REPUBLICAN PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN  

VIRTUE             FREEDOM               ASPIRATION               WEALTH                PEACE

Rediscovering the Great British Republican Tradition

REPUBLICAN PARTY NEWSLETTER

For a Civic and Constitutional Republic

www.republicanparty.org.uk

 

                                      Issue No 40 Friday 12 June 2009

 

 

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This week

 

·         The New Film Home – A Unique World Wide Broadcasting Event. And Uniquely Unavailable In The Kingdom

 

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News Stories

Highlighting  news stories important to the Civic Republican view, particularly those that are overlooked or little covered in the main media.

 

 

THE PLANET

 

·         The New Film Home – A Unique World Wide Broadcasting Event. And Uniquely Unavailable In The Kingdom

 

 

 

At 8pm on Friday 5th June 2009 a unique worldwide event occurred. A just completed, full-length feature film, called simply Home, by French director, Yann Bethus-Bertrand, was given its first showing simultaneously on normal television channels in over 70 countries around the world.

Home is visually stunning portrait of the planet that we inhabit but with a message – or rather several messages. The familiar warnings about global warming are there and there is graphic illustration of the ways in which we are ravaging the planet. But there is also a strong emphasis on the inequality in the way that people from different lands benefit from this destruction and in the way they contribute to it.

The images are all shot from the air and are accompanied by an evocative specially written score. As well as having a point to make, the film is superb to view. As a spectacle it inevitably evokes comparison with Godfrey Reggios 1983 masterpiece, Koyaanisqatsi - a unique, poetic, wordless, cinematic experience with music by Philip Glass (buy at Amazon).

Home also pays homage to the wonderful series by Nicholas Hulot that went out on French TV in the 90’s, Ushuaia. Each programme lasted an hour and a half and explored a remote region in all its aspects: geology, fauna, flora and also its people, their agriculture even their industry. Ushuaia too was visually amazing and had a captivating score. Some of this series are available from amazon.fr but unfortunately none of the commentaries were ever translated for an English audience, and those with English subtitles are hard to find.

To view Home (or Ushuaia) gives us a reminder of just how badly the United Kingdom is served when it comes to films and programmes about nature, the planet and the non-industrialised world. Their broad, ecological, visual, poetic approach is virtually unknown in the English-speaking world (Koyaanisqatsi is the exception). British programme makers are stuck with the narrow zoological bias created by David Attenborough and Peter Scott back in the 1950’s and indeed David Attenborough is still at it. This is the description for the programme called misleadingly Planet Earth going out on this Saturday, 13th June 2009 on BBC2,

Following the epic journey of a humpback whale and its calf as they travel from a tropical paradise to the species' great feeding ground in the icy polar seas. David Attenborough also narrates footage of colonies of seabirds in the Arabian desert and surfing dolphins in Australia that swim onto the beach to catch their fish.

We really do disserve better. But we are surely among the 70 countries that simultaneously could view Home? Unfortunately and predictably the answer is no. Instead at the time the rest of the world was watching Home the choice British viewers were faced with on the major terrestrial channels were:

BBC1    EastEnders

BBC2    Gardeners' World
ITV1     
Coronation Street

C4        A Place In The Sun

The choice was between two soaps and two leisure activities.

Home is nowhere available on British TV but it can be view on You Tube via the Home website. However, this is a far from satisfactory experience as the score has been turned into a continuously repeated loop lasting a couple of minutes and the commentary is often inaudible. Apart from that a DVD can be purchased from Amazon - but for Region 1 only and so most people in the UK cannot watch it. If you are prepared to make the effort the YouTube version is still worth battling with for the sake of the images and what you can get of the music and the commentary.

If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, I would recommend watching the beginning and then jumping to minute 54 and sequel to see some unfamiliar images of Lagos and then to 1 hour 16 and the rest and see the summary.

Mixed in with the summary are the following statistics:

·         20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of its resources

·         The world spends 12 times more on military expenditures than aid to developing countries

·         5000 people a day die because of dirty drinking water

·         1 billion people a day are going hungry

·         Over 50% of the world’s grain production is used for animal feed or biofuels

·         40% of world’s arable land is degraded

·         75% of fisheries are exhausted depleted or in danger of being so

·         There could be 200 million climate refugees by 2050

During the film there are the following figures

 

HUMANITY

·         1 in 4 people now live just as they did 6000 years ago which amounts to one billion more than live in the wealthy nations

·         One half of humanity live in cities

·         500 million people live in desserts

·         Since 1950 the world’s population has tripled

·         Half the world’s poor live in resource rich areas

·         1 in 6 humans live in precarious environments.

·         All over the world people try to survive on scraps whilst the rich dig for more resources

 

AGRICULTURE

·         Agriculture has become totally oil dependent. One litre of oil does the work of 100 pairs of hands in 24 hours

·         One half of humanity till the soil of which 75% do so by hand.

 

FISHING

·         Fishing catches have increased fivefold since the 1950’s.

·         Most larger species of fish have been effectively fished out of existence

 

TRANSPORT

·         There are 900 million vehicles on the road in the world today

·         International trade in goods and materials has grown twenty times since the 1950’s. 90% of it is by sea.

·          There are 500 million container movements per year

·         Oil tankers are getting bigger and bigger

 

WATER

·         One major river in ten no longer reaches the sea due to irrigation and erosion

·         Underground water upon which many depend is drying up

·         Water shortage could affect 2 billion people by 2025

 

BIOLOGY

·         Rain forests contain more carbon than the atmosphere and 75% of the planets biodiversity

·         In 40 years the Amazon rain forest has lost 20% of its area

 

WEALTH

·         Half the world’s wealth is owned by 2% of the population

·         In Nigeria, an oil rich country, 70% of the population live in poverty

 

CITIES

·         Lagos is the fastest growing megalopolis. In 1960 it had 700,000 people and by 2025 it is expected to have 16 million

·         11 of 15 biggest cities are sited on floodable coastal planes

 

ENERGY

·         80% of our energy comes from fossil fuels

·         The biggest investors in renewable energy are China, USA, India, Germany and Spain. The UK does not figure

So what policy should the British Republican Party have in relation to this world scenario? There are four main elements to the response:

1.     We must discover an economic model that can show how an economy can work and deliver prosperity without committing the world to endless growth

2.     We must find an economic model that permits international trade to reduce and production to be more localised, for transport is one of the key consumers of energy

3.     We must recognise the injustice that the rich nations have perpetrated on the poor ones by saddling them with unpayable debts. We must urgently write off or substantially remove these debts

4.     We must seek to develop sustainable production for developing nations that does not depend on borrowing and selling to the rich nations

 

 

Civic Republicanism is founded on humanism. We know we cannot isolate ourselves from our human brothers and sisters throughout the world. We owe a duty to them as to ourselves. There is simply no future in continuing the present unequal, exploitive relationship. We may have massive problems inflected on us by our own stupid governments and their friends in the financial industry but that fault comes from our own developed world. To try to make the developing world bail us out would not only be immoral, it would not work. In any case, the poorer nations are already paying a high price for our malign economic and financial practices.

In these newsletters the problems of private banks creating debt based money has been discussed. The practices that have kept the vast majority of our citizens much poorer that they should be, have also kept the developing world poor, for the debts they hold come from money created by private banks just as our debts do. In correcting the rich nations’ banking system we will go a long way towards relieving poverty world wide.

Ultimately we all, rich and poor, share the same problems and these problems have much the same solutions. We all live together.

This planet is home to all of us.

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If you wish to comment on these articles or any other matter email

peterkellow@republicans.org.uk

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……. …….until next week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*It is not that Republics can’t change should the long term will of the people desire it, but that on fundamental constitutional issues such as this they only change gradually. Republicans are conservatives (with a small “c”).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This practice has lead over the last few years to an intense crisis for the bank buying the "security" often did not know how well the loan was secured. In a huge number of cases this has been not very well and so the banks who bought the "securities" were taken for billions, such is the level of their incompetence and greed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*See P25 The Grip Of Death by Michael Rowbotham published 1997.And up to date figures for April 2008 show HBoS holds just 6% capital against debt "assets". The figure for Barclays is a measly 5.1%. (Moneyweek 2 May 2008. p.4). Exactly how much of this "capital" represents solid "non-toxic" capital assets is a question many would want to ask. The banks themselves are unlikely to know.