The Difference Between Pain Relief and Curing the Disease

The House of Commons has solemnly concluded that the United Kingdom does not spend enough money on flood protection. This conclusion was reached after widespread flooding caused many people problems in the last winter. Apparently more money will be spent on flood protection in future, mainly on dredging rivers so that flood water may flow away more freely than before. Of course, if a patient is ill you must relief the suffering as best you can, but relieving the pain does not cure the patient; curing the patient will relieve the pain, but simply giving painkillers will not do much to prevent future pain. Dredging rivers is important pain relief, but does not cure the problem that causes flooding.

Humanity cannot cure the disease whose symptoms include flooding, drought and extreme weather events easily. The medicine that will provide a cure is too unpleasant for humanity to take, even if humanity holds it nose while trying to swallow. The medicine requires humanity to recognise that economic growth in the only way that humanity knows creates the disease and no politician would ever get elected on a platform which proposes to reduce or curtail growth in order to make the planet fit for humanity in several generations time.

Thus will will continue to administer pain killers until, like all pain killers, the drugs no longer work or their side effects prove worse than the pain.

 

 

Corrupt Politicians

Politics always brings us scandals; despite the press attention to corruption in the UK, politicians cannot seem to learn that if use their memberships of the House of Commons or of the House of Lords to feather their nests, they are likely to be caught, exposed and disgraced. The simpler course of action is to imitate the behaviour of Tony Blair. In office he was “Teflon Tony” – no dirt ever seemed to stick to him. Once out of office he has used the connections and fame he acquired as a result of being a politician to amass a sizeable fortune They is, of course, no hint of corruption if you use the information and contacts you obtained during office bestowed democratically, after your period in office has ended. It is as good a way to amass a fortune as any, but nevertheless leaves a bitter taste in the mouth for those that watch.

Steve Webb’s early day motion about fuel poverty and energy prices

If you are member of the United Kingdom Parliament and you want to institute a debate on a matter of great importance, the procedure that you have to adopt is called an early day motion. You write down the wording of the motion and then seek a debate, but very few early day motions are matters that are debated. The Government of the day effective controls the Parliamentary timetable, and squeezes out the motions of back bench members, who are elected in order to try and get these matters debated and thus create a demand for legislation to correct injustices. Instead early day motions are now ways that a Member of Parliament can use to publicise a matter.

One of the pressing problems that will become unfortunately more pressing in the next year is that of fuel poverty. Continue reading

Gordon Brown has to choose

Bismark said, about 160 years ago that politics is the art of the possible. That Canadian economist of good Scottish stock, J K Galbraith, wrote that politics is not the art of the possible. It consists, Galbraith held, in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable. It is certainly about making choices, and a former Scottish economist who is today our Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has some big choices to make. He has to steer our country’s energy policy in an environmental way, so that we produce significantly less carbon. He has to show results on this rather quickly, because he and his party have claimed the high ground of environmental and climate change leadership, not only in the country but across the world.  Continue reading