Vita and Virginia

Went cos I thought I ought to know more about Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, writers and part of Britain’s radical and feminist history.
Knew the film had lukewarm reviews, but thought it was important to go.
The movie covers the period of their love affair, and the writing of a resultant novel called “Orlando“.
Radical maybe, but also posh (terribly so), and dealing with literature at a level I don’t know about, so yeah, I’m lukewarm about the film too.
But no regrets about going. Too long for some, but there’s a lot to cover.
And beyond the story and the themes covered, great sets, fashion, locations and motor cars. Wiki. Guardian.


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

Anti-Semitism publications by The Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn

Just seen a new video and web-page on Anti-Semitism by The Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn.  

At first pass, it looks like a clear statement to me and something that I can refer to when challenging colleagues who are defending previous events and bad practice.  It provides a direct link for the IHRA code.  

If we in The Labour Party are to join in, we should listen out for bad behaviour in meetings, and watch out for anti-Semitic posts, and report them quickly to the party.  

A clear vindication of those who campaigned on the issue. People should take the opportunity to celebrate a victory rather than qualify it.
See also article by Nadine Batchelor-Hunt.

The first twitter reactions seem to focus on the initiative being too late or, not acceptable until people see a difference, rather than the content being wrong or poor. 
If party members mis-behave now there is a clear statement to refer them to, and a clear encouragement to refer them to the party.

And please, no “Jeremy didn’t have to apologise” comments.
And here, a new presentation on anti-Semitism from David Schneider.

Planning committee – July 2019

A proposal for dedicated student accommodation for 41 people was referred to the City Planner because of sustained criticism of the design including a poor main entrance, poor designs of windows, a harsh corner and more leading to poor visual amenity.
A proposal to oppose the proposals because of its location was advised it would fail cos of existing planning policy supporting such developments on main roads.
The N Post write-up in interesting, but not quite accurate. Insufficient progress could still bring the proposal back to committee, although 3 major changes were submitted in the last week to met concerns and the developer should be capable of addressing the further criticisms made.