Archive for May, 2014

Taksim Square one year on

May 31, 2014
Taksim Square one year on

Taksim Square one year on

One year on, and the same police brutality as was used to clear peaceful protesters from Taksim Square a year ago.

Ten days ago, we had a mining disaster, an advisor to the Prime Minister viciously kicked one of the protesters. The Prime Minister too lashed out at protesters. The mining disaster was dismissed as no great matter.

A brutal dictator who the people must depose.

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Afternoon in Farnham

May 31, 2014
River Wey flowing through Gostrey Meadow

River Wey flowing through Gostrey Meadow

Hopped off the bus before the town centre, walked along the River Wey and into Gostrey Meadow, then up Downing Street and into the town.

River Wey flowing very fast, but very clean. Pebbles and stones at the bottom visible. A pleasant difference to a few months ago, when it was very muddy.

The River is deeper than I realised. Little kids in the water in the park up to their waist.

No 10 Downing Street had a planning application for a tattoo parlour. It is now a dress shop. A blessed relief. A tattoo parlour would have been a disaster for Downing Street.

churchyard

churchyard

Very pleasant sitting in the churchyard, organ music drifting out from the church, reading Sacred Economics.

The churchyard now a lovely hay meadow. I hope, unlike last year, they do not cut the grow too soon.

I then wandered into the church and had a long chat with the organist. I was surprised to learn the organ was computer controlled.

I had never noticed the organ before. The organist said the console had been moved, later I saw it had a roller drawn down, which makes it almost invisible.

Prayer card writ, candle lit, for Cristina. No matches, no flame to light candles. I took a candle and lit from a candle elsewhere in the church. Last time I did this, I succeeded in putting out all but one of the candles.

Manor Field

Manor Field

A little walk to Bishops Meadow. I am pleased to see the hay meadow management regime is working. More wild flowers than last year, though I was looking at Manor Field, not Bishops Meadow. When I walked to Bishops Meadow, wild flowers were not many, though maybe more had I walked around the meadow.

Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played by somebody I do not know, -- John Keats

Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played by somebody I do not know. — John Keats

The press must make sure Chilcot reports the whole truth

May 31, 2014
Prime minister Tony Blair meets with American president George W Bush on 7 July 2005

Prime minister Tony Blair meets with American president George W Bush on 7 July 2005

• Promises of “gists” and partial quotes simply won’t cut it. The detail will be where the devil resides. That’s why I have kept up the pressure in parliament via debates and parliamentary questions, and demanded nothing less than complete transparency when it comes to what Blair knew. But there is a way forward. Ed Miliband has often said that under his leadership Labour is determined to learn the lessons of the past and to make a clear break from the New Labour years. What better test of that commitment than for him to make clear his desire to overrule the Cabinet Office on this matter in the public interest and to demand – at the very least – the full disclosure of Tony Blair’s part in the communications.
Caroline Lucas MP
Green Party, Brighton

• Has it occurred to top mandarin Jeremy Heywood (Iraq war whitewash claim, 30 May) that the discipline of transparency, which Bush and Blair felt able to ignore in their private collusion over the Iraq war, is a fundamental tenet of democratic government, which, had it been operating correctly at the time, would probably have saved us from engaging in a gruelling war on a false pretext. Far from protecting the spurious right of prime ministers to deal with presidents in secret, our civil servants – supposedly the sober guardians of democratic virtue – should be using this sorry episode as a pertinent and powerful example of why they should not.
Giles O’Bryen
London

• The decision to withhold information about correspondence and notes of meetings between the British and US governments beggars belief. Has our government learned nothing from the agonies endured by the families of the Hillsborough victims? It’s time that the government realised that it does not rule us, it is there to serve us. We must have full disclosure now.
Joanne Nicholson
Weston super Mare, Somerset

• The press argues strenuously against political interference. The protracted scandal of the Chilcot inquiry demands you now deliver on your fine words. We need your implacable determination to hold the executive to democratic account. You have a duty to the electorate and a moral responsibility to the grieving relatives of fallen soldiers to demand that they hear the truth – the whole truth; not the sanitised, redacted, white-washing truth. President Bush and Mr Blair took us into an illegal war in Iraq. Mr Blair claims what Mr Bush no longer bothers to, that they were drawn reluctantly into a disastrous conflict because of an imminent threat based upon false intelligence that they accepted in good faith. Few voters and no journalists believe this fatuous claim to be true. Even the evidence already published argues forcefully against it. Publication of the conversations between Blair and Bush will almost certainly prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt: which of course explains the endless delays and refusal of transparency. I understand the argument that disclosure will prevent such private’ conversations in the future – good.

If you and your press colleagues do not force the truth out of the unelected Cabinet Office on our behalf you might as well accept any kind of interference politicians choose to impose upon you – for you will have already lost the war. This is an issue worth the odd editor going to jail for.
Keith Farman
St Albans, Hertfordshire

• Dear Messrs Snowden and Assange, using your skill and experience, please could you help us out by publishing the full content of the letters between Blair and Bush leading up to the Iraq invasion?
Joe Collier
Richmond, Surrey

letters to The Guardian on Chilcot Iraq Inquiry whitewash

In a democratic society, it is not for unelected officials, in this case the Cabinet Office, to decide what can and cannot be published. They are the servants of the people, as are Bush and Blair.

An inquiry costing several millions of pounds, a delay of years, and all we are to be offered is a cover up, a whitewash?

A country was taken to war, a country was torn apart by war. At the very least, we deserve to know the truth.

Publish and be damned.

In this internet age, do they really think this report will not get published in full on the net?

Music in the High Street

May 30, 2014
music in the High Street

music in the High Street

I came across this duo playing in Guildford High Street. They were surprisingly good.

I asked had they recorded anything? They said yes, and even better, they plan to release on bandcamp.

I suggested they play in Harris + Hoole.

Sadly, I have forgotten what they were called.

The Little Beer Corporation

May 30, 2014
The Little Beer Corporation

The Little Beer Corporation

Always something new.

Today I learnt Guildford has a microbrewery, or as they call themselves, a nanobrewery.

I came across these beers in of all places a butcher, The Joint, in Jeffries Passage in Guildford, not where you’d expect to find beer (they have wine too), but then no ordinary butcher. But then you do not expect to see a butcher opening in the heart of a town centre.

The Little Beer Corporation has a surprisingly large range. They were established through crowd funding. I am surprised they do not have a stall on the Guildford farmers market.

The businesses model is different to most microbreweries, hope to find an outlet in a few pubs, and rely on Wetherspoon to pick up what is left at knock down price before it is poured down the drain. The Little Beer Corporation sell direct to their supporters, plus local outlets like The Joint.

Assuming they have a drinks licence, and assuming this beer is any good (I have yet to try), Harris + Hoole would be a good place to have on sale. And Café Mila in Godalming.

For a business that is locally based, community supported, I am shocked that they direct people to listen to music on spotify. Maybe they are not aware of the extent to which spotify rips off musicians. Please direct to sites like bandcamp, that actually support musicians.

Lunch at Guildford Institute

May 30, 2014
chickpea bake and salad

chickpea bake and salad

As always on a Friday, excellent lunch at Guildford Institute.

Chickpea bake and salad, followed by key lime pie for dessert.

I was spoilt for choice, and sadly loads of food left over.

Why not on the board outside, half price, if loads left over? Shame to see good food go to waste.

Bad news, yet more renovation of the Guildford Institute.

TechStart

May 29, 2014
TechStart

TechStart

In the natural world, there is no such thing as waste in time or space. The output of one process is the input to another.

We cannot on a finite planet, have a linear process, where we mine, manufacture, use, then throw away.

Nor, on a finite planet, can we have infinite growth. We have enclosed the natural commons, social commons, intellectual commons, there is nothing left to enclose, we have reached the limit of growth.

On a linear system, the stuff that passes through our hands, on its way from mining to disposal, spends six months in our possession. All that environmental destruction, pollution, sweat shop factories, just six months before we throw away. We then have the problems of disposal.

The fastest growing waste stream is electrical goods.

TechStart based in Aldershot, run by volunteers, is a step in the right direction. They take in old computers, check them out, wipe clean the hard drive, install a new operating system (Windows 7) and put them on sale at low prices. Ideally they need to upgrade the machines, more memory and bigger hard drives, as some of their machines are so low spec as to be unusable.

As well as turning around computers, that would otherwise add to the waste stream, they will load Microsoft Office (far better to load Open Office), repair machines.

They have an area of working machines, which are available for teaching, or for people to pop in and use. There is also free wifi.

Located in The Galleries, probably the worst location in Aldershot (a dead shopping centre), but at least they only pay a peppercorn rent.

Opening hours 10-4 Wednesday-Saturday.

Their limiting factor at the moment is shortage of machines. Therefore if you have an old machine, work for a company, TechStart will be only too happy to take off your hands.

TechStart currently do not recycle mobile phones or tablets.

A mobile phone can be mined for its gold and other valuable materials, recovering about a dollars worth. There is a company in Holland that does this, phones are incinerated, around a kilogramme a week of gold is recovered. Or phones can be refurbished. A refurbished smartphone will sell for around $100.

FairPhone is a step in the right direct. They source their materials from conflict free zones (the raw materials are one of the main causes of conflict in Africa), use marginally better manufacturing conditions, and the phones are easy to repair (thus extending their lifetime).

FairPhone is a raw Android phone, lacks the clutter of other smartphones (exception being Google Nexus 5), retails at around 310 euros. It is easy to repair, parts are readily available. It is supplied unlocked and takes two sim cards. Additional memory can be added.

If you cannot open and repair your smartphone, you do not own it.

TechStart is a good example of gift economy and collaborative commons in action. Volunteers are working to provide cheap computers for the local community (in some cases free) and reducing the waste stream going to landfill or incineration.

TechStart is a very rare example of a good news story coming out of Aldershot.

We need more local businesses like TechStart, that work in the collaborative commons, that retain and recycle money within the local economy.

Corporate death sentence

May 29, 2014
killer corporations

killer corporations

Corporations have rights as pseudo-human beings, for example as pseudo-human beings, the right to free speech, the right to be a litigant in court. But with one important difference, corporations are like zombies, they live forever.

If corporations are like human beings, should they not face the death sentence for their corporate crimes?

A hit list is being drawn up, who should we eliminate. You vote, you can even add to the list, with your own suggestion of a corporation worthy of inclusion on the hit list, McDonald’s, for example, or Royal Bank of Scotland or Nestlé.

  • Exxon – crimes against humanity
  • BP – ecocide
  • Monsanto – pure evil
  • Walmart – abuse of workers, destruction of small towns
  • General Motors – criminal neglect
  • Pfizer – abuse of public trust
  • Philip Morris – getting away with murder
  • JP Morgan Chase – fraud
  • GoldmanSachs – bloodsucking vampire

Once chosen as No 1 on the hit list, there will be a global attempt to hand down the corporate death sentence, to destroy the corporation.

If we can take out one, we can take out them all.

Mud on the footpath at George V Park

May 28, 2014
mud on the path at George V Park

mud on the path at George V Park

The ground at George V Playing Fields has been saturated since heavy rain during the winter. There has been more heavy rain during April and over the last week.

The Donkey Derby, assuming it did take place over the Late May Bank Holiday, should not have taken place.

The path leading down into the park is covered in mud. It looks as though there is deep ruts grass churned up (though no detailed inspection has taken place).

Donkey Derby was Monday, today is Wednesday. Why has the mud not been cleared up?

A few years back, deep ruts caused by heavy fairground vehicles which should never have been allowed onto the saturated site. No attempt to put good, the ruts remained for weeks, if not months.

The reason why no action, is the incestuous relationship between the Rotary Club and the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor. Any other user of the park would have received a massive bill from the council.

The Rotary Club should put good the damage caused, or else contractors employed and the Rotary Club billed.

And why are the Rotary Club allowed to deny access to the park and charge an entrance fee? This land was given to the people of Farnborough (not the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, not the Rotary Club) for their free enjoyment. No group should be allowed to bar access or charge an entrance fee. If the Rotary Club wish to hold an event, it should be as the Ambient Picnic that used to be held in Guildford or Staycation Live in Godalming, free access, with a donation if people wish.

Latte and cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

May 28, 2014
latte and cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

latte and cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

Latte and cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato.