Let the Devil Take the Hindmost

“One for all and all for one” should be the motto of the European Union. The point of any union of sovereign states is that they should all help and protect each other. However the real motto of the EU is more “they all run away and cry ‘let the Devil take the hindmost'”. Continue reading

The Right to be Ill and the Right to be Shot

It is odd that there are many people in the United States of America who think that health care should not be provided by the state for the poorest people who need it and that the state has no business in raising taxes to pay for a national health service whereas in the United Kingdom the politicians during this present general election campaign are vying with each other to promise a better and more expensive National Health Service paid out of taxes. Continue reading

Empires of the Bureaucrats

The votes have been counted in the European election for members of the European Parliament and in the United Kingdom UKIP (the United Kingdom Independence Party) has proved the most popular organisation.  Continue reading

Dominated by Oligarchs

In the United Kingdom we are ruled and dominated by oligopolies. There are six energy companies which control 98% of the domestic energy market, five banks which control 90% of the retail and business banking to small individuals and businesses, a handful of railway companies which do not actually compete with each other, a few political parties and a handful of food retailers who control the sale of food to the extent that the government has had to appoint an ombudsman to ensure that the supermarkets do not overly exploit the farmers and food suppliers. Continue reading

Who are our enemies?

The United Kingdom is a small but heavily populated nation on the North Western edge of Europe. For centuries it was a hared place to invade because and enemy had to cross the sea, often against the prevailing winds. England was invaded last nearly a thousand years ago. England has since been able to invade other nations but for the past sixty eight years it has been a peaceful place, where there have been no threats of invasion. Britain is now friendly with its traditional enemy France, and very friendly with Germany Spain and other large continental nations. It claims a special relationship with the world’s most powerful nation, the United States. Continue reading

The Wrong Thing for the Right Reason

Parliament in the United Kingdom has voted against the United Kingdom participating in punishment of the Syrian Government for the time being, I expect it was a case of many members doing the right thing for the wrong reasons but it has prevented the United Kingdom doing the wrong thing for the right reason. Now brave sailors in submarines five hundred miles from Syria will not bravely push buttons to launch Cruise missiles which may or may not hit the right targets or the wrong targets and explode. It seems that the United Kingdom will leave the honour of these actions to The United States of America and the Republic of France.

Population increase, economic growth and the environment – standing shoulder to shoulder with the planet.

Stephen Hawking pointed out “In the last 200 years the population of our planet has grown exponentially, at a rate of 1.9% per year. If it continued at this rate, with the population doubling every 40 years, by 2600 we would all be standing literally shoulder to shoulder”. 

The year 2600 is only 24 generations away; roughly 600 years ago King Henry V was fighting battles in France. The battle of Agincourt was fought in 1415, between people fighting with weapons and speaking languages that we would understand today.  

Of course I do not think that the world will ever be inhabited with any single species standing shoulder to shoulder; the way that nature works will stop that happening and there are built in restraints. If the human race ever looks like getting close to standing shoulder to shoulder than I am sure that some disease, catastrophe or event will stop it happening. 

We are growing both in numbers and our national economies are for the most part growing; the world economy certainly is growing fast. Virtually every politician celebrates economic growth as a laudable achievement. Gordon Brown has presided over a period which has averaged growth of 2.7% while he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. George Bush has done his best to actively stimulate growth. The European Union has grown, but at a slower rate than other economies and this is felt to be a bad thing. China and India are experiencing massive economic growth. China’s economy has grown at 8% since 1978. 

Growth, particularly economic growth, is not always desirable. It depletes scarce resources, damages those species with which we co-inhabit earth, and is ultimately unsustainable.  This shows itself very clearly when you look at fuel for energy.  Massive growth requires massive amounts of new energy. The new energy drives the growth, and also is needed to satisfy the beneficiaries of growth, as they increase the demands on energy use.

China is building two new coal fired power stations each week and plans to build 43 new nuclear power stations in the next 15 years. Every growing nation has similar plans.  At these rates of consumption the sources of fuel will first become very expensive and then become scarce. This in itself will inhibit growth.

Growth will also be restricted and partially set in reverse by the climate change consequences of growth, as people living in poorer countries will suffer from adverse weather, drought and famine. Those nations that will survive the energy shortages of the future best will be those that have adopted renewable energy.

On human time scales the power of the sun is inexhaustible and using it for heat and for electricity should be an essential and large part of every nation’s energy planning. In other words, what is in the long term interest of the planet earth is also in our long term interest; if we harm earth we harm ourselves.