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Saturday, 17 August 2019

Armaments industry and climate change

Going on from the Morning Star report I referred to in the previous blog post, here is a letter I had published in the mainly parochial Hereford Times earlier this year. As that letter does not appear online at Hereford Times website, I transcribe it below without the print edition headline it was given and that I've currently forgotten. (I pass on my copies of Hereford Times without scanning copies of my published letters there.)

Hereford Times has much less readers letters space on the printed edition than the Camden New Journal has, and sometimes Hereford Times publishes, online, letters of mine that are over 250 words long. The search link
letters  "alan wheatley"
helps to highlight some of those published letters, while also flagging up a few 'false positives'.

My Hereford Times published letter re armaments industry and climate change

Veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent recently presented the Millichap Peace Lecture at Hereford Friends Meeting House, in a lecture entitled 'War No More'. The occasion celebrated Bruce's 90th year and the 20th anniversary of the Millichap Peace lectures and this letter focuses on matters relevant to Herefordshire and more recent publication of a UN report into poverty in the UK.

Bruce showed his pocket sized copy of the UN Charter — a document that few of the audience had ever seen. It seems that governments that are keen on promoting militarism and robotic obedience in schools don't like promoting public awareness of government responsibilities or of citizens' rights that are enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Emphasising this point, the concluding and highly critical UN report on poverty in the UK by Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty published on May 22nd stated:
"Although the [UK] is the world's fifth largest economy, [1/5] of its population (14 million people) live in poverty, and 1.5 million of them experienced destitution in 2017"
and described Universal Credit as
"a digital and sanitised version of the 19th Century workhouse, made infamous by Charles Dickens rather than seeking to respond creatively and compassionately to the needs of thos facing widespread economic insecurity in an age of deepa nd rapid transformation...."
The UK Government has denounced this report as "barely believable," and based on too brief a visit rather than painstaking research (with hundred of submissions received by November 2018), before, during and after his visit. Rapporteur Alston says, "The UK is happy to use human rights to criticise other countries, but it must also reckon with its on human rights problems."

The Climate Emergency movement, said Bruce, has yet to tackle the huge impact that production and retention of nuclear weapons, and also the sale and deployment of armaments, has on climate change. Nuclear weapons and also nuclear energy production are also incredibly wasteful of public money, producing fewer jobs than socially useful production, while the current government has savaged funding of public services [and councils and told local authorites to leave housing policy to the private sector].

Former US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara admitted years after stepping down that incredible luck and good fortune rather than nuclear deterrence had prevented world war. Bruce Kent pointed out that a considerable element there was key personnel disobeying orders that had been based on false alarms.

Alston's report is not a false alarm, and the sooner those who describe it as "barely believable" remove their digital blinkers, the more secure planet Earth will be.

Alan Wheatley
(Hereford & South Herefordshire Green Party)

The Devastation of Yemen — Morning Star print edition Friday 16 Aug 2019 cover story

Yesterday's Morning Star led with 'The Devastation of Yemen'

Morning Star, Friday 16 August 2019 lead story: The Devastation of Yemen

Saudis 'whitewashed' civilian deaths
War crimes ongoing in brutal conflict

Calls grow to end British arms deals

You can catch up with that story online at 

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Hereford Times updates, Thursday 15 August 2019

(Hereford Times is the main local newspaper for my home county since 2017, Herefordshire)

A-Level results day in Herefordshire 2019

Business leaders launch campaign to save Hereford bypass

Late letters spark road confusion

Independent Italian restaurant coming to Hereford city centre

Anti-social behaviour sees Closure Order served

Reader's letter: second thoughts on Brexit

Council 'Intelligence Team' launch new website

Camden New Journal headlines, Thursday 15 August 2019

(The CNJ is the leading freebie newspaper of my old (1979-2017) home borough.)

Disability News Service output Thursday 15 August 2019

Top Story

Top Story

Latest Stories

EHRC proposals on new right to independent living: Six key elements
Mystery over sharp drop in disabled people’s unemployment rate ‘Anger and collective action’ secure ‘success’ for Peterloo access campaign

Picnics – not work – are a health outcome, say activists
Tribunal decision ‘could deter companies from building more institutions’

Housmans Bookshop (London) Newsletter - Summer 2019 Update

 housmanshead 10mm wide


1. Richard Gott Library Sale

2. 'Different Class: Football, Fashion and Funk – The Story of Laurie Cunningham' with Dermot Kavanagh

3. 'The Twittering Machine' with Richard Seymour
4. 'Prison: a Survival Guide', with Carl Cattermole and Erika Flowers
5. 'Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century' with Kehinde Andrews
6. 'Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto' with Aaron Bastani

7.  'This Land is Ours: The Fight for Land Justice' with speakers from the Anarchist Communist Group
8. 'Queer Heroes' – Exhibition & Book Launch

1. Richard Gott Library Sale - Saturday 17th to  Sunday 25th August
Richard Gott is a former Latin America correspondent and features editor for the Guardian. A specialist in Latin American affairs, his books include Cuba: A New History, Guerrilla Movements in Latin America, The Appeasers (with Martin Gilbert), Land Without EvilHugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution, and Britain's Empire.

Richard has very kindly donated over 1,000 books from his personal library, across a range of subjects, but as would be expected, the collection has a particular emphasis on South American history and politics.

Housmans will be hosting a sale of these books, starting at 10am Saturday 17th August and finishing at 6pm on Sunday 25th August. New books will be put out continuously throughout the week.

As with all our book sales we are keen to keep the price of books as low as possible. The vast majority will be priced at £1 or £3, with a small selection priced at £5, or on rare occasion possibly higher.

Part of the donation includes a number of books in Spanish – these will be available for free, though we would ask you to consider making a donation at the till, with proceeds going to Haven Distribution, who provide books to prisoners.

Please do spread the word to those who might be interested.

Our sincerest thanks to Richard for this generous donation.

As many of our events are oversubscribed we are increasingly asking for tickets to be purchased in advance. Tickets can also be bought at Housmans and there may be some spaces available on the night, but strictly on a first-come first-served basis.

2. 'Different Class: Football, Fashion and Funk – The Story of Laurie Cunningham' with Dermot Kavanagh

Wednesday August 21st, 7pm- tickets in advance from
Different Class
Cunningham blazed a trail for black footballers at a time when racism was rife on the terraces and won over hostile crowds with his mercurial style. A glamorous outsider, he was also a soul boy who danced on the 1970's Soho funk scene in bespoke suits. Cunningham's story is not only a football one, it is a story of London, race relations and youth culture too.
More info here

3. 'The Twittering Machine' with Richard Seymour
Wednesday September 4th, 7pm- tickets in advance from

In surrealist artist Paul Klee's The Twittering Machine, the bird-song of a diabolical machine acts as bait to lure humankind into a pit of damnation. Leading political writer and broadcaster Richard Seymour argues that this is a chilling metaphor for our relationship with social media. Through journalism, psychoanalytic reflection and insights from users, developers, security experts and others, Seymour probes the human side of the machine, asking what we're getting out of it, and what we're getting into.
More info here

4. 'Prison: a Survival Guide', with Carl Cattermole and Erika Flowers
Wednesday September 11th, 7pm- tickets in advance from

Carl presents his essential guide to life in UK prisons – now fully updated and featuring contributions from female and LGBTQI prisoners, as well as from family on the outside. Carle will be joined by Erika Flowers who will share her experience of Holloway women's prison.
More info here

5. 'Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century' with Kehinde Andrews
Wednesday September 18th, 7pm- tickets in advance from

Back to Black traces the long and eminent history of Black radical politics. At its core it argues that racism is inexorably embedded in the fabric of society, and that it can never be overcome unless by enacting change outside of this suffocating system. Kehinde Andrews explores the true roots of this tradition and connects the dots to today's struggles by showing what a renewed politics of Black radicalism might look like in the 21st century.
More info here

6. 'Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto' with Aaron Bastani
Wednesday September 25th
, 7pm- tickets in advance from

Aaron Bastani discuss his much talked-about book, which looks at the possibility of harnessing technological advances to moving beyond work, scarcity and capitalism.
More info here
7. AUTONOMY NOW presents:
'This Land is Ours: The Fight for Land Justice' with speakers from the Anarchist Communist Group

Thursday September 26, 7pm-  free entry, RSVP in advance from

There is a long tradition of fighting for the land in Britain, most recently in the Scottish movement for land reform. People are beginning to question the idea of private property and moving to more radical ideas such as the land being a Commons - owned and controlled by us all. This talk will first look at the question of who owns and controls the land in Britain, consider what is being done in Scotland and elsewhere, and then open the discussion on what changes we would like to see.
More info here
8. 'Queer Heroes' – Exhibition & Book Launch
Friday 27th September, 7pm- free entry

Join us for an evening of art, books and drinks to celebrate the release of Arabelle Sicardi and Sarah Tanat-Jones' new book Queer Heroes, a beautifully illustrated collection featuring 52 LGBTQ+ artists, writers, innovators, athletes and activists who have changed the world from ancient times to present day. Sarah will be joining us to paint a brand new mural on one of the shop windows and will have prints for sale. Come along for a chat, a signed copy of the book and a celebration of queer history in all its wonderfully varied forms.
Please note: this event will not have a formal talk element.
More info here

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Housmans Bookshop,
5 Caledonian Road,
London N1 9DX
Tel: +44 (0)20 7837 4473
shop email:  
"Support the shop that supports your campaigns!" 10mm wide

Fuel Poverty Action AGM, TUESDAY 10 September 2019 at London NW5 2DX

From Fuel Poverty Action

at Crossroads Womens' Centre, in Kentish Town, London NW5 2DX.  NB it is a TUESDAY rather than our usual monthly "first Thursday"

[Alan will fill in the meeting time later. This posting is just as advanced notice.]

Happy summer to all!


Cold homes, fuel poverty, climate change, millions of homes in debt to their energy supplier, huge profits for the Big Six... the energy system isn't working.
Another energy system is possible! Get behind the Fuel Poverty Action Energy Bill of Rights

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Fuel Poverty Action: Energy Bill of Rights

Also from FPA,

Help with route preparations links provided by Alan