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Everything posted by snowflux

  1. Taking an objective view, why would we not compensate homeowners for blight arising from new housing development when we do compensate homeowners for blight arising from new road or rail development? Or should we just scrap compensation altogether and if a new road, rail or housing development is built nearby, then it's just tough luck?
  2. Ok, years of bitter strife, slow development and continuing high house prices it is then.
  3. Where did I deny that there was a downside to development? The point I'm trying to make is that if communities are going to accept new development without a bitter and expensive struggle in every case, then they need to be able to see some benefit in it too. In Germany, as I said, the drawbacks of new development are tempered by the knowledge that it will bring new facilities and services with it. This means that there is much less local opposition to development. The debate about immigration is a separate issue; for now though we desperately need new additional housing in order to properly and less expensively accommodate our current population. We can either bury our heads in the sand and let house prices continue to rise, or we can acknowledge the problem and try to do something about it.
  4. Yes, I largely agree with you and, yes, I would also be very much in favour of a land value tax which, incidentally, is a policy promoted by the Lib Dems, but obviously rejected by the Conservatives. However, in lieu of that, something needs to change or else we are condemned to years of bitter strife for every new housing development. The system needs to change so that new development is not always seen as detrimental to an area, otherwise we're stuck with snail-pace development and rocketing house prices.
  5. It's clear that the system is broken and something needs to be done. We desperately need more housing, but communities generally perceive that any new development can only be to their detriment. This basically leaves two choices: you either make it worth the while of communities to accept new development, or you ignore their protests and build anyway. The latter of these can only lose a politician votes (and is intrinsically unfair) so that leaves the former. I think Clegg's idea of simply giving money is crass, but clearly something has to be done. Interestingly, my experience from Germany is that communities are generally happy to assign land for new development because the laws are such that they know it will bring more money from central government for new facilities - schools, libraries, leisure centres and the like. Surely we could learn something from this?
  6. If I might just take issue with your cleaning example: If a cleaning company takes a big cut and pays its cleaners much less then, in a competitive economy, it will soon be driven out of business by a cleaning company that doesn't take such a big cut and can therefore charge less for its cleaning services, thus lowering the costs of its customers. If a company had to pay £20 more per week to keep their offices clean, it might simply decide that they don't need cleaning quite so frequently, or they might decide it's not worth the extra cost, and assign internal staff to do it instead. There will be some point at which it is no longer economic for a customer to use the cleaning company's services.
  7. There's the rub. A job may be worth doing at one rate but not at another. If you take away tax credits, a bunch of people will end up on the dole because it won't make economic sense for a company to pay the higher wage they would require. The resulting higher unemployment rate and economic contraction (due to the higher cost of labour) would, I think, more than negate the saving made by cutting tax credits. I've actually come round to thinking that tax credits, although badly implemented (a citizen's income would be better), are not a bad thing. In effect, they relieve business of the responsibility for social support, which really isn't the job of business. Granted, they make the economy look rosier than it really is by "artificially" lowering the unemployment rate, but you still end up with people working who would otherwise be twiddling their thumbs.
  8. I know it's in the topic title, but the post I replied to didn't mention migrants. It was a general observation.
  9. So you think people who are neither working nor raising a family should have more money, while those who are busy raising a family and working the 16 hours left available to them should have less money?
  10. Nice post. I can't agree with UKIP despising the elite though - it's more nuanced than that. Yes, they despise the political elite as represented by Westminster and the EU, but they don't appear to have anything against the aristocratic land-owning elite, and they are certainly not anti-monarchy.
  11. Sometimes I just don't understand people. Why the ****** would someone on £160,000 a year and with a good name to lose risk everything by stealing money? It's just insane. Edit: Oh yeah, and he should have repaid the cash or gone to jail.
  12. There's a lot of this my neck of the woods - bitter opposition to any new development in the area, but they change their tune when it comes to selling off their own land. Hippies and left wingers they ain't though - I live in one of the most Conservative constituencies in the country!
  13. I detect a hole in your logic. As we know, far more A grades are issued nowadays then was the case 17 years ago, so if the abilities of the students had remained unchanged over that time, you would expect the abilities of A grade students to have fallen on average. This means that there is an alternative explanation for the reduced abilities of your undergrads: your university was no longer managing to attract the best students by the time you left.
  14. Probably the first of your posts (that I've seen) that I entirely agree with! CI will indeed never happen though. The left can't stand the idea of allowing people to control their own destiny, and the right can't stand the idea of giving people money without forcing them to jump though hoops.
  15. It's not so difficult to work out, but it depends on your individual circumstances. In my case, for example, I'm self-employed and receiving child tax credits. My marginal tax rate is given by the tax and NI that I pay on each additional pound earned (20p + 9p) plus the money I lose as tax credits are cut back with increasing income (41p). This gives 70p in the pound, i.e. 70%.
  16. Indeed, but the words are not synonymes. Actually, that article (like many others on the topic in The Telegraph), did pretend to be scientific in that it used an invalid comparison with long-range weather forecasting to dismiss predictions of climate change. I'm glad you agree that its contention that there is significant doubt about the reality of AGW is journalistic fiction thought. That's a peculiar stance, given that there is no direct causal relationship between being the dominant species and influencing the climate. More obviously, mankind influences the climate because mankind is changing the composition of the atmosphere. Those that are grounded in scientific theory rather than journalistic licence are a lot more likely to be right. According to the scientists, there is very little doubt that AGW is real and potentially dangerous. You are, of course, using what philosophers of science refer to as "naive falsification" in an attempt to dismiss climatology as a valid science. Popper recognised the limitations of this and, quoting from from Wikipedia: "envisioned science as evolving by the successive rejection of falsified theories, rather than falsified statements. Falsified theories are to be replaced by theories that can account for the phenomena that falsified the prior theory, that is, with greater explanatory power." Given that no theory that does not include the effects of AGW has been developed that can better explain the observed data, AGW remains as a valid theory with predictive power. It therefore makes sense to base policy on its predictions. The point is that, according to the scientists, fossil fuels are not safe to use. This is why it is in interests of companies that exploit fossil fuels to obfuscate this message so that they can continue to use them. I'm also a technophile, and I am quite confident that mankind is well up to the challenge of developing technologies that will allow us to maintain our standard of living on a sustainable basis. Unfortunately, though, I fear that denial of the environmental impacts of our current way of life will prevent the development of such technologies until it is too late to turn things around. I am also not at all in favour of central planning, subsidies or the like. I'd like to see the role of government restricted to penalisation (through taxation) of actions with an environmental cost, such as exploitation of fossil fuel, while leaving it to the market to find the best solutions within this framework. It's relevant because changes in the climate will directly affect the standard of living of human beings. By changing our behaviour now we may be able to avert or mitigate dangers at a later dtae. It makes sense to plan for the future.
  17. For one thing, a policy is not a question. For another thing, I was arguing nothing of the sort. My simple, central point was that the science of AGW as presented in sections of the mainstream media, such as The Telegraph, bears little resemblence to the science as presented by the scientists themselves in articles such as that of the Royal Society. Substantiated predictions by scientists of increasing global temperature and sea level, for example, are falsely portrayed as little more than guesses by The Telegraph. My second, more controversial point, is that this deception is being carried out knowingly as part of a conspiracy to ensure continued reliance on fossil fuels. One might argue that a conspiracy is not necessary for this, rather that our economic system naturally encourages such deception. For example, an oil company has an obligation to its shareholders to maintain profits by all legal means and that these might naturally include funding for organisations attempting to discredit the science of AGW or play down its importance.
  18. Sorry, after reading and re-reading your first sentence, I remain unable to glean any actual information from it. It might be easier to understand what you mean if can avoid using generalities and the passive voice. Who is presenting what political questions as if they have scientific answers? An example, maybe?
  19. You're confusing science with politics. The whole point of science is that you don't take things on trust. That's exactly the mistake that cybernoid made earlier in the thread in trusting the article he linked to without investigating its basis for himself.
  20. Eh? Where did I say anything about computer modelling? FYI, the fundamental theory of AGW doesn't rely on modelling at all. It is simply based on well known physical processes (CO2 traps heat), facts (humans are increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere) and historical observations (the close correlation between CO2 and temperature in prehistoric times).
  21. Yes, it does attempt to discredit the science. According to article published by The Royal Society, "Continued emissions of these gases will cause further climate change, including substantial increases in global average surface temperature and important changes in regional climate." While there is and always will be uncertainty as to the precise effects of anthropogenic climate change, there is very little doubt that it is a real and potentially dangerous phenomenon. The article in The Telegraph conflates long-term weather forecasting* with climate prediction in order to cast unwarranted doubt on these predictions (i.e. discredit the science), and then uses this as a basis to ridicule efforts towards mitigating the causes and potential effects of anthropogenic climate change. It is either naive or dishonest. I suspect the latter. *Weather forecasting involves the prediction of chaotic fluctations from the mean, and is indeed impossible beyond a limited time period. Climate prediction, on the other hand, involves the prediction of long-term trends on the basis of physical processes and past behaviour. For example, while it is virtually impossible to predict whether this day next month will be warmer or cooler than average, one can confidently predict, on the basis of reduced insolation and past experience, that December this year will be cooler than July. Similarly with long term climate: knowledge of the physical basis for the insulating effect of greenhouse gases and evidence (from ice cores) or correlation between CO2 and temperature allows scientists to make reasonably confident predictions of future global climate trends.
  22. Let me see. You care enough about the topic to argue with me and link to articles from The Telegraph supporting the anti-AGW viewpoint, but you go all non-committal when I point out that the report upon which the article you linked to is based doesn't actually support the premise of that article. Then you call me stupid and say you're tending towards the anti-AGW side anyway. How is that not metaphorically sticking your fingers in your ears? So childish.
  23. That is exactly my point. Reporting by certain sections of the mainstream media, in particular, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail, bears virtually no resemblance to the scientific view as espoused by representative organisations such as The Royal Society. As I say, there is a conspiracy to discredit the science in order to protect the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry. And people fall for it because they can't be arsed to do their own thinking.
  24. I wouldn't consider metaphorically sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting, "La, la, la, I can't hear you!" to be a particularly rational response, but then, that's just my opinion. Edit: Interestingly, that does appear to be UKIP's official position on the issue. According to UKIP MEP Derek Clark:
  25. Quoting the first paragraph of the conclusion is hardly the same as quoting choice snippets from here and there. Why not read through the conclusion of the report yourself and see if you really think it discredits the work of the IPCC, rather than simply taking Lawson's interpretation at face value. To me, the report appears to broadly vindicate the IPCC while, at the same time, pointing out areas for improvement.
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