It’s snow time for posterity

This link just in from a co-conspirator, to whom I’m grateful.

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Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London’s last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren’t going to know what snow is," he said.

The effects of snow-free winter in Britain are already becoming apparent. This year, for the first time ever, Hamleys, Britain’s biggest toyshop, had no sledges on display in its Regent Street store. "It was a bit of a first," a spokesperson said.

Fen skating, once a popular sport on the fields of East Anglia, now takes place on indoor artificial rinks. Malcolm Robinson, of the Fenland Indoor Speed Skating Club in Peterborough, says they have not skated outside since 1997. "As a boy, I can remember being on ice most winters. Now it’s few and far between," he said.

Michael Jeacock, a Cambridgeshire local historian, added that a generation was growing up "without experiencing one of the greatest joys and privileges of living in this part of the world – open-air skating".

Warmer winters have significant environmental and economic implications, and a wide range of research indicates that pests and plant diseases, usually killed back by sharp frosts, are likely to flourish. But very little research has been done on the cultural implications of climate change – into the possibility, for example, that our notion of Christmas might have to shift.

Professor Jarich Oosten, an anthropologist at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, says that even if we no longer see snow, it will remain culturally important.

"We don’t really have wolves in Europe any more, but they are still an important part of our culture and everyone knows what they look like," he said.

David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes – or eventually "feel" virtual cold.

Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. "We’re really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time," he said.

The chances are certainly now stacked against the sortof heavy snowfall in cities that inspired Impressionist painters, such as Sisley, and the 19th century poet laureate Robert Bridges, who wrote in "London Snow" of it, "stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying".

Not any more, it seems.

*Chortle*

Also, BBC from 2004

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The data collected by experts from the university suggests that a white Christmas on Snowdon – the tallest mountain in England and Wales – may one day become no more than a memory.

Go experts!

 climatecock1

Pffft. Fuckwits, the lot of them. And if you believed them, so are you.

AJ

#Climatecamp capers reach the papers

… well, the Guardian Environment blog, which is good enough for me.

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Climate Camp had its own Twitter feed of course, but anyone browsing through the #climatecamp hashtag would probably not have got the impression of the day’s events that the spinsters at Climate Camp wanted. Supportive texts were swamped by tweeters ridiculing the activists or even pretending to be them.

Indeed we did. Tee hee.

After polishing Old Holborn’s pole for a while, The Graun concludes:

But the rather presumptuously named @wearethebritish put it most concisely:

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He was right.

It is surprising that an organisation that puts so much emphasis on the art of manipulating the media (according to the Climate Camp media pack journalists are "weak and cowardly" and "astoundingly unimaginative") did not think harder about how to use a medium that cuts out the peaky middlemen altogether.

Love it.

AJ

#ClimateCamp earnest hilarity

You’d expect the New Stateman’s scribblers to be at least somewhat sympathetic towards the monkeys at the ClimateCamp in Edinburgh, but I don’t get much sense of that from the picture painted by Laurie Penny for the Staggers blog.

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Why does the revolution have to involve so much crap? I’m talking literally. When I arrive at Climate Camp after a six-hour journey by train, bus and a half-hour cross-country hike to the Edinburgh parkland headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland, I plonk down my bags and ask if I might use the facilities. A helpful young man with a nice little beard brightly inquires – "Wee or poo?"

This is a question that hasn’t been put to me since I was in nappies, but it’s apparently important – in an effort to leave no trace of their presence on the land, the seven hundred climate activists gathered here for a week of direct action donate their separated excreta to local farmers. What this means in practical terms is a horrifying squat above a gusty, splintered wooden plank, trying hard to hold your breath whilst concentrating on the anti-capitalist slogans daubed on the inside of the door. Clearly, this weekend is going to test our dedication to the limits.

Dedication is the watchword here. By the time I arrive, several activists have already been arrested for breaking into RBS and loudly declaring their refusal to "pay for their crisis", with one having disguised herself as a banker and superglued herself to the front desk. On Friday, the atmosphere at camp is somewhere between a music festival and a military base. The park is full of unwashed students ambling out of tents, but painted signs make it witheringly clear that we are here to work, to exchange ideas and to entirely close down RBS’s base of operations on Monday via a series of democratically organised protest stunts whilst re-examining the links between our financial institutions and climate change: any fun that might occur is entirely incidental to the process.

Read on.

And consider that RBS has a vast selection of large offices across Edinburgh from which to conduct its business while the soap-dodging Borg collective are flinging their shit at the Gogarburn HQ.

Idiots.

AJ

Required listening

If you want to hear the BBC’s Europhile cock-gobblers eating some humble pie, listen to Radio 4 at 20:00 on Tuesday 24th August.

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The Euro is in deep trouble.

As the project intended to unify the European Union causes even deeper divisions, questions are being raised about whether nations as diverse as Germany and Greece can really share the same currency.

The repercussions spread far beyond mainland Europe. Britain is affected as British firms struggle to sell to the Eurozone.

Jonathan Charles was the BBC’s Europe correspondent in the 1990s, when the euro was first introduced to great fanfare. He travelled widely around the continent, reporting on the years of preparations leading to the final launch of the euro.

Now he retraces his steps, returning to some of those places and speaking to the likes of former Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, the UK’s treasury minister and ambassador at the time, and prominent European figures including the former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok and some top European bankers. Jonathan also talks to ordinary workers whose livelihood has been fundamentally changed by the advent of euro zone.

Having taken Europe’s temperature, Jonathan asks if the Euro will survive, and what does it mean for Europe’s dream of political integration?

Suck it up, socialist monkeys. The Euro is in collapse and the EU won’t be far behind it.

AJ

One born every day

Melancholy would have been a polite way to describe my mood today, as a result of everything I’d read, seen and heard in the news, on Twitter etc.

Happily, my mood was instantly changed by one of the funniest things I’ve read in ages.

Obo has the full text, so I needn’t reproduce it completely.

It boils down to this: Some fuckwit middle-class nancyboy student who is at the Climate Camp at RBS HQ in Edinburgh had made a complete tit of himself.

Going by the name of Nick Martian on MySpace, and as @GodSaveTheEarth on Twitter, he published an exchange he saw on Twitter, which he goes on to spin into some ludicrous fascist conspiracy that he then published on IndyMedia.

Chief protagonist was forthright and ribald Twitterer @Wearethebritish who chose to brighten up a dull Saturday by winding up the tree-hugging numbskulls who were busy making a nuisance of themselves in Edinburgh. He appears to have scored a direct hit.

Several other twits, myself included, appear to have made into Mr Martian’s copy & pasted Twitter exchange.

His opening statement is just golden.

Right Wing Extremist Spies on Climate Campers with British Army Equipment

There appears to have been a deadly serious game of cat and mouse going on between environmental activists, a local Scottish journalist, and the right wing extremist who has been threatening violence against the Camp for Climate Action in Edinburgh.

Boasting that he is a professional soldier recently returned from fighting in Afghanistan where he says he killed Muslims for reading Islamic literature, and now posting his threats on Twitter under the name “wearethebritish” the extremist claims to have been using British Army military surveillance equipment to spy on the climate campers.

And what would this British Army surveillance equipment be, exactly?

@PoliticalFun "What surveillance equipment you got?"

@wearethebritish because they are so pre-occupied with their obsession all I need is a Mk 1 Eyeball

That’s right. He has eyeballs. Whatever will they think of next? Ah – of course – contact the media via Twitter to alert them to the unfolding story.

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The commenters on Martian’s post have the measure of things, though.

The author has made an embarrassing idiot of himself

21.08.2010 18:31

Lol. What a muppet. Im going to wipe my arse with Mk1 Toilet paper because i just shat myself laughing

corporal jones


Pretty much sums it up.

AJ

Born to be an MP

It’s uncanny.

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A newly elected MP who was spotted using her mobile phone while behind the wheel of her car was today banned from driving for six months.

Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South-East, was also found to have no car insurance when stopped by police, Bolton magistrates heard.

The former barrister and human-rights lawyer had been elected as the constituency’s new MP on 6 May but four days later was caught by police while driving through the town talking on her mobile.

The Labour MP, who was not in court, apologised to magistrates through her solicitor, who said she would now have the "inconvenience" of having to use taxis and public transport.

Poor lamb. And for a single offence to.. oh.. wait…

the MP already had nine points on her licence when she was stopped shortly before 3pm on 10 May by police…

She had committed a previous offence of using her mobile phone while driving, in 2008, and two speeding offences, one in 2007 and the other last year.

Hmmm.. female Labour MP, former human rights lawyer, charged with using a phone while driving, already had points for speeding…

Remind you of anyone?

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The minister was fined £350 and ordered to pay £75 costs and a £15 victim surcharge after her lawyer entered a guilty plea at City of Westminster magistrates court. Her driving licence was also endorsed with three points.

The court heard that Harman already has six penalty points on her licence after being caught speeding in a 30mph zone twice. The first incident happened in April 2007 and the second in April last year.

Might I suggest the strongest commonality is the conviction that the laws they make for the little people don’t apply to them.

I’ll be watching Ms Qureshi – further entertainment is almost inevitable.

AJ

A lefty says what?

A lefty says ‘Do as I say, not as I do’.

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An investigation into a tax scandal involving Neil Kinnock’s son Stephen threatens to destroy his glamorous wife’s hopes of becoming Prime Minister of Denmark.

The curse of the Kinnocks has struck again after it emerged that …

Ready?

…Mr Kinnock junior pays taxes in Switzerland – which has the lowest taxes in Europe – and not in Denmark, where his family home is situated but which has the highest tax rates in the world.

It has saved Mr Kinnock and his wife Helle Thorning-Schmidt, leader of Denmark’s Social Democrats, an estimated £40,000 a year.

Well, okay. I condemn no-one for doing all that is reasonable to limit their exposure to tax.

Except…

Mr Kinnock’s wife’s party has called for Denmark’s tax rates to be raised  higher to cope with the recession.

Beautiful beautiful Schadenfreude.

But seriously. They already have the highest tax rates in the world, or so it is claimed above, and the Social Democrats want…

…tax rates to be raised  higher to cope with the recession.

There’s just no reasoning with someone who has such an ideologically distorted view of economics.

Ask Vince Cable, the socialist in charge of the Business department.

AJ

What DK said

The IPSA thing rolls on.

I’ve said my piece. Obo has kept the flame alight.

DK steps up to the crease to open the third innings, with style and alacrity.

He responds to a pretty lame cri de coeur relayed by Tory Boy*.

Perhaps these morons could try the old “oh, I couldn’t work out how to do it” on HMRC and see what the reaction is? It would be something along the lines of “you owe us a £100 surcharge plus 10% interest for every day that you fail to submit. Oh, and stop fucking whining about it, twatface.” Which, coincidentally, is pretty much what my response to this IPSA debacle is.

I say, more power to IPSA’s elbow: make these MPs suffer and maybe—just maybe—these people will stop trying to tie the rest of us up in bureaucratic knots. And even if they don’t, at least they’ll be having a miserable time.

Do read the whole thing, and admire DK’s ability to make the post stand up without invoking Tom Harris.

While you’re at it, read DK’s take on Chris Huhne’s fuckwitted energy policy. It reflects my view very well indeed.

AJ

* He loves it so

All that is wrong

We’ve recently had the story of the Isle of Eigg, which provided us with a hilarious tale of ‘renewable energy’.

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Delingpole’s comment on that needs no addendum.

Not even that story was free of its mongnative dissonance, when three days later we read that the island’s project had won a ‘Green Oscar’. And let’s face it, this world is only big enough for ONE Green Oscar.

oscar-the-grouch-1[1]

And this brings me to today’s microcosmic climate comedy.

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For brevity. I’ll rehash the story a bit:

The rotary blades on the 30ft (9m) structure have struck at least 14 birds in the past six months – far higher than the one fatality per year predicted by the manufacturer.

Seagulls though. So what?

Headteacher Stuart McLeod was even forced to come into school early to clear up the bodies before his young pupils spotted them.

Oh, the glamorous life of a headteacher. I’m pretty sure that’s not in his job description, so I wouldn’t blame him for being a bit miffed.

School governors consulted seagull eyesight experts and investigated bringing in bird-scaring plastic owls to solve the problem, but to no avail.

Mr McLeod said they had tried everything to stop the carnage but had no choice but to shut the turbine down.

At least they’d enjoyed oodles of free electricity though, eh?

It provided six kilowatts of power an hour.

6kWh? So, when there’s actually any wind (see above), this thing can power 3 kettles, or about 12 computers? And when there’s no wind? Camping stoves and typewriters, I suppose?

Not exactly a return on their investment then. Oh wait, not to worry – it was OUR investment. Pffft, silly me.

The turbine, at Southwell Community Primary School, Portland, was installed 18 months ago thanks to a grant from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Because the school would never have put the stupid thing there in the first place if they’d actually had to pay for it and see that they achieved a return on their investment.

The cost-benefit analysis always seems to stack up differently when you’re spending other people’s money, doesn’t it?

AJ

Intelligence-led policing

… may not work when used by actual police.

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Part of a motorway was closed and dozens of police officers and a force helicopter were scrambled to the scene after a fake severed arm was spotted by the roadside.

Motorists who spotted the shirt-clad arm with a bloodied stump dialled 999 thinking an horrific accident had taken place.

But when officers converged on the scene – closing the M62 for more than three hours and leading thousands of drivers to be diverted – they found the ‘arm’ to be a plastic Halloween-style toy.

A helicopter, specialist search teams, forensics experts and motorway patrol officers were involved in the Merseyside operation, costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds.

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An intriguing case, requiring cutting-edge forensic technology.

Merseyside police later confirmed the body part was in fact a Halloween-style plastic prop of the joke shop variety, rather than a prosthetic limb.

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Amazingly realistic indeed. If they don’t put “approved by Merseyside CID” on their packaging now, they’re missing a trick.

Oh, did I not mention that CID were involved?

Detective Inspector Tom Keaton, from Knowsley CID, said: ‘This was treated as a major investigation that tied up large amounts of resources and impacted on all areas of policing response in Knowsley.

‘We don’t how this plastic arm came to be in the middle of the road, whether it was placed there deliberately or whether it had fallen out of the window of a passing vehicle.

‘However, Merseyside Police put a lot of resources into this incident and not only has it caused expense both in terms of time and money, it caused traffic chaos for motorists and was extremely upsetting for the drivers who saw the plastic arm in the road.

‘We would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding while this enforced road closure was in place.’

Give. Me. Strength.

Wait… £8.99 each? I think I have an idea. :o)

AJ

Diane Abbott: Nailed to the wall. Watch and laugh.

I missed this on Thursday night, so I’m pleased The Telegraph drew my attention to it.

Now with Abbott running for Labour leader, Andrew Neil has turned the full, brilliant, glare of his scrutiny on his fellow star. The look of shock on Abbott’s face – as he fired unfriendly questions at her – was simply wonderful to behold. It has cheered me up even more than the sun finally coming out.

Watch and laugh heartily.

Pretty much covered the points I made here previously. Nice work, Brillo.

AJ

Bring it on

Love it.

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There’s going to be pain for me at tomorrow’s budget, but the howls of indignation from the entitled classes are going to be beautiful, uplifting, invigorating music to my ears.

AJ

UPDATE: Uh oh.. doesn’t look like Spam’s got the stones to do what needs to be done. He’ll wise up sooner or later.

David Cameron today rebuffed calls by Britain’s leading businessmen to change strike legislation to counter fears that tomorrow’s Budget cuts will trigger industrial unrest.

The Girl with the Gordon Gun

Poor little rich girl, Ellie Gellard, seems to have definitely caught the lurgy from Gordon.

From the moment she endorsed Ed Balls in the Guardian, things looked bleak for Blinky.

I find no shame, therefore, in guffawing like a good’un at this:

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Of the leadership contenders, Andy Burnham fares best, with an approval rating of -2, followed by Ed Miliband on – 5, David Miliband on -7 and Ed Balls on -39. Of the four, more of the public (61 per cent) had an opinion on Balls than any other candidate.

That’s quite something, and I think it’s worth presenting in a graphical form.

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What’s more:

Of the four, more of the public (61 per cent) had an opinion on Balls than any other candidate.

One thing is for sure, it’ll look properly rum if he wins this contest, care of the unions.

AJ

Should I laugh or cry?

Okay, first, the laughs:

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Now the piss boiler:

The 26-year-old, who squandered his multi-million fortune on drugs, gambling and thousands of prostitutes, has since February claimed £42 a week in jobseeker’s allowance.

That’s right, folks. He had over 9 million quid, on which I doubt he had to pay any tax, but we’ve been paying him dole for 4 months.

As if he hasn’t already cost us enough:

He arrived to collect his winnings wearing an electronic offender’s tag, fitted after he was found drunk and disorderly and has appeared before the courts dozens of times for anti- social behaviour.

In 2004, Carroll was jailed for five months after failing to comply with a drug treatment order, imposed as part of a sentence for cocaine possession.

He was also handed an Asbo by magistrates in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, for catapulting ball bearings at cars and windows from his Mercedes, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

Feed ‘im to the pigs, Errol.

AJ

Has Ellie Caught Gordon’s Deathly Touch?

Gordon Brown’s Jonah syndrome is well documented. It’s as if anything and anyone he endorses is doomed.

It’s not yet clear by what means his curse is transmissible, but proximity seems key:

What makes me think this? First, Ellie launched Gordon Brown’s General Election campaign. I think we all know how that turned out.

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Well, last week, Ed Balls seemed a shoe in to at least get enough nominations to run for Labour leader, and enough Unite muscle to win.

Enter Ellie.

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Exit Ed.

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Ed Balls is struggling to gain enough support to challenge for the Labour leadership, it was claimed last night.

A well-placed Labour source said Mr Balls was having difficulty in winning the backing of the 33 MPs needed to secure his nomination.

The former schools secretary, who launched his campaign this week, has only 20 declared supporters among Labour’s 258 MPs.

This disappoints me. I wonder how Diane Abbott is doing.

AJ