05/08/23 – 11/08/23
Is the Truth out there? Justice veering off-track, but first
The Fish Need to Know Your BMI
Ludicrous new UK regulations will ban fishermen from working on their OWN boats if their BMI exceeds 35, claiming this will reduce the risk of accidents at sea! The UK government is following international fishing regulations which they adopted in 2018, and they claim that fishermen have had enough time to comply. Certificates must be obtained by November 30th this year.
The only exemption is the application of ‘Grandfather Rights’ which may exempt those with pre-existing conditions, although it is not guaranteed, and may be for a limited period only, and will not be granted in any case if the application for a medical certificate is not made before November. Some fishermen are struggling to get GP appointments. BMI is calculated on height and weight but increasingly throws up anomalies, as those with a very muscular frame such as professional athletes, will have a BMI over 35, but are perfectly healthy.
This ruling may affect a quarter of the 4000 fishermen in Scotland, and comes just as Scotland is beginning to emerge from the ravages of Brexit and covid, and small fishing communities could be devastated.
BMI is increasingly viewed as a flawed health measure. Healthy BMI in adults is between 18.5 to 24.9, calculated by multiplying the square of a person’s height in metres by their weight in kilograms, but it does not differentiate between the amount of fat and muscle. As muscle mass weighs more than fat, muscular people may be classified as fat despite having low body fat, which matters when those with BMI of 23 or more are overweight and over 27.5 is obese. Considering we are all being browbeaten about healthy lifestyles, it is unfortunate that health measurements may not be serving their purpose.
Scottish prosecutors are re-thinking the use of a ‘diversion’ scheme which allows offenders instead to meet with social workers or other agencies to address the underlying causes of their offending. Not only are they not punished, they never appear at court, even serious sex offenders, almost 50 in total since 2018.
One young woman’s attacker was not prosecuted as he was under 16, as those aged between 12 and 15 can only be prosecuted at the instruction of the Lord Advocate. The youth concerned got therapy and then joined the Army! A 20-year-old triple rapist only got a year in jail for one of his brutal attacks due to his age. His victim said laws intended to protect children who make mistakes are being used by violent criminals to escape justice. Forty-eight of those charged with rape were spared prosecution at all because they were under-25 when they committed the offences. And 12 ‘lifers’ were released early from Scottish jails and went on to commit further serious crimes.
And recently a male who punched a gender-critical woman several times at a peaceful rally was let off with a ‘recorded police warning’ for his behaviour. That’ll teach him.
The Deposit Return Scheme
has an estimated £86 million in debts and liabilities to dozens of companies and individuals, and only £2 million in assets. The biggest creditor may be Biffa, who invested £65 million in new equipment, with German firm Reverse Logistics Group owed £5 million for IT services. Other creditors include the British Soft Drinks Association who are owed £3 million, HMRC nearly £40,000, as well as supermarkets, accountants, photographers, and PR suppliers, food suppliers and 38 former staff who lost their jobs overnight.
The Scottish government denies it has any liability to these suppliers, as any investment can be recouped when the scheme gets up and running in 2025. But that depends on suppliers surviving long enough to cash in. And the Scottish National Investment Bank loaned £9 million to the scheme, which may turn out a total loss.
The recent hike in Whisky duty
means that about 75% of the cost of every bottle will now be alcohol duty. Exports amounted to £6.2 billion in 2022 and were 25% of all UK food and drink exports and 77% of Scottish food and drink exports. The Conservative government seems to be prioritising reducing duty on draught beer and cider by 9.2% in a ‘Brexit Pub Guarantee’, while packaged beer duty goes up by 10.1%, a differential between on- and off-sales which would not have been possible under EU regulations.
Women No Longer Exist
according to the Scottish Prison Service, whose new menopause policy erases the words ‘woman’ and ‘women’ for fear of offending non-binary and transgender people. They refer instead to ‘individuals’, ‘employees’ and ‘people’. As menopause denotes the time when menstrual periods stop, it only affects those (!) who are biologically female, however they identify. If ‘someone’ (!) does not have periods (which you cannot have without shedding the lining of the womb) they cannot have menopause, and if they do, it is because they are still biologically female.
Erasing the word ‘woman’ and replacing it with something more neutral is one more step towards erasing women.
are not suitable for the Scottish climate, according to some users and even Lord Willie Haughey, owner of, amongst other things, a heat-pump supply firm, who says heat pumps can stop working properly at temperatures of -5C or -8C, and if they do continue working, they use more electricity. Scotland hit -15C in some areas last year. The pumps are noisy to the point of rattling windows, ugly and cumbersome.
Haughey also points out that water can only be heated to 54C, lower than the Health and Safety Executive’s recommendation of 60C, which is set at this point as at lower temperatures legionnaire’s disease can thrive in hot water systems. Some end-users say their homes are not warmed as well with heat pumps, they are very costly, and take up a lot of space. It is imperative to have the correct size of heat pump installed, which does not always seem to be the case.
With the cheapest heat pumps costing £12,000 to £15,000, with installation on top of that, he says it would be much cheaper to convert to an electric boiler. The Scottish government grant is only £7,500 (£9,000 in rural areas), and there are now interest free loans for the rest of the cost, but how will people afford even an interest-free loan in a cost-of-living crisis?
Peterhead Carbon Capture
First ‘promised’ in the run-up to the 2014 independence referendum, the ‘Acorn’ proposal was rejected in 2017’s round of UK funding, but has now been accepted to get a ‘share’ of a £20 billion fund, although Rishi Sunak would not say how big a share, and the money is spread over 20 years. The CO2 from oil production is to be stored in caverns under the North Sea.
Many scientists say Carbon Capture remains an unproved technology. Supporters argue it could reduce carbon output by 90%. but the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis found that only 2 of 13 carbon capture projects met the promised high expectations, and both of these were in Norway.
is under fire for its policy on employing officers and staff who are on anti-depressants, who must be clear of medication for two years before they are employed. The force is being sued for disability discrimination for what many regard as an ‘outdated’ policy. Anxiety and depression affects 25% of the population.
This policy applies even though serving officers and staff are not punished even if taking anti-depressants. The force is following Home Office guidance, but the application of this policy varies around the UK. The Met uses a six-month rule, and Essex has no hard and fast rule. Scottish Fire and Rescue do not bar those wishing an operational role who are taking anti-depressants.
There is alarm over the rumour that the police intend to cut 42 more traffic officers from the ranks, leaving the entire roads network with one double-crewed car operating out of Glasgow between 3 am and 7 am. Chief Superintendent Hilary Sloan, head of road policing, said no decision had been made and it would be subject to consultation.
Scottish ministers are being encouraged to use the old mining system and Glasgow’s subway to develop heat systems to serve thousands of homes and businesses through geothermal energy. A collaborative project between Common Weal and the Built Environment Asset Management (BEAM) Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University is working on it. Former coal mines fill with water which then heats up through naturally-occurring geothermal processes, and can then be piped direct into homes.
A 2020 University of Strathclyde project estimated that geothermal energy generated in disuse mines could supply up to 8% of Scotland’s heat demand.
Abandoned/ Derelict Property
Glasgow City Council is speaking to the Scottish government about a radical plan to bring empty properties back into use by means of Compulsory Sales Orders (CSOs) where owners may be legal entities based abroad or may be unknown. Councils already use Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) for empty homes but it can be cumbersome and expensive. CSOs would force a sale of land left abandoned for a certain time.
The government promised to enact this legislation in the 2016-21 legislative programme, but later abandoned it.
The loss of EU funding may have caused the financial overrun in delivering 28 flood prevention schemes in Scotland which are currently at the construction or planning stage and whose costs have risen to £1 billion, with the most eye-watering rise being in the cost of the Arbroath Flood Protection Scheme, initially costed at £1.4 million but now coming in at an expected £13.5 million. Musselburgh’s scheme has risen from £8.9 million to an estimated final cost of £95.9 million and Millport scheme has quadrupled in price to nearly £49 million.
Is the truth really out there?
St Andrew’s University is the unlikely venue for ongoing efforts to trace extra-terrestrial life. The university’s Dr John Elliott has been co-opted into SETI, the Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence, which operates under the auspices of NASA, and whose ‘post-detection hub’ was established at the university last November.
Currently drafting protocols for human interaction with any alien life discovered, Dr Elliott’s expertise in language and artificial intelligence initially explored the commonality of the mechanics of all earth’s languages before he went on to examine animal ‘languages’.
His work on human language patterns is also of use to the police and intelligence services, using algorithms to shortcut through huge amounts of information left by alleged paedophiles and terrorists, and greatly reducing investigation time.
Will we eventually find intelligent life ‘out there’? Sometimes it’s hard enough to find intelligent life here.