An occasionally toxic atmosphere

“An occasionally toxic atmosphere is in danger of shutting down free speech within the Party rather than facilitating it”

c.f. reading Facebook tonight
c.f. the launch of the report which was to be part of the healing process following the accusations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
And someone, a new member of the Labour Party for four weeks, gets into the launch, stands to the side of the room and accuses an MP, whose emotions are raw on all the controversy this issue has involved, of “conspiracy”.
Oh, he wasn’t Momentum! Oh, he didn’t know hte MP was Jewish!
So the national media coverage is a set-up.
Missing the point of the launch that toxic nehaviour shuts down free speech.

Then a Facebook friend of a friend calls Vernon Coaker MP a traitor and wants to know what Gedling Labour Party will do about it.
Yep, Vernon Coaker who won Gedling for Labour unexpectantly in 1997, and as held it, sometimes unexpectantly, ever since.

The hatred has to stop.

Bridge ward monthly report 57

Just the most awful month.
Wet weather.  A referendum on the wrong issue and with the wrong result. An MP assassinated49 revellers at an LGBT club murdered.

British politics is in a maelstrom as Prime Minister who played politics with race (London Mayor) and membership of the European Union now has to resign.
The country will spend 2 years or more focussed on things international, when we need more done at the local level.
There is fear over increased hate crime.

On matters less serious, England crashed out to Iceland in Euro 2016, in a new way, based on the tradition of not being able to control the ball.

A terrific art display at Welbeck school.
Nice to see some lads enjoying life.
IMG_1226ac0358h lads 67ma9ftjcm765si9l0in5sdd24267355.jpg-final
And the strawberry moon was a special sight.

We end this month remembering the Battle of the Somme, 100 years ago, when so many were killed, this time cos the British officers weren’t as good as the French.

Nottingham Unites rally

IMG_1217nb0147h OMS Nottm unites rally 13516622_1108314695909823_8859361485071239146_n
A rally of 500 or more people in the Old Market Square, in front of The  Council House, concerned about xenophobic hatred, noticeable in some parts of the country since the Referendum.
WP_20160628_17_54_42_Pro aa0449h OMS Nottm unites rally
I spoke.
Following speakers, performing at 11, condemning the current spate of proto-fascism, my gentle story-telling of 5 significant episodes of Nottingham history (forgetting that “sn” is not a consonant, and needing help from the audience to remember Wilberforce’s name and then forgetting to make the point of that story, I could see the waves of indifference sweeping through the crowd.  La-de-da.
But my conclusion was to emphasise that government is set up to tackle hate-crime (oh dear, I even referred to service planning) cos we are the majority now.

I then appeared on Notts TV to say I’d thought Nottingham had behaved pretty well and that our main concern was people not reporting incidents of hate crime.
[This is something I’d been saying at the Police Panel at the beginning of this month and at the Police Commissioner’s consultation meeting with the Muslim community in April (I think).]

Councillors are receiving a round robin that says -“I am very concerned in the reported rise in racism, xenophobia and hate crimes. I believe that we all have a duty to stand up and stamp out racism and xenophobia.
I am therefore writing to ask you to please table, and encourage others to support, this motion in your next council meeting:
“We are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society. Racism, xenophobia and hate crimes have no place in our country.  We Nottingham City Council condemn racism, xenophobia and hate crimes unequivocally. We will not allow hate to become acceptable. 
Nottingham City Council will work to ensure local bodies and programmes have support and resources needed to fight and prevent racism and xenophobia.
We reassure all people living in Nottingham that they are valued members of our community.”
I would also like you to publically condemn any such attacks and make it clear what steps the council will take to tackle this racist, xenophobic and criminal behaviour.

Further to the above, the city-wide perspective is – regarding “your concerns in regards to the reported rise in racism, xenophobia and hate crimes.
“As a City Council we have placed a large emphasis on tackling hate crime. Our emphasis on these issues have helped us deliver a reduction in hate crime of 29% in the last term of Council and [is] why our Nottingham Labour manifesto for 2015 contained the commitment to ‘increase reporting of hate crime as well as reducing the number of repeat victims by 20%’.
“We are closely monitoring any developments and comparing them to previous years to ensure we know whether there is any such rise in hate crime.
“Nottingham is a diverse city with mixed neighbourhoods and communities. That’s something I’m proud of as a Labour Councillor.
“Racism and xenophobia should not be tolerated and I would encourage anyone who suffers hate crime to report it to the police.
“It is worth noting hate crime is defined by the victim and that they should not feel any hesitation to contact the police. If they feel at threat they should call 999 or 101 in other incidences. Third party reports can also be made. …
“As a Council we want to help to mend any divisions which may have arisen in the city as a result of the EU referendum campaign and will aim to work with citizens to move forward as a City, looking after each other and binding our communities together so Nottingham remains a great place to live, visit, work and invest in.”



Referendum turnout and ward trends

Some anaylsis it seems on how supporters of various parties have voted in the referendum.
But not so much on turnout, generally reported as being high (72.2%), and the highest national vote since the General Election of 1992.
In Nottingham, postal vote turnout was 84.3%, yet overall turnout was low, at 61.8%.
Now, it may be that the referendum coming just after many university students have gone to new jobs or to their other homes, could explain a lot.
But given the emphasis on how there are huge numbers who would vote for an alternate politics, there has to be a question mark over that assertion.

Meanwhile, what drives the voting?
The national campaigns yes; and the pattern of results then reflects a number of sociological trends.  Crudely speaking, in Nottingham, wards dominted by the council housing estates of the 20’s/30’s and of the ’70s voted LEAVE; the wards with more older housing, or by university living, or more metropolitan living, voted REMAIN.
After that, local activity can make a difference, and does, and in the New Meadows, did.

13529205_1330269360326834_5665592945932092117_nReturning to the national result, could Jeremy Corbyn, with better campaigning have changed the result?
I did, too often, have to explain on the doorstep that Jeremy was voting REMAIN, and in the end, isn’t that the real criticism?
In a major test – a decision for the future of the country – in which the choice was limited to one of two options, too many of the voters didn’t understand what his position was.

Could it have switched 635,000 voters?  Or won an extra 1,270,000 voters? Or the right mix of both?
Whatever, the notion that Jeremy would be a catalyst to the non-voters can no longer seem significant.

We get the national football our punditry deserves

Joe Hart comes from Shrewsbury and I wanted him more than anyone to have a successful tournament.
Yet his record is 5 shots to save, 4 goals conceded (CHECK).
Lee Dixon opined that he was too pumped up – just look how he’d sung the national anthem with too much gusto.
Just when does the nonsense stop?

I had hopes for Roy Hodgson’s team cos of the qualifications and the youthful talent; they wanted to attack and they were high-tempo.
But in the tournament, this led to an inabilty to create quality chances.  Poor accuracy with shooting, poor decision making on when to shoot and overhit crosses and long balls.

And against Iceland, the old failings came back – the inability to control the ball under pressure.

The pundits were doing their nut.
Two years ago, Chris Waddle ranted about England’s football team and said we need to look to youngsters.
Tonight, half-time of volume 25, episode 4, on Radio 5, he said “define youngster”.  Haddaway and …
But the pundits are stuck in a rut.  Wanting it to be about sports pyschology and overlooking skills.

Final irony – all that praise for Leicester City, and we’re beaten in a tournament by a special teams football team from a country whose population is the size of Leicester city municipality.

Corbyn’s achievements

Graphics celebrating Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
And I thought 63% of Labour supporters backing REMAIN, when the SNP only acieved 64% of theirs was salutory.
But listening to the MPs who are critical, some more recently, it seems to be more about how Jeremy Corbyn works, whether opportunities are being missed and how polls show that Labour could be much more popular with a different leader.

Lost opportunity for thinking

“After the spectacular failure of the “mainstream” candidates last year, Labour’s centre-right should have earned its way back into contention with a fundamental rethink. Sadly, it hasn’t done that.”
– The Guardian.
Not really sure who the centre-right is, but a number of people who could have done some hard thinking have not.
Such colleagues are not neo-liberals – they were most decidedly public spenders when in power.
They could have said time for change and owned it. Loads of things that they could easily claimed were in their tradition.
I was gonna write something more considered by now that picked up on the concerns from the doorsteps, including –
– “get back control”, or “no taxation without representation” – local representative democracy and local education authorities when it’s obvious academies are not what they could have hoped;
– private landlord sector sucking up huge public subsidy and in return providing a much poorer service than council housing;
– homes for all rather than letting property owners sit on empty properties;
– making jobs secure again; rather than low-hours contracts, agencies etc.

I’m not against being pragmatic. I just think pragamatic should consist of a more equal society, recycling money in a local economy, involving people in providing services, ensuring jobs are secure and well paid enough to allow proper family living, investing in greener homes rather than a power plant in Somerset that still may never happen. As for 35% top tax rates, outdated thinking and irrelevant to the cries from working people issued on Thursday.

An image being circulated in favour of Jeremy Corbyn, a man; a man on his own; almost kinda art deco; those chimneys certainy evoke a certain era, but not this one; and what about that hat.
If only the people signing petitions and “liking” facebook had done something on the doors in the last 10 weeks.
We would have noticed.

Michael Edwards's photo.

Brexit’s burden

Well advertised that Boris Johnson only decided to campaign for LEAVE at a late stage.
An interesting piece on how David Cameron’s decison to resign in September has put the burden on the leaders of Brexit to take all the challenging decisons.
I think the article was by The Guardian.