Archive for March, 2010



Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme will hurt business

This blog has previously discussed the government’s money hoover that is the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) which was recently renamed as the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, that is due to come into force in April this year.

Many businesses will be adversely impacted financially, while the largest corporates that are already covered by the EU’s emission trading scheme that enables them to make money from CO2 emission trading, are exempt.  Adding weight today to the argument of impending financial damage is accountancy giant KPMG, which is:

[…]warning finance directors that more than two-thirds of organisations will be hit with financial penalties following the introduction of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).

With just 20 days to go before the start of the CRC, the Big Four Firm is warning finance directors they risk severe financial penaltities and reputational damage, if their organisation fails to comply.

The Accountancy Age piece goes on to explain that KPMG believes the biggest risk to companies is incorrect reporting of their carbon emissions, from which they could incur substantial fines and severe reputational damage.  This UK version of a carbon cap and trade scheme risks doing serious financial harm to businesses already struggling in difficult economic circumstances.

Regardless, the government is pressing ahead with what is a massive transformation that sees business incurring costs over and above the expense of what amounts to a carbon tax.  I make no apology for repeating yet again that this economic vandalism is being carried out of the basis of a theory that hypothesises CO2 is causing global warming.  There is only correlation, no evidence of causation.  The net effect of this smash and grab raid on company bank accounts and the cost of compliance, reporting and administration is an increase in the cost of goods and services to the ordinary consumer in the street.

We have departed from an age of reason and logic and entered an age where a belief system, shown to be a tissue of assertions impervious to evidence, holds sway.  The real aim of this concerted effort is financial redistribution and an increase in the power and control of the state over its population.  Some argue this is actually the embryonic development of a system of global governance, tied together with a common currency – carbon.

Regardless, the impact will be borne most by those who have least, and no one in the political class has any interest in scrutinising this disturbing activity or protecting the interests of the people they are supposed to represent.  This is the state we’re in.

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Facebook moderation failures are the norm

Facebook is coming under intense scrutiny this week and not before time.  The social networking tool may have its uses for responsible people who want to keep in touch with friends or network with people who share similar interests, but it is a haven for bullies, identity thieves, sexual predators and people with access to a computer who have failed to take their medication.

It’s easy to get on to Facebook, but getting off it and having all your personal information deleted is a convoluted process.  This demonstrates the service is not run for the benefit of users, but rather for the benefit of the company making money out of it.  But the real issue is that Facebook isn’t policed properly by its administration team.  This is an undeniable fact.

The Jon Venables case has exposed that fact like no other as the case of David Calvert reveals.  Hours after the news broke on Tuesday 2nd March that one of the child killers of James Bulger, Jon Venables, had been returned to prison after his previous release on licence, a Facebook group was created called:

“John Venables is David Calvert and lives in Fleetwood… kill the ****”

More than 2500 morons joined the group, filling the comments box with threats and abuse.  That is bad enough, but the worst of it is that the group page remained on Facebook for a full week, only being removed from the site on Tuesday 9th March.  That is a terrible indictment of the policing of the site by Facebook’s administrators.

As a tool Facebook has long made privacy a minefield of confusion for users who try to withhold certain personal details they are encouraged to fill in.  But then, that is the intention of Facebook’s pontificating geek creator, Mark Zuckerberg, who took a good idea and made it into a money spinner before letting power go to his head and appointing himself the arbeiter of what privacy constituted by declaring privacy is no longer a social norm.  This has resulted in arbitrary changes to privacy settings by Facebook in December 2009 that made more personal information publicly accessible.

While Zuckerberg has been holding forth on what constitutes social norms, his tool has refused to adopt social networking norms which would see it display the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) panic button, enabling youngsters to report if they have been targeted by a paedophile while using the tool.

There is a clear pattern here.  Facebook is not a responsibly run platform.  It seeks to undermine the privacy of its users and fails to act quickly to stamp out the kind of abuse and threats experienced by David Calvert.  It isn’t just adults, school children suffer on the platform every day as groups are set up for the sole purpose of bullying and intimidating them.  Complaints are not dealt with, as my neighbour’s daughter will testify after attempts to take down a group page that speculates about her sexual behaviour and encourages abusive comments to be made about her have still not resulted in moderator action.

Given the intentional lack of privacy and the failure to deal with hate groups and abuse of users, in the final analysis, the only safe solution for using Facebook is to not use it at all.

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EU cover up of biofuel reports challenged in court

The European Union’s ludicrous decision to put CO2 emission reductions before the need to produce food for the human population has long deserved to be forced into the public consciousness.  Despite repeated warnings that its biofuels policy would lead to increased food prices and even lead to food shortages, the EU pressed ahead with a target of biofuels making up 10% of vehicle fuel by 2020.

But now a court challenge to the EU’s refusal to release data it holds, on the negative impact of widespread biofuel use, is set to shine a light on its disgraceful policy of putting the biofuel industry and climate change policy before the need to produce food for human beings.

As far back as 2008 the EU refused to listen to serious concerns about biofuels.  Even though the United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler, described the production of biofuels as ‘a crime against humanity’ because of its impact on global food prices, the EU remained inflexible.  In fact the EU was (and remains) so wedded to the faux fight against climate change, Barbara Helfferich the spokeswoman for EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, offered this startling rationale for refusing to back down on biofuels:

“There is no question for now of suspending the target fixed for biofuels.

“You can’t change a political objective without risking a debate on all the other objectives.”

The message was clear.  To the EU the political process and possessing power is more important than ensuring people have food to eat.  The EU has continued to deny that the increasing focus on biofuels would have a harmful impact of food prices and availability. However, thanks to the efforts of four environmental campaign groups, the EU has been forced to reveal through freedom of information requests a large number of previously secret reports that directly assess the very issue they denied existed.  As Biofuels International explains:

Some of the reports discuss the possibility of higher EU farm incomes but allude to the fact that biofuels refineries may lead to food shortages for the world’s most impoverished countries. Other documents suggest biofuels will increase the need for land and result in famers from tropical areas expanding their cropland into easily affected areas including wetlands and rainforests, which would have a negative on the surroundings.

A number of other documents remain hidden, sparking the court action to force the EU to reveal them.  However the documents already released are damning enough in themselves, as they reveal the EU was mindful that the rush to biofuels could increase the demand for land.

This would encourage farmers in tropical areas to expand cropland into sensitive areas such as wetlands and rainforests, resulting in a detrimental environmental impact.

As with all things EU, we see an absence of accountability and a fundamentally anti democratic approach to governance and respect for the law.  The EU thinks of itself as beyond the law, as graphically illustrated in 2006 when it ignored court rulings and scientific evidence to harrass and finally force the closure of Bowland Dairies in Lancashire.

This is the supranational entity our political class has sold us out to, without asking for our consent to sign away our sovereignty.  However much we complain, protest or campaign against it our wishes do not count.  The EU dictates to us, it is not answerable to us.  As such our proud nation should have no place inside its political constructs.

The EU not only kills free trade and businesses, it is now killing people in order to prop up a money making scheme dressed up as environmental protection.

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EU increases the cost of employment

At the Council of Ministers yesterday, EU employment ministers agreed to extend the minimum period of parental leave to four months per parent.  The leave period applies to all workers, regardless of what kind of contract they have, so everyone who is on a fixed-term contract, working part-time workers or a temporary agency contractor will be eligible to take leave and it must be respected by all employers.

Naturally this diktat from our real government in Brussels will require the UK Parliament to change the laws to ensure compliance.  In addition to the UK this change affects Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, Romania and Malta.

Our masters may have spoken but it will be left to businesses to meet the costs incurred of losing an employee for up to seven months, in the case of women this is on top of paid maternity leave which is currently granted for a minimum of 14 weeks.  Where the employee is self employed an allowance paid for from our taxes will subsidise this time off.  Either way, if you are a taxpayer or a consumer, more of your resources will be taken to make this parental leave possible.  The costs of this social policy will be borne by an already creaking economy.

Small businesses stand to be particularly hard hit by this new foreign legislation imposed on them.  It might be good news for older people, because a law such as this will act as a disincentive to employ people who are of child bearing age.  It certainly doesn’t bode well for the prospects of getting the millions of economically inactive younger people into work.

This is just another of the joys of independence and national sovereignty this country enjoys within the European Union.

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Greenhouse gas insanity – the fight against cow farts

(Hat tip: EU Referendum)  The hysteria over emissions of greenhouse gases has reached a level even a satirist might have struggled to come up with.

For some time people have been making the observation that natural emissions of greenhouse gases, such as CO2 and methane, far outstrip man made emissions.  What would we do, wags asked, tax cows for their flatulence?

Well, it seems such a ridiculous suggestion was not that far from the mark, as the Western Mail explains:

PROPOSALS to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farming by permanently housing cattle are among the recommendations of a key report welcomed by Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones.

The minister established the Land Use Climate Change Group last year to consider how agriculture and land use can reduce greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change.

What this amounts to, in the bluntest of terms, is a drive to remove farm animals from their natural environment, namely fields and meadows, and lock them indoors to trap their flatulence because their farts contain methane.  All because Wales set itself a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2040.

As methane is a greenhouse gas, the warmists fear it is contributing to global warming and that we therefore have a duty to act.  There is only one word to describe this, and that is insanity.

Not content with forcing up the direct cost we pay to energy companies in order to heat our homes; and adding additional cost to our goods and services by piling expensive requirements on manufacturers and transportation, the warmist religionists now present farmers with another layer of cost that will be passed on to consumers.  And let us not forget the tax pounds that will be channelled into ‘incentives’ to adopt the new system, which amounts to the kind of intensive farming we have been told for years amounts to ill-treatment of animals.  Think of the requirements and what it means for the cost of milk and meat:

  • Indoor accomodation to be built for herds to use all day every day
  • increased powerdraw from the grid for lighting and the extraction units to capture methane
  • a huge increase in the cost of animal feed because cutting grass for housed herds will be impractical and risk infections
  • the need for additional vaccinations because the animals will be permanently kept in close proximity
  • additional costly regulations imposed on farmers to meet animal welfare standards that will be needed to take into account permanent indoor housing

and that’s just for starters.  You can imagine how that list would increase as regulators get their teeth into the new system.

Once again, we see costly ‘solutions’ being recommended to something that is not proven to be a problem.  Not enough is known about the way nature adapts to changes in atmospheric concentration of trace gases.  Nevertheless decisions are being taken that risk undermining our industrialised economy and plunging millions into poverty in the name of fighting changes to the climate that occur naturally.

It’s not funny any more.  This has become a dangerous psychosis, an insanity characterised by blind belief in a hypothesis that satisfies a pathological need to be seen to be ‘taking action’ and considered by others to be right thinking and virtuous.  We are living in dangerous times.

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The shallow nature of the Conservative Party

The Mail on Sunday tells us:

In the latest development in his campaign to show how dramatically the Tories have changed, David Cameron has published the party’s first-ever official list of openly gay MPs.

The Conservatives say they have 20 openly gay candidates standing in the Election. Of those, 11 told party chiefs they were ‘happy’ to be named in the first authorised list of gay Conservative candidates.

Ah yes, how much the Tories have changed.  Perhaps it may seem uncharitable of me to ask in response to this revelation, ‘so bloody what?’.  What this tells us is how shallow the Cameron Conservatives are.  This is nothing more than an effort to say to gay people ‘look, we are gay friendly, vote for us’.

This Cameron/Hilton approach is patronising in the extreme and is a poor attempt to fill the vacuum where policy should reside. Gay people, black people, women, et al are not going to vote Conservative because the party gives the press a dossier of poster children supposedly demonstrating how friendly the Conservatives are to each group.

Anyone with principles in the Conservative upper echelons would know that gays, blacks and women would vote Conservative if the party had strong convictions backed by well thought out policies that have the capacity to transform Britain for the better. Policies that set about reforming the public sector, slashing waste, focusing resources on essential services instead of discretionary whims and generally getting government off the backs of all Britons.

Imploring minority groups and women to vote Conservative just because some candidates have the same sexual orientation, ethnicity and gender is not only desperate, it’s pathetic.  It demonstrates the extent of the void of political thought and vision inside Team Cameron.  I want a lot more in a potential Prime Minister than a shallow man whose only ability is the delivery of a good line in a speech.

Nothing sets the Conservatives apart from Labour or the Lib Dems.  They are all incompetent managerialists without an original thought between them who are content for this country to be ruled from Brussels. They are the anti democrats turning the people of this country into servants of a political elite.

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Labour announces new education strategy

Imagine my excitement when I caught sight of an announcement to the House of Commons yesterday that the government has a new education strategy.  It would certainly be something that is long overdue.

The last OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results released in December 2007 showed that British teenagers had plummeted down the international education league table following the decline in education standards under Labour.  The PISA 2009 results are due out in December 2010.  Could it be that Labour had finally woken up to the consequences of failing a generation of British children by dumbing down education in the classroom, and how that adversely affects our international competitiveness?

Alas, no.  Not content with undermining the prospects of our children by levelling standards downwards and holding back our brightest and best, it seems Labour wants to help other countries to increase their own competitiveness at the cost of British taxpayers.  As wee Dougie Alexander explained in yesterday’s written statement from the Department for International Development (DfID):

I have deposited in the Library today my Department’s new education strategy, entitled; “Learning For All: DFID’s Education Strategy 2010–2015”. The strategy has been placed in the Libraries of the Houses and an electronically accessible version is available on the DFID website at http://www.dfid.gov.uk/educationstrategy.

“Learning For All: DFID’s Education Strategy 2010–2015” outlines how DFID will contribute to helping the world’s children realise their full potential through access to a quality basic education for all.

If only this government would show as much interest in the development of our own youngsters as it does in the development of youngsters overseas.  The government should be getting this country’s house in order before grandstanding on the world stage about funding education in under developed countries.

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Met Office and BBC credibility is sunk

Friday’s news that the Met Office was scrapping its seasonal forecasting was another nail in the coffin of its credibility.  It also represents a complete vindication of those people who criticised its Chief Executive, John Hirst, for attempting to deceive the public about the accuracy of the forecasts.

The BBC report of the story suggested a change in the corporation’s approach too, not least because the piece didn’t contain the laughable spin of Susan Watts, who previously used her position at the BBC to tell Newsnight viewers on 7th January that:

In fact that seasonal forecast predicting a mild winter wasn’t actually wrong, but it left people with the wrong impression.

The BBC, egged on by Richard Black – a man with a number of vested interests in promoting the man made global warming theory as fact – has also been left licking its wounds from choosing an editorially biased approach to reporting climate issues.  Like the Met Office, the BBC is not interested in reporting facts, but pursuing an agenda devoted to arriving at a pre-determined conclusion, irrespective of any evidence to the contrary

After Hirst’s televisual spin operation and the numerous column inches spent trying to convince the public that the Met Office had actually got the winter forecast correct, the Met Office’s subsequent actions and admissions have reinforced what we already knew.

This is another small victory for the blogosphere, because had we relied on the revisionist nonsense that flooded the mainstream media as the Met Office tried to spin its way out of trouble many more people might have believed the deceitful claims Hirst, Vicky Pope and Julia Slingo were getting published almost daily.

As it was, there was enough evidence collected by bloggers to create an archive of links to forecasts, admissions and quotes that could be pointed to in order to prevent history being rewritten.  The era of the citizen journalist in the UK is starting to come into its own at last thanks to the focus on climate change and the organisations who have been retailing a set of theories as fact, while making a tidy sum in grants from the taxpayer.

But there is bad news for the taxpayer too, as if there wasn’t enough before, the money train will continue to rumble along the global warming tracks.  For although the Met Office now admits it can’t predict weather three months hence, it now says it will work towards developing the science of long range forecasting.  There is only one reason for this and that is to continue spewing propaganda about climate change. As such the fight for honesty and transparency will go on. Although the final whistle is approaching, this lot are determined to try and take us into extra time. There are too many millions of pounds, dollars and euros at stake for them not to.

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A response to Trevor Phillips’ attack on caring parents

‘The most blaring and substantial thing that best predicts disadvantage is class and place: who your parents were, what they did and where you grew up.

‘At the moment there is too much advantage given to people who shout loudest and have too much knowledge.’

So says Trevor Phillips, controversial head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.  What complete and utter rubbish.

My father was the sole breadwinner working shifts in the industrial sector.  My mother spent her time helping other people in a variety of capacities, but didn’t earn a wage.  I grew up in a working class household on a council estate.  I always had what I needed, was properly fed and nicely turned out, but it was always a struggle to make ends meet financially.  Kids around my way didn’t often go to college.  It was a rough area where you needed to be quick witted and handy with your fists, although at times that wasn’t enough.  But I had a happy childhood.

The reason why I was happy was I had parents who loved me.  They brought me up to respect the law and other people.  I didn’t get into trouble with the police like many of my peers.  My parents encouraged me to do better.  They always gave me support and did what they could to ensure I had opportunities.  Sometimes that meant picking up the phone to fight my corner.  Sometimes it meant them having to know to whom they should speak if they were concerned that I might miss out on something in some way.  I was lucky because many of the parents of other kids living on our estate didn’t bother.  They just wanted to lounge around, drink and smoke their income and chuck the kids into the street until it was time for bed.

My parents are the kind of parents that Trevor Phillips is trying to undermine.  Phillips thinks he’s fighting a class war for equality by singling out ‘middle class’ parents and suggesting they undermine families lower down the scale.  He’s an idiot.  He’s attacking parents who care about their children and do all they can to give them the best start in life.  He’s attacking them because they are motivated to do the right thing by their offspring.

If there is any advantage it is often one that has been hard earned by many parents, like mine, who went the extra mile to look out for the interests of their children.  To try and undermine this is insanity.  How completely and utterly idiotic is it to call for a levelling downwards in this way, instead of encouraging other parents to up their game?

Instead of attacking caring parents who do their best and set a good example, Phillips should be going after the feckless morons who don’t give a toss about their kids.  He should reserve is large reservoir of venom for those who are frankly uncaring and disinterested in their kids.  You know, those parents who can’t be bothered what becomes of their kids, who don’t care what they do or where they go, and don’t take time to develop the ‘knowledge’ Phillips would rather parents did not have?

But as that would not result in additional responsibility for the state and increased control over the lives of private individuals there is probably no interest from this bunch of intrusive control freaks in such a course of action.  The Nanny State is trying to become the Parent State too, taking control from mothers and fathers and handing it to apparatchiks.  That must sound like utopia to Phillips.

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