The Financial Services Authority has completed its review of a pilot number of cases where banks have sold small businesses interest rate swaps in which Barclays, HSBC Lloyds and RBS provided a sample of 173 sales. There are many thousands of such sales but there is no reason to believe that the findings of the FSA when the samples were reviewed will differ in any significant way from the way in which all interest rate swaps were sold by UK banks. Continue reading
The war of terror, that war on an concept, has rapidly expanded into a war on many people and many nations in many places since the Twin Towers were bombed so many years ago. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and now Mali have all proven to be places where the war has been fought and many lives have been lost, especially the lives of civilians. After the experience of wars on terrorists in Vietnam the United States has recovered from its experience and now gung-ho goes to fight against those who perceives do not share its values almost at the drop of the hat and drags other nations into these wars.
If no war on terror against Iraq had been fought would the world be a less dangerous place than it is today? I doubt it, because whether you are right or wrong most people will fight to defend an attack on their homeland and most people will resent the attacker, however pure the motives for the attack may be, if in the course of the attack your wife of father or children are killed.
A war on terror is a vicious circle, one war begets another war, one death begets many others.
If someone has done wrong, even a great a grievous wrong, the proper response of a civilised nation is to use the process of law to catch, try and punish the wrong doer in accordance with the law. Perhaps the United States’ historical cowboy inheritance causes it to think that it is right to shoot first and after questions later or that might is right. They have got that the wrong way round as Abraham Lincoln pointed out: might is not right; right is might.
The UK government has spent now four years, I think it is four years, in designing a Green Deal. When it was announced the purpose of the Green Deal was to create a means of finance for people who want to invest in energy efficiency and in micro-generation for their own homes. The concept was that there would be a loan to cover the whole cost of all approved measures by approved installers so that householders could borrow very cheaply and repay the loan out of the savings they made over the years. Continue reading
Filed under: carbon emissions, climate change, energy, global warming, microgeneration | Tagged: economy, energy efficiency, green deal, green deal finance, greg barker, solar water heating | 4 Comments »
We have to make politicians in democracies less important than they are at present and make the democratic process more important. Of course the democratic will is just as capable of making errors of judgement as politicians. Continue reading
Mr Stern now thinks that he understated the consequences of climate change when he wrote his report. He also thinks that the government should engage the private sector in developing economic growth without increasing emissions. I cannot disagree but is not that what the government has been pretending to do for the past four years? Continue reading
Filed under: carbon emissions, climate change, energy, global warming, solar, solar energy, solar panels | Tagged: climate, environment, greenhouse gas emissions, home insulation, insulation, insulation industry, solar water heating | 1 Comment »
A cemetery can be empty of people but crowded with the memories of people we knew, once occupying life in large measure, now confided to two paces of earth or a handful of ashes.
There are some places which are temples of death where the tombs and trees obscure the sky, like the old cemetery in Highgate with its mausoleums edging winding paths and its aping of life, real life, later aped itself by Disneyland. Its trees and bushes in places are jungle like. Other cemeteries are devoid of trees with only little vegetation that struggles for life in a place for the dead, and mainly well ordered, as good regulations. Other cemeteries are fields of white crosses perfectly ordered in green grass, perfectly cut.
Every society has ways of treating its dead enclosed with tradition as well as words of comfort spoken or sung as prayers. Having taken what we needed from this good mother earth, and sometimes taken far more than we needed because we had taken what we desired we return to the arms of that good mother.
I have always felt sorry for those whose bodies were laid in large tombs, in shelves or in mighty cathedrals. the remains of Napoleon lie in a massive vase like urn in Les Invalides in Paris, far from the earth; kings and queens laid to rest in the stone floors of stone buildings are denied the chance to return to the arms of the dust from which they sprang. Under the streets of Paris and Roe lie the bones of millions of souls, once buried and then disinterred to be placed in hideous tasteful arrangements, the of strangers skulls piled together, femurs bleached of flesh filed in the next cave.
It is good to visit a cemetery to be reminded of death that will come to all of us living beings. And it is good to think on these things. But it is especially good to leave these places of memories and walk into busy streets where the living are, where I am, alive and glad of it.