Sunday 2 April 2023

The Sunday Ishmael 02/04/2023

Although many folk lump nuclear and renewable energy together, in a sort of stupid-composite,  Ishmaelites, of course, know fine well that nuclear energy is not one of the forms of renewable energy. In fact, coal, oil, gas and peat are a damn sight more renewable, given enough time, whereas with uranium, once its gone, its gone. The available supply is believed to be sufficient for around the next 85 years, although some studies reckon under-investment in the late twentieth century, driven by the population's fear of being blown up,  may produce supply problems in the 21st century. In 2005, ten countries accounted for the majority of the world's concentrated uranium - Canada (27.9%), Australia (22.8%), Kazakhstan (10.5%) 
Russia (8.0%), Namibia (7.5%), Niger (7.4%),
Uzbekistan(5.5%), United States (2.5%), Argentina (2.1%) and Ukraine (1.9%).
Some uranium also originates from dismantled nuclear weapons. For example, in 1993–2013 Russia supplied the United States with 15,000 tonnes of low-enriched uranium within the Megatons to Megawatts Program. And there's an additional 4.6 billion tonnes of uranium dissolved in sea water, but hard to get at, although the Japs are working on it.
The Powers that Be seem to have forgotten about Orkney's uranium. It's about time that it was winkled out and put to good use, whilst it can bring in $50 per pound. Unless Scottish Ministers are hanging on to it for a better price.
During the early 1970s, a geological survey of uranium in Britain revealed a corridor of uranium ore (‘yellow cake’) of ‘nuclear’ quality between the town of Stromness and the cliffs of Yesnaby on the main island of Orkney. The South Scottish Electricity Board, planning ahead for the exploitation of  nuclear energy, negotiated individual agreements with the local farmers to make test bores in the area. Application was subsequently made to the Orkney Islands Council.
In 1977 the Orkney Heritage Society started a campaign to prevent the exploitation of local uranium resources, and the Orkney Islands Council, formalized local opposition by turning down the Electricity Board’s application and then tried to launch a private members’ bill in Parliament which would grant it full control over Orcadian mineral resources. This attempt failed.
The Orkney Islands Council had to produce a structure plan of its future developments, and included a clause concerning permanent resistance to any future plans to extract uranium. This was submitted for the approval of the Secretary of State for Scotland who chose the uranium clause as a point for public examination, and appointed a Public Examiner to hear both sides of the issue.
The Orkney Islands Council and the entire local population were now totally opposed, and a large silent protest demonstration was organized to make the Public Examiner aware of the extent of local opposition. The case was heard in the spring of 1979, with Orkney leading arguments on the fear of pollution, psychological damage and the social and economic negative implications of uranium extraction on Orcadian fishing, dairy farming and tourism.
Late in 1979, the Examiner’s report was made public, and he recommended to the Secretary of State that the Orkney submission be rejected in the national interest. Maxwell Davies wrote The Yellow Cake Revue in the aftermath of this report, and it was first performed at the 1980 St. Magnus Festival. The Secretary of State for Scotland gave no immediate authorization for uranium mining to begin, but it remains a possibility.
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies composed his haunting "Farewell to Stromness" to protest uranium mining in Orkney's West Mainland, joining Orkney poet George Mackay Brown and many other Orcadians in speaking out against the destruction of Stromness in consequence of uranium mining. That was back in the day, of course, when there was lots of coal, gas and oil. Things are different now.

There's a fascinating documentary about George Mackay Brown, telling the story behind his 1972 debut novel, Greenvoe. Having written six novels, the Orkney Islands were Mackay Brown’s inspiration and he became a writer of international significance, winning praise for his poetry and short stories.  Greenvoe imagined an Orkney community called Hellya, based on Stromness, being threatened by a mysterious defence project that would tear the island apart. In real life, a few years later in 1979, plans were laid to mine uranium around Stromness – but the local community successfully resisted the plan with the help of Mackay Brown. Being on the Alba Channel, the documentary is in the throat-curdling Gaelic, although no-one in Orkney speaks the Gaelic, and only 58,652 people in Scotland speak it, despite having a whole BBC channel devoted to it and dual-language signs. But there are subtitles and lots of English bits, including all the original footage of GMB. Well worth an hour of your time - here's a link: BBC iPlayer - Sàr Sgeòil - 1. Greenvoe

Here's a little essay from mr ishmael on the topic of energy from 7th March 2011.

Coalition of Doom
 Coalition of Doom ministers decided that this week's wheeze would be them telling us how we must be "weaned off" oil, and be damn quick about it. We must be weaned off oil just as we must be weaned off the idea that taxation is to pay for public services when, as everyone knows, it should be given to the rich. Another example of snooty idiocy, the idea is that we are all at fault for buying cars and heating our homes, naughty consumers. The deranged Transport Seckatry, Mr Philip Handjob, 
insists that by Wednesday, or 2035 at the latest, there will be a three-pin plug socket located every hundred yards along the motorway, enabling electric car drivers to charge-up their crappy vehicles every few minutes. Other measures would include people filling their central heating oil tanks with broken, energy-saving light bulbs and everyone wearing a tiny windmill-hat on their heads as they go about their daily business of being poor and unemployed and in many cases homeless. They wouldn't actually generate any electricity but they would be a signal of our commitment to a green, sustainable, Tory future. It's not a panacea, said Handjob, jerkily, there is no panacea. But if I want to remain a wanker, I mean a minister, I have to be seen to be doing something. Apart from tossing myself off, that is. Even if it's bollocks. Which it is. I wanted to put up the speed limit. And now they want me to ban petrol cars altogether. Anyway, he continued, spasming and wild-eyed, the three pounds fifty that we had ringfenced for care of the elderly must now be diverted to the boardrooms of the oil industry in order to help them in their time of stratospheric profits.

Shitbrain energy supremo Mr Chris Who completely lost his marbles in a speech last week. Mr Who warned that China was pouring money into developing a low-carbon economy while Britain lagged behind. "China will build 24 nuclear power stations in the time it takes us to build one. By 2020, their nuclear capacity will have increased tenfold," he said. "They will lay 16,000km of high-speed rail track in the time it takes us to go from London to Birmingham." (editor's note. it currently takes a couple of hours to go from Brum to London, not that anybody'd want to. What's this numpty on about? And what the fuck is he doing in govament?) Friends of the hapless Energy Minister said that since he had left his wife, Vicky,
Mr and Mrs Who-dat-Dyke-in-de-marital-bed, extolling the values of family life.

and moved-in with a lesbian he had not been the same. Ugly? She has a face like a hatful of arseholes, said one, if she was a dog you'd shave her arse and train her to walk backwards. And many of us think she's doing him. Up the You-Know-What. He is a liberal democrat, after all.

Chris Who, M.P. with his dog, Ms Carina
Roaring, bent double at his own wit, good friend of the Duke of Cock, Mr Billy Connolly, a comedic entertainer, too large in the national mind - rather like the horrifyingly dull Mr John Cleese - to fail, said the whole oil thing was eggstroooooaaaardanry - his only adjective - and he would be happy to travel the world of oil at someone else's expense, on his cissy motortrike, sharing his witty, scatological insights with stupid audiences, patronising indigenous peoples, plunking inexpertly on his banjo and avoiding the company of his monsterwife, Mrs Pamela Gobenson-Connolly.
Friends of the Royal Family, the Connolly-Gobs
Och, I used to dine wi' Prince Andy, or His Highness, as I was allowed tae call him, many's a night me and the Mrs and him and Her Royal Highness, Porky, would while awa' the hours, them being stupid an' me being outrageously funny over the canapes. Y'ken, just because I was a welders' tea-boy disnae mean I cannae hobnob wi' all they slags in the royal family. And isn't it time they gi' me the knighthood which, as a truly iconoclastic, rebellious social commentator, I so richly deserve, But no, honestly, if people cannae afford tae heat their homes or put petrol in their cars they should just all stop whining, develop some wee jokes about turds and move to California, like me. Did I mention that I was abused as a wee lad?
Parky, Fellator to the stars.
Hello, I'm Michael Parkinson and I've earned a fortune brown-nosing almost every tuppence-halfpenny celebrity you could think of and I have some marvellous memories. But if you are old and poor and worried about your central heating bills or putting petrol in the Nissan Micra, maybe you should think that you could freeze to death within a year or two as part of the govament's exciting new strategy to wean you off oil. If so, you should join my Guaranteed Over Fifty's Plan and be assured that a tiny sum, good for fuck all, really, may be made available to your loved ones after you die, - a fraction, no doubt, of what you've paid-in, else why would we do it? - it might help them buy a packet of firelighters or a even a hot water bottle. And don't forget, there's a free biro, just for making an enquiry. Oh yes, His Highness, the Duke of York, he was never actually on one of my memorable TeeVee shows but we have met socially, as one does, in my trade - sucked more cock than a Westminster Special Adviser, me - and I must say that he is a truly wonderful human being, gifted and sensitive, and would have had a great career in Hollywood, had he so chosen.

thanks to editor mr. verge, there are now three anthologies of the collected works of ishmael smith:

Honest Not Invent, Vent Stack  and Ishmael’s Blues are all available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.
Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :

Thanks to editor mr. verge, there are now three anthologies of the collected works of ishmael smith:
Honest Not Invent, Vent Stack  and Ishmael’s Blues are all available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.
Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :
please register an account first, at This is advisable because otherwise paypal seems to think it's ok to charge in dollars, and they then apply their own conversion rate, which might put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow one of the links below (to either paperback or hardback) or type "Ishmael’s Blues" into the Lulu Bookstore search box.  Click on the “show explicit content” tab, give the age verification box a date of birth such as 1 January 1960, and proceed.
Link for Hardcover :
Link for Paperback :
At checkout, try WELCOME15 in the coupon box, which (for the moment) takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for " voucher code" and see what comes up.  
With the 15% voucher, PB (including delivery to a UK address) should be £16.84; HB £27.04.
Am I an AI creation? Can I get work as a sexbot
to butt plug the gaping £630,000 hole?


Mike said...

It seems like a lifetime ago that we were captivated by those (non-)identities in Mr I's piece. Is it only me? But are the current lot even worse? Even when we confidently say: "it can't get worse".

It seems like only a year ago that I predicted that the war in Ukraine would be over in Russia's favour. Well it was by about July 2022; the Ukie forces were destroyed. Then the West stepped in and we had Ukraine 2.0. Well that one is as good as done, and the West's economies are broken and power has shifted East.

mrs ishmael said...

The political celebrities lampooned by mr ishmael were but froth on the river, mr mike, a river that has grown deeper, darker and angrier in the 12 years since he wrote that essay. The meat of his essay was the energy problem, as he highlighted the growing costs of fossil fuels, the ramshackle efforts to diversify into alternative energy sources, and the poor, as usual, bearing the brunt. As his Alternative Billy Connolly says - if they can't afford to put petrol in their cars and heat their homes, then they should, like me, get rich.
This war in eastern Europe, prolonged by Western powers, is as much about ownership of energy sources as about anything else. Democratic America has long wanted to break Russia's economic superiority based on its natural resources. Interesting that the U.S has only 0.6% more uranium deposits than has Ukraine.

Mike said...

I agree Mrs I. But the West have been trying for centuries to get their filthy mitts on Russian treasures, without luck. Russia has never been stronger that it is now. It could be argued that the Soviet Union was stronger, but relatively, given the decline in the West, particularly technologically and socially, Russia is in a much stronger position now. Militarily, at present, there is no contest. Remember, as of now, it is mostly malitias (Wagner and the Donbass) doing the fighting in Ukraine. If the main Russian regular army gets involved (currently 500K held waiting in reserve for NATO on the western flank of Russia, with a further 25M in reserve) then Gotterdamnerung.

mrs ishmael said...

Well, I suppose it has to end somehow - better a bang than a whimper. Shame it looks like happening in our time. Gotter damn the lot of them.