CBI Climate Change Report

Idiocy:

Yet the carbon footprint of our economy is larger than that. After taking into account the carbon emitted to produce the imports we buy, as well as the goods and services we export, it increases by at least 10 per cent.

This is the level of logical thought our Titans of Industry are capable of?

We could, if we wanted, add in the emissions from our imports, as they are connected with consumption here. We could also, if we were so minded, add in the emissions of our exports, as they are connected with production here.

But what we can\’t do is add both in. The emissions in our imports are counted in the production budgets of elsewhere: similarly, the production emissions of our exports are counted in the consumption budgets of elsewhere.

One or the other, not both.

Amandaism of the Day

….and probably linked to rising rates of cancers in both men and women.

Err, which reality is Ms. Marcotte living in? As we all know, age adjusted cancer rates are falling (and as we all also know, age adjusted is the way you should measure cancer incidence).

Do Fascists Have a Right To Free Speech?

The issue basically comes down to this question: Are fascists entitled to free speech?

Yes.

Next question?

Update:

The whole point of free speech is that people who believe odious claptrap will have their views subjected to vigorous debate and shown up for precisely what they are. Sweeping them under the carpet is nothing like as effective – there\’s no disinfectant like sunlight, and it\’s nice to see my old alma mater taking on the dirty but oh-so-necessary job of debunking both men in public.

Just Where Do You Buy a Gibbet?

You know, that Iraqi interpreters thing? The one where those people who had worked for us in Iraq were and are at risk of being murdered for having done so? And the way in which the Government took several months to agree to do what they already had to in international law: provide them with asylum?

Read Dan Hardie here.

It would appear that the intended policy of Her Majety\’s Government is to make sure that they\’re all killed off before they can navigate the bureaucracy.

So, just where can I buy a gibbet? It would be worth dynamiting Marble Arch to get a few set up at the old Tyburn Cross and hoisting those responsible into them.

For the edification of the children, of course.

Nice to Get The Guardian On Board

You never know, perhaps there actually is a real liberal buried somewhere in The Guardian:

It is only by replacing narrow self-interest with the enlightened variety, that humans stand any chance of dealing with climate change.

Well quite, enlightened self interest being what Adam Smith was talking about two centuries and more ago. So we\’re off on the path of creating a classically liberal state, where we all act out of enlightened self interest, are we? Of course we hope so, just odd to see the rallying cry come from The G.

Erm?

We adjusting for inflation here or not?

Cotton is trading at 53 cents a pound. It fetched 30 cents in 1860.

1860 New York prices appear to be around 12-13 cents a pound, another estimate is 15 cents for 1857.

Given the inflation rate over the past 150 years it\’s difficult to see it coming out at 30 cents in any way at all. Then again, if we\’re not adjusting fo inflation, it does show that cotton is extremely cheap compared to what it was: as you would expect, given the mechanisation and increase in yields over the time period.

Super Lorries

Errm, has anyone actually thought this through?

Superlorries weighing 60 tonnes and measuring 80 feet in length could soon be hitting the roads as part of Government plans to cut down on costs and carbon emissions.

Every time we\’ve had an increase in the allowable weight of lorries on UK roads imposed upon us by the EU (and all previous ones have been, whether this one is I don\’t know)  we\’ve had arguments about the costs of upgrading the bridge and road network to cate to them. It slightly worries me that there is no mention of such costs here.

Oooh, Lovely, a Donations Scandal!

Now isn\’t this interesting?

The Electoral Commission has asked Labour to explain how David Abrahams was able to give almost £400,000 to the party without his name appearing on its register of donors as the law requires.

Mr Abrahams, a property developer, has admitted covertly donating money to Labour by giving it to two of his employees who then passed it the party.

Disclosure laws say anyone donating money to a party on behalf of someone else must declare that person\’s identity at the time.

Well, of course, it\’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, isn\’t it? So this £400,000 will in fact be forfeit to The Crown (in the form of the Treasury) just as that donation to UKIP was because the donor was not on the electoral register. Won\’t it….I mean of course it will. Who could doubt that there is a level playing field?

Mr Abrahams, the son of a former Lord Mayor of Newcastle, is a well-known figure in Labour circles, and attended Tony Blair\’s farewell speech in Sedgefield when he stepped down as Prime Minister in June.

He says he made the donations to Labour via Mr Ruddock and Ms Kidd because he did not want to attract publicity.

He said: "I\’m a member of the Labour Party and have been for about 40 years; since I was 15.

"I have always been fortunate enough to be able to make substantial donations to several charitable organisations as well as to the Labour Party for a number of years.

"But I am a very private person and I did not want to seek publicity.

"I gifted money to my friends and colleagues so they could make perfectly legal donations on my behalf.

"Donors to the Labour Party get a lot of publicity and I did not want that.\’"

Gifted Mr. Abrahams? Gifted did I hear you say? And I do hope that the appropriate gift taxes were declared and paid upon these transfers? As we all know, you\’re allowed to make gifts of up to £2,500 a year to a specific person, above that amount there\’s a suspicion that you might be avoiding inheritance tax as and when the time comes. So such gifts need to be registered (don\’t they?) so that the appropriate taper relief can be applied as and when you keel over.*

We wouldn\’t want to find out that you were in breach of tax law as well as that upon political donations now, would we?

*This probably isn\’t correct in detail but it is broadly. Any tax experts out there like to comment?

He May be a Lobbyist But…

He\’s right here

Her one-time transport adviser, Rod Eddington, says that “to seek artificially to constrain the natural growth of air travel, once carbon pricing is fully in place, would pose a significant cost to the UK economy”.

This is the very point of carbon pricing. Once people are paying the external costs of their actions then you need do nothing more. We end up with the socially optimal level of emissions. That\’s actually the point, it\’s a feature, not a bug.

Harsh, Perhaps, But Fair

“It was surreal – and never more so than when the police liaison officer told me that there was no question of a manslaughter charge because the law is not about consequences but about intent.”

Well quite.

What in hell does anyone think it\’s supposed to be about?

What the EU is Really About

This is really rather fabulous. How the EU really works:

One of the problems with the European parliament is that it is not quite a parliament at all. Its members have no powers to introduce legislation; that is the function of the European Commission – the executive of 27 unelected grandees, one nominated by each European government (ours, a nice parting gift from Blair to Brown, is Peter Mandelson). MEPs only have limited powers to amend or block legislation in consultation with the Council of Ministers, drawn from the national governments of each member state. Beyond controlling budgets the the parliament – the only directly elected European body – concerns itself largely with talking and hoping that the commissioners, and their 16,000 civil servants, are listening.

There are, it quickly becomes clear, in my lonely press box, several structural reasons why the latter is problematic. MEPs\’ speeches are rationed according to the relative size of each of the parliament\’s 10 party groupings. Speakers are generally granted a precise minute, or a minute and a half to hold the floor. This timing is projected, in Countdown-conundrum fashion, on a pair of big screens at the front of the chamber, and policed by a chairperson with an absence of humour and a gavel. There are various strategies for expanding your minute: some MEPs try to talk very fast and cram all their thoughts in one deep Slovakian breath; others, rebels, ignore the clock and talk for a maverick 67 seconds. Most, though – unloved politicians who have scraped through national ballots with 20 per cent turnouts – carefully fill the time with platitudes in the understanding that no one is paying attention (except, on this occasion, unfortunately, me). Their role is to be mock politicians in a mock debate, providing the European executive with a semblance of direct representation. The result, through headphones, is a repetitive, intangible stream of euro-consciousness; it is only when a speaker addresses the chamber in English, 20 minutes in, that I understand nothing is being lost in translation, and my heart properly sinks.

The debate is concerned with the consequences of globalisation, which, delegate after delegate agrees, is a big issue to which Europe must face up. Many believed that this facing up was urgent. Some thought it was vital. Others argued it was critical. At one point Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck ventured the opinion that Europe perhaps needed to \’help Africa develop economically\’, (polite applause), but regrettably did not have time to venture how this might be done; Ryszard Czarnecki similarly wondered if peace could not be promoted in South East Asia, (much nodding), while Sophie In \’t Veld called for \’better legislation for women\’ (who could argue?). The big screens displayed a rolling list of the next three speakers, like a book of the dead, and in this way perhaps the longest two hours and 20 minutes of my life passed in measured increments. There were several rhetorical devices that the format mitigated against: personal anecdotes, specific examples, jokes, argument, passion, anger, thought. In their absence I couldn\’t help feeling the debate lacked a spark. Eventually, the relevant commissioner, Margot Wallstrom, rose to release those present from their shared torment. \’We have this morning created a clear focus for the Lisbon Agenda,\’ she suggested. No one laughed.

As Wallstrom talked, the majority of MEPs were coming into the chamber for compulsory voting and their tide of chat inundated her summing up. Wallstrom was caught between the rock of having to shout (very un-European) and the hard place of having nothing at all to say. When she finally sat down the speaker thanked her for her \’courage\’ in the face of overwhelming indifference.

Go read the rest.

Not Sure About This

Here\’s the claim:

From the student ghettos of cities such as Birmingham to the new flats strewn along the quays of our Victorian docklands, a record share of UK housing stock is now owned by small private landlords indulging in the middle-class pastime of "buying to let".

Here\’s some numbers:

Table 6: Historical Owner Occupation Rates  
  1953 1981 1991 2001
All households 32% 43% 66% 70%
Over 65\’s n.a. 51% 58% 73%
      Source: ONS

It would appear that the rental market is still a great deal smaller than it was, historically. Now, it\’s possible that that 1953 number ( ie, 100% minus 32% owner occupied: 68%) was entirely State or council housing, but I\’m pretty sure it wasn\’t. While there was council housing from the turn of the century or so, and more after WWI, the great boom in it came after WWII I think. I\’m almost certain that the vast majority of that rental housing was in fact private landlords.

What killed that market was the imposition of rental control (not just pricing and "fair rents" but the whole tenancy arrangement ws grossly weighted in favour of the tenant). That was really only lifted in the early 80s, under Maggie: before that as a private landlord you really didn\’t have all that many rights over your property.

I agree that the numbers of private landlords are higher than they have been for many decades but this is not historically unprecedented, we\’re actually moving back to a world we\’ve seen before. One with a thriving (well, I agree there\’s a blip or two at present) private rental market, alongside social housing and owner occupation.  An older model, one that was killed off by an ideological hatred of the private landlord in the post war years.