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Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Poll - UKIP Rising Fast In Scotland

   We have another new YouGov poll across the nation. The national result is that we are again in 3rd place, a fraction of a percent ahead of the LibDems so no change there.

  However the Scottish results are more spectacular

Conservative 17%   (-2%)
Labour 40%           (-1%)
LibDem 4%             no change
UKIP 8%                (+4%)
SNP 28%                (-5%)
Green 1%                (-1%)
BNP 2%                  (+1%)

  First all the warnings that there is a margin of error (3% for the larger figures) & that it is a snapshot & so on. But:

  In brackets is the change from the last such poll I covered in May. The progress over 5 months is spectacular.

  We are now way ahead of the LibDems, with whom we were even. A position we have never before held in Scotland. Up to now UKIP Scotland has way underperformed  the UK, leading to accusations that it is just a south of England phenomenon. That has not been true for years, but that it is not a Scottish one has been claimable.

I can't think of anything specific we have done to achieve this swing in Scotland so I guess it is simply the way the times are moving.

 UKIP is still marginally below the UK level but there are more parties to divide the vote among so that is unsurprising.

 The SNP drop looks ominous for them, though they have regularly placed second during the last parliament and then raced past Labour at the finish line. On the other hand we are in a recession & the SNP aren't even trying to do anything to help, so intent are they on the referendum.

With Jim Mather retired the faction of the economically sane in the SNPis pretty much defunct. For a long rime they have maintained, or at least produced the illusion of maintaining, a balance between left and right. With SNP MSPs now denouncing anybody who doesn't want unlimited immigration, or that thinks North Korea isn't a good economic model, that voter base may shatter.

   Labour's vote is almost holding up but that is all it is doing. It is well known that Labour's vote is almost feudally loyal. Some years ago, in another party, I was told "There's no point in telling a Laboiur voter their representative is an idiot because they already know - and it doesn't stop them voting for him" and if anything Hollyrood merely seems to have reinforced the point. Labour is a bit like a punch-drunk prizefighter - no brains, no activity, but still too strong to knock over.

  The Conservative 2% drop should have then scared. If, in opposition, with their brand new leader and opposition parties going nowhere, they are still losing votes then what are they for? UKIP is now on half the vote of the party governing the UK.

 Murdo Fraser's promise, if he became leader, that he would wind up the party and start a broadbased Scottish pro-market party did have potential but the current trend suggests they now get the votes of well under half the potential free market voters and that, in Scotland at least, UKIP would be a stronger foundation for such a change to coalesce around.

  I am pleased to see the Greens dropping below the BNP. I regard the human progress hating Greens as more destructive and more opposed to human freedom than any traditional sort of fascist (& by the standards of history the BNP aren't fascist anyway). When you consider the massive amount of media support the Greens get, particularly from the state owned media, the fact that they are down to 1% is pitiful. A party of UFO contactees, with that much government support, would do better.

  Where we in Scotland do score is that Holyrood is that, because we don't have the openly corrupt First Past thr Post electoral system people do not feel constrained to vote for one lot of chancers to keep the other lot of chancers out. The "voting UKIP
is a wasted vote" argument doesn't hold water. If you have the right policies, which, for those who think freedom works, we clearly do, people feel free to vote for you.

Also us being a minority party isn't unusual because in a 6 party system everybody, even the current SNP, represents a minority. It wouldn't take that much for a free market movement, whether UKIP, or a broader coalition sharing most of our values, to be the largest minority.

On the current trend we should top the Conservative vote in 8 months? Well? As I said at the beginning these polls should not be taken as gospel. But they can't be ignored either. Well OK they can in the "balanced" coverage the state broadcaster is required to provide, but even such censorship cannot hold back the popular mood forever.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

How to give us the world's best education system AGAIN !

  My latest post is up on ThinkScotland. It is largely based on a previous post of mine. Please put comments on ThinkScotland.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The European Space Agency - not about actually getting into space, let alone serving human progress. Just about each country ensuring its gets its share from the pork barrel:

German, French, Italian and British space agencies outlined the positions they will defend at what may be a rough conference in November to set Europe’s space policy direction for the next several years....

Germany remains attached to the international space station and does not want Europe’s support for it to run out of steam now that development is done and station operations are in full swing.
ESA wants its 20 governments in November to commit to financing the station’s operations through 2020. For this to succeed, Germany, ESA’s contributor to station operations, must persuade France and Italy to maintain their investments.
France and Italy, in turn, want German support for launch vehicles and for the ExoMars project to send a telecommunications orbiter, a lander and a rover to Mars on two missions in 2016 and 2018. Both launches are to be provided by Russian Proton rockets as part of a cooperative effort with the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, which is expected to confirm its participation at the November conference.
Enrico Saggese, president of the Italian Space Agency, ASI, said Italy wants not only ExoMars support, but also backing for upgrades to the Italian-led Vega small-satellite launch vehicle, which conducted a successful inaugural flight in February.
Saggese said advances in electric propulsion for telecommunications satellites could bring these satellites’ weight down to where they could be launched by an upgraded Vega.
Saggese said Italy views ExoMars as the nation’s flagship mission and would support others’ flagships in return for help with ExoMars. “Germany has the [space station], France has launchers and Italy has ExoMars. We will work hard to help our friends, and to have our friends help us,” Saggese said.
Thierry Duquesne, director of programs at the French space agency, CNES, outlined France’s concerns about the long-term financial viability of the current Ariane 5 ECA rocket, which is marketed and operated by the Arianespace consortium of Evry, France.

Despite maintaining a commercial market share of about 50 percent, Arianespace still requires annual support payments from ESA governments to maintain financial equilibrium. Many ESA governments want these payments, of around 120 million euros ($150 million), to be “drastically reduced, or even cut off,” Duquesne said.
The problem is that the commercial market is getting tougher, not easier, for Arianespace with the arrival of the Falcon 9 rocket built by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. of Hawthorne, Calif., and the possible arrival of the Chinese Long March rocket as a full commercial player.

   I like the phrase "requires annual support payments from ESA governments to maintain financial equilibrium". So much shorter and simpler than "needs more subsidy".

   And this is something our cartel parties all prefer to a commercially viable British orbital capacity promoted through X-Prizes.
  And this is what the commercially viable Space-X plans - going to Mars.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Economic Impacts of the U.S. Space Program

Some valuable excerpts from this paper.

Economists view technological changes as one of the most significant determinants of the shape and direction of the U.S. economy.

Technological change exerts a particularly important influence on the national rate of economic growth. A number of studies conclude that about 90 percent of the long-term increase in output per capita in the U.S. has been attributable to technological change, increasing educational achievement, and other factors not directly associated with increases in the quantity of labor and capital.....

This technological component of the U.S. space program attracts the interest of economists, because they believe that federal R&D spending generates more powerful economic impacts than governmental purchases of other goods and services....

 each dollar spent on R&D returns an average of slightly over seven dollars in GNP over an eighteen-year period following the expenditure (3). Assuming that NASA's R&D expenditures produce the same economic payoff as the average R&D expenditure, MRI concluded that the $25 billion (1958) spent on civilian space R&D during the 1959-69 period returned $52 billion through 1970 and will continue to stimulate benefits through 1987, for a total gain of $181 billion.....

assuming that $1 billion of federal expenditure was transferred (proportionately) from other nondefense programs to NASA with no change in the size of the federal budget. Chase estimated that the $1 billion transfer would increase manufacturing output in 1975 by 0.1 percent, or $153 billion (measured in 1971 dollars), and would increase 1975 manufacturing employment by 20,000 workers......

Rockwell estimated that the Space Shuttle program generated an employment multiplier of 2.8; that is, direct Shuttle employment of 95,300 man-years in California produced an increase of 266,000 man-years in total employment......

In addition to supplying needed sales revenues for firms during the early stages of growth, space and defense demand accelerated the advance of semiconductor and computer technology. The learning economies that have been so important in the semiconductor industry were not an automatic by-product of production. Such learning economies required deliberate planning. The challenging performance and reliability specifications set by the military agencies and NASA accelerated many of these semiconductor learning economies. In this regard the space program's specifications for the integrated circuitry of the Apollo Guidance Computer provided a major impetus for improvements in the reliability of third generation component technology.....   The new technology which industry acquired from NASA had a significant effect on the industry's cost structure. The annual cost of a satellite communication circuit was $25,000 when Intelsat-l was launched in 1965; the cost had dropped to S719 when Intelsat-lV was launched in 1971. The annual cost of a circuit dropped to $30 by 1976 when Intelsat-V was placed in orbit....   Drawing on four case studies (gas turbines, cryogenic multilayer insulation, computer simulation, and integrated circuits), Mathematica, Inc. concluded that the economic benefits that result from NASA's acceleration of technology are very large. The value of a speedup in technology in those four fields was estimated to be between $2.3 billion and $7.6 billion in 1974 dollars. Mathematica's "most probable" estimate is that the four case studies alone produced savings equal to 6 percent of all NASA R&D expenditures since 1958 (on a discounted value basis).       This mostly relates to the early years of NASA before hardening of the bureaucratic arteries had set in. The cost benefit ratio now is likely to be much less favourable.       On the other hand even at its best NASA spending was unlikely to come close to the effectiveness of X-Prizes which are 33-100 times more cost effective than conventional spending.      So basically society couldn't lose money if we put it into technology X-Prizes if we tried.

  Though I have no doubt that once we have tried it a lot of political parasites, currently opposed, will come along and try to define giving money to the arts, anti-racist industry, windmill erectors and social workers as "prizes" for inspecified "achievements". The Saltire Prize already looks a bit like that since the proze is given only to the entrant that produces most power, not to one that produces a set amount, let alome a set amount at a set running cost.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

The Nazi Alliance Weakens

   Jerry Pournelle said that America should get out of the Middle East as it had got out of the Balkans. To be "friends of liberty everywhere but guardians only of our own".

   I suggested that the peace in the Balkans was not a guarantee of permanency. His comment in bold:

"Out of the Balkans
I don’t think America has so much successfully got out of the Balkans as that there is no shooting currently going on there.
Camp Bondsteel, with facilities for 7,000, is a sizable military base in Kosovo, a territory to which Yugoslavia still has nearly as good a claim as the US has to the Alamo. Bosnia remains not so much a state as a genocidal war frozen in place, requiring endless western subsidy, at least for the Moslem zone.
Basically it all depends on the Serbs not being prone to the sort of loony attacks the Arabs engage in (or indeed that happened there in 1914).

Neil Craig"

And behind the Serbs are the Pan-Slavic Russians. We had no business in the Balkans and we still have no reason to have troops there. It is involvement in the territorial disputes of Europe. There is no gain in it for the people of the United States.

  The danger of a clash, as Russia grows faster than the EU while the USA, almost inevitably, disengages must be real, though possibly a decade or more away. That is not something anybody should welcome even if Serbia achieves its legal or ethnic boundaries. It is, however, something that Britain should not be involved in, at least not on the Nazi/German side.

   Under no circumstances whatsoever should we ever go to war to support sex slavers or the political leaders, eg Paddy Ashdownm for whom they work.

   Under no circumstances whatsoever should we support racist scum eg Blair, Brown & Cameron, who imprison people for decades simply for being inconveniently inocent.

 Under no circumstances should we act in any way to protect any of the lying Nazi animals (almost all the main party politicians and the employees of the corrupt BBC) who tell absolutely any lie to pretend the organlegging gangsters they hire are in some way "heroic".

Under no circumstances should any decent human being object in any way to anything done to any of these Nazis. If some thug kicks shit out of a child raping, genocidal, Nazi Beeboid or member of the LabConDem parties no decent person can object or bear wirness against such selfless heroes.

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