What if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?

Standard

I think talking about Climate Change is unhelpful, seriously, bear with me, particularly because the climate of the Earth has changed any number of times, sometimes dramatically since the planet was formed over four and a half billion years ago.

By the time people are convinced it is happening and the recent floods, for example, are a trend not just weather then it will be too late.

The measures for tackling Man Made Global Warming (see what I did there?) are free standing.

They are worth doing, even if there was no overwhelming evidence that MMGW is occurring.

They will result in lower fuel bills, more jobs, less pollution and increased energy security.

The activists of mainstream political parties may sell those benefits to voters on the doorstep (whilst, sotto voce, promoting measures to tackle the causes of MMGW)!

As a civil servant in Birmingham, I sat in meetings with hard faced men and women of business just salivating at the prospect of the money to be made from the Green Industrial Revolution that goes well beyond tackling MMGW.

I, myself, saw oodles of jobs of all skill levels, especially for the differently able.

Personally, I do not believe MMGW is happening.

I do, however, accept the overwhelming evidence that it is occurring. I am very familiar with the nitpicking of the evidence by the likes of Piers Corbyn. However, I know, based on my understanding of the limitations of scientific analysis in this field that, despite the nits, the sum of the evidence is greater than the whole.

Unfortunately, the debate has become a lot about belief or denial. Moreover, although around 97% of the scientific community accept the evidence for MMGW, when the matter is dealt with in the media then the 3% and the 97% get equal time to make their case before we take into account the bias of the media with regards to the issue.

Consequently, the average voter is, more likely than not, to think the two arguments are finely balanced. And that is before we discuss how the 97% regard the likely results of MMGW. I gather not all think it necessarily a bad thing and, of those who do not, there is no real consensus as to how to address the causes of MMGW.

What then are we to do?

I really do think if we stop talking about MMGW and start talking about the features and benefits of the measures that will address MMGW then we will cut through the confusion resulting out of the Climate Change debate.

Put simply in the United Kingdom:

  • Promoting energy efficiency and reducing energy usage cuts energy bills for individuals and businesses whilst also creating jobs
  • Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy increases energy security, leaving us less at the mercy of Johnny Foreigner, whether Canadian or Saudi Arabian, as we reduce energy imports and doing so will create jobs
  • Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy will create a home market for companies linked to the industrial sector and create the capacity so that they may export renewable energy and energy efficiency knowledge, semi-manufactured and manufactured products, whilst creating jobs
  • Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy may well allow us to export energy to Europe thereby improving our balance of payments
  • And investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency will help reduce pollution.

Why would anyone not want to see policies implemented that will cut their energy bills; increase the UK’s energy security; create businesses, jobs and exports and generate tax revenue thereby; reduce pollution and, sotto voce, help to slow MMGW?

Ramping up energy efficiency, including a massive investment in the insulation of domestic and commercial properties, should be at the heart of the UK’s energy, environmental and housing policies.

The features and benefits of measures to tackle MMGW are worth doing, even if MMGW were not occurring.

When and Why Did We Stop Talking About Man Made Global Warming?

Standard
West Texas, storm chaser Laura Rowe captured picture of a lifetime on May 17th 2021

I think talking about Climate Change is unhelpful, seriously, bear with me, particularly because the climate of the Earth has changed any number of times, sometimes dramatically since the planet was formed over four and a half billion years ago.

By the time people are convinced it is happening and the recent floods, for example, are a trend not just weather then it will be too late.

The measures for tackling Man Made Global Warming (see what I did there?) are free standing.

They are worth doing, even if there was no overwhelming evidence that MMGW is occurring.

They will result in lower fuel bills, more jobs, less pollution and increased energy security.

The activists of mainstream political parties may sell those benefits to voters on the doorstep (whilst, sotto voce, promoting measures to tackle the causes of MMGW)!

I have sat in meetings with hard faced men and women of business just salivating at the prospect of the money to be made from the Green Industrial Revolution that goes well beyond tackling MMGW. I saw oodles of jobs of all skill levels, especially for the differently able.

Personally, I do not believe MMGW is happening.

I do, however, accept the overwhelming evidence that it is occurring. I am very familiar with the nitpicking of the evidence by the likes of Piers Corbyn. However, I know, based on my understanding of the limitations of scientific analysis in this field that, despite the nits, the sum of the evidence is greater than the whole.

Unfortunately, the debate has become a lot about belief or denial. Moreover, although around 97% of the scientific community accept the evidence for MMGW, when the matter is dealt with in the media then the 3% and the 97% get equal time to make their case before we take into account the bias of the media with regards to the issue.

Consequently, the average voter is, more likely than not, to think the two arguments are finely balanced. And that is before we discuss how the 97% regard the likely results of MMGW. I gather not all think it necessarily a bad thing and, of those who do not, there is no real consensus as to how to address the causes of MMGW.

What then are we to do?

I really do think if we stop talking about MMGW and start talking about the features and benefits of the measures that will address MMGW then we will cut through the confusion resulting out of the Climate Change debate.

Put simply in the United Kingdom:

  • Promoting energy efficiency and reducing energy usage cuts energy bills for individuals and businesses whilst also creating jobs
  • Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy increases energy security, leaving us less at the mercy of Johnny Foreigner, whether Canadian or Saudi Arabian, as we reduce energy imports and doing so will create jobs
  • Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy will create a home market for companies linked to the industrial sector and create the capacity so that they may export renewable energy and energy efficiency knowledge, semi-manufactured and manufactured products, whilst creating jobs
  • Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy may well allow us to export energy to Europe thereby improving our balance of payments
  • And investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency will help reduce pollution.

Why would anyone not want to see policies implemented that will cut their energy bills; increase the UK’s energy security; create businesses, jobs and exports and generate tax revenue thereby; reduce pollution and, sotto voce, help to slow MMGW?

Ramping up energy efficiency, including a massive investment in the insulation of domestic and commercial properties, should be at the heart of the UK’s energy, environmental and housing policies.

The features and benefits of measures to tackle MMGW are worth doing, even if MMGW were not occurring.

Intelligent Listening for Beginners …

Standard

The Sick Rose

O Rose thou art sick. 
The invisible worm, 
That flies in the night 
In the howling storm: 

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

William Blake

The Duke of Wellington once observed, “All the business of war, and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavour to find out what you don’t know by what you do; that’s what I called ‘guessing what was at the other side of the hill’.”

Back then, some 200 odd years ago, the paucity of information available to a battlefield commander defined the fog of war.

Today, that fog may be defined by the sheer weight of information available to listeners, courtesy of human and signals intelligence.

If the powers that be have developed intelligent listening systems to sift, categorise and prioritise the information acquired both in real time and to tangible ends, say, the prevention of a terrorist attack; the murder of a public servant or to predict the time it may take a capital city to fall then it is a development they are keeping very closely guarded.

Intriguingly, Soviet Embassy staff in London believed during the Cold War that MI5 followed each and every one of them during any trip they made out from the Embassy.

“Paranoia is born of propaganda, ignorance, secrecy and fear. The KGB’s London station in 1982 was one of the most profoundly paranoid places on earth, an organization imbued with a siege mentality largely based on fantasy. Since the KGB devoted enormous time and effort to spying on foreign diplomats in Moscow, it assumed MI5 and MI6 must be doing the same in London. In reality, although the Security Service certainly monitored and shadowed suspected KGB operatives, the surveillance was nothing like as intensive as the Russians imagined.

The KGB, however, was convinced that the entire Soviet embassy was the target of a gigantic and sustained eavesdropping campaign, and the fact that this snooping was invisible confirmed that the British must be very good at it. The Nepalese and Egyptian embassies next door were assumed to be ‘listening posts’, and officers were banned from speaking near the adjoining walls; unseen spies with telephoto lenses were thought to be tracking everyone entering or leaving the building; the British, it was said, had built a special tunnel under Kensington Palace Gardens in order to install bugging equipment beneath the embassy; electric typewriters were banned, on the grounds that the sound of tapping might be picked up and deciphered, and even manual typewriters were discouraged in case the keystrokes gave something away; there were notices on every wall warning: ‘DON’T SAY NAMES OR DATES OUT LOUD’; the windows were all bricked up, except in Guk’s office, where miniature radio speakers pumped canned Russian music into the space between the panes of the double glazing, emitting a peculiar muffled warble that added to the surreal atmosphere. All secret conversations took place in a metal-lined, windowless room in the basement, which was dank all year round and roasting in summer. Ambassador Popov, with his offices on the middle floor, believed (probably rightly) that the KGB had inserted bugging devices through his ceiling to listen in on his conversations. Guk’s personal obsession was the London Underground system, which he never entered since he was convinced that certain advertising panels in Tube stations contained two-way mirrors, through which MI5 was tracking the KGB’s every move. Guk went everywhere in his ivory-coloured Mercedes.”

The Spy and the Traitor, Ben MacIntyre

MI5 even in 1982 did not have the human resources to routinely tail all of the staff of the Soviet Embassy in London, all of the time.

However, odds on, all of the Soviet Embassy’s staff were on at least one UK Government watch list.

A Gresham’s Law for the Commentariat of our Clickbait Business Model Era …

Standard

Gresham’s Law of the Commentariat.

A bad opinion writer or broadcaster who is able to produce click bait to order and who is not fussed about nuance or the need for research, drives out the good comment writer or broadcaster, who puts real effort and thought into writing an article.

Oft the good writer or broadcaster goes to the bad in order to make a living.

(Sir) Simon Jenkins, an Oxford PPE graduate, who writes opinion(ated) pieces for The Guardian has routinely expressed the view that the less he knows about a topic the more objective he is about it than someone who has devoted their whole life to working on and studying the matter of one of his columns.

Experts are, in his august opinion, by definition biased.

Twice to my knowledge, Sir Simon has said that the money spent addressing Y2K, the Millenium Bug was wasted, because in his opinion as a disinterested observer, nothing happened.

Of course, Professor Martyn Thomas CBE is an expert and so, following Sir Simon’s logic, inherently biased.

I like to think of Sir Simon as a founder member of CAGE, the Clickbaiters/Columnists (delete as appropriate) Advisory Group on Emergencies.

Anthony Trollope’s take on the power of the (objective) Commentariat of his day is set out satirically in his novel, The Warden, first published in 1855.

The Jupiter is a referral to The London Times which was sometimes known in the middle of the 19th Century as The Thunderer. Jupiter being the Roman god of the sky and thunder.

Trollope went, in turn, to Harrow, Sunbury and Winchester, but not Oxbridge.

Johnson’s National Flagship will be promoting an economy mired in “chronic British short-termism, inadequate management … a culture of easy gratification and under-investment in both human and physical capital and infrastructure.”

Standard

Back in the early 1980s (or so I was told):

“Hello, Mr British Shipbuilder, we would like you to build us a supertanker.”

“I’m, sorry, I don’t build supertankers, but I will build you two ships amounting together to the tonnage you are after.”

“Hello, Mr South Korean Shipbuilder, we would like you to build us a supertanker.”

“How big?”

I am afraid it is too easy to blame the collapse of, for example, shipbuilding on Thatcher and/or the trades unions when they were bit players in comparison with the managers and owners of and investors in UK manufacturing.

There is even some evidence that certain UK shipyards back then took a rather cavalier attitude towards Government contracts, because they were confident the Government had no choice, but to buy British.

Back in 2013, Boris Johnson said that leaving the EU would not address “chronic British short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills, a culture of easy gratification and under-investment in both human and physical capital and infrastructure.”

We did not need to leave the EU to address those issues, but on leaving the EU, we are not yet addressing those issues and there is no definite evidence that the Government is planning to do so.

But then, may be now Johnson is Prime Minister those issues are of little matter as is evidenced by the ability of the PM to focus on trivia like a national flagship?

If not, then the national flagship would be promoting an economy mired in “chronic British short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills, a culture of easy gratification and under-investment in both human and physical capital and infrastructure.”

No, that cannot be right, not with Captain Boris Johnson at the helm of the HBS Free(loading) Enterprise.

“Well, Palmer, what are we going to do about our Ipcress File on the post Brexit brain and investment drain?” “Talk to Shite Hawk and the Oven Ready Bird, Sir?” “That’s no way to talk about the PM and Lord Frost, Palmer.”

Standard
The Ipcress File wherein Harry Palmer liaised with agents codenamed Bluejay and Housemartin for the return of a kidnapped British scientist, Dr Radcliffe

The UK outside of the Single Market is clearly not an attractive location within which to site Vodafone’s new European Research and Development facility (see below).

Much is made of the end of Freedom of Movement making it harder to import labour into the UK whether we are talking about an HGV driver or a veterinarian.

The same difficulty arises with assembling teams, drawn from across Europe, for research and development.

“A fast-track visa route for Nobel prize laureates and other award-winners in science, engineering, the humanities and medicine has failed to attract any applicants.”

UK visa scheme for prize-winning scientists receives no applications

Why would, for example, a hi-tech company locate themselves in the UK and restrict themselves to the talent pool of a single country when in the Single Market they may trawl a sea of 31 countries?

And if you are a talented individual in the UK looking for a job in research then the opportunities are going to be greater and more varied in the Single Market.

The brain drain much dramatised in fiction and talked about in reality in the 1960s is back in 2021.

And where brains go so did production in 1963 …

And in 2021, Pat Gelsinger, the boss of Intel told the BBC that the US chipmaker is no longer considering building a factory in the UK because of Brexit. He said that before the UK left the European Union, the country “would have been a site that we would have considered”.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is colman-deegan-vodafone-spain-kacb-u140519916894gnf-575x32340surinenglish.jpg
Against stiff competition in a beauty contest with seven other cities in five countries, none in the United Kingdom, the British telecommunications giant, Vodafone has chosen to create 600 jobs in Malaga, Spain with a new European Research and Development hub

“Vodafone has chosen Malaga as the home for its European research and development centre for new technological solutions and next generation digital services, which will lead to the creation of more than 600 jobs on the Costa del Sol.

The British telecommunications giant had organised an international competition between January and March to decide in which European city it would establish its new R&D centre.

Seven cities from five European countries participated in the contest, and they had to respond to an extensive questionnaire that focused on lifestyle, the availability of talent with the necessary technical skills, working conditions, transport systems, public aid and grants, university connections and the attractiveness of each location to job-seekers.

After an exhaustive analysis of the candidate cities and multiple meetings with international companies active in these cities, Vodafone selected Malaga as the host of its new ‘hub’.

“The Andalusian city was the one that stood out in the competition for being the one that offers the best combination of all the selection criteria,” the company pointed out.

Colman Deegan, CEO of Vodafone España, said: “This European Vodafone Business Centre is a great opportunity for the city of Malaga, not only because of the highly qualified employment it will generate, but also because it will enhance the activity of the city and the digital ecosystem that has been developed in recent years. The Vodafone hub will help Spain and Malaga continue to be a national and international benchmark in attracting and promoting business projects and creating products and services based on innovation and new technologies.”

Both the president of the Junta de Andalucía and the mayor of Malaga have been quick to comment on the good news for the city, which can boast of being on a roll when it comes to attracting technological investments. Google, Dekra, TDK and Globant have recently announced new research and development centres in the city.

The Junta’s head, Juanma Moreno, tweeted “Great news! Malaga will host the Vodafone European R&D Centre of Excellence. I have spoken to their CEO Colman Deegan, and they will create 600 highly skilled jobs. Thanks for the confidence!”

Malaga’s mayor, Francisco de la Torre, also celebrated Vodafone’s commitment to the city, which in the midst of the pandemic “once again it shows that Malaga’s innovative ecosystem is capable of continuing to attract investment and talent.” “

Vodafone to create 600 jobs on the Costa with a new European R&D hub

” “The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social, and economic opportunities. And Europeans will be shaping it right from the start,” Facebook said in a blog post.

The new jobs being created over the next five years will include “highly specialised engineers”.

Investing in the EU offered many advantages, including access to a large consumer market, first-class universities and high-quality talent, Facebook said.”

Facebook to hire 10,000 in EU to work on metaverse

“The UK lost out to France as the most popular European destination for foreign investors for the second year in a row, amid disruption from Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

During 2020 the UK secured 975 inward investment projects compared with France’s 985 projects, according to accountancy firm EY.

The UK had dominated foreign direct investments (FDIs) into Europe for the first 18 years of the annual survey of foreign investments.”

UK second to France again for attracting foreign investment in Europe

It would seem that the good, high skilled, well paid jobs that both Starmer and Johnson prattle on about creating and for which they feel you should not have to leave your home town to take up are not necessarily going to be within an easy commute of somewhere like Hartlepool; Batley and Spen or Chesham and Amersham.

How Freedom of Movement defused the UK’s demographic time bomb