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Sunday 12th January, unbroken cloud and still air all day; darkening early, feeling cooler. The starlings came out immediately they saw me this morning, they've been denied service for a few days as I was poorly, but the dried mealworms have resumed today. Not too poorly, however, to attend the Anti-Gagging Law meeting in Brighton on Thursday 10th (see below). Or to get my hair cut yesterday (long overdue), with the special treat of being driven there in the car. This blog has been silent for a while due to Christmas and New Year festivities, and my drive to finish my new book; of which more later. The decorations are down, the Christmas cake is nearly finished, the tree has been lingering in the area basement due to evil weather but will be delivered to the Dead Xmas Trees corral on the refurbished Level this evening. The Cheese Mountain, created by certain massive cheese fanciers failing to turn up to Xmas dinner parties due to evil weather, had been reduced to about 100g of smoked Ashdown Foresters. And Mrs Woozle, my friend Jacq's cat, has returned, after 5 weeks missing. Definitely the best news I've had all year.


Department Of Never Say Die


Went along with a friend to St Mary's Church Kemptown on Thursday 10th, to attend a meeting, sponsored by 38 degrees, panel and discussion, about the Gagging Law, aka Transparency of Lobbying Bill (LHII*). I'd turned up to deliver a petition about the deficiencies of said Bill to my MP before Christmas, and found myself in a crowd of 10, so I wasn't expecting much. On the contrary the venue was packed (and St Mary's is a big old church, which I had never been inside before, handsome Victorian gothic). It got loud at times. Our chairman at first attempted to convince the assembly they should be quiet and dignified, and never, never jeer at a speaker with whose honorable opinions they happened to disagree. Or make groaning noises, or hoot. He must never have tuned in to the Parliament Live channel. In the end he gave up, possibly conceding the point about how the honorable persons comport themselves in that little green chamber. Me, I'd have felt sorry for Councillor Graham Cox,, in the Coalition's corner, the MPs for Hove and Portslade and for Brighton Kempton having found that they were unavailable. Except he was so happy in his work, just sat there grinning like a coal scuttle, secure in his conviction that we were all loopy outsiders, losers. Telling us silly nanas that no proper charities would be affected by Part II of the Bill. All they have to do is conform to the new regulations, operate exactly the way the Coalition wants them to operate, and everything will be fine.

The mood of meetings of this kind really isn't the fault of the participants Like those naughty badgers, this government has moved the goalposts! Only like, last week, it was okay to be charitable. Even caring about the rule of law or the fate of the planet was still respectable. Voters might well be divided on these issues, but it wasn't a political division. Now suddenly it is. Charities; advocates for justice and human rights, for the poor, the marginalised, the suffering, are a clear and present danger to the Coalition. A Shelter campaign or a Foodbanks petition could swing the next election. These rogue organisations must be stifled, their work must be made so difficult and costly they'll be forced to quit. . . Honestly, look at the evidence is it our fault?

Oh, and by the way, if you belong to a Union, the government has a right to know it and to do what they like with that knowledge. And no strike ballots, if the membership record of any Union, however many members, hasn't been scrutinised and found to be perfectly current and perfectly in order.

One day soon, dear uk readers, if this Bill gets passed, you'll find out where this "chilling" business is heading.

Sorry, mate. It says here you've donated to CAFOD; you once signed a Friends Of The Earth Petition; you've written a letter for Amnesty International. To be on the safe side we find it's better not to employ political activists. (most of the above redacted, of course)

So you aren't getting the job.

You think I'm joking? I'm not. Check out the construction industry blacklist story.

Anyway, special thanks to the person who had taken the trouble to look into the backers of the Transatlantic Trade Agreement, and who gave us chapter and verse on the kind of access lobbyers on behalf of this ruinous plan, such as the City of London has to the Coalition government. Could their mother tell them apart?

(didn't catch his name. You'll find this entry short on names. Links to stories, as opposed to vulnerable organisations already too deep in doo for it to matter, are taken from the BBC)

Mr Graham Cox only showed a hint of temper once: it was something about "computer generated politics"

Me, I say thank God for Clictivism. The dirty old internet has to be good for something.

Update

Although its opponents are losers, muddled, and out of step with the vast majority of feeling in the UK, The Transparency of Lobbying Bill is now getting tinkered with, and there's been some movement. If you haven't signed the petition, please consider signing it now


This photo is of Ginger sitting in the sawdust (blocks we use for kindling & they tend to disintegrate) with the last remains of festive season in the bgd. The keynote is my new year's posy. On new year's day I went out, as is traditional, cut sprigs of pine, rosemary and ivy for my bedside table, and put the dried lavender that's been holding the space there into the tinder box. So here we are in 2014,& by Chinese reckoning heading for the Green Wood Horse (not as nice as it sounds). I wonder how things will turn out.

*LHII is an acronym I may have made up, it expands to Like H*ll It Is. Transparency of Lobbying, in this Bill, means that persons in the employ, or on the board of say, Total, BP, or City of London eg, who happen to have a quiet chat, and discuss something of interest and profit to all parties, are NOT lobbyists, because it isn't their job description, they do not have to be registered and their activities shall remain off the books and invisible. Only professional lobbyists, who are already obliged to be registered with the APPC so everyone they work for and why is already on the books, will be affected.

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