Robin Hood marathon races 2016

Still the sound of the initial phases of the races amaze.
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Enjoyable as a spectacle for a number of reasons.
And I said so last year, before the sheer scale of transport chaos caused had become clear.
So I’m hoping all the work done in designing a course that doesn’t cut off The Meadows paid off.
That said, met one Old Meadows resident who managed to park the car in the bit of Crocus Street that was always gonna be cut off.

Hinkley Point C approval – the future lumbered by the past

Met a Co-op member on the bus back from a women’s refuge AGM. Was I going to the Alan Simpson presentation on energy to the Nottingham Central Co-Op branch? Now, I was.

On the day when Theresa May approved Hinkley Point C.
Contrast with Alan Simpson’s examples from Germany (and The Meadows) of hope.
Insulation. Local generation. Energy storage. Control of local networks.
Germany’s national embrace of tackling climate change and stopping nuclear, combined with devolution of power.
Poignant that Alan’s presentation was in the Nottingham Mechanics.  Founded in an era when more was done locally and a bigger belief in engineering.
(I hope to be able to add / link to Alan’s slides.)

Area 8 committee – September 2016

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Taken early, a report presented by Mr. Eddie Curry that proposes significant investment in Victoria Embankment and Meadows Recreation Ground. And the representative from FoVE votes against.  Some friend.  Fly allegations about illegality too.
The committee’s main focus was on improvements to Clifton town centre and a significant expansion in the shopping offer.
Meadows points include –
– stating again our determination on crime and ASB, especially drug dealing;
– commiting to re-surface Beauvale Road;
– looking to be firm on the development of Arkwright Walk and looking for opportunities on the site of the former social club off Ainsworth Drive.

Green Progress in The Meadows

Further to a post celebrating progress by Nottingham city, a short summary of the progress in The Meadows, with an update on Project Sensible and a link to the Jeremy Corbyn video that draws heavily from experience in The Meadows.

Such green achievements in The Meadows include –
– bus priority measures – the bus lane along Meadows Way East;
– tram services at 3 stops in The Meadows plus ‘ng2’ and Midland station;
– decades of taking heat from waste before landfill at Eastcroft (Meadows);
– new green housing off Green Street, and off Wilford Crescent West; and new green council housing in the west of The New Meadows; and and an exemplar green house;.
– helping solar panels to be installed on properties, by both NCH and MOzES – the Meadows own energy services company;
– a hundred and more enjoying lower price energy using a council owned business – Robin Hood Energy – whose income is ploughed back into lower prices, and have amongst the cheapest pre-payment schemes;
– planning policies to reduce the need to travel, and improvements to walking and cycling routes; to require greener buildings, including in the newest council housing;
– warmer homes through the decent homes programmes for council housing;
– energy efficient street lighting; with new lighting being provided at the end of this month for walkers and cyclists using Victoria Embankment;
– simple recycling (mainly doorstep) available to every household;
– schools involved in growing their own food (Greenfields and (I think) Victoria (ex-Riverside);
– testing the use of batteries to store energy rather than immediately send it into the grid (Project SENSIBLE).

On Project SENSIBLE, Julian Marsh reports
“The tenders for the domestic batteries and monitoring systems is currently being sought with prices expected back at the end of the month. This will enable us to firm up on numbers. It is hoped that we can start the meetings with the final volunteers in November and December and then begin the installations at the beginning of the New Year.
“The School system is currently having its tender documents put together and this will be tendered mid-October. Installation will either be Christmas or Easter in the School breaks.
“The Mundella Building is currently having its performance specification finalised and prices for that will be put forward by the Design and Build Contractor.
“Some of you will have been at the Meadows Library … to hear Jeremy Corbyn launch what we hope will be the Labour Party policy on energy – based largely on a community model. Mozes has helped by putting forward ideas for this and so we got the honour of being the location for the press release and for the attached little film which focusses specifically on what we are doing in the Meadows.”

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The video can be seen at – https://youtu.be/y5t8m1RXG9A

Boundary changes are a condemnation of British government and politics

We are a nation that does not know how many people live within its boundaries.
Centuries after statistics was invented as a branch of mathematics to help run a state, and centuries after the census was introduced to know where people live and to plan and to predict for the future, we, the British are incapable of such an obvious task, that even William the Conqueror set out to do it in 1066.  (IBM made their breakthrough by automating the counting of U.S. census returns in the 19th Century.)
The obvious starting point is that each MP should represent an equal number of people resident.  And yes, resident, not just registered to vote.
An exact divide is impossible.   This review goes for tighter tolerances, missing more opportuniies to avoid crossing primary authority borders  – e.g. Nottingham and Notts; and even Devon and Cornwall.
Changes in the modern world having broken up communities that build up collective action, such as encouraging people to turn out to vote; and changes to the tax system (Poll tax, then council tax), the benefits system (bedroom tax) and the registration system (annual individual registration) have driven up the numbers not registered.
Despite a late addition of 2 million people in the run-up to the EU referendum – ignored in this review (and something I highlighted with a question in full Council on Monday; Graham Chapman’s updated reply available here) – there are millions still missing.
That reducing MPs by 50 was about saving costs is negated by having increased the number of Lords by some hundreds.
So the terms of the boundaries review are wrong and set to skew the new seats in favour of the Conservatives.
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Yes, I’d stop this process.
(I’ll also work to suggest better solutions as it continues .)
But I would go further –
– a requirement for every citizen to be registered, prompted by using information from a number of sources beyond the existing register, such as tax and social security to prompt the most likely address;
then, a democracy needs higher turnout –
– rewarding voting by some kind of voucher and / or tax discount;  (more representative outcomes and perhaps reducing costs of registartion);
and even –
– making the Lords votes proportionate to votes cast at a General Election, with a clearer focus on scrutiny and maybe even filling a Regional gap in democratic governance that the public seem reluctant to have an election for.
Oh, and making the Commons more relevant by committees that more faithfully shadow Ministers and their decisions, with better public information on the decisions to be made.  Give the media some proper substance to report on.

We could govern ourselves in such a better way.
This review shows how useless we British have become.