Sunday, April 03, 2016

Ponters Dominical Pensées

National/Regional Politics: It's reported that Sr Feijoo will stay on as President of the Galician regional government and decline the offer cited here yesterday to head up the Ortega Foundation. So, it's to be politics over pasta, Genova over geldt, and Madrid over mammon. Who'd have thought it? Not me, for sure.

Health Systems: Which country has the best? Well, the WHO says it's France, with Italy at number 2. Spain comes in at a creditable number 7, while the UK's 'envy of the world' NHS ranks 18th and the USA's system is a lowly 37th. The place you really don't want to find yourself sick in is Cameroon.

Selfies: When is a selfie not a selfie? I ask this because the foto of the Brit posing with last week's high-jacker has been universally labelled as such, when in fact it was taken by one of the air hostesses. So, it's actually a foto. What's the point of inventing a new word if it's not going to be used properly? The said Brit – by the way – has been called everything from courageous wit to pathetic buffoon. I go with the former.

Good Galician News: For most of us, anyway. There are now 700 wolves in 90 packs in the region and they're to be found in 98% of our territory. I wondered what had been happening to the dogs abandoned in the forest behind my house.

Skinny Ponters: My friend Elena and I agreed yesterday that thinness is virtually a religion here. Though it has to be said that - "while I'm no racist" – it's hard not to notice that nearly all of the gypsies from each of our 3 settlements are gravitationally challenged. Sometimes hugely so. Is it something genetic or, being poor, do they eat the wrong food?

Ponters Parking: Our popular, third-term mayor continues with his campaign to get parked cars off the city's streets and into the municipal carparks or underground garages. As with every large or small re-development project, our Barcelos Square has now been denuded of places to park. Great for pedestrians, of course, but tough on drivers. Which I very rarely am in the city. A driver, I mean. Not tough on them.

Finally . . . UK energy prices are extraordinarily high. This leader from today's Times will help those readers suffering from them to understand why:-

The high cost of a high moral tone

The sun may have long since set on the British Empire, but our liberal-left intelligentsia still thinks that it rules the moral high ground. With its creed of unilateralism, the left fondly imagines that where Britain leads, the world must surely follow. In the past week the folly of unilateralism has been manifest on such topics as climate change, protection­ism and nuclear disarmament.

As our columnist Dominic Lawson argues today, one important cause of the long-term collapse of the British steel industry beyond the dumping of cheap Chinese steel is the arti­fi­cially high prices charged for our energy. In the eight years since Ed Miliband’s Climate Change Act became law,
Britain has endured some of the highest energy prices in the world: twice as high as other Europeans and four times as high as our American competitors. The aim was to reduce UK carbon emissions by 80%, in line with the Kyoto target. Few if any other countries have emulated our onerous green taxes, forcing commercial and domestic users to subsidise the crippling cost of renewables.

The result of this unilateral pursuit of a ­quixotic vision of global solidarity was predict­able: energy-intensive industries such as steel became unviable. By the time the Tata company tired of pouring good money after bad, tens of thousands of jobs had already been exported to Holland, Germany and other ­supposedly green rivals. We have decided to export jobs, not manufactured goods, with no gain to the world in reduced CO 2 emissions.

Tory ministers have continued the high-cost energy policy of their Labour and Liberal Democrat predecessors. No doubt the business secretary Sajid Javid , obliged to face the wrath of Port Talbot after his hasty return from ­Australia, will have inwardly cursed the prime minister’s penchant for appeasing green ­lobbies at the expense of workers.

Yet Mr Javid was no more true to his free market principles when he promised new ­tariffs to protect British steel. Protectionism is perhaps the oldest form of unilateralism and its embrace by Donald Trump shows that its appeal extends beyond the left. Yet the idea that one nation can cut itself off from global markets with impunity is as much a delusion today as it was in 1817 when an English economist, David Ricardo, demonstrated the superi­ority of free trade over unilateral tariffs with his theory of comparative advantage.

The most familiar form of unilateralism — the left’s love of one-sided nuclear disarmament — is Jeremy Corbyn’s signature pol­icy. As world leaders gathered in Washing­ton to dis­cuss nuclear terrorism and rogue states, Mr Corbyn and his fellow zealots (such as Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP) had nothing to say. They persist in believing that unilateral aban­don­ment of our nuclear deterrent would some­how inspire the likes of North Korea to follow suit.

Whether the arena is climate change, trade or nuclear arms, unilateralism appeals to the narcissistic fantasy that others will follow our example, however foolish. Like the White Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass, the unilateralist left likes to believe six impossible things before breakfast. We will leave them to it — unless we want the likes of Kim Jong-un to have us for lunch.

I was going to give you a foto of my granddaughter laughing but, instead, here's a video of a truly lucky bugger:-


Sierra said...

Think the old saying can be updated to "There are lies, damn lies, and energy price comparisons".

Perry said...


Chuka Umunna.

Sajid Javid.

The Jewish Chronicle reported Javid as stating that "if he had to leave Britain to live in the Middle East, then he would choose Israel as home. Only there, he said, would his children feel the “warm embrace of freedom and liberty”.

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