Saturday, July 14, 2007

Neil Harding strikes again*

Neil Harding: The Mouth of NuLabourNeil Harding: the Mouth of NuLabour. The planets are in alignment and so he is due a kicking once again.

It has been some time since your humble Devil turned his baleful eye towards the Jester of the Fifth Estate, Mouth of NuLabour and general fucktard, Neil Harding. To be sure, others, such as the inimitable Longrider, have continued to point out that Neil is a twatmonkey, but one cannot help but feel that one is banging one's head against a brick wall when one is hectoring someone who is utterly unable to appreciate a logical argument.

This stupidity is particularly pronouned today and, as usual, Neil has conflated a load of issues into one post in order to try to deflect from the fact that he is writing contradictory bollocks.
Having Children is bad for the environment.

I knew that someone would agree with me sooner or later...

Well, with billions of blogs out there, the balance of probability dictated that someone, somewhere, had to. It's taken a while though, eh?
... we have to reverse population growth (especially in the developed world where per capita emissions are so much higher) if we are to seriously tackle our environmental problems...

OK. How soon before Neil is advocating a Chinese-style rationing, I wonder?
And that means more than just climate change. We need to improve the environment for its own sake - to improve our quality of life. And inequality is also a factor, I don't think the present levels of inequality can be sustained if we are serious about reducing emissions - the richer you are the more environmentally damaging you are.

Well, this is not only a mildly disgusting argument—although it is very nice to see an enviro-fascist stating precisely what the aim of the climate change movement is, i.e. to make everyone poorer, a position which sits well with Neil's almost-Communist socialism—but it is also untrue.

Were Neil to go down to his local garage and deign to speak to a filthy mechanic who does emissions-testing on cars and ask him which pollutes more—a 1.2 litre car from the early 80s or a massive fucking brand new 2 litre Chelsea Tractor—Neil might find himself surprised by the answer. The answer is, of course, that the older car actually pollutes more because, first, engines were not as clean and, second, that age severely affects efficiency.

Now, ask youself: who is more likely to own a battered, old 1980s 1.2 litre crap-car: a well-off middle-class person or a poor person? Yup, you've got it: the poor person.

There are, of course, other factors to consider in an energy lifestyle, but what is true for cars is also generally true of electrical goods: the newer an appliance, the more energy-efficient it is. And it is not the poor who are going to own the newer appliances.
All this middle class ownership of hybrid cars, recycling and careful shopping is all very good but their higher consumption overall has to be tackled if it is not just to be window dressing - like Cameron - good PR but no substance.

Given that hybrid cars have been shown to be rather less green than a decent, modern pure petrol car, it is indeed window-dressing.

Please note though, that Neil does realise that it is the middle-classes who are being accommodating here and yet it is still not enough for this fucking socialist retard: he wants to make them poorer as well. Does Neil want to make the poor poorer? Does he address their consumption? No, no he doesn't. Because, you see, the poor are all saints.
So far people have not got serious about climate change, some people of course just deny it exists at all.

Ah, Neil loves a straw man: I don't deny that the world is getting warmer but I do deny that man has any significant role in this warming; further, I do not subscribe to the predicted catastrophes because the world has been warmer than it is now, and the human race not only survived: it prospered. And—damn!—we are a lot more adaptable now than we were in the Middle Ages because, you see, we are richer.
Even if they were right (and they are not right)...

Um, quoting The New Scientist's "debunking of climate change myths" is not terribly helpful. As requested by Neil, I did address the first of their articles and showed it to be at the least flawed and, at worst, flagrantly dishonest (at some stage, I am going to go through the articles one by one and show the flaws, with links to documents).

And, as I have repeatedly pointed out, any publication that still wholeheartedly embraces the utterly dishonest Stern Review simply isn't worth the attention of anyone serious about science.
...we should still reduce consumption and lessen inequality as the best way to improve quality of life.

Really? So how does making people poorer and restricting what they can do "improve quality of life", Neil? Let me repeat that, Neil, you fuckwit: how does restricting people's quality of life actually improve their quality of life, precisely?

And what is the point of lessening inequality? Don't you actually mean that you would like to tax high-earners in order to make the poor richer? But if you make the poor richer, won't they become higher consumers thus damaging the environment?

Er, yes.
In the war years we had rationing and people had less possessions.

The word you are looking for is "fewer", Neil: "fewer possessions."
Yet more equality had a strange effect - it improved everyone's happiness.

Yes, Neil, but people like to reminisce. But developments are like scientific inventions: you cannot uninvent them. You can't take away people's desire for a fridge now that we can actually have them!
People said they were much happier then...

"People" are not reliable evidence. Eeeee, I remember when this were all fields...
...their health improved dramatically (admittedly from a very low base)...

Yes, Neil, that low base bit is really very important.
- but isn't this more important than just chasing more and more products that we are persuaded we need when we don't.

Ah, yes: people don't want possessions, they are just "persuaded" that they do. Because, from the point of view of people like Neil, people cannot actually make choices for themselves; they are brainwashed by advertising, they cannot make decent choices and that is why the state must make those choices for them. What a disgusting little man you are, Neil, you thief of ambition, you denier of rational thought: you reduce humans to the level of animals, you horrible little statist.
We cannot afford to ignore the environmental costs of things anymore - I do think we can get round this - but it will need carbon rationing not just 'green taxes'.

But, Neil, green taxes are designed to bring about carbon rationing. Of course, they will make a lot of poor people poorer, but this is for the greater good, isn't it, Neil? This is for the future of the species, Neil, and if the poor get poorer, well, they will at least reduce their carbon footprint, eh?
In fact in some ways we are less green now than we have ever been (For example, I remember how glass bottles were valued and recycled in the past - milk floats collecting them and getting a deposit to take them back to the shop).

Yup, that is because it is now more expensive—for which read, "consumes more resources and is thus more environmentally damaging"—than using new ones.
The easiest way to reduce carbon emissions is to reduce the population.

Well, yes, that would do it. In which case we do not really need to reduce individual consumption, eh? We just reduce the number of individuals. Can baby rationing be far away?
It does make me laugh when the same people on the 'right' who voice their concerns about overcrowding and immigration are usually the same ones who oppose abortion and call for 'English' people to have more children. They quite obviously are just closet (or not so closet) racists.

Come on, Neil, you get that straw man set up for us, go on.
Their policies would mean more overcrowding and lower quality of life as inequality widens (they even oppose house building despite growing demand that will leave many homeless or in squalid conditions. Where is their laissez faire capitalist ideas when they drag their feet over planning applications or call for tighter immigration or for that matter where are their morals when they stop people having a home?)

Neil, their policies do not stop people having a home. They might mean that people cannot own a home, but that is not the same, is it? Owning a home is not a necessity, you know; it isn't like water or food, people will not die if they don't own a home.

Besides, you fuckwitted moron bugger, building more houses will have a higher environmental cost and you are trying to reduce that, remember? Fucking hell! but you are thick: are you seriously unable to keep your logical argument going even half-way through one blog post?

What you should be advocating is that we stop all house-building and demand that people start sharing houses and that all properties become effective communes. Would this "improve quality of life"?
What we reallly need is abortion on demand. Making women jump through bureaucratic hoops to get an abortion is currently helping no-one. It justs mean more late abortions, more unwanted children with poor quality of life, more crime and more distress and unneccesary guilt placed on women by religion and vindictive moralising right wingers.

I agree with you, as it happens, Neil. However, there are many libertarians who wouldn't, who argue that the unborn child's right to life trumps the consequences to the mother. I am not one of those people, but the bonus of these "bureaucratic hoops" is that people really think about what they are doing. They are terminating the life of a human being and whilst I support their right to do so (up to a certain point of development), I do think that people should not do so casually: that they should realise the enormity of what they are doing.
Then there is immigration. Firstly yes an admittance that immigrants in this country will consume more and emit more carbon than if they stop home - but they will also send home remittances that reduce poverty, inequality and ultimately slow population growth which have a much bigger impact in the opposite direction.

But they will make those at home richer and then they will also consume more carbon and become more polluting than they would be in poverty, Neil. Is this good? Aren't you trying to reduce carbon consumption, you idiot?
Basically, education of women is the key and this is something the developed world needs to grasp. We also need to promote contraception (yes promote) in the same way Mcdonalds promotes hamburgers and that means educating children BEFORE they are likely to have sex - not afterwards. We need more sex education not less and as Holland shows this actually is likely to increase the age when people first have sex.

It's nice to see that you agree with me, Neil. But it is not just women we should be educating, you know; we need to educate men too: they too need to take some responsibility for their actions. As the old adage goes, it takes two to tango. Or produce a baby, for that matter.
At the moment the market (through films and some other media (usually the same media that bemoans a drop in morality) promotes sex rather than contraception.

Yes, Neil, because when people go to the cinema to see a film embracing a glamourous fantasy, they don't want to be moralised to and lectured at. Any film that did so would be a massive flop and the market dictates that such films will not be made.

Or would you make a film promoting contraception and then make it illegal for people not to watch it? Actually, you probably would, you statist cunt; in fact, you'd probably strap them down with their eyelids pinned open, a la Clockwork Orange.
There needs to be direct graphic examples of people with sexual diseases - people should be shown horrific images of people suffering such diseases, be given the probabilities of catching them and the problems they cause.

Visual depictions of these diseases are somewhat difficult in this country because... er... we can cure them. Someone has to be in advanced tertiary syphilis before their fingers and nose start failing off; up until that point you can't really get enough graphic images.

It is ironic that Neil should display such ignorance of STDs whilst advocating that others be so educated.
They also need to be shown directly the responsibilities and difficulties of having children - financial, social etc.

Such things are done on a small scale (getting the local 12 year old mother in to lecture her classmates, etc.): but, how, precisely, does one show such effects? And, of course, the financial remittances for having a child in this country are rather tempting; I shall return to this topic in due course.
Sex education can put people off sex and especially unsafe sex. We need a campaign as high profile as drink driving (if not higher profile). The sooner we get away from stigmatising and moralising people the better - the right-wing media and parties and religions have a lot to answer for.

But, Neil, the drink-driving campaign works precisely because it does stigmatise those who drive whilst drunk, as Vernon Coaker pointed out recently.
"I think attitudes have dramatically changed in relation to drink-driving and smoking - we need to have that same sort of discussion and debate around binge-drinking as well."

His point is that drink-driving, and to an extent smoking, have become socially unacceptable; in other words, those who do it are stigmatised. This is what you want for those who have babies?
As well as destroying people's lives they could also be destroying future human chances of remaining on this planet.

Children destroy people's lives? That's a very interesting point of view: perhaps we should teach it in school.

"Well, kids, welcome to the class. I am here to tell you that every one of you destroyed your parents' lives. You are not little bundles of joy, you are harbingers of misery."

And if people don't have children, then that is going to, y'know, mean the end of people on this planet anyway, isn't it? Or would only state-sanctioned couples be allowed to have children, Neil? And for the rest: state enforced abortion? You could be there, as the foetus is scraped from the wombs of the poor, preaching about how it is "for the good of the planet and the human race as a whole".

Besides, population growth in this country has been minimal. In fact, were it not for immigration, our population would actually be dropping. Neil rather dodged away from this, getting mired in his remittances argument, but can we assume that Neil opposes immigration?

How novel: a Lefty opposing immigration—I thought that position was reserved for the hang 'em and flog 'em right-wingers that Neil's always knashing his teeth about.
I suppose given the religious proficies, some of them are quite looking forward to the end of the world, nutters the lot of them!

Wow! Finish on a non-sequitur, why don't you? I won't point out that this warming is hardly the end of the world because it seems slightly pointless. However, I will point out that we have not actually seen any further warming since the 1998 peak.
Even then, as the top graph shows, data from the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, charted from 1979 until October 2006 demonstrate that global temperatures have flattened out over the past five years.

The more accurate NASA satellite data, however, are even more striking. These, recording lower air temperatures, show that there has been no warming since the global peak in 1998. Far from having risen, global temperatures have in fact stabilised.

As science writer, John Ray, points out, since the effects of reduced solar radiation may be lagged, the influence concerned may take some time to show up. One reason for this, he argues, is the vast reservoir of heat, CO2 and much else that girdles the earth: the ocean. It takes some time for a surface temperature variation to show up in the amount of heat stored in the ocean.

His view is that, when the recent drop in solar output works its way through all the systems - such as the ocean - we might expect global cooling. It is cooling, he suggests, that the solar data suggest as imminent, not warming.

Whoops! I'm looking forward to this (except, of course, that I am wrong).

Anyway, having fisked Neil's article, I want to turn to another inconsistancy. Because, you see, Neil is a statist and supports benefits for the poor. These benefits that he supports include, presumably, child benefits and, as we all know, incentives matter. And what incentives they are!
A few nights ago I decided to try and figure out how much money a lone teenage mum could get if she “fiddled it” just right. So, after sifting through Directgov (that delightfully orangey-yellow Government “portal”) I totted up the total and was disgusted.

Yep. Who would have thought: £18,441 per annum. To earn that much as an income tax (and National Insurance) payer you’d need to be earning £25,000 based on my calculations and supported by this online calculator.

All of this is, of course, added to the other benefits received, such as jumping to the top of the council housing queue, etc. The net result is that these benefits actually provide incentives for people to have children. Surely it is rather difficult to show "the responsibilities and difficulties of having children - financial" when, in fact, the financial consequences are not actually all that bad?

Now Neil believes that those evil Tories just want to do down the poor by cutting their benefits, etc. But Neil also wants to reduce the numbers of people who have babies in order that we might save the planet! What to do, what to do?

So, Neil, here's a question for you: do you support the removing of incentives for having children? In other words, Neil, do you support the abolition of child benefits?

If you say "yes" there may be hope for you yet. If you say "no" then you are precisely the fuckwit that I always thought you were: the difference this time is that you are condemned out of your own mouth keyboard.

* Typical public sector fecklessness.


Katy Newton said...

I just asked iTunes Party Shuffle if Neil Harding will ever see sense.

iTunes replies: "Compared To What?"

(By Les McCann and Eddie Harris, from Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Disc 7).

Longrider said...

I have a headache today - I think it must be a consequence of thumping my head against the keyboard.

John Trenchard said...

I thought we had seen off the last of the Malthusian population fascists ages ago.

Seems as if I was wrong.
With each passing day, it is increasingly becoming more apparent that the BBC-Nu Labour-Greenie tree hugger types are becoming more and more Nazi. It is about fucking time that we rediscovered the principles of liberty and started to bang on and on about them.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Being OK looking, quite tall and so on, I have had four kids and I'm not going to apologise for a single one of them.

Good job that Neil Harding is not going to pass on his genes at least.

chris said...

While I care about the enviroment this is the reason why I am not a Greeny. The enviroment is important because of the way it affects people, getting rid of people in order to be good to the enviroment is getting everything arse backwards. Typical selfish socialist twaddle about how genocide is great, "lets kill everybody else to make my life better" says the socialist.

Ian D said...

I've got my own "Environment" policy, and it's simple:

Abolish the tax chain for "green" (whatever that actually means in practice) technology. That means removing corporation tax on business, income tax for the people who work for them, VAT, and all the rest.

Because then you'll find wind and wave and solar power and so forth gets invested in properly, and the really smart bods go to work in those industries (extra cash because they don't pay tax), and then it gets cheaper to develop decentralised power supplies, and also should remove dependency on a bunch of loony states for oil and gas.

Jackart said...

Isn't child benefit the closest in kind to the "Citizen's basic income"? Shouldn't you support CB and argue to get rid of everything else?

Devil's Kitchen said...

The piece was not really about what I believe but, as it happens, CB is absolutely nothing like the CBI.

CB simply forces the rest of us to pay for other people's life-style choices and CB simply encourages those who do not have the wherewithal to make a living for themselves to bring up children who have a similar attitude.


guido faux said...

DK is this guy really worth fisking? I've never even heard of him (ok so that's not saying much).

Reading his articles I thought he was a student or something but on checking his profile says he's 38! Jesus! He can barely form a coherent sentence never mind paragraph or article.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Guido F,

Alright, he's a lazy target but, believe me, he's possibly even funnier than Councillor Kelly...


The Remittance Man said...

The equivalent of twenty five grand? That's more than a new one squaddie gets for risking his butt in Basra/Afghanistan/name-of-3rd-world-hellhole-of-your-choice on a daily basis.

Methinks the country has its priorities somewhat arse about face.

Neil Harding said...

DK, Hi. Lets see if we can agree about some things.

1. The media promotes sex - this is obviously good for sales of newspapers, magazines and films - but should that be the only consideration? None of this has to be censored - but maybe we should reward media that is more socially responsible.

2. A citizen's basic income is fairer than the current means tested mess of benefits.

3. Yes child benefit (£16 a week) is a financial incentive to have children but are you really saying it makes any sodding difference to people's decision to get pregnant and spend their lives having to look after a screaming brat 24/7 for 16 or more years that will cost them a fortune - come on!

4. The £18k you talk about probably just about pays the housing costs and bills - with a little left over for food and clothes, etc. Life, especially in the South East is bloody expensive. These people are not living the life of riley as you try to suggest.

5. The more you consume, the more carbon emissions you make - it is not difficult to work out. Yes newer cars and appliances are more efficient but the rich consume more of everything. The richest people in this country emit dozens of times the carbon emissions of the poorest - worldwide it is even more. The only way to address this is to reduce inequality and even out the carbon emissions fairly amongst the population. Consumerism makes people miserable so lets get rid of it and improve what really matters - quality of life. Most people benefit from more equality - as Scandanavia demonstrates and equality and education generally reduces the population - look to Western Europe and ex Soviet countries.

6. Abortion on demand and more sex education will reduce the population (particularly about STDs - show pictures of herpes and AIDS sufferers).

7. All this talk in the media of a 'demographic crisis' and lack of babies is bullshit. The working population is bigger than ever and will continue to grow - partly because immigrants are of working age, of little drain on services and their labours will support us in our old age as they are currently supporting our economy and reducing our taxes.

8. Look at your temperature graph - are you blind? - It is quite clear that the trend in that graph is upwards.

And finally, no, I am not suggesting any Chinese style restrictions. This has to be done through education - though I must admit to liking your clockwork orange idea for educating some of you! Only joking!

guido faux said...

Mr Harding,

1) Media promotes sex
OK fine but how much sex-promoting media are there in the 3rd world where population growth is really ramping up?

2) Don't know but I'm sure everyone has their own interpretation of what is 'fair'.

3) Most people don't realise this - until they have one!

4) But in the North £18K is not too bad.

5) Well what can I say?
You seem to be suggesting that we make the rich poor, to reduce their carbon emissions. Are you serious??

Evening out carbon emissions 'fairly' will not actually reduce them per se. You do realise that don't you?

If you 'get rid of' consumerism then you are left with communism - we all know how well that turned out.

Quality of life. It's nice to be preached about equality by the Philosopher-Kings in papers such as the Guardian and the Independent while their Editors and star columnists earn £100,000s a year. Of course they actually view socialism as a product or consumable if you will, to be sold to the gullible masses.

6) Getting rich slows population growth - as you alluded to in your original article. You stated that the increase in carbon emissions by foreign workers is more than compensated by the population reduction associated with wealthier societies, when said workers send their cash back home, also taking into account (I assume) the increase in emissions from the recepients of said cash.

7) There is in Europe, especially Italy. That is why we need immigrants. But political conditions in their home countries need to improve so that the ones who want to return can do so and build a succesful capitalist economy - otherwise we're just draining all the talent.
Incidently, global labour arbitrage has the effect of keeping interest rates low which in fact encourages the 'consumerism' you so despise.

8) Looks more like a stock chart 'wedge' patern to me, indicating a compression since 1998. It depends on your time frame.

Chinese style restrictions. Good that you don't advocate this but I'd be careful about introducing 'abortion on demand' into some societies. You just might find the male/female balance is skewed to the extent where political turmoil is inevitable.

Oh yeah? So what has happened for the last ten years, exactly?

Over at the ASI, they are posting some of the winning entries of the Young Writers on Liberty. One does not want to put such keen minds off,...