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October 30, 2011

Life in Greenland

Life in Greenland's polar desert | Stephen Pax Leonard | World news | The Observer

I am a romantic, and I discovered that romantics are always disillusioned because the world is no longer how they had hoped it to be. I came to the top of the world and wished to find elderly folk like Savfaq sitting around telling stories. Instead, I found for the most part adults and children glued to television screens with a bowl of seal soup on their lap, playing exceedingly violent and expletive-crammed Hollywoodian video war games. Time and time again, I discovered this awkward juxtaposition of modernity meets tradition. Out in the Arctic wilderness, hunters dressed head to toe in skins would answer satellite phones and check their GPS co-ordinates. Consumerism has now made it to every corner of the world. Some Inugguit may live in tiny, wind-beaten wooden cabins with no running water like Wally's, but Amazon.com delivers.

Wow, those charming native people are just people like us and want the same stuff!

Posted by The Englishman at 7:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

They Used To Heckle "What About The Groundnut Scheme".

UK firm's failed biofuel dream wrecks lives of Tanzania villagers | Environment | The Observer

The collapse of Sun Biofuels has left hundreds of Tanzanians landless, jobless, and in despair for the future

The tale of London-based Sun Biofuels's misadventure in Kisarawe links the broken hopes of the villagers to offshore tax havens and mysterious new owners, tracked down by the Observer, and ultimately to petrol pumps in the UK and across Europe. The final link results from the mandatory blending of biofuels into European petrol and diesel. The aim is to reduce carbon emissions, but many say biofuels actually increase pollution.

Further afield, in Ghana, a Norwegian-backed jatropha project has collapsed, while in Mozambique a UK-linked company called Procana, behind a huge ethanol project, has folded in acrimony. The Observer's investigations and those of journalist Stefano Valentino have identified at least 30 abandoned biofuels projects in 15 African countries.

The thirst for biofuels to meet the UK and EU's rising targets has led British companies to lead the charge into Africa. Half the 3.2m hectares of biofuel land identified is linked to 11 British companies, the biggest proportion of any country.....

The Groundnut Scheme - and how was it different?

GROUND NUT SCHEME IN TANGANYIKA aka GROUND NUT SCHEME

Posted by The Englishman at 7:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Questions We Know The Answer To

BBC News - Q&A: What do you do with a captured pirate?

No - Apparently that isn't what you do these days....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 29, 2011

HMRC Squeezing Stones Again

An Englishman's Castle: The Revenue are after me again

September 2, 2007

..I file my returns electronically, which are verified by a secret squirrel code rather than a facsimile signature, they print them out, they then notice the lack of a signature on the printed forms, they send them to me, I sign them and send them back. They then threaten prosecution as they haven't a valid return and they can't accept posted forms as they already have electronic versions, which lack a signature......

Back in 2007 this had been going on for over three years "almost weekly being threatened with prosecution, penalties, bailiffs on the door-step by Her Majesty's finest revenue officers...."

In October 2007 it stopped. It seemed that my accountant had finally managed to get them to see sense. They didn't respond to our letters but didn't send out any more demands.

Today I got a letter from HMRC...

"We appreciate you may have not heard from us recently and you may be worried about having a tax debt..."

It's the alleged debt from 2007 they have suddenly remembered and want paying.

Of course it would be cheaper to pay them that get my accountants to go back through all the old paperwork yet again just to show them they really don't know what they are talking about. And of course my accountant from that time has retired, my accountant firm has changed....

Hey ho - on with the fight I suppose.

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October 28, 2011

Friday Night is Music Night (Proof That Lasting Two Minutes Is Long Enough Edition)

Posted by The Englishman at 5:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 26, 2011

The Truth of Suppression

'Legal highs' should be automatically banned, says government drugs adviser | Society | The Guardian

All "legal highs" or designer drugs such as mephedrone – now banned – that mimic the effects of established illegal drugs, should be automatically banned, according to the government's official advisers on illicit substances... the ACMD says it necessary to go further and adopt a system similar to the US analogue act whereby substances bearing a chemical similarity to existing controlled substances, such as amphetamines or the active ingredient in cannabis, are banned.

The ACMD report says a different type of drug dealer has emerged. Entrepreneurs are seizing upon the business opportunities. "Many people importing these new substances appear to have had no previous involvement in the illicit drug trade and are just in it to make a quick buck. They have included students who have set up websites to supply nationally and who also supply the local student population."

Roger Howard, of the UK Drug Policy Commission thinktank, warned..."Controlling even more drugs through the drug laws doesn't do anything to help that nor to prevent the harm that might emerge. We need to think differently, about using other controls to bring some discipline to an unregulated market."

There is only one new drug law needed. No one may comment or make any suggestion on drug laws until they have read Chris Snowdon's The Art of Suppression.

A well written, incredibly researched and fascinating book. If the how, why and effectiveness of the state telling us what we are allowed to put into our own bodies interests you, get the book.

(The iea some years ago produced a book on prohibitions, which is available as a free download - also recommended.)

Posted by The Englishman at 7:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Olympics Want To Pwn Your Garden

Gardeners object to advice on what to plant for Olympics - Telegraph

People living along the route of the Olympic cycle road race have objected to being “advised” how to plant their gardens to fit in with the 2012 Games colours and logos

The emails sent to residents’ associations told them that LOCOG has “tight control over how the Games will look”.
Home owners and businesses along the Olympic cycle road race route, which passes through Surrey, are being advised how to ensure the petunias, roses and other flowers in their front gardens match the colours of the games.


rude-hedge-cutting-sculpture-annoy-neighbour-offend-bum-bottom.jpg

I wish I had a roadside garden....

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

Huhne Lashes Out At Economy Deniers

Huhne slams 'climate sceptics and armchair engineers' for undermining green economy - 26 Oct 2011 - News from BusinessGreen

Chris Huhne will crank up pressure on some of his cabinet colleagues today with a direct challenge to "green economy deniers", accusing them of undermining the jobs and growth created by renewable energy companies across the UK.
In a keynote speech at the RenewableUK annual conference in Manchester later today, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary will hit out at "an unholy alliance of short-termists, armchair engineers, climate sceptics and vested interests who are selling the UK economy short".
"I want to take aim at the curmudgeons and faultfinders who hold forth on the impossibility of renewables," he will say. "Yes, the UK is only two per cent of global carbon emissions. But if we grasp the opportunity now our businesses and economy can be much more than two per cent of the solution."

Green Economy Denier - an ugly phrase, is it meant to demonise those who are sceptical or questioning the economic benefits of "investing" tax payers money into his pet green schemes?
I would imagine that if we are pushing billions of our money into such schemes he would welcome rigorous investment analysis to show the wisdom of his choices.

Or is he just peeved with Osbourne for putting prosperity first?

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

October 25, 2011

Pantsdown Euro Lament - Full Steam Ahead Is The Answer

To be stronger, Europe must give away power | The Times (£)
Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon

There is now a real possibility that the European Union will break apart.
There are many in Parliament who would cheer this and, I suspect, even more in the country beyond who would join in with enthusiasm. Nor would they be alone. It is not only in Britain that the public mood against the EU runs so strongly. The Dutch seem to agree and even the people of Germany, given the chance, might vote the same way.

The single greatest political idea of our time, European integration, now looks in serious trouble.

The reasons for European integration are not weaker today than they were when this all started; they are stronger.

If we Europeans don’t understand that the right reaction to our new circumstances is not to loosen, but to deepen, the integration of our defence, our foreign policy and our economics, then we are bloody fools. If we really believe that this is a moment to consign ourselves to a collection of perfectly sovereign corks bobbing along in the wake of other people’s ocean liners, then the next decades will be much more difficult, turbulent and dangerous for us.

In stormy waters corks rise and fall and survive very well, it is the badly built supertankers that break apart, losing all hands and polluting the environment. I'll take the cork anytime, thanks.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:59 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

#OWS - Beating To An Ugly Drum

n 1: Monday Night Urgent Occupy Wall Street Message

Friends, mediation with the drummers has been called off. It has gone on for more than 2 weeks and it has reached a dead end. The drummers formed a working group called Pulse and agreed to 2 hrs/day at times during the mediation, and more recently that changed to 4 hrs/day. It’s my feeling that we may have a fighting chance with the community board if we could indeed limit drumming and loud instrumentation to 12-2 PM and 4-6 PM, however that isn’t what’s happening.... there is one individual who is NOT a drummer but who claims to speak for the drummers who has been a deeply disruptive force, attacking the drumming rep during the GA and derailing his proposal, and disrupting the community board meeting, as well as the OWS community relations meeting. She has also created strife and divisions within the POC caucus, calling many members who are not ‘on her side’ “Uncle Tom”, “the 1%”, “Barbie” “not Palestinian enough” “Wall Street politicians” “not black enough” “sell-outs”, etc. People have been documenting her disruptions, and her campaign of misinformation, and instigations. She also has a documented history online of defamatory, divisive and disruptive behavior ...

At this point we have lost the support of allies in the Community Board and the state senator and city electeds who have been fighting the city to stave off our eviction, get us toilets, etc. On Tuesday there is a Community Board vote, which will be packed with media cameras and community members with real grievances. We have sadly demonstrated to them that we are unable to collectively 1) keep our space and surrounding areas clean and sanitary, 2) keep the park safe, 3) deal with internal conflict and enforce the Good Neighbor Policy that was passed by the General Assembly.

In the meantime, there are other drummers who refuse to acknowledge OWS or the GA as a body they are interested in, and these drummers show up on site when they fell like it and drum when they feel like it. Over the weekend, it was for 10 or 11 hours straight, until late night...

We’re in serious need of bodies here. The drumming will happen daily from 12-2 and 4-6pm, that’s OK. But that means that we need folks in these shifts:

2-4 PM: people here to make sure drumming doesn’t start

5:45–8 PM: ppl here to make sure drumming stops at 6 PM sharp and doesn’t start again

8–10 PM: ppl here to make sure drumming doesn’t start

And how do they intend to to do that? In the end it will come down to force - "bodies". Amazingly how quickly the bunch of free wheeling individuals have set up a ruling party, an intelligence service "documenting" the disruptive elements and a people's militia. They claim to be the 99%, as popular as Stalin in an election, so crushing dissent is justified.

If only I had a Lambeg Drum I would be down there beating the fuck out of it 24/7 shouting "No Surrender" and seeing how they like it.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pope Believes In Omnipotent Omnipresence

Vatican joins calls for crackdown on financial markets | Business | The Guardian

Vatican thinktank wants global authority to police markets...The pamphlet claims that in combination with a "central world bank", such an authority would help restore "the primacy of the spiritual and of ethics"...The pope, it adds, "himself expressed the need to create a world political authority". The document also picks up on the pope's denunciation of a new "technocracy"

It also reveals that the Pope may actually also be Catholic.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 24, 2011

Climate Scientists To Employ Honest Serving Man

Little time left to halt warming - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent

The research examines the idea of looking at climate change projections from a different angle, shifting the emphasis from "what" to "when".

Lead author Dr Manoj Joshi, from the University of Reading, said:
"This approach to communicating the impacts and uncertainties of climate change draws attention to rates of change rather than just the change itself. It complements existing methods, and should be employed more widely."

It's all about new ways to communicate, apparently we haven't been told the "when" bit before. Good news because as you will recall the rhetor Hermagoras of Temnos defined seven "circumstances" (μόρια περιστάσεως 'elements of circumstance') as the loci of an issue:
Quis, quid, quando, ubi, cur, quem ad modum, quibus adminiculis.
(Who, what, when, where, why, in what way, by what means)

Or as our favourite author on this blog put it:


I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

Applying them to all announcements will be a great help..

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

October 23, 2011

Ben Goldacre - Not The Best

Serious claims belong in a serious scientific paper | Ben Goldacre | Comment is free | The Guardian

Serious claims belong in a serious scientific paper
If you have a serious new claim to make, it should go through scientific publication and peer review before you present it to the media

No he isn't talking about the BEST paper, I wonder if he would extent his criticism to it though?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An All Black Morning

The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry still proudly displays the Fern Leaf flash it wore when under New Zealand command at El Alamein. Anything less than a crushing victory against the French today will be taken very badly in the King's Arms.

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

October 21, 2011

The Immortal Memory

Naval Traditions: The Trafalgar Night Dinner

The Immortal Memory toast: A Trafalgar Night speech is usually made by a guest of honour. If a speaker has not been arranged, the proposer of the toast will precede it with some Nelsonian comments, and can vary in length according to the custom of the diners. The toast itself is "The Immortal Memory" and is drunk standing in total silence. This is customary out of respect of the memory of the Admiral.
For the 200th anniversary, the original toast was reinstated and used by HM The Queen which is as follows:
"The Immortal Memory of Lord Nelson and those who fell with him"

Off to the pub - I'm not sure why my invitation has the post script - "It's your turn in the barrel". I'm sure I will enjoy it anyway....

Posted by The Englishman at 12:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

On This Day - Trafalgar Day

Rum is and will be called for this lunchtime.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 20, 2011

Gadaffi Dead?

Libya live - Telegraph

Will Tony send flowers?

Posted by The Englishman at 1:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Human Cost Of Dear Energy Policy

Fuel poverty 'will claim 2,700 victims this winter' | Money | guardian.co.uk

Almost 3,000 people in England and Wales will die this winter because they cannot afford to heat their homes, a report suggests – more than the number killed in traffic accidents each year.

Ditch climate targets or forget cheaper bills, bosses tell ministers | Mail Online

Ministers' obsession with green taxes is driving up energy bills, bringing financial pain to millions of families, it was claimed last night.

Business groups demanded cuts in fuel prices be given a higher priority than meeting EU targets to reduce carbon emissions.

Electricity bills ‘set to soar for next 20 years’ - Environment - Scotsman.com

BUSINESSES and households across Europe are likely to suffer jumps in their electricity bills for at least the next 20 years to pay for pricey renewable energy infrastructure, according to a leaked report from the European Commission.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:35 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 19, 2011

Science 101 - Gore Fail

Replicating Al Gore’s Climate 101 video experiment shows that his “high school physics” could never work as advertised | Watts Up With That?

Outstanding demonstration of how a demonstration should be done.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Peak Oil Is So Over

The peak oil brigade is leading us into bad policymaking on energy | Dieter Helm | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

One can't assume energy prices are going ever upwards. The real problem is there may be too much fossil fuel, not too little.

Chris Huhne, the British secretary of state for energy and climate change, is pretty sure that oil and gas prices are going ever upwards, that they will be volatile and that a core function of energy policy is to protect British industry and consumers from the consequences.

The Earth's crust is riddled with fossil fuels. The issue is not whether there is a shortage of the stuff, but the costs of getting it out. Until recently, the sheer abundance of low-cost conventional oil in places like the Middle East has limited the incentives to find more, and in particular to go after unconventional sources. But technical change has been driven by necessity – and the revolution in shale gas (and now shale oil, too) has already been transformational in the US, one of the world's biggest energy markets.

New technological developments take time to penetrate markets, and customers may not feel the benefits for quite a while. But it would be a mistake to assume they won't eventually. Even worse, it would be wrong to design energy policy to protect them from price volatility so that if gas prices fall, they will be prohibited from gaining the benefits.

At the global level, the reason emissions keep going up – and why Kyoto has made so little difference – is that coal is the rising fuel; its share has risen from around 25% to nearly 30% during the Kyoto period, and it is a percentage of a growing total. Switching from coal to gas is cheap – and it cuts emissions by roughly half. It doesn't solve the climate change problem in the long run, but it gets emissions down much faster and much cheaper than all those offshore windfarms in the short to medium term.

The comments are a joy...


This all sounds quite sensible to me – so what’s it doing on CiF?

This is a suspiciously reasonable article by someone who knows what they're talking about. Very poor.

There are many other reasons why the 99% should not want more fossil fuels to be extracted:

Posted by The Englishman at 7:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 17, 2011

Employee of Millionaires and Tax-breaking Corporation At Work

Millionaires and corporations are using tax breaks to help sway public opinion | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian

I presumed he was talking about Alan Rusbridger, who has been on nearly half a mill whack for the last few years, and the Guardian itself which hasn't been shy in using the breaks the tax man allows... but it seems to be about the disparity between people being free to do what they want with their own money in private and the burden on those spending taxpayers money having to show what they are spending it on.

But frankly it was such a dribble of arse-water I couldn't be bothered to read it all.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Global Warming Causes Amuse-bouches

Honey, we’ve shrunk the planet - Environment - Scotsman.com

Animals and plants all over the planet are shrinking because of climate change, scientists warned.
Examples include grasses and trees, toads, tortoises, goshawks, gulls, woodrats, Soay sheep and red deer. Even polar bears are starting to get smaller in response to the loss of sea ice, it is claimed.
Experimental research had also shown that for every degree Celsius of warming, plants of various types shrank by between 3 per cent and 17 per cent.
Studies had also shown that corals, oysters, scallops and other calcifying ocean dwellers suffer stunted growth as a result of climate change acidifying the sea. The research, led by Dr David Bickford from the National University of Singapore, is reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The scientists pointed out that by 2100 average temperatures could rise by as much as 7C.

The trend could have a major impact on the burgeoning human population, making it harder to feed everyone

Why do I get the feeling the research just consisted of putting woolly socks into a washing machine and turning up the dial to see what happened?
Next week they will announce that mixing red and white animals together is not a good idea either.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:56 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Energy Price Winter of Discontent

BBC News - David Cameron calls for action to cut energy bills

The government needs to work "harder and faster" to bring down energy bills, the prime minister has said ahead of a summit on gas and electricity prices.

Fossil fuel energy bills to soar - Green Living, Environment - The Independent

Household electricity bills could be pushed up by around £300 a year by 2020 as a result of a continued reliance on fossil fuels to provide energy, environmentalists claimed today.

Friends of the Earth hit back at claims that "green taxes" were causing energy bills to rise with a report suggesting investment in fossil fuel plants rather than renewables would leave UK households paying the increasing costs of coal and gas to make electricity.

Forget about worrying about this winter the Green Taxes on our electricity bills are there to save us money in the long term... and if you are in the market for a bridge I have one for sale.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 16, 2011

Organic Scots Down

Scots lose taste for organic produce - Environment - Scotsman.com

THE organic food boom which promised to deliver healthier food and save the environment is over.

Half the land certified as suitable for organic production of food a decade ago in Scotland has now reverted to conventional farming methods, according to a new report on the once-burgeoning industry.

In addition, the main organisation representing Scottish organic producers has seen its numbers almost halve over the same period.

A failure to prove the health benefits of organic produce and a perception that it was expensive at a time when households are cutting back is believed to be behind the reversal.

But it also suffered a bit of a backlash as it was seen as overly trendy and hip.

You don't say!

Posted by The Englishman at 8:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

On The Rag

EU scientists assess climate link to spread of allergies - Health News, Health & Families - The Independent

... An international team of scientists will kickstart the EU-funded study – the first of its kind and costing some €3.5m – by focusing on the spread of Ambrosia artemisiifolia, more widely known as common ragweed.
Ragweed pollen is known to have triggered increases in asthma, hay fever and a variety of skin allergies. Allergies are estimated to cost Europe's healthcare systems more than €25bn (£21.8bn) a year.
Evidence suggests the plant's spread is being exacerbated by climate change; the new study aims to discover how.

Follow the money would be my guess as to how.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Local Hunt News

Hunting: who let the dogs out? | UK news | The Observer

Six years after foxhunting was banned, the bugle still sounds across the shires. Robert McCrum goes in pursuit of the hunters, and finds a world lustily disdainful of urban opinion

Good article about people I know well.

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October 15, 2011

The last time I was this nervous about a semi I was watching Brokeback Mountain.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wind Down Expectations Of Renewables

Green energy investment: let's not repeat past mistakes | Gordon Edge | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Britain urgently needs new sources of energy and wind can be a big part of that.

Winter to see low wind, hydro power in Northern Europe | Reuters

Europe faces a colder, dry winter in the north with milder, windy and wet weather in the south thanks to the effects of the dominant weather pattern, a leading energy weather forecaster told Reuters.

A negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) will continue to dominate the continent's winter weather patterns, World Climate Service's senior meteorologist Richard James said in an interview.

Cold weather combined with low wind and precipitation levels in northern Europe would mean that the vast wind power generation capacity along the North and Baltic Sea coasts would generate below average electricity during the high-demand winter season.

Let's not repeat past mistakes, eh?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Olympic Laws Own You

Government to prohibit human body advertising during events at the Olympics

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said it had made changes to the draft London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Advertising and Trading) Regulations after some respondents to its consultation on the proposed new laws said the wording had failed to account for the possibility that athletes or spectators could display adverts on their body.
Under the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act the Government is legally obliged to create new regulations on advertising and street trading "in the vicinity of London Olympic events".

So much for walking through parts of London with that Nike tattoo, or wearing your favourite beer branded T-shirt. Your body belongs to the State to do with at it wills.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 14, 2011

Friday Night is Music Night (Probably The Best Stadium Song Ever Edition)

Posted by The Englishman at 4:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Have You Got Any Welsh In You, Would You Like Some Love?

Rugby World Cup: Cymru am byth (that’s Wales for ever... for one day at least) - Telegraph

WALES' GREAT RUGBY WIN

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

Did you come far?

Prince and duchess take climate message on tour - Environment - Scotsman.com

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will visit townships and community projects in South Africa during a tour of two Commonwealth countries next month.

They will also go to a Maasai village, a national park and the exotic island of Zanzibar when they visit Tanzania.

The trip, which will focus on the environment and sustainability, education and trade, is timed a month before the Durban Climate Summit.

That'll be nice for them, it gets awfully chilly back here this time of year so a bit of sun and warmth for the old bones will be most welcome.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Latte To Go

Starbucks concerned world coffee supply is threatened by climate change | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Starbucks is warning of a threat to world coffee supply because of climate change.

In a telephone interview with the Guardian, Jim Hanna, the company's sustainability director, said its farmers were already seeing the effects of a changing climate, with severe hurricanes and more resistant bugs reducing crop yields.

I'm confused, I thought Starbucks was evil American Globalist so this is good news, or is it bad? "Correct think" is hard in the morning until the PG tips cut in.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:05 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 13, 2011

If the CAP fits.

So what does the EU think farming is for? - Telegraph

The idea was that this single farm payment would, in time, wither away. Instead, the environmental schemes that Britain has pioneered, very successfully, would be expanded, to reward farmers for the number of lapwings and watervoles finding a home on their land. Almost 70 per cent of the agricultural land in England is in such a scheme; biodiversity has flourished as a result.
Now along has come the EU Agriculture Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, a Romanian, proposing a different approach. To find policies that can be applied equally to the foothills of the Carpathians – a fragile relic of a simpler era in farming – and the golden wheat fields of East Anglia is a bit of an ask. Not surprisingly, Mr Ciolos tends to favour the former over the latter.

Farm subsidies in the UK have been becoming more aligned with paying for "public goods", such as lapwings, rather than keeping the peasants happy on the farm and not blocking the boulevard with burning tyres.

Of course the NFU argues that "Food Security", the ability to grow our own food on this isle is a "public good" in case Wolfsrudeltaktiks or climate changes blockade the channel. That is why they argue for some cash for crops. But on the whole it is money for doing the unproductive that we, as a general population, are deemed to want.

But with our large and efficient units we can afford the luxury of looking after the birds. Scratching a living off a couple of acres of middle European mountain you can't and you just want the folding to feed you.

Finding a policy that fits across Europe is as sensible as a currency union...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The City of Perspiring Dreams Reality Check

Priceless tips for Oxford Union on work ethic - Education - Scotsman.com

NO-ONE has an excuse not to try to earn a living, glamour model turned businesswoman Katie Price told students, as she addressed the Oxford Union.

Stressing the importance of the work ethic during a question and answer session at the ancient seat of learning yesterday, the former pin-up said: “There’s no excuse for people to just get pregnant and stay at home.

“I come from a family that has had to work to earn a living.”

A valuable lesson not just for our privileged students. Is she thinking of going into politics next?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Skinny Bird With Gravy

Kate Moss: I’m amazing with gravy - Telegraph

Spread her with chocolate maybe, but Bisto's Best, now that is getting pervy.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oz Green Claims Green Is Good

Opposition to Australia's carbon tax laws will run out of steam | Clive Hamilton | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Prof Hamilton is a failed Green Party Politiician,,,

Everyone is going to love Green Party policiies especially "those voters in marginal electorates most prone to the fear campaign run by the opposition, the Murdoch press and some elements of big business" unless they are " mobilised into the rancourous populism that grips the United States."

Note how he seems to believe voters are just poor dupes without minds of their own.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 12, 2011

Crabs and Snappers, Cuts?

News from a year ago.

Top flight photographers praised by RAF chief news - Amateur Photographer - Tuesday 12th October 2010

The RAF employs more than 150 photographers - more than the Royal Navy and Army combined.


A year to the day later you would pay to read this in The Times:

Flight of fancy wins respect of the RAF | The Times

Mary Bowers
Last updated October 12 2011 12:01AM

The RAF employs more than 150 photographers, more than the Royal Navy and Army combined.

Quality journalism, it's what you pay for!

And why do the crabs need so many snappers? It wouldn't be vanity would it?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Get Debunked Y'all

UT Professor Debunks Climate Change "Myths" — Energy | The Texas Tribune

The head of the University of Texas Energy Institute, Raymond Orbach, is wading into the debate with a new paper aiming to debunk eight "myths" about climate change.

The paper, "Our Sustainable Earth," appears in the forthcoming issue of Reports on Progress in Physics, a British journal known for encouraging (relatively) simple language from its contributors. In it, Orbach summarizes existing scientific evidence to argue that humans bear responsibility for climate change and an 80 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2050 is needed to stabilize global temperatures. Otherwise, he writes, "current global temperature rises will continue, and even accelerate" as greenhouse gas concentrations keep rising.

The paper is free to download for the next four weeks, after a simple registration.

After a quick read through I get the impression he feels he is late for the party and whilst he has nothing new to say he is rushing round in a very thorough manner talking to everyone and repeating everything that has been said before. He has some grand carbon engineering plan that involves billions being spent in Texas so I suppose he is doing his job.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 11, 2011

Pesky PR Foils Scientists

Global warning: climate sceptics are winning the battle - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent

Father of the green movement says scientists lack PR skills to make public listen

Climate sceptics are winning the argument with the public over global warming, the world's most celebrated climate scientist, James Hansen of NASA, said in London yesterday.

It is happening even though climate science itself is becoming ever clearer in showing that the earth is in increasing danger from rising temperatures, said Dr Hansen...

Part of the problem, he said, was that the climate sceptic lobby employed communications professionals, whereas "scientists are just barely competent at communicating with the public and don't have the wherewithal to do it."

The result was, he said, that in recent years "a gap has opened between what is understood about global warming by the relevant scientific community, and what's known by the people who need to know – and that's the public. However there's nothing that has happened to reduce our scientific conclusion that we are pushing the system into very dangerous territory, in fact that conclusion has become stronger over that same time period."

The Independent's comment system is open, much to the disgust of some...


Why oh why does the Independent invite these ridiculous comments from readers on an article like this? By doing so, you are actively undermining climate science and fuelling the idea that climate sceptics have some sort of actual point worth listening to - as opposed to being, from these comments at least, a bunch of rude, ill-informed, bored, and slightly crazy in some cases pedants with nothing better to do but leap on every article of this sort and bore the rest of us to tears with their random nonsense.

Meanwhile, in the real world, climate change is happening. Pacific nations are running out of drinking water. I honestly don't know how the editors of the Independent sleep at night.

Get rid of these stupid comments pages from your new stories and do the quality of journalism and the world a favour!

Posted by The Englishman at 10:52 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 10, 2011

Sir John Beddington meets Young Climate Change Ambassadors

During his first visit to Korea, Sir John Beddington, the UK Government's Chief Scientific Advisor, met and exchanged views with four students who are working as Young Climate Change Ambassadors.

Hardly a hostile audience....

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

October 9, 2011

Obsequious Science

BBC News - Ultraviolet light shone on cold winter conundrum

Recent cold winters that brought chaos to the UK and other places in northern Europe may have their roots in the Sun's varying ultraviolet emissions.

A UK scientific team now shows in Nature Geoscience journal how these changes lead to warmer winters in some places and colder winters in others.

The researchers emphasise there is no impact on global warming.

Of course not. They wouldn't dare even think a heresy, a warming cause that isn't human can have no connection to global warming, or cooling or whatever.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 8, 2011

Fantastic Game

Posted by The Englishman at 8:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Evening Constable

stonehenge%20rainbow.jpg + size

The view from my office last night reminded me of Constable's famous daub.

Constable_Stonehenge.jpg

(You may notice since Constable's times some stones have been re-erected and straightened, but don't tell anyone.)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 7, 2011

Friday Night is Music Night (Big in France Edition)

Vince Taylor
(14 July 1939 — 28 August 1991)[1] was a British rock and roll singer. As the frontman for The Playboys, Taylor was successful primarily in France and the Continent during the late 1950s and early 1960s, afterwards falling into obscurity amidst personal problems and drug abuse.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 5, 2011

LVT - An affront to all we hold dear.

As I hoped my friend Mark Wadsworth responded to my Land Value Tax post below.

Call me slow but I think the reason I couldn't understand his arguments before is that I didn't realise he was using words in ways that are different to the ordinary meaning of them.

Taxes on wealth are things like income tax...Land is an entitlement to wealth and not wealth in itself...

In my simplistic view there are two sorts of taxes, tolls and confiscations.

Tolls are a demand for a share of some sort of transfer. Society enables you to conduct some business and it is just that a portion of that business; such as hiring out your labour, taking possession of a new pair of shoes; goes to towards paying the costs of providing the environment that enables such transactions.

Confiscations are just that, You have a nice stamp collection, every year you must sell a couple of stamps because society demands you hand over a proportion of your stamp collection wealth. Just because it can demand money with menaces.

In everyday terms, car tax is a confiscation, petrol duty is a toll.

Your shiny big car doesn't cost society anything if it is on your drive. Speeding up the M4 does.

Income tax, VAT, Stamp Duty etc are tolls. Confiscatory taxes are "wealth" taxes.

An Englishman's home is his castle and all that. Once you have possession of something, whether it is a Penny Black or an acre of Berkshire, it is yours, and yours alone. There should be no further mulcting from it. It is un-English, it is not our way, it is wrong.


Posted by The Englishman at 8:02 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Reasons for a Land Value Tax No.1 of 1

Houses for sale in Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire

4 bedroom detached house for sale in Royal Wootton Basset

And so on - the Estate Agents have been marketing the Royal bit for some time now, even though it isn't yet so named.

Wootton Bassett seeks cash to pay for Royal honour ceremony - mirror.co.uk

WOOTTON Bassett is struggling to raise the £65,000 cost of winning royal status and is appealing for help from the public.

Princess Anne will visit the town on October 16 for a ceremony that will see it renamed Royal Wootton Bassett, but the council has been given no extra money to pay for road closures and security.

My pointy headed friend bangs on about Land Value Tax, which of course as a old fashioned chap I am against. (I'm against anything with the word tax in it and against anything that encourages a new tax and against anything that is a tax on any sort of wealth rather than consumption, and especially against anything that combines all of these features).

But I have to say the old wonk has a point here with regards the costs of slapping the Regal Moniker on the Urbs. Obviously it adds a bit of desirability and hence some wonga into the badly cut pockets of the cheap suited agents so would it be unreasonable for Sir Frank Rutley et al to chip in a bit?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cameron Doesn't Want Big Fat Lies

UK could introduce 'fat tax', says David Cameron | Politics | guardian.co.uk

The government will consider introducing a "fat tax" to tackle Britain's growing obesity levels, the prime minister, David Cameron, has said.

Cameron said drastic action was needed to prevent health costs soaring and life expectancy falling.

He added: "I am worried about the costs to the health service, [and] the fact that some people are going to have shorter lives than their parents."

He warned that obesity was on the verge of overtaking smoking and drinking as the biggest health challenge facing Britain.

"Don't rule anything out, but let's look at the evidence and let's look at the impact on families," he added.

Yes - let's look at the evidence - life expectancy is rising, that's why there is the panic over pensions. Some people won't live as long as their parents, that has always been true, but it doesn't mean there is an epidemic, nor that taxes will keep them alive.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 4, 2011

Students Learning Economic Lesson

University degrees 'not worth £9,000', students claim - Telegraph

Almost three-quarters of final year undergraduates at elite institutions said the new maximum tuition fee rate - being introduced next year - represented poor value for money.

It comes after research at the weekend showed a wide variation in the amount of “contact time” with academics that undergraduates will receive. In arts subjects, some undergraduates will pay the equivalent of £15 an hour for lecturers and classroom tuition in the first year compared with £50 at other institutions.

Funny how spending your own money on yourself concentrates the mind. The first reaction is, of course, that the taxpayer must be mulct to pay for these useless lecturers. I'm not sure why I should pay for something the customer thinks isn't worth it so I suggest there is an easier answer. Don't go to university unless it is worthwhile to you. Power of the market and all that.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack