UK total national debt 1.43 trillion


Ed Milliband’s recent embarrassing conference speech mistake – the bit where he forgot to mention the deficit – led to much talk about how important dealing with it is. Given our apparent inability to live within our national means, it is worth reminding ourselves just how much we still borrow each year and how big our total national debt is. The total debt is now over £1,430 bn. That’s not far off double what it was in 2010. Worse still new borrowing in the first five months of this fiscal year (April to August) at £45.5bn that’s up rather than down from £42.8bn this time a year ago.
Public spending cuts are ongoing, but due to the rise in the personal allowance and a failure of wages to rise in line with inflation, tax revenues are down too. So we are set for another £100bn-plus budget deficit this year. Even now, with interest rates at rock bottom and the market for sovereign debt effectively rigged by virtual money printing, Britain is spending far more on debt than on defence, and almost the same as on education.
Not going well is it !

The Fabled Robin Redbreast

We see a lot of robins at this time of year, particularly on Christmas cards, because in the past the postmen wore red tunics and were nicknamed ‘Robins’, so they appear on the kinds in their bird form as tokens of the deliverymen. The Robin was originally called the Redbreast but as people began to add proper names to the names of animals and birds they became Robin Redbreast, later shortened simply to Robin; much the same happened with the Jenny Wren and the Jackdaw. In Lancashire there is a rhyme,
“The robin and wren
Are God’s cock and hen.
The spink and the sparrow
Are the deil’s bow and arrow.”
(The spink is a dialect name for the chaffinch or sometimes the yellowhammer).

Iraq – Alliance from hell follows UK MP’s decision – #NoTowar


UK MP’s commit to war in Iraq. The BBC reported the same evening that Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra were now seeking to merge with IS to form an even wider group against the western coalition. Local fighters in Syria were reported to be turning against the USA and the coalition since the support they were promised has not emerged, these are Sunni rebels fighting Assad, who now feel betrayed by the USA for unofficially supporting the Assad regime to target ISIS.

 Iraq war could cost taxpayer £3.5bn

Read More


  •  Formed out of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in 2013, IS first captured Raqqa in eastern Syria
  • It captured broad swathes of Iraq in June, including Mosul, and declared a “caliphate” in areas it controls in Syria and Iraq
  • Pursuing an extreme form of Sunni Islam, IS has persecuted non-Muslims such as Yazidis and Christians, as well as Shia Muslims, whom it regards as heretics
  • Known for its brutal tactics, including beheadings of soldiers, Western journalists and aid workers
  • The CIA says the group could have as many as 31,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria



Alliance from hell: Al Nusra fighters in Syria want to merge with ISIS – creating united army of fanatics

  • Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria under pressure from members to merge with ISIS
  • Demand for alliance comes after both groups were hit by U.S.-led air strikes
  • But sources say it may not work without weaker Al Nusra merging with ISIS
  • Groups share ideology but split during power struggle between 3 leaders

Read more:

Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria is facing mounting pressure from its members to form an ultra-alliance with the rival Islamic State to confront a common enemy after U.S.-led air strikes hit both groups this week.

Al Nusra, long one of the most effective forces fighting Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, was weakened this year by battles with Islamic State, an Al Qaeda splinter group that routinely employs ruthless methods such as beheadings and mass executions.

U.S.-led air and missile strikes, which have hit Al Nusra as well as Islamic State bases in Syria, have angered many Al Nusra members who say the West and its allies have joined forces in a ‘crusader’ campaign against Islam.

The two share the same ideology and rigid Islamic beliefs, but fell out during a power struggle that pitted Islamic State head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi against Al Qaeda chief Ayman Zawahri and Al Nusra Front leader Abu Mohammad al-Golani.

Read more:

Not in my name ! #NoToWar




David Cameron is building a case for the UK to go to war in the middle east. Is there no alternative ? A less active role, more intelligence support, material support? Why does the UK have to get hot and active again in this region? Lets say #NoToWar

How many defeats does it take to understand that this area of the world will never be defeated by western military powers, certainly never by air power alone  – and what “intelligent” defence strategy announces to the potential enemy what we will NOT do without authority from MP’s – that would be the same nation being led by a man incapable of integrity, and discretion in matters of the state !

Is it not time to recognise that the UK is an island nation. Building up defences at home, increase naval power to defend the island, increase intelligence at home inside the island. Maintain a nuclear capability for ultimate defence (it need not be submarine based). Perhaps UK Governments could also grow some back bone and instead of spending £1.3M trying to deport radicals who pose a known threat to the island, deport them if they are identified as what is essentially a “traitor” to the nation. The UK has become a “soft” target for radicals. In the interests of the rights (human or otherwise) of the minority, while at the same time, ignoring and putting at risk the majority of law abiding multi-cultural citizens of our country, successive governments have been guilty of dereliction of their primary duty – to protect the citizens of the United Kingdom.

Iraq is surrounded by some of the most powerful military powers in the middle east, this is a regional issue to be resolved by regional powers alone. Coalition powers will be sucked into another war lasting years, costing hundreds of lives while the surrounding military powers sit back and watch.


Saudi Arabia’s Frankenstein ?


ISIS – Created by Saudi Arabia and now uncontrollable ?


Have Saudi Arabia created a Frankenstein they can no longer control ? –  This article in THE INDEPENDENT from July 13th 2014, revealed some interesting facts and statements around support for this group.

How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world? Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”
The fatal moment predicted by Prince Bandar may now have come for many Shia, with Saudi Arabia playing an important role in bringing it about by supporting the anti-Shia jihad in Iraq and Syria. Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on 10 June, Shia women and children have been killed in villages south of Kirkuk, and Shia air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit.

There is no doubt about the accuracy of the quote by Prince Bandar, secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council from 2005 and head of General Intelligence between 2012 and 2014, the crucial two years when al-Qa’ida-type jihadis took over the Sunni-armed opposition in Iraq and Syria. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute last week, Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004, emphasised the significance of Prince Bandar’s words, saying that they constituted “a chilling comment that I remember very well indeed”.

He does not doubt that substantial and sustained funding from private donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to which the authorities may have turned a blind eye, has played a central role in the Isis surge into Sunni areas of Iraq. He said: “Such things simply do not happen spontaneously.” This sounds realistic since the tribal and communal leadership in Sunni majority provinces is much beholden to Saudi and Gulf paymasters, and would be unlikely to cooperate with Isis without their consent.

For the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, Syria and Iraq were a good place to start their campaign, but in order to survive and prosper it knew from the outset that it had no choice but to set its sights on the ultimate prize: the oil fields of Saudi Arabia.

Molten metal batteries aimed at the grid

BBC News – Molten metal batteries aimed at the grid.

Engineers in the US have invented a battery, made of three molten metals, which could help smooth the power supply from renewable energy sources.


Previous battery designs have largely been too expensive to help store energy on the scale of a national power grid.


The new liquid battery has a negative electrode made of lead, which is cheap and melts easily, mixed with a dash of antimony to boost performance.


This lowers its cost, as well as the heat required to liquefy the metals.


Published in the journal Nature, this latest attempt at a scalable solution for storing electricity is set for commercial demonstrations within a year and has been greeted with enthusiasm by engineers in the UK.


“Sometimes, when the wind is blowing strongly, we have spare capacity available – if only we could store it, so that we could use it when the wind isn’t blowing,” explained Prof Ian Fells, a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and former chair of the New and Renewable Energy Centre.


“Using these molten metal electrodes is, it seems to me, a very good idea,” he told BBC News.

Hot source

The overall concept for the battery is relatively simple: inside a can there are three layers of very hot liquid, which separate of their own accord – “like oil and vinegar”, according to the project’s senior researcher Prof Donald Sadoway, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

On the bottom is the very dense mixture of lead and antimony; next comes a “molten salt electrolyte” – effectively table salt, which is liquid at these temperatures; and finally a layer of lithium floats on top.


When the cell is discharged, all the lithium is actually transferred to the bottom layer. But when electricity is directed into the cell, the lithium is pulled out of the alloy layer and returns to the top.


“It’s this back and forth, of the top layer disappearing into the bottom layer to generate electricity, and then reconstituting the top layer by consuming electricity, that gives you the rechargeability of the battery,” Prof Sadoway told the BBC.


The whole set-up has to be kept at some 450C, which is no small feat, but a vast improvement on the 700C required by an earlier design, whose electrodes were magnesium and pure antimony.

When Prof Sadoway’s team tested out the cheaper lead-antimony mixture, they expected to be faced with a trade-off.


“We wanted to decrease the operating temperature,” he explained, to improve efficiency. “We were thinking, we’ll take a bit of a compromise on the voltage, if it’s offset by an even better compromise on the melting point.”


Battery types for grid-scale storage

  • Redox flow: Rechargeable type of battery that uses two tanks of electrolytes to store energy. The electrolytes are then pumped through a reactor to generate energy
  • Lithium-ion: A type of rechargeable battery in which charged lithium atoms move from the positive electrode to the negative electrode when charging, and back when discharging
  • Sodium-ion: These work in a similar way to lithium-ion batteries, but promise lower costs because sodium is so much more abundant than lithium
  • Liquid metal: Consists of a dense positive liquid metal electrode at the bottom of the battery and a lighter liquid metal electrode floating on top. A molten salt electrolyte lies in-between


In fact, they saw almost no decrease in voltage, even with 82% lead in the mix. They knew they were onto a winner.


“That was the surprise,” Prof Sadoway said.


His team later figured out that the reason behind their pleasant surprise was that the lithium, when it travels to the bottom layer as the battery gets used, seeks out antimony atoms to bond with. So the dilution with lead doesn’t interfere with the electricity storage – it just makes the whole set-up much cooler and cheaper.

Field trials

Prof Sadoway said that key finding was “really, really exciting” because the commercial implications were obvious. Price is the main sticking point, for all the various battery systems that have been proposed (see box).


Prof Fells made the same point: “All of these strategies are scientifically possible – it comes down to the cost. If people can make the case that this one is economic, then it’ll do well.”


Dr Frank Marken, a physical chemist at the University of Bath, was also impressed by the design. “It’s not revolutionary in the idea – but it may be revolutionary in terms of the application,” he said.


The durability of the system was particularly of note, Dr Marken suggested.


Sadoway and David Bradwell Prof Sadoway and team member David Bradwell with one of their experimental batteries


“One tricky aspect of this is how much do you lose in each cycle? And what they’ve done here is very clever. It needs a higher temperature, but they don’t lose much energy.”


In fact, the team at MIT put their prototype through 450 full charge cycles – meaning the lithium layer entirely disappeared and then was reinstated, every time – and the battery lost just 15% of its capacity.


Several years ago, Prof Sadoway founded a company called Ambri to commercialise his team’s research. That company now hopes to be deploying demonstration units “within a year”, he said.


The first test sites will be at Cape Cod in Massachussetts and in Hawaii, which is a particularly promising market.


“They’ve got sun, they’ve got wind, but both of those are intermittent,” Prof Sadoway said. “We’d like to get some field data from a place like that.”

New referendum campaign – #GBUKRef



With the referendum in Scotland now over and the results known. The United Kingdom or Great Britain now needs to run a new referendum campaign, perhaps alongside the General Election of 2015?  Maybe that would lift the turn out !!

The #GBUKref you could ask the population of Great Britain / United Kingdom to agree to the following ballot paper question ….

Should the islands of Britain be known as Great Britain or United Kingdom only when referring to any sporting, business  or personal achievements of it’s citizens?

Lets have that as an option in the 2015 general election ? It might set the election on fire just like we’ve seen in the #Indyref.


Will the United Kingdom now move to a confederated model devolving powers to regional areas of Britain ?

Its a new day, lets continue walking forward.