Thursday, May 31, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Watch the film ...Its time we did something to help repair the broken bodies of children who have been injured by U.S. bombs and bullets. Our government has spent hundreds of billions to destroy Iraq and hundreds of thousands of children have been injured.
writes to members on 22 May ..(perhaps he didn't notice that nominations closed for the leadership and deputy leadership of the labour party on the 17 May!)
"As you will have heard the prime minister and leader of the labour party , Tony Blair ...have announced they will step down..The first time in its history that the labour party is choosing not only a new leadership team but also a new prime minister....We want as many people as possible to take part in these elections .....opportunity to make a nomination for who we want to be leader and deputy leader...all party members invited on 31 May to come and debate the way forward ......and WHO WE WANT TO LEAD IT INTO THE GENERAL ELECTION ......and finishes....I look forward to seeing you on the 30 May???"
Labour Party members are badly informed! Perhaps the secretary Mr Newman didn't remember that Julie Morgan announced she was......emmmm...supporting Brown and Harmen "I'm supporting Gordon for leader and Harriet for deputy leader as I think they would work together very well — I'm excited about the new era" gushes Julie Morgan on her website. So whats to discuss then....democracy maybe?
Or you could go to a labour party hustings if you are a member on 9th June at a secret location but it will cost you a £10.... no concessions!
Meanwhile our Julie Morgan MP tells the HOC : 'I have reservations about nuclear power.' Time to make your mind up. If you could be as decisive about supporting Brown it must be possible to decide to oppose nuclear power. See new video
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
We will be following them!!! Nuclear Planning free zones soon to come here!!
Nuclear power is not the answer to climate change – and will hasten the chances of devastating nuclear war, terrorist attack or accident, Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas has warned ahead of the publication of the Government’s latest Energy White Paper tomorrow.
eGov Monitor 23rd May 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Rhodri: Gordon will be an outstanding PM May 18 2007
by Tomos Livingstone, Western Mail
WELSH Labour leader Rhodri Morgan last said he was confident that Gordon Brown would be “an outstanding Prime Minister for Wales”.
Mr Morgan said, “I backed Gordon Brown because he has been an outstanding Chancellor of the Exchequer, the first in history to produce both low unemployment and low inflation at the same time. “No Labour or Conservative Chancellor has ever produced that before.“In Wales he has produced both sustainable growth and lower unemployment, which is a remarkable achievement.“He has shown a strong commitment to devolution, which I have witnessed at first hand.“I’m sure that as Prime Minister, he will be a good friend to Wales, and potentially an outstanding Prime Minister for Wales.” Oh dear!!!
But what about Julie Morgan MP
Julie Morgan gushes 'Exciting times as our party elects leader'
It is not 'Exciting times' as our party doesn't get to elect a leader
Brown will be as bad as Blair and he is just as Tory as Tony. And there was a time our Julie MP was regarded as left wing now she's just a 'brown nose' lemming 'excited about the new era' which will be just as exciting as a voyage on the titanic.
Personnel Today has a story about Gordon Brown being accused of siding with big business against workers as unions gear up for a major assault on his first days when he becomes prime minister.
Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) general secretary Mark Serwotka told Personnel Today that Brown listened too much to the CBI. PCS members last week voted unanimously to ramp up their campaign against civil service job cuts, pay levels and privatisation. They also passed a motion prioritising joint strikes with other public sector unions, for which they have the support of Unison and the National Union of Teachers.
Cuban leader Fidel Castro criticised Britain on Monday for building nuclear-powered attack submarines, saying the money would be better spent treating the health of millions of people..... Castro said Britain was once "Queen of the Seas," but all that is left today "is just a fraction of the hegemonic power of its ally and leader, the United States." Reuters 22nd May 2007
By switching from old to modern lighting technology in the European Union, we could close down 25 medium sized power plants.
We think the sale of inefficient, incandescent bulbs should be banned in the EU. Some members of European Parliament agree, and they’ve started a “Written Declaration” calling for a ban.
We need 400 members of parliament to sign the declaration by June 10th. You can help by asking UK MEPs to sign (unlike MPs, MEPs don’t receive many letters from the public, so every letter really does carry weight).
Monday, May 21, 2007
With no safe means of storage yet found for existing, let alone future waste and the risks of catastrophic pollution from both accidents and terrorism, CND believes nuclear power is simply not worth the risk.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “It is laughable for Gordon Brown to be speaking of rebuilding public trust and seeking more public engagement on the environment when this announcement will remove rights from the public and place massive decisions in the hands of an unelected and unaccountable commission”.
Many of the decisions to be removed from local scrutiny to the Independent Planning Commission are especially vital when it comes to nuclear new-build. Numerous safety concerns are site specific, with the effects of rising sea levels a potential problem for the many low-lying nuclear sites.
Despite the ‘greenwash’ being applied to this announcement, nuclear power is not the answer to climate change, with the Government’s own Sustainable Development Commission concluding that even with a doubling of nuclear capacity and the resultant waste mountain, British carbon emissions would only drop by 8% compared to the 60% target set by Government. [see note 1] Additionally, a recent report by the highly respected Oxford Research Group notes that due to the increasing scarcity of uranium and the energy-intensive purification process, nuclear power would generate as much CO2 per kilowatt as a gas-fired power station by 2050, assuming the proportion of global power production from nuclear remains static. [see note 2]
Long Term Nuclear Waste Storage
Also announced is a framework for a long term waste storage facility. This is unfortunately a necessary decision, but with the half-life of waste stretching to hundreds of thousands of years one that must be thoroughly considered, not pushed through to encourage private investment in new nuclear build.
Last year the government Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) reported that given the processes and procedures that have to be undertaken, it would not be possible even to begin the underground burial of radioactive waste until at least 2045, with the burial sites sealed in 2120. Their timeline only deals with existing waste meaning if new nuclear power plants are built additional burial sites will likely have to be found, extending the timeline even further into the future.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament further commented “The idea that a permanent nuclear waste dump could be imposed on an area with minimal public input – limited to the specifics and not the principled decision, is ghastly. Removing popular and judicial control from a decision to store British civil and military nuclear waste, potentially alongside imported foreign intermediate level waste in a community for thousands of years is profoundly undemocratic. Under this process it will be almost irrelevant whether a community supports or oppose such a development – the Whitehall decision will be implemented regardless”.
1. Sustainable Development Commission: the 60% target is due to be met by 2050
2. Oxford Research Group report: with Page 40
3. For further information and interviews please contact Ben Soffa, CND's Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
4. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere. www.cnduk.org
Ben Soffa Press Officer Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)
Registered office: Mordechai Vanunu House, 162 Holloway Road, London N7 8DQ
Tel: 020 7700 2393 Mob: 07968 420 859 Fax: 020 7700 2357 Web: www.cnduk.org
campaign for nuclear disarmament
press office: 020 7700 2350 switchboard: 020 7700 2393
fax: 020 7700 2357 mobile: 07968 420859
e-mail: email@example.com web: www.cnduk.org
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Planning Minister Yvette Cooper is at the centre of a 'cronyism' row after it was revealed that her father is a champion of the nuclear industry. Miss Cooper is set to announce controversial plans to help energy firms brush aside objections to new nuclear power stations. The announcement of a shake-up in the planning laws, which will create a quango to determine the fate of large projects such as power plants, will be seen as a major victory for supporters of nuclear energy.
Evening Standard 19th May 2007
today on Youtube. This fresh confirmation of malpractice further substantiates the documentary evidence gathered by Baby Milk Action and partners in the International Baby
Food Action Network. Globally, IBFAN monitoring finds Nestlé to be the worst of the baby food companies, which is why it is targeted with boycott action. There will be a demonstration at Nestlé (UK) HQ on Saturday 19 May 11:00-12:00 and at other
sites, shopping centres and Body Shop outlets around the country.
People are always wanting to know whether Nestlé and other baby food companies are still misbehaving in the way they push their products. What is going on right now? An article in The Guardian on Tuesday was the journalist's eye witness account from Bangladesh.
Read Boycott Nestle
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Tony Blair is a contender for the job of president of the World Bank, according to one of America's most respected economists.
Blair Replacing Wolfowitz?
Free Market News Network, FL - 17 hours ago
Tony Blair may be asked to head the World Bank after its president quit in a sleaze row. One of America’s top economists today revealed that the retiring ...
Bad news for the world even the thought of it is appalling! These jobs should be filled by those properly qualified to do them.
78 New Labour MPs, including at least 20 Labour ministersand 18 tories are on the roll of dishonour for backing the shameful plans to torpedo right-to-know rules, with only 25 opposing them. Is your MP on the list and if not why weren't they there to oppose this bill - The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill.
Despite promises by Gordon Brown to make government "more open and accountable" once he enters Downing Street, several of the Chancellor's key allies trooped into the Commons to support the exclusion. Notice the 'champion of freedom of information', blogging Labour MP Tom Watson voting for this!!!
Friday, May 18, 2007
Reuters 17th May 2007
The promises that have been kept have changed millions of lives. But most are at serious risk of being broken. And that's a disgrace
You could go to the London Rally on Saturday 2nd June. Nothing organised in Wales as far as I know.
Go to London on 2nd June to send Tony Blair off to Germany with our voices ringing in his ears. Join thousands of other campaigners and their families on the banks of the Thames and make your voice heard. This will be a fun day out with events organised in many of the parks and green spaces around Westminster, culminating in everyone making a massive noise and "ringing the alarm" against poverty at 2.30pm.
The CND banner will be opposite the Houses of Parliament from 2pm on the south bank of the Thames between Westminster and Lambeth Bridges as a meeting point for our supporters.
Register to attend the rally:
Send a message to the G8
Please send an email message to Tony Blair and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to tell them that the world can't wait for an end to poverty. We really need to let them know that the world is watching and will hold them accountable for their promises and actions.
Email Merkel now:
Thursday, May 17, 2007
British PM campaigning directly for FF, rather than his sister party. In Blair’s defence, socialist ideology is probably as alien to him as it is to Ahern, and Irish Labour’s impact on the peace process has been more as a cheerleader than influencer.
See Slugger O'Toole Organised Rage
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Unannounced Visit to Ward West 2, Whitchurch Hospital held on 23rd
January 2007 – Mr R Woodward
CARDIFF COMMUNITY HEALTH COUNCIL
Unannounced visit to Ward West 2, Whitchurch Hospital,
Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, held on 23rd January 2007
Present Cardiff CaC Members FredaWebster(Co-ordinator)
Bob Woodward Cardiff & Vale NHS Trust
Michael Bogue Staff Nurse, Ward West 2, Whitchurch Hospital
A visit was made and a report written in June 2006. A CHC member had visited in December and recommended this visit in view of concerns about the ward.
It was noted that some improvements have been made to the furniture and fittings including pictures on the ward but that decoration and the provision of Therapies had not changed. It is understood that the relocation of the services to the Iowerth Jones is the reason that this ward has not been re-decorated. It is disappointing to the CHC that decisions relating to this relocation are protracted, which is having an acute impact upon this ward's environment.
The Ward Manager and Deputy were unavailable at the time of our visit and it appeared that the senior nurse on duty was not authorised to action some of the issues that had been identified during the visit - ie replacement bath.
The ward provides for 21 elderly male patients although there were 22 patients on the ward on our visit. There had been an emergency admission the previous week and an additional bed had been brought back into use-the ward had catered for 23 but we had previously been informed this had been reduced for health and safety reasons to 21. At 10.45 am most of the patients were in the dining room or day room. At this point some 18 had been washed and dressed although one was still in pyjama bottoms and 4 were in 'stocking' feet with no shoes or slippers. ( ? Risk of slipping on polished floors). Most of the patients with footwear were in slippers. At least one was still being helped to eat his breakfast and a few others were still in
aprons although we assumed they had been fed. As breakfast is served from 8.00 am we were concerned how food is kept hot and fresh until this time. Four patients were still in bed and
three were in the process of being prepared to get up - one was on a plan which involved rising at midday for 6 hours. We presumed those not yet up were still to have breakfast.
Tea or coffee was offered to the patients at 12 noon and this is also the time that patients are regularly toileted. Lunch was at 12.30 pm. The full complement of 6 nurses appeared to be on duty during our visit so clearly the physical demands of caring for the residents-dressing, feeding and toileting press heavily on the day's timetable. In the afternoon there are 5 staff on duty, with 3 at night.
11.00am -11.15 am We visited the 2 wards and 3 separate bedrooms. Four patients were still in bed and all were without pyjamas- a situation that occurs because we were told approximately 90% are doubly incontinent and if accidents happen there is no back up nightwear on the ward to dress them again. It was also easier dealing only with the wet or soiled sheets. We found this completely unacceptable in terms of the dignity of the
A similar situation arose over the lack of sheets. The previous day, sheets ordered in the morning were not delivered until 5pm. Clearly only the minimum had been sent as our inspection of the linen room revealed none in stock. Generally the bed linen was of very poor
quality- thin and in short supply. Beds were made, but the over bedding consisted of a mixture of duvet covers -no duvets on the ward or in store- nothing matching and the condition of all the bedding including that in store left much to be desired.
When we visited in June we were concerned that there were only 2 baths and patients only had one bath per week. The situation has worsened as there is now only one operational bath.
The other is unusable and needs replacing. It had been out of action for over a week and there was no senior staff member on the ward to put forward the case for a replacement-in view of the cost it was uncertain when a new bath would be available. This is urgent in view of the level of incontinence experienced.
....None of them were involved in activities during our visit –most were asleep, sitting in chairs or walking around the ward.
This was a short visit to follow up concerns which have been addressed in this report. As this was an unannounced visit, it was limited in scope. We were considerably assisted by Michael
Bogue, the staff nurse, and are grateful to him. We did not speak to any other staff and had some brief conversations with 2 or 3 of the patients but did not obtain any views from them about the ward.
We are extremely concerned that the ward environment and facilities are extremely poor, which makes it very difficult for the Trust staff to provide the care required to meet the needs of this particularly demanding patient group. In particular, the quality of bedding, clothing and baths fail to meet the standards of dignity we would expect.
The CHC would request that the Trust address these issues as appropriate.
It doesn't seem likely that services will improve before 2009?
SERVICE AND FINANCIAL DELIVERY PLAN 2007/08 – 2010/11
..... replacement of Whitchurch Hospital. Through this Strategic Outline Plan (SOP) it is planned to bring forward the planned community developments and the replacement for Whitchurch Hospital by 2009/10. As part of this programme of change, the development of services for older people with mental health problems is also a priority, and will include the development of a new assessment unit at Llandough Hospital.
This has be been going on for some time
NHS admits deficits in care of pensioner Oct 31 2006
Louise Day, South Wales Echo
A family has told of the 'poor care' they say their mother received during the last three months of her life at a Cardiff hospital. Hilda Patterson, 80, died in Whitchurch Hospital, in October 2005, after breaking a wrist and a leg in two separate falls and having a lamp fall on her head just days before she died.
BBC - Report questions patients' safety Friday, 14 Jan, 2005,
Published: 2005/01/14 The BBC has learnt of serious concerns about the care of elderly patients at a major Welsh psychiatric unit. A leaked 2004 report on care standards at Whitchurch Hospital in Cardiff has questioned the safety of patients. Experts called in by hospital managers were told by staff that lessons had not been learnt from serious incidents involving patients' welfare.
Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust said it had since developed an action plan to tackle the issues raised by the report. However, the BBC News website has spoken to a number of people who remain concerned about patient care.
The report, commissioned by the trust and published in March 2004, was a review of the services for elderly mentally ill patients at Whitchurch. It said staff had admitted there had been a "high level" of "serious adverse incidents" and there had been a lack of management accountability……. More recently, the BBC understands that a nurse was suspended under the hospital's disciplinary procedure after a claim that a patient had been left lying overnight on the floor of a television room..…..The report did not identify these incidents but in September 2003 the BBC reported that a patient had lain dead in bed for almost 10 hours before her death was discovered.
Pat Erickson, of Penylan, Cardiff, whose mother has dementia, said she had been distressed at the care her mother had received during a month-long stay at Whitchurch early in 2004.
Mrs Erickson, who is herself a nurse, said: "I asked where her clothes were and they did not know. "I told them it was like going back to pre-historic times. I had to leave the ward, I was so distressed.
"Ward environments have been reviewed and further improvements planned, including new equipment."
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/wales/4167789.stmPublished: 2005/01/14 06:42:27 GMT© BBC MMVII
Friday, 25 February, 2005, 16:53 GMT
Action pledge at psychiatric unit
Medical and nursing leadership at the hospital is to be reviewed
Executives at a major psychiatric unit are promising new action over "clear and unacceptable failures" in the care of elderly mentally ill patients. Medical and nursing leadership will be reviewed after patient safety concerns at Cardiff's Whitchurch Hospital.
In January, the BBC reported how two families said loved ones had died needlessly after incidents there.
Cover-up claim over suicides at hospitals Jan 27 2003
Martin Shipton Martin.Shipton@Wme.Co.Uk, The Western Mail -
HEALTH officials have been accused of a cover-up as it emerged that damning criticisms of two mental hospitals where six patients died unexpectedly in less than a year were removed from the published version of a report.
Between April 1999 and February 2000 there were five suicides at Whitchurch Hospital, Cardiff, and Sully Hospital in the Vale of Glam-organ. There was also a homicide at Whitchurch Hospital where a female patient was killed by a male patient on the same ward.
Family anger at 'needless' deaths 20 Jan 05 Wales
Report questions patients' safety 14 Jan 05 Wales
'Failures' before knife killing 01 Dec 04 Wales
Patient lay dead for 10 hours 22 Sep 03 Wales
Brain charity's anger at man's care 12 Aug 03 South East Wales
RELATED BBC LINKS:
iCan - Mental health in England and Wales
RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust
Alzheimer's Society Whitchurch
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Here is a full audio version of the Fabian debate on Sunday:http://www.ourmedia.org/node/315102
Brown speech - see also MPs critical of PFI profit-sharing
The taxpayer is not receiving a fair share of private sector profits from the refinancing of PFI deals, MPs have concluded.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Justice Ted Thomas, who retired last year but still presides over ongoing cases, told the Sunday Star-Times yesterday that Blair "deceived Cabinet, parliament and the British people" over the war. And in a hard-hitting essay published in British journal The Spokesman this month, Thomas writes: "As extreme as it sounds, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that, should he be prosecuted at a time when the plea of sovereign immunity is not available, Mr Blair would be found guilty of a war crime." Thomas said Blair would be guilty of the customary international law crime of aggression as the war was launched without legal basis. "A regime change is not the basis for conducting an invasion of another sovereign state." He said Blair misrepresented - and must have known he was misrepresenting - his attorney-general's advice on the legality of the war. The essay has drawn conflicting opinion from across the political spectrum.
......... But Thomas's savage essay accuses Blair of treating the foreign affairs portfolio as his "personal fiefdom". Blair, says Thomas, became "almost like a parrot" to the neo-conservatism of US president George W Bush's administration during his tenure. He says the war is "also an indictment on the political system" which failed to hold him to account over the manipulation of intelligence. The lack of political checks meant Blair "was not constrained from committing political, immoral and illegal misdemeanours". ...Thomas wrote Blair also showed "effective complicity" in the US practice of extraordinary rendition - in which prisoners are deported to countries where they can be tortured. The essay, written as a judicial investigation, said it was "incongruous" Blair had not resigned or been forced to resign over the war, which "was based on a delusion, and which has had such calamitous and humanly tragic consequences. In short, he has not been held accountable in parliament for the manipulation of the intelligence or the deception he practised in pursuit of the war". Sunday Star Times 13.5.07
Leo Abse said - A Labour party denying its socialism and unashamedly stealing Tory clothes in order to appear inoffensive to all, may claim respectability but, in fact, becomes a strumpet of party, for what are being proffered are fantasies, fairy stories, the delusion that without struggle, without conflict, we can have a society where we can live happily ever after.
As actor or performer doubtless [Blair] brought pleasure: his small step from stage to political platform in search of identity may have assisted him in his personal resolution but it left my Labour party shorn; he has taken away the identity of Labour and reshaped it to suit his own psychological measurements. This operation is described by his supporters as ‘reform’ I call it theft.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Michael Meacher and John McDonnell have failed to decide which of them willdrop out of Labour's leadership contest, but are confident that one of themwill be on the ballot paper.story from epolitix ....Get real and get lost Michael Meacher, New Labours Ming Campbell . This really isn't helping anybody. Labour Left after Blair
Hands Off Iraqi Oil e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
No chance of tackling the catastrophic decline in membership and activism until the party is rid of the New Labour bullies who won't listen and their intolerance of others if they are not 'born again' of Bliarism. Unlikely that people like Rhrodri will start listening and stop trying to be all things to all people.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Good letter in the guardian today - The commercial world calls somebody who had nine jobs in 10 years (Reid's shock resignation, May 7) a "corporate seagull" - one who flies in for a short period, defecates and flutters off. (John Heelan Bembridge,
Monday, May 7, 2007
SLIDESHOW & DISCUSSION WITH MARK LYNAS
Mark Lynas, Journalist & Author of the bestseller "High Tide"
Thursday 17 May at 7pm Main Building
Cardiff University Park Place
(opposite Student Union)
By the end of the century, the Earth could be more than 6C hotter than it is today. We know that would be bad news - but just how bad? How big a rise will it take for the Alps to melt, the oceans to die and desert to conquer Europe and the Americas? Mark Lynas sifted through thousands of scientific papers for his new book on global warming. This is what the research told him . . .
'An apocalyptic primer of what to expect as the world heats up...it's sobering stuff and shaming too.' Financial Times
'Buy this book for everyone you know...it might just save their lives.' New Stateman
Copies of Mark Lynas's critically acclaimed new book will be on sale after the meeting and Mark will be available to sign copies.
Organised by Cardiff Campaign against Climate Change
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Whose bright idea was it for the queen to visit
The Americans seem bemused by the whole visit. I wonder what they male of her ‘mother of the bride’ style clothes, that peculiar British ‘church of England’ style some people want to wear for some reason I can not fathom.
When I see her picture I keep thinking whose wedding is it now? Celebrity labels are taking off so perhaps we've all missed something and the mother of bride 'fashion' range is really a Queenie celebrity range! Ugh! Whoops, I can see the queen suing them all for 'royalties' now!
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Hilary Wainwright takes a look at the agenda needed for an independent left to work towards an egalitarian vision of democracy in the UK.
Red Pepper's first issue came out 13 years ago this month, shortly before Tony Blair became Labour leader.
As we celebrate outlasting him, and prepare for a new phase in our development (more of which later), Hilary Wainwright sets the wider scene for the independent left.
Increasingly across the world you find people on the left coming together independently of party allegiances to try to set electoral agendas that break the boundaries of mainstream politics. Sometimes they’ve had a dramatic impact – like the trade unionists in Trondheim, Norway, (see Red Pepper, print issue March 2007) whose defence of public services was decisive in the election of a left coalition that has halted the privatisations of previous regimes. At other times they’ve set off a new electoral dynamic, as across America citizens alliances outside of party politics have worked to elect progressive democrats and make them accountable.
Their impact depends partly on the electoral system – Norway’s must be one of the most proportional in the world. It also has repercussions at the other end of the democratic scale, like the US, when people take responsibility for putting the democracy back into an electoral politics that (often wealthy and dynastic) politicians have effectively made their private obsession.
Talk of private obsessions leads on to Westminster, where we are currently confronted with the farce of MPs of varying brands of New Labour striding forward to declare the importance of ‘debate’, while in the background their supporters act out scenes from a parliamentary soap opera devoid of genuine politics.
On the left there are constrained and divided efforts to focus on the issues of inequality, war and peace, climate change and all the other issues about which there is genuine concern. In the Labour Party, left leadership contender John McDonnell is slogging his guts out trying to take a real debate to a steadily diminishing party membership. And Michael Meacher is contributing serious policy proposals on pensions, taxes and the environment. Let’s hope the chance of a serious left leadership challenge, leaving behind all the debilitating divisions between so-called ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ left, will induce them to do a deal.
But the future of left politics depends on efforts way beyond the Labour leadership election. Over the next months, Red Pepper wants to initiate a debate about the kind of independent, non-sectarian political initiatives that could bring down the pillars of the temple of Westminster, because – let’s face it – this is at the root of our problems, including our relations with the rest of the world.
We have a political system that is uniquely suited to a secretive military alliance with the US, and ideally favourable to the governmental arrangements that enable the EU to pursue neoliberal policies no better than those of the US. Its closed, unaccountable and elitist character gives the financial interests of the City unique access to the centres of political power and provides a nesting place from which corporate lobbies can shape policies and ensure a favourable environment for themselves.
Any independent platform must tackle this systemic problem on both a political and an economic level. We would need to start with apparently modest measures, such as opening up freedom of information, abolishing the royal prerogative, giving MPs power to recall parliament and introducing a proportional electoral system. (It is time that what’s left of the left in the Labour Party recognised that their continued adherence to ‘first past the post’ means that a huge opportunity is being missed to turn the present depth of popular disillusion into a concerted force for change.)
These constitutional reforms need to be combined with an opening up of state institutions to more direct forms of democracy. This would be far from the consultative processes favoured by New Labour, often as legitimation for various forms of privatisation. I’m thinking here of a real sharing of power between representative politics and autonomous institutions of direct participation that have real decision- making power over budgets and public administration.
This leads on to the economic strategies necessary to realise such an egalitarian vision of democracy. Participation in public life requires time and a reorganisation of work, the provision of a basic income and a reordering of economic priorities to favour the needs of a democracy. This in turn implies a direct challenge to the authoritarianism that is integral to the nature of wealth production in a capitalist economy. This tension between democracy and the realities of corporate and financial power has never been so glaring as now, with financial greed having been allowed to let rip and reveal its true grossness.
Information technology has opened up opportunities for a new leap forward in the development of a social economy – in which, at its most basic, many people already participate individually through peer to peer sharing of music, films and other ‘cultural goods’. It also offers exciting possibilities for making public services more responsive to individual needs, in a way that the market cannot. In itself, of course, a new technology doesn’t guarantee social and democratic progress. If we don’t take control of it, the same technology could just as easily provide the tools for an ever wider commercialisation of daily life and an ever deeper depoliticisation of power.
We are at a political and moral turning point in our social and economic development. But you would never know it from observing life in the political box.
Tell us what you think on our special Politics outside the box section at forums.redpepper.org.uk
From red pepper http://www.redpepper.org.uk/
New Labour has suffered its worst share of the Welsh vote since 1918. 32% for Labour – in a nation associated so closely with Labour history – has been unprecedented over the intervening 89 years. People in Wales 89 years ago were inspired to sell their furniture to fund and support the Labour Party which has today turned its back on the least advantaged in society. No matter what glib promises they endless churn out.
It's time for an end to the machiavellian politics and the stranglehold of the Morgans on Welsh Public life.
Friday, May 4, 2007
Trish Law held on to her seat with an increased majority after all the slagging of from Labour. She gave an impressive performance on BBC TV last night. Time for a change from the slick professional dodgy 'Arthur Daly' politicans we've had enough of. Labour needs some political viagra to implement polices that Wales wants and 'stand up' to Tony and Gordon.
Plaids Helen Mary Jones has overturned a Labour majority of just 21 to win back the Llanelli assembly seat she lost four years ago. Perhaps Plaid could learn from her campaign. Clearly they haven’t got peoples confidence but not surprising with mixed messages on nuclear power and lacking ‘real’ green credentials in other areas like transport policy.
Above the picture is of a polling station in Cardiff North where a lonesome Tory takes numbers with no sign of the other parties. Shows labours despair and lack of active members, friends and realatives in this area. Tory Jonathan Morgan won easily.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
I hate quizzes! And that background behind Betsan Powys in the studio is dreadful and very distracting - looks like an feeble attempt at the northern lights.
Paul Wolfowitz -- architect of the Iraq war, president of the World Bank, and self-styled scourge of corruption -- has been caught red-handed in corruption himself, arranging a huge pay raise for his girlfriend and hiding the evidence. Wolfowitz's rigid ideology, unilateral decision-making, and domineering style demoralized the Bank's staff and undercut efforts to reduce poverty -- and this corruption scandal is the last straw. (As fans of the global television programme The Office know, when the wrong person is in charge, nothing gets done -- so Avaaz has launched a video putting Wolfowitz as the boss in The Office. Click here to see it.) World Bank board members are deciding on his fate now. A massive global outcry could tip the balance. Add your name to the petition below:
Read more »
Sign the petition and send a message to your national leader! (If you've signed before, you won't be double-counted.)
What we need in Wales is a bit of spirited genuine debate instaead of these staid staged TV
'discussions' that insult the viewers intelligence.
I hope women in the Welsh elections will keep left and avoid voting for new labour/tories or the conservatives
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
By Jan Frel Quite an allegation. Is the evidence soon to follow?
Former CIA officer Ray McGovern went on Tucker Carlson's show on Monday and directly accused Vice President Dick Cheney of being behind the Niger forgeries. Carlson pressed McGovern for evidence, but McGovern said he wouldn't share his evidence at present.
Go back to 9th July 2003 Remember Blair telling us .....not the only evidence "It was not a 'fantasy'"
Doubts about a claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from the African state of Niger were aired 10 months before Mr Bush included the allegation in his key State of the Union address this year, a CIA official has told the BBC
The British Government has stood by its assertion, saying the forged documents were not the only evidence used to reach its conclusion that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium from Africa. On Tuesday Mr Blair defended the assessment, telling a committee of MPs that it was not a "fantasy" and that the intelligence services themselves stood by the allegation.
"The evidence that we had that the Iraqi Government had gone back to try to purchase further amounts of uranium from Niger did not come from these so-called 'forged' documents, they came from separate intelligence," Mr Blair said. However, Mr Blair did not specify what that separate intelligence was.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
QinetiQ wins radiation effects contract from United Kingdom militaryMilitary & Aerospace Electronics - Nashua,NH,USAQinetiQ in Farnborough, England, won a five-year $3.7 million contract from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD) Research Acquisition Organization ...
QinetiQ was involved in the Metric Consortium, to locate an armed forces Defence Training Academy at St Athan to bring together training courses for the Army, Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force in one of the biggest privatisation projects ever. 5,500jobs
Rhrodri Morgan claimed it would create 5,500 jobs, he boasted about this just the other night in a TV debate. However, it is thought the base will create 1,500 jobs in the wider economy, as well as 1,500 construction jobs generated from building it. Rival bids from RAF Cosford and Blandford in Dorset failed to win the contract.
How green are the parties in the Assembly election? ic Wales - Cardiff, I hope that the National Assembly will start to take seriously the responsibilities placed on it by the 1998 Government of Wales Act. We have the capacity ...
The results were
1.Green party 8/10
2.Plaid Cymru 7/10
3.Forward wales 7/10
5.Lib Dems 6.5/10
Worst :- at the bottom of the league 6.Labour 5/10
On Ann Were, Leader, Green Party Wales, Ann Were is absolutely right that voluntary action is not enough to combat climate change but although stronger laws are needed to reduce emissions, the pill can be sweetened by Government action to create more jobs in public transport, recycling and green energy. Score: 8/10
On Elin Jones AM, Plaid Cymru, Elin Jones seems to be setting a good example. It's great to see Plaid Cymru commit to a 3% cut in carbon emissions, although they are likely to miss this target if Plaid Cymru sticks to its plans to spend millions on upgrading roads in Wales. This money should be invested in public transport and other measures to help people reduce their emissions. Score 7/10
On Brynle Williams AM, Conservative Party, Despite Brynle Williams's good work supporting village shops and planting more hedges to help local wildlife, it's a pity that his party is failing to commit to a 3% cut in Welsh carbon emissions every year. The Tories are making the right sounds on climate change but are failing to deliver the strong policies to back it up. Score: 4/10
On Mick Bates AM, Liberal Democrats Environment spokesperson, As well as Mick Bates's lifestyle changes it's great that the Liberal Democrats have made a real effort to set ambitious environmental targets. The litmus test for the Lib-Dems is whether they will support plans for a massive motorway across the Gwent Levels which would trash precious wildlife sites and increase carbon emissions. Supporting the road would make a mockery of all their other commitments. Score: 6½/10
Carwyn Jones AM Labour,Minister for Environment, Planning and Countryside, Although Carwyn Jones seems to have the right attitude, a Labour-led Assembly has seen carbon dioxide emissions rise in Wales when they should be falling. A refusal to set annual targets for carbon emission reduction means their woeful record on tackling climate change is likely to continue. Labour has transformed recycling in Wales and has helped keep our fields free of GM crops, but their support for big environmentally damaging schemes, like the Severn Barrage and the Gwent Levels motorway, lets them down in their attempts to be green. Score: 5/10
On Ron Davies, Forward Wales and independent candidate for Caerphilly Forward Wales have laid out some good policies to boost green energy and Ron Davies seems to be leading the way in taking action. Forward Wales was the only party in the Assembly to stand up for community involvement in the planning system. They should be more positive about wind farms though. Wales has a huge wind resource, the envy of many European countries, and it is being squandered. Score 7/10
In conclusion ... Green issues have never been so important. For the first time, we are seeing all the main parties jockeying for position on environmental issues. People are more concerned about climate change than ever before and they want to know what the politicians should do about it. Despite good intentions from all the parties, we need to make sure our new Assembly Government comes up with policies that are going to deal first hand with the problems caused by climate change. Friends of the Earth's Big Ask campaign is calling on politicians to set annual targets that will reduce Wales' carbon emissions by at least 3% every year.
Building a greener Wales doesn't mean harming our quality of life. We can build a stronger, more sustainable economy with more jobs in public transport, recycling and renewable energy. We can keep our fields free of genetically modified crops to protect Welsh agriculture. We can lead the way in a world which is grappling with the problems of climate change. The Welsh Assembly need to rise to that challenge!
Disgrace! People in Wales will have this in mind when they vote in the Welsh Elections. Does Rhrodri Morgan agree with this?