Thursday, November 29, 2007
U.S. tycoon Donald Trump was left "surprised and disappointed" after Scottish authorities rejected his plan for a $2-billion (1 billion pound) golfing development on Thursday, the project's director said.Clearly the council are saying, as Trump's spokesman said, that "Aberdeenshire are not open for business". I very much hope that (1) Trump will continue with this, his money is after all, mobile & (2) the Scottish government will have the balls to overturn this decision.
A local council committee rejected Trump's plan for two championship golf courses, around 1000 homes, a luxury hotel and 36 exclusive golfing villas on a pristine stretch of northeast Scotland's coast.
Despite an earlier panel agreeing to the plan, Aberdeenshire Council's higher ranked infrastructure and services committee rejected the plans after its chairman, Councillor Martin Ford, used his casting vote to break a 7-7 impasse.
Neil Hobday, the director of the Trump project, said the real estate magnate, who had touted the scheme as good for the local economy, had been left stunned by the rejection.
"We are extremely disappointed and extremely surprised," he told Reuters moments after the decision was handed down. "We feel the council has let down the people of Aberdeenshire in a big way. We will take a few days to reflect on our position."
I have a small piece of personal knowledge here. The vote was split 7-7 with the chair's casting vote then going against (this was proper procedure since a chairman is expected to vote against change). This is obviously as close as is possible. The radio said that the 2nd councillor to speak against was Debra Starr. She is a LibDim who is not merely a member of the party Executive but was also the party's "expert" on drafting motions. In the latter role, when I was still a member of Maryhill LibDems, she attended a meeting on drafting motions for conference, held in Maryhill. The reason for this meeting was largely to achieve an acceptable drafting of my Enterprise Motion which had been rejected allegedly on drafting grounds. Together we redrafted it & my housebuilding motion to her complete approval & both were duly sent in & duly rejected again & again.
In due course she, in the course of my expulsion, faced a report on me which gave, as one reason for my failure that the aforementioned motions I put up had been poorly drafted.
And she voted for it.
This is what I wrote at the time
Mr Fraser's claim that the motions were "badly drafted & not thought through" is in no way truthful. As said the Enterprise motion had already been preliminarily selected for debate at conference. Moreover both motions had had been drafted together with Debra Storr whose job is to ensure that motions debated are properly drafted. She can confirm that she pronounced both motions, after she had finished with them, as satisfactory for debate (though she thought the committee might choose to split the housebuilding one in 2). Indeed after she had finished I suggested that she should publish & put the notes on drafting that she had given us on the Scotlibdem site - she did this which contradicts her endorsement of allegations against me so demeaning of her own abilities.
It is disgraceful that the livelihood of thousands of people & the economic prospects of a region can be destroyed by a wholly corrupt & dishonest political wheel horse like this willing to vote to say that she personally is an incompetent idiot, on command.
UPDATE BBC radio is broadcasting a girn from Ms Storr that a woman came to her home & told her off for this decision. Apparently she called the police on this woman. Instead I think she owes an apology for depriving her of a chance to get a good job.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I would reinforce his objection to calling it a meeting of the "Right" & I found several others there saying the same. Indeed Tom said this had been discussed when sending the invitations & they had basically found no other term people could agree on. I can understand that - call it progressive & Tommy Sheriden would turn up, call it liberal & Nicol Stephen will want an invite & it was clearly seen, by the Tory party, as their bailiwick. Nonetheless I would like to See the description classic liberal used - I think it is the only one which is accurate. It is said that the Conservatives are liberal, the Liberal Democrats are socialist & the Socialists are conservative.
The speaker Mark Pennington certainly spoke for what was certainly free market liberalism rather than conservatism, ending with his fears that Britain's charitable/single issue activists are being effectively nationalised, by government grants & being turned into government controlled lobbyists for ever growing government power. I discussed how this had been done with Friends of the Earth previously. He was clearly worried this would be unstoppable. Thinking it over I wonder if it would be possible for all government grants to lobby organisations to be made public & for opposing organisations to have a legal right to claim something similar, either as an Act of Parliament or more probably a judicial decision under the European Human Rights Convention. Government might be less keen to subsidise FotI or Ash if they might also have to give equal time to SONE or FORREST.
During the lunch I was on the social services discussion group where I helped kick off a discussion on schools vouchers which went down fairly well. Also at the table was a LibDem Policy Ctte member who had the grace to be slightly embarrassed when I introduced myself as someone who had benn expelled from the party for, what I consider to be, liberalism.
In the final discussion the Tory representative was scathing about anybody setting up a free market party, rather than joining the Tories. Personally I consider the SNP to be currently more free market than the Tories, which is why I gave my constituency vote to them. If they want to get such support they are going to have to earn it not assume it as a right. This also seemed to be the opinion of the hall, agreeing that the recent SNP budget was a better "Tory" budget than the Tories could have produced. I hope that message has been taken back to the party leadership.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
So George now realises that we need to build houses.
Some days ago he did an article pointing out that bio-fuels were a scam. Be careful George next thing you will start to realise the free market works far better than putting everything in the hands of Luddite politicians gaining power & money through scare stories. Then they would have to fire you.
Housebuilding is inherently inexpensive - at least 60%, probably much more, of housing costs are regulatory ones - the far higher cost of land with "planning permission", the fact that planners actively prevent the sort of modern mass production techniques that made Henry Ford successful last century & the obstructive Kafkaesque planning system itself.
A century ago a house & car cost the same & there is no inherent reason why they should not again, except for the fact that cars have improved so much.
It is obscene that human beings lives are being blighted so that the heritage industry can maintain the Victorian landscapes that make up our cities.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Beneath it all, like the insistent beat of the ground bass of a poignant passacaglia, is the matter of cost. A billion here, seven billion there, and they are only the direct costs; even more significant is the continual shift of labour and resources from the economically productive sector to the parasitic elements of the regulatory system and the compensation culture. Have no doubt about it: scares have robbed this generation of the age of prosperity and freedom that was their birthright, for which their forefathers fought and died.
As an aside, what are the ingredients of this witches’ brew? Presiding are the international organisations, such as the UN and EU, riddled with fraud and corruption, unanswerable to democratic control or even the simple constraint of audited accounts, yet able to foist their policies on a world population who have no means of resistance. National parliaments are populated by a new generation of professional politicians, most of whom have never done a real job in their lives, hyperactively feathering their own nests, while indolently yielding to the most vocal pressure groups. Journalists, too lazy to gather information for themselves, reproducing without question and virtually unedited the press releases of activists (look at your newspaper and ask yourself: how does, say, the environmental editor justify his pay for a week’s work?). As always, there are the lawyers, particularly in America, who will ruthlessly turn any opportunity to their financial advantage, regardless of the cost to human society. Then, as the driving engine, there are the activists themselves. They are a collection of the amorphous new left; remnants of various groups, such as the anti-war, socially-parasitic hippies, the communists made homeless by the collapse of the Soviet Union, people who simply get their kicks out of ordering others around and many, many others. They have adopted, with great success it has to be admitted, the Trotskyite tactic of entryism. In Britain, almost unbelievably, they have taken control of such bastions of traditional values as the Royal Society and the Conservative Party. They practise the rigorous enforcement of Political Correctness (regulated human behaviour as they alone deem to be appropriate) and their totem is “The Environment”, not the real environment that many of us fought for in the days of real pollution, but a theoretical concept that just happens to conform to their prejudice. This prejudice, above all, is against industry, economic progress and even, at the extreme, humanity itself.
There is more, both in that article & across his site & he says it better than I, as an anti-war long hair, who would be Left if it were not for the company I would be forced to keep, can.
You published a letter from Paul Shaw on Friday saying that "we have overwhelming evidence that carbon is the cause of global warming". I hope you will allow me to point out that not only do we have no actual evidence (a theory is not evidence) but that we know for a fact that no unprecedented warming is taking place.
It has been known for a long time that the Middle Ages were warmer than now, the late Roman period even warmer & 10,000-5,000BC warmer yet. The closest thing to catastrophe was that in the latter the Sahara was covered in vegetation & animals such as hippopotamuses. It has also been recently proven that the "evidence" that 1998 was the "warmest year in a 1,000" is rubbish - it is actually only the warmest year since 1934.
I wonder if this is the first report in the Scottish press of the evidence that, at least in the US where the best records are, the claim of current unprecedented warming has been disproven.
It will be interesting to see if there is any written response & if it will be anything more than assertion that all "deniers" are lying. It has been interesting to see that whatever the papers say on their online comments (even the Guardian), where they are not edited, the balance of opinion is against the alarmist case.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
REASONS FOR SUPPORTING THE EU #1
The supporters of the Union were a Labour MEP, the Green MSP Robin Harper & the Chairman of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency which is probably a fair division of how pro-EU opinion stacks up - the Greens love Brussels bureaucracy & labour are comfortable with it. Opponents were a Tory MEP, a businessman & David Campbell Bannerman, UKIP deputy leader.
Best line of the evening came from Robin Harper who explained that he was keen on the EU because its regulatory powers would prevent "continuous economic expansion".
I hope the Greens & the Eurocrats will be made to stand by this.
Quite an interesting apres ski bar as well. Talked to Brian Monteith, former Tory MSP with libertarian views who was also expelled from his party & to several student types who had actually heard of the 9% Growth Party & understood what I was on about (including 1 who is a Labour councillor).