Number of the Month

November 2008

Michael Crichton

Yet another great general in the war against junk climate science has been struck down prematurely. Though he found fame and fortune as a writer and director of popular fantasy, much of his latter years were devoted to that great battle. He was so successful at it that the warmers withdrew from debate after he led a team that thrashed them.

The establishment media, however, almost completely ignored this aspect of his work. The Times, typically, managed a whole page obituary without mentioning it. He had a big problem with boobies who could not distinguish fantasy from reality. The Prince of Wales, for example, called for a committee to be set up to discuss the imaginary threat of “Grey Goo” following publication of his fantasy novel Prey.

Crichton was not only an inspiration for Number Watch (see, for example, religion) he was also one of the most generous of the donors who enabled it to continue.

The loss to those who still care about real science is substantial. He was too prominent a figure to be cast aside (unlike David Bellamy, for example, who was banished by the BBC for publicly uttering religious disbelief) and his analyses of the elements of the scare was accurate and incontrovertible, which made him a hate figure among the believers.

It is a cliché, but we shall not see his like again.

 06/11/08

Been here before

Britain ’s nasty old cynics are never satisfied. Reflecting on the worldwide outbreak of Obamaphoria, they experience a feeling of déjà vu. It all happened in the UK over a decade ago, when the new wunderkind, Tony Blair, convincingly read out the inspiring oratory of his speechmakers. After a decade of insouciance he left behind a broken society and a collapsed economy. The main difference is that Blair inherited a sound economy. With a president who appears to embrace all the economically suicidal policies of the Greens the auguries do not look good for ordinary Americans. How long will the honeymoon last?

07/11/08

Yet more apologies for absence

Please excuse another general announcement of health, but there has been a number of kind enquiries. Much of this month was taken up with tests, scans etc. To cut a long story short, your bending author is considered not fit enough to have the two operations which would recover some normality (joint replacement and cardioversion) so crippledom is the future. The atrial fibrillation problem has added further pills to the daily diet, including rat poison and foxglove extract. Drug side effects are a problem, but looking on the bright side loss of appetite  has removed the weight issue. There is a slight shortage of morale and serotonin, which accounts for the lack of activity. Thanks again for those who sent messages and particularly the two who sent donations though nothing was happening. It is to be hoped that normal service will be resumed after a period of adjustment. 

Number of the month - 9

Nine is the number of counter-terrorist police officers involved in the arrest of an opposition minister. His “crime” was to receive leaked Government papers (an activity on which the present Prime Minister made his reputation). In the words of veteran journalist William Rees-Mog, it was an historic attack on liberty and democracy.

It is a bizarre event that has Tony Blair’s legacy written all over it. Michael Martin, a signally incompetent Speaker, whose dereliction in this case was only typical, was appointed in breach of the long and wise convention that the post was given alternately to members of the two major parties. Celebrity arrests were a recurrent feature of the Blair years. A new generation of publicity-seeking chief constables openly declared their allegiance to New Labour. Their guiding star was political correctness. Like their mentor, they began to view their posts as part of show business. Whereas an ordinary anonymous person might be asked to attend an interview at a police station, in the case of a celebrity the event would involve car loads of police arriving at an early hour in the morning, inevitably accompanied by a posse of journalists, for the events were always leaked.

Leaking is built into the modern police mode of operation. A decade or so ago your bending author was involved in a bizarre car crash after a freak storm of giant hailstones. There was no other vehicle involved. Every detail given solely to the policeman, who subsequently arrived, appeared in the local newspaper, including the approximate address and age of the victim. Is it eccentric to consider this an outrage? When you report a real crime, more often than not nothing happens (except a telephone note being taken of your ethnicity among a lot of other persiflage).  Politicians wonder why people have lost confidence in the police, who were once considered the best in the world.

The reason this invasion of the House of Commons is a serious event is that it sets a precedent. Once virginity is lost, the next time is easier.

Agreed that the present lot in there are a pretty sorry bunch, widely regarded as nest-feathering hypocrites, who have offloaded without our agreement the responsibilities we delegated to them onto the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels . Most of them are clones of the new political class, removed in their beliefs and priorities from the common herd and never having done a proper job. That, however, is not the point. In Blair’s Britain the police have become part of the new establishment. They might not receive direct orders (rather more the “Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?” sort of thing) and dog-like they bound to the task, hoping to please their masters. Not only are anti-terrorist laws being used to oppress harmless citizens, but so now are anti-terrorist police squads (good news for the terrorists, no doubt). The files of an MP will include all sorts of confidential information, given by often distressed constituents in the “surgery”. That police without a warrant should be rifling through them is contemptible.

The sanctity of Parliament is not just a device to boost the egos of its denizens. It is a protection for free people against the overweening power of the establishment. It is the duty of the opposition to call the executive to account, even though it is not being done very well at the moment, which is the very basis of democracy.

Footnote: perhaps all is not lost at Westminster

Link to this piece.

07/12/08

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