BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: Paul Mason
« Previous | Main | Next »

Oil, Megrahi and energy security

Post categories:

Paul Mason | 19:55 UK time, Friday, 21 August 2009

The official line is, the freeing of Megrahi had nothing to do with oil, indeed nothing to do with the British government. So is it paranoia to see remarkable coincidences between Britain's oil interests in Libya and the Lockerbie bomber's return to Tripoli?

John Roberts, energy security specialist at Platt's says not. Libya has wanted Megrahi back for many years; the fact that is happening now, he believes, shows the UK's relations with Libya are being influenced by the commercial situation, which is pretty crucial.

Libya has the ninth largest oil reserves in the world, at 44 billion barrels, and until 2005 these reserves were off limits for the west.

Since 2005 there's been a rush of foreign companies staking their claim on Libya's oil.
BP signed a $900m exploration deal in 2007, but has been hampered by disputes with local authorities. British Gas and Shell also have exploration deals. Russian giant Gazprom has been awarded exploration licences. The Canadian firm Verenex has made significant discoveries of oil but is now locked in a battle with the Libyan government because it wants to sell a stake to the Chinese.

So far, so funky: oil giants battling with each other and the feisty Libyan national oil company to grab a piece of the action. This is normal for the oil business and does not need prisoner release to make it any more like a Bond movie than it normally is.

However it's not the whole story. What is new is the urgency with which the UK and other governments are starting to address the issues of energy security. When a giant pool of untapped oil comes onto the market what politicians are thinking about is not just commercial advantage - it is the coming resource crunch.

Little more than a year ago the world was in the grip of an oil price spike that was driving the cost not just of petrol but also, by knock on effect, basic foodstuffs through the roof. Mismatch between supply and demand, of just a few hundred thousand barrels, amplified by speculators, drove the price of a barrel of oil to $140.

Those who fear an oil crunch point not to reserves, or to the growth of China, but to the slow growth of oil production capacity as the key danger.

According to the International Energy Agency, proven oil reserves are 1.3 trillion barrels - enough to power the world for the next 40 year; but production is shrinking in many mature fields. By 2015 an extra 30 million barrels a day of production capacity needs to be created. At present, only 23 million are planned. There is, says the IEA, "a real risk that under-investment will cause an oil-supply crunch in that timeframe"

Oil is not the only area where resources and due process are getting mixed up. China has arrested executives from Australian iron firm Rio Tinto, allegations of espionage surfacing only when a merger between Rio and a Chinese firm failed. Russian police harassed BP executives in a disputed oil venture over minor legal issues until they were forced to leave the country.

To calibrate how much has changed it's worth remembering that, at the time of the Lockerbie atrocity, Britain was a net oil and gas exporter. Russian pipelines ended in East Germany. A small oil country like Libya could be frozen out of the international community. Now Libya's production - and its capacity to expand up to maybe 3.5 mbpd - is a vital part of the world energy security story.

If BP's little local difficulties in Libya now suddenly go away, few in the oil industry will be surprised. Libya's large gas reserves also look critical for the UK, perched at the end of Russian-supplied pipeline system that does not look like it is enhancing our energy securty much.

So, if this has been realpolitik, it's some consolation that every other energy-dependent country in the world is also playing the game.


  • Comment number 1.


    Here we are, all going green as fast as our little carbon-based feet can run, yet oil is still king.

    Surely Obama can come up with a reason to bomb Ghadafi? How about a surgical strike on 'The Tent of Terror'? That would put his smile on the other side of Tripoli.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    Paul Mason:

    The official line is, the freeing of Megrahi had nothing to do with oil, indeed nothing to do with the British government. So is it paranoia to see remarkable coincidences between Britain's oil interests in Libya and the Lockerbie bomber's return to Tripoli?

    No, I am having paranoia of the *coincidences* of the British oil interests and the return of Lockerbie return to Libya...

    Although, I am not making any assumptions against anyone....

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 5.

    Everyone world-wide needs to know what George Bush and Dick Cheney and many democrats don't want you to know.

    I am a Democrat.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Lots of information and links to check out.

    I am the Good Guy.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 6.

    This posting is being recorded by Interpol in Lyon France.
    I have a camera in my top botton of my shirt

    Tom Heneghan made sure i had it

  • Comment number 7.

    lets talk about interpol and Tom Heneghan

  • Comment number 8.

    Lets also talk about Interpol and Ezra Folson

  • Comment number 9.

    Lets talk about Peter Joyce and lady Diana and Phil Spector

  • Comment number 10.

    Lets talk about Richard Branson and his being a world peace Patriot with Al Gore and I

  • Comment number 11.

    Everyone world-wide needs to know what George Bush and Dick Cheney and many democrats don't want you to know.

    I am a Democrat.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Lots of information and links to check out.

    I am the Good Guy.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 12.

    oil hits $74USD per barrel on rising demand and US economic outlook.

    this time last year the price of petrol at the pumps was heading for 1.35UK pounds per litre and was hoovering up everyones spare cash, those subprimers who were already struggling to pay their skyhigh mortgages started to default and the complex structured financial vehicles that had enabled them to get a mortgage in the first place started to unravel.

    Financial institutions wavered and stumbled and had to be propped up by governments the world over.

    So what have we learnt, apparently nothing, confidence returns, oil price rises, cash hoovered up, the new class of subprimes (the newly unemployed and short-timers) will struggle and default, financial institutions will waver....and what will we learn ?

    The time has come to wean ourselves off oil once and for all. The government should pump huge sums of cash (get those presses out again Merv) into three fundamental areas of research.
    1. High temperature superconductors
    2. Broad spectrum photovoltaics
    3. Cold fusion

    Say 50 billion for each area and another 25 billion for commercialisation, at least we might see some ROI rather than just pumping that amount into the black hole that is the financial system.

  • Comment number 13.

    I am Scottish and my heart bleeds for the family's who lost their loved one's in the terrible and disgusting attack on humanity and on my home land. However I believe with my whole heart that Megrahi is innocent and i wish the world would put their energy into finding the real perpetrators instead of channelling their hate to an innocent man....i am proud that a Scottish man, Kenny McAskill had the brains and the strength to stand up to the Americans and the world to prove that We the Scottish will not be bullied into injustice!

  • Comment number 14.

    london limos [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 15.

    #13 - helensence

    These are two separate issues. I have seen it suggested (on Robin Lustig's blog) that the Megrahi release was primarliy to preempt his appeal and expose an injustice. This may or may not be the case. It may or may not be the case that the man really is on his last legs and that it was simply a common act of human decency but pictures of the triumphal return tend to suggest otherwise.

    Paul's point about the linkage between realpolitik and justice is a valid and important one. If political and economic considerations become an important factor in determining whether or not offenders are released, the judicial system becomes little better than a legalised form of hostage taking. How long will it be before someone convicted by the ICC gets early release ostensibly on humane grounds but actually as part of a trade off?

    This accusation will come up again and the sensible answer is for governments to take seriously the principle of the separation of powers. These decisions are not properly the province of politicians and the sooner they are removed from the brief and given to the judiciary where they belong, the better.

  • Comment number 16.

    prisoners for oil?

    there is no doubting the energy companies get their way in the uk given that gas prices are at SEVEN year lowsb and a regulator hiding in the bushes hoping no one notices the high prices boosting BG profits up 80%?

    if prisoner release was a commercial decision then what did the Scots get out of it? They could have been more spikey rather than talking about God? They could have got more concessions [over what they see as their oil] out of London?

    Maybe the Lybians are the new Saudis? Untouchable under Uk law?

    of course this oil rationale only works if the policy making mindset sees oil and gas as the way forward and [despite the evidence] things like a feed in tarriff that would free the uk from much of that as for the birds. This may explain why Gordon blocked a feed in tariff for so long and is foot dragging now? Leaving the uk way behind in that tech race where Germany's program has become the model, with fellow E.U. countries France, Italy and the Czech Republic adopting similar schemes. In the United States, California began a small-scale feed-in system last year to great success, and states like Vermont and Washington have added similar programs this year.

    China will have solar feed-in tariff in place in 2009

    which again demonstrates the power of the multinational energy companies to control the uk govt policy and so allow them to milk the Uk public cash cow for billions?

  • Comment number 17.

    Its time that reporting separated the interests of UK people, UK govt and UK-based transnationals.

    It then becomes quite transparent in whose interests the govt acts.

    If securing 'resources' was primarily about serving the interests of UK people, then the human resources of the country, and the country and the institutions of the country, would not be being abused the way they are. No they are expendable, and not important.

    While the last time I looked, BP owed £9b in fiddled tax - to the UK govt.
    As for govt overtly acting for the interests of big financial corps, and against those of the public - dont let's even go there!

    Importantly, there would be no obligation on say BP, to bring oil resources to the UK if the company could get a higher price elsewhere. This phenomenon has been clearly demonstrated in previous energy shortage times.

    It would be a big step forward for journalists to recognise the extent of the power of transnational corps over govt(s), to start to get real.

    The 'national' is a convenient bite-sized, well-defined entity for the purposes of reporting, with all the daily 'local colour' that national politics provides. However, the 'one small independent island' perspective which dominates is not constructive to supporting an informed public.

    Okay, this article does move into some global analysis, and indeed that is refreshing.

    But it fails to recognise the balance of power between transnational business and elected govt, and that is centrally important. It conflates business interests with govts interests and actions that are assumed to be synonymous with people's interests.

    The 'national' certainly does matter, as it is the level at which we can actually change things, but first people have to be able to grasp the picture.

    Make a start - please. For one, thing, at that level, the apparent contradictions of national policy fall into coherence - as being in corporate interests.

    A clue - in what sector will most ex-politicians finish up working, or will work while still in office?

  • Comment number 18.

    if we are wondering if there could be any connection between the release of the Libyian and the so called 'deal' involving lucretive oil, arms and whatever, any lingering doubts should be expelled after Mandelson's complete denial that any deals took place...thanks Peter for confirming the fact that they did!

  • Comment number 19.


    And Lord High Everything, Peter Mandelson, declares declares no deal was done.

    So that's alright then.

  • Comment number 20.

    Of course its partly about oil supplies! But those of us (like myself) that tend to preach about ethics and noble actions should perhaps be careful what we wish for?

    The UK has been economically mis-managed by sucessive governments since ? and the economic mayhem afflicting the UK/globally is surely a direct consequence of a succession of fudged major political decisions we see on e.g. various wars, balance of payments and import/export imbalances, punching above our weight, trying to be a leading world power when we are not.

    I don't think that there is/are a/any substantially ethical country in the world - If there is will someone please post details?

    In other words we can carry on supplying arms and armanents to insecure regimes and trouble parts of the world and give monetary aid to countries that e.g. support the millitary regime in Burma, the Taliban, Mugawbe.

    If we wish the UK to be clean ethically and not release mass murderers to appease dictators then we must put all of the house in order and either build a self sufficient energy resourced UK or receive less oil and have a much lower standard of living.

    Surely, the choices are clear but I don't hear any political party giving us anything like a clear planned route to ethical utopia in the run up to a general election?

    Why do some of our leading politicians only look really happy when they are shaking hands gleefully with a dictator?

  • Comment number 21.

    THE KOGI? (#20)


  • Comment number 22.


    I am not familiar with that reference but would appreciate a web link or further details


  • Comment number 23.

    One of Tony Blairs first manifesto policies (one that they a made great song and dance about and which gained them a huge number of votes(including mine)) was an ethical foreign policy.
    What Happened ?
    A lot of people voted for the the new labour party believing that this time it would be different, that 'Things can only get better'. We didn't want to be rich,(we would have voted Tory for that) we just wanted the world to be a better place for everyone.
    So What Happened ?
    My Labour government, in my name, has sold hawk jets to Burma, invaded Iraq, occupied Afghanistan, colluded in torture, squeezed their expenses and sold out to big business.
    Is the world any better ?
    Don't you understand, Tony, Peter, Gordon, the damage that you have done, that it is not just in financial terms that we the working class will be paying for your follies for generations to come.
    How can you sleep at night ?

    My only hope (for that is all I have left) is that Kenny McAskill came to the decision he did because he is a true man of principle and was not swayed by political or financial vested interests

  • Comment number 24.

    I wish we had a man of the character Kenny McCastle is...we have no one of his ilk in the English parliament mores the pity

  • Comment number 25.

    As far as I remember, the atrocity at Locherbie followed an atrocity committed by an American warship that shot down an Iranian civil aircraft on a scheduled flight over the Arabian Gulf. If the known perpetrators of this earlier crime had been convicted with an appropiate sentence, then there is a possibility that the atrocity over Locherbie may not have been committed. The Americans who are understandingly angry about the release of Al-Megrahi should also be asking questions about the earlier atrocity and its aftermath. I do not believe that Al-Megrahi acted alone and there have been reports in the media for some years that his conviction was unsafe.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm not really with you on the thrust of this, Paul. I agree that both the UK and Scottish Governments were wishing better relations with Libya. You do not recite the judicial side of this. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission had referred this man's conviction back to the High Court for an appeal. Important evidence, they say, in relation to the contents of the suitcase, its time of purchase and the identity of the man who purchased them had been brought into real doubt.This could have pointed to a miscarriage of justice, they say.Members of the UK victims' families have been expressing real worries about this and wanted this man released.His prognosis probably indicated he would not live to see his appeal concluded.

    Look at the counterfactual ( as civil servants love to say). What if an innocent man had been allowed to die in a Scottish jail. What would that have then done to UK / Libyan relations and oil? Let's see if calls for a public inquiry succeed.

  • Comment number 27.

    #12 ,#23 Rob Rocket and Paul Mason

    I am supposed to be on holiday but this post is too symptomatic not to comment on. I agree with much of the sentiment of PM and Robs posts.

    NOW we are getting to the heart of it. The loss of integrity from this nation and others, let us explore.

    - The US shoot down an Iranian Airliner by mistake. A short time after lockerbie happens...too much like a declaration of war to find Iran quilty...a war that would be too de-stabilising to allow. Libya provides the patsy. The appeal by megrahi appears like it may have some legs...this release appears convenient on numerous levels, ignore the political outrage and bluster...that is their profession.

    - how about the BAE corruption allegations with Saudi...convieniently quashed by politics on the basis of 'national security'.

    - let us not forget the iraq war....waged on the basis of non existent weapons of mass destruction and links to Al-queda. Are we truely to believe our intelligence services are so utterly incompetent? perhaps we should ask Dr david kelly his opinion....ooops he is his own hand we are told.

    - let us not forget who our politicians habitually spend their summers with. They spend them on yaghts on the med with their 'friends' whom happen to be the richest men in the world, often related to the energy and banking sectors. One wonders what passes for off the record conversations at those gatherings? The weather maybe? The latest football results?

    Energy security in a time when the exponential growth of population and prosperity in the form of car onnership and desire to eat grapes flown in from the other side of the world is the issue of our time.

    The current economic model requires more cars to be sold and more grapes to be flown accross the world to maintain 'economic growth'. Energy availability is now getting in the way of that, when oil hits $150 a barrell noboddy can pay their debts anymore it seems...cue financial collapse...

    At the same time we are told to switch off our mobile phone chargers when not in use, the energy saved in doing that for a week would power a car for approx 1 second, a car fueled by a high enegy fuel which took millions of years to create.

    The financial crisis was a shot accross the bows, an opportunity to change our ways, yet what do our political masters and their 'friends' choose for us?

    Do they choose to map out an entirely different economic model (a throughput model)for the world to positively engage in a new vision?

    Or do they choose to set the wheels in motion to secure their own fossil fuel supplies and stabilise their friends in the collapsed banking system using the sweat from taxpayers, taxpayers who should be enjoying the technology divident of working less, not more.

    I am not convinced the above ammounts to a conspiracy, it ammounts to human nature, those interested in power and extreme wealth while providing little value to society are the wrong personality types to govern us, yet those are the people who strive to achieve those positions and do so. democracy is supposed to moderate that, but it can only moderate that dynamic if there is an alternative ideology on offer.

    At the moment there is not, since the defeat of communism (I am not a communist by the way) the only politics out there is the politics of free market capitalism with slightly different twists to it.

    Free market capitalism uncheked rewards spivs and shysters and provides the conditions for them to rise to the top in all walks of life and in so doing form an unwritten bond between them to maintain the status quo. You will not find it written in any policy document of any company or political partuy but it is real non the less.

    So where are we now?

    We are in the midst of an apparent recovery, demand is rising again, as is the price of energy, the spivs and shysters are putting up as many renewable energy schmes as they can as a minor 'hedge position' while manouvering to secure friends with large oil stocks in order to maintain the status quo, keep people happy and keep their egos fed.

    It can never be enough, the consumerist beast that has no end to its hunger (greed) will again overtake supply in the not too distant future. The fossil energy consumption we use today is so enormous it can not be met by renewables, the energy value in your petrol tank is simply enormous in terms of replacing that with entirely renewable energy. We have to live differently, we can not spend energy that took millions of years to create flying grapes accross the world.

    Where is the vision?

    Which ever way you cut it there needs to be a huge reduction in population in order that we can live the way we have become accustomed in the west while being in balance with our environment in a sustainable way. The only nation on earth that has grasped that simple truth and acted upon it is China. The rest of us are content to condemn our children and our childrens children to a life of fighting thier common man for ever reducing resources in order to maintain a comfortable standard of living from ever decreasing non renewable resources, be it fossil fuel or copper or steel or aluminium.

    Non of it will be easy but you have to start by knowing where you are going, the transition will involve much suffereing i am sure but the alternative is much worse. How long do you think before a rogue state with nuclear weapons and a restless growing population from lack of resources falls into the hands of those who feed off desperation?

    Wake up.


  • Comment number 28.

    Realpolitik is the only valid description for this activity and none there are who dare speak its name.

    What I can't understand is how the SNP set themselves up to be the patsies in this. They must be far more limited than even my many jaundiced observations have contemplated. It has been known for a long time that Libya wanted their agent back: what government wouldn't? No doubt Ghadaffi felt bad having to turn him over in the first place; so, in effect, one bad turn deserves another. But then what do you expect from a UK government that couldn't run a bath and a regional government that couldn't even run amock.

    The amount of handwashing that is going on in both Westminster and Edinburgh certainly outdoes Pontius Pilate. Indeed, one almost feels like appealing to a higher authority. As until the necessary time passes, God knows what is going on.

  • Comment number 29.

    # 12 bobrocket

    You've hit the nail on the head. Two articles on the fundamental points being made here by Paul Mason caught my eye recently. One was Richard Heinberg's essay, "Temporary Recession, or the End of Growth?" (take a look at it here: The other was Puru Saxena's, "Peak Oil Has Gone" (here it is:

    It seems that some of us - still a small minority I suspect - believe on the basis of growing evidence that the world has indeed pretty much exhausted its supplies of cheap, fossil-fuelled energy. Sure, there's plenty of oil, but we've had the cheap stuff: from here on the price of finding, extracting, processing and distributing oil goes one way only: sharply upwards.

    As nations around the world crawl out of recession whilst ill- or uninformed governments continue to borrow, tax, print and pump money into a failing (cheap-energy based) economic model, I spend my time preparing myself and my family for a dark future (perhaps literally). Our political elites have yet to grasp the enormity of what lies ahead as we stagger towards the end of mankind's era of cheap energy.

    It's astonishing the extent to which so few politicians, journalists and members of the public realise the true nature and root cause of this global economic decline. For those who think we're at the beginning of the end of recession, I suggest they research Peak Oil - and realise that we're more likely to be at the 'bleeding edge' of unprecedented global socio-economic change, if not turmoil.

    James Kunstler foretold the current situation in his seminal book "The Long Emergency"; fail to read it at your peril.

  • Comment number 30.

    How can America possibly comment on Scottish humanity when they have over 45 million people without basic health care?

    As for the oil situation Scotland have the North sea oil reserves which should last them for a few years yet and don't need to kowtow to Libya.

  • Comment number 31.

    as somebody wrote above, "his appeal had legs". It was an unsafe conviction, putting an innocent man (of this crime anyway) into jail because of Great Power games. When even hardened Newsnight journalists can see and hint that, how much greater knowledge of it will there be in Libya? No wonder this man was regarded as a hero and martyr by the Libyans, and no wonder they flocked and cheered - and flew the Scottish flag not in triumph - in thanks to the small nation that had the courage to do the right thing against so much heavy-handed flak.

    does this have political/economic benefits for the UK? Well, think of it this way - if a foreign Govt was holding one of our citizens, even though sufficient evidence available of their innocence, and this Briton, this one-of-our-own, was dieing in that prison, how would we react to a nation that kept him there to die? Would we like them very much? (After a well researched and in depth Newsnight analysis anyway... ;) ). No - and it would be very popular to end or restrict any deals with them.

    both Washington and London are very well aware of this man's innocence of the crime he was convicted of, for if they were not, if they truly were so concerned with the feelings of the relatives of those killed, then despite Megrahi dropping his appeal (he had to, to be eligible to receive compassionate release), and his release, they should now still hold the full appeal. Indeed, the question begs as to why they do not? Could it be that there is potential for this to go higher within Western Elites (and activities) than they would wish? Especially now the ICC is in operation? Who knows? It sure doesn't look like *we* ever will...

    Sometimes it happens that both morality and self-interest go hand in hand together. Yes, really! Would we have lost economic advantage had we behaved like the ideological and bullying US - yes. Have we likely gained economic advantage by behaving morally and scrupulously (no direct pressure from Brown - apparently, etc) - yes. It is more of a sign of the sheer scale of the damage Bush & Blair has done to recent Western moral thought, that we are so shocked when moral behaviour from us IS actually moral behaviour! Did the economo-political ramifications cross our politician's mminds before they acted? I damned well hope so - isn't that part of the reason why they are there...? Just as, i'm sure, the fact of the UK Govt knowingly holding an innocent Libyan to his death, known to the general Libyan population, would have directly harmed British interests... to the quite possible economic advantage of the Americans, worth remembering *that* as we hear them demanding *WE* act immorally.

    and one last comment regarding the Libyans and future close cooperation with the UK regarding energy security:

    if we stopped building those aircraft carriers (and lets all face it - their only purpase is to assist in a military struggle to gain the last oil and gas reserves), this project could be started in libya.

    as i mentioned in slightly more detail in my second post in this page:

    and embedded in a holistic Green approach here:


    back to the point, this guy was probably innocent, we did the right thing for the right reason, and we behaved morally - and yes, we will benefit from that. And the final thought is - why is it SO(!) hard to believe that behaving morally cannot benefit us?

    peace (to any who have gone this far! :) ) :wub:

  • Comment number 32.


    Hi Nautonier. If I have understood the Kogi found a way to avoid much of the inexorable inability of 'The Ape Confused by Languge' to live a viable existence. This they did by minimising the impact of 'life' on the unformed intellect, in a select few, who went on to guide the rest.

    I hope the blogdog sees no harm in the links.

  • Comment number 33.


    But you can imagine the outcry, if we tried to train any Mamas today! No one realises the damage we currently do to our young FAR outweighs the APPARENT privations of Mama-nurture.

    *See #32

  • Comment number 34.

    Post 16. What does Scotland get out of this?

    Scotland has a huge industry that travels the world supporting both onshore but particularly offshore oil.

    Much of the licences up for grabs in Libya aren't actually onshore in Libya but offshore. The Western world's commercial offshore industry support industry tends to be based around either Aberdeen in Scotland or Houston & Galveston in Texas. I wonder where a lot of new contracts will be going conveniently supporting an industry struggling due to lack of exploration and developments in the North Sea.

  • Comment number 35.

    32 and 33 - Thank you for the links! I think that there are some lessons there regarding environment and 'social cohesion'.

    The Kogi

    Fascinating stuff - I suppose the Kogi's previous survival and success has depended on their isolation and which is now under threat - as for the mamas - well - I suppose the Kogi can trust their 'leaders' whereas the developed world as a major problem - especially in the UK!

  • Comment number 36.


    A modern version of the Kogi would be as good, as it is also inevitable.

    The only potentially self determinable part is how we get there.

    Do we get there by self management in such a way as to minimise the quantum of suffering it will take, or do we get there by force of natural neccesity of the unsutainable. Finite resources in tandem with increasing population and increasing expectation fueled by global media accesible to all, steering us to feed 'economic growth' to desire the car, the 60inch plasma TV and triple chocolate fudge cheesecake with ice cream. Fertile ground for those shamens who feed off the desperation of others in order to fulfil their own delusions, except now with high technology to play with and a truely global stage could sporn a process which is dreadful to perceive of but the signs of which are all around us. It is not too late so long as people awaken.

  • Comment number 37.

    To reinforce the points I made earlier at # 29

    I just wonder when a few mainstream journalists will 'join the dots' here and see the alarming reality - let's call it a steam train on steroids - heading our way?

  • Comment number 38.

    A WRY SMILE (#36)

    I gather from my BBC email that we can soon have TV on the belly of our tee shirts, courtesy of organic LEDs. Apart from that, your vision of the technological future is a 'joy'.

    In passing: I have offered (here and there - no Nobel Prize) the suggestion that the way the TV is insinuated into the congregating-space of the 'home', and its subsequent group 'attention', it could well be subliminally accepted by our 'animal brain' as the alpha being in the group. I further suggest this bypasses filter circuits, and objectivity, with serious consequences for 'civilised man' in view of the vile content of most-viewed programs.

  • Comment number 39.

    Rock on, Kenny. You have restored a little bit of pride into these fractured islands, not for you the grovelling, toe curling American war machine that must be appeased at all costs. Unlike Brown/ Blair you have made the true Scottish voice of independence shine through some very murky waters. We do not know the full facts as the CIA and MI6 have not got their stories right, hence no public enquiry but one thing you did get right, you released an innocent man. To speak of the rule of law, and justice from a country that created Guantanamo and water boarding really does take the piss......

  • Comment number 40.


    I could not figure it out for ages either as to why journalists were not 'joining the dots' for some thing pretty obvious and easily constructed intellectually into a compelling case.

    The problem journalists have is that unless they are columnists they are not allowed to have opinion, they can only report the opinion of others and question it so as not to compromise journalistic imparitality, they can not draw their own conclusions from the proposterous answers tyhey get. The best they can do is keep repeating the question Jeremy Paxton style to expose them.

    If you read a lot of the more credible columnists they are saying similar things to those expressed here, but their prose feels marginalised, lone voices in the midst of a huge unweildly beast, our own base savage instincts manifested as a global economic and communication system set fair to consume its own tail and on up to its own head if it is not checked or moderated in some way.

    I suspect many journalists, especially those of paul masons ilk are as frustrated as we are, but they are constrained in asking the opinion of ' credible educated mainstream sources'. It is self perpetuating.

    If they want economic debate they bring in dome academic economists or government or political economist with a hefty CV. By that very illusory requirement of 'credibility' they stifle genuine debate because the CV required for credibility is a 'mauinstream CV, it is a CV pre-indoctrinated with some leveraged position loyal to the status quo.

    The end result is lots of debate on the finer points but no myth busting unleveraged insight and vision. Even the heated arguments between them all have a kind of intellectual sparring at the gentlemans club feel about them.

    If you threw in an economist from the 'green party' or some other rogue talented individual with no heavy hitting Cv whom could non the less take their argumments apart you would probably find the opposition would be 'unavailable' as commonly occurs or if they do show up they would simply revert to questioning the credentials of the antagonist as being 'not worthy of thier superior knowledge' rather than engaging in genuine truth seeking debate.

    That is how the status quo is maintained to the frustration of journalists and the public alike. Genuine debate is confined to individual blogs on the net and the like which individually amount to nothing, collectively they could amount to something but the net is too unfocussed an instrument it seems.

    Some of us have tried to create an unleveraged forum as a focus for all comers at the but its success has been limited despite much effort by a small group of initiators. One can only try, but by our very nature we are not well equiped for success because we tend to be well balanced, unleveraged, sensible and moral individuals i.e. relatively poor and powerless despite (I believe) us having the broader consesnsus of public opinion and the balance of truth on our side.

    Ho hum.

  • Comment number 41.


    latest headlines proclaiming outrage at an increase of 60% in our bill to Europe incresing to a whopping 6.5 billion.

    What are we worried about! The BOE printed 175 billion and the markets have not even flinched, another £6.5 billion to cover our membership created out of nothing will barely be noticed.

    just add it to the tab mervynn .

    Your could not make this crisis and journalists response to it up could you !!

  • Comment number 42.

    But did you notice US Senator John MacCain and some colleagues was in Libya last week offering Gaddafi 'non lethal defence equipment'! Prince Andrew is going soon! :-)

  • Comment number 43.


    Does anyone else out there find it strange that last night on the BBC main news site the 60% increase in our fees to Europe from 4.1 billion to 6.5 billion was the headline breaking news, presumably on the basis that this would be apolitical bombshell in such difficult times..this morning the story has disapeared without trace...why ?

    Perhaps someone realised it was not a problem anymore, just a few key strokes at the bank of england and 'Voila' our bill is paid. Why dont we just round it off to a neat £10 billion, we seem to have got away with it so far £175 billion seems to have been swallowed , an extra 2.4 billion on our europe bill hardly seems like anything to write home about, the markets will not even notice it.

    Can any economist out there or paul Mason Himself explain to me what is stopping us paying our increased bill to europe with an extremely modest 2.4 billion of printed money? A drop in the ocean surely! Is this why the story suddenly evaporated from a headline to anon event?

    Educate me someone please.

  • Comment number 44.

    # Jericoa

    the 'balance of truth on our side' means that in the end all your work will be vindicated, keep going.

    As far as the EU fee is the price for joining the club, presumably we get something back for being a member (or is it like a gym club subscription) along the lines of 'each according to its need', being a relatively rich (for now) member has its downside.

    Regarding alternative enery sources, an excellent book by David MacKay, Sustainable Energy – without the hot air explains some of the myths of green energy, how the comparisons work and future energy security.
    eg. 'One kilowatt-hour per day is roughly the power you could get from
    one human servant. The number of kilowatt-hours per day you use is thus
    the effective number of servants you have working for you.'
    MacKay, a Professor in the Department of Physics at the Univer-
    sity of Cambridge dedicates his book 'to those who will not have the benefit
    of two billion years’ accumulated energy reserves'

  • Comment number 45.

    'Those who fear an oil crunch point not to reserves, or to the growth of China, but to the slow growth of oil production capacity as the key danger.'

    ...I don't just fear an energy crunch I think I am observing one!


    'So, if this has been realpolitik, it's some consolation that every other energy-dependent country in the world is also playing the game.'

    Er, ... they're playing too well and the UK is losing!

    Can we have an effective UK energy policy please and get the best people working on it asap so that it is applied?

  • Comment number 46.

    #44 Robrocket

    It is an excellent link, the best bit of unleveraged research excellently presented, truely important and made free to download in pdf, well done professor Mckay!.

    The climate camp activists this bank holiday would be well advised to read it cover to cover and shift their emphasis accordingly.

    Climate change is not the issue. Having had some geological training I am fully aware that climate change is no new thing, far from it, be it due to the large solar cycle or volcanic influences the planet runs hot and cold regularly, our tinkering with co2 and methane levels could just as well be preventing the next ice age as causing global warming! Climate change on our planet is part of the planetary weather, is nothing new and trying to prevent it is akin to King Canute in my opinion.

    The real issue is sustainability in energy and material usage in conjunction with population. Not quite so catchy I admit but much closer to the truth.

    I dont object to the protest, far from it but it is held under a misdirected banner which only serves to fragment support. The 'climate change banner is based on an arrogant false premise that we (humans)are the primary influence on climate. We are not, geological and solar factors are and always will be the governing factors, we are as unimportant in that respect as we have always been, we are just a blip, a side show in terms of influence on global climate.

    If they changed the banner to ' war on spivs, shysters, spin doctors and greed' a correct focus of anger would be obtained, I wonder who came up with all this climate change distraction to lead the diquiet down ablind alley.........


More from this blog...

Latest contributors

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.