Tuesday, May 24, 2005

East London

My route to work has evolved again. Now, once in North Woolwich, I head for the East London Greenway - a former railway - the embankment has been cleared and turned into a cycle path.
london geezer is where i got this picture from.

The only problem being the hidousy steep hill from woolwich up to Shooter's Hill, where the disused haunted police station is sited.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Fall

Saw the Fall last night for about the dozenth time. The first two times I saw them were in the Woolwich Coronet - a building I pass twice a day on the way to and from work. It's some sort of whacky church these days, and very run-down. Brix Smith was in the band back then- it was the classic mid 80s line up, and they were magnificent. The Fall these days - and last night they were in very good form - is an altogether different type of thing. Smith has to work hard just to keep upright. He always looks pissed (translation for americans: drunk) and lets face it, he probably was. And you get the feeling that the band have been told exactly what to play and how to play it. Smith does not look like he's about to tolerate any improvisation, or deviation from the script. They kept to new material - no classics played in the Forum last night - but that would only be a problem if the new stuff wasn;t any good - and it is. I just didn;t know it very well. And that's my problem, not the Fall's.

They came on stage over an hour late which meant I missed getting a train back to Lewisham where my bike was chained up, and had to get a night bus. Normally I find night buses dificult due to the drunken state of most of the late night revellers trying to get home. But being quite pissed myself at this point, I didn't really notice. The hangover had started even before I reached my bike. I overshot the stop by one and had to walk nearly half a mile back to Lewisham station. Then the bike ride to Chislehurst was agonising, with a pounding head. After that I remember bugger all. Felt really bad this morning though.

Hey - RocknRoll!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Lambeth Country show

Cider, sheep, goats, chickens, owls, motorcycle displays, jousting, , steam engines, huge bouncy castles, curry, frozen yogurt, tower blocks, charity stalls, and doggy obedience displays - all in one place.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Our lying Prime Minister

The following is from a Crisis newsletter (crisisnewsletter@pro-net.co.uk ) :


"In case you missed it, the result of the so-called Al Qaeda linked terrorist "ricin" trial exposed another Blair/MI6 fairytale. Contrary to the BBC News account, splashed sensationally at the time of the arrests, and repeated deceitfully at the end of the trial, the court found there was never any ricin and there was no conspiracy. Instead there was a single deranged would be terrorist whose recipe for ricin came from a US right wing anarchist internet site. There were also some people who may hate US/UK (plenty of those nowadays thanks to Blair and Bush) but were acquitted of criminal charges. In any case ricin is virtually unusable as a weapon of mass murder as MI6 knew, and BBC News should have known, all along.
When The Guardian revealed the true story they had a D notice slapped on them and the article was removed from their web site with no explanation. However experts for the defence have published their account, a fascinating insight into government and media lies, at this address:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/nsn/nsn-050411.htm . "

"Adam Curtis, the BBC producer of The Power of Nightmares (debunking the Al Qaeda myth), commented on the ricin phantasy on receiving a BAFTA award only to have his speech censored by his own employer.
http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1462591,00.html ."

Dump Blair

This is from Crisis too:

In the last few days the election has come alive, with the leak of the government's legal advice on the Iraq war. It raised doubts over the legality of the war on six separate grounds, including the obvious point that there is nothing in the UN Charter that invests in the UK government
the right to decide how it should be interpreted. The UN Charter makes it very clear that the Security Council has that role. The Secretary general has pronounced the invasion illegal.

Blair has now been caught flat out lying in his statements (a) that in autumn 2002 no decision had been made to invade Iraq, (b) that the WMD intelligence was confirmed and authoritative and now (c) that the legal advice was unequivocal. The government's legal position is that they invaded Iraq because Iraq was in alleged breach of a UN 1991 ceasefire resolution. Why after 12 years did it became so urgent to invade? We know the answer: because soon the UN inspectors would be confirming that Iraq had no WMDs and were therefore not in substantive breach of the ceasefire resolution.

Labour were hoping they had put the issue to rest when the media spun the "Iraqi election" as a success story. Many people now imagine that there is a real Iraqi government, that torture has been stopped, and that things there are slowly improving. They imagine there is no alternative to the occupation because they have not heard that the Saudis offered to replace US/UK troops
with an arab force under UN control. Nonetheless polls indicate a majority now wish to see a troop withdrawal.

The opinion polls tell us the election cannot be won by the tories but is otherwise wide open: on average Labour has a moderate lead but this is misleading. In recent elections Labour has underperformed compared to its poll figures (partly due to abstention by voters in safe Labour seats), but overperformed in terms of seats, due to anti-tory tactical voting.

The election result will hinge on the extent to which anti-Tory tactical voting is replaced by anti-New Labour strategic voting. The word from the grassroots is that this factor will be big. A hard indication of this is the poll finding that, for the first time for over ten years, Libdem voters are
splitting 50/50 on whether they would prefer Labour or Tory.

Blair calculated Iraqis might welcome the invasion, that voters would have forgotten about it by the time of the election, and in any case that opponents of the war have nowhere else to go politically. He was wrong on all three counts. The Dumpblair message is in wide circulation: we can drastically reduce Blair's majority AND, because there will be a 80-100 other MPs in the new Parliament, we can also be confident of denying the Tories a sneak win.

Opinion varies on whether Labour should be denied an overall majority altogether. A report originating in the US and picked up briefly by the BBC last week has it that Blair promised Murdoch that he will not resign, whatever the result of the election. A few days later The Sun gave Blair a lukewarm endorsement. To put a stake through Blair's neocon heart probably requires that Labour lose their overall majority, forcing a review of who is Prime Minister.

Strategicvoter and Dumpblair hope to place a last ad in the Guardian just before the election, listing the 130 or so swing seats, including special cases and Green and Respect target seats. The ad will advise people to vote expressively in all other seats (see appeal below).

There are two wild cards in this election. When neocon leaders Bush and Aznar have faced elections since 9/11 there has been a convenient terrorist incident in the runup to the vote: the "Washington sniper" for the mid terms in 2002, the "Osama Bin Laden" video three days before the 2004 Presidential elections and of course the Madrid bombs which backfired so badly against Aznar. If it happens here, don't believe it.

The other is that there is a serious risk the Blairites will conduct a Bush style major vote fraud using the huge increase in postal voting. Paranoia? Not according to the judge who sentenced Birmingham Labour councillors for fraud in the elections last year, who described the city as like a banana republic. See