Category Archives: news

Where next for climate change ?

Prof. Hal W. Lewis
resigns from the American Physical Society
Resignation letter cites fraud across the field
picture of Hal Lewis
... the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, ... has corrupted so many scientists ...  It is the greatest and most successful pseudo­scientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.  ...

As regular visitors to these pages over recent months will know, it is rare for Pericles to say anything in a vehement tone.

To-day’s subject however is so important — to the well-being not only of residents of the British Isles but also to those in the far flung corners of the Earth, many of whom will have no access to a computer, many of whom will be largely illiterate — that he departs from his usual conciliatory demeanour.

To-day Pericles urges you to read Prof. Hal Lewis’s letter of resig­nation from the American Physical Society — an organization once thought of as amongst the greatest bodies (if not indeed the greatest) in the field of physics.

Prof. Lewis’s letter is set out in full at Pericles’s own site, together with his commentary.

Boris urges Chancellor, “Explain how you will cut taxes ?”

Boris JohnsonIn an interview with The Daily Telegraph to-day, reports political editor Andrew Porter, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, expresses himself shocked by the levels of income tax, saying he never thought he would see the day when other large European countries had lower rates of personal taxation than those in Britain.  He fears this high taxation is harming her competitiveness. In the face of criticism that high taxation is harmful to Britain’s global competitiveness the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have been vague in assuring critics of their intention to lower it ;  Mr. Osborne has refused to cut the 50-per-cent. rate on highest incomes — instituted by the Labour government — despite being urged that, although it acts as a disincentive to the entrepreneurial creators of jobs and economic activity, it generates little extra revenue for the Treasury. Continue reading Boris urges Chancellor, “Explain how you will cut taxes ?”

Democracy in cyberspace … or mob rule ?

Internet debate can be coarse
— says Boris Johnson —

cross hairs

but it really does hold journalists and politicians to account. 

~~~~~

But enough of me.  Let’s talk about you.  Or rather, let’s talk about the small minority of you who not only read but respond to these columns — sitting up late in America, rising early in Hong Kong.  I mean the great caffeine-powered, keyboard-hammering community of online thinkers who contribute with such richness to the cyberspace jabberama. 

Continue reading Democracy in cyberspace … or mob rule ?

Ed Miliband : same school ; different road

Ed (left) and David Miliband

Labour’s new leader looks like being under the thumb of the unions — harking back to the bad old days of the 1970s, says Boris Johnson.

~ · ~

It is an unsettling fact that I went to the same school as the party leader.  Indeed, there are some people who have taken to complaining about this coincidence.  They say it is unacceptable in the 21st century that so much political power should be concentrated in the old boys of one educational establishment.  It is a sign, they say, that the country has failed to move on.

Both of us went to the same institution of ancient rituals and gorgeous brickwork, ideally situated by one of the nation’s most famous waterways and blessed with lush green spaces nearby.  It is a forcing-house of talent, where the offspring of privilege acquire that patina of good manners, the ever so slightly infuriating habit of putting people at their ease, together with that sense of entitlement that propels them to the top and marks them out ever after as Old Primroseans.

Continue reading Ed Miliband : same school ; different road

Quotes of the week …

... ending 25th. September 2010

~ · ~ · ~ · ~ · ~ · ~ · ~

As he accepted the leadership of the British Labour Party at its annual conference Ed Miliband said —

“I get it and I understand the need to change.  I need to unify the party and I will.”

~ · ~
Continue reading Quotes of the week …

Boris Johnson to run for Mayor in 2012

To-day’s announcement by Boris Johnson of his intention to seek a second term as Mayor of London will be welcomed by many Londoners and come as a huge relief to the current leaders of the Conservative Party.  A recent discussion of the question “Should Boris return to Parliament ?” prompts a well-wisher to offer —

Some Suggestions

Background

For some time a popular, although little organized, movement has been proposing the adoption of Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, as leader of Conserv­atism in the u.k.  Let us first consider the reality of the situation.

David Cameron, smilingSome years ago David Cameron, either off his own bat or at Mr. Johnson’s suggestion, stood for election to leadership of the Conserv­ative Party (c.p.) ;  his period as leader of H.M. Opposition was reasonably successful and, as 2009 drew to a close with a general election just six months away, the c.p. looked set to take power, after thirteen years, by a margin that brought to mind the days of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

Mr. Cameron however, although enjoying general popularity, espoused many ideas decisively unpopular not only with swing voters but even with the core supporters of the c.p. :  most of all the subjugation of the British parliament to the profligate and unaccountable European Union (e.u.) and — in line with the vast majority of the scientifically illiterate body politic — the supranational anthropogenic-global-warming fraud.

On May 7, when the votes had been counted, the consequences were clear :  as the electorate had come to realize just how close these critical policies of the c.p. were to those of not only the Liberal-Democrats but even the retiring Labour administration, the vital marginal support the c.p. had enjoyed at the turn of the year had evaporated

The beneficiaries ?  The U.K. Independence Party ;  perhaps the British National Party ;  in all likelihood, however, the greatest winner of the lost ballots was the ‘none of the above’ party.  I suspect even the Liberal-Democrats benefited from the fact that there was nothing to choose between them and the c.p. in the two most important matters before the British people.  (“The Conservatives are no different from the Liberals :  might as well let the Liberals have a go.  They can’t do any worse, can they ?”)

Labour, despite having presided over the most disastrous phase of British history since the Civil War, managed to turn its own vote out ;  despite their strenuous efforts, c.p. workers — under the burden of the product they were having to sell — could not match their opponents’ performance.

Continue reading Boris Johnson to run for Mayor in 2012

Why does Atatürk Havalimani* have all the money?

* havalimani :  airport

Ataturk-check-in

Istanbul’s gleaming and expanding airport is a symbol of a nation going places ...


... Heathrow is not,
argues Boris Johnson.

Heathrow-check-in

The other night we were filling in time at Istanbul airport, and I was watching an official dart around on one of those new Segway gizmos.  Have you seen one?  They are extraordinary.  It was as though his feet had grown wheels.  This way and that he sheepdogged the passengers, twisting and curvetting and generally running rings round them like some Spanish midfielder.

“What a poser !” I exclaimed.  “He’s just showing off.  He doesn’t need that thing at all.”  And then he pushed down the stick and he shot off into the distance like Usain Bolt – and we understood why he was equipped with electric feet.

Continue reading Why does Atatürk Havalimani* have all the money?

Festival Season is Upon Us

“I would give anything – anything at all – to see Boris participate in the Big World Dance and would be eternally grateful to whoever would film him doing it”
gotham girlMy friends, my friends – Gotham Girl is back and how I have missed you! Everyone's winter went well? Wasn’t too snowy or bone-chillingly cold?   I must say it went rather smoothly here in Gotham. Oh, sure we had lots of snow but the city is efficiency itself when it comes to clearing the streets. The snow is simply plowed into the nearest river – and Manhattan being a narrowish strip of land, the nearest river is never more than a few blocks away. But winter is behind us now – which means festival season is upon us. Obviously festivals can happen at any time of year - I don't say they can't. Winter festivals are quite rightly scheduled in winter and pumpkin festivals during any season other than autumn would just be wrong.  But there is a density of festivals when the weather warms -- festivals celebrating everything from music, sport, history, or holidays and which draw crowds from near and far, bringing people and their enthusiasms together. Since there’s no way to cover all upcoming festivals in a single post, consider it a teaser of what awaits you when you check out the local “what’s happening” calendar online or in your local paper. Both London and New York cities host major film festivals such as Lincoln Center’s New York Film Festival or the British Film Institute's London Film Festival but both are also home to film festivals that celebrate specific genres such as NYC's Horror Film Festival or its London counterpart, Frightfest Film Festival) or gatherings that focus on particular neighborhoods - East End Film Festival in London and the Queens International Film Festival in NYC). One of my favorite NYC film festivals is the Bryant Park Summer Film Festival. I have already set aside my Monday evenings from late June to the end of August for these free outdoor movies. Think of it as a cross between a drive-in movie and a picnic. This year’s lineup is fantastic and every year, the musical selection – this year it is the 1956 hit Carousel – sees a park full of people singing in unison with enough enthusiasm to make up for any lack of skill (well, almost). I’m sure the crowd at last year’s screening of Sound of Music wouldn’t have won any awards but we had a great time. I am told that there is a similar film series held at Somerset House each summer called the Film4 Summer Screen. Now, I don’t know what this year’s line up of titles is but if previous year’s selections are anything to go by, there is quite an entertaining range of films to choose from – everything from classic sci-fi to films fresh from their debut at Cannes. Another thing that London and NYC share is a multi-layered, very robust food scene so it’s not surprising that food festivals are heavily featured in the event schedules for both cities. If food is your thing – all kinds, a certain kind, talking about it, eating it, cooking it, looking at it – there are more and more festivals every year aimed at food lovers on both sides of the Atlantic. The Taste of London (June 17-20) offers live demonstrations so you can watch chefs in action, champagne master classes and tasting menus. If all that talk of food has made you thirsty, never fear – beer is here. Or rather it will be at the Great British Beer Festival (Aug 3-7). One of the great food festivals in NYC is the San Gennero Festival (Sept 16-26) down in Little Italy. I’m not sure how to do the colors, food and people justice. What I can tell you is that after consuming all the food you were unable to resist – and why would you want to? – you may feel more like rolling than walking. Of course, there's more than food – there are live bands, shopping and book signings as well. But you know the real reason to go is the annual Cannoli Eating Competition, right? Travel to foreign lands is great not to mention educational but let’s face it – it takes time and money, two things none of us seem to have going spare these days. Not to worry! There is a way to immerse yourself in other cultures with much less travel time, significantly less money and in a way that does not involve dodging clouds of volcanic ash. In both New York and London, you'll find festivals featuring the sights, sounds and tastes of almost any culture you can imagine (and some that might never have occurred to you). Thinking Thai? For one day, the food and fashion, the music and sport and regional variations that make up Thai culture will be in one place at one time – the place is the Thailand@Trafalgar and the time is June 5. Want something with a more Latin vibe? Try Carnaval del Pueblo (August 1), the largest Latin American outdoor festival in Europe. Activities include salsa competitions (warm up those hips and get twirling), food (you don’t realize how diverse Latin American cuisine is until you see it stretched out before you region by region) because you can’t have Carnaval without it – a Carnaval Parade. Looking for more scope? Toast Festival 2010 (September 24-26) celebrates not a single culture but the whole Southern hemisphere! Maori performers will perform, Gumboot dancers will dance, African drummers will drum and festival attendees can enjoy all of it while sampling regional delicacies and drinking regional wines. Over here in NYC, Caribbean Week is on my must do list this year – “Rum & Rhythm” event in particular. There’s something really exciting about Caribbean culture – that mix of Dutch, French and Spanish that comes through in the food and the music in so many ways. While Sweden Day promises less spice than Caribbean Week, it sounds no less interesting and I’m always up for a good maypole raising. There are so many ways to celebrate the arts in both New York and London, visitors and residents of each are spoilt for choice. But one of the great things about going the “festival” route to get your artistic fix is that so many of the events are free! One event I look forward to every year in NYC is the Museum Mile Festival. Museum Mile is a 20 block-stretch of Fifth Avenue that is home to some of the greatest Museums in the world (the Cooper-Hewitt, Guggenheim & the Metropolitan Museum of Art to name just a few) and on Festival day, those blocks become a pedestrian plaza featuring live musical performances in front of each museum and special programs (indoors and out). Feeling bookish? Try the London Literature Festival (July 1-15). This is more than just literary types deconstructing Derrida (do they even do that anymore? Have I dated myself?). There may well be a few people discussing Derrida (and dating themselves much as I have here) but there will also be debates on democracy, writing workshops, author talks, outdoor performances of great works – and yes, reading. I did notice that London will be getting its groove thing on this summer with The Big Dance 2010 from July 3-11. Apparently it all comes to a toe-tapping, hip-swiveling, hand-waving climax on July 10 with the Big World Dance – 10,000 people dancing their way to Trafalgar Square on Saturday 10 July 2010. I would give anything – anything at all – to see Boris participate in the Big World Dance and would be eternally grateful to whoever manages to film him doing it. Some festivals strive to be all things to all people. And some – like River to River here in NYC and the City of London Festival - are big enough to accomplish it. These mega-festivals bring events of all kinds to spaces across the cities. They might be musical concerts, dance performances, film screenings, lectures and walking tours – and – again – the majority of events are free. Those pianos scattered randomly around London last summer? That was part of the City of London Festival and they are coming back by popular demand. This year, the City of London festival has an interesting triptych of themes including: 1) culture and arts from the Portuguese-speaking world, 2) the 200th birthday of Chopin and finally 3) most intriguing to me a program of events featuring bees and beehives. Yes, I said bees. There will be bee-related poetry and bee seminars. The Festival will also be ‘commissioning’ new honey. And by commissioning, they appear to mean through the installation of beehives throughout the City. I didn’t seen anything bee-related on the schedule for the River to River Festival, the mother of all NYC festivals, but there was quite a lot that did catch my eye – like the Swedish Midsummer Festival, the World Financial Center Restaurant Showcase and the New Amsterdam Walking Tour. So, go on and get festive! Try the food, dance the dance, watch the film, “travel the world” in your own backyard. There are so many festivals I didn’t have room to include – the Mayor’s Thames Festival for one but he knows what deadlines are like so I hope he will forgive me. Here are some online resources for finding upcoming London festivals: