Contents

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PEAK PROTECTION FORCE / SOUTH PENNINE PROTECTION FORCE SUCCESSES:

2017 – SCOUT MOOR EXPANSION REFUSED AT NATIONAL LEVEL

2015 – ROOLEY MOOR WIND FARM REFUSED AT LOCAL LEVEL

2015 – UK GOVERNMENT ELECTED ON POLICY OF REMOVING SUPPORT FOR ONSHORE WIND FARMS

2014 – GORPLEY WIND FARM REFUSED AT LOCAL LEVEL

BLOG CONTENTS:

Come Swear At Me! In Defence Of Rhetorical Brutalism

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/09/29/come-swear-at-me-in-defence-of-rhetorical-brutalism/

Why Do So Many “Nature Lovers” Censor The Voice Of Nature?

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/07/17/why-do-so-many-nature-lovers-censor-the-voice-of-nature/

Greg Clark MP – The Ultimate NIMBY?

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/06/25/greg-clark-mp-the-ultimate-nimby/

Wind Energy – The Indisputable Axioms

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/06/11/wind-energy-the-indisputable-axioms/

Peak District Turbine Blacklist: Naming & Shaming Those Who’ve Blighted The Peak & South Pennines

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/05/20/peak-district-turbine-blacklist-naming-shaming-those-whove-blighted-the-peak-south-pennines/

Welcoming Our New Student: Emma Pinchbeck!

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/welcoming-our-new-student-emma-pinchbeck/

Extinction Rebellion: A Critical Evaluation

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/04/23/extinction-rebellion-a-critical-evaluation/

Scotland, The UK & The EU

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/scotland-the-uk-the-eu/

The Psychological Issues Revealed By Brexit

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/03/30/the-psychological-issues-revealed-by-brexit/

Hendy Wind Scammers Using Diesel Generators To Fake “Wind” Power

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/02/03/hendy-wind-farm-scammers-using-diesel-generators-to-fake-wind-power/

The Streisand Effect And How It Harms The Wind Industry

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/01/23/the-streisand-effect-how-it-harms-the-wind-industry/

How Blogs Like This Are Directly Killing Off The Wind Scam

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/01/09/how-blogs-like-this-are-directly-killing-off-the-wind-scam/

Crazed Green Scammer Aims Speeding Lorry Directly Towards Member Of The Public

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2019/01/05/crazed-green-scammer-aims-speeding-lorry-directly-towards-member-of-the-public/

If Common Decency & The Rule Of Law Won’t Stop The Hendy Scammers, Would A Hail Of Bullets?

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/12/23/if-common-decency-the-rule-of-law-wont-stop-hendy-scammers-would-a-hail-of-bullets/

Pollution, Corruption & Lawbreaking @ Hendy: Just Another Day In The Life Of A Typical Wind Farm

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/pollution-corruption-lawbreaking-hendy-just-another-day-in-the-life-of-a-typical-wind-farm/

Sociopathy In Wales: Lesley Griffiths & Her Insane Eco-Vandal Mates

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/sociopathy-in-wales-lesley-griffiths-her-insane-eco-vandal-mates/

The Hendy Plot Thickens: Exposing Welsh Labour’s Crimes Against Nature

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/11/24/the-hendy-plot-thickens-exposing-welsh-labours-crimes-against-nature/

Lesley Griffiths AM: A Corrupt/Stupid Woman Who Despises Wales

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/lesley-griffiths-am-a-corrupt-stupid-woman-who-despises-wales/

Hate Wind, Love Farms

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/hate-wind-love-farms/

Case Study: Keighley – A Crime-Ridden Town Surrounded By Turbine Blight

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/case-study-keighley-a-crime-ridden-town-surrounded-by-turbine-blight

Wind Turbines In Art

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/10/11/wind-turbines-in-art/

Cigarettes & Wind Turbines

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/cigarettes-wind-turbines/

Who Wants To Blow The Whistle On The Wind Industry?

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/who-wants-to-blow-the-whistle-on-the-wind-industry/

The Left Wing Case Against Wind Energy: Turbines Are The Enemy Of Social Justice

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/09/01/the-left-wing-case-against-wind-energy-turbines-are-the-enemy-of-social-justice/

Conscious vs Subconscious Brutality: The Difference Between Trump Fans & Turbine Fans

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/08/05/conscious-vs-subconscious-brutality-the-difference-between-trump-fans-turbine-fans/

Trump Derangement Syndrome: Advice From A Fellow TDS Victim

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/07/19/trump-derangement-syndrome-advice-from-a-fellow-tds-victim/

Defeating The Wind Scam With Statistics

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/defeating-the-wind-scam-with-statistics/

Moulins Et Éoliennes

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/moulins-et-eoliennes/

Firearms & Explosives vs Unwanted Wind Blight

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/firearms-explosives-vs-unwanted-wind-blight/

Robin Brooks’ Big Mistake: Carsington Pastures Wind Farm

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/robin-brooks-big-mistake-carsington-pastures-wind-farm/

Aesthetics For Dummies: The Majesty Of Wind Turbines Debunked

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/aesthetics-for-dummies-the-majesty-of-wind-turbines-debunked/

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly In Scotland

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-in-scotland/

Exploring The Ethics Of Defending The Moors With Force

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/exploring-the-ethics-of-defending-the-moors-with-force/

Turbine Blight Between Leeds & Liverpool

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/turbine-blight-between-leeds-liverpool/

Wind Energy Is Worse For The Environment Than Fracking

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/wind-energy-is-worse-for-the-environment-than-fracking/

Dialectic In Action (Part 2)

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/01/11/dialectic-in-action-part-2/

Dialectic In Action

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/dialectic-in-action/

Christmas Peace & Goodwill

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/christmas-peace-goodwill/

The Importance Of Hearing Opposing Opinions

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/another-awkward-question-answered/

Kirklees & Craven Councils: Sh*tting On Their Own Doorsteps!

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/2966/

The Guardian: Sinister Propaganda & Fake News

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/the-guardian-fake-news-sinister-propaganda/

The Future Leader Of The Green Party

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/the-future-leader-of-the-green-party/

A Practical Solution: The Turbine Traffic Light Scheme

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/a-practical-solution-the-turbine-traffic-light-scheme/

I Was Born On A Marilyn

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/i-was-born-on-a-marilyn/

The SNP: Making English Eco-Vandals Look Like Amateurs

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-snp-making-english-eco-vandals-look-like-amateurs/

Leeds To Scotland & Back Again

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/leeds-to-scotland-back-again/

Doing Wind Badly (Part 2)

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/doing-wind-badly-part-2/

Doing Wind Badly (Part 1)

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/07/doing-wind-badly-part-1/

Doing Wind Well

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/doing-wind-well/

10:10 Climate Action EXPOSED

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/1010-climate-action-exposed/

Sustainable Development?

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/sustainable-development/

Worldwide Wind Scams – Daily Update

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/worldwide-wind-scams-daily-update

Toxic Turbines Around The Dark Peak

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/toxic-turbines-around-the-dark-peak

Bananas vs Watermelons: Internal vs External Loci of Control

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/bananas-vs-watermelons-internal-vs-external-loci-of-control/

Awkward Questions Answered

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/awkward-questions-answered/

More Worldwide Wind Misery

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/22/more-worldwide-wind-misery/

Royd Moor, Spicer Hill & Hazelhead

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/royd-moor-spicer-hill-hazelhead/

Scammers, Malware & Trojan Horses

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/scammers-malware-trojan-horses/

Wind Blight @ Park Mill Lane, Ossett

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/turbine-blight-between-leeds-mansfield/

Turbine Torture Around The World

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/wind-torture-around-the-world/

Wind Blight @ Harper Farm, New Farnley

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/wind-turbine-harper-farm-new-farnley/

Hegelian Dialectic & My Local Wind Turbine

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/hegelian-dialectic-my-local-wind-turbine/

Welcome To MindWind

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/welcome-to-windblog/

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Come Swear At Me! In Defence Of Rhetorical Brutalism

Image result for brexiteers i'd like to stab book

Once again, this blog has proven to be ahead of the curve. It was over a year ago now that I discussed, in some detail, the ethics and usefulness of what I termed “rhetorical brutalism”.

My basic point was this: wind turbines are modern examples of brutalist (or at least post-brutalist) architecture. Although not as blocky and concrete in their appearance as traditional brutalist structures, wind turbines are nonetheless firmly rooted in the brutalist principles of creating “socially progressive” (allegedly), “statement-making” architecture that stands out in stark contrast to its background. Essentially, brutalism means capturing people’s attention via means of an aggressive assault on the senses, deliberately and for a specific purpose.

The difference between brutalism and simple brutality is this:

Brutalism = Brutality + Brains

Not that wind turbine designers are the sharpest tools in the shed, but it’s fair to assume even they recognise the brutal appearance of the machines they make. Given that the basic shape and colour of wind turbines hasn’t changed much for a couple of decades now (only their size has gotten bigger, which is the opposite direction of travel for most improving technology), one would have to assume that their brutal impact on the countryside is at least semi-deliberate. After all, if it was acknowledged by the designers that they had made a terrible misjudgment, they would at least put in place some steps to ameliorate the horrendous impact they have had on nature.

But they don’t, so one can only assume the wind turbine designers have been practising deliberate brutalism rather than accidental brutality.

Occasionally, we learn to love brutalism and find ways of slightly softening its impact with the use of bright colours (eg the famous Park View flats in Sheffield), so there can be a time and place for it. But, more often than not, brutalism simply breeds a brutal counter-reaction, leading to local opposition that can last years or even decades. Eventually, most brutalist 1960s car parks or tower blocks end up getting demolished.

So that’s brutalism in terms of architecture. Now let’s look at it in terms of discourse. Rhetorical brutalism itself became the subject under discussion earlier this week in Parliament (apparently the word “humbug” qualifies as unacceptably brutal…), as tempers become frayed and language became coarser on all sides. There was even a book published entitled: “My Little Book Of All The Brexiteers I’d Like To Stab”, which unsurprisingly generated an equally brutal response.

What forces did we unleash on ourselves as a society when, about 10-15 years ago now, we decided to apply a policy of brutalism towards our natural green spaces by allowing wind developers to puncture the lungs of our countryside?

Still, we are where we are, and if rhetorical brutalism is what it takes to force a recalibration of this imbalance, then I have to say: “Bring it on!”

That said, we must understand the nature of brutalism before wielding it as an intellectual tool for political or societal change. We must realise there will be a backlash if we are too aggressive in our tone (just ask Greta!), so if one starts down the road towards rhetorical brutalism, one must be prepared for the Mother of all counter-reactions.

Does that make it bad or morally wrong? No, not necessarily, and this is the point I’d like to make:

The ethics of rhetorical brutalism derive entirely from the point being made, not the way in which it’s made. If the point has validity and is genuine, then honestly who gives a fuck about a couple of swear words? To attempt to invalidate a point of view because of some intemperate language is frankly passive-aggressive, selfish and covertly hostile.

For God’s sake, let people rant! Indulge them! Let people call you all the names under the sun. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you. You can have a much better, closer and more mutually beneficial conversation with someone if you start things off with a freestyle swear-off. I’ll swear at you for a few minutes, then you swear at me. Eventually we’ll both calm down and be grateful for the opportunity to vent. You never know, we might even end up agreeing!

Whereas if I shut you down because in your anger you had a perfectly normal, natural amygdala hijack and said something you didn’t mean, and I take that excessive bad language as a reason to censor you, well it’s me that’d be morally wrong, ignorant of human nature and opportunistic in the extreme.

The fact is, we as a society are largely sick of “polite” conversation covering up an inner kernel of pure BS. That kind of repressed, fake and unnatural politically correct slipperiness is what leads to people like Jimmy Savile not getting caught, because nobody wanted to speak out. Cobblers! If you see something wrong, call it out! Raise merry hell. That’s fine! It’s NATURAL 🙂

Equally naturally, brutality breeds brutality, so if you dish it out you need to be able to take it. And, of course, in an ideal world there would be no brutality at all. We’d all rather spend our days in loving prose than a miasma of hate speech, but emotional honesty and resonance are everything. If you feel angry, let it out! Find the right target and give them both (rhetorical) barrels!

The main thing is to apply brains to your brutality, to get the right message targeted in the right direction, in order to transform it into actual functional brutalism, rather than just raw, destructive rage.

It just so happens we are going through a rhetorically brutal period at the moment. I’d way rather have that than yet more fake, stilted, dishonest spin that says one thing and does precisely the opposite!

So if I make you angry, come swear at me! Give me your best shot, I’ll give you mine, we can slug it out in the comments section and then end it all by shaking hands over a beer.

Isn’t that a nicer, more compassionate and empathetic way of dealing with our opponents, than simply refusing to engage with those who have used slightly aggressive words in their upset emotional state?

What rhetorical brutalism does is to bring people’s real thoughts and feelings out of the shadows and into the light. This is great for mental health! Sometimes in polite conversation we deceive others, or sometimes we simply deceive ourselves. Sometimes we don’t even realise there’s any deception going on, despite inadvertently promulgating fake news and/or flawed thinking. We all have the capacity to do this, me included! Rhetorical brutalism simply fast-tracks the return of any faulty logic back to its source. I never have a problem with having my arguments forcibly logic-chopped, should it be proven with rhetorical brutalism that any of my theses require a rethink.

All in all, we can only end up learning new information from letting those with opposing points of view have a good old rant!

Now I mentioned above that a few swear words don’t invalidate an entire argument, so could it not be similarly argued that the brutal appearance of wind turbines doesn’t negate their environmental benefit? Well, my answer to that is this:

I reject the fundamental thesis that the promotion of wind energy is more beneficial to the future of the Earth than the conservation of its unspoilt natural landscapes.

Why Do So Many “Nature Lovers” Censor The Voice Of Nature?

It’s happened yet again! Not for the first time, I find my contributions to an online discussion about wind energy mysteriously removed from public view, for some reason “flagged as spam” despite being totally on-topic and not trying to sell anything.

A cursory glance at Extinction Rebellion’s Facebook page reveals that they too take great pride in deleting what they consider “hateful” comments. As such, what’s left is the polar opposite to the threads in my local Leeds Facebook group, following the XR protests in our city. Anyone researching both groups would struggle to reconcile the difference between Extinction Rebellion’s opinion of themselves and the hostile reaction towards them expressed by many local residents.

I’m minded of the difference between how Scientologists see themselves and how the residents of Clearwater, Florida view them.

I’ve written blog entry and blog entry about the necessity for free and open discourse, and the importance of giving special priority to those with a different point of view. And I’ve absolutely practised what I preached!

It comes easily to me because I have a genuine passion for dialectic. I do it with myself, and I recommend you try the same. Think of a statement that you consider to be true (your thesis), then deliberately try and think of the opposite to that statement (your antithesis).

Here’s a thesis: “Wind turbines are bad for the environment.”

The obvious antithesis is: “No, wind turbines are good for the environment.”

Believe me, I consider this antithesis with every word I write.

In science, we talk about a hypothesis, which is basically a more specific, disprovable thesis, eg “wind turbines have a dangerous impact on bee populations”. We then test the hypothesis to see if it can be disproven, eg in this case monitoring bee populations in regions with several wind turbines and noting whether bee populations in any of those areas are actually growing.

The vital third stage is synthesis, and this requires the kind of joined up thinking that can really only come from two-way dialectic. If you’re really deft intellectually, you can play your own Devil’s Advocate, but the easiest way is to get one of your friends to try and pick holes in your argument. If you can come up with an answer that explains both the thesis and the antithesis, even if it veers more heavily towards one than the other, then that’s your synthesis, the true Voice of Nature.

In the case of bees, it could be argued that although there is clear evidence that the populations are in decline everywhere we’ve tested, it might not be the wind turbines to blame, it might be pesticides or air pollution of some sort. This is our synthesis: “Yes, there is indeed a problem with bee populations. We can’t assume wind turbines are the cause, BUT THEY MIGHT BE… or at least contributing in some way. Further testing is required.”

As such, syntheses don’t generally lead to pithy soundbites, they just lead to further theses and antitheses. Eventually, however, assuming you’ve been assiduously honest all along and covered all bases, censoring NOTHING, your syntheses will ultimately lead you to an axiom of inarguable truth. These axioms are intellectual gold, because nothing can disprove them.

The difference between a thesis and an axiom is the working you’ve put in along the way. A thesis is just a “what if?” You could come up with a million in a morning, just for fun! Theses are random statements that might or might not be true, mere starting points for further investigation and research; whereas an axiom comes after you’ve batted the original thesis and its antithesis back and forth until such time as there is literally nothing more that can be said.

People get the two confused, so we have a lot of unproven theses passing themselves off as axioms (“settled science”). Indeed, this might be the defining characteristic of our polarised political discourse these days: what for some people are self-evident axioms, beyond the need for any further discussion, are for others merely unproven theses, very much fair game for debate and dialectic.

I played with this a few entries ago, provocatively listing a series of my own axioms about wind energy, many of which no doubt people would dispute, and of course I always relish the challenge. The point is, however, my axioms derived from pages and pages of research and discourse; they are my conclusions rather than my starting points. This is exactly why I’ve shown my workings along the way, and invited you all to join in the research, adding your own tuppence ha’penny!

Climate change, like many political causes, is seen by many as axiomatic rather than still an unproven thesis – ie we’ve already done all the testing and debating, and it’s futile to keep on arguing with what should be universally agreed upon by now. Now, although there are plenty of people, such as Piers Corbyn, who do indeed reject the axiom that we are screwing up the climate with our CO2 emissions, that’s not my role.

My own axioms about wind power are perfectly compatible with the axiom that we are facing a “climate emergency”. They are also compatible with the axiom that we aren’t.

So how can we tell the difference between a thesis and an axiom?

Well, the simplest way is to understand that every belief you hold should have passed through the thesis-antithesis-synthesis stage multiple times, before arriving at its final destination as an axiom of inarguable truth. If it hasn’t, send it back. Think of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, or even just a civil court case. Both sides must be weighed up before making a final judgement.

I would posit that this is because we live in a dualistic universe, and what defines physical reality is that it operates between opposing poles, ie everything we experience is consciously perceived within the context of opposites – from North to South, from East to West, from left to right, from top to bottom, from front to back, from hot to cold, from wet to dry, from black to white, from good to bad, from Brexit to Remain, from Trump to AOC, from “she loves me” to “she loves me not”.

To be or not to be? That is indeed the question…

Nature is therefore an almost infinite number of polar opposites, of theses and antitheses that together form a myriad of syntheses. Censoring any one of these theses or antitheses will impact upon your connection with Nature. Covering up any awkward antithesis to your original thesis only stunts your perception of Nature, creating what I term as an “artificial bubble of non-reality”.

In truth, we all need a degree of non-reality to survive, so I’m not saying we should all live in the forests, unplugged from the grid, sleeping under the stars. But we should see our electronic 21st century lifestyle for what it is: NON-REALITY!

Most of my comments in forums have simply been about reconnecting people to that Voice of Nature, the voice of dialectic reminding people of the dualistic reality of the physical universe. When these comments get deleted for whatever reason, all it says is that the forum is more interested in maintaining the bubble in which its members reside rather than exposing them to the elements! And that’s fine, nine times out of ten, for most social media based on shared interests or mutual support.

It’s not fine, however, when said forums are allegedly run by Nature lovers, or those claiming to be saving the Earth.

These people are setting themselves up as “important” in some way, not necessarily egotistically but certainly positionally, as I have discussed before. Extinction Rebellion are all about this: their high self-regard runs through their noticeably one-sided communications.

I guess as a blogger I too consider myself somewhat “important”, in that I have a perspective to share that I think is germane to the wider environmental movement. This is why I consider it my moral duty to provide unlimited freedom of speech for everyone reading. Join in! Challenge me, debate me, call me names if it makes you feel good. Nothing will be censored, because however I make you feel is the true Voice of Nature in relation to my writings. This is what dialectic is all about, after all.

Be very sceptical of those who say they are on the side of Nature, when they censor people’s natural reactions to what they say and do. 

I hope that what all the above proves is: when it comes to the search for truth, there is absolutely NOTHING to be achieved by censoring or covering up any “awkward” antitheses to your original thesis, because it is precisely these contradictions and paradoxes that help you get closer to the true Voice of Nature. The original debate that inspired this thread is a good example of an artificial bubble of non-reality.

It is demonstrably true that I am not trying to sell anything or make money from my contributions to online debates. It is also demonstrably true that wind turbines trigger amygdala reactions in me and I love to talk and write about this phenomenon, for free, gratis, on the house, no payment needed. And it is demonstrably true that each of you reading has 100% ability to add your own comments to mine, in order that the conversation as a whole is open and amenable to peer-review, clarification and, if need be, factual corrections. To claim my comments about wind turbines, on a public forum dedicated to the topic, are spam… well, it’s clearly untrue, and I can’t even go on there to let the readers know! Therefore the veracity of the whole forum is compromised; if they can’t get a simple thing like my true motivation right, then what else have they got wrong?!

Arbitarily “detected as spam” and deleted from public view, here then is my comment, which follows my previous comment that had also been “detected as spam”. I’ll let you be the judge!

I’ve just found that this comment has been supposedly “detected as spam”. Now why would you do that? I’m not selling anything, I’m 100% on topic? I’ve joined the debate to have my say, to get involved in the conversation and discuss wind turbines with you all. Feel free to disagree and logic-chop, sure, that’s what dialectic is all about. But to censor perfectly reasonable comments is not on, it’s suspicious, it’s artificial and not in keeping with the true voice of Nature, which would be to move the dialogue forward. If you really are tree huggers you will allow the true voice of Nature to express itself. Calling me a Russian or a Fossil Fuel backer is bonkers and deluded! I’m a “mountain hugger”! You could call me a pagan, I guess, in that I commune with the Pennines and run my ideas past the peaks directly before coming back to the city to engage with people intellectually. Censoring me means censoring someone with genuine passion, love and commitment to the environment. Why would you do that??? Here’s the comment. Please explain why this is “Spam”?

The offending comment…

Hi, thanks for engaging. Let’s try and work through the points together and see where we agree and where we still need to do more work to cover all bases. I disagree that wind turbines are significantly less damaging to nature than oil/gas/coal power plants. Well, I’ve yet to see the evidence, put it that way. The important point is that we ensure we are comparing like for like – megawatt per megawatt. So it’s not a case of comparing one wind turbine with a coal-fired power station, it’s a case of comparing approximately 2,000 wind turbines with one coal-fired power station (stats based on comparing Scout Moor Wind Farm’s capacity factor vs Ratcliffe coal power station).

2,000 wind turbines vs 1 coal-fired power station? That’s the true comparison. I simply do not accept that the environmental impact of 2,000 wind turbines is better for the planet than 1 coal-fired power station. Not that I’m a fan of coal btw, I’m just demonstrating how low-performance our wind turbines really are, and just how many of them would be needed.

Where on earth would we put 2,000 wind turbines – complete with concrete foundations, access tracks, and links to the National Grid, without impacting severely on the environment for dozens of miles around?

“A person’s opinion that they don’t like the way they look has nothing to do with the effects on nature/the environment.” –

I fundamentally disagree with this statement, indeed I think this is flawed thinking in that you are detaching human emotional resonance from your view of the planet, which is just not reality. The environment is the interaction between the physical universe and the species that reside on it. Removing humans from the equation might well save the earth, as a lifeless, sterile sphere, but the environment right here, right now, is a symbiotic relationship between us and the Earth. I don’t want to live on a planet which makes life hell on earth for humans and animals. It goes against nature itself. It means humans are supposed to reject our senses and live in a state of negativity, simply because the “experts” tell us it’s “good for the planet”.

If something is genuinely good for the planet we will intuit it on a deep level. Wind turbines do the reverse to me – on a very deep, primal level, they worry and concern me, they feel wrong and toxic, they take our fragile upland ecosystems and make them inhospitable and alienating. The main issue is that these spaces that were hitherto sacrosanct from inappropriate development for hundreds of years – AONBs, SSSIs. even the peripheries of our National Parks – yet they have been thrown under the bus in the name of renewables. Electricity trumps nature, it would seem. 

NO! Green means GREEN – chlorophyll. Not hideous, inappropriate white paint!

If giant metal towers need painting to stop them corroding, at least make it subtle, dark green paint that is more in keeping with the rural environment.

CRITICAL THINKING #101: HOW TO SPOT AN UNPROVEN THESIS FROM AN INARGUABLE AXIOM

Study the following examples of axioms and how they differ from theses. NB sometimes an axiom will turn out to be almost the same as the original thesis, but going through the dialectic process will make it a more rounded, well-defined, finely-balanced and factual statement. Conversely, sometimes an axiom might end up having more in common with the antithesis rather than the original thesis, if it’s false in any way. The dialectic method helps you work out fact from fiction.

All in all, an axiom is what you end up with when you’ve balanced a thesis with its antithesis to come up with a synthesised statement of undeniable fact: the Voice of Nature.

Example 1:

Thesis: The sun will rise tomorrow.

Antithesis: The sun won’t rise tomorrow.

Synthesis: Every day, since records began, the sun has risen. There has not been a single day so far in which the sun didn’t rise, somewhere on earth. That’s not to say maybe tomorrow isn’t the exception; a giant meteor could hit the earth tonight and that’s it, game over. Come back tomorrow lunchtime and let me know what happened!

Axiom: Well here I am, the following day. And I can indeed confirm: the sun rose this morning.

Example 2:

Thesis: 1 + 1 = 2

Antithesis: No, you’ve actually given me 0.6 + 0.8 = 1.4. Rounding these to the nearest integer, 1 + 1 in fact = 1

Synthesis: Any value between 0.75 and 1.25 added to any other value between 0.75 and 1.25 will equal between 1.5 and 2.5.

Axiom: Alright then, here you are: 1.0 + 1.0 = between 1.9 and 2.1. Happy now?

Example 3:

Thesis: The world is round.

Antithesis: No, everyone knows the world is flat, dummy!

Synthesis: Leave your house and keep travelling in a straight line till either (a) you arrive back where you first started; or (b) you fall off the edge of the earth. If you don’t have time, study every map you can lay your hands on and come up with just one that shows where the edge of the world’s flat surface lies. Photographic or video evidence would also be handy. Until then, there is plenty of proof the world is round, and no credible proof that the world is flat. But I’ll keep an open mind!

Axiom: 99.99% of the evidence that has ever been made available to us indicates that the world is round.

Example 4:

Thesis: MindWind is fake news, and the f***ing lunatic who writes it (either a Russian bot or a fossil fuel company CEO) is dangerously ill-informed.

Antithesis: Actually, that MindWind blog, though a bit wordy, does come up with some genuine and under-reported facts about the wind industry, every now and then.

Synthesis: With any blog or publication of so many millions of words, some sections are bound to be more on the case than others. The best the author can do to ensure veracity is to allow anyone who spots an error to correct it. Wherever falsehoods are noticed, readers are actively encouraged to set the author straight.

Axiom: Any “fake news” or “lunacy” found in this blog can be corrected by anyone and everyone. No censorship needed when you’re telling the truth!

Now see if you can create some axioms of your own. My hope is that by showing you HOW to think about wind energy, rather than telling you WHAT to think, you’ll naturally discover that my axioms are indeed indisputable. Test your initial theses; explore their antitheses; do your research and show your working!

Let me know what you come up with…

 

 

 

 

Greg Clark MP – The Ultimate NIMBY?

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I know every square inch of Tunbridge Wells like the back of my hand. From Southborough to North Farm, from Bidborough Ridge to Benhall Mill; from the Pantiles to Calverley Gardens, from Langton Green to Hawkenbury; there’s not a single street in the town I don’t know. Further afield, I also know my way around all the outlying villages and hamlets. Drop me off in Lamberhurst and I’d be able to get to Speldhurst with no map and no compass!

I only mention this so that Greg Clark, MP for the Kentish spa town, understands that I know his patch better than he does. And I genuinely believe that, hand on heart. Were someone to hand both Mr Clark and myself a pen and a paper, and ask us both to draw a map of the borough of Tunbridge Wells, mine would wipe the floor with his.

One thing I can also tell you is this: there ain’t a single wind turbine in the entirety of Tunbridge Wells.

You have to travel miles and miles to see them. People in “Royal” Tunbridge Wells live in a different universe from the turbine-ravaged towns of Rochdale and Halifax. So, if it’s true that Greg Clark has signalled his approval of wind turbines through the back door, this would mark him as literally the ultimate NIMBY, someone prepared to inflict wind blight on other communities, just as long as it’s nowhere near The Wells!

Furthermore, Greg Clark could well be an example of a Dishonest Banana. Remember, a Dishonest Banana is someone who, in their heart, knows exactly how unpleasant wind blight is, but they’re not upfront about their true knowledge of the hurt they are causing. This is implied by the “back door” through which this latent support for wind schemes has allegedly been sneaked.

The latest message I received from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy contrasted sharply from their rather more constructive reply of a few months ago. And so I reach out, in the spirit of free speech and the right to reply, and directly offer Mr Clark or his office the opportunity to set us all straight and to explain exactly what is going on.

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I’ve said before that when confronted with an angry man, good customer service involves calming them down, working through their anger and leaving them satisfied that their issues are well on their way to being resolved. The absolute worst thing you can do with someone angry is to stonewall or gaslight them – you’ll take someone who was moderately angry and you’ll amplify their anger to a state of cold, vengeful rage.

Unfortunately the above email did not answer the direct question of whether the allegations about the sneaky return of wind subsidies are true. Sadly, one is left with the impression that they are.

“It’s not me that’s changed. It’s you.” 

The tone and content of my email was much the same as my previous message of a few months ago: unashamedly angry, worried, frantic and in need of reassurance that the Government had taken on board the very real impacts of wind blight. In fact most of my message was simply my preceding blog entry repeated verbatim.

The last time I emailed the BEIS, they managed to reassure me by spelling out in black and white that the Conservatives were opposed to the expansion of our onshore wind infrastructure (their use of the word “onshore” clearly meant to give a free pass to offshore wind farms).

So, Mr Clark, the floor is yours. Are you a man or a mouse? Are you going to scurry back to Tunbridge Wells, hiding in the shadows with your head down, which would be TERRIBLE for your mental health and well-being, or are you going to step out into the light and talk openly and honestly about your policies?

As I have said before, it is perfectly possible to stand up proudly for “green” schemes, if you genuinely believe in them and are prepared to fight your corner. I call this being a Lime – green on the outside, green on the inside. If you believe in your wind turbines, make the case for them, win over the critics, take sceptical people like me with you on the journey. Your very reticence and furtiveness makes it look like you’re ashamed or guilty of some kind of chicanery.

Back door schemes WILL wear you down, Mr Clark, they will gradually eat away at your vitality and leave you feeling grey, haggard and weary. Why slowly kill yourself and destroy the countryside, simply to make money for a bunch of unsavoury wind scammers? Why fuck up the Conservative Party any more than the slow motion car-crash it has already become in the two short years since I described you guys as “the adults in the room”? I wish my friend Sajid Javid would knock some sense into your head.

I’m on my way to Tunbridge Wells tomorrow. I will be down there for a few days. I may even pay you a visit so we can chat face-to-face. After all, you’d certainly be welcome at mine. Despite my distinct lack of trust towards your best intentions, I’d warmly welcome you for a meal and a glass of wine (though I’m not sure I’d turn my back on you for too long, just in case you sneaked my TV out “through the back door”). Would you welcome me to yours? Would you be as hospitable and open to dialogue with me as I am with you?

If you’d like a chat so my readers are given the true facts about what exactly your party is up to, then reach out. Or, if you’d prefer a neutral space, I can highly recommend a lovely pint of Kentish ale at The Peacock Inn, Goudhurst!

EDIT 25/7/19: This must rank as one of the most rapidly dated blog posts I’ve ever written. Exactly one month after writing, and Mr Clark has been replaced at the BEIS by Andrea Leadsom. As I know how much they enjoy receiving my letters, I thought it fair to offer a note of congratulations to the incoming Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy:

Dear BEIS,

I would like to follow up my email of one month ago, addressing allegations that Greg Clark MP intended to reintroduce wind subsidies “through the back door”, with a message congratulating Andrea Leadsom on her appointment as the new leader of the BEIS. I have every confidence that Mrs Leadsom will be truly superb in her role, and I would like to wish her all the best in her appointment.

I would just remind you of Mrs Leadsom’s famous quote from 2016: “I conclude that the benefits of onshore wind have been hugely exaggerated by the developers who stand to make huge sums from the taxpayer incentives… It used to be the case that criticising onshore wind energy led to being denounced as a ‘climate change deniier’. I sincerely hope those days are over.”

I trust this sensible attitude will continue under Mrs Leadsom’s leadership of the department.

Finally, should the BEIS require any information about wind energy’s impact on the UK, please do get in touch, as I would be happy to offer my extensive knowledge of the geography and hydrology of the UK, and how these are impacted upon by inappropriate wind development. If you ever require more information about wind energy, I freely volunteer my services.

Yours sincerely

Peak Protector

Wind Energy – The Indisputable Axioms

  • Wind energy is bad for the environment.
  • Wind turbines have a negative impact on the countryside.
  • Wind turbines are the wrong shape, the wrong size and the wrong colour to be aesthetically appropriate for rural areas.
  • Wind turbines kill birds, bats, bees and (I’m alleging) whales.
  • Wind turbines can make humans feel sick.
  • Wind turbines have a quantifiably negative impact on mental health, increasing the instances of suicide in their vicinity.
  • Wind turbines have a quantifiably negative impact on property values.
  • It is immoral, directly contradicting the teachings of the New Testament, to impose unwelcome wind blight on people, against their will and without their consent.
  • Wind turbines are bad for social justice, directly handing over control of our natural assets “from the many to the few” and resulting in the corporatisation and industrialisation of Open Access Common Land.
  • Although wind turbines are indeed capable of generating electricity, weather-dependent energy sources are by their nature intermittent,  unsustainable, and unreliable.
  • The wind itself is one of the principal causes of turbine damage, meaning that the very resource they require to operate is also an existential threat to their sustainability.
  • Wind turbines are non-renewable disposables with a lifespan of just a few years, made of metal and paint, built on huge concrete foundations, often on fragile upland ecosystems.
  • The average capacity factor of wind turbines (ie what they actually generate in reality) is rarely more than 30% of their total capacity (what they theoretically could generate should the wind be blowing at gale force 24/7, 365 days a year).
  • Biomass is a vastly more reliable and sustainable form of renewable energy than wind (a single biomass-fired power station can generate the equivalent of 500 industrial wind turbines running at an unachievable capacity factor of 100%); however because smoke-belching biomass-fired power stations look exactly the same as smoke-belching coal-fired power stations, inefficient wind turbines are more widely used as the shorthand symbol for all renewable energy, despite biomass contributing significantly more pro rata.
    ** See comments below **
  • Anyone who prefers looking at a rural landscape with wind turbines to the same landscape without turbines has elevated the symbolism of renewable energy over the symbolism of unspoilt country views, indicating that their emotional resonance is more aligned with man-made technology than with the natural world.
  • Liking wind turbines is therefore an artificial social construct rather than an innate biological instinct.
  • In other words, people only like wind turbines because they’ve been told to.
  • What this signifies is that, psychologically speaking, those who like wind turbines have an external locus of control, whereas those who don’t like them have an internal locus of control.
  • This is confirmed by noting that opposition to wind turbines primarily derives from people’s personal experiences and the real-life impacts of specific wind projects, whereas support for them primarily derives from their theoretical meaning as abstract symbols of renewable energy.
  • Opposing wind blight does not automatically correlate to any particular opinion on the use of coal, gas, fracking, nuclear, or any other form of energy generation; it simply means being realistic, sensible and candid about the numerous problems associated specifically with wind turbines.
  • Opposing wind blight is not NIMBYism, unless the whole world is classed as our back yard, in which case it’s a badge we wear with honour; the real NIMBYs are those who virtue-signal their green credentials with wind turbines, whilst almost never personally suffering from the pollution involved in their operation.
  • Blogs such as this are directly responsible for challenging the wind industry’s one-sided propaganda, bringing some natural balance and equilibrium back to the global discourse about wind energy.

I’ll come back to these axioms and I’ll add more later. Feel free to add your own! This list stems from re-reading through the blog from start to finish, and extracting what I feel are the most salient points from throughout the pages and pages of prose. I’ve shown my workings throughout – the theses, antitheses and syntheses I’ve explored along the way. The axioms above are the subatomic-level kernels of inarguable truth that I genuinely believe are now “settled science”!

If you can spot any logical flaws in any of the above axioms, then the floor is yours. If I’m wrong, set me straight!

Peak District Turbine Blacklist: Naming & Shaming Those Who’ve Blighted The Peak & South Pennines

THE wind turbine off Ripponden Road, with Scout Moor wind farm above Rochdale in the background

The aim of this entry is simply to remind people of the adverse impact unwelcome wind turbines have upon the the health, beauty and well-being of the Peak District and South Pennines. The Three E’s are my chosen method for removing this unwanted blight: (1) Education; (2) Engineering; (3) Enforcement.

Let’s start with Education. Each of us has a duty not to harm the Peak National Park in any way. This is enshrined in The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, which set out two statutory purposes:

“1. to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area, and

2. to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the park’s special qualities by the public.”

It’s self-evident that wind blight falls foul of both of these statutory purposes, so right from the off there is justification for enforcing the removal of all wind turbines from The Peak.

We show the proper respect for nature, wildlife and humanity by leaving the countryside just the way we found it, not by selfishly spoiling beautiful landscapes for others. 

I learnt this life lesson when I was about four, and so I deeply worry for the following turbine owners, who clearly missed out on this rudimentary childhood education. It tallies with my theory that, generally speaking, wind turbine owners aren’t well-rounded, well brought-up, nice people who have the best interests of their local communities at heart. There’s clearly something a bit dysfunctional about a lot of wind turbine owners.

I have devised a 200 mile circular route around the Peak District, which forms the basis for my regular Peak Patrols. Any unpleasant wind turbines that are adversely affecting the special qualities of The Peak are duly noted, and those responsible educated about the impact of their unwelcome turbines.

One hopes that Education is all that’s needed to wake up the guilty parties as to the necessity for them to remove their toxic wind blight ASAP, without the need for deploying any Engineering or Enforcement solutions.

The following wind turbines, having been flagged as causing unacceptable harm to the well-being and beauty of The Peak, are now under close surveillance and performance monitoring.

This list is dynamic and ever-changing: my eventual aim is that we can write in large red letters “DECOMMISSIONED” by the side of each and every turbine included in the blacklist. So watch this space and let’s see how many turbines can be downed over the next few months!

BUXTON / STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS:

Garstones Farm ST13 7SF (1)

Lane End Farm ST13 7HA (1)

Moss House Farm SK17 0SF (1)

Slate House Farm SK17 7SF (1)

AMBER VALLEY:

Highfield House Farm S45 0LW (2)

DERBYSHIRE DALES:

Carsington Pastures Wind Farm DE4 4ES (4)

Crow Trees Farm DE56 2DT (1)

Longcliffe DE4 4HN (2)

Viaton Industries DE4 4ES (1)

SHEFFIELD / ROTHERHAM:

Moss Valley Fine Meats S8 8BG (1)

Penny Hill Wind Farm S26 3YF (6)

University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre S60 5TZ (2)
* ONE TURBINE CURRENTLY INACTIVE !!!

Upper Birchitt Farm S18 8XL (3)
* ONE TURBINE CURRENTLY INACTIVE

CROW EDGE:

Blackstone Edge Wind Farm HD9 7TW (3)

Hazlehead Wind Farm S36 4HG (3)

Royd Moor Wind Farm S36 9PA (13)

Spicer Hill Wind Farm S36 9PA (3)

HOLMFIRTH / MELTHAM:

Longley Edge HD9 2JD (1)

Moortop Farm HD9 5PT (1)

New Dunsley Poultry Farm HD9 2SW (1)

Upper Whitegate Farm HD9 2TH (1)

SADDLEWORTH:

Bent Heath Farm OL3 5LN (1)

SCAMMONDEN / OUTLANE:

Daisy Lee Farm HD3 3FW (3)

Leyfield Farm HD3 3FR (1)

Marsden Gate HX4 9LD (1)

Mount Pleasant Farm HX4 9LG (1)

Round Ings Hall Farm HD3 3FQ (3)
* ONE TURBINE CURRENTLY INACTIVE

RIPPONDEN:

Crow Hill End Farm HX6 3HA (1) 

Greave Head Farm HX6 4NU (2)

WEST YORKSHIRE MOORS:

Jaytail Farm BD20 5RL (1)
* CURRENTLY INACTIVE

Keelham Farm Shop BD13 3SS (3)

Ovenden Moor Wind Farm BD22 9HP (9)

Soil Hill HX2 9NT (7)

Tewitt Hall Farm BD22 0QR (1)

EAST LANCASHIRE MOORS:

Coal Clough Wind Farm BB10 4RR (8)

Coldwell Reservoir BR10 3RD (2)

Crook Hill Wind Farm OL14 7RJ (11)

Hyndburn Wind Farm BB5 3RP (16)

Rakewood Mill OL15 0AP (1)

Reaps Moss Wind Farm OL13 9UZ (3)

Scar End Farm OL13 8QB (4)

Scout Hill Wind Farm OL12 7TY (26)

Stand Lees Farm OL11 5UN (1)

Todmorden Moor Wind Farm (5)

Wind Hill Farm OL11 5UN (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcoming Our New Student: Emma Pinchbeck!

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Firstly, a warm welcome to one Emma Pinchbeck, Executive Director of RenewableUK. She looks like a very nice person, as do a lot of people who ignorantly tout their support for toxic wind turbines. Consciously, at least, Emma no doubt takes pride in doing a good job. Subconsciously, however, her public statements reveal some extremely poor cabling inside her mind, resulting in flawed thinking and policy suggestions that are dangerously bad for the environment.

Luckily, Emma, I’m on hand to help you work through your flawed thinking, with some kinesthetic education about the emotional impact of your policies. Compulsory Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is essential for all wind scammers, you see, to protect the planet from your lunatic impulses to trash our countryside.

So who exactly are RenewableUK? Well, the very first statement of their mission statement is factually incorrect: “RenewableUK members are building our future energy system, powered by clean electricity.”

IF YOU ARE PROMOTING WIND TURBINES, YOU ARE NOT PROMOTING CLEAN ELECTRICITY.

I’m starting to get heartily sick of the word “clean” when it comes to electricity. Since when did “clean” equate to “good for the environment”? I mean, shiny new plastic bags are clean, aren’t they? Does that make them good for the environment?

Nobody would call horse shit “clean”, yet can you think of a better fertiliser for plants? Nature can be filthy, as you know if you’ve ever come back from a ramble covered in mud. Cleaning, on the other hand, generally involves the use of synthetic chemicals.

Which is more polluting to a river: a bucketful of horse shit or a bucketful of cleaning bleach?

It’s NLP again, the use of words to trigger reactions. Once you break the programming and actually THINK, instead of simply mindlessly repeating the slogans, you see the world differently. Cleanliness is a red-herring that only indicates corporate whitewash and an artificial, gleaming “clean” sheen.

So just that single sentence from RenewableUK reveals that either they don’t respect the messy reality of nature, or, more sinisterly, they are deliberately misleading the public into dumping loads of “clean” chemicals into the heads of our rivers. After all, toxic wind turbines – made out of metal and paint – are basically man-made consumer disposables that malfunction, break down and need replacement on a far too regular basis.

“Our priority is to make sure that it is RenewableUK members at the heart of delivering this UK opportunity. To do this [missing “we” – fire your sub!] provide them with the highest possible quality services and information, supporting them in any way we can to do more, and better business.”

Here we go again. EGO not ECO. Now we’re getting down to the Benjamins. RenewableUK’s first priority is to feather the nest of its members. To make more sales. OK, that’s good about providing their members with information, so presumably the info within this blog can be added to their knowledge base. Happy to be of assistance!

Next up we come to the Statistics section of the RenewableUK website. This’ll be good. Let’s take a butcher’s:

farm

So that’s a total operational capacity of 20,805.670 MW (or 20.80567 GW) apparently, which is ACTUALLY right now generating only 0.87 GW. That’s only 2% of all our power needs.

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What all this says, and what I witnessed on yesterday’s Peak Patrol, was that wind turbines are for the few, not the many. They literally are the antithesis to the Labour Party’s motto. If the party is to be taken at its word (don’t laugh!), then we need to confront Labour politicians with the fact that wind turbines actually take energy from the many and give it to the few.

I noticed this at Dick Hudson’s pub near Bingley. The exceptional views from this country pub on the southern slopes of Ilkley Moor have been OBLITERATED by a hideous, spinning turbine, spoiling the landscape for everyone other than the landowner.

Indeed, Bradford’s natural assets on all sides have been trashed, to the detriment of hundreds and thousands of citizens, solely for the benefit of a couple of dozen landowners.

WIND TURBINES ARE BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!

NOBODY OTHER THAN THE LANDOWNER BENEFITS FROM A WIND TURBINE.

WHY SHOULD EVERYONE ELSE SUFFER BLIGHT, LOSS OF AMENITY & THE DESECRATION OF OUR NATURAL LANDSCAPES?

WHAT’S IN IT FOR US???

IF YOU REALLY WANT TO LOWER YOUR CO2 EMISSIONS, SHUT DOWN YOUR BUSINESS, GET RID OF YOUR MACHINERY & KINDLY KILL YOURSELVES!

YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT WILL BE ZERO AND THE COUNTRYSIDE WILL BE PROTECTED!

Read and understand all that, Emma, and you’re well on the way to having your thinking corrected. Sorry about the rhetorical brutalism; it’s simply the cerebral equivalent of using a power drill to extract all the greenwash gibberish from out of your brain. In time, you’ll thank me 🙂 Everyone else does, once they see the error of their previous path and how I’ve helped get them back on the right track psychologically, emotionally, spiritually and above all ENVIRONMENTALLY!

Finally, I notice that the abhorrent Jaytail Farm wind turbine is still conspicuously stationary. Every day it doesn’t spin is a day closer to it meeting that “six months of no activity” mark, after which it must legally come down. Meanwhile, over at Scammonden…

Extinction Rebellion: A Critical Evaluation

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It never ceases to amaze me just how many foreshadows of upcoming events or trends have made their way into this blog over the months. I refer to these foreshadows as “Future Echoes” (an early episode of Red Dwarf revolved around this very concept).

With a lot of mainstream news now starting to examine some of the environmental topics that we’ve already been looking at for over a year now, it does seem like Green is very much the In-Thing of 2019. That can only be good… just as long as by 2020 it hasn’t become passe!

I should be delighted by this. After all, as a self-appointed “Wind Warrior” who a few years ago did a website called “Crook Hill Eco Disaster”, surely it should be music to my ears that Eco-Warriors are on the rise! On a superficial level, it’s great; the more eco-conscious the planet, the better. But that’s not to say I don’t have some cognitive dissonance going on at the same time, indeed some critical thinking that needs to be done. I simply wouldn’t be me without asking awkward questions, would I now?!

Maybe it’s ego… We should always check our egos first and foremost when evaluating our responses to any challenging stimuli. There is often an element of elitist hipsterism that rankles whenever an obscure minority interest suddenly goes mainstream, minus the original edge that made it so compelling in the first place. This would not be uncommon; after all in economics there is something known as a “positional good“: a good or product whose value derives almost solely from making its owners seem slightly aloof from normal society, rather than any intrinsic value of its own. The classic example, for years and years during the 80s and 90s, was the Apple Mac: a quasi-Green, anti-corporate, counter-culture, rebellious option for those who liked to “think different”. Are Apple Macs still a positional good? Or have they moved squarely into the mainstream?

I’ve long seen the Green Party as similarly deriving much of its value from its leftfield (not necessarily left-wing, just anti-mainstream) position on the political spectrum, and therefore in society, rather than having any bona fide credentials as an environmental organisation dedicated to conservation per se. That’s also what my instinctive reaction is towards Extinction Rebellion, the latest in a long line of high-profile organisations who I should be cheering and siding with, as they say they stand up for the environment against wanton eco-destruction. However, something about them strikes me as too “positional” to be truly in harmonic resonance with the Voice of Nature.

I could be misreading the public mood, but the general verdict from the mainstream seems to be, at best, indulgence towards the folly of youth, and, at worst, disrespect. Now this isn’t my subjective opinion, far from it. It’s more an objective assessment based on social norms and real-life public reactions to the protestors.

It becomes a genuine problem for the environment if those speaking up on its behalf  alienate the general public, by coming across as unappealing, unprofessional and altogether too far removed from the norms of working adults. It pushes environmentalism into the hands of the freaks and the weirdos, instead of normal folk. Like me. Ahem! I joke because I know what it’s like to be ridiculed, shunned and sidelined for standing up for the environment. It ill behoves me to do the same to others. Still, activists need a thick skin and should always be conscious of the optics of their operations.

All of us, no matter where we stand within the wider environmental movement, need to therefore be aware of the impact of our actions and statements on the general public. It’s an ongoing process: to act, to take on board feedback, to critically assess that feedback and to improve our actions accordingly. I often premise my more outrageous online skirmishes by saying: “I’m well aware I come across like a lunatic…but thanks for engaging, and let’s have an interesting debate about WHY!”

The very act of critical thinking itself is thus innately good for the environment, because it fosters equilibrium, balance, well-reasoned decisions and thoughtful, considerate contemplation about whether we are changing the world for the better or worse. As long as Extinction Rebellion are routinely critically thinking their actions, I can cut them some slack for any mistakes and misjudgements. We all do it, and if we’re serious in our aims then we should be happy to engage with those who criticise. We need to win hearts and minds of those who might need convincing, not just talk to those who already share our views.

The overarching point of all this is that environmentalism shouldn’t be defined as belonging solely to the counter-culture, it shouldn’t be a positional good specifically designed to signal the virtue of a few white knights fighting to save the planet vs the dumb masses. This is cult-like behaviour, meeting several of the criteria of dangerous groups.

Maybe it’s just that I have a very different version of environmentalism from the Extinction Rebellion crew, but I’m not totally convinced that what they recommend is in fact best for the future of the planet. Even if the problem is as they say it is, how good is their solution?

For me and my style of environmentalism, it’s primarily a personal relationship with the Earth, although communication and bringing other people along is an essential second step. But the first step, the Sine Qua Non, is ensuring I regularly have a physical communion with the Earth. We connect with the air every time we breathe, granted, but we should also connect with the land and sea (rivers will do if we can’t make the seaside, after all it’s the same water, just a bit further upstream!)

Let me illustrate what I mean: on a sunny Bank Holiday, the protestors chose to spend hours in the sweltering, concrete jungle of London rather than actually touching base with nature. For what it’s worth, I spent Easter Monday exploring my local 700m peak, Great Whernside (not to be confused with Yorkshire’s highest mountain Whernside, miles away on the other side of the Dales). I immersed myself in the soft, soothing, unspoilt shapes of the fells rising to meet the big sky.

Image may contain: sky, mountain, outdoor and nature

In doing so, I felt myself relaxing, unwinding, reconnecting with my spiritual essence and meditating over life’s mysteries. My belief is that these direct communions with nature are of a deeper benefit to our affinity with the planet, than spending too much time in the groupthink of the cities. Therefore, if climate change is the problem Extinction Rebellion claim it to be, these upland open spaces contain the solution, and I see my role in the eco-movement as simply to spread awareness of the vital importance of conserving these landscapes, to protect them at all costs, and to encourage as many people as possible to also spend as much time as they can surrounded by the beauty of nature.

It doesn’t have to be about the mountains and moorlands, that just happens to be my niche. It could be gardens, parks, even the tiniest slither of green, undeveloped urban space. Just somewhere accessible where we can spend time directly interacting with the natural world.

Within the protestors there will indeed by some Earth Lovers, some Pagans and Wiccans; however there will also be an awful lot of Muggles who can’t wait to get back home to their Xboxes. Let’s be honest: at the age of 16 I’d have probably gone and got fully involved as a social thing, I do get that entirely, and it’s certainly not a bad bandwagon to jump on. If anything introduces people to caring about the environment, that can only be a good thing.

But it’s also an example of the Watermelon psychology, if you remember my piece about Watermelons and Bananas. Watermelons are those who support Green causes on the outside, but down to youthful inexperience they have an external locus of control and can thus be easy prey to get co-opted into various other socialist causes.

Could Extinction Rebellion even be a front for the rollout of 5G? Make up your own minds…

This brings me on to my final concern: the elevation of technology over nature. This is where Extinction Rebellion really need to don their critical thinking and self-awareness hats. Opposing wind blight needs to be totally separated from climate change denial in their minds, and it needs to be seen for what it is: just other strain of opposition to corporate desecration of the natural world.

True, there are some folk who hate wind turbines because they don’t subscribe to the theory that we even need to lower CO2 emissions; but there are many others, like me, who simply place electricity second in priority to nature. Of course we need electricity, but we need the natural upland watershed landscapes even more.

Anti-wind activists therefore need to be paid attention to and heeded by Extinction Rebellion, because these guys are the real deal when it comes to standing up for the planet against huge corporations, often privately and with no fanfare. I made this point in pretty much the first entry I ever wrote, and I’m saying it again now, so there is no doubt whatsoever.

OPPOSING INAPPROPRIATE WIND BLIGHT DOES NOT EQUATE TO BEING A CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER! 

IT SIMPLY MEANS DOUBTING WIND FARMS ARE THE SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE THEY SAY THEY ARE.

AND EVEN IF THEY DID HELP A BIT, THEY CAUSE SO MANY OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS THAT THEY’RE SIMPLY NOT WORTH THE BOTHER.

I barely talk about climate change in this blog, because I really don’t have anything useful to say about it. I just don’t like pollution full stop, whether it be of the land, sea or air. I would however err on the side of acting as if climate change is a genuine threat (because that’s the Precautionary Principle in action), whilst simultaneously keeping a calm head and critically thinking about the proposed solutions (a must-read article that critically examines the available sources of low-carbon energy, including wind).

Having done all this critical thinking, and despite having a few issues with their answers to the problems of environmental destruction, all in all I feel generous towards the Extinction Rebellion guys. I assume, deep down, we share the same aim of a clean, green planet. Who doesn’t, after all?

I just need them to know that wind turbines won’t provide what they’re looking for. I for one wouldn’t want to live in a world – even with the threat of climate change solved for good – if the price we had to pay for survival is forests of huge spinning metal blades, owned by multinational energy companies, blocking us from our connection with the natural Earth.

And I’d be gobsmacked if any fellow Eco-Warrior really wanted to live in that kind of world!

EDIT: I’ve read that back and I do sound a bit holier than thou! I apologise if that’s the case, as always I’m just showing my inner workings and explaining exactly why I feel the way I feel. All I can say is, my findings ARE based on my own research and fieldwork, they really are. I genuinely do trace our interconnecting mountain ridges and watersheds by eye and by feel. I am 100% for real when I say that I can sense whether I am in Wharfedale, Airedale or Calderdale entirely by the shapes of the valleys! It’s all true 🙂 I probably deserve pity more than praise, but this deep connection to the Earth is precisely why I care so much, and precisely why inappropriate wind blight physically hurts me so much.

It also explains my uncanny knack for uncovering USELESS wind turbines at the sources of these rivers, that just keep on breaking down!

EDIT 2: A very busy this week! Dramatic fire engulfed the Paul’s Hill Wind Farm in Moray. Boo-hoo. If you can’t stand the heat, get out the kitchen! Obviously it’s a tragedy that so much wild land has caught fire, but at least there’s a silver lining to the story. On a more serious point, the fire risk is now plain to see. If by any chance you’re reading, Duncan, when I said your wind farm ran the risk of being burnt down to the ground, this is what I was talking about… the voice of Nature. Not lil ol’ me going around with a box of matches and a petrol can, but simply nature reasserting its dominance over the uplands. Electrify and industrialise them at your peril…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-48017104?fbclid=IwAR364AsQ6WAZgXMTY5G95JLH3zOKN2i5Hvh6_BaN4Na4tEyjJ_gS4eX9uH0 

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Scotland, The UK & The EU

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Every six months this blog takes a distinctly Scottish turn. That’s because every April and October, and sometimes inbetween, I spend a week working in Scotland. Computer support in the towns and cities by day, expeditions into the countryside by night (well, twilight). The whole experience has inspired me to start up a whole new blog, with not a wind turbine in sight… It will be a photo website dedicated to the UK’s greatest driving roads and I can’t wait to get started!

A couple of potentially controversial points in that last sentence, which I’ll address immediately. First up, how can someone who claims to be protecting the hills from eco-destruction go on to promote driving petrochemical machines on tarmac roads right through the heart of them? I’ve pondered this one long and hard: clearly there are an awful lot of environmental problems with petrol engines, and the sooner we can replace loud, dirty, petrol-based cars with cleaner alternative fuels, the better.

However there is ONE environmental advantage to the humble motorcar, and that is this: it helps us connect with, understand and appreciate nature. Especially if we live in cities. The car is our means of teleporting into the most remote locations imaginable; it’s up to us as individuals how we choose to behave when we get there. As they say, “guns don’t kill, people do”, so we could say the same with bad or antisocial drivers.

Slow and considerate driving, in as small and economical a car as possible, minimises its impact on the environment whilst affording us the ecologically beneficial ability to get to the mountains and learn a thing or two about the nature of reality, stuff that we’d never in a million years learn were we confined to the cities and suburbs. Is that one of the purposes of Agenda 21, one wonders? After all, in the words of Ewan MacColl: “If the bourgeoisie had had any sense at all they would never have allowed the working class into that kind of countryside. Because it bred a spirit of revolt.”

The second controversial statement in that seemingly innocuous website idea, the UK’s greatest driving roads, is the inclusion of Scotland (let alone Northern Ireland, if I get that far). Maybe if Scottish Independence finally goes ahead, I’d have to remove almost all the greatest driving roads from the website!

So apparently Scotland voted to remain in the EU, yet when it comes to remaining in the UK there’s a sizeable amount of the electorate, including the SNP, who want to leave the union. Confusing and complicated stuff! I bring it up because in these Brexit times I think it’s nice to empathise with someone else and see things from the opposite point of view. How do we (English folk) feel about Scotland breaking away from us? I’ve said it before – I’d be very, very sad. HOWEVER: if that’s what they want, and feel is best for them, and vote for democratically, then good luck to them! I’ll still come and visit, even if I have to pass a Customs Checkpoint on Carter Bar…

Imagine threatening Scottish people with Armageddon should they walk away from England. Imagine describing those in favour of Scottish independence as “little Scotlanders”. Try this for a thought exercise: find your nearest Brexit debate (shouldn’t take you more than about three seconds to locate one), and every time you come across the term “Leavers”, substitute it for “Scottish Nationalists”. If the statement still holds true, then it’s probably logically sound; if it sounds ridiculous then that invalidates the original point.

I’d also like to clarify a couple of points I made in my last entry. Firstly, saying that politicians have lost the moral authority and the public doesn’t believe them is NOT the same as saying they are factually wrong; it’s saying the public no longer ASSUMES them to be correct, by default. We are surprised if they are. We no longer go to them for information. A lot of people on the left call the Daily Mail the Daily Fail (or even the Daily Heil), believing it to be the work of Satan. Even Wikipedia, apparently, doesn’t recognise the Daily Mail as a credible source of news. Does that mean that every article it publishes is false? Of course not, but all in all, on balance, a lot of people have no trust for the Mail’s judgement and therefore will be sceptical by default.

This is the point about the Referendum result: it gave us mathematical proof that more voters disbelieve the claims of politicians than believe them; not that the politicians are factually wrong, but that as a source of information they now “officially” lack authority and credibility in the eyes of the public.

It’s a subtle difference, but an important one. Saying you don’t trust people’s judgement is NOT the same as saying they are flat-out incorrect, just that you’re not convinced you’ve seen enough of their inner workings to take their opinion as gospel without the need for further confirmation. This is another reason I err on the side of “too much information”; so that my mental journeys are logged fully, to retrace my steps and to show why I’ve come to the conclusions I have. Where possible, third-party evidence is provided to give credibility where I might personally have none (case in point: LSE’s report “Gone With The Wind”).

I’d also like to clarify what I said about politicians not having the right to an opinion. OK, such a statement is as reductive and bone-headed as one of Theresa May’s PMQs answers! My bad. Let’s change the word “opinion” to “agenda”… everyone has an opinion about all manner of topics, it’s ludicrous to enact a “no opinions” policy, otherwise people wouldn’t even be allowed to decide how many sugars to have in their tea! The point I wanted to make, and I’m sure you get the gist, was that in an official capacity we are only expected to pass personal judgement on very specific matters that relate to our particular job.

When an opinion becomes an agenda that directly goes against the interests of the employer, that’s when one really has to do some soul-searching about whether it’s tenable to carry on working for them. A few politicians seem to have semi-realised this: hello, TIGgers! They at least resigned, because their own agendas had diverged so much from that of their respective parties, though of course they’ve not gone the whole hog and stood for public re-election just yet.

So clearly our politicians are allowed opinions, but there is a due process for expressing them and getting them acted upon: manifesto pledges that require endorsement by the electorate. What politicians are not allowed to do is to follow an agenda that runs contrary to the stated aims of the manifesto pledges on which they were elected. If they wish to change direction from that which was endorsed by the electorate, the new direction should clearly similarly require democratic validation.

With regard to the impacts (or otherwise) of “No Deal”, I repeat what I said last time. I’m all for a deal being done, I want a deal to be done. Shit as it is, I’d be happy with the deal prepared by Theresa May and the EU to get the ball rolling, because things can always change in the future. The only circumstance in which I’d consider “No Deal” to be viable is in a straight choice between “No Deal” and “No Brexit”.

I feel it was a real oversight in terms of the creation of the Referendum not to have made the post-Brexit changes more explicit. I asked this last time: has anyone ever tried leaving the EU before? The exit process (offboarding, we call it in IT) needs smoketesting in order to see what happens, to deal with any unintended consequences and to ensure that future referenda improve their format, so as not to leave room for any further ambiguities.

Maybe as an IT professional I’m more tolerant about the “mess” we find ourselves in than many others. I spend my professional life surrounded by broken computers. You would be shocked to see the state of some hugely important server rooms – God only knows what the network cabinets look like in the House of Commons! Yet, most of the time they work. When they do need repairs, sometimes sorting out all the cables leaves the cabinets looking even worse temporarily, which is why we often do these jobs in the evenings or at weekends. So problem resolution can be a messy business, I get that entirely.

That’s not to say there is no problem, far from it, there is a huge democratic deficit. But my job is solving problems, so wherever there’s an issue, I know for a fact there’s a solution, or a range of them. As long as we stay solutions-focused, we’ll get there in the end.

Right, I think that’s me done on Brexit for now. I just wanted to refer to it in context with Scottish Independence, and say it’s a good mental exercise to look at the issue from the opposite perspective – how does it feel that someone wants to leave us (well, not all Scots, clearly, not even a majority… but enough!)?

Now, I’ve got this far and I’ve not even got angry about wind turbines yet. Am I mellowing in my old age? Have I been got to by a wind developer? You came this far expecting to see me have a meltdown, right? Sorry, I hope I’ve not disappointed you! For the remainder of this entry, I’m going to take you on a guided tour of where I’ve been this week, and let’s see, together, where wind blight interrupted my good mood and triggered an amygdala hijack!

Day 1: up the A1 past Newcastle, then along the A696/A68 to Carter Bar, the stunning hilltop border and site of the Raid of the Redeswire in 1575 (one of the last skirmishes between England and Scotland). Almost immediately a left-fork and the cross-country route to Hawick, via Bonchester Bridge, imminent site of the notorious Pines Burn Wind Farm. Don’t worry Duncan, if you’re reading, I didn’t stop. Anyway, the new, mellow me no longer threatens to “destroy” wind scammers or “burn your wind farm down to the ground” (allegedly)… I trust Nature to know best! So nothing but peace and goodwill from me nowadays 🙂

A short hop up the A7 to Selkirk, then west to gorgeous Peebles, one of my favourite towns in Southern Scotland. Apparently there is a wind farm to the north at Bowbeat Hill, but it’s not visible from the Tweed valley. Photos from the internet make it look absolutely appalling from on high, however.

The A72 crosses the main east-west watershed at a relatively low gap between higher hills, just north of Biggar, and almost immediately the gravitational pull of Glasgow slowly exerts itself, with isolated villages gradually starting to get closer together, and, guess what, lots and lots of single wind turbines starting to line the road sides.

Day 2: After a busy day working in Glasgow, and with a hotel booked in East Kilbride to the south, there were a couple of superlatives I wanted to explore: Scotland’s hardest village, and Scotland’s highest village! Obviously Whitelee Wind Farm dominates the landscape immediately south of East Kilbride, but as mentioned a year ago now (wow, time flies!), it’s actually relatively well shielded by a ridge that obscures views from the north.

After skirting Kilmarnock I headed southeast on the A76. Not a wind turbine visible for miles and miles! Finally I arrived at the infamous village of New Cumnock, where most of the roadside buildings seemed to be boarded up, aside from an incongruously shiny new swimming pool. At least unemployed residents of this ex-coal mining community can perfect their breast stroke, as it were. Actually, New Cumnock was not that different in character to some of the more deprived estates in the West Riding – Mixenden in Calderdale sprang to mind as an obvious comparison. And just as Mixenden lies in the shadow of Ovenden Moor Wind Farm, so does New Cumnock lie in the shadow of Hare Hill Wind Farm, on top of the very first 600m peak I passed on this evening’s drive.

After New Cumnock, the hills started closing in on each side, the Carsphairn Hills to the south and the Lowther Hills to the north. I soon turned off the A76 and onto the narrow, winding B road that led up to Wannockhead, the highest village in Scotland, yet strangely nowhere near as high as a good few villages in the Peak District (Flash in Staffordshire is almost 100m higher!). I thought it was very, very revealing that at Wannockhead’s church was a prominent sign saying “No More Wind Turbines” (see photo at the top of this page). Is this the Voice of God?! For what it’s worth, this was literally the only “political” poster I saw during the entire week.

From the Lowthers I gradually descended to the M74, aka “Turbine Alley”. I shadowed the motorway on the adjacent old road. Almost continuously from here, by the source of the Clyde, to the outskirts of Glasgow were views of wind turbines. This is the true epicentre of Scotland’s wind energy belt.

Day 3: much less blight today, though not without some notable exceptions. Having finished work in Glasgow, I headed north and almost immediately started climbing the Campsie Fells. At the top, I noticed the Earlsburn Wind Farm, one I’ve talked about before, as it did have the support of a lot of the community. See, I do give credit where credit’s due, and I do respect democracy more than my own opinions! I’d just love to know, ten years after construction, how do the residents feel about the wind farm now?

From the Fintry Hills to Stirling, where I kept seeing the appalling Braes o’ Doune Wind Farm, another one I’ve covered before, along with the Daily Fail (they’re certainly not wrong here). From Stirling to the Ochils, another stunning range with two “hidden” wind farms at the top, invisible from the hillfoot towns beneath the steep slopes. It was only on the road to Gleneagles that I noticed the turbines of Burnfoot Hill/Rhodders Wind Farms. The glen itself is spectacular, as is the internationally famous golf resort at the bottom. What a shame to see these turbines here. Did they really need a wind farm in the Ochils?

North of Gleneagles and onwards to Crieff, then west on the A85 into the edge of the Highlands. Had I more time I would have continued onto Glen Ogle and even further into the mountains, however night was on its way and I wanted to enjoy one final twilight drive, the stunning yet sick-making Duke’s Pass, with its almost non-stop twists and turns!

Day 4: tonight was one of the most exhilarating drives I’ve ever done, but it took a while to get there! Having finished work in Glasgow, I had all evening to make my way to Edinburgh where I’d be staying in the very fancy Braid Hills Hotel. Me being me, just a short haul along the M8 was not enough to satisfy my appetite for the hills. And so I headed south, almost back to England! Almost, but not quite. The M74 is something to behold, if you can withstand the constant (and I do mean constant) presence of wind turbines for almost the entirety of its route. By Uddington, pretty much all human life has vanished, and the featureless, rolling moors stretch off into the distance. Well, I say featureless – other than miles and miles of pylons and literally hundreds of wind turbines. Throw in lashing rain and hail, and this must rank as one of the most inhospitable regions in the UK.

Beyond Abington the hail turned to snow, and I started feeling decidedly apprehensive about how I’d get back to Edinburgh without having to resort to a boring return trip on the motorway. Filled with trepidation, I turned off the M74 and passed through the “Dark Sky” town Moffatt, aka the Town that Time Forgot. There are two stunning passes north east of Moffatt, and I plumped for the A708 towards Selkirk, a long, long distance away with barely just a couple of hamlets along the route. Not the kind of road on which you’d want to get stuck in a snow drift. Mercifully, the Moffat Hills acted as a natural climactic barrier, meaning the stunning road remained snow-free. Eventually, after miles and miles of mountain scenery to easily rival the Lakes or Snowdonia, a bloody great lake (St Mary’s Loch) opened out to the east of the road.

One short haul across the far east of the Tweedsmuir Hills brought me to the Tweed valley, which I crossed and almost immediately headed deep into the Moorfoot Hills. This was one of those roads that takes ages and ages to reach its peak and then almost immediately drops back down again, like a rollercoaster: you climb, climb and climb for what seems like eternity, then hit the crest and steeply drop down to the lowlands. One minute you’re on top of the world in an empty snow-covered wilderness, the next you’ve plunged back down to the more pastoral lowlands with the bright lights of Edinburgh twinkling in the distance. The only wind turbines I’d seen since Moffatt were at the last outpost of high ground, the trio of turbines at Carcant Wind Farm, complete with flickering red “Devil’s Eyes”. At least in the snow, the gleaming white paint of the turbines didn’t stand out too obtrusively.

A drive of two halves, then. The first was through a 40 mile wind factory, the second almost entirely turbine-free until the very last hill. Now I’ve seen more of Scotland, I can definitely see there have been some attempts to put most of the wind farms in zones. Once you know where the turbine-free zones are, you can at least get lost in pure wilderness. The trouble with the M74 corridor is that it’s the first impression of Scotland most people get, painting rather a grim picture of what the scenery is like (maybe that’s why the A7 is signposted as the Tourist Route To Edinburgh). However once off the motorway and deep within the Southern Uplands, mercifully most of the hills are still unspoilt.

Day 5: a relatively short and sweet drive tonight, but not without interest. Call me a masochist but I actively wanted to see the aforementioned Bowbeat Hill Wind Farm near Peebles, which I’d not seen from the south. I approached this time from the north, and despite vast panoramas of the snow-covered Moorfoot Hills, I couldn’t see a single turbine. Again, credit where credit’s due for shielding the turbines from the public, but I can imagine how horrifying it would be to ramble your way all the way to the top of the mountain, only to find industrial junk littering the place!

I then caught up with my old friend the A72 once again, and headed east on this relatively fast, sweeping road through beautiful hilly countryside. In fact the A72 is pretty much the only route across the Southern Uplands from north-west (Glasgow) to south-east (Jedburgh); due to the topography of the land, almost every other pass transverses the national watershed from the south-west (Dumfries) to the north-east (Edinburgh)..

By chance it was Steak Night at the fantastic Mill House in the centre of Galashiels, a perfect place for a pitstop. Twilight was on its way, so not much more scope for sightseeing at this point. I thought I’d just sneak a peek at the eastern Moorfoots, so I headed north on the much-touted “Tourist Route To Edinburgh” (the A7), and after a few miles onto the narrow B road across the high ridge linking the Moorfoots to the Lammermuirs.

My final sight of the week’s adventures, barely a few minutes before darkness fell, was literally dozens and dozens of wind turbines spreading across multiple adjacent hills. I would imagine the wind farm, which goes under the name Dun Law, must have spread at least five miles from southwest to northeast. This was the largest wind farm in Scotland before Whitelee took over the crown.

In my previous entry I talked of cerebral narcissism, and I then started to worry if this blog is a chronic case! After all, using big words to show off my intellect is all part of my weltanschaaung… But rest assured, dear reader, I’m racked with far too much self-doubt about my theories to be a true narcissist. And so I sat and stared at Dun Law, devoid of ego, devoid of anger or any kind of emotional baggage. I sat there and asked myself: “Is this REALLY as bad as I’ve been banging on about all this time?” It didn’t immediately affect me as badly as some, even if by about five miles of turbines by twilight, I was starting to get sick of the sight of them.

I only say this because once again I want to demonstrate critical thinking – not super sharp Einstein levels of extreme intellect, just a simple country boy showing his workings, the way his (Scottish, for what it’s worth) maths teacher always taught him. Thus it’s imperative that I’m 100% honest with you all and don’t have any kind of hidden agenda, Lord knows I’ve been accused of it on multiple forums! Dun Law didn’t trigger me to anger, so either I’m changing, or it’s a job well done, or I caught it under conditions in which its impact wasn’t apparent (for example, white turbines clearly blend into snowy hilltops much less inappropriately than lush green fields, or vast expanses of brown-grey moorlands.

It’s also interesting that I’d felt the same about Whitelee. Maybe wind farms really do have to be done on a HUGE scale to be appropriate. Maybe it really is the intrusion of smaller wind farms, or even single turbines, into inappropriate zones that triggers bad reactions.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say Dun Law was an improvement on the landscape, far from it, it immediately made me feel like my alpha state was coming to an end and the modern, urban pace of life was just around the corner. In a country with as much open space as Scotland, maybe this is less of an issue. When space is at a premium, however, we can’t afford many more Dun Laws without seriously impacting on our access to unspoilt upland landscapes of outstanding natural beauty and special scientific interest.

What a long post! Thanks Scotland for the inspiration xx.

The Psychological Issues Revealed By Brexit

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It’s been a fair old while since I’ve contributed anything to this blog! I’m fine, in case anyone thought I’d been bundled into the back of a dodgy white van and surreptitiously buried under the concrete foundations of an industrial wind turbine.

The truth is, these last few weeks I’ve tried my hardest to stop rising to the bait, and to look into myself for whatever internal solutions I can put in place to prevent wind turbines making me so destructively angry. I’m still on hand to lend my support to a worthy case like Hendy, but all in all for the time being I’m trying my best not to let wind energy impact on my mental health and well-being. There are so many other people fighting the same battle as me, and I’ve been deliberately putting myself through stress and anger in the name of research for almost five years now, that I need to recharge my batteries and concentrate more on the things in life I love, not hate!

Meanwhile, all around me is Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. I’ve touched on the topic briefly, but it’s not been my main issue, certainly causing me nowhere near as much direct psychological torture as wind farms. I think that’s telling for a number of reasons. Firstly it proves that I’m not, in general, an angry man. I’m not going around looking for topics to rail against. I’m not what is known in left-wing circles, somewhat hypocritically, as a “gammon”, as my default emotional resonance is more aligned with the dreamlike alpha state rather than any chronic state of jaded irritation. When anger strikes me, it comes in from nowhere, and then disappears a few hours after the stimulus has retreated.

This is what has made my blog so interesting and revealing to me – and maybe what some of the namecallers don’t realise, despite me having said it over and over again. It’s ONLY wind farms that bring out this insane rage within me. All the usual issues that make people angry I am able to look at calmly and objectively. Including Brexit! I didn’t even vote in the Referendum, as I was moving from Stockport to Leeds on that day and literally didn’t have time nor inclination to get involved. I thought it’d be a shoo-in for Remain and wasn’t sufficiently motivated to get out and vote Leave. So I was genuinely 100% objective and neutral at the time of the Referendum.

This is my first off-topic (ish) entry, but at the same time I think it is germane because it draws upon the psychological aspect of this blog and applies it to the mental health of the country as a whole, from an objective, dispassionate perspective. Compare the following writing style to one of my famous anti-wind rants, and you’ll see this piece comes from the higher cognitive functionality of the neocortex, rather than the furious ravings of an amygdala hijack. However, a lot of the terms have been used before in relation to how wind farms have affected me, so although I’m not a psychologist and am giving these diagnoses without any real qualification, I have at least examined my own mind first before holding forth on the mental problems of wider society!

Here we go then…

We have some serious psychological issues in our country.

(1) Gaslighting: the class system is alive and kicking in the UK. Anyone who denies that the Referendum happened, or plays down its significance, is gaslighting the working class and left-behind, trying to keep them in their box and literally denying the true reality of the mathematics of the referendum. A “checksum error” I call it – in IT a checksum is when you verify the integrity of data transferred across a network. In this case the Referendum was a sociopolitical checksum – do the public agree with the politicians on Europe?

The imbalance between public and political opinion is a symptom of a breakdown in the integrity of our democratic system, and anyone who ignores the significance of this self-evident mathematical mismatch is deluded and not acting in accordance with Nature. Maths is Nature, after all. The Referendum was the true Voice of Nature, and people who ignore that warning sign are not living in the real world. Like ignoring the “fuel empty” light and continuing to drive on regardless.

Ignoring the Referendum result and its significance is either a bad case of denial, or, far more disturbingly, a horrifying example of gaslighting; psychological torture by making the victim doubt their own senses. “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was persuading the world he didn’t exist.” The Referendum DID happen, and more people voted to disagree with the Establishment than to agree with them. The acceptance of this scientific fact is a sine qua non of good mental health and right thinking; to knowingly play it down, or to obfuscate it in any way, is to gaslight.

Now, accepting that the Referendum result reveals a serious fault with our politics doesn’t automatically equate to believing that leaving the EU is the best solution. What’s important to understand, regardless of your opinion on Brexit itself, is that more of the public rejected the strong advice of Parliament (as a whole) than followed it. We were recommended by all the major parties to do one thing, and a majority of voters chose the exact opposite. We no longer trust the judgement of our Parliament. THAT is the fundamental issue.

(2) Lack Of Critical Thinking / Hegelian Dialectic: the buck stops with Theresa May as Prime Minister, but all parties on all sides are guilty. The art of politics is to reach out and persuade those with the opposite point of view. Theresa May’s skills at this were very lacking indeed – she was able to persuade almost nobody on the Labour side to change their views. Ditto Jeremy Corbyn. Ergo bad leadership on both sides, lack of critical thinking and synthesis (ie taking the best bits from Remain, the best bits of Leave, and combining them to form a new, 3D version of Brexit that keeps everyone happy.

From the top down, indeed enshrined in the very format of the referendum itself, the issue of our relationship with the EU was framed in a 2D Us vs Them paradigm, instead of thinking three-dimensionally and proactively seeking to reach out beyond one’s tribal loyalties to pull in people from all sides. As I say, the buck ultimately stops with Theresa May for her reductive rather than expansive attempts to synthesise all-round support for the deal on offer, though Jeremy Corbyn was also about as much help as a sick headache. Jonathan Pie, the comedy reporter, is about the only public figure I know who is able to reach out and say things that both Remainers and Brexiteers can agree on!

(3) Magical Thinking: similar to above but potentially even more dangerous. Non-logical, non-rational support or hatred for the EU rather than a nuanced analysis. More feels than thoughts. It’s very worrying to see naive young people falling over themselves to sign up for a totalitarian globalist elite with some very, very authoritarian policies (Article 13 for example).

Equally and oppositely, it’s magical thinking on behalf of Brexiteers to assume that an undefined Brexit is a panacea to all our political ills. My own interpretation is that the Referendum result says as much, if not more, about our internal relationship with our politicians as it does about our external relationship with the EU. Ultimately, it’s that internal breakdown that concerns me more. [EDIT: Indeed, the eco-carnage at Hendy didn’t stem from our membership of the EU; it derives entirely from the greed of Welsh Labour, possibly hiding behind the fig-leaf of EU regulations, but in reality all about the Benjamins.]

Qualified approval or disapproval of our membership of the EU, with an admission of its strengths and weaknesses and some suggested solutions or alternatives, would be less magical thinking and more of a rounded opinion either way. And many of the axioms used to explain away the Referendum result simply don’t hold water – eg “Oh millions of Brexiteers have died since then”: well, as young people get older they generally become more Eurosceptic, so I can guarantee that over those three years, for each old person who has died, there will be someone who’s just hit pension age to take their place.

Also, when people call it “Theresa May’s deal” – this shows a lack of logic. It was Theresa May AND THE EU’s deal. The EU helped draw it up, helped sign it, as a soft Brexit document that would easily allow the UK to re-enter the EU. I can understand the logic behind Brexiteers rejecting it for not being a strong enough exit, but I simply cannot get my head around the logic of why Labour didn’t back the deal, other than the most cynical form of destructive opposition, not out of any principles, but merely to sabotage Brexit.

If the deal failed, clearly most of the blame goes to May, but it’s also a snub to the EU’s lawyers who helped draw the whole thing up. How can people claim to support the EU, then when presented with a deal they’ve agreed works for them, oppose it for no good reason? How does that help either the EU or the UK? It implies Labour think they know better than the EU what’s good for them, and if I was in the EU I’d probably be more annoyed at Corbyn than May, who at least came to an agreement with the EU in good faith. Labour have, by contrast, contributed NOTHING! Just cynicism in those at the top, exploiting the magical thinking of those down at the bottom. Exactly the same modus operandi as at Hendy. Horrendous.

(4) Transference: we all do this, I know I’m prone to it. Anger and stress can affect judgement and make it easy for us to get angry or misdiagnose the root of the problem. Brexit is a national Barnum statement – so called after circusmaster P.T. Barnum’s claim to have “something for everyone” – meaning that each of us will read into it something that relates to us and our own individual circumstances. For instance, my own interpretation of Brexit might be entirely down to whether it means more or less wind farms. The success and failure of each aspect of Brexit is viewed entirely through the prism of the individual, thus throwing up some unlikely alliances and strange bedfellows, such as the TIGgers. Theresa May’s failure to secure a deal can therefore equally be viewed as a success, both by those who want No Deal and those who want to Remain.

It’s very easy to confuse frustration at those who are botching the job with wanting to abort the job; once again, this can easily be manipulated to make people think we should scrap Brexit rather than improve the skillstack of those implementing it. I had to dismiss one of my team earlier in the month; his failure to do his job properly does not mean the job no longer needs doing, just that he’s not the right one to do it! Being frustrated with the government’s handling of Brexit should not be confused with the central aim. Conversely, it’s a perfectly valid counterargument to say frustrations with some of the dubious characters in the EU Parliament shouldn’t necessarily be mixed up with a fundamental trashing of the overall project. The same logic applies on both sides equally: make sure you pick the right target.

(5) Stockholm Syndrome: as soon as I heard the threat of “No Brexit At All” uttered from May’s mouth I realised she was done for. The rejection outright of No Deal, indeed its entire NLP framing as “crashing out”, is like something straight out of an emotionally abusive relationship designed to lower the victim’s self-confidence, to the point where they become submissive and lack the desire to leave by their own free will. Cults work like this! People have every right to come and go as they please, and it’s wrong to deny them the freedom to make that decision. Sure, I know what it’s like to watch someone abandon a team when you’d love them to stick around. It is difficult, and it’s always worth trying your hardest to persuade them to stay. However actively threatening them if they try to walk away is toxic behaviour. If you love someone, set them free….

Now I don’t necessarily see the EU as the abusive partner here; after all, as I outlined above, they have put pen to paper to come up with a soft Brexit deal that’s acceptable to them. They’re happy for us to leave on friendly terms! They’re happy for us to then come back again later if we want. Let’s be logical, if there is psychological abuse, it comes from those who want to impose “No Brexit At All” on the public, rather than even accepting the soft Brexit deal approved by the EU themselves.

There aren’t that many politicians publicly backing “No Brexit It All”, for the same reason that an emotional abuser knows how to cover up their toxic behaviour in public. Instead, their motives are hidden, only detected when their words don’t match their actions. Theresa May herself has been accused of secretly wanting to cancel Brexit. I’m not convinced, even though her handling of the job has been so amateurish that one can easily imagine it’s been deliberately so.

Anybody who has been browbeaten into accepting Brexit is impossible is a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. And if it is literally impossible, then the EU is an abusive partner after all. Either way, in a good, healthy relationship, it should NEVER be thought of as impossible to leave. As I say, the line of dysfunctional behaviour is crossed when persuading someone to stay becomes threatening to stop them leaving.

(6) External Locus Of Control: unfortunately this is the mistake a lot of Brexiteers are making, as well as neutrals who don’t realise they’re being played. There are still an awful lot of people in the UK whose locus of control lies with the government – what the MPs decide dictates what we do. “STUFF AND NONSENSE!” says this person with an internal locus of control. We should set the agenda – the politicians are supposed to do what WE tell THEM to do. For those of us with an internal locus of control, the future started yesterday. I don’t need Theresa May’s permission to change what’s in my head and heart, on any issue. The left generally gets this. The right I suppose are still quite attached to hierarchies. Which is good in terms of law and order, but bad in terms of intellectual freedom and social justice.

When change is coming, it starts inside people’s souls but can take a while before manifesting itself in the material world. That change has already happened now within the soul of many inhabitants of Brexit Britain, but there are many more who are still waiting for the official go-ahead before changing their thinking. I say: think your way to the future you want to see!

(7) Finally, this is the scariest of the lot: Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This for me is the main underlying factor we as a nation need to address. Clearly, based on the above, we have a lot of psychological issues as a country. Clearly there is a breakdown and mismatch between the majority of the public and the political class as a whole. The democratic process is currently being pushed to the limit. I’m an optimist, and I believe ultimately the force of democracy WILL prevail, but it’s scary how many people, spurred on by several politicians, simply have no concept of what democracy means. This is a classic symptom of NPD.

Whilst democracy isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, it does revolve around the ethically and psychologically sound axiom that we don’t always know best. If more people disagree with us than agree on an issue, then we may not get our own way. I constantly remind myself of this regarding wind farms: the ones I target are those that did NOT have democratic approval. It’s this overriding of democracy that bugs me almost as much as the infrasound, shadow flicker, torture of living beings and eco-destruction on an industrial scale. It’s the sheer narcissism of some huge wind farm dominating surroundings and forcing the public to have to look at it, even if they proactively voted against it. Hendy is a case in point. [Although local Ovenden Moor Wind Farm has often borne the brunt of my written opprobrium, you’ll also find I have a (grudging) respect for the fact that Calderdale Council actually voted for it; it wasn’t imposed on them against their will and without their consent.]

The whole point of the Referendum was that we as a society DID give our consent, via all the correct channels, for leaving the EU. In 2015 we were offered the choice between a Referendum under the Conservatives, or no Referendum and continued EU membership under Labour. A majority chose the former. We voted to have the Referendum, and then voted to leave the EU. Them’s the facts. Nothing else matters.

Those who believe their superior understanding of Brexit renders their opinions more important than the majority of voters are exhibiting classic symptoms of NPD, specifically “cerebral narcissism”. Look it up (as indeed I hope you are looking up all these terms). You see it in online comments everywhere. So does that make my own pontificating an example of cerebral narcissism too? Hmm, I hope not – I’m just thinking aloud, showing my workings in public for those who might be interested. The amount of Socratic Questioning I do is, I hope, the very antidote to NPD. Do I ask more questions than come up with big statements? You decide!

No, there’s a certain tone to NPD that, once you spot it, you recognise instantly. Sure I go OTT in my rants sometimes, but it’s mostly just honest anger, underpinned by a genuine interest in what makes other people think oppositely from me; I find it fascinating how we humans each see the same old world in such different ways. What I’m referring to are those rather emotionally detached, smug, snarky, condescending and callous remarks that attempt to belittle other people; you especially find this type of narcissistic bigotry on the Guardian’s (increasingly locked down) comments sections.

Perhaps the best examples of NPD at the heart of the Brexit debate come from those grandstanding politicians who think they know better than the electorate. And this runs deep. Maybe it does in all politics, all around the world. Maybe politics just generally attracts people who think they know best and love to see their faces splashed all across the newspapers. Certainly, Brexit has seen a mass outpouring of cerebral narcissism reflected in our politicians’ sheer lack of respect for the views of the public, their employers.

So where does it come from, this narcissistic personality disorder that is currently so rampant in British political discourse? Well, lots of potential causes: anything from bad parenting to lack of competitive sports. Maybe from growing up without ever learning how to share, or how to lose graciously, or how to show compassion for others…

To conclude this evaluation, I’d like to move beyond the “psycho” towards the “logical”, and wrap up with some troubleshooting tips and rational solutions.

The flawed thinking made by people promoting revocation of Article 50, or another referendum BEFORE we respect the result of the first is this: I agree that people can change their mind – indeed Theresa May was banking on that herself – but we have to implement the results of the democratic decision first, then maybe vote on whether it’s working out or not. You can’t have another referendum before you’ve implemented the results of the first. People opposed to Brexit might have good reason, but to be a true democrat, indeed a logical thinker, they should allow the result of the referendum to stand, watch us leave the EU, then decide again in a few years if we’d prefer to rejoin.

This stance derives directly from my job as an IT technician: the golden rule of troubleshooting is that you change only one variable at a time, then analyse any difference in behaviour, and if no improvement change back the variable you first changed to its original setting before trying to change another variable. We can’t truly test the hypothesis that we’d be better or worse off out of the EU until we actually carry out the experiment. OK, do I have to put my theory that it’d be pretty painful getting knocked down by a bus to the test? No, others have unfortunately researched that theory for themselves. But someone, somewhere in the EU, needs to smoketest the process for leaving the EU (and possibly rejoining). Has anyone else ever tried to leave? What happened? Do Remainers accept the premise that, even if it might be the wrong course of action for us at this specific time, there should still be a hypothetical process through which any country can exit the EU at any time of their choosing? Or is the EU literally impossible to leave BY DESIGN?

I’m personally neither a Remainer nor a Brexiteer at heart, I’m simply a Hippie Earth Child who tries to listen to the Voice of Nature. The mathematics of the Referendum result signalled to me an internal imbalance within our own democracy, a serious mismatch that we can only try to resolve by at least testing the hypothesis that changing our relationship with the EU will be in our best interests. Not necessarily leaving, if someone can come up with a new synthesis that satisfies the needs of both Remainers and Brexiteers, but certainly the requirement to change at least one variable and monitor the results.

For one reason and one reason only I would prefer “No Deal” to “No Brexit At All”, and that reason is the Voice of Nature, the Referendum result. Until we’ve at least respected the wishes of the electorate and run through the process the electorate advocated, we cannot claim to have a democracy. If it doesn’t work out having left, then I’d fully support a further referendum about re-entering at a later date.

Right here, right now, however, it’s simply unsustainable, unnatural and psychologically dysfunctional to carry on as if the Referendum result revealed nothing wrong with our democratic system. I’ve merely tried to highlight, using real examples of flawed thinking, some of the most obvious symptoms of the problem.

I’m not angry, not remotely. I’m disappointed by Theresa May’s below-par performance, and were she in my team she’d have been sacked long ago, but it’s not personal. She at least managed to successfully engage with the EU and bring back a deal they could live with, so the fault doesn’t lie within the interactions between her and them. I’m minded of an intranet problem. A user can access Google but they can’t access their company’s internal website. That tells us that the connection to the outside world is functional, so the problem must therefore lie with the internal website.

Theresa May was able to deal with the EU fine, which indicates that the fault occurs somewhere between her, Parliament and the public. Granted, Theresa May isn’t responsible for the Referendum result, but she’s not been able to win sufficient support in Parliament for her proposed solution. Therefore the variable we need to change is either (a) Theresa herself, getting someone else in with better skills at synthesising majority approval for the same proposed solution; (b) the proposed solution itself, which the EU aren’t interested in changing, therefore leaving us only the alternative option of No Deal; or (c) Parliament itself, by holding a General Election and seeing if the changed make-up leads to a more representative House.

Each of these options shows an intent to honour democracy, one way or another. None of them are perfect solutions, but each would involve at least trying to bring about some of the change instructed by the electorate in the Referendum. As things stand, the easiest variable to change is the person doing the job of Prime Minister, which means that we should try suspending Theresa May forthwith, and see if that helps improve the mental health and well-being of the nation. I’m pretty certain things will soon take a turn for the better, the moment her lumpen, tonedeaf, de-energising and emotionally unintelligent version of consensus-building has been sidelined, and someone takes control with far greater ability to synthesise popular support from both the Brexit thesis and its Remain antithesis.

Despite many, many, many misgivings about his general trustworthiness, I would have to acknowledge that Boris Johnson has this gift for synthesising support from across the spectrum. Boris certainly understands the concept of Hegelian Dialectic, and its utter NECESSITY in politics.

So there you have my psychological evaluation of the mental health issues currently faced by the UK, as revealed by Brexit. The whole process is frustrating and seemingly interminable, but equally fascinating and paradigm-shifting! Out of the realignment, ultimately, will only come good and positivity! So be patient 🙂

EDIT: A few days after this article was published, Theresa May suddenly reached out to Jeremy Corbyn in an attempt to bring Labour on board. This is an example of the “synthesis” of cross-party support for her deal I was recommending. It remains to be seen whether she has the skill to pull it off whilst maintaining support from her own party. But it’s interesting to see at least one of the issues raised in this post now being addressed, albeit probably too little, too late.

EDIT 2: I missed out probably the most common psychological issue of the whole Brexit debate: confirmation bias. The entire Brexit debate is based more on bias than objective reality: how on earth does the layperson know what on earth is in the smallprint of the deal that’s been drawn up? How do I really know if it’s any good or not? How do you know? None of us, me included, has read the deal, so we’re all just clinging to our biases to explain and justify our positions. Brexit has revealed our biases, or lack of. As someone who didn’t vote in the Referendum it’s factually true to say I was neither biased for or against our continued membership of the EU; my only bias has been towards respecting the Referendum result and what it says about the state of our democracy.

EDIT 3 (14/06/19): I’ll keep coming back to this post as my one-stop thread for all things Brexit. Although this post was originally written less than three months ago, it already seems like a historical artefact. The Conservatives have chosen Variable (a) from my list of proposed solutions: remove Theresa May from the post of Prime Minister and see if anyone else can do a better job. Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised to learn that MindWind officially supports Sajid Javid’s bid to become the next leader of the Conservative Party.

SAJ 4 PM!

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