Cameron, China, the dragon in the room …

 

This article is a timely update to one I wrote about the dangers of China in February 2014 China the elephant in the room.

This Tory government has learned nothing from Thatcher’s disastrous reign of myopic, crass decision making or that of New Labour’s 13 incompetent years at the helm. It cannot see beyond Cameraman’s departure two years hence (yes – two) and is making huge errors of mismanagement in three vital areas of Britain’s future.

These are: 1) future electricity generation; 2) food self sufficiency, and 3) basic manufacturing capability.

China's propery apocalypse
China’s looming property apocalypse.The empty flats that nobody can afford.

Embracing China’s mad, humourless, greedy, globalised capitalism is a huge mistake. China’s recent stock market corrections are but a hiccup compared to the real correction required to adjust for the debt mountain based on the empty cities all over China. These property investments are still recorded on the Chinese and the world’s banks as assets. They are anything but!

Ignore the bubble at your (yellow) peril ;-)
Ignore the bubble at your (yellow) peril 😉

Ignoring China’s primitive and barbaric attitude to human rights is a crime and denies everything that Britishness should stand for!

Encouraging China to build our, sadly now necessary, nuclear power stations is beyond stupid! The decision is based on the same incompetent logic of New Labour’s disastrous PFI contracts to build new hospitals and schools etc. The decision is based on presentation rather than economic sense.

Why on earth do they keep on making the same mistake?

The answer is, that PFI does not affect current government debt figures, so Osborne looks good and sounds sensible. However, it pushes the real, and hugely inflated cost, way into the future. Today’s decision makers will have retired on their gold plated pensions and cannot be held to account. Those future PFI costs are far higher than they would be if we did the sensible thing and borrowed the cash now at all time low interest rates.

All the current agreement does is guarantee huge future returns for China but dooms our children’s children to higher than necessary energy costs.

Good for China’s long term economics, but so obviously bad for us.

Government should be borrowing cash now, while it is historically cheap to do so, but it will not because of party political ideology. Bonkers, criminally incompetent financial mismanagement unchallenged by Corbyn’s Labour party because they can’t think straight either.

Labour cannot be too critical here because of the Blair / Brown era of financial incompetence.

Meanwhile, Germany’s steel industry thrives because it is being supported by Merkel’s government, completely ignoring the EU’s rules on state subsidy by the way. We can’t do the same because our steel capability is owned by India plus we keep on following the damn silly EU rules that Germany, France and Italy just laugh at.

Cameraman & Osborne are blindly completing Thatcher’s disastrous short term view of manufacturing and finishing off the population of the north east for good.

Our steel industry is now dead after today’s announcement by Tata (You know, those Indian chappies who bought our steel industry some time back ;-( ).

Meanwhile, Germany is investing heavily in alternative technology to generate green electricity while our Tory twits are removing subsidies. Simply beyond stupid!

Germany took that enlightened, long term decision when Japan’s recent nuclear disaster gave us all a taste of what happens when things go wrong when power generation is too centralised! Remember Eric Schumacher’s 1973 book Small is Beautiful?. Germany’s politicians took note while ours went out to lunch.

Milk production is all but destroyed in Britain while food imports continue to rise to support a supermarket model which is failing. This reign of madness is seemingly unchallenged by Labour because of its own past incompetence.

Our membership of the EU is of course to blame too, effectively stopping Britain from taking a long term view of food production and manufacturing.

Long term thinking is completely missing from our governing and political classes.

China is only thinking long term! Germany is thinking long term too …

When will our politicians ever learn?

Acknowledgements:

B.Rich Hedgeye for the Chinese bubble cartoon

Marketwatch.com for the reality of the Chinese economic “miracle”. Please read the comments to this article, they are more realistic than those of the article’s author.

Fracking, guess who pays? Un-fracking-believable!

 

Today the government is accepting applications for licenses to explore potential fracking sites. The contracts that will be eventually signed will not contain clauses to clean up contaminated water supplies or clauses insisting upon insurance to be taken out to pay in the event of a natural disaster.

Cheers - it's OK to drink, trust me, I'm a fracker
Cheers – it’s OK to drink, trust me, I’m a fracker

Instead, here is what the government says to fracking companies “when things go wrong”:-

“How operators manage incidents if something goes wrong:-

Operators must prepare a safety document with an assessment of risks and a plan for responding to incidents and emergencies on site.

  • If the following happens, it must be reported to the HSE(see below):
  • a blowout (an uncontrolled flow of well fluids)the unplanned use of blowout prevention equipment
  • the unexpected detection of hydrogen sulphide
  • failure to maintain minimum separation distance between wells
  • mechanical failure of any safety critical element of a well
  • After an incident, the HSE will ensure appropriate investigations are made into the well safety and stability, and that well integrity is restored as necessary.
  • Operators may then be required to make improvements to their operations.”

The Health & Safety Executive is a not even a part of the government, it is a toothless, powerless quango set up to avoid ministerial responsibility.  Well that’s alright then …Un-fracking-believable!

History repeats itself. Strangely though, our politicians cannot see this simple truth and cannot learn from it because it is not in their interests. The history is this – private companies will hardly ever ever pay if they cause pollution or natural disasters. They will either simply go bust and let “we the people” pay or ensure that the contracts they sign with the government do not contain any annoying clauses that may cost them money.

Since the late 1970’s government ministers, of both main parties, have been creating QUasi Non Governmental Organisations to avoid the responsibility which is rightly theirs to bear. Quangos are given the responsibilities which should be shouldered by ministers, because they are not accountable to the people. Ministers can then blame them when things go wrong. Simple eh?

Remember British Nuclear Fuels, our wonderful British nuclear industry “the energy of the future”? If you are under 40 you probably don’t know the sad tale that means that the tax payer is coughing up £’billions into the unforeseeable future to to deal with spent fuel rods from the 1960’s 1970’s 1980’s 1990s 2000s2010s and so on.

The simple, sickening truth is that if the companies who hope to make a profit from fracking were forced to deal with these costs they wouldn’t frack. The real business costs and risks are just too high as we learn from our privatisation history. Well OK, we don’t. Has the government learned anything from the past?

No, since we the people will be paying they are happy to proceed.

It won’t affect the government ministers pensions, the incompetent criminals who let it all happen, because we will be paying those too. Those who keep making these colossal, criminal errors are never held to account!

Here are links to the who is paying for clean-up in the UK and the USA, read and be warned:-

July 14th 2014 California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning it May Be Contaminating Aquifers

Frack free Somerset

Would you eat this Californian tomato?

Fracking act loopholes will cost Illinois billions

What should we be doing?

  • How about funding research & development in our best Universities (the ones not running media studies courses 😉 ) on how best to keep the lights on over the next 100 years?
  • How about ensuring, now, that any new build house is 80% heat efficient?
  • How about ensuring that new housing estates (say 20 houses or more) have to use centralised ground and air source heat pumps
  • How about using new carbon capture technology in our coal mines?
  • How about using the heat in the rivers?
  • How about researching geo-thermal energy?

They won’t do any of those because there is no quick party political payback – 3 years payback is the most they can wait for.

Cynical? Moi?

No! I’m fracking fuming!!

Airport options fiasco

 

Air traffic requirements for Britain  are today’s PoliNews*1 subject and, for once, Boris is right. Dave, as usual is wrong and incapable of vision.

Boris is right
Boris is right (prizes for what he just said to Cameraman! (hehee))

This blog, and meBook, are largely about how and why the party political system is incapable of rational thought. We need, instead, a system  of infrastructure and resource planning that can think 30-50 years into the future.

Time after time cockups of such gravity have been made that it makes my teeth hurt and none of the perpetrators are ever called to account.

See here, and here and here and here, but, for the twenty worst see here!

Here are some salient points, all of which would drive a rational decision maker to the inescapable conclusion that a new airport away from people is the obvious and only long term answer. Anything else adds to pollution, misery for people under the flightpath, years of disruption in an already overpopulated area and in any case will need unpicking by our grand children.

1) The South East is desperate for new housing, So use the land, once Heathrow is demolished, for houses, parks and woodland. Simples!

2) Pollution is reduced; forever!

3) The air becomes quite again; forever! (People become happier… Oops, economically irrelevant, sorry)

4) Logic would tell us that air travel will diminish in 30 years, rather than keep expanding. Those who argue for continuing economic growth are just not thinking clearly. We the people of this earth need smaller and more local solutions to food and resource management. The Chinese experiment with capitalism is doomed to failure, it simply cannot go on consuming more and more like us; there just ain’t enough stuff to feed, clothe and maintain an ever unchecked and increasing population.

*1 PoliNews – that which the media deem to be newsworthy according to the redefinition of Politics (See *2)

*2 “Politics” as defined in the Oxford English Dictionary “Of , belonging or pertaining to the state or body of citizens, its government and policy, especially in civil and secular affairs”.

Politics” as defined in common usage today, “the discussion of how what ‘someone’ said might be perceived by ‘others’ and whether or not this will damage their ‘credibility’. And, can we fit it into the slot time available?”

The end (?) of the 43p Feed in tariff debacle

 

Here we have the latest in the long tradition of cock-ups by those who are paid to know better than ‘we the people’, you know, Government Ministers …sigh

The ‘Feed in Tariff’ green initiative started by the last unspeakable Labour government (don’t get me wrong, this one is dreadful too – I’m not being partisan!) and continued by the coalition (subject to a current legal challenge).

What is so infuriating to me is that most people think that the ‘excess’ energy created under this scheme is ‘somehow’ fed back into the grid.

IT IS NOT!

The marketing leads us to believe but just that, but it is simply not true.

Power stations produce electricity at 25,000V. Electricity is sent through the National Grid cables at 400,000V, 275,000V and 132,000V. These high voltages are too dangerous to use in the home, so step-down transformers are used locally to reduce the voltage to safe levels. The voltage of household electricity is about 230V and any excess micro-generated electricity cannot be re-converted back up to a higher voltage because there simply are no step-up transformers to do the job.

Here’s what actually happens:-

“Thanks awfully, you suckers!”
Sir Reginald – the 8th Baronet Sheffield and a direct descendant of Charles II
  • Rich landowners install loads of Solar panels in a field that used to grow food.
  • They use some power themselves (if they can be bothered).
  • Claim the 43p rate on all units generated – as shown by their new shiny meter.
  • Claim an extra 3p for each unit they “don’t use”
  • Any excess is NOT FED BACK TO THE GRID because nobody has installed the hardware to do it!
  • This payment to the landowners is paid for by you and me and the truly “fuel poor”!

Q) Why this is? How could anyone, supposed to be in charge, be so very stupid?
A) The “Grid” is currently worth about £22 billion but is not owned by “we the people” (as it should be) because it was sold off by that dreadful Thatcher woman in 1990.

This very system has been used by Sam Cameron’s dad (for useless wind turbines), Sir Reginald the 8th Baronet Sheffield and a direct descendant of Charles II. Thousands of rich people earn cash from you and me because of the financially incompetent mistake. I have made the point, over and over again, in meBook, that our governments routinely make crass decisions over the use of our resources.

This so-called green enterprise is nothing of the sort. It simply raises electricity costs for all consumers cannot afford a micro generation capability (solar panels, wind turbines, heat pumps etc.)

Time after time clueless politicians have been screwed rigid whenever they try to do a deal with the private sector.

Thatcher selling our electricity grid in 1989
Thatcher selling our nuclear power stations in 1989
Blair / Brown selling our gold at an historic all-time low in 2002
So many more that it makes my teeth hurt!

Secondly,  the FITs system is another example of the poor subsidising the wealthy.  Those who have installed PV panels have done so because they can afford to and are claiming payments from all electricity users including the less-well-off in society.  The fuel-poor will never be able to afford to install PVs but will continue to subsidise those who can.

Thirdly, the tariffs were set too high in the first instance, the 21p tariff is at a similar level to that paid in Germany.
I don’t always agree with George Monbiot but in this case I do:-
“We have plenty of ambient energy, but it’s not to be found on people’s roofs. The only renewables policy that makes sense is to build big installations where the energy is – which means high ground, estuaries or the open sea – and deliver it by wire to where people live. But the government’s scheme sloshes money into places where resources are poor and economies of scale impossible.

Though there’s a system to ensure functioning devices are installed, it can’t be long before thousands of petty criminals discover the perfect carousel fraud, bypassing their solar panels by connecting the incoming wire to the outgoing wire. By buying electricity for 7p and selling it for 44p (if you sell power to the grid rather than using it yourself, you get an extra 3p), they’ll make a 600% profit. Amazingly the government has decided not to measure how much electricity people are selling, but “to pay export tariffs on the basis of estimated (deemed) exports”. Elsewhere in its report it boasts of “encouraging a risk-based approach to audit and assurance”. Come on in, you crims, the door is wide open.”