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Monthly Archives: October 2017

Brexit’s game of fools

fools mate

In the game of chess, the grandmaster seeks to dominate the game from the opening move.  The amateur, in contrast, risks making so bad an opening that the game is lost immediately.  One such opening is known as “fool’s mate,” which requires so foolish an opening move that none but …

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Helm review pours cold water on fracking

Fracking cold water

The big surprise in the Government’s Cost of Energy review by energy economist Dieter Helm is that fracking gets just one mention; and only then in a global rather than UK context: “Technological change within the energy sector is profound. Fracking and shale oil and shale gas have already changed …

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Peaceful protest hits fracking where it hurts most

Fracking police costs

According to figures released by  Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner the policing costs at just a single fracking well in Kirby Misperton added an additional £80,238 up to 31 August 2017.  However, once Third Energy’s operations began, the policing costs increased dramatically, adding a further £101,476 during …

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A Neoliberal approach to energy

Power cut

There is a school of thought (Neoliberalism) that holds that it does not matter if domestic jobs are exported to, say, China.  Other jobs will be created elsewhere in the economy, and we will all benefit from cheaper imported goods.  There is another school of thought that holds that if you …

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UK government backtracks on fracking

End of gas

UK government enthusiasm for hydraulically fractured shale gas looks to be waning fast.  The latest signs of this were picked up last week by Steve Topple in The Canary: “Campaigners are claiming that the arguments for fracking are ‘toppling like dominoes’ after the government appeared to backtrack not once, but twice …

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Can’t grow, won’t grow

Zero growth

While politicians and “Westminster Village” journalists trumpet the latest headline employment figures, the UK economy continues its post-2008 slump.  We know this because within the Office for National Statistics (ONS) employment report is this incongruous fact: “For August 2017 in real terms (constant 2015 prices) average regular pay (excluding bonuses) …

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The difference between “can” and “can”

Manned space flight

According to the green energy enthusiasts, we are well on the way to a world powered by renewables energy and an end to concerns about climate change.  Unfortunately, a more sober examination of the data produced by the International Energy Agency tells us that, in fact, new renewables (solar, wind, …

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IMF highlights serious banking risks

IMF bank weakness warning

The International Monetary Fund’s latest Global Financial Stability Report October 2017 has raised concerns about the profitability of nine “Global Systemically Important Banks” (i.e. the ones that are too big to fail).  Among the nine are two UK banks – Barclays and Standard Chartered – which the IMF lists as …

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Peak medicine

Antibiotic Resistance

One of the central themes of The Consciousness of Sheep is that systems fail at their weakest point.  When they do, there is often a cascading knock-on effect in which things that had been taken for granted suddenly become impossible.  For example, during the UK fuel crisis in September 2000, …

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A cautionary Brexit tale

A cautionary tale about Brexit

Everything seems to be going wrong for Britain’s Tory government since the loss of the Brexit referendum and the resignation of David Cameron.  The coronation of Theresa May was supposed to usher in a new era of strength and stability.  Instead it has brought vacillation and U-turns, a disastrous general …

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