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Archive for the category “Environment”

Quick Dummies Guide to the UK Political Parties and How to Use Your Vote

Quick Dummies Guide to the UK Political Parties and How to Use Your Vote

Conservative. The party of and for big business and people of wealth. It’s objective is to channel as much wealth as possible from the nation as a whole to themselves which in turn means controlling the people and the systems as much as is possible. Traditionally their leaders have come from a few elite families and have bred into them the belief that they are the chosen few who know best and have closed minds to any alternatives that might detract from their prime objective which, as I said, is to increase their wealth.

Labour. Would like to be a Socialist Party and clings to the memory of what they once were. Over the last few decades they have been cleverly manipulated by the Conservatives and have now become a shadow of their former self whilst morphing into a well meaning, slightly more caring version of Conservatism. They yearn to be more socialist but fear the power of the conservative media to ridicule them and so water down their policies or even attempt to be more Tory than the Tories.

Lib/Dems. By and large made up of well meaning people with some sensible policies. Due to our voting system their chances of forming the government are virtually nil. This has lead to great and understandable frustration so when the chance came and the Tories offered them a coalition ‘partnership’ the chance of some power was too much and they supped with the Devil. The Conservatives are nothing if not clever and manipulative as the Lib/Dems found to their cost. For the time being at least, they are a spent force and will have regroup and rethink.

UKIP. Mainly a one man party, Nigel Farage. Son of a stockbroker, privately educated with wealthy Conservatives and became a City commodities trader. He makes his pitch getting out of the European Union and panders to readers of red tops in particular. A very good rabble rousing speaker of little substance. UKIP attracts idiots and buffoons as it’s candidates as well as a following from the uninformed and far right nationalists. If one looks at such other policies that they have formulated it is easy to see that they are in fact the very worst face of Conservatism and if they were ever enacted would bring this country to it’s knees.

Green Party. Used to have the reputation of being the home of lefty tree huggers and environmentalists. but over the years has grown steadily into a political party of substance with many councillors spread over the country, several MEPs and so far, one MP in Parliament, Caroline Lucas, who is arguably the most sensible member in that place of intrigue and regarded with much respect. Definitely to the left of the political spectrum but with a much more realistic understanding of how to make business work for the nation as a whole along with an understanding that policy should be made with an eye on the long term future, rather than the short termism that dogs the two main parties.

Your Vote and the General Election.

Unless you belong to the very wealthy elite or believe in paying higher taxes for less services then the Conservatives are not for you and so you must choose from the rest. To not vote at all is an abrogation of responsibility. Should your constituency be a very safe Conservative or Labour one then why not use your vote to give the Green Party a lift. Live in a marginal where it could go Tory or Labour? Well, unless you are in the small group above then Labour is the obvious choice. Or perhaps you live where it’s likely to be either Tory or Lib/Dem? Then remember the Lib/Dems supported the Tories right through this Parliament and so consider voting Green as your protest and who knows, if enough vote with you maybe some more Green MPs to back up Caroline Lucas. Whatever you do don’t vote UKIP!

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Opening Ceremony

So, the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is to feature the British Countryside and ‘Shakespeare’! A countryside that vast numbers of our population never see as they can’t afford to visit it let alone explore it. A countryside where small farmers struggle to exist while the supermarkets make a fortune from selling their produce. A countryside where huge investment companies and the agro/chemical companies create vast fields devoid of wild life as they cut down the ancient hedgerows to make space for their efficient machines.

Secondly “All hail Shakespeare” as part of the theme! Let’s be honest most people haven’t heard of Shakespeare and couldn’t give a stuff; at best he might have been something to endure for a brief period at school during English Literature lessons. Yes he was a brilliant play write 100’s of years ago but totally irrelevant and incomprehensible to most of us. Anyone would think we haven’t produced another brilliant writer since then. God alone knows how much it cost but the organisers have commissioned the casting of a bell for the ceremony that is twice the weight of Big Ben and inscribed with a phrase from The Tempest “ “Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises”! FFS! The rest of the World will think we are stuck in the past which of course we are, at least, those who tend to rise to the top of the pile are.

BP Get it in Perspective

Cameron has jumped on the Obama band wagon and critises BP over the oil leak off the US coast. That’s easy to do and yet another Prime Minister sucks up to the US instead of sticking up for Britain.

Let’s put it in some sort of perspective. Yes, it is a monumental environmental disaster, that is undeniable. Did BP want it to happen, of course they didn’t. Did they act promptly with more than one measure to cap off the leak? Certainly, it was amazing how quickly they manufactured the ‘cone’ and now this other device to trap a good part of the oil. At the same time they are drilling two new bores to take away the pressure to enable the fractured pipe to be sealed off and all at several miles below sea level. They are funding and organising a massive installation of booms to prevent as much as possible of the oil from washing ashore and that which gets through is being collected. Given the speed of events and the unique situation they should be applauded.

I’m certainly no supporter of greedy multi nationals but credit must surely be given when it’s due. As long as the world cries out for more oil when supplies are diminishing then oil extraction will become more risky and dangerous. We must reduce our dependency or live with consequences.

Robots?

I’m just wondering if large numbers of Britons have become like robots, programmed to do whatever we expected to do regardless of anything else.

Two days ago at least the Met Office was warning of atrocious conditions heading for the north of England and Scotland with gale force winds, heavy snow and freezing temperatures. Despite these warnings, today a coach carrying school children on a trip to Alton Towers set off in the early hours into the teeth of this meteorological onslaught and sadly crashed leaving the road and ending up on it’s side in a brook. Several children injured, some seriously. In Leith near Edinburgh huge waves broke through the defences and crashed over a sea wall and onto the road. A video taken shows traffic still trying to go past even when a van trying to reverse back is almost swept onto it’s side. What has happened to the mindset that will risk a life just to make a delivery or get to work?

A secondary thought is that I can understand and applaud a school trip to a museum, an ancient house or to a beach to study rock pools and so on but a trip to Alton Towers!

Now Very Disturbing BBC

I recently wrote about the BBC not reporting the 24hr blockade of Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Research Establishment and today they are not reporting on a blockade of Sizewell nuclear power station in protest at the government’s flawed report approving more nuclear power stations.

This is very disturbing indeed as the BBC is (was?) one of the very few sources of infomation that could be trusted. I and I suspect others, will be demanding an explanation from the BBC and I’ll post any response when received.

If you have any doubts about nuclear power then I urge you to watch this documentary The Battle for Chenobyl. If you think it couldn’t happen here then just remember the radiation leak from Windscale, now called Sellafield, that wafted over Liverpool and Manchester without a warning to the population, or Three Mile Island in the USA.

Update:  I made an official complaint to the BBC and below is their bland response, make of it what you will.

I understand that you were disappointed that we did not cover the anti-nuclear protests at Sizewell and Aldermaston on our news.
The choice and placement of news items is always a very tricky decision for news editors as with such a wide and varied audience it is difficult to select items that will be of interest to all listeners. We appreciate that viewers want as many items as possible, but there are occasions where a particular story may require a greater share of the running time.
I can assure you that there is no collusion, Sizewell experiences regular anti-nuclear power protests, as do most of the nuclear power stations across Britain. However, there was coverage of the blockade at Aldermaston:
I do appreciate your feelings and I can assure you that your comments have been fully registered on our audience log. As you are aware, this is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme executives within the BBC.
It’s very helpful to us to hear the opinions of our audience, whether positive or negative and I’m glad you’ve been in touch with your opinion.

Here We Go Again!

The housing market is on the move again of that there is little doubt and of course along with it the cost of buying a home is rising albeit slowly at the present time. The highest level of unemployment in my region stands at 6% which of course is not much fun for those without work but it does mean that 94% have jobs. Car production is rising once more and bankers bonus payouts are still obscene.

All this does not mean that the recession is over but points to it at least bottoming out. The massive bill to stave off the worst of the global economy crash will still have to be paid over the next couple of decades and will have some negative impact on most of us. Most of us being the ones who played no part in the disgraceful financial gambling of the past ten to twenty years although most of us were a part of the rampant consumerism that gripped the developed world.

A few minor inconveniences have been put in place to curb some of the excesses of the financial traders but by and large as the recovery gets under way it will be business as usual and so setting us up for a repeat performance in another decade or so down the line. Bankers will be making fortunes out of the future labour of ordinary people not even born yet, houses will be purchased as investments and not as homes to live in, industry will again expand and add to the climatic pollution that is already out of control.

This global catastrophe presented the World and I suggest, the UK in particular, with a golden opportunity for change. That chance has already been squandered and we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past and the next time may not contain within it opportunity for change.

What a great example to us all!

Off he goes again this time with Camilla to Italy, speaking on climate change and about the “slow food” movement of local sourcing and organic production. Charlie, who knows far more more than scientists and climatologists, informed the Italian parliament that the world has ‘just 99 months’ to halt global warming or it will be too late.

Ack. The Sun

Ack. The Sun

He is a fine example to us all, we should all do what we can to reduce emissions and buy local food where possible.

Except that he hired a private jet to get there rather than at least take a scheduled flight, or travel by rail. The private jet was presumably at our expence.

Freedom of Information Act

Information regarding the emission of radioactive cooling water from nuclear powered submarines at Faslane in Scotland has just been released.

From this three points spring immediately to mind.

1. If someone or some organisation hadn’t requested the information under the FIA would these leaks have been brought to the public’s notice? I very much doubt it particularly as the first acknowledged leak was in 2004.

2. Rumour has it that the MoD is about to issue a contract for the dismantling of nuclear submarines along with the reactors in Plymouth, against the expressed wishes of the population. Assurances as to safety have of course been made but if radiation can’t be controlled in ‘normal’ servicing what hope is there in breaking down a reactor safely, right in the middle of a large city like Plymouth?

3. The Government seems hell bent on building more nuclear powered electricity power stations, adding more risk to the citizens and if even the comparatively small units on submarines cannot be guarranteed safe eventually there is likely to be a catastrophy. We’ve already had the Windscale disaster which blew radiation over northern England including Manchester. News of which incidentally didn’t creep out until years later.

The Freedom of Information Act could be a two edged sword in that governments may not release information unless specifically asked for it and of course if we don’t suspect something we are not going ask.

The Caring Prince

We all know how caring is Prince Charles or at least so we are regularly told by his PR Team. He cares about the environment and about sustainable living and he is passionate about alternative  health care isn’t he? He even set up The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health Care.

The ‘charity’   submitted it’s report to the Charity Commission recently and this shows that investments were made to among others :-

  • £112,000 in Artemis UK Special Situations, which includes investments in BP, Shell, GlaxoSmithKline and BAE systems
  • £92,000 in Investec Global Energy, 26% of which is invested in ‘Oil and Gas Exploration’
  • £65,000 in Jupiter Emerging European Opportunities Fund, whose top ten holdings include LUKOIL (Russia’s largest oil company) and Gazprom (the world’s largest gas company)

Need I say more? I don’t think so.

G20 March

_45611601_g20protest_gettyToday at the G20 march in London the police estimate 35,000 people braved the cold winds and warnings that there might be ‘trouble’ to make clear what the people want from this meeting. By the way, going from my experience of marching with CND you can probably double that number.

Various groups issued statements and the most impressive for me was the one issued by ‘The British Muslim Initiative’ which I am happy to copy below. It is clear, precise and encompasses all the wishes expressed by the other groups.

“While the world looks with horror at the hundreds of billions of pounds being thrown at shoddy financial establishments to bail them out and to cover for huge executive bonuses, very little mention is made of the hundreds of billions that continue to be pumped into the global war machine that claims thousands of lives every day.

“Unless occupation in all its forms is seen as a repugnant manifestation of human greed and desire to over-power… and unless we see to it that poverty, disease, illiteracy and social injustice are properly and responsibly addressed, we will never be able to resolve the crisis that engulfs the world through the failure of its major financial policies and institutions.”

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