Friday, 30 May 2008

Energy Crisis and a possible source of renewable energy

Abdal Hakim Murad, the University Chaplain of Cambridge University today considered the rights and wrongs of nuclear energy in his Thought for The Day.

See (for the alternative and satirical version) and (for the transcript)

With the relentless rise in fuel prices likely to continue reducing us all to fuel poverty, I too felt driven to come up with a solution for the energy crisis and wonder whether there could be a way of recycling dead human beings. It is after all an apparently limitless resource. Whether it will one day find popular acceptance is another thing however!

There is in fact nothing in the Koran or any Holy Book as far as I know that forbids this practice.

Many are irrationally attached to the remains of their beloved. Bereaved mothers, shocked at the discovery that the organs of their deceased children were retained in Alder Hey Hospital, moved heaven and earth to gain possession of them, only to bury them once obtained.

"If I can't have you, no one else can either" seems to be the rather ignoble and selfish message being conveyed.

It can be seen that the burning and burying of an object of hate (such as a heretic) bears an undeniable similarity of method to the cremating of a loved one.

The Tibetan and Parsee practice of allowing vultures to consume their dead - "sky burial" - seems the most ecologically sound because it uses up very little energy and space. It is also spiritually and emotionally generous as well as being laudably practical.

It is fitting that humans who eat feathered creatures in their lifetimes should upon death be offered back to them as sustenance, and in return for the additional service of conveying their souls skywards to Heaven.

It is also fitting that humans, who spend most of their lives desecrating their environment with their polluting presence, limitless desires and profligate use of Nature's bounty, should give back of themselves in a way both beneficial to Nature and society, with the minimum of fuss.

Those of us who saw SOYLENT GREEN may baulk at the idea of being converted into processed wafers as food for those who cannot afford to eat anything else, but my faith in humanity leads me to believe that there must be a way of converting corpses into some form of energy or resource that it is both decent and useful.

I wonder if the Dalai Lama - whose people are after all practitioners of the sky burial - has anything interesting to say on this.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

It is telling, is it not, that it is only on this ridiculous and unnecessary piece of legislation that MPs are indulged by being allowed to vote with their consciences?

Are there not enough people around that we need to artificially create humans to further desecrate the environment with their consumption, aspirations and carbon footprints?

Why is it, though, that our government is perpetually bent on sponsoring folly?

Is it that important that gays and lesbians be given the option of having a child (probably at taxpayers' expense) that will probably be having problems with its self-identity when it grows up, particularly when that couple have split up? (It is of course well-known that homosexual relationships are more unstable than marriage, even in these days of easy divorce.)

Below is an imagined conversation between an Irresponsible Lesbian Mother and her laboratory-created Half- Human Half-Animal "Son":

Little Boy: Mother, who was my father?

Irresponsible Lesbian Mother: You don't have one, dear. I had you created with my ex-girlfriend who has now gone off with another woman when she discovered that motherhood was not to her liking. We felt it was a lifestyle choice at the time, a bit like having a new kitchen or buying a pet together.

Little Boy: Am I a Freak of Nature, mum?

Irresponsible Lesbian Mother: I'm afraid so, darling.

Little Boy: Does this mean that if I grow up to be a psychotic serial murderer, because of my inability to come to terms with my biological origins, people will understand and empathise?

Irresponsible Lesbian Mother: That is perfectly possible, dear boy, if the fund of compassion has not been completely exhausted and Western civilisation still exists in any recognisable form.

If those who cannot reproduce normally feel a little left out, why is it the state's (and by extension the taxpayer's) role to look after these people?

If most women who put career before motherhood are too dim or career-focused not to realise that they are compromising their fertility and their marriage prospects by leaving it too late, then the obvious solution would be a change of behaviour, such as marrying younger, and getting an alpha male such as Tony Blair to propose to you because he likes the way you clean toilets without having to be asked (as related by Cherie Blair in her book Speaking for Myself), choosing men with incomes capable of supporting a housewife, rather than aiding and abetting these women in continuing in their fertility-challenged lifestyles.

What is worse is that quite a few of these women, suddenly becoming aware of their error in their mid-30s, intentionally get themselves pregnant by men to whom they have temporary sexual access but who are not husband-material. They then turn up on the doorsteps of their parents (if still together), who are expected to be grateful at the prospect of becoming the grandparents of an illegitimate grandchild.

This fact is proudly announced to neighbours, friends and family, who are expected to congratulate them.

The crime is complete when we do, because we do not wish to give offence.

As for the creation of "saviour siblings", my Darwinian instincts tell me that if you have a child that is not fit for life, then it is better to just have another one that is, rather than have another one to save the one that is unfit for life. If the unfit one continues, your limited resources of time and energy will be taken up in keeping alive a life that is unviable, sickly and unproductive, when your energies would be more profitably directed to supporting a child that is healthy and normal, and expecting the taxpayer to sponsor this humanitarian indulgence.

This is just what I mean when I talk about this cancer of compassion which has spread to every organ of national life.

Why, I ask again, is it the role of government (and by extension the taxpayer) to sponsor such folly?

Now, an Euthanasia Bill for the self-righteous, interfering, wasteful and dim, who think that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is a productive use of Parliamentary time, would have my enthusiastic support ...

Extinction not only inevitable, but deserved?

So, Labour MPs have been told by Brown that they are allowed to vote according to their consciences on the Embryology Bill!

It begs the question of what they use to vote on other issues where the exercise of conscience is in fact prohibited. Their toes and their testicles, perhaps?

It is on this system that the British base their democracy. How curious that even the most disillusioned activist in the fringe parties continue to think that the party system is the only platform on which politics should and could be conducted.

Instinctively licking the boot that has been kicking you, because you know of no other option, is what is called voting in our parliamentary system.

It seems that waiting for a saviour to lead the political party of their choice is the preferred activity of the voting citizen, rather than demanding the reform of the corrupt and corrupting political system that is representative democracy, which attracts only mediocrity and bootlickers.

Cameron is finally talking about tax cuts because he is now sure we are ready to vote for it, for the focus groups his PR firm have consulted say so. We could have told him that years ago, could we not? Yet this follower of public opinion is to be our next Prime Minister!

Extinction is not only inevitable, it is deserved! We are Aztecs led by Montezuma, about to welcome Cortes and his Conquistadors ....

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Should Jade Goody represent modern Britannia?

From page 37, Money Week - 1 February 2008, by Ruth Jackson

On the basis of column inches, it seems that one of the most important stories of the week was the discovery that the Royal Mint is to remove Britannia from the 50p coin. "I don't think anyone cares for her much longer", said John Porteous, a member of the Royal Mint's Advisory Committee on Coin Design. Judging by the vitriolic rants in the tabloids, it seems either Porteous was very wrong, or the newspapers are just glad to have something to rail against. "You'll rue the day you axed Britannia from coins," said the Daily Express, while the Daily Mail argues that this is just the final insult in a long line that Britannia has received from the Labour Government.

So just who is Britannia? An article from The Guardian furnished us with the revelation that she isn't quite the patriotic symbol the tabloids would have us believe. She first appeared on Roman coins to mark the successful invasion of the British isles - so in that sense she actually symbolises "conquest and subjugation," says the Independent. The current image on our 50p coins is based on a lady of Charles II's court who he was trying to impress. It must have worked, as she is thought to have become his mistress - hardly the right pedigree for a symbol of British rectitude. And Gordon Brown isn't the first leader to meddle with Britannia. Queen Victoria added the trident and lion to the image to mark the empire's prowess at sea, taking the opportunity discreetly to cover up Britannia's naked breasts.

In the 21st century, Britain is no longer of the seas - a fact the Daily Mail doesn't hesitate to blame on Brown. "We all know that Britannia no longer rules the waves ... not least because New Labour has wound down the Royal Navy to become little more than a coastal defence force." Yet given that our country has moved, perhaps it's time to replace her with something that better represents today's Britain. The Daily Mail suggests Jade Goody. We somehow doubt she'll make the shortlist - but with the Royal Mint yet to reveal which entrant has won its competition for new designs, time will only tell what will appear on future 50p coins. But it's safe to assume the newspapers will dedicate several pages to criticising it too.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Would you join this political party?

Any citizen who has reached the age of 18 who accepts the Party's principles and is willing to join and work actively in on its behalf and agrees to pays his membership fees may apply for membership in the Party.

(1) Members of the Party are to act in the National Interest.

(2) Members of the Party are at all times ordinary citizens. Party members must not seek personal gain or privileges, although the relevant laws and policies provide them with personal benefits and job-related functions and powers.

Party members agree to the following:

(1) To interest themselves in the theories and practices of good government throughout the ages and throughout the world while suspending any cultural, religious, social or political prejudices they may have.

(2) To implement Minimum Government by which is meant the fewest laws and the lowest possible taxes necessary for Justice to subsist.

(3) To use these minimum laws and taxes in service of the greatest good of the greatest number.

(4) To practice personal responsibility while encouraging others to do so.

(5) To strive for the economic, social, cultural and educational advancement of the Nation.

(6) To speak out and address an issue that he perceives to affect the National Interest, even if it goes against the current orthodoxy (whatever that may be).

(7) To rigorously analyse the logic of any argument used or the truth of any statement relied upon.

(8) To act in accordance to with the highest standards of ethical behaviour that is consistent with Truth, Justice, Reason and the National Interest.

(9) To uphold the Party's solidarity, unity and singularity by resolving disagreements through debate, a thorough investigation of the issues and voting.

(10) To be open to discussion, whether in defending one's views or questioning another's.

(11) To maintain close ties with non-member citizens, informing them of Party policy and thinking, consult with them when problems arise, keep the Party regularly informed of their views and demands and defend their legitimate interests.

(12) To approve only laws that are proportionate to the evil to be addressed and in the National Interest, which are necessary to prevent crime, nuisance, damage to property and other ascertainable and provable evils. (For example, smoking in a public house or smoking in a public place is not a "provable evil." Citizens dying sooner as a result of smoking-related diseases that are self-inflicted is not provably harmful to the Nation.)

(13) To repeal any anti-discrimination "thought crime" legislation in existence that limits the citizen's freedom of association and contract.

(14) To NOT

(a) use legislation as a means of favouring one group over another, such as apartheid, or

(b) use legislation to prevent citizens from discriminating against any groups, such as legislating against age, sex, race, sexual orientation and disability discrimination.

(15) To urge what is good and forbid what is evil, after due consultation and debate.

(16) To accept the truth of the following propositions in a speech made by Abraham Lincoln in 1865:"You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of many by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence. You cannot help them permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."

Party members enjoy the following rights:

(1) To attend relevant Party meetings, read relevant Party documents, and benefit from the Party's education and training.

(2) To participate in the discussion of questions concerning the Party's policies at Party meetings and in Party newspapers and journals.

(3) To make suggestions and criticisms regarding the work of the Party.

(4) To criticise any Party organization or member at Party meetings, to present information or charges against any Party organization or member concerning violations of discipline or the law to the Party, to demand disciplinary measures against such a member, or call for dismissal or replacement of any incompetent or corrupt member.

(5) To participate in voting and elections and to stand for election.

(6) To attend, with the right of self-defence, discussions held by Party organizations to decide on disciplinary measures to be taken against themselves in the appraisal of work and behaviour; and call on other Party members to bear witness or argue on their behalves.

(7) In case of disagreement with a Party decision or policy, to make reservations and present their views to the Party, provided that they implement the policy while it is in force.

(8) To put forward any request, appeal, or complaint to the Party and be entitled to a substantive response.

(9) No Party member or organization has the right to deprive any Party member of the above-mentioned rights.

Party oath to be sworn by members:

“It is my intention to implement the Party's programme of Minimum Government and work in the National Interest. I believe that the National Interest is best served by a meritocratic political system where there is no representation without taxation under which citizens practise personal responsibility, self-sufficiency and are educated, open-minded, ethical, versatile and rational in their decisions in the exercise of direct democracy.”

Vote: Do you like the sound of these membership rules?

4 "Boris Killer" Questions

It was partly my fault, I suppose. When I thought of my four Boris killer questions in a Pythagoras Eureka moment in my bath, it was already the afternoon o f1 May 2008, and I had already voted.

The questions were:

(1) Are you -
(a) voting FOR someone you believe would actually make improvements or
(b) voting AGAINST someone you dislike and distrust?

(2) Would you judge a candidate on
(a) the promises he makes or
(b) his track record

(3) Would knowing whether a candidate was for or against the Iraq invasion affect your perception of his judgment?
(a) Yes
(b) No

(4) Did you know that Boris Johnson, London’s new mayor, voted for the Iraq invasion?
(a) Yes
(b) No

No prizes for guessing which answers I think are the right ones!

Ken should have -

a) entirely dissociated himself from the Labour leadership
b) reminded Londoners that he was against the Iraq invasion
c) hinted that he might not after all introduce the driver-penalising measures he was proposing to, because of Credit Crunch and the worsening economic situation, or something along those lines.

Such a shame I did not think to offer to run his campaign in time!

But perhaps a period out of office will make us all miss him, particularly when we see that council tax is not going to go down, the crime rate does not miraculously diminish, and drivers sit in traffic jams just as long, even with a new mayor.