Glasgow Extravaganza Tempts Climate Zealots to make ruinous pledges to United Nations
Politicians and their entourages converging on Glasgow for Cop26 threaten to pile additional economic handicaps on their countries as they showily compete with each other in displays of climate warming zealotry.
United Nations which is staging Cop26 will be the main beneficiary just because it diverts attention away from its own failure in regard to the real crisis, the pandemic, which it failed to intercept and then stonewalled in determining its origin.
Europe is facing an energy shortage due low fuel stockpiles following last winter, which was colder and longer than usual.
Neither will any questions be asked as to why British householders have discovered that a quarter of their power bill is comprised of a green levies surcharge
United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres the ring master for the gathering is already whipping up his audience by claiming that global warming is at an alarm of “fever pitch” crescendo.
This cry will not be taken up by independent power suppliers in the UK going out of business due to the shortage-induced skyrocketing wholesale power rates.
Neither will anyone at the UN feel it necessary to explain for example why as the pandemic, the one they failed to detect, gathered force they egged on such pious devotees as New Zealand at the start of 2020 to declare a distracting official climate emergency.
British prime minister Boris Johnson is a recent convert to the political trade secret that climate is the key to the vote of the electoral aristocracy.
With the hyperbole for which he is famous he likens the world to a perpetual thoughtless adolescent conveniently forgetting that London the city of which he was once mayor introduced the Clean Air Acts.
The platoon-sized delegation from New Zealand scheduled to attend the Glasgow convocation demonstrates the neo-religious brazen immunity attached to any association with the United Nations climate fervour.
At a time when families remain split and cannot unite because of tightly rationed quarantine accommodation there were no qualms about the extensive Glasgow entourage elbowing aside their distressed taxpayers in their own quest for the angelic limelight.
Boris Johnson’s customary bragging and bluster will overcome any reservations from these true believers as Britain enters another winter that may be colder than the last and with fill in energy supplies from Europe uncertain.
His presence at the Glasgow conference will add a new theatricality which is likely to evoke among participants an enhanced tendency to show-off by committing their countries to extreme self-sacrificial economic hobbling.
Already hit in the New Zealand Labour government’s determination to demonstrate to United Nations its climatic purity is the nation’s natural gas supply vital to home heating. Bovine production which underpins the export economy is another example.
Those at the conference are theorists who have never worked at wealth-building careers. Their task is one usually associated with mystics, fakirs, and instant cure peddlers. It is to persuade the voters back home, the ones paying for it, that the damage being inflicted on them is for their own good.
The winner is United Nations which is kept afloat by payments from these nations and about which the taxpayers so levied are told little.
Adding to the unreality of Cop26 is an acute shortage in the United Kingdom of carbon dioxide essential to such essentials as healthcare and food production.
One sideshow at Cop 26 is bound to be the New Zealand side ardently proving that it can out run in the climate stakes anything from newly nuclear Australia whose citizens may feel themselves on home turf due to the Glasgow Stock Exchange (above) site reminding them of the Sydney Opera House.
Retrofitting French Atomic Subs was a customisation too far
The new AUKUS military alliance concludes the most bizarre construction deal in modern military procurement, the one for Australia to retro re-equip French nuclear submarines with diesel engines.
The compromise was itself powered by the most high minded of moral objectives blended with the most practical of political imperatives. The moral objective was to protect Australia from anything nuclear. The political one was old fashioned electioneering based on keeping jobs there too.
What a difference a few years make. Five in the case of the backwardly compatible subs.
In 2016 the year the deal was signed with France many in Australia still hailed China for having “lifted” this was the word always used a substantial chunk of the world’s population “out of poverty.”
Neither was this belief confined to the politico media class. A year before in 2015 the Chinese-owned and aptly-named Landbridge Group won the bid for a 99 year lease of Port Darwin which happens to be Australia’s gateway to the Indo Pacific.
In 2018 the state of Victoria signed up with China’s Belt and Road scheme seen at the time and until it was abruptly cancelled by the Federal government as the very embodiment of political progressivism.
The retro conversion of the French nuclear submarines to internal combustion can be compared to re-powering diesel electric rail locomotives with coal-fired steam engines.
Until even months ago the problems of this 2016 deal for the re-engined French submarines were brushed under the carpet. The quaint arrangement eliminating anything nuclear kept Australia’s Labour Party at bay, and thus similarly the nation’s activist media which is nearly all of it.
The French always saw the problems in re-adapting their standard nuclear-powered submarine package and so insisted on a large order so they could obtain efficiency of scale for the extensive modifications.
Government consortia and private corporates tremble before altering, tampering, with standardised technology packages of any description. Customising a proven technology introduces a chain reaction in which a change somewhere distorts everything else, everywhere else.
This is why most acquirers of packaged, standardised technology, sensibly seek to mould and bend their own requirements around the technology package instead of the other way around.
The Australian 2016 submarine contract requiring the nuclear propulsion to be replaced by internal combustion engines turned the French standard package inside out.
This is because the original nuclear design meant that the submarine would remain operable at sea continuously until the crew food supplies ran out.
More important still the combustion engine propulsion would cancel out the nuclear submarine other great advantage, the one of silence.
Another danger of customising a standardised package is that it empowers the vendor to add costs.
The greater the degree of departure from the standard design, the greater the customisation and the greater the leverage in the hands of the vendor in this case the French government.
The French government owns most of the constructor Naval Group. It sought to compensate for customisation by insisting on a large flotilla of the modified submarines in order to achieve scale of production for the drastic hybridisation of its standard design model.
It was genuinely shocked when the entire somewhat dotty deal was abruptly cancelled. It was a rare example of a tightly-held trade/defence secret.
The French were lulled because nobody in any authority in Australia, or in any other western ally until very recently questioned the contract dogged as it so obviously was with the cost and delays caused by the customisation complications.
Not a whisper reached the French government with its vaunted foreign service, nor Thales the secondary shareholder of the constructor Naval Group, or even Naval’s own operational management.
Washington saw the problem. It now presented a clean deal, one that suited all parties including the British now put back in a position to resume a historical role in Australian heavy engineering.
The fury of France’s response indicates that no amount of penalties and damages will compensate for the abrupt contract termination.
China’s sabre rattling and the corresponding cutting through of the “lifted out of poverty” creed and its replacement by a practical appreciation of a threat is one explanation for the abrupt submarine contract upset.
Another is that the sudden sub announcement was itself a diversion from the impression of the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan. Itself an example of the confusion when political expediency laced with ideological distractions intrude on military planning.
The US-led Anglo Australian submarine strategy cut through a defence dreamtime.
National Leader Caustic comments on Covid Clinicians cracked media indifference
Microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles presented Judith Collins with one of the very few high value targets available to the leader of the Opposition. Mrs Collins let fly with her “big fat hypocrite” missile after someone dobbed in the New Zealander of the Year for being away from home at the beach. And not wearing a mask.
Mrs Collins lashed out at the duo because strange as it seems she knew that she could do so without alienating National Party support. They are both Eurocentric tall poppies. Professionals who can be taken down a peg or two without alienating cultural sensitivities.
Politically Mrs Collins is trapped by the culture wars. The most obvious example of the way in which she is manacled is in telling the National Party rural base what it wants to hear.
If she declares that New Zealand’s allegiance to net zero will not make a jot of difference to the climate but will wreck the economy then she wins the farmers. But she loses the urban liberals.
If she strides forth on law and order (gangs) she reinforces her productive sector base. But loses urban professionals (inclusivity.)
Should Mrs Collins wade into immigration on the grounds of a disconcerting benefit-of-the-doubt attitude relating to deporting the manifestly lethal then she again sloughs off this same urban constituency (social justice.)
Mrs Collins is in search of the 300,000 missing National Party votes, the ones that went AWOL at the last general election.
Within the National Party there are various explanations. One is that the rural vote evaporated as farmers went Labour with both their two votes just to eliminate the threat of the Greens.
The other reason is rather more sensitive and somehow more convincing. It is what is known within the National Party as the “Remuera doctors and lawyers wives” vote.
It holds that a household combined vote no longer exists and that one of the householders went Labour or Green, quietly.
Mrs Collins indicated as much at her earlier collective swipe at Dr Bloomfield and former prime minister Helen Clark on the grounds of a proximity to United Nations which Ms Clark once served and then sought to lead as secretary-general.
Mrs Collins knows that the Labour government is wedded to United Nations ideologies.
But she dare not say so because of the Remuera Effect with its many invisible UN devotees (globalism).
Siouxsie Wiles (pictured above by Arvid Eriksson) presents an everywoman persona. Her recognisable and polychromatic aspect removes the kind of gulf so often associated with highly qualified clinicians tasked with informing the general public about the unpleasant.
Much the same thing can be said of the outwardly more staid and conventional Dr Bloomfield in aspect the embodiment of the traditional public servant.
His only visible blend with Labour government doctrine is his willingness to advance the cause of the Maori language (diversity) notably in matters of correct delivery such as with the new name for Auckland.
In his public update broadcast duets with prime minister Jacinda Ardern he correctly renders Tamaki Makerau with the last syllable pronounced as in meow instead of it sounding like cow or toe the usual rendering.
Mrs Collins outbursts directed at the two clinicians seemed to be both petulant and waspish. She knew though that they would be much reported and that they would demonstrate that she would not be intimidated by them and certainly not by their face-value good intentions.
She thus challenged the government’s lock downs and other Covid tactics obliquely, indirectly.
Of all the parties National has taken the biggest beating in the culture wars. Its few media friends able to render on-the-ground support have tended to find themselves subjected to cancellation.
Mrs Collins targeting of the two clinicians at last raised her above the noise level.
The Kabul evacuation shows hallmarks of a very large scale endeavour that veered sharply onto an unanticipated course. The most obvious sign is that nobody wants to be responsible for it, or own it. This was demonstrated by key people being on holiday at the time.
This distancing from a dodgy project was also evident in the absence of any geographical central point of control such as a situation room.
A common factor in all very large scale debacles is that of the creeping assumption. There is growing evidence that project component members of the Kabul evacuation assumed that other component member groups were effective when we can now see that they were not.
An overriding ingredient to a failed large scale project is that those responsible for its execution refused to carry bad news all the way to the top. The vulnerability of the county-size Kabul city airport is one example here. It was inadequate to the task.
Very large scale projects that go off-course are prone to a self-infused sense of optimism which tends to grow with the importance of the project and which continue through to testing. The belief, one based solely on hope, that the Taliban would cooperate with the evacuation timetable remains the outstanding example.
At some stage very large projects become prone to a distraction. In the private sector this is often due to government intervention in some form. In this instance the government provided its own distraction to its own project.
The round robin collective letter to the US Administration from retired flag officers points out the “divisive” effect of what amounted to the ill-timed launch of what it described as a “wokist” agenda.
Distancing became the trade mark of the evacuation. We can see now how those in nominal control of events placed themselves in the position in which if it worked, they could claim the plaudits. If it didn’t, then their operational connection with events would be seen as tenuous enough to deflect collecting the blame.
They had good reason for ambivalence. The evacuation lacked the two essentials of any military process of any size at all. These are surprise and deception. These two tactical aces were left exclusively to the Taliban to implement as strategies.
Contingency increasingly looks as if was missing too. So was simple office-grade information technology which should have used Afghanistan’s relatively advanced telecommunications network in a pre-planned evacuation roster notification process.
An example of such a standard public point-to-multipoint phased process is the vaccination notification roster used now in NATO countries.
A quarter of Afghans were routine cell phone users and these were exactly the interpreters and other officials who needed to be on such a critical roster alert, one that chimed with a pre-planned flight schedule. No such basic coordinated IT alerting system seems to have been used.
In management terms the US-led NATO operation was a consortium. Information sharing was a pre-requisite and as it turned out incredibly all-embracing in that it in corporate terms it was shared also and intentionally with the enemy the Taliban, the competition.
We are now routinely reminded that all the abandoned NATO heavy duty aircraft have been rendered unusable.
Might not these have been instead just as easily folded into a coordinated evacuation procedure and simply flown to one of the in-range NATO friendly countries complete with passengers, evacuees?
Official statements have similarly focussed on the beyond-repair abandoned wheeled and tracked terrestrial vehicles. This emphasis on heavy armour obscures the much greater value to the insurgents of lighter, very useable, and much more mobile and thus much more useful spoils of war.
This includes NATO’s Thales interoperable radios and Pilkington night vision equipment (pictured.).
NATO’s failure to blow its dumps can be tied to NATO’s failure to act on its own intelligence. Even if this was realistic in its interpretation of what was likely to happen it re-emerged operationally in corporate marketing format as a politicised message of hope characterised by the military evacuating itself first instead of last.
Neither can the evacuation be compared to Saigon. Then the timetable, the initiative, was in the hands of the enemy in Hanoi which forced it on South Vietnam..
In Kabul in contrast setting the timetable was in the hands of the defenders in the form of the US-led NATO alliance.
The United States reputation for method and order rested on its ability to bring to bear on any operation a concentrated array of specialist manpower and their accompanying technology.
The Afghanistan experience indicates that it can no longer do this and that its allies are going to have to factor this realisation into joint operations.
The dissenting retired military brass in their critique probably come closest to the explanation in blaming the affair on deliberately divisive doctrines prioritising the very disunity of purpose that became so evident in the evacuation of Afghanistan.