Thursday, December 03, 2009

Climate Change

Climate change it is not a big issue for me (I don't have any kids after all), and I have been quite open to the idea there might be a random climate fluctuation, something to do with sunspot activity (which seems asynchronous over record observation, although that must be too short an era to mean anything).

But here in the UK all parties seemed to accept there was a problem, including Mrs Thatcher and the current Tory leadership. (Not true of Tory bloggers btw.)

So my main issue concern was when it became a huge *political issue* on the right, seemingly to defend aspects of the oil industry.

As far as I am concerned, this effort to stop human CO2 emissions should be seen as a *prudential choice*. [I realise I have not always such choices in my own life, ahem.] Also, quite apart from climate change, I have as long as I can recall been aware of and opposed to environmental pollution. I would oppose pollution even if humans were not causing climate change.]

OTOH, although I am no abstinent, I have never really prioritised material consumption. [And I have never suspected such of other well intentioned people either.]

I believe we need a spiritually richer world in which more and more humans can realise a divine intellectual/artistic/spiritual potential than I do in ever escalating material satisfactions.

The Art of Consultation

Iain Dale's Diary: Book of the Day: The Art of Consultation

Consultations as they stand are a sham.

Here in Manchester the local HIV services group - GHT - last year hosted a "consultation" with the local PCT about whether HIV patients would be forced to go through local GPs.

While some African patients liked the idea, virtually all the British gay men (who have different issues of course) opposed it. Apart from anything else, HIV is in fact sufficiently rare that the average GP (mine for example) has no real understanding.

After the event it became clear it was all a stitch up. The PCT went ahead with the policy in any case. [I gather the same thing happened in London - where you simply could not get any non-HIV meds (but still necessary) from a clinic but had to reveal your situation to a GP.]

Plus the PCT announced on posters in clinics that they had consulted with GHT.

The f**kers knew exactly what they were doing to begin with. It was all about cost shifting in the NHS and nothing to do with those consulted. Or even end costs.

[After all, if people avoid HIV treatment for years because they won't go to a GP, they will get ill, but it will not count in any "rational" cost assessment.]

Now, I am a big fan of state-provided services. But that does not mean we should not allow the nasty state employees in the NHS and elsewhere any lee-way.

They all seem to act like shits.

Saving Uganda's Gays

Everyone needs to try to raise the alarm over the Uganda effort to enact the death penalty for homosexuality. See The Guardian

Life imprisonment is the minimum punishment for anyone convicted of having gay sex, under an anti-homosexuality bill currently before Uganda's parliament. If the accused person is HIV positive or a serial offender, or a "person of authority" over the other partner, or if the "victim" is under 18, a conviction will result in the death penalty.

Members of the public are obliged to report any homosexual activity to police with 24 hours or risk up to three years in jail – a scenario that human rights campaigners say will result in a witchhunt. Ugandans breaking the new law abroad will be subject to extradition requests.

Ruth Gledhill has just posted in The Times

This gay blogger from Uganda's post today is just heart rending.

This is a former colony, with a UK system (sort of), and homosexuality
there is illegal to begin with because of our imperial legacy.

What can we do?

We need to pressure Uganda's government.

One Third of Uganda's budget comes from foreign aid. This may change in the future, but it is the case now and will be for a a number of years. Meanwhile oil companies are beginning to locate and exploit oil there.

The UK gay movement needs to gear up for this now.

But in Britain we should all be able to unite in protest on this. Labour, Liberal Demoocrat, Tory, SNP, PC, UKIP - all officially oppose this kind of hatred.

LabourList is the most public forum I, at least, can access.

This issue must come into focus now, and the UK must act.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tory Class Warfare Again

Iain Dale's Diary: What About the Planet?

As preparations mount for the Copenhagen summit, which will be attended by more than 15,000 delegates and diplomats, The Independent reports that up to 30,000 environmental activists will be going along for ride too. The hypocrisy is astonishing. [sticks tongue in cheek] Do they not care about the planet? Do they not think about their carbon footprint? Clearly not. And they have the cheek to lecture the rest of us about how we should cut down on the number of flights we take.

Iain's posts seem to be getting more and more obtuse.

Quite apart from the fact that at any conference, people nearby (i.e. via train) can attend in greater numbers, he willfully misstates the matter in terms of individual events.

The size of the earth's atmosphere is affected by human activity, but any single human activity is more or less irrelevant.

I do realise this may be a hard concept to grasp.

But let me put it another way.

One single Tory MP or PPC avoiding tax is more or less irrelevant to the government's tax take. But the entire tax avoidance efforts of the Tory class is most certainly relevant.

What I find interesting is that, as they sniff a Tory victory (but let's think 1992, 1992, 1992), the ur-colours of the Tories are showing themselves.

Both in the comments of lower middle class Tory oiks like Iain Dale, and in actions of the core-Tory rich you are a running dog for, Toryism is not about politics at all.

It is about preserving the privileges of the already rich and wealthy.

James Merrill - A Different Person

BOMB Magazine: James Merrill by Thomas Bolt

I've been reading James Merrill's memoir A Different Person.

It includes accounts of his relationship with his Jacksonville parents, his early life on West 11th St, New York city, his homosexual life in the early 1950s while on an extended trip to Europe (made possible by his trust fund, since his dad was founder of Merill Lynch), his first encounter with Byzantine mosaics at Ravenna, and his encounters with and thoughts about people as diverse as Alice B Toklas and Greek soldiers. He died of AIDS in 1995.

The book is absolutely fascinating, completely snobbish, intellectually arrogant and orientalist as well. I am finding it absorbing.

But the photograph attached to this article is also very disturbing. In one sense he looks very young for a sixty five year old, but in other ways the ravages of AIDS are scary. His skin is not only wrinkled but bumped with, I think, molluscum contagiosum - one of the more minor but still disfiguring illnesses of the early version of AIDS.

What is most contradictory of all about the man is that he wrote some of the greatest American poetry, with the single biggest block of it being dictated to him from 1953 onwards via the Ouija board.