Archive for January, 2015

Podemos: Mass anti-austerity march in Madrid

January 31, 2015
Podemos anti-austerity rally

Podemos anti-austerity rally

Podemos march

Podemos march

Last Sunday, it was Syriza in Greece.

Today, all eyes turned to Madrid.

Inspired by what has happened in Greece, eager to repeat in Spain, they came in their tens of thousands from all over Spain, to demonstrate their solidarity with their Greek brothers and sisters, to demand an end to austerity, and to show their willingness to overthrow the corrupt political elites.

Syriza has given Spanish people hope. They have shown what grass roots activists can achieve.

EU and Germany are already trying to destroy Greece, but the Greek people will not be intimidated.

And what of UK, what of Tweedledee v Tweedledum, Tories v ToryLite, David Cameron v Ed Miliband? Can anyone tell the difference?

British Army to establish a brigade of trolls

January 31, 2015
77 Brigade - the troll brigade

77 Brigade – the troll brigade

The British Army is to establish a brigade of trolls to be on active service on social media, in discussion forums, to alter opinion.

The 77 Brigade will be based in Hermitage, Berkshire and will be formally created in April 2015.

If you are in the Army, on active service, you wear your uniform.

Will the trolls be identifying themselves with name, rank and number, when posting?

Is this what the State should be doing, trying to pervert discussions via a brigade of trolls?

We already have right-wing think tanks trolling social media and discussion forums. We have the police infiltrating activists. Now we have the State trolling.

The advice on trolls now applies even more so, block, never engage. Do not feed trolls.

Is the ConDem Government fracking us?

January 31, 2015

George Osborne has told his colleagues to intervene, intervene, intervene on behalf of fracking.

George Osborne has provided fracking with generous tax allowances.

David Cameron falls over backwards to promote fracking whenever he can.

A government acting for fracking, not the public, not the environment.

A government that censors a report on fracking.

A government acting for their paymasters.

A government in bed with the fracking industry.

Time to get dirty money out of politics.

Chris Smith is to carry out an independent study of fracking. This is the same Chris Smith who has suggested fracking take place in National Parks. The ‘independent study’ is to be funded by the fracking industry. So much for an independent study.

New York carried out an independent study, found fracking was not safe, and imposed a ban. So what use a study by Chris Smith funded by the industry?

Fracking is not safe, is bad for the environment:

  • pollution of ground water
  • high demand on local water sources
  • earthquakes
  • release of methane
  • industrialisation of the countrsyide

Fracking releases methane a greenhouse gas. Fracking opens up cracks in the rocks to release the fracked gas, toxic chemicals are injected into the fractures.

Fracked gas will be sold in Europe, it will have little if any impact on gas prices in UK.

Strange how ‘misinformation being spread’, the phrase used by David Cameron, is the same phrase used by his paymasters, same phrase used by apologists for fracking.

The only misinformation being spread is that by the fracking industry and its apologists.

No problems, been used for decades.

Not true, novel techniques, hydraulic fracking, horizontal drilling, toxic fluids. Not the same as conventional drilling.

Little evidence of water contamination or other problems.

Little evidence due to light touch regulation, little monitoring, exemption from reporting, exemption from protection of water sources.

And we do of course trust the industry.

We saw this with BP and Deepwater Horizon disaster.

We have seen it in the Amazon, with massive oil spills and toxic dumping by ChevronToxico.

The future lies with locally controlled and owned power grids, fed by renewables, with guaranteed feed-in tariffs, only the surplus fed into the National Grid. There are several hundred such schemes in Germany.

One such scheme is REPOWERBalcombe. Balcombe having seen mass anti-fracking protest a couple of years ago.

Such schemes of course attract generous tax concessions, as does fracking? Er, no.

Greece: The end of austerity

January 30, 2015
Syriza leader addresses a rally

Syriza leader addresses a rally

I have spent twice ten days in Greece, in close connection with the young cadre of Syriza and have been rather impressed by both their open-mindedness and their integrity. — Michel Bauwens

Europe acquiesced in an austerity programme that pushed the continent towards deflation, only a party of former Trotskyists, eco-warriors and Occupy protesters stood its ground. — Paul Mason

Syriza had twenty-two days to make history. This is how they did it. Theopi Skarlatos followed Syriza’s activists, candidates and leadership from the waterfront, to remote mountain villages, to the nail biting final days.

An independent documentary directed by Theopi Skarlatos.

With crowd funding, could be a feature length film, documenting how Syriza handles EU intimidation.

Maybe try StartJoin, as this would appear to be an ideal StartJoin project.

Athens was the birthplace of democracy.

We are now seeing in Greece, the re-birth of democracy. Not the sham democracy where every few years we are asked to decide which political elite get their snouts in the trough.

The Greek people have overthrown a corrupt political elite. A corrupt political elite who sold out their own country to the EU, who were prepared to sell off the assets of the country on the cheap, who tried to turn the people into beggars and paupers, slaves for a global market.

Greece has acquired an unlikely ally.

A couple of days ago, the Governor of the Bank of England warned Germany to back off, said austerity was not working.

Greeks are in the vanguard of the fight against austerity and EU imposed privatisation.

Greeks will not back down. They will stand firm against EU and German bullying as although it will be tough, they know the alternates under the EU jackboot with Made in Germany writ on the sole are far worse.

The onus is now on us to support the Greeks in their fight with the EU.

Please join with others and sign the letter of solidarity in support of the Greeks.

Lunch at Stokes on High Bridge

January 29, 2015
lunch at Stokes on High Bridge

lunch at Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge is known for its coffee.

They also serve lunch in their first and second floor restaurants.

Lunch finishes at two o’clock. I was there before two, looking forward to roast dinner. By the time the waitress asked for my order, it was gone two.

Sorry, we stop serving lunch at two. She offered an alternative menu. I should have walked out and gone elsewhere.

I chose scampi and chips. It was awful. The chips appeared to be hotted up, peas were ok. I have had better in Morrisons Cafe.

I would have expected a far higher standard for Stokes.

I probably should have gone to Stokes at The Collection. Chicken supreme with rice, pea and mint soup.

Oh yes, beetroot soup. That was disgusting.

Cappuccino at Stokes on High Bridge

January 29, 2015
cappuccino

cappuccino

tea

tea

brew bar

brew bar

preparing coffee

preparing coffee

Cappuccino and cookie at Stokes on High Bridge.

As always excellent, but then I expect no less from Stokes, the gold standard by which lesser coffees are judged.

A fourth generation family business, Stokes has been of the coffee and tea business since 1902, at their present location in a beautiful Tudor building on High Bridge, a Medieval Bridge with Norman foundations, since 1937.

Stokes not only serve excellent coffee, they are coffee roasters, supplying local indy coffee shops.

Cold morning in Lincoln

January 29, 2015
Sincil Street in the snow

Sincil Street in the snow

The Strait

The Strait

The Strait

The Strait

A cold morning in Lincoln, though not as cold as I expected.

I arrived mid-morning. It was snowing, it had been snowing overnight.

None too pleasant in the snow. Cold and wet, slushy underfoot, and very slippery.

Stokes on High Bridge at midday for a cappuccino and a cookie. No sooner was I seated, than it stopped snowing.

Then The Collection and Stokes at The Collection.

An iSomething device at The Collection, interactive guide to the museum. Sounds like a good idea or is it an appalling waste of public money?

Device with interactive display on various exhibits. Pay one pound to use.

As far as I could tell, iSomething embedded within something else.

An appalling waste of public money. Cost of iSomething, then custom hardware to enclose it.

Whatever was developed, make available as an app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Everyone has a iPhone, smart phone, iPad or tablet, local wifi, download, and use within The Collection.

If wish to be really clever, could have bluetooth, interact with displays, shows appropriate material on device.

Simple and obvious.

At least simple and obvious to anyone who does not work in local government. But then they never listen to what anyone says unless it is overpaid consultants.

But instead money wasted on custom hardware.

Stokes at The Collection

Stokes at The Collection

Stokes at The Collection has various live music events, jazz, folk, album launches.

I suggested Jewelia, and that if the artists they host wish to reach a wider audience, not get ripped off, then use bandcamp.

Lunch at Stokes on High Bridge. Arrived a little before two o’clock, not served until after two, to be told too late for lunch, gone two. Not good. Lunch that was available, was pretty disgusting. Not the high standards usually associated with Stokes.

By mid-afternoon, snowing again.

Cappuccino at Stokes on High Bridge

January 29, 2015
Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge

first floor restaurant

first floor restaurant

menu

menu

bacon bap and cappuccino

bacon bap and cappuccino

A cold morning in Lincoln. Had I known Stokes was open before nine o’clock, and as little is open before nine o’clock, I would have got there before nine’clock, as it was it was around nine o’clock, or a little after.

Had I arrived before nine o’clock, I would have had a bacon bap downstairs in the coffee bar, but no, I was told, gone nine o’clock first floor restaurant. I am sure, had it been the girls I know, I would have got it downstairs.

But no worries I had the place to myself.

Bacon was excellent as was the cappuccino, but then I expect no less from Stokes on High Bridge who set the gold standard for lesser coffees to be judged by.

I am always impressed by the girls at Stokes, today even more so. I learnt not only are they skilled baristas, they know a lot about coffee.

If you have to wear a t-shirt that says barista, it means you are not.

It always amazes me, excellent coffee, and people drink disgusting undrinkable coffee, or what masquerades as coffee, at Costa or tax-dodging Starbucks and Caffe Nero.

Stokes have a single origin coffee Santa Maria de Lourdes, high altitude aribica from Nicaragua.

From half past nine, rapidly filled up. By the time I left, a little after ten o’clock, very busy.

A fourth generation family business, Stokes has been of the coffee and tea business since 1902, at their present location in a beautiful Tudor building on High Bridge, a Medieval Bridge with Norman foundations, since 1937.

Stokes not only serve excellent coffee, they are coffee roasters, supplying local indy coffee shops.

Unlike most towns, Lincoln has a good selection of indy coffee shops, many serving Stokes coffee, or of not Stokes, quality coffee.

Stokes also own Stokes at The Collection, where they have occasionally live music.

I have suggested they book Jewelia.

Evening of Friday 13 February 2015, Robinson O’Dwyer Kelly, will be launching their new alum A Horn & A Shout.

Cold morning in Lincoln

January 28, 2015
Lincoln Station

Lincoln Station

Sincil Street

Sincil Street

It was not as cold as I expected, as I was in Lincoln before nine o’clock, though still very cold.

Nothing opens until nine o’clock, and in Sincil Street ten o’clock.

In Sincil Street, the market traders were getting their stalls ready, Curtis open, Cafe 44 and that was about it.

Not that there are many shops left in Sincil Street, many boarded-up shops. The blame lies with Lincoln City Council and Lincoln Co-op. Sincil Street is blighted with plans to demolish. And for what? A shopping centre no one wants. A shopping centre with the same rubbish shops as every Clone Town. For which an old street, with indy shops, with character, is being destroyed.

Stokes on High Bridge around nine o’clock. Had I known they were open earlier, I would have gone there earlier. They were very quiet. Bacon bap and a cappuccino. Excellent bacon, and of course excellent coffee.

Then to Lincoln Station for ten o’clock.

C-old or G-old

January 28, 2015

Another Alice

kintsugi-heart

Going back some decades, I find myself admiring my grandma, when she was telling stories to my sister and I in bed. Her storytelling made the summer afternoons magical, stirred my imagination, so much that every single day I was looking forward to that moment. At the end of the day, I always wondered to myself, ‘How cool it must be to get old and know all these stories’..

Going a few decades ahead, to now, I still admit how cool it is to know beautiful stories, or better yet to make up new stories, and invite others in the world of wonder and magic and mystery and fun. For me, storytellers are like a dark chest of tales and wonders. They weave the threads of the world with their words, imbibing life to what was before imagined or keeping the world in motion. From writers of books to grandmothers. From the man sitting…

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