Monday, September 08, 2008

Stupid British "human rights" laws give free rein to a monster

An Australian-raised English murderer and serial rapist sent back to Britain after his release from jail faces life behind bars after a sex attack on a pensioner. Simon Wilson, 50, who was deported after his release from a Queensland jail in January, yesterday pleaded guilty in a London court to three charges, including rape, relating to an April attack. Wilson migrated to Canberra with his family as a toddler. After becoming a drifter, he committed 77 offences in Australia, including a killing and six rapes - one in Melbourne.

He was released in January after serving 16 years for the murder of Mackay spinster Joan Randell and deported under tough Australian laws on foreigners who abuse their residency. The detective who dealt with the case described Wilson as a "freak" who needed constant supervision and should never be allowed to return to society. But in Britain, his case was found not to meet criteria for any control orders, leaving him free to go where he pleased. Authorities were also powerless to force Wilson to sign the sex-offender register when he refused to do so. He agreed to meet police and agencies regularly, though lack of resources meant he could not be placed under 24-hour surveillance.

In April, Wilson attacked a 71-year-old woman on her doorstep in central London, slashing her face and body as he tried to rape her. Yesterday, Wilson stared at the ground as he mumbled his guilty pleas in an Australian accent. Prosecutor Constance Briscoe told the court: "We will certainly be making submissions at sentence that this defendant is highly dangerous and ought not to be released in the future." Wilson was remanded in custody until October 10 for a pre-sentence report.

In 2005, 66-year-old Robert Excell returned after 37 years in an Australian jail for child sex convictions. In March, prolific pedophile Raymond Horne, 61, was deported from Australia, where he had lived for more than 50 years. This is in marked contrast to Britain, where criminals such as Italian-born Learco Chindamo, who moved to Britain aged five and went on to kill teacher Philip Lawrence, cannot be deported because of his human rights.

Tory MP Philip Davies said: "Our policies in this country should be more in tune with the way the Australians do it. "They have a zero-tolerance approach while we pussyfoot around. We are far too bothered about the human rights of criminals rather than the rights of citizens."


The Russian bear submerging Greenie concerns in Britain

Jeremy Leggett has an article up on Comment is Free urging people to "Beware the bear trap". Essentially, his case is that we need to pile on the renewable capacity in order to prevent Russia being able to use its fossil fuel resources as a weapon against us.

The first thing to note is that, while Western Europe is in an unenviable position relying on Russia for its gas, the Russian position isn't quite as strong as it looks. Each time oil and gas resources are used as a weapon they lose their impact. By making it clear that supplies aren't reliable you encourage your customer to put more effort into seeking alternatives or other sources of supply.

There is no doubt that recent Kremlin bolshiness has strengthened the case for Western Europe to revive its nuclear industry, for example, which could well mean threats to the gas supply are less potent next time around. We can only hope that there is someone in the European political elite with the basic strategic vision needed. Business, at least, will probably put more effort into exploiting alternative sources of hydrocarbons like Canadian tar sands.

The major problem with Leggett's article is that he sees renewables as part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. In reality, one of the reasons why Britain is in such trouble is that over the last ten years we've had a Government with a fondness for airy, unrealistic fantasies that renewables can provide a substantial portion of the electricity we need. Our energy policy has been based, for a decade, on the ludicrous idea that a combination of gas and renewable energy can provide the stable, affordable and secure capacity we need.

While renewables can provide power, albeit often at great cost, their unreliability means they can't provide significant capacity when you need it (peak load capacity). The situation is stated pretty clearly in this REF report (PDF, pg. 94). As such, their contribution to energy security is negligible. If Russia were to cut off the gas all the wind power in the world would do pretty much nothing stop the lights going out on a cold evening. Other renewables have, at present, a limited ability to provide remotely affordable power. Unless unreliable or exceptionally expensive electricity is felt to be acceptable renewables can't deliver energy security.

So long as politicians listen to people like Jeremy Leggett, and his renewable energy fairy tales, serious solutions like Enhanced Oil Recovery in the North Sea and building coal and nuclear capacity won't get the attention they deserve. By the time we wake up, it might be too late.



Spare a thought for anyone on the Environment beat at the Guardian newspaper. It must be like working for Pravda during the Breznhev era. There, as the economy became ever more dysfunctional, reporters were obliged to pump out ever more absurd stories saluting record productivity and efficiency records. The triumph over capitalism was imminent!

A different time and a different place: but at the Graun [Guardian], the ideology is "Climate Change" - and the number of narratives permissible is similarly narrow, and rigidly defined from the top. For as regular readers of the paper will know, the climate can only change in one direction: for the worse. Apocalypse is imminent!

It's in this context you should spare a thought for David Adam, the newspaper's environment correspondent. He certainly has our sympathies. With hurricane Gustav set to devastate New Orleans, Adam was tasked with the job of showing how it's all down to Global Warming.

Tasteless ambulance-chasing like this is now commonplace. Both Believers and Skeptics are both guilty of making too much of the latest weather, and extrapolating from it a trend that suits them. Weather is not climate. But extreme weather tends to excite one side rather more than the other: because it follows the simple moral fable in which man's wickedness causes unnatural events. This pagan superstition was evident three years ago, the last time New Orleans took a battering. Barely a week had elapsed after Katrina struck, before Al Gore addressed the nation to blame it all on sinful mankind for causing Global Warming. Gore quoted Chamberlain - "this is only the beginning of the reckoning" - and for good measure, castigated American's "moral health".

So from the outset, it must have dawned on our heroic Graun correspondent that he had a task worthy of Hercules. Adam couldn't quote anything that contradicted the theological foundations of the orthodoxy that the occasion demanded - since that, presumably, would result in a rapid descent into Farringdon Road's piranha tank. But the problem is, there just isn't much evidence to support the idea that a warmer climate means worse weather, and the closer you look, the harder this is to prove. And so his soul-searching struggle is laid bare.

Adams begins confidently - "Meteorologists are predicting a more active hurricane season than usual this year..." But realises it's a lost cause almost immediately. "... but there is no way to know whether global warming has caused an individual event such as a hurricane, or whether it has made such storms worse," he writes.

That's not a promising start - and certainly not what the editors and eco-activists want to read. So like a hastily-constructed sea defence, the doubt is rapidly sandbagged: "On the other hand, some scientists argue that severe storms such as Gustav are more likely in a warming world, because warmer seas make more powerful storms," he continues. Phew.

Actually, it's more accurate to say that while non-scientists, such as Gore, are only too keen to draw links between warming and extreme weather (remember, man is responsible for all things unnatural), recent years have seen fading support for the notion.

Tom Knutson of NOAA's fluid dynamics lab published a paper this year arguing that a warmer climate means fewer hurricanes: 18 per cent fewer by the end of the century, he proposed. In another 2008 study, NOAA's Chris Landsea saw "nothing in the US hurricane damage record that indicates global warming has caused a significant increase in destruction along our coasts". And even the media's favourite hurricane doom-monger, Kerry Emanuel at MIT, an advocate of the link between a warmer climate and nastier storms for 20 years, is surprised by what his models now predict: a warmer planet means fewer hurricanes in 200 years.

(A caveat: like the much vaunted Global Climate Models (GCMs) Knutson and Emanuel's own models involve "parameterization". What this means is that left alone, computer models produce completely ridiculous results: "too many hurricanes", is how Knutson puts it. So the models are frigged massaged to produce something that's plausibly scary, but not so ridiculous that people notice. Such is the way "science" is conducted in the 21st Century...)

But back at El Graun, the unspeakable remains unpublishable. So instead of outlining the recent work, we get such platitudes such as "if anything, the science has become fuzzier in the years after Katrina", and "it is also unclear how reliably historical records of hurricane strength can be compared", and "no firm conclusion can be made at this point".

Well, wasn't that worthwhile? At least the party line remains intact. There's a slight problem, however. When the information needed to look beyond the "fuzziness" is at one's fingertips, and can be found in only a few seconds with Google, why would anyone want to bother with a report? There's one casualty of global warming that no one seems to have discussed yet - newspapers.


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