Friday, August 31, 2007

Whistle blowers treated like terrorists!

Whistleblowers Treated Like Terrorists

Source: Associated Press, August 26, 2007
"One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted. Or worse," reports Deborah Hastings. For reporting illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance and a colleague say they were subjected to physical and mental interrogation tactics "reserved for terrorists and so-called enemy combatants."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Rip-off in Iraq: You Will Not Believe How Low the War Profiteers Have Gone

redistribution of death and wealth..

The Rip-off in Iraq: You Will Not Believe How Low the War Profiteers Have Gone
By Matt Taibbi, RollingStone.com

In Iraq, private contractors are guaranteed huge profits no matter how badly they fuck things up. Read more »

Row over War on Want Israel Campaign

war on Want under attack .. read this story
Row over War on Want Israel campaign
Human rights and poverty relief charity War on Want has accused "politically motivated lobbyists" of abusing Charity Commission complaints procedures to prevent the organisation from defending Palestinians' human rights.

Lee Scott, Conservative MP for Ilford North, complained to the regulator about the charity’s online Palestine guide, which describes itself as a “guide for boycott, divestment and sanctions” against Israel. Scott denied that the motivation for his letter was political. “War on Want is a registered charity,” he told Third Sector. “As such, it shouldn’t involve itself in political matters, and this is a political matter. This is not something that a charity that wants to help people should be doing.”

However, John Hilary, campaigns and policy director at War and Want, dismissed Scott’s concerns as “misguided” and said the MP’s complaint was part of an ongoing strategy by a highly organised pro-Israel lobby to disrupt the charity’s Palestie campaigns by complaining about them to the regulator.“

..He also said War on Want had not heard from the commission following complaints made in June of last year about two leaflets the charity produced as part of its Palestine campaign. A spokeswoman of the commission confirmed that those complaints had also surrounded the “inappropriate nature” of political campaigning.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Outrage as serial abuser escapes jail because he is "a man of faith"

A predatory paedophile walked free from court yesterday after admitting a string of sex attacks on children, including an 18-month-old baby. Michael Porter, 38, used his trusted position as a prominent Jehovah's Witness to prey on youngsters, many of them children of members of the church.In court he pleaded guilty to 24 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency over 15 years. But at Bristol crown court Judge Tom Crowther handed him a three-year community rehabilitation order after hearing he had undergone therapy and, according to the BBC, after being impressed that Porter was "a man of faith".

Full details of the case.Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: "The fact that this man escaped a jail term because the judge took into account that he was 'a man of faith' is a disgraceful abuse of the law. What if he had been an atheist? Would that have meant he went straight to jail? You cannot have a legal system that favours people because they claim to be religious. This is a very disturbing development."
http://www.secularism.org.uk/

We should be calling paedophiles - child rapists - people who rape and sexually attack children -as this is what they are. It some how seems so much less to call them paedophiles.

Make Schools Secular

Welsh parliamentarian wants multi-faith assemblies in schools

Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Peter Black has called for the Welsh Assembly to reconsider the requirement for schools in the country to hold an act of Christian worship and to make assemblies "multi-faith."Writing on his website in response to a humanist group, Mr Black says: "The present requirement for schools to provide a daily act of what is interpreted as Christian worship for all pupils as enshrined in the 1944 Education Act is not a practical possibility for most schools and does not fit with the cultural, religious and ethnic make-up of modern 21st Century Britain. We have to recognise that pupils live and work side by side with others of all religions and cultures and we should amend the duty on schools to use morning assemblies and lessons to help youngsters understand, appreciate and benefit from the diverse society they live in. "In many schools there is no suitable hall or room capable of accommodating the whole school with the result that most headteachers stagger assemblies and interpret the requirement as providing an act of Christian worship at least once a week. Because of the diverse nature of their pupils many are able to opt out of these assemblies and do so, thus defeating the purpose of them. A multi-faith assembly staggered over the week or one focussed on educating children about the differences between all faiths and none would benefit everybody and lead to better tolerance and understanding within our society. If at all possible the Welsh Assembly should review the present legal requirement and seek to amend it to accommodate these views."

Responding to this in the Western Mail, Saleem Kidwai, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, welcomed the suggestion that different faiths could contribute to assemblies, and was adamant that religion should not be banished from the educational system. He said, "I'm a product myself of a Catholic school."

Brian Cainen, secretary of the West Glamorgan Humanist Group, which approached Mr Black, believes a distinctively Christian assembly is divisive. He said, "You've got Christians, Muslims and Jews being divided up. I do think education is about enthusing people and giving them space for philosophical thought and discussion is very important."

The Rev Aled Edwards, chief executive of Cytûn (Churches Together in Wales), said, "The balance struck with the legislation is the right one where required to broadly reflect the Christian tradition." However, he stressed it was the responsibility of faith communities and schools to pass on their beliefs. Schools, he said, should "create an ambience where young people think through their own values and faith background."

Colin Hart, director of the right-wing Christian Institute, also defended the status quo. "The biggest danger is the curriculum squeeze on religious education. That's why it's important it's still legally required."Stephen Green, founder of the extremist group Christian Voice – notorious for its opposition to Jerry Springer: The Opera – does not want Islamic teachings in schools. He said, "Much as it must irritate the secularists, Wales is still part of a Christian United Kingdom."

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said, "The legal requirement for schools to have daily collective worship is contained in primary legislation. There are no regulation-making powers available to the Assembly Government to change or amend this legislation. Collective worship and religious education in maintained schools without a religious character must be broadly Christian whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of other principle religions represented in Great Britain."

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, said: "These exchanges illustrate perfectly why religious practices and RE should be taken out of school life. They encourage division and have no purpose other than to try to indoctrinate children into one particular religion. This is not a legitimate function of the state. As minority religions become more vocal and assertive, this will become an increasing bone of contention. We need to make schools into neutral secular spaces where religious proselytisers play no part."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hilary - shame on you!

Flash! Hillary's a girl WorldNetDaily,
Now, feminists everywhere are making excuses for her. Can they really eat all the words they dished out in their PC lectures over the last three or four ...

Don't make me laugh Guardian Unlimited, UK -
It is often said that feminists can't take a compliment. They can't fit into size zero jeans, either, and probably can't even cook. ...WAGs
I agree with Decca - I would rather, on balance, be humourless than vacuous.
I would rather, on balance, be humourless than vacuous.

Should have some comments here from Ordovicius, Chanticleer, komerad, Laban, Green Arrow, Christopher Glamorgan, Gwe, Freedaspeech, Valleys Mam.

What do you think of Hilary letting the side down? Isn't Deccas article spot on?

Barbaric Super weapon for Brits -

I am truly appalled that money is being spent on these horrific barbaric weapons that will kill innocent women and children.
What are they? So-called thermobaric weapons, in which combined heat and pressure kill people over a wide area by sucking the air out of lungs and destroying internal organs

Army gets new 'enhanced blast' weapon to fight Taliban Guardian Unlimited
British soldiers in Afghanistan are being supplied with a new "super weapon" to attack Taliban fighters more effectively, defence officials said yesterday. ...

Britain's Thermobaric Secret Wired News -
Six years ago I wrote about Britain's tentative steps towards thermobaric weapons. This type of warhead, which differs from normal explosives in producing a ...

UK to use thermobaric missile in Afghanistan - report
Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran - British soldiers in Afghanistan are being supplied with a new "super weapon" to attack Taliban fighters more effectively, it was reported Thursday. ...

Britain's controversial weapons Channel 4 News, "We're actually talking about a new generation of weapon about which very little has been publicly revealed. Because it has a very wide area effect, ...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

African children enslaved

Britain's Invisible Labor Force: African Children
By Emily Dugan, Independent
Why hasn't the enslavement of African children been prosecuted in UK courts?

Sold for sex

Guardian In Croydon 84% women sold for sex are were from overseas, most of them trafficked.

Many men consider buying sex as just another form of shopping, but their attitude is fuelling the trafficking of women to work in the trade.

Denise Marshall, chief executive of the Poppy Project, a campaign to get women out of prostitution, says: "Banning ads is a half measure. We need to follow the Swedish model of criminalising the act of buying or attempting to buy sexual services. If you are going to ban ads you are going to have to ban buying."

The Western Mail has adverts for massage thinly disguied adverts of women for asale for sex.

Sold for sex

In Croydon 84% women sold for sex are were from overseas, most of them trafficked.

Many men consider buying sex as just another form of shopping, but their attitude is fuelling the trafficking of women to work in the trade.

Denise Marshall, chief executive of the Poppy Project, a campaign to get women out of prostitution, says: "Banning ads is a half measure. We need to follow the Swedish model of criminalising the act of buying or attempting to buy sexual services. If you are going to ban ads you are going to have to ban buying."

The Western Mail has adverts for massage thinly disguied adverts of women for asale for sex.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Campaign against womens cigs!

What do you think of this campaign?
See http://feministing.com/archives/007567.html

The Bourne misogyny

Sarah Churchwell: The Bourne Ultimatum and The Matt Damon trilogy obeys the action movie rule: women just stand around looking anxious

How true and of course movies are directed at under 30s mainly, so the role models for young women are so bad, so often!

There are a lot of comments on this in the Guardian on line
This is a spot on article and the result so much vitriol! Strut out the clichés action men. There was also a mention of a feisty woman. I came across this word ‘feisty’ recently to describe strong but powerless women - which of course is the whole point!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Green Party- Real Progress-

Watch the Video - The Green Party's principal speaker Siân Berry looks at
ways to be more green, and actions other political parties are taking to appear more environmentally friendly.

Carers UK presses for anti-discrimination legislation for carers

Carers suffer all kinds of discrimination - at work, in the way that services are delivered and in health. Carers UK is putting evidence before the Government's review of equality legislation and calling for a new duty on public bodies to promote equality between carers and people without caring responsibilites. They have already sucessfully campaigned fo this right in Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately, the Government's consultation document reveals they don't think that carers are discriminated against, so we must make a strong case. The consultation closes on 3 September. So you still have the opportunity to respond and write to your MP and AM.

You can read the consultation document at the Communities and Local Government website. more...
If you would like to respond to the consultation you can email kate.hepher@communities.gsi.gov.uk

For more information on Carers Wales

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Duty to recycle! Public attitudes and behaviours towards the environment


80% people believe they have a "duty" to recycle

Energy EfficiencyThe extent of the green revolution in Britain's households will be revealed today with figures showing that more than 80 per cent of people believe they have a "duty" to recycle household waste.Findings, to be published by the Office of National Statistics, show a dramatic increase in the number of people who say they have at least one energy-saving light bulb in their homes. The survey found that 81 per cent of people say they have at least one low-energy light bulb at home compared to just over 30 per cent a few years ago.Independent 14th August 2007
Buy a little green bag as above ..only £4.00

Public attitudes and behaviours toward the environment When asked for their attitudes about recycling, 81 per cent strongly agreed or tended to agree that “people have a duty to recycle”. Approximately two thirds strongly agreed or tended to agree that “Waste not want not” sums up their general approach to life”.When presented with a list of actions that could be seen as environmentally friendly, 26 per cent said that they always or often “use their own shopping bags”. However, a greater proportion, 37 per cent, said that they never do this. The smallest proportion, 3 per cent, said that they always or often “do not buy something because it has too much packaging”. Fifty-nine per cent said that they never do this.
Make your own bag!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Jailing prostitutes helps no one

Jailing prostitutes helps no one in the The Observer August 12
"The Criminal Justice Bill that will go before Parliament when it reconvenes threatens to turn the clock back. It will give magistrates the power to jail prostitutes for three days if they fail to attend mandatory counselling. Encouraging rehabilitation is admirable, but to work, it requires real resources, in particular, treatment for drug addiction....Using the threat of prison as an incentive undermines good intentions. Jail won't cure drug addiction and it certainly won't give women a route out of prostitution."

Prostitution in Sweden is technically illegal, since it is a crime to purchase the service. Sweden considers prostitution a form of violence against women so the crime does not lie in the prostitute selling sexual services, but in the customer's buying of such services.

"It often takes many years after a law is enacted until the norm expressed in that particular law is firmly inscribed in a society. The Law in Sweden has been in effect for 5 years. During that time, street prostitution has declined in all parts of the country,and the majority of the prostitution buyers have disappeared. Service providers and the police maintain that the law also functions as a deterrent for men who use women in brothels, at porn clubs,and through escort agencies."
From: The Swedish Law That Prohibits the Purchase of Sexual Services Best Practices for Prevention of Prostitution and Trafficking in Human Beings GUNILLA EKBERG Ministry of Industry, Employment, and Communications

Quite right so why aren't we looking and learning from Sweden - best practise and what works?
From http://www.justicewomen.com/cj_sweden.html
In just five years Sweden dramatically reduced the number of its women in prostitution. In the capital city of Stockholm the number of women in street prostitution has been reduced by two thirds, and the number of johns has been reduced by 80%. There are other major Swedish cities where street prostitution has all but disappeared. Gone too, for the most part, are the renowned Swedish brothels and massage parlors which proliferated during the last three decades of the twentieth century when prostitution in Sweden was legal.In addition, the number of foreign women now being trafficked into Sweden for sex is nil.

How did this happen? Sweden's Groundbreaking 1999 Legislation

In 1999, after years of research and study, Sweden passed legislation that a) criminalizes the buying of sex, and b) decriminalizes the selling of sex. The novel rationale behind this legislation is clearly stated in the government's literature on the law:

"In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant social problem... gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them."

In order to see prostitutes as victims of male coercion and violence it requires that a government first switch from seeing prostitution from the male point of view to the female point of view. And most, if not virtually all, countries of the world still see prostitution and every other issue from a predominantly male point of view.

Legalised prostitution doesn't work. At the end of the 1990s, while Germany as well as Belgium and the Netherlands legalised prostitution, Sweden adopted a "hard" line and made the purchase of sex a punishable offence. Nowadays Sweden is regarded as a shining example, the newspaper writes. "There are around 400,000 prostitutes in Germany today. Their legalisation was intended to combat discrimination, however so far there has been no major improvement in their situation.

New Labour abandon Eisteddfod

In the western mail there is a story about WELSH New Labour decision not to take on a stand at this year’s National Eisteddfod because last year its stand was “vandalised” by Welsh language activists. Nonsense - it is due to the fact that there are not enough activists or even paid employees of the labour party or ams or mps to staff it. Mmm...“We have taken the decision this year, however, to look again at how we are represented at the many significant shows across Wales.

Giuliani 5 lies

Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice that shows Giuliani for the fabulist he is. Surprised there were only five lies. Rudy was responsible for more people dying that day than would have been necessary had he done a damn thing to prepare for terrorism before 9/11.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Valleys mam..


a comment from Valleys Mam said...

I notice that you list women bloggers in Wales
I have been blogging for three months but I note you have not included me is there a reason for that .
I am female resident in the Valleys and Welsh My blog is a mix of political and items of interest I have a link to u on it -it would be good if you returned the link

I feel queasy about the title Valleys Mam....doesn't exactly portray a feminist perspective. Sounds more blokish. I think women in the 'valleys' are already viewed negatively by cardiff folk.

TRICKERY, DECEIT, MANIPULATION

TRICKERY, DECEIT, MANIPULATION
From The Evening Standard - 30/07/2007

Revealed: the story behind one of London's Revealed: the story behind one of London's most controversial new developments BY ANDREW GILLIGAN

KEY PLAYER IN THE LOBBYING INDUSTRY

FROM its headquarters in Mayfair, PPS has become the key player in a little-known corner of the PR industry - the branch that specialises in winning developers planning permission for unpopular schemes.

Local protesters, residents' groups and even council planners may never have heard of PPS but PPS knows all about them. Its 60 staff act as the public face of controversial developments, and run a sophisticated war machine to get those developments past the objectors.

The company was founded 17 years ago by Stephen Byfield, a former staffer for a Labour MP, and Charles St George, an ex-Tory councillor. Its client list reads like a roll-call of the development industry: volume housebuilders, such as Barratt, Wimpey, and Taylor Woodrow; big retailers; quarry owners; and power stations.

Mr St George, now the company's director of special projects, lives on a country estate in Somerset and is described by PPS as having 'expertise in just about everything'.

Mr Byfield remains the managing director of PPS and is heavily involved in BAA's hugely controversial project to expand Stansted Airport.

See also previous post
on PPs and Rhrodris ex spindoctor from PPS Cathy Owens. Leighton Andrews relations with the company.

See zoominfo

'The company was founded 17 years ago by Stephen Byfield, a former staffer for a Labour MP, and Charles St George, an ex-Tory councillor. ..'

Current projects include consultation with local residents for the proposed development of a new south stand at Twickenham for client the Rugby Football Union, while others retaining the agency on similar briefs are National Car Parks and Lattice Properties.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Robots to Kill with!

Not in my name - Robots deployed in Iraq battlefield Times of India - India A US division of British defence company QinetiQ has admitted that the 3rd Infantry Division, based south of Baghdad, has purchased three Talon Sword robots ... The robots are armed with M240 machine guns or .50 calibre rifles. Soldiers operate the robots with a specially modified laptop, complete with joystick controls and a 'kill button' that terminates its functions if it goes awry.

Just a game to some.

Frightening, terrifying glimpse of the future with militarism. Are there robots to raise children, bury the dead and rebuild what has been destroyed?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Welsh Tory defects to Labour

A Welsh Tory has defected to the Labour Party or rather New Labour party ?
Is there a difference?

Breasts ..Thats what they're for!

This is a postcard sent from Norway. The Stavanger chapter of Ammehjelpen had the picture taken by a local photographer for the ad. Helsekost means "healthfood" and Gode råd om amming means "Good advice on Breastfeeding." This picture was shown as a slide before every feature length film in the cinemas of Stavanger in 1994 as an ad for the Ammehjelpen services in that city. Check out their Web site for breastfeeding information in Norweigian. You can also order cards or T-shirts (I have one. It's great!) at http://www.ammehjelpen.no/ or email Rachel at mailto:newman@globalserve.net for more information.
80% of women breast feed in Norway.

Boycott Nestle Campaign

Smartass idiot Brendan O Neill from Spiked has a go at breast feeding campaigners. Any opportunity to mention Katie Price, also known as Jordan, the British ‘glamour’ model who doesn’t shock us feminists, no - she's a sad woman. What does he know about breastfeeding that every child health expert doesn't. Breasts, tits...Thats for they're for love!

In the current issue of the celebrity magazine OK!, Jordan can clearly be seen feeding her three-week-old daughter, Princess Tiaamii, (poor child to be given a name like that) from a bottle which says ‘SMA’ on it, SMA being one of the leading manufacturers of formula milk for babies.. A headline in yesterday’s Independent on Sunday put it: ‘Breastfeeding lobby criticises Jordan for infant formula “stunt”.’ Groups such as the National Childbirth Trust and Baby Milk Action have rightly been appalled at the lengths to which companies appear to go to promote their products. There is a ban in Britain on promoting infant formula for babies under the age of six months, and some suspect that the photo-shoot is an ‘appalling’ cynical attempt from SMA to circumvent the ban.

According to a government survey, 34% of mothers incorrectly believe that formula is the same or almost the same as breastfeeding. Portrayals of formula feeding as a lifestyle choice propagate what the Department of Health calls 'myths' If you want to register complaints yourself you can do so following links at: http://news.independent.co.uk/health/article2836179.ece

Protect UK babies and mothers

Watch the film and play the game to protect Little Jack.

Action: July - September 2007 In the UK, nine in ten mothers who gave up breastfeeding within six months would have preferred to breastfeed for longer. Lack of support and aggressive marketing by baby food companies means that formula is too often seen as the answer if a mother has difficulties breastfeeding.

According to the Government's own survey, 34% of mothers incorrectly believe that infant formula is the same or almost the same as breastfeeding (ref: Myths stop mothers giving their babies the best start in life). An independent survey found more than a third of mothers thought formula was 'as good' or 'better than' breastmilk (ref: UNICEF/NCT survey). Companies promote their products with 'closer to breastmilk' and other claims that are not permitted under existing regulations.

I think a mother has a right to accurate information about infant feeding free from commercial pressure and she should be supported to breastfeed as long as she wishes A broad coalition of UK health worker organisations and mother support groups agree and are calling for the UK law on the marketing of formula to be strengthened and enforced.

A great cartoon giving more information has been produced by coalition members the National Childbirth Trust, UNICEF and Save the Children. Watch the cartoon, play the game to help protect babies, then send a message to the Health Minister, Alan Johnson MP.

Find the cartoon and information about other action you can take at :http://www.babymilkaction.org/action/ukaction07.html

Nestle Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 1963 - contact details here. For suggested letter - click here. Send a message calling on the Governmentto strengthen the law.
Sign up to the
Breastfeeding Manifesto campaign.
Join Baby Milk Action or buy something to help fund the campaign - we receive no funding for UK work at present

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Rhrodri Morgan to step down as first minister as early as soon as early 2008

There is not always a link to an article on the web. This is from Tribune Magazine and I gave a link to that.

Scanned the article!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Rhrodri Morgan to step down as First Minister

I read in the Tribune (3rd Aug 2007) that Rhrodri is planning to step down as soon as early next year. Tony Heath writes "with the historic Labour/Plaid Cymru coalition in place and in power in the Welsh Assembly, Rhrodri Morgan has told friends he is to step down as First Minister and Labour Leader - possibly as early as next year. Mr Morgan who is 68 next month, said before the elections in May that he would probably stand down in 2009. But his recent health scare - he had keyhole surgery ...... - has made him think of bringing that date forward."

He speculates about the successor citing Carwyn Jones as the favourite. I think Jane Davidson is likely to be a favourite. I can't find any odds on line yet!

His wife Julie Morgan MP has, I believe, been reselected as the candidate for Cardiff North for New Labour at the next election which could as soon as early next year. Either she doesn't plan to spend much time with Rhrodri or she doesn't expect to win!

OK gwe

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Campaign against Military Academy at St Athans


Campaign Against St Athan Military Academy Underway

Please sign the Statement of Opposition (word 39Kb) and forward this to your contacts.

In July, Cynefin y Werin hosted two meetings in Cardiff about the proposed ‘Military Academy’ at St Athan. Individuals and representatives of diverse groups were there, including: Quakers, Pax Christi, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Cymdeithas y Cymod, Councillors from the Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff and Gwent Anarchists, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and Cymdeithas Annibynwyr Heddwch, along with individual peace activists from South and North Wales.

In January 2007, the Westminster government had announced the success of the St Athan and Metrix bid to establish a new military training academy in the Vale of Glamorgan. In Wales, the first Minister Rhodri Morgan and the economic minister Andrew Davies sprayed Champagne outside the Senedd in celebration. The impression given in the Western Mail newspaper was that this was just about the best thing that had ever happened to Wales.

But how will this military academy contribute to the Assembly's proud goal of achieving sustainable development? What exactly is Wales committing itself to when it signs onto the St Athan deal?

  • A Future Based on Militarism

  • A Stand Against the International Victims of British Military Aggression

  • A Commitment to Selling Welsh Youth on Military Work

  • An Acceptance of Green-washing Over True Environmental Accounting

  • A Commitment to Military Privatisation

  • A Welcome Mat for the World’s Largest Missile Manufacturer

For more information about these concerns see here (Word doc 50Kb)

Buy Less Crap

buylesscrap

PPS - dirty tricks - planning permission -Story that disappeared

This story has vanished from the daily mail website and also This is Money. But is still in Gulf Times!!

Revealed: dirty tricks used to win planning permission for controversial development The lobbying company PPS is accused of using forgery, impersonation and even bugging to manipulate the planning process for some of London's most controversial developments. It is employed by most of Britain's leading housebuilders, including a division of Berkeley Homes, and many big retailers such as Sainsbury's. PPS has compiled secret dossiers on councillors which contain highly personal information and information obtained under false pretences. It has allegedly obtained clandestine tape-recordings and verbatim transcripts of councillors' discussions in private meetings. PPS is suspected of infiltrating local residents' groups which fight developers.

Damning internal company documents leaked to the Mail's sister newspaper The Evening Standard and Channel 4's Dispatches programme show PPS discussing whether it could "bribe" or "bully" a London borough council. The documents boast that PPS has "created a large number" of "positive letters" to councillors, purportedly from residents, to give the impression that there is widespread local support for a variety of unpopular projects including "power stations, quarries and supermarkets".

PPS’s clients include Barratt, Wimpey, Taylor Woodrow, Hanson Quarries, B&Q and Ikea

What PPS say about themselves -

"One of the most geographically diverse consultancies with five UK offices (London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol), the PPS Group have over a hundred clients between them. The company is particularly strong in the house-building industry, as well as servicing a number of smaller, local organisations."

"Vocal minorities can be very effective in influencing politicians, but do not represent the wider community. Mobilising the ‘silent’ majority can be extremely difficult. Since 1990, PPS has been securing demonstrable support for planning applications from those that might not normally bother to express their views."

Now then.. PPS rang a bell from research I was doing recently. Yes -Cathy Owens a former lobbyist was described as Rhodri Morgan's answer to Alastair Campbell. Cathy Owens, who left to join Amnesty International after a tempestuous three years during which relations between the Assembly Government and some elements of the media reached an all-time low. At one point the Assembly Government apologised to the civil service union Prospect over Ms Owens's allegedly hectoring manner towards some of its members. Previously she worked as a public affairs consultant in Wales, yes? PPS. Some quotes from Cathy -"It's for elected politicians to agree the way forward for public policy in Wales. We are talking about a situation where English speakers have rights too. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas but no one voted for the Language Board either." "All journalists are bastards" ...in a mistaken call to Martin Shipton's voice mail. Yes, that's right, only the chief reporter of the Western Mail!


2003 Ms Owens worked for Rhondda Labour AM Leighton Andrews as a research assistant. She also worked for a public affairs company run by Mr Andrews, as did the Assembly's economic development and transport minister Andrew DaviesThe smart company? Subsequently Ms Owens worked for the lobbying company PPS Cymru, as the Associate Director.

- Leighton Andrews. Is this true ? Extracts taken from http://liberalengland.blogspot.com/2004/12/latent-andrews-am.html
..was a prominent Liberal activist for many years. In the late 70's early 80's he was a Liberal member of the NUS Executive. In 1987 he was a Liberal Alliance candidate in Gillingham. After many years in the wilderness, Leighton eventually resurfaced in New Labour Party, winning Rhondda back from Plaid Cymru in 2003.
Michael Meadowcroft, a former Liberal MP, described him as moving "from Liberal thinker to cheerleader for Blair's authoritarians".

Finally I recall a comment by Dizzy thinks (asbo)"Hazel Blears' on the 24th July this year registered a personal donation from Lorian Properties Ltd, Lancashire. What a stroke of luck it was for Lorian that Hazel Blears was reshuffled to be Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and effectively put in charge of the Government's new house building plans"

Ones faith in the planning process is sorely challenged.

This is an interesting article from Coporate Watch - PR and lobbying company PPS Group Ltd

Political Planning Services Ltd. may not be big, but it carries disproportionate weight, consisting of individuals who have worked closely with politicians in the past. Again, a great conflict of interest is present in the Countryside Alliance’s support for this company, since it specializes in trying to get through controversial planning applications. Its newly-revamped web page boasts: "PPS is proud to have worked with the biggest names in the property sector. Whether it's a residential development on a Green Belt site or a mixed use scheme in a city centre, PPS works with the planning consultant and the rest of the team to get approval."[51]

Past clients include McDonalds, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, not noted for their ecological thinking, nor for their equitable treatment of farmers, nor for their contribution to healthy local economies[52]. Through its support of PPS, the Countryside Alliance supports abuse of the planning system, whereby those who have money pay for lobbyists to get them round the planning laws, and cover the countryside with community-killing sprawl, whilst those who do not have difficulty getting permission to build themselves a single home and also bear the brunt of increased traffic, community decay and increasingly mind-numbing jobs. Likewise, being a specialist in controversial planning applications, PPS has over 20 home-building, construction and quarrying companies on its client list[53], and the Countryside Alliance supports this through it at the same time as expressing concern about the destruction of the countryside. Lastly, concerning PPS, it is worth noting that Mark Pendlington, former managing director at PPS Group, is now Chief Executive of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), bringing out yet more cosy links between landowners, big business and manipulation of government[54].
References[48] "Fury Over Rural Lobby’s Shares" The Observer, 29th April 2001 [49] Ibid. [50] Ibid. [51] www.ppsgroup.co.uk [52] The bulk of the client list has been removed from the new website but a printed copy of the old site, also at www.ppsgroup.co.uk, is held by Corporate Watch [53] Ibid. [54] "New Chief Executive Announced For CLA", CLA Press Release, 23rd January 2001 http://194.200.85.11/sources/27/171/4015965/01009HQ.htm

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bloggers Nauseatingly self congratulatory lists

Perhaps I should start a nauseatingly self-congratulatory list on blog -with some heavily edited testimonials like Mr Eugenides and Devil's Kitchen, The Englishman, Dizzy Thinks, Croydonian
ORDOVICIUS Christopher Glamorgan Is this a man thing? Making lists - train spotting, or is it an autistic tendency? Nothing to do with self congratulatory ego boosting? Or perhaps lesson 1009987 on Alister Campbell type journalism course?
I have written to devils kitchen to invite a comment "Maybe you would like to make a some derogatory comment about one of my blogs so I too can start with some heavily edited testimonials"