27 Jan 2016

Film Show on Fracking

Wednesday 3rd February 7pm to 9pm, Cirencester Organic Farm Shop

 

Frack Free Cotswolds have organised a showing of this 'disturbing film on the potential impact of proposed local fracking in the Bath area.'

To include: DASH FOR GAS .

Please come along to the Organic Farm Shop, Burford Road, Cirencester, GL7 5HF.

Refreshments available.

19 Jan 2016

Cotswold Green Party Meeting - 23rd January

The meeting will start at 11am in the side room of The Crown pub in Cirencester (on the corner of Black Jack Street and West Market Place).

The main discussion will be on the hugely relevant topic of 'FLOODING'.

All Green Party members are welcome. 
 

29 Dec 2015

'Taxation is the fee that we pay for living in a civilised society'

A local Green Activist recently wrote a letter to the Wilts and Glos Standard about the proposed 2300 house development in Cirencester on Lord Bathurst's land - here is the text:

Dear Sir,

Thanks to Private Eye magazine (http://www.private-eye.co.uk/registry), we are able to see the considerable extent of 'our' countryside that is owned by Lord Bathurst's off-shore trust in the Bahamas, a means by which the noble lord will avoid paying tax on profits accrued from sales of the 2300-odd houses in his Chesterton development. His response to the revelation of his tax-dodging was that it is a small amount when spread across the whole country. If it's such a small amount, why doesn't he pay it?  And, in case you’re thinking that we’d be depriving him of the results of his sweated labour, this is capital gains tax on land that’s valuable solely because it’s close to Ciren. All he has had to do is wait!

While being reluctant to pay tax, like the rest of us have to, the Bathursts are not so reluctant to collect the Single Farm Payments under the Common Agricultural Policy - check the payments made to Cirencester Park Farms at http://www.cap-payments.defra.gov.uk/download.aspx - and presumably they are quite happy to receive Housing Benefit payments from the UK government for any of their tenants who have the misfortune to be unemployed... Similarly, the Bathursts are dependent on state schools and universities to educate the people they employ, dependent on the publicly-financed Fire Brigade if there are fires in their properties and on the public road system for conveying their goods and purchases to and from their markets....

Can Lord Bathurst please be reminded that taxation is the fee that we pay for living in a civilised society and that the more you own, the more support you require from that society? That just because you happen to have been born in the right place at the right time, you are not absolved from paying these fees?  And just because tax-dodging is legal, it doesn't mean it's moral.
 
                Yours sincerely,               
                R W Irving.
                Green Party


The Standard actually took this on board and interviewed Bob.  See the article.

18 Dec 2015

Stroud District Council first to go carbon neutral

Image by Russ
At a meeting of its environment committee held last night, councillors endorsed a report stating that Stroud District Council has become a carbon neutral council. It is thought to be the first council in Europe to announce that the carbon dioxide emissions from its operations have been outweighed by the reduction in emissions from energy efficiency measures and renewable energy installations it has put in place. The announcement comes just a week after the historic agreement on climate change was reached at the UN Climate Change Conference, in Paris.



Wow!! I was part of a group as a new councillor back in 2006 when we first started talking about this....initially that naive part of me thinking we'd do it in a few of years...then realising that actually there was alot of work involved - not least convincing other councillors that this was a road to take.  Indeed I remember jeers and laughter when I suggested in Council Chamber spending £10 million on renewables and energy efficiency measures for our council housing....well that only made us more determined and task groups, committee reports and many conversations later we moved slowly in the right direction.....before I stood down we were able to put aside £12 million for two years and a further £3 million for following three years. Now some of that has changed but this announcement is great news....yes loads more work to be done but we are building understanding and more in the District to continue to grow this.

The announcements re solar subsidies are deeply depressing - meanwhile the Tory government make commitments to massively subsidise nuclear power dinosaur technology - it makes no sense at all.



Anyway here's Green Party's Councillor Simon Pickering, chair of the committee, in his press release regarding Stroud: “This is a tremendous achievement, which has been delivered through a multi-pronged strategy focused on households, businesses and community buildings, as well as reducing the council’s own operational emissions. We have brought in over £36m investment into county allowing us to create jobs, cut heating bills and, of course, reduce carbon emissions. It’s been a win-win approach to tackling climate change, helping households and stimulating the local economy. Carbon offsetting is a long-established and accepted practice and is usually something associated with multi-national companies. Quite often they’ll do something such as plant trees in another part of the world to offset their carbon footprint. From our perspective we’ve been able to make hands-on improvements in our immediate environment.”

And more of the Stroud District Council press release:
The council’s environmental audit for 2014/15 has revealed that its estimated CO2 emissions from its operations of 2,925 tonnes have been outweighed by the 3,275.6 tonnes saved by its environmental initiatives. As part of keeping its own house in order, council buildings have seen significant solar panel arrays installed, lighting upgrades, and insulation and air tightness improvements. On top of these has been a programme of behavioural change encouraging staff to become more energy efficient. Village and community halls have also received funding to make them environmentally friendly and businesses across the district have also taken part in initiatives to help them reduce their emissions.

However, the greatest contribution by far comes from the council’s work with households which has contributed to 75% of the carbon savings. The council was instrumental in setting up and supporting the Gloucestershire Warm and Well Partnership. Working with Severn Wye Energy Agency, its advice and support to households on energy efficiency projects saved 2,468.6 tonnes of CO2.  It has helped thousands of households across the district with support and guided them to funding initiatives towards energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy measures such as ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, solar panels and solar heating. At the same time the council has been instrumental in establishing a network of registered installers to carry out installations to ensure that supply could meet the demand for work.

3 Dec 2015

Stroud District & Cotswold Green Party members rock up to the Climate March



3 coaches from Stroud, with a pick up at Cirencester, headed for the Climate Demo in London on 29th November. One of our Stroud protestors was a penguin, a climate migrant who presumably had first hand experience of global warming. (I expect he did by the end of the day after a march in a fluffy suit anyway!)

Grouping under the Stroud District Banner, manfully held aloft by 2 strapping Green Party members who fought valiantly to keep the banner flying despite large gusts of wind, we found ourselves fairly near the front of the march. The advertised departure time was 12.00, but we actually started slowly edging forward at about 1 o'clock after some rousing speeches relayed to us by a bank of speakers held aloft by a fire engine. There were speakers from the nursing and firefighting unions - both groups being at the forefront of dealing with climate change as natural disasters occur ever more frequently.  Fashion Designer Vivienne Westwood exhorted us to 'Be Specific' in our fights although some of her facts and figures were a bit dodgey. Jeremy Corbyn got a rapturous reception and Green MP Caroline Lucas delivered the last speech to fire us up on the march.
 

What was most striking was the number of different groups coming together - Greenpeace with their huge cardboard polar bears, Frack Free Lancashire, Cafod, petition group Avaaz, Friends of the Earth to name but a few. There were the obligatory drummers and a band complete with saxophone.  Young and old marched in peace and the policemen at the side of the road must have had little to do. Those inside the barred gates of Downing Street looked especially fierce with their guns, but otherwise I did not see any riot police.

 



At the end of the March there more banks of speakers held aloft and this time some big screens to show what was happening on stage. There were people from the Arctic and Pacific islands bearing witness to how climate change was affecting them. Francesca Martinez, the stand up comedian who describes herself as 'wobbly' (cerebral palsy) gave an impassioned speech. Performance poet Kate Tempest was invigorating and wildly cheered by the crowd.  Everyone had the same message - climate change must be taken seriously NOW.

Official estimates say 50,000 marched. I could find little press coverage the next day except for a few photos, but I am told it was on TV on the Sunday.

20 Nov 2015

Historic moment as local plan adopted for Stroud district

Ruscombe Valley now better protected
At a meeting held last night at Ebley Mill, councillors adopted the Stroud District Local Plan, a strategic housing and employment plan which will shape the district’s future for decades to come. Stroud District is the first council in Gloucestershire to have an up-to-date local plan in place and will allow us to plan where development should take place rather than fight off speculative applications where it shouldn’t.

In recent years councils across the country have found it difficult to defend against large housing applications in areas they did not consider suitable, when they have not had a local plan in place. The Government knew this when they changed the rules around planning - effectively creating almost a free-for-all for developers. They knew over half of Councils don't have a Local Plan and due to the way the process is set up cannot speed them any quicker.

The Stroud District Local  Plan, which encourages at least 11,400 homes to be built over the 25-year period between 2006 and 2031, identifies how many homes should be built and their locations. The number includes over 7,700 homes which have already been built or have planning permission and 4,200 homes to be developed on sites identified in the plan.  On average, 470 homes need to be built each year over the next 16 years to accommodate the expected needs of the district. It also supports the development of 58 hectares of employment land over the plan period to meet local job forecasts and identifies a range of new sites to meet business needs. Again the framework for this is all set by Government.

Planning inspector, Steven Pratt, who approved the council’s plan before it was passed to councillors to adopt, confirmed that it showed a seven year supply of housing land, meaning that the council would be right to prevent further uncontrolled development in rural areas. He also supported the council’s strategy of concentrated growth in towns, which will see valuable infrastructure and community facilities accompany any major development.

The Green Party's Councillor Simon Pickering, chair of the Stroud District Council Environment Committee said: ‘Adoption of the plan is great news allowing us to plan effectively for future growth. The draft plan involved some difficult choices, meaning that not everyone was going to be happy with the outcome. Now that it has met the demands of the government and been approved it’s time to get behind it and make the best out of the housing and employment opportunities it will bring forth.”

Clearly there has been much compromise to make this happen - this is clearly not all what Greens have wanted! Do look back through this blog to see earlier reports and submissions as part of the Local Plan process. The locations and numbers of future housing development within the plan are as follows:

Location and Number of Homes

Hunts Grove Extension 750

North East Cam 450

Sharpness 300

Stroud Valleys 450

West of Stonehouse 1,350

Council Housing Programme 150

Dispersal / windfall 750

Total allocations and windfall 4,200



The Stroud District Local Plan can be viewed at www.stroud.gov.uk/localplan

8 Nov 2015

Join the demo against the incinerator contract

From GlosVAIN
Update 13th Nov: here is film of protest: http://stroudcommunity.tv/incinerator-protest/

Here's Jojo Mehta writing: "This coming Wednesday 11th November, Gloucestershire County Council's cabinet will be meeting to consider adjusting the incinerator contract with UBB - yes, the one we still haven't seen - to enable building to start earlier than anticipated, i.e. early spring 2016 rather than summer (Contrary to articles you may have read in the local press this has not already been decided upon).

"And here's the puzzling part: they are proposing to allocate £17 million "from revenue reserves" to the incinerator project upfront to get it built faster, bringing the total handed to UBB - before a spade is lifted - to over £30 million. The spin is that it will be cheaper in the long run. But hang on a minute - cheaper than what?  That same £17 million could (for example) have the Community R4C recycling plant up, running and processing so-called "residual" waste as a resource for further recycling and renewable fuel.  And at £10 million per annum cheaper than incineration"
.

This makes no sense. Are GCC cabinet trying to rush stuff before the Information Commissioner forces those redacted details into the light of day or what?

Please join me in emailing your county councillor (super simple - pop your postcode in here: https://www.writetothem.com/) and also the leader of the council, Mark Hawthorne (mark.hawthorne@gloucestershire.gov.uk)

Then me with 38 Degrees, GlosVAIN, Toxin Free citizens, Green Party members and concerned local residents in front of Shire Hall at 9.30am on Wednesday to express your concerns.

2 Nov 2015

Profit Hungry Companies Can Be Bested

Green Groups fighting to save our environment are often up against large corporations.  I came across a David and Goliath story today which I thought would spur on all those battling against the odds.
 

In June 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling that naturally occurring DNA is not patentable. However, this has not stopped companies using legal threats to stop competitors from offering cheaper drugs or treatments or doing research in areas where they have been making mega-bucks.

US-based biotech Myriad Genetics is one such company. For many years it had a monopoly on testing for human BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes which are a good indicator of cancer risk. According to Breast Cancer Action in the US 'With nearly $9 million in monthly revenue from BRCA testing, anything to prolong their monopoly by even a few months is money well spent for Myriad.' Their poster below is ironic in the extreme.



In January 2015 it was reported that Myriad had finally stopped their quest to retain their monopoly on the BRCA genes. Myriad announced they’re settling or will settle with other companies offering genetic testing for BRCA mutations.

Meanwhile in Australia Yvonne D’Arcy took Myriad Genetics to court over its patent of the BRCA1 gene linked to breast and ovarian cancer. Amazingly she has just had Australia’s highest court rule that 'an isolated nucleic acid, coding for a BRCA1 protein, with specific variations from the norm that are indicative of susceptibility to breast cancer and ovarian cancer was not a “patentable invention”.'
Yvonne said: “I’m only a little person – but it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” She said until the decision few people could afford testing “except for Angelina Jolie”, but the cost should now come down. “For all those people who do have the genetic footprint, it’s a win for them, because now they’re forewarned and forearmed.”

Funnily enough this recent development does not appear on the Myriad website  Instead we are offered sound bites like:
At Myriad, we’re leveraging our unique expertise in sequencing and analysis to better understand human disease. (unique expertise as they were threatening everone else with lawsuits)
At Myriad, our passion for patients drives everything we do – on the job and in the community.
For more infomation see:
The Guardian
Breast Cancer Action

25 Oct 2015

Green Party Leader in Randwick on Wednesday

Cllr Jonathan Edmunds
Update 3rd Nov: here is report of meeting: https://stroud.greenparty.org.uk/news/2015/11/02/natalie-bennett-incinerator-concerns/

Well folk may know that Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader is talking in Stroud on Wednesday evening about electoral reform. See details in our earlier blog here: http://ruscombegreen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/cross-party-meeting-on-electoral-reform.html

Now the good news is that she will be with local District Councillor Jonathan Edmunds and other local Green Party folk talking about the incinerator and it's impact on our local area. You are welcomed to join the group to talk more about this issue and the alternatives. Meet Wednesday 28th Oct 4.30pm Randwick Playing Fields.

You can also see the Plume Plotter showing how Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe will be affected: http://stroudcommunity.tv/glos-incinerator-plume/

23 Oct 2015

A red or white poppy?




This time last year the commemorations around the centenary of the beginning of the First World War got me in quite a jam over how I felt about the red poppy. I have proudly purchased a red poppy every year that I can remember. I can remember one year pinning a red poppy to my primary school sweater and then keeping it in my pencil case come the end of November, where it stayed until the next November.

What really jarred with me last year was the idea of commemorating the start of the First World War. If we were going to go all out and have intensified national ceromonies I thought, wouldn’t it be better if we commemorated the end of the First World War? At least at the time the soldiers sent to fight in that war believed they were going to fight ‘the war to end all wars’. Because of that belief, seeing the end of the First World War must have been glorious; the end of all wars!

We now know that this was not the end of all wars. Even recently through Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 14 years we have had to watch our brothers and sisters come home in boxes. And what of the countless civilians lives that have been lost to war? Civilians now greatly outnumber the amount of soldiers who are killed in war.

Furthermore over this summer we have had the devastating affects of war made very apparent by the largest refugee crisis that we have seen since the Second World War; a direct result of the conflict in Syria (as already covered by this blog). The horrors in Syria have displaced half of the entire population of the country.

David Cameron and the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond along with many other politicians and high profile public figures will spend the next month or so boldly wearing a red poppy. They will at the same time continue to advocate and push for more bombing in Syria.

Last month our government welcomed one of the world’s biggest arms fairs to London as part of the government’s current campaign to boost its position as the world’s second largest distributer of arms. Attending the arms fair last month were authoritarian regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and Azerbaijan .

Yet members of that government will still be seen ‘respectfully’ wearing their red poppies.
It is a complete affront to anyone who has lost a loved one through war and conflict, civilian or soldier.

When we wear a red poppy we say ‘we will remember them’. I fail to understand how you can ‘remember them’ if you advocate for war and deal in arms.

It seems to me that the red poppy and remembrance has been hijacked. Our grief and our sense of loss for the fallen have been exploited. Each Remembrance Day we are shown greater displays of military parades, marching bands and rousing poems of heartache. Guns fire. Silence falls. We remember them.

But we are not prompted to consider in our silence; why wasn’t the First World War ‘the war to end all wars’? Why are people still dying as a result of armed conflict? Why are we still packing off our sisters, brother, mother, fathers never to be seen again?

This is why, alongside my red poppy, I will be wearing a white poppy. I have read explanations of how the white is a symbol for peace, a statement that says ‘never again’. But actually, I believe that most people that wear a red poppy, as I have always done, wear a red poppy for exactly those reasons anyway.  Wearing a red poppy means remembrance and peace.

For me, wearing a white poppy is a tiny flame of defiance that says to our world leaders ‘I know what you have done’. Wearing a white poppy will hopefully prompt people to ask ‘why are you wearing a white poppy?’ and I will be able to explain what I have written here. It is important that we raise the profile of peace during Remembrance because that is the only way we can truly say ‘we will remember them’. The only way we will stop having casualties of war is to stop having wars.

I will wear my red poppy too out of respect for so many of those who draw comfort from seeing them pinned to people’s chest, who wish to remember those that they have loved and lost. I will wear it in remembrance for all of those killed in war and conflict.

I will wear my white poppy for peace. I will remember the words of Harry Patch, who was the last fighting Tommy;
"I felt then, as I feel now, that the politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder." 



You can buy white poppies from http://stopwar.org.uk/shop/white-poppy-2


Remember that when you buy a red poppy that money goes towards supporting veterans and I would compel you, whatever colour poppy you decide to wear, to donate to the British Legion http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/story-behind-the-poppy-8?utm_expid=51730890-7.iYtKnQpLTO6fjUnTZeHP_w.7&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.uk%2F

Campaign continues - Hinkley Point C

The Stop Hinkley Campaign today declared the campaign against the proposals to build a new nuclear station at Hinkley Point C as far from over. See Stroud's Molly Scott Cato talking about new nuclear and why she didn't join celebrations of the Chinese President during his visit: http://stroudcommunity.tv/molly-chinese-president/

See Stop Hinkley's press release below.

All national newspapers have expressed disquiet about these proposals, and today one described the deal with China as “sheer folly”.  Stop Hinkley spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said “there is still every possibility that this reckless plan will be defeated. This will be the eighth time that EDF Energy has announced that a final investment decision is just around the corner. ”.

It is clear, as the Financial Times says that this week's statements on Hinkley Point do not amount to the final deal.
From Stop Hinkley campaign

“Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman of EDF, claims that hundreds of workers could be starting work on the construction of two new reactors at the site by the end of the year. But given the number of issues still to be resolved one has to wonder which year he is talking about,” said Pumfrey. “Levy’s claims were not repeated in the EDF press release, which instead listed a number of conditions we know will take one or more years to fulfil, so if work does resume this year it will only be on a very slow cosmetic basis.”

Much remains to be negotiated, and many significant hurdles still remain. These include:-

  • Flawed steel has been identified on the reactor pressure vessel and lid of an identical nuclear reactor being built in Flamanville in Normandy. This could take 12 – 24 months to resolve and no work could start at Hinkley Point until these safety issues are resolved in France.
  • Due to severe financial difficulties and huge levels of debt, the French Government has commenced a restructuring of EDF and Areva NP into a merged company. This will also take some considerable time to achieve, and is a major reason why the UK was so desperate to secure Chinese investment.
  • A legal challenge to the European Commission by the Austrian and Luxembourg Governments, and a group of Austrian and German renewable energy companies, over its approval of the UK – EDF state aid deal for Hinkley Point will take at least a year or more to resolve. If the courts find against the Commission the whole financing deal will be placed in jeopardy. Construction cannot seriously begin until the complete financing agreement is in place, and that cannot be signed before all legal challenges have been resolved
  • A reliability clause is likely within the contract. This will be linked in to the prior successful EPR operation being constructed at Flamanville-3 in France. This nuclear reactor project is now years behind schedule and billions over budget in being realised. EDF has asked for a formal three year delay in this project, being it will not be completed until at least 2020, 13 years after construction began.

    Meanwhile, the former director of strategy for David Cameron, Steve Hilton, has called the deal with China "one of the worst national humiliations". He said we should impose sanctions on China, rather than "rolling out the red carpet". To read more click more.

21 Oct 2015

The National Press

Having failed to get two Cotswold Green Pary press releases printed in our local paper - The Wilts and Glos Standard - I have been thinking about newspapers in general.  Indeed previous blogs on this site have centred on creating an alternative press and the power of the media.

I get my news from the Guardian and BBC websites and today at 9.00am the main headlines were as follows: 
The BBC website:
  • Assad in Surprise visit to Moscow
  • China to sign nuclear plant deal
  • Canada to withdraw jets from IS battle
  • Hosptials to get own savings targets
  • Term-time fines 'unworkable'
  • 70% in work scheme 'don't get jobs'
The Guardian website:
  • XI Jinping/Nuclear deal announcement anticipated on day 2 of state visit
  • Sugar tax could help solve Britain's obesity crisis, expert tells MPs
  • Number of London's 'working poor' surges 70% in 10 years
  • Naked 'tombstoning' advert for Hostelworld banned - as too dangerous
  • Refugee boats wash up at UK military base in Cyprus
  • Schools 'should be able to approve family holidays in term time'
  • Tax credit cuts: Lords forced to back down as Tory rebellion grows
  • Junior doctors/Seven in 10 to leave NHS if Hunt pushes through new contract
  • Fears of a Christmas Lego shortage
From these two sources I felt reasonably well informed on world and national news.

I wondered what readers of other news websites would have seen at the same time so turned to - 
The Sun website:
  • Singer George's rehab boost: Is he rake-in the Michael?
  • Schoolboy's 'lets get naughty' lies ruined my life, says mum
  • HeX Faxtor: 'Ghost' spooks Simon's team at haunted castle
  • Suspected serial killer appeared on TV show
  • Vaping burned a hole in my lungs
  • My skin turned black after I overdosed on tanning jabs
Only after all this do we get:
Term time holiday fines for parents treble to over 50,000
Desperate GPs refuse to take new patients
Hammond: Saudis won't lash grandad


So it seems the readers were advised of the dangers of tanning parlours and taking drugs, but not much else.

Next stop The Telegraph website:
  • Corbyn shakes the Queen's hand at state banquet, as UK seeks to secure £30bn Chinese Investment
  • 'So unfair': World Rugby has hung referee Craig Joubert 'out to dry'
  • Diamond Duchess meets Xi at the banquet - for Balmoral venison, and music by the Beatles
  • Back to the Future Day
  • Go teetotal to reduce dementia risks, NHS says
  • Hundreds of migrants arrive in boats at Cyprus RAF base
  • Worldwide Lego shortage
So a better coverage of news, but with a rightwing stance mocking Corbyn and no mention of topics embarrasing for the tories like tax credit cuts or junior doctors.
My last stop was the Daily Express website:
  •  Millions face threat to retirement income after calls to slash pension payouts
  •  Kate dazzles as she wears Queen Mother's old tiara to her first British State banquet
  •  Horror as Christian migrant 'brutally beaten with baton in refugee camp'
I was almost impressed by the third headline, but decided to look at the article behind it and discovered it was really an anti-muslim migrant post - 'A MIGRANT was allegedly beaten inside a refugee camp in a brutal attack – for converting to Christianity.The 24-year-old was beaten with a baton by an Afghan man, who declared his conversion was a "sin", according to police.'

So to conclude, I admit I only looked at the headlines and on most occasions did not read the actual articles, but no wonder the population is so ill-informed of what goes on in the world.

We need to change this so that people can vote for political parties and policies from a sound knowledge base. This is an area where the Green Party and other progressive organisations must make a breakthrough somehow.

19 Oct 2015

Cross-Party Meeting on Electoral Reform with Natalie Bennett

28th October, 7.30 Lansdown Hall, Stroud, GL5 1BB

Is the UK a democracy if its government was only voted for by 24 % of the population? Is it fair that 50% of votes in the 2015 general election went to losing candidates, giving their casters no say? Can it be considered right and just that the number of votes per MP elected was 3,881,129 for UKIP, but a mere 25,972 for the SNP?

On 28th October, Stroud Green Party will holding be a public meeting to discuss electoral reform: why we need it, what the options are, and what we can do to bring it about. The headline speaker will be Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, who has campaigned strongly for the introduction of a proportional voting system. Joining her will be Electoral Reform Society Council member Robert Telford, MyStroudMP general election candidate Richard Wilson and Labour County Councillor for Rodborough Brian Oosthuysen.

The meeting will take place from 7:30 to 9:30 pm at the Lansdown Hall in Stroud. All are welcome, of any party political affiliation or of none. Admission is free and refreshments will be available. For more information contact Kiera Jones, joint Internal Coordinator of Stroud Green Party (coordinator@stroud.greenparty.org.uk)

14 Oct 2015

Science Succumbs to Murdoch

On 18th September this blog featured an article entitled 'Write Your Own News'. The case for not trusting the media has just got a lot stronger.

I missed this news first time round, but I have discovered that The National Geographic Society has been bought by Rupert Murdoch's Fox media. See the Washington Post Article.

The National Geographic Society does incredibly important work on climate change -- from publishing groundbreaking stories to giving grants to scientists. But 73% of it is now owned by climate change denier, Rupert Murdoch. Fox Media has paid 725 million dollars for a deal which includes National Geographics' magazines, maps, books, TV channels and digital media platforms,

For 127 years The National Geographic was a respected nonprofit science magazine. Now, however, the new Fox-controlled company, National Geographic Partners, will be run for-profit, and it will answer to Murdoch’s shareholders -- via its board. Fox's CEO is Murdoch's son, James. Rupert Murdoch is well known for meddling with media content.

I have signed a petition to ask that a Public Editor is appointed to enforce editorial independence and represent the public, investigating complaints of editorial interference. Please sign this too.