Architectural disgrace: Victoria Dock Caernarfon

Victoria Dock flats

Anger and shock combined with a flood of sympathy for Prince Charles wouldn’t be the reactions I’d normally expect on a brief visit to north Wales, but that’s exactly what I felt when I arrived in Caernarfon with my girlfriend Siân last week.

What prompted this was Watkin Jones’ latest architectural scandal, these blocks of expensive flats, which have been placed right on the seafront, on the edge of the Menai Strait.

They will be visible for miles around. They dwarf the castle and dominate the skyline from Ynys Môn. The castle was the site of Prince Charles’ investiture, so you might presume he will be seething.…

Resuming blogging

It’s been a while since I blogged last, having spent a very busy year and a half at the Open Rights Group. I’m enjoying it very much, but hopefully things are a little easier now, with two full time campaigners other than myself. So I think it’s time I started writing again.

You’ll notice that I didn’t keep my old blog archive, for which I apologise, nor any of the comments. I hadn’t intended to migrate the content at all, but rather start again: and then found an RSS feed of some of the more recent articles. So I’ve migrated those at least.

Statebook: because knowledge is power

I just wanted to post about this, because the Open Rights Group’s new site Statebook, seems to be hitting a nerve, judging by the interest the site is getting in the first two days of this bank holiday.

You may have seen the extensive coverage of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust’s Database State report a couple of weeks a go. Our new site tries to make the information in that report easily accessible, and to highlight the new concerns around “Intercept Modernisation”. These are the government’s new plans for snooping on our internet communications.


One computer to rule them all

What a frightening thought the idea of Stalinist regimes running a microchipped society might be. Holding all your data, recording your votes, perfect surveillance …

Some bright individual in Hackney however thinks this is a real goer, and has launched the Direct Democracy (Communist) Party, believing that perfect planning could be achieved by computer based distribution networks. This party wants “the control of production and distribution by all the workers through the networking of their computers to the central computer.”

Meanwhile the Stalinists will guarantee “the direct participation of all workers in administration of the state”. Or vice-versa, maybe.

The party has a website.…

Update on video take down

I have to wait for a response from the copyright claimants, say Youtube. They have 14 working days to respond, which ends next week.

Defending the Commons: banned by Youtube

Last year, I helped put together some videos, all using Creative Commons-licensed music. I was careful to do this, as I didn’t want to put the Greens in legal danger, and wanted to support the work of artists who wish to fully embrace the changes that the web is bringing on.

Now, one of these videos, featuring Siân Berry has been pulled because of an alleged copyright violation. The video features Siân working through a Subterranean Homesick Blues style scene where she presents a set of cards saying how CO2 emissions were being put in unreadably small type on car ads, or not at all. (Her campaign won the argument by the way)

Anyway, not wanting to annoy Bob, or break copyright…

Welsh devolution should wait for the Tories

The Assembly it seems is still clamouring for a bit of substance to devolution, but as yet the Welsh people are rather divided about it.

A very slim majority would like more power, but under the pressure of a hard fought campaign, fears about taxes or raving nationalism could easily scare off enough voters to stop anything happening.

There is a simple answer, I believe, which is to wait for the Tories to win an election.

The impetus for devolution in Wales came from a sense of identity, albeit a sense that is somewhat contested. But what many of the opponents of further power for the Assembly share with those who want it is,…

Moving on …

Well, I didn’t get elected as Chair, rather the very talented Mr James Humphreys did, which I am right now very pleased about. While losing an election is always a disappointment, I am certain that James is the right man for the job, with real top level political experience and a very tight organisational approach. And I’ll get a break.

Being on the executive is a double edged sword. Running a political party is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility, as your success or failure impacts both on all members of the party and the future of the politics of the nation. I know to some that might sound over the top, but the fact is that the Greens will before long be challenging the Lib Dems to be…

Lib Dems looking over their shoulders

I thought I’d just point to a couple of blogs that have been generated in the last day or two: the Lib Dem’s Quaquam blog predicting that we will start to threaten them now we have elected Caroline Lucas as leader, and noting our ‘seriousness of purpose’ in the London elections. Good also to see some Greens engaging in debate there.

For Welsh speakers, blogMenai notes our growth in Brighton and Norwich with interest and enthusiasm, and asks why the Welsh Greens haven’t raised a more distinct Welsh identity,…

Apologies for not blogging

Just a quick apology for my silence over the last three weeks. I’ve been rather busy doing some design work, which you can see over here. Full credit for the project, however, has to go to the party staff, in particular Siân Berry, Gary Dunion and Jon Nott, who have co-ordinated the project and drew up the page plans.

We turned this round in an amazingly short time, and the other credit for this has to go to MODx CMS, a great open source CMS package, which has proven excellent and very flexible. Its power lies in being very extensible, but from my point of view, the fact you can implement your designs easily from scratch without having to bodge through…

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