Lock the gate

The madness of society is not restricted solely to the goings on in the UK; where we have fracking and lobbyists, EDL and UKIP, so does Australia with Coal Seam Gas (CSG), Reclaim Australia and Tony Abbott.

But more about the fascists another time. Today I want to talk about mother Australia – my third trip here and a place I feel at home in. It’s the place that rekindled my human spirit and desire to forge a better life for those that come after us.

  

Australia, home to 25 million or so people mainly dotted around the sublime coastline, has some of the most diverse eco-systems and landscapes of anywhere on this world. It is home to the worlds largest living organism, the Great Barrier Reef, it truly is a beautiful place but also the bearer of scars of a rough history of indifference and violence towards aboriginal people and the land. 

Australia has seen a boom of engineering and colonisation over 200 years that have left it with some delicate issues with its eco-system, exacerbated in the last 6 years by the mining boom which staved off some of the economic pressures faced by the rest of the world since the recession of 2008. The trade off has been a strain on natural resources.

 

The CSG issue is what the UK call ‘fracking’ – the process of using some water to hydraulically fracture the earths crust to get some fossil fuel. In Australia, people have been launching a campaign called ‘Lock the Gate‘ to ward off would be drillers as land owners shut the doors on these vultures,  the government however, are currently in the process of changing legislation to remove the requirement for these drilling companies to ask a land owners permission to conduct exploratory drilling. As a result they get to keep what they find and the land owner gets nothing but dead land. 

Now, when I say they use ‘some’ water when fracturing, I mean 9 MILLION litres of water or more, depending on the rock formation. 9 million litres, when only 3% of the worlds water is fresh water or drinking water. 9 million litres when the South East of England is water stressed and water companies are considering pumping in water from the north to cope with the strain. 

What of Australia, one of the driest continents on the planet? Victoria recently completed a multi billion dollar desalination plant off the back of a 15 year drought to combat the situation in advance, only for it to rain a little and put off that particular problem for now, but they still recommend showers be kept to less than 4 minutes and public conveniences are supplied from collected rain water. Why, then, would they use a resource as important as water to fracture the earths crust in pursuit of an antiquated fuel source??

  

Aside from the fact that using water to fracture the earth for fossil fuel is out right madness and a sign of desperation from the energy companies to hold on to power, there are the well documented issues around what happens to the land once the earth has been fractured. There is also the issue of increased seismic activity as a result of these exploratory drills and pumping sites. 

A country with as much solar activity as Australia, it’s huge desert plains and tidal sources should be investing heavily in renewable and sustainable energy. When you consider the little things done to preserve the beauty of the country, it is amazing to think that the government are pushing CSG as a real alternative.

  

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Back to the future

My next blog will be brought to you from… the future!

Delorean

Well, not exactly. I am currently in transit to the other side of planet earth, to Australia, to begin a new adventure and told my friends that the next time they see a news bulletin from me on one of my social media feeds, it would be from the future. Being between 11 hours ahead of GMT means that I can really begin to sample that famous FOX News cathphrase “before it’s history, it’s news”.

Our man-made measurement of time, or as I like to say ‘the passing of now’, has been turned on its head and used to divide us from each other. There is so much ‘time’ or earth time, or space-time (what it really is) but we have so little of it to do anything that we want and very little time for each other.

How often do you run out of earth-time/space-time to do the things you want to do? I know I do and I try to make the effort to be mindful, but it isn’t easy.

I have written about time a lot over the years, mainly because it fascinates me, particularly on my 27th birthday when I began to calculate how old I was by the hour and how I had spent each one. It was very sobering to see my life broken down into hours; rough estimates spent eating, sleeping, travelling, working etc. By the time I was 30 I looked at time differently again. But why do we call it space-time? I’ve generally always called it that and must put it down to my early experiences of sci-fi movies and TV shows but on closer reflection it makes perfect sense.

Consider for a moment what you do when you arrange to meet someone and what elements make up that meeting.

How did you do? You probably found that you went through a familiar process of selecting either a date or venue first (depending on which was most pressing/easy) followed by a time. Without these elements we would never meet anyone except by chance encounters.
We prefix the meet with a time and a space (place), one without the other would mean that we would forever miss each other. That is, say, to meet me at the Millennium Bridge might be suitable for us both, but without a time and date you would have to wait there until I showed up, assuming I hadn’t already been and left. The same goes for telling me you will meet me at 1100hrs. Without a place we would be lost in an endless loop of 11am’s, hoping to bump into each other – much like Matt Damon in the movie The Adjustment Bureau when he hopes to stumble across Emily Blunt’s character by riding the same bus, at the same time everyday.

I think I heard Terence McKenna talk about this first but it makes sense right?

When it comes to the subject of time it is full of paradoxes and open to interpretation. What will really bake your noodle is this; you can move through space at the speed of light but you can’t move through time at the same rate.

Remember, the only time you have to concern yourself with is now.

My first trip down under forced me to re-evaluate my perception and meaning of time, out there you could lay in the road in some places all day and not have to worry about being run over. I travelled to one town (if you can call it that) for 8 hours – my mate and I called it ‘the longest day’, and not see another vehicle or person (save for the odd road kill) the entire stretch. Life was set at a better pace, not the frantic rat race that we see everyday in the UK. Even the most idyllic areas of the UK are victim of this phenomenon I call manufactured time shortage.

It’s been a while since I spent a significant period of time in Oz, there’s possibility that the mood has changed and the constant whizzing around is a part of daily life in places outside of the major cities. We’ll see, but I like to think not.

I might be 11 hours ahead on the man-made measurement of time but will be right there with you where it counts, now.

Calm down doctor, fear comes later
Calm down doctor, fear comes later

Thin blue line

Newell News-round up, week 17 and 18

News round-up took a two-week break so tonight we will take you through a whistle-stop tour of the obvious and not so obvious from the past couple of weeks

NHS

Is SOLD! the government have allowed a £1bn contract sell off to occur. The outsourcing project will see invites of bids from £700 to £1bn and will no doubt see Jeremy Hunt’s bearded friend Richard Branson of Virgin Care coming in to take over the end of life care department. There are no lows that these people will not sink to. Profiting from the illness and death of the public.

Your blood or rather plasma has been SOLD! Plasma UK has been sold off to U.S. venture capitalist Bain Capital now, who own an %80 stake in them. For those of you unaware, Bain Capital have fingers in lots of pies as with all good capitalist monopolies, including Dominoes pizza but not apparently UK Dominoes… You cannot make this up.

There are daily articles about dangerous nurses, bad trusts and a hole host of other things being peddled by the main stream media. These are exceptions to the rule, the rule being that doctors and nurses are wonderful people who do amazing things everyday that many of us would never be able to do even if our lives or that of our loved ones depended on it. Do not let them be stolen away by blood thirsty soul sucking vampires intent on making a living off our misfortune.

Human Rights

Internet pornography has been David Cameron’s big issue the past couple of weeks, aside from Labour and the union barons and he has pushed through some reform that will mean censorship of the internet. The attack has been very visceral regarding porn but with young family members that use the Internet all the time I have never come across them looking at lady boys daily or any other online porn, which raises the question what has darling David been looking at to be so worried? Unsurprisingly it is not limited to internet porn but covers a wide spectrum of other things that you must opt in to if you want access.However most humans will probably go for default settings, thus meaning they will be screening out this blog amongst many other things the state will not want them to see. 1984 was never more real than it is right now. For further reading see Laurie Penny’s article for New Statesman.

If David is that worried about the psyche of our children he may want to address this.

Hatred UK Gohomevans

Go Home Vans…It is enough to make you sick. The allowance of a rise in fascism to let right-wing agenda creep into main stream politics. The only reason these vans are being plastered about the street is to spread hatred, mistrust and fear amongst one another. “Is your neighbour illegal? Dial 0800 FASCISTPIGS” You cannot write it. There is a picture doing the rounds on the internet of another billboard van from the 1930’s doing the same thing but as yet I have not authenticated it.

Environment

The government have four people advising them that have a vested interested in the energy firms who stand to profit from fracking. You couldn’t make it up. There have been anti fracking protests this week in Balcombe as the search for gas and oil begins in earnest and the police brutality has been close behind. The police have to see that they are responsible for the world that is being created and that their interest lay with the people and not the state. These vans arrived the same time as the Royal spawn.

The Daily Hate Mail front page this week was that firms have a duty to employ British people, echoing Gordon Brown’s comments in 2009 that there should be British jobs for British people. I hope the are not brown British people they are talking about otherwise the EDL, Ukip and BNP will be most displeased.

The UK have a complacency on arctic drilling that should worry us all, the issue being how an oil spill of any magnitude would be cleaned up in such a harsh environment. As with both of these issues it is not the planet that needs saving, it is the humans. George Carlin once said that the planet would be fine and that it may have created humans so that it might eat plastic. The damage done to the environment will directly affect us and we have a duty to provide a world that allows our descendants to flourish and be nourished by it.

Finance

Need a loan? Then ask your local church! So some back ground, one of David Cameron’s former advisors, Jonathan Luff, now works for Wonga. You cannot make it up. They are all over the television and providing loans to people with huge interest rate returns. The church has directly invested into Wonga and it has been one hell of a mess. What is the church doing you might think? Then it comes out about their other investments, including the arms trade but they do not apparently get involved directly with making arms, just providing component parts and it must go to people with good moral standing. What would Jesus say? He would no doubt be spinning on his cross.

Whilst the Royal spawn was being pushed out and Kay Burley was quizzing the hospital on how dilated Kate was, Japan was busy telling the UK it should be mindful of withdrawing from the EU as it would make it less appetising for the Japanese to build cars and manufacture other stuff here as trade with Europe would become a problem.

World

The world has been busy! In Japan commuters joined together to lift a train off of a passenger proving that the empathic civilisation is not dead just yet. Luckily for them there were no U.S drones coming in for a second strike to kill the first responders.

Bradley Manning is in the dock and about to be tried by the barbarian hordes responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq.

Buy your clothes from one of Philip Greens establishments? Then you are contributing to the dangerous working conditions for thousands of people living in Bangladesh that no one in this country would put up with (at the minute) as he refuses to sign up to a safety deal following the building collapse earlier this year and the numerous fires that have devastated their lives and work places. When profits rule, health, safety and honesty go out of the window.

The UK is profiting to the tune of £12bn from arms exports to regimes with questionable human rights; namely the apartheid state of Israel, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. War is good for business and with the world rising up against oppressive regimes, business is booming.

The people of Egypt are on the streets with rival rallies for and against Morsi who was recently usurped in a military coup, called for by the people. Dozens of people have been killed and there is real danger of Egypt descending into civil war.

Remember Libya? The violence is escalating in Libya at present with a prominent activist being shot and killed

Iraq. I have lost count how many have died in the past week but the violence rampaging through Iraq is startling. The following links show two of the most recently reported. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23481088 and http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/world/middleeast/suicide-bombers-shiite-mosque-baghdad-iraq.html?_r=0 The blood left on Tony Blair’s hands must never be forgotten. 

Detroit City went broke at the same time as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs recorded profits almost to the level before the financial crises that started 2008.

And whilst some babies were being born in to a life of privilege, with people hoping for a daughter, millions of other daughters face the prospect of genital mutilation.

Science and Tech

This week we were paled into insignificance by the marvellous picture of Earth taken from the orbit of Saturn. We are truly a pale blue dot spinning around at a thousand miles an hour through the cosmos. We are a people capable of great innovation and empathy as shown by the Japanese train crash and the picture of Earth, why we must debase ourselves at the behest of the soul suckers is beyond me. 

NASA's Cassini spacecraft  captures Saturn's rings and Earth and its moon in the same frame.