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

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Bang goes real estate, eventually - a reader's comment

Your responses are welcomed: reader 'PasserBy' comments on a recent piece, with reference to the redidential and commercial property markets:

I would agree that there is no housing crisis, other than that manufactured by the government.

The main criteria for housing is that it be built and bought with borrowed money - ie the Banks keep the wheel turning and shave off their profits.
There is money in old housing but not as much as the megabucks required for newbuild residential.

As an aside, the commercial property market is in freefall. Again you wont read about this on the BBC - heaven forfend any bad news should leak out!

Whats happening behind the scenes is that pension funds (large and small) can neither rent nor sell their CommProp 'investments' and are starting to wobble. Of course the rules dictate that you cannot hold residential property in a pension so not even conversions are possible.

By CommProp incidentally, I am referring to retail and light industrial properties - right up to office blocks and distribution centres.

Prices have to be kept elevated else the whole british economy and mentality will collapse. It just remains to be seen how long the plates can be kept spinning.

The coming tsunami of 1 million + Chinese from Hong Kong after some manufactured crisis there is the plan. They, with their wealth, are currently buying up houses at an incredible rate all across the UK.
This is what is fueling the 'boom' in house prices.

This is required because the demographics of the UK are incredibly bad for housing and house prices. The Boomers are stepping into their endgames in ever larger numbers the the houses they bought in the 60s and 70s are flooding onto the market. The Chinese are needed to prop the whole thing up.

When I say 'housing' or 'house prices' I of course refer to their main role as collateral for the vast amount of borrowing currently outstanding in the UK. If housing goes down, the banks and likely the UK economy will crater.
Its more likely to happen than not and it'll make 2008 look like a picnic.
But every little tweak and fiddle by the government is directed to keeping prices elevated.

Britain is hoist on its own petard but the less it struggles the longer it'll survive.... fascinating to watch.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

WEEKENDER: Plans, Trans and Sportweardeals, by Wiggia

A couple or so of items caught my eye this week. The first was another announcement from Bojo on how to waste our money, and it is always ours.

To be paid for by the MoD... as the MoD is using the same money as everything else the government uses that is just double talk. What he was trying to imply was there would be no extra money being spent on this vainglorious waste of time. It could be the MoD will cut our defence spending even more to make room for this pointless exercise, who knows these days, we are rarely told the truth about anything.

Do we really need a ‘national yacht’? Which other nation uses a floating gin palace to exhibit its wares around the world and would anyone else contemplate such a choice? It looks to me like jollies for all again at the tax payer's expense.

£200 million: when was the last time a government project came in on budget?

It could have spent the £200 million on some much-needed coastal protection vessels, but that would have also been a waste of time as the few we have are only used as Channel shuttles and we wouldn’t want to increase the inward flow even more again at our expense.

Bojo ‘hopes’ it can be built in a British yard. To be honest, what a cringe-making statement: a vessel made to promote British goods and services is made in a foreign country? Sometimes making it up is easier; no doubt a yard in Hamburg or similar is already drawing up plans, I would love to be wrong but the irony is too strong.

When this was offered up as an idea, someone somewhere should have said nah, but it like HS2 will go ahead anyway; while the printing presses are running there is no stopping this government hosing our money away.

And now for something completely different. Our phone use is quite limited these days as we are both long retired, I have a good SIM deal on my mobile which fits my lesser needs these days and a combined broadband and landline package.

We all pay the monopoly Open Reach a twenty pound a month line rental charge which is in itself a rip off as you have no choice, but there is another matter which slipped under the radar: our package including the landline phone that is rarely used these days has free evenings and weekends as part of it, not free of course but cheaper. What I never realised was the fact that calls made during day time in the week were so bloody expensive, I was still under the assumption that landline calls were always cheaper than a mobile; wrong!

It was the fact that our having just moved house, the phone was used a lot more than normal contacting tradesmen suppliers etc., and I expected my monthly bill to rise so did not check the details, just acknowledged the final figure; but a very long call trying to get through to that other monopoly our GP surgery made me look out of curiosity at that monthly statement and I could not believe what I saw: they actually have the cheek to charge 25p a minute for daytime calls including a connection fee. I know with what I would like to connect, it has to be the biggest con in all our utility charges. How on earth can they justify that on top of a £20 line rental?

I had to check around the other providers as I thought there was a mistake, but no they are all similar.

I stupidly assumed that landline calls were around a 1p a minute, which they should be, there must be hundreds of thousands of old people who are not digital age savvy who have no idea what their landline is costing them. It's an absolute disgrace to charge so much, no wonder so many are ditching landlines all together and using their mobiles for everything; even my old Nokia emergency phone on PAYG is only 2p a minute.

And lastly something that was always going to split opinion and could turn nasty as women's sport becomes a playground for those men who failed as men in sport but could be winning as trans women.

The various sporting bodies have had more than enough time to take a view on this but the woke world we live in now has hobbled their answer to the question. An awful lot of medical facts show whatever medication to lower testosterone is taken, people who grew up as men have a built in advantage in power and bone structure.

It is noticeable that so far those who have transitioned and suddenly declared an interest in competing in women's sporting events are all well past their sell by date as men, and most are appearing in what could be called the less glamorous sports or versions of sport like masters events. Again, for the older transition-er, whether or not Laurel Hubbard wins in weightlifting in Tokyo is not really the point, what has happened is that a wedge has been driven into women's sport and the door is being prised open to accommodate trans women.

When I was cycle racing many moons ago at a decent level on the track, the East German machine was well in action producing endless women champions, all on drugs that gave them much of the power of men. Anybody who saw them close up was looking at something from a horror movie: muscled beyond belief, hair on the face and elsewhere and setting world records few could approach. It was wrong, they hid behind the Iron Curtain and got away with it for years; it made a farce of many women's events in many sports.

One thing that is never mentioned in all the prattling that has gone on as to whether any of this has a place in sport, is the fact there is not one example of a woman changing to a man trying on the same scam because it would be a waste of time; it only works one way, but no one dares to speak out on the fact, so cowered are they about saying the wrong thing.

As Sharon Davies, brave lady, has said they are gaming the system, and they are. It hasn’t really started yet but when those more youthful start to go down this path and claim they are women there will be a big problem. Also, n this day and age people will do anything to make money or be noticed: note the number of TV programs based on people with no talent other than being able to make idiots of themselves with no shame as long as they are in the limelight for their fifteen minutes of fame.  Changing one's sex is just another way for some to be noticed; the parents who put little boys in dresses and claim the children want to be something else is another example; a small section of the gay community can’t wait for a Pride parade and get their willies out in public as has happened.

The fact that the NZ government and their woke feminist PM Jacinda Ardern have come out and backed their weightlifter is no surprise.

In boxing they have a bigger problem and it has already raised its ugly head. In a physical contact sport like boxing any man-held physical advantages are positively dangerous. How any trans is allowed to compete against women is beyond comprehension. Women's boxing is very much a minority sport anyway but is this one ripe for the trans mafia to compete in? This example shows the danger and the simply mind-numbing indifference by the sports controllers. The trans community would appear to sanction what could be legalised murder in favour of hurty feelz. We live in strange times.

Women's sport is on the cusp of being made irrelevant. The answer is of course to have a separate category for trans athletes, the competition could be put on in the Coliseum in Rome where they have a history of one-sided competitions put on for the masses.

https://recentlyheard.com/2020/01/23/transgender-mma-fighter-who-broke-skull-of-woman-named-bravest-athlete-in-history/

And finally, as Scotland once again fail to advance in the European Football Championships, not all is lost for the fans...

Friday, June 25, 2021

FRIDAY MUSIC: Wally Fawkes, by Wiggia

JD is temporarily indisposed and recuperating; Wiggia steps into the breach this week: 


As JD is out of action for a short time the Friday music slot is barren. Week after week JD fills  the page with the weird and wonderful world of music. His depth of knowledge on the subject apparently is ad infinitum. I couldn’t and wouldn’t try to emulate his postings, my own field of knowledge in music is confined to modern jazz and I have in the past put up posts on that small area of the genre, and I could have revived one of those or written something similar again.

But one of those scans of today's birthdays in the paper brought back some memories of the past so something slightly different emerged as a suitable stand in for JDs Friday slot.

The birthday that stood out was of one Wally Fawkes, clarinettist and cartoonist, who I have to admit I believed had gone to a better place, but no he is still around at 97 Born in Canada, Wally emigrated with his family to Britain in 1931. He showed through various media a talent for art and ended up on the Daily Mail drawing column breaks and graphic illustrations after winning a Daily Mail competition and being spotted by the paper's chief cartoonist.

It was during the war that he started on his musical career. He once joked that Londoners were spending so much time in underground shelters during the war they were in danger of becoming troglodytes; this gave him the name for his band Wally Fawkes and the Troglodytes and also a shortened version, Trog, as his pseudonym for his cartoons.

Fawkes took a course at Camberwell Art College and it was there that he met Humphrey Lyttleton. They both played in George Webb's Dixielanders band but when Lyttleton left in ‘48 to form his own band Fawkes left with him and stayed until ‘56. He played sporadically with Lyttleton for years afterwards.

His cartoon character Flook ran in the Daily Mail for 35 years and Lyttleton and others including Barry Norman and George Melly contributed to the scripts for the series. It later appeared for a while in the Observer and he became the political cartoonist for Punch and other titles and finished at the Sunday Telegraph.

His music is best known as a band member with Lyttleton; his own band the Troglodytes was disbanded not long after the war.

The contribution that he and Lyttleton made extended far outside of music and both enjoyed prolonged careers. They are a type of talent not seen today, being able to switch in their careers and run parallel with the same success, Fawkes only gave up his cartoons when failing eyesight forced him to stop in 2005.

With Humph in 1983

From 1954, featuring Wally Fawkes and Trogs Blues

This was recorded in 1992 at the Bulls Head in Barnes, long a music venue for jazz 
and my brother-in-law has played there with others and his own band for years

Not sure when this was actually recorded but it was released in 2012

And an early number with his own original band, the Troglodytes
  

Get well soon, JD.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

THURSDAY BACKTRACK: Music and news from 60 years ago - week ending 24 June 1961

Del Shannon's 'Runaway' stays at #2 all month, behind Elvis' 'Surrender':


Some memorable events (via Wikipedia):

18 June: the OAS, a terrorist organisation trying to force France to keep possession of Algeria,
bombs the Paris-to-Strasbourg express train, killing dozens and injuring over 100. 
The newspaper splash above is found here.

19 June: Kuwait, a British protectorate since 1899, gains independence (photo source.)
 Iraq's leader Abdul Karim Qasim, who seized power there in 1958, lays claim to Kuwait six days later.
Britain sends forces to defend the country in Operation Vantage.

War criminal and mass murderer Adolf Eichmann, kidnapped in Argentina and put on trial in Israel, gives evidence in his defence, claiming he was merely obeying orders. 
He is found guilty on December 15 and hanged on May 31 the following year, his body cremated and the ashes thrown into the sea.

21 June: the USA's first desalination plant opens in Freeport, Texas.

(Image via 'Historic Photographs' Facebook page)
21 June: 'A thin TV screen only 4 inches thick with an automatic timing device to record TV programs for later viewing is the wave of the future as shown at the Home Furnishings Market in Chicago.'


24 June: despite a ban in Dade County, Florida, Henry Miller's controversial book 'Tropic of Cancer' is published in the USA by Grove Press, 27 years after its first publication in Europe. Booksellers are still threatened with prosecution for violating anti-obscenity laws; in 1964 the US Supreme Court rules that the book is not obscene because it has some redeeming social value.

UK chart hits, week ending 24 June 1961

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

1

Surrender

Elvis Presley

RCA

2

Runaway

Del Shannon

London

3

Temptation

The Everly Brothers

Warner Brothers

4

Pasadena

The Temperance Seven

Parlophone

5

The Frightened City

The Shadows

Columbia

6

Hello Mary Lou / Travellin' Man

Ricky Nelson

London

7

You'll Never Know

Shirley Bassey

Columbia

8

But I Do

Clarence 'Frogman' Henry

Pye

9

Pop Goes The Weasel / Bee*Bom

Anthony Newley

Decca

10

Halfway To Paradise

Billy Fury

Decca

11

I Told Every Little Star

Linda Scott

Columbia

12

A Girl Like You

Cliff Richard and The Shadows

Columbia

13

Runnin' Scared

Roy Orbison

London

14

More Than I Can Say

Bobby Vee

London

15

Have A Drink On Me

Lonnie Donegan

Pye

16

Well I Ask You

Eden Kane

Decca

17

What'd I Say

Jerry Lee Lewis

London

18

Little Devil

Neil Sedaka

RCA

19

Weekend

Eddie Cochran

London

20

Ring Of Fire

Duane Eddy

London

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Cummings and the zombie parties

Dominic Cummings says https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9708057/Dominic-Cummings-prepares-unleash-salvo-Boris.html ’all the parties are rotten to the core, old decrepit entities literally dying on their feet.’

It’s hardly surprising. The current British electoral system can be gamed, and so the parties concentrate on ‘the swing voter in the swing seat’, spending fortunes on focus groups, computerised voter modelling and tailored propaganda.

The people don’t understand the ins and outs of most political issues, and they are hardly likely to be educated by what they see and hear from the mass media. They rely more on sensing the soul of the party they support, and that too has them confused: it’s been a long time since Labour stood for the working stiff and it is riven by factions; while the Tories are perceived as the party of privilege, banding together in the pursuit of power and hang the principles.

If the third party, the LibDems, ever got into power they would explode, like the chameleon placed on a tartan, for they have a habit of saying one thing locally and another nationally, as we saw in last week’s by-election campaign: against HS2 and free rein to housebuilders in Chesham and Amersham, in favour of both in central party policy.

Every political system has its vulnerabilities. In ancient Athens, where all free men voted in their assembly, the weakness was the power of the orator. Demosthenes got Athens to resist the Macedonians; the result was defeat for the city and ultimately his own death.

In modern Britain, it is the unequal vote that skews outcomes. In a ‘safe’ seat you may as well not bother voting, but if you didn’t vote for the winner the system doesn’t let you signal that he/she was at least your second or third choice, so you feel disconnected. Also, in most constituencies – about two-thirds, from when I looked at the 2005 and 2010 General Elections – the winner fails to gain half or more of ballots cast; not so much ‘First past the post’ as ‘Nobody reached the post.’ Last week, Sarah Green won with only 30.4% of the vote (or 16% of registered electors.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Chesham_and_Amersham_by-election#Results It’s hardly a basis for Littlejohn’s cry ‘What the hell happened to the Conservative Party?’ https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-9702591/RICHARD-LITTLEJOHN-hell-happened-Conservative-Party.html

There is also the disjunction between numbers of seats won and the share of the votes cast nationally. Despite the landslides of 1945, 1979, Blair etc., only twice since 1918 has any party ‘passed the post’ in General Elections - the Conservatives both times, in 1931 and 1935. https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-7529/#fullreport

In my adult lifetime, there have been only three occasions on which my vote counted exactly the same as anyone else’s: the EC referendum in 1975, the Alternative Vote referendum of 2011, and 2016’s Brexit.

In the first we were misled on sovereignty (or at least, it was downplayed) and Wilson’s government pamphlet implicitly threatened us with the loss of ‘FOOD and MONEY and JOBS’ http://www.harvard-digital.co.uk/euro/pamphlet.htm if we didn’t ratify our (future EU) membership.

In 2011, as I remember it, the two major parties poured sludge all over the idea of AV. The No Campaign broadcast of 11 April https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-13048603 featured Rik Mayall’s Alan B'Stard promising everything to get in, then forming a coalition and welching on all the manifesto promises. Funny, that is what we got under the present system and ironically, the AV Referendum wouldn’t have happened at all if Nick Clegg hadn’t made it the price of his joining the Tories and ratting on the LibDems’ tuition fees pledge.

That leaves 2016. My surprise at the even-handed media coverage of the issues was trumped by the Establishment’s shock at the result; but that’s the flip side of their chronic beamed-down propaganda operations – it made them deaf to messages coming the other way. ‘Nobody knows anything,’ said a stunned Dimbleby when the result was declared; or at least, nobody who matters. They’ve had PTSD ever since, and the subterranean coal-seam fires of their supporters are still burning on Facebook.  Don’t expect to get such a chance again; this isn’t Switzerland.

Cummings is right, but until the voting system is fairer and the people better informed, expect the zombies to continue slugging it out well into the future.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Chesham and Amersham by-election: votes v builders

The Chesham and Amersham by-election results tempt some to draw the wrong conclusions. One such is that other sham John Bercow, tying his jolly-boat to the sinking ship of Labour; at least he’s finally struck his false colours.

By-elections, with their lower turnout and posing no danger of serious GE upset, offer a chance for protest. The LibDems play on discontent but equivocate and betray, as witness Nick Clegg’s U-turn on tuition fees when deputy PM (now regenerated as senior information-suppressor at Facebook.) We know what we’ve got there, in him and them.

What alternative is there? The Labour vote – less than 20% even in the Great Revolution of 1997 – fell to under 2% on Thursday. I don’t know what that Party can do to save itself; it is neither fish nor flesh these days. Where among their number are characters of the weight and experience of the 1945-ers? Instead of an Ernest Bevin we have an earnest vegetarian nebbish, whose main role is not to be the dim theoretician he helped to defenestrate, while the flibbertigibbet Blair flutters in the wings.

One point not much stressed in coverage of the upset is that C&A is one of the decided minority of Parliamentary seats where the MP usually garners more than half the ballots. This time, Welsh parachutee SarahGreen becomes their representative on the basis of only some 30% of votes cast (or 16% of registered voters.) 

Can her victory last? If local resentment at HS2 and planning changes threatening derestricted residential development (I call it ‘flatulence’) turns to a settled hatred of the velociraptories and their developer friends, perhaps it can.

On the other hand, LibDem housing policy calls for 300,000 new homes to be built per year ‘including 100,000 social homes for rent,’ and while the Party in Chesham and Amersham is against HS2, it is for it nationally. This doubletalk is hardly a basis on which to ‘go back to yourconstituencies, and prepare for government!’ 

I leave it to others to list all the ways that HS2’s £100 billion-plus could be spent better; but I submit there is no housing shortage. According to Action on Empty Homes, while 100,000 families are in temporary accommodation, there is ‘a current total of homes without residents of over 928,000.’

Further, the term ‘affordable’ is potentially misleading: it relates to local average rents and mortgages, so that in well-to-do areas the proletariat has little chance of finding somewhere to live.  The citizens who voted in last week’s election dwell in houses that cost far more than the national average (1, 2, 3); what they are likely to see is not an influx of the great unwashed but a rash of executive homettes spoiling their former view across the green fields of England; good for the village shop, perhaps (until the megastores see their chance), but prejudicial to the traditional ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property they bought at such high prices.

Voting in a LibDem MP won’t change a system that is stacked against objectors. According to Chris Kemp in The Conversation website, his research showed that planners, councillors and local communities

‘believed the planning system was set up to override objections. Applications were approved irrespective of local views or the (often negative) impacts development would have on local infrastructure and services,’

and as for affordability:

‘It is estimated that meeting the government’s target to build 300,000 homes a year would reduce prices by around 0.8%: considerably less than rates of increase over recent decades.’

Kemp says that the proposed planning reforms will significantly increase housebuilding, in part by removing local people’s power to obstruct.

Where there’s a ballot there’s a pencil mark; but where there’s a wallet there’s a way.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

WEEKENDER: Business news leaks truth about the Green catastrophe, by Wiggia

        

It is amazing in a world of 24 hour news and information, how little of anything that goes against a perceived agenda or narrative ever gets published, which is why the digital world thrives. Unfortunately the digital world as exemplified with this blog is a gnat's pee in the ocean of things; much is said, little becomes headline news or even makes the inside pages. It often seems we live in an echo chamber and for the powers that be that is how they prefer it

One interesting aspect I have discovered in recent times is the business news in what remains of value in our dead tree press. While news can be suppressed, diverted or conveniently buried in the mainstream section the business sections or not so easily changed: shareholders have more power, to a degree, than the standard voter and therefore more salient facts emerge on all sorts of subjects in the business sections. Not always easy reading but many a truth relating to outside factors comes to the surface.

Naturally most concerns the green scam. Various items are made to look unfeasible and at the same time are not going to achieve much at great cost. The middle classes will be the hardest hit, those that pay taxes that support the subsidies of all green projects, projects that we are told will give us a bright clean future and in which we are leading the world both in our green credentials and our technology, all says Bojo will lead to thousands of new jobs blah blah blah.

Just a couple of corrections to the latter: the drive to install heat pumps has already stalled, says a Times article. 1200 installers are currently registered, but 10,000 are required to fulfil the government's target by 2025. The new heat pumps as described in previous articles cost between £6,500-£8,600 without all the other measures such as underfloor heating, bigger radiators etc.; no average houseowner is going to be able to afford that.

The government has not even drawn up the new technical specification that all new homes will need after 2025; in fact they don’t even meet to discuss until spring 2023, plus should hydrogen become a viable energy source the new homes would not be adaptable to that without further planning.

Jobs resulting from our ‘leading’ position on climate change are just so much bollox. It makes you mad every time they come out with this nonsense. It is claimed we need seven battery production plants to fill the needs of all the estimated EVs that will be coming off production lines; only one is currently planned, with Nissan saying they are waiting to have talks with the government - more subsidies!
Problems with battery disposal have already arisen even at this early stage: municipal vehicles in Paris were found to have defective cells in their batteries, with no way yet of disposing of them; those same vehicles now lie rotting in a field. What exactly are the facilities for when batteries in their millions start to fail?


The giant wind turbines are nearly all made abroad, not one of the top ten companies involved in making wind turbines is British:


Another stumbling block for our quest to be carbon neutral by 2050 and the use of heat pumps to help that target become reality, is the fact they are nearly all made in Asia. With worldwide demand about to rocket for these items they will not be able to cope; we have no facilities here that make them and none on the horizon:


So when asked government spokesmen come out with the ‘we are committed’,‘we shall not be deterred’, ‘our plan is still on track’ and other meaningless drivel. They can’t back up any of their aims with anything other than word soup.

The big spike in any plans for so-called sustainable energy came with the announcement, again in the business section, that EDF are closing down Dungeness B nuclear plant seven years early. EDF said that two other plants were also at risk of early closing. Of our eight nuclear plants only Sizewell in Suffolk is expected to go on beyond 2030, all the others are suffering from safety failures and have already gone beyond their expected life cycle. This could all be linked back to my article on our chronic lack of infrastructure going forward; with only one new nuclear plant being built we are as they say in the sh*t:  no windmills or solar panels can fill the gap left as none are reliable energy, if the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine as so often in cold winter months, blackouts or rationing beckon, no heat pump will stop you getting cold in that scenario either.

I mentioned this before: July 6th 2020, the much trumpeted day when renewables for the first time supplied over half our energy needs. At that time I could not find the graphic that showed the event, but this one does and shows that even on that day in a hot summer with long days and little demand both publicly and commercially, with so much business shut down, the claim was still false.


                         
Interconnects are hardly renewable as we don’t produce that energy in the first place and biomass is the biggest con of them all, producing more of the dreaded CO2  than the coal it replaced, never mind the transporting of wood pellets half way round the world.


More worrying is what it shows for the future: with coal almost gone the bulk of energy comes from gas and nuclear, that is also the only reliable energy source of any substance; but nuclear as above is doomed for the short/medium term and gas is for the chop by 2050. What will we be left with, without immediate investment and a building program starting now?

It doesn’t even begin to answer the increase by 60% the National Grid say we will need to power all the new electric cars heat pumps etc. Any government that is sane would see all this and say 'hang on, wait a minute, we need a rethink about going forward,' but not this lot.

They remind me of another business statement some years ago when Eddie Stobart said he wanted to be the ‘biggest transport company in the UK.’ A business man and neighbour replied to that saying, 'why the biggest, why not the best?' and we all know what happened to Eddie Stobart. This government are the same, blind to the realities and determined to push forward with something that is not currently achievable nor even desirable in the eyes of those who can read the runes. It is gesture politics that even if the goal is reached will achieve nothing as far as climate change is concerned, because man cannot change climate; but it will set the western world back  into the 19th century, then I suppose we shall all be asked to start clapping - that will be to keep warm, of course, not to applaud!  



It is ironic that Iraq with the world's fifth largest reserves of oil, a crumbling infrastructure and high demand for air conditioning means they are building eight nuclear plants to meet demand and stop blackouts. This sounds very familiar except we are not building eight new nuclear plants, our base load is dropping at the moment and importing energy is the only way we keep the lights on; good, say many, but the cost is at the mercy of providers and many countries like France which exports energy are cutting back on their own nuclear plants so will not have as much spare in the future to export.

Here more than anywhere else we have been caught up in this self-deluding spiral where everything green is good; never is anything allowed to stand in the way of ‘progress’ towards de-carbonisation, we are all believers, or are we? The reality of what is really going on won't hit us until the lights start going out. Too late, then; the demand for emergency generators will outstrip supply.

And there was another worrying development in Holland a week or so ago. Royal Dutch Shell lost a court case because they were not cutting emissions fast enough. A Dutch court sided with Friends of the Earth and ordered the company to cut its carbon footprint by 45% from 2019 levels, within this decade.

What is interesting is the way the case was brought to court: FoE argued that Shell’s business model threatened the goals of the Paris agreement and so put ‘human rights’ at risk by failing to do enough to stop climate change. That, if the appeal fails, is very worrying for virtually every sort of production model on the planet as the alternative is simply not achievable and shouldn’t be pursued anyway. Needless to say Shell caved into the ruling and wibbled on about doing their bit etc.

The case was brought by FoE, six other environmental organisations and 17,000 individuals as The People versus Shell; of course it was not the people versus Shell, it was seven climate-activist organisations and 17,000 members of those organisations. In no way do they represent the people; all of these groups and individuals assume far too much power with never any real push back as to proving how much man contributes to emissions and whether they make much difference anyway. I wonder what difference the Icelandic volcano has made on the same basis over the months it has been spewing forth - perhaps a court order on behalf of the people would have saved Pompeii!

To finish, another article in the business sections this week: the price of cars. The cost of many models have risen 100% in the last decade. Many reasons are given, none really hold water. What does emerge is that nine out of ten cars are now purchased using personal lease plans, i.e. you never own the vehicle. Silly people are obsessed with having the latest model on their drive, you see it on the new housing estates springing up everywhere; a Ford Fiesta is no longer good enough, despite no one actually going anywhere, and the supermarket car parks are full of Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Jaguar etc., rather like the houses themselves. 5% deposits and low interest rates disguise the fact the purchase price keeps on rising aided by these financing methods; the debt in this country must be horrendous.

You could look at the car market a different way, and claim this is planned. Electric vehicles are silly money why not level up and make internal combustion cars much dearer and the EVs will seem cheaper? EVs will be very cheap when you plug them in and there is no energy to charge them with; still, by then we may all be huddled in one room wearing various layers of clothes and setting light to what little is left of the furniture to stay warm and be able to look out of the window through the frost on the inside at the shiny new EV, forever motionless on the drive; these days nothing is impossible.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

THURSDAY BACKTRACK: Music and news from 60 years ago - week ending 17 June 1961

This week's Number One: Elvis sings 'Surrender':
  

Some memorable events (via Wikipedia):

11 June: Phil Hill brings the winning Ferrari 250TRi/61 home at the 1961 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Hill co-drove with Belgian long distance specialist Olivier Gendebien.
https://klemcoll.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/the-winner-arrives/
 

12 June: German-speaking separatists blow up 37 electricity pylons in the South Tyrol region of Italy (photo sourcehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_Fire

14 June: UK Government announces that new push-button 'panda' pedestrian crossings
will start to replace 'zebra' crossings in the following year (source: BBC)


15 June: East German Communist First Secretary says there is no plan for a Berlin Wall.
Construction begins on 13 August.

16 June: Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, in Paris with the Kirov Ballet and about to fly with them to Britain, is told by KGB agents to accompany them back to Moscow instead. He breaks away from them, runs to two French policemen and asks for political asylum.

UK chart hits, week ending 17 June 1961

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

Surrender

Elvis Presley

RCA

1

Runaway

Del Shannon

London

2

The Frightened City

The Shadows

Columbia

3

Hello Mary Lou / Travellin' Man

Ricky Nelson

London

4

But I Do

Clarence 'Frogman' Henry

Pye

5

More Than I Can Say

Bobby Vee

London

6

Pasadena

The Temperance Seven

Parlophone

7

You'll Never Know

Shirley Bassey

Columbia

8

I Told Every Little Star

Linda Scott

Columbia

9

Halfway To Paradise

Billy Fury

Decca

10

Temptation

The Everly Brothers

Warner Brothers

11

Have A Drink On Me

Lonnie Donegan

Pye

12

What'd I Say

Jerry Lee Lewis

London

13

Well I Ask You

Eden Kane

Decca

14

Pop Goes The Weasel / Bee*Bom

Anthony Newley

Decca

15

Runnin' Scared

Roy Orbison

London

16

Don't Treat Me Like A Child

Helen Shapiro

Columbia

17

On The Rebound

Floyd Cramer

RCA

18

Little Devil

Neil Sedaka

RCA

19

Wooden Heart

Elvis Presley

RCA

20