Bridge ward monthly report 66

17636852_10154471052546305_6364843769258769556_o
Daffodils celebrating the end of a winter that never was.
Residents of Lamcote Grove celebrating the return of their street.
Friends of Ireland celebrating St.Patrick’s Day.


Some ups; and
some downs.
The burning of the bandstand on Victoria Embankment.
The complete distraction of the whole country from the real issues as a letter is sent to start the negotiations to withdraw the UK from the European Union.
A national budget that fell apart within a week.
Cuts to the council’s budget; and cuts to schools.


Commemorations too. Martin McGuinness, the commander of the (Provisional) IRA in Derry who became a chuckle brother alongside Ian Paisley. Professor Peter Mansfield who lead the development of NMR body scanning. Caroline Harper – the first woman Nottingham City councillor.

And for four people killed by a man using a car and two knives for weapons on Westminster Bridge and in the yard outside of Parliament.  Horrendous.

Showing “I, Daniel Blake” in The Meadows – a reminder of how we are going backwards; and a number of Police operations trying to stop the rot on drug-dealing.


Approx. 1888 matters from approx. 787 clients logged since Oct. 21st 2011.

Advertisements

“I, Daniel Blake” showing in The Meadows

Showing at Bridgeway Hall, at the shopping centre, tonight at 6pm; free admission.
Ken Loach’s welfare state polemic is blunt, dignified and brutally moving” – The Guardian.
I Daniel Blake 2717
Showing financed by Nottingham City Council, because we are fed up withe the harshness of the DWP system, and because the film draws upon real events that took place in Nottingham.
Lilian Greenwood MP will open proceedings, supported by Martyn Neal, senior worker at Meadows Advice Group.
Support will be available for people who need help.

Thanks for making the event happen to – Meadows Advice Group, One Stop Shop, Meadows Partnership Trust, St.Saviour’s SouperKitchen, NeMTRA,  Bridgeway Hall and Dave Shaw.

In November I asked a question at full Council –
“I understand that research for the film, ‘I, Daniel Blake’ was conducted in St Ann’s and the film highlights the shortfalls of the welfare system.
“How fit for purpose does the Portfolio Holder think the welfare system is?
Councillor Graham Chapman replied as follows:
If you want a brief answer, it isn’t, but allow me to elaborate.
‘I, Daniel Blake’ is about the injustices and cruelty of the benefits system, in particular the system of sanctions implemented under this and the previous coalition government. Rarely do statistics speak for themselves, but in this case they do. The latest statistics for Nottingham on sanctions since the regime was put in place in 2012, for Jobseekers Allowance there have been 34,200 referral sanctions in the city under the new JSA sanctions regime.
In only 14,700 cases was there a final decision to apply to sanction, that’s 43%. Of the 14,700 decisions, 5,200 went through the appeals process and of these, 3,200 decisions were overturned. In short, only 1 in 5 of all original decisions to apply sanctions were upheld and only 1 in 16 of referrals were upheld and many of those would not have been legitimate because many people would have been too demoralised to appeal – and we all know people who would not have appealed, even though they had a just case.
So, you’re down to 1 in 16, and in my view it’s probably 1 in 20 or 1 in 30. As for Employment Seekers Allowance the numbers are much smaller, nearly 2,000 original referrals since December 2012 and only 400 decisions were taken in impose sanctions, that’s 1 in 5. Of these, 150 were overturned which means that only 1 in 8 people were actually sanctioned.
The significance of this is that the whole infrastructure has been developed, taking up the time of thousands of officials, of assessors, adjudicators, food bank volunteers and benefit advisors, to help implement and pick up the pieces of a system that is grossly inadequate and incompetent. Worst still, this has inflicted misery on whole groups of people, some mentally ill who did not deserve it. Further still, it has forced a lot of hard working civil servants against their will to become people who sanction rather than support. This too, was well illustrated by the film. Nor should anyone believe that this exercise has been driven principally by the need to save money because it has probably cost far more than it has saved. It is to do with punishment and indiscriminate punishment at that. It derives from a view that people on benefits are fundamentally ‘scrounging’ – that they are taking money from others. It is a tabloid view of the world which now seems to dominate certain parts.
It forgets that large numbers, like Daniel Blake, have paid into the system for many years, large numbers are children, like the children in the film who are caught up in ‘punishment’. It forgets that most benefits go to people already in work but in low paid jobs, but none of that counts when you are looking for scapegoats for a crashed financial system. Actually, it is a class issue – some very well-off people caused the crash, but on the whole it has been lots of not very well-off people who have paid for the consequences. Compared with the brutality applied of the benefits sanctions system, the approach to tax evasion, to syphoning off pension funds has been kid glove and in some cases, some people have even been awarded with honours.
Which brings me on to the phrase which encapsulated a lot of this attitude and that phrase is ‘something for nothing’ – how many times have we heard that phrase from the papers and from a certain Mr George Osborne MP? This phrase means that if you are a wealthy newspaper owner living abroad and paying virtually no taxes or if you are the son of a wealthy family benefitting from inherited, unearned income and a place at a Westminster school, which you certainly didn’t pay for by doing a paper round then you are a respectable member of society, even though you are getting a great deal for not a lot. If you are Wayne, living on the Aspley estate, with no chance of inheritance or any of the privileges it can buy then, somehow, you are a ‘scrounger’ and so are all of the other people on benefits.
That is the attitude which has driven the UK state, which I am very proud of, into punishing hundreds of thousands of decent, vulnerable and poor citizens in pursuit of a minority who are defrauding, and to concentrate on these mainly innocent people at the expense of concentrating on where the real money is, such as tax evasion from a number of large corporations and tax evasion from a number of very rich individuals, many of whom are associated with the Conservative Party. This, too, is an implicit lesson of ‘I, Daniel Blake’.

Article 50 letter to the European Union

That the negotiations to leave the European Union formally start today is merely the fallout of the country voting LEAVE in the referendum.
I think opinion is now slightly for REMAIN, but any change has not been significant enough to ignore the outcome of a referendum.
Leaving the EU will be a setback for Britain.
But in what way is still to be established by negotiation.
IMG_6374ac0591h 20100424 BurtonMail p10 SD euro debate
I tried to highlight membership of the EU in 2010 – see the Burton Mail clipping above.
Toyota have recently announced a new investment programme committing themselves to Burnaston.
So have we been too pessimistic about the impact of preparing to LEAVE?
True, Toyota and Nissan have committed to UK manufacture anew.  Signs are less optimistic regarding Vauxhall.
Releasing £350m a week for the NHS would not have kicked in by now anyway, but it ain’t gonna happen.
The country’s focus is in the wrong place.  Full employment on proper terms and conditions.  Success for all in education.  Getting back to maximum waiting times and tackling the growing demand for adult social care.  Social security.  Homes for all – proper sized homes.
Instead, large numbers of civil servants and others recruited to negotiate ourselves out of the EU.
Meanwhile, Labour’s six tests for a Brexit deal –
– Fair migration system for UK business and communities
– Retaining strong, collaborative relationship with EU
– Protecting national security and tackling cross-border crime
– Delivering for all nations and regions of the UK
– Protecting workers’ rights and employment protections
– Ensuring same benefits currently enjoyed within single market

Negotiate internationally and survive

I don’t object to the re-publication of the “Protect and Survive” pamphlet as a reminder of what was once published but the curator behind it is wrong to say it shows how close we came to a nuclear war.
The pamphlet was about building up the idea that we could fight and survive a nuclear war.
The particular notion was of a tactical nuclear war – i.e. within Europe only (strategic was USA and USSR exchanging ICBM with multiple nuclear weapons).
Protest and Suvive 015567The pamphlet did backfire (a pamphlet called “Protest and Survive” was published; CND was renewed, a campaign against “tactical nuclear war – European Nuclear Disarmament – was started and based in Nottingham).
But there were still plenty of people in places like Top Valley saying they’d survive a bomb detonated over Nottingham city centre.
Lots of nonsense about this –
– so a BBC documentary that showed the impact of a single weapon was salutory;
– that a nuclear war could be constrained to Europe was inexplicable – just how were enemies supposed to know where bombs had been sent from? (The Russians would understand we were only taking out a bridge across the River Rhine? Disappointing to hear a Labour MP giving the notion of deficits in tactical nuclear weapons some credence in the last major Parliamentary debate.)
– we know that it wouldn’t take many explaosions to throw so much material in the atmosphere as to cause a nuclear winter – not seeing the sun again for many months; (Yeah, Top Valley might survive, but then starve.)
As a country, we got stranded choosing between unilateral and multilateral disarmament (hopeless) – so nice to see the UN giving multilateral nuclear disarmament another push today.

Square_legA reminder that an exercise, called “Square Leg“, run in the eigthies presumed 131 nuclear explosions in and over Britain, meaning – “Mortality was estimated at 29 million (53 percent of the population); serious injuries at 7 million (12 percent); short-term survivors at 19 million (35 percent).”
Map scanned from ‘Doomsday, Britain after Nuclear Attack’ by Stan Openshaw, Philip Steadman and Owen Greene Basil Blackwell, 1983 ISBN 0-631-13394-1

Residents parking scheme comes in

Meadows TRA aa0757h
The order is now in force.
Permits should be out, but if you have applied and not received one, get in touch.

Following the lining being painted and the permits notices being installed, have had another complaint about parking on Wilford Crescent East and Robin Hood Way, which clearly shows the permit scheme is having an effect – and we’ve not even started enforcement which is now due on March 27th.
On Wilford Crescent East, not enough space for residents, especially when Forest are playing at home.
Robin Hood Way issues now appear to be –
– parking on grass, particularly proximate to tram stop;
– parking near Soudan Drive junction obscuring pedestrians’ view; we’re proposing extra signage, but a resident, who uses a disability scooter, can’t see well enough;
– parking (possibly not legal) too near to inbound Thrumpton Drive bus stop is stopping NCT buses getting in to serve less mobile passengers properly;
– heavy parking near the Houseman Gardens junction, which is causing some alarm to older people seeking to cross the road; (I’ve also received a suggestion of more yellow lines around that junction);
We will consider all possible changes that might be needed after implementation of the permits in full.