Back in October 2012 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the EU for creating peace in Europe. A prestigious accolade that somehow seemed to blank out the estimated 100,000 Europeans that died in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990’s.
Then in February 2014 the German Foreign Minister warned that the rise of Eurosceptic parties was a worrying development threatening the EU – an organisation that had helped keep peace for the past 50 years. He equated those against the gradual federation of Europe as supporters of the type of nationalism which caused the First World War. [A bit rich coming from Germany!]
Now we have the 70th anniversary of America and Britain risking all by fighting to free France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, etc from their German overlords. They fought and died to re-establish the freedom of the European nation states. And since 1945 well over a million British and American service personnel have kept serving in mainland Europe. Clearly they have provided the basis for peace in Europe for decades. Decades before the EU was even created. In fact it was only after the EU arrived, in 1992, that the mass slaughter in the former states of the Yugoslavia occurred. All observed but not prevented by a totally inept EU administration.
But the big problem is not so much that this EU spin is trying to re-write history but that is setting the direction of future policies and actions. If you believe the myth that the EU is the only guarantor of everlasting peace in Europe then you will act on it. Hence EU politicians are pushing ahead with plans to expand into Eastern Europe in order to bring their peace and prosperity to more countries. Yet this is the same line that was used in Third Reich propaganda to bring peace and prosperity to Europe in 1939.
Perhaps nationalism is not such a bad idea – given the alternative on offer.
Yesterday the World Health Organization(WHO) issued a further update on the new cases and deaths attributable to Ebola virus disease. This time the update covered just the four days to 6-July – as compared to six days in the update to the end of June.
However there were a further 50 new cases and 25 more deaths reported across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. That’s around twice the number reported last week despite being a shorter period. With new updates coming out every few days the totals are mounting up quickly and now stand at 844 cases and 518 deaths.
These WHO updates have the disclaimer – Data reported in the Disease Outbreak News are based on best available information reported by Ministries of Health. So the figures depend upon the effectiveness of the public services in the three countries involved.
Update – official WHO figures as of 12-Jul-2014 are 964 cases and 603 deaths.
Update – official WHO figures as of 17-Jul-2014 are 1,048 cases and 632 deaths.
Update – official WHO figures as of 20-Jul-2014 are 1,093 cases and 660 deaths.
Update – official WHO figures as of 23-Jul-2014 are 1,201 cases and 672 deaths.
Update – official WHO figures as of 27-Jul-2014 are 1,323 cases and 729 deaths.
Update – official WHO figures as of 1-Aug-2014 are 1,603 cases and 887 deaths.
Update 27-Aug-2014 – no official WHO figures since 20-Aug-2014 when status was 2,615 cases and 1,427 deaths. However WHO has today reported 24 cases and 13 deaths in a separate outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Update – official WHO figures as of 7-Sep-2014 are 4,366 cases and 2,218 deaths.
Go Fast .. Go Slow We’ve had plans to make our motorways to go faster, then to go slower and now to go neither faster nor slower. Today press reports lead with – Controversial ‘green’ plans to lower motorway speed limits to 96km/h [our conversion from mph] in a bid to cut pollution levels from cars are to be scrapped by ministers. Grandad’s previous comment that our civil servants and politicians don’t know what they are doing almost all of the time still applies.
Juncker To Lead The Euroreich No Matter What? Grandad was wrong. The EU does not have two presidents – it has three. We missed out the lower-profile President of the European Parliament. A post that was held by Germany’s Martin Schulz up to last month. But as a result of the recent EU protest vote the newly appointed president for the next term is .. Martin Schulz. And it almost goes without saying that J-C Junker did get the top job after a nominal vote.
Smart Meters It is now a year since British Gas launched its advertising campaign to convince customers that their new smart meters were a big consumer benefit. And today the BBC were giving air time to the MD of the organisation promoting their national rollout. Another We know what’s best for you scheme that is due to be pushed out by the government this week. This time the cost is quoted as being £200 per household – rather than the estimated £390 before. But somehow the national total is still around £11,000 million.
Looking beyond the headlines you find that the meters will be at least £200 per household. For anyone with both gas and electricity and with existing meters in separate cabinets then they will clearly need two smart meters – even if one is only a slave to the main unit. So then the cost may well double up. Also the new meters need electrical power to operate, unlike current gas meters, so will need a water-proofed mains supply to be installed.
A former electricity company director was quoted today as saying: the smart meter rollout bears all the hallmarks of the next great government IT crash. But the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change [snappy job title] gave the view that smart meters will give consumers control over their energy use and help them reduce their bills. Which is the key justification for this mad scheme to go ahead.
Civil servants claim that there will be £17,100 million in benefits for consumers and suppliers. Clearly there are savings for the suppliers when they make their meter reading staff redundant. But the soft savings from getting consumers to use less energy are totally wishful thinking. And so far out of the 19 countries that have done gas meter trials 12 have failed to make any overall savings. So shooting are rather large hole in the scheme’s economic case.
However smart meters could become more acceptable now that Sir Bob Give-Us-Your-Money Geldof has been hired to push the scheme. And his fee should certainly pay all his energy bills for years to come – so that’s at least one satisfied customer. Only another 30 million households to go …
Yesterday the World Health Organization(WHO) issued another update on the new cases and deaths attributable to Ebola virus disease. This one was for just the six days up to the end of June but had 22 new cases and 14 more deaths across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. This means that the official WHO estimates for the current outbreak have now grown to 759 cases and 467 deaths. The inability to prevent new cases arising has caused the WHO to organise a high-level meeting involving eleven key countries in Accra, Ghana today.
The Ebola situation has only made some brief appearances in the UK media but it is serious enough to be addressed by the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) that includes the EU Mobile Laboratory consortium and Public Health England amongst many others.
However despite the many concerns being posted in online forums, mainly about how easily this dangerous disease could exit Africa with global consequences, the official line remains WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone based on the current information available for this event.
For everyone’s sakes let us hope they are right ..