The Humanion Online Daily Universana from the United Kingdom for the World

Philosophy Political Philosophy Political Economics Medicine  Africa Asia The World Geo-Politics The Humanion
Biochemistry The Sanctum Mayakardium Neurology Genetics Australasia Ecology Europe  Hearteogenics World Literature
The Elleesium Molecular Biology Scotland England United Kingdom Wales Northern Ireland Archaeology Humanics
Editorial Page The Idearian Echoing Eternities North America South America The Humanion Poetry Life Elle GREEN:K Hope Cosmovicology Astrophysics
The Eyeonium Biomedicojurisprudence The Viimaaginarium Universana Nature and Solitude Art Music Neuroniverse Poets' Letter

Contact

October The Poetry Month Jurisprudence Microbial World Sociology Culture Society Cosmology Anthropology
   
 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

London: Sunday: June 11: 2017

First Published: September 24, 2015

 
 

 

 

 

 
Humanity will continue to live an inferior life than what is possible until the two halves: all individuals in them: that make it are absolutely, fundamentally and jubilantly Equal at Liberty
Elsinki

The Innerluminous Galaxillation

Letter to the Reader Poetre Poetrimore Books The Earth Cosmography Diversity

Mathematics

The Humanion Team Astronomy Marine World Kollarimaginics Nations The Moon Photography Oneness
History The Humanion Profile Literature Matter World Cosmovicology Geology The Sunnara Mayahito Gardens Languages
Palaeontology About The Humanion The Lake Eden Eye Animalium The Conversation Poetry The Universe The Traveller World Poetry
World Press The Humanion Map Southern Hemisphere Radio Astronomy The Milky Way Scriptures The Arctic Western Hemisphere The Pen
Theosophy Natural Health Social Northern Hemisphere Psychology The Nine Worlds Seismology The Antarctic Eastern Hemisphere Civilisations

The Long Walk to Humanics: There can never be an app that will replace a surgeon doing the surgery nor there can ever be a bridge built, symphony composed, epic written, painting painted by a machine. Reading is such a vital thing in pursuit of knowledge for without reading knowledge is rudimentary. The Humanion is for Readers to Read. The Humanion is not for anything else but for Readers to read so to be encouraged to think and ponder about things. The Humanion is a Human Enterprise which is an idea in which no one owns anything but everyone belongs to the whole as the whole belongs to everyone lawfully and equally and, it neither believes in nor makes money but human utilities, needs, aspirations, creativity, imagination and dreams are served without money, where everyone works and creates for others as others create and work for them, thus, bringing in meaning and purpose to life along with it come natural justice, equality and liberty  that establish a true civilisation. And in one word, this system of human affairs management is called, Humanics and a society that runs itself in humanics is called a humanical society.......But in the meanwhile...And thus, The Humanion believes we should seek to ensure that all citizens of a nation have: a: Guaranteed Universal Income; b: A Guaranteed Home; c: A Guaranteed Education Up to College and Guaranteed Subsidised Route to Degree-Level Education; d: A Guaranteed Job; e: Guaranteed Access to Free for All Healthcare at the Point of Need and f: A Guaranteed Universal-Child-Income-Protection Where Every Child is Guaranteed Equal Financial Support from 0-16; g: Guaranteed Social Care and h: Guaranteed Access to Equitable Pension:Provides a living income. So, join us: Join The Humanion Team

The Humanion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Kingdom Arkive Year Alpha Q-Beta 2016

|| April ||  May  ||  June  || 

United Kingdom Arkive Year Alpha Q-Alpha 2016    United Kingdom Arkive Year Alpha Q-Beta 2016     United Kingdom Arkive Year Alpha Q-Gamma 2016

Whose Turn is It Now, Mr Carney?‽: 230416: Image: Turner Contemporary

To Read the Stories Published in United Kingdom Section in September-December 2015

 

The High Court Has Ruled That CAAT Can Take the UK Government’s Decision to Keep Arming Saudi Arabia to a Judicial Review

|| June 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.'' ω.

Readmore

‽: 010716

Up

 

The Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry Publishes Its Reports


|| June 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 report today.

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 others.
Make recommendations for changes to the code of conduct and party rules if necessary.
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. ω.

Jeremy Corbyn Speech at the Launch of the Chakrabarti Report

The Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry

Read the Report

Readmore

‽: 010716

Up

Government's Help to Buy: Who is Getting Help, Who is Buying Where and Who are Left Beyond Buying

Image: LCP


|| June 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 to?

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 ladder.

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 region.

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.
Responsible lending

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 them.

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 strong.

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? ω.

Readmore

‽: 010716

Up

 

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 eternal light.

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 here and here. And 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. Editorial: United Kingdom:The Six Jeopardy and the Last Hope
 

The Treasury Select Committee Report: Costs and Benefits of UK's EU Membership

 

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 || ά. 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.'' Readmore

Dear Mr Speaker,

We wish you well and send you all our best wishes. The Humanion: ω.

Readmore

‽: 300616

Up

 

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 pressing.

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 Autumn to 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.” ω.

Readmore

‽: 300616

Up

 

Professor Jeremy Watson is the New IET President



 

|| 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 Director.

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 apprentices. ω.
 

Readmore

‽: 300616

Up


 

Campaign Against the Arms Trade at High Court on June 30: Seeking a Judicial Review of UK's Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

Yemen: 122 People Severely Wounded in One Day as Fighting Pounds the City of Taiz

Shadi Shouqi, three years old, injured after two rockets hit his house. Image: Salah Dongu’du:MSF


|| 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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 290616

Up

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn Statement



|| 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 inequality.

“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.” ω.

Readmore

‽: 280616

Up

Labour New Shadow Cabinet Members

Emily Thornberry               Diane Abbott MP

|| 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 effect:
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:  ω.

Readmore

‽: 280616

Up




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, said:

“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 funding.

“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.” ω.

Readmore

‽: 280616

Up

 

Inspiring Others: Briony Turner: The Impact Champion 2016


|| 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 expeditions.

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 audience.

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 grants.

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 more widely.”

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 work’.

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 June 2016.

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 Government. ω.

Readmore

‽: 280616

Up

Editorial: United Kingdom: The Six Jeopardy and the Last Hope

|| 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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 260616

Up


 

Healey Calls 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 after 18:00: 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 another referendum.''

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 every minute.

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. ω.

The Healey Calls

Readmore

‽: 260616

Up

Healey Calls for a Second Referendum Have Already Gathered 1,936,290 Signatures

 

|| 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 another referendum.''

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 every minute. ω.

The Healey Calls

Readmore

‽: 250616

Up

 

 

Editorial: On Exiting the EU: The Country Speaks as Split-Two-Almost-Equal-Halves Facing Opposing Directions



|| 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: ω.

Readmore

‽: 250616

Up

 

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.” ω.

Readmore

‽: 250616

Up

We Respect the Outcome of the United Kingdom’s EU Referendum: Finland's Prime Minister Sipilä

Juha Sipilä: Prime Minister: Finland: Image: Finland Government


|| June 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.

Readmore

‽: 250616

Up

 

 

The European Union Referendum 2016: Who Speaks for the UK: Gibraltar or Sunderland?

|| 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 arrive, slowly.

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 the question. ω.

Readmore

‽: 240616

Up

 

University of Portsmouth Reader Dr Marco Bruni is One the Scientists Modelling the Universe Using Einstein’s Full Theory

Dr Marco Bruni: Reader in Cosmology and Gravitation: the University of Portsmouth


|| June 24: 2016 || ά.  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 “big bang”.

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 Gravitation.

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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 240616

Up

 

Dr Mark Porter Re-elected as BMA Council Chair

Image: BMA

|| June 23: 2016 || ά. BMA 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.’'
ω.

Readmore

‽: 240616

Up

 

 

 

The United Kingdom of Humanity Let There Be Light

On the day of the Referendum all we urge you is to make sure you caste your
vote. Please, caste your vote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World UN Pays Tribute to Jo Cox

|| June 22: 2016 || ά. 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 || ά. 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. ω.

The Humanion: June 23, 2016

Readmore

‽: 230616

Up

 

 

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 Mactear
 

|| June 23: 2016 || ά. On 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.
 

Professor Danielle George's Talk on the Role of Citizens in Engineering Today: 26 May at 18:00:Image: University of Manchester

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.

About NWED: 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.

About 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. ω.

Readmore on Women in Engineering in The Humanion Profile

And in The Idearian Echoing Eternities
 

MentorSET for Women in STEM

Magnificent Women

Engineering Girls

Many Women Engineers in Many Fields of Engineering

Readmore

‽: 230616

Up

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 whole.”

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 process.

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 are needed.

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 industries. ω.

Readmore

‽: 230616

Up


 

Tim Peake Speaks at a Press Conference in Cologne

Image: ESA


|| 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 mission.

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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 230616

Up

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 cent.

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 per cent:2:.

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 they chose.

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 house.

“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 current circumstances.

“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 rented sector”.

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. ω.

References

:1: NLA Quarterly Landlord Panel:  Q1 2016: 1097 respondents
:2: NLA Quarterly Landlord Panel: Q1 2012: 543 respondents
:3: Department for Communities and Local Government:DCLG: English Housing Survey Headline Report 2014-15
:4: NLA Quarterly Tenant Panel: Q1 2016: 971 respondents


Readmore

‽: 230616

Up


 

VI London Poetry Festival 2016: August 05-08 Wednesday: June 22: 2016 Natural Health Social The Other NHS


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: Belfast

And Think of Them for It's Their Future You are Making a Choice About

As the UK goes to the EU Referendum tomorrow, The Humanion invites every soul on these British Isles, to pause before casting the vote, and think of the  Hippocratic Oath, and ask yourself: Would it do good? Would it seek to do no harm? And having done so, please, invoke the Very Best of What is English, What is :Northern: Irish, What is Scottish, What is Welsh and What is British.

 

The Elladha Green Letter on the European Referendum

 

 

|| June 21: 2016 || ά. The 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 letter.

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. ω.

Kostas Loukeris
Maria Peteinaki
Michalis Bakas

Greek Ecologist Green Party

Readmore

‽: 220616

Up

The Guardian Print Edition: June 21

 

Why I'm IN for Britain: Jeremy Corbyn MP

Image: Labour Party


|| June 20: 2016 || ά.  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.

 Jobs

Over three million British jobs are linked to our trade with the EU. And almost half of all British exports in good and services go to countries in the European Union.

Rights at work

Being in the EU gives working people vital protections such as paid holiday, maternity and paternity leave, protection for agency workers and health and safety in the workplace.

Lower prices

Holidays, cars and the weekly shop are all cheaper because we’re in Europe. Leaving would result in a shock to Britain’s economy which would leave working people worse off.

NHS

Leaving the EU would hurt our economy, even the Leave campaign admit that this is the case. This would mean less money for our NHS and other vital public services. ω.

To Be In Or Out..... They Have Changed My Monologue: Hamlet: The European Union Question For The United Kingdom

Readmore

‽: 210616

Up

 


 

United Kingdom of Humanity In Europe: Self-Assured, Confident, Open, Engaged, Seeking to Learn and Work for Common Good

Image: BMA

|| June 20: 2016 || ά. United Kingdom of Humanity In Europe: Self-Assured, Confident, Open, Engaged, Seeking to Learn and Work for Common Good: Always Remembering 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 Hippocratic Oath: Our Commitment Must Have Two Halves: Committed to Do Good and To Do No Harm.

On the day of the Referendum, June 23, our minds should focus on these two-halves of our commitment: Would it do good? Would it seek to do no harm? ω.

Readmore

‽: 210616

Up

 

The Government is in Denial About the Funding Crisis Facing the NHS: Dr Mark Porter: BMA

Image: BMA


|| June 20: 2016 || ά. 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 annual representative 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:1:.

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 cessation services
:2:. 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 report:4: 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 balance budgets.

“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 NHS staff.”

''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 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. 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 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 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. 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 be heard.''


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.

Reference
:1:.
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: http://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/node/3504.
:2:. Below is a list of cuts to public health services:
West Leicestershire
£1.1m cut from quit smoking service
Funding for substance misuse service reduced by £625k
£340k cut to sexual health services budget
Source: West Leicestershire CCG board papers, April 2016
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 assessment 2016-17
Bromley
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, February 2016
North Somerset
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
Merton
£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 proposals 2016/17
Leeds
£100k axed from addiction services budget
£375k cut from drug intervention and offender management
Staff budget cut by £423k
Source: Delivery of public health budget savings 2016/17, Leeds Council
Gateshead
£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
Havering
Stop smoking service axed
Chlamydia screening service for young people closed
Sexual health prevention for young people service decommissioned
Source: Havering Council briefing note, 10 March 2016
Darlington
Axing funding to Fresh, an organisation that co-ordinates quit smoking campaigns across the south east
Quit smoking cut shrunk from ‘universal’ service to one focused on ‘priority, and vulnerable, groups including pregnant women and routine manual workers’
Disbanding of dedicated drug, alcohol and tobacco team
Source: Darlington Council budget proposal papers, February 2016
:3:. 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.
:4:. In April the BMA published a report in NHS funding and efficiency savings. The report is available here.
: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 in England.  ω.
 

Readmore

‽: 210616

Up

Access to Justice Damaged by Changes of Courts and Tribunals Fees: Justice Committee Report

|| June 20: 2016 || ά.  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."

Evidence base

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 tribunal fees
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. ω.

Read the Report

Readmore

‽: 210616

Up

 

Ageing Workforce Presents a New challenge for Businesses Facing Skills Gaps: Open University


Steve Hill: Director of External Engagement: Open University


|| June 20: 2016 || ά. A 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 their careers.

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.”

About The 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. ω.

Reference
:1: https://www.cipd.co.uk/binaries/avoiding-the-demographic-crunch-labour-supply-and-ageing-workforce.pdf
:2: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/513801/Working_Futures_final_evidence_report.pdf


Readmore

‽: 210616

Up


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 || ά. With 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:1:.

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. ω.

Reference

:1: The Universe of Engineering – a call to action, The Royal Academy of Engineering, October 2014
:2: The REC Guide, REC Engineering, 2015


Readmore

‽: 200616

Up


 

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 || ά.  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.

 

BMA Annual Representative Meeting in Belfast: June 20-23

BMA Junior Members Forum 2016: Image: BMA

|| May 29: 2016 || ά. This year’s 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
Readmore


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 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.”

Immigration

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 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 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 here: ω.

Readmore

‽: 200616

Up


 

A Class of Cosmic Magnitude: The Humanion Repost

 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.

 Background

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.

Readmore

P: 180416

Up

Reposted: 200616

 

Tim Peake Safely Back on Earth and Soon Be Home

Image: ESA

|| June 18: 2016 || ά.  Tim 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. ω.

Tim Peake

Readmore

‽: 190616

Up

 

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 || ά. The 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 mental illnesses.

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 and sustainable.

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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 190616

Up

 

Energy and Climate Change Committee Report: The UK Low Carbon Network Infrastructure


|| 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 controlling cost.
 

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 sources

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 infrastructure.

Conclusions and recommendations

Distributed generation

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. (Paragraph 22)

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
Smart grids

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 network:Paragraph 41

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

Storage

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 these:Paragraph 75

Interconnection

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

Innovation

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

System operation

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 consumers:Paragraph 103

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: ω.

Read the Report

Readmore

‽: 190616

Up

 

Recall of the House of Commons to Pay Tribute to Jo Cox MP: June 20

Image: Labour Party


|| June 18: 2016 || ά. The House of Commons will be recalled from recess on Monday,  June 20, 2016 to pay tribute to Jo Cox MP.

The Speaker of the House of Commons has agreed to recall Parliament. The House will sit from 14:30.

Recall of the House of Commons

Standing Order 13 gives the Speaker the authority to recall the House of Commons when it stands adjourned, if he is satisfied it is within the public interest. ω.

Readmore

‽: 190616

Up

 

 

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 || ά. 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 speeches today.

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 diverse community.

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 cultural.

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 prosperity.

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. ω.

Labour Party Has Launched an Online Book of Condolence for Jo Fox's Family, Friends and Colleagues: Please, Go and Sign

Readmore

‽: 190616

Up

Institution of Mechanical Engineers Prepares for Student Unmanned Aircraft Systems Challenge 2016

Not Quite a Drone, But Will Have to Do: Image: IMECHE


|| June 18: 2016 || ά. 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 2JH.

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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 190616

Up


 

United Kingdom of Humanity: Let There Be Light Across the Length and Breadth of the British Isles

Do not break for darkness: Break for Supernova of Lights: This image is modified from an image of Motion House

|| June 17: 2016 || ά. 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 Referendum and 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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 180616

Up

A Tribute to Jo Cox MP: 1974 - 2016: Sign The Labour's Book of Condolence

Image: Labour Party

 

|| June 17: 2016 || ά. 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 our society.

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. ω.

Our book of condolences can be signed here

Readmore

‽: 180616

Up

 

The Speaker of the House: My Thoughts and Prayers are with Her Family at This Harrowing Time

Image: PA

|| June 17: 2016 || ά. The 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.” ω.

Readmore

‽: 180616

Up

 

Prime Minister David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn Pay Joint Tribute to Jo Cox

Image: 10 Downing Street


|| June 17: 2016 || ά.  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 country.

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 tolerance.

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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 180616

Up

 

Principia: I'm Coming Home for There's No Place Like Home

Image: NASA:ESA

|| 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 originally planned.

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! ω.

Readmore

‽: 180616

Up

 

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.

References

:1: http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2014/blocking-the-brakes-helping-your-immune-system-battle-cancer
:2: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/skin-cancer#heading-Zero
:3: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/skin-cancer#heading-One
:4: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36043882

Readmore

‽: 180616

Up

 

Tributes to Labour MP Jo Cox Who Has Been Murdered

 

Jo Cox 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 us all.

“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 stood for.

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.” Readmore

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. Readmore

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 intolerance.

It is critical that the United States and Britain, two of the world's oldest and greatest democracies, stand together against hatred and violence. This is how we must honour Jo Cox, by rejecting bigotry in all its forms, and instead embracing, as she always did, everything that binds us together.  My thoughts and prayers are with her friends, her family, and the British people.'' Readmore

About Jo Cox MP: We Publish This from Her Website as a Tribute to Her Humanity and Commitment to Humanity: To Read This on the Website is Heartbreaking: Our Thoughts and Prayers are with Her Family and Loved Ones

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 regional economy.

In what spare time she has Jo enjoys climbing Scottish munros, running and cycling. ω.

Readmore

‽: 170616

Up

 

 

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 Products.

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, including Burberry.

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 packaging.

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.”

Mark Cropper, MA: 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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 170616

Up

 

The Free Movement of People That Underpins the EU Has Enriched People’s Lives: Green Party

|| 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.”

A survey has found that an overwhelming 98.7% of Green Party councillors support a ‘remain’ vote on 23 June 23. Many stressed that we can only maintain and improve environmental protections and tackle climate change by working together across borders, and the direct benefits of our EU membership to their local areas.

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.”  ω.

Readmore

‽: 170616

Up


 

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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 170616

Up

 

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 EU.

“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 extinction.

“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 reform.” ω.

Readmore

‽: 160616

Up

 

UK Needs a National Space Programme and It Needs to Develop It NOW

Image: NASA

|| 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 spaceport.

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.


Chair's comments

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 successfully commercialised."

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 Programme."

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 solid action.

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 spaceport proposals."

Dr Helen Sharman

First Briton and Second Woman in Space

Awareness of the UK space sector

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 opportunities exist.

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 delivery." ω.

Read the Report

Readmore

‽: 160616

Up

 

 

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.

European Parliament

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.

European Commission

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 Directorates-General.

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.

European Council

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.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7618: Author: Vaughne Miller: Published: June 13, 2016: ω.

Read the Report

Readmore

‽: 160616

Up

 

EU Referendum: Remain Will Deliver a Fairer, Safer and Greener Britain: Green Party

To Be In Or Out..... They Have Changed My Monologue: Hamlet: The European Union Question For The United Kingdom
 

|| June 15: 2016 || ά.  In a statement the Green Party  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’. ω.

Readmore

‽: 150616

Up

 

Labour to Force a Vote on the Positive Case to Remain in the EU and Reject Tory Brexit



|| June 14: 2016 || ά. The 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 for them.
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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 150616

Up

 

The Green Challenge to Ian Duncan Smith: How Does Exiting EU Impact on 10 Million People with Disabilities?

 

Papworth Trust Report Looks to Inform Debate for Disabled People Ahead of EU Referendum

|| May 25: 2016 || ά.  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. ω.

Readmore

|| 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 transport accessibility. 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 them." ω.

Readmore

‽: 150616

Up
 

You Love the Pharmacist, Do You?

Image: The Royal Pharmaceutical Society

|| 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 lifestyle advice.

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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 150616

Up
 

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. Michal Talmor
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michal Talmor, 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

Michal Talmor : A Mind of an Engineer Working in Electrohydrodynamic-Based Thermal Control; Seeking Means and Mechanics of Micro and Nano Scales to Better Support Space Exploration Electronics


|| 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 industry-leading women.

Biomarkers Offer a Glimpse into the Future of Personalised Cancer Treatment

Dr Irene 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 engineering.

Professor Kaisa Miettinen: Seeing the World Through New Eyes


Advice from women in engineering

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.
 

The Idearian Echoing Eternities That What We Learn and With Which Whatever Candles We Create to Illumine are Things That Will Be Echoing Through Eternities: Nothing Else The University of Southampton: Opening Windows: Opening Doors: Opening Worlds: Through Research and Learning

Read in Biomedicojurisprudence: Professor Anneke Lucassen: Ethics of Genomics: Exploring the Application of Ethics and Law in Clinical Practice

Read in Medicine University of Southampton Leads International Team Awarded £4 Million for Advanced Cancer Research



Professor Martin Glennie and Other Southampton Researchers: Image: University of Southampton

The University of Southampton: Opening Windows: Opening Doors: Opening Worlds: Through Research and Learning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read in Neurology Dementia: New Funding for New Research in Dementia at University of Southampton

Dr Mariana Vargas-Caballero:L: Dr Ruihua Hou:R: Images: University of Southampton

 

Professor Dr Alice Roberts: A Mind at Liberty in the Hall of Eternal Learning Whom No One Could Box in

Changing perceptions of the industry

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.”

Eminent ICR Researcher Professor Nazneen Rahman Awarded CBE  in Queen’s Birthday Honours

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.

Dr Pamela Walsh          Dr Kayleigh Wardell

“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.”

Professor Frances Arnold: The Mind of a Biochemical Engineer: To Create to Do Good for That is What She Has Chosen to Become
 

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 centre. ω.

Ashley Sumner

Young Woman Engineer of the Year Finalist

Emma Goulding

Mary George Prize

Orla Murphy

Young Woman Engineer of the Year

Rossella Nicolin

Young Woman Engineer of the Year Finalist

Helen Cavill

Women’s Engineering Society:WES Award

 

The Idearian Echoing Eternities

Readmore

‽: 150616

Up
 

 

The Syrian Refugees and the UK Response Examined


 

|| 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 vulnerable.

The UK’s Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme

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.

Read the Report

Readmore

‽: 140616

Up

 

Brexit Risks Charges in NHS: Labour Party

Heidi Alexander MP: Labour Shadow Health Secretary: Image: MP's Website

 

|| 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 hospital.

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 party”.

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 party.

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. ω.

To Be In Or Out..... They Have Changed My Monologue: Hamlet: The European Union Question For The United Kingdom

 

Readmore

‽: 130616

Up

 

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.

While Dr Victoria Stoll's, University of Oxford, image, Go with the Flow won the main title and Dr Aikaterini Anagnostopoulou's, University of Glasgow, image of Scar Tissues won the Runner up position.

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 Photography. ω.

Readmore

‽: 130616

Up

To Bee or Not to Bee: That is the Question

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 || ά. 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 pollination.

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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 110616

Up

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 || ά. 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 dense vegetation.

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.
ω.

Readmore

‽: 110616

Up

Lord Speaker to Address at the Women’s Institute Annual Conference in Brighton Today

House of Lords 2016:Roger Harris

|| June 11: 2016 || ά. Baroness D’Souza, the Speaker of the House of Lords, is to be a guest speaker at the annual meeting of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes which is taking place in Brighton today.

Baroness D’Souza will speak about the work and role of the House of Lords in her address to the meeting where BBC Trust Chairman, Rona Fairhead is also a guest speaker. ω.

Readmore

‽: 100616

Up

ONS Figures Showing Pharmaceutical Industry Leads UK Industrial Growth: ABPI

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 commented: “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 productivity.

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 technologies.”​

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. ω.

Readmore

‽: 100616

Up

 

The College of Medicine 'Food: the Forgotten Medicine' Conference at the Royal Society of Medicine London: Today


 

|| June 09: 2016 || ά. The 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 their lives.”

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 UK movement.

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 disease?

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 be explored.
ω.

Readmore

‽: 090616

Up

 

To Be In Or Out..... They Have Changed My Monologue: Hamlet: The European Union Question For The United Kingdom Heidi Alexander’s Speech on the Risks to the NHS of a Vote to Leave the EU

|| June 08: 2016 || ά............Ugly 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.

Readmore

‽: 090616

Up

 

U Environmental Benefits Justify "Remain" Vote: The Green Party


|| 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 fracking ambitions.

"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.
ω.

To Be In Or Out..... They Have Changed My Monologue: Hamlet: The European Union Question For The United Kingdom

Image: ESA

Readmore  

‽: 090616

Up

 

Sustainable Development Goals Cannot Be in the Any Other Business Section of the Agenda of the UK Government

 

|| June 08: 2016 || ά. 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.

Chair's comments

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 now."

Committee recommendations

On Domestic policy - clear departmental responsibilities:

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: Paragraph 76

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: Paragraph 84

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 legislation:

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: paragraph 109. ω.

Read the Report

Readmore

‽: 090616

Up

CAAT Seeks a Judicial Review of the Government's Decision to Keep Arming Saudi Arabia on June 30

Yemen: 122 People Severely Wounded in One Day as Fighting Pounds the City of Taiz

Shadi Shouqi, three years old, injured after two rockets hit his house. Image: Salah Dongu’du:MSF

|| June 07: 2016 || ά. 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.''
ω.

Readmore

‽: 080616

Up


 

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 Aid Respectively


|| June 07: 2016 || ά. Oxera an 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 protection.

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 European Commission.

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 Bank.

About Oxera: 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. ω.

References

: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 legally.

:2: From the period 2009 – 2014. As of June 2016, data for 2015 is not available.

Readmore

‽: 080616

Up

 

The Investigatory Powers Bill: Labour Wins Concessions from Government


|| June 06: 2016 || ά. 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 Commons.

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 records.

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 them work.

“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.”
ω.

Readmore

‽: 070616

Up


 

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee to Visits the Netherlands to View Dutch Flood Management Projects on June 08


|| June 06: 2016 || ά. The Environment, 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."
ω.

Readmore

‽: 070616

Up

 

‘Remain and Reform’ the EU and You Could Build 160,000 New Homes:  John McDonnell MP


|| June 05: 2016 || ά. Labour is 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 crisis.

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.


To Be In Or Out..... They Have Changed My Monologue: Hamlet: The European Union Question For The United Kingdom

Image: ESA


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 housing crisis.

"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 crisis.

“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 it.

"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.”
ω.

Readmore

‽: 060616

Up

 

Reading: Edinburgh Beats Every Other Place of the UK

Jemma Wayne's Chains of Sand has been released by Legend Press on June 01.


|| June 03: 2016 || ά. The 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 fantasy:26%.

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, Snow White:19%.

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 Kindle:35%.

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 imagination fly!

“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 07.”

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.

Readmore

‽: 040616

Up

 

Legislative Scrutiny Report: Investigatory Powers Bill

|| June 02: 2016 || ά.  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.

Summary

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 worded warrant.

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 Judicial Commissioner.

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.

Readmore

‽: 030616

Up

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 || ά. The 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.

Chair's Comment

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 health

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 that goal."

Agricultural soil

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. ω.

Read the Report

Readmore

‽: 030616

Up

 

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 Government

 

|| June 01: 2016 || ά.  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.

This 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.

United Kingdom Whole Government Account 2014-15: Let's Count the Pennies

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. ω.

To Be In Or Out..... They Have Changed My Monologue: Hamlet: The European Union Question For The United Kingdom

Readmore

‽: 010616

Up

European Referendum: 56% of Mechanical Engineers Back UK Staying in the EU

|| June 01: 2016 || ά. A 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 standards.

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 construction industries. ω.

Readmore

‽: 010616

Up

Labour's Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell On the Road for Another Europe: Remain and Reform Tour

|| May 30: 2016 || ά.  John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor has begun a week-long tour of the country with events scheduled in Wolverhampton, Leeds, Leicester and Cardiff - with more dates to follow before polling day. The tour will include public meetings entitled “The EU referendum and looking to the future” and will start in Wolverhampton, before moving on to Leeds and Leicester and ending the week with a rally in Cardiff alongside Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

John McDonnell MP, speaking ahead of the first event, said: “The EU referendum is about our future relationship with Europe not who is the next leader of the Tory party, which is why I think there is a positive case to be made and it’s vital young people hear this case over the personal ambitions of different Tory MPs. The Labour leadership will not go anywhere near the Tories project fear campaign on both sides of the debate, but instead we will continue to set out the positive case to ‘Remain and Reform’ the EU to create 'Another Europe’ and reject Tory Brexit.

“Next month there is a serious choice before the British people, the prospect of a Tory Brexit or a Labour Remain and Reform to create Another Europe that offers greater opportunity for working people in our country and across the EU.

“One option risks leaving us more exposed to George Osborne’s mishandling of the economy from the inevitable economic shock that most economists agree would follow a Tory Brexit. And then there’s the progressive option of a 'Another Europe’, whereby under the next Labour government we can reform the undemocratic aspects of the EU while using the levers of power there to clamp down on tax avoidance, protect workplace rights and stand up for British industries like steel.

"For the first time in over a generation there are movements and political forces mobilised and mobilising across Europe to respond to the challenges we face. Another Europe is not just possible but urgently and vitally needed, which is why we must reject the offer of a Tory Brexit.”

Wolverhampton: Monday,  May 30: Public Meeting with Owen Jones, Pat Glass MP, Shadow Europe Minister and Rob Marris MP

Leeds: Tuesday, May  31: Public Meeting with Yanis Varoufakis and Pat Glass MP

Leicester: Wednesday, June 01: Public Meeting with Pat Glass MP

Cardiff: Friday June 03: Rally in evening with Jeremy Corbyn - details TBC. ω.

Readmore

‽: 310516

Up

 

I Strongly Believe That Women are Beneficiaries of our EU Membership: Geeta Sidhu-Robb, CEO of Nosh Detox

Image: Nosh

|| May 30: 2016 || ά. Geeta Sidhu-Robb is the CEO of Nosh Detox, strogngly believes that the UK membership of the EU is a positive thing, particularly, in advancing gender equality, women's rights as well as the business community including the free movement of people across the EU that benefits the UK in many ways and which is 'overlooked