First Past the Post and Tribalism

On my post about how George Galloway won the 2005 Bethnal Green and Bow seat during the 2005 General Election, I described how FPTP was responsible for foisting an extremist candidate on the 65% of the electorate that did not vote for him. During the research for this post I noticed another very worrying issue related to FPTP.

Look at the result below from Bethnal Green General Election result 2010. Remember Bethnal Green has a very large (approx 34%) Bangladeshi community. However this is still by any standards a minority. Besides this large single community the rest of the borough is diverse.

Below is the demographics of Tower Hamlets which incorporates Bethnal Green.

Notice in the first table how most of the candidates in the 2010 General Election have Bangladeshi names even though the Bangladeshi community is a minority in the borough. While I am more than happy for all communities who are settling in the UK to strive to become part of this country (and that includes standing for parliament), I am worried that the candidates in this case, were not selected on ability but on their ability to command a large tribal vote.

Galloway demonstrated the under FPTP any electoral victor in Bethnal Green had to command the tribal vote of the Bangladeshi community. Consequently, in 2010 all the main parties presented Bangladeshi candidates, even though 65% of the seat is not Bangladeshi. Of course, each party would, no doubt, protest that their candidate really was the best candidate they had, but really it seems unreasonable that all top polling candidates have Bangladeshi names.  The candidate list has been stuffed in order to win the Bangladeshi vote on racial grounds not on policy grounds.

First Past The Post is highly sensitive to block voting. In the real world of the UK today we have  a number of communities who are prepared to vote according to what they are told to do or what they tribally fell obliged to do.

AV would have prevented the election of George Galloway and it would negate the need for political parties to select candidates on racial rather than ability grounds.

FPTP is yesterdays voting system. It is not capable of meeting the challenges of a modern society. It need to be replaced. Voting for AV is an opportunity to significantly improve the democracy in our country.

Vote for AV on Thursday.

A Dual Dictatorship of Vested Interest

Because of the First Past The Post voting system, minority party supporters are given no option but to use tactical voting to remove an unpopular MP. Voters unlucky enough not to support either of the two main candidates are  left with no option but to vote for the least worst choice.

Emerging parties get starved of recognition and their policies go unnoticed or ignored.

The major parties regularly ignore anything that does not suit their policies or backers. We end up with a dual dictatorship where the electorate have only a tenuous choice between two monoliths. Each monolith is directed by the party zealots who ignore the obvious wishes of the electorate. Both main parties have little synergy to the real wishes of voters. The monoliths pay far more attention to their financial backers than the electorate. The electorate can go to hell.

We end up with a government completely divorced from the realities and wishes of most people.

Take well known examples of common electorate concerns:

Justice and Crime
Social Security Abuse
Defence over-stretch
Foreign Aid abuse

How many of those concerns are even given a passing nod from the ruling elite?

Neither of the main parties pay the least attention to what the people really want but go off and pursue what their activists wish to implement. Occasionally they may throw a few propaganda crumbs to the masses, but that is all. Without the visibility of minor party votes, without the guarantee that each MP is supported by at least 50% of the constituency, we end up with a pallid monoculture where it is difficult to distiguish between the career politicians or their policies.

If our country is to move out of this quagmire of apathy that embraces our political system, we must replace the obsolete and corrosive First Past the Post voting system. The Alternative voting system is not perfect but it is far far better than what we currently endure.

On Thursday - vote for AV.

First Past the Post and Extremism

While First Past the Post can deny due recognition to minority parties, it is also, paradoxically, far more vulnerable to  extremist manipulation than AV.

Minor party supporters who vote with their conscience, waste their vote. If they vote tactically, they deny their preferred candidate support. People usually vote with their conscience. While this is highly honourable, it can let the extremists in by the back door.

The most recent example of this was the election of George Galloway for the seat of Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005. Galloway represented the so-called Respect Party. If you have any doubts about the extreme nature of Respect, which is essentially an umbrella organisation for various extreme left wing and Islamic groups, have a look at WikiPedia Page Here.

The Bethnal Green and Bow constituency has a large proportion of Bangladeshi immigrant voters. It appears they voted en-masse for Galloway due to the Islamic identity of Respect and also because the incumbent Labour MP (Oona King) was a Black woman of Jewish-Afro-Caribbean ancestry.

Even so, Galloway only secured 35% of the vote. But he won with a majority of 823 over Oona King.

If this had been a AV election Galloway would have had to make it to 50%. I find it difficult to believe that if the Liberal and Conservative vote had been redistributed with AV that Galloway would have won.

The end result was that the 65% of good people of Bethnal Green and Bow ended up being represented by an extremist party, rather than the capable Oona King.

Pro FPTP supporters often moan about how with AV, the second (or even third) choice on the first ballot may potentially win. Well, I reckon the majority of the  people of Bethnal would have been overjoyed to see such a "travesty" in 2005.

Interestingly in the 2010, Labour regained the seat - with an Asian candidate who replaced Oona King. Many have commented on how Labour cynically sold out to the inherent racism of the Bangladeshi community in Bethnal simply to regain the seat.  With FPTP they had to.

I understand Oona King was promoted to the House of Lords (Baroness King of Bow) but I understand, from several sources from she was a considerable loss to mainstream British politics

Below is the Bethnal election result for 2010. You will see the emergence of another extremist party - the BNP. They may have only gained gained 2.5% of the vote, but it is a foothold. People who are disenfranchised by FPTP are easy pickings for extremists. Perhaps what the BNP hope for is that one day, due to the unfairness of FPTP they may, on a fluke, secure 35% of the vote and so gain the seat - just like George Galloway.

Maybe that's the reason the BNP among others, are so keen to see AV voted down.

We must replace FPTP. It is a decrepit system ill suited to a modern democracy. AV is far from perfect but it stands head and shoulders above FPTP.

Tactical Voting, AV and First Past the Post

Supporters of FPTP often promote tactical voting as a way minority party supporters can make their vote count.

While tactical voting under FPTP can obviously give a minority party supporter a greater influence over the outcome of a FPTP election, it is at a huge cost to the voters real desire.

With tactical voting under FPTP, the voter must personally transfer their vote without it first being counted for the minority party the voter would prefer. The result of this is that the actual true support for the minority candidate is not reflected in the election result. The positive policy preferences of the tactical voter are left hidden. The major parties, which are inevitably the beneficiaries of tactical voting, carry on their chosen paths without reference to the real but hidden wishes of significant sections of the electorate.

Smaller but important parties are ignored, simply because they appear to have no support. As far as their true wishes are concerned, the  tactical votes of the minority party supporters have gone down the drain.

The tactical voter has to guess where the most effective place for his vote is going to be. Remember while this is essentially their second preference vote it may up being cast for their third or fourth choice. The tactical vote is rarely a vote of support or preference. It will be a vote against the candidate the voter perceives as the less desirable potential winner.

While any form of voting is better than abstention, it is far better for people to vote for who they prefer rather than vote against those they dislike. That is why the 1,2,3 etc of AV is so important.

Finally and arguably the most important advance given by AV is that it is inclusive. It gives everyone a chance to see their vote count. People who would not bother voting because they dislike the concept of tactical voting, because of its usual negativity, will be enfranchised and more likely to vote.

The country is currently on a slippery downward slope. Less and less people vote in general elections and even fewer in council elections. Something must be done to defeat the apathy and re-enfranchise the disillusioned.

Tactical voting has some very large negatives associated with it. It is in no way a substitute for a proper transferable voting system like AV. AV is not perfect but it is far better than FPTP. AV is a way for the political establishment to re-engage with the electorate.

Vote for AV on May 5th.

First Past The Post and Vote rigging

Regrettably, things have changed in our country. Voting fraud is now no longer a rarity. Crooks have realised how vulnerable FPTP is to Gerrymandering and vote stuffing.

In council elections both main parties have indulged in despicable practices to boost their candidates. There is strong evidence that even during the last General Election major corruption was evident.

The May 5th FPTP/AV referendum only relates to parliamentary elections, but the scams and criminality of some council elections serve as a useful window into the dark world of subverting democracy - and how fragile FPTP is to such scams.

Of course, whatever the voting system, such activities are totally reprehensible.

But the facts of life are just this: It is easy to "game" FPTP.

Vote rigging in our country is easy, almost undetectable and already seriously undermining the confidence of the electorate.

In my last post (HERE) I detailed four such scams. Unfortunately this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Here I will detail a couple more that have resulted in prosecution or at least controversy. I would put money on that for every scam found out, ten go undiscovered.

So why is AV more resilient than FPTP? I went through the main mechanisms used by fraudsters in my last post (HERE). But here is a brief resume about the most common fraud - Vote stuffing

Vote stuffing involves falsly registering phantom electors Then the fraudster usually uses the bogus postal vote. The type of seat/ward that is particularly vulnerable to this is where there is a sizeable third/fourth vote and the two leading parties are closely matched.

Because, in FPTP, all the votes for the third/fourth parties are essentially wasted, stuffing the ballot by a handful of false votes may well be enough to tip the balance. With AV the need to reach 50% from either direct votes or transfers renders most vote stuffing scams totally ineffective. Stuffing the ballot by (say) 100 votes will be totally swamped by the thousands of reallocated votes from the second preference votes.

With FPTP, a General Election can be decided by a few swing seats. Due to the nature of FPTP this means that in a close election the result is determined by a few thousand geographically critical votes. The trouble is now that the infection of disonesty is so ingrained into some communities within this country that those few thousand voters may only be imaginary. Mere figments of a criminal plan.

Two More Scam Examples:

One of the scams below resulted in jail sentences for the fraudsters. At least the second must have given the crooks a few sleepless nights.

1. Birmingham City Council 2005 (Labour)

This was a major fraud mainly involving vote stuffing (via postal ballot) and Personation (where known non-voters have their unused vote stolen). Six Labour councillors were found guilty of fraud. The judge famously described the fraud as: "that would disgrace a banana republic". This fraud was only viable because of the fragility of FPTP to vote stuffing. With AV the second choice votes would have overwhelmed anything but a massive (and one would hope) easily discoverable fraud.

The Times article on this fraud can be found HERE. The Times described this as the most corrupt election since the Victorian era. The BBC article on this fraud is HERE.

2. Tower Hamlets General Election 2010 (Labour)

A criminal investigation into vote stuffing before the 2010 general election found that there were over 5000 new applications for a postal vote at the very last minute. In the news reports (below) are reports of 18 freshly registered "voters" living in a single flat. Several Labour councillors appeared to have numerous new voters registered at their address.
This though was only one of 28 criminal investigations across the Capital. Anti-sleaze campaigner Martin Bell said: ‘There is actually a possibility that the result of the election could be decided by electoral fraud.'
The Daily Mail article on this can be found HERE

Many will rail against changing our voting system simpy because it is open to abuse. But really, democracy MUST be defended. The crooks MUST be defeated.

AV would make life much harder for the crooks to get their way.

I personally think AV is a better system for many reasons. But top of the list is its resilience against vote rigging.


First-Past-The-Post, AV and Fraud

In the current debate on which voting system we should adopt, nobody seems concerned about how resilient each system is to fraud.

I hope to show here (with examples) that one of the major issues with the current system (FPTP) is that it is wide open to Gerrymandering, Vote Stuffing and other forms of election fraud.

Proportional vote systems of just about any variety are much less sensitive to ballot rigging. This includes AV.

In recent times there has been major ballot rigging by both the Conservatives and Labour, you can guarantee that for every fraud that is discovered there are another ten that go unnoticed.

All of the all the fraud schemes are based around manipulating small numbers of votes or voters. These frauds will only work effectively if you have a flawed voting system like FPTP.

Example 1
Gerrymandering (or Manipulation of Demography.)
(Used By Conservatives, Westminster Council 1990)

The conservative council moved council tenants out of marginal wards into wards already strongly Labour, thus nullifying the vote of those moved. The council then sold the properties to owner occupiers, who, they assumed were more likely to vote Conservative. In this way they gamed the system so they made a small reduction to the Labour support base and at the same time made a potential small increase to the support base for the Conservatives. The fraud then relied on the fact that much of the vote went to other parties and was essentially wasted. A manipulated but tiny change in voter demography in these marginal seats gave the Conservatives a massive electorial advantage.

The net result of this scam was that the Conservative won the marginals. Labour increased their share of the vote in their strongly Labour wards but lost the marginal seats.

This scam is only effective with FPTP. With AV the second choice votes would come into effect and and it is highly unlikely that Westminster council could have changed the demographics anywhere near enough to game AV.

The Conservative Westminster Council only got caught because they were so blatent about it (politicians conceit again) I suspect that this methodolgy has been used on numerous occasions by both major parties, but with a little less arrogance and a little more concealment.

The leader of Westminster Council (Dame Shirtly Porter) was fined £37 million and stripped of here title.

Details of this scam are   HERE (Independent) and HERE (Wikipedia)

Example 2.
Vote Stuffing 
(Used by the Labour Party 2010 general election - unproven but highly likely)

Vote stuffing has a number guises. The most common is fraudulent postal voting. It works by the fraudster(s) registering fictitious residents into a marginal seat or ward. Each of these fictitious residents gets a postal vote. Because the votes for third parties are essentially wasted, these few fraudulent votes can swing the balance of the vote. According to Lady Warsi, The Conservatives lost three seats in the 2010 election due to postal vote stuffing.

Again this is only an effective scam under FPTP where the winner can win with a small percentage of the vote. With AV the second choice votes would mean that any candidate would need 50% of the reallocated vote to win. To stuff the vote to the extent as to counteract the transferred votes as well  would be untenable.

Lady Warsi's allegation is Here (Telegraph)

Articles on occurences of Postal vote fraud can be found HERE , HEREHERE and HERE

Example 3  
Granny Farming
(Used by Conservatives, Bedford Borough Council 2005)

With Granny farming, older vulnerable residents, who under normal circumstances would not vote, are persuaded to give their vote to a proxy. This proxy themn uses the vote to their advantage. This is a variant of Vote Stuffing and there have since 2005 been put in place some controls (i.e. a proxy can only act for one other person not many as was the case).
Like other forms of vote stuffing this scam is only effective under FPTP. In AV due to the need for the winner to secure 50% of the vote, manipulating a few votes is far less likely to affect the outcome.

Article on Granny Farming can be found HERE

Example 4.
(Used by the Labour Party, Glasgow North By-Election 2009)

When a party has a secure seat it is only vulnerable to voter apathy (i.e. people failing to turn up to vote) Personation is where the fraudster turns up and pretends to be someone else and uses the other persons vote, assuming that that person will not show. This is a desperate and dangerous version of vote stuffing and like all forms of vote stuffing is only effective under FPTP.

Article on Personation at the Glasgow North By election is HERE

I could go on and on.

Unfortunately election fraud is no longer a freak event in our country. One of the main reasons for this rise in fraud is simply because the FPTP voting system is so fragile and open to criminal manipulation.

It is considerably more difficult to game any form of proportional representation system simply because with AV you cannot win with a small share of the vote, you have to get 50% from direct votes or transfers.

That reason alone should mean we choose AV.

But FPTP also can foul up on a grand scale even without fraud. If you've not read them, have a look at my posts on the elections of 1929, 1951,  1974. Particularly look at 1951 where the Conservative Party that formed the government with an absolute majority, actually got a smaller  share of the national vote than Labour party.

Reasons For AV - 1974

The first election of  1974 was held in February. It was all about who ruled the country.

Was it the elected government?

Or Authur Scargill and the NUM?

Ted Heath, the Conservative Prime minister called the election after a wave of strikes. He made it plain that the issue of who governed the country was the primary issue in the election.

But instead of getting the government with the highest popular vote, the country got the loser.

It got Harold Wilson.

Wilson's Labour Party won the most seats, even though they got a smaller share of the vote than the Tories. Because they got the most seats they were given the first opportunity to form a government

Wilson,  on the day of the election called a surrender parley with Arthur Scargill and the TUC to ensure the security of his minority government.

He then went on to form the Lib-Lab pact, (a poor mans coalition).

The country was in crisis. It needed popular leadership.

It got a coalition of losers. Courtesy of First Past The Post.

Heath was not asked to form the government because the Tories had won fewer seats than the Labour party. Even though the Tories had a greater share of the popular vote. What a travesty.

Wilson, the grand appeaser, forced a false boom and then held another snap election in October 1974. This time he won legitimately though at terrible cost to the nations wealth.

The country got a supine Labour  administration that sleep walked the country though devaluation and economic collapse when the country  really should have got something a little more "popular" and dare I say, effective.

The country ended up on a rudderless pre-Thatcherite course to the Winter of Discontent. Internally riven by extremists and in the middle of the depths of the cold war the country was, as in 1929 and 1951, bankrupt. It remained that way for a long time.

The current First Past the Post system abjectly failed this country in 1926, 1951 and 1974. The intrinsic flaws in FPTP and particularly its sensitivity to swing seats mean it will fail again unless replaced.

FPTP has the potential to randomly foist either a coalition of losers or (much worse - as in 1951) promote a government with an absolute majority that clearly came second in the election.

FPTP must be replaced. To simply go along with the current system would be to fossilise our democracy and deny our children the right to a dynamic forward looking democracy.

There is only one way to vote in this referendum. Vote for fairness. Vote for AV.

Reasons For AV - 1951

Due to the flaws of the First Past The Post (FPTP) voting system, the 1951 General Election returned a Conservative Government with an absolute majority, even though they actually got a smaller share of the national vote than the Labour Party.

By any measure, such an event must be regarded as a catastrophe for democracy, and it was all down to the FPTP voting system.

Both the Tories and Labour increased their share of the vote but Labour clearly gained the largest share of the national vote.  But the conservatives gained the most seats.

Not only did the Conservative gain the most seats, they gained an absolute majority.

No prizes for spotting the horrendous anti-democratic outcome of the 1951 election below. All thanks to FPTP.

Image -Wikipedia

In 1926 and in 1974 the country was also ill served by the FPTP voting system that promoted the losing party to be the leading party in a minority government. Essentially the system promoted a losers coalition.

The election of 1951 was much worse.

Here the full potential horror of FPTP was realised. The loser not only went on to form a government but also governed with an absolute majority. Essentially governing against the wishes of the electorate.

Never again should we risk the catastophe of 1951 and having a government that, by a fluke of the FPTP voting system was totally illegitimate.

What has happened in the past can happen again, unless we replace this flawed FPTP system.

There is only one way to vote in this referendum. Vote for AV.

More on the 1951 election can be found on Wikipedia HERE

Reasons For AV - 1929

The 1929 General Election was a First-Past-The-Post election.

The national majority voted for Stanley Baldwin.

But they got  Ramsay McDonald.

Here is the result. There are no prises for spotting the flaw in this election

Baldwin was not given the opportunity to try and form a government, even though his party had the most votes.

McDonald's minority government, initially supported by the  Liberals, eventually collapsed.

Although McDonald desperately tried to do the best by the country, his 1929 victory was illegitimate. McDonald had no popular mandate.  

Remember McDonald's minority government was initially supported by the Liberals. This was a coalition. But it was a coalition of losers. The most popular party was not given the opportunity to try and form a government.

Although the Conservative Party had secured the highest share of the vote it did not win the most seats. It did not win the most seats because of the quirks and flaws of FPTP.

It is a misconception to suggest that coalitions are a peculiarity of AV. They can and do occur under FPTP, in fact exactly as we have now. But with FPTP it is more likely than with AV that the coalition will be formed from the losers rather then the party that got the most votes and a subsidiary.

The current FPTP System has failed this country and needs to be replaced. To simply go along with the current system would be to fossilise our democracy and deny our children the right to a dynamic forward looking democracy.

There is only one way to vote in this referendum. Vote for AV.

When First-Past-The-Post Failed Us

On May 5th, we go to referendum on which voting system we should use.

The choice, as we all know, is between the Alternative Vote (AV) or First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) which we use now.

I believe we should adopt AV, primarily because FPTP has an intrinsic flaw that can defeat democracy.

The First-Past-The-Post system has on three separate occasions in recent history, resulted in the party with the largest slice of the popular vote failing to get the most seats.

On one of these occasions the loser was even able  to form a government with an absolute majority.

The other two travesties ended up with a "losers coalition", where the most popular party was not even given the opportunity to try and form a government first.

These general elections took place  1929, 1951 and 1974.

(WikiPedia links here - 1929  1951 1974 )

Each of these elections was technically "won"  by a party that not only had failed to secure a majority of the vote but had also  failed to even secure the largest single share of the vote.

Because of the invidious way FPTP dictates that  a few swing seats can decide who rules the country, in each of these elections, the party that should have gone on to form the government, (gauged by the total national vote), ended up as the opposition.

Even by the ideal of FPTP these elections were a travesty. But by using FPTP as the voting system, such undemocratic results were, and will be in the future, inevitable.

But actually it was worse than that.

For each of these elections was at a critical time in the history of our nation. Each of these elections failed the electorate, diminished our country and led to weak indecisive government.

My next three posts will detail each of these catastophes.

Another Green Energy Scam

So, you think wind power is counter-productive, unreliable, and a vacuous waste of time and money?

OK, while I would agree with you, there are (believe it or not) even worse Green scams doing the rounds.

Top of the list must surely be Palm Oil.

When it comes to sheer greed, exploitation and avarice, the Palm Oil scam makes the average band of wind farm shysters look like a bunch of choir boys who've drunk too much shandy.

Like Wind Power, Palm oil sounds so Green. So nice. So warm and cosy.

In the case of palm oil, you grow oil rich plants, harvest them and use the oil as biodiesel, or food or animal feed... evidently the list is endless. Here is  a   Prime Promoter  of the wonders of Palm Oil

Hmmmmm. Wonderful.

The only catch is that you need somewhere to grow your oil palms.

Just like our own green bigots who would allow any travesty, any crime to be perpetrated on local communities so they can get their way, so has been the case with Palm oil.

Ten years ago, when the Palm Oil barons started to trash the environment for their particular fix for the "Global Emergency" (sic) - they did it in spades.

Oil Palms grow best in warm humid climates. Around the tropics. You know, just where all that pesky rain forest is.

So our great and benificient Oil Palm saviours decided to clear virgin rain forest in order to grow their Oil Palms, along with any annoying villages that might get in the way. Only recently has this been stopped, or at least reduced.

Another classic case of destroying the environment in order to save it.

This was so outrageous that even the likes of FOE and Green Peace have done a volte-face and are up in arms over it. Though I am not sure whether it is due to their hatred of anything with an engine (that could use the oil) or actually due to the destruction of the rain forest.

As Typical palm Oil Producers (Here) now produce certificates of sustainability like confetti,  I suspect that it is the former.

The real trouble with Palm Oil, like Wind Power is that the figures simply do not add up - unless you are getting the subsidy.

The whole scheme is driven by greed. It is simply a scam. A non viable scheme  pursued by energy carpet baggers to fleece the average man and woman in the street.

While we continue to finance these hair brained schemes we fall further behind in really sorting out our energy needs with proven technology and with new technology, like Thorium Nuclear reactors ( Telegraph Article Here). Technology that really is worth the investment.

I am not against experimentation with Wind or Palm Oil, in fact I greatly support the concept of studying and developing new energy sources. But what we have today is simply not viable. Be it Wind or Palm Oil.

Trying to use them as primary energy resources is ugly, stupid and absurd.

An Australian Compromise

A word to my Australian friends.

We palmed This Bloke off on you 41 years ago and it really is NOT cricket for you to send him back.

Yes, I know he shot a policeman and spent 10 years in jail. It is also true that he would be regarded as an arsehole anywhere in the world.

But you have had him longer than us. So you should keep him.

Deporting him to the UK is simply not cricket!

But I suppose I must admit that I secretly admire your forthright defence of your borders from the likes of this (ugh!) Brit and many other freeloaders for that matter.

Maybe we could come to a compromise.

Maybe you could send your Border Security experts over here and teach our politicians how to control our borders.

Believe me, we have loads and loads of  "ne'er do wells" from other places. Most of them have been here for considerably less than 41 years.

Helping us to send a few of them back to whence they came would really sugar the bitter pill you have just sent us.

Gordon Brown to Head IMF

A friend just sent me an email. He joked that Gordon Brown was to be made head of the IMF on a salary of £330,000.

I've put the cricket bat in the back of the car and I'm driving round to my mates house now to give him a good thumping. Some things are just so tasteless and far fetched they really should not even be aired, even as a bad joke.

Just to make it worse he made out it wasn't really a joke - it was being seriously considered.

He even gave some links to this fairy land story from The Guardian (Here) and the  The BBC (Here).

After I've taught him his lesson about how not to make sick jokes about financial incompetents I'm sure we will all feel better. Though my trusty cricket bat may be a little dented.

But really, who can my friend think he was kidding?

Surely nobody would be so stupid enough to give  Gordon Brown a job on the tills at the local McDonalds, let alone a leading role in our financial future.

Honestly, Gordon Brown as head of the IMF? It is simply NOT funny!

Junk Energy and Wind Turbines

The John Muir Trust is an honourable institution, dedicated to protecting wild places. It seeks to protect the remaining wilderness that is so diminished in our country. As a result of this focus, they commissioned a report of the affects of wind turbines upon this countryside and also (critically) how effective and worthwhile these turbines would be.

Their report, compiled by Stuart Young Consulting has just been published. It is totally damning. It can be found HERE

It shows that the national wind turbine output:

below 20% of capacity more than half the time.
below 10% of capacity over one third of the time.
below 2.5% capacity for the equivalent of one day in twelve.
below 1.25% capacity for the equivalent of just under one day a month.

Billothewisp did a similar though much smaller analysis ( See Here ) here for a 3 month period over winter 2010. The results were just as bad.

The John Muir Trust analysis covers over 2 years and is comprehensive and irrefutable. Stuart Young Consulting freely admit that they were surprised at how appalling these figures are.

How long are we going to have to put up with this scam?

All the wind turbine industry does is mercilessly ruin rural communities, while pandering to the fashion sense of vacuos green bigots. The only real  winners are the carpet bagging developers who in turn line the  the pockets of ruthless and amoral landowners who allow these things to desicrate their local communities.

The actual energy contribution from the whole of the wind turbine fleet is dismally unreliable, erratic and excruciatingly expensive.

One observation from the Stuart Young Consulting document says it all:
It is clear from this analysis that wind cannot be relied upon to provide any significant level of  generation at any defined time in the future. There is an urgent need to re-evaluate the implications of reliance on wind for any significant proportion of our energy requirement. 

The politician who puts the country before this scam (and probably before his mates who are profiting from it) gets my vote.

The John Muir Website can be found HERE
The report by Stuart Young Consulting (pdf) can be found HERE
Billothewisps 3 month summary post is HERE

Hat tip to Charles For this Post  over at

European Health Insurance Card Expired?

So, you Sour Faced Grubby Little  Englander, you thought that if you got one of the European Health Insurance Cards then your health needs in European Mega-State would be secured.

You know -  the pinkish credit card sized ID that so "conveniently" replaced the E111 form.

Maybe you even hedge your bets and plan to take out some private insurance as well. You know - Just In Case.

Billowthewisp has some very bad news for you.

These are a couple of itsy titsy issues with the European Health Cards.

The first issue is that they expire. (unlike the old E111)

Waddya mean they expire? (I hear you say)

Have you checked yours recently? (Ah No. Thought not.)
Didn't you realise they expired?

Now come on. Get a grip.

Why do you think they were issued in the first place?

All you cynical bastards here can now chime in together  - "So they could be charged for at a later date"

After all, why do you need a card when you have a passport? As I remember when you apply for a passport you provide your National Insurance Number.  So this little card is just another redundant bit of pointless bureaucracy. Something to expire, something to get lost or whatever.

At the moment more than 3.3 million Brits have expired European Health Cards. ( See Here ) Only 220 thousand people have realised they need to be renewed and have actually renewed this useless and pointless piece of jobs worth empire building.

But without it you could end up knee deep in the shite, far from home, with no health cover and very large bills.

No doubt, literally millions of Brits will be going abroad this year with NO VALID RECOURSE to on-demand health care.

This will not be because they are feckless imbeciles.

It will be because some idiot in government has decided that:

a. Having yet another useless piece of ID is a "good idea".
b. Making this useless piece of ID expire out of sync with your passport is also a "good idea".
c. Not publicising the fact that they expire is also a jolly money saving wheeze.
d. Making folk jump through a few more hoops really does show who is on control.
e. This new little empire will create lots of pointless wealth shrinking McJobs.

The second issue concerns Private Medical Insurance.

Do I detect a level of smugness amongst some of you who hedge their bets with private insurance?

Well, take that smile off your face matey. You insurance is probably null and void - if your European Health Insurance card is not valid.

You know as well as I do that Insurance companies are about as honest and compassionate as a Columbian drug Cartel.

Many Insurance policies are only valid if you have a valid European Health Insurance Card. Read it in the small print.

How crap is that.

So, as an aid memoir to you my fellow English Barbarians and ne'er do wells.....