Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nick does economics, engineering and environmentalism

... with predictably aewful results. Highlights are that "the government has spent so much that it has nothing in reserve to stimulate the economy", "it is easier to recycle if you have a compost heap" and similar. Oh yeah, and with fantastic chutzpah, energy costs are going up over the winter, and this is aqll the fault of .... The Green Party! For opposing the building of nuclear power stations in 2025! Nothing to do with oil prices at all, apparently. Not that it would matter if they were, since George W Bush is the first American president in history to operate a foreign policy which does not include oil at all.


Blogger Matthew said...

"Inflation is back making energy and food dearer"

Damn that inflation increasing the energy prices!

1/13/2008 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Actually, is inflation back? I thought it was still very low.

BTW, Aaro is suddenly posting again on his blog. I can't be bothered, however.

1/13/2008 02:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much longer is the Absurder going to put up with these rambling columns, that cover so much with little knowledge and less intelligence.

"Maybe people can only worry about the environment when they are not worried about how to make their pay last until the end of the week."

"Those suffering - and in some cases dying - this winter because they can't afford to heat their homes ..."

Has it not occurred to Nick that these are economic arguments, not environmental ones?

1/13/2008 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Aaro's comment on Amis is a peach. I don't know why otherwise sensible people keep pretending Amis wasn't 'advocating' something - he began that section of his rant that talking about banning Muslims from travelling and strip-searching anyone with a Middle-Eastern appearance with 'What can we do to raise the price of them doing this?'.

Also, I think anyone who talks about it should say whether they have ever had 'urges' to strip-search people of Middle Eastern opinion in order to get back at Muslism, because obviously hardly anyone sane ever has.

1/13/2008 04:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James Lovelock, the greatest environmentalist of our time, describes it as 'the one safe, available, energy source' and despairs at the green movement's 'irrational' objections.

yes and he also said this:

Modern nuclear power stations are useless for making bombs

which rather invalidates his views on nuclear power, doesn't it?

that's from wikipedia. Great research again from Mr Cohen...

1/13/2008 06:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaro appears to be claiming that Martin Amis read the works of Sayyid Qutb (rather than picking up the quotes second hand via Paul Berman). Does Amis actually make this claim for himself?

1/13/2008 07:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Amis does claim to have read Qutb, but was certainly introduced to him via Berman. andrew Anthony of course couldn't even be bothered to read all of Qutb's book and bizarrely boats about the fact.

And Amis's thinking on Qutb is curiously arrested, as is Anthony's - they both say 'I have read [some of] Qutb' but don't really say much more than that. I guess it's a point-scoring thing against 'terrorist sympathiser liberals' but Amis has very little to actually say about islamism. We all know it's BAD - but endlessly repeating that, as McEwan seems to think is the only way a novelist to approach it, is pretty fucking boring.

from Aaro:

Amis's conclusion that an ideological struggle must be waged, in which the proper values of the West are championed, is what brings him into such a collision with the Eagletons. This is, after all, a period in which part of the Left has - remarkably - thrown in its lot with the less apocalyptic wing of Islamism, as well as the isolationist right, in a sort of anti-imperialist alliance.

And what have 'other sections of the left' done at the same time exactly? This 'ideological struggle' has consisted of... Iraq and Guantanamo (neither of which Mart approves of, but hey, he's still with Aaro isn't he). And it's noticeable that it's not that which incited the ire of, for example, the LRB review of 'House of Meetings' - that review was a diatribe against just how goddamn LAZY Amis has got recently.

Amis is an odd one for people like Nick and David to be championing since he is vociferously anti-Iraq war (claiming, bizarrely, that the worst thing about terrorism is what it inspires as reaction, as if anyone believes the Iraq war was a reaction to terrorism).

If any - ANY - of these people had read the early Amis's novels, they'd know that he has ALWAYS been conservative politically. This is no 'political journey' - Amis's writings on Islamism actually exhibit very little political thought but an awful lot of linguistic play. Craig Brown's review is probably the best on that score.

The literary intelligentsia have had it in for him ever since the (dire) Information - possibly ever since London Fields, whoise sexual politics are not very easy to celebrate and are about as far from an adumbration as you can get. To claim that the negative reception of Yellow Dog is because he is 'brave enough to speak out against Islamism' is quite simply a lie.

1/13/2008 08:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I particularly liked this:

'In practice, they don't - or most don't. Although the collective memory of the Thirties includes grainy pictures of the Jarrow march, the Great Depression didn't produce a radical upsurge.'

Well the far left may not have been elected to parliament but the Depression did produce a fundamental rethinking of how the state should regulate the financial markets and also how it should attempt to engineer full employment by demand managment.

Spme might argue that the enduring (till 1979) swing towards Keynsian policies by parties was pretty 'radical'

1/14/2008 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

I thought the following quote was almost as telling as Cohen's legendary definition of the middle classes (100K income):
"Voters need to feel secure before they can accept the altruistic arguments of the left and I think it's fair to predict that their security will soon disappear."

Its like the poor don't even exist in Cohen's world anymore.

1/14/2008 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

""Those suffering - and in some cases dying - this winter because they can't afford to heat their homes ..."

Which given that Britain has one of the worst records on energy efficiency in the EU, is an argument for conservation. Amazing - we can reduce global warming, help the poor and reduce our dependency on foreign energy. Now if Nick was half the thinker he thinks he is, he might ask why this has never been prioritised as much as nuclear. But he's been infected by the Harry's Place disease - cheap shots at people you don't like in place of actual critical thinking.

1/14/2008 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

Oh god it gets worse. Now Macrobiotic food is apparently environmentalism, and I have no idea why its easier to recycle if you have a compost heap (we don't, we do - and if there was the political will councils could easily collect garden/food waste and make money on it into the bargain. But hey, that would be thinking of solutions, rather than just carping). Food miles, organic, blah, blah, veering into Living Marxism territory (poor farmers in the third world - which isn't terribly relevant given that most of our food is imported from large farms in the third world, much as it is at home). Bizarre comment about Lovelock (he's an environmentalist? Greatest? WTF).

Although they may not realise it, the greens need economic growth because the lesson of history is that when growth goes, altruism goes with it.

No Nick, it really isn't. The lesson of history is that altruism and growth are not that well correlated. FUCK, why do I read this idiot. Martin Kettle is at least funny (in an unintentional pooterish way - particularly when he's commenting on America, which he clearly knows nothing about). Whereas Nick just seems to use every column as a way of parading his ignorance and prejudices.

1/14/2008 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Is there any chance of the first new nuclear power plant being built in Islington?

1/14/2008 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(you guys read this stuff so i don't have to!)

1/14/2008 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

"Voters need to feel secure before they can accept the altruistic arguments of the left and I think it's fair to predict that their security will soon disappear."

Or another way to put it - so are these altruistic arguments not directed towards anyone? People who might vote?

1/14/2008 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick Cohen built a reputation by borrowing arguments from the left : PFI is bad, Enron are bad etc. Now he is drawing his arguments from the right, or just backing up the govt, he is hopeless. 'If you don't accept nuclear, you won't have electricity and will freeze to death' is just the same rotten argument as "if you don't accept the PFI, you won't get a new hospital and will die" - The old Left Wing Nick new these arguments were crap, the new right wing one probably doesn't even know that the Nuclear industry has already bequeathed us a £70 billion "legacy" of waste before new power stations have even been built. It only goes to show, you are only as good as your sources

1/14/2008 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Maybe somebody should tell him about this "rockwool" stuff...

(BTW, what with Sizewell A, Sizewell B, Bradwell, Dungeness, Aldermaston, Burghfield and Harwell, I reckon the southeast has its fair share of nuclear installations.)

1/15/2008 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger John B said...

But they all *sound* like they're in the north and/or Scotland. Except maybe Sizewell.

1/15/2008 05:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With reference to the Nick youtube video on the usefulness of talking to PR men to give you ideas for your articles, do we think he may have had a call from Weber Shandwick at some point last week?

1/16/2008 12:17:00 AM  

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