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Everything posted by Malachy

  1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/oct/13/bonnie-greer-bnp-question-time
  2. I love the fact that on that site, the first two quotes (by the same person) are: Hmm, is it just me or is there a contradiction there?
  3. What Councillor Duncan is forgetting - predictably - is that the council don't get any real say in whether this project goes ahead. The Scottish government does. So a vote wouldn't mean anything. The council has to decide whether to support or object to the proposal, but their decision has to be based on an analysis of the arguments, not on numbers for and against. The government won't take that into account. They are looking for reasons not numbers. Perhaps he means that there should be a referendum and, if it goes against VE, the charitable trust could then try and halt the project. But that just exposes what a muddle and a conflict of interest we have with councillors also being trustees. I suspect they've taken it too far for a referendum now.
  4. I didn't say I think they will, I said I think they should.
  5. I'd like you to specify exactly what fossil fuel burning VE will replace. I wasn't aware that it was a replacement for anything, it's additional energy for the grid to cover rising demand. As far as I'm aware they haven't said that any power stations are going to close down have they? Our one is being replaced, but they have to do that anyway. And that will continue to run as it does now, but it will simply export its power through the interconnector. So no replacement will take place. Your post, particularly your dismissive attitude towards Shetland's landscape, exposes how little interest you actually have in the environment. It seems your concern is only in maintaining your own standard of living. That is why you are such a fanatical VE supporter - more energy, more energy. It is no different an attitude to those people chopping down the Amazon and growing biofuels to put in cars. It is disgusting. The only way of really, truly reducing energy (not simply adding to it) is by actually closing power stations. If the government set out a timetable for power station closure, you would immediately see a massive rush by scientists to deal with the reality of energy reduction. they would very quickly start to find solutions, including, I believe, ways of producing energy without destroying the very same environment we're meant to be protecting. At the moment there is no incentive. What you're proposing is just the status quo but with some renwable energy added in. And that's exactly what the government is proposing. There are no power station closures planned. Power stations are being replaced as they come to the end of their life. Windmills are simply allowing people to use even more energy that they don't need. That is not even a false solution. It is a big, ugly lie. As i've said many times already, you and I have a similar analysis of the planet's future prospects. But whereas I believe that we have to face up to the enormity of the crisis by committing to real actions - ie closing power stations - you seem to be under the illusion that building windmills will somehow suck CO2 out of the atmosphere. It is unbelivable naivety.
  6. Er, peat is not considered a renewable energy source. No more so than coal. Burning it would be the worst thing they could do.
  7. Turin Brakes are on at the Legion this coming Sunday. And I think it's sold out, or just about anyway. So no problem with the day itself. Unless folk are still asleep on the sofa 48 hours after Xmas dinner you should probably get an audience.
  8. I suspect, given that he's entirely unused to debating publicly with anyone who disagrees with him, he's likely to have some problems. It's a good move by the BBC. Extreme parties like the BNP gain voters partly because they never have to expose themselves to the constant scrutiny that the main parties face. A labour politician, for instance, finds that there are journalists working flat out to spot inconsistencies in what he is saying, or flaws in his argument, or any other slip ups. They also have to deal with regular, aggressive interviews, in which the interviewer is desparately trying to catch them out. The BNP have only had a small taste of that treatment so far. Put on a big stage they will quickly discover how easy it is to fall over. Particularly when you're talking b ollocks.
  9. This is a positive idea in a lot of ways, but such a system requires people to be extremely well informed on each issue if they are to make wise choices. So how do you ensure that people are well informed? Currently people gain their information from a wide variety of media sources, most of which are corporate bodies, representing their own and their advertisers interests. 10 million people gain their news from The Sun. Can those people be said to be well-informed? I doubt it. The only way direct politics can work is if you have a completely reliable, completely independent media providing people with unbiased information. That is, unfortunately, impossible.
  10. This is an argument always wheeled out by the 'keep em out' brigade. It's fine for us to say that people should stay in the first safe country they reach, because that's never going to be Britain, unless they somehow manage to circumnavigate the European continent in a canoe in order to reach us. By using this argument you're essentially saying we don't want anyone. If you're talking about asylum, Britain has to share responsibility along with all other European states for taking people in. If you read the tabloids here you'd imagine that no other country gets immigrants but it's nonsense. France, Germany, Scandinavia, they all get large numbers of asylum seekers and economic migrants. And Britain is hardly a soft touch either - asylum seekers can't work so they have to live in poverty while they wait, potentially years, for a decision. It's no wonder people break the law. There are a large number of people who want to come to Britain, but it's not because we're a soft touch, nor is it because we're seen as some kind of Eden. This country has spent the past century going round the world teaching people to speak English. We still spend large amounts of money, via the British Council and the World Service, doing exactly that. So we should hardly be surprised when people desire to come to a country whose language they can speak, or at least have some basic knowledge of. If I had to flee Britain and I could speak German, I wouldn't stop in France.
  11. Ah, I see what you mean. Maybe just this then: However it was not until 1818 that voting was first recorded
  12. Can I be pedantic and question your opening sentence please? I don't like the first clause at all. It would probably be more correct if you changed it to 'Parliamentary politics began...' (politics has existed in Shetland in one form or another for a lot longer than 300 years, so you're not saying exactly what you want to say here). Also, 'the first case of voting was recorded' makes voting sound a bit like a disease. At the very least it makes it sound like an unplanned, spontaneous event, which I presume it wasn't. So how about this for a first sentence: Shetland's first representative in the British parliament was was Sir Alexander Douglas, who was co-opted as the MP for Orkney & Shetland in 1707. However it was not until 1818 that the first votes were cast in the islands.
  13. There is an active Restorative Justice programme in Shetland, run through Community Mediation, and I think that meeting with victims of crime can be a part of that process.
  14. In some cases he did a great job, but compare his version of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down to the original by The Band, and you wonder why he bothered. It just doesn't work. One song that I'd have expected to come up already, but I suppose not many folk listen to it anymore- Joe Cocker's version of With a Little Help From My Friends is far, far better than the Beatles' original.
  15. Perhaps for the first time I find myself in agreement with you Styles. Community service is presumably compulsory, so cold, wind and rain seem a bit irrelevant - you have to turn up. I'd be surprised if they choose prison over a bit of rain. There's lots of jobs that could be done by people on community service - it's a much better option all round than prison: it costs less and gives some benefit to the community.
  16. I am merely folowing on from the 'logic' of Styles comment on immigrants.
  17. Ok, well then I say that birth is the number one cause of crime in Shetland. If criminals hadn't been born then there would be no crime. Or even oxygen - criminals thrive on that I hear. There, job done. Birth and oxygen are the two biggest causes of crime, followed by immigration. Get rid of those and Shetland will be free from crime.
  18. But as someone has already pointed out, immigration itself isn't a very convincing cause of crime. Some immigrants do commit crimes, but they don't do it because they're immigrants or just because they're foreign. Saying 'immigration' causes crime is like saying 'foreignness' causes crime. Of the crimes I've seen mentioned in the paper where the accused is of Eastern European origin (to use your example) most of them are traffic offences (seatbelts and drink driving) which could be put down to cultural differences. And most of the rest are drunken violence, which could be put down to drink. So to say 'immigration' is to miss the point really, or to treat one group of people differently from the rest.
  19. The list covers all the usual stuff (though putting immigration on it is really just asking for trouble). But surely the root connecting cause is to do with the general breakdown of 'society' as a functioning body. The bonds and connections between people are gradually eroded with the rampant individualism of consumer capitalism. Once you have a society that encourages self-interest over community interest then increasing crime is inevitable because the gratification of the individual becomes paramount. Increasing drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, and several others on the list can also be directly linked to this cause.
  20. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/jul/31/wind-farm-technology-green-environmentalists
  21. To clarify my point, SAT are evaluating carbon payback in exactly the same way that VE have done (except they have not removed embarrassing figures). But you are claiming that they should have used different methods, taking into account climate change, which they cannot quantify because it is still happening. So what you are suggesting is that if the windfarm goes ahead climate change will be stopped, and if it doesn't it won't. That's ludicrous.
  22. This is a bizarre perspective. You are writing as though if the windfarm is built climate change will be ceased. That doesn't make sense. You really do seem to believe that it will inevitably reduce carbon emmissions no matter how many it produces. That is so crazy a perspective as to be utterly invalid. And your criticism of the report misses the blindingly obvious fact that it is written as a response to VE's EIA. It is written with planning regulations in mind. They could not submit a report to the government with some uncertain future situation in mind - planning considerations must focus on the current situation. If they did what you are suggesting their report would be ignored, as it is it will be taken seriously. When this debate began I had a great deal of respect for your perspective, but that has changed. You are happy to ignore anything that counters your views, and your blind faith in the honesty of VE directors and in the intrinsic value of wind energy is quite astonishing. Your posts could now be summed up as: "I'd rather shoot myself in the face than give up my gun".
  23. I find this a very peculiar post indeed AT. Unless you have entirely ignored everything I've ever written on the subject, you will be aware that I share your pessimistic view of global warming. The collapse of civilisation and mass death seems to me a not unlikely scenario. But the wording of your post suggests that you believe the windfarm will be inherently good for the environment, regardless of the amount of Co2 produced in its construction and in its destruction of the peat. That seems to me more than illogical - it is a completely crazy point of view. In fact, the worst case scenario is not the least likely one. The best case scenario is equally unlikely. The reality will lie somewhere in between. But if the Amenity Trust are correct, and VE have written a deliberately misleading EIA, which dramatically underestimates the risks and overstates the positive elements of the project, then I would feel very uneasy about anyone taking the EIA at face value. Particularly as it was compiled by people who stand to make massive financial gains if it is accepted. The trust's report is quite clear in where the flaws lie, and the worst case scenario is not something that should just be ignored because it's not likely to happen. You must bear in mind the risks before beginning such a massive project, and if there is a risk that a windfarm scheduled to last 25 years could take over 600 years to pay back the carbon it will release then that seems to me a pretty massive risk, and it is hardly surprising that the Amenity Trust, whose job it is to help protect Shetland's environment, have officially objected.
  24. I hope you all had a good read of the Amenity Trust report - I thought it was excellent, and exposed some shocking flaws in VE's Environmental Impact Assessment. A worst case scenario of more than 600 years for carbon payback just shows how shaky the environmental arguments for the windfarm actually are.
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