Monday, March 31, 2008

barrels, kilos and comments

A very interesting comment on an even more interesting post.

Hmmmm, I might do sum fag-packet sums of my own . . . .

I love booze

And so does the New Humanist, apparently. Its pleasant to hear something good written about drugs and their incredibly liberating effect upon the human condition:

"What he was after was a certain type of unrestrained but civilised conviviality. The kind of generous and sociable cheerfulness that only alcohol can engender through its sacred ability to suspend or abolish the inherent tension of having to spend time among other human beings. Liberality was the key and a parsimonious hand with the bottle an enemy ranked alongside pretension or the tendency to bore."

Lets face it, nothing makes you friends like an evening in the pub in an extroverted and profoundly garrulous frame of mind. God I could talk the hind legs of a weasel when I'm well oiled.


I don't suppose anyone's interested but my favourite tipple is Mount Gay Eclipse. No, its not a steamy bisexual videotape, its actually the mellowest sipping rum money can buy. Nothing needed to enhance the experience except a couple of lumps of ice.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Colin Channell, MP, rules

His letter to the Guardian, slating his own party's energy policy, is wonderfully refreshing. Flipping marvellous, no less!

Where shall I start with the latest development in the Labour Government's climate change denial? I feel myself coming over all 'Marcus Brigstocke' on this one.

The UK's emissions fell slightly in 2007, according to the government. Let's look at that claim a little more objectively, shall we? DEFRA reports a drop of 2%, from 652.3 to 639.4 million tonnes of CO2. Friends of The Earth, notable tree huggers that they are, did some some sums based upon DEFRA's own figures for aviation fuel bunkering. They established that international aviation flying to and from the UK- which are, along with shipping emissions, bizarrely excluded from government figures- mean that UK emissions for 2007 would, in fact, be 6% higher than quoted.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

anyone else interested in the parliamentary review of the professional lobbying industry?

This inherently undemocratic industry is the lucky subject of a Parliamentary Inquiry in which anyone with the right money can buy access to anyone in power. I would like to observe that the profiteering industry is quite separate from the semi-democratic right of the elctorate to petition their MP, something that is a step on the road to Direct Democracy.

Anyway, I would like to draw attention to this report of the day's session at the inquiry from the splendid bunch at SpinWatch.

Martin Chalk is an ignorant fuckwit

I didn't know who he was either. Apparently he's an environmentalist airline pilot who wants the 3rd runway at Heathrow to be built. His arguments are flawed and he is massively ignorant of the facts of emissions reductions. So why did CiF give him a podium for his ignorance?

So I could shoot him down, of course!

why is the word "Trident" absent from this article?

It seems to me that £75 billion is a lot more money to save than £3.9bn. Plus I can actually perceive aircraft carriers as being of use in peace keeping duties. Whereas Trident is illegal, immoral and useless.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

overpopulation and child abuse

Over at ChickenYoghurt, Justin posted this. I think the Tory Councillor in question is an inhuman monster but I have explored ideas that would be seen by many as equally inhuman. I, of course, consider them to be entirely compatible with humanism.

Anyway, I asked him if he had any similar ideas. I was driven to comment by something I heard on the radio the other day.

one step closer to Direct Democracy

As an earnest advocate of DD I love this. Please sign up peeps, together we can actually take control of this godforsaken corruption-and-genocide-fest back from the dirty politicians.

. . . . . . . you what?

John Hutton has dealt the government's attempts to limit climate change a significant blow by announcing his intention to make nuclear produce significantly greater proportion of the country's electricity than at present. Despite there being little to gain, in terms of carbon emissions from an expansion of nuclear, despite the clear and damning ethical reasons not to expand nuclear, despite the utterly unfeasible economics of nuclear generation that will leave the tax payer footing £billion clean-up bills, despite the absurdity of pushing this technology over truly renewable ones that will generate for millenia- not just for a few decades, despite the shortage of uranium reserves and despite the fact that new plants likely won't be generating for a decade- leaving us with continued rising fossil fuel generation for another ten years to add to the existing carbon emissions . . . . . there's so many more reasons not to do this.

So, so wrong.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor

He's insane. Completely gone with the pixies. A gibberer. Rossinisbird knows it too. So does Justin Keating. Why the Guardian is giving a podium to this fundie I don't know because whilst his Church obstructs life saving scientific research on the grounds that a ball of 16 cells is 'a human being', it is simultaneously busy sabotaging rational efforts to prevent the spread of AIDS. Which makes them complicit in murder. Which doesn't sound like a morally defensible position from which to lecture others on the morality of their actions.


Monday, March 24, 2008

electoral reform might be imminent

As my dear readers will likely know, I am a big advocate of electoral reform. Apparently it might actually come to pass. Awesome!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I just renewed my Green Party membership

I don't agree with all of their policies, such as their bizarrely extreme firearms policy (specifically CJ500 (iv & vi)), but of all the political parties the Green Party is by far the most likely to bring about beneficial change to our sordid little world, not just our country.

Q - Why isn't the government pushing this technology?

"Professor Stephen Salter of Edinburgh University, one of Britain's leading marine energy experts, estimates that the Pentland Firth alone could generate up to a quarter of Britain's electricity – more than is now being provided by all the country's nuclear power stations – making the channel between Orkney and the north Scottish mainland "the Saudi Arabia of marine energy.""

A - Because they're incompetent sociopathic wankers so wrapped up in their post-Imperialist ideological clusterfuck and in trying to convince themselves that the UK is still a world power that they are emotionally incapable of doing anything other than royally fucking other people's countries up at the expense of our own.


Friday, March 21, 2008

catastrophic wind turbine failure

Pretty cool.

I found it here. Sadly the chap appears to have posted it in association with negative comments about wind generation, emphasising that turbines can only generate within a given window of wind speed. As if that made climate change, rising fuel bills and energy insecurity worth tolerating.


I am engaged in a dialogue with the blogger in question. Lets see if I can rescue him from his REN status.

the Fed, the state prosecutor and $200 billion

Greg Palast rules.

This guy is a model for investigative journalism. The article is available as a podcast too .

Saudi plan to halt spread of extremism by 'retraining' clerics

My fat, hairy arse.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

when democracy doesn't work

This is likely to be a continually updated post as I develop an idea so please keep coming back to check what other rubbish I've thrown into this melting pot.

I don't think I am overstating the issue when I say that democracy is the highest principle of government. Without it we are open to manipulation by anyone with sufficient power to buy the services of those who cannot be held to account, whether we are referring to bureaucrats, the police or even the military. However, Churchill was dead right when he opined: "the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter".

Why are we living in a nation in which a government demonstrably guilty of war crimes, misgovernment and outright deception of the public remains in power via the ballot box without any evidence of electoral fraud?

To illustrate my point I will refer to an article Johann penned criticising tax avoidance amongst the mega-rich in this country and calling for a progressive policy and the elimination of loopholes. How likely is this to become policy?

Not. Very.

For it to become policy it would need a political party to champion it. The dirty tories and the sordid nu-labs are both heavily dependent upon private donations to finance their political activities and wouldn't touch this with a barge pole as donations would immediately cease and the parties would become bankrupt- as has nearly happened several times as a result of the decline in political membership in this country. The Lib Dems are capable of adopting moderately innovative policies but otherwise stick to 'me too' gestures. They are probably the greatest hope for any substantial political change, although the few hotbeds of LibDem activity- such as Cornwall and the West Coast of Scotland don't stand out as bastions of progression by any standards. Living fairly close to Cornwall I can tell you that I generally hear nothing but abuse about the LibDems there.

Of course my chosen political party- the Green Party of England and Wales- grows slowly every election but not fast enough to make a difference in my lifetime.

The problem is not solely the political parties' iniquity, rather it is a melange of socio-political flaws in out little nation that act antagonistically to create an insurmountable obstacle to progress in this country. Let me list them:
  • first past the post voting system
  • private funding of political parties
  • voter apathy and disinterest
  • the political power of the media (remember Blair grovelling to Rupert Murdoch for the support of his newspapers over Iraq?)
  • corporate tax avoidance (imagine what you could do to society with £41 billion)
One of these on their own could be challenged and overcome, maybe even two. But all of them? It simply doesn't matter how well you rationalise your argument for developing one of these undemocratic systems into something more representative, the others will obstruct any meaningful progress. The inhibitory effects work their undemocratic effects via the electorate, and here we get to the nub of the issue. Maintaining the passivity of the electorate is the underlying mechanism of all of these processes. For example, there is a concerted campaign for electoral reform by the LibDems- who, as a lesser party, stand to gain from its introdution. Ming Campbell even proposed a coalition government. However the LDs never gained- and likely never will- the necessary clout to enact that change.

Politics in the UK in my lifetime has effectively been at a standstill. Market fundamentalism continues to expand under whichever of the two right-wing main parties is in power. The tabloids continue to direct our attention toward anything but the current spiral into iniquity and effective serfdom, the electorate continue to pride themselves on being ignorant of politics or hold utterly banal allegiances to clearly inaccurate and partisan sources of information such as the Sun (listen to the Now Show from 14-03-08 for some sound bites from C21st UK society).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The 5th Anniversary Of The Iraq Invasion Blogswarm

To highlight the continuation of the Iraqi civil war and associated genocide I would like to draw attention to this Guardian article detailing attempts to quantify the number of innocents killed.

One small point of contention with the article, however: Jonathan Steele and Suzanne Goldenberg state that the Iraqi genocide is "the worst humanitarian catastrophe in today's world". I disagree. The ongoing civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed more than 5.4 million people, mostly through starvation and disease. Johann has been there and returned to tell the tale.

We- the British public- are, however, a little less complicit in the Congolese genocide than we are in the Iraqi one. And therefore I would like to call upon anyone reading this to reject another term in power for the Labour government or any return to power for the Conservatives- both of whom supported the initiation of a war of aggression in direct contravention of Article 3 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The leadership of these two parties at the time should be indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, along with George Bush, Dick Cheney and José María Aznar. All UK forces should withdraw from Iraq immediately and any peacekeeping duties that are essential to the preservation of law and order int hat nation should be handed over to a combined UN force whose operation is wholly financed by the UK, the US and Spain.


Bush is as blind to reality as ever.


This Guardian article illustrates the human suffering caused by our government's actions. Imagine if this was taking place on the streets of Milton Keynes or Worcester or Aberdeen.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

greenwash 101

After reading this post from the Lazy Environmentalist I emailed my MP, Alison Seabeck, to petition for her support on the Early Day Motion mentioned. Her reply:

"Thank you for your email. I regret that as a Government
Minister(Whip) I cannot sign EDMs which are used by back bench MPs to
raise issues. Alan Simpson is a powerful advocate for alternative and
renewable energy on Labour's back benches.

I have recently sat on the Energy Bill Committee which discussed a range
of issues including measures which will enable more microgeneration. It
is important though that we encourage the right type of micro generation
in the right places. Too many people have put up wind energy technology
in places where they get very little return.

During the course of the Energy Bill the Minister did announce that
there would be a strategic overview of renewables this summer and that
the issue of feed in tariffs would be included in that discussion. This
is important. They are by no means ruled out and clearly Alan Simpson
is ensuring they remain on the Government's agenda.

Alison Seabeck MP

Interesting for several reasons: Firstly, her reference to Alan Simpson as "
a powerful advocate for alternative and renewable energy on Labour's back benches" is of note because she specifically identifies him to be an advocate. This contrasts sharply with many members of the Parliamentary Labour Party such as Alison herself and particularly the Cabinet, who- if you are to ignore their propaganda and infer their policy objectives directly from their actions- are opposed to any research and development of renewable generation beyond that necessary to appear to be doing so.

Secondly, Alison's role on the Energy Bill Committee is laudable. However the measures she mentions, “
measures which will enable more microgeneration” and “ we encourage the right type of micro generation in the right places”, are problems that have resulted from Labour's own policies on renewables. Their lack of direction on grants for renewable installations has been well documented elsewhere and I will not go into it here. Also, the reason people install inappropriate renewable capacity is because the government haven't shown any inclination to publicise useful information relating to the suitability of the different technologies. Or any information relating to renewables, really.

Thirdly, the Energy Bill itself has been determined to be illegal by Greenpeace.

Fourthly, the issue of Feed In Tariffs should not be a matter for discussion, it should be a matter for immediate action. There are even websites available that explain, carefully and clearly so that even MPs can understand, how to implement FITs.

Time and again I am appalled by the laissez-faire attitude of MPs towards imminent climate change. Ignorance of the facts can't seriously be an excuse for these people and so what is it? Some mass psychosis towards future generations? Outright denial? Any way you spin this these people are perpetuating the status quo that will result in gigadeaths and the end of civilisation as we know it on this planet. They should be removed from power.

Monday, March 17, 2008

They Work For You (supposedly)

The TheyWorkForYou website has a nifty little setup whereby you can have updates automatically emailed to you everytime your local MP does anything vaguely exciting (particularly unlikely for mine).

Anyhoo, I await tales of Alison's stirling work in The House with unbaited breath.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

you are here . . . .

I found a real science blog- not just one with "science" in the title. Anyway, here's a nice, visual presentation of your place in the Grand Scheme of Things.

Anyway- who wants to hear me bitch constantly about how hard a PhD is and how I've managed to work through 4 defunct HPLC setups in two and a half months? Exactly. No one.

Fucking shite Kontron kit.

Rowan Williams is an idiot

My new favourite blogger has done one of the most astonishingly complete demolitions of the high sky pixie advocate. Its just . . . perfect!

Does anyone live in a village that's short of an idiot? I've got a great candidate for the job . . .


Any blogger who advocates the hunting of MPs with velociraptors gets wicked props from this one.
The atheist vs christian composting post is the most entertaining I've ever read on the subject. Also the only, but lets not let that detract from its awesomeness.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

how Labour made the 3rd runway "sustainable"


Jonathon Porritt rules.

He tells of the government's plan to include the cost of carbon emissions in any cost-benefit analysis of proposed projects such as widening the M1 and the 3rd runway. The thing is, they've picked a price for this carbon that is an outright absurdity, as Johnno points out.

I initially raved about this plan because- if the carbon price was set accurately- it would make all the blatantly unsustainable pet projects currently being forced through by Labour utterly unfeasible. I really though that they would get put back into the Fucking Stupid Idea box and left there. Sadly not.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

treating the symptoms and not the disease

Citizenship ceremonies for schoolchildren: That's the ex-attorney general's suggestion to improve "British Citizenship".

Firstly- and most obviously: I am not a citizen of Great Britain. I am a citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as stated in my passport. If you really want to piss the Irish off after decades of bloody sectarian strife, just forget to include them in a statement about the state of our nation.

Secondly: If you even need to consider proposals to strengthen citizenship then you've been up to some fairly stupid stuff that alienated it in the first place. Examine any policy of the UK government over the preceding thirty years to understand this one.

Thirdly: Centralised diktats intended to improve citizenship are blatantly going to be counter productive. In most humans positive emotions such as loyalty and pride result from positive experiences. Personally, I find such positive experiences to be few and far between. Simple comparisons of our nation's state with others in Europe reveal that we have exactly nothing to be proud of apart from winning the Rugby World Cup five years ago. Our public transport sucks, our democracy sucks, our military are falling apart thanks to poor management and overextension of limited resources, our government are responsible for exacerbating climate change instead of fighting it. We have one of the worst records on tax avoidance and one of the most unequal societies in the developed world. And suddenly, this plutocratic collection of corporate whores and incompetent halfwits wants to lecture us on how we should appreciate them? I find this to be a distinctly negative experience and the last thing I feel for Goldsmith and his war crimes are loyalty and a sense of kinship. The words that spring instantly to mind are "get fucked".


Do I have to mention Goldsmith's credibility here with regard to his role in the Iraqi genocide and BAE debacle?

I thought not.

The Labour government is insane

I gave my own version of this some time ago. Its simply insane. The UK is already one of the most targeted destinations for economic migrants and its simply going to get worse as climate change starts to bite. How the hell are we meant to implement sustainable social policies when we can't even control the number of people entering the country and putting extra stress on those systems. The plans are inadequate or obsolete by the time they hit the streets due to the flux of migrants. Its not so much a matter of overall population as people are leaving the country in droves at the same time migrants enter but the people leaving are UK nationals who are skilled and educated and can speak English whereas a large fraction of the people entering are, effectively, refugees with none of that. Hence the social services are under swelling pressure to cope at the remaining taxpayer's expense.

At the same time as we have the police releasing illegal immigrants into the countryside we have John Hutton, Minister of Fatcats and Rising Carbon Emissions on the one hand telling us we should be grateful that fatcats get paid so much and we so little, and on the other hand giving a cheery wave of approval to a new generation of coal fired power stations.

Hutton's incredible ability to ignore every piece of scientific evidence that demonstrates that such policies will condemn future generations to lives of food shortages, poverty and destructive weather patterns would have him lynched in any other country. Unfortunately the Brits simply turn to the next page of the Sun and pass comment on" lovely Sam's 36DD assets".

Hutton's astonishing chutzpah extends to smugly declaring:

"A third of Britain's existing power stations need replacement, and in that mix, it is inevitable that we consider fossil fuel because there is no prospect ... we can survive without fossil fuels."

Here Hutton demonstrates once and for all why he is not fit to be a Member of Parliament, let alone a Cabinet Minister. If he is ignorant of technologies which can reduce carbon emissions and prevent climate change then he is not doing his job and should be sacked.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Capitalism As If The World Matters

Some quotes from Jonathon Porritt's seminal text on eco-economics.

"'Development without growth' is precisely the kind of talk that sends shivers down the spines of all good capitalists. But the self-inflicted blindness of contemporary capitalism to the laws of thermodynamics is the first and most problematic barrier to reconciling capitalism and sustainability. It is by no means the only barrier."

". . . at the heart of the issue of scale lurks the vexed issues of population growth. Cut it which way you will, growing populations necessitate growing economies to provide more food, more houses, more services, more teachers, more doctors and more jobs. Growth-bound economists and politically correct environmentalists conspire to keep the issue of population off the agenda, obscuring the incontrovertible reality that every extra human being makes it just a little bit harder to find ways of living within the Earth's limited carrying capacity. It would, however, seem unreasonable to lay the blame for this uniquely at the door of capitalism. Religion, ignorance, prejudice and political cowardice have at least as much to answer for."

"Within any capitalist system, to be 'uncompetitive' at either the company level or at nation-state level, is to fail. It is as simple as that. Competition for customers, competition for capital, competition for talent and competition for reputation and brand value: it is competitiveness that sorts out the capitalist sheep from the capitalist goats. Competition has become both dominant and deeply divisive, as pointed out by Tony Stebbing and Gordon Heath:
"Competition makes economies inherently unstable and leads to the extinction of businesses through dominance and monopoly. The wide-spread belief that the competitive process must permeate every aspect of life is damaging the global environment since the pace of economic activity exceeds the capacity to assimilate polluting consequences. Competition drives the rate of economic activity towards the maximum energy and resource use. It is unsustainable because there are no intrinsic controls upon the pace of economic activity." (Stebbing and Heath, 2003)
However, as we have already seen, competition itself need not necessarily pose such a dilemma. In terms of the efficient use of both resources and capital, the challenge to eke out maximum economic value for every unit of energy and raw material is as critical to sustainability as it should be to commercial success. The problem is not competition per se, but the incorrect valuation of resources and inadequate levels of regulation to create a level playing field conducive to sustainability.

This is probably a judgement that most people would arrive at instinctively anyway. Populist interpretations of evolution, from Herbert Spencer and Thomas Huxley onwards, have accustomed people to the idea of nature being 'red in tooth and claw', with all life forms engaged in endless titanic struggles to ensure 'the survival of the fittest'. So what could be more 'natural' than the history of humankind (both before and after the Industrial Revolution) being cast in the same metaphorical framework? This rationale of social Darwinism has been taken up with unbounded enthusiasm by the politicians and academic economists most centrally involved in the neo-liberal revolution of the last 25 years. When all else fails, it has provided at least some flimsy justification for patterns of irresponsible and uncaring corporate and political behaviour that prioritise competition over everything else, characterised by folksy phrases along the lines of 'Its a jungle out there', 'Its a dog-eat-dog world', 'Let the devil take the hindmost', and so on.

So it often comes as a bit of a blow to them when this interpretation of evolution is revealed as a complete fabrication, a socio-political distortion that tells us much more about Britain during the mid 19th century than about the evolution of life on Earth. What we now know is that individual organisms in a mature ecosystem go to great lengths to avoid competition by specialisation or by developing their own differentiated niches. Resourcews are often shared with frugal efficiency. Territorial animals actually avoid fighting if at all possible, relying upon complex behaviours and rituals that stop short of actual conflict. This has all been formalised by ecologists in what is known as the competitive exclusion principle': The occupant of any niche excludes all others by virtue of specialisation, and therefore avoids competition and possible extinction.

Beyond that the work of scientist such as Lynn Margulis and Janine Benyus has revealed fascinating patterns of mutual interdependence and elegant symbiosis. The great biologist Lewis Thomas is quoted as saying:
'The urge to form partnerships, to link up in collaborative arrangements, is perhaps the oldest, strongest and most fundamental force in Nature. There are no solitary, free-living creatures; every form of life is dependent on other forms' (Thomas, 1980)."

Friday, March 07, 2008

MSM Frenzy - "Evill Colombian terrorist group sought uranium for 'DIRTY BOMB'"

But they forgot to mention that you can't make a dirty bomb out of ordinary uranium. Funny how this small detail was ommitted from the frenzied reports portraying two of South America's leading, populist, progressive leaders as supporters of terrorism. Idiots!

Left I rules.


Greg Palast rules too.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

"religious guilt"

Its amazing what you can blame on religion: war, crime, misogyny, repression of human rights, etc.

Now you can add 'bad sex life' to the list.

I had intimate encounters with several girls of a sky-pixie-fan persuasion when growing up. As a randy teenager it was always rather frustrating being turned down for reasons of religion. I always thought it was an enormous cop-out (possibly one of the reasons for my deep-seated hatred of religion?). I now firmly believe that parents should teach their children all about sex and leave it up to the child to decide when they need to gain any direct experience. Trying to control my development into an adult through direct repression always backfired with me and made me all the more determined to expand my knowledge of forbidden pleasures such as smoking, drinking and girls' naughty bits.

If you can raise a well balanced child with a broad set of interests and pastimes and help them to understand the pressures of modern society then they are going to be far better placed to deal with the advances of randy teenagers or their own hormonal urges than a child who has been repeatedly told that such things are evil and to be suppressed and resisted at every turn. Human beings are human beings, the better parents understand this and treat their children accordingly the better society will become.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Australian Green Economics thinktank

The introduction at the head of this page outlines what anyone with ambition to change the political landscape for the better must understand. It should be of particular relevance to the Green Party of England and Wales, who cannot seem to shake off their single-issue party image. I'm not saying they are a single-issue party but I'm saying that's what the Sun reading majority perceive them to be, if they think about them at all.

Moses was high when he "received" the ten commandments

This is just beautiful. Whether a historical figure called Moses existed or not it seems that religions haven't changed their approach to divine revelation over the ensuing millenia- anyone else hear that story about an Opus Dei chapter in the US doping new recruits with mescalin to induce visions?

corporations which avoid paying tax should not be entitled to government contracts

This simple rule would enrich the Whitehall tax coffers by billions. Prem Sikka rules.

was anyone else aware that when the Exxon Valdez ran aground its navigation radar was turned off?

Greg Palast rules.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Wikileaks returns

After a US Federal judge ordered the site shut down it is now back again thanks to objections from various public interest groups.

selling out the UK

In a monumental fuck-up from the Labour government the Guardian reveals how three PFI companies have moved their assets offshore, including ownership of the new Treasury Building and the Home Office.

So, not only will the tax payer be responsible for paying far over the odds for these buildings, but they will now not benefit from any tax return on the enormous profits these companies will reap from the tax payer either. Nice.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

neo-conservatives in UK politics

Out of curiosity I looked up Spiked Online on SourceWatch after hearing it besmirched by Johann and also after realising that Brendan O'Neill, the cockweasel king, was one of its leading characters. I did my usual thing of reading through a few links to get a perspective on this shower of astonishingly inhuman characters and quickly became alarmed at the depths to which their influence extends. More specifically, I was horrified to find that members of this right-wing collection of activists and propaganda artists actually have links to the Royal Society via a lobbying organisation called Sense in Science. No- that's not Truth in Science- the "sky-pixie made the world in 6 days" organisation which recently spammed all the schools in the country with a DVD slating An Inconvenient Truth and promoting creationism. It is, in fact, a pro GM, industry funded lobbying organisation with lashings of scientific credibility from the extensive list of academics who sit on its advisory council.

As George makes clear here, these people's ostensibly publicly-minded, altruistic motives are as suspect as anything can be. My concern is that this bunch of right-wing fundamentalists, who are not in the least afraid to deploy misrepresentation and outright propaganda to earn cash from their corporate masters- as their documented astroturfing activities demonstrate- seem quite content to manipulate science to support their politics and philosophy. That they have enlisted members of a scientific body with such gravitas as the RS in order to swathe their corporate-friendly position in credibility is alarming, to say the least. Their motives and philosophy need to be publicly challenged in order to unmask their selfish, uber-libertarian, exceptionalist, sociopathy that is the hallmark of every Brendan O'Neill diatribe. Such people are a malign influence on genuine progressive politics but- worse still- they are an enormous threat to the credibility of the scientific establishment. As George points out:

"Far from rebuilding public trust in science and medicine, this group's repugnant philosophy could finally destroy it."

As a scientist myself I cannot begin to verbalise the frustration I feel when I see scientific advice being rejected in favour of politically expedient options. The only reason this happens is because public feeling is so ambivalent to science due to its incessant manipulation by politicians, corporations and other vested interests that they have lost the ability to distinguish between a scientific position and a political one. Consequently, they can't perceive the government acting against their best interests (they let the government invade Iraq, for example, although Rupert Murdoch bears much of the responsibility for the obfuscation and outright lies which drove the public to sit idly by while that happened). If the public were better educated in general and about science in particular there would be uproar in response to this sort of misgovernment.

If anyone wants to know my position on GM read George's Captive State or visit his website.

rise and fall of the 'GWADs'

Word to Spinage on CiF.

GWADs rank ahead of RENs in my book of contempt, but nowhere near cockweasels.

Word to the patient readers: I'm quite drunk on Gay and a little stoned so please let me know if I'm getting too esoteric. I get captivated by surreal influences when I'm in this state and might not notice till I sober up. So I advance in apologise . . . . yes. That's ok then.