brian's soapbox
     
NOVEMBER 2012

©Andrew Bythewaybrianmay.com

EXPERT OPINION - LETTERS

 

As always, the opinions expressed in these pages are purely and personally those of myself, Brian; they are not the official views of Queen, or of any other organisation or individual.

Reference:
- Lame Claims
- Stereo and Freeview Notes

 

 

Welcome to
BRI'S SOAPBOX

COPYRIGHT NOTE:
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- ALSO APPLIES TO FOREIGN SITES AND TWITTER

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**Thu 15 Nov 12**
OH ! P.S.

Here's the photo I didn't put on Twitter !

I think I was badly advised ! ha ha.

Roger Taylor and Brian May in front of Battersea Power Station

and …. here's the sunset we were enjoying. Life should never be too busy to enjoy a Sunset !!

Sunset

See you all in CRAWLEY - the HAWTH THEATRE !!! TONITE !!!

Cheers !
Bri

P.S. Here is the amazing Ms Ellis-Townsend in full throw … (courtesy of @bythewayaj)

Kerry Ellis - Brighton show

and yours truly …. (again, thanks @bythewayaj)

Brian at Brighton Show

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**Thu 15 Nov 12**
DEAR FOLKS

I'm still on tour - and still loving it. I've also become slightly addicted to tweeting, as some of you may have noticed ! Hopefully you can all see my Twitter activity if you're checking the Soapbox. You won't be missing much … it's impossible to say anything very deep in Twitter. That's the whole thing - it's very light, in a way, but there is definitely a skill to develop, using this discipline of keeping everything down to 140 characters. It's a bit like Haiku !!! ha ha.

The shows with Kerry have been getting better and better … my God - she is hard to keep up with now ! She's just so developed as a singer and an artist. But it's been a great opportunity for me as a 'producer' as well as a player, to pursue the art of 'minimalism' even further … well, not quite minimalism, but really the art of accompaniment, to best spotlight the singer and the song … which is where I came in, as a kid. I learned 'rhythm' guitar for years before I ever got into lead playing. This now comes in very handy. I'm actually revelling in the challenges it throws up … and with vocals like that … well, it's totally rewarding.

Behind the scenes we are pursuing OWL stereo stuff. The Diableries book is coming on very nicely. And a new set of cards is nearly with us - high-quality meticulously restored reproductions of the original Tissue views but with a new twist … eyes that truly shine !! You'll see !

And there is a new plan to do some 'tourist 3-D' using OWLS ... we met some chaps who are eager to make it work. I'm intrigued, because in a sense we are treading the path of the Vistascreen 3-D viewer in the 1950s.

Here is a pic of me taken during our discussions. For tips on viewing these 'side-by-side' stereos, please see Stereo and Freeview Notes.

Brian in stereo

It's a little soft, but quite friendly, I thought. And definitely stereoscopic ! Taken just before our show in St. Albans. By … one of those chaps !

See you out there !!! thanks for the support so far … it's been very jolly !!

Cheers !

Bri

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**Thu 15 Nov 12**
MUSE

[Brian was asked if he had performed with rock band Muse, or planned to - see LETTERS]

Well, the closest I have come to playing with Muse was on the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games.

They were on stage as I was getting ready to go out and do my solo spot following the Freddie 'Deo' piece.

So both in rehearsals and on the night I got a view from behind them. They're great !

Bri

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**Thu 08 Nov 12**
OBAMA WINS!

I was very happy and relieved to see Mr Obama returned to office.

Now what we need is a glimpse of humanity in our own government.

Bri

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**Tue 06 Nov 12**
TRULY MEMORABLE NIGHT IN LEAMINGTON

It was a truly memorable night in Leamington.

I am just so glad we got ourselves together to do this tour …. it's amazing.

Bury was great … and it had the enormous extra tension of a first night ….

But tonight in Leamington Spa, we actually played less songs, but talked more, improvised more, were more confident, and the audience somehow had a magic touch …

They filled the place with warmth and the right kind of sounds … joined in at every opportunity … which always loosens us up.

And after my jokey request for them to stamp … the sound the audience made was EXACTLY perfect for WWRY … I don't think I ever heard it work so well …

Of course the actual hall played a big part … a pretty perfect place for the intimate show we'd planned … but that sure was a great bunch of people.

Glad we have all grown up together.

Really looking forward to Corby.

Love

Bri

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**Tue 06 Nov 12**
LETTER FROM A FARMER

I think this letter says it all. And we know that your privacy has to be respected.

Many thanks
- Bri

---

Dear Brian,

We are witnessing madness from Paterson and his cronies. They are building a completely false picture of bTB just to support their obsessive demands to shoot badgers.

The plan to impose annual testing on so many more farms is bound to result in more cases detected, giving them more ammunition, in their minds, to kill badgers.

It's complete topsy-turvy insanity, riding on the back of more and more farmers - who will be the ones to suffer.

We're praying for an uprising amongst the farming community against Paterson and the NFU.

If the enlightened don't make their voices heard soon, then they deserve the rack and ruin that will follow, when it becomes obvious that the badger cull 'cure' is a farce.

The postponement of the cull has made most people lose concentration, but hang on in there, nothing stays the same.

Best wishes,

E & H

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**Mon 05 Nov 12**
BURY ROCKIN'

Thanks lovely Bury St. Edmonds People …. you gave us a great start to the tour!

Here we are in sound-check at the Apex - Bri, Kerry, and Jeff Leach. And many candles, as promised!

Bri and Kerry - Bury soundcheck

I don't have any pictures of the gig itself … but .. it was packed (thank you) and you guys performed well ! Kerry is singing better than ever … amazing.

And tomorrow - to Leamington Spa - see ya there!

And the record seems to be doing well ! Thanks for the support, guys …

Bri

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**Sun 04 Nov 12**
"RIDERS MUST WASH MUD OFF THEIR HORSES' HOOVES"?

I never heard such hogwash. How do they get away with it? [MAIL ON SUNDAY 4 November 2012]

What possible doubt can there be that careering around the countryside with horses and packs of dogs must spread fungal spores?

Perhaps we need a new petition, to ban hunting with dogs while there is a threat to ash trees?

Then we can get 100,000 signatures, have a debate in the House, in which Parliament will decide that it's an entirely necessary precaution, to save our trees.

Then the DEFRA ministers, backed by David Cameron, can tell us they don't give a flying F… what the Public, or Science, or Parliament says - they will still condone hunting.

That sound familiar?

This ridiculous Government needs a rocket up its arrogant ass. Hopefully one will come soon.

Bri

---

[and in answer to a question from John B on HUNTING & ASH TREE FUNGUSt- SEE LETTERS]...

It would seem a good idea to ban hunting altogether while there is a threat of the Ash disease being spread.

Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if this Government tried to blame it on wildlife instead.

It would give them a nice excuse to do some more killing, wouldn't it.

Cheers

Bri

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**Fri 02 Nov 12**
NO CELEBRATION

Dear Folks

On the evening of the badgers debate, we put up a picture of me holding a glass up to my daughter on the terrace of the Commons.

Just in case that gave a false impression, let me be clear.

Nobody in Team Badger is celebrating our 'victory' in the debate. To win the vote was better than to lose - of that there is no doubt. And to achieve that took the work of a wonderful team of volunteers who worked at all levels, to inform, involve and inspire. It was made possible by 160,000 people who took the trouble to put their signatures on that petition.

But did it bring us any closer to the abandonment of the Government's perverse badger-culling scheme? If we lived in the kind of democracy we'd all like to think we live in, it would have been a great step forward.

But when Mr Heath, even before the result of the vote was in, made it clear that the Government would not veer one inch from its intent to slaughter badgers, no matter which way the vote went, it was obvious that in their eyes, the debate was mere window-dressing. Let me say to everyone who cares about this senseless carnage, we are no better off now than we were a year ago. We have a Government which is quite clearly determined to kill, rather than vaccinate, no matter what evidence is brought to bear. Their declaration that 'there is no U-turn' means they are proceeding in complete contempt of science, of the will of the people, and now of Parliament. The arrogance of these ministers is truly breathtaking.

This must call into question the whole scheme of e-Petitions, and of backbench debates in general. Mr Heath in one breath claimed credit for bringing in the idea of e-Petitions, and in the next, made it clear that the debates they could bring about carried no weight. Why would anybody bother, in future, to mount an e-Petition, under the impression they might be part of democratic process? Just to be offered a placatory debate, in which MPs go through the motions of parliamentary procedure, but with no outcome? So this is democracy?

It's all actually a very smart piece of sleight of hand by the Government, because now the 160,000 strong petition must lose not only its potential for growth, but will sit there looking like a spent force, now the debate is over. The pro-cull fraternity can now watch smugly as we try to keep beating the same drum, but have nothing new to offer. So who will stop them in their pursuit of the vile killing that they clearly crave? There is little doubt that if Cameron starts the shooting next Summer he will precipitate the ugliest wave of discontent in the public that has been seen in recent times. There is little doubt it would lose him the election. But this will be too late to save a whole generation of destroyed badger families. And too late to save the farming industry from an irretrievable and ultimately fatal alienation from the public.

It's a ghastly mess.

We cannot rest for a moment. We British either let this happen, or we stand up and refuse to let it happen.

Bri

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**Thu 01 Nov 12**
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION AND TEAM BADGER

There has been some discussion about my article in the Mail on Sunday ['THIS CRUEL BADGER CULL IS POINTLESS - AND I CAN PROVE IT', SAYS QUEEN GUITARIST BRIAN MAY], since David Heath smugly waved a piece of paper around in his summing up speech in our Badger Debate in the House of Commons.

He read out part of a message from the Commissioner for Agriculture, which said my comments following Team Badger's visit to Brussels were misleading.

As a tactical move, this fell wide of the mark, because our motion was upheld by 147 votes to 28. But it warrants closer examination.

There was indeed a message from this Commissioner, which can be seen here.

EU Statement re article Mail On Sunay  21 October 2012

Here's the link: http://ec.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/press/press_releases/2012/pr1245_en.htm

It says …

"The European Commission was disappointed to see an article by Brian May in the Mail on Sunday on 21 October which quotes Georg Haeusler, chief adviser to the European Commissioner for Agriculture. Some of the quotes are out of context or inaccurate - and therefore misleading.

Vaccination of cattle against TB is forbidden under current EU rules agreed by all Member States, including the UK. This is because there is no effective test to tell the difference between vaccinated and infected animals, making it impossible to protect the food chain and identify which animals could be exported.

If such a test were to be developed and approved at EU and international levels – which would take time – the rules could be changed relatively quickly. But Mr Haeusler explained that this would be the responsibility of the Health Commissioner, who deals with vaccination issues, and who could also advise on the exact process and timing in this case.

The Commission provides substantial financial support to the approved UK bovine TB eradication programme. For 2012, EUR 31.2 million were allocated to implement a rapid eradication strategy. There is no EU financial support provided for the culling of badgers."

Note especially this part:

“If such a test were to be developed and approved at EU and international levels – which would take time – the rules could be changed relatively quickly."

This is a sentence that Heath conveniently neglected to read out! This is what's known as cherry-picking - choosing the bits of a document that seem to support your case. It's something which this Government has been accused of before.

It says, "The rules could be changed relatively quickly" - which is a clear indication that my most important contention in the article was true. It's confirmation that, contrary to what this Government has been saying, Europe has NOT been holding up progress towards vaccination of our cattle, and is unlikely to in the future. I believe Europe has actually been used as an excuse for our incredibly slow progress. I believe that this cry of 'It will take years and years' no longer holds water. This rhetoric can now be seen for what it is - an attempt to justify a meaningless cull of badgers, by pretending that there is no other 'tool in the box' available to control Bovine TB. There IS a tool. Cow vaccination is that tool, and is the only one which will work.

I believe cow vaccination can be closer than YEARS away and vaccination is the ONLY hope of eradicating bTB.

There is no doubt that husbandry of cattle needs re-examination; and vaccination of badgers will protect badgers from further infection from cows, which in the long run will be good for cows too - much better than an indiscriminate cull, which makes no sense whatsoever.

But I believe that vaccination of cows is the key to unlocking a workable future for Britain's dairy farmers.

Brian

P.S. The last sentence is perplexing. If 31.2 Million Euros were given to Britain to combat bTB, and none of it was for culling of badgers, where did that money go?

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