Swing Vote revisited

Swing Vote” is one of my favourite political films, even if it is not in one IMDb list of top films about politics – and the list runs to 210!
Its premise, that the country’s president could be decided by just one vote, was a Hollywood device to explain why the election matters, and of course the contrivance of how it could happen was always ridiculous.
But until this time around, I never realised how ridiculous.
Cos we’re 4 weeks on.  And they’re still counting the votes in some states.  4 weeks.
There are recounts in some states, cos a discrepancy in the pattern of votes cast for absent voters differs between counties that used electronic voting and those who used more traditional methods.
(It’s not all bad – the USA’s effective registration rate of all entitled adults seems higher than the UK’s.)

Swing Vote was trying to boost turnout for 2008 when Obama first stood.
Nothing like that this year – Michael Moore made a pitch for Hillary – but not a drama; no special speeches delivered by top actors (proclaimed for being able to pitch), with memorable dialogue and quotes.
Most of Hollywood’s political efforts are really a sub-genre of a crime thriller.
It kinda hard not to.  A story –
– that has to run 100 minutes, and struggles beyond 240;
– that can only feature so many characters;
– that can somehow be about absolute rights and absolute wrongs;
– that needs quick ways of showing who the baddies are, in a country where the politics can really seem to be about the individual, rather than about the processes.
You need a TV series to so anything deeper. And “The West Wing” had some great speeches. And some great moments.
But its theme of an administration that sought to help the people aim higher looks a bit pale in the light of what’s happened.
Of all the movies, “Men in Black” says it the most crudely.
Something “The American President” tried to show.
Perhaps Hillary needed a speech that could really explain the crisis people were facing.
Perhaps Hollywood was missing this year.
In the meantime, despite all the wider issues covered by “Swing Vote“, the final question in the movie expressed a major political problem best.
We can do better.

Bridgeway Shopping Centre Christmas Lights switch on 2016

Big numbers (perhaps 300) for a fun event;
Kids from the 3 local primary schools singing festive songs; and being rewarded with a mince pie and a drink.

Fuller details on Facebook.

Thanks from Cllr. Nicola Heaton and myself to –
Cllr Jackie Morris, Sheriff of Nottingham;  Abdul Ghaffer, Parbnder Singh, Prairie Byrant; and other support from Nottingham City Council; street cleaners; Marc Nelson and SSE; children and staff from Welbeck, Victoria and Greenfields schools; children and staff from Open Day Nursery; parents, carers and residents who attended; Meadows Partnership Trust and community activists; uniformed officers; Sainsbury’s for food and drink for the kids; and everyone who contributed.

Karl White retires after 32 years of bringing on young people


Karl has been a youth worker since 1984, has retired and a celebration was held in his honour at Clifton youth centre.
Known in The Meadows for his work at the youth centre, the warmth and affection for him at the event was obvious.
Karl has written a book on his working life and plans to take a lot of pictures during his retirement.
Fuller photos available on Facebook.

Your Choice, Your Voice and “Dragons’ Den” 2016

Thirty Meadows residents came to the Council’s consultation exercise on local priorities.
Followed by a “Dragons’ Den” exercise, where 20 representatives came forward to pitch their ideas for £100 of spend, having already submitted a formal written statement.

City Centre Forum – November 2016

A new destination company for Nottingham has been established, that seeks to attract inward investment and visitors; seeking to pitch Nottingham as a great place to work, to live and to visit.
Opportunities exist given the overheated nature of London and the south-east.

The local planning guidance for the installation of advertising screens that show video was discussed, with its initial proposals for Broadmarsh and Toll Gate House Hill roundabout supported.

Turns out that part of the work on heritage, both for the castle and for the local heritage strategy, foresees a new book of Nottingham stories being produced.
So look forward to –
– the Celts enjoying the many caves here;
– the Saxons declaring a more defined settlement, a homestead named after their local leader;
– the Vikings making Nottingham one of their five main towns in the east;
– the Normans deciding control of the River Trent carried a new premium and building the castle; the start of the two boroughs – the Norman / French and the Saxon / English; the Square and Goose Fair;
– the crusades providing distraction and inspiration – leading to higher taxes, the growing of crocus for saffron; the siege by Richard the Lionheart on Prince John and the tales of Robin Hood;
– the fall of Queen Eleanor and her ally, Mortimer;
– wealth being sustained through use of the local caves (for brewing etc.) and the carving of local alabaster;
– the garden city around Plumptre Palace;
– the rebellious Fox and the start of the Quakers;
– the King coming to Nottingham for its armoury at the start of the civil war but failing to raise an army here; a subsequent siege and failed assault on the castle;
– new weaving technology leading to massive growth; Huguenots; new wealth, new buildings, new caves, and new voting rights;
– economic crashes leading to “Banner Town” – riots, revolt and the Luddites; campaigns for political rights including the vote, and the torching of 3 palaces in 3 nights – Colwick, Beeston and then the Castle; and later the Chartists – the strikes, the “Battle” of Mapperley Hills and the election of the only Chartist MP;
– civil engineering transforming the city – pioneering water and sewage systems; the River Leen replaced with a canal; the arrival of the railways; the drainage of The Meadows; development finally allowed outside the compact city centre, with protection for key green spaces and the creation of parks and allotments;  converting the castle to an art gallery as part of the campaign for a university; and the start of organised sport – including Notts County FC;
–  more industrialisation leading to the Lace Market, and mass manufacture of (famously) pharmaceuticals, soaps, bicycles, weapons, cigarettes;  supplying the Empire, and drawing from it; Communards;
– the Great War; and its resolution leading to new council houses, with gardens, to the north and west;
– the depression and the construction of the new Council House and shopping Exchange – to create jobs;
– the resistance to Fascism; suffering the Nazi blitz in May 1941; planning and full employment – all leading to a new resolve on jobs, social security, housing, education until 14 for all and health services – free at the point of need;
– the commonwealth coming to work here; new cultures and cuisines; old prejudices; race riots;
– clean air; a new green conscience – triggered by opposition to proposed inner-city motorways; “zone and collar”;
– a new European dimension; the EEC; leading the continent in public transport measures; Nottingham Forest; Torvill & Dean; European Nuclear Disarmament;  the decline of textile manufacturing;
– the breakdown of the post-war consensus; mass unemployment; the miner’s strike; declaring the unemployed as unfit for work; doubling of crime;
– the recovery – new jobs, investment in schools and hospitals; huge leaps in attainment at schools; abolition of waiting lists; creation of children’s centres; reduction in crime;  an “end to boom and bust”; coping with globalisation;  new excellence in universities, bio-science, IT;
– “bust”;  loss of confidence;  Brexit;  food banks;