Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

Lynne Herself

Frack Yeah!

The Graun is glumly reporting the go ahead Lancashire County Council had given to Cuadrilla to frack for shale gas.  It is an anonymous piece and therefore lacking the usual colourful alarmist hyperbole so loved by the Moonbatistas of this world.  Even so, it contains lefty bias.

Rejecting plans for test fracking in Lancashire would send a message that the county was not open for business and investment, a coalition of local businesses, academics, farmers and students has warned.

So not everyone is buying the climate alarmist claims then.  What a shame.

Planning officers at Lancashire council have recommended the application for a site at Preston New Road near Little Plumpton be passed, subject to a number of conditions being met, but plans for a similar site at Roseacre Wood should be turned down because of an increase in traffic.

Both sensible decisions.  Preston New Road is a major ‘A’ road linking Blackpool with Preston.  Roseacre is a tiny village served by narrow and winding country lanes not suitable for heavy traffic.

The council’s development control committee will have the final say this week on whether Cuadrilla can explore for shale gas by drilling, fracking and testing the flow of gas. Separate applications would need to be submitted if the firm wanted to progress to commercial fracking.

And not a single subsidy in sight.  Private enterprise is footing the entire bill.  Shame the same can’t be said about Big Wind and Big Solar.

Among those speaking on Monday was Steve Pye, a former chairman of the Blackpool and Fylde and Wyre branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, who pointed out that concerns had been voiced when the nuclear, aerospace and chemicals industries all set up in the region.  That had not led to an adverse impact on local people or local house prices, he said.

Clearly not a member of one of the local anti-fracking activist groups then.  They think that fracking will bring about Ragnarok.

It is a brand new industry that could create a lot of jobs. It would lift the the average wage and it would boost the local economy significantly.

Brand new, no.  The Yanks have been fracking for years.  It’s certainly an economic game changer and, unless you are a watermelon, a welcome one.

Janet Thornton, founder of Kirkham-based consultancy firm Inspired Energy, said: “I believe it will expand jobs everywhere.  The cost of energy is the biggest issue to growth of any business. Some of the companies that we have been working with say they have gone down to three-day weeks and they have lost contracts and orders.

Yes, it’s high time we stopped driving British companies to the wall or abroad because spiraling energy costs at home are crippling them.

She added: “I think you will always have strong opposition because people in the north-west don’t like change.

Because even in the twenty-first century we Lancastrians still refuse to put aside our clogs, shawls and whippet pies or cease muttering darkly about “Trouble at t’mill.”  You were doing fine right up until that stupid, condescending comment, Janet.

We need to progress as a community. Lancashire needs putting on the map.

Oh, goody.  I’ll phone Ordnance Survey first thing.

Pye said: “Henry Ford would not have got any further if they all had told him at the time when he went to build his first car: ‘Oh by the way Henry, there is going to be 100 people a week in the UK who will die on the roads, we are not going to let you go ahead and manufacture your cars because it’s not going to be safe.’”

The Graun reporter must have put some effort into finding the two most media-unsavvy people in the room.  Capitalism kills – geddit?

A group of local sixth formers, college and university students later gathered on the steps of County Hall in Preston to call for the approval of the plans.

All those years of CAGW indoctrinatiion in our schools gone to waste.  Tut, tut.

Julian Hine, a student at Blackpool and The Fylde College, said: “At the college we’re learning a lot about the technical aspects of shale gas and the skills required to work in the industry. The approval of the applications would be great news for Lancashire and the whole of the UK.

“For me and my friends, further exploration would be an exciting step towards Lancashire becoming a hub for a major new industry.”

I share your sentiments, Julian.  So do a lot of not-so-averse-to-change- as-some-would-have-you-believe north-westerners.

The government is pushing for the development of a shale gas industry in the UK, claiming it would create jobs and growth, reduce energy prices and cut the country’s reliance on gas imports.

Nowt wrong with that.  Unless, of course, you are on a mission to save the planet from a non-existent threat world slaying plant food.

Opponents have raised fears that the process causes earthquakes, can pollute water supplies and could lead to inappropriate development in the countryside and damage house prices.

Ably assisted and widely reported by the Beeboids and Grauniadistas ad nauseam.

Give Appeasement a Chance*

Everybody’s talking about
Terrorism, Islamism, extremism, point-the-fingerism
This-ism, that-ism, ism ism ism
All Obama’s saying is give appeasement a chance.
All Obama’s saying is give appeasement a chance.

C’mon, everybody’s talking about
GOP vulture, spy culture, mess up, ‘fess up,
Prisoner hoarding, waterboarding, secret torture, now we’ve caught ya.
All Obama’s saying is give appeasement a chance.
All Obama’s saying is give appeasement a chance.

C’mon, everybody should be talking about
Sainthood, brotherhood, fluffy kittens, woollen mittens,
Inviting Osama’s buddies for tea (let’s forget Obie threw him into the sea)
All Obama’s saying is give appeasement a chance.
All Obama’s saying is give appeasement a chance.

C’mon, everybody stop talking about
Suicidal blame game, WTC up in flames,
Thousands dead, this is an auto da fe what’s to be said?
All Obama’s saying is give appeasement a chance.
All Obama’s saying is give appeasement a chance.

No, I don’t condone torture although I do accept that sometimes it is a necessary evil and hard decisions have to be made.

No I don’t believe showing the terrorists this level of state weakness and cowardice will in any way stop them trying to destroy us all. In fact I believe it will encourage them.

Yes, I do believe that Obama is salting the earth before the next US election. Forcing an entire nation to fall on its own sword in order to crush one’s political opponents (no, not the terrorists) is not the way a sane person would go about it.

Obama had the chance to close down Guantanamo, I seem to recall it was one of his electioneering promises before he became POTUS. But he didn’t.  Let’s not forget that this is also the creature who wanted to bomb the crap out of Syrians and was thwarted by the democratic process. He’s a thrice damned hypocrite. And he has fatally weakened the country he is supposed to protect and damaged its international standing. It is world class hubris.  It makes him either very vindictive or very stupid. I vote for both.

*Apologies to John Lennon for torturing his lyrics.

If wishes were Porsches…

…our political effete, according to the recent (and ongoing) ano-cerebral effusions emanating from the LibLabCon party political conferences, remain incompetently pedestrian and intellectually gastropodal.

Trying to out-stupid everyone else by applying a thick coat of Pledge (sic) to turds and desperately making outrageous and unworkable promises that we know from bitter experience will perish faster than a duck on a lava lake if they get into office, is just scamelling embarrassing. Come the next general election, if there is a reason to vote for any these morons hidden deep within their rabid electioneering rhetorical bollocks I haven’t found it yet.

F**K You Obama…

…and the wilfully blind donkey you boomeranged back in on.

That goes double for our Westminster village idiots who for years have been turning sinister somersaults [see what I did there?], while waving the flag of anti-terrorism, to grab a piece of this fascist action.

Oh, a final word for our unelected EU puppet-masters just in case you’re listening – f**k you too!

A Balanced Contribution

Further to SaoT’s “not a debate” thread (which I have no issue with) and referring in particular to the last sentence of Robert Edwards’ comment:

The sad truth is that some birds are, as you say, ‘easier on the eye’ than others, so good luck to them; it must be q. rough being a munter, but those are the breaks, I’m afraid…

I’m afraid I can’t let Robert’s gauntlet lie unmolested.

You see, I’m no oil painting.  Neither are most of the women in my family.  We are all Plain Janes and therefore, if you accept Robert’s point of view, munters.  We do, however, possess brains, personality and, in the main, senses of humour.  We are also, by and large, with a slight emphasis on the large in my case, successful.  I don’t feel, or have ever felt, hard done by in the looks department.  Despite the lack of visually stunning facial attributes I still managed to bag a successful man.  A design engineer in fact.  We have a comfortable, if modest life together, we live in a nice area and after almost thirty years of marriage he still treats me like the sun shines out of my every orifice.  The lack of any kind of easy on the eye beauty ideal has never held me back so no, it isn’t q. rough being a munter.

I was a beautiful baby and have the pics to prove it.  However, I didn’t live up to the early promise.  Never gave it a second thought because you see, I could beat the pants off the pretty, giggly girly girls when it came to smarts.  Boys, make-up and fashion have never featured on my conversational radar because I would much sooner watch paint dry.  Like the bulk of the female population I don’t envy good looks and I’m of the opinion that if you’ve got it then why not flaunt it.  And, as Robert says, good luck to those who do.  If they want to decorate some bloke’s arm or use their physical attributes to sell goods or catch a well to do hubby then go for it and go for it hard because there is a shelf life to beauty unless you want to go the way of the scalpel.  Smarts last a hell of a lot longer.

I’ve seen pretty girls bed hop like sex crazed frogs in the hope of catching the man of their dreams.  It never seemed to quite work out for them and all they got was a rep for being easy; popular but not wifely material.  I never had to do that to catch a bloke but it isn’t because I’m a munter and no one ever asked me.  I wouldn’t lower myself.  In fact I feel sorry for the lasses who believe they have to flit from bloke to bloke in order to work their way up the social ladder.  I got there through sheer hard graft and using my noggin.  My significant other half came along later.  However it was my well fitted uniform skirt over suspenders (it was bloody hot in the summer of 1976) that initially snagged him.  Right after I nicked him for speeding…

I might be a munter in the eyes of some but I’m not some hairy-lipped, envious as hell, face that sucked a thousand lemons femiloon.  I scorn the harridans who dictate how a gorgeous lass should behave.  How very dare they vilify any woman with the guts to strut her stuff.  They should give us all a break, STFU and go shave their armpits.

Having said that I have a confession to make.

If some fairy godmother popped up and offered to make me easy on the eye as well a keep my intelligence I’d jump at it.  Who wouldn’t want the best of both worlds?  However, if the same FG offered beauty at the expense of 25% of my IQ I’d tell her where to stick her wand.  You see I prize intelligence more than looks.  As for todays female role models – gawd help us!  I’ll never be inspired by or aspire to be a Cheryl Cole, a Jordan or a WAG.  The very idea of living a life like that leaves me cold.  I’d sooner put out my eyes than read about them or watch them.  They have no interest for me.  I’m far more interested in politics, science, shooting clay and off-roading.

Being a munter is no bar to ambition.  All you need to do is look at Charlie Jug-ears’ squeeze.  She might look rough but that didn’t stop her hooking the heir to the throne.

Being plain ordinary isn’t a burden.  Lacking the ability to turn heads never killed me nor turned me into an envious bitch.  My existence isn’t rough by any stretch of the imagination.  Munter is just a name.  I shall wear it with pride because I had to fight for what I have.  It didn’t get offered to me because I have perky boobs and a face that the Royal Navy could use to supplement their depleted fleet.  If individuals need to pigeonhole me as a munter because nature didn’t grace me with a certain type of physiology then it says more about them than about me.  I inhabit the middle ground, a place between stunning and munter.  And let me tell you, it’s bloody crowded.

The State of Independence

No, not the song.

I like to keep an occasional eye on the local anti-fracking activists.  One particular group, Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF – featured here) puts a lot of store in what an engineer called Michael Hill has to say about regulating the fracking industry.  Since these activists are comfortable with the notion that a suitable go to person on fighting Big Frack is an ex-BBC journalist now working for Al Jazeera, I wondered about the provenance of Michael Hill.  Here is what RAFF have to say about him.

Mike Hill is an independent engineer, with drilling experience, who has been Technical Advisor to RAFF since last year. Those of you who have been to any of our public meetings will have heard him speak on the lack of any regulatory framework surrounding the shale gas industry.  He has also answered numerous technical questions that we all have as we try to get to grips with fracking technology.

A grass roots group with its very own technical advisor?  Well it’s not unknown.  He is obviously held in high esteem by the group because they seem to promote his views on fracking industry regulation and safety at every opportunity.   I don’t have much of a problem with that providing regulations are rational and practical rather than oppressive and over-precautionary.  What interests me about Mr. Hill is that he has drilling experience yet he has become the technical advisor to a bunch of post modern Luddites.  So who is Michael Hill and what does he know that we don’t?

Michael Hill B.Sc. C.Eng. MIET.

Chartered Electrical Engineer

Ex-oil and gas (wireline and seismic)

Fylde Borough Council Technical Advisor to Task and Finish Group Shale Gas

Local resident in the key U.K. shale gas zone

Fylde Borough Council has apparently appointed an activist for a shale gas technical advisor?  No conflict of interest there then.  He’s also a local.  He styles himself as an independent expert who commenced an investigation into shale gas regulation in the UK in December 2010.  Here is what he has to say about his independent status.

Self funded to remain independent. Cost is presently approx. £17K. Passionate I am. Study has told me what regs are needed and how it should be implemented.

Mr. Hill has dipped into his own pocket to the tune of seventeen thousand pounds in order to fund his investigation.  Passionate indeed.  Unfortunately he doesn’t give a breakdown on how the seventeen grand was spent.  He has been busy though.

On what basis: Freedom of Information Act responses (FOI), site trips, meetings, speaking at conferences, letters, mails and calls.

With the DECC, EA, HSE, BGS, Cuadrilla and Select Committee – DECC, IGEM, United Utilities, Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering

Mr. Hill’s main area of concern in his report seems not to be micro-earthquakes but rather the disposal of flow-back fracking fluid and the risk of aquifer contamination.  These are sensible concerns.  His main target appears to be the government rather than Cuadrilla, the company who owns and runs the Preece Hall fracking rig at Singleton.  He wants what he views as lax government practices tightened up and lists the areas of most concern to him.

8 site inspections all unannounced in 12 months – changed to 8 site inspections – all announced.

Taking Mr. Hill at his word, spot checks are not really spot checks if you tell the checkee you are going to pay them a visit.  Given the fear and suspicion surrounding fracking, being too close to Cuardrilla is not the best way to put the minds of locals at ease.

Fracking chemicals missing off ‘determinand’** list.

It would have been helpful if Mr. Hill had listed the chemicals he claims are missing from the determinand list.

No verification of quantity of flow back water (even though it is subject to a permit)

I do not know enough about this issue to comment.  I can say, though, that so far the borehole has been fracked twice, the last frack being over twelve months ago.  Drilling came to a standstill to allow a British Geological Survey investigation into the cause of the micro-earthquakes.  Cuadrilla has since been busy installing seismic sensors all over the Fylde.

Water found to be 10 – 90 times EA*** max permissible limit. Permit required since 1/Oct/2011.

I’m not sure what Mr. Hill is trying to say.  First he claims there was no verification and now he’s saying it’s grossly over the permitted limit. Ten to ninety times the maximum permissible limit is vagueness on steroids.   Either the figures exist or they do not.  Mr Hill does not supply evidence within the report to underpin his claim.  Guesstimating, which this appears to be, isn’t an acceptable substitute for verifiable facts.

RIA**** now required. Assessed dose to receptors accounting for accident.

Clearly Mr. Hill is at odds with DECC (Dept. of Energy & Climate change), the EA, H&SE and Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all who decided a RIA was not warranted.  Perhaps he’s right.  Perhaps he isn’t.

Recycling of flowback – illegal (London) – not clear – Preston.

United Utilities will be supplying the water required to frack the Preece Halle borehole.  Presumably they will ultimately be responsible for the disposal of the contaminated flow-back fluid.  It seems that Mr. Hill is uncertain whether or not the flow-back can be legally recycled in the North West rather than stored as non-recyclable hazardous waste.  Why he feels it pertinent to mention London is anyone’s guess since it is hardly likely the flow-back will be trucked all the way to the Big Smoke thus leaving a big fat hazardous waste contract going begging oop t’north.  Mr. Hill has time and resources, perhaps he should press UU harder for an answer?

Resource issues – Coping with any ramp up in number of wells in Lancashire.

An issue that certainly needs addressing.  Not so much supply of water but the safe disposal of millions of gallons of flow-back.

So Mr. Hill appears to be a philanthropist prepared to spend his own money collating information for a report in the name of safety.  Seventeen thousand pounds in two years is a lot of money.  Clearly Mr. Hill is comfortably off.  I certainly wouldn’t be able to dip into my pockets so deeply, not even for a cause so close to my heart.  Neither could anyone I know.  Mr. Hill promises to:

…continue as an independent engineer to push for regulation.

RAFF were very lucky to find him.

What’s that I hear you say?  Am I going soft on anti-technology greenies Scammelling up our energy security?

Nah, of course not.

Most people who have money to burn and want to push for regulation tend to lobby the government directly.  Or, if they are in a hurry, bung enormous bribes at corrupt politicians.  I’m cynical enough to wonder if Mr. Hill has an angle so I went trawling but where to start?  At the foot of each page of the report is © Michael Hill – GCAL.  GCAL could refer to Glasgow Caledonian University.  It also refers to this.

Gemini Control and Automation Ltd (GCAL) make bespoke filters for industrial centrifuges – Heinkel centrifuges in particular.  This company is based in Lytham, not a million miles from Preece Hall.  One of the uses for Heinkel centrifuges is in the fracking industry, specifically servicing flow-back.  By amazing coincidence a bloke called Mike Hill is associated with Gemini Control and Automation Ltd.

Well knock me down with a filleted kipper!

It’s possible that Michael Hill B.Sc. C.Eng. MIET has no connection with Gemini. If he is not associated with this GCAL then I apologise in advance for thinking him less of a philanthropist and more of a mercenary.  I also apologise to Gemini in advance if this is nothing more than a very weird coincidence.

However, if Michael Hill B.Sc. C.Eng. MIET is indeed Mike Hill of Gemini Control and Automation Ltd I can only speculate about why he is playing technical advisor to an anti-fracking pressure group and lobbying government for more regulation. Any resulting regulation will have the potential to give a niche market company like Gemini a handy advantage if fracking takes off on a commercial scale and centrifuges are used to process back-flow.  As for his independent status, if we are dealing with one and the same person, it begs a leading question regarding where the money for the report is coming from.  Is Mr. Hill using his own private funds for the sole purpose of promoting safety in the fracking industry (honourable) or is the money coming out if a company slush fund in the hope the company might gain future benefit if Mr. Hill is successful (Machiavellian)?  Or maybe something in between?

Now don’t get me wrong.  I find the idea of an industrial company using a group of anti-fracking activists to drum up business for machinery that can be used to service the fracking industry both creative and amusing.  What I don’t find so amusing is the possibility that this same company may be engaged in a strategy to lobby for new regulations that will affect the whole industry, using a greenwash veneer to impress the morons at DECC, in anticipation of expanding its order books.  Would Mr. Hill be as keen to open his wallet if he worked for/owned a company that manufactured electrical domestic appliances?

Is this all a coincidence?  I don’t know.   The circumstantial evidence suggests…well what do you think?

**A determinand is a substance that may be or is known to be hazardous to health or the environment – usually associated with the water industry

***Environmental Agency

****Regulatory Impact Assessment: The role of a RIA is to provide a detailed and systematic of the potential impacts of a new regulation in order to assess whether the regulation is likely to achieve the desired objectives. The need for RIA arises from the fact that regulation commonly has numerous impacts and that these are often difficult to foresee without detailed study and consultation with affected parties. Economic approaches to the issue of regulation also emphasize the high risk that regulatory costs may exceed benefits. From this perspective, the central purpose of RIA is to ensure that regulation will be welfare-enhancing from the societal viewpoint – that is, that benefits will exceed costs. RIA is generally conducted in a comparative context, with different means of achieving the objective sought being analysed and the results compared. [Wiki]

Ode to a Hangover – Part I

I’m not sure about the future of CCiZ but if I have to go I’ll do it with a laugh.

The fuzzy mists of Autumn
Made golden by the sun,
Lent veils of light to trees and shrubs
And things that rhyme with “un”.

Into that crisp and mellow day
Emerged our hero, Bob,
Dressed to the nines in a suit and boots
He really looked a nob.

For a rabbit he was quite the man
A well-read, gentle soul.
Well, normally, that is to say
For today his mood was foul.

His head felt swollen, fit to burst
And he muttered something sinful.
The night before he’d hit the booze
And taken in a skinful.

High on a branch above his head,
A thrush sang out its heart.
Bob shook his fist and shouted out,
“You can quit that for a start!”

“That racket is intolerable,
That stupid high-pitched trilling.
It sets my teeth all on edge
Just like a dentist drilling!”

The thrush then stopped his warbling song.
“Shut up yourself,” he hissed.
“I’m not about to still my tongue
Just ’cos you got pissed!”

Bob glared at his tormentor
With eyes of blood-shot red.
His lip curled into quite a snarl
As he wished the bastard dead.

After turning up his collar
He slouched off down the lane
Then suddenly, a piercing shriek
Made worse his throbbing pain.

The Hedgehog boys jumped into sight,
“Good Morning Mr. Rabbit!”
Then they danced about and yelled a lot,
A normal children’s habit.

“Shut up! Shut up!” the bunny cried,
“There is no need to shout!
Shut up this awful caterwaul
Else I’ll land you each a clout!”

Out from her tidy burrow
Mrs. Hedgehog’s head did pop,
One paw clutched tight a duster,
The other held a mop.

Her shrewd brown eyes took in the scene
And she frowned at all the fuss.
She said, “Really, Mr. Rabbit
You’re behaving like a wuss!”

“My kids are playing in the sun
And doing no one harm.
You’ve never bawled them out like this,
What’s happened to your charm?”

“There’s a better place to play, I think,”
The bunny he did crow.
And inclined his head towards the road
Beyond the tall hedgerow.

Mother Hedgehog’s eyes grew round
And she chewed her bottom lip.
For a moment she was lost for words
Then finally let rip.

“Are you suggesting what I think,
You stupid lop-eared f***?
That my kids go play on the big highway
To get squished by a truck?”

With mop in hand she charged at him
And landed quite a thwack.
“Come here you drunken prick,” she yelled,
“’Cos your skull I’m going to crack!”

Common sense dictated
That the bunny run like Hell,
So he took off rather sharply
To the Tinkling Ringing Dell.

Will there be a Part II?  Who knows.  CCiZ in now in the lap of the gods.  Let’s hope that Blind Io is feeling mellow.

%d bloggers like this: