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Heh

There have been a couple of suggestions made about Climategate 2.0 and what quote will turn out to sum things up. My favourite so far was spotted by the Pedant General over at Devil’s Kitchen:

What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably […]

But “The Cause” comes up a lot too. Granted, it’s used without initial caps, but when it appears this many times does it really need them to get the message across? Some people from Minnesota don’t think so.

H/T WUWT.

Misanthropes speak

Yesterday I mentioned that there seemed to be disappointment in some areas – oh, alright, it was The Guardian – that 2011 has not seen record temperatures and warble gloaming is not baking us all to death in our revolting, right wing, miserable selfishness. It’s no great surprise that they’re not alone, being in the company of none other than Phil Jones. Yes, him again.

>From: Phil Jones [mailto:p.jones@uea.ac.uk]
Sent: 05 January 2009 16:18
To: Johns, Tim; Folland, Chris
Cc: Smith, Doug; Johns, Tim
Subject: Re: FW: Temperatures in 2009

Tim, Chris,
I hope you’re not right about the lack of warming lasting
till about 2020. I’d rather hoped to see the earlier Met Office
press release with Doug’s paper that said something like –
half the years to 2014 would exceed the warmest year currently on
record, 1998!
[…]

When you profess a belief that warming will be catastrophic and kill millions that’s a really lovely thing to hope for, Phil, you great humanitarian, you. And did you even consider how unlikely this actually is to happen? At the time you wrote that, January 2009, you must already have been aware that in your own HADCRUT3 record the nine years 1999-2007 inclusive all failed to exceed your desired record, and since there are only sixteen years from 1998 to 2014 that was mathematically impossible even if 2009-14 all broke it. It should already have been crystal clear when you wrote that email that what you were hoping for simply would not, could not, happen. Expressing the hope that it would might suggest getting some primary school level maths wrong, or it might suggest that jigging the figures to make some of the years that weren’t quite warm enough just a little warmer was being considered. Wouldn’t be as good as real warming, which if I understand the warmist ideology is not good but bad yet is also good if it’s bad for people, but it might be good enough if it persuades people to support policies which are bad for them. Or something.

I’m not going to speculate which of those is more likely, but I will say this. A bloody good dose of global warming might be just the thing needed to help Phil Jones thaw out his fucking heart.

H/T Watts Up With That.

The sky is angry

Or so says Britain’s Meteorological Office and The Graun. In fact they’re telling us it’s almost as angry as it’s ever been in the history of everything (since 1850, near the end of a period of unusual cold).

Is it me or do I detect a note of disappointment?

As spring bulbs burst into life in gardens around the UK, and plants break into a late second bloom, this autumn has seen balmy temperatures prevail across the UK and many parts of Europe.
Despite these unusual scenes, however, this year overall is not likely to be a global record-breaker.

Again, that slight sense that the Graun feel let down by this failure of Gaia to punish us more severely for our sins against her.

Figures from the Met Office published on Tuesday show that 2011 stands at 11th place in the list of warmest years ever, in global mean temperature records stretching back to 1850.

Ah, now did I imagine it or was 1998 declared the absolute hottest year it’s ever been in the history of everything ever (since 1850, near the end of a period of unusual cold)? Why, thanks to a handy table on the Graun’s article I can see that it was no figment of imagination and that the Met Office did say exactly that, and presumably stand by it if it’s still going into articles now.

Today’s data confirms the overall warming trend, however: of the 10 warmest years on records, nine occurred since 2000.

But looking at that table I can see that it can be put another way: that 13 years after the hottest year ever (since 1850) it’s now the 11th hottest year ever (since 1850). There may be a warming trend, though of course arguments still rage over the reliability of measurements, especially when 2010 is listed as almost as big a scorcher as 1998 despite a bitter northern hemisphere winter which the warmists either forgot to mention or didn’t see coming (not for the first time), but there’s no getting away from the fact that the warmists themselves say that the hottest year was just over a decade and this year is ranked only 11. More interestingly every year of the last decade apart from 2008 was warmer than this year.

Naughty Gaia. People won’t be nearly frightened enough by this. My God, er, Gaia, they might even start to think temperatures have peaked. This just won’t do. I don’t know, you just can’t get the Earth Mother figures these days. Look, just move over and leave it to someone who gets paid for this.

Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said that[…]
Basic problem is that all models are wrong, not got enough middle and low level clouds.

No, Phil, don’t tell them that. You’re not supposed to let people know of uncertainties. Oh, look, now you’ll have to reassure everyone that all the research into warble gloaming is open and honest and transparent and that there’s nothing going on.

I wasted a part of a day deleting numerous emails and exchanges with almost all the skeptics. So I have virtually nothing. I even deleted the email that I inadvertently sent.
[…]
I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process.

Oh dear, this isn’t good at all. Even if Gaia carries on as she/it has for the last 4.5 billion years the Graun will be very sad if the whole warble gloaming narrative goes into a decline. Never mind – you can always ask Phil to hide it.

Quoted Quote of the Day

More from Climategate II: The Chinny Reckoning. At the Devils’s Kitchen the Pedant General has spotted an absolute gem:

The hunt is now on for the snippet that crystallises the whole thing, the “Hide the decline” moment if you will. My favourite so far:
<1682> Wils:
[2007] What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural
fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably […]

Earlier I repeated Deep Throat’s advice to follow the money, but I’ve mentioned before when talking about Big Eco that there are several reasons to keep it going. Protecting a reputation that’s been nailed irrevocably to a particular mast is also a very strong incentive to keep holding that mast up no matter what.

Big Eco getting caught out again?

And in more ways than one. I’ve been blogging on other things so I’ve not mentioned the BBC as brought up by Bishop Hill here. And here, and here, here and here. Do go and have a read, though you might not be terribly surprised at what Auntie’s been up to. However, that looks like being overshadowed by what’s already being called Climategate II. Yep, more stuff that the R&D department of Big Eco would rather not have had out in the open has emerged and is being gone over by sceptical bloggers everywhere. Very early still, but Bishop Hill’s initial take is here, Jo Nova here, Watts Up With That here and here but mostly here, and in the MSM James Delingpole here. I’ll leave you with Delingpole’s summary and a few of his preferred quotes as I’ve got popcorn to make. Do go read the rest.

Breaking news: two years after the Climategate, a further batch of emails has been leaked onto the internet by a person – or persons – unknown. And as before, they show the “scientists” at the heart of the Man-Made Global Warming industry in a most unflattering light. Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Ben Santer, Tom Wigley, Kevin Trenberth, Keith Briffa – all your favourite Climategate characters are here, once again caught red-handed in a series of emails exaggerating the extent of Anthropogenic Global Warming, while privately admitting to one another that the evidence is nowhere near as a strong as they’d like it to be.
[…]
<1939> Thorne/MetO:
Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical
troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a
wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the
uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these
further if necessary […]
<3066> Thorne:
I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it
which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.
[…]
<2884> Wigley:
Mike, The Figure you sent is very deceptive […] there have been a number of
dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC […]

P.S. a thought’s occurred, and I doubt I’m the first one it’s occurred to. The last time this happened as around this time last year, shortly before the COP15 climate junket/meeting in Copenhagen (will these fuckers lecturing us all about emissions from travel ever teleconference one of these things?) and here we have it all happening again just a few days before COP17 in Durban. Interesting timing. Does Big Eco’s R&D section have it’s own Deep Throat, unhappy at something going on there and carefully choosing content and times to leak for maximum effect? I can only speculate, but the advice of the original Deep Throat still applies: follow the money. How many of the people sending, receiving or CC’d in on these emails would be out of a job if man made catastrophic warble gloaming turns out to be nonsense? And that’s just the R&D parts of Big Eco – the same applies to those involved in marketing, admin and production. Hell, if my career and future income depended on everyone believing the sky was going to burn I’d be saying it too.

Last of the expenses scandal?

So Margaret Moran has been charged over her expenses as an MP, and with 21 counts it sounds as if they’ve found enough mud to throw that some is likely to stick (plus of course the CPS policy is not to throw any mud at all unless the odds of stickicity is better than 50:50).

Charges relate to 15 charges of false accounting, contrary to the Theft Act 1968.
“It is alleged that she claimed expenses for the furnishing and improvement of main residences between November 2004 and August 2008 through a scheme intended for the maintenance of second homes or offices,” the DPP said.
She also faces six charges of forgery, where it is alleged that she submitted forged invoices.

And I think she’ll have a hard time persuading anyone on the jury that the house in Southampton was needed for staying over in London or had anything to do with work in her constituency in Luton.

Of 10 files of evidence handed to prosecutors, seven cases have resulted in charges.
“There are no longer any cases to be considered by the panel,” Mr Starmer said.

That this has taken more than two years to reach court, and that while only seven out of all those hundreds of iffy looking claims resulted in charges seems low the batting average of convictions has been high, may suggest that this is an occasion where the time has been taken to painstakingly build evidence and make a really strong case – as opposed to nicking someone on the strength of a fingerprint on something they’d have been expected to handle and then having to admit that actually that’s not evidence that they ever did a damned thing. Can someone explain that one to me? Why a possible murder case results in a relatively quick arrest followed by an embarrassing climbdown while a theft case which is arguably just as high profile is built up over months and then year before being brought to trial. Just wondering.

“Margaret Moran now stands charged with criminal offences and has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice her trial.”

While I wouldn’t want to put money on being cleared that’s still true – there’s no doubt in my mind that she’s a nest-feathering, self interested, venal trougher, but she mightn’t be a criminally nest-feathering, self interested, venal trougher. But again I wonder if Rebecca Leighton might have appreciated a similar statement.

So the only question left in my mind, other than how many got away with it of course, is whether this really is the last of the expenses scandal. Or whether, since IPSA seems like a paper tiger and new parliament had barely got in the building before they were all complaining about scrutiny, we’ll be doing all this again in a few years. Personally I don’t believe that British politicians as a class learned their lesson and I’d be astonished if there aren’t some lining their pockets right now.

>Rally against debt ignored – UPDATED

>

Well, not quite since it’s not quite being ignored completely, but since what there is in the news seems to be a couple of short articles linked on the home pages of the Teletubbygraph (near the top) and the Daily Wail (almost at the very bottom and behind an awful lot of guff about slebs), and as far as I could see bugger all on the Beeb, Indie, Grauniad, Express, Metro, Standard, Mirror or Sun, where it’s being spoken of at all it’s in pretty bloody hushed tones. Yes, of course these few protestors were in much smaller numbers than the thousands who turned out to complain that they might not be able to suck quite so freely at the tax tit as they have over the last decade or so, and they weren’t complaining about the loss of things that everybody likes to think of as free but in reality are simply paid for in advance through tax or in arrears through the national debt and, perhaps most importantly, they weren’t smashing anything up. But they were protesting about the very large national debt elephant in the room, an elephant that has now grown so big that even some socialists are getting worried enough to call it a crisis.

[…] we will have to find conservatively £1.1 trillion over the next five years! 33% of our debt is held by foreign governments contrary to what some in the labour movement have been saying.
[…]
The government is going to cut £83bn over five years which is 9% of the £1.1 trillion we have to find over the next five years. This is based on optimistic estimates about the economy. The government and city economists have got this wrong consistently over the last three years. […]
Be wary of those who say the debt is not a problem and that has been bigger in the past. There is a very good reason for that as we have spelled out above. It is likely with the cuts and reduced growth they bring on will mean at some time we will have go to the IMF. Their cuts as a condition for loans will be much tougher.
We have to show that we are facing a crisis – which the coalition is walking blindly into it. But we have to build an alternative solution that does not mean we pay for a crisis made by the bankers, governments and the wealthy.

When socialists say that, even if they can’t resist finishing with a jealous dig at the wealthy and the banks, you have to recognise that the country is well and truly in the shit. And it’s worth pointing out that while accusing everyone else of understating the scale of the problem they themselves are using on the headline figure of a trillion given by the ONS for the national debt, rather than the ONS estimate of around four trillion once all the off book liabilities are included.

Okay, so let’s list all the ways out of it.

  • Tax more
  • Spend less
  • Er…
  • That’s it

Now the first of those carries with it some problems. The first is that of any government’s tax base the poorest have virtually no ability to pay more while the wealthiest, the people who can most afford more tax, have the ability to get out of the country with all or most of their money. That leaves the bulk of the burden of taxing the government’s way out of debt to fall on everyone in the middle, the ones who aren’t wealthy enough to do a runner easily but aren’t poor either – though they fucking well will be before long. The second problem is that when the government owes so much – something like 60% of GDP at the lower national debt figure of a trillion pounds, and well over double GDP at the higher estimate of four trillion – even squeezing the middle income earners might not be enough, especially when it’s still spending at a rate of nearly £700 billion a year and rising while only raising a bit over £600 billion in taxes. The third problem is that those middle income earners form quite a large group of voters and may balk at the idea of having to stump up £100 billion just to stop things getting worse, and much much more if the government seriously wants to begin paying off the excesses of its predecessors. The final problem is that sucking yet more money out of the economy hurts. Every pound taken from a company is a pound that it can’t spend on things that would grow its business – which could have created new jobs – while every pound taken from an individual is money they can’t spend in the shops, save for their future or buy shares in a company that might grow and create more jobs and wealth if it can just get some more investment.

Spending less is vastly simpler and really has only one major problem: as well as the millions of middle income earners who have to pay both for public spending and the debt Britain has millions of public spending junkies too, and they really don’t want the money taps turned off. In fact they so desperately don’t want the taps turned off that thousands of them are prepared to go to London to demand still more of other people’s money and throw things through other people’s windows.

And this could have been used by the media as an illustration of Britain’s financial problems: that so many more protested about the cuts than went to complain about the real lack of cuts suggests that there are far more receivers of government largesse than contributors to the funding of it, though of course many of the latter may have been working – they have tax bills to pay after all. Instead you might not have noticed that any protest in favour of more cuts even happened at all if you weren’t looking out for it, and so the UK’s enormous and increasing debt elephant continues to wander around the room almost completely unremarked by most of the country and largely so by the media.

However, aside from those two papers that ran articles on the Rally Against Debt I did notice something in The Sun that demonstrates pretty clearly why the Rally Against Debt was and is so necessary: as a result of cost cutting the DoT is having to hire more staff. Apparently, and almost straight out of a Yes Minister plot, they didn’t realise they needed more until it came time to start laying off the ones they’ve got.

And it’s this kind of lunacy that has fucked Britain.

UPDATE – further evidence of lunacy, if any were needed, was the Mainly Fail’s take on it.

[…] at a protest opposite the Houses of Parliament today, it was a much more sedate affair, with a paltry 350 people showing up.
But the motives behind the protest may go some way to explaining why it was so poorly attended.
Rather than demonstrating against spending cuts – which are leading to many people across the country losing their jobs – today’s event was held IN SUPPORT of them.ers-gather-outside-Parliament-demand-MORE-cuts–unsurprisingly-350-showed-up.html#ixzz1MPCjJb1E

Jesus fucking Christ with a begging bowl, there was a time when the Mail would have been tearing into the fantasy that cuts inevitably mean losses of real jobs rather than the vast numbers of make-work positions that have been created over the last ten to fifteen years. I’ve hinted at this before but I shall now be very blunt about it: if as a result of this very half hearted attempt at austerity measures so much as one teacher, nurse, doctor, firefighter, copper, binman or member of the armed forces loses their job it can only be because at least one chair polishing, paper shuffling, over compensated, parasitic cunt has kept theirs. The Mail, rather strangely for something that’s occasionally accused of being a righty rag, does not make this point. Meanwhile the Tele, who were more neutral, have moved the link off the home page since I blogged this.

The lame-stream media’s under-reporting of the Rally Against Debt and their inability to understand the need for it really does speak volumes about where the UK is headed. It will be very cold comfort to those who turned up (I admit that from ten thousand miles away I could only be there in spirit – I’m not wealthy enough to be able to hop on a plane for a short visit and my views on flying should be well known to both my readers) if all they achieve is to be able to point out that they warned everyone back in May 2011 when Britain is where Greece is now and say “We told you so” . On the other hand, at least Old Holborn got his face mask in the papers again.

A penny saved is a penny earned

You could be forgiven for thinking that the federal government here in Australia have taken that old maxim to heart for our latest budget. Purse strings are to be tightened, cuts are to be made, benefits frozen all in order to get back into surplus in FY 2012-13 to the tune of $3.5 billion dollars.

Just as an aside at this point, I’d like to ask if anyone in the Cobbleition has any idea to get Britain back into surplus? Dave? Nick? No? Er… Ed and Ed? No, you’ve already tried spending even more, remember?

Anyway, among other things Treasurer Wayne Swan has said he’s done is to achieve a budget which is free of rorts – ‘rort’ being Australian for spunking taxpayers’ money up the wall unnecessarily, generally in such a way as to let a bunch of chancers cash in and run off with most of it. The word may not be familiar to readers in Britain or other parts of the English speaking world but I’m pretty sure the concept will be. The fact that Australians have a special word for it is probably a testament either to their inventiveness when it comes to language or the incompetence of the country’s politicians, perhaps both. The last really big rort was one I blogged on just over a year ago – the home insulation program in which home owners were offered government grants to have roof insulation batts, typically pink for some reason, installed in their lofts. This was such a good example example of government intervention going catastrophically wrong on many levels that you can practically make a politician flinch simply by saying the words “pink batts”.

The government men indeed came to help with ‘handouts’, and when they were finished ‘helping’ cowboy fitters had pockets full of taxpayer’s cash, hundreds of thousands of Australian homes ended up with substandard, badly fitted or simply unneeded loft insulation, more than a hundred houses were damaged by fire, thousands of jobs were put at risk and four deaths had been linked to the programme.
[…]
Under the Home Insulation Program the assistance is paid directly to the insulation installer, on behalf of the Householder, and $1,600 is expected to cover the cost of insulating an average home, so for most people there should be no more to pay.

The first thing that should have been expected from this is that many smaller jobs would now come in at around $1,600 regardless of size. The second is that having created an artificial boom in the supply and fitting of insulation it’s natural that new companies would jump in to try and grab a share of all the taxpayer’s money being hosed around. This is fine if the demand created by a subsidy becomes self sustaining, and I’m sure the wonks in Canberra hoped that this would happen, but if that doesn’t occur by the time a subsidy scheme ends then suddenly, almost overnight really, the market is oversupplied.
[…]
[The third and most serious problem is] that whenever the government gets out its chequebook almost inevitably cowboys and fraudsters are attracted in the hope that the government is too busy giving away taxpayers’ money to look too carefully at the work it was supposed to pay for. Sure enough the Home Insulation Programme, despite supposed safeguards such as a government approved list of companies, saw everything. There was the merely deceitful, such as falsely telling people that insulation batts need to be replaced periodically. There was the fraudulent, such as submitting claims to the government for non-existent work. And there was the downright dangerous: fires blamed on ceiling downlights igniting the insulation and even whole roofs becoming electrified because of badly installed foil insulation.

This was all horrifyingly embarrassing for the government at the time, which despite an election and a change of faces at the top is still more or less the same government we have now, and which is therefore promising that there won’t be anything like that happening with this budget. Oh, no, nothing like that at all. Well… apart from this:

COMMUNICATIONS Minister Stephen Conroy has defended the massive cost of installing television set top boxes in the homes of pensioners.

He admitted it would cost taxpayers $350 per installation and that each box would cost just $50-$60, double the cheapest available in electronics stores.

“We make no apologies for helping pensioners through this difficult transition,” he told Sydney radio 2GB this morning.

Mr Conroy said the whole country would benefit when the analog television spectrum was switched off and sold off.

No, Stephen, the country will be down the $308 million you and Wayne Swan have budgeted, because you can be damned sure that there are people out there planning to grab every last cent. Just think: one in the morning, one in the afternoon, $700 for a day’s work installing – and having been the proud owner of a couple of set top boxes I’d say the word ‘installing’ for sorting out up to six but possibly as few as just one cable and plugging the bloody thing into the main is seriously gilding the lily [corrected thanks to commenter Dave pointing out that lilies do not in fact glide – AE] – two set tops boxes bought by the federal government for twice the going rate. If you can keep that up for 8 months you’re looking at the thick end of a hundred thousand dollars of taxpayers’ hard earned filling up your pockets. It’d be nice for someone to tell me this scenario is way off base but unfortunately we really don’t know because the politicians refuse to tell us the specifics.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s office said yesterday the package cost about $350 per person, but his spokesman declined to provide a breakdown of labour, equipment and administrative costs, saying it was “commercial in confidence”.

However, they are promising that it won’t be pink batts all over again, mainly because the Opposition are saying it will be just like pink batts all over again.

“I will never apologise, never apologise for supporting our pensioners,” he said of the program, to install $30 set top boxes at a cost of $400 each.
[…]
Mr Swan said the scheme had already been rolled out to 38,000 pensioners and was running well.
“There’s a tender process that is gone through. There are accredited people who not only provide the box, but set it up and work with the household to make sure it works,” he said.

Oh, accredited people, the answer to everything. Except of course it’s no answer at all to the question of why it’s necessary for the government to do it at all, let alone spend as much as $400 per person on what would probably come in for well under half that even if people paid someone to install the box and far less if they simply read the instruction book that comes with the box. The way I see it is that it’s not a government function to go buy our electronic goods for us, and if it thinks it can afford to do so then it’s clearly taken more than it needed in taxes and should simply give the money back for people to do with as they will.

However, in fairness to the Labor government I feel I should defend them against the Opposition’s charge that this is just like the pink batts rort because there’s an important difference. It’s not likely that any deaths will end up being blamed on this, not even if the specially accredited installers leave a box turned on to a special 2 hour long edition of Million Dollar Drop.

There is only one appropriate word…

… and it is ‘bastards‘.

Actually, no. The more I think about it the more I can come up with lots of appropriate words.

More joy over one Righteous who repents

Or more accurately recants, and since in this case David Evans is recanting the quasi-religious warble gloaming orthodoxy he himself has helped spread in recent years he’s put himself in the position of an apostate and heretic.

I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic.

The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now outrageously maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.

Yowch. Do go and read the whole thing, and look in the comments for the stock dismissal (by a University of Queensland music lecturer as it happens – related expertise is as always something demanded of only one side) and comments that links provided by sceptical commenters go to shills for Big Carbon. The pachyderm in this particular cubicle is that Evans was until recently the exact opposite: a shill for the chairs, research departments, QUANGOs, government departments, politicians, ‘charities’, campaign groups and, let’s be blunt here, industries that depend on warble gloaming. There’s a metric shit tonne of money involved, about an order of magnitude more than the relative trickle the ecolytes complain Big Carbon give to sceptic researchers, so for some years I’ve been thinking of these vested green interests collectively ‘Big Eco’.* Make no mistake, warble gloaming is a massive, massive business, run in no small part with your money. And David Evans freely admits to having been a part of it.

I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train … was once an alarmist…

And his mini-bio states his Big Eco credentials for the record:

David Evans consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change) from 1999 to 2005, and part-time 2008 to 2010, modelling Australia’s carbon in plants, debris, mulch, soils, and forestry and agricultural products.

And he’s not the only heretic in town. Although he’s still convinced that we’re cooking with greenhouse gas Moonbat has seen the light blue glow of Cherenkov radiation on nuclear power, as have others on both that and killer tomatoes.

The activists now say that by opposing nuclear power they encouraged the use of polluting coal-fired power stations, while by protesting against GM crops they prevented developing countries from benefiting from a technology that could have helped feed the hungry.
Mark Lynas, a campaigner who has been a member of action groups on GM foods and climate change, said the environmental lobby was losing the battle for public opinion on climate change because it had made too many apocalyptic prophecies and exaggerated claims.
He said: “We have got to find a more pragmatic and realistic way of engaging with people.”
Stewart Brand, an American activist and former editor of Whole Earth Catalog, said: “I would like to see an environmental movement that says it turns out our fears about genetically engineered food crops were exaggerated and we are glad about that.”

And Brand’s quote finished with a brutally honest piece of self criticism.

“Environmentalists did harm by being ignorant and ideological and unwilling to change their mind based on actual evidence. As a result we have done harm and I regret it.”

Which is intellectually honest and a position we should respect, but like George Monbiot, and unlike David Evans, many are still unwilling to re-examine their position on warble gloaming. Even their support of nuclear power now is largely because it’s low carbon compared to coal and oil fired generation and, in George’s case, because an earthquake and tsunami hitting a fairly elderly nuclear power station didn’t do anything like the sort of damage he’d feared. It’s fair that they’re questioning some of their cherished beliefs but why not the biggie? Why is carbon dioxide induced catastrophic warble gloaming still sacrosanct for so many people?**

Still, one more of us and one less of them, eh.

H/T Watts Up With That.

* Compared to Big Oil/Carbon the term really ought to be something like Absofuckinglutelyginormous Eco but it doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue.

** Modesty should prevent me from mentioning that I began to question by indoctrinated beliefs in warble gloaming years ago when someone drew my attention to the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period, which had both been strangely overlooked by those that had ‘informed’ my views up to that point. If the case for warble gloaming was so solid, I was asked, why not bring them up and then explain how they fit into the theory? Since I couldn’t offer any answer my belief took a hit, and when they tried to write both the LIA and MWP virtually out of history as local northern/western European phenomena – despite no shortage of evidence that both were global – it was like finding out not only that Santa was really my mum and dad but that they didn’t even dress up. It all fell apart from there on and I’ve questioned ever since, believing little and distrusting much, especially prevailing opinion, until it’s argued to my satisfaction. Think of it like jury service – if the briefs and their expert witnesses can’t boil it down into something a reasonably bright and well educated layman can understand and simply rely on ‘trust us, humanity is guilty, honest’ then we should give them the flick and presume innocence.
Modesty should prevent me mentioning it, but since I just did modesty can go take a running jump.

That white fluffy stuff appearing over your eyes is wool

Still, nice try on the part of George Osbourne.

The Chancellor said he remained focused on reducing the UK’s budget deficit, which stands at about £122bn this year, as he spoke at a meeting of European finance ministers and central bank governors in Hungary.
“I made it clear that unlike the Irish case the UK will not be making a bilateral loan to Portugal. British taxpayers’ money will not be lent directly to Portugal,” he said.

I hope everyone has spotted that the operative word Georgie Boy is using there is ‘directly’. He has to say that because he know sdamn well that he has no ability, none whatsoever, to prevent British taxpayers’ money going to Portugal indirectly as long as the UK hands over £9 billion a year to the European Union, the entity now hosing money at Portugal and whose income of course comes from the taxes of member states’ citizens. £9 bn is about 7 or 8 per cent of your budget deficit there, George, and you’re giving it to people who are in turn going to ‘lend’ about £90 bn to Portugal. Or to look at it another way, the money will go to Portugal over the next three years and Britain’s EU contributions during that time will be getting close to £30 billion, or a third of the value of the loan.

But it’s okay because George says that there will be no direct loan from Britain to Portugal. Any money that comes from the £30 billion that he’ll have taken at gunpoint from British citizens and given to the EU is indirect and somehow doesn’t count. And in a way I suppose it doesn’t since once it’s gone it’s gone and it makes little practical difference where it ends up. Doesn’t help the deficit much, let alone the actual nation debt, but presumably Georgie is hoping to save a few quid by closing some tax avoidance loopholes reducing the number of perfectly legal methods of minimising tax liabilities (with an exception clause for disHonourable Members of Parliament, natch).

New tax year, same old MPs. After Budget promises to tackle tax avoidance, Parliament is passing legislation to block several loopholes – but an obscure clause specifically exempts MPs from these new restrictions.

“HM Revenue & Customs says that this legislation is only there to stop ‘tax avoidance’. However, Section 554E(8) specifically exempts members of the House of Commons and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority from the new legislation in situations where they are actually caught by it.”

Do go read the whole thing, and if you were one of the 25 million or so who voted for the usual suspects last year I hope it’s a wake up call – nothing significant has changed. Oh, about 150 troughers didn’t bother to stand again and a bunch more lost their seats, a few of them are going to prison, Labour has gone into opposition, the Speaker was replaced even before the election, and Britain now has the LibConservial Dimotive Cobbleition running things, but all the same nothing significant has changed. Just look around. The government is still spending money it hasn’t got at an ever accelerating rate (just accelerating less rapidly than under the snot munching madman), it’s still intending to make current and, in the case of the national debt, future tax payers foot the bills, and both it and the political class from which it comes are conspiring to give themselves breaks and advantages so they can continue to avoid the pain they’re going to inflict on the proles. I’m not even going to begin to cover the continuing nannying of almost every fucking thing imaginable or, in contrast to pre-election talk, the decidedly lukewarm attitude to personal liberty. There is, as I’ve said before, not three main parties but one with three wings, and with a few notable exceptions all three wings are composed entirely of cunts who can neither be trusted to look after your businesses, your welfare or your wallet.

So if you voted for the usual mob, especially if you did it to keep one of the ‘other two’ out and even more so if it was something along the lines of your parents always voted that way, I do hope you’re thoroughly fucking proud of yourself now.* This time round you had any number of independents, micro parties, and mini-parties to choose from, UKIP being only the most well known and LPUK being the one that would bring you the most freedom, but 25 million of you still chose to vote for Labour, Conservatives or the inappropriately named Liberal Democrats.*

As the man in the mask put it, if you want to know who to blame you need only look in a mirror. In the meantime if the fact that George Osbourne is removing your opportunity to pay less tax at the same time as handing over more of it to the EU so they can give it to member states whose governments have been even more profligate than any of Britain’s, I can recommend a cast iron strategy for legally avoiding UK tax entirely:

Just get the fuck out of there.

* The same applies if you voted for your parents’ party’s opponents. Fair enough if you were one of the fortunate few with a decent offering from the usual lot, and the same applies if there really wasn’t any decent independent or minor party option and you were left with the choice of the least worst candidate or not voting at all. Personally I’d spoil the ballot paper first but in any case I’m not talking to you but to the vast numbers who voted for similarity in the expectation of change, often for very poor reasons that they really hadn’t thought much about.

Non Sequitur again

If only…

Offered almost without comment

Clicky linkies

The only comment necessary being that for a cartoon Non Sequitur gets damn close to reality, and not for the first time either.

Gravy train derailment – repairs underway

The troughing bastards are still at it, and again we see that there’s little difference between the dishonourable members on one side of the Commons and those on the other.

Richard Benyon is one of the richest MPs in Parliament. The great-great-grandson of three-times Tory Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, he can trace his ancestry back to William Cecil, the chief political adviser to Elizabeth I.
Tory MP Mr Benyon, the Environment and Fisheries Minister, has received income from a family trust which owns a 20,000-acre estate worth £125 million.

Farming Minister Jim Paice has also received several thousands of pounds in EU subsidies for his farm in Cambridgeshire over the same ten-year period.

Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper have been referred to the parliamentary sleaze watchdog after claiming more than £14,000 in travel expenses for their children.
The Shadow Chancellor and his wife, the Shadow Home Secretary, have claimed for 375 journeys for their three children between 2007 and 2010.
MPs are limited to 30 travel-expenses claims per child a year. But because Mr Balls and Miss Cooper are married, they can claim for twice as many free trips for their children as other MPs with young families.
The Labour couple have claimed for 105 more journeys than a family with three children would be permitted if only one parent was an MP.

In the case of the two Tories you’d think that even a whiff of a conflict of interest would have a sensible party leadership making effort to put those people in other jobs. And as for Mr and Mrs Blinky’s claims, why the hell do MPs even get one travel claim per year per child, never mind fucking thirty? Are the children the MPs? No. Do other people get to expense travel for their children? Pretty fucking rarely I imagine.

A spokesman for the couple said they take their children to and fro because obviously neither of them has a wife or husband who can stay behind to look after them.

Look, if arranging the job around your children and vice versa make being an MP difficult – and I’m quite sure it does a lot of the time – then one or both of you probably shouldn’t fucking be one. Well, I’d say both of you for entirely unrelated reasons obviously, but you know what I mean.

He pointed out that the House of Commons paid the equivalent of 22 round trips for the children last year and that, unlike other MPs, they do not claim for spouses travel which other MPs can.

No, because they’re both claiming as MPs. Good one, eh?

Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, the shadow children’s minister, said: ‘The thing I’ve always respected about Ed and Yvette is that while they have been in the public eye they’ve always protected their children and kept them out of politics.
‘So this is a desperate new low from the Tories to try to drag their children into a political fight.
‘Ed and Yvette have to be in Parliament and their constituencies each week and they also take their family responsibilities very seriously.
Who on earth does Mr Bridgen think is supposed to look after their children if they have to leave them behind in London or Yorkshire? He isn’t living in the real world.’

And you are, are you, Sharon? Well… no, actually, because they fucking don’t have to at all, you witless bitch. Neither of them were forced at gunpoint to become MPs in the way British taxpayers are forced at gunpoint to continue to pay for them. Neither have a gun to their heads forcing them to carry on doing it. Either of them could stop at any time. “Taking their family responsibilities seriously” my sweaty arse.

Of course, just like the Tory troughers they’re only taking advantage of what’s on offer and I’m certain that it’s all above board and within the rules. So much fucking easier to do when you help write the fucking rules, isn’t it?

Bastards, the fucking lot of them.

A question

If warning other drivers of speed traps is illegal in Britain, as the recent case in Humberside and this 2004 one in Hampshire show, then why has nobody ever been prosecuted for sticking up a sign like the one on the left? Why has nobody attempted to prosecute the manufacturers of various detectors or GPS based preprogrammed warning devices? And why have neither North Lincolnshire Council nor the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Safer Roads Partnership been prosecuted for publishing the locations where they operate the fucking things? If you’re reading this from either of those areas perhaps you might let the police know that a crime has been committed and cite the precedents, though of course we all know that precisely cube root of fuck all will happen.

Bastards.