Delingpole on Reason TV

Of course, one of the things James doesn’t mention is with probable European economic collapse no-one will be able to afford Climate Change mitigation, whether the problem is real or not. Not that it is real. If increasing CO2 had the warming effect as predicted, the trends would be clear by now and they aren’t.

There is another irony. As he rightly points out, only rich societies can afford to clean up rivers etc. Cut economic growth, collapse the system, and guess what? The Earth will become a less pleasant place, and all the Environmental improvements made over the past thirty years (Cleaner air, water and so on) will go into reverse. Simply because it will become uneconomic to clean up the mess.

Rather like burning houses down in Uganda to make way for plantations of non-native species selected for ‘CO2 mitigation’. Oh tempera, oh mores.

Never learn

Back in the early 1970’s, when I was but a mere slip of a lad. In the UK we had almost back to back industrial unrest, 3 day weeks, rolling power cuts, the UK going cap in hand to the IMF for a ‘Bail out’ and massive redundancies which took unemployment over 3 million a couple of years later.

Nowadays, whenever I look East and South I seem to suffer from a severe case of deja vu. In an echo of Denis Healey’s “Soak the rich” policy (Which had an incredibly short life span as I recall), I hear the same policies are to be rolled out again in the UK and also in the USA.

I mean really, doesn’t anyone read recent economic history any more? Don’t they understand that money is not a thing but a process? A measure of economic activity rather than a tangible commodity? The current administrations of the EU, UK and USA don’t seem to ‘get it’. So they’re going to dredge up a failed economic policy in the hope it will get them out of a fiscal hole caused by their failed policies. Dumb fucks. The money will move, as it always does, as it always will do. Only those who cannot afford to move quickly enough will suffer. All the slightly better off middle income earners, the professionals. The really rich will simply move their stash or get their accountants and tax lawyers to fix it so said cash is immune to the taxman’s predations. If really pressured they’ll just fade away into the morning mist, ne’er to be seen again.

As for those stupid bozo’s of UKUNCUNT, they will reap what they sow. When the politicians have emptied every pension fund, stolen every inheritance, squeezed middle earners until they might just as well work as supermarket shelf stackers at UKUNCUNT’s behest, and there’s still not enough money for the public purse, none of them will get the message of history.

For my own part; living in rural Canada with a larder full of dry goods, log store ready for Winter, Broadheads fitted to new shafts. A reliable, if reduced, income stream. If all goes well I’ll never need the backup supplies. If not, I’m cool with that, too.

What conspiracies?

Sometimes I look at these blogs and view them with the same jaundiced eye that a bar regular looks at the visiting nutter. Especially those wide eyed innocents who repost the semi coherent crap about how 9/11 was ‘done by the government’ to justify some otherwise unpalatable turn of foreign policy or create a ‘casus belli‘.

All of these conspiracy theories are crap. Every last single one; from UFO’s, ‘chemtrails’ and black helicopters, to ‘who shot JFK’, faked moon landings and 9/11 being a demolition job. Even the assertions of ‘New world Order’ are little more than Politicians letting off esteem. As for the ‘club of Rome’, that document is aspirational more than anything else, so no, it lacks credence, as do those politicians who try and follow the principles. A bureaucratic edifice of such rigid construction will rapidly collapse under its own internal socio-economic pressures. As we can see happening right now. Like the old Soviet Union, such entities are too rigid and inflexible to survive for long.

Why do I make this bold assertion (sic) prey tell? Simple, because I understand logistics and processes. I’ve also trained as an Engineer. You know, worked with real materials and seen, first hand how they behave under various conditions. How breaking strains alter under differing heat and pressure conditions. I also understand (to a degree) the science of illusion, having spent some time on the fringes of the ‘creative’ industry as an AV technician. Ever seen a movie being made? A proper feature film? Pre and post production? Worked and talked with people who do special effects for a living and seen how they ‘fake’ it? Then taken a good long look at the credits list of a movie at the cinema? Yes, I’m one of the sad buggers who doesn’t leap up from their seat the minute the end credits pop up, because I’m looking for names I recognise in the first and second units and the whole army of people it takes to put a half way and not so decent movie together.

Having also spent a deal of my working life in the public sector, I know how driven by cock-up the whole process of Government, both at local and national level, is. Because it is made up of people. Not super humans, but ordinary working stiffs doing stuff ‘by the book’ which has been written by another working stiff who is mere mortal flesh like the rest of us. People who make mistakes, as we all do. People who talk about their work, who bunk off early because its Friday and hide their mistakes from the boss lest they get fired or disciplined. The result being that Government leaks like a sieve. Even the so-called ‘secret’ CIA leaks, the UK security services leak, Mossad, the Russians, the Chinese, everyone leaks. Sometimes these leaks are managed for the purposes of political ‘spin’ by politicians, who are no smarter than the rest of the Mark 1 Human being (Possibly more dishonest, self interested or devious, but definitely not smarter). Sometimes a guy in a bar will say something about what he does to impress a girl with the object of removing her lingerie. Without spending a whole life in hiding, there is no perfect secrecy.

A fortiori; we are gossips. It is human. Leaks happen. That is human. So how on earth does anyone expect an imperfect agency, to wit; Government, to be perfectly secret about hugely complex operations? Even the Atomic Bomb programme leaked back in the 40’s. Even with the ‘special services'; they might not talk, but their neighbours do. Comings and goings at odd hours are noticed. Oddities stand out from the patterns of everyday life. Changes in behaviour. For these big conspiracies to happen, there’s a whole logistic chain of fallible humans to link together. The bigger the event, the easier it is to pick up a trail.

Let us take the example of the ‘space race’ chronicled and filmed to perdition, and with the AV technology available at the time, impossible to fake. For proof, look at Hollywoods finest contemporary portrayals that would have used state of the art camera technology and direction techniques. Now compare with the footage shot by Armstrong, Aldrin, and all the other Apollo astronauts. Then work out how many people would have had to been in on the ‘fake’. It would have been far easier to go there than fart around making truly convincing fake footage. I believe Mr Aldrin still gets pretty steamed at being called a liar by the crazies, and I don’t blame him for punching one of them out. He should have stomped on the nasty fuckers head, and hang the consequences.

For 9/11, look at the physics of failure in a stressed steel skin constriction skyscraper. Faking those with explosives would have necessitated weeks of placing obviously linked explosive charges in offices where people were actually working. Controlled demolition requires (According to a Civil Engineer friend of mine) a lot of work which would not have gone unnoticed. Supporting pillars would have had to be drilled, the charges would have to be linked with stuff like cordex running everywhere to ensure that the charges all went off in the correct order. Far easier to ram a Jet Airliner into a building and let the intense heat of burning aviation spirit weaken the internal structures to the point where they undergo catastrophic failure and the mass of the top thirty or so stories drops at 9.81 metres per second, crushing the rest (Which increases the falling mass), and splitting the external stressed skin from the inside like a banana. All the way down to the basement. As for WTC7, that caught fire, and the fire suppression system couldn’t cope with the blaze. A structural failure on the 13th floor sealed the buildings fate and it collapsed. No need for any conspiracy. No tinfoil hat required.

As for constructing buildings with the object of such a demolition in mind, that would be asking for spontaneous structural failure during the first storms, never mind some spurious Government ‘black ops’ Agency. No Civil Engineer or Architect would design such a thing on purpose. On top of the damage to the building there would be the damage to your businesses reputation. You’d never work again. As for the ‘Drone’ theory, oh FFS! Look at drone technology for 2002. The only place you’d get the level averred to is out of Star Trek or Star Wars. So yes, 9/11 conspiracy theories are total bollocks.

My point here is that governments are largely blunt instruments, good for large scale stuff, but they are also untidy and obvious because they are made up of people. Homo (not so) Sapiens. As Douglas Adams once noted ‘people are a problem’, or rather he should have said that problems are often made up of people screwing up, then covering up, which being imperfect, they also make a mess of. Quod erat demonstrandum. Every single day, everywhere. Ain’t life grand?

Another step away

Gave up my driving licence today. My UK (motorcycle) licence that is. My pristine, never got a speeding or other ticket UK (motorcycle) driving licence. Not that I didn’t come close quite a few times, even got flashed once by a speed camera, but nothing ever came of it.

It’s an odd feeling, having finally transferred all my licences and permits over here. The sensation is like cutting an umbilical, a further step away from the land I was born in.

Still busy with running around after everyone else’s errands. The saga of our family friend who is on the shorter road out of this life continues. He’s in hospital, but when you’re that far gone, as the Doctors keep pointing out, there is little to be done. So they keep him hydrated and fed as best they can. We double as a taxi service for his wife, and try not to say anything that might upset her too much. I suppose it’s bad enough watching your life partner slowly slipping away, going home to a house that will never seem full again, and there’s a fair amount of denial on a number of fronts. For my part, I’ve purchased a black tie and hope it won’t get used all that often.

The waiting is hard on everyone, and the strain is telling. Rows break out over stupid things. Psychosomatic aches and pains come and go like ghosts. All I can do is pick everyone up when they fall, and not worry too much about having my own psychic skin cut about by all the emotional backlash. Early morning fishing trips help. Nothing much, just a wander down to the beach to cast my cares upon the water, and the odd whiskey in the evening to take the edge off things. I cook a lot. That helps too.

Have lost the urge to blog much. I mean, I simply can’t get angry about stuff happening almost a third of the planet away. In a land where most of the problems are caused by people trying to impose dunderheaded inflexible top down ‘political’ solutions to every problem under the sun. It’s not my fault they can’t do joined up thinking. Getting mad at them from this distance solves nothing, and candidly; I couldn’t give a shit. Not even a wet fart about a country flushing ancient rights and freedoms down the toilet of History. The Eurozone currency thing too, is running out from under the whole edifice like sand, and as each country is forced to default on the imaginary money they owe each other, it’ll all end in tears.

I feel sorry for those stuck there, but I can’t help. It’s rather like watching someone die. There’s that much of a sense of sad inevitability about the whole process. To governments drunk on spending, the party is definitely over, and the hangover is going to be a bitch.

Like with our coming bereavement, all I will be able to do is walk away, shaking my head in sorrow, and give what comfort I can to those who are left.

Post updated for clarity. Re type of licence transferred. A clean UK motorcycle licence?. Am I a wuss who never opened the throttle? A moped rider? (derisive guffaw) Well, you might think so, but I couldn’t possibly comment. My Triumph 900 spent most of its working life on English A-Roads. Not posing around the main drags where all the speed traps were, asking for trouble.

Never felt a thing

There was quite a sizeable earthquake off the west coast this morning local time (Lunchtime actually, even our Earthquakes are too laid back to get up early). All the fun happened about 145 miles away, a few miles out from Nootka Island on the Western side of Vancouver Island, which is mostly unpopulated. In town no one seems to have felt a thing, and there’s no news from Tofino of any Tsunami.

“Hear about the big quake?” Someone asked as we gossiped in the grocery store checkout line. A number of people shook their heads, although one of the local hypochondriacs recounted a tale of her house shaking. No one seems to have been hurt, or even mildly inconvenienced, at least in our part of the mid island region.

Panic over. Time for a beer.

Busy

Too busy to blog. Even more family are due to descend upon us shortly. Still running errands for terminal friend. Major project finished and have been asked to deliver a talk at a book signing (Write presentation, practice speaking, rehearse, promotional material design, work, work, work). Mrs S has insisted I make time out for fishing as I’m as hyper as a puppy with a new squeaky toy.

All in all, having a nice time. I think.

Tweeting is a two edged sword

We’re hearing a lot of heated rhetoric about ‘shutting down social media’ because of the use some rioters have been putting it to. On the whole, I’d say this is a mistake, and proof positive that ignorant politicians who don’t understand the uses of technology should back off and let the Police get on with the tough job of keeping the peace.

Like the MPS used to keep the lid on the recent situation in central London. They couldn’t catch it all, as evinced by the copy cat riots around the country, but from all accounts it could have been worse. Much worse.

As for the rioters, don’t they understand all this public domain stuff is available to the Police? I mean posting ‘Going to xxxxx to nick stuff’ on Twatter is an invitation to arrest. Dozy lot. Especially if the cops have got your number, or even one of your mates Blackberries. Same epithet can be used for senior coppers who can’t understand what a useful tool Social Media is.

Can you imagine Rent-a-mob tweeting “To the barricades, Comrades!” Only to find a line of tooled up riot Police waiting for them? (Evil snigger) Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

A short interlude

Not really the time or inclination to blog recently. The awful reality is that an old family friend is, not to put too fine a point on it, dying. Cause; Mesothelioma (Cause, Asbestosis) probably contracted as a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy. So we’ve been spending quite a bit of our free time visiting, doing the shopping, running other errands for his wife (Who doesn’t drive) and reading to him, as he’s too weak to hold a book.

Nothing too strenuous, just a bit of Kipling, Frost, Robert Service. The more ribald the better. Although I have to tone the funny stuff down sometimes as the poor chap’s only got half a lung left, possibly less according to his Doctor. I don’t want him to die laughing because of something I said or did. Not that laughing is such a bad way to go, but I don’t think I could forgive myself if I was the cause. Besides, he and his wife helped us a lot when first we arrived in Canada, so we feel that we have a bit of a moral debt to discharge, and too little time remaining to do it in.

Considering the life the man has had; WW2 saw two of the ships he was on torpedoed and sunk; Distinguished Service Order; lost in the Arctic for ten days while surveying for Decca radar, travelled trans Canada any number of times with a Radar training unit. Yes, he is a ‘real’ person, and when he dies I will publish a link to his obituary if it’s available online. Although for our old family friend I think that’s pretty much certain, and if not I’ll bloody write it myself. Such people should not slip from memory so readily. They are too rare.

Watching someone die slowly is not exactly my favourite pursuit, so to lighten my glumness (and Mrs S’s), I’ve been scouring the Interweb for ‘cheer-us-up’ recipe’s. Stap me if I didn’t hit paydirt. Perfect chip batter in a simple, quick and easy recipe. See the youtube clip below. Just tried it out on Snapper and Pacific Cod fillets, and believe me, the result is light, tasty portions so easy even I can get it right every time. Much better than store bought, and rivalling most chip shop batter I’ve tasted. Try it for yourself.

Don’t forget, the water should be properly chilled and the mix thoroughly whisked for lightness. With only a handful of decent Chip shops on the Island, sometimes the DIY method is the only way.

Pub Justice

After an exchange of views over rough justice over at Witterings from Witney, I’m reminded of a system of ‘justice’ that used to exist in various out of the way places.  Back in my late teens and early twenties I used to frequent a lot of rural pubs and learned quickly that laissez faire was not permissible, but that you could get away with a hell of a lot providing you observed the landlords writ. Which usually went;

  1. Pay for your drinks and settle your bar tab
  2. Respect the premises and other drinkers
  3. Take your fights outside and off the premises

Failure to observe rule 1 often meant having your tie cut off, and more seriously no more beer until you had settled, knowing full well that you had blotted your copybook, and the privilege of a bar tab would no longer available to you.  Rule 2 was a little more fluid, and varied wildly from pub to pub.  Where landlord A) Would permit near naked drinking games and all manner of robust hilarity, landlord B) Might eject you from the premises for simply laughing too loud.  Rule 3 was sacrosanct.  All disagreements that threatened to tip over into a pummelling or even bloodshed would be met with a firm “Outside.  Now.”  Failure to comply was not on the agenda because landlords always had some form of ‘equaliser’ behind the bar.  From a heavy stick or cricket bat to a baseball bat, or even a shotgun reputed to be loaded with blanks wadded with sand.  No one was ever stupid enough, at least in my recollection, to test out that particular landlords patience.   The subsequent ban from the premises was also a serious incentive to mind your P’s and Q’s, never mind the F’s and C’s.

This was also in a time when there was such a thing as a village Policeman, who was responsible for enforcing things like gun licences, and turning out with a couple of other coppers to hit any trouble spots mob handed, and leave serious drinkers to their own devices.  Like the ‘lock in’.  also known as “Roll on four o’clock, let’s get out of here”.  That was another thing.  If you were part of the ‘in’ crowd, you gradually migrated into the serious drinkers bar, and waited for all the strangers to be sent home before the doors were locked, curtains drawn, and the party could begin in earnest.   Misbehaviour or disrespect could lose you this privilege, so you had an incentive to respect the ‘rules of the house’.  this was a time of course when landlords had the right refuse service to whomsoever they pleased, and suffer little or no sanction from outside.  This might be ‘No Bikers’, ‘No Travellers’ or even ‘Anyone I don’t like the look of’.  Argument meant a ban.  A ban meant no beers.  It was a sellers market with plenty of punters, so the system of enforcement after a fashion, worked.

The big change in pub culture was apparent in the late 1980’s.  Breweries had developed a policy of asset stripping publicans with punitive rates for ‘barrellage’.  Which essentially meant that the more beer a landlord sold, the more he tended to be charged for it by the brewery company.  His margins shrank, so prices went up, which drove drinkers away to the few Free Houses and private clubs.  Flowers / Whitbread used to be a major villain in this regard.  I don’t know whether this practice still continues.

As the 1980’s wore on, country life became more attractive to the suburban crowd, who bought up local houses, pricing locals out of the market and changing the village demographic.  These new suburbanites brought their own rules, demanding more food, no smoking areas, and whined about everything.  By the late 90’s, the rural worker, once the backbone of any country pubs clientelle was an endangered species.  The New Labour war on the countryside, resulting in the foot and mouth debacle, was more or less the death knell for the pubs I knew and once drank in.  Quite a number of my farming friends got out of the business, others went bankrupt, and fewer survived.   Again this meant fewer rural drinkers, and the rise of the appalling ‘Gastro-pub’.  Now there is the smoking ban.  Even fewer people visit public houses now, and that’s without even mentioning the frequent drink driving ‘crackdowns’.  My last visit to England six weeks ago included a ghastly experience in one of the remaining watering holes I used to frequent.  Only one guest beer, and the rest of the place almost deserted on a Saturday night.

There may be places where pubs are still frequented by locals, with laughter and good conversation the order of the day, but their time is almost up I fear.  The forces of darkness have driven such people from each others company, and the country of my birth is all the poorer for it.

Or as a drinking companion of mine (an old school country lawyer, and latin speaker) might have said; Sileo in pacis meus imbibo frater. Pro virtus decretum ut vestri carmen quod risus.

Expatriate expostulations from Canada

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