No Business Like Snow Business

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From top: Met Eireann’s Evelyn Cusack and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar after a meeting of the National Emergency Coordination Group during Storm Emma; Dan Boyle

The politics of the Beast from the East seem to have worked quite well for the government. Politics is a small component of responding effectively to an emergency.

The actual heroes were front–line workers who ironically enough are often further away from the public eye.

I found myself snowed in, pleasantly and enjoyably, at a hotel in Tallaght. Most of the other guests were ambulance workers, most civil defence volunteers. Whether as paramedics, or in running a radio centre, I found their presence there comforting and decidedly pride evoking.

Emergency plans get tweaked from time to time, benefitting from the appropriate finessing of long term planning along with lessons learned.

The political element of emergency response is quite properly small and narrow. It largely revolves around communication, giving information, offering reassurance, bolstering public confidence.

In this 24 hour multi media World, the metaphorical political holding of the baby fills most politicians with dread. The odds on becoming the face of any public information campaign, and not getting associated with negative news become extraordinarily low.

The protection of the Gulf Stream has really only deserted us on four occasions over the last seventy years or so – 1947, 1982, 2010 and now the year of the Beast of the East 2018.

We should remember that Ireland is on the same latitude as Hudson Bay in Canada, The Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia and the southern reaches of Alaska. Without the Gulf Stream, the more extreme wintery conditions we experienced last week would be far more typical.

The folk memory of 1947, with the number of waterways which ended up frozen, would seem to rate the Irish Winter Olympics winner, although each of the four climate lapses carry with them unhappy, uncomfortable memories.

The political consequences of 1947 were probably negligible. The then excitement of a new party breakthrough of Clann na Poblachta, combined with a public lethargy with a Fianna Fáil government in power since 1932 (with a cabinet of Civil War participants), meant that a lousy winter would have been the last thing on most voters minds.

The media created the sobriquet ‘The Minister for Snow’ for the then Tánaiste and leader of the Labour Party, Michael O’Leary, in 1982, for which he never forgave them. As the country went into a ten day lockdown, O’Leary struggled to receive political support especially from his own political party. It would probably was a contributing factor that led to his resignation as Labour leader, followed perversely by his joining with Fine Gael.

John Gormley inherited the Minister for Snow in 2010. He too found himself sidelined by cabinet colleagues, particularly his Fianna Fáil colleagues. The cabinet sub committee dealing with national emergencies was meant to be jointly chaired by Gormley and FF Transport Minister, Noel Dempsey, who lingered too longingly on a foreign sun holiday.

The current Minister, Eoghan Murphy, has not been seen to be affected. For that he should be grateful. Any real gratitude should go the front line people I had the privilege of meeting in Tallaght.

For politicians no pain is gain. The irony for this government is that in trying so hard in overselling its own achievements, while using considerable public funds, will probably see no real benefit from having had a good freeze.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Top pic: Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

Dan Boyle’s ‘Making Up The Numbers – Smaller Parties and Independents in Irish Politics‘ published by the History Press is available at all good bookstores now.

69 thoughts on “No Business Like Snow Business

  1. Sentient Won

    Dan Boyle fails to blame humans for a weather event.

    What’s next?

    Abolish the Carbon levy?

    1. Dan Boyle

      Don’t think I ever have, but then I’ve understood the difference between weather and climate.

      1. Sentient Won

        No you don’t Dan. At least you have never elucidated the difference on these pages.

        Go on, explain it now…

        I’ll wait.

        But not forever.

  2. Dan Boyle

    Weather is only experienced in the present and is singular in its experience. Climate is predominant trends found in the accumulation of data in the incidence of weather on which predictable assumptions can be made. Got that.

    1. Sentient Won

      Good lad Dan, we’re getting there. Only took you six months or so to show us you know the basics. A simpler explanation is that one climate data point is 30 years of weather.

      Now I’m sure we also agree that over geologic time the natural state of the climate is change. [Otherwise how do we explain the medieval warm period, or the little ice age, the 1930’s dustbowl, the 1970’s cooling, the warming of the 1990s, the hiatus of the 2000’s, the imminent cooling we’re seeing now?]

      Thus, if climate is naturally changing, then your carbon levy is a bogus tax installed and perpetuated by mendacity.

      Time to abolish it, wouldn’t you agree?

      1. Dan Boyle

        No. The data and the science is pretty incontrovertible. You are free to misanalyse to your heart’s content.

          1. Dan Boyle

            No. You know where it is. You choose not to accept it. I could send you libraries of materials and you wouldn’t accept. I wouldn’t want to waste either of our time.

          2. Sentient Won

            So that’s a no from Dan: Makes a claim then fails to substantiate it.

            Which reinforces my own conclusion (based on my own observations): Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change is a cult for people who are convinced they are too smart for cults.

            40 odd years of educational, political and scientific propaganda will do that to you I guess.

          3. Nigel

            A scientific conclusion reached after a hostile and sneering interrogation of someone on the internet that’s how you do science all right.

            ‘The natural state of the climate is change.’

            The natural state of man is mortality therefore people who believe in human-caused deaths are a part of a cult.

          4. realPolithicks

            People like you will never admit that climate change exists because if you did you would have to admit that we need to do something about it.

          5. anyone

            Gas the way all the justrumplite comments appear hours after spiralling off into almost total redundance, beautiful, like staring at a black hole, the abyss

          6. realPolithicks

            Is that what you’re upset about, I didn’t realize you were such a sensitive soul. Just to clarify since you obviously can’t stand the guy. Dave Taylor is a pedal and cranker for what he did to Maurice McCabe but at least in the end he did tell McCabe what was going on and I think that was a big help to him.

          7. jusayinlike

            Your the one that was upset, erroneously labelling me right-winger and than calling me sad, gorge on your humble pie..

          8. Nigel

            Silly, jusayinlike isn’t a right-winger, he just has an insatiable hunger for alt-right conspiracies and memes and such, effectively pro-Trump, pro-NRA, pro-Assad, pro-Putin, anti-science and holy scourge of the demon pizza. But definitely of the left. Somewhere.

          9. jusayinlike

            Nigel slinging mud to try hide the fact that he hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about..

            Nigel have you any useful links to support your argument?

          10. realPolithicks

            Ah come on now, you’re obviously a right winger…theres nothing wrong with that btw I just disagree with most of what you say. The “sad” thing was just a trump joke nothing personal.

          11. jusayinlike

            Ami anyone Go A Way Warden of the snort Pat Kenny’s wife nasty commenter know man is an island

          12. realPolithicks

            I’ll refer you to Nigel’s excellent comment, he explained it much better than I could.

          13. jusayinlike

            Doesn’t know anything about garda whistle-blowers, doesn’t know anything about science, doesn’t know anything about me or my leanings…

            Pair of naive ignorant charlatans

          14. Ami B and BS

            Here’s an interesting thought for your perusal jusayinbs – no one not even Nigel gives a flying fupp what your proclivities are. You’re a mindless imbecile endlessly regurgitating conspiracies on a good but generally speaking completely irrelevant blog site. Your opinions mean nothing

          15. jusayinlike

            Pretending to be a woman online and holding several different accounts sometimes in the same thread is creepy and somewhat mindless, thankfully nobody takes you seriously..

      2. ReproBertie

        In explaining the medieval warm period scientists have pointed out that the mechanism that caused the warming then cannot explain our current warming.

        The cause of the little ice age is still up for debate but we do know that it ended following an increase in the sun’s activity. That increase has long since ended but the earth continues to warm up.

        The 1970’s cooling was a predicted drop in temperatures which didn’t happen so I’m not sure how you think that’s evidence of anything. In fact, the only thing it’s really evidence of is the media’s selective quoting as the news articles at the time tended to leave out the bit about it being “possible, or even likely, that human interference has already altered the environment so much that the climatic pattern of the near future will follow a different path.” (US National Science Board report, 1972)

        As Dan said, the data and the science is pretty incontrovertible. But I wouldn’t expect you to ever consider changing your position, based on your own observations, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence.

        1. Sentient Won

          @realPolithicks

          Climate is always changing. It’s what climate does naturally.

          @ReproBertie

          You’re undermining your own position when you agree that the varying output of the sun impacts on climate.

          And where is this overwhelming “scientific evidence” you speak of? Bear in mind that your previous ‘go-to’ – the so-called 97% Consensus – is only representative of a rigged poll of 78 scientists who were pre-selected for their ‘favourable’ attitude to the desired result. In other words the 97% consensus is ‘fake news’.

          If you still insist on mentioning this then you will first have to explain how ‘consensus’ is an accepted part of the scientific method.

          1. ReproBertie

            Are you sure you’re not a liberal lefty? All this lying you do. I linked to a survey of over 1,800 scientists.

            Of course the sun has an impact. What sort of a loon are you? The science is in showing the impact is heightened by human activity.

            You believe that climate scientists don’t accept the sun has an impact? You think admitting it is some sort of smoking gun? You are hilarious!

          2. Nigel

            ‘You say your house is burning down but you undermine your case when you admit radiators are hot!’

          3. Sentient Won

            A paper from an IPCC insider (his name is on the title page) sez:

            Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous. That particular consensus judgement, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies”

            http://www.probeinternational.org/Hulme-Mahony-PiPG%5B1%5D.pdf

            You still haven’t explained how “Consensus” is a valid part of the scientific method as opposed to say: essential to cultural ‘programming’.

            Proper scientists know that the sun is the main source of energy driving the earth’s atmospheric conditions but you meanie-greenies-types insist on taxing human-induced CO2 (a mere 3% of the atmosphere’s total annual CO2 budget) as the only forcing factor that can cause booth warming AND cooling.

            And all with no evidence. Only propaganda.

          4. Sentient Won

            A paper from an IPCC insider (his name is on the title page) sez:

            Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous. That particular consensus judgement, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies”

            http://www.probeinternational.org/Hulme-Mahony-PiPG%5B1%5D.pdf

            You still haven’t explained how “Consensus” is a valid part of the scientific method as opposed to say: essential to cultural ‘programming’.

            Proper scientists know that the sun is the main source of energy driving the earth’s atmospheric conditions but you meanie-greenies-types insist on taxing human-induced CO2 (a mere 3% of the atmosphere’s total annual CO2 budget) as the only forcing factor that can cause booth warming AND cooling.

            And all with no evidence. Only propaganda.

          5. Nigel

            They’re called greenhouse gases for a reason. Shouldn’t you actually be familiar with the scientific findings you’re dismissing?

          6. ReproBertie

            Jo Nova again? We dealt with this last time. Cherry picking results to push an agenda is what Jo Nova is famous for but you believe her because she suits your belief that everything is a big conspiracy.

          7. ReproBertie

            Do I really need to explain why 97% of scientists agreeing on something is important?

            http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/048002
            “The consensus that humans are causing recent global warming is shared by 90%–100% of publishing climate scientists according to six independent studies by co-authors of this paper. Those results are consistent with the 97% consensus reported by Cook et al based on 11 944 abstracts of research papers, of which 4014 took a position on the cause of recent global warming. A survey of authors of those papers (N = 2412 papers) also supported a 97% consensus.”

            (Yes, yes, I know jusayin, these are actually all eco warrior hippie students and only Jo Nova knows anything about the climate.)

            “all with no evidence.” Wow! First you claim something that never actually happened was proof that climate change is normal. Then you suggest scientists never considered the sun has an impact and now you deny all the evidence of CO2 impact! I am constantly amazed at how the people who clearly know nothing about a topic are happy to demonstrate their ignorance.

          8. Sentient Won

            @ReproBertie

            You still haven’t explained how “Consensus” is a valid part of the scientific method.

            You won’t either. Logic has no part in your cult.

  3. anyone

    This has the real banger of filler article from Dan but the troll Sentient Won above should be banned permanently as he / she is contributing nothing whatsoever to the debate

      1. anyone

        Last week you were actually crawling up janet’s hole because she asked you to explain one of your wacko nonsense theories on something or other, that’s how desperate for attention you are, go away now and annoy someone who gives a fupp

          1. anyone

            same old BS from you all the time, like a broken record

            Must come back in two hours to see if they allowed your next inane reply

      1. anyone

        Not really. Other than vitriol and throwing flaming piles of poo it’s clear that you have absolutely nothing of relevance to contribute to this conversation and your asinine mate above is even more redundant

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