General Election called for 12th December

I’d wanted a referendum called first, so that the country resolve where it stood on Brexit by the same method as put us into the current mess.
Instead, the Lib Dems and the SNP put what they perceived as their narrow party political advantage ahead of maximising the chance for a considered way out of the debacle the country is in.
Daylight hours are going to be short over the next 6 weeks and we are more vulnerable to bad weather on poling day than usual, so the advice to all is to register and to seek a postal vote.
And vote Labour.

We need radical change

In Britain, we subsidise businesses who pay poor wages via the benefits system.
We don’t support people in genuine need enough.
We too often disqualify people from support when they are genuine need.
We count people as employed, even if they only work 1 hour in a fortnight. Too often, people are working low hour contracts and difficult hours at the expense of stability in the home.

We have not expanded the NHS at the rate needed to support our ageing population.
We see too many people living rough and dependent on drugs, in a way that sustained and expanded drug dealing, and the numbers of Police officers has been cut.
The public health and support services for people have been cut.

The general public services for the things we love like parks and libraries and events have ben cut.
We have often lost the youth services and community development services that develop the potential of our neighbours and neighbourhoods.
Having created a surer start for our children, the level offered has been reduced and many children’s centre have been limited, subsumed or closed.
Our schools are receiving less funding and the pressure on teachers has seen too many give up on the vocation and career.

We no longer count the jobs available in work properly and the threat of Brexit has reduced the growth of our economy. Despite 9 years of austerity – in fact because of it – our national debt is massive. Wages have not kept pace with prices and levels of personal debt is massive. We no longer talk about the expected norm of growth at 3%. Major firms have closed operations in Britain and others have moved future investment elsewhere, especially if they want the assurance introduced by a trade deal with Japan that the EU have just brought in.
Even if we leave, Brexit isn’t over, cos it would be followed by years and years of trade deal negotiations.
Rather than support economic development in a focussed and planned way, we’ve given a £5 billion tax break to the banking sector and an £8 billion tax break to corporations.
Small businesses and. town centre shops are struggling to compete against businesses such as Amazon, who pay no tax.

And even if we were getting things right, there would still be the challenge of greenhouse gas emissions to meet. Yet we’ve backed smart motorways – expensive and now regarded as not smart enough – at the expense of projects like electrifying the Midland Main Line. Popular tram systems that could be expanded require money from councils when new roads don’t. Bus networks are being reduced, not least cos the fuel subsidy they had was taken away. The new nuclear power station is – as might have been predicted – already running late and will charge much more for electricity than people currently pay. Home improvement through better insulation meanwhile, is pitiful

And our understanding of all these problems is diminished by a media culture that praises itself, thinks their puns are required and funny, yet cares little for whether a fully informed society exists. We have a Prime Minister who cares too little about racism, sexism and facts, and who is under suspicion for awarding contracts to personal friends and wasting money like £11 million for a 50p Brexit themed coin and an abandoned garden bridge for which nothing was seen for the £35million spent.
Our political culture too often depends on questioning personal motivation rather than being outlooking and accountable.

We need radical change.


I have things to say about BBC coverage, the latest of which is to tell people about campaign tactics rather than the issues.

So let’s say it more simply; we want people to understand that – 
– the Johnson Brexit deal poses problems for the Peace Deal struck over Northern Ireland and Ireland; as does No Deal;
– the Johnson deal does not mean an end to Brexit, but uncertainty over trade; (new deals will take years); 
– the Conservatives have been exploring access to NHS for American companies as part of a future trade deal with the USA;  
– Labour wants to spend more on our health services and to reduce the demand on the health services through more adult care and more dental checks;  
– Labour will employ more new nurses than the Conservatives, not least because the Conservatives are counting nurses already working for the NHS as new; 
– the Conservatives are also portraying a programme to re-furbish 6 hospitals as a programme for 40 new hospitals; the biggest new hospital building programme was started by Labour; 
– climate change has been recognised by the public this year in particular as requiring more government action; Labour are proposing a new green industrial revolution, while Johnson is avoiding the Channel 4 tv leaders’ debate on climate change. 
So much more to say. 

Boris Johnson loses

He called an address from Downing Street but pulled his punches.
He spoke to there G7 conference to Parliament, but his jab at Jeremy Corbyn fell flat.
As he spoke, a Conservative MP crossed the floor to join the Lib Dems.
His majority of 1 was lost.
21 Conservative MPs refused to vote with him and he lost by 27.
He’s withdrawn the. whip and now his minority is 43.
He days he’ll call a General Election, but the combined opposition don’t have to agree to one, and will wait until they’re certain that No Deal can’t be passed will Parliament is not sitting.
An ERG Conservative MP claimed today that the proposed General Election Day of 14th October can’t stick because it is a Jewish holiday – and he may be right – but it just exemplified how they can’t be trusted on the date.

It’s been strange during the last few days as the language has slipped from ‘our party is the best’ to ‘we must defend the importance of accountability of the executive to Parliament’.
And if Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings think they can turn the debate into the people vs Parliament and be popular, the snap polls suggested they are wrong. He was pressed 3 times on obeying the law, despite saying he would at the second attempt, cos he muttered. his agreement like a six year old who didn’t’t want to say he was wrong.
Corbyn is apparently to suffer a setback cos he won’t yet agree to a General Election, but he should stick with it for fear of a Johnson trick and because the answer – Johnson can’t be trusted – bears repetition.

Mrs Lowry & Son

L S Lowry was a rent collector. A former colleague on the city council was too and would talk about the insights into life the job gave.
In this film, one of the insights is that it’s one of Mrs Lowry’s disappointment in her son. Other insights, that Lowry doted on his mother, that his dotage was an aspect (or cause) of a repression, that his mother was wrapped up in ideas of middle class respectability (a theme Orwell explored, as well as ’30s poverty in the north-west).
The revelations include that Lowry had a range of style over his life (yet again, I don’t know enough), and the men, children, cats and dogs were not matchstick (even if they were thinner then). And that the exteriors of buildings were much more interesting then.
The movie hasn’t been rated that highly, but it’s made me want to learn more and perhaps the movie might have been a bit more successful if it had done a tad more about the painting, the paintings and the triumph. (I also wanted more on the Labour Party Councillor who lived next door – la de da.)
Wiki. Guardian.

Prorogation recommendation was kept private and denied

The proposal to prorogue Parliament so that Boris Johnson did not have to account to Parliament in the. run-up to the proposed British Exit from the European Union was kept private. When the press said this weekend that it would happen, the Government denied it. They lied.

Why deny it?
The prorogation takes away precious time for MPs to hold Government to account, as they press on with a proposal likely to lead to a No Deal Brexit.
The leaders of the Brexit campaigns during 2016 referendum repeatedly said that it would be easy to negotiate a deal.
It wasn’t. And ministers spent very few hours talking proposals through with EU officials.
People voting Leave were entitled to believe that leave would be done with a deal.
There is no mandate from the public for a No Deal Brexit.

Snap poll

The most remarkable interview that I saw on TV today was given by the BBCtv’s royal correspondent who said the Queen’s top officials had let their distress at the prorogation proposal, and the position it put the Queen in, be known. This was quite a strong signal, when the Queen is supposed to stay out of it.
Nicholas Witchell went on to suggest that what was driving the concern was the imprecation of the proposal for the union between Scotland and England & Wales.

From the Daily Mirror – BBC Royal Correspondent Nicholas Witchell said: “The Queen has never during her reign refused to accept the advice of her ministers.
“She is a monarch guided by precedent. Therefore she will have felt pretty boxed in – that she had no option.”She and her advisors, I have little doubt, will be frankly resentful of the way this has been done and will be concerned at the headlines which say ‘Queen suspends Parliament.'”

A border between England and Scotland will be pretty pointless. Whatever else happens, it may well be the outcome of the prorogation proposal.

New Towns, Our Towns

New Towns, Our Town – Stories on Screen is a collection of (often sponsored information) films “about (mainly) the first four of the UK’s New Towns – Stevenage, Crawley, Hemel Hempstead and Harlow” from the ’20s to the ’80s. (Peterborough, Basildon and Milton Keynes also feature.)
Without an overarching explanatory narration, and presentations of contemporary perceptions of the towns, the criticisms of the new towns movements quickly spring to mind – lacking a central feature of distinction, designed before the take-off of car ownership, vulnerable during periods of high crime, diminished by people choosing home entertainment, home drinking and shopping in hypermarkets, oh and buying from internet companies who avoid paying tax.
But new and old towns alike have been vulnerable to that criticism. As are the redeveloped neighbourhoods and new suburbs.
Seeing “Crosswall” properties being erected, and the failure of (Harlow) Town Hall, it’s clear the New Towns movement didn’t have enough money to always provide quality.
Cliches abounded – “it’s about people”; loads of kids playing and adults bowling; modern art statues and fountains lined with small square tiles. And one I actually like – success will be when they don’t need us (the development corporations) anymore.
Loads to take in, but in the absence of editorial, the collation struggles to champion the New Town movement.
Highlight, the champion for the Milton Keynes development describing it in 1973 as “the most exciting thing in the world”.
The Guardian article.