Frances O’Grady gives Ken Coates memorial lecture

IMG_7211b0495h UoN Frances OGrady BEST
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There are better write-ups elsewhere.
The General Secretary of the TUC is certainly engaging.
Notions of ‘left unity’ less so – didn’t take many contributions from the audience before people started calling each other ‘comrade’.
It was said how Ken Coates put a premium on left unity, but what I remember was that he worked hard with others to develop ideas and arguments with which to campaign –
– European nuclear disarmament in response to notions of tactical nuclear warfare;
– alternative European economic strategy in response to monetarism.
Perhaps Ed Miliband’s anger at people in full-time work still needing social security needed Ken’s kind of help in fashioning a counter policy.

Why Labour Lost by Steven Fielding

Screenshot (525)b0572h Steven Fielding why labour lost
Only a precis below – please visit site to read the full article.

Crudely shortened conclusion by a University of Nottingham Professor of Politics –
1.the economy; 2. Ed; 3. SNP chos.
But not because Labour was Socialist.

Precis
draft conclusion to my analysis of Labour’s campaign
Labour lost … because it failed to convince enough English voters it could manage the economy better … and was led by someone widely perceived as lacking the skills … The early phase of the short campaign began to mitigate these deficiencies … the ‘coalition of chaos’ narrative that dominated the two weeks prior to the poll undid that work …
Ever since the fiscal crisis Labour had trailed the Conservatives as to which party people thought best able to manage the economy. …
When pollsters Greenberg Quinlan Rosner asked voters why they had not supported Labour on May 7th, at 40 per cent concerns about its economic competence … third and fourth most cited overall reasons … it would have been ‘bossed around by the SNP’ (24 per cent) and the preference for Cameron over Miliband as Prime Minister (17 per cent).
… the richest and oldest voting cohorts expressed the greatest concerns …
… Miliband’s party did not therefore lose because it had become a ‘traditional socialist’ party … It lost because in what was still a two-horse race, one conducted amidst an age of insecurity, the party looked like the least safe choice to govern the country. …

Smale-scale gasification for sustainable and local energy production

When a match burns, the wood isn’t alight, it’s the gas from the heated matchstick which only burns when it mixes with the oxygen in the air.
So if you deny the heated wood the oxygen, then capture the gas, for burning in an engine or turbine, you have a way of generating and managing the supply of electricity from chipped wood.
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Such small-scale gasification is the basis of intermediate technology used across the workd, but especially where the national grid is unrealiable, e.g. India.
Gasification to produce charcoal has been used for at least two thousand years; for the production of town gas from two hundred years ago.
Gasification carries a reputation for being dirty cos of pollution left by town gas plants.
Producing gas and heat from waste, that might include heavy metals, poses risks that have to be managed, even if cooking the waste at various temperatures allows metals to be collected at their various melting points.
Such technology from a Nottingham firm is in use in Cheshire, the black country, Turkey and the USA, targeted at waste with higher metal content.
A proposal for a major gasifier near Bulwell to process the same volumes of waste as the Eastcroft incinerator may come to the Planning committee in June.
There is a lot to consider since this facility is so large. Friends of the Earth are opposing the proposal.
Lots to consider.
All of this was prompted by an open public talk at the University of Nottingham which was given by – Dr Andrew Rollinson, Architecture, Climate and Environment Research Group, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham.
The talk made me realise how basic the principal process is, and what work is needed to make it suitable for a developed society using modern waste. m

Art in the Asylum

Being shown at the Lakeside, University of Nottingham.
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“Creativity and the evolution of psychiatry
“Art in the Asylum presents the first examination of the evolution of artistic activity in British psychiatric institutions from the early 1800s to the 1970s. With over 100 loans from national and international archives, the exhibition traces the historical shift from invasive treatments of mental disorders to a more humane regime in which creativity played a significant role.”

Shocking to see black and white line drawn portraits of patients from over 100 years ago shown as examples of “Idiocy”, Mania” etc.
Found “The Tear” both original and disconcerting.

Sustainable Chemistry department plans

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A very exciting and very environmentally sustainable proposal from the University of Nottingham, a new building for a new Sustainable Chemistry department at its Jubilee campus, which was supported at today’s Planning Committee.
Pleasing to the eye – it actually has curves in the building – it is interesting in significant part cos the form is following the function.
I did have a quibble about the designers not using ground source heat pumping, and using fish oil as a fuel (can it really be second generation sustainable?).