This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
John Brignell wrote
The boy bands are clearly a successful revenue earner, however. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss them for despite the anodyne, vacuous lack of any creative merit there is clearly a very large market for such grot.
The chief political problem in the UK is that the politicians ought rather to be boy-band members than leaders of nations. Youth before experience, but at least we get to vote for them thus get what we deserve. The only ones that have ever sullied their hands with a real day's toil before entering politics are lawyers (and in many cases it's arguable if that counts as real experience of the real world outside the Westminster bubble).
Britain, like all countries, has gone through periodic national reinventions, I've no reason to suspect the current one will be any worse than the last. For all the government crackpottery we are no longer in the 1970s, begging the IMF to help clear up the mess of 30 years of failed attempts at communism-lite, with most production as well as consumption firmly in the hands of a state beholden to all-powerful unions.
In many ways, things really have got better. In fact, it's remarkable how good things are despite the best efforts of the state. Vive l'esprit humain.
I'd say Australia is a more Green-leaning country than the UK. The Australian expat community in the UK is I would say definitely more Green-leaning than the average Brit, and it would be reasonable to assume this carries through into Australia itself.
To give some examples, the current leader of the England and wales Green party is an Australian expat, Natalie Bennett. The campaign by Friends of the Earth to introduce the Climate Change Act in Britain was called "The Big Ask", which is Australian slang and quite a strange expression to use in Britain. To a Brit, it sounds like bad grammar, using 'ask' as a noun instead of a verb. I would deduce that there must a significant number of Australians within the UK Green NGO bubble for a Green NGO to think that this campaign title did not appear odd. As another example, when I used to work in the nuclear industry in the UK, the company I worked for based in Cheshire did some safety work, writing something like an 'environmental impact statement', for a research reactor at a place called Lucas Heights in Australia. One day in the late 1990s about 50 or more Australians, most likely a bunch of expats, turned up and occupied the company buildings for several hours. The idea of anybody protesting against a research reactor is completely unknown in the UK. [There are about 240 research reactors currently operating in 56 countries in the world, with 92 of them in developing countries].
I checked up what happened to this Lucas Heights research reactor, and it looks like the Australian Greenies are still protesting against it, and are trying to shut it down, even though its main use seems to be in producing radioisotopes for medical purposes:
I would imagine some sort of conspiracy theory thinking is going on - the Australian Greens suspect that the research reactor is not really needed at all and is part of some 'foot in the door' strategy to soften Australia up for an electricity-generating reactor at some later date.
However I don't think Australia is in the same league of Greenery as the Central European countries like Denmark, Austria and Germany. Australia has the world's largest reserves of uranium and is a leading exporter of uranium. A really Green country would ban the mining of uranium, as Denmark, the birthplace of the 'Nuclear Power, No Thanks' sticker, has done with its former colony of Greenland. Greenland is reputed to have big uranium deposits which occur in combination with the world's largest rare earth metal deposits, but none of this has been exploited so far (though it may change in the next few years) due to a ban on mining radioactive ores that has been in place for about thirty years.
I thought I'd check how the new Australian government is doing in "casting off the yoke of watermelonism" (to use JEB's phrase), and I'm afraid the new government, as represented by their environment minister, Greg Hunt, is not as AGW sceptical as we might have been led to believe:
"GREG HUNT, ENVIRONMENT MINISTER: Well I do think it is important that we act, and one of the great tragedies of the previous government's system is that in fact our emissions between 2010 and 2020 go up during the period of the carbon tax from 560 to 637 million tonnes. That's why I'm determined that we take real action to actually reduce emissions. So, do we accept the science? Yes. Do we accept the targets? Yes. Do we think that there is a far better way of both taking pressure off households and reducing emissions? Absolutely."
So they accept IPCC science and the idea of CO2 emission cuts being necessary. They are getting rid of the carbon tax, but are spinning that as helping to reduce emissions.
The new government has taken the symbolic step of abolishing Tim Flannery's "Climate Commission", but there appear to be moves afoot to keep this body going, only with it being funded by public donations instead of the taxpayer. I don't think something like that would happen in the UK - two Green quangos providing employment for Green academics in the UK, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and the Sustainable Development Commission (the latter run for many years by Jonathan Porritt), were killed off by the current UK government, and the public did not step forward to keep them going. It fits in with my perception that Australia is a Greener-leaning country than the UK.