Saturday, September 17, 2005
Basically at Clinton's jamboree where the "great & good" of the world schmooz Tony Blair has said that his "thinking has changed" & Kyoto is a waste of space.
"My thinking has changed in the past three or four years." So what does he think now? "No country," he declared, "is going to cut its growth." That is, no country is going to allow the Kyoto treaty, or any other such global-warming treaty, to crimp -- some say cripple -- its economy.
Looking ahead to future climate-change negotiations, Blair said of such fast-growing countries as India and China, "They're not going to start negotiating another treaty like Kyoto." India and China, of course, weren't covered by Kyoto in the first place, which was one of the fatal flaws in the treaty. But now Blair is acknowledging the obvious: that after the current Kyoto treaty -- which the US never acceded to -- expires in 2012, there's not going to be another worldwide deal like it.
So what will happen instead? Blair answered: "What countries will do is work together to develop the science and technology….There is no way that we are going to tackle this problem unless we develop the science and technology to do it."
Hey just what sensible people who have, for years, been dumped on as "in the pay of the oil companies" & "opposing the concensous" have been saying.
This must be the biggest turnaround since Oceania noticed they were at war with Eurasia rather than Eastasia. Clearly anything like that would bring headlines worldwide, or at the very least UKwide. So checking Google news for Clinton global initiative - thats right - lot of stuff about who is there & how much it costs & even about his Toniness saying the BBC aren't nice enough to Bush but not a squeak about this. Big Brother would approve (anyone under 19 won't get the allusion).
Congratulations to the Executive on their decision to reduce business
rates to the English level < (which since it is longer here since a rating
revaluation means, in practice, that we are now more competitive).>
This is the best, arguably the first, good news for the Scots economy since
devolution. it is particularly remarkable since it was Jack McConnell,
in his previous post, who was responsible for increasing rates in the
first place. While the doctrine of collective cabinet responsibility
prevents us knowing for sure, it seems likely that the accession of Nicol
Stephen, who, while running for Lib Dem leader, pledged support for
business tax cuts, may have played a part in this.
< The first step is always the most difficult & > there are other steps
which should be taken to change from a proportionately declining to a
growing economy. It is proposed that the rates reduction take place in
2007, though paradoxically there may be a partial reduction next year.
Surely, if it accepted that this will help grow the economy we would be
as well to start growing as quickly as possible.
The question of a reduction in corporation tax, the main plank in Ireland's
success should be faced. Per £ invested this should be more beneficial
because it particularly helps highly profitable companies which, by definition,
have most growth potential & encourages investment in mobile assets,
<< where we are in direct competition with other nations.>>
Corporation tax is currently a reserved matter, < a fact of
which the SNP have made play. However it is clear that it was reserved, not
as a matter of principle but > because it was thought, even by most Scots
that we were an intrinsically socialistic, << big-government,>> anti-business
nation who would increase taxes. This was always largely an illusion caused by the appalling Westminster FPTP electoral system but such feeling as there was (eg the initial decision to increase business rates) has been blown away by the
growth in political maturity Scotland is achieving by the act of running
our own affairs. This, despite all the disenchantment & the scandal of the
building, is ultimately the achievement of devolution. Thus I
do not believe Westminster would stand in the way of reducing corporation
tax or that even normally Unionist Scots, like myself, would let them.
political virility, not by making regulations but by removing them. Holyrood
has been busy passing laws preventing altering a Victorian building, smoking,
hunting etc. Most of these have costs in jobs & all,
like all well meaning government actions, are subject to the law of unintended
consequences. Some loosening of the corsets of our nanny state would be
a relief.>> *
Thirdly MSPs should stop proving their political virility by producing more
laws. All new regulation requires more regulators, almost all destroy jobs &
all are subject to the Law of Unintended Consequences <(ie that everything has
unintended consequences)> .
<< 2 years ago it proved impossible to get Nicol Stephen's party to debate
Irish style growth policy. I year ago you** published a letter of mine expressing
surprise that, at a European hustings in Glasgow. only the SNP & Lib
Dem candidates had not opposed growth. Today we have a pro-growth concessus
that crosses party lines with only the Green's saying that this reform "focusses to much on growing the economy". >> There is now a real chance that Scots may again be able to build a future worthy of our past.
* Fairly obviously this is a longer version of the next paragraph but I have kept in both drafts.
** Actually the letter was in the Scotsman.
I do believe that Westminster will be prepared to make Corporation Tax a devolved matter (or at the very least make the right to CUT this tax a devolved matter, which would actually be better since almost any limitation on the power of government to increase taxes is no bad thing).
The SNP think they would refuse. This actually means we can work together since ultimately it will be proven one way or another. People only fight over what cannot be proven. If Westminster refused I would be prepared to work for independence because I believe national wealth is that important & because I don't like being pushed.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
It apears from media reports & Herald letters (2nd Sept) that the New Orleans debacle & rises in US petrol prices are going to blamed on global warming. This may be a marginal improvement from the era when King James VI & I blamed storms on witches but that is about all that can be said for it.
In fact it is clear that since records began (1851) the last decade has had a smaller than average number of hurricanes & that the highest point was in the 1941-50 decade. Like so many global warming stories the evidence disappears when you look properly at it.
To blame warming for the oil price hike in America is even more ridiculous. In fact oil shortage is caused by a shortage of refining capacity. For several years US refineries have been working at nearly 100% capacity - a situation that led several oil companies to propose building new or replacement refineries for reasons which must now be all to obvious. It was the Green/Luddite lobby which prevented refineries being built & it is therefore them, not putative warming, which is responsible for this part of the crisis.
It is obvious that this is a story that is going to get an inordinate amount of coverage in the next months. Already we see more reportage in one day of New Orleans than we have seen in six years of the 6 thousand genocidal murders carried out under NATO authority in Kosovo. It is therefore important that the facts be reported correctly rather than being spun into yet another anti-technology scare story.
Ref - U.S. Hurricane Strikes by Decade
Number of hurricanes by Saffir-Simpson Category to strike the mainland U.S. each decade.
Decade Saffir-Simpson Category1 All
1 2 3 4 5
1851-1860 8 5 5 1 0 19 6
1861-1870 8 6 1 0 0 15 1
1871-1880 7 6 7 0 0 20 7
1881-1890 8 9 4 1 0 22 5
1891-1900 8 5 5 3 0 21 8
1901-1910 10 4 4 0 0 18 4
1911-1920 10 4 4 3 0 21 7
1921-1930 5 3 3 2 0 13 5
1931-1940 4 7 6 1 1 19 8
1941-1950 8 6 9 1 0 24 10
1951-1960 8 1 5 3 0 17 8
1961-1970 3 5 4 1 1 14 6
1971-1980 6 2 4 0 0 12 4
1981-1990 9 1 4 1 0 15 5
1991-2000 3 6 4 0 1 14 5
2001-2004 4 2 2 1 0 9 3
1851-2004 109 72 71 18 3 273 92
Average Per Decade 7.1 4.7 4.6 1.2 0.2 17.7 6.0