Saturday, 25 December 2010

Seasons Greetings

Wishing all our readers a peaceful, joyful and happy festive season.

Here is an awful festive joke:

Russian rain
A Russian couple were walking down the street in Moscow one night, when the
man felt a drop hit his nose. "I think it's raining", he said to his wife.
"No, that felt more like snow to me", she replied.
"No, I'm sure it was just rain" he said.
Well, as these things go, they were about to have a major argument about
whether it was raining or snowing.
Just then they saw a Communist Party official walking toward them.
"Let's not fight about it", the man said, "Let's ask Comrade Rudolph whether
it's officially raining or snowing".
As the official approached, the man said, "Tell us, Comrade Rudolph, is it
officially raining or snowing?"
"It's raining, of course", he replied, and walked on.
But the woman insisted: "I know that felt like snow!" to which the man
quietly replied:

"Rudolph the Red, knows rain, dear".

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Petition to cut military spending not education!

I just signed a petition calling on our leaders to act now to stop cutting funding to higher education leading to increased fees and instead cut the immense amount of taxpayers' money given to the military and in subsidies to profit arms companies.

I feel that spending £97 billion replacing Trident nuclear weapons, over £5 billion on aircraft carriers we don't need and subsiding arms exports to a tune of hundreds of million of pounds every year is WASTEFUL! It is calculated that every person in the UK gave arms company BAE Systems £64 last year. The government's priority should be young people and not arms companies profits. Cut military spending not education!

Please support this petition and send it to anyone you think would be interested.

Here's the URL to go to in order to sign the petition:

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Govt cuts wind, gives to nuclear

from Dave Toke:

Government to cut wind power programme by at least half and give the resources to nuclear power

The more details emerge of the Government's electricity market reform, the worse things look. Huhne is going to adopt the 1990s NFFO auction approach (favoured by Tim Eggar the former Tory Energy Minister) which will massacre the onshore wind power programme and halve the offshore wind programme at least. In the 1990s the auctions for renewable contracts took years to organise and when they ended half of the projects were economic and half of th rest did not get planning consent - so only around one in four proposed projects could be implemented.
The auction proposal will also destroy the arrangements that the Crown Estates have organised for offshore wind in that the developers given leases in Round 3 at least will have to compete in this auction. Obviously not all will get contracts. Others will end up being uneconomic because the auction system encourages developers to put in optimistically low bids to get contracts (which can be sold on to others). This system has been tried several times around the world (UK, Ireland, California,and Denmark under the post 2001 right wing governmen) and low capacity out turns are always the result.

So, in effect, companies like E.ON are going to succeed in cutting the renewables programme by half and replacing it with investment for nuclear power which will be given much more relatively favourable treatment under the 'low carbon' mechanism' (Paul Golby of E.ON is behind this idea).

The Renewables Obligation (RO) (although expensive) is much preferable to the auction system being proposed because it at least allows companies to set up whre and when they can with a good price. Of course, what we need most is a REAL feed-in tariff system like they have in the bulk of EU countries (led by Germany) which allows the same effect but with a more cost effective outcome. I've talked to a couple of people about starting up a 'Campaign for Real Feed-in Tariffs'. If there's a consistent campaign supported by the Green Party, green NGOs and others on this we have a good chance of success, although the problem will still remain of getting good prices set for the different renewable technologies. - Co-ordination with RenewableUK would be needed there, although they are likely to try to defend the RO as their first choice.

One thing's forcertain - we can't place ANY trust on Chris Huhne's green publicity hype. What Labour did was heaven compared to this Government's proposals. Really, what the Lib Dems are doing is an about turn as radical as they did on tuition fees. It's just that people don't realise it (yet).
Chris Huhne is abandoning the anti-nuclear, pro-renewable stance which they campaigned on and is promoting a policy which funds nuclear at the expense of renewables.

Dave Toke
See also some details on

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Letter in today's Independent.

Your report on Ireland's severity budget ("More misery for Ireland as brutal cuts revealed", 8 December) falls into the trap of describing the emergency €85 billion IMF / EU package as a bail-out of the Irish Republic. Surely everyone can see the package for what it is: a bail-out of the European institutions that recklessly invested in Ireland's property bubble. Far from rescuing Ireland the package has turned her people into indentured servants. Ireland must endure tax increases, social welfare cuts, reductions to vital public services so that European bond holders do not suffer losses on speculative investments. Only the debt saddled on Irish taxpayers is far too high to be paid off by the current generation, insitutional investors will eventually have to take a fair share of the losses if we are to avoid weighing future generations of Irish taxpayers down with this burden.

Noel Lynch,
Chair, London Green Party

‘Fuck off Harrods’:Santa's revenge.

[Includes photograph of store with "alternative" illuminations]

‘Fuck off Harrods’ done by a disgruntled employee, fired by Harrods from his job as the toy department’s Father Christmas, took revenge last night in spectacular style.

Gaining access to a maintenance control room, Lloyd Hudson, 35, from Ilford, Essex, was able to locate the chart and corresponding switches for Harrods’ 10,000 external lights.

Barracading himself in, Hudson disabled the correct lights until he could spell out his feelings to Harrods bosses and Christmas shoppers alike. He was removed by security guards after an hour-long stand-off, then handed over to police.

“He had drunk the best part of two bottles of whisky,” said a spokesperson for the iconic London store, “and it’s that kind of behaviour that got him the sack in the first place.” Hudson has since been released on police bail.

Knightsbridge visitors were stunned.

“Honestly, I am disgusted, ” said Irene Rider, 59, from Gary, Indiana. “I was with my grandchildren. We had just gotten off the bus. I said ‘look everybody’ and pointed up to the lights – but you know what the lights said? They said f**k off. And that is not an appropriate message for a child. At least not at Christmas time.”

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

'Candle Auction' takes place in Berkshire.

An age-old tradition of a candle auction has been held at a Berkshire village.

The ceremony, which is held every three years, sees people bidding to lease a local meadow while a candle containing a horse-nail burns.

The person with the bid when the nail drops out of the specially-made tallow candle is declared the winner.

The event, which originates from the early 1800s, was being held at Aldermaston Parish Hall from 1930 GMT.

'Frantic bidding'

The local vicar was the auctioneer for the night and church wardens, in-keeping with tradition, were given pipes, although they were not be allowed to light them.

Councillor Dave Shirt, Aldermaston Parish Council chairman, said: "[Bids are] initially at a leisurely pace, and tension increases as the flame approaches the nail and the wax around it begins to soften.

"At this stage the bidding becomes frantic, and the bid that is live at the time the nail falls out wins the auction.

"Candle auctions have a long history.

"It was traditional to hold ship auctions at Lloyds Coffee House at Tower Hill in London and Samuel Pepys describes the sale of three hulks in his diary entry for 3rd September 1661."

The piece of land up for grabs this year is called Church Acre in Fishermen's Lane.

Organisers believe Chedzoy in Somerset is the only other village in the country which still holds the tradition, although only once every 21 years.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

‘Police Only’ Hospital Tries To Turn Away Injured Protester

Enough to make ones blood boil!! Well done to the ambulance driver who stood up for Alfie and insisted that he was treated.

This is beyond despicable

Police officers 'tried to stop hospital staff treating injured protester'
From Today's Observer.

Police officers 'tried to stop hospital staff treating injured protester'Mother of injured student Alfie Meadows said that her son's life could have been put at risk by the journey to another hospital

Share536 Shiv Malik and Mark Townsend The Observer, Sunday 12 December 2010 Article history
Police clash with demonstrators in Parliament Square during protests over student fees. Photograph: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images

Police have been accused of attempting to prevent seriously injured protesters being treated at the same hospital as officers hurt during last week's tuition fees demonstration, igniting claims that one student's life could have been put at risk.

The mother of 20-year-old Alfie Meadows, who required brain surgery after allegedly being hit by a police truncheon, claimed that when her son was taken to Chelsea and Westminster hospital officers objected to him being treated there.

Susan Matthews, 55, said that only the intervention of an ambulance worker allowed her son to receive urgent medical treatment for the stroke he suffered after receiving his injury. "If he hadn't, Alfie would have been transferred and he could have died," she said.

After allegedly being hit by police, the philosophy student fell unconscious and later sustained bleeding on the brain.

His mother added: "The ambulance man took us to Chelsea and Westminster hospital. That [hospital] had been given over to police injuries and there was a standoff in the corridor. Alfie was obviously a protester and the police didn't want him there, but the ambulance man insisted that he stayed."

She said that he was then asked to take Alfie to another hospital. "The ambulance man was appalled and he said: 'I'm getting angry now, and I'm not going to do this.'

"The senior nurse in charge took us into a resuscitation room to keep us away from the police because, she said, they were finding it upsetting to see protesters in the hospital."

The injury to Alfie, a second-year undergraduate at Middlesex University, is already the subject of an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Yesterday afternoon investigators interviewed Alfie at Charing Cross hospital in west London, where he was taken for surgery as his condition began to deteriorate. His mother, an English literature lecturer at Roehampton University, said that her son had made a good recovery after a three-hour operation.

"The first thing Alfie said when he woke up was about how many other people had been hurt and how the police had been striking and bashing everyone. Any one of those kids there could have been Alfie.

"I'm from the generation of Blair Peach [hit over the head by police at a London demonstration in 1979] and we knew that anyone could die if they were hit. He's amazingly jolly now. I don't know it that is from a sense of having survived or the morphine."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The issue is under IPCC investigation."

Meanwhile, pressure is growing for an inquiry into how the Royal Protection Squad allowed a car containing Prince Charles and his wife Camilla to be attacked by protesters.

Police rejected reports that a communication breakdown led to the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall being caught up in the protests as they travelled to a theatre in central London.

I understand there is a call-out from Alfie Meadows fellow students for another peaceful kettling of Scotland Yard on Tuesday at 1pm

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Stop the crackdown - incredible response!

Incredible - nearly 400,000 signatures in one day for press freedom! Join the massive outcry and forward the email below -

Dear friends,

The massive campaign of intimidation against WikiLeaks is sending a chill through free press advocates everywhere.

Legal experts say WikiLeaks has likely broken no laws. Yet top US politicians have called it a terrorist group and commentators have urged assassination of its staff. The organization has come under massive government and corporate attack, but WikiLeaks is only publishing information provided by a whistleblower. And it has partnered with the world's leading newspapers (NYT, Guardian, Spiegel etc) to carefully vet the information it publishes.

The massive extra-judicial intimidation of WikiLeaks is an attack on democracy. We urgently need a public outcry for freedom of the press and expression. Sign the petition to stop the crackdown and forward this email to everyone -- let's get to 1 million voices and take out full page ads in US newspapers this week!

WikiLeaks isn't acting alone -- it's partnered with the top newspapers in the world (New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc) to carefully review 250,000 US diplomatic cables and remove any information that it is irresponsible to publish. Only 800 cables have been published so far. Past WikiLeaks publications have exposed government-backed torture, the murder of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, and corporate corruption.

The US government is currently pursuing all legal avenues to stop WikiLeaks from publishing more cables, but the laws of democracies protect freedom of the press. The US and other governments may not like the laws that protect our freedom of expression, but that's exactly why it's so important that we have them, and why only a democratic process can change them.

Reasonable people can disagree on whether WikiLeaks and the leading newspapers it's partnered with are releasing more information than the public should see. Whether the releases undermine diplomatic confidentiality and whether that's a good thing. Whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has the personal character of a hero or a villain. But none of this justifies a vicious campaign of intimidation to silence a legal media outlet by governments and corporations. Click below to join the call to stop the crackdown:

Ever wonder why the media so rarely gives the full story of what happens behind the scenes? This is why - because when they do, governments can be vicious in their response. And when that happens, it's up to the public to stand up for our democratic rights to a free press and freedom of expression. Never has there been a more vital time for us to do so.

With hope,
Ricken, Emma, Alex, Alice, Maria Paz and the rest of the Avaaz team.

Friday, 10 December 2010

London Winter Party


Saturday 11th December 2010, 7.00pm to 11pm

Seven Dials Club

42 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9LA

Free admission, Vegan supper available £5, Pay bar, Disabled access Original raffle prizes, auction lots, sketches, competitions, music & more

From Covent Garden tube (Piccadilly Line), walk down Neal Street, across Shelton Street, turn left into Earlham Street and the club is on the left.

If walking from Cambridge Circus, cross Seven Dials, into Earlham Street and it is on the right.

No need to RSVP and for any further details, contact Tel. 07939 072534

Children welcome, so long as they don't approach the bar.

I'm getting very excited as I hear about the preparations for sketches and as the raffle prizes and 'goodie presents for all' are rolling in !

Hope to see loads of you at the event. It is not confined to Green Party members.

Another shocking eyewitness account of police violence

What follows is clumsily written, but my head still hurts like murder and I can't bring myself to think about it too clearly. I hope that it can stand for now as a preliminary report of my experience at the protest.

I was on the edge of a group of protesters in Parliament Square, standing peacefully. We weren't even moving. Suddenly, police on foot in full body armour (and wearing balaclavas so we couldn't recognise them) charged us with batons raised. I was pushed backwards into the people behind me in the initial charge but the crushed and scared crowd pushed back to stop everyone falling over. I saw several around me hit by batons and fall, screaming. I was then hit over the head by a baton, hard enough to knock me sideways, then hit again, I think by the same officer. My ears rang, everything went quiet and I couldn't hold my balance. My knees gave way and I fell over. An officer stepped forward and deliberately stamped his foot into my chest, winding me. Another officer rested his boot on my head. A huge man, a protester, who had stood next to me picked me up and held my bleeding head in front of the police (this I have heard from him as I was semi- or un-conscious). They did not hit him but did not move aside. He repeatedly screamed for a medic but the police pretended not to hear him although it was clear to look at me that I needed one. He held me in both arms and pushed at the police line with his shoulder. They pushed back once, but then let him through - but hit a man who tried to follow. Next to him, a police officer spontaneously collapsed, apparently feigning unconsciousness. As the officer was not on the front line, had had nothing thrown at him and was wearing full body armour including helmet with visor down, he could not have been injured. The only nearby medic immediately tended to this officer, who had apparently faked an injury. Both medics and police ignored me and my friend who shouted repeatedly for assistance. Giving up, he half walked half carried me to hospital. Once there he attempted to get police to take a statement from me but was told there were none available.I spent three hours in hospital, dizzy, bleeding from the head and being repeatedly sick. My speech was apparently slurred and I have poor memory of what happened for the rest of the day. I had been told to stay overnight but feeling scared and victimised from being hit I left and returned home. The man who'd saved me was named Adam but I never learnt his surname. He left once I'd assured him I was fine as he had friends still at the demo and was worried about them.

I could justify being violent as using subjective violence against sytemic violence. I could justify being violent as I saw the innocent being beaten to the ground around me. More than anything, I could justify ripping the armour from these heavily armed cowards, as to hit people so heavily protected could never be called violence.

But I didn't. I didn't lift a finger. I didn't push. I didn't even shout "fuck the police" as I should have. I didn't have the chance to. I was beaten to the ground, and stamped on when unconscious by brutal men who couldn't have cared if they'd killed me.

I later learned I was one of the luckier ones. I am thinking of Alfie today, and of others who might not have made the news. Thanks to everybody who has sent me messages of support - it's meant a lot. I can't describe how confused, frightened and victimised I felt, bleeding and vomiting in a hospital bed. I'm not ashamed to say I cried a few times.

I hear Bob Brecher has suggested the police were ordered to scare protesters into not coming back. I'm coming back. They have no idea how strong they've entrenched hatred in me, hatred for their actions, their facelessness, their carelessness, their inhumanity.

We're all coming back. For Alfie, for everyone who was hurt, and most of all for the countless wrecked lives that will never make the headlines - the poor, the disabled, the homeless, the students, everyone in the gunsights of this government. We're all coming back.

Eyewitness account of yesterday's protests

From Joe Rooney, Green Party member:

Rhythm section of the revolution
So, after the last time I did this, I thought I'd write another post about what it was like to be a member of UCU staff involved in yesterday's political activity. I should say before I start that I'm writing this in my personal capacity, on my personal blog, and nothing I say here should in any way be taken to be necessarily reflective of any position or policy of UCU's. I'm also not writing this as a dig at individual Police or to condone any acts of violence or vandalism (although there is a clear ethical distinction between violence against the person and violence against property so far as I am concerned).

NUS and UCU organised three events yesterday. The first was a lobby of MPs ahead of the vote. The second was a rally with speeches on Victoria Embankment. The third was a "candlelight vigil" using 9,000 glowsticks to make the point that 9,000 is a big old number.

The day started with a briefing for stewards (including me) from the Police. We'd hired a professional stewarding firm for the rally and vigil after what happened at the first demo we did, so we were only stewarding the Lobby. The guy from Westminster Palace Police told us that officers had been shipped in from all over London, and that their upper estimate for number of students in attendance was 100,000 (that's one hundred thousand). I almost fell off my chair laughing - moreso when he told us that he was keen to avoid running battles in Westminster Hall. I'm not sure that was ever a risk, but fine.

Anyway, so I was stewarding outside the Houses of Parliament, right behind the police line. To start with, there wasn't much there - a truck deploying sandbags onto the road, but very few police - although quite a few riot vans drove past us at speed. When a colleague and I went to get a coffee, however, we turned the corner to see a huge number of riot vans parked up, and lots of burly-looking police in sky blue baseball caps* with truncheons already in hand walking around in groups.

Over the course of the next hour or so, a line of regular police just sort of materialised alongside us, while a small number of protesters appeared at the Whitehall police line. There were walls of police everywhere I looked around midday. They brought out the horses around 2pm, and they lined up behind rows of the blue-caps who were now in full riot gear.

And then the protesters arrived - organised by God-knows-who, and certainly not the 100,000 the police had (massively over-)prepared for. The first thing they'd have seen is the three-deep riot cops waiting for them with masks down and shields up.

At this point, the lobby was done - shut down by the cops, two of whom were standing on the ramp down to the visitors' entrance with their automatic firearms in hand. Other police suggested we move away for our own safety, and most of the other stewards did, our work effectively being done. My colleague and I elected to stay, and I spent the time taking photos and tweeting when something noteworthy occurred. We saw riot police dragging out broken fences. In fairness, protesters were using firecrackers and smokebombs (at least I assume it was protesters) but no violence.

It wasn't long after that people started tweeting about Shiv Malik getting hit by a baton and having to go to A&E. Not much after that, a student activist was pulled out of his wheelchair by the police. Twice.

The police told us the line was going to break soon, although it didn't. I did see the protesters turn to leave Parliament Square, though, and later heard how the mounted Police charged into the rear of the retreating students while the front encountered the kettle.

Blissfully unaware, my colleague and I headed into Central Lobby, handed in our fetching pink hi-vis vests, and went to the rally. We had to go cross the river twice to avoid the police lines but we got there, to a pretty understated rally; the Police weren't letting anyone out of the kettles to let them come to the rally despite claims to the contrary. The rally itself was very cool, with lots of quality speeches. The best was, of course, the Green Party's Caroline Lucas, able to say with confidence that we're the only Parliamentary party in England with a genuine commitment to free education. She talked about Business Education Tax and Robin Hood Tax and got a really good response. A later speaker, from the Union of Jewish Students, made the very good point that Labour got us into this mess, and the Tories and Lib Dems made it worse - who can we trust. My personal answer is obvious, but I'm not keen to preach.

Anyway, I headed home at this point, as I was shattered. As I left, however, I read about the Met's claims that the kettle was over with interest - only to discover that it was apparently a trick, as protesters trying to leave were kettled on Westminster Bridge, away from the toilets the Met had "generously" provided, and weren't allowed to leave without submitting to being videoed. Y'know, waiving their rights - a friend of mine checked with a police station and was told that it was non-negotiable.

Other highlights - protesters being told they were being kettled under first common law, then breach of the peace, then common law again, then a spokesperson on News 24 claiming they weren't using kettling tactics..!

Please distribute wherever you'd like.


Join our facebook "Save-Haringey YouthCentres"
Join our mailing list

Bankers were paid nearly £7 Billion in bonuses this year!
 Vodafone told its OK not to pay most of their £6 Billion tax bill!
 Con-dem Government doing a £2 Million survey to see if we are happy!
 We get a safe place to go and are not hanging on the streets
 We get involved in positive activities like sports, media & volunteering
 We get educated on drugs, sexual health, politics & other cultures
 We are able to achieve certificates like the Duke of Edinburgh Award
 We get help with jobs, college, university, housing and counselling
 We get advice and shown the right path by our youth workers
 We get involved in the community & fundraising for charity
 We are helped to become better adults of the future
 8 Youth Centres already shut down in the last 6 months
 Exposure magazine axed
 Youth Opportunities Funding gone
YOUTH WORK , Right to Work Campaign, UNISON, TUC, etc.

Thursday, 9 December 2010


A story from the Daily Express...

Red boxes clock up 11,000 miles.
By Alison Little

TAXPAYER-funded Whitehall cars have driven more than 11,000 miles since the election carrying only official ¬papers – and no minister.
At least 562 unaccompanied trips for Government “red boxes” were notched up, including one journey of just a third of a mile.
The figures, which relate to a car pool service used mainly by junior ministers, show that papers were transported 11,350 miles between May and October. The Cabinet Office and Foreign Office clocked up the most mileage when delivering lone red ¬boxes.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: “This is reminiscent of David Cameron’s briefcase being driven behind his bike.
“A ministerial car is a functional necessity for conveying a minister on official business. It’s not supposed to be there for transporting your hand luggage in air-conditioned splendour, clocking up major mileage and CO2 emissions at the taxpayers’ expense for no good reason.’’

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Petition against kettling - please sign.

The Young Greens have launched a petition against kettling which they plan to present to the MPA in January. Please get as many people as possible to sign it:

*"We the undersigned call for the Metropolitan Police Authority to ban the tactic of containment (kettling) of demonstrations, where there is not the threat of violence between conflicting groups of protestors, as it damages the community's trust in the police and confidence in the right to protest."*

On the 24^th November demonstrators were kettled by the Metropolitan Police in Whitehall for up to 9 hours. These demonstrators were prevented from marching to Parliament and were in effect imprisoned and punished for attending a protest. In contrast on the 30^th November protestors evaded the police no damage was caused and the protest remained peaceful until it was kettled and around 150 people were arrested.

When police kettle demonstrations, where there is not the threat of violence between conflicting groups of protestors, they damage the community's trust in the police and confidence in the right to protest.
We call on the MPA to ban the tactic of containment (kettling) in order to restore confidence in the police.
Calling all Londoners: PLEASE SIGN This is a petition to tto the Met Police Authority, so the signatures need to have a London postcode.

Support Wikileaks

Wikileaks has been helping us all to be more more fully informed about the less than pleasant work being done by some governments and corporations. Now they're being harassed by governments which can't find any laws they've broken so they've set up the founder and are trying to prevent people donating money to it.

Do please support this petition if you feel able!

I've just signed an Avaaz petition to stop the Wikileaks crackdown.

Check out the link below and join me in signing:

The Irish Budget: My letter to to-day's Independent.

Your report on Ireland's severity budget ("More misery for Ireland as brutal cuts revealed", 8 December) falls into the trap of describing the emergency €85 billion IMF / EU package as a bail-out of the Irish Republic. Surely everyone can see the package for what it is: a bail-out of the European institutions that recklessly invested in Ireland's property bubble. Far from rescuing Ireland the package has turned her people into indentured servants. Ireland must endure tax increases, social welfare cuts, reductions to vital public services so that European bond holders do not suffer losses on speculative investments. Only the debt saddled on Irish taxpayers is far too high to be paid off by the current generation, insitutional investors will eventually have to take a fair share of the losses if we are to avoid weighing future generations of Irish taxpayers down with this burden.

Noel Lynch,
Chair, London Green Party

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Animal tests for PG tips, Lyons and Lipton teas

The multimillion-pound company behind PG tips, Lyons and Lipton teas has caused animals to suffer and die so that the company can make health claims about its teas. PETA has uncovered numerous cruel tests that the maker of PG Tips, Lyons and Lipton has conducted on animals to evaluate the effects of tea. The following are just a few examples: . Rabbits were fed a high-fat diet, giving them abnormally high cholesterol levels and hardened arteries and then fed tea in their water. After the experiment, the rabbits' heads were cut off. Mutant Mice bred to suffer bowel inflammation were administered tea ingredients in order to see if there were any effects on their condition. After the test, the mice were killed by neck-breaking or suffocation. . Rats were forced to eat a high-fructose diet, damaging their brains. Others had their abdominal wall punctured and were fed radioactively labeled tea ingredients through a tube in their stomach. All the animals were later killed. . Piglets were exposed to E coli toxins which cause diarrhoea. As part of the tests, experimenters cut the pigs' intestines apart while the animals were still alive. The pigs were then killed. Typhoo, Twinings, Tesco and Fortnum & Mason have given PETA written confirmation that they don't test their teas on animals - but the maker of PG tips refuses to end its torment of animals.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


The Government is trying to tell us that there is no alternative to painful cuts to public services and job losses and that ‘we are all in it together’. This is NOT true:
• The deficit was caused by bailing out the banks NOT by spending too much on public services;
• We are NOT ‘all in it together’ - the poor, the young, students and older people are being hit hardest - while the bankers still get their bonuses;
• The Conservative/Lib Dem decision to focus on massive cuts is a political choice (described as an ‘opportunity’! by some Conservatives) – and one many top economists disagree with.
We DO need to cut our deficit and start living both within our financial means and within the ecological limits of our planet. To do this we need to switch the focus from cuts onto how we can increase revenue, safeguard public services, create jobs and protect our environment:
There is an alternative!
The Alternative:
Make taxes fairer - including
1. Tax those earning over £100K at 50% raising £2.3 billion/yr
2. Get tough on tax avoidance and evasion by the wealthy – this could raise over £10 billion/year!
3. Put fuel duty and VAT on air flights – we are currently subsidising flying by £7 billion/yr!
4. Tax un-earned income at the same rate as earned income raising £5 billion/year
Make cuts sensible
5. Cut the replacement to Trident nuclear missile system – saving £90 billion in total!
Invest £18 billion/year in a Green New Deal – this would:
6. Create 1 million new jobs in energy efficiency, low carbon public transport and renewable energy;
7. Build our skills and engineering capacity for the economy of tomorrow;
8. Reduce our dependence on expensive and dwindling oil and gas;
9. Mean pensioners and families living in warm, efficient cheap to run homes;
10. Cutting 80% of our carbon emissions by 2030 – helping the planet and our pockets!

This approach would cut our deficit without a recession, without making a million unemployed and would create a better future for us and the planet

(Thanks to Stroud Green Party for this)

RIP David Fleming 1940-2010

We have some very sad news to report. David Fleming, Hampstead’s titan of alternative economics, who helped to found the Green Party, was Chairman of the Soil Association, invented the concept of Tradable Energy Quotas, and was a founding father of the Transition movement and Transition Belsize, died on Sunday night [28.11.10]. David was a huge intellectual force and a wonderful friend to many. The first steering group of Transition Belsize used to meet in his living room surrounded by overflowing bookcases. He loved to see the energy of a grassroots organisation taking shape before his eyes. Perhaps it reminded him of the late 1970s when the office of the newly formed Green Party was also his Hampstead flat.

David was Economics Spokesman for the Green Party from 1977 to 1980. He was Chairman of the Soil Association from 1984 to 1991. In 1996 he came up with the idea of Tradable Energy Quotas, a way to use the market to phase out fossil fuel consumption. He was also a powerful critic of nuclear energy. When he died he was putting the final touches to “Lean Logic”, a book encapsulating his thoughts on the craziness of our fossil fuel-based, destructive and wasteful economic system. Hopefully his former researchers will complete this work and it will be published posthumously.

There will be a service in Hampstead Parish Church in due course.