Ummmm, I was right 67

I am in Glasgow, having a very pleasant time, but it would be superhuman of me not to point out that I was right and the closure of UK airspace was indeed a weird fearmongering over-reaction. There is no diminution in ash currently in UK airspace, but its danger to aircraft has now been “reassessed”, and the health and safety morons have had to admit that there is no overwhelming risk..

67 thoughts on “Ummmm, I was right

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  • Clark


    the Indonesian incident was in 1982, I think. Iceland hasn’t moved, it always was volcanic, and the prevailing winds always blew towards Europe and its busy airspace. This latest incident couldn’t have come as a surprise.

  • technicolour

    Clark! Noooooooo!

    It’s been an interesting taste of life, without those big metal dragons in the sky. I liked it.

    As for the state, l’etat c’est nous, to adapt a well known phrase. Being, truthfully, totally uninterested in politics, I used to prefer the idea that you could just hand it all over to a bunch of people who would then get on with it with reasonable efficiency, but it doesn’t seem possible anymore. If indeed, it ever was.

  • Hatari


    I agree with analysis where fear is the key in obtaining behavioural compliance and obedience. Fear is now a major industry not least Insurance, Breakdown covers, protection plans etc. Notices and signs display penalties or consequences of not complying such as you will be prosecuted, fined, clamped, Jailed the lists are many. Notice the the fear driven adverts, a good example are the BBC’s notorious adverts “we are on to you” or the DVLC “we know where you live”.

    On ITV last night Liam Fox and Harriet Harman were selling the Nation the Ultimate Premium insurance Trident. “We need an Independent Nuclear deterrent” said Liam Fox opposed by Charles Kennedy who talked about alternatives. Like all good Insurance Policy please read the small print Trident does not offer protection against, Volcanic Ash, Flooding, Drought, NHS Cuts etc but it is good buy if you want to be safe they say may be the should also Take up the Obama Slogan ” Yes we Con”

  • Clark

    Hi Technicolour,

    yes, I find politics an unfortunate necessity. The feedback loop has to be closed or the system’s gain rapidly approaches infinity, so unfortunately we all have to be involved.

  • MJ

    “we need international government, or cooperation of national governments, precisely to counter the dangers from banking and multinational companies”

    Clark, I think there are many problems with that statement, so many that I don’t know where to start.

  • Clark


    yes, I agree. For instance, governments appear to be greatly influenced by Big Money already, maybe international government would just be a bigger, more dangerous monster.

    But *something* is going to end up as the most powerful set of systems, whether or not an attempt is made to create international democracy and accountability.

  • technicolour

    I must not fear…fear is the mindkiller. I haven’t read Dune for years, but found myself remembering that one rather fondly. Agree, writerman and hatari, of course. It’s not just a mindkiller, it’s incredibly isolating. It takes over and one forgets that other people might be scared too.

  • Ed

    Paxman was an anus last night, I detest Nu-Lab and can’t stand Lord Adonis, but adversarial line of questioning was totally unsuitable. To expect the ministry of transport to take a cavalier approach to this issue, trivialises the fact that potentially thousands of lives depend on a correct decision.

    To the suggestion that there is some health-and-safety ninnyism at work here, or some political game afoot, someone first should explain how the whole of Northern Europe coordinated the shut-down of the air-space based on some spurious atmospheric modelling and baseless overcaution.

    And perhaps most important of all, it remains the case that commercial airlines are not equipped to detect large ash concentrations in the atmosphere, I sure as damn it hope that the decision to recommence flying is in part based on confidence that pilots can get the help they need to avoid more dangerous areas.

  • greg

    I disagree – the airlines should have pressured the manufacturers to test their aircraft under such conditions and provide precise parameters for safe operation in the presence of ash. It’s not a hard test to make, and of course it will be done now. One can only blame the airlines that they did not require it many years ago. Without this information, the only possible correct decision in the face of an unknown risk was to suspend flights.

    Lufthansa and KLM’s sending up of a handful of planes which returned without damage was an inadequate test to prepare for putting 20,000 aircraft back in the sky. The proper test is to fly instrumented planes through increasing concentrations of ash until damage is observed and then to determine an agreed safe level: but this is not a programme which takes a few days. After that, it’s simple to decide when flights should stop. Any other method is guessing, and should be unacceptable.

    It annoys me to hear discussion of airline compensation: it was their business to evaluate this risk. The grounding was a result of their failure to do it.

  • ScouseBilly

    Here’s a thought:

    Check out Peter Dunscombe; he had his BBC Pension Trust members short airline stocks and then broadcast the Met Office fairy dust scare to shut down EU airspace and have airlines lose $200 million / day.

  • NomadUK

    Personally, I’ve enjoyed immensely the absence of airliners in the skies, and wish desperately that the airspace closure had continued until the entire airline industry had collapsed entirely, so that we could be rid of it.

    A return to airships, boats, and rail would be just fine. High-speed travel would be restricted to military, emergency, and space travel. Done.

  • mary

    Couldn’t agree more NomadUK apart from your list of exceptions.

    Flowers from Kenya, weddings in exotic places, package holidays to the Far East- what nonsense. It is all unsustainable. Sooner or later it will all stop when the price of oil rises as the supply expires.

  • Clark

    I remember playing Sim City on an old Amiga. The problems always started with a message from the game: “Commerce needs an airport!” Pretty soon, a helicopter would crash into a jet, vast devastation, fire department unable to cope…

  • MJ

    Perhaps the decision to close airspace had something to do with the NATO exercise mentioned by Nobody.

  • Richard Robinson

    I think we’ve died and gone to Thatcherite heaven.

    And I don’t think I like it. The important companies must carry on being vital to The Economy, safety-advice from engine manufacturers can be drastically revised at short notice to suit (as I said before, _how_ was this decision reached ? What were the new facts that led to it ?) and any attempt at a sensible overview is big-state nanny nimbyism, regulation is automatically suspect. Understanding the situation hardly even seems to make second place.

    All of which opinion is conditioned mainly by the way that I gain what knowledge I have of this; from The Media, so it’s to at least some (unknowable until later) extent an artefact of the infantilising way they present these things; instant Headline Panic Hell Chaos !

    and, writerman’s “new feudalism” thing – in the media, reporting, and generally among ‘people’, the idea of “science” is getting severely rubbished, degraded, mis-presented, turned into nasty mush. I hear it myself in conversations. I see, I think, a number of special-interest groups using this as a technique to further their own points – ‘climate change’, ‘intelligent design’, and so on; and weirder stuff (MMR. angrysoba, I saw your comment – I’m not going there. You think someone’s daft on the subect, take it up with them, I have no comment). Astroturf, lot of research being done. And that’s just the stuff that could be amenable to Science As We Know it, as opposed to starting wars, forming impressions of political candidates, blah …

    But as a general, explicit intention, I can’t see it so clearly. Because any such hypothetical group of conspirators, don’t they still want their private jets ? Even more, their supercool hitech surgical-precision kill-loads-of-baddies stuff ? You need your population of proles to be tech-savvy, science-friendly and generally somewhat educated, or you stop having that. A population that’s frightened of the scary dragons in the sky just isn’t going to keep this civilisation running, at all. cf. George Orwell on the engineering problems inherent in “2+2=5”.

    In other words, decrying “science” in order to assert that you ought to be able to fly in an aeroplane when it suits you isn’t exactly a serious position.

  • writerman

    Fear is the key. Make people afraid, really afraid, and they will allow the state to get away with almost anything in return for the promise to protect them from… from what exactly? At the core it’s fear of the unknown and the unknowable. It’s something like the superstitious fear of witches and witchcraft, and we know how many totally innocent people were “sincerely” tortured and put to death for non-existant threat, that non-the-less, people believed was real and imminent.

    Take the case of “curveball” an Iraqi who turned up in Germany, and still lives there, with fantastic tales of Iraq’s programmes for producing various types of weapons of mass destruction. He was interviewed countless times, revealing masses of information, by the German security services who then passed this material to the American security services, who looked at it as well, then sent it on to the Whitehouse, where it was greeted with open arms in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. At last the evidence we need of Saddam’s evil plans!

    Curveball’s story was a complete and utter fabrication. He had no contact with anyone involved in the Iraqi military or secret scientific programmes. He was a petty criminal who left Iraq because he was in debt. In Iraq his friends never believed a word he ever said to them.

    Even the most superficial scrutiny of his revalations leads one to the conclusion that this man is a nutter, a chalatan, a compulsive liar, a man without any bonefides at all.

    Yet we are supposed to believe that he fooled the combined security services of the west with his absurd cock ‘n’ bull story. That our being dupped was an honest mistake, a sincere mistake; like the invasion of Iraq was. That our intentions were honourable. No massive, international crime was committed.

    Are there any conclusions we can arrive at? Proably that the state believes what it needs to believe at any given time. That belief is more powerful than truth. That ideology trumps reality over and over again. That we choose to believe what is in our interests to believe, no matter how grotesque the lie. That lies in the service of power are more powerful than truth.

    I think Obama is actually a “worse” president than Bush, because he is a far better liar and therefore has the ability to get away with far more, like threatening to nuke Iran – all options are on the table. It’s the liberal supporters of the cult surrounding Obama that really irritate me to distraction. They are supporting the sainted Obama for saying things they would have crucified Bush for. The so-called “left” appall me as much as the “right”, if I’m honest about it.

  • Richard Robinson

    writerman – “The so-called “left” appall me as much as the “right”, if I’m honest about it.”

    We need more dimensions.

  • Anonymous

    Off Topic,

    You know Craig America is truly a wonderful place. The Constitution is truly a wonderful piece of wording, shame they cannot live by it.

    As an example did you know the State illegally collects income tax from its citizens? Go check the IRS has no legal statute that allows them to collect taxes, in fact the Constitution prohibits the state from collecting a tax on labour (Income Tax) under the one of the Amendments (I think its the 17th amendment)

    Have a nice day, oh and think how many people are not filling in the taxt returns if the didn’t know that.

  • tony_opmoc

    The Daily Telegraph has a questionnaire that tells you which party most reflects your views.

    I don’t know how scientifically valid it is – but I guess whoever did it – just took the stated policies of all the various parties – otherwise there would be no point in doing it

    The results I got by being completely honest put all the mainstream parties well behind the other horses…

    Which suggests I am a right wing racist fascist.

    Personally I thought I was a left wing capitalist with a passion for blondes, but I would quite happily have married my Muslim Girlfriend – if her racist parents hadn’t sent her to THEIR Country of origin for an Arranged Marriage

    She was born in Manchester and knew absolutely Fuck All about Pakistan. She had never been there in her life.

    I wonder how she is doing.

    Probably being bombed to Fuck – by us white English and American cunts.

    Sometimes I despair about the human race.


  • tony_opmoc

    Of course there are always risks in flying, but if you possibly think you can, then just do it…

    Well I did.

    I started in 1976.

    You see your brothers and your mates flying their models…and you think well should I just be a watcher and a land based controller – or should I actually try it for myself?

    Just fucking do it

    Even I did it

    I went solo and got close to Silver C


  • tony_opmoc


    Do it again, but cheat a bit.

    When it asks you which parties you would never consider voting for



  • ScouseBilly

    Haha Tony I did it a while back.

    The trick is to include all parties and hey presto:

    I am BNP then UKIP then LibDem.

    The algorithm clearly weights by the topics of most. least, neutral importance but is too crude to adduce voting intention unless you do eliminate the parties you can’t abide.

    Apparently the system was developed in the Netherlands.

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