The Emissions Trading Scheme – a conduit for fraud

One of the disadvantages of the emissions Trading Scheme launched by the European Union (and it is only one of the many disadvantages), is that the provisions of the Scheme has made Value Added tax fraud rather easy. The authorities have tried to clamp down of Value Added tax fraud but it has not been easy. Although the rules of the ETS are the same across the whole of the European Union each member state has different VAT rates and different tax rules, and it is these differences that fraudsters have been exploiting. Continue reading

When boasting is not enough

When it comes to renewable energy Ministers in the United Kingdom have always talked a big game. They have claimed for many years that Britain is a world leader in climate change too, pointing out the Climate Change Act which makes it unlawful for governments not to reach emission reduction targets but without any penalty being imposed for the future. Ministers trumpeted the expertise and excellence of Britain’s renewable energy.

If there was a World Cup for renewable energy we would find that the performance of the United Kingdom more lamentable than the performance of England in the real World Cup.  I doubt if we would get into past the qualifying competition. We simply do not have enough of it and we have little expertise in it, which for a resource that will become increasingly important to our safety, well being and economy, is rather an odd situation. Continue reading

Will BP go the way of Arthur Anderson?

If you hurt America someone, without doubt, will suffer for it. It may not be the guilty party, but someone will pay. Iraq paid the price for the crime committed in New York at the Twin Towers, even though it had no or little connection with the crime. Arthur Anderson, then the largest audit and accountancy firm, paid the price for Enron, although its culpability is not in doubt, it paid a price that was based on a thirst for revenge, rather than justice. Continue reading

Trading in carbon dioxide emissions is not going to work

Mr Huhne is the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and he has told the UK Energy Summit that we need a “high carbon price” to underpin investment in green technologies. This is the sort of nonsense that Ministers are loath to spout, because it implies that a high price for emissions is desirable and achievable by some kind of Government action. Continue reading

Why we will never achieve success in Afghanistan

For centuries thinkers have observed that if you fight a war you must have apolitical objective, otherwise there is no point in fighting a war. A political objective can be evil or good. It can simply be to annex the territory of another nation, for its land, or to enslave its people, or to protect you own land from enslavement or confiscation by others. However, simply fighting a war withouta defined and achievable political objective is a waste of life, resources and time because no matter how many battles you might win, you will lose the war because you do not have an achievable objective. Continue reading

Burdening future generations

When talking about the budget cuts and tax increases Mr Cameron made a valid point of principle. He said that one reason to impose this austerity was that it would be unfair to burden future generations with debt spent on propping up the income and benefits of the present generation. Continue reading

The UK’s new budget

I have had some time to digest the budget that was announced in the House of Commons on Tuesday – the first budget of the new UK administration. These are difficult times and it was inevitable that taxes would rise and welfare benefits would fall. Some argue that the budget has gone too far and that the UK risks going into double dip recession, as though we are now out of recession and on our way to growth again. I doubt that. People are still too frightened to take risks. The economic mood is one of fear, which is why gold is at an all time high. Continue reading