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In [the UK, in Europe as in] Australia, "truth will be what the government man says it is. And this great country will no longer be a democracy. I fear for [the UK, Europe] Australia, the country I have grown to love."

"Newspapers [and blogs such as this] that do not bow to the dictates of a government appointed “advocate” would effectively be put out of business. This is censorship at its worse. It is not the way democracy works. The people - our viewers, our readers - are the ones who always decide what they wish to read or watch and then make their own decisions…

In Conroy’s Australia, truth will be what the government man says it is. And this great country will no longer be a democracy. I fear for Australia, the country I have grown to love."

Mar 17, 2013 at 9:45 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

Here is Harriet Harperson threatening that bloggists (including those offshore) will get it in the neck if they don't cooperate with the new law.

Mar 17, 2013 at 9:00 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

Guido is pointing out that

the proposed Royal Charter aims to control and regulate them [liberal, progressive blogs] as well as the tabloids.

Schedule 4, Point 1 of both the government and the opposition’s versions of the Royal Charter will bring blogs under the regulator’s control:

“relevant publisher” means a person (other than a broadcaster) who publishes in the United Kingdom: a. a newspaper or magazine containing news-related material, or b. a website containing news-related material (whether or not related to a newspaper or magazine)”

Of course this is EU inspired and also very similar to what the Australian government would like to introduce, as highlighted by JoNova a few months ago.

Some people feel overly confident that they would not be able to achieve control of the Internet i.e. by technological means. But they would be employing statute, licence and fear of prosecution or loss of income to control the blogs, just as they would control individual journalists.

Governments don't want you to read unregulated climate blogs or unregulated blogs about the EU or what MPs are getting up to: they would prefer you to read the sanitised version.

Every day this feels more and more like a police state. Believe me, I have lived under one and it creeps up on you until those you rely upon to speak out for you have been silenced or worse - disappeared. What happened to David Bellamy (when he disappeared from the BBC) will seem mild by comparison to what we may be seeing in a few years time.

Mar 17, 2013 at 8:44 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

There's been some comments here about The UK Environment Agency and rain and flooding + river dredging and so on.

I was made aware last week that a couple of weeks back there was a Westminster Hall debate on "The Future of The Environment Agency" the video of which is now available on the BBC's Direct Democracy site - the debate has a disappointingly narrow focus given its billing - nonetheless though some constructive public criticism is progress.

That said - 'twas a small result for us and duly written up (with embedded video) at our place with added sarcastic bits and extra information.

Mar 17, 2013 at 8:13 PM | Registered Commentertomo


I just came here to post that too - wow!

I'm also duty-bound to point out that this appeared in the *loss-making* Guardian :-)

Mar 17, 2013 at 7:29 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

Wow! That's good news matthu! Thank you very much for the link. I've just been watching the Rapley video so my spirits could do with a lift, and that link promises to do just that.

Mar 17, 2013 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Whoa! This is big, no?

Debate about climate change has been cut out of the national curriculum for children under 14, prompting claims of political interference in the syllabus by the government that has failed "our duty to future generations".

The latest draft guidelines for children in key stages 1 to 3 have no mention of climate change under geography teaching and a single reference to how carbon dioxide produced by humans impacts on the climate in the chemistry section. There is also no reference to sustainable development, only to the "efficacy of recycling", again as a chemistry subject.

The move has caused alarm among climate campaigners and scientists who say teaching about climate change in schools has helped mobilise young people to be the most vociferous advocates of action by governments, business and society to tackle the issue.

"What you seem to have is a major political interference with the geography syllabus," said the government's former science adviser Prof Sir David King.

I particularly like Prof Sir David King's concern that this should be viewed as a major political interference with the geography syllabus. No such concern expressed when climate change was originally included in just about every aspect of the education syllabus. No such concern expressed about the antics of the BBC. But now that the game appears to be up, he is suddenly showing concern. Poor chap, my heart bleeds.

Mar 17, 2013 at 7:07 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

Brownedoff: re that NLP article, did you see the comments? One or two familiar names there. They posted (at least) one from me - but it's been subsequently deleted. Here's an extract (about two of Shrubsole's "great successes" - Kingsnorth and the Heathrow third runway):

I thought I’d put these “successes” into a global context. First coal:

According to a recent World Resources Institute report, “globally there are currently plans to develop 1,199 coal-fired power stations”. This graph illustrates vividly what’s happening around the world. (Note how even “green” Germany is expanding its coal capacity.) Probably the key point is that China and India account for 76% of proposed new plant; and it’s no coincidence that, between them, China and India in recent years have lifted nearly 500 million people out of the misery of abject poverty.

Now aviation:

Here there's no need to look any further than this comment by Li Jiaxiang (China’s Deputy Secretary Ministry of Transport and Director, Civil Aviation):

"China plans to build 70 new airports in the next few years and to expand 100 existing airports." (He added that the number of airports would reach more than 230 by the end of 2015, when the total fleet operated by Chinese airlines would reach 4,700 planes.)

Seventy new airports in the next few years! And Greenpeace regards just one extra runway at Heathrow as “bizarre” because of “the impact aviation has on our climate”.

Guy Shrubsole: surely it’s obvious from this that your “successes” are meaningless and that there’s nothing the UK can do to make any real difference to the inexorable rise in global CO2 emissions. Look, for example, at this chart – we’re the grey line bumping along the bottom. And here’s the International Energy Agency’s view of how things will look by 2035, compared to the Copenhagen Accord targets. So I have a question:

What is the point of the UK climate movement?

As you might say - what's not to like? Yet, far from answering my question, Mr Shrubsole decided it was best to strike it from the sacred NLP record. I wonder why?

BTW your bargepole may have missed this one: "Climate Change and the Left" by the lovely Alice Bell. (Again, some familiar names in the comments.)

Mar 17, 2013 at 1:42 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Following on from the disgaceful reporting on BBC Scotland News and the story on the news website about poor old Cockenzie Power Station, exposed here on BH, Scottish Renewables and WWF Scotland have issued a joint Press Release.

Press Release.

Our research/blog spying teams have alerted us to the brilliant comments carried by the Bishop Hill blog under the article "Miller and the lights" published on 15 March 2013. The research/blog spying teams assure us that the BH blog operates exactly like Fox News in that it is "fair and balanced" when publishing news and opinion.

Consequently, we have a spent a few minutes studying the comments on this and several recent threads, including unthreaded, and we have come to the conclusion that we must renounce our previous stance on catastrophic global warming or whatever we were calling it last week.

We intend to take out full page advertisements next week in leading newspapers in the UK to raise public awareness to our sudden change of heart.

We are grateful to Tesco for allowing to use the very effective formatting techniques they adopted in their full page advertisements when they too had a small problem with credibility.

Here is a mock-up of our full page announcement:


We Apologise.

We and our suppliers of dodgy information have let you down

and we apologise.

So here’s our promise.

We will find out exactly what happened and,

when we do,

we’ll come back.

and tell you.

Unless of course, we find ourselves banged-up in jail before we complete our study.

We also intend to form a new umbrella organisation called "Stop the dash to windmills and destroy all those currently twirling (occasionally) and under construction" which will be formed initially by the merger of our two organisation.

As time goes by, we hope to draw in other misguided outfits such as "New Labour Project".

We are also manufacturing in China thousands of collectible poker work plaques carrying the uplifting message:

"We should be trying to show them that their chosen vehicle is making things worse, not better."

This magnificent artifact will be on sale later this year, priced to sell at £9,999.99 (batteries not included), and our advertisement will appear on page 94 of the 2013 edition of the "Private Eye Christmas Catalogue".

There will also be a new website with the usual "Donate" button we look forward to receiving your contributions.

End of Press Release.

Mar 17, 2013 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Sorry sorry, but I can't resist.

I live in northern Tohoku. After the earthquake, all of the expressways needed to be rebuilt. Once they had reopened (about a month after the earthquake) all repair and resurfacing activity took place on restricted/single lane roadworks. That is, one lane was closed and under repair, and the other open. There were no contra-flows.

In Japan, the philosophy is to provide the best service with minimum inconvenience. On the (thankfully rare) occasions I have flown into the UK over the past 15 years, I've had to pass around the M25. I've yet to do that without severe traffic disruption and contra-flows. It seems roadworks in the UK are designed for the convenience of the contractors.

Life's a funny thing. Get some things right, and others wrong. Moving to Japan is a positive. More later.

Mar 17, 2013 at 1:12 PM | Registered CommenterHector Pascal

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