Sorry to Bother you

Yeah, go see.  But it is so different to what we’re used to.  On a second viewing, I’d probably laugh out loads at the satire of modern life, but first time around, I was working too hard to establish what might actually be real.  Living in a family home’s garage – yes; a call centre for selling encyclopaedias – no.

The film is a visual treat.  The story surprises.  Some aspects so ridiculous as to not be capable of being satire; others reminding us how ridiculous modern day entertainment can be whilst being accepted.  Perhaps some more obvious targets missed – e.g. the gig economy.  
(r:9.0; s:4, e:4: t:5).  TO BE REVIEWED
Sorry to Bother You” is described well in the Observer.  


Keep thinking about what has happened

I had thought the number of options would be filtered out  but if anything they might have grown.
They now are –
– Remain, requires a withdrawal of Article 50, and for the political welfare of the country, another referendum, although the order of these is not particularly clear.
And then a whole range of Leave options.
– Leave the EU on March 29th, but with an extension of membership benefits until a proper permanent deal can be agreed.  Negotiated by Theresa May and the EU says the only “deal” available.  However, the guarantor of no border on the island of Ireland until a permanent deal is made allows the EU to decide when to “give” Northern Ireland back, so no-one seems very happy.
– Leave the EU as above, but work to be a Norway plus arrangement.  Keep the Single Market, keep the freedom to travel arrangements, still pay contributions.  But if this means joining EFTA, which we help form, but left, this ain’t an option cos Norway don’t want us as a resentful new member who will only disturb what they’ve all settled on.
– Let the Labour Party negotiate a new Leave deal. Labour’s six tests will mean the only thing that will change is that we won’t have any political sway within the EU.  (It also happens to be an approach that the Labour Party membership overwhelmingly disagree with.)
– Crash out of the EU on March 29th, a.k.a. “No Deal”  Negotiate new trade deals with the EU and other countries in time, all subject to the requirements of the World Trade Organisation.  And the news is slowly growing as to how unready we are for this.  
– “Hard Brexit” – not so much an option as a challenge to Boris Johnson and other Brexit now campaigners to say what is they they actually want.  
– Withdraw Article 50 and negotiate a full exit deal. Which will take 2-4 years?

Campaigning with the People’s Vote and Chris Leslie MP.
Meanwhile, new lines of attack have been developed on those of us who want to remain.
– That Remain has only campaigned for another referendum and not set about converting people.  Arguably this is true, not least cos of the ‘respect the referendum result’ mantra, and because we’ve been waiting for people to change their minds, which they have but not decisively, in part cos people say they just want the whole thing over with – which of course it isn’t going to be cos of trade and peace in Ireland.  
– That Remain are missing the point by only harping on about trade.  Well we are worried about trade, but we’re worried about peace in Ireland too.  And staying with Scotland.  But if people voted for political change, worth remembering that the political change was more than we don’t want the EU making the rules anymore.  Cos there were people who voted to get rid of David Cameron.  Cos people who voted for extra money for the NHS – which they did not get.  Cos people may well have voted against the political establishment, which arguably only a General Election will fix.  Cos people voted against immigration – which most of any new trade deals will require.    Cos people are resentful because there aren’t secure jobs anymore – which still no-one talks about; the gig economy and the lump has sustained the impact of the 2008 economic crash.  

I do think Remain will win, but we will need a different campaign, and we will have to use our best talents.

Pete Shelley, our teenage fiction romantic

… who has died.
Saw the Buzzcocks twice: in 1979 supported by Joy Division in Birmingham, and at Splendour in 2017 for which I am now so grateful.
And reading the tributes to Pete Shelley, and reading of his life, I kinda get that I might have missed quite a bit that was in the lyrics, as emotion-triggering as many of them were and are. 
Guardian: obituary; a top ten; a relief from punk’s machismo
Strange that their highest chart hit was only no. 12, and perhaps not so strange that it’s not one of my favourites.  But the singles deserved better, 
because despite Shelley “hating modern music: disco, boogie and pop“, people now celebrate his craft of creating wonderful 3 minute pop songs.  
My mate from Gtr. Manchester back then was disappointed at the 1979 performance (trashing the drums at the end did seem odd). But seeing them last year was such a joy.  (I’d kinda wanted to introduce them as there then Lord Mayor, but was declined, and I so coulda done a better job.)  When people talk of famous people being missed, I wonder if people are really saying that we’ll miss the chance to see them perform again, could I would have regretted not seeing them.  

Not-so Universal Credit

Often said that Universal Credit is fine in theory, by which I think is meant making judgements outside of the total impartibility of the scheme which is years late and relies on too many things to be got right.  And of course a reminder that it is not “Universal” cos it doesn’t include Council Tax Support which people will lose if they don’t claim early enough.
The scheme is thought good in principle cos it combines 6 payments so ought to mean less money lost on administration.  But it relies on employers being able to report quickly and effectively, relies on clients having IT access and skills, and presumes there wasn’t an agenda to reduce the amount of money issued.  It  is also vulnerable to pratfalls associated with some firms paying out money early for Christmas.  
Trying to  help clients make claims and appeals too has become trickier with the loss of printed letters to work with.  
The roll-out has now happened in Nottingham and new claimants & claimants with new circumstances are now being transferred to Universal Credit – although not for claims involving 3 children or more.  
Meanwhile cuts are significantly affecting people with disabilities or disabled children.  
Then there’s the gap that comes with moving from payment as is needed yo payment a month later.  
The responsibility falling upon tenants to pay rent rather than money being paid directly to the landlord has also caused challenges and unwelcome changes.  Nottingham City Homes are working very hard and getting rent paid first.  But social housing agencies elsewhere are deciding. not to take people who are not run employment which given some of them used to be council house providers is just shocking, especially since we’ve just celebrated the end of World war 1 and homes for heroes.  Some private landlords have also given up offering homes, whilst the rent being demanded has gone up generally.  Since 2015, the benefit available for renting – local housing allowance – has been frozen, such that only 1 house within 5 miles of The Meadows, advertised by Right Move is available for within £50 more than the allowance.  
Meanwhile, if a claim for support in one of the six aspects goes wrong, it is the whole lump that is affected, not just one part.
So yeah, fine in principle, but in practice, a lot of people are going to get hurt.  
Universal Credit has been condemned by Michael Heseltine and John Major.  
We rehearsed the matter again at Nottingham City Council recently.
I’m not surprised the Labour Party has said they’ll abolish it.  


Area 8 Children’s Services Advisory Board – December 2018

Being re-organised yet again because of the cuts.  
But these meetings are always a reminder of how poverty is hitting in the home, and then witnessed by those we employ to help and care.
And to the usual issues of concern – behaviour management and parenting; and domestic abuse – we now add a third – home conditions including overcrowding.  For which read, lots of extra sofa surfing cos there aren’t enough homes.  And we’ve just finished remarking upon World War 1!  
GDPR is impacting upon the sharing of information between agencies – something which perhaps can be worked out with time.
But more basic arrangements between nurseries and academies are breaking down, even if on the same site. 
Some nurseries are less inclined to use Nottingham College to train their new staff.  
The rate of fines being issued for claiming cheaper or free dental care when not entitled are problematic, and could get worse cos of confusion with universal credit, of which more elsewhere.  

Bridgeway Shopping Centre Christmas Lights switch on 2018

The 3 local primary schools were there, singing and surrounded by parents transfixed on videoing the proceedings.  
I then gave the microphone to a 4 year old who had clearly wanted to join in.  
The lights were switched on by Lord Mayor Liaqat Ali.
The Co-Op provided food and 4 or 5 stalls ran tombolas and sold mall gifts.
The birds of prey were very cute.  
Bridges Community Trust ran their Christmas event and I understand their grotto was very popular.