Monday, February 27, 2012

This is progress!!!

Finally on an almost equal footing....
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Bombs Away Ottaway

Online version of story here

On Wednesday last week I was contacted by the Croydon Advertiser to comment on remarks made by Croydon South MP, Richard 'Bombs Away' Ottaway.

Below is an actual extract from the speech that Richard 'Bombs Away' Ottaway MP made during a debate last Monday at the House of Commons:

"The production or potential production of nuclearweapons has the ability to destabilise the region, with profound global impact.My hon. Friend says that the threat of military action is counter-productive. Iam sorry to say this, but I simply do not agree. I believe that if we take thisoption off the table, theIranians will gofull throttle, as my right hon. and learned Friend SirMalcolm Rifkind pointed out, in a speech of lucidity that I can only envy.It ill behoves anyone to quote Chairman Mao in support oftheir argument, but it was he who said that peace comes from the end of thebarrel of a gun. That is particularly pertinent here, and we must keep theoption on the table."

Knowing Mr Ottaway's track record for championing the best democracy money can buy ethos that clouds our parliament (see here), I thought I had better check the Register of Members of Financial Interest to see if something may have influenced his pronouncements.

Sure enough, something did grab my attention:

Extract from Register of Members' Financial Interest

My comment was along the lines of:

"When one considers Iraq and Afghanistan, has peace come from the end of thebarrel of a gun in these countries? Mr Ottaway seems to have a selective recollection of history.
I am concerned he may have been influenced by his recent trip to Israel at the back end of last year, funded by Conservative Friends of Israel. We all know that Israel has most to fear from Iran having a nuclear weapon.
I would like to hear Mr Ottaway speak about the benefits of nuclear arms reduction.
Mr Ottoway has an excellent record of speaking up for those who give him donations. I am thinking of Japan Tobacco International as well as Conservative Friends of Israel here.
"I am reminded of comedian Mark Thomas' Peoples Manifesto which contains the policy, 'Politicians should have to wear tabards displaying the names and logos of companies they have a financial relationship, like a racing car driver."

To the Croydon Advertiser's credit, the paper didn't shy away from reporting the wider story. I gave a comment clarification when it became clear they were also covering the 'trip to Israel' angle.

I wonder if 'Bombs Away Ottaway' listens to The Levellers......

No matter what country
Under the sun
You can't mete justice
From the barrel of a gun

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Missed chance on burning issue

Good letter from Ross Hemingway which appeared in the Croydon Guardian and Croydon Advertiser.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Acceptable words

Your Say - Croydon Guardian

The week after the Croydon Guardian exposed the remarkable decision to opt for Beddington rather than Allington, Kent, for the South London incinerator (neither solution is correct), the letters page was completely full of words relating to the incinerator........ quite unprecedented.

The following week more words in the letters page relating to the decision taken by Tory Waddon councillors to break their promise regarding the incinerator were published.[They have pledged to vote against on their website]

As Greens we were furious at the apparent ease that they could lie to their voters - pledge to vote one way to get elected, and do the other in the Council Chamber . CR7 Green, Brendan Walsh, who manages our Twitter account, used several hashtags to describe this action: #gutless #shameful #selfserving #vile #twofaced.

I have to admit I was surprised at his use of the word 'vile'. There must be a conformity user guide for political speak somewhere. We're almost obliged to use mild mannered words like angered and appalled, but why can't the word vile be used? After all it is just a word. I remember Adrian Oliver, a former Green Party councillor on Camden Council, once describing a policy decision as morally reprehensible. offers morally debased as one meaning for vile, admittedly amongst other definitions, including filthy (when relating to language). Brendan explained his use of the word in a blog entitled Vilegate after the mini furore that ensued.

This brings us back to the Waddon councillors, I guess to Councillors Hilley, Hoar and Harris, a promise is just words.

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Fundraisier at the Green Dragon

Big thanks to Esther at the Green Dragon for hosting the Christmas fundraiser. Also a big thank you to Cassettes, Tim Eveleigh and Magic Brother for providing some excellent entertainment.

Cassette shot some footgage of his/their performance. Unfortunately, the camera was positioned by the speakers - so the sound is slightly distorted.


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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Linking to a newspaper article is a crime??

Jean Lambert MEP and yours truly at the Brussels parliament. Picture taken in 2006

From time to time a press release from the European office really catches ones attention......
Controversial anti-counterfeiting agreement must be dropped, Green MEP

Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, has reacted with dismay at the
signing of a controversial agreement by the EU and 22 of its Member
States which could potentially impinge the freedom of electronic
communication and innovation worldwide.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was created with the aim of
establishing international standards on intellectual property rights
enforcement, yet will deal with tools targeting internet distribution
and information technology, meaning people could be prosecuted for
merely sharing a link to a newspaper article or posting a video on YouTube.

The Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament have criticised the
decision to proceed with the signing, highlighting persistent concerns
about the legality of the deal and its compatibility with EU provisions
on fundamental rights [1]. The agreement will now be handed down for
ratification by Member States and the European Parliament.

Commenting on the agreement, Jean, a member of the European Parliament
Civil Liberties Committee, said: “The Greens in the European Parliament
remain absolutely committed to ensuring that this so-called ‘agreement’
is not adopted at the expense of the rights of citizens – ACTA is a
threat to our civil liberties and must be rejected. As the European
Parliament and national parliaments now have their say as part of the
ratification process, the Greens will push to ensure that ACTA is
consigned to history.”

Notes to Editor

1. Critics have raised serious doubts about the compatibility of ACTA
with EU law, particularly provisions on fundamental rights. For
example, ACTA encourages its signatory states to step up
co-operation with private actors, such as internet providers, for
intellectual property enforcement in the absence of any minimum
standards for legal procedures. This opens the door to
undermining the basic rights of individuals with no protection for
those affected. Experts have also pointed out that ACTA could
undermine access to medicines, particularly in developing
countries, which are more independent on generics but were not
even part of the negotiations.


Anna Rutter

Media and PR Officer to Jean Lambert, Green MEP

Can Mezzanine

49-51 East Road


N1 6AH

Office: 020 7250 8417

Mobile: 07917 881648

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Standing up for what matters