Monthly Archives: April 2013

£10 Millions for Thatcher whilst thousands face “Paupers Funerals”

Repeal the Welfare Reform Act of 2012 A new story from the campaign

Repeal the Welfare Reform Act of 2012

£10 Millions for Thatcher whilst thousands face “Paupers Funerals”

Posted by Michael Moulding (campaign founder)

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The introduction of the “Welfare Reform Act 2012” and the Tory cuts is resulting in tens of thousands of families having to bury their loved ones in “paupers funerals”. This when this savage tory government spend £10 MILLIONS of taxpayers money on Margaret Thatchers funeral. http://links.causes.com/s/clJ7os?r=8JuS

George Osborne sheds a tear at Margaret Thatchers funeral.Have a look at him laughing like a hyena on the day he imposed poverty on millions in the UK, 2012 Autumn Statement. (pic enclosed)

Please sign our petition to have repealled the Welfare Reform Act 2012 – http://links.causes.com/s/clJ7ot?r=8JuS

eOC.jpg

Follow the Community Action Party on Facebook – http://links.causes.com/s/clJ7ou?r=8JuS

Want to get involved? See this story on Causes

PROMISED LAND – Hollywood does Fracking – released this Friday

Official Site: www.promisedlandthefilm.com

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Written by: John Krasinski, Matt Damon and Dave Eggers

Produced by: Chris Moore

Starring: Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand, Lucas Black, Rosemarie DeWitt, Scoot McNairy and Hal Holbrook

Genre: Drama

Runtime:
1 hour 47 minutes (approx.)

Movie Synopsis:

Corporate salesman Steve Butler arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason. With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man who counters Steve both personally and professionally.

SOUTH WALES INITIAL RELEASE VENUES:

ODEON – RED DRAGON CENTRE – CARDIFF BAY

CINEWORLD – MARY ANN ST – CARDIFF

ODEON – PARC TAWE – SWANSEA

CINEWORLD – NEWPORT RETAIL PARK – SPYTTY, NEWPORT

Nationwide release details: http://www.filmdates.co.uk/films/4813-promised-land/

REVIEWS:

GRAUNIAD: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/feb/08/promised-land-berlin-film-festival-review

INDEPENDENT: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/reviews/berlin-film-festival-review-promised-land-starring-matt-damon-is-too-dry-and-sober-8487709.html

TORYGRAPH: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/9860858/Berlin-Film-Festival-2013-Promised-Land-review.html

Npower tax dodgers

38 Degrees Logo
Dear Andy,

Is Npower the new Starbucks? At the same time as hiking our energy bills, Npower are using accounting tricks to dodge paying their fair share of tax in the UK. Yesterday it was revealed that they haven’t paid a single penny in corporation tax for the last three years! [1]

But now this is out in the open, Npower are vulnerable. Just look what a PR disaster it was for Starbucks when their tax affairs were exposed last year. Tax dodging scandals can ruin a company’s reputation. And that can cost them their customers. [2]

Npower rely on their customer loyalty. If they realise that their tax scams are damaging their reputation, they’ll have to back down. So let’s make them feel the strength of public opposition by building a HUGE petition warning them that their customers are ready to leave them. Please click here to sign:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/npower-tax

A huge petition can help turn this tax dodge into a full-on PR crisis for Npower. It’ll help spread the word and raise awareness of what they’re up to. And it’ll encourage the media to keep reporting on this scam. That’s exactly what Npower’s PR team don’t want to happen!

After Starbucks’ tax scams came out, customers crossed the street to buy coffee from another cafe. Npower will already know that they’re at risk from customers switching gas and electricity providers. It’s not like it’s that difficult to switch – we proved that last year, when thousands of us switched together to get a better deal. [3]

The news of yet another huge company like Npower dodging tax stinks, and not just because it comes at a time when our gas and electricity bills are going through the roof. By dodging tax, Npower are actively contributing to the UK’s deficit – and to the stinging impact of government cuts.

Let’s force Npower to stop using accounting tricks to dodge their fair share of tax . Sign the petition to Npower now:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/npower-tax

Thanks for being involved,

James, Becky, Susannah and the 38 Degrees team

PS: NPower’s accounting scam works like this: they are turning UK operating profits into accounting and tax losses by making large “interest payments” to other parts of their own business, based overseas. This is currently legal – and in the longer term, we need to push the government to close this blatant loophole. But right now we have a chance to force Npower to drop this scam – so please sign the petition now: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/npower-tax

NOTES
[1] The Sun – Energy giant pays zero tax: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/4891267/Energy-giant-Npower-pays-zero-corporation-tax.html
[2] The Economist: Wake up and smell the coffee: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21568432-starbuckss-tax-troubles-are-sign-things-come-multinationals-wake-up-and-smell
[3] Read more about the Big Switch on the 38 Degrees website here: http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2012/05/11/bigswitchresult/

Today’s Frack-Free Wales demo in Cardiff Bay

Mission accomplished!The sun shone on us as we gave voice to our opposition to the frackers threatening the environment and long-term prosperity of Wales with this crazy obsession for extreme fossil fuels that grips Westminster.The turn out was a little disappointing in terms of the shortfall from the numbers that had pledged to attend, but we nonetheless made up for this in terms of noise, colour and spirit. It was also very successful in terms of publicity and getting our message across to at least some AMs.

  • My scientific and technical briefing paper was delivered alongside letters and petitions to Carwyn Jones’ office
  • We had a slot on the ITV Wales News this evening featuring an interview with Frances Jenkins
  • I did an interview fro Capital FM Radio
  • At least two independent film makers were busy the whole time
  • Professional photographers, Peter Cook and Nigel Pugh took plenty of pictures – some of Peter’s below
  • We had excellent and encouraging discussions with Lib Dem AM Peter Black and Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins
  • Had a good laugh that my ‘No Fraking Way’ t-shirt was deemed too political to be allowed in the Senedd – they don’t like politics in there it would seem!

It was great to see passionate activists coming from far and wide to support us – from Somerset in the East to Swansea in the West, with a healthy contingent of Bridgend Greens in attendance. Thank you, one and all!

But a special thank you to the inspirational Frances Jenkins for all the time and effort she has put into Frack-Free Wales, inspiring the the rest of us to do what we can.

Peter Black AM, Andy Chyba, Frances Jenkins (Frack-Free Wales)

Frances, Andy and Bethan Jenkins AM.

Part of the colourful and noisy crowd on the Assembly steps

MORE PICS:

 https://bridgendgreens.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/more-pics-from-cardiff-bay-fracking-event/

 

FFW scientific-and-technical-evidence-against-hydraulic-fracturing.pdf

Fixing the banking system for good

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Positive Money
Dear Andrew,
Responses to the recent Cypriot banking collapse have shown that there is still a huge lack of understanding about how banks work and therefore a lot more educational work and awareness building to take part in. Read below to find new publications, videos and interesting events which give support for this work. Please share them with your friends.

1) Conference “Fixing the Banking System for Good” – Free LIVE STREAM

Screen_Shot_2013_04_16_at_15.03.41.pngA very interesting conference takes place TOMORROW (Wed 17th April) in Philadelphia, USA. Some big senior figures in the economic, monetary, and financial worlds, including Adair Turner, Laurence Kotlikoff, Michael Kumhof, will be discussing fundamental solutions to current global monetary and banking problems.

You can watch this event free online from your office or home.

(The event starts at 1:30 pm (GMT), M Kumhof at 3pm, L Kotlikoff at 3:45pm, A Turner at 6:30pm, Full agenda here)

2) Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP on Positive Money

Screen_Shot_2013_04_16_at_15.11.54.png

Watch a video message from Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas for Positive Money supporters here:

“There is no doubt that our financial system and the ecosystems on which we depend are at the point of collapse. We can tackle both problems simultaneously if we’d only admit their interdependance. If we’d only recognize that how we spend money and how we create money, has an impact on our environment.”

3) New publication: The Positive Money Proposal

Screen_Shot_2013_04_02_at_15.59.33.pngThis new document presents on 34 pages a plan for monetary reform, that is described in much greater detail in the book Modernising Money.

The reforms are outlined from the perspective of an individual, a commercial bank and the central bank. The proposal gives also an accounting perspective and describes a method for transitioning from the current monetary system to the reformed system.

This is a more technical explanation of the reforms, intended for economists and people with an understanding of banking. Some of you may prefer to read the Plain English proposal.

4) Book “Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources”

Screen_Shot_2013_04_16_at_15.25.08.pngA new book Enough Is Enough from the Centre for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy identifies reform of the monetary system as one of the necessary changes that must be made to deal with the ongoing environmental crisis.

With a foreword by Professor Herman Daly, who also wrote the foreword for Positive Money’s book Modernising Money, the book states that: “Globally, we are overusing the earth’s finite resources, and yet excessive consumption is failing to improve our lives. It’s time for a new kind of economy.” and lays out a visionary but realistic alternative to “the perpetual pursuit of economic growth—an economy where the goal is enough, not more”.

5) Fixing Our Broken Money System – New York, 12 May

This event organized by the American Monetary Institute will bring together true experts that have dedicated much of their lives to solving the problems that are inherent with the system we currently use. More info here

If you or someone you know will be in New York during the time of the event, stop by and take part in the discussion!

6) Upcoming Events

Philadelphia, USA, Wed 17 Apr – Fixing the Banking System for Good (Watch free online)

Brighton, Thu 18 Apr – Screening of “97% Owned” & Discussion

London, Mon 22 Apr – Modernising Money – Reading Group

Monmouth, Wed 24 Apr – Talk in the town: Positive Money

London, Fri 10 May – Transforming Finance Conference

New York, USA, Sun 12 May – Fixing our Broken Money System

West Yorkshire, Tue 21 May – Screening of “97% Owned” & Discussion

Hay on Wye, Sat 25 May – Modernising Money at HAY Festival Wales

London, Sun 26 May – “Sunday Papers Live” with Ben Dyson

6) Latest from the Blog

New Documentary: “Jekyll Island” (Video)

Could We Accelerate the Post Reform Transition?

Dirk Bezemer about Positive Money

The alleged deflationary effect of full reserve banking

News from Ireland – Sensible Money

Economics and the Powerful – INET Conference (Video)

The Future of Central Banking – INET Conference (Video)

QE – one step closer to monetary reform?

Adair Turner’s Keynote Speech at INET Conference (Video)

open.php?u=7396d6c5dc44c9d3b64d8265c&id=ce14d3597e&e=2b992710a2

Personal message from Rod King – Dear Andy – re 20’s Plenty for Bettws

Dear Andy – 20s Plenty for Bettws

Its now nearly 10 years since I started campaigning for 20mph limits, first in Warrington and then throughout the UK. It is 5 ½ years since I set up 20s Plenty for Us in order to assist campaigners like yourself in influencing your local authority in implementing wide-area 20mph limits. And because of your efforts both individually and collectively we have made a huge change in the way that our roads are shared and in the debate on how they should be shared for the future.

With now 191 local campaigns around the country we are probably one of the largest and fastest growing grass-roots organisations. And the fact that all of this has been achieved with what are mainly volunteer resources is a testament to both the popularity of our message and the work done by you all.

In all of our campaigning I have felt there are 3 very clear objectives which we should have :-

  1. Support local campaigns
  2. Influence transport professionals on the value, benefits and popularity of 20mph limits
  3. Lobby local and central government on the need and benefits of lower speed limits.

In my time campaigning I have had quite a lot of communication with campaigners and organisations around the world. Their perspective is that in the UK we are taking a progressive and pragmatic approach to lower speeds that is, through debate and the democratic process, sensitising whole communities towards treating our streets as public spaces rather than just roads for automobiles. And whilst in some EU countries they have an even more progressive approach to lower speeds and many decades of implementation we are really showing in the UK that cultures can change and make a difference.

And that EU involvement is so important. It is a fact that the UK government is very much being influenced by our arguments and those made by local authorities to enable wide-area 20mph limits to be put in place economically and effectively. It is being recognised that we are in a transitional phase from the urban speed limit being 30mph everywhere towards a situation where 20mph is the norm. When so many of our iconic cities have less than 15% of their roads with a 30mph limits then 30mph no longer becomes a national default but merely a dated relic from the 1930s. And so it is time that we should be also looking to maximise our influence at government and pan-European level.

We are already involved with the European Citizens Initiative to get the EU commission to seriously consider setting 30km/h or 20mph as the standard for urban streets with the ability for local authorities to make alternative arrangements for vulnerable road users. Indeed, I am one of the 7 members of the citizens Committee which has set up the initiative. And we have until November to raise 55,000 signatures in the UK.

I know that many of you have already been working on this and have either influenced people to sign the initiative or sent me paper copies of signatures you have obtained personally. But we need to raise our sights and lift our game if we are to take maximum advantage of the opportunity which we have at our hands. Over the course of 29th April till 12th May there will be a major push by vulnerable road user organisations throughout Europe to raise awareness of the Initiative and increase the support and signings. This will be timed to co-incide with Global Road Safety Week under the patronage of United Nations and supported by the World Health Organisation.

I would therefore ask each and all for you to join with fellow campaigners across Europe in making a real effort to increase participation and signatories for the initiative. I would like you to take copies of the initiative and ask your friends, colleagues and family to either sign the paper copy or the on-line page. In many ways the former is so much better because you can see it signed rather than relying on someone remembering to sign it on-line.

A copy is attached and you can print off as many as you wish. If you would like us to send you some printed blanks then just let us know. Once you have got as many signatures as you can then please just mail them to me.

Of course you can also take the opportunity to include a call to action for your colleagues and other campaigners to do the same with their friends, family and colleagues.

We know that 20 is Coming. In some places its coming earlier and faster than others. But this really does give us all an opportunity to end the postcode lottery on speed limits and create an EU wide debate about how we share our streets as public spaces for all rather than just roads for automobiles.

I am sure that if we can all focus our energies on this initiative during the two weeks of Global road safety then we can really leverage all the excellent work which you have done to-date. I therefore look forward to a strong response from you all in supporting the European Citizens Initiative for 30km/h or 20mph limits.

I have attached the voting form and you may also see details on our website at www.20mph4.eu

Please get back to us if you have any questions. I also look forward to the signatory count increasing and receiving signatory forms from you all.

My best regards

Rod King

Rod.k

www.20splentyforus.org.uk

Follow us on Twitter @20splentyforus

Sign our European Citizens Initiative for 20mph limits at www.20mph4.eu

ECI_20mph_petition_UK Formular EN EBI-text II.pdf

Former Labour leaders join the Greens

An ever increasing number of disenchanted former Labour supporters are finding the Green party stands for principles and policies they believe in. They make up a large proportion of the Party’s current membership. Most have been former ‘rank and file’ Labour members; few leading activists have yet felt able to abandon the Party they have long worked hard for. There are notable exceptions, such as Peter Tatchell and a trickle of former Labour Councillors.We are now beginning to see quite senior Labour people wake up to the fact that Tory Blair’s New labour is not coming back to them. The argument, so often given to me by Labour members in Bridgend, that they feel they can achieve more by remaining in Labour than moving to the Greens is beginning to unravel as we make gradual electoral advances and see Green party members taking leading roles in left wing coalition movements such as the Coalition of Resistance, Left Unity, The People’s Assembly. Green Left is also making steady progress within the Green Party, with Green Left punching well above its weight across the Party.It can only be matter of time before Labour members in South Wales realise the extent of the betrayal by New Labour and allow the courage of their convictions to finally trump their misguided loyalty. It is happening just across the border in Worcester right now:

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/10355420.Labour_leaders_shift_their_allegiance_to_the_Greens/

“Former Labour leader of the Worcester City Council and Party chrman David Barlow has joined the Green Party as has former Worcester Labour Party candidate, Peter Nielsen.

Mr Barlow led the city council in 2000 and terminated his Labour membership in 2011 after 30 years of being a member of the party. Mr Barlow said: The Green Party offers exactly the kind of credible, progressive policies which I have always supported and from which the Labour Party has drifted away.

Peter Nielsen said: “The Green Party has the ethical and moral dimension that has been lost in our traditional political parties, in particular the Labour Party. The Green Party sees environmental sustainability and social justice as inseparable. It is now 40 years old, and has matured into an impressive and credible political organisation that I am happy to join and in which I feel completely at home.”

David Barlow was a member of Worcester City Council from 1985-2004. In addition to being leader of the council, he chaired several committees, including Environmental Health, Community Services, Policy & Resources and Licensing. He was also a County Councillor (Hereford & Worcestershire), 1993-’97, where he chaired Personnel. Throughout, he had been much involved in numerous outside bodies and in local government associations regionally and nationally.”

A Review and Synopsis of the Scientific and Technical Evidence Against Hydraulic Fracturing

Report produced by Andy Chyba, commissioned by Frack-Free Wales.This will be presented to the Welsh Government by Frack-Free Wales at the demo on Tuesday.

http://frackfreewales.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/national-action-against-fracking-in-wales-16th-april-cardiff-bay-at-the-senedd/

Full report PDF via attachment at the bottom the page.

Contents:

  • The key differences between traditional conventional fracking and the recent so-called unconventional fracking
  • Borehole casings
  • Seismicity
  • Explosive fracturing
  • Hydraulic fracturing
  • Health impacts of frack chemicals
  • Disclosure of chemicals
  • Handling flowback water
  • Silica sand
  • Airborne pollution
  • Water resource implications
  • Climate change impacts
  • Population density

Conclusions:

“In conclusion, allow me to point out that most peoples concern over fracking tends to start in a NIMBYist fashion, with concern over related planning applications in their local areas. Witness the ever increasing plethora of local opposition groups across the country, indeed across the world. What invariably happens, however, is that people very quickly learn about and recognise the full range and scale of the issues involved the issues in this review, and many more such as noise, HGV traffic, property values, loss of amenity, and impacts on biodiversity, agriculture and tourism and so on. We have seen many local opposition groups thereby morph into national and international campaigns, seeking to be mutually supportive towards a common goal. This is an issue that therefore stretches beyond the scientific and technical. It has to become a political issue in which choices about our relationship with the planet we depend on are central.”

the-scientific-and-technical-evidence-against-hydraulic-fracturing.pdf

Monsanto vs. Mother Earth

4764_tomatoTakeover_3_200x100.jpg

It’s unbelievable, but Monsanto and Co. are at it again. These profit-hungry biotech companies have found a way to exclusively ‘own’ something that freely belongs to us all — our food! But if we can pressure key European countries to slam the patent door shut on their destructive plans, we can stop this attack on our food. Help build the biggest food defense call ever by clicking here:

Sign the petition

It’s unbelievable, but Monsanto and Co. are at it again. These profit-hungry biotech companies have found a way to exclusively ‘own’ something that freely belongs to us all — our food! They’re trying to patent away our everyday vegetables and fruits like cucumber, broccoli and melons, forcing growers to pay them and risk being sued if they don’t.

But we can stop them from buying up Mother Earth. Companies like Monsanto have found loopholes in European law to get away with this, so we just need to close them shut before they set a dangerous global precedent. And to do that, we need key countries like Germany, France and the Netherlands — where opposition is already growing — to call for a vote to stop Monsanto’s plans. The Avaaz community has shifted governments before, and we can do it again.

Many farmers and politicians are already against this — we just need to bring in people power to pressure these countries to keep Monsanto’s hands off our food. Sign now and share with everyone to help build the biggest food defense call ever:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/monsanto_vs_mother_earth_doy/?bdtmtbb&v=23899

Once a patent exists in one country, trade agreements and negotiations often push other countries to honour it as well. That’s why these food patents change everything about how our food chain works: for thousands of years, farmers could choose which seeds they’d use without worrying about getting sued for violating intellectual property rights. But now, companies launch expensive legal campaigns to buy patents on conventional plants and force farmers to pay exorbitant royalty fees. Monsanto and Co. claim that patents drive innovation — but in fact they create a corporate monopoly of our food.

But luckily, the European Patent Office is controlled by 38 member states who, with one vote, can end dangerous patents on food that is bred using conventional methods. Even the European Parliament has issued a statement objecting to these kinds of destructive patents. Now, a massive wave of public outcry could push them to ban the patenting of our everyday food for good.

The situation is dire already — Monsanto alone owns 36% of all tomato, 32% of sweet pepper and 49% of cauliflower varieties registered in the EU. With a simple regulatory change, we could protect our food, our farmers and our planet from corporate control — and it’s up to us to make it happen:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/monsanto_vs_mother_earth_doy/?bdtmtbb&v=23899

The Avaaz community has never been afraid to stand up to corporate capture of our institutions, from pushing back the Rupert Murdoch mafia, to helping ensure that telecoms keep their hands off our Internet. Now it’s time to defend our food supply from this corporate takeover.

With hope and determination,

Jeremy, Michelle, Oli, Dalia, Pascal, Ricken, Diego and the whole Avaaz team

SOURCES:

Conventionally-bred plants or animals should be exempt from patents, say MEPs (EU Parliament)
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/pressroom/content/20120509IPR44733/html/Conventionally-bred-plants-or-animals-should-be-exempt-from-patents-say-MEPs

President of the European Patent Office gives green light for patents on plants and animals (No Patents on Seeds)
http://www.no-patents-on-seeds.org/en/information/background/green-light-for-patents-on-plants-and-animals

Monsanto: All Your Seeds Belong to Us (Mother Jones)
http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/02/scotus-hears-monsanto-soybean-case

Plant Patentability Questions Deepen In EPO Tomato Patent Case (IP Watch)
http://www.ip-watch.org/2012/06/13/plant-patentability-questions-deepen-in-epo-tomato-patent-case/

Tomato patent back before EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal (Europolitics)
http://europolitics.eis-vt-prod-web01.cyberadm.net/business-competitiveness/tomato-patent-back-before-epo-s-enlarged-board-of-appeal-art336003-7.html

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