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Saturday, February 12, 2011


   Joseph Friedlander pointed me to this article on why life is not improving for ordinary people as fast as it used to. The article comes to similar conclusions as I have previously - state parasitism - and indeed to a not greatly different figure for it:

People on average are more educated, enjoying vastly better health, are living vastly longer, suffering (physically) vastly less and are, in absolute terms, vastly wealthier than at any time in human history. In London, they are seemingly happier, or at least more visibly joyful, than most urban populations ...

two prominent economists, Michael Mandel and Tyler Cowen have been writing about what they term is an ‘innovation interruption’ or an ‘innovation slowdown.’ Mandel puts his best case forward in his 2010 article, “Why the Jobs Crisis is Actually an Innovation Crisis”. In his ebook, The Great Stagnation Cowen, argues for this being an era of technological stagnation in considerably greater detail, and invokes a different primary causal mechanism, namely the idea that the US economy has been driven by a binge supper on the “low hanging technological and natural resource fruit” that was available until the early 1970s in the US.

I first noted, and wrote about this slowdown in everyday technological transformation, and working and middle class wealth, in the late 1980s, and I christened it the “Family Affair” paradox. Family Affair was a television sitcom that ran from 1966-71. The program was bland and unremarkable, but one thing I noticed watching a rerun, whilst confined to a doctor’s waiting room, was that nothing in the living spaces that the program played out in would have been out of place in 1989. The only noticeable changes were automobile styling and womens’ couture. Since I am a ‘classic movie buff’ with an insatiable appetite for films from the 1930s through the early 1960s, I noticed that it would be impossible to mistake an interior from 1940, for one from 1950 – let alone 1960. This phenomenon was brought home to me again some years ago when I toured “A kitchens of the 20th Century” exhibit at the Smithsonian, in Washington, D.C. The slowing of apparent technological change and growth in wealth (spaciousness and quality of finishes), mirrored what I had seen in film and television – and what Mandel and Cowen assert their economic analyses also show...

Mandel and Cowen have a number of arguments to explain this slowdown, and far more importantly, they have the solid economic data to back it up. Their arguments are that at least these factors in play:

The US was still largely virgin territory at the beginning of 20th century. It still had vast fossil fuel reserves, a huge reserve of unexploited and agriculturally rich land, and a largely rural population of intelligent and ambitious young people who were uneducated – and thus could be turned into a valuable asset not previously available. That’s all gone now.
The most transformative basic technologies that have created widely distributed wealth and jobs were largely products of the 19th century scientists and entrepreneurs. Edison, Tesla, Ford, Dow, and DuPont did the ‘easy’ and highly profitable science that really produced widespread improvement in the standard of living, such as artificial lighting and widespread electrification. These ‘easy’ technologies have now been harvested, much as is the case, say, in physics. Newton could integrate physics and invent the calculus whilst sitting under an apple tree in Woolsthorpe. All he needed was his mind, and a considerable body of observation that required little technology, but a great deal of time and patience (both of which were at premium before the Industrial Revolution). Still, he did not require a large hadron supercollider, nor any other multimillion, let alone multibillion dollar infrastructure. Those days have largely vanished from physics; and from many other branches of science , where the ‘oil oozing out of the ground’ has been scooped up and sold. Science, like oil exploration, has had its easy pickings, after which point, discoveries get more difficult and costly to tease out of the natural world.

This civilization treats scientists like garbage. I have written letters to the London Times and to The Guardian expressing my sadness and frustration that while there are countless statues to soldiers and generals – there are none to Darwin, Newton, Telford, Turing, or the countless other British minds that essentially enabled scientific-technological civilization. My suggestion to put a statue of Newton or Darwin on the Fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square (which is empty of sculpture or statuary) was rebuffed in a snide email from an editor at The Guardian who suggested that I “return to the US, and erect such statues in my hometown.”
All of these observations are, of course valid, and no doubt contribute significantly to the technological slowdown. However, as attractive as I find these ideas, they do not begin to adequately explain the current economic situation, nor do they really explain why we are all not a lot richer than we are. I say this because by any measure of actual increase in the efficiency of production, we should be much, much richer than we are...

more importantly... the fraction of that wealth that is retained by the people who really create it...

Determining how much wealth has been diverted is a tricky thing to determine, because you have to subtract out various kinds of parasitism, which is very difficult to do on an objective basis. For instance, governments do provide real benefits and services for their citizens; clean water, transportation infrastructure, law enforcement, the justice system, sanitation and public health, and so on. These things are costly and necessary. But how costly are they in both absolute and relative terms, and what is essential, and what is simply waste, theft, or bad decision making?

When I first got interested in this issue my perspective was very simplistic: historically nation-states (and empires) collapse when the taxation burden on their populace exceeds ~30% of the GDP, or its equivalent. So, it would seem simple enough to look at the taxation rate and come up with a number as to how close to that historical margin we are at any given time, assuming, of course, that this number still applies, because in the past, peoples’ incomes were just barely enough, or a little more, than was required to keep them alive, or in a modest (very modest by today’s standards) zone of comfort...

The huge absolute growth in wealth has thus destroyed the utility of this at least 2,000-year-old indicator for predicting how much theft is intolerable to the continued functioning of the socioeconomic system...

[a long list of taxes, licence, regulations and additional costs] often represents theft, or the shifting of taxes from productive creation or maintenance of civil infrastructure to wasteful, or actually destructive (actively destructive) spending. By the mid-1990s, I reckoned that actual taxation on productivity was in the range of 60% to 70%. It simply was not obvious, because so much of it was hidden, and it was not felt, because the wealth being generated by increased manufacturing and data handling efficiency was so vast, that it was now possible for people to be very comfortable on what amounted to the leavings from their real productivity.


I commented
On government parasitism it is the case that the government share of spending has grown from about 6% in the mid 19th C (a historic low) to officially just over 50% in Britain today. A further point is that the economists’ rule of thumb is that regulation costs the regulated 20 times what it costs government to run it. Thus 200,000 “health & safety” inspectors destroy the wealth produced by 4 million workers. We may be very glad that most government employees have no economic effect either way. I have done my calculations here of how government regulation destroys the equivalent of 100% of our actual economy & thus 50% of the potential economy we could have & subsequent research suggests this is not an underestimate. Combined that is government robbing us of 75% of our potential wealth, a figure close to the one in this article but calculated from a different direction.

One interesting counter example is Japan where, after spectacular growth, we have had 2 decades of zero growth. This is probably partly because government reorganised the economy to make keeping the banks solvent the prime objective so partly government parasitism; partly because they have an aging population; but I suspect partly because they had reached the top of the world technological tree at the time and had nowhere to go.

On that basis I would suggest that space development is the obvious “place to go”. I also think that the way to stimulate innovation, both in that field and others, is X-Prizes. Probably simplifying & enforcing patents laws so that inventors get more money than patent lawyers & the regulators who regulate new products out of existence would also help. I have proposed putting 2% of GNP into assorted X-prizes as something that would provide real technological progress & grow everybody’s economy by at least 2% annually (let alone 2% overall). This is something positive government could actually do which would improve on the free market which normally is the default best route.
  With further thought his assessment of state parasitism at 60-70% is even more closely comparable with mine at 75% since his calculation is based on American experience where the government sector is still lower than the 50%+ here (though 1/4 of that is done by borrowing rather than taxing, which is a way of taxing the next generation who don't yet vote). When independent calculations come up with the same result they multiply their credibility.

   Note that in Scotland the state sector is about 60% of the economy and regulations notoriously make building and some other things about 10% more effective. This brings the parasitic sector up to at least 80% of national income. This fits well with the observed fact that we are about 10% poorer than England  despite getting a "union bonus" from the Exchequer roughly equal to the oil taxes from Scottish waters.

    Obviously if this parasitism were removed we would be anything up to 4 times better off. All we have to do, as Frank Castle said to a lady who was scared living in New York but afraid to move out "Just do it".

UPDATE In comments Mark Wadsworth has a 3rd calculation which assumes less of the potential economy is destroyed  & includes some of the money government takes being returned to us but still comes out in the same ballpark:
"taking actual GDP as £100, normal people get to keep:

minus £50 publicly collected taxes
minus £17 privately collected taxes
plus £5 cost of core functions
plus £15 welfare and pensions
plus £8 value of NHS and education
= actual net income £61

But compare this with what GDP would be in the absence of taxes on income* (£133, let's say), "

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Friday, February 11, 2011


    Tim Worstall found an interesting remark from the boss of Centrica about electricity costs and how government parasitism affects it:
But there’s no uncertainty about the range of other costs which together make up about half the average domestic energy bill in the UK. So-called “non-commodity” charges rose by nearly 9% last year and will continue to increase well into the future, largely as a result of sensible government policies to make sure we have a sustainable energy market in the decades to come.

These costs include charges for the transmission of gas and electricity, the installation of smart meters in every UK home, huge investment in low-carbon power generation, and big energy efficiency programmes. The government estimates that the UK needs to invest a total of £200bn by 2020 to decarbonise its power industry and ensure that the lights stay on.

and says     I replied (links added):::
50% of your power bill is the crap that government addds to it. Should give the fuel poverty campaigners a target to aim at…..

 “Non-commodity charges” presumably means charges after producing power. “Non-commodity charges” presumably means charges after producing power. “Non-commodity charges” presumably means charges after producing power. “Non-commodity charges” presumably means charges after producing power.

Thus the fact that nuclear power is as or slightly cheaper than coal and about half the cost of the average basket we use isn’t included. Royal Academy of Engineering figures table p 9

Beyond that is the fact that more than half nuclear costs are government regulatory ones – allegedly for health & safety but nuclear is far and away the safest power generation method there is (people keep falling off windmills). Professor Cohen on costs of nuclear plants - what went wrong. Looking at it again while an exact figure cannot be given my assumption that only 50% of nuclear production costs are parasitism seems overly generous even assuming a fair part of safety regulations had validity.

Nuclear plants could certainly be made far more cheaply if we were allowed to mass produce them, at least 1/3rd cheaper & probably, with a long production run, under 50% of current costs. "the AP1000, will cost USD $1500-$1800 per KW for the first reactor and may fall to USD $1200 per KW for subsequent reactors" - that is not talking about true mass production but simply an extended run. If there were a factory or 2 turning out a reactor a fortnight they would be far cheaper - 50% looks like a high estimate.

So that is real costs being 50% to the power 4 (non-commodity charges X nuclear already being half the price of our basket X useless nuclear regulatory costs X possible mass production savings) = 6.5% of current costs. The remaining 93% is pure government parasitism.

I must admit to not having known of the final tier of “non-commodity” costs.

So what politicians are claiming to be against fuel poverty and recession?
Some people think I am overly critical about our masters but repeatedly, when I have gone deeper into what they do it turns out, as with this example, that they have been even more parasitic and destructive than I first thought.

The good news is that the more we find our national income is being artificially depressed by such things the more certain it becomes that we could not only match but considerably exceed Chinese levels of growth if the burden were removed - as could easily be done simply by not applying all the unnecessary rules.

I don't say electricity bills would drop 93% immediately and standing charges less. Building 1 plant takes 3 years, even in Asia; replacing all our power with 60 units after that would take years; and because demand would go up as prices fell we would need to provide more than that. I think it would take 10 years to get that reduction but that is no argument for not starting immediately. Some people said this 10 years ago.

7 reactor units side by side at Kashiwazaki, Tokyo

And starting it today would provide the business confidence to invest immediately knowing that rather than having productivity disturbed by blackouts they could look forward to far lower business costs (only 1/3rd of electricity being domestic though it currently costs the average family £1,200 and government intend to increase it to £5,000. Something for Mr Cameron, with his promised "relentless focus on growth" to focus on.

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    This letter from me in today's Scotsman.
WWF's call for us to institute a trade war with Canada (Letters, 10 February) describes a report disagreeing with the Canadians about what Canadian industry does as "an independent study commissioned by the EU".
Something funded by somebody else, let alone by politicians, is not independent. Perhaps WWF can be forgiven for not knowing this since some of its income comes via government.
Interesting how it has been edited. The last phrase "some of its income comes from government" originally read 
1/6th of all their income comes from government funding or government funded "non"-governmental organisations. Indeed it is now difficult to find any organisation calling for more government regulation or taxes which is not quietly funded, at least to the extent of its own advertising budget, by the state.

Since the state produces nothing, it is ultimately funded by us. As H.L. Mencken said "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." Indeed it is difficult to find any part of the "environmental" or other nannying movements which are not secretly funded by the state.

I would have thought that journalistic ethics would require that any news story planted by government funded sources or letters from the same should be identified as such. I am sure that if the same tactic were used by the Russian or Chinese government our media would report the source.
So enormously toned down then. Granted this is closer to mentioning the problem of fakecharities being used by government to propagandise than any other paper has done, but it is hardly close. Which says volumes about how restricted the entire MSM are.
I provided them this ref  -WWF annual statement p21  I assume most of their "trading activities" are with government departments as this is the normal pattern with fakecharities.

  The WWF's call for a trade war was saying we should ban imports of shale oil & gas from Canada. Shale gas, in particular, is a new technological breakthrough which can produce quantities of cheap hydrocarbons far greater than all our current reserves. This will end any alleged prospects of "peak oil" for generations and once again demonstrates that the whole "running out of ...." scare depends on the false assumption that human beings are incapable of invention. WWF and other eco-Nazi groups are clearly scared stiff that yet another scare story has been proven a lie and hope that if their prophesied doom cannot happen naturally government must artificially prevent progress, or at least limit it to the non-European part of the world.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011


   A friend, George Horn gave me this  letter from the January issue of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. 
For over 20 years, many power engineers have been warning that, during a freezing anticyclone covering the entire UK, wind and other renewables would fail us. Wind-turbine supporters have maintained that, as turbines are dispersed widely, they would always produce significant power. The two-week meteorological experiment to test this hypothesis has recently been performed.

     After two weeks of freezing weather, on 6 December, UK peak electricity demand was above 60,000MW for the first time. The NETA website showed that electrical power being generated at 5.30pm originated as follows:

Combined-cycle gas turbine
39% 23,400MW
Coal  38% 22,800MW
Nuclear 13% 7,800MW
Pumped storage 2.7%  1,600MW
Wind output 0.2%  133MW
Others - balance

We have squandered something like £6 billion on 5,000MW of wind turbines for this miserable output. Why does our energy minister continue to delude himself about the options for future electricity generation?

Abandoning conventional thermal power plants in favour of renewables will bring about the collapse of industry and our way of life.

Paul Spare.
 By 2015 new EU emission controls will close about half of coal powered plants depriving us of more than 10,000MW and, of course, the nuclear component is due for retiral. In the slightly longer term the Climate Change Act will require the closure of 80% of all coal and gas plants by 2050. The even more destructive Scottish Act also requires closure of 42% of them by 2020.

     Clearly there is no possibility whatsoever of the windmills 0.2% rising to an extent that will come close to producing reliable power for the country. Note that in much of Scotland in December temperatures fell to -20C. Blackouts in such conditions would mean deaths in the thousands - much higher if prolonged.

     It is disgraceful but not unexpected that such news gets limited to the letter columns of professional magazines rather than major articles across the press and BBC. If there were anything 1,000th as threatening that could honestly be said about nuclear it would be in banner headlines (indeed even when it can't be said honestly it often is).

PS Mr Spare is a Fellow of the Society & I understand a regular campaigner for sanity. I assume that the 7% of other sources comes from hydro power (like pumped storage that can only be used till the source runs dry & the reliance on such shows a degree of desperation)  and from imported French power which, though it is 80% nuclear, doesn't count as such.

  The £6 billion subsidy only covers direct building subsidy. The Carbon levy is set at 0.47p a unit and we produce about 382 TWh so that is £1.8 billion annually.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011


 This is the link to the pdf report by Liam Brunt, Josh Lerner and Tom Nicholas of Harvard on the use of prizes from 1839 to 1939 by the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) to promote innovation. May sound dry as dust but it allows an extensive and long lasting examination of whether prizes work, even in this case remarkably small prizes. It also shows what a drain unduly expensive patenting bureaucracy has been. Here is the very short version:

"At annual shows the RASE held competitive trials and awarded medals and monetary prizes (exceeding one million pounds in current prices) to spur technological development. We find large effects of the prizes on contest entries, especially for the Society’s gold medal. Matching award and patent data, we also detect large effects of the prizes on the quality of contemporaneous inventions.          p3

It awarded both substantial monetary prizes (in excess of £1 million in current prices) and its own highly prestigious medals for innovative implements and machinery. Between 1839 and 1939, 15,032 entrant inventions competed for the prizes and a total of 1,986 awards were made.       p6

prize winners were significantly more likely to utilize the patent system after the show than nonprize
winners. Crucially, we find that the largest spike in patenting for both groups of inventors occurred in the year of the show (i.e., approximately a year after the prizes were announced), suggesting that the relationship between prizes and patenting was quite immediate.       p8

we estimate that a doubling in monetary prize value equates to approximately a 6 to 7 percent increase in patents in the target area in the year of the show. For an additional medal, we find a quantitatively much larger increase of 33 percent. These findings are robust to control variables and for dynamic specifications of the patent regressions.              p9

our results provide at least two pieces of evidence to show that prizes spur innovation. First, the contests organized by the RASE attracted large numbers of inventors so the prizes did act as an important inducement incentive. Second, the prizes were correlated with patenting activity in the priority areas with an especially large effect on the quality of invention.        p10

Our analysis of the prize system also sheds light on why inducement prizes worked, from the perspectives of both the entrants and the RASE. The monetary awards did not offset all the costs of technological development, covering on average only around one third of the sale price of a single unit of an implement or machine exhibited by a successful entrant. But exhibiting an innovation was a powerful form of advertising and winning a prize could dramatically reinforce this effect as the prizes bestowed upon inventors “the Society’s mark of approval” (Jenkins, 1878, p.870) and augmented potential market size. From the point of view of the RASE, the awards encouraged competition through entry into the target areas and also the diffusion of useful knowledge across innovators. While costly to organize, the evidence suggests that the prizes led to significant improvements in the quality of technological invention.        p11

Whereas its predecessors were distracted by politics, which hampered their ability to focus on the technical
and scientific aspects of farming, the RASE was a politically agnostic organization       p12

Trials were expensive to operate. In 1878 it was estimated that the trials cost £2,000 per annum (Jenkins, 1878, p. 871-872), while in 1920 the tractor trials alone cost the Society almost £5,000 (Scott Watson, 1939, p. 102). In fact, the cost of the trials was a very considerable burden on the finances of the RASE, whose only sources of income were the annual subscriptions paid by its members and the gate money arising from the annual show.                  p14

By the middle of the nineteenth century, rolling in extraneous expenses, a patent could cost £120 in England and as much as £350 in Scotland             p15

in 1925 it was still ten times more expensive to carry a patent to full term in Britain than in the United States

In 1855 dissenting manufacturers authored a report stating: “We object to this system [of prizes] on the ground that it operates as an undue stimulus to competition.”  In 1856 one manufacturer commented on the apparent “destructive” side of the prize competitions: “It is unfair because there will always be sure to be somebody trying to find out some improvement or other and there is no knowing where will be the end to it.”     p16

the prize awards against the sale prices of the winning implements, revealing a slope coefficient of 0.3. Although measurement error in the RASE price estimates will bias the coefficient downwards, the fact that
the prize value was significantly less than the value of the exhibit is supported by records from the shows. A report of the stewards of implements for 1848 states that, “the implement makers are unanimous in declaring that, even when successful, the prizes they receive do not reimburse them for their expenses and loss of time”         p20

shows the large effect of the 1883 [Patent]Act, which reduced the costs of obtaining a patent      p23

winners were significantly more likely than non-winners to increase their patenting activity after the show              p29

the effect of a gold medal is economically large and statistically significant at the five percent level, implying a 42 percent increase in patent counts in technology categories  targeted by the award        p34

For a doubling of monetary awards, the estimates in column 5 imply a 7 percent increase in patents for which a renewal fee was paid and a 33 percent increase for an additional medal.       p36

at least part of the boost in patenting is due to inventors switching from pursuing other technologies to the one for which the prize is being offered.         p37

our analysis suggests that inducement prizes – especially non-pecuniary inducement prizes – can be extremely effective at encouraging innovation. Interestingly, we find that entrant effects are largest for prestigious medals, suggesting that the role of the awards in recovering the costs of research and development was quite limited. The average monetary award offered by the RASE covered only around one-third of the estimated
sale price of a winning invention exhibited. The prizes, the evidence suggests, induced competition between inventors and increased the quality of innovation, while the advertising benefits associated with the prizes likely increased potential market size. Our quantitative evidence on the utility of the prize system is also supported qualitatively. The Scientific American concluded in 1867: “It is indisputable that these competitive trials have done, and are doing, much to raise agricultural engineering to the highest standards of efficiency and economy.” With respect to steam engines, which had the largest impact on productivity growth of any technology in the mid-to-late nineteenth century (Crafts,2004), the role of the RASE was again noted by the Scientific American in 1874: “An investigation of the results obtained from year to year shows a most extraordinary improvement in the engines, as regards economy and workmanship, and there is little doubt that the effect of these tests has been most beneficial to the users of steam power.” An 1864 report by the Society of Arts noted: “Without the prize system the manufacturers would not have been guided to the production of the class of implements really required.” We believe the prize contests organized by the RASE offer valuable guidance for the design of inducement awards today, since there is a reluctance to introduce a radical change in the incentives for innovation in the absence of hard empirical support (Kremer, 1998, pp. 1162-1165; NRC, 2007). While the administrative costs associated with a prize system may be high –

graphs and tables     p44 on

  So prizes work. Perhaps no surprise there since even opponents back in 1855 accepted it, but worth having it proven. Incidentally in all the time I have been pushing this the complaint that we will "not know the end of improvements" is the sole case I have seen of anybody being willing to say why they are against it. Normally politicians, bureaucrats and journalists just ignore the facts and pretend never to have heard of the idea.

Note how very small these prizes were since the RASE were not government funded or have a rich sponsor. 1986 prizes awarded over a century for £1 million in today's money that comes to just over £500 each. If a doubling of that implies a 7% increase in patentable ideas a 100% increase  might cost £7,000 and John McCain's $300 million for an improved battery would produce a 27,000 fold increase. OK I am playing with figures since a new battery is far more difficult than a new seed drill and in any case much larger prizes would be expected to involve the Law of Diminishing Returns but nonetheless the utility of using prizes rather than bureaucracy to stimulate innovation seems beyond any dispute.

Unless you are a politician or bureaucrat whose objective is not progress but the power to dispense patronage, or a journalist receiving it and even they don't actually dispute it. Fortunately businessmen willing to oppose progress, at least openly, now seem an extinct breed.      

     "“Whoever makes two ears of corn, or two blades of grass to grow where only one grew before, deserves better of mankind, and does more essential service to his country than the whole race of politicians put together”    Jonathan Swift

     Generations of RASE officials and engineers deserve our thanks.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011


I said back here that I was putting in a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about the Herald having published a letter criticising my claim about the amount of electricity not produced by renewables.

Since then I have been informed that, during at least part of the December cold spell, wind provided an entire 0.2% of our electricity. This was a period when temperatures were widely as low as -20C.

I have accepted the PPC's admonition not to publish the letter the Herald sent them in their defence but you can see my astonishment at a claim they have made. Should it turn out to be truthful I will certainly say so.
Thank you for your reply. I have read the Herald's letter with interest. While I entirely agree that both sides are entitled to their say, though I would submit that letters from people paid by the state to push a particular view are not the same as independent readers' letters and should be unidentified as such, I would point out that my letter was a response to claims by Scottish Renewables and that a similar letter was used to give the final and counterfactual word. Giving one side both opening and closing shots is clearly unbalanced. I grant that if the paper in question makes no claim to being balanced there can be no complaint about such lack of balance - I am not aware whether the Herald claims to be balanced.

More directly I should point out that I was specifically challenged in the concluding letter & yet not allowed to answer the challenge - as I have pointed out the PCC have previously specifically ruled that this is improper.

Had I been aware of the Herald's claim "in the past two years, we have published 20 letters from Mr Craig, the vast majority of which have been about renewables and other energy-related subjects" this would certainly have heartened me. As far as I was aware they had only published these 4 others in that period,,,, 2 of them being about the related subject of nuclear power.

By comparison here is a list of 31 letters sent and not published, only 2 of which can be considered related to Scottish Renewables & 2 more to the energy question . Years ago when I first started sending letters to the Herald and others I found the majority were published. This would seem to suggest either that my literary skills have sharply declined with experience or that my choice of subjects have more heavily intruded on positions our media prefer to censor.

In any case since I have written far fewer than 20 letters to the Herald on this particular subject I would be remarkably interested to see the nearly 20 they have published. Since Mr McBain has already traced them it should be the work of moments for him to email them, with links, to you.

A search of the Herald's website for "neil craig" yields only one letter from me in 2009 though there are many more earlier ones.

As regards how this be resolved:

Were the Herald to prove its "its 20 letters, mainly about renewables" publication claim truthful I would accept that, whatever the merits of this case I had been, overall, given a fair crack of the whip and withdraw my complaint. I trust that would be satisfactory, though I also fear it may be impossible.

A 2nd alternative would be to publish the letter with an editorial comment referring to the date of the letter it is replying to and acknowledging it is not my fault it was delayed.

A 3rd alternative would be to allow me an op-ed article (also Mr McBain's remit) of 500 words on the range of government funded charities (known on the blogsphere as "fakecharities") whose claims form such a massive part of "news" & increasingly letter columns to the detriment of those not being covertly paid by the state to produce opinions. Obviously any alterations could only be with my approval.

4thly I could write such an article on the media's censorship of massacres, genocide, the sexual enslavement and the vivisection of innocent people to steal their body organs carried out by our "police" but suspect this is something the paper, or any other British paper but the Morning Star, would absolutely refuse to report.

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Monday, February 07, 2011


Thanks for contacting the BBC.

I understand that you feel we are biased towards the Government’s perspective on several issues. In particular, you feel we are biased in favour of climate change, and do not allow debate on our programmes on this issue.

The BBC is committed to impartiality, and BBC journalists, presenters and programme makers are well aware of this. They are expected to put their own political views to one side when carrying out their work for the BBC. They seek to provide the information which will enable viewers and listeners to make up their own minds; to show the political reality and provide the forum for debate, giving full opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard. Senior editorial staff, the Executive Board and the BBC Trust keep a close watch on programmes to ensure that standards of impartiality are maintained.

There is broad scientific agreement on the issue of climate change and we reflect this accordingly; however, we do aim to ensure that we also offer time to the dissenting voices.

Flagship BBC programmes such as ‘Newsnight’, ‘Today ‘and our network news bulletins on BBC One have all included contributions from those who challenge the general scientific consensus recently and we will continue to offer time to such views on occasion . You might be interested in the views of former Newsnight editor, Peter Barron, who explored this issue in an online posting at our Editors' Blog and explained some of the editorial issues it throws up:

We’re guided by the feedback that we receive and to that end I'd like to assure you that I've registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, programme makers, channel controllers and other senior managers.

The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Thanks for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

Mark Roberts

BBC Complaints (emphasis added )

The BBC replying - how uncharacterisric, even though they don't actually make any attempt to answer any of the criticisms made. That deserves a reply
Thank you for your email confirming that the BBC's decision to produce 10s of thousands of hours devoted to catastrophic warming alarmism, including deliberate lies, and not a single one to putting the opposite case to support an alleged "scientific consensus" for catastrophic warming represents the very highest standard of honesty to which the BBC and I therefore assume, any member thereof, ever aspires.

I note that if that does not constitute "due balance" then the BBC never can and thus will never claim to be compliant with its Charter.

I have asked a 10s of thousands of alarmists this question without a factual response - Can you name 2 scientists, worldwide, not paid by government or alarmist lobbyists, who support the claim that we are experiencing catastrophic warming.

As you will know, though the BBC censor reporting of it, more than 31,000 scientists have stated the opposite. Thus if the "consensus" claim is truthful you should be able to name at least 310,000 scientists who claim it and if it is genuine it is a statistical certainty that at least 150,000 will be independent.

2 will be easy if the BBC is even attempting to get within hailing distance of remotely honest..

Neil Craig

PS Perhaps you could remind your colleague Damien Whyte who assured me that the BBC would not censor massacres and racial genocide and promised he would respond to any evidence to the contrary I produced that he has still to make the promised response to the evidence of masacres and genocide, specifically the Dragodan massacre where British police murdered at leasr 210 unarmed civilians , a massacre comparable to My Lai or Lidice, which the BBC have censored, daily, for 10 1/2 years. I think I am due an apology for his suggestion that in saying that the BBC censor genocide in the Nazi cause I had been less than totally honest.

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