Sunday, 29 June 2008

Blown Away

Wind turbines are becoming an increasingly familiar sight in this formerly green and pleasant land, filling the gaps between motorways and power distribution pylons like anorexic windmills - a high-tec throwback to the days of Windy Miller.

They're tall (obviously), ugly, noisy if you're unlucky enough to live close enough to one to hear the blades cutting through the air, and are generally an all-round blight upon the British countryside. And now it seems that, on top of all these problems, they're flimsy too.

According to the Sun, a huge propeller broke off a 190ft wind turbine sited close to a major motorway, triggering safety fears - and red faces when it was found to have been damaged by... the WIND. It's mind blowing, isn't it?

Minds at Sheffield University (who own the out-of-puff gizmo) and the Government (who plan to spend £100 billion on 7000 of the towering monstrosities by 2020) certainly seem to be in a spin if they really think wind turbines are going to provide one third of Britain's electricity by then. Even if they can master the task of building wind-proof wind turbines by then (and, given the state of our education system, I wouldn't bet on that!) the system is simply too capricious to be reliable.

The whole idea, appealing as it may sound, is more hot air than hot prospect, and I fully expect Britain to be paying the price for this mental enviroist folly long after Gordon Brown-Trousers has been unceremoniously bundled out of Downing St.

Billy Seggars.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Running On Empty

There's some grim news for motorists in the press this morning. According to the Telegraph, "Petrol prices to rise after head of OPEC warns of sharp fuel hike."

The article goes on to suggest the price of diesel could reach £1.47 per litre, with unleaded not far behind at £1.32 per litre. At those prices, it could cost between £70 and £100 to fill up the tank in a reasonably sized car.

No doubt the mental enviroists are clapping their hands, but for those of us with even the most tenuous grip on reality this cannot be encouraging. And for the accident - nay, disaster - prone Government of Gordon Brown-Trousers and his bumbling sidekicks, who have ably demonstrated their total inability to do anything whatsoever about this inconvenient situation, it's just another nail in their coffin.

Only a few days ago, a survey found that the public blame the Government for the petrol pain they are feeling, and the majority of them are more than willing to vote the red men out of power if they don't fix the problem - pronto. Unfortunately, there's very little our attempted Government can do apart from dither over proposed fuel tax increases. They know very well that if they don't impose the planned duties they will appear weak, but if they go ahead and add to the public's misery they will be even less likely to even keep their deposits at the next election. Goodness, it's tough at the top, eh?

No wonder almost two thirds of the population now think Gordon Brown-Trousers is a liability, according to this poll in the Telegraph - that's hardly a surprise, now, is it? He's been a liability for years, long before he became PM, it's just that Blair was better at keeping the lid on things. Without his gleaming grin, the wheels - already wobbling alarmingly - have fallen off the New Labour bandwagon, and the shambles that has been the British Government since 1997 is laid bare for all to see.

Of course, things are only going to get worse. Rising fuel prices mean that other goods will inevitably cost more, squeezing the pound in our pockets even more and putting pressure of pay deals. Already, a summer of industrial action seems almost inevitable, and that will have its own knock-on effects, both in real terms and in terms of public confidence and morale.

Right now, things are not too bad - they could be better, but they're not dire. After months of rising prices, inflation and, inevitably, interest rates they will quickly become dire, and then bloody awful in very short order. Reassurance, and a boost in public confidence, would probably go a long way towards preventing this long term damage, and that would best be achieved - in the public's mind, at least - by a change in Government.

If Gord were to call an election tomorrow he would be soundly defeated, but the country would probably benefit from his humiliation. It's one of those "f0r the good of the many" situations - but I don't see Gordon Brown-Trousers limbering up to do the decent thing. Just goes to show what's on his mind, doesn't it? Power, self-interest and political survival. Makes a change, eh?

Billy Seggars.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Hole In None

Good news! According to the Daily Mail, physicists near Geneva are not at risk of sucking the Earth into a black hole when they try to reproduce a mini version of the Big Bang.

I've no doubt this announcement will come as a very great relief to everyone who's been following the Large Hadron Collider story for months, waiting in fear and dread, dying to know if we're all going to die weirdly in the name of pure research.

And, for those intellectual microbes who've never heard of the LHC, and have no idea what it does, where it is or why it's there, the news will probably be even more Earth shattering - though not as Earth shattering as the black hole would have been.

Showers of toast and coffee are probably erupting onto breakfast tables all over England as Daily Mail readers get to grips with the idea that those damn Europeans are messing around with some really, REALLY big science - and didn't even bother to ask Middle England for permission first!

It's the sort of thing that spawns letters to the Editor, for sure. But, apart from sneering at those who have never, until today, even considered the possibility that some mad scientist somewhere might actually cause the entire planet to fall into a black hole, there is a serious point to this rant.

Although the LHC has been declared safe - though how anyone can say that for sure beats me - it's fairly obvious that some other experiment, on a similar or larger scale, could, theoretically, cause some very nasty side effects. The question is, what should we do about it?

In an ideal world, the boffins in question would make some kind of announcement in the more respectable media - tabloids of all kinds could be ignored, since the chances of their readers actually understanding the announcement, or the explanation of same, are vanishingly small - thereby giving us a chance to comment, object, or vacate the planet.

In reality, though, that's not likely to happen. Commercial pressures, academic competition and the realisation that even broadsheet readers struggle to appreciate the finer points of raw, cutting edge research, will encourage secrecy. Enraged screams of "You want to do WHAT to the planet??" make it so hard to concentrate, and there's very little point in trying to explain things anyway - Joe Public has an infuriating habit of getting hold of half an idea (usually the wrong half) and then incorrectly applying it to something totally unrelated.

And so the opportunity for an open and honest exchange of ideas, leading to rapid advances in the field(s) under investigation, will be lost for the age old reason that folks who don't understand the science will do their level best to prevent anyone else from understanding it either. Of necessity, research will go underground, or, at least, will continue not to be mainstream news, until the day that some oddball experiment really does cause the Earth to undergo a sudden, unanticipated total existence malfunction.

When it happens it will be quick, and there will be very little chance for enraged Luddites to write to their local papers. But they might, if they are lucky, have time to wonder whether this might have been avoided if only they'd bothered to pay attention in GCSE Science.

Billy Seggars.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Polls Apart

Ho, hum. Another weekend, another poll showing how far Prime Minister Gordon Brown-Trousers has fallen from favour. This time it's the Daily Mail's turn to gleefully report: "Catastrophic slump in Gordon Brown's popularity sees Cameron storm ahead in polls."

The findings - which I can't be bothered to reproduce in detail here - are the result of a rerun poll that was first carried out last year. Now, on the anniversary of Gordon Brown-Trousers' first year in office, they show just how far public opinion has turned against the PM - to the extent that many people would rather see Tony Blair back in Downing St.

Much as that must both infuriate the PM and stroke Tone's ego, it's not likely to happen any time soon. Which presumably explains why Crazy Cameron is doing so well - he is, after all, just a cardboard cutout Tory Blair-alike, who wouldn't have stood a chance against the genuine article. Against Velcro McBean, however, he's certain to romp home at the earliest available opportunity.

Apparently, the public seem to agree, with "most" respondents predicting a Conservative victory at the next election, and 44% believing that Brown-Trousers should step down immediately. That's got to hurt the prideful PM, particularly since only last week he announced his intention to stay in his job - that of party leader, if not of Prime Minister - for a little while yet.

No doubt the Brown-Trousers camp sought to quell damaging speculation about his future with that announcement, but, in light of the poll's findings, it just makes him look out of touch and arrogant - no surprise that almost 50% of respondents see the PM as arrogant, then, is it?

All in all, there's nothing very surprising in the poll's findings; we've got the worst Government in living memory, and Joe Public, having finally spotted the political elephant in the room, has effectively reversed his opinion of the PM from superhero to subzero. It took a while, but New Labour's perpetual con trick has been rumbled, and the chances of them retaining power at the next election - or regaining it shortly thereafter - are vanishingly small.

In fact, the only thing that really interested me was the question about which kind of dog most closely represents each of the party leaders. I've never seen that kind of comparison before, although, for all I know, it might be a very common tool in polling / research. Cameron did well as a Labrador, even Brown-Trousers is semi-credible as a St. Bernard, but Nick Cleggover is, apparently, seen as a cross between a poodle and a chihuahua. Sadly, no mention of Vicious Vince Cable, but I'd have thought he'd merit at least a Jack Russel.

In any event, it looks like the pack has well and truly turned on Gordon Brown-Trousers, and it's only a matter of time before he's out of Number 10 for good. Couldn't happen to a nicer chap!

Billy Seggars.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Is This Your Flying Saucer?

You have to hand it to the Sun, they know how to grab attention. Earlier on, while taking the opportunity to actually sit down and read the papers for the first time this week, I was fascinated to see the headline, "Cops chase a UFO over Cardiff."

I was even more intrigued by the rest of the story, which, complete with excitingly drawn diagrams, breathlessly explains how, "Stunned police gave chase to a UFO after it attacked their helicopter near a military base." Assuming, for the moment, that the story is not a complete fabrication (and how could it be - the Telegraph mentions it too!) I can easily see how Cardiff's finest would be tempted to set off in hot pursuit.

Someone, or something, zooms past a police vehicle at a fair old clip, and instinct cuts in. Whether the plodmobile is a push bike, a panda car or a helicopter, the urge to chase is irresistible - it's a learned reflex, in much the same way that dogs just can't resist chasing sticks. In a way it's quite commendable, and certainly borders on the heroic, even though it's not, perhaps, the smartest thing to do.

I mean, what would they have done if they'd caught up with this mysterious object? Flashed their search lights and ordered it to pull over? "Excuse me, Mr Alien, is this your flying saucer?" And what if the (allegedly) little green occupant had replied, "Yes, Occifer, and this is my ray gun. Allow me to demonstrate..." It's a health and safety nightmare, and I fully expect the constabulary, if not the Government, to issue UFO-chasing guidelines any day now.

But, come to think about it, what would an alien be doing in Cardiff, anyway? It's a pleasant enough place in its own way, and, having spent quite a bit of time there recently, I've developed an almost masochistic fondness for it. But it's hardly going to be top of the must-see list for any planet hopping tourist, is it?

If there really is a grain of truth in the story, I should imagine that the clue lies in the close proximity of the military base. Again, it's hard to imagine any top secret military hardware being developed in or near sunny Cardiff when there must be any number of more secluded, godforsaken locations... no, ok, maybe not. But even so, it's only slightly more plausible than a visiting alien space craft.

So what are the alternatives? Hoax? Maybe. An excuse (such as it is) for three officers taking a police helicopter on a swift jaunt to North Devon? Unlikely. A cover up for something else entirely? Perhaps, but it's a bit paranoid. At the end of the day, I suppose it doesn't really matter - whatever really happened on June 7 in the back of beyond. The story has provided a little light entertainment after a long, busy week. Who could ask for more?

Billy Seggars.

Friday, 13 June 2008

David Davis - What A Man!

After his astonishing - and highly commendable - resignation yesterday, David Davis further explains his point in today's Telegraph.

His words carry more force than mine ever could, but I have to agree 100% with his comments. Britain under Gordon Brown-Trousers' Government is rapidly approaching Dictatorship, and the McBean, as happy as he must be to have trimmed our freedoms yet again, has visions of finishing the job ASAP.

Of course, things are a little more difficult than they might otherwise have been, thanks to the efforts of our Irish friends, who were fortunate enough to have a referendum on the EU Treaty - something Gordon Brown-Trousers was too frightened to allow the British people. And, given that the Irish people have rejected the Treaty, you can see why Brown-Trousers didn't want to risk it here.

It's difficult to say what will happen to the EU now, but I, for one, hope the whole thing falls apart. Add to that the growing challenge to the Brown-Trousers dictatorship, and, after some very dark days, it seems that things might be looking up for Britain. We're not out of the woods yet, but the days of this Government are numbered!

Billy Seggars.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Nanny Dave, I Presume

Well, it had to happen. Crazy Cameron, despite surging ahead in the polls, has made a mistake. In making comments on the need for Gordon Brown-Trousers to take a holiday, he's crossed the line and become just one more example of the Nanny State.

He's quite right, of course. You only have to look at the Prime Minister to see how badly he's managing. Long gone is the almost helium-inflated strutting of his final days as Chancellor, when, suffused with arrogance, his toes barely touched the floor. Gone, too, is the grim but earnest Gordon Brown-Trousers of the national disasters immediately following his ascent to the highest office in the land.

In their place is a cringing, haggard man who is terrified of each new disaster. He knows it's all gone badly wrong, that there is now virtually no chance of his party remaining in office, or returning to office for another 20 years or so, and that it's all his doing. Had he not bottled out of that election, he'd have been safe for at least another five years, and he knows that too.

The stress is definitely beginning to show, and Gordon Brown-Trousers does not look well at all. No matter how strenuously Number 10 might protest that he takes his family duties very seriously, there is only one of him (I dearly hope!) and, no matter how hard he tries, he can only be in one place at once. Pretty soon, something will have to give.

In all of this, Crazy Cameron is absolutely correct. Where he has gone wrong is to make a political point with this insight - if, indeed, you can call something so blatantly obvious an insight. Yes, it's very clever. It portrays him as a concerned, dutiful, public servant, and also casts Gordon Brown-Trousers in a very bad light - an obsessed, micromanaging, disaster-ridden workaholic who's so hassled can't even think straight.

The trouble is that it also makes Crazy Cameron look like an interfering busy-body. Gordon Brown-Trousers' health is absolutely none of Cameron's business, anymore than the Government - any Government - has any right to tell smokers that they must not indulge in their fave pastime. I very much hope this meddling is just a glitch, a diversion and not an indication that Crazy Cameron is the kind of politician that thinks he knows what's good for us, and then sets about making it law.

If he is, and this is a taste of things to come, individual freedom will quickly become even more of a historical relic than it already is.

Billy Seggars.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Smoking Ears

Somehow, I managed to miss this piece in yesterday's Telegraph, but it's such a perfect example of its kind that I just have to mention it.

It seems that the latest alleged misery to afflict those of us who refuse to renounce the pleasures of tobacco is - wait for it - deafness. DEAFNESS? Strange as it may seem, I can imagine how that might come about, although it has nothing to do with the hotshot research from Antwerp.

No, unlike the boffins from the University of Belgium there, who claim the alleged loss is something to do with reduced bloody flow, I suspect it's got rather more to do with excess noise. Wherever we go, there are folks screaming at us, pestering, warning, complaining - it's just way too much for the ears to handle!

And who dreams up this kind of research anyway? What do they do, pick random factors and compare one with the other? Do males with one leg have larger noses? Are smokers more likely to suffer hearing loss? Seems like an odd way to work to me, but I suppose a job's a job - and it won't be long before many people don't have one of those!

But even if the research is deadly accurate - and it might well be - do we really care? I doubt it. It's just one more thing to use as a lever in the never-ending quest to harass the smoking public.

Billy Seggars.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Life Time

Several weeks ago, during the course of my daily round, I encountered an elderly gentleman who was experiencing minor technological trauma. Nothing too serious, and, as he readily acknowledged, nothing he couldn't have sorted out himself but for a slight lack of confidence. I marvelled at this wonderful old man's tenacity and mental agility, for I am quite certain that if (it is by no means certain) I ever approach his age, I will not be in any fit state to lay tool to whatever passes for information technology almost 50 years from now.

In fact, my chances of even understanding how it works will, unless I miss my guess, be fairly remote. A conversation along these lines ensued while I corrected the very minor errors he had introduced into an otherwise flawless upgrade, and, eventually, things turned towards the pace of change, in both technology and life in general. Without more ado, the old chap hunted through his bookcase and came up with a photo album.

Although I generally have little interest in old photographs of people I don't know, have never known, and who are not even remotely associated with me, I quickly became fascinated. For these pictures, taken over 100 years ago, are of daily life in the area where I now live.

I was absolutely captivated. Things have clearly changed; old houses, so sturdy-looking in the pictures, are long gone, replaced by a now-disused petrol station which will, itself, no doubt give way to something else before too long. The heavily becorseted Victorian women marching purposefully onwards, armed with baskets full of groceries, are equally long-demised, along with the shops they frequented. I should think that nobody alive today would even know who they were or where they lived, much less what they had bought.

But the road lives on. Its shape is still pretty much unchanged, threading its way through surrounding structures as impermanent as autumn mist, and even the junctions and turnings into ancient side streets remain, although one or two have, apparently, fallen victim to ill-advised "redevelopment" in the last 20 years or so.

All in all, it made an intriguing study into the nature of life, and of change. No matter what we do, or how carefully we live our lives, we will, sooner or later, go the same way as the dedicated shoppers in the photographs. Like the road, our achievements will live on, but we will pass into history without any great difficulty, only to be remembered for a short time by those with whom we have interacted in life. They, too, will eventually forget, or die, and our legacy will be nothing more than inanimate objects.

Many, like the houses and the petrol station, will fail the test of time and be banished from existence. Others, a very few, will last longer and perhaps become the road that others will follow as they build their own futures. Or maybe not. Either way, it should be fairly obvious that life is a very temporary thing, and we should enjoy it whilst we can.

It presents us with problems and opportunities, but none of them are so significant that another 40+ years and a funeral service won't get rid of them for us. Those with an obsessive interest in saving, and prolonging, lives might as well admit defeat - all they're doing is delaying the inevitable. Of course, the Nanny State doesn't think like that - we have to fit in with their ideas of fun, or Nanny will be Cross.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to look at my new collection of ancient pictures, kindly copied for me by my elderly client, and enjoy a smoke and a pint before Nanny Dawn and Nanny Gordon try to ban them - all in the name of prolonging our lives for our own good, of course!

Billy Seggars.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Poll Axed - Gordon Brown-Trousers Cut Down To Size

Gordon Brown-Trousers is in for another corkingly bad week, if this article in the Telegraph is anything to go by. It seems that the Labour party has hit yet another all-time low in the polls - an ICM survey for The Sunday Telegraph puts the Tories on 42 per cent, 16 points ahead of Labour’s 26 per cent - the lowest figure the party has recorded in any poll by the company.

This is getting a little monotonous, isn't it? One month ago, I posted about a YouGov poll in the Sun that showed the Great Leader, Velcro McBean, Gordon Brown-Trousers himself, on a Michael Foot-ing and doing really very badly indeed. And now he seems to be losing even that tenuous grip on unpopularity. I'd have at least a little sympathy with almost anyone else in Brown's embattled position - I am, after all, a nice guy.

But the Prime Minister has been the sole author of his own downfall, first as Chancellor, and then in the job he schemed and plotted to obtain for so long. New Labour's ever-growing scams, cons and blatant betrayals have finally caught up with them, and Gordon's Trousers are, quite justifiably, Brown. He knows that the electorate has had enough, that they're not impressed with his backtracking on 10p tax or fuel and road tax, and that they're really, REALLY not impressed with his Government's lunatic plans to detain terror suspects for 42 days without charge.

Oh, and there's the small matter of the EU Treaty to consider, too. Despite prayers from the Brown-Trouser camp, that issue hasn't gone away, and is likely to cause him considerable embarrassment this week. Remember how Labour promised us a referendum on that issue, then went back on their word? How is it that the Irish people can have a referendum, but the British Government is too afraid to give one to its electorate?

Remember how, back in 2003, Home Office Minister Caroline Flint claimed that David Blunkett's decision to allow 500 public bodies to access our e-mails and tap our phones was necessary in the interests of National Security, and how a Home Office spokesman promised there would be no widespread eavesdropping and no invasion of our privacy, except in the most extreme circumstances? Remember how, last week, it was revealed that local Councils all over Britain are using those powers to "check for evidence of dog smuggling and storing petrol without permission - and even to trace a suspected bogus faith healer."

And now, with breathtaking audacity, the very same Government wants us to believe that they will impose checks and balances on their madcap scheme to bang people up for 42 days. I don't believe it, and even if they do, those checks and balances won't mean anything at all. It just won't do. This Government has lied to us, misled us, passed legislation that means they and their colleagues in local government can - and do - spy on our private communications. They have feathered their own nests, furthered their own interests and generally abused their position, to a degree that I would never have thought possible in Britain.

Ten years ago, maybe even five years ago, I'd probably have reluctantly agreed to such draconian measures if our elected Government said they were necessary. After all, we pay them to run the show, they have access to intelligence information, and they're supposed to be trustworthy. Who'd ever think that even the most rabidly zealous British Government would ever hatch a plot to turn the country into some pseudo-Stalinist state?

Today, having seen exactly how much contempt Gordon Brown-Trousers and his predecessor have for the freedoms of the British people and their way of life, I wouldn't trust them to ... well, to do anything, actually. And, if the polls are to be believed, I am not alone in my views. The news is not good for Gordon Brown-Trousers, and it's going to keep on getting worse - I wonder how long it will be before raging ambition combines with fear of unemployment to force one of his underlings to try for the top job?

Billy Seggars.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Barmy Binmen

If you were asked to name a career that was likely to expose its workforce to controversy and outrage, what would you say? Politicians are obvious candidates, and so are celebs of all kinds. High profile boffins might be in with a shout, too, with relentless armies of clueless plebs determined to prove themselves better than the best in the field.

In fact, you could probably assemble a fairly long list of likely professions, but I doubt that binmen would be leading the pack. Apart from a distressing reluctance to do any actual work, they don't have many newsworthy traits, and it's unusual for them to make the headlines in their own right.

But things are looking up for the humble refuse collector. Twice this week they have featured in very different stories, each with a very different - but equally ridiculous - health and safety bent.

First, there was the story of Haringey Council, in North London, which is attempting to ban binmen from sticking teddy bears on their bin wagons. I read about this in a motorway services the other day, but can't recall what paper it was in. And since I can now only find it online in the Daily Mail, I'll just have to swallow my anti-anti-plastic-bag stance and link to the Mail.

According to the Daily Mail, Doug Taylor, general manager of Haringey Enterprise, sent out a memo in which he wrote: "Quite why adults would wish to decorate their vehicles this way is frankly beyond me. These items could attract children who may run into the road and suffer injury. On the grounds of health and safety and presenting a professional image of our company, I want all such decorations disposed of with immediate effect."

On the strength of those words, I should imagine there are quite a few things that are "frankly beyond" Mr Taylor. But, just in case he really can't figure it out for himself, he might want to consider these words. "Tradition", "fun", "a bit of a laugh in a dirty job". He might also want to look up exactly how many times a child has been shown to run into the road, whether or not they have suffered injury, as a result of a teddy bear on a bin wagon. Not many, I'll wager, although, thinking about it, I can't help wondering if his youth might have been blighted by an irresistible teddy bear chasing compulsion. And, while he's doing that research, he might want to consider the words "miserable" and "bugger", too.

The notion of a child even noticing the damn bears, let alone running after one, is simply inconceivable. Today's brats are largely blind to anything other than the fastest way to relieve the rest of us of, in no particular order, our money, our mobile phone, our car and our life. And if, by some incredibly unlikely combination of circumstances, one of them is both stupid enough (far fetched) and athletic enough (almost beyond belief) to run, in fits of excitement, into the road in pursuit if a garbage truck mounted teddy, their untimely demise is hardly likely to be of catastrophic consequence to the human race, is it?

And then there's the equally odd story of West Wiltshire District Council's binmen, who are refusing to empty wheelie bins if they cannot pull them to cart using just two fingers. According to the Sun, this unofficial health and safety policy is designed to protect staff from heavy bins falling off lorries and prevent them from damaging the trucks’ hydraulic lifting system.

What is the world coming to when dirty great hairy-assed binmen daren't put a bit of muscle into moving a bin? Pansies! And how crap must the lifting system be if it can't empty a fully loaded bin - if it's that feeble, the Council should surely have issued smaller bins to start with! You can bet there won't be any such objections when the Council gets around to dishing out (if they haven't already) RFID chips for their wheelie bins, though, and concocting schemes to charge residents by the amount of stuff they throw away. Oh no, when that comes to pass - and you know it will - they'll be only too happy to pile on the bins, no matter how heavy they are, and the residents' bills for this service will not be slow to arrive, either.

No, given the opportunity to fleece the public for more money, despite the fact that they've already paid enormous Council Tax bills for the same service, you can bet that the two-finger rule will be dismissed with a single upraised digit, along with any wimpy binmen who try to make it stick.

Perhaps they could get hold of a few bear costumes and offer themselves as mascots to their colleagues in Haringey, instead.

Billy Seggars.

Monday, 2 June 2008

The Bishop Of Stuffup

The Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Rev Gordon Mursell, has clearly lost the plot. In an astonishing outburst in his local parish magazine, the senior Anglican bishop fumed that people who ignore global warming are "as guilty" as Josef Fritzl - denying our children a future.

While insisting that he was not accusing those who ignored the environment of being child abusers, he said a refusal to face the truth about climate change was akin to locking up future generations and "throwing away the key", according to the Telegraph.

So, let me see. A very senior member of a 2000-year-old, three-way fan club, one star of which hasn't been seen by any credible witnesses for almost all of that time, whilst the others cannot be proved to have ever existed at all, thinks everyone ought to be leaping aboard the "climate change" (remember when it was called "global warming" - until it was found not to be?) bandwagon because he thinks it's "the truth". And if we don't, we're akin to a chap who locks his daughter up in a cellar for years and years.

Even at first glance, he's not going to be the most convincing advocate for the bogeyman of environmental disaster, is he? Evidence? Reasoned deduction? Nah, no need for that, just BELIEVE! Unlike his line of work (if you can call it that) we have an awful lot of contemporary - i.e. not filtered through 2000 years of primitive perceptions, superstition and political meddling - data on the state of Earth's climate, it's past, present and likely futures. The correct interpretation of that data is ever more fiercely contested, but there is a growing feeling that the strident, "if you don't stop it you'll go blind" position of the tree-hugging brigade may have no more solid a foundation in fact than the rest of Rt Rev Gordon Mursell's outdated, superstitious stock-in-trade. It's a nice line for the credulous, and keeps its advocates in work, but that's about as far as it goes.

I suppose that a Bishop probably counts as what the media likes to call "community leaders", and I was just about to suggest that, as such, Mursell ought to behave responsibly and refrain from spreading unsubstantiated rumours. Then I remembered what he does for a living. But even so, his outburst, as reported by the Telegraph, doesn't seem to be the most effective way to promote either his environmental concerns or his day job, does it?

Billy Seggars.