UK

Iran & the media vs Trump

So Iran has yanked the chain of the British. While a British ship prevented an Iranian tanker headed to Syria from reaching its destination in violation of sanctions, the Iranians returned the favour, albeit without legal pretense.

It is easy for Iran to take advantage of the political malaise in Britain but it would be unwise to risk antagonizing Trump beyond this because there will be no red lines with invisible ink unlike his predecessor.

To Iran’s benefit is the Trump hating media. No doubt they’ll make much noise saying that the ayatollahs are paragons of peace and defenseless against American might. If a saber is rattled then it’s nothing more than chest beating and Trump will only look to whack a ‘shithole’ country to please his base.

Pretend for a second it was Obama. If an ally had a civilian ship boarded by armed Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops in violation of international law, would we protest if Obama stood up and warned Iran to step off or face military intervention? The media would embrace it.

Iran is itching to push Trump’s resolve. It’s deep involvement in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq is not lost on anyone with their eyes open. This proxy war has been ongoing for decades.

Don’t be surprised if the Russians start shipping some more S-400 Triumf SAM systems to Iran in order to level the playing field a bit. The Iranians already have the upgraded P-270 Moskits and P-800 Oniks anti ship missiles. If you see America attack Iran, these batteries will be first on this list to be take out as they are virtually unstoppable once launched. Can one imagine the implications of a US carrier sunk in the Gulf? That would cause a massive reprisal which would move this beyond a skirmish. Buy Gold.

Don’t forget Iran is Rosoborenexport’s second largest export client. That will be proper collusion, not the nonsense dreamed up by the Dems at election time which even if true would wilt in the shadow of Google’s meddling.

This has the potential to turn very ugly. It all rests on Iran’s shoulders. It’s not the Iranian people who are a problem. It’s the regime.

Cinematic Correctness

Sir Ian Fleming and Cubby Broccoli are probably rolling over in their graves. James Bond 007 has been a formula that has worked. It created a franchise around a suave, sophisticated, educated, debonair and witty womanizing British spy. Whether the dashing Sean Connery, the corny Sir Roger Moore, the rigid Jeremy Dalton, the one-trick pony George Lazenby, the slick Pierce Brosnan or the moody Daniel Craig – the formula has been a massive winner. The Bond franchise has grossed $14.7bn inflation-adjusted.

There are suggestions that James Bond will be replaced by actress Lashana Lynch. The first female Bond. There is probably absolutely nothing wrong with her acting at all. The question is will the producers flunk at the box office by ripping up the script of what has always worked? It is 100% their decision to toy with the tried and tested formula but as ever, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

To be honest, Idris Elba would make a good Bond. He fits all the stereotypes of the role and fans would watch it on his ability rather than his skin tone. The producers could celebrate being woke and the franchise would retain its (relative) believability quotient.

Political correctness seems to dominate Hollywood of late. Whether complaints that not enough actors of colour were represented in Dunkirk or JK Rowling copping flak from LGBT activists because Albus Dumbledore wasn’t openly gay enough in the Fantastic Beasts film, it seems there is a push to make writers and producers conform. Why can’t films just be those made as their writers intended without enforcing politically correct overtones? Surely if there is a market for “politically correct” movies, the champagne socialists of Hollywood will be the first to jump all over it.

Sadly, many of the Best Picture winners selected at the Oscars (with elements of political correctness) in the past decade have been flops with the paying customers. It is interesting that $100m+ box offices were a cert for an Oscar Best Picture award til 2004. Since 2004 it has been hit and miss. 10 films in the last 14 have failed to breach $75mn. Real-life stories – Argo, A Beautiful Mind, Titanic and The King’s Speech – all cleared $100m at the box office. Maybe audiences can gel to the real-life aspects?

Brokeback Mountain grossed $178m because it didn’t propose to be anything other than a story set around gay cowboys. Milk, grossed $55m because it was a factual story about known gay activist, Harvey Milk. A good film by the way. Bohemian Rhapsody, the story about Freddie Mercury, has raked in over $900m at the box office. It was a factual tale and representative of a period in time.

To keep up with the times, perhaps we should demand that Meryl Streep become the next Shaft and Samuel L. Jackson portray Hillary Clinton in a movie about the 2016 election? How about Jackie Chan portray Michael Jordan in a basketball film about the Chicago Bulls? Why not cast Charlize Theron as Adolf Hitler in the next WWII film and have Arnold Schwarzenegger roleplay her wife. At least he won’t struggle with language? Perhaps do a rerun of Star Trek with Capt. Jane T Kirk? The options to rewrite history or fantasy are endless.

Why did Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks, Gary Sinese and Bill Paxton rake in $350m but First Man starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong draw in only $45m in North America? Same space theme – two different results. Apollo 13 celebrated the pride in failure as American ingenuity was able to rescue the damaged spacecraft. Maybe home audiences repudiated Gosling’s film for deleting the pivotal moment the US flag was planted on the moon. Small stuff? Don’t play with audiences. They bite.

The lack of political correctness is a drawcard to the Bond franchise. We can laugh at the double entendre and innuendo. We can marvel at the spectacular car chases, death cheating moves, his Casanova-like charm and underdog victories against evil henchmen. Will audiences believe that a woman will be able to knock out a monster of a man 3 times her size with her fists? Will we want to see a poor defenseless woman stripped naked while tied to a chair while her privates are belted with a shipping rope by a Le Chiffre type character? Or will she be promiscuous to extract information from would-be villains? Perhaps she confronts Graham Norton as the villain this time?

Perhaps the new Mr. Moneypenny will have his heart skip a beat every time the new 007 tosses her Philip Treacy on the hatstand outside M’s office. Maybe Q will design a machine gun in a Hermes Kelly handbag? Perhaps a dart firing pump from Manolo Blahnik? Perhaps the Aston Martin will be replaced by a pink Tesla so we can tackle environmental issues as half of London is set ablaze?

People fell in love with Star Wars because it was all about lasers and space ships. Not because it ticked the diversity (although the Star Wars Bar was as diverse as one could imagine) and inclusion boxes. How dare the poor harmless Jawas or Ewoks be murdered by white supremacists aboard Imperial Battlecruisers. Were the Sand People just misunderstood? What about the animal cruelty that was inflicted on the poor tauntauns on Hoth?

Maybe the franchise is testing the waters by proposing Lynch. We’ve already had Halle Berry play Jinx, the NSA agent in Die Another Day. There have been countless female villains throughout the franchise too – Rosa Kleb, Xenia Onnatop, Miranda Frost, Elektra King, Fiona Volpe, Helga Brandt, Mayday, Bambi & Thumper. All added their own spice. Yet it was always James Bond that was the drawcard.

Ultimately the box office will tell the story. Die-hard Bond fans will likely be cringing at the thought. Maybe CM is just too much of a purist and detests change for the sake of it, especially if it is just about appeasing activism.

Queen trumps Khan on British values

Wow! There was Sadiq Khan blathering on video about feminism and how Trump doesn’t share the values of Londoners or Brits to then have the Queen authorize this tweet, taken from her speech!

Mr President, as we look to the future, I am confident that our common values and shared interests will continue to unite us.

As CM has been saying all along, the Queen knows what 80 years of friendship means and maintaining a relationship with those that protected her monarchy does not stop because activists lose their minds.

By the way The Royal Family has 3.9 million followers on Twitter suggesting 4x more people follow the Queen than Khan.

Dictator with term limits

While no one can doubt that Trump polarizes opinion, do his detractors honestly think they will win the debate by mowing a giant phallus into a lawn? Will this attempt to (literally) take the moral low ground somehow swing those who hold different opinions?

If the dictator moniker were true he would be the world’s most incompetent executor of such an office. Sadly Trump has between 1.5 and 5.5 years (likely the latter) to remain as DOTUS. Instead of 99% of the population voting for him like a Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un or Hitler, Trump will likely garner around half. If Americans truly wanted a real dictator they would be better off voting for someone who could get 99%. Sadly democracies don’t operate like that.

The Queen, who long remembers the 80 year relationship which preserved her monarchy, knows that after Trump leaves office, the UK will still continue to have a strong bond with America. Her Majesty won’t resort to petty snubs of its head of state because she feels the need to kowtow to the intolerant mindsets of a few.

Will Americans want to see politicians like Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry show such conditional support for American democracy? Did she call for protests when the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia visited? A man with pretty questionable actions regarding journalists in embassies. No she did not.

There are far more effective ways to show courtesy to visiting dignitaries. As CM mentioned yesterday, Trump’s tweets are unstatesmanlike. It doesn’t make Thornberry or Khan’s any better.

Perhaps the Queen is sending the world a message about “the long game.” She probably knows a thing or two about diplomacy as the world’s longest serving monarch. Her state dinner invitation list is the perfect representation of who she feels needs prioritization. What an embarrassment that the UK government did not extend the invite in the first place.

God save our Queen!

Harsh but true

It is hardly statesmanlike to tweet off insults but there is a horrible truth to what Trump wrote about Khan and de Blasio. London crime has got out of control. CM wrote about it last year. However should we be the least bit surprised Trump slammed him on Twitter? De Blasio was trashed by his own NYPD for his incompetence. So harsh words that carry a lot of truth.

Not to make a two wrongs argument, but Sadiq Khan made some pretty disparaging remarks about POTUS ahead of his visit so he was inviting a bloody nose from a man with a glass jaw. Khan’s comments led Her Majesty to leave him off the official invite list for the Trump state dinner. Clearly she knows the long history of the UK-US relationship is more important than pandering to the whims of a weak,virtue signaling identity politics loving appeaser. Queen Elizabeth has never forgotten the special friendship she grew up with 80 years ago.

Or maybe we should question the utterly childish antics of the Shadow Foreign Minister Emily Thornberry who called for a mass protest against Trump on June 4? It would be understandable if Idi Amin had visited but this is the UK’s strongest ally which has a democratically elected head of state. Yet Thornberry railed at Trump as if the UK was in a state of war with America. Only proves how unfit Labour is to govern.

When will the left realize they only do his bidding when they let Trump Derangement Syndrome consume them?

Westminster gets its second referendum on Brexit

If the House of Commons needed any reconfirmation of the mandate to leave the E.U. – because there was ambiguity over the Brexit referendum – this should clear it all up. Interesting how Brexit stops at Hadrian’s Wall. If a second referendum was held, Leave would be an even bigger margin. Interesting to see the oxymoronically named Change UK (Remain) had no impact.

UK’s utterly mad electricity operator

The defunct Rugeley power station in Staffordshire

The National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) has said the UK has not used coal-fired power for a week, the first time since 1882. Hooray! High fives all round! NGESO director, Fintan Slye, believes that UK electricity generation could be zero carbon by 2025. What you will read points to the utter madness and inadequate planning that will crush the grid in winter if zero carbon happens. He clearly doesn’t believe in energy poverty, something 331,000 Germans suffered from in 2017.

Let’s look at the latest UK energy mix published by OFGEM.

Coal: 4.8%

Gas: 32.8%

Nuclear: 13.2%

Hydro: 1.95%

Wind/Solar: 15.16%

Biomass: 7.68%

There is an irony to hear the UK government will phase out coal by 2025. It is hardly a goal to phase out 1% per year. How is it possible to zero carbon by 2025 with a junking of 37.6% of the grid? Crank up nuke? Biomass, which is more environmentally unfriendly than coal?

Maybe Mr Slye should read its own endorsed reports?

The Summer Outlook 2019 notes,

Gas Demand – during the summer gas-fired electricity generation becomes a more significant component of GB demand, unlike winter when domestic heating dominates. We are expecting increased volumes of LNG supply, which affects flows of gas across GB.

This OFGEM report calculated the % of the 26.3mn homes that use gas heating in the UK during winter as follows.

England: 85%

Scotland: 78%

Wales: 79%

So what happens when fossil fuels get phased out for a zero carbon world by 2025? Perhaps they need to rely on electricity generated heat onto a grid that plans to knock out c.40% of its fossil fuel baseload. OFGEM notes,

In Great Britain, 25% of flats use electric heating compared to only 4% of houses.

Homes with electric heating systems tend to have a lower energy efficiency rating, partly reflecting the higher running costs of using electric heating. In England, 2% of dwellings with mains gas heating are ‘F’ or ‘G’ rated, compared to 14% of dwellings with storage heating systems, and 57% of dwellings with direct-acting heating.

Storage heating systems can be found disproportionately in private-rented and social housing while direct-acting heating systems can be found disproportionately in the private-rented sector. Households living in these properties are more likely to be:

of lower income. In England, around a third fall in the lowest income quintile, with incomes of less than about £14,500.

fuel poor. In Scotland for example, 48% of households with storage heating systems and 68% of households with direct-acting electric heating are in fuel poverty, compared to 31% of households that use mains gas.

-single adult households and households with no children. There is generally no significantly increased likelihood of householders having a long-term illness or disability (with the exception of storage heating households in Scotland).

So essentially in the quest to virtue signal, policymakers risk pushing more into energy poverty. The only outcome here is far higher prices. Given the UK wants to go full EV by 2040, throw more on the bonfire of stupidity.

Has the NGESO calculated the extra impact to the grid that transferring heating gas to the grid to get zero emissions by 2025 will cause?

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Now that former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull has chimed in applauding the UK’s week of non coal power generation alongside the embattled UK PM Theresa May, it confirms this energy policy is a dead cert dud.