LibDem-Green Richmond-Brighton Pact

The LibDems say the decision not to stand against Caroline Lucas in Brighton was taken locally and merely “welcomed” centrally. That’s not what the Greens say. Two separate Green Party sources have independently told Guido that last year the LibDems agreed not to stand against Lucas at the next general election in exchange for the Greens not running against Sarah Olney in the Richmond Park by-election. This really annoyed local Greens at the time, remember the row about the £250,000 bung and Lucas’ draconian attempts to silence her critics. Unfortunately for the LibDems, the Greens plan to run in Richmond this time round. And the “Progressive Alliance” fits right into the Tories’ “coalition of chaos” narrative…

Lucas Tries to Get Colleague Suspended For Tweeting Guido

Caroline Lucas has tried to get a Green Party colleague suspended for tweeting out a Guido story. Readers will remember our revelation that the Greens had been offered a £250,000 inducement to further a so-called ‘Progressive Alliance’ with the LibDems. Our story provoked uproar among Green members who feared they were being sold out by the leadership. One concerned Green, Sutton councillor Nick Mattey, tweeted out the Guido story and expressed his fears that the Greens were plotting to “carve up” seats with the LibDems. Guido has been passed an internal Green Party report revealing that Caroline Lucas attempted to get Mattey kicked out of the party for his tweet. In a formal complaint, Lucas wrote:

“Nick Mattey has brought the party into disrepute by further spreading the dissemination of private leaked documents… [The party must] suspend the above named member pending investigation.”

In his defence to the Green Party disciplinary committee, Mattey wrote:

“The contents of the Guido Fawkes article were very disturbing… The reason that we have a free press like Guido Fawkes is that it that prints uncomfortable truths. Newspapers and the media need to expose this type of inconsistency and hypocrisy, this is vital in any democracy.”

Mattey decided not to renew his membership so is now out of the party. Caroline has repeatedly campaigned to protect whistleblowers and claims to be a defender of those who seek to expose shady deals and cover-ups. Yet when those deals and cover-ups involve the Greens, she tries to silence their exposure…

Greens Don’t Give Staff Three Day Weekends

The Green Party’s proposal to introduce a three day weekend was a surprisingly populist policy this Monday morning. Job-sharing party leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley say Britons should be given an extra day off because “when people are exhausted, their productivity goes down”. Just one catch: over-worked tree-hugging sources claim the Greens only allow their own staff regular, energy-sapping two day weekends. A Green Party spokesman would only say:

“We don’t comment on staffing matters.”

Won’t somebody think of the bag (for life) carriers?

Green Deputy Leader Gets Brillo’d

Green deputy leader Amelia Womack well out of her depth and without an answer for why she says the government is pursuing an “extreme” Brexit…

Bad Atmosphere: Caroline Lucas Flies to Washington

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas flew in business class to Washington yesterday on a gasoline guzzling, CO2 spurting aeroplane which dumped almost a tonne of carbon into the atmosphere. A spokesman for Lucas confirmed to Guido that she flew on British Airways and said:

“Caroline is in Washington DC on a work visit with the Environmental Audit Committee. Travel was arranged by the [Environmental Audit] Committee.”

A popular carbon footprint calculator states an average flight from London to Washington pumps out 0.92 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – equivalent to 4 months average C02 emissions by a household. In 2009 Lucas compared holidaymakers flying to Spain to thugs stabbing people in the street:

“When asked if flying to Spain was as bad as knifing a person in the street, Ms Lucas said: ‘Yes – because they are dying from climate change.’”

Killer!

Taxpayer Billed £100 Million After Government Breached EU Procurement Rules

The taxpayer has been hit with a £100 million bill after the government breached EU procurement rules over a contract to decommission nuclear power plants. Business Secretary Greg Clark today confirmed the compensation will be paid to American companies Energy Solutions and Bechtel after the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority awarded the £6 billion contract to Cavendish Fluor Group. Energy Solutions argued the decision breached the EU’s public procurement rules as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority did not “award the contract to the most economically advantageous tenderer”. This went against the EU’s Public Sector Directive, and therefore Energy Solutions were qualified for a remedy under the Remedies Directive. A giant cock-up by the government, but it’s EU law that has cost the taxpayer the equivalent of the salaries of 4,500 NHS nurses…

More Polar Bears Now Than When Al Gore Said They Were Becoming Extinct

As it’s International Polar Bear Day today, Gaia gives you the latest news on the cuddly carnivorous critters. Beliefs about the future extinction of the polar bear have been near universal. Here’s the WWF, for example:

“The Arctic is warming about twice as fast as the global average, causing the ice that polar bears depend on to melt away. Loss of sea ice also threatens the bear’s main prey, seals, which need the ice to raise their young.”

In 2005 there were around 22,500 polar bears on earth. Since 2005 the polar bear population has rocketed 30% to about 30,000 bears, the highest in 50 years. The above video from the Global Warming Policy Foundation is an interesting corrective to the experts…

Huhne’s Biomass Policy Wasted £450 Million Says His Ex-SpAd

Biomass subsidies implemented by Chris Huhne are costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds and his favoured “carbon neutral” wood pellets are more damaging to the environment than coal, a damning study reveals today. But wait for it… The highly critical review of the disgraced former Energy Secretary’s policy was authored by his own former special adviser Duncan Brack. He now says the £450 million spent on biomass subsidies was a mistake:

“It is ridiculous…It’s not a good use of money. For any biomass facility that is burning wood for energy, unless they are only burning stuff like saw-mill residues or post-consumer waste, their activities will be increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere for decades or centuries. We shouldn’t be subsidising that.”

Anyway, what is Huhne up to these days now he’s out of the clink? He’s European Chairman of US firm Zilkha Biomass, who supply the very same wood pellets it turns out are so damaging to the environment. Fancy that! £450 million in subsidies literally up in smoke…

Hydroelectric Power: More Deadly than Nuclear and Gas

California’s Oroville dam crisis demonstrates the major risk of hydroelectric power generation: massive flooding after structural collapse. Using official data from the International Energy Agency and OECD, the New Scientist calculates a global death scale for various energy sources. The range shows immediate or subsequent deaths for every 10 terrawatt-hours (TWh) of power generated around the world:

Coal – 2.8 to 32.7 deaths per 10 billion KWh 

Hydroelectric – 1.0-1.6 deaths per 10 billion KWh

Natural gas – 0.3-1.6 deaths per 10 billion KWh

Nuclear – 0.2 to 1.2 deaths per 10 billion KWh 

Even after nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and gas explosions are accounted for, hydroelectric power has still caused more deaths per unit than either. Hydroelectric collapse also threatens the very environment renewable sources are intended to protect: deadly quantities of silt have been displaced in Oroville, leading the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to launch a daring operation to rescue millions of fish (the state has an $8 billion fishing industry). Turns out holding back millions of gallons of water behind walls near a major town and cities isn’t risk free…

Greens Nuke Progressive Alliance in Copeland

There will be no ‘progressive alliance’ to help Labour in Copeland: the Greens have gone kamikaze by selecting a loudly anti-nuclear candidate in a constituency where more than 10,000 people are employed in the nuclear industry, with thousands more working in its supply chain. Green Party candidate Jack Lenox says “no to nuclear”:

“All candidates except Greens are pro-nuclear… All three potential Labour candidates are pro-nuclear. We can’t let it go unchallenged… We will be campaigning against future nuclear development at Moorside… I remain entirely unconvinced that we need to build more nuclear power stations.”

A Green suicide mission likely to pick up a few hundred votes, could they end up costing Labour?

Govt Cancels Carbon Capture After Blowing £168 Million

The National Audit Office has ripped into the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for blowing £168 million on two carbon capture technology competitions which the Treasury deemed to be too expensive if there was to be any chance of getting plants built in the UK in the coming years.

A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesman said: “We haven’t closed the door to CCS technology in the UK, but decisions had to be taken to control government spending and protect consumer bills. This is why the government ended the funding for the CCS competition, and ensured taxpayers were protected from significant costs when the competition closed.” Translation “the Treasury didn’t want to burn any more taxpayers’ money”.

This is the department which is going to determine Mrs May’s interventionist industrial strategy – so expect the same civil servants to blow hundreds of millions more on the “white heat of technology” that the private sector won’t touch. Big business is rubbing its hands with glee…

Martin McGuinness Resigns Over Renewable Heating Scandal

Martin McGuinness has resigned as Deputy First Minister in protest at the Renewable Heating Incentive scandal, the subsidies which allowed users to earn more cash the more fuel they burned, costing taxpayers nearly £500 million. The barmy policy meant you could turn the heating on, open the windows and receive taxpayer subsidies. McGuinness quitting means Arlene Foster’s position is effectively now untenable. Election now inevitable… 

Friends of the Earth Rapped Over Fake Fracking Claims

Friends of the Earth has been rebuked by the advertising regulator and forced to promise it will not repeat pseudo-scientific claims about the economic, environmental and health effects of fracking. FoE published a scaremongering campaign leaflet last year warning fracking would be responsible for everything from falling house prices to asthma and cancer. Now the Advertising Standards Authority has extracted a pledge from the group that future literature will not include the claims, none of which could be evidenced. The watchdog said the environmentalists must:

  • Not claim that fluid used in fracking contains chemicals dangerous to human health or that it would contaminate drinking water;
  • Not claim a US fracking site was responsible for increases in asthma rates or that the public would be at risk of equivalent increases in asthma rates in the UK;
  • Not claim that there is an established risk of the chemicals concerned causing cancer and other conditions among the local population;
  • Not claim that fracking will cause plummeting house prices.

That means the entire ‘scientific’ basis of FoE’s anti-fracking lobbying effort has been debunked. Importantly, these now banned claims were made on a leaflet intended to solicit donations from the public: Friends of the Earth is a registered charity. Guido understands a complaint has been put in to the Fund Raising Regulator. FoE is yet to remove the claims from its website. Quite literally fracking unbelievable…

Brexit Means Bonfire of Costly Farming Regulations

Before Christmas Guido reported that Andrea Leadsom was the first Cabinet minister to produce a departmental plan for Brexit. Today the Environment Secretary reveals what Brexit means for farming: a bonfire of cumbersome regulations that currently cost the industry million of pounds a year. When we leave the EU Andrea’s farming minister George Eustice will end the ‘three crop rule’ regulating how many different crops farms must plant. Defra say this will allow 40,000 farmers to grow the foods people want and add millions to the economy.

Barmy Brussels diktats defining what makes a hedge a hedge or when a puddle becomes a pond will be binned. Paperwork required from flood-hit farmers will be reduced, as will the number of expensive government inspections. Most satisfying of all: farms will no longer have to pay for and display ridiculous 6ft by 4ft propaganda billboards publicising the EU contribution for grants, as they are currently required to do. Millions saved, millions added to the economy, hundreds of thousands of hours saved. As the old joke almost goes, how does the Environment Secretary compare with colleagues on Brexit? She’s outstanding in her field…

Happy New Year!

We want to thank you, the reader, for making our year. For providing the gossip, the tips, the jokes, the leaked documents, the tearfully funny comments and innovative insults that make Guido Fawkes the website it is today. Our free wheeling editorial culture hopefully still does not take itself too seriously, even when breaking serious news.

Every day tens of thousands of you come to catch-up on Westminster gossip. It always amazes us to learn who reads our website – whether it is a reader in Buckingham Palace or, equally unexpectedly, an old school friend met for the first time in decades. Gossip appeals to everyone, even if they don’t admit it!

We have a strong team going into 2017, journalists with scoops under their belts and a hunger for more. We might even find out what Brexit means.

All the best for 2017!

Magic Mushrooms Could Boost Economic Productivity

According to a Reuters report magic mushrooms could boost economic productivity and make investors money. Recent clinical trials of psilocybin mushrooms, the psychedelic fungi, show it helping mental health patients without causing significant side effects.

As well as health gains for individuals the positive ramifications for society are huge.

The cost of mental illness globally was as much as $2.5 trillion in 2010 and could more than double by 2030, reckons the World Economic Forum. Using those numbers, medical journal the Lancet has argued that investments in mental-health treatment have high returns. If $10 billion were invested every year from now until 2030, the net present value of enhanced economic productivity might be $400 billion.

Investing in psychedelic medicine could be both profitable and increase productivity. Two clinical studies of cancer patients with depression or anxiety found meaningful improvements in mood without serious adverse reactions. Laboratory work on the use of trippy pharmacology had been similarly problem-free in the 1960s. In 2005 New Labour criminalised harvesting and using naturally growing mushrooms. Maybe the prospect of boosting economic productivity might reverse that decision…

From 2005: New Labour Attacks Pagan Minorities 

See also: Food Of The Gods: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution

£10,800 Green Levy on Every Household

Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband, Ed Davey and Philip Hammond all claimed levies on energy bills to fund renewables would eventually bring down costs for ordinary households. Eight years on from the passage of the Climate Change Act – the world’s toughest decarbonisation law – a damning report from the GWPF reveals the levies are having exactly the opposite effect: the switch to green sources will mean a £319 billion cost to the economy by 2030. That’s over three times the annual NHS England budget and will be passed onto consumers…

Peter Lilley’s Cost Of The Climate Change Act sets the figure in household terms:

“These costs place a cumulative £10,800 burden on each household, between 2014 and 2030. This is money that could be spent on families’ own priorities, and in more efficient sectors of the economy.”

The report also exposes the Act’s demanding emissions targets as unworkable. The law imposed cuts of 35% from the 1990 level by 2020, and 80% by 2050. But these are structurally impossible as total energy output will have to triple in order to meet them, and even then the power for millions of electric cars and green homes will have to come almost entirely from renewable sources. Conclusive evidence the Act was hot air…

LibDems Proposed Electoral Pact With Greens

pact

The LibDems approached the Green Party over a secret electoral pact, Guido can reveal, amid claims the Greens were offered £250,000 to stand aside in Richmond. The email below was sent by the leader of the LibDem group in Kingston, Liz Green, to the Green Richmond candidate who stood aside, Andree Frieze. The LibDem group leader offered a meeting to discuss “smart targeting” of wards in the 2018 local elections, proposing the two parties “work together” to keep the Tories out. The Green candidate then decided not to run in Richmond…

From: Liz Green 
To: Andree Frieze, Dave Ryder-Mills 
Sent: Thursday 3 November, 18:54
Subject: Lib Dems and Greens

Hi Andree
Thank you for your email earlier today. l have switched to my personal email as it is more appropriate than the council one.

My personal view is that local Kingston Lib Dems and Greens should meet to discuss smart targeting for the 2018 local council elections. I cannot give guarantees on wards or candidates, but I would be happy to look at how we work together to ensure the mutual desire that the Conservatives do not retain control of RBK at the 2018 elections. I have to add that the Liberal Democrat aim will be to hold a majority control of the council, post election, but that does not mean that smart targeting of wards and resources could not play a substantial part in that.

This is an electoral pact in all but name, the so-called “Progressive Alliance” working together to keep the Tories out. In the context of local Greens claiming they were offered £250,000 not to stand in Richmond, this raises serious questions about the alleged inducement. There are rumours this sort of deal has been proposed across the country…

EU Showers Gold on Urine Energy Boffins

urine-scientists

The EU’s Renewable Energy Directive states that 20% of its total energy needs must be met with renewables by 2020. Time is running out, so Brussels is bankrolling boffins to avoid the embarrassment of missing the target. That’s why almost €3 million was spent on a four year project trying to generate electricity. From urine…

Netherlands-based research group ValueFromUrine is yet to report its conclusions despite finishing its work in August. It claims its technology is based on the “innovative principle” of using microbes and charged metal rods to draw out hydrogen, ammonia and phosphorous from wee. These elements are apparently useful in industry and for electricity generation. The research was partly inspired by a secondary school homework project put together by a group of Nigerian teenagers. Their dirt cheap pee-powered generator was presented to the world with much fanfare in 2012 but has since been comprehensively debunked by scientists and energy businesses. Likewise, ValueFromUrine’s overall principle is sound but not commercially viable because a £4,000 pump is needed to keep vital bacteria alive in the apparatus. €3 million up the wall…

Full “Confidential” Bung Claims By Green Party Chair

This is the full 30 page report written by Kingston Green Party chair Ryan Coley alleging the party was offered a £250,000 bung to stand aside in Richmond. Coley has confirmed to Guido that he co-wrote the report. A lot of questions for the Greens to answer here…

UPDATE: At some point tonight the Green Party put in a copyright complaint to our previous host – this from the party that prides itself on transparency – so it is now hosted elsewhere and will be available by email to anyone who wants it (team@order-order.com) if we have any other problems.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Logging company Resolute’s CEO Richard Garneau suing Greenpeace

“A funny thing happened when Greenpeace and allies were forced to account for their claims in court. They started changing their tune. Their condemnations of our forestry practices “do not hew to strict literalism or scientific precision,” as they concede in their latest legal filings. Their accusations against Resolute were instead “hyperbole,” “heated rhetoric,” and “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion” that should not be taken “literally” or expose them to any legal liability. These are sober admissions after years of irresponsible attacks.”

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