Well as normal as it can be. After the euphoria of the trip down under, we can now look forward to the steadily colder weather, more rain, colds and general miserableness.
The clocks going back this weekend won’t help either, with it getting dark at 4.30pm and decreasing. That is about the most depressing thing that happens at this time of the year. No doubt someone in the House of Commons will raise the GMT/Winter Time argument again, with those North of the border moaning again that if the clocks didn’t change at the end of October, Scottish farmers and school children would still be in the dark at 9.15am. Well Alec Salmond wants Scotland to be independent, here’s a chance to show statesmanship and insist the clocks go back at the winter equinox whereas the rest of the UK would go forward. That would be a start of breaking the link between Scotland and us, currently costing people in the rest of the United Kingdom millions of pounds, and that would be a lesser drain on the economy of the rest of the UK. Scots are more likely to claim disability allowance etc, according to the Financial Times, who also state that the Scotland is a net contributor to the UK exchequer. I have my doubts, I expect we’ll find out in a year or so’s time. Back to the summer time/winter time argument, during the last war in 1940 the government introduced British Double Summer Time (BDST) which extended the light evenings until 11.00pm and beyond. This was reverted back in 1945 and introduced as special measure and experiments in 1948 and the late 50s. Between 1968-1970 GMT+1 was introduced by the Labour Government as an experiment, but it was reverted after that and we have had the time changes ever since. The debate, like hanging, comes up regularly in Parliament, the last time was in November 2011 when it was filibustered (talked out of time) by a far north Scottish MP and an MP who wanted Somerset to have a 15 minute time difference from London, effectively making a mockery of the Bill. The Scottish MP argued that some people in northern Scotland would be adversely affected. Big deal, that probably means about 26 people. When ranged against the rest of the population, it pales into insignificance. Personally I’d prefer lighter evenings, but there is a lobby that says darker mornings create more road accidents and therefore more casualties. With the time shift in people’s working days, I doubt whether this still applies, so the juries still out.
It was very sad to see the bush fires in New South Wales, Australia, especially in places like Katoomba which has been heavily featured on the news over the last day or so. To think we were only recently in Katoomba, sightseeing the Three Sisters and the Blue Mountains (see Sydney and The Blue Mountains) and enjoying all the hospitality and friendliness of the Australians. To see them now fighting fires and eating smoke is disheartening and my thoughts are with all those in the area who are affected. It’s a lovely part of the country and it is a real shame to see the devastation being caused by fire. Let’s hope they can halt the spread and reduce the amount of damage caused and the homes destroyed.
Energy prices going up again! Quelle Suprise! It had to happen of course, and we’re all affected. The government and the energy companies talk about ‘consumers’. Strange way of describing the whole country, because unless you are homeless and living on the street, everyone has to pay for heat and light: it’s a given. They call us consumers as if they mean someone else who might be paying for all this. Someone has to, and someone has to supply the energy, and as is usual in these scenarios, the Green Brigade get up on their high horse about the provision of energy. They don’t want nuclear, coal or seemingly any fossil fuel driven energy production, instead they want us to envelope ‘alternative’ energy, i.e. wind, wave and tidal energy. Future projections about this form of ‘constant’ energy show that we’d need to cover a county the size of Hampshire with windmills to get even 10% of our energy needs, and as for wave power, forget it: there just isn’t enough coastline to provide the space for wave generators. So the argument comes back again as to what is the best, but most practical, and conversely most waste producing energy, and that is nuclear. Granted, the actual production is totally clean, with no output, noxious fumes or pollution coming out of chimneys, but the downside is the waste product from nuclear power has a half-life, whatever that means, of thousands of years, and remains dangerously radioactive in that time. So the Greens have it: you can’t have nuclear power because of all that nasty radioactive waste. The renewable energy lobby hasn’t got a hope, so where does that leave us? Up the proverbial without the proverbial, because without a major energy producer the others will be like spitting in the wind to make up the shortfall. That doesn’t even take in to account the supply of gas, which could be strangled by the eastern European states particularly Russia who control a majority of the supply. The gas will run out sometime, but hang on a minute, haven’t we got 50-100 years worth of gas that can be fracked? Oh I forgot there is another lobby, mainly Nimbys who don’t want any fracking near them thank you. Get Real! The gas WILL run out, there IS loads under the ground that can be extracted. What part of: ‘Gas will run out’ don’t they understand? I would always appreciate a healthy debate about these matters. Until next time….