What does IS/Daesh want for Christmas? What is the strategy?
The master plan is clear: to open-up by any outrageous means, including self-immolation; to provoke and exploit, the historic faultlines between as many countries and religious sects as possible, to create the perfect conditions in which a new global war rapidly turning nuclear will burn away the old order and bring about their heavenly Caliphate.
To fulfil the ancient prophecy.
So, tonight they have succeeded in suckering another bellicose and all-fired-up, gung-ho Western parliament into the maelstrom that is Syria, against the sage advice of the 70 per cent of the population urging caution.
The veneered moonchild and ex-PR agency gopher, Cameron has played right into Daesh’s bloodstained hands. (Is there not something mystical about the number 7, the ‘7 terror plots’ Cameron keeps telling us have been foiled, the angelic Host of 70,000 fighters that will come to the aid of Britain’s streets? Just what arcane numerology does inform matters within his strangely glowing head?)
And here we are, off on another postcolonial adventure, reminding ourselves just how Great we used to be.
Russia, the USA, Britain, France, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAR,Turkey, Canada, Australia…. Sunnis, Shi’a, Alawites, Wahabbis, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Yazidis….
If you gave Nigella a list of ingredients to make an end-of-the-world plum pudding out of 65 countries and religions that all hate one another in different ways and for different reasons, after two thousand years of squabbling over minor points of doctrine, swathes of territory divided by endless peace-treaties into indefensible squares on the map, you couldn’t plan it better.
Just whisk them all up into the limited airspace of Syria, high above a blasted lunar landscape in which over a hundred different criminal, tribal, religious and sectarian militias (together with the remnants of the legitimate regime) are circling for power and ten million people have been displaced; arm them with excitingly expensive and techy new laser-guided ordnance, on a hair-trigger; stand back, and watch what happens.
How can so many politicians be so stupid, all at the same time?
Answer: put them into what they think is power. Light blue touchpaper. Stand well back (small house in West Wales for sale.)
I know, it’s still only Wednesday.
After the sound and fury of what was quite a measured debate on the Syria thing, despite the perverse outcome I have begun to feel a little queasy about some of my recent Posts.
For a start, this muh bogl has always been intended to be sharply satirical, leavened with humor: not vicious and despairing.
I have noticed however that Uncle Bogler has been becoming more and more troll-like in his comments about the tendency of various Tory cunts who have roused his ire, to piss on the bathroom floor.
Albeit he may be undergoing the male menopause, it paints the Boglington Post, frankly, in a similar light to those so-called party members who have been sending vicious and bullying emails to any and all of the 60-odd Labour MPs who supported Cameron and his motion to send our last remaining Spitfire into action in the lurid skies over Syria.
It’s not good.
And I’d like to stop, only a petition has arrived in my inbox thing from barrister Jan Doerfel and Change-org that has set the blood of the Boglington Post boiling and its teeth gnashing again.
Fucking Teresa May, is all we can say. The evil hag with the Imelda Marcos-sized shoe collection has done it again, ordering the deportation of a sick, virtually blind 92-year-old white South African woman who has been living here peacefully with her British daughter (a qualified carer) and her husband, who is also suffering from various debilitating medical conditions, because elderly non-EU dependants have no right to remain. She has no living relatives in South Africa, and nowhere to stay. The couple cannot return with her as they in turn have no right to remain in South Africa. The courts have said their hands are tied by our grossly unfair immigration laws, over which May presides with maximum cruelty.
This bestial, bullying, vicious, sneering, sexually incontinent Tory scumbag regime and its immigration rules operates in unspeakably horrible, headline-averse, vindictive ways, totally without morality or compassion; chasing the illiberal votes of internet trolls and UKIP dregs.
I cannot write what is in my heart, it is against the law.
Mrs May, for once do the right thing.
I’m actually getting tired of signing petitions.
Sign one, and three things happen.
One, you get an email thanking you for signing the petition. Now, please can you pass it on to all your imaginary friends and Likers on the Bookagram thing, with extra points, regardless of whether you think they’ll think you’re an annoying dickhead?
Two, you get an opportunity to send another email to your MP, that has been prewritten for you. I actually have more respect for him than that. The poor sod has a policy of writing back personally by snail-mail to petitioners. And he voted against the Syrian thing without me even having to threaten his children with cancer.
Three, you get a pointed request for a financial donation to support the cause. So, I gave a while ago, I’m a pensioner. Don’t push it.
And behind the petition you signed are always half a dozen more, of dubious relevance, clamouring for your rapidly waning interest.
I had a vague recollection of a film.
So I went online and found it. It’s called ‘The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer’. I first saw it back in the ’70s. Starring the late, great Peter Cook, it’s about a smooth operator whose totally untraceable personality enables him to rise, prophetically Blair-like, first through his firm and then in politics, to the top.
He does it by the simple tactic of asking everyone what they think, and agreeing with them: blitzing the voters with hundreds of referendums about every minor aspect of government policy. Until they get sick of being asked for their views and make him President, giving him carte blanche to just get on with it, whatever.
I cannot be responsible for the state of the entire world. You’re welcome to what I can give.
But be aware that the Powers that Be are soon going to stop taking any notice of these multiplying petitions.
The miserable and damaging floods in Cumbria (Northwest England) this past week following an unprecedented rainfall of 14 inches in 48 hours served to highlight the debate on climate change just as world leaders and experts were assembled in Paris to try to thrash out some sort of global agreement to limit carbon emissions.
Few people I suspect know that there is a difference: weather is not the same as climate! Climate describes the overall tendency to wind direction and speed, day/night temperature and rainfall/sunshine hours at different times of year in different places. Weather is what we experience as a result, on a day to day basis. Global climate is thus an aggregate of many averages. We can safely say the Earth’s temperature range is from about minus 50 to plus 50 Celsius; windspeeds vary from zero to 200 mph; rainfall can be from one inch in 300 years in the Atacama region of Peru, to 14 inches in 48 hours on the Cumbrian fells in December, once in however many years…
What was predicted of a planet slowly warming as a result of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is that the process will not be linear but that extremes of weather will increase either side of the average; and that is precisely what we are seeing. 2015 was the warmest year globally ever recorded, and follows on from ten of the warmest years ever recorded, that have occurred during the past 20 years. Glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate; coral reefs being eaten away by carbonated water. But that does not mean, as internet baboons continue to drivel, that it should therefore never snow again anywhere.
What is so peculiar about human responses to climate change is how even those who accept the principle of global warming seem to be constantly in a state of denial about the actual evidence.
Every news report of a major event such as the Cumbrian floods seems to focus entirely on that singular local event. Experts are invariably quizzed on whether it proves that there is climate change, and every expert always says, well, no, obviously it fits within the expected pattern of warming but by itself it proves nothing, because extreme weather events happen, and they always fall within the normal range of extremes – albeit at the outer limits – because the extremes define the average!
I have yet to hear a single expert point to the annual increase in extreme weather events around the globe as an interconnected phenomenon; other than occasionally in relation to predictions such as that made earlier this year of an unusually strong ‘El Niño’ effect; from which we need not react in surprise whenever something appears to ‘go wrong with our weather’. The ‘El Niño’ and ‘La Niña’ effects relate to warm currents in the central Pacific region, that come and go according to some as-yet not fully understood cycle – which appears to be speeding up.
Of course, if you warm the oceans you’re going to get more transpiration and hence, more rainfall; and greater energy in the atmosphere generating stronger cyclonic winds. And the oceans are warming – the North Pacific this year by two degrees above average. The sea is absorbing the warming of the atmosphere faster than the land. But the sea has more influence on weather than the land does!
A cursory review of weather events over the past year suggests they are indeed becoming much more chaotic. The week before Carlisle, a vast inundation followed unprecedented rainfall in southern India around the city of Chennai, with several hundred deaths. The month before, much of South Carolina in the USA was under record depths of floodwater. The Philippines, Vietnam and south-east China have been hit this autumn by two of the most active cyclones ever recorded. The midwest of the USA is experiencing tornadoes of unprecedented size and ferocity almost on a year-round basis. Dustbowl conditions are returning: Denver was blanketed by an enormous duststorm three weeks ago; Sydney has been similarly afflicted.
And so on, and on. It’s all ‘normal’, until you look at the number of events, the significance of their locations at the same latitudes, and their increasing severity.
So we tend to ignore what is happening beyond our own backyard; and we tend also to forget what happened last year, and the year before. Several people I have spoken to recently look mildly surprised when I remind them that between December 2013 and February 2014, the west and southwest coastline of Britain (let’s not forget Ireland, which the UK weather pundits always do) where I live was battered by some seven major Atlantic depressions, including the infamous ‘weather bomb’ that hit Scotland with 50-foot waves, resulting in extreme coastal erosion, infrastructure damage and inland floods. (In fact, the north and west of Scotland has had the most appalling run of bad weather over the past three years.) This same pattern has been repeated over the past three months in 2015/16, with windspeeds in excess of 100 mph.
But Atlantic depressions are the winter ‘normal’ here on the northwest edge of Europe. So we only notice them when they are extreme, and the number of extreme depressions is increasing, and we’re getting used to it, and we don’t notice them. Trees don’t get blown over much now, or chimneys, but that’s because the weaker ones have already gone.
Another observation I have mentioned before, as a gardener, I have tried to explain to uncomprehending friends that this year, the sheer volume of seasonal biomass – tree cover, undergrowth – has been more profuse than I have ever seen it before. I felt somewhat vindicated by an official report, I forget from whom, that says global biomass has increased by 11 per cent since some not too distant point in time. And the Cistus in my front garden is in flower again. Ominously, because increasing biomass is a symptom of increasing carbon in the atmosphere.
Of course there have been extreme events in the past. I was four when two thousand people in southeast England and Holland drowned in a massive tidal surge pushed down the Channel by hurricane-force winds. Let’s not forget, that same year (1953) up to 12 thousand people died from respiratory disease brought on by a sulphur dioxide smog that blanketed London for five days. Smogs, such as that which has covered Indonesia for months now with smoke from illegal forest clearances, or Beijing and New Delhi currently with poisonous traffic fumes ten times the WHO ‘safe’ limit, are of course man-made, but result principally from extreme atmospheric conditions trapping foul air over heavily populated areas.
There is nothing to say that extreme weather events at opposite ends of the spectral average cannot happen at any time; or will become less severe as the world warms.
Looking further back, in 1703 there was an Atlantic hurricane that raged for a week: 12 thousand people died on the south coast of the UK and in northwest France. In 1605 a storm surge drowned thousands around the Bristol Channel and permanently inundated Swansea Bay. We’ve got much better at surviving these events: better prediction, better communications, stronger structures. In 2013, Typhoon Hayan killed seven thousand people in the Philippines: a year later, the most powerful storm believed to have been recorded anywhere, Typhoon Hagupit, killed only a few dozen. A lesson had been learned.
Sadly, lessons are not being learned in Britain. It was purely chance – or the southward extent of the jetstream – that Storm Desmond arrived in the North-west, but that’s how it goes. It could have hit anywhere along the coastline. A year ago it was Somerset. This week’s ‘once in 250 years’ floods in Cumbria are happening for the second time since 2005. Building ever-higher walls is only part of the solution. Better river management is the best strategy: re-forestation of the uplands, widening, dredging, re-landscaping with diversionary sluices and flood-pans, even the creation of hydro-power schemes could all play their part, along with some joined-up thinking between developers and the planning authorities.
All these measures were adopted back in the C19th by our local town planners; the worst flooding anyone can remember on our river happened three years ago, in June 2012 – but only as a result (apparently – an internal inquiry exonerated the power company, as might be expected, given the insured costs) of human error at the upstream barrage. The foot or so of water that ‘inundated’ the few parts of the town that had been unwisely developed in the 1970s on the flood-plain left a dozen families temporarily homeless and B&Q’s newly opened DIY store out of business for four months: no-one thought to close the doors!
And meanwhile, it’s been a record warm and windy November-into-December here, day and night temperatures still in double-figures, while ‘the rain it raineth every day’…
Clearly, the weather was just as lousy in Shakespeare’s time.