August 9, 2004

Monday round-up

"Mr Still [renewables adviser with the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry], who has been brought to New Zealand by Meridian Energy ..." [via CNN Industry Watch, August 8]
It is hardly unusual but still ought to pointed out when a government minister acts as a hired pitchman for private industry rather than a representative of the people. Before joining DTI in 2003, David Still was chairman of the British Wind Energy Association, making his position in government all the more inappropriate.

It is even more galling that the greens and other environmental groups perform the same service to the industry.


Here's a lesson from Ireland for "nuanced" and "sensible" (and out-of-touch) progressives:

"Many of their election posters showed a wind turbine. Once you’ve seen one wind turbine, you’ve seen them all. They define repetitive ugliness. Yet the Greens put up pictures of chilly spikey wind turbines instead of human beings. ... Not starring the candidates they hoped to get elected to Europe and to local authorities. Instead, we were treated to a shot of a wind turbine and some unreadably small print suggesting that wind power was a good thing.

"Without attributing too much significance to posters, the fact is that wind turbines are among the ugliest artifacts ever designed: cold, spiky, inhuman. And that’s when you get them on their own. Breed them on a farm and the end result is the visual quintessence of chilly inhumanity. Yet the Greens gave hero status to the wind turbine during the election -- and now, a few weeks later, are questioning their location in some areas.

"It can be argued that this is a nuanced approach to the energy issue. Nuance never won an election and never will."

-- Terry Prone, Irish Examiner, 9 August (registration required)

Another lesson from Peter Kropotkin, in his 1899 Memoirs of a Revolutionist, about "softening" your demands:

"The Commune of Paris was a terrible example of an outbreak with insufficiently determined ideals. When the workers became, in March 1871, the masters of the great city, they did not attack the property rights vested in the middle classes. On the contrary, they took these rights under their protection. The leaders of the Commune covered the National Bank with their bodies, and notwithstanding the crisis which had paralyzed industry and the consequent absence of earnings for a mass of workers, they proetected the rights of the owners of the factories, the trade establishments, and the dwelling-houses at Paris with their decrees. However, when the movement was crushed, no account was taken by the middle clasees of the modesty of the communalistic claims of the insurgents. Having lived for two months in fear that the workers would make an assault upon their property rights, the rich men of France took upon them just the same revenge as if they had made the assault in reality. Nearly thirty thousand of them were slaughtered, as is known, not in battle, but after they had lost the battle. If they had taken steps towards the socialization of property, the revenge could not have been more terrible."