Anthony J Sargeant loves this fluid lithograph
Anthony J Sargeant loves this fluid lithograph
Anthony Sargeant has a question: Has anybody calculated the environmental cost of mining the metals and manufacturing the massive (and limited lifetime) heavy batteries that power electric vehicles?
Then add in the fact that transporting the batteries imposes an energy cost and the electricity has to be generated somewhere, somehow.
Then there are large energy losses along the length of any grid system of distribution – essentially the further you go from the generator the greater the loss.
It is just a question and I am curious to know the answer since we were told only a few years ago by the environmental lobby to buy diesel vehicles apparently on the basis of incomplete information.
Is there any such thing as a free lunch?
We are seeing the end of democracy when ‘the mob’ think they are entitled to overturn the result of a general election or a referendum. But the mob should be careful what they wish for – the alternative is government by dictators and historical examples in the last century – Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Tito, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini etc. – are not so very appealing. First the mob drives out a democratically elected government or an existing tyranny, but then a new tyrant arises who murders those who might oppose him (including members of ‘the mob’)
Some weeks ago Anthony Sargeant said that, “if I were Theresa May I would have a general election now” – prescient or just logical?
Now once again let me say that …. “If I was Theresa May …”. I would include in the Tory manifesto a cast-iron promise to hold a Scottish Referendum on some specified date – possibly in 2018 or 2019.
In a corner of his Shropshire Garden, Anthony Sargeant photographed this clump of Grape Hyacinths clustered above an old stone boundary wall. (Easter Saturday – April 15th 2017) it was a fine spring day with cool breezes freshening the mind. The garden is punctuated with many bright spots of colour with Forget-me-nots and late daffodils as well as early tulips.
A comment by Anthony Sargeant:
In 2015 the EU commission headed by Jean-Claude Junker and as part the highly protective and subsidised Common Agricultural Policy removed milk quotas across the EU. The message to dairy farmers across Europe was “expand”.
As a result Dutch Farmers increased their herd size by 200,000 in just two years and invested in more high-tech automated milking systems. But please note, this was not for Dutch or even European consumption but primarily for export to other, especially third world developing, countries (The Netherlands exports something like 80% of its agricultural produce).
Given the nature of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) this vast over-production might look like ‘dumping’ of produce on the developing world. Such dumping destroys local production and farmers in the third world who are unable to compete. There is a view that this is immoral.
But now the farcical but tragic EU dysfunction. Two years after encouraging farmers to increase production the European Commission is saying that the cows are a problem. Cows produce muck which is normally spread on the land and which in moderation is not a problem, but in excess it contaminates the land and water sources in the form of phosphates and nitrates. As a consequence the EU commission is now compelling Dutch farmers to slaughter 200,000 cows (yes you are right that is the number they encouraged the Dutch to increase their herd size by just two years ago) with immediate effect. The consequence is a tragedy for those Dutch farmers who invested millions of Euros in expanding herds and installing expensive milking systems. Now those very same farmers are being encouraged to slaughter their cattle and leave the industry with financial incentives so to do.
If you want to see a summary of this example of EU dysfunction look at BBC 1 Countryfile for the 9th April on Catch-up.
Thus Anthony Sargeant reflects that ….. if I were Theresa May ….. I would have the courage to call an early general election with a manifesto pledge to leave the EU with immediate effect. I have no doubt that she would achieve an impressive victory, if only because British people do not take kindly to bullying and threats.
The consequence of immediate withdrawal would probably be very positive for the UK given the precarious position of the EU and Euro economies (Greece is yet again on the brink – desperately trying to find an agreement with its creditors – aka the European Central Bank – aka Germany) – but Portugal, Italy, Spain and others are not much better off – even if hidden from view. In many EU countries there is massive youth unemployment rising above 30%.
On leaving the EU the UK can immediately open negotiations with the rest of world on such free trade deals as seem beneficial (even, dare one say, deals with the EU – which as a net exporter to the UK might quickly think this is a good idea). In the meantime WTO rules and their tariffs are not as significant to exporters as fluctuations in exchange rates as James Dyson has pointed out.
But trade is not the real point – the real point is British Sovereignty. That is having control of our own destiny. As Karl Popper famously observed, the point of western democracy is not that you necessarily get the government that you want, doing what you want, but that at the next election you can get rid of them – unfortunately this is not true of the un-elected EU politburo in Brussels.
Who, for example, voted for Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the European Commission? A former Luxembourg Prime Minister who in that role and in a little known secretive EU committee vetoed any attempt to limit cross-border tax avoidance. Then you might ask why are Amazon and other multi-national companies located in the tiny principality of Luxembourg? to the benefit of guess who? Jean-Claude Juncker and Luxembourg (which has the second highest GDP per capita in the world after that other well known democracy Abu Dhabi). A position that at the very least might be considered hypocritical and at another level verging on corrupt.
But anyway and in addition to controlling our own destiny the UK would no longer be a cash cow sending money to Brussels to support a political project which is out of date and frankly, after 60 years, out of time. A political project which is now, in all but name, a German controlled European Superstate – the Holy Roman Empire revisited (which was the 1st Reich for those who know the numbering system of the 3rd Reich – NB the Weimar Republic was classified as an ‘interim Reich’ so it did not count).
And then finally Scotland – …… if I were Theresa May ….. I would also put into the manifesto a pledge to have an immediate referendum on Independence. It would be the honourable thing to do.
A referendum would give the Scottish people a chance to review the situation and make their own decision about the future. One understands the emotional and sentimental appeal of Independence for a proud nation. A nation which it could be argued has made a disproportionately large contribution to the historic Union. Without Scottish engineers, philosophers, artists, writers and others the United Kingdom would have been a much poorer nation.
In addition there has been the contribution of Scotland to the UK military over many years and many wars. In my lifetime the ‘United Kingdom’ stood alone and thereby rescued Europe from German tyranny and genocide, but only after massive sacrifice of UK military and the civilian populations (including my maternal grandparents killed in the London Blitz). Who can forget the Scottish piper at El Alamein, or on the beach on D-Day?
So, ……if I were Theresa May ….. , I would commit to a very early referendum on Independence for the Scottish people. They deserve no less. If they choose to leave the historic Union and become an independent country one would wish them all speed and so very many thanks for their massive contribution to the United Kingdom over many years of the Union. Of course, and in passing, one would hope that they would not then vote to lose the independence they chose by becoming a minor province of a dysfunctional European Superstate controlled by Berlin through Brussels – a 4th Reich in all but name.