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Saturday, November 18, 2006


I read Friedman's Free to Choose sometime in the mid eighties, knowing that he was a mouthpiece for the hated Thatcher& intending to seek faults. I was thoroughly impressed - the man was not a conservative he was a classic liberal through & through. I am still not convinced that in all cases a free market solution is best, or even practical but I was convinced by the way he repeatedly came up with cases of regulatory regimes/govenment ownership, initially produced to protect against monopolistic market failures, grew into massive bureaucracies that ended up first being infiltrated by the experts (who all had previously been employed by the controllers of the industry) & eventually ended up not even serving the bosses interest but merely that of the bureaucracy. That had a major influence on me. Indeed I think the rise of the USSR to world power & eventual death, strangled by its own bureaucracy can be explained in these terms.

Another part of the book I was heavily influenced, possibly not in the way intended, but possibly so, by his "proof" that the American Socialist party was the most influential party in 1930s US politics because while they stood steady for what they believed in the parties intent on power trimmed & thus moved ever towards their position ending up with things like Medicaid & Amtrak. Though I now strongly disagree with socialism & environmentalism I have to admire, & I think Friedman admired, those willing to work for a cause, even a wrong cause. As someone who would much rather achieve something in politics than be somebody I have found that reassuring.

When he said that being awarded the Nobel prize was not his greatest achievement he was confirming that he also preferred achieving something to being somebody. He succeeded.
Tennis with Milton

The World Turner
This encyclopedia and even-handed survey of the evidence on global warming
is a welcome corrective to the raging hysteria about the alleged dangers of
global warming. Moore demonstrates conclusively that global warming is more
likely to benefit than to harm the general public.
--Milton Friedman on T.G. Moore's Climate of Fear, 1998

Friedman - Wall Street Journal

Tim Worstall

Milton Friedman & Scientific Consensus

Brad DeLong

Friday, November 17, 2006


The news that Jack McConnell is willing to stand up to the treasury over corporation tax cuts is the best news for the Scottish economy for years. I never thought he had it in him. Perhaps his recent visit to Ireland may have opened his eyes.

This is certainly a great turnaround. For 3 years I tried to get the Scottish Liberal Democrats to at least discuss such a proposal & was eventually expelled, the party Executive having unanimously endorsed a report on me saying that such a proposal was "too right wing" to even think about (the founders of the original Liberal Party who were followers of Adam Smith must be spinning in their graves).

Last year, after the SNP came out for cutting corporations tax, the Scotsman published a letter from me (letter 25/3/5) saying the SNP were now "easily the most economically progressive party in Scotland and, while they may not appreciate the honour, in the United Kingdom".

Subsequently new SLD leader Nicol Stephen came out for a fairly token cut in business rates which was duly adopted.

Unfortunately the Tories have entirely failed to enter this debate though to be fair they did call for business rates cuts long before the SLD.

Ireland's success in going from 2/3rds our standard of living in 1989 to 40% better off is astounding & more noticeable in Scotland than Westminster.

Nonetheless this almost complete reversal of Holyrood political opinion shows how, by trying the job, our politicians are growing from posturing ex-councilors to real leaders.

It looks likely that next year's election will produce a Parliament committed to growth, perhaps with a Labour/SNP Executive, the Tories playing catch up & only the SLD & Greens (whose reaction to the business rate cut was to denounce it as showing "to much concern for growth") in opposition.

However to achieve Ireland's growth rate we need not just low corporation tax but also to reduce the regulatory thicket, particularly on house building, as they did.

To surpass Ireland we should allow the building of enough nuclear power stations to fully and cheaply satisfy demand. On this Jack has an advantage in that the Scottish Labour Conference, without being pushed by the leadership, has overwhelmingly supported more nuclear.

I must admit to feeling very very pleased at this. I can't say if my early appearance before this bandwagon started moving helped much but certainly I was there & I would like to think it did.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


From the Times not from Scottish papers or broadcasters
POLICE are investigating an apparent attempt to kill a son of Mohammad Sarwar, the Labour MP, in revenge for the politician’s role in bringing the racist murderers of a white schoolboy to justice.
Senior officers believe associates of three Asians, jailed for life last week for the murder of Kriss Donald, 15, blew up a BMW in the car park of the family’s cash-and-carry business.

The attack took place five days before the men were brought back to Britain from Pakistan, and the BMW was similar to the one owned by Sarwar’s eldest son, Athif, 28.

An earlier plot to kidnap the MP’s youngest son, Anas, 23, was foiled by detectives, and anonymous death threats were routinely made to the MP’s home and mobile phone. His constituency office in south Glasgow was vandalised.

Sarwar, the MP for Glasgow Central, was instrumental in bringing the killers to justice
So if this is true & while I don't have a high opinion of the media I can't see the Times making it up, why is this not reported?


In reply to letters from Roy Turnball & Canon Kenyon Wright disputing that there was an lack of scientific consensus over global warming I sent this relatively long response:
A "consensus", scientific or otherwise means that there is broad unanimity. Thus, despite Roy Turnball's protests (letters 9th Nov.), the fact that 17,100 scientists in the Oregon Petition have said that "Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful" (CO2 helps plant growth) there cannot reasonably be said to be unanimity for the opposite view. The statement clearly goes much further than Mr Turnball's claim that it only denies "catastrophic" warming, rather than "harmful" warming. Anyway since we are spending $400 million worldwide on Kyoto every single day & much more if, as intended, it is followed by a more severe treaty, I think we are entitled to expect something more than aleviating some harm & some benefits. He also objects that it is possible that some of the scientists work for oil companies, which, on a statistical basis is probable, but must be far fewer than those who work for governments, such as Blair's, which have already decreed the science to be "settled".

In fact it has been regularly commented on, that a disproportionate number of public sceptics are emeritus professors - that is no longer susceptible to threats to salary or grants.

Canon Kenyon Wright's letter is even more certain of the existence of "scientific consensus" on warming. Indeed it is noticeable that those loudest in claims of a scientific consensus are politicians, journalists & indeed theologians but the existence of this petition & organisations such as the very emminent Professor Singer's SEPP proves that the consensus, as with so many consensii, is only in the media.

More important than the opinions of the "great & good", more important even than the opinions of scientists, are the facts & it is a fact that since 1999 the world has not got warmer, that it is not now warmer than in the Medieval warming period & cooler than in the Late Roman, that sea levels are still only increasing at about 0.6mm a year as they have since the last ice age, that Antarctic ice is increasing & that the Hockey Stick theory of a sudden sharp increase has been shown to be mathematically flawed in that whatever figures are fed in out pops the same prediction, That it took an independent sceptical researcher to actually check the maths after the IPCC had been using it for years is not indicative of "scientific illiteracy" being on the sceptical side.

Finally the Canon concludes with a plea that even if warming can't be proved we should take drastic action on the "precautionary principle". Of course under this same principle we should be currently forced to take equally drastic action to protect us from global cooling which used to be the "environmentalist's" bête noire. To be fair, this would not be as impossible as it sounds since their patent remedy for an ice age was ending air flights, pollution & modern technology generally - exactly the same as their remedy for warming. In fact the "precautionary principle", in its current extreme form, once defined by the late Sir Humphrey Appleby as "while many things should be done nothing should ever be done for the first time" is merely the institutionalisation of Luddism (& civil service practice) & should be treated with the greatest suspicion.

The climate has always moved up & down, up normally being better, & governments or the "great & good" who wish to panic us into more restrictions & higher taxes are doing us no favours.
Though they did not publish it they have had shorter (or shortened)responses from Martin Livermore of the Scientific Alliance on Saturday & Dr G M Lindsay today both of which were sensible.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


" When people sue for defamation they have to use their own money, so why should North Glasgow Housing Association be any different?
It's a lovely thing, free taxpayer money."
North Glasgow Housing Association Ltd is reported to be threatening their tenants with court action using Tax Payers Money for alleged Defamation of Committee members and Staff. The Association now wants their law abiding tenants to stop speaking to this web site.

Tenant Mr. Quinn said he received a letter from the association’s lawyer where NGHA did not want him to speak to anyone connected with this web site, which is hosted in the United States of America and protected under the first Amendment, freedom of Speech. Mr. Quinn said NGHA are violating his human rights and he would be lodging a complaint with the Justice Minister and the Lord Advocate.

I can't believe how they can continually get away with throwing Tax Payers money down the toilet like this. Tenants get substandard repairs, NGHA claim they don't have the money to replace bathrooms, security doors that are falling apart and are Not investing enough money to tackle their increasing rat infested properties

John Quinn, the former owner of this website is being evicted from his house not for any sort of anti-social behaviour but because of the website which raises complaints against the Association.

Complaints such as that of drug dealers getting double glazing & ordinary tenants having to put up with rats.

John Quinn, or whoever, should be commended not evicted. If there were more people willing to make an effort for their community rather than show the propdeferencence to Labour's apparatchiks Glasgow would have better housing & more importantly, better communities.

PS For an amateur site he runs a very professional site. I certainly couldn't do it.


This is a comment I put on a Discussion on Techcentralstation which I realised I hadn't mentioned before. I have always though that Turkey was not culturally part of Europe & would only cause problems as a member but hadn't actually worked out the problem inherent in population growth:

The US wants Turkey in the EU because it helps keep them tied in to NATO but the disadvantages which acrue to the EU countries alone are same that the US would have with union with Mexico.

Not only has Turkey got 72 million people, making it marginally smaller than Germany, it has a growth rate of 1.13%
which means that it will be up to 144 million by 2070.

Since it is far poorer than all other members & is the only solidly Moslem one the problems should be obvious. The fact that turkey, overwhlmingly, is in Asia rather than Europe is a, relatively, minor consideration.

Monday, November 13, 2006


This from today's Independent
Tony Blair faces a major Commons revolt over his refusal to commit Britain to annual cuts in the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

The opposition parties and more than 200 Labour MPs have demanded that the Climate Change Bill, which will be announced in this week's Queen's Speech, include a promise to reduce C02 emissions by 3 per cent each year.

But the Prime Minister is resisting the demands, insisting that annual legally-binding targets would be too inflexible. He argues that without "pretty heavy" tax measures an unusually cold winter would scupper hopes of achieving that year's planned reduction.
Without a compromise, the Government looks certain to trigger a rebellion on a scale that could wipe out its majority.

This may well being the Indie flying a kite since their editorial position on everything Luddite is well known however if the Tories were to grab the bait the government could well be forced to give in or defeated.

Bearing in mind the obvious public disquiet about Stern & its costs & open opposition from such luminaries as Nigel Lawson the long term risks to the Tories of putting their feet so firmly on the plank of global warming could be very damaging if either no other countries follow suit or global temperatures do not resume an upward trend (or even fall) . We already have the Tories & Labour switching places on the nuclear issue & could now see them absolutely committed to sharply increased CO2 taxes leaving Blair looking the more moderate. There has always been a suspicion that Cameron's commitment to Greenery was because it must be electorally advantageous because everybody else is doing the same. However, while everybody makes noises about being in favour of having an environment, when asked what is the most important issue, let alone whether they want to pay, there is a noticeable lack of enthusiasm. The Tories may be in danger of enthusiastically seizing the lead on "environmentalism" just at a time when the crowds are shuffling in other directions leaving them only leading the uncertain support of the media types who pushed it in the first place.

I think they would be wise not make common cause with Michael Meacher & the usual suspects here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Road V Rail


Green taxes

Civil Service incompetence

Dinosaur killer

EU letter

Stern report



GM foods

Council Tax revaluation


Minister fail Green test

When I would support independence

Diferential population growth




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