Guest Blog: Stop Graveney Marsh Solar Farm

Important article by Matthew Hatchwell: please share

Whitstable Views

by Matthew Hatchwell

On May 10, 2020, the Daily Telegraph published an article about the proposed Cleve Hill Solar Park (CHSP) just outside Faversham on the north Kent coast.  If it goes ahead, it would be the largest solar power station in the UK, covering 900 acres of farmland, containing nearly a million solar panels, and including a battery storage system five times larger than the current record-holder, in Australia.  Local residents, although supportive of solar energy in general, oppose the scheme for a number of reasons, including safety risks associated with the massive battery and the environmental impacts of building a solar power station on a site that lies below sea level in an area that is highly vulnerable to rising sea levels as a result of climate change.

Impression of Solar Farm at Graveney © Jim Bennett used with permission.

According to the Daily Telegraph article last week, “a spokeswoman…

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Things Fall Apart

There’s no cure for death

Whitstable Views

Captain Tom makes millions. Hedge Funds make billions.

Hedge funds are making billions “shorting” companies weakened by the health crisis, while Captain Tom Moore, a 100-year-old veteran of WWII, has been walking the length of his garden on his Zimmer frame to help raise money for the NHS. So far he’s raised nearly £33 million. The NHS is part of Britain’s post-war identity and it was Captain Tom’s generation who gave it to us. The problem is that it’s not a charity: it’s a National Insurance scheme, paid for by our contributions. It’s supposed to pay for itself. The danger now is that the government will see this as a potential source of funding in the future, thus relieving them of their duty to pay for it out of the public purse. Tax the hedge funds, I say, and give Captain Tom a rest.

The latest news is that…

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COVID-19 Conspiracy

What the world doesn’t know yet.

The term “conspiracy theory” has negative connotations. It refers to notional conspiracies that are usually more exotic than mere power-hungry greed. For example, David Icke claims that the world is run by a race of extra-dimensional reptilian aliens who’ve been interbreeding with humans to preserve their bloodlines from ancient times to the present. Icke is a professional conspiracy theorist. Some of his theories might even be true… but probably not this one. American readers, while they’ll have heard of Icke, may not be aware of what brought him to this unusual belief system. Here in Britain, however, we witnessed it.

Icke was a celebrity in the UK long before he became a conspiracy theorist. He was a soccer player, then a journalist, then a BBC sports commentator, and then a spokesman for the Green Party. In 1991 he had a spiritual awakening. He realized that we’re all souls trapped in a body. This isn’t really a radical view. Unfortunately, Icke decided to use his fame to promote his new perspective. He appeared on a BBC early evening chat show, dressed all in turquoise, where he made a number of alarming predictions about the future—including that the world was going to end in 1997—while proclaiming himself the Son of God. The audience fell about laughing. Icke’s run away from that laughter ever since.

Icke says that this was his worst fear come true and that, having gone through the experience, it has made him unafraid to say what he believes. But you’ll notice that he no longer wears turquoise, nor proclaims himself the Son of God. Instead he’s conjured up this dark conspiracy about the impending One World fascist state run by human-reptile hybrids. So large is Icke’s conspiracy that it doesn’t only encompass the world: it takes in the whole solar system as well. The Moon is an inter-dimensional portal, while the rings of Saturn are an artificial construct that sends signals into everyone’s brain causing them to imagine the false reality in which we live. It’d make a great science fiction movie. The plot is not unlike They Live by John Carpenter.

The latest episode of Icke’s conspiracy space opera includes the idea that 5G has some connection to the global pandemic and that COVID-19 is a hoax. Icke’s never without his sources so I’d advise people who want to follow this up to go over to his site and check it out. I don’t believe in censorship so, despite the fact that Facebook and Twitter have now banned all reference to these beliefs, I think we should let the man speak for himself.

It’s no wonder that the phrase “conspiracy theory” has negative connotations. It suggests that the person promoting the theory is subject to some form of confirmation bias, is misinformed or, in Icke’s case, simply deluded.

Read more here.

We Are All Stasi Now

Our Queen has been on television urging us to stay indoors

Whitstable Views

Inequality and isolation in lockdown UK.

How are you coping with the lockdown? I’m enjoying it. Not that people are dying, or that so many people are afraid, but I like the solitude, quiet walks in the country, empty streets, fresh air, the sound of birds singing, the sight of blossoms on the trees, the onset of a joyous and bountiful spring.

Even the reported deaths might not be as bad as they seem. There are people dying nearby—even some that I know—but overall, I think, there may less death in the world now that the agents of violence are unable to pursue their global strategic aims.

I can’t confirm this. Lockdown has driven everything else off the news. There may be wars raging all over the planet. But with the emergence of this new invisible enemy, maybe the human race can stop making an enemy of itself for a…

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“I see you neighbour!”

The weird disconnect between what’s happening on TV and real life.

Whitstable Views

Life in lockdown

So what are you doing with your time in this period of enforced isolation?

I watch a lot of telly myself. I mainly avoid the news. What more can they tell you? Wash your hands, keep your distance. I don’t want to hear about the latest fatalities. I don’t think that helps very much.

However, I’ve been having this peculiar sensation whenever I turn the TV on. It’s the weird disconnect between what’s happening on the screen and real life.

Like all those scenes of people in crowded places moving way too close to each other. Or adverts for things that we can’t do, like going to the movies or on holiday. We won’t be able to go out for weeks, maybe months, and who knows when we will feel confident enough to get close to a stranger again?

All of a sudden the TV looks like…

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What Happens Next?

Meditation for a better world.

Language is important. It’s how we frame our world. The words we choose to describe something affect the way we feel. The current word we’ve chosen for our enforced isolation in the face of the pandemic is “lockdown.” This has unfortunate connotations.

A lockdown is what happens in prison. It’s a way of enforcing prison security in the event of a riot. It suggests that we’re inmates in a prison system rather than free agents in a civil world.

I have a number of anarchist friends who’d agree with this. Yes this is exactly how it is, they say. It may appear as if we have free choice, but the agents of violence are always there, lurking in the background, to ensure we obey the rules, even when we disagree.

But there are other, more subtle, ways by which the rules are being enforced: through social conditioning and public shaming for example. We’ve really seen the latter come into its own during the current crisis. People are staying indoors, not because the police are roaming the streets forcing people to self-isolate at gunpoint—not yet anyway—but because their neighbors are keeping an eye on them, ensuring that everyone adheres to the consensus view.

I agree with them. After an initial period of doubt, I’ve come to accept that we must stay indoors, even if we’re well, in order to avoid spreading the virus to those who are more vulnerable, and to free up capacity in our chronically underfunded health service.

Read more here.

Lockdown Nation

How coronavirus changes everything.

I stole three eggs from the supermarket.

Panic buyers had cleared the entire egg section. All there was left was a smashed-up box with a few broken eggs smeared over the packaging. I noticed that three of the eggs weren’t broken, so I picked them out and put them in my pocket. I might’ve declared them at the checkout, but was anticipating the kind of strange conversation this might generate. Instead I decided that, as the bar code was on the box, not on the eggs, no one would notice. So I took the eggs, walking gingerly through the checkout so as not to break them, and then transferred them to my backpack for the cycle home. Two of them made it back intact. The other also survived, but in a slightly cracked state, and I’m now three eggs better off. This morning I had none.

I would, of course, have paid for a complete box, had there been any available.

We’re moving into unusual times, as everyone knows. A measure of this is that one of the lowest paid groups of workers, supermarket staff, is now raised in status almost to the level of the emergency services. They’re on the front line in the fight against coronavirus, working long hours and risking their lives every day in order to make sure the rest of us have sustenance to keep us going through this emergency. It’s a given that we should recognize the efforts of our hospital workers, I just wonder how many of us recognize how important shop workers are too.

Read more here.

Gaia’s Revenge

How Coronavirus can save our world.

Everybody has an approach to coronavirus. For instance, one of my friends has self-isolated, despite not being ill, which means that she faces the prospect of several months indoors until the epidemic blows over, which it surely will.

Personally I’m not too worried about getting it. If I do, it will help boost my immune system. I’m resilient, and my lungs are good. It seems to me that the best way to prepare for the illness would be fresh air, sunlight and exercise, not staring at the same four walls while breathing the same turgid air for months on end.

Meanwhile, it’s everyone for themselves. Some people are emptying the shelves of toilet paper and other essentials. Other people are attacking Chinese people, or Italians. I heard one conversation on a bus blaming illegal immigrants, “coming over here on boats.” People are scared to clear their throats in public in case it’s misinterpreted as something else.

There’s a viral hysteria going about which is almost as bad as the disease. Stock markets are fluctuating wildly and newspapers are creating panic. Remember bird-flu? Or swine flu, SARS, Ebola, or that disease that ate your face? The media have cried wolf for so long, no one knows what’s real and what’s not.

Contunue reading here.

Data check

A national communication network, language for the 21st century

Whitstable Views

Making broadband free for all is eminently sensible

What is data? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself as currently I’m in the middle of changing my broadband provider.

For the last year I’ve had limited broadband: 18 gigabytes a month.

What you notice when your broadband is restricted is just how much rubbish there is on the internet. The reason you notice it is because you’re paying for it.

Every time you get one of those moving adverts which slows down the rate at which the page downloads, it’s eating up your data.

In other words, not only are the advertisers insinuating themselves between you and what you want to see, but you are paying for the privilege.

It’s the same with those adverts at the beginning of YouTube videos: you know, the ones where they say your video will start in 6 seconds and there’s a little timer…

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Brexit Blues

Our MEPs are coming home. It’s the end of the gravy train

Whitstable Views

It’s finally done, and we’re out – but I fear for our country

So that’s it! Britain has left the EU.

After the interminable debates in the media and the chambers of the Houses of Parliament; after the almost permanent protests on the pavement outside; after the endless posts on social media, the deed has been done and we’re out of the EU at last.

Well not quite. There’s still the little matter of a trade deal to be negotiated. Boris Johnson has promised that it will be complete before the end of the year. But Boris is notoriously imprecise when it comes to such matters. It might be the end of the year. It might be the end of the decade for all we know.

But, symbolically at least, we have passed a milestone and we are no longer in the EU.

Our MEPs are coming home. It’s the…

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a new nature blog

I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.


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