Disaster Recovery

Satirical wags are suggesting that the Home Secretary is asking European Union agencies if they have kept a pre-Brexit copy of the records that have ben lost.

I and a number of facebook friends started our working lives in computing and were trained in basics about computer system design.
So it’s been a bit of surprise to first hear (a few weeks back) about a testing system falling apart because a company had a problem with a very large spreadsheet and now to hear that 400,000 criminal records held in a computer system have been lost. (I can’t believe there isn’t a way to recover lost data, but hey, it;’s long time now since I did I.T. – 19 years since you ask, but I’m not bitter, you really had to drag it out of me.)
It all feels a bit “In The Thick of It” – which as well as inventing the word “omnishambles” had one episode plot include “a crack in the database”.
I can’t quite believe all the data they are referring to has been lost.

Review of 2020

Knowing how 20/20 is a measure of excellent vision, the year 2020 was anticipated, sometimes even planned for, in strong contrast to the expectations held for 1984. Yet with all the information available to us about the world and the way we are, and the unmatched ability to share information, 2020 has seen a massive scale of bad decisions. So disappointing that with all the advantages we have, we should be so poor.

Expanding …
– leaving the EU;
– a very late trade deal with the EU;
– insufficient action on climate change;
– believing more than most and for longer that we can tough out Covid-19;
– commissioning services for the public through new companies;
– constraining local government further;
– proposing the removal of what remains of a local planning system.

Bad political movements too –
– Trump;
– anti-vaxxers;
– QAnon.
Over the year, the Conservatives have lost their standing in the polls, when ruling parties in other countries have gained support for their leadership during the pandemic.

Ways of working – regular meetings with supporters, public meetings with community groups, tours of the council office buildings to push for progress; committee meetings with others; calling on people – all stopped since March.
Meetings using telecomms brought the opportunity for being held to account in a new way, but not sure many have valued it.

New housing finally replacing all those stacked maisonettes there once was in The Meadows. But frustration that more can’t be done to provide the council housing that is needed. Meanwhile some prosecutions of poor private landlords has begun. Many more bedrooms for students under construction.
Lower crime, but statistics are very much a one-off.
A new peace along The Embankment, but the test of what works for The Meadows is still to be set.
OMTRA saw through the establishment of a new conservation area, and gardening success by MeGA and gardeners from Castleview Meadows. Significant success for the new Greener Meadows group.

A full review of the issues in The Meadows ward has been published.
A long statement on how local capital funds are to be spent is also available.

Football wise, having reached a 50th anniversary of attending professional football matches –
Salop failed to beat Liverpool, but did come back from 2 down and Liverpool’s form took a tumble after we took them on; but Sam Ricketts ran out of ideas when faced with a poor run of results, rectified by a new manager and the team is now unbeaten in 8 matches; my experience of supporting the club has been transformed since being able to watch them live every game on the internet;
– Tottenham arguably have the 2 most exciting forwards in the country and yet have ended up with a reputation for being defensive and dull;
– Forest blew up at the end of the season and could not get started again; again, a new manager; and Notts County couldn’t quite get back into the Football League at the first attempt;
– Green Bay Packers look to be the best in the country and their quarter-back has avoided injury this season.

Film and theatre suffered. I saw quote a bit before the lockdown; Parasite and JoJo Rabbit stood out.

Finally, remember – 
Robert Morell; Mary Phillips.

Previous reviews:
Reviews of the months this year – December – November – mid-November – October – mid-October – September – mid-September – August – July – mid-July– June – mid-June – May – April – March – mid-March – mid-March – February – January – mid-January
Review of the decade; and 2019 – 2018 – 2017 – 2016– 2015– 2014– 2013– 2012.

Had logged over 2800 (check) matters as a Bridge ward councillor and now 185 (check) matters as a Meadows councillor.


Joe Biden reaches 81 million votes

So convinced are a section of Donald Trump’s followers who vote Republican in Georgia I. the repeated assertions that the election has been fixed that they see no point in voting in the 2 run-off elections for places on the national Senate in January. Whilst the 2 Republicans both only just missed the required 50% required in November, they may well now lose in January, and along with it, control of the Senate for the Republicans.

The states and congressional district that changed have all had their votes counted and certified; this id how Joe Biden reached 306 electoral college votes.

Joe Biden has now reached 81 million votes and by the time New York State accounts for all the votes cast there, Joe seems likely to be perhaps 4.1% ahead in share of vote and around 25,000 short of winning by 7 million votes.

Labour faces different challenges in May 2021 when new County Councillors and Police Commissioners are to be elected. Covid-19 will still be around and the welcome news on 3 vaccinations means a national vaccination programme will still be in full swing.
Whilst Labour is arguably 3 points ahead, something like a swing of 7% better than the BBC’s projected national vote interpretation of the 2017 elections (losing by 11 points), Labour’s support might be suppressed by fear of catching the disease. (I think, but can’t know, that this was a factor in Joe Biden’s result not being as strong as the polls predicted.)
In the USA, an unprecedented drive for early voting took place, but this included voting in advance at special poling stations – an option we don’t have. And the drive to get people to vote by post is hampered by restrictions, or perceptions of restrictions, about calling on people at home.
If we cared, the British would have an all-postal vote election this May (like the East Midlands did in 2004).

Kingdom of the Kentish

Last seen in 871; announced again in September.

Just how many lies are the Remain campaign said to have told? And yet from January 1st, Kent is to have its own border checks for lorries arriving.

Meanwhile, John Major has had to spell out the extent of the Brexit disinformation.

From 9th November.

Just where did the misunderstanding about the European Union come from?

Roadkill gives too much credence to right wing politicians

Roadkill was not unentertaining

For at least the third time, we’ve had a TV drama portraying right-wingers as credible operators that are in some way to be admired.
The Theresa May succession that made that Gavin Williamson seem a cool operator.
That C4 drama that had Benedict Cumberbatch play Dominic Cummings.
And now Hugh Laurie and the fictional Conservative MP who becomes Prime Minister cos he hangs together when all around him is falling apart.
This last piece written by David Hare who rolls in a USA political operation to be part of a conspiracy.

And it’s all just rubbish.They not hard nosed and effective.
They’re blimps; cowards who hide away from scrutiny (any nearby freezer will do); they talk a different language.
And they succeed cos wealth and patronage and media power keeps talking them up.
Giving contracts to wives of MPs or sexual partners, and planning permission favours to donors – and they don’t even have to care enough to hide it.
Roadkill, the BBC tv series, has an investigative journalist – but why bother?

A reminder – shouldn’t look down on the Americans cos they voted Trump – we British have lost the plot too.

Radical change is needed

If I’m a tad bright elsewhere about the USA’s achievement in holding a general election during a pandemic, it might be the relief of the final outcome.
And I might not know enough about what is wrong.

But maybe our focus needs to be what more can we learn as we resolve again to improve the outcomes for working people and. better electoral success.

– that Keir Starmer has got Labour a lead in the polls (the latest being 5 points), when we were at one stage 22 points behind and the Conservatives had the opportunity to lead the country through a crisis that was not of their own making might suggest we made a good start in recovering from the 2019 defeat; but the Joe Biden campaign did from this distance seem a bit flat / stale;
– we need to fashion the exciting ideas to respond to the challenges of globalisation, climate change, the burden of nuclear weapons, fundamentalism and money being siphoned way from local economic activity into packages and pledges that people can relate to;
– we need a renewed sense of responsibility: both in the way we behave (e.g. social media) and how we contribute to society; and to boost electoral registration and turnout; and to challenge the conspiracy theorists;
– we need a new devolution of problem solving and service provision to local elected authorities, and a new accountability from those authorities; yes, more power to those who represent us at local levels, but greater external scrutiny and review;
– to build on the principles given form by John Hume in respect for others’ traditions and values in shaping new ways of co-operating and tolerating / celebrating difference;
– we need a stronger union movement in the workplace and the end to job insecurity and low hours contracts;

I’m sure there’s loads more to work up and fashion, but we need radical change and to win radical change by winning arguments based on good political principle and conduct in public life, in ways people can relate to cos we’ve rehearsed in their terms.

Meadows ward monthly report 18

Low Autumn sun catching the trees on Victoria Embankment.

PUBLISHED and TO BE PUBLISHED stories, from Facebook posts, tweets and e-mails.

30 The EHRC report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party
29 Alan Simpson talk to Beeston Greens
29 Whataboutery and superstition
27 applying for a voucher
25 Talking baseball instead of football
24 Biden / Trump debate
24 Children vouchers, Head teacher’s letter and nationalising children
22 Children – Daily Mirror
21 Luke Pollard and environment issues
21 Planning issues
20 Mid-month progress report – October 2020
20 Broadmarsh
20 Salop – Bristol Rovers
20 Unity Square

19 France
18 Take care before you share
17 Salop at Wimbledon. Unrelenting anxiety
17  Street scene issues
18 Banksy street art
14 Progress report
14 Arkwright walk
14 anti far right briefing
14 check Canal green flag
13 Covid briefing
12 QAnon briefing.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLgaGy9PnOc
11 Local Govt review over

8 Covid cases graphic 
8 QAnon briefing
8 South ESAP
6 US polls
6 Embankment site visit
5 City council meeting  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPWlUaDqzoE 
4 Ferngill flowers
3 Protest on council house steps   Rebut the nonsense
2 Trump has Covid. An October surprise
2 Canal partnership 
1 Commentary on voting Better elections
Yellow and Grey Wagtail
1 NOMs
1 looking forward to October

Meadows ward monthly report 17

Lots going on but main focus has been writing up the ward capital programme, parts of which were approved at the Area committee.
Public health emergency still dominates British life . And the rear of Donald Trump being re-elected dominates the psyche. Pleasing then that Joe Biden is thought to have won the first debate.

PUBLISHED and TO BE PUBLISHED stories, from Facebook posts, tweets and e-mails.

30 Gun control video 

30 Don’t bake in a tent, but bake in a tent

30 Presidential debate Lessons from the debate, and Bert

29 Met new Chief Exec The new Chief Executive

28 Enviroenergy meeting.

28?  Nottinghamshire buildings Book launch

28  Trump tax returns.

27 Poll lead

25 Audit committee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqI1Td9Cy8Q 

24 ward walk

23 Area committee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsyMrVDEl1A

23 Planning committee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj_PaBJVfyE.

21 Standing up for Science and against cults and conspiracy theories

19 Fresh air and Salop


16 Meadows regeneration

16 Mid-month progress report – September 2020

14 Rush hour tour of Meadows ward

14 Greenfields school safety zone

12 Salop draw at Pompey on opening day

11 Joint Strategic Planning and Transport cttee – September 2020 

Notts Police and Crime Panel September 2020.

Shrewsbury Town FC say Black Lives Matter

Agreement announced for Robin Hood Energy customers to transfer to British Gas

Fred DaviesLooking Forward to September 2020

The Conservatives had a 26 point lead

Poll by Opinium; the only poll to show parity yet.

In just five months since the full lockdown was imposed by the prime minister, the Conservatives have lost a 26-point lead over Labour who now stand neck-and-neck with the Tories on 40%.” – The Guardian.

Now I think Labour has in the past lost a 26 point lead – mid-term 87-92 from memory. But Labour was in opposition.

The Conservatives lost 16 or so points of an 18 point lead in the 2017 General Election campaign.

But what usually happens in response to a national/international crisis is that the governing party can in response set the agenda and deliver change which yields a popular response. Here – they’ve lost 26 points when in charge.

For an example, an official inquiry did find the Conservative gov’t culpable for not acting to deter and prevents the invasion of the Falklands, in 1982. But they came out of that conflict with a big lead in the polls, after an extended period of being unpopular for creating huge unemployment.

Here, in 2020, it’s the other way around. And this after apparently millions of traditionally always Labour voters really had to look into their soul before leaping to vote Conservative. 

Cringing Embarrassment

A BBC production company in charge of printing this year’s proms, considered what to do about the “Last Night”, which in contrast to a season of musical concerts listened to in reverent silence, has singing and others interruptions, especially to songs considered to be patriotic. They also considered in the light of Black Lives Matter, and the protests about aspects of Empire, whether some of the ones should just be dropped.
They resolved to keep the songs for the future, when the audiences would be back to sing them to sing them, but to perform instrumentals versions this year.
A political fuss kicked off. The Prime Minister said “I think it’s time we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history, about our traditions, and about our culture, and we stopped this general fight of self-recrimination and wetness. I wanted to get that off my chest.

Now I think Land of Hope and Glory proclaiming we shall never be slaves does kinda dismiss the history of an Empire that was built in so many ways through the enslavements of millions, even if Britain did then pioneer the drive to stop the trading of slaves – using legislation written by William Wilberforce while he was living in Wilford, Nottingham – and that with huge reparations for slave owners who lost out financially.
But here, our latest political principle – the John Hume political principle of respect the differences in traditions – kicks in and move on cos what is to be gained by trying to ban such a song, even if we were trying?

Cos the cringing is about our present.

No doubt, once the fuss of this decision has calmed down, then we shall have the other myths of wanting to ban the poppy (even though those who fought, fought for our freedom to wear one or not; and actually many people do not wear it, which I happen to think is a bit disappointing) and that references to Christmas are to be banned (even if the holiday is firmly based upon replacing earlier version of the celebrations created to cheer us all up as we entered Winter). Note the ironies, respect the differences, and move on. (And yes, I did once switch on the city’s Christmas lights.)

But one last thought on “Land of Hope and Glory’. Its popularity took off during World War I and its author came to profoundly regret that it had become an anthem to war. No higher form of self-recrimination than that.