Wonderland

Screenshot (848) ab0772h Nottm Playhouse Wonderland
“Best show I have ever see ” – a mate.
And some people really felt it.
Go see.
And if the Nottingham Playhouse was set up to tell Notts stories, this certainly does that.

The Government setting up the miners to force a strike.  Then fouling up the closures to be announced.  An uncontrolled union response leaving no space to call a ballot and starting the strike after the winter.   Notts miners feeling by-passed and a split results.  And so much more.

The play convincingly conveys the sense of heat down the pit.  Visuals are often excellent.  One or two brilliant jokes.  Certainly not just one perspective.

Perhaps some of the political analysis needed a bit longer conversation and less vernacular.
Can’t all be covered but when NACODS almost struck is omitted and the wives and the women against pit closures is only referred to.
Don’t get the title.
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Spectator tease

Screenshot (843) ac0647h spectator tease of CWmpA tease from the Spectator magazine against Chris Williamson MP from Derby North.
Chris recently said on Russia Today tv – ‘The way in which the privateers make their margins is by screwing down the workforce that they employ, cutting back on their terms and conditions and diminishing the quality of service to the general public.’
This is contrasted with a quote of his enthusiasm for Derby City Council working with Capita when he was council leader.
Remember, a Leader is speaking for a group.
Where Chris is a tad wrong is in his modern all or nothing interpretation of working with the private sector.

The private sector expertise can offer more savings, sometimes they can spread overheads better; sometimes they can take the risk better; whether in partnership work, contracting out or PFI (Private Finance Initiative – invented as a concept to accelerate projects that the public sector would take too long to develop the capacity to deliver and reduce the debt shown on gov’t books (meeting an EU golden rule)).

But the emphasis on outsourcing from New Labour was too much and New Labour was too top-down. Nottingham does work with the private sector, but we’re often pleased where we have managed to avoid privatisation, we have taken stuff back from outsourcing and in other joint working arrangements we’ve taken care to keep the staff.

Cos there are times when we’ve found the contractor does not deliver the service claimed, or that the contract reduces the capability to adjust the total spend to match reductions in budget,  or because your staff is too much of an asset to lose, or because you lose the capacity to take on other more commercially viable work that brings in extra income, or because the potential to recognise wider social or environmental aims cannot be embraced within financial arrangements (compulsory competitive tendering saw widespread roadside crocus planting in Nottingham wiped out in the eighties; more recently, a supply network to provide local food to local hospitals sustaning local jobs was lost).

health-care-spending-in-the-united-states-selected-oecd-countries_chart10
Then there’s the classic example of how the USA pays more for its health care than other countries, without seeking health care more often, whilst many of its citizens have no cover.  The companies make such profits that they’re good at lobbying to stop the much needed changes.

But it’s not all private sector bad.  The City Council is in partnerships to deliver certain types of benefit work (e.g. a separate company was created so that the staff from the council remained on our books); we need private sector capacity to demolish and rebuild Broadmarsh car park and we would enter into contracts to expand the tram system (15 years away?).  Trent Barton are an excellent compliment to Nottingham City Transport in providing Nottingham’s bus services and have at times led the way.

Chris point is true about the private sector in local hospitals (e.g. Carillion).
And isn’t Chris’ point true in a more general sense?
screen-shot-2018-02-06-at-132306-5a79b94b54384-5a79b9c0c3930.pngWatching Carillion’s top managers being shamed at a Parliamentary committee as they confirmed would keep their performance bonuses despite their company going into liquidation.

Meanwhile, I understand Dennis Skinner has (again) celebrated New Labour’s spending achievements, and I do say that whilst I complained then and complain now about how working with the centralising New Labour was painful, we got a lot done. 

Notts Police Panel – February 2018

 

First a word of warning: crime figures in the above graphic may not pay attention to changes triggered by changes in classifications of crimes; but crime has gone up under the Conservative governments, whilst resources nationally have been cut by 25%.
Notts’ current view is that crime has “plateaued” although in my ward I have concerns.
With new counting methodologies, you need a new baseline, and this was announced today as the 1st April, cos it’s when the new Policing Plan kicks in, itself delayed so as to allow the new Chief Constable to work outa new way for Notts Constabulary.

Back to the finances, that were being debated in Parliament today.
No doubt business rates are going up for next year, but none of that is finding its way to Notts Police.
– Police Core settlement stays at £76,843,070.
– DCLG formula funding stays at £47,448,274.
– Legacy Council Tax Grants stays at £9,726,154.
– Current precept of £56,450,177,
means a total base of £190,467,715.
This follows a late change of mind by the Conservative Gov’t; they were set to cut the national funding by £1.7m!  Some Police forces – West Midlands, Merseyside – are getting cash cuts.

Meanwhile, pay increases by 2% and general inflation is perceived to be 2% too.
An assumption is made that the tax base will increase by £733,892, representing an 1.3% – care I think has to be taken with this being a free hit, cos you might expect more people to serve means more to do.

WP_20180207_10_55_45_Pro ab0405h CoHall Police panel PTpccThe Gov’t have offered an opportunity to raise the precept by £12 for band D properties, and an £11.97 increase on the £183.43 base is recommended; a 6.5% increase.
The extra money represents £665,724 above inflation, out of a total of £192,942,793 (0.034%), serving perhaps 10,000 people (1.3%) more. So still reductions in service to Notts by central government.
So business pays more tax but none of it goes to the Police; and residents will pay more for at best a standstill budget.
However, I take the view that we need all the staff we can get.  So I supported the recommended precept.

More staff however , in part cos of a shift to younger staff, and more responsibilities falling to ranks such as Sergeants.  42 extra Police officers, 3 less Police staff. 39 extra, although changes in other funding reduces this by 6.

WP_20180207_13_02_16_Pro ab1120h 180131 NPost p01 Police precept storyChanges in staffing is shown as –
Police officers
– Operational up 85
– Intelligence & Investigation down 20
– Operational collaborations down 18
– Corporate Services down 5
Police staff –
– staff down 11
– PCSO up 8

The Nottingham Post reports Paddy Tipping as emphasising Gov’t not funding the Police properly, raising Council tax to pay for more officers, a new knife crime manage and a new custody detention suite to replace the existing Bridewell detention building, next to the courts.
I have criticisms of the Bridewell proposal, but in truth, until a fuller set of information is made available, I took the view no to criticise in public.

Screenshot (839) N Post police panel report ab0343h

The Nottingham Post have published quite a write-up.

 

Traffic failures

So, need to be a bit sensitive cos someone nearly got killed in a crash on the M1 in the evening, but in the morning of what should have been a light working day, was struck again by the volume of transport issues, including another one where someone decided to drive along a tram only part of the network.
But by expanding road traffic capacity, “we” have created more opportunities for incidents that hold up more people, rather than planning for people living nearer to where the work is and expanding public transport priority to help more not to need their own car.
In the nineties, we got more of this, and that was before the realisation that air pollution is hurting more city dwellers.

Punditry whose consensus is so right wing

Just watched BBC Sunday Politics (East Midlands) and the BBC East Midlands journalist said the M1 is too busy (despite the 4 lane widening!), the BBC host said the A453 is terrible (and it’s been dualled), and 3 right-wingers (Anna Soubry, UKIP deputy leader and Chief Exec, Midlands Engine) all agreed about the roads, with one brief mention of delayed Midland Main Line electrification).
Meanwhile the congestion we suffered in Nottingham recently could actually be best relieved with new tram routes and more support for buses; ideas so “radical” as to not get a mention.
Punditry whose consensus is so right wing, so blind to air pollution (will require less car journeys) and so blind to tackling climate change (which Germany is using as a driver for new quality jobs), instead, stuck on delivering Brexit rather than solving our problems of increasing secure local jobs (with proper hours) and getting more money into poorer people’s pockets.

Red Sky at midday …

… hurricane on the way.
20171016 red sky and sun sharon scoffings ab0682h 22449669_10155843145817915_6541484230024119353_n
Saw people lean out of office windows to witness this phenomena.
Ex-hurricane Ophelia had picked up sand from the Sahara and other material from Spain.
In the East Midlands, it was a bit windy.
Nothing like Ireland has suffered.
But hang on …
… a hurricane coming straight to the British Isles.
How many more “messages from the Lord” do we need?

Super Whalley

WP_20170417_16_53_13_Pro ab0233h Salop attack at Northampton
Pressure for relegation threatened Salop.
But better play than home to Walsall and a surprise to go behind.
Distress at 2 Northampton forwards who seemed to run into clashes and be the first to hit the ground.
Second half, and Salop winger Whalley decides to run and run at the full-back, who I think had committed six fouls before he got his second yellow card.  This during a purple patch and when Whalley hit a sharp inswinging cross from the corner of the box, it had goal written all over it – Sadler rose to nod in from 3 feet.
It seemed then only a matter fo time before a winning goal, but Salop struggled to control the ball and keep it down, and even though a second Cobbler got a second yellow for repeated fouls, time had run out.
Results elsewhere all went Salop’s way so now 3 points clear of the drop – can the escape be made at the next home game?
Bizarrest thing of the day: Salop fans adapting the Supertramp song – “Logical” – as a tribute to Shaun Whalley.