Saturday, February 25, 2017

Alas, poor (performance from) Corbyn

Alas, Poor Labour. Bye-election results: Copeland gone. That's Corbyn's fault. Nuttall kicked in the nuts. That's nothing to do with Corbyn.

It is true that the media does not give Corbyn a fair hearing. But it is also true that he is a poor performer on the media. His delivery lacks sparkle, to say the least. His media strategy is to deliver a list (the longer the better) of problems that need fixing. He fails to give a direct answer when asked if he actually wants to be PM - to the point that we may wonder if he believes in the Parliamentary road to socialism at all.
Then there is his lack of clarity on PR, and his rejection of the Progressive Alliance.

What does all this mean for the Green Party? We need to learn from Labour's failure to communicate. We have to move beyond just listing Tory failings, beyond listing the nice, apple-pie things that we would do, and we need to be setting out, carefully, methodically and progressively, the precise way that we would improve things.

The number one question that Corbyn and Greens face is this: "How would you pay for your programme? Borrow?" We need to answer this question step-wise. 

First step is to establish the principle of *investment*: putting money into the system today, in the reasonable expectation of getting more money back in the future as a result. We can talk about the jobs-rich nature of the Green economy, showing how a full employment economy is a more equal economy, which means a more healthy society. 

These points needs to be iterated and reiterated until the interviewer says "We know you want to invest in good work, we understand that, but how are you going to get the money to actually do it?" 

We then move towards talking about closing tax havens and tax loopholes.

And so on. We present a coherent, systematic case showing how we make the transition from the present mess to an equitable, sustainable economy and society.

Leave Labour to its wallowing. Our task is to get on with constructing and communicating the plan for healing our human and natural world.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Is Trump a Fascist?

"Is Trump a Fascist?" That's the question on everyone's lips.

It's a diagnosis. Making a diagnosis is something that I'm used to. It is an inductive process, a matter of pattern recognition, and if someone doesn't want to believe that Trump is a fascist, then they are not going to be persuaded. But for the rest of us, it is a matter to be looked into.

Dr Laurence Britt has studied a number of fascist regimes, and here is his list of symptoms, published in 2003.

I have marked the characteristics identified by Britt up as follows:
# = Trump ticks the box.
? = I'm not sure (if you have more knowledge than I, make a comment)
Blank = nothing so far

 1. Nationalism - flags everywhere. America First #
 2. Disdain for Human Rights. Torture OK #
 3. Enemy or scapegoat(s) Muslims #
 4. Militarisation # - desire for parades
 5. Sexism, male dominant #
 6. Media control #?
 7. Obsession with National Security - Terror threat  #
 8. Use of religion #
 9. Corporate power #
 10. Labour suppressed ?
 11. Disdain for intellectuals and arts ?#
 12. Obsession with Crime and punishment; police state ?
 13. Cronyism and corruption #
 14. Fraudulent elections

So Trump scores 10/14 already.
Conclusion: he is well on his way to being the first Fascist President of the USA.
This is bad news, but the good news is that whereas in the 1930s they didnt know about WWII, now in 2017 we do, so we will all be out to stop Trump in his tracks.

Plucky John Bercow has made a start, we must support him.
Demonstrations outside Esso stations, and boycott of Esso, will help.
Violence will not help (see 3 and 7 above).

What else can we do?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Steve Goddard, leading AGW denier, caught backing model over observations

On the sad day when a climate change denier is to be inaugurated into the Presidency of the United States, I find this on my Twitter feed:

(Click on the picture if you cannot read it)

"Greenland is blowing away all records for ice growth, as climate alarmists continue their desperate lies" Says Goddard

Which is odd, because the news feed about the Greenland Ice sheet is full of stuff from NOAA, showing the decline in the Greenland ice mass: Fig3.4

So how come the discrepancy between Goddard's tweet, which was re-tweeted more than once by his followers,  and the data from NOAA?

Goddard's source is a page on the official Danish Meteorological Institute, titled

Current Surface Mass Budget of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Here you can follow the daily surface mass balance on the Greenland Ice Sheet. The snow and ice model from one of DMI’s climate models is driven every six hours with snowfall, sunlight and other parameters from a research weather model for Greenland, Hirlam-Newsnow.

Emphasis added.

So Goddard (who is one of the big, major AGW deniers of the blogosphere) is quoting a model, not observations.

This is significant, because the "sceptics" dismiss climate models out of hand (except when they agree with their beliefs), yet here is Goddard throwing up a model against the observations. 

Models are useful, because they roll out our understanding of reality. If they deviate from observations, they need to be changed with more, or more accurate, inputs to bring them closer to reality.

Goddard today is busy acclaiming his hero, Donald Trump. Let's hope that Trump checks his facts better than his fan. But don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Prime Minister Speech: Channeling UKIP

I listened to the whole of Theresa May's Brexit speech, disagreeing as she went, beginning with her first claim: "The British People voted to leave". 

No Theresa. 1.3 million out of 60 million people in the UK voted to leave. That was the majority result. 1.3 million out is not the "British People".

Here are some more of her immortal one-liners:

"Trade is so important I made a special department" [and put it in the care of .. er..Liam `Werrity` Fox]

Scientists are just wrong to fear Brexit. [Scientists are always wrong if they take a different view to Conservatives].

The country is coming together. [No it isn't. Political polarisation is increasing all the time.]

At the very end, after crooning about the sweet deal that would result as a result of her negotiations, she suddenly switched to Tough Mode. Britain would not accept a punitive Brexit that discourages other from leaving EU. We would retaliate against such deal with a trade war.
This is a fair summary of what she said. 

What kind of Brexit deal does the PM think the EU wants to create? Does she really believe that they will go for a deal that encourages other states to leave? Of course the deal is going to be tough, and a trade war is going to be even tougher. 

The discussion that followed on BBC2 carried a beaming Suzanne Evans who said May was "channelling UKIP". As indeed she was. 

So we can conclude that the PM has been taken hostage by the Eurosceptic (and climate sceptic) hard line right within the Tory Party, and has succumbed to the Stockholm Syndrome. This is understandable: Theresa was a bit of a loner before becoming PM, and that, combined with being a total Billy-No-Mates in the EU, has driven her into the ideologically crisp embrace of the Right, who will, of course, persuade her to bow down before the Golden Idol of Donald Trump.

We live in interesting times.