Somerset Conservatives, the next to fail their people

20180518 The Guardian Somerset cuts ab0787h
So after Northants has been taken over, and warnings issued about Worcestershire, Somerset is now at risk of bankruptcy.
For six years, Somerset Conservatives froze council tax, no doubt triumphantly.
Now they want a bail-out.
Oh sure, I’d give it them. Cos I don’t want the development of children or public libraries to suffer, even in Somerset – motto “all of the people of Somersetshire”.
But you just want to take these people and shake them for their complacency.
After Kay Cutts’ dog whistle, she will be disappointed to hear that no-one in Somerset is blaming refugees. Apparently, demand for children’s social services is a factor.
Somerset Conservatives want the Gov’t “to fix a ‘broken’ system of council funding” … where have they been?
Meanwhile, a bail-out, please, for all councils.

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Funny Cow

A commanding, slightly care-worn, glass-ceiling breaking comedienne holds attention as she performs a heart-felt, sometimes funny monologue, and the films breaks out to tell the tale of how her confidence and defiance led her to be herself and be a national star.
Such a good film.  Go see.
And yes, my rating system is broken again.
(r:9.8; e:5, s:5, p:5).
Nostalgia too.  I kept recognising the cars.  My Dad being a social club’s entertainments secretary.
And I kept thinking of Marti Cane – who I did not like – I guess for political reasons.  Turns out the film draws heavily on her life-story and struggle.  And playing Sun City apart, it’s quite a story.
Guardian review.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

050 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie200 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie300 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie500 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie080 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie220 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie150 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie810 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie

The movie.  And again I’m awarding top marks.  For a romance.   Apparently I’m going soft.  The movie it seems is predictable and too long.  Chintzy.  World War twee. And worse – Guardian review – 2 out of 5. But I was never bored and never felt the movie tried to heighten the tension in a false way.  Clearly the structure of the source book gives the spaces for each of the characters’ stories to be told.
I wonder if the tension was heightened instead for me by not watching any reviews of the film, and the knowledge of the Jersey lad sent to a concentration camp cos the Nazis confiscated his motorbike so he borrowed one of theirs (he was to die of TB in Nottingham a few years later).  Perhaps I filled in for the film for fighting oppression, and took too much from the celebration of coming together to discuss art.
(r:9.6; e:5, s:5, t:5).

Watching the results

The timing of this year’s local election results for Labour supporters was painful.
By 3am, Labour losses had mounted up and the Conservatives were gaining.
Labour had lost Derby (with UKIP – a busted flush everywhere else – winning 2 seats) and the Conservatives had won Peterborough and Nuneaton.  Labour had won Plymouth but failed to win Barnet.  The Conservatives had lost Trafford.


By the time Tower Hamlets, the last council, declared, Labour had gained councillors and Kirklees & Tower Hamlets; whilst the Conservatives had lost Trafford.
In the meantime, Labour was perceived to have lost these elections.  Apparently Labour had talked up the prospects of winning Westminster, Wandsworth & Barnet and then failed to.
This may not have been true; what was true was hours of analysis was broadcast without commentators talking about the impact of cuts in finance for local government.
However, projections on share of the vote as if the whole country had voted showed Labour level with the Conservatives and 3 seats ahead applied to a General Election.
Skwawkbox went even further saying “Labour had its best local election results since 1971”.
This seems surprising given some of the massive wins of the past such as 1985, when Labour won 48% of the vote and gained 2,000 councillors.
What actually makes you think is when you reflect on what you can do to improve the results next year.  And whether the Government feel under pressure for their policies on cutting funds to local government services.
Certainly, Alistair Campbell is concerned that Labour is not doing well enough.

Windrush advice surgery

“Happy to help any constituents who need support.” – Lilian Greenwood MP.


The Pilgrim’s Church in The Meadows offered free consultations with 1stCallUK for 20 or so clients or friends this afternoon.
WP_20180502_16_25_34_Pro (2) IstCllUK advice
Advice is –
1. read up; above is a one-pager from 1stCallUK with some initial advice;
2. write out your situation; the blank form at the top-right hints at the minimum information required;
3. consider getting proper legal advice;
4. contact your local MP to find out what help or advice they can offer; copy your MP with any correspondence sent to Gov’t agencies.
Councillors have no role or special knowledge on immigration matters, but we can help in general ways.

As for the Windrush scandal, the surprise is how this came seemingly from nowhere. Whilst some people have been in trouble for years, MPs seem only to have started hearing about these problems recently.
There are some estimates of there being 57,000 people affected – that’s 88 per MP. Arguably more people are affected in areas like The Meadows, so 20-40 might need advice.
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As for the resignation of the Home Secretary, no doubt the changing stories from Amber Rudd contributed, but the final defence – that she was unaware of a memo in her official boxes – cuts away at a fundamental premise in Britain’s governance, that a minister is accountable for her officials and this is underwritten by reading the papers provided.
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I believe British governance would be better if committees focussed on versions of the ministerial boxes, rather than the current interrogatory questions and supportive questions model, backed up by scrutiny from select committees and supposedly The Lords