Bridge ward monthly report 76

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Fire at Midland station.  Hospitals cancelling operations.  Government cuts meaning City Council having to find £27 million to balance the budget for the next financial year.  Rough sleeping and drug dealing growing or to be seen in new locations.  Carillion went into liquidationLots of things to think on.

We’ve had better months.

On local projects – designs are drawn up for tackling commuter parking; a RINGGO system is to be suggested to tackle the excessive commuter parking in Bridgeway Shopping Centre; plans for future s106 money are being developed further and include bidding again for a 3G football pitch and a now a renewed football pavilion; more student flats have been approved and more flats are still being planned; raised levels for 1 in 100 flood events rule out bungalows for the Clifton Miners Welfare site.

Radio Nottingham reached its 50th birthday.
Good films in the run-up to the Oscar awards – Molly’s Game, Billboards, The Post and Darkest Hour.
Salop had the chance to entertain the whole country and failed.

Sad to hear of the deaths of Cyrille Regis and Mark E Smith.

Lessons learnt rehearsed at the Holocaust Memorial Service.

BBC Radio Nottingham “A” plus 50 years

WP_20180127_12_00_55_Pro (4) Radio Nottm 50 Nicola and Squeg.jpgThe launch of BBC Radio Nottingham took place 50 years ago. “A” for “air” day was January 31st January, 1968.
The Council House is where the decisions were made to start the radio station, as part of the first wave of BBC local radio stations.
The driving force for Radio Nottingham – the then leader of Nottingham City Council, Alderman Eric S. Foster, from the Labour Party.
He won the support of the 2 other political groups.
The council found £32k for capital and £54k for running costs.
In today’s money, £382k and £655k.
As for the Nottingham Playhouse, the costs were met from the Gas Fund.
The council first resolved to act in December 1966.
Despite appeals, no other council joined in.
The Regional CBI stayed out.
Industry saying they saw no value in the station but still issued pious warnings to the Socialists and Tories about how it should be run.
Nottingham was fourth BBC local radio station to start.
The station sought out the first baby girl to be born after broadcasting started.
This happened to be Nicola Anne Bush of Avondale-road, Carlton.
The Bush family received a visit from the director & Squeg the squirrel.
Squeg was created for the under-5s listeners, and performed alongside Syrup, another squirrel.  (Squeg was to retire when his squeak stopped working.)
The Bush family and were given a VHF radio.
VHF radio was relatively rare then.
The challenge of only broadcasting on VHF which was clearly understood from the outset.
So why support the station?
Being ambitious for Nottingham.
Reasons stressed in pressing Nottingham’s case was –
– being the regional capital;
– being technically well-equipped;
– the extensive conurbation;
– the “deep reservoir” of cultural activities.
And don’t those points sound familiar!
The council has done many other projects in Nottingham since, some of which are often not found in other cities.
– zone and collar,
– Concert Hall,
– Ice Arena,
– a new tier of education – the children’s centres,
– city centre clear zone and bus changes,
– the Contemporary gallery
– the new tram,
– workplace parking levy,
– tram phase 2.
And how those projects must have rehearsed on Radio Nottingham in the 50 years.
The discussions to come – well who knows?
Let’s guess –
– Universal credit,
– delivering clearer air,
– coping with more people living longer,
– staying in the EU after all (!?),
– Facebook being made bankrupt through prosecutions (yeah, right),
– HS2 arriving and expanding the tram,
– finding we can’t afford petrol anymore.
Whatever’s coming, Nottingham would be better equipped if the council had the powers and the capacity it had in the sixties, that meant it could start Radio Nottingham.
Radio Nottingham was the first radio station in the UK to do phone-in programmes.
Bringing Councillors on air from the outset.
Not sure my track record is all that great.
– getting a presenter’s name wrong on air;
– joining a crew for a 3pm broadcast of Little John chiming, only for it to stay silent.
– joining a breakfast show on the 2004 tsunami, despite telling them I had nothing to stay.
But I did enjoy being on the John Holmes show.
8 notable tracks.
Requiring Joy Division to be played on a Sunday morning.
So let’s celebrate BBC Radio Nottingham.
Harold Wilson wanted them to continue but he lost the General Election in 1970.  Heath’s Conservative government sent Minister Christopher Chattaway to review existing stations with a view to closure or sell-off.  He came to realise the station was well-established and policy was changed.  So, after being paid for by the city council for at least 2 years, the BBC took over the funding.
A public service broadcaster.
That mission statement –
Inform, educate and entertain.
That challenging mission statement.
Discussions to come about
– who we are,
– what we’re doing,
– what we’ve been and
– what we can become
are far better managed than on Facebook & Twitter.
Where people have to say who they are.
Where the quality and tone of the discussion is overseen.
Where you can’t just fire off the wild allegations and not be held to account.
And maybe that sense of rights and responsibilities was behind the enormous respect this city had for Dennis McCarthy.
20,000 people came on the street to witness his funeral cortege.
A symbol of love for him and respect for the radio station.
The station was to see other presenters break through at a national level.
Some of the technicians trained and developed were to start significant businesses.
Congratulations to Radio Nottingham on their fifty years.

Single use plastic

Gedling Borough Council have passed a motion on plastic
“Declare Gedling Borough Council will become ‘single-use plastic free’ … Phase out, with a view to ending all sales of SUP bottles … Phase out the use of other SUP products … starting with (but not limited to) ‘disposable’ cups, cutlery and drinking straws … single-use ‘disposable’ plastic cups are replaced at all borough events … Launch an annual plastic free challenge month in July 2018 … to investigate and report back to Members on the impact on Gedling Borough Council of the Chinese Government’s ban on imports of millions of tonnes of plastic waste, particularly given the fact British companies have shipped more than 1.5m tonnes of plastic waste to China since 2012.

Challenging.  Prompted for its own sake, the planet’s sake and I think in part cos of a recent BBC documentaries showing the impacts on sea-life.

Recycling is challenging full stop, cos if material is to be re-used, it needs to sorted, cleaned before.
Nevertheless, I understand the landfill tax has done enough to justify recycling plastics.  Gedling is trying to reduce the amount that gets to that place at all.  And the 5p on plastic bags for groceries has also made progress.

In Nottingham’s case, most material not sufficiently sorted can at least be burnt and the energy and heat released used elsewhere. It’s understood that there’s a potential to burn more waste, but to explore what more sorting / filtering could be done.

I think the current situation is –

  1. general waste processing: example – Sinfin, Derby – understood to be a failure;
  2. waste sifting: example – Sutton (London) – witnessed in 2004, but not heard much of it being copied;
  3. gasification: example – Black Country, supplied by Chinook but don’t know status; Bulwell Industrial Estate – got planning permission (twice) but no progress; one challenge is to find a site near potential customers of waste heat;
  4. anaerobic digestion: land intensive and issues regarding getting high quality methane; but extensively used by water companies;
  5. there are interesting projects – in or near York; a recycling project – using enzymes – that Ørsted (formerly DONG) are doing in Cheshire.

Also struck by ideas of densely blocked wood can be used instead of concrete and steel to build skyscrapers.

Will happily receive advice, corrections and news on this and now is a good time to look and learn.

Bellar Gate sandstone garden

IMG_2127ab0732h Bellar Gate garden site of Horne s Castle Inn 180129
“Bellar Gate backing onto Carter Gate – concrete and sandstone site that NCH gardening volunteers now call site of Horne’s Castle Inn (William Horne hung in 1729 on his 74th birthday for murder (check)).
“Cleared last of bramble off top. Aubretia planned in drift to fill bottom and bare ledge.  Buddleia roots now treated. Baby’s Tears look great now. Success is if bottles/chewing gum does not appear.”

Holocaust Memorial Day 2018

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Because Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves.
Of what has happened; that there are those who would deny what’s happened; that there are those who would do it again; and there are those who would share some of their words and memes, cos part of the hatred suits them.
This year, we particularly reminded ourselves of Darfur, Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, and the Nazi persecution.  Genocides, and the Holocaust.
Especially, the power of words.
I was always a science student more than arts & language.
Yet 40 years on, I still remember first hearing that poem “First, they came for the Communists …”.  There are no doubt more powerful poems, but it was pretty up there for me.  And I heard it first in a school corridor.
Powerful words for the good.
Other words, not always so good.
The words and the images that drove a man to drive a car into Muslims meeting outside a mosque in Finsbury Park.
Two lists I’ve found useful recently.

I’m grateful for a working definition of contemporary examples of Anti-Semitism.
Cos when a Facebook “friend” shared a meme of a Rothschild, with the phrase “He creates our currency”, I can easily say that’s –
“Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, …, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the … economy …”
Cos when famous people cite examples of some Zionists co-operating with Nazis in Hungary all those years ago, without pointing out how atypical any forms of cooperation was, that’s –
“Denying the … scope … of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany …”
When a barrister, with more power of words that I might have, attacks what’s happening in the Middle East with reference to the people who died in the Holocaust with dignity, that’s –
“Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

I’m grateful too for the film “Denial.  It came out in February 2017.
An academic whose life was almost ruined because she would not debate with holocaust denier, David Irving.
Back in 1980, I was with people who shouted David Irving down.  I was so grateful for that film.
Grateful for that barrister. Grateful for that academic.

A new list at a meeting at the National Holocaust Centre in July, to commemorate the Srebenica massacre of Muslims and to pledge what would we do if there was no signs of genocide.
Of 11 pledges, the pledge I was to read out –
“When we see persecution, we will do everything in our power to protect those who are suffering.”

Then the open anti-Semitism at Charlottesville in August.
Hordes of white men shouting “the Jews will not replace us.
And the counter-protests; we should remember Heather Heyer, killed when a car was driven into the crowd.

Then, Myanmar and the Rohingya.
MPs were quick to demand action on the foreign minister.
and it’s happening on Aung San Suu Kyi’s watch.
Not yet it seems declared officially as a genocide.

So lots happening in the last year.
Too much.
So as we lights our candles, we should reflect on the power of words.
And resolve –
– to remind ourselves that there is still a fight to be won,
– to inform each other of what’s happening, and what we already have to equip us, so that when we see or hear the words,
– we act.

The Post and Katharine Graham

A woman publisher in the seventies has the role because of personal tragedy and is talked through by advisors who prepares a new financial foundation for the Washington Post.  She’s read the extensive paperwork supporting the floating of the newspaper on the stock exchange to enable the newspaper to take a step up in what it does – to become a national player.  And she’s tested cos it seems her family fortune is at stake, but she reminds the male naysayers of the real purpose of the newspaper and risks it all.
And I’m kinda relieved it’s not another movie about journalists being heroes.
Good too to see the realisation of the Pentagon papers; why Daniel Elsberg decided to make copies of the research and how;  how Robert McNamara commissioned the research on all the decisions of the USA’s involvement in Vietnam from Trueman onwards.
The scandals that followed are pertinent to today, because the story of how Russia intervened in the 2016 Presidential elections and the White House’s refusal to acknowledge it is to unravel.
The Post” is a great film.  Go see.

Mark E Smith – appreciated

Mark E Smith gdn 4554 aa0336hSuch strong memories of Smith and the Fall.

At the Hacienda, “rock and roll” whistling during “Kicker Conspiracy”.
Celebrating their arrival on TV on the “Tube” programme.
Playing “Paintwork” on my new hi-fi to my bewildered Auntie visiting my new flat.
“Youwanner” at the Rescue Rooms.
“Australians in Europe” and “Hit the North” at Rock City.
Me and Graham dancing to them at Trent Students Union as confused students looked on.

Mark E Smith wrote brilliant lyrics.
He was different – he “heard rainbows in the evenings”.
You’d be astonished to realise that this uncommercial artist wrote songs that suddenly appeared on tv commercials (“Touch Sensitive”).
And just some great dance tracks.

At one stage, he cut a dashing figure.
But the stories of how he was with other musicians in the band did not appeal.
Drink and drug use took away the glamour.

John Peel said “with the Fall, you never quite know what you’re gonna get”.
I didn’t put a Fall track into my top 8 songs of my life on Radio Nottingham; I think because my favourite Fall track changes.

He’d come to use “The Big Prinz” to enjoy the audience chant “he is not, appreciated” to him.
Well he was.
And he knew it.
He was a great.

Full Council – January 2018

Celebrating Robin Hood Energy going into surplus this financial year; reviewing impact of Carillion going into liquidation; reviewing concern over local hospitals going into “opal 4” status; asking gov’t to do more about homelessness; objecting to the re-warding of Nottingham that includes dividing The Meadows.

See a statement on outsourcing by Cllr. Graham Chapman in the comments section.

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.)
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 mistaken 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 livelier character than other clichéd portrayals of him as miserable.
But in this movie, politicians are quick to dispute, rather than talking things through.

So what to take from the movie?  The performances.  The scenery, especially the high tiered Commons chamber of the time. The importance of Parliament.  Bringing form to the “Blood, toil, tears and sweat” speech.
But the movie is probably unfair on Churchill cos he did know his own mind, and hey, I don’t rate Churchill – Taff Vale, Gallipoli, the 1926 strike, the Gold standard, famines in India, and the foul-ups in WW2.
Graphic from wiki.