Saturday, January 21, 2006
In defending the British Wind Energy Association [from accusations of "fiddling its numbers" ] Richard Ford (12th jan) has produced some misleading numbers. While it may be true that windmills produce power 75/80% of the time they don't produce very much.[ The energy generated is proportional to the cube of wind speed so a 12 mph wind produces only a very nominal 1/8th of a 24 mph wind.]___________________
His statement that wind is free, while true, ignores the fact that that windmills are so expensive & inefficient that it ends up twice as expensive as most alternatives.
Gary read this email out on Radio Scotland on Friday during a discussion about global warming. I think that with Bliar having quietly decided to ditch Kyoto the BBC have noticed that the party line has changed. One of the guests was Benny Pieser whose CCN is blogrolled here. By comparison a few months ago Newsnight broadcast what they described as a report on the non-catastrophic side of the GW debate which had 2 x 10 second soundbites from sceptics & the rest was rubbishing them.
The actual evidence for global warming, as opposed to computer models which are only as good as the assumption programmed into them, is very limited indeed.___________________
On the other hand we know that the world has been warmer than it is today, around 1200 & in the late roman period when grapes grew in York without catastrophe, indeed both periods were relatively prosperous.
This letter was unpublished by the Herald. I am rather sorry about that since it left Alex Salmond's letter uncriticised. The SNP policy of playing up to the luddites over nuclear is pure populism, even if now no longer particularly popular, & unworthy of a serious alternative government.
I would like to defend the English from the charge of improperly providing even more subsidies to a putative London windfarm than to one in Northern Scotland (Alex Salmond letter 13th Jan). The answer is hysteresis. Transferring electricity hundreds of miles loses energy & since London uses more electricity than northern Scotland electricity generated there is de facto less useful.This letter was also unpublished. In this case I am largely going over old ground in response to Mr Robertson doing the same. Unfortunately with neither this nor the last letter published the figure of 1.5p a unit for French & Canadian nuclear electricity production is still unpublished - the link showing foreign nuclear costs (in cents) is provided at the end.
As the entire windfarm industry depends on us providing massive subsidies the market principle has already been waived but the villains here are the laws of physics not of Westminster.
Mr Salmond is correct when he attacks Ofgem as having acted as "apparatchiks" for politicians in bringing about the entirely unnecessary energy crisis we are now facing (& the worse to come). Indeed it is the failure of the entire political establishment to allow the creation of new nuclear reactors rather than choose the "dash to gas" which is responsible for this crisis. A crisis which is much more serious for Scotland not only because so much more of our power comes from reactors due to close but because, again due to hysteresis, Scotland cannot make much use of the French nuclear power (produced at 1.5p a unit & sold at much more) which already provides 5% of UK electricity & keeps the south of England safe.
Unfortunately he has been one of those selfsame politicians who assumed that windmills will work if they just believe in them strongly enough. I have elsewhere* credited the SNP with having adopted a modern & progressive economic policy to achieve Irish style growth but their current energy policy remains driven by doctrine rather than reality & would be disastrous for Scotland.
* letter in the Scotsman last spring but we need not go into that
Mr Robertson doubts (letter 29/12) there is a difference between the maximum proportions of electricity generators can produce & their average rate. Nuclear does produce, at a low marginal cost, at its maximum rate for nearly 24/7 whereas windmills (granted I use an extreme example) work only an average of 28% capacity. It follows with inevitability that if nuclear represents 37% of installed capacity it is going to produce a much higher amount of the end product.
In another letter* he doubts the Royal Academy of Engineering figure of 2.3p per unit of nuclear electricity as being incorrectly low. Readers may be interested to know that France & Canada, among others, produce electricity at around 1.5p a unit (Uranium Information Centre figures). These countries use modern off the shelf reactors unlike our 40 year old bespoke ones. Should we decide to do something to replace the 2/3rds of our production (some coal & all nuclear) due to close in the next 15 years we could do the same.
Ref International nuclear costs in cents http://www.uic.com.au/nip08.htm
Thursday, January 19, 2006
One hundred drunk and disorderly “youths” from the “sensitive neighborhoods” outside of Marseille were let loose in a train carrying revelers from Nice to Lyon via Marseille. They vandalized the train, terrorized the passengers, stole from them, sexually assaulted several young women, made convincing death threats and, when all these wicked deeds were done, pulled the emergency brake and jumped the train on the outskirts of Marseille.Interesting that it took several days for the French media to report it. You wouldn't catch our media hiding a story like this.
It took several days for the story to break. Apparently management of the state-owned SNCF railway system and local police officials thought they could avoid bad publicity by keeping the information to themselves. Even more surprising: no local journalist scooped the story, no eyewitnesses came forward to reveal it, the media blissfully announced that New Year’s Eve had been surprisingly calm -- only 425 cars torched and 13 gendarmes injured -- that the state of emergency was lifted.
The news broke on the 4th: 600 passengers returning at dawn from Nice to Lyon were terrorized for three hours by a gang of “youths.” As the bare details filtered through several layers of protective screening, it became clear that a major clash of civilizations…in fact a head on crash of civilizations had taken place on the 1st day of the year 2006. Joyful partygoers on the star-studded Riviera were delivered into the hands of a hundred drunken marauders.
Every official involved in the incident behaved stupidly, no one communicated, no one took responsibility, and the result would be comical if it were not so ominous. The train was not hermetically sealed. The conductor’s cabin was not occupied by terrorists armed with box cutters. There are all sorts of stations between Nice and Marseille. Though the hoodlums stole cell phones, several hundred remained in the hands of their owners. And the ordeal went on for hours.
Here, as far as one can gather without having been in the train, is what happened:
Police shoved a hundred drunken rowdies into regional train N° 17430 that was carrying 600 passengers home at dawn on the 1st of January. The SNCF had been running a promotional New Year’s Eve fare of 1€20 since 2001. The idea was to save lives by discouraging people from driving after partying all night. Civilized idea, n’est-ce pas? For the rest of the voyage, imagine a 1950s French comedy on the Riviera combined with a slapstick version of a medieval jihad raid.
The term here is anarcho-tyranny - where the forces of law & order will not act against toughs (it was the police who put them on the train) but will act against law abiding people who are not going to fight back (pub owners will not let people smoke because they can be done by the police & Nick Griffin is more likely to be the victim of a lynch mob than the leader so it is all right to charge him with saying that 2nd generation moslems might do things like this or even set off bombs).
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
IRISH GROWTH - RIDDOCH'S RADIO PROGRAMME
Thanks that was pretty neat.
The introduction,particularly, deserved a BAFTA "Listener Neil Craig this is what you asked for - Ireland has been growing at up to 9% a year whereas we manage about 1.5%. Clearly they are doing something better than us & it might be worth saying what" - of course I may be biased.
Clearly I would have wished to see the entire programme taken up with everybody repeating low business taxes work but I can see that after 20 minutes that might wear.
The fact that the best your Scottish government representative could come up with was to say repeatedly that our big companies represent a larger proportion of our economy than Ireland's, shows how desperate he was. That is actually a bad thing since small companies are historically proportionately much more innovative than large ones (Nokia & Microsoft started as small companies) & also because big companies can move to eastern Europe more easily & when a big one folds the reverberations are so much bigger.
We need more start ups but to do that we need to have starting up a new company financially rewarding, at least moreso than joining the civil service.
How about asking someone like Ivor Tiefenbrun of Linn Electronics in some time to get his opinion of the Scot Executive attitude to business. (You may prefer to record it since he will not be gentle)
You asked if the Finns are beating us all. Despite the fact that the Finns have an extremely good educational system, are always at the top of the listing of the world's least corrupt countries, & have very low barriers to competition the Finns aren't beating the lot of us by much but the Estonians are - they both speak basically the same language but the Estonians have lower business tax.
MORE - MY "DEFENCE" STATEMENT
I note that, despite our correspondence & my request, you have not produced any examples of my alleged "illiberal" comments, though you had asked for my defence to be produced today. In the circumstances since obviously there is no case to answer I think we may now consider the matter ended. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who contacted you to ask that you state my specific alleged offence before finding me guilty of it.
While this has not been a comfortable event it may turn out to have been useful in clarifying ideas. I was interested to see that on Sunday AM Menzies Campbell stressed the need for adhering to classic principles of the last 100 years (I would have said 200). It is important that political groupings do not forget their roots The values they held to when they grew to the height of their popularity are likely to be good ones. While times & technologies do change & the individual can do things in the era of the internet & space tourism which were not possible in the days of the stagecoach, modern policies should be built on proven roots. Neither the leaders of the Labour or Tory parties appear to retain any link to their roots & if we understand liberalism that is all to the good.
In that spirit I ask you to circulate this statement, including the following extract from my previous correspondence, within the party executive & to those who have enquired.
"I have written in favour of nuclear power, of growing our economy by the methods recommended by Adam Smith & against illegal war & the censorship of the mass grave of 210 bodies at Dragodan created by our KLA allies during the period of & within the UK occupation zone, but I dispute that any of this can properly be described as "illiberal" - quite the opposite..........
I wish to quote from Mr Kennedy's resignation speech, since it shows understanding the party will dearly need in the future:
"there is a genuine debate going on within this party -
somewhat crudely caricatured at times as being in rather redundant terms as between left and right; in rather simplistic terms as between social liberals and economic liberals; in rather misleading terms as between traditionalists and modernisers.
I have never accepted that these are irreconcilable instincts - indeed, quite the opposite.
And I believe that unity remains fundamental to our further advance and success.
It should be a debate driven by ourselves.
It must not be allowed to become dictated by others who do not share our long-term hopes and goals.
We must stand and argue - politically independent and intellectually self-confident.
And it must be based on time-honoured, sound philosophic liberal principles - principles which have stood the test of generations and remain not just as relevant to but even more essential in British politics today.
The leadership personalities change from time to time in politics, but principles should not. Civil liberties; justice and rule of international law;"
If we accept that free trade & the principles of Adam Smith also form part of these time honoured principles along with the already mentioned respect for international law then it must be obvious that I have been in no way "illiberal" & I do not think that anybody who knows history could dispute that. Everything I have written has been according to liberal principles & I stand by them.
I firmly believe that it is in the interest of the party to stand for liberal values & particularly for the individual against the state (nanny or otherwise). The other 2 parties are fighting, like WW1 generals, over every nuance of ground of the statist wing of the "left right dispute" - we should stand for the individual not the state & when that means, as it will, that some policies can be portrayed as "left" & some as "right" we should not let ourselves be drawn into that outdated political morass."
PS Since the concept of a graphic depiction of views on both a left/right & individual/state basis rather than the linear left/right depiction is not widely understood may I recommend the website http://www.politicalcompass.org/ where anybody can assess their political position. There are several such sites but this appears to be the original. You may be surprised to learn (I was & a little disappointed) that I registered an excessively moderate 0 on the left/right scale & 1 towards the individualist side of the state/individual scale.
To which I received this somewhat surprising reply which indicates that they still refuse to say whatI have done.
Dear Mr. Craig,
Thank you for your E-mail received today.
After the E-mail I sent to you with the relevant section of the Party's
constitution I discussed with the Convener of the Party your request for
Her view was that I should not send you anything further. You had been
informed of the decision taken at the Executive, been given a copy of the
constitution and been told that the grounds for your expulsion were
"postings on your web site and letters to the press regarded as illiberal
and irreconcilable with membership of the Party." This was all the
information the constitution required you to be given other than the
opportunity of making a written submission as to why the Executive should
not proceed with expulsion.
I am presuming that the E-mail received from you to date is that
There is no opportunity within the constitution for you to appear before
the Executive personally. The opportunity for you to appear personally
will only arise if the Executive expels you from membership and you lodge
an appeal with the Party's Appeals Tribunal.
In an example of serendipity which I wouldn't believe if it was in a story I have just received this email from Norman Fraser, the person who proposed my expulsion!
Well... He is off his head I think. I do not think that this will improve his chances of retaining his membership much.
Thanks for forwarding this. I have asked Helen for a time for Saturday and will get back to you when she replies.
Perhaps so Norman but at least I am able to send my emails to the right address.
Monday, January 16, 2006
However it looks like one side or the other is uncomfortable about the deal. Gotovina is shockingly suggesting that the US government is as guilty as he of the Krajina Holocaust. Longtime readers here will be aware that this has been obvious for years but Gotovina is certainly able to name names & give details which will make it more difficult for the "court" to ignore, though the same does not apply to the BBC. At the time I wrote a letter (unpublished) to the Herald pointing out that the fact that Operation Storm involved a 3 pronged speedy night attack very closely coordinated with artillery proved it could not be run by untrained militia.
The CIA secretly planned operation 'Storm', which took place in August 1995, at the Sepurine military base, near Adriatic port of Zadar,with the knowledge of then-US president Bill Clinton and top Croation leaders.
Globus said it obtained the information from the defence team of general Ante Gotovina, who was arrested last December on charges of having committed crimes against Serb civilians in the operation “Storm” and is awaiting trial before the UN's Hague war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
According to Globus, George Tenet, who later became CIA chief, had “directly” worked with Gotovina on planning operation “Storm”. The paper alleged that Clinton wanted to punish the Serbs
Tenet and at least 12 American military experts had worked with Gotovina in Sepurine, planning military action that resulted in the fall of Krajina. The Americans had, among other things, jammed Serb communication systems and conducted reconnaissance flights for the Croats, Globus said.
Legally, if the term applies, the ICTY are required to indict all those guilty of war crimes. When Milosevic asked Wesley Clark about the legality or otherwise of NATO's attack (Clark was already on record as saying it was illegal but so what) the judge told him he wasn't allowed to ask such questions & quite possibly Gotovina will be told he isn't allowed to give such evidence.
One minor problem is that the statute of the ICC makes it a criminal offence to run a "trial" on a partisan or racist basis. There can be no doubt that Carla del Ponte & indeed Scotland's own corrupt racist judge Lord Bonamy are guilty of this. Still in a world where that obscene genocidal child raping Nazi Bill Clinton still get fawned over by politicians & journalists who do know better justice does not seem to loom.
SUNDAY AM - CAMERON & CAMPBELL
"This is the decisive moment Mr Cameron. What do you prefer to be called? Dave or David." Andrew Marr started with.
"Well my wife calls me Dave but lots of my friends call me David" Cameron decisively replied.
We then got a lot of stuff about how he is in favour of niceness without being extreme about it. He is also in favour of streaming according to aptitude but not ability. When asked the difference he explained that the 11 Plus was abad thing.
Surprisingly he actually supported, subject to various policy reviews etc., nuclear power. He is also in favour of using biofuels to replace oil, which won't work because you'ld have to cover half the planet with oilseed plants & anyway you use more energy growing them than you save.
Menzies Campbell, on the other hand was trying to distance himself from a recent interview which suggested he was going to lead the party from the left. he made the fair point that just because you are against poverty doesn't make you left wing & then said how important it is to hold onto traditional liberal values which have served us so well for the last 100 years (I would say 200 since we have been out of power since the end of WW1). He then followed this sensible statement by saying that his priority was "environment, environment, environment" (echoing Blia's soundbite of "education, education, education". however since, unlike Cameron, he didn't have any silly policies to go with this I think that, as someone who has only shown interest in foreign policy before, he is looking for something to stand on rather than meaning it. Lets hope so since apart from the claim that all the glaciers are going to melt real soon & we will all have to move to Antartica as the only habitable point on Earth there is very little visibly wrong with the environment, unlike ecucation.