Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts by Jonno Whitby a0417h 10352375_10204356314133530_7195071805645717835_n
Jonno Whitby posted on 30 May at 19:41
Just heard from Kevin Hepworth that Dave Roberts has died. Dave was a staunch trade unionist, socialist, co-operator and city councillor. He defended other people’s rights with his pugnacious approach. Having looked through my archive I think this photo best sums up his personality. My thoughts are with Myrlen and his family.

I was always liked that Dave was Deputy Leader of Derby City Council when I was Deputy for Nottingham, two TSSA members together (it didn’t mean a lot in practice, except never to jump to a conclusion that Nottingham and Derby could not get on).
He spoke well and had stories to tell.
The maxim I remember him for was on industrial action – that trade union impact was like a muscle, and to have impact, you needed to keep exercising the muscle.
He was kind when I won the nomination for South Derbyshire and concerned when Nottingham City Council was capped.
Derby Telegraph report 1 and 2.
The funeral will take place at the Mark Eaton Crematorium, Main Chapel on Wednesday 17th June at 12.00pm. Details of the wake will follow.

Answers to those questions

“Did the Labour government borrow too much in what was the run-up to the crash?” –
– The spending plans of the time was agreed by all political parties.
“The country had run out of money” –
– so why was there scope to borrow and increase the debt by another 150%?
“The benefits bill is too high” –
– and the way to solve it is to find work for more people; local jobs for local people; recycle profits a few more times before they leave the country.
“Tackle immigration” –
– so stop the exploitation of foreign workers by agencies who pay below the minimum wage.
“Labour is anti-business” –
– a lot of business needs its customers to have more money in their pockets to buy more of their goods and services; and not to be undercut by competitors who don’t pay their tax.
“The country doesn’t need a shift to the left” –
– who cares? just focus on what’s right for the country.
And yes, at every general election, have simple, powerful things to say, things you’ve argued in good times and bad, and make sure you talk about the economy.

Surprised to see some highlighting words from actor Michael Sheen – an opening paragraph drawing parables from the movie “Grease” is dire. But there’s something in this –
“When you hit rock bottom, you need time to accept that you don’t know what … you’re talking about and that you really have gone terribly wrong, before you can trust yourself to come out with anything worth saying. I suspect that period is a bit longer than a few days. I find it deeply troubling that most of the talk is about how to become electable again.”
poor start, I don’t agree with enough of the analysis, but it has refreshing things to say – draw on your values – compared to what’s coming from elsewhere.

Shared Space approach to urban design

A presentation to city council staff by Phil Jones and Ben Bailie explaining how the traditional approach to traffic and other road users of separating them can be better approached by looking at how streets and street space can be shared, often by requiring traffic to move more slowly.
Poynton Cheshire hamilton bailie SharedPlanWeb a0550h
Examples were shown. Poynton in Cheshire, Brighton, Ashford, Bexleyheath, even Berne.
And clearly in the case of Poynton, it’s solved a major problem.
And yet, broadly speaking, has sustained the volumes of traffic, by removing road width, railings and signals, designing a solution that requires slower traffic speed cos drivers of vehicles have to think about other road users, but not about overtaking or changing lane.
We’ve seen it in Nottingham on Mansfield Road some years ago where bus lanes reduced average traffic speed to 19 mph, which actually allowed the volume of traffic to be sustained.

IMG_5040b0218h LH highways and public spaceThe approach doesn’t say get rid of highways, but does illustrate the difference between highways and shared space –
Highways – regulated, impersonal, linear, single purpose, consistent, predictable, systematic, state controlled, signs and markings;
Shared space – culturally defined, personal, spatial, multi-purpose, constantly changing, unpredictable, contextual, cultural and social rules, negotiation and anticipation.
The obvious challenges to shared space – beyond criticism by groups representing the disabled – is the cost of materials and the fresh challenges that narrow streets carrying high volumes of mass transport will bring. Important too to watch out for how streets look at night and how challenges that anti-social behaviour can bring or has brought. And fundamentally – in whose interest is street re-design being made – people or property developers? (And the interests can be different.)
But it’s great to see Nottingham looking to the success of these schemes elsewhere and looking to learn from others.

Susie Dent explains aspiration on late night BBC

IMG_5037b0458h BBC Susie Dent explains aspiration
… and how it originally meant something different.
Kinda reminds me why – when faced having to put ‘South Derbyshire Labour’ in a title field for a newspaper template – I used “Aim higher”.
“Success for all” also says it for me.
Meanwhile, I’ve seen people struggle with language. Four friends of Liz Kendall said –
“The Labour Party’s greatest strength has always been our commitment to a society that is fairer and freer, more equal and more democratic. Our mission has always been to apply that commitment to the circumstances of our time.”
Or as John Prescott would always say –
“The Labour Party is a democratic Socialist party. …. Traditional values in a modern setting.”
And people said he was just a pair of boxing gloves.

A rational planning committee

Plans for new 98 new homes in Bridge ward, in a distinctive modernist style, north of the canal and alongside the river Trent were approved at the Planning committee.
Meadow Lane development 11 CGI- River Trent View b0209h
A delay had been sought because of concern over decoration.
The two months between had seen revisions to the detail of the brickwork, but not to the shapes.
So the committee again expressed concern about the ‘harsh’ nature of the riverside blocks and noticed that the variation of colour in the canal-side block might be used to effect in the northern most two blocks.
There’s been some extensive debate with the architects, who thought they’d put some real effort and insight to the designs of the housing, with green principles embraced.
I had sought to test the design on a number of repeated themes –
– the use of only squares and rectangles in the exterior (when many successful buildings use curves to make a building more appealing);
– can’t modernist buildings find a modern form of decoration?
– does an emphasis on using shape and shadow at the expense of detail, mitigate against using green technologies, sometimes as basic as awnings for windows, to provide interesting detail.
Some of this debate got confused by references to the design for the new homes being rational.
Rotterdam rationalist b0294h tumblr_ng5uk5AHro1rhqp84o2_1280
Slightly different to being rationalist. Check out a rationalist architecture web-site which shows an emphasis on rhythm and lack of detail. The web-site even shows frustration at Dutch building regulations requiring gargoyles to help manage rain water.
One quote is particularly alarming –
“Ideas are useful, but only if you throw away enough of them. This is the principle of my work. Putting together the ideas and getting rid of the most beautiful or the most imaginative ones.”

Top Valley school student entrance a0494h
The committee then went on to approve plans for new buildings for Top Valley school.