Darkest Hour

There was a time when I would repeatedly watch the repeat episodes of “World at War”, until I got fed up with the Allies’ failures.  Norway, France, Singapore, North Africa, Dieppe, Anzio.
The interview that stuck was from episode 2 by Jock Colville, a civil servant, who explained how Chamberlain, Halifax and Churchill met in the Cabinet Room and Chamberlain asked Churchill if he saw any reason why a Lord couldn’t be Prime Minister and Churchill just stared out of the window, cos he knew it was a trap.  Screenshot (816) ab0466h wiki Norway debate
In the same episode, Boothby explained the “Norway debate” and how in essence, many MPs had been frustrated with Chamberlain not wanting to take the war with the Nazis.  Labour played a key role in pushing the issue once the problems with the British operation in Norway had been grasped, despite Churchill putting up a big defence of his operation in the debate.  They pushed for a vote and too many Conservatives did not support Chamberlain.

darkest hour commons debatechurchill vchurchill with mps
So the dramatic start “Darkest Hour“, with Churchill not attending the “Norway debate” was annoying, and the film kept taking these kind of liberties.
Fighting over the leadership after Churchill had been made P.M., the military chiefs having no plan on the Dunkirk evacuation, the King giving Churchill the backbone to carry on refusing to make a deal with the Nazis, Churchill holding a focus group in a London Underground carriage, Churchill meeting with MPs in a large stairwell, Chamberlain wiping his forehead being taken for a signal..
Regarding the history, one example of the criticism – by The National Review.
I never doubted Gary Oldman as Churchill, or his interpretation of Churchill as a sparkier character than other clichéd portrayals of him as miserable.
But in this movie, politicians are quick to dispute, rather than talking things through.

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Cyrille Regis in a Shrewsbury shirt

So many spectacular goals by Cyrille Regis but not many will remember the one he scored wearing a Shrewsbury Town shirt.


Meeting an inswinger from the wing, getting ahead of the last line of defenders and powering in a header from 12 yards.  (“Good morning, ball”.)
Yes, 1981 and West Bromwich Albion wore either the classic navy & white stripes or the iconic green & yellow stripes – both deemed to clash with Salop’s blue & amber.  So when they drew Salop in the League Cup in an era before third strips (and universal TV coverage), the Albion had to wear our all red away kit.

It was a phenomenal match when the second tier side beat the top tier side 3-all at home.  By which I mean, the Albion were 3-0 up at half-time, thanks in part to Cyrille’s header, but we brought the game back to 3-all at full time (a last minute goalmouth dribble by Steve Biggins).

Regis’s death is so emotional for many reasons – the phenomenal footballer he was; Cunningham & Batson; that West Brom team; how he broke barriers for black players; the content of his character; that 59 seems no age for such a former athlete – and cos I witnessed it: vs Salop, vs Man U at The Hawthorns (1979) and the “match of the decade” (that wasn’t) at Anfield (also 1979).

It brings back memories of the racism – especially that gorilla chants were OK and good cos they put black players off (which I felt often was not the case – e.g. Wimbledon at home, Laurie Cunningham scoring at Old Trafford in the 5-3 victory).
You wanted to be on the Three Degrees’ side, cos of the victimization, cos it was right, and yes, because they were the heroes.

See Guardian tribute; and a cartoon tribute.  Look out also for the Youtube videos.

Changes since the referendum

Screenshot (808) Brexit impact ab0689hI accept the result of the second referendum on membership of the European Union.

I wanted us to Remain.

I’ve seen one reference to 55% of the public now wanting to Remain and I hope it’s right but thinking it needs to be consistently higher for the calls for a third referendum to be justified.
However, I have been **mightily encouraged** by Farage saying another referendum now looks likely.
I’m advised he wants an earlier third referendum whilst people still haven’t taken in the problems that are arising.
I just think the Remainers will now know how to run a better campaign next time; not least being able to draw on Tony Blair’s report on what we know now that wasn’t appreciated then –
https://institute.global/news/brexit-what-we-now-know

Not least, the promised money for the NHS is not being made available, and we look now to face NHS staff shortages cos we’ve been so unfriendly to those who were filling the gaps.

My point always wasn’t that the UK couldn’t make it outside the EU, just that it would be harder to, less desirable and distract our focus and capacity from the challenges we really need to face.

Meanwhile, Theresa May claimed credit for charges on credit card transactions being cancelled from Saturday when this was an EU initiative.

Things to think on

British Transport Police announced that the fire at Midland station was being treated as arson.
Note, the Bandstand on Victoria Embankment was gutted by fire last year.
The number of fires has gone up by 21% when the net worth of our budget for fire services has fallen by 20%.
You improve fire safety by reducing the causes of fire and the number of smaller incidents, to help avoid the big ones.
WP_20180112_19_23_53_Pro (2) city centre street kitchen
Walking to a meeting with Lilian Greenwood MP and colleagues, came across a street kitchen in one of our main squares (Trinity), providing food for people who looked to me like they needed it.
IMG_1851 (2) LGmp nhs report ab0500h
At the meeting, Lilian told the story of the Nottingham women who was bleeding from a miscarriage and advised to come to hospital using a tram.
Just what will it take for people to stop and think and say this isn’t what the British resolved to be?
WP_20180112_20_40_38_Pro (2) labour mtg ab0300h
Pleased to be alongside those who are trying to get it changed.

Cleaner air

WP_20180109_19_49_24_Pro (2) CllrSL Bridge branch

Nottingham was picked out as one of 5 cities where government would support and require a reduction in NOx and particulate pollution.
Selected for the predicted rise in pollution, when in reality Nottingham has managed to grow without increasing traffic so much, with its high quality buses and tram network.
A model of air quality is being created with results expected in March.
Dependent on its findings will be the scale of action required.
It will be interesting to find out how the previously known problem points of Toll House Hill roundabout, Clinton Street West and Fisher Gate show in the model.
Likely is some kind of ban, or charging, on buses and lorries that don’t comply with at least Euro 6 standards in the city centre.
The technology for a charging system could be challenging to deliver.
The capital funds for what is required will probably be insufficient as well.
No doubt revenue support will be missing.  Hedges and trees could play a role in improving air quality further, but money for their upkeep is already being lost.