The Soys from Brazil…

soy1“Our growing demand for cheap feed to produce cheap meat is exacting a terrible human and environmental price. But the solutions are clear, and are within our reach.

Many people are surprised to find out that the meat and dairy industry produces more climate-changing emissions than all the planes, cars and lorries on the planet – and that a hidden chain of destruction links animals in British factory farms to rainforest destruction in South America.

Animals in British and European factory farms are pumped full of high-protein feed to grow quickly and produce high yields. The protein in animal feed is provided by soy, most of which is shipped in from industrial GM plantations created by cutting soydown rainforest in South America. This releases vast quantities of climate-changing gases, destroys trees, plants and animals and drives out communities that have lived on the land for centuries.

The huge soy plantations needed just to feed factory farms in Europe every year cover almost 10 million hectares in South America – and demand is growing fast. In the UK, factory farming is almost wholly dependent on the availability of this cheap soy feed – but at the expense of UK citizens and farmers.” More

Labour narrow Conservative lead to 10 points…

Gordon Brown 10“Labour have received the largest boost from the conference season according to a new poll which shows the party narrowing the gap on the Conservatives.

The Times/Populus poll put the Conservatives down one point to 40 per cent, with Labour up three points to 30 per cent and the Liberal Democrats unchanged on 18 per cent. Other parties are down two points to 12 per cent. If repeated at a general election, the figures would give David Cameron a Commons majority of just eight.

The results stand in sharp contrast to a recent ICM poll which showed the Conservative lead rising to 19 points in the wake of Cameron’s conference speech.

Cameron continues to enjoy a commanding lead over Brown as the best person to lead the country after the election, backed by 48 per cent of voters against 28 per cent for the prime minister. He also leads Brown as the person best equipped to deal with the recession by 45 to 30 per cent. At the height of the financial crisis, Brown led Cameron by 52 to 32 per cent on dealing with the recession.” (Source)

Political Quote of the Day (15.10.09)

hegelGeorg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (German pronunciation: [ˈɡeɔʁk ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈheːɡəl]) (August 27, 1770 – November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism, and along with Immanuel Kant, one of the most influential philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment.

Hegel developed a comprehensive philosophical framework, or “system”, to account in an integrated and developmental way for the relation of mind and nature, the subject and object of knowledge, and psychology, the state, history, art, religion and philosophy. In particular, he developed a concept of mind or spirit that manifested itself in a set of contradictions and oppositions that it ultimately integrated and united, without eliminating either pole or reducing one to the other. Examples of such contradictions include those between nature and freedom, and between immanence and transcendence.

Hegel influenced writers of widely varying positions, including both his admirers (Bauer, Feuerbach, Marx, Bradley, Dewey, Sartre, Küng, Kojève, Žižek) and his detractors (Schelling, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Peirce, Russell).[1] His influential conceptions are of speculative logic or “dialectic”, “absolute idealism”, “Spirit”, negativity, sublation (Aufhebung in German), the “Master/Slave” dialectic, “ethical life” and the importance of history.

What experience and history teach is this — that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles.

Becker has too much bottle…

fraudmadmen_icon2bthepoliteer says: It looks like our politicians are not the only ones fiddling their expenses. The excellent science blog ‘Watts Up With That‘ reports that Denmark’s chief climate negotiator Thomas Becker has resigned from his position as deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry for Climate and Energy. Apparently…

Becker has left office with immediate effect after not presenting sufficient documentation for expensive restaurant bills, according to reports in the Danish media. One bill for 39 people allegedly included 37 bottles of red wine, and Becker was given a formal warning in March over travel expenses.

I suppose it’s reassuring that it’s not just us…

What’s on the box? Oh god, I’m turning over…

debatemadmen_icon2bthepoliteer says: I’m not sure what I think about the concept of TV debates – though I lean towards a negative view. The experience in the USA is not good.

On the minus side, they are poor vehicles for serious policy debate, and pander to the growing development of ‘personality’ politics. Do we not get enough of this at the ridiculous Prime Ministers Questions? Further, let’s face it, most voters will not watch the debates in the first place. Many others will turn off their TV’s following the debate having either confirmed old prejudices, or, having decided their future vote on who scrub’s up best on the night.

On the plus side, anything that promotes some kind of engagement in the political process is good – though I would question how real this engagement is.

The BBC covers the current discussion here