30 Jun 2009
27 Jun 2009
26 Jun 2009
By Nick Currie, this is the best I've read today - and it was written in 2005! Thanks to Pat Kane for the recommendation.
........Consider all the extraordinary ways in which Michael Jackson is Yet-Also. He's black yet also white. He's adult yet also a child. He's male yet also female. He's gay yet also straight. He has children, yet he's also never fucked their mothers. He's wearing a mask, yet he's also showing his real self. He's walking yet also sliding. He's guilty yet also innocent. He's American yet also global. He's sexual yet also sexless. He's immensely rich yet also bankrupt. He's Judy Garland yet also Andy Warhol. He's real yet also synthetic. He's crazy yet also sane, human yet also robot, from the present yet also from the future. He declares his songs heavensent, and yet he also constructs them himself. He's the luckiest man in the world yet the unluckiest. His work is play. He's bad, yet also good. He's blessed yet also cursed. He's alive, but only in theory..........
Read the full article, written in 2005, here
As someone who fought a campaign against one of Scotland's 2 merchant incinerators and who lived as a teenager within a 5 mile radius of the other, and having gleaned a wealth of informationabout the effects of environmental toxins down the years, I may be one of the best placed people to comment on the planning approval for a 300,000 tpa incinerator at Greengairs in North Lanarkshire.
Given that my own campaign was successful in stopping the incinerator, inspite of retrospective planning permission having been granted centrally by the Scottish Office, there is still hope that the Greengairs incinerator can be stopped in its tracks.
I am sure that there are rather a lot of people who are breathing a sigh of relief that such an incinerator is not going to be in their back yard. The illogicality of that position, given the known pollution fallout from incinerators, has to be challenged, as indeed should the decision by the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment not to call in this permission, on the basis that it is not of national importance. (A golf resort in Aberdeenshire is of national importance, but not a major additional source of environmental toxins.)
The Greengairs campaigners say that the whole `development`, including the incinerator, is contrary to the Structure and draft Local Plans, but because of changes to planning legislation since April, is not being called in. The draft Local Plan was not part of the councillors' consideration, even though the campaigners had spent a great deal of time and effort in their contribution to this. Councillors used the previous plan of 1991 instead. Of course, this fails to take CO2 emissions, let alone anything else, into account. Local campaigners also point out that, if all the council's proposals are implented, Greengairs will be dealing with 1 million tpa of waste per annum. As such, the proposals are clearly of national significance and importance. From experience elsewhere, incineration acts as a disincentive to recycling, re-use or, indeed, to clean production. Therefore, unless the Lanarkshire councils plan to abandon the targets they are set for recycling, they are going to have to import waste from outwith Lanarkshire on a far bigger scale than they are doing at present. Given the economic downturn, it is more likely that such importation will include waste from outwith Scotland. How much of a PR disaster will that be to a naionalist government?.
The Women's Environmental Network, FOE Scotland, Greenpeace, WWF Scotland and the Scottish Green Party should all be asked to add their voices to a call for this planning application to be called in, on the basis that, at 300,000tpa (tonnes per annum), it is clearly both a major additional source of environmental toxins and carbon dioxide and incompatible with a purported`zero waste policy` which seeks to minimise waste and maximise recycling and re-use of resources. Quite how a reduction of 42% in CO2 is to be achieved by 2020 without including transport or incineration in this strategy, beats me. I can only assume that this represents a further entrenchment within the permanent North British government, even to the extent of denying that incinerators emit CO2, pretty much along the same lines of the expressed attitude of waste disposal companies that incineration is a liability-free method of waste disposal.
When I was campaigning on this issue during the late 80s and early 90s, there was no internet, and therefore no cheap or easy way to access information or to lobby. Even more importantly, there was little research on the health effects of incineration and of the environmental toxins that this processcreates. Indeed, Greenpeace specifically warned community campaigners against campaigning on health grounds because of this. Nearly 20 years later, there is plenty of research and scientific consensus on the health effects ofincineration, in spite of what SEPA officials may claim. The early research pointed to cancer as a suspected health effect - concerns are now more focussed on the longer term effects on children and more recent research isproviding evidence of neurological effects. There has been an explosion in the incidence of neurological disorders, and there are established links between these and environmental toxins..
The fact that much research cannot prove causality for specific toxins as regards human health is neither here nor there - we don't live under laboratory conditions. When there has been a 30 year assault on independently funded scientific research within the UK, it's no wonder that it has taken so long to establish a body of research providing clear links between ill health and environmental toxins. Indeed, most of the research is international, not domestic. It is government's job to apply the Precautionary Principle, not to play pass the parcel between suspect pollutants and polluters when it comes to accountability.
No-one can say that this is not a national issue, for the aforestated reasons, and because there are more incinerators planned in Scotland and elsewhere inthe UK. The Scottish Government should dispose of the toxic chalice of incineration and implement a geniune zero waste policy.
Fiona Sinclair undertook all the Scottish research for `Waste Not, Want Not`, by Robert Allen, published in 1992 by Earthscan. This book collated theaccounts of community campaigns throughout the UK against proposals for toxicwaste incinerators and dumps. See Comments section for some useful links
16 Jun 2009
So whatever happened to that "settled will of the Scottish People"? And who are these Unionist appointed Calman commissioners, and now a committee of Unionist party leaders chaired by Jim Murphy to unsettle it?
14 Jun 2009
Today's Sunday Herald carries and excellent feature by doyen of diarists, now returned reporter Tom Shields. I recommend a full read , but below for me are the most striking paragraphs, especially as we mark ten years of devolution: The infamous 1998-99 selection process, when a Blairite London appointed committee, chaired by Rosemary MacKenna, supervised by Jack McConnell, and fully endorsed by Donald Dewar and Gordon Brown, ripped the intellectual and independent soul out of the Labour Party in Scotland before the new parly even met. Where it all started to go wrong for Scottish Labour, what in big measure explains where it is today. Tom Shields takes up the story:
"Applicants with a spark were excluded in favour of people who had made no mark and would make no mark. People in their 30s and 40s who had left no fingerprints of achievement were put into our national legislature. We were landed with legislators and tribunes who were ineffectual and unaccomplished, with no track record as strategic thinkers or ability to communicate. They were never going to bloom. It is a legacy which affects Labour and Scotland. ........."
12 Jun 2009
10 Jun 2009
9 Jun 2009
8 Jun 2009
...............thanks to Man Widdicombe Blog
7 Jun 2009
"This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus.
"That's not how moral authority is claimed; that's how it is surrendered.
"Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have to recognize they have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, recognize Israel's right to exist."
That was part of President Barack Obama's message in Cairo to the Palestinians
6 Jun 2009
“We would go in to Liverpool and we were treated like normal people. There was no segregation and we could go where we wanted and do what we wanted. We went dancing in the Grafton Ballroom and shopping on Whitechapel like everyone else.
“My time in England was the first time I had really felt free in my life. And I wondered why another country was treating us better than our own country, better than the country we were fighting for.”
the events of 'D-Day',
they will never forget,
their friends who passed away.
They will never forget,
the sound of bagpipes playing,
they will never forget,
the thousands of men praying.
They will never forget,
the blood red sea,
they will never forget,
the courage and the bravery.
We must never forget,
why they had to fight,
and we must never forget,
always to do what's right.
The Piper was Glaswegian Bill Millan of the 1st Commando Brigade.
He played until his bagpipes took a bullet,
the Germans all thought he was mad,
he miraculously never got killed,
our lucky Scottish lad.
But when a German sniper,
put his bagpipes out of action,
he picked up his gun,
a natural reaction.
For if they thought he was mad before,
they just had no idea,
for to deny a Piper his bagpipes,
leaves a man with no fear!
written 6th June 2004
5 Jun 2009
4 Jun 2009
"Gordon Brown is a man at the top of his game"
Sean Woodward, Secretary of State for Nothern Ireland, Newsnight, 3rd June, 2009
3 Jun 2009
"The prime minister demands loyalty, but that has become too much to ask of a party, and a country, that was never given the chance to vote for him. Had there been a contest for the leadership in 2007 - and had Mr Brown called a general election - he would probably have won. He decided not to do these things. And he has largely failed since.
"All must agree that the die is cast and a hard judgment made. Otherwise progressive politics will be dragged down at a general election in May 2010 that could lead to a much bigger defeat than Labour suffered in 1979. ...
"Labour has a year left before an election; its current leader would waste it. It is time to cut him loose."