Saturday, January 08, 2005
3 LIB DEM ENERGY MOTIONS
'Carbon Balance' is where human activity produces no more additional atmospheric carbon and that a cycle of its production and use in nature is balanced. Conference believes that the world energy market should be in balance with carbon to reduce the global climate change effect.
Conference calls for the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive to prepare Scotland for a Carbon balanced future.
Conference further calls for every individual Liberal Democrat to take personal responsibility to reduce their environmental footprint.
THIS MOTION IS SO COMPLETELY STUPID THAT, WERE I STILL INVOLVED, I WOULD HAVE SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED ENGAGING IN THE IRONY OF SPEAKING IN FAVOUR OF IT. AS WRITTEN IT CALLS FOR HUMANITY TO STOP ANY RELEASE OF CARBON (WHICH INCLUDES BREATHING) - I WOULD NOT SUPPORT THAT. HOWEVER IT IS A FACT, ACCEPTED EVEN BY GREENS, THAT WINDFARMS, SOLAR POWER & TIDAL POWER DON'T WORK ALL THE TIME & NEED BACK UP - THUS THEY ARE INHERENTLY UNABLE TO REACH ZERO CARBON EMISSIONS - THIS MOTION IS THUS CALLING FOR THEIR REPLACEMENT (EVEN IF THE PROPOSERS DON'T KNOW IT). THE ONLY THING THAT CAN IS NUCLEAR. I WOULD THEREFORE SUPPORT THIS MOTION ON THE GROUNDS THAT IT CALL FOR CLOSING ALL COAL, GAS, WIND ETC GENERATORS & REPLACING THEM WITH ENOUGH NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS TO NOT ONLY PRODUCE ELECTRICITY BUT TO MANUFACTURE HYDROGEN TO REPLACE OUR PETROL.
I STAND IN AWE OF THE PROGRESSIVE PRO-NUCLEAR POSITION TAKEN BY GORDON CONSTITUENCY & LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING THE VOTE.
11. Scotland's Renewable Energy Strategy
Conference believes that a comprehensive Energy Strategy so that Scotland can attain its target to meet energy production from sustainable renewable resources must be prepared. Conference notes that the new strategy should identify the most appropriate and balanced mix of renewable energy supply technologies. The new strategy should also be combined with a more sophisticated system of incentives (MONEY) for corporate and private individuals installing renewable energy producing projects.
Conference is seriously concerned by the threat to people (THAT PEOPLE - SORRY GRAMMATIC PURISM)in rural villages perceive about their lack of rights to voice an opinion about the insensitive placement of large scale industrial wind farms less than ½ a mile from their homes; large scale felling of forest to accommodate new renewable energy producing projects; and use of Areas of Great Landscape Value, that do not fall within a National Park, for the placement of wind farms.
Conference calls for:
1) sensitivity to the placement of wind farms near rural villages and would insist that the nearest turbine would not be less than a mile from the nearest house;
2) the replanting of any forest felled by the installation of an energy producing project on a hectare by hectare basis; greater protection of Areas of Great Landscape Value such that any renewable energy producing project permitted development in this area must blend in with the existing environment;
3) new incentives for private and corporate bodies wishing to install renewable energy production projects; and
4) the restatement of the landscape once a renewable producing project has been decommissioned.
THIS IS ALMOST HARMLESS ALL IT CALLS FOR IS A "NEW STRATEGY" TO STOP BLACKOUTS, WITHOUT ANY IDEA WHAT IT SHOULD BE & PUTTING MORE MONEY INTO WINDMILLS, BUT IN A WAY WHICH WILL, FORTUNATELY, NOT PRODUCE MORE WINDMILLS (OR ELECTRICITY). SCOTTISH RENEWABLES HAVE ALREADY SPECIFICALLY GUARANTEED THE REINSTATEMENT (SIC) OF THE GROUND THO' THEY ARE NOT MAINTAING A FUND TO DO SO (AS NUCLEAR DOES)
12. Eco-Friendly Housing and the Use of Sustainable Energy Sources
Scottish Green Liberal Democrats
Conference welcomes the Scottish Executive's commitment to the use of sustainable energy sources and its encouragement of Eco-Friendly Housing Development.
Conference applauds the development of sustainable energy and housing projects, such as the Island of Islay Development Company projects, photovoltaic roof on Islay's Gaelic Centre and use of centralised energy sources and sustainable wood construction techniques in eco-friendly housing developments by housing associations.
We call upon Conference to:
1) support the Scottish Executive's endeavours to promote (MORE MONEY) the use of alternative sources of energy, including:
i)Solar Energy and the use of Photo-voltaic tiles for roofing; WHICH DON'T WORK AT PERIODS OF HIGHEST DEMAND
ii)Wave and Tidal Energy;
v)Wind Energy, especially community-owned wind farms; and
vi)District Heating and Combined Heat and Power Systems; NONE OF THESE CAN PRODUCE ANYTHING LIKE THE GIGAWATTS REQUIRED
2) urge the Scottish Executive to provide sufficient funding resources (NEVER USE ONE WORD WHEN 3 WILL DO - IF THE WORD IS MONEY)to enable the further development and provision of Sustainable Energy-Efficient projects, both in the private and public sectors and to provide incentives to encourage industry in general to make use of alternative 'green' energy sources; WHICH BASICALLY ADMITS "GREEN" ENERGY IS UNECONOMIC
3) urge the Scottish Executive to implement measures through the proposed Planning Bill to encourage integration of transport, land use and development proposals to achieve sustainable development objectives; SOME YEARS AGO A LABOUR CANDIDATE DECLARED "WE IN THE SCOTTISH LABOUR PARTY BELIEVE IN AN INTERROGATED TRANSPORT POLICY" - EVERYBODY STILL DOES
4) urge the Department of Transport to make better use of alternative fuels such as LPG and (for local bus services) electric vehicles charged from renewable energy; (LPG IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS PETROL EXCEPT THE MOLECULES ARE SLIGHTLY SHORTER (WHICH IS WHY IT IS A GAS) IT IS IN NO WAY MORE ECO-FRIENDLY THAN PETROL. AS FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES CHARGED ONLY BY RENEWABLE SOURCES - CAN ANYBODY REALLY SEE BUSES QUEUING UP AT WINDMILLS "HEY AGNES IS THE BUS NO AWFY LATE THE DAY" "AYE MARGO THERE'S NAE WIND"
5) encourage the extension of the development of Eco-Friendly Housing Developments, not only within Housing Associations, but in Local Authority Housing Strategic Planning and building in the private sector; IE MORE PLANNING REGULATIONS TO MAKE HOUSES MORE DIFFICULT TO BUILD & MORE EXPENSIVE
6) urge Community Scotland to provide necessary capital funding to allow Housing Associations to build to sustainable standards; MORE MONEY & SINCE HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS ARE ALREADY BUILD MORE EXPENSIVELY THAN PRIVATE COMPANIES, MORE SUBSIDY
7) encourage the extension of the use of sustainable energy resources in industry, both in building and in performance of their activities; WOFFLE
8) urge the Scottish Executive to part-sponsor a biennial eco-friendly housing design competition to encourage innovation, raise awareness and develop best practice; IF THE CO-SPONSOR IS SOMEBODY WHO HAS ACTUALLY BUILT HOUSES WITHOUT SUBSIDY RATHER THAN YET ANOTHER GOVERNMENT FUNDED QUANGO I WOULD SUPPORT IT and
9) encourage the development of accreditation of professionals in Sustainable Building Design, as piloted by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.
A SUSTAINABLE BUILDING IS ONE THAT STAYS UP - BEYOND THAT THE TERM IS JUST ANOTHER EXCUSE FOR BUREAUCRATS TO MAKE RULES. BETTER TO ENCOURAGE THE ACCREDITATION OF PROFESSIONALS IN FENG SHUI - THEY WOULD WASTE LESS TIME & MONEY & THEIR FEES FOR DOING SO WOULD BE LOWER.
LAST YEAR I PUT FORWARD AN AMENDMENT CALLING FOR NUCLEAR POWER TO NOT BE TOTALLY EXCLUDED FROM CONSIDERATION. IT WAS REFUSED ON THE GROUNDS THAT MENTIONING THE N WORD WOULD "UNBALANCE" DEBATE (IN A DISGRACEFUL APPARENT ERROR, HAVING BEEN TOLD IT WAS NOT TO BE CALLED, THE AMENDMENT WAS READ OUT & CONFERENCE WERE TOLD THAT THE ONLY REASON IT WAS NOT TO BE VOTED ON WAS BECAUSE NOBODY HAD APPEARED TO SPEAK FOR IT - WHEN I HEARD ABOUT IT I ASKED FOR, BUT DID NOT GET, A CORRECTION). FROM THE ABOVE IT IS CLEAR THAT DISCUSSION OF THE ONLY POLICY THAT WILL PREVENT BLACKOUTS WOULD STILL BE UNBALANCING.
Friday, January 07, 2005
< Your editorial tentatively supporting nuclear power has, unsurprisingly, stirred controversy. > Unfortunately the current situation is not as rosy as Mr Robertson (3/1/5) believes. It is true that demand in Scotland is only 2/3rds of capacity but this is because we send the surplus to England. Since power policy is ultimately a reserved matter & since southern nuclear power is due for retiral even earlier than our own it seems unlikely that we will be allowed to break long term contracts. Even in that unlikely situation, since 44% of current power is generated at Hunterston & Torness, there is still an obvious shortfall.
The suggested option of reopening conventional power stations is not realistic since the Kyoto Treaty, for better or worse, has now been ratified & we must, not only, not increase but significantly reduce CO2.
< Even worse - historically electricity demand has always grown faster than the economy as a whole so the suggestion that we will not need more electricity when Torness closes in 20 years works only if we assume Scotland's economy is going to spend that period in recession. Cynical though I am of the Executive this is not, I think, the intention. >
John Rogerson is quite correct in pointing out that building nuclear power stations takes, at least, 10 years. Since Hunterston will be closed by then the problem is obvious. Our leaders have eaten the years that should have been spent building our future making what some of us pointed out were patently untrue green inspired promises about windmills. On the other hand Japan is able to build reactors in 4 years < where the time (& money) is spent on engineering rather than lawyering > . We could do the same. < The alternate solution, of covering 1/5th of south facing walls with solar cells "under development", while intriguing, would take much longer & would be of use only to those who wish to heat their homes during summer afternoons but not during winter nights.
5% of electricity used in the UK is French nuclear pumped across the Channel & the French are spending 3 billion on a new complex in Cherbourg. > There is going to be a massive shortage & Scotland has the experience & infrastructure to literally take up the load. Having poured money into windmills on the basis that this would make us a "world leader" perhaps the Executive could consider not preventing the growth of a Scottish industry for which there is a clear & profitable demand.
On the same day they published a letter on French nuclear part of which recapsulates my, edited, point about French nuclear & which I am reprinting because I completely agree. Despite politicians repeatedly saying that we have the world's 4th biggest economy France, in 6th place, is ahead of us.
I am not surprised to read in John Bowker’s article, "Dilemma as case grows for more reliance on nuclear energy" (Business Analysis, 4 January), that French companies may be better set up to build nuclear power stations than their British rivals.
My last electricity bill came with a leaflet proudly stating that 85.7 per cent of my electricity is nuclear.
With 58 reactors at 19 sites, Eléctricité de France must now have the best experience in this type of power station and, of course, exports electricity to neighbouring countries, including Britain.
Of course, this should come as no surprise because we have allowed France to take the lead in aeronautics (Airbus), rocket technology (Ariane), ship-building (Queen Mary 2 and our next aircraft-carriers) and bridge building (the Millau viaduct).
Would the last engineer to leave Britain please turn out the light?
Rue des Plantes
Thursday, January 06, 2005
LIB DEM MOTION 9 - IDENTITY CARDS
Conference further believes that the proposed Bill:
a) will fail to combat terrorism or crime, noting that ID cards would have made no difference to the attacks on New York or Madrid as the terrorists had the relevant identity documents;
b) will fail to prevent illegal working as the real problem lies in the failure to enforce current regulations;
c) insufficiently defines how the card will be used, thus risking people’s future civil liberties since Britain does not have a written constitution safeguarding the rights of the individual; and
d) will be exceptionally bureaucratic and expensive at a minimum cost of £35 to the individual: yet with little apparent public benefit.
Conference notes that:
A) the UK government proposes that access to services should be through use of an ID card; and
B) the Scottish Liberal Democrats have ensured that ID cards will not be used for access to devolved services in Scotland.
Conference calls on the UK Government to:
1) drop its current proposals for compulsory ID cards;
2) guarantee that Scottish residents do not need to use an ID card to access those public services devolved to the Scottish Executive, when in other parts of the UK;
3) ensure that access to any ID register is very strictly controlled;
4) explore more effective ways of tackling identity fraud, and combating crime, terrorism and illegal immigration; and
5) crack down on illegal working by improving the way the Home Office inspects and prosecutes employers of illegal migrants.
I ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH THIS
THIS IS AS WELL DRAFTED A DISSECTION OF THE GOVERNMENT'S CASE AS I HAVE SEEN. IF I THOUGHT CARDS WOULD BE USEFUL IN CRACKING DOWN ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, WHICH IS A SERIOUS NATIONAL LONG TERM PROBLEM NOT BEING ADDRESSED, THEN I WOULD HAVE DOUBTS, BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE INDEED BLUNKETT IS ON RECORD AS SAYING HE SAW NO LIMIT TO IMMIGRATION.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Independent candidate terms Croatian elections a fraudNow personally I don't care what sort of corrupt scum run Croatia - a country with a record of per capita genocide even worse than Hitler's deserves no consideration. The important point is that whereas, while we have 10s of thousands of NATO "observers" running around shouting about democracy & having to stop the Russians in Ukraine in a situation with very similar evidence but where the alleged perps are Nazis there is not a single peep from these same democrats.
ZAGREB: Independent rightist candidate Boris Miksic called for Croatia’s presidential elections results to be annulled Tuesday claiming irregularities had barred him from facing President Stipe Mesic in a run-off. "There were irregularities at different polling stations and we will publish them. It is the main reason why we oppose the results of the electoral commission which are not correct," Miksic told journalists.
"We are waiting for a constitutional court ruling and we hope that it will annul the elections and organize new ones," the wealthy US-Croatian businessman added. "I will fight to the end." Miksic, an outsider on Croatia’s political scene, was the biggest surprise of Sunday’s elections. He came third with 17.8 percent of the vote garnering only 2.5 percent less than the second-placed Deputy Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor of the ruling conservatives.
The results earned Kosor a place in the January 16 run-off where she is to face centrist Mesic who fell just short of an overall victory with 48.9 percent of the vote. Miksic complained earlier he had not been allowed to have his own observers within the electoral commission counting the votes.
He stressed exit polls had put him ahead of Kosor. But the electoral commission threw out his complaint. Miksic is to file the complaint with the constitutional court later Tuesday. The tribunal has to issue a ruling within 48 hours. Following Miksic’s call, up to 2,000 people gathered late Monday in Zagreb’s main Ban Josip Jelacic Square to protest the results in peaceful demonstrations mirrored in several other towns. Miksic called for a big protest on Friday evening in Zagreb.
Machiavelli said a leader should always affect piety & make his wars in name the religion, but never actually to be sincere about it.
When you hear a Bliar or other NATO leaders proposing to bomb somebody or impose some sort of sanction in the name of democracy or human rights they are being not one whit more sincere.
In fact the problem with the UN is that it is almost entirely western controlled & it's main job is to provide a fig leaf for western armies (the occupation of Kosovo & now even Iraq are UN "authorised"). Kofi Annan may not be the best candidate for Secretary General but he did, after all, get the job because of US approval of his role in pushing nazi lies in Bosnia so it is a little rich for the US to complain now.
The bit that really gets me is:
But the dream fell apart once again. The UN stood idly by as the Balkans descended into medieval savagery: only the unilateral NATO bombing of fascist Serbia in 1999 ended the ethnic cleansing. In fact, the UN’s signal contribution to the Balkan debacle was when cowardly Dutch UN peacekeeping troops let Serbian militia enter Srebrenica in July 1995 and murder 7,000 Muslim men and boys in cold blood.
This is a complete & deliberate lie by George Kervan. It was not the Serbs who were "fascist". In fact the Croatians were happy to display their Nazi history, the Bosnian moslems were led by a former SS auxiliary & the history of the KLA is similar whereas Yugoslavia was a state with democratic multi-party elections (like us except with PR). If Kervan knows anything at all of what he is writing about he knows he is lying. If he had any evidence to the contrary it was his duty to give it to the Nato funded "court" who, in 2 years, have produced no believable evidence.
Equally the evidence is overwhelming that the Dutch troops at Srebrinica (under a UN flag but in practice Nato) allowed the Moslem troops free passage thru' their "cease fire lines" to engage in genocidal attacks of Serb villagers. If he were honestly concerned about the UN not opposing fascism in Yugoslavia he would be objecting to the way the UN kept silent when out Croatian Nazi friends used UN soldiers as human shields in the invasion & extermination of Krajina.
Kerevan should not substitute racist lies for journalism. After all if I were to accuse him of being a lying genocidal Nazi child rapist he would be perfectly entitled to object if there was no evidence that he was a child rapist.
1) there are around 230,000 micro businesses in Scotland (defined by the EU as having fewer than 10 employees) accounting for 92% of the total number of enterprises in Scotland and providing a wide range of services across communities in Scotland;
2)public procurement contracts worth around £5 billion are tendered by the public sector in Scotland each year;
3)small and micro businesses can find it difficult to compete with larger enterprises in accessing government support and winning public sector procurement contracts including Local Authority contracts;
4)larger businesses often win contracts by offering a single solution at a seemingly low cost yet are unable to deliver without sub-contracting services at a reduced rate to the same small and micro businesses they beat to win the contract in the first place; and
5)other barriers to small businesses competing for contracts include lack of cash flow and lack of protection against non-payment by main contractors.
Conference believes that:
i)small and micro businesses are vital to the economic and social wellbeing of local communities;
ii)Scotland must harness and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit shown by the owners of small and micro businesses;
iii)public sector procurement offers the opportunity to develop and grow Scotland’s small and micro business sector by driving up standards and creating new jobs;
iv)the present procurement system does not provide a level playing field for small and micro businesses to compete;
v)small businesses face barriers to securing public sector contracts including the disproportionate time and expertise required for them to participate in the bidding process, lack of consistency, excessive length and complexity of contract requirements, perceived lack of available credit or cashflow, and unrealistic vi)insurance requirements; and
vi)the Best Value regime should consider the benefits that small and micro businesses can deliver for the public sector including innovation, quality, flexibility, lower cost and contribution to the local and national economy.
Conference calls on the Scottish Executive to:
A)investigate the opportunities, within the confines of European Law, to ensure a level playing field for small and micro businesses to successfully compete for public sector contracts including Local Authority contracts;
B) require Local Authorities to identify and publicise a Small Business Officer to act as a single point of contact within the Council for small businesses;
C) consider the opportunities for small and micro businesses through promoting the use of Guarantee Societies run within Limited Liability Partnerships to provide micro credit and pooled financial strength in order to compete for larger public sector contracts;
D) explore the opportunities for new sources of micro credit;
E) improve the advice and support available to small and micro businesses wishing to bid for public sector contracts, including a review of the role that professional or trade organisations could play in providing such services;
continue to develop programmes to address skills gaps in the small business sector F) through training support; and
G) make further progress on e-procurement.
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING. IT PUTS SMALL BUSINESS ON AN EQUAL FOOTING WITH THE BIG GUYS - APART FROM THE FAIRNESS ISSUE SMALL BUSINESSES & NEW ENTRANTS HAVE BEEN PROVEN TO BE CONSISTENTLY MORE INNOVATIVE THAN LARGE ESTABLISHED ONES & SO IS SOMETHING WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE. AND IT DOESN'T EVEN COST ANYTHING IN FACT IF ANYTHING IT WOULD SAVE BECAUSE IT INCREASES THE NUMBER OF BIDDERS FOR CONTRACTS. THIS IS ENTIRLEY IN THE HISTORIC LIBERAL TRADITION - THE TORIES WERE THE PARTY OF BIG BUSINESS & OLD MONEY WHEREAS THE LIBERALS WERE THE PARTY OF SMALL BUSINESS & INNOVATORS.
BACKSTORY: THIS HAS BEEN PUSHED BY ANTONIA SWINSON, A SMART LADY WHO HAS ALSO PUSHED LAND VALUE TAX. AT LAST YEAR'S CONFERENCE SHE HAD A TALK SESSION DESCRIBED AS BEING ON SMALL BUSINESS WHICH, FOR SOME REASON, ENDED UP BEING 50% TURNED OVER TO THE QUESTION OF GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR "NON PROFIT MAKING BUSINESSES" ESSENTIALLY MORE MONEY FOR SOCIAL WORK - EVEN IF YOU THINK THAT IS A GOOD IDEA IT IS A COMPLETELY SEPARATE SUBJECT FROM ENCOURAGING SMALL BUSINESS.
MY ONLY WORRY, BEARING IN MIND LAST YEAR & THE TREATMENT OF MY ENTERPRISE MOTION WHERE THE LADY WHO IS NOW THE LOCAL CANDIDATE, AMONG OTHERS, WANTED TO DELETE ANY MENTION OF ENTERPRISE FROM THE ENTERPRISE MOTION & SUBSTITUTE DEMANDS FOR MORE MONEY FOR WOMEN & OTHER DISADVANTAGED GROUPS, IS THAT SOMEBODY IS GOING TO PUT UP A SILLY AMENDMENT. EG AN AMENDMENT SAYING PRIORITY SHOULD BE GIVEN TO BIDS FROM DISABLED, FEMALE, ETHNIC OR SEXUALLY NONCONFORMIST GROUPS WITHOUT REGARD TO BANK REFERENCES (IN ENGLISH - THE CLEANSING CONTRACT HAS TO GO TO THE BLACK ONE LEGGED LESBIAN GROUP WHO FAILED TO RUN A WHELK STALL.
I VERY MUCH HOPE IT PASSES UNEVISCERTATED.
I'm glad to say I'm getting a gratifying number of visits & the prediction section looks good. I don't know if you all agree with everything I say & thus have nothing to add, or feel intimidated by my wit & erudition. Its good to know you're there.
My email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
MICHAEL HOWARD QUESTION
Today you asked us to email questions to put to Michael Howard tomorrow (5th Jan) so here goes:
Because Westminster still has the distorting First Past the Post system unlike the proportional system here in Scotland it has been calculated* that if at the next election the Tories only get 32% (as current polls predict) & New Labour falls to a massive 31% Blair will still get an overall Parliamentary majority. This means that Labour are likely to get complete power while more than 2/3rds of voters oppose them.
I know the Tories support this system but surely you must accept that for Blair to win a majority when over 2/3rds of voters vote against him makes this system something less than democratic.
National Prediction: LAB majority 2
Party Pred Votes Pred Seats
CON 32.00% 231
LAB 31.00% 324
LIB 21.00% 60
The Tory & Lib Dem % are taken from those predicted on the site based on current polls. Labour has been reduced to fit.
UPDATE amazingly enough they didn't ask this question or anything like it. Howard came as OK but not going to set the heather on fire. Most of it boiled down to saying the Tories woun't do much different, except on the EU, but will do it more efficiently, which is probably true because Labour do not set a high standard for competence. I liked his reaction when the BBC interviewer said our economy is doing well - he pointed out that it is only doing well by EU standards, by world standards or even more, English speaking world standard we are underperforming. Of course the suggestion that either our economy or our electoral system are below par is not the sort of thing that the (small case) conservatives of the Beeb report.
The article by John Pilger about the Milosevic Trial had some good points but is seriously flawed by his reference to Milosevic as a "brute". A man who has outsmarted the best team of lawyers Nato money can buy is no brute. Even Nato's friends are willing, even keen, to admit to his ability.I have liinked this to the anti-war version of the article because the New Statesman needs subscription.
By comparison with Mr Pilger's claims, when Lord David Owen testified he said that Milosevic was the ONLY leader who had been consistently & sincerely seeking peace & that any form of racism was personally "anathema" to him. I doubt if even Mr Blair's closest friends could honestly testify the same about him, under oath. The reason's why his astonishing testimony was not reported, as indeed most of the "trial of the century" isn't, is something on which we can only speculate.
It has come to a strange pass when Lord Owen reports the facts the government doesn't want us to know while John Pilger genuflects towards the government propaganda position.
Monday, January 03, 2005
HERALD LETTER BEING RUDE TO GREENS - UNPUBLISHED
Of course even the most complete enforcement of Kyoto would only reduce the alleged rise in temperature by 1/5th of a degree at the cost of trillions of dollars in unnecessary world poverty.
Using his own figures nuclear power would, if used to replace CO2 producing methods, cut CO2 by 17%. If off peak nuclear was used to produce hydrogen to run a hydrogen economy that figure could be at least doubled. That is why those who are genuinely interested in the environment are supporters of nuclear power. Regrettably most 'environmentalist' politicians are more interested in a government controlled economy than in a non-polluting one.
General Gotovina is accused of war crimes against Croatian Serbs in 1995 when the Croatian army, under his command, overran the rebel Serb province of Krajina.The main story is about which Nazi wins the election. Despite it being 49.3% there is no question of western observers suggesting that this entirely honest & law abiding regime's elections are in any way dodgy.
This operation ended the Serb rebellion and the war in Croatia, but led to another problem. More than 200,000 Krajina Serbs who fled in 1995 have not returned to their homes.
Most of them still live in Serbia, waiting for circumstances to improve at home. But those who do return could find that their former homes and farms have been sold.
The Croatian state-run Real Estate Agency (APN), in co-operation with a law firm from Serbia that represented refugees from Krajina, has sold more than 10,000 houses without their owners' knowledge, it was recently revealed.
The Croatian state prosecutor, Mladen Bajic, has opened an investigation into the scandal, describing it as "one of the most profitable crime rings in the country".
The bit that really amused me was the last line. If selling 10,000 houses is only one of the most profitable official crimes going on who is the front runner?
Sunday, January 02, 2005
A)there is an unacceptable shortage of affordable housing in Scotland;
B)the shortage of affordable housing is particularly acute in rural areas where supply is limited and demand accentuated by external pressures;
C)in many areas the lack of housing that local people can afford to live in is impeding economic and community development;
D)lack of capacity in the water and sewerage infrastructure is severely restricting the development of affordable housing;
E)Local Authorities in both urban and rural contexts are struggling to provide affordable homes in sufficient numbers to meet housing need in their area;
G)the very expensive private housing market is failing to meet affordable housing needs and that many new homes owners are struggling with excessive debts as a result; and
H)the planning system is over-restrictive in releasing land for housing and that, as a result, house-plot prices and new houses are becoming inordinately expensive.
the additional £100 million for affordable housing announced in this year’s spending review;
the decision to end the 50% discount on Council Tax for second homes; and
provisions in the Title Conditions (Scotland) Act that allows the resale price of some new houses to be restricted, allowing the property to remain affordable in perpetuity.
Conference calls for:
1)the introduction of a new Affordable Housing Zone within local plans, distinct from the general zoning for housing;
2)all land holding government agencies to form an affordable housing policy to make as much of their land available for affordable housing as is possible;
3)the introduction of rolling three-year budgets for housing authorities to allow improved planning;
4)the establishment of a well-funded Community Infrastructure Fund to commission new or expanded infrastructure to open up more sites for rural affordable housing schemes;
5)Scottish Water’s investment programme from 2006 to have as a key priority expanding the water and sewerage infrastructure to meet local affordable housing need;
6)greater incentives to be given to crofting communities to release part of their common grazing for the provision of affordable housing;
7)a new drive to bring empty flats above commercial premises on high streets and city centres back into use as affordable homes, with grants available to adapt premises;
8)‘pressured area status’ to be extended to cover certain house types as well as certain areas in order to address specific shortages of housing supply, such three or four bed family homes;
9)extended exemption from Right to Buy to newly built Council and housing association houses;
10)Scottish banks to donate 0.01% of their substantial profits to debt alleviation and counseling services;
11)allowing the write-off of local authority housing debt where stock has been properly managed and a financially sound long-term business plan produced, whether or not tenants vote to transfer stock to a housing association; and
12)allowing local authorities to access regeneration funds where criteria are met and a proper long-term business plan is produced, regardless of whether tenants vote for stock transfer.
THE INTENTIONS HERE ARE RIGHT, AT LEAST WHERE IT HAS SIMILARITIES TO MY REJECTED HOUSING MOTION. THE REFERENCE TO PLANNING BEING WHAT HAS PREVENTED ALLOWING LAND TO BE USED IS CORRECT. I DON'T AGREE THAT THE PROBLEM IS BASICALLY A RURAL ONE OR PRICES WOULDN'T BE RISING SO FAST IN EDINBURGH. THE BIT ABOUT SCOTTISH WATER NOT PROVIDING INFRASTRUCTURE IS TRUE & IS A RESULT OF SCOTTISH WATER BEING IN A MONOPOLY POSITION. ON THE OTHER HAND IT USES "AFFORDABLE HOUSING" AS A EUPHEMISM FOR STATE HOUSING & MOST OF IT WORKS ON THE ILLIBERAL IDEA THAT IF CURRENT REGULATIONS ARE DESTRUCTIVE THE BEST RESPONSE IS MORE REGULATIONS RATHER THAN GETTING RID OF PRESENT ENCUMBRANCES. THERE IS NO REASON, IN THEORY OR PRACTICE, WHY ONLY COUNCILS & HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS CAN BUILD SMALLER HOUSES & ALL THAT IS REALLY NEEDED IS FOR GOVERNMENT TO GET OUT OF THE WAY & LET THEM. PART 6 FOR EXAMPLE WOULD BE COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY IF REGULATION WAS NOT PREVENTING BUILDING ON PRIVATELY OWNED LAND. THERE IS NOT A SHORTAGE OF UNBUILT LAND IN THE HIGHLANDS.
ONE WAY TO ENCOURAGE INSTALLATION OF UTILITIES WOULD BE TO LET BUILDERS DO IT WHEN SCOTTISH WATER WERE UNABLE TO CONNECT THEM & TAKE 1/3RD OF THE WATER RATES (OR 100% IF THEY HAVE TO BUILD EVERYTHING). I SUSPECT SCOTTISH WATER WOULD BE MORE WILLING TO DO THE WORK IF THEY MIGHT LOSE MONEY. FOR HOUSES SO OUT OF THE WAY THAT IT IS STILL TO EXPENSIVE IT IS REASONABLE TO FACTOR SUCH COSTS INTO THE HOUSE COST.