‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

THURSDAY BACKTRACK: Music and news from 60 years ago - week ending 22 July 1961

A new #2 this week from Eden Kane, while 'Temptation' still leads:



Some memorable events (via Wikipedia):


18 July: on the 25th anniversary of Spain's dictator Francisco Franco's rise to power, Basque separatist and Marxist group ETA (brief history above) attempts to derail a train carrying military veterans. Franco's response is large-scale arrests and trials of the activists, who in turn escalate their campaign. In 1973 ETA assassinates his Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco who had been tipped to succeed Franco in due course. After Franco dies in 1975 Spain begins its transition to democracy; such support as exists domestically and in France for ETA declines.

(Image source) Europa, representing the ideal of Continental unity (and holding a lead to the bull - Zeus in disguise - that abducted her in Greek mythology), is told to 'be patient, everything takes time.'
EWG stands for 'Europäische Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft', German for 'European Economic Community.'
The sapling that will grow to support the other end of Europa's hammock is 'Political Co-operation.'
18 July: at a meeting in Bad Godesderg, Bonn (capital of what was then West Germany), the leaders of the six nations making up the European Economic Community since the Treaty of Rome in 1957 agree the Bonn Declaration committing the group to further integration and enlargement. 
   It was not only trade that united them: Euratom was also agreed in 1957, to share resources on atomic energy; and in July 1961 De Gaulle was already envisioning a common defence policy: “There can be no European unity if Europe does not constitute a political entity distinct from other entities. A personality. But there can be no European personality if Europe does not have control over the defense of its personality. Defense is always the basis of politics.” (See here, page 101, or 109 online.)
   These developments aroused concern in the British Prime Minster, "Harold Macmillan, alarmed not least of all by the danger of an autonomous foreign and defense policy organization of the Six, announced in the House of Commons on 31 July that he would seek to negotiate Britain’s entry into the EEC." (Ibid., page 105, or 113 online.)

Liberty Bell 7 too heavy, had to be ditched
21 July: Astronaut Gus Grissom nearly drowns. The capsule door opens prematurely and seawater floods in; Grissom gets out and swims, but water is getting in through his suit's inlet valve and air being forced out through his neck dam. He is rescued just in time and winched up, but the capsule now weighs too much for the helicopter to take it away; it is eventually recovered by ship in 1999.

UK chart hits, week ending 22 July 1961

Htp: Clint's labour-of love compilation https://www.sixtiescity.net/charts/61chart.htm

1

Temptation

The Everly Brothers

Warner Brothers

2

Well I Ask You

Eden Kane

Decca

3

Hello Mary Lou / Travellin' Man

Ricky Nelson

London

4

Runaway

Del Shannon

London

5

Halfway To Paradise

Billy Fury

Decca

6

A Girl Like You

Cliff Richard and The Shadows

Columbia

7

You Don't Know

Helen Shapiro

Columbia

8

Pasadena

The Temperance Seven

Parlophone

9

You Always Hurt The One You Love

Clarence 'Frogman' Henry

Pye

10

Romeo

Petula Clark

Pye

11

Time

Craig Douglas

Top Rank

12

Don't You Know It

Adam Faith

Parlophone

13

Baby I Don't Care / Valley Of Tears

Buddy Holly

Coral

14

Surrender

Elvis Presley

RCA

15

Weekend

Eddie Cochran

London

16

But I Do

Clarence 'Frogman' Henry

Pye

17

Runnin' Scared

Roy Orbison

London

18

Quarter To Three

The U.S. Bonds

Top Rank

19

Old Smokie / High Voltage

Johnny and The Hurricanes

London

20

More Than I Can Say

Bobby Vee

London

Bonn Declaration 4: Sweet Charity, by Sackerson

The 1945 plan https://www.fdrlibrary.org/address-text was radical: full employment, housing, health, education and welfare - and FDR might have achieved it.

America had a thriving economy, and the President had a fresh electoral validation plus huge personal political capital built up over twelve years of strong and popular leadership. Had he not died in April, he might eventually have pushed the program through Congress despite the ‘Conservative coalition’, who didn’t like it.

Nor did they like Britain’s new Labour government, which had a similar agenda. The difference was that Britain needed money, and Washington had the chance to put a spanner in our socialist works. The termination of Lend-Lease https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lend-Lease in September left us facing bankruptcy, but when Keynes went to America to ask for a grant or gift to keep us going, the answer was no; and it could have remained ‘no’ had it not been for growing awareness of the Soviet menace. Sir Christopher Meyers explains:

After $5 billion in bailout loans from the USA and Canada to the UK https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-American_loan came the 1948 ‘Marshall Plan’ for Western Europe https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/exhibitions/legislative-highlights/economic-cooperation-act-1948-marshall-plan-april-3-1948 . Again, this was not merely for charity’s sake but to foster ‘the maintenance of conditions abroad in which free institutions may survive.’ The financial assistance was even offered to the Soviets, who refused it https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/soviet-union-rejects-marshall-plan-assistance , largely because they had their own highly paternalistic take on ‘democracy’… not entirely unlike the EU’s.

Relations between Roosevelt and Stalin had begun to sour in FDR’s last days. When the Wehrmacht transferred divisions from the Western front to face the oncoming Red Army, Stalin accused the President (3 April 1945) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stalins-War-History-Second-World-ebook/dp/B08FXYWSKK/ref=sr_1_1 of concluding a separate peace with the Germans, allowing Allied forces to advance eastwards in return for the prospect of better peace terms. Roosevelt exploded, writing of his ‘bitter resentment toward your informers’. Also, according to FDR’s adviser Charles Bohlen https://www.nytimes.com/1970/04/12/archives/foreign-affairs-if-roosevelt-had-lived.html , Roosevelt ‘was profoundly disturbed by the evidences of the Russian violation of the agreement on Poland and the agreement covering the Balkan countries.’ His successor had met FDR only twice as Vice-President, and there was a fateful delay in Truman’s getting up to speed on international developments after being sworn-in on 12 April.

Influential in the formulation of American policy towards Europe and the Soviet Union, and in the drafting of the Marshall Plan, was a US State Department official named George Kennan. He felt his warnings about the Soviets were being ignored by Truman’s advisers, and when asked by the State Department to explain recent Soviet behaviour he replied (22 February 1946) with a ‘Long Telegram’ https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116178.pdf on the Russian character and outlook and what needed to be done. According to Heinz-Dietrich Fischer (https://www.amazon.co.uk/American-Figures-Communicate-Through-Memoirs/dp/3643912951/ref=sr_1_1 , p.98):

‘Kennan believed that a federation needed to be established in Western Europe to counter Soviet influence in the region and to compete against the Soviet stronghold in Eastern Europe… In 1949, he suggested a plan for the reunification of Germany, stating the partition of Germany was unsustainable in the long run.’

Here we are, then, with what Churchill called for in 1946 https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1946-1963-elder-statesman/united-states-of-europe/ : a United States of Europe with a Franco-German core and cooperative ties to the USA and Russia, plus a Great Britain with its (still re-forming) connections to the Commonwealth.

Yet it is both more and less than Monnet’s dream. His purpose was peace; the use of the Community as a passive-aggressive bulwark against Communist Russia tended in the opposite direction. Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, there have been (unscrupulous and dangerous, in this writer’s opinion) ‘voices prophesying war’.

In a later piece, I hope to discuss other cross-currents in the EU’s goals.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

FDR, Truman, Stalin - What If... ? (Bonn Declaration 3)

What if?

What if Henry Wallace had become Vice-President in FDR’s fourth term, and suddenly been faced in 1945 with the smorgasbord of difficult decisions that Truman handled so manfully? As head of the Board of Economic Warfare (1941-1943) Wallace became embroiled in interdepartmental quarrels that ended with the dissolution of the BEW; whereas Truman’s Committee https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truman_Committee proved the latter to be formidably effective, saving the country many billions of dollars in its war on waste and corruption among defence contractors, through meetings noted for their absence of grandstanding by inquisitors. How well would a Wallace administration have tackled the war in the Pacific, the near-meltdown of post-war Europe, the industrial unrest in America in the switchover to a peacetime economy… and Stalin?

What if Roosevelt had lost the 1944 Presidential election? Comparing the results in 1940 https://www.britannica.com/event/United-States-presidential-election-of-1940 and 1944 https://www.britannica.com/event/United-States-presidential-election-of-1944 , we see that even though military service personnel overseas could vote http://www.nww2m.com/2014/11/the-wartime-ballot-1944-presidential-election/ , the turnout shrank from 62.5% https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940_United_States_presidential_election to 55.9% https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1944_United_States_presidential_election ; yet while total ballots cast for the Republican candidate fell by a mere 1.34%, FDR’s dropped by 6.02%. Democrat stayaway accounted for 83.8% of the reduction in overall turnout for the two elections.

Roosevelt’s victory in 1944 was conclusive nevertheless; but there was a bomb that could have gone off under his campaign platform https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1706 :

‘Dewey had learned that decrypted Japanese communications should have alerted President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Pearl Harbor attack and was about to make this a campaign issue. Clarke pleaded that the disclosure would reveal to the Japanese U.S. code-breaking progress. Dewey reluctantly agreed to keep silent, and FDR was elected to a fourth term.’

Imagine the impact on America, which Roosevelt had gradually hauled out of isolationism, of the accusation that he might have prevented the Pearl Harbor disaster, and maybe even the USA’s entry into WWII? Would a modern political competitor have shown Dewey’s restraint?

What if Roosevelt had lived and remained firmly in the saddle throughout his fourth term? How would that have influenced the development of America’s relations with Russia? FDR had been warned about Soviet expansionism: his former Ambassador to Russia, William C. Bullitt, advised a policy of containment in 1943. However, Bullitt was no longer in good odour with the President https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Christian_Bullitt_Jr.#Campaign_against_Sumner_Welles who instead agreed https://libquotes.com/franklin-d-roosevelt/quote/lbx7w6j with his foreign policy adviser Harry Hopkins https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Hopkins#Relations_with_Soviet_Union :

‘I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of man. Harry says he's not and that he doesn't want anything except security for his own country, and I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.’

This is not simple proof of Roosevelt’s gullibility. Churchill said of the Hun http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,792515,00.html that he ‘is always either at your throat or at your feet,’ and while Stalin had ruled his developing country for 18 years, Roosevelt had ruled his for twelve already and it was a very mighty nation. FDR had fine ideals, but he was also tough, even with allies – brutally so with Churchill, when it suited him. Would Stalin have dared for example, to continue resisting his Yalta commitment https://www.britannica.com/event/Yalta-Conference to free elections in eastern Europe, if FDR had been there to face him down at Potsdam https://alphahistory.com/coldwar/post-war-divisions/ in July 1945?

Writing in 1970, the NYT’s C. L. Sulzberger said https://www.nytimes.com/1970/04/12/archives/foreign-affairs-if-roosevelt-had-lived.html ‘It was not the death of a pro Soviet Roosevelt and his replacement by a reactionary Truman that touched it [the Cold War] off… Roosevelt had reached the end of his patience at precisely the moment his life was snuffed out.’ Sulzberger recalled that Churchill had lamented the tragic timing of FDR’s death, coming as it had when Truman was still getting up to speed with his briefings:

‘It was a tragedy that he had the initial ignorant period. It was then we lost Eastern Europe... We should have taken Berlin and Prague where the United States had two armored divisions stranded just three days' march away.’

It might have been a mistake for Ambassador Harriman to admit to Stalin (ibid.)  that Truman was ‘not experienced in foreign affairs.’ It was not enough (or perhaps too much) for the brand-new President to have told Molotov the Russians could ‘go to hell’ if they did not cooperate over Eastern Europe; but then, Truman was overwhelmed with a sea of troubles. As he said to reporters the day after learning of FDR’s death, ‘Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me now.’

Truman was in need of good advisers and an integrated foreign policy. This was to involve the reluctant rescue of Britain, the salvation of Western Europe, and a long campaign – uniting the ‘free peoples’ of the world - against Stalin’s imperialism; which we shall come to next.

Monday, July 19, 2021

The Turning Tide: From FDR to Truman (Bonn Declaration 2)

The EU has not been an unmixed blessing, suffering as it does from idealism. The holy goal of supranational unity and the extension of its benefits to other lands have led the Community to do things in haste and to ignore negative regional economic and social effects; but the 1961 Bonn Declaration made clear that it had also taken on a geopolitical role and political philosophy in which the United States was explicitly involved. The game of thrones had become a game of empires.

Practically, Jean Monnet’s project to make a firm partnership between France and Germany, those mighty historic rivals, has been achieved long since and is a monument to Monnet’s heroic tenacity and flexible diplomacy in the pursuit of lasting peace. Yet its precondition was the USA’s Marshall Plan and earlier aid immediately following the Second World War, without which Western Europe faced collapse and revolution.

The path to American involvement was not smooth, because their way is not entirely like ours; and there remains a cultural tension between transatlantic economic liberalism and European statist impulses. It was a tension also at work within the United States itself during Roosevelt’s terms of Presidency, and resulted in a sea-change marked by the new Truman administration, with implications not only for his country but for Europe and the world.

FDR rescued the system with his package of measures including the Banking Acts of 1933 that supported banks but also restrained them; the job creation schemes under the National Industrial Recovery Act of the same year; and the Social Security Act of 1935, helping the needy, the unemployed and pensioners. It seems unlikely that he actually saved the nation from Depression-era communist takeover – that tends to come in the wake of total economic chaos or military defeat; but the fundamentalists of the CPUSA opposed the New Deal and only abandoned their position in 1935 in order to unite against fascism (similarly, pure-Marxist China was later to condemn the ‘revisionist traitors’ of the USSR under Khrushchev’s 1956 destalinisation program.)

From the later 1930s, Roosevelt was also resisted from the Right, by the ‘Conservative coalition’ in Congress, an alliance of Republicans and Southern Democrats, who saw the New Deal as not in the American tradition of personal freedom and self-reliance. Even the Cleveland ‘Plain-Dealer’, loyal to the Democrats since the mid-nineteenth century, switched to endorsing FDR’s rivals in the Presidential election campaigns of 1940 and 1944. https://digital.tcl.sc.edu/digital/collection/mccrayjh/id/15177. in the latter, given how the Electoral College works, the Republicans’ Thomas Dewey could have won, with only half a million more votes in the right areas (p. 2 here https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1065&context=fac_dis  .)

Roosevelt’s failing health, disguised from the public, was becoming obvious to insiders - his doctor had been warned https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/25/books/review/franklin-roosevelt-his-final-battle-josephy-lelyveld.html  that if FDR ran for a fourth term in office, he would probably not live to complete it, though it is not clear who if anyone in the Party knew of this -  and made crucial the choice of running mate in 1944.

Henry Wallace had been FDR’s Vice-President during the latter’s third term. He was an anti-segregationist, which would not have played well in the Southern Democrat states mired in the largely British colonial legacy of the slave trade. He was also an advocate of what he called ‘economic democracy,’ anathema to fiscal Conservatives increasingly fretting about public debt and taxation. What with his progressive views and his flaky interest in numerology and Navajo magic, today he might be called a New Ager https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1948/08/henry-wallace-a-divided-mind/306029/ At any rate, he was potentially a vote-loser in the changing political climate, and too erratic to be an emergency substitute for the Chief Executive. https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/election/article88007192.html

Yet Wallace was popular with the rank-and-file. At the 1944 Democratic Party Convention he seemed set to secure renomination but while the crowd was chanting for him the chairman adjourned the Convention for the day and the Party leadership worked hard overnight to secure support for Truman. The next day, Wallace scored more votes than Truman in the first ballot but not enough to win outright; Truman then picked up enough second choices in the next ballot to secure victory. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_A._Wallace#Election_of_1944 The ticket was set for another successful Presidential election campaign https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1944_United_States_presidential_election; but within three months of FDR’s inauguration Truman was suddenly called on to take over, inexperienced though learning fast; and ready to steer a more conservative course.

In a later piece, I plan to show how the changing tide worked out for the USA, Europe and Russia.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

WEEKENDER: The Endless Advancement of Green Thinking, by Wiggia

In a previous piece about how the pandemic was a very useful smokescreen for the surreptitious advancement of all things green, I laid out several examples.

Even in the short space of time since then other relevant items have surfaced; one in particular was interesting as it was an example of how big business is having more and more of a stake in pushing the green agenda for its own purposes.

The item was about how meat producers in the USA are being bought out by businesses who are in the substitute meat manufacturing game. They see a potential huge market for lab-made beef or other meat substitutes as the climate change lobby push for higher meat prices, and eventually the elimination of cattle as they produce nasty gases that evidently are causing climate change?

With the western world going down this path of de-meatifyng the populace, using climate change and health as factors that they have discovered very few will object to if those two items are the prefix to any green introductions bingo, it is the magic key to doing anything they like,  the west having discovered the magic formula will plough on and make this one of those must-do items on the green agenda.

It has been suggested that by 2040 most meat would not be coming from slaughtered animals. The companies benefiting from this will be the lab-meat producers and it has been noted they are hastening the trend in their favour by buying grazing land in the US to force the speed of the changeover to their products.

Companies too are getting in on the act; this is one of the first now many who have joined the anti-meat agenda:

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/business/finance-strategy/property-firm-rolls-out-veggie-only-expense-policy#comment-754992

The cynic in me would say all these companies have seen a way of cutting expenses whilst polishing their green credentials.

This link gives a rather more cynical view of green badging of companies:

https://financefeeds.com/green-bandwagon-thankfully-not-on-agenda-of-the-fx-industry/

Back in 2009 a Guardian article had this headline:

“The public sector has accepted the need to tackle climate change, but can't go it alone – business and the people must be engaged too“

Of course the public sector went along with it: what have they to lose? and whose money would they be investing anyway? - not theirs.

As consumers are nudged towards non meat or faux meat products with the help of the health fascists making sure that real meat products eventually price themselves out of reach of the average consumer, we are still not told what the costs of the lab produced article will be. Once that tipping point is reached you can guarantee veg prices will rise as the choice will become in effect none at all.

One of the reasons aired for the eventual erasing of real meat is its huge demand for water. That of course depends largely on demand and they are going to restrict and do away with demand so water will be saved. Of course as with much else on the green agenda; that doesn’t take into account the rise of world populations who all need water in one form or another, reckoned to reach 9.4 billion by 2040 from 7.6 billion today and it just keeps rising. The biggest increases are in African countries which cannot or will not sustain themselves and so mass immigration follows which will not stop but increase, bringing the potential earnings ratio ever lower in places like GB. Many surveys show we have been in decline with earnings since the 2008 crash, which again makes almost all the green projects unaffordable for the average man.

I have to state I am not personally against lab produced meat as long as it tastes the same and is competitively priced. The slaughter house side of meat production is something nearly all of us pretend doesn’t happen when we buy our steak. Will it provide the same taste experience or will it be bland and Quorn like? This article suggests it may be OK for certain types of meat, but this one is hardly your go-to in the Co-Op

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-14/lab-grown-foie-gras-receives-french-government-support-tastes-delicious?srnd=premium-europe

There is also a push for vertical farming. This is not new: I recall articles on this innovation decades ago, a modern version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The principle is you stack floors of greenhouses on top of one another in a city environment, saving transport costs and land usage, all using hydroponics. This saves hugely on water usage and run-off, but as usual there are big disadvantages that have never been solved: being stacked, unlike a conventional single storey greenhouse, all apart from the top one get uneven light which is no good for producing uniform crops so artificial light has to be used, and you guessed it that needs energy and the linking of solar power and inbuilt windmills just doesn’t cut it, so they are not viable. Other types have been suggested but they all need energy, so save water but need a lot more energy = non viable.

https://www.economist.com/technology-quarterly/2010/12/11/does-it-really-stack-up

To add to the food misery is this: neatly following on from yesterday's greenprint, the government advisors are suggesting taxing salt and sugar

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57838103

The NHS are involved here by prescribing vegetables as an alternative, so the NHS is also in that push to eliminate meat and turn us all vegan. I would be more impressed if the NHS did what we pay them to do, treat people with diseases and ailments.

Needless to say Bojo is playing it soft by saying he does not think taxing people is the right way to go but will discuss and let everyone know in six months, meaning he will tax sugar and salt in one form or another. Boris has certainly made up for all the U turns Mrs Thatcher didn’t make; he also lies a lot.

I like the bit in that link that says any taxes will go towards more free school meals. that makes it all right then, they have seen what St Rashford has done and jumped on the bandwagon. of course any extra tax neve goes directly to anything, it goes in the pot.

Skyscraper farming, where does all that energy for lighting come from? Not solar that’s for sure. There is also the question of what happens to the land previously inhabited by cattle; grazing land despite what the greenies say is not suitable for arable crops, which is why, obviously, it was grazing land in the first place. So far the answers to that are few and none, the only proposal put forward, from the greens, is the re-wilding of everything, a countryside like the middle ages with wild boar, herds of bloody deer (haven’t we enough?) beavers damming all the rivers, birds of prey such as Golden Eagles and a landscape out of Jurassic Park. Perhaps that is the end game: not being able to access enough water, no energy to power anything, freezing houses in winter as energy becomes limited to off-peak because too expensive at any other time, food limited by price and choice, and an exploding population. Yes, that is the answer: free holidays for all in Jurassic Park and the humans become the food; problem solved.

Which takes me back to the newsletter I spoke about before from Anglia Water on the way forward: we would pay in advance - with no obvious benefits for us - for the renewal of infrastructure for a private company; shares all round, and we will still be asked to share baths etc. in the future to save the planet.

How on earth the average working family is going to be able to afford all these vainglorious projects that our leaders claim are essential to the planet and our well being (?) is a mystery in a global low wage economy. Not one politician to my knowledge has explained how the money will be raised other than ever higher taxes that the many will not pay and the fewer will pay ever more. They talk about sustainability; what they spout is not sustainable. They will either collapse the country - they are not needing much of a push in that direction - or they will have to bin much of this self-proclaimed roadmap into nirvana.

The latter is preferable as very little of it will make one iota of difference to the planet, but as with Covid “if it saves one life” these clowns will plough on, having already tied us to ridiculous agreements. Thanks, Theresa May, your legacy will be noted.


Bang on cue the government announce their ‘greenprint’: all that has been mooted is coming to pass, EVs will not only have to pay tax as petrol cars do but road pricing is coming as well, so not only do EVs cost a lot more and have batteries that currently can’t be disposed of, they will also have double taxes.

HGVs will not be sold after 2040. This could get interesting, it is not an area Deliveroo can step into and help; we await the electric substitute!

Air travel will be carbon neutral, whatever that means; what it really means is that air travel will be for the few as the new fuels will cost more and passengers will pay a carbon tax.

All the usual suspects from green lobby groups naturally support all this as do various think tanks of industry, claiming that our world leading stance on all this will lead to new jobs (and lose many more elsewhere) and reduce our emissions. All this to from a country that contributes less than 1% of the world's CO2 emissions and whose effort to reach carbon neutral by 2050 will have been in vain as the world at large ploughs on and the increasing populations make it all pointless.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-publishes-worlds-first-greenprint-to-decarbonise-all-modes-of-domestic-transport-by-2050

You will note in this paper there is not one single word about the big elephant in the room: where is all this extra very expensive energy coming from? We discussed earlier the fact that wind and solar cannot produce enough and even if they could it would be intermittent and we would have rolling blackouts, and that is at current demands; the mere thought about for instance what electric HGVs will require for charging is mind-boggling.

In the video in that link, the usual disingenuous waffle about 50% of our energy being produced by wind power is voiced. As we all know, it only works when the wind blows; even just last week, wind on one day contributed just under 1% of our total energy needs; the difference is made up by buying in energy from abroad, which is hardly a way forward in energy security.

The other item of note and which is already happening is the shutting down of our cities to the motor car. In many ways we can agree on that, but walking or cycling more with an ageing population is not a viable alternative, and unless better public transport is subsidised (more taxpayer's money) many will not be able to afford even that. We can all remember the ticket prices when the buses deregulated; now add on horrendously expensive hydrogen: it is currently 10x more expensive than gas for example. So buses powered by electricity or hydrogen will see prices rocket, unless again they are subsidised, and the subsidy once again falls on those least able to afford it, the taxpayer. They really don’t want the little man to travel anywhere.

The only amusing thing in that video was the appalling state of the city road shown; so much for investment.

Still at least John Lewis have the solution: bring back trams. There is little to say on this other than who is going to support yet another form of transport which requires its own dedicated and electrified lane? Bonkers!

https://motortransport.co.uk/blog/2020/01/22/john-lewis-backs-siemens-ehighway-solution-for-electric-hgvs/

A window into the not-so-distant future, is this from California. Look familiar?

“Last August, after rolling blackouts hit California during a heat wave, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered an investigation."

The report on the root causes of the August blackouts was completed in January. The problem was caused by lack of “resource adequacy” and “planning.” The people making decisions about how much power would be needed in California were routinely underestimating the demand for electricity.

It’s happening again. Summer, it turns out, was unexpected.

The great thing about underestimating California’s power needs is that everybody can pretend the state can run on solar and wind energy, thereby feeling good that we’re doing something to stop climate change. Unmentioned is that California now imports more electricity than any other state, and how that power is generated is somebody else’s problem.”

https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/regulation/california-electricity-shortage-issues/

We are following the same pattern.

And as usual in all of this not a single questioning voice is heard. Just why are they pushing this, with the lack of infrastructure to support it, to mention just one problem? A familiar story and oft repeated.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

The Bonn Declaration - 60 years on (part 1)

On 18 July 1961 the founding countries of the EEC issued the ‘Bonn Declaration,’ a commitment to expansion and unification. A contemporary cartoon by ‘HeKo’ https://www.cvce.eu/en/obj/cartoon_by_heko_on_the_efforts_of_france_and_germany_in_favour_of_a_political_europe_the_meeting_of_the_six_in_bad_godesberg_19_july_1961-en-06e6a446-435a-4c2b-8f25-3bd267373c01.html shows Germany and France supporting one end of a hammock on which Europa reclines, while they wait for a sapling called ‘Political Cooperation’ to grow sufficiently to take the burden.

There are several different drivers for this movement, which is why the results have been patchy. They include:

  • ·         Preventing war in Europe
  • ·         Developing selected African nations
  • ·         Fighting Soviet Communism on behalf of the USA
  • ·         Abolishing nationhood
  • ·         Building an empire
  • ·         Achieving full employment and prosperity

Jean Monnet, an internationalist in outlook from his business as a French brandy exporter, believed that the way to prevent European conflicts was to unite the countries, especially France and Germany. He was advising the French minister of commerce and industry at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference when the latter put forward a plan for international economic cooperation. Instead, France was set on ruinous reparations from Germany and the rest we know.

Again in 1940, as France was falling to German blitzkrieg, Monnet was in London, urging the unification of France and Britain – joint citizenship, and joint armed forces, which might have been enough to resist the Nazis. His idea was tabled for British Cabinet discussion, but the French government capitulated before the scheme could be considered.

In 1950 his plan of absorbing into a higher authority the French and German production of coal and steel, key war-making materials, was announced by Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister; the 1951 Treaty of Paris established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and Monnet became its President. Monnet’s ambitions went further, but the French Parliament rejected a proposal for a unified European Defence Community.

Nevertheless the success of the ECSC, reviewed at the Messina Conference in 1955, encouraged the Six to proceed with further integration. 1957 saw the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which not only gave birth to the EEC and Euratom (the transnational atomic energy commission) but set its sights on the economic development of past and present European colonies in Africa. A fund was set up, to which all the Six contributed. https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/bd/opinion-analysis/ideas-debate/how-60-year-old-treaty-of-rome-still-influences-eu-africa-partnership-2145622

By 1961 the EEC was ready to ‘move towards the unity of Europe’ as the preamble to the Bonn Declaration https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/written-answers/1961/nov/02/european-economic-community-bonn says; but not just to prevent nationalistic wars:

‘Only a united Europe, allied to the United States of America and to other free peoples, is capable of meeting the dangers which threaten the existence of Europe and of the whole free world.’

The threat to world peace had shifted from nationalism to ideology. Of the USA, more later.

Though France had previously rejected a common European defence policy, by now even de Gaulle was contemplating it, as he wrote in his notes (p. 101 here https://library.oapen.org/bitstream/id/dffbe9c6-c54f-46d0-aa0f-325081a9787d/1004874.pdf ):

‘There can be no European unity if Europe does not constitute a political entity distinct from other entities. A personality. But there can be no European personality if Europe does not have control over the defence of its personality. Defence is always the basis of politics.’

These developments aroused concern in the British Prime Minister (ibid., p. 105):

‘Harold Macmillan, alarmed not least of all by the danger of an autonomous foreign and defence policy organization of the Six, announced in the House of Commons on 31 July that he would seek to negotiate Britain’s entry into the EEC.’

Whatever British leaders said publicly in the years to follow, post-Bonn they knew where the EEC was headed.