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Friday, September 22, 2006


I do not argue with the accuracy of the Pope's saying that Islam is a warlike religion. Islam was spread, from the period when Mohammed, in Medina, started making war on Mecca to the time, a couple of generations later, when Islam ruled from Spain to Pakistan. This was achieved almost entirely by military conquest so making war is at the heart of Islam. On the other hand the Pope's religion has a not much less history of war & a considerably worse one of atrocity. Islam has generally exerted only limited pressure on to convert as long as they paid their taxes & were obedient whereas Christians have massacred whole populations to save their souls.

Pots, kettles & black come to mind.

I suspect his holiness knew exactly what he was saying - the use of a quote from an ancient source is a literary trick very useful for diverting criticism. However in all the outrage about his statements here it is worth noting that there was comparatively little when his predecessor said Buddhism was
"atheistic", "negative"
and indifferent to the world.", "The enlightenment
experienced by the Buddha comes down to the conviction that the world is bad", "To save oneself means, above all, to free oneself from evil by becoming
indifferent to the world.", "doctrine of
salvation in Buddhism and Christianity are opposed", "fundamentally contrary to the development of both man
himself and the world"
I may be biased in that I accept Buddhism is atheistic, or at least doesn't require the belief inn a God, and don't consider that a bad thing, but it is undeniable that in material terms Buddhism is not remotely a militaristic, aggressive or threatening religion.

It is disappointing that the media leap so much more readily to denounce attacks on a religion so obviously willing to defend itself than one which is truly peaceful.

My position is similar to that of H Beam Piper who said that monotheism was intrinsically aggressive. Once you say that there is only one God then the followers of all others are automatically wrong & oppressing them becomes "God's will", then those who worship God but disagree as to forms, or whether he wishes prayed to in Latin or Arabic must be wrong & thus engaged in blasphemy and so on. This unwillingness to compromise may have been why the Judaic religions have done so well (Judaism, Christianity & Islam all being viewed as variants of the same religion) but they have been involved in almost all the world's truly religious wars & pogroms.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Up to £100 million

22) Make a 5 hour DVD of Scotland's history. Hire somebody, not part of Scotland's small media, probably from Discovery Channel, to put it together, print up 200 million (at 10p a shot), give it out in Scots newagents & post 1 to every household in Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealnd & the USA. Produce a permanent online
library of Scots history articles & programmes acceesible free & with links provided on the DVD.

23) Automate the Glasgow-Edinburgh train on the lines previously discussed with the Glasgow Underground. While the computerisation should still be fairly cheap, in some ways cheaper because rolling stock which cannot be updated could still be transferred to other lines, an impractical operation on the Underground. However if the trains are to be run on the basis of single carriages roughly once a minute some redesigning of platforms would be required. This would not be as fast as a bullet train but, because carriages would leave every minute rather than every 15 it would save an average of 7 minutes. Unlike the Bullet Train it would still be able to stop at Falkirk & Haymarket from which half of current journeys either start or end(alternately only some carriages need do so allowing through carriages to cut times further). It could also be easily linked to Turnhouse Airport by a connecting line. In practice, a much cheaper 24 hour automated system should carry many more people between Glasgow & Edinburgh than a bullet train.

24) Build an automated overhead monorail from the far side of the Forth Rail Bridge to Prince's St in Edinburgh. Use the fact that the rail bridge was, because of the Tay Bridge disaster, a heavily overengineered structure & should be easily able to bear the load of a monorail above the rail tracks. An overhead monorail into Edinburgh would not be subject to traffic jams as trolleys are & have the same cost savings as other automated rail.

25) Provide an automated walkway from Turnhouse airport to stations on both adjoining lines or, if the Glasgow/Edinburgh link is built build a loop to the main terminal.

£100 million to £1 billion

26) Widen the M8 & connect it as motorway to the Edinburgh bypass.

27) Build a deep ocean thermal differential power generator & use it to build a permanent sea base owned by Scotland. (See ). 23

28) Provide bursaries of £10,000 per person & £30,000 per school for the top thousand Higher results in maths & hard sciences. (£40 million a year, £400 in 10 years)

Over £1 billion

29) Automate all of Scotland's train services. This can be done over a period of years. Scotland has a relatively limited rail track & this is something in which we could easily become a world leader. A particular line for upgrading would be the West Highland Line from Glasgow low level to Loch Lomond, Oban & ultimately Fort William. This line has only very few trains per day & thus has relatively little effect in making the Highlands accesable. If run by an automated system it would be possible to run carriages regularly all 24 hours making it fully accessable from central scotland & vice versa. Another advantage of an automated system is that it would make movement of containers in single units practical making them fully competitive with roads.

30) Establish an X-Prize commission giving the full Moon landing & solar power satelite prizes proposed by but only applicable to fully Scots programmes (which in practice means nobody will win them & the cost thus be zero). Offer to make this an international prize compatible with any other country or federative state (eg US states) willing to join the fund & contribute proportionately to their GNP. Initially this can be funded by devoting any increase in the Scots Lottery profits plus £49 million (equivalent of our ESA contribution plus any private donations matched by an equal government contribution.

My estimate is that all of these put together, excluding 30, would cost about £3 billion, the expected cost the bullet train alone is estimated at, & that all would have a significant net benefit to the economy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


John Ray of Australia has produced yet another new blog (he must have discoverd the 25 hour day). This one, however, is to collate examples of politically correct nonsense in Britain which I think a very useful thing:

Eye on Britain

John also produces















Of Interest 3
Alt. Dissecting Leftism site
Longer Academic Papers

Monday, September 18, 2006

a Classic Liberal for 9% GROWTH

I have started up a new blog for the Classic Liberals for 9% GROWTH Party which currently consists of me, an ex-Lib Dem called Andy Nimmo, a couple of others & a significant list of people interested enough to give me their emails. It is my intention to stand for next May's Scottish election on a pro-growth, pro-nuclear, pro-progress agenda. If seven people have said they want to stand for Labour deputy leader I think my chances of winning a Scottish seat must be better than most of their's.

Since that site is for publicity for stuff relevant to the Scottish election I will be concentrating on that rather than the more personal stuff here. I will also not feel the same obligation I have here to put up all non-offensive posts (though I would be willing to engage in an online debate with, say, the Lib Dems if they were prepared to allow it to be equally posted on their site - consider that an offer Norman).

At the very least I intend to put such things as improving our abysmal economic performance, vis a vis Ireland etc, that nuclear is the cheapest, most reliable method of generating significant power & that without it we WILL have massive blackouts & that, rather than banning everything government would be more usefully employed encouraging technological innovation by X-Prizes all on the political agenda.

Perhaps somebody will come up with some sensible reason why people shouldn't vote for that but I doubt it. Whether that means there will be a significant number actually interested in improving our country is a different matter.

Classic Liberals for 9% GROWTH Party

Sunday, September 17, 2006


I was sent this from somebody who used to be part of the Rutherglen Branch of the Lib Dems. It may be argued that it is unimportant that the Smoking Ban motion was improperly set up in this constituency's name since the Policy Committee could easily have done it in their own names. I take the opposite view. The very fact that the rules were so cavalierly broken when it was not necessary (Robert Brown who is the local MSP is also senior apparatchik on the PC) shows how much contempt the leadership have for their own constitution. As a lawyer Mr Brown should have known better.

I have commented previously on the fact that all the motions but 2 at the recent spring conference did not come from constituencies & there had always been a suspicion that, even then, MSPs had used their constituencies to provide cover for Executive policies but I must admit I had not suspected that this was being done without the approval of the constituency in whose name it was done.

It makes the decision by "Maryhill branch" (actually held at a very special meeting miles outside Maryhill) that my Enterprise motion was "too right wing" to debate look even more corrupt than previously.

The Lib Dem adoption of No Smoking as policy back when Paddy Ashdown was leader was also illegal as it was put to the LibDem Conference as coming from the Rutherglen Constituency who had not in fact ever heard of the proposal until the Conference agenda was issued and the LibDem Constitution states that proposals shall not be put forward until or unless they have first been agreed by constituency members. That simply didn't happen. We had discussed and put forward a proposal for health, but it didn't mention smoking. Our whole proposal was 'mislaid' and the no smoking proposal put in its place without reference even to the constituency committee of which I was secretary at the time. It was because of this that I resigned. The LibDems then got Charles Kennedy who as an avid smoker himself didn't countenance a ban, so I guess Labour had to wait until the LibDems got rid of Charles and brought in Ming before they could get full pact agreement for their ban.

If a single MSP had been truly liberal the possibility of having smoke-free and smoking pubs would have been proposed as that way anyone who didn't like smoking could go to a non-smoking pub while smokers could still have been sheltered from Scottish winter weather but this was not even mentioned in the debate instead the MSPs decided to pander to their own petty personal prejudices and to hell with the voters.

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