Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Unemployment Still the only area of UK Growth.

Unemployment is up again. Bad news for the Labour government as it allows the other parties to claim their policies aren't working.

The BBC had a report on Newsnight on why the end of recession hasn't started to generate jobs. No mention of the effect the parasitic public sector is having on business, nor any real mention that the increase in NI might be causing drag on job numbers, nor any mention of the lack of incentives from Labour to get employers to actually employ people. In fact the tone of the BBCs report seemed to be that the wonderous Labour government had created huge growth and it was industry's fault for not employing more people. Disregarding the fact that growth is flat (less than 1%) and not likely to create significant numbers of jobs at all.

Once again BBC reporters miss the point, apart from one nugget of truth, that the unemployment stats would be worse if it wasn't for people leaving the job market altogether. That phrase I understand suggests either retirement, death or emmigration.

Hardly a basis for cheery news.

The fact is that Labour have done nothing to bridge the huge gap between being completely on benefits and in a decent enough paying job that allows you to live without being paid any state benefits.

Me and the missus are having regular rows now because my job isn't paying enough to cover our bills, yet stops us being eligible for any benefit. The hill you have to climb to get into full employment is a severely steep one. Since the 10p tax rate was introduced and the wife's tax bill doubled overnight, we've struggled. Yes, we're among the people caught by the abolition of the 10p rate, but haven't received any extra benefit to compensate (as was promised by Brown and Darling). The thing is, we know several people in the same boat. These are (now ex) Labour voters who will never vote Labour again, thanks to their policies over the last 5 years. Instead there are droves of them looking very carefully at Nick Clegg and the Lib-Dems as an alternative to endorsing the last 5 years of Labour policy or voting Conservative.

The "Clegg Bounce" is no flash in the pan.

Monday, 19 April 2010

A Farce of Volcanic Proportions

It seems the Icelandic Ash Cloud farce is about to end, with flights due to hopefully resume tomorrow.

What has struck me during this debacle is the similarity with man-made global warming and the same twisting of scientific data.

For instance, the story goes that ever since 1984 when a Jumbo jet lost all its engines after flying through a volcanic ash plume, flights will will be diverted or suspended whenever an ash plume is present.

But what is never stated is what scientific basis this is based on. For instance, what density of ash plume did that 747 encounter. It was obviously thick enough to clog the engines and abrade the windscreen, but exactly how much ash does there have to be in order to cause that sort of damage?

The truth, which would shock and annoy most travelers grounded around the world is the authorities just don't know. So, without significant scientific data, they ground flights when there is even the slightest concentration of ash. Just to be safe. No data gathering to establish safe parameters, no test flights, nothing.

Now I must be thick, because I remember getting the car covered in Shaharan sand in greater concentrations than this weekends layer of dust brought over at great height by the jetstream, doesn't that affect jets in the same way? I remember Mount Saint Helens erupting, sending half a mountain into the air and causing red sunsets for months, but planes still flew across the Atlantic, and none dropped out of the sky because of  volcanic dust.

So, whats really the truth behind this debacle? Incompetance? Incomplete science? Lack of Data? Over -Protectionism? Over-reliance on computer models? All the above? In reality, the real story behind this misery has yet to be uncovered.

UPDATE: UK Airspace is being opened. However, whether that's by the government's choice or not is debatable is it appears flights started to land at Heathrow before the official opening time.

It appears now that officials have been very over-cautious in their approach. I've been saying for days that there's been no need to ground aircraft. If anything, they only needed grounding for the first day of the crisis, as there was visible ash in the air. After that, planes have been kept on the ground needlessly.

Conspiracy theorists may want to form an opinion as to whether this was used as an election strategy by Labour (you know, vote Gordon, the best man in a crisis, keeping our skies safe, etc.) but I couldn't possibly comment.