29 December, 2015

Chilling Climate of UN Control




Like ancient Druids pleading with the gods for good seasons, world leaders and their aides recently devoted a fortnight in Paris to pleading with each other to stop global temperatures from rising more than an average 2C above pre-industrial levels, when the Earth was emerging from the Little Ice Age.
Of the 196 nations represented at the COP21 conference, 154 were developing economies. Regardless of the direction of world temperatures, they left Paris happy that the UN’s Green Climate Fund, which aims to reach $US100 billion a year by 2020, will give them cash for anything they can pass off as remotely ­related to their intended national contributions to world CO2 ­reduction. They argue this is only fair. Poor countries fare worst from climate change and must be compensated for unspecified damage and their share of repairing the West’s legacy. You can bet $US100bn a year won’t do it.
Overwhelmingly, the money for the fund will come from 42 guilt-racked wealthy nations. That is their moral responsibility. They caused the warming. They threaten the planet. It’s time for them to repay their climate debts.
It matters not that there is no empirical scientific evidence to support these claims. Even the 2C target is not based on science, it was originally plucked out of thin air by the European People’s Party for election purposes. But then climate change is not about credible scientific evidence. It has its roots in Marxism, and ultimately the Green Fund is presided over by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, run by Costa Rican Marxist Christiana Figueres. The “paradigm-shifting” fund will provide employment for an army of green bureaucrats who will offer “concessional finance” for the development needs of less advanced countries.
China, the leading emitter, venting one billion tonnes of CO2 a year more than it admits to, has been adroit in dealing with the politics. It approaches its domestic air quality crisis under the banner of climate action and so turns a domestic necessity into a global virtue. From this and its lack of interest in aid for itself, China projects moral authority and, while there is no cap on its emissions and only a promise that they will peak by 2030, promotes emission restraints for others, for its own competitive advantage.
India has adopted a similar line. The world’s third largest emitter is set to overtake China. It will not accept constraints on ­development and does not spell out when emissions will peak. Like China, it will adopt cleaner energy to improve air quality and will claim UN compensation.
Having successfully captured the West, post-Paris, the noose will tighten. Despite assurances that intended nationally determined contributions, delivered before the conference, would keep temperature increases to no more than 2C, we are now told that even if fully implemented, temperatures will rise by 2.7C by 2100. So the Paris agreement will “only lay the groundwork” and all those hard-won pledges were based on a miscalculation.
How disappointing. But there is now an aspirational 1.5C ambition on the table that Figueres quickly endorsed. Should it ever be agreed to, expect more ambit claims. And without a Tony ­Abbott in Canberra or a Stephen Harper in Ottawa, no world leader utters a peep in protest.
Caught in a moral dilemma of its own making, the developed world concedes its culpability. Its representatives succumb to propaganda and bullying and credulously accept bogus science and catastrophism. They pay no heed to alternative views. They consider abandoning fossil fuels, the world’s cheapest, most ­efficient and wealth-creating power source, and baulk at ­nuclear alternatives.
Instead, they pour hundreds of billions of dollars into costly, ­­in-efficient renewable energy, robbing their industries of flexibility and competitiveness and, punishing the world’s poorest citizens.
Indeed, Western capitalist societies have given up on rational thinking. They embrace junk ­science and junk economics and adopt wealth-destroying postmodern pseudo-economics, which teaches that taxpayer subsidies can produce desirable “economic transformation” and faster growth. Pigs may also fly.
Climate change has cowed once great powers into meekly surrendering sovereignty and independent thought to unelected bureaucrats in Geneva. From the White House to the Lodge, private choice now runs a distant second to collectivist visions.
Although only an aspiration now, the 1.5C target will be relentlessly pursued until adopted. The media, in step with the Green ­Machine, will bombard us with climate alarmism to the applause of the leader of the free world, Barack Obama, who says: “My mission is to make the world aware that climate change is a bigger threat than terrorism.” ­Really? That’s serious. Clearly authority, not common sense or science, now rules the world.
While some activists such as James Hansen may criticise the Paris agreement as “worthless words”, those such as Figueres, interested in reconfiguring the world’s political and economic structure, will be pleased with progress. We are another step closer to her ideal of ‘‘centralised transformation”, with the UN at the authoritarian centre, calling the shots and doling out transfer payments from the rich to ensure poor countries remain her ­mendicants. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says: “If we really want to put an end to global poverty, if we really want to make the world healthier and planet Earth environmentally sustainable, we have first to address the climate change issue.”
The only certainty to come out of COP21 is that there will be a COP22.

19 December, 2015

We Need Publicaly Funded Sceptics

We need publicly funded sceptics to challenge CO2 witch-hunt

In 1589, Princess Anne of Denmark left to marry King James VI of Scotland. En route, her boat was struck by storms. Someone had to be blamed and, as was standard for the time, witches were the usual suspects.
More than 100 suspected witches were duly arrested and at least four people were burned at the stake. The fact James and Anne went on to be happily married, apparently unmolested by tempests, must have reassured them that justice had been done.
The supposed connection between human activity and the weather is an instinctive one and perhaps helps explain the remarkable persistence of incorrect views on climate change.
Every time there is a big cyclone a finger is soon pointed to the modern witch of carbon dioxide emissions. This continues despite there being no evidence that extreme weather events have increased because of global warming. The latest reportof the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits that “evidence suggests slight decreases in the frequency of tropical cyclones making landfall in the North Atlantic and the South Pacific”.
A significant issue with climate change science is that often only one side of the debate is heard, so clear exaggerations and untruths can remain unchallenged.
The US military pioneered the use of so-called red teams whose job was to argue against prevailing wisdom, making its strategies more robust. Climate change science would benefit from more red team analysis.
For example, if you listen to the mainstream media, you would not realise that since the last major attempt to forge a climate change agreement in Copenhagen six years ago, the science has become less certain and gives us less reason to worry. This is primarily because the globe’s climate seems less sensitive to increases in carbon dioxide than previously thought.
In just the past 18 years we have experienced one-third of the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since the Industrial Revolution, but temperatures have not increased as expected.
Satellite data shows no or only minimal warming, and surface-based measures show a warming rate far below projected climate models. At a US Senate hearing this week, John Christy, a lead author on previous IPCC reports, presented evidence that, on average, climate models over-estimated the rate of warming by three times compared with what actually has occurred.
If these models cannot replicate the past, how can we rely on them to predict the future?
The IPCC has recognised this uncertainty by winding down its estimates of how sensitive the climate is to carbon dioxide levels.
In 2007 it reported a possible range of 2C to 4.5C, whereas last year it reported a range of between 1.5C and 4.5C. More recent evidence indicates that the figures could be even lower.
The greatest uncertainty revolves around debates about the climate impact of aerosols in the atmosphere. A paper published this year in the Journal of Climate by Bjorn Stevens from the Hamburg-based Max Planck Institute for Meteorology argues that the impact of aerosols on climate is significantly smaller than the latest IPCC report assumes.
Using these estimates shows that the upper bound of climate sensitivity should not be 4.5C but just 2.2C.
That is pretty close to what we were told the world needed to avoid dangerous climate change. Readers who are paying attention will note that some green activists are now saying we need to keep warming below 1.5C rather than 2C.
When the facts change, so can your arguments.
Whatever the facts, too much weight is placed on conformity in climate change science — most widely demonstrated by the inane argument that “97 per cent of scientists agree”.
Presumably 97 per cent of pundits agreed in the power of witchcraft in the 16th century.
Science is not a democracy. Scientific knowledge progresses from the ruthless exposure of competing hypotheses to criticism. But who is doing that critique of climate change theories today?
Public funding of climate change science almost exclusively flows to one side of the debate. Even just a small sliver of the reported $US100 billion ($139bn) fund that Paris is creating for developing countries could make a difference.
We need red team funding of scientists who take a different view on climate change. Even if such teams ultimately take positions that are incorrect, by challenging the climate zeitgeist they would make our scientific knowledge stronger. That means the policies we implement would be based less on dogma and more on a true appreciation of how carbon dioxide emissions affect our world.
Matthew Canavan is a Nationals senator for Queensland.

18 November, 2015

Humanity's Best Days Lie Ahead

Published on: 
Munk Debate, Toronto, 6 November 2105
I took part in a Munk debate on 6 November, in which Steven Pinker and I argued that "humanity's best days lie ahead" while Malcolm Gladwell and Alain de Botton argued against us. It was entertaining and we shifted the audience our way a little, although three-quarters were on our side at the start (which is probably not representative of the population as a whole).
Here's the text of my opening statement:
Woody Allen once said: “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”
That’s the way pretty well everybody talks about the future. When I was young the future was grim. The population explosion was unstoppable, famine was inevitable, pesticides were giving us cancer, the deserts were advancing, the oil was running out, the rain forests were doomed, acid rain, bird flu, and the hole in the ozone layer were going to make us sick, my sperm count was on the way down, and a nuclear winter would finish us off.
You think I am exaggerating. He’s what a best-selling book  by the economist Robert Heilbroner concluded in the year I left school: "The outlook for man, I believe, is painful, difficult, perhaps desperate, and the hope that can be held out for his future prospects seem to be very slim indeed."
It was only a decade later that it dawned on me that every one of these threats had either been a false alarm or had been greatly exaggerated. The dreadful future was not as bad as the grown-ups had told me. Life just keeps on getting better and better for the vast majority of people.
Human lifespan has been growing at about five hours a day for 50 years.
The greatest measure of misery anybody can think of – child mortality – has gone down by two thirds in that time.
Malaria mortality has fallen by an amazing 60% in 15 years.
Oil spills in the ocean are down by 90% since the 1970s.
An object the size of a slice of bread lets you send letters, have conversations, watch movies, find your way around, take pictures, and tell hundreds of people what you had for breakfast.
And what’s getting worse? Traffic, obesity? Problems of abundance, note. 
Here’s a funny thing. Most improvements are gradual so they don’t make the news. Bad news tends to come suddenly. Falling airliners always make the news; falling child mortality doesn’t.
As Steve says, every year the average person on the planet grows wealthier, healthier, happier, cleverer, cleaner, kinder, freer, safer, more peaceful and more equal.
More equal?
Yes, global inequality is on the way down. Fast. Why? because people in poor countries are getting rich faster than people in rich countries.
Africa is experiencing an astonishing miracle these days, a bit like Asia did a decade ago. Mozambique is 60% richer per capita than it was in 2008. Ethiopia’s economy’s growing at 10% a year.
The world economy has shrunk in only one year since the second world war – in 2009 when it dipped by less than 1% before growing by 5% the next year. If anything the march of prosperity is speeding up.
But my optimism isn’t just based on extrapolating the past. It’s based on WHY these things are happening.
Innovation, driven by the meeting and mating of ideas to produce baby ideas is the fuel that drives them.
And far from running out of fuel, we’re only just getting started. There’s an infinity of ways of recombining ideas to make new ideas.
And we no longer have to rely on North Americans and Europeans to come up with them.
The internet has speeded up the rate at which ideas have sex.
Take vaping. In my country there are now more than 3m people who’ve given up smoking because of e-cigarettes. It’s proving to be the best aid to quitting we’ve ever come up with.
It’s as safe as coffee.
And it was invented in China, by a man named Hon Lik, who combined a bit of chemistry with a bit of electronics.
OK, but isn’t all this progress coming at the expense of the environment? Well no, often the reverse. Many environmental indicators are improving in many countries: more forest, more wildlife, cleaner air, cleaner water.
Even the extinction rate’s down compared with 100 years ago, for the creatures we know about, birds and mammals, thanks to the efforts of conservationists.
And the richer countries are, the more likely their environment’s improving – the biggest environmental problems are in poor countries. 
But what about population? The population growth rate’s halved in my lifetime from 2% to 1% and the birth rate’s plummeting in Africa today. The world population quadrupled in the 20th century but it’s not even going to double in this century, and the UN thinks it will stop growing altogether by the 2080s.
Not because of war, pestilence and famine, as gloomy old Parson Malthus feared, but because of prosperity, education and health.
There’s a simple and beautiful fact about demography. When more children survive, people plan smaller families.
With slowing population growth and expanding farm yields, it’s getting easier and easier to feed the world.
Today it takes 68% less land to grow the same amount of food as 50 years ago. That means more land for nature.
In theory, you can feed the world from a hydroponic farm the size of Ontario and keep the rest as a nature reserve.
And the planet’s getting greener. Satellites have recorded 14% more green vegetation today than 30 years ago, especially in arid areas like the Sahel region of Africa.
But am I like the man who falls out of the skyscraper and as he passes the second floor, shouts “so far so good”? I don’t think so.
You’ll probably hear the phrase “turning point” in this debate. You’ll be told this generation is the one that’s going to be worse off than its parents, that it’s going to die younger, or see sudden deterioration in its environment.
Well, let me tell you about turning points. Every generation thinks it stands at a turning point, that the past is fine but the future’s bleak. As Lord Macaulay put it, “in every age everybody knows that up to his own time, progressive improvement has been taking place; nobody seems to reckon on any improvement in the next generation. We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who say society has reached a turning point – that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us and with just as much apparent reason.”
We filter the past for happy memories and filter the future for gloomy prognoses.
It’s a strange form of narcissism. We have to believe that our generation’s the special one, the one where the turning point comes. And it’s nonsense.
Macaulay again:
“On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?”

22 October, 2015

Boyer Lecture 4-Michael Fullilove

Like many Australians I have often thought we should not take ourselves too seriously and be careful not to make fools of ourselves by suggesting we are more important than we really are. In the opening to his fourth lecture Michael Fullilove suggests otherwise:-

It is often said that Australia is a middle power. But there is nothing middling about Australia.

There are two hundred-odd countries in the world. On every important measure except population, we rank in the top ten or twenty.

Our economy is the twelfth largest in the world. Our people are the fifth richest.

Australia is an old democracy and a free society. We are allied to the global leader and located in the most dynamic region in the world.

Our diaspora is one million strong: our own world wide web of ideas and influence.

We have a continent to ourselves. And we are fortunate enough to share it with the oldest continuing culture on earth.

Australia is not a middle power. Australia is a significant power with regional and global interests – and we should act like one.

16 October, 2015

Podcasts/Boyer Lectures/ Michael Fullilove/and Global Warming

In my vain attempts to retain a semblance of fitness I walk a 3.2km repetitive route march around our immediate neighborhood each morning.I occupy the mind listening to podcasts mainly from that left wing Radio National station of the ABC.

A year or more  ago I was listening to what Gerard Henderson says is the only token right wing ABC programme "Counterpoint" hosted by former Senator, Amanda Vanstone. She was interviewing a man I had never heard of, Michael Fullilove, about his recently released book "Rendezvous With Destiny". This book tells the story of the five emissaries Franklin Roosevelt sent to Europe (sequentially)  to report directly back to him on the situation prior to America's entry into the Second World War. He didn't trust US Ambassador Kennedy and had little respect for the US State Department. Amanda was positively effusive about the book and I decided I'd better read it and did so, online.

It is an excellent book. So much so I attended two functions at which Fullilove spoke in promoting the book and bought the hard copy as I wanted to have it in my library.

Tomorrow Fullilove delivers the last of his series of four Boyer Lectures, a series he has dubbed "A Larger Australia". This morning my podcast was his third Boyer lecture. I find myself very much in agreement with what he says with the notable exception of his views on Global Warming, where he seems to have swallowed the beaten up "alarmist" position.

I find it extraordinary that such an intelligent man can do so. It seems very clear to me that the whole thing is based on a false premise, a view held by such notables as Freeman Dyson, Vaclav Klaus, Matt Ridley, Nigel Lawson, Don Aitken and many others. The premise is that human caused emissions of carbon dioxide are causing alarming warming levels that threaten future generations. In true scientific method the hypothesis continues to be tested against actual observations and is clearly failing the test.This, despite some national meteorologist organisations searching for and declaring individual and/or sequential recordings as "record". And in more than one case being caught adjusting historical records so as to ensure a warming trend.

The promoters maintain their position in spite of the fact that virtually all of the computer models on which the hypothesis is based have been demonstrated to be grossly exaggerated compared with actual observations, emissions have been understated yet the most accurate form of temperature measurements (satellite) have shown no significant warming for the last 18 years. The alarmists now use the term "climate change" instead of "global warming" and seem to accept the lack of temperature increases and readily refer to what they term "the pause". The "Climategate" email scandal demonstrated the extent to which some scientists, the recipients  of Government grants, are prepared to go to to ensure support of the hypothesis.

What we are dealing with appears to be more a belief system rather than science. It seems to be very appealing to those of a negative "leftish" mindset, who are  opposed to the progress mankind has made, particularly with the use of cheap energy sources, and are attracted by the thought of an elitist World Government where control rests with a politically correct elite, rather than democracy where power rests with the great "unwashed". Something very undemocratic about that! As Vaclav Klaus has argued, extreme environmentalism is the greatest threat to the free world since the defeat of communism. I am inclined to agree.

23 September, 2015

Brendan O'Neill Nail's It

Lesson for Tony Abbott: think like an elite or quit public life

Whenever a party topples its leader, our first instinct is to go looking for the knife-wielders.
Who plotted this? Who landed the first blow? Who played the Brutus role, siding with the ousters despite being mates with the doomed leader?
We look behind the scenes. We wonder what was said in corridors at the dead of night. We try to piece together how the new factions were formed and the old ones were elbowed aside.
But we mustn’t lose sight of the other key ingredient of all polite, bloodless coups: how they come to be talked about in public; how they get mythologised.
It’s never enough only to look at who said what to whom in a smokeless committee room at midnight. No, to fully understand a party’s removal of its own head we must also look at what is happening in front of the scenes, in public discussion.
A coup has two parts: the hidden skulduggery and the public justifications for such skulduggery. It’s only by considering both that we may arrive at a clear-eyed understanding of what happened, and why. If we do this for the Malcolm Turnbull-Tony Abbott scrap, then something very interesting — and worrying — starts to emerge: a feeling that Abbott was dumped not because he was an ineffective leader but because his world view failed to conform with what political and media insiders consider to be proper and progressive.
There’s more to this than Liberal infighting; it also feels like a chattering-class coup, the exiling of a leader for daring to think things that opinion-shapers consider heretical.
If we look in front of the scenes of the Turnbull-Abbott drama, one consistent message takes shape: a key problem with Abbott was that he was “out of touch” on certain issues, most notably climate change and gay marriage.
This has shaped the coverage of the coup around the world. Virtually every news piece on the drama Down Under prominently tells us that Turnbull supports gay marriage (though he seems keen to stick with Abbott’s idea of having a plebiscite) and that he is “far better” on climate change.
London’s Daily Mail made a list of the battling leaders’ attitude to issues. Turnbull, the Mail said, was a “firm believer in climate change” and a “vocal supporter of gay marriage”, while Abbott “once said ‘climate change is crap’ ” and would not allow a “free vote on same-sex marriage”. The two men’s thinking on the economy and international affairs came much further down the article.
That the Mail referred to Turnbull as a “firm believer” in climate change confirms the pseudo-religiosity swirling around that issue.
In recent years, belief in climate change and support for gay marriage have become chattering-class litmus tests. These are secular gospel truths you must embrace to gain entrance to polite society. Fail to embrace them and you’re a “denier” and a “homophobe”, to be cast out.
The judgment of Turnbull and Abbott via the green-gay gospel was repeated across the media, from CNN to The Sydney Morning Herald. CNN ran a piece headlined “Five things to know about Australia’s new PM”. No 1 was that he had challenged Abbott before. Guess what No 2 and No 3 were? Yep, “He’s strong on climate change” and “He supports same-sex marriage”.
The implicit message of this global obsession with how Turnbull differs from Abbott on those two issues is that he’s someone we can do business with; he has embraced modern, PC orthodoxies.
The mantra of “He supports same-sex marriage” — uttered everywhere — is the new way of saying: “He goes to church every Sunday.” It marks him out as “one of us”, unlike Abbott.
Pink News, Britain’s most widely read gay magazine, went so far as to celebrate the “toppling” of Australia’s “anti-gay marriage leader”. Well, if he doesn’t support gay marriage he doesn’t deserve to run a country, right? Hound the heretic.
Whatever the internal Liberal machinations that led to the ousting of Abbott, the public mythologisation of his removal is revealing and terrifying.
It speaks to the new intolerance, where anyone who refuses to buy into chattering-class orthodoxies can expect ridicule, and maybe even the termination of their careers.
And the small matter that two years ago the Coalition got five million votes with Abbott as their leader, and with his views on climate change and same-sex marriage known? Never mind that. What does democracy matter in comparison with doing what the media and political elites consider to be right?
And so have the parameters of public debate shrunk even further. It isn’t only Abbott who has been given his marching orders. Through this coup we’re all warned that if we hold views that the elite considers foul, or old-fashioned, we’ll be marked “unfit for public life”.

18 September, 2015

The Renewable Energy Dilemma

Renewable energy claims are unsustainable

Renewables also hurt the poor through higher prices

September 9, 2015 by Larry Bell

Whereas “renewable energy” conjures up visions of wind, solar, and tidal power, “clean” energy sources that will last forever to power the world into a “green,” sustainable future, it won’t happen without an Orwellian restructuring of the world’s social and economic fabric as envisioned by the UN’s Commission on Environment and Development more commonly known as the Bruntland Commission.
Chaired in the late 1980s by Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former prime minister of Norway, the commission set about to advance what appeared to be a noble and desirable cause.
Its foundational report, titled Our Common Future, stated: “Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable in order to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.” So far, it seems pretty hard to argue with a goal like that.
Unfortunately, while it would be great if wind and solar power could accomplish this, their potential capacities and reliabilities just aren’t there.
As for tidal power, applications for utility scale power generation are both unproven and doubtful. Ditto for geothermal, which is another geographically and capacity-limited source.
In other words, none of these “renewables” offer anything remotely close to a sustainability panacea . . . either now or likely ever. Nuclear power, breeder reactors in particular, come much nearer to making a real difference, yet never seem to get the same credit.
As Roger Andrews observes in his August 26 Energy Matters: Environment and Policy blog, the Brundtland Commission went on to link sustainable development objectives to eradicating world poverty . . . again something that sounds really good. Its report stated: “Poverty is not only an evil in itself, but sustainable development requires meeting basic needs of all and extending to all the opportunity to fulfill their aspirations for a better life. A world in which poverty is endemic will always be prone to ecological and other catastrophes.”
Sure, let’s all agree that poverty is a truly tragic condition.
The big rub here is that eradicating poverty won’t be accomplished by depriving desperate world populations of access to affordable and reliable energy — those who now depend upon animal dung fuel for heating, cooking, and water purification — people who lack electricity essential for refrigeration to keep perishable food safe or provide periodic lighting.
And that’s exactly what is happening through international lending programs that emphasize costly and anemic “renewables” while denying vital funds needed to develop abundant local fossil fuel resources.
So the Bruntland Commission offered another condition. In order to raise underdeveloped countries out of poverty, “Sustainable global development requires that those who are more affluent adopt lifestyles within the planet’s ecological means — in their use of energy, for example.” In other words, the solution is for rich countries to send money and become subordinate to a U.N.-run world government which will ensure equal distribution of financial and natural resources.
Needless to say, that world government would also decide what common lifestyle levels and ecological means are acceptable.

Such decisions must include social engineering to control optimum population size. As Our Common Future admonishes: “Sustainable development can only be pursued if population size and growth are in harmony with the changing productive potential of the ecosystem.”

Hey, it’s merely a guess, but perhaps limiting access to affordable energy might be a very effective means to accomplish that desired population reduction.
If any of this sounds familiar, you might understand that the Brightland Commission’s sustainable development mantra provided the foundation for the UN’s Agenda 21 program, which calls for reorienting lifestyles away from consumption, encouraging citizens to pursue free time over wealth, resource-sharing through co-ownership, and global wealth redistribution — beginning with ours.
A 1993 UN report, titled Agenda 21: The Earth Summit Strategy to Save Our Planet, proposes “a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced — a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources.”
The report emphasizes that “this shift will demand a concern for the environmental consequences of every human action be integrated into individual and collective decision-making at every level.”
Last year President Obama’s Council on Sustainable Development was organized to develop recommendations for incorporating sustainability into the U.S. federal government. Predictably, grant programs issued through HUD, the EPA, and nearly every other alphabet agency will spread their Kool-Aid policies throughout the nation.
As Tom DeWeese forewarns in a “Reality News Media” blog, while such grants will be represented as voluntary, expect ongoing restrictions on energy use, development, building material, plumbing and electric codes, land use and water controls, public transportation, and light rail subsidies, and pressures for communities to impose politically correct and economically disastrous and socially unsustainable Agenda 21 development plans.
Welcome to life in the ant colony they have in mind.

07 September, 2015

Cheer Up: The True Mother Of Invention Is Optimism

Cheer Up: The True Mother Of Invention Is Optimism
The Sunday Times, 6 September 2015

Luke Johnson

Always remember that throughout history the pioneers have been exalted, while the doomsayers are forgotten.

IT IS easy to fall into a slump at this time of year. Returning to rain, darker evenings and the daily grind after a summer holiday in sunnier climes — there are plenty of excuses to feel gloomy. Such seasonal dips in mood are entirely forgivable. But in the long run, for both your health and wealth, research shows it pays to be an optimist. Positive thinkers live longer and enjoy higher incomes.

In general, despite the pessimism of the media, academics and socialists, things are getting better. Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England gave an excellent speech in February about growth. He discussed the challenges society faces — inequality, short-termism, poor infrastructure, high levels of debt, worsening demographics and so forth — but overall he argued that each generation has been about a third better off than its predecessor — and there are no fundamental reasons why this progression should not continue.

One of my favourite optimists is Matt Ridley, who has written a new book called The Evolution of Everything: How Ideas Emerge. He argues that the key ingredient for higher standards of living is innovation, and that this is a bottom-up phenomenon, an emergent property of human nature — and will therefore always be with us.

It covers some of the same territory as Mass Flourishing, by the Nobel prize winner Edmund Phelps. His book suggests that individuals matter much less than overall culture and social values. The subtitle of Phelps’s text is How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge and Change.

His thesis is that most industrial discoveries were not pioneered by a few isolated visionaries. Instead, progress has been driven by huge numbers of citizens empowered to create and sell thousands of incremental improvements — from craftsmen and farmers to traders and factory workers.

Similarly, Ridley argues: “The growth of technology, the sanitation-driven health revolution, the quadrupling of farm yields so that more land could be released for nature — these were largely emergent phenomena. So was the internet, the mobile phone revolution and the rise of Asia.”

In many other aspects of life, the world is improving. According to the Office for National Statistics, Britain’s violent crime rate is less than half what it was in the mid-1990s, while life expectancy in wealthier nations has risen by six years over the past 25.

Steven Pinker argues in The Better Angels of Our Nature that war and homicide have been in decline for thousands of years. The world is a much safer place.
Another new book to lift the spirits is Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-First Century. He tackles overpopulation, GM food, peak oil, climate change and other apocalyptic visions. He claims that free enterprise and technology can solve mankind’s problems, just as they have in the past. He also attacks the “precautionary principle”, which distorts so much institutional behaviour and leads to fatuous overregulation and organisational timidity.

The forerunner of all these authors was Julian Simon, who wrote The Ultimate Resource in 1981, puncturing myths of scarcity and despair. It remains essential reading.

I have come to the conclusion that the worst almost never happens — the vast majority of dire predictions by negative commentators and supposed experts are simply nonsense.

Mankind developed a capacity to imagine terrible outcomes as an insurance policy so we could avoid threats and disasters. But being constantly in dread of fresh catastrophes is impractical and taints our judgment. Those who expect to be unhappy or ill or a failure are more likely to succumb to their anxieties.

Indeed, the neuroscientist Tali Sharot in her book The Optimism Bias: Why We’re Wired to Look on the Bright Side, shows how people taking irrational risks can benefit humanity as a whole.

Many entrepreneurs I know say they would never have embarked on the slog of building a business from scratch had they known at the beginning how difficult the journey would be. But thank God they did: that is how invention happens, how new machines and drugs come about, how material advances are made.

The world is full of opportunity, and its resources remain abundant. Improvements take place incrementally and rarely form headlines. By contrast, calamities capture our attention but they can also distort our perspective in harmful ways.

Some might say: “Aren’t you worried about the market collapse in China?” Or, indeed, whatever is this month’s big panic.

But the answer is not to dwell on matters over which you have no control, and instead focus on the limitless possibilities that lie ahead, seizing your personal chances as they arise.

Always remember that throughout history the pioneers have been exalted, while the doomsayers are forgotten.

Luke Johnson is chairman of Risk Capital Partners and the Centre for Entrepreneurs.

27 August, 2015

Submission to the Select Senate Committee on the Murray Darling BasinPlan

From the time that the Howard Government, in an attempt to garner "green" votes, decided to throw $10bn at the Murray Darling Basin, the management of the Basin has been a political football. This vote chasing initiative arose as the great Millennium Drought was biting hard and water shortages, the natural consequences of drought, were being erroneously blamed on extractions for irrigation. The term "over-allocation" entered the national lexicon.

In the years preceding the drought there was extensive reform of water regulation throughout the Basin. "The cap" limiting extractions to the 1993/4 level was introduced and John Anderson's National Water Initiative was passed introducing property rights and market trading of water entitlements and water allocations. These were all positive moves and reinforced Australia's international reputation as a leader in effective water management.

It is fundamental to a proper understanding of water management to recognise the difference between entitlements and allocations. Entitlements grant the holder an ongoing share of consumptive water when there is an allocation. An entitlement without an allocation is phantom water. For each of the Basin rivers there is a water sharing plan which guides the granting of allocations. These plans give priority to critical human and animal needs, followed by assIessed environmental needs and then and only then, are allocations for irrigation extractions even considered.

These principles are applied in a regime of massive natural variability. Our rainfall and run-off is arguably the most variable in the world. Given this variability, asking CSIRO to come up with single figure "Sustainable Diversion Limits" is really nonsense and only demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of our rainfall variability. Averages are really meaningless when one looks at the spreads around the average. Our major dams and the Snowy Scheme diversions have "flattened out" some of this variability, particularly in the southern Murray catchment, and have provided additional water to the west, but compared with the severity of our droughts and the magnitude of our floods, we really only "fiddle at the edges". 

Additional dams, with appropriate by-passes to allow small flows to pass, would further assist and would only "hold back" a tiny percentage of our big flood events.

Our ecology is geared to this extraordinarily variable environment and there is no better example than recent years with the severity of the Millennium Drought and the big flood events that followed.

To gain the necessary authority over the States in the Australian federation the Commonwealth relied on international environmental agreements. As a consequence we have a Commonwealth Water Act which lacks proper balance between social, economic and environmental needs. We have tarnished our previous reputation to be world leaders in water management. The Act should be repealed.

Against this backdrop it can be seen that the Government’s massive purchase of entitlements ("phantom water") will do nothing for the environment in the lean years, when allocations will be limited or non-existent. But in better years, with the Commonwealth now being by far the biggest holder of entitlements and an active player in the allocation market, we are likely to see decisions made for political reasons at the expense of sound commercially driven decisions, had the entitlements remained in private hands.

The most negative human induced environmental issue in the Millennium Drought was the management of the Lower Lakes in South Australia and the controversial Barrages which close-off the Murray River estuary from the sea.

With the piping of fresh water from upstream to the Lower Lakes environs there is now no reason for the South Australian obsession with keeping the Lakes always fresh to prevail. Failure to open the Barrages during the drought and allow salt water to enter, when there was simply no upstream fresh water available for any purpose, quite unnecessarily allowed the emergence of acid-sulphate soils. The huge evaporation of fresh water from the Lower Lakes is a wicked waste of a precious resource.

The commitment of additional water to the Lower Lakes in the latter part of the Plan negotiations and the target of keeping Lake Alexandrina open to the ocean 90% of the time, is a classic example of the political football approach at the expense of objective analysis, which has pervaded the whole Murray Darling Basin issue.

Sadly, the management of the Snowy Scheme has been expressly excluded from the MDB deliberations of recent years. There needs to be more focus on the original water storage/irrigation objectives. Improvements could be made without detracting from the all important hydro/electricity production objectives. If Snowy Hydro is to be privatised, a prerequisite should be a new operating agreement which gives greater weight to water storage for food and fibre production.

Failure to achieve a better balance between environmental and economic/social needs will unnecessarily limit Australia's productive capacity at the great expense of future generations and a growing world hungry for additional production.

(David Boyd is the former Chairman and C.E.O. of Clyde Agriculture Limited and a former General Manager of the Rural Division of Dalgety Australia Limited. Clyde was a major irrigator on the Barwon/Darling River in NSW, a dryland grain producer and the nations largest wool producer. Mr. Boyd has had a lifelong interest in inland Australia's water flows and had had first hand experience in rural Queensland,NSW,Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. He was until recently a Director of Tandou Limited a major irrigator on the Lower Darling and Murrumbidgee Rivers and is Chairman of agricultural research fund the McGarvie Smith Institute.)

JDO(David) Boyd
7A Eastern Arterial Road,
St Ives NSW 2075

11 July, 2015

The Indulgent Cricket Tragic Tries Again

 The Indulgent Cricket Tragic Tries Again

(I should warn the casual reader that the following is written for my family, particularly grandchildren, so you may find it bores the pants off you!)

I have only attended two England/Australia Test Matches at Lord's-the last two which England have won. These are the only occasions Australia has lost in the last 80 years! Some say I should stay away. But, I think I should put matters to right by attending again! Since Australia's previous loss in 1934 there have been 20 matches-Australia have won 9, 9 have been drawn and England have won the last 2 in 2009 and 2013. When England won in 1934 it was their first win since 1896 and was greatly assisted by a sticky uncovered wicket which Verity took full advantage of. So another way of expressing recent events (2009 and 2013) is to say those two matches give England only three wins at Lord's in the last 119 years!

Saturday,11th July,2015
Here we are climbing out of Sydney on CX (Cathay Pacific) 162 bound for Hong Kong.Speed up to 460knts with a 10 hour flight ahead. ETA HK 7:00pm local time which is the same as Perth-i.e. 2 hours behind Sydney. Distance 7300 kms.Altitude 33,000 feet. About to fly over the Liverpool Plains where the approval of a large open-cut coal mine is presently creating great controversy. I am delighted to be in Business Class, but don't like the herring-bone lay out-seats too far from the window for keen navigators like me! Navigation app on the mobile 'phone working well, but light cloud cover not good for viewing. Track quite a long way east of the Darwin route, perhaps keeping well clear of the erupting Indonesian volcano to our north. A break in the clouds just revealed us flying over Coxs Creek-an important tributary of the Barwon Darling which joins the Namoi River at Boggabri, downstream of Keepit Dam. We are about to fly over "Milton Downs" the massive grain farm west of Bellata that I tried hard to buy for Clyde-even got to the lawyers beginning the contract exchange when the vendor pulled the plug. Now west of Moree and cloud breaking up. Country looks nice and green. Air beautifully smooth. Now flying just west of Bengerang, a name I'd never heard of until the recent successful takeover bid for Tandou by Websters. They simultaneously bought the company Bengerang (Prime  Ag renamed) which owns amongst others the property of the same name.

Flew just east of "Binnerwell"  ("Nariel" the next door neighbour and Godfather's brother-in-law, is marked on my navigation map) where at the tender age of 16 years I worked for my Godfather as a first year jackeroo in the droughty year of 1957/8; thence over Injune and Roma, the Carnarvon Range, Springsure and west of Emerald as the clear air became turbulent and the cloud closed in well below us. Now at 38,000 feet. I wish I could see the ground. But, no one else cares-every blind in the Business Class cabin except mine and one other is closed. I suspect that they know nothing of inland Australia and furthermore they don't care. It reminds me of my good friend Allan Farrar's story about the father who asked his son "What is the difference between ignorance and apathy?" and the reply came 'I don't know and I don't care"!

According to the map we are now flying over the headwaters of the Burdekin River east of Charters Towers

Just got a glimpse of the coast somewhere north of Townsville, south of Ingham. Later,I can still see the coast and it seems we are going to fly up to the tip of Cape York, we are presently west of Mareeba.You can see a long way from 38,000 feet.

We have just changed course and are now flying up the western side of Princess Charlotte Bay and are heading further inland. Great view of the eastern Cape York coast. Air beautifully smooth again.
We have now been flying for over three hours, nearly a third of the total trip and are still over Australia! It's a big country! Very glarey and can't make out the ground properly, but we are about to fly over Weipa and out over the top of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

As we departed the Australian mainland the effects of two magnificent chardonnays induced a certain somnolence so I put my seat/bed into the horizontal position and slept like a baby for an hour or two.

The view was blocked by cloud over most of Indonesia and the Philippenes, but I noticed a dispersing vapour trail 1,000 or so feet below us. It got increasingly more defined and I reckoned we were to catch up with another jet. Sure enough after about half an hour a Qantas aircraft came into clear view and it took quite some time for us to gradually overtake it.

We encountered several periods of unpleasant clear air turbulence, with fastening of seat belts required. First impression of Hong Kong was heavy smog and very hot. Got a taxi into the East Hotel with high expectations of booking in to the magnificent glass corner room overlooking the harbour, I had on my last visit and had requested for this one. I was dismayed to be ushered to a corner room at the back looking out over those ubiquitous high rise Hong Kong tenements. I was then led to a lower level room facing the harbour, with the view blocked by more tenements, and instead of modern electric blinds was equipped with a heap of tired, black venetians! So,here I am with the hope of better things tomorrow.

Sunday,12th July
The moral of today is never be frightened to complain! 'The Mother' (Gail) would not agree! I am now in a magnificent room with panoramic views in all directions. Possibly better (higher) than last visit. Still a bit smoggy, but not as bad as yesterday. Stinking hot so am not venturing too far from the air-con. Given the smog issue I wonder why they built all of these high rise units and painted them white. The older ones are looking dirty.
I decided the large hotel pool and the stinkingly hot weather called for a swim. So, I ventured next door into the CityPlaza, with the hotel all part of this massive Swire Property development, bought myself some very plain swimming togs and ventured in. The first time I have somewhat self consciously revealed my grossly overweight, massively scared torso to strangers. I noted no repulsive reactions!
Feeling much refreshed I ventured to the Sugar Bar (remember this hotel is on the site of the old Swire Sugar Refinery) on the 32 nd (top) floor, my room is on 30th, where I enjoyed a beer and some very tasty crocquetes, which comprised my dinner. Whilst contemplating the spectacular scene it occured to me that I was mad not to have booked the morning London flight tomorrow rather than the afternoon flight which means you arrive London at 3:00AM Hong Kong time whereas if I took the morning flight I could arrive around 9:00PM Hong Kong time and mid afternoon London time. It is a 12 hour flight and London time is 7 hours behind Hong Kong.In other words I could use the wasted morning hanging around Hong Kong putting miles under my belt. So with the help of a very efficient "Customer Experience" team, elsewhere known as the concierge, I changed my booking to the morning flight.

Monday 13th
The change of booking probably cost me the chance of an upgrade to Business Class! However, with persistence I managed to get a last minute upgrade to Premium Economy which was an aisle seat in the front of the PE section with added leg room. My companion was a rather feisty little 85 year old Welsh lady, who had been visiting Australia for her sister's 90th birthday and to see her son and grandchildren. The sister lives at Camden and the son is a builder on the Gold Coast, she was good company. Like me she objected to us being treated like children with meals at odd hours followed by almost compulsory sleep time with insistence that blinds be drawn (shades of home), when it was mid morning and bright sunshine outside. To make matters worse the passenger navigation (maps) wasn't working so I couldn't do my usual navigating thing. When I good naturedly asked the steward if this meant we would get a partial fare refund he told me that the refund would be a little earlier arrival in London-presumably because of tailwinds. It intrigues me that the prevailing assumption by all airlines is that passengers have no interest in geography and taking in the countries they fly over, but are only intertested in sleeping and fast trips.
Arrived in London feeling absolutely exhausted. Indulged myself in a taxi to Buckingham Gate and was welcomed by a familiar reception face (male) and found my way to this very tastefully furnished (red wine coloured decor) Flat C on the 5th floor. I partially unpacked, did some shopping, including a UK sim card for my spare phone and went to bed.

Tuesday 14th
I slept fitfully and  awoke much refreshed,donned my Wallaby football jersey and at 6:30AM headed off down Victoria Road past Westminster Abbey, and in front of the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) came face to face with a very fit looking Alistair Cook, the English Cricket Captain running in the opposite direction! I hope he was intimidated by the energetic Wallaby jersey as he looked hard at me. I wasn'tquick enough to tell him to watch out on Thursday!
I attempted to make contact with my Australian medico friend John Russell who I met at Lord's in 2013 and have been in contact with since, who is here with his commercial artist friend Anita Bentley.
After a too generous very healthy breakfast at the flat I walked to Green Park and then down to Piccadilly to correct the mistakenly coded Oyster card purchased at Westminster Tube Station earlier. Got the tube out to St. John's Wood, walked down to Lord's to pick up my Test Tickets. Reminds me of that sick joke which plays on the confusion between test tickets and testicles! On the walk down to Lord's I ran into a posse of Indian Television News guys who were looking for directions to Lord's. They engaged me in conversation and revealed that they were running a story on the very recent Indian Court finding that the IPL Indian team of the President of the ICC had been involved in cricket betting. They were clearly looking for his scalp. I gave in to their pressure to do a TV interview on a subject I knew nothing about and all I cautiously said twice that "it was not a good look" and made a pathetic pun on ethical standards and the English expression "it isn't cricket". Got my tickets without a problem and got a bus back to Victoria via Park Lane. Always intrigues me how the old game Monopoly gave us a firmly implanted view on London real estate values!

After a light lunch at the flat I ran into Merlin S in the foyer. Had a very pleasant conversation followed by a longer equally pleasant talk with brother Sam in his office. Whilst there also spoke with Jonathan. Feeling very weary again, I rested before heading down to the Abbey for Choral Evensong at 5:00PM.
I mentioned to both brothers that if they were coming in to the office I would love to say hello to their parents. I was thus delighted when Sam subsequently rang to say they would be in at 2:30PM tomorrow and would like to see me if I was available. I assured him I would make sure I was available!

Wednesday 15th
Did my usual walk then attended to emails and reading. Met with A and J as arranged and was delighted to see them again. Afterwards I diid another long exhausting walk before reverting to my old practice of dinner across the road at "The Albert".

Thursday 16th Day 1
The BIG day arrives! Tube from Green Park to St. John's Wood and down the road to the North Gate. Met Martin Whitaker as arranged, looking not a day older and took out seats in the Grand Stand where we were joined by John Russell. My hopes for the day were that Australia would win the toss and bat and score a heap of runs to put some pressure on the Poms. These hopes were fulfilled in bucket loads! I wont write a commentary here, but as always with cricket, particularly at Lord's, it will be recorded elsewhere. Suffice to say Rogers and my favourite Smith batted brilliantly and it was heaven. Unlike at Cardiff what luck that there was, was with Australia. 1/340 odd at the end of the day was highly satisfactory. Had a very pleasant Thai dinner with my Adelaide (and Mildura) friends John Russell and Anita Bentley in Camden Town, near where they are staying before getting a cab back to the flat. A great day in all respects!

Friday 17th Day 2
Same procedure and Ausralia poured on the runs. Smith a double century and Rogers 170 odd. Australia  decared at 8/566. The Australian fast bowlers, particularly Johnston, really clicked and England were at one stage 4/30! At close of play they were 4/80 odd. All of my wildest dreams came true!
Had a very nice dinner with John and Anita at a tiny restaurant down the road from Lord's and again returned to the flat by London cab.

Saturday 18th Day 3
Recieved an unexpected, but welcome call from Gail at 4:00AM. She was trying to ring Kate! Ralph Godsall rang to say that his 93 yer old mother had had a stroke and he was a doubtful starter for tomorrow.
Initially England through Cook and Stokes put up some strong resistance, but they were dismissed shortly after Tea for 312. Australia did not enforce the follow on and at stumps were 0/108, a lead of 362. the weather forcast has been toned down and we expect Australia to declare about lunch tomorrow with a lead of about 500, with 1.5 days left to play. During the morning Mike text me a running commentary of the Australia/South Africa rugby test which was of much interest to some of the Aussies sitting around us and which Australia managed to win with an 80 minute try.
Very tired!!

Sunday, 19th Day 4
The weather forecast was rain early. When I looked out at 5:15AM it was fine so I showered and went downstairs. As I stepped out is started to rain! Today was to be our first day in the famous Member's Pavilion  with reciprocal rights applicable and I had my eye on the same seats as we (John Russell, Ralph Godsall, and me) had last time (2013) on the middle deck of the Pavilion under the TV cameras, directly behind the bowlers arm. I  proceeded to Lord's by taxi and joined the queque about 200 metres from the gate at 6:15, under cover of my newly acquired mini umbrella. After about an hour the rain cleared and blue sky appeared. As usual in cricket ground queques enjoyed good conversation, mostly with an ex Army Officer come educator from Cambridge. 
We were admitted to the ground at 8:30 and I briskly found my way to the desired seats. I found John right behind me. We secured them with our bags and went down to one of the many eating places in a small annex between the Long Room and the Bowler's Bar which Ralph Godsall had introduced us to last time. We had no sooner sat down and I spotted Ralph in the food queque so we kept him a seat. His mother is to have an operation and unbloc an artery and he thought he would have to leave at lunch time. He was sitting with his brother. Foor old times sake we arranged to meet at the Bowler's Bar at 12:15PM. Meanwhile Australia batted brightly as they poured on the runs in preparation for a declaration. Rogers had a dizzy spell and went off "retired hurt". Warner, Smith (again!), Clark and Mitch Marsh batted with increasing aggression so that Clark could declare 20 minutes before lunch with a lead of over 500.
Ralph was his usual bright self as we consumed two of those giant English pints standing at the foot of the stairs below the balcony and the bell of the Bowler's Bar. When he departed John and I had a sandwhich at one of the two eateries/come bars at the very top of the Pavilion. England held Australia at bay in the ten minutes before lunch. This turned out to be their high spot!

After lunch English wickets fell with great regularity to our fast bowlers led by Johnston with Lyon chipping in for two of them. England was dismissed for a paltry 103 to lose by a masive 400 plus runs about an hour after Tea. Mission accomplished!!

We had a celebratory drink back in the Bowler's Bar before heading off. As we walked behind the Allen Stand we came face to face with John Howard, Wally Edwards and Steve Waugh. John greeted me warmly, I suspect he recognised my face we having met many times, but didn't recall the name. Likewise Wally Edwards (Chairman of Cricket Australia) seemed to remember me as we have had many Adelaide encounters when I have been enjoying Ian McLachlan's hospitality. Steve Waugh and others wandered on as we chatted to John and Wally. They were in high spirits loving the Australian win. I complimented John on his Keith Joseph lecture given earlier this week and which I had picked up on the IPA's website and much enjoyed.

John Russell and I walked thru' Regents Park on our way bck to his "pad' where we picked up Anita, had another enjoyable meal at a pub on the edge of Camden Town before we found a cab and I returned to Buckingham Gate.

Monday 20th
With a spring in my step after yesterday's win, I headed off clad in my usual Wallaby jumper and drew some unwelcome glances. Did an extra kilometre. About 10:00AM I cheekily again donned my rugby jersey and went down the steps to the management floor immediately below. I think Merlin and Sam saw the joke and we briefly discussed the cricket. Had a brief encounter with former Chairman James as he passed thru'. Afterwards I had a sleep and then spent the rest of the day watching the British Open Golf Championship. I had a pleasant conversation with Anita Osborn, my cousin Michael's widow who is now over 90. She complained of physical disabilities, but sounded her usual sprightly self mentally. Received a 'phone call from brother-in-law Barry Dugan who had just arrived and with Felicity his girlfriend is making his first visit to London. They are staying at a hotel near Marble Arch.

Tuesday 21st
Did another long walk and then arranged to meet Barrry and Felicity at Buckingham Palace. As it turned out this was a great unplanned idea as our nominated meeting time (11:30AM) coincided with the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. It seemed to me very appropriate that their introduction to London should be The Changing of the Guard. Barry didn't appear unduly impressed, but to my delight Felicity was very enthusiastic. We had lunch in a small Pub, appropriately "The Colonies", which I had spotted in a street off Buckingham Gate. Great decor and "good pub food". Wish I had discovered it six years ago when I first had the privelege of staying at Buckingham Gate. After two pints I was drowsy and Barry and Felicity were keen to return to their hotel for more jet lag recovery.
So now I'm organised to depart for Heathrow first thing tomorrow. Somewhat sadly and I wonder whether I will ever return to England. I have now been here five times- 1969/70/ 2002, 2009 2013 and now. It has changed enormously, particularly ethnically, since Gail and I were here for seven months in 1969/70, 45 years ago.I continue to love the place, particularly its cultural traditions, something imbued in me by my anglophile mother, who sadly never made it here.
Link to photos