I told you so

According to a new study published by Chatham House burning wood pellets is not carbon neutral and creates more emissions than burning coal. I told you so and have been telling you so on these pages for many years.
Governments do not listen. I told them so too, but they obviously thought they knew better. The UK government created a Renewable Heat Incentive based around burning wood pellets under which they subsidised the fuel and the subsidies, paid out of our taxes were very high indeed. In fact in Northern Ireland the RHI became a source of income as the subsidy was greater than the cost of the fuel.  Continue reading

Defence Spending

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is a bit like the National Health Service. It is a sacred cow to whom the nations of the Western world must irrevocably commit, and like the NHS any threat to or reduction in the effectiveness of NATO is met with almost condemnation.

Recently Mr Trump pointed out the disparity between defence spending by various NATO members. NATO guidelines call on nations who are members to spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product (their gross incomes) on defence. The USA actually spends 3.61% on defence; poor and impoverished Greece spends 2.38%; the UK manages to spend Continue reading

Latest Data of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

I suppose we could continue to bury our heads in the sand but I think we should all know the latest measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the Earth System Research Laboratory at  Muana Loa. Continue reading

Meeting Mr Trump

Running a country is harder than running a company, especially where the country concerned has a system of checks and balances to prevent the person who actually runs the country from acting in ways that are unconstitutional or illegal. Also there are differences in objectives between the two tasks. He or she who runs a company does so in order to profit and benefit a defined group of people, who are shareholders in the company. The person who runs a country should do so in order to benefit all citizens of that country and where there are conflicts between several groups of citizens’ interest the person in charge must balance and distinguish and act so as to ensure fair treatment of all.

I think that these differences between running Trump Enterprises and running the United States of America have now become apparent to Mr Trump. Continue reading

Mr Trump and Humility

When I first watched videos of Mr Trump on the campaign trail there was something in him that reminded me of what I had read and seen about Benito Mussolini.  The man who became Il Duce had the same smug self-satisfied air about him and the ability to change his mind from being a rampant socialist to becoming and perhaps inventing fascism. Mr Trump has also undergone a philosophical metamorphosis, although not quite as extreme as the late unlamented Benito’s change of mind.

However, Mr Trump has won the presidency of the USA according to the rules and so it is only fair to suspend judgment on him until he has had a fair chance to show us what he is really about.

The invective against him is quite extreme and in some cases quite irrational.

Mr Trumps first days in office have been like the curate’s egg; some parts of it are described by sycophants to be quite excellent but I fear there is fundamental rottenness.

Mr Trump’s opponents have made much of his pussy revelations, his immigration policy and his wall building and insults. I rather think that any very wealthy seventy year old man has spent most of his life living in less enlightened times when it comes to women and tends to meet those more interested in his wealth than in his personality; we should forgive those particular categories of trespasses and not dwell on them.  I also think that a nation has the right to make laws to admit or refuse entry to whomsoever it chooses; that is a fundamental part of being a sovereign nation although the rules on admission must be fair and consistent with human rights. I rather doubt if anyone has a human right to live wherever they chose to live when others are living in the place of choice. I think wall building can go ahead if the majority want the wall to be built; the majority have the right to be stupid and vote stupid. These aspects of Mr Trump’s ideas and policies may be undesirable but if that is what the nation wants that is democracy in action, like it or not.

I am concerned about Mr Trump’s comments about Muslims; I doubt if he really understands what he is talking about. He has a lot to learn about Islam, but then again so do many Americans, whose nation started wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the belief that America was fighting terror.

The real flaw in Mr Trump as I perceive it is not the name calling (his Presidential opponents were just as vitriolic in their insults as Mr Trump and just as smugly self-satisfied as he) but his total lack of humility. This is the ability to submit to the self knowledge that we are imperfect and largely ignorant folk and therefore should be careful in our judgments and decisions. The higher one climbs in the world the more one needs humility, but it is a rare quality in leaders. I can think of Gandhi and Mandela but no other humble leaders. Humility may be learned, but it must be an awful difficult learning curve for a seventy year old billionaire elected to lead the most prosperous large nation in the world.

Merry Christmas

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Those who seek to lead us, teach us. 

Since the Brexit Referendum vote and the American General Election there has been a marked increase in racist name calling in many schools. I could understand the increase in racist name calling – children are often unkind to each other and policies about immigration on both sides of the debate were exaggerated and this presumably taught the parents and the children that racism is OK because the side who were portrayed (wrongly in my view) as racists won.

There has also been an increase in homophobic name calling since Brexit and the US election. Presumably the same principle applies – the person who was claimed to be homophobic and sexist won, and thus parents and children were taught that homophobic name calling is OK because Mr Trump won.

Those who seek to lead us teach us and many listen to their teachings and adopt their ideas. People often pick up not the ideas of the politicians but the false versions of those ideas promulgated by that politician’s opponent.

I do not believe that 31 million Americans who voted for Mr Trump belong in a basket of deplorables, any more than I believe that 52% of the UK’s populations are racists. The vast majority of Americans and of the British are decent principled people, however they may have voted.