Conservative manifesto

After watching Monday nights Panorama about the growing effect that alcohol is having on all our lives. In the UK nearly 9,000 people are dying from alcohol-related diseases every year, three times the number 25 years ago. The UK is one of the heaviest alcohol-consuming countries in Europe. I searched for what the Conservative manifesto said about alcohol. It said that the Conservatives would “raise taxes on those drinks linked to anti-social drinking”. Does that mean the cheap alcohol sold in supermarkets? I haven’t noticed any of these taxes, despite the Chancellor of the Exchequer desperate for more cash. Is it another case of, like with News of the World, being a the pockets of the drinks industry – I think so. Not that New Labour were any different. When our politicians get millions in the form of donations to fund the political partys, the politicians will sing to their tune.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Before the last election David Cameron said he would “crackdown on supermarkets and other stores selling alcohol at below-cost”. But we are still waiting, despite the treasury in great need of more funds. Last week a group of 19 top doctors and academics urged the Government to take “bold action” and follow the lead of Scotland by bringing in minimum prices for drinks. And again the Prime Minister promised to “take action”. We have people drinking to such excess at Christmas that the police and the, struggling ambulance service, finds it difficult to cope. David Cameron needs to decide if it prefers more taxation on alcohol, or a minimum price. Perhaps an increase in tax on retail, affecting supermarkets and off-licenses and a minimum price in bars and pubs. The former meaning more tax for the exchequer and the later helping pubs and by allowing them to set higher prices whilst keeping the profits. Alcohol-related deaths have risen by 40 per cent in 10 years, lets get merry this Christmas, but not too merry.

Morley Queen of Shopping?

After reading an article in the Morley Observer  (16th November), I was disappointed that a planning application being heard at Bristol, for Ladbrokes to place one of its betting shops at the front entrance of Morley market had been passed. But there still hope. A private member’s bill by Joan Rudduck MP for Lewisham Deptford, had its first reading on 19th July 2011. The bill would require local planning authorities to assess demand for betting shops when considering applications for premises in that planning use class and place a cap on the number of betting shops for which planning permission may be granted in any area. Mary Portas (Mary Queen of Shops) who is leading an independent review into the future of the high street supports Joan Ruddocks private members bill, she has said that in the planning rules, betting shops should be in a separate class of their own. Joan Ruddocks bill is expected to have its second reading debate on 20th January 2012. Perhaps our local MP, Ed Balls can help the local campaign, support the private members bill and then if it is passed; inform local people of the next stage in the appeal process.

Mary Portas also said that “Government should consider whether business rates can better support small businesses and independent retailers.” Instead of having much higher business rates for the small High Street retailer, when compared to the favourable rates of out of town superstores; perhaps that advantage could be taken away from the big stores

Redundancy

Katherine Kerswell, who joined Kent County Council 18 months ago, is one of 1,500 staff to lose their jobs as part of the council’s spending cuts. Her severance package, because she is leaving after only 18 months amounts to £400,000. An employee must have two years’ service with his or her current employer to be entitled to any payment whatsoever for redundancy. You guessed right, she is not a cleaner or a home help; she is the ex-managing director.

The Hottest Years On Record

 The Hottest Years On Record

Met Office Hadley Centre

Rank

Year

NOAA National Climatic Data Centre

Rank

Year

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Rank

Year

1

1998

1

2010

1

2010

2

2010

1

2005

1

2005

3

2005

3

1998

3

2007

4

2003

4

2003

4

2009

5

2002

5

2002

5

2002

6

2009

6

2006

6

1998

7

2004

7

2009

7

2006

8

2006

8

2007

8

2003

9

2007

9

2004

9

2004

10

2001

10

2001

10

2001

 

In October the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii published its CO2 data for 2010. It showed that our massive increasing population and their compulsion to devour the earths resources, is making the atmosphere richer in Carbon.

Some people are well aware of the implications of this, but many ignore the realities of climate change. It was telling that when the news was released, many news organisations, including the BBC, sited that CO2 had risen to “record levels since pre-industrial time”. A clearer way to explain the rising levels of CO2 would have been to say that CO2 was at its highest concentration for 650,000 years. Why is reporting of climate change so poor? Forecasts of a “Siberian freeze” that never happens get front page headlines in the Daily Express, yet a continued increase in CO2 and record global temperatures in 2010 doesn’t even make the front page.

Charles Keeling has been tracking CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere, at the summit of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, since 1958. He and others have also used proxy measurements of tree rings, ice cores, boron and carbon isotope ratios to estimate the CO2 and climate going back millions of years. So if the CO2 measured in Mauna Loa since 1958 is rising year on year, why are temperatures not rising every year.

Some climate “contrarians” have suggested that global warming stopped in 1998. In reality, nothing is further from the truth because global temperatures have continued to rise steadily, decade by decade. It’s not important whether 2010, 2005 or 1998 was the hottest year on record. It is the underlying trend that is important. The evidence of this is the continued melting of the very high mountain glaciers, high mountain glaciers are devoid of weather, so they are a real measure of climate.

From the Rocky Mountain glaciers in the USA to the Alps and the Pyrenees mountain ranges in Europe, their glaciers are continuing to melt, even when the climate records show a period of cooler global temperatures. The level of the worlds oceans, as recorded by NASA, are still getting higher. So when the news media report of cooler global temperatures, they are clearly in error.

Across the country, belief in man-made global warming, and passion about doing something to arrest climate change, is not what it was five years or so ago. However, there is progress; in Australia the Government has just passed a carbon tax bill that will see a price on carbon emissions as the law of the land. Australia has spent more than a decade debating the issue and years of bitter debate and division. Ironically, it was probably weather was the deciding factor, not climate. In 2009, the Black Saturday bushfires erupted after a period of record hot and dry weather resulting in the loss of over 210 lives and the destruction of 1830 homes. What will it take to wake up the politicians and the people in the United Kingdom to the perils of climate change?

 http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2010/12/climate_change

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