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Freedom_of_Panorama_in_Europe

Your holiday snaps could soon breach copyright!

Copyright law changes could mean tens of thousands of images of public places in Europe could have to be deleted from sites like Wikipedia, and your holiday snaps could land you in bother!

Oh, dear, the EU doing itself no favours, again.

In the UK, and most of the EU, you can take photos of public or private buildings and public monuments. I bet it never occurred to you that you couldn’t. It even has a name, “Freedom of Panorama”.

A new EU law would have made this a right across the whole EU, as it is in the UK and most of Europe. But a committee voted to restrict this to “non-commercial” only.

Sounds OK, but the difference between “commercial” and “non-commercial” is really hard to legally define and the distinction on the internet can be impossible to make. For instance, commercial and state schools making uses of the same pictures, your holiday snaps being shared on websites that make money, like Facebook .

If you think this is stupid, contact your MEP and tell them:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html

For the record, it was  on 16 June 2015 that the Legal Affairs Committee voted for amendment 421, which would restrict Freedom of Panorama to non-commercial use only.

More background here:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_Panorama_in_Europe_in_2015/Learn_more

Freedom_of_Panorama_in_Europe

Labour’s Policy Process needs to be subject to binding votes

Labour’s National Policy Forum elections are due soon. That’s good, we need to be getting on with policy reformulation, so we can offer a real alternative to government by and for the rich.

But if all we do is start the same process again, we will lose again and let down the British people again. As Einstein said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Only one change is needed: to make the policy process subject to binding votes amongst members. We cannot again obediently receive meandering documents on subjects chosen for us behind closed doors, then submit comments that we all know are largely ignored, resulting in a programme bearing little resemblance to the wishes of Labour Party members.

Wanting to subject the Party’s policy process to binding votes will be condemned by the Right as risking showing damaging discord and disunity in public. That is a lie that the Right has successfully employed for decades to allow them to run the Party as a personal fiefdom. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being seen to work out policies by frank and open debate. Making policies in secret and acting as if we need the media’s permission to be elected clearly and emphatically failed.

Blairites, Progress will argue we need to move to the right to capture more Tory voters. That is clearly nonsense, acting like neo-Tories was a big part of our failure in the General Election. We should not again allow our leaders to treat the electorate as if they are fools.

I believe socialists in the Labour Party need to voice a collective demand that the policy process be democratised, so we can get on with the business of forming policies and a programme relevant to the people of Britain.

Socialists shouldn’t shy away from dealing with IS

I hope my comrades on the Left do not argue Britain should not act against IS.
IS is clearly a danger to us, here, and it is morally right to tackle them anyway. If you don’t think so, you haven’t been paying attention!

Ultra Lefties who would rather use British involvement as an opportunity for cynicism should reflect upon how the British public saw the Left’s attitude towards crime in the 1980s and 1990s. We were perceived as more anxious to look after the interests of criminals and give them an understanding hug rather than look after our people as a whole.

We should stand up for minorities wrongly victimised, explain differences and argue for tolerance. But in the case of the indefensible, our duty is to protect the majority. We are socialists, not anarchists!

Russia playing a blinder over Ukraine

Russia is playing a blinder over the Ukraine and will get just what it wants.

I don’t believe they have – or ever had – any intention of full scale invasion and/or annexation in the way they took the Crimea. The Ukrainian economy is in crisis and the ethnic mix will always make the country toxic to attempts at external control. Putin’s goals will be to make the EU and NATO look like chumps and keep the Ukraine destabilised.

Putin knows that the EU will drag its heels over helping the Ukraine. Having cut the Ukraine’s fuel supply, he just needs to wait another six weeks for winter to arrive and the tenuous political consensus in the country will break down in the face of the practical problem of survival. And NATO will not admit a new member who has not got a stable government!

Russia will then still have a big customer right next door (population 45 million), but if kept unstable, perhaps with a bubbling civil conflict – certainly without any single, credible government – the Ukraine will pose no threat to Russia, and will not be a drain on Russia’s economy.

Looks like Putin has again outwitted the West.

Marius killed to prevent "in-breeding"

PROTECTING “BLOOD PURITY” LEADS TO DISASTER

Chopping down 150 year old Holmes Oak trees in North Wales because they are not native (whatever that means) may seem the harmless actions of some purists of mind in Natural Resources Wales (the environmental “regulator”).

But it is a step on a very dangerous road.

 It led, a few days ago, to the killing (in a cynical and theatrical way) of Marius the baby giraffe, because Copenhagen Zoo say the EU don’t allow “in breeding”.

 And a decade ago it led to the slaughter of Ruddy Ducks being endorsed by – of all people – the RSPB, as they breed with White Headed Ducks and spoil their genetic purity.

 Sweden was caught having practiced eugenics on humans for decades – between 1935 and 1976 over 60,000 young Swedish women were forcibly sterilised, to improve the human gene pool.

We all know what happened in the 1930s, with the Nazis seeking to protect and improve the “blood purity” of the human species.

Weeding out some old trees may seem innocent enough, but who is to say who will end up being “weeded out” when this way of thinking is pursued to its logical end?

Mercy for the Utterly Helpless Seems Too Much to Ask

During the summer I had to have a plaster cast on a leg and went to hospital several times for it to be changed.

The Plaster Room is usually a fairly subdued place, but on one occasion it was quite distressingly different. There was the general bustle of activity, the noise of harmless circular saws and – on this unusual day – several very young children being treated for arm or leg injuries.

It was not so much the children’s screaming as their terrified pleading for their mothers’ protection – seemingly unsuccessfully – that was so upsetting.

The children were being hurt and scared without anything they could do about it. The adults all knew they would come to no harm, but young children could not understand that. The terror of their utter helplessness would move anyone to tears.

And my thoughts have since turned to others, like lambs or calves in abattoirs. They, too, are hurt, terrified and utterly helpless. And, as we know, for them there is no happy ending.

I do not know why decent people will not stop inflicting pain and appalling distress upon other sentient creatures just because they like to eat them.

Mercy for the helpless seems too much to ask, despite British people having full knowledge of what they do and the dire consequences for other beings.

So that day in the hospital Plaster Room made my mind up for me: we need to grow as much meat in labs as soon as we can, so we will stop inflicting terror and pain on the utterly helpless.

HalalSlaughteredCow

BAN RELIGIOUS SLAUGHTER – PETITION

It is worth repeating that in Britain we have scientifically proven standards we regard as appropriate for animal welfare whilst the majority of people regard religious faith as unproven. So protection of animals from suffering should not be secondary to religious beliefs.

The number of animals being slaughtered without first being stunned is between 25% – 40% of all meat produced in the UK, around 10 – possibly 2O – times the total possible market for such meat. The Government should ensure animals are dealt with humanely, rather than producers using a cultural/religious pretext to increase their own profits.

A petition has been launched to try to address this, with a target of 25,000 signatures: http://tinyurl.com/ntm2lx3

Petition wording:

“The fact that Halal butchers are immune from the law against slaughtering animals without pre stunning them, is blatantly wrong. It is unacceptable, that in a civilised society, innocent animals can be tortured to death in this way. Therefore, we the undersigned demand that the vulgar and cruel practise of Halal Slaughter be banned in the United Kingdom.”

Stephen Fry and Bertrand Russell on Atheism

People often tell Stephen Frythat he shouldn’t call himself an atheist, he should call himself an agnostic because he cant know there isn’t a God, and therefore he must be agnostic. Bertrand Russell answered this one brilliantly many years ago.

Bertrand Russell said

“Many things are beyond the realm of absolute knowledge in any sense, but let me put it to you that there is a teapot orbiting Venus in such a manner that we will never be able to see it. It is obscured from our vision. Now, if someone were to tell me that there were such a teapot, I could not demonstrate to them that they were wrong, but I would be perfectly within the limits of orthodox practice and sense and, I would say, philosophical rectitude, if I were to base my life, perfectly happy, in the belief and certain ‘knowledge, as certain as .knowledge as can be, that, there is no teapot revolving Venus. And that is why I call myself an atheist.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist quoting Stephen Fry quoting Bertrand Russell in an interview with the Radio Times, 24-30/08/13, Sort of a “Re-Tweet”!