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Saturday, December 03, 2011

E-Petition on Yugoslav War Crimes Finally Accepted.

When NATO occupied Kosovo we undertook to run a secure non-racist regime, disarm the KLA and prevent them carrying out atrocities. Instead we immediately swore them in as police, allowed to carry out massacres, such as the murder of 210 civilans outside the British Military HQ at Dragodan, in the British occupation zone (acknowledged in Parliament and under the FoI ); the ethnic cleansing of 350,000 civilians; kidnapping thousands of schoolgirls and boys to sell to brothels (attested by a British officer and, years later, by Amnesty Int); and the dissection, while still alive, of 1,800 people to sell body parts (now acknowledged by the Council of Europe). Parliament should acknowledge and debate such atrocities & consider whether the war against Yugoslavia was in any way defencive, since otherwise, under the principles we endorsed at the Nuremburg Trials, it is unambigouusly criminal.

  I put this up on 1th Oct, 10th Oct, 14th Oct, 28th Oct, 18th Nov and 29th Nov.  It was officially rejected twice and disappeared on the other occasions. The official and different reasons for rejection are posted below and readers may decide for themselves if they are valid.
E-petitions cannot be used to request action on issues that are outside the responsibility of the government. This includes:
party political material
and then
commercial endorsements including the promotion of any product, service or publication
issues that are dealt with by devolved bodies, eg The Scottish Parliament
correspondence on personal issues
I hope you will sign it. In any case these facts are is now up on a UK government forum

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Friday, December 02, 2011

Dalgety Bay - Parliament's Adjournment Debate

  On Wednesday Gordon Brown had his adjournment debate on the Dalgety Bay "radium". He spoke, a couple of backbench Labour MPs asked supportive questions and Andrew Robathan, Parlaimentary Under Secretary for defence gave an emollient response confirming that the MoD have already paid £750,000 on this nonsense and are prepared to pay more but not unlimitedly more. He made no specific suggestion that it is natural radioactivity nor that most of it wasn't though he did appear to admit radium had been found..

This is the first time we have had any official statement of the cost spent on this bureaucratic lie. My guess would be that SEPA, being the active party in this must have spent several times more so we will be talking about a minimum of £4 million blown in propping up various people's bank balances.

Here is some stuff from Brown's speech, much of which was clearly a SEPA handout:
"in the past six weeks, materials that were dumped there by the Ministry of Defence in the 1950s—aircraft dials, aircraft paint and other materials—have been discovered, with radioactive levels that are 10 times anything witnessed before." not true - no radioactive dials nor radioactive paint particles have ever been found in the past and the current claims are just about "particles" and "a piece of metal"

"aircraft dials, materials used for painting dials and other instruments, were broken up and dumped at Dalgety Bay. On that land houses were built " so the main site of any putative radium would not be on the beach at all but on the land built on. Reinforces the assumption that this is either natural rock concentrated by lighter soil being washed away from the beach or alternately material being swept onto the beach from the sea bottom*.

"the ambient radiation dose rate values were within normal levels and calculated that the highest ambient dose rate found at Dalgety Bay was only two thirds of that found naturally in the granite in Aberdeen" actually the report said "less than 2/3rds" - I suspect this damaging point would not have appeared in his speech had I not previously dug it out.

"radium contamination was present not as a layer in the sediment, but randomly distributed as particles" the difference between a layer and a random distribution is clearly a matter of the word you choose to use

"the maximum fatal risk per year from inhaling or swallowing a radioactive particle to any user of the area surveyed was negligible; it was calculated as clearly “less than one in a million” I assume "clearly less" means "far less" so zero to by any real world use of the term

"The chances of ingestion…is highly unlikely, around one in half a million per year” so considerably less than the chance of being attacked by a sabre tooth tiger their, though the tiger attack would likely be fatal while eating one particle almost certainly wouldn't

"“recontamination of the beach continued, indicating that either the ash horizon was not the only potential host material, or that”—other—“sources continued to be present…and continued to re-contaminate the beach.” ie in either case it is not primarily, if at all, dial radium but naturally occurring background, probably including stuff from the sea bottom routinely deposited by the sea*

"128 particles, 48 were recovered from investigations of the ash bed, 28 from clearance surveys of the beach and coastal path, and 51 from regular visits" so 37.5% from the only area where dial radiation, if it existed, would be likely to be (also the area where they were looking hardest, and 62.5% where natural radiation only would be expected

"SEPA again wrote to the MOD asking for a commitment to undertake appropriate remediation and

“the delivery of a plan” with“sufficient resources and funds to enable work to be undertaken”." which is basically SEPA putting the onus on the MoD to make an unlimited commitment to pay for unspecified action in response to an undetectably small alleged threat for which there is no evidence they are responsible

The second part of his speech seems to be less taken from a SEPA handout and makes a number of statements that ain't so or are meaningless "is a radioactivity level higher than anything that has been seen before" no we have 3 particles, but the background level is unchanged and much lower than elsewhere

"the MOD contractor removed 33 sources, SEPA has removed 442 separate particles" if that were comparable level of effort we would expect SEPA to have spent 13 times more - £10 million - on this nonsense but I am willing to assume they have merely been removing less radioactive particles

The Undersecretary's response is memorable only for this "SEPA has recently found higher activity sourced at some depth—about 75cm, or 2 feet for those who deal in old-fashioned measurements" actually 2 1/2 feet  - perhaps a nitpick but both the exposure to the public and the likelihood of them having been put there less than geological ages ago are sharply reduced by increased depth.

Brown ends with this telling point "The Ministry of defence has been told by the Scottish environmental Protection agency that a remedial action plan is needed. It has the power to designate the land and require the Ministry of Defence to do this. It will not change its mind about whether a remedial action plan is needed" - ie the issue does not come down to whether there is any actual danger or even any actual radioactivity beyond what God laid down but simply that SEPA has the power to designate any land anywhere "radioactive" and permanently sealed off, irrespective of whether they actually have found the non-existent "daughter elements" of radium or anything else of scientific validity.

This simply comes down to SEPA holding the community hostage to extort money from the MoD.

Brown is doing his constituents no good by supporting the use of them this way.
  There is also a rather good letter from a radioactivity expert on the subject in the Scotsman today and remarkably 3 of the 4 comments  entirely agree with him that
There are amoebae on Mars with a greater knowledge of physics than Gordon Brown and he should return to his self- imposed purdah and not ramp up silly scare stories

the effect of hormesis on the feline population of Aberdeen??

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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Scotsman Letter - Government Have A Duty To Act As Competent Managers

  This letter in today's Scotsman. Not often I disagree with Brian and in fact here I don't much. He was making the point that the government employee strikers were being greedy in trying to keep better terms than the productive sector can afford, which is not wrong and I am saying that if they do exercise their right to strike the government has a duty to show the same determination to oppose them that any commercial manager would. Sometimes it is worth putting 2 sides of a free market debate rather than letting discussion just be between pro and anti strikers. I suspect Brian was showing more support of the Cameron government's position than he actually feels.

   Perhaps the Scotsman decided to use this, which I do not regard as one of my best, because of their (& every other paper's) refusal to publish any of my letters on the Dalgety Bay "radiation" hazard being background and "less than 2/3rds that of a typical Aberdeen street" according to SEPA's  own consultants which I would consider more newsworthy. 
For once I would like to disagree with Brian Monteith’s criticism of the government workers’ strike (Perspective, 28 November).
Striking is an inherent right in a free society.
However, that comes with certain consequences. It is also the duty of elected politicians to serve the interests of the electorate, who pay for it, rather than the government employees.
Mass trade unionism survives alone in the public sector because the politicians, unlike the managers of other businesses, support it for purely political reasons.
By striking, the unions have shown it is government’s duty to be as concerned about getting value for money and making unproductive workers redundant as any other employer. Nobody is forced to work for the state, and they have no right to better conditions than the rest of us.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We Could Get Out of Recession in Days if the Politicians Wanted - 24 Point Programme

   Yesterday's mini-budget says that we aren't going to get rid of the deficit in this Parliament; that we are flatlining rather than growing; that the disastrous ever growing deficit the Conservatives, correctly, predicted Labour would produce has been produced by them; and that their current predictions are based on the improbable assumption that the slow motion collapse of the Euro will stop, otherwise things will get worse than even the OECD's prediction of deepening recession. John Redwood today points out that far from cutting anything the government has actually increased the state sector by 1/2% of GNP and reduced the private one, on which all hopes for growth have been publicly laid, by the same.

   None of this is inevitable. It is perfectly possible to get out of recession within days and all the political leaders know it. I first pointed out how in 2008 in 11 points (and sent it to all the parties, none of whom disputed it would work or indeed noticed it in any other way|) and expanded it to 16 later that year with the same effect. In 2010, following Cameron's promise of a "relentless forensic focus on growth" I sent an updated list of 23 things that would work and a subsequent FoI proved that they had relentlessly refused to give the slightest "forensic" consideration to such growth whatsoever.

   In conclusion there is no dispute whatsoever by any elected politician that these would work and that if even a few of them were done we would be out of recession very quickly. Nor is there the slightest intention to do so. I initially assumed that each one, at least of the 1st 16, would increase growth by at least 2%, based on the Irish experience of cutting corporation tax and building regulations. If all 24 (I have added a new one at the end) were done I'm not sure we would achieve 48% annual growth but it would certainly be world beating.

   Here they are again. I will, again, send them to all the parties and various individual politicians and think tanks and will be happy to publish any responses, including criticisms, any of them feel able to make. If they can't dispute, in any way, that they would work we must assume they agree they would. That implies that all those who have the power to promote this and don't simply and deliberately do not want us out of recession because hard times for us help them "to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety". (Mencken)

1 - Cut the size of government spending - I would go for a no new hires rule & price freeze in the government, probably excluding new doctors & a few other proven front line requirements - this should be about a 5% real reduction year on year. Also completely prune particular departments described later. 5% of the budget is £30 billion so including both actions over a couple of years that is probably about £100 billion. Mark Wadsworth comes up with a similar figure from different directions. This doesn't itself increase the economy, indeed cutting the non-productive £100 billion would cut the economy by £100 billion (ie 7%) but gives us money which can be used with a real multiplier effect & long term growth benefits.

2 - Cut corporation tax to Irish levels - cost about £30 billion & this is the main bit of what got Ireland's growth up from 2% to 7%.

3 - Lets go overboard & cut business rates too - about £20 billion at half the effect.

4 - Gut the Health & Safety Exec - if it saves the work of 4 million workers that is 14% of the economy.

5 - Allow the free market to build as many nuclear plants as the market needs, starting tomorrow. There are arguments for & against the government paying for & owning it but lets keep it simple & at zero cost.

6 - Improve transport - better roads, particularly motorway junctions, allowing airports to expand & the road tunnels project. Cost a few billion. Improving transport infrastructure is one of the things where government expenditure actually works.

7 - Adult job training. Hire retiring plumbers, electricians etc etc to do evening classes in some of the schools empty in the evenings. Adult, particularly male, technical education is the part of education which shows real worthwhile payoff in productivity.

8 - Automate the rail system & introduce lightweight vehicles based on road vehicle technology. My guess is this would be about £10 billion annually but once it is done rail costs go way down & capacity way up.

9 - Quit the EU. The Bruges Group have said the EU costs us £55 billion in direct costs. The EU's Enterprise Commissioner says the regulations alone cost £405 billion - ie £67 billion to us.

10 - Allow almost unrestricted housebuilding & encourage modular methods. This should let them cost about 1/4 the present price. Housebuilding is pretty much the biggest industry in any country & that would give us an enormous boost.

11 - End most of the sort of "environmental" regulations which have stopped Trump investing his £1 billion here for 3 years. This alone has cost the Exchequer £360 billion (£12% a year).

12 - This has already been done, albeit accidentally & need not be extended - Letting the £ drop is a major stimulus to the productive sector though exports. It worked in Major's time too - also accidentally.

13 - An X-Prize foundation & a free market regime on Ascension Island as a British Space base. So long as the Foundation is guaranteed an increasing amount of money at approx 5% above the rate of growth & able to offer prizes based on what the fund will be in future it can offer multiples of the current cost & in turn the gain to the economy will be multiples of that figure. Of course if nobody wins such prizes it has zero cost - that being the worst case scenario. I would suggest £1 billion a year as starting payment which would certainly put us at the top of the space & high technology trees attracting many times that level of investment & even more importantly, many of the world's best brains.

14 - I see that though we have saved £155 billion plus we have only spent about £70 billion. Put the rest into cutting taxes (28p off income tax or equivalent!). I would also support raising alcohol taxes since it discourages something socially damaging whereas most tax discourages productive stuff. It wouldn't take many years of excise duty rising faster than a Chinese style growth rate to pay for all the size of government here.

- These are 2 a bit of a flyer not to be done till we know the economy is recovering:

15 - Build some floating islands, probably around Ascension island, probably about £1 billion each.

16 - Make a purchase guarantee for a factory to mass produce turnkey operation nuclear reactors in Britain, for use here & around the world. If it can be done with a new design & much smaller & hence less economic reactors it can be done for normal 1 gw ones. Invite the best designer, probably Ariva or Westinghouse (which used to be British owned but the government forced British nuclear to sell it off). We guarantee that if they can make a production line turning out one, turnkey operation reactor, a day we will purchase the first 2 years supply at cost if they can't sell them abroad. Assuming £350 million (70% of the current minimum price) a shot that puts us on line for a £255 billion liability & I am working on the assumption that, since there is currently a backlog they would actually sell. That is a bet but a reasonable one & if it works we would lead ourselves & the rest of the world to unequalled prosperity & end up with the sort of role in building the world's electrical power that the US has exercised for decades in world aircraft production.

17 - Government should recognise that, vital though the free market is, a strategy of promoting technology is at least equally so. Strategy of Technology by Possony, Pournelle & Kane should be required reading for anybody involved, as it has been for US officers for many years. It is about the need for society to promote technological goals to achieve military supremacy, as indeed they did when the USSR found it could not match the technology of the SDI programme. The authors had been decisive in promoting SDI. However the same principles apply equally, if not moreso, in the economic field where our most aggressive competitors are China & India & our only major advantage is technology.

18 - Beyond an official technology prizes foundation (#12) mainly orientated on space technology, the government should give extensive tax relief for any privately funded technology prizes. Prizes mean that though government can choose to have winners, simply by putting up enough prizes, they don't have to try to pick the winners in advance as grant funding does. Private prizes have the additional benefit that people thinking outside the traditional government "box" can come up with ideas & promote them. This is less important for space development where the technological challenges are mainly engineering & the problems well understood. By comparison pure science prizes, like the M-Prize whose importance to aging research cannot easily be underestimated, has achieved repeated successes with funding which government would consider insufficient to carry as pocket change.

19 - Adopt as an aim that 2% of our GNP should be available for these private & public X-Prizes. Most of this could come from a reduction in grants, it would certainly lead to a far more than 2% increase in GNP (probably much more than a 2% increase in the annual rate of GNP growth) & would do far more for British status worldwide & long term security than the 3% of GNP spent on the military. The evidence is that prizes are 30-100 times as cost effective as the normal government grants & advance payments. If they don't produce results obviously no prize is awarded so that is infinitely more cost effective :-)

20 - Stop subsidising windmillery. One major driver of successful economics is inexpensive & plentiful energy. Windmills (& other "renewables") are both expensive & intermittent & are virtually a recipe for economic decline. If there were any truth to the catastrophic warming scare far & away the best way of cutting CO2 would be by nuclear power. That the "environmental"/Luddite lobby is overwhelmingly opposed to nuclear is clear & apparently indisputable evidence (at least they refuse to dispute it) that they themselves believe their catastrophe story is untrue.

21 - Encourage the production of an international HVDC grid. Putting up cables immediately to Norway, Iceland, Canada & Russia could be done faster than completing several new reactors & would prevent the probability of blackouts. Since all 4 of these countries have some of the world's cheapest electricity while we have some of the most expensive the advantages of being able to trade are obvious. In the longer term an international grid would have all the advantages & more* that the national grid had over the 1920s local production. *More being that, because demand is closely linked to daytime, off-peak electricity can be sold across time zones. Starting such a grid would not only help the British economy & put us at the centre of a major new trading market, but keep the rest of the world, or at least all countries that chose to participate, out of recession too.

22 - Hold a top level scientific conference, inviting real scientists, including Nobel winners, not administrators, to produce a definitive position on whether the no lower threshold (LNT) theory on radiation damage, or the competing one called hormesis, which says it is beneficial, is true. So long as it was a real scientific, evidence based, symposium I have no doubt that the LNT theory would be discredited since there is no actual evidence for it. The effect of this on discouraging anti-nuclear hysteria can hardly be underestimeated.

23 - Set up a British space base on Thule & use it to launch spacecraft allowing Britain to reach "Mars by 2015, Saturn by 2020" or earlier. This was originally costed at $1 billion in the 1960s & current costs, amortised over a decade, are easily affordable. The economic benefits of controlling the universe are considerable, if difficult to fully quantify immediately.

24 - Remove all specific controls over the exploitation of shale gas; publicly declare that all the evidence is that it is far safer than, for example, windmills; and that the government will use its national interest powers over planning to ensure any shale gas exploration and development will go ahead without interference. The technological brealthrough that has allowed us to reach deep buried shale gas is causing an energy revolution, Brtiain clearly has been gifted with enormous potential in this and we should ensure that no country in the world is a better place for the free market to develop this wealth.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dalgety Beach Mess - Gordon Brown Steps In

  Gordon Brown has said he intends to speak in favour of forcing the Armed Forces to pay millions in Danegeld to the SEPA fraudsters "clean up" campaign. 
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown will use a parliamentary debate on Wednesday to demand the MoD takes responsibility for radiation found on Dalgety Bay beach.

The article does read like he is a complete stuffed shirt who has been filled up with SEPA's lies and set off. Brown has previous in putting his constituency ahead of the national interest (which to be fair is part of an MP's job but not a Minister's). He authroised the building of 2 new aircraft carriers to be outfitted at Rosyth in his constituency. It was decided, when the Tories came in, that the penalty clauses he had put in would make it more expensive to cancel the carriers than to build them both and immediately mothball one of them at a cost of $4.5 billion. That now seems to have been a false economy. 
The UK Government’s plans for a new generation of aircraft carriers have been branded an “eye-watering” mess after a cross-party investigation uncovered billions of pounds in extra costs.
Britain will have no aircraft carrier capability until 2020 and costs have climbed from £3.65bn to more than £6bn....
“We’ll have fewer aircraft carriers and they won’t have full operational capacity until 2030 – what a mess.”....
“Changes to the aircraft carriers and the aircraft flying from them in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review have changed the risks and costs involved in ways that are not fully understood.
“Rather than two carriers, available from 2016 and 2018, at a cost of £3.65bn, we will now spend more than £6bn, get one operational carrier and have no aircraft carrier capability until 2020 – almost a decade.
“The second carrier will be mothballed, while the operational carrier will be available at sea for only 150 to 200 days a year. On top of that, the technology to enable the new aircraft to fly from the carrier is untested.
“The newly constructed ship will have to undergo immediate modification and the costs of this will not be known until December 2012.

   His position on this "radium" was announced by the BBC yesterday as being him personally having called a debate though it seems more an end of day statement than a debate.
Wednesday 30 November
At the end of the sitting: Adjournment: Mr Gordon Brown: Radiation at Dalgety Bay.
   While fixing the aircraft carrier contracts have probably brought in several million £s in wage packets to his constituency I don't think this scam is in the interests of anybody but the SEPA bureaucratic empire builders. Dalgety Bay is a rather nice, middle class, growing new town. It is a dormitory suburb for Edinburgh, being close to the Forth bridge and attractive to those who work in Edinburgh but wish to live across the Firth from the city.
the town is a regular winner of the Best Kept Small Town title. Its rise in population mirrors its rise in popularity as a coastal commuter town.
   The last thing a place like that needs is a fact free and therefore unremovable, permanent reputation as being polluted by an undetectable poison. Such scares are remembered for a long time. It is unlikely that, even if the Armed forces were to spend the necessary millions digging up the beach (and putting the debris where?) that this would do more to convince that the "threat" was over than that there must have been something to it in the first place.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Dalgety Bay - 2 Freedom of Information Queries.

  From a point raised by Steuart Campbell about what happened to all the other aircraft.

Dear Byron Tilly or current occupant,
                                                          Please consider this another Freedom of Information request.

      Assuming SEPA have been running your investigation into alleged manmade radioactivity at Dalgety Bay in the proper scientific manner the very first thing you must have done is to determine the number of aircraft destroyed at that beach; weight of paint required to paint the numbers on each of the dials in such aircraft; and the proportion of paint that consists of radium since this gives a figure for the maximum possible amount of radium released at the time, without which no serious investigation could proceed. Certainly;y the solubility of the paint and/or its removal from the scene in the form of smoke during the burning and erosion and weathering over the subsequent 65 years would be expected to reduce it much further but at least you will have thereby established the maximum possible theoretical exposure. I would therefore like to know these 3 figures.

     Secondly, since any serious scientific investigation of substances requires a control example you must have carried out a similar investigation into the radioactivity level of a comparable and presumably adjoining beach. I would like to know what beach was chosen, what the background reading were at each and the the ratio of man-hours invested to particle found at each. I have previously asked for similar information to this latter part in an FoI but you refused to answer. I wish to point out that you do have a legal duty to give responsive responses to all such queries.

Please also acknowledge receipt of this email.


Ministry of Defence.
      In December 1944 Britain had 14.500 aircraft in Europe. I assume it would be several thousand more before hostilities ended. Almost all of these would have had radioactive paint on their dials that, alone, would make nighttime flight possible. Almost all of these have since been decommissioned. I wish to make a Freedom of Information enquiry to know the sites at which such decommissioning took place and the numbers at each site. I would also like to know if there was any body ensuring that dials from these aircraft were kept separate and sent to the Atomic Energy Authority (or similar body existing at the time) for permanent storage and how many of those they have in storage now.

       I would also like to know the volume of paint and the amount of that that was radium rather than fixative agents, purchased by the RAF during WW2. I realise that unfortunately the large majority of night bombers were lost over various German cities so the amount subsequently decommission would be a fraction of that.

      It seems likely that if SEPA are correct about Dalgety beach needing to be declared permanently unfit for human beings to visit so must the Ruhr.

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