Friday, January 12, 2007

Some are more equal

Maybe you can help me? What is a lobbyist? I ask because this post got me to wondering.

'I have sympathy, as even in the delicate groves of enviro e-academe, you can end up with some rather disconcerting equivalents of G.Bush's 'bring it on'. Especially prevalent where one uses humour, logic and facts to successfully counter (and show-up, wherein may lie the problem), bias, agendas, hissy-fits and hype. Speaking of which, you are right to ponder one's contribution to 'no such thing as bad publicity', but logically staying silent is not an option should one be concerned that all good persons (ok, I'm a PC-brigade coward) do nothing.

In one rather nasty incident recently, I found myself pulling out of a deteriorating online 'debate' with an 'Anon' (who knew who I was when I did not know them) when they said the next time the 'gloves were coming off' and they 'would get into the gutter'. I have since wondered whether, at risk of sounding like a schoolyard wimp, that was worth taking further with the Forum host at least, if not further. Surely what you describe above could be deemed a threat of assault?

As a pure aside, and bearing in mind my area of specialisation, I was interested in your use of the word 'lobby', as it has cropped up a lot, like with Tony 'D2AID2AIS' (don't do as I do, do as I say) Blair's holiday flip-flops on airlines and travel. Thanks to a Green MEP press release I read a government Minister is frustrated he can't do anything because of 'the power of the air lobby'!

I know it has its origins in meeting out of Chambers or some such, and hence doubtless originated here, but until now I had it as a US-based phenomenon and didn't really pay it much heed. No longer. These guys are unelected yet shaping my future.

But what is it? Far as I can gather it's a guy paid a lot by some other guys to whisper into a guy with a vote's ear to swing their way. So far, so open to corruption. But in the case of people not open to a bung, which I presume includes HMG and its officers, how is it any more powerful than 'putting one's point across'. Which is fine, unless it gets more sinister and drifts into areas of undue influence.

If we're talking 'or else' then surely it is illegal, he said naively, having watched Judge John Deed last night.'

Physician, Green Thyself

Another forward - NHS gets green support - from Dave of Solarventi, with the comment 'Perhaps I’m becoming overly cynical but I can’t help suspecting that most of this nice tranche of cash will disappear into the NHS whirlpool never to be seen again or it will be wasted on stupid ideas like putting a mini wind turbine on every ward.'

Well, having noted the recent coverage (see previous blog) on the NHS and how it handles health matters, a degree of cynicism on how it will blow £100 million in an area it has not expertise in is warranted I'd say.

What worries me most is: "meet environmental targets ", and how these tie in to the more laudable “Saving energy also means cost savings in the long term that trusts can spend on improving patient care.”

We'll leave it at 'The NHS is aiming to meet two key energy efficiency targets..' ... for now.

The Pain of Plane is Hard to Explain

Actually it's not hard. All those who have elected themselves to speak on our behalves are plane bonkers: Plane Speaking

'I use these commentary pieces and the replies they provoke (often popping in a few of my own to spice the pot) as one would pan for gold. Sadly, I am having to sift through more and more dross to gain any nuggets of use, as the debate seems to have been hijacked by those from extremely entrenched positions (fair enough, if tedious) who are using this space more to try and knock literary spots off each other, and/or make dubious political points at the expense of reasoned debate (not so fair enough).

From those invited to comment, I'd like to have a sense that the medium is seeking those with some expertise, a fair case and the ability to make it. But what I'm seeing more of (across all media) is the ratings/readers-driven wheeze of getting one extreme to pop in their 2p-worth, and then let loose the hounds from both sides and lick up the blood-money from the crowd that gathers.

So it seems we have a naughties 'loadsamunny' live now, pay-later lad telling greenies they are all kill-joys and, if there is global warming it’s too late/not our fault/not worth worrying about, making the point by slagging off an obviously passionate, but rather unrepresentative (I too find prayer meetings on runways a tad OTT, though on reflection did blog at the time of the Greenpeace/Land Rover chain-ganging that it would be ironic if all the luvvies found their weekend ski-trips halted by disgruntled car workers) and didactic enviro-activist. However his response seems to be to get down from a self-created moral high ground (recently vacated by most of our political estsablishment and even some high profile green elites when practicality met self-interest - conferences to speak at; books to sell. Examples to no longer set. Hypocrisy accusations to fend off) into the gutter to simply trade class, who is backing whom, and new/old money insults with few facts or helpful opinion.

I long ago gave up on Radio 1 when such as Chris Moyles and Sara Cox thought I was more interested in who had dissed whom in The Sun or at the Ivy last night rather than the music. Plus I got older (if not wiser).

Now it's taking place in the environmental world too.

I am trying to run a family and ensure that what we do now works for them, AND can sustain a future for their families.

For that I need reasoned debate, information, solutions or, in the absence of the latter, honesty enough to say we don't know (and to err on my more the green sympathies, the acceptance of the notion that if we don't, maybe siding on caution wouldn't hurt) everything and that it would be way better to get on and do worthwhile things rather than talk, or worse divide and rule out anything by getting into camps, and denying opposing views with abuse and swapping tirades.

There is a vast, disenfranchised majority out there who I reckon is finding this all very unhelpful, which is putting them off engaging. Sadly this serves the deniers more than those of us who would seek to engage positively and pragmatically. For instance, frankly, having had several summers in the UK, I’m up for a bit of sun, sand and sea I can get more than a toe into. Now, how about those train fares to somewhere the kids won't get chundered on by a £50k+ hen-nighter who can't afford BA, or WAG off her LearJet with a travel and showbiz journalist in tow....'

I could have had some sympathy with what this guy is trying to do, if not the way he's trying to do it. His defence here shows him no better than the rest, and IMHO, hurting the cause of getting to rational solutions.


Something* is rotten in this land of.... and it stinks of hypocrisy The Stavros Solution

Our Dear Leader here is bad enough (one comment on the blog about 'stopping driving my Range Rover' when he stops flying), but now it's our unelected variety weighing here.

I don't think it's necessary to have a 4x4 in Chelsea. But I do think 4x4s are a necessary product (try pulling a cow out of a wet field with a Prius, or taking on the Taliban with a G-Wiz), and in any case what, again , is the % they contribute vs. MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THINGS!!!!

Plus the already staked them vs. us camps this has created, fueled by the rampant D2AID2AIS (don't do as I do; do as I say) of the opportunistic numbskulls trying to force it through.

Nil points.

*Thanks to Dave of Solarventi for the forward