The battle for fission will be fought...

... in Richmond Park?

Cammy has been remarkably silent on the issue of nuclear power overall. On the other hand, just about every other Conservative not in his intimate circle has been positive about it. Ken Clarke has had a couple of appearances on Question Time recently in which he's pushed for more nuclear power. Then we had Michael Portillo's brilliant remark about the sinful nature of denouncing it. It did seem that following Cammy's wet rebranding exercise (which seems to have done a lot of good for the party if the opinion polls are any indication) the Tories would be getting harder on some key issues and there was hope that they, at least, wouldn't oppose it.

But things have turned ugly. Zac Goldsmith has been selected as the Conservative candidate for Richmond Park. At the next general election, he'll be standing to become their MP. Now that he's true blue, Goldsmith is to become the face of Green Conservatism. Horror!

To be fair, the stuff he says in the Telegraph is actually pretty reasonable. It's all about Pigouvian taxation and how conservation can prove cost effective (unfortunately, some evangelicals then presume that because there are many examples of when being energy efficient is economical, that this is deterministic rule for all cases of perceived energy efficiency).

Given the chumminess between Cammy and Goldsmith as well as Goldsmith's clearly preferred field, if he's elected, he will become very important to Conservative environment policy. Peter Ainsworth is the Shadow Environment Minister at the moment. Goldsmith can't take that job because he is not an MP, but I expect Ainsworth's position to be shortlived if he does become one.

And given the polls at the moment, there is a clear and present danger that Goldsmith won't be the Shadow Environment Minister, but the real one.

If Zac Goldsmith is to be the Secretary of State for the Environment, then we need all the Ken Clarke's we can get prevent the country from falling into darkness... literally!

Rebranding radiation

The IAEA are now launching a new radiation hazard symbol.


The objective is to make sure that people understand when they are close to a large and dangerous source of radiation, the traditional symbol not having really been adopted for any negative connotation so far.


This new one seems much more intuitive. Clearly it shows that a stinky propeller can be smelt at the emergency exit and while watching Pirates of the Caribbean.

There could be an advantage to this rebranding exercise. Since the Usual Suspects have a habit of marking nuclear installations on the map with the old radiation symbol (while not extending the same courtesy to coal fired power stations), this could remove the obvious negative imagery they are trying to evoke.

The disadvantage is that it sucks. It lacks grace. There is elegance to the simplicity of the old symbol. Besides, logically, any facility that allows people near to dangerous sources of radiation without even ensuring they are knowledgeable of hazard symbols, can't be trusted to use the signs in the first place.