Comparing the digital and green revolutions


The digital and green revolutions compared


         In recent years the world has been swept by a massive wave of digital investment. Most people have come to own a smartphone, pad, desktop or laptop computer. Many have switched their entertainment from standard national tv channels to downloaded films from subscription services. Many now get what news they want from websites and social media in place of newspapers and tv news. More education and training is now done remotely on computer. Families keep in touch with on line meetings instead of a phone call. Many people communicate with friends and family on social media instead of letters and face to face to face meetings. Businesses are automating more and more processes, taking advantage of the enormous processing and storage power of electronic systems. Much shopping has gone on line. Phone apps can be used for getting a cab, following a map, booking a meal, ordering a service.  All this happened with no special taxes, no bans and  legal requirements, no public subsidy. Businesses innovated, showing how they could offer a much wider range of service over the web and people piled in to get more of it. The high price of some mobile phones and the subscription sums for broadband, software and download services was no barrier to many taking advantage. Covid lockdowns accelerated the movement. Those people who were not sure how to use the technology, or thought they did not like it, or who thought it a bit dear were tempted into adopting it as it offered the obvious way of staying in touch and placing orders for goods and services. Young people who adopted it more readily as a whole helped teach Granny who made the effort to stay in touch with her grandchildren.


        Meanwhile the green revolution is a top down revolution. Its main proponents are governments, large companies, universities and experts. They want people to swap the petrol car for an electric vehicle. They want families to rip out the gas boiler and put in a heat pump. They want people to give up most of their meat eating and go vegetarian. They want to discourage car and airline travel, promoting walking and cycling. So far the response has been on a modest scale. Many people think electric cars are too dear, worry about their range and about how easy it will be to recharge them. They stick with their diesel and petrol models for the time  being. Very few people put in a heat pump, finding them dear and the work involved very disruptive about the house. We have still to find the Mini or Beetle car of the electric car revolution that sells in millions at an affordable price to delighted buyers. We have not yet seen the electric heating package that people want enough to make the commitment  of time and money to the work. Some are now trying more vegetarian food, but meat and dairy eating habits are well inbred in national traditions and mothers’ menus.


         Governments understand enough of market principles to try to use market mechanisms to promote their revolution. They offer subsidies to cut the price of electric vehicles. They are still offering a tax free period on the power to fuel them, unlike the high taxes on motor fuels for internal combustion engined vehicles. They are imposing higher taxes on older fossil fuel vehicles using certain routes or banning them altogether from some urban settings. They are imposing carbon taxes to switch business away from fossil fuels through an adapted price mechanism. The main problem with all of this is that because it is not done worldwide by all countries the market can shift activity around to places where there is less restriction and less tax on fossil fuel technologies. Individuals can stick with old boilers and cars if they do like the performance and price of the new alternative. 


         To get success in the market the new idea has to be one or more of better, faster, cheaper.  On line shopping was often cheaper and certainly faster than in store.  Web calls gave you pictures the phone did not offer whilst sparing you the journey needed to meet in person. Downloaded entertainment allowed you to choose what you wanted to watch rather than relying on pre planned schedules on tv. Getting news off the web allowed you to be your own editor, free from the political distortions of conventional news channels. People were prepared to pay for these improvements or got some of them free thanks to adverts. So far most people do not see the heat pump as better than the gas boiler, and know it is a lot dearer. They do not want to trade in a  car with 500 miles of range based on a five minute filling stop for a car that may have less than half the range and uncertainties over how to find a charger when out, and requiring substantial time for a full recharge. They certainly do not pay a premium for that. 




  1. dixie
    February 7, 2023

    Stop being so ageist, the computing and communications technology you all utterly rely on was invented and developed by granny and grandpa.

    1. formula57
      February 7, 2023

      @ dixie – I recall one of the most delightful comments Ronald Reagan ever made was words to the effect “People sometimes tell me that my generation never had the advantages of all the gadgets and technology that exist today. I tell them that is very true, no we did not: it was my generation that invented all of those things”.

      1. dixie
        February 8, 2023

        Nice one formula57 – I must of heard the Reagan quote at some point though can’t remember.
        One of my favourite examples is the CDMA technique used in police and services radios, military and mobile phones which was invented by the actress Hedy Lamarr and patented in 1942 (U.S. Patent 2,292,387). She originally developed the idea for radio controlled torpedoes.

        I am no longer surprised by the level of ignorance of science, technology and engineering by the general public and people who claim to and/or should know better.

  2. dixie
    February 7, 2023

    As for returning to returning to freely available and cheap hydrocarbons, haven’t recent events made it clear that is a fiction – you were directly or indirectly dependent dependent on cheap gas and diesel exports from Russia.
    Do you honestly think you can replace that with local resources even with fracking. Or perhaps our coal reserves will be exploited with a new wave of steam powered cars?
    So what is the UK government plan for sustainable energy and fuel for the short, medium and long terms? What are your proposals?
    Simply demanding the government rely on public demand and market forces isn’t enough, isn’t even viable in an energy based economy if such energy sources simply aren’t available.

    1. Original Richard
      February 7, 2023

      dixie :

      The UK has more than sufficient supplies of hydrocarbon fuels if those in control wanted to use them. Coal can be used to produce electricity it does not have to be the fuel for steam powered cars. In order for wind turbines to guarantee 1 GW of dispatchable/reliable energy it is necessary to build/install 8 to 12 GW of turbine power and build a complete hydrogen storage and electricity generating system or otherwise you only have the intermittent supplies of electricity as experienced by a third world country. As I write the 27 GW of installed wind turbine capacity is only providing 1.7 GW which is just 4.4% of demand.

      1. dixie
        February 8, 2023

        Sorry but I don’t take your word for it. Where is your proof of economically recoverable reserves .. not just coal but also gas and oil.
        As I write Gridwatch reports 7.7 GW of wind power (23% of current demand).
        I agree that for intermittent renewables to be a viable replacement there has to be sufficient economically viable storage to make the power dispatchable over a sufficient period.
        But gas is intermittent too – we depend on deliveries by sea from the USA and use local storage between deliveries. What happens if deliveries are cut or we can’t afford the demanded price?]
        Use coal – that would be intermittent during the inevitable strikes.

        1. Original Richard
          February 8, 2023

          dixie :

          Just Google and you will find the UK has a large reserve of economically recoverable hydrocarbons. The first result : “The UK’s petroleum reserves remain at a significant level”.

          You are correct that we need an economically viable means of energy storage for renewables to provide dispatchable energy over a period. Unfortunately this simply does not exist and I have calculated that using hydrogen as a store of energy it is necessary to build/install 8 to 12 GW of wind turbine power for each 1 GW of reliable/dispatchable power. This is because of the low capacity factor of wind turbines and the low efficiencies of electrolysis and generation. Batteries are simply out of the question because of cost and lack of world mining capacity for the minerals required.

          Furthermore, there is absolutely no energy security when the wind turbines and solar panels are supplied by (coal-fired) China, considered a hostile state by our security services.

          I’m not suggesting buying gas from the USA but fracking our own and any power system is capable of being disrupted by strikes.

          As further evidence that those in control do not want us to have a secure supply of energy our nuclear energy will be zero, or almost zero (perhaps just 3.2 GW if the duff EPR technology of the EDF Hinkley Point C can be made to work) by the 2035 decarbonisation date.

      2. Guy Liardet
        February 8, 2023

        Entirely agree. CO2 is harmless and Net Zero is an economic calamity which is utterly pointless.

    2. Mark
      February 9, 2023

      The power of the OPEC cartel was defeated in the 1980s by the development of competitive oil supply outside of OPEC and also within it. The North Sea contributed to that, but it was far from the only contributor. The modern ESG movement has acted to reduce that competition, giving power to suppliers like Russia. Whilst it would be better for our own economic health to have more domestic hydrocarbon production we would benefit greatly from simply restoring a competitive I ternational market and investing in international projects.

  3. DOM
    February 7, 2023

    I don’t want a digital pound. I’d rather starve than have the State take my cash whenever it so desires to finance its filthy lefty activities

    Politicians like Mr Redwood should be condemning this power grab not supporting it.

    1. glen cullen
      February 7, 2023

      hear hear

    2. BOF
      February 7, 2023

      Too right DOM. I will not have a digital ID, digital health ID or use digital currency. It may well come down to the state starving citizens by denying them access to food and services through these control devices and carbon credits.

  4. SM
    February 7, 2023

    Dear Sir John, I write very little nowadays since I had a minor stroke some 5 weeks ago – I just wanted to say how much I agree with your views, most especially with those concerned with the OBR and the Bank of England.

    1. Walt
      February 7, 2023

      Hello SM. Best wishes for a good recovery.

      1. Peter
        February 7, 2023


    2. Mark B
      February 7, 2023

      Take care, SM.

    3. dixie
      February 8, 2023

      @SM best wishes for a speedy recovery and full recuperation, with me it is was inability to concentrate when reading beyond a page or so.

    4. SM
      February 8, 2023

      Thank you, all of you, for your kind wishes.

  5. Mark B
    February 7, 2023

    Good morning.

    Meanwhile the green revolution is a top down revolution. Its main proponents are governments, large companies, universities and experts.

    You forgot the likes of the UN and the WEF. i.e. People who it will not affect.

    The main problem with all of this is that because it is not done worldwide  . . .

    You’ve hit the nail on the head there, Sir John. People are going to burn coal and wood and oil no matter what. Our bunch of muppets in Westminster are happy to destroy the country thinking they are saving the world, when the world does not give a s . . . !

    Sooner or later reality is going to bite and, one thing is for sure, those responsible will not be around and those left carrying the can will just sit around blaming them.

    It is written.

    1. Original Richard
      February 7, 2023

      Mark B

      My Conservative MP gave the reason for our unilateral Net Zero to be that if we showed “strong leadership…we can push other countries to do the same”.

      However, “other countries” are not so stupid, especially those whose people are desperate for any electricity and the ability to heat their homes and cook without having to resort to using wood and dung. I’m sure these people are very grateful that the increased levels of CO2 have increased crop yields and do not look kindly to those who wish to make them even poorer by making energy expensive and unreliable.

      In the last century we were told by the same groups who are now advocating unilateral Net Zero that we should unilaterally scrap our nuclear arsenal “to show strong leadership” as everyone else would follow. Well, I’m glad we didn’t fall for that one.

  6. Wanderer
    February 7, 2023

    An interesting comparison.

    Whist the digital revolution has made many things more convenient, it has also ushered in a world where the powerful can exert control over the wider population to a greater extent and more easily than ever before. It has facilitated the move to authoritarianism we have seen in western governments. It has given the super rich (many of whom are tech billionaires) unprecedented power to shape the world as they see fit. Indeed without it, the green revolution may not have been foisted on us quite so speedily or brutally.

    1. SM
      February 8, 2023


  7. Ashley
    February 7, 2023

    Indeed. One is driven by real consumer demand the other by government, deluded politicians, crony capitalism, corruption, duff science and a bonkers religion.

    You say:- “They want people to swap the petrol car for an electric vehicle.” but EVs cause far more CO2 not less than keeping your old car and can cost £1 per mile just in finance costs and depreciation of the car and battery before running costs. Your old car typically cost only 1/3 of this per mile and less CO2 too plus that is paying taxes unlike the EV.

    “They want families to rip out the gas boiler and put in a heat pump” – these hugely expensive and totally impractical in older houses also they use electricity as fuel that costs far more than gas or oil so not even cheaper to run.” Electricity that will mainly come from gas, coal, oil anyway.

    “They want to discourage car and airline travel, promoting walking and cycling.” Well walking and cycling are powered by human food on a typical UK diet five people walking 10 miles to and from work uses far more energy (growing the extra human food they need, processing it, delivering it, cooking it) than taking them by car. It also uses up hours of their time decreasing productivity.

    The solutions they push are idiotic, expensive & do not evem work. Circa 95% of MPs and 99% of green loons are scientifically illiterate. Plus CO2 is not a significant problem anyway (just a deluded religion) and we have had no recent warming anyway. Coldest for 70 years in Antarctica and no sig. world warming since 1998. Plus a little warmer is better anyway. Far more die from cold than from heat.

    Wind and Solar is only about 2% of total human energy use worldwide (electricity, transport, heating, industry, farming… ) and so largely irrelevant.

  8. Gabe
    February 7, 2023

    We have thousands dead in the dreadful earthquake in Turkey, a problem that can be largely addressed by building more stable buildings )if they can afford too’. Yet government stick to this mad CO2 religion making countries far poorer in the process.

    Even if CO2 were a significant and imminent problem (it clearly is not) there are far better ways to spend the £Trillions to save lives. See How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place Paperback – by Bjorn Lomborg for lots of good examples.

  9. Ian wragg
    February 7, 2023

    Panorama last night, how the digital revolution was killing the planet.
    Government wanting to make us all electric and reliant on wind.
    Experts wanting us to be vegetarian when it I.poses health risk and not enough land to feed us
    The revolution will come from the people when the penny drops that meat , travel and car ownership will only be available for the few.
    This has nothing to do with saving the planet, it’s about coercive control.

    1. Ian wragg
      February 7, 2023

      I see today the glorious windmills are generating 1.7gw, coal, wind and nuclear account for 64%

      1. BOF
        February 7, 2023

        Ian Wragg. I am sure the new minister for Energy Security and Net Zero will be delighted.

  10. Iago
    February 7, 2023

    Awful news, Mark Steyn has left GB News.

    ‘It is a terrible loss for us all and not just all at TCW, but for the country. It is a tragedy for free speech that his style of fearless, moral and uncompromising broadcasting has been brought to an abrupt end. For a year he threw light on dark, he ridiculed the shameless, for a year he raised our hopes that sanity, reason and truth might prevail. Now he is gone and it is shocking and sad.’

    1. BOF
      February 7, 2023

      Yes Iago, and the replacements are thin gruel.

    2. Diane
      February 8, 2023

      Iago: I don’t usually do +1s – but agreed, you are right. GB News’ great loss. I listened to his 06 Feb video ( & recent others) – Mark’s Mailbox-title “Has Ofcom Popped Steyn’s Balloon” ( 39 minutes ) on the website ( & Mark Steyn Club ) & he seemed in fine form & gave some background too on the current ‘circumstances’. ( One might say ‘they’ got him in the end ) So not all is lost if you or anyone else are fans as his videos & comment are accessible even to non-members of the Club.

  11. Gabe
    February 7, 2023

    Net zero is the NHS’s latest excuse to skip work
    Charles Moore today.
    “Did you know that the NHS “became the first health system to embed net zero into legislation, through the Health and Care Act 2022”? The health service boasts of this fact, but I find it depressing.”

    So do I, highly depressing and totally idiotic. Excess all causes death figures out later today from the ONS. Let’s hope it is finally reducing from the 1800-4000 figures of recent weeks. Have the government “experts” worked out the causes yet or do they still have their heads in the sand? Is Whitty still quite absurdly trying to blame people for not taking their statins and BP medicines contrary to all the evidence?

  12. DOM
    February 7, 2023

    How far will the Tory party go to embrace left-wing authoritarianism using digital tech as their medium? Labour of course be delirious that the digital State will become our master and ruler so let’s see which hollowed Tory MP stands up and condemns this move towards the brutality of State power. My guess is NONE after seeing Bridgen crushed under the wheels of Tory cowardice

    Tory appeasement of the scum left will undermine all that we are

  13. R.Grange
    February 7, 2023

    Surely governments are not ‘using market principles’ to promote their Green revolution. They are using tax and subsidy. That is why a believer in free markets must find their net zero agenda unacceptable. The so-called green revolution is all about coercion, higher costs and reduced lifestyles, it is not about offering the expanded opportunities that the digital revolution gave. Talking about the Green equivalent of the Mini or the VW Beetle is just pie-in-the-sky. It suggests to me that Sir John has yet to acknowledge the real character and danger to all our freedoms of the global Green cult.

    1. glen cullen
      February 7, 2023

      ‘The irony!! Indonesia is building a “green industrial park” that will produce EV batteries… powered by brand new coal-fired plants’ net zero watch

  14. Anselm
    February 7, 2023

    Now the green pressure is easing, it is time to come to our senses.

    Today with the High pressure anticyclone in, we have to use a bit of emergency gas electricity production (Open Cycle). We are importing fracked gas from the USA. The Emirates Stadium was built by a country (UAE) which is rich because of oil production, gained by fracking (I know an oil man there who told me.)
    Coal is imported for the steel works.

    Let’s stop pretending and being hypocrites shall we?
    We are sitting on piles of our own coal. We are sitting on masses of oil and gas.

    Levelling up? Well, it is all in the right place too.

  15. BOF
    February 7, 2023

    My wife enquired about changing her car recently. The nearly new car offered in exchange was very expensive with a lower powered engine, ICE, as neither of of us will ever buy electric or hybrid. She has decided to stay with the old car.

    The dealer said ICE vehicles were selling before they ever came in and at top prices. Government intervention and subsidy and policy built on lies has ruined the car market.

  16. Bloke
    February 7, 2023

    People are happier without a busybody government interfering with their freedom and trying to force them to tolerate nuisance.

    1. glen cullen
      February 7, 2023


  17. Peter
    February 7, 2023

    I have the kit but would much prefer the days when people did not have to lug a phone and various credit cards around.

    I don’t want to have to use a phone instead of a simple paper rail ticket obtained at the station. I would prefer to pay cash for small items not be forced to use a card because there is no alternative.

    Off topic, I watched Liz Truss’ Spectator interview yesterday. I thought she came across well. She was not tempted to blame various individuals. but she did point out a trend away from conservatism including within her own party.

  18. Nottingham Lad Himself
    February 7, 2023

    Yes, some stuff is different from other stuff – bravo Sherlock!

    However, there are an endless number of fields in which there has been great change in recent years.

    The ultimate top-down change imposed on the people of this country has been that inflicted by Tory governments which were never voted for by more than a quarter of the people however.

    It covers everything from the destruction of local democracy by centrally-imposed compulsory competitive tendering to the removal of the choice in energy supplies of a not-for-profit, publicly-controlled supplier. Let’s not get started on the whole raft of rights removed by their absolutist, isolationist brexit.

    I’m trying to buy a diesel estate car with manual transmission and drive flat tyres made by a European-owned firm, but BMW have stopped making the one I wanted. I could still buy an automatic, but I don’t want one.

    The greens didn’t remove that choice from me, the markets apparently did.

  19. J M
    February 7, 2023

    Cars: by use of the tax system people were encouraged to go diesel. Now they are the great Satan. Why should people trust the government when it encourages them to buy electric cars? We all know the batteries contain a lot of very nasty elements and chemicals. How can we be sure that when the batteries come to the end of their life the government, bowing to the latest group of eco-warriors, will not turn round and tell us it is toxic waste and we must pay to have it disposed of?

    Heat pumps: these require enormous emitters. They work best with underfloor heating systems. This cannot easily, effectively and certainly not cheaply be retrofitted to existing homes. The government claims to want us to go this way, but the building regulations do not require developers of new homes or those who convert buildings into residential use to fit them as standard. Why not?

    1. glen cullen
      February 7, 2023

      Secretary of State for net-zero
      This Tory government has truly lost the plot

  20. MPC
    February 7, 2023

    ‘Revolution’ should form no part of a Conservative agenda. The current green revolution is a Conservative invention and its sheer destructiveness will be at the forefront of voters’ minds at the next general election.

  21. Sea_Warrior
    February 7, 2023

    I gather we have a big announcement coming today about the government’s plan for a digital currency. The Britcoin will come, no doubt, at great cost, for no appreciable benefits, and with major implications for personal freedom. (Sounds like a smart-meter!) The idea needs strangling, Sir John.
    P.S. I’m now going to NS&I to make a small investment, earning me my 4%. I’ll do this online, with just a few key-strokes, because my pounds are already digital enough.

    1. glen cullen
      February 7, 2023


  22. Shirley M
    February 7, 2023

    I can see the need to gradually move away from fossil fuels, but the CO2 religion is fake and we can wait until we have viable alternatives. We do NOT have viable alternatives currently, but we do have expensive and useless ‘un-green’ renewables.

    None of this green religion will help the UK, other than reducing pollution in our towns. Unless all countries move away from fossil fuels at the same pace we are just bankrupting//killing our country for the benefit of the less cooperative countries. On the good side, if the country was bankrupt it would stop the channel invaders … just as we need them, as the Brits would be leaving in droves, if there was some other country worth moving to.

  23. Ian B
    February 7, 2023

    Sir John
    Governments – “They offer subsidies to cut the price of electric vehicles”

    Governments only have money they have removed from peoples wallets in the form of a tax on their existence. Was it the intention of the People when they empowered their Parliament to rob money from people who cannot afford a new car to then give it to those that can?

    An inherent problem with all subsidies, they distort

  24. hefner
    February 7, 2023

    What does Sir John think of the project of establishing a Britcoin within 10 years?

  25. Sharon
    February 7, 2023

    Whilst I agree with pretty much all you say here, SJR.., there is a top down push with the digitisation.

    There is a push from government websites to use online as a preference. And this is how they are trying to introduce the digital ID, which is intended to go much further than just a one-stop-log- in.

    Supermarkets are being encouraged to put in ever more card-only tills. Ironically, the manned tills have the longest queues, whilst few are using the machines. Speaking (complaining) to various people over some issues, they’ve said they received emails to do certain things, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s not more being pushed by the government. And we know the government is partway down the route of digital currency.

    Too much much busy-bodying from govt, poking their nose in far too much!

    1. Bill B.
      February 8, 2023

      Sharon, when you say ‘push from government’, do you mean the permanent government (civil servants) or the puppet politicians?

  26. berkshire Alan
    February 7, 2023

    Indeed times are a changing, and you highlight correctly the different aproaches by Private Enterprise and the State, but unfortunately many are being left behind by both methods because few manufacturers or system users offer any simple updates, support, or training on the use of these platforms, and cyber crime is growing.
    A recent survey outlined on TV recently suggested that the 16- 30 age group, were more likely to be the victims of scams and cyber crime, than the 60 years plus group !
    Just purchased a new diesel car, well they call it a car, and it looks like a car, but really it is a computer on wheels, It needs so much personal detail to be entered into it’s own computer systems to function fully, that it will need decoding if it is ever sold, and a big possible personal security risk if it is ever stolen.
    Yes new technology can make life much more simple for some, but a nightmare for others !

  27. Cuibono
    February 7, 2023

    Usually the aim of revolution is to improve a situation.
    This isn’t a revolution.
    Oh we were tricked for a while by the freedom of the internet…subsequently snatched away.
    No. THIS is a power grab of monumental proportions.

  28. Donna
    February 7, 2023

    The irony in this article by Sir John is that the Authoritarians in the Establishment and Government intend using what has so far been a largely voluntary digital revolution to achieve the top-down, imposed, and largely unwanted so-called green revolution.

    At the moment, digital technology is your servant. The Government intends that it will effectively become your Master …. or to be more accurate the State will use technology to become your Master via a Digital Currency and Social Credit System. Everything you do, go or buy will be tracked and your “carbon usage” will be calculated: that will be used to tax you, or if they choose, to restrict your life by preventing you from doing what you want.

    Fancy steak for dinner ….. computer says NO, you’ve had your meat allowance for this month. Want to drive to see your grandchildren in your petrol car ….. computer says NO. Want to fly to Greece for a week in the sun (second time that year) ….. computer says NO. Had the latest coerced jabs ….. if you don’t comply the computer will prevent you from accessing public spaces.

    Think they wouldn’t dare do it? Well what have they been doing for the past three years?

    The WEF wants a population of compliant drones and the Government is busily building it.

  29. Walt
    February 7, 2023

    Yes, Sir John. So why cannot (or will not) Government see that and act accordingly?

  30. boffin
    February 7, 2023

    Today’s diary prompts me to reflect upon how complacent we have become as to the availabilty of electrotechnology, and thus ever more dependent on it.

    When in 1859 a major solar flare led to the Carrington Event, the only long wires were those of the newfangled telegraph systems and apart from sparks and the odd fire these mostly continued to work. A similar electromagnetic event could happen any day, and we’d be in very bad shape to handle the consequences – widespead damage to power grids and electronics.

    A Home Office video of long ago illustrated the effect of a single hostile electromagnetic pulse detonation very high above western Germany – unprotected electronics fried across most of Europe and much of the UK. Good luck with EVs, heat pumps, digital currencies, communications and commerce generally then.

    As accuracy is not important in the positioning of such a device, even a rocket is not strictly necessary ….. we have just seen this week that a balloon could do the job quite nicely.

  31. Dave Andrews
    February 7, 2023

    Currently 25.5GW of wind turbine installation actually generating 2.77GW, compared with a demand of 37.6GW.
    If wind power is such a good idea, can those running these wind farms get the things working rather than standing idle or barely turning?
    Wind farm operators should receive penalties for failure to deliver rather than subsidies.

  32. Ian B
    February 7, 2023

    The Digital revolution has many pitfalls, mainly it allows the perverse to believe they have they rights to reverse peoples freedoms. Instead of offering services or products the greater majority of online facilities are ‘farming’ the user for their own profit. 99% of what is suggested as free is the complete opposites

    Here I am not so much as relating to the first level perceived offering, but the third party back door facilitators. Peoples data is basically being stolen and then sold on by entities that are outside UK jurisdiction.

    The so-called GDPR is written in reverse, yes you get to know that your data, that includes every one in your contact lists and so on, is harvested but only after you have read some 30 odd pages of T&C’s. Then you have to read the same number of pages with each individual facilitator. That is not a free and open Internet.

    Even arriving at Sir Johns page here means 5 other companies have been given the right to interrogate my personal data.

    The problem is what is offered free is not, it is a precondition to someone being sold – modern slavery?

    As with everything in this brave new world we have lost transparency

  33. Cuibono
    February 7, 2023

    Just think how much time and effort govt.s put in on the internet trying to convince us that reports of the dystopian future they had in store were “disinformation”.
    They are still at it and now ( soon?) they will totally ruin the internet with the “Online Harm” thing.
    And how very funny that SO MANY ( ALL actually) of the “conspiracy theories’ have turned out to be the truth!

  34. agricola
    February 7, 2023

    Two different approaches to achieving a desirable end. One market led with technology offering tangible advantage. It is more evolution than revolution. People buy into what they perceive as good for them. For instance, on the market at the moment is a page reader, advantageous to many. Next step will be one that scans Spanish on the page and translates to English, for what I would anticipate there is a vast market. Just think publishers only having to print a book or newspaper in one language.

    The tendency to green has many positives flowing from it. Think what it could do for health and the NHS. However its top down by dictat is technically illiterate. It is not market oriented. Therefore the car industry going electric with all its glaringly obvious downside is open to much better technology achieving the same end at a much better price. The Japanese know this so look out for a swarm of Datsuns putting a shovel under all this electrification just as they did to Longbridge of old. May take another five years, but it will be market oriented so watch out.

  35. David Cooper
    February 7, 2023

    In summary, the winner of today’s oxymoron contest is “green investment”.

    1. David Cooper
      February 7, 2023

      I return to correct myself. The winner of today’s oxymoron contest is “the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero”. It would be circumspect not to go beyond noting that it is to be headed by Grant Shapps.

  36. JayGee
    February 7, 2023

    Dear, dear, dear and dearer.

  37. hefner
    February 7, 2023

    What does Sir John think of the project of establishing a Britcoin within 10 years?
    52 questions are parts of the consultation open till April 2023 and available on ‘Future financial services regulatory regime for cryptoassets: Consultation and call for evidence’, 82 pp.

    1. agricola
      February 7, 2023

      Banking is already a well protected monopoly. Giving them the power along with government to exert this level of control is Orwellian. Our money already comes minus any basis for its value. In future it will be something you only hold for a very short amount of time, it being safer to convert it to assets of your own, government having already removed its asset base. Have you all noticed that the coinage is now magnetic cknfirming its lack of value. It has become symbolic of nothing.

  38. Ian B
    February 7, 2023

    The Green Revolution in the UK fails, it fails because of dumb Government.

    The UK Government instead of nurturing an alternative, they start with the premise lets tax more to discourage. Then they rob one sector the poorest in society to fund the richest.

    Any sane Government, would have said this is the direction we should travel, to change will cost, will cost a lot. So we need to enhance our economy, encourage our economy to create the resources to fund this new future.

    What did we get, Boris Johnson and his chancellor, spend, spend on increasing the empire of State. Effectively ban UK Industry and ingenuity and import everything by spending UK taxpayer money on foreign empires. A backdoor approach to bankrupting the UK, by backing foreign countries that do not contribute by way of taxes to the UK.

    Has it Changed, No – will still have the same Government, they were collectively responsible for this insane lunacy the UK has been trapped into

  39. Keith from Leeds
    February 7, 2023

    An excellent article, clearly showing the difference between what people will do when it makes life easier, makes more sense or costs less versus what the Government & Opposition are trying to force people to do.
    The problem is it is based on the false premise of Global Warming / Climate Change. Just as you champion conservative values & common sense, we need you to research GW/CC & become a champion of common sense in that area too. CO2 is not now, never has been in the past, nor will be in the future a problem. The very slight warming that has taken place is a natural event & not a disaster.
    It needs to be clearly exposed for the hoax it is.

    1. Ian B
      February 7, 2023

      @Keith from Leeds +1

      If there was an economy to take us in one direction or another that resulted in a more cost effective alternative we would all probably take it up. All the time the State keeps growing itself consuming/wasting more of our taxes we are on a hiding to nothing. Today more Departments, more reviews more speeches – spend, spend, spend.

  40. , George Brooks.
    February 7, 2023

    Top down changes and so called developments take you backwards and bottom up improvements take you upwards and forward.

    There is no advantage whatsoever in an electric car and it has a whole string of disadvantages. The latest mobile phone covers a huge range of today’s benefits in communication and saves time and money.

    Necessity is the mother of invention and dictatorships invariably fail

    1. Ian B
      February 7, 2023

      @George Brooks +1
      The wrong people doing the job, as in lets have an idea and impose it across the board regardless. The announcement will make us look good – ego stroked, job done.

  41. Ian B
    February 7, 2023

    Only a headline 09:00am – “Rishi Sunak reshuffle latest: PM ‘to create new government department”

    What is needed is reductions, removal etc. – New! and a growing State, more talks about talks, more announcements about announcements – is not the same a Doing, becoming efficient living within means.

    1. Ian B
      February 7, 2023

      @ian B – How about a Conservative as Conservative Party Chairman, as well CCH being Conservative. Smith Square, looks more Tiananmen nowadys, infiltration, infiltration.

  42. Iain Moore
    February 7, 2023

    I saw my local council on a list of councils who were signed up to 15 minute districts , having seen no political discussion on this I asked my local councillor about it, who kindly established that they were being considered for new developments, were being discussed for the rest of us though they foresee difficulties, and the council leader in favour of 20 minute villages.

    It would seem our democratic forums have gone rogue on us , rather than being our representative body, they have signed up to a top down agenda and see it as their role and mission to foist them on us. The net zero religion has flipped our democracy , they are no longer our representatives, they work for someone else. When you see an MP wearing a multicolour circle badge, that is the UN 2030 agenda , amongst all the mother hood and apple pie there , this is the sort of cover they are using to meddle in our lives.

    1. Mark
      February 9, 2023

      It is indeed extraordinary to see the degree of control being exerted in the way you describe. With a major round of council elections coming up in May, it is disappointing that there is no sign of any significant movement or party planning to stand against these developments and restore some real democracy. Voters are either minded simply to punish the government by voting for other parties who are in fact subscribed to the same agenda, or feel that since no viable choice is on offer they can only abstain – you can vote for anyone you dislike, as they are all now green totalitarians.


  43. James1
    February 7, 2023

    Some of the technological advances and innovations are amongst the more hopeful signs for the future. An example being the millions of trees not now having to be cut down to provide newsprint, paper, envelopes etc.

  44. Geoffrey Berg
    February 7, 2023

    Of course the main difference is unlike with the Digital Revolution, most Western scientists and pseudo-scientists claim that the Green Revolution is very urgently necessary (not just necessary) to save mankind and the world. I don’t believe that and others on this site are even more disbelieving.
    I would also say that though the Digital Revolution has many benefits, it has some downsides in that it disadvantages us older citizens (who never grew up with it at school) and it has among other downsides led to an explosion of emails instead of personal communication when personal communication (telephone etc.,) is often better.

  45. Michael Saxton
    February 7, 2023

    Excellent points Sir John, the contrast between the digital and the so called green revolution could not be more stark. This difference is caused by an absence of honesty and transparency from those pushing the green revolution. They refuse to debate the issue openly, they distort the scientific facts from IPCC scientists preferring an alarmist mantra. Scientists and engineers with vast technical expertise are ignored even though their knowledge and experience is technically compelling and economically and practically sensible. The public has been denied honest and open communication from government, their departments and quangos like the CCC since the Climate Change Act was legislated in 2008. People are, at last, beginning to realise renewable energy systems are unreliable, requiring expensive base load support from gas, nuclear and coal, making them expensive and inefficient. They also realise there is a large renewable energy lobby making substantial profits from renewable energy investments. People accept there is a credible case to decarbonise, but they also realise there is no climate emergency, we have time to develop the technology that’s technically viable, practically and economically affordable on a worldwide basis. The headlong rush to meet an arbitrary unachievable virtuous 2050 target when UK emissions are 1% is complete nonsense.

  46. Bryan Harris
    February 7, 2023

    HMG does its best to persuade us that we really do want GREEN in every possible shade – they use the media, they use psyops and the army to monitor our reactions or to introduce new arguments or heavily camouflaged deceit – You could call that the SCIENCE of being Green.

    If a lot of very rich people were unable to make even more money out of us being green or us having the latest digital toy, then both of these things would have been calmed down to a normal response long ago.

    It seems that everyone carries a smart phone inches from their nose so they don’t miss an urgent text from a friend, and yes it must be the latest model, the advertisers tell us that — How on Earth did we manage before smart phones were there for us to know instantly what our friends thought, or being able to take a picture of something that would be of little consequence without a fancy camera.

    HMG is not driving the digital revolution (except for digital IDs) in the same way as they drive GREENING, they just allow it to happen, and then take advantage of it.

  47. Kenneth
    February 7, 2023

    But instead of taking the market route, this socialist government/civil service want – like dreamy teenagers – to create a new undemocratic world order of global regulations.

    Let’s see how far they get with harmonizing corporationn tax. What a ridiculous idea that is.

  48. Christopher hook
    February 7, 2023


  49. IanT
    February 7, 2023

    Completely agree Sir John – all we need now is a Government that believes it too.

  50. Gary Megson
    February 7, 2023

    Complete nonsense. The green revolution is not top down at all, it is entirely driven by young people who want to grow up in a world where water companies that donate to the Conservative party are not allowed to flush raw sewage into our rivers, where coal mines are left closed and where renewable energy is used even if the sight of the turbines makes a few Tory voting pensioners cross

    1. IanT
      February 7, 2023

      I think it might eventually dawn on young people that they also want to be able to afford to stay warm in the Winter

    2. Original Richard
      February 7, 2023

      Gary Megson :

      The flushing of raw sewage into our rivers has absolutely nothing to do with the CAGW religion which believes that CO2, a gas which is necessary for all life on the planet, is a pollutant which must be removed from the atmosphere.

      The £billions spent on our unnecessary and pointless unilateral Net Zero Strategy could be far more usefully employed dealing with raw sewage.

      It is not unusual for climate change to be confused with environmental concerns, as we witnessed just recently by a celebrity.

  51. glen cullen
    February 7, 2023

    If we’re to have a digital and green revolutions, it must be lead by the people and not the government, its should be a natural progression and not enforced, it should be of choice & advantage and not subsidy & control

  52. Cuibono
    February 7, 2023

    The digital revolution has forced us all down a very unsafe route.
    We are more vulnerable to theft and fraud than ever in history.
    Yet still they keep on isolating us on little islands of technology.

    1. Ian B
      February 7, 2023

      @Cuibono +1 The authoritarian message of we do it to ‘keep you safe’. Meaning we the State live in fear of the People so we open the backdoor so we can spy, instead of bolting it tight shut to keep all comers out. Its in the Government gift to make the Internet secure for all – but the ‘refuse’.

  53. Original Richard
    February 7, 2023

    There is no climate crisis/emergency/breakdown. The planet’s current warming, which UAH satellite date shows to be just 0.13 degrees C per decade, started at the end of the Little Ice Age which coincided with the start of the Industrial Revolution. We have had higher average global temperatures than today since the end of the most recent Ice Age (the Pleistocene) which ended just 11,000 years ago and for which there is no anthropological CO2 explanation for either the ending of this Ice Age, or the higher temperatures experienced in the Minoan, Roman and Medieval periods. Recent work by Wijngaarden & Happer has demonstrated that doubling CO2 or methane produces almost no additional GHG warming effect. There is no empirical evidence for worsening weather and increased CO2 is greening the planet and increasing food production.

    The reason for CAGW/Net Zero is not to zero emissions of CO2 but to reduce the West to third world status with expensive and intermittent energy and, very importantly, bring total control of the population through the electrification of everything using smart meters.

  54. miami.mode
    February 7, 2023

    With Grant Shapps (or any pseudonym he might use) appointed to Net Zero minister you can bet he will fight tooth and nail to keep to the “green” agenda and maintain high energy prices so you can kiss goodbye to the next election.

    1. glen cullen
      February 7, 2023

      I’m still waiting for his full review of HS2 that he promised at the last election 2019

    2. Ian B
      February 7, 2023

      @miami.mode +1

      A minister talking him self out of a job? Who was it charge of HS2

    3. Original Richard
      February 7, 2023

      miami.mode :

      Not simply high energy prices, but intermittent supplies of electricity together with forcing ices off the road and cutting off the gas to heat our homes.

      This agenda will not change whilst any of the existing parties and the current civil service remain in control.

  55. forthurst
    February 7, 2023

    The digital revolution has taken place in this country despite the earnest endeavours of the Tory party under Thatcher to block it. The monopoly British telecommunications in 1975 created two factories in this country
    in order to obviate the need to parley with the useless GEC, one to manufacture optical fibre cabling and one to manufacture the corresponding switching gear. However, Thatcher hated nationalised industries and wanted ‘competition’ to be supplied by the US (which never happened) as with the big bang so she stopped BT in its tracks; the factories were sold and reconstituted in Japan which now exports to us.

    British governments have a role and that is to protect British business from foreign predation such as the takeover of ARM Holdings but also to realise that as they are mostly people who have no aptitude for science, they should not try to anticipate the next technological revolution. They also need to understand that not all science is good; science can be used just as much for malign purposes as for benign, a case in point being the injected toxic substances industry.

  56. Lindsay McDougall
    February 7, 2023

    Let us indeed focus on the green issue, in particular CO2 emissions. Total gross CO2 emissions in 2019 totalled 33.1 Gt, of which coal fired power stations accounted for 10 Gt. Converting all coal fired power stations to some other type of generation (even gas) would reduce that 10 Gt by at least half, thereby reducing total gross CO2 emissions by 15%. However, that is GROSS CO2 emissions. There are things and processes (trees, artificial trees, oceans etc.) that extract CO2 from the atmosphere so that the reduction in NET CO2 emissions would be much greater than 15%.

    With this in mind, it would be well worth amending WTO rules so that countries burning coal at power stations would be penalised by additional tariffs on their exports. And if coal burning countries (US, China, India etc.) veto these amendments, the UK and like minded nations should set up a rival organisation to WTO, in which dirty economies would be penalised.

  57. forthurst
    February 7, 2023

    My comment included a date which was wildly inaccurate: for 1975 read 1990 if anyone wants check on the story.

  58. Elli ron
    February 7, 2023

    The green cult is not about “green issues”, had CO 2 been their real concern they would have been supporting nuclear, hydro, geothermal and other zero carbon energy.
    The green cult is a “Mother earth” religion which prioritises “virgin Earth” over the flourishing of people.
    They keep attacking on numerous fronts, mainly seeking to curb peoples choices of what to eat, drive, fly etc.
    The crunch will come when a cold windless period slaps the innocents supporting them with the cost to life these green policies will really cost.
    The thing is, all this effort is pointless, as long as China, India and the 90% of the world are increasing their CO 2 output, all our efforts are too small to ameliorate any potential warming effects.

  59. Ian B
    February 7, 2023

    “In recent years the world has been swept by a massive wave of digital investment“

    The bit where it all goes wrong is the misplaced meddling by Government. The talk of online protection and security and the intentions of Ministers are the opposite to what is required. We all know what it means when the authorities say it is to protect you.

    First off the Internet is built on a collection of elements that are referred to as being Free. They could be Free to the Website consuming the element, in practice though the website owner just becomes the facilitator of a third parties need to buy and sell data there visitors data for profit. The third party that receives the data is ever so obscure behind many other barriers.

    Cookies or the way they are presented confuse the issue. Yes functional Cookies are needed so as to navigate a website, as in click the back button to go back one page. Yet a free script, to give a seemingly innocuous pretty element a web page or just to pass a comment, has as its priority collecting a viewers data via a cookie provided by some hidden third party. It is not what most expect.

    So far the Governments so-called protection suggestions, first and foremost facilitate State Authorities collecting personal data before providing a minimal non-existent protection for a web page viewer. Anything that lets someone in the ‘backdoor’ basically lets everyone that wants in the ‘backdoor’. Not off message, China and Russia now have super-duper hypersonic rockets that can travel around the World before anyone realises. The technology, old but expensive mainly from the USA – how did they get it – the internet of course. Governments are so worried about their citizens and seeing them as their own personal threat, they forget every opening they create is an opening for others as well.

    Most of the security leaks/hacks are as a result of the ineptitude of Government.

  60. BOF
    February 7, 2023

    Sir John, on the lunchtime news I heard that Grant Shapps will now lead a new Ministry. Energy Security and Net Zero. Rishi plainly does not get irony! These two are quite incompatible.

    It seems new departments spring up like weeds in a field. Is this to find employment for all the civil servants added during the reign of Boris and Rishi?

  61. Mickey Taking
    February 7, 2023

    ‘Young people who adopted it more readily as a whole helped teach Granny who made the effort to stay in touch with her grandchildren.’
    I’d love to take some young people back to early commercial computing of say 60-70 years ago. How would their mouth gape to be instructed that this large reel of mag tape contains millions of bits, 0 & 1, recorded and read back by various systems with a checksum field to verify accuracy on read back. On some computers a 1024 store ‘words’ of 4 characters represented by 8 bits each held in working memory with a list of basic operations, including move tape drive back or forward 1 block (or continuous forward), and functions like add contents of position a to position b and put result in position 3. Not quite as straightforward as software that now does all that and much, much more than we could dream about.

    1. glen cullen
      February 7, 2023

      I’ve no issue with a debit card, with debit phone or with digital currency in any form …..but with this government you just know they’ll BAN cash

    2. hefner
      February 7, 2023

      MT, not everybody obviously can be as technically/scientifically challenged as a History graduate.
      As if FORTRAN had not been created at IBM in the 1950s, the Internet developed by DARPA in the 60s, the World Wide Web not invented by Berners-Lee at CERN at the end of the 80s … well I guess these IBM, DARPA, CERN do not register as ‘governments, large companies, universities and experts’ for people like Sir John.
      As Bernard de Chartres is supposed to have said ‘We now have dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants’.

  62. Sea_Warrior
    February 8, 2023

    Best response to the Britcoin statement yesterday? Strangely, from an SNP MP, who wanted to know just what problem the government was trying to solve.

    1. glen cullen
      February 8, 2023


    2. glen cullen
      February 8, 2023

      The same could (should) be said for HS2 and Net-Zero

  63. Mark
    February 9, 2023

    While online shopping can be cheaper, it is not necessarily faster, particularly if you are not doing a simple repeat purchase. Some will recall the days when shop workers knew about the goods they carried in detail, and were able to offer advice to shoppers on which products would suit them better. Now, research online can take a good while, finding competing products and trying to find useful reviews and advice about them. It cannot substitute for inspecting goods in person, so items ordered that disappoint have to be returned, and then an alternative lined up in hope.

    Of course having the advice in store was a cost. But it tended to lead to more satisfactory purchases.

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