28 March 2011

Some quick reflections on 26th March

I thoroughly enjoyed "March for the Alternative" and although I didn't arrive in Hyde Park in time for Ed's speech, it's reproduced at the New Statesman and is really very good indeed. Ed is really coming into his own these last couple of weeks. He was excellent on the budget response and has been doing well against Dave at PMQs. The current political climate shows why it was a good idea to put him in in the first place. Can you imagine David Miliband addressing the TUC rally if he'd won the leadership? Maybe I'm being unfair to the guy but he spent the whole leadership campaign treating the unions like a piece of dog mess which had accidentally ended up on the Labour Party's shoe, and in the end that's probably why he lost. There is still some minute measure of justice in this world...

It was the most inspiring protest I've ever been on, with at least half a million people, and the only thing that slightly marred it for me was not UK Uncut (who I think are superb), and not the anarchists (who, to be honest, could have picked ANY large-sized public event to get into a running battle with the police... for example I'm sure the same thing will happen at the royal wedding, and it will be considerably more interesting than anything else going on that day). It was being given a postcard saying that many of our trade unions are backing No2AV. It's this kind of bone-headedness and alliance with the most reactionary elements in the Tory and Labour party that makes it harder for unions to connect with the outside world.

So let me restate for the record that this blog always has been and always will be YES TO AV. (Well, until they put a PR option on the ballot paper... that should really be "yes to AV until something better comes along." But you know what I mean, kids.

25 March 2011

26th March: Shut up shop, get out on the streets and fight the powers that be

A big scene is happening on the 26th: the TUC March For The Alternative.

As long as you can get out of the house it is VITAL that as many people as possible get on this protest... or one of the many other protests going on that day.

The Iraq march in 2003 got at least a million people out on to the streets.. I think this one will easily double that.

It's important to send as strong a message as possible to the ConDems that this reactionary stitch-up of a government will not stand. If conditions deteriorate as a result of the spending cuts to the extent I think is likely, then we could stand on the verge of a revolution, and March 26th is an important step in the new social framework establishing itself.

I certainly won't be condoning random violence or chucking fire extinguishers but, short of that, I think any means necessary to defeat the Tories and the Fib Dem collaborators is legitimate.

I'm pleased that Ed Miliband will address the rally but extremely disappointed that Caroline Lucas isn't being allowed to do the same.

Anyway, hopefully see you on the 26th. Fight the Power.

13 March 2011

Nuclear disaster exposes journos' lack of knowledge - quelle surprise

Firstly, if anyone in Japan is reading this, you have my greatest sympathies, I hope you're OK and that your loved ones are too. It's a disaster on a massive scale and it looks like tens of thousands are dead. Truly shocking.

The nuclear reactor problems on the north east coast of Japan really have exposed newspaper and news website hacks as woefully ill-informed. Some punters have been out there saying it's meltdown time and the end of civilisation as we know it, while others have said that the "light water" design of the reactors means there's essentially very little to worry about. The next thing you know, the Daily Mail will be enclosing a free DVD of the 1979 US classic "The China Syndrome".

I'm going to make no further comment here as I know pretty much zero about nuclear power plant engineering although I did visit Bradwell nuclear power station (now decommissioned) as a kid. And indeed Dungeness about 20 years ago. The best piece of analysis on the possible risks of nuclear accident arising from the tsunami in Japan (complete with diagram) is here.

But it is amazing the way anything to do with nuclear brings out hyperbole on both sides of the fence.

07 March 2011

Any of you kids remember the Liberal Democrats?

I think they used to be part of something called "The Coalition" but they have gone a bit missing lately...

and with 6th place in the Barnsley by-election (behind UKIP, BNP and an independent) it's not surprising that people are asking: how bad can it get?

My guess is: probably quite a bit worse. Andrew Rawnsley's recent article - depressing for the Lib Dems as it is - is still hopelessly optimistic.

Still, that's what you get for being a bunch of dissembling collaborators.