Since February 2000, we have had 3 Home Secretaries, and 5 junior Prisons Ministers (Paul Boateng, Beverley Hughes, Hilary Benn, Paul Goggins, and now, the unelected Baroness Scotland). The blame for any confusion over who’s doing what, what's going on where, and when did they tell who, lies with the man blowing his whistle every 14 months and asking people to find a different chair – Tony Blair.
Coventry Green Party
31 January 2007
On Wednesday 1 February 1995, 31 year old protester Jill Phipps was crushed to death under the wheels of an export truck carrying baby veal calves into Coventry Airport. Despite the fact that nearly 100 officers were on duty that day, 10 of the 33 protesters present had broken through police lines and attempted to bring the lorry to a halt by sitting on the road and attempting to chain themselves to it. Police on duty allowed the export lorry to continue making progress despite the clear safety problems. The vehicle was only halted by police once Jill had been crushed beneath the wheels.On Saturday 3rd February, 8pm, there will be a screening of "Jill's Film" at the Howitzer Club, King William Street, Hillfields.
For more info, contact John on 07771 953465 or email @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
With all the talk of having tens of thousands more houses in Coventry, it will be a choice between building on existing land (buying 3 houses, putting up a 4-storey building that can have 10 households) or building on greenbelt/nature reserve land.
Her group has already leafleted 120 homes and had a story in Saturday's Telegraph, and they're setting up a website.
Cllr Linda Reece (Con-Cheylesmore) lives on the estate, but she's already told them that there's nothing to be done, it's going ahead. Again, it shows the contradiction between the environmental rhetoric of David Cameron and how Tories can behave locally.
They have two months until the close of objections to the planning process, and they will have an information day at Baginton Fields school sometime soon.
I've got their January 2007 newsletter, and Cathryn's email, if people want to get in touch with them.
30 January 2007
There is a public forum coming up in London, on 28th February, on "Supersized Supermarkets: a global dilemma" with speakers such as Tony Juniper, Rosie Boycott and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. It's at the Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham St, London, SW1P 3DW.
For more information, email Richard Hines at email@example.com or call 0113 242 8153.
26 January 2007
You'll be able to:
- choose from up to 100 varieties of seed potatoes,
- listen to talks on organic lifestyles and parenting, as well as the Hot Potato debate, discussing the merits of copper sprays versus GM blight-resistant potatoes,
- watch organic cookery demonstrations by Clive Seal, from Henley College,
- watch practical demonstrations on how to plant your potatoes perfectly.
Regular admission at Ryton is £5 for adults, concessions £4.50 and £2.50 for children.
P.S. they also have a six-part course on "Starting an Organic Allotment", with part I taking place on the 10th of February, and part II on the 24th of February.
25 January 2007
The problems are:
a) all trips using public money have to be ratified by the council's cabinet, but the cabinet endorsed the India trip four days after it happened.
b) Cllr Taylor's arrogant attitude
Should the council, and by extension, the council leader, be responsible for explaining how a trip to India led to £4000 in overseas travel expenses by the City Development director?
Coventry Evening Telegraph
Socialist leader Dave Nellist asked for a breakdown of the £4,000 costs, saying: "Presumably the flights to India were less than £1,000 and the internal flights a minimum?"
Labour leader John Mutton demanded to know when the Tory-controlled council was notified, when the flights were booked and when an application for a visa was made to the Indian High Commission.
Cllr Taylor said: "I don't really think you need all that data. What difference does it make?"
24 January 2007
In the last month alone, they've featured news stories on how:
- 80 percent of the world’s high-tech trash is exported to Asia, and 90 percent of this flows into China. Research also reveals that about 40 percent of e-waste from Britain is processed overseas, and the major processors are China and India.
- Nearly 312 million rural Chinese residents have no access to safe drinking water, facing problems of shortage as well as severe contamination.
- China's 668 cities generate an estimated 150 million tons of rubbish each year, accounting for roughly one-third of the world total.
- In early December, the Yellow River, China’s second longest, turned red from industrial contamination for the third time in three consecutive months.
- The demand for jet fuel in China’s booming civil aviation sector is projected to reach 15 to 17 million tons by 2010, nearly double the record 9.3 million tons consumed in 2005.
23 January 2007
David Cameron’s call for a “carbon audit office” – which would act as a watchdog for specific year-by-year requirements for carbon cuts – sounds very nice. But it’s hard to believe him when Conservative-controlled councils, like mine in Coventry, are not putting this into place. Each month, statistics could be updated on Conservative council websites up and down the country to show their use of petrol, natural gas and electricity. Yearly, councils could put information, from all of their activities, into carbon audit reports. We need less national Camerhetoric and more local action.
Coventry Green Party
22 January 2007
The immediate effect would be the removal of legal protection for part-time workers and the ending of the rights of women to extend maternity leave. I double-checked with Cameron's friends to see if there had been some mistake. Not at all, they told me. You don't understand David if you suppose he believes in regulation, particularly regulation from the EU. But what is going to happen to part-time workers - most of them women and many of them poor? Well, they replied, we will exhort employers to be nice to them.Last election, the Trades Union Congress showed that the main losers of opting out of the EU Social Chapter would be women voters:
Measures which either mainly affect women, or have been mainly used by them, that have come through the social chapter include:Cameron likes to talk about "social responsibility" but for every pronouncement like this one on the Social Charter, I'm failing to see who will enforce it.
- 7 million part-time workers have gained protection against discrimination
- 4 million parents have gained the right to take unpaid parental leave
- Everyone with a caring responsibility has the right to take unpaid emergency leave
- Changes in the burden of proof in equality cases have simplified and made it easier to prove discrimination.
- Rights to information and consultation
- Protection for employees who have been employed on successive short term contracts
I mean, a society with "social responsibility" would ensure the right to take parental leave, family values, yada yada, but who enforces it? In Cameron-World, the state won't, grunt grunt, state bad, so who?
Do discrimination/equality cases exist in Cameron-World, and if that does fit into "social responsibility" -- respect for others, making sure we create a civil society where we can interact as equals -- then who enforces it, the state, a quango, or internal processes within companies?
The more you look closely at the scant policies outlined so far, the more it looks like Cameron is using his environmentalism as a smoke-screen for status-quo Tory social policy.
There is a programme tonight, 8pm on Channel 4, that reveals:
- A detailed list obtained from the Gambling Commission outlines vast expansion plans ... which are a contrast with government assurances that the number would be very limited
- Richard Caborn, the minister responsible for gambling, has admitted for the first time that the new gaming laws could lead to a rise in addiction
- In the last two years alone, the Gambling Commission has approved 90 new casinos. The total amount of new gaming floor space approved since April 2005 totals nearly 600,000 square feet, equal to an extra 10 Las Vegas super-casinos
- The commission is considering applications for a further 57
- Industry insiders predict there will soon be more than 200 casinos in Britain, double the number when Tony Blair came to power.
This wasn't front-and-centre in the 1997, 2001 or 2005 Labour manifestos, so I'm not sure what's driving it. There's no groundswell of feeling that Britain just wouldn't be Britain anymore unless we have more supercasinos.
A nationwide jobs strategy built around casinos? Jobs at what price?
There'd be a lot more tut-tutting if it involved other actitivies that led to addiction ... say, if Labour led a similar expansion in the tobacco industry after the Bernie Ecclestone donation.
20 January 2007
- Sat night (630pm to 9pm, Ramphal Lecture Theatre, R0.21): "Energy, Power and Risk" -- Modern life is simply unimaginable without the amenities that we derive from our use of resources. The known supplies of fossil fuels are likely to run dry sometime in this century. Which alternative sources of energy should be researched? What will be the effects of the accelerating economic transformations in Asia?
- Thurs afternoon (1230pm to 315pm, Warwick Arts Centre cinema): "Black Gold" -- a film -- Coffee is the second most valuable traded commodity; multi-national coffee companies dominate an industry that is now worth over $80 billion. Black Gold follows Tadesse Meskela, a man who attempts to find buyers willing to pay a fair price. His mission is to save 74,000 struggling coffee farmers from bankruptcy. Will he make it?
- next Sat afternoon (1pm to 3pm, Warwick Arts Centre): "Conflict to Peace" -- For a society scarred by conflict, peace building is a struggle. How are the root causes to be dealt with? While treaties are negotiated by government, peace is made by ordinary people. Discuss dilemmas facing post-conflict societies and explore experiences from post-apartheid South Africa and Northern Ireland post-troubles.
There are also forums on sexuality and identity, on Iraq, Israel/Palestine, India/Pakistan, global migration, and being "British".
17 January 2007
Interestingly, the major planks of her election platform were youth employment and anti-crime policies.
During the campaign, McLaughlin promoted her youth corps idea as a long-term program to reduce chronic violence in the city. The corps would offer at-risk youth part-time union jobs that would also have an education component. She also promoted green building techniques and alternative sources of energy.
For 25 years, Richmond's image has been tarnished by chronic violence: There were 42 homicides in the city last year, two more than the year before and seven more than 2004, when Richmond was named the most violent city in the state.
Local politicians and community leaders say her triumph in November's election and her continued success depend on issues like crime, jobs and schools.
"We have mothers who have lost their babies to gun violence on the streets of this city," said the Rev. Andre Shumake, head of the Richmond Improvement Association. "If it takes a Green Party candidate to come here and make it happen, so be it. It doesn't matter if you're black, green, white, yellow or polka-dot."
15 January 2007
- anti-social behaviour from casinos that have both gaming and liquor licenses
- the diversion of police resources
- the potential for increased organised crime and money laundering
- increased access to gambling for children and vulnerable groups.
The British Medical Association joined the debate today with a report that urged gambling addiction treatment to be available on the NHS.
Seven in 10 adults gamble each year, helping to sustain a £9bn industry. Research has shown that there are 300,000 problem gamblers, where their addiction can have an impact on their physical and mental health, employment, finances and relationships. The report expressed particular concern about adolescent problem gamblers. It calls for a review on whether slot machine gambling should be prohibited to anyone under 18. It said fruit machine addiction can lead to behavioural problems such as truanting, stealing and aggressive behaviour. Studies have shown that gambling among young people often goes hand-in-hand with other addictive activities such as drug taking and alcohol abuse and has been linked to juvenile crime.Back in April, with incessant pro-casino lobbying by Coventry's council leader, Ken Taylor (Con-Earlsdon), we heard a great deal about 1800 jobs and “quality" regeneration, but not quite so much about the view of Britain's top police officer responsible for gambling.
It beats me where championing casinos fits in with the David Cameron idea of "social responsibility."
If people want more information, a documentary on the issue will be screened on Channel 4 on the 22nd of January at 8pm.
It was two minutes to midnight in 1953 following U.S. and Soviet hydrogen bomb tests ... and 17 minutes to midnight in 1991 after the collapse of the USSR and an agreement on nuclear arms reductions.
The clock moved from nine minutes to seven minutes in 2002 (amid concerns about the proliferation of nuclear, biological and other weapons and the threat of terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11).
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have announced they will change the hands next Wednesday.
The hints are that it will move two minutes closer to midnight.
Iran and North Korea get the attention, but there are no shortage of additional reasons for moving the clock forward:
- the continuing 'launch-ready' status of 2,000 of the 25,000 nuclear weapons held by the US and Russia
- unsecured nuclear materials in Russia and elsewhere
- the turn to nuclear power in the face of climate change by unstable states – leading to the potential for nuclear fuel ending up in the hands of terrorists.
Andrew Green, the council's head of libraries, wrote in the report that "Government guidance stipulated that for a population of 304 000, the city should have 16 libraries." Green admitted to the newspaper that including these phrases was a "political decision" drawn up with Ridley, and that the cut of the Holbrooks library will only save £53 000 a year from the council's £234 million budget.
Both Green and Ridley could face charges, at the Standards Board of England, over their conduct.
The actual "minimum guidelines" -- not targets -- from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, recommend that councils ensure that:
- every household is within 2 miles of a library
- 95% live within 1 mile of a library
- councils meet a minimum number of opening hours for its population
Coventry is providing 15% more hours that its minimum requirement, but so do 15 of 150 other councils surveyed by the Coventry Times.
11 January 2007
"We are here to show our abhorrence at this icon of lawlessness ... If there is evidence against anyone in Guantanamo, they should be charged and brought in front of a court. Otherwise they should be released, and Guantanamo should be closed."
Our guest speaker will be Anna Ellis, from Coventry No2ID, on the Labour government's plans for national ID cards. We'll have a discussion after Anna's presentation, then move on to general business. That will probably include: our efforts to send letters to 18-19 yr olds in Coventry to introduce the Green Party and encourage them to join us ... the upcoming by-election in Bedworth and an anti-NHS-cuts candidate ... an update on incineration in Coventry ... and perhaps the start of thinking about a local manifesto for April.
If you aren't able to make Tuesday night, not to worry, we'll have monthly meetings in February and March, and opportunities to help out all through the local election campaign. You can contact me on 07906 316 726, or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 January 2007
So, science will put the global-warming problem right? How? When? Before millions die in floods in other countries? We must all make changes to our lives, whether by recycling, using less fossil fuel, buying British, or cutting down on extravagant gestures that harm the environment. Only if we pull together will we make a difference. We need a strong leader, not a head-in-the-clouds wimp trying to convince us everything will be all right and that life can go on as before.The Independent
Malton, North Yorkshire
Tony Blair says he is "still waiting for the first politician who's actually running for office who's going to come out and say" that they want people to reduce air travel. What is sad is that he is no longer running for office and so is the best person to lead the debate.
Why is it OK to be unpopular by declaring war, but not OK to be unpopular by tackling climate change?
Dr Richard Firn
University of York
Recent polls do not back Tony Blair's assertion that it would be political suicide to end cheap air travel. Indeed they show that a majority of people say they would be prepared to pay more to fly if it would help the environment. The suspicion must be that Tony Blair doesn't want to ban cheap flights; that he sees them as a good thing. This provides a big opportunity for other politicians, bolder and wiser than Blair, to develop a realistic programme to curb cheap flights. Cheap flights are costing the country money: last year there was a £19bn deficit in aviation tourism, the difference between what Britons spent abroad and what visitors spent in this country. If the money raised from increased tax on budget flights was ploughed back into things which the polls tell us people value - better schools, improved hospitals, cheaper public transport - then a policy Tony Blair claims would be a vote-loser could be turned into a vote-winner.
Chair, Airportwatch, London, SW9
Blair's failure to show leadership on the crucial issue of climate change may turn out to be an even more disastrous aspect of his "legacy" than the Iraq debacle. It's a good thing we didn't have him in 1940: "You know, all that 'blood, sweat, toil and tears' is a bit impractical actually; let's just hope new technology will defeat Hitler by itself."
09 January 2007
Blair now says it's "a bit impractical" to expect people to make personal sacrifices by taking holidays closer to home. He won't impose "unrealistic targets" on travellers.
Blair continues: "You know, I'm still waiting for the first politician who's actually running for office who's going to come out and say it - and they're not ... It's like telling people you shouldn't drive anywhere." He goes on to say that "Britain is 2% of the world's emissions. We shut down all of Britain's emissions tomorrow - the growth in China will make up the difference within two years."
Finally, the doozy for me: "you've got to [push emissions reductions] in a way that doesn't end up actually putting people off the green agenda by saying you must not have a good time any more and can't consume."
Christ, where to begin?
- The "we're only 2%" argument gets trotted out ... well, dozens of countries can say that we're only 1%, or we're only 1.5%, or we're only 2% ... twenty 1.5% countries add up to 30% of the world's emissions.
- "It's like telling people you shouldn't drive anywhere" ... hello, that's the idea behind road pricing and the congestion charge. Emissions come from transport. The only way to reduce emissions, both driving and flying, is to drive and fly less.
- George Monbiot points out that Blair's own statements in 2006 clash with this "let's all feel great about consuming" attitude to long-haul flights:
It's just amazing that Blair can emphasis the seriousness of the situation, and then say, hey, we can't spoil people's fun. It just reveals how shallow and childlike his political thinking really is. Can't do what's right, otherwise, people might not like me.
Last year, you launched the Stern review on climate change with these words: "Unless we act now, not some time distant but now, these consequences, disastrous as they are, will be irreversible. So there is nothing more serious, more urgent or more demanding of leadership."
Let me remind you of something else you said last year, at the launch of the Clinton Climate Initiative: "If we do not regard this issue with the gravity it demands, if we do not motivate ourselves to take the decisions commensurate with the gravity of the threat that we face, we will betray in the most irresponsible way the generations to come. That is not something I want on my conscience as a political leader."
- Where's David Cameron in all of this? I mean, he's quick enough to defend Ruth Kelly, and this is a pretty big own goal by the PM. If Cameron does support initiatives like The Big Ask, he needs to be pretty clear about supporting restrictions on flying ... all of us need to use some of Cameron's vaunted "social responsibility" to rein in our "inner tosser" who's telling us to fly.
Unless of course, Cameron's just playing the environment card for show, and he's not speaking out as he doesn't want to alienate all his nice new friends across the country, the middle-class previously-Tory swing voters that he needs to win marginals. Can't do what's right, otherwise, people might not like me.
Some of the wards will have had 3 meetings by early March, whilst Earlsdon is only having its 2nd meeting on 8th February. I guess we should feel lucky in Earlsdon ... Wainbody doesn't even have a 2nd ward forum scheduled on their part of the council website.
If the council wants uneven levels of involvement, they're going the right way about it.
Here is a list of the ones for January and February 2007:
Whoberley: Wednesday 10 January, Wilfred Spencer Centre, Whitaker Road, Allesley Park, Coventry, CV5 9JE, 7pm
Cheylesmore: Thursday 11th January, Cheylesmore Community Centre, Poiters Road, CV3 5JX, 7pm
Lower Stoke: Wednesday 17th January 2007, Humber Hotel, Humber Road, CV3 1BA, 7pm
St Michael’s: Wednesday 17th January, St Anne and All Saints Church, Acacia Avenue, CV1 2AN, 7pm
Woodlands: Thursday 17 January, Eastern Green Social Club, Church Lane, Eastern Green, CV5 7BX, 7pm
Upper Stoke: Thursday 18 January, Stoke Heath Community Centre, Valley Road, CV2 3JD, 6pm
Sherbourne: Wednesday 24th January, venue yet to be announced (??!)
Holbrook: Thursday 1st February 2007, Holy Family Church Hall, Penny Park Lane, CV6 4GF, 7pm
Longford: Wednesday 7th February 2007, Union Place Baptist Church, Oban Road, CV6 6BT, 7pm
Earlsdon: Thursday 8th February, Village Hotel & Leisure Club, Dolomite Avenue, Coventry Business Park, CV4 9GZ, 7pm
Foleshill: Wednesday 21st February 2007, St Pauls Community Hall, Foleshill Road, CV6 5AJ, 7pm
Westwood: Wednesday 21st February, St James Fletchamstead Hall, Westcotes, Tile Hill, CV4 9BD, 7pm
02 January 2007
By comparison, before their push, they were only selling 1.65 million a year in August 2005.
It's almost insurgent in the way that Wal-Mart has promoted the bulbs.
But, where the bulbs are being produced must be leading to vast amounts of cargo-freight-related carbon emissions ... bulb manufacturers are flying "entire planeloads" of bulbs from Asia to the US to keep up with swelling orders from the chain.
Regarding the obstacles that the chain faced:
Because compact fluorescent bulbs last up to eight years, giant manufacturers, like General Electric and Osram Sylvania, would sell far fewer lights. Because the bulbs are made in Asia, some American manufacturing jobs could be lost. And because the bulbs contain mercury, there is a risk of pollution when millions of consumers throw them awayRegarding the marketing changes they introduced (take note, B&Q and Homebase):
At the same time that it pressured suppliers, Wal-Mart began testing ways to better market the bulbs. In the past, Wal-Mart had sold them on the bottom shelf of the lighting aisle, so that shoppers had to bend down. In tests that started in February, it gave the lights prime real estate at eye level. Sales soared. To show customers how versatile the bulbs could be, Wal-Mart began displaying them inside the lamps and hanging fans for sale in its stores. Sales nudged up further. To explain the benefits of the energy-efficient bulbs, the retailer placed an education display case at the end of the aisle, where it occupied four feet of valuable selling space — an extravagance at Wal-Mart. Sales climbed even higher. In August 2006, the chain sold 3.94 million, nearly twice the 1.65 million it sold in August 2005, according to a person briefed on the numbers.
- the incinerator on London Road
- B&Q, Brandon Road
- The Memorial Park Park ‘n’ Ride
- B&Q, Holyhead Road
- Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Brandon Lane
- Wyevale Garden Centre, Brownshill Green Road.