An Inconvenient Sequel

an inconvenient sequel
“An Inconvenient Sequel” to “An Inconvenient Truth” and Al Gore has decided the way to go, after all Trump has said and done, is to say we need to act on climate change anyway, and even if aspects look bleak, plenty of movements for radical change have reached this stage before the final breakthrough.
So he shows –
how people moved to get India on board for the Paris declaration agreed last year,
– how Chile has gone from 500MW of solar power generation to 13.3GW in less than a year,
– how a right-wing Texas city mayor embracing the new energy technologies cos it provides better value for money, counter to the new kind of denial that the alternative energy technologies can work in reality.
He celebrates the DSCover satellite taking full pictures of the planet earth every day.
Meanwhile, dramatic images show –
– a Greenland glacier popping in the warmer temperatures;
– Hurricane Sandy flooding New York before the year he predicted; and a typhoon ripping through the Philipines;
– what “rain bombs” look like;
– the Zika virus spread through the USA being more widespread than predicted and ridicules the public health response;
– that whatever else has beset Syria, the problems started with a drought longer than any known for 900 years and 1.5 million climate change refugees.
So action is needed.
Reviewers have not been kind to the movie, but I found the points it made stuck, especially the point on Syria. Go see.

Road Safety Quiz for the 1400

IMG_7697ac0530h DjArts ncc road safety quiz
So different from my time 46 years ago when you had six questions each and they’d ask you trick questions like “what does a double white line down the centre of the road mean?”
Road safety has to be stuck at.  New technology, quieter electric cars, even schemes like residents parking schemes changing how busy roads are, and changing visibilty.
And perhaps the recent trend of reducing killed and seriously injured is about to change?
Can programmes and events like these quizzes survive the cuts?

Ilkeston railway station is open

After 50 years, Ilkeston is back on the map.


Holding the Notts County Council Transport policies and programme for 1996/97, which included aims for a railway station in Ilkeston (2 in fact).
The new station is very near to Awsworth in Nottinghamshire, where Lisa is standing for Notts County Council in Stapleford and Broxtowe.


On the 10:46 to Nottingham, talked with a Mum, Gran and daughter from Ilkeston on the way back.
It was the daughter’s first trip on a train.
Mum said the bus trip could take 30 minutes to Nottingham, so perhaps 12 minutes quicker, but a much smoother journey.

A train operator spokesperson said journeys from the station to Nottingham should hopefully sell themselves – cos of the time gains and avoidance of congestion.

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Meanwhile bumped into Steve Calvert who I met in the Summer of 1993 (I was a new County Councillor) to explore how we could get railways stations for Ilkeston (yep stations, we wanted a north and south, for a town that once had 4!)
They didn’t listen then, they’re half-listening now.
But 24 years for a simple railway station is another reminder of how difficult railway development outside of London and the South-East is.
And we wanted a suburban rail network for Nottingham.

“I, Daniel Blake” showing in The Meadows

Showing at Bridgeway Hall, at the shopping centre, tonight at 6pm; free admission.
Ken Loach’s welfare state polemic is blunt, dignified and brutally moving” – The Guardian.
I Daniel Blake 2717
Showing financed by Nottingham City Council, because we are fed up withe the harshness of the DWP system, and because the film draws upon real events that took place in Nottingham.
Lilian Greenwood MP will open proceedings, supported by Martyn Neal, senior worker at Meadows Advice Group.
Support will be available for people who need help.

Thanks for making the event happen to – Meadows Advice Group, One Stop Shop, Meadows Partnership Trust, St.Saviour’s SouperKitchen, NeMTRA,  Bridgeway Hall and Dave Shaw.

In November I asked a question at full Council –
“I understand that research for the film, ‘I, Daniel Blake’ was conducted in St Ann’s and the film highlights the shortfalls of the welfare system.
“How fit for purpose does the Portfolio Holder think the welfare system is?
Councillor Graham Chapman replied as follows:
If you want a brief answer, it isn’t, but allow me to elaborate.
‘I, Daniel Blake’ is about the injustices and cruelty of the benefits system, in particular the system of sanctions implemented under this and the previous coalition government. Rarely do statistics speak for themselves, but in this case they do. The latest statistics for Nottingham on sanctions since the regime was put in place in 2012, for Jobseekers Allowance there have been 34,200 referral sanctions in the city under the new JSA sanctions regime.
In only 14,700 cases was there a final decision to apply to sanction, that’s 43%. Of the 14,700 decisions, 5,200 went through the appeals process and of these, 3,200 decisions were overturned. In short, only 1 in 5 of all original decisions to apply sanctions were upheld and only 1 in 16 of referrals were upheld and many of those would not have been legitimate because many people would have been too demoralised to appeal – and we all know people who would not have appealed, even though they had a just case.
So, you’re down to 1 in 16, and in my view it’s probably 1 in 20 or 1 in 30. As for Employment Seekers Allowance the numbers are much smaller, nearly 2,000 original referrals since December 2012 and only 400 decisions were taken in impose sanctions, that’s 1 in 5. Of these, 150 were overturned which means that only 1 in 8 people were actually sanctioned.
The significance of this is that the whole infrastructure has been developed, taking up the time of thousands of officials, of assessors, adjudicators, food bank volunteers and benefit advisors, to help implement and pick up the pieces of a system that is grossly inadequate and incompetent. Worst still, this has inflicted misery on whole groups of people, some mentally ill who did not deserve it. Further still, it has forced a lot of hard working civil servants against their will to become people who sanction rather than support. This too, was well illustrated by the film. Nor should anyone believe that this exercise has been driven principally by the need to save money because it has probably cost far more than it has saved. It is to do with punishment and indiscriminate punishment at that. It derives from a view that people on benefits are fundamentally ‘scrounging’ – that they are taking money from others. It is a tabloid view of the world which now seems to dominate certain parts.
It forgets that large numbers, like Daniel Blake, have paid into the system for many years, large numbers are children, like the children in the film who are caught up in ‘punishment’. It forgets that most benefits go to people already in work but in low paid jobs, but none of that counts when you are looking for scapegoats for a crashed financial system. Actually, it is a class issue – some very well-off people caused the crash, but on the whole it has been lots of not very well-off people who have paid for the consequences. Compared with the brutality applied of the benefits sanctions system, the approach to tax evasion, to syphoning off pension funds has been kid glove and in some cases, some people have even been awarded with honours.
Which brings me on to the phrase which encapsulated a lot of this attitude and that phrase is ‘something for nothing’ – how many times have we heard that phrase from the papers and from a certain Mr George Osborne MP? This phrase means that if you are a wealthy newspaper owner living abroad and paying virtually no taxes or if you are the son of a wealthy family benefitting from inherited, unearned income and a place at a Westminster school, which you certainly didn’t pay for by doing a paper round then you are a respectable member of society, even though you are getting a great deal for not a lot. If you are Wayne, living on the Aspley estate, with no chance of inheritance or any of the privileges it can buy then, somehow, you are a ‘scrounger’ and so are all of the other people on benefits.
That is the attitude which has driven the UK state, which I am very proud of, into punishing hundreds of thousands of decent, vulnerable and poor citizens in pursuit of a minority who are defrauding, and to concentrate on these mainly innocent people at the expense of concentrating on where the real money is, such as tax evasion from a number of large corporations and tax evasion from a number of very rich individuals, many of whom are associated with the Conservative Party. This, too, is an implicit lesson of ‘I, Daniel Blake’.

Residents parking scheme comes in

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The order is now in force.
Permits should be out, but if you have applied and not received one, get in touch.

Following the lining being painted and the permits notices being installed, have had another complaint about parking on Wilford Crescent East and Robin Hood Way, which clearly shows the permit scheme is having an effect – and we’ve not even started enforcement which is now due on March 27th.
On Wilford Crescent East, not enough space for residents, especially when Forest are playing at home.
Robin Hood Way issues now appear to be –
– parking on grass, particularly proximate to tram stop;
– parking near Soudan Drive junction obscuring pedestrians’ view; we’re proposing extra signage, but a resident, who uses a disability scooter, can’t see well enough;
– parking (possibly not legal) too near to inbound Thrumpton Drive bus stop is stopping NCT buses getting in to serve less mobile passengers properly;
– heavy parking near the Houseman Gardens junction, which is causing some alarm to older people seeking to cross the road; (I’ve also received a suggestion of more yellow lines around that junction);
We will consider all possible changes that might be needed after implementation of the permits in full.