Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Brown's Record on Transparency and Truth

Iraq: we may get the truth yet

2 May 2009: Chris Ames: Evidence that Gordon Brown's power is slipping offers hope that ministers' plans for a secret inquiry may yet be thwarted


Dirty tricks on a dodgy Iraq dossier

27 Apr 2009: Chris Ames: Jack Straw misrepresented the arms inspector Hans Blix to defend the Iraq dossier and must not be involved in a war inquiry


Getting to the truth about Iraq

26 Mar 2009:

Chris Ames: If the government thinks a secret inquiry into the Iraq war will restore public confidence, it's very wrong


Will withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq pave way for full inquiry?

Guardian Politics Blog, 24th March 2009


The dossier was dodgy. Is there any doubt?

13 Mar 2009:

Chris Ames: The Cabinet Office has released more papers showing how the 2002 WMD dossier was 'sexed-up' against the wishes of experts


Cabinet Office papers reveal Iraq dossier fears

13 Mar 2009:

Documents disclosed after four years of government objections and delays, and reflect the concern of intelligence officials


The Act that Jack wrecked

24 Feb 2009:

Chris Ames: By vetoing release of Iraq war cabinet minutes, Jack Straw has flouted freedom of information – and ruined his own credibility


The truth, minute by minute

27 Jan 2009:

Chris Ames: Efforts to suppress cabinet notes on the decision to go to war in Iraq only feed the impression that there is something to hide


What is Brown afraid of?

19 Dec 2008:

Chris Ames: The prime minister's dithering over an Iraq inquiry will ensure that any political fallout comes after the next election


Publish and be damned

The government must reveal the notes of the meetings where the cabinet discussed the legality of war in Iraq

Chris Ames, guardian, Friday 28 November 2008


Dragging out the truth, bit by bit

The government may not want us to know what happened with that sexed-up Iraq dossier, but we'll find out eventually

Chris Ames, guardian, Saturday 6 September 2008


Cabinet Office ordered to release secret memos on Iraq dossier

By James Macintyre, Political Correspondent


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Monday, May 18, 2009

Another dead cyclist

I passed through this spot on Friday evening. It's shocking to think that a cyclist who I may have passed on numerous occasions was killed suddenly and in such a casual manner.

I recognised this spot as a dangerous point on my journey – lorries often do not indicate, put themselves in the wrong, and take the junction far too fast. As a result I place myself in the centre of the lane, ensuring that the vehicle behind me stays behind me, signalling clearly, staying very aware of the positions of the vehicles around me. And still there's often some bugger who tries to overtake me when it's not safe. Or there's a motorist who gets arsey about my need to take the lane, maintain space, and be safe.

Now Greenwich have placed a white bicycle at the scene of this woman's death. It will at least serve as a warning to other road users. While her death may not be in vain, it was certainly unnecessary.

Police were called on Friday evening May 15 to the junction of Woolwich Road and the Kent-bound A102(M) in Greenwich following a collision between a lorry and a female pedal cyclist, a police spokesman said.

London Ambulance Service attended. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Police had not yet been able to establish her identity.

The lorry did not stop at the scene. It is described as having blue material (e.g. canvas, or plastic sheeting) on its side. Anyone who witnessed the collision or has information that may assist police should call the Collision Investigation Unit at Catford Traffic Garage on 020 8285 1574.


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's It All about?

It was no surprise to me that this story should come from The Daily Telegraph, widely held to be the mouthpiece of the British intelligence community. This is a clear case of the old establishment attempting to destroy the credibility of parliament. Clearly a worrying development coming along at the same time as the police are broadening their powers to stop demonstrators and "anarchists" using anti-terrorist legislation, and with the Database State just around the corner.
How long before people start to ask for a military government to step in? It happens in South America, and it nearly happened here in the mid-70s.
I'm astonished that noone is asking the crucial question: who leaked the information that the Telegraph is publishing and what was their intention?
Don;t get me wrong - I'm against those MPs who have been behaving like greedy little piggies at the food trough - but the media seem insistent on tarring all MPs with the greedy bastard brush.
Finally though I'd like to point out the difference in attitude towards fiddling MPs and struggling low-earners, and people on benefit, who are generally demonised and sent to jail, with no chance to apologise or pay the money back, and all over relatively tiny amounts of money - not the tens of thousands that MPs have been pocketting for decades. Although this point seems sadly absent from the media, and I've not seen any MPs pointing it out either.

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Good Riddance To A Fat Fuck!

This cheered me up :) - ironic really that he should be sacked for calling someone else a Nazi
"Talksport has been found in breach of broadcasting rules over an incident last November which saw presenter Jon Gaunt call a local councillor a "Nazi"."

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Forgive my poor spelling

I still don't have access to my blog for editing entries. I can send entries in by email, but then if there are any errors, typos or rewriting to be done, I'm stuck. I don't even know if the photos I'm posting are visible as I can see them only as a small red cross in a square.

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FW: Waste

Rumbler's Clusters is a product I was handed a free sample of yesterday while walking along High Holborn. I ate it as soon as I got to my desk. It was evry tasty. But. And this is a big but. The picture below shows the wasted packaging materials after I'd finished it. It should be illegal to sell food products with this much pakaging, or at least it should be so highly taxed that it wouldn't ever be profitable.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

ho hum - quick update

Well, what a busy time it's been for me. I have to apply for my own job at some point, or rather, attend an interview competing against god knows how many pretenders to MY throne.
I've been to briefings, one to ones, and workshops in order that I can better apply for MY  OWN JOB. I've alos been frantically trying to get the Inland revenue to send me a PIN so I can fill out an on-line self-assessment on-line before the deadline (my extended deadline of May 5th). Unfortunately that hasn't happened so now I need to go online and order a new PIN, as they reckon they've sent me one. But I never got it. It's not as if I have a lot to fill out - I made about a 6 or 7 hundred pound loss. But I just want to get it out of the way.
Also I have not been sent a P45 for last year - so now I need to chase that up, and I bet it'll be my fault that I didn;t get one - "well we sent one out, you sure you didn't get? Did you shove it up your arse by accident? Or maybe the cat ate it?"
And I've been emptying out my boxes and boxes of paperwork - both at home and at work, as I suffered a double relocation over the Christmas period. It's taken me a while to get down to sorting out my boxes of inevitable paperwork that follows me everywhere, and will probably be coming after me even as I walk the Golden path to the eternal afterlife.
I'm committed to taking the IEMA exam in August - and this should give me a firm foundation for my continuing career in the environment. A new set of notes arrive in the post att he weekend.
All this and my normal workload of course, and at home I've picked up my research for the Big Project I'm working on, and also picked up my family history research too, to the point where I've sketched out an actual story through the ages of the Gardiners, so to speak.
Just been watching documentaries 'The Corporation' and "Dogtown" both excellent (I gave them 9 out of 10 on Lovefilm) and also the first series of the Rockford Files, and Ripping Yarns, by Palin and Jones.
Thinking about going to the Cambridge Folk Festival this year. I've always wanted to go. But I have to weigh up whether I can afford to go or not.

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Boycott products that contain Palm Oil - the big ones

Rank; Brand; Manfacturer; Sales; Palm oil?
2. Warburtons, Warburtons, £709m, YES
4. Hovis, Premier Foods, £405m, YES
5. Cadbury Dairy Milk, Cadbury, £374m, YES
6. Kingsmill, ABF, £363m, YES
17. Persil, Unilever, £210m, YES
18. Flora Spreads, Unilever, £200m, YES
23. Galaxy, Mars, £185m, YES
24. Youngs Frozen Fish, Young's, £184m, YES
25. Kit Kat, Nestle, £183m, YES
30. Bold, Procter & Gamble, £174m, SUSPECTED*
31. Mr Kipling Cakes, Premier Foods, £174m, YES
32. Wrigley's Extra, Wrigley, £170m, YES
33. Ariel, Procter & Gamble, £157m, SUSPECTED*
34. Pringles, Procter & Gamble, £143m SUSPECTED*
40. Birds Eye Poultry, Birds Eye, £130m, YES
41. Maltesers, Mars, £130m, YES
47. Mars, Mars, £123m, YES
49. Kellogg's Special K, Kellogg's, £122m, YES
53. Ginsters, Ginsters, £114m, YES
58. Fairy Laundry, Procter & Gamble, £107m, SUSPECTED*
59. Fairy Liquid, Procter & Gamble, £107m, SUSPECTED*
60. McVitie's Digestives, United Biscuits, £106m, YES
61. Comfort, Unilever, £106m, YES
64. Goodfella's Pizza, Northern Foods, £101m, YES
69. Lenor, Procter & Gamble, £98m, SUSPECTED*
72. Daz, Procter & Gamble, £95m, SUSPECTED*
75. McCoys, United Biscuits, £90m, YES
77. Haribo, Haribo, £89m, YES
78. Bisto Gravy, Premier Foods, £89m, YES
79. BM Cooked Meat, Bernard Matthews, £88m, YES
82. Quality Street, Nestle, £85m, YES
83. Richmond Sausages, Kerry Foods, £84m, YES
84. CrunchyNut Cornflakes, Kellogg's, £83m, YES
85. Magnum, Unilever, £79m, YES
87. Bessies Potatoes, Heinz, £78m, YES
88. Chicago Town Pizza, Dr Oetker, £77m, YES
91. Cadbury Cakes, Premier Foods, £76m, YES
92. Young's Chilled Fish, Young's, £75m, YES
93. Cadbury Roses, Cadbury, £75m, YES
96. Pot Noodles, Unilever, £73m, YES
97. Aero, Nestle, £73m, YES
98. Surf, Unilever, £73m, YES
100. Clover Spreads, Dairy Crest, £72m, YES
Sources: Sales statistics: AC Nielsen. Palm oil: The Independent
* Procter & Gamble, which uses palm oil in a wide variety of products, will not disclose its use in individual brands
There's about 3 products on the list that I buy occasionally - but I won't be from now on.
Full list in Independent

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Hypocritical Royal - No surprise there

In November 2008, Prince Charles was visiting Indonesia to warn of the perils of deforestation. On its website, the Rainforest Project warns that "soaring demand for beef, soya and palm oil has put acute new pressures on the rainforests".
Duchy Originals manufacturers pour palm oil into its toffee biscuits, beetroot soup, spinach and nutmeg soup, fresh chicken gravy and steak and ale pie. A spokesman for the company yesterday defended the practice, saying: "Currently less than five of our products – in a range of over 200 – contain palm oil. Duchy Originals only uses palm oil in recipes where there is no alternative, and then only in minimal quantities. We have worked hard over the past year to eliminate palm oil from a number of our products and have asked our producers to look at replacing it wherever possible."
See Indie Report Here
But Charles - surely if the rainforests are as important as you say they are you will take these 5 products out of your range entirely as they are unsustainable.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

What The Dickens!

Francis Sedgemore joined me for a ride round Kent's Hoo peninsula yesterday.

Francis wrote about the ride on his Blog today:
Frisky frogs of the Hoo
Monday 4 May 2009 at 13:04 BST

I can hardly feel my legs today, following a 160 kilometre cycle ride on Sunday from Blackheath to Gravesend, then around the Hoo Peninsula, taking in Allhallows and the Isle of Grain. From there, I and a velopedist companion proceeded to Rochester for the Morris dancing at the Sweeps Festival, and finally I made my way back to the ranch via Gravesend and Dartford.

It was a excellent day out, and thanks are due to my friends from Bexley Cyclists, who I met up with in Gravesend under a heavy grey sky, which thankfully rose and cleared as we pootled up the northern side of the peninsula towards Cliffe. From there we continued to High Halstow, and a refuelling stop by the estuary near Allhallows.

Sheltering from a stiff wind in the lee of a bank overlooking Yantlet Creek, we could hardly hear ourselves talk above the racket created by a squillion marsh frogs going about their springtime courting rituals. If you’ve never heard the sound of these frisky amphibians, a sample of their throaty song can be found here.

The Hoo Peninsula is a most interesting place. Part industrial and part nature reserve, the Hoo is home to power stations and oil terminals, marshland and bird sanctuaries. Some of the land is reclaimed from the sea, and the area as a whole is testament to how much can be achieved in a relatively short space of time with a well managed environmental regeneration programme.

If, heaven forfend, you should find yourself holed up in London, and can afford to take a day out from your travails, I recommend a tour of the Hoo Peninsula, preferably self-powered on two wheels rather than a motorised four. Starting from Gravesend railway station, you can take in most of the area with just 50–60 km under the pedals.

I didn't cycle as far as Francis - only about 30 miles in all - but it was enough. I've been struggling with my fitness ever since last summer, so volunteering to lead a series of 30 to 35 mile rides may have been a little foolhardy. But after yesterday's enjoyable outing I look forward to many more, especially as my fitness can only improve.