We can stop Britain's unending rain - but greens won't like it

Comment

Opinion digest: improving British weather, reforming the Lords, praising Libya's elections

LAST UPDATED AT 10:34 ON Tue 10 Jul 2012

EVERY weekday morning from The Week online - a daily wrap-up of the best comment and opinion articles from the morning papers and the top political bloggers. If you think we've missed a good one, please let us know. Contact us via Twitter @TheWeekUK.

GIVE OUR CLOUDS A SILVER LINING
ROSS CLARK ON STOPPING BRITAIN'S RAIN
There is a remedy to help us with the weather, says Ross Clark in The Times. It's called silver iodide. Spraying clouds with the substance can make it rain in drought afflicted areas, and divert rain from flooded areas. Although "the effectiveness of the technology remains a matter of debate", many who have tried it have claimed success. The Chinese government successfully emptied clouds of rain before they passed over the Beijing Olympics closing ceremonies. The French used it to stop hail damaging crops, and the Gulf states have used it to bring rain to the desert. Admittedly, it doesn't suit the environmental mood of the times. We don't like the idea of meddling with nature. "We like to see foul weather and climate change as punishment for our sins." The green lobby would protest. But it might be time to ask ourselves, "do we want to keep environmentally pure, or do we want to try to stop it raining"?

WITH LABOUR WE CAN DEFEAT THE ESTABLISHMENT
CHARLES KENNEDY ON LORD'S REFORM  
Progressives in Britain have waited a century for Lords reform, says Charles Kennedy in The Guardian. And for 100 years, "the establishment has resisted, blocked or talked out those who argue for change". Today we have an historic opportunity to finally bring about that change – and it's in Labour's hands. Despite committing to a mostly elected House of Lords in their last three manifestos and the coalition agreement, "many Conservatives are likely to give in to their instincts and defend the establishment". The vote for reform tonight will be on a knife edge. Labour MPs have the chance to tip the balance in favour of reform. The Lords was fit, perhaps, for the 19th century, but this "bastion of privilege and patronage" is "simply embarrassing in the 21st". Leaving aside the politics of the Coalition, this bill is transformative: "an historic opportunity that progressives have yearned after for a century is within our grasp".

THE ARAB SPRING'S SPIRIT STILL BURNS IN LIBYA
SHASHANK JOSHI ON LIBYA'S ELECTIONS
Libya has gone off-script, says Shashank Joshi in The Daily Telegraph. "This was supposed to be a simple story: naive liberals support Libyan revolution, Islamists hijack revolution. The end." Despite sceptics' warnings that Libya would become a hotbed of Islamist fanaticism, Libya's elections were free and peaceful – and did not lead to Islamist victory. Instead, a 62 per cent turnout voted for a coalition led by the Western-educated political scientist and former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, sweeping Islamist opponents aside. "These are remarkable accomplishments for a country that was gripped by civil war less than a year ago." Of course, Libya has a long way to go. Elections do not guarantee political stability, and democratic transitions are fraught with risks. But "at a time when it is increasingly fashionable to dismiss the Arab Spring as a fantasy, here is its animating spirit at work". · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.