Storms, Climate Change & an Economy of Truth.

You've heard the rhetoric. Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Emergency is increasing severe weather events. There will be more storms. More destruction.

Statements like this from my friends in Greenpeace (of whom I have none) Link Here 

“The frequency and strength of storms is increasing, leaving destruction in their wake.”

Lurid stuff. Frightening even.

But is it true?

Is the frequency and strength of storms increasing?

The answer to that is No.

The frequency and strength of storms is not increasing. In fact for the last thirty years the average wind speed across large sections of the planet have been in decline, as have severe storm events. You can trace a slowing in global wind speeds right back to the 1960's.

From Antarctica right up to near the North Pole wind speeds have been going down.

I’ll concentrate here on the UK but this really is a global phenomena. (see references later)

Here is the frequency of high wind gusts events across the UK by year which the Met Office states they use as an indicator of "storminess".

Notice all gusts are in decline and that includes the extreme gusts that are supposed to be increasing. (MET office Data taken from Here)

Storms in the UK by year

Even though they have adopted a silly storm naming scheme (one suspects in order to add a little drama to otherwise common or garden weather events) the Met Office have come out and made clear that there is no link between Global Warming and UK storm frequency.

But they cannot quite bring themselves to reference their own data showing a slow decline in storminess since the 1990's. The Met Office webpage on Wind Storms is Here

The global slowing of wind speed is emphatic and serious enough to now be a research project for EU. (Here)

Even dear old Wikipedia has a (somewhat rudimentary) page on it Here

The best page is probably This Page from the Institute of Physics. (with caveats – see later)

Here’s a few more links that give useful insight into the phenomena.

ABC News Australia

Cosmo Magazine

Nature Magazine

So, while the panic laden Drama Queens in Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion would like you to think that storms are dangerously increasing, actually the reverse is true.

Bad things always happen. There will always be storms. But today there are less of them and they are less potent.

But you will not hear anyone suggesting that this is a “good thing”.

Even the article above struggled hard to find some bad outcomes yet failed to address any of the advantages of lower wind speed and less storms.

Yet when we look to (say) coastal defence, less storms mean coastal defence systems last longer. Less storms mean less storm surges. Less storms mean less wind damage. Less lost work days and less insurance claims.

The list goes on.

Even a merely lower average wind speed must result in less wear and tear on external structures. I am sure you can think a few more advantages of what is in essence more benign weather. 

By the way while the linked reports are all reasonably recent, this is far from new knowledge. Its just appears to have been kept pretty quiet until now.

It is interesting to note that while these reports all mention the possible ill affect on wind-turbines the reports make great efforts to (incorrectly) indicate that little is known about the wind speed at wind-turbine height.

I first blogged on it and how it can affect the wind turbine farce using data from Garrard-Hassan. But that data from 2011 which shows the slowing of wind speed across Northern Europe seems to have been (how should we say…) overlooked.

The full 2011 post is Here: Wind Speed Decline: A Blip or a Trend?

Here's the Garrard Hassan graph (this only goes to 2005)

But whatever the effects on marginal power producers, clearly wind speed is something that is getting more benign. Maybe it is due to Global Warming, maybe not. But whatever, wind speed is not getting worse.

Global Warming may well have deleterious affects. But (like this) there may also be positive outcomes

It’s just nobody wants to tell you about them.

An Audience with Greta Thunberg

Today Greta Thunberg had an audience with Congress in the USA. One would therefore pre-suppose she was an expert in her chosen field (which I assume is Climate Science) or possibly an individual with massive popular support.


At 16 years of age (and as far as I know not an exceptionally gifted child) it is hardly likely Greta has any expertise in climate science at all. It would seem to have been a better choice to seek testimony from someone a little more qualified.

Say Jim Hansen, James Lovelock (100 years old God bless him!) or even Bjorn Lomborg. While their testimony may well have been more boringly factual it probably would have been far less dramatic. It most certainly would not have been delivered with the arrogance that comes from being a precocious child.

Perhaps the doughty Congressmen would have been even better off by first reading Factfulness by the late Hans Rosling. Though, to be fair an optimistic book based on (gasp!) actual facts was never going to out-drama-queen a message of fear parroted by a child.

Popular Support

So that leaves the other possible pathway to give testimony to Congress - massive popular support from the American public. So lets look at Greta's pathway through the USA and how much support she has garnered in her appearances so far

First, after a huge amount of worldwide press coverage she dramatically sailed into New York harbour. The accompanying 17 boats were all decked out before her arrival with UN goals written on their sails.  But other than these 17 pre-prepared boats, there was no spontaneous flotilla. The dock was lined by about 200 people. Hardly an auspicious start.

New York
Then on August 30th she attended a demonstration outside the UN headquarters in New York. These reports rate the attendance from “dozens”, “several dozens”,  "hundreds" to the highest at “up to 1000”

Strangely the first and last of these links are to two separate Guardian pieces. The Guardian manages to start off in its real-time reporting at “dozens” and then in a later article manages to massage that to “up to 1000”.  But remember - this is the Guardian. It often appears that truth comes a very distant second to a good story at the Guardian. 

Next there was the the Washington demonstration outside the White House on Friday 13th (unlucky for some..)

Here we again get that “dozens” of protester appeared with Greta though another news source bigs it up to 1500. But I think the Guardian gives the game away somewhat by informing us that the protest was so small it was literally surrounded by the media. It was so hemmed in could not move off for its march.

Notice none of these demonstrations and rallies attracted more than a paltry 1500 people, and that is if you believe the highest estimate. In all likely hood neither the New York or the Washington demonstrations actually reached 100 people let alone 1000. These rallies were poorly attended. Dare I say dismally so.


Yet a 16 year old non expert with a committed popular following in the USA that amounts to a few dozen gets an audience with Congress. Along with this audience she and her tiny demonstrations also get huge coverage in the world media. Before this (a few months back) she was feted by the UK parliament.

I get that uncomfortable feeling that there is something seriously amiss here.

Someone is pushing an agenda.

When Senators, Congressmen and British MPs fawn before an arrogant child (who happens to be the mascot for a death cult) I think we should all be worried.

And more than just about Global Warming.

Brexit Party & SDP. A Crazy Idea. But….

OK. Laugh this out of court if you like. It is (as it says on the tin) only a crazy idea. I’d love your comments (however derogatory) either here or on twitter.

This concerns the next General Election, which we all hope will not be long in coming.

It also concerns the Social Democratic Party (to whose members it is mainly aimed). So if you are not interested in the SDP or (say) the Brexit Party or even Brexit then stop reading now.

This post particularly concerns the vulnerability of the Brexit vote to splintering and how (this is the crazy bit) how to mobilise and maximise the Leave vote in staunchly Labour areas to ensure Brexit.

It also concerns (take a deep breath at this point – this is even crazier) also how we may yet get some SDP MPs.

So, here we go.

The Conservatives even though they are well ahead in the opinion polls, will struggle in many traditional Labour seats. However dismal Labours policies are, many will still vote for them rather than Conservative. The historic loyalties of honest Northern voters will be played like a fiddle by Momentum and their pals.

While the Brexit party may gain traction in these seats it may not be enough. The end result could well be that (thanks to our crap electoral system – FPTP) in many traditional Labour seats the Labour candidate sneaks in with 30-35% of the vote.

We could easily end up with another minority Leave government or even worse a minority/majority Remain government. Even though the electoral vote share for Leave may swamp the Remain vote.

This has happened before in UK General Elections. See these old posts of mine for dates and what happened. (Overview Here) (Example 1 - 1929 ) (Example 2 -1951) (Example 3 - 1974)

One of the obvious tactics that will be used by Labour to attack the Brexit Party will be that (as viewed by many on the left) they are closet Tories. Meanwhile many Tory voters in those same seats will see the Brexit Party as a one trick pony with few policies or direction.

The Brexit Party will get squeezed by both these ideas. Even though in fairness, it has gone some way to ensure it has candidates that are other than small Tories, and it also has policies beyond Brexit.

But voter perception is King. You can bet your bottom dollar the Brexit Party will get vilified by both sides.

So how does the SDP fit into this?

To answer that we need to look at the structure of the Labour Party. (Yes I told you this was crazy. Now it is going to get bizarre)

Or rather lets look at the structure of two separate partys. The Labour Party, and the Cooperative Party.

Most Labour MPs are just that. Labour MPs.

But 38 (who also take the Labour whip) are not. They represent two parties. they are elected on a joint ticket for the Labour & Cooperative Party

Although these days there is little difference between the two different parties, these 38 MPs in the House of Commons are actually from an alliance (dating back to 1927) between the Labour Party and the Cooperative Party. (See Here)

Today they form the the fourth largest grouping in the House of Commons. They do NOT stand under the ticket of the Labour Party but under a joint ticket. On the ballot paper voters put their X in the box marked “The Labour & Cooperative Party”.

I expect you are way ahead of me by now. But if not, let me expand.

To ensure success in Labour Heartland seats, the Brexit Party needs to de-tory-fy itself. It has done this to the best of its ability by selecting candidates that are in the main clearly not Torys. But the stigma sticks. 

If it could form a public alliance with a Party with a strong working class history that Labour voters could easily identify with, it would greatly aid it electoral chances.

I would suspect too that many of the chosen Brexit Party candidates, while fully committed to delivering Brexit, are still somewhat unhappy about being on exactly the same ticket as Nigel Farage and would like some distance.

So for the Brexit Party it would make a lot of sense to stand candidates as “Brexit and SDP Party”. Just as some Labour candidates stand as “Labour & Cooperative Party”

I’d put money on it that Labour voters would much rather put an X in a box labelled Brexit & SDP Party than one marked Brexit Party. (let alone one marked Conservative)

It would also make a lot of sense for the SDP to adopt some of the finer centre-left candidates in the Brexit party as dual party members, and maybe negotiate to replace one or two of the weaker ones with real quality SDP candidates like Patrick O’Flynn.

Both partys would gain.

As Robert E. Heinlein once said

“Never appeal to a man's 'better nature.' He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.”

It is in the self interest of the Brexit Party to have an alliance. It is also in the self interest of the SDP to have an alliance.

It is in neither partys interest to squabble or ignore each other.

(Right. I’ll restart taking the medication now. Thank you)

Parliament, MPs and a Betrayal of Democracy.

When Boris Johnson attempted for a second time to trigger a General Election on the 10th September he won the vote in parliament with a majority of 247. 

Of the votes cast 85% were for a General Election.

So why did the bill to trigger a General Election fail? 

It failed because according the Fixed Term Parliament Act he needed the backing of 66% of MPs. 

A 66%+ majority was inadequate. In fact only 52% of MPs voted.

Look at this and weep.

Thats right. Nearly half of all MPs elected to Parliament to vote on our behalf could not be bothered (or were too scared) to even register a vote. Yet this was one of the most important bills to come before Parliament this century. For these cowards no vote was recorded.

If in a General Election only 52% of the electorate turned up to vote then it would (quite rightly) be regarded as a crisis for democracy.

I am unsure as to the true motivation (or lack thereof) of those who failed to vote but I can make a few guesses. 

But the first and foremost aspect of all this is the type of example it sets to an electorate that is already pretty damn disillusioned with politics in the UK.

Dare I suggest that if you are elected to Parliament it is your DUTY to vote. 

No ifs buts or wherefores or Machiavellian subterfuges, you must vote.

There may be (very) rare occasions when you may feel inadequately qualified (or whatever) but the clue is in the word – rare. 

There was absolutely no excuse for any MP not to vote (either for or against) this bill.

Of course there are reasons why some MPs would oppose Johnsons bill. 

But instead of actually publicly displaying their preference they allowed a clearly flawed Fixed Term Parliament Act to do their dirty work for them.

Look at this.

Notice the block of 111 Labour MPs (for who no vote is recorded) happen to represent Leave majority constituencies. 

I don’t know whether they are stupid enough to think the little subterfuge of not voting will allow them to pretend they were not responsible for vetoing a General Election.

I do wonder whether they are hoping to say on the doorstep that they didn’t actually vote down Johnsons bill. 

Or maybe they just wanted to avoid any immediate unwanted publicity that their vote might attract in their home town.

We elect politicians for a purpose. 

They are there to represent our views and are handsomely paid to do so. In order to represent our views the very least they have to do is actually vote! 

Then we can see them publicly upholding (or for that matter – betraying) our mandate.

This shocking dereliction of duty for petty party political ends is simply obscene and a betrayal of the electorate.

If you are an MP at least have the guts to vote. You were not elected to sit on your hands.