Saturday, 31 October 2009

Deane: Alan Johnson out of order making cannabis Class B

"The Labour Party - in its death throes - is thrashing around for what remains of the right-wing vote by reclassifying cannabis as Class B", says Martin Deane of Hull Green Party, speaking on the recent government sacking of drugs adviser Prof. Nutt.

"Instead of sacking his adviser, the Home Secretary should be using the Professor's scientific advice. Professor Nutt should be reinstated immediately."

"Instead of becoming even more right wing, Labour should be adopting radical and progressive views such as those of the Green Party - views supported by the vast majority of the public as well as by science.

"Like the attrition against asylum seekers - which pretends to be tackling immigration - Alan Johnson is out of order demonising cannabis and pretending government is really concerned about the toll that drugs take on Britain.

"Cannabis is being made Class B by a Class D government. This was a decision out of pure political expediency."

Martin Deane


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Hurrah! We get something back. Sort of. -
UK High street banks to be broken up (telegraph.co.uk)

Cynthia McKinney, leader of the US Green Party, tells of her journey

Death Penalty World Map [pic] (upload.wikimedia.org)

US Net Neutrality - House, Senate get separate bills to kill net neutrality - Things are looking bleak. (arstechnica.com)

No surprise here - More Americans Prefer Public Option to Bipartisan Bill (blogs.abcnews.com)

"The Obama administration has essentially adopted the position of the Bush administration in these cases, even though candidate Obama was incredibly critical of both the warrantless wiretapping program and the Bush administration's abuse of the state secrets privilege" Change? (news.yahoo.com)

As it gets worse over there, so too will it here - Big banks will not be forced to downsize and the public will be the last to know when they fail, a controversial bill unveiled by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Congressman Barney Frank proposes....


Thursday, 29 October 2009

The tale of Amendment 3, Marine Reserves Bill

To those who have followed the Marine Reserves Campaign in recent days, I posted the following today on the Marine Reserves Site:

The tale of Amendment 3 – The Report Stage 28th October, 2009

Monday (26 Oct) saw the last debate on the Marine Bill after 11 months of debate in both Houses. The last action, at 10 pm, was a division of the House on Amendment 3, proposed by Katy Clark MP.

The vote was lost (For 158, Against 246)

There were various amendments introduced by the government, and not voted on. So there will be a little time before we see the complete picture.

Hansard records the following: (27 Oct)

Nick Herbert (Con): …I am disappointed that, as a consequence of lack of time at the end of the debate, there was not more opportunity yesterday to discuss all the concerns about MCZs, particularly the amendment proposed by the hon. Member for North Ayrshire and Arran (Ms Clark).

The Minister advanced technical arguments why a power could not be given to the Secretary of State to designate a marine conservation zone for the protection of a whole ecosystem, but as Friends of the Earth said, that power could have been used to restrain damaging activities where a whole ecosystem could be put under threat. Given that the amendment created only a power, not a duty, I hope the Government noted the force of the argument.

Mr. Gummer(Con): Is it not disappointing that on two occasions, once today and once yesterday, when the Government have done so much on the Bill, they failed to understand that giving a commitment such as protecting an ecosystem is crucial for people outside to believe that we understand how all this works? To deny that is to say something very old-fashioned—that we can pick bits out and defend those, without understanding that the ecosystem as a whole is what we ought to be concerned to preserve.

Nick Herbert: I agree with my right hon. Friend. It was a shame that there were, apparently, reasons, I believe they were largely technical, why the amendment could not be accepted. It created a power for the Secretary of State to have regard to the issues of a whole ecosystem. It is true that rather too much of the work of nature conservation is process-driven, so we have to remember that creating a marine conservation zone is not an end in itself. We should be focused on outcomes and should, therefore, be looking for tangible results from the designation of those protected areas.

- The Tories supported the MARINET amendment. It is clear from this that we may have lost the vote – but did not lose the argument. The new role of the Campaign will be addressed in a later post. Watch this space.

Bill Rigby, Beverley

http://www.marinereserves.org.uk/

Letter to the Inde: No flap over Sharia Law demo?

Dear Sir,

Whilst considerable heat has been released into the intellectual stratosphere following the appearance of Nick Griffin on BBC television's Question Time, I do not seem to have noticed any protest about the public platform afforded to those Muslims who demonstrated today in order to demand that Shari'a law beinstituted in the U.K.- a law which, according to reports, would insist that all British women wear the burqa, and which would stone to death those involved in non-marital sexual activity.

Moderate Muslims do not promote these aspects of Islam, but I fear that the advocation of stoning, at least, can be found in the Q'ran. (Forgive me if I am wrong.) Whatever the truth of the matter, such views are as abhorrent to me, as a free UK woman, as the views of the BNP, but I do not hear the flapping in the left wing chicken coop. Naturally, people will say that there is no chance at all of Shari'a Law taking over Britain, and that is undoubtedly the case but the expression of such attitudes should surely produce some comment at least. Or are we too polite, too afraid of causing offence to one group of extremists yet descending like a pack on another?

Yours faithfully,

Susan Harr, Hull

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UK Government's chief drug adviser has claimed ecstasy, LSD and cannabis are less dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol. (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Carl Sagan: Pale Blue Dot


On November 18, 1992, more than 1,600 scientists, including 104 Nobel laureates, from around the world endorsed a warning... (webdigger.org)

UN flew in starving African kids to be part of staged 'feeding exhibit' for G8 wives on camera (abovetopsecret.com)

Obama declares a national emergency over H1N1 swine flu - meanwhile 62% of Americans have no intention of getting it anyway (latimes.com)

John Prescott Climate Champion...

We had a great time at the Guildhall Climate Day in Hull yesterday!

Stealing the show with a late entry was former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. Prescott gave a vigorous account of his involvement with global climate change policy, from Kyoto to upcoming Copenhagen. Again and again he mentioned the importance of fairness and justice in what should come out of Copenhagen and mentioned the dangers of intransigence (especially from the American Congress which has to approve any international agreements). A number of times he praised the example of leadership that Britain was giving by sticking to its Kyoto targets, something only France and Germany have also achieved.

Prezza was a bit cavalier with figures, quoting America at 20tCO2 per head and a total of 20Gt - but the computer says no. (Current US figures are 25tCO2 per person, for a total of 7.5Gt.)

A number of questions sought to breach the bluff, breezy, congenial exterior but few could gain purchase... The Green Party's Shan Oakes brought up the third runway at Heathrow, which government supports but green campaigners nationwide have been campaigning against (hence the UK scoring poorly on the transport indicator below).

So how are the G8 Countries really doing? (Animation)

From 2008 to 2009, the UK has slipped from being number 1 to number 2, second to Germany.

So far we're good at keeping our Kyoto targets and curbing our emissions re. GDP, but we're not yet set for our overall target for 2050.

But we're so-so at -
  • lowering the 10 year emissions trend
  • the adoption of renewables (75% of wind applications are being fought and lost)
  • emissions per head, household and services policy,
  • leading negotiation
  • electricity and nuclear policy
  • renewables policy
  • industrial policy
What Britain is poor at -
  • curbing our emissions per head which are still high. (Prescott would immediately answer but look at America and China who account for half of ALL emissions between them. Ok, America is way out in front with 25 tonnes CO2 per person, China way behind per head at 6tC02 (UK is 11t)).
  • CO2 emissions per unit of electricity
  • energy efficiency in industry
  • transport policy
The emphasis on justice is very helpful. But 9 million die from hunger a year, and another 9 million die from simple diseases. So what makes us think we can solve any climate problem in a fair way? As I wrote in my prepared words, I'm sure we CAN solve these problems, but I'm not sure we WILL.

(In fairness - to the truth - nobody brought up Iraq, and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths that ought to be on the conscience of every public representative who voted for it, let alone the carbon footprint of war, unnecessary or not. The massive use of deplet6ed uranium - a leftover from the nuclear industry. The growth of incinerators in Britain. Our actual rate of recycling.)

Meanwhile, while we all worry abourt energy and CO2, let's ask our MP's to vote for Amendment 3 for the Marine Bill this Monday. If you don't know why then watch The End of the Line, Channel4. We could solve this problem too. But I'm not sure we WILL...

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Endless war in Afghanistan is an absolute necessity. Health care for Americans is a luxury that can wait. (salon.com)

Friday, 23 October 2009

Unite Against Fascism Demo, Hull.


A UAF demo was held in Hull to mark the BBC Question Time decision to give the BNP a platform on its flagship politics slot.

A good 50 supporters turned out at the BBC on the evening. I went to support and met a number of old friends who have campaigned on many issues over the years. The demo was well-supported by a good crowd of young people from the Warren Youth Centre across the road. The last thing Britain needs now is an empahasis of extreme right politics. - MD


Public must learn to 'tolerate the inequality' of bonuses, says Goldman Sachs exec (guardian.co.uk) - Yeah, when Hull freezes over!


1 shot of gene therapy and children with congenital blindness can now see. (eurekalert.org)


The Ethiopian government has asked the international community for emergency food aid for 6.2 million people. (news.bbc.co.uk)


Should an elderly relative become mentally incapacitated, through Alzheimer's or whatever, this is how government can get your money, since 2007.

Hull Greens at UNA Climate Change Event, Saturday.

IEA oil decline estmate jumped from 3.7% to 6.7% last year.










George Monbiot talks to Fatih Birol, IEA, about the implications of this.

IEA oil decline estimate slides from 3.7% (2007) to 6.7% (Dec 2008) after studying 800 oil fields.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Hull and East Riding Greens update :-

  • Hull Uni Amnesty meets: TUE 20 OCT, 6.15pm, Wheatsheaf, Hull Uni. Upcoming Hull protest on Burma. ( Facebook )
  • THU 22 OCT: Hull Anti-Fascist Rally, BBC Queen's Gardens, 5PM.
  • THU 22 OCT: Hull Uni. Amnesty @ Adelphi, De Grey Street - benefit gig
  • Note: London Afghan Demo (Sat 24th): Hull minibus UNLIKELY as only 4 takers so far.
  • SAT 31 OCT: "The End of Suburbia" - Hull Transition Initiative, at the Boulevard Village Hall, from 3pm, presents a free film, "The End of Suburbia". With refreshments.

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Asylum-seeker deported from UK: 'They gave me $100 and told me to fend for myself in Baghdad' (independent.co.uk)

Stay classy Republicans! With three out of four Senate Republicans voting in favor of rape, we can be sure that rape is a Republican value. A big thank you to these Senators for protecting liberty, and freedom (including the freedom of companies to cover up rape!) (republicansforrape.org)

Come visit the country that was too extreme, too controversial and too scary to make it into 'SiCKO.' (youtube)

Pfizer to pay $1.3 billion criminal fine for mis-branding its drugs (naturalnews.com)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Grave mistake to attack Afghanistan in 2001

Having read Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's article "I'm sorry, but I was wrong to support the war in Afghanistan" (24 August), I would stress that the gravest mistake was to attack the country in October 2001.

I was working in Qatar at the time of the twin towers attack; for the next three weeks, westerners got a lot of sympathy from Muslims in the Middle East. I recall being stopped in the street by a middle-aged Arab and his wife: "We are so sorry about the American attack," they said. "So sorry."

During that time I hoped that the sabre-rattling American administration, with its frontman Bush, would climb down from its threats of revenge. However, vengeance it was to be; and immediately the first bombers went in, the atmosphere changed. Westerners were spat upon in the street, taxis refused to pick some of us up, and two Scandinavians were stabbed in the suq – mistaken for Americans. The American school had to be defended with tanks.

At a time when the west, and primarily the US, could have garnered sympathy and even support from the vast majority of Muslims world-wide, it chose to go down a path which has wreaked the damage we are now seeing, in both poor beleaguered Afghanistan and in Iraq.

Susan Harr

Hull

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Beyond the "tragedy of the Commons"

Why the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to a Political Scientist (ecopolitology.org)

'I Will Not Sign Lisbon Treaty' - Czech President (timesonline.co.uk)


The Final Word About the Swine Flu? US government has successfully pulled off the fear propaganda campaign of our time... (westernfrontamerica.com)

Visiting Christiania in Copenhagen


Yesterday we visited Christiania, an amazing example of alternative living. Look them up.

























Leif's Seven Year Vigil


Today we met a guy Leif Poulsen, www.fredsvagt.dk who has been on a daily anti war vigil outside of the Parliament for seven years, protesting against the Afghan war. He is in touch with Brian Haw and we said we'd show the photos to Brian.










Biking in Copenhagen



















This morning we got a call from Peter Levy's team, asking for an interview on BBC Radio Humberside to talk about fining people who put the wrong stuff in their trash. So we went to the Copenhagen city department which looks after recycling to see what happens here - and took the call for the interview (as you can see).




















By the time they rang, they had changed their mind and wanted to talk about proposals to make people pay to drive on motorways! Anyway we had an opportunity to say we were here for a European Green Party conference and how we had come by train, and how great the biking is here.

We took the opportunity to talk to their bike people and came away with all sorts of ideas and contacts for Hull and York.





























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Monday, 12 October 2009

Hull and East Riding Green Party Meeting, Oct 29th.



Hull and East Riding
Green Party Meeting
Thursday Oct 29th, 7.30pm, at Pearson Park Hotel

Right in the parish! (with refreshments available and disabled access). We intend to meet on the last Thursday of the month for regularity. Venues will change so keep your witz about you. If you are in Hull North, and unsure if you're on the voting roll, then get in touch and I can tell you. (07812 838701).

All welcome for a good debate.

Britain has worst quality of life in Europe, study says. (telegraph.co.uk)

Bill Moyers on PBS describes just how bad the US financial situation is for ordinary people. And why. Britain take note.

.

UNA Hull - Climate Day at the Guildhall, Oct. 24th

At. 24th Oct, 10am - 4pm, Guildhall, Alfred Gelder Street, Hull.



with the Lord Mayor.
Stalls from One World Fairtrade Hull, Hull Friends of the Earth, Hull Transition Initiative, Hull Greens, with ongoong presentations on different issues through the day.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

HITCHCOCK'S - GREEN PARTY FUNDRAISER, 11th NOV.

Weds. 11th Nov, 8pm onwards.
Yes, it's another excuse to go to Hitchcock's! And there can never be too many of those!

We've booked 15 places at £15 a head (a significant portion of this goes to the party, thankyou Jane and Bruce!). Places will fill up fast so get in touch quick. I will look to extend this if needed. The food theme for the night will be based on Palestinian and Afghan food, in honour of our two long-standing campaigns on those issues. Hitchcock's is a vegetarian restaurant at 1 Bishops Lane, High St, Hull. It is an upstairs venue where people can bring their own drinks, a corkage fee may apply. - Hope to see you there!


...AND IT's THE CRAZY UK -
The public could earn cash by watching CCTV cameras at home. The website will offer up to £1,000 if viewers spot crimes in progress. (news.bbc.co.uk)

The cycle supporting the arms trade must stop


A Message from Hull and East Riding Green Party to BAE Systems
30 SEP 2009
The Greens have always worked for Justice and Fairness and we want to get this message across for the general election - as emphasised at our Conference.
Greens are batting for fairness for people and planet, for the workers, and no other party is doing that. Labour have failed dismally over the last 12 years.
Freedom and justice are worth fighting for. Unfairness in the UK is rife. Take the issue of recent unjust unwinnable wars - totally supported by Labour and Tories. Iraq has already been withdrawn from. Our Afghanistan resolution at Conference says we want an immediate withdrawal of all UK forces, withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan, and a regional agreement with Afghanistan's neighbours (Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan), together with Russia and China and the UN, to hold a peace conference with the aim of establishing a new Afghan government which will have the support of the Afghan people.
If the UK wants to deal with problems of refugees and alienation in our society we have to sort out our policies with our allies not only on Afghanistan but also Palestine, Somalia & the Horn of Africa.
In the context of a global reduction of war - which surely we all want - there will be a reduced need for armaments. At the moment there is a vicious cycle of political and economic pressure supporting the arms trade which supports war which supports the arms trade and so on. This cycle must stop.
Our policy is to redirect the valuable skills of the armaments industry towards progressive manufacturing - such as the complex machinery required to extract energy from the tides, the waves and of course wind.
As things stand, the UK has no manufacturing capacity in any of these areas, despite the fact that it’s a certainty that such technology needs to be on stream in a very short time. Despite the fact that the British Isles are very windy and surrounded by sea, there are zero turbines manufactured in Britain now.
The Vestas issue (600 jobs lost) illustrates the confusion successive governments have created. For decades it should have been clear that the UK should be developing and making alternative energy technology, low energy houses, trains, for example - and not buying from abroad. That's more important than an economy which is dependent on arms.
Other EU countries, including Germany, are making large scale joint investment in solar energy designed to harvest the energy in the north African Desert - an essential complement to the intermittent supply which wind energy on its own will provide. The UK is absent from this consortium.

But what does Government do? - In a policy supported by the Tories, it gives a £1 billion subsidy per year to the arms industry.

BAE is the main recipient of this subsidy, and yet BAE has already shed many hundreds of jobs in the region in the last two years. We are told there used to be 8,000 people working at Brough - now it’s 1650. As a single product manufacturer it is just as vulnerable as the car manufacturers at Cowley, Luton and Longbridge. BAE Brough, this key plant, will be the first to suffer if they're making something that no-one wants, and with no plans for retooling.
If there is a lessening of tension in the world - and let’s hope that there will be - are we ready to reap the benefit of any ‘peace dividend’? No. It seems that the old-style politicians in this country (aping the United States) lack imagination. They assume the economy needs continuing war and quest for oil, even though there is a sane, sensible and peaceful alternative.

The Green New Deal promotes green jobs, greening the economy, green energy, modifying existing houses, and public transport development. Greens would address financial injustice: eg. limit bankers’ bonuses and close down offshore tax havens, since tax evasion is, in effect, white-collar crime.
The Greens are clear about supporting ordinary people, workers, whilst challenging big business when it exploits people and planet.

Shan Oakes:
Parliamentary candidate for Haltemprice and Howden
Tel: 07769 607710

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Not So Stupid | Hull CAAT Meeting

Quick reminder about 2 meetings today -
"Not So Stupid" @ 2pm-4pm, Boulevard
Village Hall, Boulevard, Hull
A follow-up to the screening of Age of Stupid this week.
The Story of Stuff / Discussion on consumerism, climate change, oil decline.
By Transition Hull


Hull CAAT meeting, 2-4pm, Friends Meeting House, Bean Street.
Particularly after this weeks' encouraging news, as below.


In case you missed yesterday's encouraging news...

Fraud office seeks BAE's prosecution over bribery
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/01/bae-serious-fraud-office1

The Guardian's comment pages, from today and yesterday, are also
worth a look especially in tackling the issue of arms industry jobs...

BAE immunity for jobs' sake? Yeah right
Mark Thomas
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/02/bae-jobs-sfo

BAE's government-backed rip-off
Clare Short
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/01/bae-deal-blair-sfo

The SFO is right to pursue BAE
Lord Goldsmith
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/01/bae-sfo-bribery-claims