Saturday, 11 June 2011


I would be loathe to turn this blog into a links basket - largely for my own pyschological reasons - but there are times, such as now, when I may have ten or more articles on the go at a time, but insufficient opportuntity to reflect on them properly in a blogpost. I will, however, make some effort with each and every item that I decide worthy of my written attention.

First, I note James Dellingpole's piece on Andrew Turnbull's briefing paper on the UK's "decarbonization" policy. Lord Turnbull is a former senior civil servant under Tony Blair's governments who now sits on the board of trustees to the Global Warming Policy Foundation. The graph at the beginning of Deller's piece contrasts the IPCC predictions (an increase of between 2 and 3 degrees C by 2100) with a more modest prediction (of less than 1 degree C) in accordance with the view that global warming is driven by natural processes of "recovery" from the LIA. Choice quote from the summary of Turnbull's paper:
"Although there is agreement among scientists that global temperatures have been rising (around 0.8°C in the past 150 years), that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that CO2 concentrations have been rising; that other things being equal a doubling in CO2 concentration would on its own generate about a 1°C increase, there is little agreement beyond that. Virtually every step in the chain of causation is disputed and even the basic data on measurements is challenged... The Really Inconvenient Truth is that the propositions of the IPCC do not bear the weight of certainty with which they are expressed."
It was my taking of this line of argument which Turton took as his excuse to ban me.

Second, and on a related theme, Tim Worstall has a good piece up at The Register on the "hippiecrats" at Oxfam and their new "Grow" campaign. After acknowledging the hippiecrats' first tentative steps in rational argument - that subsidies to rich farmers ought to be stopped and that the biofuels nonsense is just exactly that - he then goes on to lambast the inevitable:
"In short, if the nether reaches of the Congo had the same farming infrastructure as the nether reaches of the Dakotas then the problem would be solved. So far so good... but then Oxfam's analysis turns to shit... One of the points the report makes (in one of the good bits) is that price volatility is damaging both to producers and consumers. So we'd like to have some method of dampening such volatility. At which point it insists that this means we must lessen speculation in foodstuffs. But, umm, speculation in foodstuffs is what dampens price volatility in foodstuffs."
Idiots; the poor people across the rest of the world cannot afford the inconvenience of hippiecrats not being able to afford the admission of their hippieological errors. I wouldn't mind so much if they didn't have such an influence on political power - but they do, and as such their ideas are effectively weapons against the poor.

Third, Dalrymple has one of his typically scathing pieces up at the SAU, this time on Cameron's appointment of a former editor of the News Of The World to the position of "communications chief". Whereas many would read the obvious echo of Blair's appointment of Alistair Campbell, Dalrymple takes the broader implications of this "endorsement of the culture of vulgarity and stupidity for which this country and its people are now universally and, alas, rightly now reviled." My favourite quote from that piece however, partly because of its closing phrase and the way it crystallizes what I have elsewhere remarked on as "deliberate ignorance" or "being stupid on purpose", is this:
"...what it [the News of the World - ed] thought would interest its potential readers is vulgar and salacious tittle-tattle about celebrities, whose very celebrity itself was often a manifestation of a debased culture, whose main feature is the willing, indeed highly determined, suspension of intelligence."
One reason I like Dalrymple's pieces so much is because reading him will set me thinking about how to put a familiar point in broader perspective - and a point which may only be remotely related to his own. In this case, Dalrymple had me thinking about the consequences of the manifestation of aesthetics - which has been a dormant interest of mine for years now and which deserves some fresh essays.

That's enough for now. I would have been in Kenting today, were it not for certain other people's errors earlier this week, so I will have to make do with a trip out to the reservoirs in Tainan County following my reading of this short in the Taipei Times on Thursday. The shorts I find, are often the most interesting and valuable pieces in that paper.


  1. I think this was intelligently written, maybe too intelligently for my poor brain to handle. Also, being unfamiliar with the characters under discussion leaves me at something of a disadvantage.

  2. Charles,

    Which piece? Dellingpole's, Worstall's or Dalrymple's - or mine?

    I don't know what it is you find difficult - the quotations are linked so that you can read the original pieces for yourself. I found each of them to be readily comprehensible.


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