High Court Has Ruled That CAAT Can Take the UK Government’s Decision to Keep
Arming Saudi Arabia to a Judicial Review
30: 2016 || ά.
The High Court has ruled that CAAT can take the government’s
decision to keep arming Saudi Arabia to a Judicial Review! The courts will now
consider the legality of the UK's ongoing arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Readers
may find out more about what this judicial review means and how they can support
the campaign that CAAT has been running on its website.
CAAT goes onto say: ''Mass executions, war crimes in Yemen, flogging of
bloggers: what will it take to Stop Arming Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia is the
UK's biggest arms customer and most shameful relationship. One of the world's
most authoritarian regimes, its repression at home and aggression abroad is
propped up and supported by UK arms sales.
Not only does it brutally repress its own population, it has used UK weapons to
help crush democracy protests in Bahrain; now UK-made warplanes are playing a
central role in Saudi Arabia's attacks in Yemen. The UK has continued to support
Saudi air strikes in Yemen and provide arms despite overwhelming evidence of
repeated breaches of international humanitarian law.
This is in clear violation of UK's own guidelines on arms sales, and European
and international law, and makes a mockery of the government's claims to
"rigorously" control arms exports.
The UK should never have been arming repressive Saudi Arabia in the first place.
Our military support for the Saudi regime makes us complicit in its wrongs. The
government refuses to act, so we have to.''
The Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry Publishes Its Reports
30: 2016 || ά.
On April 29, 2016, Jeremy Corbyn MP, the Leader of the Labour
Party, appointed the former Liberty Director, Shami Chakrabarti, as Chair of an
inquiry into antisemitism and other forms of racism including islamophobia,
within the party. He also appointed Professor David Feldman, Director of the
Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London,
as a vice-chair. Baroness Janet Royall subsequently accepted an invitation to
join the inquiry panel as the other vice-chair so as to build on and feed in the
experience and findings of her prior investigation into allegations of
antisemitism in parts of the youth movement. The Inquiry has published its
Shami Chakrabarti in Her Foreword
The terms of reference of the inquiry were: the inquiry into
antisemitism and other forms of racism, is to be chaired by the former Director
of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti.
The inquiry, which will report in two months, will:
Consult widely with Labour Party Members, the Jewish community and other
minority representatives about a statement of principles and guidance about
antisemitism and other forms of racism, including islamophobia.
Consult on guidance about the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and language.
Recommend clear and transparent compliance procedures for dealing with
allegations of racism and antisemitism.
Look into training programmes for parliamentary candidates, MPs, councillors and
Make recommendations for changes to the code of conduct and party rules if
Propose other action if needed, to ensure Labour is a welcoming environment for
members of all communities.
The recommendations of the inquiry led by Baroness Royall into the Oxford
University Labour Club and other issues will feed into this wider inquiry.
The Code of Conduct was set out as
Adopted by Labour's National Executive Committee, subject to the recommendations
in the Chakrabarti Inquiry
The Labour Party is an anti-racist party, committed to combating and campaigning
against all forms of racism, including antisemitism and islamophobia. Labour
will not tolerate racism in any form inside or outside the party.
The Labour Party will ensure that the party is a welcoming home to members of
all communities, with no place for any prejudice or discrimination based on
race, ethnicity or religion.
The Labour Party welcomes all who share our aims and values, and encourages
political debate and campaigns around the vital issues, policies and injustices
of our time.
Any behaviour or use of language which targets or intimidates members of ethnic
or religious communities, or incites racism, including antisemitism and
islamophobia, or undermines Labour’s ability to campaign against any form of
racism, is unacceptable conduct within the Labour Party.
Government's Help to Buy: Who is Getting Help,
Who is Buying Where and Who are Left Beyond
30: 2016 || ά.
The government’s flagship Help to Buy schemes
have now helped over 160,000 people achieve
their aspiration of home ownership. Figures show
that since the launch of the Help to Buy equity
loan, mortgage guarantee and ISA schemes: over
160,000 completions under the schemes have taken
place, with 80% having been made by first time
buyers, average house price being purchased with
support from the Help to Buy schemes is
£189,795, significantly below the national
average, 94% of Help to Buy completions have
taken place outside London, over half of Help to
Buy completions have been for new build homes.
And here is the statistics: the average house
price of the houses bought using this scheme is
£189,795 which means that in these buyers there
can be no one buying in London since the house
prices in London are beyond most people living
in London. This brings out this question to be
asked: what is the government going to do about
this: what is it going to do so that this scheme
does not exclude millions of London population
seeking to buy a home but cannot ever be able do
The Help to Buy schemes continues to benefit
first time buyers overwhelmingly, with 129,000
households buying their first home thanks to the
scheme. This is 80% of overall Help to Buy
buyers, demonstrating that the scheme is
successfully helping people get on the housing
Help to Buy is helping people throughout the UK
achieve their dream of owning a new or bigger
home. With the majority of completions outside
London, the highest number of homes completed
through both the Help to Buy: ISA and mortgage
guarantee schemes has been in the North West
The equity loan, a scheme for new build
properties, is particularly popular in the South
East region. First time buyers and
second-steppers have been supported further by
the London Help to Buy scheme launched in
February 2016. The scheme supports purchases of
new build homes in the capital by offering a 5%
deposit backed by an equity loan of up to 40%
from the government. There were 256 completions
in London between 1 February 2016 and 31 March
2016 using the equity loan.
Help to Buy was designed to support responsible
lending and today’s figures show that the
average house price for the three schemes
combined is £189,795, significantly below the
national average house price of £292,000. The
average house price-to-income multiple under the
mortgage guarantee scheme is capped at a 4.5x
ratio to ensure responsible lending.
More than 1,000 households a month on average
have purchased their own home through Right to
Buy since the scheme was reinvigorated in 2012,
over 52,500 households in total. The latest
quarterly figures show more than 3,250 people
bought under the Right to Buy scheme between
January and March 2016.
In total, more than 309,000 households have now
been helped to purchase a home through
government backed schemes since 2010, that’s 141
new homeowners a day and around 4,350 a month.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne
said: It’s hugely encouraging that over 500,000
people have already opened Help to Buy ISAs. The
government’s Help to Buy schemes offer
responsible lending, and the vast majority of
those who are benefiting are first time buyers.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: Anyone
who aspires to own their own home should have
the opportunity to do so, wherever they are in
the country. Today’s figures clearly show how
we’re helping people realise home ownership
dream, with 141 new homeowners a day and
thousands of households helped every month
through government-backed schemes.
Anyone thinking about home ownership and those
who believe it is out of reach should look again
at the range of government schemes available to
Peter Andrew, Deputy Chairman at the Home
Builders Federation said: Help to Buy continues
to help thousands of people a month get a foot
on the housing ladder and with interest rates
expected to remain at historic low levels,
demand for new build homes remains extremely
The various Help to Buy schemes are really
making a difference, helping people to save for
and buy a new build home and so driving demand,
and in turn housing supply. Home builders remain
committed to growing their businesses such that
they can deliver the further increases in supply
the country desperately needs.
This is good news, yes, but yet there are
millions of people and families living in major
cities across the country, including London,
where the house prices are beyond their 'reach'.
What is the Government doing about addressing
that? Unless supply of houses are increased how
does the Government intend to do anything about
the house prices? How does Right Buy work as a
route to buying their own home if no social
housing being built?
Dear Mr Speaker: The Country Urges You to Demand an Apology from the Prime
Minister for the Language He Used in the House, in Your Presence
John Bercow: The Speaker: Image: The Speaker's Website
|| June 29: 2016 || ά.
Dear Mr Speaker,
The Humanion writes to you, to offer a different perspective
of what is happening in front of your very eyes, with the hope that you would
demand an apology from the Right Honourable David Cameron MP, well, that is how
each MP is supposed to be referred to and that no one in the House can be
addressed directly other than through your very self, is this not right, Mr
Speaker?, who still is, despite losing many things, let alone the EU Referendum,
and who is now, presiding over the very real danger of disintegration of the
entire existence of the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister of this Country and
is still an MP, who must seek to express himself, particularly, in 'the House'
within proper decorum. He did it deliberately, almost out of breath and saying
it under his breath, as if pretending that he had not said it and did it fast,
so that he could not be 'reminded' or redirected or in everyday
expression, 'told off' for it by your very self, Mr Speaker, but a Prime
Minister of this country, of this United Kingdom, an MP of this House of
Commons, must not use language like this and must not speak the way he said:
''For heaven's sake, go man, go.'' If he had to say it, he should have had to
say: ''Dear Mr Speaker, there comes a time, for a man to realise, for heaven's
sake, it's time to call it day or go.'' Or, ''Dear Mr Speaker, Tell the
Honourable Gentleman, for heaven's sake, it's time that he went.'' The
Prime Minister was not at his university dormitory, he was not at his golf club
with his golf buddies. He was in the very House of this nation that the entire
country and the entire world see as setting standards and influencing good
practice. This is simply is not acceptable, Dear Mr Speaker.
Dear Mr Speaker,
The Prime Minister might think this is acceptable a language,
it does not matter what the circumstances are or were, a Prime Minister nor
should an MP speak in this manner. Therefore, we urge you to demand an apology,
not in writing, but in person, coming to the very House he should make this
apology where he had spoken like that! And his apology should be directed to the
country, to the very people of this country for it was and is ABSOLUTELY
UNACCEPTABLE the way he spoke and in the manner in which he did. And he got away
with it. There is no other rational way of expressing this any better than
saying: this is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE.
Dear Mr Speaker,
No one should get away with behaviour like this. Therefore,
we repeat to you, our request that you demand this apology from the Prime
Minister on behalf of the country and the people.
Dear Mr Speaker,
You have spoken, written and done many things, initiated many
initiatives, particularly, seeking to inspire young people to politics and to
the house, seeking to promote public engagement and restore some sense of
purpose and dignity as to what a great job this House does and can do; and you
would appreciate this when we speak out on behalf of the 'poorest souls of this
country' who make the 'people', please, include us in with them: that the people
inside this House, the way they behaved today, like a 'mob' turning on a 'man',
whom, one of his adversary declared only a few days ago, 'a good and decent
man'. You may not see it since you are drowned by the shouting and screaming
but, Dear Mr Speaker, to the outside, to the people across this land, to the
wider world, this scene of this House would remind everyone what a vicious,
violent, abusive, hostile, negative, calculative, ruthless, hounding, inhumane a
place this has become which is devoid of anything near kindness, compassion and
decency. This very House was a solemn place that had gathered after the tragic
and heart-wrenching loss of the life of a young MP and Mother, the late Jo Cox
MP, not too long ago, who had been a victim of hatred, cruelty, violence and
barbarity, this very same House became the very anathema of that day and
and the spirit of that day! For what, Dear Mr Speaker! No one would like that
but you go out there and stop a hundred British ordinary people and ask them
what they feel about how a whole House turning into a 'mob', literally 'yelling
and shouting' at one man, whom, we repeat, his adversary described as a 'good
and decent man', and see what most of them tell you about this.
Dear Mr Speaker,
It is not about that 'man'. For The Humanion is not
adversarial and we do not support or oppose any Party or personalities and we do
not do personal attacks but oppose all things that are on the dark side of
goodness. Other than that we do not support any Political Party in particular.
Therefore, this is not about that 'man' but that man, that 'good and decent'
man, the way he had been treated inside that House, and he stood there with the
dignity that he could muster out of his innate goodness and decency, would melt
anyone's heart and soul with deepest of respect. For this man stood for his
principles, he went to the people of his party and they voted for him as he made
them a promise to carry those principles with their trust and that he still
keeps: he still keeps his principles, he still keeps his promise that he has
given to the very people who had put their faith and trust in him and he stands
there, faced by a House, tearing down at him and no one has anything left in
them that could make them see the feature and reality of this 'man', this human
soul, this lone humanity that stands there, just stands there, as you have seen.
This scene would and should remind you of any great Greek tragedy or even our
own William Shakespeare and his Macbeth. And you do not find anything wrong in
this scene, and do not see why this House is seen outside by the people as
becoming a graveyard like the Coliseum of Rome? And does it not show you that
there is something horribly, terribly, fundamentally, profoundly wrong in this
fact that a supposedly democratic party finds majority of its MPs stand directly
opposed to the very Party membership and Party they are supposed to be from and
directly opposed to the very people who are supposed to be similar kind of
working people as its members: the first did not vote any of them as leader nor
did the second vote any of the MPs to do anything other than serving their
'interest', i.e, interest of the working people and families of the country?
Dear Mr Speaker,
This is why the British people are getting sick of politics
and politicians for what is happening now is asserting once more that
Westminster is not a place for 'good and decent souls' for look what has been
happening there recently and what happened there today? This is not what we are
saying but this is what the people would interpret all this as, since a 'good
and decent man' is hounded the way this 'man' has been, tells the world that
this place is not for 'good and decent souls'. For if it is, it won't treat a
'good and decent soul' the way it did today. And despite this 'hounding', this
'hunting' down, 'driving' out and 'tearing' apart, this 'onslaught' of
relentless, sustained and orchestrated attack, this soul of a human being, who
is a 'good and decent' man stands there with as much human dignity and composure
he could muster out of his very innate goodness and decency and stands with his
principles intact and he stands resolute to the promise he has given to the very
people who had put their faith, hope and trust in him. He does not falter from
his principles nor does he shift from his promise despite the entire earth he
finds on top of him as if he has become Atlas. And, Dear Mr Speaker, this is the
way, Atlas would hold the Earth. And you face Atlas and you would find Shelley's
Prometheus: Nothing can kill Prometheus; for it is he who holds the light: the
Dear Mr Speaker,
No one from under your eyes has said nor can say a word other
than they respect the outcome of the EU Referendum. Why? Because the majority of
the people voted for the UK to leave the EU despite the fact that the difference
was almost 'negligible' if you factor in the fact that two entities of the four
major ones of the UK voted to remain and the people who did not vote. Yet, no
one said that they won't accept the referendum result. Not anyone. Why not? Why
does not one say it? Because......
Dear Mr Speaker,
Yet, against this very 'man' of the Labour Party, this man,
called Jeremy Corbyn, against whom the people who are screaming and everyone is
joining with them, what are they doing here? Why is it that a leader who was
elected with an overwhelming majority of their party and they simply won't
accept it? They never accepted it. They sought a great opportunity to arise in
the recent local government elections and they could not do anything since it
did not turn out the way they had dreamt off. They kept at it and kept at it and
here we now find this as to what is happening now. They did all they could and
they planed all this, they calculated it, they measured it and they sequenced
everything to the last detail to seek to continue the attacks flow in and
resignations followed, waves after waves, as by a calculated pattern to ensure
being in the news and controlling the air waves: day after day, day after day
and they were able to manipulate the entire media :and here it is a perfect
example of Spin: so that the entire media simply forgot what actually has
happened. And all that showed to the wider world where we the people live that
it was absolutely meticulously conspired, planed in vigorous details, calculated
with sharpest of precision and by determined minds, measured and orchestrated
and it followed as it had been planned. Now they are seeking to establish
themselves as if they are the mighty 'saviours' and heroes of their party. If
they accept the Referendum result why didn't they, why don't they, why won't
they accept the 'referendum' that their party members gave to his 'man'
Jeremy Corbyn? Why is it, Mr Speaker? Is it that the Labour MPs are made of
superior matters than the 'ordinary' Labour Party members? And that it is not
against democracy the way this 'man' has been treated, being treated and
therefore, the very Labour Party members who had voted for him in their
overwhelming majority are being treated? What is democracy, Dear Mr Speaker,
could you shed some light on this so that the country may understand and learn
and so that they can understand what is happening in that House for whom you are
the the Right Honourable Speaker?
Dear Mr Speaker
This is not about the Labour Party nor is it about its
Leader, Right Honourable Jeremy Corbyn MP; but it is about the very House and
what goes on inside it. This very house is sending chilling scenes to the
country and believe you me, Dear Speaker, no young people would ever think they
would even want to walk near this place, for this place is showing the world it
is fast becoming a graveyard of what common decency and humanity is all about.
An entire House becoming a 'mob' and yelling and shouting at a 'man' who is
standing there, resolute in his dignity; in his very humanity against whom and
against which this House behaves the way it did, and joined in it, the Prime
Minister, using language that is not acceptable. It is simply not acceptable.
And it is desperately, desperately, desperately sad.
Dear Mr Speaker,
People get away with things: it was not Jeremy Corbyn who
called the Referendum. It was not Jeremy Corbyn who, to use, the most polite
expression, 'sold' 'inflated statements and opinions' that are far beyond from
any relation to the truth. It was not Jeremy Corbyn who campaigned for leave. He
campaigned for remain ''as best as he could'' for proof, please, take a look
sadly, the truth is, and no one seems to care about the truth, the very 60% or
so Labour voters who voted for him to be Labour leader, just about the same
number of Labour voters, 60% or so voted for remain. And about getting away, you
cannot ever find a better statement of facts about the EU and the Referendum but
in this Treasury Select Committee Report in which, we are glad to say, the
Committee was not as polite as we sought to be! And the irony is, no media
outlet has time or energy or patience or interest to bring them to account and
ask them questions as to what they did and how they did and why they did what
they did: those who did the business of 'selling inflated statements and
opinions' that have cost the country the state that we find ourselves in today.
Kingdom:The Six Jeopardy and the Last Hope
The Humanion Calls on Everyone in the UK to Invoke the Very Best of British for
the EU Referendum
The Humanion Invites All the UK Citizens to Invoke the Very Best of British and
Assess the High Magnitude Complexities of All the Issues Involved in the
European Referendum Because One Does Not and Cannot Make the Best Decision for
One's National Best Interest for Generations to Come When One is at One's Lowest
|| May 28: 2016 ||
Right Hon. Andrew Tyrie MP, Chair of the
Treasury Select Committee, that has just published the Report on Costs and
Benefits of UK's EU Membership says the following which reads almost like a
'verdict' on the 'poverty' of the campaigns running opposing each other about
the EU Referendum: "The arms race of ever more lurid claims and counter-claims
made by both the leave and remain sides is not just confusing the public. It is
impoverishing political debate. Today is the first day of the main campaign. It
needs to begin with an amnesty on misleading, and at times bogus, claims. The
public are thoroughly fed up with them. The public are right.''
Dear Mr Speaker,
We wish you well and send you
all our best wishes. The Humanion:
Green Party Calls for a Progressive Electoral Alliance
|| June 29: 2016 || ά.
Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales,
Steven Agnew, Leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, Alice
Hooker-Stroud, Leader of the Wales Green Party and Caroline Lucas, Green MP for
Brighton Pavilion, have written an open letter to other parties exploring the
possibility of forming a progressive electoral alliance ahead of any potential
‘snap’ election later this year.
Writing to Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron, and Leanne Wood, leading Greens Bennett,
Agnew, Hooker-Stroud and Lucas said: “In a spirit of openness and transparency,
we are writing to you as leaders of parties which oppose Brexit, to invite you
to a cross-party meeting to explore how we best rise to the challenge posed by
last week’s vote to Leave the EU.
Open letter to: Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron, Leanne Wood on behalf of Green Party
of England and Wales,
'' In a spirit of openness and transparency, we are writing to you as Leaders of
parties which oppose Brexit, to invite you to a cross-party meeting to explore
how we best rise to the challenge posed by last week’s vote to Leave the EU.
Britain is in crisis and people are scared about the future. Never have we had a
greater need for calm leadership to be shown by politicians.
We have a UK Government in chaos, an economy facing a crisis and people up and
down the country facing serious hardship. There is an urgent need to make a
stand against any austerity and the slashing of environmental legislation, human
and workers’ rights, that may come with Brexit.
With the growing likelihood of an early General Election, the importance of
progressive parties working together to prevent the formation of a Tory-UKIP-DUP
government that would seek to enact an ultra-right Brexit scenario is ever more
This is an opportunity to recognise that a more plural politics is in both the
Left’s electoral and political interests. This crisis exposes the absurdity of
our first past the post electoral system. Just 24 per cent of those eligible to
vote elected the government that called the referendum. The only fair way to
proceed is to have a proportional voting system where people can back the
politicians who they believe in, rather than taking a gamble and not knowing who
they will end up with.
The idea of a progressive alliance has been floated for several years, and
proposals have once again been put forward in the context of the current crisis.
We believe that the time has come to urgently consider such ideas together in
the context of a Westminster Government. We recognise the very different
political situation in Scotland, given the strongly pro-EU majority there. We
hope that co-operation between progressive parties their can ensure that this
mandate is respected, and we will support them to keep all options open.
We look forward to your response,
Natalie Bennett: Leader of The Green Party of England and Wales
Steven Agnew MLA: Leader of the Green Party of Northern Ireland
Alice Hooker-Stroud: Leader of Wales Green Party
Caroline Lucas: MP for Brighton Pavilion
The Green Party adds: ''In the EU referendum, 75% of those
who voted Green in the 2015
General Election voted to 'remain'. Since the
result was announced, the Green Party has experienced a membership surge, with
up to 50 people joining per hour.
Natalie Bennett added: “We’re urging progressive parties to work together to
beat the Tories at the next election, and to give us the best possible chance of
a progressive outcome from the mess we are currently in. Central to such a
progressive alliance would be a commitment to proportional elections for the
House of Commons and an elected second chamber. An
election should be held this Autumnto give the country a chance to have their say on which team
they want at the negotiating table.”
“Any such alliance would, of course, have to be discussed with our members and
represent their views and concerns.”
|| June 29: 2016 || ά.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology:IET: has announced that Professor
Jeremy Watson will become its next President, taking up the position on October
01. Jeremy is Professor of Engineering Systems and Vice-Dean in the Faculty of
Engineering Sciences at University College London. He is also Chief Scientist
and Engineer at BRE. Previously, he was Chief Scientific Advisor for the
Department of Communities & Local Government and Arup's Global Research
Jeremy was awarded a CBE in the Queen's 2013 Birthday honours
for services to engineering. A Chartered Engineer, Jeremy’s interests include
socio-technical systems, emerging technologies, and strategic innovation
processes. Other appointments taking effect from October 01 include Mike Carr
who becomes IET Deputy President.
Until November 2008 Mike was BT’s Chief Science Officer, and responsible for the
company’s world-leading Research Labs and Commercial Exploitation Unit. More
recently he has been a Council Member of the EPSRC, a Board member of Innovate
UK and a previous Vice President of the IET. He currently serves as a
Non-Executive Director of Ordnance Survey and for Ploughshare Innovations Ltd.
Meanwhile, Andy Bevington and Virginia Hodge both become IET Vice Presidents.
Andy has spent his career in the energy sector in a range of engineering,
commercial and management roles. He is currently Operated Assets Director for
Centrica’s Exploration and Production business in the UK and the Netherlands,
overseeing oil and gas fields in both the North Sea and Morecambe Bay.
Virginia has spent the majority of her career in defence and air traffic
management, and has been working at NATS for the last 10 years. She is currently
a Senior Project Safety Manager responsible for ensuring that high value
projects are operationally safe prior to deployment.
There are also two new Trustees: Professor Alison Noble and
Air Marshal Julian Young. All these new appointments form part of the 16-member
IET Board of Trustees, the governing body of the organisation.
The IET: The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with
over 167,000 members in 150 countries. It is also the most interdisciplinary –
to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century.
Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built
environment: the IET covers them all. The IET is working to engineer a better
world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and
technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions
about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging
more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering
Shadi Shouqi, three years old,
injured after two rockets hit his house. Image:
|| June 28: 2016 || ά.
On June 30, the High Court in London will
determine whether a legal challenge brought by law firm Leigh Day on behalf of
Campaign Against the Arms Trade:CAAT: against the UK’s licensing of arms to
Saudi Arabia is allowed to proceed to judicial review. As set out in the claim,
a range of international organisations including a UN Panel of experts, the
European Parliament and many humanitarian NGOs, have condemned the ongoing Saudi
air strikes against Yemen as unlawful. The violations of international
humanitarian law found by the bodies listed include:
A failure to take all precautions in attack as required by IHL
Attacks causing disproportionate harm to civilians and civilian objects The UN
panel investigating the air strikes accused the Saudi-led coalition of
widespread and systematic attacks on civilian targets.
A failure to adhere to the principle of distinction and/or the targeting of
civilians and civilian objects and those not directly participating in
hostilities, including facilities necessary to meet basic humanitarian needs
such as electricity and water-processing plants.
The destruction of Cultural Property contrary to the Convention for the
Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict 1954 and its
Protocols and/or a failure to adhere to the immunity to be afforded to such
property during armed conflict.
The conflict has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe, with evidence from the
UN suggesting that the Saudi Coalition is responsible for causing 60 per cent of
child deaths and injuries in Yemen over the last 12 months.
Despite this, the UK government has licensed over £2.8 billion worth of arms
since the bombing of Yemen began. The weapon categories included for arms
exports since the bombing of Yemen began include approximately:
£1.7 billion worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones)
£1.1 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures)
£430,000 worth of ML6 licences (Armoured vehicles, tanks)
There have also been allegations of UK made cluster bombs being used in the
bombardment. These are illegal and banned under the Convention of Cluster
Munitions of which the UK is a signatory.
The claim which will be considered calls on the Department of Business,
Innovation & Skills to suspend all extant licences and stop issuing further arms
export licences to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen while it holds a full review
into if the exports are compatible with UK and EU legislation.
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: It is imperative that the UK
is held to account for its complicity in the destruction of Yemen. A growing
body of evidence shows that Saudi Arabia has repeatedly breached international
humanitarian law, yet the government has continued to arms the regime, making a
mockery of its own legislation. It must end the arms sales and suspend all
military licences to Saudi Arabia.
Rosa Curling from the human rights team at Leigh Day, which is representing CAAT,
said: It is crucial that the courts consider whether the ongoing sales of arms
from the UK to Saudi Arabia is unlawful. The overwhelming evidence from those
who are, or have been, working on the ground in Yemen is that the Saudi
coalition is acting in breach of international law, killing thousands of people
and destroying vital infrastructure. To continue to grant licences in such
circumstances, is unlawful. We hope the Court will now intervene in this matter
and order the government to reconsider without further delay.
|| June 27: 2016 || ά.
The Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn has issued
the following statement in which he said:
“Our country faces a huge challenge following Thursday’s vote to leave
the European Union. And the British people have a right to know how their
elected leaders are going to respond. “We need to come together to heal the
divisions exposed by the vote. We have to respect the decision that has been
made, hold the government to democratic account over its response, and ensure
that working people don’t pay the price of exit.
“Neither wing of the Tory government has an exit plan. Labour will now ensure
that our reform agenda is at the heart of the negotiations that lie ahead. That
includes the freedom to shape our economy for the future and the necessity of
protecting social and employment rights. “One clear message from last Thursday’s
vote is that millions of people feel shut out of a political and economic system
that has let them down and scarred our country with grotesque levels of
“I was elected by hundreds of thousands of Labour Party members and supporters
with an overwhelming mandate for a different kind of politics.
“I regret there have been resignations today from my shadow cabinet. But I am
not going to betray the trust of those who voted for me – or the millions of
supporters across the country who need Labour to represent them.
“Those who want to change Labour’s leadership will have to stand in a democratic
election, in which I will be a candidate.
“Over the next 24 hours I will reshape my shadow cabinet and announce a new
leadership team to take forward Labour’s campaign for a fairer Britain - and to
get the best deal with Europe for our people.”
|| June 27: 2016 || ά.
Labour Party's New Shadow Cabinet Appointments have been announced in which
feature Emily Thornberry MP as Shadow Foreign Secretary and Diane Abbott MP as
Shadow Health Secretary.
The following appointments are announced with immediate
Shadow Foreign Secretary - Emily Thornberry
Shadow Health Secretary – Diane Abbott
Shadow Education Secretary – Pat Glass
Shadow Transport Secretary – Andy McDonald
Shadow Defence Secretary – Clive Lewis
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Rebecca Long-Bailey
Shadow International Development Secretary – Kate Osamor
Shadow Environment Food and Rural Affairs Secretary – Rachel Maskell
Shadow Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs – Cat Smith
Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary – Dave Anderson:
John McDonnell Responds to the Statement This Morning by George Osborne
|| June 27: 2016 || ά.
John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, responding to the statement
this morning by George Osborne, following the outcome of the EU referendum,
“The Chancellor’s statement this morning is to be welcomed in the interests of
providing some certainty and stability to financial markets, and some
reassurance to ordinary people in this country after days of uncertainty.
“It is reassuring to know that the Chancellor has been in urgent consultation
during the weekend with those in the financial services industry, and our
international partners. We also welcome the postponement of any contractionary
emergency Budget until the fiscal position is made clear.
“Nonetheless, two key issues now need to be addressed by George Osborne. First,
that the Treasury and financial authorities have in place interim measures
needed to calm market volatility while protecting working people. We appreciate
that many of these cannot be made public and so request a cross-party briefing
on a Privy Council basis to secure cross-party support. Second, that he can
offer interim government support, particularly to more deprived regions, in the
event of a continued slide in investment, and those regions at risk of losing EU
“We will get through this period of uncertainty, as Britain has done many times
in the past. There are real strengths in our economy, not least our phenomenally
talented and dedicated workforce. Nonetheless, volatility continues and there
remain grave uncertainties about the UK’s future relationship with our European
partners and the wider world. The future direction of the government itself is
not yet determined. Labour is prepared, in the national interest, to work with
our Parliamentary colleagues to ensure that the best interests of British
working people are secured.”
Inspiring Others: Briony Turner: The Impact
|| June 27: 2016 || ά.
Briony Turner, a
PhD student at King's College London, is determined to inspire young
school children to become academic researchers.
Her success in this venture was greatly
rewarded as she has earned her the accolade of
Impact Champion 2016 from the Economic and
Social Research Council:ESRC. Briony’s
enthusiasm for supporting and enabling others to
pursue an interest in geography through her
Intrepid Explorers initiative gained her the
Impact Champion title and a £10,000 prize
awarded at the 2016 ESRC Celebrating Impact
Prize ceremony held earlier this week.
The ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize recognises and
rewards the successes of ESRC-funded researchers
who have achieved, or are currently achieving,
outstanding economic and societal impacts.
Launched in 2012 at King’s College London,
Intrepid Explorers began as a seminar series
drawing together researchers and explorers to
tell the tales, informative, exciting and
occasionally frightening, behind their
Geographers travel all over the world conducting
field research, Briony points out. Yet, on their
return, few tell stories of their experiences
abroad. Behind often dry academic findings,
statistics and data lie exciting stories waiting
to be told.
With talks, film screenings, Q&A sessions,
workshops, a newsletter and a website with over
10,000 unique views, Intrepid Explorers is
spreading enthusiasm for geography more broadly.
Now in its fifth year, Intrepid Explorers is
proving hugely successful, inspiring not just
researchers and academics but also, through
school and public engagement events, bringing
the excitement of geography to a much wider
Intrepid Explorers is not only enthusing
possibly the next generation of geographers and
explorers but also has given current
researchers the opportunity to hone their
communication skills. Through mentoring and
coaching as well as launching Intrepid Explorers
as a safe space for researchers at all levels to
put their public speaking skills to the test,
Briony has helped increase their confidence,
maximise the impact of their research and
venture farther afield on field work
expeditions. This increased confidence
contributed last year to a record number of
King’s students applying for the Royal
Geographical Society:RGS: geographical fieldwork
Intrepid Explorers has also inspired successful
interdisciplinary collaborations between
undergraduates, postgraduates and other
universities including, following a talk by an
external ESRC-NERC funded PhD student, a
successful collaborative funding proposal by
King’s with the Zoological Society. Spreading
the net even further, Briony and her Intrepid
Explorer co-founders have developed strong links
with the RGS, devising and running events and
workshops in partnership with the RGS on field
safety and expedition planning; and contributing
to Explore, RGS’s annual fieldwork and
expedition planning weekend.
For Briony to have achieved this degree of
impact in such a relatively short time is
remarkable, says David Green, King’s Vice-dean
for Education, Faculty of Social Science and
Public Policy. “In more than 30 years of
teaching .... I cannot think of a PhD student
who has done more to inspire others to achieve
success...from children taking GCSEs and A
Levels, to fellow PhD students and, indeed, to
academic members of staff and the department
Equally impressed, the judging panel for the
ESRC Impact Champion 2016 award praised Briony
for her ability ‘to secure impact through
nurturing and developing the skills of her
peers, and through generating enthusiasm and
excitement among researchers, school children
and the general public for expeditions and field
Briony Turner is from the School of Geography,
King’s College London and a Knowledge Exchange
Manager for the UK Climate Impacts Programme,
Environmental Change Institute, University of
Oxford. She was named Impact Champion in the
2016 ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize and received
a prize award of £10,000. The awards ceremony
took place at Central Hall, Westminster on 22
Briony loves to travel and to hear about other
people’s adventures, one of the reasons she
helped to set up this seminar series. In the
past she's conducted research in Botswana and
Tanzania and has worked in the built environment
sector. Her current research focuses on scaling
up climate change adaptation of existing homes
in England's social housing sector. She's also
an RGS Ambassador and a Trustee of the charity
RESET which promotes ecological adaptation of
the built environment.
About the ESRC Impact Prize: The ESRC
Celebrating Impact Prize is an annual
opportunity to recognise and reward the
successes of ESRC-funded researchers who have
achieved, or are currently achieving,
outstanding economic and societal impacts. First
run in 2013 and now in its fourth year, the
prize celebrates collaborative working,
partnerships, engagement and knowledge exchange
activities that have led to significant impact
of ESRC-funded research. In addition to the
prize for Impact Champion, prizes were presented
in four other categories: Outstanding Early
Career Impact, Outstanding Impact in Society,
Outstanding International Impact and Outstanding
Impact in Public Policy.
About the ESRC:
The Economic and Social Research Council:ESRC:
is the UK’s largest funder of research on the
social and economic questions facing us today.
It supports the development and training of the
UK’s future social scientists and also funds
major studies that provide the infrastructure
for research. ESRC-funded research informs
policymakers and practitioners and helps make
businesses, voluntary bodies and other
organisations more effective. The ESRC also
works collaboratively with six other UK research
councils and Innovate UK to fund
cross-disciplinary research and innovation
addressing major societal challenges. The ESRC
is an independent organisation, established by
Royal Charter in 1965, and funded mainly by the
|| June 26: 2016 || ά.
The Country and the Nation Face Multiple Jeopardy as the Major Political
Parties Descend into Self-Advancing, Suicidal and Destructive Infighting: The
Last Hope Resides with the Parliament, Only Which Could Lead the Country and
Nation Back on the Course Away from These Multiple Jeopardy That Threaten
Ruination of What is Great About This Great Country and Nation
The First Jeopardy: The Constitutional
Never in its multiple-century-old continued existence, this
'Great Britain' has, as a country, faced such a tremendous, profound and
existential crisis that it now does as it faces all Constitutional challenges that
came like London Buses, as described in the phrase about how ''London buses come as a 'train' in
which a whole lot them arrive at the same time, when one waited for just one to
come for a long time, as and when suddenly they do arrive: the country faces the
deepest constitutional crises, followed by the leave win in the referendum that
has split the four main entities of the United Kingdom into two opposing halves
as well as the people of this country and this does not resolve anything and
puts into question the 'political and moral validity of this entire exercise.
The phrase, 'the will of the people' can not properly be applied to a
circumstance that faces the country today; the country that is evenly spilt into two equal halves
both by entities in the Kingdom and by the opposing two camps of people. Yet, these challenges to break
away from the European Union on this divided stand and that triggers the very strong
likelihood of Scotland advancing its way away from the UK and in the Northern
Ireland some people are already calling for a referendum to be united with
Ireland. These issues are no longer simply hypothetical. Further to this, of all
the UK Nations, Wales
is probably the largest beneficiary from the EU and an exit from the EU means it
is going to lose billions of pounds which has already called for a re-thinking
as to how funds are allocated to Wales from Westminster to cover this gap: where are they going to fill
this gap from and if they cannot fill it, what are they going to cut and how will
those cuts change the very fabrics of welsh life? This all brings in reality the
depth of the constitutional crises that the country and the nation face. And
in these constitutional crises everything gets even more complicated as is evident
in a piece written by David Lammy MP, published in The Guardian today that this referendum result is only
'advisory and not binding': than what does the Parliament do? And how could the
Parliament accept such an almost equally divided state of affairs as 'the will of
the people' and when, factoring in the fact that an overwhelming majority of the
house expressed their wish to remain? And if they accept it as 'the will of the
people' what effectively does it mean? Does it not mean that they are accepting to let the UK
break away from the ties with Europe as well as the potential eventual break up of the entire UK? Is
this why the Parliament is elected to be the 'holder' of the 'sovereignty' of
the people to let the Kingdom fall apart? This is the first jeopardy.
Update: Petition for a Second Referendum Has Gathered 2,680,806 Signature as of
01:00 This Morning
Some London Soul wrote this, laminated it and then posted it on a
Telephone Box, somewhere in London. which now finds the perfect
story to accompany it.
|| June 26: 2016 || ά. The Humanion posted this item yesterday, just
EU Referendum Rules Triggering a 2nd EU Referendum, the
Parliamentary Petition, launched by William Oliver Healey that said: ''We the
undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or
leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be
This petition had gathered 1,936,290 signatures
as of about 17:51 yesterday. For a Petition to be discussed at the Parliament it
requires only 100,000 signatures. It appeared, by the time The Humanion observed
the Parliamentary website, yesterday, that roughly 10,000 more people were signing for the call
The Petition kept on
gathering signature and is heading towards 3
Million signatures: As of 01:00 this morning it
has received 2, 680, 806 Signatures.
Healey Calls for a Second Referendum Have Already Gathered 1,936,290
|| June 25: 2016 || ά.
EU Referendum Rules Triggering a 2nd EU Referendum, the
Parliamentary Petition, launched by William Oliver Healey that said: ''We the
undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or
leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be
Now, this petition has so far gathered 1,936,290 signatures
as of about 17:51 today. For a Petition to be discussed at the Parliament it
requires only 100,000 signatures. It appears, by the time The Humanion observed
the Parliamentary website, roughly 10,000 more people are signing for the call
|| June 24: 2016 || ά. The Country has spoken, yes: yet, its voice
fragmented, its regions disconnected and the nation divided in two almost equal
halves facing opposing directions while the very integrity of the country is in
double-jeopardy: one sure in exiting the EU and the other in the prospect of
Scotland's departure from the UK. The only hope resides in the following: in the
fact that the 'democratic mandate' has barely gone passed first past the post:
this 'democratic mandate', however, is resounding and visibly clear that
has come out of Gibraltar, Scotland and of London.
As the Conservatives continue the way they were going in the
way they were running their destructive demolition on the very fabrics of this
country, increasing inequalities to almost polar ends, extending desperate and
abject poverty, taking vital life-support from families, people with
disabilities and with vary many mental illnesses and low income working
families, and feeding the rich so that people's sense of 'disconnect',
disenfranchisement and non-ownership to the country and its wealth will feed
their already growing anger and discontent, which will be further fuelled by the
growing and visible impacts of the years of cuts begin to show in even more
widely and in all areas of life where they had cut ruthlessly and as the
negotiation with the EU progresses, the 'scenarios' that were rejected out of
hand will begin to materialise and vindicate the remain camp's argument and the
'mythical-fairly-tale-bubble-reality' of the leavers' version of the UK and of
life will fail to materialise, the nation would begin to edge back towards unity
and here is where hope is, in two places:
Labour’s Initial Economic Response to the EU Referendum Vote: Stabilising
the Economy is the Key
|| June 24: 2016 || ά. The Labour Party has expressed its
initial response to the country voting to leave the European Union and said that
the ''shock of exit from the European Union requires immediate and
urgent action from the relevant authorities.
This is needed to stabilise the situation given the weakness of the economy
after six years of Tory austerity and failure. Labour will not allow the
costs of exit to be borne by working people and their families.
The vote to leave the European Union represents a decisive rejection of the
Conservative’s economic policy, resulting in stagnant real wages for a decade
and widespread disaffection where people have not shared in prosperity.
Labour’s initial responses are:
1. The target for the Government Budget surplus in 2019-20 must be ditched. It
has already damaged the economy and has no possible economic justification.
Fiscal intervention is likely to be needed to reduce the shock to the economy.
2. There is no mandate or economic justification for an emergency austerity
budget, as George Osborne threatened. We will oppose any attempts to impose one.
3. Government must reverse proposed cuts to government investment spending and
urgently undertake a priority investment programme, targeted on those areas most
exposed to the risks of an economic downturn.
4. Labour is taking steps to establish the extent of damage to pension funds,
given their exposure to stock markets and the shadow banking system.
John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “The
government must now take steps to stabilise the economy, and to protect jobs,
pensions, and wages.
“Labour will not allow any instability to be paid for by the working people of
this country. There is no justification or mandate whatsoever for an emergency
austerity budget. We need a clear programme of action to protect our economy.”
We Respect the Outcome of the United Kingdom’s EU Referendum: Finland's
Prime Minister Sipilä
Juha Sipilä: Prime Minister: Finland: Image: Finland Government
24: 2016 || ά.
On Frida, June 24, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä gave his comments on the result of the United Kingdom’s EU referendum. ”We had hoped that the outcome of yesterday’s referendum would support the United Kingdom’s continued EU membership. We, of course, respect the result of the referendum. We shall now wait and see what steps the British Government will take on the basis of the result, and when it will officially notify the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union. After that, preparations can begin for the negotiations between the EU and the United Kingdom,” says Prime Minister Sipilä.
“The party leaders of the Government have convened this morning for an additional meeting due to the result of the United Kingdom’s referendum. Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs will convene for an additional meeting on Monday 27 June at 10.00. On the same day, I will attend the meeting of the Grand Committee of the Finnish Parliament. In addition, together with the Speaker of the Parliament I have agreed that the Government will give the Prime Minister's announcement to the Finnish Parliament in the near future”, says Prime Minister Sipilä.
”The European Union must quickly assess the implications of the referendum result,” says Sipilä. For Finland, to keep on developing the European Union is as important as negotiating the new relationship between the UK and the EU. Finland is and will be a committed member of the European Union.
”To earn the trust of citizens the EU has to focus on essential questions and to be able to carry out reforms. Member States must comply with common rules. In addition, the EU must provide tools for enhancing growth, employment and competitiveness. The EU must also be a credible actor in the international arena and must further develop its common security and defence policy.”
The leaders of the EU Member States will discuss the implications of the referendum result at the next European Council meeting in Brussels on June 28-29. ω.
The European Union Referendum 2016: Who Speaks for the UK: Gibraltar or
|| June 24: 2016 || ά. The Country has voted in the
historic European Referendum 2016 and as the collating and counting of results
continue, commenting and analysing are going on as the results continue to
The result is, as most analysts seem to agree, too close to
call. One thing seems to be sure: whatever the outcome is, it is going to be
pretty close. However, as we go to post two results have been announced:
two opposing ends: Gibraltar delivered a resounding Remain where the number of
people voted for Leave is under 20 and Sunderland declared a strong Leave.
Now, it remains to be seen whether the people of Gibraltar
are more in tune with the majority of the UK or the people of Sunderland.
Scotland seems to be consistently going for Remain, by the
results declared early on the night.
Who is speaking for the UK, Gibraltar or Sunderland; that is
|| June 24: 2016 ||
Dr Marco Bruni: Reader in Cosmology and Gravitation, at the University of
Portsmouth, is part of one of the two research teams in Europe and the USA who
have begun modelling the universe for the first time using Einstein’s full
general theory of relativity. The teams have independently created two new
computer codes, which, they say, will lead to the most accurate possible models
of the universe and provide new insights into gravity and its effects.
One hundred years since it was developed, Einstein’s theory remains the best
theory of gravity, consistently passing high-precision tests in the solar system
and successfully predicting phenomena such as gravitational waves, discovered
earlier this year. But because the equations involved are so complex,
physicists, until now, have been forced to simplify the theory when applying it
to the universe. The two new codes are the first to use Einstein’s complete
general theory of relativity to account for the effects of the clumping of
matter in some regions and the lack of matter in others. Readmore
Dr Bruni's research interests focus on the modelling of the
late universe and applications of Einstein general relativity theory:(GR: in
cosmology and astrophysics. He says: ''The universe is observed to expand at an
accelerated rate, with clusters of thousands of galaxies and giant voids
arranged in a cosmic web that started to form and evolved since soon after the
I am interested in understanding this process of “structure
formation” in a way consistent with GR. The simplest explanation for the
observed accelerated expansion is a constant form of "dark energy". I am
interested in the alternative possibility that dark energy could be evolving,
possibly interacting with dark matter, responsible for structure formation. I
made pioneering work on approximate solutions of Einstein equations and
considered applications in cosmology as well as to neutron stars.''
Dr Bruni studied physics at the University of Rome “La
Sapienza”, graduating in 1987. He then moved to SISSA:Trieste, Italy: where he
obtained his PhD in 1991. After postdocs in QMUL:London, ICTP and SISSA:Trieste:
and Cardiff, in 1999, he joined the University of Portsmouth as senior lecturer.
In 2002 he became a member of the newly formed Institute of Cosmology and
In 2005 Dr Bruni was awarded a two year visiting
professorship by the Italian government, which he spent at the University of
Rome “Tor Vergata”. In 2006 he was promoted to Reader. He has lectured to
undergraduates and postgraduate students in the UK, Italy, Greece and India. He
has published over 50 scientific papers in international journals and given
talks in four continents.
Dr Bruni is a keen photographer, traveller and mountaineer.
|| June 23: 2016 ||
council chair, Dr Mark Porter has been re-elected to the post for another year,
which will be his fith and final term in the office at a BMA Council meeting at
the end of BMA Annual Representative Meeting:ARM: in Belfast.
Dr Porter is a consultant anaesthetist in based in Coventry. He was returned to
office until 2017. He works at
the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire:UHCW:
NHS Trust. His special interest is in obstetric anaesthesia and the continual
development of maternity services to improve the mother's experience.
In the past he has been a clinical director of his department, and the chair of
the medical staff local negotiating committee. His previous roles in the BMA
have included being the chair of the consultants committee from 2009-2012, and
its deputy chair responsible for pay and conditions of service from 2006-2009.
He was closely involved in negotiating the 2003 consultant contract, and while
he was a junior doctor he was the chair of the BMA junior doctors committee from
1997-1998. In addition to his work at the BMA, Mark is honorary colonel of
202:Midlands: Field Hospital, Royal Army Medical Corps.
Dr Porter said after the re-election to the position: ''It is a tremendous
privilege to represent the profession for another year as BMA council chair. The
challenges facing doctors and the health service we cherish have never been
greater. Doctors are at the sharp end of the impact of chronic underfunding,
staff shortages and rising demand on the NHS.
‘'Over the past year, and in the face of difficult contract negotiations, the
BMA has proven itself to be a strong, independent voice not only for the medical
profession, but for the patients we serve. I look forward to continuing with
this vital work at a pivotal time for doctors from across the profession and for
the NHS as a whole.’'
|| June 22: 2016 ||
Standing up for values and principles that unite us, not divide us,
and never succumbing to violent provocations in today’s world is
vital so that extremists and perpetrators do not declare victory,
the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General emphasised today at a
ceremony in tribute to Jo Cox, the United Kingdom Member of
Parliament who was killed last week.
Hundreds of people gathered at a ceremony this morning in a
courtyard at the New York headquarters of the UN Children’s
Fund:UNICEF, in front of 42 white roses to mark the birthday of Ms.
Cox. “That we all gather here today at the UN is a tribute to Jo,
and is a sign of how profoundly she touched our hearts,” said Deputy
Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.
“But also of how strongly her death has reminded us of standing up
for values and principles that unite us, not divide us; in today’s
deeply troubled world,” he added. Noting that the world was “shocked
and saddened when Jo was taken away from us under the most brutal
circumstances a few days ago,” Mr. Eliasson said thoughts and
prayers are now with Ms. Cox’s husband, Brendan, and her two young
children. Readmore Readmore
On NWED: The Day to Celebrate Women in Engineering: Engineering is an 'Art'
That You Do With Mathematics, Science and technology
|| June 23: 2016 ||
Engineering is an 'art' that you do with mathematics, science
and technology and with almost an endless degree of imagination, creativity and
ingenuity so that what is created works following laws of mathematics, science
and technology. In our definition of Engineering, there is not a single nano-particle
of a reason that says a women cannot do all this because she is a woman.
Those that hold such outdated, false and misguided views should seek the light
but those young women who would like to follow this path of being and becoming
must love learning, must love creating and must follow the call of that what
gives you the 'power' to create: learning and knowledge. There is no Marie Curie
without knowledge; there is no Rosalind Franklin without knowledge.
There is no easy way to becoming an engineer: it requires an undying love of
learning, it requires disciplined and sustained commitment towards that learning
and it requires hard-graft-work and study. Today's popular culture,
brand-culture and what we call the 'market-god's version of what women should be
like are some of the things acting against women for which all women have to be
constantly aware of and continue to fight with all they have got. For it all
promotes a masochistic, chauvinistic and absolutely prejudiced, biased,
bigotry-filled and discriminatory attitudes towards women.
Yet, women are not alone in this fight and in this journey for there are many,
many wonderful organisations, people and women who are already working in the
field who are great role model women who are working all the time to find
support, create resources, networks and advance th cause of women in engineering
and SETM areas of learning. But this road to seek to become an engineer may be
not so easy but think of this: to be able to be and do what you love to be and
to do is the highest you could aim and aspire to achieve in life and, as there
are no limits to learning and knowledge, there are no limits that say you cannot
forever continue to do more, be more.
And on this NWED The Humanion invites all its readers who are women to commit to
this: do more, be more: aspire higher, aim higher, love learning and work as
much, as high to match that high aspiration and aim that you have set for
yourself and you shall find, nothing on this Earth, nothing could stop you
becoming whatever kind of engineer you would like to become and soon you shall
join the endless procession of great minds: both men and women: who are already
seeking to help and support the human struggles and endeavours to better
ourselves and our life and existence by making new things, by making things
better, and by seeking to better things that we have made so that they work
better, serve better across the globe.
NWED: National Women in Engineering Day: The
Women’s Engineering Society Has Formed a New Young Members’ Board
Clockwise: Khadejah Begum: Emma England: Sophie Hutchins: Maeve
Higham: Jo Douglas:Chair: Holly Goodwin:
Yasmin Ali: Emma Herbert: Caroline Carslaw: Sharon Ross: Annabel Downing: Kate
|| June 23: 2016 ||
NWED: the National Women in Engineering Day, the Women’s
Engineering Society:WES: has announced the formation of a new
Young Members’ Board:YMB. The WES-YMB will consist of twelve
women under the age of 30 who are working, training or studying
in an engineering field. The aim of the YMB is to make WES more
accessible to younger members, to reflect their concerns and
priorities and provide input to the WES Council, allowing the
voices of younger women engineers to be heard.
The YMB is comprised of Khadejah Begum, TfL:
Emma England, Airbus: Sophie Hutchins, Leonardo: Maeve Higham,
Instron: Jo Douglas, University of Bath:Chair: Holly Goodwin,
Scottish Power: Yasmin Ali, Premier Oil: Emma Herbert, Arcadis:
Caroline Carslaw, SSE: Sharon Ross, Mars: Annabel Downing,
University of Leeds: Kate Mactear, BAE Systems
The women making up the YMB will also act as
role models for young women considering engineering and applied
science. The YMB will enable younger WES members to influence
the direction of travel of WES, with the opportunity for
personal, professional and leadership development through board
experience and involvement in projects and strategy setting.
The YMB is launched today, Thursday,
June 23, 2016, National Women in Engineering Day and the
inaugural meeting will be held one week later. The Board will
set their own agenda of projects and activities in line with WES
vision, and will be given the task of supporting the “100 for
100” campaign, part of the WES Centenary activities. As part of
“100 for 100”, WES will ask one hundred companies to commit to a
stretching set of actions to support diversity and inclusion in
engineering during 2019, the one hundredth anniversary of WES.
As Benita Mehra, WES President explains “We are super excited to
have finally created the WES-YMB. Traditionally we have
encouraged younger members to join the WES Council, but we have
increasingly felt that we needed a board to enable younger
members the freedom to challenge the more established Council
members and to grow and develop the WES agenda. As we all know,
today’s YMB will be tomorrow’s WES Council. I look forward to
working with the YMB!”
Jo Douglas from the University of Bath who is
chairing the Board worked with Board Member Yasmin Ali from
Premier Oil to draft the Board aims, and took the lead in the
search for the first set of recruits.
Jo Douglas is the Chair of WES YMB. She completed a master’s
degree in Chemistry in 2013 at the University of Edinburgh
before starting a PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University
of Bath. Her PhD is sponsored by Unilever researching fabric
cleaning and laundry detergents. Jo was one of the founding
members of WES Bath; the University of Bath Student Women’s
Engineering Society. In March 2015 Jo was elected as the Chair
of WES Bath, and joined WES council in October 2015. On WES
council, Jo acts as the student groups’ liaison, and has taken
the lead on forming the YMB. Jo is a member of the Institution
of Chemical Engineers:IChemE.
Jo said: “We have a wonderful group of people
on the YMB; and collectively we have a lot of ideas, and are
raring to go.”
Yasmin Ali is a development engineer at Premier Oil for a North
Sea gas field, with a passion for promoting engineering to
younger generations and the wider public. After graduating from
the University of Nottingham with Master's degree in Chemical
engineering, she joined E.ON and worked in power generation,
before moving to oil and gas exploration and production. Yasmin
is an active member of the Institution of Chemical
Engineers:IChemE: and the Institution of Engineering and
Technology:IET: as well as the 2013 winner of the WES Young
Woman Engineer award.
The YMB meet on June 30, for the first time.
National Women in Engineering Day takes place on June 23, 2016
and is a national awareness day to support, inspire, celebrate
and raise the profile of women in engineering. It is also an
opportunity to draw attention to the amazing careers in
engineering for girls and young people. The day is co-ordinated
by the Women's Engineering Society:WES.
Founded in 1919, the Women’s Engineering Society:WES: is a
professional, not-for-profit network of women engineers,
scientists and technologists offering inspiration, support and
professional development. Although the world has changed since a
group of women decided to band together to create an
organisation to support women in engineering, the need is very
much still there. WES works in a number of ways to support women
in STEM, to encourage the study and application of engineering,
to promote gender equality and diversity in the workplace, and
to award excellence and encourage achievement through our awards
and grants schemes.
UK Needs New Freight Strategy to Ease Congestion
and Improve Air Quality: New Report
|| June 23: 2016 ||
ά. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is
calling for the Government to urgently introduce
a national multi-modal freight strategy in a
move to ease traffic congestion, improve air
quality and boost the economy. According to the
new report, published by the Institute, up to
30% of all road haulage vehicles on UK roads are
empty and there are an average of 150 million
preventable lorry miles each year.
Philippa Oldham, Head of Transport at the
Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Lead
Author of the report, said: “The Government has
taken a welcome step in creating the National
Infrastructure Commission, but must now urgently
look to create a national multi-modal freight
strategy to incentivise optimum use of that
infrastructure and better co-ordinate the
transportation of goods around the UK.
“We currently have empty lorries on our roads,
delivering shipping cargo to ports where demand
for goods is on the other side of the country,
and to wait for air cargo to undergo approval
tests in other counties before being allowed to
be processed through customs. Estimates suggest
that congestion costs the UK economy £13bn per
year, with poor air quality being responsible
for about 29,000 premature deaths each year.
“A national strategy which looks at the entire
range of transport methods used to deliver
freight would have the potential to ease
congestion, improve air quality and boost the
economy, as well as making travelling and
commuting more agreeable for the public as a
According to the report ‘UK freight: in for the
long haul’ up to 30% of all haulage vehicles on
UK roads are empty and about 150 million miles
are driven unnecessarily by lorry drivers. A
national strategy could outline plans to make
better use of urban consolidation centres, where
joint local deliveries can be organised.
The report also points out to the need to better
co-ordinate air cargo. Currently up to 400
tonnes of perishable goods arrive by aeroplane
at Heathrow every morning, and many goods need
to be tested in laboratories for quality before
they can be processed through customs. Currently
these samples are sent to Cambridge for testing,
in a process that takes about 24 hours.
Installing testing laboratories nearer to
Heathrow, as they have done in Frankfurt
airport, would reduce costs and speed up the
In the case of shipping, much could be done to
improve co-ordination and efficiency. For
example, at the moment 65% of the UK population
lives within a 150-mile radius of Liverpool
Port. However, 91% of our deep-sea goods enter
or leave via either Southampton or Felixstowe.
This is estimated to equate to 150 million
wasted road miles, 200,000 additional truck
journeys, increasing road congestion, and
creates about 0.2 million tonnes of unnecessary
CO2 emissions from moving goods to where they
About the Institution of Mechanical Engineers:
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was
established in 1847 and has some of the world’s
greatest engineers in its history books. It is
one of the fastest growing professional
engineering institutions. Headquartered in
London, we have operations around the world and
over 113,000 members in more than 140 countries
working at the heart of the most important and
dynamic industries such as the automotive, rail,
aerospace, medical, power and construction
|| June 22: 2016 ||
ά. The first news conference with ESA
astronaut Tim Peake on return to Earth after spending 186 days
in space on the International Space Station on his Principia
The media event was held at ESA’s astronaut centre in Cologne,
Germany, June 21, just three days after landing on Earth. The
European Astronaut Centre is the home base of all ESA astronauts
Tim Peake, NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and commander Yuri
Malenchenko landed in the steppe of Kazakhstan on Saturday, 18
June in their Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft.
The landing brings Tim Peake’s Principia mission to an end but
the research continues. Tim is the eighth ESA astronaut to
complete a long-duration mission in space. He is the third after
Alexander Gerst and Andreas Mogensen to fly directly to the
European Astronaut Centre for medical checks and for researchers
to collect more data on how Tim’s body and mind have adapted to
living in space.
Families are Now Most Common Household in the
Private Rented Sector
|| June 22: 2016 ||
ά. Families are the most common
household type in the private rented sector:PRS:
for the first time, according to the latest
research from the National Landlords
Association:NLA:1:. The findings
show that more landlords now let to families
with children, 48 per cent, than any other
household type, overtaking young couples, 47 per
This represents a shift compared to four years
ago, when young singles made up the largest
group, 53 per cent, followed by young couples,
51 per cent, and then families with children, 51
The PRS now accounts for approximately 5 million
households in the United Kingdom and, according
to the latest English Housing Survey, the
proportion of families in the PRS has increased
from 30% in 2004-5 to 37% in 2014-15, an
increase in roughly 1 million, 912,000,
households in ten years:3:.
For the majority of families surveyed, renting
privately is a stable option, with almost 8 in
10, 76%, reporting they were happy with the
length of their tenancy, and a similar
proportion, 79%, reporting their tenancy was
renewed or stayed the same at the end of the
initial fixed term:4:.
As a result, the perception of renting as a
barrier to family life is breaking down, with
nearly two-thirds of renting families, 60%,
saying that it was not. 77 per cent of families
considered their rented accommodation to be
home, and the majority, 65 per cent, reported
that they were free to personalise it however
Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the
NLA, said: “There is a genuine contrast between
the experience of renting in the 21st century
shown in this research and the prevailing
housing culture in Britain that only views it as
a stopgap, something to be tolerated while
waiting for the opportunity to buy your own
“There is a rogue element to private housing
that ruins the experience for far too many
people, but for the majority of the 11 million
private renters, renting offers an inclusive and
flexible option which works for them in their
“Contrary to popular perception, there’s growing
evidence that renting is no obstacle to putting
down roots and calling somewhere home. The
majority of landlords want good, stable,
long-term tenancies, and these findings show
that more and more are becoming receptive to
helping families make a home in the private
About the National Landlords Association:NLA:
NLA is the UK’s leading organisation for
private-residential landlords. It works with
almost 68,000 landlords, of which over 31,500
are paying members, ranging from full-time
landlords with large property portfolios to
those with just a single letting. NLA membership
helps landlords make a success of their lettings
business by providing a wide range of
information, advice and services. The NLA
campaigns for the legitimate interests of
landlords by seeking to influence
decision-makers at all levels of government and
by making landlords’ collective voice heard in
the media. It seeks to raise standards in the
private-rented sector while aiming to ensure
that landlords are aware of their statutory
rights and responsibilities. Based at its head
office in Central London, the NLA currently
employs over 30 full-time staff and has a
network of more than 37 regional representatives
and branches throughout the UK.
:1: NLA Quarterly Landlord Panel: Q1 2016:
:2: NLA Quarterly Landlord Panel: Q1 2012: 543
:3: Department for Communities and Local
Government:DCLG: English Housing Survey Headline
:4: NLA Quarterly Tenant Panel: Q1 2016: 971
Let the Country Invoke the Very Best of What is British
And Choose to Say: Let There Be Light: Light of
Self-Assurance, of Confidence, of Openness,
of Engagement, of Hope, of a Vision of Optimism
and Positivity, of Seeking to Learn and Work for
Common Good, of Always Remembering
the Hippocratic Oath: To Do Good and To Do No Harm
We are not in it for politics; we in it for care:
Dr Nadia Masood at the BMA Annual Representative Meetings: June 20-23:
|| June 21: 2016 ||
leaders of The Ecologist Green Party of Greece, Kostas Loukeris, Maria Peteinaki
and Michalis Bakas have written an open letter to everyone about the European
Referendum which the Green Party has published today. Here we publish the
Dear Green English and Welsh sisters and brothers,
We are extending this letter not to tell you what we think would be best for you
to vote in the upcoming referendum. You definitely know what’s best for you.
We are neither writing this letter in order to remind you of the fact that
Europe without Britain would definitely be smaller. The European Union without
the UK would be more vulnerable, less creative, and definitely more German!
Nor are we writing this letter to create further more fear, instigate more
insecurity and uncertainty, although we Greeks have had enough of it and could
even perhaps export it…
In the past six to seven years, we Greeks have gone through difficult times. Our
GDP:whatever that means to a Party that demands different measures of economic
success: has dropped 25% and austerity has been the answer to all ills of the
country, while unemployment is sky-rocketing.
Yet, we Greeks, and in particular we Ecologists Greens, have been constant
supporters of the European ideals and principles. We are of the opinion that it
is principles and values which should steer our lives , not short-lived
political goals, political manouvering and perhaps some billions of profit, no
matter the currency.
Ιt is a fact that in the type of economy we have chosen to live in, a global
economy, the solutions come best if we stay united. Greeks have suffered much
from austerity measures, but needed European solidarity. In a better European
Union, the help would have also come in a better way. But we still believe that
the EU can change through more active participation and engagement from people,
whatever is happening at the European level.
The ideal of peace has been the strongest motivation for many countries to
become members of the European Union. And peace still remains an ideal to fight
for. The recent crises and wars in the Ukraine, in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Turkey
help us compare and contrast our successes with the failures which have led to
war, hatred and misery. The refugee crisis, as a by-product of these wars, is
questioning the very essence of human rights, which were created for the
protection of the weaker ones.
The refugee crisis shows bluntly the need of a united Europe, to deal in a
fairer way with the situation. We are now seeing what the lack of a united
European Union has meant for the protection of human rights and protection of
those in most need. We, the Greens, are not afraid to say that we are fighting
for global solidarity among nations and people. A European Union of citizens is
a current, vital step we can take to reach our goal.
To all those who use the EU as the source of all evil in Britain and elsewhere,
we would reiterate that our principle of humanism does not work a la carte. Our
‘civilisation’ is not in danger by people who profess another God but by those
fellow countrymen and women who think that fear is a solid ground to develop
one’s political clientele.
With the spectre of populism hovering all over Europe, and far-right rhetoric
ramping up, we must stand together to fight for the basic roots of the EU, to
fight for more democracy.
We need policies that take into account citizens’ needs all across the European
Union and not only each state separately. We need tax justice. We need a
framework that would protect our working rights. Only through a united union can
we fight for a basic income. Only in a united union, can we fight for a better
protection of the environment.
We became members of Ecologists Greens because we wanted and still want to
‘change the world’. The vast majority of Greens become Greens for similar
reasons. We Greek Greens need you, English and Welsh Greens, to change the
world! We need to do it together with the other like-minded brothers and sisters
in the European Union and elsewhere.
Unity, our unity based on democracy, solidarity and sustainability, is a
precondition for change. The Green change we all dream of! Let us all stay
focused on the historical responsibility each of us carries.
|| June 20: 2016 ||
I am proud to support Labour’s campaign to keep Britain in Europe. That goes
hand in hand with our determination to put a progressive reform agenda for the
European Union on the table.
Labour has campaigned to make sure our place in Europe has led to better
protection and rights in the workplace, and we will continue to fight for jobs
and security for all the British people.
Labour Believes That Britain is Better off in Europe
It brings us jobs, growth and investment, protects British workers and consumers
and helps keep us safe. Leaving would put that at risk and diminish Britain’s
influence in the world.
Labour is for 'IN': Why
The choice we make on Thursday, June 23 will affect our lives for decades to
come. Leaving Europe would put Britain’s jobs, workers’ rights, the economy and
the NHS at risk, and working people would have less protection from a Tory
Government which has shown it won't stand up for them.
United Kingdom of Humanity In Europe: Self-Assured, Confident,
Open, Engaged, Seeking to Learn and Work for Common Good
|| June 20: 2016 ||
Kingdom of Humanity In Europe: Self-Assured, Confident, Open,
Engaged, Seeking to Learn and Work for Common Good: Always
the Hippocratic Oath: To Do No
Harm: We use this image, because it is a beautiful image that
shows all these wonderful qualities that forms part of our
humanity: Self-Assured, Confident, Open, Engaged, Seeking to
Learn and Work Together for Common Good and Always Remembering
the Hippocratic Oath, even if not all of us are physicians, to
do good and to do no harm.
This BMA-Image is taken from its Annual
Representative Meeting Taking Place in Belfast: June 20-23.
The Humanion states that BMA, as an organisation, has taken a
neutral position on the Question of the European Union
Referendum. And, the people who are on this image, have no
connection or agreement or disagreement to this message that we
are seeking to give out.
The Government is in Denial About the Funding
Crisis Facing the NHS: Dr Mark Porter: BMA
|| June 20: 2016 ||
The leader of the UK’s doctors, Dr Mark Porter,
has said that the government is in denial about
the state of the funding crisis facing the NHS.
Addressing the BMA’s
meeting:ARM:June 20-23: in Belfast,
Dr Porter said that year-on-year funding cuts
have left almost every acute trust in England in
deficit, with trusts facing a deficit of more
than £2bn, a 20-fold increase in two years
Dr Porter highlighted the fact the UK spends
less of a share of its wealth on healthcare than
the EU average and that cuts of £200m to public
health have affected many services locally,
including sexual health services and smoking
This follows a BMA public survey which found
that only a small minority:13 per cent: believe
the government is giving the NHS the money it
needs and that three in four people:75 per cent:
were worried about public health funding:3:.
Highlighting the pressure on NHS services, Dr
Porter pointed out that there are more health
ministers in England than there are major
emergency departments that recently met the
government’s four-hour waiting time target:4:.
In his speech to the BMA’s ARM, Dr Mark Porter,
BMA council chair, said: “…the government is in
denial. The chancellor says he has a ‘fully
funded’ plan for the NHS. But while he announced
£10bn of new money in November, our funding
showed the real increase in health spending is
less than half that. As for the rest, for the
largest part of the unmet need, the plan relies
on what he laughably calls ‘efficiency savings’.
“We’ve seen those before. They are neither
efficient nor are they savings. They are cuts.
Year-on-year cuts to funding that have driven
almost every acute trust in England into
deficit. In total, more than £2bn in deficit, a
20-fold increase in two years. And this
pernicious effect permeates every part of the
United Kingdom. This, from a government which
promised to ‘cut the deficit, not the NHS’, from
a prime minister who assured us that the NHS was
safe in his hands.
“You don’t make an organisation more efficient
by paralysing its ability to invest, to adapt
and to recruit. You don’t make hospitals better
at caring for patients when they are forced to
care more about their financial survival. Here’s
a curious fact. There are more health ministers
in England than there are major emergency
departments that met the four-hour waiting
target. And elective waiting lists are at their
highest in almost 10 years. When those hospitals
look for support, they are told by their
regulator they should cut staff numbers to help
“The Francis report told hospitals that staff
numbers should be based on safe care, not about
meeting financial targets. We know what can
happen when this advice is ignored. Other cuts
are made through a shoddy sleight of hand. The
government said it wouldn’t cut health spending
in real terms. But it took £200m from the public
health budget by saying that promise only
applied to the NHS, having put public health
outside it. “The chancellor says he is cutting
the Department of Health’s ‘Whitehall budget’ as
if he were talking about paper clips.
“We’ve looked into what that budget actually
pays for. A successful smoking cessation service
in the north-east is now under threat. In
Brighton, the council says cuts to sexual health
may lead to increased HIV prevalence. In
Leicestershire, in Somerset, in east London, in
Surrey and in Darlington, we have found similar
stories. You can’t trade a public health policy
for an e-cigarette and crossed fingers.
“Health spending is a political choice, but it’s
a choice from which our government is hiding. We
know that investment in healthcare mitigates
health costs for individuals and improves the
overall quality of life. It supports the
provision of universal access to a comprehensive
healthcare service. If health needs are not met
by public health services, the costs do not
disappear. Instead they have to be borne by the
population as a whole. And yet, our country
spends a smaller share of its national wealth on
healthcare than the European Union average.
“We know what kind of NHS we want for patients.
Now the government needs to make the same
choice. Does it really want to be remembered as
the government where the waits got longer, the
excuses got thinner, and the debts started to
pile up? Or will it finally invest in the health
service it promises – the one our patients
rightly expect? The public no longer believes in
that shiny fiction of a health service that gets
rolled out on budget day and during elections.
An independent survey we commissioned found
almost 80 per cent are worried about the future
of the health service, and three quarters think
the government is fuelling discontent amongst
''Colleagues, we meet here in Belfast at a
crucial moment in our membership of the European
Union. Or, if you’re watching this on repeat,
perhaps at a crucial moment in our membership of
the North American Free Trade Agreement. I hope
you have made your voting arrangements because
the decision that confronts us on Thursday will
have profound consequences for healthcare in the
''We haven’t told BMA members how to vote on
this issue. I, like you, have my personal views,
and I think we can agree, as the BMA in Europe
guide pointed out, on how many ways our lives
are touched by EU membership. We were the first
national medical association to have an office
in Brussels and have lobbied on a wide range of
issues for more than 20 years.''
''Where none of us can be neutral, however, is
in condemning the farcical and fatuous claims
that have been a by-product of the political
campaigns. We’ve warned before about politicians
playing games with the health service. Here we
see game-playing on a truly continental scale.
That promise of billions of pounds of extra NHS
funding if we leave the European Union. It’s
beyond irresponsible. It relies on the
unknowable assumption that the United Kingdom’s
economy will be the same size, and the money
would still be available. It is a promise that
has been proven to be based on fantasy figures,
but it is maintained as a slogan designed to
''And further, do we really believe that some of
the most ardent, fanatical and dogmatic
supporters of austerity are suddenly desperate
to increase public spending if only they had the
chance? That the only thing holding them back
from investing in the people’s health before
now, has been saving it up as a mammoth bribe?
Instead we have a promise, made by senior
politicians, of money they don’t know they can
find, and probably no inclination to spend if
they stumbled across it. The NHS deserves better
than that. It’s not a logo to misuse on a
leaflet or a bus. Worse even than that, there
have been truly unsettling insinuations directed
against tens of thousands of our members, and
the people with whom we live, work and study,
who make the fabric of our NHS and our nation.
It has been implied that those who come to this
country take from us, or threaten us. ‘Close our
borders’ has been the call, keep out the
Europeans and while we’re at it, people from
beyond Europe’s borders, whether seeking refuge
or with much to offer to our society, or both.''
''In one campaign advert, we see a waiting room
in one of our hospitals. It’s calm, half-empty –
the suggestion being that’s what the country
would be like with fewer immigrants. Well, in
that little England, good luck with finding
enough doctors, or enough nurses. Anyone who
attacks the contribution to this country of
people from around the world, attacks us all.
They attack many of us personally, but they
attack every one of us, because the health
service we love would not exist without their
''We are one profession. And that means you, who
trained in India, you, from Pakistan, you, from
Nigeria, from Poland, from Germany, from South
Africa, from every single country that makes the
world’s greatest health service a health service
that the world has built. The health service
would be poorer without you. There might not
even be a health service without you.
Colleagues, our unity makes us strong enough to
fight for the quality of patient care. It allows
us to speak with authority, and to know we will
The British Medical
Association:BMA: BMA is the voice of
doctors and medical students in the UK. It is an
apolitical professional organisation and
independent trade union, representing doctors
and medical students from all branches of
medicine across the UK and supporting them to
deliver the highest standards of care.
In 2015/16 the NHS provider sector reported a
deficit of £2.45 billion, this is £461 million
worse than planned. 157 (65%) out of 240
providers reported a deficit, the majority of
these were acute trusts: https://improvement.nhs.uk/news-alerts/nhs-providers-working-hard-still-under-pressure/.
In 2013/14 the deficit was around £100 million:
Below is a list of cuts to public health
£1.1m cut from quit smoking service
Funding for substance misuse service reduced by
£340k cut to sexual health services budget
Source: West Leicestershire CCG board papers,
Brighton & Hove
£338k cut from substance misuse budget
Funding for in-patient detoxification slashed by
38 per cent.
£115k cut from sexual health service
Source: Brighton & Hove Council, impact
Smoking cessation service axed in 2017
School nursing service decommissioned
Childhood obesity service closed
Public health staff roll halved from 32 to 16
Source: Bromley Council, impact assessment,
School smoking reduction programme cancelled
Diabetes prevention work put on hold
Primary care alcohol intervention contract axed
Source: North Somerset, Public Health Draft
Equality Impact Assessment, January 2016
£600k switched from public health to social care
£540k cut from substance misuse
£200k cut from child public health
Befriending service axed
Quit smoking budget cut by £300k
Source: Merton Council, Public Health Budget
£100k axed from addiction services budget
£375k cut from drug intervention and offender
Staff budget cut by £423k
Source: Delivery of public health budget savings
2016/17, Leeds Council
£105k cut to child weight management programme
Smoking cessation service budget cut and capped.
Nicotine replacement therapy budget wiped out
Source: Gateshead Council budget proposal
papers, February 2016
Stop smoking service axed
Chlamydia screening service for young people
Sexual health prevention for young people
Source: Havering Council briefing note, 10 March
Axing funding to Fresh, an organisation that
co-ordinates quit smoking campaigns across the
Quit smoking cut shrunk from ‘universal’ service
to one focused on ‘priority, and vulnerable,
groups including pregnant women and routine
Disbanding of dedicated drug, alcohol and
Source: Darlington Council budget proposal
papers, February 2016
The survey of 1,240 adults in England was
carried out between 7th and 9th June 2016 by
BritainThinks. The survey data was weighted to
reflect the English population in terms of age,
gender, region and social class. More
information is available here.
In April the BMA published a report in NHS
funding and efficiency savings. The report is
:5: . Only four major emergency
departments (type 1 departments) in England met
the four hour waiting time target in Q4
2015/2016. The NHS England figures are available
here. There are currently six health ministers
Access to Justice Damaged by Changes of Courts and Tribunals
Fees: Justice Committee Report
|| June 20: 2016 ||
Major changes are urgently needed to restore an acceptable level
of access to the employment tribunals system, says the Justice
Committee in its report on recent and proposed changes to fees
for court users in the civil and family courts and tribunals.
The introduction of issue fees and hearing fees for claimants in
employment tribunals in July 2013 has led to a drop of almost
70% in the number of cases brought.
Principle of fees
The Committee has no objection to the principle of charging fees
to court users: it says that some degree of financial risk is an
important discipline for those considering legal action. The
question is what is an acceptable amount to charge, taking into
account the need to preserve access to justice: this will vary
between jurisdictions and different types of cases.
Factors which need to be taken into account include the
effectiveness of fee remission, the vulnerability of claimants
and their means in comparison with respondents, which may pose
particular problems of inequality of arms when individuals or
small businesses are seeking to uphold their rights against the
state or major companies – and the degree of choice which
litigants have in whether to use the courts to resolve their
cases and achieve justice. The report argues that there should
be a clear and justifiable relationship in the fee system
between these factors and the degree of financial risk that
litigants should be asked to bear.
The Committee concluded that the introduction of fees set at a
level to recover or exceed the full cost of operation of the
court requires particular care and strong justification.
Committee Chair Bob Neill MP said: "Where there is conflict
between the objectives of achieving full cost recovery and
preserving access to justice, the latter must prevail."
The report raises serious concerns about the quality of the
Ministry's research (see para 49). It shares the view expressed
by the senior judiciary and some others who gave evidence that
it does not provide a sufficient basis to justify the proposals.
Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, described it as "lamentable".
The Chair of the Bar Council described the research undertaken
in relation to the domestic effects of fees as "insignificant"
and the President of the Law Society said it was "poor."
Bob Neill added: "We understand the financial pressures on
Ministers in a Department with unprotected spending. We also
understand that the MoJ does not always have the luxury to be as
rigorous and meticulous in preparing the ground for
controversial policies as it might wish. But it is important
that in such circumstances the Ministry is frank about that fact
and does not represent the quality of its evidence base to be
higher than it is."
Employment tribunal fees
There has been a lengthy delay in the publication of the
Government's post-implementation review of the impact of
employment tribunal fees, which aims to assess their effect
against the three main objectives of transferring some of the
cost away from the taxpayer and towards those who can afford to
pay; encouraging parties to seek alternative methods of dispute
resolution; and maintaining access to justice.
In addition the Government has said that fees are likely to
discourage weak and vexatious claims, and this aim received
support in evidence to the Committee from the Federation of
Small Businesses and Peninsula Business Services. The Committee
says that this is a reasonable objective, but notes the comments
of the Senior President of Tribunals that it is too soon to say
whether this has happened.
The Committee finds it unacceptable that the Government has not
reported the results of its review one year after it began and
six months after it said it would be completed.
The number of employment tribunal cases brought by single
individuals declined by about 67% to around 4,500 per quarter
from October 2014 to June 2015, and the number of cases brought
by more than one person (multiple claims) declined by 72% from
1500 per quarter in the year to June 2014 to around 400 per
quarter since October 2013.
Statistics provided by the TUC and Unison comparing cases
brought in the first three months of 2013 and 2015 showed the
following reductions in the number of cases for the most common
types of claims: Working Time Directive, down 78%; unauthorised
deductions from wages, down 56%; unfair dismissal, down 72%;
equal pay, down 58%; breach of contract, down 75%, and sex
discrimination, down 68%. The Discrimination Law Association
argued that reduced access to tribunals had fallen
disproportionately on women and those from traditionally
disadvantaged groups. Rosalind Bragg of Maternity Action said
that since fees had been introduced there had been a 40% drop in
claims for pregnancy-related detriment or dismissal.
Bob Neill added: "The Ministry of Justice has argued that
changes to employment law and the improving economic situation,
as well as the pre-existing downward trend in the number of
employment tribunal cases being brought, may account for part of
the reduction in the number of cases. These may indeed be facts
but the timing and scale of the reduction following immediately
from the introduction of fees can leave no doubt that the clear
majority of the decline is attributable to fees."
The Committee recommends that the Government should publish
immediately the factual information which they have collated as
part of their post implementation review of employment tribunal
fees. The Committee says that without this information having
been made available to it, its recommendations in relation to
employment tribunal fees should be taken as indicating options
for achieving the overall magnitude of change necessary to
restore an acceptable level of access to justice to the
employment tribunals system.
These recommendations include: a substantial reduction in the
overall quantum of fees; replacement of the binary Type A/Type B
categorisation of claims according to complexity; an increase in
disposable capital and monthly income thresholds for fee
remission; and further special consideration of the position of
women alleging maternity or pregnancy discrimination, for whom,
at the least, the time limit of three months for bringing a
claim should be reviewed.
Other court and tribunal fees
On matters other than employment tribunal fees, the Committee's
conclusions and recommendations include:
The Government should review the impact of the April 2015
increase in fees for money claims on the international
competitiveness of London as a litigation centre, and should not
resurrect its proposal to double the £10,000 cap or remove it
altogether, unless such a review has been undertaken
The increase in the divorce petition fee, from £410 to £550,
should be rescinded
It is unwise for the Government to have brought forward
proposals for fees set at a level to achieve full cost recovery
in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber before having published
its review of the impact of implementation of employment
A pilot scheme should be set up of a system in which there is a
graduated or sequential system of fee payments whenever there
are substantial fees payable in total in respect of a case in
the civil of family courts or tribunals, allied with the
requirement for the respondent to pay a fee
The Ministry of Justice should take up the Law Society's
suggestion that it should introduce a system for regular
rerating of remission thresholds to take account of inflation,
and that it should conduct a further review of the affordability
of civil court fees and the remission system, considering means
of simplification, for example through automatic remission for
all basic rate taxpayers.
Ageing Workforce Presents a New challenge for Businesses
Facing Skills Gaps: Open University
Steve Hill: Director of External Engagement: Open
|| June 20: 2016 ||
policy event in London tomorrow will draw attention to a growing
challenge faced by business leaders as the UK workforce
continues to age. Now, 9.4 million people in employment in the
UK are over the age of 50, equivalent to over 30 per cent of the
workforce:1:. Tomorrow’s conference, The Ageing Workforce in the
UK, will explore what steps need to be taken in order to adapt
to this demographic shift. The Open University is advising that,
with employees staying in work longer, business leaders need to
ensure that workers have the right access to education and the
skills to remain competitive and productive at all stages of
The Government’s 2016 Working Futures report reveals that the
total number of jobs in the UK is expected to rise by 1.8
million between 2014 and 2024. Yet the working age
population:16-64: is expected to increase by half this amount,
as fewer young people enter the workforce:2:. It is clear that
members of the existing workforce need to be equipped with the
relevant skills needed for a changing work environment.
Steve Hill, Director of External Engagement at The Open
University, comments: “The increasing age of Europe’s population
and workforce has become a major policy focus, both in the UK
and at a European level, over the past few years. Just last week
we saw the Universities and Science Minister talk of the
importance of life-long learning, and businesses need to
recognise the value in investing in their current workforce.
It’s a mistake to think we can resolve skills shortages simply
through new employees entering the workforce, as the numbers
just don’t match up.
“Lifelong learning, in particular, has the potential to play a
key role in helping current workers remain productive in the
labour market for longer, by ensuring that their skills and
knowledge are relevant and aligned with employer demand. At the
OU, 88 per cent of our students say that their career benefited
from the skills and knowledge they gain on a course.”
Steve continues: “Businesses can benefit tremendously from the
knowledge and experience of their existing employees. Upskilling
these individuals ensures that corporate memory remains within
the company, whilst also keeping the business relevant and
employees engaged. This is particularly true in areas where
skill requirements are changing quickly, such as digital
technologies and cyber security. Continuous work-based learning
allows employers to continue to benefit from their employees’
input into the business, whilst employees benefit from a boost
to their skills.”
Open University: The Open University:OU: is the largest academic
institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance
learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than
1.8 million students and has almost 200,000 current students,
including more than 15,000 overseas. The OU regularly supports
over 2,400 organisations, including KMPG, Hay Group and the NHS,
delivering flexible learning solutions at scale to address
skills shortages and develop high performing workforces. Four
out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU
courses. With a global reach and as the UK’s leader in part time
education, with 76 per cent of OU’s current students studying
whilst working full or part time, the OU is well equipped to
deliver consistent learning at scale to dispersed workforces. In
the latest assessment exercise for university research (Research
Excellence Framework), nearly three quarters (72%) of The Open
University’s research was assessed as 4 or 3 star – the highest
ratings available – and awarded to research that is
world-leading or internationally excellent. The Open University
is unique among UK universities having both an access mission
and demonstrating research excellence. Regarded as Britain’s
major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in
developing technology to increase access to education on a
global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free
study units on OpenLearn, which received 5.2million unique
visitors in 2012/13, and materials on iTunes U, which has
recorded more than 66 million downloads.
Britain Isn’t 'Skilled' Enough to Leave the European Union: Says
Engineering Recruitment Specialist
James Turnpenny: Team Manager for Engineering
at JAM Recruitment
|| June 20: 2016 ||
the much discussed EU Referendum now less than a week away, many
among us will still be weighing up the pros and cons of a future
as part of the European Union. James Turnpenny, Team Manager for
Engineering at JAM Recruitment, comments on the implications a
potential Brexit could have on the engineering jobs market.
The implications that would arise from the UK leaving the
European Union are vast and wide ranging, with an impact
expected to be seen across a whole host of areas, we’ve all
heard of the changes that a break away will have on topics such
as the economy and immigration, however a decision to leave
could lead to the UK suffering from an even greater skills
shortage. It’s already been reported that the UK will need over
a million new engineers and technicians by 2020 in order to
tackle the skills crisis
Put simply, the UK doesn’t currently have the required levels of
trained workers within the engineering industry to leave the EU.
Across many industries we’re in a similar position as we find
ourselves in with engineering. Within the sector, there is
currently a war for talent, as we’re not in a position where we
have the trained home-grown workforce that would allow us to
continue operating at a level the industry requires. The much
publicised current skills shortage means we’re increasingly
looking to other nations to source workers who posses the
required skillset to fill roles. Presently, a high proportion of
students enrolled in engineering courses:2:
are overseas students meaning that once they’re qualified they
may decide, or be forced, to return home – a victory for the
‘Yes’ campaign would certainly have an impact on the number of
skilled workers in the UK.
JAM: Established in 2000, JAM is a fast growing and innovative
recruitment consultancy based Manchester. JAM’s specialist
knowledge and cutting edge technology helps them to provide
clients with high calibre candidates. Over the past 16 years JAM
has become the recruitment partner of choice through developing
a network of six million candidates and placing over 12,000
professionals into core sectors. In 2015 JAM was named London
Stock Exchange '1000 Companies to Inspire Britain' report. A
celebration of the UK's fastest-growing and most dynamic small
and medium sized businesses.
Universe of Engineering – a call to action, The Royal Academy of
Engineering, October 2014
:2: The REC Guide, REC Engineering, 2015
BMA Leader Dr Mark Porter Condemns ‘Farcical and Fatuous’
Claims About NHS During EU Referendum Campaign: BMA Annual
Representative Meeting in Belfast: June 20-23
|| June 20: 2016 ||
The leader of the UK’s doctors, Dr Mark Porter, will
today accuse politicians of making ‘farcical and fatuous claims’
about the NHS during the EU referendum campaign. While the BMA
has adopted a neutral position on the EU referendum, in his
keynote speech to the BMA’s annual representative meeting:ARM:
taking place this year in Belfast, BMA council chair, Dr Porter,
will say that no one could remain neutral in condemning claims
that the NHS would receive billions of pounds of extra funding
were the UK to vote to leave the EU.
Dr Porter will also strongly condemn the language used around
immigration during the campaign. He will say that health service
would not exist in the way it does without the contribution of
tens of thousands of doctors who have come from overseas to work
in the NHS.
Farcical and fatuous” claims about the NHS
Referring to claims about additional funding for the NHS in the
event the UK votes to leave the EU, Dr Mark Porter, BMA council
chair, will say: “Colleagues, we meet here in Belfast at a
crucial moment in our membership of the European Union.....
I hope you have made your voting arrangements because the
decision that confronts us on Thursday will have profound
consequences for healthcare in the United Kingdom.
We haven’t told BMA members how to vote on this issue. I, like
you, have my personal views, and I think we can agree, as the
BMA in Europe guide pointed out, on how many ways our lives are
touched by EU membership. We were the first national medical
association to have an office in Brussels and have lobbied on a
wide range of issues for more than 20 years.
Where none of us can be neutral, however, is in condemning the
farcical and fatuous claims that have been a by-product of the
political campaigns. We’ve warned before about politicians
playing games with the health service. Here we see game-playing
on a truly continental scale.
|| May 29: 2016 ||
Annual Representative Meeting:ARM of the British Medical Association will take
place at the Belfast Waterfront Hall, 2 Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3WH from
Monday, June 20 to Thursday, June 23, 2016.
Key debates and issues on the ARM agenda include, subject to change:
Monday, June 20: Keynote Speech: Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair: 09.40-10.00
That promise of billions of pounds of extra NHS funding if we
leave the European Union.
“It’s beyond irresponsible. It relies on the unknowable
assumption that the United Kingdom’s economy will be the same
size, and the money would still be available. It is a promise
that has been proven to be based on fantasy figures, but it is
maintained as a slogan designed to deceive.
“And further, do we really believe that some of the most ardent,
fanatical and dogmatic supporters of austerity are suddenly
desperate to increase public spending if only they had the
chance? That the only thing holding them back from investing in
the people’s health before now, has been saving it up as a
“Instead, we have a promise, made by senior politicians, of
money they don’t know they can find, and probably no inclination
to spend if they stumbled across it. The NHS deserves better
than that. It’s not a logo to misuse on a leaflet or a bus.”
Referring to the language used around immigration during the
campaign, Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, will say: “ …there
have been truly unsettling insinuations directed against tens of
thousands of our members, and the people with whom we live, work
and study, who make the fabric of our NHS and our nation.
It has been implied that those who come to this country take
from us, or threaten us. ‘Close our borders’ has been the call,
keep out the Europeans and while we’re at it, people from beyond
Europe’s borders, whether seeking refuge or with much to offer
to our society, or both.
In one campaign advert, we see a waiting room in one of our
hospitals. It’s calm, half-empty, the suggestion being that’s
what the country would be like with fewer immigrants. Well, in
that little England, good luck with finding enough doctors, or
Anyone who attacks the contribution to this country of people
from around the world, attacks us all. They attack many of us
personally, but they attack every one of us, because the health
service we love would not exist without their contribution.
We are one profession. And that means you, who trained in India,
you, from Pakistan, you, from Nigeria, from Poland, from
Germany, from South Africa, from every single country that makes
the world’s greatest health service a health service that the
world has built. The health service would be poorer without you.
There might not even be a health service without you.”
The British Medical Association:BMA: BMA is the voice of doctors
and medical students in the UK. We are an apolitical
professional organisation and independent trade union,
representing doctors and medical students from all branches of
medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the
highest standards of care.
Dr Mark Porter will deliver his keynote speech to the BMA’s
annual representative meeting:ARM: at 09:40 on Monday,
June 20. The BMA has adopted a neutral position on the EU
referendum and has produced a briefing paper which is available
Inflight call audience in Poland: Released 15.04.2016 4:27 pm: Copyright ESERO Poland
||June 19, 2016||The Humanion reposts this
story, which was originally posted on April 18, 2016 in the
Europe Section. The United Kingdom of Humanity in Europe: This
is the Family of the European Union and see how wonderfully it
all shows a symphonic piece of work created by human endeavours
and see where and how the UK is: at the very middle of it and
how we all are connected to the world and world's humanity.
Think of ISS, think of Journey to Mars, think of the Moon
Village being planned by ESA, think of the ESA and NASA and the
rest of the 'capillaries' of space exploration agencies across
the 'blood' of humanity from China to Japan, from Indonesia to
India, from United Arab Emirates to Australia, from Israel to to
Argentina, from Russia to Chile.
||April 17, 2016|| On Thursday April 14, teachers from the UK, Poland, and Norway, had the opportunity to talk live with ESA Astronaut Tim Peake, who is currently living and working on the International Space Station:ISS.
Hundreds of primary and secondary school teachers and students, as well as space scientists and engineers, gathered at national events in York, Warsaw, and Oslo to participate in the call with Tim, the opportunity of a lifetime. Several teachers had the opportunity to ask questions surrounding the theme: how to encourage students in the classroom to pursue a STEM career.
“To experience the IFC with Tim Peake was beyond fascinating and inspirational. It also motivates me to let my students experience this fascination, and show them that by heaving the willpower, dreams and dedication, only your imagination can limit your achievements.” - Kristin B. Grimstad, Norwegian Student Teacher.
“I am very much impressed by the event organised for the inflight call with Tim Peake. Wholehearted congratulations! Three times –bravo! Great job! Many thanks for giving us an opportunity to participate. Our students were amazed, and that’s even more important than my [teacher’s] opinion.” said Tymon Kretschmer, Polish teacher.
“Tim is a fantastic ambassador for education. The videos he puts out makes it very real for the children and seeing him on the ISS has been incredible. I have a girl in my class who has decided she now wants to be a space engineer.” Gareth Dyer, British Teacher.
In particular, Tim answered the following questions:
Which skills or experiences have unexpectedly proven most useful to you in space?: Tom Holloway, Hillcroft Primary School
What training have you received to support the development of your creative thinking and problem solving skills?:Karen Hammond, Mellor Primary
Is the career of an astronaut your passion? What other passions do you have?:Radosław Siembor, Primary School no 94
Which results from an experiment on the ISS have proven to be the most surprising to you and what type of skills do you use when conducting this experiment?:Wanda Cacha, Sopockie Autonomiczne Gimnazjum
Can you remember the first time you noticed that you had an interest in space and how did this have an influence on your career?:Wenche Hjemaas Svindal, Bjørkelangen School Oslo
If you had the opportunity to start your education again, would you have done anything differently? Why or why not?:Simen Bergvik, Andenes School
Watch the recording of the live-streamed inflight call here.
Tim Peake IFC_ESERO NO: Released 15.04.2016 4:24 pm: Copyright Norwegian Space Center
About the events
The events in each country were coordinated by the European Space Education Resource Offices:ESERO: ESERO UK, ESERO Poland, and Nordic ESERO:the latter covering Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland:
UK event:National STEM Centre,York
Poland event: Copernicus Science Centre, Warsaw
Norway event:Teknisk Museum,Oslo
In addition to the inflight call, the national events featured a range of activities including talks from experts, networking, and interactive activities for the teachers throughout the day.
ESERO Ireland also organised a dedicated teacher event in Limerick around this occasion and participated in the call remotely.
The inflight call with Tim Peake is part of a vast range of educational activities delivered by the ESA ESERO project. There are currently 10 operational ESERO Offices across Europe, covering 13 ESA Member States.
Together with ESA and national space agencies, ESERO Offices develop, use, and disseminate classroom resources -all tailored to the national curricula- which make use of space to make teaching and learning of STEM subjects more appealing and effective. In addition, they offer a series of training workshops and conferences for both primary and secondary school teachers, and support hands-on activities in the country. Through their activities, ESERO’s highlight the importance of space for society and raise awareness about STEM career prospects.
|| June 18: 2016 ||
Peake with his Crewmates has arrived back on Earth safe
and sound today. At the moment the astronauts are going through the routine
'readjustment', getting used to being back on earth which requires a little
getting used to, to the usual habits of living on earth and her gravity, fresh
air, sun, noise, open space, weather and people etc.
He will soon be heading home. He, however, as do the other astronauts, looks in
god health and spirit.
The Humanion Magic-Power June 19 Declaration: Call to All the Democratic,
Secular, Humanistic and Progressive Political Parties of the UK to Achieve
Gender Equality in All the UK Parliaments Overnight
|| June 19: 2016 ||
Opinion Fascism, the Brewing and Orchestrating of Mob Anger-Culture,
the Shortfall of Substantiation of Opinions and General Abusive, Aggressive,
Violent and Entrenched Hostile Attitude that have become pervasive in
social, political and cultural spheres of society: We Must Stand Against It and
Demand That None of This is Acceptable. Everyone is Entitled to Their Own
Opinion, But Like It, Everyone Else is Entitled to Get Those Opinions
Substantiated: Let Us Demonstrate: A says: These MPs at the House of Commons are
Corrupt. Now the Rest of the Country Listening to This Must Demand That A
Provides Evidence to Substantiate This Opinion That All MPs at the House of
Commons are Corrupt.
If A Does Not Have Any Evidence, It Does Not Matter, Who or What She:He is,
She:He Has No Claim to That Right to Proclaim Such an Inherently Gross and
Untrue Allegation. No One Can Stop A to Express Such a Baseless Opinion in a
Democratic Society, Nor Should There Be Any Barrier to That: But Those Who are
in the Business of Politics, Public Affairs Management, in the Media and All
Other Important Fields and Arenas of Life Must Take This Standard of
Substantiation Seriously and Commit to Adhere to It at All Times.
It Does Not Matter When, Where, What Fields, Areas or Arenas
They are Expressing Such Opinions They Must Formulate and Express Those Opinions
Which are and Can Be Substantiated. They must not do so without that
substantiation. Just because, say for instance, someone is some Politician of
some position, She:He does not have a 'divine' right to express any opinion
without this test of substantiation.
Imagine, The Guardian begins to publish stories that are
absolutely false, unsubstantiated and without any basis whatsoever; or the BBC
or the ITV or The Washington Post or The Herald Tribune or El Mundo, or Le Monde,
or India Times or Tokyo Chronicle or the Researchers at the University of Oxford
or Princeton or some other institutions, begin to publish so called 'research'
without any basis, any evidence, any substantiation, any validity or base?
Imagine, the GPs started telling their patients: don't drink water; it has no
taste! Imagine, nurses started telling an HIV Positive patient that they can
miss taking their medication 'every now and than'! Imagine, the Consultant,
treating the child who would die if she goes into sunlight that is is okay to
open the curtain to have 'just a peek' at the sun once! Or a therapist
saying to a client, feeling suicidal is 'normal'; everyone does that!
Would that be acceptable to Society? To us? The answer is
clear. If it is unacceptable from the Consultant Neurologist, if it is so from
the Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, from The Speaker of the House
of Commons, from the Editor of The Guardian or The Times or the ITV than why is
it acceptable in the case of A? This culture of shortfall of evidence and
substantiation must be fought and a culture of demanding that yardstick of
evidence and substantiation must be demanded to be applied to all equally. And
this must be promoted and must be adhered to at all times, at all fields, areas
and arenas of life: most importantly, in the fields of politics, public affairs
management, the press and media and in all spheres of cultural life.
Just because, say, someone is on the so called social media,
does not, should not, must not mean, that this offers or gives her:him any extra
'rights, powers or privileges' that offer any exception to this principle and
yardstick of evidence and substantiation because it is not acceptable for a
Consultant using that social media to express unsubstantiated opinions so long
she:he claims to be a Consultant or a Police Chief, or a Director of Social
Services or a Professor or an MP or a Teacher. And If it is not acceptable from
any of these people in professional positions than it must not be acceptable
from A, B, C etc.
And here, we would like to speak of the astonishing,
unbelievable, almost inhuman amount and level of workloads, impossibly unsocial
and absolutely anti-family working hours and the nature of the job, being almost
24-7, the MPs at the two British Houses of Parliament, do! It is unparallel and
something that the entire world aspires to. Yet, it seems like these very people
are subject to: opinion fascism, hostility, anger, wrath and contempt and a
sense that the job of the public is to simply throw mud at them and most
horrible of all is this: that for the members of the public, the media outlets,
any individual or group to do so is okay, is acceptable! Keeping public
representatives under scrutiny does not mean we have to show:
opinion fascism, hostility, anger, wrath, violence, fury, hatred and contempt
and throw mud at them.
The Audit Office does a thankless, tiresome, absolutely and terribly 'boring'
job: yet what a fundamental, vital and profound job it is that it does for
without it there is hardly going to a democracy that is transparent and
accountable. Yet does the Audit Office show any of this:
opinion fascism, hostility, anger, wrath, violence, fury, hatred and contempt
and throw mud towards the Government Agencies, Ministers and Secretaries, MPs
and Lords and whoever is spending public money? No, it does not, it cannot do
its job if if did express and show all this. And if if did: it would fail in its
job: for it must be judicious, methodical, evidence based and it must apply a
judicious, mathematical and scientific outlook, approach and attitude without
prejudice and favour and assess, analyse, weigh and judge everything by a set of
criteria. The same goes to The Office for National Statistics: ONS.
The job these MPs do, even if, the pay is multiplied by a
million fold, I simply would not be persuaded to go for becoming an MP! Goodness
me! Let's look at this MP: She gets up at five o'clock in the morning while her
husband and children are still asleep. She finds hardly any time to have a
decent breakfast. She dashes out. By half past eight, she is outside Westminster
Station. On her way, she carried few KGs weights of Reports, Studies, Letters
and Even Messages and Cards and she does not dare to breathe bust seeks to read
as fast as she could. When she stands outside the station: she breathes onto the
long day that does not end, often until midnight, some times, it goes onto the
early mornings. The best days would be when she might leave by 22:30!
And when she goes home she finds her husband minding the
silence, reading to his lot of things that he needs to read while the children
sleep! What time does she go home? How many hours she has to sleep?
Because she has to get up a 05:00? And in that mad work practices she has to
mind, often two constituency offices, see and listen to constituents, deal with
their problems, write for them, make phone calls, respond to letters and emails.
And when at the office, she finds facing with endless flow of
written messages, voice messages, hundreds, if not in their thousands, emails
that she must respond to, and tonnes, of what is called 'papers' in the name of
reports, studies, whitepapers, greenpapers, commission reports, this and that
and then the existing bills that are going through the parliament, her works
because she is member to some select committees and the list goes on!
If you see her getting onto a black cab, you could see some
of these papers are bulging out of her bag and she is holding a paper literally
between her teeth, and on in her left hand and with the right she opens the door
and literally falls down on the seat and begins reading as if this woman is in a
mad world! Once, I saw Dianne Abbott MP, walking away from the House, on
Westminster Bridge few years ago and looking at, her my soul broke with
compassion and humanity for she looked utterly absolutely beyond exhaustion! She
was walking literally as if she simply would want collapse!
I bow to the MPs and the Lords with absolute gratitude,
thankfulness and unending degree of admiration as to what and how they do their
job and no on can find a parallel to this dedication in the world: this we say
without any prejudice or disrespect to the other Parliaments of the World. If
you want to look and see, just take a random Select Committee Report from any
House and look through it and you would see what amount of time, listening,
reading, studying, analysing, debating and discussing and formulating had gone
onto that Report which was produced by the members of the Select Committee who
are MPs or Members of the Lords.
Take a Look at This Report: Energy and Climate Change
Committee Report: The UK Low Carbon Network Infrastructure: Item
Follows This Piece
Yet, it is 'Open Season' for the media and the public to
simply use 'clichés' and go about 'battering' them, showing and brewing
cynicism, anger, hostility and an absolutely poor taste. And in cases, abuse,
harassment, intimidation, threats and violence take place against MPs.
This is not something healthy, conducive to public good nor can it be good for
fostering a culture of tolerance and sense of gratitude, sense of decency and
civility towards the members of our houses for you can not find any better
public servants than these astonishing people serving the nation.
'Corruption': And here is the same problem: substantiation:
in order to claim 'corruption' is taking place, one must have evidence that such
act of corrupt practices are taking place. No one must, willy-nilly, claim that
this or that is corrupt. It is not acceptable. There is an Audit Office, that
looks at every penny that is spent by any and all public bodies in the UK and
the Houses themselves scrutinise all that including the works of the Audit
Office itself. The Government must produce a Whole Government Account every year
before the Parliament and in that process the Audit Office has already audited
that account and that is presented before the Parliament Account:WGA: whcih the
House Members would go through literally like they are looking for the needles
in the haystack! This is what happens in real life, here, at these Houses of
Parliament but neither the public nor the media wants to see, acknowledge and
celebrate this great, tireless, thankless, tiresome and even 'boring' works that
carry on watering the 'plant' of British democracy.
The Parliament itself: there are rules, laws and protocols
that are adhered to. The scandal that had broken out over the recent past years
was more to do with the mess made by those very rules, laws and protocols that
did not help anything.
In fact, in our judgement, the salaries of the MPs should be
much, much higher than what it is, even today. There simply should be a salary
and noting else: and that salary should determine and remunerate everything an
MP must pay for in order to live a 'normal' life. And they should have a
'clearly designed' pension scheme.That would ensure there is nothing else but
this simple monthly salaries and pensions scheme. Simple, clear and transparent.
In the current culture that we have mentioned already is not
at all encouraging to get talented individuals, particularly, women, people with
disabilities and from minority communities and groups into politics and on the
road to become parliamentarians. This destroys the prospect of the quality and
standard of the work the Houses were meant to do and that is the highest cost to
the country and the nation.
Furthermore, the MPs' nature of works, the long long long
working days and weekes, the inhumane level of workloads, work directly against
a decent, healthy work-life and family, social and cultural life. If anything,
these MPs would have a prima facie case under the Human Rights Laws! And this is
one of the reason why we have such a poor representation of women in the
Commons! And doing all this, these MPs are fathers, mothers, grandfathers and
grandmothers! How do they do it, please, wonder.
What needs to happen is a debate about how to change this and
here we put forward this idea for people to wonder about. In this we seek to
reform the system of representation in a way and that applies to the entire
country including all the 'devolved' authorities. That, instead of one MP
representing a constituency, we have two MPs being elected to do the same, who
would do the work as a team in a spirit of almost like Job-share. And this way,
they would have less things to do but more hands, more time and minds to do them
with. They both work 'the normal full time ' hours, say, between 40 and 50 a
week. This way the workloads of one MPs is divided and shared between two MPs.
How do the MPs vote? They vote as now as individual MPs.
Furthermore, this will bring an instant achievement of gender
equality at all the parliaments and assemblies of the UK if we ensure that
whoever or whatever political party is putting up candidates to that
dual-MP-seat puts up a man and a woman candidates as a team together. So that
they are elected together to form a team of MPs who would work together to
represent their constituents!
Because, in our judgement, this current practice, system and
culture of MPs working till falling 'dead on the floor' are unsustainable,
unacceptable, unhealthy, anti-social, anti-family, anti-children, anti-women,
particularly, those who have young family, anti-disability and it is beyond
rational: for these MPs simply cannot say that they enjoy a family life for
where is that time for them to enjoy their family or life for that matter? And
because of that we have seen high profile MPs have fallen victims of various
Further to this: the way we are, only the 'tooth fairy' would
know by when we shall reach the gender equality at these houses! If we adopt the
Team-MP model we achieve that all elusive Gender Equality in all our Parliaments
and Assemblies in one election, overnight and we do it not only for the Houses
of Parliament but for all the other parliaments and assemblies so that
instantly, after just one election the entire United Kingdom becomes a beacon to
the world's school of parliaments to see how to achieve gender equality, almost,
as if we have 'magic'.
And to end the way the MPs are forced to do such astounding
level and degree of impossible workloads in the UK and we include all the other
members of the other assemblies and parliament of the UK and these astonishing
people, men and women, pay the highest price: which is being almost excluded
from a decent family life: the sufferers of that are their own health and well
being, their children and loved ones. The husband or partner or the wife who is
not the MP is at the receiving end of that 'hardship'. This cannot be healthy
So, The Humanion leaves this proposal to all the Political
Parties: the Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberals, the Greens and all the
other political parties in all of the UK to think about. It is within your
power, within your reach to achieve a Revolution not just for the UK but for the
entire World. This has the potential to offer us that 'magic' power to overnight
achieve gender equality in the UK and it will begin a revolution in the World
where other Parliaments would like to follow what the UK has done and achieved.
Whoever is reading this piece, please, tell your friends, who are involved in
politics, tell your party members, tell your MPs, tell your leaders, tell your
councillors and council leaders about this piece.
Same invites go out to all the agencies, institutions,
organisations, charities, think tanks, arts-cultural-social entities that
are working to promote gender equality to tell people about this proposal.
Those who say this would cost too much: we simply say, the
highest investment a nation can make is to invest in its 'Mother-Infrastructure'
of how it is governed for this determines the current and future quality of that
nation and 'amount' of money is not a question that should deter a nation from
investing in creating that Mother-Infrastructure. Most importantly, at least ,
in the Political Sphere of Life, this establishes gender equality overnight,
almost as if we have the 'Magic-Power'. No amount of money could and should
stand against the argument to achieve this all elusive goal?
This has the potential to give us that 'Magic-Power' not only
to change the UK forever but also to change the entire world forever and for
good for then we do not have to follow hollow initiatives to achieve gender
equality, because this achieves it, at least , in the political and public
affairs management sphere, overnight and it will be achieved overnight by houses
across the globe enacting laws into their statute books.
Energy and Climate Change Committee Report: The UK Low Carbon
|| June 17: 2016 ||
ά. The House of
Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee has published its Report on the UK
Low Carbon Network Infrastructure. The Repost says, in its summary that
Networks are at the heart of the UK’s low carbon ambition. Our inquiry into low
carbon network infrastructure has identified that they face three interwoven
challenges. Firstly, new energy sources, in electricity, gas, and heat, need
connections to, and consequent reinforcement of, the grid. Secondly, some of
these sources are variable in output, such as wind and solar electricity: system
operators must, therefore, employ new tools to balance supply and demand. And
thirdly, networks’ efforts to overcome these obstacles must not be impeded by
outdated and inflexible regulation and governance. Significant infrastructural
development is needed, but incurs considerable expense of both time and money.
Deployment of new technologies is crucial to achieving these goals while
Summary of the Report
Networks are at the heart of the UK’s low carbon ambition. Our
inquiry into low carbon network infrastructure has identified
that they face three interwoven challenges. Firstly, new energy
sources—in electricity, gas, and heat—need connections to, and
consequent reinforcement of, the grid. Secondly, some of these
sources are variable in output, such as wind and solar
electricity: system operators must therefore employ new tools to
balance supply and demand. And thirdly, networks’ efforts to
overcome these obstacles must not be impeded by outdated and
inflexible regulation and governance. Significant
infrastructural development is needed, but incurs considerable
expense of both time and money. Deployment of new technologies
is crucial to achieving these goals while controlling cost.
The recent rise of new connection requests is astounding. For
example, the UK’s installed solar capacity is approaching levels
previously expected by 2030, stacking pressure on regional
distribution networks. There is a need for better integration of
connection and planning-consent processes. More forward-looking
investment by network companies may also be helpful in reversing
the slowdown in connections, but Ofgem must assess the best way
of recovering costs for such investment.
Connection costs remain geographically skewed. Ofgem should
assess the costs and benefits of levelling connection costs
across Great Britain. Network charges incurred by consumers also
vary considerably by location. Moreover, transmission charges
for generators in the UK remain high by EU standards. The
Government must investigate the disadvantage UK generators may
consequently face against other European generators as Great
Britain becomes more interconnected.
The UK’s gas grid must adjust to unorthodox cleaner fuels. To
assist this transition, Ofgem should assess safe levels for
injection of green gases into the current network and the
Government should set targets for their deployment. We welcome
the Government’s ambitious target for district-heating networks,
which are an alternative approach to the electricity and gas
networks in providing heat. However, district heating needs a
regulatory framework to encourage investment and complement
existing voluntary schemes in safeguarding consumers.
Networks have a number of tools to balance variable energy
Storage technologies, from enormous hydroelectric reservoirs to
household batteries, can store electricity at times of peak for
use at times of need. However, the deployment of storage is
obstructed by archaic regulation and unfair ‘double-charging’,
both of which the Government must address urgently.
Demand Side Response could empower consumers large and small to manage their
energy use in line with system-wide need, but a more detailed Government
strategy is needed to help this solution reach its full potential.
Greater interconnection with European neighbours will improve the UK’s ability
to meet peak demand, though we note that Great Britain is likely to remain a net
importer of electricity.
These challenges can only be met within an appropriate governance, regulatory
and operational framework. Network companies have generous allowances for
early-stage testing of the technological solutions they need, but the UK
struggles to bring these innovations into commercial reality. More and more
electricity generation occurs at the regional distribution, rather than national
transmission level, but Distribution Network Operators remain somewhat blind to
their energy flows and passive in managing them. There must be a transition to
fully-functional Distribution System Operators which balance and control their
local grids. At transmission level, we recommend creating an Independent System
Operator:ISO. The Government must set out its intentions regarding an ISO, and
consult on a detailed, staged plan for their implementation.
Networks are transforming. We recognise that this presents challenges for the
Government but it has been slow to present a clear, holistic plan for the
evolution networks need. It seems instead to have disconnected policy ideas at
various stages of implementation. We are concerned that the roll-out of smart
meters is not progressing quickly enough to achieve the necessary mass to truly
create a smart energy network.
Our central message to the Government is that it must address the network system
as a whole, learn lessons from policy lags in the key areas we outline, and
develop its change readiness so as to meet the ambition of low carbon network
Conclusions and recommendations
1. We call on the Government to establish a cross-departmental working group to
investigate and report on improving the integration of the connection and
planning-consent processes in England. This investigation should include an
assessment of mechanisms—such as heat maps and centralised, standardised
connection applications—that could simplify these processes and better inform
generators about them: Paragraph 17
2. We support anticipatory investment in principle: it is likely to improve
networks’ speed at connecting distributed generation. However, it also bears the
risk of creating stranded assets at bill-payer expense. Anticipatory investment
must therefore be accompanied by up-to-date modelling to minimise this risk.
3. Ofgem should carry out further impact assessment on systems of cost recovery
for anticipatory investment; this should include analysis of who bears the costs
of stranded assets, so that relevant decision-makers are properly incentivised
to avoid them: Paragraph 23
Network charges and connnection costs
4. Cost-reflective charging should account for the reality that many
renewable-energy sources are location-specific and distant from demand sources,
particularly as UK transmission charges remain high by EU standards. DECC should
investigate the disadvantage UK generators may consequently face against other
European generators as Great Britain becomes more interconnected, and the impact
this may have on development of domestic renewable generation. (Paragraph 31)
5. Ofgem should analyse the costs and benefits of levelling connection costs
across Great Britain: (Paragraph 33
6. We are concerned that the roll-out of smart meters is not progressing quickly
enough to achieve the necessary mass to truly create a smart energy
Gas and heat networks
7. Ofgem should build on the promise of green gases by continuing to investigate
and clarify safe levels for their injection. Both the Government and Ofgem
should set indicative targets for biomethane and hydrogen deployment, and
consider what support might be needed to deliver consequential changes to
network infrastructure:Paragraph 46
8. The Government has rightly set an ambitious target for district heating—one
which requires significant private-sector investment. A regulatory investment
framework for district heating, similar to those for other networks, would aid
this. It would also complement existing voluntary schemes in providing
independent safeguarding for consumers. Ofgem should be required by the
Government to regulate district heating networks, and the Government should seek
to make whatever legislative changes are necessary to enable this:Paragraph 51
9. Further large-scale storage, such as Pumped Hydro and Compressed Air Energy
Storage, could be of great value in managing variable generation, but there is
uncertainty as to the potential for future deployment. We recommend that the
Government commissions a study on the future of large-scale storage in the UK
which includes consideration of potential sites and what support such projects
would need to be viable: Paragraph 56
10. The current regulatory conditions for storage are hindering its development.
We welcome the Government’s consultative approach to this matter, but hope it
will proceed with a sense of urgency. We urge the Government to publish its
plans, as soon as possible, for exempting storage installations from balancing
charges, and from all double-charging of network charges:Paragraph 64
11. Storage technologies should be deployed at scale as soon as possible. We
support network utilisation of storage: this helps balance the system, and
provides storage operators with a revenue stream that encourages its
development. Allowing networks to operate and procure storage, especially in the
short run, could also facilitate these benefits. However, we have concerns about
network ownership of storage. In the long run, we do not want networks to have
vested interests in particular technologies that discourage them from switching
where more cost-effective solutions emerge; we are also concerned about any
expansion of networks’ monopoly power more generally. DECC and Ofgem should
analyse the long-term risks of network ownership, operation and procurement in
their work on storage:Paragraph 67
Demand Side Response
12. The promised review of Demand Side Response (DSR) by Ofgem is a sensible
first step towards clarifying and unlocking the potential for DSR technologies
and business models. However, we maintain the views of our predecessor Committee
that the Government needs to set out a more detailed strategy for DSR. This
strategy and any work on this issue by Ofgem must also pay close attention to
the risks of DSR for vulnerable customers, and how best to mitigate
13. Significant interconnector expansion will help balance a low-carbon network,
and we support it for that reason. We note that Great Britain is likely to be a
net importer of electricity; development of interconnection should be
accompanied by a strategy to develop sufficient low-carbon generation capacity
for export:Paragraph 82
14. We strongly support Ofgem’s commitment to network innovation, but feel there
is room for improvement. Ofgem must collect standardised trial data to optimise
learning from projects. Furthermore, it should allocate proportionally more
funding to later-stage development, and seek opportunities to leverage other
sources of funding to achieve project commercialisation. A stronger role for
non-network companies in using Network Innovation Stimulus could also balance
DNOs’ propensity for risk aversion in the short term, while counteracting it in
the long run:Paragraph 96
15. The benefits of Distribution System Operators:DSOs seem near-universally
acknowledged, yet there is no clear Government road map to their implementation.
The Government should develop and publish a road map for DSO introduction,
identifying future legislative and regulatory changes needed. The road map
should include a plan to require small-scale generators to provide real-time
information to DSOs. The relationships across DSOs and between DSOs and the
Transmission System Operator must also be clarified:Paragraph 101
16. The evidence favours Distribution System Operators:DSOs: being run by the
same companies as the corresponding Distribution Network Operators:DNOs: at
least in the short-term transition to DSOs. However, DSOs are an extension of
DNOs’ monopoly power, and Ofgem are right that this should be appropriately
regulated. Given risks to consumers from accumulation of monopoly power, DECC
and Ofgem should be prepared to review the governance of distribution networks
as DSOs’ functions develop, and to separate distribution networks’ operation
from their ownership if their conjunction proves to have a negative impact on
17. We recommend creating an Independent System Operator:ISO:. Despite strong
efforts by National Grid itself and Ofgem to mitigate the potential for
conflicts of interest, it seems intractable and growing. Unnecessary asset
development, or giving interconnectors an unfair advantage over existing and
emerging balancing tools, could dilute the impact of other efforts to develop
low-carbon network infrastructure. We note these concerns may also arise for
Distribution System Operators in future. The Government should set out its
intentions regarding an ISO as soon as possible, and consult on a detailed,
staged plan for their implementation, so as to avoid injecting uncertainty into
the energy sector. In particular, it will be important to act in a fashion that
retains National Grid’s considerable technical expertise:Paragraph 115
18. Implementing a whole-systems approach could produce better solutions for the
kinds of challenges discussed throughout this report. We note Ofgem’s concerns
regarding a systems architect, but believe the Government should take any
proposal from the Future Power Systems Architecture group seriously, and look
for opportunities to work across silos and departments in the meantime. We will
continue to investigate the whole-systems approach in our ongoing inquiry into
2020 renewable heat and transport targets:Paragraph 119
Flexible policy for a flexible energy system
19. We understand the complexity of energy systems and of the policy framework
to meet them. We would not want DECC, Ofgem, National Grid or any other body
with strong influence to make rushed and consequently poor decisions. However,
sometimes making no decision on a rapidly-moving issue is worse than an
imperfect one. The timescales for important decisions regarding the regulation
of connections, storage, Distribution System Operators and an Independent System
Operator—to pick but a few of the issues covered in this report—have often been
neither efficient nor transparent, and this undermines confidence in the
Government’s ability to support an evolving UK energy system. Networks are
transforming. We recognise that this presents challenges for the Government, but
it has been slow to present a clear, holistic plan for the evolution networks
need; instead, it seems to have disconnected policy ideas at varying stages of
implementation. Our overarching message to the Government is to take seriously
the criticisms about its speed of delivery, as expressed in this report and
elsewhere, and to learn lessons from its approach to energy networks that can be
used to improve its change readiness in future. We will look deeper into the
Government’s adaptability to emerging technologies in our ongoing inquiry into
Energy revolution:Paragraph 122:
Jo Cox's Maiden Speech in the House of Commons: We
are Far More United and Have Far More in Common with Each Other Than
Things That Divide Us.
|| June 18: 2016 ||
Jo Cox was elected to the House of Commons to represent the constituency
of Batley and Spen in the 2015 General Election. She was a
member of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee
from July 2015 until March 2016.
The Maiden Speech
Jo Cox gave her maiden speech in the House of Commons Chamber on
Wednesday, June 03, 2015.
“Thank you, Mr Speaker; it is a great privilege to be called to
make my maiden speech in this most important of debates, and I
congratulate many others who have made outstanding maiden
I am sure that many right hon. and hon. Members will claim that
their constituencies consist of two halves or numerous parochial
parts; I am another in that respect, and Batley and Spen is very
much that kind of constituency. It is a joy to represent such a
Batley and Spen is a gathering of typically independent,
no-nonsense and proud Yorkshire towns and villages. Our
communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration, be it of
Irish Catholics across the constituency or of Muslims from
Gujarat in India or from Pakistan, principally from Kashmir.
While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and
time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are
far more united and have far more in common with each other than
things that divide us.”
My constituency is also home to Fox’s Biscuits and Lion
Confectionery, so I am sure you will not think it an indulgence, Mr Speaker, if
I describe Batley and Spen as a constituency with an industrial heart wrapped in
a very rich and pleasant Yorkshire landscape—geographical, historical and
The spirit of non-conformity is as prevalent now in my part of west Yorkshire as
it was in the time of my two immediate predecessors, Mike Wood and Elizabeth
Peacock. They were both known for offering their own brand of independent,
non-conformist service, albeit in very different ways. I intend to maintain that
established tradition in my own unique style.
Of course, Batley is a town that has sent Labour MPs to this place for the best
part of a hundred years. One of them, Dr Broughton, is of course famously
credited with bringing down a Government, so I respectfully put the right hon.
Members on the Front Bench opposite on notice. The Spen valley has a far more
chequered political history, alternately sending Labour and Conservative MPs
here to Westminster for much of the 20th century. Nothing made me prouder on 8
May than to be sent to this place with an increased Labour majority, proving
again that in my neck of the woods non-conformity is what we do best.
As I have already alluded to, we make things in Batley and Spen; we do so now,
just as we did historically. Batley and Spen has a high proportion of people
working in manufacturing, and we can boast the full range of industries,
including high-skilled, precision engineering. We manufacture all sorts, from
beds to biscuits, and from carpets to lathes. We also have some of the best fish
and chips in the country, and some of the best curries in the world.
However, what many of our businesses are lacking is confidence: confidence to
expand; confidence to borrow; confidence to grow; and the confidence to fuel a
real economic recovery that benefits everybody, offering decent jobs, paying
decent wages and bridging the skills gap. Key to changing that situation is a
fundamental shift in attitude towards regional economic regeneration. It is time
to give city and county regions the powers and resources they need to promote
growth, and I will happily work with all of those who are genuinely committed to
building an economic powerhouse in the north. This agenda has to have at its
centre a commitment to connect towns and villages in constituencies like mine to
thriving city hubs, and to deliver a financial offer in the forthcoming July
Budget that gives this worthy goal a real chance of success. Yorkshire folk are
not fools: talk about devolving power to cities and regions, while
simultaneously stripping them of the resources to deliver and subjecting
northern councils such as Kirklees to the harshest of cuts, is not compatible
with a worthy commitment to building a northern powerhouse to drive growth and
Businesses in my constituency want help to address the skills mismatch at local
level which leaves employers with staff shortages and young people without jobs.
They want access to reliable sources of finance, including a network of local
banks. They want to connect to a regional infrastructure that works for them,
not rail price hikes of more than 126% and endless delays to key transport
projects such as the electrification of the line from Manchester to Leeds. Many
businesses in Yorkshire want the security and stability of Britain’s continued
membership of the European Union, a cause I look forward to championing
passionately in this place and elsewhere.
The key question is: will the Government’s actions match their northern
powerhouse rhetoric? HS2 is not the only acid test. There are two bigger
challenges. First, will the Government really devolve all the powers and
decisions that could and should be taken locally and regionally? My test will be
this: if there is a compelling reason for this to be a national decision then so
be it; if not, it should be devolved. Secondly, will the Government really take
the whole range of their decisions—on transport, research and development,
planning, education and skills—in the interests of rebalancing the economy and
growing the north?
I am Batley and Spen born and bred, and I could not be prouder of that. I am
proud that I was made in Yorkshire and I am proud of the things we make in
Yorkshire. Britain should be proud of that, too. I look forward to representing
the great people of Batley and Spen here over the next five years.
Institution of Mechanical Engineers Prepares for Student
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Challenge 2016
Not Quite a Drone, But Will Have to Do: Image:
|| June 18: 2016 ||
The best young engineers in the UK will design and build an
Unmanned Aircraft System:UAS: also known as a drone, as part of
the annual competition run by the Institution of Mechanical
Engineers. An unmanned aircraft system is an aircraft without a
human pilot on-board. They are predominantly known for their use
in military and special operations, such as delivering
humanitarian aid. When: From 11:00, July 06-07. Where: Qinetiq,
Pershore Airfield, Long Throckmorton, Pershore, Worcester, WR10
The competition will see some of the UK’s best young engineers
develop their drones before taking on other teams in a
‘fly-off’, where they will be challenged to transport a package
as accurately and rapidly as possible.
There are 16 teams from around the UK and one Egyptian team
involved. They are: University of Surrey, Sheffield Hallam
University, University of Bath, Loughborough University,
University of Glasgow, University of Nottingham, Swansea
University, University of Manchester, University of
Southampton:four teams:, University of Liverpool:two teams:
University of the West of England, University of Sheffield,
Egypt team:Military Technical College, Kafr El-Sheikh University
and Tanta University
Now in its second year, the UAS Challenge is the fourth student
engineering challenge event run by the Institution, following
Formula Student, the Railway Challenge and the Design Challenge.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers
was established in 1847 and has some of the world’s greatest
engineers in its history books. It is one of the fastest growing
professional engineering institutions. Headquartered in London,
we have operations around the world and over 113,000 members in
more than 140 countries working at the heart of the most
important and dynamic industries such as the automotive, rail,
aerospace, medical, power and construction industries.
|| June 17: 2016 ||
If art is a becoming, and looking at this performance,
from this artist of Motion House, you would see how and why, it is so, than
let us seek to become the very best that we could ever aspire to be: on the
backdrop of the tragic, heart-wrenching loss of Jo Cox MP's life, which has
shocked, horrified and saddened the entire nation. We use this image to
agree with, support and offer our sincerest condolences, sympathies,
sorrows, prayers and humanionship, as with the entire nation, to Jo Cox's
husband and their two young children and all their family and friends: Let
us not break for darkness: let us break for supernovas of lights.
To My England
We publish this Poem, Titled,
To My England, in honour and tribute to the Memories of Labour MP Jo
Cox who had been stabbed and shot dead on June 16, 2016: This poem
is from Neverbridge Stone Roses: Munayem Mayenin, London, United
Kingdom: ISBN: 978-1-4477-1626-6: First Published: February 2008:
Second Edition April 2010: Third Edition: May 2011. We invite all
readers of The Humanion from the entire length and breadth of the
British Isles and from across the globe to Read To My United
Kingdom, instead of To My England and send all the lights that you
are made of towards Jo Cox's two young children and her husband and
her entire family and friends. And Further, we offer this poem, to
Jo Cox's Surviving Husband, to use as and however way he may like
to: The Humanion: June 17, 2016
My England takes off her land embroidered dress
And goes swimming wild in style soft and swift
She touches round all corners in watery craft
And is all sure and glow a gentle rock that holds
My England is bound in voyage-vision’s terms
Abound she spells the multiple in a single rose
She is a poem written by green moss on white cliffs
Serenaded by creamy summer’s sun or April’s showers
My England weaves magic beyond man’s limitations
Where we find living is as much as letting others live
She is a cuddled up baby in water-mother’s womb
And she speaks to me in moonsphorescent a tongue
My England meets and greets our mother with joy
In her palms she holds an all abound arcadia wrapped
My England takes off her land embroidered dress
And goes swimming wild in style soft and swift
This image of an artist signifies that. Let this tragedy brings us back to
the origin of what makes the United Kingdom and the people of these great
British isles great: Goodness, Civility, Courtesy, Decency, Sense of Natural
Justice, Fair Play, Sense of Equality and Anti-discrimination, Warmth and
Empathy, Humanity and Commitment to Humanity and an Undying
Commitment to Seeking and Learning: And, most importantly, to stick to this
profound and fundamental principle of all that constitutes the goodness of
humanity: Live and Let Live.
With these words,
The Humanion Calls on Everyone in the UK
to Invoke the Very Best of British for the EU Referendumand let us show the world and humanity
that the United Kingdom and its great people, made of the
wonderful peoples of beautiful England, Northern Ireland,
Scotland and Wales, are capable of breaking out into Supernovas
of Lights against every, any and all kinds darkness. And let us
make that our tribute to the life and works, commitment,
dedication, faith, conviction, love and humanity of late Jo Cox
MP and let that continue to support her two young children, her
grieving husband and all her family, friends and colleagues.
|| June 17: 2016 ||
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said: “What happened in
Birstall yesterday has shocked and saddened our whole country. Jo Cox was an
outstanding and inspiring new member of Parliament, who had already shown in her
life and work her dedication to the cause of peace and social justice.
She was brutally murdered on the streets of this village, doing the job she was
elected to do, representing the people she was elected to serve, doing her duty
to the public and our democracy.
Jo Cox’s killing was not only the tragic loss of a fantastic human being, woman,
mother, wife, friend and comrade to so many of us inside and outside Parliament.
It was an assault on democracy itself, an attack on the right of everyone to
have their say in how our country is run, and for those that the people elect to
be able to listen to and represent them without fear or favour.
As Jo’s husband Brendan said in his extraordinary and poignant tribute, Jo Cox
was also the victim of hatred and intolerance. Ours is a country where tolerance
and respect for other people and different viewpoints have always been highly
valued. We must not allow those who peddle hatred, terror and division to poison
and degrade our national and political life. Jo Cox stood for tolerance,
justice, peace and human rights. If any good can come from her killing it should
be for us to come together as a country and face down hatred and intolerance in
Jo’s death is a profound loss for all of us in the Labour party and wider Labour
movement, but of course most of all to her close friends, family and her two
young children. They will now grow up without their mother, but can be immensely
proud of what she achieved and what she stood for. We send them, and Brendan,
our deepest condolences and love. They are in the hearts of all of us.”
Note: Please, Sign the Book of Condolence for Jo Fox's
Family, Friends and Colleagues
After the terrible death of Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley
and Spen, The Labour Party is inviting people to leave messages of condolence,
support, and solidarity for Jo’s family, friends and colleagues.
The Speaker of the House: My Thoughts and Prayers are
with Her Family at This Harrowing Time
|| June 17: 2016 ||
Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow
MP, has made a statement following the death of Jo Cox,
Labour MP for Batley and Spen.
“I am absolutely devastated to learn the news about Jo Cox. Jo was an
outstanding Member of Parliament and a wonderful, kind, caring person who was
liked and respected in all parts of the House. My thoughts and prayers are with
her family at this harrowing time.”
Prime Minister David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn Pay
Joint Tribute to Jo Cox
Image: 10 Downing Street
|| June 17: 2016 ||
The Prime Minister David Cameron spoke alongside the leader of the
opposition Jeremy Corbyn and the speaker of the House of
Commons, John Bercow, at the Priestley memorial for Jo
Cox and this is what he said: I first met Jo in Darfur
in 2006 where she was doing what she was brilliant at,
which was looking after and saving the lives of
vulnerable refugees. And here we are today commemorating
her life that has been lost.
The most profound thing that has happened is that 2
children have lost their mother, a husband has lost a
loving wife and, of course, Parliament has lost one of
its most passionate and brilliant campaigners, someone
who epitomised the fact that politics is about serving
others. Today our nation is rightly shocked and I think
it is time to take a moment to stand back and think
about some of the things that are so important about our
The fact that we should treasure and value our
democracy, where members of Parliament are in the
public, accountable to the public, available to the
public. And that’s how Jo died, she died doing her job.
I think the second thing is that we should recognise
that politics is about public service. People who go
into public life want to act in the national interest,
they want to pursue the national interest, to do things
for other people to make the country and make the world
a better place. Politicians disagree with each other, we
often disregard what politicians say and we disregard
each other. But that is what it is about and that is
what Jo showed it is all about.
But perhaps most important of all we should value and
see as precious the democracy that we have on these
islands, where 65 million of us live together and work
together and get on together. We do have peace, we do
have stability, we do have a measure of economic
wellbeing better than other countries obviously still to
be spread far more widely. And it is all underpinned by
So where we see hatred, where we find division, where we
see intolerance we must drive it out of our politics,
out of our public life and out of our communities. And
if we truly want to honour Jo, then what we should do is
recognise that her values, service, community,
tolerance, the values she lived by and worked by, those
are the values that we need to redouble in our national
life in the months and years to come.
Principia: I'm Coming Home for There's No Place Like
|| June 18: 2016 ||
ά. Having had his mission extended for two extra
weeks Tim Peake is finally getting ready to come back home to the Mother Earth
today, Saturday, June 18. Tim and his Crewmates Yuri Malechenko and Tim Kopra will
return to Earth and touch down at 10:12 GMT on the day.
The landing will be shown on
the Principia website. The coverage will begin at 09:00 GMT
The two Tims and one Yuri are
returning to Earth all of whom had had almost two extra weeks in space than
Once they touched down Mother Earth and felt at home they will begin their
journey back to their 'living quarters' which is to mean their own 'countries'.
Think of this apparent anomaly in the way we might perceive this situation:
because they were out of the Earth people would tend to think they were coming
closer to home by coming back to Earth! But actually they would have been closer
to their own home countries while being at ISS than they would be from where
they were to land and touch down on Earth! Their distance from Earth from ISS
were a few hundred miles up there and from where they would land their distance
from their home countries would be thousands of miles!
Anyhow, a safe journey back to Mother Earth where you would
definitely think: There is No Place Like Home!
Patients in England and Wales Set to Be First in Europe to
Benefit from New Skin Cancer Treatment
|| June 17: 2016 || ά. Patients with skin cancer in England and Wales will be the first
in Europe to have access to nivolumab:Opdivo, Bristol-Myers
Squibb: with ipilimumab:Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb: after
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence:NICE:
has published final draft guidance today. The drugs can stall progression
of advanced:unresectable or metastatic: melanoma by an average
of 8 months compared with standard treatment.
Nivolumab and ipilimumab are part of an exciting new class of
immunotherapy cancer treatments that disable the natural
restrictions:1: preventing the immune system fighting
cancer cells. About 1,300 people could be eligible for the drug
combination each year, however, doctors will need to be careful
that patents are fit enough and willing to tolerate its often
significant side effects such as diarrhoea and liver damage.
Life expectancy for those with advanced skin cancer is currently
under two years. Melanoma accounted for around 1,750 deaths in
2012 in England:2:, and 12,200 people were diagnosed in
2013:3:. Professor Carole Longson, director of the Health
Technology Evaluation Centre at NICE, said: “After one of the
fastest drug appraisals NICE has carried out, these promising
new immunotherapy treatments for advanced melanoma look set to
significantly extend the life of people with the condition.
“The evidence we examined was very promising and I know further
trials are ongoing which have also released encouraging data:4:.
The committee concluded that the availability of an effective
new treatment option such as nivolumab in combination with
ipilimumab would be valuable for people with advanced melanoma
who are fit enough to tolerate it.”
The NHS will receive a discount on the combination treatment
agreed between the company and the Department of Health, which
is in confidence. In February NICE recommended nivolumab:Opdivo,
Bristol Myers Squibb: for advanced melanoma. NICE has also
recommended ipilimumab:YERVOY, Bristol-Myers Squibb: as a
possible treatment option for adults with advanced melanoma
twice, once in patients that have not been treated before and
again in patients that have previously been treated. In
addition, NICE recommends pembrolizumab:Keytruda, Merck Sharp &
Dohme: for advanced melanoma used before and after prior
treatment with ipilimumab.
The final draft guidance is now with consultees, who have the
opportunity to appeal against it. Until NICE issues final
guidance, NHS bodies should make decisions locally on the
funding of specific treatments. Once NICE recommends a treatment
'as an option', the NHS must make sure it is available within 3
months, unless otherwise specified of its date of publication.
Tributes to Labour MP Jo Cox Who Has Been Murdered
MP: One Who Had So Much to Give Has Been Taken Out
|| June 16: 2016 || ά. Jeremy
Corbyn MP, the Leader of the Labour Party has expressed his
shock, sadness and sense of profound loss in the sudden tragic
death of a young Labour MP, Jo Cox, who has been murdered
earlier today. Jo Cox had been an MP for about a year; yet she
had made her mark with her absolute determined commitment and
care to causes of humanity and who has shown with her life and
works that she had so much to give. “The whole of the Labour
Party and Labour family, and indeed the whole country, will be
in shock at the horrific murder of Jo Cox today. Jo had a
lifelong record of public service and a deep commitment to
humanity. She worked both for Oxfam and the anti-slavery
charity, the Freedom Fund, before she was elected last year as
MP for Batley and Spen, where she was born and grew up.
Jo was dedicated to getting us to live up to
our promises to support the developing world and strengthen
human rights, and she brought those values and principles with
her when she became an MP. Jo died doing her public duty at the
heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people
she was elected to serve. It is a profoundly important cause for
“Jo was universally liked at Westminster, not just by her Labour
colleagues, but across Parliament. In the coming days, there
will be questions to answer about how and why she died. But for
now all our thoughts are with Jo’s husband Brendan and their two
young children. They will grow up without their mum, but can be
immensely proud of what she did, what she achieved and what she
We send them our deepest condolences. We have lost a much loved
colleague, a real talent and a dedicated campaigner for social
justice and peace. But they have lost a wife and a mother, and
our hearts go out to them.”
Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party said:
''The whole of the Labour movement is devastated at Jo’s death.
We have lost a colleague so young who had much more to
contribute to public life. She was our future.
It is hard to comprehend how a compassionate, principled and
beautiful person can be taken away from us so cruelly. It’s even
more devastating because she was doing what she did best,
serving her constituents. We grieve her loss. Our love and
prayers are with Brendan and Jo’s family.”
The Prime Minister's Tribute to Jo Cox MP
David Cameron, the Prime Minister has spoken of the campaigning
work and 'great track record of caring' shown by late Jo Cox MP.
Speaking after the death of Jo Cox MP was announced, Prime
Minister David Cameron said: ''This is absolutely tragic and
dreadful news and my thoughts are with Jo’s husband Brendan,
their 2 children and wider family. We’ve lost a great star. She
had a big heart and people are going to be very, very sad at
what has happened.
She was a very strong campaigning MP. She had a great track
record of caring about refugees and had taken a big interest in
how we can look after Syrian refugees and do the right thing in
our world. She was a star for her constituents, a star in
Parliament and a star right across the House. It’s right that we
are suspending campaigning activity in this referendum and
everyone’s thoughts will be with Jo’s family and her
constituents at this terrible time.
Statement from Hillary Clinton on the
Assassination of Jo Cox
''I am horrified by the assassination of British MP Jo Cox,
murdered earlier today in her district in Northern England. By
all accounts, she was a rising star. Her maiden speech in
Parliament celebrated the diversity of her beloved Yorkshire
constituency, and passionately made the case that there is more
that unites us than divides us. It is cruel and terrible that
her life was cut short by a violent act of political
Jo Cox was born at Staincliffe Hospital and
raised in Heckmondwike and Batley. She went to local primary
schools before attending Heckmondwike Grammar School and then
Cambridge University. She was the first in her family to
graduate from university. After university, Jo worked in
Parliament for Joan Walley MP, helped to launch Britain in
Europe, the pro-European campaign organisation, and then spent
two years with Baroness Glenys Kinnock in Brussels.
Jo then spent a decade working in a variety of roles with aid
agency Oxfam, including head of policy, head of humanitarian
campaigning based in New York and head of their European office
in Brussels. Jo then went on to work closely with Sarah Brown to
galvanise international action to stop mums and babies dying
needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth.
Jo was national chair of Labour Women’s Network for four years
working with the board to encourage more women to enter public
life. She is a patron of Mariella Frostrup’s GREAT Foundation
and sat on the board of the Burma Campaign for many years. She
has also advised the NSPCC and Save the Children on their UK
activities. Immediately prior to standing for Parliament Jo was
working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The
Freedom Fund, a charity working to end the scourge of modern
slavery. She was also in the process of launching UK Women, a
new research institute dedicated to better understanding the
views and needs of women in the UK.
She was nominated in 2009 by the Davos World Economic Forum as a
young global leader, and in 2012 received the DEVEX award for
her contribution to international development. Jo is married and
has two young children. She divides her time between her home on
a boat on the River Thames and her home in Batley and Spen.
Among Jo’s parliamentary interests are foreign policy,
international development, early years education and social
isolation. She is also taking a keen interest in the northern
economy and regional devolution and is a member of the
Communities and Local Government select committee. Jo is
co-chair of the Friends of Syria All Party Parliamentary Group
and is an active member of parliamentary groups working on
Palestine, devolution, Pakistan, Kashmir and Yorkshire’s
In what spare time she has Jo enjoys climbing Scottish munros,
running and cycling.
EU Referendum Debates: James Cropper Points Out: EU
Regulations Help Manufacturers
|| June 16: 2016:
Kendal: Cumbria || ά. Mark
Cropper, Chairman of James Cropper plc, expresses a genuine
points of view on the EU Referendum debates and how it all
simply ignores this very fundamental issue: “Consumers today are
much more aware of the impact their purchasing decisions are
having on the environment and on working conditions. Major
retail brands understand this and carefully monitor their
purchasing and sourcing policies. If they don’t, they risk a
buyer’s strike and severe reputational damage.''
James Cropper is a specialist materials group
and makers of fine paper and has an operational reach across
more than 50 countries. James Cropper is a leader in each of the
chosen market segments in new materials, technologies and fine
paper. James Cropper PLC was founded in 1845. It has three
subsidiaries: Paper, Technical Fibre Products:TFP: and 3D
In the debates about the EU Referendum the
Leave Camp keeps on and on about the EU 'red tape', the EU
'Regulations and Bureaucracy' as if to suggest that the EU is a
'mad house' which is filled with 'mad and mindless people' who
have nothing better to do but to make up 'regulations' to make
people's lives a misery across the Union as well as the United
Kingdom! Yet, the fact is that 'these regulations' ensure that
the business world does not short change the consumers, the
environment and social welfare and community cohesion and that
it does not follow the trails of money and short cut on its
social duties and responsibilities.
James Cropper is the UK's only truly bespoke
paper-maker and one of the world's foremost makers of coloured
paper. James Cropper developed the world’s first technology to
recycle coffee cups, allowing them to recycle the equivalent of
10 million cups every week. Its Paper division is globally
renowned for its high quality materials, not least luxury
packaging papers which are supplied to numerous global brands,
James Cropper’s fast growing TFP division
makes high performance non-woven papers using materials such as
carbon fibre. These play a key part in many emerging sectors,
not least composite aircraft. James Cropper’s new 3DP division
makes high quality, fully recyclable moulded pulp products.
These are designed to replace plastics in a broad range of
James Cropper plc is quoted on the AIM market at the London
Stock Exchange. It has an operational reach across more than 50
countries, including the USA, China, Germany, and France. Its
Annual Turnover: £83 million:2015. Market forecast PBT for 2016:
£4.5 million. Production: % exported: 50%. Employees: 540:95%
based in Cumbria.
These EU regulations force the European
Governments to get their acts together and clean the seashores,
clean the waterways, reduce the air pollution, bring down noise
pollution, ensure that the environmental and green issues are
not listed in the Any Other Business part of their priorities.
These 'regulations and laws' ensure that the EU countries and
their governments take into consideration when planning and
delivering services: equality, about gender equality, about
rights of working people, families, particularly women, people
with disabilities etc. Which part, of this shortest possible
mention of what the EU laws and regulations are meant to do, is
'red tape'? Bureaucratic? Anti anything? Who benefits from clean
air? Who benefits from expanding and establishing human rights?
Who benefits from gender equality? Who benefits from
environmental protection? Who benefits from disability rights?
Who benefits from gender equality? Who benefits from protection
against discrimination? Who benefits from women getting fair
equal rights at work, who are particularly, discriminated and
disadvantaged when they are working and raising young families?
Mark Cropper elaborates on this issue of the
EU regulations in relation to the Brexit campaign: “The debate
about Brexit has overlooked the advantages that EU regulations
have brought not just to consumers, but also to manufacturers
like us. We sell our products all over the world to sectors
ranging from luxury goods to aerospace.
Our customers demand information on the
environmental impact and sustainability of our processes and on
working practices. We comply with the EU’s strict regulations in
these areas and, contrary to popular opinion, this gives us an
immediate competitive advantage. This is not an area that is
standing still: consumers and brands expect their
suppliers to comply with best practice as it develops, often led
by the EU. The EU brand has value.
“Manufacturing can be carried out at lower costs elsewhere in
the world, but with accordingly higher environmental and human
costs. Consumers and responsible companies know this and are
increasingly adjusting their purchasing decisions in favour of
EU companies like us. Being part of a huge trading bloc with
common industry-leading environmental and working practices
attracts and reassures customers the world over.”
Chairman of James Cropper PLC.
Mark was born in 1974. He joined the Board in 2006 and became Deputy
Chairman in 2008 and then Chairman in July 2010. He is the sixth
generation of the Cropper family to be involved in the business.
He wrote the company's history, "The Leaves We Write On", which
was published in 2004. Mark is managing director of Ellergreen
Hydro Ltd, a developer of hydro-electric schemes, and a partner
in Turquoise Capital LLP.
The Free Movement of People That Underpins the EU Has
Enriched People’s Lives:
|| June 16: 2016 || ά. The
Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett will be in Norwich today spelling out
the Greens’ vision for a better Europe and outlining why the
party is campaigning strongly for a ‘remain’ vote on June 23. As
part of her visit Natalie will celebrate how the free movement
of people that underpins the EU has enriched people’s lives.
Natalie is expected to say: “We benefit massively from our
membership of a European Union that guarantees free movement and
allows us to work together with our neighbours on the joint
problems that we face.
Natalie will be talking with Norwich residents between 14.00 and
15.30 on Gentleman's Walk in the city centre.
"A week before the referendum, the most important political
decision in a generation, we want to encourage everyone, but
particularly young people, to go along to their polling station
on June 23 and have their say. Free movement allows
Britons the right to live, work, study and retire across the
continent, and our society and our economy are richer because
people come here to make a life for themselves.”
Natalie will stress how many of our most cherished institutions
are buttressed and bolstered by European countries' shared
support for freedom of movement. ''There are 100,000 health
professionals in the UK from other EU countries without whom our
health service would be in deep trouble. The NHS and other
public services are already dogged by serious staff shortages
and leaving the EU’s free movement zone would be disastrous.”
Norwich City Councillor David Raby, who will be joining Natalie
tomorrow, said: “We have cleaner beaches and rivers and more
protection from toxic chemicals thanks to our membership of the
EU. Our MEPs work democratically with others in the European
Parliament to achieve better standards. Together we can build a
better Europe and a better Britain: if we leave, I fear that a
‘Little Englander’ mentality will take us back to the 1930s.”
World’s Best Young Engineers Gear up for Formula Student
2016: Northampton: July 14-17
|| June 16: 2016 || ά. The world’s
best young engineers are on course for Silverstone as Formula
Student UK gears up for its 19th year. The global competition,
run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, is the world’s
largest student motorsport event and challenges student
engineers to design, build and race a single seat racing car in
one year. When: July 14 - 17: Starts from 10:00: Where:
Silverstone Circuit: Towcester: Northamptonshire: NN12 8TN
Formula Student 2015 winners Delft University of
Technology, from The Netherlands, will return to compete in July
alongside the top UK car from the University of Bath, Oxford
Brookes and the University of Birmingham, who also finished in
the top 10 last year, will once again return this time round.
This year sees a Sri Lankan team entering Formula Student for
the first time. The other teams will be from Australia, Austria,
Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany,
Greece, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Norway,
Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden,
Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey, UK and Ukraine.
Formula Student usually forms part of the
students’ engineering degree course and counts towards their
final mark. For new teams who may not have the experience to
produce a fully working racecar, Class 2 encourages teams to
submit their designs and any manufactured parts for judging.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was established in 1847
and has some of the world’s greatest engineers in its history
books. It is one of the fastest growing professional engineering
institutions. Headquartered in London, we have operations around
the world and over 113,000 members in more than 140 countries
working at the heart of the most important and dynamic
industries such as the automotive, rail, aerospace, medical,
power and construction industries.
EU Membership Provides Access to Europe’s Fishing Waters
Worth £100 Million to UK: Kerry McCarthy
|| June 15: 2016 || ά.
Kerry McCarthy MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary,
commenting on the Fish for Leave demonstration, said: “Our EU
membership provides access to Europe’s fishing waters worth £100
million to the UK and British fishing boats are able to land and
sell their catch in any EU country.
“If we left the EU we would still want to trade with EU
countries, negotiate access and quotas outside our own territory
and share fishing rights for UK waters.
“Ministers already control the British quota, yet almost two
thirds is now owned by just three companies. This Tory
Government’s continued failure to bring forward a fairer
distribution of the quota means the UK’s smaller, more
sustainable fishermen are struggling to make a decent living –
this is a Tory Government decision, and nothing to do with the
“To protect fish stocks and the livelihoods that depend upon
them, we need a European-wide collective approach. We cannot
risk a return to the bad old days where fish stocks were
declining so fast that there were species on the verge of
“Rather than risking the uncertainty that a vote to leave would
cause, I believe the answer is to stay in the EU and fight for
UK Needs a National Space Programme and It Needs to Develop
|| June 15: 2016 || ά.
As the countdown to Major Peake's return to Earth on June 18
begins, the Commons Science and Technology Committee finds a
buoyant UK satellite and space sector, poised for greater
economic success. It warns, however, that Major Peake's
Principia mission must be a call to action, and a catalyst to
drive the UK's development of a national space programme and
The Humanion says this in tune with the
Committee, that the Space Programme is no longer just about
space exploration but about business, commerce and economics in
many new, developing and emerging areas and fields. Moreover, it
is about developing sustainable economics and meet the
challenges of the future including the opportunities and
challenges brought forward for humanity by climate change. It is
about creating frameworks, systems and mechanisms to offer
opportunities for our young people to gain knowledge, skills and
expertise and get inspired by it all with which they can take
advantage and contribute to this world wide fields of space
exploration and at the same time to create supporting, enabling
and inspiring means for the existing and new businesses and
initiatives and investments in these new, varied and exciting
array of developing and emerging fields and areas. This is the
new 'gold-rush' of the future and the UK ought to invest in it
so to be able to take advantage from these opportunities.
A National Space Programme
The UK is recognised as a world leader in small satellites, but
a lack of 'flight heritage', due to a dearth of flight
opportunities, risks holding back development. The MPs recommend
that the Government swiftly addresses the missing piece in the
UK's space ambitions and establishes a national space programme,
sitting alongside the UK's existing contributions to the
European Space Agency.
Nicola Blackwood MP, Chair of the Science & Technology
Committee: "For the last six months, attention has rightly been
focused on Major Tim Peake and Britain's role in human space
flight. But it's important to remember that our space and
satellite SMEs also need to access space, usually via unmanned
missions, in order to test the innovative products they've been
developing, like the small satellites used to observe the
changing biology of the oceans. Without this 'flight heritage',
space SME's struggle to get their ideas out of the lab and
The UK has, so far, only taken small steps towards launching a
national space programme that would enable our innovative space
and satellite industries to get the ‘flight heritage’ they need.
Now is the time to take a confident leap towards that goal and
build on the foundations of the National Space Technology
Nicola Blackwood MP: "The Government’s plans for a UK spaceport
will help keep the UK at the forefront of developments in
spaceplane technology. It is a bold ambition but it now needs
The Government's technical requirements for the spaceport have
focused on establishing a horizontal launch capacity for
suborbital flights, without a vertical launch capacity. These
narrow parameters risk limiting the use, and value, of the
spaceport to the space and satellite industry. The Government
must urgently set out the rationale, and evidence, for its
Despite a distinguished history, excellence in R&D and
innovation, and impressive economic growth figures, the
Committee heard that awareness of the UK’s space and satellite
sector was worryingly low.
While the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was
singled out as a 'trail-blazer' for using satellite data to
assist with flood modelling and response, other Departments were
lagging behind. It recommends that the Government does more to
stimulate awareness – especially among business – through using
satellite data, and other 'space-enabled services', to help it
achieve more effective, and efficient, policy delivery.
Nicola Blackwood MP goes on: "Over the last
decade, the UK has built on its internationally-excellent space
science research base, and its industrial expertise, to deliver
impressive economic growth figures across the space sector,
outstripping the economy as a whole. The target to grow the UK's
share of the global space market to 10% by 2030 highlights the
continuing drive and ambition running through the industry.
Further growth, however, risks being undermined by the worrying
lack of awareness of this success story. Businesses that sit
outside of the traditional space sector could benefit from using
space services and satellite data, yet they don’t know these
The space and satellite industry must become more outward
looking and engage with other sectors. The Government should to
lead the way by ensuring that satellite data is applied much
more widely to help it achieve effective, and efficient, policy
A House of Commons Briefing Paper: Outlining the Structures
of The European Union
|| June 15: 2016 || ά.
This Commons Library briefing paper explains the basic features
of five major EU institutions: the European Parliament, the
European Commission, the Council of the EU, the European Council
and the Court of Justice of the EU.
The European Parliament’s tasks, which have increased with each
Treaty revision, revolve around legislation, the EU budget, and
scrutiny. The UK currently has 73 of its 751 seats, for which
there are elections every five years. Monthly ‘plenary’ meetings
of the whole Parliament are supplemented by meetings of the 20
or so committees and of the political groups.
The European Commission is the EU’s executive. It proposes the
EU’s laws and budget, and makes sure EU law is applied. Its
President and 27 other Commissioners:one for each EU Member
State: are voted in by the Parliament for five-year terms, and
meet weekly. They are supported by a large staff working in 33
Council of the EU
The Council of the EU is where government ministers and civil
servants from the 28 Member States discuss and adopt EU laws and
policies. Every six months a different Member State takes over
the presidency to co-ordinate its work. Different
‘configurations’ of the Council meet regularly, with decisions
increasingly made by qualified majority voting, weighted by
population size. National civil servants also meet more
frequently in various groups.
The European Council defines the EU’s overall political
direction and priorities, but does not negotiate or adopt EU
laws. Its 31 members include the Heads of State or Government of
the 28 Member States, and they appoint their chair for two and a
half years. The European Council usually meets quarterly and
takes decisions by consensus.
Court of Justice of the EU
The Court of Justice of the EU is the EU’s justiciary, ruling on
questions and disputes about compliance with EU law and
Treaties. It is made up of three bodies that deal with different
compositions of defendants and claimants; the best-known and
largest of the three is the Court of Justice.
|| June 15: 2016 || ά. In a statement the
says that Green councillors almost unanimously concur that only
voting remain will deliver a fairer, safer, and greener Britain
A survey of Green Party councillors has found that an
overwhelming 98.7% of its councillors who responded to a poll
support a ‘remain’ vote ahead of the EU referendum. The fresh
findings underline how the Green Party is the political party
most committed to staying in Europe.
The statement goes as follows: The Greens
operate on the underpinning belief that Europeans flourish when
we work together on the shared problems we face. The Green
Party’s three MEPs: Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato and Keith
Taylor are part of the fifty-strong Greens:EFA group. Natalie
Bennett was in Bristol yesterday campaigning for a vote to
remain in the Greens' south-west stronghold. Natalie will be
joined by some of the Greens' eleven councillors who
wrote an open letter
spelling out why they were all voting remain.
As part of the survey, Green councillors spoke out about their
chief reasons for backing ‘remain’. Many stressed that we could
only maintain and improve environmental protections and tackle
climate change by working together across borders, and the
direct benefits of EU membership to their local areas.
Caroline Russell, Highbury East Ward councillor, and recently
elected London Assembly member, said: “Cutting ourselves adrift
from the EU makes no sense in a global economy with a world
facing the serious threats of climate change and environmental
degradation. The prospect of ‘going it alone’ is very scary.”
Denise Craghill, Green councillor for Guildhall Ward, York,
said: "Collaboration at EU level is crucial for helping us
tackle climate change; as a councillor with hundreds of ward
residents flooded out of their homes on Boxing Day, this is
especially important to me. These people are understandably
scared of flooding happening again and, as well as better flood
defences and land management, they want to see us tackling the
underlying cause, climate change. We must have European wide
co-operation and a seat at the table to do this effectively.”
Jonathan Chilvers, Green councillor for Leamington Brunswick
ward, said: “For hundreds of years until 1945, European
countries were at war with each other. We've had peace for 70
years and the EU has contributed significantly to that. Now,
when we have a disagreement with European neighbours, we can go
and argue with them with words not weapons. Those negotiating
channels have taken decades to build up. Peace is a fragile
thing. Why throw that away just because we don't agree with
everything in the EU?”
Simon Pickering, Chair of Environment Committee, Stroud Council,
said: “As Chair of the local council Environment Committee, I
know that air pollution legislation has helped reduce the
incidence of lungs disease in young and old alike. The powerful
European wildlife legislation has allowed the council to protect
the green spaces between and around our market town.”
David Raby, Green councillor for Town Close, Norwich, said: “The
EU is thus far the most effective instrument for building unity
among the peoples of Europe on a basis of peace, democracy and
social and environmental justice. While it has many faults, to
leave would be to embolden the forces of reaction in this
country and across the continent. We have to stay in order to
work with others to strengthen democracy and justice.”
Ruthi Brandt, Green councillor for Carfax, Oxford, said: “Across
the EU, voices with a hate-filled agenda are getting stronger.
But people advocating solidarity and care for our fellow humans
are also making their voices heard. Leaving the EU will
strengthen the former. Staying will strengthen the latter.”
About the Surveey: 75 of the Party’s 161 councillors responded
to the poll. Just one respondent indicated their intention not
to vote ‘remain’ on June 23. A members survey ahead of the Green
Party’s Spring Conference found that 78% of members consider the
UK’s membership of the EU ‘a good thing’ while only 6% think it
‘a bad thing’.
Labour to Force a Vote on the Positive Case to Remain in the
EU and Reject Tory Brexit
|| June 14: 2016 || ά.
Labour Party is to force a vote on the positive case to remain
in the EU and reject Tory Brexit. It will use its final
Opposition Day Debate before the European Union Referendum vote
on Thursday, June 23 to highlight the positive case to
remain and reform the EU, and reject a Tory Brexit. The Labour
Party accepts that the EU is not perfect, but it says, ''to turn
our backs on the economic benefits of what the UK’s membership
of the EU offers and embrace a Tory Brexit, does not bare
considering. After the damage to our economy of six years of
George Osborne’s economic mismanagement, a Tory Brexit will only
add a further economic burden to working people’s lives.''
John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow
Chancellor, said: “Labour wants to better use the EU’s levers of
power to help British families get more control against the
growing economic forces of globalisation, including on issues
that British people feel passionately about such as clamping
down on tax avoidance and building new homes.
“This is part of the positive case that Labour is making to vote
to remain and reform the EU, and reject a Tory Brexit. “The
truth is that a Tory Brexit will hit working people, and this
risk is not worth taking when we can remain and reform the EU to
unlock Labour investment via Europe to create jobs and growth
here in the UK.”
Seema Malhotra MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the
Treasury, said: “Labour is making a positive economic case for
why British people and British businesses currently benefit more
from our membership of the EU with over three million UK jobs
linked to exports to other EU countries, and we will only
benefit further in the future; compared to what is on offer
under a Tory Brexit.
“Whether it be from science collaboration, which is why Stephen
Hawking and 93% of UK scientists back remaining in the EU;
educational exchange, which is why every British university
Vice-Chancellor and young people overwhelming back remain;
access to the single market of over 500 million or the absence
of war in western Europe for over 70 years.”
“The EU isn’t perfect, but Britain should look to change the EU
for the better, not accepting defeat and walking away. Britain
should be leading in Europe with this kind of agenda, and under
the next Labour government we will be.”
Labour Party Puts Forward the Following
1. Over three million jobs in Britain are
linked to exports to other EU countries.
2. Businesses large and small, trade unions representing over 4
million workers and politicians from across the political
spectrum are all agreed that the UK economy benefits from our
membership of the EU.
3. Access to a single market of over 500 million people without
any trade tariffs benefits British businesses and those who work
4. In addition, investors from countries as diverse as the US,
China, India and Japan have made it clear that membership of the
EU is factor in whether they will chose to invest in the Britain
in the future.
5. Labour’s motion: The Economic Benefits of the United
Kingdom’s membership of the European Union: That this House
believes that the United Kingdom needs to stay in the European
Union because it offers the best framework for trade,
manufacturing, employment rights and co-operation to meet the
challenges we face in the world in the twenty first century and
notes that tens of billion pounds-worth of investment and
millions of jobs are linked to our membership of the European
Union, the biggest market in the world.
|| May 25: 2016 ||
A leading charity has moved to push disability issues
higher up the EU Referendum agenda by publishing a report yesterday, Tuesday,
May 24, highlighting how disabled people could be affected by next month’s
crucial European Referendum.
Papworth Trust hope the report, entitled
‘The EU and Disabled People’, will inform debate and elevate the issues for
disabled people to consider ahead of next month’s referendum on Britain’s
membership of the European Union.
|| June 14: 2016 || ά.
Jonathan Bartley, the Green Party's Work and Pensions
spokesperson has challenged Iain Duncan Smith to publicly debate
the impact of Brexit on the UK's ten million disabled people.
Jonathan Bartley, who successfully exposed the former Work and
Pensions Secretary over the suicides of benefit claimants during
a live TV debate at the 2015 general election, says that leaving
the European Union would mean the loss of dozens of important
disabled rights and vital support for disabled people.
Bartley will be supporting disabled campaigners at the Supreme
Court tomorrow morning as they make their case for improved
He will be outside the Supreme Court tomorrow at 09.00 with
disabled campaigners, highlighting a case that has wide
implications for wheelchair users who want to travel by bus.
Wheelchair-user Doug Paulley successfully sued First Bus Group
in 2013 after he had been denied access to one of their buses
because a bus driver didn’t enforce priority in the wheelchair
space and a buggy owner refused to make room for him. But this
decision was overturned by the Appeal Court in November 2014.
The Supreme Court will now reconsider the case. If the original
verdict in Mr Paulley’s favour is upheld by the Supreme Court,
then the requirement in law to give a wheelchair:mobility
scooter user access to the wheelchair space will be absolutely
undeniable, and all bus companies will have to enforce it.
Bartley said: "Iain Duncan Smith should come clean about the
hugely detrimental impact that leaving the EU would have on
disabled people. I will debate this with him, any place, and at
any time before the referendum on June 23.
"Non discrimination measures to protect disabled people are
written into dozens of treaties, directives and strategies at
the European level on goods and services, access and independent
living. It is, for example, EU rules on accessible vehicles and
provision of assistance on all forms of public transport, which
mean that those bodies who do not provide for equal access can
now be taken through the courts.''
"The EU also provides millions in social funds to promote and
enact support for disabled people. These funds would be taken
away if we leave, and a Tory government which has already
scrapped the UK's own Independent Living Fund will not replace
|| June 14: 2016 || ά.
I Love My Pharmacist Award is organised the Royal Pharmaceutical Society,
the professional body for pharmacists in Great Britain, to
showcase and celebrate the great work that pharmacists do for
their patients across the country. And this year's shortlist has
been announced from which the public can vote for the pharmacist
who they would like to win.
And the public voting for the I Love My
Pharmacist Award 2016 is now open! You can vote for your
favourite pharmacist here until 21st July. Pharmacists are often
the unsung heroes of the NHS. They don’t just dispense
medicines, they also work alongside GPs, nurses, hospital staff
and even care home staff, providing expert advice and vital
services such as medication reviews, as well as providing
services in the community such as stop smoking support and
Read about our Regional Finalists and their inspiring stories of
great patient care and vote for your winner! Voters will be
automatically entered into a prize draw for a £100 gift voucher
to spend in your local pharmacy.
The pharmacist in each of the 6 regions with the most votes at
the end of 21st July will be declared our Regional Winners. They
will then be invited to meet the I Love My Pharmacist judging
panel who will choose the National Winner.
National Women in Engineering Day: Women in All STEM Areas of
Life: June 23
So, everything has to be small yet
very, very reliable because human lives will depend on
it. If everything proves successful, I would be very
proud if the EHD conduction technology ends up in the
craft or in one of the systems that will go to Mars.
a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering at the
Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester,
Massachusetts, is a NASA Space Technology Research
Fellow. She is delving into technology research to
manage and transfer heat in micro and nano-scale thermal
control systems. Image: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
|| June 14: 2016 || ά.
The great debate over the significant lack of women in
engineering is one that has remained in the spotlight.
National Women in Engineering Day, held on June 23,
aims to change the industry for the better, by challenging
perceptions of engineering, and showing why the world needs
more women in this particular field. The theme for this
year’s day is ‘Raising Profiles’; aiming to bring to light
the incredible work that is already being done by
Chong in her laboratory at the ICR: Image: Katie Hyams
To mark the day, leading supplier of
industrial components and engineering services Neutronic
Technologies has produced its own in-depth report, titled,
‘Women in Engineering: What can be done to fix the gender
gap?, the report examines the state of the industry at
present, what the future has in store and, most importantly,
what work is being done by women already working in
In order for more women to enter engineering fields,
change needs to happen both inside the industry and
out. The report from Neutronic gains a unique
insight into the current situation by speaking to
four women from across different disciplines of
engineering and manufacturing. After studying,
working and teaching in the industry for years,
these women are able to give their own
recommendations on what needs to be done to fix the
gender gap, and how more young girls can be
encouraged to take up STEM subjects.
Although research has shown that people’s perceptions of the
industry appear to be becoming more diverse, with a survey by
Neutronic showing that 60% of people believe that engineering
and manufacturing have become more attractive fields to women in
the past 10 years, a great deal of work still needs to be done.
Lucy Ackland, a Project Manager who started her career through
an apprenticeship, believes that the first thing that needs to
change is people’s outside perceptions of engineering: “The
industry should make an effort to dismiss common misconceptions
about engineering workplaces. Nowadays, engineering facilities
are clean, modern and interesting places to work. However, many
people still think of them as the dirty, unattractive
manufacturing facilities from decades ago.”
Professor Nazneen Rahman CBE at the Institute of Cancer
Research:ICR: Image: ICR
Educating parents early
As children and young adults come to choose the subjects they
will study, the main influencer is often cited as schools and
teachers. But those with the most influence are actually the
parents. Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, Professor of Enterprise and
Engineering Education at the University of Sheffield, believes
that more needs to be done to educate parents, and only then
will youngsters feel inspired to take up engineering.
“I think a lot has been done to encourage
young girls to take up sciences at an early age. But by the time
they are encouraged it’s too late. Mum and dad are the first
influences of what we perceive to be a boy’s job or a girl’s
job; what it means to be a girl and what it means to be a boy.
Mum and dad tend to not know what an engineer or scientist is.
What we need to do is train mum and dad, so that they can train
the little ones.”
About Neutronic Technologies:
Neutronic Technologies is one of the leading
suppliers of electric motors, pumps and motor
gearboxes in the UK. In addition to providing
high-quality, precision parts, they also have a team
of expert engineers on board who run the 24/7 repair
|| June 13: 2016 || ά.
The Government is working to resettle up to 20,000 Syrian
refugees in the UK by the end of this Parliament, under its
Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme. It has also
recently agreed to provide some resettlement places to
vulnerable children currently in the Middle East and North
Africa, and for some unaccompanied children already in Europe
including Syrian nationals.
As the Syrian crisis gets ever deeper, there is ongoing pressure
for the UK to accept more Syrian refugees. UNHCR is calling on
the international community to provide safe and legal routes for
Syrian refugees, including resettlement places for the most
The UK’s Syrian Vulnerable Person
At the start of the Syrian crisis, the then Government's policy
was to be generous with humanitarian aid to Syria's neighbours
rather than to accept Syrian refugees for resettlement in the
UK. However, in early 2014 it decided to establish a ‘Syrian
Vulnerable Person Resettlement (VPR) Programme’ in order to
provide a route for selected Syrian refugees to come to the UK.
The scheme first prioritised victims of sexual violence and
torture, and the elderly and disabled. Several hundred refugees
were expected to arrive in the UK through the scheme over three
years, although there was no fixed quota.
The scheme was significantly extended in September 2015. The UK
is now planning to resettle up to 20,000 refugees from the
Syrian region over the next five years. The Government is
working with local authorities and the voluntary sector to
implement the scheme. It is also developing plans for a
‘community sponsorship’ scheme for Syrian refugees.
The resettled refugees are given five years’ Humanitarian
Protection status, with permission to work and access public
funds. Official statistics show that 1,602 people had been
resettled in the UK under the scheme by the end of March 2016.
Other new resettlement schemes
In addition to the above, the Government has also recently
announced plans to provide resettlement for up to 3,000
vulnerable children (and family members) from conflict
situations in the Middle East and North Africa region, and for
an unspecified number of unaccompanied refugee children
currently in Europe. Neither of these schemes would be limited
to Syrian nationals.
Syrian asylum claims
It is possible for Syrians to claim asylum upon arrival or
after-entry to the UK. Syrian nationals were the sixth-largest
group of asylum applicants in the year ending March 2016 (2,539
main applicants). 87% of initial asylum decisions in Syrian
cases gave permission to remain in the UK. Statistics on asylum,
including statistics on the Syrian refugee crisis, are available
in the Library briefing, Asylum Statistics.
UK aid to Syria
The UK Government continues to commit a significant amount of
international aid to assistance programmes in the regions
neighbouring Syria, arguing that this is preferable to
encouraging Syrian refugees to make dangerous journeys to
Europe. The UK has committed over £2.3 billion to helping
refugees in Syria and the region, making it the second largest
bilateral donor to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Commons Briefing papers SN06805: Authors: Melanie Gower; Ben
Politowski: Published: Friday, June 10, 2016: ω.
Heidi Alexander MP: Labour Shadow Health
|| June 12: 2016 || ά.
The cost of Brexit to NHS finances could lead to patients being
charged for seeing their GP and staying in hospital, Labour has
warned. Last week, the Labour Party revealed that the Department
of Health could face a £10.5 billion blackhole at the end of the
decade if Britain voted to leave the European Union.
Leave campaigners have failed to produce a credible plan for how
they would plug this financial gap or properly fund the NHS, and
the Tory chair of the health select committee has described Vote
Leave’s comments on the NHS as “untrue”. Labour is warning that,
to fill the blackhole in NHS finances a post-referendum
Conservative Government, led by Tory Brexiters, would have to
either make deeper cuts to the NHS or introduce charges for
essential day-to-day health services.
The Chief Executive of Vote Leave last year published proposals
to raise £9 billion through the introduction of charges, while
Boris Johnson has said people should pay for NHS services.
Charges being advocated by Brexit campaigners would cost
patients £70 a year to see their GP and £140 to stay in
The warning has been backed by the former Chair of the Royal
College of GPs, Clare Gerada, who said Brexit could lead to the
NHS “being further privatised by the extreme right of the Tory
Heidi Alexander MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:
“This week has exposed the threat to the NHS of a Brexit vote.
If we leave Europe, most experts agree that the economy will
suffer and this would mean an even deeper blackhole in NHS
finances. This translates into staff cuts, service closures or
charges being introduced.
“A post-referendum Government led by Boris Johnson could mean
people turning up at A&E or to see their GP and having to reach
for their credit cards. I don’t think that’s right and I don’t
think many patients do either. The leave camp needs to come
clean with the British public and admit a vote to leave Europe
puts the NHS at risk.”
Dr Clare Gerada, practising GP and former chair of the Royal
College of General Practitioners, added: “A vote to leave the EU
poses a real threat to the future of our NHS and could lead to
it being further privatised by the extreme right of the Tory
Boris and his friends don’t believe in our National Health
Service and would jump at the chance to make people have to pay
to use it. That would be bad for patients and bad for the
nation’s health. It would also mean more administrative work for
already overstretched staff.
"We need to stop Boris in his tracks and that means voting
remain on June 23.”
Labour Points out:
Leave campaigners support the introduction of
charges in the NHS.
Boris Johnson has advocated for charges in the NHS: “If NHS
services continue to be free in this way, they will continue to
be abused like any free service. If people have to pay for them,
they will value them more…this extension of private funds into
the NHS would help the Chancellor’s straitened circumstances.”
Boris Johnson, The Essential Boris Johnson, 2003.
Vote Leave Chief Executive, Matthew Elliott’s organisation the
Taxpayers’ Alliance last year outlined plans to introduce £9
billion of charges in the NHS, including:
£10 prescription charge
£20 GP consultation charge
£20 daily ‘hotel’ charge for overnight hospital stays
Source: Taxpayers’ Alliance, Spending Plan, March 2015
Under the Taxpayers’ Alliance’s plan:
The average cost of staying in hospital would be £140:average
length of stay in hospital in the UK is seven days: Source: NHS
Confederation, Key statistics on the NHS
The average cost of seeing a GP per patient per year would be
£70:The estimated average consultation rate per person per year
for a GP in England is 3.49 meaning the tax on GP visits would
on average cost someone £69.80 a year. Source: Nuffield Trust,
Fact or Fiction? Demand for GP appointments is driving the
‘crisis’ in general practice.
The Supporters' Favourite is Dr Elisa Avolio: the British Heart
Foundation Photography Competition 2016
|| June 12: 2016 || ά.
The British Heart Foundation:BHF has announced the
winners of its annual ‘Reflections of Research’
Photography Competition 2016.
Dr Elisa Avolio's, University of Bristol, image of heart
cells from new born won the Supporters' Favourite position.
These are heart cells taken from new-borns
who received a surgical operation for correction of congenital
heart defects shortly after birth. The blue colour shows the
shape of the cells, while the magenta shows a structural protein
necessary to glue the cells together.
Elisa aims to use these cells to explore the
possibility of treating congenital heart disease. She is working
on grafts that are able to grow like living tissue and can
therefore grow along with a child’s heart. These new grafts
would mean that instead of having multiple operations to insert
bigger grafts as the patient’s heart grows only one operation
would be needed.
There are around 7 million people
living with heart and circulatory disease in the UK. It causes more than a
quarter:27 per cent: of all deaths in the UK, or around 155,000 deaths each
year: an average of 425 people each day or one every three minute.
For other great shortlisted images, please, visit
This is a photo of a dying bee that sat on a London Bridge and probably died
soon after this photo was taken
|| June 10: 2016 ||
This is might not feel like a pressing matter among so many
of these that the nation faces, but from a wider view of things, it is of
paramount importance and the urgency of acting about it cannot be emphasised
enough. We are speaking of the rapid and inexplicable decline and, it appears,
almost like a demise, of the UK bee population.
And this is not unreported and not unknown to the wider
public and the authorities that have duties and responsibilities to act on such
matters. However, it does not appear that enough is being done about this
serious issue and not enough urgency is given to the problem. A church garden on
a summer's day. There are endless abundance of blooms for millions of bees but a
short stroll would show an observer an alarming reality about the almost total
absence of bees in the flower patches.
We have spent a few minutes
observing the church garden and found only 03, THREE bees among about 1,000
bumble bees! This count about the bumbles bees is not scientific but the count
of the bees is ABSOLUTELY so. Therefore, the ration between the bees and the
bumble bees is 3:1,000. This made us not only sad but truly lost in the
devastating demise of the bee population in the country and what it means for
the country's ecosystem and life.
No one needs to be
explained about the paramount necessity of the bee population in the ecology
and, most profoundly, their contributions to our very existence. Furthermore,
for a great many plants, bumble bees are too large, too heavy and too
'disturbing' to do the job that the bees can and do do because the plants are
too small, their flowers are tiny and pollens microscopic where bumble bees
presence would do more damage than good. They need bees almost exclusively for
Something as serious, as
dreadful as an existential threat is happening to the bees that are wiping out
the bee population. The government and all the agencies concerned must wake up
to the task with the urgency that it demands.
Because this is not just
about a matter of bees dying, but actually the example of our observation we
have put forward, shows and there are many reports and research along this line,
a great many of the bee population has simply already died. The greater part has
died away and the lesser part of it is struggling hard without getting our
support. And they shall soon get extinct unless action is taken now.
This is How We are in and Part of Europe and This How We are Part of ESA
United Kingdom: Released
10.06.2016 10:00 am: Copyright Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel
data:2016:processed by ESA
|| June 10: 2016 ||
The recently launched Sentinel-3A satellite
takes us over the United Kingdom, in this false-colour image acquired on May 09.
Made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the UK is an island
nation in north western Europe.
At the top centre of the image, we can see aircraft contrails: water vapour
condenses around the small particles in the aircraft exhaust to form ice
crystals. The result is the formation of an elongated cloud-like condensation
trail in the sky, unmistakable in the centre of the image.
At top right, some snow cover in southern Norway is still evident. At bottom
right, part of the Netherlands with the unmistakable 700 sq km Lake Markermeer
is clearly visible. In the southern North Sea:English Channel, an algal bloom is
distinguishable in shades of light blue and green. Meanwhile, closer to the
coast we can see brown sediments where rivers and streams run into the sea.
The Scottish Highlands at the tip of the United Kingdom appear light brown,
representing bare soil and rock formations, with some vegetation. The rest of
the island, as well as the visible part of Ireland, are very green, representing
Sentinel-3A’s Ocean and Land Colour Instrument is a new eye on Earth, monitoring
ocean ecosystems, supporting crop management and agriculture, and providing
estimates of atmospheric aerosol and clouds, all of which will bring significant
benefits to society through more informed decision-making.
Figures Showing Pharmaceutical Industry Leads UK Industrial
Image: WHO:Jim Holmes
|| June 09: 2016 ||
ά. The Office for National Statistics:ONS have
published new data which indicates a strong performance from the pharmaceuticals
sector helped UK manufacturing output grow at the fastest pace in nearly four
years. The figures, contained in April 2016's UK index of production, show
that overall UK manufacturing output grew by 2.3% in April, the biggest monthly
rise since July 2012. The wider measure of industrial output increased by 2.0%,
also the biggest rise since July 2012.
The largest contribution to the increase in manufacturing came from the
manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products & pharmaceutical preparations,
which increased by 8.6% month on month, the largest rise since February 2014.
"Anecdotal evidence suggested increased exports were the main contributing
factor to the rise" in the pharmaceutical sector, the ONS said.
Responding to this news, Dr Virginia Acha, Executive Director, Research,
Medical & Innovation at The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
“After a period of general decline, today’s figures are the first sign of a
welcome resurgence for UK medicines manufacturing and are an optimistic
bellwether for the health and wealth of the UK economy.
They indicate that our British businesses are not only at the forefront of
investing in research and innovation for UK plc, but also deliver jobs and drive
Through initiatives such as the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership,
we must continue to build on this momentum and work hand-in-hand with industry,
Government, and regulators to promote this strength and increase investment.
Only then will we ensure the UK remains a key player in global medicines
manufacturing. This will not only be of benefit to our economy - but UK patients
will also reap the rewards from better access to innovative medicines and
About the ABPI: The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies,
large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK.
Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving
and life-enhancing medicines to patients. We represent companies supplying
around 90 per cent of all medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and
developing the majority of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK
remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases.
The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf
of the branded pharmaceutical industry, for statutory consultation requirements
including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.
The College of Medicine 'Food: the Forgotten Medicine' Conference at the Royal
Society of Medicine London: Today
|| June 09: 2016 ||
College of Medicine today launches the UK’s first professionally-led
national conference specifically to explore the role of food as medicine.
National and international experts will provide authoritative and evidence-based
advice on the role of food and nutrition as a primary therapeutic strategy.
Dr Andrew Weil, a keynote speaker and recognised authority on nutrition and
health from the University of Arizona will say: “This is not about diet in terms
of losing weight, but about how we use food to build a healthy, strong body that
can fight disease and help reverse the progress of prevalent and destructive
conditions like heart disease, diabetes, bowel disorders and some cancers.
Doctors should be able to ask questions about diet as an integral part of a
diagnostic consultation, but modern medical training barely touches on the role
of food in the treatment and prevention of disease. This must be addressed.
There is overwhelming evidence that what we eat can have both negative and
positive impacts on our health.”
Dr Weil will provide new evidence on fats and sugars, reversing many myths that
have developed over recent years.
Dr Michael Dixon OBE, a GP in Devon, and chair of the College of Medicine will
say: “It seems extraordinary that we take issues such as air pollution, car
safety and fire prevention so seriously, yet when it comes to what we put in our
mouths – just about anything goes. Many food retailers and food producers appear
to have little incentive to provide us with healthy food – indeed the reverse is
often the case. It is time for the medical profession to reverse the system.”
“In my GP practice, we have – in just one year – been able to stop one third of
patients being diabetic or at risk of diabetes through change in diet. We live
in a culture where you have to seek out healthy food, and pay more for it. Easy
access to affordable healthy food should be the norm.”
Dr Catherine Zollman, programme organiser for the conference, comments: "Helping
people to make small positive changes in the way they eat can often be the
beginning of a road that will inspire them to make far wider health changes in
Attended by The Prince of Wales, and chaired by Dr Phil Hammond, the conference
is the first of a series, and proposes in future to bring together medical
professionals, food retailers, food producers and others to create a concerted
The conference will look at some of the most crucial questions facing us: What
is a healthy diet? What is the scientific truth about fats versus sugars? o What
is the relationship between food, microorganisms and enabling us to be resistant
to disease? What is the role of herbs and spices in treating and preventing
The conference will go beyond theory and show examples in practice. You will
hear about how healthy eating in schools and hospitals is already showing
widespread health benefits. It will also look at how food can be used to treat
patients with heart conditions, bowel problems, cancer and mental health
problems. The connection between healthy eating and healthy farming will
|| June 08: 2016 ||
nationalism and ignorant prejudice have no place in
British politics. We have fought it before – a few weeks
ago in the case of London – and we will fight it again.
We must not allow this referendum campaign to give some
sort of perverse permission for it. This month’s vote
isn’t just about our membership of the EU. It’s about
the type of country we want to be and the message we
want to send to the rest of the world...........
Heidi Alexander MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, delivered
a speech at UNISON’s headquarters todaay about the risks to the
NHS of a vote to leave the European Union. This is what she
said: Thank you, Wendy – and thank you to UNISON for hosting us
today. In fifteen days’ time the British people will take the
biggest political decision of my lifetime – whether or not we
should remain part of the European Union. I was just two months
old when the last referendum on Europe took place. Back then,
the questions my parents’ generation had to answer were similar
to the questions we face today: What is in the best interest of
me and my family? How can we guarantee our country’s security
and influence in a changing world? And how do we ensure a strong
economy that delivers decent jobs and decent public services?
In 1975, my parents voted to stay in the Common Market and like
millions of others, I have grown up taking our membership of the
EU for granted. Easy travel, the opportunity to study and work
abroad, the basic principle that we would co-operate with the
countries closest to us to foster progress and tackle shared
challenges. I don’t claim the EU is perfect. It is in need of
reform. But I have no doubt that overall our interests are best
served by staying in. Whether it’s the
economy, jobs, trade or our ability to deal with the big global
issues which don’t respect national borders, we are better off
working with our European neighbours than going it alone. Now,
the past few weeks of this campaign have sometimes felt like a
beauty contest for the next leader of the Conservative Party. I
don’t know about you, but I’m fed up of it. Fed up of the
mud-slinging and the name-calling. Fed up of the dry debates
about sovereignty and the rebate. And fed up of being told that
people like me, a comprehensive girl from Swindon are somehow
part of an elitist establishment that have been brainwashed by
bureaucrats from Brussels.
U Environmental Benefits Justify "Remain" Vote: The
|| June 08: 2016 ||
ά. The Green Party has called
on voters who care about the environment and tackling
climate change to vote for the UK to remain in the
European Union. The party's leader, Natalie Bennett, is
taking this message around the country as Greens for a
Better Europe begins its final campaigning push.
Bennett will say that collective standards across Europe
can ensure that all governments - particularly our own,
with its dreadful environmental record - meet the need
for action on climate change and other environmental
crises that we face - crises that don't stop at national
borders. She'll also highlight how the politicians
running the Leave campaign have an abysmal record on the
subject, including Michael Gove, who attempted to remove
climate change from the school curriculum.
Bennett said: "In environmental diplomacy, the EU as a
whole is far more effective than member states could be
individually in developing and promulgating cooperation,
long-term approaches, and motivating others into action.
"The current UK government has taken actions, in
particular on renewables policy, that have seen Britain
slide disastrously in the league tables for
attractiveness to clean energy investors and damaged
small businesses and job prospects. But thanks to the
collective peer pressure from our European partners, the
UK government has indicated that it will aim to improve
in areas of home heating and transport, where it so
often falls behind
"When one EU country, for example the UK, moves in the
wrong direction, this can be challenged by cooperative
action. For example the European Parliament has called
for a fracking moratorium and for chemicals legislation
that can also act as a check on this government's
"On climate diplomacy, the UK benefits from enhanced
representation in the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change, being both a party as the
UK and again as an EU member.
"The Brexit campaign leadership is dominated by climate
sceptics, with a terrible track record of attacking
renewable energy and undermining climate action. They
deny the scientific evidence on climate change, just as
they deny the economic and environmental risks of
leaving the EU.
"Michael Gove tried to remove climate change from the
national curriculum, an indefensible attempt to prevent
our young people being informed about the overwhelming
scientific consensus on the subject. Meanwhile, Nigel
Farage and UKIP want to abolish the Climate Change Act
and have expressed total opposition to wind power."
The Green Party's campaign is also focusing on
celebrating the free movement of people in the EU, on
our membership's central place in maintaining and
enhancing workers' rights, and on the capacity and
actions of the EU in reining in the abuses of
tax-dodging, low-paying multinational companies.
Sustainable Development Goals Cannot Be in
the Any Other Business Section of the Agenda of the UK
|| June 08: 2016 ||
International Development Committee
report finds an unconvincing case that the
responsibility for implementation of the Sustainable
Development Goals at home should lie with the Secretary
of State for International Development, who already
faces a substantial challenge in working to support
their international implementation.
Strong leadership, a coherent
implementation plan and engagement of all Government
departments will be necessary to ensure the Sustainable
Development Goals are achieved at home, and that the UK
is supporting their achievement overseas.
The Sustainable Development Goals commit all 193
signatory countries to tackle issues such as gender
inequality, climate change, access to quality education
and the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies.
Going far beyond their predecessor Millennium
Development Goals, the SDGs set a new agenda for
developed and developing countries alike, to address
shared objectives and secure economic, social and
environmental gains for all. Agreed at the United
Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York last
September, the Goals came into force in January 2016.
Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the Committee, said: "The
Government has been slow to work out how best to
implement the Goals here in the UK. Despite the leading
role which the Prime Minister played in shaping the SDGs
globally, progress on working out how we will implement
them in our own country has been disappointing so far.
The Goals require a cross-Government approach. This is
not an agenda for developing countries alone, but for
the whole world. It can only be achieved if all
countries work to implement the agenda in its entirety.
A high level of influence across all government
departments will be vital to ensure UK implementation is
on track. The SDGs must be on the radar of every
Secretary of State and Minister; not just the Secretary
of State for International Development. The Prime
Minister’s strong political leadership in the creation
of the Post-2015 development agenda must be reflected in
the implementation of the SDGs. Clear action is needed
On Domestic policy - clear
Departments should be assigned specific responsibilities
for making progress on the SDGs, as originally indicated
in DFID’s evidence—to ensure ownership and clear lines
of accountability. These responsibilities should be laid
out clearly in each department’s Single Departmental
Plan, which should be urgently reviewed accordingly with
specific references to relevant SDGs by number:
The Government must ensure that all
Secretaries of State and government officials engage
with the SDGs and fully understand the implications of
the Goals on their department’s policies and
programming. The Cabinet Office should lead on this
work, in consultation with DFID, and the report
recommends it urgently produces a substantive and fully
resourced internal communications strategy on the SDGs
to ensure that all departments understand their
responsibilities to deliver on the Goals:Paragraph 77
On Policy Coherence: a forum and improved reporting:
The Government should identify a formal mechanism for
relevant Secretaries of State or responsible Ministers
to come together regularly to discuss the implementation
of the SDGs across Government. Such a forum would ensure
engagement from all departments at the highest political
level. It should be used initially to discuss how the
SDGs can be implemented coherently across Government,
but could develop into a forum for discussion of
particular areas of the agenda at regular, and defined,
intervals. This would enable areas of policy incoherence
to be flagged at an early stage, and dealt with at the
highest level. We ask that the Government outline in
their response the form that this mechanism will take:
Reporting on policy coherence must be strengthened to
ensure a more comprehensive approach. Current provisions
under the International Development (Reporting and
Transparency) Act 2006 are insufficient and place the
full burden of reporting on DFID, rather than making it
a cross-government responsibility. The Government should
commit to producing a biennial report on policy
coherence for sustainable development:Paragraph 85
On DFID's role: a White Paper and consolidation of
We recommend that the Government produces a White Paper
on International Development to provide clarity on its
approach to Agenda 2030. Following the Multilateral,
Bilateral and Civil Society Partnership Reviews, DFID
and other government departments will be in a position
to provide a comprehensive overview of their approach to
international development over this Parliament and
towards 2030, within the framework of the SDGs. A White
Paper would serve an important function for the UK’s
partners across the world, demonstrating the UK
Government’s commitment to the Goals and explaining how
it will support developing countries to achieve them. It
would also be a useful exercise for the Government,
bringing together different departments to ensure there
is a coherent approach to Post-2015 development policy
across all of Whitehall and all branches of DFID, from
Westminster and East Kilbride to country offices across
the world: Paragraph 108
The legislative framework determining much of the UK’s
aid spending is also not fit for the post-2015
development agenda. The Government should use this
critical juncture to consolidate and update the four
International Development Acts:2002, 2006, 2014, and
2015: into one single Act. With the passage of the
International Development: Official Development
Assistance Act 2015 and the agreement of the SDGs, many
of the clauses within the 2002 and 2006 Acts are now
obsolete. We recommend that the Government should
consolidate these acts and update the provisions:
Shadi Shouqi, three years old,
injured after two rockets hit his house. Image:
|| June 07: 2016 ||
In a Satemetn CAAT says: ''In
what the Observer has described as "the most
high-profile legal challenge to the military
export regime since 1997" we'll be seeking
permission to proceed to a full High Court
hearing on why the sale of UK arms to Saudi
Arabia is unlawful. Arms sales to authoritarian
Saudi Arabia should never have been allowed in
the first place.
But the UK's continued to supply of arms to
Saudi Arabia during its bombing campaign in
Yemen is the most flagrant breach of UK arms
export regulation we have seen. Yet, rather than
ending the arms sales, the UK government's
response has been denial, excuses and delays.
The UK government admits that Saudi Arabia is
using UK weapons in its attacks on Yemen:
warplanes, bombs and missiles but it has
repeatedly ignored and denied evidence of
violations of international law.
Even after a UN report in January 2016 confirmed
a pattern of “widespread and systematic” attacks
on civilian targets, the government insisted
“there has not been a breach of international
humanitarian law by the coalition.”
Last week it was revealed that UK-made cluster
bombs had also been used in Yemen but the
government still refuses to act. Saudi Arabia's
contracts with the UK government and BAE Systems
are the UK's biggest ever export deals and
successive governments have stopped at nothing
to protect them.
That's why this needs everything we have. MPs
have just returned to the House of Commons for a
new parliamentary session. A parliamentary
petition on arms sales to Saudi Arabia has been
tabled this morning, and a parliamentary debate
is scheduled for Wednesday, June 08.
And get ready to join us to protest in London on
the morning of July 01, the day after our court
hearing. We know the government will go to
enormous lengths to protect its shameful
relationship with Saudi Arabia so, whatever the
result, we need to be there to show it that arms
sales to Saudi Arabia must stop.''
UK Government Chooses Not to Offer State
Support to Desperately Struggling But Equally Vital
Businesses and Then Blames the EU Rules: Look at Germany
and France Spending 155% and 145% Per Capita on State
|| June 07: 2016 ||
economics consultancy, has today revealed the results of
analysis based on the European Commission’s official
statistics that France and Germany spent more than twice
as much as the UK on financing public companies between
2009 and 2014. In 2014 alone, the last year figures are
available, Germany spent €39.8bn on state aid compared
with €7.9bn in the UK.
Some of Germany’s state subsidies in 2014 are likely to
be driven by the adoption of the European Commission’s
revised Energy and Environmental Aid Guidelines.
Implemented in 2014, these guidelines led to greater
awareness of renewable energy support schemes in the
reporting of state aid measures by member states. In
contrast, less than 1% of the €15.7bn that France spent
on state aid in 2014 was used for environmental
Nicole Robins, senior consultant at Oxera, comments:
“The EU’s state aid rules are designed to stop
competition being distorted across the EU by Member
States funding their national champions. In theory,
state aid rules enable British firms to compete on a
level-playing field with competitors in other EU
countries. The question for some British industries is:
how can more support from the government be provided in
line with state aid rules?”
The controversy over the Port Talbot’s steelworks led to
state aid control becoming a major focus of the EU
referendum campaign. As a general rule, support provided
by Member States in the EU is subject to state aid
rules. As a result, many claim that if Britain left the
EU, state aid laws would no longer apply.
Nicole Robins, senior consultant at Oxera, continues:
“It is not the case that Britain leaving the European
Union would mean an escape from state aid rules. For
example, an exit with a negotiated free trade agreement
similar to European Economic Area:EEA Member States,
such as Norway, would have minimal impact on state aid
rules for UK businesses.”
If Britain were to remain part of the EEA after a Brexit,
the EFTA Surveillance Authority would be in charge of
approving whether arrangements for British companies
comply with state aid rules, taking over from the
The European Commission was given monitoring and
enforcement powers over state aid control in 1957, with
its first important application of state aid rules
published in 1964. In contrast, the EFTA Surveillance
Authority was formed in 1994. Over the period from 2013
to 2015, the European Commission concluded over 1,300
state aid decisions compared to only 100 from EFTA.
Nicole Robins, senior consultant at Oxera, concludes:
“If the UK remains part of the EEA following a Brexit,
the risk for British companies is whether the EFTA
Surveillance authority would conclude that aid measures
are in line with state aid rules. The shorter period of
time over which EFTA has been monitoring state aid,
compared to the European Commission, could lead to
uncertainty for British companies about how ‘good’ aid
will be differentiated from ‘bad’ aid.”
About the research:
Non-crisis state aid
excludes aid granted to financial institutions during
the financial crisis between October 2008 and October
2014. Due to the lack of availability of data over the
period under consideration, aid on railways is excluded
from the figures. The statistics show that the amount of
aid per capita granted by Germany in 2014 increased
significantly due to an increase in the aid granted for
environmental protection and energy saving activities.
This is likely to be driven by the adoption of the
European Commission’s Energy and Environmental Aid
Guidelines in 2014, which led to greater awareness on
the inclusion of renewable energy support schemes in the
reporting of state aid measures by Member States.
Oxera’s analysis is based on European Commission State
Aid Scoreboard 2015 and population data from the World
For over three decades,
Oxera has provided advice to companies, policymakers,
regulators and lawyers on economic issues connected with
competition, finance or regulation. From its offices in
Berlin, Brussels, London and Oxford, Oxera’s team of
expert economic analysts advise its international
clients across a number of sectors including energy,
financial services, transport, health and
pharmaceuticals, IP and hi-tech, telecoms and media and
post. . Oxera has a large state aid practice that has
worked on an extensive number of state aid cases at the
cutting edge of the debate for more than ten years.
:1: State aid covers any form of support provided by
public authorities on a selective basis that confers an
advantage to specific companies (or sub-groups of
companies), which can distort competition and trade
across the EU. However, there are certain circumstances
in which ‘good’ state aid is necessary and can be given
:2: From the period 2009 – 2014. As of June 2016, data
for 2015 is not available.
The Investigatory Powers Bill: Labour Wins
Concessions from Government
|| June 06: 2016 ||
In a statement
the Labour Party said that it had won major concessions
from Government on Investigatory Powers Bill. The
Government accepted four of Labour’s demands on the
Investigatory Powers Bill this evening as it returned to
The concessions included:
An overarching privacy clause to ensure that privacy is
at the heart of the Bill; A historic commitment that
trade union activities cannot be considered sufficient
reason for investigatory powers to be used; Assurances
that the ‘double lock’ process includes power for
Judicial Commissioners to scrutinise the decision to
issue a warrant, not just the process.
These amendments are further to a review of the
operational case for bulk powers, secured by Labour two
weeks ago and to be led by David Anderson, the
Independent Reviewer of Terrorist Legislation.
Labour and the Government today agreed the terms of
reference for the review and Anderson will consider the
necessity of the powers, not only use. It will take
place over the summer and will inform debate in the
House of Lords.
Labour will continue to continue to push the Government
on three further areas of concerns - protections for
sensitive professions, a higher threshold for accessing
Internet Connection Records and limiting the use of NHS
Andy Burnham MP, speaking about the trade union
concession, said: “This historic move will improve the
governance of our country.
“There is clear evidence that monitoring was used for
unjustified political and commercial reasons, breaching
privacy and basic human rights. The blacklisting of
construction workers was used to vet people and deny
“We need to understand how covertly-gained police
information came into the hands of the shady
organisation compiling the blacklist. This is yet
another scandal from our country’s past that the public
have a right to know about.”
Keir Starmer MP said: "These concessions are a really
significant step forward. Labour have now won agreement
for an independent review of bulk powers and that
privacy will be absolutely central to the Bill. We have
also ensured there is a robust and effective double-lock
in place and have gained hard-fought and long-overdue
protections for legitimate trade union activity.
"This is still far from a perfect Bill and the
Government need to show further movement in tomorrow’s
debate. But today's progress will help build trust and
Labour will keep pushing the Government to resolve
remaining concerns with this Bill.”
The Environment, Food
and Rural Affairs Committee to Visits the Netherlands to
View Dutch Flood Management Projects on June 08
|| June 06: 2016 ||
Food and Rural Affairs Committee is to visit the
Netherlands to view Dutch flood management projects on
Wednesday, June 08. Following severe flooding in parts
of northern England around Christmas, earlier this year
MPs launched an inquiry into how floods can be better
prevented and their impacts managed.
This visit is to provide evidence for the inquiry on how
the Netherlands copes with the flood risk which
threatens some 11 million Dutch people. Chair's of the
Committee Neil Parish MP said: "Two thirds of the Dutch
population and half of this low-lying country is at risk
from flooding from rivers or the sea. The Dutch public
takes flood risk very seriously and significant sums are
invested in protecting people. The Committee is visiting
key projects across the Netherlands to see how Dutch
flood management works in practice.
Whether it is creating a wider floodplain on the river
Waal, developing resilient buildings such as floating
homes in Amsterdam, or building with nature to integrate
homes and wetlands in Dordrecht, the Dutch have taken
many innovative approaches to adapt to flood risk.
England and the Netherlands face very different flooding
challenges, with different solutions needed. But we want
to see what lessons there could be for English
policy-makers from Dutch projects such as the "Making
room for the river" and the Delta programmes."
‘Remain and Reform’ the
EU and You Could Build 160,000 New Homes: John
|| June 05: 2016 ||
today providing a positive alternative to a Tory Brexit
by setting out plans to use the EU to double the
European Investment Bank’s:EIB commitment to funding
social housing provision, currently 20,000 homes, in
order to bring the UK’s per capita share of funding in
line with the EU average.
If the UK moved to the EU average of per capita EIB
investment then it would increase funding from £5.6
billion last year to £8 billion. Labour would learn from
best practice from devolved administrations across the
UK on how to improve the quantity and quality of
proposals sent to the EIB. This could mean a possible
annual £2.4 billion increase in funding, almost £10
billion by 2020 available for UK businesses, which could
then be used to help tackle issues like the UK’s housing
For example, if applied next year it could fund 40,000
homes a year, which over the next four years to 2020
could mean 160,000 new affordable homes. And a potential
of an additional 65,000 jobs each year.
John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:
“Labour wants to remain and reform Europe so that we can
better use the levers of power inside the EU to ensure
our country punches its weight in the world and better
delivers for all working people.
"The opportunities to build a better world will be with
a Labour vote to remain in the EU, not a Tory Brexit.
Labour wants to build a better Europe and that can start
by using the EU to increase investment that could be
used to build more homes here, and help tackle the Tory
"With George Osborne clinging to his failed austerity
policies, and cutting investment despite the
overwhelming consensus from businesses, trade unions,
and economists to support boosting it, there is an
urgent need to deliver the investment spending we need
for 21st century infrastructure like high speed rail and
high speed broadband, as well as solving the housing
“The Tories are failing to take the opportunities that
the European Investment Bank provides, leaving Britain
with a lower than average investment from this shared
institution. With the EU now committed to expanding
investment across Europe through the £250 billion
Juncker Plan, we need a government that will step up to
the mark and deliver for working people here. The
money’s there but the Tories aren’t making the most of
"If they weren’t consumed with bickering over a Tory
Brexit, then the Tories could raise their game and help
make sure that increased investment helps put in place
the foundations for a secure economy, not the recovery
built on sand that George Osborne has created.
Increasing EIB investment in the UK to the EU average
would mean an extra £2.4 billion a year, which could
help build 160,000 new homes to address the housing
crisis and creating a potential 65,000 jobs every year.
Labour won’t stand by and allow Britain’s potential in
Europe go to waste under a Tory Brexit.”
Professor Mariana Mazzucato said: “During a time in
which investment remains low across Europe, the European
Investment Bank will play a key role in changing this
trend. Central to Juncker’s investment and innovation
plan, it is searching for viable projects to co-invest
in, with the objective to increase productivity and
innovation across Europe. British companies will be
better off if they can be part of this co-investment
process and the British economy will be better off if it
can take a stake in that shared prosperity. With
productivity and innovation lagging in the UK, going it
alone is not the way forwards.”
|| June 03: 2016 ||
thriller is crowned the nation’s favourite genre of
book, closely followed by detective novel and in third
place – fantasy. According to a recent survey. And it
appears that Edinburgh houses the bookworms of the UK
since the ''Edinscotians' top the survey as people who
read the most. About a quarter of those surveyed named
Harry Potter and Robin Hood as two of the nation’s
favourite fictional characters they’d like to see
featured in a mash-up novel, whilst James Bond with
Cruella de Vil came a close second and Snow White with
Indiana Jones third
The British seems to be a
nation of avid book fans with a third reading every day
for pleasure according to new research from tuition
provider, Explore Learning. In a survey to mark
the final week to enter the National Young Writers’
Awards, one in three:32% said it was their favourite
genre, closely followed by the detective novel:31% and
When asked who would be their dream fictional character
to feature in a literary mash-up – where two genres
combine – a quarter:24% named Harry Potter and Robin
Hood as the characters they’d like to see star together.
This was closely followed by the daring James Bond with
the doggy dealing nightmare, Cruella de Vil:20% and
cinematic hero, Indiana Jones with fairy-tale legend,
The National Young Writers
Awards: Deadline June 07
The theme of this year’s National Young Writers’ Awards,
the annual competition organised by Explore Learning, is
‘mash-up’ where children are challenged to write a 500
word story where two genres collide. Judged by
best-selling author of the Ruby Redfort and Charlie &
Lola series of books, Lauren Child, kids from all over
the UK are competing for a trip to Disneyland Paris and
£500 worth of books for their school.
The deadline for entries is
Tuesday, June 07.
The research found that while 37% of men described
science fiction as their favourite, women liked romance
and thrillers equally with 31% calling it their
favourite. The difference between men and women was:
The research found that one in three:35% read every day
for pleasure, 39% do once a week and just 8% say they
never do at all. Edinburgh is named the UK’s capital of
reading with nearly half:42% of people claiming they
read every day for pleasure, and over a quarter:32%
reading at least once a week. Cardiff came a close
second and Manchester third.
When it comes to the reading habits of children, it’s
the seven to 10 year olds who love reading the most with
87% of children having asked for a book as a present.
Despite the ever-increasing rising popularity of
technology, books are still the nation’s favourite form
of reading material which 81% of children aged 4 to 14
choose to read from – twice as many as those who read
magazines:41%, comics:37% and from an iPad or
The grand old tradition of reading bedtime stories is
still alive and well with 39% of parents of children
aged four to 11 reading with their child every night.
Just over one in 10:14% said they did once a week and
just 7% said they never did at all.
Carey Ann Dodah, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning
which compiled the research says: “It’s wonderful to see
that parents and children alike still love reading. No
matter how busy our lives are, it’s essential to take
the time to get lost in a good book and let your
“It’s also very interesting to see that we are a nation
of thrill seekers; keen on stories that keep us on the
edge of our seats. It’s fascinating the second favourite
novel of a woman is romance while men like a good old
science fiction novel! The fact that people would most
like to read a mash-up of the literary heroes of Harry
Potter and Robin Hood show they have a very vivid
imagination and we hope this will spur on lots of
entries into our fantastic writing competition – the
National Young Writers’ Awards which closes on the June
The National Young
Writers’ Award Research was a survey of 2000 parents of
children aged 4 to 14, undertaken in May 2016.
About Explore Learning:
Explore Learning has 120 centres located across the UK
and provides English and maths tuition to children aged
five to 14. Each session is tailored to an individual
child’s needs and Explore Learning tutors work with
children in a low ratio to create a fun and vibrant
atmosphere that has positive results. Explore Learning
were named the best Private Tuition Centre Operator in
the EducationInvestor Awards 2014 and 2015, the 57th
best company to work for by The Sunday Times 2016, a One
to Watch in The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 and
were recently named a finalist in the European Business
Awards. Each year they run the National
Young Writers’ Awards.
Children can enter online
or by visiting the local Explore Learning centre. ω.
|| June 02: 2016 ||
Joint Committee Human Rights. HL Paper 6, HC 104
has been published as Legislative Scrutiny: Investigatory Powers Bill that
deals with the Bill and seeks to raise serious issues that need debating.
This Report is intended to inform
debate about some of the most significant human rights issues raised by the
Investigatory Powers Bill when it has its Report Stage in the Commons. The
Report focuses on the human rights issues most likely to be debated at that
stage in the Bill’s passage.
We welcome the
introduction of a Bill as a significant step forward in human rights terms
towards the objective of providing a clear and transparent legal basis for
the investigatory powers already being exercised by the security and
intelligence agencies and law enforcement authorities and, in many respects,
enhanced safeguards. Our Report focuses on areas in which the Bill could be
improved to enhance further the compatibility of the legal framework with
human rights and suggests some amendments to do so.
On the current state of the ECHR case-law, we do not consider the bulk
powers in the Bill to be inherently incompatible with the right to respect
for private life, but capable of being justified if they have a sufficiently
clear legal basis, are shown to be necessary, and are proportionate in that
they are accompanied by adequate safeguards against arbitrariness. We
welcome the Government’s publication of a detailed operational case for the
bulk powers and recommend that it should be reviewed by the Independent
Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, who should report before the Bill
completes its passage.
We recognise the value of thematic warrants but consider that the wording of
the clauses concerning the subject matter of targeted interception and
targeted equipment interference warrants is too broadly drafted. We
recommend that the Bill be amended so as to ensure that the description in
the warrant is sufficiently specific to enable any person unknown, but who
is the subject of it, to be identified and to prevent the possibility of
large numbers of people being potentially within the scope of a vaguely
We consider that the power to make modifications to warrants for targeted
interception, without judicial approval, is so wide as to give rise to real
concern that the requirement of judicial authorisation can be circumvented,
thereby undermining that important safeguard against arbitrariness. We
recommend that major modifications to warrants require approval by a
A key role of the legislature is to hold the executive to account. The Bill
must provide sufficient safeguards to prevent the executive abusing its
powers and undermining the ability of the legislature to hold it to account.
Members of the public should also be able to communicate with members of
Parliament with the expectation that those communications will remain
confidential. We therefore welcome the Bill’s recognition of the strong
public interest in preserving the confidentiality of communications of
members of Parliament, including the House of Lords, the devolved
legislatures and the European Parliament. However we consider that the
requirement that the Prime Minister be consulted before any interference
with such communications is an inadequate safeguard. We recommend that, in
addition, the Speaker or Presiding Officer should be given sufficient prior
notification of the decision to issue an interception or examination warrant
affecting members’ communications to enable the Speaker or Presiding
Officer, if they so wished, to be represented at the hearing before the
Judicial Commissioner, at which any representations could be made about
matters such as the scope of the warrant, or the precision with which it
specifies the matters subject to the warrant. ω.
Rules with Greater Scope, Force and Ambition Required in Order to Meet the
Government's Stated Goal to Manage Soils Sustainably by 2030:
Environmental Audit Committee
|| June 02: 2016 ||
Government’s ambition to manage the UK’s soil sustainably by 2030 will not
be met unless further action is taken, the Environmental Audit Committee has
warned in a report published today on the health of UK soil. Failing to
prevent soil degradation could lead to increased flood risk, lower food
security, and greater carbon emissions.
Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Mary Creagh MP, said: "Soil is a
Cinderella environmental issue. It doesn’t receive as much attention as air
pollution, water quality or climate change. But, whether we realise it or
not, society relies on healthy soil for the food we eat, for flood
prevention, and for storing carbon. The Government says it wants our soil to
be managed sustainably by 2030, but there is no evidence that it is putting
in place the policies to make this happen."
Around 300,000 hectares of UK soil are thought to be contaminated with toxic
elements – such as cadmium, arsenic and lead - as a result of the UK's
industrial past, but the Department for Environment, Food & Rural
Affairs:Defra has withdrawn capital grant funding for local authorities to
clean up this contamination.
The inquiry heard that without this funding councils are now less able and
less likely to proactively investigate potential contamination – despite the
potential health threat this poses.
Relationship between soil contamination and poor
Untreated contamination may harm public health and water quality. Some
research has found a statistically significant relationship between soil
contamination and poor health.
Defra appears complacent about the withdrawal of capital grant funding for
contaminated land remediation, and risks undermining councils' ability to
meet their statutory duties, according to the MPs. They are also calling on
Defra to set new funding for contaminated land remediation at the level of
the old scheme.
Mary Creagh MP said: "Our industrial heritage means that hundreds of
thousands of sites across the country are contaminated by chemicals, heavy
metals, tar, asbestos and landfill. Often materials were disposed of on site
and buildings demolished without the environmental safety regulations we
take for granted today.
Defra's complacent decision to withdraw contaminated land grants has
undermined the ability of councils to identify and clean up polluted
brownfield sites not dealt with through the planning system. This presents a
real danger that contaminated sites are being left unidentified with
consequential public health impacts.
Relying on the planning system to clean up contaminated land may be fine in
areas with high land values, but it means that contamination in poorer areas
will go untreated. Councils simply do not have the resources to investigate
which sites are contaminated. Ministers must rethink their decision to phase
out contamination clean up grants."
Soil degradation and climate change
Soil is a massive carbon sink, storing three times as much carbon as the
atmosphere. Soil degradation also leads to increased carbon emissions and
could speed up climate change. The UK's arable soils have seen a worrying
decline in carbon levels since 1978, with widespread and ongoing decline in
peat soil carbon.
The Government must set out specific, measurable and time-limited plans to
increase the amount of carbon retained in soil, to help us meet the plans it
signed up to at the Paris climate summit. The Government should also take
tough action to tackle land use practices which degrade peat, such as the
burning of blanket bogs.
Mary Creagh MP said: "Soil degradation could mean that some of our most
productive agricultural land becomes unprofitable within a generation. Every
tonne of carbon we can retain in soil will help us meet our carbon budgets
and slow climate change. The government wants to see all soils managed
sustainably by 2030, but their current actions will not be enough to reach
The Government relies on rules linked to farm subsidy payments to regulate
agricultural soil health. But the MPs warn that these rules are too weak,
too loosely enforced, and focus only on preventing further damage to soil
rather than encouraging restoration and improvement.
Rules with greater scope, force and ambition are required in order to meet
the Government's stated goal to manage soils sustainably by 2030.
Monitoring soil health
Monitoring changes in soil health over time is key to developing effective
policy. Defra's current ad hoc approach to conducting surveys of soil health
is inadequate. The Government should introduce a rolling national-scale
monitoring scheme for soil health to ensure that we have adequate
information about the state of the nation's soil.
The European Referendum is Not a General Election and No Camp Should
Promise to Cut Anything Because Neither is Campaigning for Wiining to Form a
|| June 01: 2016 ||
The European Referendum is
not a General Election and the UK citizens are not asked to elect the MPs who
would form a government. No political party is standing in this Referendum
seeking to form a government. The Leave Campaign began campaigning as if they
are running a campaign to form the next government and the are declaring they
will do this and that, the latest being they will cut down on VAT if the UK
voted to leave the EU only when the UK government can and may do so. This is
very misleading and unwise a move for the Leave Campaign to do so.
is not a joke, VAT is not. This is the figure, below is taken from the UK's
Whole Government Account for 2014-15. As can be seen out of the £659.3
billion government income VAT has brought in 113.9 billions. To suggest a UK
government could cut VAT substantially is really a dangerous thing to claim
even by a political party unless they can show how they are going fill in
the huge gap created by the lowering of the VAT rate.
Further, if one looks at the numbers, one can see that
the income tax revenue grew from the previous year, from 162.1 billions to
163.1 billions which is not much of a rise; yet look at the rise of the VAT
income generation from the same period: it grew from 108.2 billions to 113.9
which is a large increase.
Anyone can see from this that to claim VAT can be reduced
substantially is totally pointless thing to claim.
This sort of thing should not be part of any campaign.
European Referendum: 56% of Mechanical Engineers Back UK Staying in
|| June 01: 2016 ||
new survey of 2,765 members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers has
found 56% support the UK staying in the European Union compared with 27% who
say they want the UK to leave and 17% who are undecided. This compares with
results from a similar survey in 2015 which found that 72% supported the UK
staying in the EU, while 24% who said they wanted the UK to leave.
The Institution has also outlined the key engineering issues likely to be
affected by the EU referendum, which include: access to markets and skills,
sourcing foreign investment and research funding and ensuring the UK’s
ability to influence and create international engineering codes and
Stephen Tetlow MBE, Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical
Engineers, said in response to the results: “The majority of mechanical
engineers continue to support the UK staying in the European Union, but
these latest results show that the number of engineers who are undecided on
how to vote is still relatively high.
“Whatever the outcome of the referendum in June, Government needs to ensure
the result does not damage the UK’s vital engineering and manufacturing
sectors. Government must focus on the key engineering issues likely to be
affected by the decision. The most pressing are improving access to markets
and people with the right skills, ensuring open access to foreign investment
and growth in research funding as well as ensuring the UK is still able to
continue to play a leading role in influencing European codes and standards.
“The majority:64% of our professional engineers polled said the uncertainty
over the UK’s future in the EU was having a negative effect on UK
manufacturing, which could explain recent statistics that show that UK
output shrank for the second quarter in a row.
“Almost half:49% of those surveyed said that leaving the EU would make the
UK less attractive as a European base for global manufacturers, while a
third:33% said they were concerned over the potential for trade barriers
being imposed if the UK did leave.
“According to our respondents, the main benefit to the UK’s membership in
the EU is better access to markets:46%, however about 60% of the engineers
surveyed said that bureaucracy imposed by the EU was detrimental to UK
manufacturing and engineering.
“The results of these survey show that the majority of our members support
the UK remaining in the EU, however there is a clear desire from the
engineering community to see less bureaucracy from Brussels.”
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was established in 1847 and has some
of the world’s greatest engineers in its history books. It is one of the
fastest growing professional engineering institutions. Headquartered in
London, we have operations around the world and over 113,000 members in more
than 140 countries working at the heart of the most important and dynamic
industries such as the automotive, rail, aerospace, medical, power and