Wednesday, April 02, 2008

in case you missed it

April Fools penguin joke

Must be down to the unique way the BBC is funded.

I thought it was superb.

However, I am amazed at the rather odd relationships that exist with my licence-fee funded national broadcaster these days. This required an ad agency to create and a production company to execute and digital agencies to 'seed'? Was it pro bono? Or is there another funding/revenue relationship at work here?

Anyway, I was totally fooled. I really thought our Tel was flown up to the icy wastes with a full crew, and all ready to get my dander up about the carbon consequences.

So now if they can do this here, can we expect the same every time they feel the need to have a reporter with icicle boogers in a branded puffer standing on something white to tell us something beastly is happening to the icy wastes... because of folk flying all the time to exotic locations?

Beautiful Creatures

I tend to steer clear of overt ecological stuff as it really doesn't fall under the remit, but here's a link from a film director chum of mine's promo of a feature with a famous Chinese actress.

Zhang Ziyi 'A Conservation Story'

He assures me that this lady is very sincere in her advocacy (and not likely to be off by Lear next week to a fur Expo), so the key is how this is impacting on local audience... not usually noted for being too worried about nature when 'to be rich is glorious' kinda comes first.

I guess celeb endorsement can be a good thing, but needs managing very carefully.

I promised I'd pop it up.. and so here you are!

It's good to share

Politicians' lack of commercial experience exposed by survey

They'd be the ones telling those of us mostly concerned with keeping the country going through commerce how to run things, right?

Mind you, we only have ourselves to blame: we're voting them in (well, 25% of 40% or whatever the 'mandate of the people' our stuffed electoral system manages).

More DEFRA initiatives

are announced on the DEFRA website today.

There is the new ActOnCo2 Advice Line which purports to provide "free, tailored, impartial advice from the Energy Saving Trust on how to reduce your carbon footprint." (Hey, stop laughing, I didn't write it!) The EST gets "more than £100 million over the next three years to deliver a broader programme for green homes."

Then there's the Green Neighbourhood Initiative which will give "a green makeover to up to 100 neighbourhoods in England with an aim to reduce their carbon footprints by more than 60 per cent." This one is also delivered by the Energy Savings Trust and is "backed by potentially more than £10 million over the next three years from the Government’s domestic Environmental Transformation Fund."

And of course the CERT scheme comes into effect today which "doubles previous obligations by energy companies to help people make their homes more energy efficient and reduce household emissions. The total investment is estimated at around £1 billion a year for three years."

Anyone else spot the rather strange disparity? The Gov spends 'potentially' £110 Million over the next three years, but the energy company's are 'obliged' to spend an estimated £3 Billion over the same period.

And the difference? Well, CERT will almost definitely achieve something, whilst the EST's new doodads are yet more 'advice lines' and 'initiatives', and we all know what happens with 'initiatives' don't we?

Addendum (Junkk Male): Green drive 'neglects old homes'

There was also an interesting set of questions raised in a post on a safe2say 'government pessimistic' site that was rather spoiled by diving off into some very un-PC territory ranting. I feature a sample of the key points:

'Benn prattles on about "zero carbon homes" and other fantasies like THREE MILLION new homes etc! Hot lines and targets and grand plans and all of this tripe and hot air left unchallenged! THREE MILLION NEW HOMES????
Just where are these fantasy houses going to be built? Just who is going to pay for these homes? How many are council houses? With waiting lists for council homes at record levels and mass third world immigration at record levels just how will services be created to service all these new homes? How many more hospital/school places are needed?
NuLiebour have been allowed to get away with blatant lies about how many houses they are going to build for years now!

I do feel the British public are getting weary of spin without hint of substance.

Addendum 2 - Concern over 'zero carbon' homes - It just gets better, or worse, depending on your view. Well worth a read (net pie chart on consumption). I am intrigued as to how a target can be met when the definition of the measure is still in doubt. It is also depressing how few deem any of these measures as very useful in comparison to a new kitchen, especially when they mostly will save money... to afford the new kitchen. That said, there is a real fear that green means expensive, and that needs addressing. A good start would be by those in power not screwing things so that's exactly what it does mean!

Tipping point?

Just watched a piece on the BBC proposed increases on Landfill Tax being imposed by the guv'mint on Local Authorities... and hence on to us.

I do hope this is an April fool, like the flying penguins (great CGI)**.

Because the other day I opened my council tax demand, and it was not small*. In fact on top of massive increases across the board in other areas, from energy costs, food, BBC licence fee, car tax, etc, I am still trying to cope with a council rise of 4.5%, with police and fire broken out on top at 4.9%.

So when is this new one going to kick in?

And, as noted in the piece, no matter how good at reusing or recycling we might be, it seems it is to be imposed on you no matter what. I thought there were 'per use' proposals in mind, or is that too close to the 'poll tax' nemesis of Mrs. T's era?

I also thought the BBC piece was a bit twee, showing a householder*** strolling out to the garden to deal with the food waste in 3 separate bins. Good on her. But what was not mentioned is the poor sods without such land area options, or the fact that no matter how diligent one is there is going to be a load more that really is very hard to deal with. I have every plastic tray stacked up in the basement in testimony!

*Or...apparently not (My house is perhaps the exception?):

PR as received, edited for length (ie: deleting bullsh*t obfuscation from various breeding groups of over-salaried and golden-pensioned senior public parasites, whose empires and personal nests all this is really to fund than any better services):

(CLG) Lowest increase in council tax for 14 years announced

Eleven successive years of above inflation grant increases from Government - and a continued threat of tough action against excessive increases - have led to the lowest increase in council tax for 14 years, and the second lowest ever, Local Government Minister John Healey has announced.

Figures for 2008/09 published today show that the average Band D increase in England will be 4.0%. 265 (58%) authorities will have increases below the 4.1% Retail Price Index, 69 (15%) below the 2.5% Consumer Price Index, 18 (4%) have no increase and three (0.66%) are reducing council tax bills.

Ministers have said consistently that they expect the average council tax rises to be substantially below 5% and the vast majority of local authorities have complied.

"Our commitment to take action combined with our 45% above inflation increase in Government grant for local services up to 2010-11 has helped bring down council tax rises to a fourteen year low, and most councils have contained their costs and budgeted prudently.

The Minister announced that authorities' 2008-09 budget requirements are excessive if they set a budget requirement increase of 5.0% between 2007-08 and 2008-09, and a council tax increase of more than 5.0% in the same period. Authorities must exceed both principles to be designated for action.

All of the authorities designated for action have 21 days in which to make their case. The Government will carefully consider any representations made before taking further decisions.

Information on capping principles, budget requirement and council tax increases for all authorities is available on the Communities and Local Government website.

**Brand Republic - BBC launches iPlayer campaign with flying penguin footage


***I owe the lady in question if not an apology but at least a clarification. In her blog - 'The Rubbish Diet' - she makes very clear the case pro and con. And shows herself to be highly thoughtful on all the issues. I still have maintain that I often find the major media less diligent in what they punt out, from slavish agenda propaganda by some government supported entities, to highly superficial scare stories that ignore commercial realities or local conditions such as LAs can face from tabloid rags. The losers, inevitably, are the consumer, and in their confusion or kicking back, the environment.


But it's all OK. prices of things such as vacuum cleaners and TVs have gone down. So... let me get this straight... they are really trying to offset trying to put a roof over our heads, eat and stay warm with buying a bunch of tat once a decade?


I am grateful to reader Christine of isitfair (hope I have the correct URL link) for some nice humour, albeit gallows, on the subject!