May 21st, 2013 by PCU
In the FT today, James Skinner, chairman emeritus of the New Economics Foundation, asks fundamentally important questions about a stance often adopted by politicians with an interest in supporting multinational business.
He was prompted to do so by a recent FT editorial “A better plan for London airports”, which cited the fact that Schiphol offers more flights to China than Heathrow as an example of “Britain falling behind in the global race”. He asks:
- But what exactly is this “global race”?
- Where is the finishing line?
- What is the prize we are competing for?
- Are we really so desperately anxious that more and more people should come to London to change aeroplanes?
- What do we get in exchange for the noise and air pollution from increasing air traffic?
- What compensation is there for further loss of land to the hideous sprawl of airports?
- Are we sure that extrapolations of growth in air travel are realistic anyway, given that oil prices will rise and alternative fuels are not yet in sight?
He concludes that there are many more beneficial ways to invest the vast sums needed to build a mega-airport.
May 19th, 2013 by PCU
RV sent a lead to news surfacing in several activist websites, reinforced by Investment Watchdog, a site which focusses on the world’s economic affairs
“First, the senate is debating an expansion of the already broad powers of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) so the U.S. can essentially engage any area in the world in the war on terror, including America. Which brings us to the second development: the Pentagon has recently granted itself police powers on American soil”.
Another site quotes from Glenn Greenwald’s excellent piece describing how this hearing reveals the not-so-secret plan to make the war on terror a permanent fixture in Western society.
Greenwald writes about a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee which has ‘surprised’ experts in America’s use of force stemming from the terrorist attacks in 2001 – but not many of our readers:
“It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. Not only is it the end itself, but it is also its own fuel: it is precisely this endless war – justified in the name of stopping the threat of terrorism – that is the single greatest cause of that threat . . .
“But perhaps most disturbing of all of this is the military’s authority to police American streets as if it was in civil war. For all those still in denial that America is a militarized police state, this should be the ultimate cure to your delusion.
Greenwald: “A self-perpetuating permanent war against a shadowy undefinable enemy appears to be the future of American foreign policy. How convenient for the war machine and tyrants who claim surveillance is safety”.
May 17th, 2013 by PCU
Alastair Driver of the Farmers Guardian reported earlier this month that the Dairy Coalition – NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland, the Tenant Farmers Association, the Women’s Food and Farming Union and the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers – has asked Farming Minister David Heath to ‘call in’ the 15% of milk buyers failing to implement the voluntary code on milk contracts
NFU chief dairy adviser Robert Newbery said that the greatest resistance was coming from some of ‘big middle ground liquid processors’ who ‘don’t want to know’.
Dairy UK director general Jim Begg said that the approach of the dairy companies had been ‘both responsible and constructive’.
Three days ago Mr Driver showed figures collated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) indicating that more than 30 farmers quit the industry in April alone in England and Wales. The number of dairy farmers in England and Wales have fallen by more than 40% from more than 18,000 in 2002.
The Kingshay Dairy Manager costings show total purchased feed costs increased by 1.27 pence a litre over the past year, but milk price only went up 0.54ppl.
DairyCo’s recent Farmer Intentions Survey showed that the current average farmgate milk price of around 30-31ppl is lagging behind the AMPE (Actual Milk Price Equivalent) market indicator, currently in excess of 38ppl.
NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond said that if the leaving rate carries on for three months it will be serious: “The milk price has to go higher. The industry now needs that positive signal to move forward to increase production and invest.”
The Independent reports that an announcement on a timetable for plans for a farm in Foston, Derbyshire, stocking 25,000 pigs, is expected later this week. A decision on whether a 1000-cow mega-dairy near Welshpool can go ahead is also expected shortly.
Joyce Watson, Member of the Welsh Assembly for Mid and West Wales, said: “With the full extent of the horsemeat scandal still coming to light, consumers want food they can trace and trust. Industrial-scale farms would be a big step in the wrong direction – bad for cows, bad for farmers, bad for consumers and bad for the environment.”