Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Oak And The Ash And The Bonny Ivy Tree

Up in our local galaxy, the Milky Way, there is a debate about how many “black holes” exist, where they are and what effect they are having.  Given the billions of years before our sun swallows us up and then perhaps goes down one, perhaps those of us here at present have little to worry about.

The thought, however, that eventually my body chemistry might reassemble itself some time in an alternative universe is an attractive one.  Not least because our present government seems to be a conjunction of several “black holes” about to merge into one big one.

The latest one is the belated news in our media about the Chalara fraxinea fungus.  It is something that has already attacked Ash trees in Denmark doing extensive damage and has been going East.  It has now arrived in the UK with a serious risk of doing the same in the Atlantic Isles.

Despite our government having been aware of it and despite the fact that importing ash saplings were a known significant risk nothing was done, other than the usual business of “consultation” and passing the files around while waiting for this sub committee or that to come to a conclusion that was always going to be unpopular with some.

The panic is now on to try and stave off the worst.  The Ash is one of our treasured species and its loss would be an utter disaster, perhaps greater than that of the Elm tree losses of many years ago.

We have had our politicians railing on about education for a long time now.  Despite corralling half the young into full time higher education which has taken five to seven years off their effective working lives there is little to show for it; except for the huge black hole in the financing of student debt.  This one is going to take some sorting out with myriad unintended consequences.

On the railways the London Midland has had their services hugely reduced because so many of the drivers it trained at great expense have been poached by other companies that do not do much training.  This teaches companies not to train their drivers simply to have a merry go round so travellers will be buying tickets in a form of travel lottery.

In the maternity wards all those “economic” migrants have done what younger people do and that is have children.  They will now be added to the demands for health provision, schooling and the rest.  This wipes out the economic benefit for long term liabilities.  That these closely knit extended families are also bringing in their aged parents has not yet been noticed, but the costs soon will be.

The badgers are still waiting to see what might happen to them.  As the government has more or less removed the threat of their natural predators they have greatly grown in numbers.  Also, the disease they carry, TB, is increasing in cattle.  The cattle can be vaccinated but there are administrative problems. 

While the government sorts it out it is possible that our milk supply industry will fold because TB will become rampant in the dairy herds.  So for a critical part of our food supply we will become dependent on imports from places where the production and its methods are far from safe and much poorer in quality.

Also, not mentioned in the media because it might worry people, notably a number of large corporations with financial targets to meet, is the increasing concern over the effect of the extensive reliance of intensive chemical based monoculture in growing crops. 

It is both the long term effect on soils and on the chemistry impairing both human and animal life that need some clear policy decisions.  These will not be forthcoming because no movement will occur until some extensive disaster might occur. 

One might be if the forecasts of long term droughts in some places and disruption to weather patterns elsewhere occur.  This kind of thing happens, warming or no warming because word weather patterns have never been static and never will be.

This could go on and on and any reader will be able to think of other, perhaps better things than I can in a hurried post.

In any case it is time for tea, so long as we don’t have a power cut.

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