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Saturday, November 13, 2004

A Place to Stand

SPEECH TO SCOTTISH LIBERAL CONFERENCE 30/3/01 BY NEIL CRAIGSINCE THE PRINCIPLES IN THIS MOTION ARE SUCH THAT IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT FOR ANYBODY IN OUR PARTY OR EVEN THE LABOUR & TORIES TO DISAGREE I INTEND TO GO BEYOND THE AGREED MOTION.IN DECEMBER 1991 ALL THE E.U. STATES EXCEPT GERMANY VOTED AGAINST RECOGNITIONOF CROATIA AND BOSNIA BUT GERMANY, WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE BILDERBERG GROUP AND THE VATICAN, WAS ABLE TO LEAN ON EVERYBODY ELSE, THIS WAS DESPITE THE FACT THAT UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW (I AM REFERRING TO THE COMPACT OF MONTEVIDEO) NEITHER COUNTRY FULFILLED ANY OF THE THREE CONDITIONS REQUIRED FOR LEGAL RECOGNITION.THERE USED TO BE 581,000 SERBS (12% OF THE POPULATION) LIVING IN CROATIA.THEY ARN'T THERE ANYMORE.YUGOSLAVIA & SRBSKA HAVE 300,000 REFUGEES FROM CROATIA LEAVING 250,000 MISSING.THE UNITED STATES HAS ADMITTED TO HAVING SENT OFFICERS TO TRAIN AND DE FACTOLEAD THE CROATIAN NATZIS IN THE KRAJINA HOLOCAUST. THE U.K. FOREIGN OFFICE HAS REFUSED TO DENY THAT WE ALSO SENT OFFICERS. NATO ALSO PROVIDED SOME TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.INDEPENDENT EXPERTS ALMOST ALL AGREED THAT TO CREATE A BOSNIAN STATE WAS,DUE TO THE INTERMIXING OF COMMUNITIES, BOUND TO CAUSE AN INTERNECINE WAR LIKELY TO BRINGABOUT THE DEATHS OF HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE (290,000 IS THE CURRENT FIGURE).NOBODY SUGGESTS THAT ANY OF THE E.U. POLITICIANS INVOLVED IN THIS DECISION RECEIVEDDIFFERENT ADVICE FROM THEIR OWN EXPERTS.THE BOSNIAN MOSLEM LEADER MR IZETBEGOVIC HAS BEEN WIDELY STATED IN THE MEDIA TO BE A LIBERAL MINDED MAN TRYING TO CREATE A MULTI-CULTURAL STATE. IN FACT ITZEBEGOVIC IS KNOWN TO HAVE BEEN A MEMBER OF THE "YOUNG MUSLIMS" WHICH SUPPORTED THE NAZI OCCUPATION. TO BE FAIR I HAVE ONLY ONE SOURCE WHICH SAYS HE WAS ACTUALLY A MEMBER OF THE WAFFEN SS "HANDZAR DIVISION" WHICH COMMITTED GENOCIDE ON SUCH A SCALE THAT OTHER GERMAN UNITS COMPLAINED, BUT IT IS A MATTER OF RECORD THAT WHEN HE CAME TO POWER HE ESTABLISHED A BODYGUARD UNIT WHICH HE NAMED THE "HANDZAR DIVISION".IN 1970 HE PUBLISHED HIS BOOK ENTITLED " ISLAMIC DECLARATION "WHICH WAS REPUBLISHED AGAIN IN SARAJEVO IN 1990 IN IT HE MAKES A CLEAR AND RINGING STATEMENT:" THERE CAN BE NEITHER PEACE NOR CO-EXISTENCE BETWEEN THE ISLAMIC RELIGION AND NON-ISLAMIC SOCIAL & POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS".WE HAVE BOMBED VILLAGES AND SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT SERBSKA FOR THIS MAN & HIS CAUSE.WESTERN REPORTING OF THE YUGOSLAV WARS HAS BEEN UNIFORMLY SLANTED, THE CENSORSHIP OF MR IZETBEGOVIC'S VIEWS AND PAST IS BUT ONE EXAMPLE. ITN'S ACCIDENTALLY FAKED "CONCENTRATION CAMP" FILM IS ANOTHER.ALTHOUGH ITN WON THEIR LIBEL CASE, TO QUOTE FROM THE JUDGES SUMMING UP, & I AM CAREFULLY ONLY GOING TO QUOTE FROM THIS, NOT ONLY HAD ITN'S JOURNALISTS "CONTRADICTED THEMSELVES" ON OATH BUT LM MAGAZINE'S ALLEGATIONS OF FAKERY WERE "ESSENTIALLY TRUE" & EVEN MORE FRIGHTENINGLY HE SAID "THIS DOESN'T MATTER". ITN DID NOT FEEL ABLE TO ACT AGAINST THE ARTICLE'S ORIGINAL GERMAN PUBLISHER'S WHICH WOULD HAVE ENTAILED SUING UNDER GERMAN LAW.I WOULD LIKE TO THANK WWW.EMPERORS-CLOTHES.COM FOR REPORTING THIS CASE BETTER THAN THE BRITISH MEDIA HAS, AS WELL AS MAKING AVAILABLE A MASSIVE INDEX OF INFORMATIVE ARTICLES ON YUGOSLAVIA.WESTERN REPORTING ALSO UNCRITICALLY PUSHED MR IZETBEGOVIC'S CLAIMS ABOUT RAPE CAMPS (60,000 WOMEN ACCORDING TO HIM, 20,000 ACCORDING TO THE EU) BUT DID NOT REPORT THE SUBSEQUENT U.N. INVESTIGATION WHICH FOUND ONLY 126 CASES. IN A COUNTRY SLIGHTLY SMALLER THAN SCOTLAND, THIS SHOWS THAT SERB MEN, IN THE MIDDLE OF A WAR, HAVE SHOWN MORE RESPECT FOR MOSLEM WOMEN THAN BRITISH MEN STATISTICALLY SHOW BRITISH WOMEN.THE RAPE CAMPS STORY WAS ALWAYS LESS THAN CREDIBLE. IT IS A VARIANT ON PROPAGANDA HITLER USED AGAINST THE JEWS, SOUTHERNERS USED TO LYNCH BLACKS, BRITONS USED AGAINST INDIAN SEPOYS & INDEED, IN A MORE CIVILIZED FORM, GREEKS USED AGAINST TROJANS. IT IS AN ANCIENT & EASY LIE TO STIR UP RACE HATRED WITH & IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN PUSHED BY OUR MEDIA.AS FOR THE SERBRINICA "MASSACRE" (NOT THE MANY EARLIER ONES CARRIED OUT BY THE MOSLEM MILITIA ON LOCAL VILLAGES, OF WHICH YOU HAVEN'T HEARD). IT IS NOW KNOWN THAT 7000 SOLDIERS, WHO REACHED MOSLEM LINES WERE IMMEDIATELY SECRETLY TRANSFERRED ACCROSS THE COUNTRY. SO SECRETLY THAT EVEN THEIR FAMILIES DIDN'T KNOW. THIS HAPPENED WHILE MR IZETBEGOVIC WAS CLAIMING THEY HAD ALL BEEN MASSACRED. THERE IS IN FACT NO SERIOUS EVIDENCE THAT THIS "MASSCRE" EVER HAPPENED & QUITE A LOT THAT IT DIDN'T. THIS HAS NOT PREVENTED THE WAR CRIMES COMMISSION TREATING IT AS GENUINE, BUT THEIR RECORD IS, TO SAY THE LEAST, ONE SIDED. THEY HAVE ONLY POSTUMOUSLY ACCUSED MR TUDJMAN OF BEING THE "BUTCHER OF MOSTAR" WHILE, OVER KRAJINA, A NUMERICALLY FAR WORSE ATTROCITY THEIR PRIME INDICTMENT IS AGAINST THE KRAJINA LEADER FOR ATTACKING CROATIA. THIS IS PRECISELY EQUIVALENT TO CHARGING THE SURVIVORS OF THE WARSAW GHETTO WITH ATTACKING THEIR SS GUARDS. HE IS ACCUSED OF FIRING 1,REPEAT 1, ROCKET AT ZAGREB. THE SAME COMMISSION HAVE DECIDED THAT MSSRS. CLINTON, BLAIR & CO WHO FIRED THOUSANDS AT NORTHERN YUGOSLAV CITIES DID NOTHING WRONG.THE POSITION OF THE COMMISSION IS SLIGHTLY UNDERMINED BY THEIR FINANCING.SUCCESSFUL JUDICIAL SYSTEMS WORK ON THE PRINCIPLE THAT INTERESTED PARTIES SHOULD NOT MAKE A PAYMENT TO THE JUDGE. FOR THIS REASON WHEN IT WAS SET UP IT'S ARTICLES CLEARLY STATED THAT IT WOULD BE FUNDED BY THE U.N.. THE COMMISSION IS CURRENTLY BEING FUNDED BY, AMONG OTHERS, THE U.S. STATE DEPT. & BILLIONAIRES ASSOCIATED WITH THE BILDERBERG GROUP SUCH AS THE ROCKEFELLER TRUST & MR GEORGE SOROS.ON TO THE RECENT WAR OVER KOSSOVO. HISTORICALLY THE KLA HAD BEEN A VERY MINOR TERRORIST GROUP, LESS THAN 1/10TH AS DESTRUCTIVE AS THE I.R.A.. AFTER THE DAYTON AGREEMENT THEY BEGAN RECEIVING LARGE QUANTITIES OF MONEY, WEAPONRY & MILITARY EQUIPMENT, LIKE THE GERMAN UNIFORM PARKAS WORN IN A KLA PROMOTIONAL VIDEO. THE SOURCE OF THIS LARGESS HAS YET TO BE OFFICIALLY DETERMINED.IN JANUARY 1990, 2 MONTHS BEFORE GOING TO WAR FOREIGN SECRETARY ROBIN COOK TOLD PARLIAMENT THAT THE MAJORITY OF KILLINGS IN KOSSOVO WERE CIVILIANS KILLED BY THE KLA. THIS PROVES 2 THINGS. FIRSTLY, SINCE THE KLA WERE FAR WEAKER THAN THE YUGOSLAV ARMY & THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN THE AREA WERE ALBANIAN THE KLA, BUT NOT THE YUGOSLAVS, MUST HAVE BEEN DELIBERATELY KILLING PEOPLE ON A RACIAL BASIS (THIS IS TECHNICALLY KNOWN AS GENOCIDE). SECONDLY IT PROVES THAT THE CABINET KNEW THEY WERE GOING TO WAR SPECIFICALLY TO SUPPORT A CAMPAIGN OF GENOCIDE. SINCE NATO TOOK RESPONSIBILITY FOR KOSSOVO THE KLA HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO MURDER OR DISAPPEAR APPROXIAMATELY 3000 CIVILIANS OF ALL NATIONALITIES, INCLUDING ALBANIAN. THIS GENOCIDE HAS GONE LARGELY UNREPORTED. FOR EXAMPLE LAST AUGUST A MASS GRAVE OF 160 PEOPLE WAS DISCOVERED IN THE UK'S ZONE. THESE PEOPLE HAD BEEN MURDERED SINCE N.A.T.O.S OCCUPATION. THIS, THE SECOND LARGEST SINGLE MURDER CASE IN CONTEMPORARY BRITISH HISTORY, AFTER LOCKERBIE, HAS NEVER MADE EITHER THE BBC OR ITN NIGHTLY NEWS. THEY WOULD BOTH DENY THAT THEY PRACTICE CENSORSHIP. IF SO THEY HONESTLY BELIEVE MASS RACE MURDER CARRIED OUT WITHIN OUR AUTHORITY IS TO UNIMPORTANT TO REPORT. I HOPE THERE IS NOBODY AT THIS CONFERENCE WHO WOULD AGREE.I ASK YOU TO SUPPORT THIS MOTION. KILLINGS ARE CONTINUING IN KOSSOV AT AN AVERAGE OF 5 PER DAY. IF THE MOST WE CAN DO HERE TODAY CAN SAY IS TO SAY THAT THIS IS WRONG THEN THAT IS THE LEAST WE SHOULD DO.A FINAL WORD ON THE RECENT ATTACK ON MACEDONIA. THOSE WHO HAVE DEMONISED THE SERBS & MR MILOSOVIC AS AGGRESSIVE HAVE IGNORED HIS TREATMENT OF MACEDONIA. ALTHOUGH IT IS OBVIOUS MACEDONIA'S MOVE TO INDEPENDENCE OWES LESS TO AN OUTBREAK OF NATIONAL FEELING THAN TO THE E.U.'S ECONOMIIC BLACKMAIL MR MILOSOVIC DID NOT DISRUPT IT.TODAY WE HAVE AN INSTANCE OF A AN AGGRESSION PLANNED & LAUNCHED FROM N.A.T.O. TERRITORY AGAINST A FRIENDLY COUNTRY. THIS IS THE VERY DEFINITION OF A WAR CRIME. IF THE WAR CRIMES COMMISSION IS TO CLAIM THE SLIGHTEST SIMILARITY TO A JUDICIAL BODY THEY WILL ISSUE AN INDICTMENT AT LEAST AS QUICKLY AS THE ONE THEY ISSUED AGAINST MR MILOSOVIC IN RESPONSE TO N.A.T.O.'S ATTACK ON HIM.WHEN N.A.T.O OCCUPIED KOSSOVO WE HAD PREVIOUSLY UNDERTAKEN UNDER CLAUSE 1 OF THE HELSINKI TREATY TO "REFRAIN FROM ANY ACTION AGAINST THE TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY" OF YUGOSLAVIA. UNDER THE OCCUPATION AGREEMENT WE UNDERTOOK NOT ONLY TO MAINTAIN THE RULE OF LAW IN KOSSOVO BUT ALSO TO DISARM THE KLA.IF WE HAD KEPT OUR WORD ON ANY OF THESE 3 POINTS PEOPLE IN KOSSOVO & MACEDONIA WOULD NOT TONIGHT BE DYING.MOTION WORDING:War Crimes in Former YugoslaviaSince international law cannot properly be applied selectively on a racial basis and since indictments have been issued overwhelmingly against Serbs, this Conference calls on the War Crimes Commission for former Yugoslavia to report as a matter of urgency on: 1 whether there is evidence that the late President Tudjman of Croatia and members of his cabinet are criminally responsible for the ethnic cleansing of approximately 500,000 Serbs from ethnically Serbian territory seized by Croatian forces; 2 the fate of the large proportion of the people above who have not been recorded as arriving in Yugoslavia or Republika Srbska as refugees; 3 the 'disappearance' of over 2,500 persons from Kosovo since NATO took over responsibility for that territory together with the continuing involuntary migration of large numbers of Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, Macedonians and other minority ethnic groups; 4 the feasibility of prosecuting those KLA leaders involved in the large majority of killings in pre-war Kosovo; and 5 the identification and indictment of the leaders of the countries which, in clear violation of international law, supplied the KLA with vast quantities of weapons whilst they were an internationally proscribed terrorist organisation. THE MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY PASSED DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE LEADERS REFERRED TO IN PART 5 CERTAINLY INCLUDE BILL CLINTON & HELMUT KOHL. SCOTTISH PARTY LEADERSHIP HAS IGNORED IT.------------------------------------------------This is a letter I sent to my MP on 12/10/01 Ann McKechin MP House of Commons Westminster Dear Mrs Mckechin I am writing to you to ask you to take a stand on a matter of human rights. I was present at your hustings meeting when you said that as a matter of principle you were still opposed to nuclear weapons. I hope you will be equally opposed to genocide. In the last 2 1/3 years the KLA in Kossovo have been permitted to murder & disappear over 4000 non-Albanians. They have also dealt similarly with an unknown number of Albanians of a more democratic persuasion. I am enclosing various documents explaining what is going on but I would urge you, if you have any doubts about what I am writing, to check WWW-EMPERORS-CLOTHES.COM or the book TO KILL A NATION by Michael Parenti & whatever other sources you trust. I advise you I have yet to find anybody from Mr Blair down who can point to any matter of fact on which I am wrong. The genocide in Krajina is continuing every day (& has now been allowed to spread to Macedonia). Apart from the deaths the situation in Macedonia is particularly dangerous since Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia & Albania all have ethnic interests there for which they have historically been prepared to fight, in any possible combination. NATO's behaviour here shows their crass refusal to accept any responsibility for their actions. In particular I am asking you to ask the government how the investigation into the Dragodan massacre is proceeding. I have enclosed details of the discovery of the mass grave there, which is in the British sector. This makes it not only easily the largest mass grave found in Kossovo but also the second biggest single murder enquiry in contemporary British history, after Lockerbie. Or at least the largest single murder to be enquired into. I would like to think an enquiry is going on. Since the NATO appointed local police are virtually exclusively drawn from the ranks of the KLA I doubt they will be active. In 1995 I wrote to your predecessor Mrs Fyfe asking her to register some disapproval of the Krajina holocaust then taking place. She wrote back to me effectively stating her approval of Tudjman & his Croatian Nazis. The reason she gave for this was because of the story of 60,000/30,000 women being held in rape camps. Mrs Fyfe was, of course, either aware that this story was a complete & deliberate lie, or was unconcerned about the truth. Nonetheless, while intellectually it is difficult to say that genocide is less objectionable than rape I do acknowledge that, on a deep level, sexual slavery is particularly repugnant. For that reason I would like to draw your attention to the article quoting the Royal Greenjackets Major Plummer. The KLA's practice of abducting schoolgirls to sell into sexual slavery is repugnant. The fact that their victims are Albanian does not affect the moral question although it does prove that any claim to be a genuine liberation movement is a lie. The fact that NATO leaders, including Mr Blair are winking at this proves that at no time were NATO honestly engaged in humanitarian bombing. IT IS NOW TIME FOR EVERYONE TO DECIDE WHETHER THEY WILL, OR WILL NOT SUPPORT GENOCIDE & HUMAN SEXUAL CHILD SLAVERY. Shortly after I got a reply from junior FO minister Dennis McShane saying that so far 210 bodies had been found at Dragodan, that at least some of them were Serbs who had been alive when Nato took over & that these 210 bodies were not being counted legally as a mass grave but as 210 single graves in the same place & that it was all the fault of Milosevic anyway. Ms McKechin added a covering letter saying she I was pleased! I wrote back: Dear Mr McShane I thank you for yours of 12th Nov sent to me by Ann McKechin. Your reply implies (though it does not specifically confirm) that the victims in this, which I had thought to be easily the largest mass grave in Kossovo, were victims of Nato's allies the KLA operating under Nato command authority. This is assuming that the Serbs were not ethnically cleansing Serbs or that the Albanian victims were among the large number of Albanians killed by your KLA friends for belonging to political parties, protesting against such actions by your friends as the kidnapping & selling of schoolgirls or losing what among your friends passes for political debate. Do you wish to repudiate your response? I take it some of the victims relatives say they were alive at the start of the occupation. Since you did not answer the first time I would like to know how the criminal investigation is going on. Since this is (only just) the second biggest murder case in contemporary British history, after Lockerbie. How many British police officers are assigned to it full time? You say that in Natospeak this is not a mass grave although since it is unquestionably a mass of human bodies buried together for those of us who speak normal English it is a mass grave. This leads to 3 obvious questions. Firstly in what other statements are you using Natospeak in a way likely to mislead someone used to English. Secondly, how many other similar mass graves but not mass graves filled under British or other Nato command authority are there. Thirdly, since Nato normally claims 2 bodies as constituting a mass grave what precisely is the Natospeak definition of the term? I very much regret that you have not been able to dispute that the KLA, under British government authority are being allowed to sell schoolgirls into slavery. Can you make any undertaking whatsoever that at any point the current government will find it useful to act with full strength against this practice? I personally regret that the British government no longer subscribes to the pre-Victorian values of William Wilberforce. I note that you do not dispute the accuracy of my allegations except insofar as I was unaware of the full extent of this act of genocide. In your reference to Macedonia you say that you are encouraging talks between all legitimate parties. The leader of the allegedly disarmed KLA invasion of Macedonia launched from Nato controlled Kossovo was, at the time, a serving officer in Nato's locally recruited police force, officially on holiday. Does this qualify him as a legitimate party. In your hand written addendum to your letter you refered to this genocide as being the fault of the Milosovic Era. There are people who hold the Jews responsible for the Jewish Holocaust. These people are normally referred to as Nazis. This act took place under the Nato Era. To blame the leader of the victims for their own murder is similarly racist. On reflection you may wish to apologise for this remark. ---------------Neither Labour MP has replied to this, neither has at any time raised any objection to their role in genocide, ethnic cleansing & child sex slavery & of course our media are still censoring the subject. No arrests in the Dragodan Massacre "investigation" have been announced.__________________________________________________SPEECH TO LIB-DEM CONFERENCE 27/10/1 NEIL CRAIGI wish to speak specifically against the amendment to this motion.Unlike the motion itself which gives reasons for its case, the amendment simply states as a matter of doctrine that nuclear energy must be disposed of.Since this means the loss of 40% of Scotland's electricity within 10 or, with a certain amount of juggling, 15 years I think we are owed a solid justification.Since the main motion hopes for an increase from 11 to 21% of our wind, water & solar capacity this still leaves an overall reduction of 30% on our current capacity. Assuming that over the next 10 years the economy will grow at 2.5% we will have a shortfall of nearly 60% of current capacity. The only option other than rationing is a massive programme of building coal, gas & oil generators & which would obviously involve tearing up the Koyoto Treaty.For the Scottish Liberal Democrats to vote for such a policy would be, & would be seen to be, grossly irresponsible.The example of California should be a warning. There the richest part of the richest society in the world is suffering regular power blackouts because for the last 20 years political considerations have prevented the building of generating capacity.At the slight risk of being burned at the stake as a heretic I now intend to speak in favour of nuclear power.It has been calculated by Professor Cohen of Pittsburgh that, even if there were no other source, uranium particles recovered from seawater could keep our present nuclear power industry going for 5 billion years, whereas the sun is expected to explode in 5½. It must therefore be considered as pretty sustainable. In general terms nuclear energy is competitive with coal & significantly cheaper than oil or gas. The French are currently generating 77% of their power atomically. They are also profitably selling power to all their neighbours, including us. The basic arguments used against following their example are the risk caused by accidents, waste disposal & leakage of low level radiation. They are all wrong.The worst accident was at Chernobyl in 1986 caused by the Soviet notorious neglect of safety. As a result 10/20,000 deaths were predicted. Despite the most minute tracking of variations in cancer rates the total currently stands at 45. By comparison in another Soviet accident, in 1989, 570 people on a train died in a gas pipeline explosion. The total of deaths in the following 15 years is 2, in Japan. Bearing in mind that we are talking about creating nearly 20% of all humanity's energy for that period this is a safety record not even approached by any other industry in human history.At the same time to mine coal we tolerate the deaths of hundreds of thousands annually worldwide from black lung & an unquantified but large number from emphysema when we burn it.Waste disposal is truly a non-problem. Reactor waste is very nasty stuff but there is no technical difficulty in turning it into glass producing an entire cubic metre per reactor year. This can be stored in a very deep hole where it will be safe for millions of years. This is not even a problem for our remote descendants since a highly radioactive material is, by definition, one with a relatively short half-life. After 10 years reactor waste radioactivity is reduced a thousandfold. After 500 it is less radioactive than the ore originally mined. This is also why decommissioning reactors is normally unnecessary. Just lock the door & leave it. Recent research on radiation has shown it is not the threat we thought. Classically estimates of the danger of low level radiation have been based on the theory that there was a linear progression from say 5000milliSieverts (a level which will kill 50% of people within a month) to zero with no safe limit in between. Purely because it was a very conservative assumption it was proper to use it when we had no better model. We do now.Following the failure of Chernobyl to satisfy the theoretical predictions statistical examinations have been made of victims of the Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombs, people who worked with radium & most importantly hundreds of thousands of tests of radon in homes. The results have consistently shown that at low levels, below 150 milliSvs radiation has no bad effect. Indeed the radon tests have actually shown a negative correlation between radioactivity & cancer. This is not as strange as it seems. Many things are dangerous in large dose but beneficial in small. 1 aspirin may cure you but 1000 will kill. By comparison you & I will normally have a dose of 2mSvs a year, nuclear workers & uranium miners get 2.5 & airline pilots, because they work at high altitude, get about 6.In conclusion it is clear that the only thing we have to fear from nuclear electricity is fear itself. This is not a good reason to prepare ourselves for blackouts. The human race has an unlimited future if we will only reach out for it.Anyone who wants to check what I have said should surf or nuclear------------------------------------------------Letter in Scotsman 20th AugustThe road to economic health Your report on the declining position of Scotland's economy (Business, 15 August) makes depressing reading. Economic growth has vastly more long-term importance in ending poverty than any form of redistribution. Unfortunately, the SNP's solution of casting loose the sinking Scottish economy from the relatively buoyant UK one does not seem entirely sensible. Among the things which could be done to encourage an entrepreneurial culture are the following: Drastically reduce red tape, by setting up a parliamentary committee with the sole duty of proposing the abolition, in whole or part, of economically damaging regulations. Cut business rates to 42.6p in the pound, as in Wales, at a cost of about £80 million. Reduce business water rates to the UK average. Any company offering to purchase Scottish Water and guaranteeing reduced rates should be given consideration. Grant automatic 100 per cent tax and rate rebates to start-up companies for the first three years. Ease the building and zoning restrictions in the manner that has been done in Ireland. Fund a 10 per cent cut in corporation tax in Scotland, at a cost of less than £300 million. Improve air, road and rail links, and provide better rural internet access. --------------------------------------------------Scotsman 9th oct in reply to a discussion about independanceHigh price of war on Yugoslavia Iain Hall (Letters, 4 October) asks: would an independent Scotland have invaded Iraq? While my critique of separation was about the economic case, I am happy to reply that I do not think that a fully independent United Kingdom would have invaded Iraq. Alas, the virtue of a nationalist regime is not such a simple matter. Observe the bombing of Yugoslavia, a matter which, in international law and morality, was vastly more criminal than the recent attack on Iraq. The former SNP leader Alex Salmond maintained a consistent and honourable opposition to that war. However, the SNP's current leader, John Swinney, not only supported the war, but he attacked the Labour government for showing insufficient contempt for international law, calling on it to attack Yugoslavia and even neutral civil shipping in international waters. As a direct result of that war, the Kosovo Liberation Army, many now supplied with Nato police uniforms, have been able to engage in the ethnic cleansing of 350,000 Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, etc, and even Albanian Christians. They have also engaged in the genocide of about 8,000 un-armed civilians and the kidnap and sale of thousands of schoolchildren, mainly female, into sexual slavery. In the circumstances, Mr Swinney's party is hardly in a position to claim peace and righteousness as its particular province. .................................................letter to the HeraldDear Editor, Italy is now the second major nation to suffer a massive power blackout. In both cases it is because of a failure to build electricity generating capacity & hoping that something will turn up.In Britain softly voiced warnings of blackouts this winter are being heard & a number of companies are being offered rebates to agree to be allowed to be switched off.The real problem however is not going to be this year. It takes many years to build new capacity. In the case of nuclear power it takes about 12 years in the UK, though the Japanese can do it in 4 where the problem is primarily engineering rather than politics.It is largely political nimbyism, particularly regarding nuclear generating capacity, that is preventing us replacing our power supply let alone increasing it in line with economic growth. Windmills, whatever their aesthetics, are to unreliable to depend on. If we are to build them then we must also build at least 900kilowatts spare capacity of conventional capacity for every megawatt of windpower.In Scotland we have a very serious problem. 44% of our electricity comes from nuclear generators at Hunterston & Torness which are due to close in 2010 & 2017 respectively. Nobody appears to have any idea what we will use to keep the lights on. In the south of England they are importing the equivalent of 5% of UK capacity from nuclear plants in France but this is impractical up here.If we do not do something quickly & Koyoto means that "something" means building modern nuclear power stations we are quite certainly going to have blackouts, probably massive blackouts. When they start it will be much to late to start building power plants then._______________________________________________12/11/3 Thread which I placed on the Channel 4 discussion group which looks likely to be deleted again:Posted by Neil C on November 10, 2003, 11:31 pm The Channel 4 discussion group, which I have previously found to be remarkably uncensored, has removed a thread on the ongoing genocide in Kosovo & the quite remarkable failure of the media to report it.Since my replacement thread may well disappear tomorrow I thought it would be worth letting you know:posted 10-11-03 23:23 I note that this evening my thread of news items of genocide being carried out under our & Nato's authority in Kosovo by our KLA hirelings has disappeared.I had not said anything untrue or used obscene language & it had not gone off message.I had put a link to including a link to a photograph of identifiable KLA allies collecting human heads & various murders. Also to David Owen's evidence to the Milosevic "trial" that Milosevic was not a racist, not an aggressor & sincerely seeking peace.There appears to be no dispute whatsoever from C4, or anybody else, that these statements are true. Why therefore does C4 think that we, both on this thread & on the national news, should be protected from the truth?SINCE THEN I A AM NOW (24/11/3) ON THE 3RD POSTING 1 & 2 HAVING BEEN DELETED also unreported news:The secretary general of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), Aleksandar Vucic, confirmed today that one of the two young men whose heads were severed by OVK (Kosovo Liberation Army) members, and whose photo was published in Vecernje novosti, is Aleksandar Njegovic, a Yugoslav Army volunteer and SRS member. "We demand that state and republican bodies urgently launch an investigation into persons who committed crimes against Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija and demand that the criminals are extradited to the relevant bodies," Vucic told a news conference. Vucic said that the SRS deputies forwarded a proposal to the assembly of the Serbia-Montenegro state union that the assembly discuss a Serbia-Montenegro strategy towards Kosovo-Metoyha______________________________________________LETTER TO THE HERALD 24/11/3FEATURES - IN THIS SECTION PREV / NEXT ITEM Money wasted on iconic footbridge THE powers that be in Glasgow have decided to spend £40m of our money on a footbridge at Broomielaw. Mind you, it will be an "iconic" footbridge. I think that means it will not be built on the old-fashioned engineering principle of doing the best job for the best price but on the new public works architectural principle of adding as many bells and whistles as somebody spending other people's money can be talked into. This is one-tenth of the cost of a parliament building or the full price offered for building a parliament on Leith waterfront. It is 20 times the cost of a monorail from Glasgow Airport to Paisley Gilmour Street or from Central to Queen Street. It is enough fully to automate our Underground, thus substantially increasing capacity, and to run it free to the public for 10 years (which would obviously do far more than a bridge to give southsiders the benefit of visiting the west end the ostensible purpose of the bridge). It would pay for fixing five litter bins to every lampost, which I grant would be overkill. It would pay for building an arcology (a posh name for single building not only housing a lot of people but providing shops, pubs, restaurants, etc, to create a community unlike the traditional filing cabinets in the sky) providing homes for 1000 families, though this would make a profit for the ratepayers when sold. It could give a home computer to every Glasgow family with a kid under 15. It could provide a £10,000 rates holiday to 4000 new business start-ups. It could even, heavens forfend, produce a cut in the rates equal to £70 for every man, woman, and child. We are now within the very short window between the project being only a feasibility study, so the public should not know about it, and the stage where the public should not be asked because it is to late to stop. Now is the time to decide if £40m for a footbridge a few hundred yards from the George V and Bell's bridges is a good idea. This, of course, assumes that the promised £40m will be kept to. Scottish Labour does not exactly have a good record in this area. Neil Craig, 27 Woodlands Drive, Glasgow.-----------------------------------------------Letter in Scotsman 26th Dec {this is the original letter - there are parts the paper cut - it was quite long - which are shown in brackets:Dear Sir,Your leading article on the proposed trial of Saddam & the ongoing Milosevic tribunal makes one good point. That "Milosevic's trial shows the difficulty in bringing dictators to justice. Evidence is needed". Indeed. Mr Nelson's article then repeats most of the lies which have been used against Milosevic without any concern for producing such evidence.Let us start with the claim that he was a dictator. {This is simply an abuse of the English language.} It is a matter of fact that he was repeatedly democratically elected. Your newspaper is entitled to disapprove of the Yugoslav people's electoral choice, just as, I suspect, we may both disapprove of the British people's choice, but that does not make either leader a dictator.The statement that his former allies are testifying against him at the Nato funded "trial" is untrue. The only person in any way close to him who has been called to testify is Rade Markovic who, on reaching the witness stand, said that his statement had been extracted from him by named Nato officers by what amounts to torture.In mentioning Srebrinca there is no discussion of the very serious problems with the Nato case. It is undeniable that that the chief UN officer on site at the time said there had been no such massacre. It also the case that most of the bodies were found not where Nato originally said they were but near various Serbian villages.It is equally undeniable that the Moslem commander Nasir Oric had not merely boasted of his genocide of thousands of Serbs in these same villages but showed western journalists clips from his extensive home video collection, of his committing such murders & that these "different" bodies have not been found. Though Mr Oric is currently awaiting trial on lesser charges the tribunal have not questioned him on the contents of his videos. {It is also the case that the Red Cross reported that 1500 of the former garrison were serving as in Tuzla after their alleged demise.}It is also implied that it is unfair that it should be neccessary to prove a direct link between a killing & the leader of the controling nation. If that were so Richard Nixon would have been held personally liable for the My Lai massacre.{ More directly relevant the largest mass grave in Kosovo, at Dragodan, containing 210 bodies was created AFTER Nato took over Kosovo by our KLA allies. By such reasoning Messrs Clinton & Bush would be imprisoned for this attrocity without further trial rather than for such things as the bombing of civilians for which the paper trail is abundently clear.}It is also unfair for a representative of the media to criticise Milosevic for the fact that the western media have refused to report what they called the "trial of the century" until it became obvious that Milosevic could "run rings round" the prosecution, not because of his brilliance but because the prosecution have absolutely no evidence. It is hardly Milosevic's fault that the media refused to report the evidence of Lord Owen, { hardly an anti-western subversive, }that Milosevic was the only national leader seeking peace & that Milosevic is resolutely opposed to racism.{ This explains why, of all former Yugoslav states, only Serbia remains a multi-ethnic community with 150,000 moslems, including 50,000 Albanians living in Belgrade alone, the city Mr Nelson untruthfully describes Milosevic as the "butcher of".}(there were no replies to this letter)------------------------------------------------Letter in Scotsman 16th Jan 04 (this was in response to a prat from Scottish Renewables who said that though wind was only available 33% of the time hydro/coal etc are only used 39% of the time):Jason Ormiston should know better. His comparison of the efficiency of wind farms at 33 per cent, with hydroelectric at 39 per cent and nuclear at up to 75 per cent is not comparing like with like. By political fiat, wind energy is automatically purchased, therefore the 33 per cent figure is the amount they can produce depending on how windy it is. This policy of total purchase has led the Danes to buy wind electricity during the small off-peak hours and then feed it into the German grid without payment, since neither nation actually has a use for it at the time. The other figures are for the amount of what is offered that the grid chooses to accept, depending on demand and marginal price. This leads to an unfair comparison with hydro, where water behind a dam rarely disappears but can be kept for use at the best time. Hydro can be turned on and off in seconds, and the fact that nuclear has such high usage shows how competitive its marginal cost is. NEIL CRAIG -----------------------------------------------Letter in Scotsman 7th March (Note this is my original draft as it was considerably shortened & not in my opinion improved for publication)Letters Editor.Dear Donald Ross,One should not lightly disagree with Bill Jamieson on economic matters. Nonetheless I think his prediction of a forthcoming collapse of house prices is, in the current regulatory system, wrong.Certainly an 18% annual increase cannot continue or a house in Corstorphine will, in little over 40 years, have escalated to the current cost of a Parliament building.This, however, does not imply a reduction. It is common knowledge that when demand increases & prices go up production also goes up until a new balance is reached. Demand for homes is rising & is set to continue rising as long as fewer of us are living in families. House building, however, is not increasing. Despite sharply rising prices house building amounts to significantly less than 1% of stock, the commonly accepted replacement level. So long as demand is rising faster than supply prices are bound to have a long term real increase.Nobody seems to be willing to say why building is so restricted in this boom. However the Kemp Commission in the USA reported 20 years ago that 40% of housebuilding costs are down to regulatory requirements (primarily requiring building methods & materials which were old when the Model T Ford was new. It seems unlikely that regulation is less in Scotland now. There is also the fact that, partly since vacant land attracts no land value taxation, developers can make more money with less expense, from getting planning permision for brownfield land & sitting on it, than from building.It has been calculated that it would take the building of 250,000 homes a year to stop house inflation - this equates to about 20,000 in Scotland. During the Bosnian war the US released what purported to be satellite photos taken 24 hours apart, of the creation of a mass grave near Srebrinica. At the time astute observers noticed a house had been built on what had been empty land 24 hours previously. If we have not been lied to 60 teams of Serbian brickies could easily solve our housing problems. Personally I think modern off site construction techniques could, if allowed, do almost equally well.In any case so long as we have the present regulatory regime we need have no fear of a permanent reduction in house prices.Yours SincerelyNeil Craig see in the Herald Fri 11th March(I was extremely gratified to find that this letter was reprinted in its entirety in Jerry Pournelle's site linked below)Dear Sir,Both Barry Lees & Alex McKechan say that burying nuclear waste does not count as dealing with it. Why not? What evidence is there that burying a few cubic feet of metal with a half life so short that it will reach the background level in a few decades, in a sealed container so strong that you can drive a train at it full speed without damage, could harm even the most enthusiastic lemming? Is it really neccessary to mention that all that radioactive material used to be, in the form of uranium which has a much longer half life, lying in the ground sealed off by nothing more than soil? Such waste obviously does not pose a fraction as much risk as the millions of tons of sulphur dioxide the coal industry dumps in the air we breathe & does not endanger Golden Eagles in the gruesome manner windfarms do.As regards the cost the latest reactors & I grant ours are far from being the latest, can produce power at 2.4p per unit (something which I must admit I am reminded of every time a bill comes through my door). The worst thing about wind is not that it is merely about 3 times the cost, which is why the government has to force utilities to buy it, but that it is completely unreliable. Scottish renewables wind spokesman recently admitted that wind was unable to provide any part of our baseload power...............................................SPEECH NOT GIVEN AT EASTER 04 LIB DEM CONFERENCE (TO MANY SPEAKERS) BUT WHICH I SENT TO NICOL-STEPHENS & MAY ACTUALLY BEAR SOME FRUITTRANSPORT MOTIONArthur has spoken very ably on the motion as a whole. I wish to speak only to section 4 H here.Most of you will probably not have heard the term ABS or Automatic Beam System before but it is a simple concept. It refers to any transport system which is rail guided & for which it is thus nowadays extremely easy to computerise the entire driving system. This can be applied to conventional rail systems (Docklands Light Rail is a good example of such a driverless system) or to overhead monorails. Such systems have the advantage that, because they are limited only by numbers of self propelled carriages not be drivers, it is possible to send out units every few minutes where a conventional driven train may be limited to every half hour. With buses running costs are normally 50-70% of drivers wages. Efficiency is obviously another major advantage.Computer controlled mass road systems are currently being developed in many countries. Such rail systems are obviously thousands of times simpler & produce no insoluble engineering problems.Many of you, like me, may be just old enough to remember when it was common for upmarket businesses to provide drivers for lifts. Drivers for trains are a similar anachronism.The best places to immediately try such a system would be simple, fairly short, single route, high volume destinations like Docklands. I have 3 suggestions. A 1 mile monorail from Glasgow Airport to Paisley, Gilmour St should cost not much more than £1 million & be installed far more quickly than any conventional rail link. A monorail from Glasgow Central to Queen St would similarly link Scotland's rail transport systems together (it is worth noting that the platforms at both Paisley & Queen St are elevated, ideal for an overhead monorail). If Turnhouse also got a train station on the line passing it, as was done at Prestwick, this would put all 3 of Scotland's main airports within easy contact of each other. It is difficult to think of a more integrated transport system. The 3rd suggestion is Glasgow Underground. Where, with an automated system, it should be possible to put on more trains, keep them running longer & drastically reduce prices. The social, as well as economic effects on the city would be enormous.Scotland's poor transport system is widely accepted as a brake on economic development. With ever increasing road congestion, pollution & need for easy transport from home & the growing power of automation this is a system whose time has come. Scotland could be a leader in a technology which will obviously be used worldwide in due course. I therefore commend the motion to you................................................SPEECH GIVEN THE NEXT DAY ON THE AVIATION MOTION - THE BIN LADEN ON TIREE LINE GOT A VERY GOOD LAUGH BUT LONDON ARE CURRENTLY INSISTING ON MAINTAINING THE EXPENSIVE SECURITY CHARGES WHICH ARE PART OF WHAT MAKES ACTUALLY USING THESE AIRPORTS UNNECCESSARILY UNECONOMICAVIATION MOTIONI spoke earlier in favour of an automatic beam system (ABS) rail linking our airports through Glasgow so please take my support of section D here as given.I wish now to speak particularly in favour of section A of the motion about Highlands & Islands airports.Currently we subsidise these airports by 2/3rds of their operating costs & have done so for years with no disapproval from the EU. The rest is raised from landing charges. Unfortunately traffic at these airports is so small that the landing charges per person are nonetheless prohibitive. I checked recently & found that a flight to Barra would cost £27 but it would cost £33 to land.Much of the cost of these airports is because they have the same regulatory framework as larger airports. For example approximately 20% of running costs are for security. This, for example means £16.62 is spent per head on keeping bin Laden out of Tiree. Equally each airport is required to keep its own fire brigade. Firemen at Heathrow expect to go through their entire working lives without having to attend a fire – nonetheless when dealing with 30,000 people a day this is a necessary cost. I would argue that it is not when dealing with 5,000 people a year. There are other ways to save expense such as putting the management out to tender & putting runway maintenance in the lands of local authority roads depts. If we could reduce running expenses by 1/3rd these airports could be run with no landing charges at allThe Scottish Parliament has authority over this regulatory regime. The whole point about devolution is that from a nearer perspective it is possible to produce solutions which would not be apparent from London. This is a clear example & we should use it.High landing charges are the main thing detering low cost airlines. In the example I gave earlier the total cost was £60. Were there to be no landing charges it would be £27. Were a no frills airline involved I expect it would roughly halve & were the number of passengers to skyrocket, as seems likely it could halve again. Here we get to the point where, assuming a monorail connection to Glasgow as I suggested earlier, it would be possible to get to Barra from Glasgow for roughly the price it now takes to get a taxi to Glasgow airport.2/3rds of Highland Air passengers are tourists who, quite reasonably, complain about the fact that it is more expensive than flying to Paris. The benefits to the Highlands & Islands & to our share of the world's fastest growing industry, tourism, of making travel accessible can hardly be underestimated. Certainly Barra can never hope to match the attractions of Eurodisney but we should not be so modest as to forget that, for a significant portion of the populations of Europe & America, Eurodisney can never hope to match the attractions of Barra.Consequently I ask you to support the motion & I hope our party in government will make use of such a mandate................................................LETTER IN SCOTSMAN 31/5/4 Political contempt Being a bit of a political anorak, I went to the hustings meeting in Glasgow last week. All but two of the candidates - Elspeth Atwooll (Liberal Democrat) and, more equivocally, Alan Smyth (SNP) - came out firmly against a growing economy. Even Struan Stevenson (Conservative), from whose party we might expect more stodgy common sense, weighed in with the opinion that it just allowed the Chinese to buy more of our concrete rather than conveniently starving as they used to. There was a time when politicians were, at least publically, committed to reducing poverty. This matters more to the really poor of Shettleston, who are thereby robbed of a future, than to the chattering classes of Hyndland, who already have it. Nonetheless it shows a contempt for ordinary people among the political class that feels it proper to make people's lives harder. ...............................................letter sent to all UK national papers & published only by Pravda & whose comments are undernoted:I would thoroughly reccomend Dr Pournelle's site, sometimes called the first blog, for anybody who is interested in new ideas & politics. Spoiler warning - if you break out in hives at anything considered right wing this is not for you. In any case a couple of words of praise from him means a lot to me.Neil Craig...............................................................................................Dear Editor, In 1983 a group of 180 apartment buildings was completed in Taiwan. Somebody had made a serious mistake. They had mixed into the concrete a considerable amount of highly radioactive cobalt 60. This meant that ultimately 10,000 people lived in buildings for from 9 to 20 years so radioactive that they received an average of 74 mSv of radiation per year in 1983, declining thereafter as cobalt 60 has a half life of 5 ½ years. This compares with a rate of 0.5 mSv above background which is the normal maximum exposure for radiation workers & total of 15 mSv maximum safe limit for land fit for habitation according to US government standards. According to the linear no threshold (LNT) theory currently in use world-wide for assessing nuclear risks there is no lower limit to the level at which radioactivity kills (hence the term "no threshold") & this, inhabited for a decade & a half before the radioactivity was traced & measured, should be the site of a truly massive cancer death rate. It isn't. A thorough & methodical tracing of all the 4,000 families by a team led by W. L Chen of Taiwan's Director of Medical Radiation Technology of Taiwan's National Yang-Ming University (the full report is available in English on ) has resulted in an unequivocal & spectacular result. Cancer rates in that highly radioactive building are down to 3.6% of prevailing Taiwanese rates. For many years there has been an unfashionable alternative to the LNT theory called hormesis. This is an effect, long observed in plants & cultures, whereby intermediate level radioactivity actually stimulates life & improves health. There has been significant evidence for this (the deaths at Hiroshima did not appear to fit the LNT pattern, there are places in India & Iran with background radiation of 15mSv or higher with no observed increase in cancer & numerous studies of radon in homes have found a reverse correlation between radon levels & cancer). Nonetheless, such has been our fear of all things nuclear that the LNT theory has been absolutely accepted despite the fact that there has NEVER been any actual evidence for it. This study, however, is so detailed, has such well-defined boundary conditions & in proving a reduction in cancers of 96.4% has such a clear result that there can no longer be any intellectual doubt whatsoever. Radioactivity, up to 50mSv, is good for us. This is reminiscent of the time when Gallileo turned his telescope to the skies & for all time disproved the, then politically correct though scientifically shaky, theory that the Sun revolved around the Earth. True the Pope of the time forced him to recant or be dealt with as heretics then were. True it took a long time to bury. However from the time of Galileo's observations the official theory was dead. Unlike normal life, in science the truth always wins in the end though sometimes the end can be a long time coming & much pain may be caused in the interim. This is because while opinions change repeatable science results remain the same - that is the nature of the universe. The effect of this proof on our nuclear power industries can hardly be underestimated since with the collapse of the theory go most of the fears that have so crippled it. The effect on medicine however cannot even begin to be estimated as the way is now open for serious research on how hormesis works & how it can be used to serve mankind. It is interesting to note that the healing water from the world's great spas has always been mildly radioactive & medicine has heretofore been unable to find out why - I wonder what the future holds for such places. Yours Sincerely Neil Craig ...........................................................................................................................Thank you for a cogent summary. More on this can be found at for those interested. For many years the NRDC and other "pro-environment" groups have insisted that all radiation is dangerous no matter what the level, and cumulative as well, so that the only safe action is to eliminate radiation. Of course there is natural radiation, which varies from place to place; sealing one's house allows radon to accumulate, raising the radiation in the house, sometimes to surprising levels; and going to higher altitudes always results in higher exposures, so much so that airline crews get quite a lot of radiation exposure, enough to be of concern.The NRDC hasn't quite said that we must evacuate Denver and Colorado Springs as dangerous radiation hazards, but such a policy would be logical, given their "scientific" assumptions.The alternative theories of radiation are the ancient pharmaceutical doctrine "The dose makes the poison," (i.e. that a some low enough level radiation is irrelevant), and "hormesis", which combines the "dose makes the poison" doctrine with the not entirely intuitive discovery that at low enough levels, radiation is actually good for you.The hormesis hypothesis has been confirmed many times. One study was by the Swedish Army, which accumulated data on conscripts (Sweden has universal manhood conscription) from areas of known high radiation and compared their health statistics to recruits from areas matched in other characteristics. The conclusion was very much in favor of the hormesis theory. One participant in the study was Claes-Gustav Nordquist, the Surgeon Colonel of the Lifeguards Regiment who was until his retirement one of the leading oncologists in Sweden. There have been many others, but Claes is an old friend so I learned a good bit about the details of that study.Despite the plethora of data confirming hormesis, the "environmental" movement continues to insist on the LNT (Linear, No Threshold) theory and this is one of their reasons for opposition to nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels.This means that for every watt of windpower we construct we must build a watt of workhorse capacity which will be switched off when it gets windy & switched back on a few hours later. It should be obvious to even the most convinced Green that this is an insane system. Moreso since switching on & off reduces efficiency & thus the alleged CO2 or millionth of a gram of uranium savings.Yours FaithfullyNeil Craig-----------------------------------------------Scoptsman Wed 14 Jul 2004 Nuclear option While the suggestion by JRD Stewart (Letters, 12 July) of subsidising coal-powered electricity would certainly be a cheaper method of producing power than subsidising wind farms and such "alternatives", there is an another option. Not subsidising but merely not preventing, penalising, de-laying or requiring the switching off during periods when it is actually windy of nuclear power would, in a free market, allow the production of as much safe, clean, non-CO2-producing power as even the most dynamic economy could want at 2.3p (wholesale) per unit. Coal, by comparison is a dangerous, ugly polluting system that condemned millions to an appalling lifestyle and hundreds of thousands to death by black lung. It is only distance that can lend it any charm. --------------------------Now this one I am proud ofLetter published in this week's (21/8/4) New Scientist.Unfortunately they cut out my mention of the Taiwan incident which contradicts the LNT theory that there is no safe lower radiation limit:-"Let me set his mind even further at ease. A recent statistical examination of 10,000 people in Taiwan who lived for a period of 20 years in apartments, the concrete of which had accidentally been contaminated by cobalt 60, has proved beyond any question whatsoever that the Linear No Threshold theory of radiation damage is wrong. These people lived in radiation levels initially 5 times our official "safe levels" (it declined quite substantially since Cobalt 60 has a half-life of 5.5 years). The result of this is that cancers were 97% LESS among these people than among the general population. This proves that the hormesis theory, that relatively small doses are beneficial is clearly true. This appears to have been intuitively known by generations of spa water imbibers. OUR NUCLEAR FUTUREThe letter on the cost of nuclear power from Peter Jennings deserves an answer (31 July, p 24). For 40 years, he has been waiting to hear of a permanent method of disposing of nuclear waste. He has missed the boat. It has, for many years, been perfectly possible to glassify waste and bury it thousands of feet below ground.The only objection to this, endorsed by the UK government in its report Managing Radioactive Waste Safely, was that this would make it impossible to recover material when it became valuable - an objection that supporters of nuclear power can endorse, but which is hardly consistent with the position of objectors. The report mentioned, but specifically did not endorse, the suggestion that relatively heavy radioactive particles would escape from state-of-the-art sealed containers and make their way back, via groundwater, in sufficient quantities to increase the background radiation.It is also possible to bury the material in areas where the mantle is being subducted towards the Earth's core. If buried in this way it is unlikely it would be recycled to the surface within the lifetime of our planet - though this seems a degree of overkill.On cost, let me put Jennings's mind at ease. The cost of burying a few tens of cubic metres of waste is insignificant compared with the cost of dismantling the tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of windmills we would need to replace nuclear power. The major cost of removing windmills is not, as he imagines, dismantling the tower, but removing up to 1000 tonnes of poured concrete making up the foundation. The wind industry has guaranteed to remove this but, unlike the nuclear industry, is not required to lay aside money for it.Let me set his mind further at ease. He refers to the problems of storing high-level waste for 100,000 years. Since high-level waste has, almost by definition, a short half-life, almost all such waste including retired reactors themselves will be down to safe levels within 50 years and indistinguishable from background levels within a few hundred. Nuclear power is not only cheaper, more reliable and less polluting than the alternatives, but the only arguments against it turn out to owe more to hysteria and Luddism than good science.-------------------------SPEECH TO LIB DEM CONF 2/10/04 On motion to ban smoking in public placesSection (a) of this motion calls on us to support it only if the case is clearly proven.It isn't.A BMJ statistical analysis found only slight statistical significance when 48 studies were combined. Looked at separately only seven showed significant excesses of lung cancer meaning 41 did not.Further the combined risk was merely 24 percent, also called a "relative risk" of 1.24.Such tiny relative risks are considered meaningless, given the myriad pitfalls in epidemiological studies.. "As a general rule of thumb" says the editor of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine Marcia Angell, "we are looking for a relative risk of 3 or more" before even accepting a paper for publication.According to the National Cancer Institute "Relative risks of less than 2 are considered small & are usually difficult to interpret. Such increases may be due to chance, statistical bias or the effect of some other not evident."The main exception to that rule comes when the study is extremely large, but such was not the case with the BMJ analysis. The studies showing excess disease comprised only 1,388 people in total. By contrast a recent study implicating obesity as a cause of early death contained more than three hundred & twenty THOUSAND subjects.So where does this leave us? Do we know passive smoking doesn't cause lung cancer. No. But we do knowthat either it does not, or that if it does the risk is so tiny as to be unmeasureable. Does this mean that passive smoking poses no health risks? No. It makes sense that it would aggravate asthma if nothing else. Does it mean that just because smokers arn't murdering other people, they're not still engaged in a nasty, expensive habit that greatly increases their own chances of sickness & premature death? Definitely not.But it does mean that we cannot legitimately limit people's freedom on the basis of this alleged risk to others.Over the next few years Ireland & New York will be able to produce substantial statistical populations & they may prove the banner's case. Or they may disprove it. Or & this is my bet, modern air extraction systems, which can remove 96% of smoke, may be proven effective. We shall see.Some years ago, to the obvious embarassment of the leadership, the federal party voted to examine lightening the criminal burden on cannabisusers. I remember a TV news programme immediately after in which a Mr Michael Howard we were wrong because nobody should ever, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever even think about thinking about any sort of reform. With it's well known commitment to balance the BBC then interviewed his shadow, Mr Jack Straw who said his opinion was a little more hardline than that.(pause for laughter - none came - this is a tough audience)He has clearly changed his mind.I was very proud of our party that day. It seemed to me that we were acting in the best traditions of classic Liberalism. Having been the first to call for some decriminalisation of cannabis, despite some dubious medical claims, I would be sorry to see us leading the way towards the effective criminalisation of tobacco.Thus I urge you to reject this motion.(they passed it by a large majority - we will see)(I would like to acknowledge that the section "A BMJ ......... Definitely not" was listed almost verbatim from site I reccomend to anybody who believes themselves a free thinker on environmental subjects)________________________________________________31/10/4 New Scientist online have published a slightly amended version of my letter on the evidence that low & intermediate level nuclear radiation is not only not harmful but actually beneficial to health.(LETTER TEXT - LARGELY THE SAME AS ABOVE Radiation thresholds In the light of the series of letters you have published on nuclear power, a study that calls into question the "linear no-threshold" (LNT) theory of radiation may be of interest.In 1983 a group of 180 apartment buildings was completed in Taiwan. Somebody had made a serious mistake. They had mixed into the concrete a considerable amount of highly radioactive cobalt-60. This meant that ultimately, for a period of between 9 and 20 years, 10,000 people lived in buildings so radioactive that when it started they were receiving an average of 74 millisieverts of radiation per year, a level that declined thereafter because cobalt-60 has a half-life of 5.27 years. Compare this with the rate of 0.5 mSv above background--the normal maximum exposure for radiation workers--or a total of 15 mSv, the maximum safe limit for land fit for habitation, according to US government standards. With the LNT theory, which is currently in use worldwide for assessing nuclear risks, there is no lower limit for the level at which radioactivity is lethal for humans (hence the term "no threshold"). So these buildings, inhabited for a decade and a half before the radioactivity was traced and measured, should be the site of a truly massive cancer death rate. They aren't. A thorough and methodical tracing of all the 4000 families by a team led by W. L. Chen of Taiwan, director of medical radiation technology at Taiwan's National Yang Ming University has resulted in an unequivocal and spectacular result. Cancer rates of people who had lived in those highly radioactive buildings are down to 3.6 per cent of prevailing Taiwanese rates. The full report is available in English on For many years there has been an unfashionable alternative to the LNT theory called hormesis. This claims that intermediate level radioactivity actually stimulates life and improves health. There has been significant evidence for this (the deaths at Hiroshima did not appear to fit the LNT pattern, there are places in India and Iran with background radiation of 15 mSv or higher and with no observed increase in cancer, and numerous studies of radon in homes have found a reverse correlation between radon levels and cancer rates). Nonetheless, such has been our fear of all things nuclear that the LNT theory has been absolutely accepted, despite the fact that there has never been any actual evidence for it. This study, however, is so detailed, has such well-defined boundary conditions, and has such a clear result (proving a reduction in cancers of 96.4 per cent) that there can no longer be any intellectual doubt whatsoever. Radioactivity in low doses is good for us. The effect of this proof on our nuclear power industries can hardly be underestimated, since with the collapse of the LNT go most of the fears that have so crippled them. The implications for medicine, however, cannot even begin to be estimated, as the way is now open for serious research on how hormesis works and how it can be used to serve us. It is interesting to note that the healing water from the world's great spas has always been mildly radioactive and that medicine has up to this point been unable to find out why. I wonder what the future holds for such places.)The backstory to the publication is that this letter did the rounds of every paper I could find last May & was published only by Pravda & couple of months ago I did another letter to New Scientist, also, you will have guessed, on nuclear being safe & costing only 2.3p a unit. A complete idiot replied saying that the cost didn't include decommissioning & that anyway nuclear power stations produced between 376 & 1300 billion tons of CO2 each per annum!! This got a reply from BNFL which said it did, they didn't & including the word "ludicrous'". The magazine acknowledged the error. I took the opportunity to remind the editor of my previous letter & he said that it had only not been published because New Scientist were intending to do a feature on the Taiwanese experience but that since that had fallen through they would do my letter - but only on the online version.Still I am extremely pleased to see this "controversial" but virtually unarguable science published anywhere & look forward to see if any other idiot will step up to bat.

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