perlmonger: (anarchism)
off with their headsSounds good to me.

If you're in or around Bristol in the next week and a half, you might want to pop along to one or many of this year's Bristol Radical History Week events.

Fun for all the family!

perlmonger: (revolting)
I'm assuming (I hope with justification) that any EU citizen reading this has already been in touch with their MEPs about the impending amendments to the Telecoms Package.

FWIW, here's my base email (I amended it slightly depending on to whom it was addressed):
I am writing to you as a constituent asking you to exert whatever influence you have with members of the IMCO and IMTR committees of the European Parliament to vote against amendments 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 that have been introduced into the Telecoms package.

These amendments were introduced under the influence of industry lobbyists whose interests are in the attempted maintenance of obsolete business models that have become unsustainable; they are a stealth attempt to subvert earlier rejection by Parliament of explicit legislation to the same ends. The proposed measures are disproportionate, unworkable in practice, violate privacy and personal data security and would lead to entire families being denied access to the internet through the presumed guilt of one member.

The committees are scheduled to vote on this package tomorrow, 7th July, and I urge you to do what you can to have these amendments rejected and, failing that, to vote against the package yourself should it be presented for a vote by the Parliament as a whole.

I apologise for the lateness of this communication, but I only found out about this today myself: please do what you can to prevent these egregious measures being codified into European law and to ensure that the European Parliament continues to represent the interests of its electors, even where those conflict with the short-term advantage of multinational corporations and their lobbyists.

Sunday

Jun. 13th, 2008 07:20 pm
perlmonger: (libdem)
Craig Murray reports that Chris Huhne has written to our glorious Home Secretary, asking her to reverse the ban on Sunday's anti-shrub march. I reproduce his letter here:
Dear Home Secretary,

I am writing to urgently request that you review the decision of the Metropolitan Police to ban the anti-Bush march taking place this Sunday 15 June from marching down Whitehall. As you will be aware the Stop the War Coalition have organised dozens of peaceful marches past Downing Street, and I am deeply concerned that the request has been denied.

In this country we have a long tradition of peaceful protest and I would be shocked if British civil liberties were curtailed at the request of a foreign government. I hope that you can also confirm that the decision of the Metropolitan Police was not made at the request of the US authorities.

A static demonstration in Parliament Square is no replacement for a protest march down Whitehall and I urge you to work with the police and the protesters to ensure they are able to make their voices heard outside Downing Street. Just because the votes of these protesters cannot be bought does not mean that their voices should not be heard by those in 10 Downing Street.

Kind Regards,

Chris Huhne
Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary
A good letter, I think you'll agree.

I voted for him as leader, as the lesser evil of the choices granted me by Cowley Street; it's probably my fault he lost: I've never in my life voted for a winning candidate, so I likely hexed his chances by my support.
perlmonger: (revolting)
A dock strike in the US against the war? Something from over the pond to give me a warm glow inside, for once :)

Bugger all on the BBC yet, of course.

[ HTT [livejournal.com profile] ginmar for the heads up ]
perlmonger: (anarchism)
Via [livejournal.com profile] gmul, I find that the London mayoral candidate best matching my views is Lindsey German (Left List) by some margin from Ken and Siân (neck to neck), and Brian a little further behind.

It seems that I'm still an old leftie really then, and it's probably redundant to mention that the BNP arsewipe trails at the bottom of of my list, some way behind the godbotherer, UKIP and Winston McKenzie (whoever the fuck he might be).
perlmonger: (revolting)
Bristol Council announced yesterday that the plan to use part of the Bristol to Bath bike path for bus rapid transit has been “shelved” - not abandoned. This isn’t victory yet, but it’s a cause for cautious optimism. Today’s protest and celebration is still happening!

Timetable for today (times in BST :)

» Cyclists gather from 11am in Queens Square for a 12am sharp departure

» Walkers and trundlers gather at Fishponds, by Morrisons, for a 2:30pm departure, reaching the Bristol end of the path at about 3pm, then heading for College Green for the rally

Be there, or be somewhere else.

And another

Feb. 5th, 2008 12:12 pm
perlmonger: (revolting)
I don’t seem to be doing anything on LJ these days but pimping petitions, but this is one deserves it: get yourself along to stopblair.eu and add your voice to those opposing the liar and war criminal Tony Blair being considered, let alone appointed, as EU president.
perlmonger: (revolting)
If you haven’t already done so, please sign the petition asking the UKFO to “put all possible pressure on the Afghan government to prevent the execution of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh”. I’m dubious that this will have any influence on HMG, let alone the Afghan government, but that’s no reason not to try.

If you don’t know what I’m wittering about, read this.

[ HTT [livejournal.com profile] rozk ]
perlmonger: (libdem)
Where parents, pupils and patients are in charge of our schools and hospitals.

So no change on the Tory/NewLabor consensus on trashing and sidelining teachers, nurses and doctors, then?

That’s why I will set up a network of real families, who have nothing to do with party politics, in every region of this country to advise me on what they think should be my priorities.

That’ll be Focus Groups and a direct line to Murdoch and the Mail, then?

All this and a Trident replacement! Still, my beating heart.

Oh well, at least Conference sets policy; unless that’s due for change too?
perlmonger: (books)
Craig Murray gave his inaugural speech as rector of Dundee University on Wednesday, though you’ll not find anything of it on the University’s site. There’s Alan Langland’s introductory speech as VC and Principal, but nary a word from Murray.

The Scotsman has a report on the event which might indicate why, but for more context you would do best to read the actually speech, reproduced here below the cut. Hat tip to PJC, from whence I copied it (typos and all), who manages to stay on my read list by just balancing hyperbole and paranoia with a sufficiency of useful and interesting content and linkage.

Craig Murray's speech )
perlmonger: (1984)
I’ve been remiss in not posting on the Alisher Usmanov inspired blog takedown by Fasthosts, triggered by threats from Usmanov’s solicitors, Schillings.

Amongst the blogs affected:
Craig Murray
Tim Ireland (back soon)
Clive Summerfield
Bob Piper (back now)
Boris Johnson (back now)

The continuing saga is documented at Chicken Yoghurt.

Tim Ireland has a special blog set up (outside the UK!) for what’s happened and its consequences; Chris Applegate writes about a personal dilemma, as a Wikipedia admin monitoring Usmanov’s entry; Ministry of Truth has an interesting piece on uk libel law.

[ ETA a link to the timeline of events ]
perlmonger: (1984)
Couple of things that deserve wider circulation.

Zombizi posts a rare entry on his blog about one of the many victims of the rule change in the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme.
Last November the UK government changed the rules for the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. The shitty thing they have done is to apply these rules retrospectively, suddenly putting many people who had made their homes here at risk of deportation.

One such a person is my close personal friend and favourite Uncle, Bill Tonghoek. He pretty much scored maximum points in the test, except for the fact that he doesn’t have a university degree, leaving him 5 short of the requisite 75. If you were to spend more than 5 minutes with the man you’d realise that there’s a very good reason for this. He’s clearly the most educated person on the planet and able run intellectual circles around most cardigan-wearing professors.... no university would have him. To say our country will be a poorer place without this high-earning, tax-paying, big-spending individual is a massive understatement, and not for the reasons stated above.
You can read what’s happening to his friend, and consider another way in which our government is being actively evil.

Elsewhere (via Cat Vincent), we find that in our brave NewLabour world, being overconfident in public is now an indication of criminal, nay, terrist intent. So be careful out there, youall, remember to shuffle in a fearful fashion, with your eyes cast down, lest you get dragged away as the subversive you surely are.
perlmonger: (1984)
We heard about this on the news; is it just me who thinks that it’s the thin edge of a very thick wedge indeed? We’ve already had this in the campaign to get people to shop benefit “cheats” and it all helps nicely in propagating an atmosphere of distrust and fear. Does it benefit anyone at all but the government? And who will be the first person snitched out of malice, for being in possession of a dusky complexion, or just for a laugh? E M Forster applies, I think.

The news was followed by possibly the most egregious piece of blatant fearmongering I’ve yet heard from the post-Hutton BBC: File on Four on Iran and export controls. In the entire programme there wasn’t a single attempt to justify their prejudgements: Iran is uniquely evil; US export controls are necessary and correct if possibly a mite liberal; UK and EU controls are entirely inadequate, and as for the Polish courts releasing someone the US wanted (and want) extradited who had broken no EU or Polish law, words nearly failed them.

There was a magnificent example of tabloid “investigative” journalism when we had an extended description of Hampstead property prices leading to a description of a trader who, it was carefully pointed out, had done nothing illegal. His sin was to be of Iranian extraction, to be rich and to have sold on dual use tech to Tehran; his guilt confirmed by his refusal to speak to the odious shit wielding a hatchet at his front door.

Lest I be misunderstood, I hold little truck with the current Iranian regime. They are, however, no worse than many (most?) other governments and their current singling out as the focus of the axis of Teh Eval is mostly a matter of Realpolitik. It was pointed out that they are using whatever means are necessary to buy parts to keep their F-14s flying: it was not pointed out how on Earth else they could keep their air force operational when they’re under blockade.

Still, as long as we’re all kept in a state of fear, eh?
perlmonger: (1984)
From the comments to this:
I for one would happily support the imposition of stringent new restrictions on civil liberties, as long as they specified that any idiot who says “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear” was automatically locked up for the rest of their lives, on the grounds that their crushing stupidity represented a danger to public safety.

Rev. Stuart Campbell, Bath


[ heads up to [livejournal.com profile] blue_condition for pointing me at this latest descent into totalitarianism ]
perlmonger: (libdem)
There are, I think, some specific reasons we did so badly in North Somerset on Thursday that we probably won’t discuss amongst ourselves, but our generally dismal showing UK-wide is another matter (the places where we did succeed will, again, likely be for local reasons - as is right and proper for local elections).

What concerns me here is why we failed (and matching votes with the Labour Party is failure), when the Tories in England, the SNP and (to a slightly lesser extent) PC did not. My suspicion, my fear, is that we lost because we lacked and lack the courage of our convictions. We elected a “safe pair of hands” as leader when that was the last thing we needed and our campaigning was driven by fear of losing and by other peoples’ agendas (lawnorder FFS!), not by principle and what we know is right and important even when that cuts right across the Establishment consensus.

Craig Murray mentions Iraq and Trident replacement and I would agree that they’re the current issues most likely to resonate with your voter-on-the-street, but I would like to see more on countering the culture of fear that the Home Office is using to push through its encroachments on liberty and the rule of law, and less mealy mouthed compromise from careerist politicians eager to be the next step in the Blair-Cameron axis of empty rhetoric.

Publicising and arguing against what’s being done to agriculture might win more votes from the Tories in rural constituencies than it loses from North London second home owners who don’t like the smell of manure, and where’s the national campaign on PFI and its legacy? As it stands, it’s easier to find reports on LibDems supporting PFI deals than mentioning the country being in hock for decades on the never-never for no better reason than creative accounting by the Treasury to pretend they’re not borrowing.

We shouldn’t be on the defensive, is all. Maybe if we weren’t, we might persuade a few more people we’re worth voting for.
perlmonger: (ice warrior)
On Today on the Home Service this morning: “Tory gains in England [ blah blah ...] while the LibDems have lost 155 seats and Labour six councils” - not verbatim, of course, and those are the figures current as I type, but you’ll find the original somewhere in the last hour of the programme on listen again until you don’t.

Might they have considered saying that “the LibDems have gained one council and Labour lost 225 seats”? What do you think? >;)
perlmonger: (1984)
If you’ve got an election today, git out there and vote, damnit.

As RAH said, even if there’s nobody you want to vote for, there’s sure to be someone to vote against. Just as long as whoever you vote for isn’t in the BNP or similar, or Noo Fucking Labour either - I would never have believed I’d write it, but I’d rather you voted Tory than for those bastards.

VOTE!
perlmonger: (kumu)
Today was mostly spent leafleting; [livejournal.com profile] ramtops is standing for District in Easton in Gordano and we spent the best part of five hours tramping round Easton in Gordano itself and, after a brief BEER’n’sammidge stop, in Leigh Woods which, for reasons that pass understanding, is deemed to be part of EiG for election purposes (though not for Parish, where it’s part of Long Ashton; I expect there is logic in there somewhere, but I’m uncertain where).

Home for cups of tea, and then out again to see Phil BEER at the Bristol Folk House. We parked on Great George Street which (not unusually) lacked functional parking ticket machines so I trusted to a note behind the windscreen for protection. Nandos, where we’d planned to eat, was heaving so we ate at Yum Yum Thai (who don’t appear to have a website) over the road, which is far better than its name would suggest; we’ll stop there again, I think.

At the Folk House, Phil’s support this time was Isambarde, a folk trio from Coventry who, despite an initially appalling sound mix, were, well, very good indeed, Mostly traditional tunes (I guess that Richard Thompson counts as traditional) and played splendidly - guitar, fiddle and oboe with singing, jointly and severally, too. All three are accomplished young musicians, and there’s a fine spark between them playing together. Good harmonies also: recommended. We walked away with their latest CD, hopefully they will have captured some at least of their live energy on there.

Phil followed with a two part set: first half solo, second paired up with the wonderful Miranda Sykes. There’s not a lot to say here; an eclectic and consistently excellent set as always; Miranda in particular gets better every time I see here, her voice has a richness and depth that’s rare. They finished with a double Little Feat encore, which was an extra treat. An energising night: we arrived exhausted and practically falling asleep and left - well, not quite bouncing with energy, but awake and smiling. Even my feet feel less sore now.

Bed now, with a cup of tea.
perlmonger: (kumu)
Today’s The Beat on the World Service is worth a listen for Mark Coles interviewing Ry Cooder about his new album.

The album is about what, extraordinarily, is now the forgotten history of the US - collectivism, Unions, the people who built the country (as opposed to those who got rich from it); the programme is on at 9:30, 15:30, 19:30 and 22:30 GMT and, if IP blocking allows, you can hear the snippet I heard on Today here.
perlmonger: (sothoth remix)
...about [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks that he seems to be able to turn in the perfect descriptive phrase? A frothy mix of lube and faecal matter really is the perfect summation, and a link worth perpetuating further.

ETA thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wildemoose for the correct attribution for Rick Santorum‘s true nature.

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