Tory Euro infighting now underway in earnest Caroline Jackson, former Tory MEP, calls in effect for Daniel Hannan MEP and friends to be kicked out of the Tory Party, in today’s _Guardian_. Her letter is very impressive; is the Tory Euro-rift going to explode again this week, at their Conference?
Jackson writes: “Above all Cameron needs to have the courage to usher to the exit those party members who, so far, have shown no compunction in arguing loudly for an anti-Europe policy that strongly advocates withdrawal, offers no realistic alternative, and is not party policy.” That’s Hannan all over: see e.g.

Transition Norwich featured in ‘Age of Stupid’ sequel as it celebrates its first birthday

Transition Norwich featured in ‘Age of Stupid’ sequel as it celebrates its first birthday

Transition Norwich held its First Birthday Party on Sunday 4th October 2009, where the new film ‘In Transition’  film, was screened for the first time in Norwich.  Emma Goude’s 50 minute documentary has input from Transition initiatives around the world. Norwich was the 50th, there are now 1600, with thousands of related intitiatives aimed at living well and sustainably.   The film includes the unleashing of Transition Norwich at St Andrew’s Hall last year, with interviews from several Norwich people,including Green City Councillors Rupert Read, and Ruth Makoff and County Councillor Chris Hull.  ‘In Transition’ is the perfect sequel to ‘The Age of Stupid’.  It tells the story of the generation that looked peak oil and climate change square in the face, and responded with creativity, compassion and genius.  

Councillor Rupert Read responded to seeing himself unexpectedly in the film: ‘The film was really good, as was the event, both with lots of Norwich people… – the wonderful turnout, both last year and now, shows that the Transition movement is clearly going strong in our fine city.’

Professor Tim O’ Riordan,  Sherriff of Norwich, expressed his support for the Transition movement, which he described as  ‘organic, helpful, exciting and fun, showing how we can live sustainably and enjoy life’,  while  22 year old Environmental Science student Kerry Lane  said it was ‘inspirational, giving me hope when I was giving up’

Journalist Ariane Heinz, 65 from Germany, visiting friends in Norwich said that ‘The Transition (from oil dependence to local resilience against economic and environmental shocks)  have a long way to go but it’s the only way.  In my home town of Cologne, we are gathering information to help each other reduce our energy use by 1% every 6 months’

Party goers enjoyed low-carbon and local drinks and snacks,  and danced to live music from Tom Foxe, 6th Fret and the John Preston Tribute Band, all  amplified by cycle power’.                           

More like a party than a protest’ is how party organizer Charlotte Du Cann’s described her first year of Transition, not just tonight’s event.  For founder member Tully Wakeman the year  was ‘an exciting journey of finding out how we should be doing things, with valuable views and contributions brought by lots of different people’

Transition Norwich aims to bring together the people of Norwich to design and implement a community response to peak oil (the imminent decline in world oil supplies) and climate change –   two issues which fundamentally challenge our current way of life.


The rightwing blogosphere – why?

There is a burning need for more honesty about why ‘new media’ are to some extent right-wing-dominated.
A significant part of the answer is: money (and time). Blogs are of course miles miles cheaper than newspapers to launch and run. But to have a top notch blog and to have it really widely promoted, a lot of money, time and/or expertise comes in very handy indeed. Most greens and lefties can’t afford to pay people to help them run / design etc. their blogs etc., and have to earn money rather than rely on unearned etc income. Right-wing people are in this respect (literally) better off, by and large.
The Yanks are just lucky to have an Ariana Huffington prepared to bankroll progressive blogging / internet journalism. It is a rare rich person who is prepared to risk their own money backing politics that will work against their crude short term financial interests.
This is the truth that dare not speak its name: ConservativeHome and other famous right-wing blogs rely on huge warchests for their prominence.
It is time this fact got out there more.

An appeal to the Irish people: for European democracy

A message to the Irish people:

The European Union has great potential to be a force for good in this
continent and this world. We can see some of this potential realised in
the role it has played in preventing major wars on its territory since
1945, and more recently in the lead role it has played on matters

But today, the E.U. is suffering from a legitimation crisis, a
'democratic deficit' of huge proportions. Since the Enlightenment the
idea of self-rule by free and equal citizens has been the cornerstone of
European democracy. Constitutions can give expression to this idea of
shared freedom and thus serve as the basis for democratic institutions.
They can, however, only do so, if we have reason to believe that the
constutions are understandable and acceptable to the citizens.

The Lisbon Treaty is effectively the constitutional treaty for the
European Union. The major part of its content has been rejected in
referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005 and in Ireland in 2008.
It needs to be thoroughly revised in a transparent and democratic manner
before it is brought back to the citizens of Europe for approval.

In that context, the referendum that your country is holding next week
stands as a unique beacon of hope.

We would ask you this: don't vote against the Lisbon Treaty out of petty
nationalism. (The island of Ireland knows all too well of what excesses
of fervour about national identity can lead to, in terms of human
suffering.) Be internationalists: as intellectuals from different
European countries outside your borders, we are asking you to speak for
us. Hundreds of millions of European citizens have been denied a voice
at the ballot box: exercise that power on our behalf.

Vote against the undemocratic project of Lisbon. Vote so that all of us
will be given that same right that you, rightly, have been given.

Our common future is in your hands. Force them to stop, to think again,
to democratise.

Please vote No to the Lisbon Treaty, on October 2nd.

Thomas Wallgren, Finland, Head, Department of Philosophy, University of
Susan George, Paris, France, Author, Board Chair of the Transnational
Rupert Read, UK, Reader in Philosophy, UEA, Norwich
Mladen Dolar, Professor, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Mikael Böök, Project Manager, Helsinki, Finland
Dr. Steen Brock, Associate Professor, Dr. Phil.,Department of
Philosophy, University of Aarhus, Denmark
Dr. John Collins, School of Philosophy, UEA, UK
George Daremas -Greece, Sn. Lecturer, University of Indianapolis –
Athens campus
Haris Golemis, Nicos Poulantzas Institute (Greece)
J.P.Roos Professor,Dept Social Policy,POB 18, 00014 University of
Helsinki, Finland
Dr Derek Wall, Visiting Tutor, Dept of Politics, Goldsmiths College, London.