Richard North, 20/11/2021  

There are occasions when I set out on the long process of writing my daily blogpost that nothing gels. A good day is when I am clear on what I want to write about from the very start of my day, and I can work towards it, researching the material until I'm ready to start tapping the keyboard.

But, on the bad days, it can be past midnight and I am still bereft of a theme, leaving me cycling though multiple sources looking for the inspiration which simply doesn't come. And this is a bad day.

For instance, when it comes to headline issues in the media, I really do not want to write about Kyle Rittenhouse's acquittal. It's primarily a US story and not one about which I have any great knowledge - certainly not enough to allow me to make any useful comment.

I seriously don't want to write about Covid – especially in Austria – and I am largely indifferent to the HS2/Rail issue – not that I don't have an opinion on rail transport, having been a major consumer of rail services throughout my life. But the issues are complex and technical and while, on balance, I favoured the full extent of the HS2 scheme, I could probably be fairly easily persuaded against it. Again, I am not in a position to make a useful comment.

Belarus and migration can rest for a while but, as an alternative, I could have picked up on the piece by William Davies in the Guardian, headed: "If Boris Johnson were a stock, canny investors would be looking to unload", and explore the author's views on the uselessness of the current prime minister.

This goes alongside a not dissimilar piece by Jonathan Freedland in the same paper, this one with the heading: "The dishonesty of Boris Johnson has finally infected the entire government".

Freedland may be right, and I certainly believe Davies is, but I've done two pieces on Johnson recently, and these pieces are just the Guardian playing catch-up. The new pieces don't really add a great deal to what we know already, and there really isn't much value in rehearsing the same issues, again and again.

Speaking of catch-up, the Guardian had a piece for its Friday addition, asking, "Why are British Indian voters abandoning Labour?". In a nutshell, it tells us that the Indian Hindus are tending to gravitate towards the Conservatives, while Moslems and Sikhs go for Labour. Thus, we read:
British Indians' views are highly polarised on religious grounds. A majority of Muslim and Sikh respondents would vote Labour in a snap election, but among Christians and Hindus the Conservatives would be the most popular party. Given Hindus’ relative demographic weight, Labour's problem with British Indians is largely driven by the flight of Hindu voters from its ranks.
The piece then goes on to talk about the influence of Kashmir on political sentiment, but the thing is that I wrote about this in December 2019. And it was then that I observed:
Thus, in the UK, we have two electorally important Asian communities, polarised on religious grounds, with tensions stoked up over Kashmir, which is being reflected in UK politics, where the Indians are increasingly supporting the Conservatives while the Pakistanis support Labour.
I expanded on this in May this year, further observing that Johnson appeared to be pandering to the Indian community for electoral gain, expressing concern that UK domestic politics were increasingly being influence by south Asian issues.

As I recall, I attracted some hostile comment for that piece, marking me down as a "racist" for even daring to write an analysis of this phenomenon. But it's alright now for the Guardian to bring up the subject – even if the paper doesn't draw the obvious electoral implications. Thus, I suppose I'd better leave them to it.

This is especially the case with a piece covering an allied field which has Bhikhu (now Lord) Parekh, former chair of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, berate us with the view that rejection of multiculturalism by successive governments has helped fuel "vulgar racism" of the kind experienced by Azeem Rafiq – the very same Rafiq who has had to apologise for his anti-Semitic remarks.

This, however, is far too hot to handle. Whatever comment I might make will have me branded a racist, so leaving me to trawl through less incendiary potential material.

There, I happened on this article detailing how the Arctic sea ice extent is currently at its second-highest level in 15 years, and growing. Articles of "catastrophic ice melt" still pepper the global news feeds, the author observes, even as signs point to a cyclical shift in the northern polar region.

This makes an interesting contrast with the Independent of 6 November, sombrely headlining: "Ice on the edge of survival: Warming is changing the Arctic ". From this, we learn:
The Arctic is warming three times faster than the rest of the planet and is on such a knife's edge of survival that the UN climate negotiations underway in Scotland this week could make the difference between ice and water at the top of the world in the same way that a couple of tenths of a degree matter around the freezing mark, scientists say.
Despite earlier warnings that the Arctic was going to be free of ice by 2020, I'm afraid we will have to wait a little longer, as the prediction here is that "In the next couple of decades, the Arctic is likely to see summers with no sea ice".

However, through the course of CoP26, I've done "climate change" to death, so to speak, so I need to give it a bit of a break before returning to the subject. In any event, I need to be a little careful or I will be targeted as a denier and singled out for special attention. That would never do.

There is not much scope for following developments on energy either, mainly because there is still very little to report. About all I could dredge up was a piece inspired by the GMB Union, complaining of high fuel prices, attributable to: "Inaction and a lack of gas storage". This, we are told, has left the UK hostage to a global fuel crisis, left millions of households in fuel poverty and our national security under threat.

According to the Union, the answer is that "Ministers must secure our energy future committing to new nuclear to hit net zero and address the wage crisis to tackle the cost of living and recruitment crises". There it is then, all sorted. I need write no more, unless you want to hear about the Long Duration Energy Storage Council - which I'm sure you don't.

Then, there's always the BBC. Some writers, recently, have been making their living taking a pop at the Corporation and, while I am in general agreement, I do find the subject terribly tedious. I just mark the BBC down as loathsome, and (largely) leave it at that.

In desperation, I could have a whinge about how badly our petition is doing, but I think I'll save that for another day. So that leaves me with very little to write about. I think, therefore, I'll leave to blog for today, and let the commenters write about whatever they please – which is what they tend to do anyway.

With luck, there may be something worth writing about today.

Also published on Turbulent Times.

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