Category Archives: Politics


Fury in Egypt as Mubarak refuses to leave
Wanstead Flats Campaign
Blog Action Day 2010 – #BAD2010
Dover Calais Ferry Operators and the Dover Harbour Board
Wild Badgers to be Culled in England
If Not Diane Abbott, Who?
Harriet Harman Next UK Leader

Fury in Egypt as Mubarak refuses to leave

All eyes on Egypt again today as  Mubarak is starting to sound more like Ceausescu

Nicolae Ceausescu’s last speech in public:

On December 21st 1989 Ceausescu held his last speech to the public. 80,000 people thronged this square, then called Piata Republica (Republican Square) to…day Piata Revolutiei (Revolution Square), located on Calea Victoriei. They were supposedly there for a rally to support the President after riots broke out in Timisoara over the arrest of an outspoken priest. Thinking he was among friends, Ceausescu appeared on the balcony of the Central Committee Building to address the crowd. However, eight minutes into the speech, people began to chant ‘Ti-mi-soa-ra, Ti-mi-soa-ra.’ As the chanting grew louder, the shock on Ceausescu’s face pinpointed the true moment of his downfall – a moment televised all over Romania and, later, the world. Ceauseseceau looked shocked and TV censors pulled the plug on the broadcast. Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu retreated into the building and made the fatal mistake of waiting until the next morning to try and escape. A deified tyrant just a moment before, Ceausescu had turned into a defied and fallen despot the next. The Romanian Revolution had started. Within 24 hours, protesters had stormed the building and Ceausescu and his wife had escaped in a helicopter from the roof; but within days they had been tried and shot by a firing squad.

See also Egypt : Is revolution derailed?


All Eyes On Egypt

All Eyes On Egypt

Live news:

Powered by article titled “Fury in Egypt as Mubarak refuses to leave” was written by Chris McGreal in Cairo, for The Guardian on Friday 11th February 2011 00.37 UTC

President Hosni Mubarak dashed the hopes of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians waiting for what they thought would be his resignation speech last night by defiantly announcing that he would not bow to domestic or foreign pressure to quit.

In a televised address that has set the stage for further confrontation on the streets – as well as heightened tensions with the US – Mubarak said he would hand powers to his deputy, Omar Suleiman, but would stay on as president, with his regime controlling the transition to free elections.

Although he appeared to have surrendered much of his power, Mubarak said he will stay in office until an orderly transition to an elected government, planned for September. He repeated a pledge not to seek re-election and said there was no going back on a commitment to long-term political reform, after the two weeks of protests demanding his resignation.

But while the president’s surrender of his legal powers was a significant concession, unthinkable just a month ago, it fell far short of the demands of the shocked crowds packed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the centre of protests against Mubarak’s 30-year rule. In a day of growing euphoria, many had come to believe he was about to resign entirely after senior government politicians predicted as much.

The president’s defiant tone and attempts to paint the revolt as inspired by foreign interference angered the crowds. As the mood turned sour, protesters waved their shoes, a sign of contempt, and chanted: “He must leave” and “We’re off to the presidential palace. We’re going as millions of martyrs.”

Opposition leaders said the transfer of power to Suleiman, the former intelligence chief who has played a central role in years of political repression, did not change the regime. They said they will escalate the protests, which in recent days have spread to include strikes that have shut down the public transport system, some hospitals and factories.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel peace prize winner and retired nuclear inspector who is now a leading opposition politician, wrote on Twitter: “Egypt will explode. Army must save the country now.”

But the role of the military remained unclear when, earlier, it said it would act to “protect the rights of the people”.

Egyptians will be watching to see if the army allows the latest of the mass protests, planned for today, to go ahead without interference.

Mubarak’s speech also wrongfooted the US administration, which has been pressuring him to take steps toward democratisation, including lifting the hated state of emergency which has been used to suppress political activity. Last night, Barack Obama convened a meeting with his security team to discuss the crisis.

The Egyptian leader appealed to the protesters, suggesting that his refusal to resign was due to national dignity because he was resisting foreign pressure.

“Your demands are legitimate and just … There is no shame in hearing your voices and opinions, but I refuse any and all dictations from abroad,” he said. “I have announced my commitment to peacefully hand over power after upcoming elections … I will deliver Egypt and its people to safety.”

Mubarak said he would transfer powers to Suleiman to prove that the demands of protesters for political change will be met. Shortly afterwards, Suleiman appeared on television and missed a chance to win over the protesters by announcing immediate and major political changes. Instead, he aggravated tensions by warning that he would not allow the country to be dragged into chaos and appealing for the protesters to return to work.

“Youth of Egypt, go back home, back to work, the nation needs you to develop, to create. Don’t listen to foreign radio and TV, whose aim is to tarnish Egypt,” he said.

ElBaradei dismissed Suleiman as an alternative to the president. “There is no way that the Egyptian people right now are ready to accept either Mubarak or his vice president,” he told CNN. “Suleiman is considered to be an extension of Mubarak, they are twins. Neither of them is acceptable to the people – even Suleiman is less acceptable.”

Stunned protesters listened to Mubarak in disbelief. In the hours before his speech, thousands of pro-democracy activists had poured in to Tahrir Square for an impromptu victory party in expectation that the president was about to quit after the prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, and other senior politicians said they expected him to announce he would go as the political crisis deepened with the spread of strikes and demonstrations across the country.

Hossam Badrawi, the new secretary general of the ruling party, was quoted in the state press as saying he had requested that Mubarak transfer his powers to Suleiman, who had appeared to be running the country in recent days.

The mood of optimism had been reinforced when General Hassan al-Roueini, military commander for the Cairo area, told the crowd: “All your demands will be met today.” State television shifted from relentless anti-protester propaganda to showing Tahrir Square, in what was widely seen as reflecting a political change.

But, behind the scenes, there appeared to be a struggle involving the army underway over the terms of Mubarak’s departure.

Activists have also been demanding an immediate lifting of the 30 year state of emergency that has been used to lock up the government’s opponents without trial. They have also been pressing for parliament, elected in a tainted ballot last year from which leading opponents including the Muslim Brotherhood were barred, to be dissolved.

Some opposition leaders have said they would accept an interim administration, controlled by civilians with the military, for up to a year to make constitutional changes to permit free elections and also to allow for the creation of new political parties and to give them a chance to become rooted. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

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Wanstead Flats Campaign

Join us for ‘Take Back Wanstead Flats’ on 2pm on Sunday 21 November. The Save Wanstead Flats campaign plans to use wooden stakes and tape to mark out the boundaries of the proposed police base on the Flats, in order to show just how much space it will swallow up in 2012. Maps or drawings can never make as much sense as… seeing its massive size for yourself but we’d prefer not to wait until construction starts and it’s too late… to stop these plans.

Facebook: Protect-Wanstead-Flats-and-Epping-Forest

As you can see from the publicity, the message behind this event also harkens back to the historical opposition by local people to enclosure of the Flats. We hope people will see this as an opportunity to come along and celebrate in their own way our right to enjoy our open spaces – although it is late November, so we do recommend that people wrap up warmly!

Leaflets available to download from and A3 posters from – please ask local shops and businesses to put up a poster, or stick one up in your window (but no flyposting please, as it gets some of us in all sorts of trouble!)

Take Back Wanstead Flats

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Blog Action Day 2010 – #BAD2010

The topic for Blog Action Day 2010 is water, and I’m just going to link out to some other entries from here, this time.

In 2009 I wrote blog-action-day-when-the-waters-rise

In 2007, the first blog action day, I explained that individual-action-is-not-enough

So this year I entered another song, Mondura Dam which according to the composer, myself, is bang on topic. It’s over on the Andy Roberts Podcast blog: Mondura Dam – as long as we have water and a piece about how to make cider using much less water to make cider than beer

This has been a post for blog action day 2010 tagged #BAD10

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Dover Calais Ferry Operators and the Dover Harbour Board

Bit of a rant over on the Dover Calais Ferry blog

dover calais ferry

dover calais ferry port

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Wild Badgers to be Culled in England

There will be a wild badger cull in England.

The new Conservative Liberal coalition government has said the vaccination programme isn’t enough so badgers in TB hotspots will be killed.

Culling badgers to control Bovine TB in dairy cattle is controversial with many farmers facing increased incidence of TB reactors in cattle supporting a cull, and wildlife conservationists pointing out that culling badgers is not effective anyway.

New DEFRA farm minister Jim Paice, Conservative MP for South East Cambridgeshire has confirmed that badgers will be culled in England to combat bovine tuberculosis in cattle. A targeted cull of badgers will take place once the right “hot spot” locations have been identified.

The Badger Trust opposes culling, which they say would be in reality an unselected slaughter. The badger is one of Britain’s best loved and iconic animals and as such is part of our National Heritage. They are a poignant symbol of the British countryside and a protected species.

On culling badgers, Trust chairman Dave Williams says “The overwhelming scientific evidence and research shows that it is not the way to control bovine TB It has been tried for many years in one form or another, and it has never worked.”



Creative Commons Badger photo by Andreas-photography

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If Not Diane Abbott, Who?

Diane Abbot entered the Labour Party leadership contest live on radio 4 this morning. Taking the Today programme interviewer completely by surprise she said “I’m going to run”.

After looking at the field she asked herself “If not now, when?” and “If not me, who?'”.

So suddenly the contest is transformed from one which started off promising to be the least controversial in history, with a series of sharp suited new labour apparatchiks exchanging pleasantries, a bit like the tedious TV debates between the party leaders for the general election, and with none of them much different to the two similar stuffed shirts leading the new coalition government, into an open contest which may even see mention of the socialism word from time to time, if we hold our breath long enough.

Renowned for being on the supposed left wing of Labour, Diane Abbot will inevitably make political capital out of being female and black, so that at least they don’t field a set of candidates who “all look the same” but she will also be in a position to voice an alternative perspective on issues such as immigration, tackling the budget deficit by taxing the rich instead of cutting services that hit the weakest hardest, and regaining a defensible policy on civil liberties instead of being in the embarrasing position where it is the Tory and Liberal coalition government cancelling Labour’s hated ID card plans.

Diane Abbot’s surprise entry into the leadership race appears to have ambushed previous left candidate John McDonnell who has been criticising the curtailed procedure which requires potential candidates to garner support from at least 33 Labour MPs by Thursday May 27th for an election which will run until September 2010.

Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott

Claiming the support of women labour MPs as well as left wingers, Diane Abbot had to be corrected by the Radio 4 Today programme after she said that John McDonnell was unable to get the 33 in time. The McDonnell team were quick to insist that he is still working hard to try and get the necessary signatures of support, and now the deadline has been extended from May 27th to June 9th. No doubt there will be some serious horse trading to do if neither of the two left candidates is able to reach the minimum 33 without one of them withdrawing in favour or the other.

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Harriet Harman Next UK Leader

OK, here’s my prediction for the outcome of the general election in the United Kingdom, just for fun.

New Labour have had their chance and blown it to such an extent that they come third in overall votes, a disasterous result by all accounts. But the Tories fail to win an overall majority in the House of Commons and Gordon Brown tries to stay on as Prime Minister with a minority government, daring the Liberals to vote down the queen’s speech, which they then do. Brown is forced to resign as Labour leader and the battle for a successor begins, with a timetable stretching over many weeks.

Meanwhile, the Liberals enter into negotiations with the Tories to see if they can stitch up a coalition government between them. Nick Clegg demands electoral reform as a precondition to more detailed discussions, and David Cameron categorically rules it out. So no deal there. Harriet Harman the current deputy leader of the Labour Party automatically acts as a caretaker leader and approaches Clegg to see what terms he might accept to go in with Labour. A historic deal is then patched together which involves mashing up Vince Cable and Alastair Darling’s economic policies into one chancellorship, big concessions on electoral reform, and a double figure-head leadership which means Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman both being prime minister. Cameron is thus thwarted from forming a Tory government for at least another four years and such is the jubiliation on Labour back benches that all the other contenders for leadership are persuaded to withdraw from the contest leaving Harriet Harman as uncontested leader of the Labour Party and joint Prime Minister of the UK parliament.

Harriet Harman, The UK's second ever female Prime Minister

Of course constitutionally, you can’t actually have a joint prime ministership in absolutely everything, there are some occasions when a single name must be applied, such as taking a seat at World Summits etc and in the EU so for these occasions they toss a coin, and Harriet wins.

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Thanks for reading Andy Roberts articles about Politics on the DARnet Blog