Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bloggers for Burma

This seems to be a blogger showing latest photos from the protests in Burma.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

the worst factory I have ever seen... not in Cairo or Bethlehem but in Leicester.

There are many small sewing factories in Leicester, mostly producing very low quality women's 'fashionwear' - cheap tops you might find on a market stall with lots of sequins, straps and nasty prints on the front. Why?

In fairness, I only entered a couple of them, and those were quite busy. Managers spoke to workers in a variety of Indian subcontinental languages. The jobs appeared to be low paid and judging by the adverts for workers outside so many factories, the turnover of staff was large. The ones which looked absolutely awful from the outside (ricketty fire escapes, broken windows, etc etc) I didn't even enter.

Based on that, I'd say it is no great surprise that few people want to manufacture in the UK.

We really want to launch a range of UK manufactured products, and we have a few ideas up our sleeves. I was just in Leicester with a spare few hours, so I thought I'd just wander around and see what was happening. It wasn't pretty.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

the war on democracy

John Pilger has a new film out which you can view on youtube and elsewhere. It is a disturbing documentary showing that the only world superpower, contrary to what we constantly hear, is not interested in democracy in the slightest.

This was a clearly emphasised by the Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton in a recent BBC interview on Today. Talking of Pakistan, he clearly stated that US foreign policy put stability of the current dictatorship in that country over democracy - on the basis that the US needs to know the person with his finger on the nuclear button.

Lest anyone didn't know, the policies of democracy advocated by Washington are elastic and debatable. What really matters is security, so if that involves bumping off a few Latin American leaders (democratically elected) or supporting military dictatorships then hey, live with it people.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

assessing Anita

Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, died last night of a massive brain haemorrhage.

Anita walked the way before others did and spoke the things she had on her mind, and for that reason if nothing else, she should be remembered as a great pioneer. However, she was also a multi-millionaire who sold out her business empire to the highest bidder - even when that was one of the cosmetics companies she had been battling with for many years. In latter years she admitted herself that she should have looked harder to find a way to build a business which could not so easily be taken over by the interests of the lenders.

Ultimately, whilst she was able to use her celebrity in ways to help the poor and she clearly gave away a lot of money, she was foremost a businesswoman who thought mainly about herself. Like Bono and Geldoff, the world has been richer for her contribution. Godspeed Anita, rest in peace.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007


France is said to be the most secular state in Europe, yet the crucified Christ looks down from almost every bend in the road, and ancient churches puncture the skyline in every direction. In the massive churches and cathedrals, stone saints look down sadly on the empty dusty chairs.

Is it an exaggeration to suggest that the secularisation was caused by the over-saturation of religion?

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