Let's not cut King George's A&E department!

Ben Samuel modelling the new Bristol-printed hemp and recycled polyester hooded top, grey, £25
Thanks to clashing with Green Party conference this demonstration managed to get 33 people to turn out to save the NHS. "This is something that effects us all".  So why such a small turnout?  That wouldn't be my question.

In fact the failure to turn out the 200 we were expecting means I have 250 flyers and 200 sheets of chants for the health block of the next big demonstration which will be massive.
Our sisters in the socialists are organising something on the 9th called Day X, and I'll be going to a protest outside the British Medical Association on the 15th with my wad of flyers.

I lost my voice but still got some good practice using our soundsystem, which we also agreed we'll bring from Chadwell on the March for the Alternative.  I was nervous but delivered a speech basically reading out the Green Party's flyer (right).


So by some standards it was a depressing flop, but I think it will only serve to feed into the fight we have ahead of us in the coming years of Con Dem rule.

I had a look at the London Young Greens policy pledge which they will be extending to GLA candidates. 

The following London Young Greens' policy pledge, which was voted though unanimously and signed by Farid4Mayor, is not solely to do with health but has some bearing on it.
...

Education
  1. Fight for free universal education at all levels as a basic right.
  2. Actively oppose the current legal regime imposed on non-EEA students as a result of the points based immigration system, and fight also against the Conservative plans to cap or significantly reduce the number of overseas students able to secure visas to study in Britain.
  3. Actively support student demonstrations and use political office as a platform to challenge the criminalisation of protestors and the dismissal and misportrayal of demonstrations by the government, simply echoed in much of the media.
    ...
    Farid also talked to us about appealing to international Londoners.  I think we can do that if we all translate the leaflet (pictured) into Spanish and other languages spoken by groups of Londoners.  Please help us with that!

Public sector services the bedrock of our society.

Those marching included the famous climate activist Tamsin Omond

1) We recognise that global capitalism has set its sights on the public sector as part of the solution to its crisis. Recognising that simple privatisation of local services is unpopular, successive governments have introduced more subtle forms of 'creeping privatisation' - taking services out of public hands and handing them over to new bodies which are vulnerable to being taken over by the private sector at a later stage; and surrounding public services with private sector consultants and advisers.

2) We oppose all these moves and insist that local public services should be provided overwhelmingly by public service providers and be accountable directly to local people, not to private sector shareholders. Claims that only the quality of local public services matters, and not who provides them, are inaccurate, because private sector providers are ultimately accountable to their shareholders and their financial bottom line. The public sector is different: it is wholly dedicated towards delivering services for those in need, and the dedication, skill, and innovation of public sector workers should be unleashed to improve services. Defending the public service ethos is therefore a top priority for the Green Party.

3) We believe that all local public service providers should therefore be under a duty to promote the environmental, economic and social well-being of the local community; and to optimise efficiency, and avoid waste, in public service provision.

4) The total cost of public service provision in an area, through all
providers, should be published and made available for public scrutiny. The
remit of local councils should be expanded so that locally-delivered
services are commissioned by democratically-elected local authorities.
Primary Care Trusts should be supervised by, and accountable to, elected
local government, for example. Separate elections for police and health will
splinter accountability and threaten partnership working.

 

5) We need a revolution in participation - freedom of information and
transparency is not enough. We support the approach of local people playing
a major role in planning, commissioning, managing and assessing local
priorities, services and budgets, using appropriate local forums and
techniques such as participatory budgeting. Such deliberative discussion is
preferable to the blunt instrument of local referenda for complex decisions
on services and budgets. 

 

6) In the current economic climate, we commit ourselves to support national
and local campaigns against cuts in public services and to use everything in
our power when in opposition or in office to oppose them.

 

video. Vote Ben SAMUEL NOW!

video
Just to make double sure you've seen and read my personal statement before casting your postal vote.  Please do not forget that you probably won't bother to come to the hustings so you may as well get it over with, after watching this video.

Secondly, you may remember that the last elections of this assembly were in 2008.  You can view the full list of candidates here.  http://www.democracyforum.co.uk/local-london-elections-2008/48540-full-list-candidates-2008-london-mayoral-asesmbly-elections-1-5-2008-a.html
You will notice that mine and a few others are new names on the list of candidates for the 11 positions, but other names such as Berry, Fisher, German, and Galloway have sadly disappeared.  Susan Luxton, and Shahrar Ali were constituency candidates last time, but the constituency candidates for 2012 will be announced a few months after the mayoral and list is decided.

I'd like to plug a blog that I don't have time to read and obviously don't endorse having not read it:
http://www.philwilson-green.blogspot.com/

And one I certainly have read,
which is my smart-phone photo-blog and sports a great photo of Farid for Mayor, who the pictured officer of the London Young Greens thinks is a 1st class candidate for Mayor!

Reds and Greens video of Jenny Jones

I've dug out this video of Jenny Jones (running for mayoral candidate as we speak) speaking at a rally with Michael Meacher.
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=725808374038&oid=4855439301

Whilst you're on that site please  go to "Ben Samuel for GLA" and click "like"
Likewise go to the page of "Jenny Jones" and click "like" 

NHS - Comment is free

I have promised one of the other selection candidates, the campaigns co-ordinator in London, that I will do some "Save the NHS" campaigning in the coming week.
The plan is, the printers will drop off some leaflets on my doorstep on Thursday.  If I have time I'll get flyering outside local hospitals.  I'll come back from Cardiff for Friday night, then we're assembling at Hyde Park and proceeding to Downing Street to hand in the petition.


 
Have you seen the "stop the NHS white paper" online petition?
and this one "hands off our NHS" to "kill the Bill" aiming to get 100,000 in a week.
Here is some info I've copied from the Met Police about road closures for the march and rally.

View Larger Map

Saturday 26th February 2011
Event March and Rally
Location Park Lane > Richmond Terrace.
Timings
  • Form Up: 12:00
  • Start: 13:00
  • Anticipated end: 16:00
Proposed Route Park Lane > Piccadilly > Piccadilly Circus> Haymarket > Pall Mall East > Trafalgar Square > Whitehall > Richmond Terrace.
Road closures Lane closures on Park Lane southbound between Brook Gate and Marble Arch. Traffic will then be held along the route to facilitate the march and allowed to flow once it has passed.
Parking Suspensions Piccadilly, north kerb entire length.
Additional Information N/A
Public transport For further information contact Transport for London or visit www.tfl.gov.uk

The other question I have for other bloggers, is seeing as the public meeting was not in a hospital but in the Conway Hall, what are we doing to communicate with actual service users in local hospitals?

Weather Chaos 2012? - Comment is Free



Ben Samuel B.Sc. (Hons.), 2009/10 Campaigns and Elections Co-ordinator, National Young Greens Committee

As the case of the Ratcliffe 14 (and the ongoing pre-trial hearings of the Nottingham 114) shows well-targeted action on coal nearly reversed the Industrial Revolution… if it weren’t for that pesky police state and Crown Prosecution Service.

Whilst the Green Party doesn’t necessarily endorse anarchism in its manifesto nor the sort of disregard for environmental law shown in this action reported, I feel it’s worth making my debut in the Young Greens own national newsletter to focus your minds a bit on the origins of the Climate Camp that many London Green Party members found in Black Heath, just down the road from Darren Johnson’s and Charlotte Dingle’s local Green Party constituency.  It’s at such gatherings, which are organised on a monthly basis, that you can pick up such radical literature for free!

On April 10th, 2007, a bus-load of activists concerned about climate change headed towards the single worst source of air pollution in the East Midlands, a power plant at Ratcliffe-on-Soar, located across the M1 from the airport. A dozen people peacefully walked in, climbed up and locked themselves to the machinery. The law states clearly that the owners are responsible for the safety of those on site, meaning the conveyor belts had to be stopped. The police were called and arrived to cut the protesters from their positions, but not before  they had prevented an estimated 5,000 tonnes of coal from getting to the bunkers. The activists were arrested, questioned, and released on bail. In court, they did not deny their actions, but pleaded innocence on the defence of “duress of circumstances”, or the necessity that they had to act because human lives were threatened by climate change. In a landmark case of climate action on trial, the judge found climate activists guilty, and imposed fines on them that totalled £2670 – more than twice the Young Greens budget deficit. The decision to convict the activists contrasts with the Jury’s verdict at Kingsnorth 2008, shown in the excellent GreenPeace documentary.

On the last week of Winter exams, I donned a media badge and a reporter's notebook to observe the trial of the climate change activists. Tim, 23, who first met me at a charity club-night, nervously expressed thanks to more public protesters.  Whilst he just walked inside, at the power-station gates more people covered the corporate sign to the make the "reclaim power" agenda clear. They intended to shut down a key part of our electricity supplies.

The case for action was based on science, which was not disputed by the crown prosecutor. The activists called an expert witness, Dr Simon Lewis, Royal Society Research Fellow at the Earth & Biosphere Institute of the University of Leeds. He is the author of many peer-reviewed technical papers in the world’s leading journals, several of which are cited by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  He is a member of the Royal Society’s Climate Change Advisory Network and the United Nations ad hoc Expert Working Group on Biodiversity and Climate Change. He advised the Government of the United Kingdom during preparations for the G8 and UN meetings discussing climate change.  Scarier than "Gore's Law" as I call it, that CO2 warms the planet, is what I like to call "Climate Chaos". Previously regarded as a stable atmosphere, scientists now think the biosphere is fragile, and could be thrown into a state of catastrophic climate change. Dr Lewis used the term nonlinearities: points at which global warming feeds back to generate more global warming, creating a spiral effect. Every climate scientist with an academic position agreed that the government's 2-degree target is already 50% likely to tip the system over the edge. Climate chaos is not like gradually polluting a lake as it gets gradually muddier and muddier; it is more like pushing a car over the top of a hill. 

International negotiations which stalled at the disappointingly-unfair “Copenhagen Accord”, continue.

We suspect there are corporate sensitivities around energy traders and carbon emissions.  Energy traders match demand by buying electricity from the cheapest source every half-hour, keeping computerised records of supply and demand across the electricity and gas distribution network.  The activists asked how much carbon dioxide his plant produces but the Plant Manager Ray forgot to bring any data to his evidence session.

I read the judgment fully and published it on my blog and can email it to anyone.  The legal and historical importance of this trial in terms of environmental issues highlights what is a step too far.

The first Camp for Climate Action was an international convergence of thousands of people to Megawatt Valley in 2006.  The Nottingham neighbourhood continued to cook hot curries and share practical skills. Rather than trusting statutory regulators, direct action depends on more and more ordinary people. At the time of the case we could name 15 similar actions against coal but that has multiplied since April “Fossil” Fools day.

I agreed with those determined to shut down that machine because the power station’s cooling towers are a symbol of waste.  I estimate that the wasted steam released from Ratcliffe could be piped to provide free hot water for the entire borough of Rushcliffe, (which has 2 green councillors Richard & Sue). And what these people were doing was a creative strategy designed to raise to public attention the government's wasteful policies, which are only Green on the surface. The government is continuing to press ahead with coal power stations, and even granted planning permission for a new power-plant to be built in Kent. Storming the station in a recent swoop was worth a try to bring these issues to attention.

Did you know that the University of Nottingham's growing rate of carbon emissions could fill three hot-air balloons for every student? (Source: Estates dept. 2008)
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comment is free - Local cuts events

In good armchair activist tradition I would like to open up a topic and allow you to comment on my blog and interact with each other.  You can subscribe to the thread by email, helping to ignite internal debate and get involved.


Public Meeting for the Latin American community

27 February at 4pm
Tiendas del Sur
91-95 Newington Butts SE1 6SE
Elephant & Castle

Information, discussion and culture against the cuts. Guest speakers:
  • Jeremy Corbyn MP
  • Amada Silva (Golden Years/Años Dorados Day Centre)
  • Amancay Colque (Bolivia Solidarity Campaign)
  • Plus music from renowned Peruvian singer Sophia Buchuk
Crèche and translation if required (meeting will be in Spanish) 
The Latin American Coalition Against Cuts (COLACOR) is a newly born
network of Latin-American organizations and groups in the UK.

In this meeting we will open a space for discussion, mutual
recognition, and collective mobilisation of Latin Americans in the
run up of the general rally against the cuts called by TUC on the 26th
March 2011. We will have speakers: and will also show video and live
testimonies from our communities.

The purpose of the meeting is:
a) Information sharing of experiences within the Latin American
community about the current cuts of the British government and how
these are affecting members of our community and our organizations
b) To show solidarity and coordinate mobilisation within the existing
initiatives against cuts (locally and nationally), and to agree on
collective strategies of action to fight against the cuts.


In solidarity


Latin American Coalition Against Cuts (COLACOR)


Members to date:
-Asociacion de Trabajadores Latinoamericanos
-Latin American Women’s Rights Service
-Movimiento Ecuatoriano en el Reino Unido (MERU)
-Bolivia Solidarity Campaign
-Colombia Solidarity Campaign
-POLO UK
-Todas Las Voces Radio
-Asociacion Latinoamericana de Documentales y  Peliculas Alternativas
-Rock Around the Blockade
-Latin American Disabled Peoples Project (LADPP)
-Golden Years/Años Dorados Day Centre
-newspaper ThePrisma
-LatinosinLondon
-IWW IU 640
-Hands Off Venezuela


Website
http://latinamericansagainstcuts.wordpress.com/


2nd March: Hackney council's budget day
We are calling on councillors to vote against the council budget that will mean cuts to jobs and services in Hackney. More than 800 council jobs could be lost. Take, for example the threat to Youth sercices: 95 jobs and vital services to be axed. What impact will that have on young people living in our borough? Our Mayor's concept of "humane" cuts just doesn't work.
  • Contact your councillors with the draft letter available on Hackney Alliance to Defend Public Services website
  • visit them at their surgeries
Come to the public gallery in the Town Hall for the Budget meeting on Wed 2nd March at 7pm so they can see the strength of feelings against the cuts!

Links:

Link_go http://hackneyalliance.wordpress.com/
Could this be the number 1 voting issue in 2012?  If so, what international policies could deal with it?  And how are you confident that your favorite 2012 Candidates would do the best job at promoting these policies in a professional manner?  Please comment using your various blog ID's, such as your google or Yahoo! account.  Once you're registered, comment is free, just like a proper newspaper site!
Solidarity,
Ben

Thursday's CoR talk

http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46773 
Clare is the messia of her generation, whatever that is.  President of ULU, spoke on Thursday along side the leader of the Green Party and Tariq Ali, prolific writer and former student leader.

It clashed with a Middle East meeting in UK Parliament, Save the NHS in Conway Hall, and "Spirit Level" seminar in City Hall, which I attended and said "It's not the politics of envy, it's the politics of justice"

Advance notice of question

 http://www.channel4.com/news/barclays-targeted-by-tax-protesters

It's to do with the Boots protest from this flash mob of flying pickets.

What's worse, Barclays or Boris?

Pictured: My leaflets on their way to Leonard Street stuffing day.

Results in Barnet 2004/2008

London Assembly results for Barnet & Camden

Constituency assembly members

Candidate Party Votes Votes % Majority
Brian Coleman Conservative Party 72,659 41.15% 19,693
Nicky Gavron The Labour Party 52,966 30.00%
Nick Russell Liberal Democrats 22,213 12.58%
Miranda Dunn Green Party 16,782 9.50%
Magnus Nielsen UK Independence Party 3,678 2.08%
Clement Adebayo Christian Peoples Alliance and Christian Party 3,536 2.00%
David Stevens English Democrats 2,146 1.22%
Dave Hoefling Left List 2,074 1.17%
Graham Dare Veritas 510 0.29%

Turnout and Technical Information


2004 2004 % 2008 2008 % % difference
Electorate 371,186
376,818

Papers counted/turnout 142,571 38.41% 180,007 47.77% 9.36%
Good votes 135,034 94.71% 176,564 98.09% 3.37%
Rejected votes * 7,537 5.29% 3,443 1.91% -3.37%
Rejected votes totals include
Blank (no votes cast) ** 0 0.00% 2,893 1.61% 1.61%
  • * “Rejected votes” refers to ballot papers where the vote has not been counted because the ballot paper has not been filled out correctly. This may be because the ballot paper is blank, because the voter has marked more than one preference in one column, because the voter identified himself or herself on the ballot paper, if the voter’s intention is unclear or if the voter has spoiled his or her paper in any way.
  • ** “Blank votes” refers to ballot papers where no 1st choice and no 2nd choice have been marked, and no vote has been counted. (This data is only available for 2008.)

Combined results

Party Votes 04 Votes 04 % Votes 08 Votes 08 % Votes % change
UK Independence Party 8,685 6.09% 3,678 2.04% -4.05%
Green Party 11,921 8.36% 16,782 9.32% 0.96%
Christian Peoples Alliance and Christian Party **
3536 1.96%
Left List **
2,074 1.15%
Conservative Party 47,640 33.41% 72,659 40.36% 6.95%
The Labour Party 36,121 25.34% 52,966 29.42% 4.09%
English Democrats **
2,146 1.19%
Liberal Democrats 23,603 16.56% 22,213 12.34% -4.22%
Veritas **
510 0.28%
Respect 5,150 3.61% *

Christian Peoples Alliance 1,914 1.34% *


  • * Party did not put forward a candidate in 2008
  • ** Party did not put forward a candidate in 2004

Loss of decent housing in London


... Since the Conservative government, the Loss of decent housing in London is such that 64% of new build should be socially registered...
An other point she made was "perhaps to widen the debate and bring people to give evidence to an inquiry" which the chair of the meeting replied positively to saying it's a "very very good suggestion".

To widen the debate on housing, the General London Assembly should hold an inquiry into this lack of fair housing for those waiting for it.  Everyone, even seemingly well-to-do people, has a story that shapes their view on the issue.

I am listening to my recording of the talk by Richard from "The Spirit Level".  A questioner in the front row to my right (or left if you're looking at us) played the devil's advocate and wound me up a few minutes before the chair wound up the debate.  I borrowed from someone's UKUncut speech when I answered her standard attack with "It's not the politics of envy, it's the politics of justice."

In saying that to this audience I may well have politicised a few activists in the room and let them see my passionate side.  A whole row were behind me from Queen Mary's university in South London.  One calling herself Anika made a good point about protest, how she felt uncomfortable about bringing kids and vulnerable people to the protest after seeing stories of smashing conservative HQ, which Jenny responded went a bit too far.

Fairpensions were there, and I'll see them today to meet someone called Louise who used to be a corporate lawyer and decided it was wrong so became a campaigner.  According to the Charity Commission website "THE MAIN AREAS OF CHARITABLE ACTIVITY ARE IN CAMPAIGNING AND EDUCATION OF THE PUBLIC IN THE PRINCIPLES, PRACTICE AND EFFECTS OF RESPONSIBLE AND ETHICAL INVESTMENT."  So I'm happy to meet with them and see if I can work with these people.

New Flier (online draft)

I am thinking of taking part in a mailing of 2,500 flyers, suggested by some other GLA candidates.  To save on postage we will be sharing an envelope.  I'm learning from this excercise that you can achieve a lot more as a team.
Please click here to print and cut your own. from Google docs.
 I'm going to work on it tomorrow to try and tackle issues raised by the Equality Group and follow some feedback on the 2 drafts I presented today.  The plan is to print as many as I can without running out of ink, so I'll keep photos small, then move onto ready-printed materials.  It's past eleven PM already.
Wishing other candidates good luck and good night.

Ben's Interview

Elliot (E): Considering that the normal requirement for standing for the London-wide list is two years continuous membership - and you don’t have that - what experience would you offer the party in terms of skills & experience over someone who has been a member for more than two years?
Ben (B): It’s really a question of what sort of experience you need in order to represent people on a political assembly. So, there’s no particular qualifications that you particularly need in order to be a candidate or to win. The main thing is to say things that resonate with the voters. 
I think I’m quite representative of the generation of people who’ve recently graduated from University.
E: Because as you said, you were one of the first of one million young people who were unemployed.
B: Yeah. I mean that, to be honest, is the reason I lapsed in my membership - it’s because I didn’t have five pounds down the back of the sofa to spend on joining the Green Party, so the fact that they’ve recently made it free I hope will attract a good range of people, maybe people who were a member of the Facebook group or have lapsed.
E: Tell us a bit about yourself then.
B: My achievements are many. Academically I did quite well in A-Levels and then achieved the lowest ever degree score, right through to business, becoming one of the first of nearly one million graduates to be unemployed and proud to have joined the Green Party before its leader was elected! Currently working as a gardener, training to learn how to plant things. And I’ve got a bit more environmental work up my sleeve, to do with a property management company which needs someone to clean the shared space in between everyone’s flats.
E: What is your stance on the budget retractions that the government is undertaking?
B: Well, I believe you’re referring to the central government Con-Dem coalition cuts?
The cuts are going to hit my generation over the next coming year and I’m really expecting people to become more and more angry. The EMA is going to stop in June for 6th formers and the council housing contracts will change, so that people who need housing will only be guaranteed they can live somewhere for three years! Is that really enough time to even find the next place to live
So I would ask the government - politely - to just basically pay your taxes; and, of course, Boots and Vodafone and all the companies that are registered in Monaco are not paying enough, really, as a percentage of income and profits. That’s what I’ve been doing: I’ve been occupying Vodafone and trying to occupy Monaco, which is only 2.4 square km, but there’s quite a lot of money there.
E: Oh yes, there was the event about occupying Monaco!
B: Yes. I think that’s what London relies too much on, really, is financial services. Really we should be making stuff.
So basically what I’m using is the political mandate that we won our MP on, which is that we had a TV advert saying “A future fair for all”...or was that the Labour slogan? Fighting...
E: Fair is worth fighting for.
B: Fair is worth fighting for. Where we will pay people a minimum living wage (which they can actually not be exploited and not live in poverty on) and a high pay commission has been established already. That just shows that when you don’t sell out and stand for your principles then you can have a very radical position!
E: In line of the recent rises in rail fares, bus fares etc., what focus do you put on transport?
B: Now of course, when they squeeze the poor they do this in a number of ways, but the reason why I travel around by bike is because it’s actually the cheapest way to get around;  even if my bike cost me what it costs you, I probably would have invested that money firstly in walking and cycling and secondly in public transport - which, by the way, if you vote for the Greens in the GLA elections and for the Mayor, we will lower the fares from £1 down 20p. So basically 20p if you vote Green!
E: Wonderful! So, sum up what you will do for Londoners through the Assembly as a Green Party AM if you win.
B: Well, if I’m elected then I would heavily push for explaining to people what the Assembly actually is! It’s a bit like...well, you may have heard of the Youth Parliament, as you’re standing as a candidate for it. There are a number of boroughs, each of which have two MYPs (for the benefit of Young Greens newsletter readers). If they met up in person they would actually be forming a local Assembly very similar to the London Assembly; a sort of Youth London Assembly. They could even elect a Mayor. 
E: The aim of the Assembly is to hold the Mayor to account, I hear. Does it work?
B: Well...it doesn’t work very well with Boris. Because we’ll invest a lot of time and effort in making a question and he just doesn’t answer it! And you ask it again - ‘You haven’t answered my question’ - and he just doesn’t answer!
E: I know! I asked him a question at a youth mayor’s question time and he wouldn’t answer it at all!
B: Well the reason he does those things is because they have no experience of him not answering questions.
Thank you for having the idea to interview me. It was a good idea.
E: My pleasure.

------

Elliot Folan
----------------

Candidate for Barnet's Member of the Youth Parliament

Sign the Save MAAPs petition

I just signed this

The other spin-off is I can take a clipboard and meet more people who might vote Green in the Greater London Assembly elections!

p.s. I like cartoons

YouGov Poll: 30%

30% of people don't know whether they are left wing or right wing.

I have trouble with this because my grandfather (Roth) clearly was left wing when he was my age, and swung to the right wing.  Also I only affiliated to Green Left because of their stance on equality.  GL is not particularly central to the Green Party and I have heard of Green Right.

Here are a few recent facebook statuses:

Elliot for MYP: being left-wing means having faith in people. Being right-wing means not having faith in them. It's that simple. (I and 2 other people like this)

I see it this way: being left-wing means taking a stand for social justice. Being right-wing means keeping your head down and an eye on the markets. (Stuart Neyton likes this)



Something more interesting than politics

Let's face it, X factor is way more interesting and popular than politics, and I think I know why.  Music can create emotional messages that are much nicer than what you get from moaning with your mates about forests or nuclear weapons.

So I'm very musical and I've created some impressive works while I was in education which are all freely available online.  In fact my official photo comes from a music video I made on the day of action against airport expansion in 2007.

Music has given me confidence to perform and therefore speak well in public as a politician.  I'm sure that whilst my attention span has lapsed due to an onslaught of blogs and email messages, I still have the capacity to perform a 40-minute sonata for solo piano.  It's great training for the body too, to have some "can you feel it" blasting out of my Jane Fonda record while I'm attempting my abdominal excercises.  Music is really vital in Barnet Council's budget cuts, with the foundations re-forming especially to save the Arts Depot from privatisation.

I would really like to start a band.

video


A big part of my life is my religion, where music plays a big role in Synagogue or at the Friday night dinner table where everyone is singing together.  At the Willesden Green Wassail I heard a Jewish quote from the African lady who is campaigning to save the community centre she built only a year ago. "How good and how pleasant it is, brethren (and sisters) sitting together as one."  Quite literally in the case of Sara and Jonathan's wedding party.  Or visionary, as in the case of the anniversary protest in which Deborah Fink and comerades blasted out spoof christmas carols "On the first day of christmas (Benjamin) Netanyahu gave me... five settlement rings".

Therefore piano, guitar, choir, drama, and other music lessons has given me a discipline I can apply to many aspects of my work.  A sense of discipline and focus that the chemical science practice I learned in university failed to help me with.

Policy

I have tried to expose people to the policy of the Green Party by making a link to the policy website when you click on my photo on the right of each page.  I think the optimum population is that which could produce plentiful supplies of organic food on the limited land that we have, so about a billion.  Here is some of us talking about population in the first part of the policy file:

The Green Party recognises limits to growth. Limits to growth are likely to be imposed primarily by resource depletion and the ever-increasing costs of pollution. Furthermore, land also is in limited supply. An expanding world population demands expanding food supplies. Irresponsible land use planning, degradation of land through human activity and changes in land quality and availability due to climate change, mean that land must be managed in such a way as to ensure sustainable human development and safeguard biodiversity

Forest vote result. Read on!

Background music... diddle di dum di di, diddle di dum di di, diddle di dum di di...
Into view Michael appears with a book in his hand and gives the programme intro.
“In 2011 one woman transformed the forests of England. Her name was Caroline Spelman and her white paper inspired the public to take to the woods. Path by path she told them what they could no longer do unless they had the co-operation of the forest’s new owner, what they could and couldn’t see and just where they could go.
In recent days I’ve been travelling around the remaining bits of our countryside using my Spelman’s Guide, a book published in 2011. I’ve found it gives me such insights into rabid privatisation and just how easy it is to transform something that so many people love into a vision that suits Tory Dogma”.

Michael walks down a country lane
“Well here I am at my first stop. You must be Lord Huge-Trousers, so pleased to meet you, can you show me round your forest?”
The rotund rosy-cheeked host leads Michael over the fence(there is no gate) and up into the woods. Suddenly they come upon a large cleared area.
“Oh, all the trees have gone. What’s that sound of gunfire?”
Just then a pelleted dead Grouse falls on Michaels head.
“Making good use of the place, jolly good luck it bordered my estate.” says his Lordship.
“Come and meet my son Murgatroyd and the others.”
Michael regains his poise after removing feathers and guts from his hair. The tour continues and they all have a spiffing time until the next scene when Michael is getting out of a taxi in another country lane. Puffing, he climbs over another fence.
“Well now I’m several miles away in another privatised wood. My Spelman’s Guide says that free access will remain available on the path from the car park. Well, the car park is blocked off by the fence I’ve just climbed over but let’s see if I can find the footpath.”
Several minutes of searching later...
“Well, I have to admit it’s not as easy as the guide makes out. I think I have found the path behind these logs and brambles. I’m just walking through the woods, although it is very overgrown and the ground is a little boggy. Lets see now, I think this is the way.....aaarrrghh”.....
“Some bastard has dug a ditch right across the path!”...With difficulty Michael pulls himself up from the stagnant pool and brushes off leaves, sticks, mud and smelly water from his clothes. Puffing and slightly red-faced -
“I’m afraid I am going to call it a day on this one and move on.”

“Well lets hope my luck improves this time. Here we are at another wood. My Spelman’s Guide tells me that this particular site’s owner has promised to pay particular care to monitor public access and provide guides.”
As he climbs the fence a large bull-mastiff lumbers towards him giving out a deep continuous bark in what could be described as a ‘dark-brown’ voice.
“Well, at least they still allow dogs in here” (Slightly nervous note in his voice).
“Ah, I see his owner is with him”
Having paused horizontally astride the fence, our narrator is relieved to see that the beast from hell is on a lead, albeit extended. It is in the control of a robust crew-cropped male with shoulders nearly as wide as the padlocked gate.
“Ah, you must be one of the guides,” (proffers a nervous hand which is not reciprocated)
“I must say your dark jacket reminds me of a nightclub doorman.” (Gives a slight chuckle).
“Yer, how did you know?” Comes the reply.
“Well, pleased to meet you. Perhaps you could show me around?”
“Why?” Comes the reply in a gruff voice. Just then the ‘Guide’s’ mobile rings and he talks in to it saying ‘yezsir’ a lot.
“O.K. the boss knows your here. Says I’m to show you round”.
“So what exactly do you do here...sorry I didn’t catch your name?”
“I look after the place for Mr.Cruptovich. I keep everything sweet”.
“Oh I see er...(Still no name given) well shall we start off?
Just as they are about to set off the nameless guide bellows at a youth lifting a mountain bike over the fence. “Oy you, piss off. No bikes in here”
Michael accepted the short version of the tour.
“Well here we are at my final destination of the trip. This one actually has a car park and it seems quite full. Now my Spelman’s Guide tells me that the owner of this site has made particular efforts to involve the local community. So let’s go and see what’s on offer”. Climbing up a steep set of steps Michael pauses. “Well as you can see the new owner has built these nice multi-coloured steps which make life easy but I’m just wondering what that noise is.”
As with his first visit, on reaching the top there was a sudden absence of trees.
There were however a number of large marquees. The first contained several fast food vans with a sign over the entrance saying ‘Forest Grub’. The second a number of gaming machines and computer games signed ‘Forest Fun’. The third a bar signed ‘The Forest Watering Hole’. A little further on was a children’s play area including a bouncy castle.
“Michael!, I heard you were coming. I’m Grant Sleaze the owner”
The orange weasel faced man with greasy swept-back hair put out his hand.
“Oh yes, I’ve heard of you from your adult magazine empire”.
“So what do you think Michael? Fun for the masses?”
“Well, I have to say its not quite what I expected. I didn’t think you were allowed to build in the forest. How did you get planning permission?”
“Easy peasy. Just got to know what you’re doing and have the right contacts. First off the tents aren’t considered permanent. Second the government have relaxed the planning laws for the benefit of contributors to the economy like me. Third the Local Council is so skint that I just offered to loan them a couple of my cleaners to keep some of their public bogs open and Bobs yer Uncle, Done Deal.
Sighing slightly “Do you think you could take me round the forest as that’s what I’m really here to see?”
“No problem Michael. Only thing is most of its closed off at the moment. Just temporary you understand. Needs a bit of urgent maintenance while I have a chat with the Council in case they need any more bogs cleaning” Grant taps his nose with an index finger and winks at Michael.
Sitting next to an overflowing bin on the edge of the car park Michael sums up.
“Well that’s the end of an interesting and sometimes surprising tour. I have to admit though that I can’t help thinking we’ve lost something”.
Just then an old man in country clothes walks by.
“Ah, see you’re reading that guide by Spelman. Bad smell.”
“I beg your pardon, what do you mean bad smell?”
“Ah, that’s the trouble Tories don’t notice it until someone points it out. Go on have a sniff.”
Michael holds the book to his nose.
“Yes, it is a bit odd now that you mention it. Sort of agricultural, farmyard even.”
“What sort of farm animal then, pigs cows...?”
“Oh dear I think I see what you mean. It smells of...Bullshit!”

70 Months to go

What should be done to reduce CO2... Before it's too late!  80% believe climate change is a threat  Reports an ICM poll.

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Fiscal Contraction - CIF

What is your position on the cuts?

Comment is free!

Boris Buses - CIF

Do you think the promised "Boris buses" will be on time and on budget and if not why not?


p.s. This story from Rachel Rose is the thin end of the wedge - save out libraries.

The stay at home twenty-somethings

Marek Powley
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/8289296/The-stay-at-home-twentysomethings.html

quiet day today, parents at work, reading the papers online.

The London Federation of Green Parties sent out an official email with the list of candidates... The London Green Party vote in March will narrow it down to 11.

My favorites at the moment are Marek Powley, co-chair of the Young Greens nationally and in University College London and member in up-and-coming Greenwich, and pedestrian @highburyonfoot who is new to the Green Party so has been campaigning extra hard.