Monday, 31 December 2007

*Bizarre Predictions

"Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are
impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax." - English
scientist William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, 1899

"Television won't matter in your lifetime or mine." - Radio
Times editor Rex Lambert, 1936

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their
home." - Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of
Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"By 2000, the machines will be producing so much that every-
one in the U.S. will, in effect, be independently wealthy.
- Time Magazine, 1966

"An impractical sort of fad, and has no place in the
serious job of postal transportation." - Second Assistant
U.S. Postmaster General Paul Henderson on airmail, 1922

"It's a bad joke that won't last. Not with winter coming."
- Fashion designer CoCo Chanel on miniskirts, 1966

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." -
Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents,

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" - H.M. Warner,
Warner Brothers, 1927

"You ought to go back to driving a truck." - Concert
manager, firing Elvis Presley in 1954

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way
out." - Decca Recording Co., rejecting the Beatles, 1962

"It doesn't matter what he does, he will never amount to
anything." - Albert Einstein's teacher to his father, 1895

Sunday, 30 December 2007

*Rare record.

New arrival at the Green Room is a rare 1929 General Election recording of two speeches by Ramsay MacDonald. Published for The Labour Party. It’s on 78 rpm.

Other items recently arrived are:

A ‘Widow’s Mite’ coin as mentioned in the Bible.

John Major alarm clock.

Victorian political cups.

As usual, tons of records and books including a nice collection of Australian books. The ‘Australian Heritage Cookbook’ is huge.

If you have not yet seen one, you can pick up a copy of London Green News – the London Green Party mass circulation tabloid newspaper.


From the Daily Mail: A claim that GM technology is helping deliver higher crop yields in Africa was wrong, the Government's chief scientist has been forced to admit.

Professor Sir David King recently caused uproar with his assertion that GM crops could help feed the hungry of the Third World. ... The chief scientist had used the example of crop trials around Lake Victoria in Kenya to boast how useful GM farming could be in feeding the Third World. ...

He told Radio Four's Today programme: 'You interplant the grass with the grain and it turns out the crop yield goes up 40-50 per cent. A very big advantage.'

The only problem is Sir David failed to accurately describe the research in Africa, which did not involve the use of any GM technology at all!

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Politician Accused over 'Viagra Bribes'

A politician in Thailand has been accused of trying to buy votes - by handing out packets of Viagra.

Sayan Nopcha, a campaigner for the People's Power Party in Pathum Thai province just north of Bangkok, said the drug - used to treat sexual dysfunction in men - was being distributed to elderly male voters at social functions.

Sayan, a local government official whose brother is a PPP candidate, said: "The politician is giving out Viagra to gain popularity and votes.

Under a tough new law, both the supplier and recipient of vote-buying can face criminal charges. Candidates can be disqualified and their party disbanded.

More than 4,200 candidates from 41 parties are competing for 480 seats in the lower house of Parliament, the first to be held after a bloodless military coup ousted elected Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September last year.

Gives a completely new slant on raising the vote.

Saturday, 15 December 2007


Green Party London Mayorial candidate, Sian Berry and myself the launch of the campaign in Finchley.

For more photos and report please go to

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

*The Real Costs of Saving the Planet

Critics say limiting carbon emissions could cost trillions. But a new study suggests the costs are much lower

On Dec. 5, the U.S. Senate will begin marking up a bill that would,
for the first time, put mandatory limits on the gas emissions that are
warming the planet. The bill, sponsored by Senators John Warner (R-Va.)
and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), imposes caps on the amount of carbon
dioxide allowed to spew from power plants, cars, and others sources. It
would also permit companies that cut more emissions than required to
sell their excess reductions to those that can't afford to meet the
limit. Economists say this sort of cap and trade scheme, which has
worked well in reducing acid rain-causing pollution, could help the
economy slash emissions at the lowest possible costs.

Meanwhile, delegates from around the world are meeting in Bali,
Indonesia, trying to hammer out a global agreement to cut emissions.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks: the perceived high costs.

But what are those costs? If you listen to opponents of action
against climate change, the American economy will be brought to its
knees by such efforts. The Chamber of Commerce, for instance, says the
bill would cost 3.4 million Americans their jobs; the nation's gross
domestic product, now about $13 trillion, would drop to $12 trillion;
and American consumers would pay as much as $6 trillion more because of
higher prices for gas, heating oil, and many other goods. Other
economic projections put the total price tag for preventing dangerous
climate change at up to $20 trillion.

Yet a new analysis from McKinsey & Co.<
not only pegs the price tag for making substantial cuts at just a few
billion dollars, it also shows that at least 40% of the reductions
bring actual savings to the economy, not costs.

Long-Term Forecasts Are Less Reliable

Why the big difference? First consider the numbers used by the
opponents. Typically, they come from large-scale mathematical models of
the economy. These models look at the economy from the top down. They
try to calculate the effects of changes such as rising energy costs or
financial penalties for carbon emissions. These models are widely used
to predict short-term changes in the economy. But longer-term forecasts
are less accurate because of their increasing reliance on the initial

For example, the final result varies dramatically depending on the
assumptions about the pace of innovation. If the model assumes that
development of new forms of renewable energy will continue at the same
rate as before carbon emission limits were enacted (when the financial
incentives for development were lower), then cutting carbon emissions
will be costly. But if you assume that an added financial incentive,
such as a price on carbon emissions, will increase the pace of
innovation and the development of new technologies, then meeting the
limits will be cheaper. And if the model discounts the future benefits
of avoiding the dangers of warming in terms of their present value, it
will also predict higher overall costs.

Different Conclusions Are Possible

Yet even with these inherent limitations, many of the models suggest
that the ultimate cost of slowing global warming is reasonable.
Stanford University climatologist Stephen Schneider, for instance, has
analyzed one of the most prominent models, from Yale's William
Nordhaus. According to Nordhaus' results, stabilizing the climate would
be "unimaginably expensive—$20 trillion," Schneider says.

But the $20 trillion hit to the economy isn't immediate. Instead,
that's the calculated cost in the year 2100, Schneider says, not now.
What does that really mean? Schneider ran the numbers, assuming the
economy grows at about 2% per year. The seemingly huge $20 trillion
price tag works out to "a one-year delay in being 500% richer," he
says. In other words, paying the price to reduce climate change would
mean Americans would have to wait until 2101 to be as rich as they
otherwise would have been in 2100. To Schneider, that's a minuscule
price to pay for saving the planet from the dangers of global warming.
"Are you out of your mind? Who wouldn't take that?" he says.

There's also a completely different way to approach the question of
costs. Instead of using a big, complicated mathematical model that
looks down at the economy, you can start by looking at the many
individual steps that could be taken to reduce emissions, and work from
the bottom up. That's what McKinsey did in its recently released

Cost-Saving Steps

The report was "born of the frustration that there are no solid facts
out there about the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,"
explains McKinsey director Jack Stephenson. So Stephenson and his team
plunged ahead. They got support for the effort from Royal Dutch Shell
and a couple of environmental groups. They analyzed 250 possible steps,
from more fuel-efficient cars and buildings to all types of cleaner
energy. And they assumed people wouldn't change anything about their
lifestyles, driving just as much and not lowering their thermostats.

The results are surprising. The report concludes that the U.S. can
cut its greenhouse emissions in half from projected levels in 2030 at
minimal cost. None of the steps would cost more than $50 per ton of
carbon dioxide emissions avoided. Plus, 40% of the reductions would
actually save money. That puts the overall cost at just a few dollars
per ton of carbon dioxide—or in the tens of billions of dollars

Moreover, it doesn't take any breakthroughs in technology. "Eighty
percent of the reductions come from technology that exists today at the
commercial scale," says Stephenson. And the remaining 20% comes from
ideas already well along in development, such as hybrid cars that plug
into electrical outlets and have batteries big enough to go 30 or 40
miles on electric power alone and biofuels made from cellulose (such as
prairie grass) rather than foodstuffs like corn.

Waste Not

The overall price tag is so low because there are many simple ways
the country can use energy more efficiently, Stephenson explains. "The
U.S. wastes a huge amount of energy," he says. The vast majority of the
power used by VCRs and DVD players occurs when they're not even turned
on, for instance. Electronics equipment, buildings, lighting, water
heaters, and autos are just some of the many products and facilities
that could be far more efficient. Improving efficiency in this way
would save money, not cost money, McKinsey figures.

Overall, the McKinsey report paints a far more encouraging picture
than the figures from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "It's the
difference between a business consultant who sees opportunities for
business, and a hired-gun economist," says Dan Lashof, science director
of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Until the U.S. actually tries to reduce its greenhouse gas
emissions, we won't know who's right. But it does seem clear that the
economy wouldn't be crippled. "The common perception of high costs is
just so radically wrong," concludes Stanford's Schneider.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

*Yesterday's Climate Change Demo.

At yesterday's Climate Change demo with L to R: Tim Turner, Tim Summers, Shasha Khan, myself and Heather Finlay.


James Purnell MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has announced a major shift in Government sports policy which segments cycling into 'Sport' and 'Recreation'.

Sport England will no longer fund recreational cycling. For those of us who've given up our aims of Olympic glory this may not seem like too much of an issue, but it completely ignores cycling's contribution to Government's physical activity strategy.

Santa arrested.

I see that santas in Australia have been banned from crying HO-HO-HO as being some way politicial incorrect. They now have to say HA-HA-HA.

In 1986, by father got pulled by a policeman for playing 'Jingle Bells' while dressed as Santa Claus.

My brother had a toy shop and every year he had Santa arriving on different transport. In 1986 he had my father as Santa on the back of a truck with a tape recorder playing festive tunes. The parade was going well until a policeman stepped out and demanded to see their public broadcast permit. Actually my brother or the cop did not know that you do not need a broadcast permit as long as the vehicle is moving.

Anyway, the parade was allowed to proceed in silence.

There was a local reporter in the crowd, who got my father to pose behind an iron gate - 'Santa in jail'. This appeared in the Limerick Leader, then BBC Northern Ireland rang up and interviewed my father.

Next day my brother had a call from a producer in RTE (The Irish national TV company): "Have you presented your driving licence and insurance to the Gardai?" When Liam replied in the negative the producer asked him to delay it for a day.
On that day, my father, dressed as Santa, was filmed going into the police station. The seargent was not pleased with the policeman. "I've just had a call from my Superintendent and he has had a call from the Minister of Justice asking if we had anything better to do than in Kilmallock than going around arresting Santas" he said.

The RTE film was shown in the USA, Russia, Australia and South Africa. It made all the papers. I remember seeing it on the front page of The Sun, without realising that the story was about my father:-)

Naturally there was no charges, but the policeman was transferred to jail duties in Limerick Prison for several weeks.

My father had fan mail from all over the world for years afterwards.

Friday, 7 December 2007



I will be running the Green Party stall at Grosvenor Square. I will have copies of our new newspaper 'London Green News'


10.00 am Cycle Protest assembles at Lincoln's Inn Fields

10.30 am Biofuelwatch protest outside the Tesco Metro at 17/25 Regent
Street, Cllr Andrew Boswell to speak

12 noon Assemble Milbank for main march

The Green Party Stall at MILLBANK will be at the LAMBETH BRIDGE end. Nearest tube WESTMINSTER , walk past H of Parliament .
We will be setting up from about 10.30 am.

2.30 Green Party Principal Speaker Caroline Lucas MEP to speak at
rally outside US embassy, alongside George Monbiot and others

The UK national demonstration in London will be one of many
demonstrations on climate change taking place all around the world on
the same day, midway through the UN Climate Talks in Bali. Join the
thousands of people marching through the streets of London to call
for critical immediate global political action on climate change
before it's too late.

5.00 pm to 2.00 am AFTER-PARTY and FUNDRAISER
After-Party and Campaign against Climate Change fundraiser at the Synergy Centre. Farmers Road, Camberwell - nearest tube Oval (directions to get there here , map here.) This will feature music from Seize the Day and others. Find more details here on the Synergy website.
There will be limited floor space available for an overnight stay at the Synergy centre - you will need to book a place by emailing us at