Pre-dinner drinks

Paradox - a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition. The COP26 meeting of international leaders in Scotland, has brought in over 400 private jets from around the world. Some of them had to drop off their very important passengers and then fly elsewhere in order to find somewhere to park. Meanwhile, the arrival of this diverse selection of planes has prompted the arrival of a selection of plane spotters. A group of four of these even drove through the night from London to catch this 'once in a lifetime' opportunity to document the variety of aircraft on the runway at Prestwick. No reduction in emissions so far. I learned to my surprise today that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury used to work as an executive in the oil industry before deciding to be ordained as a result of a calling from God. He was quoted in 2013 as saying that senior bankers often go out of their way not to be given certain information so that they can plead ignorance. He went on to

What will they achieve?

A  conservationist is someone who seeks to conserve. In the case of the environment, wildlife, ecosystems and so on, a conservationist will attempt to preserve the status quo, even to turn back the clock to reinstate a previous set of circumstances. This is widely seen to be a good thing to want to do, and of course it is: The human race is sliding rapidly down a slippery slope towards a very uncertain and probably difficult future - unless something can be done. The imminent COP26 get together in the UK is the latest and biggest attempt to stop the rot. Of course some people are already saying it is a waste of time and will be nothing more than a photo opportunity for the world leaders' Class of 21. Scott Morrison will probably be the one scowling in the back row; I don't think he is going to have a very good time of it. I wonder if he will be taking his lump of coal with him. I can almost hear Jimmy Carr saying "Scott, have you brought a mascot?" Apologies for the i

Fact mimics fiction

I was on the phone with a client this week and surprise, surprise, the subject of Covid came up. We were talking about how there is no normal any more. I observed that, if you're in business, all you can do is sit down, have a good long think about things, decide how you're going to proceed, and get on with it. He said 'I'm sure we can do it Peter'. I'm not so sure. Who would have thought, just a couple of years ago that we would all be wearing masks and social distancing, cafes would be closed and we'd be queueing up to get into the supermarket? It's a bit sci-fi and it's happened very quickly. But hasn't it always been coming to this? I have childhood memories of posters of cities in domes on stalks in the middle of red deserts. Vast wastelands where nobody lives and nothing grows. TV shows regularly featured space travellers leaving a defunct planet Earth and heading off to colonise new worlds. I wonder whether there was any point at which the

Column subject licked

  Anyone know what a devious lick is? Sitting at the dinner table this evening I mentioned that my deadline was rapidly approaching and I had yet to settle on a subject. Hidden in the avalanche of irrelevant and often downright mischievious suggestions under which I found myself was the term 'devious lick'. So, despite the fact that, as yet, I have no idea how I am going to relate it to my environmental brief, I have decided to go with it. Jimmy Carr the English comedian is a bit of a comedic technician, in fact he has written a book about why jokes work and why we need them. Amongst others he makes the point that the joke can only happen in your head. That is to say that if your reaction to reading the phrase 'devious lick' was to imagine a dodgy character in a crowded subway getting up to no good and thereby deriving his nefarious jollies - that reaction was down to you - not the phrase. As you may have guessed that was my first mental image upon hearing the phrase. S

Vax and fiction

  There seems to be a fair bit of anger in the community directed towards the prime minister. As far as I am aware she did not introduce Coronavirus to this country, nor is she trying deliberately to ruin everyone's day. To resort to name calling and personal attacks is, I feel, unworthy of the people of this great country. If someone has a better idea the way into politics is open - go for it. Now, anti-vaxxers; I've heard a couple of people recently who have said, apparently quite seriously, that a healthy diet will be sufficient to protect against Covid 19. I have also heard of people finding friendships strained by the issue. How does one react to the revelation that one's friend, a hitherto seemingly sensible person, is of the view that vaccination is a bad idea? Or to look at it the other way, how does one deal with a friend who takes the illogical view that vaccination is a good idea?   Of course it all depends on one's own view. The reasons for differences of op

COP this Mr Morrison

  COP26 is coming up. It's a get together of world leaders and negotiators. It's happening in Glasgow at the end of October and the aim is for everyone to agree to do more to combat the causes of climate change. Some people say there's nothing to worry about, that climate change is all recurring natural cycles. It is true that climate cycles of the past have caused widespread changes in the environments of the day and no doubt many species have come and gone as a result. But natural climate cycles typically happen slowly - slowly enough for evolution to work, thereby giving species the chance to adapt. So evolution carries on wending its way wheresoever it is going - and who knows where that is? Certainly not us - we'll be long gone by the time it gets there. The change in climate which is happening now though, is happening so fast as to make the suggestion that it is due to anything other than human activity laughable. And anyway, if a tree is falling and you look up t

Yesterday when I was young

  Someone said to me at the weekend that the world is in a mess. If you think about it - it's not really surprising; in the big scheme of things humans have only just swung down from the trees. It's no wonder we're having trouble growing up into a sensible global civilisation.   One of our problems is that we don't learn fast enough.   A warthog hits the savannah at birth and very quickly learns how to avoid lions - or doesn't get to pass on the genes. By comparison humans are useless when they are born. I'm not saying that warthogs should be the dominant species, but humans could do with steepening their learning curve. Have you ever seen the TV programme "Grumpy Old Men"? I could be in it. Compelled to watch early evening television this evening by virtue of the fact that I was in the same room, I found myself grumbling about everything on it.   Why do advertisers insult their audience by portraying men as stupid while their wives are in possession o