Gordon Brown

In praise of Harry Coover. Harry who?

You are stuck with me now, Mr President: You are stuck with me now, Mr President

Plane Stupid doesn't do obituaries. True, we'll make the mother of all exceptions when the aviation industry dies a death. But we have to mark the passing of Harry Coover. An unsung hero of activists across the world. The man who invented superglue!

His great invention has been used in protests in Gaza, against whaling, against the RBS bank and by Plane Stupid's Dan Glass when he superglued himself to Gordon Brown when he was prime minister in protests against plans for a third runway at Heathrow.

You see, it's so convenient. Tuck a little into your pocket. The cops will never notice. And if they do they are stuck with the problem! If they don't - and they usually don't - Harry's invention allows an activist to stick it to the authorities at will. A little bit of glue can go a long way! And the authorities aren't likely to forget the day they encountered the sticky problem. Long after Gordon Brown has forgotten the precise details of his last speech, he'll remember the day a young man superglued himself to his suit. And what he was protesting about. Superglue has become a great tool in the the long line of creative protest that makes a serious point in a memorable way. Thanks Harry.

Harry Coover - to give him his full title, Dr Harry Coover Jr - discovered superglue by accident. In 1952 a researcher named Fred Joyner, who was working with Harry Coover at Eastman Kodak's laboratory in Tennessee, was looking for a temperature-resistant coating for jet cockpits. When he spread a compound between to lenses they became permanently bonded together. Joyner's initial reaction was panic at the loss of expensive lab equipment. But Harry Coover recognised the potential in the sticky adhesive, namely that it required no heat or pressure to bond, and so superglue was born. Since then it has been used to strengthen bridges, patch together internal organs of wounded soldiers in Vietnam and repair the engine of the space shuttle Discovery And of course it's been gold-dust for campaigners.

Harry Coover - who was 94 when he died - had 400 patents to his name but he will be forever remembered for just one - superglue. Support Plane Stupid, support superglue, support the downfall of the aviation industry. Stick it to them!

Brown, protest and the case for action

Parliament roof 2

Gordon Brown's comment yesterday, upon hearing that five climate activists had taken to the roof of parliament to highlight collusion between BAA and the DfT over the Heathrow third runway 'consultation', could not have been more untrue.

In one sentence he highlighted just how disconnected with the concerns of the general public this government has become - not to mention how little the disenfranchisement of vast swathes of the population, especially the young, means to him. Hearing him say "decisions get made in the chamber of this house [not on the roof]" must have left those millions of Londoners with no means of objecting to a third runway, the great range of councillors and mayoral candidates whose views on the runway have been completely silenced, and the millions of British citizens deeply worried about climate change, screaming in true panto-style: "OHHH no they don't!".

Still no aviation in the Climate Change Bill

Climate change is pants

Whoops! The shiny new Climate Change Bill received its first scintillating reading in the House of Lords this week.

For all the fanfare which greeted the first national binding targets on greenhouse gas emissions, a few things seem to have slipped through the cracks – most notably that the Government seems to have forgotten to include aviation emissions in their reduction targets. Whilst this handy omission will probably make it easier to balance the books come 2050, it’ll make for a truly toothless piece of legislation in its current form, not to mention a fairly nonsensical one.

Brown: Not so much James Bond as Dr. No

Well that didn't take long, did it? Rather like the moment Timothy Dalton first stepped onto our screens and arched an eyebrow as James Bond, it has taken very little time to realise that Gordon Brown is, quite simply, the wrong man for the job.

As scientists warn us in increasingly desperate terms that we have just 100 months to stabilise emissions of greenhouse gases, we look to Downing Street for a super-hero armed with the latest cutting edge technology to save the world. Instead we are presented with a man who is utterly unconvincing in the role.

How green is Brown?

Zac Goldsmith and John Gummer's Quality of Life Commission will publish its recommendations this week. I understand that among the proposals will be a call for a moratorium on airport expansion – certainly in the South-east – and a re-evaluation of the roads enlargement programme.

Given that road transport already accounts for about a quarter of Britain's carbon footprint and that aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, these are sensible ideas. But while all the talk will be about whether or not David Cameron will take their thorough work on board, the real question is – will Brown?