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Friday, July 16, 2010

Letter to Neil Carmichael MP (Stroud Conservative)

Dear Neil,

I would like your clarification, action and support on the following issues; 

  1. Depleted Uranium Munitions.

As you are probably aware the UK government has stood with the US government by opposing any move towards a worldwide ban on depleted uranium munitions by the UN.

These barbaric weapons have left poisoned landscapes in places like Southern Iraq, where birth deformities are so bad and so frequent that women are advised not to have children or offered abortions in the event of pregnancy.

The half-life of depleted uranium is measured in billions of years, so as long as there is civilisation on this planet, those areas that have been subjected to depleted uranium attack will remain uninhabitable.

Depleted uranium attacks result in fine airborne powders that contaminates water supplies and the wider environment. The residue is easily ingested and destroys by emitting deadly alpha radiation. 

It is sad that we were so concerned about Sadam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons, but had no compulsion about the use of our own poison weapons which are equally dangerous, or their continued sale elsewhere around the world.

I would like clarification on what your parties position is on depleted uranium, your guarantee that you will use your position in parliament to support a ban on these weapons in line with our obligations to the Geneva convention, that you will press for full disclosure on the extent of depleted uranium weapons use by the UK in Iraq, a commitment that you will support clean up operations and a commitment to support any UN ban on DU munitions.



  1. Fairford Air Tattoo

As you are aware the Fairford Air Tattoo is due in the next week. As a keen environmentalist, I am sure that you will have no hesitation in condemning this event. I am sure that I do not need to spell out the inconsistencies with this event. However, you should consider:-

At schools and colleges, sustainability must be incorporated into lessons and this is an Ofstead inspection criteria. To simultaneously have an air-show in our locality where B52 bombers are flown across the Atlantic, along with hundred of other planes makes a mockery of teaching sustainability in our schools.  To portray such a confusing and contradictory message to our young people is cruel and we should not be surprised that so many of them are currently suffering from depression and alienation from society.

The CO2 emissions from this single show negate the efforts of many thousands of people who are making sacrifices to cut their own emissions. This is divisive. It will eventually lead either to complete scepticism within society about the merits of minimising CO2 emissions, or worse lead to conflict and anger between those who are trying to cut emissions and those that are not bothered.

The situation on climate change is deadly serious and time to take action has all but run out. With business as usual, by 2030 we will enter a total and unrecoverable runaway climate change scenario; we have already massively breached the safe limit of 350 ppm of atmospheric CO2 and our survival depends on moving as close to a zero carbon economy as we can and doing it as fast as possible. Thus, the overwhelming priority is to make immediate cuts in CO2 emissions in all possible circumstances.  Cancelling events such as the Fairford Air Tattoo sends a powerful message to the people of this country and the governments elsewhere in the world that we are prepared to act and change our society and expectations to reflect the science and evidence before us.

Cancelling frivolous events such as the Fairford Air Show result in immediate cuts to emissions without any hardship to society. To rely on making cuts in CO2 emissions by introduction on new technologies alone will take more time than we have, if it is ever even successful. The longer we delay in making cuts, the more dramatic the cuts need to be, even if today’s targeted 80% cuts in CO2 emissions are not already dramatic enough.

I have tried for several years to get the local press and the BBC to report on the environmental impacts of this show and to consider the wider message that this show delivers which is that we can carry on with business as usual and CO2 cuts will be someone else’s business. However, no news media outlet has ever questioned the logic of the show, despite many people raising with me the question of its merit and relevance in today’s world. This one sided reporting is a straight forward result of the massive marketing budget that the airshow has every year for wining and dining reporters and providing advertising to many small paper to keep them going.


This year, I uploaded a spoof site to highlight these inconsistencies and received a letter from Airshow’s lawyers for my efforts along with a demand for its removal along with a further demand that I do not even comment on their Facebook site. This amounts to state censorship and is in breach of Article 10 of the European Court of Human Rights. These events demonstrate the power large carbon based industries, such as the aviation industry, have over the press and how they will use their power to maintain the current status quo.

I therefore trust that you will publicly support calls to cancel future Air shows and back the strong line that Martin Horewood MP (Lib Dem, Cheltenham) recently took when discussing the challenges faced by Messers Dowty when he warned that the aviation industry had no choice but to look at contraction in the face of climate change challenges.
As you are also aware, the airshow claims to support the RAF Charities. Yet according to their own accouts only 2% of the Air Tattoo sales goes to charities. It is clear that this show is more of an arms fair and an advert of the aviation industry than a charity. I finally trust that you will also support any complaint I make to the charities commission about the continuing status of the airshow.
I look forward to your response.
Regards,
Kevin Lister
Brooklyn, Park Road Crescent, Nailsworth, Stround, GL6 0HZ
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