Monday, February 23, 2009
A ROUND UP OF UNPUBLISHED LETTERS
25th Nov to Scotsman
I see Councillor Debra Storr says that her expulsion from the Liberal Democrats *19th Nov) showed the party is "increasingly intolerant & illiberal" for wanting rid of her because she has been involved in trying to prevent the people of Aberdeenshire getting thousands of jobs & £1 billion of local investment.
A few years ago she was part of the party Executive & voted for my expulsion on the grounds that I supported lower taxes as a stimulus to growth & felt we need nuclear power if we wish to keep the lights on. This was officially "illiberal" & "too right wing" to even think about. As part of the Executive's evidence of wrongdoing, they said that the reason the party had refused to debate tax cutting at conference was because my motion had been badly drafted. Ms Storr concurred despite the fact that the final draft of the motion had been made, at my constituency's request, by Ms Storr herself, since she was officially the expert in the legalese required for such motions.
In due course I was expelled, in duer course the SNP adopted a similar policy of Irish style tax cuts & won the election (though I regret they have made little move to carry it out). Just this summer Nick Clegg & subsequently Tavish Scott promised that as soon as they took power they would cut taxes, this now being a "liberal" principle.
My commiseration's to Ms Storr for having to suffer Liberal Democrat illiberalism.
4th Dec Scotsman
The letter from Patrick Harvie of the Green Party saying his party has no responsibility for fuel poverty is at variance with the facts. Firstly he claims that his party wants to spend £100 million on insulation. This would only be a useful contribution if his party were willing to say that they intended to raise this mony by raising Scottish income tax by 0.5p or some similar method.. In any case £100 million will barely buy half an hours insulation fitting time for each of us. He cannot honestly say this will reverse the effects of recent price increases.
Secondly Mr Harvie says that to cut prices we must go from oil & coal to "renewables". Previous discussion in these columns has proven that nuclear power at 1/3rd of the cost of oil is 1/10th that of windmill electricity. Is Mr Harvie so ignorant of the prime policy his party stands for as to be unaware of this?
Of course this whole campaign is based on the claim that we are currently suffering from catastrophic global warming. As the leader of the only party to stand in the last election expressing scepticism on that question & calling for a 3p cut in income tax paid for by ending windmill subsidies (& ignored by the entire media) may I point out that the fall in global temperature over the last decade is such that it is now back to where it was when James Hansen started the scare by promising a 1 C rise by today.
11th Dec Scotsman
Congratulations to the Scottish government on spotting that the current Forth Bridge can be repaired, as many people said a couple of years ago, & that a new bridge can be built for £2 billion. The cost of the first bridge was £19 million which, adjusting for inflation, is £320 million.
Now if only they would notice that the Norwegians, who have been cutting tunnels for decades & the engineers who cut the tunnels at the Glendoe power station, could produce a Forth crossing for tens of millions.
13th Dec Scotsman, Herald, Sunday Times
The annoyance that Labour has released inaccurate figure of knife crime is widely reported. Should there not be equally disapproval of their claims that they are doing their best in face of a "world recession." There is no world recession. According to a recent World Bank report the world economy is growing at 2.5% this year, down from 5% in previous years & expected to manage 0.9% next.
The recession is in Europe & America & possibly Japan. All countries where, not coincidentally, ever increasing government regulation is preventing the use of improved technology. "Environmentalists" have said that, for example, they support the EU purely because its overwhelming regulations can prevent the "continous economic expansion" they abhor. This non-worldwide recession is the triumph of government "environmental" policies & of those Luddites who have been telling us for years that we must make do with less. It is quite improper of the government to blame it on other nations, most of whom are not in recession.
15th Dec - Herald
Thanks to tom & William (letters Mondy) on giving figures for bridges, comparable to the Forth crossing, elsewhere in the May I also compare it with the current bridge.. The cost of the first bridge was £19 million which, adjusting for inflation, is £320 million.
Even better would be if our government would notice that the Norwegians, who have been cutting tunnels for decades & the engineers who cut the tunnels at the Glendoe power station, could produce a Forth crossing for tens of millions.
21st Dec - Herald
Because of the decline of the pound we should give up petrol & rely on windmill power according to Craig Potter (letter Monday). Has he not considered that the reason for the decline in the pound & in our economy generally is the vast amounts taken from the productive economy & handed out to favoured Luddite lobbies by government. It is a matter of record that our economy would be nearly twice its current size if we had maintained the rate of growth before the "environmentalists" started banning everything & that we would all be paying 1/4 of the present price for our electricity if we had nuclear plants instead of the £1 billion a year we waste subsidising windmills.
23rd Dec - Herald, Scotsman etc
Keeping the 2 Titians is going to cost over £220 million including both the money we will, involuntarily, pay for them & the tax on sales foregone. £10 million is being put up by the SNP government.
An X-Prize of £660 million ($1 bn) would be enough to stimulate designing & building a commercial spaceplane able to fly to orbit for a price comparable to flying to Australia. Since no payment is due if such a ship cannot be designed nobody can use the excuse that it won't work. The choice is stark - whether 2 Renaisance paintings are of more value than human progress. Since the money is forthcoming for this boondoggle but nothing for X-Prizes it is undeniable that those running this country have absolutely no interest in progress. Titian would not understand such philistines.
3rd Jan - Herald
I was very sorry to see the disgraceful letter from former Labour Councillor Bashir Maan on Friday. His letter is an explicit attack not merely on Israel but on Jews & a failure to denounce such words would indeed "bode ill for Jews all over the world" or at least in countries where such people have influence. May I ask where, over the last 8 years, were his call for attacks on Moslems for Hamas' unprovoked campaign of rocket attacks aimed purely at Israeli civilians? Had a prominent former member of the BNP been published by a newspaper calling for the "reviving" of attacks on citizens of Pakistani origin because of the Mumbai atrocity I think the authorities would, rightly, have been concerned about a breach of the law, but the parallel is precise.
The fact is that Israel is defending itself from people who, for 8 years have been launching attacks on their civilians & that it is Hamas, not Israel, which refuses to cease fire. Nonetheless Israel is making prodigious efforts to minimise civilian casualties, even though Hamas is using its own people as human shields. Compare & contrast this with the behaviour of NATO supported by the Labour party of which Mr Maan was a member & also the Liberal Democrats & Conservatives who participated in the genocide & ethnic cleansing of half a million Serbs from Croatia, a million from western Bosnia & 350,000 from Kosovo. Note their bombing was done to support unrepentant (ex-)Nazis publicly committed to genocide (many of them former members of the less attractive units of Hitler's SS). Under our authority they engaged not only in genocide but also child sex slavery & the dissection of living Serbian teenagers to provide organs for our hospitals. Note also that markedly unlike in Gaza, 80% of the people murdered in our government's criminal bombing were civilians. Such actions by our leaders obviously attract far less media attention than Israel's but the facts are indisputable.
Whatever the rights & wrongs of Israel's actions there are absolutely no circumstances in which any British politician who supported such actions is fit to cast the first stone against Israel. Mr Maan should, instead of threatening Jews; acknowlege the Israelis have shown so much more respect for human rights than our leaders.
& 6th Jan
I note the Herald has yet another letter from Bashir Maan today (Tues) following his previous one on Friday inciting "reviving & spreading anti-Semitism in the world". This indeed, as he said "bodes ill for Jews all over the world". Even more ill is that the Herald, having decided to publish this disgraceful threat, decided not to publish any letter disagreeing that pogroms in Britain were the way to go.
I think we can see why Israel wishes to defend itself rather than accomodating itself to the EU's convenience.
13th Jan - Scotsman (variants to others0
If "Paki" a diminutive of Pakistani is offensive but Asian, as in the BBC report "Asian & Chinese youths clashed..." is politically correct how does Scot as a diminutive of Scotsman (sorry Scottish person) work nowadays?
May we look forward to this newspaper being retitled the North Britain to avoid giving offense?
17th Jan - Herald
The long letter from "Stop Climate Chaos" (that used to be known as weather bases its demand for ever more restrictions on us, ever more subsidies & taxes & ever more expensive ways of doing anything on the claim that "Climate change remains the greatest threat to our societies. Arctic sea ice is melting beyond the point of no return."
"Climate change" is hysterical propaganda which makes Medieval witchburnings look rational. The rebranding from calling it global warming followed the failure of the globe over the last 10 years to warm, indeed it is cooling. Arctic ice coverage is increasing, ITN recently promised to have their camera crew follow Lewis Pugh as he canoed to the previously ice free North Pole & ceased coverage just before he was stopped by ice.
29th Jan - Scotsman
I have some difficulty in believing that a letter basing its thesis on the fact that the writer "cannot believe" plain facts (in this case that French electricity is less than 1/3rd of the cost here) & then repeating, without any attempt to produce evidence, that nuclear simply must be more expensive, whatever the evidence, was considered killing a few tree branches for. The evidence has been produced, in these columns, time after time & there is no factual doubt that nuclear electricity can be, because it is being, produced for 1.4p a unit & that windmills cost 10 times as much.
2nd Feb - Scotsman
As I look out my window at the snow I read "hundreds of millions of people in some of the world's poorest countries are already feeling the devastating effects of climate change" (or global warming as it used to be known) (Monday letter). Perhaps we should be told where this catastrophic warming is? Global temperature is declining & the scammers have been caught spending trillions of our money on this fraud.
3rd Feb Scotsman
Once again Professor Salter has produced a dubious figure in the nuclear debate in his letter today (Tuesday). Previously he asserted that my figure of 1.3p per kwh for French nuclear was "dishonest" & produced his own (letter 25th Oct). It turned out that my figure was correct (& a tenth that of windmills) & his mistaken. Now he admits that nuclear is lower in CO2 production than conventional power, but only by 3 fold. He does not say where this figure came from but it is certainly not undisputed. A conventional calculation from the University of Wisconsin College of Engineering shows that for every 10 tons on CO2 produced by nuclear power, gas releases 469 & coal 974. Wind produces 14. http://www.fusion.org.uk/socioecon/Kulcinski1.pdf p 16
Of course if the present cooling of the globe, due to lack of sunspots, continues we may soon expect the antinuclear movement to be demanding no more nuclear plants because they produce insufficient CO2 needed to offset the threat of a new ice age. Environmentalists, like James Hansen, were keen on this threat 3 decades ago & it now looks a more likely catastrophe if one is needed
3rd Feb - everybody
The great & good have decided to spend £50 million on the first of two 500 year old Italian paintings. It would cost us only 7 times that much for an X-Prize that delivered a fleet of space planes able to make Earth orbit available at a cost comparable with a flight to Australia. Alternately it would cost zero for an X-Prize that didn't work - that being the nature of prizes that aren't won. Does it not show how far from intellectual endeavour & into a new dark age we have already fallen that there is money for ancient trophies but not for new triumphs?
5th Feb - several
It seems that government spending is now 50% of the UK economy & rising (probably approaching 60% of Scotland's). This section is very largely unproductive, indeed since regulations cost the citizen £20 for every £1 spent on enforcing them it is likely that the net economic value of government is well under zero. Does anybody really think it is possible to get out of recession let alone ever have a successful country struggling along in this one lunged fashion? Does anybody doubt that if we invested the £200 billion, above the inflationary increase, that the budget has risen in the last 12 years we would not only not be facing Depression but growing as fast as India & China still are?
6th Feb - everybody
The Greens insulation pork barreling will be wasted on hotlines, civil servants & piles of forms to be filled in & would have been even more wasted had they got even more of our money to play with. It is cynical of the Greens to pretend they care for helping the poor & even moreso to pretend they want to rebuild the economy by ever more government spending paid for by the remaining 40% of the Scots economy that isn't the government. I assume the Greens will not be happy till 100% of the economy is such government programmes.
If they really cared for the poor they would let them have nuclear electricity, at half the present price rather than seeking to double it with more windmills. If they truly believed in CO2 being responsible for the catastrophic warming we are all alleged to be sweltering under they would support nuclear which they know is the only practical method of producing power while reducing CO2. Of course they don't all they believe in is Ludditism & ensuring none of us ever again suffer from the "continuous economic expansion" we used to have.
7th Feb - Scotsman
Just as Professor Salter was selective in his previous choice of figures giving nuclear as only producing 3 times less CO2 than conventional sources, rather than several hundred times less & plain wrong when he accused me of "dishonesty" in saying that France produces nuclear electricity at 1.3p per kwh so he is again being selective in the figures he gives for the cost of decommissioning. He ought to know that the first ever reactor decommissioned at Shippingport in the USA cost $100 million (£70 m) to decommission. At that rate we could do all ours for under £3 billion. Anything above that is pure bureaucratic empire building.
The bottom line in engineering is that if something has been done at a particular cost then it is possible to do it again at that cost, irrespective of all the figures plucked from the air by politicians, or grant recipients, with an agenda.
12th Feb - Herald
We are told that Dutch MP Geert Wilders is to be banned from this country because some think his criticisms of Islam could "incite violence". How fortunate that the Herald showed more liberal standards when they decided to publish 2 letters from Bashir Mann during the Gaza fighting which provided justification for violence against British Jews. Unfortunate, however that you weren't liberal enough to also publish letters disagreeing with him.
19th Feb - Herald
The letter (Thurs) saying that we are going to run out of nuclear fuel by 2040 is out by a significant amount. It works on the assumption that the only uranium in the world is that, already proven, in mines currently in use. In fact uranium is not a particularly uncommon metal even near the surface of the Earth & further down has provided enough excess heat to keep most of the planet molten for 4 billion years. Some years ago Professor Cohen of Pittsburg calculated that merely by mining it from seawater (not the optimum source but for which figures are undeniable) we could get enough to keep our civilisation going for 5 billion years, at which time the Sun will have become a Red Giant. I think we have more urgent worries.
The entire anti-nuclear movement depends on the continuous repetition of scare stories such as that disposal of waste is difficult (in fact due to its small volume it is easy) or that it is dangerous (the safety record is orders of magnitude better than alternatives, even wind). All such scare stories have been disproven time & again. By comparison none of these Luddites are in the slightest worried about the 24,000 pensioners who die, unnecessarily, of fuel poverty each winter or the far greater number who will when the lights go out - unnecessarily because we could have unlimited nuclear electricity at the current French price of 1.3p a unit.
20th Feb - Herald
Regarding today's (Friday's) article on the SNP' enthusiasm for blackouts as the alternative to nuclear electricity perhaps consideration of the cost would be useful.
The UK produces 371 billion kwh of electricity a year. Taking our average production cost as 4p a unit(higher than coal or our nuclear but 1/3rd of windmill electricity) compared to the 1.4p a kwh France is producing its nuclear electricity at gives us an extra production cost of £9.6 billion. Retail cost must be about double that. Since France produces 44% more electricity than us with an economy & population almost exactly the same as ours & indeed with warmer weather we should assume that, if we had a free market in electricity production we would be producing at least 50% more. All in all that means our Luddite approach is directly costing the country £29 billion a year.
That makes no allowance for the loss of industry, due to our higher manufacturing costs, for example the current closing of the Llanwern steel plant because the nearby nuclear plant is closing.
Taking everything we have lost over the last 3 1/2 decades since France went nuclear we see the total direct costs come to £1 trillion in today's money. By comparison our economy amounts to £1.4 trillion annually, of which now only 50% (40% in Scotland) isn't government spending. This is not the sole reason for our economic woes but it is something we must change if we ever want success. I grant not everybody wants success - "green" politicians of every party have been ranting for years about how dreadful a growing economy is & it seems they have now achieved the paradise they wished.
So a relatively high ratio of unpublished to published letters. Partly because the Herald have publiched none of them & partly because letters sent to the London Press have not to the best of my knowledge been published the latter being not unusual. Also a zero score on letters about how to get out of the recession, supportive of Israel & about Dalgety Bay - the first of which I am surprised at since it seems a subject of some interest. The Herald's attitude to publishing Mashir Mann's anti-Jewish letters may have influenced their overall policy. The refusal to report the evidence that SEPA lied over Dalgety Bay is quite wrong.