Tag Archives: coal

G7 to cut down on burning coal. What about that mine in Cumbria that Boris Johnson supports?

Climate change champion? How can anybody believe Boris Johnson wants to reduce carbon emissions when he turned up at the G7 conference that announced an end to coal power in a chartered jet that put out five times the emissions a train causes?

The G7 weekend has turned into a terrible nightmare for Boris Johnson, hasn’t it?

He was slapped up and down the Cornish coast for signing a Brexit trade deal containing a Northern Ireland protocol that threatens the peace there, which he didn’t bother to read first.

He wouldn’t talk about his religion – because he couldn’t?

The G7 agreed to tax multinational corporations fairly – and Johnson’s Chancellor Rishi Sunak immediately asked for the City of London to be exempt.

And now he has to announce that he has agreed to phase out coal power – while also supporting the construction of a new coal mine in Cumbria.

The contradictions come out of this man so fast I’m amazed his tongue hasn’t tied itself in knots*.

The coal announcement came from the White House, which said it was the first time the leaders of wealthy nations had committed to keeping the projected global temperature rise to 1.5C.

That requires a range of urgent policies, chief among them being phasing out coal burning unless it includes carbon capture technology.

Coal is the world’s dirtiest major fuel and ending its use is seen as a major step by environmentalists, but they also want guarantees rich countries will deliver on previous promises to help poorer nations cope with climate change.

The G7 will end the funding of new coal generation in developing countries and offer up to £2bn ($2.8bn)to stop using the fuel.

But only five days before this, Sky News reported that the people of Whitehaven, in Cumbria, were urging Johnson to press ahead with the planned coal mine there because they need the jobs.

And that’s fair enough, because Johnson was all in favour of it back in February. Otherwise he could have told Robert Jenrick to block planning permission for it.

The BBC report of the time is hilarious in hindsight, because it focused on a leading climate scientist, James Hansen, warning that Johnson risked humiliation if he didn’t stop the mine from being built.

And now he is caught in a humiliating double-standard.

The G7 announcement – although far too vague for comfort – demands that coal be phased out in the 2030s.

But the Cumbria mine indicates a commitment to the emissions caused by coking coal until 2049 (because that’s the limit of the planning permission that was granted). That’s 14 years after all coking of coal must end in the UK, if the country is to meet its climate change targets.

I look forward to hearing him – or his more intelligent spokespeople at the Cabinet Office – talk his way out of this one.

That’s if he can get those knots out of his tongue.

*And wouldn’t it improve his speeches enormously if it did?

Source: G7 to agree tough measures on burning coal to tackle climate change – BBC News

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UKIP: They don’t like it up ’em!

UKIPpolicies

Was anybody else astonished to read, on Facebook this afternoon (May 12), that police had visited a person who had posted a version of the above meme on Twitter, and told said person to remove it as UKIP had made a formal complaint?

The truth of the matter became irrelevant very shortly after, when the image was merrily shared and re-shared across the social media by those of us (let’s face it; a version is directly above these words. VP is as much a part of this act as anyone) who weren’t going to put up with even the rumour of such heavy-handed behaviour.

Shortly afterwards, the referenced version of the meme appeared – it’s what you saw when you loaded up this article.

Readers with good taste in comedy will recognise our headline as a catchphrase of Lance Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army, made with reference to the German Army and to the “fuzzy-wuzzies” – as Jones refers in casually racist (yet of-the-times) terms to his erstwhile opponents when he was fighting colonial wars in South Africa. Although they’re not likely to enjoy being ranked alongside either of Jones’s targets, UKIP supporters proved that they really don’t like it up ’em – and responded with fury.

“This is not doing the right thing by Britons by posting propaganda rubbish like this one,” wrote one outraged ‘Kipper’.

Propaganda?

That would be “misleading information that is systematically spread”, according to the VP dictionary. Thank goodness we can look up the websites referenced on the image and make up our own minds! But it should be noted that anyone trying this should hurry – some of the sites mentioned have already been changed.

For example, VP is informed that Amjad Bashir has changed his website to remove the reference to maternity pay and other employment rights. Fortunately, another member of our online community had the presence of mind to keep a copy of the site as it was before the edit, and created an image that demonstrates the differences.

140512amjadchanges

The point is confirmed on UKIP member Keith Rowe’s website, where item 3.2 states: “UKIP proposes to vastly simplify this legislation. It would be up to each employer to decide whether to offer parental leave.” That would mean the end of Statutory Maternity Pay.

Further down, Mr Rowe confirms UKIP’s plan to raise Income Tax for most of us, while also cutting it for the richest people in the UK: “The cornerstone of UKIP’s tax policies is to roll employees’ National Insurance and basic rate income tax into a flat rate of income tax of 31 per cent for all sources of personal income (except pension income).”

On holiday entitlement, Mr Rowe tells us: “UKIP would put an end to most legislation regarding matters such as weekly working hours, holidays and holiday, overtime, redundancy or sick pay etc.”

UKIP supporters would argue strongly that the party does not intend to speed up privatisation of the NHS, and Mr Rowe’s website expends a large amount of verbiage trying to obfuscate what is intended. But the gist is here: “UKIP will abolish the complex competitive tendering rules which currently make it very difficult for smaller companies to bid; as a result of which, a small number of large companies have a disproportionate share of NHS business. In addition, the UKIP will require the NHS to use people with commercial experience to negotiate with the private sector.” This means that UKIP would continue the Coalition policy of inviting private companies to bid for the right to provide NHS services, making a profit from the taxpayer in doing so.

The section entitled ‘Looking Ahead’ suggests worse to come: “UKIP would like to offer people a choice of how they wish their health care to be delivered… We believe that other models are worth considering to see whether lessons can be learned from abroad… which appear to offer more choice, shorter waiting times and objectively better health outcomes at comparable cost and have been praised for their lack of bureaucracy.”

On climate change, the UKIP leaflet referenced in the meme states: “UK’s cuts in CO2 emissions will have no meaningful effect on global climate and … the Climate Change Act’s unilateral action is in vain”. Further on, it states: “We criticise the EU for creating serious market distortion by favouring some low-carbon technologies (wind, solar) over others (e.g. nuclear). There are, however, some clear priorities: gas, nuclear, and coal.”

UKIP’s own ‘issues’ page makes it clear that the party will “remove the UK from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights” (even though this would be a travesty – the UK was instrumental in setting up that institution and wrote much of its rule book).

Coming to marital rape, if the reference in the meme does not provide help, then try this link. It shows that, of the 14 MEPs who voted against ‘Combating violence against women’, which included “to recognise sexual violence within marriage as a crime and to make rape within marriage a criminal offence”, nine were members of UKIP. Thanks to Rachel Harvey (on Facebook) for this information, and for sourcing the image on maternity pay.

Ms Harvey adds: “The ‘no’ vote to rape within marriage being a criminal offence was also a no vote to making FGM [female genital mutilation] illegal. Such lovely blokes these UKIP MEPs.” Indeed.

Admittedly, policies are mentioned for which proof is not directly available at the time of writing (although any help with this would be appreciated). Nevertheless it should be clear that the image at the top of this article is absolutely not “propaganda rubbish”.

It is a genuine attempt to alert the British voting public to the true nature of the United Kingdom Independence Party.

And no – I didn’t create it.

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The lies that smashed the unions and destroyed our coal industry

So now we know that Margaret Thatcher lied about the scale of her attack on the British mining industry.

She told the country that only 20 pits were to be closed, when in secret she and National Coal Board chief Ian Macgregor had planned to close no less than 75.

The revelation vindicates then-National Union of Mineworkers’ leader Arthur Scargill, who claimed at the time that there was a “secret hit-list” of more than 70 pits marked for closure.

Documents released under what used to be called the Thirty Year Rule show that under the plan, two-thirds of Welsh miners would become redundant, a third of those in Scotland, almost half of those in north east England, half in South Yorkshire and almost half in the South Midlands. The entire Kent coalfield would close.

The workforce was to be cut by about a third, from 202,000 to 138,000.

Thatcher went on to use the lie as an excuse to break the power of the trade unions, setting the scene for the long decline in employees’ rights that has brought us to the current sorry situation in which part-time work, zero-hours contracts and fake ‘self-employed’ status are robbing us of what few entitlements we have left.

She used the police as a political weapon to attack picket lines, sowing seeds of distrust that persist to this day. How many people who saw the scenes of carnage during the miners’ strike can honestly say they trust the police to uphold the law without fear or favour? Is it not more accurate to say they fear the police as agents of a ruling elite?

She destroyed Britain’s ability to provide fuel for our own power stations, leading us into dependence on foreign powers for our energy needs. It is this helplessness – caused by the policies of that Conservative Prime Minister – that has put so many British families into fuel poverty under the current Conservative Prime Minister, forcing them to choose between heating and eating.

In short, Margaret Thatcher owes compensation to a huge number of British people.

Some might consider it a lucky escape for her that she died last year and will avoid our wrath, but then again, considering her state of mind at the end it is unlikely that she would have recognised what it was.

Perhaps it will be possible for some of her victims to claim compensation from her estate; that will be a matter for them.

But other leading Conservatives and civil servants were in on the plot – and they should not be allowed to walk away unpunished. These include:

  • Nigel Lawson (Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time).
  • Norman Tebbit (Employment Secretary).
  • Sir Robert Armstrong (now Baron Armstrong of Ilminster, Secretary of the Cabinet in 1983). Armstrong has denied that there was a cover-up – an astonishing claim when documentation shows there was an agreement not to keep records of the secret meetings in which the plans were hatched and developed.
  • Peter Gregson (although he may also be dead; attempts to determine his status have turned up nothing).
  • Michael Scholar.

These are just the names on the document market ‘Secret’ meeting at No 10 on the BBC News report of the revelation.

They all knew about the lie and could all have told the truth but they did not.

They betrayed Britain.

Will they escape justice?

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Whoever said Labour has no policies: Prepare to be embarrassed!

Michael Meacher MP has proposed that Labour make the end of austerity its flagship policy. Don't get too excited - Labour has to get into office first, and we've no idea how bad the Conservative-led Coalition will wreck the systems of government before May 2015.

The end of austerity should be Labour’s flagship policy, according to Michael Meacher MP. Don’t get too excited – Labour has to get into office first, and we’ve no idea how bad the Conservative-led Coalition will wreck the systems of government before May 2015.

This is turning into a very bad weekend to be a Conservative.

The Nasty Party has lost control of 10 councils, with hundreds of councillors unseated. Its claims about people on benefits are falling flat when faced with the facts. It has fallen foul of UK and EU law with its fake psychometric test, which turned out to have been stolen from the USA. Its claim that Labour has no policies has proved to be utterly unfounded.

… What was that last one again?

Yes, you must have heard at least one Tory on telly, rabidly barking that Labour can’t criticise the Coalition if it doesn’t have any policies of its own. Those people were not telling the truth – even though they probably thought they were (poor deluded fools).

I am indebted to Michael Meacher MP, for posting information on the following in his own blog. He lists Labour promises, as revealed to date – and it’s quite a long list. Much – or indeed all – of it may have also appeared in an article on the Green Benches site, I believe. So let’s see…

Labour has already promised to:

  • Repeal the Health and Social Care Act (otherwise known as the NHS privatisation Act)
  • Build 125,000+ homes
  • Regulate private rents
  • Promote a Living Wage for public sector workers and shame the private sector into following that lead
  • Offer a minimum 33-40 per cent cut in tuition fees
  • Limit rail fare increases to one per cent
  • Reimpose the 50p rate of income tax for the super-rich
  • Impose a mansion tax on the rich
  • Repeat the bankers’ bonus tax
  • Reverse the bedroom tax
  • Scrap Workfare and replace it with a ‘compulsory’ Jobs Guarantee (I’m not too keen on this one but it’s been promised)
  • Offer a VAT cut or a ‘temporary’ VAT holiday
  • Implement the High Pay Commission report in its entirety
  • Scrap Ofgem and bring in proper energy price regulation
  • Break up the banks and set up a National Investment Bank, and
  • Support mining communities and clean coal technology.

In his article, Mr Meacher suggests that Labour needs to go further, with a really strong hook on which to hang all these policies. He suggests the following:

We will end austerity.

Yes, I thought that might stun you. Let’s have it again:

We will end austerity.

Now that you’ve had time to get used to the idea, I hope you’re applauding as much as I was when I read the article. Why not end austerity? The squeeze on public spending and services that David Cameron and his Boy Chancellor imposed in 2010 has not worked at all. There is now no basis for it – I wrote to Mr Osborne, requesting information on the other foundations of the policy after it was revealed that his main justification contained a huge error, and he has not replied, so clearly he has nothing to say. Its loss will be unlamented and can’t come soon enough.

There’s more in the article so I invite you to visit Mr Meacher’s site and read it yourself.

As for Mr Cameron… he’s a survivor but he’s starting to look tired and the number of his own party members who are stabbing him in the back is growing – Lord Tebbit has stuck his own knife in (again) during a BBC interview.

I wouldn’t bet any money that Cameron will still be PM by the end of the year.