Friday, 29 April 2011

Nothing changes

Jack London's thoughts in 1902 on another royal propaganda event:

O thou that sea-walls sever

From lands unwalled by seas!

Wilt thou endure forever,

O Milton's England, these?

Thou that wast his Republic,

Wilt thou clasp their knees?

These royalties rust-eaten,

These worm-corroded lies

That keep thy head storm-beaten,

And sun-like strength of eyes

From the open air and heaven

Of intercepted skies!

Vivat Rex Eduardus! They crowned a king this day, and there has been great rejoicing and elaborate tomfoolery, and I am perplexed and saddened. I never saw anything to compare with the pageant, except Yankee circuses and Alhambra ballets; nor did I ever see anything so hopeless and so tragic.
To have enjoyed the Coronation procession, I should have come straight from America to the Hotel Cecil, and straight from the Hotel Cecil to a five-guinea seat among the washed. My mistake was in coming from the unwashed of the East End. There were not many who came from that quarter. The East End, as a whole, remained in the East End and got drunk. The Socialists, Democrats, and Republicans went off to the country for a breath of fresh air, quite unaffected by the fact that four hundred millions of people were taking to themselves a crowned and anointed ruler. Six thousand five hundred prelates, priests, statesmen, princes, and warriors beheld the crowning and anointing, and the rest of us the pageant as it passed.
I saw it at Trafalgar Square, "the most splendid site in Europe," and the very innermost heart of the empire. There were many thousands of us, all checked and held in order by a superb display of armed power. The line of march was double-walled with soldiers. The base of the Nelson Column was triple-fringed with bluejackets. Eastward, at the entrance to the square, stood the Royal Marine Artillery. In the triangle of Pall Mall and Cockspur Street, the statue of George III. was buttressed on either side by the Lancers and Hussars. To the west were the red-coats of the Royal Marines, and from the Union Club to the embouchure of Whitehall swept the glittering, massive curve of the 1st Life Guards--gigantic men mounted on gigantic chargers, steel-breastplated, steel-helmeted, steel-caparisoned, a great war-sword of steel ready to the hand of the powers that be. And further, throughout the crowd, were flung long lines of the Metropolitan Constabulary, while in the rear were the reserves--tall, well-fed men, with weapons to wield and muscles to wield them in ease of need.
And as it was thus at Trafalgar Square, so was it along the whole line of march--force, overpowering force; myriads of men, splendid men, the pick of the people, whose sole function in life is blindly to obey, and blindly to kill and destroy and stamp out life. And that they should be well fed, well clothed, and well armed, and have ships to hurl them to the ends of the earth, the East End of London, and the "East End" of all England, toils and rots and dies.
There is a Chinese proverb that if one man lives in laziness another will die of hunger; and Montesquieu has said, "The fact that many men are occupied in making clothes for one individual is the cause of there being many people without clothes." So one explains the other. We cannot understand the starved and runty toiler of the East End (living with his family in a one-room den, and letting out the floor space for lodgings to other starved and runty toilers) till we look at the strapping Life Guardsmen of the West End, and come to know that the one must feed and clothe and groom the other.
And while in Westminster Abbey the people were taking unto themselves a king, I, jammed between the Life Guards and Constabulary of Trafalgar Square, was dwelling upon the time when the people of Israel first took unto themselves a king. You all know how it runs. The elders came to the prophet Samuel, and said: "Make us a king to judge us like all the nations."
And the Lord said unto Samuel: Now therefore hearken unto their voice; howbeit thou shalt show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king, and he said:
This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you; he will take your sons, and appoint them unto him, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and they shall run before his chariots.

Friday, 22 April 2011


From SchNews:
Well we all knew they were bad apples but didn't think they were that rotten. Apple's iPhones and iPads have been secretly recording their owner'smovements. The devises have a hidden file system built into them that sneakily records people's whereabouts. Without permission? That's not very nice. The information is stored at the core of the device. They helpfullytransfer them to computer devices and store them. So when you hook them up to the screen to charge the data is stored in that computer. It is almost every aspect of people's existence monitored and recorded by these nifty gadgets. For whoever has the power to access the information. Phone thieves, jealous spouses, politicians, axe wielding maniacs...(the list goes on and on).
It is interesting to note that the data is passed on to a new device whenever the user updates it. Glad they covered that one. Oh what glee!

A couple of researchers made this discovery which they unveiled at the Where 2.0 conference in San Francisco. They contacted Apple with this information but haven't heard back yet. No comment, eh? Well what could they say?Yeah we are sneaky, d'oh! If you want to see just how much of your history your iPhone has stored the guys that made the discovery have developedan application that lets you see. It is called iPhone tracker, the application lets anyone with access to your computer see what you have been upto.

Barnet Greens help win Whetstone crossing reopening

Barnet Greens held a “definitely not official” ceremony after helping achieve the reopening of the “green man” pedestrian crossing at the dangerous corner where Totterid ge Lane meets Whetstone High Road.
Following objections by residents and a campaign spearheaded by local Barnet Green Party members, Barnet Council has reopened the crossing this week.
The Highways Department closed the much-used crossing several weeks ago, saying the number of pedestrians operating the “green man” facility was holding up the traffic.
“What noone could understand was why Barnet Council ever thought that was a sensible reason for closing the crossing, which is used by hundreds of people every day” said Andrew Newby, Barnet Green Party chairman and nearby resident.
“They should not put people’s lives at risk just for some notional reduction in traffic congestion. If there are too many cars on the road they should look at ways of reducing the number of cars.”
“I asked to see the road safety figures and the traffic statistics. They supplied the safety figures but not the traffic statistics and I believe that when they reviewed the statistics they realised they could not justify closing the crossing. I plan to submit a Freedom of Information request to get the facts.”
Barnet Greens will carry on campaigning for the reopening of the crossing on the opposite side, at the junction of High Road with Oakleigh Road North, and we are also seeking appropriate zebra crossing surfaces at the junctions to alert unobservant drivers to fact that pedestrians might be in the roadway.
We will be stepping up our campaign for a 20 mph speed limit on all residential streets in the borough, now that the NHS has come out in favour of the limit. Several other boroughs have already adopted 20 mph limits but Barnet is taking its usual caveman attitude.

Lie back and think of England

To celebrate the engagement of Prince William of Wales to Ms. Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, Crown Jewels Condoms of Distinction has commissioned a unique heritage edition Royal Wedding Souvenir boƮte de capotes.

Combining the strength of a Prince with the yielding sensitivity of a Princess-to-be, Crown Jewels condoms promise a royal union of pleasure. Truly a King amongst Condoms.

Presented in a timeless souvenir heirloom collector's box.

Contains three individually wrapped condoms.

Includes a collectable portrait of the Royal Couple as they might appear on their wedding day – exclusively created for Crown Jewels.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Sign the petition: don't scrap green laws

The government could be about to scrap laws which protect wildlife and the countryside and help prevent climate change.
Sign the petition in favour of keeping the rules we need to protect our countryside and our planet:
On Monday, it was revealed that the government might scrap vital laws which protect wildlife and the countryside and help stop climate change. Hardliners have branded the rules ‘red tape’ and say they could be scrapped within months.
We need to work together to make sure our wildlife, our countryside and our planet are protected.
In the past, David Cameron has made headlines promising to run "the greenest government ever". [2] We need to convince him that scrapping these laws would be a disaster for his reputation. A huge petition will prove to Cameron that he can't afford to break his green promises.
Please take 30 seconds to speak up for legal protection for wildlife and the environment:
Among the laws under threat are the Climate Change Act and the Wildlife and Countryside Act. These aren’t little-known laws that no one cares about. The Wildlife and Countryside Act protects wild birds, their nests and eggs, and makes sure that national parks and marine reserves are protected. The UK’s Climate Change Act was a world first which helps make sure we reduce our emissions.
We know that when we work together we can make sure the government doesn’t get away with plans which could hurt the environment. When they decided to try to sell off our forests, over half a million of us got together and convinced them to drop their plans.
The government says it is "consulting" before scrapping these laws - so let's give them a consultation response they can't ignore! Please help make sure we have a huge petition telling the government to keep laws which protect our wildlife and our environment.
Sign the petition to send a powerful message to David Cameron and the government:

PS: The laws under threat in the government's "red tape challenge" include the Climate Change Act, National Parks Act, Clean Air Act and the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Do these sound like "red tape" to you? Please add your name and tell the government that protecting our countryside and our planet should be a priority:

Remembering Chernobyl

Nuclear Power is Not the Answer

Public meeting - Tuesday 26th April 6-7.30pm
Grimond Room, Portcullis House, Parliament

Marking the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster this meeting also considers the implications of the Fukushima disaster for Britain ’s nuclear policy and looks at the sustainable energy alternatives.
Hosted by Caroline Lucas MP.

Speakers include:

Michael Meacher MP (former Environment Minister)

Professor Dillwyn Williams ( University of Cambridge )

Dr Paul Dorfman ( University of Warwick , Nuclear Consultation Group)

Organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Medact


Previously unseen Whitehall documents have revealed that the British Government saw Iraqi oil as 'vital' to the UK's long-term energy security plan, and the privatisation of its oil industry was central to the post-invasion plan for the country

Friday, 15 April 2011

Coronation Street does its bit to smear DLA claimants

From my friend, Alan Wheatley, Disability Rights campaigner:

The incident referred to is about 4 minutes in on the online video

A conversation between Katie and Chesney Coronation Street tonight. Katie 'I need a little part time job' Chesney 'No Way, then you fail your exams and I get knee capped off your Dad' Katie 'Well at least we would qualify for disability allowance and we would be quids in.' ARGH Yet more assumptions that people who claim DLA are loaded - never mind the disability of course.

Comments like this from a top soap are just underlining the Governments view of people who claim benefits. Soap or not you need to get real.

I posted a comment onto their facebook site which was removed within seconds.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Wasted food and drink ‘cost £13.7 billion last year'

The cost of buying and throwing away food and drink reached £13.7 billion last year, according to new analysis published by the Local Government Association.  
The analysis, which combined the purchasing price of food which wasn’t eaten with the cost to council tax-payers of sending it to landfill, indicated that households paid an estimated £520 each for uneaten food over the past 12 months. The estimated cost and tonnage of food waste was calculated using the latest existing figures on avoidable waste published by WRAP for food and non alcoholic beverages. This totalled 5.07 million tonnes and £11.2 billion.
The tonnage of food waste was multiplied by the rate of landfill tax in 2010/11 and added to this figure, taking into account inflation.
Now, the LGA is calling on retailers to start making a ‘serious contribution’ to reducing the amount of food waste discarded from people’s homes. In particular, it wants them to change the way they promote the sale of perishable goods like fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat – by replacing multi-buy deals with discounts on individual products.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Brighton auction.

Enjoyable fundraising auction and reception, last night for Brighton Green Party.
Here are a few of the results:
Trip to Brussels + lunch and a tour of the European Parliament....£350
Lush Spa treatement......£120
Hot stone massage......£80
Photograph of Parliament......£150
Stained Glass bowl......£60

I bumped into several old aquaintences including Aniel Peranjipe who was an activist in Barnet Green Party before moving south. Also, met up with the heads of the Animal Protection Agency, who I helped during my time in the London Assembly.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Fundraising auctions

Did an interesting and enjoyable fundraising auction ,last night, for Martin School, East Finchley PTA. It was billed as Chips & Bids and included fish and chips (or a veggi burger) as part of the entry price.

 We raised over £5,000.
I'm now off to do a fundraising auction for Brighton Green Party at Lush, East Street. Starting 7pm.
 Then I'm doing a talk for Kensington Ladies on Monday morning on 'Auctions through the ages, 500 BC to Internet Auctions'
Some of last night's prices: Signed Arsenal photo..........£70. Tour of the House of Lords......£115. Portrait of your child......£105. Be the head teacher for a day......£145. Grazia Beauty Products bundle......£180. Work in the school office for a day......£135. Original Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh comedian) painting.......£450 Interior Mural......£300. Handmade silk quilt......£150.