politics / Uncategorized

Boris The Red

Forget Brexit – if it ever happens. Boris Johnson’s new ‘Conservative’ government plans to take the UK into a new era of Big Government tax and spend predicated on a new found overarching existential concern for the environment unprecedented in its history. Forget the Industrial Revolution, The Tech Revolution and the Brexit Innovation Free Trade Revolution; forget also the image of shabby little men beavering away at 4D Chess to generate a Utopian Win Win via a complex and bewildering series of Dark Moves cunningly designed to wrongfoot the malign Dark Forces. The Dark Moves are the Dark Forces and they have decided that the future is bleak and austere – and tightly controlled by elitist technocrats unaccountable to the electorate. Deep Green One Nation Toryism is the new Red and Boris is the man who will introduce it to the world at COP 26 (aka ‘The Mad Hatter’s Glasgow Tea Cosy Party’).

Traditional Tories and Tory voters are aghast, but they made it happen. They trusted Boris to ‘Get Brexit Done’ and thence to proceed without further ado to the sunlit uplands of global free trade combined with light touch government regulation sparking innovation and free enterprise – opportunity for all based on traditional conservative free market capitalist principles. How wrong they were. ‘Vote Brexit Party, get Corbyn’, they said. So they voted Conservative and they got Corbyn. Boris the Blond became Boris the Red in just two short months and Brexit is far, far from being ‘done’.

I won’t say I told you so, but I told you so:

Screenshot_2020-02-09 One Last Poisonous Swipe at the UK from a Departing Disloyal and Discredited PM

I’ve never less wanted to be proven correct, but he’s shaping up to my worst fears, and even exceeding them. Go aheads for Huawei, probably HS2, bringing forward a ban on petrol and diesel cars to 2035 ‘or sooner if feasible’, doubling offshore wind capacity, quite likely giving in to EU demands to fish UK territorial waters, barmy climate assemblies, taxi services for Calais illegal immigrants, a White Paper on banning gas central heating from homes, now mooted tax raids on pensions and expensive home owners. I guess he’s going to have to find the money from somewhere to fund the possible £12 trillion cost of #netzero which will ‘save the planet’ by reducing global mean surface temperature by 0.014C. Former Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell warns that Boris will ‘compromise’ on hardline EU demands for a trade deal, rather than go to WTO in Dec 2020. I’m inclined to believe him. This means the UK will probably be closely aligned with EU law – including on the environment and climate change. It means a far-reaching trade agreement with Trump’s US looks increasingly uncertain – especially after Boris royally pissed off The Donald by agreeing to let Huawei build UK 5G infrastructure.

Dark days for Britain. Five years of this crap and the country may well be done for, with only the prospect of an even more extreme Marxist Labour government who are publicy declaring that they will steal private property if it is not used to house people (illegal immigrants most likely). Even the normally upbeat Dellers is pessimistic:

Ben is even more gloomy:

 

96 thoughts on “Boris The Red

  1. I was horrified to read that Boris said – ‘We’ve put so much CO2 in the atmosphere collectively that the entire planet is swaddled in a tea cosy of the stuff’ what sort of critical reasoning is this? He is more likely trying to pull a tea cosy over our eyes so that we can be blindly led on. My friend is exchanging on a brand new house next Friday – with gas central heating and cooking? Should they start now to plan to rip it all out?

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  2. I don’t think the utter pessimism is justified. I can’t believe otherwise than that we will turn around at some point – the question is how far into the mire are we going *before* we turn back for dry land?

    Some unpleasant things are going to happen, but it won’t reach the catastrophe that Ben predicts. The threat exists on the horizon, and it seems we are careering towards it with no brakes. But nothing irreversible has happened yet, and on the other side nothing has bitten the public deeply. Public opinion can swing as fast as a weather vane, and it surely will before we end up back in the Stone Age.

    At the moment the measures we know are unnecessary are of two kinds: announcements of future changes (without mention of the pain they will bring) and relatively minor changes already enacted whose costs are well distributed and well hidden. As long as increases in utility bills can be blamed on fuel costs, even if the blame lies elsewhere, the true cost of these policies is still small enough to sneak in under the radar. But that cannot continue if what has been announced comes to pass.

    There will inevitably be a crunch. Some politician will ride the wave of a new populist cause, and when opinion turns against it, all the green blather and bluster will be chaff in the wind.

    I hope.

    But, as noted, I do not know just how far into the mire we will be dragged before the tide turns (to mangle a metaphor).

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  3. I’m in a fairly optimistic mood and inclined to agree with Jit – the “netzero” fantasy requires 2 + 2 = 22 and at some point they will be up against not only public opinion but implacable physical reality, where the sheer impossibility of doing away with all fossil-fuelled transport, heating, cooking and electricity generation by an arbitrary near-future date will surely become plain to most people.

    But I also share Jaime’s and Ben’s frustration, remembering the General Election of 2010 when we could choose Cameron, Miliband or Clegg – all peas from the same green pod. Hobson’s Choice!

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  4. ‘Public opinion can swing as fast as a weather vane…’

    Yes, but it needs a political means of expression to make its potency useful. As Jaime points out, all the parties except BP support policies to appease apocalypse (and which completely contradict mainstream science in the process), and BP are not in power plus by nature of their cause really a one-issue outfit. Perhaps the GWPF should found a political wing, an anti-green-apocalypse popular pressure party. It is quite amazing that in the current bidding war to appease anti-science apocalypse, the conservatives are the *lowest* bidders.

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  5. If it’s any comfort Jaime, Boris Johnson did get 0% on the Guardian’s “climate score” in October 2019. The climate score is some measure that the Guardian, in conjunction with “the investigative environmental journalism group DeSmog UK”, has devised to work out how interested an individual MP is in taking climate action.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/11/tory-mps-five-times-more-likely-to-vote-against-climate-action

    The average score for the Conservative government cabinet was 17% and the Labour shadow cabinet 90%. The third biggest party in the House of Commons, the SNP, got a score of 100% for all its MPs.

    Boris got a score of 0% along with a couple of dozen other Conservative MPs. His predecessor Theresa May, who came up with the weird idea of the UK applying to host COP 26 (I don’t think even Tony Blair, probably the biggest climate grandstander out of all UK prime ministers, applied to have the UK hold a COP conference), got 33%. Michael Gove got 27%. Claire Perry, the recently sacked head of COP 26, had a score of 10%. Zac Goldsmith got the highest score for any Conservative MP, 67%.

    Graham Stringer, who is connected with the GWPF, got a surprisingly high score of 57%, though 57% was very low compared with the rest of the Labour party.

    Some people seem to think the DUP is a climate change sceptic party, but the average score for its MPs was 62%. The MP probably responsible for the DUP’s climate sceptic image, Sammy Wilson, got 0%.

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  6. Ouch. From slavery to the EU to domestic green tyranny in a few short steps. The corruption of the public square on steroids.

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  7. I can’t share Alex and Jit’s optimism. I just don’t see that this will just fizzle out when it becomes obvious that it’s not working. By then, the damage will have been done. Indeed, the damage is being done right now. Businesses are already having to factor in the preparations for a ban on ICE vehicles, the effects of which will start to bite in probably 8 years or less. Hybrid makers and owners have been slapped in the face. The turbines will be built and operative in less than a decade. Bills will start to spiral. Depending on the White Paper, if gas central heating systems are going to banned in all homes by 2050 or sooner, who is going to want to fit one now? Some guy was complaining about a 17% carbon tax on his newly installed gas central heating system. I don’t know if that’s correct or not, but I imagine very soon the government will try to disincentivize the fitting of gas boiler and cookers. The longer this insanity is allowed to fester, the greater and the more irreversible will be the damage done.

    Andy points out that there is no viable political opposition to this Green madness – all politicians are invested in it (many literally, as well as ideologically). The UK desperately needs an effective political opposition to the Green blob. I don’t personally think the Brexit Party (or the Reform Party) will be that opposition. We need new blood, a fresh start with new ideas. However, it might be irrelevant if Boris signs up to a future relationship which obliges the UK to adopt EU rules on the environment and climate, with ECJ oversight.

    Dave, the Guardian hates Boris. Realistically, they were always going to award him nil points on climate. That’s probably partly why the Mad Hatter is determined to prove them wrong.

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  8. There is, I believe, an alternative to the collective madness that is British politics just now:

    https://sdp.org.uk/

    Unfortunately they’re far from perfect, and I have serious doubts about the people in charge, but on balance I’d say they’re closer to my current political opinions than any other party.

    Unfortunately, they also lack funds, candidates, members, or any MSM interest at all.

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  9. The SDP, I think, pays lip service to the “green” ideology:

    “ENVIRONMENT
    The ecological and demographic challenges of the 21st century require international coordination… We believe the UK must lead by example in being at the forefront of global action to combat climate change and pollution from plastics and other sources. Government must incentivise business to develop new environmentally friendly technologies.

    POLICY PLEDGES:
    The SDP is internationalist and will honour and comply with our global environmental obligations.
    Direct incentives shall be introduced to encourage a switch to environmentally friendly products.
    We shall develop and strengthen existing government plans to make the UK a global leader in carbon capture and storage.
    We shall mandate energy efficiency into the planning and building regulations system.
    Best practice in the food packaging and food retail industries will be mandated by law to reduce plastics pollution.
    A 25p charge will be levied on disposable cups, refundable on return to a recycling bin and mandate that all cups returned to such bins must be recycled.
    Financial incentives will be provided to farmers, local authorities and other landowners to encourage UK tree planting and afforestation.”

    https://sdp.org.uk/policies/environment/

    “ENERGY & UTILITIES
    The correct frontier between the public and private sector is determinable. Natural monopolies – the utilities requiring universal delivery to citizens – should be returned to public ownership and operation or be subjected to significantly more effective regulation. An optimal Social Market frontier must be restored and respected.

    POLICY PLEDGES:
    Utilities such as Energy and Water sit uncomfortably in the private sector. As strategic national assets they will be subject to tougher and tighter regulation in order to benefit the consumer.
    Energy policy will be based on a diverse energy mix. Nuclear and Gas power stations will carry the prime energy load but renewables will assume an increasing contribution in future years.
    Tax and other incentives will be maintained as a means of achieving investment in new energy technologies.”

    https://sdp.org.uk/policies/energy-utilities/

    That’s about as watered-down a version of the green mantra as I’ve seen from any political party in recent years.

    NB Disclaimer. I am not an SDP member, nor do I have any connection to the SDP (I was a member of the SDP 35 years ago before becoming a Labour Party member – which I am no longer)

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  10. Two newspaper articles today seem to offer conflicting views, though unfortunately both are paywalled.

    Dominic Lawson says it’s easier to talk about doing these things than to actually do them and suggests the public won’t accept it

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/talking-green-is-easy-its-being-green-thats-hard-bmjp0q56w

    On the other hand the Telegraph says the Government really are preparing a white paper on legislation to ban gas boilers

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/02/08/homeowners-could-forced-replace-gas-boilers-ensure-uk-meets/

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  11. MARK HODGSON
    In an interview Rod Liddle admitted to being a supporter of the SDP. Can’t remember where, but it was a video where Rod also said that, in matters of Social Justice Warriorship, he thought we’d “reached Peak Wank.”

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  12. Former Chancellor Philip Hammond had said the new target would cost a modest 1Trillion GBP.

    A Parliamentary Committee (BEIS) challenged the Treasury findings after advice from “experts:”
    https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/business-energy-industrial-strategy/news-parliament-2017/climate-change-net-zero-17-19/ 27th June 2019

    Their experts included Gail Bradbrook, Extinction Rebellion, Isabella O’Dowd, Climate and Energy “Specialist” from WWF, and Baroness Bryony Worthington, Environmental Defense Fund. EDF’s global boss is on the Grantham Advisory Board and the Climate Change Committee.

    “The BEIS Committee recently joined with five other select committees of the House of Commons (Environmental Audit; Housing, Communities and Local Government; Science and Technology; Transport; and Treasury) to announce plans to hold a Citizens’ Assembly on combatting climate change and achieving the pathway to net zero carbon emissions.”

    Then we have the outside influences: Mrs Mark Carney to Labour’s IPPR:
    https://shellfoundation.org/trustees/diana-fox-carney/
    Diana Fox Carney joined Shell Foundation’s Board of Trustees in June 2017.

    More recently Diana worked as Director of Strategy and Head of Climate and Energy at the Institute for Public Policy Research and is now Executive Director, Content and Operations at Pi Capital, a unique convening organisation in London. As part of a diverse portfolio she supports various green economy initiatives and sits on WWF UK’s Council of Ambassadors.

    https://www.ippr.org/about/how-we-are-funded
    https://www.ippr.org/event/ippr-at-party-conferences-2019

    Decarbonising the Economy and Delivering a Green Industrial Revolution
    Hosted by the IPPR Environmental Justice Commission and HSBC

    Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, Chair of IPPR’s Environmental Justice Commission
    Barry Gardiner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade
    Nick Robins, Professor in Practice for Sustainable Finance, Grantham Research Institute, LSE
    Angela Francis, Chief Economic Advisor, WWF
    Rebecca Self, Chief Financial Officer – Sustainable Finance, HSBC

    Decarbonising the Economy and Delivering Net Zero
    Hosted by the IPPR Environmental Justice Commission

    Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth
    Lord Duncan of Springbank, Minister for Climate Change
    Laura Sandys, Former Conservative party MP and Chair of the BEIS/Ofgem Energy System Data Taskforce
    Isabella Gornall, Managing Director, Seahorse Environmental Communications
    Sam Hall, Director, Conservative Environment Network

    Chair: Luke Murphy, Head of the Environmental Justice Commission and Associate Director for the Energy, Climate, Housing and Infrastructure Team, IPPR

    IPPR and the Labour Party – Charity Commission Investigation

    Click to access ocr_institute_for_public_policy_research.pdf

    IPPR and Environmental Justice
    https://www.ippr.org/environment-and-justice/commissioners/

    Ed Miliband, Labour party MP for Doncaster North (Co-chair)
    Caroline Lucas, Green party MP for Brighton Pavilion (Co-chair)
    Laura Sandys, Former Conservative party MP and Chair of the BEIS/Ofgem Energy System Data Taskforce
    Farhana Yamin, Associate Fellow at Chatham House, founder Track 0 and Extinction Rebellion activist
    Anna Taylor
    Student climate striker and activist
    Fatima Zahra-Ibrahim
    Campaigner and climate activist

    Dr Emily Shuckburgh
    Director of Research on Carbon Neutrality and head of the Environmental Data Science group at the University of Cambridge. She is co-author with HRH The Prince of Wales and Tony Juniper of the Ladybird Book on Climate Change.

    Kate Raworth
    Senior Visiting Research Associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute and senior associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.Creator of the Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries.

    Doughnut Economics has been widely influential amongst sustainable development thinkers, progressive businesses and political activists, and she has presented it to audiences ranging from the UN General Assembly to the Occupy movement. Co-authoring the Human Development Report for UNDP in New York, followed by a decade as Senior Researcher at Oxfam.

    She is a member of the Club of Rome and serves on several advisory boards, including the Stockholm School of Economics’ Global Challenges Programme, the University of Surrey’s Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity, and Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute.

    Government policy is now determined by NGO’s, who have representation in just about every government department. Science is policy driven rather than the other way round.

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  13. Correction: EDF boss is not on the CCC, but Grantham has been represented on it from the outset.

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  14. Thanks Paul for the reminder of the Dominic Lawson piece. It’s very good (in my biased view) and it doesn’t try to predict how things will work out. Here’s the ending:

    The government’s own “decision signals” need a bit of help from someone of Professor Parker’s logical practicality. Admittedly, “longer timescales” mean its latest announcement will cause it no political problems in the short term. Indeed, it was designed to meet the immediate need to burnish its climate change credentials on the day Boris Johnson appeared on a platform with Sir David Attenborough. It worked: the grand old man declared himself impressed.

    When the public wake up to what is going to happen to them, they may be less enthusiastic.

    Lawson quotes from Rachel Wolf, co-author of the party’s 2019 manifesto, in ConservativeHome the other day and from Professor Richard Herrington on the extraordinary need we would have for rare metals to make good all EVs by 2035: “almost twice the world’s current yearly supply of cobalt” etc. What’s that going to do with the price paid? But the key thing here is “[the government’s] latest announcement will cause it no political problems in the short term”. It’s not what some of us would want the 80 seat majority to be used for. But I think the cynicism is all about the primacy of getting out of the EU in a meaningful way on 31st December. I read the other day that the ever-closer-union outfit wants regular reports from the UK on our climate mitigation progress (so-called). The government don’t want the hassle in this area this year. I think that’s more potent that the views of the PM’s girlfriend. But, like us all, I don’t know. Too early to say.

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  15. Why the surprise?
    How many sceptical MPs are there?
    The Climate Change Act should have been a warning, with less than a handful voting against. Politically the UK is solidly alarmist and with most sectors of society pushing the boat or cheerleading.
    Yes, when the British population begin to experience the real impact of the changes made in climate’s name there might well be resistance, but the UK government will already have lessons learnt from France’s experience with the Mouvement des gilets jaunes. All those promised new policemen will come in useful, and there will be regrets about lost opportunities re water canons.

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  16. I think I’m in Jaime’s camp on this one – Boris is off to a terrible start. However, I’m reserving meaningful early judgement until after the budget, when I think the tone of his Government and the next 5 years (unless he’s blown off course by popular outrage) should become clearer.

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  17. Alan rightly points out the Climate Change Act 2008 which legally obliges the UK to act on climate change. Theresa May altered this Act using a statutory instrument right at the end of her miserable, failed premiership, obliging the UK to meet the far more stringent target of net zero emission by 2050. Every single MP in the house voted for it. Parliament is entirely submerged beneath a blanket Green Spell and that has not changed. It is UK law that the country reaches net zero by 2050. Until that law is changed, politicians will – flailingly, stupidly, ineffectively, damagingly – implement, or at least try to implement insanely expensive, impractical policies to get there. Hence the petrol and diesel car ban, hence the White Paper which will introduce a timetable to decarbonise domestic heating in the next decade, not by 2050. They will not stop, they will keep going, like mindless, driven automatons until the fast moving gravy train of aspiration (making millionaires of Green investors and providing very lucrative incomes for Green ideologues engineering a national fantasy along the way) smashes headlong into the buffers of achievement. By then the damage will be immense.

    I predict the White Paper will go for the easy meat first and ban the installation of all gas central heating in new developments almost immediately. It will then set a fudge target of removing all natural gas heating systems from homes by 2030 (or maybe 2035), replacing some with hydrogen gas boliers using the existing gas network and taking others offline and installing electric heat pumps and ‘heating networks’. Quite when aspiration comes up against the hard wall of achievement and politicians realise that they’re not going to be able to implement their insane scheme, I really don’t know, but they will push hard for the five years of Mad Boris’s tenure at No.10 I’m sure.

    In Conservative Woman today:

    THE Sunday Telegraph reports that climate change minister Lord Duncan of Springbank is contemplating banning gas central heating to ensure that the UK meets its 2050 zero carbon target. This ill-considered announcement is utter drivel, which is becoming a characteristic of both BoJo’s government and the climate change/zero carbon debate.

    Of the 1,700 Terawatt hours (TWh) of energy consumed by the UK, 600 TWh was provided by natural gas for heating. That’s both domestic and industrial. (Another 273 TWh of gas was used to generate electricity, but that’s not relevant here.)

    There are 22million houses on mains gas, some 80 per cent of UK homes. If their gas is to be replaced by electricity it may well involve upgrading the entire low voltage distribution for the street – more so if electric battery cars become the norm.

    Delivering that by 2050 means converting 730,000 houses per year, which is 3,000 per working day or 375 per working hour for the next 30 years. As yet there is simply not the capacity to deliver that. And it doesn’t sound cheap – it’s an additional cost to producing the electricity.

    By comparison the total amount of electricity produced in the UK in 2018 was 330 TWh, of which half came from fossil fuels. Which raises the questions of where the additional electricity needed if gas is central heating is banned is to come from, and how it is to get from the power station (or wind/solar farm) to the user.

    Meanwhile, I’m sat here listening to the radio and an advert by British Gas – a huge national concern with a multi-million pound turnover – saying they’re offering financial incentives to people to replace their old (natural gas) boilers with new (natural gas) boilers! Work that one out if you can.

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  18. from the now departed Claire Perry-O’Neil, in 2019:
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-climate-change-eu-global-warming-uk-g20-a8954316.html

    “By 2050 the UK will have ended its contribution to climate change completely. Read that back. It’s an almost unbelievable sentence to write [indeed] and encapsulates one of the most ambitious and significant climate targets set by any major economy in the world.”

    Reaching a net-zero target will be felt across the economy: how we work, play, and travel. Net zero means the UK will need to slash emissions from all sectors, it will transform [kill] old industries and build new ones. Any emissions not eliminated will need to be offset with schemes to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, such as by planting trees, restoring wetlands or introducing cost-effective carbon capture technologies.”

    Guess who is an “International advisor” to the Global CCS Institute:
    https://www.globalccsinstitute.com/about/international-advisor/
    “Lord Nicholas Stern is a renowned academic and former World Bank Chief Economist, as Special Adviser to the Chairman on Economic Development and Climate Change.”

    Meanwhile, don’t build renewables if you can’t deliver what they produce:
    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/better-distribution-may-ease-power-sector-woes-etilc/articleshow/73649571.cms

    “The climate change conundrum is keeping India to her promise, to maintain energy efficiency by using smart technology that minimises energy wastage, and has a low carbon footprint. And ensure security of energy supplies by transiting to clean fuels like solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, and bio fuels.

    Perhaps, the country went too fast ahead in implementing its ambitious programme to create enormous capacities in renewable energy generation. It may have been worthwhile to simultaneously check the failing health of its power distribution network.

    But power generation sans a mechanism to reach energy to end consumers, does not turn an economy. In the backdrop of bleak economic conditions, energy demand in the country has fallen for the fourth straight month.

    The new and expanded capacities continue to lie idle.”

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  19. Boris is almost certainly going to give the go ahead for HS2. Another catastrophically bad decision which will see billions of public money squandered on a vanity project, public money indeed embezzled by corrupt contractors exploiting a weak governance structure at HS2 which will see costs further spiral out of control. I’m beginning to think that Boris, like most British politicians, hasn’t got an effing clue how to run a major independent country, so long have they been reliant upon Brussels to make the decisions.

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  20. How’s it going in Germany?

    German Failure on the Road to a Renewable Future

    In 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the country was turning away from nuclear energy in favor of a renewable future. Since then, however, progress has been limited. Berlin has wasted billions of euros and resistance is mounting.

    Analysts from McKinsey have been following the Energiewende since 2012, and their latest report is damning. Germany, it says, “is far from meeting the targets it set for itself.”

    Germany’s Federal Court of Auditors is even more forthright about the failures. The shift to renewables, the federal auditors say, has cost at least 160 billion euros in the last five years. Meanwhile, the expenditures “are in extreme disproportion to the results,” Federal Court of Auditors President Kay Scheller said last fall, although his assessment went largely unheard in the political arena.

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  21. If they changed HS2 to NS2 (Normal Speed), it would cost a lot less and still create the extra capacity needed for both passengers and freight. Journey times are not the problem.

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  22. Delingpole is on fire:

    Vote Boris, Get Jeremy Corbyn.

    If only the Conservatives had made this a bit clearer during the general election we would all have had a much better idea what to do: sell the house, quit the job and move to another country because, clearly, Britain has no great post-Brexit future after all.

    I can’t believe I’m having to write Britain’s epitaph so soon after the joy and jubilation of Brexit Day but look at what Boris Johnson’s ‘Conservatives’ are offering a bemused nation:

    Higher taxes (Mansion tax, pensions raids, etc)

    An explosion of grand, unaffordable, and pointless infrastructure projects

    A war on motorists

    No more cooking or heating with gas

    Elevation to the House of Lords for MPs who opposed Brexit

    More green levies and regulations

    How is any of this nonsense materially different from the ‘fully automated luxury communism’ Britain would have experienced under Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour?

    I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say that Boris Johnson’s Tories are the most extreme left-wing Conservative administration in the party’s history. Under cover of Brexit and in the guise of reaching out to all those working classes voters in the Midlands and the North, the Conservatives are rolling out radical measures so aggressively Socialistic that it makes Tony Blair’s benighted era look like Margaret Thatcher’s heyday.

    On HS2:

    He should be looking at HS2 and going: “I would rather take an eternal vow of chastity than ever associate myself with that crappy idea dreamed up chancer George Osborne and bat-shit crazy fruit loop Andrew Adonis, one that has failed every conceivable cost-benefit analysis.”

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  23. Jaime,

    As if that isn’t enough, there’s also this:

    “‘Save the union’? Boris Johnson REALLY wants to build a billions-worth bridge to N. Ireland as critics scold ‘vanity project’”

    https://www.rt.com/uk/480519-boris-bridge-scotland-ireland/

    “Boris Johnson is close to green-lighting the start of building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland at a cost of £20bn, prompting accusations that the project is the UK PM’s desperate attempt to save the union.
    The hugely expensive project that has been described by one former offshore engineer from Edinburgh — James Duncan — as “about as feasible as building a bridge to the moon,” looks set to be given the all clear to begin work.”

    OK, that’s from Russia Today, but I do fear there might be something in it. Where’s Dominic Cummings when you need him?

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  24. Anybody been on that bit of the backend of nowhere where the Scotland /N.I. bridge will be built? It’s wet, green, rolling and featureless, so that for a hundred miles you feel you’re already on the ferry to Larne. Maybe it’s Boris’s subtle plan to get the Scots to vote for independence. Then cut VAT and all Scotland will be coming to Berwick on Tweed for their shopping.

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  25. @ Paul

    A referendum (as advocated by Madeline) would be a good shout and a certain win for the sceptics, so long as our side was given a fair shake. She suggests replacing NI with a carbon tax – I think fairer would be a carbon ration book which would turn all the green slebs into sceptics overnight, leading to cancellation of the entire thing. (Or if it was transferable they could buy flights off, e.g., homeless people, which would have a certain charm.)

    ?British Referendum On Net Zero? BRONZe. Done and won, normal boring life resumed.

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  26. From this outfit:

    WHO WE ARE

    We write news that exposes the deception of populism and the hypocrisy of the elites who peddle it. We run campaigns that allow us to work together to fight back.

    We hate Brexit. We hate Boris. We hate the far-right. We want climate action, the end of austerity, and a pro-European future.

    there’s a not-entirely-positive report on Michael Gove’s speech on COP26 yesterday:

    Michael Gove was heckled at a climate change conference earlier today, after the de facto deputy prime minister was stumped by an embarrassingly simple question.

    Gove was delivering the keynote speech at an event hosted by the Green Alliance – discussing the government’s ambitions for when it hosts the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) later this year.

    However, when asked by The Times’ Ben Webster to define a successful outcome for the conference, Gove temporarily lost his ability to speak.

    “Erm, my definition would be a… erm… recognition… erm… that action to… erm… to deal with a warming earth is erm… [long silence].”

    A heckler on the front row then decided to help Gove out – suggesting that the former Environment Secretary didn’t know what he was talking about and should probably be quiet.

    Stoically persisting, Gove rephrased, saying his definition of success would be, “That acceptance of the need to act leads to action which is irreversible, accelerating and inclusive.”

    Whatever the f*ck that means.

    Gove looks like he’s got the poisoned chalice of heading up the international shindig after David Cameron gave the opportunity the widest possible berth. The FT’s ExCel London sounded out as alternative climate talks venue and the Guardian’s Climate activists must play leading role in COP26 talks, says Sturgeon are also worth a look. Just what the new UK government really needed weeks before our still-to-be-negotiated-FTA based escape from the EU’s clutches after 47 years.

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  27. From recent activities and inactivities it probably should be Boris the Variegated.

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  28. RICHARD DRAKE
    Gove may have stumbled and hesitated, but his three-adjective reply seems a good indication of where we’re heading:

    irreversible means that future governments won’t be able to change decisions made so far (how does that work in a democracy?)

    accelerating means that whatever decisions are made now, more extreme ones will be made in the future

    and inclusive means that China’s got to make them too. (If not, what are we going to do? Annex Hong Kong? Burn the Summer Palace again?)

    Like

  29. One brave MP is speaking out about “ultra-green nonsense” and has got herself into DEFRA:

    https://order-order.com/2020/02/10/tory-mps-anti-left-wing-ultra-green-nonsense-committee-campaign/

    And the Environmental Audit Committee

    Like

  30. It’s already accelerating. Now Shapps is talking about banning petrol and diesel cars in just 12 years. Also, talking of Gove, this is what he said in the Telegraph yesterday:

    “The UK has a moral responsibility to lead here, as the first country in the world to industrialise,” he said at the event organised by the Green Alliance. “The country that pioneered the Industrial Revolution – and therefore played the biggest role in powering the change in our climate that hydrocarbon extraction and burning has generated – has a responsibility to lead a green revolution as well, to show that we understand our responsibility, our debt to the planet and our debt to the rest of the world.”

    Get that? because the UK started the evil Industrial Revolution which has lifted billions out of extreme poverty, saved millions of lives, and improved living standards vastly for half of the globe, it is the UK’s ‘moral responsibility’ to eviscerate itself by going to net zero in 2050, reversing centuries of progress to impose Medieval style austerity upon its populace. This shall be the UK’s punishment for releasing the evil CO2 belching Thermageddon monster upon the world.

    The message is clear. This government is intent upon destroying UK prosperity and immiserating its people, using as the excuse for doing so some nebulous concept of ‘climate justice’ linked to our colonialist, industrial history. You can’t get much more left wing ideologue than that. They mean us real harm. I think it is time we understood that. The EU is signaling very clearly that it means to punish the UK to the fullest possible extent. There is no pretence now. The only question which remains is how does a government which is already intent upon destroying the UK respond to a belligerent foreign power which wants to destroy the UK, using the terms of a WA treaty which the UK signed up to (thanks Boris)?

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I am now completely confused. During the Brexit wars (still unresolved) I either got beat-up, trampled upon or had to keep my powder dry here and over at Bishop Hill. But now my anti-heros of that campaign are coming under repeated attack from these two great bastions of climate (and other) rectitude. Only Trump (the immaculate) seems immune, but Bojo, Cummings, Govee and many others are seemingly now tainted swamp dwellers in hoc to Greenery. What is an innocent to believe now?

    Like

  32. Geoff: Gove’s inclusion of inclusive is his get-out, obviously. China, India et al will be to blame for lack of success as he’s chosen to define it. Except it won’t be put quite as bluntly as that.

    Alan: There was the appearance of winning with Brexit. There is the strong appearance of losing against climate extremism. Although I was very glad about the vote in June 2016 and grateful to those at the heart of Vote Leave, I’ve not been into any kind of triumphalism since:

    This year I’m sure the priority for the government is making the best possible fist of the trade negotiations for Brexit. I’m assuming the Telegraph is right in its predictions here for the reshuffle:

    Michael Gove, the Chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster, is tipped to be given overall control of the talks about a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union at a beefed-up Cabinet Office.

    Jake Berry, the Northern Powerhouse minister could be given a full time Cabinet position, while Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park will be given a role at the COP26 United Nations Climate Change conference in November reporting to Mr Gove.

    The main responsibility for the ‘details men’ that we are told Boris isn’t (and I believe them) is the trade deal with the EU. The fact it’s our turn to host COP26 must be seen as a pain in the butt.

    Jaime: The Industrial Revolution segment needs to be argued through vigorously. It all depends of course what the data really says about the dangers of increased CO2 in the atmosphere (and how much our emissions are contributing to that increase, and strangely enough, Richard Betts has been bigging up the uncertainties there). That part is hard. I say to all UK and western policy wonks to follow Ross McKitrick’s advice:

    “Start learning the deep details of the science and economics instead of letting extremists dictate what you’re allowed to think or say.” Yep.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Alan,

    I certainly never endorsed Bojo, Gove or Cummings re. their stance on Brexit. I’ve consistently mistrusted the Tories to deliver on anything. I still don’t trust Boris to deliver a meaningful Brexit, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Boris and Gove were always part of the swamp as far as I was concerned. Can’t speak for others.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Jaime: All I’d add is that at the last election they were better than the alternative. Climate and Brexit didn’t even make it onto my top two issues on that though:

    Other people’s mileage will vary, in every single dimension of policy. Pity about HS2 but it wasn’t in my top five. Ideal world not.

    Like

  35. Richard, they were perceived to be better than the alternative at the last election, that’s for sure. The way things are going, there does not appear to be much dfference at all between Labour and Conservative now – both big government, interventionist, left wing, ideologically Green, censorious, high tax, pro immigration etc. The latest wheeze is censorship of free speech on the internet via an unelected and unaccountable Quango – Ofcom.

    https://order-order.com/2020/02/12/government-proposes-censorious-online-speech-regime-western-world/

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I still perceive them to be better because, on both of my top two issues of 12th December, I think the Tories are still well out in front. For example, the Labour MP chosen to be on Politics Live today was ferociously awful in shouting down a very sensible Oxford historian who happens to be a woman.

    That is an interesting Twitter thread in response. And I don’t think Labour has done much of substance on the anti-semitism front either.

    Others will, of course, have a different top two, or top five, or whatever, and come to different conclusions as of February 2020. On climate I still think we won’t really know until after a trade deal (or other worse deal) is done with the EU. Grant Shapps has moved the goalposts towards 2024 but not within the current parliament. It’s all hogwash until it really bites ordinary UK voters.

    Like

  37. On cumulative emissions guilt (if indeed guilt should be felt) it’s worth pointing out that the UK is reckoned by many to be 5th in the league table, and we’re likely to drop down the table as the years roll by. For instance:

    https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/4/24/18512804/climate-change-united-states-china-emissions

    “Animation: The countries with the largest cumulative CO2 emissions since 1750

    Ranking as of the start of 2019:

    1) US – 397GtCO2
    2) CN – 214Gt
    3) fmr USSR – 180
    4) DE – 90
    5) UK – 77
    6) JP – 58
    7) IN – 51
    8) FR – 37
    9) CA – 32
    10) PL – 27”

    Finding exactly where the UK’s “guilt” lies in the table isn’t always easy, as many websites insist on treating the EU 28 (as it was until very recently) as a single entity. And that’s more than a little silly, given that the EU 27 or 28 certainly don’t act as a single entity when it comes to burning coal, for instance.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. The ‘consensus’ on HS2 is bound to be affected by the massive engineering subcontracts that are in the offing. And Net Zero 2050 is far, far bigger – so generates much greater incentives for engineers who are not retired to stay mum on the infeasibility. Michael Kelly has of course just retired (from academia) and mentioned this factor in his short talk at the GWPF ten year anniversary meeting before Christmas.

    Like

  39. The BBC reshuffle live feed on the surprise resignation of Sajid Javid:

    Tim Shipman, political editor for the Sunday Times, says: “This all goes back to a desire for Number 10 to control things and it goes back to wanting loyalty.”

    He says that for Boris Johnson during the Conservative Party leadership campaign, his “most important endorsement” was when “three of the bright young stars of the party” decided to go and back him – Rishi Sunak, Robert Jenrick and Oliver Dowden.

    “Those guys got behind Boris Johnson and now they are getting their reward.”

    Sajid Javid and the PM’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings “have been daggers drawn for months”, he adds.

    They disagreed during the general election campaign about what the spending rules should be, he says.

    And, he says he was told that when Mr Javid believed the election was not going to result in a big Tory majority, the former chancellor was phoning his colleagues saying Mr Cummings needed to go. But Mr Javid has denied this.

    “But people around Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings included, believes Javid was trying to get him fired.”

    On the hiring of Mr Sunak, he says: “The speed with which Sunak was appointed means that this was precisely the plan they had.

    “Sunak won’t be a yes man but he’s certainly someone who’s more closely on the same page as this regime.”

    Shipman also said (I stumbled on this live) that Cummings was against the HS2 and Huawei decisions so he is far from all-powerful. But on the first day of Boris’s premiership, having masterminded the big majority, he got commitment from the PM that he would be in total charge of all special advisers in the government. That led to today’s actions.

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  40. George Eustice, the new Environment Secretary, said in May 2013 that “climate sceptics should be heard”. But that report in the Western Morning News is hard to reach right now – the whole site seems to be down. Consensus messaging must be imposed I guess. 🙂

    Like

  41. Is Boris now behaving like the UK’s version of Trump, or is this all part of a clever plan to ensure that we will see action this day, and that nothing will be allowed to get in the way of his agenda (whatever that is)? I just don’t know.

    I suspect this will give him a year or two to do whatever he wants, but that he’s just stored up a lot of discontent that will cause him problems 3 or 4 years down the line (or at the first sign of weakness, if sooner).

    I strongly believe that we need a strong Labour Party now to offer up some effective opposition. Unfortunately, I fear that the Labour Party is not about to sort itself out any time soon, and in any event, even if/when it does get its act together, that act will still not be one which will appeal to its former supporters who deserted it in droves at the last general election.

    Interesting times, if nothing else.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I’m starting to give up on trying to second-guess what Boris is up to. He’s all over the shop, but actions to date don’t inspire much confidence to put it mildly. I think I shall just assume he is mad, bad and dangerous until he pulls a white rabbit out of the hat (or a huge North sea cod caught by a Danish super trawler which he wallops us all in the face with). We won’t have long to wait to see how he is going to respond to the EU’s outrageous demands but my feeling is that he will not walk away under any circumstances, meaning the transition will probably be extended.

    Labour are in full on self destruct mode. There is no effective opposition to the Tories, which is worrying.

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  43. @ Jaime

    In the 80s there was a giant cod called Boris who lived at the fish labs in Lowestoft. I assume it died, or was made into fillets. Meanwhile the larger cod in the North Sea are not so large as they used to be. Fishing cuts off the top of the size pyramid. It also makes fish mature faster and smaller via selection pressure.

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  44. Jit. My Cod n’chips (every Friday) has definitely got smaller over the years. Selection Pressure you think? Shirley it’s Global Warming?

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  45. Mark:

    I suspect this will give him a year or two to do whatever he wants …

    I’m sure that’s right and with extremely tricky negotiations with the EU ahead (I half agree with Jaime and half agree with Richard North on that, which may mean my coherent opinions are in fact an empty set!) this unity of purpose at the centre is really badly needed. Who cares about the internal opposition that may arise after that? 😉

    But I also believe it’s deeper than that. Cummings has reasserted his authority, backed by Boris, and I agree with Geoff in the other thread that we should recognise Cummings as a key thinker-activist. (Not infallible but a lot better than normal.) He’s been in and around Whitehall for the best part of 20 years now and is deeply unimpressed by what he’s found. He’s begun putting things right with a crucial first step: breaking down the traditional wall of hostility (an evocative New Testament phrase) between Numbers 10 and 11. And it is striking how this part has been received pretty well by those that have really been on the inside:

    But one former minister, no fan of the current administration, suggested there is a very good case to be made for cutting back the political power of the Treasury, rethinking its role as a rival centre of power to No 10.

    That was Laura Kuenssberg, perhaps channeling George Osborne himself. One of Osborne’s main special advisers certainly echoed the point:

    You don’t have to agree with Osborne about Project Fear in the lead up to the Brexit referendum to accept this point. Notably, Alastair Campbell did in March 2015, thinking back to the Blair-Brown disaster, at the end of a highly amusing interaction on Newsnight: Michael Gove vs Alastair Campbell on Cameron’s second term promise. (There are many many ironies in the whole thing by the time we reach February 2020 but I won’t go there. Nor will I mention Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson. Never lol.)

    I have some specific points on the Cummings-Javid spat and why, as climate sceptics, we should be encouraged by the outcome. But I’ll park this part first.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. @ Alan

    Well, your bit o’ cod is still a slice rather than the whole thing. Probably they shrink it to keep the price down, as with Wagon Wheels.

    Of course you will not be surprised to learn that global warming has indeed been linked with the smaller size of fish in the North Sea. For sand eels this is a convoluted story usually involving a certain species of copepod replacing a different species in warmer conditions. Look to the acknowledgments and you often see “funded by the Danish fishmeal association” or similar. (Casting no aspersions on those authors’ integrity; funding for studies probably aligns with an organisation’s aims, and if you look hard enough, you will find a measurable effect.)

    Sorry, I’ll clam up now… didn’t intend to derail this thread onto fishy matters.

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  47. Mark,

    Oh dear. RIP Mr Pachauri. A reminder that all must pass and that nothing is permanent. We do our best to make our mark upon this ever changing world, but we must all bow out eventually and accept that our mark will be destined to fade over the coming years, even if we use indelible ink or carve it in stone. Pachauri was very influential for a while. This does mean that ‘hacked-hands Pachauri’ jokes are now off the menu, which is a shame.

    Like

  48. Here’s some satire today from Andy Shaw – founder of Comedy Unleashed with Andrew Doyle – doing Spectator Life’s Word of the week (and the article may have been commissioned by Mary Wakefield, Dominic Cummings’ wife – but I don’t know how the Speccie functions that closely):

    In 2019, the term ‘Net Carbon Zero’ became the rallying cry of the United Nations, the European Commission, Extinction Rebellion protestors and political leaders across the Western world. World leaders have actively competed with each other to name the nearest date by which net zero should be enacted and have agreed that the practical implications of living in a world without fossil fuels are an afterthought.

    Politicians embrace net zero in order to apologise on behalf of their electorates, whose reliance on petrol and coal are an embarrassment at Davos.

    Ah, Davos. Cummings banned all Tory ministers and MPs from going this year. And Sajid Javid ostentatiously defied this and went.

    What do you think? Is Davos on the side of us climate realists or the side of the crony capitalists making billions of easy, unjust profits for crazy ‘mitigation’ scams? And where would other politico-corporate power-seekers go to push our rejoining the EU after being given a lousy excuse for a trade deal by 31 December 2020?

    The optics are all wrong, dear Saj. No hard feelings as you take another path.

    Same with HS2. Who was on the side of Big Crony-Engineering and who was speaking up for the ordinary taxpayer? HS2 was reportedly given the go-ahead after some major Tory donors warned Boris which side of his bread was buttered. This is situation normal for both parties most of the time. But Mark is also right we need a decent opposition so badly.

    Meantime we have a significant subgroup within the government arguing against the cronyism. They know they will never win all battles. But, as I said earlier, we should be encouraged that the non-Davos, non-HS2 sub-party has just shown its strength. Leading to thoughts like this:

    That looks like a mighty important initiative by Judy Curry. Good thinking Weimar.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. “The creatures outside looked from Labour to Conservative, and from Conservative to Labour, and from Labour to Conservative again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

    Liked by 2 people

  50. Jit remind me to add an appropriate emoji when I’m trying to attempt humour. Surprised you didn’t mention the supposed surrender of North Sea territory by the cold water Cod because of warming (no emoji).

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  51. Richard,

    “I still perceive them to be better because, on both of my top two issues of 12th December, I think the Tories are still well out in front.”

    Conservatives have been very quiet on the trans issue recently, but let’s not forget it was Doris who was initially very enthusiastic about streamlining the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to self ID.

    “We’ve set out plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act, streamlining and de-medicalising the process for changing gender, because being trans is not an illness and it shouldn’t be treated as such.”

    https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/10/19/british-prime-minister-theresa-may-being-trans-is-not-an-illness/

    Then the Conservatives launched a rather more cautious public consultation and then they appear to have shelved any idea of major reform. But don’t let that lull you into thinking that they won’t try again in the future. They’re too busy thinking about censoring ‘harmful content’ on the internet at the moment and restructuring society and the British landscape. Once they’ve criminalised free speech and ushered in the Brave New Green World, then maybe they might get back to promoting ‘trans rights’ (and legal recognition for paedos and rapists) once again.

    Like

  52. Speaking of OT RIPs, a prominent XRer died last week while doing a gruelling paramilitary training course run by an anti-poaching contractor in South Africa. Local temperatures reached 97F that day, so he probably died of a heat-related heart attack.

    It’s sad news, no question. He was only 25 and was an interesting and, by all accounts, loveable character – but by Greta he wasn’t half a hypocrite! His most recent showreel, posted at YouTube a couple of weeks before he flew to South Africa, begins with the words ‘I am based mostly in London or the South of France’ then shows him volunteering in various Latin American countries, the USA, Indonesia and Thailand and then has him talking about his work fighting climate change with XR in the UK. I am mystified by how people can be so self-blind. His carbon footprint must have been off the scale.

    But RIP, Snowflake Foxtrot. You were certainly a brave and unusual person.

    (Last night XRers banged drums and blocked traffic in his memory outside the Brazilian Embassy in London. Why there? Because he was a champion of indigenous rights, innit. If you have a question about how indigenous rights might collide with private armies fighting poachers, it’s too soon.)

    Liked by 2 people

  53. Jaime: I’m also against the Tories because of their stance on the Corn Laws.

    Until Robert Peel anyway.

    There’s been a change and that was visible by the general election.

    The two parties were not in the same place on 12th December.

    Hopefully, Labour will make deep changes.

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  54. Oh dear.

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  55. From that Sun story:

    Using a Lord of the Rings analogy, a senior Downing Street figure told The Sun: “Levelling up the country, making the streets safe and sorting out the NHS is why the PM won the election.

    “When the Eye of Sauron is off the Whitehall machine, things stop working.

    “That is why he has stripped down all his foreign travel this year to get his agenda done.”

    Seems fair enough to me. Those are very challenging domestic objectives. What the ‘senior Downing Street figure’ didn’t mention were the negotiations with the EU. Trump’s felt need for a deal with the UK before his election in November is an interesting factor. They may well be trying to play him.

    One can get such calculations wrong. Five really hard things and the balance between them. I don’t think Leave.EU is privy to the same amount of information as Number 10 is. We’re going have to hope.

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  56. The best laid plans of mice and Boris may all go awry if 400m quarantined Chinese workers don’t get back to work pretty quickly. The global economy looks like it may take a serious hit if coronavirus turns into a pandemic. The perils of a joined up world and excessive reliance upon Chinese imports.

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  57. RICHARD DRAKE 14 FEB 20207:13am

    …we should recognise Cummings as a key thinker-activist. (Not infallible but a lot better than normal.)

    And in this he resembles uncannily Jordan Peterson, who has insisted on his own fallibility in a very convincingly infallible way. If anyone was serious about countering Borisism they’d be sifting through Dom’s latest blog article exploring every obscure link to unknown boffins who have impressed him. (Does he ever sleep? Why should we trust the intuition of someone who seems to spend his entire life tracking down brilliant thinkers no-one else has ever heard of?) Answer: because no-one else in the entire political landscape is pursuing ideas. Ideas? Isn’t that something elderly white men have?

    MARK HODGSON’s (13 Feb 2020 7.43pm) hope for an effective Labour Party is doomed. The Democrats in the USA, the SPD in Germany and the Socialists in France have shown the way. It’s the Lemming International. I’m worried.

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  58. If true, I regard this as more evidence to worry about the direction of the current Government:

    “HS2: UK in talks with China over construction of high-speed line”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51512831

    “The UK is in talks with China over giving Beijing’s state-owned railway builder a role in constructing the HS2 high-speed rail line.

    China’s state railway company said it could build the line in just five years and at a much lower cost, according to a letter seen by Building magazine.

    Government officials said “preliminary discussions” had taken place, but no “concrete commitments” had been made.

    It comes after Boris Johnson this week approved the controversial scheme.

    This was despite an official review warning costs could reach over £100bn, against a budget of £62bn.”

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  59. Geoff: Thank you for this focus on DC and ideas. The guy’s intuitions seem to be working pretty good. I want to come back to it. Sorry that I can’t for now.

    Mark: Steve McIntyre has paid tribute to China’s ability to get large capital projects done by deadlines we are no longer anything like capable of. Interesting times – in both senses 🙂

    And thank you for that link to a really quite thoughtful piece in the Guardian. I opted not to mention the #ExpelMe stuff in any detail above – though I was tempted! It’s disaster-land for Labour electability for years. Or, simplifying, “hope for an effective Labour Party is doomed” as Geoff says. It’s genuinely tragic.

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  60. Delingpole again:

    But the wider and more important issue here surely is that Britain’s energy, environmental – and now, policing – policies have been devolved to the eco-fascist extreme.

    Extinction Rebellion is a ‘destabilising and extremist’ organisation; its objective is ‘system change’, which means bringing down Britain’s existing democratic system. If achieved, this would cause ‘rapid economic disaster’.

    These are the words of a report, co-written last year by Richard Walton, formerly head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter-Terrorism Command.

    How can it be possible that a government committed to restoring law and order to broken Britain can let be allowing such destabilising extremists to be causing such mayhem with such impunity?

    Boris Johnson’s administration is heading towards green ruination – and it has only itself to blame. These protests in Cambridge are merely a taste of the disruption to come. No one, especially not in the working-class communities of the North and the Midlands, voted Conservative at the last election in order to have their streets blocked, their council tax increased, and their cities defiled by patchouli smelling trustafarians called Cressida and Rupert.

    On this issue, as on so many others — from the Huawei deal currently souring Anglo-American relations to the HS2 behemoth about to cut a very, very expensive swathe through some of England’s most beautiful countryside — the urgent question needs to be asked: what do Boris Johnson’s ‘Conservatives’ think they are playing at?

    Anyone got any rational answers? I haven’t.

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  61. Geoff wrote:

    If anyone was serious about countering Borisism they’d be sifting through Dom’s latest blog article exploring every obscure link to unknown boffins who have impressed him.

    But of course, despite Boris being rightly grateful to Dom for the election result (a rather good long piece by Nicholas Watt for the Beeb, ironically enough), the two are likely I feel to take a different line on many things:

    Note also the Bezos pledge of $10 billion to ‘fight climate change’ as the second most prominent story. We can only hope it’s more intelligently spent than the equivalent many times over from governments since 1988. But, be honest, does this news give you the feeling we’re winning? Me neither. It’s back to Andy and that cultural behemoth. (Andy probably hasn’t used the word behemoth but there’s always a first time.) And I think this sense of unstoppable cultural force is what leads to the desecration in Cambridge being unpoliced (something I feel personally rather deeply – my Dad was at Trinity) and all the rest. We are really losing. I have no rational answers either. But I think Cummings is right on the BBC. Small steps.

    Liked by 2 people

  62. Remember the scrapping of the licence fee? Yes, it was a big thing for oh, I don’t know, maybe a week. Now Boris has backed off from it. Almost inevitable wasn’t it. The Tories promise reform of the establishment, then deliver just more of the same. The only thing they seem genuinely intent upon delivering is reform of capitalism and democracy, i.e. the destruction of both.

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  63. Stuff like this doesn’t fill me with hope, either:

    “West Midlands canals to help heat hospitals in renewable energy drive
    Government pledges to spend £20m turning canals, mines and rail lines into heat sources”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/17/west-midlands-canals-help-heat-hospitals-homes-plans

    “he canals of the West Midlands may seem an unlikely source of warmth, but these waterways could soon be used to heat hospitals and tower blocks under a plan to harness Britain’s hidden heating sources.

    The government has promised to spend more than £20m on nine schemes across the country to exploit cheap, renewable heat from canals, old mineshafts and in London tube lines.

    It will spend another £70m to build some of Europe’s first plants to generate green hydrogen gas for homes and factories, including a project in Grimsby that will use the clean electricity generated by offshore wind turbines to make the low-carbon alternative gas from water.

    Kwasi Kwarteng, the minister for business, energy and clean growth, said cleaning up emissions from industry and housing was a big challenge, and an important part of “eliminating our contribution to climate change by 2050 while also growing our economy”.

    The government’s hunt for alternative renewable sources of heat has gained pace after ministers pledged to ban gas-fired boilers from newbuild homes from 2025. Officials estimate that the latest funding could provide a local renewable energy resource to 250,000 people by 2030, which would cut their energy bills by half while helping the UK to meet its climate targets.

    Birmingham’s canals have been picked to play a role in the UK’s green heating revolution by the same team behind a scheme that uses “waste heat” from the Northern line of the underground to warm hundreds of homes in Islington, north London.

    The consortium, led by London South Bank University and known as GreenSCIES, plans to use the government funding to grow its Islington project and install water source heat pumps in the canal, which runs through Sandwell near Birmingham.”

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  64. Mark,

    What? ‘Exploiting the UK’s hidden heat resources’. So hidden apparently that nobody else can see them. Government ministers have appointed people with superhuman powers to detect heat in the most unlikely places. One of them just happened to be walking along a canal towpath one day and stumbled across a furnace hidden deep beneath beneath the impenetrable black surface waters. They of course reported immediately back to the government re. this miraculous source of ‘free energy’ which could be used to heat NHS hospitals oop north – hence levelling up the country..

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  65. Jaime: “Remember the scrapping of the licence fee?” No, I don’t. Was that in the manifesto? (I didn’t read the manifesto. It’s not a trick question. I felt I had enough to decide my vote, as explained above.)

    I do remember thinking people like James Delingpole were going to be disappointed. (And use the resulting outrage later as clickbait. Well, that’s how it feels now – I’m not sure my predictions went that far.) But that was a pretty general feeling. I’d like the government to find a way to scrap (or decriminalise non-payment of) the licence fee without penalising those who don’t have broadband to access the new-look, reduced, more online subscription-Beeb. But I wasn’t aware of this actually being promised.

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  66. Richard: “It’s back to Andy and that cultural behemoth. (Andy probably hasn’t used the word behemoth but there’s always a first time.)”

    Behemoth is good. A mythical monster seems appropriate for a monster built on myth.

    Liked by 1 person

  67. Didn’t Alexis Charles-Henri-Maurice Clérel, Viscount de Tocqueville say something about getting the government you deserve when you vote for it? Especially if you have read the Manifesto! Or was it the third American President Thomas Jefferson? It certainly applies to “the Donald” and, as we are discussing, to Henley’s Finest.

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  68. Graham Stewart’s Law and disorder in Cambridge – whose side are the police on? in The Critic today is brilliant.

    I think again that XR and those acquiescing – police and Trinity college itself – are giving a major helping hand to those within the government who realise how utterly challenging for the mass of voters net-zero is going to be – if we in our foolishness get anywhere near it. Year Zero of the Khmer Vert as Stewart wittily puts it. If only it were funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  69. Richard,

    Two days before the general election, Johnson floated the idea that the Conservatives would certainly ‘look at’ scrapping the licence fee. Then very recently they’ve been putting out stronger signals that they are looking at a subscription model. They stuck their head above the parapet, raised hopes (twice) and now Boris has gone into retreat once again. If that’s how he’s going to approach negotiations with EU, then there’s not much hope.

    https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/culture/arts/news/109932/downing-street-steps-war-bbc-threat-licence-fee-will-be-scrapped

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  70. Jaime: thanks. No commitment but a bit of flotation. And then there’s pushback on the basic idea originally expressed and, I assume, some decent reasons for that. And no doubt some other, very self-serving ones eg from the BBC DG. But I liked this part of the Sunday Times article by Tim Shipman that Politics Home was relying on:

    A No 10 source suggested BBC stars making money on the side should pay the money to a charity such as Help the Aged as the BBC is threatening to cut free licences for the over-75s.

    That sounds like Cummings. No wonder they hate him.

    On the EU negotiations, I found this encouraging because I respect the person tweeting and because, from lesser expertise, I was thinking the same thing about David Frost’s speech yesterday:

    Cummings and others have I’m sure spotted that the main EU negotiators were busy getting their every message and tactical nuance out on Twitter and the MSM every day during the bad old days of May being in the buck-stops-here position. The content from Frost is good but the openness is perhaps even better. But hardly the end of the road, to put it mildly.

    Liked by 1 person

  71. Craig Murray has an excellent article on Boris’s sacking of Javid, pointing out that a Chancellor hasn’t got booted out like that since Lord Randolph Churchill, and that he was mad at the time, having contracted syphilis on a Bullingdon Club spree. Small world or what?

    I only found it because of Craig’s following article about the Guardian’s serial lying on behalf of the Democrats.
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/seeing-through-the-lies-us-edition/
    Murray has a visceral and superbly well-informed hatred of both the upper and the chattering classes. Too bad he believes in climate catastrophe.

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  72. Geoff: Interesting point about Lord Randolph Churchill and Sajid Javid. That last name though also speaks of change. And now we have Immigration: No visas for low-skilled workers, government says – the latest ‘flotation’ from the government. Hmm. When I was living in Kentish Town a friend who was brought up there mentioned that Joseph Sickert still lived just off Queens Crescent (the local market). He told me some very strange stories about what Joseph believed. I was rightly sceptical but I did end up reading The Ripper and the Royals. I then spoke to Joseph on the telephone. He credited Winston Churchill with his personal survival but of Randolph the story he learned from his own father (as I believe Walter Sickert was – not everyone does) was decidedly less positive.

    Which just goes to show, I think, that it’s not where you start from but what you do with it that matters.

    Like

  73. The Marxist in charge has cancelled Christmas. Can there be any doubt now that he is a Red through and through? There is not a hint of Tory blue in this fraudster, just a thin Green skin concealing (no longer, alas) bright red flesh. Every day will be darker than the next until we get this Communist dictator out – if we ever can. Has anybody archived all articles and comments on this site? I fully expect it to be taken down within the next year.

    Like

  74. Jaime: I literally just came to Cliscep to ‘archive all articles and comments on this site’ and saw your comment! I won’t say how often I do it or where I put the result. But I have proved that I can reconstruct the site using the free open source version of WordPress (from wordpress.org) on my own Unix server. We should talk some more about this, with other members of the core team, shortly.

    Liked by 1 person

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