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.



On election, the new leader of the Conservative party spoke and made the following claim –
“… if you look at the history of the last 200 years of this party’s existence you will see that it is we Conservatives who have had the best insights, I think, into human nature. ….”
“Between the instincts to own your own house, your own home, to earn and spend your own money, to look after your own family. Good instincts, proper instincts, noble instincts. 
“And the equally noble instinct to share. And to give everyone a fair chance in life. And to look after the poorest and the neediest and to build a great society.”

They’ve gone backwards in the ability of people to own their own home. The emphasis on homes being an investment, rather than ensuring homes are provided for all has led to frustration in providing both private homes and homes for rent.
To earn – Labour in 45-51 getting servicemen back into work; 1997-2008 – 4 million extra jobs.
Great Society” – kinda Cameron like, but we’re now seeing too many people who are ill being asked to work when they shouldn’t and the appeals taking too long. Now we have the concept of the “working poor”.
National Health Service – not even remotely a Conservative idea; they had to make a major show of conversion to the NHS when Winston Churchill gave a speech at The Molineux in 1949.
everyone a fair chance in life” – yet we’ve just seen another Old Etonian to be appointed as Prime Minister.
So much piffle.
(synonyms: nonsense, rubbish, garbage, claptrap, balderdash, blather …)

And from London City Labour Party – Boris Johnson’s record as Mayor of London:
Rough sleeping DOUBLED
£60m WASTED on a cable car
10 fire stations CLOSED
£43m WASTED on the Garden Bridge (Nothing was actually built)
NO ACTION on fuel poverty
Violent crime UP
£40m WASTED on Routemaster buses
Ticket offices SHUT

Labour stops The Brexit Party winning Peterborough

BBCtv by-election coverage was a bit laboured; emphasising how Peterborough was always Labour or Conservative.
But signals were being given that Labour may have won, beating The Brexit Party into 2nd place.

Thea Labour win is remarkable.

Cos a by-election was called cos of a petition against an existing Labour MP – a bit of a challenge; 
and although I’m prepared to be corrected on this, I understood the reputation of the Labour MP from 1997 – 2005 was not good; 
and I understand Peterborough voted Brexit in the European elections;
and then our Labour candidate apologised during the campaign (having liked or appreciated anti-Semite or bonkers material).

A Labour win in those circumstances is pretty dramatic.
The Guardian reports 7 reasons why.
Or –
“A hold is a hold” – Andrew Neil, BBCtv.

The new Peterborough MP has said she will undertake anti-Semitism training.
From the Peterborough Telegraph – “The Labour candidate for the by-election in Peterborough has apologised after ‘liking’ an anti-Semitic Facebook post, but emphasised she did not agree with the views expressed. Lisa Forbes said she “apologised wholeheartedly for not calling out these posts” and will “deepen” her understanding of anti-Semitism whether she is elected or not, so she can challenge it in the future.”

I don’t believe she is the first to have gone on record to denounce the IHRA code on anti-Semitism and then been caught out.  But Labour members have got to learn, cos arguments against the code soon come undone.
I’m also frustrated to see people who have previously shared anti-Semitic images sharing statements, each as JVL’s, defending the Labour candidate, when the candidate had already apologised.  
“… trolling of social media accounts is pernicious” says JVL, although I wonder if they meant trawling. Whatever, election opponents are going to check what you’ve said or liked or approved or appreciated.  
I am a tad worried if “like”s or emotion icons are taken as evidence, cos sometimes you can hit something on a screen, and either not realise you’ve done it, or find you don’t know how to fix it. 

But I would like in the future that people who post accusations of anti-Semitism to refer to the IHRA code to explain why.  
Both to demonstrate responsibility in making accusations and to re-emphasise the importance of the code.

Cant from Theresa May

I saw some cant today – Theresa May’s resignation speech.
Followed by more cant – “it was a dignified speech.”
Followed by more cant – it made her look human; (even she should have cried more often).
Followed by some nonsense – it is inhuman not to feel sorry for her.
Followed by some alternative nonsense – she didn’t cry for the victims of her policies.

I mean, why not assess what she actually said?
This was what deserved the analysis. But so much of the reaction was non-thinking.

“… I was driven to make the United Kingdom a country that works not just for a privileged few but for everyone …” NO! She has worked for the privileged.
“… ‘Never forget that compromise is not a dirty word. Life depends on compromise.’ … ” Theresa May is going now because she was pushing her line for the fourth time. But compromise is just one part of a whole skill set of conflict resolution. So, misleading and incomplete.
“… The deficit is almost eliminated. Our national debt is falling and we are bringing an end to austerity. …* I need to check, but I thought the deficit was an indicator of debt rising.
Austerity had needed – No, cuts still being made to public services.
“My focus has been on ensuring that the good jobs of the future will be created in communities across the whole country, not just in London and the South East, through our modern industrial strategy.* DELUSIONAL. And when it’s plain her focus has had to be Brexit.
“We have helped more people than ever enjoy the security of a job.” The employed counted are based on a one-hour per fortnight criteria, and more is being paid out in in-work benefits
“We are building more homes and helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder, so young people can enjoy the opportunities their parents did.” DELUSIONAL again. The rate of house-building. is way too low.
“And we are protecting the environment, eliminating plastic waste, tackling climate change and improving air quality. DELUSIONAL again – consider the commissioning of environmentally unfriendly office blocks. And we are way behind the Germans and the Danish and the Dutch and so on.
“… to give a voice to the voiceless. ” Such CANT.
“To fight the burning injustices that still scar our society.” DELUSIONAL again, and just what do the Windrush generations think about that.
“And … the tragedy at Grenfell Tower … ” She didn’t meet the victims at the outset and the government is not financing the replacement programme for publicly owned properties across the country.

Or has others have put it –
Theresa May’s achievements in office:
*More children in poverty
*More pensioners in poverty
*More people in work in poverty
*More homelessness
*More families using food banks
*Worst NHS A&E performance
*School budgets cut
*Violent crime up
*Windrush scandal

Lexit cost us votes

Here it is folks.
They have gone from “stand for what you believe in” to triangulation politics …
and we’ve done it in the worst possible way – it’s cost us votes.
Cos our national Lexit (Brexit) statements has cost us votes in the areas where Brexit was stronger … 

And it’s not crossed peoples’ minds that the Labour voters who were Remain in these seats (and remember, the majority of those Labour voters in those seats were Remain) have not voted for us and not voted fro us in larger numbers.  

Just how will a May-Corbyn deal – without a reference back to the public, and with only minority support from Labour party members – just how will such a deal look like now, and look like from the future?
And remember all those speeches from the past – “comrades, we say, no compromise with the Tories”.  
Now we have – the negotiations are going well, especially on workers’ rights.

Electoral Expectations

Don’t play the expectations game – re-warding and squeezes on registration have made it harder for Labour.
Fight back in the best way possible – go vote!

Expectations were being set over the weekend about how many Councillors the Conservatives will lose on Election Day, this Thursday.
This “game” is about being able to say you’ve won when you’ve lost; most successfully played when the Conservatives persuaded the media that election results could be interpreted by what happened in Westminster, Wandsworth and Bradford – the rest of us didn’t count that year.
This year, it’s started by predictions that the Conservatives will lose over 1,000 Councillors. More “reasoned” analysis suggests 800.  

So how many Conservatives will lose in Nottingham?
Cos currently, it’s 52-3.  
But here’s what the analysts haven’t mentioned.
In 2015, the local elections was held at the same time as a General Election, when Labour benefits from high turnout.
And in Nottingham, we’ve had our ward boundaries re-drawn using figures that work solely on people registered – and not even from 2017 when numbers were high – and ignores many students and second people (and more) who have tended to not be registered so often given the changes in the registration system.

Trident has denuded the Royal Navy of ships

Commander Robert Forsyth RN (ret’d) came to Nottingham to say that Parliament should be involved in the re-targeting of nuclear weapons, otherwise the Prime Minister and Trident submarine commanding officers would be placed in legal jeopardy.

He was commanded a Polaris nuclear submarine (a deputy) and what came across was how and his boat’s commander rehearsed time and again the scenarios under which they’d launch nuclear weapons.
Thought-provoking to hear him explain how he’d thought those discussions had been based on wrong thinking about the deterrence. Time and again there have been episodes when a nuclear war had nearly started, and looking back, would not have been justified – e.g. Operation Archer could have started Armageddon on the basis of a faulty radar reading.
Dismay was expressed at the 2016 Trident Parliamentary debate (he’d thought Theresa May had called opponents “traitors”) .
It was a dreadful debate.
So badly ill-informed compared to the eighties. Perhaps the argument to drop Trident can be won on the cost alone – full life cost estimated between £150bn – £204bn. (The initial £40 million has denuded the Royal Navy of ships such as frigates (£250 million each).) But if there was greater awareness, there would not be support for nuclear missile exchanges which would lead to unprecedented death and destruction, and the hard to envisage nuclear winter.
Testimony to that was President Reagan’s change when he saw a TV movie produced in the mid-eighties. And it was suggested that if he hadn’t hung his faith on a Star Wars defence, a nuclear free world agreed by him and Gorbachov would have been achieved.