Wednesday 22 February 2023

The Inner Ring

Like me you might have been wondering why the EU persists in its sanctions against Russia, despite it now being completely obvious that not only are they not working against Russia, but that they are hurting the EU countries more than they hurt Russia. It seems unlikely either that all the politicians concerned are too stupid to notice or that they are being bribed by some other country. Some, perhaps, but not all. However, there is a possible third explanation, as set out in this 1944 talk by C.S.Lewis, The Inner Ring

As he puts it "Of all the passions, the passion for the Inner Ring is most skillful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things." What C.S.Lewis calls the Inner Ring is simply an exclusive grouping of people, generally, but not necessarily, people with power and influence. It's worth reading the whole talk to get the flavour of the concept. Politics consists almost entirely of such rings, each ring touching another more inner, stretching from local to national to international to supranational. How many aspiring politicians have been faced with this scenario,

Over a drink, or a cup of coffee, disguised as triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still—just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naĂŻf or a prig—the hint will come. It will be the hint of something which the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand: something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about: but something, says your new friend, which “we”—and at the word “we” you try not to blush for mere pleasure—something “we always do.” And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man’s face—that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face—turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude; it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.

and fallen for it? Of how many politicians can it be said that they seemed to talk sense until they were part of the government and how many retired generals or senior spies suddenly start coming out with opinions, once they have retired, that you know they didn't express when they were in office? Could it all be down to kompromat, or is it just the lure of the inner ring at work?

Sunday 19 February 2023

AGW and the war in Ukraine, what's it all about?

At first sight, it seems hard to link the war in Ukraine with the theory of AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming, now rebranded as Climate Change), however this article makes points that appear to put forward quite a compelling case.

The fact is that the resource base on which our world developed has now been severely depleted. And every year the situation will only get worse. The so-called “green” technologies that the West imposes on less developed countries by order will not help the planet’s ecosystem in any way without changing the paradigm of economic development of the whole world. This is most clearly described in the concept of “Planetary Boundaries”, based on the anthropogenic factor of human impact on the environment. Three processes have already gone beyond reasonable limits, provoking irreversible changes in the planet’s ecosystem in the near future:

- the extinction of species, depending on their habitats, began to occur 100-1000 times faster than it was before the industrial revolution 250-300 years ago;

- the degradation of natural freshwater reservoirs has begun: if 2.3 billion people do not have access to fresh water today, then in 30 years 4.5 billion people will not have access.;

- degradation of rural land, lack of irrigation water and acidification of the world’s oceans inevitably lead to a decrease in access to food in the world on a per capita basis.

Note that AGW is not there, and it seems to me that the reason for this is that the "green agenda", which the AGW myth is designed to promote, is about increasing the access of the developed nations of the West to energy and food resources. So, as the article shows, is the war in Ukraine. Neither is about countering a real threat, indeed the real threats to life on Earth, both geopolitically, geographically and economic, are almost never mentioned. Only the phony threats, those that serve the interests of the sort of people who go to Davos every year, are blazoned across our news media with monotonous regularity.

Friday 17 February 2023

Ukraine / NATO / Russia

Does anyone else find it strange that there appears to be no diplomatic effort at all by the NATO powers, or the EU, to engage with Putin and Russia and try and talk our way out of the Ukraine conflict?  Not in the least because - in my view - if cornered Russia will use nuclear weapons.

And then no-one will win.


Wednesday 15 February 2023

Disappearing Homes Conundrum Revisited (cont'd)

Serendipitously, the BBC had an article on this very matter.

Whilst second-home owners and retirees were rightly held up as the prime culprits, there was another reason mentioned for the lack of ability of local people to find a home in the area, (but not mentioned very loudly, this is the BBC after all):

"It is like a perfect storm - there's a lack of social housing, a lack of affordable homes, rising prices, not enough well-paid jobs.

Yes, the Tories' political masterstroke of the 80s, the great sell off at undervalue of the country's social housing, is still having its malign effects to this day.

Monday 13 February 2023

Disappearing Homes Conundrum Revisited

Readers of this blog will be familiar with the "Disappearing Homes Conundrum", whereby it is argued, by landlords' associations mainly, that introducing rent controls or increasing the regulation of the letting of homes will result in a reduction of homes available. Of course this is true in a limited sense, in that it will reduce the number of homes available for rent, possibly quite drastically as seen after WWII when the Rent Acts were passed, but it won't reduce the total number of homes available, in that for every landlord that sells up, there will be another home that is owned by its occupier.

However, this is only true for certain parts of the country. In the other, more scenic, parts, the homes really do disappear as landlords either convert their rentals to holiday lets, or sell to someone who will either do the same thing or will buy them as a second home. In Wales, with the complete lack of joined-up thinking that we have come to associate with government, they are simultaneously increasing the regulation of and bureaucratic burden on landlords and bewailing the effect of the number of holiday lets and second homes is having in restricting the supply and affordability of housing for local people.

No doubt they will try to solve this problem with yet more regulation and legislation: to the man who has only a hammer, every fixing looks like a nail.

Sunday 12 February 2023

'Fossil' or 'Mineral' Oil

Building on our hosts demolition of the 'CO2 is a pollutant and causes global warming' argument it is becoming increasingly clear that the widely held belief that crude oil as extracted is a fossil fuel is also nonsense, or less combatively, highly improbable.  And that there is no scarcity of it.

It is a Widely Held Belief that the maximum depth for fossils is about 16,000 feet down. Yet crude oil has been extracted at depths of over 30,000 feet. How did it get there?

I also found some research that made the assertion that crude oil was a mineral that is constantly being synthesised abiotically by the Earth's magma layer.  In fact, a lot of the time, people do refer to oil as a 'mineral' oil.  

There is also some comment that oil was only classified as a 'fossil fuel' (despite it not having any 'O' in it) under the influence of Rockerfeller who wanted to maintain its scarcity value.

What's more, BP recently reported (lost the link) that new technology had enabled them to double their forecast reserves.

All of which implies that crude oil, mineral oil, is super-abundant.

Thoughts anyone?

Saturday 11 February 2023

Killer Arguments for LVT, Not

"The case for a land value tax is overwhelming" is the headline of an article in the Financial Times, but you can't read it because it's behind a paywall*.

However, most of us on here will have a pretty good idea what it says and the interesting bit is that it is in the Financial Times in the first place

*hence the "Not" in the title, in case anyone was wondering.