We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

How’s going green working out for you, Sri Lanka?

Reported a few minutes ago by the Times of India: Breaking News Live: Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa flees as protesters storm residence

The mob breaking into his palace does not necessarily mean that a president becomes an ex-president. But that’s the way to bet. Other leaders might like to note how this came about:

What a difference a year makes: the green dream dies in Sri Lanka

UPDATE: Some reports say that (now almost certainly ex-) president Rajapaksa has been seen at Colombo airport. Meanwhile, fancy a dip in the presidential pool?

Samizdata quote of the day

If police were opening fire on protesters in a European nation, we would have heard about it, right? If there was a mass uprising of working people in a European Union country, taking to the streets in their thousands to cause disruption to roads, airports and parliament itself, it would be getting a lot of media coverage in the UK, wouldn’t it? The radical left would surely say something, too, given its claims to support ordinary people against The System. Cops shooting at working men and women whose only crime is that they pounded the streets to demand fairness and justice? There would be solidarity demos in the UK, for sure.

Well, all of this is happening, right now, in a nation that’s just an hour’s flight from Britain, and the media coverage here is notable by its absence. As for the left in Britain and elsewhere in Europe – there’s just silence. This is the story of the revolting Dutch farmers. These tractor-riding rebels have risen up against their government and its plans to introduce stringent environmental measures that they say will severely undermine their ability to make a living.

Brendan O’Neill

Samizdata quote of the day

What is the fundamental difference between church indulgences and emission allowances? Primarily it is that critics of allowances are not burned at the stake. Presumably because it would cause too many emissions. Otherwise, however, it is the same idea.

Luboš Zálom

The law will find you eventually, evildoer (bin crime edition)

I was arrested & thrown in cell by cops for putting rubbish bags next to my bins EIGHT YEARS ago – the Sun.

A MUM-of-two claims she was arrested and thrown in a cell by police for putting rubbish bags next to her bins eight years ago.

Heather Underwood says she was “shaken” when cops came knocking with a warrant on Thursday morning over the 2014 incident.

The 32-year-old was taken to a custody suite where she was told she had left several black bags next to the bins at her old house.

She was then kept in a locked cell for four hours before finally being told the case had been discontinued.

The charge was for fly-tipping, but Ms Underwood says that at that time in 2014 she had only just moved into the property and found the bins already filled by the previous tenants, so she put her own rubbish in bags next to them. It never occurred to her that this was not allowed, let alone an offence that would be pursued for eight years.

Who is the Inspector Javert of Knutton, Staffordshire? Surely their devotion to duty should be recognised.

There, out in the darkness
A fugitive running
Fallen from God
Fallen from grace
God be my witness
I never shall yield
‘Til we come face to face
‘Til we come face to face

Unless… the Sun did let slip that this lady works as an OnlyFans model. I very much hope that had nothing to do with the police pulling her in.

“The most degrading part of it was when I had to use the bathroom and the toilet just had a glass window, I didn’t even have any privacy.”

Samizdata quote of the day

My Twitter is full of people angry about the insane cost of living increases while my LinkedIn is full of nerdy middle class engineers in safe, white collar jobs excitedly praising net zero policies and their role in building a “sustainable” future.

Tim Newman

Samizdata quote of the day

“The developed world’s response to the global energy crisis has put its hypocritical attitude toward fossil fuels on display. Wealthy countries admonish developing ones to use renewable energy. Last month the Group of Seven went so far as to announce they would no longer fund fossil-fuel development abroad. Meanwhile, Europe and the U.S. are begging Arab nations to expand oil production. Germany is reopening coal power plants, and Spain and Italy are spending big on African gas production. So many European countries have asked Botswana to mine more coal that the nation will more than double its exports.”

Bjorn Lomborg

Autumn is coming

You may think that mid-June is a little early for me to be saying that, but I do see signs that Britain, and perhaps the world, is not as green as it once was:

  • Ben Spencer and Harry Yorke in the Times: “Ministers quietly abandon ‘green crap’ as focus shifts to food security”

    Boris Johnson has scaled back plans to rewild the country as the government retreats from the green agenda to focus on the cost-of-living crisis.

    Ministers last year announced a post-Brexit scheme that would pay farmers up to £800 million a year — a third of the farming budget — to transform agricultural land into nature-rich forests, coastal wetlands, peatlands and wildflower meadows.

    But the fund, called the landscape recovery scheme, has been quietly slashed to just £50 million over three years, less than 1 per cent of the budget.

  • Nick Cohen in the Guardian: “Why bankers close their ears to the ‘climate nut jobs’ talking about the end of the world”

    If the future remembers any corporate villain from 2022, it will be Stuart Kirk. The satirically titled head of “responsible investment” at HSBC looks the part: shaven headed, tightly trimmed beard, hard, sharp eyes. Like all the best villains, the banker’s arguments are insidiously appealing. He says out loud what his audience thinks, cutting through polite society’s pious crap to reveal its selfish desires.

    “There’s always some nut job telling me about the end of the world,” he told the Financial Times’s Moral Money conference – and I haven’t made that title up either. “Who cares if Miami is six metres underwater in 100 years? Amsterdam has been six metres underwater for ages and that’s a really nice place.”

  • A poll by Redfield and Wilton Strategies asked, “Would Britons support or oppose the Government suspending its environmental taxes to reduce the cost of living?” The result:

    Support 49%
    Oppose 18%
    Neither 23%

    A majority (58%) of 2019 Conservative voters and a plurality (46%) of 2019 Labour voters support the suspension of environmental taxes.

  • The president offers his condolences, but that’s enough about you

    The president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, offered his condolences over the massacre of worshippers at a church in Owo, Nigeria.

    News Letter reports,

    Forty people were killed in the attack at the Church of St Francis in the Owo district in the Ondo region of Nigeria on June 5. Over 126 people also suffered injuries following the attack.

    In a statement last week, President Higgins appeared to link the attack with climate change.

    His comments have drawn criticism from the bishop of the Catholic Ondo diocese, Jude Ayodeki Aroguande, who acknowledged and thanked the president for his condemnation but said the “incorrect and far-fetched” link drawn between the slaughter and climate change was “rubbing salt to the injuries of all who have suffered terrorism in Nigeria”.

    In his statement, President Higgins had condemned those responsible for the attack and cautioned against “any attempt to scapegoat pastoral peoples who are among the foremost victims of the consequences of climate change”.

    The Labour politician also called for solidarity with “all those impacted not only by this horrible event, but in the struggle by the most vulnerable, on whom the consequences of climate change have been inflicted”.

    The former president of the United States, Barack Obama, offered his condolences over the massacre of children at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

    The New York Post reports,

    The former president shared the message on Twitter Wednesday in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 children and two fourth-grade teachers.

    “As we grieve the children of Uvalde today, we should take time to recognize that two years have passed since the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer.” Obama tweeted. “His killing stays with us all to this day, especially those who loved him.”

    Really jump in

    “Top Biden aide prods big tech to crack down on climate change misinformation”, Axios reports.

    Gina McCarthy, President Biden’s top domestic climate adviser, said tech companies should do more to prevent the spread of inaccurate information about climate change and clean energy.

    Driving the news: “The tech companies have to stop allowing specific individuals over and over again to spread disinformation,” she told Axios’ Alexi McCammond at a virtual event that aired Thursday.

    “We need the tech companies to really jump in,” McCarthy said.

    Who is “we”?

    And what the [fossil fuel] industry is now doing is seeding, basically, doubt about the costs associated with that and whether they work or not.”

    Expressing doubt about the cost of a proposed government measure, and whether it will actually work as promised? How dare they! Such dangerous speculation cannot be allowed.

    Hat tip: Iain Murray.

    Samizdata quote of the day

    “The facile solutions offered by McKibben and other environmentalists fail to reckon with many things, not least how profoundly the world has changed since Russia’s invasion. Europe’s heavy dependency on Russian oil and gas is just the tip of the iceberg. The world’s renewable energy economy is deeply entangled with geopolitically problematic supply chains. Huge parts of the world’s supplies of silicon, lithium, and rare-earth minerals rely on China, where solar panels are produced by Uyghur slave labor in concentration camps. The idea that the crisis might be resolved by choosing Western dependence on Chinese solar panels and batteries over Western dependence on Russian oil and gas reveals just how unserious the environmental movement’s pretensions to justice, human rights, and democracy really are.”

    Ted Nordhaus.

    HSBC’s internal cancel culture

    A few days ago, HSBC (which is listed in London and Hong Kong) suspended Stuart Kirk, head of responsible investing at the lender, because of how he scorned efforts by regulators to exaggerate the financial and market impact of Man-made global warming. He gave a presentation, “Why investors need not worry about climate risk”, and this seems to have ruffled a few feathers at the bank. (Here is a link to his presentation.)

    As the Wall Street Journal comments:

    “Unsubstantiated, shrill, partisan, self-serving, apocalyptic warnings are ALWAYS wrong,” one of his slides noted. He highlighted sky-is-falling quotes from banking potentates such as Mark Carney, the former Bank of England Governor, who recently said the damage from climate change will dwarf the current pain from rising prices. Tell that to the working folks dealing with 8% inflation.

    But then of course scoring virtue points about climate change is so much easier than not printing lots of money and trying to control inflation, I suppose.

    By the way, I love Mr Kirk’s business title, “head of responsible investing”. As opposed to what, “head of irresponsible investing”, or “lazy investing” or “immoral investing”?

    There appears to have been quite a bit of pushback, and I am thinking of ordering some popcorn. Standard Chartered chief Bill Winters is reported to have said that all should be free to “speak their mind” on environmental issues, even if executives disagree with them. (Standard Chartered, which is listed in the UK, makes much of its money in places such as Asia.)

    And here’s another point: both HSBC and Standard Chartered, given the importance of Asia to their earnings, in 2020 backed Beijing’s imposition of a national security law in Hong Kong, designed to crush democratic opposition to moves around ending Hong Kong’s independence in legal terms under the agreement signed with the UK. Both these banks make much of their environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials. Where does their defence of China’s bullying of Hong Kong leave their “social” or “governance” credentials, may I ask?

    ESG is now a corporate religion in the industry that I report on. It is impossible to seriously criticise it, it seems, without endangering one’s career. That said, I think the hypocrisies and cognitive dissonance involved is showing strains. HSBC may regret suspending a man for telling what is essentially the truth. He is right that there is a lot of self-serving nonsense around ESG and that some people are making a fat living out of it. I hope Mr Kirk, if he is forced out, sues the pants off the bank.

    The aforementioned WSJ article notes:

    If climate change poses such an enormous economic threat, Mr. Kirk asked, why did asset prices surge as doomsday warnings increased? Either climate risk is negligible, climate risk is already in the prices, or all investors are wrong, he said. If you believe the latter, then you don’t believe in markets and shouldn’t be regulating them.

    Credit to Mr. Kirk for exposing the hubris of the regulatory climate emperors even as his superiors shrink in fear.

    Screw ‘Earth Day’

    Sorry but someone needed to say it… 😀