Cameron Nominated ‘Revolving Door’ Ex-Lobbyist As EU Commissioner

Is Britain preparing for a “Brexit” (British exit from the E.U.) ?

British Prime Minister David Cameron nominated Jonathan Hopkin Hill last year to the post of EU commissioner.  The nomination of Hill, a revolving door ex-lobbyist, was bad news for Jean-Claude Juncker’s commitment to lobby transparency, according to

Juncker is the 12th and current President of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, writes Wikipedia.  He is also the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg.

Much of the media commentary so far about Jonathan Hopkin Hill’s (link is external) nomination as the UK commissioner for the Juncker commission has focused on the possibility of a British exit from the E.U., or “Brexit.”

A British exit from the EU could happen pending a potential in-out referendum in 2017, writes

A surprising number of political pundits have welcomed his lobbyist background as proof of his ability to strike backroom deals. It may be that this is why David Cameron – UK prime minister – has nominated him.

Hill’s background as the “most senior former lobbyist in government” is not in doubt; he has been through the revolving doors of UK politics to the lobby industry and back again on numerous occasions.

In the 1980s, he went from ministerial special adviser to Lowe Bell Communications; in the 1990s, he went from No. 10 Downing Street Policy Unit to Bell Pottinger Communications (link is external).  Most recently, he moved from Quiller Consultants (which he co-founded in 1998) to ministerial office and, until recently, leader of the House of Lords, the UK’s un-elected upper chamber.

(Updated article)

Did Tories Threaten BBC Over Coverage?

According to The Telegraph, in Britain, senior Conservatives made “repeated threats” of reform to the BBC to try and alter its election coverage, a senior Labour Party adviser claimed.

The BBC is a government-funded media outlet, at least partly paid for by a monthly license fee for all TV owners.

A former Times journalist, Tom Baldwin, said BBC executives were threatened with consequences if it did not “fall into line” with more sympathetic coverage for the Tories.

The news of the threats comes after the appointment of John Whittingdale to Culture Secretary after the Conservatives (Tories) won a majority in the House of Commons.  The Culture Secretary is in charge of the BBC.  Whittingdale has previously called the BBC licence fee “worse than the poll tax.”

The move has triggered speculation that the BBC Trust could now be abolished and the license fee drastically reformed or even scrapped.

Mr Baldwin, one of Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband’s most senior advisers, hit out at the pressure the BBC was put under by Labour’s opponents in his first public comments since the election defeat.  He claimed that BBC journalists and executives told him that they were threatened by Conservative Leaders about “what would happen” if they didn’t fall into line over the election coverage.

(Updated article)

What is ‘Turing’s Law’ in Britain?

The many faces of Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch played the part of Alan Turing in the film The Imitation Game recently.  Turing cracked the German “Enigma” code and is considered a hero of World War II.

According to The Independent, last February, the real-life family of Alan Turing visited Downing Street to demand that the British government pardon 49,000 men who – like Turing – were prosecuted for being homosexual.

In England, homosexuality was illegal until it was decriminalized in 1967, states the BBC.

The Independent states that Turing’s great-nephew, Nevil Hunt, great-niece, Rachel Barnes, and her son, Thomas, handed over the petition – which had almost half-a-million signatures – and demanded a new law on the matter be approved.

Ms. Barnes, 52, from Taunton, said: “I consider it to be fair and just that everybody who was convicted under the Gross Indecency Law is given a pardon. It is illogical that my great uncle has been the only one to be pardoned when so many were convicted of the same crime.”

Turing, the cryptanalyst and mathematician, was convicted in 1952 for “gross indecency” with a 19-year-old man.

As part of his sentence, he was chemically castrated and he died in 1954 after apparently committing suicide.

He was exonerated in 2013, but his family and petitioners want the government to pardon all the men convicted under the outdated law.

“Generations of gay and bisexual men were forced to live their lives in a state of terror,” said the editor of Attitude Magizine, Matthew Todd.

How does the British government feel about it?

A law on the topic has not yet been enacted, but that would probably change after the British Parliamentary Elections coming up on May 7th.

In March, the Leader of the Labor Party, Ed Miliband, said that a future Labour government would pave the way for posthumous pardons for gay men convicted under historical ‘gross indecency’ laws, according to the BBC.  It would allow the families of those men convicted to apply to have their records expunged.

Legislation would be known as “Turing’s Law” in memory of Alan Turing, said Miliband.

Miliband’s decision may have also had an effect on The Conservative (Tory) Party.  Recently, during April, The Conservatives pledged to introduce a new law helping to “lift the blight of outdated convictions” from other people found guilty of similar offenses, states The Telegraph.

“Thousands of British men still suffer from similar historic charges, even though they would be completely innocent of any crime today,” the Tory manifesto read.

The manifesto reads: “Many others are dead and cannot correct this injustice themselves through the legal process we have introduced while in government. So we will introduce a new law that will pardon those people, and right these wrong.”

(Updated article)

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Film Director James Cameron And Wife Create America’s First All Vegan School

Say Hello to America's First All Vegan School, Thanks to James Cameron

Coming fall of 2015, MUSE school in Calabasas, California will be the first school in America serving an entirely plant-based menu to their students.

The school, which opened its doors in 2006, has two campuses and was founded by Rebecca Amis and Suzy Amis Cameron, wife of famed film producer and “Titanic” director, James Cameron.

With a strong seed-to-table program already in place and lots of flourishing gardens tended to by the students, the plan to guide the entire menu toward an entirely whole foods, plant-based one has been in the works for the last year and a half.