Monster Vac

Spotted on Smart Energy GB website – Case study: Ian Roberts, Crook, County Durham … We had our smart meter fitted in August 2015. It was really straightforward – done within an hour. Since we both work from home, we saw that our kettle, which we used to boil up to 20 times a day, caused a clear spike on our usage graph.
I did a bit of research and invested in a thermal hot water boiler, which insulates your water once it’s hot. It uses a fraction of the wattage, so there are no more spikes, and we have hot water waiting for us when we get up!
The vacuum cleaner was next. We discovered that our old one used 22,000 watts and would have been banned under EU regulations. So we replaced it with a new hoover that uses just 485 watts – it barely makes a mark on our graph …

Cunning_Plan_160Dear Smart Energy Marketing Team – Are really sure about that 22 kilowatt figure? Domestic power points normally have no higher than 30 amp rating – so have an absolute maximum of 7.2 kilowatt (or 7,200 watts) for powering anything. But then being energy experts you would know that already.
Now if that old vac really did consume 22,000 watts then the house wiring must have been glowing red hot and the meter would be off the scale. More likely your blurb has exaggerated Mr Roberts’ usage by a factor of 10. Or was that just a part in some cunning plan?

Where Are They?

Are These Place Mislocated?
Are These Place Mislocated?

Obviously all flat maps are inaccurate in some way due to the curvature of the earth. But this distortion – plus the position of the weather satellite – should not cause town / cities to be relocated. Yet places on the BBC weather map used by Look North have recently seemed to be in some unusual positions when compared to traditional maps or indeed digital imaging.

According to Google Earth the straight line distance from Doncaster to Sheffield is 28kms and from Doncaster to Leeds is 42kms; yet Sheffield looks to be further away. Leeds to Settle is 56kms, twice the distance of Doncaster to Sheffield yet the map, if anything, has it shorter. All an unavoidable effect of satellite imaging? Possibly – but one that is routinely overcome by other forecasters; including other parts of the BBC ..

Could The Last To Leave Please Turn Out The Lights

With so many of the ruling classes wanting the UK to stay a member of the European Union it is no surprise that the leaving process will face plenty of obstacles and delays.

Article 50
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

However only a dwindling number of die-hard EU fanatics believe that leaving can be delayed forever. So one day it will actually happen. But how best to handle the actual separation is not clear to me or – I suspect – many other Grandads. But that does not prevent us making a few guesses.

Step 1 should probably be for the PM to send a letter to one or more of the EU presidents saying we are leaving – as per article 50 of the EU treaty. (see right) Various factions are seeking to delay this first step in both the Commons and the Lords.

Step 2 should be to suspend all payments to the EU – pending the conclusion of the leaving negotiations. This would, no doubt, trigger an unfavourable reaction from the EU. But once committed to leaving we need to hang onto all our funds if only to cover ourselves against the EU stopping or restricting the UK’s benefits and rebates. The alternative of making payments and then asking for them back later seems foolish in the extreme.

Step 3 should be to repeal the European Communities Act of 1972. This step is needed to restore the priority of British laws and remove the superiority of the EU over our affairs. Being a matter that will, most likely, require a parliamentary bill it may well be blocked or delayed by the remaining, anti-independence EUrologists. And that is why this step must come after steps 1 and 2. Any delays in implementing step 3 would, therefore, not delay the actual leaving date.

Once these three steps are cleared then there are dozens – or more likely hundreds / thousands – of laws, rules and regulations that need to be created, replaced, redrafted or scrapped in the UK. A process that could well become long drawn out and tedious. But employing MPs on this task may serve to remind them not to keep adding so many new laws to the statute book in the future.

However the EU treaties do not terminate until terms are agreed in Brussels. This process is allowed to take a maximum of two years from the date of step 1. For any extension beyond two years there needs to be a unanimous agreement by the European Council.

In February 2016 the UK civil service produced a paper outlining The process for withdrawing from the European Union. This painted a very gloomy picture; mainly highlighting their perceived problems in leaving the EU –
– It could take up to a decade or more to negotiate firstly our exit from the EU, secondly our future arrangements with the EU, and thirdly our trade deals with countries outside of the EU, on any terms that would be acceptable to the UK.
– This long period of uncertainty could have an impact on financial markets, investment and the value of the pound, and as a consequence on the wider economy and jobs.
– Issues such as the rights of the approximately two million British citizens living elsewhere in the EU, access to markets for vital industries, and the status of Irish and Gibraltan borders would all need to be addressed.

This report may be excessively negative but it does make some valid points. Now any Grandads with a strong commercial background would probably conclude that the best strategy would be to go for the simplest terms agreed as quickly as possible. In fact terms that could be as simple as a polite goodbye with no concessions or commitments. This would put the UK in the same situation as non-European countries and non-EU members like Turkey. So trips to the rest of Europe could involve visas (and therefore for EU citizens coming to the UK) – providing the EU is really prepared to commit to the cost of extra policing at its borders that this visa checking would incur.

Clearly a quick and clean separation would sweep away all the uncertainties but it would also upset those that want to hang on to EU membership for as long as possible. Notable amongst these would be the SNP. However acting decisively at the first opportunity would shorten the period of unrest; even if it brought to a head the issue of a second referendum on Scotland leaving the UK. Surely a price worth paying when considering the alternative of years of political wrangling.

So when will step 1 happen? If I knew that I would be busy placing bets before saying anything publicly. But sometime while parliament is in recess is often good – so how about Christmas / New Year? That is next Christmas .. not Christmas 2017! However it could be something that none of us live long enough to see …

Getting Ahead of Themselves

Any complaints that Yorkshire lags behind other parts of the UK – or indeed the world – were firmly put in their place earlier today by the BBC’s regional team.BBCFutureNews_2

As this web page clip clearly shows the BBC’s Look North staff have already produced their news reports for events that are eleven days in the future.  Somehow the BBC’s science team have managed to keep this time travel breakthrough a secret – but perhaps they will make an announcement in a future series of Doctor Who; and travel back in time to publish it.

However critics have downplayed this shock development – saying that the choice of news on the BBC has been totally predictable for years.