Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Greens Back PCS Strikers

I previously blogged on the vote by civil servants to strike against continuing government attacks. I am pleased to say that the Green Party of England and Wales is fully supportive of the strikers, as reported on the Party Website, here.

Green Party Male Principal Speaker and fellow blogger Derek Wall released the following statement:

"The people going on strike do so to defend the services we all take for granted. They aren't high flying mandarins or faceless bureaucrats, but hard working ordinary people.

"Massive job cuts, low pay, privatisation, office closures, worsening working conditions and plummeting morale mean that the PCS will go on a one-day strike tomorrow - and they have the Green Party's support."

PCS are showing the way, in contrast to the far more timid approach of other public sector unions like my own Unison, held back by Labourist leaderships anxious not to rock the boat for the governing Party in the run up to the May local government and Scottish and Welsh Assembly elections. Unfortunately the Labourist led unions are the chief unions in the now vitally important struggle developing over the NHS. The foot dragging over organising the national day of action on the NHS on 3rd March is disgraceful. (Incidentally a very good summary of the situation in the NHS by Socialist Party healthworker Jon Dale here.)

That the TUC website page on the Day of Action was relatively bare until recently shows the last minute nature of some of the regional events that were to be organised in preference to the focussed National Demo that many on the left were arguing for. Nevertheless, the rally planned for Birmingham on 3rd March provides a temporary focal point which can be built for by the left, trade unionists and NHS defence activists across Central England, and other rallies and public events across the country are now being added to the NHS Together Web pages.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Feb 5th Set for International Solidarity With Lt Ehren Watada

The mother of Lt Ehren Watada, a US Military Officer refusing to go to Iraq has appealed for support for him on the day set for his Court Martial. I post the appeal and other info below.

Appeal for International Support from Carolyn Ho,
Mother of Lt Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer
of the US Army to refuse to go to Iraq

Dear Friends,

As the first commissioned officer in the US Army to refuse deployment to Iraq, Lt. Watada speaks for all men and women in uniform who oppose this illegal and immoral War. His courage and will to defend the US Constitution, uphold the rule of law, and stop the wanton loss of life poses a threat to the powers that be. They are intent on putting him behind prison walls hoping that people will forget his message and that the so-called “surge” in troops will continue unabated.

His court martial scheduled for Feb. 5, 2007 promises to be a mockery of justice. In disallowing the Nuremberg defence and declaring the movement order to deploy to Iraq legal, the judge has in effect found Lt. Watada guilty. In addition the judge’s refusal to dismiss the “conduct unbecoming…” charge signals the military’s intent to prosecute him despite his constitutional right to free speech. It is ironic that higher ranking officers, both retired and active duty, have spoken out but have not been charged. Yet, Lt. Watada, a junior officer farthest from the top, is being made an example to suppress dissent among other officers and the rank and file

Lt. Watada faces a maximum of six years in a military prison. Although officials claim that they do not care what the public thinks, they are certainly tuned in to the pulse of the national and international community. Public opinion is a critical part of the defence and the prosecution must know that the world is watching.

You can help to build international support for Lt. Watada by contacting people in your personal, professional, and religious networks. Please forward the attached email alert with a brief explanation. Ask people to go to: to learn more about Lt. Watada's case. Under “Take Action”, supporters can click on SIGN THE PETITION & GET ACTION ALERTS by email. There are suggestions that can galvanize support and perhaps change the course of the court martial. Write, demonstrate, demand justice and no punishment for Lt. Watada. His voice of resistance to this heinous war cannot be silenced!

In Solidarity,

Carolyn Ho (Lt. Watada’s Mother)

About Lt. Watada

My moral and legal obligation is to the Constitution and not
to those who would issue unlawful orders.
Lt. Ehren Watada

U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq. On June 22, 2006, Lt. Watada stated that he believes the war and occupation in Iraq are illegal, and thus participation in the war is also illegal. He now faces court-martial on Feb 5, 2007.

Lt. Watada was initially charged with missing movement, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentlemen, and contempt toward officials, and on August 24, the Article 32 (of the Military Code) pre-trial hearing investigator recommended a general court martial on all charges.

For the first time since 1965, the military is prosecuting an objector for his opinions. On September 15, an additional charge of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman was added based on Lt. Watada’s speech to the Veterans for Peace convention in August. Following US elections which showed overwhelming rejection of the war in Iraq, the Army dropped the charge of contempt towards officials.

At a second pre-trial hearing on Jan 4, the military court refused to drop conduct unbecoming an officer charges and ruled that Lt Watada cannot present arguments relating to the legality of the Iraq War. If found guilty, Lt. Watada could be sentenced to up to six years in a military prison – four years for First Amendment speech alone.

A born leader, friends and family in Honolulu, Hawai’i were not surprised at his determination to pursue a military officer career after college graduation in a post-9/11 era. Lt. Watada also inherits his dedication to community service. His parents have been and are well-known public servants in Hawai’i and Ehren was an exemplary Eagle Scout at age 15. He graduated magna cum laude from Pacific University in Hawai’i with a degree in Finance.

Not one to jump to conclusions or act on whims, Lt. Watada researched how and why the Iraq War had begun. It was after a year of study and discernment and of a one-year tour of duty in Korea – where he served with distinction – that he came to the courageous decision to refuse deployment to Iraq.

By refusing to participate in the ongoing Iraq war and occupation, Lt. Watada joins a growing number of high ranking military officers, West Point graduates, and current and former members of the armed services who have expressed their opposition to the actions of the United States in Iraq. These brave men and women are standing with Lt. Watada.

Lt. Watada is also supported by families of service members killed in Iraq, faith-based organizations, peace groups and grassroots people across the country and around the world

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Proper Charlie and Slow Boats To China

The Independent Newspaper is very keen on green stories these days, which sometimes sit uneasily besides the lifestyle and consumerist articles and adverts that it also carries. Nevertheless, they are running a good number of interesting articles and series on environmental topics including their current campaign on waste. They report today on the airline trip taken by Prince Charles, wife and retinue to the USA to collect an environmental award.

Now keen observers of this blog will have noticed that I am not a Royalist, but I cannot say that Charles Windsor is not occasionally on the right side. However, his environmentalism is of such a reactionary character and linked to some of the more odious establishment figures of right-wing ruralism that I feel, regardless of my republicanism, that he actually damages the environmental cause. Charles' politics and philosophy as far as we can gather, is not the "spiritualist wet liberalism" that the shallow media seem to have pinned on him (talking to plants and the like), but actually a much more dangerous blend of semi-feudalist ruralism, reactionary new agery and Traditionalism (in the esoteric sense of the word rather than the purely old fashioned - his claim to be defender of "Faith" or "Faiths" rather than The Faith should I believe be seen in this light rather than the liberal interpretation usually put on it) This links him to some very dubious types with soft spots for "thinkers" of the late nineteenth and first half of the 20th Century who were instrumental in developing the intellectual justification for the fascist and totalitarian movements of that dark era. Whether Charles is fully aware of the resonances of some of his statements and the company he keeps in making them is an interesting question.

So now, to top his courting of the worst wings of the environmental movement, he mocks the efforts of campaigners to cut down numbers of flights by flying with his retinue to accept an award from an organisation sponsored by those great champions of the environment, the oil company BP. A proper Charlie indeed.

Elsewhere this week the Independent has had some interesting articles about Carbon Offsetting in the wake of British Government announcements on the topic, and also stuff on the export of toxic waste products to China here and here.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

New Links Added

I have added links in my Left Political Groups and Blogs section to A World To Win and the A World To Win Blog - who appear to be a British based libertarian socialist type grouping, not to be confused with the Maoists of the RIM who use A World To Win as the title of their journal.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

NHS Together Day Of Action - 3rd March

NHS Together - a campaign alliance of all the British Health Service Unions and staff associations working with the TUC - are planning a day of action on 3rd March. Here in the Midlands, East and West Midlands trade unionists and activists are coming together for a rally in Birmingham -

Saturday 3rd March, 12pm onwards, Outside Birmingham Council House in Victoria Square
Members from the NHS Alliance Trades Unions in the East and West Midlands will protest alongside likeminded community campaigners, patient groups, NHS staff and the general public. There will be key speakers and music. Bring yourselves, your colleagues, your friends and family, bring your voices and banners too! Contact: Midlands TUC

Green The NHS (Stuart Jeffery) and Life Is Complicated (Student Medic) blogs remain good sources for Green views on developments in the Health Service.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Britishness" Or Another Brick In The Wall

"We don't need no thought control" sang the kids on the old Pink Floyd number.
Yes, the Ajegbo report has heralded another spate of ministerial musings on British identity - this time Education Secretary Alan Johnson's soundbites about "teaching Britishness" as part of the National Curriculum. Ex-London Headteacher Ajegbo's reasonable concerns about social cohesion and what roles schools can play is turned by the New Labour media machine into another opportunity for the Blairites to display their unique blend of reactionary British Nationalism and muddle-headed Fabian social engineering.
Dave Hill offers his views on this episode on the Guardian's Comment Is Free blog site here.
Meanwhile the teachers unions are concerned about the ever more overloaded and constantly changing curriculum, forced to bend with the wind of every governmental burst of paranoia or new panacea. Hence -
Chris Keates, the general secretary of the National Union of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers, said schools had a pivotal role to play but the curriculum was already overloaded.
"Serious thought must be given to how schools can be supported in accommodating this scale of change in the timescales envisaged without imploding," she said.

If the social fabric is a bit frayed at the edges it might just have something to do with the Blair government backing illegal imperialist wars abroad whilst continuing the Thatcherite neo-liberal privatisation agenda at home - measures that could not have been better designed to divide communities, increase competition for scarce resources amongst the poorest and lead to the kind of vicious dog-eat-dog social environment where ever more people begin to behave in asocial ways.

One thing that is key to understanding the stance of the Blairites on so many things is to remember how entranced they are by the United States. The very name given to the turbo-capitalism they promote around the globe tells us the extent of their debt - the "Anglo-American model". Blair envies the US two party system (witness his well publicised belief that the early Twentieth Century split between the Liberal and Labour parties in Britain was a great mistake), and he is welded to US foreign policy to such an extent that his version of the "special relationship" is one of a limpet stuck to the rotten hull of the US ship of state.

So what lessons do the Blairites seek from what they see as American 'social cohesion'? (Such as it appears to them through their rose tinted lenses - not as it actually is) One suspects that Blair and friends look to America and see a society held up by three main props - props that do not work for every section of what even they can see is still a divided society, but nevertheless props that taken as a whole, hold the socially fragmented USA together. These props are nationalism, religion and socio-economic myth.

The socio-economic myth is the American Dream, the idea of a classless meritocracy, where even someone 'born at the bottom' can rise to the top. A naive version of this meritocracy seems to have been one of Blair's 'big ideas'. Secondly religion - Protestant Christian fundamentalism and right wing Catholic reaction form a bedrock of the support for the Republicans, and a less commonly remarked feature is the role of Catholic Democrats, East Coast liberal Christianity, and Southern black churches in upholding the Democrats. Many of the above seem to buy into their own version of the notion of one nation under God - a messianic vision of the USA and its' mission which can be discerned in the words of the founding fathers. So a significant part of Blair's enthusiasm for faith schools, and 'faith-based' charities and services becomes clear. The 'messianic USA' vision is at the heart of the third prop to US social cohesion - rampant nationalism. The Stars and Stripes, hand on heart, God Bless America, my-country-right-or-wrong patriotism that so confuses, amuses or alarms Britons with their generally more toned down (outside sport - and even then it is more likely English, Scottish ,Welsh or Northern Irish home-nation fandom rather than political GB nationalism) version. Blair and friends envy the way in which (as they might see it) so many Americans have unquestioningly marched off to their nations's unjust wars, they envy what seems to outsiders like rote-learned idealistic narratives of national history and legal/political framework, where the Constitution, the office of the Presidency and the rights of free Americans seem to be accorded almost religious veneration.

So, the New Labour neo-liberals would like some of that, and would like to have their own versions of the three props inserted in the heads of British school children. Hence emphasis on 'faith-based' initiatives (somewhat to the embarrassment of people like the current Education Secretary Mr Johnson, who unlike the previous -Opus Dei- incumbent is a bit of a secularist). Hence the incessant courting of big business and the missionary zeal to convert all us social-democratic relics to the shiny neo-liberal, meritocratic vision - a "British Dream" to match the American. And hence the "teaching of Britishness in schools" - no prizes for guessing what version of Britishness they have in mind.

At least we know therefore, what kind of vision Mr Blair and the plague carriers of his "legacy" have for Britain. They have seen their version of the future - and it carries a Bible, a gun and a fistful of greenbacks.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

British Civil Servants Vote To Strike

Members of the PCS Union working in the Civil Service have voted for action in the face of continued government attacks on them. In a statement the PCS said that the majority strike vote, on a majority turnout, came “as a result of the government's drive to cut 100,000 civil and public service jobs," and as "the use of consultants spirals out of control and staff face below inflation pay offers.”

The attacks are clearly part of the overall continuing neo-liberal assault on public services, manifested by cuts in staffing, attacks on pay and privatisation - as noted by the PCS statement - "the government continue to fail to give assurances on job security, drive down pay and pursue a dogmatic policy of outsourcing and privatisation.”

The strike day is planned for 31st January, the day when self assessment tax returns are due for return, and will be followed by a two week overtime ban. The action will affect jobcentres, benefit offices, passports, driving exams, the Ministry of Defence, courts service and national museums and galleries.

This vote is further evidence that public service workers are not prepared to be stomped on by Blair's neo-liberals as he serves out his last days. Let us hope that resistance will continue to any kind of "Blair legacy" that Brown or whoever takes over might try to implement.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Green Reading List

The Green Reading List Blog has recently been updated and has some interesting additions. Paul is asking for suggestions of books to be added to the list which can be posted in the comments section at the foot of the latest entry on his site.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Solidarity with Guatemalan Trade Unionists

Dave at Dave's Part has updated us on the situation in Guatemala - following the assassination of docker's leader Pedro Zamora other trade unionists are being followed and threatened. Dave links to the ITF (International Transport Workers Confederation)site for more info on what can be done here.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

An ill wind....

Roof tiles flying, TV aerials ripped off, fences down, flying glass and scaffolding, trees blocking roads, flash floods, injuries and tragic deaths. It has been another windy day in Britain.

Does climate change make these events more likely or more frequent? It is difficult to ascribe a cause to any particular day's weather, but Friends of The Earth had this to say in a briefing as long as 10 years ago -

Recent years have seen many extreme weather events, including a number of 'floods of the century' and the hottest year on record. While climate variability is a natural phenomenon, there are indications that the human footprint on the climate system is becoming increasingly visible. According to the IPCC 'the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate'.

. In the short-term it is difficult to distinguish between natural variability and climate change, so it is not possible to definitely link a specific weather event (or sequence of events) to climate change. However, many climate scientists think that recent weather extremes are consistent with climate change predictions.

. The insurance industry has few doubts that the frequency and intensity of natural catastrophies have increased. Cost to the insurance industry during the last 10 years were 15 times higher than during the 1960s.

. The human suffering and economic damage caused by recent extremes demonstrates that the risks associated with climate change are great. Precautionary action is needed sooner rather than later.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Following on....

What did I say about the potential race, class and gender dynamics of the current Celebrity Big Brother? Well, it has really hit the headlines now - questions in parliament, diplomatic rumblings etc!

Elsewhere, after my blog on South American developments yesterday, an interesting blog on developments in Bolivia from Jim. Jim also offers his thoughts on the Big Brother media circus.

Dave reports on death squad activity in Guatemala with the assassination of a leading trade unionist, at Dave's Part.

Meanwhile, Ed over at International Rooksbyism has some interesting reflections of capitalism and the ecological crisis.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Further Interesting Developments in Central and Southern America

The new President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, has been sworn in, pledging a "Citizen's Revolution".

This comes after last weeks' swearing in of the returning Sandinista President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega - both ceremonies attended by fellow leftist Presidents Morales of Bolivia and Chavez of Venezuela.

Correa's swearing in was also attended by Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has been touring the region. Ahmadinejad has also visited Ortega.

Ahmadinejad said that Iran and the Central and Southern American states "have common interests, common enemies and common goals". The tour will certainly raise Dubya and friends' blood pressure.

One can see why states in the firing line of American Imperialism feel the need to club together, as has been the case with the non-aligned movement for a long time. However, the embrace of the reactionary Iranian demagogue by the new populist leaders of South and Central America should remind those European and American leftists who get too idealistic about the new mood in South America of the nature of realpolitik and the uncomfortable alliances of convenience it sometimes brings about. The key to real and lasting change in Latin America, as elsewhere, is not charismatic leaders and populist rhetoric - but the empowerment of ordinary people. This last is the most positive element in some of the programmes of the new leaderships. Whilst defending the rights of Southern and Central American peasants and workers to be free of US imperialist interference is not negotiable, vigilance is required as the populist leaders walk the tightrope between falling back into playing the neo-liberal game or developing dictatorial regimes where the creative instincts of the people are once again constrained.

On a lighter note, though, this raised a smile.

For English speakers Znet's Latin America Watch is a useful resource as is Justin Delacour's blog.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Thatcher Defeated!

Well, the results are in for the BBC1 Politics Show "Living Political Hero" award that I blogged about here and the winner was Tony Benn, pipping Maggie Thatcher at the post. Apparently some right wing websites and blogs were running a campaign for Maggie (surely not!) But left wing mobilisation and unity won the day (and lets face it, the right had more choice to split their vote as most of the other candidates were a right-wing shower!)
Interviewed on the show, Tony said that he did not really recognise the concept of a "living political hero", but said that he thought the reason he and Thatch were the two front-runners was because they both were conviction politicians who saw things through, (unlike much of the current batch of interchangeable, spin-doctored, soundbiters) Congratulations to Tony, and to all the voters showing such unity of purpose in the face of the common enemy......

Here is a link to the unofficial Tony Benn website.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

R.A.W. - R.I.P.

One of my favourite authors, Robert Anton Wilson, died on Thursday, as mentioned on his website here.

A man very much in tune with my thinking -

"My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone, but agnosticism about everything."

His Wikipedia entry reports his death thus -

On June 22, 2006, Huffington Post blogger Paul Krassner reported that Robert A. Wilson was under hospice care at home with friends and family. On 2 October 2006 Douglas Rushkoff reported that Wilson was in severe financial trouble. Slashdot, Boing Boing, and the Church of the Subgenius also picked up on the story, linking to Rushkoff's appeal. As his webpage reported on 10 October, these efforts succeeded beyond expectation and raised a sum which would have supported him for at least 6 months.

On the 6th of January, he wrote on his blog that according to several medical authorities, he was likely to have only between two days and two months left to live, closing his message with "Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd." He died five days later, a week before his 75th birthday, at 4:50 AM.

Here are some obituaries at-
10 Zen Monkeys

and at Cryptomundo

'Bye Bob, and thanks for opening so many minds to endless possibilites.


Friday, January 12, 2007

More Response to EU Climate and Energy Proposals

Aberdeen Campaign Against Climate Change member Almuth Ernsting, (a campaigner who is working on the dangers of greenwash and social injustice around biofuels) has a strong letter on the Guardian website attacking the EU proposals that I blogged on yesterday -

The EU's strategic energy plan (Report, January 11) is a double whammy for developing countries. They will suffer ever worse climate disasters, desertification and flooding as a result of inadequate targets for reducing emissions from many of the world's richest nations. And they are set to lose millions of hectares of rainforest, grasslands and farming land so that Europe can meet a 10% biofuel target. Already, up to 20m hectares of land face being converted to oil palm plantations in Indonesia alone, and forests across Latin America, Africa and Asia face destruction as Europe pushes up world market prices for soya, palm oil and sugar cane.

While wind and solar are truly clean energy forms and offer real emission cuts, the energy plan contains no specific mechanism to support them. Nor does it suggest any credible ways of reducing energy demand. Mandatory targets are proposed only for biofuels. Yet biofuels linked to deforestation and peat drainage can have far higher carbon emissions than the fossil fuels they replace: a recent study shows that palm-oil biodiesel from south-east Asian peatlands has 10 times the emissions of mineral oil.

Commissioners have ignored the European parliament's demand for strict environmental safeguards, and an open letter from hundreds of Latin American NGOs, demanding that Europe must not solve its problems at the expense of the environment and communities in the global south. If the commission's plans are endorsed, this will almost certainly speed up the destruction of the Amazon and of other ancient forests across the globe, and leave millions of poor people without land to grow food.
Almuth Ernsting

Meanwhile, Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi is reported by the Morning Star to have said that "The Commission's proposals on emissions are nothing short of climate crime, betraying future generations of EU citzens. Far from giving leadership, the Commission is proposing that Europe abdicate all ambition on reducing emissions and set a target of a paltry 20 per cent, in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence suggesting greater global reductions are necessary."

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LSE Environment Week Events

After their successful "Climate Change" related week of events last year, the students at London School Of Economics are holding another series of meetings with interesting speakers for their "Environment Week". I post a list of their meetings below for anyone able to get along to the venues in London.

MONDAY JANUARY 15TH, 6pm, New Theatre

Environment Question Time

SPEAKERS: Colin Challen MP, Labour Party

George Galloway MP, RESPECT

Jenny Jones AM, Green Party

Tim Yeo MP, Conservative Party

TUESDAY JANUARY 16TH, 6pm, U8 (Tower 1)

Animal Testing: Necessary Cruelty or Cruelly Unnecessary?

SPEAKERS: Dr. Kathy Archibald, Europeans for Medical Progress Trust

Dr. Margaret Clotworthy, Europeans for Medical Progress Trust

Iain Simpson, Pro-Test Campaign

Prof. John Stein, Oxford University


Spirituality, Religion and the Environment: Faith in the Planet?

SPEAKERS: Jo Abbess, Christian Ecology Link

Mizan Choudhry, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences


Communities of the Amazon and Environmental Protection:

The Experience of the Brazilian NGO NAPRA

SPEAKER: Paula Moreira, Legal Coordinator, NAPRA


Film Showing: Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth

THURSDAY JANUARY 18TH, 4.30pm, New Theatre

The Kyoto Protocol and Opportunities for Sustainable Development:

Brazil's Plantar Projects

SPEAKER: Fábio Marques, Carbon Projects Manager, The Plantar Group

THURSDAY JANUARY 18TH, 6pm, New Theatre

The Beaver Event: How Does the Media's Representation of Global Warming Shape Public Opinion?

SPEAKER: Dr. Greg Garrard, Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE-UK)


Small Is Beautiful: Practical Solutions to Global Problems

SPEAKERS: Angelique Orr, Practical Action

Matt Sellwood, Climate Outreach Information Network (COIN)

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

EU Climate and Energy Proposals

So, some stronger rhetoric and slightly more ambitious targets on climate and energy from the EU hierarchy than we have seen previously, but what is likely to be the real effect? You don't have to be a radical environmentalist to be mildly sceptical - the BBC's Website Environment correspondent Richard Black comments -

The European Commission has put an important toe into steadily warming waters with its package of proposals. But large sections of the water are still cloudy; and the swimmer has yet to leave the shore.

No comment yet that I can find from Friends of The Earth or Greenpeace, or from the informed sources at Real Climate or Stoat - I would imagine that quite substantial documents written in EU-legalese will probably take some time to analyse and evaluate! I will also be interested to hear the views of my fellow bloggers, particularly those with much more knowledge than me in this field like Calvin and Bernie.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Stop Thatcher!

Not long to vote in the poll I mentioned the other day and stop the Thatch having her ego massaged again. For those of us who lived through her rotten reign as adults, this one is personal! For me, one memory that sticks out is quasi-military checkpoints on our local roads in 1984/5, and riot police kicking in doors and smashing through houses in pursuit of striking miners in a village I knew well.
Vote here for Tony Benn (and yes, I know all about his flaws from a red-green perspective, but this is tactical voting in action!)


Monday, January 08, 2007

Caroline Lucas MEP Arrested at Faslane

One of our Green Euro MPs, Caroline Lucas, has again been arrested at the Faslane Nuclear base as part of the ongoing Faslane 365 civil disobedience. Today was a day of action by elected representatives.

Caroline has shown on numerous ocasions that she does not just 'talk the talk' (and very effectively too!), but she also 'walks the walk'. As she points out, Trident and its projected replacement are an illegal obscenity with no serious political or strategic rationale other than keeping Britain tied to Uncle Sam's apron strings, allowing them to claim a spurious multinational consensus and subsidising their nuclear arsenal. The non-independent non-deterrent is a major provocation to nuclear proliferation.

Hopefully resistance to Trident and Trident Replacement will continue to grow. Unfortunately the madness of the neo-cons and their supporters continues to grow unabated, with articles this week in both the right-wing Spectator Magazine and Murdoch's London Times speculating about an Israeli nuclear attack on Iran. So much for nuclear weapons making large scale conflicts 'unthinkable'.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Blogs on Sunday

Quite a lot of interesting thought, news and comment from my fellow bloggers today - so here are a few links -

The proposed troop surge likely to be announced by Bush this week is the subject of a post by Bernie at Fundamentalist Druid, following up on a post he did yesterday. Louise at Stroppyblog also has an Iraq related story concerning Iraqi oil. She wrote earlier about the Guardian's story concerning the proposed X-raying of young asylum seekers.

Elsewhere, Natalie at Philobiblon has news on the case of young Iranian woman Azanin Fatehi who has been the focus of a large campaign that has effectively used e-mail to mobilise support.

Dave at Dave's Part, newly returned to the Labour Party, has a post on the British politics story from Scotland regarding the alleged imminent defection of a Scottish Labour MP to the SNP over Trident replacement and Iraq.

Finally, Derek Wall has a post on Vegan lunchboxes. Very laudable, though I consider it great progress to have won my eldest school-age daughter over to (Non-Vegan!)Greek Salad as a healthier alternative to the usual sarnies and crisps.....

Keep up the good work, folks.

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Ken Walks!

No sooner had I mentioned Ken Russell on Celebrity Big Brother yesterday than the man walks!
Apparently if they do this they don't get paid.....
The curse of Greenman strikes again.
Nevertheless, marginally interesting race, class and gender dynamics developing in this year's Celeb BB I think.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Back in Blogland

I have now returned from a short stay in the Scarborough (where incidentally we recently saw an excellent Green representative, Jonathan Dixon, elected as the first Green on the Council) Before I went I was alerted to the new blog of my friend Bernie from the Urban 75 boards - Fundamentalist Druid - which I have linked in my blogroll. Bernie has been a valuable source of information on global warming and other environmental and sustainability issues. One site that Bernie often links to is the wonderful Irish based, but now international, FEASTA - (Foundation For The Economics of Sustainability) which I have added to my list of useful 'Research and Resources' sites.

So, what has been happening whilst I have been away sampling the clear, cold, clean air of the North Yorks Moors? Well, in British popular culture, the fuss has been the new series of Celebrity Big Brother, which has seen not only the return of the famous-for-longer-than-15-minutes Jade Goody, but also the arrival of once controversial, octogenarian film director Ken Russell, as commented on here by Mark Lawson in the Guardian. Earlier in the week, TV returned to the lives of the fictional, now thirty-something, ex-yuppies of This Life in a one-off drama, This Life +10, reviewed here by Ed at International Rooksbyism.

On a more serious note there is still the chance to vote in the BBC Politics Show poll to prevent evil old 'leaderene' Thatcher being voted top political hero. The choice is basically her or Tony Benn - whatever we may think of Tony, the choice for anyone not under the mind-rotting control of the Hayekian-free-market-Borg is a real no-brainer!

On the Green Political front, our new Male Principal Speaker for England and Wales, Derek Wall, was interviewed by the BBC. Derek and the Green Party Trade Union Group have been spreading the word about the RMT campaign in support of rail cleaners and the demonstration/lobby in London on this issue on Monday 8th January.

The biggest green story of the week has been the row over airline emissions initiated by the comments of "Climate Change Minister" Ian Pearson. Stephen Joseph of Transport 2000 comments on the Comment is Free blogs pages here.
Caroline Lucas MEP put the Green Party view, which is increasingly sought out by the media in this age of "greenwash" from the big three parties.

Internationally the situation in Somalia remained grave, with various interested parties overseas frantically pulling barely concealed strings to effect the most desirable outcome to suit their interests.

Closer to home, prominent London Green Noel Lynch has started a blog called the Green Room, that I have added to my blogroll along with two other London Greens that he links to - Greenpeace worker and former Australian Labour Party candidate Joseph O'Reilly and the marvellously flamboyant Dickon Edwards.

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