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Friday, August 04, 2006


2 unpublished letters in the last week. The nuclear one was inspired by the blackout in central London last Thursday. This went to both the Herald & Scotsman but neither used it. On the other hand the Scotsman online has recently started taking comments & I have been quite free there.
On Thursday their was a short power outage in central London due to
high demand caused by the heat. Another way of saying high demand is low supply. I fear that this is the first small cloud on the horizon that presages approaching disaster.

We all know that Britain & even moreso Scotland face massive losses in our electricity generating capacity over the next few years. Scotland faces 50% closure including both Hunterston (in 2011), Torness & in 2015, new emission controls closing much of our coal generated capacity. Even on top of that gas, as many will have noticed, is becoming more expensive & difficult to obtain.

In October 2001 I spoke at the Scottish Lib Dem conference in favour of new nuclear power as being economical, safe, presenting no serious long term waste problem (due to the short half life of reactor waste) & sustainable for at least the next 4.5 billion years. Unfortunately the Executive amendment opposing all nuclear power passed. Part of the reason for it passing was a very fine speech by Ross Finnie which focussed not at all on the scientific & engineering questions raised & entirely on asking the conference not to embarrass the leadership. In this he made the absolute promise that the leadership would "not allow blackouts to happen" in which statement he clearly had the support of his colleagues. In a subsequent discussion with me, when I gave him a copy of my speech & begged him to look seriously at the points raised, he made the same promise. I was subsequently expelled from the party for supporting nuclear power & economic & technological innovation generally.

In fact no party is being serious about this looming catastrophe. Even Mr Blair's deathbed conversion is not as much as it seems. The government is still committed to spending 5 years doing paper work investigating whether the French, Canadian or US designs available are actually fit for purpose & would work & whether the sites would be able to sustain a reactor. Since all this work has been done years ago by France, Canada & the US, they clearly do work & have for years & the laws of physics do not vary with national boundaries this is clearly nonsense. A long investigation into whether it is possible to site a reactor on the Hunterston site is equally pointless. The actual building should take another 4 years. With Hunterson due to close in 2011 we need a replacement in 4 year. The solution is obvious & still perfectly feasible. Even now unnecessary fuel poverty kills 24,000 UK pensioners a year but if we have massive midwinter blackouts the carnage will be unthinkable.

In the circumstances those members of all parties who say we can get by without new credible power sources (i.e. ones which actually form the baseload of any nation anywhere in the world - this does not mean windmills of "clean coal") should publicly repeat the SLDs guarantee they will not allow blackouts due to high demand & low supply. At least then we make properly demand that when the inevitable power cuts come they resign their seats & make way for somebody who places competence above political correctness. Of course by then it will be to late to save 100s of thousands of lives.
I have yet to have any letter published which refers to my terminated membership of the Lib Dems. This may be a coincidence.

The second one was a response to correspondence in the Herald about America's role in the war & how they expect everybody to be eternally grateful for it. The writer produced a listing of other participants which did not include Yugoslavia. I am sure no deliberate slight was intended it is merely that when, over many years, the media forget to notice an event it tends to slip out of public memory.
In Ian Mitchell's listing of countries which joined us in the fight against Nazism, other than the US whose continual cries for gratitude he correctly despises, he forgets a very important one. The people of Yugoslavia rose against their own government when it appeared to be making an accomodation with Hitler. Germany was thus forced to turn her full power against Yugoslavia & Greece & thus put off the the invasion of Russia by one month, As a result Germany met their first defeat in the middle of winter beforre Moscow. This on its own changed the course of the war.

Their country was occupied & they fought with incredible bravery against their Nazi occupiers & various collaborators. As a result they, if Churchill is to be believed, held down more enemy troops than Britain & America combined up till D-Day. The Germans killed 2 million Yugoslavs, mainly Serbs. This Holocaust is ignored in western histories.

If the Americans expect to demand gratitude for their role in WW II they must also pay it to those they owe. Instead they have bombed & murdered the children of those who saved them (Milosevic's parents were well known Resistance heroes). The same applies to Britain who has betrayed the memory of our "finest hour" by bombing our bravest allies. Germany, of course, has shown more gratitude to their Nazi collaborators. So, sucking up to Germany, have we.
I can see that this is a perhaps somewhat of a rant & more importantly getting a bit off the topic which had been running in various letters. On the other hand I feel historical truth to be important. When I was young all our comics showed various Brits (usually called Dusty Miller or similar sobriquets) winning the war with the aid of the odd yank & Aussie. It was only in my teens that I learned the Russians (then the hated enemy) had even been in WW2.

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