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I can't even

The reason there was no new blog entry earlier this week is the same reason I've been unable to write (or edit) all week: my brain tends to freeze when the wrong kind of history is happening.

And it is now very clear that the wrong kind of history is happening in the UK. Seriously, I had no idea it was possible to crash a G7 economy in less than a week! But it looks like only a Bank of England intervention in the gilts market averted a run—followed by the collapse of the nation's largest pension funds. 40% of mortgage products have been withdrawn by banks and lending institutions, the housing market is expected to fall 10% in the next six months, Sterling is heading below US dollar parity for the first time ever, the BoE is inevitably going to have to raise the base rate (crashing the finances of a huge proportion of the mortgage-holding public) ... it beggars belief.

Truss and Kwarteng appear to be taking policy advice solely from the Institute for Economic Affairs, a hardcore libertarian pressure group with famously opaque finances operating out of 55 Tufton Street—and if you don't know what that is, I strongly suggest you read that wikipedia article and follow the links to the articles about their other pressure groups like the Taxpayers' Alliance, Leave Means Leave, and the Global Warming Policy Foundation, it's a real eye-opener (complete with footnotes). For added fun the cabinet appear to have numerous connections to dominionist Christian churches, as we've seen lately in Australia (see also: Hillsong Church) and The Fellowship (in the USA).

Fuck Around and Find Out time: as of Monday, Labour were polling 17 points ahead of the Conservative (per YouGov). That was bad enough, but by Thursday 29th, a new poll gave Labour a stunning 33 point lead in the polls as Conservative voter support imploded. It seems that tanking the currency, the pension system, the housing market, and the national debt in just one week is slightly unpopular. Who could possibly have seen that coming?

Anyway ... what next?

Speculation: the Conservative Party conference begins on Monday 3rd, and is going to be an epic drama. Either the party will double down and drink the poisoned Kool-Aid or (I think this is more likely) they will go backstabby on La Trussterfuck, possibly lining up behind Rishi Sunak, who is currently pulling no punches (and who was absolutely right when he warned about the effects of her policies on the economy before he lost the leadership election). Boris Johnson will attempt to ride in to save the day, and may well get a hearing. But one thing is for sure: if Truss doesn't get the party to back her next week, the 1922 Committee will change the rules to permit a no confidence vote before mid-October and she will go down hard, setting a new record for the shortest tenure of Prime Minister in British history, like, forever.

If the next PMUK is Boris (again), there is a faint prospect that he will gamble on a snap election, aiming to win on public relief at getting rid of La Trussterfuck before everyone remembers why they hate him. He might even be right. If it's anyone else though, there is not a hope in hell of an early general election before they run down the clock in November 2024.

If Truss somehow survives, we're fucking doomed. When someone tells you who they are, you should generally believe them, and Truss has been shouting through a megaphone that she's a deeply stupid Thatcher cosplayer in the pocket of dogmatic libertarian ideologues who I assume were hired to felate billionaire oligarchs like Crispin Odey or Christopher Chandler who seem to think they are entitled to own the rental income on the UK paid by its citizens without actually bothering to maintain the property: facts don't matter, real people don't matter, we're just useless degenerate second-handers (per Ayn Rand) who are along for the ride as they destroy what's left of the UK's social fabric in pursuit of short-term profit-taking. Worse: the Screaming Jeezus People account for an unholy proportion of the European Research Group membership: the same dominionist agenda seems to be at work behind the scenes in the UK as in the US Republican party (added twist—the UK is majority no-religion/atheist, so it's less visible). The anti-trans witch hunt and escalating culture wars hysteria are symptomatic of the intent behind this: a lot of US Christian lobbying money seems to find its way into funding stuff like anti-abortion protest groups in the UK and moves to criminalize homosexuality in African nations. Expect more, and harder, as the Tory party sinks below the waves.

Another likely option is a complete fragmentation. The Tories were traditionally the party of rentier landowners, and they have always had a ruthless pragmatic streak about maintaining control: they were the ruling party, and this recent excursion into FAFO territory is distinctly atypical. Most of the traditional "moderate" (by which I mean pragmatic) Conservative MPs were selected out after the Brexit referendum, but there is almost certainly still a rump of realists and they can be expected to be horrified by what's going on. It is possible that they'll try to regain control and be forced out, like the SDP in 1980 during Labour's internal bloodletting: or it could happen the other way around. In either case, though, this is the sort of situation that splits parties, and it is not impossible that the Conservative Party will fracture—either now or after catastrophically losing a snap election.

What other options are there? Who knows. But I think we can say for certain that the crisis is not over, there is scope for it to get much worse ... and this is the sort of thing that breaks political parties, breaks nations, and if the UK was a developing world country I'd be getting worried about a military coup round about now.

1560 Comments

1:

Well, that's a really clear explanation of a completely bollocks up situation. I didn't know the Happy Clappers had infiltrated your politics as well 😕 It must be so hard to try to write fiction when this is reality.

2:

I just sent the checked copy-edits on Season of Skulls, the third New Management book, off to Tor.com's production editor this week before the shitstorm broke, and I am really glad I decided to set most of it in 1816 because there is no sane way to satirise what is currently happening in British politics, even through the medium of a looking-glass world where the nation is ruled by an Ancient Evil rather than a human politician.

3:

I think that, in the medium term, this is brilliant stuff. Truss and Kwartengs call handed attempt to impose extreme libertarian batshit economics with no mandate is going as well as you might expect. Their policies are the logical end point of their strain of political ideology. This will discredit low tax, destroy the state ideologies for ever in the eyes of the British public.

As a bonus the Tory party faces annihilation.

4:

If the next UK PM tries -- and maybe succeeds -- in having Charles executed for Crimes Against Diana as a distraction it wouldn't surprise me at this point, and it really should.

Eventually, "military coup" is going to start looking like "murder billionaires".

None of the billionaires are going to stop, any politicians are constrained by this from doing anything structurally helpful, and if we don't get structural change, all of us are dead of uncivilized causes. (The point to civilization is that you, by and large and in the main, die of something other than preventable disease, exposure, starvation, or violence.) The Dominionist billionaires have more offensive agendas in the short term, but in the medium term we're all dead. This is no longer entirely a theoretical concern. It sounds like it's increasingly an immediate concern in the UK.

5:

As a bonus the Tory party faces annihilation.

I would welcome this but during the process our lives, investments and incomes will also face annihilation. Thousands, if not tens of thousands will die this winter due to hunger and cold because they won't be able to pay their bills, and will have to chose one over the other, or their children. All of this is on top of that reality.

6:

I think that, in the medium term, this is brilliant stuff. Truss and Kwartengs call handed attempt to impose extreme libertarian batshit economics with no mandate is going as well as you might expect. Their policies are the logical end point of their strain of political ideology. This will discredit low tax, destroy the state ideologies for ever in the eyes of the British public.

I'd be happy if people not in the UK took notice of this.

One of our right-wing parties (Kokoomus, the National Coalition Party), in opposition currently, did present their shadow budget proposal a couple of weeks ago... and it had basically the 'take loans to fund tax breaks for the rich' idea. Which I don't approve.

7:

There have been stories about demons (or the devil) saying they just can't keep up with humans in the evil stakes. Frankly, the Conservative party members have a good point - Bozo is by a far better choice than Trash or Sumach. I think that your predictions are right, though I can't help feeling that Trash would be replaced by someone even worse - e.g. Mad Nad, with Grease-Smug as chancellor.

Regrettably, this isn't going to go away even if there is a snap election and Starmer wins. My prediction then is that he will fail to resolve the mess, be replaced as Labour leader by someone just vaguely socialist, we will then have a rerun of the 2019 election, and if we are lucky get Bozo back again. If we are unlucky, Gawd 'elp us all!

No, I am not expecting the British public to stop taking their views from our mass media, let alone wake up and take any actions to create a radical government that puts the country first.

8:

I would welcome this but

You really shouldn't.

History tells us that when a major political faction is eliminated it leaves a power vacuum behind. In the case of the Tories, that power vacuum would be on the hard right.

If we lucked out, it would simply mean that Labour (or maybe the LibDems) would colonise that part of the political map and be slightly kinder, softer Tories for the first generation.

But it's equally likely that something really horrible would emerge from the wreckage, like an unholy alliance of the worst bits of the ERG as the suit-wearing front end for Britain First or National Action or some other overtly fascist party.

9:

As a bonus the Tory party faces annihilation.

I commend to your attention the Canadian example; after the Mulroney government was voted out of office, there were two (2) sitting conservative MPs.

It didn't matter. Funding pressure moved around to secure mammonite goals; the Liberal Party has never recovered from this (having lost its essential internal faction balance) and the current conservative party just elected a post-fascist mammonite as leader.

It's easy to miss, since one is some mix of cold, hungry, or scared, but the billionaires are frightened. It's obvious the world is changing. Their response -- more money, since money is the material love of god and creates security -- is inherently futile since money only has value inside the society which produced it, and if you break society money becomes worthless.

This doesn't mean they can imagine any other response or will do something different. They'd have to imagine that maybe god doesn't love them to do that.

10:

One estimate, using the latest YouGov voting intentions data, gives Labour a 450-seat majority if a snap election were to be held... https://twitter.com/ballotboxmedia/status/1575534002781331456

The problem with the pragmatic Tories is that the ones with experience, principles and backbone were culled by Clownshoes the first time they stood up to him. The ones who are left are pragmatic in terms of saving their own political skins but that does not translate into actually managing the country well. I suspect that a) Starmer and various bank CEOs will be having emergency conferences with the fascist newspaper owners - Blair was elected with the support of Murdoch - and b) the national front groups will be knocking on the doors of the Red/Blue Wall MPs both as we speak.

11:

Anaplia
Exactly - it's following the playbook in "Britannia Unhinged" ... err .. Unchained - pure US-Rethuglican lunacy - some details in a post of mine in the previoous thread.
Trumpss needs to be asked, straight out, if she still wants to follow what her ( & Kamikwasi-Karteng's ) book wanted? Could be amusing for certain values of ...

Hakan
PROBLEM - the next GE can be held off until late autumn 2024, by which time they will have stripped our economy bare - which is the point.

Charlie @ 8
As seems to have happened in Italy?
Euw.

Meanwhile, Putin is threatening everyone with his annexation of the SudetenlandE-Ukraine

12:

Re: 'Britain First or National Action or some other overtly fascist party'

If by 'Britain' you mean that Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland will be vacating the UK as fast as they can (to join the EU?) - agree.

Any insights into connections across/between the various fascist parties that have been springing up all over Europe?

13:

Given Russia's current flailing around, I wonder if some of those advising the current government might not have the UK's best interests at heart.

14:

This will discredit low tax, destroy the state ideologies for ever in the eyes of the British public.

That strikes me as stunning example of naïveté. The media pushing those ideologies are solidly funded and supported by billionaires. They aren't going to stop pushing their propaganda, so at the very least a large chunk of the electorate are going to continue buying into them.

Just like any other committed cultist, the hard-core Tory supporters will effortlessly swallow whatever their media tells them, and then go on believing the exact same ideologies. There'll barely even need to be a show-trial of Truss, maybe a two-minute hate on her and then everything is back to the usual.

See also Graydon's comment about exactly how little difference it made in Canada. Speaking as an Aussie, I can tell you exactly how much difference the electoral slaughter of our Tories made. Hint: It rhymes with Tweet Truck Tall. The allegedly 'leftist' party, despite really clear and obvious messaging from the electorate, have rushed to continue 90% of the Tory policies, whilst also stating they are a gentler and kinder government than the previous lot.

For all of you stuck in the rapidly disintegrating hell-hole that is the current 'United' Kingdom, I worry and fear for you all.

My sympathies for those in Finland, Canada, Italy especially and everywhere else that's drowning under this bullshit. It's deeply fucked up.

15:

Something I realised in the 2019 bushfires was just how quickly it can all go wrong and you're suddenly fighting to stay alive. It can be just a couple of minutes from being annoyed that the mobile data has suddenly gone down so you can't listen to tunes in the car, to pushing over small trees as you bash your way through the growth on the median strip so you can turn and run from the fire.

There's no background music to let you know what you're supposed to be feeling in real life.

17:

@JayDzed said: The allegedly 'leftist' party, despite really clear and obvious messaging from the electorate, have rushed to continue 90% of the Tory policies

They're worse.

The new guy is an evil monster.

18:

Not gonna argue with you on that one, not after he spent so much time talking about how rough it was growing up as the kid of a single mum on welfare and then proceeded to tighten the screws on the poor and disadvantaged as gleefully as ScottNoFriends did.

Or the announcement of an Anti-Corruption Commission that received praise from one of the folks that should be first in line for said commission. The greatest worry now is that this lot are just less blatantly incompetent than the fuckwits they replaced.

19:

If by 'Britain' you mean

You misread, I was talking about Britain First, an actual-existing fascist party.

20:

The media pushing those ideologies are solidly funded and supported by billionaires. They aren't going to stop pushing their propaganda, so at the very least a large chunk of the electorate are going to continue buying into them.

Sounds like those pushing the "Trump won in 2020" lie here in the U.S. Sad... :-(

21:

The allegedly 'leftist' party, despite really clear and obvious messaging from the electorate, have rushed to continue 90% of the Tory policies, whilst also stating they are a gentler and kinder government than the previous lot.

Democrats in the U.S. seem to have this problem too, at least to some degree. They can't seem to ditch some of Trump's nasty policies...

22:

All I know about Keir Starmer is that he's the Labour leader that came in when Jeremy Corbyn was too much of an actual pro-labour-union Socialist for the Blairites and occasionally gets mentioned in articles about the Tories' latest disaster.

Does he have a chance of getting Labour behind him after the Tories collapse? Or of being vaguely competent (at least enough to handle the pre-Truss or pre-BoJo level of mess, if not the current one)?

23:

2 - You're the novelist, but I'm not even sure there's an insane way to satirise this!

7 - Look, I said back in the Spring that Larry the cat would be a better PM than any of Bozo the Clown, the Iron Weathervane and Rishi Rich.

12 - s/UK/Ingurlundshire.

24:

No, the hard core Tory supporters will move only from Conservative to National Front. It's the unthinking masses that do what the media tell them - "It's the Sun wot won it" had a lot of truth in it. I remember when the UK was better in that respect, though the tribalism was worse, and realised that our political system was fundamentally broken then (1960s). What is nominally a representative democracy has become a demagogocracy, and you need to either change the demagogues or get the people to stop following their instructions.

The countries I can think of that have significantly improved in a short period have all had popular and usually bloodless revolutions - violent ones and those led by a clique rarely improve things. Attlee's government worked because the people wanted real improvement - there was some of that in Thatcher's early period, but I don't remember another UK example. The causes of and solutions to this debacle lie with the population as a whole, not with party labels.

25:

The image of SuperCthulhu is deeply amusing... "disgused in daily life as the shoggoth Cl'rk'nt."

26:

You could have The New Management overthrown by something which is deeply worse... maybe Yog Sothoth shows up and kicks Nyarly's ass!

27:

What a mess. One serious question: How long will it take Scotland to cut itself free from this?

Please take good notes, so we'll have a better idea of how this iteration of the Dictator's billionaire's playbook works. Hopefully you'll be able to satirize them in a year or two. Three at the most.

I'm actually serious: this is part of the Jon Stewart/Al Franken school of turning satire into effective leftist politics, and we kind of need it. Sometimes, the most effective satire on radioactive bullshit masquerading as politics is the unvarnished truth. Properly presented, of course.

28:

I'm going to remind all of you UK types that I have a spare room, and my email is my nym (at) the_usual_search_engine's email. If you must flee we can probably accommodate you.

29:

gasdive
The phrase is, IIRC: *Gradually, then suddenly ... *
Whether we are at the "suddenly" point is the current debate?

Bill Stewart
Corbyn (J) might have stood a chance, if he'd actually learnt anything between 1975 & 2019 - I mean, the world & it's politics changed quite a bit in that period, didn't it?
NOT to be confused with Corbyn (P) whom I've had the unfortunate experience of meeting, a long time ago { 1982? } - he was clearly awa' wi' the fairies, even then, & appears to have gone even more bonkers, since.

EC
Edward Heath tried, he really tried, actually.

Charlie
Bad as it all is, there's another bit that really scares me - the link-up to christian dominionism ... { And all the christofascist prejudices & hate }

30:

Something I realised in the 2019 bushfires was just how quickly it can all go wrong and you're suddenly fighting to stay alive.

Learned that one in a grassfire as a teenager.

Of course, the big lesson from my Cold War teenaged years is that it's highly likely that the decisions that end my life will be taken by men in comfort half a world away, who have the best chances of survival. Seems like not much has changed. :-(

Depressing thoughts, but then it's Truth and Reconciliation Day here. Always depressing to realize what a supposedly civilized* society is capable of**.


*"Supposedly because I can't fit "genocidal" and "civilized" in the same mental space, and the genocide happened.

**And likely still capable of. I've heard a disturbingly large number of complaints to the tune of "We've said we're sorry, why don't they just get over it?" Followed by complaints about the local band building on their own land, because it will spoil the view, or holding a ceremony because it might add a couple of minutes to a five minute drive.

31:

It's easy to miss, since one is some mix of cold, hungry, or scared, but the billionaires are frightened. It's obvious the world is changing. Their response -- more money, since money is the material love of god and creates security -- is inherently futile since money only has value inside the society which produced it, and if you break society money becomes worthless.

I'd say that the billionaires are scared, but that's not how they're responding, at least the ones who created their fortunes.

It's a three level response.

On the bottom level it's fleece the flock: get back to normal, travel, fix up your home, and above all, spend money in our companies. We want you to waste your money in ways that enrich us.

On the second level it's about amassing control and trying to destroy anything that will keep them in check. Remember that, while their fortunes dominate the economies of small island countries, they're pitiful compared with a place like the US or even the UK. So these countries need to be made unable to control them. Hence the right wing politics, which in part is an outgrowth of the financial manager strategies originally developed to subvert island economies and turn them into offshore financial havens. Words like lawfare and financial weapons of mass destruction are appropriate here.

On the top level, at least some of them are building redoubts of various types for when it all crashes. There's been an industry for years selling bunkers to the super rich (my real estate agent loved to gossip about how sleazy it all was). The smarter ones have bought up large working ranches and are taking other steps I'm not aware of (likely trying to corner resource markets). I'm not saying that they're being smart about it or not, because I don't know. However, this appears to be their answer to how wealth will cushion them from climate change: strip everyone else of as much wealth as they can, protect that wealth from anything (like the US or UK governments) which could take it, and hide with a cadre of loyal vassal/minions while everyone outside their system dies.

Getting back to England, if there are big, reasonably sane, estate owners out there (the Windsors?), try to see if they're basically preparing to institute a manorial system to deal with the breakdown. And also watch where the money goes in the meantime.

32:

No, the hard core Tory supporters will move only from Conservative to National Front.

Please try to keep up?

The National Front was 1960s-early 80s. They splintered and aren't really a thing any more. They were mostly replaced by the British National Party, aka BNP, who were slightly successful at a local level but made a fatal marketing error and were sued into bankruptcy for libel by Marmite (prop. Unilever).

The BNP's suits then joined UKIP and/or BXP (the Brexit Party -- now defunct) before migrating into the Conservative Party, which they are alarmingly close to owning these days, while their headbangers turned into the English Defense League (EDL), which also featured a fake sock puppet called the Scottish Defense League (SDL), all of whose members turn up to marches aboard buses with English registration plates and carry Cross of St George (English) flags (a bit of a dead giveaway -- fascists are thick). EDL is, however, not doing well and has lately lost ground to Britain First and further right fringe groups -- National Action (who were declared a terrorist organization and criminalized), aka Scottish Dawn, NS131, System Resistance Network, TripleK Mafia ... and of course the smarter ones joined the 55 Tufton Street wing of the Conservative Party and currently run the cabinet.

33:
...there is almost certainly still a rump of realists and they can be expected to be horrified by what's going on. It is possible that they'll try to regain control and be forced out, ...

That's essentially what happened to the Republican Party in the USA. May you be spared!

34:

They can't seem to ditch some of Trump's nasty policies...

I'm reminded of the scene in Shakespeare in Love where Will is beginning rehearsals and asks the non-actor who he is, and on hearing "I'm the money" answers "You can stay".

Policies in America tend to get enacted based on how much money is behind them, not how many voters. I doubt the other 'western democracies' are very different, although some are less blatant about it.

35:

I'm going to remind all of you UK types that I have a spare room, and my email is my nym (at) theusualsearch_engine's email. If you must flee we can probably accommodate you.

Likewise.

36:

It was a JOKE! The point is that many of those hard-core Tory supporters haven't moved on since that era.

37:

Yes, Heath tried his best. But he wasn't the ruthless strategist that Thatcher was, and didn't have the same support.

38:

I was going to add that I have a garden, but I don't really because I have a brown thumb. I have a yard that could be a garden, if a social/climate refugee felt so inclined.

39:

I'm going to remind all of you UK types that I have a spare room, and my email is my nym (at) the_usual_search_engine's email. If you must flee we can probably accommodate you.

Likewise.

Although you might want to wait until after the November elections to see if the MAGAtry is going to try to nuke our politics as well.

40:

“ there is no sane way to satirise what is currently happening in British politics, even through the medium of a looking-glass world where the nation is ruled by an Ancient Evil rather than a human politician.”

The big problem is that your ancient evils look utopian compared to what the real politicians come up with.

41:

The impending Conservative Conference...

There's every prospect of a complete shitshow, and I am laying-in stocks of popcorn in anticipation.

However, the most likely outcome is an eerie stage-managed enthusiasm with moderately-convincing 'spontaneous' applause with subtle amplification, and stirring renditions of 'Rule Britannia' that owe more to electronic assistance than the lusty voices of septuagenarian Party delegates with a touch of Covid.

Things to watch:

  • The mob's enthusiasm for genuinely nasty policies: exterminative racism presented as 'Get Tough!' on refugees, sinister 'Desi-Himmler' legislation directed against transgender women and the Roma, and flat-out 'Starve the begging scum!' cuts to the welfare State dressed-up as 'Reforms'.
  • The Fringe meetings - lobby groups and corporations demonstrating loyalty and sponsorship of factions and individual MPs, rare public glimpses of lobbyists and PR forms, and all the panels and cheese-and-wine parties run by think tanks. Look carefully at who's 'In', as a lot of the business of the party is done here.
  • The dissident view will be expressed wherever the press aren't; and, at times, in coded terms that sound like loyalty, wherever the press actually are, and contenders for the next Cabinet 'just happen' to be. A key performance venue for this will be the ERG: watch who's 'In' and who is 'Out' at their policy and social events.
  • A particular reason to watch the ERG's clique: see if they're able to influence the Party's future in the most important way of all - if there's no-one at any ERG event, who has a safe seat, then they will cease to be an force in the party after 2024.
  • If, at any social or 'policy forum' event, you see anyone under forty who is subsequently handed a prized and precious billet in any of the 'Safe' constituencies... You're looking at a future Prime Minister, and you were watching the most important faction in the next decade of the English Conservative Party. If, indeed, anyone under 40 actually does get that: it's not a given that the party still has an effective patronage network.
  • Watch Boris Johnson. (I know: its sometimes amusing but mostly loathsome). Who's chatting to him, who's parties and fringe groups he attends, who wants to be seen with him? He's running an undeclared leadership bid, here: watch closely!
  • Likewise, Rishi Sunak, the only one left with any economic credibility: who chooses to risk the wrath of the ERG by associating with the candidate they rejected?
Things to not watch... BBC Coverage.

And don't bother listening to whatever Thick Lizzie actually says, unless you're seeing it live and unedited: everything reported and broadcast on the news is going to tidied-up, so as to make her look confident and coherent. Or edited as a hit-piece for the Lulz.

Stock market and currency fluctuations in response to the key speeches: the real action's in the Gilt markets.

42:

I think it’s that you can write the evil, but you just can’t get your head around that much stupid.

43:

Just read the articles from Toby@16 and Charlie@19 - nightmare scary!

If a bunch of independent journalists were able to uncover illicit political funding why didn't their gov'ts act? I have a hard time believing that all civil servants (the people that actually run the daily gov't) are corrupt. At the very least I'd think that some civil servants would jump at the chance to collect taxes. (For the US, $10,000 and up needs paper work.)

44:

The New Management has been rationalized and is now reporting to Azathoth, the blind idiot god.

45:

From the point of me and you (and the commentariat here), yes, it is deeply stupid.

From the point of the 0.1%, this is exactly the kind of shit that they want. They are probably annoyed that Truss is going too fast. Slow steps down to hell work just fine, as we can see just by looking around.

Things have gotten worse for most people in the last 40 years. More debt, higher cost of services (that used to be free / low cost), longer waits for health care, housing priced out of reach. It's just that these things all happened slowly, and are easy to miss with our monkeybrain cognitive blind spots.

Jumping off the cliff straight down to Avernus? People notice this.

46:

Scene: Charles III is being coronated. Cathedral full of crowds, TV crews, etc. They are just about to put the shiny hat on him. Suddenly, there is a power cut: central London goes dark; only the TV gear keeps running, from the generators in the trucks. Whoever is holding the crown about to put it on Charles's head stumbles, and drops it on his foot instead. Charles goes "Aaargh", and hops around a bit.

Then he is heard to mutter "right, I've had it up to here with this", rolls his coronation speech notes into a megaphone, and addresses the crowd thus: "My mother was Queen of a great country. I do not want to be King of a shithole. Raise your voices if you agree. Who will join me in the Suoirolg Revolution?" Roars from the crowd. "Right! Parliament is dissolved from this moment on the grounds of mindbendingly destructive levels of incompetence. We can have a new one once we've worked out how to elect people who have better ideas for keeping warm than burning your own house down. And those who have forced us down to this point are hereby declared guilty of treason, to suffer the traditional penalty and their bodies to be left on the lamp-posts as a reminder..."

47:

Can someone email Him this?

48:

“ And those who have forced us down to this point are hereby declared guilty of treason, to suffer the traditional penalty and their bodies to be left on the lamp-posts as a reminder...” Hope that includes Murdochs as well as parliamentarians.

49:

Likewise, Rishi Sunak, the only one left with any economic credibility: who chooses to risk the wrath of the ERG by associating with the candidate they rejected? I understand that Dishy Rishi has already made it clear that he is not going. Nor is Mel Stride, the Treasury Committee chair (and his campaign manager.) But it's quite feasible that they are going to be plotting the coup elsewhere.

For me, the most interesting aside right now is that the Freeport plans, which the Tufton Street gang were pinning their hopes on, are running into the buffers as well as people realise that giving ten (or more) year blank cheques to all-and-sundry with no exit clauses if the government changes is just not going to fly, and certainly not proposing 40 of them all at once.

I mean, the rest of it is catastrophic as well, and there's every chance that the 'budget' legislation will actually get voted down, or amended to nonsense. But the Freeport stuff was flying under the radar until everything went pear-shaped this week.

50:

Another psephological forecast based on the 33% poll claims that if the swing was evenly spread the Tories would end up with three seats. Which, as someone entertainingly added, would leave the SNP as the loyal opposition. (Won't actually happen like that ofc, but a man can dream.)

51:

The Tufton Street mafia are the morons who bought us Brexit. Safest heuristic is to assume anything they propose will be evil and unconnected to actual reality.

52:

H
So these countries need to be made unable to control them. Hence the right wing politics....
Yes, but{1}: - This leads to the Rethuglican US mantra of: Shrink the government, until it's small enough to drown it in a bathtub ... Which leads to But{2}: You now have, by definition NO government - a state formally defined as: Anarchy.
Which is totally unstable & usually results in extremely nasty authoritarianism.
Do they realise this, & do they care, or not?
- This ties in, maybe, to my earlier point re. christian-dominionism & prompts a question.
- "Is a theocracy even worse than anarchy?" - I would say "yes" because its a dictatorship that's doing it to you for your own good { As they see it of course!}
Um.

Re. England, well, the Devonshires will be trying to cushion things ... by the standards of various past times, they had a reputation as "good landlords" - paying higher wages, & better conditions, if only because they made better profits that way, with less hassle.

EC @ 36
Joke or not, you are, um, wrong for the right reasons, maybe.
It's quite clear that the Britannia Unhinged group want to take us back to 1906, in the same way that the US nutters want to go back to the Gilded Age.
Why 1906(?) - for other readers - before Lloyd George & the start of state pensions (here) & no rights for women or anyone perceived to be "different "& all the removal of any workers or working rights at all, right?

Nile
"the Mob" - euw, but true / "dissidence" - I don't think they will be able to keep it quiet, fights will break out { I hope} / ERG - watch them through a scope-sight, surely? / "BJ" - problem - there is still a Parliamentary Enquiry in process, that could get him ejected. "Glowing in the dark" time, so to speak?

Pigeon
Good try, would be nice, wouldn't it?

Scurra
Actually, "No exit clause" is fucking irrelevant, if a new government decides otherwise.
No government can be bound by a previous one, so:
A one-line Act of parliament stating: "All "freeports" established since 01/10/2022 are hereby abolished & the normal laws of the land will apply."

54:

How difficult is it to stage a military coup? Asking for a friend...

55:

As I asked before, "Is there no-one the country might rally behind? Anyone? Leaders of vision and courage are now needed - are there any who might emerge?"

Put it another way, can anyone think of any group, any faction, who are compassionate and competent and might plausibly take the lead at this time?

56:

Only the science-fiction writers - they're paid to think about the future!

57:

This week's mess is like Dobbs or the Brexit vote: get what you want too early, and you have nothing left to use for campaign/fundraising fodder.

wg

58:

So these countries need to be made unable to control them. Hence the right wing politics.... Yes, but{1}: - This leads to the Rethuglican US mantra of: Shrink the government, until it's small enough to drown it in a bathtub ... Which leads to But{2}: You now have, by definition NO government - a state formally defined as: Anarchy. Which is totally unstable & usually results extremely nasty authoritarianism. Do they realise this, & do they care, or not?

You may be mistaking the bullshit distractions for the politics.

What I think they have been doing is making financial centers (Cayman Islands, only bigger), whose laws are being rebuilt to protect their property rights and keep them in control, whether they are citizens of that polity or not. The rest of it is mostly dead catting, catering to addictions, and paying off allies, otherwise known as psyops and distractions from what they care about.

One of the problems they face is that a few (fair number?) of them have actually sampled their warez and got addicted to those memes.

In general, what seems to terrify them the most is that they're going to die, and that their heirs will waste The Precious fortunes they've built (allusions to The One Ring are deliberate). As with so many other ginned-up existential terrors, in many of their minds (apparently), the precariousness of their wealth makes them part of a persecuted minority, and this in turn justifies anything and everything they do to the rest of us to protect their Preciousssses.

But getting back to rebuilding government, I'm glad they've got Liz Truss as their champion and paragon, because of the...unique...way she's hurrying to accomplish their agenda. While I hate what it's doing to the UK, it's hard to think of anything else that will frack their system as rapidly, at least at this time. Unfortunately, shoring up the rot with competent governance is going to take some real genius, and I'm still not sure who has that genius at the moment.

Incidentally, I'm not smug at all about this. We're under attack by their allies in the US as you read this.

59:

One note: the Dominionists, for those who don't know, not only believe the End Times are coming, but ->it's their duty to help bring them.<-

60:

Re: From the 'Tufton' article

Ahh yes, a fine example of trickle down economics.

'As a result of the tax measures outlined on Friday, the Government is effectively handing £1 billion to just 2,500 people, each of whom have an income in excess of £3.5 million. People earning £1 million a year will benefit by £55,000 a year – twice the average UK salary.

Households in London and the south-east are set to gain three times as much on average (£1,600) as those living in Wales, the north-east of England and Yorkshire (£500) next year. And a 50-year-old earning £1 million a year will have a lower marginal tax rate than a 28-year-old earning £50,000 (largely due to the latter’s student loan repayments).'

61:

50 - Er, during the time when Cor Bin was "leader" of the Liebour Party, members of the Con government up to and including Cabinet level were describing the SNP as "Her Majesty's loyal opposition".

54 - How many serving members of the nation's military will support the leaders of the coup?

62:

I was going to add that I have a garden, but I don't really because I have a brown thumb. I have a yard that could be a garden, if a social/climate refugee felt so inclined.

My sister in law and husband were visiting for a few days last week from Oregon. He commented that our yard would make a nice garden. I said it would require trucking in too much dirt. He got a puzzled look. I said if you look below the (not planned just what grows) green things you'll notice it's all read clay.

Ohhhhh. He said.

63:

Private communication from elsewhere says something, too: “The Conservatives never quite got over the Liberal Revolution in 1909 /10 when they introduced the modern welfare state based on what Prussia / Germany had done.
It is also said that failures in African and other wars had convinced the establishment that they had to improve the diet and conditions of the poor if they were to provide fodder for their various slaughters. A combination of necessity and enlightened views led the way until the late 1930/40's when Labour began to emerge and started implementing Keynes.
This was again of necessity and enlightened ideas.”

David L
I assume "red clay is a particularly infertile soil that also compacts horribly & is difficult to break up, or improve?

64:

I assume "red clay is a particularly infertile soil that also compacts horribly & is difficult to break up, or improve?

Some geologist friends call it rotten granite.

With lots of interesting rocks spread throughout. (Not fully rotted.)

My go to joke is we can light a fire and cut out bricks. They sort of do that a bit further south in Georgia.

If you want to grow things you buy potting soil at absurd prices at stores or buy loam from reputable landscape suppliers by the truckload. Then till it in a bit so it doesn't wash down hill at the first rain.

It's also sticky and somewhat rubbery.

Took 3 of us 2 hours to extract a 1' diameter gas powered auger after it went down 2' and stopped.

Anyone dropping a big tree within 700' will shake the house. A remodel next door was tearing up a concrete patio and we got to rock and roll for a day or two.

But green stuff will grow. Evolution is nice that way. But usually not the things you are TRYING to grow.

Now back to how we're all electing wonderful governments.

65:

This week's mess is like Dobbs or the Brexit vote

Absolutely!

(We may also be getting a preview of the kind of chaos the USA can expect if the current Supreme Court get to rule on contraception, interracial marriage, divorce ...)

66:

Perhaps relevantly, the US National Academies just released this. Prudently, they didn't address the election of nutters to lead nations, but you can see how they could have.

https://nap.nationalacademies.org/download/26698

Anticipating Rare Events of Major Significance
Proceedings of a Workshop

The Intelligence Community Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a 2-day virtual workshop on December 17 and 21, 2021, to explore insights from world-class experts and technologists familiar with the extensive range of issues associated with anticipating rare events—those characterized by a very low probability of occurring—of major significance. Over the course of the 2-day workshop, the speakers discussed analytical methods, computational advances, data sources, and risk assessment approaches for anticipating rare events, including natural disasters, pandemics, anthropogenic threats, and widespread technological change. This proceedings is a factual summary of the presentations and discussion of the workshop.

67:

Peter F. Hamilton wrote a trilogy ("Mindstar Rising", etc) which was set in a post-climate change UK (orange groves in London public parks) which had just emerged from a quasi-civil war 10 years earlier needed to oust a communist-fascist-clueless dictatorship

at the time, amusing reading... now?

====

I hope civilization in US lasts till 15 OCT since I got a cavity in dire need of repair

====

for mega-scale investors watching the UK pound approach 1-2-1 with US dollar is likely the craziest shitshow since UK & US both left the gold standard as basis for currency... starving peasants and freeing middle class being routine status quo ante...

====

after watching Florida coverage... my question is whether Ron DeSantis will blame trans-gen kids for the 100+ fatalities or illegal immigrants? ...not likely do classical scapegoating of blaming the Jews immediately prior to an election cycle...

====

and now back to my day drinking

68:

The allegedly 'leftist' party, despite really clear and obvious messaging from the electorate, have rushed to continue 90% of the Tory policies, whilst also stating they are a gentler and kinder government

It worked really well in Aotearoa, the charismatic leader who manages to get a few obvious things right during a catastrophe has fairly successfully covered a multitude of sins. In that sense other countries are lucky to have generic white men as (alternative) leaders, it makes the bullshit harder to hide. Saint Ardern has completely flubbed her major pre-existing challenges (inequality, climate change, transparency) but managed the pandemic death toll well... while making inequality much worse.

Their response to the economic effects of the pandemic was to give rich people more money. That was politically and personally easier than giving money to poor people, and the multiplier effect of house price rises meant a given amount of government money went a lot further than if they'd "just" helped poor people survive. Of course the fall in house prices now has the opposite effect, but rents continue to climb so the rich aren't exactly suffering. Suffering is reserved for "those people" and it is very much "those people" to them, they're mostly nice white middle class property investors who have done very well out of the house price and rent increases they created. But it's done in a caring, sympathetic way by people who really feel your pain.

Similar effect in Queensland IIRC, Labour there had the nice lady saying "we won't privatise absolutely everything" and everyone was so happy about that that they ignored most of the other problems.

69:

Not going to happen but if Truss manages to hold on and keep crashing the country, wouldn't be interesting maybe good old King Charles decided to throw his hat in the ring and make a play to actually run the country. That could add a nice constitutional crisis on top of everything else, even with any pro-royalist sentiment from his mother's passing he's not going to be popular enough to pull it off, but who knows could be crazy enough to think he had a chance or a birthright to do so...

Imagine Charles going full-on for a British version of MAGA, with the whole born-to-rule layer on top of it, and trying to ride an anti-politician Brexit, return to our glory days sentiment...

70:

"We've said we're sorry, why don't they just get over it?"

What shocked me the other day is someone in Aotearoa blithely saying "if we become a republic we can dump the treaty". And not understanding at all when it was pointed out that the Treaty of Waitangi is important to a great many New Zealanders, and also was a major factor in stopping the wars (war of invasion / civil war depending on your viewpoint).

It's not a majority viewpoint, but it is popular in the "blame the other" section of society.

Australia is current discussing the "Voice to Parliament" which will be a purely advisory body with no guaranteed budget or autonomy. The current less-right government is making a big fuss about it as a grand gesture to follow Kevin Rudd officially saying "sorry". But it's very carefully created without any power so that even actual fascists can support it. I'm not saying Albanese is a fascist, just that he is very keen to have a productive working relationship with fascists.

71:
Suffering is reserved for "those people" and it is very much "those people" to them, they're mostly nice white middle class property investors who have done very well out of the house price and rent increases they created.

Of course... Truss and Kwarteng just screwed those people. Bedrock Tory voters. Oops. They even screwed the retired well-off who are the immovable bedrock by nearly wrecking the pension system. It's now getting hard to find traditional Tory voters (and MPs) who aren't furious with them.

Conference will be interesting...

72:

Thanks for the sensible breakout, Charlie.

Your mention of the National Front reminded me of the following. (h/t a shipmate, roommate, once cellmate from Liverpool -- Mick, hope you're all right mate)

TRB: The Winter of '79

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6nrb1qWLI4

All you kids that just sit and whine

You should have been there back in '79

You say we're giving you a real hard time

You boys are really breaking my heart

Spurs beat Arsenal, what a game

The blood was running in the drains

Intercity took the trains

And really took the place apart

That was the year Nan Harris died

And Charlie Jones committed suicide

The world we knew busted open wide

In the winter of '79

I'd been working on and off

A pint of beer was still ten bob

My brand new Bonneville got ripped off

I more or less give up trying

They stopped the Social in the spring

And quite a few communists got run in

And National Service come back in

In the winter of '79

When Marco's caff went up in flames

The Vambo boys took the blame

The SAS come and took our names

In the winter of '79

It was us poor bastards took the chop

When the tubes gone up and the buses stopped

Top folks still come out on top

The government never resigned

The Carib Club got petrol bombed

The National Front was getting awful strong

They done in Dave and Dagenham Ron

In the winter of '79

When all the gay geezers got put inside

And coloured kids was getting crucified

A few fought back and a few folks died

In the winter of '79

73:

Peter F. Hamilton wrote a trilogy ("Mindstar Rising", etc) which was set in a post-climate change UK (orange groves in London public parks) which had just emerged from a quasi-civil war 10 years earlier needed to oust a communist-fascist-clueless dictatorship

Definitely a left-wing dictatorship, as the revolution was led by a corporation with off-shore assets and one of the consequences was things like private policing (ie. if you can't afford the police, they won't investigate your murder etc.).

I quite liked it, but the politics felt very Campbellian.

74:

Imagine Charles going full-on for a British version of MAGA

Not going to happen, for reasons too numerous and tedious to list here.

75:

This is really annoying. Every time something like that is posted I think "no, of course not, there's only one reason: OGH has good taste" and then I realise there's another Charles in an important position now and the comment is probably about him.

This is needlessly confusing. I think we need to fix this by making these collisions less likely. Since we don't know who might become well-known, and different subgroups of humanity have different well-known people, this reduces to a strict limit: all names should be globally, spatiotemporally unique! Yes they might be a bit hard to remember and harder to abbreviate but that's a price we'll just have to pay.

Yrs, the bpfh now known as 2f7d19f6-fa87-4a4d-863c-42f25d4e2070

76:

Charlie/Nic @ 74/5
What outsiders really don't seem to grok is that Royalty ( In the UK ) is often happier with Labour/real Liberal gvumints & PM's is that the tories, for all their flag-waving, actually believe that they should rule EVERYTHING, without the nasty little/large actual Head of State "getting in the way"
See also: Geo V in 1926 - "I want to be King of ALL my people"

Nic
Easy.
Charlie is Charlie / OGH
Our new monarch is CIII { Also "Speaker-to-vegetables" } - who actually turned out to be right, all along, oops.

77:

Charlie Stross @ 8:

History tells us that when a major political faction is eliminated it leaves a power vacuum behind. In the case of the Tories, that power vacuum would be on the hard right.

If we lucked out, it would simply mean that Labour (or maybe the LibDems) would colonise that part of the political map and be slightly kinder, softer Tories for the first generation.

So what's it going to take to get a government by a party that represents the non-billionaire part of the U.K.; one that benefits MOST people?

78:

Income and asset caps so there aren't any rich people.

If money creates security you get a feedback where the only way to be safe is to have all the money. Almost everyone's lives are worse than they needed to be in consequence.

If you can't get rich, your security is necessarily collective, social, and collaborative, which in reality it was anyway but it's much easier to do if you aren't trying to save whatever you have left from an extremely rich person who does not find themself rich enough.

It's rather starkly an either-or-choice about what kind of world there is to live in.

79:

SFReader @ 12:

Any insights into connections across/between the various fascist parties that have been springing up all over Europe?

You should look to the activities of Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort & Roger Stone and who is funding them? Bannon has been very active stirring up the reich wing in Europe; especially eastern & southern Europe. Manafort was an "advisor" to Viktor Yanukovych before Yanukovych fled to Russia after the Euromaiden protests in Ukraine. Stone got his start in politics as one of Nixon's CREEP dirty-tricksters.

80:

Pigeon @ 46:

It's a nice fantasy, and I think it will happen right after Trumpolini announces on Truth Social that he was only kidding, Biden DID WIN the election.

81:

Scurra @ 49:

Got a link to an explanation of these "Freeport plans"? Google doesn't help much over here on the farside of the Atlantic.

All I get are "plans" from the city council in "Freeport" any U.S. state ... and there seem to be quite a few of them, I think maybe at least 50. After that there's a Freeport in the Bahamas & one in Africa ...

82:

Pers @ 54:

How difficult is it to stage a military coup? Asking for a friend...

Not difficult enough.

83:

Households in London might ‘gain’ £1600, but my rough calculation is we will be paying £8000 more on our mortgage next year, so the regional inequalities work in both directions.

(Unless you are lucky enough to own a home outright, but it that case you are very likely being screwed by prices rising faster than pension)

85:

Greg Tingey @ 63:

David L
I assume "red clay is a particularly infertile soil that also compacts horribly & is difficult to break up, or improve?

Red clay "soil". About the only thing that grows well in it is Kudzu.

86:

There are coups from above, and coups from below.....

Watch this half hour video and be prepared to be scared for American democracy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YjY00Cd_MI

87:

Whether its American MAGA or British Brexit, it is all driven by fear of being overwhelmed by non-white immigrants.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukzROkKRLEY

88:

Although you might want to wait until after the November elections to see if the MAGAtry is going to try to nuke our politics as well.

I am rather more hopeful about November than I was six months ago. Events which give me hope:

  • Supreme Court negated Roe vs Wade
  • Kansas(!) decisively voted to keep abortion legal
  • Lindsey Graham introduced a nationwide ban on abortions
  • Every Democratic candidate in November is going to run on those. Won't matter to MAGA-hats of course, but matters a great deal to independents. Especially those of XX presuasion.

    89:

    scared for American democracy.

    It does amaze me that the USA is so keen have its elections run by partisan, elected officials. Especially the bit where some officials have to directly run and certify the election for their successor. I suspect that anywhere else the USA would take that as evidence of corruption and wrongdoing. The video kind of circles around this problem, taking it as an unchangeable fact of the system. But it seems that the only immediate response is to do the same thing, starting later and with less funding.

    I kind of dislike the "here's a problem. The end" pieces.

    As mentioned before, the Australian Electoral Commission can be hired to run any election in a free and fair manner.

    90:

    This week's mess is like Dobbs or the Brexit vote: get what you want too early, and you have nothing left to use for campaign/fundraising fodder.

    Yes, that thought makes the pounding hail of fundraising messages based on them bearable. You're absolutely right.

    91:

    I am rather more hopeful about November than I was six months ago.

    I'm considerably more hopeful too. Now, if only the MAGAtry would stop trying to do bad Putin skits by saying they'll nuke budget negotiations if they get in power, they...

    ...Well, it's nice for them to take the censors off and tell us what sewer their conscience is growing in. So that's me being optimistic again.

    92:

    I'm kinda of puzzling through one of those "combine several bad ideas and get something good" chains. Loosely:

    • petitions to government that have popular support but not political support
    • government initiated referendums, like the one that gave us Brexit
    • citizen initiated referendums, like the one that crippled California
    • citizen's juries, like the one that liberalised abortion in Ireland
    • 'advisory votes' like the Australian same-sex marriage plebeshite
    • court vetos on popular measures, like the US abortion disaster

    I'm mulling over the idea of binding referendums that come from petitions via citizen's juries.

    The idea is that if you get a certain level of popular support (5% of voters in 50% of states/provinces?) a citizen's jury must be established and funded, with similar powers to a commission of inquiry (including the right to compel witnesses who thereby gain immunity). That jury must establish the wording for a referendum, including the actual text of the legislation. Referendum then goes to the public and if passed becomes law. Highest court can declare that the proposed law is invalid, must explain why, and the jury has to fix it. After three attempts it goes to the people anyway, if necessary as a constitutional amendment.

    93:

    The Democratic Party is what the Republican Party used to be fifty years ago. As writer Chris Hedges explained it: the Democratic Party went conservative and the Republicans insane.

    Really, both parties are really grifts pretending to be political parties and where the job is getting as much bribes as possible while pretending to run the country. The goal is to loot as much as they can for as long as they can and the social issues is smokescreen. The only real difference is that one party will kill you more quickly than the other.

    When it comes to abortion, guns, or trans rights it’s all a smoke screen.

    Mention the collapsing healthcare system? Abortion! Baby killers! Women haters!

    The collapsing school system and the unaffordability of college? Police brutality? Extensive hunger and homelessness? Guns! Trans rights! Child molesters! Crime! Racism!!

    It does not matter what anyone’s views are. It only matters to distract from the increasing government dysfunction and corruption, hunger, homelessness, lack of healthcare, real jobs, Covid, etc.

    94:

    It does amaze me that the USA is so keen have its elections run by partisan, elected officials.

    It has worked for a very very long time. The problem is that everyone mostly played by the rules. Until... Trump came along and told a large number of idiots that the reason they were not in charge is that the "others" were lying and cheating. Unspoken was that said idiots would have to lie and cheat to win. So the idiots started tossing out the ration folks ON THEIR SIDE and working to get liars and cheaters into office so the rightful winners would win.

    BTW - This entire debate on elected vs appointed vs non-partisan is a red herring. At the end of the day if the wrong guy gets to appoint, you wind up with the bad guys doing their thing.

    95:

    Well there's an idea -- let's piss off the, from memory, the only native people to ever force the British to a treaty. What could possibly go wrong... Do they not understand WHY there was a treaty??

    96:

    citizen initiated referendums, like the one that crippled California

    I think you're falling for Republican propaganda, since they're the ones who defend Proposition 13 as a sacred gift. There have been a bunch of workarounds (Mello-Roos, for example).

    I do remember when my parents voted for Prop 13, and at that point, the California legislature was really out of control with tax increases, and they were worried about keeping our house. I've heard an analysis from someone who knows that the problem with Proposition 13 was that they set the tax increase rate slightly too low, and its defenders won't reopen it for fine-tuning.

    Anyway, California started the citizen's initiative process when they were justifiably worried about massive corruption in the state legislature. While it's clunky and expensive, I don't think it's quite so stupid as it's made out to be. I've been involved in a couple of them locally, and they're useful for killing bad developments when the developer's bought the deciding body.

    97:

    You missed you should’ve called his post “Anarchy in the UK.”

    98:

    This entire debate on elected vs appointed vs non-partisan is a red herring

    Let's try a different example: the referendums recently held to decide how some Russian territories should be aligned. The partisan process for running the referendums seemed odd to me, but you presumably think it was acceptable? If not, why is the USA special in that regard? Where's the line that magically makes the elected government choosing who wins the election acceptable?

    99:

    Do they not understand WHY there was a treaty??

    I think they assume that what we have now is an unquestionable base from which to build. Maori are peaceful now, therefore Maori will always be peaceful.

    In a way they're right, looking around the world at governments that are actively ... violating the rights of... even quite large chunks of their subjects, and there's fuck all active rebellion. Often not even much in the way of active opposition, let alone a popular opposition movement.

    Comparing the US, UK, Iran and Russia it seems that the line is somewhere between widespread use of arbitrary arrest and detention, and actively killing off unwanted sub-groups. Merely forcing most of the population into poverty isn't enough, nor is ignoring problems that will obviously be disasters in the future but right now are survivable.

    100:

    87 - For values of "non-white" that mean being one or more of "not IC-1", "not from Europe or North America" or "not a rich bar steward".

    92 - Moz, (2) and (5) on your list are potentially identical, as in the case of WrecksIt, where Scamoron self-described his referendumb as "advisory", right up until Ingurlundshire voted slimly for WrecksIt.

    101:

    (We may also be getting a preview of the kind of chaos the USA can expect if the current Supreme Court get to rule on contraception, interracial marriage, divorce ...)

    Or if the Supreme Court steps in to decide the winner of the 2024 Presidential Election, as it did in 2000...

    102:

    Generally speaking here in Canada, referenda are used to kill an idea to which a government does not want to be too closely attached.

    Referenda are also often used by various random groups to attack the current government, regardless of the actual content of the question.

    On top of that, very few people bother to vote in referenda. They have the advantage of an appearance of democracy, while mostly being a place for the excessively passionate axe grinders to holler. On paper they look great, but they often end up killing good policies, or (worse) forcing through awful policies (see Brexit).

    Any solution to ongoing issues is going to have to find a way to account for the 30% of the population that are either dangerously stupid, actively destructive or willing to exploit the first two.

    The last few years have been a decisive rebuttal of the notion that if we just give the people the best information we have, they will support and participate in making the right choices about life and policies.

    103:

    The idea of a citizen's jury, and it seems to work in practice, is that small groups of people are more pro-social than larger ones. Even the sort of person who actively wants to vote for fascists is rarely capable of making a good argument for fascism to a small-ish group of focused people. Experience suggests that swaying a citizen's jury is mostly done by limiting their access to information and/or convincing them that their deliberations mean nothing, the decision has already been made.

    104:

    On present form, overnight, before the headbangerstory conference, it looks like they are going to try doubling down & bulling through, whilst trying to hide internal "don't do it!" reports {OBR}.
    Whether they will get away with it, remains to be seen between now & Monday.

    Dramlin
    I have an interest here .... Some NZ/Aotearoa fuckwits are trying to negate "Waitangi" ??

    105:

    Prop. 13 was written by Paul Gann to protect LA landlords from tax increases.

    106:

    So, you seem to be saying that the only way to ensure that elections are free and fair is to have them controlled by people who are not elected? What does that say about the value of elections?

    107:

    So what's it going to take to get a government by a party that represents the non-billionaire part of the U.K.; one that benefits MOST people?

    The somewhat chilling conclusion I get when I ask this question is that we will only get a party of the non-billionaires when there are no more billionaires.

    Other societies have dealt with this same problem. France, for example, in 1789, had it: only rather than identifying the parasitic elite purely by wealth they did so by class (the aristocracy, many of whom were as impoverished as everyone else). And they chose the most drastic way of downsizing their problematic group.

    We can in principle do better -- a progressive wealth tax or asset tax could work over a period of decades without the need for heads on pikes or radical expropriation. But as long as we have a politics that is bought and sold on their behalf the political will to do better is missing. So things will get worse until we reach the inevitable point of explosion.

    108:

    Dramlin & NecroMoz
    It's worse, because, AIUI, the Treaty of Waitangi { Te tiriti o Waitangi } is the FOUNDING DOCUMENT of "New Zealand" - isn't it?

    109:

    What do you mean here? The actual conduct of UK elections led by civil servants is something like 99.9999% (significant figures used actually are significant) despite the Con Party's claims that there is a need for better voter identification at the polls.

    110:

    Charlie: We can in principle do better [than the French Revolution] -- a progressive wealth tax or asset tax could work over a period of decades without the need for heads on pikes or radical expropriation.

    There is in fact a very good precedent for that. The people who used to be the landed aristocracy in the UK (think Downton Abbey) lost their land and power over a period of about 50 years thanks mostly to inheritance taxes, which peaked at 80% (eliding details) in 1969. Having to pay over half of your estate's value in cash every 30 years or so meant that most of the great houses were made over to the National Trust and the rented-out farms that funded them were sold off, along with quite a lot of great art.

    In theory we still have substantial death duties. The problem today is that Moneyland treats taxation as damage and routes around it. This is an international problem rather than a national one, and it needs an international solution. That agreement about a minimum 15% corporation tax is a start, but we need a lot more.

    111:

    Some day "tax haven" and "pariah state" are mainstream synonyms, but we all live surrounded by an ideological bubble that makes seeing them as synonyms appear niche.

    112:

    TRB: The Winter of '79 [lyrics elided]

    Also from the 1970s:

    Sling another chair leg on the fire, Mother by Pan Ayres. Its simultaneously nostalgic and prophetic right now. I won't post the full version because copyright, but here's a link, and if that goes down try just googling the title.

    If you haven't encountered Pam Ayres before, give her a try. "They should have asked my husband" is lovely and barbed: I often wonder what it must be like to be so strong, Infallible, articulate, self-confident and wrong. Its a warning too.

    113:

    Similar effect in Queensland IIRC, Labour there had the nice lady saying "we won't privatise absolutely everything"

    Well as much as the ALP formed out of the Queensland shearers' strikes of the 1890s, in Queensland it's been tied up with the coal mining unions for most of the time since. Nonetheless Queensland has just committed to quitting coal for power generation by 2035.

    114:

    France, for example, in 1789

    It does seem that solution isn't available today, for both good and bad reasons. I think a current nation state technically could enact it via covert operations, but a new revolutionary one probably could not.

    115:

    "We can in principle do better -- a progressive wealth tax or asset tax could work over a period of decades without the need for heads on pikes or radical expropriation. But as long as we have a politics that is bought and sold on their behalf the political will to do better is missing. So things will get worse until we reach the inevitable point of explosion."

    History shows both results, the outcome depends on the wisdom of the ruler in charge.

    From Will Durant's "Lessons of History":

    VIII. Economics and History

    "Since practical ability differs from person to person, the majority of such abilities, in nearly all societies, is gathered in a minority of men. The concentration of wealth is a natural result of this concentration of ability, and regularly recurs in history. The rate of concentration varies (other factors being equal) with the economic freedom permitted by morals and the laws."

    "In the Athens of 594 B.C., according to Plutarch, "the disparity of fortune between the rich and the poor had reached its height, so that the city seemed to be in a dangerous condition, and no other means for freeing it from disturbances . . . seemed possible but despotic power." 35 The poor, finding their status worsened with each year the government in the hands of their masters, and the corrupt courts deciding every issue against them-began to talk of violent revolt. The rich, angry at the challenge to their property, prepared to defend themselves by force. Good sense prevailed; moderate elements secured the election of Solon, a businessman of aristocratic lineage, to the supreme archonship. He devaluated the currency, thereby easing the burden of all debtors (though he himself was a creditor); he reduced all personal debts, and ended imprisonment for debt; he canceled arrears for taxes and mortgage interest; he established a graduated income tax that made the rich pay at a rate twelve times that required of the poor; he reorganized the courts on a more popular basis; and he arranged that the sons of those who had died in war for Athens should be brought up and educated at the government's expense. The rich protested that his measures were outright confiscation; the radicals complained that he had not redivided the land; but within a generation almost all agreed that his reforms had saved Athens from revolution."

    "The Roman Senate, so famous for its wisdom, adopted an uncompromising course when the concentration of wealth approached an explosive point in Italy; the result was a hundred years of class and civil war. Tiberius Gracchus, an aristocrat elected as tribune of the people, proposed to redistribute land by limiting ownership to 333 acres per person, and alloting surplus land to the restive proletariat of the capital. The Senate rejected his proposals as confiscatory. He appealed to the people, telling them, "You fight and die to give wealth and luxury to others; you are called the masters of the world, but there is not a foot of ground that you can call your own." 37 Contrary to Roman law, he campaigned for re-election as tribune; in an election-day riot he was slain (133 B.C.). His brother Caius, taking up his cause, failed to prevent a renewal of violence, and ordered his servant to kill him; the slave obeyed, and then killed himself (121 B.C.); three thousand of Caius' followers were put to death by Senatorial decree."

    "In one aspect the Reformation was a redistribution of this wealth by the reduction of German and English payments to the Roman Church, and by the secular appropriation of ecclesiastical property and revenues. The French Revolution attempted a violent redistribution of wealth by Jacqueries in the countryside and massacres in the cities, but the chief result was a transfer of property and privilege from the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie. The government of the United States, in 1933-52 and 1960-65, followed Solon's peaceful methods, and accomplished a moderate and pacifying redistribution; perhaps someone had studied history. The upper classes in America cursed, complied, and resumed the concentration of wealth."

    "We conclude that the concentration of wealth is natural and inevitable, and is periodically alleviated by violent or peaceable partial redistribution. In this view all economic history is the slow heartbeat of the social organism, a vast systole and diastole of concentrating wealth and compulsive recirculation."

    Two lessons to draw from history:

  • The rich and powerful will never stop opposing laws that restrict their accumulation of wealth and power, and if such laws are passed they won't rest until these laws are gelded or overturned completely (see history of the republican and Tory parties).

  • Sensible and moderate rulers that achieve peaceful redistribution of wealth, rulers like Solon and FDR, are very rare. Wealth concentration and subsequent redistribution are more or less inevitable (unless the wealth and powerful create a police state to protect their wealth and power - which only delays the inevitable and makes the explosion bigger when it happens). For the most part, wealth redistribution occurs violently.

  • 116:

    EC @ 24:

    No, the hard core Tory supporters will move only from Conservative to National Front. It's the unthinking masses that do what the media tell them - "It's the Sun wot won it" had a lot of truth in it.

    Be careful there, "unthinking masses" is a pretty close synonym for "sheeple". Simply writing off people who disagree with you as the puppets of propaganda is a dangerous attitude; when people who believe that get into power the results are never good. This comes back to my favourite irregular verb: I know the facts, you have opinions, he's biased, they've been brainwashed.

    As for the newspapers, how much do they really matter today? Newspaper circulation has been in steady decline ever since the Internet began, with no real prospect of a recovery. Murdoch's survival strategy hinges on creating a tax on Google and Facebook to be given to him. And newspaper journalists have also been sinking pretty low in public estimation. My parents regarded the Daily Mail as a more reliable source of news than the BBC. That is clearly not a majority view today. Not to mention the increasing number of people who get their news from social media.

    I remember when the UK was better in that respect, though the tribalism was worse, and realised that our political system was fundamentally broken then (1960s). What is nominally a representative democracy has become a demagogocracy, and you need to either change the demagogues or get the people to stop following their instructions.

    I think its always been a demagogocracy. In fact I find it difficult to imagine any political system which doesn't reward demagoguery to some extent. Ultimately all politicians have to appeal to people who don't have the time and energy to be political policy wonks, and that means short-circuiting the complicated bits.

    The countries I can think of that have significantly improved in a short period have all had popular and usually bloodless revolutions - violent ones and those led by a clique rarely improve things. Attlee's government worked because the people wanted real improvement - there was some of that in Thatcher's early period, but I don't remember another UK example. The causes of and solutions to this debacle lie with the population as a whole, not with party labels.

    As a habitual optimist (unusual round here, I admit) I'm hoping that this will be another of those occasions. Thatcherism was a necessary antidote to the "British Disease" of the 60s and 70s, but it was clearly played out by about 2000. Subsequent attempts to be More Thatcher ran up against the fact that all the chronic money sinks in the UK economy had already been closed down or privatised, social spending had already been cut to the bone, and taxes couldn't be lowered any further without borrowing to cover the difference.

    Then we had the financial crash of 2007. The Labour government got the blame, only somewhat unfairly (they could have regulated banks better if they had wanted to, but it was an international crisis rather than just a UK one). And ever since then its been "austerity and borrowing because we have to grow the economy". But since then its become increasingly obvious that the economic boom of the 80s just isn't going to happen again because the economic policies that created it have been used up.

    Any proposal to go back to the 1970s was and is an electoral non-starter, something that both Tony Blair and Keir Starmer realise(d), but Corbyn didn't.

    So now we have an imploding Tory party and a resurgent, confident Labour party that actually aims to win. Starmer is plainly playing a long strategic game around the principle of "Don't lose the election", while the Tories are clearly doing everything possible to lose the election. So I see Starmer as PM after the next election, with a mandate to sort out the mess, increase taxes on the wealthy, cautiously increase social spending with careful controls, keep the unions on a tight rein, repair relations with the EU, start paying down the debt, and make real progress towards net zero CO2.

    Meantime the Tories are likely headed for the same kind of electoral wilderness as Labour after 1979. Their ideology has been exploded, but they don't have anything to put in its place. At the same time they have driven out all the pragmatic people who might actually be able to govern effectively. They will occupy much the same space that the Millitant Tendency did in the 80s: noisy, but politically irrelevant.

    117:

    Blaming it all on Trump is convenient but it memory-holes all the ghastly things Republicans have been working towards for decades. Donald just had the bad form to say it out loud repeatedly. But What If We Didn’t whistlestops the highlights.

    118:

    The somewhat chilling conclusion I get when I ask this question is that we will only get a party of the non-billionaires when there are no more billionaires.

    I differ on this, but think the fight-back on billionaires is already happening (read: Russia).

    The EU commission I think gets the issue - that eroding billionaires riches by tax (per Piketty) is essential, but a long fight. The crucial organisations in a position to do this are the EU and the US: billionaires already get to play lesser states off against each other. And the other side understands this: the EU and US must be destroyed. Hence Brexit and upcoming civil war/sesession in the US.

    Its a game neither side will admit to playing (yet).

    119:

    Paul
    The UK was certainly a demogogracy in the period 1919-39 - look at D Sayers' social descriptions in her novels as period pieces, & look at the total arseholes running the then "Mail "& "Express" - Rothermere & Beaverbrook, respectively.

    Amckinstry
    Yes ... it's absolutely certainly why the Brexshiteers wanted us out of the EU.
    As for the US, it looks as though the upcoming mid-terms are vital, more vital than 2024, because if the "R's" get control of the "House" this year, then we are completely fucked over.

    120:

    I'm just hoping that when labour do get into power, they don't fall into their usual trap of letting the perfect be the enemy of "good enough".

    Whilst labour under Starmer may be Tory-lite, I'm content to stomach that for the next decade when the alternative is what we have right now.

    I would also hold back on any hopes for really drastic policy changes, particularly around taxing billionaires. This week the UK economy was crashed on what looks like a fairly small change - reduce income tax for most people by 1%, reverse a 1.25% rise in national insurance, and eliminate the highest income tax rate, which is a reduction of 5% on earnings over £150k.

    Any serious attempts to tax billionaires will need to be ratcheted up gently over a long time period. For that to work, we need the conservatives to disappear for a generation or two.

    121:

    Actually, the converse is the problem with New Labour - i.e. not doing that actually tackles the real problems because they are politically controversial (*). Bugger details like taxing billionaires; the critical actions are to at least start remedying the UK's structural dysfunctions (political, economic and social). If that is not done, we shall simply see an even worse version of the current lot back again. And I don't see a hope in hell of it being done.

    (*) And that's ignoring the active harm that Blair did.

    122:

    JBS asks about UK freeports

    All I get are "plans" from the city council in "Freeport" any U.S. state ... and there seem to be quite a few of them, I think maybe at least 50. After that there's a Freeport in the Bahamas & one in Africa ...

    I can explain how Freeports in the UK used to work, by way of example: Tilbury (East London port/storage area near the M25, the circular motorway around London).

    One of my wine merchants had all their French wine stored at London City Bond (LCB) at Tilbury Docks -- including some that actually belonged to me. So I went there to pick it up. First, there is security to go through manned by ex-Gurkhas, who at least looked through the boot. Then I found the warehouse belonging to LCB -- actually quite a long way through what is essentially an industrial estate. Collected wine, and got checked over again by the Gurkhas.

    Now, what exactly is a Freeport, you ask? Well its effectively an area that acts as a designated bonded warehouse, and in which goods can be moved between different properties on the industrial estate without taxes or duty being paid for the transfers. For comparison when I get my wines out of a bonded store, I am required to pay Duty (at £26.78 per case of twelve bottles), and VAT (at 20%). Plus VAT on the Duty -- of course!

    Now VAT is like a sales tax to end users, but differs in that at each stage that an economic activity takes place a certain amount of tax is levied. This tax is paid by the buyer, but can be reclaimed in full when that buyer sells on.

    The Freeport thus eases this VAT payment/reclaim cycle reducing the amount of working capital a business requires. And in any decent world that's about it as far as the benefits of a freeport are concerned.

    But, a freeport offers far more interesting opportunities for the less honest. The most notorious involved -- yes -- LCB, and was called The Swerve. (Outline here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/4376555.stm ). In outline, you load up bonded goods into your van/lorry drive out of the gate and then sell the goods on, forgetting the obligation to pay VAT and Duty.

    In addition the new freeport proposals from our government include the ability to avoid all planning restrictions. So, for example, if you want to process dangerous chemicals you currently need to go through a planning process whereby the local council evaluates your proposal and checks that you are obeying all of the relevant rules on safe operation. This is what Truss really wants to get rid of. So Freeports will be able to do anything without planning control up to 75 miles from the actual Freeport. As you can imagine -- given Coventry is the town furthest from the sea in England at 75 miles -- this loop hole will permit unregulated ecological destruction without any political control.

    Does that help; at least a bit?

    123:

    That's taking things out of context. I was responding to @JayDzed's "Just like any other committed cultist, the hard-core Tory supporters will effortlessly swallow whatever their media tells them, and then go on believing the exact same ideologies." and pointing out that that group is actually NOT the hard-core Tory supporters (who are stuck in a mindset of 50 years back). Anyone who does what @JayDzed describes IS unthinking and, unfortunately, there ARE a lot of them.

    Also media does not mean just newspapers, and the electing public uses social media much less than the populace as a whole.

    Do you remember the 1960s? In the post-war years, political tribalism was worse than it is today, but there was VASTLY more variation in the media, and far more of the electorate were politically aware than today. That changed as people forgot the war years (and even rationing), and by deliberate action of Thatcher and her successors. No, the UK has not always been the demagogocracy that it is today.

    What most people miss is that representative democracies are unstable, and need ongoing, active efforts to stop them degenerating into demagogocracies or tribalist governments. They also tend to be tyrannical towards unpopular minorities. Other governmental systems have other failure modes.

    Yes, Starmer may prove to be a well-disguised radical, but that's not the smart way to bet.

    124:

    As for the newspapers, how much do they really matter today? Newspaper circulation has been in steady decline ever since the Internet began, with no real prospect of a recovery.

    In the US most of what is left of regular subscribers are the older folks. Who are set in their ways and don't like all the change around them.

    I'm fairly certain there's a high correlation of newspaper subscribers and those who still have a land line phone. And pay their bills via checks put in their personal mailbox with the flag up. (Then complain on Nextdoor about their checks being stolen.)

    125:

    Meantime the Tories are likely headed for the same kind of electoral wilderness as Labour after 1979. Their ideology has been exploded, but they don't have anything to put in its place. At the same time they have driven out all the pragmatic people who might actually be able to govern effectively.

    This sounds a lot like the current situation in the US. But here the R's mostly aren't going to vote for the D's no matter what. To them a bad candidate is so much better than an evil one. For you see, the D's are evil.

    126:

    Blaming it all on Trump is convenient but it memory-holes all the ghastly things Republicans have been working towards for decades. Donald just had the bad form to say it out loud repeatedly

    I was referring to a narrow point. Election running. Our partisan system of voting officials has been working well for a long time. Especially after modern media made things like Chicago's Daley machine harder to operate.

    But Trump has worked hard, and somewhat successfully, to destroy that aspect of US politics.

    Up to now the highly partisan and competitive state of NC has had statistically zero issues with counting votes. That may change in 2022 or 2024 as the Trump fanatics are hounding the good guys out of the process.

    127:

    Also media does not mean just newspapers, and the electing public uses social media much less than the populace as a whole.

    Yes. And no.

    The 1 in 10 or 20 older farts that hang out on FB or worse, spread the nonsense to their friends. So social media drives the messages. So much better than when people like my mother would sign up for the crazy magazines and newsletters and regal her friends with all kinds of nonsense.

    128:

    Let's try a different example:

    My point is all of these setups is open to being taken over by the "bad guys" who have no interest in playing by the rules. They just want to win.

    At some point those civil servants report to some elected official.

    Our local (below the state level) governments are mostly a manager type. There is a city or county council that is elected. They can pass ordinances (within some narrow boundaries set by the state) and hire in general 3 people. A lawyer, a secretary (which now can be a small staff), and a manager. The manager gets to hire and fire everyone else. (Well within some rules.) But it means the council can't fire the 3rd level dog catcher because he picked up the loose barking dog in a neighborhood that belonged to a friend. So as long as the manager doesn't piss off a majority of the council he gets free reign. But a majority of the council CAN pick a city manager who will do their bidding if they want and things can go down hill. Which happens every now and again.

    129:

    EC @ 123:

    Do you remember the 1960s?

    Not personally, I was busy being born. But I sort-of remember the 1970s. I've also read The Trouble With Lichen by John Wyndham, which satirises the UK politics and media around 1960.

    In the post-war years, political tribalism was worse than it is today, but there was VASTLY more variation in the media, and far more of the electorate were politically aware than today.

    From what I remember the choice of demagogue to listen to was part of your tribal identity, along with the colour of scarf you wore on match days.

    What most people miss is that representative democracies are unstable, and need ongoing, active efforts to stop them degenerating into demagogocracies or tribalist governments. They also tend to be tyrannical towards unpopular minorities. Other governmental systems have other failure modes.

    I'm more optimistic (see above). Representative democracies may sometimes vote in demagogues, but their policies never live up to their grandiose policies, they get voted out, and that's it for another 20 or 30 years until the next time.

    Of course if the basic principle of representative democracy gets overthrown, and elections cease to be free and fair, then all bets are off. But (OP notwithstanding) I don't think we are any where near there yet. The 2024 election will happen as legally required, it will be free and fair, and unless they make some horrendous blunder Labour will very likely win.

    *Yes, Starmer may prove to be a well-disguised radical, but that's not the smart way to bet.

    I don't think he is a radical, and I don't think the policies I suggested are radical. For the most part they are what he has already said he is going to do. He is pitching himself as a safe pair of hands who can be trusted to manage the economy in a responsible way, unlike those feckless Tories.

    This in itself is a huge turnabout; in the past its been a standard claim of the Tories that Labour can't be trusted with the economy and that the Tories have always been the ones who care about spending responsibly not running up huge national debts. Truss and Krazy have just blown that reputation out of the water. The last time I remember the IMF getting involved in UK finances was the 1970s. One of Thatcher's big ideas was that the government should stop spending more than it could afford (remember she was a grocer's daughter: managing your cash flow was bred into her bones). The cargo-cult Thatcherism of the current government must have her spinning in her grave.

    If the Tories can't credibly claim to be the Safe Pair Of Hands, then Starmer looks like a much better bet. He presents as a non-radical safe pair of hands who isn't in hock to any extreme ideology of either Left or Right. As a result the coming General Election might be the first one in my life where I actually vote Labour. And I don't think I'll be the only one.

    130:

    The same logic applies to those who read newspapers, look at the internet, or watch television, all of which are more common among the elderly electorate. Also, the important factor is not just how it was spread, but how it was started, and social media rarely does that. There has been some research, and social media has very little political effect in the UK. The USA may be different.

    131:

    "This will discredit low tax, destroy the state ideologies for ever in the eyes of the British public. "

    If there's one thing that we've learned (yet again) is that destruction does not hurt the right. They can both flourish in rubble, and are good at blocking attempts to fix the damage while blaming the fixers.

    132:

    "Really, both parties are really grifts pretending to be political parties..."

    We really need less 'Nach Hitler, uns' and other 'both sides' sh*t.

    133:

    During the Tory party leadership election, when it came down to a choice between fairly competent evil and incompetent evil, I was conflicted over which would be worse. Shows how naive I was. When the party electorate decided that they didn't want the brown one, we got incompetent evil and haven't we seen the result. I see most conspiracy theories as being a comfortable fairy tale to make us feel better. OK, bad people are secretly running everything, but at least some one is running everything. The idea that Truss and Kwarteng meant to crash the pound, nearly crash most of the pension funds and spark a government bond sell off in order to further their nutter ideology would be nice, as it means they actually knew what they are doing. The reality is likely far far worse. OK, they have managed in a week to alienate almost all the groups who provide the majority of their votes, home owners and the retired, but the damage that is going to be caused before they can be replaced, either a Tory PM this side of Barking, or Keith Starmer's New New Labour, is immense. I'm sort of getting used to gauging how I respond to everything changes events. Brexit, COVID, etc. My initial response is bemusement, followed by fear, but I don't predict the impact, over months, let alone years accurately, so I can't really add a lot to the discussion on that front. 40 years ago, I was a teenager. Back then, there were Conservatives in power, the economy had tanked in to a major recession from their policies, very high inflation, loads of folk on strike and a nuclear war could break out at any moment and end it for everyone. 40 years later, there are Conservatives in power, the economy is tanking in to a major recession due to their policies, there is high inflation, loads of folk on strike and a nuclear war could break out at any moment and end it for everyone. Oh well. A lot of stuff in the intervening years was fun.

    134:

    What do you mean here?

    I was responding to some red herrings describing the US election system as magical thinking and comparing it to the recent fake referendums in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory. They seemed to be missing the basic concept that since elections are a good way to secure popular control over government, they are also a good way to secure popular control over the elections process.

    The downside of the US electoral system has been widespread disenfranchisement and discriminatory voting regulations. The Voting Rights Act dismantled Jim Crow voting restrictions, but now the Voting Rights Act has been effectively neutralized and the new Jim Crow is being enacted. But the cure for electoral disfunction is the same as the disease. Vote the bastards out.

    135:

    Back then, there were also a lot of anti-war/anti-right-wing protest songs in the charts (and some bands did nothing else), and shows by comedians like Ben Elton and Rik Mayall taking the piss out of the Tories all the time for their excesses. Is there anything like that now? I'd not see it personally these days, but I'd still expect to hear of it at nth hand if it was a significant phenomenon. I haven't, and it seems to me that that itself is significant.

    136:

    "Seriously, I had no idea it was possible to crash a G7 economy in less than a week!"

    Somehow I missed this... The fundamental problem is the situation that makes it possible; not as in "the government are shite", but as in the situation being one where the phrase "to crash an economy" even means anything - the entire system being so overwhelmingly based on made-up fictions to the exclusion of reality that even though nothing has actually changed, there can nevertheless be an instant disaster just because somebody says something. Despite numerous historical demonstrations of the rather predictable consequences, the inherent daftness of such a system somehow persistently fails to be noticed.

    137:

    "Back then, there were also a lot of anti-war/anti-right-wing protest songs in the charts (and some bands did nothing else), and shows by comedians like Ben Elton and Rik Mayall taking the piss out of the Tories all the time for their excesses. Is there anything like that now? I'd not see it personally these days, but I'd still expect to hear of it at nth hand if it was a significant phenomenon. I haven't, and it seems to me that that itself is significant."

    It still exists, but not so much. Elton, Mayall and so on could have shows on the BBC then. That wouldn't happen now. The closest, was The Mash Report, which the BBC cancelled, after getting pressure from the unnatural party of government and is now on Dave, I believe.

    With music, I've now idea. I'm as out of it as a high court judge now. You'd need some one who wasn't around forty years ago for that.

    Social media is probably where it is at now, which didn't exist then. Small web sites, blogs too. Easily ignored by most people. You have to go looking for them.

    138:

    "the entire system being so overwhelmingly based on made-up fictions to the exclusion of reality that even though nothing has actually changed, there can nevertheless be an instant disaster just because somebody says something."

    The sort of markets that were affected were ones that deal in the longer term. Bonds, which look years ahead. The people who trade in them saw a commitment to huge borrowing, with no plan to pay it back and reacted accordingly. So they were having a go at predicting the effect of the new Chancellor's policy and didn't like what they saw. The currency devaluation was perhaps more short term. Lots of follow on effects. Bank of England having to buy loads of the bonds to prevent many of the pension funds going bust.

    So made up, yes, but people doing sums on the effects of policies that Truss and Kwarteng were basing on magical thinking and things proven not to work on multiple occasions elsewhere.

    139:

    Re: 'Representative democracies may sometimes vote in demagogues, ...'

    This starts at the local candidate selection level. If you're a member of a political party, it's your responsibility to go the local meetings, assess potential running candidates, etc.

    No idea whether your side of the pond ever gets 'parachute' candidates - not from the locality but the party hierarchy want them elected usu. in 'safe seats'. IMO - this is another way of throwing away your access and responsibility to the democratic process. This can also completely p*ss off the til-then staunchly loyal voters including card-carrying members.

    Duffy@84 Re: 'Lord Mountbatten '

    Interesting - thanks!

    Does Truss have the authority to ram such impactful changes through? And would the House of Lords rubber-stamp this as just another budget or are there enough newly minted Peers there that would at least question it?

    My impression is that most gov'ts tend to take their time when passing anything budget related. Given the consequences so far, I'm guessing Truss pre-sold this plan to her Cabinet as an 'emergency budget' otherwise they might have reined her in.

    https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/budgets

    'In some circumstances (such as following a general election or in a crisis) the government may wish to quickly announce changes to tax and spending instead of waiting until the next budget or spring statement. There is no specific parliamentary procedure that defines an ’emergency budget’ that differentiates it from routine budgets.'

    FYI - The above page was last updated May 2022 - hopefully the author will update it again soon.

    140:

    Something that's not made up; Canada's median age has decreased.

    Just a tick, in a year with high immigration. And we don't know what the life expectancy numbers are due to really delayed death reporting. In the US, it's dropping.

    Demographic swings have economic consequences.

    Social ones, too, and the parties of forced birth are going to plead necessity for getting exactly what they want.

    141:

    Don't follow. Surely the median age dropping in a year with high immigration is what you'd expect to see, because of older people being more set in their ways and less likely to be the ones who up sticks in search of greener grass elsewhere.

    142:

    "No idea whether your side of the pond ever gets 'parachute' candidates - not from the locality but the party hierarchy want them elected usu. in 'safe seats'. " All the time. The same name is even used. There can sometimes be a poor reaction, if the displaced local candidate was popular with their party, or the local electorate.

    "Does Truss have the authority to ram such impactful changes through? And would the House of Lords rubber-stamp this as just another budget or are there enough newly minted Peers there that would at least question it? " It isn't a full budget, more a mini budget. Perhaps better called a "Special Monetary Operation"! Full budgets are considered a confidence issue, so a government losing a vote on them could fall. If I remember correctly, the Lords can't vote against? As this is isn't a full budget, then the possibility of a rebellion by part of the 80 odd Conservative majority could defeat some, or all. Similarly, amendments, or defeats in the Lords could send it back to the Commons. Tory MPs have seen the latest polling figures, which would translate in to almost all of them being kicked out, if there was a general election now, so a rebellion is possible. Their party conference is over the next few days.

    Trouble is, the Commons are in recess till the 10th October while the party conferences happen, so no votes for over a week. Who knows what will happen between now and then.

    143:

    Surely the median age dropping in a year with high immigration is what you'd expect to see, because of older people being more set in their ways and less likely to be the ones who up sticks in search of greener grass elsewhere.

    Don't forget the effects of Covid-19. With deaths skewed toward the elderly, this could also drop the median age.

    144:

    "Does Truss have the authority to ram such impactful changes through?"

    jensnail has answered it, at least roughly. What Mountbatten missed is that there IS a plausible way to mount a coup in the UK - by our elected dictatorship. Say the next King's Speech contains a statement that the government will make the PM commander in chief, and give the PM powers to suspend elections in time of civil unrest. Charles might put his foot down but, if it is in the King's Speech, the Lords are partially hamstrung. Then all she has to do is organise that, and the Scottish referendum offers her plenty of opportunities for that.

    No, this isn't likely, but I wasn't expecting Trash to turn out to be an actual IEA sleeper. Possibly naive of me.

    145:

    Canada is currently having a high immigration rate because of the COVID pause, among other things.

    One of the many reasons for the shortage of labour in Canada is that we stopped bringing in new workers, but kept on dying and/or retiring while continuing not to procreate at replacement levels. Presumably the feds have noticed and are trying to make up for lost time.

    Also we have a long history of stripmining qualified persons from poorer countries (i.e. doctors, nurses, teachers). A fair percentage of my schoolteachers and other professional contacts (doctors) as a child during the 1970s were immigrants from the Phillipines and elsewhere, brought in to fill in huge gaps.

    One inversion effect of that was that the nonwhite persons in our town tended to be relatively wealthy - doctors, teachers, dentists. At least during the oilfield crash of the 80s. Excluding indigenous folks, of course, who were getting brutalized.

    146:

    As mentioned before, the Australian Electoral Commission can be hired to run any election in a free and fair manner.

    ISTR the Nigerians offered a while ago as well, too.

    147:

    let's piss off the, from memory, the only native people to ever force the British to a treaty

    Well, the British signed plenty of treaties in North America. One of the objections the colonists had to the crown was that they insisted that the treaties be kept be kept, rather than allowing squatting and land speculation.

    (Another objection was that those horrible frenchies up the coast were to be allowed their religion rather than being forcibly converted.)

    148:

    "One of Thatcher's big ideas was that the government should stop spending more than it could afford"

    Big selling points, certainly. It was all bollocks though. Paid for by selling off our stuff at knockdown prices and wasting the oil money on tax cutting to win elections. From todays Graun-

    "She learned the hard way that tax cuts for the wealthy merely shifted income to the ruling class without delivering growth dividends. For her neoliberal policies to deliver a semblance of growth, she had to throw into the vicious financial cycle pre-existing public wealth: council houses and public utilities (gas, electricity, water) in particular. In short, Thatcher’s policies boosted growth not because trickle-down worked, but because swathes of society’s common wealth was liquidated at cutdown prices and thrown into the City’s cauldron."

    149:

    jensnail
    it means they actually knew what they are doing. - unfortuantely, you are wrong - it's EXACTLY what they wanted. Trash it, then loot it.
    See my earlier reference to Britannia UnhingedUnchained LINK & look at who the authors were?

    EC
    I wasn't expecting Trash to turn out to be an actual IEA sleeper - again, see my reference above? I was frightened of this & her, from about half-way through the fake "selection" process, when she kept on escaping ....
    { Oh & see also Charlie's references to Tufton St? }

    150:

    I recently joked, that if the Torries continue their shit, London will quite soon look like this:

    http://www.modelwerkes.com/resources/london.JPG

    That was a month ago and the Torries managed to make that outlook look optimistic..

    151:

    One of the many reasons for the shortage of labour in Canada is that we stopped bringing in new workers, but kept on dying and/or retiring while continuing not to procreate at replacement levels.

    Another reason is that employers are unwilling to let the market determine wages, preferring a steady supply of minimum wage serfs too busy to realize that they are on a treadmill. Covid exacerbated that be forcibly pausing people, many of whom realized that a different job would be much better for them — typically by reducing cost of living/commuting.

    Seeing corporate profits and bosses bonuses has also had a ‘screw you’ effect.

    152:

    What I would expect Truss to do to get this through, is threaten to call an election if it is not backed. With present polling the MPs will probably think their chances could be better in some indeterminate future, as opposed to now and go along with it. Would be better if I was wrong, we will see.

    153:

    "No, this isn't likely, but I wasn't expecting Trash to turn out to be an actual IEA sleeper. Possibly naive of me."

    Perhaps a Labour sleeper? :) Just been activated after being in deep cover in the IEA and the Conservative Party. The oppositions finest asset at the moment. They really don't have to do anything. Just let her destroy the Tory's electorally for a generation, if not more. Shame about the country though.

    154:

    "jensnail it means they actually knew what they are doing. - unfortuantely, you are wrong - it's EXACTLY what they wanted. Trash it, then loot it. See my earlier reference to Britannia UnhingedUnchained LINK & look at who the authors were? "

    I'd prefer to live in my nice little world where Trash, Loot and Scarper isn't their plan, but it's getting hard to keep that illusion. I'll sit in the corner and rock back and forth, whimpering for a bit.

    155:

    Re: 'Commons are in recess till the 10th October while the party conferences happen, so no votes for over a week ...'

    Thanks for the info!

    Maybe Truss is betting that some other disaster will distract Brits from what her 'mini-budget' will do to them and the UK economy overall.

    I'm unable to access any reliable UK newspapers - paywalls everywhere. By now I'd expect slews of letters to the editor, editorials and various learned essays/opinion pieces (e.g., London School of Economics dons) on this mini-budget. Just wondering what the range of reactions, interpretations and leading diagnostics for total disaster are.

    156:

    Since Starmer and his backers are unlikely to leave the Tony Blair path, I would recommend Scotland to leave as soon as possible to put a national border between itself and Westminster. But NOT before helping Labour to vote out the parasite/gangster/oligarchy party. And not before helping Labour introduce a proportional voting system. . PS al Jazeera has dug into the ugly machinations inside the Labour party that undermined the former leadership. Unfortunately very few British watch it.

    157:

    But NOT before helping Labour to vote out the parasite/gangster/oligarchy party.

    That won't happen.

    Firstly, Labour are as strongly unionist (anti-independence) as the Conservatives.

    Secondly, Labour consider the SNP to be an existential threat -- which is fair, in Scotland the SNP took their niche as the centre-left party of government -- and instituted a policy of automatically opposing anything the SNP proposed to do, simply because it was the SNP.

    Upshot, there is zero chance of any cooperation between Labour and the SNP. (Indeed, Labour in Scotland is happy to form local coalitions with the Conservatives if it keeps the SNP out of running a local authority.)

    The other pro-independence party with any real political influence, the Scottish Greens, are regrettably relatively minor (although growing significantly in Scotland). And the less said about Alba the better.

    158:

    In other news, La Trussterfuck has pissed off the King so much he's briefing against her.

    And Kwasi Kwarteng, the Chancellor, apparently went from his budget speech to a champagne reception where hedge fund managers egged him on to commit to his plans (investors who stand to profit from it: yes, this is insider trading).

    Oh my. (Reaches for the popcorn.)

    159:

    Indeed. It's on the BBC Web site, too. While he will not attend, I wonder if Prince William will, in his stead :-)

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-63105522

    160:

    157 - Personal account. I had to move from the Western Isles (safe SNP seat) to the central belt (Liebour-SNP marginal) for health reasons in the run-up to the last Scottish Parliament election. I just had time to move my electoral registration to this seat. Liebour increased their majority here by ~2,000 votes, and the Con Party were more or less wiped out. Draw your own conclusions as to the reasons why, or if you can really be bothered you can investigage polling swings by ward.

    158 & 159 - Does the Iron Weathervane actually have the power to instruct the monarch to attend or not attend $event?

    161:

    Re: '... yes, this is insider trading'

    The EU came out with a bunch of new rules/definitions pre-Brexit [see below]. The UK info I've found so far has next to no detail. Insider trading is a 'criminal offense' in both but the penalty is a wrist slap in the UK.

    Anyways, I was just wondering how Kwarteng was going to dance around this to avoid getting labeled criminal - maybe the 2nd sentence?

    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/de/MEMO_14_78

    'The Directive defines the offences: insider dealing, recommending or inducing another person to engage in insider dealing, unlawful disclosure and market manipulation, which should be regarded by Member States as criminal offences at least when they are serious and committed intentionally. In line with the scope of the Market Abuse Regulation, transactions for certain purposes are excluded from the scope: buy-backs and stabilisation programmes, if certain conditions and procedures are complied with, transactions, orders or behaviours carried out in the pursuit of monetary, exchange rate and debt management policy, as well as activities in the pursuit of the Union's Climate Policy, the Union's Common Agricultural and the Union's Common Fisheries Policies.'

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1993/36/part/V/crossheading/the-offence-of-insider-dealing?view=extent

    BTW - below your shared tweet about the champagne party saw another tweet that a petition against this mini-budget has more signatures than 'votes' that elected Truss. (Not an apples-to-apples situation exactly but thought UK folks here might be interested.)

    162:

    Does the Iron Weathervane actually have the power to instruct the monarch to attend or not attend $event?

    i think chuck has got the sense to know defying her wishes this early in his reign (and hers) would set an unfortunate tone

    163:

    Charlie @ 157
    Please update me?
    Are the Scottish "greens" STILL in favour of leaving NATO?
    And hence supporting Putin?
    Or have they decided to join the real world?

    Paws
    If { When } william goes, instead of C III, it will be with daddy's blessing & he can speak freely.
    Actually it makes Trumpss look even worse, I'm glad to say.

    164:

    Elderly Cynic is correct about the need for labour, should it get into power, to actually need to make major structural changes for the UK and importantly, it's population, to survive in decent shape. However the available evidence that the right wing of the party is in charge and happy to lie to people to get into/ stay in charge, is not promising that it will choose to fix much. Too much of the messaging is still oriented at keeping media editors onside and there is no will to build any democracy or mass participation. Some more sensible proposals at least are coming forward but if Starmer et al were of the sort to do what really needed to be done, they wouldn't be in their current positions. I mean we are talking about a party that is a plaything of Peter Mandelson, well known corrupt scumbag, for goodness sake.

    165:

    David L @ 94:

    I disagree with the bit about "Until... Trump came along". The GQP began it's descent into fascism in the mid-50s. Trump is the result of the idiocy, not the cause.

    W.C. Fields said, "You can't cheat an honest man." Trump came along, recognized there were no honest men left in the GQP and stole the party out from under the party leadership. He's just a more successful, brazen liar than they were.

    166:

    Government: How do you balance the needs of the undeserving poor against the desires of the undeserving rich?

    167:

    Redefine "undeserving" so that its relevance does not begin to kick in until somewhere above the level of universal requirements like adequate food, housing, medical care, security etc.

    168:

    "The GQP began its descent into fascism in the mid-50s. Trump is the result of the idiocy, not the cause."

    I agree. It's been a positive feed-back loop in which policy leads to electoral results that then reinforce the loop. Certainly it was looping by the mid-1950s, and I'd guess it was there even earlier.

    169:

    And this is why I prefer cats to people... I'm beginning to think "people" have just given up. Sure there are people who are trying to improve the world but they're facing so much opposition and so much disinformation and propaganda and a pandemic and active evil happening that it has all become overwhelming. While I can understand that it does make me despair somewhat.

    170:

    See Moz's comment @70 - I don't think it's official policy

    171:

    Greg Tingey @ 119:

    Yes ... it's absolutely certainly why the Brexshiteers wanted us out of the EU.
    As for the US, it looks as though the upcoming mid-terms are vital, more vital than 2024, because if the "R's" get control of the "House" this year, then we are completely fucked over.

    Here in the U.S. we may be screwed anyway no matter who controls the "House".

    Moore v. Harper

    The North Carolina Supreme Court concluded that the state legislature engaged in partisan gerrymandering, which violated the North Carolina Constitution, when it redrew the states’ congressional, state house, and state senate maps. It ordered the legislature to redraw the maps.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause prevents the North Carolina Supreme Court from ordering the North Carolina legislature to redraw the congressional districts.

    Independent State Legislature Theory

    If the Alito wing of the Dobbs Court has its way, who votes and who counts the votes won't matter. Gerrymandering for political gain WILL BE the "law of the land", and the Constitution will be a dead letter.

    172:

    I'm not the right person to answer that -- while I grew up in NZ I came back to Australia in the early '80s and a lot of the strengthening of the Treaty seem to have happened since then. Hell when I left school Maori colleges were the only place that taught Te Reo Maori, although in my final year of school I could have done it by correspondence. You certainly didn't hear it being spoken much, if at all.

    173:

    Dave Lester @ 122:

    Yes, ... "at least a bit". It's another scheme to pervert the law for the benefit of the rich?

    174:

    voidampersand @ 134:

    I was responding to some red herrings describing the US election system as magical thinking and comparing it to the recent fake referendums in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory.

    Well, one difference is in the U.S. you don't have soldiers going door to door and demanding you vote and standing there with a gun to make sure you fill out the ballot "correctly" ... at least not yet.

    175:

    Well, one difference is in the U.S. you don't have soldiers going door to door and demanding you vote and standing there with a gun to make sure you fill out the ballot "correctly" ... at least not yet.

    Not yet, perhaps, but we're getting close. "The Republican Party has recruited more than 45,000 poll watchers and workers for battleground states across the country ahead of the midterms in November."

    Then there's this: "The District of Columbia and 11 states have laws explicitly banning guns at polling places. In states that do not restrict the open carrying of handguns, poll watchers could legally be armed..."

    Nothing like somebody openly carrying an AR-15 near a polling place to intimidate those people...

    https://www.newsweek.com/republicans-recruit-45000-poll-watchers-before-midterms-1742135

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/can-poll-watchers-carry-guns-questions

    176:

    »In other news, La Trussterfuck has pissed off the King so much he's briefing against her.«

    Assume the "Conservative" party conference does not dispose of her (Can't they simply throw her out of the party ?)

    Would that let C3 get away with going off-script in the King's Speech to Parliament ?

    If he did, would his words have legal effect or is the King's Speech to Parliament just a non-binding statement of the governments intentions ?

    What other options does he have to get rid of her ?

    177:

    Would that let C3 get away with going off-script in the King's Speech to Parliament ?

    No. No way. Not under any circumstances.

    That would directly involve the crown in everyday politics. It doesn't matter how right or justified anyone thinks such an action would be, it would lead directly to the end of the monarchy.

    "All political careers end in failure". Once the crown becomes a political actor it is doomed to fail sooner or later. At some point Charles or a successor will nail their colours to the mast of a bad policy, and will be sunk along with it.

    For professional politicians that is just the name of the game. You retire and go write your memoirs. But the monarchy is playing the long game here; if Charles aims to pass the crown on to William and thence to George and his presumed future children then he can't afford to drop the ball.

    Charles is sailing close enough to the wind with his environmental activism. Fortunately for him an enthusiasm that used to look eccentric now looks prescient. Don't expect anything more than that.

    178:

    I think the Iron Weathervane has to "bring the Con Party into disrepute" (basically get herself suspended for cause; for example Bozo could have been suspended for "Partygate") or have a significant number of MPs lodge letters of no confidence against her.
    Don't know.
    Don't know.
    Don't know.
    None of these things have ever occurred before that I can remember.

    179:

    »it would lead directly to the end of the monarchy.«

    I'm not so certain.

    If a very large fraction of the country think things have gone of the rails, having royalty step in to bring it back could easily cement the monarchy in place, as "the failsafe for democracy".

    But it will require at least three quarters of the population agreeing that adult intervention was required.

    Tanking the economy in a matter of days and surviving the party conference would put that situation within sight.

    But my question was not about the wisdom, but about the ability: If he decided to do so, does he have a way to get rid of her, short of putting poison in her tea during an audience ?

    180:

    Well, the Iron Weathervane would have to get herself suspended for cause (examples being that Bozo could have been suspended for "Partygate", or the member could be suspended for an act of criminality), or have a number of letters of no confidence raised against her.
    Don't know
    Don't know.
    Don't know.
    None of these things have happened before that I can remember.

    181:

    John S
    Yes. Also & meanwhile - I wonder what the tankies make of this - from the Grauniad, incidentally.

    P H-K
    I don't think he { C III } is going to need to have to bother - I think this particular misgovernment will implode, quite soon.
    Remember what I've predicted about food riots before June 2023?
    Well, now: This
    &
    This, too - both from the Grauniad.

    182:

    Well so much for Charles being the climate King, that was the one good thing about him:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/oct/01/king-charles-abandons-plans-to-attend-cop27-following-liz-trusss-advice

    King Charles abandons plans to attend Cop27 ‘following Liz Truss’s advice’ Prime minister reportedly raised objections to him going during personal audience at Buckingham Palace

    King Charles III has reportedly abandoned plans to attend and deliver a speech at the Cop27 climate change summit on the advice of Liz Truss.

    The monarch, a veteran campaigner on environmental issues, had been invited to the 27th UN climate change conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, next month.

    But the prime minister is understood to have raised objections during a personal audience at Buckingham Palace last month, according to the Sunday Times.

    Buckingham Palace has confirmed King Charles III will not attend the summit.

    183:

    nah chuck's playing a long game, truss may not be around for long

    184:

    Duffy + AS
    What's much more likely is that "Wills" will give C III's speech, instead, thus sidestepping the problem

    185:

    Per the newsrags today, the real issue was that Charles is very sensitive to the question of how to conduct his first overseas visit as monarch, which is what COP27 would have turned into (he was presumably invited long before his mum died, at which point it would just have been Prince Charles doing his environmentalist thing).

    186:

    Are the Scottish "greens" STILL in favour of leaving NATO?

    No idea, and anyway we're in party conference season: thanks to Vlad's February escapade everything relating to defense policy is an open question.

    On the other hand: chances of the Scottish Green Party having any influence on national defense in the immediate future? Zero. So it's a non-issue, like their policy on the second coming of Jesus or whether NASA faked the moon landings.

    187:

    would like to know what objections truss raised

    doubt we ever will tho

    189:

    EC: This article is quite good on the topic:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/labour-keir-starmer-liz-truss-budget-b2189908.html

    Indeed. Thanks for posting it.

    Hint: to get around the paywall click "Inspect" in your web browser, search for "limited-access" and delete the "class" attribute that it's part of.

    190:

    King Charles has the power to dismiss a Prime Minister at will. If he gets it wrong (i.e. does not have the whole-hearted backing of Parliament and the public), that will probably mean the end of the monarchy, or at least its power.

    One of the reasons Trash and Kamikwasi are not putting forward a real budget is that losing the vote on one of those is a confidence matter, and he would be supported in dismissing her if she didn't resign.

    She has opportunity to fuck it up that overtly over the Scottish referendum, in several ways, which depend on how the Supremes vote and Sturgeon proceeds.

    There is a good chance that she will trigger serious civil unrest, and she has opportunities to fuck up the handing of that, too. He might dismiss her if that went really pear-shaped.

    But it's not likely he will. The 1922 committee will get to her first.

    Interesting times!

    191:

    It was noticeable that Charles spent a couple of days after his mother died and before the mourning period kicked off properly visiting the various parts of the Kingdom, including Northern Ireland. You could consider these to be "abroad" in their own way.

    192:

    Paul @ 189:

    Hint: to get around the paywall click "Inspect" in your web browser, search for "limited-access" and delete the "class" attribute that it's part of.

    The search returns "no match".

    193:

    Or just disable Javascript.

    194:

    EC / Paul
    For other reasons, I can read that, but ...
    WHAT "inspect" in my web browser? Where?

    EC
    Yes - C III is waiting for the inevitable total fuck-up the Trumpss makes - he can then dismiss "At will" when she loses a confidence vote - but he may not have to, of course, because the other tories will all stab her ... Problem solved.
    Correction: There is a good chancecertainty that she will trigger serious civil unrest

    195:

    "Correction: There is a good chancecertainty that she will trigger serious civil unrest"

    The police this year got a £1,900 pay rise in England and Wales, well below inflation for most of them. Armed forces at lower ranks got 3.75%. Not exactly an incentive to go breaking heads. Those of an authoritarian bent are often attracted to police work, so tend to follow orders, which will mitigate that some. The original Iron Lady gave huge pay rises to the police before using them to beat up strikers. The Travel Iron Lady is a cargo cult imitation.

    196:

    Re: 'This article is quite good on the topic:'

    I have a few questions to get a sense of how this party operates:

    Who are Labour's economists / economic think tanks?

    What are the up & coming new (growth, esp. employment) industries that Labour is likely to back? (How many of these have listed stocks?)

    Would Labour as part of cost-cutting reduce imports by encouraging made-in-the-UK substitutes?

    Re: Charles III

    Zoom/video conferences are commonplace these days - no reason why Charles couldn't do a quick live video appearance as part of the opening ceremony anytime before/during/after William's official longer and more detailed opening speech.

    Also Charles doesn't have to explicitly say anything about the mini-budget to signal his approval/disapproval. From my side of the pond, Brits communicate their emotions via significant pauses and direction of their gazes.

    Staying in the UK means Charles is on site and accessible in case enough MPs show up at his door beseeching him to end this Parliament session - right now! (No idea whether MPs can do this, but it's a thought.)

    197:

    Well, you may have been prescient, but you may also have misunderstood me. She was pretty obviously going to be strongly influenced by the IEA, but that wasn't my point. It was more serious than that.

    Her record before she became PM was to be a Thatcher cosplayer in dress and photo-ops only, say the first extreme thing that blew threw her head that might be popular in that context, say something incompatible in other contexts (hence the Iron Weathercock), and deliver on precisely nothing.

    Her record after becoming PM was to carry out what was clearly a well-designed plan, by someone with a lot more intelligence than she (or her inner circle) has ever shown and a good understanding of parliamentary procedure. That reeks of her being an actual sleeper, told to present one image up to becoming PM, and then to follow orders. I may be maligning her, but it's damn suspicious.

    If that is so, it's not quite a coup by the IEA, but is well along the road to being one. I am not entirely confident that something along the lines of what I said in #144 won't be attempted.

    198:

    Canada reports deaths, and thus excess deaths, slowly compared to other G-7 countries. With COVID, some provinces have effectively stopped reporting deaths since early this year. Some (Quebec) are managing to report as quickly as usual; some (Manitoba) are clearly trying to keep up. But others are not.

    The medical statisticians rely on the aggregated stats from Stats Can (who rely on the provincial reporting) to anchor their excess death estimates. Stats Can just released a bunch of information on schedule, and like everything else from StatsCan it's actuarily cautious. That's where both the "median age has ticked down just a bit" (from memory 41.7 to 41.1) and the "we have rather large error bars on the death statistics" come from. There have been a lot of raised eyebrows because that's too much median age movement for known conditions. The "it's been a big immigration year" is a "let me not make rash statements in public" consider-all-the-options response. The worry is that the drop is consistent with way more COVID death than is being reported.

    Since the estimates are now somewhere near reliable in terms of the "died quietly at home" numbers from people who succumb to acute COVID, that's got three pieces; long-term COVID damage, consequences of falling out of the workforce (since enough cold and hungry will kill you), and maybe increased risk from everything else due to COVID immune damage. (Like flu vaccine in reverse; not getting flu makes you less likely to get other things. Having had COVID may make you more likely to get other things.) Seeing clear signals for any of those statistically, at least in time for a policy response, needs accurate and timely excess deaths information.

    One thing I found concerning was that someone did a 10 year retrospective on SARS; there were about 800 cases in Canada, mostly among health care workers. Depending on whose count, between forty and fifty percent never returned to work. After ten years, no survivor reports improvement in their post-SARS symptoms.

    That's the most closely related virus to SARS-CoV-2 and thus the baseline expectation for COVID. One thing the medical statisticians want to look for is if that's happening with COVID; can we find improvement? Or is COVID damage permanent? This has a lot of policy implication, and the first thing you'd want to check is "does it get worse?" which is where the mortality statistics come into it.

    The other thing you'd want to check is the report out of Singapore, where they're able to track individual COVID case outcomes because they haven't got that many. All their excess deaths from non-COVID medical causes (as distinct from "squished in car accident", "fell off ladder", etc; heart disease, stroke, etc.) were people who had had COVID. It's a small sample -- about a hundred and fifty excess deaths, total -- but it's something else that should influence policy if it holds up in the stats.

    So -- is the median age dropping an odd little blip? Or a leading indication that we're going to see life expectancy drop generally, with the kind of political change demographic swings always cause?

    There isn't yet enough information to tell.

    199:

    The original Iron Lady gave huge pay rises to the police before using them to beat up strikers.

    Interestingly, Ford gave police and firefighters here big raises before clamping down on teachers, nurses and public servants. (Not that any of those are known for rioting in the streets.)

    I'd always assumed it was latent sexism — police and firefighting are male-dominated macho occupations, just like the construction workers touted in his 'Ontario business' ads. I doubt Ford is forward-thinking enough to plan for civil unrest, but some of his advisors are. Bribing the police sounds like a good start for the authorities.

    Of course, we saw how well the well-paid police responded to right-wing civil unrest during the occupation earlier this year, all across Canada. :-(

    200:

    If he received a Humble Address from a majority of Parliament requesting him to dismiss the PM and appoint another, certainly :-) A vote of No Confidence would force a change of government, and possibly dissolution of Parliament (I am not sure what the current situation is).

    201:

    Given the whole "special relationship" thing meaning the US can prop up the UK don't expect any big changes unless the US either gets really distracted somehow which for various reasons isn't that likely. That or the US somehow getting big changes of it's own are your hopes.

    Yeah, the US is trending isolationist but the UK is still one of the few countries DC will Care about.

    I wouldn't count on big internal changes in the US for deeply rooted reasons of geography and resources enabling various forms of stupidity to last longer than they would elsewhere

    202:

    Assume the "Conservative" party conference does not dispose of her (Can't they simply throw her out of the party ?)

    No, they can't do that.

    It takes a set number of letters expressing no confidence to be sent to the Chair of the 1922 Committee, which only meets while parliament is in session. (I think the figure is something in the range 50-70 letters.) This triggers an in-party vote of confidence, and if she fails to get 50%+1 support she ceases to be party leader and a new leader selection process kicks off.

    Currently there can be no more than one leadership challenge in 12 months, so she should be safe, but the 1922 Committee can change the rules more or less at will (by a vote of the sitting members of the committee) and I'm pretty sure this Trussterfuck would be seen as sufficient reason to permit an earlier challenge -- probably by changing it to "no more than one challenge per 12 months to any given leader", thereby resetting the clock as of the date she was elected rather than dating the clock to the vote that deposed Johnson.

    203:

    That would directly involve the crown in everyday politics.

    This did not end the monarchy in 1911-12, although TBF the monarch was working with the Prime Minister (against the House of Lords) rather than against the PM.

    If the PM is sufficiently unpopular and out of touch the King might get away with it.

    But it's a lot like a declaration of war: going in you (the King) have to be absolutely clear that you're betting your entire future on a roll of the dice, and you have to have a definite objective in mind and an exit strategy or you're toast. (This is where Putin fucked up in February: he didn't realize he was gambling and once he lost his dice roll he was left with no viable exit strategy.)

    204:

    "The "it's been a big immigration year" is a "let me not make rash statements in public" consider-all-the-options response."

    Thank you, that has resolved the apparent self-contradiction which was confusing me.

    205:

    Given the whole "special relationship" thing meaning the US can prop up the UK

    Except Truss burned the "special relationship" down and salted the ashes, over the Northern Ireland Protocol. (Biden was not happy with her.)

    206:

    It might happen if she lost a budget or King's Speech vote and refused to resign; those are supposed to indicate that she has lost the confidence of the house.

    207:

    Seriously? Uh oh. Looks like Britain IS going to get much more "interesting" politically fast than I thought. I figured the US would stop caring about the UK mid-century when it went majority nonwhite but blowing it ALREADY? Truss is uh special.

    Being an island nation severely alienating the country that keeps the global sea lanes safe when said country is in the middle of retrenching to caring about it's near abroad in the americas, japan and a couple other places in the pacific

    This seems... ill-advised on Truss's part. The "pissing off Biden" thing, not even bringing up the voodoo economics.

    208:

    jensnail
    She's certainly attracting lots of derogatory names! Iron Weathercock / Trumpss / Travel-Iron lady / Trash etc ...

    EC
    My own failing was in not spotting her as a threat, until the leadership contest was well underway, as she looked unlikely before that point.
    You are so right about her record, which is one reason I discounted her.
    was to carry out what was clearly a well-designed plan - as set out in "Britannia Unhinged", right - though I would dispute their "Intelligence"!
    Hmmm ... a "legal" coup? Don't think it would fly, but those arseholes { Tufton St } are tricksy bastards.
    "Laissez-Faire, we wants it Preciouss, gold (rings) for us precious"

    209:

    Greg Tingey @ 194: WHAT "inspect" in my web browser? Where?

    Sorry Greg, and others. More explanation follows.

    This applies to browsers running on a PC. It won't work on Android or (AFAIK) IOS.

    Details depend on the browser, but under Firefox and Chrome, right-click something on the web page, and look at the menu. Something like "Inspect" or "Inspect element" is what you want. Click it, and the page splits in two. One half has the page you were looking at, the other page has the HTML source code. This is (very roughly) a computer program sent by the server to tell your browser what to display and how to display it. Some of it is the actual text with markup to say stuff like "this bit in bold". Other bits are actual program code (in "Javascript", a programming language) to say things like "when the user clicks this button, run this bit of software".

    Some newspapers, the Independent included, actually send the full text of an article along with some formatting to say "Cover up everything after line 6 with this paywall". If you can find that bit of formatting and delete it, you can uncover the text. The Indy seems to make this unusually easy, because the relevant bit contains the string "limited-access" in a much longer and more complicated phrase that starts "class=". So find the "limited-access" and delete the whole bit from "class=" to the end of the quoted text after it. That should (with a bit of luck) remove the paywall and let you see the text. At least, it seemed to work for me the first time I tried it.

    If you move your mouse over the bits of program and HTML the browser will helpfully highlight the bit of the page where each thing is displayed (even if something else is displayed on top). This can help you zoom in on the bit you want.

    I'm not sure if disabling Javascript will work in this case because it doesn't (as far as I can tell) rely on Javascript to show the paywall; its being done in the CSS (don't ask), presumably because disabling Javascript is too easy.

    210:

    It does; the CSS rule tells it how to be a bastard, and the javascript tells it where to be a bastard. If you disable javascript, the offending entry never gets added to the class list in the first place.

    The pages with "independentpremium" as part of the URL, such as EC linked to in the previous thread, are different; they decide to be a bastard on the server. Instead of concealing the "missing" text, they just don't serve it, so it really is missing and there isn't a simple way to make it show up.

    211:

    Truss is uh special.

    TBF Brexit is what finally killed the "special relationship".

    The USA was into the UK (after 1975) mainly because the UK was a very useful lever within the EEC and then the EU -- spoke English, some degree of shared culture, willing to push for US interests in return for favours (unlike France or Germany).

    (Before 1975 it was the decaying remnants of the WW2 alliance, but 30-35 years later the folks involved in setting that up had mostly retired or died.)

    But Brexit reduced the UK's influence within the EU to zero, at which point the UK was much less useful to the US. Why take the side of an old imperial has-been with delusions of grandeur when you're really trying to make friends and influence people in an affluent first-world economic superpower (with nuclear weapons, natch -- see also France)?

    Finally there was the crap over the Northern Ireland Protocol and the Good Friday Agreement. Truss personally tried to slaughter one of Joe Biden's pet projects. That's never going to go down well.

    212:

    I've got a question about this, but I need to set it up: Shouldn't any national-level British politician should know better than the piss off the U.S., particularly over a triviality? I don't personally say this from a place of privilege, but because the relationship seems to work this way in terms of realpolitic.

    So what's going through Truss's head as she pisses off the President of the United States? Arrogance? Stupidity? Some delusional thinking involving the British Empire?* Is she getting bad/good intelligence? Is there some long-term plan I'm missing? Is it easier to loot the U.K. if you guys don't have a trade deal? Or maybe orders from Moscow? WTF is motivating her?

    • Gary Trudeau once said that Reagan was "only able to see backwards through a rose-colored mist."
    213:

    Being an island nation severely alienating the country that keeps the global sea lanes safe when said country is in the middle of retrenching to caring about it's near abroad in the americas, japan and a couple other places in the pacific

    Um... I think the US priority list is:

  • Russia and keeping the Ukrainian war from becoming a strategic nuclear conflagration.

  • China and keeping that from turning into a war (we don't want either side to think we're at parity, that's when the war starts)

  • Dealing with all the messes in our hemisphere in various and often contradictory ways, from hurricane relief to funding the unending narco-wars.

  • Keeping global sealanes open for trade and passage (cf South China Sea, Suez Canal, Panama Canal, etm).

  • Playing the Reflective Game within the US of trying to keep the billionaires from imposing a global plutocracy, given how well existing billionaires are running things. And dealing with said billionaires overseas.

  • I think the US-UK special relationship falls under 4 and 5, and I'm not sure why anyone thinks Truss will be able to destroy it beyond repair...

    214:

    But Brexit reduced the UK's influence within the EU to zero, at which point the UK was much less useful to the US. Why take the side of an old imperial has-been with delusions of grandeur when you're really trying to make friends and influence people in an affluent first-world economic superpower (with nuclear weapons, natch -- see also France)?

    France? Our biggest military bases are in Germany.

    I think the UK can play a similar role in American politics to what Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines do: archipelago with good naval ports.

    Beyond that, I'd not so tongue-in-cheek advise that UK artists should be making a huge case that if Truss blows the ballast tanks on the UK economy, arts are what y'all are going to be exporting to keep everybody fed. So start challenging Korea on K-POP and K-Dramas already, and get working on Attenborough's successor.

    After all, if Ireland could do it...

    215:

    Greg Tingey @ 194:

    EC / Paul
    For other reasons, I can read that, but ...
    WHAT "inspect" in my web browser? Where?

    For Windoze users (and Firefox?), you right click in the text and one of the context menu items is "Inspect (Q)" which opens another pane that lets you see all the HTML code that makes the page look like it does. I couldn't find "limited-access", so I couldn't "delete the "class" attribute that it's part of" ... but this evening, the "limited-access" has expired or something, so I was able to read the article.

    Don't know what it looks like on a Mac, because I still don't have the new one set up yet.

    216:

    Graydon @ 198:

    One thing I found concerning was that someone did a 10 year retrospective on SARS; there were about 800 cases in Canada, mostly among health care workers. Depending on whose count, between forty and fifty percent never returned to work. After ten years, no survivor reports improvement in their post-SARS symptoms.

    I know it's a completely different virus, but I wonder if looking back to the recovery of POLIO survivors could provide any useful information?

    217:

    Troutwaxer @ 212:

    So what's going through Truss's head as she pisses off the President of the United States? Arrogance? Stupidity? Some delusional thinking involving the British Empire?* Is she getting bad/good intelligence? Is there some long-term plan I'm missing? Is it easier to loot the U.K. if you guys don't have a trade deal? Or maybe orders from Moscow? WTF is motivating her?

    Just a SWAG from the other side of the Atlantic, but ...

    IIRC, Biden wasn't the POTUS at the time Brexit shit all over the "Northern Ireland Protocol and the Good Friday Agreement". And the way things were going at the time, I don't think anyone expected him to become POTUS.

    But like some U.S. politicians I could name, she seems to have ideological blinders that make her thinking impervious to anything other than her own self-righteous views.

    If the facts disagree, then the facts are wrong.

    218:

    I know it's a completely different virus, but I wonder if looking back to the recovery of POLIO survivors could provide any useful information?

    I really hope not; some equivalent of post-polio syndrome when the statistical-first-approximation entire population has had COVID would be highly sub-optimal.

    219:

    Heteromeles @ 214:

    But Brexit reduced the UK's influence within the EU to zero, at which point the UK was much less useful to the US. Why take the side of an old imperial has-been with delusions of grandeur when you're really trying to make friends and influence people in an affluent first-world economic superpower (with nuclear weapons, natch -- see also France)?

    France? Our biggest military bases are in Germany.

    Germany does not have nuclear weapons. France does.

    220:

    I wonder if part of the problem is simply cultural. Biden's a Catholic from a middle class background who went to a public university. Not too many people in the Democratic leadership who are WASP and went to an Ivy League school. For someone who comes from a world where only Oxbridge products get to be in charge, this might be confusing.

    221:

    Germany does not have nuclear weapons. France does.

    So? As long as the US has big bases in Germany and doesn't loathe France, Germany will never invade France, and Russia will have to go through us to get to France. So long as we're in the UK and don't loathe France, the UK will never be at war with France. I have a dim suspicion that the French might not like the kind of US friendship that comes with a long-term military presence, so...it looks like we're all good, no?

    Hopefully, with the Current Unpleasantness, the USDoD will see fit to employ more English workers at our bases. We shan't call it workfare, of course...

    On a less glib level, world civilization is currently maintained by international maritime trade, and the US has a big interest in maintaining that. Thus, I fail to see why we'd close a bunch of critical North Atlantic facilities because some leader is a lackwit. After all, you had to endure Trump pulling out of all those treaties...

    222:

    In #165 on October 2, 2022 at 00:45 JohnS wrote:

    I disagree with the bit about "Until... Trump came along". The GQP began it's descent into fascism in the mid-50s. Trump is the result of the idiocy, not the cause.

    Based on family Republican experience, I'd say the America Firsters of the later 30s/early 40s were Hitler's fellow travelers.

    We had what looked like a sane GOP in the Forties only because of the need for unity after Pearl Harbor. Ike was an aberration; he was courted by both parties, as he had no party affiliation, as serving officers were not political (with one MacArthur-sized exception), so provided some restraint in the Fifties to what would otherwise be a froth-at-the-mouth collection of raving loons, a la 'Tailgunner Joe' McCarthy.

    223:

    Heteromeles @ 221:

    Don't be more obtuse than you have to be. It's unbecoming and disingenuous.

    "trying to make friends and influence people in an affluent first-world economic superpower (with nuclear weapons, natch -- see also France"

    The only E.U. member with nuclear weapons is France (now that the U.K. is no longer a member of the E.U.).

    Plus, the "big bases" in Germany have been closed or are being closed.

    Closing U.S. bases in Germany is another legacy of Bush II's Iraqi misadventure. It was a cost cutting measure. U.S. forces supporting NATO have moved farther east into the territories of newer NATO members ... for logistics reasons & for reassurance - to put U.S. tripwire forces closer to the perceived threat.

    Stationing forces eastward reassures our NATO partners of our commitment to Article Five. But instead of building new bases in those NATO partners, the U.S. has forces co-located with host nation military forces.

    But they're no longer permanently based there. If it came to an all out war between NATO and Russia, U.S. forces would still stage through Germany, because that's where the ports & airfields & rail-heads are located, but they'd be moving east with all due speed.

    But France is the nuclear power in the E.U., Germany is not.

    224:

    kiloseven @ 222:

    In #165 on October 2, 2022 at 00:45 JohnS wrote:

    I disagree with the bit about "Until... Trump came along". The GQP began it's descent into fascism in the mid-50s. Trump is the result of the idiocy, not the cause.

    Based on family Republican experience, I'd say the America Firsters of the later 30s/early 40s were Hitler's fellow travelers.

    We had what looked like a sane GOP in the Forties only because of the need for unity after Pearl Harbor. Ike was an aberration; he was courted by both parties, as he had no party affiliation, as serving officers were not political (with one MacArthur-sized exception), so provided some restraint in the Fifties to what would otherwise be a froth-at-the-mouth collection of raving loons, a la 'Tailgunner Joe' McCarthy.

    As prominent as the "America Firsters" were in pre-WW2 Republican politics, they were not able to dominate it to the extent the right-wingnuts have managed to take over today's GQP. They didn't have the power to purge those who did not agree with them the way today's christo-fascists have purged the RepubliQan party. The current crop of "raving loons"

    As bug-fuck crazy as Tailgunner Joe' McCarthy was, his crazy was more opportunistic than it was based on any coherent political beliefs. For me the downfall of the RepubliQan party began when Eisenhower chose raving loon (& opportunist) Number One Richard Nixon as his running mate.

    I believe that was the first step onto the slippery slope ... sort of the same mistake Yeltsin later made selecting Putin.

    225:

    "Plus, the "big bases" in Germany have been closed or are being closed."

    Er, Ramstein and Spangdahlem ABs?

    226:

    For me the downfall of the RepubliQan party began when Eisenhower chose raving loon (& opportunist) Number One Richard Nixon as his running mate.

    Nixon was despicable for other reasons, but when you look at his actual proposed and implemented policies as president, he was somewhere on the left of today's Democratic party.

    227:

    Why take the side of an old imperial has-been with delusions of grandeur when you're really trying to make friends and influence people in an affluent first-world economic superpower (with nuclear weapons, natch -- see also France)?

    5 eyes.

    Google tells me that the UK's GDP is about 2.7 trillion and France's is about 2.6 trillion (2020 numbers for both).

    228:

    If I understand the comment correctly, what I said is "both sides do" and I shouldn't do that. If I under correctly, why should I not say this, if both sides actually do it? Yes, they are two different parties, with one extremely corrupt and conservative, while the other party is even more corrupt and just batty. The "better" party is just not as batty. Lead or arsenic? What a choice!

    From the little I understand of British politics, the UK has the same problem of corruption, incompetence, and fake policies that always, somehow, impoverish even more the already poor or suffering, and give barrels of money and sympathy to the already wealthy.

    The details between the British and American political systems are real enough, but the gist is the same; both major American parties need to be staked, beheaded, burned to ashes, doused with Holy Water with the cremains dumped into the nearest ocean;I assume the same for the top 2-4 British parties.

    229:
    So what's going through Truss's head as she pisses off the President of the United States? [...] WTF is motivating her?

    Bear in mind that I was not a contemporary of Truss' at Oxford, though I did get invited to parties and interact with a lot of proto-Conservative politicians such as Johnson, Gove and Cameron, the last of whom I had (student-political) dealings with at College. I can give you a better read-out on them than I can on Truss.

    What is fast becoming apparent is that she actually believes all the crap that comes out of 55 Tufton Street: Randian, Libertarian, Low Tax, minimalist state, etc, etc. It is not -- as many of us would have assumed -- an act.

    She has not yet joined the dots on all the decisions she's been making. Cutting taxes for the rich, paying for it by borrowing, and then expecting the "fwee market" to support her, for example. Apparently, she spent her time at Oxford arguing with her politics tutor on factually incorrect data, and refusing to be corrected.

    I think she has been influenced in this by Daniel Hannan and/or Dominic Cummings who were both leading lights of the OU Conservative Society in their time. It's the Dick Cheney: "If we believe in something, we can make it the truth" approach to politics.

    There's also a chance that she is playing for time in the hope that Trump or a more extreme replacement will come along to save her bacon before the next UK election is due.

    Now, what you need to know -- not withstanding Charlie's complaints about the English voters -- is that there is a strand of social democracy running through the country like a stick of rock. The reason people vote Conservative is that it is a class marker -- showing you are better than labour voters -- rather than because they believe in any deep political philosophy. So, it comes as something of a shock to these sorts of voters that anyone on less than £155,000 per annum is considered by the current government to be "not one of us".

    And one very interesting -- and salient -- observation is that despite the editorial line in The Mail remaining mostly pro-Truss, the reader comments in the on-line version have shown a complete reversal of opinion by the commentators. Combine this with the latest polling numbers and I think we can see a sea change in voting habits coming in to view.

    Just my more-or-less random opinions of course....

    230:

    Closing U.S. bases in Germany is another legacy of Bush II's Iraqi misadventure. It was a cost cutting measure.

    Based on the discussions with our relatives, friends, and those US military who were or are now stationed in Germany; the Germans are NOT UNHAPPY that we no longer have tank corps there. NATO bases OK. Well mostly. Tank Corps, nope.

    Iraq II was not so much the reason as the excuse for this bit of basing reduction.

    My wife's father was a Lt. C and full bird C in Heidelberg and Stuttgart in the 70s. Plus we have relations in the area to this day.

    If the Germans who visit here have more details or a different opinion, I'm open to learning more or being corrected.

    231:

    Until... Trump came along

    I first wrote this on this page. It wasn't about all the craziness of the GOP. It was specifically about partisan election officials. And our system of COUNTING votes worked since the 70s.

    Again, it is falling apart because Trump to the R's they were loosing because the D's were lying and cheating in the COUNTING. They were not. Neither were the R's. Next election should run mostly OK. After that I'm not so sure as the next election may bring into power a lot of folks who are of the mind, "We'll lie and cheat also to win since the others are doing it."

    As to the issue of who is ALLOWED to vote. That is NOT what I was talking about. And I have some strong opinions on that topic, not aligned with the GOP.

    232:

    »And our system of COUNTING votes worked since the 70s.«

    … until Florida 2000 ?

    233:

    Kardashev @ 225:

    "Plus, the "big bases" in Germany have been closed or are being closed."

    Er, Ramstein and Spangdahlem ABs?

    Two U.S. air bases left in Germany. Rhein-Main AFB (the BIG big airbase in Germany) closed in 2005. The Germans have been building a big cargo hub there, and it looks like maybe a new passenger terminal.

    Google Maps 50.030181000335915, 8.581885583191204

    The United States Army has 40 military installations in Germany, two of which are scheduled to close. Over 220 others have already been closed, mostly following the end of the Cold War in the 1990s. The rationale behind the large number of closures is that the strategic functions of the bases, designed to serve as forward posts in any war against the USSR, are no longer relevant since the end of the Cold War.

    Fifty-seven of those closures have come since 2006; i.e. post-Iraq. Another 119 closures date 1990 or later; i.e. post-Soviet Union.

    U.S. forces in Europe have moved east into the territory of new NATO allies, but instead of building new U.S. bases in those countries, U.S. forces are now located at host nation military installations.

    The U.S. still has four air-bases in Europe. Lakenheath in the U.K., Ramstein & Spangdahlem in Germany and Aviano in Italy. The USAF can still use another dozen bases in Europe & the U.K., but those bases are under the control of the host nations. The USAF is a guest at those installations.

    234:

    … until Florida 2000 ?

    There certainly were games played with ballots prior to that, but I think in general the process of vote counting was and is trustworthy, despite its partisan nature.

    That said, the Republican Party has been testing what they can norms they can get away with breaking over the last decade. One of those norms was how much of US government relied on people putting duty and professionalism above personal gain. They've done their damnedest to replace that with people who go in to exploit the system.

    My favorite example of doing one's duty is one of my least favorite people: Dick Cheney on 9/11. He was the one in charge of the White House when the planes attacked. At first he followed protocol and went into the bunker. However, when he reportedly realized that he couldn't properly command the response if the bunker door was closed, so he left it open and did what he could, knowing that a plane was inbound and targeting the White House (Flight 94, saved by the passengers). Vulture capitalist that he is, he chose to do his public duty when it mattered, just as his daughter is doing on the Jan 6th committee.

    Again, I don't support the Cheneys, but I can't imagine any of the predicted GQP candidates for 2024 showing even as much character as Dick Cheney. And that's a loss.

    235:

    Nixon was despicable for other reasons, but when you look at his actual proposed and implemented policies as president, he was somewhere on the left of today's Democratic party.

    Quite right. For one thing, Nixon's proposal for a Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan was more liberal than Obamacare.

    “Without adequate health care, no one can make full use of his or her talents and opportunities. It is thus just as important that economic, racial and social barriers not stand in the way of good health care as it is to eliminate those barriers to a good education and a good job.” — President Nixon

    Unfortunately, Nixon's plan was killed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who gave in to pressure from unions, as labor leaders wished for a single-payer system.

    236:

    The details between the British and American political systems are real enough, but the gist is the same; both major American parties need to be staked, beheaded, burned to ashes, doused with Holy Water with the cremains dumped into the nearest ocean;I assume the same for the top 2-4 British parties.

    Surely you would prefer to visit this punishment on the real culprits - American voters.

    237:

    David L @ 230:

    Closing U.S. bases in Germany is another legacy of Bush II's Iraqi misadventure. It was a cost cutting measure.

    Based on the discussions with our relatives, friends, and those US military who were or are now stationed in Germany; the Germans are NOT UNHAPPY that we no longer have tank corps there. NATO bases OK. Well mostly. Tank Corps, nope.

    Iraq II was not so much the reason as the excuse for this bit of basing reduction.

    Whether reason or excuse, the bottom line is American service members who used to spend their pay in Germany are now more likely spending that pay in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary or Romania - NATO's new front line states.

    The Germans have good reason not to be happy about losing all that money. But logistically, Germany is no longer the front line against the Soviet Union. That front line has moved east, and so have the U.S. forces.

    Germany no longer needs U.S. forces stationed there to serve as a trip-wire against Soviet aggression.

    The newer NATO members do seem to need (want) that reassurance given Putin's stated intentions to reclaim the Russian empire's former glory.

    238:

    »And our system of COUNTING votes worked since the 70s.«

    … until Florida 2000 ?

    Yup. America's first (but not last) brush with an extreme right-wing Supreme Court... :-(

    239:

    Der Eisener Wetterhahn turns again! - apparently, today's printed Torygraph is loud on how the Travel-Iron Lady is "Not for turning" - spluttered into my first cup of tea when I heard that.
    Right - what improbable lunacies come next?

    240:

    Greg: I personally prefer "La Trussterfuck".

    241:

    Re: ' ... some equivalent of post-polio syndrome when the statistical-first-approximation entire population has had COVID would be highly sub-optimal.'

    Maybe scientists will do a comparison between polio and COVID now that polio is making the news. I'm not sure that I'd take old clinical case study articles on polio at face value if only because there weren't as many tools to study viruses back in the polio heyday (mid-1900s). Back then - a bit less so now - quite a few clinicians just dismiss anything that they don't have a quick lab test for. (Circular reasoning.)

    The below is some recent research from a Brazilian lab. Brazil got hit really hard with COVID - mostly because their Prez was/is just like DT and didn't give a damn about facts or people.*

    'Study Reveals Main Target of COVID-19 in Brain and Describes Effects of Virus on Nervous System'

    https://neurosciencenews.com/covid-19-astrocytes-21569/

    https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2200960119

    *And returning to RW politics - looks like Brazil might be able to vote out Bolsonaro in the run-off vote. Good article - interesting info that might be applicable to understanding other RW countries esp. the large gap between voter polls and voting results.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/brazil-election-bolsonaro-lula-1.6603351

    'With 99.5 per cent of the votes tallied, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had 48.3 per cent support and incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro had 43.3 per cent support. Nine other candidates were also competing, but their support pales to that for Bolsonaro and Lula.

    The tightness of the election result came as a surprise, since pre-election polls had given da Silva a commanding lead. The last Datafolha survey published Saturday found a 50 per cent to 36 per cent advantage for da Silva among those who intended to vote. It interviewed 12,800 people, with a margin of error of 2 percentage points.'

    Greg @ 239:

    That was fast! Wonder how they're going to disguise the tax cuts to the rich now. I checked a couple of new-to-me sites for more info on UK politics and learned that Truss fired the chief treasury civil servant. That answers one of my previous questions re: who's briefing her? (The article didn't mention who the replacement is.)

    And thanks for the update on your gardening. I didn't plant any veg this year but everything else has survived. We went from too little to too much rain. Not a real problem if one's concern is aesthetics, but serious for some folks around here who were hoping to supplement their food supply. Food prices have gone up a lot on weekly staples plus, plus some stores are putting more limits on how much you can buy of a special as well as limiting the total quantities of whatever they're advertising as a special that week meaning they're no longer offering rain checks. Not a good sign.

    242:

    "What is fast becoming apparent is that she actually believes all the crap that comes out of 55 Tufton Street: Randian, Libertarian, Low Tax, minimalist state, etc, etc. It is not -- as many of us would have assumed -- an act.

    She has not yet joined the dots on all the decisions she's been making."

    https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/lyndon_b_johnson_137074

    And it's not Thick Lizzie.

    243:

    Yes. There were a lot of proposals the UK pushed or helped to kill, and the role of GCHQ etc. shouldn't be underestimated. But the UK largely made itself redundant as the USA's fifth column in the EU in 2004, and the attitude of the USA to the UK thereafter noticeably changed. I agree that pissing off Biden is close to the last straw. There are still a good made surveillance and active force bases, such as Lakenheath and Menwith Hill, but it's not as if the USA is short of bases in foreign parts.

    It's been a very one-sided relationship all along, but now is almost entirely so.

    244:

    So what's going through Truss's head as she pisses off the President of the United States? Arrogance? Stupidity?

    Both. Truss is a deeply stupid individual, for all her expertise in certain narrow fields. It's the kind of blinkered stupidity you get when someone very smart latches onto an ideology and insists on viewing everything through its frame, even though they've misunderstood it and it's actually broken.

    245:

    In the other thread I reasoned that once Truss was in place at least the UK government would be able to start pulling the fiscal levers and manage the economy away from disaster, over Boris' absenteeism. I didn't predict that she would instead accelerate the economy into a brick wall.

    Kwarteng is going into the economics textbooks for all the wrong reasons, accompanied by that quote about the BoE having to forcefully intervene to prevent pension funds from collapsing "by this afternoon". He's done the most single-handed damage to the British economy since the Right Honourable Matt Ridley presided over the Northern Rock bank run. Time will tell what future disasters are in store from Thatcher le Petite

    246:

    Dominic Cummings

    Probably not by Cummings: today he's tweeting that it's time to wind up the conservative party and create a new centre-right party based on, like, actual principles. Sounds like he's completely disgusted with Truss.

    247:

    Charlie
    OK - that or the Travel-Iron Lady (!) ...
    Truss is a deeply stupid individual, for all her expertise in certain narrow fields. - This is named "Dunning-Kruger" is it not? Or is it worse than that?
    - also plus hippoptolemy ...
    Now that "experts" are allowed back in, after the Gove fiasco, apparently the hate group are people who follow "orthodoxy" - i.e. anyone not in the IEA.
    Which reminds me, some idiot from said IEA was on R4 this am, & said {paraphrase} "I've never seen Truss do a U-turn before" - which is either a deliberate lie or total stupidity - probably the latter, of course.

    248:

    Meanwhile back in America we have the Fed raising interest rates to curb inflation.

    Aside from the fact that ordinary Americans will pay the price for this cluster by losing their jobs (God forbid that the rich and powerful who created the situation will ever have to pay the price, can't have that now can we?), raising interest rates now won't do jack to curb inflation short of completely crashing the economy.

    Unless someone can someone explain to me how Federal reserve rate hikes will address the true causes of inflation:

    Broken supply chains caused by Covid-19 (and China's zero tolerance pandemic policy that shuts down entire manufacturing sectors and cities).

    Retiring Boomers world wide (along with long term demographic trends of lower birth rates resulting in shrinking and greying populations) that have caused labor shortages and spike in labor prices.

    Declining EROEIs for fossil fuels, leading to increased real costs for energy

    Climate change playing havoc with crop yields world wide (America lost half its spring wheat crop this year and China's rice belt experienced the worst heave wave in recorded history) causing price spikes in food. What can the Fed possibly do to restrain the true causes of inflation?

    Like old generals, the Fed is fighting the last war.

    249:

    Your blog, but I think the "Iron Weathervane" is more descriptive than either your preference or Greg's.
    I'll submit into evidence the partial reversal of last week's "mini-budget" at this point.

    250:

    The contemporary Labour party looks to be a semi-sane center right party already, though I doubt escapees from the once conservative party could mind their manners.

    251:

    Re: 'Kwarteng is going into the economics textbooks for all the wrong reasons ...'

    One reporter referred to him as an economist while another reporter said his field is the history of economics. Makes a difference re: how much expertise he has and in what.

    Danged - his PhD thesis is under lock & key. Might be that there are a few folks here who might be able to access this via the channels mentioned below.

    https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/251742 Citation

    Kwarteng, K. A. A. (2000). Political thought of the recoinage crisis of 1695-7. (Doctoral thesis).

    'Description

    This thesis is not available on this repository until the author agrees to make it public. If you are the author of this thesis and would like to make your work openly available, please contact us: thesis@repository.cam.ac.uk.

    The Library can supply a digital copy for private research purposes; interested parties should submit the request form here: http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/departments/digital-content-unit/ordering-images

    Please note that print copies of theses may be available for consultation in the Cambridge University Library's Manuscript reading room.

    Admission details are at'

    http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/departments/manuscripts-university-archives

    Here's a very brief description of the event:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Recoinage_of_1696

    252:
    Dominic Cummings Probably not by Cummings: today he's tweeting that it's time to wind up the conservative party and create a new centre-right party based on, like, actual principles. Sounds like he's completely disgusted with Truss.

    Charlie,

    I think you are correct: although they all mixed in the same circles, it was probably Hannan.

    Anyway, I've been thinking about what causes right wing politicians, and I have a hypothesis that needs it's tyres kicking.

    Right Wing Autocratic Tendencies manifest in people who were bullied as kids

    Hannan: Grew up in Lima Peru, and was sent to school in England when seven (Winchester, I think). Claims that he was shocked by the laid-back attitudes of his school mates. I suspect he was bullied as an oustider.

    Truss: A dumpy plain little thing as a kid, and over-exposed by her parents at Lib-Dem conferences. Must have been bullied at school.

    Kwartang: A Black man at Eton. And something of an arrogant intellectual, apparently. Not a chance in hell he wasn't bullied by someone.

    Johnson: One of the School bullies, but was bullied by his father.

    Hitler: Certainly bullied by his father; probably bullied at school.

    Trump: Again, bullied by father. And hard to imagine his school contempories gave him an easy ride given how dumb he is.

    Raab/Patel/Braverman: I'm getting bored now, but note all of these are immigrant children (similar to Hannan, though his parents were UK ex-pats). All will have felt like outsiders, even if there was no actual bullying. Note also Raab took up boxing at Oxford.

    And the reaction of all these people is to get enough power to show their tormentors that they "amount to something."

    As before, just some random musings, which could easily be wrong...

    Perhaps someone who knows their background could comment on Lenin, Stalin, and Putin. I think I'd put a fair sum on Putin having been bullied as a young kid.

    253:

    I can, but I am afraid I am not going to, for several reasons, including: until my immune system recovers, I am self-isolating; I lack the background to interpret it properly (or even intelligently); and it is probably very boring, and may not tell us anything about his views. Sorry about wimping out.

    The bureaucratic blither is confusing. What it means is that there is a single, non-borrowable, paper copy, which is currently stored in the archives. I doubt that anyone has shown any interest in making an online version available.

    254:

    I think that you will also find the same for a good many left-wing radicals. I was bullied, fairly badly - and this carried over into discrimination (and occasional bullying) in my adult life on grounds of my partial disabilities - feel free to call me a wannabee autocrat, but you would be deluded or mendacious if you call me right wing :-) It is perhaps the main reason that I have taken notice of and opposed the tyranny of the majority over my lifetime, which gets me flamed for standing up for unpopular minorities.

    255:

    Re: '... until my immune system recovers, I am self-isolating;'

    Understood and wholeheartedly agree - stay safe, get well!

    256:

    "Political thought of the recoinage crisis of 1695-7." - Isn't this normally called "history" rather than "economics"?

    257:

    First degree in Classics and History, PhD in Economic History. If he stayed with Trinity College for his PhD there's probably a paper copy of the thsis in their College Library (or if he switched, whichever College he was with) as well as the copy at UL. There's also a British Library reference so they probably hold a copy. I suspect from the vintage the electronic copy on offer for 75 quid and a good excuse will be a scan to PDF.

    258:

    comment on Lenin

    I don't know a huge amount about his childhood except that he hero-worshipped his elder brother, a student radical ... who was hanged during the crackdown after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. It was a pivotal event in the young Ulianov's life and it radicalized him: his subsequent trajectory contains a heaped serving of revenge.

    (The others are all plausible. Bullying is ubiquitous, toxic, and self-perpetuating.)

    259:

    Danged - his PhD thesis is under lock & key. Might be that there are a few folks here who might be able to access this via the channels mentioned below.

    Is he on LinkedIn or a similar UK thing. It might have more information. Or be totally self serving.

    260:

    On the subject of Truss pissing off of the American president, I would say that there is another way to look at that. The president is only part of the state, the ideology that lead to current events and most of the funding behind it, came from America. I would think that the funding of the Tufton St. lot would require at least tacit approval from the state department and CIA, it is major interference in a nuclear armed allies politics. There is also a section of American thought that sees the EU as a potential rival, and therefore pulling the UK away from the EU could be seen as beneficial. This is not to mention Americans making large sums of money from it. Truss knows she is totally aligned with America, indeed even to the detriment of her own country and the benefit of Americans, so she thinks she has nothing to worry about.

    261:

    I doubt that there is one in Trinity (or whereever), as college libraries were put into the records some years ago, and I can find only a single entry for it (*); the British Library probably does.

    (*) I checked that as someone with borrowing rights, so there isn't a privilege issue.

    262:

    It looks like a lot of people are tweeting about Kwarteng's thesis. Google the title and dig in. The most informative stream I found (a Cambridge professor who went and actually opened the document recently and tweeted about the contents) is https://twitter.com/mariaaabreu/status/1575060114809434114

    One key quote (p. 1 of the thesis, apparently) is "Rather, the recoinage and is attendant controversy are considered as a rich source of political ideas.”

    The tweets aren't a hatchet job. Apparently it's well written and balanced (there's a "don't blame Cambridge for the current mess" comment in the tweet stream). Perhaps the most telling part is that he didn't publish it?

    My 0.01 cent takeaway is that he was trained as a historian more than an economist, and in his training he apparently focused more on the politics surrounding the crisis than the economics of how the crisis unfolded. Doesn't mean he's a priori incompetent to actually run an economy in crisis, but it does suggest he'll focus on the politics of the situation more than on the processes of recombobulating the UK economy. It's also somewhat more likely that, when his economic staff gives him advice, he might not catch all the implications of what they're trying to tell him.

    This is all just speculation, of course. I don't know whether Exchequer chancellors are required to be economics wonks, or merely to manage the career ones at the treasury.

    Putting him in charge of the UK economy right now? Interesting choice. Hope he exceeds expectations on the positive side. Or something.

    263:

    "Perhaps the most telling part is that he didn't publish it?"

    He did, which is why there is a copy in the British Library; that is (or was) the normal practice for PhD theses; few PhD theses are published more widely than to the sponsoring institution. It is JUST possible that it is now standard practice to make online copies available, but Cambridge University is not reknowned for changing its procedures with great frequency.

    264:

    Meanwhile, the tories rabid hatred of the EU, coupled with - "It's working, let's smash it!" - has produced a proposal to smash GDPR & replace it with a "Wonderful, new better British version" { !! }. I kid you not.
    Same as their proposed new "British Bill of {removal of} Rights"

    EC
    "Bullying" - or it can turn you into a cantankerous refusenik, who simply WON'T - NOT GOING TO! / NOT PLAYING - like me.
    - also re. Charlie @ 258 ....
    Though I didn't know it at the time, I followed the advice of the Gautama ... I simply Stepped off the Road

    Toby
    Yes / maybe / highly probable.
    The "Tufton Street poison" is almost-pure distilled current Rethuglican policy, after all, isn't it?

    265:

    "I don't know whether Exchequer chancellors are required to be economics wonks, or merely to manage the career ones at the treasury." Chancellors are politicians first, economists second. Most likely a Commons MP. Possibly a member of the Lords, though that is less likely these days for one of the big offices of state. Those politicians have to make the right alliances with some one who succeeds in climbing the greasy pole to become PM. The PM is likely to choose the least bad finance person from the very small pool of politicians that are allied to them from their party and is also not seen as a threat to their own position. The chances of them having much more than degree level economics training is low.

    266:

    To add to the above, those politicians that do make it to Chancellor are likely to have some sort of City banking background in their pre politics CV's, rather than academic economics training.

    267:

    "The "Tufton Street poison" is almost-pure distilled current Rethuglican policy, after all, isn't it?"

    From what I've read here it sure sounds that way. Pure "make the rich even richer with whatever justification sells" bullshit.

    268:

    Truss is a deeply stupid individual, for all her expertise in certain narrow fields. It's the kind of blinkered stupidity you get when someone very smart latches onto an ideology and insists on viewing everything through its frame, even though they've misunderstood it and it's actually broken.

    So, think of her as a political kind of techbro, then?

    269:

    He did, which is why there is a copy in the British Library; that is (or was) the normal practice for PhD theses; few PhD theses are published more widely than to the sponsoring institution. It is JUST possible that it is now standard practice to make online copies available, but Cambridge University is not reknowned for changing its procedures with great frequency.

    Not what I mean. I never published my MA thesis, but most of my PhD dissertation is sitting in three, peer-reviewed journal papers, and the remaining study is unpublishable.

    My understanding is that in the social sciences, it's fairly normal for a wannabe academic to turn their thesis into one or more books that (in his case) would be published by Cambridge University Press. Since he's published at least two books since (per Wikipedia), the publishing world isn't foreign to him. We can speculate on why he didn't publish it, but given that another professor thought it was of good quality, it's not because it sucked. The most likely reasons are that he had no interest in academia, and that he was well and truly sick of the subject. Since he kept working in economics-adjacent fields, the latter is less likely.

    If you want tinfoil hat speculation, he became interested in the political tactics and strategies each side deployed during the crisis, and thought that they might be useful today. If so, publishing gives potential opponents some insight into what he's doing. Yes, this requires him to be some sort of evil genius, and reality may disagree.

    The only reason I bring this up is that the GQP seems to be using strategies and tactics that were honed in the political conflicts leading up to the Civil War and especially in defeating the Reconstruction afterwards. Since some of the GQP players have backgrounds in American history, I don't think this is an accident, if I'm reading the situation correctly. And all I'm doing is reading standard references about the era and periodically pulling my eyebrows off the ceiling.

    270:

    To add to the above, those politicians that do make it to Chancellor are likely to have some sort of City banking background in their pre politics CV's, rather than academic economics training.

    Thanks! That makes sense. I'm obviously used to the American system, where one doesn't have to be a congresscritter to be tapped for a secretary-level post.

    271:

    the GQP seems to be using strategies and tactics that were honed in the political conflicts leading up to the Civil War and especially in defeating the Reconstruction afterwards.

    That's one of the points that Sjursen makes in A True History of the United States — that the conflicts playing out today have done so in the past, although ignored by most popular histories.

    272:

    Should have remembered College libraries were now on the main index as I had to tweak the dedicated search PCs at Sidney as the systems merged.

    I know the Sidney library had some shelves of theses by its postgrads and it seemed to be standard practice that UL, College library and supervisor got a printed copy which is why I thought Trinity may have a copy.

    273:

    Re: '"Rather, the recoinage and is attendant controversy are considered as a rich source of political ideas.”'

    Thanks! I read through her tweets and followed a link on which the below struck me as interesting.

    https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2013/09/crisis-chronicles-the-not-so-great-re-coinage-of-1696/

    'The crisis ultimately spurred a new era of economies driven by a broad set of financial instruments, not just specie, and laid the foundations for the later development of “fiat money,” which is backed by full faith and credit in the issuing government,'

    It's all fiat money everywhere these days - so Kwarteng should be able to grasp the implications of what the drop in the pound's value means politically.

    I don't know the timing of (a) Truss announcing her mini-budget and (b) Kwarteng enjoying champagne with financial market cronies but it would be interesting to see the real-time market reaction during both.

    I'm guessing the London Stock Exchange keeps records of all foreign currency trades, i.e., number of trades, amounts per trade, customers, which shares got bought/sold in different currencies, etc. so it shouldn't be too difficult to find out who bought/sold most. Regardless of whether they were buying or selling though the agents/traders probably made a fortune in commissions/fees - like George Soros maybe?

    'Soros is known as "The Man Who Broke the Bank of England" because of his short sale of US$10 billion worth of pounds sterling, which made him a profit of $1 billion during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis.[17]'

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Soros

    The below provides an example of the types of currency trades done that day.

    https://www.forex.com/en-ca/market-analysis/latest-research/how-to-short-the-pound/

    274:

    "it seemed to be standard practice that UL, College library and supervisor got a printed copy".

    I'm not sure about that. I think I had to provide 3 copies of mine, but I think they went to the department/faculty library (who maybe forwarded one to the UL?), not directly to the UL, college library or supervisor. Also, that was ~40 years ago so the system may have changed.

    275:

    It's certainly always worth checking.

    276:

    "it seemed to be standard practice that UL, College library and supervisor got a printed copy".

    I'm not sure about that. I think I had to provide 3 copies of mine, but I think they went to the department/faculty library (who maybe forwarded one to the UL?), not directly to the UL, college library or supervisor. However, that was ~40 years ago so the system may have changed.

    ...anyway, you might be able to find a copy in the History Faculty's library.

    277:

    I didn't have much to do with that end of things, I think extra copies for various people and places was custom rather than requirement. I've no idea if physical copies are still required, most written work is submitted online these days. Some DoS's ask for handwritten essays now and again to give the students practice for the exams, but even those get scanned so they can be handed in online.

    278:

    "Thanks! That makes sense. I'm obviously used to the American system, where one doesn't have to be a congresscritter to be tapped for a secretary-level post."

    Being able to appoint some one to the job who, though sympathetic to the ruling party, is an expert actually makes more sense than the Westminster governments method of selecting the least bad option from a very small pool of politicians. Theoretically, could a PM could make an expert they wanted a Peer, then appoint them Chancellor of the Exchequer? A Peerage is for life, but recent governments have had no qualms about packing the Lords with their donors and chums. One day we might get democracy in the UK central government, but it's a long way from being one now.

    279:

    Being able to appoint some one to the job who, though sympathetic to the ruling party, is an expert actually makes more sense than the Westminster governments method of selecting the least bad option from a very small pool of politicians

    This is the advantage of list systems, where a party lists the people it wishes to have in parliament/government if elected. Its a good way of making sure the party has expertise where needed; eg a small party in government making sure its economic expert is elected, etc.

    There are often ways around it - parachute people into "safe seats", in Ireland we have a senate voted by local councillors, which works out to be a list system "by the back door".

    280:

    Bullying and exclusion have been so ubiquitous we can hardly ascribe it to all the monsters of the current and past world. Most people have been bullied at some point, many of them horribly. Most are also not monsters or even just complete arseholes.

    There is a particular type of intelligence that will lock onto something that is intuitively appealing and use it to interpret the entire world. Economics as a discipline appears to appeal to people with that form of intelligence.

    I remember finishing a couple of undergrad economics courses as a 19 year old and thinking 'it all makes such good sense'. With a bit more lived experience I was able to perceive the woefully reductionist and morally bereft limitations of basic Economics modelling. Many people never get to that point, and in some schools are actively discouraged from reconsidering that point.

    I can't remember the exact quote, but it goes something like 'For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, easy to understand and completely wrong'. Truss and Kwarteng seem to have locked onto von Mises as the only answer worth considering, and damn any more complicated answers to this simple solution.

    281:

    Ideally Ministers can be questioned by MPs in the House of Commons, but in order for that to happen the Minister must also be an MP as no-one else may speak in the House. The last holder of a major office I can remember being in the Lords rather than an MP was Lord Carrington who was Minister of Defence during the Falklands war.

    282:

    H.L. Mencken seems to be the go-to person for the quote:

    "For every complex human problem, there is a solution that is neat, simple and wrong."

    283:

    This is the advantage of list systems, where a party lists the people it wishes to have in parliament/government if elected.

    In the US this is what was unofficially happening in many places into the 60s. Which in so many ways led to the Chicago Riots at the 68 D convention. Which led to both parties requiring primaries.

    Both ways have failure modes. And determined ass holes will work hard to exploit the modes.

    284:

    Every political and economic system will have major failure modes, and in every case we will have sociopaths and their enablers finding ways to game the system until it breaks, usually ending in tears.

    I suspect a long-term sustainable system of democracy would, at predetermined intervals (15-25 years?), switch between a variety of electoral systems. Most importantly, which system you are switching to won't be known in advance, and will be chosen by a random lottery one month prior to the next election.

    First Past the Post plurality systems work well for some things, but lead to other problems such as gray dictatorships leading to extremist takeover. Pure Proportional Representation works well for other things, but can lead to ossification at the top of party lists and disproportionate power for minority parties (i.e. Likud). Mixed proportional has other failure modes.

    Each system would need enough time to work but not enough time to overly reward sociopathic climbers before it is replaced with a different system that has been chosen at random. Maybe we could have a citizen jury or assembly every decade to examine the successes and failure modes of 15 different proposed systems - in order to choose which 5 will be in the lottery box next time around.

    It will never happen, but it would at least make failure modes harder to identify and exploit for oligarchic types.

    285:

    Troutwaxer
    Another example of IEA/Tufton/"Republican" policy in action - SLIGHT problem - this, also is exactly contrary to our leaving treaty with the EU, so anpther manufactured fight is on the way.....

    286:

    AFAIK, no paywalls at the Guardian.

    287:

    It got really serious the day that LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act (1964). Within four years or so, almost all the old Dixiecrats - pro-segregation, etc Democrats - changed parties and became Republican. That was a huge factor, and, as I type, think that let the ultra-rich have a one-stop-shop for all their goals.

    288:

    "The US trending isolationist"? Only the GOP side. They are not the same.

    289:

    I suspect a long-term sustainable system of democracy would, at predetermined intervals (15-25 years?), switch between a variety of electoral systems. Most importantly, which system you are switching to won't be known in advance, and will be chosen by a random lottery one month prior to the next election.

    In theory, ducky. In practice, you probably need at least a year, if not two, to switch voting systems. There's ballots to print, equipment to buy, modify, or warehouse, workers to train, systems to certify, and so forth.

    Also, if you're picking randomly from a known menu of systems, the hackers may have an advantage over the defenders. They'll have time to game the possibilities, and if the alternate systems are being used elsewhere, they'll have time to practice. The defenders will have similar possibilities to practice, until someone complains about the cost, but they'll be defending, not attacking.

    Speaking of complaining, how can anyone know a new election system worked? So if you're dealing with authoritarians for whom power is the only metric and truth is situational, their predictable strategy to deal with losing under a switching system is to claim every change is almost certainly going to be a failure, for the purported reasons I gave in the previous paragraph. Throwing the validity of the election into doubt is a good counter to losing it.

    290:

    FUTURENEWZ: 26FEB2039 declaring victory over inflation, the triumphant Tory Party marches through London, waving to the surviving eighty-six inhabitants https://pic.twitter.com/HHGQCrZqHM

    (shamelessly stealing someone else's art post & glomming off the resigned sense it will all end in tears)

    291:

    That's bs. The two US parties are not anywhere near the same. Unless you're claiming that the racist, "make America officially a Christian nation", anti-woman, xenophobic GOP is the same as the center-barely-left Democrats. Please include references to "the Squad" (that includes Ocasio-Cortez). And Shakowsky of Chicago (my old rep). And Raskin (my current Congressman), and how they're "the same".

    292:

    We were at Capclave over the weekend, and the three panels I were on went well. Folks here may be interested in the one we had on class and poverty. The moderator was a friend, Jennifer R. Povey, UK working-class ex-pat.

    On UK news... as I was catching up here, an odd thought struck me. I saw that the Pot-metal Weathervane had a private interview with the King, and he's announced he won't be attending COP. Given his long-term interests... one wonders if he offered her a deal, he withdraws... and she drops the tax cut for the rich. She strikes me as someone who would be impressed by THE KING.

    I've also seen a suggestion that one of the Princes might go in his stead. Who knows... maybe William?

    293:

    I suspect a long-term sustainable system of democracy would, at predetermined intervals (15-25 years?), switch between a variety of electoral systems.

    There's an economics axiom to the effect that since all metrics will be gamed you have to keep changing the metrics. Or it may be a political axiom translated into management, but either way I'm pretty sure that's where the Red Queen Race idea came from.

    Also crops up in geek explanations for social systems: sociability is an evolutionary marker for humans, so inherently there cannot be a single, fixed, known set of rules - the characteristic being selected for is exactly the ability to understand an ever-changing set of social rules. Which for the social darwinist types can be explained by the fact that humans are not uniform, so in order to have large societies we absolutely must have the ability to cope with a diversity of social rules.

    So yes, we're not looking for the one political arrangement to rule them all, forever. We're looking for the next iteration of what's happening now, ideally one that addresses rather than exacerbates the current problems. The current move towards neo-feudalism is not a step in the right direction (as anyone wh's worked for Bezos or Musk will testify)

    294:

    Also good to see a tweet below that from a ridiculously rich Catholic talking about how bad inequality is. I assume it's part of a chain where they also talk about the importance of helping children, letting women make decisions for themselves and not judging others.

    295:

    If I understand the comment correctly, what I said is "both sides do" and I shouldn't do that. If I under correctly, why should I not say this, if both sides actually do it? Yes, they are two different parties, with one extremely corrupt and conservative, while the other party is even more corrupt and just batty. The "better" party is just not as batty. Lead or arsenic? What a choice!

    Heather Cox Richardson had a relevant quote last night (emphasis added):

    "After World War II, political philosopher Hannah Arendt explained that lies are central to the rise of authoritarianism. In place of reality, authoritarians lie to create a “fictitious world through consistent lying.” Ordinary people embraced such lies because they believed everyone lied anyhow, and if caught trusting a lie, they would “take refuge in cynicism,” saying they had known all along they were being lied to and admiring their leaders “for their superior tactical cleverness.” But leaders embraced the lies because they reinforced those leaders’ superiority, and gave them power, over those who did believe them. "

    She (and Arendt) aren't the only ones to make this observation. Paul Linebarger (who wrote SF as Cordwainer Smith) wrote Psychological Warfare, a textbook based on his work as a WW2 psyops officer, before he became a professor. In it, he observed that citizens of fascist countries were easier to manipulate, not because they were stupid, but because they believed that they were always being lied to, and that this actually degraded their ability to tell truth from fiction.

    So it may be that cynicism is a suboptimal response to being taken in by a liar. Everyone gets fooled occasionally, but cynicism, rather than embarrassment, may make it harder to learn from the mistake.

    297:

    amckinstry @ 279:

    parachute people into "safe seats"

    How does that work exactly? Here in the U.S. you have to actually live in the district you represent. OTOH, you don't have to be a member of Congress to hold a federal office.

    In fact you can't be both ... like when Trumpolini nominated Jeff Sessions as his first Attorney General, Sessions had to resign his Senate seat before he could take up the position.

    But I understand things are a bit different over there ...

    Does the person being "parachuted in" have to physically move to the district before being elected?

    And what about the "member" who already occupies that seat? What happens to them? What do they gain?

    298:

    they believed that they were always being lied to, and that this actually degraded their ability to tell truth from fiction.

    Pretty sure it was here someone linked to a similar article about corruption in the context of the Russian military. It's not as simple as 10% losses to corruption mean everything costs 1/90%=~111% more, it's that nothing is reliable any more, nothing can be trusted. Consistently everyone expects that everyone else is on the take and they want to get their share. Right down to the conscripts who sell their boots because who cares, they're going to die anyway, might as well die drunk. And complaining just makes you a target.

    Same with "everyone lies"... effectively true, but you have to work out who is lying, when, and why. Otherwise you're practicing learned helplessness. Worse, when parties try not to lie they're saying stuff so different from the liars that it sounds insane... see also "The Greens" various problems when they spout things many of us think are obviously true but are politically unspeakable.

    But part of it is the policy of immiseration: keep people so busy just trying to stay alive that they don't have the time or energy to waste on politics.

    299:

    In Australia you don't have to live in the electorate.

    https://www.crikey.com.au/2011/08/15/one-in-10-federal-mps-dont-live-in-their-own-electorate/

    Sadly "parachuting" is done here and is not even slightly physical. It's not so much that they're not given parachutes as they're not even pushed out of aeroplanes.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-12/kristina-keneally-fowler-labor-diversity-woes-tu-le/100451344

    Spoiler: the nice white lady from the rich suburbs failed to win a "safe" but ethnically diverse seat after the leadershit shoved aside the locally preferred candidate. Somehow they won the election anyway which means I suspect they will consider the loss acceptable.

    300:

    It got really serious the day that LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act (1964). Within four years or so, almost all the old Dixiecrats - pro-segregation, etc Democrats - changed parties and became Republican.

    The process took much longer than that to play out. It was still ongoing in the 1980's.

    The Republicans had the effect of a Congressional majority with help from conservative Democrats (mostly from the southern states).

    301:

    Funny you mention that, I was just listening to a history podcast today about US presidential elections today.It struck me how much the rhetoric used by Regan is eerily similar to the 2016 election (if you subtract Trumps baffonary and bombast and personal attacks and narcissistic self obsession that is). The conclusion of the presenter was pretty much that RonReg cemented the shift started in by the Nixon southern strategy and set us up for the current radical rights insanity.

    302:

    We regret to inform you the assimilation of the UK by the United Snakes has advanced further: https://www.engadget.com/us-uk-data-sharing-agreement-in-effect-171316794.html

    303:

    Passed 300 so have a scroll through to page 45 of A book of images drawn by W.T. Horton & introduced by W.B. Yeats from 1898. There's a fairly familiar face there.

    304:

    Speaking of lies…

    A company that has received billions of pounds in green energy subsidies from UK taxpayers is cutting down environmentally-important forests, a BBC Panorama investigation has found.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-63089348

    Drax told the BBC it had not cut down the forests itself and said it transferred the logging licences to other companies.

    But Panorama checked and the authorities in British Columbia confirmed that Drax still holds the licences.

    Drax said it did not use the logs from the two sites Panorama identified. It said they were sent to timber mills - to make wood products - and that Drax only used the leftover sawdust for its pellets.

    The company says it does use some logs - in general - to make wood pellets. It claims it only uses ones that are small, twisted, or rotten.

    But documents on a Canadian forestry database show that only 11% of the logs delivered to the two Drax plants in the past year were classified as the lowest quality, which cannot be used for wood products.

    Panorama wanted to see if logs from primary forests cut down by logging companies were being transferred to Drax's Meadowbank pellet plant. The programme filmed a truck on a 120-mile round trip: leaving the plant, collecting piles of whole logs from a forest that had been cut down by a logging company and then returning to the plant for their delivery.

    Drax later admitted that it did use logs from the forest to make wood pellets. The company said they were species the timber industry did not want, and they would often be burned anyway to reduce wildfire risks.

    Repeated denials and explanations that turn out not to be the case…

    Also interesting that they claim that it's not an old-growth forest if near a road — not part of any definition I'm aware of.


    So some of you UK blokes are powering your lights with old-growth forest rather than dead dinosaurs.

    305:

    289 "There's ballots to print, equipment to buy, modify, or warehouse, workers to train" - Printing ballots, 2 to 3 weeks rather than months, seasons or years.
    Equipment to buy, modify or warehouse; months, season or years for a stock of pencils"!?
    Workers to train; again this is observed to be doable during a single campaign, so weeks for anyone below the rank of Returning Officer, who is typically 1 (one) person in 50_000.

    292 - Maybe; that has been one of the duties that Chuck had assumed over most of the last 71 years (stand-in when something was "too political for the Monarch").

    297 "Does the person being "parachuted in" have to physically move to the district before being elected?"
    No, not least because as per 289 above you've assumed that everyone else uses USian laws; we don't.

    "And what about the "member" who already occupies that seat? What happens to them? What do they gain?"
    This happens at a party candidate level, not an elected member level. So what happens is that they are deselected as the candidate for $party for $district. The parachutee may or may not then win the said district.

    299 - Pretty much, yes. To the extent that the above and your post are pretty well interchangeable despite the difference in our electoral systems, yes?

    306:

    On whether Kwarteng is an economist (he's not), an economic historian (most accurate) or a political historian with a passing interest in economics, the reality is that he's more than knowledgeable enough to know better than to execute a series of tax cuts in the middle of an inflationary death spiral. Right now the headlines are reading that he's done a backflip or performed a U-turn, when all he's really done is remove the most patently regressive high-income tax cuts from the mini-budget and left billions of pounds of tax cuts in. This isn't naivety, it's ideologically motivated, wilful stupidity from someone who's deliberately ignoring all outside counsel and paying absolutely zero heed to the current economic environment.

    307:

    Too bad that if someone decided to feed Drax employees into a biogas facility to reduce their emissions, some poor Mounties would get stuck gearing up in the Tyvek to investigate what happened.

    I get so tired of shit like this.

    308:

    Yeah, exactly the same process with some minor tweaking around the edges for the subtle differences in structure. I still say our branch stacking is more biggerer than yours though. And we get (to) rank candidates 😋

    309:

    ...(1964). Within four years or so, almost all the old Dixiecrats - pro-segregation, etc Democrats - changed parties and became Republican.

    The process took much longer than that to play out. It was still ongoing in the 1980's.

    Thank you.

    I first voted in 1972 in far western Kentucky. Registration was around 80/20 D. Maybe 90/10. To the extent that in the general election there were no R's running for most local offices. Maybe the mayor. Mostly for Senate, House, and President. Most local races were determined in the D primary. Now Kentucky mostly voted for Nixon but no where near 80/20. He won the state by maybe 10 points. It took another 10 years or so before the switching became fixed.

    310:

    I want to know why Germany (and other countries on that side of the pond) say that burning pellets from our trees is "green"?

    Not exactly old growth but clear cutting our soft pines in the eastern marshes of NC isn't a great thing to be doing. Much less processing them into pellets and shipping them 3000 miles or more.

    311:

    How difficult is it to stage a military coup? Asking for a friend...

    It's not trivial but there is an instruction book that's straightforward and easy to read.

    312:

    "297 "Does the person being "parachuted in" have to physically move to the district before being elected?" No, not least because as per 289 above you've assumed that everyone else uses USian laws; we don't.

    "And what about the "member" who already occupies that seat? What happens to them? What do they gain?" This happens at a party candidate level, not an elected member level. So what happens is that they are deselected as the candidate for $party for $district. The parachutee may or may not then win the said district. "

    The UK system. Parties can parachute a candidate in to a constituency for a General Election, but that is a maximum of every five years, so no good if they want to get some one in straight away. Alternatively, wait for an existing MP to resign, die, or otherwise leave one of the 650 Commons seats free. A byelection is called for that constituency. That seat may, or may not be winnable for the party that wants to parachute their person in. All very random. The average age of MPs skews higher than the general population, so there are deaths in office maybe one, or two a year. MPs resign after doing something particularly awful, but sometimes the electorate can punish the party as well by voting against their replacement candidate, so not a safe bet for the parachutee. This means that in practice, to parachute a candidate in you need an unpredictable death in office, in a safe seat and there just aren't that many to go round. The major parties have a habit of turfiing out the local candidate for a parachutee when one comes up.

    A recent example of a byelection going bad for the previous holders party is the North Shropshire seat. Owen Patterson won it again in the 2019 general election with 62.7% of the vote and a 35,000 majority. About as safe a Conservative seat as it is possible to have. You could usually stick a blue rosette on a hat stand and it would get in. In 2021, he was at the centre of a corruption scandal. PM at the time, Boris Johnson tried to have the parliamentary standards rules changed to spare his chum. Scandal gets worse. Eventually, Patterson resigns as an MP. The resulting byelection has the Lib Dem candidate beating the new Tory candidate by nearly 6,000 votes. Lib Dem is the way UK Tories go when a twinge of conscience makes them protest vote.

    I can't think of any example of an existing MP, outside a general election, when all seats are up for grabs, standing down for no other reason than to let a parachute candidate take over after a byelection. I suspect that the local electorate would take that badly and punish the party responsible.

    313:

    whitroth
    Yes - William is known to be strongly enviromentalist/saving the planet, as well as his dad.

    jensnail
    I can.
    Long, long ago, the then Labour guvmint lost a safe { Birmingham, Smethwick } seat to a tory racist bastard, so they "sent the boys round" & forced the sitting labour MP, who had been there { Leyton } since 1935 (!) in the constituency next to mine - out - kicked him upstairs to the Lords. And parachuted said other man in.
    He lost, big-time ... there were vast allegations of racism, which was not the case { That time }.
    Because the new member of the Lords, went round the streets, assisted by local Labour party members, literally crying most of the time, begging people to "Vote anything but Labour - or stay at home".
    The poor victim who was booted was Reginald Sorenson
    The Parachutee was Patrick Gordon Walker

    314:

    "Danged - his PhD thesis is under lock & key. Might be that there are a few folks here who might be able to access this via the channels mentioned below."

    Looking at the repository from the University VPN, I get no access to the text except a privileged chance to pay £75 to ask the library for a copy, a request that they then pass to the author for consideration. No thanks. I could go to the main library to search for the paper copy if it were important, but I think it not very relevant.

    The repository at Cambridge is generally better than this and very open.

    315:

    Agreed, with the note that the $year General Election candidate for $Party for "Much Binding in the Marsh" (traditional British name for a spoof seat folks) need not, then or ever, be a resident of or registered to vote in MBitM.

    316:

    Agreed that this is entirely wrong. But what is to be done? Drax is one of the few base-load generators that can be carbon-neutral right now, if fed with pellets from a proper source. It's not a facility we can easily afford to lose, and AFAICS it belongs to the eco-vandals.

    317:

    Scale error. You can heat your summer cottage responsibly by buying compressed sawdust from a sawmill which can't avoid producing that as part of it's operation, as long as only a reasonable number of people do this. You simply cannot source the sheer tonnage a facility like Drax burns responsibly. This is not a case of the operators being especially a-moral. Pick a large scale biomass burner at random, follow the sources back, exact same story, sometimes worse. Biofuel is simply flat out a terrible, bad, no good, "Burn the planet to save it" idea.

    318:

    316 & 317 - The UK does produce tonnage loads of wood pulp. How these loads compare with the bulk Drax power station burns I don't know.

    319:

    "316 & 317 - The UK does produce tonnage loads of wood pulp. How these loads compare with the bulk Drax power station burns I don't know."

    Drax was converted from coal firing. That coal would have been delivered by the train load. Wood takes a higher weight than coal for the same energy output and much higher by volume. The wood comes in by ship, then by very long trains. I've seen them go by, marked up with greenwashing claims for the contents on the wagons.

    320:

    The parties generally have two or three "Jumpers" in safe seats. They are reliable party drones without the connections to ever make the front benches and who will resign their seats for personal reasons/spend more time with their families/health issues/whatever at the drop of a hat. If called upon to make their noble sacrifice they will generally feature in the next Honours list or appear as a non-executive director at Big Government Contractor PLC a few months later.

    321:

    Britain has a very traditional name for someone resigning a safe seat to make way for a well-connected rising star of the party, "Taking the Chiltern Hundreds".

    Basically it's forbidden for an MP to resign due to a standing order of Parliament dating back to 1624. However there are a couple of outside jobs that would force an MP to leave Parliament and one of them is accepting the position of Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, something which is today a paper position.

    https://www.parliament.uk/globalassets/documents/commons-information-office/p11.pdf

    Loophole loophole!

    One does rather wonder what would happen if an MP became the Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds and left Parliament but then refused to give up her new position when it was deemed necessary for someone else to resign from Parliament for whatever reason. Hilarity would no doubt ensue.

    322:

    This arose a thread or two back, and I looked it up, but can't recall the details. Candidates may not even need to be British, or British-resident.

    323:

    Some of us predicted this would happen when the power station was claimed to be sustainable because it would burn only locally-produced waste material.

    On another thread, no, they don't always lie - but that's the smart way to bet. Dictatorships and similar don't always have to be brutal and violent - deceit and guile often work better.

    324:

    Still, by-elections take time and often don't of the right way. It's generally good form to save such hijinks for a general election, and for the would-be candidate to publicly set up house in the electorate a decent interval beforehand (in fact, seeing a prominent party figure do so is often the first sign such a manoeuvre is about to occur).

    Here in Oz this is common for talented Senators seeking to move the House of Representatives before being promoted to one of the senior ministries... and in fact if a Senator has been promoted, it's more or less inevitable to happen eventually. If for no other reason than Question Time in the House gets a lot more attention than Question Time in the Senate. The Senate-to-House process never happens outside a general election, mostly because filling casual Senate vacancies is an alternate flow that historically has led to unwanted outcomes.

    In general the rule that a minister should be an MP is a requirement for Responsible Government. It's an odd concept, with conventions laid on top of conventions and depending on actors' good faith for things to keep working. The odd thing is that is the part that seems to work reasonably well: the problems are mostly elsewhere.

    325:

    FUTURENEWZ: 21JAN2023 every morning vans slow drive London streets, drivers yelling "bring out your frozen dead"; there are now days when vans have to make a second & third trip to the morgue to unload

    FUTURENEWZ: 13FEB2023 announcement by PM Truss of private-public partnership with Soylent Corp for extracting lingering value from increasing numbers of "frozen dead"; Truss boasts of win-win-win: cheap protein for working poor; no funds wasted upon burial; percentage paid to Exchequer;

    FUTURENEWZ: 14FEB2023 announcement by Buckingham Palace, the royal family, by order of KC3 are as of this day, vegetarians; most of British elite follow their lead;

    327:

    Makes perfect sense thanks; I really didn't know what sort of tonnage Drax burnt, or how far away it was shipped from.

    328:

    A good rule of thumb is that it takes about 2.5 million tonnes of carbon to generate a gigawatt of electricity each year. That means over 3 million tonnes of decent-quality thermal coal, four million tonnes of lignite and over five million tonnes of dried processed wood pellets.

    The wood-burning Drax 2 station runs 24/7 pretty much. I've never seen the biomass figure reported Gridwatch fall below a gigawatt and it sometimes peaks up to about 2GW. Going by that figure I'd estimate Britain burns about eight million tonnes of wood pellets each year to generate green renewable electricity of this form.

    329:

    Many of the biggest producers already have a power station using the wood waste on site. See the AW Jenkinson site at Lockerbie for example. They use extra large trailers to collect wood waste from harvesting sites as problem is it is not a dense fuel.

    I use biomass for heating here as was installed when I arrived. Finding reliable source of certified pellets is not that easy. Many sources were withdrawn last year when they were found to be using non sustainable Russian sources for timber.

    330:

    MP’s don’t need to be. Ministers are expected to be. As examples Boris Johnson and the current MP for Beaconsfield were both US citizens when they were elected.

    331:

    I'm pretty sure the only reason Drax is kept running is as a "just in case" facility to burn domestic coal if that should become necessary.

    332:

    That might have previously been the case, but the UK simply doesn't mine enough coal any more. At one point the Drax complex produced about 10% of the UK's base load: those days are gone.

    333:

    Drax was built as a part of the Wilson government’s central planning. It was built as close as possible the the Selby coalfield (Britain’s biggest at the time) to reduce the need for long rail journeys. A similar decision built an aluminium smelter close to the Wylfa nuclear power station.

    334:

    Fascinating to see a topic of which I have some direct knowledge being discussed on here. A friend of mine manages the port facility that loads the bulk ships with those pellets.

    The use of wood pellets for heating or generation can be relatively sustainable, in the sense that the trees can be replaced. Additionally, if they use the scrap from a cut block - branches, damaged wood, non-market lumber, it can be more sustainable than other sources (fossil fuels).

    That region is mostly pine and white or black spruce forests, with a mix of other types (Balsa Fir, Alder) depending in specific locations (moisture, sunlight, soil content). Marketable species are primarily spruce and pine. Some varieties of alder are also used, but at a much lower rate. Often a logging company will leave that stuff on the ground.

    Every tree gets stripped of its branches, which are also left on the site. That may or may not be a good thing - leaving biomaterial on site reduces erosion and boosts the quality of the soil. Replacement happens on a particular schedule- within 7 years there have to be a certain density of new and healthy trees or the loggers face some penalties.

    I have trouble seeing that region as having any 'old growth' forests at this time. Anything close to roads was logged decades ago, and is almost certainly second or third growth. The only true old growth remaining in the interior of BC is difficult or uneconomic to access (i.e. on a cliff face).

    335:

    Kamikwasi's U-turn has apparently now reversed and is in danger of turning into a corkscrew turn.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/oct/04/kwasi-kwarteng-fiscal-plan-date-thrown-into-confusion

    336:

    "I have trouble seeing that region as having any 'old growth' forests at this time. Anything close to roads was logged decades ago, and is almost certainly second or third growth. The only true old growth remaining in the interior of BC is difficult or uneconomic to access (i.e. on a cliff face)."

    A good few years ago, I had a chance to walk through some actual old growth forest on Vancouver Island. The difference between it and previously logged woodland was striking, even to my untrained eye. One of my companions on the trip was a botanist and didn't want to leave!

    337:

    Maybe an Immelman; a half-loop with a flick half-roll off the top?

    338:

    It's true if you remove the "only" and the "domestic" though. Comes pre-greenwashed, which Radcliffe-on-Soar didn't, and conveniently close to Hull docks for import (as at present) as well as being closer to most of the likely areas from which domestic supplies might be re-established.

    339:

    It's not in Germany. Despite the un-English-sounding name, it's in Yorkshire, and the locality has been called that for centuries. Whether there's any connection to Hugo is unknown.

    340:

    Hmm. This reminds me of Richard Morgan's Market Forces. Not the actual story but the world in the background.

    341:

    Re: 'the Onion files an amicus curae in support of a Supreme Court petitioner.'

    Excellent brief - thanks! Would be useful in HS English Lit or social studies classes as an example of contemporary usage.

    Re @286: '... no paywalls at the Guardian'

    Nope - the page gets blocked for me every time lately and I don't trust my level of tech skills (i.e., none/zero/nada) to try work-arounds.

    342:

    "The use of wood pellets for heating or generation can be relatively sustainable, in the sense that the trees can be replaced. Additionally, if they use the scrap from a cut block - branches, damaged wood, non-market lumber, it can be more sustainable than other sources (fossil fuels)."

    Their propaganda relies heavily on inflating that "can be" and "if" to "of course that's all we ever do". The actual source has changed two or three times, to places which are further away and more difficult to find out what's really going into the shipments, when it became too obvious that the claims as applied to the previous place were bollocks. They're kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel now, since even disregarding the status of the actual wood, it's tough to pretend that bringing it in ships all the way from the west side of Canada isn't shit.

    343:

    "A good few years ago, I had a chance to walk through some actual old growth forest on Vancouver Island."

    There are some majestic patches of old growth on VI, but the most accessible to visitors is the Cathedral Grove forest on the highway near Port Alberni. That can best be described as a Potemkin forest, since it is the last remnant surrounded by clearcuts (more generously, second or third growth forests).

    There are ways to 'harvest' lumber sustainably. There are ways to preserve old growth forests. We need to do both. Where the trouble arises is in scale - lumber is one of the better building materials and we build a lot on this planet. It has to come from somewhere. I don't have all the answers, but I don't think we should be cutting wood to burn it.

    344:

    Prop 13 was a bad idea from the beginning, and it's still a bad idea. I benefited from it, my parents benefited from it, and it was and is a bad idea.

    The basic problems is that corporations are essentially immortal, and people aren't. So it ends up with everything that has a low tax rate being owned by corporations.

    Ok, that's oversimplifying it a little bit, but that's the essence of what's wrong with it. Even without that problem it would still be a tax on being poor, but that problem is a real killer.

    345:

    "I want to know why Germany (and other countries on that side of the pond) say that burning pellets from our trees is "green"?"

    Because they needed baseload that was "renewable" for areas that could not have hydro in order to say that we don't need nuclear power at all.

    Even Greenpeace was claiming that "biomass burning from managed forests is renewable" and that it was a good replacement for nuclear.

    The MEP most responsible for ramming the biomass burning plants into the RED directive was Claude Turmes. He's from the Greens. They think it's more important to destroy the nuclear power plants than not to destroy the biosphere with climate change, because they were founded on opposition to nuclear power in the 1980s, and didn't care about global warming yet.

    346:

    Re: 'Kamikwasi's ... corkscrew'

    What data and methodology does the OBR use when coming up with a forecast? Curious about how they can come up with any longterm projections considering how unstable some G20 economies are right now.

    347:

    Sorry, what about the Chicago Riots? I can tell you as a matter of fact - I was there - that overwhelmingly, it was against the Vietnam War. And I'll also note that a federal commission, appointed after (and before the election), declared it to be a police riot, and that the Mayor had literally given the pigs - the riot cops, not to be confused with the ordinary cops - a St. Crispin's Day speech to go out and split heads, which they did.

    You also seemed to have missed the assassination of King and of Bobby Kennedy.

    348:

    Pawalls: the Guardian is user-supported, and they beg you to support them. I've never been blocked. I will note that, as I've noted before, that I run noScript with firefox, no deep technical knowledge involved. Just allow the link at the top, and then as little as possible after that.

    349:

    It's not in Germany. Despite the un-English-sounding name,

    I was piling on. Much/most of our North Carolina pellets go to Germany. For use in home heating.

    350:

    I just looked up the total UK wood production per year. 11.2 million tonnes. Of which 0.3 million tonnes end up as wood pellets, the remaining 10.9 million tonnes finding better uses. Yhea, Drax was never, ever going to be sustainably or domestically fueled.

    351:

    Guardian

    Nope - the page gets blocked for me every time lately and I don't trust my level of tech skills (i.e., none/zero/nada) to try work-arounds.

    I use Ghostery by default. I have not trusted the Guardian site in Ghostery so it is blocking all the known tracking scrips and such. Of which it shows 13 just now. Anyway pages load fine for me in Firefox on a current macOS. Well fine after I clear the cover the page asking for money popup. But that's easy as it has a big "X" in the upper corner.

    352:

    You also seemed to have missed the assassination of King and of Bobby Kennedy.

    I was talking about the political operations of the prior 100 years that got us to that point. You being there was a current event at the end of that sequence.

    353:

    I meant a proper emergency just in case, as in we need to start mining again. I don't know how easy this would actually be to do , but I think it is the plan.

    354:

    I don't know how easy this would actually be to do

    Strip mining is easy to start and stop. Well somewhat depending on how much you care about runoff. In my college days the 5 hour drive home took me through a hour or two of strip mine country. On a clear night in the winter when the trees had no leaves it was like driving across the moon.

    Here's a musical description: "Paradise by John Prine" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEy6EuZp9IY

    I don't think the pics of the coal mines are from the area. It was so flat you could see that shovel operating about 5 miles away when driving down the highway.

    But I'm guessing that most of the coal left in the UK is deep.

    355:

    Troutwaxer at 212 -

    Re UK (Tory) politicians pissing off the USA:

    The conclusion I came to was that their interest is in being big fish and if that means shrinking the pond it's a price they are prepared to pay.
    That is a large motivation for Brexit among them, and this is a playing-out of that logic.

    356:

    Wood is solar energy and with Britain being so far north we don't get a lot of solar energy that would grow a lot of timber. Certainly Canada can grow a lot of timber and most of Canada is at similar latitudes to Britain but there's 40 times more land area to grow timber on in Canada compared to Britain. It also doesn't help that about 70% of the UK's land is rated agricultural and hence not usually planted with trees whereas in Canada it's 6%.

    The timber plantations in the US making wood pellets in places like North Carolina get a lot more solar energy per annum than Britain or Canada so they can grow more timber than either, hectare for hectare. The Amazon basin would be an even more solar-energy-rich source of pellet wood but the Greenies whine and bitch when anyone dares touch their Precious.

    357:

    The timber plantations in the US making wood pellets in places like North Carolina get a lot more solar energy per annum than Britain or Canada so they can grow more timber than either, hectare for hectare.

    The problem is these trees are not grown like corn. They exist in a vast area of flat marsh land between I-95 and the Atlantic Ocean. Some would like to clear it and pave it over in the name of progress. Hurricanes make that a bad idea in just one way of 1000 or so. Anyway saying these trees are great for German home heating is like saying tar sands are a great way to mine oil. After all no one lives there? Right?

    As we clear more and more marsh land we will get more and more of this. An aerial view of I-40 a few years back.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHo0fe78KWo

    358:

    "But I'm guessing that most of the coal left in the UK is deep."

    Yes, and although there is absolute craploads of it there is no rapid way to get at any of it any more.

    There are some opencastable deposits left in South Wales, and there are/were also rumours that one area was designated as a kind of "strategic reserve" so that in the case of a national emergency severe enough that "fuck whatever's on top of it already" was an acceptable way of thinking, it could be rapidly turned into a great big opencast site. Quite what that was really supposed to be I'm not sure, because IIRC the coal is about 100m down in that area and it's nowhere near the usual candidates for opencast sites, although unlike those it does still have good rail connections.

    There were also a few pits which were supposed to be maintained in reopenable condition after Thatcher destroyed the mining industry, mostly close to the concentrations of power stations. But since we moved from firing power stations off imported coal instead of our own to closing them down altogether, there ceased to be any point, since we don't have anywhere to burn it any more. There are only two coal power stations left in Britain and they're both partly closed down with only a year or two left to go, plus Drax which can still burn coal.

    359:

    Leszek Karlik
    Exactly what i've been saying about the "greens" for years.
    They are not actually "green" at all ...

    Meanwhile ...

    "Evening Standard" giving Trusstercluck less than a month before "letters to the 1922 committee" start rolling in - & some MP's already want to "Roll the dice" a 3rd time, rather than go for a GE.
    How bloody lunatic does it have to get before we get a prorogation & a snap GE, I womder?

    360:

    "I have trouble seeing that region as having any 'old growth' forests at this time"

    You might want to tell that to the protestors at the Fairy Creek watershed.

    As of 2021 the B.C. government said that there were "13.7 million hectares of old growth in British Columbia, and 10 million of those hectares are protected or not economical to harvest". Quoted from the CBC website from a story published in May 2021.

    361:

    “I am not a number; I am a free man. I will not make any deals with you. I’ve resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own!"

    While we are on the subject of repressive societies, I'd like to go somewhat off-topic and recommend Patrick McGoohan's "The Prisoner"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osNmf_zmSyE

    It's 55th anniversary is this week.

    Be seeing you.

    P.S. The S2 Lotus Seven driven by Number 6 is way cooler than 007's Aston Martin, even without the gadgets.

    P.P.S. Love British sf from the 70s

    362:

    Roll the dice" a 3rd time, rather than go for a GE.

    Help out a furriner.

    How does the party get the few who might be PM into the election process?

    363:

    For the Conservative party, candidates must be an MP and party member in good standing, and need to get a certain number of nominations from their fellow party MPs to go on the list. The Tory MPs then get to vote repeatedly, and at each stage there's either a minimum number of votes to proceed to the next round or the candidate with the lowest number of votes gets eliminated. Once they're down to just two candidates it goes to the party membership.

    364:

    "You might want to tell that to the protestors at the Fairy Creek watershed.

    As of 2021 the B.C. government said that there were "13.7 million hectares of old growth in British Columbia, and 10 million of those hectares are protected or not economical to harvest". Quoted from the CBC website from a story published in May 2021."

    I could tell that to the protesters at the Fairy Creek watershed, bet they would look at me like I'm a moron, since it is 870 km, an ocean strait, a couple of mountain ranges and a climatic zone or two away from the site we are discussing - which has no old growth forests that I am aware of.

    365:

    paws4thot @ 305:

    297 "Does the person being "parachuted in" have to physically move to the district before being elected?"
    No, not least because as per 289 above you've assumed that everyone else uses USian laws; we don't.

    I didn't post "289 above".

    If I had assumed everyone followed U.S. law, I wouldn't have needed to ask how it works in the U.K.

    366:

    David L @ 309:

    I first voted in 1972 in ...

    I turned 21 in summer of 1970, which was the voting age in North Carolina at the time 1. So I was able to vote in the 1970 mid-term election.

    Before the Presidential election rolled around in 1972, the XXVI Amendment was ratified making the voting age 18 nationwide.

    1 Each state set the voting age for that state - some states allowed 18 year olds to vote, but not all of them. North Carolina was one of the ones that didn't.

    BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, 21 was the age where you could finally legally buy spiritous liquors from the ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) stores.

    The state holds a monopoly on liquor sales, and counties, cities & towns can decide whether to allow ABC stores (and/or mixed drink sales) in their jurisdictions. Apparently the last Dry County in North Carolina went semi-wet, allowing some hospitality businesses in the county seat, Robbinsville, to serve wine.

    https://thecounter.org/north-carolinas-last-dry-county-allows-some-booze-sales/

    367:

    Nojay @ 321:

    Britain has a very traditional name for someone resigning a safe seat to make way for a well-connected rising star of the party, "Taking the Chiltern Hundreds".

    Does it pay well? What do Members of Parliament get paid?

    368:

    David L @ 354:

    Here's a musical description: "Paradise by John Prine" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEy6EuZp9IY

    I don't think the pics of the coal mines are from the area. It was so flat you could see that shovel operating about 5 miles away when driving down the highway.

    I think he's taken a bit of artistic license ... If there ever were strip mines where Paradise lay (37.26840034728783, -86.98288611321014) they've been filled in again.

    What's there now is a big TVA power plant ... Fossil Fuel (coal) plant that's being phased out and replaced by a "Natural Gas" plant

    The one thing the video got right is "the abandoned old prison down by Airdrie Hill". - which was used as a temporary prison to house POWs during the American Civil War.

    Airdrie Hill

    369:

    Wood is solar energy and with Britain being so far north we don't get a lot of solar energy that would grow a lot of timber

    Kinda thing that might mean you run out of timber for charcoal, and have to start digging for coal. Which then leads you to use that coal to run some steam-powered pumps for your coal mines, and hey that steam engine thing looks useful, and then...

    Britain starting to run short on timber 200 years ago had pretty big historical effects.

    (Unlike Venice, whose famous Arsenal was the greatest shipyard in Europe until the Venetians panicked about the size of a Muslim fleet and cut down all their forests to win the arms race. Not a long-term win.)

    370:

    Apropos of burning things for energy...

    I did a bit of quick checking, and pine plantations produce around 80-100 tons of wood per acre per harvest, with a harvesting cycle of 18-35 years.

    Hemp produces around 3-8 tons of fiber per acre per year. If you do the math, these are in the same range of biomass laid down per year. Now this isn't completely surprising, because the plant physiologists say that the photosynthetic rate per acre of vegetation can be modeled pretty well by assuming it's just one huge leaf, so you'd somewhat expect anything from corn to redwoods to add about the same amount of photosynthate per year. What they do with it is where things get interesting.

    The other argument is whether growing a biomass crop like hemp takes up valuable farmland, while trees do not, versus whether it's safe to invest decades in plant growth given climate change, or whether it's better to plant and harvest annually, as with hemp or something similar (kudzu?)

    So yeah, maybe there's a theoretical future in which Drax ends up smoking millions of tons of weed to keep the English baking*, and that'll be fine.

    Or you can be like my mother, and advocate for big ol' waste-to-energy conversion facilities (e.g. mega-incinerators for trash), as a way to recoup some of the energy embodied in all that post consumer waste we're discarding. Keeping incinerators from blowing GHGs is one of those things that I'm sure the SpinLizzy administration will be all over.

    *with their electric ovens. What did you think I meant?

    371:

    "But I'm guessing that most of the coal left in the UK is deep."

    I vaguely recall proposals from decades ago about burning deep coal in situ by pumping down air, striking a match, and using the hot combustion gases in various ways. Probably you'd have to pre-frack the coal so the air could get to it.

    372:

    The folks in Centralia can tell you about some of the issues with that plan.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centralia_mine_fire?wprov=sfti1

    373:

    Hemp produces around 3-8 tons of fiber per acre per year.

    Fibre or biomass?

    Hemp also produces leaf and hurd both of which are useful. Pine bark and leaves aren't much use. Both wood and fibre have uses other than burning, and unlike fossil oil the primary use is not the burning one.

    374:

    361 - Which Aston Martin (by model, not registration plate) are you claiming is "less cool than a kit car"? DB5, DBS, V8 Vantage, Vanquish, DB9...?

    365 - I didn't say that you did make #289; I said that you said the same erronious assumption as in #289 that everyone else uses USian law.

    367 - On resignation of an MP, quote from Wikipedia "Members are not permitted to resign their seats. In practice, however, they always can. Should a member wish to resign from the Commons, they may request appointment to one of two ceremonial Crown offices: that of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, or that of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead. These offices are sinecures (that is, they involve no actual duties); they exist solely to permit the "resignation" of members of the House of Commons. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is responsible for making the appointment, and, by convention, never refuses to do so when asked by a member who desires to leave the House of Commons."
    I can't find a quote for an MP's salary, but will note that they can claim various expenses in addition to their salary, including salaries for various office staff, and in most but not all cases, "for keeping a house in London".

    369 - Like the long standing tradition of the Royal Navy having some of their vessels built in French shipyards (but paying RN crews for said vessels).

    375:

    Fibre or biomass?

    I saw fiber. Since hemp fiber is mostly lignin and cellulose and so is wood, it seemed like a reasonable comparison.

    To me, the more interesting questions are when and where it's worth growing trees as a fuel crop, and when and where it's worth growing annuals like hemp, sugarcane, kudzu, bamboo, etc.

    376:

    Re biofuels:-

    Fortunately we won't have to put up with them for much longer: they are zombies, dead but still walking.

    The paper in Joule by Way, Ives, Mealy and Farmer ("Empirically grounded technology forecasts and the energy transition") is apparently making a bit of a stir in policy circles.

    Its implications are that there's no point doing anything besides PV and off-shore wind: the costs of those two are falling so fast that in a few years the capital cost will be comparable to the cost of a year's fuel for thermal generators. (Fuel. Not even operators' wages.)

    PV and off-shore wind don't have to use any land, either: off-shore wind for obvious reasons; PV you mount vertically on post-and-wire frames in pasture. It improves the growth of the pasture (by cutting down wind effects) so there is no net land cost.

    For storage, based on that paper, the winners are batteries and electrolysed hydrogen derivatives (ammonia and methane). Exactly which battery technologies win is still open for debate, but collectively their costs are falling even faster than PV's. Methane would be the obvious candidate for seasonal storage, since the tanks already exist, but I don't know yet.

    So, we can look forward to saying goodbye to biofuels (worst idea ever), concentrated solar, nuclear, and gas peakers in one or two decades. (One if governments see which way the wind is blowing; two if they fight it.)

    377:

    Johns
    "Chiltern Hundreds is either unpaid or a nominal sum ...
    As for MP's salaries - try reading htat, OK?

    378:

    "[kwarteng] has written a book about gold

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/12/war-gold-500-year-history-study-money-society-kwarteng-review

    which didn't win any prizes

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/oct/02/liz-truss-and-kwasi-kwartengs-foolish-dash-for-growth-is-a-non-starter"

    fun quote from the article "Kwarteng might not know how to stabilise a financial system that floats on credit, but he certainly understands the forces and the mistakes that have led to that destabilisation."

    379:

    »[PV] improves the growth of the pasture«

    That depends a LOT on your geography and meteorology, but there is no dispute that PV-fields give a much higher end-user yield, than anything you can (currently) grow and turn into bio-fuels.

    »saying goodbye to bio-fuels (worst idea ever)«

    I agree.

    According to most competent models, we would barely be able to grow more bio-fuels than we need for the tractors used for growing the bio-fuel raw material and the cost of food would increase almost catastrophically if we tried.

    It is worth noting that a lot of the so-called "solutions" which have the shape of something you can pour into a vehicle, bio-diesel, hydrogen, ammonia etc., are being pushed by the oil-industry, who would hate to shut down all their hydro-carbon polluted outlets and tank-stations and face demands for environmental remediation.

    380:

    "[PV] improves the growth of the pasture"

    Not in northern Europe, it doesn't. The main limit on pasture growth (like everything else) is sunlight, so solar panels are incompatible with ANY sort of farming. That is the main reason that local solar power is NOT a good solution for any high-latitude location that is currently used for farming.

    And one of the arguments for Drax was that it would burn the waste straw produced from arable crops. It never has, as far as I know, because the energy density of those is inconveniently low. However, those DO come 'for free'.

    381:

    »so solar panels are incompatible with ANY sort of farming.«

    No, not even close, and in the future very possibly the contrary.

    Sharing the available sunlight with PV obviously reduces the /potential/ photosynthetic yield.

    But the /actual/ yield depends more on water than on sunlight.

    Most industrialized fields in northern Europe are not limited by sunlight, but by water.

    Shading the plants during high noon already often increase yields, by reducing evaporation, and that is only going to become more of an issue in our future climate.

    (Most climate models say there will be no significant agriculture left in Spain during my lifetime, and it looks like Sweden may end up having the most fertile soil in Europe. Not because of sunlight, but because of water.)

    382:

    You are assuming that this last summer becomes the norm, and that's not what the climatologists predict; they are predicting increased unpredictability, and possibly even increased rainfall for northern Europe. Shading plants here often produces increased wet yield, sure, but not usually nutrient content, and a reduction in calorific content. It's very obvious in my suburban garden, even this year.

    To remind you, I said northern Europe, and I meant northern Europe. Things are different further south. Spain is most definitely not in northern Europe, and Sweden is.

    383:

    »You are assuming that this last summer becomes the norm,«

    As a matter of fact I do not.

    Remember some years back, when the meterological institutions in EU did a "weather-forecast 2050" to "raise awareness" ?

    That was almost exactly the weather we had this summer.

    I have talked to people who prepared some of those weather-forecast, and every one of them said they had toned it down to make it credible and not too scary.

    Climate models are conservative, both as a consequence of their limited physical resolution, but also because the people who write them tend to disbelieve the bad end of the output and tweak them down.

    I have spent considerable time in the last decades digging through the raw output from climate models, and you can take it from me, this summer is not going to "become the norm", rather, in 20-30 years time, this summer will "the good old days before..."

    384:

    If the storage tech sufficiently manifests in the real world, while I'm still "This side of the grass",it will bother me not at all.

    385:

    I meant a proper emergency just in case, as in we need to start mining again. I don't know how easy this would actually be to do , but I think it is the plan.

    Can't be done.

    Nojay can give you chapter and verse, but all the shallow coal deposits were worked out literally centuries ago. This isn't the 18th century when the stuff was all but lying around on the surface, and this isn't the USA, where you can just shave off the top of a mountain. What's left are deep seams -- deep meaning 0.5 to 2 miles deep -- many of which run out under the North Sea. Unmaintained roofs collapse, water seeps (or floods) in, so the existing mines are essentially equivalent to collapsed skyscrapers five times taller than the old World Trade Center in NYC.

    New mines could be dug but you're talking years of work to order and build the necessary excavation machinery and lifts just to get down to the coal seams, not to mention new rail heads to move the stuff to where it's needed.

    In recent decades it's been cheaper to import coal on bulk freighters from South America.

    386:

    Concerning the apparent desire of conservatives to be "Big fish" even at the cost impoverishing their nation, I think you've hit on something that applies outside the U.K. as well. The "GQP" custom of abandoning treaties negotiated by Democrats, or insufficiently conservative Republicans, erodes the soft power of the (Sort of) United States, analogous practices in the (Barely) United Kingdom must do the same.

    387:

    Regarding coal mining in the UK being restarted, there's a slight issue of Health and Safety which would have to be overcome. Basically all the way up into the 1990s when underground coal mining stopped for all intents and purposes, men[1] were sent into foul dangerous workplaces that were grandfathered in as being safe and not harmful to the worker's health and wellbeing, thanks to hundreds of years of "we need the energy" and "they're only working-class expendables".

    Any new underground mineworking operations would have to meet modern H&S standards and, to put it bluntly, they just can't. Toilets alone are a major stumbling block -- in the old days but within living memory what miners underground did was shit and piss in "manholes" which were then filled in. How about clean places to eat their "snap", hand-washing facilities? Not going to happen underground and it would take them an hour or more to go to the surface, clean up before eating and then another hour to go back underground again. Radon breathing limits, never mind firedamp, humidity etc. It just isn't going to happen unless robots get a lot better than they are today.

    After all of that you get to the safety issues of, say, sharing a two metre high two metre wide drift with a haulage cable that can snap at any time. My father came home early from work one day. After a while sitting staring at the wall he let us know he had witnessed someone he knew being killed by just such an incident.

    [1] Women and children were barred from the getting of coal in Britain back in the 1800s because even the Victorians regarded coal mining as being such a dangerous, toxic and dirty industry. This was at a time when children were still being used as chimneysweeps (cf. "The Water Babies" as referenced in this here blog in the past).

    388:

    My understanding is that there aren't a lot of major seams that haven't been at least partially mined. And, because the mines were closed down rather than being put on maintenance only, they have flooded, the props will have rotted/rusted, and most will have at least partially collapsed. Deep mining in fractured rock is vastly trickier and more dangerous than in intact rock; I don't know even if existing technology is up to it. So it's rather more than years of work ....

    389:

    Sorry - that mostly repeats what you said. I am a bit under the weather today.

    390:

    Re: Energy Choices for Britain (and everyone else)

    I'd like to recommend this video from the ever insightful and even handed "Just Have a Think" on Rolls Royce Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQ3DvcXd3mM

    He really does a good job of examining the pros and cons of this complicated issue.

    Bottom line: renewables in general can provide 80% of our energy needs with the overall levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of PVs, windmills, and storage systems continuing to fall. Something like SMRs can provide the baseline for the remaining 20%.

    391:

    While we are on the subject of repressive societies, I'd like to go somewhat off-topic and recommend Patrick McGoohan's "The Prisoner"

    ... To which there is an extensive homage in next May's novel, "Season of Skulls".

    (Yes, Eve is Number Six, by hook or by crook, and hilarity ensues.)

    392:

    I can see one ongoing use for burning fuel oils: in transport mechanisms that are weight-sensitive and where range is a priority. The classic examples would be as fuel for aviation across non-trivial distances (batteries have huge drawbacks for long-range flight) and for military kit (energy density is a priority).

    Hydrogen is useless for in-atmosphere craft -- it's barely useful as a space launch fuel from ground level. Problems: poor energy density, cryogenic handling requirements, and a tendency to leak like crazy. Methane is less leaky and less of a noxious cryogen, but leaks need to be contained (it's a potent greenhouse gas). We'll know more about its practicality on a large scale in a couple of years once Starship is flying.

    Kerosene is still the go-to fuel for aviation because it has a higher energy density per unit volume than the cryogens, doesn't require exotic handling, and we've got lots of kit in place for transporting, storing, refining, and burning it. Drawbacks: currently it's almost all fossil carbon sourced, which is bad.

    Biosynthetic kerosene is available, but that's pretty terrible in terms of energy efficiency (although there are tantalizing hints at synthesis pathway breakthroughs in the offing). What we really need is PV or offshore wind powered synthetic kerosene (using atmospheric CO2 and water as inputs, along with copious electricity), so that it's not releasing fossil carbon when we burn it and thereby return it to the atmosphere.

    Bonus extra: if synthetic kerosene is practical it's also a viable shipping fuel. On the other hand, ammonia is also a viable shipping fuel. (Methane not so much, except possibly for LNG tankers which are already designed to haul the stuff around.)

    Anyway: I can see civil aviation as we know it persisting for a very long time in the future, burning kerosene in jet engines. It'll cost 2x - 3x as much for fuel per passenger-kilometer (adding maybe 50% to the price of an economy class seat) but it'll be fossil carbon-neutral and sustainable.

    393:

    "kit car"!?!?!

    The S2 Lotus Seven wins on style and detailing alone - size isn't the issue here.

    Those who buy larger more powerful cars do so because they are obviously compensating for something.

    No. 6 obviously has nothing to compensate for.

    Besides, John Drake had a much cooler theme song.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iaR3WO71j4

    And yes, No. 6 IS John Drake, aka "Danger Man" (aka "Secret Agent Man" in America)

    And he remains way cooler than any James Bond.

    394:

    As a lover of British 70s sci-fi, I ask if you could you have a reason to include the ladies on UFO's moon base wearing purple wigs into your next novel?

    If you really are a good author you'll come up with a valid reason for them wearing those purple wigs.

    395:

    paws4thot @ 374:

    365 - I didn't say that you did make #289; I said that you said the same erronious assumption as in #289 that everyone else uses USian law.

    Look to your own "erronious assumption" then. I don't expect U.S. law to apply anywhere except the U.S.

    396:

    Thanks to everyone who answered the question about "what was going through her head?" Much food for thought.

    397:

    »What we really need is PV or offshore wind powered synthetic kerosene«

    That is not a thing.

    Kerosene is typically a dozen carbons long, and stringing those together from a supply of electrons is neither efficient nor, in terms of side products, a good idea.

    When you start from electrons, you stop after the first carbon, or if you have /really/ good reasons, the second.

    The entire point about electrons is that you can transport them without the losses caused by Newton's laws, and we should focus on that, the "we have to truck something liquid around" psychosis is just the oil-industry talking.

    Yes, we will need liquid fuels for long range flight, agricultural tractors and rockets, and that is where biofuels and electrons-to-methane come into the picture. Everything else can be done with battery technologies.

    398:

    As a lover of British 70s sci-fi

    There was always "Space 1999" where none of the plots were plausible at any level.

    But it was so bad it was fun to watch.

    399:

    Methane is no better in energy density than ethanol, which is easy to produce sustainably, and worse in other aspects. I haven't been able to find out the energy density of ethylene, which is apparently easier to synthesise than ethane.

    400:

    (Yes, Eve is Number Six, by hook or by crook, and hilarity ensues.)

    I hope we get an answer to the question of who is Number One!

    401:

    When you start from electrons, you stop after the first carbon, or if you have /really/ good reasons, the second.

    We have on the order of 50,000 jet airliners today, in a fleet that turns over on a period of roughly 30 years. At an average of $0.1Bn per jet, that's a fuckton of hardware to replace if you want to swap fuels. (On the order of $5Tn over 30 years, or $150Bn/year to replace gradually.) As civil aviation costs break down roughly 1:1:1 between airframe depreciation, crew (including maintenance and flight side), and fuel, that suggests a $150Bn/year market for jet fuel.

    Kerosene is desirable because it's energy dense; 43-46MJ/kg and roughly 0.8kg/litre

    Liquid methane gives you 55MJ/Kg, but only 0.423Kg/litre, so you need significantly larger fuel tanks -- and they need additional insulation because it boils at -161 celsius, only 20 celsius higher than liquid oxygen. Even if the aircraft's tanks and plumbing are insulated, you then have to handle it on the ground at airports. Not ideal!

    402:

    You also get a free bonus Boys From Brazil tribute! Not to mention perilous escapes, poisonings, sea voyages, imprisoned! in a gothic asylum for wayward women, escape! from same, equoids, pirates, shoggoths, a mad scientist natural philosopher, and much tea drinking.

    Because 1816 was approximately the midpoint of the Regency period, and I've always (well, for a few years) wanted to know what happens when Lovecraftian horror meets Regency romance.

    I am expecting the reader reviews on Amazon and Goodreads to be very mixed ...

    403:

    This isn't aimed at you, but I am completely boggled as to why anyone would even consider methane for such uses (space rockets excluded). If you are using fossil fuels, stick with kerosene. If you are producing it sustainably, then why not ethanol? Double the (weight) density and the same energy density - unless I have got it completely wrong. So you still have to redesign the engines and rebuild the aircraft, but it's a bit less of a jump - and handling it is a doddle by comparison. We have known, fairly efficient, clean methods of producing sugars from cellulose and ethanol from sugars, so grain straws are a perfectly good feedstock.

    404:

    Please may I make a Humble Request? You invite some of the Regency fantasy bodice-ripper authors to review it and include their comments :-)

    405:

    Re: '... digging through the raw output from climate models'

    How does wind factor into agriculture as it is currently practiced? Higher temps lead to stronger winds. Stronger winds increase evaporation leading to more water vapor in the atmosphere which leads to ...?

    And how does this vary by the distinct tiers/layers of clouds and wind currents? Not sure whether these layers typically interconnect and what happens when they do but am guessing if both air/cloud streams are moving faster then the resulting collisions will be stronger.

    406:

    Let's not forget Quartermas and those Hammer Horror films

    407:

    SpaceX is going with methane because Musk is fixated on colonizing Mars, and you can synthesize methane from water (the in the Martian permafrost) and carbon dioxide (which Mars has a shit-ton of). It's also less critical for space launch vehicles because you're going to need cryogenic tankage for the LOX anyway, and the humongous quantities you need mean your booster has a reduced surface area to volume ratio for heat transfer to/from the atmosphere.

    For aviation ... it's been tried, and found wanting: you need substantially larger fuel tanks and heavier insulation -- for example, you can't store liquid methane in "wet wing" tanks as is normal with regular jet fuel, you'd get icing on the outer surfaces.

    (Wrt "bodice rippers", don't let them hear you call their genre that, is all I can say. And yes, I have made extensive use of test readers and incorporated their feedback. The historical romance community are also historical accuracy obsessives -- they're as focussed as the slide-rules-and-rocket-equation school of hard SF fans.)

    408:

    Re: 'Regency romance'

    1816 --- So two years before Mary Shelley's Frankenstein? Half wondering whether that era had its own version of The X-Files.

    409:

    Sugar cane is only worth growing if you plan to eat the sugar. Otherwise pick something that produces more biomass. I don't know about hemp, but anecdotal evidence suggests it's easier to grow. And, of course, kudzu is famously easy to grow, but I suspect that the resulting biomass might be very high in water.

    One thing that I've seen proposed is switchgrass. I'm not sure what that is, but it might be easy to grow and easy to dry. I envision it as a kind of hay. https://www.thespruce.com/switchgrass-plant-care-5079140

    That said, if you want to transport the biomass, you want it in a compact form. For that, trees are probably a better choice.

    410:

    Carbon-based liquid "fuels" - y'all missing something.
    There's something even more important than fuel - LUBRICATION - even if it's 100% carbon-free elctricity powering it, there will be rotating & possibly reciprocating parts that REALLY MUST be lubricated, to keep them going, with minimal wear.
    These lubricating oils have to be very closely controlled in their manufacture, synthesis & hydrostatic/dynamic properties - one reason they have always been expensive.
    The very well-known firm/label "Castrol" got their start in the then-new field of lubricating oils for steam locomotives in the late 1890's as traffic loads increased, working temperatures rose & the introduction of superheating, f'rinstance. Those problems are not going to go away.

    EC
    Unfortunately, the best of them all is some time dead Georgette Heyer ...
    However, in the Laundry/DLD series, is this an obsatcle?

    411:

    Methane becomes methanol and methanol-air fuel cells seems to be where the existing shipping industry is going. Trains or tractors, I don't know, but you can just buy a methanol-air fuel cell APU for your cargo vessel today.

    There are about three problems with atmospheric carbon kerosene; one of them is that you need to kill off every diesel engine on the planet, because they all produce black particulate carbon which is a warming problem even if the fuel is carbon neutral. (The other two are "this is a lot of increasingly inefficient synthesis" and "the big sprawly supporting infrastructure will fall over as ubiquity of combustion energy tech decreases".)

    Aircraft may work fine on aluminium-air fuel cells; there's no obvious technical bar (someone in the UK claims to have solved the various problems with non-conductive sludge since 2000) and several advantages to all-electric if you can manage the energy density. (This is also a decently plausible solution for heavy equipment and trains.)

    It's also at least somewhat plausible that air travel is going to get impractical; habitual long-distance travel may not survive food insecurity as increasingly iffy supply chains stop being able to make or maintain wide body airliners at acceptable costs.

    412:

    Well, actually I think they COULD design robots (well, telefactors with autopilots) that could do the job. But I wouldn't claim that they could build them cheaply. And the design time would probably be several years if they started NOW. Then they'd need to be built. So say on the close order of a decade.

    Many of the control issues are similar to the issues in the space program, though of course the routing of signals would be a lot different. I think wireless control would be fairly doable, but it might need to be light based with properly positioned mirrors, to avoid radio interference. (Infrared might do the job, but light is easier to reflect.)

    OTOH, 5-15 years lead time for an emergency project is rather...difficult.

    413:

    Yes, we will need liquid fuels for long range flight, agricultural tractors and rockets, and that is where biofuels and electrons-to-methane come into the picture. Everything else can be done with battery technologies.

    We might scratch tractors from that list. Electric tractors are enough of a thing to have their own Wikipedia entry. Admittedly most of the current models are small, but John Deere's working on a plug-in. Literally, a big tractor that tows a power cord.

    As for air travel, you have to look at what most of it's used for: high speed/luxury shipments, tourism, and business. Getting tasteless raspberries in January that have been air-freighted from Chile may make money for someone, but not that long ago we ate fruit in season and made jam, and there was no resulting famine. Ditto vacationing in the Maldives. I'm not sure how far our air fleet can shrink (personally I'm betting to zero within 50 years), but its current use has a lot of frivolities along with critical stuff.

    As for space travel, if the loons over at JP Aerospace succeed in orbiting a semi-dirigible, that will probably become the way stuff launches. I think this is a long shot, but they're still progressing on literally a patreon budget. Which is kind of awe inspiring.

    The other liquid fuel use we're missing is military. Unless an electric-powered force decisively defeats a Big Iron petro-powered combined arms force, I think we're stuck with a "Mexican standoff," where states abandon they petro-boomers only when they can no longer afford to field them, due to the vulnerability of being under-armed. Looking at the US here...

    414:

    CharlesH @ 412:

    Well, actually I think they COULD design robots (well, telefactors with autopilots) that could do the job. But I wouldn't claim that they could build them cheaply. And the design time would probably be several years if they started NOW. Then they'd need to be built. So say on the close order of a decade.

    Many of the control issues are similar to the issues in the space program, though of course the routing of signals would be a lot different. I think wireless control would be fairly doable, but it might need to be light based with properly positioned mirrors, to avoid radio interference. (Infrared might do the job, but light is easier to reflect.)

    OTOH, 5-15 years lead time for an emergency project is rather...difficult.

    Maybe it would be worthwhile to start DESIGNING the robots, but wait to build them until it became absolutely certain they were going to be needed. That could cut down the lead time.

    If it never became absolutely necessary you wouldn't have to build them.

    That's the kind of thinking that was behind some of DARPA's weirder projects that never saw fruition, but kind of covered the bases as to "What IF?"

    Contingency Plan:
    1. What combination of circumstances might require the U.K. to resume coal mining?
    2. IF that combination of circumstances occurs, what will the U.K. require to do so successfully?
    ...
    3. Here are the proposed designs for the robots that need to be manufactured.

    Probably a bunch of steps between 2 and 3 I haven't thought of, but it's a basic form for an idea.

    After all, the MoD in the Laundryverse had a contingency plan for Martian cylinders landing in Britain or for an invasion by elves from another dimension ... why not plan for purely earth based crisis?

    415:

    »Kerosene is desirable«

    Absolutely, but that does not mean that it can or will be made from green electricity.

    The current synthetic route is:

    electricity->methane->hand-wavium-catalyst->profit

    I personally expect trans-oceanic flight to become one of the primary consumers of biofuels, and the ticket prices will reflect that.

    416:

    »One thing that I've seen proposed is switchgrass.«

    The person proposing it was GWB's speechwriter, and that is really all you need know about that. It was meant to "sell" green fuels to red america, where switchgrass is considered one of the most useless plants in existence.

    Grasses are not a particular good starting materials for bio-fuels.

    417:

    We might scratch tractors from that list. Electric tractors are enough of a thing to have their own Wikipedia entry. Admittedly most of the current models are small, but John Deere's working on a plug-in. Literally, a big tractor that tows a power cord.

    One thing you want in most (farm) tractor situations is weight. Traction and to help keep them from turning over. Which is why virtually all farm tractors have the big tires 80%+ full of a calcium chloride water solution. So heavy batteries fit into the situation. Especially since you can stuff them into the volumes that used to contain the engine and drive train bits. Maybe keep a small pony engine that will drive it at 1 or 2 mph to get it somewhere it can be repaired if the electrical drive breaks.

    418:

    Here are the proposed designs for the robots that need to be manufactured.

    One reason people still go down in deep mines is due to the constantly changing environment and issues. People know (mostly) when to stop and think about things for a minute or few.

    IMNERHO it will take a very good AI system to deal with deep mine operations.

    419:

    One thing that's got me wondering, re: the exodus from Russia.

    I've been reading that people are flying out of RU. However, I thought that while aviation within RU was happening, aviation to / from RU wasn't happening due to lack of international-approved safety maintenance. People were mentioning this on this blog many posts back.

    Am I missing something, or did we get it wrong back then?

    420:

    Airlines other than Aeroflot exist. Turkish Airlines, most of the Gulf carriers, and Air China are still running a full service on their own metal. Ditto most of the national airlines in the ex-Soviet states.

    421:

    A lot of folks are transiting via the older Soviet Republics before heading onward to somewhere else.

    422:

    Please note that growing things like hemp (and there's plenty of types of non-smokeable hemp - see "hemp rope")... unlike a lot of crops, they don't need fertilizers. I mean... they're a weed. Try to stop growing a weed. (Which is why, after the US was afraid the Japanese would cut off supplies of hemp from se Asia, they had farmers in Kansas grow it. After the war, "stop, please".... but, weeds, etc, which is why in the seventies, Kansas was the dope capital of the US.)

    423:

    Sugar cane is only worth growing if you plan to eat the sugar. Otherwise pick something that produces more biomass. I don't know about hemp, but anecdotal evidence suggests it's easier to grow. And, of course, kudzu is famously easy to grow, but I suspect that the resulting biomass might be very high in water.

    Um, we need to work this one down quite a bit. Sugarcane's energy production mostly isn't sugar, it's biomass, to the tune of 17 tons/acre/yr, about twice what you'd get from hemp or pine.

    The reason it's about twice what you get from fiber or wood production (at least on a per year basis) is C4 vs. C3 photosynthesis. C3 is great in low-light conditions, but it maxes out at around 30% full sunlight. C4 can go up to 45% sunlight, so it's great in high light, high temperature conditions, but sucks badly when it's dim and cool.

    Wild kudzu infestations get a bit interesting. Fields measured produced about 2-4 tons/acre/year dry biomass aboveground, but 6 tons/acre/year of dry biomass belowground. Kudzu roots can be 7 inches across and weigh up to 400 pounds. Kudzu was originally grown for the tubers, before people found other plants that actually tasted good, and kudzu was then kept around for medicine, emergency food, and selling to credulous white plant hunters. Anyway, kudzu biomass might be on the same scale as biomass from sugar cane. However, it's fairly undesirable for any other use. But it does grow readily on suboptimal soils.

    One could readily imagine a peri-postcivilizational scenario in which villagers burn down enemy settlements and sow kudzu on the sites, so that they can come back and harvest them for energy to power still more conquests. Or at least, there seem to be parts of the world where people think that way...

    424:

    Please, beggin' yer pardon, gov, but no giant white balloon...?"

    425:

    Thanks for the link. But... who produced that video? I mean, an all-white crew of meh dancers, all in suits and ties?

    426:

    378 "Kwarteng ... certainly understands the forces and the mistakes that have led to that destabilisation." - Which rather begs the question "Exactly how and why did he make so many of them?"

    387 - All pretty much true. Reference expansion The Water Babies by CHarles Kingsley.

    391 - Who is Number Two?

    393 - Other than later Caterhams, most Lotus 7 derivatives have all the aerodynamics of a barn door, oh and the L7 S1 and S2 were both designed as kit cars to allow the builder to avoid purchase tax (a loophole closed by the replacement of purchase tax by VAT).
    "No. 6 IS John Drake, aka "Danger Man"" - Cite needed, particularly for those of us who never liked either show.

    394 - The UFO metallic purple wigs were supposed to be anti-static (show canon), although I don't recall why it was only the women who wore them.

    397 - Well, clearly this why a Scalextric car is heavier than an ICE car of similar performance (range is a performance metric just like acceleration and top speed are).

    410 - Agreed, with the note that "Castrol" is an abbreviation of "CASTeR OiL"; see one of their earlier products "Castrol R", which is/was a caster oil used primarily in motor sports.

    427:

    Asylum for wayward women - shudder. Seriously, shudder. At CostumeCon, earlier this year, one of the winners in historical were women dressed as some who had, for real (with pages of documentation as to the historicity of it), were women... one disguised as a man so she could be a firefighter (they found out, and institutionalized her), one for - I kid you not - reading too much. And three or four others....

    428:

    I would think farm tractors would see an early turnover towards electric models, as well as farms switching to renewable power fairly easily.

    Reason 1: Tractors are not doing long haul trips. They will most often return to home every evening for a charge. Electric motors also tend to have more torque and pulling power, which will appeal for a lot of farm purposes.

    Reason 2: Most larger scale farms are operating at a high capital rate. The price of adding a few solar panels, or a few hundred, are a rounding error for most larger farms. Equipment costs in the hundreds of thousands for a single item (i.e. thresher), and the farms around where I grew up sometimes had dozens of various heavy equipment items and attachments for various purposes. Replacing an expiring diesel tractor for an electric would have a trivial additional cost.

    Reason 3: Farms operate on the long game. Spending the money to set up independent power generation that can push your machines at a relatively fixed cost for X years is very attractive to a farmer when compared to volatile fuel costs which have to be paid to and delivered by an outside provider. Throw in the apparently much lower maintenance costs of electric and it will appeal. All the farmers I knew on the prairies were very motivated to control their external costs as much as possible.

    All that must balance against increased variability in weather and crop yields. Whatever the end result, all the large scale farmers I've known have favoured long-term predictability whenever they can find it. Having the ability to control your own power production and outputs at relatively fixed costs will be extremely appealing to farmers facing wild variability in other areas.

    429:

    »We might scratch tractors from that list«

    Tractors are surprisingly tricky vehicles.

    First, they are wildly different in different parts of the world, so anything you know about them from your childhood or friend who is a farmer, is probably only valid within a radius of 500km.

    The fundamental task is hard: Tractors need good traction, hence the name, they should have as narrow tires as possible, but they cannot exert too high pressure on the ground either.

    Rolling out a cable means you have the entire roll on the tractor when you begin, that limits range and you need to spool it up again on the way back.

    Dragging a cable will wear out the cable surprisingly fast, it has been tried many times and was abandoned as many times for that reason.

    The smart money are on guided and autonomous farming robots.

    Just like with lawn mower robots, people are now realizing that farming can be done with much smaller equipment, and a lot less energy, when the action is 24x365.

    430:

    I foresee the revival of actual express train service, even in the US. VASTLY more efficient... and for three-four months after 9/11, even the pilots' union was saying that for trips under 300-400 mi, trains made more sense than planes.

    431:

    Why only the women? Because mostly, back then, women wore their hair a lot longer than men. Same reason that women, early on, were required to wear cotton, NOT nylon, underwear in large mainframe computer rooms.

    432:

    It doesn't seem workable for restarting coal mining, that doesn't mean it isn't the plan though. Drax has received £6 billion in "green" subsidies. This seems excessive. Mind you, it could just be corruption and/or incompetence!

    As for alternative fuels, there are these:

    https://newatlas.com/energy/bacteria-biofuel-higher-energy-density-jet-fuel/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butanol

    433:

    Actually, some grasses ARE good starting points - Miscanthus x giganteus is grown for that purpose.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscanthus_%C3%97_giganteus

    434:

    I can assure you that at least some of us males who worked in such rooms did NOT shave our pubic hair! The main reason was that few men wore nylon underwear back then (at least not in the UK) - cotton was near-universal.

    435:

    Paul, in #116: "the increasing number of people who get their news from social media"

    But getting your news "from social media" is usually following a link to "traditional" media. Or, even more commonly, reading the headline and posted summary, but still the professional media are usually the source.

    wg

    436:

    if you want to transport the biomass, you want it in a compact form. For that, trees are probably a better choice.

    These days chopping bamboo is an industrial process and I'm told it works quite well. The advantages are that the stuff grows fast and comes in a variety of sizes. Trees do that whole exponential growth thing which means early harvest really costs you.

    Hemp fibre for biomass makes no sense, you're throwing away 80% of the mass of the plant via a tedious process (retting). If you want hemp to burn biomass you'd just dry the whole stem. Low density but very easy to grow and quite tolerant of unexpectedly wet conditions (convenient when the climatologists are currently revising their models of the south pacific osculation (it's giving Australia a big sloppy kiss again... it just won't stop)).

    437:

    Maybe keep a small pony engine that will drive it at 1 or 2 mph to get it somewhere it can be repaired if the electrical drive breaks.

    Nah, they already have systems in place to service tractors in the field, they're mostly too big to move easily without tow trucks that are too big to be road legal...

    Not to mention that increasing the problems are "computer says no" variety that can be fixed with a cellular modem and a laptop, plus a replacement for the one smart component that has broken.

    Unless you're Harry's Farm (youtube) where apparently English combine harvesters have been catching fire rather more often than is ideal.

    438:

    Here's a less biased source showing hemp yields per acre, over a variety of sites:

    https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/41740/15859_ages001ei_1_.pdf

    It turns out that some studies report total dry biomass, some studies report dry fiber mass, and they come out within the range of 2-12 tons/acre (2-3 in England, up to 12 tons/acre a century ago in the US, which says something poignant about soil degradation). And it's not clear whether the top-line yields were fiber or biomass...

    Feel free to dive in to your hearts' content. The thing we're forgetting is that with a disaster, you lose multiple years of tree farm production, but only one year of hemp production. Depending on climatic uncertainty, that matters a bit.

    439:

    Oh, I'm not forgetting that, it's something that Australians are very thinking about. Three wet years in a row (so far) is going to make for a really shitty fire season when we get a dry one again. I expect Chileans will be complaining about red skies.

    One advantage of deep rooted perennials is that they recover from fires faster. You can skip most of the weedy year after the fires and go straight back to cropping. I suspect growing anything annual after a fire has sterilised the top 5-20cm of soil is hard work.

    I once read something about burning sugar cane fields where they had to leave them fallow every few years to let the soil grow back.

    440:

    https://poweroutage.us/area/state/florida

    there's the good news less than 300K in Florida are without power...

    which suggests there's been adaptation to crisis by those down in the mud 'n chaos after hurricanes in getting the job down... now if only politicians stopped bragging about thing they never did and accepted responsibility for FUs they did indeed do...

    441:

    Also, I am currently thinking out the meaning of "this year's climate" because with the speed of climate change that's becoming an increasingly relevant idea.

    442:

    Recent UK politics has convinced me that the Laundry novels are in fact a utopian fantasy where the leader of the UK may be evil but they're also very intelligent as well.

    443:

    Re: '... leave them fallow every few years to let the soil grow back.'

    Okay - but that assumes that the local soil microbiome will survive. Yes, I understand that microbes because of their much shorter life cycles/faster reproduction rates probably can adapt much faster than more complex organisms but there's no guarantee that what they adapt to/become in order to survive climate change will be of any use to us.

    There's some research in the connectedness of biomes of various plants, animals and humans. The article below is paywalled but the Abstract mentions 40 soil microbes that impact plant, animal and human health. This is a new area so it's likely there are more such microbes and networks to be discovered.

    'Soil microbiomes and one health'

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41579-022-00779-w

    I'm still plugging for indoor vertical farming combined with some CRISPR to reduce excess/non-nutritive plant bits.

    444:

    I was thinking of post-fire recovery rather than changing climate adaptation, but yeah, soil microbiomes are one of those vaguely guessed at things. Regenerative agriculture people are fascinated by it, as are the various organic farming groups.

    Vertical farming seems like an energy-intensive way to get food into very densely built up areas, at least for the immediately foreseeable weather conditions. I suspect it will be a lot more practical once we shed some of the excess population and have spare buildings. Otherwise getting the vertical space is also very capital-intensive. But I suppose you can look at the glasshouses that are taking over Spain as a counterexample where growing food inside is already done on a large scale.

    Not sure there's any way you'd ever want to use vertical farms to produce biomass to burn for fuel. Algae to biodiesel seems likely to be more efficient.

    445:

    Re: kerosene, hand-wavium

    Charlie is right. Kerosene is the most energy-dense fuel we have. It's also incredibly safe and easy to handle for something so energetic, it has undemanding storage requirements (room temperature, thin-walled containers) and it is tolerant of a very wide range of environments. Nothing else comes close. Which is why it's used for air transport. The facts that it is used up in flying, and reducing the mass of a plane increases its range, just make it even better. Those are the reasons why we use it.

    I live not very far from a synthetic fuel plant that was built in the early 1980s in response to the second oil crisis. It would have been profitable if OPEC had kept its solidarity and prices had stayed up. No hand-wavium at all. In 1980.

    With electricity prices a tenth of 2019's, and with reasonable improvements over the synthesis technology of 1980, kerosene from air-captured carbon will be competitive with fossil kerosene.

    With the improvements in materials science that we have seen over the last 40 years, and the (very new) ability to prototype in silico, and just the general Wright's Law improvements we can expect, profit is a reasonable expectation.

    The price of air travel may or may not fall very much, but it's unlikely to rise very much either. Political instability, on the other hand, is likely to rise, and borders are likely to harden. (What is your social credit score, citizen?) Air travel may well decline a lot.

    446:

    “Hydrogen is useless for in-atmosphere craft” Someone at Airbus disagrees: https://www.airbus.com/en/innovation/zero-emission/hydrogen/zeroe

    Also you overestimate the difficulty of handling hydrogen. It’s already routinely schlepped over highways in LH2 tankers to warehouses where it’s dispensed into fuel cell powered forklifts.

    It’s true that there was recently a spot of bother with loading LH2 into the SLS, but the keyword there isn’t LH2 but rather SLS, the worst mismanaged fustercluck I’ve ever had the misfortune to be even peripherally involved with.

    447:

    Golly gee, and here I got this little PhD in mycorrhizal ecology...

    The thing about fast growing plants is that they tend to be "hungry," meaning if you're taking tons of biomass off the site every year, you're going to need to get those nutrients back into the soil somehow.

    Right now we do it using mass quantities of chemicals, some of which are very energy intensive to make (N) or transport (P). In the absence of these inputs, productivity gets limited by the whatever's in shortest supply.

    That's the basic agribusiness chemical model.

    The point of fallowing a field is to let the fallow biota fix a bit of nitrogen, release some phosphorus, and let some of the pests and pathogens die off. This of course reduces long term yield, so it's incompatible with running an energy-hungry civilization. (tag-line: Drax can't live by smoking sustainable weed 24/7).

    Anyway, I don't know where the field is now, but a few decades ago, microbiomes were thought to take about five years to switch over. So if you were growing conventional corn and wanted to go with organic hemp, there would be decreased biomass yield for ca. five years while all the bacteria favored by the chemical fertilizers went away, while the ones that processed organics increased and took over. It's not just their life times, it's getting communities working with inputs and outputs.

    448:

    our new research finds over the last 1,000 years, Australia has suffered longer, larger and more severe droughts than those recorded over the last century.

    These are called “megadroughts”, and they’re likely to occur again in coming decades. Megadroughts can last multiple decades – or even centuries – with occasional wet years offering only brief relief. Megadroughts can also be shorter periods of very extreme conditions.

    https://theconversation.com/megadroughts-helped-topple-ancient-empires-weve-found-their-traces-in-australias-past-and-expect-more-to-come-191770

    Seems weird to read that when it's been consistently wet for about two years now but it makes a scary amount of sense. The flip side of three La Nina years in a row is that El Nino could stick around longer as well. We're well used to 3-10 years of El Nino at a time, 30 years of it would really get on people's nerves.

    449:

    Three years of La Nina is three years of epochal droughts around here. If you here screaming that the Colorado River is running dry, it's because the Pacific Ocean thought you needed the rain more on your side. And so it goes.

    450:

    "SLS, the worst mismanaged fustercluck"

    You need to go back to 2010 and see how SLS came about, and at whose initiative (five Senators were involved). Once you do that, it can be seen that SLS has been brilliantly successful at achieving its intended purpose, which was to send tax dollars into the states of those Senators. Doing Apollo 2 would be nice, but not really relevant.

    One of those Senators is currently head of NASA, though I'm not sure that's currently relevant.

    451:

    I'll put a bucket out for a few minutes and post it over to you :)

    I recall there was once a proposal to use a second hand oil tanker to ship water from Milford Sound to somewhere less damp. But presumably to be used as bottled water rather than agricultural. At 24 acre-feet of water to the supertanker (300Ml) you'd need rather a lot of shipping to make irrigated agriculture work.

    452:

    David L @ 418:

    Here are the proposed designs for the robots that need to be manufactured.

    One reason people still go down in deep mines is due to the constantly changing environment and issues. People know (mostly) when to stop and think about things for a minute or few.

    IMNERHO it will take a very good AI system to deal with deep mine operations.

    Or tele-operators.

    453:

    Women and children were barred from the getting of coal in Britain back in the 1800s because even the Victorians regarded coal mining as being such a dangerous, toxic and dirty industry.

    Was that really the reason?

    This article makes it seem that a moral panic over their clothing was more the issue:

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/pit-brow-lasses-women-miners-victorian-britain-pants

    454:

    There was always "Space 1999" where none of the plots were plausible at any level.

    Space: 1889 was much more fun, if one played it with tongue firmly in cheek :-)

    455:

    But getting your news "from social media" is usually following a link to "traditional" media. Or, even more commonly, reading the headline and posted summary, but still the professional media are usually the source.

    Is it?

    I've ended up on a lot of Republican mailing lists etc (thanks to at least a couple of Americans who don't realize that our name is not unique). A lot of material circulating there isn't based on traditional media. Well, unless you consider PenceNews traditional media.

    I'm seeing the reverse — that a lot of material in traditional news seems to originate on social media. One of the things that bothers me about my local paper is that too many of its stories are basically repeating unverified Twitter stories…

    I suppose you could consider Fox traditional news, although Fox is on record arguing in court that they are not in fact news but entertainment…

    456:

    In Aotearoa there's an ongoing habit of the bought media grabbing stories off reddit. Generally with no additional research other than perhaps making sure the location(s) referred to actually exist.

    I am not certain that r/newzealand plays games with them but it seems likely. Reddit has lots of fiction writers, and some of the stories seem oddly tilted towards what the bought media like. What definitely happens is that some stupid story on reddit ends up in the tabloids, is eventually debunked but the tabloids have already moved on.

    457:

    437 - Well, there's a surprise (not); Case IH, John Deere and Massey Ferguson are about as "English" as "apple pie and cheese". ;-)

    451 - I can't name names off hand but there have been various (usually not very thought through) stories with a MacGuffin of towing an Antarctic table berg somewhere hot then letting it melt as a source of "water in a desert".

    453 - Not a historian. Nojay states the position as the history was taught in Scotland correctly.

    455 - Well, there must be reasons (plural) why the company is known as "Faux (USian pronunciation) News".

    458:

    NecroMoz said: (it's giving Australia a big sloppy kiss again... it just won't stop)

    Sydney just broke the wettest year on record, with nearly 3 months left in the year. 2199mm

    For comparison London is at 531mm so far.

    459:

    "combine harvesters in England" then. However you look at it just remember to bring a toasting fork :)

    Disk Smith (in)famously decorated a barge up to look like an iceberg and towed it into Sydney Harbour one April Fool's day.

    https://dicksmithadventure.com.au/april-fools-iceberg-prank-1978/

    460:

    Some of the native trees in my garden have drowned. They are actually dead, not even dormant now. Were perfectly happy for a decade with regular droughts but then Sydney sank back into the swamp and it's game over.

    The good news is that so far most of my fruit trees are fine (one died, probably the same problem). The lemon tree is sulking, it flowered but then dumped everything and went back to plaintive cries of "when will it stop raining" (I assume, unlike our beloved king I don't speak (to) plants).

    461:

    For those outside the deluge: The previous annual record of 2,194mm of rain, which had stood since 1950, was broken at 12.30pm on Thursday after 27.2mm of rain fell at Sydney’s Observatory Hill Bureau of Meteorology station since 9am. The bulk of the rain fell in about 90 minutes, beginning at 11am.

    With nearly three months remaining in 2022 and the declaration of a third consecutive La Niña by the BoM in September, more rain is expected to fall before the end of the year, further inflating the record.

    We've had three months with the highest rainfall on record, blah blah etc. At least I have a new(ish) roof on my house which is actually waterproof, as well as my DIY sleepout being waterproof. There will be lots of people in NSW suffering, especially renters, from shitty damp housing. Plus all the ones being flooded out, some of them repeatedly.

    On that note, the building industry here is suffering from excess demand so prices and availability are not improving. Pity the people who went with nominated value insurance rather than replacement. Or the ones unable to get flood insurance. Apparently some tenants are also being refused contents and tenancy insurance as well.

    462:

    Re: 'Golly gee, and here I got this little PhD in mycorrhizal ecology...'

    Yeah - complexity is becoming the norm.

    463:

    H
    if you're taking tons of biomass off the site every year, you're going to need to get those nutrients back into the soil somehow.
    Hence - crop-rotation, lying fallow for a year { Maybe with grazing } & then planting beans as your first crop, eh?

    Necro Moz
    People don't realise how much water there is in even a "light shower"
    I worked out that half an inch {less actually) of rain, 10mm over an approximate standard allotment plot, call it 25x10 meters is ...
    0.01x25x10 cubic metres = 2.5 cu metres = 2.5 tonnes of water.

    464:

    Yeah,when I said "Antarctic table berg", I meant typically something like 8x3x1, for 24 cubic miles of water.

    465:

    In Melbourne during a drought we used to get 100-300 litres of water off the roof in even light showers. Which is all we got during the drought, but once there was enough to wet the roof the tanks filled pretty fast. Admittedly with about 300m2 of roof. Flip side of the huge roof+paved area was the tiny garden didn't need much water. Other way round in my current house, ~150m2 of roof and the other 450m2 is lawn and garden (and in droughts the lawn does not get watered)

    Water volume definitely works the other way most of the time... "faking" 1mm of rain over a few hectares of farm means pumping a lot of water from somewhere. Drip irrigation is all very well, but each gram of added biomass takes several litres of transpired water... and farming is all about adding biomass.

    I assume this is another thing where plants vary wildly in efficiency as well as in how much of the added biomass is edible.

    paws: yeah, I've seen some of the write-ups about towing those around and it always struck me as one of those "first we build a (fleet of) nuclear-powered tugboats, then we annex Antarctica, then we ... {six impossible things before breakfast}". These days it's all Mars bases and hyper yachts (who is it that has a second superyacht with a helipad because their main superyacht has masts that prevent a helicopter landing on it?).

    466:

    That figures. Trees adapted to north-west European conditions are generally pretty resistant to quite long periods of flooding, especially when dormant - not merely do we get such floods in some places, but a wet winter means waterlogged soil for months on end, irrespective of flooding. Far more 'tender' (for the UK) woody plants die from waterlogging and fungal attacks during the dark, wet months than die from the cold or frost. And, yes, citrus don't like those conditions - I nearly lost one for that reason.

    467:

    pumping a lot of water from somewhere

    Or even trucking it in, which is why water can cost more than diesel in some places in some seasons in drought years.

    468:

    What hydrogen is NOT suitable for is a simple replacement for natural gas, and in most motor vehicles; one of the main drivers to replace town gas by natural gas was to reduce the risk of explosions, bother due to leaks and in buildings (and it did, considerably). Its density issues are at least simple, and its safety ones are the killer.

    For aircraft, I would assume that every crash that today results in a fireball or fire engine use would result in an explosion. That might be an ecceptable risk, and I am sure that Airbus have done the calculation. But, if the same were true for road vehicles, ....

    469:

    we annex Antarctica

    I occasionally consider what Australia's actual ability to defend its extensive antarctic territorial claims would be if it came down to it. Considering the distance are way outside combat range for jets from RAAF Edinburgh (looking like all F-35s very soon anyway). Is that what we actually need SSNs for?

    superyacht has masts that prevent a helicopter landing on it

    I thought the SY Maltese Falcon and its sibling(s) did have helipads, but looking at images it seems there's some sort of backstay in the way on the after deck and no pad.

    470:

    Recent UK politics has convinced me that the Laundry novels are in fact a utopian fantasy where the leader of the UK may be evil but they're also very intelligent as well.

    Alas, this is becoming increasingly true.

    I wrote the pivot to the New Management into the universe in mid-2016, thinking it would buy me at least a decade of dystopian satire, but it's already looking increasingly optimistic.

    (Which is why Season of Skulls is mostly but not entirely set in 1816, and the "present day" bits in early 2017, and A Conventional Boy takes place circa 2008-2010.)

    471:

    Vertical farming seems like an energy-intensive way to get food into very densely built up areas

    The core problem with vertical farming is indeed energy density.

    Trad farming (meaning anything except vertical farming) relies on sunlight -- photosynthetic plants are of course nature's own PV panels for converting CO2, water, and trace elements into biomass.

    Vertical farms can't rely on sunlight, they need high efficiency light at the correct wavelengths to maximize chlorophyl absorption. So using PV plants to feed juice to vertical farms is inherently inefficient. However in places prone to extreme weather, or (like the UK!) long dark winters, other energy sources -- like wind farms -- may be substitutable.

    Enabling places in the far north to grow crops all year round using wind, geothermal, or nuclear power to replace sunlight would indeed be a huge win, but it all depends on the efficiency of generation, distribution, and illumination (there are losses at every stage) before we even get to whether it's cost-effective to grow crops that way.

    They don't even have to be stacked terribly high: windowless warehouse-style buildings should work and are relatively cheap to construct -- the main objective is to protect the crops from severe weather events, after all.

    472:

    Considering the distance are way outside combat range for jets from RAAF Edinburgh (looking like all F-35s very soon anyway). Is that what we actually need SSNs for?

    Yes, and I'm astonished it's taken the Australian defense community so long to bite that bullet.

    Spitballing a cost-no-object megalomaniacal empire-building strategic defense plan, it would make sense to have a north circular railfreight route -- north from Perth then east all the way to Darwin and then on to Brisbane. Plant strategic garrisons, supply depots, and airfields along the route and you'd have the beginnings of a continental defensive line. Assuming an invasion of Fortress Australia might arrive by sailing into one of the larger ports and it would then be necessary to re-take it from unoccupied territory.

    But realistically, the best defense Australia has got is diplomacy and sheer remoteness -- much like Siberia.

    473:

    the main objective is to protect the crops from severe weather events

    I guess if you need to spread out to collect PV (or at least wind) anyway, the question arises whether stacking is actually more efficient than just spreading out the building too? And wouldn't doing that enable the use of more sustainable materials? Even if it's one-to-one PV per conventional agriculture there's still a sort of a win (year round growing with topups from wind? Definitely resilience against temperature extremes).

    474:

    I doubt that anyone else is much better placed to annex/defend Antarctica, not even New Zealand or Chile.

    475:

    Artificially-list (often hydroponic) farming is used in northern Europe to provide green vegetables (especially salads) in winter; the stacking is merely a space-saver, and land is expensive here. As OGH said, it's inefficient, but it needs much less energy than calorific crops (because it's quick), and the alternatives are air freight or doing without. Yes, we can avoid malnutrition without those, but it does mean living on cabbage for much of the winter - we old fogies remember doing that ....

    476:

    But realistically, the best defense Australia has got is diplomacy and sheer remoteness -- much like Siberia.

    Well, apparently nobody wants to invade us for lebensraum, and just about everything else we're more-or-less happy to sell.

    477:

    Another bonus I forgot: you can control the CO2 level in your growing area. A lot of our plants love a higher CO2 level in the atmosphere, and you can boost the CO2 level fairly efficiently by sticking a cold trap in your aircon intake to scavenge it and rejecting some of the low-CO2 efflux. Boost the CO2 in your farm to 2000-3000ppm instead of 400-ish ppm, and give the humans respirators when they have to go inside (or just flush the farm air out with fresh while maintenance is taking place).

    478:

    the best defense Australia has got is diplomacy and sheer remoteness

    Well yes. For most scenarios fortress Australia is just an unnecessary complication, and any would-be invader automatically has hopelessly exposed supply lines from the very start, no possible element of surprise (missile first strikes aside) and a long overland fuel burn to get anywhere at all. Japan had completely ruled it out as a possibility during the war, and that's probably the closest anyone ever got. The only thing capable of asserting anything like air superiority would be a USN CVBG, while co-incidentally Australia is one of the USA's closest long-term strategic allies. Perhaps one day China will field such things, and perhaps by that time we'll have moved up from LCSs too.

    I think it's a bit like the becoming-a-cliche-phrase about the US Civil war: that when you're young you learn that it was about slavery; later you learn that it was more about economics; finally you learn that because of economics, it really was entirely about slavery. In Australian defence circles, when you're young you learn about the "air-sea gap" as a defensive ploy making super-high defence spending less urgent that it might otherwise seem, later you learn the various reasons why that's not the whole story and there are shortcomings to this; later again you find that actually it's a pretty solid strategic asset, particularly assessing the costs.

    But defending those territorial claims in Antarctica... that's another story again :). We typically do NOT enforce them against Japanese whalers, although there are NGOs who have stepped up to that task.

    479:

    Meh, I say "LCS" when what I mean is "LHD". I didn't remember the right term and picked the wrong thing from a hasty google search. And only now do I remember the correct search term was actually "HMAS Canberra".

    480:

    The 8-hour safety limit for CO2 in the UK is 5,000 ppm - just checking employees for heart problems (or not, if you are less ethical) would be enough.

    481:

    The easiest way to raise the CO2 level in a greenhouse is to use fossil fuels to warm it. There's NZ farmers who do exactly this. Which has obvious problems from an environmental perspective.

    482:

    Heteromeles would know for sure, but ISTR reading a while ago that plants growing in atmospheres with elevated CO2 did grow more, but the bits humans want to eat are not improved. The plant puts more into stems, leaves & so on.

    Once again, totally not my specialty. So I could be utterly wrong.

    483:

    the main objective is to protect the crops from severe weather events

    sometimes it's to protect them from being noticed by officer plod

    484:

    Which are exactly what you want for winter greens in northern Europe! The point is that this ISN'T a general-purpose panacaea - as OGH said in #471, it's a solution for a few extreme problems. Yes, it can also be used in near-deserts, where solar power is almost unlimited and water is in desperately short supply - enclosed farming means that most of the water used can be recycled, so it uses relatively little.

    I still don't see the advantage of verticality except when space is short and possibly because it uses less material to build the enclosure. The key factors are that it is enclosed and artificially-lit.

    485:

    The discussion of Drax's lack of sustainability reminds me of the issues with nuclear power plants, and of the problems that we had trying to avoid the worst effects of the 2008 banking crash, and has parallels with the current dominance of web search by Google and social media by Facebook: our economic system encourages us to have a small number of entities filling a given role, which become too big to fail.

    As a consequence of this, when those entities don't live up to the desired standards, we are forced to relax standards because of a lack of alternatives, rather than being able to drive the sub-standard entities out of business.

    But this leads to a contradiction: the claimed way our system handles sub-standard entities is to put them out of business (bankruptcy), yet our system is also set up to encourage entities to grow to the point where we can't just put them out of business for being sub-standard, allowing them to break the rules with relative impunity (basically as long as the breaches of the rules are done far enough away from the regulator's vision).

    486:

    On vertical farming. This is very outside my area. How does the efficiency of photosynthesis in food crops per acre of agricultural land compare with using a vertical farm and the remaining acreage covered with PV panels (~20% efficient)? Feeding that electricity to LED's in the vertical farm. Summer, winter, yearly average? Boosted CO2 levels? Supplementing the PV with wind during the winter? On the general rubbishness of the higher latitudes of northern Europe for PV and agricultural production for food and biomass can. This is mitigated some during the summer by the very long days and short nights. I recall reading that the lowlands between Dundee and Aberdeen were particularly good. Being in the rain shadow of the Grampian mountains mitigated weather extremes and the long summer days and good soil making it very productive for agriculture.

    487:

    Nah, they already have systems in place to service tractors in the field, they're mostly too big to move easily without tow trucks that are too big to be road legal.

    I'm speaking from personal experience. Not all tractors are used the same way pre the someone else up thread.

    There were times I got into a jam due to, well all kinds of operator error, and getting out of it took all my fuel as I was at near the end of the tank when I got in the jamb. But I could walk back to the cheap old truck, grab the extra can of gas and get back to it.

    With an electric tractor if you run the batteries down too far you'd better have a $70K pickup and a $2K 200' or more long extension cord to juice things back up. Now, EV pickups WILL get cheaper but no where near the price of a crappy gas powered one anytime soon. And you still need that big ass extension cord. Or a pony engine.

    488:

    Anecdata related to a couple of the agriculture themes...

    Eastern Nebraska in the 1970s was full of places where WWII industrial hemp had gotten established on land where power equipment couldn't go. I worked three summers at an agricultural field lab and was the one stuck going out to the remote portions to tell the hippies harvesting that it was industrial hemp and wouldn't get them high.

    Colorado's large-scale indoor marijuana-growing industry is generally instructive. One of the big problems is controlling moisture and keeping assorted fungal diseases from getting established. Once the spore-based fungus is in, sterilizing is difficult or impossible. See also, Mir and the ISS. If we ever get to where we're sending a crewed mission to Mars, one of the crew's activities will be hours per week scrubbing walls and other surfaces to control the mold.

    489:

    there's the good news less than 300K in Florida are without power...

    I don't know if they are in that 300K number or not. But a LOT of power customers don't have a safe system to turn back on / get hooked up. I suspect many of those 300K are on the situation where the crews are going down the street and disconnecting individual customers before energizing the sub feed lines. (Which may now be how it is done in Europe. What I'm calling a sub feed is typically a block or few long tapped off a main line via a tripable fuse/breaker.) Then hooking individual customers back up when they have fixed their service entrance and are ready for power.

    After a big one here I got power back in 12 hours. Many neighbors across on sub feed lines took a week. Being one of the first houses in the area got me a hookup direct to the line out of the substation.

    490:

    Once you do that, it can be seen that SLS has been brilliantly successful at achieving its intended purpose, which was to send tax dollars into the states of those Senators.

    50K jobs around the country averaging $100K to $150K was the plan. And it worked. The jobs were concentrated in a few states but most every state got some of that action.

    I'm a big fan of space exploration. And I've been against SLS since day one. And the shuttle once the true costs were clear. And my other space fans don't get me.

    491:

    There are also a good many cases where you DON'T want a huge or heavy tractor because you don't have room or it compacts the soil too much (*). I am not sure that they are a case where electrification is necessarily going to work.

    (*) Yes, some farms have gone back to heavy horses!

    492:

    On our vast acreage US farms they somewhat solve most of the weight issues by putting the tractor on the equivalent of 8 rear tires. 4 in front, 4 in back, in pairs. You can get the weight but it's not nearly as concentrated. Plus tire treads without so much cleats.

    493:

    Is it?

    Yes. No. It depends. I don't know Wendy's experience but social media is all about engagement. In other words, how can we get you to come back and let us sell your eyeballs to more ads. If you tend to click on a story from the NYTimes, WaPo, WSJ, etc... then that's what you'll mostly see.

    If you tend to click on shared stories from folks sharing things from the Daily Wire or similar then you'll see a totally different feed.

    It is a feed back loop and it is a large part of what riles everyone up.

    And a LOT of my relatives, friends, ex-friends, etc... post excerpts from such or just things they heard from a friend at McD's coffee that morning with no reference. No links at all. And many times they either get the details wrong by mistake or on purpose as it suits their point of view. And if you point out the errors in their post they get incredibly pissed that you don't see the one true light. And this is NOT restricted to right wing folks. At least in the US.

    494:

    Apparently electric pickups are hitting the market now that are on par with ICE trucks, at the 'work fleet truck' level. ICE or EV trucks with all the fancy bits are a different story (leather seats etc). As one person has described them, top shelf high speed luxury shopping chesterfields.

    Farmers I have known have typically favored low-end pickup trucks that get switched out every few years. Those who are also mechanics obviously get more years out of them, but on large scale prairie farms spending a few days/annum fixing your beat up old truck isn't really a cost effective option.