Tuesday 20 April 2010

Green shoots are not going to do much for the recovery.

listening to the Green leader, Caroline Lucas, on R2 now.

I shared a platform with a Green-sustainer yesterday night. She had a fair few notes but not many facts. Lots of aspirations and ideals..fewer practical solutions and no contingencies.
Can't say I enjoyed it much. Like talking to someone without a common language.

1. {Green} We can all share our skills, if you're a hairdresser and you're a plumber then why not skill swap.You fix my tap, I'll cut your hair.No money changes hands.

BQ- "How does that work except for low-semi skilled trades? A doctor spends 10 years at med school and gives you open heart surgery in exchange for a massage? What skill would a furniture designer be able to offer a roofer?

2. {Green} Stop globalisation. Food in Africa being thrown away because there are no planes to fly it at the moment. Keep produce local and this would not happen. Then some more points about self-sufficiency for the UK and anti-battery intensive farming that seemed to contradict the self sufficiency.

BQ- UK imports about 45% of food need, but about half of that amount is luxury food we wouldn't really miss. So we are around 80% self sufficient, up from 40% before WW2,
mostly due to modern farming methods, mechanisation, pesticides and new strains of crops.
And how do third world countries then find hard currency to buy power stations or hospitals? They grow them? {this then degenerated into the slave economy/raising poverty levels worldwide argument, which is not one to debate on. Emotion over reality. See Patently blog for a good piece about it}

3. {Green} We are at peak oil. The oil price is rising as the oil will run out in 20 years. Sustainable energy is the future..wind farms and solar panels, and allowing solar panels in conservation areas.

BQ- Partly..but oil is $67 a barrel. Not that high. Its the devalued pound causing the spike. And The Falklands? Is there oil there? As the price of oil rises oil exploration becomes more cost effective....Wind farms ..subsidy..well you know the rest.

4- (green} Grow your own food. If we all just grew enough for even two meals a year it would make a difference.
BQ- No it wouldn't. How could that make a difference to anything?
{Rebuttal-} But our grandparents grew their own food in the war.They showed us how.
BQ- Not really. They had too. Grow, or starve. No-one wants to eat gooseberry pie. And...why? Why do it?

And so on...Luckily we didn't get on to their taxation policies.

The trouble is this green position depends an awful lot on trickle down. Recycling older computers for pensioners, setting up community recycling, setting up community shops. It all depends on pre produced goods or voluntary services. Personally I can't see much sustainability in that.

One idea that I did like was a new hospital. The architects were there talking about all the biomass burners and special underfloor heating etc.The artists were showing their sculptures, skylights to starways and living space ideas. Looked very impressive.
It is a fairly small £15 million hospital. There were quite a few 'extras' such as wood paneling instead of plastic, non institutional furniture, cut through corridor walls with glass panels for extra light..trees and shrubs..footpaths, local stone use in the entrance, etc.
What I liked was that the NHS { not PFI} agreed a sum for the development. the county Council agreed to raise additional funds and private groups and individuals had raffles and fetes and whatever to raise the money for the additional extras. Some £1 million.

I just like the idea. The state funds 'X' for everyone but you can add your own 'Y' if you can raise the funds. I like the idea for schools, for playgrounds, parks and so on. .
The argument against is that poor areas always get bog standard or a richer area will receive less in initial funding.

Still, it did look good.


Steven_L said...

I had to give a lift to someone like this a few weeks ago.

She reckoned that it was Tesco's fault there are so many poor people. She was horrified when I told her I eat £2.99 chickens too.

I didn't really know where to begin with her, so I just let her waffle on until I could get her out of my car.

Well done BQ!

Tim Worstall said...

"We can all share our skills, if you're a hairdresser and you're a plumber then why not skill swap.You fix my tap, I'll cut your hair."

This is called "trade". now all we've got to do is point out that trade with a Portugee or a Chinaman is exactly the same thing and we'll have them supporting globalisation in no time.

Budgie said...

The whole point of money is that you do not have to wait for someone with the skill swap you need. They even had money in the bronze age. These greenies are mind bogglingly backward, naive and authoritarian. They are worse than ZaNuLabour and that is saying something.

James Higham said...

Hardly worth bothering about I should have thought.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with gooseberry pie?

Bill Quango MP said...

SL. I did feel a little sorry for her. She had no shoes for one thing. Seriously!

Tim. I wish i'd thought to mention it that simply. The explanation for the acceptance of coinage - The universal skill measure.

Budgie. Mostly bonkers stuff indeed. The greens should be doing a Clegg at the moment. They have the world global warming issue, recycling by law and a change to their own views. Yet they are so unrealistic. They can't seem to go from less fuel efficient cars to fuel efficient to alternative fuels - to very fuel use..
Its all Car or no car.

JH. Give some credit. She had done a lot more prep than I. Most of it 'belief' A bit like a discussion with a Bishop.

Anon: Haven't eaten it since school. Never will again unless the U-Boats make a comeback.

roym said...

im all for bringing personal inflation down, but 3 quid for a chicken? really?

patently said...

Thanks for the link, Bill!