Interesting moths article in UK newspaper

Neil Jones neil at
Mon Apr 10 03:48:54 EDT 2006

For non UK leaders I should explain a few things before you read the
article as they refer to British concepts and institutions that will be
unfamiliar to some people. 

"The NHS" referred to in the article is "The National Health Service"
where health care is provided free of charge to everyone. ( I have a
relative who had a heart transplant free on the NHS.) To put it into
context the NHS is something we are rather proud of over here. 
Whitehall is the area of London where the government is based and is
therefore commonly used as a name for the governmental process. Gordon
Brown is "The chancellor of the Exchequer", the man who controls
taxation and government spending. He is widely tipped as a successor to
Tony Blair as Prime Minister.

The Guardian newspaper is one of the UK's national newspapers. It is
seen as being one of the quality dailies along with other such
newspapers as the Times.

The National Moth Recording Scheme is to be run by the Butterfly

It will involve thousands of volunteers to generate a much more detailed
picture of how moths are faring throughout the country.

Here is the article.,,1750508,00.html

In praise of ... moths

Monday April 10, 2006
The Guardian

Too much national lottery money has been cynically misdirected by the
government into health and education projects that should be paid for by
direct taxation, an easy robbery because of its superficial populist
appeal. All voters see much-needed funding go with a fanfare to a school
or clinic; many, many fewer note Gordon Brown stealing off with the same
amount reduced from his tax bill.

The rot is not universal among the lottery distributors, however, as the
Heritage Lottery Fund persistently shows with imaginative projects which
really are the sort of "extras" envisaged when the weekly gamble was
born. One such is the £800,000 just granted to the National Moth
Recording Scheme which will do far more than plot the nation's remaining
stock of Setaceous Hebrew Character moths or Angle Prominents. Moths and
butterflies may be the very symbol of idle frittering or covert decay
but their enthusiasts have made an even greater contribution to human
welfare than the NHS.

The immortal examples are Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. Much
more recently Sir Cyril Clarke made central discoveries about rhesus
negative "blue babies" and longevity and pollution through his expertise
on the Peppered moth and breeding Swallowtail butterflies. His interest
was kindled during boyhood night watches as the moths fluttered in to
his garden lamp. The grant will seed potential successors; a paradigm of
original education and health promotion well beyond Whitehall's wit.

Neil Jones
Neil at


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