Monday, 28 February 2022

All our invasions are just fine and dandy, except those our enemy does!

Bham StWC considered it wrong for UK/US to invade Afghanistan in 2001, the NATO supported occupation for 20 years has left millions of people on the verge of starvation.

Bham StWC opposed the UK/US (again supported by NATO) invasion of Iraq in 2003 leading to the killing of half a million people and destroying much of Iraqi infrastructure.

NATO organised the bombing of Libya in 2011 which has led to a failed state in which thousands of black people are now slaves. NATO is not a defensive alliance but an instrument of American domination of the world.

Bham StWC ALSO OPPOSES THE Russian Invasion of Ukraine but nearly all Establishment politicians have supported these devastating invasions described above.

President Biden is a particular hypocrite since he played a major role in organising the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Stuart Richardson
Secretary Birmingham StWC
0777 156 7496

PS In the last 48 hours Saudi Arabia has attacked Yemen with 36 airstrikes but of course there has been no mention of this in the British media.
   But we have had wall to wall coverage of Russian attacks on Ukraine. Of course Saudi Arabia is a major ally of the British establishment.

to John Nightingale

It's really nice to hear from you and you make such good points, especially over London and the south east getting much more spent on them for transport, per head, than other regions and countries of the UK.  The billions now going on trams for us will help to redress the balance!  But, it's an immoral priority for public spending, in my opinion, when the poor will be in ever greater difficulties as energy prices rise this year and in subsequent years.

I do genuinely like Andy Street who is a left wing Conservative.  He has given me a number of opportunities to speak to him in person, including at his 'Ask Andy' public meetings since 2017 when I first met him.  I voted for him in 2017 and 2021, too!  However, lovely man as he is, he doesn't get it.  He maintains that multi-modal transport of trams, buses and trains are essential to get people out of their cars and onto public transport.  But all the experts have been saying that about Brum ever since I first arrived in the city in 1967 but, by 1960, they had destroyed the complete tram network and had started to do the same with the urban railway network that was no longer in use!

The other problem is the impossibility to reverse the 40 years old tram project.  No one in authority has the guts to question the conventional transport wisdom.  It's been grinding on forever, everyone is transfixed and paralysed with the whole thing.  And, anyway, it gives work to so many.  The engineers love the challenge of building it, too.

The public love the new trams, their prestige and the shocking over indulgence involved.  I love trams, too!  But, it is all vanity and makes public transport slower with more changes and clogs up the roads.  As a cyclist I have to be wary not to get my wheel dropping into the track rut.  Another hazard to look out for!

Always lovely to hear from you.

Victory expansionism; never restraint and magnanimity; or empathy; always to vanquish

Victory expansionism; never restraint and magnanimity; or empathy; but, always to vanquish

30 years of W/American expansionism, steamrollering over the former Soviet/Communist lands to install Am/W democracy and culture on former Cold War enemy lands.  Unintentional attitude to vanquish rather than to show restraint and magnanimity.

Neither NATO nor Russia

This week I'd like to discuss how we intend to report on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

As Canary journalist and veteran Joe Glenton wrote this week, Picking NATO over Russia, or vice versa, is a fool’s game. Choose people, not power

Our solidarity and reporting should always be focused on ordinary people, like us, in Ukraine, Russia, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, or the UK. 

Taking the side of any authoritarian nation-state goes against that principle.    

The hypocrisy of western governments decrying Russia's invasion given their track record of imperialist wars is disgusting. And western media's sudden concern for the Ukrainian people compared to those in Yemen, for example, shows its racism. 

But, the point of highlighting that hypocrisy is to demonstrate that we should have the same concern for people in the countries the UK or US invades. It is not to justify or excuse an armed invasion by Russia.

There are people in Ukraine who have bravely fought against Western-backed domestic fascist forces. These same people are now taking up arms against Russian imperialism. 

We must oppose all authoritarianism and state violence. 

And we must continue to highlight how wars allow authoritarian governments the world over to divide and repress their own populations. 

The only other beneficiary is the military industrial complex which will generate even more obscene profits for the international ruling class. 

People in war zones the world over need us to support their resistance to authoritarianism and state power.

I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts and continuing this discussion. Please email me directly at or DM me on twitter @DrewR0se.

Until next week. 

All the best,

Drew Rose

Sunday, 27 February 2022

What put Putin on a collision route with the West if in the 2000s he went along with us and even seemed to like west?


Dima Vorobiev, Former Soviet propaganda executive

Updated Jun 12, 2020

One of the considerations (not the main one, though) on the part of oligarchs who put Putin on the throne in 1999, was his image of a “KGB liberal”.

Putin came into politics as a fixer for the liberal mayor of St. Petersburg. He worked superbly with Western investors in the city. He spent some time in Europe. He was a known Germanofil and built a decent international business network in the 1990s. He had never been known for xenophobia or anti-Semitism. Besides, KGB traditionally had an image of people who know how to see eye-to-eye with Western bourgeois guys, when necessary.

Putin looked like a perfect man for building bridges from Russia westward.

Therefore, his explicit mandate included finding a way to get Western recognition for Russian oligarchical fortunes, irrespective of their provenance (Project Londongrad). Oligarchs held in the 1990s their part of the bargain, preventing Communists from re-taking power and aligning with the West on global issues. Now, they wanted the West to acknowledge their effort. They required an equal place at the G-8 table of global power.

This is where Putin’s inquiry about the NATO membership in 2000 came from, as well as several hints from his aides at joining the EU. This is also why he was the first to call Bush and offered him help after 9/11. This is also why he agreed to the NATO military logistics bases not only in Central Asia, but also in Ulyanovsk in Russia (“American military boots trampling the Russian soil!” was the line from our radical nationalists at the time).

Then, the following happened:

  • NATO accepted the Baltics as new members
  • USA withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and 'revealed an intent of deploying new ABM systems in Central Europe
  • USA invaded Iraq, in spite of Putin’s vehement objections
  • Pro-Western Rose revolution happened in Georgia in 2003
  • Orange Revolution happened in Ukraine in 2005 and prevented a pro-Russian president from taking office
  • Oil price skyrocketed and filled the Russian state budget to a degree unprecedented in our history, see the graph below

From which Putin made the following conclusions:

  1. It doesn’t pay to be nice with the US and NATO
  2. The US and NATO try to find a way to get rid of him
  3. He needs to set up a watertight perimeter preventing outside forces from “color revolutions” against him
  4. Everything is happening because no one cared to formalize the terms of the Soviet surrender in 1991. The good news is that it opens for renegotiating the outcome of the Cold war!
  5. Russia has money to stand up against the West and push forward a revision of the Cold war’s outcome.
  6. The West must accept a New Yalta deal with Putin—not in exchange for some new favors from Putin, but as compensation for Russia’s past favors in 1990–2005.

Friday, 25 February 2022


4 February 2022

Dear Martin and John - I will forward you something about immoral Metro trams taking over the Worcester, Dudley, Derby principal mainline railway!

Even more immediate than the nature, climate, ecological, resource depletion emergency is how people on benefits are going to be overwhelmed by heating bills.  Yet, WMCA Metro Mayor Andy Street, the top officers and council leaders are still talking of billions of pounds going into immoral Metro to replace buses and trains.


This is really urgent for us in the W Midlands that we go on the offensive to stop yet more immoral Metro lines and demand that the 2020 announcement of £15 billion to 2040 must go into helping to give more, to pay more, to the poorest on benefits.  To super insulate their homes and to give them the best help and the most money to pay their energy bills.  Martin Lewis was on Radio 4, 'The World Tonight', yesterday.

It is urgent that the billions for immoral Metro goes into giving the poorest in the land free electricity from the nuclear fusion of the sun.  Yet, no talk from Andy Street, B__ Johnson or anyone of the vital necessity that we get out of American LNG and Russian gas and use home-generated, free solar electricity instead.

Do you think I am right, here?

Best wishes

from John Nightingale re perplexing transport confusion

15 Feb 2022

My answers in blue below your questions:

Thanks Tim. The information is very helpful. Some further questions:

1) Has the metro section between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill (some 12 miles) already been built?  It is being built to be opened in the autumn of 2024.  The 56 Kms safeguarded trackbed between Burton on Trent and Stourbridge is double track and is built for all crossings of motorways, roads, canals, railways.  Metro goes on two short sections, totalling 6.7 Kms, with 4 Kms road running through Dudley town.  The tram is on a principal mainline railway.  What a waste!

2) If so, could railway lines be put alongside the Metro lines, or is that technically impossible?  It would cost too much to demolish and rebuild bridges, tunnels and buildings for a double-track tram and, alongside it, a double-track commuter and regional/national train service between the unused 56 Kms between Derby, Dudley and Devon.

3) could you link me to evidence about the relative cost of railway lines and metro?

4) Are you aware of many people wanting to travel on a line between Burton and Kidderminster?  They already do via Brum but Grand Central Diesel Perfumed Underground Station is congested with queueing trains pre-Covid.  The 120 Kms Black Country Railway goes through a heavily congested, densely populated, urban conurbation where we are meant to be using walking, cycling, buses, trains and trams - NOT cars!  The Dudley tram to Merry Hill still leaves 49.3 Kms wasted with nothing but fresh air.  The best it can be is a train-tram-train railway.  But that is better than more congested roads and rising greenhouse gases and making both worse.  Certainly better than High Scam 2 Fast To Stop!

Am I right, John?  Or, is it me who is totally out of my mind?


17 February 2022

Thanks Tim. This is very illuminating. 

Unfortunately we are where we are and I daresay it would be very costly to undo what of the tram service has already been done.

What do you think is the best way forward in the present situation?

I ask this out of genuine interest but I must also be honest and say that I am tied up with so many causes at the moment that I think it unlikely that I can do much campaigning in this one.

All the best,

18 Feb 2022

Many thanks, John.

I quite understand your busy schedule.

Such is the phenomenal cost of Metro - well over half a billion pounds for only 10.7 Kms to destroy any hope of a fast, no changing, train service from Derby, to Dudley and onto Worcester - that it is still much cheaper and more sensible to cancel WBHE and pay the cancellation fees.  There would definitely still be money left over to reintroduce the commuter, regional trains and nine stations over the full 120 Kms!

Can you get me to explain to Footsteps?  I would like to be an active member with my Christian allegiance.  Or, could you mention the scandal, yourself, please?  This is the biggest and longest-running (from 1950s) scandal in UK finance/transport history!

All this, at a time of climate emergency, too when cutting GHG emissions is basic, fundamental, urgent.  NOT boosting them!

from John N
24 Feb 2022

Dear Tim,

Thanks for this detailed email and for your passion and concern.

I have been thinking about your email and discussed some of its contents yesterday with a friend who used to work in the Department for Transport and had responsibilities in relation to Crossrail in the early stages of its development.

I am unclear as to which bodies have responsibility for decision-making in this case. Granted that WMCA has a responsibility, but are there not national bodies which have to consent, fund or even initiate such projects? It seems to me that getting a change (if desirable) is a complicated business which requires a skilled group to deal with systemically. Is there a Green Transport Group in the Green party which could help?

The data you produce would need to be put together into a dossier and maybe supplemented with other studies eg on the cost of the electrification of the reopened line (or would it run on diesel?) and evidence for the demand potential for the new line. Could universities help with this? I'd have gone for this if I were 60 years younger but now have not got the time in the light of other priorities.

Footsteps is chary about advocating particular solutions. We concentrate on values and the education of our member bodies. General principles yes, and policies such as using forms of transport with lower emissions but that's about it.

I would certainly support pressing WMCA and its constituent councils to go for lower carbon transport and to investigate the merits of different schemes, yours included, but that's as far as I want to go.

Best wishes,


25 February 2022

Very many thanks, John.  Lovely to hear from you and I quite understand.

This destruction of our trams and 19th-century urban railway lines has gone on for 70 years and is continuing apace!  The councillors are ultimately responsible and I have tried to get them interested for many years - actually for decades - but they don't care (I'm a very successful failure!).  They rubber-stamp what the top officers in TfWM/WMCA want.

Best wishes

25 February 2022 from John N

Thanks Tim for your gracious reply and illuminating article. Certainly the history you describe reveals bad individual decisions and little sense of an overall policy.

For me the question remains. What body are bodies are responsible for policy and implementation? This involves the process of research, outlining policy options, deciding between them, obtaining finance and implementing them. I'm still unclear. Obviously WMCA up to a point, but surely not alone not least because of the financial angle.

Since the 1980s I have had intermittent experience of transport in London. I used to commute by train from Milton Keynes during the week, take my Bickerton folding bike on the train and cycle from Euston to Church House Westminster. My work also involved me in quite a lot of trips around the capital.

Between then and now my experience of travelling in London has greatly improved. Buses are quicker; there are fewer traffic jams. Cycling has become a pleasure. Train connections across the river have multiplied. Hurrah! How and why has this happened while in the West Midlands, with a few exceptions, things have stagnated?

No doubt money is a factor. Central govt I guess has spent more money per head in London than here. 

But there seems to have been a greater ability to analyse options and take decisions in and for London. I imagine that having a Mayor, a Transport for London Authority and ready access to the Dept for Transport have all been all factors.

If I may be scriptural, I see you as a voice crying in the wilderness! That has the merit of disturbing complacency and indicating other options. But we need some sort of transport authority with popular participation to take us forward. And as the researches of  "Climate Outreach" (qv) indicate it is vital that the segment of the population that are environmental enthusiasts (in which I include myself) have got to find arguments that carry weight with other segments lest we alienate them and paint ourselves into a corner.

Andy Street is no fool and, if only for reasons of self-interest, may be open to improvements. I would be interested to be a participant in a small way, time permitting, in any future discussions.

All the best,


Five Ways/Broad Street multi-modal mix up

Thanks Ingrid for all your work on our behalf.  And, to the rest of you, this:-

Is there anyone else out there really browned off by our continuingly dreadful bus service into Brum city centre on the last, slow section from Edgbaston?
  • Still a diversion on narrow roads packed with parked cars.
  • No buses are using the Five Ways underpass that is blocked by the two most colossal crash barriers I have ever seen.
  • Broad Street is still not available for our buses.
  • Not even trams are in use.  Or are they now?
  • If we change for the tram, we then have a maximum wait of 15 mins for the tram to take us on the direct route into the city centre.
  • So a toss up between staying on the bus or waiting for the tram - impossible to know which is quickest!
If you are unimpressed or, just love the modal mix up mish mash, please tell them what you think at:
They love praise and compliments, remember.  So tell them you just love it, please!

I was completely and utterly wrong!

Dear friends

I never thought that Russia would be so foolish and immoral as to invade Ukraine.  However, it has not been helped by American/British/NATO intransigence and, expansionism eastwards.  Intransigence, over our refusal to even agree verbally, let alone put it in writing, that we would not allow Ukraine to also become a member of NATO.  In my opinion, our military exercises in NATO and in the South China Sea and in the Taiwan Straits should end.  Certainly, end in the former satellite states of the USSR that gives such a very bad example, and model to follow, to Russia/Putin.

In the 1990s, our word should have been our bond.  It should not have been necessary to put it in writing that as the Warsaw Pact folded, NATO would NOT take on board many of their former members - unless Russia agreed and became a member, too.  Should NATO have followed Russia's fine example and dissolved itself as well, perhaps?

Throughout humanity's unhappy sojourn on this planet, one group of people has wanted to dominate and subjugate another.  Such is the way of us lot!  The supposedly Christian West, over the last 1700 years has been the worse as regards numbers subjugated and killed and/or the vast tracts of land that we have subsumed and dominated.  Our Christain slave trade, I understand, was bigger and longer-lasting than the Muslim slave trade.

The wealthy greed and domination of the monarchy in Russia led to the October 1917 revolution, if I remember correctly.  The 1919 very unjust treaty on Germany may well have led to the second half of the 20th century World War.  In 1945, we would never have been victorious without Russia and their friends.  And they lost between 20 and 30 million people in those six years to defeat Nazisim.  Yet, such was our folly, within weeks the USSR had become our No 1 sworn enemy.  What ingratitude!  But we wanted yet another war.  The Cold War.  Thanks to Russian leaders in the 1980s/90s who refused to join in such childish, petty pranks, they withdrew from the game.  Yet, our side, as in 1919, claimed that we had vanquished the evil Commies of the USSR and won a mighty victory.  Especially, when the Warsaw Pact dissolved.

Our American-led NATO leaders failed us in the last 30 years of more and more Western domination of more and more of Europe while Putin and his friends saw more and more of their former satellite states change sides to the West.  Not a good omen.  The 2014 coup or uprising, as Noam Chomsky called it, must have been the last straw for Putin.  And I can well understand that.  It completely upset the already obvious misbalance in Europe since the end of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR of '89 to '91.

I can assure BobWF that I have read and considered every word he has written to me and understand his point of view, that I value.

As an eco-socialist/environmentalist all my adult life, I have been on the side of non-violence after the pattern of Gandhi, Martin Luther-King Jnr and Donald Soper who are my heroes.  Latterly, also Alastair McIntosh, the Scottish Quaker, writer, academic and activist  In 1914, I would have been shot at dawn; in 1939 as a conscientious objector and, in this war, a non-combatant.

FROM Alastair's home page:
"I am especially influenced by liberation theology in Christianity and other faiths, this being theology that liberates theology to liberate humanity. In choosing what to work on, I, therefore, ask questions like:
bulletDoes what I do feed the hungry?
bulletIs it relevant to the poor or to the broken in nature?
bulletIs it meaningful?
bulletDoes it give life?"

Please correct anything I have written.  Thanks for writing and for engaging in discussion.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

10 Feb 2022 Zoom on Ukraine crisis

No War In Ukraine, Stop NATO Expansion - StWC Zoom rally Thursday 10th February 6:30 pm

Speakers: Jeremy Corbyn MP, Diane Abbott MP, Andrew Murray (StWC Vice President), Medea Benjamin (Code Pink, US), Nina Potarska (Ukraine National Coordinator – Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom), Professor Richard Sakwa (Kent University) and Christine Buchholz (Die Linke MP 2009-2021, Anti-war campaigner).

As our political leaders bang harder the war drums for Ukraine, Chris Nineham chaired a packed meeting with over 400 attendees on Zoom and many more on social media - current YouTube views stand at over 2600. All of which reflect the overwhelming majority of international public opinion against war.

From Ukraine itself, Nina said that there is fear and worry on the ground but also an overwhelming appetite for peace. In the UK opinion polls are overtly against the war and similarly in the USMedea informed us. Indeed, the Anti-war movement there had just staged 75 demonstrations across the country at 48 hours notice. Christine reported the same in Germany and across Europe

Furthermore, there is already a basis for solution to any conflict in place -the Minsk agreement of 2015,which guarantees the Russian minority autonomy and the nationalist majority integrity of Ukraine. So why this clamour for war amongst our leaders?

Geopolitical:The root of destabilisation in the entire region is systematic NATO expansion Eastwards which is prompting contradictory geopolitical strategies from all actors involved.
Meanwhile, Nina explained, Ukrainians themselves feel trapped between 2 stones: Western imperialism and Russian aggression. Ukrainian voices 
remain unheard in either official talks or media presentations or brandished threats of sanctions, incursions or retaliations. 

- War profits: Medea and Nina agreed that war profits the military industrial complex in arms sales and increased military budgets.  Christine Buchholz added that this conflict represents an East v West economic war turned into military confrontation, with German Capital being wooed by both Russian gas and US oil. In World Capitalism this is how nation states compete for global resources through the medium of militarism. Furthermore, this conflict illustrates how Fossil Fuel Capitalism and War engage in a dance of mutual escalation as they engender climate crisis.

- Political polling: War means a poll bounce for leaders. It affords them the opportunity to wrap themselves in their flags and cover up any unsightly political stains. Biden and Putin both have low poll ratings that need boosting, Macron has an election coming up, Johnson is mired in domestic crises and a foreign theatre might offer a crucial deflection for him to survive.

Which brings us to that gaffers’ lackey Keir Starmer and his scurrilous and disingenuous attacks on StWC.  Accusing us of siding with Russians and being on the wrong side of history while he extolled the defensive virtues of NATO. Andrew and Jeremy set him right:

-    Andrew accused him of falsifying our position to accommodate his Labour Party to the establishment. He said StWC had been proven right on every single conflict of the 21st-century at a time when the political elite was in unity in being wrong.

-    StWC’s position on Ukraine is unequivocal: We are against any invasion, be it Russian or US-led NATO. We are for Ukrainian self-determination. We are for peace, dialogue and de-escalation.

-  Jeremy added that just because you don’t want to go to war with a regime doesn’t mean you support it.

NATO is not a defensive alliance but an expansive and offensive attempt to extend and maintain global US hegemony across Europe.

StWC as an anti war movement has a duty to criticise a belligerent British government which is in the vanguard of provocation for war.

This was an incredibly dangerous moment and any conflict would be utterly calamitous for Ukraine and, with both sides having access to nuclear weapons, there is a horrific and frightening worse case scenario.

We want to see the British government change its confrontational policy stance and counter media assumptions that the only solution to this issue is a military one. We want to campaign, mobilise and argue for a policy that is instead turned towards peace,  understanding and recognising the Human Rights needs of people on all sides.

We need security to mean peace not war. Nina wanted a political, psychological, and environmental security that guarantees freedom of speech, free elections, and security for peacemakers and human rights activists. Jeremy concurred that real security doesn’t come from war or conflict but from secure healthcare, education, housing and work in a peaceful world.

As Medea put it, we need to get off the unhelpful binary of “Russia is bad and America is good” and get onto the useful binary of “War is bad and Peace is good”.

From Brum Stop the War Coalition

We turned next to the dangerous Ukraine crisisStuart reiterating that StWC’s consistent position is to oppose foreign intervention - be it Russian, US-led NATO, or UK. We are firmly in favour of national self-determination for Ukraine that respects the rights of all its citizens; and we call for dialogue, diplomacy de-escalation and peace. Stuart added that Western talk of defending “Freedom and Democracy in Ukraine” was bogus in that the Ukraine Communist Party (which in the 1990s had significant parliamentary representation) is banned from standing in elections and an Eastern Ukraine separatist party was banned in 2008.

The origin of the conflict is in NATO expansion Eastwards underlining that NATO far from being a defensive alliance, is a militarily expansive and offensive project to extend and maintain global US hegemony.  Indeed, Politik commented that Ukraine had a pro-Russian government until it was brought down by the current western-backed administration.

Saturday, 19 February 2022

NATO is the problem

Dear friends

Having missed the earlier email from Mike, I reacted too late to ask for Tues eve instead of Monday.  But that doesn't matter because I'm in agreement that we support Dave Nellist in the byelection.  I do want to give my full backing to the Campaign Against Climate Change - Trade Union Group with their meeting on Mon at 6.30 pm, as here:
and, again on the 28th Feb, same time.

Meanwhile, I'm exercised by the Ukraine/NATO emergency and would like to suggest that we talk about this matter at our next meeting, whenever that is.

In particular, I want the UK out of NATO and wonder if there is a majority view amongst ourselves, for this to go forward to LU HQ for other branches to discuss and vote on it.  My reasons are:
  1. The present impasse stems from the 1990s and the breakup of the USSR, the dissolving of the Warsaw Pact and the end of the Cold War.
  2. It seems that our side failed to show magnanimity, fairness, restraint or even consideration for Russia's feelings if we took advantage of the break-up of the USSR and expanded eastwards for some easy pickings and a peaceful takeover.
  3. To Gorbachev and Yeltsin there were verbal assurances that the American-led West/NATO would not expand east of West Germany.  (But you can't trust anything that our American/British leaders say and, it's the same today with all over the place Boris - I can't believe anything he says - Johnson.)
  4. But, of course, first East Germay joined West Germany and NATO, soon to be followed in subsequent years, with nearly all the other former east European countries that Russia considered to be their friends and allies.
  5. In other words, rather than being magnanimous in 'victory', we took advantage of Russian change of heart to spread our message of freedom, democracy and the pursuit of unalloyed happiness forever.
  6. Actually, Russia was the magnanimous one with perestroika and glasnost and decided to have no more part in the Cold War.
  7. But America and the West took every advantage of this weakness and surrender, as they saw it and, encouraged the former buffer or satellite Soviet states to come over, lock stock and barrel to our side.
  8. The next crucial date was Feb 2014 in Kyiv with the uprising or coup, as Noam Chomsky describes it, to replace the Russian friendly, President Yanukovych who had been quite properly and fairly elected in 2010, with an American/European man.
  9. "The election was judged free and fair by international observers."  (Wikipedia)
  10. Since then 14,000 dead in eight years.  And no end to it all when it was our undemocratic and violent actions that led to the ousting of the Russian allied President to install an American/European leader.
  11. Yet, again America and its European satellite states were delighted that their side continued on the onward and upward march to promote their culture and values, freedom and democracy, domination and rule throughout more of the world.
  12. Self-determination means that we must allow Ukraine to join NATO, even as the 14,000 death toll climbs ever upwards.  Self-determination only if they come up with the 'right' decision to side with America, West and NATO.
  13. In fact, our military expansion east and into Ukraine proves that it is already a member of NATO without any debate or vote.
  14. I am cutting down on burning both American LNG and Russian gas by using my own generated solar electricity from the roof.  This is my own statement of independence from both immature, pathetic, scrapping superpowers.
Is there any agreement that our branch of Left Unity, should press for the UK to end its membership of NATO and become non-aligned?


Tim Weller

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Left Unity is on the right side of history

I am an eco-warrior and not a military warrior.  My political party should be, too.

To set Ukraine an outstanding example, we should call on the UK to resign from NATO.  I find it totally unacceptable that Ukraine should want to be a member of NATO.  The years of a military alliance expanding eastwards in Europe is provocative, as has been the weeks of talking up war with Russia.  This weekend's outrageous talk of appeasement to simply suggest to Ukraine that they drop their demand that they become a member of NATO is totally unacceptable.

What do the rest of you think?  My latest diatribe is this:

Ukraine and NATO v Russia

Thanks so much for these thoughts from Bob and Robert.

I don't think Bob's views are a minority in Left Unity.  Surely not.  There is, certainly, nothing there that I can disagree with.  It is so good to hear and to be reminded of Russian aggression.  I love to point out our own aggression, violence and lawlessness down the centuries, simply because we all in the West have a duty, first and foremost, to hold our own politicians and people to the very highest standards of conduct, starting with ourselves.  I can influence my own local and regional people in power but not in other countries, like Russia (unless I drop in on their London Embassy that Bob is challenging me to do).

I am trying to bend over backwards to understand the Russian/Putin point of view.  On yesterday's 'World at One', (interview starts at 15:42)Johnny Dymond interviewed Vyacheslav Nikonov (I think was the name) the First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs and a grandson of Molotov, the Russian Foreign Minister in 1939, Dymond said.  He began with "Russia's intentions are the great mystery behind the military build-up around Ukraine."

Nikonov thought, "NATO is building up on our Russian borders ... British, American troops have come there" (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia). ... In the documents of that Alliance (NATO), Russia is enemy no 1 ... And for us, NATO pushing up against our borders is the same sort of challenge (as the West invading Russia in the 19th and 20th centuries). ... We do not want World War 2 to repeat."

Self-reflection and change is more desirable, I think, than pointing out the wickedness of the Russian Evil Empire (Reagan in 1983), as our politicians so love to provocatively denounce.  One friend told me the other day, "Putin looks evil".  In contrast to Lavrov, from what I have seen of him on TV, who looks more like a great huggable Russian bear!  Calling people evil is not great diplomacy for harmonious, peaceful co-existence!

It seems extraordinary that making any slight concession to Russia, even over suggesting to Ukraine that, for the benefit of avoiding war they might, just, possibly, drop their insistence that they join NATO, is called appeasement - like 1938.

Thanks again, Bob and Robert for your reflections.  By the way, Bob what are your reasons for being less than enamoured with Stop the War?

Stop the War began in opposition to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and played a very important role, I went to most of their demos and local meetings.
I cooled off after they failed to oppose the Russian backing of Assad during the Syrian revolution, but I am still close to them when it comes to Palestine, Nato etc.
The question to ask Stop the War today, is which war are you talking about? If it is all wars that makes it a pacifist outfit. So as I presume it is not a pacifist organisation, which war are we talking about?

The rich must level down for the poor to level up

Doug is so right about redistribution of wealth for the rich to level down to enable the rest to level up. But, redistribution also means away from over indulgent, immoral Metro to help the many who have to choose to either heat or eat.

This is our local councillors who are putting prestige for Brum instead of raising the living standards of the impoverished

Saturday, 12 February 2022

Self-awareness is lacking in NATO/American/Western/British foreign policy

Self-awareness is lacking in NATO/American/Western/British foreign policy

  1. No conception that Russia has us over a barrel with its gas reserves that we desperately need.
  2. NATO gets everywhere, Russia does not.  Even to the South Atlantic Falkland Islands and, the disputed Chagos archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
  3. NATO frontrunner, the USA has a large military base on the largest island, Diego Garcia.  The islands are administered by Britain that refuses to recognise a 2019 ruling at the International Court of Justice that it should relinquish control to Mauritius.
  4. Britain's two opium wars with China in the 19th century that former Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Portillo called "disgraceful".
  5. NATO member, the USA, put Jupiter rockets on Turkey's border with the USSR, pointing straight at them!  That gave Russia the bad example to follow suit and so we had the Cuban missile crisis.
  6. I thought I saw a Michael Portillo TV programme where he said he had uncovered archives of American bombers depth charging Russian submarines in the three weeks of the Cuban missile crisis?  Have I really remembered that correctly?
  7. A Radio 4 programme reported how one Russian submarine officer in charge at the time, wondered if he should let off his missiles at the USA.  A close-run thing.  That Russian saved us from nuclear holocaust.
  8. Aggressive war leaders, Napoleon (France) and Hitler (Austrian) were not Russian.  But Stalin was hardly better, I know!
  9. Yet, Stalin helped us to defeat our own W European warmonger and, in the process, saw between 20 and 30 million Russians slaughtered in the war, to help us win. 
  10. Britain's empire was bigger and longer-lasting than Russia's.
  11. The democratic, fair-playing Brits love to throw their weight around in the world to bring justice and righteousness to balefully inadequate nations who don't know how to do things like we do.
  12. Only we fight communism and bring capitalism to these sad and evil empire nations.
  13. NATO member, Greater Than Ever Brexit Britain, has fought (and lost) more wars in Afghanistan than Russia.  We had a war in Crimea from 1853-1856.
  14. Future NATO members were all involved in the Super Scramble for Africa and not Russia.
  15. Even in the Arab Middle East, we have our very own Western, materialistic, nice Nation of Israel.
  16. Playing second fiddle to Israel is our great ally and our solid friend and arms purchaser, Saudi Arabia.
  • We are the problem and set a quite outrageously unacceptably bad example to Russia and China.
  • Nothing quite like the pot calling the kettle black!
  • Our righteous, freedom-loving, democratic demeanour dictates we are right and they are wrong.
  • We always see the splinter in their eye and never the dirty great big plank in ours!

Friday, 11 February 2022


Dear Ellie and Waseem - and yet again I'm encouraging and supporting you, Waseem!


Thank you for organising Wednesday's Zoom meeting and for encouraging views from the general public, like me.  I would like to underline these points:
  1. Ever-rising economic gain or wealth on a finite and natural planet can only come at the expense of that planet and its ecosystems or life support systems.  Future generations lose out.
  2. Therefore, we have to move to a more sustainable and socially fair/just way of conducting our behaviour/lifestyles on this planet.  This must be done by:
  3. Generating electricity for buildings by putting PV solar on the buildings' roofs.  Excess electricity should be stored in a mixture of batteries and exported to the grid for others to use when there is insufficient light to power the panels.  I have exported 32 MW in eight years and am now using a battery to use more of the electricity myself to cut down on gas use.
  4. Conservation of our fast disappearing finite fossil fuels can be done by scrapping immorally expensive "bus on rails" Metro trams by, instead, rolling out electric buses directly on roads (without the steel rails) and putting them on the nearside lane for their exclusive use.
  5. Let that lane be also used for all two wheel transport, too.
  6. The outside lane is confined to all essential business users in cars, vans, trucks and lorries.  Commuter who don't need their cars for work must use the electric bus on the dedicated nearside lane.
  7. The stick is having only the overtaking lane to drive in and the carrot is financial inducement, as here:
  8. Money saved from not having to dig up the road for steel railway tracks is used to check, monitor and enforce the bus only lane all the way from Halesowen bus station to Five Ways roundabout.
  9. Money saved from not having LR, VLR or ULR trams is used to reward car drivers who leave their cars at home and use the electric bus on its dedicated bus lane.  Everyone gets FFPT, not just old crocks like me.
  10. Boston is now on board.
  11. Perhaps, workers should even get paid for the first 12 months of using the commuter bus on its dedicated bus lane, as an extra reward/inducement/bribe?
  12. Profit or surplus from the CAZ must go towards rewarding thoughtful, responsible citizens who use the bus instead of the car.
  13. Certainly, this is a better, more sensible use of the £15 BILLION to 2040 now being spent to convert buses and trains into three different kinds of trams - LR, VLR. ULR.
  14. Two year experiment on Hagley Road from Halesowen to Five Ways.
I would like you meet with you, Waseem and Eleanor, to get your feedback, please.  Or, feedback, comments, rebuttal by email.  But, please don't wriggle out of a response, my friends!

Thanks again for a very worthwhile Zoom meeting.  Please do it again and keep to Zoom/Teams, to cut down on travelling (for me, by self powered bike!)


Wednesday, 9 February 2022

from David Cox

Hi Tim,

In case you didn’t catch my answer in the Chat.  I’ve worked with BCC for many years officers and councillors on various areas (not waste or trees) mostly health and transport.  I think people underestimate the difficulties they have to deliver things it’s taken an age and several cabinet leads to sort out the basic bin collection in the City. John O’Shea seem to have managed it at last !!


People were critical of consultants but most departments are understaffed, austerity has knocked millions out of their budget and there’s a lack of proper staff development. Also as Kerslake showed in his review relationships between politicians and officers used to be very stressed I think they are now in a better place. Knowing how long it takes to deliver policies and the work involved they will need all the help in project management that they can get.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Windfall tax for oil/gas/coal companies

I heard Tessa of Uplift speak on the Jeremy Vine Show and she was extremely good.  Would you mind putting in writing the arguments for taxing the oil/gas companies, please?  I would like to make use of them myself, especially to my MP, James Morris!

What were the arguments for the 2011 windfall tax, mentioned by Tessa?

Tessa said as prices rise, profits do too.  Therefore, some of the profits must go to insulating and providing solar PV for the homes on the lowest income to make them less dependent on fossil fuels.

Can there not be a sliding scale, of some kind, where rising profits are used to offset rising prices?

Should the BPs and Shells of this world be taxed after making 5% or 10% profit each year?
What tax do they pay now?
Please explain how we pay more tax to them than they pay to the Exchequer, I think Tessa said.
Do you support a Sovereign Wealth Fund, as Norway has?

For me, one telling argument is that we must immediately move from exploring and then exploiting new gas/oil fields and turn, instead to using that money to invest in having every building as a mini power station like my modest home is - exporting 85% of the electricity that I generate, for others to use.  I use only 15% myself but that must grow as I move out of gas to more self-generated electricity.  The oil and gas companies must quickly move from finite fossil fuels to sustainable, its all we've got, solar/wind/tidal/hydro.

I have been to look for them on your website.

Many thanks