Number of the Month

June  2009

Thought for the day

By The Revd Dr Seymour Trend

I expect that you, like me, often wonder why The Great Creator made the itchiest part of the human body also the least accessible. Well, nothing in creation is accidental. Everything has its purpose. What is revealed to us is related to what we are able to understand.

It is what we New Theologians call the Divine Dilemma. How can the deity reveal unto His people that which they are as yet unable to comprehend? For example, Moses might have come down from the mountain with a tablet upon which was inscribed “Exactly one year before the start of the third millennium flying machines will fall out of the sky because they had forgotten the date.” The children of Israel would have said “Come off it, Moses, you are having us on.” Millennium would have meant nothing to them, as the event that triggered the first one was yet to occur, while the idea of a machine, let alone a flying one, would have been incomprehensible. If Moses had blown his credibility in such a way, the history of the world would be very different.

Indeed, in those days, the transport system was wholly dependent on asses: so different from our own time.

So it was with the greatest sin of all. If one of the tablets had borne the inscription “Thou shalt not emit carbon dioxide” it would have received a similar abrupt dismissal. Such miracles as the periodic table of the elements would not be revealed for thousands of years to come. The greatest revelation would have to wait for the propitious moment.

We are born in sin. Our first action at birth is to inhale, but our second is to emit pollution.

And God created Gore, that His people should know that they are cursed with original sin and must repent, otherwise their cities would be destroyed by floods of boiling water. And The Almighty looked on the works of Gore and saw that they were good and He rewarded him with great riches, undreamt by ordinary mortals. But lesser men were envious and challenged the revelation with specious arguments, encouraging mankind to continue to walk in the pathways of sin. So the New Theology was born and men of Good Will came together that the people should know of the works of Gore. It was equally important, however, that the siren voices of the unbelievers, peddling their so-called science, were silenced. The religious establishment, with its experience in the concepts of blasphemy and proscription, is uniquely qualified to achieve this ideal. Clergy and preachers of all denominations are in a powerful position to ensure that only the Truth is spread among the people, but many of them are backward looking and preoccupied with obsolete religious ideals.

So there is much to do but, meanwhile, remember when you feel that itch and before you reach for that back-scratcher, it might be God’s way of telling you to think about your carbon footprint.

04/06/09

A wander from the sex war to climate politics

Your bending author has been thinking about women lately (as you do). This was precipitated by the shock of being cited in a review of a feminist tract, though the connection is not clear. It induced an urge to stick ones head in the lioness’s mouth.

In the days of yore, when children were free to control their own play, the boys inevitably played competitive, spontaneous and slightly violent games; while the girls played cooperative and traditional rhyming games. Boys needed discipline, challenge and competition, which the education system gave them. Now, at last, a few commentators have begun to notice something we have often remarked in these pages, that a great part of a generation of boys have been alienated by a politically-controlled education system that is hostile to their needs. Some just drift away, while others turn to armed gangs to give them some identification. They have been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.  What was presented as a fairer balance of the sexes has turned out to be quite the reverse. The waste of talent ought to be regarded as a disastrous scandal, but it is welcomed in some establishment circles.

The key phrase in the current battle in the war of the sexes is Testosterone fuelled and, of course, once a campaign has started, repetition becomes inevitable. Males of most species are cursed with the politically incorrect urge for competition, which is an aid to survival by selection. The political war for “equality” aims to remove any such natural tendencies. The current arena is the rather banal BBC pseudo-quizzes, in which establishment (i.e. that used to be alternative) comedians, who are challenged to be witty about current events, have the temerity to treat them as competitions. Perhaps this is the last stand of maleness. In vast tracts of human intellectual activity the contribution of men is shrinking. They are permitted to earn their living as footballers or other occupations suited to their Neanderthal nature, but not as, for example, doctors.

It seems that in this new world women have become a majority, for example, among newspaper columnists. Some of them are difficult to follow for someone old and set in his ways. For example, many of them seem to adopt an unfamiliar dialect of the English language (in which, for example, big becomes a verb and ask becomes a noun). The best of them are superb, but the worst are appalling.

First an example of fine writing and acute observation: in the Sunday Times, of all places, Libby Purves traces just what has gone wrong with British, and now American, politics.

At the other end of the scale is the ineluctable Poly Toynbee, the spokesperson for the New Left axis (the BBC, the Guardian and New Labour). In the early hours of Monday morning she seemed to be the permanency in the changing row of opinionated figures involved in the BBCs coverage of the elections to the impotent EU Parliament. She was incensed that right wing fascists had achieved representation (as opposed to the left wing fascists who rule us anonymously from the secretive bureaux in Brussels ). That is what happens when the political elite ignore the opinions and welfare of large tracts of the population (and then adopt a particularly fatuous version of proportional representation). At one point she delivered a tirade against “gypsy baiters, gay bashers, fascist sympathisers and (slight pause for dramatic effect) climate deniers.” According to John Ferguson, writing in CCNET, she recited the same litany on the BBC programme Any Questions. To group hundreds of eminent scientists with a gang of political thugs is a glaring example of the ad hominem tactics used by the New Left. Climate politics has become a proxy for wealth redistribution and heaven help anyone who tries to intrude science into the argument.

Footnote: the latest Pollyism

10/06/09

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Elections

There is a sham election, after which power still resides with a secretive unelected elite, then a few days later the same thing happens in Iran .

Funny old world!

16/06/09

Resistance is futile

Further to the above remarks on elections, it is clear that Iranians and Britons are jointly suffering from the delusion that they live in a democracy. In both countries laws are made by a secretive, unelected cabal. Perhaps the Iranians have more chance that someone will listen to them. We must hope so.

In the case of Britain nobody is listening. At least the Daily Mail has tuned in to popular opinion. The invasion of your bending author’s small garden by giant offensive religious icons was pictured earlier. It has not only deprived us of valuable storage space, but has forced us into the grinding sacrificial ritual of recycling. Britain is rich in landfill sites, but under the one-size-fits-all policies it has to conform to the requirements of countries like the Netherlands , which have none at all. Just to enforce the religious context a ludicrous scare is raised, based on methane as a greenhouse gas.

The people may revolt as much as they like, but there is no one in a position to respond. Unelected local council officials, earning salaries that dwarf those of MPs are able to ignore elected councillors and deal directly with the even wealthier unelected officials in Brussels . Parliament does not come into it, as it has surrendered its powers and responsibilities without our consent.

There is nothing new to us oldies in recycling. In post war years we had street collectors giving their familiar cries of “Any old iron” and “Rag and bone”. Tottenham, where your bending author grew up, was known for three things, a football club, a limerick and a pudding. Tottenham Pudding was pig food, created from the food scrapings collected from our households. When we had spent a day fishing on the river Lea, the vile smell of it clung to our clothes.

In those days it was a necessity, now it is a meaningless religious sacrificial ritual and an indication that for officialdom our time has no value.

Of course, like most modern bureaucratic impositions, it bears hardest on those who are least able to cope with them. Not only do they have the problem of shunting the bins and bringing out the right one on the right day, but on bin days the disabled and mothers of young children have to stay at home, because the pavements are blocked.

PS the Limerick was:

There was a young lady of Tottenham,
Who’d no manners or she’d forgotten ‘em.
At tea at the vicar’s
She tore off her knickers
Because as she said she felt hot in ‘em.

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Your bending redundant

At last your bending author is able to contemplate retirement. Correspondents and members of our forum have remarked that Number Watch is to be replaced by an official body. No less a luminary than Nigel Hawkes has announced it in The Times. Remember Hawkes? He was the one we granted the sobriquet of Nigel (thousands to die) Hawkes, first back in February 2003, after his template headline. Our Nige is a director of the new body, so that’s all right.

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18/06/09

Big taxes need big lies

The USA is beginning to savour in full the benefits of life under socialist government. It is expensive and wasteful. So it is no surprise that a breathtakingly mendacious climate report has been  issued with fanfares by the Obama government (or, indeed, by one of those coincidences that seem to haunt the field, a supporting one from a British Government source). The capacity to ignore objective evidence of falling global temperatures, in contradiction to years of forecasts in the other direction, is quite remarkable and only sustained by The Censorship in the media.

If Americans wish for a foretaste of what they are in for they only have to look at the career of Gordon Brown. Can it really be over six years since our poet penned his prophetic eulogy? Everything he does is at great expense to the populace, for example his endless game of musical chairs in Departments of Government. His very vocabulary is built on deception – he never spends, he invests. He has borrowed money at an ever increasing rate, but the worst of it is the future commitments he has taken on behalf of our grand children. There are hire purchase agreements (in code – private finance initiative) and, perhaps worst of all, the gold-plate pensions given to his ever growing army of bureaucrats, who develop the complexities that he so loves but blight the lives of ordinary people. He is still in denial about the public spending cuts that the next government, whatever its complexions, is bound to have to implement. Otherwise the world will simply stop lending money to the national equivalent of a drunken spendthrift father who has reduced his family to penury.

Meanwhile, we observe events in Washington with interest.

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It’s only a bloody computer model, dammit!

First let us deal with the inevitable question that comes up when one addresses this topic – what makes you think you are qualified to criticise computer models?

Your bending author:

bulletStarted digital computer modelling in about 1960 on the first digital computer delivered in the UK for academic research, after wasting a year on an analogue computer. The machine was a Ferranti Pegasus, which had considerably less computing power than a modern hand-held device. Indeed, the computer you are using to read this almost certainly has more computing power than the whole world had then.
bulletIn the subsequent forty years, reviewed hundreds of computer models – in undergraduate reports, PhD theses and, as a consultant, in industrial applications.
bulletFormulated the law of computer models long before global warming hit the headlines.

Most computer models are nonsense. This does not include those used by engineers in designing airplanes, bridges etc., which are based on detailed experiments on the systems involved and tested in a variety of real conditions before being used.

The reason they are nonsense is that they tend to be based on guesses of the value of coefficients assumed, particularly and disastrously feedback coefficients. There are few, however, that are quite as bad as climate models, where the physics of the interactions between variables and parameters is virtually unknown to mankind.

So, in inevitable synchrony with the issue of the Obama Government’s excuses for draconian taxation, we have the UK media filled with dire predictions. The Times, The Telegraph and, of course, the BBC gave copious coverage, with many supplementary articles. The source is the Met Office, one of the running jokes in the few pubs remaining after the New Labour revolution. Not only have they got the annual forecast grotesquely wrong two years running (having forecast great heat, presumably on religious grounds) but they are not very good at telling us what the weather is going to do tomorrow. Their third attempt at predicting a “barbecue summer” is not going very well so far, but they are bound to get it right one day.

Not to worry, however, because they now have an outrageously expensive super-computer. Unfortunately, if you write a program to print “two plus two equals five” you get the same result however super the computer.

Imagine you settled down in your seat in a jumbo jet and noticed a plaque on the back of the seat in front which reads “This machine was designed with the aid of a super-computer. We did not know the values of all the parameters, so had to guess most of them.” You would get off in a hurry. Yet the world’s political and media establishment are asking you to gamble the economic future of yourself and your descendants on just such a proposition.

Computer modelling is one of the most powerful, yet dangerous, tools available to mankind. To be useful it has to be hedged around with checks, tests and precautions. Ruthless, politically-motivated, members of the new establishment are not concerned with such niceties. They want your money and your acquiescence and if it takes a (to say the least) dubious computer model to get them, so be it.

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Footnote: In an item above there is reference to “The Sunday Times of all places”. Well, it is time to say it again. Rod Liddle, one of its jesters licensed to tell the truth, deals nicely with the Met Office. A couple of pages later Martin Ivens illuminates the latest trends in Government New-speak.  Glimmers of light in the darkness?

19/06/09

Obiter dictum

In a rather minced obituary for Jack Eddy in the Daily Telegraph the following sentence appears:

It is now believed that solar activity has a real climatic effect, although smaller than that produced by anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

This is a fine example for collectors of the way believers operate by irrelevant, inappropriate and unjustified insertions of their own views. The passive mood is used to imply that the believers include everybody. There are more than a few of us who dissent.

Incidentally, browsing through Chambers Dictionary (as you do) turned up a reference to the Milankovitch Theory (that large oscillations in the climate are related to solar radiation received by the earth). Interesting that a name that merits inclusion in the standard dictionary has virtually disappeared during The Censorship, even though The Climate is dealt with obsessively and daily by the popular media!

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An alternative view on that election, by Joseph Di Nicola

22/06/09

The Gauleiter complex

In these pages we have frequently remarked that the British experience should be taken as a warning of what could happen in the USA . Nevertheless, Americans have gone ahead with their own experiment in authoritarian socialism. Typical of the phenomenon is hurriedly and ill drafted legislation that puts power into the hands of minor and unelected officials. It is an unfortunate characteristic of some people that such power goes to their heads, and many of those in positions that once were intended to represent servants of the people now come to regard themselves as the masters. In Britain much of the primary legislation comes directly from Brussels in the form of “Directives”, which are diktats, emerging from a secretive bureaucracy, that have never been properly debated or received the benefit of expert advice.

American politicians now have their own version of this process, as exemplified by the bizarre goings-on that led to the House of Representatives passing a weirdly inapposite Climate Change Bill. The cost of the Global Warming Myth, already staggering, is about to increase by orders of magnitude, tantamount to economic suicide.

One of the many dubious claims of the proponents is that it will create Green Jobs. This is a dysphemism for a new class of people living off the taxpayer. A major sub-class is The Snoopers. We had them in the UK during the post-war Labour Government. They were tasked with such duties as preventing private enterprise. It was largely Winston Churchill’s successful campaign against The Snoopers that brought that spendthrift Government to an end. Nowadays opposition leaders are considerably less effective.

Now The Snoopers are back. They pry into our garbage bins, secretly film us and employ covert agents to follow us (justified by legislation originally promoted as being anti-terrorist). One couple were subjected to a prolonged stake-out to check that they were living where they claimed to be and not evading the equality rules in the educational lottery. A teenager was prosecuted for allowing a toddler to discard a sweet wrapper. Fortunately, our judges still have enough power to treat such cases with the derision they deserve. What is not disclosed is how much this snooping impoverishes the taxpayer, but it is not difficult to imagine the cost of several weeks of secret surveillance. Also typical is the fact that the actions in question were not even offences until the advent of New Labour Government. It is not only a crime to want to select a school for your child (unless you are rich), there are now so many new offences that no one, even the lawyers, knows what is legal or illegal. There are literally thousands of new crimes (including the Orwellian sounding enviro-crimes). When the Government is enacting seven new laws every day, without a semblance of proper debate, ordinary people are exposed to legal hazards of which they are completely unaware.

These are the conditions under which the Gauleiters thrive. Every citizen is threatened with the circumstances of Kafka’s Joseph K, arraigned for crimes and misdemeanours unknown, and helpless in the face of an all powerful officialdom. Furthermore, ordinary people are now encouraged to become informers. Records show that 28 Gestapo were able to rule a million people by the use of informers. Many people were wrongly arrested owing to accusations motivated by malice or revenge. When journalists enquire about cases like those mentioned above, the response always comes from someone called “A Spokesman”, anonymous and unelected. There is no comeback if they get it wrong. The ultimate insult is that the poor chumps they pick on have been forced to contribute to the inflated salaries these officials command. One of the greatest financial burdens carried by the poorer elements of society, such as pensioners, is the dramatic inflation of local taxes.

Look on this America . It is your future.

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Footnote: Cost of public sector pensions is now £1.2 trillion - The Times.

28/06/09

SOS to the world

[gordon-brown3.jpg]Please do not lend any more money to this madman.

He has borrowed, taxed and wasted recklessly for a decade. Not only his present victims, but their children and grandchildren face a lifetime of onerous debt repayment. Simple debt is not the worst of it. There are hire purchase commitments (Private Finance Initiatives) and, worst of all, an unbelievable burden of gold-plated pensions for his ever-growing and unproductive bureaucratic army. Yet all he can talk about is plans for further spending (known in code as investment).

He is still wittering on about new spending plans, which are just the old spending plans under a new name. He accuses his opponents of planning spending cuts, which even the least informed Britons now accept as inevitable and painful.

His public behaviour has now become so irrational that there are genuine fears that he is pursuing a scorched earth policy. Is he, like the probably mythical Nero, fiddling while the nation burns? Or does he see himself as Samson about to bring down the temple?

Characteristic was the announcement, in the media and not in Parliament, that the biennial spending review will not now take place. Almost all independent economic commentators, including the OECD, state that expenditure cuts are necessary and urgent. The Prime Minister is either insane or monumentally deceitful to carry on as though none of this is happening.

Previous failing governments have done the honourable thing. The Callaghan Government  made the necessary cuts and met defeat as a result. The Major Government bequeathed to Gordon Brown one of the most benign states of economy ever.

The theme song of the New Labour movement was “Things can only get better.” Bit of an irony isn’t it? At least “Yes we can!” does not offer any hostages to fortune (or, for that matter, incompetence).

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Number of the month – 31

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun
Noel Coward

The British are a comical people, but there is nothing that brings this out more than the weather. A dusting of snow brings the transport system to a shuddering halt, but what really gets them going is the prospect of a bit of warm weather. Temperatures have reached 31C and could reach 33C. It is, of course, manna from heaven for the global warmers, who have been having rather a rough time of it over the last three years. Nevertheless, in many parts of the world countries, such as Singapore , manage to conduct a successful economy and keep the populace alive with such temperatures as the norm.

Naturally the Nanny State swings into full operation at such times. Mass fatalities are feared. We are given detailed instructions on how to survive the crisis: the same instructions they gave us last time, but we are not trusted to remember. As so often happens, the correspondents to the Telegraph have their finger on the pulse. This one was particularly apposite:

The Met Office has no business "telling" the old and vulnerable to stay out of the sun. Their job is to get the weather forecast correct; nannying is the job of the British Government.

The Met Office, naturally, is full of it. They have been promising a dose of global warming for three years and, as we observed, they are bound to get it right some time.

One further innocent question: How much power have the wind turbines been producing during this “crisis”?

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30/06/09

Index

 

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