James Delingpole is a twat

I thought I would slip in an opinion as to my views on the ghastly totalitarian libertarian and blogger for The Spectator and the Telegraph who is ‘right’ about everything [see what he did there?]. He is, in my opinion a twat, a well paid twat, but a twat nonetheless. I hope I have made myself clear.

I don’t hold any personal vengeance against James Delingpole in fact I am a regular reader of his opinion rather, it what he and his loyal followers [Delingbots] represent: stupid white men. {please replace the James Delingpole with any person of choice}

Stupid white men [who can be of any colour or sex] are not loathsome in themselves, although one can find little or no merit in what they think, it is what they represent. They are often intelligent even educated but they are humanity without the really fabulous bits of curiosity, imagination, rationality and critical thinking- oh, and compassion and empathy too. They are the people who secretly know they are right, who vote Republican or UKip [insert your regional idiot right party here] and always lean right and see everything through polarised sunglasses. Don’t get me wrong: they are not secretive about their opinions- they know they are right internally. Their religion is right, their politics, their argument, one could go on- but what makes them angry [and white and stupid and men] is that most people don’t think they are.

The problem comes with any serious issue like climate change, or energy, or the free market, or immigration, or tax: it is not that their simplistic arguments are narrow minded and often false it is that they appeal to the stupid white man in us all. Lurking next to the inner child is the selfish brat who thinks they are always in the right and are truly in the image of god. Thankfully that infantile view is beaten out of us by our school-day peers and the fear of being a twat helps us integrate into the wider community. We are most vulnerable to the inner twat when we feel humiliated, when we are admonished by a parent like superior. And really what do they know, they are just oppressors.  So when we get a speeding fine it somehow isn’t our fault, it’s fascists doing it to us for no other reason than because they can. And that is the issue:- they can, and we can’t and that is disempowering.

When scientists helpfully mention we have to change our ways or suffer the consequences the grown up you hears the argument and is compelled to act, but the selfish brat doesn’t. Why should I go to bed now when I am not even tired?   The problem with infantile behaviour is that it can influence other children and when you have a whole gang of them they can disrupt the good boys and girls.

In knowledge terms I am but a child when it comes to climate change, so when smart grown-ups tell me it is time to change my ways I listen to the arguments and use my grown-up rationale to come to a decision that is at least based on facts. The problem with ‘libertarians’ [aka stupid white men] for want of a better and shorter name is the use of circular and closed arguments. James Delingpole for instance recycles much the same ‘arguments’ from one week to the next, they focus on Greens and environmentalists as being Watermelons [red on the inside], lying eco-fascists,  fraudulently pursuing a scheme to enslave the white middle-classes in a dystopia future powered by wind turbines which don’t even work. At the centre of the great global swindle is Michael Mann who over a decade ago produced a graph named the ‘hockey stick’ that showed recent warming was unprecedented in recent human history. Ten years later, stolen emails titled ‘climategate’ [by James Delingpole] allegedly revealed criminal wrong doing but in actuality revealed normal scientific discussion. Several official enquiries later and no wrong doing was found, yet despite this James Delingpole mentions ‘climategate’ almost weekly as proof of a huge conspiracy.

Under libel laws I am free to express my opinion in that James Delingpole is a twat, but if I were to lie and call him a pedo I would be breaking the law. Curiously James feels perfectly happy to continue to peddle ‘climategate’ and continue to call the scientists involved as criminals and liars. I suspect it is a dare, as he would rejoice in libel action being taken against him, but there is more to it. Even though ‘climategate’ is just a conspiracy theory and even if a few scientists were involved in producing false material the rest of climate science and Global Warming still remain a fact. But that is not the point, libertarians need climategate [or Obama faking his birth certificate] to be true because if you start chipping away at any aspect of their belief system the entire thing collapses. That is why angry stupid white men will never back down and if challenged will always change the subject.

The government and the energy businesses are evidently satisfied that wind turbines do their job and at a cost that is competitive, however, listen to libertarians and quite clearly this must be a conspiracy because their [selective] sources tell them they don’t therefore it must be a conspiracy. In fact thousands of scientists as well as all the world’s scientific bodies as well as governments [and the EU, and Greenpeace and the BBC and …] are all out to conspire together to enslave them. It is a trick us stupid liberals just don’t understand but in reality a sign of a deep personal superiority and insecurity in them.

Conspiracy theories are the ultimate outcome of this duplicitous nature of the human mind, for as argument and little things like facts might change most people’s minds they instead confront the inadequateness of the stupid-white-man and constantly drive them to extremes. On a political level look at the Right- the Tea Party and UKip don’t just have one radical policy surrounded by centralist ones, they push the boat out to include denying climate change and even denying the need for tax. It is not good enough to argue just to be like Switzerland [I am talking UKip here] they also air their belief that the EU is the Fourth Reich and using fake-science to lie to us all. As changing their mind would require flexibility in their world outlook and question their superiority of mind they will clamber over a mountain of facts to find one that supports their view and it is this which ultimately leads to thoughts of big cover-ups, conspiracies and paranoia.

On the other side of the political spectrum are the angry stupid green men: people who believe that big corporations are corrupting the world but they are – mostly harmless- ironically because they are of little use to big corporations whereas libertarian conspiracy nuts are. When business tells them they can eat sweets all the time, can party till dawn, can achieve the American Dream they not only buy into the belief of unlimited abundance they sell it too. James Delingpole is a twat and a tool: he is of use to far richer and more influential people than himself, and becomes the idiot mouth piece of his ilk and able to frequently voice his views in press and tv media. His sound-bite reasoning is appealing to an audience that wants simple solutions to complex issues. There is little point in confronting the angry-stupid-white-man as they will take their mind set to their grave but showing up their twatishness to the greater public by pointing out the idiotic simplicity of their arguments is a worthy cause.

James Delinpole  on the conspiracy of climate change.

Lazy Habits (not the band)

I was notified via Facebook that the band: Lazy Habits, we booked for Sheep Music Festival 2012 has a hit in the download charts. But this post is more about energy futures than band bookings. [Although I would add Sheep Music Festival has a talent to get bands before they end up on distant stages at prices I can’t afford]. Sorry Lazy Habit fans if you wandered in to this blog under false pretentions.

Whilst contemplating this post it was the bands name which sums up my thoughts. Fellow bloggers here and here have been hosting a debate concerning our energy future, triggered in part in the UK with the Governments draft paper Energy Bill. Now, I don’t want to repeat the arguments of whether the future is carbon capture, nuclear or alternative and neither do I have much to offer with regards  to the proposed Energy Bill. My thoughts have turned instead to, well,  alternative thoughts rather than alternatives to fossil fuels.

The US elections were notable for being the first $6 billion election campaign, given that inflation and wealth constantly drive US presidential elections I presume all elections break spending records. As outrageous as $6 billion is to spend on adverts a BBC correspondent  pointed out that the US spend about the same amount on Halloween celebrations. It puts the UK’s foreign aid budget for international development of £7.8 into context, which will be the subject of future blog and one relevant to my posting as an aid worker in the coming two years. I digress, being able and willing to spend $6 billion on face masks or political advertising demonstrates that the US has plenty of money and money outside of the parallel world of financial markets is a reflection of power.

Power in this context is energy, the availability of energy to build products, harvest crops, mine resources and run the cities. That energy has been cheap and easy and as we tip over into a world of less and expensive energy the rich nations are having an all night binge of final excess. Sensible party goers will already consider when they should head off home, drink plenty of water, take a vitamin tablet, an aspirin and get a good nights sleep. But how many of you are planning to do that?

Abundance has brought its own problems: cheap food has made us over weight, prone to modern diseases and in some cases meant parents out live their children. Cheap food has been driven by abundant energy. Agriculture has over 60 years gone from a high labour to a labour efficient industry, with energy use replacing the man power. Likewise the car has had a physical impact on our  evolution turning us from fit savannah smart apes avoiding being catfood to seated dumb apes moving from couch to car – car to couch.

I am not advocating a return to rural poverty or believe there was ever some lost golden age, likewise I like my tech and the washing machine and old tech like sewers and piped drinking water. Nonetheless abundance has meant we have drifted into lazy habits. It would be less of an issue if the robots and mechanisation that were promised to the children and teenagers of 70s [me] as the future had delivered more interesting jobs and more free time yet I look around at that future and see people bound to the slavery of their mortgage, dull job and overtime.

Of course not every one has a dull job but it still occupies most of the week…most of the year….most of one’s life.

The end of abundance and the transition to alternatives brings a huge challenge. One view is calculating how much solar or nuclear or wind turbines is required. Yet there is another, and one that we only skirt around: part of the new energy future is that we use less through insulating our homes and becoming more efficient but it is viewed in the same abundance thinking way we have lived the last 80 odd years. Allow me to explain.

The first thing that springs to mind is the story of how NASA spent $ millions developing a ball point pen that didn’t require gravity to write, where as the poverty striken Russians faced with the same problem used a pencil. To elaborate further I might ask you [or a least the home-improvements you] why you are buying that electric drill? You are not actually buying a drill! You think you are but actually you are buying a hole, which is nothing. So by buying a nothing machine we are able to then go on and fill it with rawplugs and screws that fix a bracket that hold a shelf to put something on. All of this would be a complete waste of energy if the shelf was to hold an electric drill, bits, screws, and some spare brackets. Perhaps the shelf is for CDs – but now your record collection is on your iPod- or books, but perhaps we could have a central community store where 1000s of books could be stored and we could just borrow them and completely negate us from having a huge collection amassing dust and taking up valuable wall space.

I don’t want to take the shelf analogy to extremes, it is a thought experiment, but the same could be said for why we work 5 days a week. One answer is that we need the money, and for many it will be just enough to get by, but a lot of what we do earn goes to substitute the life we cannot have because we work all the time. Some ‘time-saving’ gadgets are great like washing machines which freed women from the drudgery of house work and eventually on to equality and some ‘time-saving’ gadgets simply don’t replace the energy they consumed in their manufacture. If there is to be a good thing about expensive energy it will be challenge for us to use it sparingly.

The despairing thing about abundance is that it can make us wasteful and in turn lazy and unimaginative. Currently we not only throw away the very useful chemical of  CH4N2O by the gallon everyday but also spend a small fortune disposing of it and then use valuable fossil fuels to manufacture new stuff. I don’t want to sound like I am taking the piss but this stuff is great, it can make plastics, other chemicals, feed plants and there is even the possibility of using Urea [piss] in a fuel cell to make electricity.

The festival I mentioned: Sheep Music, has its origins in this kind of alternative thinking as did the original festival scene. They were DIY affairs put together by enthusiasts but as they became bigger and complex more skills are needed to be brought in and thus push up the costs; to the point where eventually more money is spent on toilets than entertainment. We usurped that, and by ‘we’ I mean a community of hundreds of people, not only did we learn new skills our collective children were empowered to choose those skills as a career and then return as professionals and make the festival happen for the love of it.

Lazy habits lead to lazy thoughts which lack innovation and  enterprise. Humans are at their best when we are challenged and have to solve a problem, with abundance and consumerism we fulfil that need with games on our mobile phones. Whilst politicians wrangle over who to serve and how to ensure our energy future we can choose to empower ourselves at home and at work reassessing the waste in our lives and correcting it.