UK advancing the end of combustion engines


Even an opportunist dolt like Boris gets it…

The United Kingdom will ban the sale of new combustion-engine vehicles by 2030, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today. It will also ban the sale of new hybrid cars by 2035. Johnson made the announcement tonight as part of a new ten-point plan for a “green industrial revolution.”

This is the second time Johnson has moved up the deadline. The original plan was to stop sales of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040. Back in February, Johnson moved the target to 2035. He’s come under increasing pressure to crack down on gas-guzzling cars in order to meet the UK’s broader goal of eliminating emissions contributing to climate change by 2050…

Speeding up the transition to all electric vehicles puts the UK ahead of much of the pack when it comes to other governments’ pledges to phase out cars running on fossil fuels. France has a goal of ending the sale of new gas-guzzlers by 2040. California recently made a pledge to do so by 2035. Norway has a more ambitious goal of ending new sales by 2025…

The United States is governed by people who still think the Earth is flat. They are elected to office, again and again, by people who thank them for their “leadership”.

Bah, humbug!

It never ends…Storm Dennis follows Storm Clara


Click to enlarge

Storm Dennis, one of the deepest low-pressure centres to have formed in recent years, has brought severe weather to Iceland and many western and central parts of the UK.

Some of the regions now being affected by Dennis were also hit by a preceding storm, Ciara, which brought stronger winds than Dennis but less rain. Nevertheless, rivers were already full and the ground saturated before Dennis’s arrival.

The military has been called in provide assistance in parts of northern England, where rivers have overflowed in recent days.

Click through and check out the photos. The worst waves haven’t hit land [yet?]. They’re up to 100 feet high.

10 years difference in Euro Parliament elections

I am honoured to have been elected as a Green party MEP. I can’t wait to get to work on behalf of all those who put their faith in me and in our movement’s vision of hope. We are truly building a common world, rooted in the aspirations of the young and set to deliver lasting change for all.

❝ Millions of citizens from Sheffield to Stuttgart have grown weary of the same old politics of tribal allegiances…Ten years after Yorkshire and the Humber sent a member of the BNP to the European parliament, we’ve elected a black, Muslim refugee standing for the Green party. Now isn’t that something?

❝ The election results from across Europe are bittersweet. Yes, they show that dark shadows of hatred continue to enshroud us – reminding us that xenophobia and hate are by no means a uniquely British problem. Yet we have also witnessed the mighty Green wave cascading through Europe and landing on our shores. We have seen the light of hope beaming not only on the distant horizon, but right here and now in front of us – where we comfortably beat the Tories in all parts of the country, with seven elected Green MEPs. Through this spirit of resistance, we are able to see clearly the path that will carry us to a kinder, fairer, more tolerant Britain and to a greener, more welcoming and more democratic Europe.

Good for you, brother. A significant portion of the American Left would self-identify as Green. Yet, time and again, we confront a one-time lurch into electoral politics by a seemingly isolated solo Green candidate. I don’t know if this is rooted in American impatience or what; but, this kind of effort rarely produces more than disappointment. Maybe our Euro brothers and sisters are accustomed to the building – and the role – of minor parties, Dunno.

I register as Democrat so I can participate in their primaries. That’s about it. Feels like the number of folks doing the same thing grows every year. Believe me, I’d much rather register as Green.

Facebook’s email dump in the UK

❝ As expected, the UK Parliament has released a set of internal Facebook emails that were seized as part of its investigation into the company’s data-privacy practices. The 250-page document, which includes conversations between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other high-level executives, is a window into the social media giant’s ruthless thinking from 2012 to 2015 — a period of time when it was growing (and collecting user data) at an unstoppable rate…

❝ If Facebook was hoping to close the year without any more controversies, these internal documents certainly won’t help. They’re yet another example of the company’s old, ambitious motto to “move fast and break things,” one that it’s desperately trying to get away from.

Some of the folks I respect the most – like Om Malik – have wholly nuked their Facebook presence. The only reason I retain a site there is to maintain minimal contact with old friends and family back in New England and round about this tired planet. Frankly, I’m the worst in the world at actually staying in touch. I never get round to answering “how are you doin'” inquiries from folks I still love as comrades fighting bigotry and war. Hopefully, they remember I was always craptastic at that.

Conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is deliberate sophistry

❝ “…anti-Semitism is so entrenched in our society, so depressingly persistent, that to trivialise it is to trivialise the blueprint of prejudice itself. It is a barometer of moral cowardice: when someone doesn’t want to take responsibility for their own faults or problems, they blame the Jews.”

❝ At the moment, two phenomena are taking place in UK politics. For the first time in nearly 40 years, a politician with seriously left-wing ideas, and pro-Palestinian sympathies, is approaching political power. Over the past two years, that same politician’s party has been going through a series of anti-Semitism allegations so comprehensive and systematic that we may employ the term “blanket coverage”.

❝ There is definitely a long-overdue debate that needs to be had over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – but the current barrage of media attention is not that debate. There are definitely some voices who claim to support the Labour Party, and who allow their anti-Zionism to spill over mindlessly into anti-Semitism. What we are witnessing in the UK media, however, is a near-complete evaporation of critical debate. So many aspects of this coverage are disturbing: the widespread assumption among TV hosts and commentators that anti-semitism is a problem exclusive to the Labour Party (polling suggests it is clearly not); the alarming paucity of any evidence or statistics, so that the sentence “anti-Semitism in the Labour Party”, repeated ad nauseam, becomes its own self-generating fact; the frankly ridiculous allegations of anti-Semitism levelled at the leader Jeremy Corbyn himself (Alan Sugar, one of the most famous faces in British business, tweeted a photo of the Labour leader sitting next to Hitler); the unconditional authority and respect given to voices who have been widely criticised elsewhere for bias – the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, for example, whose unreserved equation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism drew a letter of protest from 88 Jewish celebrities; the lack of journalistic professionalism in giving any sense of proportion to the actual problem (the membership of the British Labour Party is 570,000 – the number of cases pending for expulsion from the party for anti-Semitism, the Guardian reported this week, is 70). Media coverage has been so appalling that, earlier in the summer, a group of 40 senior British academics accused the media of relying for its sources on a handful of “well-known political opponents of Corbyn himself”.

Discussion overdue. No less a problem in the US Congress.

An Amazon Tax Won’t Stop Britain’s Retailers From Self-Destructing

❝ The carnage on the British high street from the likes of House of Fraser and Homebase naturally leads to calls for blood from internet retailing behemoth Amazon.com Inc. Enter Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, who last week said he was strongly considering an “Amazon tax” to help retailers. Conservative Scottish lawmaker Ruth Davidson lent her support this week.

It’s a bad idea.

❝ For a start, let’s just get one thing straight. Amazon didn’t kill the British high street.

The U.K. store chains that have collapsed this year did so because they didn’t have the right products at the right prices, invest enough in their businesses, or stay up to date with consumer trends. Associated British Foods’ Primark faces exactly the same pressures as everyone else, and doesn’t even sell via the internet. But it has prospered…

❝ True, the retail landscape is being reshaped by the continued growth of online shopping. And the tax system needs to be adjusted accordingly. There must be some leveling between bricks-and-mortar stores, which are both property- and people-heavy, and online-only merchants, which are less so.

RTFA for suggestions which make economic and fiscal sense. Something often as absent from the British Parliament as they are in the US Congress.