Friday, 27 April 2007

Auction on Sunday.

I will be conducting the monthly sale at South Eastern Auctions Ltd on this coming Sunday (April 29th). There are over 700 lots with a huge amount of antiques and collectors items. You can see some of the highlights on the website at
If anyone would like an e-mail catalogue please contact me.

I love doing the SEAL auction, even though it is usually 5-6 hours continuous talking at high speed. It’s a friendly, very well run auction with an enormous diversity of lots.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Remember Chernobyl

Ukraine: Remember Chernobyl
*On April 26th, 2007, on the day of Chernobyl NPP tragedy, Party of Greens of Ukraine is organising a large-scale action in commemoration of people affected by the catastrophe. *

After the most horrendous nuclear catastrophe in the history of humanity the “nuclear path of development” is again set to be imposed on Ukraine!

“Energy strategy of Ukraine until 2030” foresees the construction of new 20 nuclear power plants. At the same time the Ukrainian state enterprise National Atomic Energy Company „Energoatom” officially proclaims its intention to build a depository for the nuclear waste (DWNF) in the 30-kilometer Chernobyl zone. Such strategy is a direct threat to the national security of Ukraine.

Party of Greens of Ukraine and other nature protection and ecological organizations came forward with objections to a decision which was practically imposed on Ukrainian society.

See more:

Bar of soap gives caffeine kick in the shower

Inventors have created a soap infused with caffeine which helps users wake up in the morning. The soap, called Shower Shock, supplies the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee per wash, with the stimulant absorbed naturally through the skin, manufacturers say. "Tired of waking up and having to wait for your morning (coffee) to brew?" ask the makers, Scented with peppermint oil, each bar is designed to provide a stimulant boost within five minutes.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Tale of rural Irishman who blocked oil giant

Extract from The San Francisco Chronicle:

Farmer rallied town and nation to halt Shell's gas pipeline.

(04-22) 04:00 PDT Rossport, Ireland -- Willie Corduff is a quiet man who hates arguments. But when Shell E&P Ireland said it would build a $1.1 billion pipeline and refinery near his front yard in this small Irish village in County Mayo, the father of six fought back.

The 52-year-old farmer rallied his neighbors, spent three months in jail for denying the oil company access to his land and eventually halted the largest energy project in Irish history while raising the question on a national scale about economic development versus community consent and environmental concerns.

"I am not trying to cause problems or get publicity. In fact it is the opposite," said Corduff, who has been awarded the 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize for Europe for leading the anti-pipeline battle. "All I want is to stay where I am. ... My heart and soul are in this place."

But the discovery in 1996 of a huge gas field 50 miles off the Mullet Peninsula on the Atlantic coast threatens to change the rural landscape. Shell E&P Ireland, in partnership with Statoil Exploration (Norway's state energy company) and Ireland's Marathon International Petroleum, plans to develop the field to supply 60 percent of Ireland's natural gas.

To attract further investment, the government turned over all rights to the Corrib gas field to Shell and its partners, agreeing to receive no tax dollars in return.

While the gas field could earn Shell and its partners in excess of $60 billion in the project's estimated 20-year lifetime, Rossport would receive no royalties and its residents would have to pay full market price for gas. According to Shell Oil's Web site, the project would have generated employment for 700 during construction phase, but only 50 long-term jobs.

The Corduffs also discovered the pipeline the consortium planned to run through their village wasn't the typical low-pressure line that traverses other communities. Instead, it would carry raw, untreated gas at rates of pressure five times the standard measure, unprecedented levels in a populated area -- and just 230 feet from their home.

The deal violated European Union environmental laws requiring local participation and review, according to Shell to Sea, the grassroots campaign begun by the Corduffs and others.

He and four neighbors then refused to allow consortium workers access to their lands. In June 2005, Shell obtained a court injunction against them. All were imprisoned in Dublin for 94 days for contempt of court.

But their incarceration marked a turning point. Previously, the plight of Mayo families defending their land was given little publicity, but suddenly the faces of the five men were everywhere on the news as the Rossport Five. Soon there were rallies of support across the country and protesters picketed Shell gas stations.

In Rossport, "Shell Out" signs sprouted along roads, and opponents of the project set up round-the-clock blockades at the refinery site and built a campsite dubbed the "Rossport Solidarity Camp." Most important, Shell to Sea has grown from a local environmental campaign to a national movement focused on the rights of local communities.

Owens Wiwa, brother of Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa -- a past Goldman Prize winner who was executed in 1995 by the Nigerian government for opposing Shell's operations in that African nation -- visited the five activists in jail, calling their plight "a classic David and Goliath story."

In August, the consortium suspended groundwork at the terminal site, agreeing to find an alternative route for the pipeline "within the vicinity of Rossport" and limit pipeline pressure to just twice the standard measure. In October, 150 police officers were sent to allow the company to resume work on the terminal.

And on Wednesday, a High Court in Dublin ruled that the Compulsory Acquisition Orders against the five landowners have to be dropped -- effectively making it impossible for the consortium to continue with its original pipeline route.

See the full article:
Veronique Mistiaen, Chronicle Foreign Service

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Bernard Manning sings in The Green Room: Records and CDs.

Apart from unusual and quirky items, The Green Room stocks thousands of vinyl records and CDs. Like the rest of the shop the range is very wide – from Hip-hop and Dance to Rock, Classical and Irish. My favourite section is ‘spoken word’ where we have, among other things, ‘The Broadcasts of Bernard Shaw' and ‘Under Milk Wood’. On the quirky side we have ‘My Kind of Music’ – romantic songs performed by Bernard Manning and ‘Ring-a-long with the Pallos’ by Jackie Pallo. We also have an EP record ‘Songs for Swinging Voters’ produced by the Tories in 1964. Just in is a CD of Throat Singing from the Altai-sayani Mountains of Tuva.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

San Francisco Votes To Ban Plastic Shopping Bags

Supermarkets and chain pharmacies would have to use recyclable or
compostable sacks
by Charlie Goodyear/ San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors approved groundbreaking
legislation Tuesday to outlaw plastic checkout bags at large
supermarkets in about six months and large chain pharmacies in about a year.

The ordinance, sponsored by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, is the first
such law in any city in America and has been drawing global scrutiny.

"I am astounded and surprised by the worldwide attention,"
Mirkarimi said. "Hopefully, other cities and other states will
follow suit."

Fifty years ago, plastic bags,starting first with the sandwich
bag were seen in the United States as a more sanitary and
environmentally friendly alternative to the deforesting paper bag.
Now an estimated 180 million plastic bags are distributed to
shoppers each year in San Francisco. Made of filmy plastic,they
are hard to recycle and easily blow into trees and waterways,
where they are blamed for killing marine life.
They also occupy much-needed landfill space.

Two years ago, San Francisco officials considered imposing a
17-cent tax on petroleum-based plastic bags before reaching a deal
with the California Grocers Association. The agreement called
for large supermarkets to reduce by 10 million the number of bags
given to shoppers in 2006. The grocers association said it cut back by 7.6 million, but city officials called that figure unreliable and unverifiable due to poor data supplied by markets.

The dispute led to a renewed interest in outlawing the standard
plastic bag, which Mirkarimi said Tuesday was a "relic of the
past." Under the legislation, which passed 10-1 in the first of
two votes, large markets and pharmacies will have the option of
using compostable bags made of corn starch or bags made of
recyclable paper. San Francisco will join a number of countries,
such as Ireland, that already have outlawed plastic bags or have
levied a tax on them. Final passage of the legislation is expected at the board's next scheduled meeting.

Friday, 20 April 2007

'Millions Will Rebel’ OVER ID CARDS

'Millions Will Rebel’ OVER ID CARDS
by Robert Winnett and David Leppard / London Times

The government is predicting that 15m people will revolt against
Tony Blair's controversial ID card scheme by refusing to produce the
new cards or provide personal data on

This is one the big issues that is bubbling-under the general political radar. I have noticed that the NO ID leaflets are the ones most taken from our leaflet section in The Green Room.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Green Party Slams Iain Dale's Call to Withdraw Irish Voting Rights

Press release from the Green Party in London:

Green Party Slams Tory's Proposal to Withdraw Voting Rights from
Irish in UK

The Chair of the London Green Party, Noel Lynch, has today hit out at calls from a prominent Tory for voting rights to be stripped from Irish people living in the UK(1). The call came in an online article from top Tory blogger and parliamentary candidate Iain Dale. In the article Dale described the right of Irish people to vote in UK elections as "an historical anomaly that should be cleared up" and asked "can someone explain to me why we allow
the Irish to vote here?". Lynch, who hails from Limerick and is a Green Party candidate for the London Assembly, blasted:

"Like most Tories this man does not have a clue about what he is talking about. Irish people living here pay UK taxes and are affected by UK laws, they have every right to a vote in UK elections just as British people are allowed to vote in Irish elections. This proposal shows typical Tory ignorance of issues relating to Northern Ireland; if Irish people in Northern Ireland were to be stripped of their vote simply for exercising their right to take up Irish citizenship then you would have the ludicrous situation of hundreds of thousands of nationalists being
disenfranchised and unionist majorities being entrenched in nearly every constituency. Rather than floating this half-baked idea Iain Dale would bebetter off joining me in campaigning to get representation for Irish emigrants in the Oireachtas."

(1) see:

Vindication for Rossport 5

Very good news from the Irish High Court yesterday

* The stance of the Rossport Five and Brid McGarry has been legally
* The original pipeline route through Rossport is now defunct.
* Shell will have to pay the £1 million costs, including those of the Rossport landowners.

In a nutshell, Shell was applying to drop the permanent injunction against several local landowners. They had dropped the interlocutory (temporary)injunction in September 2005 - they dropped that in order to get the five men out of jail, as having the men in jail was doing Shell so much harm.
Since then they have been trying to drop the permanent injunction.

But the local landowners said, you can't just drop the injunction as though it never meant anything - some of us went to jail as a result of that injunction. Justice Mary Laffoy's ruling today agrees with that standpoint and imposes conditions on the dropping of the injunction, including:

* CAOs (Compulsory Acquisition Orders) be dropped against landowners along the pipeline route. This means that the original pipeline route is now formally and legally defunct. The only way it could go ahead is with the consent of the landowners.

* Shell pick up the legal costs associated with the injunction. The Rossport Five are still liable for the costs associated with their contempt of court,but these are marginal. And for Shell to pursue these would be highly vindictive and an extremely bad PR move.

The ruling also means that the stance taken by the Rossport Five and Brid McGarry is now LEGALLY VINDICATED. To say they are vindicated is no longer an ideological position. It is now a legal position.

A further blow for Shell is that the company hoped that other legal matters which were raised during all the proceedings (arising from counterclaims made against Shell by the landowners) would be dispensed with. This has NOT happened. Justice Laffoy ruled that there are issues of "public law" still to be considered.

It can be said that Shell abused the injunction process. They took out an injunction against five people, had them jailed on the foot of that injunction, and then tried to drop the injunction.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Ballots and Ballads.

Among the latest things for sale in The Green Room are:

ORIGINAL 1994 SOUTH AFRICA BALLOT PAPER – the first free election!
All parties are listed with their emblem and photo of leader, including Nelson Mandela – a real piece of history for only £9!

WEST CLARE RAILWAY PARCEL POST STAMP. The West Clare is the best known of the Irish local railways. It was made famous, or infamous, by the artist and songwriter Percy French.
from Wikipedia:

"Are Ye Right There Michael" is a song by the 19th-century and early 20th-century Irish composer and musician Percy French who parodying the state of the rail system in rural County Clare.

Because of a slow train and the decision of the driver to stop for no apparent reason while en route, French, though having left Sligo in the early morning, arrived so late for an 8 PM recital, which he was due to give, that the audience had left.

The ballad caused considerable embarrassment for the rail company, who were mocked in music halls throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom because of the song. It lead to an unsuccessful libel action against French.

It is said that French arrived late for the libel hearing at the court, and when questioned by the judge on his lateness, he responded "Your honour, I travelled by the West Clare Railway", resulting in the case being thrown out.

The third item just in is a GOVERNMENT DISPATCH BAG. I have not seen one for sale previously, so is probably rare.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Met budget cuts will hamper fight against wildlife crime.

Bad news for wildlife:

Metropolitan Police budget cuts will reduce London's Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU) by half, severely hampering its fight against wildlife crime.

The savings will amount to a piddling £80,000 a year out of a total budget of £2.5billion.

How many millions of pounds did the last outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease cost the UK?

That terrible killer was imported with illegal bush meat from an endangered species! London is the capital of the global trade in illegal wildlife products.

We need more wildlife police, not less.

Click the title link World Wide Fund for Nature UK to visit the site and to send your protest to the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner.
Thanks to barkingside21 for this.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?

From to-day's Independent:

Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?

Scientists claim radiation from handsets are to blame for mysterious 'colony collapse' of bees

By Geoffrey Lean and Harriet Shawcross Published: 15 April 2007

It seems like the plot of a particularly far-fetched horror film. But some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world's harvests fail

Plastic bags and Taxis

Two useful pieces of press publicity this week:

The Barnet Press:
“Council’s £30,000 taxi bill to move documents around”

Half page photo and excerpts from an interview I gave to the reporter.

The Irish Post:
“Greens call for bag tax”

This came from part of an interview with an IP journalist a few weeks ago.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Funny old world.

Since being a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority in 2003/04, I have kept up an interest in crime/policing. Here are a few recent unusual events:

“Armed Robbery:
A male was concerned in an armed robbery at McDonald's in Cricklewood Broadway whereby a firearm was produced and discharged into the counter. The suspect made off with £3,000 and made good his escape on a route 189 bus.”

Making a getaway in a bus!!!! Bus services must have improved in Ken Livingstone’s home patch if armed robbers are using them as a getaway vehicle!

Arrests near Buckingham Palace:
”Two suspects were arrested having exited the sewage system under Buckingham Palace. They were in possession of climbing/pot holing equipment. They were interviewed and claimed to be interested in historic sewage systems in Europe. Their stories were confirmed and they were later released without charge.”

Ah well, it takes all types! When I was on the London Assembly, several of us were offered a guided tour of the sewers. I would have gone but was otherwise booked. It ended as a tour for a Lib Dem, Tory and a Labour member. The Labour member, Dianna Johnson (now an MP) told me that it was one of the worst occasions in her life. It was really awful. Only the Tory enjoyed it. Might be something to do with the fact that they were encased head-to-foot in rubber suits!

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Crying clubs

From Bizarre News:

In some circles crying clubs have actually become hip and popular. It's called 'Emo' for emotional and the whole idea is to express your darker, more depressed emotions. And now there are clubs where you can go to commiserate and cry with other Emos. Against a backdrop of crashing choral music and candle-light, a group of elaborately costumed young women are dabbing their eyes with a handkerchief, their mascara running to form black rivulets down their cheeks. It is not difficult to see why they are so distressed: in front of them, a mound of pungent onions is being vigorously and elaborately chopped by a serious-looking young man in a tailcoat, and the fumes are overwhelming. But then that's precisely the point. The 300 or so 20 and 30-somethings in the crowd at this candlelit 17th-century wine vault, tucked away off a busy London thoroughfare, are here to do just that. Billed as 'an evening of exquisite misery', this is where clubbers can go to indulge their inner gloom. The onions are there to help them along a bit, should they struggle to shed their British reserve. The club, called 'Loss' is one of a new breed of crying clubs to arrive in the UK from Japan, where tears have become something of an industry in recent years.

Friday, 6 April 2007


I came across a great site today ‘ How can I Recycle This?’ ‘Creative ideas for reusing and recycling random stuff’
It’s full of wonderful ideas like what to do with used teabags.
Here is one answer:
“I have trouble with foxes digging up flowerbeds. I’ve started soaking tea bags in wee..!! (Male pee is better) and scattering the soaked tea bags around the flowers.”

Also, camomile tea bags contain seeds that will sprout. All you need do is bury the whole tea bag.

One question was what to do with out-of-date condoms.
Apparently, they are quite handy to hold your keys, money etc. while surfing!
Anyway, have a look at the site on -

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

City air may be worse than fallout from an atom bomb.

Polluted city air may be worse for you than fallout from an atom bomb. Everyday hazards such as inhaling polluted city air or other people's cigarette smoke are potentially worse for your health than being exposed to the radioactive fallout of an atomic bomb, according to newresearch.
Read the rest

This is an interesting article. However, the research does not include other social factors. As the article points out, people in Kensington & Chelsea have a highest life expectancy.

Monday, 2 April 2007


Yesterday, I conducted the auction at South East Auctions Ltd in East Peckham. It consisted of just over 800 lots, which I got through in under six hours – non-stop! This takes quite a bit of doing; there are very few auctioneers that can sell at this speed for a sustained period! It is a very nice auction, very well run and very honest.
The lots vary from antiques, jewellery and collectors items to bankruptcy stock and lawnmowers.
The top lot yesterday, was a concertina, which made £600. Here are some more of the prices realised: Victorian wooden altar £70. Several sets of new golf clubs with bag, £8 each. Masonic Apron £28. Reggie Kray autograph £35. Edwardian inlaid chiffonier £20. Good clean second-hand furniture is going very cheap, nowadays, at auction. Why anyone still purchases retail is beyond me. A nice two piece suite made £5, a clean wardrobe by Gillows failed to get a bid, a corner cabinet made £8 and a mint condition table and 6 chairs, in the regency style, made £10. Also, over 1,000 bio-degradable black dustbin liners went at £5 per 100.
The next auction is on Sunday April 29th. You can see their website at: