As grateful for life as I am, and as much as I believe I am enjoying it, I am slightly perplexed to see how few shareable highlights I have from this year. The Christmas card, by definition is already shared. And with the achievements worth mentioning, generally some kind of hitch: – The public losing belief in Brexit but still waiting for the moment when we change; oh and all the blog entries; – Labour doing well in the May polls, but only finding out at the following tea-time, by which time the media had decided we’d lost; – The Democrats winning by 9.7 million votes, but it taking 1 week, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 10 to realise that the victory had been that good. – Trump facing 19 criminal investigations, but all of them still in progress. – Convening a good public meeting on knife crime, and the arrests of people who’d stabbed others in The Meadows; but the issue itself was depressing; – A sensational season for Salop, but with 2 Wembley defeats. – England using young players and special teams tactics to good effect in the World Cup finals, only to chuck it away against Croatia cos of inexperience and lack of tactical nouse.
Quite a lot of the rest has been fairly grim – * the Bridge ward being split, and the re-launch of a corrupt Parliamentary review; * tax changes giving even more to the rich; * people in need losing out with the roll-out of Universal Credit; * cuts to the welfare and public services, including requiring another £25 million by Nottingham City Council; * cuts to school budgets; * ongoing social impacts, including kids presenting problems associated with overcrowding at home, despite celebrating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I when we resolved to provide homes for heroes; * major fire damage to Cattle Market and to Nottingham railway station;
Lots to talk about. Parks: A bid for £55,000 for a £67,000 upgrade of Queens Walk Rec. has been successful. A new multi-use games area will got on the carpark, an outdoor keep fit gym will be installed where the current half-sized area area exists, the equipment from which we want to move to Arkwright Walk. Works will start in January and the Rec. will be upgraded by Easter. Meanwhile, we are seeking to get a play area for the residents of the Narrow Marsh into the plans of the college development, using money from developments in the city centre to cover the cost. Parking: most of the works for the new safety measures along Robin Hood Way and Old Meadows are done, with new residents’ parking permits to be issued soon. Policing: the required comms for the the Police room in the London Road fire station are going in today. Priority in The Meadows is drugs and a recent raid has captured cannabis worth £45,000. A behaviour order has been placed on a man causing nuisance around Bridgeway Shopping Centre. I’ve raised a query about how to get effective and consistent action on obstruction by cars parked on pavement and even across doorways. Disappointed to hear that The Meadows loses a sergeant, to be replaced with one covering The Meadows and Sneinton. Nottingham City Homes: environmental works have begun; Bruce Close has recently been finished. Waterside development: strategic plans were presented; we should be looking for a new bus service running down Meadow Lane running into Arkwright Walk. Meanwhile, NCT are to reduce the frequency of the No.3 to half-hourly, with no service after 7pm and on Sundays. – After the meeting, I heard that the plan to makes a new centre out of Bridgeway Hall has fallen through.
A massive relief to see the USA reject Trump by 9.4 million votes. But it took a fortnight to find out what had actually happened. 24.5 millions extra votes for the Democratic Party – candles – in the elections for the House compared to 4 years ago. Now we just hope that the average 40% approval rate – an historic low – finally crumbles under the pressure of the latest revelations that he put his personal wealth in Russia ahead of national interest. Brexit has become a choice between Leave on March 29th, remain for another 21 months under a Gov’t deal before Leaving (with probably no deal for a further 2 years), Remain (probably needing another referendum to confirm), and with none of these options having a majority, I think we’ll lurch towards a no-deal Brexit until the country resolves to withdraw Article 50 so as to negotiate a full Brexit deal, and then ask again. Then, for some perspective – the centenary of the end of World War I. A stupid war, that should bring perspective to the stupidity of supporting Trump or wanting Brexit. Britain and the USA needs to get its perspective back.
From Bridgeway Shopping Centre to Arkwright Walk to Uppingham Gardens. Pictures include – – New flats being built at the north end of Arkwright Walk; – New retractable bollard to allow a new alternative entrance into Bridgeway Shopping Centre; – Barriers managing construction traffic at the junction of Kirkewhite Walk and Arkwright Walk; – Renewing the pavement along Arkwright Walk; – Kiddies swing seat damaged by dogs whose owners let them chew seats to maintain their teeth; – New houses along Arkwright Walk; – A picnic table with wheelchair access; – Hicking buildings phase 2 being built. Fuller res photos available on Facebook.
An exhibition on elections and electioneering in Nottingham and Notts which tells the not known enough story of the torching of Nottingham Castle as working people expressed their frustration of delays to a Reform Act which was an Act that was finally passed in 1832.
Documents on management of registers, and stuff on student union elections.
The stories of interesting election candidates. Helena Brownsword Dowson, Secretary of the Women’s Suffrage Society in Nottingham, and the first woman Nottingham City Councillor, elected in The Meadows in 1920.
More surprising, James Morrison, elected as a Conservative MP for Nottingham East in 1910, owner of Basildon Park (so, very rich), but lauded for his work with a social security scheme in St.Ann’s and Sneinton. Strange.
Then a Communist who stood for Mansfield a number of times. A far more interesting story is John Peck, who was actually elected as a City Councillor in Bulwell East in the late eighties, (1987- 1997, moved to Green Party in 1990; contested 49 elections; having served in RAF bomber command in WWII).
But no mention of Feargus O’Connor, only Chartist MP ever to have been elected; or any of the Luddites and Hampden Clubs that led the revolutions and riots. And no mention of any Labour Party candidates.
That’s when you wonder if the exhibitors have spoken to anyone local (dare I say, outside the ivory towers).
Or is it just that there were no interesting Labour Party candidates, or elections involving them?
Maybe Labour’s emphasis on collective working meant less emphasis on the individual?
Off the top, an alternative list might offer –
* 1945: the vindication of universal suffrage; and the tragedy of 1951 – losing despite winning over half the vote.
* Labour Cabinet Ministers from Notts – Don Cancannon and Geoff Hoon – though not from the city; city MPs have held Ministerial posts – Bill Whitlock, and also Graham Allen and John Heppell. Perhaps this isn’t dramatic enough, so –
* Vernon Coaker – Labour’s best electioneer – winning Gedling when it was not expected in 1997, but holding it ever since, even in 2015 when Labour lost nationally by 7 points.
* The Ashfield by-election defeat in 1977 (which I think triggered the Lib-Lab pact) – a spectacular defeat in a safe seat when Labour held Grimsby the same day.
* Frank Higgins – local Labour council leader who pioneered radical local transport policies including “zone and collar”;
* Betty Higgins – first woman city council leader who in the early eighties doubled the city council’s rates (then a district council) to provide free bus passes for the elderly and the less mobile, that was to sustain the city bus services network that other cities lack;
* Dennis Pettitt, leader of Notts County which expanded public spending to defend those in need and the capacity of the council to deliver change; and was a D-Day veteran, co-created the first multi-racial party in Africa, was elected to Birmingham City Council where he pioneered recognition for the interests of gypsies, and campaigned for the disabled. As Leader of Notts, he held off the councillor who’d lost the Ashfield by-election and held Labour Councillors together during the split between the UDM and NUM..