BBC One’s screening on Sunday 14 September of Sir David Attenborough’s new documentary Extinction: The Facts left many viewers shocked, terrified and angry according to some press reports. The hour-long programme saw the legendary natural historian and fellow experts investigate the devastating effects of climate change and habitat loss on wildlife and plant life, and how it’s also impacting humanity and the planet.
Disturbing scenes saw Attenborough detail how a million different species are at risk of extinction due to the biodiversity crisis, which is also putting us at greater risk of pandemic diseases like COVID-19.
Continue reading We have been warned…again and again
“After Brexit we also need to look at the broader aspects of our constitution: the relationship between the government, parliament and the courts; the functioning of the Royal prerogative; the role of the House of Lords; and access to justice for ordinary people. The ability of our security services to defend us against terrorism and organised crime is critical. We will update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government.”
So ran the Conservative Party’s general election manifesto (page 48). On 31 July some eight months later and as threatened, the government has set up an panel to look at judicial review (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-independent-panel-to-look-at-judicial-review )
Continue reading Where is the UK heading – a warning from history?
‘A popular government, without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and the people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.’ James Madison, USA President 1822. (quoted in ‘The Right to Know: The Inside Story of the Belgrano Affair’ by Clive Ponting, 1985)
Civil servant, Falklands War whistleblower, writer and historian who died aged 74 on 28 July, was perhaps one of the outstanding 20th century campaigners against official secrecy. Continue reading Remembering Clive Ponting