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Friday, March 29, 2013

EU Debate at Strathclyde University

  On Tuesday UKIP representative Robert Malyn was a speaker at a 4 a side Strathclyde Uni debate.

  We lost. Oh well, thats student politics and the one thing 7 of the speakers seems to agree on was that UKIP is dreadful.

On the pro-EU side:

1st, Jade Holdin is a coming LibDem woman and was full of assertions that because the EU has a policy on poverty it must be reducing poverty, ditto unemployment, crime, catastrophic warming rtc and must thus be beneficial. Obviously no evidence of achieving the beneficial effects was presented. We also got the old "we can't have a say on running the EU from the outside", though why we should then need to was unanswered.

    The most amusing moment of the night was during questions when she produced a printout of UKIP arguments against the EU, proclaiming she had written disproofs them all and then refused to say what they were.

  Not quite grasping the concept of debare.

2nd, Joe Brown is a competent speaker capable of dramatic gestures and confidence who has been successful on the uni's debate team. He declared he was going to rebut "19 lies" told by sceptics, all of which came down to assertion and opinion. He  told us that if we quit it would be so damaging to the EU that they would hate us and, in spite, cut off all trade with us. This does not suggest it is a union of friends but also seems improbable considering that they export more to us than they import.

  In questions he took on my challenge to any of them to dispute that the EU economy had fallen dramatically as a proportion of world output by saying I was wrong to claim it had fallen in absolute terms (I hadn't and it hasn't until recently) and that it was inevitable that China would grow & we thus decline as a proportion since they are starting poorer. Why starting poorer inevitably means faster growth was not explained and is contrary to the historic record.

4th, John McKee, another technically good student debater explained that only as part of a massive 500 million person group can we negotiate good trading deals. Poor Singapore, mired in endless poverty because it is too small to trade.

3rd, Christopher Stephens, who has now been chosen for the SNP EU election list was perhaps the most interesting. There were claims the Scotland within the EU would get a much better deal than the UK does.

However where our minds met was in question time where he said that the real division between supporters and opponents of the EU is on the divide between those who want less and those who want more regulation. If that is the divide I know which side I am on.

  He quite openly wants much more than even the current EU provides, taking time off to complain about how the Tory cuts have meant a reduction in Glasgow council inspectors. His day job is a Glasgow council inspector.

  That reminded me of a previous debate where the Green party leader explained that the reason his party had changed into EU supporters was because it was only through ever increasing EU regulation that our the "continuous economic expansion " we were (back then) suffering from could be ended. I don't think Christopher wants a nation of more regulators and consequently fewer producers for "environmental" reasons but simply for its own sake, but the confluence of primary interest is interesting.

   We were never going to win but an informative experience nonetheless.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Where There's Muck.... - Metro Letter

   I am told that this letter (probably an edited version) is in today's Metro free paper of which I have spoken very favourably. That is pretty cool since the Metro letter page doesn't many letters, let alone many political ones.

  I'm sure Swift would have been able to do it with more subtle irony.

I see the heartwarming news that the island of Muck is getting full time electricty, from "cheap" windmills and solar power. A mere £978,840.

The population of Muck is 30. That makes it £30,000 per person, or over £100,000 per household. A 4 kw diesel generator (much more than windmillers assume households use when they report that such and such new windfarm can supply X many homes) can be bought for £1,000.

I hope the people of Muck retain their old 10 kw generator as well, just in case of some unprecedented moment when the wind is not blowing quite fast enough to produce power and it is night time and the electricity thus ceases to be "full time".

However I am pleased to see the "renewables" industry continuing to provide jobs with their normal level of efficiency and fiscal prudence. Lets hope Britain never gets into a recession and finds such generosity difficult to afford.

Neil Craig

generators for sale     This was inspired by by a news item in the Scotsman and I initially sent them a slightly longer version which they didn't use. No complaints since I had just had 2 letters published and my original was more directly sarcastic about the Scotsman failing to report the obvious comparison between cost and population involved, but it is good to become a Metro regular. This version went out to all and sundry.      This is the original article. My thanks to Dr GM Lindsay for bringing it to my attention.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Lights Going Out In Scotland

  On Friday night Britain was struck by a wave of catastrophic global warming in the form of cold and snow. In Scotland there were 3 areas where there were extensive blackouts as snow brought down power lines. Wigtonshire, the island of Arran and beyond that, the peninsula of Kintyre.

Around 3,500 homes on Kintyre and 1,500 on Arran are still waiting to be reconnected.

A further 300 homes remain without electricity in Dumfries and Galloway.
Engineers' efforts to restore supplies have been hampered by a weekend of snow, blizzards and heavy winds.

Residents in parts of Arran fear they will remain off the national grid until Friday as areas of Scotland continue to be hit by severe weather. In some areas there were 15ft snow drifts.
Heavy snow and ice brought down power lines in Kintyre on Friday which blacked out a huge area over the weekend. At the peak of the problems around 18,000 homes were without power.

  As the BBC said a couple of days ago. In fact they seem to be slightly ahead of schedule and only 450 homes remain unconnected, all on Arran or Kintyre.

  What is noticeable is that the area to which it is possible to easily drive, Wigtonshire, got put back online quickly and the bit that is isolated by being an island or 200 miles away, by a round a bout route. Not surprising but worth reporting.

   Which reminds me that I first proposed the Scottish Tunnel Project, which would have meant dual carriageway connectionn to Kintyre via tunnels and further tunnel connection to Arran, - back in 2006.

   Not one single MSP even replied to the proposal.

   Then in 2011 the Scotsman published my article on the subject and only a handful even answered.

   Arran and Kintyre could and should now be a short drive from central Scotland. Repaires could anfd should be able to drive there very quickly to make repairs.

   But nobody anywhere in the Scottish government has ever shown the remotest interest in doing anything at all - not even enough interest to suggest that there are any reasons why it is not as easy as it has been for the Norwegian tunnel programme.

   And if that is not a condemnation of the total uselessness of the Holyrood numptocracy and their constant demands that they could run Scotland competently if only they were given a few more powers, I'm not sure what would be.
A total of 973,000 people died due to winter weather from 1982/83 to 2011/12, Office of National Statistics data for England and Wales shows.
Pensioner organisations warned the current colder-than-average winter will kill more than 26,000 people by the end of March – as Britain’s winter death toll reaches a million in just 30 years.

  Expect that to be greater this year, both because of this and because of the ever and unnecessarily rising cost of power..

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Free press Sometimes Bad, Controlled Press Always Bad

  New article now up on ThinkScotland. Please put any comments there.

   It isn't so much a massive conspiracy to control the press as interlocking conspiracies and special interests.

   It started when Rupert Murdoch asked for permission to buy up all of Sky with a view to enlarging it and making it a full competitor to the BBC.

   The BBC and its print arm, the Guardian, went into action. They took a very minor story, hardly news since in no way new, that reporters had used illegal avenues to get information. This is something that newspapers not only have done since the first typesetting but something they SHOULD be willing to do. The Guardian itself has previously publicly boasted of doing so.

   The alternative is that no paper would/will ever be able to report something that those involved don't want known - reducing papers in whole, rather than, as now, in very large part, to rewriters of PR press releases.

    They used their media monopoly to make this non-news the first, main and occasionally virtually only, news item in their main evening "news" programmes. And invited any politician who wants favourable airtime to help the story run. The foreign media expressed amazement at how importantly this non-story was being treated but it is hardly a new way of setting the agenda.

    Look at the way that "catastrophic global warming" a story with no factual base gets treated as more serious than the related deaths of 25,000 British citizens from fuel poverty annually. Which is at least 1,000 times more important? Which gets at least 1,000 times more coverage?

    When they had nothing to horrify people, however hard they pushed, they simply turned to lying. The claim that the NOTW had not only accessed Milly Dowler's phone but had deleted messages, convincing the police and family she must still be alive was simply a lie. The Guardian even apologised for producing it along with 40 odd others - months later, when it no longer mattered - far less prominently than the initial lie.

   Then a bunch of rich rascals and media celebrities, whose agents hadn't been able to keep all their scandals under wraps, set up Hacked Off to try and make sure the press always did what they wanted. For once this seems to be a genuine organisation rather than the normal government funded fakecharity. This is strong evidence that it is not one massive conspiracy.

   The Labour party naturally willing to do anything for favourable airtime and Cameron panicked, setting up a lawyerly enquiry without fist squaring the judge to make sure he wouldn't propose anything non-token. Naturally if you pay a courtful of people £5.6 million and counting they must be expected to come up with some proposals, useful or not - otherwise they will look as if they weren't worth the money.

   So Leveson inevitably came up with a scheme to regulate the press. Labour, being totalitarian and the Pseudo-Liberals being wholly opposed to liberal principles adopted them. And Cameron, despite clearly knowing they were dangerous, but having no trace of moral courage, adopted them. Or as the BBC dishonestly said "the 3 main parties" stitched it up, only the 3rd party being opposed and they weren't asked.

    We have seen generations of broadcasting media largely owned by the state (the rest being state regulated) with promises in their charter of honesty and impartiality. So much so that it is now, with 28 gate, literally impossible for anybody who is both informed and honest, to deny that the state broadcaster will lie, slant, select and censor any sort of dissent, to an extent no Russian broadcaster would dream of doing. And that they will do so to promote a form of dictatorial bureaucratic, parasitic big state socialism no Russian broadcaster would dream of supporting.

     It is noticeable that the people running this Royal Charter will be drawn, not from either those who know anything about the press, nor from politicians. This leaves the "great and good" of the civil service and judiciary" - not like the bad old days when trials were conducted by juries of ordinary citizens. That is to say exactly the same class who run the corrupted BBC monopoly.

    And next the blogsphere.

regulatory graphic.jpg
   Graphic from a highly recommended article by the Daily Mail, the only newspaper trying to stay in the gutter where the press belongs.

  Also Jerry Pournelle, a must read for anybody interested in politics or human progress, used this link I sent him:

Dinosaur Killer Likely To Be A Comet Not Asteroid
In which case we can’t predict when the next one will turn up..
It is by no means certain which it was but this shifts the odds
Neil Craig

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Monday, March 25, 2013


  In the recent budget George Osborne called for a tax rebate to parents to ameliorate the cost of child care. I did previously say in passing that i assumed 3/4s of childcare costs in the UK are state parasitism but this is perhaps the time to look more closely.

  Here is a list of childcare costs around the OECD countries, calibrated in terms of average wages which I think is a good comparison because, with little technology required, that really should be what makes up childcare costs.


Switzerland 77.7
UK  40.9
Ireland 45.2
USA 38.1
New Zealand 28.6
Canada 29.5
Japan 28.1
Australia 22.5
Slovenia 19.9
OECD, all 18.
Austria 16.8
Germany 14.1
Israel 18.3
Norway 10.8
France 16.5
Netherlands 13.2
Denmark 11.2
Korea  8.5
Finland 12.2
Czech Republic 10.6
Luxembourg 8.7
Iceland  7.9
Portugal 7.7
Poland 7.1
Spain 8.2
Belgium 5.8 
Sweden 7.1 
Hungary 6.2
Slovak Republic 7.4 
Estonia  6.6
Greece  4.9

  That is what I call a wide disparity. Note that Sweden, Belgium, Iceland, Luxembourg and Finland are all countries as wealthy as us or slightly more and all countries with good welfare systems so it is not credible that they are keeping costs down by allowing ill-treatement - even if the state were not to notice the parents would.

  Note also that all of least expensive 13 except Iceland are EU members so, for once, the EU regulatory regime cannot be to blame.   

   The basic rule here is that if something is being done abroad at a certain price it is possible to do it at that price and if it isn't being done here it must, other things being equal, be that our government is more restrictive than abroad's. This applies with costs of nuclear plants, housing, building projects, tunnelling. It must also apply yo childcare.

  The cost of the last 13 averages 7.7% of average income. With Britain at 40.9%, that must mean the level of state parasitism is 81% of the total cost.

  Obviously not only is this cruel to parents it produces a strong discouragement to the birth of children, particularly among the middle class, who are neither rich enough to afford it, nor poor enough to be due it for free. It is difficult to think of something more likely to, over generations, destroy our nation. And  keeping a significant proportion of parents out of the workforce has major economic effects. And there is the extra money Osborne is paying in government tax deductions to ameliorate the costs of government regulation.

  How to solve it:

  Rather than spend a lot of time fighting over each regulation and slowly hacking away at the bureaucracy, why not simply introduce a new class of child care. Say that anybody is allowed to set up as a "Childminder" (as o[pposed to Childcarer) so lang as all their advertising includes "not government regulated" and that such childminders are allowed to include any sort of liability waiver. I assume liability law is why the US costs are almost as high as Britain's. Any parents are free to choose. Current law on everybody includes the need for public liability insurance and that would remain and might well become the basis of free market, if not regulation, at least quality listings, just as France avoids most of our housing regulation by requiring builder's insurance on all new housing.

Note also that in Scotland, almost all regulatory powers are held by Holyrood. Thus this reform could be carried out here without any interfernece from either Westminster or Brussels. 

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

How Much Will The Climate Change Act Cost By 2050

  The Climate Change Act 2008 has been called the most expensive piece of legislation the British Parliament has ever produced - according to the Government's own figures, will cost us up to £18 billion every year until 2050 ie £765 billion.


   Most of the cost is in foregone economic growth. Britain's long run economic growth has been about 2.5%. Currently it is zero, or less, depending on time scale.

    So, assuming the long run 2.5 rate, by 2050 our economy would have grown 2.83 times by 2050.

    With GDP now at £1,650 billion (& the same or actually marginally more in today's terms in 2008), that is £4,674 billion.

   But we aren't achieving any growth and since the correlation between growth in electricity use and inn GDP is precise, we won't for the next 37 years.

       So that means the cost in 2050 will be £3 trillion.

      Correlated over 42 years the cost of the Climate Change Act comes to £38 trillion + the money the government spends - call it £39 trillion


       How much has it cost already. Well, if it were repealed tomorrow, all the parasitism ended, and we got back to the normal 2.5% growth we would still have wasted 5 years. That means GDP by 2050 would be £4,114 billion - a loss of £560 billion. Since this is also an example of geometric growth this still comes to about £7 trillion by then.


    Now for the fun bits - suppose instead of being run by Luddites deliberately opposed to growth we were run by a progressive party able to achieve Chinese levels of growth ie (10%), starting now, by 2050 our GDP, in today's money, will be £56 trillion (comfortably exceeding current world GDP of $70 trillion - £47 bn).

    If we had started back in 2008 it would have been £90 trillion.

   Of course I have previously said that the Chinese are not doing everything right and that, since the historic record shows richer countries tend to grow faster, we should be able to exceed the Chinese growth rate if out government was really trying. Possibly by a lot. 23.8% would be £440 trillion - I do not remotely expect that but I do believe in maths and if anybody wants to try and disprove the maths I would be interested.

    We have suffered fools, thieves, parasites and fascists to rule and impoverish us but we still have an almost unlimited potential to achieve anything we want.

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