Archive | August 2012

Invisible bike helmets

This is so cool.


Favourite quote: “recuerda siempre, Dante, que en el juego de la felicidad no tienes que usarlo para tí solo, sino mirar un paso detrás de tí, ayudar a los débiles que piden ayuda, ayudar a los perseguidos, a las víctimas, que son tus mejores amigos”.

Los anarquistas italianos Nicola Sacco y Bartolomeo Vanzetti se convirtieron en un símbolo de la lucha por la libertad luego de declararse inocentes de dos crímenes por los que fueron ejecutados hace 85 años en Estados Unidos.

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A similar view to mine.. from a slightly different slant


[please note new edits in square brackets]

George Galloway’s ignorant and offensive comments on rape have sparked, rightly, a storm of anger and protest but also defensiveness of incredible ignorance by a significant % on the Left, struggling to defend his stupidity.
Galloway alleged that some non- consensual sex was not rape, stating
“It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning.”
What is firstly depressing, as a long term Leftwing politician, is that he does not know what rape means literally .. as Laurie Penny who has blogged bravely and correctly (imho) on this ( notes, it simply comes from the Latin rapio

“to seize , snatch, tear away; to plunder a place”

It is astonishing that Galloway then thinks that rape must be violent. Does he and his supporters also…

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UK Squatting Law Change – effective 1st Sept 2012


The new law on squatting (s144 LASPO 2012) will be coming into force on the 1st September 2012.

Not everyone who is squatting, or considered by others to be squatting, will be affected by the new law, but people will need to be prepared to explain, quite forcefully at times, why they are not affected.

The wording of S144 starts:
(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a) the person is in a residential building as a trespasser having entered it as a trespasser,
(b) the person knows or ought to know that he or she is a trespasser, and
(c) the person is living in the building or intends to live there for any period.
(2)The offence is not committed by a person holding over after the end of a lease or licence (even if the person leaves and re-enters the building).

So Squatting is still legal in non-residential properties.

You are also not committing an offence if you have, or have had a tenancy or licence to live in the property, if you are not living or intending to live in the property, or if you do not know you are a trespasser (in which case you probably wouldn’t be reading this).

Tenancies and licences do not have to be in writing, but if people have reason to think they may be accused of breaking the law it would be best to collect as much paperwork as possible. Tenancies and licences can also have been granted by a tenant of the owner, or by an agent, possibly without the owner’s knowledge (but they can check and return).

Any police officer would need to have reasonable suspicion that you (or anyone) have committed a crime, to force entry and to carry out an arrest, so it can be in your interests to explain otherwise. But you do not have to talk to them, and explaining through a closed door or upstairs window can be preferable to letting them in.

Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 still applies against those trying to force entry without lawful authority. The problem is that the new law gives further lawful authority to the police to enter (in the circumstances covered by the law).

Advisory Service for Squatters
Correct as at 22nd August 2012. Check our / SQUASH website for updates

Rape Culture

So much is being written about rape at the moment as result of the Julian Assange case and the remarks of notable people such as George Galloway and Todd Akin. While George Galloway is a massive tit for making such insensitive remarks (he has made a fair few cock-ups recently, the split of Respect being one of them), the real shock comes from Akin. It is incomprehensible to me that someone in the public eye should be so phenomenally ignorant. Although I would admittedly find it more shocking if a British parliamentarian made such remarks – the American level of education on such hot topics as sex education, rape and reproductive biology is considerably lower in certain places in the states and amongst certain groups (i’m thinking bible belt here) – I am still astounded at the outright stupidity of this guy.

However, I think it is positive that it has brought the issue into a more public arena for debate. The notion that rape and non-consensual sex can be separated and distinguished as two separate things has always bothered me – it seems like people hinge their analysis on whether somebody says no and they have sex with them anyway (rape) or if somebody doesn’t say no, but doesn’t say yes either (non-consensual sex). In the last couple of years there has been progress – the issue of consent has enjoyed a rising profile; something that is very positive. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean there is enough being done. The CPS and police disseminate PR propaganda that makes it look like the problem of rape is being correctly dealt with. But it is just that – propaganda. I’m not suggesting that the legal system is not making headway, or that it is not doing its job, but the fact remains that despite a much cited 62% conviction rate, only 6% of cases ever make it to court. The shiny PR machine drowns out other information on the subject, so that the public can ‘rest easy’, and know that everything is being done to prevent rape – after all, the police have designated police and the CPS have rape-specific prosecutors…

The real problem lies not in the judicial system, the criminal system, or the legal system. It is in attitudes – the comments made by George Galloway reveal this better than any study or statistics.  The need for a proper open debate on these issues is urgent, and this is the positive I can see in the widely publicised Assange case. People need to recognise that rape is not just a stranger following a woman home and violently assaulting her, it can be within a relationship, it can be when people have been sleeping together before, it can be under any circumstances.

In some ways it is positive that these idiotic remarks have been made – it has made the people involved reconsider their position and outlook on rape and rape culture, and has sparked a wider conversation on the subject. There is still a long way to go, however.

In the context of Assange – as the left (whatever that is these days) – we have to react in a responsible manner. It is possible to take the case as two distinct issues – we can accept and respect the position of the alleged victims while defending Assange’s human rights. We can reject the idea that he be extradited to America where he would face persecution, and potentially the death penalty, for revealing important information that the US would rather was kept secret in order to cover up its skeletons in the closet. We can also treat the rape allegations as serious, and begin talking about the problems and issues raised by the case. It is certainly not a black and white subject, and we must stop treating it so.

So the football…

So the football season has started, and so far the league table looks comical.


Come on you gunners

Some stuff wot happened today innit

Drop Dow Now


Several activists met this morning in Mayfair outside the Four Seasons hotel to deliver a wake up call to Dow staff as they eat breakfast in the glass fronted restaurant.

They were dressed in white boiler-suits representing the ongoing toxic hazards of the factory site in Bhopal where deadly gas leaked in 1984, and carried banners demanding justice for Bhopal from the Dow executives.

Although they were moved on by police, they managed to get a solid message across to those inside, with bold messaging and a clear visual statement.

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