Monday 26 April 2010

I Don't Predict A Riot

From the US - according to its makers, "the only energy drink that can spark a riot when consumed. Anarchy Energy Fuel is filled with the ingredients to propel your disorderly ways. No other drink compliments a molotov cocktail quite as well as Anarchy Energy Fuel."

Further proof that capitalism will try and market anything - especially rebellion. For trustafarian anarchos only.

Hat-tip: @snookcocker

Friday 23 April 2010

LAZY FRIDAY - I Wanna Live Like Cameron's People

Another Lazy Friday treat. Maybe it's me, but doesn't this sketch remind you of Call Me Dave? "Like, totally!"

Saturday 17 April 2010

The Sound of Silence

My Mum and Dad are stuck (albeit very comfortably and with no great hurry to return) in Madeira, waiting to hear when they can get a flight home. Loads of other people are experiencing problems due to the shutdown of UK airspace. But this is dedicated to Londoners who live near Heathrow, London City and Gatwick airports. We should enjoy it while we can.

NASA Images of Iceland's Volcanic Ash Cloud

Images from NASA's Terra satellite of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano ash cloud. Updates here.

Thursday 8 April 2010

Exit Through The Gift Shop

I really need to see something new this weekend and this is on at the Curzon in Soho:

Friday 2 April 2010

LAZY FRIDAY - A Voice of Sanity for Good Friday

An unusually serious Lazy Friday video...

Philip Pullman, on his new book The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ:

It was a shocking thing to say and I knew it was a shocking thing to say. But no one has the right to live without being shocked. No one has the right to spend their life without being offended. Nobody has to read this book. Nobody has to pick it up. Nobody has to open it. And if you open it and read it, you don't have to like it. And if you read it and you dislike it, you don't have to remain silent about it. You can write to me, you can complain about it, you can write to the publisher, you can write to the papers, you can write your own book. You can do all those things, but there your rights stop. No one has the right to stop me writing this book. No one has the right to stop it being published, or bought, or sold or read. That's all I have to say on that subject.

One Year On - Where's The Justice?

Yesterday was the first anniversary of both the G20 protests and the shocking death of Ian Tomlinson. In the morning, there was a short but emotional vigil in the City of London where the family laid flowers at the spot where Ian Tomlinson died. The Guardian also printed a letter from campaigners, politicians, trade union leaders, lawyers and academics, raising concerns about the Crown Prosecution Service's lack of transparency and continuing delay in announcing whether charges will be brought against those responsible for Ian's death. Promises ere given that a decision would be made before Christmas, but we are still waiting.

We know that successful prosecutions of police officers are incredibly rare, even when the evidence against them is strong. The recent acquittal of riot officer Delroy Smellie was hardly a complete surprise, although the decision of the main witness Nicola Fisher not to give evidence made this almost a certainty from the start (incidentally, imagine if we all gave up on the pursuit of justice, however unlikely it may be to achieve, in exchange for selling a story to a national newspaper for £26,000? There would be no campaigns, no scrutiny and the police would be able to act with even greater impunity than they do now.)

It may therefore seem understandable that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, wants to be well prepared before making an announcement, but it is difficult not to see his actions as anything other than following the pattern of so many other custody death cases I have been involved with over the last decade. The long delay leaves the family, their legal team and supporters in limbo, fearful of saying anything that may been seen as prejudicial to any potential prosecution, whilst allowing other investigations into the conduct of the police on 1 April last year to effectively write Ian Tomlinson's death out of the narrative. It now seems unlikely that a potentially controversial decision will be made until after the general election.

It was good to see that so many people, including those whom activists have had some disagreements with in the past like the Green Party's Jenny Jones (who sits on the Metropolitan Police Authority), insinctively understood the importance of standing in solidarity with the Tomlinson family on this most difficult of days. Respect to all of them for doing so. The only real frustration this week was with one organisation, who shall remain nameless, that kept wanting to make changes to the joint letter, eventually agreed to the initial text and then threw a strop because their director's name was used without specific permission. It was just so inappropriate and so different from the generosity of the support offered by others - somehow, I don't think we'll be asking for their help again.

The same solidarity demonstrated on the Guardian letters page was shown by all those who attended yesterday's vigil and weren't there as part of the scrum of photographers. But it was weird being back in the city and standing on Cornhill a year on. It was so quiet - completely different from the excitement and expectation of the same time last year. That there was no return by anti-capitalist campaigners weeks before the election, supposedly the big political event of the year, highlights how much of the anger against the banks has dissipated, turning to cynicism or even despair over the last twelve months. The bankers are back receiving their obscene bonuses whilst every mainstream political party argues that ordinary people, especially those working in the public sector, must suffer for the disaster that the banks created. And it feels as if there is nothing we can do.

So no justice for us - and still no justice for the Tomlinsons. But if the Director of Public Prosecutions does the unthinkable and refuses to press charges, I can't see them reaching for the PR services of Max Clifford and giving up on the search for justice. From experience, I know that waiting twelve months for answers is just the beginning - and that Ian's family will need the generosity, solidarity and support shown yesterday on many more occasions in the coming year.

Photos: Bob Archer

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