UK Newswire Archive
08-12-2010 03:23Not just for students!
The demonstrations against cuts to Education are not just for students and its not just about students either! Come on parents, teachers, worried public sector workers, somerset artists facing 100% cuts!
ANYONE wanting to take part can use cheap coach travel from Bristol to the demo against Education Cuts and Fees in London on Thurs 9th Dec via coaches organised by UoB/UWE.
- University of Bristol (£10 pay on bus, 8am outside Hawthorns Cafe on Woodland Rd or, even better: in advance from UoB union foyer on Queens Rd.)
- UWE (£10 via email sign up, link below)
08-12-2010 02:31We should obviously all support WikiLeaks and its founder and spokesperson, Julian Assange, who has just been arrested in Britain, in this dirty war by states around the globe against transparency and openness. But in the world of politics, sadly, things are never as innocent as they appear. According to new revelations, Assange had allegedly struck a deal with Israel before the recent 'cable gate', which may explain why the leaks “were good for Israel,” as the Israeli prime minister put it.
08-12-2010 00:22The new issue of Bath's monthly radical news sheet is finally out, with all the updates about, well, cuts, mostly, plus a smattering of animal rights and anti-militarism and anti-everythingism.
THE BATH BOMB
@nti-copyright: copy and distribute!
"putting the 'pun' into 'cruel and unusual punishment'"
Hitting The High Notes
Due to either vicious state-sponsored, counter-insurgent electronic warfare, or a simple computer meltdown, you may have noticed that the Bath Bomb didn't put in an appearance last month; don't worry, we've not hung up our dynamite or come up with new ways of saving costs, or anything. In the process, we've missed a fair few developments:
Coinciding neatly with the government's national budget announcement on Wednesday the 20th October, the newly-formed Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance held a rally outside the Abbey that day. Whilst the Con-Dem coalition made threats and promises of cuts – to 500,000 jobs, £7 billion to welfare, mass privatisation, V.A.T. hiked to 20%, the tripling of tuition fees, and pension ages upped to 66 – 70 Bathonians spent an hour listening to seven incisive and inspirational speakers, calling for cross-union and community solidarity, and bringing to mind the memory of past popular successes, like the defeat of Thatcher's Poll Tax in the 90s. Though the edgy promises of streets paved with burning B.M.W.s have yet to manifest – how else are we meant to stay warm? – proceedings closed in true genteel Bath style, with a group sing-song of “We will overcome”. Well, it may not be over till the earnest lady sings, but that was just the beginning, and some of the protesters then went on to join the 120 school kids, parents and teachers noisily picketing the outside of the Guildhall, trying to save the threatened Culverhay Comprehensive. At the same time, thousands were protesting in over 25 cities and towns up and down the UK, including 4,000 in London, some of whom lobbed a few cheeky smoke bombs towards Downing Street. Devastating “the avenues where the wealthy live..."?. Lucy Parsons, eat yer heart out.
Saturday the 23rd saw marches in 15 major towns and cities, (including 20,000 in Edinburgh, 15,000 in Belfast, and others in Cambridge, Oxford, York, London, Manchester and Sheffield) to let the ConDems know that we would not pay for the bankers' crisis. Bath Bomb estimates at least 2,000, including some from Bath, took to the streets in a noisy and colourful protest in Bristol, led by a union brass band. One group who weren't keen on the party mood, however, were those pesky police. In particular, the prudish plod were mortally offended by a banner reading 'fuck the St*te!' When stewards refused to confiscate or obstruct the colourful language, the trouble-maker police took the reasonable measure of ploughing into the crowd, batons swinging. The crowd put up a fight, but the cops managed to rip the banner in half, leaving anarchists with half a banner reading simply 'fuck'. They later made off with two arrests, despite crowd resistance. At least two police were seen not to go along with the actions of their workmates, though, and handed out details of the culprits and where to complain. Good cop, bad cop?
Following Birmingham students' occupation of their vice-chancellor's office, the last week in October saw students and union members from Bath Spa and Bath University team up to protest against the cuts. Taking to the streets of Bath, the students voiced their anger over planned cuts and fee hikes in Higher Education that will see universities return to being a preserve of the super wealthy. In the same week, over 1,000 people, mostly students, held a noisy protest against Vince Cable's planned visit to the city. Cowardly Cable cancelled his visit, but the demo went ahead, attracting huge support from locals.
Things were somewhat wetter on Wednesday 3rd November, with a lonely six-strong picket of B&NES Tory Cabinet, who met to make cuts recommendations for the later full council meeting on Tuesday 16th. Whilst the council was bizarrely trying to downsize itself to complete irrelevance, another larger, noisier demo took place on the 16th, outside the Guildhall, with around 100 present, including students, unions and a vocal contingent from Anarchists Against The Cuts.
A 50,000 strong student march in London on Wednesday the 10th November hit the headlines, leading to the window-smashing and occupation of Tory H.Q., three hospitalised coppers, anarcho flags flying from the rooftops, and a short-lived free university being opened there. Finally, the students are back on form!
Tuesday the 30th November saw a 70-strong demo of sixth form and uni students meet at the Abbey, in a somewhat snowy and confused affair, to oppose tuition fees hikes, the scrapping of arts and humanities, and of the E.M.A.: a £40-per-week benefit for 16-18 year-olds from poorer backgrounds.
Meanwhile, in Bristol on Sunday 5th December, things kicked off with a 300 strong march, the third in a week, featuring police violence and kettling. Attacks also took place on Topshop and Boots stores up and down the country that day, outraged at corporate tax evasion, to the tune of £300 million and £86 million each. SABMiller (brewers of Grolsch), Barclays, Lloyds, Marks & Spencers and Cadburys also owe.
The next day in Bath saw 250 students from the two unis, and other supporters, gather outside the Lib Dem office on James Street West, as well as around 40 cops. They were all eager to hear why it is indecisive Don might be going against his pre-election pledge to oppose fees hikes. Ever the crowd player, M.P. Foster the Impostor gathered amongst the crowd and patronised his constituents as to why he didn't have to make a decision til Thursday in London – expect more fun and frolics in the capital that day! In upside-down land, the police then invited the crowd to block the road for their march to Kingsmead Square. We at the Bath Bomb took a special pleasure from the demo organisers, who handed out songbooks of appropriate chants for protesters, whilst a giant man-sized clump of bank notes capered back and forth: huh?
This justin: students at Bath Spa and Bath Uni occupied their universities on the Tuesday, with occupations of Sion Hill and a bagpipe-accompanied blockade of the Vice Chancellors office at Claverton Down; the Bath Uni occupation intends to last until the vote on tuition fees on Thursday has been and gone.
News Round-Up From The Ground Up
* A leading Bath Tory of over 50 years' membership quit the party over spending cuts. Former mayor Sir Elgar Jenkins said in a letter to the Bath Chronicle “People should panic because of the severity and cruelty of the 'Con Dem' cuts upon their lives and the impacts on their savings.” One left political activist who has known Jenkins for thirty years had this to say: “I have clashed with him several times over his right-wing policies. That we are now agreed on this current government's attack on ordinary people is a sign of the times and the crisis we are facing”
* The Bath Transportation Plan, involving the controversial Bus Rapid Transit and Bathampton Meadows Park & Ride, has been sent back to the drawing board. B.&N.E.S. now have to shave off the least popular (and more expensive) elements in order to compete for a share of the £600 million local authority projects, alongside 55 other schemes
* Whilst the Globe in Newton St. Loe made the ethical decision to remove foie gras from their menu – following comments from their customers and Bath Animal Action – the Hop Pole on Upper Bristol Road chose otherwise; expect regular campaign updates to clog up a Bath Bomb near you in future!
* A bailiffs office in Nottingham has been attacked by anonymous activists, who disabled the doors, smashed windows and intercom systems and left painted messages, protesting the role they will play in enforcing the cuts
* The last Wednesday in October saw a Vodafone store in London occupied, in response to the government letting the company off a massive £6 billion tax bill. The 70 activists shut the store and highlighted the hypocrisy of a government slashing our money, but allowing mega-rich corporations to get off tax-free. The following day, a copycat action in Leeds simultaneously shut all six stores in the city, and Saturday 30th saw stores blockaded in Bournemouth, Liverpool, Hastings, York, London, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol (later joined by the annual Bristol zombie march), Manchester, Oxford, Brighton and Portsmouth. Many independent shop owners have now also pledged a boycott of Vodafone products until the outstanding tax is repaid
* Students from Bristol, Edinburgh, Exeter, London and Warwick have been protesting and 'dying in' at their uni careers fairs in October, against the presence of B.A.E. Systems, the world's largest defence contractor – flogging weaponry to Indonesia, Israel and Saudi Arabia. They have been accused again and again of corruption and fraud, including the Al-Yamamah ‘oil-for-arms’ deal, and fined £286 million back in February. Many were evicted by heavy-handed security
* Con-Dem 'Coalition's approval of eight new nuclear sites has been announced, with Bradwell in Essex; Hartlepool; Heysham in Lancashire; Hinkley Point in Somerset; Oldbury in South Gloucestershire; Sellafield in Cumbria; Sizewell in Suffolk; and Wylfa in Anglesey: yet another U-turn by the previously anti-nuclear Lib Dems and climate/energy secretary Chris Huhne – though they will apparently be built without public money
* Whilst energy firm E.ON confirmed its withdrawal from its Kingsnorth coal-fire power station plans, activists from Bristol Rising Tide dropped a banner reading 'Import Co2al: Export Poverty' from Avonmouth bridge, near one of the largest coal import terminals in the U.K., on the 12th October. Six days later, at the 'Crude Awakening', the U.K.'s busiest refinery at Coryton in Essex was shut down by two blockades of erected tripods and arm-lock tubes involving 500 activists, a samba band, stilts, bike sound systems, and a heavily outnumbered police presence. Meanwhile, in Scotland, Communities Against Airfield Open Cast won a victory when they pressured Midlothian Council to refuse Scottish Coal to mine Airfield in Cousland. The company is still after other sites in the Douglas Valley
* The six defendants in the second S.H.A.C. anti-vivisection campaign were hit with between six years' jail time and a two-year suspended sentence recently, as well as lengthy A.S.B.O.s, for 'conspiracy to interfere with the contractual relations of an animal research organisation'. Though the sentences were hoped to bring an end to animal rights activism, simultaneous demos struck Huntingdon Life Sciences sites, beagle suppliers, rabbit breeders and even Cambridgeshire Police H.Q.
* 'International security solutions group' G4S murdered 46-year-old Jimmy Mubenga on the 12th October, whilst forcibly deporting him back to war-torn Angola, on British Airways flight 77. Initial statements by the Home Office and G4S were labelled “completely false” by passenger eye witnesses. The company also runs four of the U.K.'s 11 detention centres. Detainees in Dover are demanding an official investigation, punishing all those responsible accordingly. Angola has seen decades of war and human rights abuses, exacerbated by western companies like B.P. 14 similar deaths from cardiac arrest and positional asphyxia have been inflicted in deportations since 1991
* After Royal Mail's sabotage and forced subsidy of private courier companies by past governments, The Con-Dems will sell it off, with a fraction of shares going to the staff lucky enough to not be laid off. Expect higher prices for customers and the winding down of rural deliveries
* Firefighters in London have been threatened with a mass sacking of all 5,500 employees if they refuse to accept insulting pay and conditions changes. The firefighters have responded with strikes, a 3,000-strong march, and the blockading of scab temp-workers. The strikes have been supported by many other unions and activists and marks a stand against the sort of intimidation we can all expect to see from the government and bosses in the coming years. As the severity of the cuts becomes clear, resistance is being ramped up all over the country with strikes, demos and direct actions now a daily occurrence. To keep up with the latest, e-mail bathagainstcuts[at]yahoo.co.uk
(A)lms For The Poor
For three years, the Bath Bomb has been sniffing out scandal, unveiling council and big business sleaze, telling it like it is and isn't, and poking fun at the rich and powerful (something we unfortunately have no short supply of in Bath). We have done all of this on a budget of zero, save the odd kind donation and benefit gig (we asked the council for an arts grant, but haven't heard back). Now, we need your help to secure the future of the Bath Bomb, and here's three simple steps you can take to do it:
Become a 'Comrade of Bath Bomb' – for £15 waged/£10 unwaged, you will get a shiny new copy of your favourite scandal mag posted to your door each month for a year, along with a fashionable, limited edition Bath Bomb badge and 'Comrade of Bath Bomb' card, which gets you modest discounts on a growing number of local outlets – e-mail us F.F.I.
Sponsor an issue – each month, we run off 500 copies of the Bomb, and e-mail out to a further 93, costing £70 per month. Do you or your group love the 'Bomb enough to sponsor a whole issue? Sponsorship gets you a year of copies posted to your door, a badge, a 'Comrades' card, a certificate to show off on yer living room wall and maybe even your name on the front cover if you're feeling risqué
One-off donation – any one-off donation which covers cost gets you a Bath Bomb badge and this month's issue posted to your door
To donate, send cheques payable to 'B.A.A.', along with your name and address, to: Bath Bomb Press, P.O. Box 426, Bath, BA1 2ZD.
Theory Corner: Who Does Help For Heroes Really Help?
This reporter has recently been bombarded with requests to donate to 'Help for Heroes', and, especially as a footie fan, has been deluged with stickers, banners and tin shakers for the charity. All of this has got me thinking: what is this about, and who does it really benefit? On paper, it seems like a worthy cause. It is certainly true that, for or against the wars in the Middle East, the way that the army sucks in people as cannon fodder then spits them out physically or emotionally crippled, with scant emotional or financial support, is exploitative and deplorable. In fact, eight out of ten adult males living rough have been in the military at some point, and mental issues, suicide, alcohol and drug abuse are rife amongst retired soldiers, so they do need help. What sits uneasy about 'Help for Heroes' though, is the way they manage to use broken ex-squaddies as a propaganda exercise for patriotism and militarism, when the very fact that we need a charity such as this demonstrates the contempt that the state has for the average soldier. Once a soldier has fulfilled his use to the army, they are discarded like a broken machine. Indeed, refuseniks like former soldier Joe Glenton represent a different sort of hero, who went against orders to kill, and faced legal repercussions. So yes, in theory, I am very willing to give money to help our heroes, but only on two conditions. One, the charity drops its patriotic “our boys overseas” image, and starts showing war and the army for what it is – a brutal, ruthless and exploitative machine for whom soldiers are expendable commodities. And two, I would be much more willing to donate if the charity gave money to all of the other unsung heroes - the builders, carpenters, farm workers and firemen who routinely get maimed providing us with a comfortable way of life. If anything, the charity is a living testament to the arguments against patriotism and war, but it manages to skilfully twist the argument to stoke national pride and support for war. Help the heroes – bring them home alive.
October has been another bad week for the European far right, with two bloody defeats in as many days! In the first incident, Polish anti-fascists attacked neo-nazi metal band 'Tormentia', leaving the band bloodied and bruised, and all their equipment broken. The band were on their way to play at an Aryan skinhead gig – the first of a planned tour, raising money for nazi groups across Europe. The band were forced to cancel the tour, losing thousands of Euros for far right causes. The attack was another in a string of anti-fascist activities aimed at disrupting the far-right music scene in Eastern Europe, which represents the main source of income for neo-nazism across the continent. Meanwhile, over here, the B.N.P. have been all but bankrupted by a lawsuit from Marmite after the party's attempted theft of the Trade-Marked “you either love it or hate it”. Following that, their only elected Wiltshire councillor, Michael Simpkins in Corsham, quit.
In other news destined to put a delirious grin on the face of all those who think fascists deserve a good slap, the E.D.L. (far-right English footie hooligan group) made their first foray onto foreign soil, ending in bruised bodies and egos. 60 members went on a booze cruise over to Holland to support anti-Islam politician Gert Wilders as he made a public speech (even Wilders has gone to lengths to distance himself from the E.D.L., calling them 'violent street thugs'). It all started badly for our Burberry-clad heroes, when their mini-vans were attacked by a large mob no sooner than the vehicles had rolled off the ferry! The attack left the vans trashed, the E.D.L. with no transport and shy a few teeth (anti-fascists 1 – E.D.L. 0). After being jeered by large crowds as they foot-slogged it to their meetup point, five were arrested for having incorrect I.D. before they even made it to the demo (anti-fascists 2 – E.D.L. 0). They then half-heartedly took part in a pitifully small demo, far outnumbered by counter protesters. As the demo ended, to rub salt into their numerous wounds, a large group of Ajax fans (the club has a long history of anti-racism) attacked the retreating bulldogs, prompting the E.D.L. to scurry back to their mini-vans and the comfort of Blighty (anti-fascists 3 – E.D.L. 0). After dwindling attendances at home U.K. outings, the E.D.L. tactic of overseas away clashes for their punch-ups has resulted in a resounding failure. Tune in next month for more fun and games from everyone's least favourite drunken rent-a-clowns.
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drawing classes: 'Remembering the Present', Mondays & Tuesdays, Stokes Croft Museum, 81-83 Stokes Croft, Bristol
London Road Food Co-op, Wednesdays, 5-7p.m., Riverside Community Centre, London Road
exhibition: 'Remembering the Present', Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays, 11a.m.-3p.m., Stokes Croft Museum, 81-83 Stokes Croft, Bristol
Bathampton Community Growers workday, Thursdays, 10a.m.-dusk, Mill Lane, Bathampton, e-mail thelostplot[at]googlemail.com/ tel Chris 07792 444628
Bathampton Community Supported Agriculture project: fruit picking, Thursdays and Sundays, 10a.m.-2p.m., FFI e-mail csa[at]transitionbath.org
Bath Stop The War Coalition vigil, Saturdays, 11.30a.m.-12.30, Bath Abbey Courtyard
Bradford-On-Avon peace vigil, Saturdays, 11.30a.m.-12.30, by the peace statue opposite Westbury Gardens by the Town Bridge, Bradford-On-Avon
exhibition: 'Remembering the Present', Saturdays, 12-4p.m., Stokes Croft Museum, 81-83 Stokes Croft, Bristol
Recycle Your Sundays, Sundays, 10.30a.m., starts Abbey Churchyard, the regular series of sociable, easy-paced cycle rides, tel Hazel 01225 469199
badger cull consultation deadline, Wednesday 8th December, http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/tb-control-me...x.htm
march against education reforms, Wednesday 8th December, starts 11.30a.m. Pittville Campus service yard, Cheltenham
mass meeting with the Vice Chancellor over tuition fees, Wednesday 8th December, 12 midday, Bath University
Bristol Against the Arms Trade meeting & letter writing to prisoners, Wednesday 8th December, 6p.m., Kebele Community Co-op, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol; e-mail bristolagainstarmstrade[at]gmail.com
Bath Green Drinks, Wednesday 8th December, 8p.m., the Rising Sun, Grove Street
'Day X' school and uni walk-out/national demo in London (as Parliament vote on university fees), Thursday 9th December, coaches leaving from Bath Spa and Bath Uni
FreeBus Pilot Weekend (environmentally friendly, free bus service project in Bristol), Friday 10th to Saturday 11th December, 11a.m.-3
Vigil for International Animal Rights Day, Friday 10th December, 4-7p.m., near Hippodrome, Bristol – bring a candle
Don't Send Them Back To Afghanistan & Iraq!: fund-raiser with talks, food & entertainment, Friday 10th December, from 6p.m., Refugee Welcome Centre, Newton Hall, Newton Street, Bristol, e-mail bristolstopwar[at]hotmail.com
anti-fascist arrestee punk benefit gig, Friday 10th December, the Plough, Easton, Bristol; feat. Fresh Milk, Belladonna, This Ends Here, Neon Space Dogs and Dub Tom; £3 entry
Bath FreeShop, Saturday 11th December, 12-3p.m., outside the Pump Rooms, Stall Street
Bath Bomb punk & reggae benefit gig, Saturday 11th December, 7.30p.m., The Love Lounge (back room of the Bell), Walcot Street, £3 entry; feat. Spanner, Belladonna, Rapscallion Sound and Madame Hatter
workshop: Introductions to Kebele and facilitation skills, Sunday 12th December, 2.30-6p.m., Kebele Community Co-op, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol
E.M.A. Day of Action, Monday 13th December, 12.30 midday, outside City of Bath College, James Street West
Bath Animal Action & Bath Hunt Saboteurs meeting, Monday 13th December, 8-9p.m., The Bell, Walcot Street, e-mail bathanimalaction[at]yahoo.co.uk
national day of protest against welfare cuts, Wednesday 15th December, meet 4p.m., 'Pigeon Park', St. James Parade
Climate Camp Aotearoa, Thursday 16th to Tuesday 21st December, Wellington New Zealand
Bristol Stop The War Coalition fundraiser quiz & live music, Thursday 16th December, 7.30p.m., The Golden Guinea pub, 19 Guinea Street, Redcliffe, Bristol; e-mail bristolstopwar[at]hotmail.com
CoExist Christmas Fayre, Saturday 18th December, 11a.m.-6, Hamilton House, 80 Stokes croft, Bristol; handmade gifts, live music, Christmas Carols, choral singing, games, workshops, mulled wine, cider & mince pies
'Nightmare Before Christmas' punk benefit (for 'Against & Beyond' zine) gig, Saturday 18th December, feat. War Coma, Dead Subverts, 2 Sick Monkeys and Year of the Flood; 8p.m., £5 entry, ring 07521 788343 on the night for location!
Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance meeting, Tuesday 21st December, 8p.m., the Bell, Walcot Street
Bath Hunt Saboteurs meeting, Monday 27th December, 8-9p.m, The Bell, tel Justin 07854 062336
Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance meeting, Tuesday 4th January, 8p.m., the Bell, Walcot Street
Bath Activist Network meeting, Thursday 6th January, 7.30-9p.m., downstairs at the Hobgoblin, St James Parade
Bath Green Drinks, Wednesday 12th January, 8p.m., the Rising Sun, Grove Street
Anarchists Against The Cuts benefit punk all-dayer, Saturday 29th January, Taunton; line-up T.B.C. £5 entry
Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance demo, Saturday 5th February, more details T.B.C.
Bath Activist Network are a local umbrella group campaigning on issues as diverse as development, environmentalism, anti-war, animal rights, workers' rights and more. Helping to produce the Bath Bomb, we are open to anyone, and our members range from trade unionists to anarchists, liberals and greens, and people who just want to change Bath for the better. For details on meetings, demos, or just to get in touch, e-mail bathactivistnet[at]yahoo.co.uk, or see our website: http://www.bathactivistnetwork.blogspot.com
It is very important that we have a good understanding of our monetary system because it is at the heart of the cuts problem. Here are the rules of the current economic system which we can call 'Modern Monetary Economics', or the M.E. economy:
All money is created as debt and total debt = total money supply + interest. The monetary system is owned by a small elite with the monopoly on money creation. Money is created as interest bearing debt, and it all eventually makes its way back to the banks. Money scarcity creates losers in the game, with bankruptcies and repossessions being a necessary outcome. Interest means the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The constant need for a larger monetary supply (to feed the interest on the existing debt) causes inflation, damaging the currency's ability to act as a 'store of value' because more money chasing the same amount of goods reduces purchasing power. Having to pay back the initial loan, plus interest, means that the economy must always grow. Constant growth means acceleration of the rate of environmental degradation and ever faster resource depletion.
Can we imagine a healthy economic environment which we would be happy passing on to our grandchildren? Yes: the basic idea is contained in what is called Local Exchange Trading Schemes, or L.E.T.S. The rules are as follows:
The members own the money supply and everyone starts with a zero balance. Credit is created only when a transaction occurs, which ensures there is always exactly the right amount of money in the system. This eliminates inflation, therefore securing the currency's longevity as a stable measure of exchange, store of value and unit of account. There is NO interest payable on either debits or credits, eliminating the growing economic disparities of the M.E. economy. It also reduces the need for constant growth and makes the sustainable stewardship of our natural resources easier. Money circulates, and all members hold the sovereignty of the currency equally. Abundant and free credit means there is always enough money in the system, which reduces competition and anti-social behaviour patterns and replaces them with generous, open and co-operative patterns of communitarian behaviour.
We already have a functioning L.E.T.Scheme here in Bath: visit http://www.bathLETS.org.uk for more info. We the people must reclaim our right to a free and abundant monetary system and deny the big banks their monopoly on the right to create money. We have it within our power to redesign how we interact with each other, and it is up to us to bring about the change we want to see in the world.
Sett-ing A Bad Example
Since the mid-70s, badgers have been used as a scapegoat by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, now known as Defra, blamed for passing bovine tuberculosis on to cattle. It has been proved they don't as there have been outbreaks of bovine T.B. in areas where there are no badgers, such as the Isle of Man. 80% of badgers caged, trapped and shot in the past were found to be disease-free. Many others were liberated by the 'Badger Defence League'.
Better testing for cattle is the answer, using the new gamma interferon blood test used in Northern Ireland, which eliminated the disease there. In the Republic of Ireland, where badger culling took place, it has since returned. The skin test, which is cheaper and only 80% effective, allows 20% of infected cows to slip through the net and pass bovine T.B. on to other cows and wildlife. Badgers can pick up the disease from foraging in infected areas under cowpats via dung beetles and the like.
Field tests in Northern Ireland over 15 years ago proved that cows transmit the disease nose to nose when confined in close proximity. All these facts are ignored by the present government. The Conservatives largely support the farming lobby, consisting mostly of bloodsports enthusiasts. The last years of the previous Labour government saw the cull stop through public pressure. As well as that, a badger vaccine was brought in by Hilary Benn.
Defra should not start the badger culling again and waste taxpayers money on pointless slaughter to appease farmers who are blind to the scientific facts. To consider giving farmers licences to kill is complete lunacy. The fact that the original cull didn't get rid of bovine T.B. speaks for itself. Their public consultation deadline ends on the 8th December, and it is hoped that that a massive objection will send them packing – so get online and have your say!
Digging In For Victory
Ah farmers, what a funny old bunch. One minute they're kicking your head in (and mugging you for video cameras) for disrupting a fox hunt, the next they're on the front lines of the fight against global capitalism! In what they warned was the first in a string of actions, in October, over 100 farmers, in their tractors no less, blockaded a Tesco supply depot near Southampton in a protest over the insulting prices for which they are forced to sell their produce. Spokesperson for Farmers For Action (F.F.A.) Dave Handley said “We are not demanding more money from customers but we want to get the message across that the supply chain has plenty of money to pass down a fair price to the primary producer. We will continue to blockade supermarkets in the run up to Christmas if we need to.” Mr Handley was also clear that Tesco was not the only villain, insisting that Morrissons, Sainsburys and Asda would also be targets. Both here and overseas, companies like Tesco are behind disgusting business practices such as destroying and refusing to pay for mis-shapen, under-sized and over-sized veg, hurting both the consumer and the producer, and creating even more unnecessary waste food. Tesco and their ilk are well known for playing domestic and foreign farmers off against each-other in a race to the lowest possible prices, leading to starvation and poverty amongst third world producers, food mile transport emissions, and unemployment and bankruptcy for U.K. farmers. This is a fight that we should all be supporting, but it is a fight that cannot be won until domestic and international farmers realize that they are fighting the same struggle, pitted against each other by a profit-hungry machine that would rather drive farmers into destitution and misery than relinquish a small portion of its profits.
Nuke Kids On The Block
After the recent Strategic Defence and Security Review decided to cut the stockpile of operational warheads from 225 to 180, Monday the 1st November saw a mass blockade of the M.o.D. nuclear base of Devonport, in Plymouth, to finish the job! Up to 200 protesters took to the streets (and a good few of them glued themselves to it) to protest the government's continued investment in the dangerous, outdated and pointless Trident nuclear program. John Robb told the Bath Bomb: “The Cold War is over and we now face no foreseeable nuclear threat. It is insane that people up and down the country are at risk of losing their homes and their jobs due to spending cuts, but something like £80 billion is to be spent on an obscene weapon that can never be used.” Another protester, Angie Zelter, had this to say: “Nuclear weapons distort the moral fabric of our society and undermine our humanity. With our world facing massive ecological crises caused by corporate power abuse backed by military might, we need to actively promote a culture of peace not war."
Throughout the day, various groups maintained a blockade of several gates to the base, preventing deliveries and employees from entering. Ingenious blockading techniques were employed on the day, but our first prize goes to the plucky lot who locked themselves underneath a parked car in one of the gateways. When police finally dragged them out, they managed to scurry under a riot van, super-glue themselves to the underside and continue their blockade! News also came in that a large island facing the naval base was occupied by activists who draped it with anti-nuclear slogans. Despite 13 arrests, the Devonport blockade was hailed a success, not only for stopping a day's work at a dangerous and unethical nuclear facility, but also demonstrating the growing tide of opposition people feel towards the outdated, dangerous tax waste that is Trident.
Pissing public money up the wall and dumping on local taxpayers are B.&N.E.S. council specialities. They have achieved both with the latest buffoonery from their department of Typically Wasteful Artistic Travesties (T.W.A.T.): this latest pile of crap which has been evacuated on city centre streets, and paid for by YOU, whether you agree with it, like it or want it, is yet another phoney public arse (sorry, art) exhibition, this time a way O.T.T. indigestion of 100+ ginormous pix of Britain from the air.
The reasons the T.W.A.T.s are cramming this clutter into Bath are of the usual smoke-and-mirror variety: now the tacky plastic lions have gone (good riddance) they need to distract attention from the filthy, broken pavements, agricultural-status roads, empty shops, and graffiti they haven't bothered to clean off for the last six years; plus, there's evidently no such thing in Bath as art without strings, 'cos the in-yer-face pix are the hard sell for the inevitable spin-off calendars, greetings cards and framed pictures, that the private-company P.R. merchants behind this cunning stunt are hoping to flog out of the temporary 'shop' in the Friends' Meeting House in York St., no less. Mammon 1, God 0.
Prostituting Bath's open spaces for private profit is the name of this grubby little game. Nothing new there, then. Nor that locals are being mugged to pay for the tens of thousands of pounds the event cost to set up, the leccy used to light the pix at night, and micro-sleb My-call Palin's fat fee for 'officially opening' the whole charade. And there's me thinking that B.&N.E.S. are so skint that they're going to have to make huge cuts in expenditure and manpower....
The nursery-level intelligence of organisers who inflicted this gawp-fest on Bath, and their utter contempt for the city's World Heritage status that they are supposed to be upholding, is shown by their shoehorning of a giant playpen into Abbey Square, disguised as a walk-on map of the U.K. Time is long overdue for the T.W.A.T.s to quit treating us like children with their patronising amusements, and send gimmicky infotainment like this back to Disneyworld where it belongs.
Theory Corner: No Hard Fillons
The last few months have seen millions of French people taking to the streets over proposed reforms to the retirement. The protests and strikes, supported by 70% of the population, have seen French infrastructure brought to its knees by blockades of petrol stations and airports, and has given us a taste of how we can fight back effectively against our own cuts. Their parliament has ignored the people and upped the retirement age to 62, but the fight looks set to continue. With things hotting up on this side of the pond, our man in France casts a poetic eye over the situation here and abroad:
“Hearing the news, and seeing David Cameron repeat almost word for word the excuses of the state capitalists right here in France, I cannot help but think that, for all the difference in the radicalism of the union movements in the U.K. and France – and it's really not that big a difference, the PEOPLE are the ones who demonstrate and they are fucking angry, the reformist union bosses are more like cowards I feel. We really have two identical systems, with variants in how much they are allowed to fuck people over, allowed by the people themselves, sadly.
As the saying goes, “they break our legs, and then they give us crutches”. The social security system is the capitalists' charity, seeking to drown dreams of true equality, under the false alibi of a 'Social Republic', the name given by right-wing Prime Minister Francois Fillon. But now, even the crutches and the morphine are being taken away by the right-wing Tory government and sold to the highest bidder. How surprising. While the welfare state is not perfect, and we should be struggling for a less authoritarian model of welfare, the alternative proposed by the Tories is far worse.
We could have gone down another road, and that is what capitalists always have to answer for, before they speak of necessity, and how there is no other choice. Under state capitalism, there is no other choice than to keep the crutches which serve to stall the revolution that would end the reign of all elites; some will ask the poorest to contribute more, others will tax the rich, and I say 'aye' to that, with reservation. The more direct and certain route to recovery is true anarchy and socialism. What do people care that capitalism cannot sustain itself, when in their great majority they never asked for it, nor was it ever asked of them whether they wanted it? No. It was all done behind their backs, and now the powers that be demand more of them still.
Don't let this lie be repeated, there is a choice. Fight not just against the cuts, but against the whole system of oppression and control perpetrated by the ruling political and corporate classes.”
British And American Low Level Security Uniform Productions
British and American Low Level Security Uniform Productions (B.A.L.L.S.U.P.) regret to announce the cancellation, after one night only, of the international pantomime 'The Ink Cartridge Bomb Terror Plot'. We are sorry that refunds following purchase of publications containing free tickets for this show - such as the Daily Mail, Guardian, Telegraph, and most other national newspapers, will not be made.
Any complaints about the quality of this production should be addressed to the director, Backoff O'Barmy, at our U.S. office. Remarks about the props used in performance (viz. unidentifiable bits of black plastic, 20 year-old circuit board, loose and unrelated wires, and spray-on snow) will be dealt with by the head of our Crossroads Motel fake stage-set archive, Bhull Shytt.
We apologise for several unfortunate typographical errors which appeared in the programme. When it was stated that there would be a special guest appearance by 'Al Qaeda', this of course was meant to read 'Al Capone'. And in connection with the theatrical terror threat contained in the plot, this should not have been described as emanating from 'Yemen', but from 'Yes-men'.
Any resemblance to reality in world events contained in the show is entirely beyond our control. The timing of our only performance, coming as it did several days before the mid-term elections in the States, and prior to U.K. government debate over control orders and counter-terrorism legislation, was purely coincidental.
We cannot be held responsible over subsequent press scare stories that P.C. World and similar stores are now demanding passport or other photographic I.D. from individuals wishing to purchase home printer cartridges
And now, to the disclaimer: as anyone is free to contribute, the opinions expressed in each article are not necessarily reflective of all contributors. Naturally, any right-wing or corporate bullshit will be binned and spat upon. Needless to say, the opinions of the author of this disclaimer do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other contributor.
Take action now to defend the Welfare State. We will not pay for their crisis.
07-12-2010 22:22The weekend saw the 'iconic' Coke truck parked up by the Christmas tree in Bristol's Harbourside generally being a giant red symbol of the absolute commercialisation of Christmas
Last Saturday and Sunday from 11am-6pm a giant branded truck, star of the 'holidays are coming' Cocacola adverts, parked up in Bristol city centre for a garish display of Christmas marketing. Blasting tacky carols, giving free samples and shouting Coke's web address through a megaphone, the truck was a ghastly reminder of the commercial driving forces behind the holiday season.
The truck is touring the UK and will make 30 stops over five weeks.
Coke has been associating itself with Christmas for decades and is the branding force behind the current red suited incarnation of Santa Claus.
About 35,000 portions of Coke are bought every second worldwide. Behind the jolly red facade is a monopolistic giant with a sack full of profit and a chimney full of brand identity. Apart from that, mainly sugar and water.
Latest episode of "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine" featuring footage from the recent student demonstrations around the UK and Europe. Also features interviews with people attending the Cancun climate summit.
07-12-2010 19:216pm, Upstairs at the Hobgoblin
07-12-2010 19:02at the occupied University of Brighton, Pavilion Parade, 11am
07-12-2010 18:20If you are going on a protest, especially in London, try this to keep from being hit by a police bludgeon.
07-12-2010 17:44Mr Murphy, Tory leader of Norfolk County Council, stood in front of BBC's Look East Camera's and said he welcomed the lobby by students from Norwich City College against cuts to their travel subsidy.
07-12-2010 17:28Οn the 24th November, many student demonstrations took place in Britain, in which participated over 50,000 people. The march was called in response to the new educational measures announced by the British government.
07-12-2010 16:53After a full day today hearing arguments from lawyers representing UCL management, and lawyers representing the occupation, court is deferring its decision, which is now expected tomorrow: Wednesday 8th December)
07-12-2010 16:22Just found this online, I'm sure there's more to come. I'm popping up to visit the Bath Uni bunch in a few minutes so I'll update later. For now some links:
07-12-2010 15:54We need alternatives to the US owned financial systems.