January 28, 2013

Seen on the web

A prof suggests we can expect more wet summers. The period 1960-90, when most of our flood records started, was unusually dry. We have forgotten “just how normal flooding is in the UK”, says Prof Lane. Linking heavier rainfall to global warming was wrong.

So those casual decisions to allow building on flood plains are going to look worse and worse. We'll have to expect more spending on flood works, and more home insurance problems.

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London has the worst air quality in any major European city. Up to 9% of deaths in the capital's most polluted areas are down to air pollution, much of which comes from diesel powered buses and taxis. There are over 12,000 buses in Europe running on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) but only 3 in the whole of the UK. Once again we're stumbling along behind. It's not as if we have any chance or producing any gas ourselves ... is it?

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Richard North considers an FT commentator's piece on EU membership. With or without a transatlantic free trade area, North points out, we are seeing the convergence of global trading rules, with supra-regional standard-setting which makes the EU increasingly irrelevant. Indeed, the FT's Munchau suggests that
If one is absolutely certain that one will never join the eurozone, there really is not much of a point to being a member of the EU.
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Fraser Nelson is trying to make a case that David Cameron has a consistent political philosophy, of trusting the people, while Labour places its faith in the state. Suggesting that Cameron has a political philosophy - or even any interest in acquiring one - seems a tough sell to me. It's based on his promise of an EU referendum, of course. But that was a speech he didn't want to make and didn't even write.

If Cameron's approach was to trust the people, we would be trusted with projections of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrant numbers when restrictions come off in 2013. But the coalition are desperate to keep the numbers from us - and even from local authorities who will have to cater for them. The government's claim is that they aren't sure the projections are reliable. This means they have a policy with no idea of what the outcomes might be - which is probably true. They are even resorting to advertising reminding would-be immigrants how bad our weather is. If Prof Lane is right about rain and flooding, maybe that campaign deserves to succeed.

Fraser is probably trying to cajole Cameron into a consistency of approach which might win him votes. But I think Cameron's too lazy to be interested. He prefers to skip from ad hoc to ad hoc, while the able among his ministers do the heavy lifting.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

Fraser is probably trying to cajole Cameron into a consistency of approach which might win him votes.

Consistency? Cameron? Only on gay marriage.