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Out, out damned logo!: Why I protested the Edinburgh International Festival

Actors and activists protested yesterday against BP's sponsorship of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Kirsty Haigh
17 August 2015
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photo: bp or not bp

Gross negligence caused the spill by BP,

Gross deception, it’s time to set the festival free.

I love the arts and I love the festival. What I do not love is giant corporate criminals being allowed to use the Edinburgh International Festival to greenwash. I do not love spectacular performances being used to promote companies responsible for disastrous climate change.

Yesterday BP or Not BP? joined us from London to help us spread this message loud and clear. Along with Friends of the Earth Scotland, and others from Edinburgh University People & Planet we took over the entranceway to the Hub, one of the Edinburgh International Festival venues and box offices.

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photo: bp or not bp

People in the Gulf Coast are dying,

and BP keep on lying

but we will not be silent.

We said no, no, no, no;

they’ve got to go, go, go

We performed a theatrical stunt highlighting just some of the devastation that BP are causing- the 2010 oil rig explosion and spill which killed workers, decimated the environment and destroyed the livelihood of many locals and that their constant quest for more oil is sucking dry any hope we have of slowing down climate change.

It’s through stunts like these, where we takeover a space and force the Edinburgh International Festival to think about the consequences of these companies actions and inform the public of the issue that we can win change.

Our protest stunt outside the Usher Hall was also well received and we were fortunate enough to be joined by Green MSP Alison Johnstone & actor Simon McBurney & Daniel Bry who all have expressed their disappointment with the sponsorship.

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bp or not bp

By taking sponsorship from BP the festival is condoning their practices and allowing these companies to pretend they are caring and responsible companies. We must not let our festivals and public institutions bury the destruction of our planet.

The Edinburgh International Festival, and everyone, need to break their ties with fossil fuel companies.
The BP logo has no place in the Edinburgh International Festival guide and so we ripped it out. 

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photo: BP or not BP

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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