THE BATH BOMB
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"return of the new year revolution: part 2'"
Where's My Cut?
There may well have been logs on the fire, but who's there to put it out? Officials at Avon Fire Authority met Government Fire Minister Bob Neill to oppose the 9.4% cut to next year's grant, amounting to a lost £2.3 million. The final decision is expected on the 17th this month. Meanwhile, Gloucestershire Fire Service could lose £3.6 million, meaning 90 redundancies.
Meanwhile, Avon and Somerset Police have launched an online survey to give their customers the chance to comment on the coming budget, as they are facing a 5% cut (£10 million). Go on, do your civic duty (also by the 17th): http://www.consultation.avonandsomerset.police.co.uk.
Whilst a 28% cut to council funding over four years threatens, the youth service cuts willl leave only five of the existing 32 council-funded youth services in Gloucestershire standing, and 114 jobs under threat: in Whadden in Cheltenham, Coney Hill in Gloucester, Cirencester, Tewksbury and Coleford.
Bathonian Ken Loach has publicly came out against looming national budget cuts to the N.H.S., £20 billion by 2014: “All this is ideologically driven to reduce the N.H.S. and push people towards private schemes.” Not to mention how 80% of the existing budget is planned to go private commissioners 'G.P. Consortia'. Now with added celebratory endorsement.
A cuts program of 43% will see one third of libraries in Somerset closed, and 11 in Gloucestershire, with others condemned to self-service or reduced openings. And if staff dare to speak out, they face disciplinary action. After all, knowledge is power.
But the big story is the V.A.T. increase, which struck on Tuesday the 4th, despite both the Tories and Lib Dems promising not to. Hmm. Of course, U.K. debt has been much higher in the past, and is currently lower than Germany, France or Japan – whatever. The average family will have to absorb this extra £400-a-year blow, and it's apparently here to stay – or at least for four years. The change will cost around £300 million in admin (that's £65 mil in 'familiarisation', £35 million in re-pricing and invoice changes, £115 million in accounting/book-keeping, and £85 million in system changes), and even the Institute of Economic Affairs are unhappy. And whilst the sales tax climbed by 2.5%, around 60% of companies showed off their profiteer streak by whacking up prices by between 5 and 8% – such as O2 and T-Mobile. When they can afford it, the Tories also hope to cut the 50p tax rate for top earners. But that's okay, because George Osborne says the V.A.T. hike is “progressive”, and it'll raise millions. But hang on – V.A.T. was adopted in 1973 by the Heath Government as a condition for membership in the E.E.C. (now E.U.); so isn't all this money just going to Europe?
And anyway, stamping out on tax cheats instead will save us an annual £120 billion, 15 times as much as that of 'benefits cheats' – people like George Osborne, dodging £1.6 million worth of Inheritance Tax from his trust fund, and also made a £6 billion secret write-off deal with Vodafone. Or others like Philip Green or 'Lord' Ashcroft. Boots did well by moving their H.Q. outside the U.K., with a neat saving of £111 million. Altogether now: build a bonfire, build a bonfire...
Just remember to tip the F.B.U. first.
Breaking Stuff Ain't Hard To Do
Now, to stave off the winter cold, it's time for a warm-hearted revision of the best Christmas present of all: student riots! But, before the accusations of mindless thuggery half-heartedly trickle in, let's look at the facts; after all, these were hardly rebels without a cause.
The Lib Dems wheedled their way into something resembling 'power' on the condition that they oppose hikes to tuition fees, from £3,000 to £6,000 (or more like £9,000). Round about the same time M.P.s broke that promise on the 9th December – a close call at 323 for, 302 against – between 20,000 and 25,000 were out in force in London, hoping those they elected would do the right thing. Ok, big surprise, they were wrong.
And whilst mere hundreds scratched their arses in front of an hours-long drone of union speeches (at least Aaron Porter, of N.U.S. sell-out fame, received some heckles), exhorting us with empty rhetoric of “Now is the time to fight”, the majority of the demo were round the corner in Parliament Square well aware of that fact. Police caved in demonstrators' heads with baton-charges, blasted the crowd with fire extinguisher spray, and dragged the disabled out of their chairs. They scored 19 injuries, leaving some brain-damaged and bleeding in the bushes, whilst the protesters' return fire, of fire works and projectile harris fencing, netted a respectable six.
The highlights were, of course, the smashing of tax-dodging TopShop on Oxford Street, the Treasury occupation, the attack on the Supreme Court building, and that picture-perfect encounter with Charles and Camilla. Friendly advice, Charlie – next time your limo is surrounded by a baying mob chanting “off with their heads”, don't open the window to shake hands.
Don Foster months before was leading the charge against tuition fees hikes, calling for the abolition of tuition fees altogether. But it didn't take long for him to turn tail, leading to windows going through at Bath Lib Dem H.Q. It may well be that the man had tough decisions to make, but it's not for elected representatives to do what they think is best; his job is to follow his constituents' wishes, and they were made quite clear. If he doesn't like that fact, then, after 18 years of fair service, it's time for him to go – and it is to that end that the campaign now turns.
The Vice Chancellor at Bath Uni, whose own institution is facing a £24.8 million cut, paradoxically opted to recommend the hike; meanwhile, Bath Spa faces a near 100% cut to all its funding, unless it goes down the privatisation route. 40% is to be cut from Higher Education nationally, with an 80% cut to teaching. The Kent Uni occupation is still ongoing.
Parliament is now also debating on scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance, in the shadow of mass school and college walk-outs. In 2009/2010, the allowance – between £10 and £30 a week, if the student attends all lectures – was nationally received by 635,000 learners, being four out of five students in Leicester, Birmingham and the North West. Closer to home, the allowance is currently received by 1,559 in B.&N.E.S., 1,474 in North Somerset, 4,635 in Bristol and 6,021 in Somerset. Without the E.M.A., 1,000s of students could be forced out of college, as well as more jobs. On the 13th December, a somewhat lukewarm 45-strong demo took place opposite City of Bath College, sadly featuring more supporters than students. Come on kids – to paraphrase an eloquent American hardcore band, “where's your anger, where's your fucking rage?”
A Decade Of Dickheads
Bankrupt in 2000 because of the obscene amounts of taxpayers' cash they had pissed away on the disastrous Spa, the Limp Dims then (allegedly) in control of Bath city council hit on a financial scam almost as big to try and plug the gap. This grubby end-of-year charade they misnamed a Christmas Market; you will know it better as Tat Ghetto, Turpin's Trash, the Festival of the Shack, ShedEx, the Shed Show, Car Boot Cabins, the Hut Stunt, or the Christmas Mark-Up.
It involves dumping 120-odd flat-pack garden sheds in the middle of the city, most of them ending up in Abbey Square, York St. and Abbey Green, then stinging gullible would-be retailers into shelling out £3,000+ up front to rent prime chunks of public pavement for the duration of this annual public fleecing. The worn-out old formula consists of traders then sticking fake greenery and fairy lights on the laughingly-monikered 'traditional wooden chalets', and stuffing the insides with mostly overpriced trinkets and non-essential-to-life shite that they attempt to offload on the brain-at-home punters who have been bussed in by the thousand to this, the biggest seasonal sham in the south-west.
When questioned by a Bath Bomb reporter, B.&N.E.S.'s head of Xmas marketing, E.R.Satz, stated there was 'much more' to the Bath Christmas Murk-et than simply buying a couple of packets of instant tradition powder and mixing it with water. Council finance supremo K.E.R. Ching denied that the authority's regular mission statement of "Making Bath and N. E. Somerset a better place to live, work and visit" had been suspended for the month of December and replaced with "Take the money and run". He further stated that the event brought festive season goodwill to the streets of Bath, and believed that the £500,000-£750,000 that B.&N.E.S. were expecting to trouser from it was a 'happy accident'. He concluded that he and Highways chief G. Ridlock were in agreement that the cramming of a merry-go-round into the gap between B.H.S. and the Roman Baths' side entrance, and the no-go area of Abbey Square caused by the seething mass of shoppers looking but not buying, was "a small price to pay for the market's continuing success".
No tourism spokesman, however, could be found to explain why the misery of this spendfest had been inflicted upon long-suffering locals for a third week this year, nor why organisers had so little respect for the Field of Remembrance in Abbey Churchyard that they decided to shove sheds in Abbey Churchyard before it had been taken away; nor why they had jammed yet more sheds up against the Earth from the Air photo exhibition round by the Temperance statue so that no one could see the pix; nor why the masterpiece of planning had blocked the view of more pictures by allowing recycling bins to be stuck in front of them; nor why Richmond Event Management, the Yorkshire-based outfit responsible for the whole pantomime, had seen fit to screw over Bath traders, residents and economy by awarding the 2010 licence to print money – otherwise know as the market takeaway catering concession – to an Oxford-based business consortium.
There is a remedy for the Attack of the Giant Matchboxes: it involves petrol and a box of matches...
Damned If You Dole And Damned If You Don't
Student and union resistance to the Con-Dem cuts has begun to make a real noise, but what about those who claim a benefit or two? After all, 20% is to be cut from Disability Living Allowance, Housing Benefit is getting fiddled, and Employment Support Allowance will be shafted to the tune of £2.5 billion. The latter benefit is planned to be restricted to one year, so even if you somehow get through the intrusive 'work capability assessments' deemed unfit for work – due to either severe medical conditions or illness – 365 days on, you are still predicted to have somehow made a miraculous recovery. Praise be!
The £300 million contract for these assessments has been handed to Atos Origin, and their computer has already forced many of the terminally ill to work, despite G.P. diagnoses – although 40% of appeals have met success. Other corporate poverty pimps include Serco, REED, Manpower and Action for Employment, making a killing by forcing folks into unpaid labour.
But it's not all doom and gloom – Monday the 24th this month will see a national day of action against these profiteers. For a list of national Atos Origins sites, see http://www.uk.atosorigin.com/en-uk/about_us/locations. To get involved locally, contact bathagainstcuts[at]yahoo.co.uk. And, if you're nervous about being forced into unsuitable jobs down at the dole queue, those nose-scratching mischief-makers at the Black Fingernail have come up with what might be an ingenious tool to give would-be employers second thoughts. If you're curious, check out the Bath Bomb blog for more details.
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No News Is Good News
* As covered back in the Bath Bomb's infancy (#3 – now we're all grown up), Cadbury's sold off their Keynsham factory, and indeed the company itself, to Kraft, who promptly broke their promise about keeping the Somerdale Plant in operation. But, to add insult to injury, now the last of the chocolate's dried up, Roger Carr, who masterminded the sell-out (and pocketed a sweet £4 million package, and a position heading gas supplier Centrica, who parent British Gas), has just been knighted. The unhappy news left a sour taste for the 600 laid-off workers, and others
* Being in the justice business apparently doesn't make you go blind, as a former Bath magistrate proved by pleading guilty to eight charges of child porn possession. Young-at-heart Andrew Hill, who served for 17 years, of the somewhat appropriately-named Entry Hill, stored 2,376 paedo images and two movies on his long-suffering computer. We wonder what dirty secrets the other wigged-up bastards are hiding?
* Transition Town Bath will be getting their hands dirty on Sunday the 13th February, planting their first batch of cobs, almonds and sweet chestnut trees at Smallcombe Community Nuttery. It kicks off from 10.30a.m., and they invite local residents, school kids (no, not you, Andrew) and supporters to come along and help out, enjoy a bonfire-baked potato, and maybe even sponsor a nut tree. They are also assisting King Edwards kids in finding 'guerilla' gardening sites near Green Park Station, and potentially near Vicky Park, too. And finally, 'Dry Arch Growers', the C.S.A. project in Bathampton, will be properly launching this month, and is shaking people down for the £7.5 K needed for water re-installation, porcine indentured servitude, seeds, tool sheds, compost toilets and a matching set of 24-carat shovels – though we might be making that last bit up
* On the 10th January, anarcho-saboteurs got busy in Bristol, smashing windows at bailiffs Revenue on Bonnville Road, torching an O2 repeater tower, paint-stripping and smashing squad cars at Brislington cop shop, and shooting out the windows of Bath Road's HSBC. When will they learn: if direct action ever changed things, they'd make it illegal. Wait a minute...
* North Somerset Council has revived plans to build 15,000 new homes in the next 15 years, with 10,700 of these to be sited on 'protected' green belt
* M.P.s are currently debating the Con-Dem plan to privatise Royal Mail, increase costs, reduce services and threaten rural post offices; if your M.P.'s not likely to sell you out for a cookie (Don), then please lobby them via the link below. C.W.U. activists were out throughout the south-west on Saturday the 8th January doing the same
* Over 3,000 came out on Monday 3rd January to fight the 'Public Bodies Bill' sell-off of the ancient Forest of Dean, burning an effigy of Big Ben. The government hope to save £1 billion by handing 30 such Forestry Commission sites to money-grubbing developers
* On New Year's Day, the three Sea Shepherd ships pursued and fought off three Japanese criminal whalers in the Southern Ocean, exchanging salvos of stink bombs with that of turbo water cannons, preventing any bloodshed. Meanwhile, the Japanese government is urging the U.S. To strip the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society of charitable status, and regard it as a major threat to whaling
* On the 5th January, the 20 would-be blockaders, who were thinking pretty hard about shutting down polluter Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station, were handed out between 18 months conditional discharge and 90 hours' unpaid work. These, and six others (whose charges were later dropped, due to agent provocateur P.C. Mark 'Flash Stone' Kennedy turning native), were the leftovers from the U.K.'s biggest pre-emptive mass arrest, of 114 people, back in Easter '09 – the majority released without charge, and the police operation costing the public £300,000. Judge Jonathan Teare conceded that some might consider the sentence “impossibly lenient”, but felt that he had to urgently get back to his home computer. To do some work, right? Now, don't almost do it again
* The “we're not racist, but” English Defence League had their clothing website (?) improved last month by the Mujahideen Hacking Unit, who leaked the financial donors list, and left some interesting statistics on numbers of Muslims being killed, raped and tortured around the world, as well as a creative '9/11 Truth'-style soundbyte
Wiki(d) Which Of The What?
In a recent C.L.G. News report it was stated from Downing Street that: “Wikileaks is threatening national security.” It is to be expected therefore that the Queen, her Prime Minister David Cameron and her officials, will have braced themselves for further embarrassing revelations.
However if one swallows hook, line and sinker a government’s “threatening national security” propaganda, a ploy invariably enforced by a complicit establishment media, one will gulp down anything put before them. To imply that the ‘ordinary’ person should not query the jargon “that WikiLeaks revelations are a threat to national security”, is a governmental own goal. The widespread use of the emotive phrase “in the interest of national security”, aims to coerce by tapping into the nation’s conscience, and stirring emotive feelings of loyalty, guilt and patriotism. That, of course, is administrative gobbledegook, designed to hoodwink, and must always be painstakingly questioned whenever it appears.
Indeed, but for WikiLeaks revelations, how on earth would the voting public gain knowledge of the deceit and dishonourable acts that are perpetrated on its behalf? Since we cannot expect the Queen’s Ministers to keep us informed, common sense tells us that we have no option but to rely on the much-maligned Julian Assange, or others like-minded, to provide us with the truth.
The furore generated by the parliamentary expenses scandal has ensured that the integrity of British members of parliament is no longer something that should be taken for granted. So why on earth should we trust politicians to tell us the truth in other matters?
Bath Activist Network are a local umbrella group campaigning on issues as diverse as development, environmentalism, anti-war, animal rights, workers' rights and more. Helping to produce the Bath Bomb, we are open to anyone, and our members range from trade unionists to anarchists, liberals and greens, and people who just want to change Bath for the better. For details on meetings, demos, or just to get in touch, e-mail bathactivistnet[at]yahoo.co.uk, or see our website: http://www.bathactivistnetwork.blogspot.com
drawing classes: 'Remembering the Present', Mondays & Tuesdays, Stokes Croft Museum, 81-83 Stokes Croft, Bristol; http://www.stokescroftmuseum.info
London Road Food Co-op, Wednesdays, 5-7p.m., Riverside Community Centre, London Road; http://www.londonroadfoodcoop.blogspot.com
exhibition: 'Remembering the Present', Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays, 11a.m.-3p.m., Stokes Croft Museum, 81-83 Stokes Croft, Bristol; http://www.stokescroftmuseum.info
Bathampton Community Growers workday, Thursdays, 10a.m.-dusk, Mill Lane, Bathampton, e-mail thelostplot[at]googlemail.com/ tel Chris 07792 444628
Bathampton Community Supported Agriculture project: fruit picking, Thursdays and Sundays, 10a.m.-2p.m., FFI e-mail csa[at]transitionbath.org; www.bathamptoncsa.wordpress.com
Bath Stop The War Coalition vigil, Saturdays, 11.30a.m.-12.30, Bath Abbey Courtyard
Bradford-On-Avon peace vigil, Saturdays, 11.30a.m.-12.30, by the peace statue opposite Westbury Gardens by the Town Bridge, Bradford-On-Avon
exhibition: 'Remembering the Present', Saturdays, 12-4p.m., Stokes Croft Museum, 81-83 Stokes Croft, Bristol; http://www.stokescroftmuseum.info
Recycle Your Sundays, Sundays, 10.30a.m., starts Abbey Churchyard, the regular series of sociable, easy-paced cycle rides; http://www.bathrys.org.uk/ tel Hazel 01225 469199
'A Farewell to Public Welfare?' series of talks, between January and April, Watershed Media Centre, Bristol; see http://www.ideasfestival.co.uk/wp-content/themes/ad-clerum-10/enews/e_flyer_events_public_welfare.html F.F.I.
Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance Open meeting, Thursday 13th January, 7.00p.m., Barton Hill Primary School, Barton Hill, Bristol (location T.B.C.)
Bristol Amnesty public meeting on Palestine, Friday 14th January, 7.30p.m., United Reform Church, Whiteladies Road, Redland, Bristol; http://bristol.amnesty.org.uk
Boycott Israeli Goods Action - Leafleting Open Air Film Show, Saturday 15th January, 1-3p.m. & 4-6p.m., meet outside Waitrose, 51 Northumbria Drive, Bristol; http://www.bristolpsc.info
'Fuck The Hunts' Bristol & South Wales Hunt Sabs folk & ska benefit gig, Saturday 15th January, 8p.m., The Plough, Easton, Bristol; feat. Captain Hotknives, the Autonomads, The Extinguishers, D.J. Krackpotkin, D.J. Black Rainbow & D.J. Kylie Selassi; £4 entry; http://www.huntsabbenefit2webbw.jpg
global vigil to remember start of First Iraq War, Saturday 15th January, meet 12 midnight, B.A.E. Entrance, Southmead Road, Bristol; http://www.bristolagainstarmstrade.wordpress.com
film: 'Killing Our Own' (depleted uranium); Sunday 16th January, 7.30 p.m., Kebele Community Co-op, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol
Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance Health Group meeting, Tuesday 18th January, 5.30p.m., The Robin Hood, St. Michael's Hill, Bristol
Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance Social Services Group meeting, Tuesday 18th January, 7.30p.m., Bristol County Sports Club, Colston Street, Bristol
Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance meeting, Tuesday 18th January, 8p.m., the Bell, Walcot Street
Bristol Against Arms Trade meeting & banner-making, Wednesday 19th January, 5p.m./6p.m., Smiling Chair, 40 Stokes Croft, Bristol; http://www.bristolagainstarmstrade.wordpress.com
Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance Filton Area Group meeting, Wednesday 19th January, 7p.m., Filton Primary School, Blenheim Road, Filton, Bristol
Carfree Bristol New Year meeting, Wednesday 19th January, 7.30p.m., Golden Guinea pub, Guinea Street, Bristol; e-mail steve.melia[at]talktalk.net F.F.I.
Pyrate Punx acoustic gig and D.J.s, Wednesday 19th January, 8.30-3a.m., Green Park Tavern, Lower Bristol Road, Oldfield Park; £3 entry; feat. Joe Tilston, Mike Scott, Dave Carlyone & George Knight;
'Cut the War not the Poor': picket of high street investers in the arms trade, Saturday 22nd January, meet 1p.m., the Band Stand, Castle Park, Bristol; http://bristolagainstarmstrade.files.wordpress.com
Bath Bomb benefit punk & hardcore gig, Saturday 22nd January, 5.30p.m., The Croft, Stokes Croft, Bristol; feat. Hellbastard, Post Fata Resurgo, Warprayer, Murder of Crows, Fresh Milk & This Ends Here; £6; http://www.bastardsquadcollective.wordpress.com
Bristol Against Arms Trade benefit acoustic gig, Saturday 22nd January, evening, The Den, Corn Street, Bristol; £2/£3 entry; feat. Ratface, Clayton Blizzard, Mike Scott & Joe Tilston; http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=185870981424273
Bristol Co-Mutiny Part 2 (?) meeting, Sunday 23rd January, 4-6p.m., Smiling Chair, 40 Stokes Croft, Bristol
Target Atos Origin national demo, Monday 24th January; e-mail bathagainstcuts[at]yahoo.co.uk if you want to get involved
Queer Cafe reading group, Monday 24th January, 7p.m., Kebele Community Co-op, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol; e-mail bristolreading[at]racerevolt.org.uk F.F.I.
Bristol Utopian Book Collective book discussion, Monday 24th January, 7p.m., Cafe Kino, 108 Stokes Croft, Bristol
Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance Bristol City Council Group meeting, Monday 24th January, 7.30p.m., Bristol County Sports Club, Colston Street, Bristol
Bath Hunt Saboteurs meeting, Monday 24th January, 8-9p.m, The Bell, tel Justin 07854 062336
(animal sanctuary benefit) vegan chocolate tasting evening, Tuesday 25th January, 7-9.30p.m., Kebele Community Co-op, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol; £2 suggested donation; http://www.bristolanimalrights.org.uk
Bristol Conference on Human Rights and Migration, Wednesday 26th January, 10.30a.m., Room 3E39, Dept. of History, Philosophy & Politics, University of the West of England; tel 01173 284295
writer's talk: Lynsey Hanley, Wednesday 26th January, 6p.m., 113 Cumberland Road, Bristol; £4/£2 entry; tel 0117 929 2266 / e-mail admin[at]spikeisland.org.uk for booking
Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance Public Transport Group meeting, Wednesday 26th January, 7p.m., Bristol County Sports Club, Colston Street, Bristol
Black Fish Ocean Defence info night, Wednesday 26th January, 7.30p.m., Smiling Chair, 40 Stokes Croft, Bristol; http://blackfish.org
Black Activists Against The Cuts meeting, Thursday 27th January, 7p.m., Malcolm X Centre, Ashley Road, St.Pauls, Bristol
Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance Easton Group meeting, Thursday 27th January, 8p.m., Easton Community Centre, Kilburn Street, Bristol
Bristol's Green Roots Community Workshop, Saturday 29th January, 10-3.30p.m., Bristol; e-mail emmelie[at]schumacherinstitute.org.uk F.F.I.
Stroud protest against cuts & privatisation, Saturday 29th January, 10a.m., meet Stratford Park car park, Stroud; e-mail stroudagainstthecuts[at]yahoo.co.uk / tel 07810 732379
'Cut Cameron Festival': Anarchists Against The Cuts/Millbank protesters benefit punk & poetry all-dayer, Saturday 29th January, 12-11.30p.m., The Winchester Arms, Taunton; two stages, stalls, free vegan food, feat. Primeval Soup, 2 Poorly Primates, Anarcho Folko, Dead Subverts, Spanner, Donnie Brasco, Mediatrocity & Virus; £6 entry; http://www.myspace.com/anonpromo, http://www.myspace.com/oldhgatpromotions, http://www.myspace.com/events/View/8288990/CUT-CAMERON-FESTIVAL--PUNK-ALL-DAYER--The-Winchester-Arms-Taunton
Critical Mass Bike Ride, Saturday 30th October, meet 1p.m., Kingsmead Square, http://www.bathcyclingcampaign.org.uk
Temwa benefit gig, Saturday 29th January, 7.30p.m., The Attic Bar, Stokes Croft, Bristol; feat. Babydub, The Mandibles, D.J. Two Kings, D.J.s Titan Sound & D.J.s The Disco Two; £5 before 10p.m., £7 after; http://www.temwa.org
Queer Cafe film screening: 'Unveiled', Monday 31st January, 7p.m., Kebele Community Co-op, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol; e-mail bristolreading[at]racerevolt.org.uk F.F.I.
Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance Education Workers Group meeting, Monday 31st January, 7.00p.m., Bristol County Sports Club, Colston Street, Bristol
Bath Socialist Forum: 'Understanding the Cuts', Monday 31st January, 8p.m., upstairs St. James Wine Vaults
Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance meeting, Tuesday 1st February, 8p.m., the Bell, Walcot Street
Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance Easton Group meeting, Thursday 2nd February, 2p.m., Easton Community Centre, Kilburn Street, Bristol
Bristol Against Arms Trade meeting, Wednesday 2nd February, 6p.m., Smiling Chair, 40 Stokes Croft, Bristol; feat. Talk on depleted uranium; http://www.bristolagainstarmstrade.wordpress.com
Bath Activist Network meeting, Thursday 3rd February, 7.30-9p.m., downstairs at the Hobgoblin, St James Parade, http://www.bathactivistnetwork.blogspot.com
Earth First! Winter Moot, Friday 4th February-Sunday 6th February, 7.00p.m., Sumac Centre, Nottingham; e-mail summergathering[at]earthfirst.org.uk F.F.I.
Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance demo, Saturday 5th February, more details T.B.C.
demo: 'Save Legal Aid!', Monday 7th February, 12-2p.m., outside Legal Services Commission South-West Office, Queens Square, Bristol; http://www.advicewest.org.uk
'Re-Powering Our Neighbourhoods' workshop, Monday 7th February, 10-5p.m., St. Werburghs Community Centre, Horley Road, Bristol; £35-£55 entry; e-mail shiftbristol[at]yahoo.co.uk
Queer Cafe reading group, Monday 7th February, 7p.m., Cafe Kino, 108 Stokes Croft, Bristol; e-mail bristolreading[at]racerevolt.org.uk F.F.I.
writer's talk: Owen Hatherley, Wednesday 9th February, 6p.m., 113 Cumberland Road, Bristol; £4/£2 entry; tel 0117 929 2266 / e-mail admin[at]spikeisland.org.uk for booking
Bath Green Drinks, Wednesday 9th February, 8p.m., the Rising Sun, Grove Street
Bath FreeShop, Saturday 12th February, 12-3p.m., outside the Pump Rooms, Stall Street
nut tree planting session, Sunday 13th February, from 10.30a.m., Smallcombe Community Nursery; http://www.transitionbath.org/food
Queer Cafe film screening: 'A Jihad for Love', Monday 14th February, 7p.m., Kebele Community Co-op, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol; e-mail bristolreading[at]racerevolt.org.uk F.F.I.
anti-foie gras demo, Bath; more details T.B.C.; e-mail bathanimalaction[at]yahoo.co.uk
Bath Animal Action & Bath Hunt Saboteurs meeting, Monday 14th February, 8-9p.m., The Bell, Walcot Street, e-mail bathanimalaction[at]yahoo.co.uk; http://www.bathanimalaction.blogspot.com
Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance meeting, Tuesday 15th February, 8p.m., the Bell, Walcot Street
Queer Cafe all-day workshop & discussions, Friday 25th February, 12-7p.m., Manchester; e-mail bristolreading[at]racerevolt.org.uk F.F.I.
Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance benefit gig, Saturday 5th March, 8p.m., Granary Barge, Mardyke Warf, Hotwells; £5 entry – cheques payable to 'Bristol Campaigns', to Anne Lemon, 4 Maycliffe Park, Ashley Hill, Bristol; feat. Fab 208, and prize for best pirate costume!
anti-cuts protest, Saturday 5th March, 12 midday, Wharf Green, Swindon
anti-cuts public meeting, Tuesday 8th March, Pilgrim Centre, Swindon
Transition Training – With the Transition Network, Saturday 12th-Sunday 13th March, 10-5p.m., St. Werburghs Community Centre, Horley Road, Bristol; £100 entry; e-mail shiftbristol[at]yahoo.co.uk
An Introduction to Permaculture, Tuesday 15th March, 6.45-9.45p.m., St. Werburghs Community Centre, Horley Road, Bristol; £40-£65 entry; e-mail shiftbristol[at]yahoo.co.uk
national anti-cuts demo, Saturday 26th March, London; more details T.B.C.
Bristol Anarchist Bookfair, Saturday 7th May, 10.30-6.30p.m., Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol; http://www.bristolanarchistbookfair.org
B.&N.E.S. won't tell you that its white elephant Spa is slowly sinking into the Bath mud, but it's a fact. As it's physically tied into the colonnades of Bath St., it's affected them as well. The whole of that side is being gradually pulled over. Don't believe me? Then go and marvel at the large vertical cracks in the columns by the arches between Nationwide and Santander, and notice how one of the column capitals has a good inch split in it.
As well as being an architectural and construction disaster, the Spa continues to be a financial Titanic. It cost £50 million before it even opened, thanks to the Limp Dims then nominally in control of the council. The pathetic 'deal' which they arrived at with Thermae Development Company, which oversees it, means that for every £1 million outlay, the city gets back a paltry £64,000. The con-artist Conservatives now in charge (joke) are currently crowing about how they have supposedly clawed back £6 million without the need to take the builders or architect to court. They trumpet this as some kind of 'success'. Do the math, dimwits! Are we supposed to forget about the other £44 million?
As the Spa is alleged to be bringing so much dosh into the city's economy (£20 million annually was the absurd amount quoted by local M.P. Don Flopster), why does Thermae need to be registered offshore in the Dutch Antilles? And why are its financial affairs masterminded by the Bath office of tax-avoidance specialists Moore Stephens at 30 Gay St.?
No wonder that the latest creative accounting B.&N.E.S. put its name to involves their commissioning of a so-called 'visitor survey' by two postgrad amateurs tucked away in Exeter's semi-detached anonymity, who call themselves the South West Research Company. Trawling through their 30 pages of dubious statistics, misleading pie charts, unsubstantiated figures, and wildly inventive arithmetic, reveals that just 247 of the piffling 406 people surveyed by them reckoned that the Spa was their main reason for visiting Bath. As S.W.R.C.'s 'estimated' (why not 'confirmed'?) number of Spa visitors in the relevant 12-month period is given as 125,000, they are seizing desperately on a pathetically tiny and random sample of just 0.15% to kid us that the Spa is raking in an 'extra' £10 million for the Bath economy.
They should be made to write out 500 times, “I must not tell porkies for money”, until it sinks in.
World Press Gives British Media Some Stick
World-breaking news from our roving independent correspondent, Roy Terrs:
A recent media response to an incident which was blown out of all proportion was extraordinarily featured on the front page of virtually ALL British newspapers! The Bath Bomb has taken the trouble to include non-sensational wording that positions the inconsequential incident where it belongs, within a small column on page four: “A car driven by a chauffeur and occupied by an elderly couple on their way to a theatre in London was slightly damaged yesterday evening, when an irate individual prodded an occupant with a length of wood. There was absolutely no risk to the occupants as the luxurious limo was fitted with exorbitantly-expensive bullet proof windows”.
A group of foreign tourists who witnessed the incident had the following to say: “I saw a huge limousine and the flashing lights of a following police car and two police outriders coming towards me, and thought they might be escorting someone important, like a praiseworthy author, a highly trained opera singer or a distinguished and commendable Professor with a string of qualifications after his name, or an elected President”, said Mario.
“I thought along the same lines” Eleanor said, “but perhaps a worthy and gifted actor, a talented rock star, or a well qualified and respected architect, or a designer of some sort, and the police escort was there to keep fans at a safe distance”, she added. “And yes” she went on, “in response to your quizzical look; in our country we constantly adulate and praise our academics. It is simply a question of getting the societal priorities in the proper order.
“But when the rumpus had quietened down”, Mario continued, “I was stunned to discover that it was only one of Britain’s inept royal freeloaders. Is it any wonder”, he said, “that your country is no longer regarded abroad as Great, when you continue to glorify mediocrity and lavish sums of money on a group of privileged, undeserving dysfunctional goons. And yet you continue to preach to other nations about British so-called social equality while you still maintain the most undemocratic institution possible at the apex of your society”.
“Well said, Mario”, the rest of the group chorussed in unison, as we all made our way to a late night café.
Should Old Acquaintance Not Be Shot
Whilst over here we may have been getting over-charged for drinks and entry fees, in the Palestinian village of Bil'in, over 1,000 demonstrated against Israeli settler encroachment. As an alternative to tired old alcoholic renditions of Auld Lang Syne, the I.D.F. soldiers decided to celebrate the New Year with a hail of unprovoked tear gas (a kind banned in the U.K. since 1964) and rubber bullets, choking a vomiting Jawaher Abu Rahma to death.
The village has long been a symbol for popular resistance to the occupation, ever since forcing the military to re-route the apartheid wall away from their village in February of last year. But it's not been an easy victory, and has been particularly difficult for the Abu Rahma family: Ashraf was badly injured by bullet wounds in 2008, whilst in a soldier's custody; the next April, his brother Bassem was killed by a tear gas canister to the chest. Abdallah and Adeeb have both been imprisoned for hundreds of days. And now, their sister Jawaher, who had attended the weekly demos for four years, has finally been murdered, in front of her mother's eyes.
Whilst Israeli activists blockaded Tel Aviv streets and spent the night returning spent tear gas canisters to the U.S ambassadors home, netting 13 arrests (including a member of 'the Knesset' parliament), calls have gone out to target the manufacturers of these so-called 'non-lethal' weapons (which have killed 21 since 2005, including an 18-month-old baby, who wasn't even at any demo) – be they projectile, sound, or chemical-based (some leaving villages uninhabitable for weeks). Companies like Combined Tactical Systems, Defense Technology (owned by B.A.E. Systems, the U.K.'s biggest arms dealer – for U.K. Locations, see http://www.baesystems.com/WorldwideLocations/UnitedKingdom/Locations), American River Logistics, A.L.S. Technologies and Penn Arms, who are all having a field (test) day, treating Palestinians as low-cost guinea pigs for all sorts of unmanned vehicles, surveillance & recognition tech and weaponry, to later be used in civilian oppression elsewhere. Indeed, Israel's security industry has never had it this good, although other Israeli consumer goods companies can't quite say the same, due to the global boycott.
Prince Andrew You’re Fired!
The disgraceful anti-French racism and dodgy deals of Prince Andrew, factually Andrew Battenberg, is a prime example of strategic non-disclosure by our 'representatives'. The decision was taken recently to not publish details of the thousands of politically-persuasive green ink letters from the unelected Prince Charles: political selectivity in action, to protect royal privilege over the interests of the electorate. This establishment verdict was acknowledged but not condemned by the fawning media. Indeed, this act of concealment tells us that something controversial is going on. Perhaps in the future, another Assange will whistleblow copies of every single campaigning letter sent by Charlie to the public's parliamentary representatives?
Would we have ever been informed about these royals' barbarism without WikiLeaks?
The monarchy are constantly awarded unofficial preferential treatment, e.g. ‘Prince’ Andrew and his role as Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, and the £200 million annual pocket money. Although the ministerial reaction to the ‘Prince’ Andrew fiasco was unsurprisingly peppered with obsequious bowing and scraping, one was still anticipating someone in government to kneel before the Queen, or offer an apology for her son and his boorish bad manners. But was the regal wrist admonished by a sycophantic caress from a government toady, wielding a fluffy imperial feather?
If the allegation that members of his team felt he was “mentally challenged” during business meetings is true, why was this shortcoming not observed by the board of interviewees at the time of his interview? He is also allegedly not paid a salary, but shouldn't his foreign junkets and gifts be taxed as income? And what of his six-plus permanent travelling staff? Why is he still 'in office'?
The issue of taxable income brings us to the sale of his mansion in Sunningdale, Berkshire, where an alleged contact of his, a political high flyer in Kazakhstan, paid £3 million above the asking price of £12 million. Why the added £3 million when it was known that the property was difficult to sell? If this property was his registered main residence at the time of the sale, then no Capital Gains Tax was liable. but if not, then he should be held responsible for settling any tax on the gain.
Must a dust-ridden, creaky monarchical Britain continue to carry us on its blinkered backward route of prolonged democratic neglect?
(A)lms For The Poor
For three years and five months, the Bath Bomb has been sniffing out scandal, unveiling council and big business sleaze, telling it like it is and isn't, and poking fun at the rich and powerful (something we unfortunately have no short supply of in Bath). We have done all of this on a budget of zero, save the odd kind donation and benefit gig (we asked the council for an arts grant, but haven't heard back). Now, we need your help to secure the future of the Bath Bomb, and here's three simple steps you can take to do it:
Become a 'Comrade of Bath Bomb' – for £15 waged/£10 unwaged, you will get a shiny new copy of your favourite scandal mag posted to your door each month for a year, along with a fashionable, limited edition Bath Bomb badge and 'Comrade of Bath Bomb' card, which gets you modest discounts on a growing number of local outlets – e-mail us F.F.I.
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To donate, send cheques payable to 'B.A.A.', along with your name and address, to: Bath Bomb Press, P.O. Box 426, Bath, BA1 2ZD.
And BIG thanks go out to the Bristle Magazine collective, for their kind donation of £100 last month; if anyone else can top that, then we'll have to find a bigger font size for your thanks...
“why did Nick Clegg cross the road?”
“Because he promised not to”
And now, to the disclaimer: as anyone is free to contribute, the opinions expressed in each article are not necessarily reflective of all contributors. Naturally, any right-wing or corporate bullshit will be binned and spat upon. Needless to say, the opinions of the author of this disclaimer do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other contributor.