"It really is a wolf," said Peter.

Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’
Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice. Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.
And now it’s global COOLING! Record return of Arctic ice cap as it grows by 60% in a year
·         Almost a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than in 2012
·         BBC reported in 2007 global warming would leave Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013
·         Publication of UN climate change report suggesting global warming caused by humans pushed back to later this month

Of course, lest we forget, our planet has two poles and Antarctic ice is increasing. But, putting things in real perspective:
You have to chuckle … or maybe scream a bit.
Something everyone really needs to realise when reading ‘science’ reports and studying graphs. How much of a tilt there is on any line on the graph – how severe it looks – is utterly dependent on the numbers used and their spacing up the sides or along the bottom or top.

A Letter To My MP About E-cigarettes

Dear Sir,
A number of months back my wife was diagnosed with a serious complaint that requires major surgery and, this tending to focus one on matters of health, we both decided it was time to give up smoking. However, having made numerous attempts in the past and simply failing, we weren’t optimistic.
Some friends, who had given up a few years before, handed over their stash of NRT including patches, gum, microtabs, inhalators and some electronic cigarettes. All of these worked to some degree but the e-cig was the most effective, even though the ones we had were a few years old and malfunctioning. We then, to our surprise, found them for sale in Tesco and bought a Vapestick each. These, with their ‘cartomizers’ and more modern design were even better. Better still, thereafter, was an e-cig with a small glass tank that can take various flavours of e-liquid. It was the moment I started using one of these that I had an epiphany, realising that I would never ever again smoke a cigarette.
Incidentally, since I’m a known SF writer (ask David Davis) who also blogs a lot, this has led to six of my fans finally taking the plunge and giving up smoking using the same method.
It is now the case that even if I cannot give up ‘vaping’ my chances of dying from all those smoking-related maladies have just dropped through the floor. These devices are massively harm-reducing. Ignore all this mealy-mouthed nonsense that starts with ‘but we don’t know enough’. We know that a ‘vaper’ breathes in nicotine, a vaporising substance found in asthma inhalers, and water. Nicotine is certainly addictive, but is no more harmful than caffeine. Yes, some further supposedly harmful substances have been found, but no more than are found in conventional NRT – trace amounts – and of course the merest fraction of a per cent of two or three of the thousands of chemicals and 60 or so known carcinogens in real cigarettes.  
So, imagine my surprise and horror to learn that there are people who want to ban these devices, and that bans have in fact already been introduced on some trains and in some pub chains. Imagine how annoying it is for me to discover that legislation is being introduced, much to the delight of drug and cigarette companies, that will kill innovation in this new industry, make these devices difficult to sell, impose limits on the strength and flavours of e-liquids and, in essence will drive many ‘vapers’ back to smoking; many of the 1.3 million people now using e-cigs in Britain today.
This is madness. This reveals that activists at the likes of ASH are more concerned with activism itself rather than the purported reason for it. This reveals that such is the hatred of anti-smokers that they would rather people died than use something that looks like a cigarette.  This leads to complete Twilight Zone situations like one recently, when an NHS quit-smoking manager was complaining about a lack clients, because they were using e-cigs.
Now, as my MP, what are you going to do about this? Here is something you can get behind that will actually save lives.

Yours Sincerely,
Neal Asher

Ban It!

Something I’d been thinking about, and considering writing a blog post about, was nicely summed up by Rich Daniels on Facebook:
Anti-smoking activists remind me more and more of the AGW crowd. They have a principled goal of saving lives/the planet. They posit a solution, don’t smoke/don’t emit so much CO2. Then some smart arse comes along and solves these problems in such a way as to give them their solutions without really altering our lives, and they fucking hate it. We are doing what they demanded without doing what they told us. The seething must be awful to behold.
So so true. Fracking has drastically reduced America’s CO2 levels:
The reduction is even more impressive when one considers that 57 million additional energy consumers were added to the U.S. population over the past two decades. Indeed, U.S. carbon emissions have dropped about 20 per cent per capita, and are now at their lowest level since Dwight D. Eisenhower left the White House in 1961.

Yet activists don’t want us to do that here. We have to build windmills and pay double or treble for the energy. We must ready ourselves for power cuts every time the wind stops blowing. WE MUST DO WITHOUT.
Next we come to the e-cigarette. Here is a device that in just a few years has taken 1.3 million people partially or completely off cigarettes in Britain. This is something that the ban on smoking in public places completely failed to do, as will the cutting of cigarette displays or the proposed introduction of plain packaging. Yet e-cigs must be legislated against and if possible banned. They must be stopped! No matter that they are saving lives. Ban them. No matter that they are no more harmful than a cup of coffee. Ban them!
Why is that? I submit that it is due to the puritan and punitive instincts of many ‘activists’ who are no better than proselytizing religious zealots. In a transition to a green renewable energy culture the hair shirts must be distributed, to be worn over bodies already self-flagellated by sustainable birch twigs. You must go without cars, beef steaks and must sit shivering in your house squinting at the latest Greenpeace pamphlet in the light of a low-energy bulb, if the power is on. If you’re a stinky smoker then how dare you find a way to avoid all the dangerous aspects of smoking and still enjoy its pleasures! You must suffer all the torments of withdrawal, or become a medicated patient of the NHS and suffer the humiliation of quit-smoking classes for your instruction, and only then, when suitably chastened, are you fit to join the company of your betters.

Cigarette Sales Down (because of e-cigs)

Despite the best efforts of many anti-smoking groups, cigarette sales were down 600 million units in the first quarter of 2013. Why? Because electronic cigarettes competed successfully with tobacco cigarettes and drove their sales down.
Utter madness of the anti-smokers: they would rather people died than found a viable alternative to smoking, because it looks like smoking. Incidentally today I’ve been off the roll-ups an on an e-cig for one month.


The more I find out the more I’m coming to the conclusion that e-cigs are a game changer. As it was the situation was that the anti-smokers and ‘health professionals’, or ‘useful idiots’ as they are sometimes called, kept calling for further controlling legislation on smoking to which nanny government happily agreed, while it was also happy to have the excuse that ‘it’s for your own good’ to keep raising the taxes on cigarettes and tobacco. Meanwhile their buddies in Big Pharma were happy to screw large profits from smokers with expensive NRT and, this being a corporatist society, government was happy to open up the tax coffers to them via the NHS. It was all very comfortable and tidy and to the profit of governments and the drug companies. Smokers of course were being screwed, but such filthy creatures of course don’t matter. Other tax payers were also being screwed (consider how much NHS NRT costs) but so what, that’s what they’re there for.

Then e-cigs arrive on the scene being produced by lots of small companies. These companies are all in competition with each other and, as a result, prices of e-cigs are steadily tumbling. But they’re also in competition with conventional NRT and Big Pharma doesn’t like that at all. It therefore goes to its buddies in government and does what big companies always do in our corporatist society: calls for more legislation, more rules, more red tape. You see, big companies can afford to employ people to deal with all that crap and the more of it there is the more the little guy gets squeezed out; the easier it is to kill truly capitalist competition. However, I rather suspect that with the arrival of the £1 e-cig they haven’t moved fast enough. The cat is out of the bag, the game has changed.

One upshot of all this is that we’ll clearly see just how much of the rules, regulations and taxes that have been loaded on smoking are really ‘for your own good’ – are really about concern for the health of smokers. If activists from the likes of ASH are pushing for them to be banned then that will show you that it’s not the negative health aspects of smoking they hate, but simply smokers and smoking. It will also demonstrate that like most people running such organizations they’re righteous pricks who are addicted to bansturbating. If government pushes for them to be banned it’s then all about the money: they’re seeing revenue streams being threatened, they’re under pressure from their Big Pharma buddies and the kick-backs and jobs for the boys might dry up etc. What weare seeing is an attempt to legislate e-cigs out of existence and, if that doesn’t work, I’ve no doubt that government will find some excuse to load them with massive taxes. Doubtless there will be studies along the lines of the second-hand smoke farrago clearly demonstrating that e-cigs are dangerous.  

A Bit Crabby

The thing about Crete is that an Englishman as young as me having a house there is a rarity. There are very few ways an expat can earn a decent living there. Yeah, there are a few that pursue the dream of owning and running a bar but they’re turned over by the Greeks like landlords here in England. And yes there are occasional successes like a couple I know running some accommodation on the coast. But mostly those that can afford a place have retired, sold a house in England and made the move to live on a pension. Most of them are, therefore, knocking on or well past the door marked ‘60’. The other thing about Crete is that unless you are the kind of person that does stuff, ennui sets in, and that hole is filled with things like drink and cigarettes. Combine these two factors and you’ll understand why people all around you have heart conditions, emphysema, stagger along and gaze in terror at steep slopes while wheezing and coughing. It is, at about this point, that they start thinking about maybe giving up smoking and easing off on the booze.
Over the last couple of years I’ve developed a smoker’s cough and have been using Aerolin inhalers too much. However, I can still swim for half a mile or so every day, still cycle for miles and feel I haven’t quite reached the point of no return. I am, therefore, going to attempt to give up smoking.
Prepare yourselves for some right crabby posts here. And I’ll start with noting that if there hadn’t been so many statist prick ‘health professionals’ telling me how I should live, or the campaign of disinformation on passive smoking, or the constant denormalization of smokers by those attempting a bit of social engineering, I might well have made more attempts to give up over the last few years.

Mrs T.

Martin Durkin’s excellent documentary last night perfectly outlined my thoughts on the dangerous subject that is Margaret Thatcher. You can see it here on the Channel 4 catch-up site.

Many years ago when I received my first poll tax bill I of course did not like it at all. It was only in retrospect that I realised that there it was in black and white: this is how much your council, your police, your fire service … are charging to provide their services and here’s the bill. The knee-jerk reaction to this was to protest because of course it was all the fault of the evil Tories. I didn’t go to any protests because, unlike most of those throwing chunks of paving slab at council offices, I had a job to do. It was a stark reality check. The Poll Tax never went away and was just made more unfair by being rebranded Council Tax and then aimed at a target that couldn’t duck it: the home owner. No subsequent Labour government removed it. In reality it was as unfair as any tax to fund state-run organisations because you have no choice; all taxes are demanded with menaces. Which brings me to the 1970s.
A lot has already been written about how things were back then: just about everything state-run and inefficient, unions demanding ridiculous wage rises and striking at the drop of a hat, 33% and 83% income tax rates, rubbish piling up in the streets, endless blackouts, dead bodies going unburied and stacking up to the extent that one city even considered burial at sea, trains running a damned sight more erratically than they do now. However, one small thing can illustrate it better for people now: you didn’t even own your own telephone. We had the British disease; we were Cuba without the sunshine. Britain, prior to 1979, was under the dead hand of the state. And the British were sick of it, which is why Thatcher got in, three times, with majorities that today’s parties can only dream about.
So, Margaret Thatcher started closing down our industries and putting people out of work. She destroyed our country yada yada. Well, no, what she did was stop us having to subsidize moribund, unionized, inefficient, pretend industries that simply could not compete in the real world. We were living in the illusory world of twenty people building a crap car while hurtling towards us was the reality of one person and a series of robots building a good one. And yes, that did hurt and did put people out of work. However, that was because previous governments had been doing just what many governments are doing now with the financial crisis: kicking the can down the road. Reality was going to bite; it was just a question of when.
Margaret Thatcher destroyed our coal mining industry … except it was the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson (managing to restrain himself from kicking that can) who closed three times as many pits as her, but that was okay, because Wilson was Labour, and a man. Never let it be forgotten that the coal miner’s strike was firstly illegal because Scargill couldn’t get enough miners to vote for it, and was secondly an attack by Scargill, and other left-wing apparatchiks, on the Thatcher government. It was about who ruled the country: an elected government that won three landslide victories, or the unions. That man used the miners as cannon fodder and, when it was over, it wasn’t him on benefits, oh no, he just toddled back to his 1.5 million mansion.
Anyway … the interesting thing that Durkin documentary highlighted was that Margaret Thatcher fought the establishment, both Labour and Tory, on behalf of the working class. The Tory ‘wets’ didn’t want the working class to have social mobility because, well, shudder, they didn’t want the plebs having the wealth to move in the same rarefied strata as them. Equally, Labour didn’t want social mobility because shit, if the oiks toss away their flat caps, buy white vans or mobile phones and start making money, where’s the sense of grievance and the client-base that gets Labour elected? The very idea of these people buying their own homes or buying shares in companies was anathema. In fact the unions told their members not to buy shares, and were ignored. Both parties had and still have their total snobs. You can see this attitude reflected in the term ‘yuppies’ and in Harry Enfield’s Loadsamoney character – this is the awful sort of thing that happens when oiks and plebs dare to rise above their station. Shudder.
In the end, of course, the dead hand of the state came back with Blair, Brown and the EU while, damn it, I would prefer to see people working in industries rather than as clients of the state – meaning either uselessly employed by it or on benefits – but how do you get round that? How do we get full employment in an increasingly mechanised world? A world which, in their way, the Luddites were right to fear? That’s a post for another time perhaps.        

Get Fracking!

Boris Johnson is here speaking some sense about fracking.

The extraction process alone would generate tens of thousands of jobs in parts of the country that desperately need them. And above all, the burning of gas to generate electricity is much, much cleaner – and produces less CO2 – than burning coal. What, as they say, is not to like?
I do love his view of the eco-doomsters:
In their mad denunciations of fracking, the Greens and the eco-warriors betray the mindset of people who cannot bear a piece of unadulterated good news. Beware this new technology, they wail. Do not tamper with the corsets of Gaia! Don’t probe her loamy undergarments with so much as a finger — or else the goddess of the earth will erupt with seismic revenge. Dig out this shale gas, they warn, and our water will be poisoned and our children will be stunted and our cattle will be victims of terrible intestinal explosions.

Minimum Pricing on Alcohol

So, Cameron is a nannying statist who wants to stick a minimum price on alcohol per unit. What on Earth is he thinking? Does he think that this will result in fewer pavement pizzas and fat slags crying in the gutter on a Saturday night? Does he think there’ll be less violence on the streets after chucking out time on a Friday and less chaos in A & E over the weekend? If he does think that then he’s an idiot because the people responsible for that drink in bars where the price is already way above his damned 45p a unit.
Does he think that £2 on the price for a bottle of vodka is going to stop an alcoholic buying it? Does he think that ‘problem drinkers’ are going to alter their life styles because their weekly booze bill has gone up by ten or twenty quid? Well, maybe they will, maybe they won’t be getting the latest X-box, flat screen TV or maybe their kids will start outgrowing their clothes because, you can be damned sure that habitual drinkers will sacrifice other spending rather than the habit. Does he think that banning supermarket deals on wine, like three for a tenner or three for the price of two is going to do any more than piss off people who drink at home and cause no trouble at all?
Does he not realize that black marketeers – the same ones most smokers buy their tobacco from now – will be rubbing their hands together in glee? Has he, with his wonderful Eton education, not heard of Prohibition? Or was he too hung over after a night out getting pissed and trashing restaurants with the Bullingdon club to take that particular lesson in?
Really, it’s about time Cameron found his natural home in the Labour Party. There’s a place for him there, since that party doesn’t have a leader. Not that he’s much of a leader but I’m sure they could always find room for another advertising executive.  

And at the BBC…

I guess the fact that they were put through the mangle over cutting that program about Jimmy Saville led program makers to feel they had carte blanche on the next target. The complete lack of judgement kicked in as soon as they heard the words ‘Thatcher’ and ‘Tory’. All this was of course exacerbated by a complete lack of sensible oversight. Yeah, George Entwistle needed to resign because quite obviously he wasn’t worth his huge salary. But next a sharp knife is needed to cut out some of the diseased wood. It’s easy enough to spot – just check on who regularly buys the Guardian. No, strike that, it’s probably paid for out of our licence fee and then distributed free in Broadcasting House.
Oh, and I’m seeing twitters about how this is distracting from the child abuse. Do these people think that being accused of paedophilia isn’t abuse too?