Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

UK Political weblog

Archive for the month “August, 2008”

Posts & Comments

Since I started this blog back in May of this year I have written on many topics including how our civil freedoms and liberties are being eroded away, to the point where almost everything is in place for total control of our populace. I have written on potential environmental disasters that threaten not just us but the World as we know it and I have written about the appalling waste of resources and life in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What though has attracted the highest number of comments? It is the release at the end of their sentence of the, now young men who killed James Bulger. It was indeed a terrible thing that they did but it was TEN years ago. In that time millions of people have starved to death, global warming continues to rise along with massive pollution of our only planet. The once thriving nation of Iraq has been all but destroyed along with hundreds of thousands of lives including hundreds of our young men and women in the armed forces.

So why all the comments on the James Bulger case? Could it be that the other matters to which I allude above, seem so far beyond our control that we can more easily focus our feelings of rage and impotence on two little boys of ten years ago? The sad truth is that in avoiding confronting those who would control us and ruin our planet we bring about our own subjugation. Let us focus our energy on what we can possibly change and leave to the judgement of history that which we cannot change.

Energy Windfall Tax

Pressure from various quarters, seems to be building  on the Government to charge a ‘windfall tax’ on the energy suppliers. They have after all made enormous additional profits from the rising costs of oil and gas, even though when these costs have decreased, the price to customers has not been reduced.

The false argument is that this windfall tax would be used to reduce fuel costs in particular to the most vulnerable. The argument is a false one because (a) the Government would be unlikely to pass all this on to consumers (b) the suppliers would simply increase their prices to make up the shortfall in their balance sheets (c) any reductions passed on by Government would be a one off and we would be in the same position twelve months from now.

It was said at the time that when Margaret Thatcher privatised the energy industry that she was selling off the family silver and how right they were; the chickens are now coming home to roost. What has been done though, can be undone. Our Nation should not be dependant on private companies, many of them foreign owned, for it’s vital energy. The time is right to re-nationalise them. One wholly State owned energy  company would have enormous buying power and with no investors requiring an annual large dividend payout prices would fall dramatically and be under greater control by the end users, the voting public.

The cost in financial terms would of course be great but would represent an investment in the future of our Nation. It may well require that a fresh look is taken at other drains on the Exchequer such as do we actually need several billion Pounds worth of Aircraft carriers and do we really see a use for billions of Pounds worth of Trident submarines or billions spent on useless Identity Cards?

It could be done, it should be done, all it needs is a leader and a government with vision and bravery. Sadly therefore it is not likely to happen but here’s hoping.

Wind Turbines

At a public meeting called by the Parish Council in Davidstow, Cornwall, recently, there was overwhelming opposition to a proposal to erect 20 wind turbines on a brown field site on Bodmin Moor. In fact only one person out of the 150 people present spoke in favour of the project.

These turbines would produce enough electricity for 9,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by about 30,000 tonnes. Apparently the main cause for concern expressed at the meeting was the possible effect on wildlife. How short sighted can people get? Reducing carbon emissions and thus slowing and hopefully, eventually reducing global warming must surely be of greater benefit to wildlife. Animals and birds quickly learn to adapt to changes in their landscape. For example we’re all used to seeing birds sitting on overhead power lines, they do not sit astride or alongside the insulators and risk electrocuting themselves, do they? There was a time when Britain, indeed, Europe, was practically wall to wall windmills and water wheels for grinding corn and other industrial uses. The wildlife simply adapted so why should albeit modern designed turbines be any more of a threat. They may be bigger but they don’t turn appreciably faster than the old windmills.

What these NIMBYS and Luddites fail to appreciate is that if we fail in our attempts to supply electricity through renewable means then the Government will be only too  happy to provide nuclear power stations instead. How about one of those on Bodmin Moor.

Gary Glitter

That appalling excuse for a human being, Gary Glitter, otherwise known as Paul Gadd, has returned to the UK after being refused entry to any other country.

What is almost as appalling is the oxygen of publicity given by the media. He is obviously enjoying the journalistic scrum and the flash photography which probably reminds him of his days of fame of a different kind. His self satisfied smile says it all, no remorse there at all. It is my opinion that he should simply have been ignored and taken from the airport by the child protection agencies, registered as a sex offender with a close eye kept upon him as he slipped into oblivion.

Wind Turbines

At a public meeting called by the Parish Council in Davidstow, Cornwall, yesterday there was overwhelming opposition to a proposal to erect 20 wind turbines on a brown field site on Bodmin Moor. In fact only one person spoke in favour out of 150 people present.
These turbines would generate enough electricity for 9,000 homes and stop the emission of about 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Apparently the main cause for concern was the possible effect on wildlife.

How short sighted can people get? Reducing carbon emissions thus helping to slow and hopefully eventually turning back global warming must surely be beneficial to wildlife.  Animals and birds quickly learn to adapt to changes in their landscape. For example we’re all used to seeing birds sitting on power lines, they do not sit astride or alongside the insulators and electrocute themselves do they?

There was a time when Britain was practically wall to wall windmills for corn grinding and industrial use and the wildlife simply adapted so why should modern designed wind turbines be any more of a threat. They may be bigger but they don’t turn appreciably faster.

What these nimbys and Luddites fail to grasp is, that if we fail in our efforts to supply electricity through renewable means then the Government will be most happy to provide nuclear power stations instead. How about one of those on Bodmin Moor?

EU Fishing Regulations

Freethinkeruk has recently returned from a sailing holiday in The Isles of Scilly (magical place, go if you can) and called into the fishing port of Newlyn on the way back.

There I enjoyed chatting with an aging fisherman who enlightened me on the plight of the British fishing industry. I’m sure most of my readers will be passingly familiar with the rules that restrict the tonnage of fish caught meaning that trawlers and other boats can only go out a limited number of days per year. There are also restrictions on the type of fish that can be landed said to be to conserve stocks. When nets are being pulled along several hundred feet below the surface there is obviously no way to avoid catching ‘restricted’ fish. What happens to these fish when the nets are brought in? They are dumped over the side, dead! Yes, thousands of tonnes of good edible fish thrown into the deep to rot. The fishermen are not even allowed to bring them ashore and give them away. What a disgusting waste.

This old guy also informed me that due to the quotas and the high cost of diesel he went out for eight days recently, that’s eight days and nights tossing about on the ocean in all weathers, and after paying expenses was left with £240. Less than a pound an hour for working in the most dangerous industry of all.

In defiance of the EU, France subsidises diesel costs for it’s fishermen while our government abides by the letter of EU directives and sits on it’s hands as our fishermen go bankrupt and the industry dies. Not until the cost of our ‘fish n chips’ doubles, trebles or more will anyone, it seems, sit up and take notice.

No wonder then that I’m told most fishermen belong to UKIP!

The Olympic Ideal

The founding and abiding principle of the Olympic Games is that athletes of the World gather in competition. Note that it is the ‘athletes’ of the World who gather and not the nations. Its is of course natural that comparisons will be made between the joint achievements of various country’s sportsmen and women but let us celebrate the triumphs of all those taking part and try not to turn this amazing event into some kind of ideological war.

I have heard it said that the Sports Minister is considering diverting funds towards those sports in which we in the UK are most likely to win medals in 2012. What an appalling thought. Apart from the general immorality of it, this would mean a higher proportion of funding going into Equestrian and sailing events which are simply not available to the majority of our aspiring young athletes.

New Flag for the RAF

Back on the 11th July I watched the ceromony on TV as the RAF was given new ‘Colours’ (flags) by the Queen. The comentary included the information that there were 5,000 invited guests and the whole thing was concluded From the Daily Postwith a fly past of 90 aircraft, one for each year since the founding of the air force.

It occured to me that it must have cost an awful lot of money so I thought that I would test out the Freedom of Information Act and asked for a costing of this event. Much to my amazement I must say, I have just received a reply from Headquaters Air Command. It states that “The cost to the RAF of the Colour’s Presentation was in the region of £370,000 …… The hospitality for this event …. was sponsored by BAe Systems, which hosted the Royal Party and VIPs.” So, the cost to the RAF for a couple of flags was well over a quarter of a million Pounds, actually that’s a cost to the tax payers. This at a time when the cost of living is rising at an alarming rate. A time when people are losing their homes and unemployment is on the increase and as a consequence tax revenue (apart from on fuel) is falling. BAe Systems will also expect something in return from the Government for wining and dining that lot.

Olympic Games

What a fantastic display was the opening ceremony in Beijing of the 2008 Olympic Games. Beautiful, exciting and at times emotional, at least it was for me. The effort, planning, imagination and energy that went into this event was staggering and just shows what wonders human beings can produce.

Quite rightly there has been a lot of criticism of China’s record on human rights but hopefully, in time, they will improve on this. It should always be remembered that we in the West are not innocent when it comes to human rights. Here in the UK there are frequent miscarriages of Justice and Parliament has just agreed to imprison people without charge for 42 days. In the US they still execute people, even in defiance of International Law and torture prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.

China has come a very long way in just 70 years or so and the standard of living and yes, human rights also, have steadily increased over this time. A huge country with a vast population that was mainly feudal such a short while ago progressed rapidly under communism and I submit, would never have happened under the capitalist system.

While we may rightly point out the faults in China let us not forget that we have many faults of our own.

Risk Assessment

The Government is making public it’s National Risk Register according to the BBC today. Not surprisingly it considers a terrorist attack the most likely risk and the gravest threat to be a flu pandemic which could cost between 50,000 and 750,000 lives. The stated aim of publishing this list is to ‘stimulate a mature debate’ with the public and business as to the possible risks facing this country.

Three thoughts sprung immediately to my mind. Firstly, no amount of ‘debate’ mature or otherwise will make the slightest bit of difference to the risks and what the hell do we pay politicians for if not to consider risks and take the necessary precautions on our behalf. Secondly, if they are going to come up with a risk variant of 700,000 lives as a result of ‘flu the usefulness of this statistic is virtually meaningless. Thirdly, put a terrorist attack at the top of the list and what do you get? You get a public that is fearful and worried and therefore willing to accept more and more restrictions on civil liberties.

Top of the Risk List should be a loss of freedom, democracy, accountability and the emergence of a police state.

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