Across our neighbourhoods, or (in this 21st Century, I might more accurately say) extended networks, all kinds of people are making all kinds of arrangements to support each other when we are ill, or isolated, or socially distancing. At times like these, people will be getting on with getting on. And where they can’t, they will be looking to the NHS or the council or their social landlord or the emergency services to do what is necessary. Including reporting neighbours who thought it was fun to have a street party yesterday to the Police.
Now as an elected representative, I feel this urge to do something more; and that people might expect it of me. But the reality is people need a structured, organised and (dare I say it) a properly financed set of services to assist. So I won’t be putting out any special leaflets to say I can help as an individual. Cos the systems should provide and I expect that of them. Part of this is cos I don’t want to confuse any organised systems and messages. And part of this is cos I might be carrying the virus and not know it.
What I can, should and do do is report failings in the systems set up to help. I am going to expect that people know that I do that already. Cos this ain’t the time to be trying to fix, or even make, reputations.
Meanwhile, my main political criticisms are – 1. if we are “at war”, all available capacity should be mobilised for a purpose through our public services; people no longer selling holidays, or serving in shops or on public transport, could be commissioned to help the public services; and others could be mobilised to keep their immediate neighbourhood looking neat (not litter or waste, obviously, but grass cutting and weeding); 2. councils should be told publicly that they are to receive finance to provide more capacity; 3. the economic packages should be emphasising funding people and consumer demand rather than financing businesses.
“Two men have appeared in court #charged with drugs offences after police executed warrants in The Meadows this week.” The Police have had a success – tackling houses in The Meadows that have been supplying drugs. – In the meantime, I have received complaints about more people wondering around the neighbourhood, looking for “fixes”, cos the supply has gone. Not heard of this phenomenon before. Patrolling in the neighbourhood will be changed to tackle this. – Also “Two men aged have been arrested on suspicion of robbery in Nottingham. The incident happened on Wilford Crescent East on the 24th where the victim was approached. Officers spotted the bike which matched the description later that day and the men were arrested.”
Shrewsbury has been hit by floods in notable events occurring in 1795, 1941, 1946, 1947, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1968 and more recently in 1998 and 2000. Coming from near Shrewsbury, I have memories of one flood, most especially of walking on scaffolded planks over the flooded Frankwell near the Welsh bridge when I was around 4 or 7. A strong early childhood memory to rival the arrival of Thunderbirds on TV and my first day at school. But it was the sixties, an age of hope and expectation, and we visited the Clywedog dam as it was being built so that Shrewsbury would never be flooded again. That prevention lasted 30 years. – The current floods have been the worst for 20 years and it is a reminder not only of climate change, but also of our attitude to run-off – gardens and drives being covered rather than hold water – oh and possibly a lack of maintenance of culverts etc. (conjecture). Surprised that the major railway station bridge over the Severn has been closed; 17 road closures have been in place – including Coton Hill, Smithfield Road and both the English and Welsh Bridges. – Still the Conservative MP is going to demand a debate in parliament. (La de da; an improvement on attending far-right meetings in Europe.) He should be reminded – “From 2008-2010 Labour spending on flood defences rose by 10% p.a. Since then increases have run at 1.2% p.a. and weighted towards higher value properties (in the South)” – Source – Alan Simpson. – Bigger issues down river, and the Police are saying the situation has to be managed for another 10 days. What television can ‘t convey is the damp creeping up the plaster of flooded rooms and the smell of what the water leaves behind.
Meanwhile, in Nottingham, we’ve lost the Queens Drive park & ride, but we accepted that we’d built it in the flood plain, and that it would get flooded; twist is that for its first 20 years (check), it didn’t.
A quick search of the internet doesn’t yield stories of the statue having made a difference; just stories of where it might go next and assertions like “If the Knife Angel’s visit to Newtown stops one person from committing a violent act, it will have been worth it.” Just gotta do better.
We know knife crime has grown because of lack of proper jobs and less money in people’s pockets. The focus on being tough on the causes of crime has been lost, and losing 20,000 Police Officers across the country meant a loss of focus on being tough on crime. We halved crime in Nottingham when the right policies and spending was in place. Now, we’re going backwards.
I don’t need something ugly in The Meadows installing (as one local group has suggested) to tell local people knife crime is bad. I could do with having a full-time Sergeant re-instated. And action to stop the abuse of public telephone boxes.
If I was going to have a statue erected to tell people of the problems we face cos of austerity; it would highlight directing money to the world’s wealthiest, the corporations and their £8bn tax cut, and the banks and their £5bn tax cuts. Then erect it in those parts of Nottingham city that have voted for austerity.
Meanwhile, a top Police officer has said that effective action needs more social services. And the Guardian reports that thousands of children are not getting the help they need for mental health problems.
On 30th November, the Nottingham Post reported the Knife Angel is on its way; and now Nottingham Conservatives are demanding it happens.
When Ed Balls went to the USA for BBC tv, he attended a meeting where the debate was what extra measures you needed to deal with a gunman in a school classroom. For British people, the idea barely crosses our mind cos it’s so very rare and made rarer by further restrictions on gun ownership. – One of Andrew Neil’s 3 main questions against Jeremy Corbyn was would he in a scenario where there were no other ifs and buts have a senior, high risk terrorist taken out by a weapon from a drone. – Maybe we are about to learn that action on prevention and risk analysis is much more important, particularly by focusing on known threats and properly financing security, probation and rehabilitation. (And not just front-line police.) Maybe we need more focus on conflict resolution. – Maybe we need better government and better journalism.