Monday, 26 July 2010

An Invitation to Jeremy Hunt, MP: Boil Your Own Head

Via The Telegraph, I read these words by Jeremy Hunt, MP in regard to an "idea" to apply the license fee to those watching the BBC via their PC:

"What we have said very clearly is that we accept the principle of the licence fee which is the idea, if you like, of a household tax to fund public service broadcasting that is ring-fenced."
No, Mr Hunt, you are trying to establish a "household tax" and for that reason, I must request you go boil your own head.

If you want to remove limits preventing the BBC from establishing a charging mechanism linking a purchased TV license to the consumption of those programmes via devices other than a TV, then fine, but to use it to bootstrap in the concept of a "Household Tax"? No. No. No.

I would also say that in the interests of not appearing like a covert control freak Authoritarian, if such a license exists, it needs to not be used to identify the PC in terms of other surfing or activities. Otherwise the BBC database would be far to tempting a resource by those wishing to find out officially or unofficially who is doing what when those wishing to find out have no authority, right or warrant to do so.

An invitation to US Senator Robert Menendez; Boil Your Own Head

Extraterritorialist

Dear US Senator Robert Menendez,

In light of your request that Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, Jack Straw, MP, former Justice Secretary, and Scottish Justice Secretary MacAskill, attend a US Senate hearing, I request and demand that you go boil your own head with immediate effect*.

The UK and Scotland are not answerable to your office, position, president, judiciary or nation. Should you wish to speak to our politicians on matters concerning the UK or Scotland, it is normally performed via Diplomatic Channels or, failing that, a request to visit the UK and speak directly with the offices concerned.

Your behaviour exhibits gross arrogance, unwarranted entitlement, extraterritorality and Authoritarianism. You are in the Democrat Party, so one should not be at all surprised.

* Should you not possess a pot of sufficient girth in which to boil your head, leave a comment and we can see if something might be fabricated should Harland and Wolff be willing and have a spare month or so.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Drug Decriminalisation shock response - more heads recommended for self-boiling

Nicholas Green QC, the chairman of the Bar Council for England and Wales, said it was “rational” to consider “decriminalising personal drug use”.

Quite right. Locking up an addict is going to solve what exactly? Rehab? Yes. Incarceration in an establishment with EVEN GREATER access to drugs? FAIL.

But wait!


Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Commons' Home Affairs Committee, said: “I am shocked by the suggestion that drugs should be decriminalised for personal use.
"The legalisation of drugs would simply create the mistaken impression that these substances are not harmful, when in fact this is far from the truth.”
“The answer to the issue of drug abuse is not to merely decriminalise it. This is not the best solution for the wider public or the police.”
Shocked, I tell you! Vaz decides the public are (as) stupid (as him?) and decides to support the criminalisation of people on that basis. But never passing up the chance to keep one buttock on each side of the fence, he ends it with an arse-covering soundbite so he can later jump back on the bandwagon.
James Clappison MP, a former member of the Commons’ Home Affairs Committee, said the remarks were “not entirely a helpful contribution to the debate”.
He said: “There seems to be a very strong link between recreational drug use, leading to drug addiction leading to crime fuelled by drug addiction. I would have thought the chairman of the Bar Council would have seen that for himself.”
I suspect James Clappison, MP, thinks only words in agreement with the consensus are "helpful to the debate". Clappison forgets the far higher street cost of drugs while they are illegal, which often requires criminal activity to fund. Clappison should have seen that for himself.
Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, added: “It is a ludicrous argument to say let’s legalise drugs to take pressure off the police and the courts. That is an argument to legalise everything.”
FAIL. Philip Davies, MP is expected to legislate and revise laws on our behalf and yet he displays the critical reasoning of a wasp.
Debra Bell, a mother whose son developed severe personality changes after smoking cannabis from the age of 14 with his friends, said: “What is talking about? This will send out the wrong message to youngsters.
“There are children as young as 10 getting involved in drug use. Recreational drugs are addictive – that is why there are controlled"
Ms Bell, who now runs the “Talking About Cannabis” advice website, added: “For some adults it might not be a problem, but that is not the case for children and adolescents. It divides families.”
So alcohol being legal is "the wrong message to youngsters"? Decriminalising does not mean "please take it". In fact, while it is illegal and highly lucrative, there is a vast army of scumbags out there doing just that - pushing it onto kids. Making it legal DOES mean making it controlled. Right now, drugs are out of control the very reason being they are outlawed.

Yet again a dismal display from our elected representatives. And we allow them to VOTE on our behalf?

Burqa Ban

Simply put, a law introduced to control what women wear so as to stop others controlling what women wear is absurd and irrational.

If there is a problem with coercion, deal with it. Yet again we see the punishment of all to try and deal with the few for administrative convenience and forced collectivism. It is plainly wrongheaded, vindictive and a reaction of fear that will be counter-productive.

That said, a person is free to wear what they want, but must accept that others are free to respond (non-violently) to that wearing. If you set up a barrier, display overt separateness, then others might decide do the same in response, such as refuse to serve or refuse to interact. That is as much a free choice as is wearing a niqab or burqa. Should an employee of a company take unilateral action against the wishes of the proprietor, e.g. a barman not serving* when the Landlord has no issue, then that is a matter of contract law, not criminal law.

The only exception would be in situations where the State enforces a monopoly service under law and in such situations commonsensical arrangements should be put in place to enable access thereof.


* I know, I know.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Will the Eric Pickles Local Liberation be a Soviet One?

And by that I mean liberation from one form of dictatorship to be replaced by another.

There are some interesting words spoken by Eric Pickles in regards the change in culture in regards to Local Councils*, though his imagery of his substantial bulk coming to the rescue of people "chained to the radiator by red tape" is a bit creepy. Nightmares and cold sweats for a few, I suspect*.

The problem is it all gets rather Communitarian. Devolving power from an elected centre is good if and only if it goes to the individual or, if truly unworkable, to some form of elected local body.

"By taking powers away from bureaucrats and quangos and from me. And restoring powers to communities and elected officials." - Eric Pickles

Who are these "communities"? Who gives them authority? Who vets them? Are they elected? Who can throw them out? Is there plurality?

If you restore powers, you restore them to Individuals, who are, in truth, the "community". In fact there is no "community" unless you think of individuals. Power to the community should mean power to individuals who then decide how they, each and for their own reasons, organise by consent.

You might get two groups in a community. "Would that not cause chaos?", say some. Well, what is the alternative? A form of monopoly? That is what the State is comfortable with. Plurality seems to scare the bejeebus out of it. So is it going to be the Local Authority handing over power to its pet Community Group? One might think Central Govt would not want to be making such decisions, but this would not surprise me, for they are doing the vetting for Schools centrally, aren't they?

But wait...

"And new local housing trusts, with backing from the community, will be able to develop new homes, shops, and businesses themselves.

Really? Backing from the community? How will that happen? What if there is less than unanimous support? What if there are competing projects? I do believe we will have some form of arbiter and who is that going to be? If it is the Local Council, then nothing changes, frankly. Same old mates, "regeneration" and diversion of public money into private projects.

But I will move on an upbeat note. Eric did go on to talk about reduction in red tape and needless regulations. We do, however, need to ensure that PEPOLE are the ones who's interest is to be served by ending regulations. The last thing we want is for local councils to suggest rules and regulations that protect the community from their machinations, but in general it is a sensible and long overdue initiative. I am far more confident about that than the earlier Communitarian guff which I find, frankly, quite dangerous.

One final point I noticed:

"Putting jobs on the web - in a format anyone can re-use or re-publish - not only shows local people where their money is going.
The key here is "in a format anyone can re-use". This means there is absolutely NO REASON to build some over-priced, under-performing, wheezing website, but just a repository and an existing industry-standard API for retrieving the data. No, we do not want a new standard. No, we do not want a new protocol. Just publish as others do so aggregators can put those jobs out to the wider world.

We will then see the Guardian exposed to the realities of life, not sucking on the teat of the State via its monopoly on state sector job advertising.

Of course, we know that the Guardian believes in this sector, so it is quite at liberty to continue to publish the jobs online or in print if it wishes. Maybe it should become a true recruitment site so those who apply via the Guardian gain that publication a finders fee. I have no problems with that as long as the fee is the same for all republishers.




P.S. One final bit of disingenuous Sovereignty gap-covering from Eric:

"The HIPs which tied up the housing market.
And what about the Energy Certificate, dictated by the EU, Eric? We still need to wait for a clipboarder to perform that farcical blessing ceremony to the Great Green God. What do they think it is, Feng Shui?

* and one or two hot sweats in there for good measure, I'd wager. Each to his/her own.

Friday, 18 June 2010

R4isms: NHS and Homo Fabian Neanderthalensis

Listening to Radio 4, as I do on my wind-up Baygen radio, there was an interesting programme on Neanderthals last night. No, not Westminster Hour, but the ancient hairy kind. No, not The World Cup, actual Neanderthals, Homo Neanderthalensis.

Some interesting factoids came up to tuck away in my Trivial Pursuit cheek-pouches, such as the evidence suggesting that they were top tier predators, eating a diet similar to that of lions and tigers and likely had to use their organisational skills as much for defending the kill from other predators as much as making the kill in the first place.

What jumped out was a statement, and forgive me if this is not verbatim, discussing the life-span and robustness of these early people in that there is evidence that injured people were rested and laid up, supported by others, so that their injuries could heal rapidly. It was:

"Well, there was no NHS back then"

This is spoken by what we might describe as intelligent, learned people.

I could understand it if they said there was no penicillin or antibiotics, though I would question that even. No wheels for sure, but "No NHS"? There was no NHS in WWII, for goodness sake!

The mindset that pre-NHS was some barbaric dark age where we hunted mammoth, where we existed with flint knives and bearskins, so far away as to be forgotten, as if the NHS was some absolute fixture.

Of course, to many it is. To many, not having the NHS in all its forms is like being thrown back to an antediluvian nightmare, with, I suppose, those cruel Libertarians cast as the Cro Magnons threatening their existence with a steely eye and modern weaponry, as in William Golding's The Inheritors*, or the ruthless Fins in Pathfinder.

The NHS in its entirety is a sacred cow, or should I say some kind of cave-painting, fixed on stone, to be observed and worshipped. Extended, but never altered or replaced. To criticise is to blaspheme.

It has always been.

It must always be.

Wrong.

The NHS is more than it was originally supposed to be. It was only meant to be a universal State run health insurance programme**. It is now a de-facto monopoly and one that is being portrayed as eternal - "from everlasting to everlasting"! So it is written, so it has become.

To consider something that is systemically dysfunctional by nature of its monopoly and the third party payer problem, as eternal and unassailable is reckless folly.

The NHS needs to evolve. It needs to end the monopoly. It needs to look at what it was aimed to do, not what it as become. Healthcare provision does not demand a state monopoly. Healthcare provision does not demand NICE. It does not demand micromanagement, Soviet style, of our healthcare needs, with individuals manacled to some geographic fiefdom in the shape of your PCT and SHA that you can only escape by moving house. The PCTs and SHAs are not held to account in the true sense. They do not face extinction.

For the likes of Frank Field to think the unthinkable, he needs to encompass our attitudes to Healthcare, Housing and Schools, as well as what is known as Welfare, for all these things are part of what is currently provided as entitlement and makes up for a massive redistribution of wealth through coercion with all the unintended consequences, the negative incentives and distortions.

To ring fence or worship any of these is to condemn the UK to be Homo Neanderthalensis, cowering in a cave while modern man outside, coming from India and China, flexibly adopt, adapt and thrive. We will be sitting there, huddled around the embers of a fire we have forgotten how to make, looking out on a landscape full of animals we know not how to hunt.


* a course book in my school days.

**Even that has unintended consequences of forcing out independent Friendly Societies, because a State insurance provider has subsidies and by nature of the State being a monopoly, would steadily be given monopoly power and advantage. This was seen in the need to extend the monopoly power to provision even before the scheme was launched.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Telegraph Fights Global IQ with Reason-Negative Whale Faeces

I mean, is someone actually PAID to write this? The article might actually refer to some sensible research, but the author of this article is so clueless or hurried that they cannot see that they have left out important facts that make the selected assertions illogical.

Bear with me as I grind through the article and at the end see how the article comes across like horse (or Whale) manure, yet the research may, in fact, not be.


Sperm whales fight global warming with carbon-neutral faeces

Southern Ocean sperm whales have emerged as an unexpected ally in the fight against global warming, removing the equivalent carbon emissions from 40,000 cars each year thanks to their faeces, a study has found.

Oh, has it. Well, lets see, shall we, children?...

The cetaceans have been previously fingered as climate culprits because they breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2), the most common greenhouse gas.
But this is only a part of the picture, according to the paper, published in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"climate culprits"? Whales? Has it occurred to anyone that all animals breathe out CO2? Even AGW/CACC supporters? (Well, they are worse because of the vast quantities of CH4, but I digress...). The fact that people are so twisted to assert that any life form is a "climate culprit" just because they breathe really should tell you the mentality of some people.
Australian biologists estimated that the estimated 12,000 sperm whales in the Southern Ocean each defecate around 50 tonnes of iron into the sea every year after digesting the fish and squid they hunt.
That is iron from the fish and squid that swim around them, no? Yes? Ok.
The iron is then eaten by phytoplankton - marine plants that live near the ocean surface and suck up CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.
Yum. Ok, keep going...
As a result of the fertilisation, the whales remove 400,000 tonnes of carbon each year, twice as much as the 200,000 tonnes of CO2 that they contribute through respiration.
That is like saying the paper industry "removes" x tonnes of CO2. Still, I am sure this is going to make sense later.
The whales' faeces are so effective because they are emitted in liquid form and close to the surface, before the mammals dive, said the paper.
Sperm Whales take a dump before going to work. I like them already.
Industrialised whaling not only gravely threatened Southern Ocean sperm whales, it also damaged a major carbon "sink," the scientific term for something that removes more greenhouse gases than it produces, it added.
Before industrial whaling, the population of this species was about 10 times larger, which meant around two million tonnes of CO2 were removed annually, said the paper.
DING! Presumption. Just because there were 10x as many Sperm Whales does not mean that 10x as many phytoplankton shall bloom [1]. Still, let us carry on, even if the idea of a "sink" has not yet been properly explored.
The scientists suspect that because sperm whales cluster in specific areas of the Southern Ocean there is a clear link between food availability and cetacean faeces.
How can you "suspect a clear link"? Well, that "CO2 of 40,000 cars" is now only suspected. Onward.
This could explain the "krill paradox," they believe. Researchers have previously found that when balleen whales are killed, the amount of krill in that sea area declines, which thus affects the entire food chain.
Which is all very well but Sperm Whales are not baleen whales, they are toothed, like dolphins and orca. Have they measured the iron in baleen whale poo? This is not mentioned, but it should be.
The study is lead-authored by Trish Lavery of the School of Biological Sciences at Flinders University in Adelaide.
If I were Trish, I'd be crying into my salad after seeing how all her work has been butchered by this woeful rendition.

The article is disjointed, non-sequitur and flimsy in the extreme. It tells us very little and what it does doesn't make much sense unless you are happy just to absorb baseless soundbites for later regurgitation. Near the surface. With plenty of iron.

What is being said here is that Sperm Whales eat fish and squid in the southern ocean, and out comes iron. What it seems to hint is that Sperm Whales are natural born alchemists or have a supernova in their guts, able to create an element, iron - Fe, the most stable element in the universe - from base things like fish and squid. It speaks as if the iron was not there before. Of course the iron was in the fish and squid. What it also does not mention is why Sperm Whales eating them is any different from other animals eating them or of the fish dying from natural causes and, most importantly, where did the iron in those fish and squid come from?

What is also overlooked is the fate of all that phytoplankton. What does it do, live forever? No, it gets either eaten by krill fish and squid or...drum roll...sinks to the bottom, also like some dead fish and squid.

The article here really should be mentioning the whole lifecycle. Phytoplankton take in CO2. Many are eaten. Animals that eat them then give off the CO2. No "sink". Some phytoplankton and some of the animals further up the food chain fall to the bottom of the ocean and this is the CO2 "sink". Phytoplankton in themselves are NOT a CO2 "sink" in themselves, for if they are eaten then the majority of CO2 they originally took in is almost certainly exhaled by those animals.

To say that phytoplankton take in 400,000 tonnes of CO2 and thus it is a 400,000 tonne CO2 "sink" is complete and utter codswallop, I am afraid.

What COULD be happening is due to the fact that Sperm Whales contribute to keeping iron in the upper waters, phytoplankton can breed in greater numbers than would otherwise occur and by some sinking to the bottom and the sinking of some of the animals that feed on them, some CO2 is "sunk".

Small flaw in this too. The iron is in the phytoplankton and resultant food chain, so as quickly as it is CO2 sinking, so Fe is sinking too. The only way this works is if Sperm Whales or the food it feeds on is IMPORTING iron to the Southern Oceans from elsewhere to keep the levels up.

Maybe this is in the paper by Trish Lavery. I hope it is.

What we do not need is articles like the one I have linked to. It not only provides incomplete "science" by garbling a research paper into a string of meaningless non-sequitur statements, it also risks conditioning people to accepting such incompleteness and non-sequiturs as a norm and a quite acceptable way of "communication". The Fabians must love it. A "result" for them.

To me it just grates. I want to know WHY, to UNDERSTAND, to not just accept blindly. To LEARN, rather than just be TAUGHT.

Is that too much to ask?




[1] I would also bet that if that nasty Mankind discharged iron into the Southern Oceans at 10x the rate of Sperm Whales, the environmentalists would be up in arms talking about a phytoplankton bloom that would destabilise the delicate ecosphere.


Thursday, 10 June 2010

CiF Watch - Spending Cuts

dell12

10 Jun 2010, 1:14AM

Once again the public sector is forced to pick up the failings of the private sector...

Recommended 115 times.

MaggieHTee

10 Jun 2010, 2:14AM

dirkbruere

"The price of Labour government."

Don't make me laugh ... we didn't even have a real deficit until the greedy fuckers in the finance "industry" crashed the global economy in 2007.

Don't let the ConDems and the Tory press invent the myth that New Labour caused all our current pain. It's patently not true.

Presse Ne Pas Avaler

This post was recommended 66 times.


Fact is, though, in some ways you cannot blame them, for the article itself is not far off the irrational non-sequitur, self-serving cant of these denizens.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

More thinking re Electric Cars

An interesting article has come out referring to comments by Professor Roger Kemp of the Electric Vehicles Working Group of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

In summary, he says that there is little to be gained by the adoption of electric vehicles over those powered by the latest efficient internal combustion engines. I suspect this is down to mainly transmission losses and maybe some generation losses.

Yet again we see comments such as the need for vast improvements in battery technology (in terms of cost, weight and bulk), a distribution network to charge them.

What is being missed here yet again is the very commonsensical "next step" to series hybrid. Series hybrids are different to vehicles like the Toyota Prius.

A Prius is a parallel hybrid. It has a traditional engine connected to a sophisticated transmission that can juggle this and an electric motor/generator, so that the engine can power the car, the engine can power and charge (the electric motor operating as a generator), have the electric motor operating on its own in all electric mode, have the electric motor assist the engine and have the electric motor in regeneration mode during braking. And for what? The Prius has lousy efficiency, is very complex, not very fast and has a derisory all-electric performance and range. Lets face it, the Prius is a vanity purchase.

So what with the Series Hybrid?

The Series hybrid uses purely electric traction, has batteries and capacitors for storing electrical energy and a generator, typically a small petrol or diesel engine of around 40hp/kWh, so around 1litre in capacity. Due to the steady speeds ideal for a generator, two stroke designs might even make an appearance, being smaller and more mechanically simple. A sensible series hybrid will have a very powerful electric drive or even one motor on each wheel, enabling significant amounts of regeneration to occur in braking. A Prius cannot regenerate much because the motor is not that powerful. A Series hybrid with 600hp of in-wheel traction can also absorb that amount, potentially doing away with friction brakes altogether.

In contrast to the parallel hybrid efforts, a series hybrid can be very fast indeed, very efficient at around 100mpg equivalent when relying on the generator, operate without recharging for 500, 800 or even 1000 miles if need be. All that last number would need is a 10 gallon tank. It can also operate in all electric mode using batteries. As it regenerates so well, the penalty for heavy batteries is significantly minimised as the inertia is re-converted to electricity during braking. This means it is not so tempting to skimp the battery packs, so facilitating electric only range to grow. With a very powerful electric motor set-up, performance will not be too adversely affected by this.

Series hybrids are more efficient, faster, have a longer range and a far simpler than Parallel hybrids.

Series hybrids are more efficient, faster, have a longer range than electric only cars and do not rely on a charging network and can be refuelled for instant use just like a normal vehicle.

The beauty of Series hybrids is as the electric charging stations grow, one can use electricity more and more, relying on petroleum less and less and eventually only for long trips.

If the good professor is right, that electric cars are little better than the current efficient internal combustion engined vehicles, then, by that measure, series hybrids are more efficient still.

I suppose, though, series hybrids are pesky things to vested interests. They do not need complex and finely balanced engines, exhausts and carburation able to deliver smooth power over wide speed ranges. They do not require cleverly chosen gear ratios or forgiving clutches. Most of all, from a political perspective, they do not require vast infrastructure changes that only a State deems itself capable of doing. Therefore politicians might not be bothered with series hybrids, preferring to focus on electric vehicles, where their decision has more, how can I say it, value.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Labour and "me me me"

Various people "of the left" routinely criticise Libertarians as being selfish and "me me me", yet I have again heard a Labour MP on Radio 4 today talk about their future and the impact of the coalition in terms of frightening people about what would happen to "their" job - in one example being perplexed why Policemen and women were not voting Labour - and in terms of welfare/pension/services and such. It is all about direct benefits to that person, making that person think in terms of "me me me".

Libertarians are concerned about what property the State might TAKE from individuals, whereas we can see that Labour are preoccupied with scaring people or tempting them with what might no longer be handed over.

"those of the left" again engaging in psychological projection and logical inversion.

They relate to the electorate in terms of "me me me", corrupting them, encouraging dependence and a sense of entitlement that only a Welfarist setup would dare promise, knowing or not knowing the bankruptcy that is almost certain to follow.

They are still thinking in this way, even as defeat is handed to them.

Still, in pure tactical terms it is not a crazy approach, just outrageously cynical and manipulative. Many people will find the consequences of the last 60 years of Welfarism, and the last 13 in particular, come crashing into them like an Atlantic storm. Labour will be there, mark my words, whispering lies into their ears, blaming others, offering false hope, fake rewards and other mischiefs. It will be a second bite at the "Thatcher's fault" nonsense that had supposedly had Mrs T personally responsible for shutting down factories incapable of making things people wanted or were prepared to pay the price for, which, had it not been for Her, would have continued to perform their SOLE function, naturally, of providing employment for the Union masses.

If Labour is concerned about certain provisions and believes "everyone" wants to see it provided, what is stopping them organising it? I would welcome this, for Labour in opposition must operate by consent, not coercion. People will soon let Labour know what they feel is important enough to deserve funding it via the Labour Party or other organisations.

This is precisely what could happen under a Libertarian administration - if people feel something needs to be provided, then go out and organise it. Collect voluntary contributions. I see no reason why Labour could not create an umbrella charity to be a point for people to donate to and Labour in their wisdom then decides where the money goes. This means putting down the "gun" of State compulsion, of the threat of imprisonment that comes with funding via taxation. It could mean setting up Friendly Societies and other mutual organisations.

Anyone with sincere intent, anyone who truly believes that their stance and causes are just and proper should not be afraid of this arrangement. If you think people do not know or understand, TALK TO THEM. Are you so lazy as to rather take by force instead of having the common courtesy to explain yourself and ask, understanding and accepting the fact you may be refused? Or is it you think people so dumb, stupid or selfish that they will never agree with your "higher moral stance" and so should not be given a choice?

I am unsure if those in Labour are ready or able for such introspection, truth and accountability.

Huhne, Energy and daft electric vehicles

I read (also via Tim Worstall) that Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and "Climate Change"* wants to ensure there are no subsidies for Nuclear Power.

One could say this was noble, but considering we have not heard anything on ending the subsidies for wind, solar and water, that is worrying. Subsidy for one can mean a disincentive for another. For Huhne to say this is "not ideological" is being, I believe, a little disingenuous, as subsidies for other forms ARE.

Unless you end subsidies for all, you distort the decision-making process. What will a power generator build? Nuclear Power with no subsidies or wind with a subsidy? Of course, it depends on the levels of such subsidies. However, to have wind one needs a baseline capacity to support it when it does not produce enough power, which, even supporters now admit, is most of the time.

So if you to all intents and purposes demand wind and then subsidise it, it could be said you are indirectly subsidising the baseline capacity that is needed to make that wind viable.

Further, to expect Government subsidies to enable the most efficient and responsive allocation of resources is to be naive in the extreme. Subsidising wind has the capacity to divert research and resources away from other forms of generation that might be better or even away from focusing the minds of wind technologists from improving efficiency or embedding incumbents who make technology that is currently "good enough", so making it harder for new entrants to establish. All classic stuff.

So if Huhne is to be honest, he has to say his stance IS ideological and he aims to remove any subsidies for nuclear whist keeping subsidies for wind.

To me wind does have a use - synthesizing hydrocarbons. One can do this by drawing in CO2 from the air, adding water and energy and producing hydrocarbons and oxygen. This is an energy store, not an energy source, as all you are doing is pushing energy into a system (CO2+H2O) and then releasing it later when it reverts back to those constituents. Synthesizing hydrocarbons has advantages. The product is familiar, with a distribution network in place and can be burned in traditional engines with minor adjustments. It has most of the advantages of hydrogen, without the handling and storage downsides. If created using wind power it could be almost carbon neutral, as burning it will absorb the oxygen produced and expel the CO2 consumed in manufacture.

Why is this important? Well, there is still a frustrating need for car makers to either produce parallel hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, or all electric vehicles like the Honda Leaf (seen in various absurd videos that never just let you just hear the vehicle).

The Prius is inefficient. It cannot regenerate all the brake energy, has a complex drivetrain and mediocre performance and fuel efficiency. The Leaf is all electric and has an unusable range of 100 miles and a frustratingly long recharge cycle of 8 hours. Little better than a horse!

Neither of these two producers seem willing to come up with a series hybrid vehicle, which is basically an electric vehicle with a small on-board generator that can produce energy when the batteries are run down. These combine the range and flexibility of traditional vehicles, exceeding their fuel efficiency yet can provide electric only operation for most uses if desired. People generally only drive under 100 miles a day but they want their vehicle on hand in an emergency and capable of long journeys.

A well engineered series hybrid can get 100mpg+, so range is never an issue. Even if you just run it on fuel and cannot charge it on the mains - many live without off-street parking forcing them to park some distance from their home - it will be far more efficient and quiet.



* Is he a god?

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Gordon Brown: Always A Marxist to Me

He will chill with a smile
He will wound with his eye
He will ruin your wealth with is casual lies
And he only reveals what he wants you to see
He hides like a child,
So he's always a Marxist to me

He will lead you to hell
He will take you or leave you
He will bug for the truth
But he'll never believe you
And he'll take what he wants, even if it's not free
Yeah, he steals like a thief
So he's always a Marxist to me

CHORUS:
Oh--he takes care of himself
He will wait if he wants
He's a throwback in time
Oh--and he never gives out
And he never gives in
He just changes his mind

And he'll promise you more
Than the Garden of Eden
Then he'll carelessly cut you
And laugh while you're bleedin'
But he'll sell off our best
And leave the worst for you and me
Blame it all on yourself
Cause he's always a Marxist to me
--Mhmm--

Bridge

CHORUS:
Oh--he takes care of himself
He will wait if he wants
He's a throwback in time
Oh--and he never gives out
And he never gives in
He just changes his mind

He is almost half blind
And he's constantly cruel
He can do as he pleases
He's bloody great tool
And he can't be convicted
He's earned immunity
And the best he will do
Is throw shadows at you
So he's always a Marxist to me

Monday, 3 May 2010

On the De Facto Monopoly of State education

and the thought by some that the market has no place there because it creates winners and loses.

Markets create winners and losers, for sure, but it is almost always the customer that is the winner and the poorly performing provider that is the loser. If the poor performer learns their lesson, they can become a winner again.

Education is not there to provide employment for teachers.

I will say that again. Education is not there to provide employment for teachers.

If you have just enough places for pupils, you must rely on proactive intervention to fix a bad school and bad teachers. There is no hard, unavoidable incentive otherwise for bad schools to fix themselves, i.e. teachers standing in front of empty classrooms.

Just think of coming into a town where there are just enough restaurant settings for all the people who wish to eat. How good will those restaurants be? What value would you get? What service?

Some will be natural restauranteurs, dedicated and provide a great service. The queue will be round the block.

The others will still have no HARD need to change, for they will get customers through the door. No, not just customers, they will have a full house! Every night! A full house of customers with no choice remaining, no option but have their money taken in return for what? Slops. If a fight kicks off in the restaurant and you struggle to eat, if at all, then hard cheese.

As long as there is one substandard State school in this de facto monopoly, the State is failing children and guilty of all manner of injustices. One could almost include false imprisonment.

Now, back to a proper world:

A surplus of restaurants and tables will still result in the best places having a queue round the block, but the “unlucky” will still be infinitely more lucky in their second, third or even fourth choices than in the previous scenario, for a bad restaurant will be almost always empty and people will not come back the moment they learn of something better.

Anyone who tries to assert that “education is not like a restaurant” is, I am afraid, howling at the moon and trying to maintain their own delusions by trying to convince others of the same folly they believe in.

Education is not there to employ teachers. Bad teachers should be unemployed teachers. With surplus spaces, bad teachers will be confronted with the choice of “improve or die”. I am quite certain the overwhelming number will improve and most will rapidly become good teachers. Those who cannot improve? What are those who object to surplus places now saying? That you WANT to keep those unreformable teachers in front of my kids? To hell with you!

The conceit is of those who think they can reform a monopoly. No they cannot. They think they are or could be so in control, or know of someone else so in control and so talented, more talented than the combined energies of all the minds of all the parents? Show me these √úbermensch! Bring them forth!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Prepare for Fiscalnacht

Over at The Devil's Knife, DK has posted a very good series of posts recently about the scale of the problem, referring to others who are doing the same, and a solution that has long been available to us.

Many of us have been banging on about the need for 20-25% cuts in spending to balance the books, and this is Libertarian Party policy. The recent quibbling about the £6bln NI tax has taken the biscuit. The so-called "leadership debate" just showed me that they are not leaders. If they were true leaders, they would be able to deliver bad news and they failed us and the nation.

The big three have been fiddling while our money burns. And why? Probably because no government does well in an election promising austerity. Ah, yes, getting into power is more important than being straight with the population.

This, however, is not about austerity, it is about SURVIVAL.

To survive we need those 20-25% cuts on average. We need to eliminate £170bln of spending even to have a chance of treading water.

Our debt is reaching £900bln in comparison to £600bln (if we are LUCKY) in revenue and £750bln or so in spending.

Interest on those debts is or will be around 4.5% for sections of that debt.

Growth? 0.2% so far.

Can anyone else see the other problem here?

Our debt interest will be higher than the rate in which revenues will grow. Growth will fail to cover the costs of servicing our debt even if we achieve zero deficit.

So we need to more than balance the budget, we need to shrink the DEBT and to do that we need to cut spending well below revenues to both service the debt and reduce it. After we cut £170bln out of spending to end the deficit we need to cut still further to attack the debt.

It is wishful thinking to presume that growth will grow fast enough to enable even a balanced budget to keep pace with the debt servicing costs on £900bln for some considerable time. To trust to that kind of luck with the Eurozone ills, international situations and the potential for all manner of external factors is a gamble too far, or should I say yet another gamble too far, for Gordon has already gambled too far and lost - where we are now is the result.

Forget "the bankers". We were bust. Period. Regardless of the Banking crisis.

Unless Cameron comes clean before May 6th he cannot say he has the mandate to face down the vast vested interests that will line up to prevent their gilt edged rice bowls being taken away from them. People may say he betrayed them. He needs as many people behind him as possible, or at least not attacking him and siding with those in the public sector who will want to remain in never-never land.

And no, the excuse of "not being able to see the books" does not count. We know this already. he knows this already - or damn well should do. It is no surprise.

I doubt he will.

The Libertarian Party has always been clear about our need for drastic cuts in State spending from both a practical, philosophical and common sense perspective.

Living within our means.

We are about to find out that the Social Democratic, Welfarist, Statist experiment was not, is not, will not, cannot, could not and, dare I say it, should not be afforded.

Prepare for Fiscalnacht.