Minor Manifestos (2)

Step forward The Green Party of South Africa – it’s your turn to have your manifesto scrutinised by the 6000 miles… election team.

I came into this one rather sceptical, I’ll be honest.
And, it turns out, I had every good reason for that approach.

Some key policies:

What are we doing about crime? Addressing the cause of it.
Changing the hearts and minds of Men by a massive media campaign.

Well now. Why didn’t anyone else think of putting up lots of posters, sending SMSs and having the odd TV ad spot, just basically asking Men not to do crimes? All this time, we’ve been suffering under the tyrannical jackboots of murder, rape, hijacking and robbery, when we could just have asked Men nicely not to do naughty things and it would all have been solved. That’ll work. Said no-one ever.

But that’s not all: the hearts and minds of Men will be easier to change because:

Not eating battery farmed meat will reduce the stress and aggression chemicals regularly eaten inside the meat from battery animals who have lived in fear and stress all their lives.


And education? What about that?

Making it relevant, by televisions by the best teachers with field trips. Teaching pupils how to teach themselves.

This doesn’t even make sense. The words are all ok, but I think it kind of falls apart in the way that you’ve put them together. And getting kids to teach themselves? Isn’t that what teachers do?

And then could we have some misplaced business science, combined some with age-old, oft-debunked conspiracy theories, please?

TRANSPARENCY IN THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY. Cancer cures already exist, but are withheld from us because they don’t involve chemicals which can be sold at the huge profits the pharmaceutical industry is used to.
Animal research is huge business. It is often far more profitable to be looking for cures than to find them – particularly if the cures turn out to be relatively cheap or naturally available.

Seems legit. Also: aliens, right?

AN END TO BATTERY FARMING: Antibiotics are routinely fed to the animals to prevent them getting sick from living in such crowded conditions. This is creating a new era of super viruses and diseases in humans that are immune to all known antibiotics.

Now, I’m no fan of battery farming, and this starts well, but then goes way off track. I get the idea, sure, but the lack of any sort of accuracy in the second sentence does make me wonder if you actually know what the actual funk you’re going on about. Super viruses, really?

This would also greatly reduce heart attacks – over 50% are related to eating too much animal protein and fat.

I mean, we know this is likely correct, but have you run it past Prof Tim and his concubine?

At present it is possible that most of the food you buy in shops is POISONOUS to your health…

Sweet Jesus. It’s also “possible” that you’ll win the election, but let’s see how that pans out, shall we?

And then… then, these bizarre lines (from the 1990s?). How did this make it in?

To be able to utilise all of our ideas and co-operation when the computer flaw at the turn of the century throws our whole society into chaos, will help our survival . We are pretty certain that all over the world, the mainframes and their sensors scattered throughout the facilities are going to make water, petrol (and through that food), money, sewerage and airline and traffic control not available to us. We need to be ready with all our ideas and co-operation to get through that period as one Nation.

“The computer flaw at the turn of the century”? Is this… was this the Y2K bug that never actually happened?
And yet here they are 20 years on, using a debunked scaremongering theory to try and impose their bizarre thinking on us? There’s enough in those last three lines of their manifesto to keep any sane individual’s X out of the Green Party box.

However, if you want to get in touch with The Green Party of South Africa (NOTE: The website “greensouthafrica.co.za” and “Greens South Africa” on Facebook is not us.), then you can find their address on the website. And yes, it’s in Noordhoek – on the far side of the Lentil Curtain.

Big Issue Cover Fail

It’s been a while since we mentioned the pisspoor (but lovely at heart) SA version of Big Issue magazine (it was October 2017). That’s because my life is a better place without the Big Issue in it.

I have to ask about this month’s cover though:

I see no need for the Antarctic Peninsula(?*) to be exploited. I’m actually with Greenpeace on this one [audience gasps]. But despite this unusual alliance, I am still going to take exception with the Big Issue cover.

Q. Why don’t Polar Bears eat Penguins?
A. Because they can’t get the wrappers off.

Or because one inhabits the Arctic and the other, the Antarctic. They are literally poles apart. And yet this incorrect and profoundly misleading cover is being shown to impressionable kids at traffic lights and road junctions all over South Africa.

And then we wonder why the education system is broken here.

It’s only a matter of time until the Bunny Huggers start using it as part of a misinformation campaign, telling us how OMG! you can’t find a Polar Bear anywhere in Antarctica anymore and how we must give them lots of money before the penguins disappear too.

(I do know that the penguins are disappearing though.)


* is it really actually a peninsula though?


I made burgers today. Great big ones.

It was while I was cooking these great big burgers on the braai, Britney Spears blaring away in the foreground, that I glanced down at Twitbook or some such on my phone and noted that there was a vegetarian whining about stuff and telling me, and everyone else, that it took a million gallons of water to produce a kilo of beef and that each cow farted enough greenhouse gas to break a planet or something.

I looked over at the braai grid. These burgers were great big burgers and I was suddenly hugely concerned about the impact I was having on the environment having made them.

But then I tried a bit of one of the great big burgers and it was so nice that I instantly forgave myself.

It was only when we were sitting at the dinner table later that I suddenly thought of my kids.
Because, this isn’t about me and my generation. This is about what sort of world we are passing on to them.

But I checked, and fortunately, they also thought the burgers were delicious, so it was all ok.


Important postscript: I did recycle a bottle yesterday, so I am doing my bit. Don’t @ me.

Botswana earthquake explanation

Botswana suffered its largest ever earthquake on Monday evening – magnitude 6.5. Tremors were felt as far away as Johannesbeagle.

Immediately, environMENTALists leapt all over it, including a scaremongery article claiming that fracking (which may or may not be taking place in that area of Botswana) was obviously responsible.

After all, Botswana had never had an earthquake that big, just like it had never had an earthquake as big as the one which set previous record, pre-hydraulic fracturing.


Well, Jeffrey Barbee (for it is he) admits in the very first line of his piece:

There’s not enough information to answer that scientifically

But… but… there is circumstantial evidence!!

Statistic likelihood would surely result from scientific investigation, though? And would be a result, meaning that there would be “enough information to answer that scientifically”. And you said… ag… never mind.

Also, because of the remote area in which this quake occurred, no-one can accurately say exactly where the epicentre was. Your 5km claim is therefore a bit of a stretch.

Fortunately, following the knee-jerk hysteria, there came informed, independent sanity, as Stephen Hicks, a postdoctoral research fellow in Seismology at the University of Southampton gave us this highly technical description of the real likely reasons for the quake.

We call these types of events ‘intraplate earthquakes‘. It is likely that the rupture occurred partly due to the gradual transfer of push and pull stresses from the East African Rift toward the more stable part of the continent. Occasionally, this stress is released along pre-existing weaknesses in Earth’s crust as earthquakes. It is fundamentally the same reason why quakes occasionally occur in other stable regions such as the United Kingdom and the midwestern states of North America.

Hicks doesn’t mention fracking at all in his detailed explanation of the factors leading to the earthquake, presumably because fracking was not one of those factors. However, predictably it does get brought up in the comments, where it is promptly debunked.

Still, if you’re the “director and founder of AllianceEarth.org”, you’ve done work for Al Gore’s Climate Reality and you released a 2015 film about the alleged secret roll-out of gas developments in Southern Africa, wouldn’t you try to get some extra mileage out of a completely natural phenomenon? 

(There’s not enough information to answer that scientifically.)

Clive Weir is not a fanatic

I know this, because he says he is not. Right there in the second sentence of his fanatical rant. I know that Cliver Weir is in shock, because he says that before he says he’s not a fanatic.


Clive is upset because Sheffield City Council made the decision to cut down some trees in Rustlings Road, Sheffield, despite a long campaign by some residents to keep the trees. The cutting down was done earlier this week, at dawn, by a private contractor – Amey – accompanied by a “massive police presence” (12 officers).
Given the unholy fuss about this seemingly underhand approach, one has to wonder why they went via this route. Perhaps because if they hadn’t, there would have been a riot. I don’t know, I’m just guessing.

Immediately after these sort of allegedly anti-environmental actions (I say ‘allegedly’, because the council are replacing the trees with… er… even more trees than they cut down), local news sites are a great source of amusement. I cut to the chase, and went quote chasing in amongst the looney fringe of the STAG (Sheffield Trees Action Groups) FB page.

I was not disappointed. Non-fanatic Clive Weir’s post was the first one I saw.

The word ‘fanatic’ is defined as:

a zealot, bigot, hothead, militant. Fanatic and zealot both suggest excessive or overweening devotion to a cause or belief. Fanatic further implies unbalanced or obsessive behaviour.

This obviously doesn’t refer to Clive Weir though, because he is not a fanatic. He does seem ‘somewhat disappointed’ with the city councillors though:

The people of Sheffield had an opportunity to rid themselves of the autocratic fascists that hide themselves under the banner of labour.

But wait, Clive. Knowing that they had this opportunity, they surely took it, right? Right?

What do they do?, vote them in again because they have been brainwashed by genetics to deny any competent dialogue .

Seems a reasonable excuse to me. But then I’ve been fortunate to avoid being brainwashed by genetics to deny any competent dialogue.

Or… or have I? [sudden concern]

Although I’ve been a microbiologist since I can remember, I have some knowledge of genetics through my degree in Biomedical Sciences, and I can only imagine that Clive is trying to hint at some sort of genetic brainwashing programme here, selective breeding or eugenics. It’s fanatical stuff.

Clive continues, wholly unfanatically:

I would need a lot of money to take on this bunch of knuckle dragging bipeds.To call them monkeys would do an injustice to the primates!

Which primates, though? Because both these groups are primates: the monkeys and the councillors. So are you saying that calling the monkeys monkeys would insult the councillors? Or calling the councillors monkeys would insult the councillors? Calling the monkeys monkeys would insult the monkeys? But they are monkeys. Eponymous disparagement. Is it rude if it’s the truth?
Ironically, monkeys mostly live in trees. Not in Rustlings Road though. Well, not any more.

And then, the bombshell:

What are you playing at you idiots,have you all got your heads up your own backsides, or too busy licking your fellow councillors?

For those of you who thought that Clive was some sort of fanatic (he’s not), did you get that? These are elected officials, paid to serve the people and they seem to be engaging in contortionism and somewhat iffy-sounding oral practices instead of voting not to cut down trees. Suddenly, Clive’s apparently misplaced anger is wholly understandable. Cutting down a few trees in a posh bit of the city has “pressed the button” and Clive is going to reveal all he knows about the goings-on in the Council Chambers. Already, we know that this includes bending, stretching, recto-cranial insertion and hot colleague-on-colleague tongue action.
Watch this space. Well, that space.

Clive needs to find peace. Mi Riam has him covered:


I can’t help that we’ve been here before, albeit more locally. Perhaps some candles placed in the shape of a fish would work here too.

“We are one, we are one, we are one! Wake up! Wake up! Rise with the rising sun!”

That rising sun now far more visible thanks to the lack of arboreal obstruction, of course. So every cloud has a silver lining.
And you’ll be able to see them better too.


I’m sorry, Carl? Gorilla? As in Gorilla gorilla gorilla? Do they really bulk buy a load of trees and start planting them either on common land or ask people if they can plant trees at the end of gardens?

I mean, I’m no expert on primates (although I now have a little more clarity on how not to insult them) (see above), but I’ve never seen this sort of behaviour on any of David Attenborough’s auspicious documentaries. I have a friend in the DRC – I’ll ask her if she’s had any gorillas come around and enquire about potential arboriculture opportunities.

I’m not promising any return to the entirely non-fanatical STAG page, but it would seem almost foolish not to, given the rich vein of potential blog-fodder on there.

In the meantime, go hug a tree. It might be the last chance you ever get.