Stop Trident nuclear weapons, demonstration in Scotland

This video from Scotland says about itself:

84 Years Young SNP Woman to Blockade Nuclear Weapon Base

20 March 2015

Isabelle has been campaigning for years for Scottish Independence and against nuclear weapons but never like this before. On her 84th birthday 13 April she will join the Bairns Not Bombs Scrap Trident blockade of the Trident base near Helensburgh in Scotland.

By Malcolm Burns in Scotland:

Glasgow city centre gathering calls for Bairns Not Bombs

Saturday 4th April 2015

THE campaign to scrap Britain’s Trident nuclear weapon system will be pushed to the centre of the general election campaign today as thousands rally in Glasgow.

SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Ayrshire Labour MP Katy Clark MP and Scottish Green leader Patrick Harvie MSP head a platform of speakers at the Bairns Not Bombs demonstration organised by the Scrap Trident Coalition.

The SNP has made it a “red line” condition for post-election support for a Labour government, and about three-quarters of Labour candidates have said they would vote against Trident renewal.

Scottish CND secretary Alan Mackinnon told the Morning Star that the election on May 7 is an opportunity to elect MPs who will commit to voting against a new generation of nuclear weapons.

“This demonstration will be a clear call from the people of Scotland that they no longer want to play host to Britain’s weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

“2016 will be the crunch year when the ‘main gate’ decision is taken on whether to go ahead with the new system.

“That’s why this election is so important.

“Over the next decade Trident will consume over a third of the UK defence procurement budget at a time when working people are facing savage austerity.

“The Trident system should be scrapped, not just removed from Scotland. It is dangerous, unaffordable and militarily useless in today’s multi-polar world.”

In a message of solidarity to the Scottish demonstrators, CND Cymru national secretary Jill Gough said: “Nuclear weapons should not be a party-political issue, they are a moral, an environmental and an economic issue.

“We in Wales call on everyone everywhere to vote Trident out, and to make sure that our representatives in London after May 7 are standing on the nuclear disarmament side of any ‘red lines’.”

Demonstrators will assemble from 10.30am in George Square, march into the city centre at 11am, returning for the rally at noon.

A vigil at Faslane nuclear base will follow on Wednesday April 8, and a there will be a day-long Bairns Not Bombs blockade of Faslane on Monday April 13.

PEACE campaigners urged police yesterday not to make arrests when thousands of protesters blockade Britain’s Trident nuclear submarine base on April 13. Organiser the Scrap Trident Coalition sent its request to Police Scotland, quoting a precedent set at Burghfield nuclear weapons factory in Berkshire on March 2. Protesters blockaded the factory for seven hours, but no arrests were made. “As an indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction the UK’s Trident breaches international humanitarian law,” a Scrap Trident spokesperson explained: here.

OVER 30 anti-nuclear activists were slapped in irons yesterday during a blockade of Britain’s “obscene” Trident nuclear base at Faslane. At least 34 people were arrested at the Scottish naval base for breaching the peace after lying in gateways and covering themselves in red paint. Workers arriving for their morning shifts were unable to get through the 150-strong protest that blocked the main site entrances from 7am to 1.30pm, being told to go home instead. Later in the day, 1,000 people demonstrated outside the Ministry of Defence in London, calling on would-be MPs to promise an end to Trident when it comes up for review in 2016. The Scrap Trident Coalition said the blockade was not only effective but also had a “relaxed, colourful and upbeat vibe”: here.

THE Tories were accused yesterday of seeking to drag the vital issue of Trident replacement down to the level of gutter politics. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon faced a backlash after he accused Labour leader Ed Miliband of planning to “stab the United Kingdom in the back” over the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons. Mr Fallon claimed that Labour would have to abandon any plans to renew the Trident fleet in order to secure the support of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in a hung parliament: here.

British women party leaders win election debate, Twitter says

Winners and losers of British election TV debate, according to Twitter

Jamie Bartlett, for British daily The Guardian writes today about this chart, about the first election debate on British TV last night:

On the blog last night I posted an analysis of who won the debate based on Twitter sentiment, compiled by a team involving the Demos thinktank and Ipsos MORI, among others. It shows the three women all had net positive ratings, with Nicola Sturgeon the clear winner, and all four men had net negative ratings.

This might have something to do with the women in the debate opposing Trident nuclear weapons; and the four men supporting them.

Leaders’ debates: three women against some public schoolboys. It was the nearest thing to gender balance in the history of British democracy. Did it make a difference? You bet it made a difference: here.

Jubilant supporters have mobbed Nicola Sturgeon during a triumphant walkabout through west Edinburgh the morning after her performance in a TV debate made her the most popular party leader in the UK: here.

Before the leaders’ debate, a panel of voters could not identify Nicola Sturgeon from her picture. The morning, her name was the most Googled term in the whole of the UK. That astronomical rise was brought about by her much-praised appearance alongside six other party leaders last night: here.

Nick Griffin‘s ‘racist’ black men in kilts anti-SNP advert has the opposite of the desired effect on Scottish followers: here.

Young white-tailed eagle seen again in England

This 2014 video is called The White Tailed Eagle (Birds Documentary).

According to the Twitter account of the RSPB in South and West Scotland, Sona, the white-tailed eagle chick which starred last year on BBC’s Springwatch TV, has been seen again; in County Durham, England.

Northern lights, in history and now

This video says about itself:

Night of the Northern Lights

On 25th February 2014 Sun produced X4.9 flare which on 27th February caused G2 (KP 6) geomagnetic storm on Earth. It was the brightest aurora display so far during this solar maximum which I could witness with auroral displays overhead in the far north of Scotland. This short movie illustrates what has been seen from latitude 58.3 degrees north.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Heavenly treat

Friday 27th March 2015

As natural phenomena go few come more spectacular or mysterious than the northern lights. PETER FROST dons his astronomer’s hat to reveal their provenance

They saw them in Scotland, in Northumberland, on the Isle of Man and as far south as north Norfolk. It was some of the best British sightings of the aurora borealis, the famous northern lights, in living memory.

Hundreds of people all over Britain braved the freezing late night and early mornings but declared the experience one well worth getting frozen for.

Those lucky enough to see them described spectacular waves, streaks or curtains of pale green and pink, but shades of red, yellow, blue and violet were also spotted.

It’s rare for northern lights to be seen from anywhere in Britain and when they are visible it is usually from Shetland, Orkney or the north of Scotland.

Last week however, good sightings could be had from all over the country as far south as Norfolk. These amazing multicoloured ethereal light displays are caused by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter into the earth’s atmosphere.

They are more common much further north and British tourists normally need to take cruises or air holidays to northern latitudes if they want to see the amazing spectacle.

Polar lights — the aurora polaris — are a natural phenomenon found in both the northern and southern hemispheres. The northern versions are called aurora borealis while the southern lights aurora australis.

They were first named by two great early astronomers Pierre Gassendi and Galileo Galilei both of whom witnessed a spectacular display in September 1621. They jointly named the phenomena aurora borealis — the northern dawn.

Much earlier, a thousand years ago, Gregory of Tours, Gallo-Roman historian, scientist and later saint looked into the night sky over France and saw a light “… so bright that you might have thought that day was about to dawn.”

We now know the origin of the aurora starts on the surface of the sun when solar activity ejects a cloud of gas. If one of these reaches Earth it collides with its magnetic field two or three days after leaving the sun.

Our planet’s magnetic field is invisible but if it could be seen it would make Earth look like a comet with a long magnetic tail stretching a million miles behind us away from the sun.

When a coronal mass ejection — as the stream of cloud of gas from the sun’s surface is more properly named — collides with the magnetic field it causes complex changes to happen to the magnetic tail region.

These changes generate currents of charged particles, which then flow along lines of magnetic force towards the Earth’s poles.

The particles are boosted in energy in Earth’s upper atmosphere and when they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms they produce the dazzling light shows that are the aurora.

Beautiful they may be but the invisible flows of particles and magnetism can damage electrical power grids and also affect satellites operating in space.

The lights can be in place day and night but are not bright enough to be visible in daylight. For the same reason in cities or towns with lots of light pollution you are unlikely to get good viewing.

Auroras tend to be more frequent and spectacular during high solar sunspot activity and these cycle over periods of approximately 11 years. That is what is happening now.

Some displays are particularly spectacular and make the headlines. This happened in August-September 1859, in February 1958, which I remember seeing as a London schoolboy, and in March 1989 the last time really good sightings were possible in southern England.

Last February produced spectacular solar activity and a few relatively clear nights again gave some lucky stargazers a chance to see the spectacular and colourful light show.

This year has been even better and there is a good chance that the shows aren’t over. Keep your eyes on those northern skies.

Nazi marches in Britain flop

This video from England says about itself:

A Very Nazi Wedding (1963). Colin Jordan and Francoise Dior.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Nazis hide from racism protesters behind cops

Monday 23rd March 2015

A TINY posse of far-right extremists was outnumbered and heavily protected by police when they staged a march in Newcastle on Saturday.

The event was billed as a “White Man March” and groups taking part included the National Front and the British Movement — the openly nazi group founded and run by the late Colin Jordan.

Marchers carried union flags and banners featuring far-right symbols such as the sun wheel, or Black Sun, symbol, also used by Ukraine’s fascist Azov Battalion.

Anti-fascists estimated that about 85 people took part, far fewer than those who gathered to oppose them.

It is believed that nine of the right-wing extremists were arrested.

The master race has never been very bright or attractive, so before the march even started two senior figures in the National Front were arrested,” said a spokesman for anti-racism group Hope Not Hate.

– Just four people turned out to a demo in Edinburgh by Germany-based right-wing outfit Pegida on Saturday.

Homophobic sexually abusive Scottish Cardinal O’Brien resigns

This 2013 video from Scotland is called Cardinal Keith O’Brien: Vatican inquiry over ‘sexual conduct’.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Pope Francis accepts Scottish cardinal Keith O’Brien‘s resignation

O’Brien to step down from clerical duties following allegations of sexual misconduct, but will retain his title

Mark Tran

Friday 20 March 2015 13.56 GMT

Pope Francis has accepted the decision of the Scottish cardinal Keith O’Brien to step down from clerical duties over allegations of sexual misconduct.

O’Brien will retain his title, but he will be reduced to strictly private life. The resignation followed the decision by the pope to send a personal envoy, archbishop Charles Scicluna, to Scotland last year to investigate the allegations.

Francis reached his decision based on the inquiry. Its contents are only known fully know only to the pontiff and Scicluna. O’Brien’s decision followed a private discussion with Francis. …

O’Brien resigned in 2013 amid allegations published in the Observer of sexual impropriety made by three priests and one former priest. O’Brien was Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric at the time, and he was ordered by the Vatican to spend a period of time in “prayer and penance”.

A year ago, one of the men appealed directly to Pope Francis to intervene, describing the church as a “formidable machine” and accusing officials of having “passed the buck, misrepresented the truth, engaged in cover-up and … shamelessly procrastinated”.

“I want to ask Pope Francis can you sort this out,” the man told the Observer.

O’Brien, who was due to retire in March 2013, was an outspoken opponent of gay rights. He condemned homosexuality as immoral, opposed gay adoption, and argued that same-sex marriages would be “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those involved”.

In 2012, he was named bigot of the year by the gay rights charity Stonewall.

It is understood that the first allegation against the cardinal dates back to 1980. The complainant was then a 20-year-old seminarian at St Andrew’s College, Drygrange, where O’Brien was his “spiritual director”.