Closing Doors that lead to Nowhere

I see that Guy Verhofstadt has told Members of the European Parliaments “Juncker or Tusk can do a lot of things, but at least they cannot close the doors of our house”. That statement is true but it missed the point entirely, and like much of what comes out of Mr Verhofstadt’s mouth is misleading.

The European Parliament has virtually no powers when compared with the UK Parliament. The European Parliament cannot introduce legislation or bring new laws into being. In those circumstances there is no point to closing the doors of the European Parliament. They lead to nowhere.

The Supreme Court v Politicians

As I write the Supreme Court, with all of its eleven Lord Justices sitting, is listening to submissions about whether the proroguing of Parliament was lawful. The hearing which is expected to last for three days is being conducted politely, as is the custom of all court hearings in England and Wales, and not with the insults, innuendo and propaganda that has accompanied political debate in the past months.

Points are being argued firmly and politely. No one is claiming that the Prime Minister is a rogue or will act unlawfully. He is not being slandered in the Supreme Court. The lawyers concentrate on being accurate in their arguments. This is in stark contrast to the way that the politicians have behaved, particularly those opposing Brexit, some of whom have been quite disgraceful in the unrelenting slanders they have hurled.

I fully expect the Supreme Court, politely and without impugning the personality of any politician, to rule in favour of the Government’s proroguing of Parliament.

If you cannot Beat it, live with it

A wind travelling at 185 miles an hour (about 300kph) is a very strong wind indeed. Humans do not build settlements where such winds are even a remote a possibility, or so we thought until Hurricane Dorian devastated the North Bahamas. Thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged severely. Only seven people have died, thanks to the ability of humans to predict the impact of Hurricane Dorian and the efforts of the local government to warn and prepare people for this apocalypse.

Hurricanes start when there is warm water (around and above 28 Celsius) and warm air.

Warm air from the ocean surface begins to rise rapidly. The air is naturally moist, coming from the ocean. When the warm air meets cooler air as it rises the warm moist air condenses and forms storm clouds and drops of rain. The condensation releases heat, which warms the cool air above the warm air, causing it to rise to bring more warm, moist air from the ocean .

The warm, moist air is drawn into a developing storm and more heat is transferred from the surface of the ocean to the atmosphere. This continuing heat exchange creates a wind pattern that spirals violently around a relatively calm center and so a hurricane is born.

The important word in this explanation is “warm”. The air is warmed, the oceans are warmed and this begets hurricanes.

Hurricanes have always been with those who live where the air is warmed and the sea is warmed but in the last century or more the sea has been warming and so has the air more than usual because the heat that the planet naturally receives cannot escape or dissipate into space as it had done for centuries because now the earth has a blanket of insulation, made up of an increasing thick layer carbon dioxide, deposited by kind permission of humanity and its activities.

I do not blame global warming for the creation of Hurricane Dorian – that would be a far too simplistic approach, but I do blame human activities for making hurricanes like Dorian (the most violent in recorded history in the Bahamas) more likely.

It is probably too late to reverse global warming or do much about climate change except to possibly try to slow it down. Humanity, it is clear to me, does not have the appetite to do what must be done to reverse or slow down climate change. It will probably have the appetite to build better and stronger protection against extreme weather events such as hurricanes and flooding. If you can’t beat it, live with it.

Lord Kyriakides?

I have always fancied a title. Perhaps I can put my name forward to Mr Johnson. It seems that the House of Lords is very biased towards staying in the European Union and Mr Johnson may need to create 500 or so new life peers who support Brexit in order to get Brexit over the line.

Now I am a democratic and am in favour of the abolition of the House of Lords but as it is there and could stand in the way of Brexit I am prepared to do my democratic duty and become a life peer, if Mr Johnson can put my name forward to the Queen.

It would tick all the diversity boxes imaginable – there are no peers of Greek Cypriot/Czechoslovak origin at all. This is a vastly under represented ethnicity in this county.

It’s about time we had a peer of Greek Cypriot/Czechoslovak origin.

I promise to attend the House of Lords purely to vote and debate Brexit. I would not draw any fees or emoluments – it would cost the country nothing, not even fares because I could use my bus pass to get to and from Westminster. Once Brexit was resolved I would resign my title and never attend the Lords again.

So, Prime Minister, may I have a title?

Hypocrisy in Action

Many members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom are upset and distressed because the government will curtail the time available for them to introduce legislation to prevent a “no deal” Brexit by a few days. They complain that this is constitutional. They have had more than three years to introduce such legislation, but this apaprently has not been long enough.

They fail to mention that in the EU Parliament (which they want the UK to remain linked to by preventing Brexit) no member of that Parliament has ever had the right or ability to introduce legislation to prevent the EU from doing anything.

Parliament seeks to thwart the will of the People

In the present maneuvers over Brexit all sides claim that they are acting democratically. All sides have their own interpretation of democracy.

The Prime Minister says that he is acting democratically in ensuring that the will of the people, who voted by a majority to leave the EU, takes precedence over the will of Members of Parliament most of whom were elected on a promise that they would implement Brexit. But promises by those seeking election cannot be relied upon.

Many Members of Parliament claim that preventing members of Parliament from changing the law to enable Brexit not to take place or to be delayed is undemocratic. Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, claims that interfering with Parliament is the act of a dictator by which I suppose she means that implementing the will of the majority of the people is the act of a dictator.

As I see it, the majority of the people of the UK voted to leave the EU. Members of Parliament derive their authority from the people. Members of Parliament in seeking to delay or prevent Brexit are thwarting the will of the majority of the people. To thwart the will of the majority of the people is undemocratic: it is as simple as that.

Gender Stereotyping

Two advertisements have been censored by the Advertising Standards Authority. One advertisement showed two men not caring well for a young child. the other advertisement shows men doing adventurous activities while a woman sat on a park bench next to a pram.

The reason for banning these advertisements was that the ASA say that this kind of stereotyping causes “real world harms”.

It is hard for me to see what “real world harms” will arise if some advertisers indulge in humorous stereotyping. It is harder still for me to understand what qualifications the ASA has in being able to assess whether an advertisement can create real world harms.

For example, there are numerous television and newspaper advertisements for gambling companies all permitted by the ASA. Certainly gambling creates more harm than gender stereotyping. Certain types of “fast food” create plenty of real world harm to those who eat the foods and to the environment. Air travel causes almost irreversible real world harms. Fossil fuel based energy probably causes the greatest world harms that we face at the moment probably planet threatening and life threatening as a cause of climate change , but the ASA decides to pick on gender stereotyping, leaving greater real world harms alone.

I do not find the ASA’s behaviour odd. When I was running a solar panel business, years ago, the ASA asked me to prove with documentary evidence that solar panels worked off light, and could produce energy on cloudy days. I suggested they consult an elementary book on physics and educate themselves before wasting people’s time. That suggestion still holds good today.

What I find odd is that the ASA assume gender stereotyping is harmful based on some academic theses, ignoring those theses who claim that it is not harmful. I find it even odder that short humorous television adverts are considered as ascribing to an individual woman or man specific attributes, characteristics, or roles by reason only of her or his membership in the social group of women or men.