Saturday, 8 November 2008

boris bottles it big time

Poor Boris Johnson. The one person further to the left than Ken Livingstone ... and poor London's stuck with him.

What's the duffer gone and done now? Only cancelled nearly 3bn quid's worth of tramway development in London. What is he thinking of? And to replace these superb schemes - more buses (LOL!) and more provision for walking and cycling (cheap).

It's simple. A city isn't a city without trams. It's a joke. The problem was the plans just scrapped by Boris were nowhere near ambitious enough. London doesn't need a few km of tramways here and there, but a huge network reaching every corner of the city, plus extensions into commuterland, to totally replace the road network. Perhaps backwards-looking Boris simply doesn't get it.

London WILL get its trams, or die. It's just going to take a few more years than expected.

Bye bye Boris. You were fun for a week or two ...

Originally posted on Panther Bites!
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wrong direction

What the fuck is going on? How could apparently professional people, some with an economics background, drop interest rates by 1½%? It's madness - and here's why.

The banks are cash poor, that's why they are not lending to each other, let alone anyone else. To increase their balance sheets they need to draw in cash - and lots of it. To get that cash they need to offer high interest rates. Interest rates should be going UP, not down.

The second part of the equation is that the world is in an economic mess because of cheap credit. Yet our idiot government's cure is - make credit cheaper.

This is a potent moment of danger for the UK.

Those companies that depend on cheap credit, rather than cash reserves, should GO TO THE WALL, not be bailed out by this weak government.

Again, to flourish, hold gold, silver, oil shares with value, land, skills, seeds and friends. This is going to get a LOT worse.

Originally posted on Panther Bites!
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Sunday, 26 October 2008

cabot circus

We popped to Cabot Circus yesterday. It has improved enormously from our first visit. The crowds are down and the shops are just about empty. The restaurants are busy still, and that was what we went for. Until Cabot Bristol city centre seemed almost devoid of decent eating places. Now we're spoilt for choice.

These developments are a problem for all forward-thinking people. The leftie scum are anti any sort of consumerism and will condemn absolutely any development. The hippies are so apart from normal people that they can't even grasp the concept of somewhere like Cabot.

The real forward-thinking people, the grounded working class right wing greens, know that places like this are LOVED by 95% of the population. The 'problem' is to make them sustainable and stay relevant to the communities they serve. Providing a cosmopolitan eating experience is one step, getting rid of all those crap shops and replacing them with hardware outlets, sustainable energy shops, seed stores and all the other stuff we'll need in the future is the next step. And for fucks sake GET A BLOODY TRAMWAY RUNNING TO IT AND THROUGH IT!

Originally posted on Panther Bites!
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Wednesday, 15 October 2008

majorcan transport progress

The current seafront public transport option! This is Palma's route 52.

Typical bus loading off-peak.

Number 15 in Palma.

Palma's main station has now gone underground.

The authorities on Majorca have realised that the island needs to embrace rail to move forwards. At the moment there is a diesel worked line from Palma to Inca and Manacor. This is (currently) all that remains of a more extensive network - but restoration has already taken place between Inca and Manacor. There is also the (mainly) tourist route from Palma to Soller, and the tramway onwards to Port Soller. These two systems have adjacent terminals in Palma, off the Placa d'Espanya. There is also the newly opened metro line from Palma to the University.

But this is just the start. There are plans to build a route to Alcudia linking to a coastal light railway linking C'an Picafort and Puerto Pollensa. In the south there are proposals for another (more southerly) route linking Palma and Manacor, together with a metro line around the west of Palma.

Most interesting to us, as we've just returned from the area, is the advanced proposal for a tramway linking Palca d'Espanya to the airport and then on to the Playa de Palma and on to Arenal.

We used the buses to get from our hotel to Palma, and they were a nightmare. And this was in the off-peak low season! Many buses simply sailed through the bus stop showing a 'Bus Complet' board, meaning totally full. We waited in Palma for an hour and ten minutes for a bus back to Playa - all were full, and this on a route with a bus every ten minutes! And at three in the afternoon.

This is a sure sign of a route's viability for tram replacement! Trams handle far more passengers than buses ever can. There are plans to start building this line within a year. To me that's still too long!

After Peak Oil Majorca will, if these plans (and more) come to fruition, cope pretty well with the movement of freight and passengers in an energy-poor world. We may no longer be able to fly there, but hopefully in twenty year's time we'll be able to take the ferry from the mainland, pick up a tram at the port and reach every part of the island by sustainable transport.

Originally posted on Panther Bites!

Thursday, 28 June 2007

the wrong sort of oil

Iran has just imposed petrol rationing, which has led to riots in one of the world's largest oil-producing nations. There's a Peak Oil story behind this somewhere. Although Iran produces enormous qualtities of oil it does not refine it so it exports crude and imports petrol. Anyone familiar with Peak Oil is aware that new oil refineries are as rare as hen's teeth, and the reason is obvious. It's not economic to build new capacity for a resource that is rapidly depleting. There are better ways of spending money! The oil-producers realise that shortages in the market will simply increase the price they get - why waste billions building refineries that will never recoup their costs? Keep supply tight and the price will rise. The demand for petrol is very inelastic like most 'distress' purchases, consumers will find the extra - even if it cuts other spending in the wider economy.

Meanwhile Iran suffers severe unrest because it's not prepared to let price determine demand. It could be argued that rationing is actually fairer, even if the Iranian people think otherwise! Ironically it is perhaps the Iranians who are the first major victims of Peak Oil.

Expect rationing in the UK within 3 to 5 years.
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Sunday, 20 May 2007

narrow gauge pointer to future development

We're all going to need many many more railways in the future, but what form will they take? As the roads vanish under weeds we'll still need to move around, perhaps not as much as we do now, but goods will need to come into and out of towns, some people will still work some distance from their homes and hopefully there'll still be enough surplus income for most of us to continue to have holidays.

The rail network will no doubt expand back up to its pre-Beeching levels, but that will still leave large swathes of the country rail-less, because rail development was actually cut short in the early years of the twentieth century by the economic oddity of cheap oil. The most likely solution will be community light railways, many of which will probably be more successful (and certainly cheaper to construct and run) if of narrow gauge.

Switzerland has a superb network of (mainly) metre-gauge routes that reach the places the standard gauge lines can't. Very few Swiss lines have closed, and those that have were mainly for misguided political reasons taken before Peak Oil was a major issue. In fact in the past few years several new lines have been opened, often at huge expense. The Swiss are some considerable way further along the sustainable development curve than us!

So, if you're looking for a Peak-Oil-Proof investment why not look at railway construction companies or rolling-stock manufacturers. I particularly fancy Parry People Movers, not yet a quoted plc but likely to become one as demand for their product soars. Keep checking the business press for developments, as the best time to get your money into these areas is right at the start!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007


Unfortunately we had to drive to Hampshire on business today. Part of the route is along the A34 and we were amazed by the number of car transporters we passed. What on earth are we thinking of? There is no reason at all for these to block our roads, waste oil and add to climate change. These could all have been carried on ONE train as they were obviously heading towards Southampton, probably for export. And they were all 4x4s!

Is anyone actually listening to the messages the Earth's now telling us? Why are bulk movements like this still being handled on roads,
and what idiots are buying them?

And why tie up valuable human resources in all these lorries? Couldn't these drivers be far better employed on the railways or in production?

It's 2007. Sometimes I have to pinch myself, we seem to be living in the distant past.
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