18 September 2011
The Weinberg Foundation Launch - I was there!!
After my plea from the heart, Laurence O'Hagan, one of the Founder members of the Weinberg Foundation, was kind enough to invite me to the launch.
Who'd think that 57 years after a 16 year old lad had walked half a mile from his pit-house, to his first job with the National Coal Board, he'd be walking amongst luminaries of the scientific, political and media worlds, in the River Room of the House of Lords.
Kirk's speech was concise and, as usual, from the heart and full of hope for rapid progress. He makes the art, of presenting important technicalities in a digestible form to the uninitiated, look so easy.
Baroness Worthington determinedly shifted LFTRs up the political agenda, as well as encouraging probing investigation of the technology by the media and opening the door widely to welcome environmentalist converts into the fold. Politically significant was the announcement that The Foundation would lobby for the formation of an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of LFTR supporters. Maybe we UK advocates could pressurise our own MPs; even if they're not interested, we could ask them to inform political friends and acquaintances of the need for such a group.
Optimism of a promising future was the take-home message from John Durham's speech; optimism marks out LFTR advocates. John contrasted this with an audience embalmed with depression after watching the film he backed - Age of Stupid, starring the late, great, Pete Postlethwaite. What we have already done to the planet and what might happen in (a business-as-usual) future is enough to depress everybody - EXCEPT US!
It was indeed a pleasure and a privilege to see, hear and shake the hand of Richard Weinberg, Alvin's son. The spitting image of his father and so unassuming, he recalls a kind and generous father, but one steeped in his scientific work and surrounded by papers - the tools of the trade. I just had to express my opinion to him, that if LFTRs fulfill their energy-supply potential, his father will be marked out as the most significant person in recorded history, to so beneficently affect humankind.
For an hour, questions came thick and fast from the floor; from a Friends of the Earth representative, from the BBC World Service, from members of the Press and from LFTR supporters and those with only 'passing-interests'. From all corners, that persistent 'chestnut': 'If they're so good, why aren't they wall-to-wall already?' kept popping up. I would hope that the Foundation adopts Alvin Weinberg's own words in response to this question, on every occasion - and express them in quotes. Being in the midst of people and events, his words will always be more authoritative than any 'explanation' we can concoct; I haven't heard one that couldn't be tagged with a 'conspiracy theory' label.
Afterwards, we had a couple of hours in a local pub, where optimism, enthusiasm and, gradually, a load of twaddle filled the air.
What a memorable day - I so hope this is the (UK) start.