Letters - August 21, 2019
'Funny money' - it just isn't funny
Newspapers have reported plans by the Conservative Government to authorise the minting of a commemorative 50p coin marking the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union (pictured).
Out of curiosity I used the Bank of England inflation calculator to establish the comparative worth of 50p when the UK entered the European Economic Union in 1973. The answer was stunning: 50p then would require £5.94p today.
That means that over the last 46 years the coins produced by the Royal Mint and promissory notes issued by the Bank of England have lost value – purchasing power – to the tune of -5.7% a year.
Out of further curiosity I compared the figure to money issued by God – namely, gold.
In 1973 an ounce of gold was priced at £27.
Today it is £1,250.
That’s a 47-fold increase amounting to +4,629%.
For the record a 1973 Accession to the EEC Commemorative 50p can be purchased on e-bay for 99p, which falls someway short of inflation during the intervening period.
We are living in a period of “funny” money arising from credit created from nothing by lending institutions; but “funny” money does funny things that are far from funny.
Successive governments of all political hues claim to be on “our side”, yet they permit the issuing of money that rapidly becomes worthless.
The idea that fracking will industrialise the countryside has been rebutted many times and it is important to consider the history of the onshore oil and gas industry.
Most people don’t know that over 2,100 wells have been drilled onshore in the United Kingdom, and that the several hundred wells, standing at less than two metres tall, are operating quietly today producing energy for the UK. These sites are typically not even noticed by passers-by.
By contrast wind and solar are very visible and the UK’s Committee on Climate Change has forecast a potential trebling of onshore wind capacity, and an order of magnitude increase in onshore solar farms.
Many opponents to a shale gas industry promote onshore wind and solar installations as preferable to a small well pad. Both these would be very visible, require vast tracts of land and major infrastructure, as well as the battery farms required to store the power.
In order to minimise the land use required per unit of energy in the UK, shale gas development is the best onshore technology solution to meet the UK’s energy needs.
We can’t ignore what is happening
In response to Chris Ramus’ letter regarding his hang-ups about well-meaning research into the effects of the meat industry on the environment (Your Say, Gazette, August 19) I say this: while it is infuriating to see the Kardashian clan boarding private jets every other day and big gas and oil companies run amok whilst we are told to change to metal straws and avoid long-haul flights, the climate crisis must not be ignored.
The agriculture sector is responsible for up to 18 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, which, combined with the fact that there is strong evidence to suggest that processed meats and red meat causes cancer, should at least make you reconsider a weekly roast.
We only have one planet, and ever-decreasing time in which we have to save it. I’m not demanding anyone become a vegan overnight, but a little foresight could go a long way; especially when the lives of our children and grandchildren are at stake.
Sensible drivers being penalised
I have a hands-free system in my vehicle and can make a call with one press of a button on the steering wheel. I only use it sparingly and not for general chit-chat. When people ring me I always keep it short.
I imagine that goes for many users of these systems.
The real danger comes from the sort of people who walk across roads without looking up from their phones as they are so obsessed with them.
Unfortunately, these people also drive and, as usual, the use of the mobile phone comes before all other things in their lives so driving becomes a secondary function to them, a very dangerous one.
Why should the responsible people yet again be penalised because of a few idiots?