Well I tried. But all I accomplished is a fuller understanding of why the human race is doomed. 179 pages of nothing but bureaucratic-speak, which talks at enormous length about the structure of committees, of targets and budgets, carbon trading, responsibilities of committees and chairmen of committees, reporting, glossary of terms, and so on ad nauseum. So far I've not found anything concrete you can get your head round and examine mentally for advantages, flaws, efficacy or physicality. It's all words, and they whirl round your head unless you're a trained and experienced bureaucrat, and very quickly lead to an experience not unlike motorway narcolepsy, where an overload of sameness, uniformity, repetition and lack of interest leads to the brain shutting down. I expect if I persevere, I shall start to hallucinate by way of release. Hundred and seventee nine pages, and it says nothing. You can download the PDF for yourself if you either; doubt me, are a masochist, are dangerously inquisitive, or just like to hallucinate.
This is how governments avoid actually doing anything, their work consists of having the civil service create for them vast documents, which in their paper form account for a small woodland whenever something like this is produced. Thus words are substituted for actions, and can be pointed at to prove they've been busy. They then refer back to them over ensuing years, either to boast that targets have been met [by someone else], or excuse targets being missed. This conversation with fellow politicians in parliament, is then transcribed and printed out on yet more paper. So documents like this draft climate change bill are legal documents written in legally watertight, unemotional prose, and are standalone things, unconnected to the real world, ready to be consulted, a blueprint, proof of the subject being addressed. Totally indigestible of course.
I just downloaded the government draft climate change bill consultation document [in PDF format] which is a mass of bureaucratic double speak, all neatly assembled with numbered points by civil servants who do this all the time, I'm ploughing through the rhetoric waiting to find the crucial bits, at which point I can respond on the form provided for feedback. It could be a long process as the PDF is 179 pages long. Given any subject and enough time, the civil service can come up with a massive multipage document guaranteed to tire the most tenacious of readers into a coma. But I shall persist, someone's gotta do it.
'LONDON - The prime sites for nuclear power plants the British government is keen to see built are on the coasts of southern England, where the flood risk is higher than elsewhere in the country, a government-commissioned report said. The report by energy analysts Jackson Consulting for the Department of Trade and Industry identified Hinkley Point in southwest England, together with Sizewell and Dungeness in the southeast, as the best sites for large nuclear power stations. But it warned that any company planning to build there would probably have to bolster existing flood defences against sea level rises as the effects of climate change take hold.' More Which is what I've been arguing for years, maybe I should have called myself an energy analyst and got government funding to state the blindingly obvious. Where this bunch of 'experts' fall down though, is that they recommend building flood defences, demonstrating that their grasp of what climate change and sea level rise actually mean is sorely limited. I don't think it's possible to build walls high enough to protect these places, many of them don't exist on the projected map of the UK by 2050 on the right.
In 2005 a report by UK radioactive waste agency Nirex warned that many coastal nuclear sites are vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise from climate change, particularly storm surges, but this has failed to filter through into a realisation that all of the existing nuclear sites are therefore unsuitable. As only nine of Britain's 19 existing nuclear power stations are suitable for building a new generation of nuclear power plants anyway, this poses a problem for a massive expansion of nuclear and all manner of new sites will have to be found to accommodate this unpleasant and dangerous technological fix. No doubt the recent change in planning laws to make it easier for government to ride roughshod over local opposition is tied in with the already-made decision which this 'consultation' is merely PR for.
As the planet embarks on a slow, inexorable human-created decline in ecosystem biodiversity, a new project to amass all the knowledge we possess about every known species is also just beginning Encyclopedia of life it may be that we finish it just as species die off reaches its critical phase.
The idiots in government have already made up their minds that all the nuclear power stations in the UK must be replaced. The so called public consultation is merely a PR exercise, sham democracy. Not only do they think it a good idea to continue with the insane nuclear option to reduce carbon emissions, but they are planning siting of the new stations alongside existing ones which are due for demolition. Which means that if they are built, (despite the decision there are still doubts it will ever happen), they will all be on the coast barely inches above present sea level, which only goes to show that some people are incapable of understanding the concept of sea level rise. For a decommissioned nuclear station to be inundated would be bad enough, for an operating one to be flooded could be a global disaster. Others seem equally incapable of getting their heads round what's going to happen as climate change increasingly dominates our lives, so are talking about burying the existing stations underground and landscaping over.
Decommissioning ageing nuclear plants and storing their toxic waste is going to cost around 70 billion pounds, according to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The government has already stated that it will expect industry to build new ones, presumably knowing the population won't go for their taxes funding what is a massively expensive technology (or they could go for a lottery grant). It is also slow to build and it would be ten years at least before any new plants could come onstream, hardly the quick fix the suits would like to see. A national roof PV campaign, on the other hand, could be rolled out almost immediately; new house building regulations could ensure that all new homes have solar roofs, and grants to householders could stimulate a massive retro-fitting of panels. These would then feed electricity surplus to requirements into the grid as well as reducing demand substantially. New solar technology means that panels can generate useful amounts of energy even on overcast days, so the old arguments that renewables are intermittant don't apply any more. Likewise with wind, there is always wind blowing in some parts of the country and existing wind turbines are already providing power for millions of homes.
Added to these, wave power has yet to be exploited meaningfully, along with bio fuels, river power, waste gas generation, and tidal power which can all add significantly to the national energy needs, which would be reduced hugely with improved insulation, take up of energy efficient appliances and removal of standby mode from electrical equipment, plus a massive switch to energy efficient light bulbs. None of this is as sexy as nuclear to idiots like Alisdair Darling though. So we'll go through the motions of public consultation and then the government will decide on the nuclear option, it's how democracy works in this brave new Labour world.
And while this is going on, Iran is castigated and sanctioned for wanting to do the exact same thing.
It's all rubbish
Another stupid idea they've had, this time to reduce the rubbish we put in landfill, is to fine householders for their extra rubbish with chips fixed to their bins to monitor them - they love the high tech fix. Politicians always go for the punishment option, they think most people are stupid and have to be forced to do the right thing, whereas the reverse is true, most people are more intelligent than politicians and are already ahead of them on this one. A fine system would merely result in those who won't comply, dumping their rubbish either outside other people's houses, or, much worse, in the countryside. Far better to get the recycling sorted to make it easier to recycle than not, perhaps with incentives, so those who recycle most get reductions in their council tax.
It would really be appreciated by these banana workers in Costa Rica - sacked by Chiquita for reporting a pesticide poisoning incident - if you could take a couple of minutes to send off this electronic letter. All you need to do is go HERE where you can read the facts of the case and sign the letter.Please pass it on to friends and colleagues.
Having avoided commenting on the case of missing Medeleine McCann up to now, I'm nonetheless appalled at the media circus / herd mentality which has gripped the UK [and possibly elsewhere] over one child, when hundreds have gone missing since she was abducted without a mention by the media. It's a combination of the Algarve being an attractive place to spend a few weeks 'working' in, so doubtless there were queues of journos wanting to go, the herd mentality which dictates that once an issue has got enough exposure and enough people have become involved, it acts like a magnet and draws more and more in, people with no connection become so involved that they truly believe they knew Madeleine, they suffer for her parents, torment themselves with thoughts of what might have happened to her so they can appear suitably anguished, and indulge in the most inane antics which would never in a million years contribute anything to finding a child. It's called the Diana effect, action for the sake of it, rather than action to bring about a result. It's goulish, it's voyeuristic and sick. The media are most to blame, they even fan this frantic herd activity by showing these saddoes with their posters and crocodile tears, they make it all sound normal when it isn't, it's media-fuelled lemming behaviour, running round in circles time, ersatz emotions over a stranger, group hugs devoid of feeling.
Meanwhile, a sighting at a garage in Morocco, which sounds the most likely lead so far to have emerged out of a situation of slow police and media scum scrum in the middle of which were two people in real pain. A girl matching her description was seen with a man asking 'can we go and see mummy now?' which, if you think about it, is just right for a situation where she has been smuggled out of the country on a journey with a stranger who has, nonetheless had to feed her, supervise her toilet and cleaning, in effect, behave like a parent towards her, while constantly reassuring they were going to see mummy. It's what anyone would tell a distressed child in a situation like that. This lead wasn't followed up despite the Portuguese, Spanish and British police being told several times. Now they are taking an interest, the CCTV tapes have been wiped at the garage - one of the few garages in Morocco with CCTV. Is she on her way south to be sold to a rich African? It's like no one wants to contemplate the awful possibility so everyone is denying it, it's called being positive, but what it means is the parents spend a lot of time in church praying instead of leading a manhunt. The police poke around in undergrowth with sticks for the third time because they lack the imagination to do anything else, and the media reports on the parents and police because that's what they're there for, apart from sitting around in the sun.
The tabloids have had a field day, a missing child sells papers, and have run appalling headlines without a shred of evidence such as Police quiz Russian pervert. And celebrities who haven't managed to get themselves in front of cameras recently [like Beckham] make spurious appeals, as if the person who took her is going to respond to an appeal from this godlike footballer and go to the nearest police station. Millions of pounds are promised in reward as if anyone with any information hasn't already come forward but would do so for loads of money. The whole thing has turned into a really sick explosion of primate exciteability, the sort you see in troupes of chimpanzees and it's not very pleasant.
Paul Wolfowitz has finally resigned as president of the World Bank, for corruption ['I was only seeing my tart had enough bling to look good, what's the harm in that?'], and someone has suggested Tony Blair as next president! Haven't they heard Blair is an habitual liar, is mired in corruption - loans from shady Asian 'businessmen' and cash for honours to anyone with the readies - and would be the very last person in the world who should be put in charge of the Birntwistle Savings Bank, let alone the World Bank.
When I joined blogspot, I naturally chose the category Libertarian, as I'm a lifelong libertarian and it seemed appropriate. However, there is a massive divide between what the word means here, in Europe, where it stands for a pretty leftwing attitude [some might say extreme leftwing], anarchism, and the US, where it seems to mean extreme rightwing, of the sort that the fascistic female impersonator 'Anne' Coulter belongs. Of course we share a hatred of government and interference by the state in individual's lives, but the European libertarian is coming from a social responsibility, caring about people, animals and the planet, opposed to globalisation. American libertarians are coming from a right wing agenda, defending the right of individuals to carry anti-tank weapons in their glove compartment, and a willingness to have a shoot out with police if they try to enforce a parking ticket. In other words, we are from diametrically opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Even allowing for the differences in political terminology between the two continents - our right is considered soft left in the land which would have labelled Genghis Khan a socialist and our left is off the chart, their right is dangerously psychopathic and delusioned to European sensibilities and their left is wooly liberal to us - I had always thought this a mere rightwards shift since Macarthy made communist a criminal offence, but I still can't see why libertarian can have come to mean raving gun-toting poor hater, when in Europe there's a proud tradition of anarchism as a caring, social justice, personal responsibility doctrine which takes socialism to its logical conclusion and reduces the state to nonexistance. The result of this schism has been that I keep getting American libertarians linking with Fool on the Hill as if we have something in common, and despite having a certain sympathy with some of their issues, I still find them self-obsessed, dangerously rightwing, often christian fundies, and nowhere near where I'm coming from.
And people talk of a 'special relationship' between the US and UK, when we don't even speak [or spell] the same language. When I see a creature like Coulter spouting hate filled garbage, I do rather find the idea of carrying guns more attractive.
The Labour party seems intent on consigning itself to the wilderness again, with insufficient support for an alternative making Brown's move into premiership a done deal. I wonder what they're worried about, John McDonnel is a socialist who opposed the Iraq war right from the start, and seems to have his head screwed on, hmmm, yes, that would be inconvenient if he were elected instead of Brown, having promised to bring us out of Iraq immediately. I doubt if the party membership is too impressed by this abandonement of democracy, the electorate certainly won't be, and my judgement is they will lose the next election. This done deal means the membership and unions won't get to choose, and the party is still dancing to Blair's tune.
Brown is a creep; a sociopath with decided anal retentive qualities doubtless inherited from his father, a Methodist minister, and a control freak who has desired power all his life. He is unpopular with the electorate and I forecast that the next general election will result in a Labour defeat with Brown as leader. His strange walk - like a bird with a broken wing - his uncontrollable mouth twitches, his inability/unwillingness to make eye contact, his unpleasant rictus of a smile, all go to make anyone doubt whether they would leave him alone with children, so why would they trust him with running the country? Among the largest collection of strangely abnormal people in the country, MPs, Brown stands out as the most abnormal and least trustworthy of the bunch. And to cap it all, he just increased the income tax on the very poorest workers in the country, an act which has not gone unnoticed.
Not content with having trashed planet Earth to such an extent that it is doubtful our species can survive this century, as world armies gear up for the next generation of warfare, the deranged lunatics at the MoD are asking British inventors to help out in a search for new technology that could help ground troops detect threats in urban areas. Surveillance cameras in rubber balls, guns that can fire around corners, robotic heavy machine guns and unmanned warplanes. They even want someone to invent a robotic drone that can fly so close to 'insurgents' and 'terrorists' that it can report back what they are doing, and even perhaps fly up their arses to see what they ate yesterday, such is their desire to pry into everything in their insane quest to control the world. They seem not to have realised yet that war will eventually be irrelevent as global forces react to our unmitigated assault on the ecosystem.
America is ablaze with thousands of fires out of control in several states including Nebraska, California and Florida which alone has over 200 fires that firefighters can't control. Been too dry, just like Australia, and fire is the inevitable consequence of drought anywhere but deserts, especially when most of the houses are built of wood and smokers toss their detritus away without a thought.
Blair is gone - well almost - and the media seems intent on eulogising him as if he isn't a lying, manipulating, war criminal who belongs in the dock at the Hague. Insincere to the last, the despicable creature had the gall to admit that his actions have led to an increased risk of terrorist attack on this country while excusing himself because he believed he was doing the right thing; real gut wrenching hypocrisy. Gathering together a band of loyal braindead political sheep around him, his farewell speech was vomit inducing to anyone who thinks honesty and integrity are desirable for a politician. Forgotten are all the sleaze, lies and spin we have had to endure for ten dishonest years, left is a faux emotional departure only sycophants could enjoy. Of course, many are also culpable for the carnage of Iraq, having been only too willing to fall for the lies at the time, and endlessly excusing themselves since, but without Blair and the Chimp, none of them would have had the opportunity.
At least Thatcher never pretended to be other than a hate filled fascist, Blair, a Thatcherite through and through, has pretended all along to care, in his farewell speech he even used the word socialist - unless I was hallucinating with anger. Why so many fall for such transparent shits is beyond me. Right from the start it was obvious what a creepy liar he was, but they all went along with it, and even after two terms and an unjustified war, enough of the electorate still voted him back in, thus guaranteeing the 7/7 bombings, giving justification to the deranged Islamists that the country deserved it, having re-elected the perpetrator once more. Everyone who voted for this appalling party is therefore guilty of the blood spilled on that day.
The only consolation is that Blair will spend the rest of his days fearing a revenge attack, constantly under armed protection, and they only have to be lucky once. He has to be lucky every day of his life, there's nowhere to hide.
And now the killers of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazillian gunned down in a tube train, having pumped eight bullets into his brain in a frenzy of phychopathic excitement are not to face any criminal charges. How typical of the British state, it's hired killers never have to face justice, and this case is no exception. Not only that, but the killers are still carrying guns and loose in London, and one has already been involved in another fatal shooting, albeit this time hardly an innocent man as Jean Charles was, but an armed robber, who was, nonetheless, given no chance to surrender, but was gunned down out of hand by this out of control police executioner.
The British Library is asking for donations of emails, absolutely anything people wish to send them, which will all be archived for the future, what there is of it. They are also archiving websites for people in the future to wonder at [and laugh at perhaps, most old footage we have of the past is pretty hilarious]. Hosted by Hotmail, the project resides here or any emails of your choice can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course, as I don't think we have a future beyond climate change, this could all be a wasted effort, but just in case I'm wrong, it would be nice to benefit the future with my [mostly] words of wisdom, sharp political analysis, off the wall sense of humour [or some might say off the planet] and general rants and bitches which only a select circle of friends and family and the readers of Fool on the Hill are priviledged to read.
Popped outside last night to enjoy the last songs of the blackbirds as the sky darkened and birds settled down for the night. The smell of the lilac mixed with the honeysuckle into a heady accompaniment, and suddenly a bat swooped over my head on it's search for insects, diving and soaring, always coming back to where I stood. On its last appearance, it was preceded by a moth, the two moving in unison until the bat caught up and gulped the moth down before departing for the night, and I came inside, the smells still in my nostrils and the memory of the bat etched in my retina memory. Life and death, the food chain, work and survival. The blackbirds had finished by then, and but for the quiet chattering of the large sparrow family as they settled down for the night in their tower-block ivy home, all was quiet.
It's hotter now than I remember it ever being at the start of May, April was the hottest and driest on record, and every day climate change is centre stage in public consciousness and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The paradigm appears to have well and truly shifted, more people are concerned by climate events and the likely consequences than are unconcerned, the penny, has in effect now dropped. What some of us have been saying for thirty years is now accepted by the vast majority, although few still realise how bad it will get, despite anything we can now do to change our behaviour. The problem is capitalism and the greed it fosters. Changing that and getting people to accept there has to be a limit on their own personal self-seeking is the difficult bit, so much more far reaching than not using supermarket carrier bags, or installing double glazing. The capitalist system depends on growth without limit, and has persuaded the majority to join in a massive overuse of resources as if there is no tomorrow. At the present rate of destruction, there isn't.
Local elections in England today, enabling everyone to kick the Labour Party where it hurts while the cause of its demise, the corrupt lying Blair is about to announce when he'll walk away from the mess he's created to a lucrative speaking tour of the US where they apparently love him despite his buddy the Chimp becoming more unpopular by the day. There's still a faint hope they will both end up in The Hague one day, charged with the war crimes they are undoubtedly guilty of.
scenes from this war will create thousands maybe even millions of militants
intent on inflicting damage on the only superpower. The war will be waged
across America and in any American outpost and embassy. It will be brutal
and messy and will continue for decades. Bush doesn't know what he has unleashed.
Fool on the hill March 2003
Some links to interesting climate-change related websites:
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