Category Archives: UK Politics

The Politics of Climate Change

In a comment on my Insanity article, Robert Duquette comments on George Monbiot’s critique of the climate change sceptics.

Monbiot should be careful about using an affinity of narrative to explain the global warming skeptics, because the same affinity can be used to explain the gw alarmists. Man-made global warming is the perfect, apolcalyptic morality tale. Monbiot also makes the mistake of questioning the motives of every scientists he disagrees with, while putting those who agree with him under no such scrutiny. Why not question the motives of scientists who work for governmental agencies, agencies that stand to increase in power and influence, and butgetwise, under any anti global warming regulatory scheme? When facts are not with you, question motives.

There has been a huge amount of tosh spouted by the environmental movement, with their own pathologies and a fondness for trying to persuade through fear and emotional manipulation. But these groups are distinct from government and climatologists.

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Ye shall know them by their fruits (I am back!)

I hit quite a block after posting that acknowledgment of what a superior blogger Yglesias is. To what extent was it ego? I don’t know: it is difficult to be sure, but I suspect it was one of several factors.

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Appleyard, the Lords, Crooked Timber and the Irish Referendum

[Part of a series of articles reviewing blogs and websites (here Bryan Appleyard, Lords of the Blog and Crooked Timber) on my blog-roll; see the about page.]

Bryan Appleyard has an interesting reflection on the Irish thumbing their nose at the EU and David Davis doing likewise at the Westminster robotic party-political culture, both populists moves being as mindless as the proposals they are protesting in Appleyard’s view. He isn’t the first and won’t be the last to observe that ‘mistrust and distaste is now the primary political reality’. It has been with us for a while and coincides with the rise of the politics of psychotic fear filling the vacuum created with the collapse of positive political narratives at the end of the cold war (brilliantly documented in Adam Curtis’s documentary series The Power of Nightmares).

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Back to Internment?

So Brown has managed to restore some authority by railroading through the 42-day detention legislation with a bribe to the Unionists.  This is reminiscent of the dregs of the conservative administration who had to rely on the Unionists, but Major had a decent excuse, lacking a working majority.

Is this legislation to cope with civil unrest should they decide to start another war in the Middle East?

Cameron must be laughing all the way to the general election.  Let’s be clear.  <i>Anything</i> would have been better than seeing Blair continue a day longer in post, but this is pathetic.

The Neanderthals

[This article is the third in a series on Elitism, Conservatives and Progressives.]

Baroness Murphy said recently in an article on Lords of the Blog.

Sitting here blogging while waiting on tenterhooks for the vote in the Commons on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Mustn’t watch more TV…I just heard a TV BBC 1 newsreader describe the debate on the creation of hybrid embryos for stem cell research as ‘a clash between science and ethics’. I was so angry I wanted to punch the screen. Huge numbers of ordinary people (and peers by a massive vote when the bill came through the Lords a couple of months ago) regard it as immoral and unethical to stop research that could benefit thousands of people. Far from being a clash between science and ethics it is more a straight clash between medieval church ignorance and 21st century secular realities and medical advances.

This dismissal of the concerns of so many people as ‘medieval church ignorance’ is a typical highly-educated liberal dismissal of those that question, on religious grounds, the brave new world being delivered by science, as was Arianna Huffington’s article, GOP Debate: A Competition to See Who Could Be the Biggest Neanderthal, decrying conservative positions on issues like abortion, stem-cell research and evolution in a Republican presidential debate.

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Comment is Free

[A series of articles reviewing blogs and websites on my blog-roll.]

In the recent Webby awards the Guardian Comment is Free political blog got beaten by the Huffington Post. This I think shouldn’t surprise anyone with any knowledge of the relative traffic of the two sites, the awards being based on a poll of readers. I read both sites heavily and they are completely different, and offer an interesting contrast between two media cultures.

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Guns, Food, Trust

[I have put this article in the Jane Austen category so that those familiar with Jane Austen’s writings may like to think about the relationship between a people’s trust in their government government according to Confucius, and a person’s standing in the community—their character—according to Austen, and how integrity is critical to both (and my apologies if this sounds like something that belongs in a college essay paper).]

Tzu-kung asked about government. The Master said, ‘Give them enough food, give them enough arms, and the common people will have trust in you.’ Tzu-kung said, ‘If one had to give up one of these three, which should one give up first?’ ‘Give up arms.’ Tzu-kung said, ‘If one had to give up one of the remaining two, which should one give up first?’ ‘Give up food. Death has always been with us since the beginning of time, but when there is no trust, the common people will have nothing to stand on.’

— Lun Yu (Analects of Confucius) VII.7

Following on from my screed against Jacqui Smith I see that George Monbiot has written an eviscerating column in the Guardian asking why any liberal would rally in defense of the New Labour government—This government has been the most rightwing since the second world war (or Nothing Left to Fight For on Monbiot’s website). In many ways he is right. After the war a social-democratic consensus emerged that started to break up in the 1980s with Margaret Thatcher, but she was always restrained by the fact that nobody trusted her with (for example) the health service. Blair and Brown are truly Thatcher’s children (John Gray saw this clearly) and just couldn’t see beyond the market to any coherent idea of society—for them it didn’t need to be said but was self-evidently true, that there was no such things as society. Rowan Williams’s stunning 2002 Dimbleby Lecture perfectly understood the problem—what a wonderful gift to the government in return for his appointment, and how it was squandered.

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