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April 29, 2011

Friday is Music Day (Just Enjoy The Wedding Edition)

Britannia rules on day of celebration - Scotsman.com News

Today's traditional wedding service is laid out in the programme intended to ring with "Britishness". The music, planned to the last peal of the bells, includes the work of two leading Scottish composers, and is laden with classical favourites from Britain's past.
The music of classical favourites by Elgar, Britten and Vaughan Williams will all sound around Westminster Abbey, as well as a hymn used in Diana's funeral. The musical line-up ranges from the popular hymn Jerusalem to the quintessential English melody Greensleeves.
The newlyweds will leave the abbey to the sounds of the well-known rousing orchestral march Crown Imperial by William Walton,

As the neighbours who are without a television gather round our box this morning I will cast aside any cynicism and revel in the Englishness of the occasion and the music.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 28, 2011

Climate Change Opportunities For Progressives

Opportunities offered by climate change | Rachel Godfrey Wood | Global development | guardian.co.uk

The shock of climate change could upset the status quo, presenting an opportunity to challenge existing social contracts and unequal relationships
...If it is true that food price hikes provided the spark for the demonstrations, and if changes in the climate have had a role in those food price rises, wouldn't that make recent events the Middle East a case of "good" climate change destabilisation?
This is not simply an issue for dictatorships – democratic politicians who are unresponsive to their populations may also find themselves challenged. By increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, could climate change force governments to respond to their citizen's needs and establish transparent systems of governments?

Even organisations whose causes have not been framed in terms of climate change, such as those calling for social protection, could find their arguments are strengthened by increasing climate awareness.

Being aware of the potential openings created by climate-related instability will be particularly important for those NGOs, social movements and researchers concerned with adaptation to climate change. .. This means engaging with wider processes and issues, including ones that do not always have obvious links to climate change, in order to ensure that the opportunities created by climate change are seized.

And there's some people thinking that the Climate Change Scare is just being used as an excuse....

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


Wikipedia users name celebrities with gagging orders - Telegraph

The identities of four celebrities who obtained draconian injunctions to hide details of their extra–marital affairs have been disclosed on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.
While Wikipedia's administrators have removed the references from the celebrities' pages they remain accessible in a historic log.

You naughty people. If I cared I would go digging. Solving the puzzle makes it slightly more interesting but the shagging habits of Z listers are still not that interesting.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Bonnie Breezes

Green energy target ruining the landscape, warn experts - Scotsman.com News

OPPOSITION to the Scottish Government's pledge to produce 100 per cent of the country's electricity from renewable sources by 2020 grew last night as environmentalists and energy experts united to condemn the plan.

Don't they realise it is all a cunning plan to frustrate Donald Trump's plans to turn Scotland into a golf course. With that hair do you think he is going to go anywhere near a county covered in windmills. And neither will I.

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

My Mother Said I Never Should

Cancer sufferer's shotgun confiscated after traveller 'throat slit' threat - Telegraph

When a gang of travellers trespassed on her land and allegedly threatened to cut her throat with a chainsaw, Tracy St Clair Pearce dialled 999, expecting protection and reassurance from the police.

Miss St Clair Pearce, a cancer sufferer who is receiving chemotherapy, was walking in her smallholding on Friday evening when she was approached by four teenagers from an encampment next to her land.
The 50-year-old, who breeds rare Shetland cattle and Lancashire Heeler dogs at Seven Saints Farm near Chelmsford, Essex, could hear the sound of a chainsaw cutting her trees for firewood and told the youths to leave.
In response, they subjected her to a barrage of abuse, Miss St Clair Pearce claims. One of the gang, a boy of about 14, allegedly said that he would kill her and her animals.
“He threatened to slit my throat and he also threatened to cut the throats of the cows, the calves and foals,” she said.
Miss St Clair Pearce called police, who took a statement only to return on Monday with a warrant to seize the 12-bore shotgun and smaller weapon which she owns legally and keeps to deter foxes from attacking her poultry.
She was out judging a dog show in Bedfordshire when police arrived, so they kept coming back until finally getting access to the locked gun cabinet at 3am. Officers later returned to demand her shotgun licence, without explaining why they were taking the guns, she said.
Officers told Miss St Clair Pearce that they had made arrangements to go to the camp on Saturday, but it is understood that they were told that the main instigator had “gone away”.
Police said they were working with the local council, which owns the land on which the travellers are staying, to find a solution to the problem.

That's nice for them isn't it.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 27, 2011

A Gray Wedding Day

What is the carbon footprint of the royal wedding? - Telegraph

By Louise Gray

The international event will generate 6,765 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), Less than 13 tonnes is generated by accommodation, energy use, landfill and catering for the lunchtime reception and evening dinner at Buckingham Palace.
Gary Hartley, from the Energy Saving Trust, said the best way for the couple to travel from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace is horse and cart which will emit no emissions, compared to the 1.7kgCO2 emitted by the Rolls-Royce Phantom or even 0.9kgCO2 in an ordinary car.
Already the couple have done a few small things to limit their footprint. Kate’s ring is reported to be made from Welsh gold rather than minerals from an exploitative mine. Her dress could also be ethical if she chooses vegan silk and organic Fairtrade cotton, although the most low carbon option of wearing a second hand dress or reworking something vintage is unlikely.
The couple declined to send virtual invitations or ask guest to wrap presents in reusable cloth rather than paper. Other advice on environmental weddings includes insisting appliances given as wedding presents are low energy, checking there are dual flush loos at the reception and asking guests to make jam or chutney instead of buying presents.

Dual flush loos and homemade chutney wrapped in rag as the bride looks radiant in an Oxfam cast-off....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Kafka's Trial

Judge bans media from telling if trial went ahead | The Times

A judge has banned the media from reporting whether or not a criminal court has even sat under a “very rare” secrecy order. The far-reaching order comes amid concerns over the use of super-injunctions in civil privacy cases and will fuel public debate about justice being done behind closed doors.
It appears to fly in the face of the tradition that criminal cases must be heard in public in the interests of justice. Such restrictions are highly unusual and would only be expected in extreme circumstances.
Reporting any details about the order — even the fact that the hearing has taken place — could lead to journalists being jailed or fined for contempt of court.
In the latest case, the defendant is identified on public court papers only by a single initial, with no details of the charge or charges that he or she faces.
Judges often impose orders banning the reporting of matters heard in criminal courts to prevent prejudicing juries in future trials, to protect witnesses or in the national interest. But the name of defendants, the charges they face and the dates of any future hearing are made available to the media to enable the evidence and legal argument to be reported when the order is lifted. The media is also given the information so that it can seek to challenge the restrictions.
The latest order — which has drawn comparisons with Franz Kafka’s 1925 novel The Trial in which a bank clerk, Josef K, is unexpectedly arrested and tried for a crime that is not revealed to him or the reader — also prevents the reporting of whether a hearing has taken place, the name of the lawyers involved if a hearing has taken place and any details of the order itself. The Times has ensured that it has not identified the geographical area of the hearing, the court, the judge, the case name or the identities of the lawyers involved.

It was meant to be a warning, not an instruction manual.

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

Koala Bears - The New AGW Poster Child

Koalas under threat as excess CO2 makes eucalyptus leaves inedible - World - NZ Herald News

The future of the koala, perhaps Australia's best-loved animal, is under threat because greenhouse gas emissions are making eucalyptus leaves - their sole food source - inedible.

Scientists warned that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were reducing nutrient levels in the leaves, and also boosting their toxic tannin content.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 26, 2011

Clackety Clack For Us Dinosaurs

Typewriters about to become a page in history

India's Business Standard - April 17

Godrej — the last manufacturer of typewriters in the world — has just 500 machines left for sale.
“We stopped production in 2009 and were the last company in the world to manufacture office typewriters."


Posted by The Englishman at 7:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Turn Out The Lights When You Leave Please

Rich may emigrate because of high taxes ... and the weather | The Times

More than a third of wealthy Britons are considering moving overseas because of high taxes and fears for the country’s future, research suggests.
In a poll of almost 1,000 people with savings or investments worth more than £250,000, 36 per cent said that they wanted to emigrate, 14 per cent saying that they were likely to leave in the next two years.
The weather was also a major complaint, with 45 per cent saying they would rather live in a better climate.
The richest 1 per cent of Britons contribute almost a quarter of tax receipts collected by HMRC, Lloyds said. “This, coupled with the growth that wealthy people create in their jobs and through their spending, shows that they play an extremely important role in the UK economy.”

Will they be classified as economic migrants or climate change refugees when they move south?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Marr Ungagged

Andrew Marr affair: BBC star says gagging orders are out of control | Mail Online

Gagging orders are out of control, says Andrew Marr as he abandons injunction over affair
Mr Marr won a High Court injunction in January 2008 to suppress reports of a relationship with a fellow journalist five years earlier.
At the time, he believed he had fathered a child with the woman.
He also made maintenance payments – until he discovered through a DNA test that he was not the girl's father.
When challenged by the Daily Mail yesterday, Mr Marr declared he was now embarrassed by his gagging order and would no longer seek to prevent the story being published.
His affair, which ended in 2003, was common knowledge at Westminster and within the BBC, where he was political editor. But the injunction banned publication of his name in connection with the story.
Mr Marr said injunctions should not last 'for ever' and that their increased use by celebrities was 'out of control'.
'I did not come into journalism to go around gagging journalists,' Mr Marr said.

I wonder, uncharitably, if the total failure of the gagging order to keep the secret had anything to do with this.

As Guido said in January 2008:

A Story You Won’t Get from the BBC, Guardian or The TimesThe Secret of Three of Westminster’s Media Gate-keepers - Guy Fawkes' blog

Andy Marr fathering a child with Alice Miles whilst married to Jackie Ashley goes unreported. Across newsrooms, at Islington and Hampstead dinner parties it has been common knowledge for years. These three journalists are at the heart of the politico-media nexus that constitutes the new ruling class. The producers and editors who are the media gate-keepers would not be keen to dish the dirt on their own… despite the fact that it would be of huge interest to the public.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gold Medal For A Green Shakedown

London Olympics pollution on course to land Britain hefty fine from IOC | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Britain could be fined up to £175m by the International Olympic Committee if it continues to break EU air pollution laws by the time the Games begin next August.

How many levels of venality are covered in that announcement.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 24, 2011

They Found The Body, It Was Behind The Sofa All The Time. Just Enjoy The Chocolate.

A week ago I listened to Sam Harris talk in Oxford - I didn't know his works before and am working my way through his latest book - The Moral Landscape. I highly recommend it as an exposition of how to be good without God.

Here's a flavour from his other works.

Sam Harris quotes

"Man is manifestly not the measure of all things. This universe is shot through with mystery. The very fact of its being, and of our own, is a mystery absolute, and the only miracle worthy of the name. The consciousness that animates us is itself central to this mystery and ground for any experience we may wish to call "spiritual." No myth needs to be embraced for us to commune with the profundity of our circumstance. No personal God need be worshipped for us to live in awe at the beauty and immensity of creation. No tribal fictions need be rehearsed for us to realize, one fine day, that we do, in fact, love our neighbors, that our happiness is inextricable from their own, and that our interdependence demands that people everywhere be given the opportunity to flourish. The days of our religious identities are clearly numbered. Whether the days of civilization itself are numbered would seem to depend, rather too much, on how soon we realize this."

"A kernel of truth lurks at the heart of religion, because spiritual experience, ethical behavior, and strong communities are essential for human happiness. And yet our religious traditions are intellectually defunct and politically ruinous. While spiritual experience is clearly a natural propensity of the human mind, we need not believe anything on insufficient evidence to actualize it."

"What I'm asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives."

"The only angels we need invoke are those of our better nature: reason, honesty, and love. The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind: ignorance, hatred, greed, and faith, which is surely the devil's masterpiece."

Posted by The Englishman at 7:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bashing The Blogger Bash

Bloggers' Bash 2011: 'Blogging: Yesterday's news?'

The ASI and guests put on an excellent evening for which many thanks. I especially enjoyed catching up with Helen who echoes some of my views on it.
The panel seemed to be professional politicians who blog talking about how useful it is to professional politicians to blog.
Douglas Carswell made one good point that blogging by its nature is anti-corporatist and libertarian and that organisations such as the BBC will never "get it". Shortly after the two ladies from the BBC's Politics Show sitting next to me upped and left.

The righting of individual injustices, the shining of the spotlight into dusty corners and the relentless searching for truth, especially on the biggest economic and social story of our time (climate change), were unmentioned with only self-congratulatory speeches on the gossip-mongering in the Westminster village.

But a good time was had by all.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vote Yes For Gagging

AV campaigner gets gagging order to protect his privacy - Telegraph

A leading campaigner for the Alternative Vote is the latest public figure to secure a gagging order from the courts preventing the disclosure of details of his sex life.

And I thought he was just a wanker, I didn't realise that he also........

UPDATE - As Raedwald says: Now as to the AV system. You need to support this to ensure that more people like me can enter Parliament; people you don't actually want as your first choice, who are not known to you, and who are wealthy and powerful enough to ensure that you can't find out anything discreditable about us.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 23, 2011

From Abbey Road Studios..

Happy St. George's Day

A suitable set of words to accompany can be found here

Posted by The Englishman at 7:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 21, 2011

85 Today - Happy Birthday Your Majesty


Happier times.....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Euromillions Rollover

David Cameron under pressure to block EU demand for £400 per British family - Telegraph

The demand from the European Commission started a war of words, with Downing Street calling the request "€œludicrous"€ and George Osborne, the Chancellor, accusing EU officials of having lost touch with reality. Last night the Government refused to say what, if any, increase in Britain’s contributions ministers were prepared to accept, prompting charges that they would eventually "€œroll over"€ and agree to hand over more taxpayers' money.

Tell me it ain't so, Dave rolling over to the EU's demands whilst yapping defiance. I used to have a puppy that would do that for the promise of a biscuit, just like Dave he was well trained.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Once A Terrorist

Israel 'supplied arms to Argentina during Falklands War' due to Prime Minister Menachem Begin's personal hatred of the British, a new book discloses. Begin saw the deals as a form of revenge for the hanging of a personal friend, Dov Gruner, by the British Mandatory Authorities in Palestine in 1947. Gruner was sentenced to death for his part in an attack on a police station by Irgun, the Zionist underground paramilitary movement which Begin commanded before the state of Israel was established.
"[Begin] hated the English above all; everyone had forgotten the British occupation, but not him" according to Lotersztain.
His colleague Jaime Weinstein agreed, saying: "He did all that was possible to help Argentina, selling her weapons during the Malvinas [the Argentine name for the Falklands] conflict."
Begin interrupted the Isrex officials as they tried to explain the situation, saying: "You've come to talk badly about the British. Is this going to be used to kill the English? Kadima (go ahead).

We should have hanged him as well, remember he was a terrorist fighting against Britain during the war years.. But of course one can't say that now as he became a "statesman".

Posted by The Englishman at 6:36 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

All Gas And Gaiters

Fossil fuel firms use 'biased' study in massive lobbying push | Environment | The Guardian

Senior executives in the fossil fuel industry have launched an all-out assault on renewable energy, lobbying governments and business groups to reject wind and solar power in favour of gas, in a move that could choke the fledgling green energy industry.
Multinational companies including Shell, GDF Suez and Statoil are promoting gas as an alternative "green" fuel.
Central to the lobbying effort is a report claiming that the EU could meet its 2050 carbon targets €900bn more cheaply by using gas than by investing in renewables. But the Guardian has established that the analysis is based on a previous report that came to the opposite conclusion – that renewables should play a much larger role. The report being pushed by the fossil fuel industry has been disowned by its original authors who referred to it as "biased" in favour of gas.
For the last two months, company lobbyists have been besieging government officials in Europe, the US and elsewhere to push the report. Their efforts are being boosted through alliances with energy-intensive industries, which are joining in the pressure on government in the hope of securing cheap energy.
James Smith, outgoing UK chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, one of the leaders in the lobbying effort, said switching to gas would offer the world "a breathing space" in the battle against climate change.
This view was challenged by Prof David Mackay, chief scientific adviser to the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change. He told the Guardian: "You can't reach the [climate] targets like this - there is no way that switching to gas would solve the problem. I don't think it's really credible that gas is the only future."
Nobuo Tanaka, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, said: "Gas is potentially a game changer. But it is complementary to renewables, as it can be turned on and off quickly. It could be baseload power and we could turn off coal."
Jenny Banks, climate and energy policy officer at WWF-UK, called on the British government to halt shale gas exploration. "It would be ridiculous to encourage shale gas when in reality its greenhouse gas footprint could be as bad as or worse than coal. We need to reject this source of gas, and have a clear plan to move away from our dependency on fossil fuels and harness the full potential of renewable technologies."

The clash of religion and reality. Cheap gas is good for all of us, and it could be the saviour of the renewable sector. By having gas turbines at the ready to fire up every time the wind stops blowing and the sun goes behind a cloud we can keep these expensive reliquaries to worship at whilst keeping the lights on.

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

What Katie Did Next

Kate Middleton spotted in Banana Republic - Telegraph

Middleton's trips further highlight her much-lauded frugality. She often shops at TK Maxx for heavily-discounted designer brands, as well as at high-street favourites LK Bennett and Whistles, and regularly recycles her favourite pair of suede knee-high boots for public outings.

Recycling here meaning she wears them more than once I think. And frugal means shops a lot but at cheaper shops. Life as a green pauper.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 20, 2011

In which I respond to Mr Longrider's insults and arguments.

My apologies.
I am returning to Mr Longrider's attacks on me. It is all rather tedious and so I have hidden it below the fold. I believe that brevity is the mark of good writing but sometimes it has to be abandoned in the interests of fairness. But I won't be wronged and I won't be insulted as another man on a horse once said.
As an illustration of the futility of blogspheric arguments and how rage can be manufactured against straw men whilst ignoring the substantive it is a classic.
If you have the time, read on and enjoy.

My Original post in full:

Railways Belong In Museums

Body on line causes radio show cut | UK news | guardian.co.uk

A flagship BBC radio current affairs show had to be cancelled after guests including employment minister Chris Grayling were unable to get to the live recording because of a body on a railway line.
Radio 4's Any Questions was due to be broadcast from the National Railway Museum in Shildon, County Durham, but only one of the four-strong panel for the topical debate show was able to get there on time

All very tragic but yet again proving that railways belong in a museum. The invention of the steering wheel made them obsolete. A coachful of politicians and BBC employees could simply have driven round the body, been more fuel efficient, capable of moving more people per hour per mile of track and been more comfortable.
It also could have been diverted to a cliff top for the greater good of us all.

You will note I make several distinct claims:
Railways are obsolete because;
1. Trains cannot be steered around obstacles.
2. Alternatives are more fuel efficient.
3. Alternatives can carry more people per mile of track
4. Alternatives are more comfortable.
5. Implementing a diversion is easier on the road.

You will note I didn't make any claims about political philosophy, personal freedom, the restriction of choice or concreting over the railways.

Mr Longrider and his friendly commentators have racked up over 8,000 words responding to this harmless, slightly tongue-in-cheek brief post.
The chief result is that I apparently have made Mr Longrider realise he isn't a Libertarian but is actually a Classical Liberal. I await my reward from Nick Clegg.

But how well did he and his chums deal with my claims?

(The posts and comments are a stream of conciousness outpouring and so I have cut and pasted what I think are all the arguments. They are below in italics The posts have also been edited after publishing so there may be changes since I took my copy. Any arguments I have missed or unfairly represented please tell me. Please remember the paragraphs have been cut from a much longer screed, so please go back to Mr Longrider for the full version. The headings in bold are mine and are for my reference only. My comments are in non-italics.)

My recent spat with the Englishman has served to highlight a strain of libertarian thought that, frankly, disturbs me.
Tim, your prejudices are far too deeply entrenched for that. You have also highlighted the ugly, vulgar, misanthropic side of the libertarian philosophy, one that has always disturbed me – everyone must fit in with your choices, irrespective of individual circumstance or preference. You appear to understand the monetary cost but fail to recognise that cost is not merely measured by money, which is a pretty basic economic reality. That may not be an accurate analysis of your position, but reading your words, that’s what comes across.
Presenting a logical fallacy as a fait accomplis doesn’t wash. You see, even if you were right about obsolescence, the incident you cite doesn’t prove it. It’s a non sequitur. Hence your original point was utter bunk. For someone who claims to be bashing bogusmongers from behind the barbed wire, you’ve done a remarkable impression of a bogusmonger yourself with this one.
As I said earlier on, I wonder sometimes at the sheer misanthropy and arrogant “I’m all right Jack” attitude expressed by my fellow travellers.

It is very easy to sit astride one’s high horse and make declarations about how the little people – or cattle class – should be, what their choices should entail and decide that because we, in our superiority have made a choice, the proles should all do likewise.
There lies the road to totalitarianism and totalitarianism in the name of libertarianism is no less repugnant for that.
I think, on balance, I am probably not a libertarian at all.

‘Libertarianism’, as it seems to be represented across a large number of blogs, is a license to sneer at the sheep and cattle who ‘demand’ they have their backsides wiped by the state.

If I ever have to go to London, Manchester or Birmingham, I will avoid driving like the proverbial. No, it’s the train every time. Oh, yeah and contrary to the assumptions being made by Tim’s commenters, it’s not some great socialist conspiracy. It’s at times like this when I see such swivel eyed twaddle being peddled as libertarian thought that I start to wonder about my fellow travellers.

Good post, there are some very silly knee jerk prejudices amongst libertarians that can rival the left for daftness. Opposition to railways because they are somehow deemed socialist is one of them. I came across one of these half wits the other day who was ranting on about the noise of the wheels on the Bakerloo line being down to the tube and its staff being “communist”, I couldn’t be bothered to argue with him. “Swivel eyed” is a good description of this sort of thing and with Anna Racoon’s recent revelations about the Libertarian Party I’m glad I’ve never been tempted to join any of these fringe groupings who are, it seems, every bit as bonkers as the far left.

I'm not a member of the Libertarian Party despite being close friends with Chris Mounsey.
The incident I referred to directly illustrated one of the failings of railways and why they are obsolete, not a non sequitur at all. As to the rest these are your straw men you have erected to argue against.

While it amused me to see a suggestion that taxpayer’s money be used to subsidise taxi travel as a replacement option for rail, the blinkered “anything but this” option was apparent – despite logical arguments that proffered an explanation for the alternative being relevant and despite it being highlighted that cost is not something measured purely in monetary terms.
I value my time and the flexibility more than the monetary cost of the ticket. Just because something is expensive does not mean that it is not an appropriate option. It all depends on individual need and the value one places on such things as time. I’d have thought a libertarian would understand that principle.
His (Tim’s) argument is based upon cost and oddly for someone with his politics, CO2 emissions. As, like him, I am not a global warming worshipper, that argument fails.
… I am aware of the figures. I mentioned them in my post (and pointed out that there are caveats). Cost is not merely a monetary thing – unless you consider everything in life by the bottom line. If I want to travel to York from Bristol, for example, the train will get me there more quickly than the car – yes, it will, I’ve done it both ways and the train is way, way quicker. I can relax and work during that time if I so choose. I have to weigh up the cost in money against the saved time. I may decide that the time taken by road is too high a cost. I may decide that the stress of the drive is too high a cost. Consequently, producing raw monetary figures per passenger mile is meaningless. But I said that already – cost is not just about money. Tim is simply repeating his assertion in the hope that if he makes it often enough it will magically become true.
So, no, it didn’t and Tim has failed to provide any evidence that it did.
What Tim and his commenters have missed is that “cost” does not always apply to money. If I want to travel to Manchester, York or London I can do it more quickly by rail and if I want to can use the time to work. My time is worth more to me than the monetary cost of the ticket. It’s a simple enough economic equation, but there is a certain brand of vulgar libertarianism that sees everything in terms of monetary cost. These people seem to know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Um, I didn't mention cost at all.
In a response I suggested people look at "the figures". I was assuming we were talking about safety, fuel efficiency etc.
(In a subsequent post responding I relayed an anecdote about cost to illustrate railways aren't necessarily cheaper, but this was in response to Mr Lonriders rant about costs. A rant against his own straw man again.
I use the readily available CO2 figures as a measure of fuel use and efficency not because it will kill the baby polar bears. To suggest baby polar bears won't die means we can ignore the benefits of fuel efficiency is bizarre. Whatever Mr Longrider does in the privacy of his own home is up to him but I can't afford to waste fuel for heating or transport.

The use of the term “cattle class” said much, very much, and it was not to the credit of the person who said it.
The Englishman made a sweeping assertion and tried to use a single incident to underpin it. The whole argument was bunk.
Tim’s argument started with a logical fallacy and went downhill from there.

I realise that Tim doesn’t like railways. He’s trotted out the canard that the steering wheel made them obsolete often enough for us to get the message. It didn’t.
When did joined up thinking become a lost art?

Suggestion – if you’ve got the time.
Go over to Tim’s site, and tell the rotating-heads there a few facts.
Could be fun - Comment by Greg Tingey

I'm not sure what the use of general slang says very much about - maybe Mr Longrider isn't used to actually using cattle class where it is the standard description used by the users.

Travel Time
Oh, please. My Satnav is similarly optimistic. I have never, ever made a journey to the time that either Google Maps or the Satnav predict. Real life in the form of rest stops and traffic congestion always gets in the way somewhere along the journey. I’m sorry, but if the strength of your argument lies in Google Maps and Transport Watch, you’d best retire with some dignity now.

Very hard to conduct an argument about how long journeys will take if we can't use any of the standard predictive tools. My guess is that Google Maps predictions are more accurate than railway timetables. They certainly are good enough for me to use for planning trips. But my original post didn't make any timing claims, what we have here is another straw man set up, knocked over by me and then withdrawn in a huff because it wasn't in the rules.

The claim that rail is obsolete just doesn’t stack up. Our system may not be an example of the best – Japan is an example of excellent practice – but it provides a choice for the traveller that is a viable alternative if you either cannot drive or don’t choose to. For me, the coach is not an option because, apart from the ticket price, it comes with all of the disadvantages of both rail and road and offers none of the advantages. For others, that ticket price will be what swings it. You see? Individual solutions for individual needs – libertarianism in practice.

Did I say I wanted to ban trains? I use obsolete technology all the time, my Lee Metford rifle was made obsolete by the introduction of cordite but I still use it and it works for me. My shotgun has hammers. My fountain pen is a bizarre affectation but I keep it to write letters of sympathy and congratulations. Even my email client only allows 80 characters to a line but it suits me. But I acknowledge they are obsolete choices I make.

“Look at the photo above from Google of Paddington station and the A40 – which one is moving more people? Go and search the line, look at other stations, you will see the same thing – the tracks are nearly always empty because you can’t get the density of traffic onto rail that you can on road.”
Sigh, and I could take a photograph of the motorway system at a quiet time and that would prove nothing as well. And as for paving over Waterloo – well, more later on that one.

The photo shows two competing systems at the same time, if the motorway is quiet then I expect the railway will be even quieter. But as I invite go and find another example, there are lots in the UK where a railway and comparable road can be seen in an aerial shot. Count the number of people being moved on each. That is how arguments are conducted, look for the evidence and present it.

Central Control
Rail offers mass transit that bypasses the congested roads during peak times. If you prefer to sit watching the traffic lights change sequence on your way into London, be my guest. I prefer not to. And that is the crux – rail offers an alternative. It can do this because it uses discrete infrastructure controlled from a central location. The movements are time-tabled enabling a fairly dense traffic flow that keeps moving. With in-cab signalling, it will be possible to move more vehicles faster, so the technology is far from obsolete.

The London traffic lights, which are an infrastructure controlled from a central location, are proof that railways are better because they are an infrastructure controlled from central location. FAIL

Transport Watch
Tim’s reference to Transport Watch was enlightening. It is operated by a chap called Paul Withrington. Its funding is not immediately obvious. What is obvious is a clear bias in favour of road transport. As a source, it’s pretty toxic and not one to take seriously. This man thinks that it would be viable to pave over the rail infrastructure. As Thornavis points out in the previous discussion here, it just ain’t that simple. And, having done away with that central control of the vehicles, the unique method of mass transit will revert to the problems that currently exist on the crowded roads.
It’s also worth pointing out that Transport Watch is a highly biased source, so not really worth taking too much notice of. They advocate converting the railway to road in order improve journey times. Given that the rail has its own infrastructure independent of roads and vehicles are time-tabled and their journeys controlled by an outside system to keep them to time and separate from each other, they can reach three-figure speeds unobtainable with disparate vehicles on a crowded road system. It’s an absurd proposal that only the rabidly anti-rail lobby could come up with and is worthy only of ridicule. If this is the best they can do, I don’t recommend anyone take them too seriously.

I know nothing about Transport Watch - they are a convenient source of figures. Are those figures wrong, if so say so. If not where they come from is irrelevant.

Tim criticizes the safety costs on rail compared with roads. It’s not something that can be easily compared given the different systems, who controls the budgets and how the cost is decided, however, it is worth noting that death and injury on the roads passes daily without much comment.
Ther is a very good reason you are safer in a train than in your own home, and why 3000+ people are killed (never mind the injured and maimed) on the roads every year ….

Not easily compared, but at least I tried to. Again when the figures don't come up on the railways side the argument is dismissed with a superior wave of the hand.

The Disabled
The anti-railway enthusiasts seem to combine an I’m-alright-Jack attitude with I-know-best, like a delightfully arrogant nanny smacking down foolish sentimentalists. Well, that’s fine and dandy if you have the health to drive a car. It’s tough enough for this not-allowed-to-drive person to get where I need to be now. Take out the trains and then what? Tried travelling by coach in a wheelchair you can’t get out of (as I currently – hopefully not permanently – am)? Or does that disqualify me from being permitted to travel? Grrr! Woe betide such folk if they ever find themselves too disabled to drive.
But the thing that bugs me most about people like him? They always assume their abilities will remain the same, that they will continue to be ‘normal’. Newsflash – disability can happen to anyone.

This latter bit was from a commentator rather than Mr Longrider. Bluntly you know nothing about me or my family and the suggestion I don't know or care about the disabled is offensive. So you can fuck right off.

As for more efficient – well if Tim likes being stuck in a tin box struggling through dense stop-start traffic, who am I to gainsay him? The reality is that for commuting into city centres, the train does so without being stuck in traffic going nowhere fast and the seating – while leaving something to be desired – is more spacious and comfortable than a coach. And on Intercity trains you can always get up and walk to the buffet car. Not sure I’d recommend the produce, mind…
While studies tend to indicate better passenger miles per gallon by road, it’s worth bearing in mind that these reports come with caveats. And efficiency is not just measured by passenger or tonnes per gallon. I’d rather drive on a motorway with fewer trucks playing leapfrog at 56mph – so the same freight travelling behind one train on the rail network suits me just fine.

Efficiency is not measured by efficiency but by however I choose to, can't argue with that, it is like arguing with a toddler over whose turn it is on the potty.

Just Better
the rail network offers an alternative to the road and flying for long distance travel and is far, far better for commuting into the traffic choked, clogged centres of modern conurbations

But why are they far, far better? Give us a clue as the argument you are using.

And for a relaxing trip without the obsessive security theatre, the train takes some beating. Unless you take the Eurostar of course – in which case, the ferry avoids all the paranoia

Not a huge problem on the morning commute, or much to do with trains vs coaches.

You may remember my original claims:

Railways are obsolete because;
1. Trains cannot be steered around obstacles.
2. Alternatives are more fuel efficient.
3. Alternatives can carry more people per mile of track
4. Alternatives are more comfortable.
5. Implementing a diversion is easier on the road.

So far not one of those has been seriously argued against or disproved. And let me reiterate I have extracted all the argument I could find presented by Mr Longrider and if I have missed one please tell me and I will add it.
So five claims, no rebuttals - I think victory is mine.

But there is more, my main claim is that the inflexibility of tracked vehicles when faced with an obstruction is the main reason for their obsolescence. Proclaiming this benefit is turned into the sneerings of a homicidal maniac in Mr Longrider's strange world.
He doesn't actually dispute the fact so I think on this point my claim can be taken to be proven in this argument. But read on and enjoy a peep behind the veil.

Drive Round
I think the killer quote for me was Tim’s assertion that on the roads, a coach could just drive around the dead body. On the one hand this is staggering ignorance as we well know the police won’t let you just drive around. The only way that you would be able to drive around the obstruction is if you were first on the scene. What really reeks is the expectation that a driver would drive around someone lying in the road without stopping to investigate and call the emergency services. Why not go the whole hog and drive over them? That way we can be certain they are dead.
Much of my musings since then have been a recoil in horror at such naked misanthropy, arrogance, I’m-alright-Jackism and self-righteousness. But, Tim is not alone among those of us who would champion personal liberty when displaying such traits.
What happens when there is a road traffic incident on the motorway system? Yes, the police do exactly the same as they do with the rail system; shut the lot and to hell with the travelling public trying to get to their destination.
I was trying to put my finger on what it was that I found so repugnant about Tim’s comments. The idea that a coach driver would simply drive around a dead body and carry on is unbelievably cold blooded. And it’s that callous indifference; the price of everything and value of nothing mentality that irks. Quite apart from the sheer absurdity of plucking one case out of the ether and attempting to use it to prove a prejudice and assuming that bottom line is the only measure of efficiency.
Bollocks. What happens when there is a road traffic incident on the motorway system? Yes, the police do exactly the same as they do with the rail system; shut the lot and to hell with the travelling public trying to get to their destination. In times gone by, the local signalling inspector’s team would have moved the body, covered it up and waited for the coroner – meanwhile trains would be moving again fairly swiftly, even if only on one line with single line working in place.

So it was all right for trains to drive by a body when the local signallers had said so. But taking an over literal interpretation of my suggestion that cars and coaches can divert around problems makes me a blood sucking monster.

Once a railway man
It used to be relief signallers such as me who carried out handsigalling and pilotman duties.
Comment by Longrider — April 16, 2011 @ 22:06

And there I think we have it, a belief in the benefits of the central control of the travelling public, the belief that a signaller's say so turns the morbid into the practical, the unreasoned fury at any insult of the railway system. Once a railway man, always a railway man.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:05 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 19, 2011

1:37 is all you need to get your message over

I'm not going to try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

I'm up to my eyeballs in "stuff", some good, some really shitty.

But the sun is shining.

I still hope to make it to the ASI Blogger Bash - depending on how the "stuff" turns out over the next couple of days.

I'm off out to break rocks.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:58 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 18, 2011

Pardon me Boy, but the Chattanooga Choo-choo is way out of line


I seem to have upset some railway fans by reminding them that it is an outdated technology. I wasn't able to answer them here or over at Longsider's as we were away for the weekend.
We drove a 100 miles to some friends, it took about 2:30 hours. I note that if I wanted to repeat the journey this afternoon by train we would have to get six miles to our local station and a similar distance by taxi at the other end. The train would take 3:51 and cost £63.50 for cattle class - a fairer comparison for comfort would be first class at £127.00, so for the four of us it would cost £500.
My car costs were a lot less than that.

Any speed comparisons with railways assume you want to travel from and to stations. It is door to door time that counts and railways lose to cars and long distance coaches nearly always.

(To answer the critics to get to York from my local station by rail is 4:17, by car from my home 4:20 according to Google maps).

The comparison for commuter travel should be against specialist coaches running in coach lanes.

To take an American example - The Lincoln Tunnel provides a dedicated bus lane, in the direction from New Jersey to Manhattan, during the morning peak hours of 06:10 am to 10:00 am. During these four hours, the typical flow is 1700 buses, each carrying on average 36 passengers.

I make that 61,000 on one lane through a tunnel. Waterloo doesn't manage double that on all its lanes. (Land value taxation on the space anyone?)

Look at the photo above from Google of Paddington station and the A40 - which one is moving more people? Go and search the line, look at other stations, you will see the same thing - the tracks are nearly always empty because you can't get the density of traffic onto rail that you can on road.

Safety - comparisons of safety are difficult because on roads we have traffic, including walkers and cyclists who not comparable to the rail network - the comparison should be with trunk roads and motorways and the figures and caveats are here. It is a wash.
But one area where rail is detrimental to public safety is the cost of safety measures. Lives are worth about £1 million in terms of public spend to save, that's not my figure that is what as a society we act as though we believe and the is the figure the Government uses in pricing road safety. On the railways figures of £30-50 million spend to save one life are mooted. Which is an extraordinary waste. That safety money could save 29 more people if spent on roads.

Coach -€“ Full Coach:                     26 grams CO2 per passenger mile
Car - Four People:                       86 grams CO2 per passenger mile
Train -€“ Average occupancy:          96 grams CO2 per passenger mile
London Underground 127 grams CO2 per passenger mile
Rounded figures from DEFRA July 2007 Report: Passenger Transport Emissions Factors.

So not cleaner, not faster, not more convenient, not cheaper, so what are trains better at?

I'm sure they can figure in the transport mix somewhere but at the moment they are worshipped beyond reason, maybe only Freud could explain.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:36 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

April 17, 2011

Oh Yes It Did

Longrider No, It Didn’t

Look at the figures: - Transport Watch UK

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April 16, 2011

How Are You Going To Keep Them Down On The Farm?

Small-scale farmers increasingly at risk from 'global land grabbing' | Jun Borras | Global development | guardian.co.uk

Proponents of these deals say they are competitive, that they economise on labour, and that they produce food for export at prices low enough for poor consumers. But, as research from Cambodia to Cameroon to Colombia shows, the social and environmental costs of such deals are rarely taken into account.

"Small-scale family agriculture, on which most of the world's rural poor still depend, is threatened by large-scale plantations, export-led agriculture and the production not of food but commodities," said Olivier de Schutter, the UN rapporteur on the right to food, in his opening speech at the conference.

We actually pay towards a man whose goal is to ensure the peasants stay on the land in crappy jobs, producing expensive crappy food for crappy wages rather than encourage the sort of progress we know works in the developed world?

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

Railways Belong In Museums

Body on line causes radio show cut | UK news | guardian.co.uk

A flagship BBC radio current affairs show had to be cancelled after guests including employment minister Chris Grayling were unable to get to the live recording because of a body on a railway line.
Radio 4's Any Questions was due to be broadcast from the National Railway Museum in Shildon, County Durham, but only one of the four-strong panel for the topical debate show was able to get there on time.

All very tragic but yet again proving that railways belong in a museum. The invention of the steering wheel made them obsolete. A coachful of politicians and BBC employees could simply have driven round the body, been more fuel efficient, capable of moving more people per hour per mile of track and been more comfortable.
It also could have been diverted to a cliff top for the greater good of us all.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:52 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

April 15, 2011

Friday Night is Music Night (The Birth Pains Of Punk Edition)

Posted by The Englishman at 4:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Chakrabortty - Gov Subs the Free Market Solution

Iceland broke the rules and got away with it | Aditya Chakrabortty | Comment is free | The Guardian

Reykjavik now serves as a very different kind of parable, of how to minimise the misery of financial collapse by ignoring economic orthodoxy. And in those other broke European economies – from Dublin to Athens to Lisbon – politicians and voters are starting to pay attention. After its three biggest banks – 85% of the country's financial system – failed in the same week, Iceland did two remarkable things. First, it let the banks go under: foreign financiers who had lent to Reykjavik institutions at their own risk didn't get a single krona back. Second, officials imposed capital controls, making it harder for hot-money merchants to pull their cash out of the country.

These policies were not just controversial; they represented a two-fingered salute to the polite society of academics and policy-makers who normally lay down the laws on economic disaster management.

Compare Iceland's policies with those followed by another tiny country in the North Atlantic, which also has a banking industry much bigger than its national economy. When the credit crunch came to Dublin, the government decided to underwrite the entire banking industry – including tens of billions of euros of loans made by foreign investors. That landed the country with a debt worth something like €80,000 for every household – a debt that effectively bankrupted the country.

Dublin was merely following the old free-market tradition that rules governments should never break faith with financiers.

Yet looking at the two countries now, it's hard to say that Ireland has prospered out of being orthodox, or that Iceland has suffered an especially terrible punishment for not sticking to the Way of the Markets.

Indeed, the evidence seems to point the opposite way: Iceland has come through in better condition than anyone in 2008 dared hope.

But, but, but I thought letting the bankrupt go bust is the Free Market way, creative destruction and all that. Or am I being an idiot.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:43 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Wind Powered Election Promises

Salmond under fire for 'cloud cuckoo' promise on energy - Scotsman.com News

ALEX Salmond launched his bid for a second term in office yesterday, by declaring Scotland can be powered entirely by renewable energy in just nine years, provoking claims from one industry leader that he was living in "cloud cuckoo land".
The First Minister said Scotland could, by 2020, produce twice the electricity it required for domestic use, adding that he would pave the way for an explosion in new wind, wave, hydro and tidal schemes that would alone be enough to meet the country's needs.

The coming boom, he said, would also lead to the creation of 130,000 jobs in the low-carbon sector, leaving Scotland able to sell vast reserves of surplus electricity to the rest of the UK.

nder the plans, Mr Salmond envisages wave and tidal power, which now produce 2.35 megawatts of power, would produce 800 MW by 2020. He also said he expected Scotland to be producing 12,000 MW of wind power by 2020, up from 2,575 MW at present.

If achieved, his target could transform Scotland's landscape. Of the 12,000 MW of wind power he envisages, 7,000 MW would come from onshore. A conservative estimate suggests this would require a total of 2,800 onshore wind turbines, double the 1,400 currently installed.

Mr Salmond said a further 5,000 MW would come from sea-based wind. Currently, there are only 62 operational offshore turbines, producing 190MW.

Is he a fool or a knave to say such things?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 14, 2011

The Future Is Cave Living

Going medieval: Live like Bess of Hardwick | Lucy Worsley | Comment is free | The Guardian

When the oil runs out, I think our houses will become much more like those of our low-tech, pre-industrial ancestors.
The first point is that the age of specialised rooms is over. Now, legislation governing the design of new houses contains echoes of the past: it insists that once again rooms should multi-task. The living room, for instance, must have space for a bed in case the occupant becomes incapacitated; medieval people, for instance, lived, ate and slept in one room .
Next, architectural features from the past will start to reappear. The chimney disappeared in the 20th century, but it's coming back, as solid fuel-burning stoves make a return. In terms of fuel conservation the sun is becoming important again too: once upon a time people selected sites with good "air"; now well thought-out houses are situated to minimise solar gain in summer and maximise it in winter. Most future houses will need to face south, a challenge to conventional street layout.
The return of the chimney also serves to allow natural ventilation – even where there aren't fireplaces – lifting stale air out of the house. Mechanical air conditioning uses valuable energy, and will soon be simply unaffordable.
Walls are getting thicker too, again like those in the medieval era. Windows will grow smaller again and houses will contain much less glass – not only because of the high energy costs of glass but because it's thermally inefficient.
The return of the shutter is also likely: it's the best way of keeping heat out of a house. And with a hotter climate we'll probably experience water shortages. Our daily water consumption is about 160 litres; the government expects us to get down to 80 – the equivalent of a deep bath – by the end of this decade. We'll eventually need to grow as water-thrifty as the Victorians, with an average use of 20 litres a day. The Victorian cook was also a terrific recycler of food; the earth or "midden" toilet has already been revived in the form of the ecologically sound composting loo.

We lived in a hole in the ground when I were a lad and considered ourselves lucky....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:36 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

April 13, 2011

Recipe of the Day

Shooting badgers to be legal under plans for 'big society cull' | Environment | The Guardian

Badger are at their best from October to November, being fat and succulent by then.

The flesh can be treated as young pig meat in every respect, it being just as rich and having the flavour of a young pig. It can be cured by salting, the hams being exceptionally good fare. Badger pies are even better than pork pies, hot or cold.

Badger Ham, To Bake
A badger ham will weigh 7 to 8 pounds and needs cooking very carefully. Soak the ham for at least 6 hours in cold water. Wash it after soaking in lukewarm water. Cover it with a rough paste made with 3 pounds of flour and 3 pounds of water; make sure to wrap it well. Bake in a moderate oven, pre-heat to 350 F for 21/2 to 3 hours.

Remove the paste and cover with bread raspings whilst still hot, if to be served cold. If to be served hot, serve with broad beans and fresh parsley sauce or cider sauce.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Visitors Don't Go To Zoo After It Culls Piglets

Edinburgh Zoo blames wrong sort of weather for loss of 90,000 visitors - Scotsman.com News

Edinburgh Zoo has seen its visitor numbers slump by more than 90,000, despite a bumper year for rival leading attractions.

Maybe if they weren't so keen on culling the cute baby animals more people would go.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Boss Of Smart Meter Makers Says Smart Meters Good For Us And The Planet

It is short-sighted to focus only on the negatives of smart metering | Steve Cunningham | Environment | guardian.co.uk

MRDA - Mandy Rice-Davies Applies

But because it is to save carbon and make renewables work he gets a free pass in the Guardian without a squeak as how handing over your on/off switches to the man from the ministry and us all having to buy expensive meters from his company.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 12, 2011

Preventable Stupidity Common In The UK

BBC News - Worrying levels of iodine deficiency in the UK

A study involving more than 700 teenage girls at nine UK centres found more than two-thirds had a deficiency.
Experts say the problem stems from children drinking less milk, which is a good source of iodine.
Nearly 70% of the samples revealed an iodine deficiency and nearly a fifth (18%) of samples showed very low iodine levels, below 50μg/L rather than the acceptable minimum of 100μg/L.
Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable mental impairment worldwide producing typical reductions in IQ of 10 to 15 IQ points.

That explains a lot.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:31 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

A Fishy Tale

BBC NEWS | England | Algae threatens rare fish

27 November, 2002

Poisonous green algae is polluting one of England's prettiest lakes and threatening rare species of fish.
Urgent action is needed to clean up scenic Bassenthwaite Lake in the Lake District, according to local MP Tony Cunningham.
Mr Cunningham says raw sewage overflowing from a nearby water treatment works is running into the lake and causing algal growth.

BBC NEWS | England | Cumbria | Endangered fish take to the air

30 November 2005

An RAF helicopter will be used to transport around 200 vendace from Derwentwater to nearby Sprinkling Tarn in the Borrowdale Valley
The move was prompted by fears that poor water quality and pollution could wipe them out.
Environment Agency fisheries technical team leader Keith Kendall said: "Derwentwater has a population of around 15,000 vendace and will not miss the 200 we are hoping to move.
"We looked at three tarns, but went for Sprinkling because not only is it one of the closest to Derwentwater, but has the best environmental conditions for vendace."

Ancient vendace fish saved from edge of extinction - Telegraph

09 July 2008

No trace of the vendace, a small herring-like fish, has been found at Bassenthwaite in the Lake District despite an intensive search.
The disappearance leaves Derwent Water as the last surviving habitat of the vendace in the England.
a number of fish from Bassenthwaite were transferred to Loch Skeen, a remote loch near Moffat in south west Scotland, in 1997 and 1999.
To the delight of conservationists the vendace has survived and thrived at its new home.
Cameron Durie, the Environment Agency's technical specialist said: "The loss of vendace in Bassenthwaite Lake is down to a number of reasons. They've suffered from competition and egg predation from illegally introduced fish species as well as nutrient enrichment of the lake from agricultural run-off and sewage.
"But the final blow is sediment that has come into the lake - we consider this to have been the most damaging factor in its decline.

BBC News - Llamas move fish to cooler waters in Lake District

12 April 2011

A rare species of fish has been moved to higher ground to try to protect it from rising water temperatures.
Llamas were used to transport the endangered vendace 500m up mountain paths to a tarn in the Lake District.
Vendace, the UK's rarest freshwater fish, normally live in a lake environment.
But the Environment Agency said the species needed to be protected from the warming effects of climate change and its impact on rivers and lakes.
This project aims to establish a vendace "refuge".
Derwentwater, Cumbria, is now thought to be the only site in England and Wales where the fish exist.
The Environment Agency said the 25,000 fish were transported by llamas because the mountain paths were inaccessible by car, and it helped reduce the carbon footprint.

Environment Agency Chairman, Lord Chris Smith, said: "Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge facing the world today. "In addition to the anticipated warming of lakes and rivers, we may also see an increase in the occurrence of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and heatwaves. "All of these could have an impact on much of the native wildlife in England, especially aquatic species such as the rare and specialised vendace, so we are taking action now to conserve the existing populations."

He lies, of course, pollution and angler introduced fish, roach and ruffe, are the problem. If I can find this out in ten minutes with Google and a hangover why can't our fearless investigative reporters who report this tosh do so, and question him?

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

April 11, 2011

Harmless Gas To Kill Us All Unless We Go Veggie - The Video

BBC News - Nitrogen pollution may reduce average human life by 6 months

Sorry - having watched the video it must be an April Fool's joke. No one could be that stupid, could they?

Posted by The Englishman at 11:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Harmless Gas To Kill Us All Unless We Go Veggie

BBC News - Nitrogen pollution 'costs EU up to £280bn a year'

The study by 200 European experts says reactive nitrogen contributes to air pollution, fuels climate change and is estimated to shorten the life of the average resident by six months.
Nitrogen is the most common element in the atmosphere and is harmless...people in many areas still suffer from nitrogen-related air pollution, including small particulates that get sucked deep into the lungs, and ground-level ozone - a strongly irritant gas formed by the action of sunlight on reactive nitrogen.
Lead editor, Mark Sutton from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology near Edinburgh, told BBC News that 80% of the nitrogen in crops feeds livestock, not people.
"It's much more efficient to obtain protein by eating plants rather than animals," he said.
"If we want to help the problem we can all do something by eating less meat. Eating meat is the dominant driver of the nitrogen cycle in Europe."

Posted by The Englishman at 7:05 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

April 10, 2011

Cut Red Tape By The Yard

Red Tape Challenge - Weights and Measures

The metricators are having a field day getting all over excited about moving the UK into oh-so-efficient European harmony where everything is measured with reference to Napoleons todger.
The view that it should be left up to consenting adults to decide how they want their cabbages weighed doesn't seem to be getting much of a look in.
Do please help.

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

First they came for the Book Burners and I did not speak out - because I was not a Book Burner

BNP election candidate arrested over Qur'an burning | Politics | The Observer
A senior member of the BNP who burned a copy of the Qur'an in his garden has been arrested following an investigation by the Observer.
Superintendent Phil Davies of South Wales police said: "We always adopt an extremely robust approach to allegations of this sort and find this sort of intolerance unacceptable in our society."
Owens was arrested within hours of police receiving the video. A second person, believed to have filmed the Qur'an burning, is also in police custody.

I'm trying to work out what he is in custody for. What offence has he committed, or is being an ignorant bigot in the privacy of your own back garden enough now to cause you to be locked up?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:14 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Let Us Now Praise Norman Baker

Minister for cycling angers road safety campaigners by spurning bike helmet | Politics | The Guardian

Norman Baker, the minister responsible for cycling, walking and local transport – and lifelong bike enthusiast – has reignited a debate that divides bike lovers. The Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes has declared it his "libertarian right" to put himself at risk on roads by not wearing a helmet, prompting claims from road safety groups that he is unfit for the job.

Baker said: "I don't wear a helmet when I cycle. The first reason is that I don't want to. I don't want to wear something on my head. For me the joy of cycling is to have the wind in your hair, such as I have left. It's free, it's unencumbered; I don't want to be loaded down.

"It is a libertarian argument. The responsibility is only towards myself. It's not like drinking and driving where you can damage other people. You do no harm. I'm not encouraging people not to do this, I'm just saying I make a decision not to."

Bet like Boris and Dave he gives in and starts wearing one soon.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Health for Heroes

A short guest post from someone who knows more than I do about healthcare for returning soldiers.

NHS launches veterans health care program, flaws included

For a number of years, veterans in many countries have been fighting to have the proper health care and support needed for their own futures. Just recently in the U.K. a good program was finally established by the NHS last month aimed to improve the access and the quality of health services to members of armed forces, veterans and families. The program certainly has a number of positive parts, but it’s still missing out on some things that are essential for soldiers and veterans health care.
Every year a number of soldiers leave their service life and return home without any difficulty. Even with most of these returning soldiers having fewer problems, many have a much tougher transition into home life. Often times these soldiers and veterans are wounded and plagued by mental and physical health problems. This can include a number of health risks such as mesothelioma, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI’s (Traumatic Brain Injuries) among other problems. The ability to help these veterans with the most support in health care was extremely important.
The goals of this new program will serve to treat the veterans with the best health care possible. They are looking to help soldiers make an effective transition from military health care to NHS health care following duty. Also, the program will ensure that mental health will be just as important as physical health when it comes to treatment and care. Moving forward, all veterans will receive priority when it comes to hospital care for any of their military related conditions. This is particularly important, due to the fact that some of these related illnesses are extremely life threatening. For example, mesothelioma life expectancy is sometimes as low as eight months after diagnosis.
Certainly the fact that a program like this is just getting off the ground is rather ridiculous. Veterans have been serving the U.K. for hundreds of years and just now in 2011 they’ve finally been given perks that will help their transition back home improve. Even with the program’s variety of perks, it’s still missing some of the most important resources. For soldiers who are amputees, many are in agreement that the NHS is not properly equipped to support these veterans. The problem generally relates back to the fact that these amputees were given a certain kind of treatment in the military rehabilitation centre and with a transfer to NHS services, there’s a major drop-off in resources and rehabilitation.
Hopefully support and more structure will continue to develop for soldiers, veterans, and their families when it comes to health care in England. The span of different wounds, injuries, diseases, and health problems that are related to military service should signal the best and most inclusive programs possible for helping these veterans fight through their health problems.

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April 9, 2011

Friday Night Is Music Night (H-Bomb Edition)

H-Bomb Ferguson (May 9, 1929 – November 26, 2006) was an American jump blues singer from Cincinnati, Ohio. He was an early pioneer of the rock and roll sound of the mid 1950s, featuring driving rhythm, intensely shouted vocals, honking tenor saxophone solos, and outlandish personal appearance.

This footage was filmed a month prior to his death. This was the last footage and recording of him prior to his passing.

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April 8, 2011

Greengrocers To Restore City

Green bankers can help to restore City's reputation | Ben Caldecott | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Green bankers could lead a new approach to finance, helping Britain earn its way in a competitive global economy while supporting the entrepreneurs and businesses that are going to deliver a more sustainable future for everyone.
Restoring financial services, especially in London, as a key driver of Britain's economic success should be in all of our interests.

Green investment is like alternative medicine, if it is worthwhile it is just "investment" and "medicine". If it has to be qualified it doesn't work. The last thing we need to restore our financial sector is sub-optimal investments.
If he is saying we should be the experts in churning the "green" taxes stolen from taxpayers across Europe then that is another matter and I know a man in a sheepskin coat and a few motors on a lot who can be the role model for a brave new Britain.

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EU - California Sunbeam Trading Exchange

EU plans to link emissions trading scheme with California | Environment | guardian.co.uk
Connie Hedegaard in discussions on how to join the world's largest and second largest carbon markets

Why am I reminded of Gulliver s visit to The Academy, "where a man of meagre aspect ... had been for eight years upon a project for extracting sun-beams out of cucumbers, which were to be put into vials, hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers".
Gulliver went on: "He told me, he did not doubt in eight years more, he would be able to supply the Governor's gardens with sunshine at reasonable rate; but he complained that his stock was low and intreated me to give him something as an Encouragement to Ingenuity, especially since this had been a very dear season for cucumbers."

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Greens Call For Trabants For The Masses

Time is ripe to build car bodies with fruit fibres - Scotsman.com News
Cars made from pineapples and bananas could soon be among the fruits of the green revolution, it has been revealed.

Isn't it funny how the green revolution keeps leading us back to the glorious days of the socialist revolution...

Duroplast is a resin plastic reinforced with fibers (either cotton or wool) making it a fiber-reinforced plastic.
Duroplast was used by Central European automobile manufacturer VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau to produce the body of the mass-produced Trabant motor car.
Duroplast cannot be further recycled, and burning it produces toxic fumes, so disposing of the bodies of old Trabants is a problem. However, its components are edible, and there are stories of pigs, sheep or other farm animals consuming Duroplast.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:50 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Ice Free Arctic Anytime Soon

BBC News - New warning on Arctic ice melt

Scientists who predicted a few years ago that Arctic summers could be ice-free by 2013 now say summer ice will probably be gone within this decade.
The original prediction, made in 2007, gained Wieslaw Maslowski's team a deal of criticism from some of their peers.
Now they are working with a new computer model - compiled partly in response to those criticisms - that produces a "best guess" date of 2016 - "plus or minus three years".
One of the important ingredients of the new model is data on the thickness of ice floating on the sea.
Since the spectacularly pronounced melting of 2007, a greater proportion of the Arctic Ocean has been covered by thin ice that is formed in a single season and is more vulnerable to slight temperature increases than older, thicker ice.


Arctic Sea Ice News NSIDC

Over the past several decades, the spring ice cover has become increasingly dominated by younger and generally thinner ice, because of strong summer melting in recent years that has reduced the amount of ice surviving into winter.
This year the older, thicker ice has increased somewhat over last year, although it remains younger than the 1979 to 2000 average ice age. Data through the third week of March shows an increase in sea ice one to two years old, and older than two years old, compared to recent years. However, the amount of older ice remains much lower than in the mid-1980s, and there is still almost none of the oldest ice, older than four years old, that used to dominate much of the Arctic Ocean.

So is that a dead cat bounce or the signs of a recovery? My guess is that it ain't going to be ice free in my lifetime.

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

April 6, 2011

Four Top Salaries With Not Enough to Do

Climate change, ill health, and conflict -- Jarvis et al. 342 -- bmj.com

Climate change, ill health, and conflict are interrelated, so collaboration between medical and military professions is needed

Damage to the fabric of human society is bad for human health. It can occur for reasons other than war. A recent report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has highlighted that the effects of climate change will present a threat to collective security and global order in the first half of the 21st century. This will limit access to food, safe water, power, sanitation, and health services and drive mass migration and competition for remaining resources. Starvation, diarrhoea, and infectious diseases will become more common, and neonatal and adult mortality will rise, as a result of conflict. In accordance with this, in 2004, seven of the 10 countries with the highest mortality rates in children under 5 were conflict or immediate post-conflict societies.

The IISS report states that “The earth is warming, and has been for at least a century,” with this being “directly attributable to the increasing emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.” As a result, “Climate change may already be changing weather and precipitation patterns” and will continue to drive extreme weather events and changes in water resources (through flood, drought, and …

Doctors must take a leading role in highlighting the dangers of climate change, which will lead to conflict, disease and ill-health, and threatens global security, according to a stark warning from an unusual alliance of physicians and military leaders. Lionel Jarvis, surgeon rear admiral at the UK's Ministry of Defence; Hugh Montgomery, professor of human health at UCL, London; Neil Morisetti, rear admiral and climate and security envoy for the UK; and Ian Gilmore, professor at the Royal Liverpool hospital.

Ian Gilmore - I thought he claimed alcohol was the biggest threat to human health? Or was that yesterday's scare?

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Dave Shouldn't Apologise

David Cameron: Britain caused many of the world's problems - Telegraph

His remarks came on a visit to Pakistan, when he was asked how Britain could help to end the row over Kashmir.
He insisted that it was not his place to intervene in the dispute, saying: “I don’t want to try to insert Britain in some leading role where, as with so many of the world’s problems, we are responsible for the issue in the first place.

Patronising claptrap - they are adults, it is up to them to fix the hand they were dealt many years ago. It's like middle aged whiners complaining if only Mummy and Daddy had treated them better they wouldn't now be in the gutter, or writing for the Guardian, or both.

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

Memo to Hacks - Not everyone is interested in you

Phone hacking: NoW journalists arrested | UK news | guardian.co.uk

This story seemed to lead all the bulletins I caught last night - the suggestion that journalists are unscrupulous slimeballs is not news and is not the top story.
We are drifting into another war, the euro is crashing, the Fenians continue to blow up people, those are stories.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Unauthorised Recycling

Police arrest salvagers for taking 47p in scrap from recycling centre | UK news | The Guardian
Owen Gray, 50, and Angela Cubitt, 34, helped themselves to an old video games console and an electric drill that had been dumped at their local recycling centre in Gloucester.
They say they were amazed when the officers, backed by the helicopter, swooped on them as they walked home.
Computer engineer Gray was later fined £20 and Cubitt was released without charge. They claim officers told them the cost of the arrest operation was £20,000 and that the scrap value of the old electrical goods was 47p.

I plead guilty as well to unauthorised recycling, spotted the Dyson nozzle that had broken on mine waiting to be crushed. I only got shouted at but then I lied to the red faced council worker who was jealous that anyone should touch his junk. I wonder if he ever did find the asbestos sheet that I thought I saw someone putting in the cardboard skip....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:33 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 5, 2011

Under my umbrella

The Associated Press: Tweaking the climate to save it: Who decides?

CHICHELEY, England (AP) — To the quiet green solitude of an English country estate they retreated, to think the unthinkable.
Scientists of earth, sea and sky, scholars of law, politics and philosophy: In three intense days cloistered behind Chicheley Hall's old brick walls, four dozen thinkers pondered the planet's fate as it grows warmer, weighed the idea of reflecting the sun to cool the atmosphere and debated the question of who would make the decision to interfere with nature to try to save the planet.
The unknown risks of "geoengineering" — in this case, tweaking Earth's climate by dimming the skies — left many uneasy.
"If we could experiment with the atmosphere and literally play God, it's very tempting to a scientist," said Kenyan earth scientist Richard Odingo. "But I worry."
Arrayed against that worry is the worry that global warming — in 20 years? 50 years? — may abruptly upend the world we know, by melting much of Greenland into the sea, by shifting India's life-giving monsoon, by killing off marine life.
If climate engineering research isn't done now, climatologists say, the world will face grim choices in an emergency....
If research shows the stratospheric pollutants would reverse global warming, unhappy people "would realize the alternative to reducing emissions is blocking out the sun," Hamilton observed. "We might never see blue sky again."
If, on the other hand, the results are negative, or the risks too high, and global warming's impact becomes increasingly obvious, people will see "you have no Plan B," said EDF's Hamburg — no alternative to slashing use of fossil fuels.
Either way, popular support should grow for cutting emissions.
At least that's the hope.

Hope or plan?

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April 4, 2011

27 years ago today

Part One

Chapter 1

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.

The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours. It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week. The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran....

Luckily it was only fiction........

Posted by The Englishman at 10:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Grubby Thick Yokel Yes Appeal

Benjamin Zephaniah dropped from pro-AV leaflets | Politics | The Guardian

Zephaniah, 52, who was born and raised in Birmingham, reportedly appears on the London leaflets alongside Joanna Lumley, Eddie Izzard, Colin Firth, Honor Blackman and Stephen Fry. However, while his fellow five AV supporters show up on literature across the country, Zephaniah seems to have been dropped.
Tony Robinson, a longtime Labour supporter, best known for portraying Baldrick in Blackadder, replaces Zephaniah

Baldrick, far more like those awful people we meet at the petrol station as we speed through England to get to our charming little seaside cottages. They wouldn't appreciate multicultural culture would they, so better drop the darkie in case we frighten them.

Apart from the couple of GILFs (Grannies...) is there anyone on that list who would convince you to give up your democratic right in favour of a politicians' stitch-up?

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Telegraph Picture Ed Claims Zionists Plotted Nazi Reich


MI5 files: Zionist terrorist plotted to kill Winston Churchill - Telegraph

A Zionist terrorist planned to assassinate Winston Churchill in order to secure a Jewish state, MI5 records show.

The plan was so the Nazi party could, in time, reappear in a suitable disguise and build up a fourth Reich

No news there that the Zionists were fighting Britain in 1944 using assassination and other terrorist methods but I have a feeling the picture caption is from another story as I'm not convince a fourth Reich was part of their plan.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 3, 2011

CO2 - Causing Hot Cold Ozone Destroying Arctic Death

Weather eye: destruction of Arctic ozone | The Times
Paul Simons
April 2 2011
Spring is here, but in the Arctic the arrival of sunshine after the long winter darkness has caused a serious problem. During the past few weeks, about half the ozone in the stratosphere 20km (12 miles) above the Arctic has been destroyed. The combination of sunlight and man-made pollution from chlorofluorocarbons slashed ozone levels for March close to the lowest recorded levels.
Each winter a giant vortex of cold air whirls around the polar region, virtually sealed off from the rest of the global atmosphere. In this freezing vortex, the stratosphere grows intensely cold and this winter it reached very low temperatures, down to minus 83C (-117F) on March 10. In these conditions strange iridescent clouds of ice form in the stratosphere, glowing with the surreal colours of mother-of-pearl.
But when the spring sunshine reappears, those stratospheric clouds act as a springboard for the sunlight and chlorine pollution to destroy ozone.....
Despite the ban on ozone-depleting chemicals, the ozone layer will remain vulnerable for many years, because chlorine already in the stratosphere takes a long time to disappear. Added to that, the lower stratosphere globe has been growing steadily colder over recent decades thanks to carbon dioxide. Although CO2 warms the lower atmosphere, it has the opposite effect in the upper atmosphere, radiating heat back into space. And in a further twist, the lack of ozone also adds to the cooling of the stratosphere, helping to destroy more ozone at the poles.

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April 1, 2011

Friday Night is Music Night (Mojo Edition)

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Gone with the wind

UK Energy Statistics

Renewables’ share of electricity generation provisionally fell from 6.7 per cent in 2009 to 6.6 per cent in 2010
Offshore wind generation increased by 74.8 per cent. Onshore wind generation fell by 7.7 per cent due to low wind speeds (ten months of 2010 saw lower wind speeds than the 10-year average), whilst hydro fell by 32.4 per cent due to low rainfall.
Total renewable electricity capacity increased by 12 per cent between 2009 and 2010. Onshore wind capacity increased by 14 per cent (476 MW) and offshore wind capacity increased by 42 per cent (400 MW).

Onshore capacity up 14.4%, production down 7.7%. especially in the still cold winter. Impressive

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Top Viral Video of 1911

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Make 10% on your money over the weekend

Royal Mail has announced its annual stamp price rises which will take effect from 4 April 2011

The price of First and  Second class stamps for standard items weighing up to 100g will rise by 5p to  46p and 4p to 36p respectively.
The cost of a Large Letter  stamp will rise by 9p to 75p for First Class items and 7p to 58p for Second  Class mail.

BUY STAMPS TODAY - they don't have a value on them so 1st class stamps bought today will still be 1st class stamps next week.

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Climate Change - No Problem For Global Food Production

Agricultural land availability likely to see major changes - environmentalresearchweb

Xiao Zhang and Ximing Cai from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have found that the amount of agricultural land available globally will change by only –1.7% up to 4.4% depending on the emissions scenario used. However, Zhang and Cai reckon that some regions of the world will gain large amounts of agricultural land as new temperatures and humidity levels lend themselves to growing crops, whereas other areas will lose large proportions of arable land.
Their calculations show that regions characterized by relatively high latitudes, such as Russia, China and the US may expect an increase of total arable land by 37–67%, 22–36% and 4–17%, respectively...

Full Text Here

Lots more lovely wheat growing land up north and loss of some scrubby plots in the tropics, that's another panic over.

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Dicke Pushes Dutch Roaches

Insects will be important part of UK diet by 2020, says scientist | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Consumers in the UK will turn to insects as food as conventional meat becomes scarce, says entomologist. Prof Marcel Dicke of Wageningen University said: "The most important thing is getting people prepared, getting used to the idea. Because from 2020 onwards, there won't be much of a choice for us."

Oh yes there will.

Dicke heads a Netherlands-based four-year programme aiming to produce a scientific and business plan to bring insects to western tables.

I think we can see which side his cockroach is buttered on.

(For the avoidance of doubt this story was published on March 31st not April 1st - fool if you thought otherwise)

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Offshore Laffer

George Osborne urged to drop North Sea windfall tax | Politics | The Guardian

the sudden change in the tax regime ran counter to a series of pledges Osborne gave to the North Sea oil industry in opposition. He told the Aberdeen Press and Journal in 2009 that one of his earliest budget commitments would be to set up a parliament-long stable tax regime for the oil industry.
The Treasury minister Justine Greening went to a bruising meeting with oil companies attended by other government ministers in which she was told that the industry has lost trust in government promises to maintain a stable tax regime in the North Sea. One witness said she was "grilled alive". At a meeting described as cold and pointed, attended by the Scottish secretary, Michael Moore, and the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, she was told she had put 40,000 jobs at risk.
Greening was told by oil companies including Total and Shell that Statoil was suspending a $10bn (£6.2bn) project at the Bressay and Mariner oil fields €(two of the most valuable deposits left in the North Sea"€) to review whether the investment is still worthwhile.
The oil companies said they were responsible for a quarter of private sector capital investment in the UK, and were quite prepared to pull the plug on a large part of this investment unless the tax regime were changed. They pointed out that as reserves are slowly depleted, companies need better incentives to pump the remaining, harder-to-reach resources.

When the Goose gets old and is finding it harder to lay eggs don't steal its corn.

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Fracking Nonsense

BBC News - UK shale plans target cheap gas

Blackpool Tower, icon of an era when the fashionable spent summers in Britain, still stretches its elegant limbs towards the Lancashire clouds.
A few miles inland a gawky newcomer in the flat landscape makes a rival gesture towards the skies. It's a drill rig attempting to usher in an era of its own; an era of cheap and plentiful gas to set the UK's energy policy alight.
Philip Mitchell, chairman of Backpool Green Party by the banks of the picturesque River Wyre in this little-visited corner of rural England. "I'm worried about the risks. Risks to human health; to ground water and drinking water; and to the environment due to the huge amounts of waste this produces and the huge amount of water it consumes. Also I think the impact of drilling rigs on the countryside will be totally unacceptable to the British people. I think this is something we'll live to regret."

Not in a cold winter I won't.

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