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Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Iain Dale had asked for nominations - a few of mine actually made the list buy most didn't.

Politician of the Year - Radovan Karadzic
Minister of the Year- Jim Mather (Hollyrood)
Worst Minister of the Year - Alastair Darling
Conservative MP of the Year (non front bench) - John Redwood
Labour MP of the Year (non Minister) - Frank Field
LibDem MP of the Year - John Thurso (because he refused to serve on an anti-nuclear agenda)
Minority Party MP of the Year- George Galloway
Print Journalist of the Year - Jeremy Clarkson
Campaigner of the Year - Sarah Palin
Speech of the Year - "Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines, build more nuclear plants … "Sarah Palin
Pressure Group of the Year - SONE (pro-nuclear)
Peer of the Year - Lord Lawson (anti-global warming)
Humorist of the Year - John Bird & John Fortune
International Politician of the Year - Vaclav Klaus
Gaffe of the Year - Alastair Darling saying the economy was the worst since the Depression before it was
Moment of the Year - when most of the Georgian army got bogged down in Tiskhinvali facing 300 Ossetian soldiers rather than closing of the tunnel the Russians were about to come through Hate Figure of the Year - Radovan Karadzic
Sexiest Female Politician of the Year - Sarah Palin
Scottish Politician of the Year - Alex Salmond

Sunday, December 21, 2008


The cost to the taxpayer of buying the Titian masterpiece Diana and Actaeon could top £100m, double the asking price.

The Duke of Sutherland’s offer to sell the painting to the national galleries for a “bargain” £50m would deprive the public purse of up to £60m in taxes which would have been raised if the painting had been sold at auction for its reputed £150m value....

Sources close to the National Gallery in London and the National Galleries of Scotland were “confident” the £50m would raised ahead of the December 31 deadline. Private sources have pledged £9m and £41m will come from the UK and Scottish governments and other public bodies.

I discussed this earlier comparing the £100 million these 2 pictures with the amount that would be needed to be put up for an X-Prize to create a British orbital shuttle fleet - £330 million ($500 m). Well if the loss to the Exchequer for 1 painting is not only the purchase price of £50 million but another £60 million then we are talking about £220 million for them both, assuming the 2nd one costs the same which I think optimistic.

So for barely more than we are going to spend on 2 Renaissance paintings we could have access to the universe (& also lots of hi-tech jobs). Lets have public apologies from all these Luddites who said that it was "too expensive". Currently Britain spends nothing on the greatest human exploration since we left Africa. Granted we do put something into ESA but it is not designed for space travel it is designed to keep the European gravy train going, just like NASA but moreso in fact.

In actual fact the case that physically holding these paintings is somehow more artistic or creative than not doing so is nonsense. Computerised reproductions can not only be as good as the originals but better since over the centuries paints fade & while the image can easily be restored to what its creator created the picture itself can't without being restored to an extent that virtually destroys the original. Having original paintings in galleries is merely showing off what an expensive pack rat you are & has noting to do with appreciation of the art any more than owning a bit of the Holy Sponge makes you a good Christian.

Of that £41 million £10 comes from the Scottish government. Meanwhile, though they have also put up £10 million for a "renewable" sea turbine X-Prize they are unable to find a single penny for a genuinely progressive prize.

Meanwhile Scotland is still subsidising windmills by £1 billion a year. There is unlimited money for the Luddite parasites but nothing for those who actually create something.

Quite obvious then that it is the scientists & engineers who are creative humans with their eyes on the stars & the "great & good" & "artistic" communities who are merely parasites wallowing in the public trough among the detritus of their creative predecessors.

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