Archive for the ‘democracy’ Category

Mind-boggling pettiness eviction of market stall by bully-boys at Lincoln City Council

July 9, 2020

Covid-19 has accelerated shopping on-line by at least ten years, failing High Street chains floating on a sea of debt are falling like flies, shedding staff, and this will accelerate as furlough ends.

Enter dysfunctional Lincoln City Council in an act of mind-boggling pettiness decides to evict a fruit and vegetable market stall from Lincoln Central Market falsely claiming the stall too big.

The stall was a lifeline for many during lockdown when they carried on trading, especially for those who could not get out when they set up a veg box home delivery scheme.

Steve Sharpe has run a market stall in Lincoln for 35 years, with the help of his daughter Beth four years within Lincoln Central Market.

The stall accounts for at least 80% of the market football. If the stall goes it will hit the few remaining stalls in the market. It will also hit indie businesses in Sincil Street. It will hit those who rely on the stall for a low cost source of fresh produce, and there is nothing as fresh as grown by Steve and picked that morning. It will hit local coffee shops and restaurants that rely on the stall for their fresh produce.

All of this counts for nothing to the council bully-boys who are waging a vindictive vendetta against Steve for daring to criticise the appalling state of the market, the lack of investment.

Lincoln a county town in the middle of an agricultural county yet lacks a decent market.

Rules of the market:

  • stall within allocated space
  • rent paid monthly in advance
  • trading within specified times on Market Days
  • allotted space clean and tidy
  • eviction on a whim

The market stall always clean and tidy. If not within it allotted space, the difference must be marginal, it is not obstructing any thoroughfares, end of the stall is in line with other stalls.

Council jobsworth claims stall exceeds its allotted space, that have held extensive talks with the stallholders.

Steve and Beth dispute this.  No discussion, hand delivered letters claiming non compliance.

It is not beyond the wit of the most incompetent council jobsworth to delineate the stall boundaries with chalk lines. If there is then a dispute resolve through arbitration not eviction. And it is not as though space is at a premium in an empty dying market.

The alleged discussions, produce minutes (accuracy of which will have been checked by Steve and Beth otherwise worthless), date, time, duration, location.

Council jobsworth claim the stall is unfair to other traders in the market. Difficult to comprehend how a stall that generates at least 80% of the market footfall is placing other stalls at a disadvantage. On the other hand, eviction of the stall that generates the footfall the market will die as will lose most of its footfall.

A formal complaint has been lodged with the council leader

  • richard.metcalfe@lincoln.gov.uk

who to date has not had the courtesy to respond.

And just when think the council bully boys can sink no lower, are now claiming the reason for eviction is secret, cannot tell.

The market is public space, the loss of the fruit and vegetable stall is a matter of public interest.

The council in cahoots with the local coop has trashed the outdoor market, Sincil Street, Cornhill, destroyed local businesses, to attract chain stores and eateries that can find anywhere and everywhere that lose the sense of place, increase alienation, drain money out of the local economy.

The hidden agenda would appear to be to destruction of Lincoln Central Market for redevelopment.

What is the hidden agenda? Having trashed the surrounding area, destroyed local businesses, is Central Market next? A dirty back door deal with the local coop?

Look to the Butter Market in Newark where local traders were kicked out to bring in Cosy Club. Sound familiar?

Something stinks and it is not the smell of rotting cabbages.

Please sign the on-line petition objecting to the eviction.

If live in Lincoln please contact your local councillors and local Member of Parliament Karl McCartney and ask them to stop this eviction, and at the very least go and visit the stall talk to customers and check for themselves the facts not rely on officials running a vindictive vendetta for criticism of a badly run market.

Racist comments on local media

June 10, 2020

Racists wallow in their social media cesspits, reinforce and normalise their racist views then spew it out across social media platforms.

An example of this was a few months ago when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visited a detention centre for migrants, the abuse she received in person when she visited was a mere glimpse behind the curtain of what was happening in closed facebook groups, where pictures were being posted calling for her to be raped. Closed facebook groups for past and serving Border Force officials, federal agents, government employees.

In Clear Bright Future Paul Mason touches upon these closed facebook groups where fascists and racists fester.

Black Lives Matter and the racist troll farms are now on steroids. Seeing young black and white march on the streets is fanning their hatred.

Black Members of Parliament have received a torrent of abuse. Dawn Butter has thanked her staff for filtering it out and having to read it.

What is shocking, is what is appearing in local media comments, and I am not suggesting it is the local media, it is the racists commenting on the local media reports of Black Lives Matter protests.

Surrey Live had to issue a warning following its coverage of a Black Lives Matter protest in Guildford. Not that the warning has been heeded. But it is as nothing, the rabid racist comments  on The Lincolnite coverage of Black Lives Matter protests in Lincoln. And just when think cannot get any worse it did when a student had the audacity to speak out about the racism he has suffered.

Local media has to do more to root out this racism. Every single racist comment logged, reported to police and facebook, then those posting the racist comments blocked.

And why does it matter?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tells of landlords in the Bronx who set fire to buildings with families inside in order that they could collect on the insurance, then blame the local community for burning down the buildings.

Dominic Cummings press conference

May 25, 2020

Strange times.

What we have witnessed over the last few days could not make it up if tried.

Mirror and Guardian break story of Dominic Cummings trip from London to Durham by car in clear breach of lockdown. In the car, two adults with covid-19, a small child.

Lockdown rules were clear, stay home, only go for exercise and essentials, food, medical reasons. if covid-19 symptoms self-isolate away from others in the household, no one in the household permitted to leave the house.

A small child in a car with two people with covid-19. or suspected covid-19

Did they stop en route, for fuel, a break to stretch legs, toilet, bite to eat?

At the time London was recording high number of covid-19 cases,and should have been cordoned off, County Durham relatively low number of cases.

Tories demonstrating  their lack of integrity, falling  over backwards to defend Dominic Cummings, without being in position of the facts.

We then learn, seen at Barnard Castle. Seen again at a later date after return to London.

The story changes. It was in seek of child care. Mother of Dominic Cummings says an uncle had died.

Ordinary people had people they were close to, could not be with them when they died, could not attend their funerals.

I had a family friend die, a veteran of WWII Bomber Command. Very sad he had died, very sad no one could attend his funeral.

Cabinet Office tweet they are to investigate a mischievous tweet. Investigate Dominic Cummings for Breach of Civil Service Code of Conduct? Er seemingly not.

Sunday Pepsi Trump gave a stomach churning press conference, defends Dominic Cummings, did what anyone would have done in the circumstances.

Actually he did not, he broke the rules, other people complied with the rules, hard as it was, as they did not wish to spread covid-19 around the country.

Fired by Theresa May for lying, Gavin Williamson does the rounds telling all who would listen, Dominic Cummings telling the truth. How does he know. Er, Dominic Cummings had said.

When press camped outside home of Dominic Cummings, he made very clear his position: I don’t care what you lot think.

Having completely fucked up his own press conference, the following day Dominic Cummings to give a press conference.

The press conference was given in the back garden of Downing Street, and no, it is not the Rose Garden.

He was almost contrite, he admitted breaking the rules without admitting he had.

At times somewhat bizarre,  a 30 minute drive to Barnard Castle to check his eyesight was ok.

But what was telling, and does not appear to be picked up on, he had so much to do and had to get back to London. And what he outlined was an executive role not that of an adviser and very much what one would assume would be the role of the Prime Minister.

Should he resign or be fired? No, it would not achieve anything

He gave an account of what he had done, and why, from his perspective reasonable, but if everyone had, not reasonable.

And that is the dilemma. What is reasonable for an individual in their best interest is not reasonable for society. We are seeing lockdown breaking down, and the fear now is complete breakdown.

But on the plus side, he was not evasive he answered questions politely.

I would rather see Dominic Cummings once a week head the Downing Street briefing and give straight answers not what we normally get, and I would rather see him on the record than off the record briefings, sources said.

If this is the guy calling the shots, than |I would rather hear him tell us why and be open to scrutiny, not the incomprehensible waffle we get from Pepsi Trump.

As an anticlimax later, we later heard from Pepsi Trump, a timetable of how lockdown will ease,  From 1 June car showrooms and street markets. Street markets fine, but car show rooms. Mid-June all shops to open. Nothing yet on coffee shops, restaurant, hairdressers.

Indie coffee shops, restaurants should be open at the same time as street markets if able to spread their tables into the streets, restricted to outside seating only. It helps kick start the High Street, improves the ambience of city centres, but is being held back by backward councils living in the Dark Ages.  [see Reclaim the Streets]

There is still no track and trace app available. With each phase of relaxation we need to be able to monitor what is happening.

Adapt the German app, open source, destroy app post-pandemic, anonymise data for research.

Our High Streets are not going to recover through chains. Several have collapsed, M&S and Next have junk bond status. People can shop on-line for the crap found in High Street chains.  We should not waste the opportunity to re-imagine, reinvigorate the High Street.

With our focus on Dominic Cummings we are in danger of missing the bigger picture. We risk Dominic Cummings being made a Tory scapegoat to distract from the failings of Pepsi Trump. It is the Prime Minister who should resign.

We have over over 26,000 covid-19 deaths, close on 27,000 covid-19 deaths. Had UK acted a week earlier on lockdown we would have a quarter of this number of deaths.

Chima bought us time, we squandered it. We saw what was happening in Italy and Spain, we sat back and did nothing.

Germany, when death toll was less than a hundred, implemented lockdown. UK waited until measured in hundreds. Germany had in place track and trace. UK nothing. Deaths in Germany several thousands, not tens of thousands.

Greece, total number of deaths 170. Less than UK records in a day.

In UK, thanks to insanity of Stay Alert, lockdown is breaking down, UK heading for a second wave.

 

 

Fire Dominic Cummings

May 23, 2020

Dominic Cummings malignant cancer at the heart of government.

Lockdown rules were clear. Lockdown means lockdown, means Stay at Home.

Only allowed  out for exercise, to buy essentials, visit doctor or other medical needs.

People have been heartbroken at not being able to visit dying close family and friends, not attend their funerals.

People, have been fined for breach of lockdown.

Dominic Cummings broke lockdown to travel halfway across the country. He did so whilst he and his wife were infected with covid-19, accompanied by a small child.

Rules on infections quite clear, if infected with covid-19, self-isolate within house from other family members, they in turn can’t come into contact with others. Child was put at risk for duration of the journey. Or maybe they put the child in the boot with its own air supply.

But Cummings did not break lockdown once. Whilst Up North, he went on a little outing maybe more than one, we as yet only know of one. He returned to London, then went Up North again. That is three breaches of lockdown. A QC has forensically dissected his actions come to the conclusion,  a clear breach of the rules.

He should be fined maximum amount. He should be fired.

Looking forward to all those cabinet ministers who excused Cummings first trip to Durham trying to explain his second one. Minsters who lack any integrity who spout what they are told to say.

On his first trip Up North, his car an incubator of covid-19, did the car stop, toilet breaks, fill up with petrol, get a  bite to eat? How many did they infect en route?

UK has more covid-19 deaths than any country in Europe. Second only to USA.

China bought us time, we squandered it.

We saw what was happening in Italy, then Spain, we sat back and did nothing.

Too late to enter lockdown, peddling of bogus science, too late to ban mass gatherings and sporting events, close schools, close pubs bars clubs, implement mass testing, lockdown London, an app to track and trace, failure to close airports, quarantine for all arrivals.

Germany has placed source code of its app in the public domain. Why do we not adapt, open source?

And to the catalogue, add the insanity of Stay Alert, which has led to the breakdown of lockdown.

The arrogance of these people is they think they can do as they wish, show contempt for ordinary people.

Please follow the advice of Paul Mason, share, tweet, like on social media, that Dominic Cummings must go.

If Boris Johnson refuses to fire Dominic Cummings there must be a Vote of No Confidence in Boris Johnson. These are mass murderers with blood on their hands.

Think what the death toll would be if everyone behaved like Dominic Cummings. Thanks to the insanity of Stay Alert, lockdown breaking down, we are all about to find out.

VE Day 75 coronavirus lockdown we must move forward

May 8, 2020

VE Day, UK was broke, Europe was broke. Had useless prat George Osborne been Chancellor, we would have had austerity for 75 years. Instead we invested, rebuilt UK, rebuilt Europe.

Following the euphoria and celebrations of VE Day, VJ Day was yet to come, a more low key event, life was tough, rationing did not end until 1954. And we should not forget the role played by the Commonwealth. Nevertheless what followed, creation of the Welfare State, NHS, free secondary schools, school leaving age raised to 15, nationalisation of key industries, coal, steel, railways.
The desire was to create a fainer more just society.

During WWII we knew who the enemy was, we had weapons to fight. With covid-19, we know who the enemy is, but the enemy is invisible, a silent killer, we have no weapons with which to fight.

Post-Pandemic we are heading for the worst collapse since the South Sea Bubble burst.

We therefore do the same, we rebuild, not by going backwards. After VE Day, we did not go back to the 1930s, we moved forward.

We therefore must do the same. We do not bailout out dirty industries, we do not bail out tax dodging conman like Richard Branson.

We bail out people, local indie businesses, not global corporations, we fund a Green New Deal.

Strategic sectors we bail out through acquisition of a controlling share. Minimum conditions: no use of offshore tax havens, zero carbon by 2035.

Denmark, Hungary, France and Canada will not bailout tax dodgers.

There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

We hear birdsong, our streets are traffic free, cities centres pollution free. We have learnt we do not have to engage in pointless consumerism, visit ghastly shopping malls.

As we slowly relax lockdown, indie coffee shops first, we allow them to spread out into the street, improve the ambience of the street, the norm in Athens, they then can social distance, safeguarding staff and customers.

But it needs worthless council jobsworths to engage their brains, act on behalf of local businesses, the local community. When a coffee shop in Lincoln asked of their local county council they were met with an emphatic no. That is how much they care about the local environment and helping local businesses back on their feet.

We need to develop Doughnut Economics for every city, every sector. Amsterdam working with Kate Raworth has developed Doughnut Economics Amsterdam. A rough draft has been drawn up for Cyprus, Doughnut Economics Cyprus, focusing on the tourist sector.

Doughnut Economics Cyprus

April 27, 2020

A couple of weeks ago the Cyprus finance minister opened himself up to ridicule when he claimed the Cyprus economy was going to shrink by about five percent.

The following week the figure had  been revised to ten per cent, which was at best wishful thinking.

With loss of the Cyprus tourist sector, and anyone who thinks Cyprus is going to see any tourists before the end of the season is living in la la land, the economic downturn is going to be far greater than ten per cent.

The world is heading into economic meltdown far worse than the Great Depression, international trade already down by 30%. IMF has warned the global recession is likely to be worse than the Great Depression, and has urged countries to spend, spend, then spend some more, which is an amazing about turn for the IMF.

To put the Cypriot figures in context, the UK economy is expected to shrink by anywhere between 13 per cent and 30 per cent depending on which model, the assumptions fed into the model. The Treasury has forecast April May June the economy may shrink by 30 per cent.

We can not go back to normal as normal was not normal, it was destroying the planet.

We have been able to hear birdsong, our streets traffic free, our cites pollution free, the skies free of planes. A world few of us will have seen in our lifetimes. In India they are able to see in the far distance the snow covered Himalayas, a sight last seen over thirty years ago,

We were told we could not cut carbon emissions within the timescale required for zero carbon 2035, it was impossible, impractical, and yet we have achieved massive reductions overnight.

Politics is not a race, two or more corrupt  political parties in a race as to decide who gets the opportunity to do the bidding of oligarchs.

Politics is who does what to whom.

We have seen capitalism put into suspended animation.  We are in a postcapitalist world, we have been since 2008. Who decides what the future will look look like once we are through the coronavirus pandemic?

If we look to the UK, Chancellor Rishi Sunak  has made billions of pounds available, to furlough workers with the government providing 80% of salary, a week later for the self employed, grants, soft loans to small businesses, all to keep businesses in hibernation,  ready to be woken up.

In the covid-19 pandemic we are living in another now. What we have to do is create our own another now, an alternative reality, a vision of how we wish the world to be. We failed in 2008, we cannot fail again in 2020, we cannot return to what was the norm, as the norm was not normal.

EU failed to deliver on eurobonds, offered loans that put the southern vassal states in debt bondage with austerity to follow.

We have seen post-WWII relentless rise in GDP, or at least up to the 2008, but this rise is not normal, it has been at huge environmental cost, and the increase in GDP has not been fairly distributed, it has been shared with the rich.

If I ask a bank for $100,000 to safeguard an ancient forest, I will probably not get very far. If I ask for $1 million to cut down the forest sell the timber they will happily give me the money.

If I ask a bank for 100 million euros to destroy pristine coastline for a hotel development, bring in dredged sand to create a beach, destroy bamboo groves habitat of  a rare endangered snail, show I will have guaranteed contracts with a big tour company to bring in all-inclusive guests, I will of course not tell them no benefit to the local economy, the bank will hand me the money, or at least they would have pre-coronavirus pandemic.

Destruction of a forest, of a pristine coastline, is not without costs, soil erosion, floods, loss of a carbon sink, species loss, degradation of water supply, loss of inshore fishing and fish breading grounds, which then feeds into ocean acidification, warming climate, rising sea levels, forest degradation, loss of coastline, further loss of fisheries. These costs are dismissed as externalities (a polite way of saying someone else problem).

The standard economic model showing monetary flows between households and businesses, together with flows of capital and goods and services, sometimes expanded to include the role of banks and government, is too simplified, it takes no account of the economy is embedded within society, which in turn is embedded within Gaia.

Never confuse a model with reality, even worse distort reality to reflect the model.

Kate Raworth has drawn a model, that incorporates what went before, but also includes the commons, the flow of energy, flow of materials, and thus more accurately reflects reality.

We therefore have to devise a new economic system, one that sees the poor are not left behind, are not  reliant on food banks, homeless are not living on our streets, whilst at the same time we do not exceed our planetary limits and what we do produce is fair and  equitable.

One such system is doughnut economics. How do we apply it to Cyprus, to the island, to municipalities, to sectors?

Look to Amsterdam, where the city is working with Kate Raworth to devise doughnut economics for the city, a 21st century economic system.

One of the largest sectors in Cyprus is tourism, it cannot be a return to mass tourism which not only is destroying the planet is destroying Cyprus, it brings in the dregs of the tourist industry, all-inclusive hotels with no benefit for the local economy.

Does Cyprus need an easyJet flight every day, sometimes two a day, would not two or three a week suffice, assuming easyJet is in business and will not run out of money by August?

A proposal for a doughnut economy for Cyprus, a broad brush to be expanded upon.

Doughnut economics was developed by Oxford economist Kate Raworth as an antidote to conventional economics which does not reflect the real world and has not served us well.

What is the economy for? Until we can answer that question, how do we know what to measure, how do we measure success?

Economies need to be distributive, regenerative.

Visualise a doughnut. In the centre nothing, this is where resides abuse of human rights, poverty, malnutrition, homelessness, food banks, it is where we should not be. The body of the doughnut is where we wish to be, a circular economy, everyone’s needs met, living within the limits of the planet. Beyond the doughnut, again where we should not be, global warming, species loss, habitat destruction, acidification of our oceans, pollution, rising sea levels.

Kate Raworth has developed a doughnut economics model for Amsterdam, working with the city. Something that should be studied, adapted to Cyprus, but no two places are the same.

For Cyprus we need a doughnut model for the island and for each and every municipality and sector, and the people involved in developing it.

The largest sector in Cyprus is tourism, but it is not in a healthy state, has not been for years, and looking at crude tourist numbers is about as helpful as focusing on GDP to measure economic well being.

One only had to wander through Protaras last year at the height of the tourist season to see all was not well.  During the day, mid-afternoon, empty sunbeds, watersports siting idle. At night, during the evening, bars and restaurants empty.

The last few years many local businesses have gone bust. They finished last season in very poor shape, and many more would not have survived another season.

Tourism has to benefit society with minimum impact on the environment.

Mass tourism is bad for the planet, bad for Cyprus, it is not sustainable.

There is an over-reliance on tour companies, on mass tourism, on all-inclusive hotels.

Cyprus has become the dustbin for the dregs of the tourist industry, all-inclusive attracts the dregs, little if any money flows into the local economy.

Cyprus is not going to see tourists this year, therefore time to reflect, seize the opportunity for radical change and innovation.

Rewind the tourist sector to thirty years ago when Cyprus was a quality destination, attracted quality tourists, when hoteliers took a pride in their hotels, restaurateurs in their restaurants.

Cyprus needs far fewer tourists, quality tourists. There should be no all-inclusive hotels, tour companies should be no more than 20% of hotel bookings (no single tour operator more than 10%), pay promptly at the end of the month (with penalty for late payment).

Encourage long stay, fourteen days and longer, discourage short stay, short breaks, seven days and shorter. Fewer flights for the same hotel occupancy.

The noisy bars bulldoze to the ground.  Restaurants in an attempt to compete with all-inclusive hotels are in a race to the bottom, a race to the bottom no one can win.

What passes as coffee shops is laughable, Cyprus is infamous for bad coffee, coffee shops serving drinkable coffee could count on one hand.

Replace noisy bars with traditional tavernas and coffee shops. It would be difficult to find good examples without visiting Plaka in Athens. Paul’s Coffee Roasters and Lazaris (though not for coffee) near St Lazarus Church in the back streets of Larnaca set high standards, take a pride in what they do, as does Nick’s Coffee Bike outside Larnaca Marina, but these are the rare exceptions, not the norm, oasis amidst the dross. Once the norm in Cyprus, until a race to the bottom to attract custom from all-inclusive hotels, a race no one can win.

For restaurants slow food not fast food, local cuisine using fresh local seasonal produce.  Sea food restaurants overlooking the sea, fresh caught fish, for example Spartiatis overlooking Konnos Bay and Demetrion beside Liopetri River overlooking the sea.

Tourism is more than hotels, it is bars, coffee shops, restaurants, car hire, boat trips, water sports. All of which have suffered in recent years thanks to all-inclusive hotels.

There is a need to improve standards within the tourist sector, hotels, restaurants, bars, coffee shops. How to measure standards?

TripAdvisor is worthless, fake reviews and trolls. Google Maps marginally better. Proposal to tender a contract to assess standards  seriously flawed in a country where everyone knows everyone, someones cousin friend went to school with.

Create an open source open coop collaborate commons platform Booking Cyprus. Charge a small fee to generate a surplus to maintain and improve the platform and fund local community green projects.

There is a need to diversify within the tourist sector.

Diversify away from tourism based on a handful of coastal resorts.

Encourage rural tourism, bookings through FairBnB not AirBnB. AirBnB destroys local communitiesFairBnB works with and supports local communities.

Encourage cultural tourism.

An example would be a week of tango at Grecian Park, not organised by the hotel, they host a week organised by two dancers well known within the world of tango.

A green new deal, use it to kick start the economy. 

Look to what DiEM25 is proposing for Europe. EU needs to issue eurobonds, €500 billion a year to finance a Green New Deal for Europe.

Implement a tree planting programme. Start by planting trees at bus stops for the 101 / 102 bus service Paralimni Protaras Ayia Napa to provide much needed shade.

Pedestrianise the sea front at Larnaca and extend the pedestrianised area into the back streets around St Lazaris Church. Provide an electric shuttle bus service from, Larnaca Marina to Mackenzie Beach.

Cyprus is over-reliant on oil imports, which is crazy in a country with abundant sunshine. Install roof top solar, feed into local community owned and controlled local grids, paid a fair price, consumers pay a fair price, surplus generation fed to other local grids via a publicly owned national grid, any ‘profit’ fed back into the local grid or used to fund local community projects.

The proposed Paphos Marina with facilities for cruise ships should be scrapped. Cruise ships are floating environmental disasters.  Floating all-inclusive hotels that bring no benefits to local economies.

The project in Paphos to create a marina for 1,000 boats plus cruise ships is an example of the insanity that is destroying Cyprus. It should be scrapped.

Cruise ships are nothing more than glorified floating all-inclusive hotels, that cause horrendous damage wherever they dock, with little benefit to the local economy.

The streets of Athens, especially areas like Plaka and Acropli, are clogged whenever a cruse ship docks, causing a problem for both locals and visitors, and they do not spend any money. The tour buses ferrying them around, traffic congestion, noise and pollution.

Venice is being destroyed by cruise ships.

Cruise shop are major greenhouse gas emitters, plus passenger fly to start and end of trip. Cruise ships dump their sewerage and garbage overboard, including plastic.

Will there even be cruise ships? As we have seen floating hell when covid-19 spreads through the ship and nowhere will permit a plague ship to dock.

These floating all-inclusive hotels are now all rapidly returning to port, discharging their passengers and being mothballed. The industry has not just been devastated, it has ceased to function altogether. For it, coronavirus has been the perfect storm. It has gone from being an industry worth $46 billion (£37 billion) a year, with 26 million passengers per annum, to an almost total standstill overnight. The only destination for cruise ships, the scrap yard.

Art and culture should be part of our doughnut.

Art and culture would seem an oxymoron when said in the same breath as Ayia Napa, and yet Ayia Napa has an excellent International Sculpture Park on a hillside overlooking the sea and hosts an excellent Medieval Festival.

How many visitors are aware of the open air theatre during the summer in the grounds of Larnaca Castle?

Cyprus has a democratic deficit which should be addressed. Not only open municipalities to the public, open to public participation, live stream all meetings.

A doughnut may appear to be a simple concept, but appearances can be deceptive. Its power lies in its simplicity.

A lower social bound bellow which we should not fall. An upper planetary bound which we should not exceed. It is also circular, symbolises not only money flowing around the economy, but also symbolises mutual cooperation, collaborative commons.

A simple example will suffice. On changing money in a car hire, we are recommended to take a boat trip. The boat trip recommends a restaurant. The restaurant recommends a vineyard from where they source their wine. To visit the vineyard, we return to the car hire to hire a car. We pass through a lovely little village, learn of a house available through fairbnb should we be tempted to return. At the vineyard, we learn they are renting out a beautiful studio apartment with incredible views of the sea. We find a coffee shop which we have been recommended, and as is the nature of coffee shops, interesting conversations ensue with the owner and barista and fellow coffee drinkers, we learn of many cultural events, an out of the way fish restaurant overlooking the sea and of a taverna  overlooking the sea. We learn Cyprus has much to offer, which we would never have learnt of from tour guides at an all-inclusive hotel. And the local economy has benefited. And maybe we will return one day to explore further.

Salient points of a doughnut economy:

  • GDP is not a useful measure. We cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet. Obsession with GDP has destroyed the planet whilst at the same time creating obscene levels of  inequality. The top richest 1% have accrued more  wealth than the poorest 99%. Uncontrolled growth has a name, cancer.
  • Create, innovate, value human development. With rare exceptions there is a lack of innovation in Cyprus. One bar owner opens a bar with white seats, overpriced drinks, moronic music thudding out. Then more bars open with white seats, overpriced drinks, moronic music thudding out. Those that follow, do not bother to check the first bar always empty.
  • Understand the power of networks, how feedback systems operate.
  • An economic system must be distributive. All must share in the wealth created.
  • Transactions within an economy are not simply financial, nor are the players only government and private sector. The economy also has to include open coops, collaborate commons, each working in loose partnership with each other.
  • Economy has to be regenerative. It is a necessary but not sufficient condition to merely protect the natural world from harm.

The Cypriot economy is moribund if not in free fall, no tourists anytime soon.  The time should be put to productive use to implement a doughnut economy.

It is important public information, in Greek and English, to keep everyone informed, not only locals but also visitors. Then network and share with other municipalities, not only across Cyprus, across Europe.

UK Leaves EU

February 1, 2020

On the stroke of 2300 GMT 31 January 2020 UK left the EU.

Why not midnight? Even the time of departure dictated by EU.

Finally free of the EU yoke, a cartel for Big Business, a democracy-free-zone.

To Leave, people held their nose and voted Tory, which bodes ill for the country, but at least we can kick out Pepsi Trump.

A sad loss, not a country led by Jeremy Corbyn, but a malicious smear campaign put paid to that, and sabotage by Labour MPs who thought they had a sinecure for life.

When it was decided to Leave, there should have been open public meetings to decide the future. Instead contempt for democracy by an EU Fifth Column, we must have another vote, you people were too stupid to vote correctly.

Labour made a huge mistake not backing Brexit during the election paid a very heavy price for not backing Brexit. The blame must be placed squarely at the door of Keir Starmer, disaster as Shadow Brexit Sec, a Blair, Cameron, Clegg clone who undermined the leadership.

If we look at the election results, Labour fared badly, Joe Swindle led LibDems from oblivion to oblivion, and Green Party managed to retain their one and only seat.

Being member of EU was never a great idea, even from the perspective of trade. You do not trade with people who have what you have, you trade with people who have something you do not have.

What happens next? No one knows.

Look to Greece. Greece was destroyed to serve as example to others.

EU is already trying to dictate our laws post-Brexit. No we do not have to have same legalisation as EU. If export to a market, then yes, have to comply with their standards, but that is true of any market.

It is not necessary to have a trade agreement to trade.

I have spoken with businesses dependent on supplies from EU. They see no problems, their suppliers see no problems they already trade outside the EU. Similarly when in the past have spoken to businesses who export to EU. They saw no problems as were already exporting out of EU.

Remember Project Fear? World would end if we left EU. Notice the panic on the streets, the supermarket shelves stripped bare, collapse of the pound. Were it not for the media hype, leaving would have passed unnoticed.

We have to be on our guard that Pepsi Trump does not devalue our employment rights, food standards, environmental legislation.

No chlorinated chickens from EU, no GMOs.

And no privatisation of NHS or education, though to a large extent has already happened.

UK should position itself as head of a non-aligned movement. Not part of EU, China, US or Russia. We now have seats at the top table.

Trade with EU is in everyone’s interest and no reason cannot continue as today. As continuing membership of (which should be independent of EU):

– ESA
– Europol
– Erasmus
– EHIC

What never ceases to amaze, the level of ignorance of EU Fifth Column. They cannot see the difference between EU and Europe, and still cannot.

The EU will break up. Across Europe Fascists are seizing power as response to EU, fascist governments in Poland and Hungary, fascists attack people in Catalonia, in Athens.

When the EU breaks, it it will be very nasty unless we plan for an orderly break up and replace with something better, a network of cooperating democratic sovereign states, with no requirement for an EU overlord.

But what I have seen since 2008 crash does not leave me with much hope. We have brain-dead corrupt politicians fiddling whilst the planet burns, a failing airline bailed out, a gas fire power station approved.

View at Medium.com

The Times They Are a-Changin

January 16, 2020

Very moving video produced for Bernie Sanders campaign.

Bob Dylan classic The Times They Are a-Changin performed by Lia Rose.

Australia first country to commit Climate Suicide

January 5, 2020

Australia will go down in history as the first country to commit Climate Suicide, assuming there is anyone left to write the history books.

As Paul Mason succinctly notes, this is the fossil fuel elite’s Chernobyl.

Australia together with pariah states like Saudi Arabia has over the years done its best to sabotage climate talks, digs up coal, elected a corrupt fascist in the pocket of Big Coal as their prime minster, absorbs mind rotting fake news from Murdoch, and now is reaping the benefits.

As Australia burns, the prime minister in the pocket of Big Coal sabotaged COP25 climate talks in Madrid, then went on holiday.

This is the moron who once walked walked into Parliament with a lump of coal to pass around.

Last week fascist PM visited a burnt out town. The local residents told him to fuck off. This was their Ceaușescu moment, when Nicolae Ceaușescu stood before a crowd and was booed.

What we are seeing is an Apocalypse of Biblical proportions, and this is only the beginning.

A bookstore in the fire-ravaged village of Cobargo, New South Wales, has a new sign outside that reads:

Post-Apocalyptic Fiction has been moved to Current Affairs

The carbon released by the bush fires into the atmosphere will accelerate towards the climate tipping point, the point of no return.

Smoke from the fires has engulfed New Zealand, turned the glaciers brown, accelerating the melting of the glaciers.

The extent of the fires is such it is generating its own weather system. The temperatures hot enough to cause the metal of cars to melt.

Already over twenty people have died in the fires, the count is mounting daily, more bodies will be found when people return to burnt out towns. But as nothing to the tens of thousands who will die as a result of breathing in the toxic smoke. And it beggars belief the imbecile mayor of Sydney went ahead with New Year fireworks to add to the toxic mix.

Mass destruction of wildlife. Wildlife not burnt alive, dying due to the high temperatures.

Any politician who accepts dirty money from coal is a climate criminal and should be in prison.

Under the fascist Prime Minister, a crack down on unions, civic organisations and journalists. Legislation pending in Tasmania, and expected to be copied across Australia, environmental protesters now face up to 21 years in jail for demonstrating. This is what we are seeing from the Fascist regimes in Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, India, Bolivia and Brazil.

When the fires are finally put out, Australians need to rise up, remove their prime minister from office, topple the government,  and take direct action, whatever it takes, to shut down the coal industry. And to boycott the poisonous toxic crap from Murdoch and his ilk.

Rosa Luxemburg Platz

December 26, 2019

A Plaza named after the German-Polish revolutionary Marxist philosopher and writer Rosa Luxemburg.

Freiheit ist immer nur Freiheit des anders Denkenden  — Rosa Luxemburg

A strange sculpture in the square, no idea what it is. 

In the ground long strips, with words of Rosa Luxemburg or tributes to her. 

A little way off from the square, a statue of Rosa Luxemburg around the back of a radical publisher. 

Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of a party - however numerous they may be - is no freedom at all. Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently. Not because of the fanaticism of “justice”, but rather because all that is instructive, wholesome, and purifying in political freedom depends on this essential characteristic, and its effects cease to work when “freedom” becomes a privilege.

Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919) was awarded a PhD at a time when few women went to university, reputed to speak eleven languages. She was opposed to the First World War for which she spent time in prison. She was murdered by German soldiers, her body thrown into the canal. 

Her thoughts on democracy are apropos today as they were when she wrote them, when we see how the recent General Election has been perverted by a corrupt media and facebook.

Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element. Public life gradually falls asleep, a few dozen party leaders of inexhaustible energy and boundless experience direct and rule. Among them, in reality only a dozen outstanding heads do the leading and an elite of the working class is invited from time to time to meetings where they are to applaud the speeches of the leaders, and to approve proposed resolutions unanimously – at bottom, then, a clique affair – a dictatorship, to be sure, not the dictatorship of the proletariat but only the dictatorship of a handful of politicians, that is a dictatorship in the bourgeois sense, in the sense of the rule of the Jacobins (the postponement of the Soviet Congress from three-month periods to six-month periods!) Yes, we can go even further: such conditions must inevitably cause a brutalization of public life: attempted assassinations, shooting of hostages, etc.

Her last known words written on the evening of her murder were about her belief in the masses and what she saw as the inevitability of a triumphant revolution.

The contradiction between the powerful, decisive, aggressive offensive of the Berlin masses on the one hand and the indecisive, half-hearted vacillation of the Berlin leadership on the other is the mark of this latest episode. The leadership failed. But a new leadership can and must be created by the masses and from the masses. The masses are the crucial factor. They are the rock on which the ultimate victory of the revolution will be built. The masses were up to the challenge, and out of this “defeat” they have forged a link in the chain of historic defeats, which is the pride and strength of international socialism. That is why future victories will spring from this defeat.

Order prevails in Berlin! You foolish lackeys! Your “order” is built on sand. Tomorrow the revolution will “rise up again, clashing its weapons,” and to your horror it will proclaim with trumpets blazing: I was, I am, I shall be!

Paul Mason draws on the writing of Rosa Luxemburg in Postcapitalism.


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