Thorium Nuclear reactors

Here is a little tale of despair. A tale of our country and how it is slowly withering away. It is also a tale of how you can do something, even if this little something is only a gesture.

A bit of background. What is a Thorium nuclear reactor?

Currently all nuclear reactors are based upon using uranium as their fuel. These reactors are, arguably, at this point in time, the best way forward to provide us with cheap,clean power. There are potentially a number of other solutions. These other solutions potentially offer even cleaner and more cost effective energy.

One is nuclear fusion, but this is technically a long way off.

Another is to use Thorium as the nuclear fuel instead of Uranium.

Thorium is even more plentiful than Uranium and arguably could be regarded as a limitless fuel source. The waste produced by a Thorium reactor would also be less, with shorter half-lives, minimal plutonium and the reactor would be intrinsically fail-safe. There are a number of problems that need to be solved, but really, compared to fusion, the engineering is far less complex.

Today Thorium nuclear reactors are either being built or heavily researched and prototyped by France, Germany, USA, China, Japan India and Australia.

Our sole entry is this one research grant of less than £250,000. (here)

This is from the country that once, not so long ago, led the world in nuclear research. It makes you weep.

I expect that in our straitened financial state, items like development of Thorium reactors will get short shrift, especially by technological luddites like Gordon Brown. But really we MUST start gaining our technical confidence again . We must do the science and the engineering to push our country forward. Otherwise we will simply end up being forced to buy foreign equipment while our country retreats ever further down the tables of national prosperity.

It is no accident that the countries that live in poverty have no dynamic technological development.

It is no accident that countries emerging from third world status like India and China are progressing mainly by techological research and development.

Unless we do something to address our crazy abandonment of technological development we will soon be taking their place with a third world status.

So what can you do now. By chance I came across an e-petition to the Prime Minister here which is a respectful request to Gordon Brown to fund development in Thorium nuclear reactors.

When I signed up it only had 20 signatures. This is but one small area of our neglected technical sector and arguably you (and me) are merely tilting at windmills. But at least by signing it, you show where you stand.

The petition was raised by Chris Camacho and states:

When Thorium is used to generate power because most of it is "burnt" there is very little radioactive waste.

Mixing the fuel with molten salt allows for high temperature *low* pressure reactions systems that are far safer than current technologies. Allowing the salt to "freeze" (ie fall to room temperature) means you can effectively temporary switch off the reaction, and later restart it.

In addition this process cannot be weaponised and can be made in mobile units, ideal for "axis of evil" scenarios

Thorium needs far less processing and is far more abundant than other nuclear sources.

With comparatively very modest amounts of money this existing but out of fashion technology could provide safe and clean plentiful zero carbon power

We therefore call on the government to start a 1GW power station project as soon as is practicable

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to start a crash program to provide a far safer a method of nuclear power using molten salt and Thorium.....

The blog this e-petition is on is here at thorium energy blogspot

A direct link to the petition can also be made here

In no particular order, more information on Thorium Reactors can be found here

There is an excellent PDF by NASA Here

and finally there is another description Here

Is This Brown's Gameplan?

So Gordon “The Abyss” Brown plans to go On and On. (see here)

Machiavellian? A touch of the Macbeth's? Maybe a little like a dishonourable Don Quixote?

I glean from the above article that his reasoning is that even if Labour loses the election badly the main losses will be among the anti-Brown camp. This then would actually strengthen his position within the Labour party.

Like all leaders who have outstayed their welcome he will hang on until the bitter end. Even then, he will want to ensure a king-like succession for the chosen pretender, Ed Balls.

But maybe there is more to this.

Maybe he is hoping that a newly elected Conservative government will have to make such massive and unpopular cuts to save the economy that they lose the support of the electorate. Then King Gordon can make a comeback, a little like Harold Wilson did in the early seventies.

And that IS a worry.

The economy is screwed. There is going to be little but economic misery for the next three years. That will be the case even if the economy is under the control of someone who actually tries to run it properly, rather than just get carried along with the tide.

Gordon Brown is an extremely adept schemer and a ruthless assassin of his enemies. That is why he is still there. After a losing election he would actually have fewer enemies within the Labour party than now.

The risk is that Cameron gets elected with a small or no majority, then after a calamitous year in government trying to sort out the mess, he gets turfed out and Gordo gets back in.

Far fetched?

I hope so.

But I suspect that is the turn of events that Brown is banking on.

A Bonfire of English Criminality

Greetings to you, my fellow unspeakable little Englanders. You inhabitants of a non nation. Those who live in a representation free zone. Perhaps you are cruel and mean (aka Andrew Marr). Worse than that, I bet that you,like me, are all probably crimmo's.

It is, with great regret, that Billothewisp has to (probably) inform all his fellow English nasties that he is a crimmo. A lag, conman, crook, vandal, villain, tea-leaf barbarian. Or at least he might be.

Of course, as a true Englishman, Billothewisp would normally surrender himself immediately to the nearest police station and readily confess all.

Billothewisp would do his bird in true penitence, smoking his thin little roll-ups and eating his porridge with a true reformed character zeal.

But he has a problem.

Although he is utterly sure that he must be a crimmo, he has had difficulty in precisely identifying his crime. But a crime there must be. And there are so many to choose from.

Why must Billothewisp be a filthy crimmo? I can hear you naive and cruel little Englanders ask.

Let me explain further to you my disenfranchised English underworld brethren.

The great leader, Citizen One the wonderfully marvellous supreme leader the great Gordon “The Abyss” Brown and his loyal and supportive colleagues have created in excess of 3000 new crimes. (Seriously. See here). Of these, about half could lead to a spell in prison for the retro-bate Englishman or English woman who inadvertently breaks one (or more) of them.

All this while they, the great good and extremely well fed, singularly deny you and me, the dirty and degraded English, a chance to vote for our own parliament, and laws. How they must care so avidly for us, to save us the dilemma of who to vote for, and who to vote out.

Furthermore I must confess to a further sin.

I must inform all you old English lags, blags, slags and hags that in the naive view of Billothewisp, a confessed little Englander himself, that these new laws are an affront to English decency. He believes that all such trivial and counterproductive laws along with their formulators, supporters and their associated no-win no-fee advocates should be piled into a great heap in Trafalgar square. Then set alight.

Regrettably this, in itself will probably be an offence punishable by a significant prison sentence.

Perhaps this will solve Billothewisp's crime identification problem. Perhaps he should 'fess up to this desire to remove unnecessary law and control mechanisms. It is after all a veritable thought crime in our 1984-like society.

Charismatic Politicians

Tony Blair is doing very well in handling the Chilcott inquiry and getting his point across. It has to be said that he is a masterful performer and of course an extremely charismatic politician.

Over time there have been many Blair-like leaders who stand out from the pages of history. Some were for good. But most, in the end, were for evil.

The constant trend through all of them is how the leader's charisma ensured they gained more and more personal power. The throngs of adoring, unquestioning fans have always pumped up the already substantial ego and launched the leader into quest after quest for power and glory.

Blair's foray into Iraq was such an example. No doubt, he legitimately thought that this was the best course of action. His forceful character and charisma ensured everyone else in a position to query his judgement went along with him.

He had the big idea, then all the adoring fans and yes men surrounding him agreed.

Tony Blair is not Hitler or Trotsky, but like them he easily commands loyalty and support. Like other charismatic leaders from the past he totally outshone his peer group. The net result was that the yes men (including Gordon Brown and the cabinet) not only buckled to his will but actively sought to support and justify anything he did.

Blair is not a political monster. But his intelligence, strength of character and charisma show that he could have become one.

Both he and we are lucky he left office when he did

Foreign Aid and Political Conceit

All our political parties are highly enthusiastic about dishing out foreign aid. Even David Cameron has declared it is to be ring fenced.

We donate 6-8 billion every year in International Aid. (see Spectator article here). Usually these donations have no strings attached. It is a gracious gift from one ruling elite to another.

A great deal of this this money goes to India. While India is perhaps the shining (and singular) glory of third world democracy, it is hardly in a state of economic ruin.

India has a foreign currency surplus of £300 billion per year. It has an active and growing nuclear weapons program that puts ours in the shade. There is a Space program that rivals ESA and NASA. The final icing of the cake is that India has its own foreign aid budget (no sign of any money coming to Rotherham though).

This is great. I celebrate that India is a dynamic and thrusting democracy and I hope they maintain their progress. But, above all, they are an independent and sovereign nation. They make their choices with their budget as they wish.

Our Great, Good and extremely well fed, do not view it quite like this. They love the kudos for dishing out our money because it allows them to grandstand to their audience and show us all how generous and compassionate they are. We feel embarrassed about poverty in India, but really as India has enough for a large financial surplus, nuclear weapons, a large defence budget and a space programme it should not be for us to support the areas they ignore. It smacks of crass colonialism and political conceit to start dishing out money to areas that the legitimate government in a thriving democracy chooses to not to prioritise.

Take a parallel. Several years ago New Orleans was devastated by a hurricane. The USA administration abjectly failed the poor people of New Orleans and many ended up destitute and abandoned. But this did not mean we started funding them. The USA has more then enough of its own resources to deal with this problem. The same reasoning should also now apply to India. Especially now,as we are in such deep financial difficulties ourselves.

Inequality and Tax credits

Today a government appointed think tank announced that inequality between the top ten per cent and the bottom ten per cent has widened. In fact it is now wider than at any time since WWII. I do not expect that this was the result the humiliated Hariette Harman was looking for. Even so, it is nothing to laugh about. But I do not want to dwell on the Labour parties pathetic excuses. I would just like to look at this from a recent historical perspective.

Back in the mid 1960's unemployment varied around 250,000 in a population of about 52 million. Two hundred and fifty thousand. I did not miss a nought off the end.

Today unemployment officially stands at ten times the level of the 1960's. That is about 2.5 million, but this is a heavily manipulated figure. There are about another 4 million (at least) syphoned off into higher education or training schemes. There are then maybe another 1 million who have simply given up looking for a job and live off either their savings or partner.

Of these 2.5 million "officially" unemployed about half are young people. Many have never had a job and are trapped into a benefits culture of idleness.

One of this current government's great claims is that it has (rather belatedly) pushed forward incentives for people to work. There are a plethora of tax credits/schemes and other means-tested incentives. Although these make employment slightly more attractive, the sheer technical effort required to fill in the forms, go through the interviews and then actually get a job is a major block to employment.

That really is the problem. The current government is obsessed with regulation and monitoring. There is a all pervading urge to document, control and oversee. If all criteria are met, then the government acts like the majestic Victorian benefactor. But only to those who jump through the hoops like performing dogs.

I have little time for the Liberals but one idea they expounded on recently, was the concept of raising the tax threshold to £10K. With this, at least some of the expensive bureaucratic nightmare of tax credits, claims and rebates can be consigned to history.

The way to getting people back into work and off the dole if to incentivise them. Get rid of the ugly and humiliating benefits. Most importantly, get rid of taxation on the poor.

The way forward is less government, less control,less benefits and much less tax on those on lower wages. This would be bad news for Harriette Harman and the other control freaks. But it would be good news for the poor.

Recession Ends - Official.

So, The magnificent, divine, economic genius who rules over us so magnificently and wisely has made our non country of England surge its way out of recession, while other countries can only watch in awe and envy.

Er, No.

Unfortunately a small reality check is needed. The cresting amounted to 0.1%. To get to that the Dear Leader has printed £200 billion, discounted VAT and avoided anything that might resemble the tough painful measures that are required to fix our broken economy.

VAT has now gone back up. While I suspect that Gordon “The Abyss” Brown would be more than willing to print another £200 billion, I think that even his dodgy colleagues might baulk at the prospect.

It looks like the economy is on a roller-coaster. The train is at the top of of a brow barely moving. I suspect it is about to move back on down. Lets hope that somebody (anybody) takes charge soon. Otherwise we are going to hit the buffers. At speed.

Old Gits and the Work Ethic

Billothewisp is a self confessed old git. Cantankerous, ugly, foul mouthed, grey and hairy. So why would any one ever want to give him a job? Let alone keep on after he he should have bee put out to grass. But, there is no sign of him chucking it in for some considerable time yet. Further more, he is not short of job offers either. By a fluke of luck, it now looks like he will not now be forced to retire when he reaches the exalted age of 65.

As you all know, Billothewisp is a trusting and loyal soul ready to doff his cap to the great good and extremely well fed whenever the situation arises. But he does have a somewhat cynical viewpoint on this latest jolly wheeze from Gordon “The Abyss” Brown and associates, to “allow” the over 65's to work on at their leisure.

Actually, (although it pains me to say this) for once I am in full agreement. I vigorously support the concept of people having a natural right to work and earn as long as they like. But I suspect that the hidden agenda behind this latest bit of spin is simply to try and and keep the tax revenues rolling in. At the same time it allows our defective government to let state pensions wither on the vine.

Cast your mind back ten years. Then, the concept of working beyond 65 was actually regarded as anti-social. It was considered as taking the jobs that should be occupied by young kids. Ironically this was being peddled at the same time as the current government was allowing mass uncontrolled immigration as part of its grand social engineering scheme.

So much for keeping jobs for the next generation.

Now of course, the country is engorged with millions of extra citizens to feed, house and service. To be fair, many immigrants should be welcomed as hard working citizens, and are eager to become British and contribute to our national identity. Regrettably though, there are also millions of others who belligerently claiming their “rights” while displaying open hostility to our national identity and culture. Also, the government lavishes nearly £8 billion a year on dubious foreign aid and probably the same again on assorted foreign adventures. Finally you can cap this with a benefit culture which has consigned millions more to idleness. You soon see why the government now needs the old to contribute to its tax revenues.

Billothewisp will take great joy in showing his grandchildren how to work with plane, lathe and oscilloscope. Like his children, he expects they will spend their lives working hard and contributing to our English culture and economy. The crime is that many millions of other kids will be jammed onto a corrosive lifestyle based on “rights” and “benefits” and will spend their lives locked into an underclass.

It is strange the way things develop. The government that bragged about its support for the old now raises the pension age and "allows" the old to work on beyond 65. These the very things they used to display such moral outrage about.

Actually, allowing people a natural right to work as long as they like is a good idea. Although this government arrived at this conclusion for all the wrong reasons.

Crisis? What Crisis?

I try to be a good boy and read all sorts blogs with different opinions but really, Labour List is going to make me ill.

See this post by Norman Evans about how marvellously our mighty leader and his associates are doing. Its on Labour List here

Norms post is important because it show exactly how little the Labour party has learned from the catastrophes it has inflicted upon this country. They claim credit for things that had little or nothing to do with them while simultaneously denying (or ignoring) calamities they have imposed.

Obviously Norm is a great admirer of Gordon “The Abyss” Brown but really, the rose coloured spectacles must be so tinted that they are virtually opaque.

Read it yourself but here is a brief summary.

Norm has a true socialist style, ranting about how the electorate are “grossly mistaken” or misled by the media. (OK stop laughing this is serious) Essentially the main-track is that the bloody electorate don't know what they are doing.

Lavish praise is heaped on “The Abyss”. Then, by inference, the whole banking calamity is blamed on others, including the previous Tory government (from a distance of 13 years).

Spectacular stuff.

I expect Norms view reflects that of most of the Labour party as the sleep walk their way to political oblivion. They have learned absolutely nothing from the calamities of the last few years.

There is no mention of the massive divisions within the Labour party.
No mention of the desperate coup attempts against Brown.
No mention of Iraq or the lack of kit for our lads in Afghanistan.
No mention of the under the covers immigration policy of the early 2000's.
No mention of the fact that we were first into recession and last out.
No mention of the ultra-massive national debt we have been saddled with.

When it comes down to it, the Labour party is a divided, exhausted body racked by division and discontent. On far too many occasions its MPs have put their own interests in front of the country. It is a morally bankrupt institution that deserves to be removed from office as soon as possible.

I would recommend that the authors at Labour List read “The Wisdom of Crowds” (by James Surowiecki) before they disparage the electorate again. I would also suggest that they address the concerns of these same people who they have so studiously ignored.

But whatever spin Labour List puts on Brown & Co, for the next election, fella's you're screwed.

Gastric Bands on the NHS

The has been a great deal of debate recently on the radio regarding the irregular allocation of gastric band operations across the NHS. (see here). Some areas, I imagine English health authorities, are finding it increasingly difficult to provide these operations. As any fellow cynic would suspect, the desperate measures invoked to avoid providing these operations is more due to unfair financial allocation than medical need.

I know a lot of people who read this blog feel that people who get themselves in trouble should really fix it themselves. I would therfore suspect that there may not be a great deal of sympathy for those who are massively overweight.

But think on this.

Some of these massively overweight people cost the NHS, other social services and you a fortune. They live in misery due to their condition. They need our support, but arguably not our National Insurance contributions.

Here is an idea that stands as much chance as a snowball in hell of getting actioned. You will see why in a minute.

Lets say anyone who needs one of these operations is instantly put on the list to have it done.

So, How do we pay for it. Rather, why should we pay for it?

We lend money to students, businesses, asylum seekers and dodgy foreign governments so why not lend money to the overweight so they can rectify the problem they have got themselves into. Interest free. Long payback terms.

For the massively overweight there are other questions. How much is your health worth? Why should other people pay to rectify your self imposed problems. Solving a lifestyle problem comes down to self respect. If you have a problem, you should primarily bale yourself out. That means paying for the operation.

At this point , this is where we should step in, and offer a soft loan.

Lets face it how much money has the average gastric band patient spent at Weight Watchers or on special diets? I would bet it comes down to significantly more than the cost of a gastric band operation.

Of course the concept of people paying for operations that will massively improve their lives is totally and utterly taboo. So what do we offer in exchange?


If you are lucky and you live in Scotland you will get on a list. Otherwise be prepared to die early.

What am I suggesting? Simply this. We give people who need these operations a loan which they can repay later. This loan is used to pay for the operation. Their lives are improved without damaging the ability of the NHS to address its usual health issues.

It is dishonest to pretend that the NHS can cope with every situation. It is also morally wrong for the NHS to curtail (example) cancer treatments to fund self abuse victims.

It is further, also morally wrong to discourage those same self abuse victims from solving their own problems because of political dogma.

An English Apology

Billothewisp wishes to offer is his humble gratitude to the sumptuous and magnificent leaders of our great democracy in whom we all so trust. He further wishes to say sorry. But first he needs to explain the need for this apology, particularly to the Leader of the Opposition.

Yesterday evening Billothewisp was reading assorted blogs when he came across some scurrilous CEP posters on this site. If you look you will see that they rather naughtily display statements made by the Grand Etonian and Leader-In-Waiting concerning an English Parliament. Billothewisp was somewhat non-nonplussed and could barely believe what he was reading. He rubbed his eyes in disbelief and dispaired about the direction and guidance of the Divine Leader-in-waiting, David Cameron.

To a simple and loyal Englishman such as Billothewisp, such statements show a rather alarming remoteness and aloofness from the English people. Is this Posh and extremely well fed leader merely cynically exploiting the English voters so he can pose in his kilt and brandish his Scottish ancestry to one and all? Is he, then, just a mirror image of that other Grand and Illustrious Scottish leader he wishes to replace? Worse though, is he really so adamant about standing against any possibility of democracy in England? Does he not realise the unfairness of the current situation?

Yesterday, before seeing these posters Billothewisp was considerably less likely to vote for Gordon Brown than a dead dog. But today, if the Labour party sprung up with a legitimate policy on English devolution they would gain my attention. (although luckily for the supremo-to-come, I trust the Labour party no further than I could throw John Prescott).

English people are fair and patient. But the unfairness that has been foisted upon them is beginning to rankle. Billothewisp hears many mumblings and grumblings from other members of the downcast and dirty. Today, I can assure the great Etonian that political opinions are moving among the hoards of minions.

Billothewisp doffs his cap to the great Etonian and born-to-rule future leader. He further humbly apologises for bringing up the distasteful subject of an English Parliament. But the great and the good need to be made aware of the fact there are times when you need to progress beyond the status-quo.

It is now time to move on. Otherwise, in five or ten years the plebs and serfs of England may well extract a reckoning from the political parties that deny them fair play. Worse still, there are also people and parties with ugly policies all too willing to exploit a genuine and aggravated grievance.

We expect our leaders to support fairness and democratic aspirations. We do not expect them to show a dictatorial denial of basic rights for the English, irrespective of how grubby and lower class these English serfs may be.

Parental Responsibility

Some people may find this extreme. But I make no apologies.

I've just been listening to the news. The primary story concerned two young boys in Northern England who tortured and abused two other boys of a similar age.

Disgusting and distressing stuff.

Further back in time I remember the murder of a toddler named Jamie Bulger in Liverpool by two other young boys. Both stories have similar themes of negligent and careless parenting that led the attackers onto such evil paths.

In both of these highly disturbing cases there has been the ritual hunt for “those responsible”. Those responsible, the inferred guilty parties, usually amount to the police, teachers, doctors and social workers. There may always be lessons to learn, and there may even be the occasional worker not fit for the job. But the truth is, the pilloried agencies are usually hang-tied and overwhelmed with “clients”. Most often they are doing the best they can.

Whenever you hear the phase “procedures not followed” or “inadequate procedures” it is usually code for a severe arse covering by those at a higher level. The poor bod on the front line ends up having to try and implement the resulting meaningless diktats with their massive amounts of associated form filling. All implemented mainly to protect the upper echelons of management and government from accepting any responsibility.

But I digress.

In my book, those bearing the heaviest responsibility in these awful cases are the parents of the delinquents.

Say you owned a dog that you mistreated and allowed to run wild. If that dog attacked someone, you, quite rightly, would be up in court.

People are more important than dogs.

If you drag up your children , let them smoke your cannabis and watch adult films, as these kids were, then you are responsible if they go wrong.

I believe that every time a child appears in court, their parents (plural, including absentees) should appear as well and should have to, at the very least, give an account of why they think they are not at least partly responsible for their child's problems.

In the cases I cited above I firmly believe that the parents of these feral children should go to prison. I appreciate there are times when some offspring just go wrong. But that is what we have courts for, to apportion blame where it is due.

Being a parent is a heavy responsibility that should not be taken on lightly, whimsically or (as I suspect in these cases) by accident. A parent is responsible for their children and their behaviour. Parents should be both be praised for their children's achievements and also held to account for their misdemeanour's.

There are difficult circumstances where, parents may not be available (or whatever). But simply finding excuses for not doing something because there are a few bases you cannot cover is not a recipe for either protecting our children or promoting justice.

We should not be continually looking for scape goats. The people responsible for these terrible crimes are the children AND their parents. Only when we address the whole of the problem will we ever reduce these types of crime.

The End of another English Institution

So its good-bye to Cadburys after 150 years. There is nothing wrong with the company. If fact Kraft are arguably paying over the odds for one of its competitors.

Cadburys has led the world as a fair and just employer, a visionary in Fair Trade as well as an ace confectioner. I hope Kraft is a good owner for Cadburys. But I have my doubts.

Her is a story that used to be related at most business schools. It relates to acquisitions and mergers. You can draw your own parallels.

Between the Worlds Wars, the Coca Cola company was doing OK, even during the hard times of the 20's and 30's. It has a number of competitors including Pepsi Cola, but all were really also-rans to the mighty Coca Cola. Things got so bad at Pepsi during the depression that it went bankrupt twice and was offered for sale to Coca Cola on three separate occasions. Coca Cola looked at their struggling rival and instead of buying them out, let them be. They reasoned that Pepsi would soon go bust and die. (see here)

Anyone today can see that this was about as bad a decision as you could make. Pepsi Cola has been a thorn in the side of Coca Cola ever since.

The rules of the game dictate that you take out your competitors whenever you can. You do not buy them to build them up or enhance their competitive products. You buy them up, use their niche brands where you can, and close them down.

Of course Cadburys is anything but a a struggling company. It is a vibrant business making healthy profits. Often these profit come directly from products in direct competition with those from Kraft. So, you have to ask yourself, how will Kraft gain from this deal? By building Cadburys up? Or by closing it down and taking its branding and top products as their own.

Depressing isn't it.

I do not know how many times we have got to do this in this country before someone gets the message. The government stands around with their hands in their pockets mumbling about how great globalisation is while the industry and life blood of the country gets vaporised. Rover, Corus, Redcar, BNFL and now Cadburys have all joined a very long list. How many lessons do you need?

Education and Elitism

I have some worries about David Cameron's latest comments on the future of the teaching profession ( see here ) and how he wants to make it “Brazenly Elitist”. While I have no concerns about the concept of ensuring teachers are capable, trained and fit to manage the challenges of today's schools, I do believe that the heavy emphasis on selecting future teachers by academic qualification alone, is a blind alley.

Let me take you back 40 years to my school days in a Secondary Modern school. This was a school in the middle of a large council estate and was generally regarded as a pretty tough example of its genre. With a few exceptions the teachers were qualified with the old Certificate in Education. This was the standard route into teaching in those days.

A large proportion of the teachers at my school had spent their late teens and early twenties dodging bullets and torpedoes during WW2. They were an inspirational group of individuals. I regard the education I received at my Secondary Modern school as absolutely one of the best available. I have never had any regrets about failing the Eleven plus.

There were neglected areas on the syllabus, foreign languages for example. But really, the teaching staff did extremely well. They made the school the success it was.

The school though, had no truck with any fanciful child centric nonsense that did so much damage in the 70's and 80's. For its day, and its type, it had high expectations of its pupils. All pupils irrespective of their various abilities and limitations were driven forward academically, socially, practically and on the sports field. The motivators were the same non-degree teachers who David Cameron would now bar from teaching in our schools.

I appreciate that a teacher must know their subject. But a charismatic teacher who can cover the syllabus, and motivate their pupils, is far more capable than an academic high flyer lacking world experience and social skills.

I would actually like to take things the other way. I would like to see people with real world skills and experience, but not necessarily high academic qualifications, being allowed to train and teach. Of course these would have to be charismatic and outstanding individuals. Like the teachers I was privileged to have.

Tell me. Who would be more likely to gain the instant respect of a class of 15 years olds in an inner city school. An introverted, intellectual new graduate, who had gone straight back into the education machine without ever doing anything else. Or a far less academic but proficient ex Sargent-Major (or plumber, carpenter, nurse or Lab technician for that matter).

Later on, I went on to University. Honestly, the standard of the tuition I received there was appallingly inferior to that in my old Secondary Modern. The disinterested and uncharismatic individuals whose dull rote rendition I endured at Uni were all highly qualified. David Cameron would no doubt, regard them as highly eligible candidates for the teaching profession today (although in my old school they would have lasted about 5 minutes).

We need to get a grip on what we want for our kids. Most will never be academics. They need the skills all sectors of our community can impart not just an academic elite.

I'll repeat one of my arguments.

Who is the best teacher?

The charismatic 35 year old working man with a good knowledge of his subject and extensive life experience.

or a remote young inexperienced intellectual who cannot relate to his pupils?

Some Things Never Change

"The Budget should be balanced,the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, in stead of living on public assistance."

Sound familiar?

Actually it was written by a bloke called Cicero in 55 B.C.

Maybe our Gordon "The Abyss" Brown has been an secret disciple of the ancient Roman leadership that poor old Cicero so vividly railed against.

One can only surmise that the financial management ability and leadership skills of our dear and benificient rulers, are far from unique.

The Election That Never Was

From the news today here I gather that the Labour party spent 1.2 million on the election that never was in 2007

You must remember. It went something like:
Will he?
Won't he?
Yes he will!
Ah no! He's bottled out.

Oh, how that must hurt.

Not the lost £1.2 million silly.

After all our illustrious, benevolent and thrusting leaders haemorrhage away considerably more than that in governmental waste and excess in the blink of an eye. While the £1.2 million was Labour party funds, I do not expect they have much more respect for their own coffers than the nations.

But, had they called an election then, just after they removed Blair in 2007, there would have been a very good chance that Labour would have won.

As I remember, one rumour around at the time as to why our great and kind leader-in-chief Gordon “The Abyss” Brown did not want to call an election so early, was that if he lost then he would have gone down in history as having the shortest premiership in the history of the UK.

If Labour had called an election in 2007, in all likelyhood they would have won. In which case they would now have a couple of more years in office.

This may be one of those rare occasions where a politicians ego has done us all a big favour.

A Less Than Worrying Statistic.

I follow quite a few blogs. Left, Right, Pro AGW anti AGW, environmental, scientific, technological, engineering and some just because they are sheer entertainment.

One blog I follow is LabourList. While I am hardly a supporter of Gordon (“The Abyss”) Brown and his reluctant crew , LabourList does provide an alternative viewpoint, though often mixed with wishful thinking and assorted fairy stories, depending on the day.

Tonight though, LabourList provided me with a sizeable fit of hysterical laughing (OK it was probably all due to the cider).

I know laughing at other people problems is morally offensive and I am duly ashamed. But, in a post on their site about a poll to be published tomorrow, they highlight (in a state of horror) the following:

In a worrying statistic from the poll, 59% disagree with the statement "the Labour Party has the right ideas about how to get Britain out of recession".

It is almost Pythonesque. “We ARE the ULTIMATE government machine. (unfortunately most people think we are crap)” etc. etc.

Sorry. It was really was all the fault of the cider.

The Labour Party has been in office for 13 years. It is tired, divided and poisoned by its own failed social engineering schemes. Its economic management ability would disgrace the average 10 year old. So I celebrate the great British (nay English) public for their collective wisdom. See this post about the concept of collective wisdom.

Goodbye Gordon (“The Abyss”) Brown. Please call an early election.

So, why Gordon (“The Abyss”) Brown? I was rather taken by this poster on display here at on of the blogs I follow.

Within the poster next to an image of the prime minister is the phrase "Look into the Abyss and the Abyss looks into you" ( spooky eh?) So in true Neanderthal style I thought I would filch the rather aptly named “Abyss” and nail it to the prime architect of this shambles.

Tory Defence Policy: A touch of Class

It is not often that Billothewisp feels impressed by a political interview, even more irregular are the times he is both impressed and in enthusiastic agreement.

This morning, on my usual trudge to do my my bit for the improvement of Neanderthal-kind I was listening to the radio.

At about 7.35 there was an interview with (I think) Pauline Neville-Jones. Now, while we she may well be one of the great good and extremely well fed, she spoke a great deal of sense.

Ms Neville-Jones iterated, explained and defended the current Conservative defence policy. Essentially this policy comes down to avoiding getting into any more wars. It looks to defending England and the UK rather than getting involved in any more foreign adventures. Of course this may of course all be blown off course by world events. But the prospect of having a government that puts both our country and our military above neo-colonial posturing is very appealing to me.

The military in this country have been used and abused by the Labour party for more years than I can now remember. They have used to primarily to enable the mighty King Gordo and his Clan to grandstand on the world stage. Their remit has been to intervene in and and fight other peoples wars for them. In all, even with poor equipment and appallingly awful political guidance, they have done the professional job one expects from the British Military. But really, our lads and lasses have been used a bit like a Kleenex to mop up someone else's filth. Then they are then discarded without a second thought.

When he was chancellor, Gordon Brown ensured that our military went without. Helicopter orders were either cancelled or vetoed and Defence spending was brutally used as a cash cow for the wonderful and productive schemes of the current government (none of which come to mind).

Blair, Brown and the others, then sent our troops into combat ill prepared and either without sufficient equipment or with equipment that was sometimes so old it was designed by their grandfathers.

Today the Labour Party continually tries and blame Iraq debacle on Tony Blair. But we should all remember that this is Cabinet government. In other words Gordo and all his associates (you could hardly call them mates could you?) were also enthusiastic supporters.

After listening to Pauline Neville-Jones this morning, I would have been quite happy, there and then , to pull over and vote for David Cameron.

I hope this is not a ruse, to be forgotten in government. But I must keep reminding myself, it could hardly be any worse than the known and bloody track record of the Labour party.

Obama:Repay us! Brown:Mumble,Mmmm

The banking excesses of the last few years were (at the very least), aided and abetted by our great good and benevolent leaders. They fully supported the extravaganza of self congratulation and phantom profits that made up the whole sector. This enabled them to spend money like water, without regard to the future. Simultaneously they stoodby as the manufacturing base and real wealth of the nation haemorrhaged away.

If you were to point a finger at any individual for this utter and complete cock-up it can only be pointed at the mighty Emperor Brown (dis)-ably assisted by his pals. Worse than that, at the time, they thought they were financial champions. Today, even a nine year old would find their financial acumen laughable.

The one global politician who comes out of this fairly unsullied is Barack Obama. While he may not the the darling (no pun intended) of some, he, at least, wasn't responsible for this almighty self indulgent feeding frenzy of greed.

Today Obama announced that he wants some of the money back that was used to bale out the American banks. Especially now, as the bankers are back to dishing money out to themselves as if nothing has happened.

Obama is going to implement a special tax regime to make them pay back about $100 billion they owe, over a ten year period.

Howls of outrage have ensued. See some whingeing here

But really, lets turn this around. In the unlikely event of a bank helping out an individual who was in severe financial difficulties, would they not expect to be re-paid? With interest?

When was the last time you ever heard of a bank giving money away (unless it was to its own).

Now the boot is on the other foot they can bloody well pay it back.

Good for Obama.

No sign of our grace and favoured Magnifico following suit yet though. No doubt he will wait to see how Obama gets on.

If it works, then Gordo will quietly implement a copy of Obama's proposal. He will then probably claim the idea as his own. If it fails he will enforce a smile (actually, is it a mask?) and cosy back up to his mates in the banks.

There more whingeing about Obamas plan here

An English Conspiracy

None of the main political parties have any interest in seeing a self reliant democracy flourish in England. They stonewall on the concept of an English Parliament. This is because, quite simply, it is not in their political interests to do otherwise.

This is where Billothewisp wishes to entangle you in a little conspiracy.

During election period the town centres and door-steps of England will be swamped by earnest zealots from the main parties all trying to cosy up to you to get your vote.

Lets say one of these zealots is a nice lady called Brenda.

Brenda knocks on your door and earnestly prods you like a bipedal cow to come round to vote for her Shining Path party.

Whatever you do, ensure she thinks you voted for her party last time. Give her the impression that you are planning on voting for them again.

Then, just as she is about to go away all satisfied and happy, tell her that while you are an avid supporter, you are concerned about the lack of representation for England. This might just cost them your vote.

As she turns back concerned for a wavering voter, mention the rumours you have heard about a new policy on England from another main party. Her face will drop. It will get reported back to the party office. Don't worry about the other party being as anti-English as Brenda's.

It is the rumour-mongering that counts.

Maybe if enough feedback returns to the spin doctors, then Brenda's party and its rivals may begin to grudgingly acknowledge the existence of England to try and garner these wavering votes.

Further more you may like to consider issuing a protest vote. There is little chance that an English Democrats MP would get elected at this point in time, but if you live in a solidly Labour, Conservative or Liberal seat then your vote will at least be a future thorn in the side for the England denialists. It won't make any difference to the election outcome in your seat anyway.

Thats Billothewisps scheme for a little light entertainment during election time. You never know, it might work and even if it doesn't it should prove entertaining.

School Packed Lunch Horror

On the radio (BBC 4 approx 7.35) this morning two fine, noble and gracious ladies of the class of “those who know best” expounded on the contents of primary school lunch boxes. Much to my shock and horror they informed me that, after inspection and analysis, a mere 1% of school packed lunches passed Government roster.

But there was worse to come. One of the beloved leaderenes, told us, with an obvious distaste in her tone, how these (99% delinquent) parents gave their children:



and even, (before continuing please either sit down or stand well clear of breakable objects)

Fizzy drinks.

These were of course then collectively referred to as “Unhealthy foods”. I expect the term poisons was at the forefront of the ladies minds but they backed away from that one.

The prospect of a government banning order on such items was mooted and eagerly endorsed.

During their discourse they further reported that has been a regrettible and unforeseen outcome from the inequality between these packed lunches.

The little bleeders are developing bartering skills.

You know the type of thing: one sausage roll equals two jam sandwiches.

Evidently, a chocolate bar is seen as great wealth.

While the poor kid with only carrot sticks and mung beans equates to the proverbial “Big Issue” seller in this playground bartering system.

Indeed, after further research, I was informed of one trade where some unfortunate child, with a headily nutritious and fat free lunch of lettuce, Humus, carrot sticks and Mung beans traded the whole lot for a single Rowntrees Rolo. Even then, the deal was only struck because his mate took pity on him.

Regrettably Billothewisp cannot change his ways. He still regards the odd burger or (horror of horror) a fried egg sandwich as one of life's little delicacies. To be enjoyed by child and Neanderthal alike. He thinks that giving your child a small token of your love and affection in the form of a chocolate bar or bag of crisps in their lunch box is hardly a crime.

Billothewisp also has the rather bizarre notion that giving your kids food that they detest and would rather trade for a single Rolo is more akin to child neglect than letting them have some Rolos all of their own in the first place.

Thingy cuts the Liberal Fat

Its no good. I have forgotten his name again. You know the bloke. Thrusting go-ahead leader of the Liberal party. Or is it the Liberal Democrats? Anyway, Thingy. You know who I mean. Evidently he has been gallantly grappling with his parties financial policies. See Here

That is just in case the Martians land or the sun blinks out and Liberals get elected in a couple of months.

I suppose it is a good thing though. It is positive that even those who will have no real input into the harsh economic decisions that need to be made are facing up to reality. Even the Liberals are getting a grip on the stunningly awful financial difficulties we are in.

Regrettibly our great and benificient leader, still ensconced in No 10 continues to let the country haemorrage wealth while offering a few little bribes along the way. Steve Green has kindly given us a sneak preview of the latest, a free laptop Here

Meanwhile back to Thingy. I am sure his name should have been Brian. Is it is something to do with Nicole? Nicola? Ah-Ha! Its Nick.

And his surname?

Must be Kidman.

Oh no. That was that rather elegant actress in “La Moulin Rouge”. Its something to do with Cloggs. NO! Ereka! Its Clegg.

His Name is Nick Clegg.

Uh, what was the name of his party again?

Myleene Klass brandishes Carrot cutter

Myleene Klass has been warned by the police about brandishing a knife at thieves through her window.
(see here)

Ms Klaas the piano playing singer who fronts up the rather classy M&S adverts must have been a fearsome sight as she screamed at some youths through her closed windows while brandishing a kitchen knife. The youths, engaged in the activity of burgling her shed ran off.

The ferocious Ms Klaas must weigh in at about 8 stone (wringing wet). While her lethality factor with a kitchen knife from behind plate-glass is unknown, it is common knowledge that she is a dab hand at dicing the carrots with exactly the same sort of weapon.

It is possible that the psychological scarring on the youths will run deep for years. Happily though the words Ms Klass screamed at the burglars ("I am calling the Police") were less intimidating.

Ms Klaas' only excuse to the police for such behaviour was that she was alone with her baby and was deeply frightened by the hostile intrusion onto her property.

Luckily for her, she will not be charged. I understand she was told, (off the record) by the attending officer, that he would have done much the same as she did.
But, officially she is a very bad person. She could have been charged with brandishing an offensive weapon even though she was in her own house and the burglars were outside.

Evidently, the fearsome Ms Klass should have scared the burglars off without resorting to brandishing her favourite vegetable parsing knife.

No. I have not been at the funny mushrooms. I have also checked the date and it is definitely not April 1st.

Here is another report on the ferocious knife wielding Ms Klass.

Gordon Brown: Lots of Gas
(and some salt)

Oh God.
Gordo is reassuring us that there is no threat to gas supplies. see BBC report here

If I were you I would pull-on that extra woolley jumper now before it is too late.

As I remember he also reassured us that we were “better placed” than any other country during the recent banking calamity.

Not that I would ever cast doubt on the brilliance and foresight of our marvellous tactician and mastermind but as I remember it: Were we not first into recession? And last out?.

So now “No threat to gas supplies” must mean “break out the camping gas stove”. But on the bright side you will finally get to put on that funny hat your auntie bought you 15 years ago.

But think of all the money that has been saved by not building those gas storage facilities engineers have been dripping on about for years. All that money! And now of course it has been wisely spent on “other things”.

The PM has not only promised that gas will not run out, but that road salt will “get to where it is most needed”.

As an old Neanderthal I should perhaps explain that your plebeian concept of “most needed” and that of our great magnifico are probably quite contrary to one another.

I would expect that marginal constituencies will be well catered for. If you live in a solid Tory seat though, I'd dig out the old ice skates.

This may mean that Billothewisp and associated Homo-Sapien hangers-on get some salt on their roads. After all Jim Knight, our local Labour Czar, must be getting rather anxious. The putrid and poor, living in the darkest recesses of the Purbecks may decide to dispense with his services in the near future.

A little rock salt can go a long way. Or so I am told.

Sadly though, for our beneficent and well fed leaders, Neanderthals are not wildly impressed with road salt even when scattered liberally on the frozen roads of England. Sadly the grit does nothing for the texture of roasted road-kill and even less for the complexion of British politics, especially when there isn't enough of the stuff to go round.

Slippery dangerous roads are one thing. But if the gas runs out then we really will be in trouble.

The Year No soldiers Died

BilloTheWisp listens obediently to our gracious, good, benevolent and extremely well fed leaders. He wonders at the marvels they say they shall accomplish in order to win our humble votes and patronage.

But Billothewisp recalls an achievement from another age. The Prime Minister at that long ago time was the somewhat lack-lustre Harold Wilson. He was the PM who oversaw the country during the great winding down of Britain's technological prowess and wealth in the 1960’s. Famously, he was the one who devalued the pound by a mere 20 % (Gordon take note) and then told us the pound in our pocket was still worth the same. Quite reassuring at the time

But what of this accidental though great achievement of the Harold Wilson era?

Quite simply, in 1968 no British soldiers were killed in action, either fighting our wars, or other people's. It is the only time in the whole of the history of the British army that there has been a year with no such deaths. ( see wikipedia here )

So Billothewisp, being a nostalgic, though hairy voter, would be really interested in any political party that adopted a policy that would endevour to try and emulate the 1968 achievement of Harold Wilson.

This could well entail the government deciding that fighting other people's wars, especially when there is little or no thanks at the end (like Iraq), is primarily a bad idea. It would mean the great and good would not be able to large it about on the world stage offering our soldiers as a blood sacrifice in order to get approval and applause from the other great, good and extremely well fed of the world.

The policy may also regrettably cost some money.

Particularly, the following activities are not compatible with repeating Harold Wilsons 1968 achievement.

1. Sending our airman to war in antique aircraft that spontaneously explode.
2. Arming our infantry with rifles that jam.
3. Saving a few quid by buying economy sub standard East European ammunition
4. Encouraging community amongst our soldiers by getting them to share body armour.
5. Sending soldiers out on patrol in vehicles designed in the 1950’s
6. Being economical and penny-pinching on buying and using helicopters.

It is highly likely that after the next election, the provision of decent equipment for our armed forces will be seriously curtailed and the current defence budget will be cut even below the historically low level of less than 2.5% GDP.

There does not appear to be any wish by any political party to reduce commitments.

So it seems likely that in order to maintain the applause and approval from the other great, good, powerful and extremely well fed, our leaders will continue to commit British soldiers to fighting othe peoples wars. Inevitably they will still be armed with vintage or economy kit.

It looks like Harold Wilsons achievement from the 1960’s will not be repeated anytime soon.

The Death Of Redcar Steelworks

Redcar Steelworks is due to shutdown this month. So ends another chapter of British (dare I say English) Industry.

Redcar is (was) a fine productive plant with an excellent and proud workforce. But their industry and their livelihoods have been sacrificed to the great God of Globalisation.

To say this is a brutal culling would be the understatement of the century. The truth is that Redcar Steelworks is worth more dead than alive to its new masters .

Read these pages and weep.

Steel Strip A trade website. Describes the tragedy

Climate Realists More on the despicable closure with particular reference as to who makes LOTS of money from it.
(Warning. This will make you angry).

Labour Home Particulary read the comments here.
I am left bereft of understanding how the people making these deeply felt comments can still get up and support the likes of Gordon Brown.

While this country continues to get screwed like this there is little hope that we will ever turn things around.

Why has this been allowed to happen?

The Wisdom Of Crowds

I like fresh thinking from the political parties. They all brag about new policy ideas, but most are simply regurgitated ideas from many moons ago.

So I was particularly drawn to this BBC News Article on the Tory idea for a £100000 prize for the design of a website that could harness the collective ability of large groups of people. The idea is to enhance policy making and avoid the catastophes so common when governement put their trust in narrow bands of experts or consultants. Often all that then emerges from the ensuing calamity is a very large bill..

While the idea of a prize may be just another bit of political window dressing, the concept of "The Wisdom Of Crowds" is major step forward in political thinking and is well worth further investigation and investment. If you have not read it, I highly recommend the book which is central to this.

Unsurprisingly the title of the book in question is "The Wisdom of Crowds" and was written by James Surowiecki. It really is an eye opener. I read it a couple of years ago and it made me question a great many of my long held views on how things should be done.

The basics of Surowiecki's book is that a narrow base of experts is less likely to arrive at the optimum solution to a problem that a larger group. In fact it is almost always the case that the larger group comes up with the better solution. The book goes on to analyse failings due to bullying, peer pressure and the concept of the false committee which is really a dictatorship of yesmen(women). It is really interesting stuff that could possibly make major inroads into the incompetence and cronyism that besets out democracy.

Democracy is also one of the aspects of "The Wisdom of Crowds". The book helps explain why democracy is so successful when compared to the sundry forms of dictatorship available.

I hope the Conservatives stick with this and get it off the ground. It was sad to see the other parties resorting to spiteful triviality.

Perhaps they need to read the book.

Boiler Scrappage Scheme

Billothewisp gives one cheer to the Labour party for the Boiler Scrappage Scheme.

Getting rid of old inefficient boilers does have a semblance of common sense about. But really they hardly deserve even one cheer for this paltry penny-pinching scheme.

Lets do a spin analysis.

Changing old boilers for a more efficient new ones is a good idea. It will reduce gas consumption and also reduce pollution.

But now comes the crunch.

The government has allocated £50 Million for the whole scheme. Thats 125000 boilers. I am also assuming the admin costs are zero (don't fall about laughing)

In England There are about 3.5 Million old boilers. (see Guardian report here)

So that makes this wonderful scheme cover less than 4% of the boilers needing replacement.

Of course then there are all the rituals and intrusions associated with any form of government grant.

1. Read the rules and regulations.
2. Send off for an application pack
3. Probably wait as they have run out/getting printed/lost you request
4. Try desperately to fill in in the forms
5. Ring the help desk to figure out exactly what information they need. Wait for 20 minutes on hold each time. Help desk is overloaded or theres a system failure etc. etc etc.
6. Repeat item 5 until done or you give up.
7. Get quotes from from approved installers. All of whom will bump up the price when you indicate you need to send the quotes off for scrappage scheme.
8. Send off application and associated quotes. (at last)
9. Wait for approval.
10. Wait for approval.
11. Wait for approval
12. Wait even longer for approval due to a "system error"
13. Finally you phone. Wait 20 minutes to be told you need to send more information.
14. Do you qualify? Maybe go through some appeals process.
15. Find the cheapest installer has now gone bust
16. Try and change installer.
17. Get no reply.
18. Hang on the phone for another 20 minutes listening to Vivaldi.
19. Find out their systems cannot cope with a change of installer after approval.
20. Repeat items 1-19 until either you succeed/give up/commit suicide.

At the end of this shambles you have to pay up front. Then send off for approval. Finally get you certificate for £400.

Now there is another Neanderthal way of doing things.

Being simple creatures, Neanderthals hate form filling. They also rage against having petty pumped up unnecessary bureaucrats intruding into the private life. They hate jumping through assorted hoops for the pleasure and grandeur of the great good and extremely well fed. We despise being conned into providing a spin opportunity for those who so beneficiently rule over us.

This simple Neanderthal would do this instead:

Make all British built A rated boilers VAT zero rated. Job Done.

No need for forms/inquiries/multiplequotes/call handling centres/approval/rejection/etc etc

A new A rated Boiler installation will cost say, between 2000 and 3000. On average say, 2500.

VAT on a £2500 bill at 17.5% = £437.50.

I rest my case.

CO2 and Indonesian Peat Fires

GreenFudge is broadly a pro AGW blog. i.e. they support the theory of man-made global warming. Whatever you may feel about that, their blog makes interesting reading.

I picked up the following quote from This GreenFudge Post

Deforestation is responsible for 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and the draining of peat forests or peat bogs releases even more CO2 than deforestation does.
[end quote]

Now to me, that sounds like 20% + 20% plus a bit more or about 45 % of total man-made Carbon Dioxide emissions. This incidently roughtly correlates with Al Gores "An Inconvenient Truth", although he places the figure at 30 % and spends less than 1 minute on it. Also the original Sheffield University research into the burning of the Indonesian peat forests in 1997 is illuminating. Sheffield University placed the burning Indonesian peat forest as contributing between 15 and 45% to the global total of AGW CO2.

So anyway, an minimum of say one fifth up to about one half of CO2 emissions come from either burning Indonesian peat forests or Brazilian and African rain forest.

The burning of the Indonesian Peat bogs are particularly useless. This all came about because 20-30 years ago, the Indonesian government decided to drain the massive Indonesian Peat forests in order to plant other crops.

The forests, based on peat, that in places are 30 meters thick and are over 30,000 years old spontaneously caught fire. This was a very big deal in the Far East in the late 90’s /2000’s when the smoke and pollution caused massive problems to Indonesia and surrounding countries. We heard little in England but see Reuters report here and Wikipedia here

The current Indonesian problems are being compounded by the useless rituals we have encouraged like getting them to grow Palm oil to replace diesel and petrol.

We also know the deforestation, due to slash and burn farming practiced by the poor, as they strive (and usually fail) to get a better living in places like Brazil and Africa, causes immense local and global problems.

Yet, are we really concerned about these massive and useless causes of pollution? Would it not be the most appropriate and easy to fix items to put on the agenda? Should these not essentially be absolutely top No 1, 2 and 3 on that agenda?

Unfortunately not.

Now compare this to the total amount of global CO2 emissions from air traffic which from this source is 3.5%. (that includes the aircraft enhancer by the way)

Slash and Burn farming contributes nothing to the environment or mankind, and very little to the poor sods doing it.

Air travel though does serve a useful purpose and is massively important for humanity and will be more so in the future.

Seriously addressing the issue of poor exploited farmers in Indonesia who are ruining the environment both locally and globally though ignorance and poverty really should be the top priority. Instead all that happens is The Great and The Good posture and pose over (for example) air transport.

Say you were able to cut air transport by 50% a year. This 50% cut would equate to reducing deforestation and slash and burn by less than 4%.

If you were to do away with air transport altogether for a whole year it would be like extinguishing the burning peat and forest fires for about 25 days.

Let us, at least, get our priorities right.

East Stoke Wind Turbines, Dorset

If you drive from Weymouth towards Wareham you pass a pub called the Red Lion at Winfrith Newburgh. Just after passing the pub, keep a look out to your left. About a mile back from road you will see a square pale-blue building mostly hidden by trees. This inconspicious building, in need a a paint job, is the remains of Winfith Atomic Energy Establishment. This was a research reactor (or reactors as there was more than one). It was not designed primarily to provide electricity to the National Grid but still, it regularly and routinely provided 62MWe. It was shut down early few years ago essentially due to the unfashionability of nuclear power at the time.

Continue on your journey to East Stoke. You will pass a beautiful 19th century church on a corner. Just near here a large corporation is planning to build three huge wind-turbines. Each one would be higher than Salisbury Cathedral and would produce a derisory amount of power (just over 2MWe each, and thats at full stretch). In fact in order to provide anything like a reliable source of power you need three wind turbines scattered across the country to provide the continuous rating of one. Even then you do not get anything like a guarantee of continuity.

But lets be kind. East Stoke would essentially provide, in total, on average, 2MWe continuous. To say that these things would be more intrusive and less productive than the old Winfrith nuclear plant would be the understatement of the decade. To match the power output of Winfrith (which was a tiddler, remember) East Stoke would need no less than 30 turbines of a similar size all running at full tilt.

Don't forget though that this never happens. You would need another 60 wind turbines scattered across the country to try and provide a semblance of continuity.

But it gets worse. Wind turbines, like all rotating machinery break down and need to be repaired and serviced. But unlike steam generating plant, they operate in an uncontrollable and chaotically variable environment. Consequently they will break down and need to be serviced more often than equivalent steam generating plant. You will always have a significant number out of service (even if the wind is blowing). It is easy to see the total number of windturbines (each the height of Salisbury Cathedral) needed to replace the very small nuclear reactor at Winfrith would number at least 100 (maybe many more)

The abortion they plan to impose on the people of East Stoke would essentially provide approximately 3% of the power produced of the old redundant research reactor at Winfrith.

This is lunacy.

The above is only one of many the arguments against the mass employment of wind turbines generally and specifically at the little village of East Stoke. I will come to many, many, more in future posts.

Wind turbines do have their place. Remote communities far from the grid may well benefit. But seriously, to try and use them to provide a significant proportion of energy to the National Grid is absurd. The only people gaining are the power companies (nice subsidies eh?) and the the political zealots. The people of East Stoke will be left to go to hell. Not only that they will end up subsidising this madness in their electricity bills.

You can find out more information about various campaigns against these pitiful modern day follys here at DART (Dorset Against Rural Turbines).

I hasten to add that while I fully support DART I am not a member or otherwise associated with them and these are strictly my thoughts. (Although I may decide to join up soon!)

Neighbours Entrails Intact

My thanks to Steve Green for including me in his blog-roll and especially for creating a rather good new icon for BilloTheWisp. I feel torn between Steves new icon and the original old Neanderthal BilloTheWisp. Consequently, from now on I have decided that BilloTheWisp is going to have a split personality and veer from fundamental Neanderthalism through to an etherial Englishness. The exact choice will be highly dependant on the amount of cider I have had to opportunity to consume that evening.

In Neanderthal BilloTheWisp mode I should report that I have had some complaints about using a neighbours entails for forcasting the events of the new year (BilloTheWisps Crystal Ball for 2010)

There are those who feel that sacrificing one of my neighbours for the rather dubious data retrieved was somewhat over the top. However I can reassure everyone that nobody actually lost their life.

I can further relay the happy news that the neighbour concerned will be out of intensive care before the end of the week with his entrails fully restored to their proper location.

Finally as a precursor to a set of posts on Globalisation and Foreign Aid, I will post a statement I heard many years ago from a bitter retired career diplomat. I also saw this repeated almost word for word in a Spectator article Here.

The old guy said:

Foreign aid is really just an excellent way to get the poor in rich countries to subsidise the lifestyles and excesses of the rich in poor countries.

It may be an extremely cynical and pessimistic viewpoint but, unfortunately it has some echoes of truth about it. I'm going to beat this about a bit as is my want in future posts.

Particularly I want to examine how the average Joe usually gets screwed irrespective of whether he lives in Dorchester or Mumbai. But more on that on another day.

Cartoons rather than Hospices

Naomi House Hospice in Winchester Hampshire, provides terminally ill children and their families with care and support not available from the NHS. It is an honest, ethical and immensly worthwhile charity.

They had some funds ready to invest in an extention and to provide additional services. Because Naomi House is run by conscientous people they took sensible precautions and invested the 5.7 million in a cash account in a triple A registered bank. It also offered a good rate of interest. At the time nobody envisaged the sub-prime catastophe or that the chosen Icelandic bank would default.

So, in the grand catastrophe brought about by ravenously greedy men and supine, “bought and paid for” governments, led by our own, a small massively worthwhile charity in Winchester loses all its money.

Now let this simple Neanderthal ask you this. If you could help out Naomi House Hospice or spend the money on say, a trite global warming cartoon which should it be?

Now guess which one Gordon Brown and his pals chose.

This cartoon with a little girl being read a story by her dad and animated with drowning dogs and cats cost slightly more than the total of Naomi house money lost by the triple A rated Icelandic bank. Six million pounds in fact. See Here

The last news story I picked up on the Naomi House tradegy was published in Novemeber Here. It looks like they may get half the money back in about 4 years.

Are you happy about that?
Do you think that it is fair?
Is this cartoon a worthwhile use of taxpayers money?
Fundimentaly: Is this cartoon more important than the work done by Naomi House Hospice?

If you feel like me that this is actually an outrage, and a travesty of natural justice then perhaps you should sign Steve Greens petition to No 10 Here. I have.

It is disgraceful that a wonderful institution like Naomi house has to survive on charitable donations anyway. The fact that they were not immediately re-imbursed by the governemnt borders on criminal neglect. The fact that money can then be found for this pathetic propagandising piece of trash simply make me howl with rage.

All I can finally say is that if you feel that this is fair and reasonable behaviour by our bunch of ruling incompetents, then perhaps you should go forth and read a different blog.