Support This Petition To The ICSID Tribunal Arbitrating The Philip Morris-Uruguay BIT Dispute

The tobacco giant Philip Morris is suing Uruguay for having some of the best anti-smoking laws in the world, and there’s a good chance it could win, unless we strengthen the fight in court.

It’s a scary reality that one company, whose product kills, could overturn laws that protect our public health. But if our community’s voices are brought into court by a world class legal team, we could fight back with a force no judge could ignore, showing how this sets an unacceptable precedent for the world.

Let’s tell the court that this doesn’t just affect Uruguay — if Big Tobacco gets their way it opens the door for challenges everywhere — companies already have at least 4 other countries in their crosshairs, and many more have anti-smoking laws at risk.

We have to move fast — the court is already hearing arguments. Sign to protect our public health and our democracies from corporate greed — each of our names will be submitted to the court.

Sign the petition

Glorious Wells

Yesterday we spent a fabulous day visiting Wells in Somerset.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather. After around two hours traveling we arrived and promptly set about finding somewhere to have a bite to eat and a cuppa. We settled on The Crown at Wells and Antons Bistro and opted to eat in The Penns Bar.

Originally a separate inn, it was from an upper window here that William Penn, a Quaker who later gave his name to Pennsylvania USA (and our bar), preached to a crowd below in 1685.

After lunch we started our exploration in earnest. After browsing some of the market stalls and doing a bit of window shopping we passed through the archway and headed towards the Bishops Palace and Moat.

The weather was so good that many folks had brought picnics and were sitting enjoying the sunshine. Not something we are able to do as often as we would like. Of course nobody was allowed on the bowling green quality lawns immediately in front of the palace itself.

Before traveling down to Wells I had printed of the Wells Moat Walk map which guides you around the moat and makes sure you don’t miss the main sights. Each of the following views are from that walk.

The Tithe Barn, unfortunately, was surrounded by parked cars which was a shame. Its a lovely building and deserves to be seen without the automotive graffiti.

As we strolled along the moat we availed ourselves of a deliciously smooth 99 apiece. This really was just like a summers day. We had to keep reminding ourselves that it was still only the third week of March.

Wherever you are in the city the magnificent cathedral dominates the skyline. But there are plenty of other interesting sights.

Adjacent to the cathedral can be found the Vicars Close which has it’s own unique style and, having no through road, forms a quiet secluded area away from the general hustle and bustle.

The cathedral itself has many interesting feature both outside as well as in. Close to the entrance to the Vicars Close, on the cathedral wall you can see the Wells Clock, said to be the second oldest clock mechanism in Britain.

Inside, the cathedral has many beautiful architectural features. In the main body of the building is the scissor arch. An impressive feature but they serve a very real purpose. In the past a high tower topped by a lead covered wooden spire had been constructed but as the foundations were not stable large cracks began to appear in the tower structure. The scissor arch is an engineering solution to the problem.

Leading up to the Chapter House is a remarkable flight of stairs

The Chapter House, an octagonal structure, is a beautiful room constructed over the undercroft is where the Canons met to conduct cathedral business.

By far the most spectacular feature of the cathedral is the West Front which features some 300 statues.

After touring the cathedral we were ready to return home. On route we stopped, at the White Horse Ampfield,  for dinner.

A fine and tasty end to a great day.

View From The Conservatory

Beavering away over a hot keyboard when I looked up in response to a sudden gust of wind which caused the conservatory to creak and groan.

The sun burst out from the clouds and my eyes were drawn to this beautiful blossom in my neighbours back garden..









A reminder that spring is on its way.

Liverpool could lose favour if it messes with the Three Graces – Architectural Vandalism

I am married to a native of the Wirral, have family sprinkled over the area and am a fairly frequent visitor to Merseyside. If the planned development is allowed to proceed it will be nothing less than Architectural Vandalism.

The Mersey skyline, when viewed from either the deck of the Mersey ferry or the Birkenhead shore line, with the “Three Graces” and the two cathedrals is synonymous with Liverpool. Just as the Eiffel Tower is with Paris and Tower Bridge with London.

To even consider overshadowing such an iconic view with skyscrapers and a new cruise liner terminal is the vision of a madman.

The city is expected to approve the UK’s biggest planning application: a £5.5bn development that will relegate the Three Graces to bit-players in a landscape dwarfed by skyscrapers.

This is such a stupid proposal that

The development will threaten the city’s World Heritage status, putting it in line to become only the third place ever deleted from Unesco’s list.

Liverpool was awarded World Heritage Site status in 2004. If it loses that designation it will join a very short deleted list alongside Oman’s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary, where prospecting for oil and poaching depleted the rare birds, and the Dresden Elbe Valley, which lost its status in 2009 after plans for the Waldschlösschen bridge were approved.

I have one thing to say to the Liverpool authorities ….


Liverpool could lose favour if it messes with the Three Graces – Architecture – Arts & Entertainment – The Independent.