Although its source is apocryphal it is said that an ancient Chinese curse is ‘may you live in interesting times’, and that country has certainly ensured that it is currently being fulfilled. The gloom engendered by the seemingly endless nightmare of Covid has been only partly lifted by indications of a vaccine on the horizon, as the Jeremiahs of the media continue to waive shrouds, and point to dead bodies, rather than attempting to lift the spirits of the people. Clearly many problems remain, but if we had adapted such negative attitudes in the last war we would assuredly have lost it. For the moment we must hope for the best, as the alternative is to give up in despair.
As I have said before we must not lose sight of the other issues which are still with us. One of these is global warming, as the extreme environmentalists are maintaining their efforts to undermine our society in the name of an unproven theory. We are constantly told that the scientific consensus is certain, and unchallengeable, so I thought that it might be of interest to examine what climate scientists were saying a few decades ago, and these are just some of the published comments warning of the imminent cooling of the Earth.
In 1971 the journal Science published a paper by two eminent scientists which said "An increase by only a factor of four in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 degrees Kelvin, sufficient to trigger an ice age".
In 1973 the Science Digest carried the following warning "At this point the world's climatologists are agreed on only two things. That we do not have tens of thousands of years to prepare for the next ice age, and that how carefully we monitor our atmospheric pollution will have direct bearing on the arrival and nature of this weather crisis. The sooner Man confronts these facts, the safer he'll be".
From an article in Newsweek in 1975, "Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, but they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century".
In International Wildlife, again in 1975, "The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind".
From a book published in 1976 "The cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people in poor nations. If it continues, and no strong measures are taken to deal with it, the cooling will cause world famine, world chaos, and probably world war, and this could all come before the year 2000".
I hesitate to inflict more statistics on readers, but there are facts which the environmental fanatics just ignore, but which prove that their claims are plain nonsense. There are approximately 1% of greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere, 95% of which is water vapour, only 4% being carbon dioxide. Manmade emissions are only 3% of natural emissions, so reducing the former is a complete, and ruinously expensive waste of effort. Only 0.04% of the atmosphere is CO2, and to reduce this significantly would be detrimental to earth's vegetation, and to life in general. Finally it should be noted that greenhouse gases deflect as much, if not more, heat radiation away from the Earth as it reflects back. There are fashions in scientific opinion, and these are exacerbated by the desire to obtain research grants, not to rock the boat, and to enjoy fifteen minutes of fame. The one thing which is undeniable about our climate is that we live in an interglacial, which could end at any moment. The very different advice we now receive from scientists concerning the best way to fight Covid should be a warning to the fact that 'following the science' is not as straightforward as it seems, whatever silly little Scandinavian girls may believe. To insist that we abandon petrol driven cars in a ridiculously short timeframe, with no certainty that we will have the necessary charging infrastructure, or indeed affordable cars with a sufficient range, is just one example of unnecessary panic, caused by listening to the lunatics of Extinction Rebellion and their allies.
On the matter of the US election it now seems certain that Donald Trump has lost. Although he is too bombastic in style for British observers, and very intolerant of those who oppose him, one should look at his achievements, and also those whose lives he sought to improve. Contrary to the propaganda emanating from the media here Mr Trump has succeeded in numerous areas, and kept the promises he made in 2016. Unlike many of his predecessors he has done his best to avoid military adventures, while using the considerable influence of the US to broker peace between Israel and several Arab nations. For this he receives little credit among the liberal elites, in contrast to the ridiculous awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Barak Obama when he had hardly had time to get his feet under the desk. The latter was a good, and well meaning man, but his greatest achievement was to show that it was rightly possible for a person of any race to be President, as he made no significant changes to foreign policy, his greatest expertise being rhetorical, not practical.
In addition, thanks to President Trump's policies, even in the face of this vile virus, the American economy is weathering the global pandemic better than any other major Western country, including those of Europe, experiencing the least severe economic contraction of any major Western economy in the first half of 2020, with the Euro Area economy's contraction being 1.5 times as severe as the contraction of the US economy. Since April, America has gained over 11.4 million jobs, recovering more than half of those lost because of lockdowns. Retail sales are already above pre-pandemic levels, many construction and manufacturing jobs have returned, business activity is at a 20-month high, and new jobless claims fell to their lowest level recently since the beginning of the pandemic. What many people in Britain may not realise is that the Democratic party is dominated by the liberal insiders of the Washington Beltway, who hold the same opinions as our homegrown inhabitants of the Westminster bubble. Just like Boris, Donald Trump was attempting to better the lives of the blue collar workers, ignoring the special pleading of the already privileged middle classes.
As far as we in the UK are concerned we will come to regret Mr Trump's departure, as he is a good friend, and one who supported our efforts to regain our freedom from the domination of Brussels, unlike Joe Biden. Some uninformed commentators describe Joe Biden as a true man of the people, but while he seems to be a pleasant enough chap, he is also a Washington insider to his fingertips, having been a member of the establishment since 1972, when he was first elected to the Senate. On the other hand Donald Trump spoke for the working class, whom the denizens of the Beltway have always treated with contempt. Those celebrating the result of the US election may find that they should have been careful of what they wished for, as I believe that Biden will prove to be be a domestic disaster, and we shall see American society fragment under pressure from the fanatics of identity politics, such as the anti Semites of such organisations as Black Lives Matter, and an intensification of political correctness, now invigorated by his victory, and enforced by the Thought Police of the Left liberal elite.
However the real damage will be to foreign policy, given that Biden considers the EU to be of comparable importance to NATO, which can only lead to the undermining of the latter, while Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping will run rings around a weak, and vacillating, US President. The most perilous consequence will be in the Middle East, where Biden's determination to revive the treaty with Iran will effectively allow the latter to resume fully the production of nuclear weapons. The smaller nations in the area will be forced to abandon any thought of normalising relations with Israel, while the latter will be placed in an almost impossible position. After centuries of persecution the Jewish people see the world as it is, not as the naive wish it be, and the need to protect themselves will result in armed conflict with the zealots of Tehran. Whether the resulting conflagration will spread is uncertain, but the West will anyway have to face fundamentalist terrorists supplied with weapons which will destroy cities. Perhaps the gullible liberals will one day reflect that Donald Trump wasn't so bad after all, but of course they will never admit it.
Unsurprisingly the American electoral system has come in for criticism, some of it justified, but the so called progressives over here are trying to use this to extoll the virtues of proportional representation as a better alternative to our own 'first past the post' method. I recommend that such people watch the three series of the Danish political drama 'Borgen'. This is well written, with an excellent cast, sympathetic characters, and with compelling storylines, but for those with an interest in politics, it explodes the myth that proportional representation somehow achieves a fairer result. Once the elections are over the plethora of small parties indulge in horse trading, in order to arrive at a majority government, seeking policy compromises, and political appointments, thus undermining the very platforms upon which they stood. The result is that, for example, one might vote for a Centre Left party, only to see it support right wing policies, so that its elected representatives might enjoy some of the fruits of power. There is no perfect system, but 'first past the post' usually results in a stronger government, while it should be recognised that the main parties of right and left do generally represent a coalition of ideas, within a philosophical framework clearly understood by electorates.
Although we at this moment are still awaiting the outcome of the negotiations with the EU I feel that to trust our fate to others would be insane. I have seen Schindler's List, read the novels and the history books, watched the TV series, and heard first hand testimony from a survivor of the concentration camps, but recently I watched the 2018 film "Escape from Sobibor", which is so harrowing that I nearly gave up at several points. The cruelty, the callousness, and the vile murders of the innocent, shows that the true horror of what the Germans did makes clear that the we should never forget that we live in a world where monsters prowl just beyond the light of the campfire, and that in the end we must rely on ourselves to defend our freedoms. While the EU is not at present a totalitarian entity we cannot presume that it will not go down that route. There is still a dwindling number alive today who actually took part in the Nazi and Japanese atrocities, and we have seen that anti Semitism has many adherents in countries such as Poland. By all means be friendly with other nations, and co-operate in military matters with those we can trust, such as the USA, Canada and Australia, but never hand over control of our own country to any supranational state. I hope that the changes taking place at No. 10 do not foreshadow a betrayal of Brexit, but if they do, then Boris will never be forgiven, the Tories will deservedly lose the next election, and we shall be on the slippery slope to disaster.