Solar Eclipse in Peterborough

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2015-03-21 11.05.52tiny eclipses

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How to watch the solar eclipse 1) safely and 2) online

Here is some advice below from the Royal Astronomic Society (www.ras.org.uk) on how to observe the eclipse safely: https://www.ras.org.uk/images/solar_eclipse_leaflet.pdf If you want to view it on line (say if there is heavy cloud), you could use one of the links below which will be providing a live stream: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/8724297/events/3807156/player?width=560&height=315&autoPlay=true&mute=false http://live.slooh.com/stadium/live/the-total-solar-eclipse-of-2015 http://www.solareclipse2015.org.uk/live-webcast/ https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=solar+eclipse+2015+live+streaming

Will anybody in Peterborough see tomorrow’s solar eclipse?

For a second day running it has not been possible to see the sun in Peterborough at 09:30.  I had made a note to check where it would be on Friday (tomorrow) when there is a chance to witness a near total solar eclipse. People have made plans and some have plotted parties and bought cameras, filters, projectors and protective eye wear, ready for the big day.

“It will begin in the UK at 8.45am. The maximum eclipse, when the moon is nearest the middle of the sun, will be at 9.31am. The event will end at 10.41am.” 

Instead we have “fog”. This is a polite word for particulate laden and polluted air.  It might be a lot more accurate to call it “smog”.  Yesterday it almost lifted just after lunch and shafts of sunlight penetrated into the city centre. Today we have what looks like heavy cloud. But it is more likely that the smog has simply floated up a bit. The government website is predicting worse pollution levels on Friday than today.

air pollution for solar eclipse

I joined the Green Party in 2007 as I tried to reverse Peterborough City Council’s decision to support the incineration of domestic waste. This was a battle which we campaigners lost. We saw a neighbouring proposal fall in the face of a far more successful campaign. Lessons were learned, as they say. And I started to consider the vexed question of what exactly drives politics in Peterborough.

A key supporter of incineration of waste is Cllr Marco Cereste (he is also a director of Peterborough Renewable Energy Limited which builds slightly cleaner incinerators than the one the council is building).  As leader of the council he personally attracts huge amounts of anger, frustration and suspicion: some of it reasonable, some of it less so.  But in the last couple of weeks he has told the story of his signing (on behalf of the city he represents) a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on his facebook profile (shared with his facebook friends).  This MoU is with an entity locals understand is a Chinese government funded organisation, possibly what we’d call in the UK, an “NGO” (non governmental organisation).

Then in an online discussion elsewhere entirely about this morning’s fog, someone shared this video which I hadn’t come across previously. The story of this video’s making and removal from Chinese social media is available online. I just wish that we’d had this video at the time the council’s decision was still not made. At the notorious moment when Pam Kreling (then one of the councillors making the crucial decision about whether or not to use incineration) said words to the effect that if she couldn’t see anything emerging from a stack, then there was nothing there and there was by implication nothing which could do anyone any harm. As campaigners we weren’t allowed to speak at critical moments in meetings: in fact the chair of one of the meetings offered to have me and Richard Olive thrown out when we stood up to tell them they were being hopelessly misinformed by their advisors. But as I observed this pantomime (there was no beadle to implement the Chair’s desire) I was left reeling from a deeper revelation. I still wonder how people in key positions got through even basic level schooling, what exactly went on in their science lessons and what their marks were.  

Help Stop Vote Fraud! and when to ring which number

Vote Fraud Hotline
Make a note of the phone number. Call 999 if you see an offence being committed.

Vote Fraud, Vote Rigging, and other Electoral Offences: The council says: 

“Electoral fraud

Electoral fraud is an illegal interference with the process of an election.

What is it?

Acts of fraud tend to involve affecting vote counts to bring about a desired election outcome, whether by increasing the vote share of the favoured candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates, or both. There are many different types of electoral fraud including:

  • Vote buying
  • Intimidation
  • Ballot stuffing
  • Misrecording of votes
  • Misuse of postal or proxy votes
  • Destruction or invalidation of ballot papers

What can I do?

There are simple steps you can take in order to prevent yourself falling prey to electoral fraud:

  • Keep polling cards and postal ballots safe at home , not allowing others to handle them at any time
  • If you arrive at the polling station and someone has voted in your name, notify the Presiding Officer. They will provide you with a tendered ballot allowing you to vote
  • When filling in postal ballots, do so alone. Do not allow anyone else to see you choice or cast it on your behalf
  • Put postal ballots into the envelope and seal it yourself
  • Under no circumstances give your postal ballot to anyone else before the envelope is sealed
  • If anyone tries to help you against your will or force you to give them your postal vote, contact the police

Fraud hotline

If you are suspicious or worried about anything to do with voting and elections you can report it to our Election fraud hotline on 01733 452249 or to Police 101. If you believe an offence is taking place immediately you can call 999.”  from: http://www.peterborough.gov.uk/council_and_democracy/elections/electoral_fraud.aspx

Please help ensure Peterborough voters are free to vote the way they want and have their intentions truly represented in the electoral process.  Help spread the word: download and print electoral fraud poster 1 (sorry it isn’t beautiful, please send in your or a fresh or newer version!)