Day: October 7, 2019

James Robinson: Balance of Power: State Society, and the Narrow Corridor to Liberty

Letter to Telegraph


A very good letter in today’s Telegraph:

SIR – As a chartered engineer who worked in the electricity supply industry for 39 years, I despair to hear politicians like Rebecca Long-Bailey claiming that renewables will provide for most of our energy needs by 2030.

Renewable generation – solar, wind and tidal – is, by definition, non-synchronous and it is technically impossible to operate our electricity transmission system solely on non-synchronous generation. There is a real danger of system instability and consequential widespread blackouts once non-synchronous generation exceeds around 30 per cent of total generation at any one time.

The National Grid report on the recent major outage makes numerous references to the lack of inertia in the system. This resulted from insufficient large synchronous generators (nuclear, coal, gas) being connected.

Given the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the only option is to increase significantly nuclear build rapidly. Both Labour…

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Steven Spadijer: Miller No 2: Orthodoxy as Hersey, Hersey as Orthodoxy

UK Constitutional Law Association


Reading the recent Miller No. 2 decision you would be forgiven in thinking that Boris Johnson had the chutzpah to advise the Queen to unilaterally decree a whole range of new criminal offences (Proclamations) – all under the guise of the prorogation power.

Indeed, the Miller No. 2 decision paints itself as pure orthodoxy. We are reminded that it is the emphatic duty and quintessential task of a law court to define the scope of a prerogative power, clearly a justiciable matter. And the scope of the prorogation power, so it turns out, is now limited by this rather innocuous-sounding principle (at para [50]):

A decision to prorogue Parliament (or to advise the monarch to prorogue Parliament) will be unlawful if the prorogation has the effect of frustrating or preventing, without reasonable justification, the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions as a legislature and…

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Paul McCartney on how he wrote some of his hits

Why Evolution Is True

As usual, YouTube is a black hole, for when I watch one video, a bunch of other ones “recommended for you” pop up on the right side. And how well they know me! Yesterday this 27-minute video of Paul McCartney appeared, and I had no choice but to click on it.

It’s a fascinating soliloquy by McCartney on how he (with John Lennon, of course) wrote some of the biggest hits of his career,  including mostly Beatles songs but a few solo songs. They include  I Lost My Little Girl, Yesterday, I Saw Her Standing There, And I Love Her, Eleanor Rigby, A Day in the Life, Hey Jude, Helter Skelter, Blackbird, Let It Be, Hi Hi Hi, Here Today, Jet and I Don’t Know.

Since the Beatles are the greatest rock group of all time, and I brook no dissent on this issue, you might enjoy it, too. If…

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Green Ideology: It was never about the Environment

The Risk-Monger

In order to improve conditions in the environment we need to protect nature from what has proven to be its greatest threat: Green activists and environmentalists.

While this may seem counter-intuitive, in the 25 years I have been involved in discussions on environmental-health concerns, I have understood how the complexity of the issues, the increasingly more accurate data and the speed of emerging technologies require a flexibility and an open-mindedness to adapt to the best available knowledge, technologies and tools at our disposal. In such situations, the biggest obstacle to protecting the environment is the dogmatic fundamentalism widely expressed by most green cultists, zealots and ideologues.

Over that quarter century I have had my fair share of
confrontations with a wide range of “environmentalists” – from
activists to gurus to politicians (to sisters-in-law). Two common threads in
many of these interactions with activists became evident:

  • Their inherent cynicism – that…

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Portrait of a strongman

croaking cassandra

It didn’t seem like the best weekend for Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr.

First, there was Radio New Zealand’s Insight documentary on the Governor’s bank capital plans, and other possible new regulatory burdens.  I was impressed with the huge amount of time and energy that was put into the programme, although inevitably there are limitations in what a programme designed for a mainstream Sunday morning audience can deal with.     In some ways, the best public service now would be if Radio New Zealand and/or the Reserve Bank agreed to release the full interview Guyon Espiner did with the Governor –  we were told it was an hour long, but no more than five minutes would have been used in the programme (I presume this was par for the course on Espiner’s background work, as I did an interview with him that went for perhaps 40+ minutes).

In commenting…

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