Red Sky at midday …

… hurricane on the way.
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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?

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European Movement rally in Nottingham

IMG_7547ec0591h European Movement rally in OMS
Turned up towards the end and found the rally better organised than anything we did last year.
Had to acknowledge that Labour respects the mandate from the referendum, but also pointed out that latest poll finds for Remain by 5 points and maybe that margin might grow.
Pointed out how Britain’s focus so needed to be back on jobs, the labour market, health and education and that people had often voted for more money for the NHS and wondered why that hadn’t appeared yet.
Also explained how European the development of Nottingham has been, which is often typical of many English cities.
Finished by thanking the campaigners for keeping on keeping on.
Boris Johnson impersoninator was good fun.

Minsk 950

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Nottingham’s twin city is celebrating the 950th anniversary of its formal beginning.
One concert told the city’s stories, including celebrating the iconic bison that still living in the forests that surround the city.

What would Nottingham’s stories be?
A place of caves;  by-passed by the Romans; founded by a Saxon chief; made an important borough by the Vikings;  made so important by the castle built by the Normans; a seige of the castle;  supporting the crusades, the city symbol and a taste for saffron; the stories of Robin Hood becoming about Nottingham castle at the time of the printing press; deposing of a queen in the castle; Goose Fair; a palace and a garden city, with caves used for brewing;  French and Germans fleeing religious persecution bringing knowledge of lace; not supporting the king in the civil war, even if he tried to raise his standard here; resisting Royalist seige of the castle; embracing tolerance post the civil war; the Quakers starting from a protest in St.Mary’s; industrialisation; textiles and lace; wealth in the good times, slums in the bad times, and riots – “Bannertown”; campaigns for proper jobs, proper wages, proper products and the vote; the Pentrich march, burning the palace at the castle, and the Battle of Mapperley Hills; canals and caves for chemical “engineering”; clean water plants; Empire and wealth through lace; railways and national sports and Notts County & Trent Bridge; expanding the city out of its historic boundaries; art school, the art gallery in the castle; becoming a city and the end of the French and Saxon boroughs; quality pharmaceuticals, soap, cigarettes, bicycles; The Great War; the new housing estates to the north and north-west – gardens back and front; the economic depression and the building of The Council House; the Second World War; a blitz and manufacturing anti-aircraft guns; a new deal – jobs, free health care at the point of need, success for all in schools, better housing  (Clifton and slum clearance), social security; cold war and threatened total destruction; the commonwealth and immigration; confronting racism; new democratisation of local government, slum clearances and radical transport policies – “zone and collar”; Europe and twinning; Nottingham Forest and Torvill & Dean; loss of confidence in government programmes, making the market king, globalisation, loss of manufacturing and mass unemployment & deprivation; growth in night life, universities and information technology; bdy scanning and bio-technology; a return to investing in health and education; new jobs and new immigration & multi-culturalism; better buses, light rail transit and asking commuters to pay; world economic crash and slum private landlords …

Electric buses using super-capacitors


By being re-charged in a quick way, and frequently, a new kind of electric bus is running in Nottingham’s twin city of Minsk.
Environmentally friendly cos they are low weight, but challenging to operational use cos they need re-charging so frequently, and can you always know that jams won’t stop them reaching recharging stations in time?
The buses are made in Minsk, although the super-capacitors come from China.

Dunkirk

A war movie, without the distracting love stories and over poignant speeches.
A war movie that doesn’t worry about what Churchill is saying.
A war movie that doesn’t show an enemy face until the final seconds.
A war movie that doesn’t show blood or gore.
A war movie that shows Spitfire Mark 1s in 70mm IMAX.
A war movie that shows what it was like to try to return home and try to help the evacuation.
On land, on sea and in the air.
Compelling action. Bullets zinging. Bombs exploding. Torpedoes hitting. Ships sinking. Planes duelling. combattants bracing.
A war movie, not a survival movie, even if the Director says so.

So go see Dunkirk.

The surprise – what limited dialogue there is can’t be heard very cleary – a mistake not made since “The Patriot”.  Understandable maybe if the background is explosions, but when reading a newspaper article on a train back in Blighty?
Some of the storylines are a bit misjudged (the trawler, one event on the little ship) and there’s no celebration of French efforts.

The myths of Dunkirk

dunkirk movie german map leafletaaxxxxhPromotional interviews for the movie Dunkirk keep stressing how Churchill thought the operation to bring British and allied forces out of the trapped pocket might ony save 30,000 when 338,000 were to be relieved says more about our willingness to buy such stories rather than what was actually said by British senior officers.
And the story of the little ships being brought over by their owners was also something that took off after it was penned by an American author – they were mainly sailed by Royal Navy personnel.
Worst about it all is how the role of French soldiers in enabling the evacuation is underplayed.
Then ideas that Hitler was being kind to the British – more a judgment of a British army returning home was never going to come back and there were other objectives to meet.
Nor did the Luftwaffe particularly fail – they were asked to do too much from bases too far away.
And of course there are records of British servicemen poor discipline.
As it happens, the British were planning an evacuation a few days previous and a major operation after Dunkirk brought another 190,000 personnel to Britain.
The Allies were out thought and outmanoeuvred in the Battle of France.
And debacles were to follow elsewhere, notably in Singapore.

But enough already.
Cos the point is that even once we cut through the myths and hear more of the reality, the Dunkirk evacuation was still an extraordinary effort, including the French.  Something to be proud of and to draw inspiration from.

We have moved on

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A recent anti-DUP tweet. 
A disappointing reaction to the DUP becoming a much stronger part of the Conservatives who vote in the Commons are the tweets and posts highlighting connections to the Ultras during the troubles.
I can acknowledge the fury of those who support Jeremy after the hatchet jobs launched by many papers on condoning violence intended to put people in fear of what they normally do (especially Daily Mail which ran 13 pages on Wednesday) – some of which we saw in the streets on election day.
But if we are the people of hope and not hate, we have to acknowledge just what people went through, and how good it was and is that an agreement was reached.
Made even more tangible cos enemies as bitter as Ian Paisley and Martin McGuiness can come together, and become the chuckle brothers.
Not saying concerns shouldn’t be expressed about LGBT issues, and Jonathan Powell expressing concerns for the future of N. Ireland is cautionary.
Just saying leave the seventies attitudes where they belong.