Sunday, November 24, 2013

Did they not see it coming?

The wassail in Warsaw ended yesterday.  As TS Eliot might have said:

This is the way the sea owe pea ends

This is the way the sea owe pea ends

This is the way the sea owe pea ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

As the thousands jetted their way home, they must have wondered how this came to pass.  The rich had issued a clarion call – “Wake up! We face doom! We face destruction! The seas are arising, the storms are worsening, the globe will soon fry! We must stop this pollution. Sea owe two is bad for me and you.” The poor heard this nonsense, and pointed their fingers. “If that is true, it must be YOU! Now PAY!”

In vain did the rich argue “But it is a global problem.  We are all in this together.” They even cobbled together a  meaningless phrase, “common but differentiated responsibility”, to try to justify their claim that, while they had emitted great gobs of sea owe two, the poor must share the burden of trying to cut the world’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Now they are landed with costs for which they hadn’t budgeted. Douglas Carswell, Tory MP for Clacton, summed it up:

We’re spending money that we don’t have to solve a problem that doesn’t exist at the behest of people we didn’t elect.”

What I have difficulty in understanding is how supposedly sentient politicians didn’t think, when they signed up to the global warming boondoggle, that because they had contributed most to the perceived problem, they would be asked to contribute most to the putative solution. Were they blind, blind drunk, or merely blinded by what they saw as a lifetime opportunity to claim that they were about to save the world?

Now the flights of fantasy are coming home. Reality is beginning to bite, and the teeth are sharp indeed. If sea owe two is a pollutant, then everyone pollutes with every passing breath. So of course it is not a pollutant, unless the word is to be redefined in some as yet mysterious way. 

Meanwhile the global warming hypothesis is looking decidedly tatty. The world steadfastly refuses to warm in the face of ever-growing sea owe two. The plants are doing just fine, the deserts are greening, and flimsy homes are collapsing under the onslaught of strong winds just as they have always done.

In the latest emanation from the Eye Pea Sea Sea, many scientists tried to warn the politicians that much of the observable warming was natural.  Would they listen?  Of course not!  They spun the message to say they were being told that sea owe two was the dominant cause of global warming.

In days gone by, rulers would shoot the messengers of bad news. Now they put a spin on the message, and hope that it will go away.  In this case, it won’t. Did they really not see it coming?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sweet mystery of Life!

I recently found myself gazing at some plaques commemorating the dead from the First World War. There were four plaques side by side, in white marble with incised black lettering, and gold edging. I glanced idly at the names, nearly all from families still familiar in the town.  

Then I was struck by something that was at first beyond comprehension - only two-thirds of the first plaque held the names of those killed in action. The remainder of that plaque, and the whole of the other three, held the names of those who had died of disease while on active service. Five times as many had died from illness as had died from wounds. 

There is a thesis that our present way of life is somehow unhealthy.  We are damaging our environment, destroying the very basis of life, if the doomsayers are to be believed. Yet less than a century ago, people were dying from diseases that today we regard as perfectly curable.  Those able to afford the privileges of clean air, clean water, clean food and prompt medical services that our cities provide, can confidently expect to live more than the biblical three-score-and-ten. They are not exposed to the microbes that caused such havoc only a few generations ago.

That is not to say that life is not tenuous.  By any measure, we ultimately depend on six inches of topsoil and a few inches of rain. But we have managed to improve the topsoil, and find ways of bringing water where rain is low.  The quantity of food available to us is growing faster than the population, and the rate of growth of population is slowing. So more and more people are able to look forward to a full lifespan.

This should be cause for great happiness.  Yet many agree (and in this case I am one of the many) that there is a remarkable level of unhappiness in our world.  People are discontented, and seem unfulfilled, even when their lives are apparently filled with a richness that their grandparents could only dream about.  

What do people feel is missing from their lives? I wish I knew the answer to this conundrum. Some complain of boredom, the sameness of each new day - yet they regularly go off on holidays that must surely break the very monotony of which they complain.  Some express deep envy, that they are not as rich as their neighbours, or perceive themselves to be at a disadvantage, in spite of the fact that their lives are visibly improving daily.  Some have wealth beyond my wildest dreams, yet have totally dysfunctional families that no riches can assuage.

I am being driven to concur with Abraham Lincoln - "People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be."