Daily archives: June 26, 2011

Greek Authorities Act to Block Gaza Peace Flotilla

The US ship in the Gaza peace convoy has been blocked from sailing by the Greek authorities on the grounds that they have received a “Private complaint” that the vessel is unseaworthy.

This is ludicrous. What if I were to choose a large commercial vessel in a Greek port from Lloyd’s Register, and make a “privare complaint” that it is unseaworthy. Would it be blocked from sailing? Of course not – I should be asked to produce grounds for my complaint. Vessels cannot simply be detained on the basis of vexatious complaint. International trade would grind to a halt.

We do not yet know who actually made this complaint, nor why the port authorities have chosen to act on it. They have told the vessel it will now be subject to inspections which may take some weeks. The legal way forward must be to seek in a Greek court to stop the Greek authorities from this obviously political action in detaining the ship and disrupting the peace convoy. Secondly it is difficult to believe that the Greek people, who are not fond of their government, will approve of it acting as a pure US and Israeli puppet in this way. Political pressure needs to be brought to bear as well.

I should not be surprised any more by the cynicism of western governments, yet I still am, continually. I wonder if I will die still expecting the world to get better.

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Confused of Accra

Jerry Rawlings’ office has today put out a press release accusing me of publishing a series of “scurrilous” articles about his wife, aimed at damaging her electoral chances. This is being carried widely in the Ghanaian media.

This is strange to me because I have written no articles in the Ghanian media for years, and have not written anything about the Rawlings for over four years. Possibly someone is reproducing (without my permission, and in breach of copyright) some old material, or someone is writing pretending it is by me. But I am certainly not interfering in Ghana’s election in the way suggested.

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Rancid Sandwich and Establishment Glastonbury

A few years ago, I was thrilled to be asked to give a talk at the Glastonbury Festival, in the “Left Field” as they called it. But when I dialled the number given to organise the details, the man who answered was very curt and rude indeed, treating me as though I was trying to cadge a free ticket, despite the fact they had contacted me and asked me to speak. In fact he was so very rude, I declined to go.

I learn today that actually the VIP area at Glastonbury is swarming with minor Tory politicians who are chummy with David Cameron. I am sorry to hear one of them died, but if Glastonbury has become this cosy with the establishment, it is time to end it.

On Friday I took Nadira and Cameron on the train to see the wonderful old town of Sandwich, one of the best surviving medieval and early modern towns in England. It was as lovely as I remembered, but both the town and our experience were absolutely ruined ny the cars. The whole ancient centre is entirely devoted to throbbing traffic; streets with no or tiny pavement are premanently swished through by commercial vehicles and cars, and there is a permanent stench of exhaust fumes. It is impossible to enjoy the sight of any of the medieval town, because virtually every single old house has a permanent flow of traffic right past its doorstep.

The old tollbridge is no longer the only crossing of the Stour, so the failure to pedestrianise any part of Sandwich is simply appalling, and was to me quite unexpected. They must have the most dismal and undynamic council in the world. I strongly advise everybody against going there, unless you are interested in traffic.

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