August 14 2007


Spot the Tory


I understand the bye-election for Pembroke St Michael; left vacant by the untimely death of Cllr John Allen, has been scheduled for September 20.
Old Grumpy will be interested to see if the Tories run a candidate.
After all, the party holds three out of four of Pembrokeshire's national seats so the county can hardly be regarded as one of its no-go areas.
It will also be of interest to know more about the intentions of any independents who throw their hats into the ring.
Are they independents in the ordinary meaning of the word, or are they putative members of the Independent Political Group, trying to pull the wool over the electorate's eyes?
No doubt we can rely on the Western Telegraph to provide us with the answers.

Unwanted guests

Speaking of the Independent Political Group, a nest of wasps has taken up residence in the roof of our house.
I must admit to an aversion to wasps, probably as a result of being badly stung as a small child after I attacked a nest with a bucket of water.
Though wasps have their defenders I can't, for myself, see that they serve any useful purpose.
Believers in the Ghia theory will tell you that wasps, like all other organisms, play an essential part in the ecosystem.
This idea of nature as some vast machine with individual organisms acting as indispensable cogs is, I think, a fair old bit of tosh.
After all, paleontologists calculate that some 99% of all the species that ever existed are now extinct.
And we seem to have managed quite nicely without the Dinosaurs for the past few hundred million years.
More recently, the wolf was driven out of Britain with no adverse consequences of which I am aware.
And, I am told, the Isle of Man gets along perfectly adequately in the absence of foxes.
In addition, while environmentalism may be the new religion, the eco-warriors can't claim the support of God when it comes to biodiversity because, as I recall, one of the miracles attributed to St Patrick was ridding Ireland of snakes.

Wasted light


Furthermore, it is no use invoking the Diety when it comes to energy saving.
Take our own solar system, for instance.
At its centre is the sun emitting vast amounts of radiation in all directions, with only a tiny of proportion put to use by the plants on planet earth.
You can come to appreciate the sheer inefficiency of this arrangement by calculating the area of a sphere [4pi x r squared] 150 million kilometers in diameter [the distance of the earth from the sun] and dividing the result into the area of the earth [radius 6,375 km] x 100 to give the amount of energy used in percentage terms.
I will leave the hard sums to the Cllr Rev Huw F George (Statistical trickery) who has a twin interest in this matter as cabinet member for the environment, though I can guess that the percentage wasted is well in advance of 99.999.
Not a great advert for what I believe is known as "The argument from design".
Think how much more efficient the system would be if the sun was designed as a laser constantly directed at the earth.
Perhaps the Rev George could have a word.

Selective memory

Scottish Secretary Des Brown was on this morning's Today programme answering questions about the Scots Nats proposals for greater devolution which are being opposed by an unlikely coalition of Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems.
According to Mr Brown, these three parties represent the 65% of Scots voters who favour retention of the Union.
This is an interesting and valid argument, but, for completeness, Mr Brown might also have mentioned that the opposition parties in Parliament represent the 64% of the total British electorate who didn't want a Labour government.

Land of plenty

A reader has e-mailed to enquire about my garden.
"I expect the wet weather brought on by climate change has turned it into a forest of weeds and you're too embarrassed to let on", he mocks.
Well, no actually, it's just that I was brought up to believe that it is ill-mannered to boast.
But, now the question has been put, I feel justified in saying that despite the atrocious weather my horticultural skills have triumphed.
In actual fact, apart from the difficulties in keeping the weeds and slugs under control, wet weather is of benefit to most plants.
And, as it doesn't rain in the greenhouse, and plants like tomatoes and cucumbers prefer it not too hot, my efforts in that direction have been particularly successful.
Another reader has e-mailed to ask how I managed to hold back from commenting on the result of the recent England v Wales rugby international.
All I will say on that subject is that it was only a friendly.
Moreover, I confidently predict that neither side will go further than the quarter finals.