Archive for the ‘Water’ Category

38 Degrees Invite Water Company Heads to Fake Festival of Sewage

October 2, 2022

This is a highly amusing idea. In order to make the point that the sewage the water companies are allowing to get into the environment isn’t acceptable, 38 Degrees are asking their supporters to send the heads of their local water companies fake invitations to a festival of sewage. I go this email and invitation about it on Friday.

Coming to a river or beach near you David: SEWAGE FEST 2022!

Okay, so we’re not actually putting on a festival celebrating sewage pollution. I know, shocking. But today copies of this poster really did start appearing in Brighton, one of many beaches affected by sewage pollution this summer. [1] The message to water companies? Sort. It. Out.

The 38 Degrees community has a history of using fun and creative ideas to make a serious point – and this time is no different! With the Government asking water companies to develop better plans to tackle sewage pollution, it’s the perfect time to publicly shame them – and make sure they really do step up their game. [2]

So here’s the plan: Imagine thousands of us inviting water company bosses to ‘attend’ Sewage Fest 2022 by sharing VIP tickets with them over Twitter (after all, it just wouldn’t have been possible without them!). It’ll be massively embarrassing for them – as well as spreading the word about the campaign!

So David, will you tweet the CEO of your water company a ticket to Sewage Fest 2022 now – and publicly pressure them to clean up their act? The ticket design is below – we hope you like it!

I’LL TWEET A TICKET

So why now? Well, a few weeks ago the new Environment Secretary told water companies to produce more ambitious plans for tackling sewage pollution. [3]

It’s positive news – and only happened because of a huge amount of public pressure. [4] But with everything else going on in the world (and there’s a lot right now) we need to make sure water companies know we’re watching – and won’t accept watered down proposals!

Last week, thousands of us emailed water company CEOs demanding they make their plans as ambitious as possible. [5] But we can’t stop there. Just imagine those same CEOs being publicly invited to an ‘event’ of their own making – Sewage Fest 2022! VIP tickets too, what a treat. Together we can publicly embarrass them, making them feel the heat over their collective failure to tackle the issue.

So will you tweet the CEO of your water company – inviting them to Sewage Fest 2022 and hold them accountable for their disgusting mess? Just click below and you’ll be sent to a page where you can select your water company.

I’LL TWEET A TICKET

Thanks for all you do,

Simma, Matt, Megan, Angus and the 38 Degrees Team

NOTES:
[1] Our posters are all over Brighton – you can see examples herehere, and here!
The Telegraph (paywall): Sewage now pollutes every single beach between Brighton and Hastings
BBC News: Sussex beaches: People advised not to swim after sewage releases
The Independent: England’s most polluted rivers as sewage pumped into waterways for 2.6m hours
[2] Daily Mail: Water companies given two week deadline by government to show how they will stop sewage being pumped into rivers and beaches
Sky News: Water company bosses given 14 days to set out sewage dumping plans, new environment secretary says
[3] See note 2
[4] BBC News: Environment Bill passes following lengthy battle over sewage
38 Degrees: Stop dumping raw sewage into our seas and waterways
DEFRA: Storm overflows discharge reduction plan
The Rivers Trust: Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan still too little, too late
[5] 38 Degrees: Enough is enough: draw up ambitious plans to fix our outdated sewage system

Labour Left Proposed Motions for the Labour Party Conference

September 4, 2022

The Labour party conference is looming and Arise, the Labour festival of left-wing ideas, has sent these suggested motions out to their supporters so they can propose them to their local constituency parties, in the hope that they’ll accept them and propose them at conference. The email I had and the proposed motions run:

Model Motions Recommended for Labour Party Conference 2022

Hello David

Please find below and online here suggested model motions for Labour Party Conference. The deadline for submissions is Thursday 15 September 2022 at 5pm and the word limit is 250 words. They are on supporting public ownership, defending asylum seekers, supporting a pay rise for workers plus those unions taking industrial action to this end. and speaking up for Palestine.

Best wishes,
The Arise – a Festival of Left Ideas Volunteer Team.

1) Public ownership Motion from the Labour Assembly Against Austerity

Public Ownership is Necessary and Popular
 
Conference notes:
That public ownership is popular with voters, with polling indicating these levels of support:

  • Energy – 66% (Survation, 2022)
  • Water – 69% (Survation, 2022)
  • Royal Mail – 68% (Survation, 2022)
  • Railways – 67% (Survation, 2022)
  • Buses – 65% (Survation, 2022)
  • Social Care – 64% (Survation, 2020)
  • NHS – 84% (YouGov, 2017)

Additionally, 61% of the public think local and central government should try to run services in-house first, before outsourcing (Survation, 2015,) 82% want schools to mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020;) and 63% want utilities to mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020.)

Conference believes:

  • The crisis caused by soaring energy bills and the scandal of raw sewage being dumped into rivers this Summer have highlighted the failures of privatisation in Britain.
  • Private companies are making mega-profits from public services – these vast sums should instead be invested to improve services, to give their workers a pay increase and to lower costs for consumers.
  • That the Tory corruption and outsourcing crises during the pandemic have further illustrated the need for public ownership and democratic control.
  • A clear commitment to extending public ownership of key utilities and public services can be a big vote winner for Labour.

Conference resolves:

  • To oppose further Tory privatisation and outsourcing, including of the NHS, education and council services.
  • To support public ownership of key services and utilities including energy, water, railways, buses, social care, the royal mail and the NHS.

2) Motion on asylum seekers & Rwanda from the Arise Volunteer Team:

Labour should oppose the sending of asylum seekers to Rwanda

Conference notes:

  • the commitment of both candidates in the recent Tory leadership to the unethical, inhumane and racist Tory policy of forcibly sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, and the widely-condemned Nationality and Borders Act (NABA,) with its two tier system of ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ refugees that would prevent some 99 percent of refugees from seeking asylum and its threat to the citizenship of 6 million people in Britain. UNHCR said the Nationality and Borders Bill would “penalise most refugees seeking asylum”.
  • the scale of opposition to the Government’s inhumane treatment of refugees who just want to rebuild their lives here in safety.
  • the decision of the European Court of Human Rights which forced the cancellation of the first scheduled flight on 14 June 2022.
  • Public polling shows increasing support for asylum seekers’ rights, including their right to work.
  • Other disastrous aspects of the ‘hostile environment’ policy over recent years including the Windrush Scandal and the notorious ‘Go Home’ vans.

Conference resolves:

  • For the Labour party to clearly oppose this obscene Tory policy in its entirety as part of campaigning for an end to the ‘hostile environment’ and against racist anti-immigrant narratives, including through a commitment that the next Labour Government will immediately cancel the Rwanda Asylum Scheme.
  • To oppose “no recourse to public funds”, NHS access restrictions and other ‘Hostile Environment’ policies.

3) Pay and backing trade union action motion from the Labour Assembly Against Austerity:

Britain Needs A Pay rise

Conference notes:

Twelve years of the Conservative Government’s low-pay agenda has significantly diminished the real value of people’s incomes with average real wages still below 2008 levels;

The situation is getting worse. Real pay dropped by 4.1% in June compared to the same period last year, with record falls of 3.4% in the private sector and 6.7% in the public sector;

The imposition of significantly below-inflation pay awards which amount to real terms pay cuts;

An increase in trade union campaigning for improved pay awards, from protests to strike ballots and industrial action;

That 76% of people support the view that pay should rise in line with the cost of living (Survation August 2022)

Conference believes:

Below-inflation pay offers will increase poverty and hardship;

That the Government should not impose real terms pay cuts on public sector workers;

It is wrong that many private firms are imposing real terms pay cuts while making big profits, awarding bonuses and large dividend payments;

Recent trade union campaigns, including strike action, have led to numerous enhanced pay awards.

Conference resolves:

To oppose the Conservative Government’s imposition of real terms pay cuts;

To support inflation-proofed increases in pay in both public and private sectors and urgent measures to restore the real value of pay lost under successive Conservative Governments since 2010;

To support a National Minimum Wage of at least £15 an hour.

To support trade union campaigning, including through backing workers taking industrial action, to achieve these aims.

4) Palestine motion from Labour & Palestine / Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Justice for Palestine

Conference strongly condemns:

  • Israel’s renewed bombing of Gaza in August 2022 killing 44 Palestinians, including 15 children, and notes the UN Special rapporteur description of it as an  act contrary to International law. 
  • the Israeli army’s killing of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and beating of her coffin bearers by Israeli police.
  • the outlawing of 7 NGOs including Addameer; the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and Defence for Children International – Palestine.

Conference recognises that these events are illustrative of the conclusions of leading human rights organisations including B’tselem, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, and further erode any possibility of a just solution.

Conference notes policy passed at Labour Party Annual Conferences 2018 ,2019 and 2021 in solidarity with the Palestinian people and against Israel’s ongoing violations of their rights and of international law.

Conference Resolves:

  • To support the application made in April to the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling for an investigation into the Israeli government’s systematic targeting of journalists.
  • To stand in solidarity with all human rights defenders and fully oppose the Israeli government’s attempts to silence them
  • To adhere to an ethical policy on all UK trade with Israel in line with policy passed at previous Conferences, including banning trade with illegal settlements and ending the ongoing arms trade.
  • To oppose fully any UK legislation aimed at preventing legitimate and democratic solidarity actions in support of the Palestinian people.’

These policies are popular and necessary. Among the polls showing public support for renationalising the utilities, I’m massively impressed that 82 per cent want schools to be in public hands. As for the motion on Palestine, it really amazes me how anyone in a genuinely left-wing party could support the closure of quangos devoted to protecting women and children. If ‘100 per cent Zionist’ Starmer supports this, then he’s a depraved monster, utterly unfit to govern any country devoted to humanity and the rule of law. This shows that hardly anybody wants academies or a return to grammar schools, despite the Tories constantly pushing them. I’m going to check with my local constituency party to see if these or similar are among the motions they are going to discuss this Thursday prior to conference. If they aren’t, I will propose them.

This will undoubtedly annoy the Blairites, especially the motion on Palestine. I’ll let you know if they start throwing around any fake accusations of anti-Semitism again.

We Own It on the Increasing Popularity of Nationalising the Utilities

August 20, 2022

I got this email from pro-nationalisation, pro-NHS organisation We Own It yesterday. It gives the polling figures for the proportion of the British public that wants the public utilities renationalised. It’s around two-thirds of the British public for industries like electricity, rail, and water, and rises to 78 per cent for the NHS. This figure, although healthy, does concern me, as I understood that previous polls put the figure at 85 per cent. This looks like a drop in popularity, possibly caused by the way the Tories have run it down combined with scumbags like Alex Belfield and Nana Akua on GB telling everyone how better these services would be if they were privatised. As for the Royal Mail, this was privatised by the Grinning Blair, against everybody’s wishes. I know working class Tories who actually voted Labour when the Tories were muttering about privatising it. They mistakenly believed that Labour wouldn’t sell it off. This is what happens with Blairite Labour: you get Hobson’s choice. The faces change, but the policies don’t, because Labour’s listening to the same corporate donors and the same newspaper barons, especially the voice of Mysterian Murdoch. But these figures together, and the chaos privatisation has caused, are a powerful argument for renationalisation. Here’s the email:

‘Dear David,

Everyone is talking about nationalisation, so we’ve been getting the word out in the press about how popular it is. A majority of the UK public support public ownership of key utilities like energy and water – including Conservative voters.

This week we released our biggest ever poll with Survation which shows:

💧69% want publicly owned water

💡66% want publicly owned energy

🚌 65% want publicly owned buses

🚄67% want publicly owned rail

🏥78% want a publicly owned NHS

📮68% want a publicly owned Royal Mail

If you agree with public services for people not profit, you’re not alone – and you can help spread the word about how popular public ownership is:

Share the polling on Facebook

Share the polling on Twitter

Share the blog by email

Your energy bill is going up and up – in January bills are set to hit £500 a month and 100,000 people have committed not to pay.

Sewage flows into our rivers and seas, making people ill and killing fish, but water companies return billions in dividends to shareholders.

Other countries’ state owned railways profit from our privatised system, while the government plans to close ticket offices at the same time as talking about ‘Great British Railways’.

Privatisation has failed and we’re all feeling the consequences.

But you are fighting back!

THANK YOU to everyone who’s signed the petition to Nationalise Bulb. Thanks to your support, the campaign got covered in the Express! Sign and share the petition if you haven’t already. Let’s make our demand as big as possible ahead of the energy price cap rise next week…

THANK YOU to everyone who’s joining the ticket office protests this coming Tuesday 23rd August, whether in person or online.

Let’s get wins, let’s get the word out. The tide is turning, and you’re helping to make that happen.

Cat, Alice, Johnbosco, Matthew and Kate – the We Own It team’.

New Advert for British Rail Nationalisation Shows Europeans Laughing at Britain for Allowing Them to Buy It Up

August 19, 2022

The Mirror has published a very incisive piece about an advert calling for the renationalisation of the railways, in which Europeans laughs at us for allowing their state owned railways to buy up ours. The article by Mike Boyd, ‘Europe mercilessly mocks UK government for allowing British rail to fund their rail systems’ begins

‘The British rail system has been mocked by Europeans appearing in an advert pushing for the network to be made public.

In the viral video produced by the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) – whose members are striking across the UK today – the franchised structure of the UK’s rail network is mercilessly ridiculed.

In the clip representatives of “the people” of France, Netherlands and Germany “thank the British people” allowing their “publicly owned rail networks” to “buy up your rail network”.

In one brutal moment the cast explain: “So when you buy a ticket on Thameslink, Gatwick Express, Grand Central, Chiltern Railways, Merseyside Rail, Scotrail, Greater Anglia, London Midland, DLR, Northern Rail, London Overground, Cross Country, Southern and South Eastern, the profits go to making our railways cheaper.”

They add: “In 2012 we got £3million just from Greater Anglia. Not only that, the British taxpayers pay our franchises massive subsidies, without which we could never make a profit.

“So even if you never catch a train, you’re still sending us money. But before you say, ‘ah, we’ve left the EU’, that doesn’t make a difference.

“In fact, the Tory government want to privatise even more, which means we can take over even more.

“So to the British people we want to say, thank you.”‘

The advert, the article says, was first made in 2017, and has resurfaced as the rail workers launch industrial action.

See: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/europe-mercilessly-mocks-uk-government-for-allowing-british-rail-to-fund-their-rail-systems/ar-AA10Nk81?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=9fa61476fe6f474a9295c590d336f5f1

This is precisely correct, and there was criticism a few years ago of the Dutch railway company’s management of one of the rail franchises a few years ago, though the company responded with a statement that they were actually investing millions into it. But this problem isn’t just confined to the railway networks – it’s also in the electricity and water companies. I’ve got a feeling that the local water company for Bristol is owned by the Indonesians, and at least one of the electricity companies owned by the French. This is all a product of Thatcher’s privatisation. These companies have no interest in giving the privatised utilities the investment they need, only in using the profits to give dividends to their shareholders and bonuses to their chief executives. There are state owned electricity companies in the US, and I understand that those that aren’t owned by the state are protected by law from foreign companies owning a controlling stake in them. The same is true of the press, which is why Dirty Rupe Murdoch abandoned Australia to become an American citizen.

The railways, electricity and water need to be renationalised now. However much the Heil, Torygraph, Financial Times and GB News may scream against it.

Peru Using Incan Engineering to Solve Water Crisis

August 16, 2022

I found this little snippet in today’s Independent fascinating. I’m a fan, sort-of, of Frank Herbert’s classic SF epic, Dune. This is set on Arrakis, a desert planet, whose sandworms are the only known source of the drug Spice, whose mind-expanding effects allow the mutated human navigators to guide their spacecraft across the galaxy without the use of computers. The planet’s original settlers, the Fremen, use stillsuits, technological body suits that harvest water from their sweat and body fluids to produce drinkable water, enabling them to survive for weeks even in the deep desert. And the Fremen have also established a network of cisterns to gather water as part of a project to turn their arid world green.

That type of technology and engineering, used to reclaim and channel water in desert areas, fascinates me. There are ingenious machines now that collect water from the humidity in the atmosphere, to produce drinking water. Nearly 2,000 years ago, a Greek engineer created a huge moisture-gatherer in one of the ancient Greek colonies on the Black Sea to provide the town with water despite the absence of rain or rivers. Now, according to the Independent, Peruvian engineers are renovating the ancient system of canals the Incas used to irrigate their land. The article by Samuel Webb, ‘Ancient Incan technology being used to harvest water to combat Peru’s crisis’, begins

Techniques used by servants of the Inca empire to build canals 500 years ago are being resurrected in Peru to funnel much-needed water to remote mountain communities and the city of Lima below.

Gregorio Rios, 74, oversaw the renovation of the vast network of canals above San Pedro de Casta, a town 3,000 metres above sea level in the South American country’s Huarochiri district.

The canals were built centuries ago by the Yapani ethnic group, using clay and rocks ingeniously compressed over a long period of time.

The local municipality previously used concrete to build new modern canals, but it stifled plant growth, affecting the local ecosystem, and crumbled after just 10 years.

The Yapani canals, by contrast, are more than 500 years old. New canals built with the ancient techniques could last for more than 100 years if built correctly. They are also permeable, so the water is filtered and plant roots help anchor the structure in place.

Mr Rios, whose work is supported by Warwickshire-based charity Practical Action, said: “Our ancestors built the canals with rock and clay. That knowledge is being lost and it’s in our interest to recover it.

“We have got to take control of the management of water for the crops. This is all being done thanks to the knowledge of our ancestors.”

See: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/ancient-incan-technology-being-used-to-harvest-water-to-combat-peru-s-crisis/ar-AA10DXaP?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=17e09ff4479f425caad8d64f8d71ad6d

In Chile, farmers use networks of string placed across their fields to collect moisture from the sea mists for their crops despite the lack of rainfall in that part of the country.

And over in Iran and Afghanistan, there’s an ancient system of subterranean canals, the qanats, irrigating those countries deserts and arid regions.

I find it absolutely fascinating that such ancient methods and modern technology are together being used to combat the desert and the contemporary water shortage caused by climate change.

Guardian Letter Blames Privatisation for the Water Crisis

August 11, 2022

More ammunition for those of us demanding renationalisation of the water companies. The Guardian letters page has published a piece ”England’s water crisis should be blamed on privatisation’. It begins

‘The crisis facing the nation’s water supply because of the drought (Ban bonuses for water firm bosses until they fix leaky pipes, say Lib Dems, 8 August) reminds me of the words of Dr Jack Cunningham MP, who was Labour’s shadow environment secretary at the time of water privatisation in 1989.

As the bill to privatise the water industry in England and Wales was going through parliament, I interviewed Dr Cunningham for a political programme called Agenda transmitted by Television South. Dr Cunningham (now Baron Cunningham of Felling) said it was appalling that a natural resource like water should be put in the hands of people with a profit motive. It was unbelievable, he said, that the provision of such a resource should be subjected to commercial criteria like any other commodity. He thought the ultimate losers would be the public.

Twenty-eight years later, in 2017, opinion polling indicated that 83% of the British public would like to see renationalisation of all water services. In the same year, research by the University of Greenwich suggested that consumers in England were paying £2.3bn more every year for their water and sewerage than they would be if the water companies had remained under state ownership. As the disaster of water privatisation becomes ever clearer, I think Lord Cunningham has every reason to say: “I told you so.”’

See: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/england-s-water-crisis-should-be-blamed-on-privatisation/ar-AA10wq0q?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=d98dd26244804a839d74f30a7c1ba074

83 per cent of the great British public want the water companies renationalised, and we’re paying £2.3 billion more than if they had remained in the state sector.

More evidence that Thatcherism is an utter failure, Jeremy Corbyn was right, and Starmer is a sell-out who has bugger-all to offer the British working class, if you’ll pardon the obscenity, than more reheated Blairism. And as that’s Thatcherism by any other name, just rebranded so it looks a little more left, that’s a colossal failure too.

Renationalise water!

Down with the Tories!

Out with Starmer!

That Preston Journalist Calls for the Nationalisation of the Water Companies

August 11, 2022

Oh ho! Here’s another right-wing explicitly demanding a socialist policy. Thatcherite heads will explode! That Preston Journalist is another right-wing journalist, but with a particular hatred against Nicola Sturgeon, whom he calls ‘Jeanette McKrankie’, and the SNP. But yesterday evening I found a post of his where he bitterly criticised the water companies for profiteering while people suffer in the heat and worry about paying for their drinking water. He stated that he was surprised himself by saying, but the water companies should be nationalised. They were mostly foreign owned, they didn’t invest in properly repairing and maintaining the water infrastructure, so that millions of gallons of water were wasted in leaks. He specifically mentioned an old lady who had to wait an extremely long time before someone from the water company fixed her pipes. The profits from the companies were instead given to their foreign bosses and shareholders. In the meantime, not only had the infrastructure not been maintained, but they had even been selling off reservoirs, just as those in use were running dry.

This is exactly what left-wing critics like Mike have been telling everyone for years. This is exactly why Jeremy Corbyn put the nationalisation of the utilities in the Labour manifesto – and why the Tories attacked him as a Commie and Tory infiltrator Starmer broke the pledge as soon as he could.

Thatcherism is a failure!

Corbyn was right!

Nationalise the utilities now!

The 1959 Labour Pledge for Nationalisation and a Mixed Economy

August 10, 2022

I found this statement in Pauline Gregg’s 1967 book, The Welfare State (London: George G. Harrap & Co Ltd). It was formulated at the 1959 Labour conference as a response to a move by Hugh Gaitskell, then leader of the Labour party, to drop Clause IV, the commitment to common ownership, from the party’s constitution. The nationalisation had not proved popular, and the results were disappointing. It was felt that the party’s commitment to expanding nationalisation in its 1950 manifesto had contributed to its defeat, and the party had again lost the general election of October 1959. Gaitskell stated that nationalisation was not the be-all and end-all of socialism, but only a means to the ends of full employment, greater equality and high productivity. He also feared that the commitment to common ownership would lead to the party being continually misrepresented as wanting to nationalize everything.

However, Clause IV was not dropped and compromise formula agreed instead, pledging the party to a variety of forms of common ownership and to preserving private enterprise . It stated that the social and political aims of the party could

“be achieved only through an expansion of common ownership substantial enough to give the community power over the commanding heights of the economy. Common ownership takes varying forms, including state-owned industries and firms, producer and consumer cooperation, municipal ownership and public participation in private concerns. Recognising that both public and private enterprise have a place in the economy, it believes that the further extension of common ownership should be decided from time to time in the light of these objectives and according to circumstances, with due regard for the views of the workers and consumers concerned.’ (p.129).

Well, now is such a time. Rising fuel prices are pushing a greater number of hard-working Brits further into poverty, as well as damaging the entire economy. Gas, water and electricity would be cheaper if run as nationalised industries. Thatcherism has been an immense, colossal failure, as has its child in the Labour party, Blairism.

Now it’s time to go back to this formula for a mixed economy.

Correct Not Political on the Energy and Water Companies Profiteering While People Starve

August 10, 2022

I found this on the Community page of the right-wing YouTube channel Correct Not Political. They seem to be a group of right-wingers who go around staging counter protests or demonstrations at left-wing events. They’ve been demonstrating at the recent Pride marches, Drag Queen Story Hour, also against Extinction Rebellion, anti-racism marches for refugees and they also seem to be militant anti-vaxxers. One of their collections of videos is simply titled ‘Socialists and Commies’. But they posted this about ordinary people struggling with poverty while the fuel and water companies make hugely inflated profits.

Correct Not Political

Correct Not Political4 hours ago

Well after yesterdays announcement from the Bank of England , there is something very very very wrong in the system… So… let me get this straight:

* British Gas made a profit of £1.3bn between January & June

* BP announced profits of £6.95 billion between April and June alone

* Shell has profited by £9.4bn in a year

The MEN at the top:

* John Pettigrew, boss of National Grid received £6.5m bonus on top of his salary

* Chris O’Shea, chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica was paid almost £2m last year in salary and benefits

* Centrica’s non-executive directors were paid almost £1m

* Scottish Power’s CEO Keith Anderson is on £1.15m.

* E.On boss Michael Lewis is on £1m

* EDF’s Simone Rossi is also on £1m

* And their top execs enjoyed a share of £4.65m

* Peter Simpson of Anglian Water earned a £1.3m pay package

* Welsh Water bosses awarded themselves bonuses of over £930,000

* Severn Trent bosses awarded themselves bonuses of £5.56m

* Thames Water’s Sarah Bentley, received a £727,000 bonus on top of her £2m annual salary

Meanwhile there are…

* People who haven’t had breakfast and/or lunch TODAY, because they can’t afford it.

* People using FoodBanks because food is becoming more of a luxury than a necessity.

* Children celebrating a birthday without presents.

* Parents worrying about new school uniforms – and some schools enforcing rules which are not cost-effective.

* People who can’t get to work because they can’t afford to put petrol in their cars/pay for public transport anymore.

* People who are working so much they’re making themselves ill, and they STILL CAN’T AFFORD to pay their bills.

* People who have been given fines by these same energy/water companies because they couldn’t afford to pay their bills in the first place – increasing their debt.

* Customers being told to do STAR JUMPS TO KEEP WARM for crying out loud!

* Hose pipe bans when gallons of water leak away everyday.

* Elderly people NOT DRINKING because they’re worried about running out of water!!!

All this and energy prices are set to rise up to 75% in October…

THIS IS MADNESS!.. I’m all for supporting profits ..I’m not for supporting greed at the cost of lives of others..

Something needs to change.. Why are customers’ money being used to make life more comfortable for those who are making life more intolerable for the rest of us?

I actually don’t understand how the energy companies are allowed to get away with this and why the government aren’t stopping them instead of handing out money…..

Copied & pasted from others. Keep this going around for all to see’

I’ve got absolutely no problem posting this up despite where it comes from. Because these profiteers do need to be named and shamed. And this whole scam is why the public utilities need to be nationalised, so that they work for this great country’s people rather than exploiting them.

Saudi Arabia Plans 500 Metre Tall, 170 Km Long Mega-Skyscraper. Where’s Judge Dredd

July 27, 2022

Here’s a bit of light relief. Just this evening the internet news page put up a piece from Sky News, reporting that the Saudis are planning a massive megastructure called the Line. It’s going to be 170 km long by 1/2 km tall, for 9 million residents, all occupying separate communities. And their needs will be catered to by autonomous services, run by AI. The article begins

‘Revolution in civilisation’: Saudi Arabia previews 170km mirrored skyscraper offering ‘autonomous’ services

If it was the opening sequence of a science fiction movie, few would be surprised.

In a glossy video narrated by an American voiceover artist, Saudi Arabia has previewed The Line, a 170km long skyscraper standing 500m tall – higher than New York’s Empire State Building.

It is designed for nine million residents living in a “series of unique communities”.

Residents will have access to “all their daily needs” in “five-minute walk neighbourhoods”.

“Autonomous” services are being promised through the use of artificial intelligence, in what is being described as a “revolution in civilisation”.

The 200m wide linear structure, to be clad in mirrored glass, is the desert kingdom’s attempt to create a “healthier, more sustainable quality of life” with communities “organised in three dimensions” – as opposed to traditional cities which it says are “dysfunctional and polluted” and “ignore nature”.

Another video shows the resident of a grey urban jungle escaping to The Line, which is portrayed as an oasis.

To be built in the country’s northwest, it is planned to cover 34 square kilometres and travel from end to end is expected to take just 20 minutes.

There will be “no need for cars” and carbon emissions will be zero, the country said.

Energy and water supplies are described as “100% renewable”.

Inside, there will be a “year-round temperate micro climate with natural ventilation”.

The futuristic project is part of NEOM, a $500bn economic zone expected to be partly financed through a flotation expected in 2024.

NEOM was announced in 2017 as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform plan which is intended to help diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy away from oil.’

See the article by Andy Hayes athttps://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/revolution-in-civilisation-saudi-arabia-previews-170km-mirrored-skyscraper-offering-autonomous-services/ar-AAZZFXB?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=b5213d7d2e414ce0b7e4564c3eadcbb4

Okay, we’ve heard this stuff before Way back in the ’50s or 60s there were plans to construct a similar habitat, 50 miles or so long, stretching across America. There were also plans to enclose New York, or at least Manhattan beneath a giant geodesic dome. There have also been plans by the Japanese to build similar megastructures right out in Tokyo bay. These would also be ultra-high tech, and be built by robots, as shown in documentary about it on Channel 4 some time either in the ’90s or the early part of this century. And there were even plans to create an enclosed city in the Canadian arctic. This would shelter from the elements under a protective dome, in which its citizens would enjoy a mild climate despite the snow and ice floes outside. It would even have a moving artificial sun to give the illusion of daylight at temperate latitudes during the long, arctic winter.

The Lower Manhattan Expressway Project: a predecessor to Saudi Arabia’s the Line? From Reyner Banham, Megastructures: Urban Futures of the Recent Past (New York: Monacelli Press 2020) 19.

None of this was every built. They were far too ambitious, both financially and technologically. And I foresee that this will go the same way.

Which may not be a bad thing, as it really does remind me of various pieces of SF literature: Judge Dredd and J.G. Ballard’s dystopias, particularly High Rise.

In the long running 2000AD strip, Dredd is a member of the autocratic police force, the judges, trying to enforce law and order in Mega City 1. This is a gigantic city of massive tower blocks stretching across the entire east coast of America from the Canadian border down to Florida. On the other side of the continent is Mega City 2, while down south is Texas City. This hasn’t quite reached mega city status as it doesn’t have a billion inhabitants. Between them are the Cursed Earth, a radiation desert full of lawlessness, inhabited by mutants, created by the nuclear that destroyed America and democracy and which led to the rise of the judges. The city has a 95 per cent plus unemployment rate caused by massive automation. Crime is rampant with the judges trying to keep a lid on things.

It’s grim vision of the future but one with a sharp, satirical sense of humour. One of the strip’s writers and creators described Mega City One as a gigantic black comedy. Which it is, as the strip sent up contemporary pop music with inane rock bands like New Juves on the Block (a slight resemblance to New Kids on the Block, an ’80s band?), weird fashions, and totally bonkers game shows. In one of the very early Dredd strips, contestants were literally betting their lives. It’s satire, but the Russians nearly got there for real. After Communism fell, one of the Russian TV stations ran a game show in which contestants had to steal a car. For real. There were real cops chasing them. If the contestant escaped, the car was his. if they caught him, he really did go to the slammer. In another Dredd strip, they sent up World of Sport on ITV and some of the adverts then running on British television. The good lawman had landed on a planet inhabited by 12 different alien races, all of whom were at war, which was broadcast on their television as a form of entertainment. Among the adverts spoofed was one for the chocolate bar, Bounty. The real advert featured a group of young people running on to a desert isle while the voiceover announced ‘They came in search of paradise’. The parody advert had the same scene, but with aliens, followed by the line ‘they found – landmines’, accompanied by explosions and the slogan ‘protect your waterhole with Brax. Brax wipes them out – dead’. It was this sharp, satirical edge that has made Dredd and 2000AD one of the great British comics for nearly the last 50 years.

And added to all this mayhem and criminality, the occupants of the various mega blocks would develop block mania, a fanatical devotion to their own block, and start a war with the neighbouring blocks. Saudi Arabia’s the Line sounds like something of a trial run for all that craziness.

The future of urban civilisation? Dredd out looking for perps and muties from the cover of 2000AD Prog 409.

It also reminds me more than a little of Ballard’s works. Ballard was a member of Michael Moorcock’s team on the British SF magazine, New Worlds. This deliberately set out to break the established conventions of science fiction at the time. It was highly controversial, spurring a debate about its obscenity or otherwise in parliament in the 1970s. And Ballard was one of the writers shocking and provoking. His novellas were published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson, but Weidenfeld didn’t read them and so had no idea of just what kind of a literary monster he was publishing. That is, he didn’t, until one day he was in New York and went browsing on one of the news stands. Flicking through one of the magazines he found a piece by Ballard entitled ‘I Want To F**k Ronald Reagan’. This was in the 60s, nearly two decades before the former actor became president. A shocked Weidenfeld then sent a telegram to his secretary and staff in London saying ‘Do not publish!’

Ballard was also responsible for the novel Crash, about a secret society of perverts who get their jollies from car accidents. This was filmed in the ’90s by the Canadian film director, David Cronenberg, to the massive outrage of the Heil, which immediately started a campaign to have it banned. In the end it flopped, but nevertheless did get critical acclaim from some parts of the SF community.

Much of Ballard’s fiction takes place in enclosed, ultra-modern communities. There, life has become so anodyne and boring that the corporate powers running these communities deliberately stage murders, violent crime and rape in order to stimulate their bored drones and give them something to live for. One of these dystopian novellas was High Rise, about a cutting edge skyscraper. In it, the rich lived at the top, and the poor lower down at the bottom. However, civilisation begins to break down so that society in the tower block takes on the class antagonism of outside society. This leads to real, physical class conflict and violence. It was filmed a few years ago, but I’m not sure how many people saw it.

Trailer for the film High Rise, starring Tom Hiddleston with Jeremy Irons and based on the novel by J.G. Ballard. From the StudioCanal channel on YouTube.

In real life, Ballard was boringly normal. He stayed at home, writing and caring for his wife, while taking his children to school. Despite his grim fiction, he was horrified by the war in Bosnia and the dangerous way the conflict promoted psychopathic violence as people struggled to survive. Visitors were often surprised by the fact that he wasn’t what Private Eye used to call ‘a wild-eyed dement’ straight from one of his novels.

Ballard, unfortunately, is no longer with us, having passed away a few years ago. He gained critical acclaim for his novel Empire of the Sun, based on his experiences as a child growing up in a Japanese POW camp following their capture of Shanghai. It was filmed by Steven Spielberg. and garnered a number of Oscars, just as the previous film adaptation of his work, Crash, didn’t.

But I’ve got a feeling that if the Line is ever built, it’s going to be far more like Mega City 1 and High Rise than any other SF utopia.

And the desert in which the Line is set even looks a bit like Dredd’s Cursed Earth.

So, can we expect crime, violence, mutants, block wars and perps getting thirty years in an iso-cube? And will Saudi Arabia suffer the attentions of the Dark Judges – Fear, Fire, Death and Mortis – come to kill everyone on Earth. Because all crime is committed by the living.