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Can we reboot Britain?

Some of my readers who read my August post, Nobody could have seen it coming, will have gone on to revisit the 2004 BBC docudrama, If… the lights go out.  Those who made it to the end, will have noticed something odd and unexplained… how, exactly, did everything go back …

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Welcome to the oil death spiral

There is something deeply tragic about watching people who would be dead within a fortnight without oil nevertheless calling for oil – and fossil fuels more broadly – to be banned immediately.  It is possible, of course, that these people believe that food grows inside supermarkets or that the chemicals …

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Since when did banks produce energy?

It takes a special kind of cynical self-interest to make people pay twice for something they already cannot afford, while claiming you are doing them a favour.  This though, is the energy price relief package announced by Liz Truss yesterday.  The package plays that old political card of being not …

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Net zero is dead – so what now?

There is a deep irony that Europe’s wind turbine factories were among the first to close in the face of our growing energy crisis.  Nevertheless, it goes a long way to demonstrating the fundamental flaw in the net zero project – while the harvested energy of the wind may be …

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Nobody could have seen it coming

Eighteen months ago, the UK average annual combined gas and electricity bill was £1,287.  Later this week, we expect to learn that it will rise to £3,582 in October and to £4,266 in January 2023.  Not, in reality, that anybody is going to pay that amount.  All but those at …

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Green technocracy’s dirty secret

Germany is in trouble.  The IMF has revised its projected growth figures down to just 1.2 percent for 2022.  Even this may prove to be optimistic now that gas imports from Russia have dropped to just 20 percent of what was anticipated prior to the EU sanctions.  With autumn approaching, …

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The complexity trap

Let’s talk about “value.”  Value, at its simplest, is merely the consequences of acting upon the world in a manner which “improves” (some might say despoils) some part of it.  If, for example, someone takes a pile of timber, a saw and some glue and nails, and then turns it …

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A story about bridges, progress, and hidden complexity

There is a story, attributed to Richard Buckminster Fuller, which uses the development of bridges as an example of technological progress.  The story begins with two groups of humans separated by a large ravine.  They can shout across to each other, and they soon come to understand each other’s language.  …

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Reality bites

Neoliberalism’s greatest success is about to be revealed as its greatest weakness.  In the 1970s – the previous inflation that the central bank generals are trying to fight – the perceived threat came from over-powerful trade unions and a too-protective welfare safety net, which together, the neoliberals argued, had driven …

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Days of reckoning

Here’s something which will likely be universally unpopular:  The government shouldn’t do anything to subsidise energy prices.  I say this in the face of a £700 or so increase on annual bills announced today.  And this is just the beginning, because, as Nils Pratley at the Guardian points out, when …

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