The Spectator

Who cut more coal: Thatcher or Wilson?

Who cut more coal: Thatcher or Wilson?
(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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Woolly thinking

There were protests in Whitehall to save Geronimo, an alpaca due to be put down after testing positive for tuberculosis. How many alpacas are there in Britain?

— The British Alpaca Society claims to have 1,500 members who between them own 45,000 alpacas.

— The society’s annual show can attract as many as 600 animals for display.

— The wool from the animal, a native of South America, was introduced to Britain in 1836 by Sir Titus Salt, the industrialist and founder of Saltaire, the model villagein West Yorkshire.

Cool reception

Some of the less-reported findings from the IPCC report on global warming:

— ‘In recent decades the number of deep extratropical cyclones has increased over the southern hemisphere while the number of deep cyclones has decreased in the northern hemisphere.’

— ‘Since the 1970s a worldwide weakening of surface wind has likely occurred over land, particularly marked in the northern hemisphere, with low confidence in a recent partial recovery since around 2010.’

— ‘Antarctic sea ice area has experienced little net change since 1979 (high confidence), with only minor differences between sea ice area decadal means for 1979-1988 … and 2010-2019.’

Raking over the coals

Boris Johnson was attacked for claiming that Margaret Thatcher had made a headstart on cutting carbon emissions by closing coal mines. Under which government did coal production fall most?

Attlee (1945-51) +22%

Churchill/Eden/Macmillan (1951-64) -12%

Wilson (1964-70) -26%

Heath (1970-74) -25%

Callaghan (1974-79) +11%

Thatcher (1979-90) -24%

Major (1990-97) -48%

Blair/Brown (1997-2010) -63%

Cameron/May/Johnson (2010-) -89%

Source: BEIS

Herd mentality

What percentage need to be vaccinated or infected to achieve Covid herd immunity?

— ‘About 60%’: Sir Patrick Vallance (March 2020)

— ‘80%’: Professor Peter Openshaw (May)

— ‘About 85%’: Professor Christiana Pagel (July)

— ‘88%’: Professor Paul Hunter (July)

— ‘High 80s’: Mark Woolhouse (August)

— ‘Not possible’: Sage (October 2020)