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Brexit, Trump and now a General Election

On May 31st, Cambridge, UK. the representatives of 6 political parties in the 2017 General Election were generally erect and united under the colours of the rainbow. Go figure!

Theresa May called the general election and is now closeted.  She must have partied hard one night , tripped out on ‘Ride (right) on Time” called the election while whooping and swirling her nylons high above her head…..and in the morning light, far away from that pill and vodka..she cannot believe she has to talk to other people about it. All she really has communicated to us about the costings of her manifesto, is that  she does not put the garbage out, her husband does. Fascinating. The mind mush of the morning after.

 

MAYbe she is right. MAYbe this is the right time for an election, one that can evict her old fashioned, obsolete market ideology, neo liberal subservance out of our lives once and for all. Corbyn is offering a difference. A wild difference. Nevertheless  I invariably prefer listening to Lucas speak than Corbyn.  Something about her is just perfect, .except that she leads the Green Party who are a few years away from leading this country (unfortunately) . Something about the way he speaks … puts me to sleep and when he gets forecful.. its sounds angry and that has the effect of boring me.

 

 

David Cameron , Boris Johnson, Tony Blair and Nick Farage are are the kind of leaders who spoke well and created disasters. So I am not easily put off by Corbyn’s lack of the gift of the gab, and will not extend lip service that he is ‘improving’. He still manages to make me drift although I agree with everything he eventually says.

CORBYN THE GREAT FACILITATOR?

To put things in perspective I come from the relatively radical view that to lead is to facilitate everyone’s wishes into principled actions and progress from there…..and to facilitate well is to actively listen. An exercise that is not for the faint hearted and Corbyn fits this frame like his suits finally do!  So I am quite partial to his brand of leadership but it does take some work from those who he is leading to notice that his tactics are not the macho bravado bullshit that has led the developed world into a dystopian corporate run mess, but more so a cautious, tenacious step into new territory for the UK: that of sustainability that does not include raping and pillaging foreign lands. Its a tall order and his enemies are huge.

I rule by serving. I serve by ruling.

Excerpt from the description of the Emperor from Aliester Crowley Tarot Handbook.

 

 

 

Interestingly, Corbyn’s ability to negotiate with his party was what Jeremy Paxman bizarrely implied was fickle in his vacuous attempt to confront Corbyn on Labour’s manifesto. It was fascinating to observe the irony of  Jeremy Paxman accusing Corbyn for effectively not being the stubborn, unrelenting, socialist-troksky-commie that the main stream media (ie Paxman) had painted him to be. When it became obvious just how vacuous his line of questions were, Paxman just talked over Corbyn’s responses. Twat!

MAKE A BANNER, CANVAS, DOOR KNOCK, INSPIRE THE UNSPIRED

My contribution to all this was to paint a banner and hang it on Portabello road. All I feel I can do is canvas and pray that the Strong and Stable slogan of Theresa May is understood as the dark joke that it is.

Non Voters

Not voting is not disruptive, or a statement. It is tantamount to floating in a bay of sharks instead of wearing goggles to ensure that you swim away from them. For activists who actively fight the system, I can imagine their egos trip them up, as they consider their work to be changing the world rather than changing the bubble they live in, all be it increasing in size. As non voters they clearly fail to see that their work united with established government is what will excel thier work into the main stream.  For those, however who do nothing more than blog, tweet, and consume alternative news (if that) their non participation is an inexcusable abomination or as Castells 2013 implies, they are ‘selfish parasites of history making’. I myself would go a few steps further and condemn them to no healthcare, no schools and no passport. Fuck ’em. Their lack of will to participate in society, to just been spoon fed like toddlers, should result in them now being allowed to be a part of society. Their petulant sloth should be sanctioned. I have much more disdain for them than I do for people who wildly disagree with my politics. Their nothingness deserves nothing. I don’t believe they know what nothing is and I would be only too happy to show them.

 

REAL MEDIA

I have also been filming with Real Media who have sought the analysis and advise of learned folk about the election.  Watch any one of these videos for a reason among many as to why you should not vote Tory! 🙂

Real Media Website

 


One I did not film but is awesome:


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Fracking – Coming To Your Town …. soon

How does fracking come to your village?
Adela Pickles tells us how she discovered that her hometown got licensed to the Third Energy Company for unconventional energy excavation and what the group she helped found, Frack Free Rydale are doing about it. Adela also talks about about the government process in selling off a third of the UK to the BIG 6 energy companies and what you can do to help stop the madness.

Stats from the recording to remember:
26,000 clean energy jobs have been lost as a consequence of the government’s decision to stop subsidising clean energy initiatives.

I met Adela on the 29th October at the Stop Barclays Fracking action outside a Barclays bank in Soho. The action was part of a week long actions up and down the country to highlight that Barclays is deeply invested in fracking. On that Saturday the activists had shut down the bank by the time I got there for a hot cup of tea and biscuits that they were giving out for all particpants in the peaceful assembly outside Barclays. I edited together a short audio piece while I was there

 

 

BRILLIANT RESOURCES:

http://gofossilfree.org/uk/stop-barclays-fracking/

 

Frack Free Ryedale website – www.frackfreeryedale.org

 

Our GoFundMe page – https://www.gofundme.com/2dqw8jkk

 

adela-funding-pic

 

Frackogram 2016 (maps relationships between government, academia, finance and the oil and gas industry) – http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/archive/fracktured_accountability/frackogram_2015.shtml

 

Fracking Nightmare Youtube channel – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_m831VVDWL35u2ouMclF5ZGe7gdS7T6l

 

UK PEDL Licences –

https://drillordrop.com/could-your-area-be-fracked-under-the-new-oil-and-gas-licences/

 

Infrastructure Act 2015 Part 1A “Maximizing Economic Recovery of UK Petroleum” – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/7/part/6/enacted

 

Kevin Hollinrake MP – https://drillordrop.com/tag/kevin-hollinrake/


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Power Cubes at Occupy

Last week, Occupy London (OL) celebrated the fifth anniversary of its inception on the grounds of St. Paul’s. Like 15M (Spain) before it, the Occupy movement was inspired by the Arab uprisings that had occurred earlier in 2011.

 

OL claimed space (Gaventa 2006) with the help of the then Canon Chancellor of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Giles Fraser, who informed the police that St. Paul’s Cathedral did not actually need their protection. This gesture of tolerance by Giles Fraser gave the protesters the “right to participate effectively in a given space” (Gaventa 2006: 4) and “the right to define and to shape that space” (Gaventa 2006: 4) because Giles had the hidden power (Lukes 2006) to allow it.

 

The camp lasted 4.2 months which was long enough for its participants to practice prefigurative politics. In an attempt to detect and challenge the master codes (Melucci 1996), that dictate political norms (amongst other societal practices) OL worked with the consensus model. The proponents of the consensus model believe it to be a fully accessible democratic decision making model through which everyone’s voice is heard and taken into account. The reality that emerged, however, challenged this view, as a hidden power dimension (Gaventa 2006) materialized, snaking its way through all the professed good intentions of the Occupy organizers.

 

Snippet 06 – You Have To Take Up Space from Polly Tikkle Productions on Vimeo.

 

“Some issues are organized into politics while others are organized out” (Schattschneider 1960:71)

 

Occupy London’s decision making process had two tiers. First the working groups had to agree via full consensus on a given issue. Then they would bring their conclusion to the General Assembly, which were held daily at 7pm, to seek consensual agreement there. If they managed, the policy, action or press statement would become an official Occupy London decision. Individuals could also bring up topics in the GA directly.

 

The GA’s needed to be managed and there was a process group to do that. This process group had the power to dictate the issues to be discussed at the general assemblies. This kind of power was unaccountable and could not be addressed because the very act of addressing it required a consensus that this power existed which was never achieved. It should be of no surprise that the individuals blocking the very notion that such a power dynamic was developing were the people who either had that power or who had benefited from that power. The reluctance for members of the process group to acknowledge their own power angered many and germinated what Gaventa’s Rubic Cube of Power (2006) illustrates as ‘invisible power’. This power dimension includes, amongst other elements, disempowerment.  Essentially it silences opposition by robbing it of its perceived agency.

gaventa-power-cube

Gaventa (2006) Rubic’s Power Cube

 

The space in which the process group would meet was ostensibly open according to the ad hoc design of Occupy. This was the justification for the rejection of there being any particularly recognizable power inherent in it.

If anyone could join then what could possibly be the problem right? Wrong!

 

occupy_london_working_group

An open Occupy London working group.

 

The meetings of the process working group were not always held in the same place and their locations were not made available to people, especially campers without access to the internet. The lack of diligence to maintain it as an open space which involved the effort of ensuring that anyone could find out where a meeting was being held, turned this open space into an invited space (Gaventa 2006) without acknowledging the difference.

Whether the individuals wielding this power were corrupt, stupid, enlightened saints and/or gifted facilitators is not within the remit of this piece. What is being highlighted is that they held power in a movement that evangelized the fact that it had no leaders . “No leaders” without any qualifications, implied that no one person had more power than any other person. This propaganda is what attracted many to the movement which was true to its word for the first few weeks until the chaotic vibrance settled and was replaced by a kind of governance. When the realization that power pools did actually exist and furthermore that they could not be addressed or held accountable, disappointment and anger brewed amongst many particularly within the camping contingent, which contributed to fracturing the movement.

Some occupiers were consumed by the belief that the process group were in fact working for the government and the City of London. This corrosive belief was contagious by camp members who felt disempowered and abandoned and yet felt incredibly responsible to maintain the space despite not having all that much say in the bigger decisions being made on behalf of the movement. It should be noted though that that year the film about Mark Kennedy, the undercover cop who had embedded himself in the environmental movement was released. This is a shocking eye opener to how far the police have gone in abusing the privacy rights of legitimate protest.

It was very likely a simple oversight by over worked actvists to not ensure that the locations of their meetings were made widely known to everyone but in social movements these apparently small oversights have dire consequences when the value of trust is considered and when its fragility is understood.

Although Luke 2005 may have been describing power dynamics in large NGO’s and governments, his description of the power that evolves from the creators of the decision making space can be related to the social protest movement of Occupy London once it had settled in for the winter.

February 7 2012 Photographer Lucy Young for The Times

February 7 2012 Photographer Lucy Young for The Times

 

Bibliography

Gaventa. (2006). Power after Lukes: An overview of theories of power since Lukes and their application to development. Retrieved October 21, 2016, from Power Cube: http://www.powercube.net/other-forms-of-power/other-forms-of-powerresources/ power_after_lukes/

Lukes. (2005). Power: A Radical View. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Melucci. (1996). Challenging Codes. Cambridge University Press.

Schattschneider. (1960). The Semi-Soverign People; A Realist’s View of Democracy in America. New York, New York: Halt, Reinhardt and Winston.

 


This blog is part of a University of Westminster course.

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/human-rights/what-are-human-rights/human-rights-act/article-11-right-protest-and-freedom-association

 

https://netpol.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/wainwright-report-final1.pdf

 

https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/media/adapting-to-protest-nurturing-the-british-model-of-policing-20091125.pdf

 

 

 


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http://neilterryphotography.co.uk/homepage/

Our Democracy is Fracked Up

(Photograph above by Neil Terry)

Sajid Javid Photograph by Gareth Milner

Sajid Javid Photograph by Gareth Milner

The Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, is the head of the UK Department for Communities and Local Government. His department’s remit includes decentralisation (of power) and community cohesion amongst other things. So it is decidely ironic that today he has overruled Lancashire’s Local Council decision to reject fracking in Lancashire, effectively ignoring what the community of Lancashire has bonded over and against. Furthermore the Conservative Member of Parliament for Bromsgrove resolutely undermined the authority and hard work that the local Lancashire council did (and the tax payers paid for). Energy giant Cuadrilla now has a green light to frack at Preston New Road in the village of Little Plumpton thanks to MP Sajid Javid.

Energy giant Cuadrilla now has a green light to frack at Preston New Road in the village of Little Plumpton thanks to MP Sajid Javid.

 


The journey to the end of the line is long. The video below is from 2014 when the fight against fracking in the UK was already about three years old. In Nov 2, 2011, Cuadrilla released a report admitting that the two minor earthquakes in Lancashire in April and May of that year were caused by their activities. The locals had a rude awakening to the issue and have not slept since.

Video by Polly Tikkle Productions


UK Democratic Process

So lets look at our democracy at work. The ‘inside track’ of the anti-fracking movement, meaning the element of the movement that directly focussed on decison makers (people in power), have lobbied government, submitted large petitions, delivered reports and opposed the fracking license within the democratic process. Their sustained campaign over a period of 4 years won a democratic victory when the local council rejected the application to frack in June 2015.

Their sustained campaign over a period of 4 years won a democratic victory when the local council rejected the application to frack in June 2015.

The public mobilisation element of this campaign, otherwise known as the ‘outside track’ involved numerous and varied civil society led organisations who creatively and collectively employed pretty much every non violent activist technique one can think of, to highlight the dangers of fracking, garner legitamacy and publically mobilise against fracking in the whole of the UK. These included:

Time-limited occupations,

Sit ins, lock ons, blockades and various ‘media-stunts’ and events for the press and the wider public.

Petition and logo designing and distribution,

Celebrity endorsement

Funding

Bombarding Twitter, Facebook and You Tube with infographics, videos, reports, numerous memes, blogs and articles.

Despite all their efforts to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the community was against fracking, one man, far removed from Lancashire got to decide what is right for Lancashire. Or one could say that Sajid Javid dismissed his duty as a parliamentarian to represent what the people want, and chose, instead, to effectively advocate for the energy giant Cuadrilla. This is the UK democracy in action.

…one could say that Sajid Javid … chose… to effectively advocate for the energy giant Cuadrilla (instead of the people of Lancashire)

Video by Polly Tikkle Productions for Occupy London

Interview with Tina Rothery, founder of civil society led group Anti-Fracking Nanna’s in 2014.

Location: Time limited occupation of field near drilling site in Lancashire in 2014.


Fracking uses an enormous amount of water (that cannot then be recycled through clouds and rain) and threatens to make toxic the water basins within a wide radius (kms) of the drilling site. There is also a burning process related to this energy extracting practise that is guaranteed to pollute the pristine country air of Lancashire.

Don’t just take my word for it though.

Read the reports, watch the documentary and read the anti-fracking information that is out there, mostly written by unpaid activists, volunteers, not for profiteers, scientists, engineers and academics. Or else you can of course read what Cuadrilla’s advertising campaign say about ‘natural gas’ . All advertising campaigns for natural gas are perfect examples of corporate ‘cross-dressing’ (Hilder 2007) where the successes of social campaigning (the public knowledge of climate change and pollutants) are co-opted to unreservedly deceive a trusting public.

All advertising campaigns for natural gas are perfect examples of corporate ‘cross-dressing’

 

https://www.virginianaturalgas.com/residential/energy-savings

Advertising campaign for Virginia Natural Gas

When billions of pounds of profit are likely to be made it is not terribly difficult to accept that Cuadrilla is likely to say a few ‘white’ lies to get their way. Who needs clean water and clean air reeeealllly!

Understanding the motivation of decision makers like Sajid Javid is decidedly more challenging. If Sajid Javid believes that fracking is needed for ‘energy security’ then he should respect that the people of Lancashire have weighed up the pros and cons and are prepared to live with the consequences. I know that I am prepared to live with less energy rather than play a passive role in the potential poisoning of the UK water basins for all future generations.

I long for a process where politicians like Sajid Javid, who go against what the majority of the public intelligently and responsibly choose, can be recalled for not fulfilling their social contract as elected representatives. Their arrogant disregard for what the majority of people choose is corrosive on our democracy which in and of itself needs to be protected. After all only 24.4% of the population voted for David Cameron and no one voted for Theresa May who is currently machine gunning down the Human Rights Act, the only legislation that civil society can use to protect free speech in the UK.

(Politicians) arrogant disregard for what the majority of people choose is corrosive on our democracy which in and of itself needs to be protected.


Gasland (2009) set in Pennsylvania USA kick-started the anti-fracking movement by exposing the gas contamination of the water supply of the land owners who had allowed fracking on their land. It also exposed the consequential disease burden. It is an Academy Award Nominee and is a must see to understand the danger that the UK is now facing.

 


 

There is a petition you can sign.

A protest you can you go to

Come what May, this battle is far from over. The people of Lancashire are not ready to give up just yet as has been made clear by

 

 


This blog is part of a University of Westminster course.

Fracking Lancashire Sajid Majid Democracy Deficit


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GO PRO IN LOW LIGHT IS LOW QUALITY

This blog is about how the GoPro performs in low theatre light and a bit about my time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

I took my Go Pro along with one set of radio mics because I was staying with a friend who was rigging a show and who wanted a record of the work. She was cool with it being a simple video… so I left my kit at home and instead took my bike up. Virgin trains lets you do that for free as long as you book. A good thing 🙂

“Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a place where dreams go to die”…. according to Randy (see below) Before that however the artists and techies I met were collectively friendly, sweet, and engaged. What EFF gives them, (and what they pay considerbly for)  is a saturation of their peers’ theatre at discounted prices and-or for free , access to VIP areas which are always a lot of fun so they can  network like crazy and be inspired along with having a great time. Coming up from London, and slipping into the EFF VIP scene thanks to my connection with my mate Stormy, the rigger extraordinaire…..made me feel like I had died and gone to heaven.

 

TECH TALK

goproI own the GoPro Silver Hero 4 .

I firstly used the setting of 6400 ISO because I thought the theatre lighting would need it. My Sony FS100 handles 6400 quite well however I discovered that the GoPro does not … not at all!  Pixelated to such a degree that although I was doing it as a thank you gesture for the holiday,  I still have a professional reputation to protect and this imagery challenged that. The worse part was how pixelated the black was and there was a lot of black in each scene. The sound using the usb to mini jack adaptor plugged into a Sennheisser receiver from the sound desk worked brilliantly.

The next day I used the 1600 ISO and it was better but still with a lot of bleeding and glare. Not impressive but not as awful as 6400. There was not another day for me shoot so I could find out what 400 ISO might have looked like. 400 ISO is the best quality  the GoPro can offer but judging from the 1600 ISO I do not believe the 400 ISO would have been bright enough to see the talent… let alone the darker parts of the stage. Not being able to change these settings while the camera is on is quite a shame.

I did have my field of view on Narrow because I could not get close enough to be able to use anything else and from everything that I have read this Narrow setting should not affect quality.

Conclusion : The GoPro is pretty hopeless in low light.

1600 ISO

 

The shows I saw and loved.

In 2.5 days I saw 5 shows, one Supper Club, a short physical performance around pieces of fragile sculptures worth thousands  of pounds and quite a few buskers. I loved every minute of it.

GraceGrace by Emma Serjeant

Dark circus. Physical performance about regret and human fragility. Sometimes physical theatre can be a work of art… and Grace graces us with a balance of depth and connectedness that transported me unwillingly to personal memories/feelings that I did not necessarily want to return to. I guess that is what one calls ‘powerful theatre’  Her physical abilities are clearly extraorinary and understated enough to draw you back in subtly from your own thoughts, gracefully pulling back to the present theatre of misfortune. It was an amazing show.

 

lady rizoLady Rizo by Amelia Zirin-Brown

Strong women whose strength comes from their feminity is always really refreshing to see. Her voice is sooooo good and one that you could listen to for ever. It was a time limited show as she points out at the end and I do feel honoured to have audienced it. Although all of it was really entertaining and funny and clever it was her feeding her baby boy on stage that was tender to the extreme. While feeding him she sang him a song that I have found on line. The song’s original singer songwriter is My Brightest Diamond. Lady Rizo does a great cover and the original is only made better because of the knowledge that it is the original. Both voices are dreamy. It is in this part of the show that tears started streaming down my face. It was all so exquisite and we we all had to be quiet and we were.

 

betty grumbleSex Clowns Save The World by Betty Grumble 

Mad mad social commentary. I love this kind of bonkers theater. Sex Clowns Save The World starts with a practically nude woman with a large metal rubbish bin on her head. It was a great opening and what she did with the Globe was not all that shabby.

 

 

 

 

 

Once Derevo copyOnce by Derveo

The paralysis of love!  The protaganist is so in love that he bores his desired partner by his inability to communicate due to such intensity of feeling. Another comes along smooth and suave who is made out to be the baddy because well .. he is successful. It is an emotional roller coaster with a burdened Cupid who clumsily and hesitantly shoots his arrow. The woman’s reaction to the whirlwind going on around her.. is gold. I loved it.

 

 

randyRandy Writes A Novel by Heath McIvor

Puppetry at its best. Its been nominated for best comedy in the festival and judging on how many times I laughed out loud I can understand why. It was the first show I saw and was impressed that ‘Randy’ managed to talk about veganism in a hilarious yet committed way. Randy has written a novel and he is tortured about reading it to anyone.  I have been working on a feature documentary, for the last three years, (6 out of 8 sections done) that no one other than my girlfriend has seen and I intimately related to the angst before presenting it to the public, that Randy communicates in such a clever and humorous way. It was joyous to share the burden! Positively healing! Thank you Randy. I highly recommend this show for a good laugh!

 

On the last night of the Supper Club we all had a sing a long of a song that was written about 5 years ago now – 8 Miles Wide. I have since looked it up on line and although it has over  a million hits, I had never heard it before.. It was a presented as a welcome to refugees owed to the diversity element of the festival. What I really loved is when Ameilia Riot got the men in the audience singing at the top of their voices  “My vagina is 8 miles wide…. absolutely everyone can come inside…..”. Hilarious.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016 has given me more laughs than I have had all year!! Thank you x

 


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PROTEST, PROPERTY & PIETY

As some of you may know I have been working on a long term film project for almost three years.  It’s about Occupy London, a protest movement I was very involved with in 2011. In many ways I would not be living in London had it not been for the camp. As an activist travelling mostly between Malta and Israel-Palestine I did not have the kind of finances one needs to rent in London! As the NY song says…

So here I am!

Camped in a tent.

Which is really so convenient

Cause I can’t afford the rent.

 

Fast forward almost 5 years later and I have settled in London. Completing the film and writing blogs about it on the film’s website. This blog is about the court case and the laws surrounding protest.


PROTEST, PROPERTY & PIETY

The court case segment in Tense At St.Paul’s – an Occupy London film, promises to be an informative and existential exploration into the laws that govern all occupational protests in the UK.

Michael Paget who specializes in property, housing and public law represented Occupy London in the City of London vs Samede in the High Court and also in the consequent appeal. On camera Michael makes clear that every square inch of land in the UK is covered by property law. To twist a phrase, if you do not own land, 9/10ths of the law disowns you.

No ifs, not buts, property law sucks.

Michael Paget (far right suit)

Paul Ridge from Bindman’s Law one of the leading firms for protest law is the latest in an exemplary line up to agree to join the film project. In preparation for my interview with him I researched some of the more commonly used laws by police and cooperations against protest. I did not expect to be horrified by the way injunctions are used before a protest?

gbc

 

Green and Black Cross

write “Injunctions are basically a way that companies can buy themselves personalised laws. As such they are complicated and vary quite widely, but there are three things you need to do if you receive one:

Don’t talk about it. Especially on email or social media.
Ring us as soon as possible
Read the Green and Black Cross guide…”

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspectorate of Constabulary writes in Adapting to Protest – Nurturing the British Model of Policing 2009, “.….a number of police forces in England and Wales approach peaceful protest in terms of “is the protest lawful or unlawful?” This is an incorrect starting point. The concept of ‘unlawful protest’ is inaccurate as a matter of law. First, the right guaranteed by ECHR Article 11 is the right to “peaceful assembly”, not “lawful assembly”. Second, there is no legal basis in domestic law for describing a public protest as inherently unlawful.

“The Sun, the DailyMail AND the Telegraph say protesters are a bad people. My job is to control bad people”

Section 12 & 14 of the Public Order Act 1986
Section 50 Public Reform Act 2002
Section 60 & 60aa & 61 of the Criminal And Public Order Act 1994
Section 46 of the Children’s Act
Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime, and Policing Act

are so regularly misused by police that such misuse has become normalised. According to NETPOL , the procedures of the Independent Police Complaints Commission are inadequate, inappropriate and unjust.

 

 

Giles-03Giles Fraser ascends the protest technique of occupying to spiritual heights. “You need to occupy land. You need to make some presence there in the city….. That was its (Occupy London’s) greatest strength….Christianity does not exist without occupation. I would say that the incarnation is God’s occupation on Earth. ……You have to take up space. You have to make it real

Amen.

Share the love…err.. I mean the LIKE!

This article was first published on the Tense At St.Paul’s Film website.


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I WILL BE VOTING REMAIN

Tags : 

stay-in-logo
The debate for Brexit has become white hot. The only thing any of us can genuinely be sure of is that for the radical left, either vote leads us into Pan’s Labyrinth.

To clarify, the ‘radical left’ are people who do not accept that ‘the market’ is an all powerful god who works in mysterious ways, and is the best at providing opportunities, choice, prosperity, social care and happiness. The ‘radical left’ tend to believe that climate change should be prioritised over share prices for example. We also tend to believe that taxes and the nationalisation of public services are the far better option. Furthermore a belief in the concepts that make up the Global Commons theory does seem to underpin most of our core beliefs although many of us are not aware of the Global Commons theories!

 

brexit-496242The European Union is a complex city of beaurocrats and it is hard to find the democratic process embedded in it. There is one but it is very weak and easily bullied silent by the European Commission’s strength of purpose. The EU is fundamentally a free trade agreement in itself that has utilised its power to set some European standards in regards to rights of person and regulation in trade. Both of the latter tend to protect the little man.

The precautionary principle for example is the principle to risk management that states that if an action or policy or product (food, medicine, building material etc) has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public, or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus (that the action, policy or product is not harmful), the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on the producers. Regulations are presented like toxic vermon in the film Brexit, a well polished neo liberal advertisment of shameful proportions. Personally as a tiny entity in this population, I want this kind of regulation. Nothing in British law guarantees it.

democracy-comic

Pans-LabyrinthThe democratic processes in the UK are also far from impressive. There is an endemic lack of practical transparency because the main stream media stumps the flow of information. It is largely employed by the 1% and it reports, repeats and recites the neo liberal model’s agenda that its owners want promoted. What they are doing  to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is so contrived I am looking forward to the movie that should be made about it.

So in this referendum, its a case of damned if you do vote IN, damned if you do not.

Hence is it a Pans Labyrinth.

 

 

WHY ARE WE HAVING THIS REFERENDUM?

 

weissmuller-johnny-tarzan-escapes The EU referendum is not being debated for the good of the UK’s trade and economy, its being debated because of UKIP’s shallow slogan of a campaign that the ‘immigrants are taking our jobs’. Its a well used formula by many desperately shallow politicians all over the rich world. It tugs at the the very primal need in many of us to belong to a community of ‘our kind’. It does so, not by strengthening community based policies and activities that would address the inherent isolation of many of us in modern society, but by creating an ‘enemy’. A short and impotent cut. A cheap shot made even cheaper because such isolation is inherently connected to a misery of collective purpose which the leaders of Brexit are dead against. They promote competition and the eating alive of the weaker entities of society not their care! Nevertheless it appeals to many and the consequences of this Tarzan cry in the form of an EU referendum has to be deeply considered at a time that is entirely inappropriate.

No guarantees are offered by BREXIT for economic growth but lets hypothetically fantasize that it will provide economic growth although most economists have decided that it will not.

What good is economic growth if we no longer have workers rights , if our right to assembly and strike is made illegal?  If our food is toxic (de-regulation) or our water reserves are gas infused (fracking) ; if our banking system keeps injecting ficticious value into the housing market so that the 1% can store their cash in London properties? If your house increases in value.. so what? You have to live in it and when it comes time to move everywhere else will be more expensive too. As for folk who make a business out of selling houses, I care less about your potential revenue than I do about anyone else’s. Make a living while the sanctioned crime lasts but don’t expect concern from me if your business model goes belly up.

Ann Pettifor confesses her personal disdain for the concept of economic growth, a term invented in 1967,  because  it really should be all about economic balance.

 

WHY AM I VOTING REMAIN?

My reasons for voting Remain are:

  1. The knowledge that the majority of the UK’s main stream media including the BBC are abysmmal in informing the public on alternatives to:
    the profit narrative,
    the debt based economy,
    the privatisation of all public services including the NHS,
    fossil fuels,
    our current finance industry and
    TTIP.
    I believe that the main stream media are collectively more powerful than any politician could be and while they re-package and mould all information in a manner that serves the establishment, any progressive policies for the greater social good are deeply compromised in getting our points of view across. If we remain in the EU we have a stronger chance.

 

stay-in-logoThe vast majority of the main stream media is also as weak as a wet paper bag in the reporting of proposed bills in UK Parliament that eat away at:
our workers rights,
our right to protest,
our right to health care,
our right to Freedom of information and
lest we forget that what is enshrined in our Human Rights Act is also being threatened.

It should not be the duty of NGOs and activists to distribute current information on matters such as these through social media which is now totally compromised in its distribution. The days are passed where Facebook sends your post to all your friends and likes. The BBC TV should be ashamed of itself.

 

 

Eu-flag-vector-material22) Other countries have a more eclectic variety of media outlets and a stronger and more organised left and I believe the UK public need their help to fight the neo liberal war that is being waged against all the poor. The stage were their help is apparent is in the EU. EU regulation limits the extent to which proposed acts of Parliament can destroy our rights. The EU’s Working Time Directive for example is something that if we did not have doctors would still be expected to work a 90 hour week.

Also anyone who mentions TTIP as a Brexit argument is so dangerously misguided it is actually painful to hear it. The UK have been the strongest proponents of TTIP and if we leave the EU, another bilateral agreement between the UK and the US will definitely be proposed within this Tory government’s administration. I do question whether all left leaning Brexiters are committed to putting in the hours, weeks and months to campaigning against that bilateral agreement. Although I do have hope in some MPs they still need a neutral MSM which we do not have. This is where fear is dictating my vote. I cannot trust that we could not stop a bi lateral agreement from being signed which would most likely lock in privatisation and ISDS, because that is what most Tories feel is right for the British public! In other words Bye Bye NHS…forever. United with the French and German NoTTIP movements we have a better chance.

I am no expert. But I am a voter and that is how I will be voting.

I have to admit that someone has put my views in a better context that I have been able to. If you want a more informed piece as to why to vote Bremain… have a read of this.
Novara Media is a new-ish media platform that focuses on social change. Their main figure head is pro Brexit but to their credit they have also produced a video that is Pro Remain as well.

[hozbreak]

To help the Novara Media Remain video organically spread in facebook I made the following:
https://www.facebook.com/124563204315456/videos/857997077638728/?pnref=story


  • 2

Transforming Finance Conference

Transforming Finance, held at UCL, Bedford Way, Central London, organized by the Finance Innovation Lab, May 11th brought together campaigners, trade unionists, policymakers, researchers, academics and innovators to share their projected solutions to what they considered to be the most pressing flaws in our finance industy. I was there filming short interviews for the Finance Innovation Lab for a video due out on June 20th.

Key Note speaker was Lord Adair Turner.financelab7

 The light at the end of the dark and eerie finance tunnel (that traditional economists and financiers seem stuck in) is lit by the critical thinkers of this conference

 

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The light at the end of the dark and eerie finance tunnel (that traditional economists and financiers seem stuck in) is lit by the critical thinkers of this conference. Their suggested reform; restructure; revamp; and re-regulation of their chosen targets was heartening because it was delivered in a manner that was accessible, ie: not gobbily gook. My personal research for the Occupy London film, Tense at St.Paul’s that I am produce-directing, revealed that no substantial changes have occured in the finance industry since the Global Financial Crisis and yet the Tory government imply the exact opposite. Call me naive, but not being an expert in finance, just a mere filmmaker, did not give me the confidence to be anything but confused. I like to believe that a semblance of truth is said by our political leaders. This conference validated my research and such validation sparkled my mind.  Repeat the solutions, reiterate them, reproduce them until they are recited by others seems to be the way to go. The inherent repetition (since around 2011) was ironically promising.

financelab25


…..time is quite a factor in a ticking bomb scenario, which most speakers implied the finance industry still is

 

problems unite, solutions divide

However problems unite and solutions divide. This human condition/phenomena was present despite all participants being flawlessly civil about it. The stakes are really high and people feel passionately about their chosen solution. It is not that any of the solutions were at dire odds with each other from my understanding, but each would take quite some time to lobby for and then implement and time is quite a factor in a ticking bomb scenario, which most speakers implied the finance industry still is.


finance-lab-b-roll-01One of my regular daydreams kicked in, in between takes: A  weekly (video-on-line) program where such thinkers can voice updates or new findings on their chosen ‘campaign’. The program would highlight grassroots movements and campaigners and defy the dictatorship of the fabricated news cycle. Its measure of success would be in the number of people it inspires to actively participate in the campaigns it covers.

Ideas are cheap…opinions even more so. Solution seeking requires not only creativity but its marketting too. Most creators just don’t have the time to do what it takes to market their ideas so as to ensure their ideas gain enough traction to make their mark and to furthermore inspire public mobilisation around. This video program would address this gap in the communication of bright ideas.

stock-vector-mad-hatter-s-tea-party-alice-in-wonderland-original-vintage-engraving-tea-party-with-the-mad-75202609Alice asked : Were art thou funding?

Mad Hatter : In The Havens…. If you are good you too could end up there.

Alice lowered her brow knowingly, for she was certain that she was as good as all the people she knew who had ended up in The Havens.


financelab8The creation of blue prints is what is needed now and Benoit Lallemand (Finance Watch) is part of creating just that. Finance Watch based in Brussells’ focus is on the relationship of finance and an economy that does not destroy the planet.  Moving beyond the faults and creating solutions is where the light is and I was a getting a sun tan. It felt good. Until the video is commissioned, I shall summarise the response to the question :

What do you feel is the most important change to the finance system that needs to be implemented?

The response from around 20 interviewees fell into 6 main categories.

  1. Democratisation of the finance system which included making it less complex so as there to be a point to it being more transparent. Not much point in it being transparent if no one can understand it right? Also in this category was the call for regulation to stop the banks’s unaccountability and furthermore acting with impunity.
  2. Addressing the issue of some banks being too big to fail. There was a general agreement that breaking up the large banks and making them more local was an important measure for a variety of reasons. The suggestion that the government should lead the way by doing so to RBS was given more than once. This category also addresses the demise of lending to the real economy (noted since the crash) which many believe is a direct consequence of the shareholder banks’ lack of interest in the real economy compared to smaller banks whose business might actually depend on lending to small businesses . For example, banks who only can lend to people within a specific geographic area.
  3. The characteristics of Quantitive Easing need to be more directed into green initiatives, the real economy and even helicopter money (the radical concept of simply giving people and businesses money to establish themselves).
  4. The link between housing and speculation needs to be snapped. Essentially the inflation that is allowed to balloon in the housing market needs to be qualified as such: inflation, which is endemically unstable and has largely negative consequences for the vast majority of the populace.
  5. Lord Adair Turner suggest that there needs to be more capital.. that is the ratio between how much a bank has in comparison to how much is lends needs to be higher. (No Shit Sherlock)  For most people the fact that there isn’t a regulated ratio is mentally repellent. A videographer at a family dinner party for example… cannot convince family folk of what really happens in terms of capital vs exposure . Osborne promised such regulation in his June 2011 Chancellor Speech and yet, no regulation has transpired.  Repetition in this instance was not all that promising. A critique on what the hell is stopping governmental control would be more advanced at this stage, especially from a man in his position. It was estimated at 3% once upon a time. Most now estimate that it is less than 1%. Reports by EU think tanks and the Bank of International Settlements call for it to be anywhere between 7% and 17% . Tory government promised that it would be at least 7% but have done sweet FA to see that happen. The private banks are still creating money out of debt, (digital numbers)  systematically (when they approve loans) but with no governmental control. Lest we forget that if you cannot keep up your loan… the banks (who had nothing to begin with) take the non-digital, brick and mortar house plus the property its on! .It is my hope that one day this process will become known as the crime of the century. Until then all we can really do apparently is watch it happen to one poor soul after another….in the UK.
  6. Other!


It is not a theory or an opinion but a developed tool to help hold financiers accountable – NOW.

 

I had my personal favorites!

financelab17Neil Chandler is from Cathartic. Cathartic is an anonymous platform where anyone can share anything. They have now developed it for whistleblowing for the finance sector. By enabling employees to communicate with complete anonymity through Cathartic, real issues can be brought to the forefront and organisations can better support their workforce. ROCK ON! This appealed to me. Its a tool you know. One that is immediately available. It is not a theory or an opinion but a developed tool to help hold financiers accountable – NOW. Turns out he is a fellow of the Finance Innovation Lab.

financelab20I first heard this lady, Mariana Mazzucato reveal how much of Apple’s innovation was actually developed in the public sector, in a Ted X talk. Mariana champions the public ownership/nationalisation of the finance sector, by firstly highlighting its innovation and challenging the mantra that nothing revolutionary comes from government technological research and development and then demanding that the government maintain ownership of it so as to boost the public purse with it profits. She is a great dynamic speaker who steals the show with her point of view and her delivery.

Please stay tuned for the video. Due by 17th June
Finance Innovation Lab’s account of the day.

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  • 0

Digital Journalism NUJ Workshop Review

On Wednesday I attended the Digital Journalism Skills Workshop put on by the National Union of Journalists of whom I am a member.

Like 99% of all content providers, serious journalists are creatives and creatives’ job security and pay have gotten lower in the digital age. Some call this progress.

Time to break new ground again….if it has not broken you first.

So we were all there to get some good tips on how to generate cash from our online work. The take home gem from the first session was ‘create an audience and find ways to sell them things’. I think it is fair to say that we all had hoped that there was another way.  We are not marketeers after all. Bugger.

Tim Dawson, author of Make eBooks Pay and New Ways to Make Money from Writing, encouraged us to promote goods, affiliate market, review products and monetize our “content”  The fatal wound (for me) was the discovery that Amazon sustains many a successful e-book, affiliate marketeer and any avoidance of working with the jungle of tax avoidance that Amazon is, will make a very difficult job impossible. Time to break new ground again….if it has not broken you first.

Digital journalism is all about selling products and by ‘product’ I mean tangible made in China stuff, not investigated intelligence or intellectual review.

 

Christian-Payne-Documentally

 

Then Christian Payne, one of the UK’s foremost mobile storytellers spoke. He travels the world, takes photos and videos and uploads and manages to get paid handsomely for his time.

As a filmmaker/many-other-roles  I have been to numerous film-making related workshops and this reminded me of them. The format is usually that of a speaker who is outrageously successful speaking to an audience of people who are outrageously unsuccessful.

I tend to walk away  from these workshops feeling more dis-empowered because I would have just learnt of more opportunities that had never crossed my path, and if they had, I would re-live the moment I had f***** up those moments and have anxiety attacks of varying intensities depending on how recent those moments were.

I tend to walk away  from these workshops feeling more dis-empowered….

NUJ Digital Jouralism Course-03For the first half hour Christian Payne divided his successes chronologically in years.  I was finding it hard to concentrate. I closed my book of notes, thinking “I get it mate.. you have done well” He spoke of his success in 2010 and I wondered what I was failing at in 2010. In 2011 he used this and that equipment that is now relatively obsolete so no need to jot them down and my mind drifted to 2011, the year when I met the highest maintenance girlfriend I have ever had and joined Occupy London, a dubious career choice if ever there was one.

However something about Christian was sweet. He made an effort to be amusing which repeatedly brought me back into the room, pschologically speaking.  He was more likeable than painful despite his success. Finally we got to 2015. The equipment was relevant. I jot it down. As the talk proceeded we learn that his success is based on him having almost no secrets to his trade. His on line presence shares every piece of equipment that he uses for example, and affiliate markets it.

I felt glad that such a nice guy had grabbed the bull by its horns and not been mauled to death by his initiative.

Christian self funds his trips and lets professionals know where he is and generates work that way. It was an interesting flip-of-the-script scenario. His infrastructure of journalists and editors who know and trust his work is his gold mine. By the end of the session I felt glad that such a nice guy had grabbed the bull by its horns and not been mauled to death by his initiative.

In the afternoon Janet Awe spoke. Her take home message was to work all the time, although I am not entirely sure she sees it that way. She repeatedly said “..do it on a Sunday afternoon, (while you are relaxing)”  and personally I would prefer to be cooking, watching a movie or walking in the woods on a Sunday afternoon, not selling on social media.

She was passionate about encouraging us to create a presence and maintain it on LinkedIn, Twitter, Vine 6, Tumbler, Snapchat, Pinterest . Follow and Like facebook groups such as IJNetFreelance Journalists UK, FB Newswire. Keep an eye on what is trending. She recommended Hootsuite and Ritetag. I have not looked into these yet but I have looked into GoogleNewsLab. WOW!

As a member of NUJ I paid a reasonable £27.00 for a days worth of information and for me it was worth every penny.

Despite my dryness towards the successful it is important to get that injection of acknowledgement that what you are doing is the right thing to do; that you just gotta keep doing it even if your ultimate agenda is not cash necessarily… we all want to reach as many people as possible… and do it in a way that is sustainable wh which does involve some cash. At some stage there will be ads on the side these blogs. God knows what they will advertise but whatever it is it will have nothing to do with me and everything to do with the web browsing history of the reader. So I am not sure why I am so avert to the whole idea of it. I must be some sort of fundamentalist (taking the fun out of being mental)

PrintAlthough Christian’s approach is refreshingly different and he was the more inspiring speaker of day he is practically in bed with Amazon and that does not sit right with me. At the end of the day, most of us are in this game because we love it and when you love something, I guess you gotta take the good with the bad. Its just what defines ‘unacceptably bad’  is different in all of us. I often wish I did not know what I know about entities such as Amazon and Starbucks. Just like most vegans love and miss cheese and donuts I miss the time when I did not have a clue about our economy and was not convinced that consumer activism is the very least we can do.

I often wish I did not know what I know about entities such as Amazon and Starbucks.

 


TENSE AT ST.PAUL’S

Tense at St.Pauls - An Occupy London film (in the final stages of production 2017), follows the ideology, the passion and the dilemmas of the Occupy London movement through the eyes of ten of its protaganists including the filmmaker as it was camped on the grounds of St.Paul's Cathedral. --------------------------------------------- Giles Fraser recalls the start as a carnival atmosphere and activist Jules sums up the journey as "We were shifting from being a positive media influence and being somewhere that people wanted to come and want to experience to some kind of scenario for mad Max which had no clear objective and existed only to says sustain itself" --------------------------------------------- The internal conflicts experienced in Occupy London are common in all large movements and many activists who lived through Occupy received a valuable education in social change. This film aims to share such lessons. -------------------------------------------- Stay Tuned: Like the Facebook; Follow the Twitter; Support Indie filmmaking!

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