So this was a rare event, spread over two days, focussed on a flamboyant rebel and mixing work and play, culture and politics, expertise and prejudice, strength and weakness. It just went to demonstrate how much one can pack into twenty four hours!

Gilad was born to and grew up in an Israeli Jewish family. He’s a mean jazz saxophonist, a prolific writer and, my, can he talk!?! Fundamentally, also a rebel and a thinker. He does not identify as Jewish any longer, he don’t live in Israel no more, nor will the UK Labour party let him speak at their meetings so he abides now in Athens and elsewhere, albeit clearly spends time in the UK. 

His 2019 Christmas message:

For two days, then, we had The Gilad Experience! A Purple Haze with the Wind Crying for …..what? Still not entirely sure but I loved the journey. 

Ok, first stop was “The Penrhyn Arms”, a fine pub uphill, on the inland side of the mainroad which has the Little Orme to seaward. Like an olde fishing village on the Cornish coast, bending roads and all kinds of different levels, with much atmosphere. Sadly, a bend after the square with the pub, the village is lost into acres of new, brash housing. Hold that thought – it may be useful later…… 

As I chatted with friends the band set up simply by shifting a couple of tables, close by us, to the side and occupying maybe ten metre squared in a window alcove. Drum kit, electric piano and double bass. No PA at all and the centre gap gave room for trumpet player Neil and headliner Gilad. So, for the evening we were right up close to the music.

Acoustic Jazz, Coltrane style, switching lead instrument round, all getting their solo spots. They did two sets and it was all precision stuff. It was impressive, too, as they were pretty much a “scratch” band – bass and drums from Birmingham, piano from Chester and trumpet from the campsite down the hill. His day job is owning said venture!

So, yeah, they gelled. Maybe wasn’t the Hot Club de France but certainly that kinda vibe. Wow – could Llandudno be cool?! We had a very relaxed evening, chatting with each other and, periodically, the band. At my table Tony knew Neil through his Conwy folk club connections and Gilad seemed easy to engage in banter – there wasn’t time for conversation, but you learn a lot, anyway.

One thing which came out was the need for professionalism. They were beautifully “on cue”, all talked the same musical language and clearly fired off what each played. Solos were fun but I most enjoyed the duet pieces when sax and trumpet rippled over each other’s melodies and weaved complex, intertwined musical tapestries.

But fantastic though this tuneful evening had been, it was only the overture for the verbal symphony we experienced the next day, at a private seminar soiree, hosted by two friends, nearby. 

After a splendid buffet and a chat with my anarchist friend, Chris, we came to order and Gilad began to relate his story and, essentially, by implication, how come he’s an expat twice over and persona non grata where you might think – or hope – he’d be welcomed. How come the British Labour Party label an Israeli born Jew as so anti-semitic that they “unstage” him at all Labour local authorities?

He’s passionate. He had us Corbynista on edge by telling how, for him, the immense early promise and enlightenment offered by JC had been irrevocably tarnished for Gilad by, as far as I could determine, his inability to deal positively and proactively with the weaponised “anti-semitism” abuse hurled at him and the Labour Party. Our eloquent racounteur essentially suggested that Jeremy should have been far more assertive in his own and his party’s defence. 

Watching, as I did, the TV showdown between racist liar Johnson and pure, honest multiculturalist Corbyn, I flinched whilst the former labelled JC as anti-semitic and unwilling to purge the Labour Party of such attitudes to no retaliation other than a quiet shake of the head. He is noble to a fault. Ghandiesque, in fact but his new kind of politics needs adjustment to the new brutalism of Trumpism. “I speak the truth because I say it is the truth and so do my social media cohorts and my MSM claque”. When this includes the compare of the interview program you are appearing on – in this case went to school with Mr Johnson – then you needs must adjust.

Or not – and there lay Gilad’s departure from JC’s fan club! Clearly, though, this departure predated the election, and his hassles with LP local authorities for his anti-Zionism form a strong and influential tale. This was assumed on Wednesday afternoon, so I’ll have to do the background research, but, I’m sure it’ll have been analogous to that of Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone and Chris Williamson. Shameless weaponisation of concerns over Israeli actions in Gaza and all Greater Palestine, in suppressing the indigenous Palestinian population under the Zionist banner, being used to terminate their contributions as being “anti-semitic”.

If you place within the strictures of a faith an implicit permission to treat those of other or no faith with contempt and so give yourselves force majeure over these people then I would suggest this faith to be illegal under all international law. To say “God gave this land to us, and us alone” cannot be given legal force.

In a question, I suggested that Israel had become the “poster girl” for global, expansionist capital. It was being defended in its actions because, essentially, capital should be allowed to purchase a country and drive out its unwanted population just like capital can buy a mine just to close it or a business to strip out its assets. Agri-business can be allowed to strip out natural rainforests and drive out all their complex populations, of all species, including humans, because that way they can drive a profit. And capital needs profit, seeks it insatiably and withers away without it.

So, Israel’s a good investment shielded by biblical texts.

There was lively discussion on this point, as well as many others, over around three hours. As mentioned above, there was Labour Party incredulity at his audacity, coupled with the deep, near humiliation of the recent general election defeat and spiced with Gilad’s professed departure from the Corbynite/Labour fold. Protests against his views, thus, were coupled with the back knowledge of Labour’s loss and that possibly, just possibly, he could be right!

How could he stand up and do, well, stand up, using Israeli anti-Jewish jokes? I’ll not quote them – suffice to say that blacks use “nigger” jokes in the same, sardonic manner. The audience squirms but objective analysis cannot criticise him over this. He is recounting exactly what others say and not inventing it himself. He talks of the holocaust not to deny it, nor to in any way diminish its impact but, I think, to suggest it not be used to attain status as victim nor as a pivot for social planning going forward.

I don’t know about him but I see that such histories should be taught as of human suffering derived from labelling and the outcome of targeting minorities – particularly in times of stress or to distract the general population from other matters. It is all too easy for a strong leader to turn his or her subjects against minority groups. It is ALL such events, not just one we should remember and, every time we do so we should emphasise “Never again should any form of racism or religious prejudice be allowed to flourish and drive any government’s actions”.

How far we are from that goal at present! I don’t need to catalogue them, they are too many and so ongoing, but think of more recent and current examples like Cambodia, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Brazil, USA, Myanmar, Ukraine, India and, yes, Palestine. All emphasise how picking on one sector of any population can let out brutal instincts and will encourage and unleash unrestrainable hatreds.

I will not here deny that I see the recent UK election as having used these techniques in wholesale manner. Firstly and perversely to label the Labour Party as racist and actually creating a politically correct firestorm of derision on Jeremy and his supporters whilst, behind this shield, painting Europeans and other immigrants as a problem to be fixed. Now, having gained power on this and a host of other lies, our government, this regime, will be driven by an increasingly divisive, racist cohort.

Small wonder Gilad has taken residence elsewhere!

Thanks to Eva and Bargas for arranging and hosting this enlightening event. I shall look forward to meeting up with this insightful and controversial saxophonist in the future.

20th December, 2019.

Gilad’s web site:

Excellent backgrounding article:

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Sacks full of chat

So on AAV there was discussion on Brexitious issues. Guy called Lionel Sachs was being anti-Corbyn and, to me, overstepped the mark. Having heard such views in social and print and broadcast media, especially in “anti-semitic” critiques, this didn’t surprise me much. However, I had to step in and absolutely not use any a/s references. Not difficult:

Anyway, Sacks expounded the idea that JC was “recruiting from the far right”, from UKIP, into the Labour Party, which is so absurd but I wanted to determine whence the idea came.  I had first wondered “has he not realised this?” and also thought “is this why they are using the a/s slur”? Thus it seems they’re attempting to paint Momentum as The Black Shirts of Moseley in the 1930s. Actively looking in the wrong direction as Farage romps around totally unassailed by them.

Who pulls their strings? And why?

Chris Hemmings Lionel – “Recruiting from the hard right”!! Don’t set yourself up for ridicule. JC is fully aware that Labour support drifted away in blighted, employment poor, communities to right wing siren calls using immigrants as an easy target. 

But the response has not been to woo the sirens – instead, it is to counter the misinformation put about by the Farageists and offer a collectivist, socialist, inclusive country under a Corbynite Labour Government.

I reckon that’s a bloody good offer to the long suffering never listened to folks. Me included!

Lionel Sacks Chris – are you saying there was no move from labour to UKIP, NewKIP? Most people think there was. And has JC shown any sympathy for the remainers who supported him in the snapped election? Most of us don’t think so. Why not? Because he has focused on getting people to support labour who are prepared to support Farage. … A neo-fascists. 

I also was a strong JC supporter… 4 years ago. 

Lots of water under the bridge, washing away support for him.

Think before ridicule.

Chris Hemmings Thinking is what I do! And it’s the Tories who have an open door to the far right – 60000 joined the Tories in the twelve months up to the crowning of Boris, adding 50% to the membership! All UKIP types, I’m sure.

You watched Carol Cadwalkadr’s TED talk on Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and the death of democracy? That’s what happened to large swathes of Labour support. Unlistened to and offered succour by racist Farage and others of his ilk. As I say, siren calls.

But the snap election didn’t, as it were, “soak up remainers”, the issues were – and still are – far wider. Corbyn has throughout this time been focussed on the real issues. Brexit was just a smokescreen thrown up to hide the damage being wrought by this worst of governments!

Lionel Sacks Call is “siren calls”, sure. We agree, JC has focused on getting Farage supporters back. Sure, very few support neo-fascists for good, analytic reasons; but what the hell kind of labour supporter supports them at all?

Most analysis shows the strategic voters mostly voted labour. I did. I would vote Labour anyway; but many of us where very focused. And to have JC turn round and, basically, tell us “thanks, now fuck off while I do my version of siren calls” will and has lost him support. His (and McCluskey’s) choice their responsibility. 

I agree, without brexit, he could have even been in power now and all the better for it. 

But the brexit shit show is a fact. Supported by the working class who’ll suffer more from the fallout and the disgruntled middle – who’ll suffer less. 

And JC has met that fact badly.

Lionel Sacks And, Chris, I think you underestimate brexit. It’s an economic far right policy which enables them to make a bonfire if rights, regulations and protections. They used the social far right to sell it – xenophobia etc. call it “siren calls”? Or people giving into their worst sides or fear or whatever. Brexit supporters are still enabling ultra neo-liberalism, Thatcher2.0. 

And JC thinks he can ride that tiger and deliver a “good brexit” (which, by the way, no-one campaigned for ) is a joke, like the allies appeasing Hitler after supporting him as a bulwark against communism…

If JC wanted to live up to his initial promises, he’d have exposed brexi for what it is and opposed it. He didn’t…

Chris Hemmings Trouble was there were, and still are, many on the left who oppose “the European Superstate” which they see the EU as. I have sympathy for such a perspective but know for certain it has to be faced up to and reformed. We’d throw out that baby with the brexit bathwater, but sufficient of the left – Tony Benn devotees, for example, hold to it for JC to ignore.

The three years have seen Brexit solidify as a project of the fascist, xenophobic right. I’d say JC has aided that process. For heavens sake, he’s been under immense internal party pressure, realigning it, nearly winning the 2017 GE, and constantly reining in the also inept Govt of TM to excellent effect. Eventually she was painted into a corner and so had nowhere else to go, other than resign. We all knew her party had by than been topped up with kippers hence, as I said, Boris “Nero” Johnson.

So now we see the final acts of this drama. Lib Dems rendered a farce, nationalists and Greens on board and Europhile Tories crumbling.


Chris Hemmings PS – everybody knows Europe will not reopen treaty negotiations. Everybody!

Lionel Sacks Well, quite. JC did worse than fumbled the brexi ball; he continuously passed it back to the opposition. We handed him the PV march, he passed it to the Tories. We handed him a strong position after the snapped election – he give the ToryUKIP part the whole field … The list goes on. You see that and still think he’s fit for pm? What crisis will he skrewup next?


Chris Hemmings JC plays the long game. He has nearly purged his party but the Cambridge Analytica derived Facebook and other social media delivered damage is harder to repair. We’re talking 1930s Moseley, 1960s Powell, 1970s,80s,90s,etc Murdoch all deeply reinforced by vile tailored messaging.

Yes, I so wanted him to be at the march back in the spring, I wished his join us with all my heart, as I marched with me banner down Whitehall. But I knew he couldn’t. “Not yet” I told myself.

His record is superb, we now have a genuine socialist party in Britain that can lead us forward towards radical and essential changes. There is no status quo to keep to. Staying in Europe or closely allied to it is not a conservative option as the EU and the whole world have deep changes to bring about. JC is so up for that. Me too!

And you?

Lionel Sacks He played a long game, badly and is loosing… In Search of his own private unicorn. 

Sure, I blamed Cambridge analytica etc.. and other forces before that was revealed – but JC has done nothing, zero, to discredit those influences on the referendum – because he wants brexit… so Labour is filling up with people who’d vote with a neo-fascist because Facebook told them a pack of lies. 

Obviously I want change, but JC told me to fuck off and off I’ve fucked. He isn’t capable of bringing the change needed.

Chris Hemmings Wow, so deeply judgemental, Lionel! I’ve only met JC once, though seen him speak several times. I feel he has honesty, humility and empathy and is a very special character. Miss out on that and, I feel, you are missing partnership in one of the most unique and rewarding opportunities this country has had.

Lionel Sacks Politicians are there to be judged, FFS – you’re not electing a boyfriend or any kind of partner

I’ll risk missing out on a cup of tea if it means holding power to account – and JC doesn’t get a free pass. No one does – that way lies dictatorship. This isn’t religion either. 

Anyway, I hope you are happy together, what ever the future holds 🙂

Chris Hemmings Of course one weighs up politicians and JC is a pro, so open to the same scrutiny as all others. In fact he has far, far more and most of it using the sense in which I used the J word, the second sense here:

“judgemental, adjective

1 – of or concerning the use of judgement.

“judgemental decisions about the likelihood of company survival”

2 – having or displaying an overly critical point of view.”

Lionel Sacks You use “judgement” incorrectly about me. Try 1. if you read my comments as technical judgements, you will find I’m correct – or at least, have cause – in the faults I’m finding. 

If you think, as you say – thet any and sll judgement are just being overly critical you are falling into the trap of following a religion, or being in a relationship or a dictatorship. 

Think again.

Lionel Sacks … and if you treat any criticism of JC as just 2. You are not engaging in honest discourse but just devout sophistry…

Gosh, I’d forgotten, this is an AAV post, of course a good dose of evangelical ferver is required.

Chris Hemmings Hey, I don’t want to bring religion – or even faith – into this chat. I don’t use such structures, other than green humanism…….

As I said, all politicians should be scrutinised but JC has had far deeper and frequently unjust criticism. I hold to that as objective analysis. Much of the entrenched establishment are deeply worried at the prospect of the first change in government in the UK for forty years.

Those forty years have caused all the damage we now need to repair!

Lionel Sacks … and there are many progressives in the Labour party who’d do a great job if JC would only get out the way. 

And I can’t answer for the Tory media. But my criticism isn’t unjust. Obviously you can see that otherwise why start waffling about generalities… 

Anyway, good luck in your faith in JC.

By this time I was asleep and did not provide a rejoinder in the morning. Did it help further my understandings? What should Sacks be filed under?

  • Socialist
  • European
  • Anti-Corbynite (Therefore not socialist!)
  • Jewish
  • Anti austerity
  • “Progressive”?
  • Capitalist?
  • Potential extinction rebel?

It seems to me that I have, here, to bring in the A/S element. How else can one explain his intransigence? LS was critical of JC throughout the discussion and seemed not to move on anything although his responses often lacked logic or evidence. Me: “JC plays the long game” LS: “JC plays the long game – badly” but provided no rationale for this denial. 

I’d pointed out the lost millions of impoverished working class voters. He dismisses them – “what the hell kind of labour supporter supports them at all?” – ignoring my description of them as unlistened to and desperate, responding to false promises from Farage and Johnson, et al.

We don’t know the numbers but, if Labour are fifty or so seats down with, say, 10000 votes lost at each, that’s half a million votes and all in Labour heartlands. Tory policies have driven them into the arms of the right wing extremists. I can see that offering them a future, as well as those who’ve stayed loyal to the Labour cause, is an investment well worth Jeremy’s time. 

Lionel and his southern brethren are far better placed to weather the storms ahead. He should understand this. Methinks he does, yet he moans: “JC turn round and, basically, tell us “thanks, now fuck off while I do my version of siren calls””.

Corbyn, and most of the Labour Party, actually said “Yes, we hear you. Things have been very tough – often institutionally heartless – for too long. You saw the Tory Govt of Cameron supporting staying in Europe and you hated the Cameron Government. Voting to leave came from that position but  membership has truly brought many benefits. To cut off all ties would be disastrous, so we must all, instead, build a new consensus, to retain and improve the benefits but work to change aspects which are unhelpful and alienating”.

Well, OK, he hasn’t said that but that’s how I distill his utterances and the concerns he has shown. Giving a voice to the struggling, hearing their worries and seeing their grief.

So we rebuild one step at a time.

1 – VoNC in Boris Falafel.

2 – JC as interim PM to extend the leaving date and call a General Election, with referendum to follow.
3 – GE to bring such a turmoil! Tory – Brexit Faragist – Kippers fighting out over all the Leave votes, Labour being anti austerity pro amended  Europe, Lib Dumbs being a laughing stock, like a slighted lover who wants her abusing partner back, despite all the damage he’s done to her, Scot Nats being very pro-Europe but anti UK, same as Plaid in Wales, with Caroline and the Greens being Momentum flag bearers in all but name, save being 100% pro Europe and not having to pander to certain trades unions!

4 – Result of GE? Well, this aint easy but
Labour – 281

Tory – 235
Lib Dumb – 45

Scot Nat – 48
Brexit – 18
Plaid – 3
Green – 2

NI – 11 (+ 7)

334 vs 264 vs 45

Would be acceptable!

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Down on the Farm – a summer picnic at Bryn Cocyn Organic.

“We should all become gardeners” was my take home message from Patrick Noble who, with wife Joyce, were our hosts for the day.

Of course, it is not quite as straightforward as that! But, then again, maybe it is……

The weather was hovering around being inclement most of the time. The forecast rain was duly ambushing us whenever we let our guard down – “Well I reckon it’s rained itself out by now” was my foolish sage comment a short while before another onslaught. But, hey, this was August and so the rains were warm, the breezes gentle and so we didn’t really care too much!

I was late, of course, so had to catch up the group on its orchards walk. Fairly recently planted, the trees are, by and large, maturing well and a reasonable harvest was starting already to mature. Worcesters, always very early would be ready in the next week. They have a fair variety of cultivars, for pollination and, of course, to provide a good length to their season of availability. They take clean attractive fruits to market, to sell at a good price and couple this with the production of single cultivar juices, each with its individual characteristics and, again, a very attractive product.

The tour continued through the large field of mixed vegetables where also is sited the large polytunnel, home at this time of the year to tomatoes and a range of other more tender plants, extending the range of produce they are able to offer. Outside were impressive rows of leaf vegetables such as kale and spinach beet – even a very tasty beetroot with a very dark colour.

Not success everywhere, mind, as, bafflingly, and despite a very good show of leaf, the gourds had produced no flowers at all, let alone going on to set fruit. Another row – spinach, as I recall – had lost its fleece netting cover and severely needed weeding to save a crop. This work is not a soft option, there is a huge range of tasks and often arduous and backbreaking. There are modern, sensible aids – horticultural practices have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years – but it still requires commitment. Especially so for growing organic produce, which has a wide range of certification criteria which absolutely have to be met. If you fail, you then lose the official Organic status and, with it, so the perceived value of the crops falls. You cannot get the same prices!

We walked through the livestock fields and had a chat with the cattle. They buy in six to nine month olds and raise them up to slaughter, dispatching them one by one over a long period  and having none of the traumas of conventional systems. Certainly the animals we saw seemed healthy and very relaxedly grazing. There’s also a flock of sheep, which I didn’t see, but is kept in the same manner.

Back indoors, in the farmhouse, we all had hot drinks, cake and lively conversations. I’d been to Bryn Cocyn a couple of times before and so knew Patrick and Joyce’s relaxed, amiable and ably efficient approach already but for the other ten of us it was a great introduction to this modern traditional outlook. All seemed well impressed – Harriet ready to move in!

So, sipping my tea, I asked Patrick what he felt about the movement to promote “Restoration grazing”  – RG – as the way ahead for agriculture. The idea that cattle and sheep grazing, far from being one of the major sources of climate changing carbon release into the atmosphere, could instead be used to FIX  carbon has been quite widely circulated of late, looking to push back against cries that we should all go vegetarian or vegan “to save the planet”.

He’d grimaced when I asked him this. Not to defend the idea but, as he went on, that he felt it was very far from the truth. He’d very long been very concerned about carbon loss from soils, which starts when you clear woodland to establish fields for grazing. RG, they say, reduces the intensity, reduces fertiliser use and allows an understory of roots to build up in the soil. But the amounts, even in ideal conditions, are painfully small and the animals are still releasing a lot of methane.

In practice, of course, the non RG systems use much arable land to grow fodder crops and, additionally, feed large quantities of imported feedstocks, like maize or soya to cattle in overlarge herds and very unnatural conditions.

84% of UK farmland is used to grow livestock or their fodder crops. Instead, there could be a significant increase in arable production for human consumption and still large amounts of grazing land could be returned to the far more carbon fixing and environment enriching role as native deciduous woodland.

“And we farmers should then all become gardeners” he concluded – and I wholeheartedly concurred!

Wonderful afternoon out in a beautiful location on a fantastic farm for the future – although, of course, it too could see the product mix change somewhat, as a new economy emerges……..

Chris Hemmings

August 17th, 2019

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“Eat Veg to save the planet” – Vegans against climate change

Vegan Society Conference 2019 – the inaugural one!

“OK, I’m now pre-blog, on a late night Virgin train to Wolverhampton and, thence, to London, where I arrive at some unearthly hour in the morning. Half oneish, I believe. Then a few hours to kill afore the conference in the morning.”

Which I did by my now quite well established procedure of walking non-stop. For six hours I made my way around central London and watched the gang-fighting, listened to the frequent screams as yet more innocent civilians were brutally detached from their lives and sheltered from the gangs of muggers which awaited me around each and every street corner. Well, it was dark and my imagination was fired by the frequent reports I’ve been noticing in the media. After all, I was in the London dystopia and doubted I would survive the night.

Luckily, the Gods smiled upon me!

Then, eighteen hours later: “On the train to Crewe now, having wound down after the day, courtesy of Tavistock Square gardens, with its squirrels and many Japanese students taking pictures thereof, then a handy Costa with comfy seats, mocha coffee and a phone charging 13A socket and then finally experiencing Euston Road’s evening sunshiny dynamic, including THAT tree podium of yesteryear which now bears no such decoration! [I’ll show you the photo one day – it was an absurd four metre high and square dais with several five or six metre high trees upon it!] In Costacaff I’d typed up a fullish record of the meeting, from notes jotted onto my phone which had worked really well – so I no longer even need a physical notebook for minute taking!”

Cool, there’s the contextualisation. Now the meeting:

It was great to go to the conference pretty “blind” as I took few preconceptions. I imagined “Grow Green – helping the move to plant based agriculture” was to portray a winding down of animal husbandry and so increasing plant food in our diets. Clearly veganism was to be a solid part of it. Early on, as we all arrived, I had time for a relaxed chat at a militantly vegan table.

“No, no domesticated animals at all. Just wild ones, obviously – worms and mice and hares and birds and so on. But we cannot continue to eat meat, cheese or milks. That’s finished”. The couple at the stall were unmovable, this was not negotiable.

We didn’t talk of good Simon Fairlie’s rational, holistic wish for continuance of organic animal husbandry, not just for meat but also leather, wool, fleeces, company  and, of course, the grazing they perform. For some, this is “Keeping our landscape the way we know and so love it” with grassy vistas everywhere, although it’s absolutely not for me. I see radical change as inevitable, but, like Simon, I see some continued contributions from farm animals.

I would have brought the Monkton sage in but they gave me no space in the conversation, so adamant and vocal were they in the vegan cause. [The sage is Simon who is based at the fantastic, eclectic, enthusiastic Monkton Wyld Court, near Charmouth in Dorset, but that’s a whole other tale to tell one day!]

Such  was the extreme of this spectrum and there were a good number of adherents to it. But there was a tension, too, as another group felt absolutism was unnecessary for it would only scare folk who were just sampling the diet. “Too strict observance will drive folk away”, it was suggested.

This was seriously compounded because the vegan diet had been seized upon by the food industry recently, as it had became trendy. In catering for a burgeoning market with many affluent adherents (Look into “Planet Organic” on Tottenham Court Road, for example!) ingredients were sourced globally so had a high carbon footprint and were often actually not even grown organically. The end products, although utterly vegan, were frequently not even especially palatable! Just expensive and well packaged and advertised. In this it parallels other “specialist” diets such as gluten free or weight loss where supermarkets offer ranges of overpriced and lowly nutritious products, exploiting rather than serving its public. Does this veganism have any merit at all, many wonder?

We had John Taylerson, BIC Innovation, praising the “plant milk” sector, “growing rapidly” whilst traditional dairy is “flat”. OK, maybe this shows a move away from animal products but, if we are just switching to an expensive, manufactured and highly irrelevant substitute product, then I see little or no gain.

Carina Perkins (The Grocer), Nina Pullman (Riverford), Dr Marco Springmann (Oxford University) and Vicky Hird (Sustain) spoke in the discussion groups to decry this unsatisfactory market development. Carina noted that the imaginatively named “flexitarians” were actually responsible for most of the growth in plant – fruit and veg – purchasing, that is, folk who are neither vegan nor even vegetarian, just health conscious.

It was noted strongly that the best vegan food is home cooked from raw, simple ingredients.

Then there was climate. Now here we were on safer ground. Nobody wanting anything other than to combat Climate Change in whatever manner we could. Good, local grown, simple, unprocessed Vegan food is self-evidently considerably less damaging than any derived from animal husbandry. The figure “50kg of plant matter is needed to make 1kg of meat” is a typical clincher in this debate – why not feed on those 50 kg ourselves! “We have to meet our commitments made with respect to the Paris Agreement – we want one single degree not the more massive three degrees warming”. One degree will be damaging enough, resulting in sea levels rising, glaciers and polar ice caps melting further and, most noticeably, increased weather abnormalities. Three degrees rise would compound this impact considerably and be more likely to trigger a catastrophic “tipping point” scenario.

To combat this requires a considerable effort and, in the agricultural sphere, providing for a vegan diet, will allow considerable decreases in CO2 emissions. Not yet, one notices, a correction – merely slowing the rate of deterioration.

How to achieve this? Well, simply, by altering land use patterns. Simply? Hell, no, it will be a battle! At present 83% of agricultural land in the UK is dedicated to animal husbandry (1) so there has to be fundamental change in attitudes. However, given that we work to achieve this, and then get there, we also require a nationwide relearning of how to grow our own fruit and vegetables – as, of course, we used to –  so we no longer have to import the bulk of them from overseas (2&3). “Imports are now 90%” said Dr Marcela Villareal, a UN FAO, food and agriculture organisation, worker and she suggested Eire to be more like 98%. How crazy is that, for the Emerald Isle, with fantastic soil and mild climate?

Brendan Montague, editor of The Ecologist, labelled Brexit as “US agriculture  taking over”, adding that “our government is not fit for purpose”. Nice to see The Ecologist far from Zac Goldsmith’s stance on this issue! Brendan saw the need for “new rural operators such as worker coops to run farms to be a new power base” to help bring forward the changes we need.

This new arable production will be, of course, on some of the land formerly used for livestock. Some, too, could be put to hemp cropping, for a variety of excellent products, and to new crops such as lentils, chick-peas and many other at present ignored crops, to extend our present all too limited range of arable produce. A lot more of such land must be replanted as woodland – including productive orchards and nut trees, which I can see sensibly undergrazed with sheep, pigs, ducks, chickens and geese. But a large percentage should end up as native deciduous woodland – much of the country is designated “temperate deciduous rainforest” land. That’s what much of our marginal agricultural land must return to – areas such as the uplands of Wales which are now so largely a sheep shorn desert! Several speakers emphasised this change during the day.

Nathaniel Loxley (of Vitality Hemp) gave an impassioned pitch for increasing UK hemp production, praising its 12000 year history of continuous cultivation by humanity, calling for new growers to join him and a very few others in the UK doing so. Its long been on my list, so I heartily agreed but had to point out the present obstacle – that there is an annual licence fee of about £700 payable rather than a support grant given! In France they have no such problems and, in recent years, they have rapidly grown to become by far the world’s largest producer of this commodity, overtaking China, who have actually reduced their output.

Nick Saltmarsh, of the intriguingly named “Hodmedod” talked of novel crops, such as lentils. The company is carrying out inspirational work, encouraging farmers to move to non-standard crops. At present there are 700000 tonnes of legumes grown each year in the UK, 4% of our arable production. Cropping is good but we import far more soya beans. I cannot say “we should grow these here” as most are fed to livestock and that industry cannot be encouraged, although I guess it would be better than importing the beans from Brazil and fields planted in freshly cleared tropical rainforest lands. This situation anyway illustrates how cheap carbon prices mean we subsidise unsustainable food habits and drive climate change in one single industry which can also, at the same time, extinguish the indigenous trades which would, otherwise, be feeding us.

In this proposed move to growing far more fruit and vegetables, and other arable crops, we find an integral ingredient of the “Green New Deal” now offered by the more enlightened political groupings operating in the country. It is apparent that there have to be far reaching changes to the financial strictures which currently control land use, most notably the system of agricultural grants which have, in Wales for example, inflated land prices absurdly. Removal or redirecting these subsidies seems to be a vital first step! This could then lead to lowering of land prices and the dividing up of the present ranch size holdings to allow far more growers to make a living and live a healthy life.

In a “keynote address” Dr Villareal gave the conversation a global perspective, asking how we could arrive in a position where 821 million live in abject food poverty whilst levels of obesity accelerate in all countries, now standing at 672 million obese with two billion overweight, with one third of food wasted and thrown away in the “developed” world. She also lamented the sad fact that 12 million hectares of agricultural land were being lost each year to desertification. Clearly unsustainable in so many ways.

Vegans and vegetarians rationally also bring animal cruelty into the equations – and farming has been becoming increasingly uncaring and callous towards its charges. This is not an economic or even a climate argument. Instead it is emotional and asks that we, as human beings, be sensitive – even empathic – towards species we coexist with. “Ah, but we are killing them anyway – what does it matter” is a standard reply. Me, myself, I don’t want to waste my breath responding to such statements. I would hope that those making them would themselves in time see how hopelessly untenable such positions are.

So, I paraphrase and summarise to get the ideas through. But it was a live, vibrant event and my above dry distillation gives little of the flavour. I didn’t try to count but imagine there must have been around a hundred and fifty of us. Venue was excellent, well equipped, comfortable, practical and reasonably chic. Attending were vegans of sundry origin, greens, farming folk and other growers, journalista and simply the interested. Young guy next to me in the lecture theatre was a maker of natural wood furniture, but he was really interested in my pet project to cultivate Stevia.

With so many like minds there was, of course, much networking capacity but, faced with a very busy gaggle of discursive delegates deeply engaged in passionate conversation, its actually difficult to get stuck in! I managed but could have done with  some small group discussions for this to have been more fruitful.

I enjoyed a good chat with two notable tree folk, who approved of my “Five Trillion Trees” concept and agreed it to be the correct order of magnitude.  Andy Egan of the International Tree Foundation, a global woodland establishing group, pointed out how I’d raised the total higher than anyone else, but accepted my logic fully. One trillion was the nearest rival! Alan Watson-Featherstone of “Trees for Life” is based in Scotland and connected to the restoration of native “Caledonian” Scots pine forest. He spoke of ecological restoration and the need for an integrated, comprehensive land use strategy. “Perverse subsidies” for sheep farming, he pointed out, are incentivising the degeneration and erosion of topsoils.

I had other conversations, the most notable of which was with former Green party leader Ms Natalie Bennett. As a first degree agriculturalist, she is well placed in the Green movement to argue the case for fundamental system change to revolutionise our food production structures. In her addresses to the meeting she imparted much common sense, such as emphasising Organic as the only useful and practical form for “agro-ecological” growing. She also observed that we must challenge the idea of cheap food: “Cheap food costs people’s health and costs us all the Earth”.

Yes, we think alike and so it was easy to talk. Happily she agreed that she’d love to come and spend a day with us in Colwyn. Hopefully as we lead into our own such new growing venture, bringing the twenty first century agricultural revolution to my home town. I am, of course, already laying my plans to bring such a venture into existence………..


2)”Home production contributed 16% of the total UK supply of fruit in 2017, compared to 17% in 2016″. From HMG stats:


Chris Hemmings

April 13th, 2019

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Trust me, you’re NOT being a scientist, Richard.

Richard Dawkins on Radio Four, talking Nonscience with other such experts.

I had to catch up on this a day later as I’d missed the live show. So I’d been given a first impression by one who did listen and was told it was “OK and not very controversial”.

It depends how you measure it but I’d say my informant was wrong. To me, the broadcast simply once more showed evidence that the scientific hierarchy is in an advanced state  of entrenchment. This saddens me as, at university, Richard Dawkins radical anti-establishment views had appealed to my reformist attitudes. “This is how to approach science” I’d thought, “with an open and inquiring mind. Together, we’ll drive forward the boundaries of understanding”.  

The programme was the standard BBC fodder of a number of interviews strung together with apparent live chat between host and “special guest”. When Dawkins is host and Ben Goldacre the SG my more recent experience suggested to me that I could have issues with their approach and I’ll admit to having been more than a touch wary!

I took no notes and so for full review I’ll have to “listen again” again – this is just the intro. Oh how hard I work in my bid to overturn the established status quo! On first listening, though, it was the deep, ingrained, effortless arrogance which stood out. “I’m a scientist – trust me”. Translation: “We feel equipped to mock anyone who does not agree with our positions because we are scientists and they clearly cannot be”.

[There is a sub-plot here as there’s also a clear reference to the medics’ “Trust me, I’m a doctor”, with one of their indicator topics being vaccination. So much background psychology going on, eh?]

Anyway, they started by grouping people who purportedly go by the Terry Pratchett FlatEarth/Discworld idea with others who describe the vaccination industry as a rogue trade, selling a pack of lies. Of course, Pratchett wrote his books as farcical p*sstakes of our world and never once suggested that he believed our planet to be an interstellar pancake. It was a useful mechanism to poke fun at, for example,bankers or government administrators or any experts or tradesfolk.

Nowadays, there are reputedly to be found individuals who are so taken by the flatearth idea that they have clubs and internet sites to discuss the details. They boast having branches “all round the World”. Good, harmless fun, but remind them not to sail too close to the edge……. No, their ideas are not supported by a shred of evidence – no giant turtles have been demonstrated supporting our planet.

Me, as a scientist, a true scientist, I would actually group these flatearthers with those who DO believe in vaccines because the very idea is as far fetched and, frankly, as farcical! I mean, really, when did Jenner’s mad notion that filling an open wound with pus drawn from a cow’s pox spots become other than what it  says on the tin – “This process is insane”!

And I went back again and this time I took notes on their pronouncements and ponderings. This analysis provided a list of these scientists’ examples, used to illustrate their “case”:

  1. US President Trump and the climate change deniers.
  2. The flatearthers, discussed above.
  3. MMR and general vaccine refuseniks/”antivaxx”  groups.
  4. Lunar landing deniers – saying it was all filmed in the Arizona desert.
  5. Families, in Flint, Michigan, USA, poisoned by lead in their water supply.
  6. Kids who, coming from their faith base, believe in creationism, not evolution.

In truth, on this trip through the programme, I actually had more time for Goldacre – he voiced some common sense. He even suggested Dawkins sometimes went too far in his anti-Godism tirades and I heard bristles on Richard’s back twitch! Ben says he uses “all media and won’t dumb down”. He suggests TV programmes should say “this new idea has evidence in favour of it but also evidence questioning its validity”. That “it’s reasonable to question all published theories”. He talked of the problems arising and the mistrust engendered when the results of clinical trials of medication are routinely left unpublished or only selectively released.

Yet he STILL thinks vaccination is beyond suspicion? He still portrays Andy Wakefield as the Devil incarnate and pronounces anti-vaxxers as heretics and an anti-scientific mob. Practice what you preach, Ben, practice what you preach. Question your assumptions and give credence to the countless, clear accounts of vaccination precipitating collateral damage in their recipients. A cot death is NOT “an anecdote” – it is evidence. Read about the late Sally Clarke. Allergies, eczema, SSPE, autism, childhood diabetes – the list of vaccine associated physiological damage is long, much longer than I’ve just cited.

He and Dawkins talked of statistics and the worry that a young-mum-to-be develops when she hears of or even meets a baby/infant whose mum says was damaged by its vaccination.

“She should look at the statistics” Dawkins cries “and not just be swayed by anecdotes”. Leaving aside the fact that ALL SCIENCE is constructed from collecting observations – ie “anecdotes” –  I have to ask “Have you looked at vaccine statistics, Richard?” Show me any which carry rational merit. No, you cannot, as there are none. There are indeed many studies published but they all look at skewed populations, use specious comparison methods or do not follow the populations correctly over time.

Looking at the impact of the MMR vaccine over large European populations they followed children who’d had all childhood jabs except the MMR and compared them with those who had simply “had all their jabs”, so including the MMR. There was no difference in  rates measured of autism in the two groups. They concluded “The MMR does not cause autism”. However, both groups showed, over around twenty five years, a steady increase in levels of autism.

Yes, rises in autism prevalence correlate very well with the increased total number of jabs administered to European kids during this period – all jabs, of course, not just the MMR. Clearly, though, as generally a later vaccine, MMR is often the final precipitator of a profound autistic regression. Therein lies the confusion in analysing these statistics.

[I have no space here to delve further into the whys and wherefores of these impacts – they are covered, along with a whole lot more in my two books “Vaccinology – voodoo science” and “Vaccine Voodoo, books 2&3”, both on Amazon.]

No, I’m not a climate change denier and I understand that it is now extensively driven by anthropogenic forces. I have planted many thousands of sapling trees in deciduous woodlands to help combat the problem. I do, of course, concur with suggestions that, were modern man not creating so much havoc, the planet may well have been tumbling back towards a glacial maximum at this point – yes, the next Ice Age has probably been postponed indefinitely, as Prof Bill Ruddiman suggests!

And I excitedly watched Neil Armstrong take his “one small step” as a wee young t’ing. Looked good to me! I mean, yes I see there was a “Space Race” but don’t you think the Soviets would have cried foul if a spaceship had not even left the earth’s surface?

My credentials as a Neo-Darwinist, allied to the late Steven Jay Gould, are unchallengeable. Darwin himself was an amazingly good chronicler and indeed he left so much more than just a description of the process of evolution of species. I lived  close to a huge pile of boulders above Rhosgadfan in Gwynedd, near the North Wales coast, named “The Darwin Stones” as it was he who, 160 years earlier, on examining them, concluded they had been transported to the site from the West Coast of Scotland by the glacial ice sheets.

Erin Brochovitch type tales always have me sympathetic to those harmed by such events and this lead poisoning was another such history. I’m glad these campaigners were able to break through the institutionalised, state authority suppression of their case, to obtain justice as the truth was finally exposed and it was good to hear Prof Marc Edwards, the American academic on the programme, had been part of their support.

So why, oh why, oh why, cannot Dawkins and Goldacre see that the anti-vaccination campaigners have an equally strong case? Marc Edwards would, I think, have agreed with me on this, but they did not ask him the question.

In an attempt to clean up the image of science these two science-media-celebrities just dumb it down further and demonstrate what an arbitrary, cash chasing and prostituted institution it really is.


PS– There was also a section in which RD interviewed a female academic  on peer review. They noted criticisms of like spawning like as peer reviewers only recognise what they already know and understand. They don’t approve of rule breakers who look at matters in a different manner, so closing off science to either innovation or critique of their foundational philosophies. However, the bulk of her critique was that women are selected against by peer reviewers, who tend to be establishment, white and middle or older aged males. Like she really thinks that women arriving in these situations will change the system? No way would that happen – as another guest – yes, male! – pointed out!

No, the system needs wholesale restructuring,  away from deep dependence on industry sponsorship and through the top heavy structures of professional institutions. Methinks such a purge, intensely overdue, may depend on certain bodies of truth being allowed to take centre stage and be celebrated as the truth that has been suppressed for far too long.

Much as the lead poisoning story detailed here only FAR, FAR more significant!

Cast list, nicked from another blog…..

Richard Dawkins considers what scientists are doing right and what they’re doing wrong, concentrating on the process of science, communication, education, and policy with experts in their field. These include Bad Science author and academic Ben Goldacre, physicists Dr Jess Wade and Prof Jim Al-Khalili, science policy fellow and podcast presenter Dr Maryam Zaringhalam, Virginia Tech’s Marc Edwards, who exposed the Flint water crisis, Norman Lamb, MP, chair of the HoC science and technology select committee, education consultant Tom Sherrington, head teacher Alan Grey and director of the Science Media Centre, Fiona Fox.

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McAlpinomics or how to double a tender once you’ve won the contract…..

OK, so I just spent a while getting onto a Civil Engineering site to read this article. It seems worthy of further reading so I’ve just put it here for storage. Feel free to read it, of course. It describes the manner by which insiders can essentially charge what they want for works they choose to do. But what do I know………?

Sir Robert McAlpine has been confirmed to carry out repairs on Big Ben’s tower as the estimated cost of the project has doubled to £61m, it has been revealed.

The work was originally projected to cost £29m following an estimate in spring last year. However, the total cost of the scheme to repair the Elizabeth Tower – including fire safety work costs – is now an estimated £61m.

Among the reasons for the increased costs is that the job will be “more complex” than first thought, the House of Commons’ authorities said.

It added that despite “extensive surveys”, the ground conditions proved to be more complex than first anticipated and will require extra work.

A total of £17.2m has been set aside, up from a previous estimate of £5.8m, to cover “optimism bias”, allowing for unexpected challenges on the job.

Sir Robert McAlpine had already been appointed to a £3.5m contract to oversee preconstruction and scaffolding works in November last year.

However, the award for the overall contract to McAlpine is likely to prove controversial, after Labour’s former business secretary Chuka Umunna raised concerns about the choice of contractor in parliament earlier this month.

Mr Umunna flagged the fact that McAlpine had been implicated in the blacklisting scandal.

However, new McAlpine boss Paul Hamer wrote to Construction News to say that McAlpine has a “zero-tolerance approach” to blacklisting and the controversial practice was now “firmly in the past”.

The House of Commons and Lords commissions voiced their disappointment at the cost increases to the Elizabeth Tower project and the “unreliability of the original estimate”, the authorities said.

In a joint statement, the clerk of the House of Commons, the clerk of the Parliaments and the director-general said: “We acknowledge that there have been estimating failures and we understand the concern of the commissions.

“In advance of tendering contracts, the initial high level estimates were set at a lower level to avoid cost escalation from the market.

“Subsequent estimates, using better data and more extensive surveys, better reflect the true likelihood of the costs.

“We believe that we now have a more accurate estimate of the cost of the works and will report regularly to the committees on the progress of work.”

It emerged last month that Big Ben’s famous bongs will fall silent until 2021 while the restoration works are carried out.


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This is not Priti but………

[This is as yet raw posting and will very soon be edited to read clearly. For now, it saves all the text – which is what I want  and will of course be unchanged after the edit]


Priti Patel had been forced out and the government was writhing in multi faceted turmoil, but a facebook question produced this exchange arising out from her illicit activities as a Government Minister incognito in Israel. What was she doing and what was she supporting?
EdwardTarr · 

Watch how Owen Jones twists the truth.

Anti-Israel spin: Priti Patel offered UK aid money to the IDF and visited illegally owned land.

Reality: Priti Patel visited a military hospital in the Golan Heights that provides humanitarian aid to civilian casualties of the Syrian war and requested the UK send aid to help.

Mukke Pedersen
 Doesn’t alter the fact that she visited an area she was not supposed to visit (UK does not recognize Israeli annexation of Golan Heights and thus consider the presence of Israeli military forces illegit) without the consent or even knowledge of her superior. Enough reason to warrant a dismissal? Well, that’s politics.


Edward Tarr Mukke Pedersen Golan Heights belongs to Israel, Syria shot at Israel from there and Syria isn’t the type of country that needs more land to attack Israel from.


Chris Hemmings Well, let’s ask Wiki:
“……………In the 16th century, the Golan was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and was part of the Vilayet of Damascus until it was transferred to French control in 1918. When the mandate terminated in 1946, it became part of the newly independent Syria.

“Between 1967 and the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights had become occupied and administered by Israel, whereas the eastern third had remained under control of the Syrian Arab Republic, with the UNDOF maintaining a 266 km2. buffer zone in between, to implement the ceasefire of the Purple Line. Construction of Israeli settlements began in the remainder of the territory held by Israel, which was under military administration until Israel passed the Golan Heights Law extending Israeli law and administration throughout the territory in 1981. This move was condemned by the United Nations Security Council in UN Resolution 497, which stated that “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.” Israel maintains it has a right to retain the Golan, citing the text of UN Resolution 242, which calls for “safe and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force”. However, the international community rejects Israeli claims to title to the territory and regards it as sovereign Syrian territory.”

That’s seems pretty clear.
Or is that clear, Priti?!


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Syria shouldn’t of attacked Israel then, Israel has the right to defend itself.


Chris Hemmings So you put yourself above the international community, then, in these assessments?


Kenneth Armstrong Chris All that ignores the fact that Syria carried out an ILLEGAL attack on Israel in 1967 and has to take the consequences.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings The international community is made up of a lot of racists and those who don’t know the facts.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Do you really want to give some land from the most progressive free country in the middle east to Syria? A country where millions have been fleeing from because of how unsafe it is.

Alison Webster Edward Tarr are you on medication! i cannot believe you have not read ALL the evidence and fallen for this load of old go research PROPERLY And stop spreading lies and propaganda…I’m embarrassed he’s from Bristol..normally they are wary of crap from known propaganda sites..


Alison Webster Edward Tarr ask who has annexed the oil from syria…go on i dare


Edward Tarr Alison Webster What oil? I could be wrong but I don’t think Syria is an oil producing country.


Kenneth Armstrong The Golan Heights have strategic value only. They don’t contain oil or any other valuable mineral.


Chris Hemmings Actually I would rather take Syria as a development model, Edward. Far from perfect, sure, but for the last five years under siege from internationally backed (US, UK, sundry Sheiks and periodic bits and pieces from Israel) mercenaries.
Thing is Syria is multi faith and looking for inter faith harmony which is how things have been and how they have to be for a sane future

Chris Hemmings Interesting that after about thirty years of very little Israeli settlement in Golan, the last five have seen a very substantial number of new, Israeli arrivals, building much new housing etc.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Actually I would rather take Israel as a development model, Chris. Far from perfect, sure, but for the last five years under siege from internationally backed (Racists,terrorists,fascists periodic bits and pieces from nazis) anti Semites .
Thing is Israel is multi faith and looking for inter faith harmony which is how things have been and how they have to be for a sane future.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Can’t blame Israelis building in Israel.


Chris Hemmings Watch C4’s “The Promise”.
Understand history.


Lynne Gill WHat a load of bollocks that article is.


Lynne Gill ANd “can’t blame Israelis for building in Israel” (load of tosh) – they are building on land they are NOT entitled to, hence being called illegal building even by Israelis.


Edward Tarr Lynne Gill So you think golan should be given to ISIS or assad?


Vaughan Montgomery If there’s no oil in golan heights why did israel grant oil rights to Genie-Oil because geological reports suggest there is more oil in golan heights than Saudi-Arabia.


Edward Tarr Vaughan Montgomery If that’s true than good for Israel.


Vaughan Montgomery Also Syria was also a multi-faith country too, with many christians living there.


Vaughan Montgomery Israel, in violation of the UN Charter, illegally occupied the Golan Heights after the Israeli army took it in the 1967 Six Days War. When Israel declared applicability of Israeli law in the territory and began Israeli settlements in a de facto act of annexation of Golan Heights in 1981, the UN Security Council passed UN Resolution §497, which declared that, “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.”

Until now the official US Government position has been that the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention’s prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force, and in contravention of the United Nations Security Council Resolution §242 passed in November, 1967 which mandates, “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent (1967-w.e.) conflict.”

Location of the Syria Golan Heights annexed by Israel in 1981 in violation of UN Resolution 242


Lynne Gill Edward Tarr Don’t presume to know what I think and put words into my mouth. “So you think..” possibly the most idiotic start to a reply ever.Followed up by an even more ridiculous proposition. Don’t be silly.


Chris Hemmings Edward – clearly, all Golan should be restored to the Syrian state, under President Bashar Al-Assad.


Edward Tarr Vaughan Montgomery Not as multi faith as Israel, people of all religions in Syria are being killed just for their religion, Israel is the only country in the middle east where people of all religions coexist.


Edward Tarr Vaughan Montgomery Golan Heights is Israel, Israel took it when they were attacked by fascists from the heights so Israel should rightly have it.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings So you support Assad?


Chris Hemmings My opinion is irrelevant. The Syrian people clearly do and I am very happy to support them. They have had a brutal time these past five years or so, being attacked from nearly all sides by overwhelmingly well armed and supported mercenaries. It was not a civil war.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Syria does have a civil war, they are at each others throats and also many people,nations and factions are affecting Syria as well.


Chris Hemmings Did you ever read “Asterix and the Black Gold”? Certainly elements of that comic here, I wholly agree. But global power politics pulls too many strings in this region and the outcomes are so often so awful for ordinary people, just wanting to live their lives. You know also about the arms trade and the Permanent Arms Economy?

Balfour, 100 years ago, did not promise Global Jewry a monofaith homeland, did not say indigenous Palestinian arabs could be cruelly dispossessed of their ancestral homes and livlihoods. Balfour, 100 years ago, anyway had no right to promise anything.

Watch The Promise (2011 TV serial)

We are all human

Lynne Gill Chris Hemmings He LOVES to extrapolate things you never ever supported from your comments – no ideas of his own – nor any conception that you might disagree with him and yet not be in favour of terrorists… duh. Sterile imaginations eh?

Chris Hemmings Well I do find it tiresome when providing irrefutable truth is met by flat denial. Cognitive dissonance. Or cognitive absence, possibly………..


Kenneth Armstrong Vaughan Montgomery That is like saying it is against International Law to defend yourself and to pursue your attacker.


Vaughan Montgomery No it’s not.


Kenneth Armstrong Both Syria and Egypt attacked Israel in 1967. Israel drove them both back. For a while they also occupied Sinai but decided to vacate it. Golan had strategic value as it allowed Syrian activity to be watched. Considering Syria has had a civil war since 2013 Golan is of little concern to them.

ur alone. geneva convention & UNSC 100% disagrees with you.


Chris Hemmings Historically the facts are thus:

Initially, Israel attacked an Egyptian airbase , so declared war and nearly wiped out the whole Egyptian air force as said declaration of war.

Pretty smart, eh? Especially for a country only established twenty years earlier. Where did they get that equipment and so well trained forces in that short time?

Anyway Egypt then requested assistance from ally Syria, telling Damascus that far from having been militarily crippled, they were doin’ just fine but wanted extra assistance, new front opening, that sort of thing.

When Syria found the truth they called for a cease fire but Israel carried on attacking, taking position in Golan that they still, illegally, hold on to.


Chris Hemmings At least one hundred thousand Syrians were made refugees by Israel’s annexation of Golan. They want their homes and lives back.

Chris Hemmings History and cartoon time.
What could be better:.. []




Lynne Gill Chris Hemmings All this damned evidence is falling on deliberately deaf ears.


Chris Hemmings Yeah, but its nice to stack it up!!


Kenneth Armstrong Chris Hemmings You forgot to mention that Egyptian forces had massed on Israel’s southern border first. Israel then made a pre-emptive strike on Egyptian airfields. Syrian forces attacked Israel from the north but were quickly repelled. Israel gave Egypt back the territory it captured from them but kept some of the Syrian territory. Here is a full account : []




Chris Hemmings So its OK for Russia now to attack any NATO country it wants?
There are military exercises in your own country and there is warfare when you actually attack.
Israel launched the war.


Chris Hemmings Israel had been massively armed in just 20 years in order to achieve……what? Its an alien construct and a strategic position bolstered by huge external investment.


Kenneth Armstrong You fail to address the point that Syria attacked Israel for NO good reason. Germany had to lose territory after WW2 and has only partially regained it.


Chris Hemmings Syria was an ally of Egypt.
Israel attacked Egypt


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Egypt were about to attack Israel, Israel has the right to defend itself.


Chris Hemmings Israel attacked first. They launched the war. Facts not conjecture, please.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Israel was attacked first, Israel has only ever defended itself.


Chris Hemmings Simply not true. Read Kenneth’s wikiposting.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings The Arabs mostly hate Israel and Egypt was about to attack Israel and they hate Israel, so Israel did what it could do to defend itself.


Chris Hemmings Thought crime, eh?
I “hate Israel” but, you know, I’ve never attacked the country. Iran wanted “Israel off the map” – not a thermonuclear bombing, just the concept is wrong. It should still be open, multi faith and not the Zionist abomination it is.
Watch “The Promise”.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Israel is open and the only multi faith country in the middle east.


Chris Hemmings Change the record, eh, Edward. You’ve said that before and it was not true then either. Israel is a neo-apartheid entity. Check points, routine arrests and murders by security staff in open daylight. And they have stolen vast tracts of land. Gaza is an effective concentration camp – which is such a terrible irony.
Watch “The Promise”.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings then they need to stop attacking Israel.


Chris Hemmings Watch “The Promise”.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings why should I hear more anti Israel lies?


Chris Hemmings Director of the series thought exactly the same as you when he was given the job.
Then he did his research.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings I seem it all before, I used to hate Israel as I was brainwashed by the anti Zionist controlled media.


Chris Hemmings I have always had the habit of reading widely and making objective assessments. This continues to be the case.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings It seems you only seen the properganda not the Israeli side of it.


Chris Hemmings You say ” I seen it all before, I used to hate Israel as I was brainwashed by the anti Zionist controlled media.”

Where on this planet did you find such outlets? There are no such that I have encountered in the UK. But, despite bias in reporting, it does not take too much effort to uncover objective realities. I am very satisfied that I have done that.


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So people do stuff for money.

So, then, devious and deep duplicity takes over

from ability.

And the rest,

as they say,

is history…….

Chris Hemmings

October 23/2016

Lexicon and translation:

“the president was accused of duplicity in his dealings with Congress”

sharp practice,

dirty tricks,
monkey business,
funny business,


“his conscience would not allow him to enter into duplicity”.

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Croc n scorp

On line composition. First came:

A scorpion came out of the desert to the banks of the Nile, whereupon he accosted a crocodile. “My dear chap,” he said to the crocodile, “could we form an alliance to get to the other side of the Nile?”
The crocodile answered, “Do you think I am stupid? I would be at your complete mercy. You could sting me and kill me at any time during the crossing.”
“Of course not,” said the scorpion. “I promise not to sting you, because if I did sting you, I would drown.”
The crocodile thought for a second and then agreed this made sense and took the scorpion on his back. About midstream, the scorpion became agitated and stung the crocodile.
As the two were about to go under, the crocodile turned to the scorpion and said, “Now we will both die. What possible explanation or logic is there for such an act?”
“There is none,” said the scorpion, “this is the Middle East.


OK, this was not wholly pleasing. So:

“This is both funny and, I suspect, inherently patronising.

“Probably better if, on an island in the middle, they decide to rest a while. Walking round the island, as the crocodile sleeps, the scorpion meets a shady character:
“Hey, Scorpio, I hear you and Crocked over there own the land 50:50. How’d you like to own it all? The oil rights are worth a fortune and you could use the money to set up a totally Scorpy state. Your life will be so much better.
” All you need to do is use this mega-powerful Sting-Boostr ©® on unbelieving Crocked when you get back in the water. Then, as he sinks, we’ll rescue you and help you set up your independent Scorparadise.
“Just sign here”………..

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I follow you

A follower not a leader?

There are many such rooms in the Buildings. Offices, yes, but steeped in time and the anonymity of history. Many, many such chats and small gatherings had taken place between these four walls and nothing, today, suggested that this would be anything other than simply routine.

Oh come on, not me – there must be someone else. Look, I’ve been where I am since time began, or so it seems. I am forever out on a limb and, well, I have no following. Hell, I DO the following – it’s just most of those I follow are no longer with us. I so miss Tony – he’d have been your man for this.”

He had his chance and, now, it’s your turn, your time in the spotlight, if you like. We’ve got to keep our ideas out there, get them discussed, even if we all know you’ll be wiped out in the first round.”

Yes, well, I’m sure that’s true but, alright, let’s give it our best shot. And you are right – I don’t want to leave this place without nailing my colours firmly to the mast and saying how I fundamentally believe that the last thirty years have been a betrayal of all our predecessors ever stood for and has been letting down of all those generations yet to come”.

It’s funny, you know, there’s even guys on the right who’ve told me they’ll second your running. They say “Sure I’ll propose him – we need to have a show of competition”. And they go away smirking. Still, it’ll get you on the ballot, and that’s what’s most important”.

And he didn’t act away from his usual self – he changed nothing and simply followed the ideas he was so steeped in. I saw him that same summer. Rank no-hope-er but bringing the discussion out to the country, just as his predecessors would have done but which, now, had come to be regarded as “old hat” and ineffective. Decisions had to be made behind closed doors, taken by people who understood the issues and so could make an informed choice. The four other contestants, relaxed in their own personal merits, attended committees of important supporters and talked to the national media.

So, yes, a few weeks into this campaign, I spotted a two line notice in the local free newspaper, saying he’d speak at a meeting in a seaside hotel six miles away. “Half past five, Wednesday evening, early August”. I decided at once to go – I liked his politics and felt he could do with some support. “I’ll get there fifteen minutes early so’s to get a good seat at the front of the room – not that many will turn up at that time of day and in the summer holidays, too”.

I couldn’t get into the room – four hundred people had beaten me to it. Several friends were there but how come so many others?

The man came into the room and I soon realised exactly why – he was saying, in cool, calm, clear and collected manner that which we were all thinking. As he spoke, he had no difficulty in being heard, there were no hecklers, no disrespect. We all knew, all of a sudden, we had a movement, we had strength. From this could come the changes that we all yearned for.

An hour later he was off, smiling and cheered – en route for more similar gatherings that same evening and many more in the days that followed. And he hadn’t changed at all. Quiet, convicted, unassuming. He followed his instincts, his ideals and his own heroes.

A few weeks later Jeremy won the leadership contest convincingly, moving on, over the next two years to first re-iterate his victory within the party, despite insane backroom backbiting from the reactionary elements and then, in 2017, finally becoming prime minister in the second of the two general elections held that year by the calamitous Conservative Party.

After Cruella’s dismal performance in the first how could they have imagined Boris winning the second! Both were dismal followers, led by their unseen owners, unable to decide any questions as they lacked the internal mechanisms to do so.

Unlike Jeremy who, through a vast accumulation of humility, humanity and reason then led from the broadest foundation – powered by empathic connection. It felt as if we all were the leader and we led him as much as he us.

Perhaps we had, at last, achieved true democracy……..



The above was written to topic of “I’m a follower, not a leader” set by Colwyn Writers’ Circle, for Saturday June 24th, 2017.

Chris Hemmings

June 22nd, 2017.

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