Sunday, 15 May 2011

3rd Anniversary of Pauline Campbell's Death

“Remembering Pauline Campbell died May 15 2008 Suffragette for Penal Reform.”
It is three years since Pauline died so tragically. It is difficult to imagine what she would have made of the controversy going on today about the overcrowding of prisons. There is no doubt that she would have welcomed any reduction in numbers. But she wouldn’t have been happy if this went hand in hand with fewer resources to put right the appalling conditions which exist in many of our prisons.
Nothing much seems to change where children are concerned. As late as April this year Dr Margaret Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner, called on Britain to outlaw the use of physical violence on children in custody. But yet again we wonder – when will action be taken?
Pauline’s voice is sorely missed.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Remembering Chernobyl 25 Years On

Genny Bove and I held a stall at the Cross in Chester on Tuesday 26th April 2011 to remind people of the accident that happened at Chernobyl on that day 25 years ago. It was even more poignant this year following the explosion at Fukushima, Japan. The threat of nuclear disaster is still the most immediate threat to the people and the planet in this the 21st century. It is staggering that this government, for political reasons, can even contemplate a new generation of nuclear power stations and the replacement of the nuclear missile system.
As long ago as 1978 a small group of dedicated people led by Bridget Gubbins set up the Druridge Bay Campaign. Druridge Bay is a beauty spot on the Northumberland.
Coast and was threatened by the building of a nuclear power station. The common thread that brought the campaigners together was concern for the planet and the need to expose the dangers of nuclear power. No matter how much government ministers felt they were serving the national or global interest by building nuclear power stations, the campaigners could clearly see the threat of radio active waste (deadly for tens or hundreds of thousands of years), of radio active cores being cemented up on our beaches for at least 135 years, the ever present risks of accidents and the fear of living next to an outwardly innocuous building with deadly contents inside. Bridget’s book “Power at Bay” was written at the end of this incredible campaign.
I think it is worth noting that Ronald Sampson wrote an article in Resurgence Nov-Dec 1979. He says “the response of the Thatcher administration to the horrifying warning from Harrisburg (Three Mile Island) has been to announce plans for the construction of a similar reactor at Druridge Bay, barely 20 miles from Newcastle on Tyne. Arrogant contempt for people, their opinions and their elemental safety could not be more brutally expressed. The government also announced plans for drilling operations at 11 different sites in England, Scotland and Wales to find deep accommodation for nuclear wastes. But they hasten to reassure us they will not be needed until the 21st century.”
It is the 21st century. Is the government to be allowed, along with the nuclear industry to play fast and loose with the future of our children and our grand children?