Ill equipped

After seeing Britain vote Conservative in 2015, cos it was frightened about Scotland; and then see Britain vote Leave cos it was frightened about Europe, I feel very ill equipped to offer advice to Americans about how to defeat a Donal Trump campaign built on fear.
Michael Moore actually kinda predicts a Donald Trump victory – I say kinda cos he’s promising to say how to stop it next week.  He cites 5 reasons but doesn’t pick up on the influence of talk radio channels that are feeding the anti-politics paranoia.
Happened to watch the Bernie Sanders speech to the Democrat convention live (and catch the tail end of the Elizabeth Warren) and think it must just must be the most bizarre experience.  Having to make sure you say the things than have to be said and know that so many will pour over the details- so you have to read. But you’re in front of a huge crowd, some of them not fully on board, and you can’t interact with them, especially those shouting from the front rows.
What’s most striking is the lack of confidence the convention sets up – even Bernie seemed to have to shout. (Liked Warren’s line – ‘that wall will never be built’.)
Missed Michele Obama’s speech.
Elsewhere, Barack Obama has expressed concern about what Trump’s campaign is doing to the country.

I thought by now a line and length on dealing with Trump would have been developed.
But we’re way beyond the hopes of “The West Wing” now. A major theme of which was politis beng noble.
I’d say do more to defend politics as the defining feature of a free society, and prompt people to think about themselves rather than attack others.
Be noble, America!
Be noble!
But, who are Brits to offer advice to Americans on politics?

Splendour in Nottingham 2016

Pleased to see Stiff Little Fingers at Splendour today. Immensley cheering. Had this vague idea that I’d seen Stiff Little Fingers on my 19th birthday at the Birmingham Odeon, but it transpires it was 2 days later. But the memories were strong and they opened up with “inflammable material” and I was kinda saying “hey, that’s really nice”
Human League started well, thought the costumes were a bit odd; was able to leave before the inevitable more commercial ending.
UB40 – I’d hoped for hearing the political stuff, and they did open with “Present Arms”; but I should have known; can happily concede the crowd loved it. It was odd that that the sound mixing let the singing be so swallowed up.
The Rifles started pleasant enough and am a bit sorry that I couldn’t get to the early acts, cos it’s part of the appeal.
Hot and sunny this year – odd that I’d forgotten that it had rained in previous years.

Planning committee – July 2016

Waste processing plant for Bulwell Energy Park has been re-designed again.
Two more car showrooms for off Dunkirk Boulevard.
A challenge on the western end of Mapperley Park as a reworking of a bungalow is proposed, but challenging to fuly understand, as presented.
And …
79 Holgate Road education centre is both tabled again, and withdrawn again.

Before the meeting, I walked Victoria Embankment to check progress.

OMTRA public meeting July 2016

28 attended OMTRA’s public meeting.  A range of issues covered –
– support for the proposed cycle track on Victoria Embankment for kiddies to learn road sense on a mini road network, off road;
– Cllr. Jane Urquhart attended to discuss the aim to see more housing built in the city, to get private housing landlords to behave better and to help OMTRA’s aims to reduce empty housing;
– the Police reported crime down on last month, and surprised the meeting by reporting there had been no local reports of hate crime;
– action is planned on speeding along Robin Hood Way;
– a discussion about shopping at Bridgeway centre, and a realisation that 4 shops had been refitted recently;
– concern about availability of Hackney carraiges to train passengers using the railway station.
OMTRA had advertised the meeting with their newsletter; a bit disappointing that too much of the meeting was taken up with 2 members of the public just wanting a personal conversation in public, rather than help the meeting flow.

Some Blunt observations

There are times when the House of Commons will congratulate themselves in a debate and say this is them at their very best.
The debate on Trident, which was rather clumsily led by the new Prime Minister, is I imagine what they have in mind when knowing the House of Commons can be at its very worst.
Put simply, Tony Blair thought renewing Trident was a 50-50 call (even if in the end it must have been at least 51-49).
There is scope for genuine doubt and genuine debate.
None of that in May’s speech (or in the interventions) that I saw.
Instead,
– wild assertions about this being the most dangerous time – what, trumping 1962, 1973 and 1983? I don’t think so. (One MP actually talked about being outnumbered in “tactical” nuclear weapons – streuth.)
– assertions about the threat of North  Korea’s nuclear weapon capacity which might benefit from a check by Chilcot.
– assertions that we can’t envisage the future – an attitude which Chilcot explicitly warned against.
– assertions about jobs created through public procurement could bear repeating on other projects and services.
I suppose if you’re going to commit to £179,000 million of public expenditure over 30 years, you ain’t gonna show doubt.
One reason why I was so taken aback by the contribution of Crispin Blunt MP, Conservative and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select committee who said technological developments were well on the way to making deep sea submarines visible and vulnerable; so spend defence money in a different way.
The Miror spotted it and The Guardian highlighted sections of his speech, and the full version of what he wanted to say was posted on his web-sitethe full version of what he wanted to say was posted on his web-site.

Thinking on, I know Michael Portillo has made similar points on BBC tv, but it’s not been in the wider discussions so much.
In part, cos Blunt says – “Britain’s independent possession of nuclear weapons has been turned into a political touch-stone for commitment to national defence.  But this is an illusion. The truth is that this is a political weapon, effectively aimed against the Labour Party, whose justification rests on the defence economics, the politics, and the strategic situation of over three decades ago.
A problem for Labour remains the concept of unilateralism.  Surely no-one from Labour’s ranks wants a “on our own” approach, after we’ve argued so hard for REMAIN.
Multilateral solutions is the only way; it’s just taking too long, and perhaps been advocated by leaders who were actually unilateral re-armers.
But talk multilateral, and you can get into a range of discussions about ways forward that cost less and risk less.
And it’s right that the opening statement should be – we want a world free of nuclear weapons
I can acknowledge that Toby Perkins MP said alternatives have been properly explored and found wanting.
But I was disappointed with the tone of most others.

Lilian explains her resignation

Lilian Greenwood MP spoke to her constituency party members on Thursday, 14th July, in Cifton, as to why she had resigned as a party spokesperson.
The full speech has now been published.  I’ve put a precis together – see below.

… about the Referendum, and what followed.  … Just 4 weeks ago, in the midst of a divisive and frankly xenophobic Referendum campaign, my friend and colleague Jo Cox was brutally murdered in the street .. 3 weeks ago, although Nottingham South voted to remain, people in our city, and especially in this community, voted to leave the EU. … David Cameron announced that he would be stepping down as Prime Minister and we faced the prospect of a General Election  … and 18 days ago, after 9 months serving in Jeremy’s Shadow Cabinet, I resigned. …

 … when he asked me to serve I said yes. …  I wanted to make it work … I tried to make it work. …  I never briefed against Jeremy. … Whenever challenged, I defended our Party Leader.  …  It was brilliant when we forced the Government to u-turn on their plans to cancel the electrification of the Midland Main Line. …  imagine how I felt when, even though I was trying my hardest, it became impossible for me to do my job in the Shadow Cabinet.

 … Rail fares go up once a year on 2 January. … We had the opportunity not just to criticise the Government, but to show we had a real Labour alternative. Our flagship policy. … My staff spent weeks preparing briefing materials for MPs and constituency parties … On 4 January – a cold dark Monday morning – I was at Kings Cross at 7am doing Radio 5 and BBC TV.   Standing with Jeremy and the Rail Union General Secretaries for the media photocall. It was a crucial day in the Party’s media grid. …  Incredibly, Jeremy launched a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle on the same day. … By mid-afternoon the press were camped outside the Leader’s office. They were there for the next 3 days.   It knocked all the coverage … off every news channel and every front page. …  It was unnecessary and it was incompetent. It let me down

…  HS2 has always been controversial, including in our Party, but it is something that I believe is vital for the future of our country. … so I when I took up the job in Jeremy’s Shadow Cabinet I wanted to be absolutely sure we were on the same page.  I met his Director of Policy … Despite our agreed policy … without saying anything to me, Jeremy gave a press interview in which he suggested he could drop Labour’s support for HS2 altogether. .. I felt totally undermined on a really difficult issue. … Breaking the principles of collective responsibility and discipline without which effective Parliamentary opposition is not possible. … It made me feel like I was wasting my time.  That my opinion didn’t matter.   And it made me miserable.  …It happened time and time again. … The EU 4th Rail Package is a bit complex … but it had the potential to make it difficult to implement our new rail policy. I’d been working with MEPs to ensure it was amended or blocked for the last 3 years. .. So when Jeremy talked about it in a speech, in very Euro-sceptic terms … [I] asked to meet him.  …  We put together a briefing paper … We agreed a final version. … But Jeremy went on SkyNews and took a completely different, eurosceptic line. … It undermined me, my staff and his staff. …

How would you feel if you were part of a team and you knew that not only was your boss undermining you but that this was happening to other colleagues?

 … whether Jeremy was half hearted about the Labour In campaign. [?] … I sat at the Regional Count with Glenis Willmott the Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party, my friend,…. doing media duty for our Party. … defeated and in despair, we finally got sent lines to take from the Leader’s office. Acknowledging Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart for their work in the Leave campaign. …  And shortly after we heard Jeremy calling for the immediate triggering of Article 50. Without any discussion with the Shadow Cabinet or the Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party. … How can that be right?

At 6.30am I was interviewed by Radio Nottingham. … when I was asked the question “Is Jeremy the man to lead the Labour Party in these challenging times?” I found it hard to say an enthusiastic yes. … I knew that I didn’t have to put up with it. …  I wrote my resignation letter and I rang Jeremy to explain. And I texted asking him to call me. … After an hour or so he did ring me. … I explained that I has lost confidence in him. He didn’t even ask me why. Or what was wrong , or how he could fix it. …

… through my own personal direct experience I know that Jeremy operates in a way that means progress towards … goals is impossible. He is not a team player let alone a team leader. …  I cannot see how he can lead our Party to the election victory people in our city so desperately need.  …


I support Lilian’s decison to resign and to support Angela Eagle to be the next Leader of the Labour Party.