was sadly only recording one view when I found and rescued it...)

This has been a public service blog post for those readers without a television.

Posted by The Englishman at 11:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 26, 2010

Parris Surrenders Without A Shot Being Fired

Think of Hong Kong. Give the Falklands back | Matthew Parris - Times Online

Back? What fucking back? You slimy centrist Tory creep they were never bloody Argentinian in the first place? Go and swivel on Fatty Pang as you spit on our graves.

Posted by The Englishman at 11:35 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Friday Night is Music Night (Life under the Tories Edition)

Sexually provocative music videos should be banned until after 9pm - Times Online

Alan Johnson, Home Secretary, said: “We have already committed to a number of the recommendations in this report.
“Changing attitudes will take time but it is essential if we are going to stop the sexualisation that contributes to violence against women and girls.”

Posted by The Englishman at 5:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Foresight Land Use Futures Project (2010) The Government Office for Science - Socialist Green Utter Tosh

Foresight Land Use Futures Project (2010) Executive Summary.
The Government Office for Science, London.

(A couple of snippets).

This is the world of big state versus little state, and what role we want the state to have. There is a growing sense that market solutions – private choices and minimal state involvement – may not be the best path for ensuring that land use continues to support human and other life and delivers wellbeing. Central to this is the question of whether a new economic and business paradigm – in which environmental sustainability and economic growth are compatible – will emerge.
Allowing free markets in land and environmental services seems likely to increase individualism and short-termism, at a time when the collective good and a long-term approach seem important. The UK is closer to the private choice end of the axis. This raises a number of questions about whether it needs to move more towards the (public) end of the axis and, if so, how far and how quickly. Failure to move – or at least to take a longer-term view – could lead to economic and social fragmentation if natural resources are not seen as national strategic assets and if regions therefore choose to keep those assets to themselves (‘Welsh water for the Welsh’ for example).
It seems inevitable that fragmentation can only be avoided through strong governance to ensure sharing of resources.

Over the last couple of years, citizens in the developed economies have been taking on board the message that they need to minimise their carbon footprint, to improve energy efficiency, to consume fewer resources and to be less wasteful.
The current financial crisis has turned these priorities on their head.
Citizens are encouraged to spend their way out of recession; high profile decisions seem to take less account of environmental matters; and short-term crisis management means there is little appetite for debating long-term issues.
If it is true – as the then Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in Copenhagen in March 2009 – that ‘business as usual is dead and green growth is the answer to both our climate and economic problems’, citizens are baffled and bewildered by the lack of concerted effort to tackle the problem.
This means that individuals are also confused about what actions to take. If evidence continues to emerge that suggests the imperative to act is more urgent than had previously been supposed, and if that evidence does not lead to action, this confusion will turn to scepticism or fear.
Citizens need clear messages about the environment and strong leadership about what actions they need to take. Achieving this will need investment in the evidence base and joined-up government – internationally as well as nationally – to lead societal change. Without this coordinated effort, it will be difficult to get agreement on what
should be done and to make the best decisions. It will also be difficult to agree on what trade-offs are acceptable.

And so it goes on for hundreds of pages.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:50 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Nationalise The Land To Save Us From Climate Change

Climate change report sets out an apocalyptic vision of Britain - Times Online

Mass migration northwards to new towns in Scotland, Wales and northeast England may be needed to cope with climate change and water shortages in the South East, according to an apocalyptic vision set out by the Government Office for Science.
The Government would ease pressure on the South East by planning to “disperse citizens to three new towns in Dumfries and Galloway, Northumberland and Powys”
Heathrow would be converted into a giant reservoir by 2035, there could be severe restrictions on flying and driving and farmers would be forced to sell their land to giant agricultural businesses. Greenhouse gas emissions would be controlled by carbon rationing for individuals, which would lead to “significant shifts in lifestyle as everyone tries to stay within budget”.
The report, compiled by 300 scientists, economists and planners, includes three scenarios to “stimulate thought” and “highlight difficult policy dilemmas that government and other actors may need to consider in the future”.
All the scenarios involve dramatic changes in lifestyles and landscapes in response to climate change. In the most extreme scenario, world leaders hold an emergency summit in 2014 when it becomes clear that the impacts of climate change are going to be far worse and happen much sooner than previously envisaged.
The Government responds by taking control of vast tracts of land and using it to grow wood and crops for biomass power stations. ...
The report says that satellite images in 2060 would reveal dramatic changes in the countryside. “The landscape is mottled with wind turbines; the patches in the patchwork are bigger; there are more forests and fewer animals; there are fewer vehicles moving along the roads.”
In another scenario, the Government redefines land as a national resource and the rights of landowners are balanced with “society’s rights to public benefits from the services produced by it”. Home ownership falls as people begin to embrace the idea of “stewardship” of shared natural resources.
“People are more interested in leasing or sharing goods and less interested in consumption that threatens sustainability of supply. The UK makes a significant cultural shift away from meeting present desires and towards protecting the needs of future generations.”
The report concludes that failure to manage land in a co-ordinated way could result in severe shortages of resources and “public goods” such as water, wildlife and urban green space.

I haven't reviewed all the reams of documents these wiseheads have produced and frankly I won't. It is all arse, and political arse at that.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:38 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Dave - out of touch with his candidates, and the country.

For Thatcher’s Children, Maggie rules - Times Online

The former Prime Minister was the overwhelming choice when Conservative parliamentary candidates were asked to name their political heroes.
The Tory leader’s relationship with Lady Thatcher is complicated. Mr Cameron has said that he was “terrified” of her when he worked in the Conservative Research Department. But since becoming leader, he has tried to distance himself from Thatcherism. He has insisted that “there is such a thing as society”. Lady Thatcher famously declared that there was not.
Lady Thatcher’s world view is most evident when likely new MPs are asked about the European Union. A separate survey of 101 candidates by the New Statesman suggests 72 per cent want an urgent and “fundamental renegotiation” of Britain’s relationship with the EU. Mr Cameron’s policy is much vaguer but, with the rump of Europhile Tory MPs being reduced further by retirements at the election, he will find limited room for manoeuvre on the benches behind him.
The survey also indicates a strongly Thatcherite taste for reducing the deficit through spending cuts rather than tax increases.
Nor do the next generation of Conservative MPs share Mr Cameron’s commitment to tackling climate change. A similar exercise conducted by Populus for The Times among a relatively small sample — 36 Conservative MPs and 34 Conservative candidates in winnable seats — confirms the newcomers to be notably more sceptical. While 27 per cent of the MPs think it an established fact that climate change is man-made, only 9 per cent of the candidates share this view.
This research does show the class of 2010 to be more socially liberal than existing MPs — and certainly more so than Lady Thatcher. Two thirds of the candidates believe gay couples should have “exactly the same rights as heterosexual couples”. MPs take the opposite view.

...the surprising conjuncture of attitudes in the party...

"Surprising" maybe to the Westminster village, but refreshingly familiarly libertarian to those of us out here in voter land. We don't care what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, as long as they don't frighten the horses, but that doesn't make us soppy left wingers on tax and scams.
Maybe there is hope for the Tories when Dave is recognised for being the young dinosaur he is.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Mr Tessa Jowell Escapes By Delay

David Mills bribery case thrown out of Italian court on technicality - Telegraph

In the culmination to a decade-long saga, the Supreme Court said the charges against David Mills, the estranged husband of Tessa Jowell, the Olympics Minister, had expired under a 10-year statute of limitations.
The court said the fact that Mr Mills had accepted the bribe from the billionaire prime minister was not in dispute.
But it had happened in Nov 1999, and so the offence had timed out under the 10-year limit for prosecution.
The ruling handed Mr Berlusconi a victory because he was charged with offering the bribe. His trial, which was due to resume on Friday, is likely to be dropped, prompting outrage in Italy.
Mr Mills was last year found guilty of accepting the backhander from Mr Berlusconi in return for lying on his behalf in two corruption trials in the late 1990s. He was given a four-and-a-half year jail sentence which was upheld on appeal by a court in Milan in October. The case then went to a final level of appeal before the Supreme Court in Rome.
The Supreme Court's ruling overturned that of a lower appeals court in Milan last year, which had ruled that the crime technically originated four months later, when Mr Mills withdrew the money.
Mr Mills, a specialist in offshore tax havens, was ordered to pay £220,000 in compensation to the state for "damaging" Italy's image.

I think fining someone for suggesting that Italian politicians are corrupt was a touch unfair, but to escape on a technicality doesn't really clear his name. Hopefully though he will now achieve a rapprochement with the fragrant Ms Jowell, though I think I would prefer the charms of an Italian Open Prison to that.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Va va vroom

Subsidising expensive sports cars is not the most obvious way to fight global warming. But soon, anyone with £87,000 will be able to claim a UK taxpayer-funded £5,000 grant to help them buy Tesla's supercharged electric car, the Roadster, in the name of cutting carbon emissions.
The Guardian has learned the Tesla Roadster is one of just two cars that will be available from the start of a new government grants scheme announced today to encourage the take-up of greener cars. Existing electric cars, such as the G-Wiz – the most popular consumer electric car on UK streets – and the MEGA e-City will not be eligible because they do not go fast enough.

No congestion charge, free parking spaces, and annoying Guardian readers; it is alomost enough to tempt me.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 25, 2010

Walter Plowright A Hero You Have Never Heard Of

Walter Plowright: developed vaccine against rinderpest | Times Online Obituary

Walter Plowright developed a vaccine against the cattle virus rinderpest that has effectively eradicated a disease that devastated cattle herds all over the world. After he initiated mass vaccination programmes in the developing world Plowright was hailed for transforming cattle-based economies that had been blighted by the virus. The vaccine has also led to a massive boost in global supplies of meat and dairy products.

The announcement that rinderpest has been eradicated is expected this year. It is only the second disease in history to have been eradicated through human efforts, the first being smallpox.

Africa has produced additional food output worth an estimated $47 billion while in India the additional income is estimated to be worth $289 billion. It is calculated that an additional 70 million tonnes of meat and more than one billion tonnes of milk have been produced in the developing world as a result of eradicating rinderpest.

The increase in healthy cattle throughout Asia and Africa — vital for fertilising soils, planting and cultivating crops and carrying loads — has also boosted production rates on subsistence farms worldwide. Plowright’s achievements in relation to boosting food production were recognised with the World Food Prize in 1999.

The far-reaching benefits of Plowright’s work were not only scientific; they also represented “a significant humanitarian achievement”.

In person Plowright was a most upright character, absolutely fair in his dealings with people. He was popular with his colleagues and students: a twinkle in his eye belied what might have seemed on first acquaintance a rather stern demeanour.

He is survived by his wife Dorothy.

Walter Plowright, CMG, FRS, veterinary surgeon and research scientist, was born July 20, 1923. He died on February 19, 2010, aged 86

Posted by The Englishman at 7:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Yeo Knows

Coal emissions: the burning issue | Tim Yeo | guardian.co.uk

If the waste carbon dioxide produced when burning this coal is not captured and stored, it will raise average global temperatures more than 2 degrees, taking temperatures above the generally recognised threshold at which climate change becomes dangerous and possibly irreversible. But whereas most of the technology needed to decarbonise the world economy in terms of transport and the built environment already exists, the one technology breakthrough we must have relates to carbon capture and storage (CCS) from fossil fuel power stations.

An awful lot of certainty in that statement from our favourite Green Tory...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Food not to be burnt as fuel

Drax power plant is no greener than the coal it burns | Fred Pearce | guardian.co.uk

....plans to convert part of Drax to co-burning biofuels and coal – enough to cut its CO2 emissions by 2.5m tonnes – are on hold. The company says: "We will finish building the equipment needed to do co-firing, but we will not be using the plant until government policy on subsidies changes so that it makes economic sense for us to do so."
Also on hold are joint plans with the engineering company Siemens to build three new power plants in Britain running entirely on biofuels.

It is cheaper for Drax to buy the Carbon permits and continue to burn coal.
The whole penalise this, subsidise that system is rotten and beyond repair.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Tory Policy on Education to Support

Tories would scrap new duty for parents that educate children at home - Times Online

The Tories would scrap a new duty that requires parents who educate their children at home to be registered with councils.
Michael Gove, the Shadow Schools Secretary, said that he would block plans which “stigmatise” home educators.
Under the Children, Schools and Families Bill, which has almost finished going through Parliament, local authorities will setup databases of home-educating families and visit them to ensure that standards are met.

Excellent - a clear positive commitment to freedom. In other areas Gove is less sure

Posted by The Englishman at 6:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2010

Holm Truths

War declared on invasive plants that cost Britain £2.7bn a year
They sneak in along coastal creeks or are carried by the wind. Some escape from garden centres, others are borne by waterbirds. The invading horde of alien plant species has been identified as the second-greatest threat to Britain’s wildlife after climate change.

Every habitat is feeling the impact of invaders, and they are spreading because of climate change. Simon Ford, the National Trust’s nature conservation adviser said: “Until a few years ago holm oak was only recorded on the South Coast, now it has reached the Cotswolds.

The dastardly Holm Oak seems to have reached Fife in 1728..
St Mary's quad | University of St Andrews
The quad is dominated by the holm oak - Quick Time Fly Around, if you don't believe me...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

More Taxes Are Less In The Mirror

Council tax set to 'fall' - The Mirror

Bills sent out in April will increase by an average of 36p a week - or 1.6% - to £1,194 a year for a Band D home.
The cost of living is going up at 3.5% meaning council tax will fall in comparison to other household expenses.
Sir Jeremy Beecham, of the Local Government Association which did the survey, said: "Local authorities understand money's tight and deserve credit for keeping tax rises lower than ever."

When you say "fall" I want to see an actual fall not a semantic trick, and when Councils want me to pat them on the back for the amount of money they mulct from me, it will be be when their spending is actually proportionate to the value of the services they provide. The sort of sums I can find down the back of the sofa.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dave wimps out of hard choices

Conservatives can't reverse Labour tax rises, David Cameron admits - Telegraph

Mr Cameron has conceded that he cannot find public spending cuts to raise the money to stop the tax increase.

I suggest he looks a bit bloody harder if he wants my vote.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Hopes and fears of all our years

Sharp decline in public's belief in climate threat, British poll reveals | guardian.co.uk

Climate change survey raises fears it will be harder to persuade the public to support costly policies to curb emissions

Not "fears", "hopes" I think is the correct word.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2010

Blooming Marvellous?

All eyes on Bloom Box fuel cell launch | guardian.co.uk

A new but still unseen technology that its creator claims can be an off-grid source of cheap, clean electricity in a device the size of a loaf of bread is about to get its close-up.
The formal debut of Bloom Energy's much-hyped fuel cell, known as the Bloom Box, will take place at eBay's headquarters in California on Wednesday, and will reportedly attract figures from the former secretary of state, Colin Powell, who is on the company's board, to the state's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Bloom Box allegedly uses natural gas or plant waste as fuel while producing relatively little carbon dioxide.
But its real potential lies in its claimed ability to use any fuel source – gas, plants, wind, solar, etc – to generate power, which would theoretically enable the Bloom Box to operate entirely off the electricity grid.

So it is a clever fuel cell. Fantastic, great news, but it looks like a little over-hyping is going on. It may be very efficient but if it uses carbon based fuel it will still produce CO2 and Water in the same proportions as any other way of breaking down the fuel to energy. And I can't quite see how you can put wind, or sunlight, through a fuel cell either.
But let's hope, access to cheap, efficient, portable power supplies will do more to improve the lives of millions than any amount of waffle.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:16 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Welsh Jobs for Which Workers?

Protesters blockade new Pembroke power station over jobs for Britons - Times Online

Janette Leonard, 54, one of the protest organisers, said: “I’m just a grandmother who is concerned for British workers and the people of Wales.
“I’m not involved with the unions or political parties. We want to make the point that this is not racist or xenophobic, we just want equal opportunities for local workers. British people should be given the jobs first.”

Equal but first, I'm not sure if it was the BNP or Mr Brown who stirred this one first. Nor do I care. As the energy company points out they can't discriminate against EU workers. Which as Wales suckles hard on the EU teat is probably only fair. But if your argument is against the free movement of labour and capital (something I'm not against) at least point out who is to blame.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Aaronvitch Misquotes To Promote AGW

Climate campaigners reap what GM sowed | David Aaronovitch - Times Online

... the misnamed climate-change “skepticism”...“an entire segment of society, often struggling with the trauma of change, turns away from reality.” They replace the truth with a preferred belief that conforms with their desires for the future. They “dismiss compelling evidence as just another point of view” and replace authorities, whom once, perhaps, they used to trust too much, with experts of their own.

I recall working on Newsnight as a stand-in presenter during the GM row. A lone scientist, in the best storybook tradition, Dr Arpad Pusztai, told us about his research indicating that mice fed GM potatoes were suffering. The entire tenor of our reporting was that he was probably right....Now.. GM technologies will be essential for feeding the world, as will other biotechnological advances, but ...the activities of the denialists may prevent them from being harnessed.

And now the green movement is in the camp of the governments and scientists, bitterly fighting the new denialists who must surely, in the words of John Wayne, remind them of them. Reaping, not sowing.

Translation: I was a prat who promoted the anti-GM viewpoint which means millions are now denied cheap wholesome food. But now I'm a smug member of the establishment I side with the establishment and rubbish those who don't.

And I don't trust any man who can't quote John Wayne correctly. In True Grit his character (David, remember there is a difference between actors and the people they play, a difference between fact and fiction..) Rooster Cogburn says: "By God. She reminds me of me." To which Glen Campbell playing La Boef replies "Well, then we might just not get along."
Which seems an apt retort...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 22, 2010

Sceptical about the Skeptic's Scepticism

Do climate change sceptics give scepticism a bad name? | guardian.co.uk
...embarrassingly for climate change sceptics, the people who have thought longest and hardest about what it means to be a truly sceptical thinker seem in a hurry to distance themselves from their fellow sceptics. Michael Marshall, from the Merseyside Skeptics group that organised the homeopathy overdose is clear about the legitimacy of climate change sceptics: "In our view, climate change sceptics are not sceptics. A sceptic looks at the available evidence and makes a decision, and for homeopathy the evidence is that it doesn't work. But the sceptical position on climate change is that it is happening."
John Jackson, from UK Skeptics, agreed, added: "Terms like "climate change sceptic" are very damaging to scepticism - basically because this is not what scepticism is. We often get people calling us, referring to themselves as climate sceptics, but we argue with them. We accept global warming because the evidence is overwhelming."

It is all jolly japes going on about homœopathy, it involves a few million quid, a few people getting the wrong treatment and quite a lot of people being comforted by placebos. In a rational world of course it shouldn't exist but it doesn't really matter that it does.
I'm sure these expert skeptics with their pub get-togethers are great people. Look at their websites, they seem to have the right idea:

Merseyside Skeptics Society - What is skepticism? Skepticism is a method for discerning truth from fiction. When presented with a claim, a skeptic reserves his or her right to reject that claim until such time as the claimant produces sufficient evidence to back up that claim. If the skeptic finds the evidence is compelling, then we will provisionally accept the claim as true; provisionally because we may see more evidence tomorrow that proves the claim to be false. The quality and quantity of evidence required will vary from claim-to-claim and skeptic-to-skeptic. If you tell me that you have a pet dog, well, I’ll probably accept that claim just on your word. You’re not likely to get anything out of making up stories about owning a dog...
What is Skepticism? by John Jackson The burden of proof is the concept that it is up to those making a claim to prove it, or provide good supporting evidence for it, rather than for others to disprove it. This is the same concept as how a court of law operates. It is up to the prosecution to prove that the accused is guilty; it's not up to the defence to prove innocence. This is the approach to claims that skeptics take. A claim presented will be doubted (presumed unproved) until the evidence in support of it can be examined. If the evidence supports the claim, either completely or beyond reasonable doubt, the claim will be accepted; otherwise it will be rejected unless or until further evidence is presented.

So the burden of proof lies with those making the claim and the importance of the claim influences the amount of evidence that is needed. I think we can agree that the proposition that human activity is threatening life as we know it and so we must spend trillions of dollars is about as important as it gets. So that proposition demands the most compelling of evidence before a sceptic should accept it.
And the evidence I see is not the most compelling, in fact it is embarrassingly weak.
Which is why I'm sceptical about the Guardian's tame sceptics as being the people who have "thought longest and hardest what it means to be a truly sceptical thinker" and their "hurry" to dismiss climate scepticism.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Methane Levels - The Update

Methane levels may see 'runaway' rise, scientists warn - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent

Atmospheric levels of methane, the greenhouse gas which is much more powerful than carbon dioxide, have risen significantly for the last three years running, scientists will disclose today – leading to fears that a major global-warming "feedback" is beginning to kick in...
Now comes the first news that levels of methane in the atmosphere, which began rising in 2007 when an unprecedented heatwave in the Arctic caused a record shrinking of the sea ice, have continued to rise significantly through 2008 and 2009.
The new figures will be revealed this morning at a major two-day conference on greenhouse gases in the atmosphere...the two scientists will reveal that, after a decade of near-zero growth, "globally averaged atmospheric methane increased by [approximately] 7ppb (parts per billion) per year during 2007 and 2008."
They go on: "During the first half of 2009, globally averaged atmospheric CH4 was [approximately] 7ppb greater than it was in 2008, suggesting that the increase will continue in 2009.

Huh? Let's look out the window, yes, we are in 2010. So why are they hypothesising about what may happen in the latter half of 2009? Have they broken their measuring flask?

Luckily the guys at Mauna Loa still have theirs.


Now you have the latest data let us discuss if the levels are "running away".

Posted by The Englishman at 1:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Topping terrorists, on whose authority?

To kill or not to kill terrorists: that’s the question | William Rees-Mogg - Times Online

The ethical question over the morality of killing terrorists seems to be the same as that raised in killing tyrants. Traditional Catholic teaching is to be found in the writings of the great medieval theologian St Thomas Aquinas. He considered it legitimate to kill a usurper, but only under a mandate from a legitimate authority. Murder requires an express mandate before a private person can lawfully kill even a tyrant. ..The Protestant view is more utilitarian.
In the Reformation period, most of the leading Protestants were surprisingly strongly in favour of killing tyrants. The Scottish reformer, John Knox, affirmed that it was the duty of “the nobility, judges, rulers and people of England” to condemn Mary Queen of Scots to death. One leading German reformer, the “mild Melanchthon”, argued that the killing of a tyrant is the most agreeable offering a man can make to God.

The right to free yourself, do you need permission from "authority" to do so or not? That is the crux of the question, and the clue as to history of subjugation.
As to the right to free yourself from the tyranny of terrorism, whose authority should we ask for permission? I think the Torah probably has a pragmatic answer to that as well.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:45 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Stating the Bleeding Obvious - Eamonn Butler's The Alternative Manifesto

The book is a sort of workshop manual for fixing Britain, and it doesn't flinch from getting the spanner round those nasty problems that the politicians of all sides don't want to talk about.

It follows up Eamonn Butler's 2009 The Rotten State of Britain, which diagnosed what was wrong – politicians drunk on centralised power, perks of office, media attention and tax-and-spend policies. Indeed, the cover describes it not as a workshop manual but as a twelve-step plan to wean the political class off their fiscal alcoholism.

The Alternative Manifesto covers subjects issues such as:
The economy: public spending doesn't 'stimulate' anything, we need spending and borrowing cuts now;
The financial sector: politicians, not bankers, who failed us, so spare us from more of their 'cures';
Politicians: nothing short of complete constitutional reform will fix that one;
The bully state: how to make police and officials serve the public rather than the government machine;
Public services: step-by-step plans to replace state monopolies with choice and competition;
Taxation: ending the benefits trap through simpler, fairer, lower taxes.

And education...

I have had the pleasure of reading this book and it is an easy read and brilliant at summarising what needs to be done. And what needs to be done isn't rocket science and you feel is that "of course that is just obvious", but it is only after Eamonn's casual arguments have shown you that is is fact obvious and necessary.

If he slapped a rosette on it it would get my vote. And if you want my vote I suggest you read it pretty damned quickly.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 21, 2010

Why can't Dave seal the deal?

The Tories’ slump in the polls is likely to stoke discontent in the party against the Cameron leadership - Times Online

One senior MP said last night: “The inner circle can crow all they like about how well they are doing, but the elephant in the room is the polls. Cameron spent last week talking about sexualisation of children and nine-year-old girls in suspenders, when there are much more important issues he should be talking about.”
Another backbencher said: “Cameron and his team are panicking. We are not over the line yet. They are trying to mumble their way to the general election, playing it safe, when what people want is real passion.”

The voters have woken up after a horrendous party, the furniture has been smashed, the bailiffs are knocking at the door, their wallet has been emptied and they turn over in bed and see who they have been sleeping with for the last thirteen years for the first time without make up and sober. And outside a fresh faced Dave sings them sweet songs about taking them away from all this. And the voters are still thinking of one more tumble in the filthy sheets rather than trust a Tory future?
There really is something wrong with the brand.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:24 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Crocodili lacrimae

Gerry Adams paid £10,000 to present documentary on forgiveness
It means that the Sinn Fein president will collect more for the programme than the families of IRA victims have received in compensation for the loss of their loved ones.

Excuse me if I don't watch it, the only television program featuring the odious Adams I would watch would involve him dancing the Tyburn Jig, in fact I would invest in a large screen high definition set for the sheer joy and rightness of such a show.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Little Georgie Osborne Offers to Sell Me What's Mine

Tories offer bank shares for all as poll lead dives - Times Online

While the details of the Tory plan are still being drawn up, it is expected that people would be offered shares worth between a few hundred and a few thousand pounds at a discount on the market price.

I've already paid for them once. You steal my watch and offer to sell it back to me? Careful you don't get mistaken for a spiv, Georgie.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 20, 2010

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Here comes the next bubble – carbon trading – Telegraph Blogs

According to a brilliant article by Mark Schapiro in Harper’s magazine carbon trading is now the fastest growing commodities market on earth. Since Kyoto signatories bought in to the cap and trade concept in 2005, there have been more than $300bn carbon transactions, prompting several investment banks, including Goldman Sachs and Barclays, to set up their own carbon trading desks. But that’s just the start. If President Obama and his supporters can institute a cap-and-trade system in the United States – and that’s a big if for this increasingly marooned presidency – demand could explode into a $2 to $3 trillion market.
And here’s the great thing about it. Unlike traditional commodities markets, which will eventually involve delivery to someone in physical form, the carbon market is based on lack of delivery of an invisible substance to no-one. Since the market revolves around creating carbon credits, or finding carbon reduction projects whose benefits can then be sold to those with a surplus of emissions, it is entirely intangible.
“Carbon developers”, many of them employed by large multinationals, travel the world in search of carbon reduction projects to sell, while firms of carbon accountants have been established to verify on the United Nations’ behalf that those reductions are real. The whole thing, though well intentioned, looks wide open to abuse and scams...

Anyone want to buy some lovely tulip bulbs I've got?

Posted by The Englishman at 5:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

V for Vulcan

Tension in Falklands rises as rig arrives and Argentina seeks help - Times Online

Argentina sought to rally Latin American allies as it prepared to take its protest to next week’s Rio Group summit in Mexico, which will bring together 20 countries from the region.
Jorge Taiana, the Foreign Minister, will meet Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, on Wednesday to denounce what his Government says is a “unilateral act of aggression” by Britain.

In other news these people need your help to keep this flying:

Vulcan 50th Birthday Appeal

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Beware Big Brother in Your Car

I have been pleased with the downloaded Mobile GPS Tracking Service on my Blackberry for my morning stroll around the estate, the instant and average speedometer brings out the competitive streak in me.
So as I had a long journey yesterday for someone else I thought I would try it out tracking business miles in the car.
Fantastic, works a treat except...

Cars, and mine in particular, often over estimate speeds by about ten percent. You see this with Sat Navs vs the dial. It hadn't struck me before that this means that they overestimate mileage driven by a similar amount. So the 102 miles the car told me to charge at 40 pence a mile is actually only 94 miles according to GPS. As an employee I know which reading I will put on the sheet but as an employer I think I know what I would be fitting in the reps cars...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Currant Affairs - The Truth Emerges.

All my life I believed that Currants - the dried ones - were one of the trinity of dried grapes we used in cooking. The big daddy being the ubiquitous Raisin, with the sweeter more approachable Sultana on his right hand side and Currants occupying the unexplainable ethereal role which no one can really explain.

I felt pretty damned stupid when deep in my cups I was expanding on this theory when a know-it all said; "Currants, grapes? Duh, there is a clue in their name what they actually are. Like currants man, Ribes, black, red, white, currants..."

It is not often I am wrong so I slunk off silently.

I has taken me six months to face up to my ignorance and look them up, and hah! Dried Currants aren't currants at all, they are dried Black Corinth Grapes aka Zante Currants. Currant bushes are named after the Currant, or Corinth , grape.

Now all I have to do is remember who put me down as a know nothing and shove a currant bun into his face.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:21 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 19, 2010

Friday Night is Music Night (Early Edition)

Dear, dear old Leggy...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

As bad as 1929?

Bleak winter partly caused by El Nino could be worst for 81 years - Times Online

The long, hard winter looks like dragging on into March. And if the bitter winds carry on for the next two weeks, there is a very good chance that this winter will turn out to be the coldest across the UK since 1929. There’s a risk of a similar snowfall returning on Monday, stretching from the M4 corridor across Wales, the Midlands, East Anglia and parts of the North.

Paul Simons must be slipping, not once does he mention climate change, or that this is just weather, or how good the Met Office was in forecasting and that this doesn't tell us anything about Global Warming. He will lose his membership of the Secret Squirrel Club if he isn't careful

Posted by The Englishman at 6:19 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What first attracted you to the multi million pound job greening the world?

Why would the UN's climate change chief take a job in the corporate world? – Telegraph Blogs - Rowena Mason

Lots will be asking why a frustrated former government official would want to leave a thankless role in a bureaucratic enclave of the UN for the handsomely-paid world of business... the burden of raising a $10 trillion dollars by 2030 to help “green” the world’s energy sector will increasingly be left to private corporations. While many clean technologies are still economially unattractive, it’s difficult to see how these huge sums will be conjured without government intervention. But the problem of private finance was always the endangered elephant in the room at Copenhagen and perhaps Mr de Boer is one of the men to start helping companies get their heads around the conundrum.

The man's a saint, he is leaving his "thankless role in a bureaucratic enclave of the UN for the handsomely-paid world of business" just to help "green" the world. Only a sceptic would think otherwise.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Brown and Darling - We're Loving It

Brown hits out at right-wing 'hate'
Gordon Brown will hit out at right-wing parties around the world, warning that their "hatred" of government action could jeopardise the global economic recovery.
He will also attack the "narrow nationalism" of the British Conservatives, saying they would leave the UK facing "isolation and irrelevance" in Europe, according to advance extracts released by Labour Party aides.
Friday's speech comes amid a bitter battle between Labour and the Tories over plans to tackle Britain's £178 billion deficit, with ministers warning that attempts to cut spending too quickly could undermine the fragile recovery.

More than 60 leading economists have backed Chancellor Alistair Darling over his decision to delay spending cuts until next year.
In two letters to the Financial Times, they said it could be "positively dangerous" to begin cuts - as the Tories are planning - and would risk tipping the economy back into recession.
One letter organised by Lord Skidelsky, a cross-bench peer and biographer of the economist John Maynard Keynes, accused the authors of the Sunday Times letter of trying to "frighten" the public over the scale of the deficit.

If you are not frightened of the scale of the deficit you really don't understand the situation.

Britain at risk of worse deficit crisis than Greece - Telegraph

Posted by The Englishman at 5:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 18, 2010

English Votes Please...

An Englishman's Castle: English Votes Please Update:

I'm reminded that time is running out to apply a subtle nudge that we want English Votes for English Issues - go here to register a vote

Posted by The Englishman at 7:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Making Gemma Atkinson Cry For The Fun Of It

No, I hadn't ever heard of her either but I was asked to publicise her in aid of our furry friends...


We're a PR agency working with The League Against Cruel Sports. I hope
you don't mind us getting in touch, but we hoped you might be interested
in a video which the League has released today to mark the fifth
anniversary of the ban on hunting with dogs?

The film records the reactions of a number of celebrities including
former Doctor Who Colin Baker; actress Annette Crosbie; Time Team
presenter Tony Robinson; and naturalist Bill Oddie; as they watch
footage of traditional hunting. Former Hollyoaks star Gemma Atkinson is
reduced to tears.

Tony Robinson compares fox-hunting to "hoodies picking on an asthmatic."

We're trying to get as many people as possible to view the video, so
hoped you might be willing to embed it on your site?

The stills, and high res images of the celebrities involved also

Many thanks,

Kathryn Webster
Senior Account Executive
Bright Young Things Communications
T 020 7749 9195

Always happy to help....

Posted by The Englishman at 3:09 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Economically inactive?

Eight million people 'economically inactive' - Telegraph
21.3 per cent of working-age adults are now "economically inactive", a category that includes students, the long-term sick, unpaid carers and those who retire early.

National Statistics Online
Public sector employment increased by 23,000 (seasonally adjusted) in the third quarter of 2009 to 6.093 million.

Should the second number be added to the first?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:30 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Blue blistering barnacles!

TV station fined for for broadcasting a Tintin cartoon in which Captain Haddock and villains were smoking.

The Higher Board of Radio and Television (RTUK) said in its ruling that TV8 had broken the law designed to protect people from the harmful effects of smoking and it fined the station 50,000 Turkish lira (£21,000).

A cartoon character smoking! No wonder the kids are dying in their thousands on the streets.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Our Right To See How Our Money Is Spent

Councils afraid to say how much they pay chiefs - Telegraph

The Government had ordered local authorities to disclose the earnings of all executives after concerns were raised about the size of pay increases granted to council officers.
But local authorities claimed that the pay disclosures would leave their staff vulnerable to reprisals from taxpayers. They argued that officers would be subjected to “personalised attacks and mischief making”.

But if they are so confident that they earn the money and are good value why are they worried? They are confident, aren't they?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:06 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

More Worries for Guardian Readers

Is tofu bad for the environment? - guardian.co.uk

Does that mean we should shun it?

.... it would be great if contributors can kick the debate off with their own thoughts.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:52 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 17, 2010

Climate Change for Lent

Should we turn off our iPods for Lent? - Telegraph

The bishops of Liverpool and London have called on us to give up our iPods for Lent, which starts today, Ash Wednesday.
Today's bishops are always encouraging us to ask "Why?" So let's oblige them. Part of the answer, when it comes to this annual fast-fest, seems to be that the climate-change lobby has hi-jacked Lent and that the Church has wholeheartedly gone along for the ride. It turns out that that the iPod ban is only a one-day contribution – Day 20 – to the Christian relief agency Tearfund's annual Carbon Fast. This also enjoins us to "choose an energy supplier that sources all its energy from renewable sources" (Day 3), ask "what your MP is doing to tackle climate change" (Day 17) and to refrain from flushing the loo (Day 43), which might fill the house with the air of the medieval mystic, but is actually aimed at saving water....

Is it a sin to giggle at them?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Targets Surpassed, Problem Worse

Adult obesity expected to rise sharply by 2010, study says - Times Online

Eight out of ten men and almost seven in ten women will be overweight...The report comes as the Government launches a new campaign to urge adults to lose weight and get healthy.


It includes suggested “swaps” such as swapping watching a favourite sport on television for taking part, increasing fibre intake by choosing brown rice over white, or swapping bigger plates for smaller ones to choose smaller portions of food.
Television and poster adverts will be shown from this Saturday.
Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, said that the Change4Life campaign had surpassed all its targets for the first year.

I know the Times headline should read 2020 but the fact it doesn't just underlines the whole irritating irrelevancy of this tosh.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:04 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Offering a helpful hand

Move to debate assisted suicide in Commons before the next election - Times Online

Assisted suicide in the Commons? - not much debate about that in my mind. Let's get the hempen draped down from the ornate ceiling and a couple of sets of movable steps and I will willing help the occupants form an orderly queue to be assisted.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cat Blogging - Aaaarrrh!

Celebrity chef Beppe Bigazzi upsets viewers with his cat casserole - Times Online
A top Italian food writer has been suspended indefinitely from the country’s version of the television programme Ready Steady Cook for recommending stewed cat to viewers as a “succulent dish”.
He said that for optimum flavour the meat should be “soaked in spring water for three days” before being stewed.

Filthy animals, I wouldn't want to eat one of their mangy corpses. Though I do know of a Lusitanian blogger who is fattening up a few.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 15, 2010

Phil Jones - Nature Interview - His Loss of China Records "Not Acceptable"

Climatologist Phil Jones answers his critics in an exclusive interview with Nature

The Guardian Reports:
Phil Jones, the head of the Climate Research Unit at the University East Anglia, admitted it was "not acceptable" that records underpinning a 1990 global warming study have been lost.
The missing records make it impossible to verify claims that rural weather stations in developing China were not significantly moved, as it states in the 1990 paper, which was published in Nature. "It's not acceptable ... [it's] not best practice," Jones said.
He acknowledged that the stations "probably did move" but insisted he did not know this when he wrote the 1990 paper.

But he said that "the science still holds up".
Jones said critics were "trying to pick out minor things in the data and blow them out of all proportion".
He said: "I don't think we should be taking much notice of what's on blogs because they seem to be hijacking the peer-review process."


Dear Kind Sir,
Regarding your story "Climatologist Phil Jones answers his critics in an exclusive interview with Nature" it is notable how Nature went about reporting the story of the dispute between me and Jones. The dispute essentially boils down to this: one party accused another party of fraud. Nature's reporting consisted of asking the accused party if he was guilty, and finding that the accused declared himself innocent. The reporting did not include examining any evidence for the accusation, nor interviewing the accuser. (Inadequate resources could not be the problem, because the journalist traveled to Jones' university in Norwich, to do the interview.) Even without assessing the merits of my accusation, then, I believe it is fair to say that the reporting on this was a failure.
Also, I left a comment on the Nature web page (it's #2), which criticizes some of the claims made in the Nature article.

Doug Keenan

Posted by The Englishman at 5:34 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

February 13, 2010

Cameron - You are out of time, Baby

A global warning for the man out of time | Matthew Parris - Times Online

....For some time in our politics there has been a slow-swelling scepticism about government — all government — and about the wisdom and competence of government. I suspect that most of the Western world has been drifting rightwards ever since our decade-long global economic miracle began to falter.

This week’s Spectator Australia is mischievously quoting opinions from mainstream commentators offered a while ago when a group within the Opposition (the Liberal-National Coalition) began complaining that their leader (then Malcolm Turnbull) and his friends had taken the modernisation of their party a step too far, and swallowed too readily the fashionable, government-led consensus on the need for action against global warming.

The national media were as appalled and smug as you can simultaneously be. The (Australian) Daily Telegraph summed it up: “Unless [Malcolm] Turnbull can bring the climate-change dissidents to heel, the Liberals will face humiliation at the polls.” Another national broadcaster called it “signing their own death-warrant”.....

You may know what happened. The rebel faction succeeded in ousting Mr Turnbull and replacing him with one of their own, Tony Abbott, under whom the Coalition has lurched to the Right across a range of issues, especially taxation....

Lurch with me back to Britain and our own right-of-centre Opposition, still under the leadership of a modernising and moderate politician, facing our own general election soon, as Australia does.

And look at it this way. David Cameron is lucky he was elected leader some years ago. In today’s climate he would never have topped the internal Tory poll. He stays leader now because he has done a good marketing job at humanising what had become an ugly party; because of his own personal qualities of command; because of the nimble and decisive way he reacts, front-foot, to events; because his opposite number, Gordon Brown, is such a shambles; and because. . .

Well, because no big unforeseeable thing has yet tripped Mr Cameron, and no big, charismatic figure on his right stands ready to challenge him if it did.

This is not a bad situation but it is not ideal. Mr Cameron is not on the ropes, or anywhere near the ropes. But to know that you owe your continuance in office to quick-wittedness, an absence of obvious competition and the momentum of incumbency is to fall one clear notch short of security in your job.

The missing notch is this: to resonate with the mood of your times . . . to have the wind of your times in your sails . . . to sing with the tune of your times . . . to know that you and your ideas are the right shape to fit the prime-minister-sized hole in the public imagination ... these are the final securities.

Mr Cameron knows he isn’t quite right for his party’s or the electorate’s present mood. There was a moment when he was beautifully in step: the moment Tony Blair was sinking but new Britain was still riding high; the moment, post-Blair, pre-crash, when we still believed we could have it all. He rode the moment with masterly timing to achieve, then entrench, his leadership.

The moment has passed....

Dave; listen, think and act.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:31 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Phil Jones Q&A Highlights - The Debate Isn't Over

BBC News - Q&A: Professor Phil Jones

Q. Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?
A... in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.

Q. Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming
A. Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level...

Q. There is a debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was global or not. If it were to be conclusively shown that it was a global phenomenon, would you accept that this would undermine the premise that mean surface atmospheric temperatures during the latter part of the 20th Century were unprecedented?
A. There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia. For it to be global in extent the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions...

Q. If you agree that there were similar periods of warming since 1850 to the current period, and that the MWP is under debate, what factors convince you that recent warming has been largely man-made?
A. The fact that we can't explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing ...

Q. Do you agree that natural influences could have contributed significantly to the global warming observed from 1975-1998?
A. This area is slightly outside my area of expertise. When considering changes over this period we need to consider all possible factors (so human and natural influences as well as natural internal variability of the climate system). Natural influences (from volcanoes and the Sun) over this period could have contributed to the change over this period.....

Q. When scientists say "the debate on climate change is over", what exactly do they mean - and what don't they mean?
A. It would be supposition on my behalf to know whether all scientists who say the debate is over are saying that for the same reason. I don't believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this. This is not my view. There is still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties, not just for the future, but for the instrumental (and especially the palaeoclimatic) past as well....

Posted by The Englishman at 8:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Getting Us to Buy a Forest

Bute Islanders vote to buy film director Lord Attenborough's forest - Times Online

Correction - Bute Islanders vote to get Taxpayers to buy them a forest. They are not going to dip very deep into their own sporrans for the luxury, when the government will reach into our pockets for them.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Only The Queen Can Save Climate Change Argument Now

Matthew Taylor's view is that the climate change argument is being lost. There are many reasons: The tendency to overstate the certainty of the science; the way that some seem to want to use the issue to smuggle in a socialist utopia through the green back door; the use of over blown rhetoric about saving the world and providing global leadership; the confusing shift from apocalyptical talk of oil running out and the countries being consumed by the sea to rosy accounts of how easy it will be for us all to live carbon free lives. Not to mention the constantly changing advice about whether we should or should not buy shipped produce or get wind turbines fitted or new boilers installed.
The net effect is that more and more people (who for perfectly understandable reasons would rather not have to make sacrifices) are starting to view the climate change argument as a conspiracy by the establishment to screw the common man.
I would get all the major Party leaders to sign up to (my) statement (follow link) at a public event hosted by the Queen and broadcast on every channel. Only something as simple and clear as this can get public opinion back on track. Otherwise I fear we will have to give up the battle for public support...

Posted by The Englishman at 12:06 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Phil Jones Speaks

BBC News - Climate data 'not well organised'

Phil Jones, the professor behind the "Climategate" affair, has admitted some of his decades-old weather data was not well enough organised...he agreed that two periods in recent times had experienced similar warming. And he agreed that the debate had not been settled over whether the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the current period.
"We do have a trail of where the (weather) stations have come from but it's probably not as good as it should be," he admitted.
"That's similar with the American datasets. There were technical reasons for this, with changing data from different countries. There's a continual updating of the dataset. Keeping track of everything is difficult. Some countries will do lots of checking on their data then issue improved data so it can be very difficult. We have improved but we have to improve more."
His account is the most revealing so far about his decision to block repeated requests from people demanding to see raw data behind records showing an unprecedented warming in the late 20th Century.
And he denied any attempt to influence climate data: "I have no agenda," he said. "I'm a scientist trying to measure temperature. If I registered that the climate has been cooling I'd say so."

Full Jones Q & A

Posted by The Englishman at 12:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 12, 2010

Friday Night is Music Night (Boom Boom Edition)

Posted by The Englishman at 5:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday to Nelson Mandela Englishman

Twenty years ago this early morning a Mrs Englishman and myself were just celebrating the arrival of a baby boy.
All night long we had watched the primitive all night television service we had in those days; it consisted of the BBC news on a rotating half hour basis. So every thirty minutes for twelve hours we learnt that Nelson Mandela had just been released, and that the BBC was jolly pleased about this.
In the middle of this the midwife asked if we had thought of a name for the imminent arrival. On the spur of the moment I suggested that "Nelson Mandela" had a certain ring and aptness. Bless her cotton socks the Mrs E picked up on this and played along. The midwife couldn't work out if we were joking or not so then spent the rest of the time desperately hinting that surely we had names previously thought out and maybe they would be more suitable, but of course it was our choice and and and...
When the poor little mite arrived she welcomed him repeatedly by the previously chosen names we had mentioned. She probably is still congratulating herself that her subtle action saved him from years of ridicule.
He doesn't realise how lucky he is to have the initials FW instead...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

WWF Says Stern Wrong, Macca Also

Tofu can harm environment more than meat, finds WWF study - Times Online

Becoming a vegetarian can do more harm to the environment than continuing to eat red meat, according to a study of the impacts of meat substitutes such as tofu.
The findings undermine claims by vegetarians that giving up meat automatically results in lower emissions and that less land is needed to produce food.
Lord Stern of Brentford, one of the world’s leading climate change economists, told The Times: “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better.”

Posted by The Englishman at 6:51 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Robbing Bastards' Hood Tax

so that hungry people in poor countries don’t pay for the global financial crisis.
radically improve the health of people in developing countries.
Eradicating poverty...creating a society where all can participate as equal citizens.
(end?) child poverty in the UK
help poor countries fight poverty and climate change
plug the financial gap and get banks working for the poor.
support health services for the poorest & most vulnerable people
opportunity to confront the scandal of poverty in our rich nation.
an obvious solution to a problem that is deeply systemic. (No mention of what the problem is)
two million people in need of decent accommodation in the UK.
supporting universal access to sexual and reproductive health worldwide.
stop people dying needlessly.(Of Aids)
to help people and wildlife adapt to climate change in developing countries.
ending the scandal of child poverty in the UK
tackle poverty and climate change.
universal HIV prevention, treatment, care & support
to fight poverty and protect poor people from the impacts of climate change.
a fair contribution to jobs,justice and climate.
Millions of children around the world are denied their rights.
an opportunity to change the way the (financial) sector conducts itself.
We support the Robin Hood tax as a practical way for the banks to repay their debt to society.

So say the Supporters of The Robin Hood Tax (a handy list if ever there was one come the Glorious Day).

Who could possibly be so cold hearted to be against a tiny tax that no one will notice because it is on something they don't understand? Here's one, maybe because he understands it, a bit.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Sceptic Conspiracy

Channel Four Reports: Within hours of the launch of an independent panel to investigate claims that climate scientists covered up flawed data on temperature rises, one member has been forced to resign after sceptics questioned his impartiality.
The revelation (posted on the Bishop Hill blog, run by climate sceptic Andrew Montford, ) is evidence of the well-organised and highly-motivated campaign by climate change sceptics

One commentator on one blog makes a well-organised campaign? All the other blogs (and that isn't many yet) only picked up on the story after the resignation was announced. At least they didn't also say "well funded"....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 11, 2010

Sir Muir's ClimateGate Inquiry Loses to Blogger Peer Review

Channel Four reports that Philip Campbell has stepped down from Sir Muir Russell's review because of the statements to Chinese radio that were reported here.

CAMPBELL: It's true that it comes at a bad time but it is not true that it is a scandal. The scientists have not hidden the data. If you look at the emails there is one or two bits of language that are jargon used between professionals that suggest something to outsiders that is wrong. In fact the only problem there has been is some official restriction on their ability to disseminate their data. Otherwise they have behaved as researchers should.
Members of the research team come from a variety of scientific backgrounds. They were selected on the basis they have no prejudicial interest in climate change and climate science and for the contribution they can make to the issues the Review is looking at. Sir Muir has taken three months to form his team and to decide what they are going to examine. We, the public now have eleven working days to make our written submissions.

Oh Dear - Three months of old boy networking hits a few hours of blogs. Maybe 11 days is enough.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sir Muir's ClimateGate Inquiry

BBC News - Climate e-mails inquiry under way

Speaking at the launch of the inquiry, Sir Muir, who is chairman of the Judicial Appointments Board of Scotland, said: "We are free to pursue and follow any line of inquiry that we wish."

The panel's investigation will:
• "Examine the hacked e-mail exchanges, other relevant e-mail exchanges and any other information held at CRU to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice."
• "Review CRU's policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings."
• "Review CRU's compliance or otherwise with the university's policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act."
• "Review and make recommendations as to the appropriate management, governance and security structures for CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds."
However, the panel will not review the past scientific work of the CRU, as this will be re-appraised by a UEA-commissioned study, which will involve the Royal Society.

Taken a while to get started but there are plenty of rocks for him to look under.

Posted by The Englishman at 12:23 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Libel Law Reform

Libel reform campaign petition statement

Freedom to criticise and question, in strong terms and without malice, is the cornerstone of argument and debate, whether in scholarly journals, on websites, in newspapers or elsewhere. Our current libel laws inhibit debate and stifle free expression. They discourage writers from tackling important subjects and thereby deny us the right to read about them.

The law is so biased towards claimants and so hostile to writers that London has become known as the libel capital of the world...

Please sign

Posted by The Englishman at 10:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Green is a Feminist Issue

French feminist warns green movement forcing women to stay at home - Telegraph

Mrs Badinter claims a "holy reactionary alliance" of green politicians, breast-feeding militants, "back to nature" feminists and child psychologists is turning Frenchwomen into slaves to green "fads" like re-usable nappies and organic food.
Their perfect French mother, she writes, "breastfeeds for six months and doesn't put her baby in a crèche or not too early, because baby needs to be with mum and not in a nest of germs; she is wary of all things artificial and is ecologically-minded. The jar of baby food has become a sign of selfishness; we're back to the purée mashed by mum."
Women in childbirth are even made to feel that epidurals are wrong, she goes on, adding: "We don't need to bow down to nature."
Her attack on muesli-eating ecologists sparked a furious response from Cécile Duflot, head of France's Green party.
Edwige Antier, a paediatrician and MP for President Nicolas Sarkozy's centre-Right UMP party also slammed Mrs Badinter, calling her an "archeo-feminist" who is "in denial of motherhood".

You mean forcing us back to the Stone Age isn't fun, fun, fun for the wife at home. I was looking forward to the excuse to spend all day going out mammoth hunting.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Smiting the house marked with the Blood of the Lamb

Headmistress resigns after internet storm over Marcus the slaughtered lamb - Times Online

A headteacher who became embroiled in an animal rights row after sending a lamb hand-reared by her pupils to slaughter has resigned.

Shame, she sounds like the sort of head teacher many schools need.
But what is this about calling it an "animal-rights" protest. What rights of Marcus the lamb were abused? His transformation into chops is what happens to millions of animals every year. If you argue all those fluffy lambs have their "rights" abused then fair enough, but why pick on just one to justify a campaign of hate and vilification? It is actually nothing to do with rights, just sloppy sentimentalism transformed into ugly acts.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Drink Policy Based on "No Evidence"

New doubt on drink prices crackdown – by expert used to justify policy - Scotsman.com News

ONE of the scientists whose research has underpinned the Scottish Government's push to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol admitted yesterday there is no evidence to show the controversial policy would work.
Sheffield University senior lecturer Dr Petra Meier told Holyrood's health committee the effects of the SNP's minimum pricing policy were "like the weather forecast" because her work was just "a model" of what might happen.

No, really? Just a guess based on your prejudices? More like a "climate" forecast than a "weather "forecast I think.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 10, 2010

Green Luddites

We eat GM food now. Why not grow it? | Ross Clark - Times Online

Britain is missing out on a vital new technology by letting Luddites make all the running

Fourteen years ago we were at the forefront of GM technology, not just in the science, but in developing procedures to ensure the environmental and medical safety of new crops. Then came the campaign against “Frankenstein foods”, culminating in protesters dressed in radioactive suits and trampling down trial crops. Unlike Luddite campaigns against threshing machines and spinning jennies, this was allowed to succeed. Disgracefully, on several occasions magistrates cleared protesters of criminal damage and aggravated trespass. GM research all but ground to a halt and commercial production never started.
It is different elsewhere in the world, where commercial production of GM crops is commonplace. Worldwide, 125 million hectares of land were cultivated with commercial GM crops in 2008. Environmentalists who believe that Britain remains a GM-free zone are deluded.....

I will make three predictions. First, that in 50 years’ time most of the world, most of the time, will consume GM crops. Second, that conventional crops will by then be grown only as “heritage” food for fussy and wealthy consumers — the comestible equivalent of Farrow & Ball paint. And third, that unless we quickly recognise this and take the argument to the anti-GM protesters who have been allowed to monopolise the debate, Britain’s agribusiness will have disappeared entirely abroad, leaving us a poorer country.

That is the case for GM in this country, where we have the luxury of choosing to be picky in what we eat, and if we want to turn the countryside into a heritage park we can. The case for GM in the poorer parts of the world is more vital .

Posted by The Englishman at 7:47 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Olympics, Lying Politicians, Crash, - Look for a bail out.

If the EU bailed out Greece, would Britain have to pay its share? – Daniel Hannan

It need hardly be said that it would be wrong – economically and morally – for taxpayers in other countries to step in. It was a mistake to rescue the banks from the consequences of their own errors, and that logic applies in spades to whole countries. Still, the EU has every right to make its own mistakes. What it has no right to do is to expect the United Kingdom to pay a proportion of the bill. We kept the pound. It’s not our problem.

It may not be our problem but we will end up paying for it.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I rekke never, whan that ben beryed, Though that her soules gon a blakeberyed.

Does this surprise anyone? New research shows that your choice of smartphone reflects your political persuasion: Left-wingers, it seems, favour the iPhone - while those on the Right prefer BlackBerrys.

Apart from one long-haired male model I can't think of any iPhone wielding person I trust to be right on the important things of life.

(Headline - Chaucer in the Pardoner's Tale)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:49 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Going Green with Vaseline?

Are Vaseline and other petroleum products environmentally sound? guardian.co.uk

A Reader Asks:....are these products environmentally sound? If I thought using them was contributing to excessive use of oil reserves I would try to find alternatives. What do you think?
Jane Green on email

Jane, thanks for the question. I must say that I'm a little concerned about how much of these products you apply to yourself that leads you to wonder whether you might be helping to deplete the world's oil reserves....

Other readers chip in with their worries, it is hard being a Guardian reader...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 9, 2010

Write (Another) Book on ClimateGate

Help write the full story on the hacked emails controversy | guardian.co.uk

In a unique experiment, The Guardian has published online the full manuscript of its major investigation into the climate science emails stolen from the University of East Anglia, which revealed apparent attempts to cover up flawed data; moves to prevent access to climate data; and to keep research from climate sceptics out of the scientific literature.

As well as including new information about the emails, we will allow web users to annotate the manuscript to help us in our aim of creating the definitive account of the controversy. This is an attempt at a collaborative route to getting at the truth.

We hope to approach that complete account by harnessing the expertise of people with a special knowledge of, or information about, the emails. We would like the protagonists on all sides of the debate to be involved, as well as people with expertise about the events and the science being described or more generally about the ethics of science.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Broken Britain

We're living in broken Britain, say most voters - Times Online

Nearly three fifths of voters say that they hardly recognise the country they are living in, while 42 per cent say they would emigrate if they could.
Overall, 64 per cent think that Britain is going in the wrong direction and just 31 per cent believe it is on the right track.

Full Poll Results

But underneath there is still a hint of optimism that life will probably get better, despite the politicians.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Greenpeace opposes more food and less pesticides

India awaits go-ahead on first GM crop despite scientists’ warnings - Times Online
India will decide tomorrow whether to approve its first genetically modified (GM) food crop. It is a move that supporters argue will help to avert a global food crisis but which critics say is being rushed through recklessly.

Bt Brinjal has enormous potential to benefit farmers & consumers: AICBA | Checkbiotech
The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), the Indian regulatory authority, has approved Bt brinjal for environmental release in India and its commercial release is subject to the approval from the Ministry of Environment & Forests, in 2010.
With Bt brinjal, farmers will use 70% less insecticide for FSB control and, as a result, 42% less pesticide overall for control of all insect pests. In addition to the reduced pesticide use, overall yield of marketable fruit is expected to rise 116% over conventional hybrids and 166% over conventional varieties. Higher yields and better quality produce would result in higher net income for brinjal farmers...

And Bangladesh agrees

But our well fed friends at Greenpeace and similar organisations are against it...

Bt Brinjal will be single largest disaster for India

Posted by The Englishman at 6:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Winter Olympic Mascot

+ size
- http://mbarrick.livejournal.com/

Polish newspaper claims 'Pedobear' is 2010 Vancouver Olympic mascot

Mr Barrick wrote that online amusement about the newspaper's error had sparked a surge of interest in his artwork, and hinted that the financial burden of the Games on Canadian taxpayers was the motivation for his mischievous creation.
"Maybe I'll just keep the money to help cover the price gouging, raised taxes, disappearing arts funding, and all the other "benefits" we Vancouverites are getting from the games that are kicking me in the back pocket."

Error? Only that "Shooting-up Junkie Bear" and "Cash in Brown Envelopes Bear " are missing from the line up.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 8, 2010

Oil Greases Pahcauri's Release On Voluptuous Breasts

Return to Almora By RK Pachauri
Throughout the novel, an intrusive and not particularly charming narrator alternates lectures on the destruction of the environment, and the value of the spiritual, with apparently trivial details.
However, Return to Almora is an entertaining read. It mixes two strands: one is the vivid memory of Sanjay's past life as a merchant in Almora some years before his present birth. The novel follows his life from the age of three until his sixties; his search to understand how his soul has migrated leads him to meditation and to seek out various guru figures with whom further turgid discussion ensues. But the subplot of Sanjay's sexual life, at first solitary, then involving other people, provides rich and frequent diversion.
Pachauri is engagingly candid about his protagonist's urges; Sanjay is always noticing breasts and masturbating (once into a red silk hanky purloined from a train co-passenger ). While an engineering student, he has his first experience with a woman. She has been procured by his more frivolous friends: "So this is how the non-engineering students enjoy themselves, he thought enviously."

Rajendra Pachauri raises more eyebrows with raunchy environmental novel - Times Online
..the book mingles lectures on climate change with descriptions of Sanjay’s sexual encounters, including frequent references to “voluptuous breasts”.
More controversially, it was released in Mumbai by Mukesh Ambani — India’s richest man and the head of the oil and gas conglomerate Reliance Industries, the largest private Indian company.
Reliance has close links to Dr Pachauri’s The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)...
For the Delhi launch of the book dinner and drinks were paid for by BP India, a big TERI sponsor....
It is unclear whether Dr Pachauri will profit from the novel. Many environmentalists regard it as unwise for a co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to accept such personal favours from energy industry giants.
Dr Pachauri has defended his relationship with such companies, saying that there is no conflict of interest. Environmental activists disagree, saying that he needs to draw clearer lines between his personal interests, TERI, its sponsors and the IPCC.

Bob Ward, the policy director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said: "A lot of the climate sceptic arguments are being made by people (who) are clearly being given money that allows them to disseminate their views more widely than would be the case if they didn't have oil company funding."

Posted by The Englishman at 7:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Krebs Defends Sceptical Science

We might err, but science is self-correcting | John Krebs - Times Online

...the stories underline two important features of scientists and science. First, scientists, just like every other trade — bus drivers, lawyers and bricklayers — are a mix. Most are pretty average, a few are geniuses, some are a bit thick, and some dishonest.
Second, science itself is often misunderstood. Scientists tend to be portrayed as voices of authority who are able to reveal truths about arcane problems, be it the nature of quarks or the molecular basis of ageing. In fact, science is almost the opposite of this...Richard Feyman’s phrase says it best: “Science is the organised scepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.”

An Oxford colleague, one of the world’s top climate scientists, made the same point last week when he said to me: “It’s odd that people talk about ‘climate sceptics’ as though they are a special category. All of us in the climate science community are climate sceptics. It’s our job to question and challenge everything.” Any scientist will tell you that when you turn up at a conference the audience will do its best to tear your findings to pieces: no one takes anything for granted.

There is, of course, no excuse for scientists who over-egg or massage their results, or who underplay the uncertainties in their conclusions. The prevailing view in many areas of science will include significant uncertainties (as with climate change), so challenge is central to the progress of understanding....if scientists have a right to be heard, they have a responsibility to be scrupulously honest and not to claim more than is justified by the evidence.

And that should be inscribed in stone.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ruddy Duck Shooting

A controversial UK cull of ruddy ducks, a US native that has been compared to a "feathered lager lout" for its displays of thuggish and amorous behaviour' - its mating call sounds more like a belch, it boasts a penis half the length of its body and, after mating, it ignores its partner - has cost the British taxpayer more than £740 for each dead bird.
Figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that shoots of the chestnut-coloured bird have cost taxpayers £4.6m, yet only 6,200 have been killed.

And to think that in the real world people pay £25 a bird to shoot duck, and provide all their own equipment. For some reason I feel a kindred spirit to the poor ruddy duck, but if we are going to persecute them then I don't see why we should so handsomely subsidise someone else's sport.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 7, 2010

Murderous Sceptics

Despite the sceptics, climate change must remain a priority | Editorial - The Observer - Comment

Climate Change policy is in the public domain, the relentless attacks from skeptics is sabotage. And in the case of the attacks in Mumbai, during the launch of Live Earth, murderous.

I hadn't realised the attacks which killed more than 170 were the work of climate sceptics before.

Posted by The Englishman at 4:06 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Climate Stories of the Day

EU Referendum: And now for Africagate
The finger points more firmly at Dr R K Pachauri but it is a more nuanced error than Glaciergate which everyone could understand at a glance.
It is going to be harder to get traction with this ironically partly because of Richard North's success in exposing the rotten heart of the report. Every journalist now knows there are easy picking there and there is a multiplicity of stories in the papers today.
Enjoy them, but remember on Monday the same taxes, restrictions, reporting requirements and state intrusions demanded by the great god of carbon will still be in place, and that future plans and putative policies proposed by our politicians are unchanged.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:48 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Charles the Cnut

Charles at the launch of a new Steam Train

So who advises Charles? Travelling to give a speech about climate change on a coal fired train is just daft but to make a point in the speech about sea levels proving anything is stupid. It is one of the easiest "climate change" charges that any sceptic can challenge.
Or is he just harking back to a halcyon past when 'umble train drivers and stokers doffed their blackened caps to their betters as they progressed to an unchanged coast to take the waters?
Unfortunately kings can't stop the tide and look silly if they try to.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:34 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Costa del Clyde

Plant foreign trees 'to save our forests' - Scotsman.com News

SCOTTISH forests should be replanted with Lebanon cedar, Oriental spruce, Macedonian pine, Greek fir, Mexican white pine, Italian alder, Shagbark hickory, Oriental beech, Eucalyptus and Hungarian oak and not native species, according to a leading expert in a Forestry Commission study.
The imported trees must form a vital part of a dramatic expansion of tree cover as global warming changes the Scottish environment, says Professor Sir David Read.

And vineyards and olive groves on the bonny banks of the lochs..

Posted by The Englishman at 9:28 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 6, 2010

The Game

I'm going under the wire this afternoon to escape to The King's Arms to watch the game with some ethnic friends.

UPDATE - What a great game to watch;


Posted by The Englishman at 8:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Today I have mainly been planting these

Open%20Arse%20Orchard.jpg +

No, not baby Stens, it is my Open-arse Orchard - it will be worth waiting for them to mature and blet.

More on Open-arses here: The Art and Mystery of Medlar fruit and Jelly

Posted by The Englishman at 8:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Bad News for Dave

Climate Change Opinion Poll Results

OK, if we have a baking summer the figures will change a bit, but that isn't going to happen before the election.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:43 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 5, 2010

Friday Night is Music Night (Get a Haircut Edition)

Posted by The Englishman at 5:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Marks out of ten

The new politics.co.uk blogs channel has spent many hours visiting, reviewing and marking hundreds of blogs - haven't they got a life?

Oh and thanks for the 7/10 - I'm chuffed.

Posted by The Englishman at 1:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Snouts Smacked


MPs' expenses - Telegraph - Full guide

MPs and peers to learn if they face criminal charges over expenses - Telegraph

Detectives are confident that up to three politicians - two MPs and a peer - will face criminal charges over their expenses claims.

Only three? I have plenty of the hempen in the barn for a few more to be added to the list...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Exercise a waste of time

'Jogging, swimming, pumping iron's a waste of time' - The Times of India

They claim it is only a waste of time for 20% of people, the sample in my research shows it is 100%

Posted by The Englishman at 6:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Quangocracy Thrive

Spending on quangos rises by £10bn despite Gordon Brown’s pledge
Since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister the annual figure has increased by more than 25 per cent from £37 billion to £46.5 billion despite largely coinciding with the worst recession since the 1930s. The number of employees has risen, though, from 95,000 to 110,000.
The figures will be highly embarrassing to the Government, which announced a drive to cut quango costs as part of its efficiency savings package last year.

Remind which ones should be spared the ax when public expenditure is cut, I'm struggling to come up with any names.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Yeo answers disgraceful smear

Tim Yeo’s Green Networking in Parliament Pays Off - Guy Fawkes' blog

Tim Yeo MP is the current Chairman of the Environmental Audit Select Committee.
Coincidentally Tim is also chairman of a small investment-hungry AIM listed company called AFC Energy plc developing “environmentally friendly fuel cells”. In July last year he sponsored an evening event for 150 members of the Environmental Investment Network. Held in the impressively plush Members’ Dining Room overlooking the Thames, it certainly is a pleasant environment in which to woo and lubricate potential green investors.
At the time AFC Energy plc were raising £2 million from environmental investors, and for each of the following five months AFC Energy paid Tim Yeo £3,750 a month (up to a total of £18,750) until in December when they succeeded in raising the £2m they were seeking from environmental investors in a share placing. Tim also got a bonus when the shares were placed with investors of 150,000 shares for his work. All in all he made a total of some £80,000 out of the AFC deal from July when he hosted the Environmental Investment Network event until December when they sold the shares to investors.

Guido is on Newsnight tonight with Tim Yeo...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 4, 2010

UEA Witchhunt

Detectives question climate change scientist over email leaks | guardian.co.uk

University of East Anglia scientist Paul Dennis denies leaking material, but links to climate change sceptics in US drew him to attention of the investigators

Dennis refused to sign a petition in support of Jones when the scandal broke. He told friends he was one of several staff unwilling to put their names to the Met Office-inspired statement in support of the global warming camp, because "science isn't done by consensus".

University sources say the head of department, Professor Jacquie Burgess, received a letter from Dennis at the height of the email uproar, calling for more open release of data. He appears to have disapproved of the way Jones resisted FoI requests.

Dennis's own research, which dates fluctuating temperatures in ice cores stretching back thousands of years, does not support the more catastrophic current predictions of runaway global warming.

He has a history of contact with the American bloggers who bombarded Jones's unit with FoI requests, and were the first to receive the leaks. ...

Not a team player then....

Posted by The Englishman at 9:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Deer in the distance

deer%20in%20the%20distance.jpg + size
Random view from The Castle taken on the phone, pursuit of mammon prevents any earth-shattering revelations this morning.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 3, 2010

Those Private Eye Climategate Revelations in Full

Nothing, not a word in this weeks issue that I can see, just some overpaid soccer player on the front cover and a weak pun about willies.

Posted by The Englishman at 12:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

‘Democratising science’ through the mobilisation of an extended peer community carries risks as well as benefits. - Mike Hulme

Claiming and adjudicating on Mt Kilimanjaro’s shrinking glaciers:
Guy Callendar, Al Gore and extended peer communities
Mike Hulme

Climate change has mutated from being a physical phenomenon to be studied to an idea to be contested. The sites of adjudication between competing truth claims have therefore moved from the secluded academy and scientific peer review to the vociferous agora and the extended peer community.
Removing science from its ‘black-box’ status by subjecting its truth-claims to different forms of public scrutiny and accountability .. adds new social value to scientific knowledge. It also opens up possibilities for adjusting public expectations about the different levels of confidence with which science can speak. But this can cut both ways...

The case of Callendar, Gore and Mt. Kilimanjaro’s glaciers also illustrates the ambiguous – or at least the conditional - benefits of moving truth adjudications from the republic to the agora. Democratisation of science, in this case discursive checking of scientific claims by Beck’s ‘open upper chamber’, may destabilise knowledge as much as it may legitimise it. The interplay between these two consequences of the democratic move in science depends crucially on notions of trust: trust in the transparency with which experts are selected and trust in the new processes of adjudication thereby established – in this case the judiciary. If the reality of climate change on the basis of evidence is to be ‘owned’ by the people, the people must be confident that adequate provisions are made for quality assurance of that evidence by an extended peer community. As the case of Kilimanjaro’s glaciers shows, such confidence has to be earned not assumed.

An prescient paper he wrote last year, very interesting.

Posted by The Englishman at 11:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Olympics are Elitist - Boo Hiss

A third of British athletes taking part in the London 2012 Olympics will be privately educated, despite the Government spending more than a £1 billion to encourage state school pupils to become international athletes

Nothing like picking winners with the taxpayer's dollar is there? I'm sure once Team GB has acted on its equality quotas to ensure the team fairly represents the diversity of the population then we will enjoy seeing a much fairer team lose.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Sun Threatens The Olympics - Hurrah!

Scientists warn solar activity could hit London 2012 Olympic games - contains video

Scientists warned yesterday that a peak in solar activity is due to occur in 2012, risking the disruption of television and internet networks during the London Olympic Games.
“The Olympics could be bang in the middle of a solar maximum,” said Richard Harrison, of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory...the Sun appears to be stirring, after several years in “deep minimum”. Between 2008 and 2009 there were more than 250 “spotless” days — a record low since 1913. However, in the past two weeks two solar flares have developed, indicating that the Sun is likely to be entering a more active phase in its eleven-year cycle.

Sexy science: Earth at the mercy of a restless Sun - Times Online
Given that the Sun’s variation can cause a difference of 1.4 watts for every square metre on Earth, studying solar activity could be very important in understanding our planet’s changing climate.

Win win - a nice warm spell and no Olympics on the telly, what could be better.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dr Jones at your service

Phil Jones, scientist in climate data row, promises to be more open - Times Online

Yes in future he will ask if you want fries with that and/or if you want to "go large".

Posted by The Englishman at 7:02 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 2, 2010

Simple Needs

No apology from IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri for glacier fallacy - The Guardian

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said it would be hypocritical to apologise for the false claim that Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035, because he was not personally responsible for that part of the report.
.. He said reports of further errors in the IPCC report linked to grey literature were spurious and the result of a "factory" of people "only there to create pinpricks and get attention".
...His salary from the research institute that employs him is fixed in the range of 190,000 rupees (£2,600) a month, he said, while he receives only travel expenses for chairing the IPCC.

The average monthly income for an Indian is Rs 3,116 (£42).

Mahatama Gandhi's philosophy of simplicity and equality is extremely relevant in the present context of the dangerous impact of global warming, noted climate change expert R K Pachauri has said.
The chairman of United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which won the Nobel peace prize in 2007, pointed out that Gandhi has influenced many by his philosophy of simplicity and equality.
In this reference, he noted that when asked recently with whom he would love to have dinner, US President Barack Obama had said "Gandhiji of course." Obama is reported to have added that he knew that the meal -- as well as the attire for the evening -- would be "so simple," Pachauri said.
Referring to Gandhiji's simple lifestyle, Pachauri said "flawed models of development" encourages migration from rural areas to the cities.
Recalling Gandhiji's prophetic words that "the earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs but not every man's greed," Pachauri deplored the belief that only one pattern of development was good.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:23 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Peer Review Problems - Not Just in Climate Science

BBC News - Journal stem cell work 'blocked'

Stem cell experts say they believe a small group of scientists is effectively vetoing high quality science from publication in journals.
In some cases they say it might be done to deliberately stifle research that is in competition with their own.
"It's turning things into a clique where only papers that satisfy this select group of a few reviewers who think of themselves as very important people in the field is published."
The issue is important because billions of pounds of public money are spent on funding stem cell research internationally. The funding is directed largely towards groups and individuals who have had their research published in the top journals. So if the journals are getting it wrong then public money is going to waste.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:58 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Laughing at the Naked

EU Referendum: The power of prestige

(Just) attacking the science cannot prevail. It is a necessary but not sufficient endeavour. This is not about science but "prestige". The only sure way to destroy the scam is to rob the players of that vital quality, their own "prestige".

And prestige isn't destroyed just by pointing out how wrong or untruthful people are. The real weapon is ridicule. It isn't enough to notice the Emperor has no clothes, the little boys must laugh as him as well. No wonder they hate the global warming jokes so much, bring on the jesters.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The King has no Clothes

David King admits to speculation over source of climate science emails |guardian.co.uk

Spouting off from a position of ignorance I believe is the technical term - James Delingpole is less charitable

Posted by The Englishman at 6:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Golden Geese Flee

Treasury loses as top earners dodge 50p tax - Times Online

High earners will cost the public purse hundreds of millions of pounds through tax dodges as they avoid the new 50p rate of income tax, a minister indicated yesterday.

Lord Myners, the City Minister, said that the Treasury had “significantly reduced” its estimate of the revenue to be earned from the historic change.

They are not costing the public purse anything, there is nothing dodgy about their behaviour. They are acting rationally, the public purse never had the money and should never have expected it. I'm sure proper economists have a name for the effect, it is just that the politics of envy pretend it doesn' exist.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 1, 2010

+++ Guardian Launches "Major Investigation" into Climategate and Phil Jones +++

Leaked climate change emails scientist 'hid' data flaws |guardian.co.uk

Leaked climate change emails scientist 'hid' data flaws
Exclusive: Key study by East Anglia professor Phil Jones was based on suspect figures
Read the full story here

In the first part of a major investigation of the so-called 'climategate' emails, one of Britain's top science writers Fred Pearce reveals how researchers tried to hide flaws in a key study...

It is difficult to imagine a more bizarre academic dispute. Where exactly are 42 weather monitoring stations in remote parts of rural China?
But the argument over the weather stations, and how it affects an important set of data on global warming, has led to accusations of scientific fraud and may yet result in a significant revision of a scientific paper that is still cited by the UN's top climate science body.

It also further calls into question the integrity of the scientist at the centre of the scandal over hacked climate emails, the director of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), Dr Phil Jones. The emails suggest that he helped cover up crucial flaws in temperature data from China that underpinned his research on the strength of recent global warming....

The story will be familiar to many regular readers, but to see it splashed here and properly investigated makes it a major story.

The full emails the Guardian has belatedly discovered are 1188557698.txt and 1241415427.txt

Posted by The Englishman at 9:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

And now, the end is here....

FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES: Someday;& that day may never come…

Vale, lacerte!

Posted by The Englishman at 8:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Telegraph Praises "Others" in Climategate

We need facts, not spin, in the climate debate - Telegraph

Telegraph View: the case that global warming is man-made needs to be constantly tested and credible

....Mr Booker and others have been enormously energetic in pointing out the weaknesses and uncertainties in the argument. Are the doubts enough to mean that the Government is proceeding from a false premise? There is no doubt that there needs to be a continued and vigorous debate on this topic – although there are, of course, additional reasons for decreasing our dependence on carbon, such as the need for energy security, the desirability of adopting more energy-efficient (and therefore cheaper) technologies, and the role of CO2 in the acidification of the oceans. Ministers' insistence that those who question their presumptions are irrational and dogmatic does nothing to help bring about the consensus that is so sorely needed.

"Mr Booker and others", that wouldn't be blogs would it? Those pesky unfunded independent non-journalists who have lead this investigation?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dave and Jesus share a Girly Problem

Is David Cameron a girlie man? – Telegraph Blogs

....the Tories have pledged to increase government funding to local authorities. If you remember, they were originally only going to promise increases in education, health and international aid expenditure. Now that there’s a fourth part of government that can’t be cut, many Tories will be wondering: is Dave an economic girlie man?

Real men find Church too girly -Times Online Real men don't like going to church because they don't want to "sing love songs to a man", because the "vicar wears a dress", because they feel like "mongrels on parade at Crufts"...The image of church is 'women and children' - action songs or kid's plays just emphasise this.... Men don't want to feel brainwashed by reciting words that they don't believe... The problem has become male culture versus church culture. Too many sermons talk about Jesus’ love, compassion and grace which are great but not male concepts. Men want to know about his great decision making and leadership. That is what they recognise. Churches are very pastorally driven whereas blokes are looking for decisions not discussions.

At least the Church recognises it has the problem.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Ed Miliband Admits His Energy Policy Won't Deliver

Labour prepares to tear up 12 years of energy policy - Times Online

The Government is drawing up plans for a wholesale reform of Britain’s energy markets that could wind back the clock on 12 years of deregulation.
In an interview with The Times, Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said that Britain’s existing, highly liberalised market regime, introduced under Labour in 1998, was failing to deliver the investment needed to cut UK carbon emissions by more than a third by 2020.
Mr Miliband said: “We are going to need a more interventionist energy policy to deliver the low-carbon investment we need.”
Mr Miliband said that big reforms would be essential to deliver the estimated £170 billion of investment to meet its goals of huge carbon cuts.
He said that one alternative would be a return to “capacity payments” — in which power station operators would be paid for the electricity they generate and also for capacity made available. The idea of such payments is to give greater certainty to investors in renewable and nuclear energy. They would help to bolster the reliability of a grid that was more heavily reliant on power generation from wind farms.
A huge expansion of wind power is expected to have a big impact on the reliability of the national grid, which capacity payments could help to offset. Wind energy is intermittent and heavily reliant on back-up power generation for use when it is not blowing.

Carbon Cuts; Carbon Cuts; Wind; Carbon Cuts; Whoops it doesn't bloody work, the lights are going out.
Solution, more of the same!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Rajendra Pachauri Briefed Against by Sir Humphrey

Rajendra Pachauri fails to get British support over 'unsubstantiated' climate report claims |
Environment |

Rajendra Pachauri, who has faced criticism as chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change following allegations of inaccurate statements in panel reports, suffered a fresh blow last night when he failed to get the backing of the British government.

A senior government official reiterated Pachauri's position but stopped short of expressing confidence in him. "The position is that he is the chair and he has indicated that mistakes were made," the climate change official said. "There is no vacancy at this stage, so there is no issue at this stage."

That arch "at this stage" and what is left unsaid... for the first time I think he may have to retire to his "writing" room sooner than later.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Guardian Damns the Co Op, Praises McDonalds & Coca Cola

Supermarket fridges as polluting as their plastic bags, study claims | The Guardian

The research points the finger at "ethical" grocer the Co-operative Group, which scored the lowest marks of the major grocery chains...
More climate-friendly chemicals have been adopted... by major multinationals including McDonalds and Coca-Cola.

There will be some spluttering into the muesli in Notting Hill this morning

Posted by The Englishman at 6:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack