Thursday, December 14, 2006

England spends $2.5 Billion on Cars - Millions Starve

Post lifted from Gust of Hot Air

England will spend AU$2.5 Billion over the next four years replacing the governments 78,000 vehicles with cars that are much greener and slash carbon emissions by 15% according to TimesOnline.

What? a 15% decrease in carbon emissions and the are prepared to fork out $2.5 billion for this?

Ok, the average car produces about 6 tons of carbon dioxide a year. So 78,000 cars and we have 468,000 tons. A 15% decrease means that AU$2.5 billion will save the world from about 70,000 tons, which is of course a good effort.

In 2001, the world produced around 24,000,000,000 tons of carbon into the atmosphere. This means that the 70,000 tons that the UK government is going to save will be about 1/300,000th of the carbon emissions saved. Basically, jack shit.

According to Wigley (1998), if we are to reduce our emissions by 43% this will result in a decrease in world temperature of 0.07 degrees C. Basically immeasurable by normal ground thermometers.

So lets do some more maths, and we find that England, in spending AU$2.5 billion in changing their cars over will reduce the world wide temperature of around 0.000000023 degrees Celsius.

Well done.

But wait there's more. According to World Vision Australia. For just AU$468, one can sponsor a child in Africa or Bangladesh. They will receive education, medicine against diseases, and fresh drinkable running water. What we all take for granted, but is a luxury in some of these parts of the world. Essentially, the British government could have spent their AU$2.5 million on this, and sponsored 5.3 million people, but they obviously have other vote grabbing agendas.

Tell me which you would rather do. Reduce the world wide temperature by 0.000000023 degrees Celsius or give over 5 million starving malnourished children shelter, water and medicine?

There is no need to answer that question.


Parents in a remote Scottish village are so infuriated by a decision to close their primary school that they have raised more than 1 million pounds to buy it. In an unprecedented initiative, parents in Roybridge, Inverness-shire, have been offered a bank loan and a five-figure private donation to ensure that the small school, which has served their community since Victorian times, remains open.

The crumbling schoolhouse and three leaking huts of Roybridge Primary School, nestling in a beautiful Highland glen with views of the Nevis mountain range, seem an unlikely battleground for the future of rural education. But if the parents are successful, they could set a new pattern for the provision of mainstream education in Britain's rural communities, where an increasing number of schools are being closed or amalgamated in an attempt to cut costs.

On Thursday the local council will decide whether to support the Roybridge parents, who have drawn up a detailed business plan in an attempt to save their school from closure and have raised 9,000 pounds to pay for surveyors' appraisals and architects' plans. After years of allowing the school to fall into disrepair, the Highland council has announced plans to close it and to amalgamate it with a neighbouring village. Although the school that the 30 children would be sent to is only three miles away, the Roybridge parents refuse to accept the plan and say that they are fighting on behalf of rural communities across Britain. They say that the small class sizes at Roybridge offer a uniquely intimate style of education and that without the school the village, which has fewer than 500 residents, would gradually die.

Under the parents' scheme they would pay to replace the school's dilapidated buildings and place it in a charitable trust. The council would then pay a yearly lease for the school, allowing it to remain in mainstream education and the loan to be paid off. The estimated 1.04 million building costs include 651,000 for new classrooms, 90,000 for an all-weather football pitch and 35,000 for car parking. A loan from Bank of Scotland, at 1.75 percentage points above base rate, would cover most of the costs, with the shortfall met by a 50,000 gift from a local landlord.

If the council approves the arrangement it would be the first time that parents have successfully intervened to buy out a primary school. Peter Rose, 56, who has two girls at the school and moved to Roybridge from Lancashire last year, is one of many outsiders who was attracted to the village because of the reputation of its school. He said: "We have to carry a torch here. If we are successful it could give hope to other communities. If we don't get young families to live in Roybridge, then it is going to become a stopping-off point for retired people and little else." His wife Hazel, 35, said that the intimacy of learning at Roybridge was found in few other schools in Britain. She said: "Our children love it. They go for river walks to collect pebbles for class projects or to the wildlife garden they've made in the middle of the village." Catherine MacKinnon, 40, who was a pupil at the school 30 years ago and is leading the project, said: "Politicians talk a lot about regenerating rural areas but a community needs a school at its heart."

Unlike many declining rural communities, Roybridge, a former crofting village, appears to have a bright future. The school is one of the reasons why the population has grown steadily over the past 15 years. Seven new children have joined the school in the past 18 months; a further three are expected next month.

Alan Smithers, Professor of Education at Buckingham University, said that the scheme was similar to others that rely on private finance to build and maintain new schools, but that in this case the private contractor would be unable to interfere with the running of the school. He said: "I have heard of parents trying to buy independent schools before but nothing like this. There is clearly a lot to recommend this idea."


New hay-fever pill

More than a million hay fever sufferers could benefit from a new drug that will be available on prescription [in Britain] next month. Grazax, taken as a pill, provides immunity to the allergens contained in grass pollens and has had an 83 per cent success rate in tests. Allergy researchers believe it will provide relief for hay fever sufferers who find antihistamines and nasal sprays ineffective.

Professor Stephen Durham, of Imperial College London, who is investigating the long-term benefits of the drug, said: "It's been shown to be associated with a 30 per cent reduction of hay fever symptoms and a 40 per cent reduction in the need for other medications, like nasal sprays. "We know it's effective, we know it imparts improvements in the quality of life of patients and we know it reduces the need for treatment."

There are about 12 million hay fever sufferers in Britain, 95 per cent of whom react to grass pollen, with 13 to 14-year-olds particularly susceptible. Traditional anti-histamine treatments reduce hayfever symptoms by 10-20 per cent and steroid nasal sprays by 20-30 per cent. These have to be repeated frequently and do not work for all patients. The effects of a spray wear off in about a week whereas a course of the pills - one a day for eight weeks - should keep hay fever at bay for a season.

The drug is similar to the monthly desensitisation injections that provide immunity to hayfever. It works by exposing patients to a 15mg dose of timothy grass extract - one of the worst pollens for sufferers - which kick-starts the body's immunity response against pollen from temperate grasses. Tests suggest that unlike injections, which cause serious reactions in 1 in 500 cases, the tablet's side-effects are limited to localised itching.

Professor Durham, head of allergy and clinical immunology at Imperial College, said: "One in four people suffers from hay fever. It can have a severe effect on quality of life; it interferes with sleep, and interferes with work, and children with hay fever can drop a grade at school. I believe about 10 per cent of the hay fever population, potentially a million patients in the UK, could benefit from this treatment."

The cost of the tablets, which are made by the Swedish company ALK-Abello, has not been decided for Britain, but in Germany they cost about 2.45 pounds each. On this basis, an eight-week course could cost patients about 135 pounds , with the potential cost to the NHS 140 million. The NHS spends about 40 million a year on prescription medicines to treat nasal allergies, including hay fever, and the over-the-counter market is worth another 80 million. Grazax would potentially replace some of these. Grazax will be available from specialist hay fever clinics, with patients requiring the treatment on the NHS needing to be referred by their doctors.

Further studies are now being undertaken to find out if the pills will provide long-term immunity or if they will have to be taken every year. Hay fever occurs in varying degrees of severity and can be dangerous for patients with conditions such as asthma. The sneezing, runny noses and watery eyes can last for weeks at a time and affect every facet of a sufferer's life, awake or asleep. Of the 150 species of native grass in Britain, 12 are responsible for the vast majority of grass pollen.

Grazax has already been approved for use in 27 European countries. The pills will cost 67.50 pounds for 30 days, making the eight-week course 135 pounds. The drug will be initially aimed at the relatively small proportion of hayfever sufferers who either do not respond to conventional treatments or get little relief from antihistamines and nasal sprays.



The politically correct British police are great at oppressing law-abiding folk. It's only criminals they can't be bothered with. Post below lifted from Burning our Money

Yesterday afternoon I was formally detained by the Metropolitan Police. And I have the Stop and Search docket to prove it.

What was I doing? Drug dealing? Causing an affray perhaps? No. I was standing a hundred yards from New Scotland Yard, in Caxton Street SW1, making a video about police waste for the Taxpayers' Alliance.

My afternoon began when I set myself up with my camera in front of that famous revolving Scotland Yard sign, exactly where all those TV reporters stand. I began talking into the camera, which is mounted on a hand-held monopod (a bargain at 14.99 pounds from Jessops).

Within about 30 seconds I was approached by a PC who asked what I was doing. This turns out to be quite common while out filming, so I explained.

He responded by asking if I was with the media, and I said 'yes- 18 Doughty Street'. Amazingly, he'd never heard of it! He then said I was in a sensitive area, and asked how long I would be? I told him a few more minutes, and he said OK. But by remaining right beside me watching and listening, he put me off my stroke. So I thanked him civilly and moved off down the street, well away from the Yard.

A few more minutes passed and I carried on filming myself talking into the camera. I was then apprehended by two of Blair's Community Police Officers.

Again, they asked me what I was doing, again I explained, and again they told me I was in a sensitive area. They then said they'd observed me "behaving unusually with a metal pole". And even though I showed them exactly what I was doing- and showed them my "script" comprising pages printed from BOM- they very politely told me I was to receive a Stop And Search.

For those that don't know, Stop and Search is a multi-page form introduced after the Stephen Lawrence case, which the officer has to fill in with all kinds of box-ticking and other assorted guff, including the suspect's ethnic group ( which the suspect has to complete himself, in case a wrong guess by the officer "causes offence"). It took the officers- two of them remember- 20 minutes to complete, with doubtless further time required back at the station to process and record.

So while one of them was busy ticking and writing away, I asked the other if I could go on filming afterwards. Not there I was told. OK, where could I go? He couldn't say because, although not formally defined, the whole of Westminster- and other vast swathes of London- constitute a "sensitive area". So I'd probably get stopped again.

Well, why don't they stop the tourists queuing up to have their snaps taken in front of the Scotland Yard sign? Ah, well... that's because they're tourists. I wanted to ask about the big bearded Asian ones with the 500mm telephoto lenses, but I guessed that might land me inside on a race-hate wrap.

And how come they don't stop mainstream TV journos filming outside Scotland Yard? Ah,well, that's because they're TV broadcasters... they have big crews and that. Which clearly makes the whole thing a lot safer than some loopy white middle-aged bloke with grey hair and specs talking to a metal pole.

So after they'd taken ID and radio-namechecked me, I took myself off down to College Green outside Parliament. That's always full of loopy guys talking guff, and nobody batted an eyelid down there.

After I'd calmed down, I came up with the three questions I'd like answered:

1. WTF should I be recorded on a Police database for filming myself on a public street in central London?

2. WTF are the police wasting time on nonsense like this, when really bad stuff like this is happening?

3. WTF is the Met's terrorist profiling so pants that someone like me gets caught in it?

I am old enough to remember when law-abiding taxpaying middle-class types used to have respect for the police. But the more the cops harrass and criminalise us, the more we understand how fundamentally dysfunctional they have become.

Violent crime and anti-social behaviour rage on our streets, yet all our 16 billion pounds per annum cops can do is close police stations, and spend a man-hour infringing my civil liberty.

With the likes of Sir Ian Bonkers Blair at the controls, the current system is broken irrepairably.

Has Tony Blair seen the multi-culturalism light?

The full text of Blair's "about turn" speech is here

The Prime Minister has long hinted that he harbours doubts about the ideology of multi-culturalism that has done so much to divide one British person from another. Yesterday, he finally expressed those doubts - plainly enough to infuriate both professional multi-culturalists in the public sector and the Muslim Association of Britain, which described his remarks as "alarming".

The most important feature of Tony Blair's speech was an admission for which we have waited far too long: that there is a connection between Islamic extremism and political correctness. Muslims who hate this country are nourished by the constant assertions that our nation's history is a catalogue of shame; indeed, many of them will have been taught this since their first history lessons in a British primary school. (It is, sadly, a common experience now for state-educated children to be instructed, at some stage, to write essays based on the assumption that they are slaves on a British plantation.)

Multi-culturalism portrays itself as a means of celebration: in fact, it is an invitation to all minorities to complain, loudly and persistently, about their victimhood. And, when this self-pitying worldview comes into contact with religious fanaticism, the results can be - literally - explosive. That is presumably what Mr Blair means when he says that the events of July 7 last year threw the whole concept of multi-cultural Britain "into sharp relief".

The Prime Minister and his close colleagues are plainly fed up with the lumbering grievance-mongers of the race relations industry: in the fight between Ken Livingstone and Trevor Phillips, reforming head of the Commission for Racial Equality, they are cheering loudly for the latter. Good for them.

True, the ideology that Mr Blair now decries has been advanced chiefly by his own party. Given his readiness to apologise for ancient wrongs, it would perhaps have been appropriate to acknowledge this more recent mistake. Still, we are delighted that Mr Blair has come round to the view that this newspaper has always held, and that our countrymen have clung to through decades of official bullying and hectoring.

What, though, are these "British values" that Mr Blair wants everyone to accept? It will not do to cant about freedom, fairness and tolerance: admirable as they are, these virtues would serve equally well for Ecuador or Finland. British values, surely, are bound up in our institutions: common law, a sovereign parliament, habeas corpus, counties, army regiments: the very institutions that have often been traduced by this ministry. Perhaps Mr Blair might devote his final months to repairing some of this damage.


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