Welcome to Bennett's World: a collection of articles and references covering a wide variety of topics in which I am involved. I am a very political person but I have no allegiance to any political party. Follow me on twitter @colinhove

Monday, March 30, 2015

Remembering My Lai

Some of us have vivid memoroes of the expose by renowed US journalist Seymour Hersh of the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam. It took him over a year to ferret out what had happened. The Vietnamese were very appreciative of the coverage but as they pointed out "we have had many My Lais in Vietnam".

It's very much worthwhile accessing this story on Democracy Now! broadcast on 25 March 2015.

Here is the video link:


Monday, March 23, 2015

Pablo Iglesias discussing the situation in Spain and elsewhere.

This presentation and interview held at New York's Colubmia University was broadcast by Democracy Now! on 21 February 2015. Here is the link:


It is an excellent programme and very informative. Greatly recommended.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Setback on registering village greens

 Here is a press release from the Open Spaces Society of which I am a member: 
 It is not good news but readers should know about it. If you feel so inclined you might consider joining the OSS or making contact with your Parliamentarians (MPs or Peers) to express your concern of this outcome.




The Open Spaces Society(1) is devastated that the supreme court has
today (25 Feb) rejected the rights of local people to register West
Beach at Newhaven in East Sussex as a village green.(2)

Five judges in the supreme court have upheld the appeal of Newhaven Port
and Properties (NPP) Limited, overturning the decision in the court of
appeal in March 2013 which said that the land could be registered as a
village green.

 A village green is land which local people have used for informal
recreation for 20 years, without challenge or permission (ie 'as of
right').  Once registered, the land is protected from development and
encroachment(3) and local people have rights of recreation there.  Local
people have enjoyed Newhaven Beach for walking, fishing, swimming and
other activities for generations.

 The Open Spaces Society backed its member Newhaven Town Council in its
court action to defend Newhaven Beach.

 The supreme court considered three issues, whether (1) local people had
enjoyed an implied licence to use the land, (2) by-laws had permitted
use of the land, and (3) registration of the land as a village green was
incompatible with the statutory function of the land which is held by
NPP as a working harbour.

 The court did not determine the first issue as it considered that it was
not necessary to do so for the purpose of determining the appeal. On the
by-law issue the court held that there existed a public-law right for
local people to use the land for recreation and concluded that the
public's use was not 'as of right' (which is essential to register the
land) but 'by right' because the use was permitted under the by-laws.

 On the question of incompatibility the court confirmed that it is not
possible to acquire rights by prescription (long usage) against a public
authority which had acquired land for a specific statutory purpose.

 The court found that the registration of the land as a village green
would be incompatible with the use of the area as a working harbour.

 Says Nicola Hodgson case officer for the Open Spaces Society: 'This is
devastating news for the local community and the town council who have
fought so hard to retain this area for use by local people.  The
judgment appears to remove any previous ambiguity about the effect that
existing by-laws will have on an application to register land as a
village green and makes clear that where the land is held for a specific
statutory purpose it will not be possible to register it as a green.'

 It is not yet clear how many current applications for village greens
will be affected by this judgment but there is no doubt that it makes it
more difficult to register land as a green.  

 Adds Nicola: 'This judgment comes on top of the pernicious change in
English law(4) which outlaws applications to register greens where land
is threatened with development.  With the courts and parliament working
against us, the future of our precious open spaces is increasingly
perilous,' says Nicola.

 The application to register the land as a village green was made by
Newhaven Town Council to the registration authority, East Sussex County
Council, in 2008.  Following a public inquiry in 2010 the inspector,
Miss Ruth Stockley recommended that the land should be registered as a
village green.  NPP then made an application to the high court and in
November 2011 Ouseley J rejected all but one of its arguments.  Newhaven
Town Council appealed and the court of appeal reversed that decision in
March 2013 and said that the land could be registered as a green.  Now
that decision has been reversed in the supreme court.