Tag Archives: UK

An idea whose time has come: Climate Camp

The Climate Camp is a place for anyone who wants to take action on climate change; for anyone who’s fed up with empty government rhetoric and corporate spin; for anyone who’s worried that the small steps they’re taking aren’t enough to match the scale of the problem; and for anyone who’s worried about our future and wants to do something about it.

via About Us » Camp for Climate Action.

One of the things I particularly like about this group is its focus on the corporate criminals responsible for so much of what is creating climate change.

More from Penny Red

An ‘I’m Blogging This’ moment.: “Three riot vans screech up and police in yellow jackets pour out of the hatches like predatory lymphocytes to sterilise the dissent. They stream into formation and edge us back from the gates, politely for now, but extremely firmly. One young policeperson’s face is really close to mine as he shuffles us unseeingly back, and suddenly hey, I bloody know you, officer.

Last time I saw Officer X, he was wearing my underwear and a red velvet corset.”

After a teaser like that, how can you not read the rest?

On a somewhat related topic, Penny weighs in on what is apparently a fun new fad in the UK – slash fiction featuring the leaders of the two new governing parties, the Tories and LibDems…

Hey, geeks: NO.: “there are some times, some very rare, very sad times when constructing juicy stories about real or imagined homosexual angst between two powerful and/or fictional men IS NOT THE ANSWER. Now is one of those times. Because actually, it’s the people, not each other, that these men are quite possibly about to screw.”

For those of you of the non-geek persuasion, “slash” fiction is fan-written fiction that depicts sexual relations between pairs of characters – usually taken from pop culture (especially science fiction and fantasy on television) rather than the uncharted realms of British coalition governments. The origins of slash lie in fanzine fiction featuring intimate interactions between Kirk and Spock from Star Trek – shorthanded as Kirk/Spock and then K/S, hence the term slash, to refer to the separator between the names.

And finally, a sample of the pungent and pithy writing that makes Penny Red such a treat:

A Tory wet dream of women in politics: for Morning Star: “there’s nothing new about a Cabinet stuffed with rich, right-wing public schoolboys.”

Site of the Week: Demos – a UK think tank

Demos is “a London-based think tank. We generate ideas to improve politics and policy, and give people more power over their lives. Our vision is a society of free and powerful citizens.”

“A multi-dimensional measure of poverty will give a more complete picture of poverty in modern Britain…”

What does it mean to live in poverty? For decades, politicians and policymakers have tended to go straight to the most common definition of poverty: households that live below 60 per cent of median equivalised income. But this definition of relative income poverty has an arbitrary nature (why not 50 per cent or 70 per cent of median income?) – and leaves a host of questions unanswered.

In 2010, Demos is launching a flagship programme of work to develop a new, multi-dimensional measure of poverty that will take into account the full range of factors that affect quality of life and wellbeing.

The idea of poverty is widely seen as living below a standard below which nobody – or children, at least – should be expected to live. But a family’s living standard is affected by much more than their income, or whether they are experiencing material deprivation. It is affected by levels of access to health and education services, including their access to a GP or a dentist, to high-quality hospitals and to good schools, and by factors such as quality of housing.

(via Demos | Projects.)

The BNP meltdown – Yay!

The BNP meltdown: “One of the arguments made on Pickled Politics and elsewhere was that while the BNP were great at exploiting people’s fears and casting themselves as insurgents, when it came to the pesky business of actual government they found now rather trickier. Now the electorate in Barking and Dagenham have demonstrated how they feel about the BNP’s record of governance on the local council by voting all twelve of them out. This capped a poor night for the party overall, which left them will only 19 councillors, down from 45.”

(via Pickled Politics.)

More Trouble in Northern Ireland

I wrote earlier about the spectre of a return of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, and my sadness at that possibility. Here we have another report that sounds depressingly familiar from all those years of violence. If only the rest of the world (Greece, Arizona, climate change, oil spill, nuclear pacts, Iron Man 2) would slow down long enough for me to find out what is really going on back there…

Device explodes at Lurgan PSNI station: “Last week, two devices, understood to be pipe bombs, were defused in the Kilwilkee Road area of the town.

The attack on Tuesday is the latest in a series in recent months which have been blamed on dissident republicans.

In April, bombs exploded outside the MI5 headquarters in Holywood, County Down and a police station in Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.

(via BBC News.)

PSNI officer targeted in Newry pipe bomb attack: “A pipe bomb has exploded outside the family home of a police officer in Newry.”

(via BBC News.)

Captain Picard says, “Labour – Make It So.”

Can New Labour cling on?: “As the campaign hits warp factor 10, John Harris heads south to test the government’s record on three key issues: jobs, housing and equality…”

Watch the video of everyone’s favourite sexy bald captain tell you why you should vote Labour in the upcoming election (assuming you’re in Britain) at Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.

(thanks to Ken Macleod at The Early Days of a Better Nation for pointing me at this)

The Troubles Return?

Dissident threat level increases: “The threat by dissident republicans in Northern Ireland is higher than at any time since the Omagh bomb in 1998 police say.”

(Via BBC News.)

Bomb blast outside NI police station: “Recent weeks have seen an escalation in terrorism. Last week a suspect device was left in an abandoned car outside the same station, and up to 60 homes were evacuated. Senior police sources have recently warned that the threat by dissident republican terrorists is higher than at any time since the Omagh bomb almost 12 years ago. Earlier this month, the Real IRA claimed responsibility for a separate car bomb attack outside MI5’s headquarters in Holywood, County Down, less than half an hour after policing and justice powers were devolved to Stormont.”

(Via guardian.co.uk.)

I thought we were moving past this… Growing up in progressive and alternative circles in the San Francisco area in the 1970s, the IRA and the conflict in Northern Ireland was a regular part of my childhood – the topic of interesting adult conversations over pints of beer, of rallies and protests, posters and graffiti, and so on.

In fact, one of the first “reports” I ever did in school, for “current events” in fifth grade, was on the situation in Belfast – I’d been deeply moved by a photo sequence of a boy running up to a steaming canister of tear gas and hurling it back at the police, and then collapsing in a heap in the middle of the road, in the no man’s land between the protestors and the riot squad. My fifth grade teacher, a straightlaced Republican with an Irish protestant background, was not amused. (By the way, if that photo sequence sounds familiar, let me know – I would like to see it again.)

But in recent years, while that other intractable conflict of my childhood – the situation in the Middle East – continued to be a problem, the Troubles of Northern Ireland seemed – at least to me, looking on from the United States and Australia – to have settled down, with successful peace talks, cease fires and an apparent cessation of overt hostilities… I can remember, a few years back, talking with a friend about how the Middle East conflict had been a constant for our entire political life, but the Troubles, which had also been a fixture for so long, had finally ended.

The last couple of weeks, it has felt like we may have spoken too soon – but I hope this is only an aftershock, an aberration… I would like one of these seemingly intractable sectarian conflicts to end. It would be such a hopeful sign.

BNP Protest | Demotix.com

UAF protest BNP in Croydon | Demotix.com.

Demotix is a citizen-journalism website and photo agency. It takes user-generated content (UGC) and photographs from freelance journalists and amateurs, and markets them to the mainstream media.