Local campaigning

1 December 2009News

Early Christmas presents from Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh Language Society, greeted Bangor shoppers when campaigners gave away free Boots “Advantage” cards in the town on 14 November. Turning Boots’ slogan on its head, the Welsh Language Society’s alternative loyalty cards read: “There are no points whatsoever for using Welsh.”

Boots was also surprised by new Welsh speaking employees, provided by Cymdeithas, who offered a bilingual service.

Chair of the…

1 November 2009News in Brief

Parish councillor Chrissie Phillips-Tilbury, 67, knowingly broke the law early in October. She organised a team of volunteers to weed her village of Sonning Common, despite advice from Oxford county council that acting without a “street operative licence” or “health and safety liability insurance” meant they were breaking the law. After Council budget cuts, weeds were growing “like mini hedges”. The council later retracted its advice.
Meanwhile, parish councillors Edmund Done, 67, and…

1 November 2009News

Okay, so there were two of them rather than one, but with just a little cargo netting and rope borrowed from friends, campaigners closed Ffos-y-Frân, Wales’ largest opencast coal mine on 23 September.

“Coal is the biggest cause of climate change, which according to the UN is already killing four hundred thousand people a year,” said David Jones, when he came down from his day-long vigil suspended above the mine’s only access road.

“And the real crime is that all this is…

1 May 2009News

I’m at a loss finding the right idiom for this story: Throwing good money after bad? A fool and his money are easily parted? A leopard can’t change his spots…? You decide.

A joint report by the National Audit Office and the Wales Audit Office concluded that the Red Dragon project to build a super-hangar at RAF St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan cost the public £113m and created only 45 jobs instead of a forecast 4,500. It now stands virtually empty.

The problem arose…

3 November 2008Comment

I don’t think November is a favourite month for campaigning by any means. It is easy to feel discouraged when the days are wet, windy, cold and dark, whether you are marching in the rain, listening to speeches hoping your comrade’s umbrella doesn’t poke you in the eye, sitting down dangerously near a puddle or trying to climb a wet fence.

I recommend the musical protests favoured by East London Against The Arms Fair as more suited to the season. We are holding two this month. (…

1 October 2008News

Transition towns are a new and fast spreading initiative on how our communities can cope with climate change and the decline of oil supplies. One important aspect is that of local finance.

Lewes, birth-place of Thomas Paine (1737-1809), author of the Rights of Man, a popular text book of republican principles, has issued its own currency, the “Lewes Pound”.
The money can be exchanged at issuing points round the town including the Farmers’ Market and the Town Hall. Over a…

1 July 2008Feature

The facts are fairly straightforward, although whenever I recount the tale, my listener’s jaw drops. “They did what?” But the authorities are deadly serious. This is what happened:

2 May. While doing my recycling at my local household “recycling” centre, I spot four good plastic garden chairs in the skip destined for landfill and remove them so that they can be re-used.
When challenged by Waste Recycling Group (WRG) skip worker and his supervisor, I refuse to put them back…

1 February 2008News

17 January was the anniversary of the announcement that the Metrix consortium had successfully bid to build a privately-run military academy in South Wales.

The announcement was celebrated by First Minister Rhodri Morgan with a champagne-popping photo-opportunity outside the Senedd in Cardiff.

A year on, the Grim Reaper scattered replica cluster bombs outside the Senned to highlight the core role of arms company Raytheon in the Metrix Consortium.

The people of…

1 February 2008News

Saturday 12 January saw a brilliant number and diversity of protest and campaign slogans displayed in the centre of Aberystwyth.

Aberystwyth Peace and Justice Network invited the public, local organisations and political parties to join the nationwide day of response to the Government's consultation paper, “Managing Protest around Parliament”.

The paper proposes “harmonising” the conditions that can be imposed on marches and assemblies.

Harmonisation is widely believed…

1 December 2007News

Thanks to concerted efforts on a number of fronts, promoters of the St Athan Defence Training Academy have been on the back foot in recent weeks. At the end of October, the MoD announced it had decided not to hand over half of the proposed military training to the Metrix Con sortium - the group of arms and construction companies hoping to secure lucrative contracts as military training is centralised and privatised. This means that thousands of the proclaimed jobs will not now be moving to…

1 November 2007News

St Athan is an English mistranslation of the Welsh female saint Tathan. The Defence Training Academy to be built at St Athan will be a further corruption of a Welsh culture of peace.

Wales' First Minister Rhodri Morgan famously promised “clear red water between Cardiff and London”. This water it turns out isn't to be a political moat but rather a cultural river of blood that will flow courtesy of a warmongering New Labour brotherhood.

St Athan will be a privately operated “…

1 November 2007News

Aberystwyth Town Council, a town with a strong history of peace activism, particularly from Greens, Plaid Cymru and the Quakers, is in its fourth year of holding a white poppy ceremony recognising the non-combatants who die in wars.

The white poppy ceremony will be held at 11am on 10 November at the castle war memorial.

Relations with the British Legion, who the Town Council also supports, are thawing now our sincerity is being recognized, though they will not countenance a…

1 June 2007News

Members of a new group “Wrexham Women for Peace” and their supporters held a “funeral procession”, carrying coffins and a peace flag through the town centre on 19 May in memory of those whose lives have been lost in conflict worldwide.
The women, accompanied by several children and babies, began by holding a silent 15-minute vigil at the war memorial, and then laying a wreath on the steps of the army recruitment offices where they observed a further minute's silence.
As the…

3 April 2007Comment

About: Shell to Sea is a grassroots campaign in County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland. The local community is pitted against a powerful consortium of oil companies, led by Shell, who want to build a high pressure gas pipeline and processing terminal in the area. The Irish government is totally in support of Shell and has treated its own people with contempt. Prime Minister Bertie Aherne specifically changed the law so that private companies can acquire land without the owner's permission…

1 March 2007News in Brief

On 17 February, around 100 people marched through Aberystwyth in protest against the proposed issuing of DTI licences to explore for oil in conservation areas off the Welsh coast.

Local campaigners SOS called the march, hot on the heels of handing in a 2400-signature petition to Downing Street on 6 February. According to the campaign's website, the petition was presented to tell the government that the people of mid and west Wales will not take the granting of licences to explore…