As a teenager growing up I would have had leftist tendencies. Naturally when I got the vote, I never gave it to Labour or any of them, but I had a sneaking regard for their idea of equality and wealth distribution, all tied up with the bow of freedom for all.
From fifteen onwards, I worked my summer holidays on building sites and I remember being stunned even then at how much income tax was taken from the paltry stipend I got at the end of each week. As I walked home dirty and tired I would watch the big expensive cars of the wealthy drive by and know instinctively that something was radically wrong.
The other memory was that the four seasons were somehow more pronounced and predictable and I have alluded to this before. It rained on the rich man’s cashmere coat the same way it rained on my army jacket only I had further to walk than he had. In summer the rich man sat in his office with his Charvait shirt sleeves rolled up while I was outdoors stripped to the waist. He and I though had few similarities in any weather.
This week in Ireland, Donegal got a battering from the arse-end of some Atlantic storm making landfall there. According to Met Eireann, it was a once-in-a-century event, remarkable because a month’s rain fell in two hours. I’m sure that was pretty scary stuff if you were on the ground in County Donegal at the time. Incidentally, for non-Irish readers, have a look at this map to find Donegal in the top left-hand corner. The Indo article will tell you that local public representatives are busy behind the scenes trying to squeeze money from the Government for the affected parties up there and, to my mind, good luck to them. One thing is for sure, it they don’t kick up a fuss and ask for it, they’ll get fuck-all.
But what does piss me off is Peter Thorne, of Maynooth University cashing in on the Donegal misery in this morning’s papers. This likely lad is a director of the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units and he has two points to make to his audience. “One of the strongest signals in climate change is an increased frequency of intense rainfall events,” he tells us, just in case we thought it was simply a bit of bad luck, you know the kind that comes along every hundred years or so. But then, gazing into his crystal ball, Prof Thorne said the worst was yet to come. This half-assed prediction is designed to strike fear into the hearts of the gazing rustics ranged around. They are supposed to cry out in one voice, “What are you going to do to save us and our children oh great Professor?”
Which brings the crystal ball owner nicely to his second, and more important point. You see, it’s all very fine giving out dire warnings about the future whenever the opportunity arises but man does not live on dire warnings alone. So he then says that, “It’s clear that the law exists, (Paris Agreement), but it’s not clear to me that the means to actually put that into practice in an effective manner exists. It takes relevant expertise and relevant tools — the observations and analysis. It’s having the right people trained in the right way to be able to interpret correctly the climate information and apply it to planning decisions.” In other words, huge research grants please for Peter Thorne’s Irish Climate Analysis and Research Unit at Maynooth University. It is naked public lobbying of our Climate Change Minister Denis Naughten in the hope that lad will come under public pressure to ante up for the Prof. This is yet another example of why I dislike the climate change crowd.
But let’s ask ourselves, is this localized Donegal event of a two-hour period in the year of Our Lord, 2017, a harbinger of inevitable doom globally? On the Met Eireann website they have a long list of the major weather events between 1798 and 2014 and it kind of puts Donegal this week in context. For example, there was the, “The Night of the Big Wind – 1839.” Up to 300 people died, tens of thousands were left homeless, and winds reached well over 115 miles per hour in a category three hurricane. Twenty-five percent of the houses in Dublin were destroyed and 42 ships were sunk. Then there was, “The Big Snow of 1947.” The cold weather began around the middle of February and lasted through March. Up to 600 people are said to have died. In my lifetime we had, “Worst Winter on Record in 1963.” It remains the coldest winter on record in Ireland and the UK since records began,” according to IrishWeatherOnline’s Patrick Gordon.
The consistency of low daily mean temperatures that set in during the Christmas period of 1962, which lasted right up to the middle of March, was truly remarkable. Snow showers continued to fall in counties Wicklow, Waterford, Wexford, Cork, Tipperary, Limerick, Kildare and Kilkenny, which added to the already significant accumulations in these areas and further isolated rural areas. In Europe, it was reported that at least 500 people died due to the intense cold that set in during late December.
Then on August 25, 1986, Hurricane Charley hit these shores. I was thirty and running my own business in Cork and my memory of it is that it wasn’t much of a problem. But, rainfall set records for 24 hour totals, including an accumulation of more than 7.8 in (200 mm), which set the record for the greatest daily rainfall total in the country. We did have bad flooding in the low-lying city of Cork but then we always did every year anyway. Then in 2011 we were hit by Hurricane Katia. That was only six years ago but I don’t remember being unable to get out for a drink at that time. However, official accounts say that it battered Ireland and wreaked havoc across the country. Hurricane-force winds and giant waves led to transport chaos, fallen trees, damaged buildings and flooding. The government’s weather forecasters, Met Eireann, issued an extreme weather warning amid predictions of storm gusts of up to 80mph battering the west and northwest coasts. Peak winds of 71mph swept across the rest of the country thanks to the tail end of Hurricane Katia, which was classified a category four hurricane when it had hit the US coastline earlier that month.
Them’s the highlights for this little green and rain-soaked land folks and the Met site has a few more lesser occurrences if you’re interested. I’ve been here 61 years and have been conscious of weather for about 56 of those. So I have experience of a half a century of climate in Ireland and here is what I know about that. We are lucky because we have a temperate maritime climate. We don’y generally get extremes and what passes as an extreme here is actually normal in other places. We don’t get thirty and forty degree heat nor do experience temperatures below -20 degrees either. Sure it rains a lot but then how do you think we keep the place so green and lush? Swedes have snow chains in their garage but they’d just rust in ours. Mediterranean people paint their buildings white to deflect strong sunlight whereas we paint ours any colour we like with the emphasis on keeping out dampness.
So to get back to the start of this rant, the lefties I knew as a lad had an ideology based on fairness and freedom for all. The modern leftie though appears to have his ideology planted firmly in fear, crowd control, (i.e. Climate Change), and research money the goal to make him the new wealthy. I remember when, (Ex-President), Mary Robinson, as a younger woman, fought sincerely for the freedom of Irish women as a Labour candidate. Today she flies around the World, on big jets whisking her to Climate Change Conferences. She is picked up at foreign airports in big limousines and rushed to the best hotel in town from where she lectures the rest of us on cutting out carbon fuels and returning to the lifestyle of medieval times. Our hard earned green taxes are paying for their luxury.
Well I, for one, don’t buy it.