Remember Heather Heyer

IMG_0787ab0504h trent bridge bollards
These are bollards, installed along the length of the Trent Bridge in July, for the first time ever, because we now have to protect crowds from terrorists using motor vehicles as weapons.
Similar costs and inconvenience will be imposed on events staged on Victoria Embankment.
ct-ptb-davich-charlottesville-attack-st-0816-20170815Such an attack has now taken place in the United States of America.
White supremacists started a campaign against the removal of a statue celebrating General Lee (who led the Confederate Army in the American Civil War).
Their march included people carrying Nazi flags – even though the USA fought to destroy the Nazis in World War 2.
Protestors against the white supremacists counter-protested.
One man, pictured earlier on the march,  took exception and drove a high powered car into the crowd of counter-protestors.
19 people were injured; one was killed.
Her name was Heather Heyer.  A 32-year-old civil rights activist.  A campaigner, including on social media.  She used the phrase “if you aren’t outraged, you ain’t paying attention”.

There is no moral equivalence between fascists / racists / white supremacists – shouting slogans like “Jews will not be replace us” – and their opponents.
Further, BBC News reports that some counter-protestors were organised for fighting, most of them were not, and they were facing marchers who carried protection and weapons.
The people of the United States are now having to come to terms with their President sympathising with people who take the side of the Nazis, people who take the side of white supremacists and people who drive cars into opponents.  The late night shows are delivering whithering ridicule, more Republican politicians are distancing themselves from the President, business people drawn into helping the President out have resigned other countries are condemning his statements.
From what I can tell, his popularity rating remains low but stable.  Michael Moore is calling people who remain Trump supporters racist, and I wonder if that will work.

What we need to see from Americnas are clear signs that more of them get it, and are not prepared to support Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, the rest of us should take opportunities to tell the story of Heather Heyer – a civil rights activist iwho was killed for her beliefs in 2017.

Colonial mentality news

Happy Independence Day, India!
Bit disappointed that the focus of 70th anniversary in some BBC programmes is the partition rather than the end of British colonial rule in the Indian sub-continent.
Even if the canals, irrigation, railways and much else was good for the people, those assets were not mobilised to prevent massive famines; self-rule had to happen.

I saw the news coverage and it took one sentence for the story to become about the killings at partition.
It’s as if the story was – these people couldn’t cope without ‘the calming hand of we British’.
I don’t know enough about what happened, but a lot of people died in the famine of 1943, for which more should have been done; and I’m not clear about to what extent we British didn’t play up tensions between different religious groups in the years before.
So for me, the story should have been – ‘we British should have got out cos it was right and cos we got some things terribly wrong.’

One other thought – if people in the ‘south’ of the USA are tearing down statues representing an oppressive and unjust past, just what should we be doing with statues of people like Clive of India?

Joy Division breaks new ground

IMG_2646ab1930h bbc radio nottm john holmes MMEBBC Radio Nottingham, John Holmes show, 13 Aug 2017
You can hear the show by selecting the following link.
Told a number of stories and covered a range of issues, mainly prompted by 8 tracks.
“Catch Us if you can”. “You’re Wondering Now”. “Ceremony”“Hot Love”. “Girl Afraid”. “Making Plans for Nigel”“Lovers Town Revisited”. “Things can only get better”.
It must have seemed a bit strange to be asserting how lively ska was and then not being able to use the live version of “You’re Wondering Now” –  the point will have been lost.  (Describing The Smiths as a “fresh of breath air” may also have confused.)
A heavy emphasis on being Lord Mayor, when it would have been a challenge to find 8 pieces of music that fitted a civic role.
Instead, the playing of Joy Division on the Sunday morning show seemed remarkable – note, I’d had to bring in my own CD for the right track to be played.
I’ve had a couple of nice comments, but to a correspondent who thought I’d been brave in my selection, it has to be pointed out that I didn’t find an appropriate Fall track (partly, they’re frequently lomg and partly cos none of them particularly stood out regarding stages in my life).

Track 8: “Things can only get better”, D:Ream

Famous for being the New Labour campaign tune for 1997, and marking the end of 18 wasted years – all that North Sea oil, and what did we do with it?
My personal pleasure was buying the CD with 6 different versions (I’d bought 4 track editions of Happy Mondays songs before) and playing it time and again on the train down to London.

“Things can only get better”, D:Ream did not win us the General Election as some have claimed, but as an anthem, it captured the feeling for 1997.
For some it captured the election night – although we in Nottingham were still in the count until 6:30 in the morning.
We did go on and we got a lot done, although it ran out of steam with the bankers’ betrayal and with Gordon Brown.

The song has also become – with the rise of Professor Brian Cox – a reminder of my physics degree which I approached as a way of getting a degree without the fullest appreciation of the value of the subject; a mild regret.  The TV documentaries have become much better and some of the books have been excellent.
Track 7: Billy Bragg

An Inconvenient Sequel

an inconvenient sequel
“An Inconvenient Sequel” to “An Inconvenient Truth” and Al Gore has decided the way to go, after all Trump has said and done, is to say we need to act on climate change anyway, and even if aspects look bleak, plenty of movements for radical change have reached this stage before the final breakthrough.
So he shows –
how people moved to get India on board for the Paris declaration agreed last year,
– how Chile has gone from 500MW of solar power generation to 13.3GW in less than a year,
– how a right-wing Texas city mayor embracing the new energy technologies cos it provides better value for money, counter to the new kind of denial that the alternative energy technologies can work in reality.
He celebrates the DSCover satellite taking full pictures of the planet earth every day.
Meanwhile, dramatic images show –
– a Greenland glacier popping in the warmer temperatures;
– Hurricane Sandy flooding New York before the year he predicted; and a typhoon ripping through the Philipines;
– what “rain bombs” look like;
– the Zika virus spread through the USA being more widespread than predicted and ridicules the public health response;
– that whatever else has beset Syria, the problems started with a drought longer than any known for 900 years and 1.5 million climate change refugees.
So action is needed.
Reviewers have not been kind to the movie, but I found the points it made stuck, especially the point on Syria. Go see.

Track 7: “Lovers Town Revisited”, Billy Bragg

“Fighting on the dance floor happens anyway …”
If there’s a shadow over life for boys and young men, it’s violence.  Something that went away when you were perceived to be too old.
Useless and the uselessness is captured by

“Lovers Town Revisited”, Billy Bragg.
Words that are meant to be heard, in a short and sharp format.
“Sometimes [he’s] makes me stop and think.”
Like The Smiths, Billy writes songs that tell more realistic stories of love and life.
More political songs too – from a more traditional labour movement perspective.
Pleased to meet him recently at the Rough Trade shop in Hockley (on the day of the Pentrich revolution 200th anniversary march) when he was pushing his book on skiffle.

Track 6: The Smiths