Captain Qahn's picture

"Back in December, a major plank of the Conservative party’s general election strategy was to portray Jeremy Corbyn as a Marxist throwback, committed to all sorts of dangerous 1970s lefty ideas such as state ownership and higher public spending.

Six months later, Boris Johnson felt the need, when announcing plans to bring forward £5bn of investment in Britain’s clapped-out public infrastructure, to reassure voters that he was "not a communist" and still believed in capitalism..."

"The Tory party might well wonder, what is this cuckoo in our nest? It means colossal public spending, stupefying debt, subsidies doled out on all sides, and a private sector strangled by whimsical regulation. Perhaps a truth is emerging. Old-fashioned Toryism was always the free market’s fair-weather friend. At the first sign of trouble, it runs pleading to the state."

""The Tories talk a good game on this issue but their record of turning their backs on the North speaks for itself.""

"All of which creates a glorious opportunity for the Labour party. It is in the happy position of being able to say that no matter how much the government is spending it should be spending more. It can pick and choose from all the once taboo ideas – such as a basic income, a wealth tax or printing money to pay for higher public spending – that have become fashionable."

A word of caution, though. Even assuming that Labour embraces the need for more radical action on global heating, it is not actually in power and won’t be for some time. The government has four years to patch up a dysfunctional economy which, despite all the rhetoric, is what Johnson’s strategy is really all about.

"Undaunted, Johnson is now to take his pathological centralism a step further. His aide Dominic Cummings reportedly wants to dismantle the last three public sector functions still subject to local democracy. They are town planning, social care of the sick and elderly and policing. Planning offices are to be replaced by regional “zoning” commissions and inspectors, committed to development and emanating from London. Under such a scheme, local control over the character and appearance of urban and rural Britain would end...

"While Sunak takes responsibility for a large chunk of the private sector, however “temporarily”, his colleagues are seeking the final dismantling of devolved government, at least in England. This was begun by Thatcher’s rate-capping in the 1980s and continued by the stripping out of education and transport in the 1990s. Services that in every other world democracy are subject to the pride and participation of local community leadership, are in Britain to be run from London. The prime minister wants to be mayor of England."



Captain Qahn's picture

Bob a Job

"Robert Goodwill was Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 5 March 2019 to 25 July 2019. He was formerly Minister of State at the Department for Education from June 2017 to January 2018. He was elected Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby in 2005."

Lulled into a false sense of security ;-?

Captain Qahn's picture

A Loose Cannon

"Robert Goodwill has been reacting to calls from Maritime UK, the umbrella body for Britain’s £46bn maritime sector, is calling for a Minister for the ‘Coastal Powerhouse’..."

"For example, the Department for Culture Media and Sport handles tourism and my worry would be that if you made the Tourism Minister the Minister for our coastline, then some of the environmetal issues might get put on the back burner.""


"Mr Johnson accused the Labour leader of constantly switching from supporting the government to attacking it, with a swipe at Sir Keir's former profession as a lawyer.

"He needs to make up his mind about which brief he's going to take today because at the moment he's got more briefs than Calvin Klein."

Pot Kettle Black.

Captain Qahn's picture

Who Are We

"The list of exemptions has not yet been published, but the rules for face masks on public transport exempt anyone who cannot wear one "because of any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability", who would experience "severe distress" from doing so, or relies on lip reading, among other reasons."

"For some BBC Radio 5 Live listeners, face coverings are uncomfortable, steam up your glasses, and infringe on personal freedom."

"However, when swapping out the company's masts, networks are likely to switch to a different vendor to provide the earlier-generation services.

Huawei said the move was "bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone" and threatened to "move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide."

"Scarves or other textile items that can be used to continually cover the nose and mouth without having to be held in place by hand are considered adequate in non-medical settings."

"Hancock said the death rate of sales assistants and cashiers is 75% higher among men and 60% higher among women than in the general population. “As we restore shopping so we must keep our shopkeepers safe,” he said... the government expected compliance."

"Stay home, stay alert, save lives, social distance, clap at the sky, bang pots and pans, wear a mask, follow the science, work from home, exercise for 1 hour, don't travel..."

"The WHO stressed that face masks were just one of a range of tools that could be used to reduce the risk of transmission - and that they should not give people a false sense of protection."

Cable & Wireless

"The intelligence agency GCHQ - and former Chancellor George Osborne - have been heavily criticised for emphasising "image rather than cost" in the choice of a new headquarters for the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

""The group is now focused on a single region with low penetration for data services and strong growth potential where we have scale and market leadership," said Rice. "This focus will create a more unified, effective and cost-efficient group."

Assembled from a number of British telegraph companies founded in the 1860s, Cable & Wireless was merged with the Marconi operations in the 1930s and nationalised shortly after the second world war as the government sought to exercise closer control of key strategic assets.

In 1981 it became the first company to be privatised under Margaret Thatcher, and was later the first UK operator to offer an alternative telephone service to British Telecom, via its subsidiary Mercury Communications."

"Poor investments slowly whittled away the group's scale. During the dotcom boom chunks of the family silver were sold, including the One2One mobile phone business (now T-Mobile).  Some £5bn of the proceeds were put into creating a web-traffic carrier by buying internet companies, mainly in the US.

The idea was ahead of its time. Without traffic to fill the brand new fibre networks, price-cutting became ferocious."

A photograph showing the damage done to the dish by a broken cable in August.

"In 2003 the firm rang up a loss of £6.4bn, from revenues of £4.4bn. The Caribbean, where Cable & Wireless was on many islands a monopoly provider, was the only part of the business still making a significant profit.

CWC now makes $586m in revenues in Panama and $1.12bn a year from the Caribbean. Its Monaco business generates $236m a year in revenues."

"Operations at the Arecibo observatory, one of the largest in the world, were halted in August when one of its supportive cables slipped loose from its socket, falling and gashing a 30-metre (100ft) hole in its 305m-wide (1,000ft) reflector dish."

"The pioneering seaweed farm will produce a sustainable seaweed crop which British customers and industry will be able to use in lots of innovative ways – from biodegradable plastics to a new source of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, textiles, biochemicals, and as a tasty and nutritious addition to the food menu.

As the seaweed grows, it will absorb huge amounts of carbon and release oxygen into the water as it grows – making it good for industry and good for the environment."



"About half of the measured global sea-level rise on Earth is from warming waters and thermal expansion, a key driver of which is global warming. The other half is coming from melting ice."


Just a Theory...

"If higher taxes leave people with less money to spend, it can be bad for economic growth and jobs."

""If you inherit a massive bill you have got to work out rather rapidly how to pay it, and that gives a tremendous spur to one's efforts," he reflected.""

"It often has a blue loop over it, where everywhere else is cloudy or raining and you've got sunshine - it's most peculiar."

"It was suggested that the find was worth $1.8m (£1.36m), making the man an overnight millionaire - and if he wasn't, they debated whether he'd been short-changed selling it to US buyers.

But neither of those things is true. The meteorite is not worth millions, and no-one has been ripped off.

This dream come true is not quite as it first seemed.""

"History can be quite weighty and if you get it dumped on you, it can become quite a burden," he said.

"The question is then, do you want to dump it on the next generation?"

"IF the railways of Switzerland can build a new tunnel under the Alps for 57 kilometres through some of the hardest and most geologically difficult rocks in the world, I would like to suggest that a tunnel under the Pennines for some eight kilometres should not be beyond the capacity of British engineers.

This would avoid the endless disruption to train services of improvements to the existing network.""


'The Claws of Axos'

"THERE is no doubt that a combination of better design and consumer information has reduced the carbon footprint of most homes considerably.  The shoddiest, least-efficient products are no longer on the UK market and 
eco-labelling has helped us all make more informed choices."

"The Huddersfield-born actor and 13th Doctor in the series said the pandemic has caused her anxiety to "skyrocket" and that, at times, she has felt on the verge of an "apocalyptic panic attack"."

The Smart Meter “grasses up” the children when they leave TVs and computers on upstairs.

The most conservative estimate suggests we have already prevented 
eight million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) being emitted in
 the UK a year. It has also benefited consumers, giving us access to higher-quality goods and saving the average UK household at least £100 on their annual energy bills."

"Leaving the EU means that we no longer need to move at the speed of the slowest as we strive to make further progress."

The recent Green Alliance report is a useful signpost to guide us down the right track that could leave our EU neighbours spinning in our wake. They make some key recommendations."

"Existing standards must be properly enforced. Up to a quarter of some types of product can slip through the net – particularly when sales are online.

Not only does that mean the UK is missing out on savings that would be the equivalent of taking 600,000 cars off the road but these products can often be not only unsafe but impossible to repair. More on that later.

Energy labelling can be confusing. As fridges and TVs get larger and larger, the size of the appliance can outweigh the efficiency stated on the label."

"A massive A+ rated flat-screen TV can use 10 times as much power as a smaller set with the same rating. This could amount to the difference between £3.88 and £39.52 annual cost for a family, according to the Green Alliance.

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has highlighted the problem of the e-waste mountain.

We have a massive volume of redundant electrical and electronic equipment in almost every home. This was often referred to as the “Amstrad in the attic” when, as an MEP, I was involved in drafting the original WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive."

The situation is worse for products like smartphones, where the bulk of environmental impact is caused by production rather than use and the incessant launch of new versions means functioning devices are replaced long before they wear out.

PwC have found that producing 75g of metals for a typical smartphone requires at least 6.49 kg of ore to be mined.

This also results in 60kg of CO2 equivalent, which is more than 300 times the weight of the phone itself.

I agree with the Green Alliance when they say the quality and environmental impact of products would be significantly improved by setting specific standards targeted at slowing down the churn of electronic products.

Criteria should include durability, “upgradeabilty”, component reuse and (my own bugbear) repairability, as well as recycled and critical raw material content."

New “product passports” could be
used to record this information, along with repair options, chemical composition and social and environmental information.

These digital records of products would be very popular with the public, meeting the desire for clearer information and longer-lasting products.

They would help businesses to create a more circular economy, where high quality, responsibly designed products are kept in use for as long as possible.

Finally, I am still trying to find what the greenest option is for my own 21-year-old Sony cathode-ray tube TV.

It stubbornly refuses to break down but would it be greener to repay its loyal service by keeping until it finally expires surrounded by my devoted family or send it to Dignitas for a humane euthanasia?

That would usher in a new era of energy-efficient flat-screen viewing. Suggestions on the back of an envelope, please!"

Mobile Intelligence Systems Interface...

That's the most intelligible words I think Bob ever used ... slightly worrying...


"Moon dust is also pretty weird stuff, and understanding it is important for the future of space exploration. If you want to know more, this article in Wired, “why moon dust could cloud our lunar ambitions” is worth reading."