Monday, 31 December 2007

*Bizarre Predictions

"Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are
impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax." - English
scientist William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, 1899

"Television won't matter in your lifetime or mine." - Radio
Times editor Rex Lambert, 1936

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their
home." - Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of
Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"By 2000, the machines will be producing so much that every-
one in the U.S. will, in effect, be independently wealthy.
- Time Magazine, 1966

"An impractical sort of fad, and has no place in the
serious job of postal transportation." - Second Assistant
U.S. Postmaster General Paul Henderson on airmail, 1922

"It's a bad joke that won't last. Not with winter coming."
- Fashion designer CoCo Chanel on miniskirts, 1966

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." -
Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents,

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" - H.M. Warner,
Warner Brothers, 1927

"You ought to go back to driving a truck." - Concert
manager, firing Elvis Presley in 1954

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way
out." - Decca Recording Co., rejecting the Beatles, 1962

"It doesn't matter what he does, he will never amount to
anything." - Albert Einstein's teacher to his father, 1895

Sunday, 30 December 2007

*Rare record.

New arrival at the Green Room is a rare 1929 General Election recording of two speeches by Ramsay MacDonald. Published for The Labour Party. It’s on 78 rpm.

Other items recently arrived are:

A ‘Widow’s Mite’ coin as mentioned in the Bible.

John Major alarm clock.

Victorian political cups.

As usual, tons of records and books including a nice collection of Australian books. The ‘Australian Heritage Cookbook’ is huge.

If you have not yet seen one, you can pick up a copy of London Green News – the London Green Party mass circulation tabloid newspaper.


From the Daily Mail: A claim that GM technology is helping deliver higher crop yields in Africa was wrong, the Government's chief scientist has been forced to admit.

Professor Sir David King recently caused uproar with his assertion that GM crops could help feed the hungry of the Third World. ... The chief scientist had used the example of crop trials around Lake Victoria in Kenya to boast how useful GM farming could be in feeding the Third World. ...

He told Radio Four's Today programme: 'You interplant the grass with the grain and it turns out the crop yield goes up 40-50 per cent. A very big advantage.'

The only problem is Sir David failed to accurately describe the research in Africa, which did not involve the use of any GM technology at all!

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Politician Accused over 'Viagra Bribes'

A politician in Thailand has been accused of trying to buy votes - by handing out packets of Viagra.

Sayan Nopcha, a campaigner for the People's Power Party in Pathum Thai province just north of Bangkok, said the drug - used to treat sexual dysfunction in men - was being distributed to elderly male voters at social functions.

Sayan, a local government official whose brother is a PPP candidate, said: "The politician is giving out Viagra to gain popularity and votes.

Under a tough new law, both the supplier and recipient of vote-buying can face criminal charges. Candidates can be disqualified and their party disbanded.

More than 4,200 candidates from 41 parties are competing for 480 seats in the lower house of Parliament, the first to be held after a bloodless military coup ousted elected Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September last year.

Gives a completely new slant on raising the vote.

Saturday, 15 December 2007


Green Party London Mayorial candidate, Sian Berry and myself the launch of the campaign in Finchley.

For more photos and report please go to

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

*The Real Costs of Saving the Planet

Critics say limiting carbon emissions could cost trillions. But a new study suggests the costs are much lower

On Dec. 5, the U.S. Senate will begin marking up a bill that would,
for the first time, put mandatory limits on the gas emissions that are
warming the planet. The bill, sponsored by Senators John Warner (R-Va.)
and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), imposes caps on the amount of carbon
dioxide allowed to spew from power plants, cars, and others sources. It
would also permit companies that cut more emissions than required to
sell their excess reductions to those that can't afford to meet the
limit. Economists say this sort of cap and trade scheme, which has
worked well in reducing acid rain-causing pollution, could help the
economy slash emissions at the lowest possible costs.

Meanwhile, delegates from around the world are meeting in Bali,
Indonesia, trying to hammer out a global agreement to cut emissions.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks: the perceived high costs.

But what are those costs? If you listen to opponents of action
against climate change, the American economy will be brought to its
knees by such efforts. The Chamber of Commerce, for instance, says the
bill would cost 3.4 million Americans their jobs; the nation's gross
domestic product, now about $13 trillion, would drop to $12 trillion;
and American consumers would pay as much as $6 trillion more because of
higher prices for gas, heating oil, and many other goods. Other
economic projections put the total price tag for preventing dangerous
climate change at up to $20 trillion.

Yet a new analysis from McKinsey & Co.<
not only pegs the price tag for making substantial cuts at just a few
billion dollars, it also shows that at least 40% of the reductions
bring actual savings to the economy, not costs.

Long-Term Forecasts Are Less Reliable

Why the big difference? First consider the numbers used by the
opponents. Typically, they come from large-scale mathematical models of
the economy. These models look at the economy from the top down. They
try to calculate the effects of changes such as rising energy costs or
financial penalties for carbon emissions. These models are widely used
to predict short-term changes in the economy. But longer-term forecasts
are less accurate because of their increasing reliance on the initial

For example, the final result varies dramatically depending on the
assumptions about the pace of innovation. If the model assumes that
development of new forms of renewable energy will continue at the same
rate as before carbon emission limits were enacted (when the financial
incentives for development were lower), then cutting carbon emissions
will be costly. But if you assume that an added financial incentive,
such as a price on carbon emissions, will increase the pace of
innovation and the development of new technologies, then meeting the
limits will be cheaper. And if the model discounts the future benefits
of avoiding the dangers of warming in terms of their present value, it
will also predict higher overall costs.

Different Conclusions Are Possible

Yet even with these inherent limitations, many of the models suggest
that the ultimate cost of slowing global warming is reasonable.
Stanford University climatologist Stephen Schneider, for instance, has
analyzed one of the most prominent models, from Yale's William
Nordhaus. According to Nordhaus' results, stabilizing the climate would
be "unimaginably expensive—$20 trillion," Schneider says.

But the $20 trillion hit to the economy isn't immediate. Instead,
that's the calculated cost in the year 2100, Schneider says, not now.
What does that really mean? Schneider ran the numbers, assuming the
economy grows at about 2% per year. The seemingly huge $20 trillion
price tag works out to "a one-year delay in being 500% richer," he
says. In other words, paying the price to reduce climate change would
mean Americans would have to wait until 2101 to be as rich as they
otherwise would have been in 2100. To Schneider, that's a minuscule
price to pay for saving the planet from the dangers of global warming.
"Are you out of your mind? Who wouldn't take that?" he says.

There's also a completely different way to approach the question of
costs. Instead of using a big, complicated mathematical model that
looks down at the economy, you can start by looking at the many
individual steps that could be taken to reduce emissions, and work from
the bottom up. That's what McKinsey did in its recently released

Cost-Saving Steps

The report was "born of the frustration that there are no solid facts
out there about the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,"
explains McKinsey director Jack Stephenson. So Stephenson and his team
plunged ahead. They got support for the effort from Royal Dutch Shell
and a couple of environmental groups. They analyzed 250 possible steps,
from more fuel-efficient cars and buildings to all types of cleaner
energy. And they assumed people wouldn't change anything about their
lifestyles, driving just as much and not lowering their thermostats.

The results are surprising. The report concludes that the U.S. can
cut its greenhouse emissions in half from projected levels in 2030 at
minimal cost. None of the steps would cost more than $50 per ton of
carbon dioxide emissions avoided. Plus, 40% of the reductions would
actually save money. That puts the overall cost at just a few dollars
per ton of carbon dioxide—or in the tens of billions of dollars

Moreover, it doesn't take any breakthroughs in technology. "Eighty
percent of the reductions come from technology that exists today at the
commercial scale," says Stephenson. And the remaining 20% comes from
ideas already well along in development, such as hybrid cars that plug
into electrical outlets and have batteries big enough to go 30 or 40
miles on electric power alone and biofuels made from cellulose (such as
prairie grass) rather than foodstuffs like corn.

Waste Not

The overall price tag is so low because there are many simple ways
the country can use energy more efficiently, Stephenson explains. "The
U.S. wastes a huge amount of energy," he says. The vast majority of the
power used by VCRs and DVD players occurs when they're not even turned
on, for instance. Electronics equipment, buildings, lighting, water
heaters, and autos are just some of the many products and facilities
that could be far more efficient. Improving efficiency in this way
would save money, not cost money, McKinsey figures.

Overall, the McKinsey report paints a far more encouraging picture
than the figures from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "It's the
difference between a business consultant who sees opportunities for
business, and a hired-gun economist," says Dan Lashof, science director
of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Until the U.S. actually tries to reduce its greenhouse gas
emissions, we won't know who's right. But it does seem clear that the
economy wouldn't be crippled. "The common perception of high costs is
just so radically wrong," concludes Stanford's Schneider.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

*Yesterday's Climate Change Demo.

At yesterday's Climate Change demo with L to R: Tim Turner, Tim Summers, Shasha Khan, myself and Heather Finlay.


James Purnell MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has announced a major shift in Government sports policy which segments cycling into 'Sport' and 'Recreation'.

Sport England will no longer fund recreational cycling. For those of us who've given up our aims of Olympic glory this may not seem like too much of an issue, but it completely ignores cycling's contribution to Government's physical activity strategy.

Santa arrested.

I see that santas in Australia have been banned from crying HO-HO-HO as being some way politicial incorrect. They now have to say HA-HA-HA.

In 1986, by father got pulled by a policeman for playing 'Jingle Bells' while dressed as Santa Claus.

My brother had a toy shop and every year he had Santa arriving on different transport. In 1986 he had my father as Santa on the back of a truck with a tape recorder playing festive tunes. The parade was going well until a policeman stepped out and demanded to see their public broadcast permit. Actually my brother or the cop did not know that you do not need a broadcast permit as long as the vehicle is moving.

Anyway, the parade was allowed to proceed in silence.

There was a local reporter in the crowd, who got my father to pose behind an iron gate - 'Santa in jail'. This appeared in the Limerick Leader, then BBC Northern Ireland rang up and interviewed my father.

Next day my brother had a call from a producer in RTE (The Irish national TV company): "Have you presented your driving licence and insurance to the Gardai?" When Liam replied in the negative the producer asked him to delay it for a day.
On that day, my father, dressed as Santa, was filmed going into the police station. The seargent was not pleased with the policeman. "I've just had a call from my Superintendent and he has had a call from the Minister of Justice asking if we had anything better to do than in Kilmallock than going around arresting Santas" he said.

The RTE film was shown in the USA, Russia, Australia and South Africa. It made all the papers. I remember seeing it on the front page of The Sun, without realising that the story was about my father:-)

Naturally there was no charges, but the policeman was transferred to jail duties in Limerick Prison for several weeks.

My father had fan mail from all over the world for years afterwards.

Friday, 7 December 2007



I will be running the Green Party stall at Grosvenor Square. I will have copies of our new newspaper 'London Green News'


10.00 am Cycle Protest assembles at Lincoln's Inn Fields

10.30 am Biofuelwatch protest outside the Tesco Metro at 17/25 Regent
Street, Cllr Andrew Boswell to speak

12 noon Assemble Milbank for main march

The Green Party Stall at MILLBANK will be at the LAMBETH BRIDGE end. Nearest tube WESTMINSTER , walk past H of Parliament .
We will be setting up from about 10.30 am.

2.30 Green Party Principal Speaker Caroline Lucas MEP to speak at
rally outside US embassy, alongside George Monbiot and others

The UK national demonstration in London will be one of many
demonstrations on climate change taking place all around the world on
the same day, midway through the UN Climate Talks in Bali. Join the
thousands of people marching through the streets of London to call
for critical immediate global political action on climate change
before it's too late.

5.00 pm to 2.00 am AFTER-PARTY and FUNDRAISER
After-Party and Campaign against Climate Change fundraiser at the Synergy Centre. Farmers Road, Camberwell - nearest tube Oval (directions to get there here , map here.) This will feature music from Seize the Day and others. Find more details here on the Synergy website.
There will be limited floor space available for an overnight stay at the Synergy centre - you will need to book a place by emailing us at

Wednesday, 28 November 2007


This is a very enjoyable event. Ideal for picking up Christmas presents. Only £1 to get in. Loads of events for the kids.

London GP will have a stall. We are in the Lower Foyer. Drop in and have a chat.

Animal Aid Press release:

Animal Aid's Christmas Without Cruelty Fair: Kensington Town Hall, London, Sunday 2 December
Come along and join in all the fun of the Fair. There's a full programme of events and activities, including a short message of support from our patron Tony Benn, who will be at the Fair from 11am. See the website for full details.

Celebrity Auction

The lively Noel Lynch will be wielding his gavel for the celebrity live auction this year, and kicking off the proceedings at 2.30pm in the downstairs foyer. Items up for auction include Tony Benn's pipe, an Arsenal pennant signed by the 1st team, a signed Melanie C T-shirt and photo, a camisole from Kate Winslet and a photo and werewolf action figure from Doctor Who, both signed by David Tennant.


In more than its fifty year history BNFL's Sellafield complex has released at least as much radioactivity into the surrounding environment as was released in the Chernobyl accident.

Mike Townsley of Greenpeace International: “Sellafield is a slow- motion Chernobyl, an accident played out over the last four decades'."

Saturday, 24 November 2007

*QUOTED IN YESTERDAY'S GUARDIAN.,,2215376,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed

To anyone who is not already aware, the Green Party is engaged in an internal referendum on whether to have a leader. The proposition is opposed by most activists but sounds attractive to the ‘armchair members’ At the recent AGM of the London Federation of Green Parties, the YES side were only able to muster nine votes in the straw poll, despite fielding some very high profile speakers.

My factual comments have brought down the wrath of some of the extremists on the YES side:-)

Here are the websites from both sides:

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

*London Green News/'Stop and Kill'

Apologies to the readers out there. I have not been posting much lately. With only 22 weeks to the GLA elections, things are just hectic. In fact, last night was my first at home in eleven days. Even then, the last e-mails were sent out after midnight. Two events stand out over the last week:

1) BRIEFING on ‘STOP AND KILL’ from the Metropolitan Police:

This was conducted by two senior policemen at Scotland Yard. In preparation for it, I studied the Stockwell 1 report (180 pages) and the Stockwell 2 report (140 pages). Fascinating, and scary stuff!! While some of the reports are repetitive, I would urge anyone interested in the subject to read them – available on the Met website.

I came away from the briefing even more scared than before:-) For one thing, an armed policeman can shoot to kill at any time if he thinks his life or the life of a member of the public is in danger. This, apparently, has always been the case! Being Irish I knew this already.

The officers also stated that Tony Blair was not involved in the attempt to gag the independent investigation, contrary to what is in the Stockwell 1 report (section 17.21)

Reading the report, one can see that it could have happened to you or me or anyone if you are ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’, as in the Pogues song about another miscarriage of Justice – The Birmingham 6. It is quite obvious from the report that John-Charles did absolute nothing wrong and had not acted in a suspicious manner.

On Thursday last I was involved in the signing-off of the first ever issue of the London Green Party’s new tabloid newspaper London Green News. This was the culmination of a long held dream of mine. On the first issue, we have a print run of 170,000. That’s about the same as the Guardian in London. It will be hitting the streets this coming weekend. Volunteers for distribution are very welcome. E-mail me at

Monday, 19 November 2007


Depth of child poverty in Britain exposed by report
By Emily Dugan

Published: 15 November 2007

The true hardships of the one in three children in Britain who live in poverty are exposed in a new report revealing that a quarter of the country's poorest households cannot afford to put a daily hot meal on the table for every family member.

The ground-breaking report, Living With Hardship 24/7, which was published yesterday by the child poverty charity The Frank Buttle Trust, takes an in-depth look at the experiences of families surviving in low-income households, exposing details of their daily struggles that would not look out of place in a developing country.

The study found that children as young as five were so keenly aware of their parents' financial difficulties that they gave back money to help support the household. The children surveyed were from 70 families across the country with an income of less than £11,000.

Almost half of the parents interviewed said they could not afford basic toys or sports equipment for their children, and a third did not have enough money to buy the winter clothes their offspring needed. Some children said they did not ask for Christmas presents for fear of adding to their parents' burden.
Eight-year-old Fiona said her parents' financial situation made her fear for her sister's life. Her parents were dependent on benefits and were £30,000 in debt. Asked how she felt about their predicament, Fiona said: "I'm really, really scared ... Because if we don't have much money then we won't buy food and then my baby sister will die."

The report's author, Dr Carol-Ann Hooper, a senior lecturer in social policy at the University of York, said: "Children as young as five recognised that poverty was a key source of stress for their parents, and some tried to alleviate it by hiding their needs and wishes, and giving or lending money they had received from other family members. They were also often sad, angry, frustrated or upset by the impacts of poverty on their lives and hardship clearly impacted in a range of ways on all dimensions of children's well-being."

The anxiety of children who felt they should be helping more was also highlighted in the report. Amy, nine, explained how she was worried about her mother being able to afford a birthday present for her: "I just think I should really be paying for stuff," she said. "I should do more for my mum that I'm not doing really, but I don't really have enough money to do any more."

In the foreword to the report, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, wrote: "The Government pledged in 1999 to halve child poverty by 2010 and to end it by 2020. While absolute poverty in Britain has fallen as a result of the measures taken by the Government, there are still 2.8 million children living in poverty in the UK today – that is one in three children. A great deal more needs to be done."

End Child Poverty, a coalition of 100 children's charities, has been lobbying the Government to keep its promise of eradicating child poverty by 2020. This is looking increasingly less likely, as the number of minors living in poverty rose by 100,000 last year.

Hilary Fisher, the director of End Child Poverty, said: "It's shocking to think that in this country, one of the richest in the world, there are children worried their siblings might die because they don't have enough food. We have five-year-olds so concerned about money that if they receive any they give it to their parents.

"Most people in the UK don't believe poverty exists, and they can't imagine what it looks like. We have one of the highest rates of child poverty in the industrialised world and we need action now to tackle it. We are calling on the Chancellor to make the 2008 Budget a Budget to end child poverty. Without the investment of an extra £4bn by April 2009, the Government's commitment to child poverty targets will just be a hollow promise."

Laura Macarthur, 22: 'Often I don't eat'

Laura Macarthur, 22, a single mother, lives in Huddersfield with her one-year-old son, Camden. She is unemployed and surviving on benefits. "I don't manage to pay all the bills. With it getting so cold now we need the heating on more; it's very difficult. Sometimes I run out of gas or electricity because I haven't been able to top up the meter." When Ms Macarthur broke up with her boyfriend she was left with nowhere to go, so she went to the local homeless centre. "I had to take the first council flat that came up, but it was in a really rough estate, and had almost no provisions. Often I don't eat because I can't afford to. I'm more worried about feeding Camden. The Government seems to think you only need £59 a week to survive, but it's not enough, and child benefit doesn't come close to covering the extra amount that you need to bring up kids."

Sunday, 11 November 2007


C. S. Prakash of AgBioWorld and his associates have called for fellow GM lobbyists to target Dr Michael Antoniou of Kings College after he argued in an article in the UK's Independent newspaper that "genetically modified crops are dangerous and unnecessary."

Dr. Antoniou is one of the clearest thinking scientists that I have ever met. I once chaired a meeting where he spoke. He demonstrated very clearly why GM is such bad science.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

*Knickers to the generals.

Knickers to the generals.
From The Belfast Telegraph.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
By Andrew Buncombe
Activists seeking to pressure the Burmese regime are targeting the superstitions of its senior generals by asking for people around the world to send women's underwear to the junta.
In what may be a first, campaigners based in Thailand have called for supporters to "post, deliver or fling" the underwear to their nearest Burmese embassy. They believe the senior members of the junta – some known to be deeply superstitious – could be made to believe they will lose their authority should they come into contact with the lingerie.

" The Burma military regime is not only brutal but very superstitious. They believe that contact with a woman's panties or sarong can rob them of their power," says the website of the Lanna Action for Burma group, based in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand. The group says that Burmese embassies have already received underwear from people in Thailand, Australia, Singapore and the UK.

One of the group's activists, Tomoko, said: "We want to raise awareness first, and we want to target officials, letting them know we are against them abusing their power. We are sending the generals panties as a symbol of putting their power down."

What result the underwear campaign will have is unclear. Burma's senior general, Than Shwe, is known to be very superstitious. When the regime decided to move its capital from Rangoon to a new location deep in the jungle at Naypidaw, the general sought the advice of a numerologist who told him that the most auspicious time for the move would be 6.37 in the morning. As a result, the first convoy of government trucks left Rangoon at precisely that time.

News of the latest effort by activists to pressure the regime came as hundreds of Burmese riot police returned to the streets of Rangoon yesterday. The Buddhist Lent season was ending, allowing monks to move about again, and authorities feared they might spark off protests.

*Walls that pee back.

The mayor of Paris, who made environmental concerns
a major priority, is taking aim at another threat to the
city's cleanliness -- public urination.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who made all self-cleaning Sanisette
toilets in streets and parks free of charge in February,
is turning to a new method of keeping urination off the
streets and in the toilets: walls that pee back, The
Telegraph reported Monday.

"Le mur anti-pipi" is an undulating wall that features sloping surfaces that reflect urine streams back toward their source, the newspaper said.

"The jet of pee is rather oblique. If it meets a sloping
surface it is sent back to the trousers," said Etienne
Vanderpooten, a municipal architect who has been working
on halting public urination for 25 years. "It is the case
of the arroseur arrose (the sprinkler sprinkled),"


The first shopping cart was introduced on June 4, 1937, the invention of Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Piggly-Wiggly supermarket chain in Oklahoma City.

With the assistance of Fred Young, a mechanic, Goldman constructed the first shopping cart, basing his design on that of a wooden folding chair. They built it with a metal frame and added wheels and wire baskets, and advertised the invention as part of a new “No Basket Carrying Plan.”

The invention did not catch on immediately. Men found them effeminate; women found them suggestive of a baby carriage. "I've pushed my last baby buggy," offended women informed him.

After hiring several male and female models posing as shoppers to push his new invention around his store and demonstrate their utility, as well as greeters to explain their use, shopping carts became extremely popular and Goldman became a multimillionaire.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

*BNP attack on Greens

An attack on the Greens from the BNP for supporting Polish voters. I consider it an honour to be the target of some BNP venom.

Joseph Healy

International Coordinator

Monday, 29 October 2007


Spent the last three days at the Sustainability Show at The Dome. Around 50,000 people attended. Many remarked on the fact that we were the only political party present and several joined up and others took away the forms to sign-up on-line.

Our Mayoral Candidate, Sian Berry performed the grand opening.

In the photo: L-R Ken Burgess (London Local Party Support) Shahrar Ali (London Policy Coordinator) and myself.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Polish Embassy


Joseph Healy (left) was attacked on the BNP website for this event.

Sunday, 21 October 2007


With Joseph Healy (GP International Coordinator) went down to Portland Place today to welcome the Green Party busload of Brighton voters.

The crowds were massive, all the way around the block. 10s of thousands of people patiently waiting to vote. It was a very inspiring demonstration of democracy. The atmosphere was festive and if the opinions of the emigrants are anything to go by, the terrible twins will be defeated by a landslide.

We had GP placards in Polish and English which went down well. Leaflets were distributed to people in the queue and we gave out Polish savouries. The Brighton Eco bus also had quite a bit of attention.

It would now be nice if Irish expats had a vote. Ireland is the only country in the EU whose emigrants do not have a vote!

Saturday, 20 October 2007


Press Release from the Green Party:

Noel Lynch, London GP Convenor, and Dr Joseph Healy, International
Coordinator GPEW, will be among Greens meeting Polish voters from Brighton
on Sunday at Friends Meeting House, Euston Road at 1pm after voting in the
Polish general election. This election also vitally important because of
the appallingly right wing zenophobic and homophobic government in Warsaw.

They will be presented with cakes and leaflets on behalf
of the party before their return to Brighton. The event was organised at
the last minute by GP activists in Brighton angered at the lack of voting
facilities for Poles living there. Please pass on to press and Polish
press in particular. We will also have London GP banner there. Any Polish
speaking London members very welcome to attend, there will be snacks in
Friends Meeting House.

We also hope that these Polish citizens will encourage their compatriots
in London to vote in next May's Assembly elections and the 2009 Euro


From the, always interesting, UP! e-group.

Naturally, I would put JOIN THE GREEN PARTY AS No. 1.

1. Don't eat meat: the most wasteful and polluting way of producing food, and cruel to animals too

2. Don't waste energy: turn the heating down; insulate; wear more clothes

3. Drive as little as necessary: cycle where possible or walk

4. Refuse excessive packaging: or return it to the shops

5. Recycle what you can: plastics, metal, glass, paper

6. Compost organic waste: build a compost heap or get a bin

7. Reduce consumption: do you really need that much STUFF?

8. Don't fly: holiday at home [try camping, it's great fun and planet friendly]

9. Install energy efficient lightbulbs

10. Plant trees: in your garden or anywhere else you can find

11. Join an environmental, wildlife or conservation group and get active

12. Use less water: bath with a friend; don't flush after a piss; don't clean teeth with tap running

13. Install solar panels or a wind generator

14. Complain when you see wasteful behaviour: whether corporate or private

15. Write to your MP about bad government policies: like airport expansion and road building

"Ecological Restoration" in the Eyes of Nikos Kazantzakis

"Ecological Restoration" in the Eyes of Nikos Kazantzakis

"I remembered one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the bark of a tree, just as the butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited a while, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened, the butterfly started slowly crawling out and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath. In vain. It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.

"That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the natural rhythm.

"I sat on a rock to absorb this New Year's thought. Ah, if only that little butterfly could always flutter before me to show me the way."

Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek author.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

*First man to circumnavigate the globe by muscle power

A British man kayaked, pedaled, walked, swam and
skated to become the first person to circumnavigate the
globe by human muscle alone.

Jason Lewis, 40, shunned motor and sail to travel 45,505
miles in a quest that ended last week when he pulled his
pedal boat across the Meridian line at the Royal Observ-
atory in Greenwich.

The epic journey took him 13 years, two months, 23 days and
11 hours.

Lewis capsized in two oceans, was chased by a crocodile in
Australia, had two bouts of malaria, surgery for two hernias
and nearly died of blood poisoning 1,300 miles off Hawaii.

He also suffered acute altitude sickness in the Himalayas,
broke both legs when he was hit by a car in Colorado and was
arrested as a spy in Egypt.

Friday, 12 October 2007

*GORE and UN panel win NOBEL prize

From BBC online:

Climate change campaigner Al Gore and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee cited "their efforts to build up and disseminate knowledge about man-made climate change".

Mr Gore, 59, said he was "deeply honoured" while IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri said he was "overwhelmed". Mr Gore was behind a blockbuster film on climate change while the IPCC is the top authority on global warming.

Announcing the award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee praised the recipients' efforts to "lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract [climate] change".

It said it wanted to bring the "increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states" posed by climate change into sharper focus. The committee highlighted the series of scientific reports issued over the last two decades by the IPCC, which comprises more than 2,000 leading climate change scientists. The reports had "created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming". Mr Gore was praised as "probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted", through his lectures, films and books. 'Overwhelmed' Speaking in Washington, Mr Gore said he was honoured.

"This award is even more meaningful because I have the honour of sharing it" with the IPCC, he said - "whose members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for many years". He said he would donate his half of the $1.5m prize money to the Alliance for Climate Protection, reported the news agency Reuters. "I can't believe it, overwhelmed, stunned," IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri told reporters and co-workers after receiving the news on the phone at his office in Delhi. He later told a cheering crowd of co-workers and journalists outside his office in New Delhi he hoped the award would bring a "greater awareness and a sense of urgency" to the fight against global warming. A massive amount of work goes on behind the scenes at the IPCC, says the BBC's environment correspondent Richard Black, involving hundreds of scientists working to collate and evaluate the work of thousands more. In a sense, he says, this is an award for those usually unsung scientists too.

Mr Gore made a failed bid for the US presidency in 2000, after serving as vice-president under Bill Clinton. Since then he has emerged as a leading climate campaigner - winning an Oscar for his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth, an unlikely box-office hit.

The IPCC, established in 1988, is tasked with providing policymakers with neutral summaries of the latest expertise on climate change.

The Nobel committee closely guards the names of nominees, but this year speculation was high that the recipient would be linked to climate change campaigns.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

*Straw bale auction rooms nearing completion

As an auctioneer and a Green Party activist, I am delighted to post this report from Green Building Magazine.

Straw bale auction rooms nearing completion.

The main structure of the largest straw bale building in the UK is nearing completion near Stansted airport. Pioneers of straw bale building in the UK, amazonails of Todmorden, West Yorkshire, are now completing the straw bale walls of the 1,100 sq m (11,800 sq ft) auction room and offices.

The design, with straw bales infilling a timber frame, is an advance on conventional timber-frame buildings and is quicker to build. Workers from amazonails will have spent three weeks camping at the site building the straw bale walls when the main structure is completed this coming weekend, the cedar shingle roof being supported above the building on timber uprights while the walls were filled in.

The construction process has also been used for training future straw bale constructors, this following an amazonails tradition in which people wanting to build their own straw bale home learn while they build, under instruction from experts from amazonails.

The building will provide new auction rooms and offices for Sworders Fine Art and Antique Auctioneers, of Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex. The building as a whole was designed by Robert Ward-Booth FRICS, a partner in G E Sworder & Sons. It incorporates solar heating, a bio-fuel boiler and water is harvested from the roof.

Barbara Jones, Executive Director of amazonails says: “This building demonstrates the amazing potential of straw bale buildings. They not only offer the possibility of exciting, eco-friendly homes; working commercial buildings can also benefit from the advantages of this kind of building while helping to lessen the consequences of climate change. The thermal efficiency of straw bale walls means that long term running costs can be much lower than other types of building and the dependence on fossil fuels can be reduced”.

This new commercial building should help dispel many myths about building with straw when done correctly. There are no problems with obtaining planning permission; such buildings are at least as fire safe as conventional buildings; and they will endure as long as any well-maintained building using bricks and mortar.

Furthermore, the heat insulation properties of straw bale walls are twice as good as the best alternative materials on the market.
The building is due to be structurally complete in October and it will be fitted out and occupied in the first quarter of next year.

*Benefit claimants need firmer safeguards,not tougher sanctions

"Benefit claimants need firmer safeguards,not tougher sanctions" by Alan Wheatley.

David Cameron says that tougher benefit rules will help make the economy fairer. He says that jobseekers who turn down suitable offers of work should lose benefit.

This panders to the tabloid exaggerated stories of abuses by benefit claimants. Do the tabloids ever report the dismal performance of Jobcentre Plus (JCP) call centres? Last year, JCP was criticised in Parliament for leaving 44% of incoming calls for the tax year 2004/2005 unattended; that was over twenty million calls. Only 5% of calls to the help line for Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit were answered!

That state of affairs has been exacerbated by JCP's insistence that
those making fresh claims for benefit must apply over the telephone. I am really glad that when I started part-time cover-duties as a social care worker in 2005, I 'kept my claim fresh' by signing on each fortnight and submitting part-time earnings forms.

JCP, however, was so inefficient that I was left waiting more than two months on two occasions for Jobseekers Allowance top-up to my meager part-time earnings. The second of those occasions was after I resigned from the strain of JCP-inefficiencies and from lack of in-service training and other such circumstances; there was a 'sting in the tail' to my receipt of £500, mainly made up of annual leave accruals. In the time while I was waiting for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) to resume, Housing Benefits (HB) were told that I was no longer entitled to JSA and therefore not automatically entitled to HB. A telephone contact I had with HB at the Town Hall was not logged, and so in the months I was waiting for JSA to be resumed, the Council almost closed my HB file,
believing I had not responded to their earlier communication.

Regarding those who gave up benefits in going into paid work, the tax credits debacle led many families to be dependent on British Red Cross food parcels and help from other famine relief charities.

Further, I quote the following statistic:

Insecure at Work

* Half of the men and
* A third of the women

making a new claim for JSA were last claiming the benefit less than six months ago. (These proportions are similar to a decade ago.)

Alan Wheatley
GPEW Disability Spokesperson

PS: The WEEKLY 'earnings disregard' on Jobseekers Allowance is now LESS than an hour of paid work on the statutory minimum wage. That 'earnings disregard' has remained at £5 since 1988!


JCP call centre inefficiencies and other 'performance indicators' are noted at

Insecure at work

*Green Party party - this Sunday

Please pass on this invitation:


3PM til 9PM !

live music acts , comedy compere and quiet room.

Come on ! You can't complain ! There's something for everyone to enjoy.

. Bring friends and family!

( Brixton and Oval Tube Stn)

DROP by during the DAY ,
drink , debate all day
while we raise funds and relax.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


Today is the 50th anniversary of the Windscale fire on October 10th 1957.Green Party Principal Speaker Dr.Derek Wall has warned that nuclear power was still a dangerous option.

"The first serious nuclear accident happened in 1957: a reactor fire at Windscale (now called Sellafield),three years after the first nuclear power station was opened.

"Since then, there have been more than six serious nuclear accidents - three in the UK - Douneray, Chapelcross and THORP, two in Japan - Monju and Tokaimura, and one in the USA - Three Mile Island.

"The Windscale anniversary is a sobering reminder that nuclear power creates horrific dangers for humanity and the natural environment.

The fire spread radidation across Britain, provoking an emergency
where milk was thrown away. It was so horrifying, like an event from a science fiction movie. The very name Windscale was changed to Sellafield as a public relations move to make nuclear power more acceptable. The radioactive path to the future is one we must reject.

"But, despite the inherent dangers of this kind of energy, the UK
government are still hell-bent on bringing in a new round of nuclear power stations.

"Not only is this incredibly dangerous, it's also hugely expensive.

"Moreover, it's entirely unnecessary. The UK is better placed than
anyone else in Europe to utilise renewable energy - a clean, cheap
and cutting-edge technology. A source of power that doesn't cost lives.

"The full effects of the Windscale fire, or any of the other serious nuclear accidents over the past 50 years, may never be fully known - parts of the UK are still contaminated by the fallout from Chernobyl.

"But they should be remembered when deciding on the future of energy policy in the UK - it's time we said no to nuclear power."

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

*Americans Consider Global Warming An Urgent Threat: Poll

Nearly half of Americans now believe that global warming is either already having dangerous impacts on people around the world or will in the next 10 years.

A surprising 40 percent of respondents say a presidential candidate's position on global warming will be either extremely important (16 percent) or very important (24 percent) when casting their ballots. These results indicate a sea change in public opinion.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

*Climate of change for supporters of GM crops

Letter to The Guardian by Michael Meacher:

So the biotech industry is having another try. Having been defeated comprehensively in 2004 after the GM field-scale trials I set up, they have the gall to suggest(like the nuclear industry)that climate change might provide the way back in. Your report says an unnamed "senior government source" claims the tide will turn because, allegedly, GM crops are higher-yield and hardier to
help feed the world's increasing population and will help provide biofuels to limit climate change. These claims are bunkum.

The most authoritative study on crop yields - by Charles Benbrook, an independent US scientist - found that over a five-year period yields actually fell and pesticide use increased to deal with superweeds. The real answer to feeding a growing world population, in addition to more widespread family planning, is reversing the gross maldistribution of land in developing countries, phasing out the US and EU agricultural subsidies that wreck the market for
developing-world farmers, and ending the rich countries' discriminatory trade policies. Any role for GM is, by comparison, piffling.

The claim that GM will assist production of biofuels is equally mischievous. If it did this (which is unlikely),it would actually diminish the world's
food supply,given the competition for land. If government officials were genuinely concerned about combating climate change, they wouldn't be making Monsanto's case to raise biotech's profits by cornering the world's food supply;they would be increasing the use of renewable energy, not expanding airports,and signing up industry to much tighter annual CO2 reductions.

Michael Meacher MP
Former environment minister


Florida Student Andrew Meyer Tazered - Footage Not Seen on TV

U of F student Andrew Meyer is tazed by police after being escorted away from the microphone at a campus forum.

It's after the insurance ad on the clip. Look at it until the end.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

*AUCTION at Green Party Conference.

The Green Party Annual Conference takes place from to-morrow Sept. 13th until Sunday next at The Cornerstone building of Liverpool Hope University, at Haigh Street, Liverpool L3 8QB.

I am conducting a fundraising auction for our GLA election campaign.

The event takes place on Friday evening at 8pm.

Here are a few of the items for sale:

1) Have your housekeeping done by Darren Johnson, London Assembly Member.

2) Tea for three and a tour of the House of Lords plus seats for a debate. Donated by Lord Beaumont.

3) Tony Benn's pipe - autographed by him.

4) An original ballot paper from the first free elections in South Africa, 1994, features Nelson Mandela etc.

5) Self portrait sketch and autograph by David Baddiel.

6) A genuine ROMAN COIN of the Emperor Constantius 11 (337-361 a.d.)

I am now accepting bids on the above. Please ring me on 07961 44 1722 or reply to this e-mail up to Wednesday night.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

*Blogging goes Green – Blog Action Day.

Last week saw the launch of Blog Action Day, an international initiative aiming to unite thousands of blogging voices and have them talk about one specific issue on one specific day – with the aim being to further global awareness of that issue and so contribute to bringing about positive change.

The inaugural Blog Action Day is scheduled for October 15th 2007, and the issue that its organisers are asking bloggers from around the world to focus on is the environment.

As well as dedicating that day’s posts to reporting on issues relating to the environment, bloggers who make money from their sites are also being asked to donate the day’s earnings to environmental charities.

Add your voice to this innovative global initiative by adding your blog. As of to-day there are 4,597 blogs signed up.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

*Plastic bags.

The Scottish Executive recently calculated that the oil used to manufacture eight plastic carrier bags would power an average car for a kilometre.

Monday, 3 September 2007


The world's biggest philanthropic foundation is reaping huge profits investing in companies responsible for causing the problems it tries to solve. Its grant-giving is also doing more harm than good in undermining health and agricultural systems, distorting national and global priorities, and preventing the necessary paradigm change that could help secure the future of the planet, says an article for ISIS at

The Los Angeles Times reports: "... the Gates Foundation has holdings in many companies that have failed tests of social responsibility because of environmental lapses, employment discrimination, disregard for worker rights, or unethical practices." The Gates Foundation has spent at least US$75 million on biotech projects so far, many of which appear to involve genetic engineering. These include not only GM crops but GM mosquitoes, which are supposedly designed to fight malaria and dengue fever but which are an unproven approach.

Sunday, 2 September 2007


Song by James Connolly, Scots/Irish Socialist.
Executed by the British Army in 1916.

We only want the Earth.

Some men, faint hearted, ever seek
Our programme to retouch
And will insist, whene’er they speak
That we demand too much
‘Tis passing strange, yet I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most moderate are
We only want THE EARTH

“Be moderate,” the trimmers cry,
Who dread the tyrants’ thunder.
“You ask too much, and people fly
From you aghast in wonder.”
‘Tis passing strange, for I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most moderate are:
We only want THE EARTH.

Our masters all – a godly crew,
Whose hearts throb for the poor –
Their sympathies assure us too,
If our demands were fewer.
Most generous souls! But please observe,
What they enjoy from birth
Is all we ever had the nerve
To ask: that is, THE EARTH.

The “labour fakir,” full of guile,
Base doctrine ever preaches,
And while he bleeds the rank and file
Tame moderation teaches.
Yet, in this despite, we’ll see the day
When, with sword in its girth,
Labour shall march in war array
To seize it’s own, THE EARTH.

For labour long, with sighs and tears,
To it’s oppressors knelt,
But never yet, to aught save fears,
Did heart of tyrant melt.
We need not kneel, our cause no dearth
Of loyal soldiers needs,
And our victorious rallying cry

“No revolutionary movement is complete without its poetical expression”
James Connolly.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

*Plastic bag petition.

People in Britain use an average of 300 plastic bags every year. Each bag lasts up to 400 years, spending the vast majority of that time in a landfill site or strewn across the British countryside.

People are becoming increasingly aware that we need to reduce our use of plastic bags. In Ireland, a tax of 15cents per bag resulted in a 90% drop in plastic bag usage, and raised 3.5 million Euros which was spent on environmental projects. Bangladesh has banned polythene bags altogether while Taiwan and Singapore are taking steps to discourage their use.

Please take a moment to sign the petition at to introduce a similar tax (to be spent on environmental projects) of 10p per bag in Britain.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007


Predictions of the Year 2000
from The Ladies Home Journal of December 1900

The Ladies Home Journal from December 1900, which contained a fascinating article by John Elfreth Watkins, Jr. “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years”.

Mr. Watkins wrote: “These prophecies will seem strange, almost impossible. Yet, they have come from the most learned and conservative minds in America. To the wisest and most careful men in our greatest institutions of science and learning I have gone, asking each in his turn to forecast for me what, in his opinion, will have been wrought in his own field of investigation before the dawn of 2001 - a century from now. These opinions I have carefully transcribed.”

Prediction #1: There will probably be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America and its possessions by the lapse of another century. Nicaragua will ask for admission to our Union after the completion of the great canal. Mexico will be next. Europe, seeking more territory to the south of us, will cause many of the South and Central American republics to be voted into the Union by their own people.”

Prediction #2: The American will be taller by from one to two inches. His increase of stature will result from better health, due to vast reforms in medicine, sanitation, food and athletics. He will live fifty years instead of thirty-five as at present – for he will reside in the suburbs. The city house will practically be no more. Building in blocks will be illegal. The trip from suburban home to office will require a few minutes only. A penny will pay the fare.

Prediction #3: Gymnastics will begin in the nursery, where toys and games will be designed to strengthen the muscles. Exercise will be compulsory in the schools. Every school, college and community will have a complete gymnasium. All cities will have public gymnasiums. A man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling.

Prediction #4: There Will Be No Street Cars in Our Large Cities. All hurry traffic will be below or high above ground when brought within city limits. In most cities it will be confined to broad subways or tunnels, well lighted and well ventilated, or to high trestles with “moving-sidewalk” stairways leading to the top. These underground or overhead streets will teem with capacious automobile passenger coaches and freight with cushioned wheels. Subways or trestles will be reserved for express trains. Cities, therefore, will be free from all noises.

Prediction #5: Trains will run two miles a minute, normally; express trains one hundred and fifty miles an hour. To go from New York to San Francisco will take a day and a night by fast express. There will be cigar-shaped electric locomotives hauling long trains of cars. Cars will, like houses, be artificially cooled. Along the railroads there will be no smoke, no cinders, because coal will neither be carried nor burned. There will be no stops for water. Passengers will travel through hot or dusty country regions with windows down.

Prediction #6: Automobiles will be cheaper than horses are today. Farmers will own automobile hay-wagons, automobile truck-wagons, plows, harrows and hay-rakes. A one-pound motor in one of these vehicles will do the work of a pair of horses or more. Children will ride in automobile sleighs in winter. Automobiles will have been substituted for every horse vehicle now known. There will be, as already exist today, automobile hearses, automobile police patrols, automobile ambulances, automobile street sweepers. The horse in harness will be as scarce, if, indeed, not even scarcer, then as the yoked ox is today.

Prediction #7: There will be air-ships, but they will not successfully compete with surface cars and water vessels for passenger or freight traffic. They will be maintained as deadly war-vessels by all military nations. Some will transport men and goods. Others will be used by scientists making observations at great heights above the earth.

I will post the rest at a later date.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

*Government starts tracking blogs

Central Office of Information develops software to find out what
bloggers are saying about government policy


***The article they didn't want you to read***

[Go to the web page to see the damning photo of the "Would you eat wormy sweet corn?" sign]

The British Food Journal's Award for Excellence for Most Outstanding
Paper in 2004 went to research that should never have been published.
What the reviewers mistook for an impressive piece of scientific enquiry was a carefully crafted propaganda exercise that could only have one outcome. Both the award and the paper now need to be retracted.
Since this article was published a leading researcher into scientific ethics has called for the paper to be retracted.
New Scientist's repo_">

It was late September 1999. The scene was a news conference outside a Loblaws grocery store in downtown Toronto. Greenpeace and the Council of Canadians were launching a public awareness campaign urging customers to ask the chain to remove all genetically modified foods from their shelves.

"The food is safe," shouted someone on the edge of the crowd. Jeff
Wilson, who farms about 250 hectares northwest of Toronto, was part of a small group of hecklers. He had come to the store with Jim Fischer, the head of a lobby group called AgCare, which supports GM foods. Doug Powell, an assistant professor at the University of Guelph, was also there.

And they had come prepared. Holding aloft a bug-ravaged cabbage, Wilson demanded, "Would you buy that?" Wilson claimed the cabbage could have been saved by genetic engineering.

According to a report in the Toronto Star, Doug Powell ended up in a
shouting match with a shopper - 71-year old Evan John Evans, who told him, "I resent you putting stuff in my food I don't want."

A year later and Powell and Wilson's street theatrics had given way to a much more carefully choreographed exercise in persuading people that GM foods were what they wanted.

The scene this time was not Loblaws but Jeff Wilson's farm store, just outside the village of Hillsburgh. Here Powell and Wilson were running an experiment that had been conceived following the Loblaws encounter.

During summer 2000 Wilson grew both GM and conventional sweet corn on his farm. And following the first harvest in late August, both types of corn were put on sale amidst much publicity. The aim was to see which type would appeal most to Wilson's customers.

According to an award winning paper published in the British Food
Journal, a sizeable majority opted to buy the GM corn. In the paper,
authored by Wilson and Powell, and Powell's two research assistants -
Katija Blaine and Shane Morris, the choice appears simple - the bins
were "fully labeled" - either "genetically engineered Bt sweet corn" or
"Regular sweet-corn". The only other written information mentioned in
the paper that might have influenced the preference of customers was
lists of the chemicals used on each type of corn, and pamphlets "with
background information on the project."

What Powell and his co-authors failed to report was that the information on the chemicals came with a variation on the bug-eaten cabbage stunt
Wilson pulled outside Loblaws. There Wilson had demanded of shoppers
"Would you buy that?" In Wilson's store the sign above the non-GM corn bin asked, "Would You Eat Wormy Sweet Corn?" Above the Bt-corn bin,
by contrast, the equivalent sign was headed: "Here's What Went into
Producing Quality Sweet Corn".

Toronto Star reporter Stuart Laidlaw, who visited Wilson's farm several times during the research, says, "It is the only time I have seen a store label its own corn 'wormy'". In his book Secret Ingredients, Laidlaw includes a photograph of the "wormy" corn sign, and dryly notes,
"when one bin was marked 'wormy corn' and another 'quality sweet corn,'it was hardly surprising which sold more."

Laidlaw also notes that any mention of the corn being labelled as
"wormy" or "quality" was omitted in presentations and writings about the experiment. This is certainly the case with the paper in the British Food Journal. Yet the paper describes in some detail the care that the researchers took to avoid biasing consumer choice - by having, for example, both corn-bins kept filled to the same level throughout theday; and by selling the two different types of corn for exactly the same amount. We are even told the precise purchase price: Cnd$3.99/dozen.

The emotively worded signs are not the only instance of glaring
experimenter bias that went unmentioned in the award winning paper.
During his visits to the store, Laidlaw noted that an information table contained, as well as press releases and pamphlets on the experiments, a number of pro-GM fact sheets - some authored by industry lobby groups, but no balancing information from critics of genetic engineering.

And the bias didn't stop there. The lead researcher, Doug Powell,
actually demonstrated to the journalist his ability to influence
customer responses to questions about Bt corn and their future
purchasing preferences. Laidlaw describes how when a customer who'd
bought non-Bt corn was walking to his truck, "Powell talked to him
about Bt corn - describing how it did not need insecticides because it produced its own and that it had been approved as safe by the federal government. Powell then told me I should talk to the man again. I did,and he said he would buy GM corn the next time he was at the store. Powell stood nearby with his arms crossed and a smile on his face."

Outside Loblaws the previous Fall, Powell had ended up in an
unsuccessful slanging match. Now Powell and his associates had
engineered a setting in which customer responses could be influenced far more successfully. Seeing Powell in action convinced Laidlaw that the only conclusion which could safely be drawn from these "experiments" was that, "fed a lot of pro-biotech sales pitches, shoppers could be convinced to buy GM products."

But none of the "pro-biotech sales pitches" made their way into the
paper for which Powell and his associates were commended. Instead,
research that was little more than pro-GM propaganda was presented as providing a meticulous scientific evaluation of consumer purchasing preferences.


Thursday, 16 August 2007


A Channel 4 documentary called Dumped has filmed participants living on a landfill site and surviving on what they can scavenge from it.

The programme, due to start in September, aims to show viewers the extent of what is thrown away and trailers for the programme are already giving a taster of what it could be like to live next to piles of rubbish. Ten people lived on the dump for three weeks, only eating, wearing, sheltering in or using other people's rubbish.

The programme makers have called it 'the ultimate TV recycling challenge' and said: "Dumped aims to highlight the huge amount of food, clothing and other goods needlessly thrown away in the UK. "Many people have never given a second thought to what they chuck out before and the project will bring them face to face with the reality of Britain's rubbish mountains."

Dumped was filmed at Viridor's Beddington Lane recycling and landfill plant near Croydon in June 2007. Participants health and safety was carefully monitored throughout the project, and they were free to leave at any point.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007


Shambo the sacred bullock was taken away and slaughtered after he had tested positive for TB. A great fight had been put up by the monks of the Skanda Vale Hindu community in Wales.

After Shambo had been driven away Brother Alex said the community was satisfied it had done all it could to save the animal. "We are all very saddened by this act of desecration for which the government would not seem to understand the consequences."

Asked what he meant by that, he replied: "Karma. Every action has a cycle of reactions. When you break into a temple to kill an animal there will be a significant reaction to that at some point in the future."

Well, it seems Karma did not wait around. Days later there was the Foot & Mouth outbreak!

Sunday, 12 August 2007


Here are a few of the interesting items that have arrived in the Green Room:

· Page from an old book printed in 1478 – you won’t get much earlier than that in printed material.

· Celtic football flag.

· Roman coins of Constantine, Constantius, Constans and Tetricus 11.

· Set of Beatles plastic figures.

· Tibetan Prayer Wheel.

· Fob with Queen Victoria as a young girl.

· Silver spoons including one Georgian one – ideal for christening presents.

· Art Deco Cocktail Shaker.

· Early Daguerreotype photo.

· Collection of old Meerschaum pipes.

· Miniature of Lady Hamilton.

· A few pieces of Dinosaur Manure.

· A collection of interesting ephemera from the 1930’s.

· Early Victorian Celery Vase.

· Old crossbow.

· Album of 1920’s photos from Palestine.

· Dozens of interesting books also just in.

We open seven days per week – 10am – 6pm and sometimes later.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

*We've ignored lessons of Hiroshima.

READ THIS:"We've ignored lessons of Hiroshima"

It’s powerful stuff from The Camden New Journal’s 101 year old columinist.

ROSE Hacker is the world’s oldest correspondent.The author,
campaigner, mother, sex therapist, artist,and most recently,
journalist, was born in East London in 1906 to Jewish parents. A
clothes designer by trade, she became a radical socialist in the 1930s travelling to the Soviet Union on the same boat as Beatrice and Sydney Webb.

Later she joined the Marriage Guidance Council and became one of Britain’s first sex therapists and the author of several books on
teenage sexuality. In the 1970s she was an elected member of the
Greater London Council.

But it was the publication of Rose’s sparky, elegant column in the New Journal last September made her an overnight sensation at the age of 100. So far, she has appeared in the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent, Daily Mail, the Times, the Telegraph and Woman’s Hour.


Washington (Reuters) -- Global warming is forecast to set in with a vengeance after 2009,with at least half of the five following years expected to be hotter than 1998, the warmest year on record, scientists reported on Thursday.

Climate experts have long predicted a general warming trend over the21st century spurred by the greenhouse effect, but this new study gets more specific about what is likely to happen in the decade that started in 2005.

To make this kind of prediction, researchers at Britain's Met Office - which deals with meteorology - made a computer model that takes into account such natural phenomena as the El Nino pattern in the Pacific Ocean and other fluctuations in ocean circulation and heat content.

A forecast of the next decade is particularly useful, because climate could be dominated over this period by these natural changes, rather than human-caused global warming, said study author Douglas Smith.

In research published in the journal Science, Smith and his
colleagues predicted that the next three or four years would show
little warming despite an overall forecast that saw warming over the decade.

The real heat will start after 2009, they said.

Until then, the natural forces will offset the expected warming caused by human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, which releases the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007


A short video 'What Green Councillors Are Doing' is available to
watch at

It features short clips of Darren Johnson, Maya De Souza, John Coyne
and Jonathan Dixon, filmed at the recent Association of Green
Councillors conference

Thursday, 2 August 2007

*Beat the CO2 Monster!

For those who like playing computer games go to the website of the European Green/EFA Group, which now contains one that we could all appreciate.

The game involves controlling pollution within a short timescale.

From the initial page, you have to scroll down to choose a language; then on the next page, scroll to the right hand side and down to find Beat the CO2 Monster - its fairly obvious. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

*A bridge too far

From The Guardian:

London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, must be ruing the day he was forced by the London assembly greens into handing £50,000 to people objecting to the Thames Gateway bridge in east London. A formidable team of academics, NGOs such as Friends of the Earth and Transport 2000, community groups and local authorities spent the cash fighting against top QCs, solicitors and the might of Transport for London-and last week a government inspector sided with the underdogs. His devastating judgment that the bridge would indeed add to pollution and carbon emissions without bringing any regeneration should make central and local government think again when big business knocks on the door touting grandiose developments.

Hazel Blears, the embarrassed communities secretary, now wants the inquiry to reopen, but this leaves Livingstone in a corner. If he coughs up more money for the alliance to take on TfL again, he may be signing the scheme's death warrant. If he doesn't, he will be accused of trying to engineer a result. But there are still a couple of options, Ken.
How about a public transport-only bridge? Or even no bridge at all?,,2138434,00.html

Tuesday, 31 July 2007


From ‘Ask Bob Rankin’

Kermit the Frog told us that it's not easy being green, but that
concept also applies to computers and how they can be more friendly
to our planet. Normally, we think of gas guzzling cars, factories,
pesticides, and such when considering environmental impacts.

So what does "green" signify in the context of everyday computing?

In a world where computers are ubiquitous, and environmental concerns are growing by the day, we need to consider how we can build, use and dispose of computers in an earth-friendly manner. Read on to learn how computers impact the environment, and how YOU can practiceGreen Computing to make a difference...

Sunday, 29 July 2007

*Shop staff strip off in protest at packaging

Shop staff strip off in protest at packaging
By Diana Pilkington

Wimbledon shoppers got an eyeful of a cheeky display this afternoon when staff at Lush stripped off.

For one hour, employees at the cosmetics store bared all, with only an apron to hide their modesty.

The luscious sight had a serious message behind it though, as the pinafore-clad workers helped passerby get to the bottom of an important issue - urging people to go naked by purchasing goods with no packaging.

Trainee manager Wendy Reiding said: "The staff at this branch are very much into recycling and being as green as possible, so we were really excited by the idea.

"For the first 10 minutes I felt quite uncomfortable, but it wore off because the main bits were covered".

"Our aprons said 'Ask me why I'm naked' so lots of people spoke to us, and we got a nice reaction. I think we got our point across."

According to Lush, packaging contributes to two per cent of overall greenhouse gases, and plastic uses eight per cent of the world's oil resources.

Lush tries to eliminate packaging by selling solid, naked products - such as shampoo bars, conditioners, massage bars and soaps - which do not need to be put in plastic bottles.

The store's naked campaign was part of a national effort, with similar events happening in 55 cities in the UK.

"Packaging is rubbish and for too long we have had to suffer excessive amounts of it," said Lush founder Mark Constantine.

"Now that the true financial and environmental costs are becoming obvious, customers are challenging manufacturers and retails to cut the wrap."

Friday, 27 July 2007


We have a huge stock of books for sale in the Green Room and more arriving every day. You can see some listed on our on-line store at ABE by hitting the link below:

We have a sale of paperbacks on at the moment:
'Pick your own' - 50 books for £15 (Normal price 50p-£2 each)

We are open seven days per week. Come along and get the bargains!


An economist in Fairfax who has argued in a series of little-noticed papers that the "New York miracle" was caused by local and federal efforts decades earlier to reduce lead poisoning.

The theory offered by the economist,Rick Nevin,is that lead
poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the
United States.It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for
fluctuations in the crime rate,and it is based on studies linking
children's exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their

What makes Nevin's work persuasive is that he has shown an identical,decades-long association between lead poisoning and crime rates in nine countries.

"It is stunning how strong the association is,"Nevin said in an
interview."Sixty-five to ninety percent or more of the substantial
variation in violent crime in all these countries was explained by

Through much of the 20th century,lead in U.S. paint and gasoline
fumes poisoned toddlers as they put contaminated hands in their
mouths.The consequences on crime, Nevin found, occurred when
poisoning victims became adolescents. Nevin does not say that lead isthe only factor behind crime,but he says it is the biggest factor.

Nevin says his data not only explain the decline in crime in
the 1990s,but the rise in crime in the 1980s and other fluctuations
going back a century. His data from multiple countries,which have
different abortion rates,police strategies,demographics and economic conditions,indicate that lead is the only explanation that can account for international trends.

Because the countries phased out lead at different points,they
provide a rigorous test:In each instance,the violent crime rate
tracks lead poisoning levels two decades earlier.

"In Britain and most of Europe,they did not have meaningful
constraints[on leaded gasoline]until the mid-1980s and even early
1990s,"he said."This is the reason you are seeing the crime rate
soar in Mexico and Latin America,but[it]has fallen in the United

Lead levels plummeted in New York in the early 1970s,driven by
federal policies to eliminate lead from gasoline and local policies to reduce lead emissions from municipal incinerators.Between 1970 and 1974,the number of New York children heavily poisoned by lead fell by more than 80 percent, according to data from the New York City Department of Health.

The later drop in violent crime was dramatic.In 1990,31 New Yorkers out of every 100,000 were murdered.In 2004, the rate was 7 per 100,000--lower than in most big cities.The lead theory also may explain why crime fell broadly across the United States in the 1990s,not just in New York.

The centerpiece of Nevin's research is an analysis of crime rates and lead poisoning levels across a century.

Other evidence has accumulated in recent years that lead is a
neurotoxin that causes impulsivity and aggression,but these studies
have also drawn little attention.In 2001, sociologist Paul B.
Stretesky and criminologist Michael Lynch showed that U.S. counties
with high lead levels had four times the murder rate of counties with low lead levels, after controlling for multiple environmental and socioeconomic factors.

In 2002,Herbert Needleman,a psychiatrist at the University of
Pittsburgh, compared lead levels of 194 adolescents arrested in
Pittsburgh with lead levels of 146 high school adolescents:The
arrested youths had lead levels that were four times higher.

"Impulsivity means you ignore the consequences of what you do,"said
Needleman, one of the country's foremost experts on lead poisoning,
explaining why Nevin's theory is plausible.Lead decreases the ability to tell yourself, "If I do this, I will go to jail."

Nevin's work has been published mainly in the peer-reviewed journal
Environmental Research

Nevin's finding may even account for phenomena he did not set out to
address.His theory addresses why rates of violent crime among black
adolescents from inner-city neighborhoods have declined faster than
the overall crime rate--lead amelioration programs had the biggest
impact on the urban poor. Children in inner-city neighborhoods were
the ones most likely to be poisoned by lead, because they were more
likely to live in substandard housing that had lead paint and because public housing projects were often situated near highways.

(From The Washington Post)

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

*Global Warming has killed over 1m in 7 years!

The World Health Organization estimates climate change has already directly or indirectly killed more than 1 million people globally since 2000.

More than half of those deaths have occurred in the Asia-
Pacific, the world's most populous region. Those figures do not include deaths linked to urban air pollution, which kills about 800,000 worldwide each year,according to WHO.

See the full story on Rachel’s Environment Weekly:

Monday, 23 July 2007


Petition to help dogs in Dublin

Urgent News from Dogs Trust.
Dublin City Council has recently banned 11 breeds of dog (including
Rottweilers, Bull Terriers and German Shepherds) from all their properties,including houses, flats and estates. Existing tenants are being given a chance to rehome their animals, but if alternative accommodation can't be found, then the dogs will be destroyed. It also seems likely that these breeds will be banned from public parks - which means dog owners living in private accommodation will also be affected.

A petition to reverse the decision has been organised by Irish lobbying group ANVIL (Animals Need a Voice in Legislation). So please sign the petition today by clicking this petition link ...

and please pass this email onto everyone you know who cares about dogs.

To find out more about this injustice, you can visit our DoggySnaps
As we all know, it's a small minority of irresponsible owners that give breeds a bad name - to punish an entire breed and all its owners is simply ridiculous. We are urging Dublin City Council to punish "deeds not breeds."

Whilst you may not live in Ireland,breed-specific legislation is
becoming more commonplace all over the world, so please help us to send a signal to legislators everywhere that dog lovers will unite to oppose ill-informed, cruel laws which punish innocent dogs and their owners.

On behalf of everyone at ANVIL and Dogs Trust,thank you for your invaluable support.
Your friends at Dogs Trust.

Dogs Trust is the UK's largest dog welfare charity. Visit us at

DoggySnaps is the online dog community website run by Dogs Trust. To
find out more, visit

Sunday, 22 July 2007

*Plane/train race.

'Tortoise and the hare' story from John Stewart:

Just occasionally events go wonderfully, spectacularly in our favour.

It happened in the Big Ben to Eiffel Tower plane/train race HACAN
and NOTRAG staged on June 16th.

The racers set off, in the full glare of the TV cameras, from Westminster as Big Ben struck 11 o'clock.

The train people settled comfortably in their seats and left Waterloo on time just after midday.

The plane people made their way to Heathrow and then...the plane sat on the tarmac for an hour because of heavy showers in Paris.

So, at the moment the train arrived at the Gare du Nord around 3pm, the plane was just taking off from Heathrow.

Just after 3.30 (UK time) the train people emerged from the metro near the Eiffel Tower to an enthusiastic welcome from the French campaigners and the French media.

Around 4.00pm the plane people disembarked at Charles de Gaulle Airport and then...because of an immigration alert at the airport could not retrieve their luggage until 5.00pm, i.e. another hour's wait

Meanwhile the train people, having had a civilised beer on the Champs Elysees, were making their way back to the Gare du Nord to catch the train home.

At 6.30, the train people were relaxed, on Eurostar, speeding through the French countryside on their way home while the plane people were just arriving at the Gare du Nord, having abandoned any attempt to rendezvous at the Eiffel Tower.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


The Green Party has donated a batch of brand new t-shirts to The Green Room.

These t-shirts are made from 100% organically grown cotton and using vegetable ink.

5 FOR £20 (post paid)

All are size M, but they seem to be a big medium.

Sunday, 15 July 2007


Many older people who suffer from incontinence are becoming
isolated as a result of public toilet closures. Incontinence is
second only to dementia as a cause for moving into residential
care, yet councils fail to recognise the value of public toilets.

To find out more, read the new research report, Nowhere To Go from Help The Aged -

I campaigned on this when I was on the London Assembly. I got a lot of publicity hanging around toilets:-) Email me if you would like a copy of my report.

People laugh when the subject is mentioned, but it really is a Human Rights issue. I had more letters on this subject than all the other campaigns combined. Some of the letters were really heart-breaking. Young mothers are also badly affected.

Hopefully, I will continue the campaign after the London Assembly elections on May 1st.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

*Man's inhumanity to animals

Conditions for animals in Britain's research laboratories fall short of new Europe-wide guidelines which came into force last month. These deficiencies contrast with the government's frequent claim that Britain has the strictest animal welfare regulations in the world.

Widespread violations of the new guidelines have been highlighted by the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research which funds non-animal techniques to replace animal experiments. It says university labs tend to be the worst offenders.

See the rest of this Peter Tatchell article at


A vast swath of the Pacific, twice the size of Texas, is full of a plastic stew that is entering the food chain.

Scientists say these toxins are causing obesity, infertility...and worse. It’s situated in the eastern corner of a 10-million-square-mile oval known as the North Pacific subtropical gyre. The trail of plastic went on for hundreds of miles.

At the same time, all over the globe, there are signs that plastic pollution is doing more than blighting the scenery; it is also making its way into the food chain. Some of the most obvious victims are the dead seabirds that have been washing ashore in startling numbers, their bodies packed with plastic: things like bottle caps, cigarette lighters, tampon applicators, and coloured scraps that, to a foraging bird, resemble baitfish. (One animal dissected by Dutch researchers contained 1,603 pieces of plastic).

And the birds aren’t alone. All sea creatures are threatened by floating plastic, from whales down to zooplankton. Bad enough. But ……. the big, tentacled balls of trash were only the most visible signs of the problem; others were far less obvious, and far more evil. Dragging a fine-meshed net known as a manta trawl, he discovered minuscule pieces of plastic, some barely visible to the eye, swirling like fish food throughout the water. He and his researchers parsed, measured, and sorted their samples and arrived at the following conclusion: By weight, this swath of sea contains 6 times as much plastic as it does plankton.

There’s a basic moral horror in seeing a sea turtle with a plastic band strangling its shell into an hourglass shape or a humpback towing plastic nets that cut into its flesh and make it impossible for the animal to hunt.

More than a million seabirds, 100,000 marine mammals, and countless fish die in the North Pacific each year, either from mistakenly eating this junk or from being ensnared in it and drowning.

To read the full article, go to:

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

*Things are worse than expected!

A new paper suggests we have been greatly underestimating the impacts of climate change – and the size of the necessary response.

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 3rd July 2007

Reading a scientific paper on the train this weekend, I found, to my amazement, that my hands were shaking. This has never happened to me before, but nor have I ever read anything like it. Published by a team led by James Hansen at Nasa, it suggests that the grim reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could be absurdly optimistic(1).

The IPCC predicts that sea levels could rise by as much as 59cm this century(2). Hansen’s paper argues that the slow melting of ice sheets the panel expects doesn’t fit the data. The geological record suggests that ice at the poles does not melt in a gradual and linear fashion, but flips suddenly from one state to another. When temperatures increased to 2-3 degrees above today’s level 3.5 million years ago, sea levels rose not by 59 centimetres but by 25 metres. The ice responded immediately to changes in temperature(3).

See the rest of the article here:
Things are worse than expected!
A Sudden Change of State by George Monbiot

A new paper suggests we have been greatly underestimating the impacts of climate change – and the size of the necessary response.
By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 3rd July 2007
Reading a scientific paper on the train this weekend, I found, to my amazement, that my hands were shaking. This has never happened to me before, but nor have I ever read anything like it. Published by a team led by James Hansen at Nasa, it suggests that the grim reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could be absurdly optimistic(1).
The IPCC predicts that sea levels could rise by as much as 59cm this century(2). Hansen’s paper argues that the slow melting of ice sheets the panel expects doesn’t fit the data. The geological record suggests that ice at the poles does not melt in a gradual and linear fashion, but flips suddenly from one state to another. When temperatures increased to 2-3 degrees above today’s level 3.5 million years ago, sea levels rose not by 59 centimetres but by 25 metres. The ice responded immediately to changes in temperature(3).

See the rest of the article here:

Sunday, 8 July 2007


I have come across a great website called Gristmill.

They have detailed facts and figures and arguments for dealing with deniers.

They have sections on:

· Stages of Denial,
· Scientific Topics,
· Types of Argument, and Levels of Sophistication.

Bookmark their site. It’s at:

Saturday, 7 July 2007

*Items just in at The Green

Items come in every day. Here are a few items just in:

700,000 year old Tektites – from another world!

Chicago doctor's prescription from early 1920, just after the introduction of Prohibition. It’s made out for Spirits Frumenti – the Latin name for Whiskey!

Original ballot paper from the first free elections in South Africa, with photo of Nelson Mandela etc.

A Simpsons ‘expandable underpants’

A 1937 Coronation Plate and various ‘royal’ newspapers.

Original Roman Coins of Constantine, Constans, Tetricus 11 etc.

Two Spoken Word LPs of Dylan Thomas reading his own poetry and stories.

About 100 old banknotes from various countries. We are knocking these out at 50P each.

A Fossil Fish from the Eocene period – about 56 million years old.

A fortune telling cup.

A collection of Australian books, mostly on property investment. We have 1,000’s of books. I am about to have a sale £25 per 100 paperbacks.

Also have hundreds of Videos @ £1 each.

Some nice Peruvian hand made jewellery necklaces, ear-rings and anklets just in.

Some rare Irish items just in including:
A copy of Eamon De Valera’s speech at Earl’s Court in 1949.

A hand-made ‘Welcome Dev’ rosette – probably unique.

An early Easter Lilly from the same event.

We are open 7 days per week. 10am-6pm, and often later.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

*Climate change and the flat earth society

From Green Assembly Member jenny Jones's blog on The Guardian website 'comment is free'

I was almost convinced that Live Earth was one US import that we wouldn't bother watching as it seemed so... well, yesterday. After all, we'd all got the message by now, hadn't we? Global warming, big floods, mass disruption, polar bears treading water and great English wine. Al Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' was a brilliant wake up call, but I had the feeling that us Brits were awake, finishing breakfast and keen to start doing things. I was particularly reassured by a recent poll which showed that four out of five Londoners believed that climate change was a significant problem. But now I find that a majority of my fellow citizens in the rest of the country are apparently still sceptics and are at the yawning stage of getting their brains to work. The big question is why?

I could blame the American oil men who fund the dubious research into climate change which then appears on even more dubious documentary programs. I could blame the media for sensationalist headlines and over kill stories of imminent world wide disaster, which subsequently breeds a healthy cynicism about the science. Except, I've been banging on about climate change for the last twenty years and I know how far we've come in the scientists being allowed to get the truth across in a measured, reasonable way. No, I blame the government.

As one of the government's favourite think tanks (the IPPR), has shown a big reason why people are sceptical about the seriousness of climate change is that there's a huge gap between the catastrophic biblical imagery of rising tides and spreading deserts, and the mundane insignificant actions that are recommended as solutions. There is a mismatch between talk of melting ice caps and ministerial advice that everyone should switch off their lights when they leave the room. On the one hand we had Tony Blair calling climate change the greatest challenge facing humanity and on the other, we have a government reassurance that it won't mean an end to cheap flights, plasma screens, patio heaters and a four by four in the drive. Where is the great personal challenge, when all we have to do is change our light bulbs to low energy? People aren't completely convinced because the government is making it all sound so easy and painless.

Perhaps the reason why 80% of Londoners saw climate change as a serious issue is simply because they are being confronted with some real decision making. Higher parking charges for gas guzzlers are being considered in most local councils and a £25 congestion charge for the big polluters is going to be a hot issue in next year's Mayoral elections. Hundreds of thousands of Londoners are having 'advisers' knocking on their doors asking them if they want help with travelling in a more sustainable way and similar plans are being drawn up for schools and workplaces.

Given the wealth of evidence supporting climate change, it is a failure of government that people still fail to realise the significance of this issue. When politicians take a clear lead, as they have in London, the result is clear. Following the introduction of the congestion charge, projects to increase cycling, and work on the energy efficiency of homes, over 80% of Londoners believe that climate change is a significant problem.

Climate change is a classic case of actions speaking louder than words. Rather than producing more hot air, national government should follow London's example and look at measures which support those Londoners who do take climate change seriously. This weekend London is hosting two big events which will promote action on the environment. Both the Live Earth concert and the prologue of the Tour de France will encourage people to do their bit by saving energy and cycling more. But real change can only be achieved if individual action is backed up by hard government decisions aimed at fundamentally changing the way we live.