Al Gore: When Prophesy Fails.

Back in 2006 Al Gore made the following statement:

And politicians and corporations have been ignoring the issue for decades, to the point that unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return … A true Planetary emergency.”
[CBS News "Al Gore Does Sundance" 2006]

For those who doubt the CBS report and deny he actually said this, may I just refer you to this Al Gore Interview YouTube Video from 2017.

I’m actually not snarking at Al Gore. But clearly as it is now 2019, 10 years have been and gone.

What I’m interested in is his response (and that of others) to this failed prophesy. 

It looks to me that the responses fit (rather alarmingly well) with Leon Festinger’s concept of “Cognitive Dissonance” which he demonstrated with his interactions with a 1950's dooms-day cult in the USA. Its recorded in his book "When Prophesy Fails" (book link: Amazon HERE)

Festinger showed that under certain circumstances, rather than reducing belief, a failed prophesy (or disconfirmation as Festinger calls it) can not only significantly increase belief but also lead to enhanced proselytising on behalf of the belief.

Festingers rules for this to happen were as follows

1. The belief must be held with deep conviction and be relevant to the believer's actions or behaviour.

2. The belief must have produced actions that are arguably difficult to undo.

3. The belief must be sufficiently specific and concerned with the real world such that it can be clearly disconfirmed.

4. The disconfirmatory evidence must be recognized by the believer.

5. The believer must have social support from other believers.

Lets apply that to Al Gore.

1. I would suggest that he strongly believes in the righteousness of his cause.

2. He (and many others) had taken drastic and costly action.

3. The belief “10 years… point of no return” is clear.

4. In the video he clearly acknowledges the failure of the prophesy.

5. As the ad-hoc head of a movement, clearly he has lots of social support.

So rather than questioning the parameters of his failed prophesy, Al Gore (along with many of his supporters and co-followers) doubles down on his primary belief and pseudo-rationalises the disconfirmation.

Take Al Gore in the video interview above. When confronted with the disconfirmation he justifies the failed prophesy roughly as so:

“We have seen a decline in emissions (on a global basis) so they’ve stabilised and in some cases have started to decline.... Some of the responses of the last ten years have helped but unfortunately a lot of damage has been done…...”

His statement that somehow greenhouse gas emissions FELL from 2006 to 2016 is a palpable nonsense. But it fits with exactly what you would expect with cognitive dissonance from a true believer.

Incidentally Here’s the emissions graph 2006 -2017

Meanwhile others seek to minimise their cognitive dissonance by denying that Al Gore ever said such a thing!

It becomes “nasty” propaganda by “trolls”. See this Guest Piece on pro-AGW Skeptical Science blog. 

Ironically all the references the author rages at with a cut-paste from Facebook are in fact fairly accurate renditions of what Al Gore really did say on January 25th, 2006 in a speech, while at the Sundance film festival. 

The author identifies the original source as a  "Climate Denial Blog". I am sure CBS News would be mortified. (original CBS News story link: Here ) 

Unfortunately this cognitive dissonance seriously affects both out ability to continue improving the world and also prevents us from moving away from panic responses to Global Warming. It stops us taking a viable approach to reducing pollution and world emissions.

But I fear worse is to come. (though not from Al Gore who I believe is an honourable man)

As item 5 from Festingers list (social support grouping) gets more intense, Climate Emergency proponents are going into over-drive proselytising their extremist view. As each day goes by they look more and more like a dangerous cult.

With groups like Extinction Rebellion focusing on the most easily led in our society (i.e. children) I fear we may be in a deadly downward spiral.

As discomfirmation follows disconfirmation some of the less gullible may escape. But others will be held in an ever tightening grip of the cults fanaticism.

I fear that one day we may not wake up to just another silly protest in London or New York.

Planetary Extinction: When Prophesy fails

I changed the tag line to my blog recently. Now I’ve changed it back again.

I had changed it to the a leading quote from a famous doom-laden apocalyptic treatise from the 1970’s called “The Doomsday Book” (Its still here on these links Amazon UK & Amazon USA)

The quote was:
“If you believe that you will survive the next 30 years think again!”

I tagged it with the author and the date of publication
“Gordon Rattray-Taylor (1972)”

I had hoped that the “1972” would be an amusing give-a-way and that people would realise that since publication 47 years have elapsed.

But sadly no.

It seems at least one of my readers thought Billothewisp had himself turned into a doomster.

Of course I hadn’t. It was just my joke had fallen flat.

But then I wondered why people cling to unmodified theories that are delineated with failed prophesies and yet still find them compelling.

Take a look at the reviews for the Doomsday Book on Amazon. The book is very old and vastly pre-dates the internet so there’s only 1 electronic review in the USA and 4 in the UK.

Surprisingly you will find all but one of these reviews (all written more than 30 years after publication) are supportive. Even though the base prophesy of the book was plainly wrong and expired well before the reviews were written, the reviews for this dark tome show the reviewer still clinging to the core armageddon-esque beliefs of the book.

So why, in a world that is clearly and measurably getting better on almost every metric available, do people (in essence) hold to Mr Rattray-Taylors prophesies of doom?

Mr Rattray-Taylor departed this earth in 1981. No doubt he firmly expected that the rest of us would be following him down the dark tunnel in short order.

But of course, that has not happened.

In fact, by just about every metric that matters, the world has become a much, much better place.

But many are in denial about this improvement in the world.

In addition to this denial we have various new/reworked Armageddon predictions which declare that “something must be done”.

The timescale for that “something” ranges from one year (Prince Charles), eighteen Months (Extinction Rebellion), to more plausible but still tenuous timescales of ten years and thirty years.

To give that “something” a name is somewhat difficult as it keeps changing. It was Global Warming, then it turned to Climate Change. But now “Climate Change” no longer appears to be urgent enough. So it has been modified to a “Climate Emergency”.

My posts are not against the concept of the “something” known as Global Warming. Nor are they against any other section of science that gets exploited with dubious reasoning.

The purpose is to explore the exploitative dubious reasoning itself and see how it stacks up.

So lets look more closely at these predictions and monitor their progress. I also want to look at earlier predictions associated with this “something”.

But most importantly I want to see what happens when a prophesy concerning this “something” fails. Then I want to examine how that failure changes (or not) the attitudes to the core beliefs on which that prophesy is based. As well as that I want to see how (or not) the theory gets modified to accommodate reality.

From what I’ve seen so far, the social results are clearly identifiable using the work of legendary Social Scientist Leon Festinger. They are also somewhat disconcerting.

So my next post will concern Al Gore and his 2006 statement that the Arctic would be Ice free in Summer by 2016. I will also expand out Festingers key analysis and see how this fits with Mr Gore.

Later on (next week?) I intend looking more closely at Extinction Rebellion. Extinction Rebellion is an organisation which really worries me. It has all the hallmarks of a cult and I would be very worried if any of my family got tied in with it. It needs closer examination.

Then sometime in the dim and distant future I’ll finish off with more mainstream and respectable organisations like the BBC.

Parish Councils are Dying. So What?

This is the last in a series I’ve posted on how a new party could gain and maintain power at the lowest level of UK democracy. That is at the Parish Council/ Town Council level. 

A committed party could do this literally in a few months. In many cases without even standing for election. (See this post)

But then you have got to ask: Why would any party want to do this?

Why bother?

It would involve a great deal of effort. For what gain?

Parish/Town councils all over the country are dying. So what would be the point in gaining power in failing councils?

If a party placed candidates to fill the rows of empty Councillor seats and then walked away without providing further support then little would be achieved. In fact in all likelihood it would be an utter and complete waste of time.

Nothing would change. There may be a brief blip on the heart monitor for these councils but they will not be resuscitated. The death spiral will continue.

So how can local councillors make headway against the political apathy that engulfs their locality? 

The only way out of this is to target issues affecting the locality and to do this vocally. Get your councillors to make a lot of noise about local issues. Let people know you're party is standing up for them. Especially on issues they are concerned about. 

Yes. I know. 

That's stating the bleeding obvious.

But I’d bet that most issues affecting one Parish Council are almost identical to those affecting its neighbour or even a similar sized Parish council 300 miles away. 

Few problems at the Parish Council level will be unique.

The issues struggled with by Council A may well have been solved by Council B. Often many years before.

But nobody knows. Like the Parish Councils themselves, all the little victories are anonymous. Re-inventing the wheel is the norm, while leveraging progress made elsewhere is rare.

I mooted an idea that each councillor could have the support of a number of lay-supporters and even other non-local councillors. (Here)

Now imagine a forward looking party that links all these motivated and engaged individuals into a forum. A forum where problems can be posted specifically to find out if similar problems have been solved elsewhere.

Instead of one councillor and 2 or 3 lay-supporters grappling with a problem suddenly you have a central army of 100’s of people. 

An army ready to address a single Councillor's otherwise intractable problems and find out how they have already been fixed elsewhere.

In essence you use your small national political party as a force multiplier for your otherwise isolated and under-informed Parish Councillor. 

Couple that with courses for councillors in using social media, film editing and generally making a lot of fuss and you have a seriously effective and popular Parish Council.

Then you have a route forward. You will gain popularity and support from the community. You have a strong political base to build on.

And its all stamped with the initials of your party.

Realistically no new party is going to miraculously get an opportunity to break into the higher levels of UK politic unless it builds a solid political base first.

I firmly believe Parish/Town councils offer that opportunity.

I hope you agree.

Heres the full set of posts on this topic:

The Social Democratic Party - Where Now?

The SDP and the Brexit Party

Local Politics and the Low Hanging Fruit

Arming the Parish Councillors

Parish Councillors: Party Affiliated or Independent?

Parish Councils are Dying. So What? (this post)

Parish Councillors: Party Affiliated? Or Independent?

Independent councillors make up the bulk of Parish/Town Councils. At the local level, people like local independents not party apparatchiks.

In my earlier posts (Start Here) I have discussed how a small party could gain significant influence at the Parish Council level right across the country without even having to win a vote. I've often used the Social Democratic Party as an example.

What should such a small party brand their councillors as? 

Do they put them up on a party ticket?

Sad as it may seem, many view small party's with suspicion. Meanwhile standing on a ticket for larger party (and taking on the Parliamentary baggage that comes with it) would in all likelihood be even worse. 

At the Parish/Town council level, a candidate that describes themselves as "Independent" is viewed positively.

But there is no rule or law against standing as an independent candidate while then qualifying your independent status. 

In fact many councillors qualify their independent status already. 

Today you often get candidates stating they are Independent but representing a residents association, or independent but "standing up" for this or that local campaign.

So there would to be no reason that a candidate could not stand as: 

“Independent – affiliated to this or that Party.” 

But so what? 

They ARE independent. Just using the facilities on offer from a party they align with to service their job. That does not compromise their independence but clearly gives an strong idea where they are coming from politically.

This has another by-product.

Many (most?) of the country's Parish Councillors who stand as independents would love to benefit from a party support base. But they would not want to compromise their independent status by standing on a party ticket.

Wouldn’t be nice to be able to offer them some support from the party support base as well? (See last post) Many would jump at it and as a result would probably become valuable supporters.

No strings. No towing the party line. But if your views mostly align with the party in question you get the support.

Just change “Independent” to “Independent – affiliated to this or that party”.

But it all hinges on their being a proper structured support for Parish councillors from the party wishing to implement this. 

Otherwise it is a waste of time.

Arming the Parish Councillors

In my last post ( HERE ) I hope I proved that any political party with the drive to improve the failing bottom tier of UK local government could gain a significant representation in Parish/Town councils across the country without really trying. 

In most cases their candidates would not even have to go though the process of being elected. (Yes. Things are that bad!)

But what happens then?

If a party wanted their councillors to do more than simply “get by” they would need to arm their councillors with some form of structured support. Support that is sadly lacking today. Irrespective of what party (or none) you are in.

Yet people join political partys to make a difference. So I think it would be reasonable to assume that the average party member is pre-disposed to helping out. 

While many (the majority - in any party) would not wish to become actively involved to the extent of (say) actually being a Parish Councillor, they may well be willing to provide support to those that are.

Just as MPs have "staffers" running their office, maybe there should be mini "staffers" for Parish Councillors. People providing a couple of hours a week to letter-write/research and read through reports. 

This would significantly reduce the Parish Councillors work load. More importantly it would give the Councillor a base of support to whom they can turn to for ideas, advice or simply a chat.

This support would itself make the prospect of becoming a councillor less daunting and increase supply of candidates.

After a while as the lay-supporters also gain experience they may themselves feel more confident and put themselves forward as councillors.

However, this would entail considerable commitment and organisation from any party that tried to implement it. If the party in question sees only Parliamentary success as important then this is a waste of time.

Sadly I don't think there is ANY political party around today that has either the will-power or the inclination to rescue this vital bottom tier of UK government. 

Everyone is focused on the top of the tree while the bottom rots away.

Next: It's Parish Councils and political branding. Also whether a party ticket can sometimes be a hindrance rather than a help.

UK Local Politics and the Low Hanging Fruit

What if I told you that there is one tier of UK government that is so poorly supported that most (sometimes all) “elected” representatives are not elected at all.

To hold an election you obviously need at least two candidates. If you only have one candidate then holding an election is just a waste of time and money. The single candidate gets the job by default. No election is held.

That may sound bad. But, in fact the situation with the bottom tier of local government is far, far worse.

Many (not a few, or even some) of these Parish/Town councils have empty seats where nobody has put themselves forward as a candidate.

Going to the extreme, there are a significant number of these councils that are completely devoid of candidates. They literally have no-one who wants to do the job.

Here is a BBC report on this from April 2019

So why is this?

The UK is (mostly) controlled by three tiers of elected representatives.
  • Member of Parliament. The top level. All seats are always contested in general elections and by-elections.
  • County or District Councillor. Almost always  (with rare exceptions) all seats are contested. I have not come across any seats that are left vacant due to a lack of candidates. Though I have come across the occasional uncontested seat ( candidate)
  • Parish (and Town) Councillors  This is where the problem lies. A large majority of Councillors do not have to face an election simply because nobody else wants to do the job. Even worse there are literally thousands of  Parish Council seats across the country where nobody wants to do the job at all.

Along with the BBC piece above I have done a little data scraping (currently incomplete - more to come) regarding the May 2019 local elections for my own county (Dorset - more counties to follow) I found the following:

In May 2019 the local elections in Dorset revealed the following:

Parishes with contested seats: 53
Parishes with no contests:166
Parish Councils with no candidates at all: 24

By the way, there is nothing unusual about Dorset.

I've yet to process one of the documents before I can work out how many of the councils with contested and uncontested seats actually also have vacancies but the BBC piece above indicates it is over 80% of the councils. I know my local Parish council has four vacancies. I do not suppose it is at-all unusual.

Surprised? Shocked even?

But (I hear you say) Parish councils have no power. 

Maybe you think Parish councils are just golf club cliques who argue about the hanging baskets down the shopping arcade. Or act like commissars when deciding who gets an allotment.

Well, first off, Parish/Town Councils do have power - and responsibility. 

While the powers of a Parish council are limited, they are important. Most do not exercise anywhere near their full capability, and that is because they collectively do not have the drive, the manpower or the expertise to do so. 

Most Councillors (despite the caricatures) are earnest community orientated individuals who do the job for nothing  and receive little or no praise for doing it. They do the job quietly and anonymously without seeking praise or reward.

The majority of Parish Councillors are independents. While a party aligned Councillor would gain the support and publicity from his/her party, independents have no such support. 

So they simply do a lonely job and do not brag about it. 

Even though they are a fabulous asset to the community, nobody knows they are there.

So, how could a small party (say - the SDP) make a big inroad into this dying layer of our democracy? How could they use Parish/Town Councils as a lever to improve peoples lives and so gain popularity and support?

The first (but most certainly NOT the last) requirement is to gain seats on Parish Councils. 

This is easy! It can be done almost immediately.


Remember all those empty seats from the May 2019 local elections? Most of them are still empty. In fact (although this is a bit anecdotal) I expect there are even more empty seats now than in May as some people will have pulled out and resigned. 

I’d bet there are well over 1500 easy-to-fill empty seats across the country today. Anyone living within 3 miles of one can apply to be a Parish Councillor and fill the seat.

(In fact this is almost certainly a massive underestimate. There are 9000 parish/town councils in England alone. If 80% have vacancies then that is a minimum (one seat per parish) of 7200 vacancies. Bearing in mind many have multiple vacancies and some no Councillors at all I would suggest my 1500 easy-to-fill seat is probably an order of magnitude too small)

How do you get elected to one of those seats? 

You don’t. You submit your CV, get nominated and co-opted. 

Unless someone else actually applies at the same time no election is held. 

Parish councils are desperate to fill vacant seats. If you have enough enthusiasm to have a go then you are in.

So that is why in my last post I said that the SDP (or any other party with enough committed members) could gain a significant number of seats and local power within 2 months. 

Even with its hugely increased membership I would fully expect that there will be far more vacant seats than there would be SDP members willing to stand as Councillors.

And not a vote has to be cast.

But that is most definitely NOT it. 

Unless those new Councillors get support (and lots of it) nothing would improve. 

Any party that tried this without ensuring there was a strong support infrastructure for these new Councillors would end up with a lot of lonely, isolated and disillusioned people ruing the day the signed up for local government.

So how a political party avoid such a calamity and revive this failing tier of local government?

That's the next post.

The SDP and the Brexit Party.

During the Peterborough by-election the Brexit Party almost won. In fact many people (myself included) believe it only lost due to election fraud.

Meanwhile the SDP with arguably the best parliamentary candidate (and far more capable than any of the other candidates) lost its deposit.

I believe that this suggests that while the Brexit Party is in the ascendant then the SDP stands little hope in Parliamentary elections.

While losing is certainly no shame, I do believe that the drain on resources and more importantly the disappointment and associated hit to morale resulting from a poor result means the SDP should very carefully consider whether standing in Parliamentary by-elections at this stage in the SDP's revival is worthwhile.

So maybe the SDP should focus away from Parliamentary by-elections. Maybe at this point in time it should even lend a hand to the Brexit Party.

The Brexit Party is a one-trick pony and despite lots of fine words, at the moment it does not seem able or even inclined to break out of that straight jacket.

I may have to eat my words here about the "one-trick pony". I just discovered (a week after writing this) that the Brexit Party IS contesting local elections. If that is a policy move rather than just a couple of keen supporters doing a bit of DIY local politics then it will be a game changer. If it is the case then either the Brexit Party or the SDP could push forward into Parish/Town Councils.

Although the Brexit party has a great deal of momentum (all of which is associated with Brexit) it lacks the political depth of the SDP.

So when push comes to shove, in a friendly alliance, eventually (in the long term), it would be more likely that the SDP would absorb the Brexit Party membership than the other way round.

Assisting the parliamentary Brexit Party would help the SDP achieve one of its primary political ends (aka Brexit).

Properly handled it will also  gain more visibility for the SDP.

Though to be fair, being an associate rather than  the main item is not going to ignite the identity afterburner.

But maybe there is a way to ignite the SDP's identity. Possibly this can even be done quite quickly.

But it has to be decoupled from the Brexit debate.

Local politics at bottom tier of UK democracy is wide open. That is the Parish/Town Council level.

Forget about the fact we've only just had a set of local elections in May. It is irrelevant.

Gaining a significant representation across the country on this bottom tier of UK democracy could be achieved in a short time frame. In fact a very short time frame.

By short I mean SHORT.

OK. Now, sit down or at least stand well clear of breakable objects.

I believe that with the correct strategy a small party with popular policies could gain a significant amount of local power across the country almost without trying. The required budget would be minimal.

Theoretically it could do this within….

(Wait for it...)

Two months. Literally from today. That is with no new elections/law changes/special events or miracles.



I know. I’ve done the research.


And no! I’ve not been eating “funny” mushrooms. I’ll tell you how in the next post. Not only will I tell you. I’ll convince you! And easily too!


To be fair, it may well not be desirable to try and achieve such progress in such a blindingly short timescale. Planning and organisation is key and going off half-cocked could be disastrous.

But what I hope to show is that the SDP (or any other small party with popular policies) could change the landscape of British Politics in a relatively short time scale. No miracles involved.

The major difference from this to the more typical visualisations of changing the political landscape is that this visualisation starts at the bottom tier of UK democracy not the top.

I am not mad. (I promise)

Oh, OK.... Maybe just a bit...

The full set of posts on this topic:

The Social Democratic Party - Where Now?
The SDP and the Brexit Party (this post)
Local Politics and the Low Hanging Fruit
Arming the Parish Councillors
Parish Councillors: Party Aligned? or Independent?
Parish Councils are Dying: So What?

The Social Democratic Party - Where Now?

In the recent Peterborough Parliamentary by-election there was a candidate whose experience and expertise placed him head and shoulders above the rest.

That candidate was Patrick O’Flynn of the SDP. Here he is on YouTube sticking it to the pompous Brussels elite in the EU Parliament when he was an MEP.

Impressive eh?

But Patrick didn’t win in Peterborough. In fact he lost his deposit.

Meanwhile in an election almost certainly sullied by voting fraud, the Brexit Party candidate, coming from nowhere also lost when the seat was stolen from him.

Arguably if the election had been fair and free from cheating, the Brexit Party candidate would have won and we would have our first Brexit Party MP.

But this is not about the Brexit Party.

This is about the SDP or Social Democratic Party to give it its full name.

I expect most folk reading this already know about the history of this party but here’s a two point resume. Skip it if you know this already.

  • The SDP changed British Politics forever back in the 1980’s. Then it went through a near death experience. The party staggered along for years with a handful of members. Recently it has gone through a rapid expansion as the Brexit betrayal by both the Tories and Labour came to the fore. 
  • The implosion of UKIP along with disillusionment with the anti-Brexit bias of both Conservative and Labour elites gave the SDP a ready supply of new members. I understand the membership now currently stands around 10,000. Which is a hell of a leap forward!

So why, with such an excellent candidate as Patrick O’Flynn, did the SDP do so badly in this by-election?

I believe the answer to that is simple. It is anonymity.

While Patrick (and others) have done stirling work on the MSM and social media to promote the party, it still  has no edge. No clear identity to the public.

Compare the SDP to the pompous odious identity of the Green Party. While nobody really knows the crack-pot policies the Greens expound people still know “who” they are.

The Green Party has achieved this because they have for years successfully ridden of the backs of drama laden romantic attention seekers who have courted publicity at every stage.

These people played the victim (or the victim proxy) even when they were actually the intimidators, going around ruining peoples lives, jobs and (ironically on many occasions) the environment itself with their antics.

But the Green Party shamelessly hooked up with these characters, rode the wave and now has one MP and many councillors.

The SDP  cannot do what the Green party has done. After-all the SDP is anything but an extremist party.

There is no publicity hungry enterprise that goes out of its way to promote social cohesion that the SDP can piggy-back off.

There is no pool of fanatics who will make lots of noise and disruption in the name of common sense.

There is no extremist driven ideology promoting the middle ground that the SDP can use to power it forward.

In essence the SDP is “The Sensible Party” and sadly in the real world this means it will fare even less well than its namesake in Monty Python.

Clearly, if the SDP cannot make a bigger impact on Parliamentary Elections than at Peterborough, especially when offering a truly superb candidate as Patrick O’Flynn, then it needs to re-think its strategy.

Especially as Parliamentary elections  are ruinously expensive in money, time and effort.

Even if there was a miracle pathway to parliamentary success it would be pretty much choked off today by the Brexit Party. Both partys are strongly pro-brexit but today all the electoral firepower is with the Brexit Party.

If anything, in this narrow point in time where Brexit will be the electoral priority of those who would potentially vote SDP then a vote for the  SDP will only be a counter-productive vote splitter in Parliamentary elections.

After Brexit though, things change.

Unlike the Brexit Party, the SDP is not seen (if it is seen at all!) as a single issue group. The Brexit Party is. Much as it tries to say otherwise it is seen as a single issue concern. The clue is in the name.

There are also avenues in other tiers of UK government that the Brexit Party appears to be simply not interested in. These offer fertile grounds for the SDP and some are in fact starved of any political input from just about anyone.

So could the SDP have a relationship with the Brexit party? And how can the SDP seek a pathway to influence and power in the near term other than through Westminster?

Here's the full set of posts on this topic.

The Social Democratic Party - Where Now?

The SDP and the Brexit Party

SDP: Local Politics and the Low Hanging Fruit

Arming the Parish Councillors

Parish Councillors: Party Aligned? or Independent?

Parish Councils are Dying: So What?

An EU Presidential Election: One Candidate in a Secret Ballot

The election of the new EU Commission President (Ursula Von Der Leyen) made me wonder what percentage of the vote the other candidates got.

Oh Silly me!

She was the only candidate.

Of course! This is the EU after-all.

I know Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-Un and Muammar Gaddafi all managed to to have "democratic elections"  while being the only candidate on the ballot paper. So I suppose its not too surprising the EU has followed suite.

Maybe we should be grateful.

Just imagine how much more it would cost if they had TWO candidates - or (gulp!) three! Especially if one or more didn't tow the EU party line.

God forbid. What would have happened if  a EU sceptic had won? What if someone who was not signed up to the EU bureaucratic dream had aced it?

I dare say there must be EU bureaucrats who have thought that very thought. I expect they'll be off the Valium and out of therapy soon.

Anyway. To me for some strange reason, the election of Ursula Von Der Leyen seemed rather odd.

It was not just that she was the only person on the ballot paper either.

At least old Saddam Hussein got a resounding 99% support by his Parliament when he was elected.

I understand poor Ursula only got 52%.

Just imagine the shock. You are the only name on the ballot paper. Yet when you win you find you were actually contesting a one way marginal and nearly came second.

Idly I wondered just who HAD voted for our Ursula.

As always I started out with a grand scheme. I wanted to figure out what percentage of the EU electorate (via MEPs per capita) had voted for her.

As I discussed HERE the size of population per MEP varies from 73,000 right up to 900,000 depending on which country you are voting in. But all MEPs have equal voting rights.

Clearly some MEPs are more equal than others.

So maybe by finding out the nationality of her MEP supporters I could work out whether she indirectly enjoyed more or less than 50% support from the overall EU electorate.

Seemed reasonable.

But I looked and I looked. No table could be found.

Then I found this - Why is the vote on Ursula Von Der Leyen secret?

It appears that our elected representative were so intimidated by the prospect of being found out regarding whether they supported dear Ursula or not they insisted on a secret ballot.

Now, you might think that had this been Saddam Hussein's election, such a secretive scheme may have been a good idea.

Bearing in mind that those that opposed him usually ended up committing suicide that is.

(Fair dues - you have to admit - opposing Saddam Hussein was a pretty suicidal thing to do in the first place.)

But what are we make of a Parliament that is so gutless and so frightened of their political opponents that they demand anonymity?

Would their opponents have terrorised them with hurty words if they voted the "wrong" way?

I suppose as well as the hurty words the prospect of being a persona non grata and seriously compromising the perks and expenses may have weighed heavily as well.

So sadly, we will never be able to know who exactly elected Ursula Von Der Leyen. Let alone who voted for her non existent opponent.

So my grand scheme is in tatters.

We will never know if Ursula Von Der Leyen enjoys more or less than 50% support of the EU electorate.

But what the hell eh? 

The one thing we can all be certain of is this:

The version of democracy as (mal)practiced by the EU is merely a veneer. 

Window dressing. 

A sham.

So even if I had proved that she had significantly less than 50% electorate support, it wouldn't have mattered anyway.

Hey Ho.

The EU Parliament: A Fake Democracy

As we digest the Python-esque election of the new Eu Commission President (she was the only candidate on the ballot paper) I thought I’d have a look at exactly how "democratic" the  EU Parliament actually is.

Lets compare the way Parliamentary democracy is conducted in the UK and the way it is conducted in the EU Parliament. 

UK Democracy

As you know, the UK uses First Past the Post (FPTP) for 650 parliamentary seats (soon to be 600 when the Boundary changes take place)

Many think (myself included) FPTP is a pretty crap voting system. It needs updating. It can (and has) lead to over/under representation.

But even so, within the limits of geographical practicality, the UK election process attempts to be scrupulously fair.

Currently we are about to implement changes to the constituency boundary’s as dictated by the independent Boundary Commission. These changes happen to ensure the fairest possible representation across the country

In mainland UK, constituencies must have an electorate of between 72,810 and 80,473 registered voters. 

Northern Ireland has slightly (but only slightly) different requirements where the minimum is lowered to 70,810.

There are four unavoidable exceptions to these rules. All involve islands. But these exceptions are based on practicality and geography, not on deliberate political manipulation.

Even so, the absolute outlier (Western Isles constituency size - 21,200) is only over represented by a factor of less than 3.5:1.

A great deal of effort is expended trying to ensure that constituency sizes are fair. 

In fact, (except for the four anomalies), all constituencies across the UK will be within 5% of the median value regarding electorate size. 

Truly, within the bounds of practicality, one persons vote is worth much the same as another.

But what about the EU Parliament?

Elections to the EU parliament are conducted by a party list system known as the d’Hondt system. 

While d'Hondt does have issues and is not really a true proportional representation system it does (more or less) ensure a fair result across a country.

And in that, we have the problem. 

Or rather the deliberately contrived anti-democratic malapportionment as used by the EU.

While it is true that each country elects its MEPs by d’Hondt, the size of constituencies from one country to another varies massively. 

By massively I don’t mean double or even triple. I talking orders of magnitude.

Lets look at the dynamics of this related to the UK which has 73 MEPs (or a representation per MEP of about 900,000 citizens)

The greatest over-representation is that on Malta which has 6 MEPs each representing about 73,000 Maltese citizens)

So compared to the UK, Malta is over-represented by a factor of over 12:1. 

If you were to reflect the variation in EU constituency size onto the UK, it would be like having constituencies (each still returning one MP) having their electorate size varying between 6000 voters and 80,000 voters.

This is no accidental cock-up or historical legacy. This is deliberate. The EU even have a term for it they call it "Degressive Democracy".

Degressive (or even Regressive) it may be. But I think few would consider it democratic.

Malta is the worst example. But not by much. If you add up the seats allocated to the nine smaller EU countries you soon get to the 73 seats allocated to the UK.

The difference is the UK has a population of 66 million. If you add up the seats and populations of the smallest 9 EU nations you find that they have a total population of 17 million

That means that these 9 countries (compared to the UK) are over represented by at least 4:1 or by an even higher over-representation than the absolute worst case geographical anomaly in the UK parliament.

The difference is the Western Isles is an outlier due to the practicality of the situation whereas these nine EU countries are over represented by deliberate policy of the EU.

But it gets worse.

There is even a significant voter advantage compared to the UK  with larger countries. 

Germany has the largest national population in the EU with a population 82 million. The UK's population is 66 million. Yet Germany still has a per capita (i.e. per person) voter advantage of 1.05:1. 

So the Germans get 96 seats. The UK gets 73. 

If it was fair they’d get 91 to our 73. 

If the EU “Degression” concept was anything more than outright Gerrymandering they’d have around 85.

This can only be called what it is: Rigged and anti-democratic.

Of course that only applies if (like me) you believe that democracy is defined as one persons vote should be worth (more or less) the same as the next persons vote.

When one persons vote is worth the same as 12 others in another country - In my book that is fake democracy.

So why has the EU deliberately set out to do this? 

There are reasons. Most of which in my opinion are malign and are actually more to do with subverting democracy rather than supporting it. (more in another post)

But whatever the reasons, I think it is clear that the UK democracy, even with the crap FPTP voting system does its best to be fair. 

While the EU deliberately sets out to be demonstrably and deliberately unfair. It perverts democracy to its own design and it does this with a ruthless and deliberate policy.

The sooner we are out of this monster the better.

The End of the LIne? OK. I Lied.

Much as BilloTheWisp has enjoyed his year long retirement from blogging he has now forced me (the minion who writes this stuff) to start up again.

A lot has changed since April 2018 and actually, a great deal has changed for the better.

Globally literacy is up, child mortality is down and the number living in $1.00 a day poverty is at an all time low. There is the odd sparkle of common sense being spoken about nuclear power too.

Even in the UK things are looking good.

After all, the unemployment figures have resolutely refused to go up. In fact they actually went down - and in style.

Now we have the lowest unemployment for 45 years. In fact if you look at the graph you will see that joining the EU (or EEC as it then was) correlates with a rise in unemployment that was maintained for 45 years.

Correlation does not (of course) mean causation.

Though in this case I bet it did.

Here's a year old graph from the BBC (I don't think they are too keen on updating it anymore as the rate is now 3.8% which hardly fits with their propaganda)

But we've still not left the contemptible EU.  So, I'm just going to have to write a few hurty words about why that is from time to time..

But we are not going to be just limited to the nauseous EU.

After-all there is the latest pompous scientifically illiterate farce calling itself  "Extinction Rebellion" to poke fun at.

Truly this is a grouping that so resembles 1950's UFO fanatics and associated doomsday cults I am going to have enormous fun.

I'll also be blogging about the writing and scientific analysis of one of my heroes. The sadly deceased Hans Rosling. If you want to read a great book that levels the field against doom-mongering, read  "Factfulness by Hans Rosling"

Energy policy? Of course! That includes (Ugh!...) Wind Turbines and other childish fashion statements. As well as energy systems that actually work properly.

I intend diversifying into local UK government which is really in deep trouble in the UK. I'll hopefully show how small partys (like the SDP) can reverse the decline.

Other than that - Crime. It's rise or its fall and/or reasons for it and for (in places) its absence.

So There ya go. A Hotch Potch. A veritable smorgasbord of delight.

I have (at least) written the first forty titles... Now I just need to tap the keys in a semblance of order to fill them out. (A task so trivial any minion can do it)

I contemplated moving this to a bespoke site but for the moment I'll just see if this old blogspot manages to wake itself from the dead.

If it does - Great! If not - I'll move it.

No Zombies allowed.