“Dimly illuminated internet trolling baboons, on the other hand, fail their exams, push a broom in Walmart, watch Family Guy, live on pizza, which is bad for your brain, and devote their spare time to telling tenured university Professors with 30 years’ seniority that they know nothing about anything.”
1 What is scince and why shud we beleeve in it?
It is almost beyond belief that there are still creatures claiming to be sentient human beings going on websites, asking how come if there were ice ages and volcanoes and stuff, global warming must be a conspiracy, right?
Do these dimly illuminated baboons actually have brains? It was scientists, for instance, following a theory, who discovered in the C19th that there have been ice ages due to global warming and cooling – we’re in the middle of one now. And you believe in ice ages, right? You said so!
But it wouldn’t occur to you that scientists today might have thought of that, ice ages, volcanoes, when they point to man-made climate change and warn it’s going too fast?
The fact that there is climate change in the past doesn’t mean there can’t be today and that we’re not responsible! It’s the speed and scale of change that’s important; and the reasons for it, in case it goes so far so fast that it threatens our existence.
2 Okay. Let’s start at the beginning.
To become a scientist, you need to study some science at school, also some math. Then if you get good pass grades you go to college, university, whatever, and spend three years studying science stuff – books and that.
When you graduate Bachelor of Science (BSc) with honours, an upper second or better yet a first-class degree, you can go on to spend another year converting that to a Master’s degree (MSc) by writing a pretty learned 10,000 words paper about anything that takes your tutor’s fancy.
A good grade at Master’s will then open the way to doing a PhD – Doctor of Philosophy degree. Some people do two, or even three. A really good grade might even get you a research council grant to cover the $25k a year cost of the PhD. That can take up to five years of further study, during which you may do research as an assistant, work in a lab, or teach.
Then you’ll have to get another degree, if you want to teach fulltime – it takes a year; or go into industry, or medicine, where you’ll spend your days performing useful repetitive tasks with test tubes and pipettes, analysing samples. You might even go into astronaut training, or like famed British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, into designing food colourings for ice-cream.
Those are not the scientists necessarily who are telling you about global warming.
If you get to be a university lecturer, you can go on field trips to study things and pursue your passion. That’s the fun part, although it’s not hugely well paid. You might for instance go to the Arctic (North Pole) or the Antarctic (South Pole) to study the rate of melting, and take ice core samples from which you can isolate gas bubbles formed thousands of years in the past, and use special equipment to tell you what they’re made from and how long ago they were frozen in the ice.
Or you can get mud samples from the seabed or, basically, under any mud and see what pollen grains from trees and flowers were there and what stuff was being burned in forest fires, thousands of years in the past, before the sea covered the land; or count ancient tree rings and compare them with the modern day, which will show how fast or slow things grew. From that you can determine how hot or cold it was in the past. It’s called research.
Finally if you survive the intense competition, the ice and the mud, after maybe five more years of studying and teaching and writing papers you’ll be voted-in as a Professor.
Getting a Professorship is pretty competitive and you’ll have to publish a lot of original, experimentally validated research, books even, and videos, that need to get past the editor and the committee on some pretty high-powered scientific journals that have been around for decades if not centuries.
Your colleagues and peers all over the world are then at liberty to chuck all kinds of shit at your research. If none of it sticks, you’ve got a result – maybe even a Nobel prize. Science is not about certainty, it’s about agreeing that you have the best explanation available at the time.
Dimly illuminated internet trolling baboons, on the other hand, fail their exams. They push a broom in Walmart, watch Family Guy, live on pizza, which scientists know is bad for your brain, and devote their spare time to telling tenured university Professors with 30 years’ seniority, research teams and access to state-of-the-art equipment and a Nobel award that they know nothing about anything.
3 Why do scientists apparently disagree about global warming?
Because it’s a very complicated subject they are still learning lots about. Learning and arguing is what scientists do, all the time: absolute certainty is for believers. But they don’t disagree by much. It’s a big planet, it can depend on where and how you take measurements and the range of climates is part of a dynamic system, subject to all kinds of influences.
So, please don’t tell me, warming is maybe caused by the sun…. Of course it bloody is, it’s the mechanism for over-heating that scientists are looking at, not the freakin’ sun. Do you imagine they don’t know about the sun? Jesus. And you don’t know what the Maunder minimum is, or a Carrington Event, so shut up, alright?
Climate change has caused civilizations like Babylon and the Maya to collapse before, but never on a global scale. Climate change can happen locally. We’re talking about the overall warming ‘trend’, which looks pretty small but has amplified local effects that can raise the global average over time. And it’s higher than any natural warming explains. Okay?
Global warming has been confirmed, not only by atmospheric physicists – people who study air and what it does – but by scientists from many different disciplines. Climatologists. Meteorologists. Biologists. Geologists. Environmentalists. Ecologists. Chemists. Botanists. Agronomists. Oceanographers. Marine biologists. Economists. Political Scientists. Anthropologists…
And they’re all wrong, right?
Tens of thousands of trained and qualified scientists and experienced researchers with PhDs and Nobel prizes are NOT WRONG just because one or two rogue scientists and crackpot failed politicians and swampy PR men like to pretend climate change is a myth, for whatever reason, money, or ego, financial self-interest or just to be bloody-minded.
To put your faith in a biassed minority view is irrational. The Church did not disbelieve Galileo, they just didn’t want his findings getting out.
But it’s still snowing!
The additional warming is found everywhere, not just in the air. And yes, I know, it snowed last winter where you are – big deal. In Adelaide, Australia while you froze they had many days of record heat, over 45C, and the electricity broke down. You may have noticed, an 82F spike in Washington DC – in February? In Pakistan last Wednesday it got to 53.5C – 128.3F. That’s a world record.
And still scientists are being careful not to say any individual freak weather event is in itself evidence of climate change. Why? Because they are frightened of being bullied by climate-change deniers who control the funding for research? Or because they are responsible, cautious people who know how difficult it can be to finally prove something so complicated?
It took a long time to confirm the warming because it was happening slowly and at different rates in different parts of the world, with different effects. (Climate is not the same as weather. Weather is the product of climate.) Most of the additional heat has been absorbed by the ocean that covers 7/10ths of the planet, but that’s rapidly changing too.
Now everyone – everyone that is other than cranks, liars, dimwitted teenagers, Lord Monckton and the many other people paid by the coal, oil and gas industries to post deliberately confusing messages – fake news – on websites, accepts that it is not only happening, it is speeding up – and it is dangerous.
Myths abound: there was no ‘slowdown’ of warming in the 1990s-2000s. It’s not true; a product of selective interpretation of the data. Ice cover at the Arctic and Antarctic is not increasing, it is rapidly shrinking – and getting thinner. In Glacier Park, Washington/British Columbia States, only 26 out of 150 historic glaciers remain. That one’s true.
And you need to know that even the oil, gas and coal industries know perfectly well that the earth is heating up, thanks to our dependence on them. A US scientist, James Hansen worked out the rate of warming in the 1970s, the energy industry began conducting its own research and confirmed there was a potentially serious problem. The Shell documentary film unit made a highly accurate prediction of precisely the effects we are experiencing now, back in 1991. It’s on YouTube, I suggest you watch it (it’s in color, Donny).
But surely it’s a conspiracy to get more tax money? A Chinese hoax?
What, a conspiracy involving tens of thousands of people from all over the world, all under the influence of China? A conspiracy that had to have begun back in 1889 when a Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius first discovered that carbon dioxide, a chemical element that makes up a small part of the air you breathe, that’s given off whenever you burn stuff, retains heat in the atmosphere?
A conspiracy that has apparently not yet been unmasked by the heads of 190 governments around the world (who normally like to disagree about everything) and their thousands of advisors, who in 2015 finally got so scared they all signed up to the first ever global agreement to try to limit emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the Paris Accord? Because they’ve all been convinced we’re putting out too much, but according to you it’s a conspiracy?
‘Don’t do stupid. Don’t be stupid.’ It’s a good motto for living.
That’s the treaty everyone else signed in Paris and ratified in Mmorocco a year later, but which President Trump is now abandoning because some people in his government told him Jesus will save us from climate change, that he doesn’t anyway want to believe is happening. He promised his dumbfuck supporters more jobs (although combating global warming is a good job, hewing coal all day, half a mile underground in the dark maybe less so), he lied bigly about coal being ‘clean energy’, of course it isn’t – and he’s pissed at the Europeans for laughing at him because he’s so ignorant, childish and incompetent.
That clever a conspiracy, huh? What, like Christianity you mean?
4 Let’s try logic.
You run a bath, both get in. You piss in the water. At first not much happens, but after a while you keep pissing, the water turns yellow and smells of piss. Not nice. Your friend wants to get out, right? You try diluting the piss by adding water, but the bath is already full. There is no room for more water. The water you have is disgusting. Bathnight is ruined.
Or look at it another way: the supply of air we have is limited, fixed – and is not enough to absorb all the vast amounts of gassy crap we’ve been pumping into it faster and faster for 150 years. Overload is having an effect. Elementary logic tells you, it must have an effect. There is nothing else it can be doing in a closed system into which we are adding gassy crap at the rate of millions of tons a day.
For a long time the land, the sea and the air – known as the three ‘carbon sinks’ – absorbed the crap. Plants breathe carbon dioxide in and breathe oxygen out, right? Up to a point. Now they can’t anymore. The air is getting sick; the sea is dying. Plants will soon have had enough. When they die they give back the carbon dioxide they took in, and then we all die. Everyone. Everything. Look at Mars, something like this happened on Mars.
And if you think about it some more, it really doesn’t matter if the crap we’re being poisoned by is our own crap or if it comes from Mars, plankton-brain. We’re still being poisoned by it, and if we pump out less crap of our own it may not get so bad so soon.
That’s logic, isn’t it? I mean, you can’t take the piss out of the bathwater, right?
But you can stop pissing.
There are getting on for eight billion people in the world, and billions of other animals. More people now than have lived at any time, ever.
We’re the only ones that know we’re about to go extinct. But we’re so addicted to burning fossil fuels, charging our iPhones and gorging ourselves on vast quantities of meat from animals that fart out billions of tons of methane: cows, sheep. Farm animals are responsible for maybe half the warming we’re experiencing. Humans too – we’re responsible for about 8% of the additional CO2 burden as we each breathe out 1kg of CO2 a day.
We feed cattle on grain crops that are hugely wasteful and expensive to produce from failing soils addicted to artificial oil-based fertilizers, that we could be eating ourselves; plants that don’t produce anything but carbohydrates, good oxygen and useful straw, overloading our hearts with meat protein and dairy fats.
We’re in total denial of what we’re doing to ourselves and every other living thing on this planet.
Only, the scientists aren’t in denial, I’m not either; it’s just you. Silly, underqualified old you. And in fact it looks like scientists are under-stating the speed and scale of the problem, deliberately, because the ones who tell the truth lose their jobs the quickest. That’s Darwinism for you. Politicians and the wealthy people who fund universities don’t want to admit how bad it is.
Later on I will explain what is about to happen to you.
5 But let’s take a breather and find out about air.
Air is a supposedly colourless, odourless mix of elements: nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, in that order, and some other small amounts of gases – sulphur dioxide, methane and some non-reactive gases like argon and neon in very small amounts. There’s a natural cycle in the land, the sea and the sky that produced the air and maintains it like it is, in a mix we can all breathe. It’s why we’re all here. But it can only maintain the composition, it can’t increase the quantity. We’re stuck with the amount we’ve got.
And we’re breaking that cycle right now because we are the only inhabitants of the planet we know ever to dig up and burn millions of years-old fossil fuels: oil, gas and coal. And burn it in enormous quantities, producing dangerous by-products like carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and methane (CH4). Water vapor, too, is a greenhouse gas, trapping the heat from sunlight close to the earth. Vast amounts of water enter the atmosphere from industry, from airplane con-trails – and as the planet heats up, evaporating from the sea. All these extra additives in the atmosphere are causing it to heat up by trapping sunlight.
Fossil fuel is stored energy from sunlight. Processes in plants and plant-like organisms in the sea and in algae ‘eat’ sunlight, turning it into food energy (carbo-hydrate) for themselves while they live. They store surplus energy, which they give off when they die. If they are buried underground or under the sea, they can’t give off carbon and so it is stored, for millions of years, in the earth – until we dig it up and set fire to it. Then it gives off gassy compounds like carbon dioxide and the rest, which we know store the heat from sunlight while they persist in the atmosphere.
Just running your car produces nearly five tons of carbon dioxide in a year. There are over a billion cars in the world, so that’s five billion tons of a poisonous, heat absorbing gas we’re putting out right there, from that one source, and it stays in the atmosphere for 100 years. (A billion is a thousand million.)
The atmosphere is only 18 km thick, and above about 3km it doesn’t have enough oxygen for us to survive, which is why mountain-climbers and airplanes carry oxygen. So there’s not a lot of breatheable air in the world. We can only use a fraction of the atmosphere – we need it to live – and we can’t make any more.
For millions of years the balance of the air was perfect to sustain life in the forms we know it now but we’re changing it. Yes, there were ice ages – that didn’t mean other parts of the world weren’t warm. And ice is water, it’s not poisonous. There have also been warmer periods. But the warmer period we are experiencing now is a hundred times faster than anything we know about before – we have a pretty good idea how hot the world has been for the last 200 million years, and it’s already as hot as it’s ever been during that time, and getting hotter.
Plant, insect and animal species are disappearing faster than at any time since the so-called Permian extinction, 250 million years ago, when a possible rapid global warming event killed 95% of all life on earth – partly due to human pressure on habitat, but partly also due to warming.
Yes there are volcanoes. They throw up all kinds of poisonous, heat-retaining gases but in millions of years all of the volcanoes in the world didn’t make much difference because the planet has a natural system for maintaining the balance of gases in the air. It may not be able to cope with what we are doing to the air and the sea now. All the agricultural burnoff in the Iron Age made a little but not much difference. The widespread loss of forest cover nowadays especially in the tropics due to commercial logging, soya and palm oil growing and the warming and acidification of the oceans are certainly not helping.
6 The fossil fuel business
About 250 years ago, we started digging up and burning coal; lots of coal, which is carbon, basically compressed dead trees from millions of years ago, to make steam to power steam engines and to heat our homes. The people who owned the land where coal mines were dug made huge fortunes from this revolutionary fuel source, that was much hotter and more economical to burn than living wood, the primary fuel source (and water) for hundreds, a few thousands, of years.
Then about 150 years ago we started burning oil, which is made from tiny compressed dead sea creatures, the carbon locked in their shells, from seas that were there millions of years ago. (Yes, I’m afraid the Earth is more than six thousand years old… I know, it comes as a shock.) With the advent of public utilities and the motor car, wildcatters in the USA and then all over the world, especially in the Middle East, made huge fortunes from people burning oil – and continue to do so.
It’s estimated that sales of the remaining accessible stocks of oil in the ground would be worth over $25 trillion to the oil companies, which explains why they are keen for us to carry on using oil.
Since 1980, world oil consumption has gone from 60 million to nearer 100 million barrels a day. ‘A carbon-based fuel will emit 3.15 times its own weight in CO2 when burnt’ (Quiet Road/Jim Bliss website); one barrel of oil will therefore produce 317 kg of CO2. So just burning oil alone adds over 3 million metric tonnes of CO2 to the air we breathe, every day of the year. And then there’s coal, gas and wood (biomass), and other natural processes that produce CO2 – and other carbonaceous greenhouse gases, like methane.
Can you not see that burning fossil fuels – ‘yesterday’s sunlight’ – in a closed system is bound to cause a problem? If you can’t see it, I suggest you go in the garage, close the doors and switch on your car engine. You’ll be dead inside twenty minutes.
They say there are not many famous people from Belgium! One who did more to change the world than almost anyone was Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir. In 1859 he invented the internal combustion engine, that drives cars and airplanes and generators, and runs on gasoline refined from crude oil.
Scientists went on to discover that we could make lots of other things from oil: industrial chemicals, brightly coloured dyes, medicines, clothing, agricultural fertilizers. Plastics made from oil revolutionized manufacturing industry and ushered in the modern consumer era. Capitalists who owned the means of production and employed cheap labour made billions of dollars from fractionating oil to create many different products they could sell.
And also in the 1890s we started using electricity, power you can send down a wire to city streets, factories and homes, made by driving generators using coal, natural gas (methane) and oil as sources of energy. Demand for electricity requires burning more and more fossil fuel, although we are increasingly turning to other sources: wind, sun and nuclear energy, to generate electricity.
So since we started burning coal, gas and oil in huge quantities to power our civilization, we’ve been pumping massive amounts of these ‘greenhouse gases’, all derived from stored carbon from many millions of years-old sunlight, and so-called because they absorb heat from the sun, pissing into our small reservoir, or bathtub, of air.
And then, there are billions and billions of tons of plant matter and dead sea creatures lying around, that haven’t had time to become compressed to become oil or coal, and as they rot down they give off a gas you’ll know from smelling your own farts, methane.
Methane is also a greenhouse gas, many times more able to retain heat than CO2.
“The severe heatwave sweeping Australia has caused blackouts in Adelaide and forced 40,000 people to swelter through 42 degree heat without air conditioning.
“Overwhelming demand for electricity forced South Australian Power Networks to start ‘load shedding’ in order to conserve power, plunging parts of the state into darkness shortly before 7pm on Wednesday.
“Meanwhile, Sydney will again be battered by the heat following two days of torrential rain. (Mail Online, Feb 2017)
7 What in the world is happening?
There’s billions and billions of tons of methane (CH4 – the fat red nucleus is carbon, the blue blobs hydrogen) trapped underground and under the sea, thanks to the last of those ice ages (technically we’re still in that ice age) thawing and raising the sea level to cover the land; particularly around the Arctic circle, which is now warming at ten times the rate at the equator.
As the ice melts and the permanently frozen land in the far north of Russia, Canada, Alaska (permafrost) melts, huge farts of methane are being detected. Methane, an isotope of carbon, absorbs more heat than carbon dioxide, while the disappearing ice means less sunlight is reflected back into space, so the Arctic where there’s a lot of methane heating up very fast.
The Antarctic (South Pole) was heating more slowly, as there is less land in the southern oceans with dead plant matter to produce methane; however it is speeding up now. And as the polar oceans warm, it evens out the temperature difference, the ‘gradient’ between the colder regions and the warmer oceans.
Blowing around the sub-Arctic and Antarctic latitudes at up to 200 miles per hour is a high-altitude wind called the jet-stream, that affects the weather. It plays an important part in keeping the air mass of the latitudes separate: nearer the poles cold, nearer the equator warm.
But as the temperature gradient of the oceans evens out, the jet-stream becomes weaker. It starts to lose speed and meanders around in great loops – which explains why you might have had such a cold winter last year, as a polar ‘vortex’ – a mass of cold air – escaped into the American midwest, and another into Central Europe; when, where I live on the west coast of Britain, it was mild all winter and we had fewer storms than normal – and spring (bud-burst on shrubs and trees, visible plant growth, flowering of spring bulbs, arrival of migratory birds, etc.) arrived three weeks earlier than usual.
In China, though, the weakening of the jet-stream created a mass of still air that allowed pollution from cities and factories to blanket a huge area with choking chemical smog, bigger than France, that people had to live with for weeks. There was not enough energy in the weather system to clear the air.
And at the North Pole, where it is normally 35C below freezing, the temperature in early March was 0.1C ABOVE freezing, the Arctic sea was 4C above normal in places and the winter ice could not form. Areas of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans were reported to be up to 9C above normal.
This confusion is exactly what was predicted by Prof Hansen all those years ago, and by many scientists since.
As the air temperature rises, it takes up more water vapor, so we can expect heavier rainfall; as indeed we are seeing now, with several ‘once-in-100-years’ floods ongoing, lives and crops ruined.
Increasing sea temperatures add energy to weather systems, so hurricanes/typhoons and tornadoes are getting bigger, more frequent, more powerful. Larger areas of the globe are being affected by drought for longer periods, turning to desert or burning with wildfires that are in turn adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
Millions in Africa are, literally, threatened with starvation today, now – not in some distant future. Capetown is running out of water.
There is a real concern that if these trends continue, we in the West will not be able to feed ourselves. There was a small demonstration of this last winter when European supermarkets ran out of salad vegetables owing to severe flooding in the part of Spain where winter salad is grown. Prices trebled.
And the increasing burden of extreme climate on human civilization in parts of the world is already worsening conflicts over resources, especially water; creating a refugee crisis, that is likely only to get worse as people flee towards areas like yours, where life is still sustainable. Other species are moving northwards and southwards, away from the infernal heat at the equator; plants, animals – diseases.
Are you going to blame them? So-called Western civilization has created this problem; it’s not the fault of people in the developing world, they’re not the biggest polluters, we are.
Carbon dioxide mixing with sea water makes carbonic acid, that is killing the flora at the ocean surface that make oxygen for the planet: already we are seeing a reduction in the amount of oxygen in the air. Coral reefs, too, are dying: they’re the habitat for many of the creatures at the base of the food chain in the sea. Soon there could be no fish.
Data from ice and mud cores and tree rings give us clues to the climate at the start of the industrial revolution, 250 years ago. We know then that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air was around 280 parts per million (ppm), which persisted into the 1900s, when we started burning oil. After that the average annual global temperature begins to increase, now by about 1.3 deg. C., and the rate of increase is also increasing.
Just last month the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, where the measurements are taken because the air is pure, recorded an average concentration of CO2 over time of 410 ppm. Not so pure, then.
Doubling of the carbon dioxide load would, it’s calculated, produce between 1.5 and 5 degrees of warming. It’s doubtful life on earth can survive 5 degrees, the hottest the planet will have been for 200 million years. In parts of west Africa and central Asia, where there have been hundreds of wildfires mainly caused by crop burning, a NASA satellite in March recorded levels of 567 and 605 ppm, as well as lethal concentrations of methane, sulphur dioxide and other poisonous gases.
Each year that passes grows warmer than the last. 2016 was the warmest year globally on record – I know, it snowed where you are. It snowed in Saudi Arabia last winter too, but it was nice here. Warmer than 2015, the second warmest year on record. Warmer than 2014, the third warmest, when my town was hit six times in the winter by severe storms, winds gusting to 100 mph… According to Prof Guy McPherson, late of Arizona University (he was fired for being too pessimistic about the prospects for abrupt climate change) there has been a steady increase of temperature month on month. No one month has been colder than the previous month, as a global average, since 1990.
No, the rate of warming has not slowed down.
This is man-made. It is happening now. It is what we are doing to the planet, to ourselves and other species that also have a right to be here. It is no longer deniable. If I were dictator of the world, I would make climate-change denial a crime; just as Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany and Austria. I would lock Donald Trump up, and the rest of his climate-change denying liars in the Republican Party.
I would lock you up.
8 Get off the Internet
As the permanently frozen areas (‘permafrost’) around the Arctic sea known as the Tundra thaw, more methane is given off. The ground that has been frozen for thousands of years since the ice retreated is growing spongy and can no longer support buildings, roads, power lines. There are videos on YouTube where you can watch them falling down.
And there are videos showing mysterious bulges in the ground, and previously unexplained holes opening up all over the Arctic tundra, many metres across and many metres deep, that we now know are cause by huge eruptions of pockets of underground methane.
The sea off the coast of Siberia is shallow, averaging only 50 metres deep. It is an area of 2 million sq km of permafrozen tundra that was flooded when the sea level rose at the end of the last ice age.
The sea bed remained frozen; but as the surface covering of ice has disappeared and is no longer reflecting the sun’s energy back into space the water is warming the sea bed faster than in the deeper oceans elsewhere. Russian scientists worry that a sudden, massive eruption of billions of tons of methane trapped beneath could trigger abrupt, runaway warming, leading to a possible six degrees rise in global temperature within only months. And it could happen at any time in the next few years.
And that’s the fear: that the gradual warming of the world is already setting-off ‘feedback loops’ as they’re called, that could destabilize the whole system and lead to abrupt, runaway warming which we would not be ready to survive.
So, little troll, Mr Trump – you have been told. You have been warned.
“…it’s a zero-sum game and we’ve already lost it.”
I’m Leaving, on a jet plane
My big fear following the Trump Paris accord meltdown, which had nothing much to do with climate change and everything to do with a President who is four years old and unable to connect with his outer adult or any factual databases, is that Britain is now left high and dry, with nowhere to go in the world to find friends.
The slightly slow Mrs May rushed in January to rope us to the sinking hulk of an America that just lost its last shred of credibility on the world stage. The abandonment of the Paris accord is Putin’s victory and Trump’s loss.
May is pursuing a ‘hard Brexit’ just to look tough, to out-UKIP the UKIP tendency; but as the Observer piece below shows, it’s a zero-sum game and we’ve already lost it.
Merkel has made it clear Europe is no longer our friend either, as they cannot trust us – a devastating condemnation of where the Tories have left us in the past year. Apart from the ‘many values’ we all obviously share with Rodrigo Duterte, we’re out on our own and it’s a foreign policy disaster as bad as anything since Munich.
And our foreign policy ‘leader’ is a vain, puffling, self-promoting buffoon who likes to go around annoying foreigners by reminding them of how Britain used to rule the world.
If you haven’t read this piece by veteran economics journalist Will Hutton, read it. Remainers will nod sagely and crack a bottle or two before swallowing the pills. Leavers will moan piteously, oh why can’t the Remainers just be more like us and we can all hold hands and skip over the edge of the White Cliffs of Dover together?
For Auld Lang Syne
I might make a habit of quoting selected passages from some of my earlier Posts.
Especially where I have been particularly prophetic, as in ‘quoting’ Jeremy Corbyn on the Manchester bomb attack two days before he actually spoke the words.
Came across this just now (June 15, 2016):
Were I, or anyone, able to somehow get hold of a cosmic vacuum-pump and suck out all the uneventful, blank bits of our lives: the longueurs, the ennuies, the do-nothing times, the frustrating going-nowhere periods, the thousand-and-one nights when you were asleep on your own, not even dreaming; the terrible, dreary office jobs, the driving to Norwich and back, the stuck-at-home marriages, the slow piling-up of rejection letters and unread bank statements; all the boring things you ever did or said; dreary hours of sitting politely in waiting rooms, not leaving the theatre in the interval of a stinker, queuing at the Post Office, doing the washing-up, fidgeting through trite sermons and Greek lessons, the agonising disability of piano practice – like evacuating all the air from a Bell jar in class; and heat the rest up over a Bunsen burner, how much of a brown powdery residue of achievements and adventures and excitements would be left in the bottom of the tube?
The answer, I’m afraid, was not a lot!
But in the same Post I was able to point out with what has turned out to be unerring accuracy, to judge by Comment is Free pieces now appearing from distinguished economists on The Guardian website, the probable effect of denying access to the UK jobs market of workers from the EU; and to urge people to vote Remain.
It’s the only reason, to be honest, that I feel bad about not taking the necessary actions to attract at least a quarter of a million Followers, out of shyness and a desire for privacy.
The two Followers I still have didn’t need persuading.