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Saturday, February 08, 2014

Recent Reading

   Bristol Spaceplanes crowdsourcing £150,000 towards spaceplane development.
   And a bit of the history of lost opportunities.
We are all doomed because of climate change - links to dozens of articles from the (non-existent the current alarmists lie) 1970s global cooling scare.
Physicist create synthetic magnetic monopoles. I remember when this was a staple of Larry Niven's stories about the Belters (settlers in the Asteroid belt) - monopoles being the equivalent of gold, In some ways it would be a shame if the adventure of going out looking for them turned out to be unnecessary and we can just run them off a production line.

Nonetheless yet another instance of scientific progress actually outstripping the "we were promised jetpacks" science fiction - and it being only political parasitism that is holding us back.
And another - teleportation. Well OK this is only at the quantum level which is very different from the Star Trek version.
How successful is fracking? Well the United Arab Emirates are planning on importing this hydrocarbon energy source from the USA to the Gulf.
Via the GWPF - could the failure of prophesied warming over the last 18 years discredit science. My view is not because science itself is such an impartial process and because, despite all the lies about a "consensus of 97%/99%/99.9%" etc of scientists supporting it the truth is that if not one single scientist anywhere in the world, out of the 40% not paid by the state, supports it, claims of consensus (except for a sceptical consensus) simply cannot be in any way truthful.

However the author does make the fair point that national scientific bodies have overwhelmingly supported the fraud (& are overwhelmingly state funded. When the fraud disappears there will have to be major changes in these corrupt government funded sock puppets.
Unifying Scotland's police forces under one man directly responsible to Alex Salmond is a bad thing for freedom. From Brian Wilson:

I never fancied the idea of a single, Scotland-wide police force and I fancy it a lot less having read Sir Stephen House’s over-zealous recent epistle to The Scotsman in response to concerns expressed by Lord McCluskey on the issue of corroboration.

......But when it comes to the justice system, there are particular reasons for being wary of reforms that blow away established safeguards and replace them with a system that is much closer to political control. 

There used to be three legs to Scotland’s police stool – “the trilogy” as it was known. Central government was the funder, chief constables ran operations and were accountable to police authorities, made up of elected councillors. The creation of a national police force kicked away one leg and the two that remain now seem interlocked.
And here is a use of 3D printing nobody would have thought of before it happened. Via the estimable Register.A 3D baby in its presentation box. Pic: 3D BabiesYour very own plastic foetus.

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Friday, February 07, 2014

Yet Another Academic Report Agrees How Expensive EU Membership Is

The average Dutch household could be better off by over £8,000 a year and national income will grow by over £1 trillion [by 2035] if the Netherlands leaves the euro and the EU, according to a new study.
The study by the respected British Capital Economics research consultancy into "Nexit" - as a potential exit by the Netherlands has been termed - finds significant benefits over the next two decades if the country swaps its EU membership for a status similar to Switzerland or Norway.
I commented:
The £8,000 per household fits fairly well with Tim Congdon's assessment that EU membership costs us £170 bn (about £6K per household) but I am pleased they also include the effect on long term growth which is the main effect. The EU is the only world zone in recession - the rest is growing at an average of 6% a year. This is not something that our media mention - they keep blaming our problems on what they know to be a non-existent "world recession".

The important thing is not whether this report is more or less authoritative than Professor Congdon's but that there are a whole series of such, virtually all of which come to broadly similar conclusions.

Also that our own beloved government have always refused to authorise their own investigation.

   The Netherland's population is 16.8 million - 3 1/3rd Scotland's so that would be £336 billion more in the Scottish economy or £3.7 trillion for the UK by 2035. Do not expect to hear this getting BBC coverage or indeed mentioned by any of the cartel of parties in Holyrood who, whether they want "independence" from the UK or not are agreed in opposing independence from Brussels.

      6% growth over 21 years would increase gdp 3.4 times. £1 trillion increase in gdp by 2035 looks like about twice current Dutch gdp so this is a reasonable, arguably cautious, assessment.

    Bear in mind that several polls have shown that most people would be persuadable on Salmond's pretend "independence" if it could be shown they would be either £500 a year better or worse off after separation. Yet we are being prevented, not least by the nominally independence supporting SNP, from having a referendum on the entity that creates 75% of our legislation.

     I have sent this as a letter to most of the Scottish press. We will, as normal, see if this is another of these things you may not say in Scottish politics.

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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Big Engineering 60 Widening The Suez Canal

    The Suez Canal has always been a choke point in world trade. The earliest link was under the Pharoahs who constructed a link from the mouth of the Nile
Map showing the Nile delta and  There is an existing record from the time of an Egyptian expedition that sailed into the Red Sea and much later returned through the Mediterranean, having circumnavigated Africa. This is added credibility because it describes the noon Sun as moving to the north of the sky as they passed the equator, something they couldn't have expected without experiencing it.

     The Victorian canal did indeed cut travel times to India, making it the lynchpin of the Empire.

    Since then the size of ships have grown and grown and grown again. Most of the world's oil is transported in tankers with a capacity of about 1 million tons. Container ships, while much smaller are still enormous. This means that many of them have to take the longer route round Africa.

    The great advantage this canal has over the Panama version is that it is through flat land, relatively easy to dig and requiring no locks. As such it should be comparatively simple to expand.

    I suggest simply increasing the number of dredgers so that, rather than keeping pace with silting they roll back the canal edges and bottoms. A permanent process but not a particularly complex one.

   There have been promises over the years to begin a widening process time after time but not much in the way of action. This says it will start in 1982 and this that it will be completed in 2010.

     Looking at the map it seems also possible that the canal could be substantially shortened by cutting through surrounding sea/march lands. 
The Suez Canal is a waterway

     Also worth pointing out that Singapore built its economy on being on a massive world trade route, perfectly located to be a transhipment and warehousing dock. One end or other should be even more perfectly located. Possibly at the Red sea end where the seaways are not being used for other purposes.

      It has just been announced that the Chinese are going to finance a new Americas canal through Nicaragua for $40 bn (£24bn) but that is technically orders of magnitude more complex than what I am proposing.

      Perhaps now is the  time for an international repurchase of the Suez Canal, with satisfactory extraterritoriality guarantees. The Egyptian government have not run it that well; have other things to concentrate on now; definitely need the money; and should appreciate the jobs such a transhipment port could bring.
The Suez Canal shortens sea

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

New Website - Letter on Dredging The Clyde

        I have just started a new blog  NEIL CRAIG for UKIP in NORTH GLASGOW which will generally be more advertising, Scottish/Glasgow/UKIP politics and less ranting than here. Still being developed.

       In the other hand being a lazy bugger I will be doing some cross posting.

      Such as this letter sent out to all and sundry today. Normally I have left such letters until published or collected a lot of them, to give the papers a free first use. However since they noticeably don't publish nearly as much stuff from me as they did when I started and was a less experienced & I believe knew less & was a LibDem I don't see that the courtesy is deserved.

      Dredging of the Clyde was stopped in the 1980s. Since then there was serious flooding in Paisley exacerbated by the fact that drains backed up, being unable to flow out because of the silt build up. Scotstoun has been warned it faces flooding too.

      Over the last few days we have seen how the Environment Agency deliberately allowing the silting up of the Somerset Levels is destroying the land and may return it to the sea it used to be before Britain hired Dutch engineers, in the 17thC to reclaim it. One agency operative has been notoriously quoted as wanting to put "a limpet mine in each pumping station" to hasten the destruction.

     A few years ago there was serious flooding in Cockermouth which was immediately publicly blamed on "climate change" by believers. Strangely enough, whenever we get particularly cold weather the same people tell us "proves nothing, that is just weather" - such are the mysteries of modern science. However it has since been shown that the main cause was that environmentalists had ensured that the site, confluence of 2 major rivers, had silted up.

    I fear that if we do not learn form this lesson our own "environmentalists" who have tied us down with the most expensive and destructive Climate Change Act in the world, unanimously voted through by the 5 Holyrood parties, may ensure disaster on the Clyde.

    Dredging should be reinstated. If people in the 17thC could tame the waters and recover land I simply do not believe we cannot maintain the land now.

Neil Craig
Prospective UKIP candidate Glasgow North

Christophe Booker on the Levels being destroyed
Cockermouth silting
ending of Clyde dredging

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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

LabConDem Cartel & State Media Reporting Of Qango Jobs

   This is a comment I put on the Channel 4 website, in response to an article about how unfair it is that a Labour placeman (placeperson)(placebaroness) has lost her lucrative, useless qango job to the Tories.

    Qangos are a very useful way of paying the hired hands for their political dedication.

    I am indebted to Mark, a commenter on John Redwood for the amazing listing of (admitted) political connections.

"Missing are the facts about political use of quangos as a reward:
by looking at the annual reports of the Commissioner for Public Appointments here:
they would have discovered that in 2012/13 just 9% of appointments were of people with political affiliations, which it comments is almost the lowest proportion in recent years. However, the report fails to break down the appointments by party and omits the detailed statistical appendix provided in early years (perhaps an FOI would produce it?). By going back to the 2011/12 and 2000/01 reports they would have found the following information:

 _________Con____Lab______LD_____Other___Total___of N appointments

It is quite clear the extent to which the Labour governments packed the quangos with their own supporters while in office.

So basically Labour have, even under Tory governments, got about 3/4 of the plum jobs. Of course UKIP which polls show on about 3/4 of Labour's votes get none.

It is quite obvious that there are no circumstances whatsoever under which, if C4 are not lying & spinning they can even hint that Labour are being excluded.

If they were in any way aiming at impartiality or even honesty they would have to admit that this looks remarkably like British politics being run by a cartel  who divvy up the spoils (perhaps Tory donors get a bigger share of lucrative contracts to make up for Labour getting jobs for the boys & girls). A cartel who only go through a pantomime of democracy at elections, when even there they disagree on so little. And when they can guarantee the state owned media, like C4, will censor and smear any dissident parties or ideas.

I also agree with Keith about C4's biased use of the term "progressive". Labour have a leader who has promised his Climate Change Act will deliberately increase electricity prices, causing recession and fuel poverty. Can C4 really claim that UKIP is not thousands of times more committed to human progress than that? If you aren't in favour of progress then, by definition, you aren't progressive."

Will Channel 4 actually publish this. Strangely they have a fairly good record of doing so, at least compared to the BBC who censor at every opportunity. We will see.

I do not believe the Tories are so altruistic as to give Labour so many more places than them without recompense and I think my guess that their donors get a disproportionate number of government contracts under "both sides" of politics will be correct.

In which case it does look remarkably like a cartel, particularly when you look at Labour's spending promises amounting to only about £3 bn more than the Tories - a difference of 0.2% of the total economy.

A cartel also maintained by the spinning, censorship & outright lying done by the state owned media to promote the cartel parties and whatever "hobgoblin" scare is being used at the moment.

   And here is the most prestigious quango - with the Greens, an entirely pseudo-party, fit for our pseudo-democracy, who would have zero support (to the nearest round number) were not being propped up by the state media, are also part of the cartel and consequently that it is indeed an anti-democratic cartel:

"The 30 new appointments to Parliament's second chamber include 14 Conservatives, 10 Liberal Democrats and five Labour nominees, as well as one Green, but does not include any representative of UKIP, despite the Party climbing up the polls consistently above the Liberal Democrats and the Greens."

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Monday, February 03, 2014

Environment Agency "Has no Bottomless Purse" To Do Its Job But Spends 30 Times More On Itself

       With the English floods and the way the Environmental Protection Agency, by letting the rivers go undrained, are responsible, John Redwood has come up with some fascinating and relevant information:

The Environment Agency last year received a £723m grant from the taxpayer and spent in total £1207m, the rest paid for by charges.

The staff costs of the Agency rose by £30m or 8% compared to the previous year, reaching a total of £395.3 million. The Agency employed 12,252 people including  temps and contractor personnel.

 Pension contributions cost £56 m , with a loss on the fund recognised that year in the accounts bringing the total pension cost to £197.4 million.  The total cost of pensions was almost as high as the capital works, where they spent £219million during the year.

Within the capital works just £20.3 million was spent on improving or maintaining culverts and channels to ensure free flow of water. That is a mere 1.7% of their total budget, or 3.4% of their staff and pension costs. A further £69.6m was spent on improving embankments.

.... There does not seem to have been any attempt to remove the Labour Chairman, and he has clearly not made sufficient attempt to get value for money nor to ensure the Agency’s priorities are our priorities – There is no evidence here to support Labour Lady Morgan’s claims.

Meanwhile the BBC and others are pushing this from the EPA's boss trying to raise a Town V Country scare to get them more money:

There is "no bottomless purse" for flood defences and "difficult but sensible choices about where and what to protect" must be made, the head of the Environment Agency has said.

Chairman Lord Smith, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said "tricky questions" included "town or country, front rooms or farmland"?

Coastal towns in south-west England have been left flooded....

The Environment Agency, which covers England, has been accused of failing to dredge rivers in order to protect the Somerset Levels, which have been badly hit by flooding in recent weeks.

Villages such as Muchelney have been cut off for almost a month and about 11,500 hectares (28,420 acres) of the Levels are flooded.

Dredging normally refers to increasing the depth of the river channel by removing silt that builds up over years....

There is "no bottomless purse" for flood defences and "difficult but sensible choices about where and what to protect" must be made, the head of the Environment Agency has said.

Chairman Lord Smith, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said "tricky questions" included "town or country, front rooms or farmland"?

Coastal towns in south-west England have been left flooded.

The Environment Agency, which covers England, has been accused of failing to dredge rivers in order to protect the Somerset Levels, which have been badly hit by flooding in recent weeks.

Villages such as Muchelney have been cut off for almost a month and about 11,500 hectares (28,420 acres) of the Levels are flooded.

Dredging normally refers to increasing the depth of the river channel by removing silt that builds up over years.

(No mention of the EPA official who said she wanted to put "a limpet mine on every pumping station" to help return farmer's land to the sea)

    Clearly if only 1.7% of their budget goes into doing maintaining the flood defences, something the previous agency did without all that money, while £593.7 (49%) goes directly on salaries and pension provision)  Lord Smith is lying about there having been any slightest attempt to put the bottom of the purse towards doing his job. Clearly a statement that could never have been made had his Lordship not been a wholly corrupt, thieving, parasite. Even more clearly the decision to promote Smith's lies while also censoring the truth about the money is not something that the BBC could do if its coverage was "balanced" as the law requires, indeed if they were not corrupt thieving totalitarian fascists.

    I have written to the press saying that the true figures should get proper coverage and as a UKIP candidate, expressing my regard for Mr Redwood. If it is sufficiently newsworthy to be published I will let you know.

     "The primary purpose of government programmes is to pay government employees and their friends, the nominal purpose is secondary, at best" - Pournelle

      Clearly they have not even approached secondary. I commented:

That is horrible and you have done a public service John by bringing it to public attention. Not the sort of news the state funded “balanced by law” BBC propagandists would ever announce – they recently decried a mere 1500 cut by saying the EPA were fighting the floods (when in truth they were causing them).

Normally I am in favour of cutting parasitic government departments by 90% but looking at these figures it seem that would still leave a lot of waste – indeed a lot of negative value.
Close the entire organisation. Anything useful they do can be transferred to other departments (along with such staff, if any, as they want, will pay for & will guarantee to be worth having.

PS I will also sometime do something about the way in which quango staff get chosen for their political connections and how, by looking at the connections, we see the 3 approved parties working as a cartel.

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Sunday, February 02, 2014

Europe's Biggest Shopping Centre

  This was published by Brian Monteith recently on the Free Society site:

     Where is Europe's biggest shopping centre? Paris? London? Frankfurt? Geneva? Odessa?

     Few would have put a medium sized city in Ukraine on the list. But The Shove or 7 Kilometre Market as it is more officially known outside Odessa has a very good claim. It does not have the organised style of the others but it is the ultimate in free marketism.

      I first ran across this when looking up another of my hobbyhorses - shipping container houses. There are a number of such across the world and because they can be constructed off site in factories they provide housing at a fraction, a small fraction, of the cost of conventional housing. Or at least they would if those in charge would allow us to have them.

     7 Kilometre consists of 170 acres of shipping containers from which ordinary 16,000 ex-Soviets sell everything. The site is owned by local oligarch, who does very nicely out of rents.

       Although there are no official statistics, it has been estimated that up 150,000 customers per day pass through the alleyways of the Seventh-Kilometre Market, with millions of dollars changing hands each month. The market is also the region's largest employer, with up to 1,200 people employed as security guards and janitors.

      Set up in the 1960s under the Soviets it was originally open only on Sundays (later on Saturdays), at the time a small walled-in area of 150m wide and 250m long, hence totally inadequate for a market and where the association with shoving originated. The new version was founded in 1989 during Perestroika reforms, it is now possibly the largest market in Europe.

       The market is also the region's largest employer. It is owned by local land and agriculture tycoon Viktor A. Dobriansky and three partners.

        The independent traders on the market sell goods in all price ranges, from authentic merchandise to all sorts of cheap Asian consumer goods, including many counterfeit Western luxury goods. According to the impressions of S. L. Myers of the New York Times who visited the market in 2006,
"the market is part third-world bazaar, part post-Soviet Wal-Mart, a place of unadulterated and largely unregulated capitalism where certain questions — about salaries, rents, taxes or last names — are generally met with suspicion."
          However, Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko did announce in 2005 that he intends to enforce tax laws on the market's thriving shadow economy. wrote in 2004 that
"it is a state within a state, with its own laws and rules. It has become a sinecure for the rich and a trade haven for the poor."
     Whether its continued existence is entirely because it benefits both rich and poor or whether Mr Dobriansky knows where, metaphorically, some of the bodies are buried is something on which I do not know enough to speculate. Whatever - it does seem to be the ultimate expression of the term Enterprise Zone.

        However what this does show is the immense power of free enterprise. Even the "new socialist man" of the USSR found life easier when he could do a little private enterprise & so, like a dandelion in a poorly tended decaying building the market sprang between the cracks in socialism.

      This reminds me of a personal conversion I went through. In my youth I was impressed with the edifice of the USSR. Russia did go "from the wooden plough to the atomic pile" in 50 years which is, even now and even knowing the cost, an impressive achievement. I now believe that was because the early Soviets were technologically progressive rather than any inherent advantage of central planning Lenin promised "communism will be achieved by Soviet power and the electrification of the whole country" and while that didn't exactly work out at least his objective was progressive. Nowadays socialists are Luddites but unfortunately so are the traditional "right" so western civilisation is suffering from the most reactionary of both worlds. All our Westminster parties are now committed to, indeed actively engaged in, de-electrification through windmillery. Against such stupidity even the spirit of free enterprise contends in vain

      But whether declining or rising I now believe economic freedom makes life easier. I came to believe this in the mid-1970s when I heard a story from somebody who had spent a year as a student in Moscow. One night the student residence was the scene of a caviar party, thanks to one of the entrepreneurs whose kin now work in the Shove. A complicated black market deal in a massive canister of caviar had fallen through and since the entrepreneur (or anybody else there) had no fridge it had to be eaten immediately.

      Think about the waste of human ingenuity.  Some ducker and diver involved in deals with substantially more valuable than Arthur Daley's could not buy a fridge. Something every family in Britain had had for 2 decades. Not because the USSR was an inherently poor country like China (then) but because its resources were misdirected by a centralised bureaucracy.

       So raise a glass to all the duckers and divers who have built the greatest shopping centre in Europe, Not to the Wall-Marts and ASDA's who do what they do very well, but to the anarchy of pure unadulterated capitalism.

       If Scotland votes Yes we may a few hundred acres of shipping container market spring up on the border. Probably both sides depending what goods you want.


pictures lifted from google images of 7 kilometre

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