April 2005


Chetwynd Barracks, Chilwell is where most of the Reservists and TA’s being sent to Iraq are mustered. The Blair Government orders these troops to fight an illegal, unjust and murderous war. Many tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed as a result of the invasion of Iraq.

Nottingham Stop the War Coalition picketed the main entrance of Chetwynd Barracks so as to reach out to service personnel and their families. We wanted to persuade them not to support the war in Iraq. They have a legal right to become conscientious objectors.

2.00 p.m Assembled at the car park in the shopping area on Nottingham Road. Then we marched up Swiney Way to the main entrance of Chetwynd Barracks. Banners erected, speeches made.

My Pictures of the evnet, on my FotoBlog at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=423605

************

Chetwynd Barracks were first picketed, shortly after the start of the war. Check out my earlier entry at:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2003/03/57570.html &

Chetwynd Barracks http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/chetwynd_barracks/index.htm

this is an action, continued from yesterdays Anti-War Critical Mass Bike About in Nottingham City, please check out report / piccys at:

http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/04/310149.html

also ……..>>

‘Direct links’ to the coverage of these issues:

StopWar Main Page http://tash.dns2go.com/stopwar.htm
London Demo http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/stopthewar_feb03/index.htm
Nottingham Demos http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/stopwar_nttm/index.htm
Chetwynd Barracks http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/chetwynd_barracks/index.htm
Menwith Hill ‘Foil the Base’ http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/menwith_hill/index.htm
Nottingham Anti-war graffiti http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/nottingham_graffiti/index.htm
Photoshop Gallery http://tash.dns2go.com/stopwar_photoshop.htm
‘Streaming’ Shows http://tash.dns2go.com/stopwar_show.htm
London Demo [with soundtrack] http://tash.dns2go.com/RAMfiles/stopthewar_1_320x240.ram
Web-Galleries [10sec change] http://tash.dns2go.com/slide_shows.htm

[long links, make sure you include all of ’em!]

*********

Nottingham Stop the War at: http://www.nottmagainstwar.org.uk

Critcal Mass is a regular event. The meeting point is the Savoy cinema on Derby Road in Lenton on the last Friday of every month now at 5.30pm. We even got a police helicopter, to look over us, for our safety you understand ……

The ride lasts no more than a couple of hours (depending on the weather!) and usually ends in a conveniently placed pub for more drinks.

Most all, they are peaceful, safe and fun!

“We are not blocking the traffic – We are Traffic!”

Piccys of the event at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=422787

You can see more piccys of an earlier Critical Mass in Nottingham at:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/02/305420.html

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What’s it all about?

Critical Mass is often described as an ‘unorganised coincidence’. It happens when a lot of cyclists happen to be in the same place at the same time and decide to cycle the same way together for a while.

What’s the purpose?

“Everyday, all over the world, people are resisting the problem culture of the car by getting on their bikes and riding, instead of driving.

Critical Mass is a celebration of the alternatives to cars, pollution, accidents and the loss of public spaces and freedoms.

Not an organisation or group, but an idea or tactic, Critical Mass allows people to reclaim cities with their bikes, just by getting together and out-numbering the cars on the road”

What happens on a Critical Mass?

Each one is different and they follow no set route, with the direction being spontaneously chosen as people cycle along. Anyone is free to join or leave the ride as it pedals along.

See also http://www.critical-mass.org

******

Actually, while we’re on the subject, please check out:

World Naked Bike Ride – 11 June 2005 – various UK locations

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/04/310011.html

On Saturday the 11th of June 2005, many UK cyclists will participate in the second annual World Naked Bike Ride! This bike ride protests against oil dependency and celebrates the power and individuality of our bodies.

http://worldnakedbikeride.org/uk

I hope it’s going to be a nice, warm day …….

Blimey!! the Freedom of Information Act and allsorts. So many requests, it’s been like drawing teeth. But finally, the government published the Attorney General’s full advice Iraq Resolution 1441 [7mar2003] on the legality of opening the war against Iraq has been published today.

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=421886

You can download the whole shebang from the 10 Downing Street Website at:

http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page7443.asp

If you want to see my anti-war work from the last few years, please check out:

http://tash.dns2go.com/stopwar.htm

Friday 29th April 2005 starts 17:30

Critcal Mass is a regular event. The meeting point is the Savoy cinema on Derby Road in Lenton on the last Friday of every month now at 5.30pm.

The ride lasts no more than a couple of hours (depending on the weather!)

Most all, they are peaceful, safe and fun!

“We are not blocking the traffic – We are Traffic!”

Piccys of previous events:

Critical Mass Bike-About in Nottingham :: The Pictures

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/02/305420.html

&

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=353433

Sunday April 24, 2005
The Observer

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,1468695,00.html

Photography shapes our world – and our perception of it. Think of the Vietnam war and what comes unbidden into your mind? Here’s my guess: that photograph of the naked little girl running in terror after a napalm attack. Marilyn Monroe? That wonderful picture of her standing over a ventilator outlet with her skirt swirling up. The liberation of France? Henri Cartier-Bresson’s shot of a woman collaborator being denounced in the street. And so it goes: we think in images. And many, if not most of them, are still provided by photography.
But then ask yourself: what if, when the technology was being invented, the law had required that before you took a photograph of anyone or anything, you had to ask permission? Imagine how restricted photography – both as reportage and art – would have been. And how impoverished our culture as a result.

Now spool forward a century or so. A film-maker is shooting a low-budget documentary about a musical performance. He discovers that the character of Homer Simpson appears for three-and-a-half seconds, on a barely visible television, in the background of a key shot. In accordance with the strict intellectual property (IP) laws that apply today, he has to ask broadcaster Fox, owner of The Simpsons , for permission to include the shot. The response? Sure – on payment of a $10,000 fee.

That’s the world we now inhabit. And if the big multimedia organisations get their way, control of intellectual property will become even tighter. Until recently, everything was going their way. Clueless legislators were bamboozled by lobbying propaganda about the need to protect ‘property’ and stamp out ‘piracy’ and ‘theft’. Mass media – generally owned by outfits with a vested interest in strong IP law – reported the issue in terms that were at best uninformed and at worst rabidly partisan.

And nobody, beyond a few isolated voices, spoke out for the public interest. Or pointed out the implications for free culture of a world in which every idea, and every expression of an idea, is ‘owned’ by someone (usually a company). Nobody asked what would become of music if every songwriter had to pay a royalty on every idea they’d borrowed from earlier songs. Or what would happen to film-making if the rights to every out-of-focus billboard, chair, poster or magazine cover had to be cleared and paid for before movies could be released.

The answer, of course, is simple. It is that creativity would be stifled because the barrier to entry to the market for cultural products would be too high for everyone except corporations. There would still be innovation and competition, but only on the terms that multimedia conglomerates would allow. The Disneys, Time-Warners, Pearsons and Bertelsmanns of this world would do fine. And everyone else would be kept in their place as passive consumers of whatever content-owners deigned to provide for their entertainment.

Until recently, this was the way the world was heading. But now something significant has happened to buck the trend. The BBC – the world’s greatest creator of high-quality multimedia products – has finally launched its Creative Archive. The project – first announced by former director-general Greg Dyke in August 2003, and much delayed as BBC staff grappled with the rights issues implicit in it – will allow British residents to download clips of BBC factual programmes from bbc.co.uk for non-commercial use, keep them on their PCs, manipulate and share them, thereby making the BBC archives more accessible to licence-fee payers.

The content is not available yet but the licences under which it will be provided have now been published. In the next, pilot, phase of the project the Creative Archive will make 100 hours of BBC content available. The early stuff will come from the corporation’s stupendous archive of nature and wildlife programmes, for two reasons: the IP issues are less complex because the BBC owns most of the rights; and nature programming will be of immediate use to important target groups, like schoolchildren doing their own video projects. And although some people are critical of this (one cynic described the content as ‘shagging marmots’), there’s no doubt about where this is heading. The world’s leading public-service broadcaster is declaring it believes that creative output for which the public has paid should be in the public domain.

This is big news. Some years ago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology blew the nascent educational-content business out of the water by making its courseware available for free on the web. Who would pay for content from Mickey Mouse universities when MIT’s was free? By challenging the IP mania that threatens to engulf us, the Creative Archive project is doing something similar. And in the process showing us what public-service broadcasting is for.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,1468695,00.html

It’s 20 years, since the major trashing of my community, travelling on the way the make the “Peoples Free Festival of Albion” at Stonehenge.

Piccys of the event at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=415990

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=415991

It was a regular event on the calender. A little different to the ‘managed access event’ on the solstice, currently on offer from English Heritage.

The full story of these events from June 1985, I’ve described in a previous post at:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/04/308800.html

On Wednesday 20th April, the exhibition moved to The Sumac Centre in Nottingham. It is up until Thursday 12th May

Opening with a showing of “Operation Solstice”: a film describing the events of the day, and what we did about it.

There was also a talk by Andy Worthington, author of “Stonehenge – Celebration and Subversion”

Sumac Centre
245 Gladstone Street, Forest Fields, Nottingham NG7 6HX
Ph: 0845 458 9595
http://www.veggies.org.uk/sumac

http://www.makepovertyhistory.org

http://www.tjm.org.uk

These pictures are from the Nottingham Event. St Peters Church, Nr Broadmarsh:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=411775

>>>>

Trade Justice believe everyone has the right to feed their families, make a decent living and protect their environment.

But the rich and powerful are pursuing trade policies that put profits before the needs of people and the planet.

To end poverty and protect the environment we need Trade Justice not free trade.

The UK Government should:

Fight to ensure that governments, particularly in poor countries, can choose the best solutions to end poverty and protect the environment.
End export subsidies that damage the livelihoods of poor communities around the world.
Make laws that stop big business profiting at the expense of people and the environment

Press Release
14 April 2005

Biggest mass protest of election campaign says parties must go further on anti-poverty pledges

World poverty and environmental groups descend on Whitehall Friday 15th April to show strength of public concern on the UK’s role in global trade.

Public concern on international trade will be demonstrated as thousands mobilise for a mass rally on trade justice this weekend.

People are traveling from across the country to be in Westminster and Whitehall on Friday evening for ‘Wake Up to Trade Justice’ – a night-long vigil and protest to ensure that all political parties know the strength of the public demand for trade justice not free trade.

The vigil, organised by the Trade Justice Movement as part of a Global Week of Action for Trade Justice, will start with a special celebrity-supported event at Westminster Abbey.

Participants, led by representatives of Trade Justice Movement organisations – which represent nine million UK voters – will then form a ‘Human White Band’ around Parliament Square, the symbol of Make Poverty History, highlighting the policy changes on trade the campaign is demanding the parties adopt.

The activists, public and celebrities will then proceed along Whitehall for a candle-lit vigil, including a mass 1-minute’s silence at midnight to mark the millions of lives being destroyed worldwide by unfair trade laws. A night of film, music, debate and education at venues around Whitehall follows.

The event is set to culminate in a dawn procession before Trade Justice campaign delegations meet representatives from the three main political parties.

Glen Tarman, Trade Justice Movement coordinator, said:

“The British electorate is rightly concerned about the economy, health and education – but not just in the UK. The free trade policies the rich countries are pushing on the developing world are robbing people of health and education services and promoting economic insecurity for communities on a global scale.”

“This is a wake-up call for political leaders of all the main parties – if elected, they must make sure urgent action is taken if we are to have justice in international trade and start to make poverty history in 2005. We are making world poverty a doorstep issue.”

“All the parties claim to be concerned about apathy towards politics especially among the young. Yet thousands of potential voters are coming to Whitehall to demand the parties address their concern that Britain’s trade policies do not hurt the world’s poor and the planet. The parties would do well to listen.”

The Trade Justice Movement has called on all UK political parties to make public statements setting out their position on stopping the push for poor countries to open up their economies at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and through other forms of international pressure.

Around the world millions of people in more than 80 countries are taking to the streets in the Global Week of Action running from 10-16 April – calling for trade justice to help lift people out of poverty.

For further information:
Sarah Finch 07870 823485
Trade Justice Movement 020 7523 2417 www.tjm.org.uk

Notes for Editors:
1. Wake Up to Trade Justice on 15/16th April is a celebrity supported all-night carnival of music, art and protest. See www.tjm.org.uk.

2. The Trade Justice Movement is a coalition of 67 organisations including aid agencies, environment and human rights campaigns, fairtrade organisations, trade unions, and faith and consumer groups.

3. Trade Justice is one of the key calls of MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY, the UK’s largest ever anti-poverty mobilisation already supported by 400 UK organisations.

4. The Global Week of Action is the biggest mobilisation yet on trade, with events in every continent, including all of the G8 countries. Thousands of events, in both rich and poor countries, include demonstrations, petitions to governments and institutions such as the IMF and World Bank, voting for trade justice, street theatre and marches. Over a hundred events have already taken place across the UK. For more information see http://www.april2005.org/media.

5. Opinion polls show international poverty ranks high (eighth) among the most important election issues, above Europe, transport, Iraq and interest rates (Economist, 9th-15th April: Sources MORI, ICM, Populus, YouGov). For the first time in a UK election the leaders of all three main parties have pledged to make keynote speeches about world poverty on the same day (24 April).

6. The Trade Justice Movement is calling on the UK Government (whichever party takes power) to ensure that developing countries can choose the best solutions to end poverty and protect the environment. The coalition has written to the leaders of the major parties demanding they adopt policies to stop forcing trade liberalisation on developing countries in areas including industrial tariffs, trade in services and agriculture.

The letter can be read at: www.tjm.org.uk/wakeup/letter.shtml

Jason Deans, broadcasting editor
Friday April 15, 2005

http://media.guardian.co.uk/broadcast/story/0,7493,1459919,00.html

The widow of British documentary film-maker James Miller, who was shot dead in Gaza two years ago, has condemned the Israeli army’s decision to acquit an officer of illegally using his weapon as a “mockery”.
Sophy Miller accused the Israeli army of having “no genuine will to uncover the truth” about her husband’s death, despite claiming to have mounted an exhaustive investigation into the fatal shooting in Rafah in May 2003.

The army’s decision came despite a military court’s recommendation last month that harsh disciplinary action be taken against the soldier.

“This new decision by the deputy chief of staff of the Israeli Defence Forces’s southern command makes a mockery of Israeli claims that they follow due process where IDF soldiers have acted criminally and outside their own rules of engagement,” Mrs Miller said.

“It shows that Israeli military activities in Gaza are carried out with impunity. We deplore the total failure to hold anyone responsible for the most serious breaches of Israeli rules of engagement.”

“We believed at the outset there was no genuine will to uncover the truth because the site of James’s death was not secured for forensic investigation, the site was destroyed by bulldozers three days after James’s death [and] it took the Israelis 11 weeks to impound the guns involved in James’s death,” Mrs Miller said.

“And now, almost two years after James was killed and after what the Israelis claim was an exhaustive investigation, our suspicions have been confirmed by this IDF decision.”

The officer who fired the shot that killed Miller is a first lieutenant in the Bedouin desert reconnaissance battalion and was commanding the unit at the time of the killing. He was acquitted by Brigadier General Guy Tzur, the head of the army’s southern command.

In an army statement issued to the family last month, military prosecutor-general Avihai Mandelblitt cleared the officer, who was not identified, of Miller’s death, saying there was no evidence to support the charge.

But Mr Mandelblitt did say the officer would be disciplined for misusing his weapon and for changing his story several times during the investigation.

“The court found [the officer] was operating in very difficult circumstances, including taking incoming fire from terrorists, and concluded that he acted appropriately”, the military official said.

Mrs Miller said she and her sister-in-law, Katie, were told by military investigators last month that the officer admitted to firing his weapon in Miller’s direction.

They said they were told that the officer acknowledged he knew when he fired the weapon that journalists were in the house and that the area surrounding it was well lit.

Miller, who won awards for his work in Afghanistan, was shot as he and colleagues attempted to leave the home of a Palestinian family in Rafah on May 2 2003, while filming for a Channel 4 documentary

The group claim they were carrying a white flag and called out to troops stationed nearby to inform them they were British journalists.

As they walked towards an armoured personnel carrier, a soldier fired and seconds later aimed a second shot at reporters, striking the 34-year-old father of two in the neck between his body armour and helmet.

Mrs Miller has said she plans to bring a civil action for damages against the Israeli army and to seek a judicial review of the decision not to prosecute the soldier responsible for murder.

http://media.guardian.co.uk/broadcast/story/0,7493,1459919,00.html

Nottingham IMC meeting will be on the 18th of April at 7.30pm at the Sumac Centre, 245 Gladstone St, Forest Fields, Nottingham, NG7 6HX, 0845 458 9595.

There is an idea to set up an Indymedia Collective in nottingham. Various people have been in contact with people from the Indymedia UK Collective and other local Indymedia groups across the country that are more than happy to help us setting up an Independent Media Centre (IMC) in Nottingham. Part of a local IMC could be a website, film showings, interactive workshops within our communities, fundraising events, parties, and a possible radio station!

So photographers, filmmakers, DJ’s, writers/reporters, musicians, artists, sound engineers, visual artist and people with technical skills; get involved!

The first meeting will be on the 18th of April at 7.30pm at the Sumac Centre, 245 Gladstone St, Forest Fields, Nottingham, NG7 6HX, 0845 458 9595.

The email list to help setting up the local collective;

http://lists.indymedia.org/mailman/listinfo/imc-nottingham

Indymedia is a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage. Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth.

Independent DIY media projects are spreading around the planet at unprecedented speed. Triggered by discontent with the mainstream media and supported by the widespread availability of media technologies, groups all over the world are creating their own channels of information and distribution in order to bypass the (mainstream) corporate media. The idea behind most of these projects is to create open platforms to which everyone can contribute – not only a small media elite with theirparticular interests. By eliminating the classic division between professional producers and passive audience, many issues and discussions that were previously suppressed become visible and available.

www.indymedia.org.uk

Nottingham IMC
List: http://lists.indymedia.org/mailman/listinfo/imc-nottingham

How Tory made a family disappear

Nicholas Watt
Tuesday April 12, 2005
The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianpolitics/story/0,,1457742,00.html

Left: Conservative candidate Ed Matts with Ann Widdecombe protesting in support of the Kacheps family, who were facing deportation.
Right: The same picture, doctored to support the party line, on Mr Matts’ election leaflet.

Labour campaign chiefs were last night rubbing their hands with glee when a Tory parliamentary candidate admitted altering a photograph to ensure that he was fully in tune with the party’s hardline stance on immigration.
Ed Matts, the Conservative candidate in Labour’s most marginal seat of Dorset South, thought he might garner a few votes when he appeared at a rally last month to show his support for the heart-rending case of the Kachepa family who are facing deportation. In a coup he managed to haul in Ann Widdecombe, who held a banner at the rally proclaiming: “Let Them Stay.”

Eagle-eyed Labour activists could hardly believe their luck when a completely different version of the same picture appeared on Mr Matts’s election leaflets. The striking figure of Ms Widdecombe is still there, alongside the aspiring MP. But the crowds have disappeared and Mr Matts’s picture of the Kachepa family and the words on Ms Widdecombe’s banner have been replaced with words supportive of the party’s tough line on immigration. Labour admitted passing them to the Times.
Conservative HQ defended his actions. A spokesman said: “Ed Matts excluded the family who appeared in the original photo by creating a new image in order to protect them from media attention.”

Jim Knight, defending a 153 majority in the seat, called for his Tory rival to be removed. “This is a deceit that will appal the people of Dorset South.”

It’s 20 years, since the major trashing of my community, travelling on the way to make the “Peoples Free Festival of Albion” at Stonehenge.

It was a regular event on the calendar. A little different to the ‘managed access event’ on the solstice, currently on offer from English Heritage.

Please check out my recent Indymedia Post about it all at:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/04/308800.html

An exhibition I’ve contributed to, is currently at the Kebele Cafe, in Bristol.

http://bristol.indymedia.org/newswire/display/21996/index.php

Then, on the 20th April, it will move to The Sumac Centre in Nottingham.
Opening with a film showing of “Operation Solstice”: a film describing the events of the day, and what we did about it.

and a talk by Andy Worthington, author of “Stonehenge – Celebration and Subversion”

More details at: http://www.veggies.org.uk/arc/event.php?ref=252

Sumac Centre
245 Gladstone Street, Forest Fields, Nottingham NG7 6HX
Ph: 0845 458 9595

Just after PM’s Questions, this chap stood up, to introduce a Ten Minute Rule Bill titled:
“Equal Enforcement of the Law”. A fine sentiment perhaps, that what law we do have, should be equally applied to all citizen.

However, he doesn’t mean that! It’s all about travellers, land to stay on, planning permissions, and all to reinforce the present; “lets be horrible to travellers” line, currently being peddled by the main political parties at the mo…….

After he finished, the vote was that he could continue in the subsequent stages, and that the Second Reading, has been scheduled for the 5th May. This being the same date as the election, it problably wont proceed. But this lot, just serves to show the continued attitudes to travellers, and the like.

>>>

Andrew Robathan MP ten minute rule bill
Equal Enforcement of the Law
6th april 2005

Mr speaker i beg to move that leave be given to bring in a bill to make provision for direction to police forces to enforce the law equally as it applies to settled communities and travellers; to amend the law on trespass; and for connected purposes.

One of the abiding principles that runs through the development of british democracy and society is the principle of equality before the law. The peasants revolt, magna carta, the civil war and habeas corpus, the abolition of the test acts and many other instances show this principle being developed and a very important principle it has been. But under this government, some people have discovered that the law will not be applied to them equally. The terrorists of sinn fein are one such group, but i wish to dwell on the treatment of travellers in the country at the moment.

As far as i am concerned, if people wish to live in caravans and travel about the country, that is entirely their own affair. I do not believe in prescribing how people lead their lives, just as long as they do not impinge unreasonably on the lives of others. There is a permanent campsite at aston firs in my constituency which i have visited in the past and will probably visit in this election campaign. I believe people there are entirely law abiding and while there may not be many votes there for me, but i think it important to make myself available to all my constituents.

I was brought up on the romantic notion of gypsies in attractive and colourful caravans pulled by horses, where romanies lived their unique lifestyle travelling around the country. This still happens and there was indeed, only last week, a traditional caravan in swinford, in my constituency.
On monday, by coincidence, my constituency office was deluged with calls from concerned people in lutterworth about an illegal gypsy encampment at the ladywood works. I went to see the site where half a dozen caravans had moved in on saturday night. A local garage had been closed because the 17 year old female cashier said that she had been intimidated by travellers. When i spoke to the owner, he told me that he had not reported it to the police because last time he caught a gypsy stealing something on cctv from his forecourt, the local police had advised him not to press charges, because he might be vulnerbale to criminal damage in retaliation. A disgrace.

Another three caravans have now arrived in lutterworth on the same illegal site, where they are trespassing. When the first ones arrived one of the travellers made an offer to the manager of the site, saying that they would leave straight away if paid £350 a van. When i visited the site, there were helpful police officers present. When i pointed out that one car had no road fund licence, the police officer explained that, although the owner of the car was committing an act of trespass, the police had no rights to enforce the law on private land. The phrase “catch 22” comes to mind. At this site, one of the particular complaints of the businesses of the site was that human excrement had been left on their doorsteps.

In northfield park in blaby a couple of years ago, i saw the astonishing rubbish that had been dumped by travellers there, including abandoned cars. Local residents were so intimidated they did not dare use the park, i met some very aggressive travellers, whilst the police stood off, not wishing to make trouble.

This is a pity because there are two issues relating to caravans and police which have been drawn to my attention by people involved in the legal caravanning world. The first is the width and length of caravans. Photographs published in the sun and elsewhere show that some caravans have twin or even triple axles, and they are too long to be legally towed by anything other than a full size commercial vehicle in the uk.

At the same time, the maximum width caravan that can be towed in the uk is just over seven foot five inches. There are photographs, for instance, in the sun on the 12th march, of a german-made lmc caravan just under eight foot wide. This is illegal. Yet the police very rarely stop these sorts of illegal vehicles. Perhaps the minister might like to answer the written question that i have already put down about prosecutions for over-wide or over-long caravans in this country.

The second and enormously important issue is theft. Some five thousand touring caravans are stolen and not recovered each year – about 20% of total uk sales of new caravans. All these new caravans have c.r.i.s. identification numbers. They also generally have transponders in them. If a new caravan is found without such means of identification, the question should be asked why not, and is it stolen. Unfortunately when one police officer in bedfordshire followed such a course of action he was moved to an office job because he upset travellers in bedfordshire. He also upset bedfordshire social services because they might have had to find accomodation for families whose caravans were confiscated. Surely it is the duty of the police to make simple enquiries to ascertain whether caravans are stolen.

It is also interesting how many brand-new vehicles tend to be pulling these vans – it might be pertinent for the inland revenue and customs and excise to be making enquiries about taxation and vat. Little council tax gets paid and i doubt much else gets paid either.

If any honourable member does not tax his car, i expect that he will be prosecuted with the assistance of the police. If he or she dumps rubbish on public land or by the side of the road, he or she is committing an offence. Human excrement in a public place should incur the wrath of environmental health departments. Furthermore, we all pay taxes and the overwhelming majority of our constituents pay council taxes for the services they expect to receive.

It is not unreasonable that we should all obey the laws of this country, be they planning laws, motoring laws or laws relating to environmental health. Illegal encampments of travellers have been much in the news recently and one does not have to be a reader of the sun or the daily mail – which i understand to have been particularly campaigning on this – to believe that it is wrong that people can flout the planning law in a flagrant fashion and then apply for retrospective planning permission.

Sadly, this government believes that “whilst some planners think that treating everyone the same helps to ensure equality this is not the case. Explicit recognition of difference is needed to ensure that the right action can be taken to deliver a planning service responsive to different needs within the communities it serves”. Similarly, the government has said regarding unauthorised camping, “where the occupier of the land is a public body such as a local authority then every effort should be made to avert forced eviction. Where trespassers are for instance irish travellers, public bodies are required under the race relations act to have due regard to the need to promote good race relations”.

The law does not apply to everyone. The law is not applied equally to all people in this country.

I think the overwhelming majority of people in this country, faced with casting their votes in a general election, will consider that everybody should be subject to the same laws. I propose that trespass be made a criminal offence, where it involves occupancy. This would give the police the certain power to move on trespassing travellers. The house will know that this is exactly what has happened in ireland under the housing (miscellaneous provisions) act 2002. That of course is why there has been an influx of irish travellers into this country, where we are seen as a soft touch.

I further propose that councils be allowed to refuse applications for retrospective planning permission by travellers or rogue developers who are cynically manipulating the planning system, often advised by disreputable lawyers. I would allow local councils to ensure that there was the rapid removal of caravans where planning permission did not exist and that large fines or confiscation of assets were imposed on travellers who were trying to profit from illegal developments.

Police must know that they not only have the power but the duty to stop travellers of whom they are suspicious and check their road fund licences, the road worthiness of their vehicles and the provenance of their vehicles. If i am stopped by a police officer, i must be displaying my road fund licence and i may be required to produce my insurance. There is no reason why this law too should not be applied to travellers – but at the moment, police officers seem wary of doing this because they fear it may cause trouble.

Finally, these travellers, who probably a minority of the travelling community, that are behaving illegally know their rights, but not their responsibilities. I propose a review or even the repeal of the so-called human rights act 2000. It sounds attractive, a human rights act, but actually it is used by smart slick lawyers to drive a coach and horses through the laws that the rest of us have to obey. In particular, the human rights act has allowed travellers to break planning laws, but takes no account of the rights of others whose lives are made a misery by illegal traveller encampments. When my right honourable friend the leader of the opposition suggested this, there was one person who commented that this had “the whiff of the gas chamber about it”. Only a bitter twisted and perverted mind could imagine that to say that all people should obey the same laws is in some way wrong. We are all equal before the law and i propose that that equality should be enforced. I urge the house to support this bill.

>>>>>

So, if you want to tell him, what you thing about all this, he can be cobtacted at:

conservative@blaby.force9.co.uk

http://www.conservatives.com/tile.do?def=people.person.page&personID=5091

6th-10th April 2005

From Wednesday the 6th until Sunday 10th of April 2005, the “Festival of Dissent!” will take place in rural Lanarkshire, near Coalburn, Scotland. Hundreds of people are expected to attend the event, which is one of many aiming to inform people about the issues behind the G8 Summit and what it represents. The Festival is a space in which people can learn new skills, meet others interested in the issues, get inspired and plan actions to be taken around the Summit. People from across Scotland and beyond are invited to attend.

One of the organising collective explained, “For many people, the G8 represents a great deal that is wrong with this world. The G8 exists to secure the continued political, economic and military domination of the world by the richest eight nations- it’s about oppression, exploitation and the pursuit of profit for the few at the expense of everyone else. We want to use the opportunity presented by the Summit to build new spaces, open to everybody, in which we can demonstrate our very real alternatives: of self-management, of non-hierarchical and consensus based decision making and of ecological sustainability. The Festival of Dissent! will provide exactly such a space.”

Workshops at the festival include training sessions on the G8, consensus decision making, hill walking and navigation and direct action training. On the Sunday afternoon there will be bands and entertainment. Sarah, who will give a workshop at the festival said “I don’t believe the G8 are going to do anything about climate change or Africa. Any suggestion otherwise is more of Blair’s public relations nonsense. The G8 Summit is about opening up markets, extracting oil and carrying on business as usual. These type of policies are killing the planet and its people, and we simply can’t afford to do this any more”

Liam Spencer, a resident of Glasgow who will attend the Festival later this week said, “I am going to the Festival of Dissent! to find out more about what people want to do, about direct action politics and how I can get involved. This is an interesting and inspiring time.”

The Festival is being organised by a collective belonging to the Dissent! Network. Dissent! is a loose network of groups and individuals planning to use creative direct action to resist the G8. The Network has grown and successfully spread across Europe. It has no central office, no spokespeople, no membership list and no paid staff. It is simply a mechanism for communication and co-ordination between local groups and working groups involved in building resistance to the G8.

For more about the Dissent! Network, see: www.dissent.org.uk

Martin Wainwright
Wednesday April 6, 2005
The Guardian

http://society.guardian.co.uk/crimeandpunishment/story/0,8150,1453090,00.html

An overhaul of the way Nottinghamshire police deals with serious offences begins next week after its chief constable claimed that government budgets had left his officers “reeling” in the face of a sharp rise in gun crime.

Steve Green, the head of the Nottinghamshire force, is to share his headquarters with an outside specialist drafted in by the Home Office to sort out failings in dealing with murder and other serious crime.

Chris Sims, the deputy chief constable of West Midlands police – Britain’s second biggest force – will start work in Nottingham on Monday, after a critical report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary. A team of inspectors was sent in three weeks ago by the home secretary Charles Clarke, after Mr Green claimed his force was struggling to cope because of recruiting restrictions.

The chief inspector, Denis O’Connor, rejected the complaint and concluded, in a report published yesterday, that Nottinghamshire’s main problem was the way police resources were being deployed.

“The emphasis upon detecting major crime is too passive and the force needs to move to a ‘control and protect’ strategy,” he said.

His report denies that Nottinghamshire police have been overwhelmed – a claim Mr Green withdrew after vociferous local complaints about his comments in a Sunday Telegraph interview.

Mr O’Connor says: “Processes that have underpinned Nottinghamshire’s successes against volume crime [relatively minor] have yet to be developed for serious crime.

“This limits the force’s ability to prevail on this aspect of policing and the same rigour now needs to embrace serious crime. Resources are and will remain an issue, but they are not at the heart of the problem, which is more about how to structure and utilise resources, skills and expertise to best effect.”

Mr Sims, a former colleague of Mr Green, will initially spend three months giving “intensive support”, with a further spell depending on a second inspection by Mr O’Connor in early July. Mr Sims’s specialities in West Midlands have included tackling bureaucracy and internal coordination, and drawing up force management strategy.

Mr Green said he welcomed the helping hand but added: “The command team of this force has never had anything other than total commitment to dealing with serious crime.”

He denied inertia in tackling serious crime and said: “Whilst we want to examine every option in preventing murders, we would argue that there has been excellent work and significant reductions in shootings, which prove that we have been anything but passive in this area.”

The home secretary, speaking in Nottinghamshire during the government’s preliminary election campaign launch, said he had absolute confidence in Mr Green.

“Every inspection makes criticisms of the way a force is run,” he said. “That is the means by which we get improvement.

“These are strong measures but I would not say unprecedented. They are strong measures to deal with a situation in a very strong way.”

Graham Allen, the Labour MP for Nottingham North who led criticism of Mr Green’s newspaper interview, said the test of real change would come during Mr Sims’s secondment.

“The installation of better management will increase, not decrease the likelihood of yet more resources coming to Nottinghamshire,” he said.

“We will see today and over the next few weeks if we have left behind ‘excuse making’ and ‘blame culture’ and maverick media punditry, and moved on to clear goals shared with partners, effective management and a well-led, motivated workforce determined to give villains a tougher time.”

Victor Bates, a Nottingham jeweller who called the chief constable a “menace to law and order” after a teenager was convicted last month of murdering his wife in their shop, called for Mr Green to resign after the inspectors’ report. “Our police need a change in management,” he said.

“They are sending an officer up from the West Midlands to look over his shoulder. I would have thought a chief constable would consider his future after that.”

http://society.guardian.co.uk/crimeandpunishment/story/0,8150,1453090,00.html

2:00pm
May 1ST
2005

PARLIAMENT SQUARE

Mr Blair is calling an election, but what choice do we have? The percentage of people voting falls each year as the main parties become ever more similar in their bid to woo middle England.

Leaving the general public with a choice of lots of the same thing. Increasingly the governments agenda seems to represent business and corporate gain before human concerns, it promotes war in the name of peace? It takes away our rights and forces us to give up our freedoms in the name of freedom. Protest will soon be banned anywhere within earshot of the government, and we are told it is for our own safety.

Ladies and Gentlemen it will not do!

Over 600 letters will be handed to the House Of Commons on Monday April 4th, challenging every Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat MP to a game of cricket over their lack of honour and morals.

Click here to read the letter of challenge

http://www.spacehijackers.org/html/projects/mayday05/challenge.html

The match will take place at 2pm on May 1st in Parliament Square.

Everyone is of course welcome to join us on the day, to watch the match and see which of the MP’s have the honour to turn up and put their batting skills where their mouths are.

Bring Tea and Cucumber Sandwiches, Pimms and Lemonade, Picnics, Moral Fibre and Good Sportsmanship.

http://www.spacehijackers.org

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