Bath Bomb #30 Out Now

THE BATH BOMB

@nti-copyright: copy and distribute!

Issue #30

free/donation

June '10

"Fucking Laws at your expense"

Electile Dysfunction

As readers may have noticed, May the 6th's hung parliament (no nooses, more's the pity) and subsequent clamour of backroom deals has led to a coalition featuring the odious '18 of our MPs went to Eton' Conservatives and the almost-as-posh 'Tory-lite' Lib Dems. Now the dust has settled, it's clear that no parties have a mandate for the cuts they will try to unleash. No party dared to clearly set out what the Financial Times dubbed the "brutal" economical decisions required. That is simply because to do so would have been electoral suicide. If they had been honest about the cuts - the first stage being £6.2 billion hacked from vital public services, hundreds of thousands of jobs and harsh pay slashes - then nobody would have voted for them. The markets and ruling class demand a vicious economic program (rather than 'rich tax') that will mean turmoil. There will be resistance from unions, service-users and the community alike, with the fight moving from the ballot box to the picket lines and to the streets. Ordinary people cannot be expected to pay for a crisis caused by corrupt politicians and bankers and, like the people of Greece, Ireland, Spain and Romania, we must be prepared to fight every cut, and protect every job. Locally, B.A.N. and others are planning to set up a 'Public Services Defence Group', and everyone is invited to join - to protect our rights, jobs, pay, pensions and benefits. Together, we can win.

Pressing Their Luck?

Tesco are now displaying for public comment their plans to occupy the former Bath Press site and demolish the entire building, leaving nothing but a wobbly-looking front wall. The new site, to incorporate a 'community hall' - presumably similar to the social improvements promised at other Tesco sites, which have almost universally failed to materialise - will be Tesco's first major store in Bath. 650 'new jobs' are also promised. The economics behind this claim are flawed, however. As the market for food is already saturated here - otherwise there'd be a city-wide outbreak of malnutrition - the new store won't be creating any new markets, and so will just be taking custom away from existing stores. As Tesco is renowned for their efficiency and high income-to-staff ratio, this will cause an overall drop in employment as other businesses close or shed staff. In fact, studies have shown that the opening of a large supermarket causes an overall loss of 276 jobs per new store opened.

For a more hopeful outlook, look to Bristol, where the anti-Tesco campaign on Stokes Croft has left the council considering placing a Compulsory Purchase Order on the site and handing it over to the community, as an indoor market incorporating local 'Time Bank' trading schemes.

GOT A STORY? WANT TO RECEIVE THE BATH BOMB BY EMAIL? HOPING TO SUE? Contact us by emailing bathbombpress[at]yahoo.co.uk. Large print e-versions available on request. And for more info on any of our stories, check out http://www.thebathbomb.blogspot.com

Schools Of Hard Cuts

Amongst the raft of cuts the Tories and their pet Lib Dems have unleashed on us, their plans for education stand out for sheer idiocy. Dressed up as 'freeing teachers from bureaucracy and letting them teach', their plans in fact boil down to selling off the entire education system wholesale. Intent on sending our schools the same way as the railways and energy companies, the Tories intend to auction off schools to companies and religious groups. The plan has already been exposed as a failure, with working conditions for teachers, attainment for pupils and bullying management all coming under scrutiny in existing academies, and the country's largest academy group United Learning Trust (ULT) being banned from taking on more schools. With several schools in Bath exploring the academy route, we spoke to 'Matt', a teacher in a local academy about the prospect of spreading the academy love. "It would be a terrible idea," Matt tells us, "Working in an academy, you are driven by bullying management that aren't bound to follow the same pay and conditions that state schools are tied to. Unions are discouraged, and union members face questioning and harrassment. Every facet of school life is out-sourced to private companies, often leading to a substandard provision of education for the kids. As academies are grades driven, teachers are routinely bullied into faking coursework, and lower ability pupils are ignored in favour of C/D borderline kids. On top of that, anyone with enough cash can sponsor an academy, meaning that some really unsavoury, and right wing religious and corporate groups control our kids education. From personal experience, the academy system is an unfair and failing system, for staff and kids." Four schools in the Bath area are already threatened with closure, including Oldfield, to be replaced by two academies. With unions already gearing up for the fightback, why not drop an email to your kids school and let them know how you feel about the future of your child being flogged to the highest bidder.

Consultation Stitch-up On The Kennet And Avon

About 20 travelling boat dwellers attended the Kennet and Avon Canal User Group meeting on the 29th April where the recent consultation on setting up local mooring strategies was discussed.

Although 73 out of 98 responses to British Waterways opposed the idea, BW's Damian Kemp told the meeting it will go ahead and start setting up the first strategy group on the Kennet and Avon between Devizes and Bath. BW justified this by saying that many of the replies were from groups rather than from individuals, and gave the groups more credence. Boaters challenged this interpretation as BW did not make clear at any stage that responses from groups would be treated differently. Now, many boaters believe that the process was a complete sham and the results are being manipulated to support BW's agenda of ridding live-aboard boaters from the Kennet and Avon and replacing them with "the leisure industry". This is demonstrated by the comments of James Young, another BW employee, describing the process as "a working party to address the problems associated with liveaboards."

Damian Kemp, who was appointed in mid 2009 to head the project implementing mooring strategy groups on the Kennet and Avon, inadvertently admitted the discrepancy. Whilst telling the meeting at one point that the responses from individuals were given less weight than those from groups, a few minutes later he contradicted himself by saying that the results were not weighted. What is more, Mark Stephens, manager of the Kennet and Avon, admitted at the meeting that there is no additional money in the current budget for a local mooring strategy group, and that to set it up could cut funding in other areas. This all sounds completely unworkable. And why did BW hold a consultation when Mr Kemp had already been appointed?

These restrictions will be decided by a steering group in which most of the boating community in this area will not have a say, even though they are the only group that is directly affected. Yet, if BW's plans go ahead, many will be forced to make a tough choice: lose the home or lose the job. Plenty may also be forced to give up their homes to keep their children in school. BW has already worked with Bathampton and Claverton Parish Councils in Summer 2009 to draw up these proposed mooring restrictions, which will vastly reduce the availability of two-week moorings between Bradford and Bath. Boaters only discovered this plot by accident, and were never invited to these meetings or informed about them. The minutes of these meetings, maps and associated correspondence are published in an article entitled 'The Outer Zone', see http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk/wordpress/?p=77

The 1995 British Waterways Act confers a statutory right for boats to cruise the waterways without having a permanent mooring, so long as they do not remain in any one place for more than fourteen days, or a longer period if there are exceptional circumstances.

The next boaters' meeting takes place on the 16th of June upstairs at the Georgian Lodge Hotel in Bradford-on-Avon. For more information, contact info[at]boatingcommunity.org.uk.

http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk

Eco Village Of The Damned

Back on the 5th of May, after a maze of legal battles, the first incarnation of the Bristol Eco Village was evicted. The villagers moved onto a disused plot of land in St Werburghs in April to set up a community to experiment with sustainable living on and improving industrially contaminated land.

The London-based landowners made several illegal attempts to evict them before finally... wait for it... going through legal channels to get their land back, so they could get on with developing it at the expense of the local community, the endangered newt population, and the wider environment. But a mass of local residents decided they'd rather have a low-impact living project on their doorstep than profit-driven development. On eviction day they blockaded the gates that bailiff company Constant & Co were attempting to enter the site by. Later they occupied a cherry-picker as it attempted to enter the site. Game on!

However the over-arching memory of the day will be the sad hospitalization of one villager, cynically assaulted by the bailiffs while atop a tripod. Bailiffs disregarded health and safety regulations and collapsed the tripod, crushing the villager's leg between long sturdy metal poles, and then sitting on them. Villagers are appealing for any witnesses to come forward, particularly those with any video footage of the assault.

The Bristol Eco Village briefly took a new site on the 15th of May, near Temple Meads train station. Rumours abound about the Eco Village's next move, with a possible pincer movement to simultaneously occupy land adjoining the canal in Bath and a second site in Bristol, being on the cards.

Constant & Co are a notoriously brutal collection of pondlife (not newts) that proudly specialise in forcing the vulnerably housed onto the streets. Any 'concerns' can be 'voiced' to them at 66 Harpur Street, Bedford, MK40 2RA.

Short And Snappy

Whilst the government decided on the 12th of May to scrap Heathrow expansion and additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted, at the end of May, North Somerset Council chose a different path. Ignoring not only B&NES and Bristol Councils, but also 5,000+ objections, the latest findings on climate change and World Health Organisation noise and health guidance, they greenlighted Bristol Airport's planning application. Stop Bristol Airport Expansion are now looking to the Secretary of State, and are building funds to mount a legal challenge - contact them for info at email[at]stopbia.com

Despite expert scientific advice, the government has decided to follow the Welsh lead (and unsustainable industrial farming lobby) and push ahead with a national badger cull, particularly in bovine TB hotspots like Devon and Cornwall. The annual cull in Pembrokeshire, repeated for five years, costs £10 million so far, with balaclava'd contractors aiming to kill off 80% of the local population. Your local animal rights groups need you!

For the first time in 12 years, the EU has approved the growth of genetically engineered crops. A petition might be all that stands in their way!: http://www.greenpeace.org/GEpetition

EDF's bid for the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station has just had its planning application delayed a second time, from early July to the 1st of December. Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has stated that there will be no government subsidies available for new nuclear build

Local campaigning group S.W.A.G. have formed to dissuade Charlie from selling off royal greenbelt land near Newton St Loe, doomed for the construction of 2,000 homes. However, they won an unexpected overkill victory when the ConDem alliance scrapped Neo-Labour's plans for 21,300 homes in the local area, and potentially the contested Bus Rapid Transit route, too!

Catnaps And Chinwags

It's been a strange time for Bath's Black Cat independent community social centre. Thrown out in the rain from their former opulent home at the old Porter Butt pub on London Road (after a storming 'Never Mind the Vote, Here's the Folk' gig) on the 7th of May. Landlord Julian Richer and a dodgy collusion of Bath police and Manchester-based JMW solicitor (claiming to be a bailiff), rather than go to the trouble of legitimately attaining a Warrant of Eviction, instead just intimidated the residents to "voluntarily leave". Since then those frisky Black Cats have been homeless and gone through an internal shake-up, teaming up with the Snow Hill Skills and Enterprise Initiative (who have been patiently attempting to work with the Council for four years to set up a grassroots, poverty-breaking and ecologically-sustainable community centre for the local, deprived area) and helping birth the 'Black Kitten' anarchist free lending library in Stokes Croft, in Bristol. Though determined to keep it real and radical, the collective are currently going through a spate of negotiations over premises with Council and political officials. Who'd have thought it? In the meantime, there's everything to play for, and the Black Cat is very keen for new volunteers to get involved: contact them at bathsocialcentre[at]gmail.co.uk.

http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

EVENTS

London Road Food Co-op, Wednesdays, 4-7pm, Riverside Community Centre, London Road

Bathampton Community Growers workday, Thursdays, 10am-dusk, Mill Lane, Bathampton, e-mail thelostplot[at]googlemail.com/ tel Chris 07792 444628

Bath Stop The War Coalition vigil, Saturdays, 11.30am-12.30, Bath Abbey Courtyard

Recycle Your Sundays, Sundays, 10.30am, starts Abbey Churchyard, the regular series of sociable, easy-paced cycle rides, http://www.bathrys.org.uk/ tel Hazel 01225 469199

Bath FreeShop, Saturday 12th June, 12-3pm, outside Pump Rooms, Stall Street

Broadlands Orchardshare Volunteering Day, Saturday 12th June, 12-4pm, Broadlands Orchard, Box Road, Bathford, http://www.bathford.net/broadlands.php

Palladium Bridge Picnic: with the Natural Theatre Company, Saturday 12th June, 6pm, Prior Park

AmnesTea fund-raising cream tea, Saturday 12th June, 2.30-5.30pm, 6 Widcombe Terrace, BA2 6AJ, http://www.greenbath.org

Widcombe Rising festival, Sunday 13th June, 1.30-7.30pm, Widcombe, http://www.widcombe.net

Bristol Naked Bike Ride, Sunday 13th June, location tbc, http://bristolwnbr.blogspot.com

film: 'Establishing a Food Forest the Permaculture Way', Sunday 13th June, 7.30pm, the Love Lounge/ back room of the Bell, Walcot Street, £5 entry, http://www.transitionbath.org

Bath Animal Action meeting, Monday 14th June, 8-9pm, The Bell, Walcot Street, e-mail bathanimalaction[at]yahoo.co.uk

Boaters' Meeting, Wednesday 16th June, 8pm, Georgian Lodge Hotel, Bradford on Avon

film: 'Passengers', Wednesday 16th June, 8pm, Cube Cinema, Bristol, bristolnoborders[at]riseup.net

film: 'Welcome', Thursday 17th June, 8pm, Cube Cinema, Bristol, bristolnoborders[at]riseup.net

Bathampton Community Growers workday, Saturday 19th June, 10am-dusk, Mill Lane, Bathampton, e-mail thelostplot[at]googlemail.com/ tel Chris 07792 444628

Coal Train Blockaders benefit defence gig, Saturday 19th June, 8pm, the Plough, Easton, Bristol, feat. Ceilidh Minogue, Heroin Hero and DJs

Bristol Anarchist Bookfair benefit punk & thrash gig and film, Sunday 20th June, 6pm, feat. Guarapita, Power Is Poison, Threat Manifesto and This Ends Here, £5, http://www.thebastardsquadcollective.wordpress.com

Bath Cycling Campaign meeting, Monday 21st June, 7.30pm, Rising Sun, Grove Street

talk: 'Climate Migrants: Feeding Back from the World People's Conference on Climate Change', Wednesday 23rd June, 7pm, St. Paul's Learning Centre, 94 Grosvenor Road, Bristol

Transition Bath Visit to Stroud Community Farm, Saturday 26th June, 8.43am from Bath Spa train station, http://www.stroudcommunityagriculture.org

Critical Mass Bike Ride, Saturday 26th June, 1pm, Kingsmead Square, http://www.bathcyclingcampaign.org.uk

Bath Animal Action info stall, Sunday 27th June, 2-4pm, Stall Street, e-mail bathanimalaction[at]yahoo.co.uk

Transition Bath Social, Monday 28th June, 7.15pm, the Love Lounge/ back room of the Bell, Walcot Street, http://www.transitionbath.org

Bath Hunt Saboteurs meeting, Monday 28th June, 8-9pm, The Bell, tel Justin 07854 062336

Bath Socialist Forum: 'What is Socialism?', Monday 28th April, 8pm, upstairs at St James Wine Vaults, e-mail ianjprior[at]aol.com

Bath Activist Network meeting, Thursday 1st July, 7.30-9pm, downstairs at The Hobgoblin, St James Parade, http://www.bathactivistnetwork.blogspot.com

Earth Oven Cooking workshop, Saturday 3rd July, 10am-4pm, Broadlands Orchardshare, Box Road, Bathford, £25, http://www.bathford.net/broadlands.php

Bristol & South Wales Hunt Saboteurs punk & thrash benefit gig, Friday 9th July, 7.30pm, The White Hart, Whitehall Road, Bristol, feat. Kismet H.C., Death Job, Mutiny Plot and This Ends Here, £5

Introductory Permaculture Weekend, Saturday 10th to Sunday 11th July, Bath City Farm, £50, http://www.transitionbath.org

Bath Green Drinks, Wednesday 14th July, 8.30pm, the Rising Sun, Grove Street

Earth First! Summer Gathering, Wednesday 4th to Monday 9th August, Derbyshire, £20-30; five days of workshops, skill sharing and planning action, plus low-impact living without leaders; e-mail summergathering[at]earthfirst.org.uk FFI

Camp for Climate Action, Saturday 21st to Tuesday 24th August, Edinburgh, http://www.climatecamp.org.uk

Animal Cruelty? Noah Way!

Activists from Bath and Bristol have been running a concerted campaign against local animal abusing nutcases Noah's Ark Zoo Farm. This shoddy establishment has a long history of neglect towards animals for 'enjoyment'. The zoo has recently been the subject of a council investigation relating to a catalogue of animal welfare violations, including ill-treatment of the tigress Tira, leading to the death of her and her cubs. To make matters worse, the zoo were caught out having skinned, beheaded and buried the mother on farm land. In addition to this, the zoo trades animals with the notorious 'Bobby Roberts', a circus condemned by many organisations including the RSPCA for the horrific conditions and degrading, painful performances its animals are subjected to. As if the disgusting disregard with which the zoo treats its animals wasn't reason enough to try and shut them down, the frankly nutty views of the zoos creationist owner make them a prime target for anyone who gets annoyed at fairy tales being passed of as fact! The whole zoo is a homage to the pseudo science of creationism, and numerous displays (including one that depicts the actual Noah's ark as fact) try to convince bewildered visitors that the bible is the literal word of god, and that evolution is a myth! While several prime examples of the missing link can be seen operating the zoo, numbers of visitors have been dwindling as word of the disgusting animal cruelty and insane beliefs of the management spreads. Activists are holding weekly demos against the zoo with the aim of closing it down, and are confident of success. To get involved, come along to a demo, or to find out more about the zoo, contact Bristol Animal Rights Collective at barc[at]hotmail.co.uk.

Greek Economy Crumbles, Class War Erupts

Early May saw a massive eruption of working class anger greet the EU/IMF proposed bailout of the debt-ridden Greek economy. The bailout of some 120billion Euros over three years requires the Greek state and 'socialist' government to enact stringent austerity measures and cuts across all sectors of the workforce, except of course for the rich and greedy. Whether this cash comes in time to avoid a Greek state debt default remains to be seen, but it sure has the capitalist system worried as shares crashed worldwide.

Equally worrying for the bosses is the response from the Greek people. Massive strikes, protests and riots erupted across Greece on the 1st, the 5th and the 6th of May, and ongoing, as the working class made it clear they have no intention of paying for the capitalist crisis, nor of accepting further foreign intervention in their affairs. Parliament was nearly stormed, ministry buildings burned, and symbols of capitalism were attacked as strikers shut the country down. Such active resistance also brings more tragedies to go with the long list of people from all backgrounds killed and brutalised in the conflict. Homes, cafés and social centres were attacked by riot cops using gas, stun grenades and live ammo, and the military was put on full alert.

As the class war rages in Greece, the rest of the European ruling class look on aghast, terrified of the contagious effects of both the protests and the financial crisis, such as the wave of anti-cuts protest sweeping Bucharest in mid-May (and the public stoning of economy ministry official Marcel Hoara) and the Irish 'Anglo Irish Bank' occupations and 'Right to Work' demos at the same time. They and we know that we too face such attacks on our living standards as they seek to maintain the profit system. What nobody knows is how far the Greek resistance will go in challenging the power of the ruling class, nor how far we will follow down the same path?

http://libcom.org/news

http://www.occupiedlondon.org

Disproportional Murder

The Israeli army has once again engaged in its favourite game: Innocent People Massacre! Last time we left them, the Zionists were busy crushing all Palestinian hope by building a huge wall around Gaza, and not letting anyone out while killing the people inside under false pretexts.

A bunch of civilians thought they'd be sneaky, pretending to break the siege and all, by sailing to Gaza on a flotilla of boats named 'Freedom Flotilla'. But raising a white flag didn't fool our brave sectarians: clearly, they were secretly working with Hamas to kill Jews. Their instruments of death: aid, food, medical supplies, concrete.

So, on the 31st, a brave bunch of guys killed 19 people (all Turkish) aboard the Mavi Marmara, and wounded another 60. The rest of the crew, some 800 people, were just kidnapped and deported, Nazi-style, but without a camp at the end of the trip. That makes all the difference, you know.

Immediately after news of the massacre came out, demonstrations were held in many European countries. 2,000 people in London gathered outside the Israeli embassy to protest the slaughter. If the Israeli army didn't kill them all, it probably was because they were too far away. Some other day, on a boat in international waters, maybe.

The usual empty round of outrage surged in the international political community. The common theme of which was, that the Israeli attack was disproportional to the threat the boat was representing. That's an understatement, hinting at the white-washing of crimes.

The attack was not disproportional, it was not self-defence gone awry, it was unjustified. The Israeli forces have engaged in a criminal assault on the aid boat, in international waters, and they fired on innocent civilians. Naturally, the latter were said to have attacked the Israelis first. Sure, a bunch of civilians probably thought they were going to beat up the Israeli army and break the siege by force.

More important than the insanity of such an alibi, even if they had used force against Israeli forces illegally assaulting their ship, it would still be right. The Israelis had no right to be on there. Neither do they have a right to arbitrarily pen in 1.5 million innocents like cattle. That is, even if this had been a military expedition to break the siege, by law this would have been the right thing to do.

Every time you focus on details in a controversy, you end up conceding the larger point, which is the most grievously false. This blockade is illegal anyway, and that means force can be used to end it, never mind that the activists were pacifists engaging in aid.

Bath Activist Network are a local umbrella group campaigning on issues as diverse as development, environmentalism, anti-war, animal rights, workers' rights and more. Helping to produce the Bath Bomb, we are open to anyone, and our members range from trade unionists to anarchists, liberals and greens, and people who just want to change Bath for the better. For details on meetings, demos, or just to get in touch, email bathactivistnet[at]yahoo.co.uk or see our website: www.bathactivistnetwork.blogspot.com

BNPathetic!

For the average person, the last month's elections have been nothing to smile about - cuts, deepening recession and a choice between tweedledum, tweedledumber and tweedle-Eton educated toff twat. However, one glimmer of hope came from the dismal, yet entertaining election campaign of the fascist BNP. Their campaign got off to a corker when fuhrer Nick Griffin contacted the police to squeal on his press officer, Mark Collett, who is allegedly plotting to kill him. After kicking Collett out of the party, then subsequently letting him back in, the second blow came just days before the election. Simon Bennett, the bloke behind the BNP website, decided he had had enough and took down the website. He then redirected visitors to a page listing the dire financial straits of the party as well as numerous compelling reasons not to vote BNP! On the same day, Griffin got pelted with rotten veg by an angry mob while out on the campaign trail. In the South West, the BNP fared no better, with a strong force of trade unionists leafleting against the BNP in Chippenham, Corsham and Swindon, meeting a few dejected and isolated fascists along the way. On election night, the BNP fared terribly, losing both council seats of Barking and Dagenham, even with Nazi Nick standing as their prospective MP in the area. Meanwhile, in Hereford, 20 anarchists under a banner reading 'my grandparents didn't vote for fascists, they shot them' stormed the polling booth, chasing out the BNP candidate under a hail of boots and fruits! Locally and nationally, we have finally seen a clear indication that society has seen the BNP for what they are, a gaggle of white supremacist thugs who have no place in civilised society. Without gaining even a single seat on polling day, and with growing calls from inside the party for Nick Griffin to step down,it looks like we are witnessing the disintegration of the BNP. All they need now is a little push.

Steeeeerike!

Recent months have seen the unwelcome return of a trend not seen in many decades in this country - the banning of strikes. Both the recent BA cabin crew, and Rail, Maritime and Transport workers (RMT) signallers' strikes have been banned by judges for various dubious 'irregularities' and the fact that the strikes may cause financial damage to the companies involved (sort of the point of a strike!). With the recession showing no sign of going away, and with massive job, pay and service cuts looming in the near future, this is a worrying precedent for stifling workers' right to raise collective grievances. On top of this, the Tories hope to escalate the class war by introducing legislation which will all but ban strikes in the hope of choking the massive resistance that will inevitably fight back against the upcoming cuts. But it is not all doom and gloom. The last year has seen the resurgence of another old trend - the wildcat strike. Realising that bosses do not listen to polite requests, several factories were occupied by workers last year. If we hope to fight back against the anti-worker policies of the judiciary, the employers and the ruling class, we need to be prepared to take the initiative and flout oppressive anti strike and protest legislation. We are as powerful as we want to be. In the words of martyred trade union militant Joe Hill 'If the workers took a notion they could stop all speeding trains; every ship upon the ocean they can tie with mighty chains'. As some other bloke said 'when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty'.

Necks On The Line

On the 26th of April, the railway line from Ffos-y-Fran opencast coal mine, near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales, was closed by folk from Bristol and Bath Rising Tide. The coal was due to supply the nearby Aberthaw power station, but never arrived.

Once absolutely certain the train wouldn't leave the station - as the company and workers had been informed - the activists locked themselves to the track using chains and super glue. This single track is used only by the mine owners Miller Argent, and isn't used by the public for travel.

It took some thirty South Wales coppers (plus a helicopter) four and a half hours to remove those locked on. As this happened the police received some incredibly irritating news: a second group had been hiding just round the corner and were, as they spoke, emerging and locking onto the tracks with reinforced lock-on arm tubes. Clearly too exhausted from their hard work to take a quick stroll down the line to check this out, the helicopter took to the skies once more. This swoop eventually confirmed what it had failed to notice from hours of previous surveillance - the second group, now cheerfully waving from the track. It took the cops until 8pm to arrest everyone and no coal left that day.

Local residents have been up in arms over the mine since it was first opened, just 30 metres from the nearest home, with many locals joining last year's Climate Camp Cymru next to the site. Not only is opencast mining terrible for local people's health (with black rain and rising lung complaints), it also destroys wildlife and local ecosystems and contributes massively to climate change. In the UK alone, 43 new mines or extensions have been applied for or approved in the last three years.

We need to rapidly change our energy systems to avert catastrophic climate chaos. This will take huge ambition, which the government is completely unable to achieve with its hands in the pockets of corporations. We can't rely on their false solutions any more - it is down to ordinary people to develop worker and community control of our energy supply and our society.

Meanwhile, the 18 (one of which was handed the olympic bail conditions of having to reside in Cornwall, and somehow make the daily 150 mile return trip to sign on at Bath copshop, all without using trains) are back in court in Wales on the 8th of July to enter their pleas. They also have a benefit gig on the 19th June, 8pm, at the Plough in Easton.

http://www.risingtide.org.uk

http://www.stopffosyfran.co.uk

http://coalaction.org.uk

Politicians 'Meet' The 'People'

My dad told me that when he was a boy growing up in the coalfields before the war that anyone standing for political office had to be able to do three things; do genuine public meetings, handle hecklers and dodge turnips thrown from the audience. How times change. Politicians now are worried about meeting genuine voters and during elections, move around protected from the rabble by minders and the authorities. Back on the 22nd of April, the three main party leaders staged a so called public debate in Bristol, before a specially selected audience who had to sit and ask preapproved questions, like good children. Outside, the real electors were being kept away from the meeting by lines of police. Around 300 people - a mixture of anarchists, socialists, animal rights and anti-war protestors one side and a group of seven pissed-up English Defence Leaguers on the other - made their voices heard. The defenders of democracy, the police, using batons and horses tried several times to push the protest away from the Arnolfini Centre, the location of the debate. The crowd stood firm however, and were able to deliver some succinct opinions to the party leaders as they drove in. Police made between seven and ten arrests, but were outfoxed at one time by anti-hunting activists aboard a boat who produced anti-bloodsports banners for the benefit of Cameron and his bloodthirsty toff mates. However, because of the secretive and controlled way this debate was run, whoever won it, it was democracy and the people who lost.

And now, to the disclaimer: as anyone is free to contribute, the opinions expressed in each article are not necessarily reflective of each contributor. Naturally, any right-wing or corporate bullshit will be binned and spat upon. Needless to say, the opinions of the author of this disclaimer do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other contributor.