Saturday, January 13, 2007
Warming dispute http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/letters.cfm?id=1923772006
Illegal war http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/letters.cfm?id=1929312006
Global catastrophe nonsense http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1928862006
We're Doomed, Doomed I tell you http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=26872007
Tomorow's World & Muffin the Mule http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=27872007
Pecking order of hatred http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=33722007
Afghan fight http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=34752007
Discussion of Brown leading to my rant against the Guardian/BBC over Bosnia
BBC accuracy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2006/09/hoping_for_the_best.html
Scottish airports http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=46592007
Robin Cook - burn in Hell http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/politics.cfm?id=47262007
First smoking arrest http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/politics.cfm?id=48022007
Windfarm lies http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/politics.cfm?id=48012007
"Dangerous" GM cows http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=52422007
British Space effort http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=52902007
Bosnian preparing terrorism is Europe!! http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=53382007
EU membership http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/letters.cfm?id=58782007
Friday, January 12, 2007
Sir Nicholas Stern made a revealing comment in his OXONIA lecture ofWhich rather suggests his area of expertise is in saying what governments want to hear. Regrettably I suspect the majority of "experts" in politics have similar talents.
January 2006: "in August or July of last year, [he] had an idea what the
greenhouse effect was but wasn't really sure". It seems that, starting
from a position of little knowledge of the issues, he has swiftly
espoused the official view of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction
and Research, on whose advice the Review relies heavily. But this Hadley
Centre picture of reality, though broadly in line with that of the IPCC,
is by no means universally held. Many of the specific claims that are
endorsed in the Review have been seriously challenged in the scientific
literature, while the text plays down the great uncertainties that
More from the same magazine & PDF
We conclude that the Stern Review is biased and alarmist in its readingObviously only those parts of the MSM who are in some way honest will be giving 1% as much time to this & other disproofs of Stern as they did to the original release. I predict that John Snow on C4 news who, on the day the report was released, said they were going to give full coverage to all sides & then introduced 3 people from various wings of catastrophe enthusiasm & zero sceptics will not be reporting it.
of the science. These and other related problems arise because the
Review has relied for advice almost exclusively on a small number of
people and organizations that have a long history of unbalanced alarmism
on the global warming issue. Most of the research cited by the Review
does not, on inspection, make a convincing case that greenhouse warming
constitutes a major threat that justifies an immediate and radical
policy response. Contrary research is consistently ignored, as are basic
observational facts showing that alarm is unwarranted. The Review fails
to present an accurate picture of scientific understanding of climate
change issues, and will reinforce ill-informed alarm about climate
change among the general public, the bureaucracy and the body politic.
HM Government will need to look elsewhere for a balanced, impartial and
authoritative review of the current climate change debate.
-- Robert M. Carter et al., World Economics, October-December 2006
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
"We've got to try and make the environment and climate change uplifting and fun and interesting ..."
Well it made me laugh ;-)
Methinks he is at last realising that popular though Greenery may be with the media spinmeisters (from among whom he is drawn) & political nannies generally it is playing increasingly badly with real people.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
The letter from Iain McMillan of CBI Scotland delineating the constitutional powers of Scotland was interesting. I agree with him that Holyrood could do far more to help economic growth (over the last 8 years its "contribution" has been a massive increase in regulation, a masive increase in the state sector & increased business rates, the latter being very slowly removed)) without going for corporation tax cuts. Nonetheless in criticising George Lyon for calling for such cuts he gives no actual reason why they should not also be made. If small moves, such as business rate cuts, will do a little good surely big actions are likely to do a lot. Certainly the case in Ireland, which he does not mention, is that corporation tax & regulatory cuts have lead to 16 years of 7% growth transforming them into one of the wealthiest countries in the world even ahead of the USA. Mr McMillan gives no reason why we cannot do the same & neither, it appears, can anybody else. So lets do something.This is the first time any newspaper, except the Glasgow West End Times, has reported my expulsion. I did include references to the previous Herald letters & their role in my expulsion when sending in this letter. It will be interesting to see if anybody in the party is willing to write in & defend their position - from previous experience I suspect not.
It is also good to see a Lib Dem MSP calling for corporation tax cuts. Such a change of heart is welcome, if barely credible. It is only a year since I was expelled from the Lib Dems for the political incorrectness of having had letters published in Scottish newspapers, including the Herald, calling for such corporation tax cuts & also for replacing our aging nuclear reactors. before the lights go out. The party executive unanimously voted that such positions were "to right wing" to even be discussed & "illiberal". Could it be that there is an election coming up?
9% Growth Party
This is also the first occasion when a newspaper has used the 9% Growth Party name in the address.
I am distinctly pleased with this letter since, with the exception of Yugoslavia, it touches most of my bases.
The CBI boss, Mr McMillan, has regularly appeared in letters opposing the question of corporation tax cuts & generally saying what a good job our traditional political leaders are doing. The problem with the CBI is that it is a group of established businessmen who enjoy a very cosy relationship with all governments. They quite actively do not rock the boat in a way which more entrepreneurial entrepreneurs would. This is unfortunate & a sign of something approaching crony capitalism.
Here is the original Herald article in which george lyon describes their conversion to liberalism.
At present, Scottish ministers set just one tax - business rates. Council tax is set by local authorities, and everything else is set at Westminster.
The LibDems want Holyrood to set at least corporation tax, income tax and inheritance tax.
George Lyon, deputy finance minister, said the increasingly bitter war of words between Labour and the SNP presented a "false choice" to voters between separation and the status quo. "We believe there is a middle way: more fiscal and legis-lative powers for the parliament to allow us to become a strong federal state, enabling us to become the new California."
He said Scotland could learn how to boost the economy from Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Golden State. Rich in creative and hi-tech industries, its 36 million residents have made it the sixth-largest economy in the world but it has remained part of a larger union.
"While the SNP cite the Isle of Man as their ambition for the economic future of Scotland, the Scottish Liberal Democrats would cite California. Californians don't need independence from the US to deliver economic growth and neither does Scotland.
"Scottish business doesn't want the uncertainty of Alex Salmond's separate state. They do want a thriving, ambitious economy."
The LibDem MSP for Argyll & Bute intends to put the proposal for more fiscal powers in the LibDem election manifesto.
"Scotland clearly has the potential to learn from California in the kinds of industries we want to see growing and developing, and in becoming a sustainable, high-growth economy."
Scottish businesses could tap into the experience and ambition of American's west coast by twinning with firms through Chambers of Commerce.
I happen to know that, shortly before I was expelled, a Lib Dem MSP was putting around a paper on further devolution for Scotland which included devolution of almost all taxes WITH THE EXCEPTION of corporation tax. The justification for this was not given.
The reaction of Jim Mather, SNP enterprise spokesman to this deathbed conversion was
Jim Mather, the SNP Shadow Enterprise Minister, gave a wry welcome to Mr Lyon's acceptance of the need for new powers, but said it was a pity it had taken the LibDems eight years to be forced into a change of heart.Iain McMillan's letter is here.
"However, Mr Lyon prefers to create a fantasy that Scotland could readily emulate California, when it would be much easier and more rewarding to emulate Norway, Iceland or Ireland who are among the most successful, most prosperous and the best places to live in the world according to the United Nations.
"After eight years of rudderless government, Mr Lyon would better serve his cause by producing a credible alternative."
Monday, January 08, 2007
Between 1988 and 2002, 900m sons were born to mothers in the developing world and a careful demographer could almost predict the trouble spots. In the decade leading up to 1993, on the eve of the Taliban takeover, the population of Afghanistan grew from 14m to 22m. By the end of this generation, Afghanistan will have as many people under 20 as France and Germany combined. Iraq had 5m people in 1950 but has 25m now, in spite of a quarter-century of wars. Since 1967, the population of the West Bank and Gaza has grown from 450,000 to 3.3m, 47 per cent of which is under 15. If Mr Heinsohn is right, then Palestinian violence of recent months and years is not explained by Israeli occupation (which, after all, existed 30 years ago) or poverty (the most violent parts of the Muslim world are not the poorest) or humiliation. It is just violence.Mr Heinsohn's point is not that the West is "outnumbered". Nor is it that a Malthusian battle for scarce resources is under way. In El Salvador, for instance, the explosion of political killing in the 1970s and 1980s was preceded by a 27 per cent rise in per capita income. The problem, rather, is that in a youth-bulge society there are not enough positions to provide all these young men with prestige and standing. Envy against older, inheriting brothers is unleashed. So is ambition. Military heroism presents itself as a time-honoured way for a second or third son to wrest a position of respectability from an otherwise indifferent society. Societies with a glut of young men become temperamentally different from "singleton societies" such as Europe's, where the prospect of sending an only child to war is almost unthinkable. Europe's pacifism since 1945, in Mr Heinsohn's view, reflects an inability to wage war, not a disinclination.In biological terms he is almost certainly right. Young men are aggressive by nature, we have all met some & many of us been young men & can confirm that they can be macho idiots. That is their evolutionary nature. Societies whose young men didn't fight aren't around any more. I would like to thing that that is no longer the case because a society's strength is in its education & technology but even so we should exercise care.
The point about Europe's pacifism & sending only children to war is clearly true. Mothers of 6 males in Gaza quite reasonably do not have the same reaction as British mothers who denounce Bliar for getting their boys killed in Iraq.
Such concern for individual human life is admirable & is in many ways what makes western civilisation admirable (though our concern for the lives of US pilots in the War in Support of Terror did not extend to children in Yugoslav maternity hospitals we were bombing) but it also makes occupation & "proportionality" in casualties a recipe for disaster. By comparison the occupations of Bosnia & kosovo have not caused military problems or terrorism by Serbs in Europe which may prove that if you are going to attack people low population growth Europeans will be the easy target.
Steve Sailer, whose highly intellectual blog I respect, has said that a further problem is that Islam accepts polygamy & thus produces a higher proportion of surplus males. I am not sure if this is significant, partly because I don't know what proportion of women in different societies enter polygamous marriages & partly because it does not seem to produce militarily undisciplined Mormons. Nonetheless it is a point.
The elephant in the room could be China which, due to its one child policy has a substantial surplus of young males. Fortunately China has never been a militarily aggressive culture & its recent behaviour compares very favourably with the various aggressions carried out by NATO countries.
In any case this makes me wish to discourage immigration here, with the possible exception of allowing largely or entirely female immigration. It also raises the question of whether we should recruit more overseas soldiers if we are going to invade other countries (but NEVER allow them to serve on British soil). Finally it suggests foreign aid should be slanted heavily to encouraging pre-conception family planning (abortion assures disproportionate boys).
Not nice but nasty facts don't disappear if you ignore them. By 2050, at present rates of population growth Yemen will have a larger population and a more aggressive population than Russia.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
" Kevin Hutchens (letter 31st Dec) says that because the government appointed advisor say global warming will result in a 3 degree increase that is proof of its reality.
This was the warning which the BBC described as his "strongest warning yet". He also earlier warned that in 2100 Antarctica would be "the only habitable continent" which implies something like a 30 degree warming.
If that is what passes for evidence among catastrophe enthusiasts perhaps we may look forward to somewhere between 0.3 & 0.03 warming before we get back to the next new ice age scare. In fact 5 of the years since 1998 have been cooler which does not seem to show a warming trend, let alone the spectacularly fast warming promised."
That they have allowed 2 letters both sceptical of catastrophic warming may be affected by the fact that recent online comments on warming stories have been overwhelmingly sceptical.
UPDATE ------ Jerry Pournelle has reprinted this letter on his site. His comment:
The warming may be real. The cause isn't so clear. But it's certain that the CO2 levels are up. We ought to be looking at ways to reduce CO2 (planting trees helps) without beggaring everyone. On the other hand, what we do should be reversible (cut down old trees and keep the wood available for burning if needed?).
Not that any such things will happen.