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The Geopolitics of it all

While a cynical thought, banks are in business to make money, not make the world a better place.

Strange that people are quick to jump on industry (say defense, resources, groceries, etc.) that don’t deny profit is part of their business, yet a banking nexus drapes itself in green shawls and many fawn over their benevolence to make the planet a better place…

The problem though, as I see it in any case, is that those impersonal fiduciary committees that ran banks strictly for honest profit have now been subsumed by personalities like Bloomberg, Carney and Kerry. And now they operate at the whim of individuals with personal beliefs.

I would prefer an honest crook to a true believer.
Bets are being hedged. How many of the $130 trillion assets under management promised by the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (led by Mark Carney) will now be there when anyone needs them?
As the politics and economics of climate change alter, so will business. At Westminster Tube station this week, I spotted BP’s new advertisement designed to form the opinions of passing parliamentarians. It speaks of “And, not or”. The emphasis is on renewables working with fossil fuels, instead of the company’s previous rush to ditch the latter, promoted by their outgoing chief executive.
Look, in particular, at the European Union’s decision in March not, unlike us, to ban the internal combustion engine (ICE), but instead to allow it to continue, after 2035, so long as it uses only “sustainable” fuels. This decision undermines the presumption upon which the rush to EVs was made. And when, as is probable, sustainable fuels cannot justify their cost, the ICE, one of the most brilliant of all prosperity-producing inventions, will be there, ready to continue with petrol or diesel.
Once cost is at issue, net zero is, barring a technological miracle, bound to lose.
The “behaviour change” required by the Climate Change Committee to achieve emissions reduction is, in its prescription, a bigger element than is “green energy”. People must be charged more for living as they currently choose to do and/or be banned from doing so.

Mr Sunak is now highlighting this problem. Green energy is unlikely to make nearly enough of a difference. No bids were made in the Government’s latest auction of offshore wind rights: without government subsidy, the business won’t pay.

Once this is publicly understood, both financially and politically, the illusion becomes ever harder to sustain. It is a bit like the “golden era” of our relations with China. For years, this withstood protests about persecution of Tibet and the Uyghurs and repression in Hong Kong, but eventually, when China made the world ill through Covid and insecure by its spying via Huawei and many other means, the golden era came to an end.
Trust collapsed.
The equivalent is now happening with net zero. It is visible in most major Western countries. Look at America’s divisions. Look at Germany’s energy-driven slide into recession and the consequent rise of the AfD. Look at the Netherlands.

The problem though, as I see it in any case, is that those impersonal fiduciary committees that ran banks strictly for honest profit have now been subsumed by personalities like Bloomberg, Carney and Kerry. And now they operate at the whim of individuals with personal beliefs.

I would prefer an honest crook to a true believer.
And that subversion concerns many, because the power to influence and indeed guide/direct is most certainly not insignificant.

Trudeau's deficit was
$70 Billion last year but has shrunk to $30 Billion this year.
Same order of magnitude but nobody is rushing to bring his government down.
$30B is getting closer to the baseline (a little below $20B*) the LPC government sort of established for itself. Pandemic spending blew a hole in things, just as did the 2008+ crisis spending.

*Numbers in Fiscal Reference Tables are frequently adjusted in succeeding years.
As this Mark Carney / Bloomberg story develops for me another name came to me:

John Law.

In May 1716 Law set up the Banque Générale Privée ("General Private Bank"), which developed the use of paper money.[19] It was one of only six such banks to have issued paper money in Europe, joining Sweden, England, Holland, Venice, and Genoa.[3] The bank was nationalised in December 1718 at Law's request.[18]: 277 

From this new banking platform, Law was able to pursue the monopoly companies he envisioned by having France bankroll the endeavour with 100 million livres in the form of company stock. The founding of the Mississippi Company, later renamed the Occident Company and eventually part of the Company of the Indies, was financed in the same way as the bank.[citation needed]

Law's client was Louis XV, a man that was no stranger to illiberal tendencies.

In 1716, as was often the case of French kings, Louis sat on the Ile of France pondering why everyone else was rich and he was poor. It had been a pre-occupation of his ancestors at least since Philip II (1180 to 1223) had defaulted on his loans to the Lombards and the Jews, tried to put the arm on the Belgians and invaded the wealthy Languedoc on the grounds that they were heretics and not proper Christians at all. On the same grounds he joined the booty raids on Constantinople and the Levant known as the Crusades. Louis XV's great-grandad Louis XIV continued the family tradition and Louis XV saw his great-grandad as a role model.

Enter John Law.

Law was born into a family of Lowland Scots bankers and goldsmiths from Fife; his father, William, had purchased Lauriston Castle, a landed estate at Cramond on the Firth of Forth and was known as Law of Lauriston. On leaving the High School of Edinburgh, Law joined the family business at the age of 14 and studied the banking business until his father died in 1688. He subsequently neglected the firm in favour of extravagant pursuits and travelled to London, where he lost large sums by gambling.[9]

On 9 April 1694, John Law fought a duel with another British dandy, Edward "Beau" Wilson, in Bloomsbury Square, London.[10] Wilson had challenged Law over the affections of Elizabeth Villiers. Law killed Wilson with a single pass and thrust of his sword.[10] He was arrested, charged with murder and stood trial at the Old Bailey.[10] He appeared before the infamously sadistic "hanging judge" Salathiel Lovell and was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death.[10] He was initially incarcerated in Newgate Prison to await execution.[10] His sentence was later commuted to a fine, on the grounds that the killing only amounted to manslaughter. Wilson's brother appealed and had Law imprisoned, but he managed to escape to Amsterdam.

Law urged the establishment of a national bank to create and increase instruments of credit and the issue of banknotes backed by land, gold, or silver. The first manifestation of Law's system came when he had returned to Scotland and contributed to the debates leading to the Treaty of Union 1707. He wrote a pamphlet entitled Two Overtures Humbly Offered to His Grace John Duke of Argyll, Her Majesties High Commissioner, and the Right Honourable the Estates of Parliament (1705)[11][12] which foreshadowed the ideas he would propose for establishing new systems of finance, paper money and refinancing the national debt in a subsequent tract entitled Money and Trade Considered: with a Proposal for Supplying the Nation with Money (1705).[13][14]: 136  Law's propositions of creating a national bank in Scotland were ultimately rejected, and he left to pursue his ambitions abroad.[15]

He spent ten years moving between France and the Netherlands, dealing in financial speculations. Problems with the French economy presented the opportunity to put his system into practice.[citation needed]

England had set up the very successful Bank of England that followed on from the successes of the Dutch and Swedes who set up national banks based on the principles of Venice and Genoa.

But all of those banks were run by committees and served a broad purpose with a lot of public goodwill and support.

Law's big play was to centralize everything. France already relied on monopolies rather than free trade. Law proposed a monopoly of monopolies. Louis XV jumped at the chance to control the pot.

The end result of the efforts was the Mississippi Bubble and

Speculation gave way to panic as people flooded the market with future shares trading as high as 15,000 livres per share, while the shares themselves remained at 10,000 livres each. By May 1720, prices fell to 4,000 livres per share, a 73 per cent decrease within a year. The rush to convert paper money to coins led to sporadic bank runs and riots. Squatters now occupied the square of Palace Louis-le-Grand and openly attacked the financiers that inhabited the area. It was under these circumstances and the cover of night that John Law left Paris some seven months later, leaving all of his substantial property assets in France, including the Place Vendôme and at least 21 châteaux which he had purchased over his years in Paris, for the repayment of creditors.
Law moved to Brussels on 22 December 1720 in impoverished circumstances when his properties in France were voluntarily confiscated.[14]: 148  He spent the next few years gambling in Rome, Copenhagen and Venice but never regained his former prosperity. Law realised he would never return to France when Orléans died suddenly in 1723 and Law was granted permission to return to London, having been pardoned in 1719. He lived in London for four years and then moved to Venice, where he contracted pneumonia and died poor in 1729.[14]: 150  His grave stone is in the San Moisè, Venice.

Edit: Oh, I forgot to mention, Philip II also chased the Angevins out of their holdings in the Languedoc (Aquitaine primarily) and Brittany and left the youngest son, John Lackland, marooned in London surrounded by foreigners that didn't speak French.

Edited to correct an anachronism about the Templars.
Last edited:
Rishi appears to have discovered a fight worth picking.

The Prime Minister was 'absolutely determined' to scrap EU-derived regulations

The move would put Mr Sunak on a collision course with environmental groups and Natural England, the government’s environment watchdog, where staff described an earlier attempt at scrapping the rules as “a huge slap in the face” because the changes would give permission to councils to ignore the quango’s advice.

For Quango think - Anthony Fauci and SAGE. Think also of GFANZ's Climate Change Committee and the IPCC.

The settled science that must be followed.

Sunak to rip up green rules to build 140,000 homes despite Labour and Natural England opposition​

The Prime Minister is believed to be drafting a new bill to ditch ‘nutrient neutrality’, drawing the wrath of environmental groups

ByEdward Malnick, SUNDAY POLITICAL EDITOR23 September 2023 • 6:06pm

The Prime Minister was 'absolutely determined' to scrap EU-derived regulations that are blocking construction CREDIT: JOE GIDDENS/AFP
Rishi Sunak is preparing to use the Conservatives’ 60-seat majority to force through plans to rip up green rules to build up to 140,000 new homes, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

A government source said that the Prime Minister was “absolutely determined” to scrap EU-derived regulations that are blocking construction, despite opposition from Labour and the government’s own environment quango.

Downing Street is understood to be drawing up plans for a new bill that would allow the Government to ditch “nutrient neutrality” rules by using the Tories’ majority to drive the legislation through Parliament. A source said that another piece of legislation would need to be shelved to make way for such a bill, meaning that “nothing is guaranteed”.

The move would put Mr Sunak on a collision course with environmental groups and Natural England, the government’s environment watchdog, where staff described an earlier attempt at scrapping the rules as “a huge slap in the face” because the changes would give permission to councils to ignore the quango’s advice.

It would also lead to a major clash with the House of Lords, which blocked an earlier attempt to introduce the changes via an amendment to the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill.

A source said that introducing a separate bill announced in the King’s Speech would allow the Commons - where Mr Sunak has a 60-seat working majority - to exercise its “primacy” over the upper house. A second source said: “Ultimately, when it comes to ping pong [between the two chambers] and the Commons asserts clearly it wants something, the Lords respects that.”

Polluting nearby rivers​

Mr Sunak believes that the national shortage of houses has been severely exacerbated by rules blocking the construction of homes deemed at risk of polluting nearby rivers.

A government source said: “The Prime Minister is absolutely determined to get this through.”

A second government source added: “The Prime Minister is really keen to unlock 100,000 homes and has made that very clear. We are considering a full suite of options, but given the constraints of parliamentary time nothing is guaranteed.

”The fact Labour blocked it for political reasons is intensely frustrating.” The source said another piece of planned legislation would have to be removed from the Government’s agenda to make way for a new bill before next year’s election.

Last month, Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, announced that the plan to ditch the nutrient neutrality rules would “provide a multi-billion pound boost for the UK economy and see us build more than 100,000 new homes”.

Natural England, whose chairman Tony Juniper came under fire from senior Tories last week for appearing to claim that Mr Sunak’s net zero shift “deepens peril for our children and grandchildren”, maintained a vow of silence following the announcement of the proposals in August. But privately its leadership fiercely opposed the move

On August 29, when the Government first announced its intention to scrap the nutrient neutrality rules for house building, Alan Law, Natural England’s chief executive, tweeted: “There are days where silence alone says all that needs to be said.”

One of the board members “liked” a social media posting of a satirical cartoon which depicted Mr Gove marching past a heavily polluted river stating: “We can build beautiful riverside homes right here.”

Lord Blencathra, the body’s deputy chairman, claimed in Parliament that the Home Builders Federation “lied, lied and lied again about the Government blocking the building of 145,000 homes because of nutrient neutrality.” He accused housebuilders of “sitting on more than one million planning applications and ... land-banking until they can release them gradually and make maximum profits”.

’Red wall’ areas​

The nutrient neutrality laws, based on a controversial European Court of Justice ruling, mean firms must prove new developments will not raise phosphate and nitrate levels.

The Home Builders Federation has said the rules are preventing about 140,000 homes from being built and “threatening to put small builders out of business”.

Swathes of the country have been affected, including so-called “red wall” areas, and parts of Norfolk, Hampshire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Homebuilders have branded the rules disproportionate, with housing contributing to just four per cent of such pollution, most of which comes from agriculture.

Labour had initially signalled that it would support the Government’s plans to scrap the EU-era regulations when they were first unveiled by ministers.

Lisa Nandy, the then shadow housing secretary, told the Commons last month her party would “support effective measures that get Britain building”.

But its position shifted after the proposals drew the ire of nature groups including the RSPB, which accused Mr Sunak of abandoning his green promises.
Meanwhile - Rishi's opposition, fresh from visiting Justin and Mark in Montreal.

Green policy will not be promoted. Taxes will not be increased.
Consent of the governed?

What we know thus far of Starmer’s economic programme appears very flimsy indeed.

The shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has ruled out major tax increases and has tucked plans for a £28bn a year “green industrial strategy” safely behind the back of the sofa.

The recent promise to hand more powers to the bean counters at the OBR could act as a fiscal straight-jacket that will rule out any space for radicalism.

The OBR (Office of Budgetary Responsibility) another Quango, this time of accountants, was the hammer used to nail Liz Truss's coffin shut. They are not answerable to the government or the public.
And ....

AI a greater threat than Climate Change, Covid, the Russians and Chinese combined?

‘This is his climate change’: The experts helping Rishi Sunak seal his legacy​

Several organisations are advising the prime minister on handling the dystopian threat of AI

ByJames Titcomb23 September 2023 • 7:00am

Rishi Sunak wants Britain to lead on AI safety CREDIT: IAN VOGLER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
It took just 23 words for the world to sit up and pay attention. In May, the Center for AI Safety, a US non-profit, published a one-sentence statement warning that artificial intelligence should be considered an extinction risk alongside pandemics.
Those who endorsed the statement included: Geoffrey Hinton, known as the Godfather of AI; Yoshua Bengio, whose work with Hinton won the coveted computer science Turing prize; and Demis Hassabis, the head of the Google-owned British AI lab Deepmind.
The statement helped to transform public opinion on AI from seeing it as a handy office aide to a potential threat of the kind usually only seen in dystopian science fiction.
The Center itself describes its mission as reducing the “societal-scale risks from AI”. It is now one of a handful of California-based organisations advising Rishi Sunak’s government on how to handle the rise of the technology.
In recent months, observers have detected an increasingly apocalyptic tone in Westminster. In March, the Government unveiled a white paper promising not to “stifle innovation” in the field. Yet just two months later, Sunak was talking about “putting guardrails in place” and pressing Joe Biden to embrace his plans for global AI rules.

Sunak’s legacy moment​

An AI safety summit at Bletchley Park in November is expected to focus almost entirely on existential risks and how to negate them.
Despite myriad political challenges, Sunak is understood to be deeply involved in the AI debate. “He’s zeroed in on it as his legacy moment. This is his climate change,” says one former government adviser.

In November, Bletchley Park will host Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's AI Safety Summit CREDIT: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street
In the last year, Downing Street has assembled a tight-knit team of researchers to work on AI risk. Ian Hogarth, a tech investor and the founder of the concert-finding app Songkick, was enlisted as the head of a Foundation Model taskforce after penning a viral Financial Times article warning of the “race to God-like AI”.
This month, the body was renamed the “Frontier AI taskforce” – a reference to the bleeding edge of the technology where experts see the most risk. Possible applications could include creating bioweapons, for example, or orchestrating mass disinformation campaigns.

Human-level AI systems ‘just a few years away’​

Hogarth has assembled a heavyweight advisory board including Bengio, who has warned that human-level AI systems are just a few years away and pose catastrophic risks, and Anne Keast-Butler, the director of GCHQ. A small team is currently testing the most prominent AI systems such as ChatGPT, probing for weaknesses.
Hogarth recently told a House of Lords committee that the taskforce is dealing with “fundamentally matters of national security”.
“An AI that is very capable of writing software… can also be used to conduct cybercrime or cyberattacks. An AI that is very capable of manipulating biology can be used to lower the barriers to entry to perpetrating some sort of biological attack,” he said.
Leading preparations for the AI summit are Matt Clifford, an entrepreneur who chairs the Government’s blue-sky research lab Aria, and Jonathan Black, a senior diplomat. The pair, who have been dubbed Number 10’s AI “sherpas”, were in Beijing last week in order to drum up support for the summit.

Meanwhile, the research organisations now working with the taskforce have raised eyebrows for their links to the effective altruism (EA) movement, a philosophy centred around maximising resources for the best possible good.
The movement has become controversial for concentrating on long-term but unclear risks such as AI – judging that the lives of people in the future are as valuable as those in the present – and for its close association with FTX, the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange founded by the alleged fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried.
Of the six research organisations working with the UK taskforce, three – The Collective Intelligence Project, the Alignment Research Center, and Redwood Research – were awarded grants by FTX, which dished out millions to non-profits before going bust. (The Collective Intelligence Project has said it is unsure if it can spend the money, The Alignment Research Center returned it, while Redwood never received it).
One AI researcher defends the associations, saying that until this year effective altruists were the only ones thinking about the subject. “Now people are realising it’s an actual risk but you’ve got these guys in EA who were thinking about it for the last 10 years.”

No guarantee tighter regulation will yield results​

Those close to the taskforce are said to have brushed off a recent piece in Politico, the Westminster-focused political website, that laid out the strong ties to EA. It focused on the controversial aspects of the movement but, as a source close to the process says: “The inside joke is that they’re not effective or altruists.”
Still, start-ups have raised concerns that the focus on existential risk could stifle innovation and hand control of AI to Big Tech. One lobbyist says that, counterintuitively, this obsession with risk could concentrate power in the hands of major AI labs such as OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, DeepMind and Anthropic (the bosses of the three labs held a closed-door meeting with Sunak in May).

Rishi Sunak meeting with Demis Hassabis, chief executive of DeepMind, Dario Amodei, chief executive of Anthropic, and Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, in 10 Downing Street in May CREDIT: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street
Hogarth has insisted these companies cannot be left to “mark their own homework”, but if government safety work ends up with something like a licensing regime for AI models, they are the most likely to benefit. “What we are witnessing is regulatory capture happening in real time,” the lobbyist says.
Baroness Stowell, the chair of the Lords communications and digital committee, has written to the Government demanding details on how Hogarth is managing potential conflicts of interests around his more than 50 AI investments, which include Anthropic and defence company Helsing.
There is no guarantee that the current push for tighter regulation will yield results. Other past efforts have fallen by the wayside. Last week it emerged that the Government had disbanded the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation Advisory Board, created five years ago to address areas such as AI bias.
However, those close to the current process believe the focus in Downing Street is now sharper. And to the clutch of researchers working on preventing the apocalypse, the existential risks are more important than other considerations.
“It’s a big opportunity for global Britain, a thing that the UK can actually lead on,” says Shabbir Merali, who developed AI strategy at the Foreign Office and now works at the think tank Onward. “It would be strange not to focus on existential risk - that’s where you want nation state capability to be.”
31 January 2014 - Secretary-General Appoints Michael Bloomberg UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change
01 January 2019 - Secretary-General Appoints Mark Carney UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance.
21 January 2021 - Biden appoints John Kerry US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
April 2021 - Bloomberg and Carney launch GFANZ (Global Financial Alliance for Net Zero)
31 October - 13 November 2021 - COP26 in Glasgow subscribes GFANZ

24 February 2022 - Russia's Special Military Operation in Ukraine
27 February 2022 - Germany announces 100 BEuro defence fund
11 May 2022 - UK's Johnson provides security guarantees to Sweden and Finland

June 2022

  • UN's Race to Zero "introduced tougher criteria ... including a bar on support for new coal projects. Existing corporate members will be required to comply with the latest criteria from June next year."
  • possible defections from firms including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp" who were unhappy with proposed binding restrictions on fossil finance
  • GFANZ released a statement saying that the proposals would not bind GFANZ members, "essentially giving them the freedom to ignore such proposals
  • Race to Zero had been "officially relegated... to the status of one adviser among many"

October 2022 - Pension funds Cbus Super and Bundespensionskasse and a consulting company left GFANZ

divisions among GFANZ members came following "heavy criticism over the lack of climate action by GFANZ’s leading members, most notably U.S. and Canadian banks and large investment managers"

21 August 2022 - Germany's Olof Scholz visits Canada asking for Natural Gas
24 August 2022 - NATO's Jens Stoltenberg visits Canada asking for more defence assistance
12 January 2023 - Japan's PM Kishida visits Canada asking for Natural Gas

First things first

- Putin's Special Military Operation has upended many apple carts


- Whatever plans the UN and GFANZ may have had, they do not seem to have survived contact, either with Vladimir or the financial community.


- Canada's missed opportunities.
Macron discovers supply side economics

If you want cheaper energy supply more energy.

Don't shut down old stuff. Build new stuff. The old stuff will eventually wear out.

Cheap energy also solves labour and immigration problems. It encourages increased productivity which allows fewer youngster to work shorter hours to support aging pensioners.

I continue to sense a sea-change.

Macron rules out ban on gas boilers and attacks ‘climate alarmism’​

President pledges ‘pain free, supply-side green transition’

ByHenry Samuel IN PARIS25 September 2023 • 4:10pm

Macron said people would be helped with the transition to heat pumps CREDIT: Jacques Witt/SIPA/Shutterstock
Emmanuel Macron has ruled out banning gas boilers and criticised climate alarmism as he was due on Monday to outline his plans to reach emission goals without punishing the French.
“I’m convinced that we have a path, which is one of ecology à la française,” the French president said on Sunday during an evening TV interview in which he defended what he called “an ecology based on progress”, “which is neither denial”, “nor the cure which consists of saying: ’This will be a massacre’”.
His pledge for a pain-free, supply-side green transition came days after Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, announced that he will delay by five years a ban on new gas and diesel cars that was due to take effect in 2030, watering down climate goals that he said imposed “unacceptable costs” on ordinary people.
Mr Sunak also delayed the transition away from gas boilers set out in Britain’s Net Zero goals.
In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Macron said that France would end all coal use in 2027 but gave no date for dropping fossil fuels and ruled out banning gas boilers in residential buildings.

Most rural areas​

“We will not prohibit” the installation of new gas boilers, he said, “because we cannot leave our compatriots, particularly in the most rural areas, without a solution,” said Mr Macron.
The state would, however, help French households equip themselves with heat pumps, “because heat pumps are intelligent, they save energy and they greatly reduce emissions”.
His “positive” path did not mean killing off the individual car but rather helping the transition to hybrid or electric vehicles.
The French “love their car, and I do too,” added Mr Macron, acknowledging public reluctance to switch to electric vehicles with higher purchase prices than combustion-engine cars.
“We must do that in a smart way: that is, by producing vehicles and batteries at home,” he said. The president has been vocal in supporting the construction of battery several giga-factories in northern France to counter Chinese and American competition.
The government would adopt a state-sponsored system by the end of the year to allow households with modest incomes to lease European-made electric cars for about €100 (£86) per month.
Last year, the French government handed out blanket subsidies at a huge cost to public finances. Mr Macron dismissed reinstating those discounts and also said the government cannot afford to cut taxes on diesel and gasoline, if it is to continue financing the green transition and the welfare state.
But he said the government would ask the fuel industry to sell at cost price and would grant €100 in aid to the poorest workers who drive to work, to stem the impact of inflation on households.
Fuel prices are an explosive political issue in France, where an increase in levies in 2018 sparked the Yellow Vest movement that spiralled into months of protests over living standards.

Committed to reducing emissions​

France has committed to reducing its emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, in line with a European Union target. To get there, the country must go “twice as fast” as the pace of its current path, Mr Macron said. Elisabeth Borne, the prime minister, said earlier this month that France would invest €7 billion more next year in the country’s energy and climate transition compared to 2023.
To help reach its targets, Mr Macron said that the country’s two remaining coal-burning plants would cease operating and be converted to biomass energy, which is produced by burning wood, plants and other organic material, by 2027.
The two plants were initially set to close by last year, but the energy crisis prompted by the war in Ukraine and the shutdown of French nuclear reactors for various problems led the government to delay the decision.
However, he declined to give a date for the phasing out of other fossil fuels.
Details of the French government’s new green plan are expected after the president meets with key ministers at the Elysee presidential palace on Monday afternoon.
But beforehand, environmental activists criticised Mr Macron’s policies as underwhelming.
The French president “still hasn’t realised the scale of the climate emergency,” said Greenpeace France in a statement.
Summing up his strategy, l’Opinion newspaper said he had chosen “optimism over constraint, and the mini-nuclear reactor over the itchy woolly jumper”.
“Macon’s main challenge is to convince the French that his bet on optimism is not simply putting his head in the sand,” an editorial in Le Figaro newspaper

French commentator in the Telegraph. Not much of a Macron fan.

Germany’s had enough of Emmanuel Macron’s games​

It will take more than a trip to the fish market to halt the gradual breakup of the Franco-German marriage
ANNE-ELISABETH MOUTET4 October 2023 • 7:00am
Anne-Elisabeth Moutet

Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron

Breaking through Angela Merkel’s unflappable calm and rousing her to anger used to take a lot of effort. Yet this was achieved by Emmanuel Macron four years ago, when France’s Great Geopolitical Seer breezily announced, in an interview, and without any warning to France’s allies, the “brain death” of Nato.
“I understand your desire for disruptive politics, but I’m tired of picking up the pieces,” the former German Chancellor snapped back. “Over and over, I have to glue together the cups you have broken so that we can then sit down and take tea together.”
The year was 2019. Since then, not only were the cups not re-glued, but the French-German European “couple”, as it was long dubbed by the French side (but never the German one, who found the expression odd, if not downright distasteful), is now a thing of the past. France and Germany’s alliance, fostered since the early days of the Common Market by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer, then consciously deepened by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and Helmut Schmidt, and François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl, is by now perceived as largely pointless in Berlin, something Paris is belatedly only cottoning on to.

And so, in a last-ditch attempt to repair rock-bottom relations, the members of the German and French governments, both trying this informality thing that’s so alien to either culture, are to embark on a bizarre “getting to know each other” boating and drinking trip (out of beer steins, not tea cups).
As if dreamt up by hyped-up consultants, the “team-building” outing will see the entire French cabinet decamp to Hamburg, joining their counterparts without a formal agenda, meetings or final statements — in the absence of any press, cameras and microphones, which is bound to bewilder the French lot. The two-day shindig will end at a fish market.
Whether this will yield results is frankly anybody’s guess. We are very far from Charles de Gaulle’s bold gesture, barely a decade after the end of the Second World War, in extending a friendly hand to Germany, a country that had invaded France three times in the space of 80 years. Perhaps only Le Général could make it work symbolically, to push what was initially a manufacturing and trade alliance for steel and coal into unrolling the dream of the European project’s founding fathers, hoping to bring a lasting peace on the Continent.
Over the years, the trade-off became very clear: Germany brought her newly built economic miracle to the table; France washed off the sin of Nazism and enabled the Federal Republic to have a political voice it would otherwise have lacked.
It worked because the two countries had very complementary strengths. France, a nuclear power and a member of the UN’s Security Council, has a strong army and navy capable of worldwide deployment, and, until recently, had the corresponding will to act. Traumatised by the past, Germany has a small army.
German public opinion is notably pacifist, sometimes to the point of serving the interests of foreign powers. The French still respect Napoleon and military prowess. Both countries have excellent engineers and different approaches to industry, the French valuing big state-driven top-down projects and the Germans high-performing midsized private companies producing high value goods.
But as a new generation of Germans came to power, the impulse to apologise for the past weakened, and the misunderstanding gap widened. Policy changes started diverging as Germany flexed her muscles, especially on energy choices, with the French touting their long expertise in nuclear power, while the German phobia of all things nuclear drove them to disastrous choices.
Joint projects started falling through. Areas of dissension have added up. Soon, contempt was undiplomatically voiced from both sides, Emmanuel Macron’s stinging asides being only the most obvious.
The Ukraine war did reveal some hitherto papered-over cracks in the French-German relationship, but the situation had been building up for much longer. All of which matters because, with Britain gone from Europe, the whole project could gradually be brought to a standstill in practical terms. This will take more than a few beers and baguettes to fix.

The Baltic Shore
The Mediterranean Shore
The Danube and Black Sea
The Atlantic Shore

The four dominant cultures of Europe
Brtian's doing OK, better than the EU, better than Germany, level with France.
Europe is swinging hard right.

...the war in Ukraine has demonstrated all too clearly that Nato, the G7 and the global alliance of liberal democracies are what count when push comes to shove.

The most striking fissure is between resisters and appeasers within the EU itself. Most of the Danube Basin is fraternising with Putin. Just 40pc of Slovakians think that Russia is primarily responsible for the war. A higher number think the US is the greater security risk.
Only 43pc of Austrians support the EU’s policy on Ukraine, and it is scarcely different in Italy, which is shocking when you reflect on the likely fate of the European project if Russia’s invasion had prevailed.

These attitudes are far removed from the overwhelming sentiment of the British people....

Note the absence of the EU as a player.

In this opinion.

We are past the peak of anti-Brexit fever: the Left is falling out of love with Europe​

Facing a prickly Right-wing EU, the British Left may become the biggest champion of Brexit after all
AMBROSE EVANS-PRITCHARD3 October 2023 • 5:00pm

If Brexit Britain has failed in economic terms, so has every one of the eurozone’s large industrial states. All have lagged the world.
We now have comprehensive data from the Office for National Statistics on growth, business investment and immigration. The picture refutes the Rejoiner catechism that the UK has fallen badly behind Western Europe, or paid an exorbitant price for sovereign independence, or that it has closed itself off to skilled migration.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Julian Jessop from the Institute of Economic Affairs, we can reconstruct the cumulative growth of GDP from mid-2016 to mid-2023.
The data shows that the UK and France are level-pegging at just over 8pc, with Germany at 5.5pc and Italy at 5pc. Some eurozone states have yet to revise their figures fully, but the pattern is unlikely to change much.
The US and Canada have done better but they are beneficiaries of high oil and gas prices. They have not suffered the same shock from Vladimir Putin’s war.

Furthermore, the US is running a fiscal deficit of New Deal proportions. The chickens will come home to roost in 2024 as the US Treasury tries to roll over $8 trillion of debt in a saturated bond market.
Nor has business investment in the UK done as badly as first supposed. It is above its historical trend line in real terms, and 10pc above its pre-pandemic level.
This blows up the fiscal assumptions of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). A supposed fall in investment is a key reason why the OBR thinks that Brexit will cost the UK 4pc of GDP in the long run.
The multilateral bodies – OECD, IMF, Davos nomenklatura – have played their part in misleading everybody.
For year after year, they have issued forecasts understating the UK’s likely growth, feeding a mood of pervasive negativism, in turn amplified by British, European and US media headlines. Year after year, they have been wrong.
They believed the myth that Brexit is chiefly about keeping foreigners at bay, and this has caused a persistent analytical bias.

Net immigration hit a record 606,000 last year, five times higher than the base assumption made by the OECD and other academic modellers during the Project Fear era.
The OECD argued in its Economic Consequences of Brexit that the lion’s share of Brexit damage would come from migration curbs, leading to “a smaller pool of skills” and a fall in “technical progress.” The exact opposite is instead happening.
Professor Jonathan Portes from King’s College, London, the UK’s foremost expert on migration economics, has pencilled a net gain from the Brexit effect of immigration, arguing that the UK now has a more open global regime for work visas than the EU.
“I am more convinced than ever that the likely impact is positive. The latest analysis shows new migrants from outside the EU are performing well in the labour market. Their pay has overtaken the pay of both natives and EU migrants,” he said.
It will take time to clear away the false perceptions on the macroeconomics of Brexit. But I think we are already past the point of peak Bregret.
The transition shock has largely occurred. The commodity spike caused by Putin’s war will fade and with it will fade the reflex of muddling up gas and food price inflation with the unrelated issue of Brexit.

Henceforth, we will be reminded of the eurozone’s own woes as it tightens monetary and fiscal policy into the teeth of a deepening downturn, again exposing the toxic pathologies of a half-built currency union that still has no joint treasury, debt union or proper banking union to back it up.
It will revive the bitter and unresolved conflict between northern creditors and southern debtors. It will again lead to the contractionary “doom loop” policies that are hardwired into the legal structure of the treaties.
The UK’s global trade deals are gradually kicking in. It acceded to the Pacific-Latin American trade bloc (CPTPP) in July, following the Antipodean deals. Korea is ready to go. An accord with India may be agreed later in the year. The Gulf states are next in line.
Even if Sir Keir Starmer wished to rejoin the EU single market – let alone the EU itself – he would have to pull the UK out of these new trade arrangements.
That is not his intention in any case. His shadow team is forging intimate ties with the Biden White House, hoping to revive the Transatlantic bonhomie of the Clinton-Blair era. It is taking tips on a British variant of the Inflation Reduction Act.
Labour is angling for a “worker-centric” trade arrangement with the US that is aligned with the demands of US trade chief Katherine Tai, starting with a digital trade deal and progressing to a series of sectoral deals.
Contrary to much Fleet Street agitation, Sir Keir did not reveal in Canada that he would cleave piously to the EU’s regulatory acquis. He said that Labour did not wish to “rip up” environmental or food standards or worker rights, and that this creates “common ground” with the EU. He restated the blindingly obvious.
So if the economic damage from Brexit has been greatly exaggerated – though undoubtedly disruptive for small exporters and specific niche sectors – the central indictment must rest on the political damage instead.
But the war in Ukraine has demonstrated all too clearly that Nato, the G7 and the global alliance of liberal democracies are what count when push comes to shove.
The most striking fissure is between resisters and appeasers within the EU itself. Most of the Danube Basin is fraternising with Putin. Just 40pc of Slovakians think that Russia is primarily responsible for the war. A higher number think the US is the greater security risk.
Only 43pc of Austrians support the EU’s policy on Ukraine, and it is scarcely different in Italy, which is shocking when you reflect on the likely fate of the European project if Russia’s invasion had prevailed.

These attitudes are far removed from the overwhelming sentiment of the British people. Which begs the question why the British Left and the metropolitan opinion elites think it so desirable to lock the UK into a tight political union with these countries, with a shared executive, a shared legislature and a shared supreme court.
Let us assume that Labour is elected next year. Sir Keir Starmer will face a centre-Right Europe moving yet further to the Right. He will face an Italy run by Fratelli and the Lega, and a France where Marine Le Pen has climbed to 38pc approval, devouring the Republicans and pulling la Macronie into her policy orbit.
He will face a Germany where the pro-Putin AfD party is running second at 22pc, forcing the Christian Democrats to cover their flank with ever more strident positions.
He will face Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Slovakia’s Robert Fico, and probably Law and Justice in Poland. He will even face a Scandinavia where the hard-Right Sweden Democrats are the biggest party in the governing coalition.
A stable Labour Britain in this 1930s atmosphere would be a beacon to the Left-intelligentsia in America and Europe alike, and it would surely start to feel that way to those who inhabit the mental universe of BBC Newsnight or the Guardian.
Much of the pro-EU passion on the British Left has little to do with Europe itself. It is about where one stands in identity politics.
Once their own political tribe is in power, facing a prickly Right-wing Europe, we can expect a convulsive ideological pivot. Maybe the Left will become the biggest champion of Brexit after all.

The world is becoming increasingly unsafe – and it isn’t random​

As America's global influence wanes, the West's enemies are settling scores
BEN WRIGHT10 October 2023 • 6:00am

When geopolitical sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions.
While not directly linked, it is becoming clear that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has blown on the embers of several longer-simmering conflicts. Recent flare ups include those between Armenia and Azerbaijan and between Serbia and Kosovo. There have also been six successful (and two attempted) coups in West Africa since 2020.
Over the weekend, an unprecedented terror attack by Hamas led to Israel declaring a state of war, mobilising 300,000 reservists and ordering a “complete siege” of Gaza.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Iranian security officials helped Hamas plan the air, land and sea incursions, which appear to be the most significant breach of Israel’s borders since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
This is more than just bad luck, a random clustering of unpleasant events. The world is becoming increasingly unsafe. And it’s unlikely to be a coincidence that it is doing so against a backdrop of renewed worries about a recession in the US, a bond market rout and higher oil prices.

The twilight of “Pax Americana” started under Barack Obama, accelerated under Donald Trump and has not been reversed by Joe Biden,
despite his staunch support for Ukraine. Many countries in the West are similarly distracted by their own internal problems. Conflict and aid fatigue appears to be setting in.
Strategically speaking, now is a great time to act for those who want to “regain” territory, disrupt the status quo, overthrow a regime they dislike or otherwise settle scores, according to Tina Fordham, an independent geopolitical strategist.
Many will welcome the end of Uncle Sam’s reign as the “world’s policeman”.
However, in the short-term at least, the declining influence of Western nations and the rise of so-called “medium powers” like Saudi Arabia and India appears to be resulting in “a breakdown in the choreography of diplomacy and growing confusion about the rules of the game”, says Fordham.
She cites the recent assassination of a Sikh activist in a suburb of Vancouver, which the Canadian government claims was carried out by agents linked to the Indian government, as a prime example.
The rules-based global order may have unfairly benefited the G7 group of rich countries but at least everyone knew where they stood. As it fractures, there’s little to stop every country pursuing its own national interests at the expense of everything else. The result, as we’re already starting to see, will be chaotic.
The majority of investors have only ever operated in markets where central banks had the whip hand and geopolitical risk was muted. That era now appears to be ending. And that’s before we get to one of the biggest potential curveballs: US elections in 2024 and Donald Trump’s possible return to the White House.
The sell-off in the global bond markets in recent weeks has been huge. Investors are already staring down the barrel at losses that rival those of the bursting of the dotcom bubble. Why’s it happening?
Ignore anyone that tells you they know for sure. Nobody does. All market analysis is really an elegant post hoc rationalisation of what’s just happened. And right now we are knees-deep in the hoc; all theories are best guesses.
One possibility is that lots of investors were basically betting central banks would be showing signs of capitulating by now and lowering interest rates. As it’s become increasingly clear that’s not going to happen anytime soon, and interest rates will indeed be “higher for longer”, there’s been a sell-off.
But it may also be because the markets are finally trying to figure out what the end of ultra-low interest rates means for national finances and are getting spooked.

Either way, it is becoming more expensive for governments to borrow money. On Friday, the yield on 30-year US Treasury bonds was hovering just below 5pc, its highest level for 16 years. The yields on 10-year UK gilts are now higher than they were at the height of the sell-off following last year’s mini-budget.
In the US, the ratio of public sector debt to GDP has more than doubled in the past twenty years.
That means that paying for the fallout from the financial crisis, then the pandemic and now enormous subsidies to revitalise the nation’s industrial base have had a bigger effect on US debt levels than fighting the Second World War, according to Ian Stewart, the chief economist at Deloitte.
The recent rise in US bond yields has come as analysts started raising fears about the deficit, Fitch downgraded the country’s credit rating and Congress nearly shut down parts of the government because it was unable to pass spending bills.
None of these things are unprecedented. But for them to all be happening at the same time is a sign that Uncle Sam’s finances are coming under severe strain.

The US Congressional Budget Office estimates that health and welfare costs will outpace economic growth, taking public debt from 98pc of gross domestic product today to 181pc in 2053.
In May, the UK’s debt pile surpassed 100pc of GDP for the first time since 1961. Shortly after that, the OBR said government debt is on course to hit 310pc of GDP within 50 years.
This is why the sheer scale of the borrowing by Biden, his predecessors and his peers in other Western countries has such dire security implications.
There have been reports, for example, that the President is considering a “one-and-done” spending bill so that he doesn’t have to keep asking Congress to approve repeated financial packages of weapons and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
Meanwhile, a senior military chief told the Telegraph last week, that the UK, which has been one of Ukraine’s main suppliers of equipment throughout the war, is now running out of tanks, missiles and artillery shells to send to Kyiv. The source said: “We’ve given away pretty much everything we can afford to give.”
The key word here is “afford”.

So are we moving towards the sticks and stones era of warfare?
Or will wealth be based on 155mm shells? Missiles?
Suella Braverman on Migrations.

When Suella Braverman declared last month that multiculturalism had failed, liberal commentators rubbished her. Of course multiculturalism hadn’t failed. Why, the Home Secretary was living proof of its success. She was the daughter of two immigrants. And now here she was, occupying one of the highest offices in the land. A clear triumph for multiculturalism.

Or so these liberal commentators tried to argue. Yet they’d completely misunderstood what Mrs Braverman was saying. If they still don’t get it, perhaps they could reflect on the scenes in certain British cities over the weekend, after the terrorist attacks by Hamas on the people of Israel. Because those scenes perfectly illustrate her point.

On Saturday, Rachel Riley, the star of Countdown, was in Acton in West London when she witnessed something disturbing. “I just passed two cars driving with Palestinian flags flying from each window, bouncing up and down in their cars, seemingly celebrating like they were having a party,” she wrote on social media.

Then, on Sunday, as hundreds of pro-Palestine activists marched through Manchester, one attendee said she was “full of joy [and] pride” at what had happened. And, at a similar demonstration in Brighton, a woman described Hamas’s attacks as “beautiful and inspiring”.

Which brings me back to Suella Braverman’s speech. When she criticised “multiculturalism”, she was not criticising the countless immigrants who, like her own parents, have happily integrated into British society. She was criticising those who haven’t integrated.


So are we moving towards the sticks and stones era of warfare?
Or will wealth be based on 155mm shells? Missiles?

All it takes is one Hezbollah rocket killing someone important and it's WW3. US jumps in, Iran jumps in, Russia does Russia, China invades Taiwan, North Korea jumps in to feel included, relevant and cool.

Meanwhile in Canada:

Bucha - Irpin - Be'eri - Kfar Aza

There is Us.

There is Them.
Last edited:
Bucha - Irpin - Be'eri

There is Us.

There is Them.

"Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat"

- Rudyard Kipling

Outrage over UN's Palestine tribute​

The UN Human Rights Council has come under fire in the Israeli media for holding a moment of silence for the “loss of innocent lives in the occupied Palestinian territory and elsewhere”.
Video from the UN chamber shows Pakistani envoy Zaman Mehdi calling for the motion on Monday on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation member states, representing 57 countries.
“This whole huge loss of lives and unabated violence is a sad reminder of more than seven decades of illegal foreign occupation, aggression and disrespect for the international law,” Mr Mehdi said.
“The 16 years of illegal blockage of Gaza continues to raise questions over the applicability of international law.”
The Anti-Defamation League hit out at the UNHRC, claiming it was “blatantly ignoring the nearly 1,000 people in Israel who were brutally massacred by Hamas, and the over 150 innocent people taken hostage into Gaza”.
Between 2008 and last month, before the attack by Hamas, the United Nations counted 6407 Palestinian deaths as a result of conflict in the region. The Israeli death toll from the same time period was 308.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation

Burkina FasoBahrain
Ivory CoastLebanon
NigeriaSaudi Arabia
SenegalSyria (Suspended)[13]
Sierra LeoneTajikistan
TogoUnited Arab Emirates

If they want to be taken off the list they know what to do.