Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Through the Looking Glass - a pile of papers

Dearest Madalena

You were very kind about me taking the piss in my post yesterday ... so much so I had the whole office laughing!


Because if Kezia looked up at my colleague Americo, she wouldn't see a double-chin, she'd see a big fat belly!

And talking to Madalena right now ... it seems she showed her entire office!

So I shouldn't feel so bad after all. I respect people who can take the piss out of themselves!

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Kettling of G20 protesters by police was illegal, high court rules"

... is a headline on the 14 April's Guardian website about police kettling tactics during demonstrations at the G20 summit on 1 April 2009 and "during which Ian Tomlinson, a bystander [on his way home from work], died after being struck by an officer."

The inquest into Ian Tomlinson's death continues but this ruling, although not ruling out the use of kettling in certain situations, does condemn it on this occasion.

Adults are Ugly

Somewhere (boingboing?) I read that small children generally consider adults as ugly owing to the angle of their visual perspective when regarding an adult i.e. upwards with an excellent view of our double chins etc!

Well this photo of my, in fact quite beautiful, friend Madalena with Kezia at the lat
ters birthday party last week exemplifies this perfectly!

Sorry Madalena! I myself am hardly photogenic!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kezia's 7th Birthday

... and mine as a father.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Giv - with Warm Olive Oil

The advertising agency for Giv soap never ceases to amaze me ... "Warm olive oil is rich in protein & natural oil ingredients, making your skin healthy and shimmering. With exotic perfume for an exotic personality." Hints here of the effects of Daly's Skin Shimmer. Now we all know olive oil is good for you. Why warm, as opposed to cool, olive oil has an additional quality I really don't know. And the ingredients list olive oil "extract", whatever that is. However, what is really interesting about this soap is its colour. The last time I bought Marseillaise olive oil soap, it was, as you would expect, olive green in colour. Not so with Giv ... see below.

Is this a new variety of olive?

And I am now really mystified as to which variety of Giv their model is using - a different one each day? She must be elegant, exotic, energetic, refreshing etc etc all at the same time! Sounds like the woman of my dreams!

Laurie Penny - Lies in London

Laurie Penny's New Statesman piece on the police actions in Trafalgar Square after the TUC-organised March for the Alternative has generated 600 or so comments, many of them critical about both the protestors behaviour and her own standards of journalism.

Too many to read unless you're one of the increasing unemployed and can afford a good Internet link ... but this, from Kitty Wildmoor, struck me as apt given my age:

"I am an adult of 44 years and I was there in trafalgar square, with my friends in their 30s and 40s. We were there because we wanted to be counted with the younger protestors, demonstrating that we are all in it together, and having our photos taken for the intelligence services' photo album. We are not deserting you, but the reality for many of my friends of similar age is that they have young kids and could not bring them into that situation. But there are many many of us 'adults' who are absolutely standing square with you in spirit and principle."

So she is old enough to remember the miners' strike of the 1980s when my sister-in-law on a picket line at a mine got her hip broken by a picket-breaking truck.

Bradley Manning's Nationality

It appears Bradley Manning, the US soldier who leaked thousands of US government diplomatic cables to Wikileaks, is in fact of dual nationality, US and British, owing to the fact his mother is British.

I first read this on boingboing last week - and was amazed by all the comments showing erroneous knowledge of UK nationality law.

Bradley's father is 100% US nationality, his mother has UK nationality (and II assume US nationality by marriage). Under UK law Bradley has UK nationality.

Why? A child born to a UK mother is automatically of UK nationality, wherever s/he was born. Not so, the child of a UK father with a foreign mother. As a UK Citizen and father to a child with a non-UK (and for that matter non-EU) mother to pass my UK nationality to my child I have to be "married" to the mother. Hardly proof of genetic fathership but I guess it will do.

To pass on my UK nationality to our daughter Kezia I had to marry her mother. When Kezia came down with leukaemia, although she did not have a UK passport, the nearest UK embassy was satisfied she was a UK citizen on presentation of her birth certificate and mine and Nanda's marriage certificate. She (and her mother) was duly issued with an emergency travel document.

To be a UK national/citizen you do not need to have a UK passport. Hence the UK has recognised Bradley Manning's UK citizenship and is correctly making representaions to the US government expressing concern about his detention and requesting consular access.

Why it has taken so long I don't know - I can only assume that Bradley's mum, supporters and legal advice were unaware of UK nationality law.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Kettling - Lies in London

In the days before the massive Trade Union Congress' anti-cuts demo, March for the Alternative in London on 26 March, the UK Parliament's Joint Human Rights Committee published a report in which the police came under heavy criticism of their "containment" strategies (popularly known as "kettling") whereby groups of demonstrators considered by the poice as "troublemakers" are surrounded by a cordon of police for hours and hours without arrest, without food and water, without access to public toilets (oh come on the government is shutting them down anyway!). And the innocent public passer-by, shopping on a Saturday morning, gets caught in the Kettle as well.

I recently wrote about the new Internet web-application Sukey which aims to frustrate the police kettling strategy by informing demonstrators on their mobile phones of everything from the location of police concentrations to the location of public toilets. It relies on live information provided by the public.

The TUC Anti-Cuts demonstration, with c. 300,000 participants or more, seems to have passed off relatively peacefully. To such an extent, that media coverage (certainly from afar) seemed to be somewhat pauce.

However, there was "trouble" under the eyes of Lord Nelson and his Lions in Trafalgar Square which was ascribed by the police and authorities and the mainstream media to around 150 troublemakers, hooligans, anarchists etc including members of the Anti Cuts Protests organisation.

To quote from boingboing (in turn quoting the New Statesman's journalist Laurie Penny):

"Up to half a million people marched peacefully on London last week to protest cuts to public services, but local media coverage dwelled almost entirely on stories of mindless violence and criminality. In a follow-up to an earlier article published at the New Statesman, Laurie Penny wonders why the press is so eager to echo official accounts — and so eager to attack critics of the police."

Link here.

Earlier it was reported ...

"Forget what you've seen on the BBC and Sky about yesterday's protest/"riot" in Trafalgar Square; the New Statesman's Laurie Penny was on the barricades (and apparently, there was a moment when the barricades were on her), and she's seen something altogether different from what the mainstream coverage depicts. If you read only one account of the protests, make it this one (and you should really read more than one!).

Laurie Penny reports "Minutes after the fights begin in Trafalgar square, so does the backlash. Radio broadcasters imply that anyone who left the pre-ordained march route is a hooligan, and police chiefs rush to assure the public that this "mindless violence" has "nothing to do with protest."

The young people being battered in Trafalgar square, however, are neither mindless nor violent. In front of the lines, a teenage girl is crying and shaking after being shoved to the ground. "I'm not moving, I'm not moving," she mutters, her face smeared with tears and makeup. "I've been on every protest, I won't let this government destroy our future without a fight. I won't stand back, I'm not moving." A police officer charges, smacking her with his baton as she flings up her hands.

The cops cram us further back into the square, pushing people off the plinths where they have tried to scramble for safety. By now there are about 150 young people left in the square, and only one trained medic, who has just been batoned in the face; his friends hold him up as he blacks out, and carry him to the police lines, but they won't let him leave. By the makeshift fire, I meet the young man whose attempted arrest started all this. "I feel responsible," he said, "I never wanted any of this. None of us did"

What really happened in Trafalgar Square?"

bonigboingl ink here, New Statesman link here.

I hope Sukey can push out an international edition as soon as possible to help the citizens of the Middle-East.

I look forward to seeing reports on the nationwide "All Together for the NHS" demos on Friday 1 April. Watch this space.

Update Monday morning: nothing on the BBC.

All Together for the NHS II