On the eve of Putin’s inauguration

Yip, Alan Simpson, ex-MP, opens a presentation to students from the USA on a study tour with the line “on the eve of Putin’s inauguration”.
Alan was giving a presentation on climate change, and the new energy options available to us, including use less, generate locally, and store more effectively.
A rehearsal of a presentation to Labour’s Shadow Cabinet, it was a tour of the world drawing on best practice from Europe, the United States, Britain (including Robin Hood Energy) and Utter Pradesh (800,000 volunteers planting 50 million trees in a day).
A hont of the debate on fracking which the student will actually be talking through in Sherwood tomorrow.
The students are from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and their course is called “Green Europe – Advanced Modes of Sustainability“.  Reaction appeared to be a sense of richness of opportunities were presented with a sense of hope.
Local green activists attended too.

A Monster Calls

a-monster-calls-runI’d heard a review, wasn’t sure about going, found the premise(s) frustrating, did not like some of the casting, and yet, this is an extraordinary film that touches in an very particular way.

(Footnote – Actually got distracted by some of the locations in the North-West and what seemed like a 1960’s DMU at a gated level crossing.)

Nottingham Cultural Framework consultation

Consultation across the city to explore whether fresh cultural outlooks can bring new ideas, projects and dynamism to the city.
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The Meadows event was of course able to draw on the success of the Meadows Story Poles, the Friends of Meadows Library and the Arkwright Meadows Community Gardens.
Nottingham’s stories were also celebrated, although perhaps need to be hardened up from Nottingham led the fight to early democracy (Luddites, Chartists) to why that should mean higher elector registration and turnout.
Perhaps one interesting project could be to make art and flowers bring the to-be-pedestrianised Collin Street be an attraction in its own right.

One bizarre distraction was BBC tv East Midlands Today turning up to ask about a  pedestrian being knocked over by the tram.  I was fetched out and could only say I didn’t know anything about what appears in the end to have been a minor incident.

City centre news – January 2017

A range of issues are ongoing in the city centre:
from the major – the renewal of Broadmarsh shopping centre and the direction of traffic further south of the city centre, to the day-to-day, which includes more begging on the streets, more rough sleeping and more strutting with cars.  Some reports of progress on the begging, not least through even more knowledge of who is taking part and because of £100,000 extra spend to help people in need, announced in November.

Bus changes.
The CityLink 2 is re-named Ecolink on January 30th and on the return to its city centre loop, it will be re-directed with a stop on Belward Street (serving Barker Gate, opposite the bowling alley).  The CentreLink takes over part of the role of CityLink 1, with a new electric bus fleet running between Victoria Centre, Broadmarsh and then Queens Drive park & ride (with a new NCT Navy 49 running to Boots.)

Central Library. 
A new / renewed library was promised in the 2015 Labour manifesto and the current preferred plan for a new building behind existing (grade protected) façade.
The council can make a deal with a developer whereby the developer takes the risk of providing a new building, and the council gets a new library (towards the rear) and can make further money from taking on the role of finding occupants for the proposed new office space (grade A space that the city centre is short of).
However, the council is seeking to offer another option of offering a different location when consultation begins, perhaps in a couple of months time.
Campaigners for Central Library are asking people to show their support by visiting and using the facility..

Some concern expressed about the concentration of people throughout the city centre Christmas Fair.
Next, we look forward to Light Night on February 10th ( http://www.experiencenottinghamshire.com/whats-on/light-night-2017-p488231  ).

Full council – January 2017

A lot of issues discussed. In summary –
– European victory of Nottingham Panthers celebrated;
– progress of Robin Hood Energy celebrated;
consultation on the council’s selective private landlord licensing scheme started on this very day and our intent to boost the quality of homes re-stated;
progress on breastfeeding in Nottingham – higher than many areas – celebrated (see Dave Mellen speaking);
cuts to schools – the first cuts in cash since the mid-nineties – was highlighted;
– the CBI’s celebration of Nottingham’s economic outlook was celebrated;
– the need for more grade A office space in Nottingham, and near the railway station, was rehearsed;
– the serious matter of NUH hospitals issuing black alerts on A&E admissions was rehearsed;  the Conservative government are adding a 3% surplus to this year’s council tax increase to provide extra social care;
– an independent update to Councillors’ allowances was accepted;
– a declaration on alcohol use and abuse was adopted; the Conservatives argued against – on trade and business grounds;  but aspects of the argument were strange – a derision of “Jeremy Corbyn and Nottingham Labour’s fixation with Marxism and Leninism” (yep, those Labour Councillors, many of who voted for Owen Smith, and even Liz Kendall the year before); a pejorative use of the word “do-gooder”, something even Margaret Thatcher withdrew when asked “didn’t she want people to do good?”;
– a motion to support a network of Super Kitchens aimed at making meals from food supermarkets would otherwise chuck, in a social setting; one of their vans was in the Old Market Square afterwards to celebrate the initiative and show the kind of meals provided.
A full meeting, but the tone of the Conservatives was again off.

‘Allo, ‘Allo

allo_allo_castYeah,secret-army-p01nkrzh never a fan of “‘Allo, ‘Allo“.
Never watched it.
It seemed to me an insult.
I loved the earnest “Secret Army” which dramatised the underground organisation that put so much at stake in their efforts to get 300 RAF personnel back to Britain.  And “‘Allo ‘Allo” came in to ridicule it. private-schulz-ac720264-523f-4e32-8c66-7815da29e4b2
It was backwards in other ways – stereotypes for characters.   Contrast with “Private Schulz“, broadcast a year earlier, was a drama-comedy that was grown up, featured German soldiers as lead characters and tackled foreign accents by speaking very formally when speaking in a foreign language.
Still safe enough dads-army-hqdefaultwith Dad’s Army eh? Some stereotyping, with an dads-army-criticismelement of idiocy (that even Morecambe & Wise used).
Then a mate of mine rips into the titles!  (‘Feeding a myth of plucky Britain when our army’s leaders had made idiotic mistakes.’)
Comedy – tricky, especially if you take a political view.
My trade union, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, has published a video highlighting the absurdity of the privatised British train operating companies, being owned in many cases by European state owned railways, and making profits because they are subsidised.
Take a look.

1.7 million views within its first 3 days.
I think the video is misjudged – for an internationalist organisation like my union – the TSSA.
Elsewhere, others have said it well – why make the Europeans in the video appear to crow over British people?
Don’t thi
nk it’s stereotypical but it is a tad unpleasant.
Daily Mirror Front Page 240696A more internationalist approach would be to say – hey, here’s why we’ve stuck with tssa-g-large_trans_nvbqzqnjv4bqmb1puxpjlcnrgg6rsffrzn0bo8whxbcsthi7hcpsx9m-pngpublic ownership, and then point out how British tax revenues are subsidising companies maing profits.
Always gotta be careful using England vs Germany football matches, cos that generates some other emotions, but as it happens, it’s a British, not English, issue.
That said, I think MP Stella Creasey’s criticisms of the video are a bit unthinking too – the characters are not portrayed in a stereotypical way.
Stella attacks Momentum for promoting the video, but interesting to see that Momentum were sensitive about criticism by tv critic Charlie Brooker about Jeremy Corbyn.  Some great lines here.
Comedy, eh?