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The purpose of this blog is to allow me to record my journey, the formation of the No New Wars organisation (whatever form that may take), the Eleven Eleven Twenty-Eighteen campaign and the supporting resources and networks of people and organisations.

This idea crystallised for me in 2012 when I decided it was not enough to be angry about wars being started in my name (that is, by my government) that I could not prevent.  Instead I would do something.  Not march with a banner, or send a letter to my MP, or write to the embassy of the enemy state, but instead stop the war in the first place.

I realised that I could not stop foreign countries starting wars.  But I can do something to influence my own government.  I could start a movement that makes it clear to our politicians that we do not want war, and that we will make them pay if they start one.

In a democracy we have only one tool available: our vote.  If enough of us pledge to remove our vote from any politician promoting an unjust, illegal or unnecessary war and to instead give that vote to an opponent, then we can make the politicians and major political parties too frightened to want to start a war.

It does not even need many of us to sign up to this.  In many constituencies it would only take about half of the MP’s majority to take the pledge to make the MP realise their next election might be their last.  And if people who do not vote – which is most of us – sign this pledge saying we will turn up and make a protest vote, it will make the political parties sit up and think about the consequences of the actions of a few war mongers.

I haven’t done the sums in detail, but if this campaign had been in place by 2003 when the 2nd Gulf War started, and if just 1% of the electorate had signed this pledge, then 170,00 non-voters voting against Labour plus 1% of Labour voters voting for either of the other major parties, would have resulted in Labour losing the 2005 General Election.

Between 750,000 (Police figures) and 2,000,000 (organisers’ figures) people marched in London alone to protest against the 2nd Gulf War.  Just 400,000 registered voters making a pledge would have more effect.

We actually can stop wars from starting by targeting the real cause: politicians who want to start a war.  By telling them we as voters will end their political career and wreck their party’s future prospects of power at the same time.

Would you consider war prevention a big enough cause to change your vote, or to make you go out and vote?

11/11/2018 – end of

In 2012 to 2013 I developed the idea of preventing wars by forming a one policy campaign organisation whose membership would commit themselves to the idea that if the government started a war, every member would be pledged to turn up and vote for any other party at the next local, national and European election.  That is, if they start a war (as opposed to a defensive action), they lose their jobs.

The goal was to have this in place within five years, by the hundredth anniversary of the Great War on 11th November 2018.

I set up a web site and started recording ideas and statistics.  In my haste and keenness, I did not set up a backup regime for the site.  So when a Drupal exploitation occurred, some stupid child hacker trashed the site and replaced it with some pro-Islamist pro-war bollocks.  I lost all the content – all the thinking and planning I had done.

The 11112018.org.uk domain has finally expired and the web site disappeared.

It takes a lot of time, energy and planning to set up a campaign.  I could not find sufficient to make mine happen.  Life gets in the way.  Meanwhile aid is being cut and military spending significantly increased.  It all feels so futile.

The No New Wars organisation web site – no more

By the end of may 2013 I had formed an idea to create a No New Wars organisation.  A membership organisation that would bring together the entire UK peace sector’s organisations and sympathisers with one common goal: to prevent any new wars.

Herding cats would be much easier.  They have predictable common goals.

The domain and web site have finally expired.

Oh well.  I tried.

Chinese domain registration emails

I got an email from Adrian Liu adrian@cnnetwork.org of China Registry Head Office saying:

(It’s very urgent, therefore we kindly ask you to forward this email to your CEO. If you believe this has been sent to you in error, please ignore it. Thanks)
Dear CEO,
We are the domain registration and solution center in China. On October 5, 2021, we received an application from Hongxiang Ltd requested “nonewwars” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names (nonewwars.cn, nonewwars.com.cn, nonewwars.net.cn, nonewwars.org.cn). But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor in China?

Best Regards

Adrian Liu | Service & Operations Manager

China Registry (Head Office)

Tel: +86-2161918696

Fax: +86-2161918697

Mob: +86-13816428671

6012, Xingdi Building, No. 1698 Yishan Road, Shanghai 201103, China

*****************************************

This email contains privileged and confidential information intended for the addressee only. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy this email and inform the sender immediately. We appreciate you respecting the confidentiality of this information by not disclosing or using the information in this email.

Gotta love the “Best Regards”.  It’s like a mugger saying “Have a nice day”.  I like to be helpful.  So I replied:

No, Hongxiang Ltd is nothing to do with us at all.

It probably does not matter what you say in the reply, because this comes next.  From one Zhihai Ning ningzhihai@outlook.com saying:

To whom it concerns,

We will register the China domain names “nonewwars.cn” “nonewwars.com.cn” “nonewwars.net.cn” “nonewwars.org.cn” and internet keyword “nonewwars” and have submitted our application. We are waiting for Mr. Adrian Liu’s approval. These CN domains and internet keyword are very important for us to promote our business in China. Although Mr. Adrian Liu advised us to change another name, we will persist in this name.

Kind regards
Zhihai Ning

I thought I ought to respond.  Out of politeness.  Especially since they said “Kind regards” which as we know is always a genuine sentiment.

I don’t see how I can stop you.

But I am interested. Why do you want to use the NoNewWars name?

Back to a reply from Adrian Liu adrian.liu@chinaregistry.org.cn at the China Registry.

Based on your company having no relationship with them, we have already suggested that they should choose another name to avoid this conflict, but they persist in this name as China domain names (nonewwars.cn, nonewwars.com.cn, nonewwars.net.cn, nonewwars.org.cn) and internet keyword. In our opinion, maybe they do the similar business as your company then register it to promote their company.

As is known to all, the domain name registration based on the international principle is opened to company and individual. Any company or individual have the right to register any domain name and internet keyword which are unregistered. Your company haven’t registered this name as China domain names and internet keyword, so any company is able to obtain them by registration. But in order to avoid this conflict, the trademark or original name owner have priority right to register China domain name and internet keyword during our dispute period. If your company is the original owner of this name and want to register these China domain names (nonewwars.cn, nonewwars.com.cn, nonewwars.net.cn, nonewwars.org.cn) and internet keyword to prevent anybody from using them, please inform us. We can send you an application form with price list to help your company register these China domain names and internet keyword during our dispute period.

Best Regards

Adrian Liu | Service & Operations Manager

China Registry (Head Office)

Tel: +86-2161918696

Fax: +86-2161918697

Mob: +86-13816428671

6012, Xingdi Building, No. 1698 Yishan Road, Shanghai 201103, China

****************************************

This email contains privileged and confidential information intended for the addressee only. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy this email and inform the sender immediately. We appreciate you respecting the confidentiality of this information by not disclosing or using the information in this email.

Now I understand.  It is a scam that is simply frightening people into buying domain names they otherwise would not want or need.  Let’s see if I’m right with a quick search

Hmm.  I wonder if it is a scam…!  🙂  Apparently they’ve been doing this since at least 2009 – twelve years.  So it must work.  Well, he wasted some of my time, I’ll waste some of his.

But China is a communist country. I thought there was no such thing as copyright under communism.

I am awaiting the next email…

Can being nice prevent violence?

ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) e-learning is a free short course for the general public on what to be aware of and how to look out for terrorist activity in public places.  A recurring theme in it is to be polite, to challenge people who are looking lost or suspicious, to ask if such people need assistance and offer to help such as taking them where they need to go.  Essentially saying excellent customer service has a side effect of countering criminality.

It is interesting that by being nice and polite to people it makes it hard for them to be violent and anti-social.

What impact would it have on those who want to harm our society if everyone they came across in our society was friendly, open, polite, helpful in a self-assured way?  Perhaps if we had such a society, there would be fewer people who wanted to harm our society in the first place.

Deo-digital existentialism

As I locked up last night I noticed some bright planet or ‘plane and was then struck by the incredibly bright white moon; I stood outside the back door for a bit gazing at the perfectly cloudless sky (first time all day!)

As I brought the milk in just now, I was again struck by the sight of the bright moon (albeit through a clouded sky), this time outside the front door. For a tiniest instant there was the thought “What’s that doing there?  It should be out the back” and I was yet again struck by the awesome majestic mathematical mechanical wonder that is the Universe.  It keeps going about its business with no regard to us or our plans, silently turning and spinning.

I unlocked the back door and there is a glorious orange red glow at the horizon, the pre-dawn heralding both the otherwise unseen Sun and a ‘shepherd’s warning’.  I was quite inspired by the contrast of the scientifically provable inevitability of the sun rising against the folk lore weather prediction which is likely just as reliable.  I felt I had to share and post this.

There’s been an automated Windows update overnight that has rebooted the laptop.  I wonder what that has cocked up this time.  And now it says I need to reboot to complete the update, so it is not in a usable state.  The little world in my computer is a bit broken and its needs its little god, me, to restart its universe from scratch to have another go at creating a functional reality.  So I – its supposed overlord – am to be forced to bring its life to an end, power it off, then cry “Let there be light!” and restart it to allow another cycle of creativity (and cockups).

Nah, sod it. I’m going to wash up and have breakfast.

I don’t think there’s a god or God out there.  At one time I used to imagine perhaps there is, but if so, it has given up on this cock-up long ago and moved on to another attempt.

At another time it dawned on me this Universe as already been destroyed once.  It did not work out, was smashed and all that remains are the tiniest of fragments, flying apart. hence the vast emptiness of space: why create something with so little in it?  Because we are not witnessing creation but the post-destruction explosion of frustration, the result of a tantrum at another failed attempt, and we are merely the germs that have grown on one of the specks of dust.

How dare we imagine that we are the important beings in this immense vastness.  We are but nothing, the tiniest speck of life light that will flare for the tiniest instant, then go out again, most likely unnoticed by anything.  To pretend the universe revolves around us, is for us, is ours, is a ridiculous arrogance as great as the Universe itself.

All we have, all we are, is what we do.  And the only part of that which matters is that experienced by other sentient life.  The rocks don’t care and there is no god lovingly watching us and caring for us, any more than we care for a fungal spore on a rotting apple core in the bin.  Less so.

All that matters is how we treat one another.  And that is how we should be – and generally are – judged.  Can’t we please just try to be nice to one another, and to try to think of the future?  Why can’t we have a society where those are the values?  Other than “By killing everyone who disagrees with me”, of course.  That hasn’t worked for over 8,000 years and has been the cause of most of the harm, so don’t try peddling those second-hand lies to me.  Because if we don’t work that out, then we are indeed filth that belongs in the dustbin of eternity.  And the only thing that stops me believing that totally, is hope.

Better go and reboot the laptop.  And hope it saves my tabs and settings and works properly this time.

Airstrikes kill civilians

We are told that drone strikes have surgical precision.

We are told that intelligence is always checked before targeting people.

Afghanistan: US admits Kabul drone strike killed civilians

We are told lies.

These are extra-judiciary (i.e. sentence delivered without trial) executions (i.e. killings).  We usually call that murder.

Why is nobody held accountable?

Oh, I forgot.  We are.  By the families, friends and sympathisers of the victims, who hold us responsible for the actions of our military and governments.

Are you happy, being party to mass murder of innocent civilians, including children?

Bastard evil WordPress hostile design fault

I logged in to WordPress, started a new post and something flashed up on the screen.  Then something else, then I had lost what I started doing.  In my list of posts is a page just begun with only part of the title.  Odd, because something similar happened yesterday when I tried to write a post.

So I start again, this time having forgotten what I was going to write about and instead write about the distractions that WordPress itself now provides when you try to write a new post.  WordPress used to be somewhere you quickly went to and wrote a thought and posted it.  WordPress is now a product that wants to tell you all about WordPress.  I This was the result:

Showing WordPress losing my postI started to write “Distractions caused by WordPress” and got the popup about leaving the page.  So I let it continue.

WordPress telling me about itselfWordPress had interrupted my attempt to create a post to take me to a page to tell me about WordPress.  Why would I want to be told at this point, when I’m already using it to write a post? This is stupid, inconsiderate design.  Why not go here when I logged in, not when I am trying to put my thoughts on the page?

Now I have lost my train of thought and so won’t be writing the blog post I wanted to write.  WordPress has successfully sabotaged its own purpose – and mine – by trying to promote itself.  And now I am angry with the developers.

Twats.

Edit: Aaarrgghh!!  I realised I had not put a title on this post, went back in to edit it, started writing the title and WordFuckingPress jumped to that elf-promotion page again.  WHY?  Why send me there EVERY FUCKING TIME?  Why do it WHEN I AM TRYING TO EDIT A POST?

Hit them where it hurts – in the wallet

The climate change movement has been saying for a few years that a very effective way to achieve their aims is to get people to move their bank accounts and pensions away from mainstream providers to ethical ones instead.  This is now paying dividends – literally! – and is also resulting in the ethical investment funds having enough clout to change the behaviour of carbon-producing industry.  For example:

18 May 2021 “Shell faces shareholder rebellion over fossil fuel productionThe GuardianLink.

Shell has faced a significant shareholder rebellion on a vote calling for the oil company to set firm targets to wind down fossil fuel production.  A shareholder resolution calling for the Anglo-Dutch company to set binding carbon emissions reduction targets received 30% of votes at the oil company’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

The result represents an escalation of the pressure on Shell to commit to meaningful decarbonisation, after a similar resolution last year received 14% of votes.

The Shell rebellion sailed past the 20% threshold that means the oil company will be forced to consult shareholders and report on their views within six months, under the UK corporate governance code.

The resolution was put forward by Follow This, a campaign group that uses activist investment to put pressure on oil companies into decarbonising in line with the limits set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

26 May 2021 “ExxonMobil and Chevron suffer shareholder rebellions over climateThe Guardian.

Exxon loses two board seats to activist hedge fund.

Exxon failed to defend its board against a coup launched by dissident hedge fund activists at Engine No. 1 which successfully replaced two Exxon board members with its own candidates to help drive the oil company towards a greener strategy.

Meanwhile, a majority of Chevron shareholders rebelled against the company’s board by voting 61% in favour of an activist proposal from – Dutch campaign group Follow This – to force the group to cut its carbon emissions.

Mark van Baal, who founded Follow This, said Wednesday’s shareholder revolts mark an investor “paradigm shift” and a “victory in the fight against climate change”.

3 Jun 2021 “Activist fund expected to win third seat on ExxonMobil boardThe Guardian.

ExxonMobil expects to lose a third board seat to an activist hedge fund, Engine No 1, adding to the pressure on one of the world’s largest oil companies to introduce a more effective climate transition plan.

CarbonDirect, LowCarbon and Morgan Stanley are examples of companies who have decided that actively investing in carbon reduction industries is more profitable than in the oil and gas extraction industries.

Green shareholders change the world!  Follow This is a campaigning organisation set up “to change oil companies from within – as shareholders. Follow This unites responsible shareholders to push Big Oil to go green.”  Also:

The Follow This Online Symposium 2021, which took place on April 21, brought together investors, the oil and gas industry, academics, and media to discuss how investors can support oil and gas companies to take a leading role in tackling climate change.

This may be relevant for the peace movement worldwide.  By adopting the same approach, it may be possible to move funds away from the arms industry.  More likely is that the arms industry will start to develop conflict transformation programmes so as to claim they are ethical too.

Perhaps this is something the peace sector should mobilise toward: all advising their members and supporters to move their current accounts, savings, investments and pensions to ethical providers.  It is something we can all unite behind: a common message with a common purpose.  One which we can see can work to save the planet – perhaps it can save humanity from war too.

 

Understand the market

When constructing your product, consider what the market it looking for and to what they apply value.

The purveyors of hot dogs sell hot dog sausages that are longer than the bread rolls so the sausage sticks out at both ends.  Delighted people say “Look how generous they are with their sausages!“, rather than miserably mutter “Look how stingy and mean they are with their bread rolls“.

They use under-sized rolls to give the impression of adding extra in the component where the punter sees value: the sausage.

But by being mean with the bread, the punter remains hungry and returns for more, sooner.

It is not enough to know hat you are selling: you also need to know what the customer values and tailor your product and marketing accordingly.