Granted, it’s from a British newspaper, which means take it with a grain of salt (or at least, as big of a grain of sodium chloride as you’d take an article in an American newspaper), but if true, this story sounds truly frightening:
Pensioners burn books for warmth
Volunteers have reported that ‘a large number’ of elderly customers are snapping up hardbacks as cheap fuel for their fires and stoves.
Temperatures this week are forecast to plummet as low as -13ºC in the Scottish Highlands, with the mercury falling to -6ºC in London, -5ºC in Birmingham and -7ºC in Manchester as one of the coldest winters in years continues to bite.
Workers at one charity shop in Swansea, in south Wales, described how the most vulnerable shoppers were seeking out thick books such as encyclopaedias for a few pence because they were cheaper than coal.
One assistant said: ‘Book burning seems terribly wrong but we have to get rid of unsold stock for pennies and some of the pensioners say the books make ideal slow-burning fuel for fires and stoves.
A lot of them buy up large hardback volumes so they can stick them in the fire to last all night.’
A 500g book can sell for as little as 5p, while a 20kg bag of coal costs £5.
Since January 2008, gas bills have risen 40 per cent and electricity prices 20 per cent, although people over 60 are entitled to a winter fuel allowance of between £125 and £400.
Jonathan Stearn, energy expert for Consumer Focus, said: ‘If pensioners are taking such desperate measures to heat their homes it is shocking. With low wholesale prices and increasing profit margins, there is clearly room for energy companies to make price cuts immediately.’
Ruth Davison, of the National Housing Federation, said: ‘The spiralling cost of energy means heating homes has become a luxury rather than a necessity for many people – particularly the elderly, low paid and unemployed.’
As science blog Watts Up With That? notes, “Shades of Fahrenheit 451″
But in addition to Ray Bradbury’s famous dystopian novel (which previously echoed more than a little in last year’s Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act story), it’s also the alpha and the omega of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, now celebrating its second anniversary. The rulers of National Socialist Germany burned books because they were frightened by their content; the citizens of socialist England burn books because of their nation’s whackadoodle environmentally correct energy policies.
And speaking of which, great “Final Countdown” find by Sonic Frog.net:
Prince Charles: Eighteen months
to stop climate change disaster
The Prince of Wales has warned that the world faces a series of natural disasters within 18 months unless urgent action is taken to save the rainforests.
In one of his most out-spoken interventions in the climate change debate, he said a £15 billion annual programme was required to halt deforestation or the world would have to live with the dire consequences.
“We will end up seeing more drought and starvation on a grand scale. Weather patterns will become even more terrifying and there will be less and less rainfall,” he said.
The P.C. prince made the above claim in May of 2008. (He would make yet another final final countdown this past summer, and no doubt, there are more to come.) Those eighteen months he warned us about so portentiously have now passed.