Meadows ward monthly report 11

Everything has been reduced to insignificance by the public health emergency.
Another coronavirus has made the leap to human to human transmission (the disease Covid-19 following on from Mers and Sars) and its ability to spread, to reduce people to needing intensive care and to kill people puts such a burden on our health and social care services that a form of lock down on many people working, studying, playing to meeting up has been introduced. Many of our public services and entertainments are no longer available.

Beyond follow government advice, I’ve posted a number of mid-month progress reports and blog entries related to the public health emergency –
Covid-19 (9th), Mid-month progress report – March 2020 (10th), Mid-month progress report – March 2020 (2) (20th), Buying for 14 days will trigger temporary shortages (21st), Working through the crisis in systematic way (23rd), Complying with the new rules (24th), Advice from Nottingham City Council on Covid-19 (26th), Local Police priorities (31st).
People like Tony Blair have offered helpful advice and questions are growing about whether Government acted early enough on personal protection equipment for doctors, nurses and carers; on sufficient testing; on procuring enough respirators and who from. Meanwhile, the tv media continues to demonstrate vapidity and occasional misdirection.

Casework in The Meadows has much reduced because whilst there is much more going on and much more to be sorted, people are getting on with sorting it. So instead, daily exercising walks have acted as way of assessing roads and pavements, checking for graffiti and tipping, taking celebratory photos of works done and checking out how the shopping centre is doing.

There were public meetings at the beginning of the month (e.g. NeMTRA AGM), but everything is now cancelled, including meetings of the council (full council set the budget; planning committee was the last meeting for some time). Enviroenergy met using a telecommunications conference. Robin Hood Energy reported a big annual loss.

Some satisfaction with how well people are responding to the calls to stay home; yes, it’s fear of catching the disease, but it’s also looking out for family and friends, avoiding having to fully isolate and doing what’s right for everyone. Friendships and acquaintances have become something stronger as people set up social media networks for neighbourly mutual support and supplies for those who cannot get out.

Nevertheless, other problems come through – including new triggers for long-standing disputes between neighbours and higher levels of domestic abuse – so often unseen. People selling and buying drugs also carry a higher profile and the Police have had recent successes on arresting people for dealing and know to keep patrolling the hotspots.
Some satisfaction, but only some, at the conviction of an 18 year old who used a half Samurai sword to kill a son of The Meadows last year, being convicted for murder.

There was good news for renewing the Memorial Gardens and the bid for a Greener Meadows via the Climate Action Fund is ongoing.

A near empty tram carrying people into The Meadows and the city centre from Wilford.

Transport looked set to be the story of the month – Clifton Bridge failure, defending bus lanes, road re-surfacing and parking permits and exploring a 3rd tram route through The Meadows looking east.

115 cases logged since 3rd May, 2020, from around 48 clients, collected from phone calls, e-mails, Facebook posts etc.

There is one almighty reckoning to come as we assess whether firms and projects and jobs that have been lost, needn’t have been. Our understanding of who are important and what’s important is changing and there will come a time when we will resolve to win the new peace.

Culture and events – 
Films: Misbehaviour; And Then We Danced; Dark Waters; Portrait of a Lady on Fire;  True History of the Kelly Gang
Films on TV: The Man with the Iron Heart; Margin Call; Mindhorn.

And farewells: Joe Ashton, (Kenny Rogers).

Local Police priorities

A bit disappointed with the tv journalism. Latest is emphasising the need for a consistent response from the Police across the country on challenging people for being outdoors.
Of course, it sounds like common sense, the kind of common sense you see rehearsed on Match of the Day.
But there’s a reason we have Constabularies and many reasons for seeking to hold the Police to account at more more local levels. Cos our needs vary.
Some friends think the traffic Police might be being too challenging. Maybe, maybe not.  
But I know the local concern is people involved in the selling or buying of drugs, and hanging around shopping centres or telephone boxes or underpasses.  
So my focus is not consistency, but public health and community safety. Calling for repeated patrols at known hot spots and asking that volunteers are sought for food deliveries rather than uniformed officers.  
We are also likely to hear more about neighbour disputes, and there is likely to be more domestic violence during the public health emergency. 
As it happens, the Chief Constable for Notts said yesterday – “that @nottspolice are using the “engage, education, encourage, enforce” model of policing by consent on Covid-19 and not being overzealous.”
Also as it happens, local patrols are finding the local hot spots are clear of nuisance.

Joe Ashton

Joe Ashton, 1980, then MP for Bassetlaw (North Notts), speaking to the Labour Party conference.

I remember Joe Ashton, a former Bassetlaw Labour MP, from the ’70s when he was big voice for the Labour Party, from assuring interviews on the TV to articles in “Labour Weekly”. He made you feel good to be Labour.

He did much more. An obituary, written by his daughter and published in the Sheffield Star.

Enviroenergy – March 2020

The Coronavirus Covid-19 public health emergency touches all businesses in so many ways. Ability to supply, customer demand, customer ability to pay.
People rely on Enviroenergy for heating so the heat station has to be kept going. It has to keep taking the steam to turn into electricity and the hot water to supply the district heating scheme. So that’s where the focus is and the control engineers are being given maximum support.
All the other staff are working from home.
Support is also being offered to people who may be struggling to pay the bills, but whilst emergency credit is being offered (like other suppliers), for heat customers who pay via a prepayment card, they still have to get updates from the point of sale machines (cos that’s how the technology is).

Outturn for end of 2019/20 is likely to be £1/4m better than expected 12 months ago, but there are still a few days to go, and some of our customers (e.g. the shopping centres) are not likely to be drawing the heat they might usually do.
We are also affected by the global changes in energy prices.
Looking to the future, we are hoping to expand in the future, supply heating to the Island site as it is developed and even offer heat station management services to other businesses.

The Man with the Iron Heart

Only 2 reviews from Google, but they sum the film up well.

An unpleasant film to watch cos it brings life to horrible atrocities by the Nazis in Eastern Europe during WWII.
The film is well made and well shot, but just horrible cos of what it shows. So it becomes a duty to watch.
A reminder at how the mass executions started through mass shootings.
I think the film didn’t go on general release cos another film on the same events came out just before it. Currently available on BBC i-player.


Complying with the new rules

People walking along the watersides were following the new rules; Meadows play equipment was not being used; and London Road on a Tuesday at 5:15pm was near empty.

Walkers by the river and the canal are clearly respecting social distancing.
Play equipment was not being used.
The dentist’s receptionist was working via an intercom.
Traffic on London Road was very very light at 5:15.

Various streets have established their own small networks of neighbouring, using things like WhatsApp.

The Bridgeway shopping centre Chemists has a sign up advising people what to do.
Shopping was “one out, one in” at the Co-op who are also advertising a delivery service. Customers were waiting outside and apart from each other.

One Stop Shop, the chemists, the hairdressers and the Post Office share information on using notices on their shutters (as of 24th March, 5p.m.

No doubt there are people not following the the guidance, and that non-compliance might be most associated with expectation of some groups of workers and some locations more than others.
– – –
But I think it’s pretty clear that the vast majority are trying to follow the rules.

I remain concerned about journalists’ continued use of vox pops, including attacks on politicians (e.g. BBC 6 o’clock news).

Working through the crisis in systematic way

Across our neighbourhoods, or (in this 21st Century, I might more accurately say) extended networks, all kinds of people are making all kinds of arrangements to support each other when we are ill, or isolated, or socially distancing.
At times like these, people will be getting on with getting on.
And where they can’t, they will be looking to the NHS or the council or their social landlord or the emergency services to do what is necessary.
Including reporting neighbours who thought it was fun to have a street party yesterday to the Police.

Now as an elected representative, I feel this urge to do something more; and that people might expect it of me.
But the reality is people need a structured, organised and (dare I say it) a properly financed set of services to assist.
So I won’t be putting out any special leaflets to say I can help as an individual. Cos the systems should provide and I expect that of them.
Part of this is cos I don’t want to confuse any organised systems and messages.
And part of this is cos I might be carrying the virus and not know it.

What I can, should and do do is report failings in the systems set up to help.
I am going to expect that people know that I do that already.
Cos this ain’t the time to be trying to fix, or even make, reputations.

Meanwhile, my main political criticisms are –
1. if we are “at war”, all available capacity should be mobilised for a purpose through our public services; people no longer selling holidays, or serving in shops or on public transport, could be commissioned to help the public services; and others could be mobilised to keep their immediate neighbourhood looking neat (not litter or waste, obviously, but grass cutting and weeding);
2. councils should be told publicly that they are to receive finance to provide more capacity;
3. the economic packages should be emphasising funding people and consumer demand rather than financing businesses.

Kenny Rogers

Not exactly a tribute, cos Kenny Rogers’ songs was for me something that was most emphatically belonging to my Dad’s generation, although a sign then of the openness of the record charts to a wide range of music in the seventies. And Country music was so strong.
Yet those songs were irritating. Ruby, Coward, Lucille, Gambler – I mean don’t ever try the tables with your own money with those maxims. (Well, don’t try the tables really.)
Ironic then that in the University period, and that post University, unemployed period, post Salop home games Saturday evenings in the pub were finished by my mates putting his records on the juke box and muttering “weh weh weh” during verses before singing the first lines of the chorus – which anyone could do, but only my mates did. As was said during Shirley Valentine, surely there are better songs than this.
And then that post Notts County – Salop Saturday night at the Lord Roberts (2nd Feb 1985) when they put songs like these on to get people to leave at chucking out time, and yep, the astonishment as my mates knew the songs.
So, let’s mark his passing with an acknowledgment of sorts, and gratitude – that I have not been prompted to sing all those Jim Reeves songs for you.
Guardian tribute.

And there I might have left it, save for this cover version of Islands from five years ago, by David Mellen, now leader of Nottingham City Council. Where he does actually sing the words.