John McDonnell accusation that Grenfell fire victims were murdered examined

At Glastonbury (which people think to be a music festival) John McDonnell MP, the shadow chancellor, and closet Marxist made the accusation that the victims of the Grenfell fire were murdered. Guido Fawkes has a video recording here. He repeated these allegations in videoed interview with the NME, a publication when I was at school stood for New Musical Express. He tried to justify the comments when asked about the comments by Andrew Marr. All three are reproduced in an appendix.

From McDonnell’s perspective, any causes of the fire that can be determined by an inquiry conducted experts in their fields objectively assessing the evidence, are superficial. But before the evidence has been evaluated, the ultimate causes are the wrong decisions of political opponents, particularly the Tories, but also within the former mainstream of the Labour Party. McDonnell and his fellow travelers know the true interests of the people and can point to instances in the past where they have stated these ultimate causes, and have not been listened to. The fact that these anointed people have not been listened to is not only a failure of democracy, but the resulting in deaths are murder.

But look at it from a different perspective.

As Andrew Marr pointed out, the legal definition of murder, (the killing of a human being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought – see below) does not embrace acts of indirect killing. At most such unintended killings a lesser form of manslaughter. This does not change by pointing out a long tradition of its use, any more than racial theories are valid through centuries of use.

The BBC corroborates that long tradition.

It was in the 19th Century that philosopher Friedrich Engels sought to prove that society commits “social murder” in his book Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844.
When society places hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death… When it deprives thousands of the necessaries of life… forces them, through the strong arm of the law, to remain in such conditions until that death ensues… its deed is murder,” he wrote of Victorian England.
Engels went on to found Marxist theory with fellow German philosopher, Karl Marx.

Such thinking was developed into a conspiracy theory. When society does not progress towards a socialist utopia, as the forces of history dictate, it must be due to the collective and secretive actions of the capitalist class who would lose out. “Social murder” has benefits for those perpetuating those actions. Under Stalin, when the collectivization of agriculture failed to progress towards the socialist utopia, it was due to a conspiracy by the kulaks. In a famine, this gave justification for closing the grain supplies off to these peasant farmers and feeding the cities. Similarly, when factories failed to meet arbitrary targets, it must have been due to managers sabotaging production for the capitalist enemy. Simply being “outed” by another was sufficient evidence to being shot after torture and a show trial.
English Common Law long ago developed the concept of trial by jury. Charges must be clearly stated and substantiated by evidence. The prosecution must convince a jury of the accused’s peers beyond reasonable doubt. The accused have the right to rebut any allegations. The judge overseas proceeding to make sure established rules and procedures are adhered to. It recognizes that no matter how good a case might appear to be, it might be fundamentally flawed. By approaching the issue an alternative perspective, what appears to be a convincing case might not be so watertight, or could completely unravel. Of course, by allowing the defendant to speak, it might work the other way. A defense based on outright lies and contradictions will serve to convince a jury of the prosecution’s accusations. In so doing, the aim is for the decision of the court to be the truth.
The development of the British concepts of “fair play” and “a level playing field” emerged alongside those developments in criminal trial by jury. However, a new word entered the Oxford English Dictionary last month, which indicates that trend has now sharply reversed.

Post-truth

Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

The objective facts of the Grenfell fire can only be established by careful examination of the evidence by competent persons. In assessing those facts, real lessons can be learned, not only to prevent such a horror occurring but possible for people in social housing to be served better. What John McDonnell has achieved in his pronouncements, based on his blinkered prejudices, is to derive conclusions based on empty opinions and anger. As a result, any objective assessment that might show that non-Tory politicians share in the blame will be drowned out, along with the lessons about the limits of political competency.

Kevin Marshall

Appendix – John McDonnell’s Claims

McDonnell at Glastonbury 25th June 2017

Is democracy working? It didn’t work if you were a family living on the 20th floor of Grenfell Tower. Those families, those individuals, 79 so far and there will be more, were murdered by political decisions taken over recent decades. The decision not to build homes and to view housing as only for financial speculation rather than meeting a basic human need murdered those families. The decision to close fire stations and to cut 10,000 fire fighters and then to freeze their pay for over a decade. They were political decisions.

McDonnell Interview with NME – Grenfell Tower from 5.35

My Transcript, without editing.

We’re all angry. We’re all angry.

We are angry because we know the causes of that fire. You know, we know what we know that that the physical causes might have been a fridge that burst on fire, the cladding was wrong or .. that will come out at the inquiry, but I think we know roughly that what those causes are. But the real causes are decisions made by successive Tory Governments in particular. Who basically refused to build homes, in London in particular. And then housing then being used not for housing need but for speculative gain. And as a result you get people crammed into unsafe tower blocks and as a result people lose their lives. It’s a scandal, an absolute scandal.

We, we’ve campaigned over the years, for house building, council house building and investment in the housing program. Jeremy and I have been campaigning on that for nearly thirty years. In addition to that we have been campaigning for thirty years for safety. We were both members, in fact we set up the Fires Brigade Union Parliamentary Group that as far back as…. One speech I dug out was 2004 when I was calling for sprinklers as part of safety measures. So what we have said is when we go back into Government, first of all we will start building homes again. We have promised a million new homes. Half of them will be council houses. And that we tackle some of the housing crisis that we have got. Secondly we will ensure that we invest in our public services and that does to me making sure that homes are safe. Last year Labour put up an amendment to legislation which said that landlords should have a legal responsibility to make sure that their homes are fit for human habitation. That was voted down by Conservative MPs, 75 of whom were landlords. Absolutely disgraceful. So when we go back in we’ll build homes and make them safe.

McDonnell on Andrew Marr Show 17th July 2017 Grenfell from 10:35

Unedited Transcript

AM Do you regret saying that the people who died in the Grenfell tower were killed by political murder?

JMcD No I don’t regret that. I was extremely angry with what went on and I am a West London MP.  This site is not far from … Political decisions were made which resulted in the deaths of these people. That’s a scandal.

AM But murder means a specific thing. Murder means a volition to actually kill another human being – intentional killing.

JMcD There is a long history in this country of concept of social murder where decisions are made with no regard to the consequences of that, and as a result of that people have suffered. That whats happened here and I am angry about that.

AM Do you regard it as murder?

JMcD I believe that social murder has occurred in this instance and I believe that people should be held accountable for that.

AM So who are the murderers?

JMcD I think that it has being a consequence of political decisions over the years that have not addressed the housing crisis that we have had. That have cut back on local government, so proper inspections have not been made. Cut back 11,000 firefighters jobs been cut as well. Even the investment in aerial ladders and things like that in our country.

Appendix – definitions

manslaughter
http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=1209

  1. the unlawful killing of another person without premeditation or so-called “malice aforethought” (an evil intent prior to the killing). It is distinguished from murder (which brings greater penalties) by lack of any prior intention to kill anyone or create a deadly situation.

murder
http://dictionary.law.com/default.aspx?selected=1303

  1. the killing of a human being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought (prior intention to kill the particular victim or anyone who gets in the way) and with no legal excuse or authority.

Will Jeremy Corbyn change his Shoot to Kill Policy?

Last night three Islamic terrorists first used a van to mow down pedestrians on London Bridge, then went on a stabbing rampage that left even are dead and 48 injured At least one of the cowardly attackers was wearing a fake suicide vest, no doubt to deter anybody trying to defend the innocent. This will be the likely reason why eight police officers discharged a total of 50 rounds to ensure the terrorists were dead. Terrible as this attack was, it was very small scale to the Paris attacks of Friday 13th November 2015 that left 130 dead and hundreds wounded. This was the response of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn to those attacks in an interview with Laura Kussenberg

LK : If we saw the kind of horror in Paris here if you were Prime Minister would you order security services onto the streets to stop being killed.

JC : Of course you bring people onto to the streets to stop people being killed, to prevent and ensure there is safety within our society, but its much better that it is done by the Police than security services, but it is much better we have strong and effective community policing; neighbourhood policing; and a cohesive society that brings people together. Obviously that is essential so that is one of the messages that I will be putting to the Prime Minister.

LK : But if you were Prime Minister would you be happy to order people – police or military – to shoot to kill on Britain’s streets?

JC : Err, I would , I am not happy with a shoot to kill policy in general. I think that is quite a dangerous – and I think it can often be counterproductive. I think that you have to have security that prevents people firing off weapons where you can. There are various degrees of doing things as we know. But the idea that you end up with a war on the streets is not a good thing. Surely you have to work to try to prevent these things happening. That’s got to be the priority.

So when terrorists are rampaging on the streets, killing and maiming people, Prime Minister Corbyn will be unhappy for police officers to shot them dead to protect the innocents. With that policy, I am sure the lives of the terrorists could have been saved last night. But not before they had killed and injured quite a few more. So potential jihadists will know that if they do launch a terror attack, it will not necessarily be a suicide mission, and they will be able to bag a few more infidels before being overpowered by community police officers.

By the same line of thinking, if horror of horrors, negotiations failed in a nuclear war, and an aggressor unleashed its missiles against us, Prime Minister Corbyn would be unhappy launching a retaliatory strike. In doing so he would no doubt save millions of lives in aggressor country. Knowing Prime Minister Corbyn’s pacifism and dithering, would be aggressors will be emboldened to flex their muscles.

But it gets worse. This is what the Guardian wrote about Jeremy Corbyn in 1996.

Every few years, the London Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn indulges his romantic support for Irish republicans by using his parliamentary privileges to give them a publicity platform. These occasions always also provide a showcase for Mr Corbyn’s abiding qualities: his lack of wider political and moral judgment, his predilection for gesture politics, his insensitivity to the feelings of most Londoners and his indifference to the policies of his party… Mr Corbyn’s actions do not advance the cause of peace in Northern Ireland and are not seriously intended to do so. It is surprising that a politician as clever and important as the Sinn Fein leader should be bothered with him. Grown-up people ought to keep this childish sideshow in perspective. Mr Corbyn is a fool, and a fool whom the Labour Party would probably be better off without.

When dealing with the problems of Northern Ireland, Jeremy Corbyn spoke to Sinn Fein. In so doing the political wing of a terrorist organisation were able to gain ground at the expense of the peaceful Social Democratic and Labour Party. Similarly he called the terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah friends, helping them to legitimacy at the expense of more moderate and peaceful representatives of the Palestinian people. The people who should be most afraid of a Prime Minister Corbyn are those in the Muslim Community who want to live peacefully in a free country. This I believe is the vast majority of the Muslim community. Corbyn is drawn to the noisy and ideological types, who hate liberal democracy for something more akin to Saudi Arabia. Another group are who should be afraid are members of the LGBT community, given what Islamic ideology has to say about homosexuality. The Jewish community are clearly afraid. Whilst a few years ago a majority supported Labour, around 13% do so now.

One of the wonderful things about our liberal democracy is that people have a secret ballot. The vote is between them and their conscience. Jeremy Corbyn is well-meaning, but is a dangerous fool. He should not be trusted with the highest office in the Mother of all Parliaments by anyone who believes in diversity and freedom to practice ones own beliefs.

Update 

Whilst I was writing this, Jeremy Corbyn announced that he now supports a shoot-to-kill policy. But the first action as Prime Minister will be to commission a report on the changing nature of the terrorist threat. He views the ways of making a more effective police force is more numbers and higher pay. Nothing about improving the quality of service, and stopping unnecessary bureaucratic hindrance. There is also nothing about listening to those with mainstream democratic views in preference to the anti-democratic extremists. Corbyn then quickly changes the subject.

Kevin Marshall

Labour Manifesto is misleading the British Public

Today Ed Miliband formally launched the Labour Election Manifesto 2015. See the summary at the BBC.

David Cameron has called it a con trick. (Hattip Conservative Home)

This con trick claim can be substantiated by reading the Manifesto. Here are a few snippets.

 

The Economy

On the Economy, Labour realize they have an uphill struggle. A couple of examples

We will cut the deficit every year with a surplus on the current budget..”

The current budget deficit is the difference between tax revenue and current spending. To get the total deficit you need to add in (what used to be called) capital expenditure.

Remember Gordon Brown’s Golden Rule of only borrowing to invest?

Ed Miliband will return Britain to the days of 2001-2008, when Labour built a structural deficit of £50-£70bn. It is this reason that there is still a huge deficit, not the credit crunch. Labour still do not understand the public sector capital investment does not provide financial returns. New roads, schools and hospitals are not constructed to generate revenue like in a business but to provide social returns. Properly spent, overall welfare is increased, despite capital spending creating additional financial burdens in terms of staffing and maintenance.

There is not a single policy in this manifesto that is funded by additional borrowing.

This is grossly misleading. Labour are committed to at least maintaining current spending levels. When there is a deficit that means new additional borrowing is required, adding to the total debt. What Labour mean is that additional spending will be funded by additional taxes.

 

Discouraging entrepreneurship, jobs and growth

There is a subsection headed “We will back our entrepreneurs and businesses

The measures are tiny. Instead here are a scattering of policy initiatives which will likely damage British businesses and help undermine economic growth.

  1. We will reverse the Government’s top-rate tax cut.

    British Entrepreneurs will be discouraged from investing in Britain. They will go elsewhere.

     

  2. We will abolish the non-dom rules…”

    Ed Balls in January said

    “I think if you abolish the whole (nom-dom) status then probably it ends up costing Britain money”

    There on a lot of people who rely on the non-doms for jobs. Many invest money in Britain.

     

  3. We will close tax loopholes that cost the public billions of pounds a year,”

    The tax system will become even more complex, especially for small businesses. This could reduce revenues.

     

  4. We will end unfair tax breaks used by hedge funds and others

    A major part of Britain’s exports come from the financial services sector. Labour’s antipathy to this sector threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs and may demote the City of London to a second tier financial sector.

     

  5. “We will increase the National Minimum Wage

    We will ban exploitative zero-hours contracts

    We will promote the Living Wage”

    The cost of employing people will rise. Businesses who do not toe the official line on the living wage might be unable to sell to the State Sector. Start-up businesses will be reduced and small businesses will not expand as inflexible employment laws will increase the risks of taking people on. The unemployed will become locked out of jobs. Youth unemployment will rise.

     

  6. We will freeze gas and electricity prices until 2017

    Prices have been rising because of the Climate Change Act 2008 that Ed Miliband was responsible for steering through Parliament. There is huge investment needed in new sources of electricity. That ain’t going to happen if profit rates fall. This is a policy to ensure the lights go out in a couple of winters time.

     

  7. We will introduce a fairer deal for renters

    This will be at the expense of landlords, many of whom rent as a business.

     

  8. We will expand free childcare from 15 to 25 hours per week for parents of three- and four-year-olds, paid for with an increase in the bank levy.”

    See point 4 on the City of London

I am really concerned that a Labour Government will jeopardize the prosperity of this country, and my children’s future. Rather than learning from past Labour continue to deceive themselves through spin. Rather than and admitting that they got things wrong Labour blame others.

Kevin Marshall

Feynman on Communist Science

I am currently engrossed in GENIUS: Richard Feynman and Modern Physics by James Gleick

In July 1962 Feynman went behind the Iron Curtain to attend a conference on gravitation in Warsaw. He was exasperated at the state of Soviet science. He wrote to his wife Gweneth:-

The “work” is always: (1) completely un-understandable, (2) vague and indefinite, (3) something correct that is obvious and self-evident, worked out by long and difficult analysis, and presented as an important discovery, or (4) a claim based on stupidity of the author that some obvious and correct fact, accepted and checked for years is, in fact, false (these are the worst: no argument will convince the idiot), (5) an attempt to do something, probably impossible, but certainly of no utility, which, it is finally revealed at the end, fails or (6) just plain wrong. There is a great deal of “activity in the field” these days, but this “activity” is mainly in showing that the previous “activity” of somebody else resulted in an error or in nothing useful or in something promising. (Page 353)

The failings of Government-backed science are nothing new.

Extreme Socialist-Environmentalist Ideation as Motivation for belief in “Climate Science”

Summary

Professors Lewandowsky, Oberauer & Gignac have now produced papers two internet opinion surveys. The “Hoax” paper was from a survey placement on pro-climate science blogs. The second was from a cross-section of the US population. Both claim evidence that the rejection of “climate science” is associated with extreme “free-market worldviews”. I find two opinion surveys do show a clear relationship between the agreement with “free-market” statements and disagreement with the “climate science” statements. But in US survey clearly shows that extreme views on both “free-market” and “climate science” statements are held by tiny minorities, with most occupying the middle ground. Conversely the blog survey is dominated by responses that are both pro “climate science” and anti “free-market”. There is no evidence from the papers that enlightened expert scientists and their supporters are trying to save the world from an avoidable catastrophe, but plenty of evidence that people with strong and dogmatic political beliefs are using “climate science” as a vehicle to foist those beliefs on everybody else.

 

Introduction

Professors Lewandowsky, Oberauer & Gignac have now produced two opinion surveys that, they claimed certain political views were behind rejection of “climate science”. In “NASA faked the moon landing:Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science (hereafter LOG12 (blog survey)), they say

..we find that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science.

In “The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science” (hereafter LOG13 (US survey)), they say

Free-market worldviews are an important predictor of the rejection of scientific findings that have potential regulatory implications, such as climate science, but not necessarily of other scientific issues.

I have previously looked at the other major claim of the two studies – that conspiracist ideation leads to a rejection of science. This claim I found to be false when looking at conspiracy theories unrelated to science or policy.

In examining the relationship, I first look at the “climate science” belief against aggregate “free-market” statements. This is then put in the context of number of respondents. Then I examine the evidence presented as to whether “climate science” informs political choices of its supporters, and for the contrary view.

 

Evidence for “Free-market” views and rejection of “Climate-Science”

For LOG13 (US survey) study I have plotted the distribution of belief in “climate science” against belief in “free-markets”. With five “free-market” statements and options 1 to 5, the possible scores are 5 to 25. Please note that the X axis is reversed. That is, moving from left to right increases with the rejection of free markets. This is plotted against the rounded average response to the four “climate science” questions1. This “climate science” band I have colour-coded by a traffic light system, with red for reject, amber for neutral and green for accept.

The highest scores for “free-market” statements have a preponderance of the red and pink for net reject of for “climate science”. Conversely, strong belief in “climate science” is related to anti “free-market” statements, with those with no net belief either way on climate most thickly spread over the middle ground of political opinion.

This is shown by the “climate science” acceptance ratios2 against the “free-market” scores.

The graph clearly shows that the higher the score for free markets, the greater the rejection of “climate science”. The reverse relationship is not so clear-cut. Responses with the most extreme anti “free-market” opinions are not the strongest accepters of “climate science”. Further those who are in middle on the political scale are also net neutral on the climate issue.

The LOG12 (blog survey) has one extra “free-market” statement. This I have ignored for this study. With only were only four responses to each statement the aggregate possible scores range for five statements 5 to 20. Lack of a neutral option means lack of the amber “climate science band”.

Even allowing for the absence of a neutral amber option, the proportion of respondents taking the more extreme positions on climate appears much greater. This is clarified by the climate acceptance ratios.

Compared with the US population, in the blog survey rejection of the “free-market” is a much stronger predictor of the acceptance of “climate science”. Conversely, acceptance of the “free-market” is not quite so strongly associated with rejection of “climate science”, but it is still a strong association.

 

Numbers of Respondents

In the above I have only looked at the split belief respondents for each “free-market” score. Including the number of respondents helps clarify the picture.

 

There is a normal distribution of responses on “free-market” beliefs. Over a quarter of responses were net neutral. The most frequent “climate science” band is amber, with 423 (42%) of responses. The overall climate acceptance ratio is 0.09. That is the American public are neutral on “climate science”, with “accepters” being almost exactly offset by “rejecters”. Strong belief in climate change is the preserve of a small minority. Further, although the majority of the 44 responses on climate band 5 net reject the “free-market”, 13 are net accepters and 3 are neutral. Every indication is that the American public does not view global warming a pressing problem.

So where do those who frequent “pro-climate science” blogs stand?

Compared to the US public, the vast majority of respondents on the blog survey were strongly anti-free-market and also presented a very strong belief in “climate science”. The dark green strong accepters of “climate science” form 69% of total responses, outnumbering the strong rejecters more than 10 to 1. In all the furore over the blog survey paper, there was little mention, apart from by me, that a study was published on a group of people that were a very small minority of the total responses, and accessed only from blogs that are virulently hostile to their views. But for that very reason, it becomes a very good survey of the beliefs of the most fervent supporters of “climate science”.

So which comes first for these dogmatic supporters? Is it the evidence of science that leads to the necessary political policies? Or is “climate science” just a means to subvert the democratic process, and impose extreme political or pseudo-religious beliefs?

 

Does
Climate Science
lead or follow Political belief?

If belief in the projected harm of rising greenhouse gas levels, the policy used to combat that issue would be closely derived from it, and tailored to it. Much in the same way that cancer treatments are closely tailored to the needs of the patient, taking into account both the effectiveness and harms of the treatment. If it is the other way round, then there will be leaps of faith, and biases all over the place.

The evidence of the two papers, and the writings of lead author Stephen Lewandowsky, show the authors to be upholding political beliefs as the driver of belief in science. Examples include

  1. The LOG12 (blog survey) paper fails to reference any overwhelming scientific evidence in favour of the catastrophic global warming hypothesis. The evidence is that the vast majority of climate scientists believe in trivial propositions. There is no evidence presented of belief in extreme versions of “climate change” by the experts. Nor is there evidence that climate scientists” are free of the normal motivations for studying a subject. That is belief in the value of the subject.
  2. The use of the term “climate denial” suggests that, for the authors, “the catastrophic global warming hypothesis” is not a normal scientific hypothesis capable of falsification by the evidence, but a self-evident truth. Thus anybody who disagrees must do so from some errant thought processes. By implication, a “free-market worldview” is also based on a set of errant beliefs.
  3. The language of the LOG13 (US survey) suggests a bias. This quote from the introduction

    People who embrace a laissez-faire vision of the free market are …… than people with an egalitarian-communitarian outlook.

    The normal term for people with a “laissez-faire vision” is “libertarian”, with the antonym being “authoritarian”. The author’s outlook is more socialist and environmentalist. The authors avoid using more meaningful terms, as that would create prejudice against their conclusions.

  4. Failure to recognise bias in the questions. Three of the five “free-market” questions contrast with an “environmentalist” alternative. Therefore, it should be no surprise that a conclusion is reached that people with a libertarian outlook “are less likely to accept that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet than people with” socialist- environmentalist views.
  5. Failure to acknowledge that the rejection of “climate science” on political grounds could be because no distinction is made in the public domain between science and policy. People who question policy, whether of wind farms or rising costs of energy, are accused of science denial. Further, the LOG12 (blog survey) shows that the strongest supporters of “climate science” believe the association.
  6. Failure to acknowledge that the language of “climate science” is similar to the language of politics, as opposed to the language of hard sciences or engineering. Particularly when some of the short-term prophesies have been contradicted, we get mealy-mouthed excuses and ex-poste justifications. Mike Haseler’s recent survey of opinions from sceptic blogs found

    ..that most of the 5,000 respondents were experienced engineers, scientists and IT professionals, most degree-qualified and around a third with post-graduate qualifications.

    People used to precise measurements and judging success by results will think “climate scientists” talk rubbish. On the other hand, mainstream politicians will understand it.

The overwhelming evidence for catastrophic climate change, the analysis of policy effectiveness and the guidelines for effective policy implementation are totally lacking.

 

Final Comments

What is clear from the US survey is that those with extreme belief in both climate science and socialist-environmentalist views are very few. Further, the studies present no evidence that the “scientific” views are anything more than something that those with extreme left beliefs have arrogated to push their dogmatic opinions. Yet climate mitigation means essentially removing individual freedom on certain lifestyles and democratic choice from energy policy, placing it in the hands of people with extremist and intolerant beliefs. It is not just people who oppose “climate change” who will be no longer have their opinions represented, but (in the case of the USA) the vast majority of the population.

I have found these results by various trying different hypotheses, along with comparing and contrasting between the two surveys. I have only shown my results graphically. The statistical significance of the conclusions can be calculated by others. The key relationship is in the blog survey, for the 955 responses that express overall support for the climate science statements (score 11 to 16). Magnitude of disagreement with the “free-market statements” is a strong predictor of magnitude of support for the “climate science”.

There is also a need for evaluations of the surveys by professional opinion pollsters and occupational psychologists, with experience of setting opinion surveys.

All first time comments are moderated. Please use the comments as a point of contact. I will not publish approaches in this way. All email addresses are treated as confidential. The opinions expressed are my own, and I have received no funding for this work.

Kevin Marshall

 Note – “Out of Office” until 11th Aug

Notes

  1. Climate Science Bands

    In the LOG13 questionnaire there were 5 options, from 1 for “strongly disagree” to 5 for “strongly agree”. For each respondent, the “Climate Science Band” is obtained by the rounding the average of the questions to the nearest whole number. These bands are traffic light coded as below.


    LOG12 (blog survey) did not have a neutral option, hence there is no amber.

     

  2. Acceptance Ratio

    There are two issues with using the average responses. First is that a negative response is a positive number. Second is that LOG12 had only four possible responses for each question, whereas LOG13 had five with the addition of a middle neutral, option. The Acceptance Ratio converts the responses as follows.


    Please note, that the calculation of the acceptance ratio is calculated from average responses to all the “climate change” questions and not on the average of the “Climate change bands.

     

  3. The five “Free-market” statements

    FMUnresBest     An economic system based on free markets unrestrained by government interference automatically works best to meet human needs.

    FMLimitSocial     The free market system may be efficient for resource allocation but it is limited in its capacity to promote social justice. (R)

    FMMoreImp     The preservation of the free market system is more important than localized environmental concerns.

    FMThreatEnv     Free and unregulated markets pose important threats to sustainable development. (R)

    FMUnsustain     The free market system is likely to promote unsustainable consumption. (R)

     

     

 

Lewandowsky – Climate Scientists should be listened to because they are wrong

Stephen Lewandowsky has another couple of papers out. From e! Science News

Scientific uncertainty has been described as a ‘monster’ that prevents understanding and delays mitigative action in response to climate change. New research by Professor Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Bristol, and international colleagues, shows that uncertainty should make us more rather than less concerned about climate change. In two companion papers, published today in Climatic Change, the researchers investigated the mathematics of uncertainty in the climate system and showed that increased scientific uncertainty necessitates even greater action to mitigate climate change.

The scientists used an ordinal approach — a range of mathematical methods that address the question: ‘What would the consequences be if uncertainty is even greater than we think it is?’

And

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, Chair in Cognitive Psychology and member of the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol, said: “We can understand the implications of uncertainty, and in the case of the climate system, it is very clear that greater uncertainty will make things even worse. This means that we can never say that there is too much uncertainty for us to act. If you appeal to uncertainty to make a policy decision the legitimate conclusion is to increase the urgency of mitigation.”

Co-author, Dr James Risbey of Australia’s CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, said: “Some point to uncertainty as a way to minimize the climate change problem, when in fact it means that the problem is more likely to be worse than expected in the absence of that uncertainty. This result is robust to a range of assumptions and shows that uncertainty does not excuse inaction.”

If we assume that catastrophic climate change is a fundamental truth, the authors are right. The task of climate science is to reveal that truth to the world. If that truth cannot be accurately accessed, then the consequences of unmitigated climate change will be greater than if they could be. But if there is no fundamental truth to be revealed then all what you have is a number of dogmatic people who cannot accept that their theories are not backed by the evidence. The failure to understand the path to climate catastrophe might be due to no climate catastrophe in prospect. Persistent failures increase the likelihood that the belief in the fundamental truth of climate catastrophism is just a cult. Circumstantial evidence is in the unique methods and language of the “science”; moral certitude; failure to appreciate climate change could be a trivial problem; belief in their infallibility; reliance on belief in science, as opposed to accepting science that fails to be falsified; failure to recognize that those who disagree may also have valid viewpoint; and the denigration of anybody who asks questions as heretics deniers. Further, the solution is always the same, fitting in with an extremist socialist-environmentalist world view. There is no recognition that mitigation policies can fail. If mitigation can avert climate catastrophe it is a tautology to state that if mitigation is only practiced in a few minor emitting countries, those countries will bear all the cost of policies, and future generations will endure virtually all the consequences. The same is tautological truth applies if mitigation is practiced globally, but fails to reduce emissions.

The pay walled papers are here and here.

Kevin Marshall

Update :Jo Nova has a satirical take on the latest Lew papers.

http://joannenova.com.au/2014/04/new-lewandowsky-study-finds-uncertainty-monster-under-his-bed-will-cost-billions/

Watermelon Energy Policy – Green Renewables backed by Red Diesel

My last past was on the Fulcrum Power application to build a 20MW diesel power station. I predict that this will be part of the next big scandal to hit so-called renewables sector.

Fulcrum Power are planning to become part of the National Grid’s STOR (Short Term Operating Reserve) scheme. The STOR End of Year Report 2011/12 summary is

In 2011/12 National Grid procured on average 3230 megawatts (MW) for the six seasons, at a cost of £70.4m in availability payments. This was made up on average of 2160 MW for the Committed service and 1071 MW for the Flexible service. The actual MW availability provided through STOR during the peak demand of each day between 1st April 2011 and 31st March 2012, averaged out at 2172 MW. This represents an increase of 6.2% over the average MW availability for peak of each day during the 2010/11 term.

There were 421 successful STOR tenders in 2011/12, of which 191 units were Committed service providers and 230 units were Flexible service providers.

The average availability price for both Committed and Flexible STOR was £9.13/MW/h and the average utilisation price was £232.37/MWh. This represents an increase of 0.6% on 2010/11 average availability prices and a decrease of 7.7% on 2010/11 average utilisation prices.

National Grid utilised a total of 173.3 gigawatt hours (GWh) of STOR, yielding utilisation payments of £32.3m; and thus marks increases of 73% and 66%, respectively, when compared with the total STOR utilisation for 2010/11 and its cost.

The total expenditure for STOR during the 2011/12 term was £102.7m.

This 20MW scheme would add less than 1% to the total STOR capacity, which is currently costing just over £100m per year. Neither is this the

The STOR scheme is used at the moment in case of the emergency shut-down of a major power station. In the future I predict it is likely to be to cover two sources.

  • With increasing reliance on wind turbines, for in the sub-zero winter temperatures, caused by windless high pressure systems.
  • With the shutting down of the older generations of coal and nuclear capacity without new base-load power coming along, to provide peak time capacity on windless days.

The BBC report on the Fulcrum Power planning application stated

Two diesel power stations planned in Plymouth will compensate for fluctuations in supplies from green energy, say developers.

Green Frog Power got planning permission last year and Fulcrum Power has made an application for a similar power station.

Green Frog Power recently received financing of £75m to build 200MW of standby power. They must have these mini stations all over the place. They are not alone. The “STOR Market Information for TR19” report notes that in Year 7 showed that whilst the accepted STOR was around 3000MW, the rejected applications were about 6300MW. There is a huge amount of generating capacity out there of 3MW or more. However, much of this will be old diesel engines, with efficiencies far less than the coal-fired or nuclear power stations than are being shut down. The cost per kwh would also be about two or three times those of the coal-fired power stations, if used as base-load. But used as peak demand carrying load on windless days, they could be five to ten times the cost. The gas-fired power stations currently used for peak times could be switched to base load. All the extra diesel being used could hit car drivers in the wallets as well in the winter.

So the good point here is that the lights are unlikely to go out. We have plenty of temporary capacity. The bad news is that the dithering over shale gas and the banning of new coal-fired power stations could push energy costs through the roof and might even increase CO2 emissions.

James Delingpole likes to call the green movement “watermelons“. That is, they are politically green on the outside, but socialist red on the inside. In Britain, diesel not used for transport does not carry excise duties. It carries a red dye, to easily identify its illicit use in road vehicles. British energy policy is likely to become a watermelon policy – green renewables on the surface, but red diesel at the safety core.

Green Frog Power

STOR scheme description

STOR scheme documents

STOR End of Year Report 2011/12

STOR Market Information for TR19

BBC on the Fulcrum Power planning application


Jesus a Lefty-Liberal, Guardian reader? Not likely

Dizzy thinks, but wrongly, about the political leanings of Jesus. He may have a point through the modern liberal Church of England.

Dizzy’s posting on Jesus being a lefty-liberal is wide of the mark. He says

Seriously, if Jesus was alive today (a man’s who’s existence at least is not I think in dispute) he would be a Guardian reader. Yet, he would of course be pilloried for believing that he was the Son of an unprovable God, no doubt ridiculed for being a bit mad (oh the irony given the average Guardian readers hatred of prejudice towards the mentally ill), and his core beliefs about non-violence, turning the other cheek, forgiveness and the like would be dismissed out of hand.

I realise this is the second post in as many days where the subject of faith has come up, but honestly, I just don’t comprehend the sheer hypocrisy of those on the so-called “Liberal Left” when they display so much hatred for a faith that is essentially in keeping with their values, all, so it seems because of the bit about God.

If a kid is brought up with the liberal moral teachings of Christianity but also believes in God is it really “evil”?

Apologies for labouring the point here, but politically speaking, if you look at the New Testament, the carpenter’s son from Nazareth known as Jesus was essentially preaching a message that today would be seen as incredibly left wing. He was a little man standing up against an Imperial oppressor, he was preaching the evils of capitalism, and extolling the virtues of the weak and meek over the the rich.

Pardon my blasphemy for those that have an issue with it, but: Jesus Christ! Is it not patently absurd that Guardian readers should hate something so in line with their own beliefs just because it’s not secular?

My reply (in three sections) was as follows.

You are correct if you follow the Rowan Williams School of theology. An alternative line is to quote Jesus on the important bits. Take Matthew 23:40. After saying the two greatest commandments are love of God and love of your neighbour as yourself. Jesus says “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”. Jesus was establishing a principles-based religion. If the law conflicted with this, then it was the law that had to give. So if someone needed healing on the Sabbath, they should be healed, despite the Jewish law saying you should not work. In Matthew’s gospel, the holy men who went around proclaiming they are superior because they uphold the law better than others Jesus calls “hypocrites” and a “brood of vipers”, as they were more concerned with appearances than the substance of faith in God.

Another aspect is forgiveness of sins. Human beings are fallible, despite their best efforts. They can leave the past behind without guilt and get on with being good.

Jesus today would have strong words for New Labour. For them the solution to every problem is more laws, more complexity and wads of cash. Political appearances are more important than substance. Principles are transitory – remember the need to balance the budget over the course of the business cycle? It was first re-defined then ditched. What would he have to say of the science of climate change, with any none-believers labeled deniers (the modern-day equivalent of heretics?). Jesus would probably quote the first commandment of Moses about “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3)

In these respects, Jesus was a Pre-Hayekian, though more dogmatic, and less diplomatic in his language.

 Finally on the subject of Jesus was anything but someone who stood up to the Roman oppressors. For many Jews he was anything but the expected Messiah. They thought he would be like what Muhammad turned out a few hundred years later. A prophet-cum-military conqueror who would drive the Roman’s into the sea. In fact Jesus studiously avoided the direct conflict with the military occupation. About paying taxes he said “give to Caesar what it is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Mark 12:17)

 I realise that proper theologians will disagree with my analysis that Jesus was more a classical-liberal in the tradition of Adam Smith and Fredrich Hayek than a Socialist. But what is without doubt in the non-conformist tradition is that Jesus was against putting appearances over form, and that the Love of God and Love of one’s neighbour take precedence over religious traditions and rules. Furthermore, is the doctrine that we all sin, no matter how hard we try, but through the sacrifice of Jesus we are forgiven and can move on. This is hardly the attitudes of those politicians who claim to have all the answers, decry others are being always wrong (with ulterior motives), and never admit to their own falliability.

The Berlin Wall, the DDR and New Labour

I remember twenty years ago watching as the people of the Socialist paradise surged across Checkpoint Charlie into the bright lights of the West, as the 28 year old Berlin Wall was breached. It was but part of a process that began with the Hungarians taking down the fence, and continued with the Velvet Revolution in Wencelas Square.
The fall of the Berlin Wall may not not have been the triumph of capitalism, but it was the collapse of communism. It represented the end of the era, started in 1917, that saw the deaths of  100 million people at the hands of their own governments in the name of a false utopia. The physical wall, that seemed so impenetrable, was felled with pickaxes and chains. The political system, buttressed by a vast system of informers and secret  police, seem to crumble away even more easily. But the we share some elements of  that repressive  regime share today in this country. In the DDR

1. Everyone had to carry ID cards and constantly present them when asked.
2. A “democratic” country where parliament held no power.
3. Where the official properganda differed from reality.
4. Where every aspect of life was tightly regulated.
5. Arbitary arrest and detention.
6. Endless form filling and checking on every aspect of people’s lives. And where that form filling served as a huge hinderance, but no useful purpose outside of the bureaucratic machine.

It is worthwhile to remember that a moderate socialist party contains elements of the authoritarian left of the Soviet bloc. Their instincts are that only government solutions are the valid, and that private initiative cannot be trusted. That the individual owes everything to the state, and errant views are by definition not just wrong but dangerous.

Whilst we remember died trying to escape the suffocation and those who were persecuted for the slightest protest, it is also worth a history lesson in how the mass of people lead dreary, impoverished lives, made worse by officialdom.

 

Thanks to John Redwood, who stimulated my thoughts.