Free movies on YouTube

No one told me there were free, legit (but ad-supported) movies on YouTube!

Here’s what’s currently on offer, arbitrarily split into categories:

Action & Adventure










Science Fiction & Fantasy




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The 1994 Hyde Park anti-CJB demo, Metropolitan Police response, Kendrick Report and the formation of the Forward Intelligence Teams

My Freedom of Information request to the Metropolitan Police Service for the ‘Kendrick Report’ – or more formally the ‘De-Brief Report into the Disorder in Hyde Park and Park Lane on Sunday 9th October 1994’ – has been fulfilled.

Written by Commander David Kendrick in December 1994, it was a critical internal examination of the police preparedness and response to a large anti-Criminal Justice Bill (CJB, later CJA) protest. It was the Hyde Park CJB demo which saw Peterloo-style cavalry charges by mounted police though a leafy London green space, and the dispersion of an angry crowd through some of the city’s more high end streets (with hilarious results).

The Kendrick Report’s recommendations led to the establishment of the Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) model of harassment policing, in which cadres of intelligence-gathering officers were recruited to personally engage with, follow and intimidate those considered organisers of protest.

I attach a PDF of the full document (which has been redacted) below.

» Kendrick Report (redacted)

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What price Prestige?

This is the second article I wrote on the Bristol park kiosk scandal, this time in 2012 as I looked deeper into the physical building side of things. Again, I present it unedited (the occasional inline annotation aside), and draw your attention to both the previous article begun in 2011, and to the recent overview as published by The Bristolian.

What price Prestige? Bristol’s kiosk scandal goes international

One day, the project manager came to take some measurements and told me about those plans…

So said Christophe Moron, proprietor of La Bonne Crepe pancake van, to Bristol’s Evening Post back in February 2011.

As I have previously blogged, Monsieur Moron had leased his pitch on Castle Park from Bristol City Council for three years. The council plans which so surprised him involved the establishment of a number of permanent kiosks at parks across the city. He was not advised about this development until his chance conversation with the project manager – and had only days to submit a bid for the new lease.

“When I asked why no one had contacted me, his reply was ‘we advertised the tender in the Evening Post, you should have looked,’” continues M Moron in the article. “‘We want to maximise our investment.’”

At the time this seemed simply to be a simple statement of fact from an officer of the council, if somewhat callously expressed. The irony of this drive for greater revenue is that the operators chosen to run the six kiosks in Bristol’s parks, Diamond Catering, went bust within months, leaving workers without jobs and council cafés shuttered at great expense to the city.

REVEALED – the park keeper connection

But a suspicious subtext has now emerged – it appears that the ‘project manager’ in question was one Alberto Palmerio.

Anglo-Italian Palmerio, who was privately educated in Dorset, worked for nine years in the Parks Department, having joined Bristol City Council in 2002. He left in October 2011.

Meanwhile, in mid-October 2011, the Diamond-operated kiosks across Bristol were without warning closed down. On 21 October Diamond filed for insolvency.

Yet before this had happened, before even Mr Palmerio had left his job with Bristol City Council, he registered a new company, AP2 (20011) Ltd, of which he was sole director. He describes it as a “Consultancy and Agency Service”.

The Italian job

Since November 2011 Mr Palmerio has also been an authorised UK agent for Prestige Kiosks Limited, “the exclusive distributor in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland for Asteco Industria Srl, Italy’s leading designer and manufacturer of bespoke steel kiosks and modular buildings.”

Tabacchiera/Asteco boilerplate on the St George Park kiosk

Prestige Kiosks agent Alberto Palmerio makes his mark on the kiosk in his old council stomping ground of Castle Park

Prestige Kiosks agent Alberto Palmerio makes his mark on the kiosk in his old council stomping ground of Castle Park

You may recognise some of the products shown on their website, because Prestige is the company which supplied the kiosks paid for by Bristol’s Council Tax payers, installed in Bristol’s parks, and operated on behalf of Bristol City Council by Diamond Catering. In fact, not only are there photographs on the Prestige website of the same type of kiosks as those in Bristol, there are photographs of three of the actual kiosks located in the city – at Castle Park, Canford Park and Oldbury Park…

Canford Park kiosk - from the Prestige Kiosks website

Canford Park kiosk – from the Prestige Kiosks website

Castle Park kiosk - from the Prestige Kiosks website

Castle Park kiosk – from the Prestige Kiosks website

Oldbury Park Estate kiosk - from a Prestige Kiosks brochure

Oldbury Park Estate kiosk – from a Prestige Kiosks brochure

A family affair

Prestige is run by four directors. Two are members of the Tabacchiera family, which also operates Asteco Industria itself: Massimo Tabacchiera founded and remains the President of Asteco Industria (and is also a patron of the arts), whilst Eleonora Tabacchiera is listed as “Advisor”.

Completing the quartet in charge of Prestige are Alessandra Donadelli, a graduate of St Andrews and former analyst at Merrill Lynch, and a man who may be her grandfather, Dr Alvaro Donadelli, who started the company in early 2010 and acts as Managing Director. The Tabacchieras each hold 25% stakes, with Papa Donadelli controlling the rest.

So, a cosy, moderate-sized enterprise put together by two Italian families, right? Well, not quite. Dr Donadelli was formerly a director of both Eni International Resources Limited (EIR) and Eni Aog Limited. These are two British-registered multi-million pound businesses connected to Eni SpA, an Italian multinational oil and gas corporation – Italy’s biggest company, and worth a staggering £109 billion. In case you are missing the point, current EIR director Marco Talamonti holds 55 British directorships, all of them subsidiary or otherwise linked to Eni SpA.

Of course, one question remains hanging in the air – when Alberto Palmerio told Christophe Moron “we want to maximise our investment”, was he speaking for Bristol City Council, or for himself and his business associates?

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The Great Bristol Park Kiosk Scandal of 2011

I have not posted anything here for a long time – not since tidying it up entirely, having intended to use it to track my various areas of interest, such as Freedom of Information requests. Things have been, s one might say, rather busy.

No matter, I now have the opportunity to post an article which I originally began writing back in 2011, fleshing it out with some FoI digging. It seemed like a bigger story than I could handle on my own, so I asked around other local bloggers, some of whom were generous in their help. Still time-poor, I passed on all my materials in case something positive might come out of it – and lo, the story has been updated and rewritten for The Bristolian, a local Private Eye-style newspaper.

Here is my original version. I also wrote a follow-up story, which again was reworked in The Bristolian but which I have not previously published – I shall post this up in the near future, along with a summary of the related FoI requests.

The Great Bristol Park Kiosk Scandal of 2011

Talking of the throwing of bungs by commercial interests at elected representatives [at the time I was also perturbed about some other shady business going on the at the council, which I suspect it wise not to go into here], just what was the story behind The Great Bristol Park Kiosk Scandal of 2011?

There used to be a snack van called La Bonne Crepe working the Union Street side of Castle Park. It offered freshly made coffee and tea and pancakes and other such things. There were tables and chairs in front of it, and it was licensed by Bristol City Council, to whom proprietor Christophe Moron (hey, he’s French) paid rent. It was an arrangement that worked well for more than three years.

Park kiosks – a brave new world for Bristol

Then one day in early 2011 Monsieur Moron discovered that Bristol City Council didn’t want him there any longer. They didn’t actually tell him, mind; they just quietly readvertised the lease. He found out when a council project manager came around to his pitch on Castle Park to measure up for the new, semi-permanent kiosk the council planned on erecting there – one of several it intended to put up across its parks portfolio.

Despite having only a few short weeks to prepare, Christophe decided put in a bid for the new lease – but he was unsuccessful.

As council spokesman James Easey was quoted as saying by the Evening Post in an article published on 17th February 2011:

The lease on this site was coming to an end, so as is standard practice, we have to go out to tender.

The parks team took the opportunity to improve the location by creating a kiosk facility.

Unfortunately the existing tenant was not successful in winning the tender, but we believe that the small business now taking over is in discussion with him about working together in the future.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks and it is mid-March 2011. The council was back in the Evening Post boasting about the completion of its three new snack kiosks – one each in Castle Park, St George Park and Canford Park.

Complete with classic local rag photo featuring two men in suits and a typically sweaty-looking Councillor Gary Hopkins mugging for the camera whilst raising paper coffee cups, the Post‘s report notes that the kiosks, whilst “owned by the council, [will be] managed by Diamond Catering for the next five years”.

BCC: supporting local business (in the Midlands)

That’s Diamond Catering & Cleaning Management Ltd, registered in Northamptonshire, but based in Gloucester. That’s the same Diamond Catering which also won contracts for the council’s cafés at Blaise Castle, Ashton Court Estate and Oldbury Court Estate.

According to their (now defunct) website, Diamond’s management team worked on a “global scale, having fed members of The British and Foreign Royal Families, provided banquets and intimate dinner parties in a multitude of settings, operating multi million pound budgets”.

Which is interesting, given the choice of words used by the council’s James Easey last February. What was it he described Diamond as? Ah yes, a “small business”. And yet the facts suggest otherwise.

But then that is often the way when the council is involved. Councillor Hopkins, in the puff piece celebrating the opening of the Diamond units, had claimed “these kiosks will not only provide a range of high-quality drinks and snacks”, which makes him, as anyone who tried anything from any of them will attest, either a liar or (sorry, Christophe) a moron.

Fast-forward again to October 2011, and just eight months after Councillor Hopkins, his colleagues and his council officers made such a sterling, strategic decision in selecting Diamond as preferred purveyor of overpriced, press-button beverages in the city’s parks, the Diamond kiosks shut down. Within another month, and Diamond was in liquidation. [for some reason you cannot link directly to entries on the Companies House WebCheck website – you need to do a search on company number 06883163].

The council now has six empty catering facilities across its parks [note: since I first wrote this article the cafés – apart from Castle Park – have been reopened; two new ones, doubling the number at each Blaise Castle and Ashton Court estates, have also been added to the portfolio]. Six locations where it has lost us, the people of Bristol, revenue. Six locations where low wage workers have been laid off.

That’s great work, Gary. Now, remind us why Diamond won the contract in the first place?


I know you are probably fretting about the men behind Diamond – “Oh, those poor dears, I do hope they are alright!” I hear you wail.

Well, fret not, dear reader, each of them is now sole director of his own catering company.

That’s right, they opened two new catering companies. Within two days of each other. About a month before Diamond was shuttered, its workers locked out (and owed wages), and the council stiffed for four years and three months’ worth of contract. All’s well that ends well.

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Housekeeping: on moving ‘Balkan Scrapbook’, and establishing this as a blog for other things

(1) I have decided to move my Balkan Scrapbook blog, where I collect together newspaper articles, magazine clippings, photographs, films and other material relating to the break-up of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to its own site. I will be updating it more regularly, and hopefully turning it into a useful resource for material that otherwise would be harder to come by. Taking my name out of the address will also – I hope – add a little gravitas.

The Balkan Scrapbook blog (please note that I have chosen ‘Balkan’ over ‘Balkans’ to make it easier to type the URL) is up and running, with all the material (including user comments) that was previously here, at:

Please feel free to comment on posts there, to suggest material for inclusion, or to correct any errors you have noticed – find out the best way to get in touch with me on the ‘About’ page. I will try and get in touch with all the individuals who have already commented on various posts to let them know about the migration.

(2) This blog, on the other hand, will be a holding pen for my various other interests and projects, including material relating to Freedom of Information requests.

Again, do let me know if I have made any bloopers, or if you have ideas for future posts.

Many thanks,


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