The Footballers' Football Column - Alan Smith: I'm not sure if Arsenal can win the Premier League with Arsene Wenger
The Footballers' Football Column - Luke Dowling: The FA need to step in and help with contracts or clubs will go out of business
Former Portsmouth and Blackburn Rovers Head of Recruitment Luke Dowling gives an insight in his debut Footballers' Football Column into what his role involves and considers how football can help clubs avert financial crisis. He also tips six players from the lower leagues to go on and make the big time. Before you read his column, watch his video below...&
So who are the real wind farm ‘cranks’: the sceptics who oppose them or the eco-fanatics and profiteers who support them?
Just for the record, I detest wind farms and all that goes with them: always have done. I first started investigating these blights on our land and seascapes several years ago when the effects of another bogus green fad – a gigantic, 25,000-ton compost heap erected near my village – led to me to look into the terrible grip that eco-fanatics, nitwitted politicians and green profiteers now have on the whole global warming debate.
That was when the obvious, insoluble problem with wind-power was first explained to me: the wind doesn’t blow all the time. And it almost never blows evenly. Power generation, on the other hand, has to be constant, steady and absolutely reliable, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.Grim vista: Europe's biggest onshore wind farm, Whitelee, on the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland
So wind farms can only be operated alongside conventional power stations, which have to be kept ready to spring into action the moment the wind is either too weak or too strong to make the turbines spin at precisely the right speed.
But that didn’t seem to stop the blasted propellers popping up all over the place. I spoke to the desperate workers at a home for children with mental disabilities who had protested in vain that the sound of the turbines was deeply disturbing to their children.
At a public inquiry, some self-righteous councillor told them they had no right to object, since millions of Bangladeshis would drown in floods unless we all converted to wind power.
More... Wrecked by gales again as windfarms get £300,000 to switch off...in high winds
In the mountains of mid-Wales, villagers explained how their beautiful hills had only been spoiled from despoliation by wind farms because the RAF practiced low-level flying over the same terrain and didn’t want their Tornado jets crashing into turbines.
The locals had thought the planes were a nuisance, but compared to the utter devastation that massive steel turbines, on huge concrete foundations, transported on trucks would have caused, mere bombers were a blessing.More from David Thomas... On the 20th anniversary of the first mobile phone text message... How texting made history but ruined our language- and plenty of marriages! 02/12/12 Why can't we all just stop texting and have an actual face-to-face conversation for once? 18/07/12 Why I’m going into battle with Google to find out if it stole my family’s secrets 13/06/12 Why I hate the snobbery and elitism of the 'anti-elitist' BBC 07/06/12 Say what you like about the French, but they have the world's finest political crumpet 24/05/12 A memo to the sweaty, Lycra-clad bike brigade: The rules of the road apply to you, too 15/05/12 The anti-fat campaign is just fat-headed 10/05/12 Dwain Chambers is no dope: Why reformed drug cheats have the right to be Olympians 30/04/12 With apologies to St George - patron saint of a country that seems to be dying of shame 23/04/12 VIEW FULL ARCHIVE
Still the wind farms have maintained their march across the most green and pleasant parts of our land. Yet the evidence against them is now becoming overwhelming.
In the past few weeks we have seen turbines burst into flame in strong winds. Huge steel blades have sheared right off propellers and gone flying out across the local countryside, miraculously missing any living targets.
The issue of the low frequency boom emitted by turbines has become progressively more significant as the disturbance it causes becomes ever-harder to deny.
The effect on wildlife of wind farms has been highlighted by an American case in which the US federal government is permitting a wind farm developer to kill golden eagles. Not even that most magnificent, and endangered bird is safe from the madness.Dominating the landscape: But wind turbines can only operate alongside conventional power stations
The vast subsidies wind farms receive simply serve to make the rich even richer. Samantha Cameron’s father, wealthy landowner Sir Reginald Sheffield already makes £350,000 a year from turbines situated on his land and is – not surprisingly – planning to out up even more.
Six Scottish wind farms were paid £900,000 for turning off their turbines on one particularly windy night last April, when they were churning out more electricity than the system needed. That was more than 20 times the amount they would have earned had the darn things stayed on.
Now, as the government plans a further 32,000 wind turbines over the next 20 years, the think-tank Civitas has released a damning report that concludes that ‘horrendously expensive’ wind farms ‘do not fulfill 'sustainable' objectives. They cost more fuel than they save and they cause no CO2 saving, in the contrary they increase our environmental 'foot print.’
To this Dr Gordon Edge, director of policy at the lobby group RenewableUK has replied by saying that the Civitas report relies on ‘discredited assertions’ from ‘anti-wind farm cranks’.
Well, he’s welcome to his opinion, though I hardly need to say what Ithink of it. What I will say, though, is that those of us of a naturally sceptical disposition are used to we’ve had so-called experts and self-professed progressives telling us that we’re cranks.
When we said that the Euro wouldn’t work, we were cranky Little Englanders. When we warned of the dangers of uncontrolled immigration, we were racist cranks. And when we suggest that there is something very, very bogus about the renewable energy racket we’re ‘anti-wind farm cranks.’
Well, the cranks were proved right about the first two issues I’ve just mentioned. And my bet is we’ll get a hat-trick and be right about wind farms.
As Tesco’s profits slip, we British should spend less time in shops, and more on the factory shop floor.
Oh no! Tesco made a marginally less obscene sum of money over the Christmas period than expected and – gasp! – may see profits slip by – help! – a full percentage point. No wonder the mega-supermarket’s shares crashed by 16% yesterday and headlines were splashed all over the papers because, really, this sounds like the worst news since, oh, I don’t know, the sinking of the Titanic or something.Loss: Nearly £5billion was wiped off the value of Tesco after the firm revealed a fall in Christmas sales
Or then again, perhaps it’s just a gigantic fuss about nothing. I mean, I’m no City boy, but it seems to me that if a 1% drop in profits leads to a 16% drop in shares, then either the market is overreacting with the hysteria the FTSE 100 increasingly displays nowadays, or the shares were massively over-valued in the first place. Or quite possibly both.
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Meanwhile, the real significance of this story seems to have been entirely overlooked. You see, what’s deeply worrying, and symptomatic of our nation’s economic woes is not that shoppers spent a little less in a particular shop at a certain time of year. It’s that we care about it so much.Buying power: Our entire economy relies on persuading consumers to maintain their shopaholic ways
Napoleon famously dismissed England as a nation of shopkeepers. A little over two hundred years later that statement needs modifying somewhat. Today the whole of Britain is a nation of shopkeepers and shoppers.
Our entire economy depends on persuading British women, who are responsible for the vast majority of retail expenditure to maintain their shopaholic ways. It doesn’t matter if they get hopelessly into debt buying designer dresses they never wear, handbags that cost as much as a decent secondhand car, or high priced Taste the Difference food that doesn’t actually taste any different. They must, at all costs, keep shopping.
Meanwhile, almost no one talks about making. As in producing actual saleable objects in factories, shipyards, steelworks, building sites and so on. It’s a boring business, I know and, as our economy clearly illustrates, far less interesting to bright young Britons than doing dodgy deals in the City, or selling glittery geegaws in a snazzy shop. But making things is what, in the end, makes money.
As it happens, we Brits are better at manufacturing than we think. Take cars, for example. Whilst the ups and downs of every shop in the country have been studied like a goat’s entrails in an ancient soothsayer’s tent for signs of growth or decline, the car industry has quietly been booming. Most people probably think we build far fewer cars in this country than we used to. In fact the exact opposite is true. More than 1.4m cars a year are built in the UK and most are then sold abroad, generating £5bn in exports.Discount haven: We have turned our entire country into one giant Blighty Bargain Basement
There’s just one catch. Virtually all of the companies making those cars are now in foreign hands. Land Rover and Jaguar belong to the Indian company Tata (yes, the very same India to which we send foreign aid). Volkswagen own Bentley and those ultimate icons of British motoring, the Mini and the Rolls Royce are both now made by BMW.More from David Thomas... On the 20th anniversary of the first mobile phone text message... How texting made history but ruined our language- and plenty of marriages! 02/12/12 Why can't we all just stop texting and have an actual face-to-face conversation for once? 18/07/12 Why I’m going into battle with Google to find out if it stole my family’s secrets 13/06/12 Why I hate the snobbery and elitism of the 'anti-elitist' BBC 07/06/12 Say what you like about the French, but they have the world's finest political crumpet 24/05/12 A memo to the sweaty, Lycra-clad bike brigade: The rules of the road apply to you, too 15/05/12 The anti-fat campaign is just fat-headed 10/05/12 Dwain Chambers is no dope: Why reformed drug cheats have the right to be Olympians 30/04/12 With apologies to St George - patron saint of a country that seems to be dying of shame 23/04/12 VIEW FULL ARCHIVE
Why did this happen? Because, being a nation of shopkeepers, a nation that truly knows the price of everything and the value of absolutely nothing, we have turned our entire country into one giant Blighty Bargain Basement. You want our airports, señor? Be our guest. You like the look of our utilities, monsieur, or our train, power and car companies meinherr, or our football clubs, comrade? Then you shall have them!
If we British could find a way of packaging our grannies and flogging them off to the nearest Qatari investment fund, we would. Meanwhile, in Germany – the nation whose economy totally dominates Europe - the shops have only recently been allowed to stay open after 6.00pm on weekdays and although Saturday opening is now more common, none of the nation’s states allows general shopping on Sundays.
Their factories, however, keep making things day and night.