Mr Fallon’s Merton Rule Bill – another mighty oak from Sevenoaks?

Each year twenty back bench members of the House of Commons names are drawn from all back benchers names in a ballot. The twenty lucky ones will be given some of Parliament’s time and resources to draw up a bill that might become law. Usually only the top few names in the ballot have a serious chance of seeing their bills enacted, and the remainder simply use the time to publicise things that they want to change.  Continue reading

What birds can teach us about climate change

I must admit that I don’t know a lot about birds but I do know that they can be harbingers of change. I have been looking at the Royal Society Protection of Bird’s website and at the Chaffinch in particular, because it is a pretty yellow gold bird, and when I played the chaffinch song for the web site it sounded familiar and delightful. I see that chaffinch eat seeds and insects, and cover most of England Wales and Scotland. There are either 313,000 breeding pairs (although other sources say 200,000 pairs). Most Chaffinch migrate to Spain for the winter but recently more chaffinch than normal chose to stay in this country. Continue reading

The unknowns of climate change

People who do not believe that climate change caused by human activity is happening (and they are perfectly entitled to their views) point out that there are many unknown factors in the science and theory of climate change. This is bound to be true of any scientific theory that you cannot verify by experimentation. Instead you have to make deductions from facts and circumstances. While you rely on consensus of a majority of scientists any theory is but a theory and lacks the hard proof.

Some theories are proved subsequently; when Copernicus postulated that the heavenly spheres revolved around the sun and not the earth in 1514 it was simply a theory. Within a hundred years the Church opposed Copernicus’s theory and a few years later tried Galileo for heresy for following Copernicus’ ideas. 250 years later Copernicus’ ideas were widely accepted. Continue reading

Coral reefs are dieing

 If you have been lucky enough to snorkel around a coral reef you will know what marvellous places they are. They are homes to about a quarter of all marine life and are an invaluable source of shelter for breeding and spawning fish and crustaceans. Reefs also serve a valuable carbon dioxide absorbing function both directly and indirectly by protecting shorelines thus enabling trees like mangroves to grow. They also absorb a lot of wave energy, particularly important when events like Tsunamis are involved.  Continue reading

How to complain about problems with your gas, electricity, water, telephone, council tax, broadband and similar bills and bank charges

How should you complain about problems with your gas, electricity, telephone service, council tax, broadband and other services?

I rarely complain. Mostly I am too busy and cannot be bothered. If I get upset about some poor service or a billing error or whatever, I try to get it sorted but the laws of negative returns often comes into effect and I leave it alone. Lots of people do the same. As a nation we are not very good about complaining and I think that we are becoming less effective at it because of tactics employed against complainers and as a result we are allowing the near monopolistic services (like those that provide energy or telephones or those that collect the council tax) to provide inadequate service safe behind the huge market shares that they all enjoy.  Continue reading

Gordon Brown calls for global institutions to do his job

Gordon Brown has been arguing the case for reform at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He says we need greater globalisation and new global institutions to cope with global capital movement. He says that the present economic problems of credit stem from “under pricing of risk” which no one spotted due to lack of transparency. As usual he sees a big picture with distorted vision. The credit problems did not happen because of lack of transparency. I cannot believe that any bank bought bonds derived from junk mortgages without having the small print in front of them. It was nothing to do with transparency and everything to do with laziness and inadequate local regulation.   Continue reading

Holding terror suspects without charge is locking up democracy, freedom and justice

On the 28th October 1940 Italy invaded Greece. The invasion inspired my father Nicolas Kyriakides to join the Cyprus Regiment of the British Army in Alexandria; he, along with other Cypriots, was promised that if Cypriots joined the Army after the defeat of the Axis forces Britain would grant Cyrus independence. A higher proportion of Cypriots (compared to their population) fought in the war for Britain than any other Commonwealth or Empire force.   Continue reading