After Brexit – Envisioning New British Landscapes

Among its myriad effects, Brexit threatens a radical shakeup of UK agriculture with the withdrawal of billions of pounds of EU subsidies. There is considerable anxiety in the agricultural community as most farmers rely on some form of income support from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Without a policy of smooth transition, the transformation of agriculture will lead to a radical shift in land values as many farmers lose their holdings to the international market.

The fall of the CAP opens up the ominous possibility of the corporate countryside, the brave new world of high intensity agribusiness, accelerated road building, suburban residential and retail commercial developments, airports and tourist facilities. In an era of cheap land and perhaps negative interest rates – not to mention the housing crisis – development will proceed apace as the integrity of the countryside is forever altered.

Country-Diary -- Denmark-Fa-013

Contrary to this nightmare scenario, the current CAP policy favoured stability, and in recent decades, environmental criteria and objectives, linked through cross-compliance to farming subsidies. Activities such as crop diversification, pesticide control, wildlife corridors have been central to the Pillar I requirements for EU subsidies. Such activities are still in place across the UK and indicate an alternative path for the British countryside, other than the corporate takeover of rural Britain.

It is ironic that British scholars and scientists have been central to the articulation of EU environmental law and policy, the most developed body of such law in the world. Indeed, given the high level of public education in the UK on environmental issues, especially of such issues as climate change, it would be difficult, and in fact, counter-productive, to walk away from such a longstanding commitment to the environment.

Confronted however by the forced choice between economic development and the environment, many may tolerate the incremental destruction of the rural landscape. But, we must be clear that this is a false choice and that a better approach to the countryside is possible than a passive drift toward the wasteland. To get a glimpse of the nightmare scenario, we need only consider the American (formerly rural) landscape of suburbs, retail malls, theme parks, landfills and industrial farms.

Nevertheless, Britain differs from the Americans since they have already created their wasteland. The UK still stands at the crossroads, not having taken the plunge toward overdevelopment and corporate agriculture.  Indeed, while the UK will leave the EU, there is no good reason to simply surrender the countryside to the vast corporate monolith. Yet, such surrender will occur in the absence of political clarity, imagination and investment.

To read the rest of the article, please visit “After Brexit – New British Landscapes”.

 

Little Britain – UK plunges into the deep end of the international market

The central motif for the Leave campaign’s agitation for Brexit was that of sovereignty.

As the story went, membership of the European Union entailed a loss of sovereignty in diverse fields, from agriculture, fishing, and domestic economic policy to immigration management, foreign policy, and international trade.

The narrative continued with promises of an independent and resurgent (“Hopeful”) Britain, one, with a hint of nostalgia, that can stand on its own two feet on the world stage.

uk eu

The audience was also tantalised with the prospect of a bonfire of EU regulations and the end of the allegedly remote rule of an “unaccountable” Brussels.

There were finally re-assurances that new trade deals would be negotiated, through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and that Britain could position itself globally (not merely in relation to the EU) as a multi-lateral trading partner.  With the elimination of EU regulations, the UK would have the competitive advantage of a ‘flexible’ economy.

There are many problems with this story, not the least being the very meaning of the word sovereignty.  Indeed, in many senses, Brexit substantially reduces the sovereignty of the UK.  Not only will the new everyday situation be a more costly version of business-as-usual, but Britain itself will also exist in a more dangerous environment of risk.

To read the rest of the article, please visit Little Britain.

They Destroy, We Create: The Anti-Austerity UK Alliance – Planet Magazine

#LetGreeceBreathe MASS DEMO FEB 15, 2015 Trafalgar Square, London

Reply from Ofcom to my Freedom of Information (FOI) Request on Compliance with the Equality Act 2010/2011 in relation to the Election Guidelines 2015

Response from Ofcom To FOI Regarding Compliance with the Equality Act in relation to Election Guidelines

Go to: The Ends of the British State in Planet Magazine: The Welsh Internationalist

Go to: “They Destroy, We Create: The Anti-Austerity UK Alliance” in Planet Magazine: The Welsh Internationalist

Go to: Athens Without Slavery: The Battle For Europe – Syriza and the New European Left

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Go to: Open Letter to Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC, on Inclusion and Equality in the Leader’s Debates

freedom of information act

Comments on the Ofcom Response

1) The expenditure constraints on Freedom of Information (£450), are ludicrous and undemocratic given the seriousness of the Freedom of Information Act; Freedom of Information, unless it takes too much time to uncover the information (my request would take 18 hours which exceeds the £450 allotted to each request).  Such restrictions are patently absurd and a mockery of the entire notion of Freedom of Information.

2) An important finding is that OFCOM HELD NO MEETINGS REGARDING THE EQUALITY ACT 2010 & THE 2011 SUPPLEMENTS FOR BROADCASTERS IN RELATION TO THE ELECTION GUIDELINES FOR 2015. Ofcom also claims to have had no communications with the Coalition government, Civil Servants, other political parties, broadcasters, etc.  between 2010-2015 regarding the Equality Act 2010/2011 in relation to the Election Guidelines.

 3) It is also significant that Ofcom, right from the beginning of their response, claim to be only involved in deciding “party election broadcasts” and not election debates or their participants. SO WHY DID THEY CLAIM TO HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO INITIALLY EXCLUDE THE GREENS FROM THE DEBATES?  According to this response, THEY NEVER HAD ANY AUTHORITY IN THIS MATTER.  Is it a coincidence that Cameron used this exclusion of the Greens as a political stunt the next day?

To read the reply, please visit Reply from Ofcom to my FOI Request on Compliance with Equality Act 2010/2011

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Go to: Freedom of Information Request (FOI) to Ofcom on Compliance With Equality Act

#LETGREECEBREATHE #DROPTHEDEBT EMERGENCY CALL OUT – THURSDAY FEB 19 6:30PM – PARLIAMENT SQUARE, LONDON

#LetGreeceBreathe #SupportSyriza MASS DEMO Sun Feb 15, 2015 Trafalgar Square, London

Athens Without Slavery: The Battle For Europe – Daily Wales: News for a Sovereign Nation

Let Greece Breathe! Support Syriza and the Greek People! EMERGENCY MASS DEMOS IN LONDON

Let Greece Breathe!

Support Syriza and the Greek People!

MASS DEMOS LONDON

BIG BEN, London, Wednesday, February 11th, 6:30PM

TRAFALGAR SQUARE, London, Sunday, February 15th, 1PM

For those who cannot get to London, it is recommended that you hold DEMOS in your own favourite Squares.

Go to: “They Destroy, We Create: The Anti-Austerity UK Alliance” in Planet Magazine: The Welsh Internationalist

Go to: Athens Without Slavery: The Battle For Europe – Syriza and the New European Left

Rise Up Europe Greece Solidarity Campaign FEB 11-15

ΣΥΡΙΖΑ κερδίζει – Syriza Wins!

Go to: “They Destroy, We Create: The Anti-Austerity UK Alliance” in Planet Magazine: The Welsh Internationalist

Go to: Athens Without Slavery: The Battle For Europe – Syriza and the New European Left

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ΣΥΡΙΖΑ κερδίζει – Syriza Wins!

The people of Greece have voted for a better future for their children, themselves, and for the myriad peoples of the world.

All of us have suffered long enough from the fraudulent project of Austerity, a cruel, utterly thoughtless, and unnecessary deconstruction/destruction/theft of the Public Realm.

Syriza Wins Greek Elections

We celebrate the victory of Syriza, who taught us that ‘Austerity is the crisis itself.’

Let us join with the Anti-Austerity UK alliance of Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales, the Scottish National Party  and The Green Party in the fight in the United Kingdom against austerity and nuclear weapons, in order to build a world where there are sound and smart public services and a strong NHS.

We all need to continue to work together to strengthen the European and World Movement Against the CRISES of Austerity and Neo-Liberalism.

At the Syriza Victory Rally in London on 28 Janary 2015 at the TUC Congress House, a representative of the new Syriza government warned that much pressure will be placed upon the new anti-Austerity government in Greece and that the best way for us to support their revolution is to mobilise strong anti-austerity movements in our own countries.

We must do everything we can to continue to energise the already existing Anti-Austerity movement, and now with the inclusion in the debates and a viable chance of political expression and representation, work to hold the ‘balance of power’ in a hung parliament.  A strong movement and humane government here will benefit the peoples of the the United Kingdom, Europe and the rest of the world – and will prevent another Allende unfolding for the first Left government in European history.

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Go to: Write to Ofcom, Demanding Inclusion, Diversity & Equality in the Leaders Debates and Make A FOI Request on the Equality Act of 2010

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