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Saturday, January 12, 2008


Forestry Commission houses

John Redwood on the future of rail - he knows what he is talking about

Electricity prices

Scots economy

"Warming weather"

Tories wobbling


Forth crossing

Clinton's secretary of state, in an off the record briefing, told the western media that she had prevented the Serbs being offered a deal they could honourably accept because "the Serbs need a little bombing".

If Mrs Clinton is engaged in a "get tough strategy" does this mean she will be bombing hospitals in New Hampshire

Put Northern Rock into liquidation

£4,200,000,000 - Alleged cost of new Forth bridge which is less than

£4,673,000,000 - the cost given by the Scottish government for a Forth Tunnel which is officially why they chose a bridge.

less than 3 km - Length of Forth tunnel (though there would be 2 carriageways)

£3.5 million
Cost per KM of similar tunnels built in Norway

£9 million - cost per km of Glendoe scheme (but remember tunnels are only a small fraction of total cost)

£19.5 million - cost of previous Forth bridge

£314 million - cost in today's money of previous Forth bridge.

13 times - degree to which proposed bridge cost exceeds cost of the last bridge

100 times - minimum degree to which Holyrood's "costing" of a tunnel exceeds what a tunnel could cost.

0 - Number of Parliamentarians willing to appear in public to explain this

the government regulator deliberately set electricity prices below cost. Nuclear costs are almost entirely fixed costs which is why it didn't quite break other generators. They forced BN to sell off all its foreign assets & reactor building capacity then nationalised it without compensation. Then the regulator put the prices back up.

This nasty bit of fraud did immense harm to our economy as the fact that we are going to have to hire the French to build our next reactors proves. Obviously it was supported by the eco-Nazis.

I make an error about windmills

Green puts forward extermination of 30 million Brits as a preferred alternative to building nuclear power stations

Nuclear approved
Our Moslem terrorist friends
"What's the difference between a climate change fanatic and a terrorist?"

"You can sometimes negotiate with a terrorist."

A Lib Dem supports the EU
Response to my suggestion of a Forth tunnel - overwhelmingly positive

Nuclear "It is not merely that both correspondents, one of them from a major "environmentalist" organisation, are shading the truth but that both have, obviously quite deliberately, lied 100% Such total absolute & utter corruption & contempt for any trace of honesty whatsoever seem increasingly typical of eco-fascist proponents."


Thursday, January 10, 2008


A different letter about the bridge this time & my first on the subject in the Herald. Online comments& the other letter show a uniform disbelief that a crossing has to cost anywhere near the £4.2 billion the government are insisting on.

"Nick Dekker (Letters, January 9) asks why a Forth tunnel has been estimated at £4.5bn when Glendoe can be built for a small fraction of that. Having asked for a breakdown of this cost, I can confirm that it is made up of a remarkably round £1bn for the actual tunnel and all the rest being for "optimism bias" (no, I don't know either), "contingency fees", "inflation at 7.5% annually", access roads, unspecified "capital charges" and so on.

The cynical might suspect that this price has been ramped up to make the cost of a bridge, at £4.2bn (itself up from £314m in today's money for the last bridge), look good. This view is reinforced by the fact that, over the past two decades, the Norwegians have built 704km of tunnels at £3.5m-£10.5m per km.

This would mean that they could cut a Forth tunnel for one-hundredth of what we can. Let's hire the Norwegians or Germans."

Here is my October article giving a breakdown of my FoI enquiry into the tunnel costing

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Radio Scotland were interviewing a guy from the Met Office whom the introduced by saying that "there is a scientific consensus on global warming. I sent this email which in part they read out - the parts they didn't being marked [ ]
There is a scientific consensus that global warming is upon us?

How does the BBC explain the Oregon Petition of over 19,000 scientists who say otherwise? [Well ok the answer is that you just don't report it.]

However your John Mitchell was actually quite sensible. The rise as low as 1 degree is most definitely not catastrophic warming - it would make us about as warm as North Wales [which is hardly catastrophic & is less than we have experienced during the Medieval & lare Roman warming periods.]

I can hardly object to them not reading out me saying that they censor reporting of the petition. However it may incline somebody there to be less one sided. Or it may be that BBC Radio have already come under pressure to prove themselves less biased. The last half sentence would have been quite nice but would perhaps have made it to hard hitting.

John Mitchell was a Met Office scientist & while he did not express any doubt about some warming nothing he said suggested it would be remotely as expensive as the Kyoto rules.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


This letter, published in full is in today's Record, albeit under the title "Dig this idea".

It was also, to my considerable surprise, read out in full on Radio Scotland's Newsdrive after 5 yesterday - usually they content themselves with a one sentence summary from "listener Neil" but they even gave my full name.

Eliza Jane, is the name given to the tunnel boring machine which has just completed the 5 mile tunnel of the Glendoe hydro scheme. Instead of spending £4.2 billion on a new Forth Bridge why not just send her there & start cutting a tunnel under the Forth. If anybody doubts this is practical look at Norway where, over the last 2 decades, they have built 704 km of tunnels, mostly costing £3.5 million per km & some running as much as 20 km underwater.

Surely this would be more practical than shuffling paper until 2012 & then starting building? Can anybody in authority say why this bridge is going to cost £4.2 billion when the last one cost £19.5 million (equal to £314 in today's money) let alone why we cannot have a tunnel at an even better price?

On the other hand it hasn't appeared in the Herald, Scotsman or Mail & I assume probably won't now. The idea of moving this machine today to start cutting is perhaps OTT but the basic tunnel proposal, with figures, is very practical & I am still waiting for anybody in authority to explain why we have to have a bridge at £4.2 billion.

Should any MSPs feel able to explain this I will put it on my blog The only explanation I have seen was from Alex on the Herald online which basically blames government bureaucracy.

Angry Steve has told me the letter appeared in the Metro in Glasgow (againn "Boring appeared in the Headline) & the Scotsman have put it in today (Weds) Nobody from the official side has commented though somebody who used to be close to the centre of government has agreed this is a very good question.

Monday, January 07, 2008


The Scotsman says that Hilary Clinton is about to "get tough" to combat her falling polls.

Bill Clinton's secretary of state, Madelein Albright, in an off the record briefing, told the western media that she had prevented the Serbs being offered a deal they could honourably accept because "the Serbs need a little bombing".

If Mrs Clinton is engaged in a "get tough strategy" does this mean she will be bombing hospitals in New Hampshire?

On a similar note googling Ron Paul together with Kosovo I found this from Ron Paul published by him in Texas:

Citizens of a free country ought to expect they won't be burdened with the kind of propaganda barrage that has come to be associated with Nazi "interior ministers" such as Josef Goebbles or Soviet "media spokesmen" like Vladimir Posner. However, the more information that comes out about the NATO war in Kosovo, the more evident is the fact that NATO made an apparent "policy decision" to lie about Serbian atrocities......

.....we were told before the bombings that there was mass genocide occurring, the figure of "100,000 or more" was tossed around even though there was no evidence to back-up this claim. One media pundit suggested the number would be a quarter-of-a-million dead. NATO even gave a name to this "campaign of mass genocide," it was dubbed "Operation Horseshoe".....The actual number of people found in the reported mass-graves totals slightly more than 2,000.....Kosovo was safer than any major U.S. city prior to the NATO bombing. Moreover, as Steele shows, it is hardly evident that each of those bodies was killed as a result of a campaign of genocide....

The sad trail of lies in Kosovo merely reinforces two facts. The first is that our republic depends upon a press that will question the claims of our leaders instead of just accepting them. The second is that Congress has shirked both its Constitutional responsibility to declare war before U.S. troops are sent into battle and its oversight responsibility to closely monitor the administration in its carrying out of foreign policy

Having yesterday largely supported his position on space development & the X-Prize I am extremely impressed to see not only that we are in agreement on a totally unrelated subject but that he has the balls & integrity to publicly say what he believes to be the truth when it is against all the propaganda the state has been pushing. America is extremely fortunate to have such a man. I wish we had anybody a quarter as good. I doubt if he will get the money needed to become President but Vice President must be a strong possibility.

Ron Paul's writings In an age when any political idea has to be reduced to a one sentence soundbite for the TV he seems to be quite remarkably literate.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


On this side of the pond the US Presidential race is looking interesting but we hear far more about what gender/colour/religious conviction everybody is than the boring stuff about actual policies. Well tough. Policies are what are inside the box. Everything else, no matter how colourful, is just the advertising.

Being particularly interested in Space, a subject which crosses party lines, on which original thought is both allowed & needed & which is going to be vital to the future of us all when the Iraq war will be merely a historical footnote, I checked out this link.

Hilary will produce a "space-based Climate Change Initiative", more robot programmes & reverse Bush's funding cuts of NASA". So she has an interest in the subject & would spend more but in the wrong ways & for a politically correct reason

Edwards "I am a strong supporter of our space program. It reflects the best of the American spirit of optimism, discovery and progress. We need a balanced space and aeronautics program. We need to support solar system exploration as an important goal for our human and robotic programs, but only as one goal among several. And we need to invite other countries to share in a meaningful way in both the adventure and the cost of space exploration." So considerable interest & I agree about international involvement but nothing really specific

Obama "He will maintain fiscal responsibility and prevent any increase in the deficit by offsetting cuts and revenue sources in other parts of the government. The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years" Now I approve of fiscal responsibility, Bush has spent 8 years kiting cheques & I think NASA is a waste of money so i can't actually disagree with this but he really doesn't have anything positive to say (eg X-Prizes

Guiliani says "Not only did it help us ultimately win the Cold War, it helped us in countless other ways, in scientific development and products. We can do the same thing with energy independence. But we've got to have a president who knows how to get things done." which seems quite sensible & shows an interest in space, but again no actual proposals, though energy independence, if he means it seriously, must include nuclear & probably solar power satellites

Huckabee says "Whether we ought to go to Mars is not a decision that I would want to make, but I would certainly want to make sure that we expand the space program, because every one of us who are sitting here tonight have our lives dramatically improved because there was a space program — whether it's these screens that we see or the incredible electronics that we use, including the GPS systems that got many of you to this arena tonight.Some of you were late because you didn't have one, by the way. Or whether it's the medical technologies that saved many of our lives or the lives or our families, it's the direct result of the space program, and we need to put more money into science and technology and exploration." The first bit is not well phrased because he is running for the job that does involve making that decision (my opinion is that Mars should not be the immediate aim - cheap space access should). Nonetheless he is quite correct in understanding the importance of space, but again has no actual proposals.

Hunter, as a Congressman wrote to Bush about the vital importance of not being outclassed by China, though largely on a military rather than industrial basis.

McCain "When asked ... did not respond." Well screw him

Romney supports Bush's vision for space exploration and has no reason yet to propose a new direction". So nothing then

And the winner & champeen

Ron Paul "Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate and commend the designers, builders, sponsors, and pilot of SpaceShipOne on the occasion of its successful flight out of earth's atmosphere on June 21, 2004. What is most remarkable about SpaceShipOne, of course, is that it is the first privately-financed and privately built vehicle to leave the Earth's atmosphere."
& "Ron Paul consistently opposes taxpayer funding for NASA"
The guy has not only heard of Spaceship One but understands it. There is no promise that NASA funds, or even 10% of them which would be enough give America the solar system, will be put into X-Prizes but you can't have everything.

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