Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Nine years of failing, actually incompetent, national government but, you remain on their side!

24 December 2019

Many thanks, Ray for responding.  It shows your integrity and you are a good man.

Very true.  I thought you were all wanting to increase capacity on the railway network to reduce overcrowding, poor railway performance, eg West Midlands Trains and to do something about "one of the worst railway congestion bottlenecks in the UK" at Grand Central Shopping Centre and Diesel Perfumed Station (Peter Plisner, BBC Midlands Today reporter).  Growth on our railway network is still being seen as the UK population continues to rise and road congestion worsens.

Perhaps, your hopeless government, after more than nine years in power might like to put trains and stations back on over 20 railway lines that the Campaign for Better Transport is wanting.  And, to respond at long last, to the science over our own human induced, looming, climate catastrophe.  You are a lot younger than me, Ray.  You should be a lot more bothered!  Over nine years of negligence over social care and NHS deterioration and immoral priorities over transport expenditure in London and the southeast, Ray.  Nearly 3,000 food banks, I believe.  More food banks than McDonald's restaurants, I read in 'The Big Issue'.  Your colleagues foolish, incompetent and immoral top priority was Brexit - since your party won the 2015 General Election.  This is scandalous.  Ray, please change your political party. 

In addition, for the Camp Hill railway reopening to be a success, does our own principal, mainline railway need to have its trains and stations back, first?  

Have a wonderful Christmas and 2020, my good friend.

Tim

Monday, 23 December 2019

Killing is the oldest hatred

The killing of others must be the most obvious indication of hatred.  Unfortunately, the Jewish people are not exempt.  Nor is any other faith group or non-faith group.

What we do know is that the most well known, Jew, Jesus Christ taught that we must love one another, even our enemies, do good to those who hate us, to pray for our persecutors and bless those who curse us.

Killing/violence is the oldest hatred, I think.  Not antisemitism.  The most ardent fighter of antisemitism must turn to non-violence or, at least, to violence as the very last resort, as Jeremy Corbyn MP has taught all his life.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Boycott Israel and you are anti-Semitic, including boycotting West Bank settlements in Judea and Samaria

Anti-Semitism = being pro Palestinian human rights and supporting their own state alongside Israel.
If you support BDS movement you are definitely anti-Semitic.
Anti-Semitic, too if you oppose Israeli settlements in the West Bank because Israelis believe the land belongs to them.
EXTRACTS:
Amnesty’s report attacked companies such as Airbnb and TripAdvisor, saying they were driving tourism to “illegal Israeli settlements and contributing to their existence and expansion” by listing rooms and activities "on occupied Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem".
Amnesty accused Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor of “misleading their customers by failing to consistently indicate when listings are located in Israeli settlements”.
Israel’s minister of Internal Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan is considering banning Amnesty International following the human rights campaign group’s report.
He has instructed his ministry to "examine the possibility of preventing the entry and stay of Amnesty International in Israel" in the wake of the report.
Mr Erdan said: "The hypocritical Amnesty organisation speaks in the name of human rights, and in effect promotes boycotts against Israeli citizens as part of the antisemitic boycott and delegitimization campaign."
The minister said he had spoken to the finance minister about halting tax benefits for the organisation, which said tourism companies Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor “continue to operate in the settlements, and profit from this illegal situation”.
Israel’s Tourism Minister Yariv Levin also said: "No force in the world will change the simple historical truth - the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. We will fight this despicable antisemitic decision.
"No one can boycott Israel or parts of it."   The Jewish Chronicle, 30 Jan 2019

Friday, 20 December 2019

Justin Welby said, "anti-Semitism is a very unique thing."

Archbishop Justin Welby said, "anti-Semitism is a very unique thing" because (my unique interpretation) it shows you are not fit for high office because you are a friend of "tax collectors and sinners" (Luke 7 v 34) and the hated Samaritans = friend of Irish republicans, of Palestinians and Gazans, to put it in modern dress.  Which very unpopular politician could I be thinking of?

The man was too much pro the poor, the oppressed and the underdog for the British electorate on the 12 December 2019.  Far too sceptical of British military interventions and too enthusiastic for UN settlements, peace keeping missions and for the upholding of international law.

He always maintained that he was anti anti-Semitism but the mud stuck.  He was never believed.
He was anti killing of Gazans and Palestinians but that certainly did not help him when it was Israelis doing the killing.  A very unwise move, indeed.
He was anti killing of people to stop them killing because he was once Chair of Stop the War Coalition.
He was anti militarisation of diplomacy - Afghanistan and Iraq where the West couldn't wait for the UN weapons inspectors to finish their work.  Too desperate for war to let the inspectors to finally and irrevocably declare that Saddam Hussein did not have a single WMD.  The most successful Labour leader in our history, along with an American President, knew better than the gullible weapons inspectors.  But it was the inspectors and Corbyn who turned out to be right, after all.

It reflects badly on my nation that the only Labour leader who won three successive General Elections in a row left parts of the Middle East in turmoil.  Still to this day.  And, Muslims taking revenge on our streets - to this day.
It reflects badly on my nation that this latest Labour leader, who never really wanted the job but found it was thrust upon him, lost two successive General Elections because he was not sufficiently militaristic and war like and, tough like Blair.  Yet, he was shown to have been in the right over our foreign wars.  But, he was branded a Stalinist, a terrorist sympathiser and an anti-Semite because, as an MP, he voted against every foreign war our nation engaged in.
This man stood up for the UN, the rule of law and the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
He wanted war as a last resort, would not retaliate if our nation was attacked with WMD.  Therefore, he was dismissed as unpatriotic, weak, an evil appeaser, a pathetic pacifist and, a friend of the worst kind of people - our enemies.

Being pro Israel and anti antisemitic is very important for the West.  After all, Israel is our flagship state in the Arab/Muslim Middle East.  Robustly on the side of Team America, perhaps even more than ourselves.  Jews are amongst the very top people in our society.  Therefore, to be critical of Israel, in anyway, is to be disloyal to one's own Western culture and nation.  A security risk.  Disloyal.  Certainly, antisemitic.

They say you can be critical of Israel without being anti-Semitic but I have tried.  Ian Austin the former Labour and then Independent MP said I am anti-Semitic for expressing dismay that our UK Jewish community is more up in arms about antisemitism than their compatriots killing and injuring Gazans in rather large numbers.  It is a clever way to intimidate into silence people's legitimate horrors of, too often, Israel's behaviour towards their neighbours.  Neighbours to whom they should be Good Samaritans - and vice versa, of course.

Clearly, because our top ranking Jewish friends look just like us good white Brits, their sufferings, their Holocaust and that genocide must be put on a pedestal far above any other suffering, or persecution, or racism or genocide.  Israel and all the Jewish community are very special, after all.  They deserve special treatment, as the people of the Bible and with their sufferings in the Shoah (that we Western 'Christians' was responsible for).  Antisemitism deserves tougher treatment than with Islamophobia against the Muslims.  Only prejudice/hatred against the Jewish community must be placed in a unique and top category of racism.

Hence, for the Archbishop, antisemitism "is a unique category of racism ... not the same as other types of racism."  "It's the taproot of all other forms of racism."  "Anti-Semitism is the longest existing and (has given the) worst results of any kind of racism that we have experienced in Europe in the last thousand years. ... So it has a category all of its own."   'The Big Issue - Christmas Special', December 2019.



Blair attacks Corbyn for turning Labour into 'glorified protest movement' and says it is 'marooned on fantasy island'

from
But the report for Mr Blair’s organisation says the EU was not the “main explanation” and instead criticises the current leader “and the politics he represents”.
Only 24% of voters polled in the report believed Mr Corbyn is patriotic, with focus group participants criticising his perceived associations with the IRA and terror groups.
The fatal London Bridge terror attack during the campaign had “real cut-through”, the report says, with perceptions being that Mr Corbyn’s stance was weak.
His policies were individually popular, polling suggested, but voters felt they lacked credibility when taken together, with 22% thinking the ideas were both good in principle and that Labour could be trusted to spend the money wisely.
A Labour source defended Mr Corbyn and blamed Mr Blair for having overseen the start of Labour’s decline.
“In 2017 we saw the biggest swing to Labour since 1945 and more people voted for Labour under Jeremy, both in this election and in 2017, than Ed Miliband in 2015, Gordon Brown in 2010 or Tony Blair in 2005,” the source said.  (my emphasis)
“As with Scotland, the decline in Labour support in the North discussed in this report started under Tony Blair. While the party undergoes a period of reflection, perhaps Tony Blair should reflect on his own role.”
SELF: The UK electorate is completely out of sympathy with wishy washy, namby pamby liberals like me with our support for Corbyn, Stop the War Coalition, CND, the Prison Reform Trust, republicanism instead of the monarchy, the underdog, the crushed and marginalised (Gaza, West Bank, Palestine); and, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

6 CHANGES ON MAINLINE RAILWAY when none should be needed!

Dear Anthea McIntyre, Rupert Lowe, Andrew England Kerr, Martin Daubney, Ellie Chowns, Phil Bennion and Neena Gill CBE,

Since the 1990s, when I was told by Roy Burgess of the existence of the half used, half empty, principal mainline railway through the historic capital of the Black Country, every political party has never wanted our own railway line finished with TRAINS!

In fact, since the 1980s, your party has always wanted Metro trams on the 6.7 Kms out of the unused 56 Kms to make it impossible for the commuter, regional and intercity TRAINS to return on the full 120 Kms between Worcester, the Black Country and Derby.

HERE, BELOW IS THE ABSURDITY YOU STILL ALL SUPPORT!  Is this the most challenging and slowest train journey in the world?

Going by train, from Worcester to Derby, on one, EXISTING, mainline railway, the politicians and transport experts want:
Change at Stourbridge Jct for the Very Light Rail Stourbridge Shuttle to Brierley Hill (one option).
Change at Brierley Hill for Light Rail Metro tram to Wednesbury.
Change at Wednesbury for the bus to Walsall.  Eventually, a tram, a train or a tram train may be available.
Change at Walsall to hire a bike for the current cycle-walkway being extended, by volunteers, to Lichfield City Railway station.
Change at Lichfield for the train.  Passenger trains are forbidden, so you have to go SE, the wrong direction, to Nuneaton!
Change at Nuneaton to go in the right direction, NW to Burton on Trent and Derby.

END OF JOURNEY with six changes when none is needed with my plan!

This is so typical of backward, behind the times, we are the greatest, Great Brexit Britain.

PHOTOS:



Have a wonderful Christmas of reflection and then sensible action  - PLEASE!

Tim    (Weller)

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Who or what was the handmaiden of Brexit?

"The Labour Party, by its own self-indulgence, was the effective handmaiden of Brexit... Our combination of misguided ideology and utter incompetence allowed it to happen" Tony Blair  

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to making globalisation work for the many, not the few.

SELF:
Localisation is vital to slow climate breakdown.  Not more globalisation that worsens the climate catastrophe.

Tony Blair's Labour took us into two disastrous wars on foreign soil that has left far too many parts of the Middle East in turmoil.  He did nothing to stop the arms trade while PM, so we Brits are fueling the war in Yemen and have done so from the outset.  Immoral Labour under Tony.  Upright Labour under JC.  3 election wins for Tony.  0 wins for Jeremy!

I thought the effective handmaiden of Brexit was the refusal of Jo Swinson and the LibDems to countenance Corbyn as a temporary PM, as one way to stop Brexit. This meant that they were unable to have a formal Remain coalition to defeat Johnson last week.  The Brexit Party was able to compromise and so stood down in every one of the seats where the Tories won in 2017.  And Brexit won by 80 seats.

I think it was the LibDems that was the first party to agree to Johnson's call for a General Election.  That put pressure on Labour to also agree, unfortunately.

Nicola Sturgeon was prepared to compromise with Corbyn in case of a hung Parliament .  But not Jo Swinson. Where does Jo stand on retaliation with WMD?

To 36 Dudley Conservative councillors

Dear friends

Well done on your great victory in England and, to a lesser extent, in Wales.

You can now win another major victory by stopping the destruction of the UK's very last, easily reinstated, half finished, principal mainline railway from Worcester, through our Black Country and on to Derby.  This is because there is still time to save the forgotten, unused, wasted 56 Kms between Stourbridge Jct and Burton on Trent.  This week I read:

"Preliminary works on an extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill, serving Dudley, are due to begin next year, whilst final activities are set to take place next year on the Wolverhampton city centre extension serving both the bus and railway station." 


Please get to it - Patrick and Co and win the praise and glory for stopping the two tram schemes, first and then getting, asap the commuter, regional and intercity trains back on the full 120 Kms (74 miles), with Railfuture's nine stations with ours rebuilt at Dudley Castle Gate.  See:


With best wishes

Tim

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

To 36 Dudley Labour councillors

Dear friends

Do NOT be in a hurry to be shot of hero Corbyn

I think the red wall of Midlands and North Labour strongholds voted Tory because of their strong Brexit, pro military/patriot, anti immigrant, anti foreigner, pro Brits first, sentiments.  And, concerns over Britain being 'Full'.

We Brits have always won every war, from the Boer War onwards.  'The Guardian' in February 2014 proved, in a four page spread, how in every single year since at least 1914, the Brits have been engaged in warfare on other people's land.  1968 was the only year that a member of our armed forces has not been killed somewhere around the globe since 1914.  The number of Brits slaughtered in warfare since 1945 has now reached over 16,000, I believe.  Corbyn must have known that and, I hope, was disturbed.

For me, Corbyn fearlessly, over decades, took the moral high ground with his UN first, pro justice with peace in the Falklands, N Ireland and in Palestine/Israel.  He took the moral high ground with his 'war as a last resort, diplomacy first, upholding international law at the International Court of Justice at the Hague', principles.  A man of conscience and compassion, too.

It seems, Corbyn has been the traditional, stereotypical Englishman standing up for the underdog in his pro Palestinian stance.  Hence, he incurs the ire of the State of Israel, a member of Team America, as BBC's Jeremy Bowen put in last week.  Israel is our great friend and ally in protecting the West's strategic interests in the Middle East.  Perhaps, Corbyn is seen as disloyal to the West's supremacy in the Middle East.  Israel's displeasure with Corbyn has been shown with their relentless campaign of labeling him as antisemitic soon after he became Labour leader and ever since.  The media, too has locked onto it with glee, too.  Any irony, humour over traditional views of Jewish businessmen and women has been slapped down as examples of antisemitism.

Both Corbyn and SNP First Minister Sturgeon fearlessly stated that if the UK was attacked with nuclear weapons, neither would retaliate with firing off Trident missiles.  Both are rightly, nuclear/WMD pacifists.  NOT conventional weapons pacifists, however.  But their renunciation of the use of WMD is unacceptable to America, Israel and the UK establishment.  Certainly, unacceptable to most English and Welsh voters and the unionist voters in N Ireland.

Labour must inspire and lead towards humanity and all life on earth FIRST urgent policies.  That means postponing extinction for all life on earth.

Labour must stop the conversion of the 120 Kms (74 miles) Black Country principal mainline railway being turned into:
  • VLR tram line with the proposed extension of the Stourbridge Shuttle onto a mainline railway!!
  • LR Metro tram line to destroy the integrity/unity of the 120 Kms.
  • VLR and innovation centre on the only feasible site of Dudley Castle Gate railway station
  • new extended 16 Kms cycle-walkway from Walsall to Lichfield on this forgotten, still unfinished mainline railway
Use the £2 BILLION to 2026 to bring in fareless buses for ALL at all times; and, electric buses.  Fareless buses are found in about 100 towns and cities around the world - 30 in the USA and about 20 in France, according to national FoE.

Happy Christmas

Tim Weller

Friday, 13 December 2019

"Preliminary works on an extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill, serving Dudley, are due to begin next year"

Dear James, Sam and Gary

Well done on your own victory and that of your party in England and Wales.

You can now win another great victory by stopping the destruction of the UK's very last, easily reinstated, half finished, principal mainline railway from Worcester, through our Black Country and on to Derby.  This is because there is still time to save the forgotten, unused, wasted 56 Kms between Stourbridge Jct and Burton on Trent.  This week I read:

"Preliminary works on an extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill, serving Dudley, are due to begin next year, whilst final activities are set to take place next year on the Wolverhampton city centre extension serving both the bus and railway station."


Please get to it - James, Sam and Gary and win the praise and glory for stopping the trams, first and then getting, asap the commuter, regional and intercity trains back on the full 120 Kms (74 miles), with Railfuture's nine stations.  See:

With best wishes

Tim

"Get Brexit done" does NOT postpone extinction.  Simply, another turn of the screw with more fossil fuel burning.  Brexit is the wrong issue that worsens the right issue - immediately cutting fossil fuel use with rationing for all.

W Mids Metro means a slower and longer journey for bus users and other road users.
It means more train overcrowding.
More clogged streets and more changes on the Worcester to Black Country to Derby principal mainline railway.

£1.5 BILLION of Metro trams for five extensions to 2026 does NOT build a more sustainable society.
Metro tram billions add to austerity, to poverty and greenhouse gases to turn planet earth into uninhabitable venus.
It is completely the wrong priority - even for transport spending!

A Johnson/Trump liaison simply builds a millionaire fools paradise for their people at the expense of the rest of us and our descendants.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

The last debate between Johnson and Corbyn on 6 Dec 2019

The last debate between Johnson and Corbyn

I thought that Corbyn was articulate, with well reasoned arguments and more substantial answers than Johnson's thinner comments with more doubtful content; even a foolish answer about crawling down the gangway of the House of Commons.  I thought Jeremy Corbyn looked and sounded prime ministerial.  Boris Johnson appeared hesitant at times and boringly repeated, often the misleading, illusory and empty slogan, 'Vote for me to get Brexit done.'  (SELF: the wrong priority; the wrong issue to make the right issue even worse)

During this election campaign that I have followed on radio and TV, Nicola Sturgeon was easily the most impressive party leader.  Very able, knowledegable; and, every difficult question thrown at her was taken fair and square and turned to her advantage to actually heighten her stature!  She should be the First Minister of all the UK, in my opinion.

Therefore, I would like to see a hung Parliament with a coalition of Labour and SNP.  It would be on a confidence and supply basis, it seems.  A Corbyn/Sturgeon first minister team - one can but dream!!

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Kyle Pedley

It is interesting to read what Kyle Pedley has penned.  My concern is that there is nothing in this letter about urgently getting out of double whammy fossil fuels that are both finite and give ever more and catastrophic greenhouse gas emissions to so worsen the planet's climates that all life on earth is threatened.

His campaigns fail to mention, therefore,
  • the urgency of finishing the 120 Kms principal mainline railway through Stourbridge - with commuter, regional and intercity TRAINS.
  • putting PV solar panels on all E, W, S facing roofs.
  • modest sized, highly insulated homes for low incomes and benefit tenants/owners like the Stourbridge Community Development Trust is working on.
  • extending the Clent Hills Country Park eastwards to the M5 to ensure that there is no new built development in the 30 sq Kms Golden Green triangle.  To be used only for farming and recreation.
  • free bus use for all to encourage modal shift from car commuting to bus commuting to free up road space for essential business users.
These are basic and obvious measures to improve our prospects and to respond, positively to the ongoing climate crisis.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Will this be the slowest and most challenging principal mainline railway in the world?

We could end up getting a commuter/regional train from Worcester; change to VLR tram at Stourbridge Jct; change to LR Metro tram at Canal Street tram stop in Brierley Hill; change to human powered pushbike from Walsall to Lichfield on the new extended cycle-walkway; and, then a proper train once more to complete the journey to Burton on Trent and Derby; but, only by first going by train, in the wrong direction, to Nuneaton!!

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Wrong issue that makes the right issue worse. And is also immoral, vast, extravagant expenditure

Dear Cllr Jackie Taylor

Wrong issue that makes the right issue worse.  And is also immoral, vast, extravagant expenditure.

Thanks for your acknowledgement e-mail of 30 November.  This time, here is my rebuttal, to the earlier e-mail, in blue Could you please ask the officer who penned the reply for you, if he or she would be so good as to rebut the rebuttal!

Sandwell believes that there is a need for continued and increased investment in both the rail and metro networks in the Black Country.  This sounds ever so reasonable.  However, investing in Metro trams is six to ten times more expensive per Km for the construction than simply returning the commuter, regional and intercity trains and stations to wasted railway lines in the Black Country and Brum.  In addition, the railway network has been used, bizarrely, to run housing and trading estates and roads down them, to such an extent that about 100 Kms has been lost for ever.  This, at a time when road congestion was increasing over 40 years and train overcrowding has become more marked over the last 25 years.  Some officers still advise members (especially in Dudley) that this policy of destruction of railway lines was just fine and dandy!  The choice between metro and heavy rail must be considered against the needs of individual corridors to achieve the largest benefits to the highest number of people and businesses using those corridors.  Cost benefit analysis would prove that best value for money comes from running commuter and regional trains on urban railway lines that have not yet been destroyed by council planning committees.  There is NO choice to consider, when remaining railway lines had been so successful for hundred years until we stopped using them in the 1950s and 60s.  A corridor with a track bed should be used for trains to slow the runaway greenhouse effect by helping modal shift from car to train.  Simply use railway lines for railway trains.  A revolutionary concept!

As I am sure you are aware, business cases for such schemes are developed in accordance with HM Treasury and Department for Transport guidance. The business cases always come up with whatever, the paymaster wants it to say.  He who pays the piper calls the tune.  This was the case for the first metro line, and I can assure you that this was also true for the business case for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill scheme. The business case for the first Metro line destroyed Wolverhampton's second principal mainline station, Low Level; obliterated two or three Kms of double track railway line on either side; and, destroyed a quarter of the platform capacity at Snow Hill station.  We now have a poorer train service from Brum to Shrewsbury and, possibly, Crewe too.  TfWM’s business case was fully scrutinised by the relevant Government departments before the funding was awarded to the scheme.  This proves how incompetent these relevant Government departments are.  And this, when the civil servants knew that Network Rail had written that WBHE tram was to go on a "railway of national strategic significance", too.  How stupid and scandalous is that?!  

Following completion of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill route, Sandwell will support work to bring forward further extensions to the route south linking to Stourbridge and north from Wednesbury to Walsall. This would lead to all of the Black Country’s main centres being linked to each other, and Birmingham, by high quality, low emission, public transport.  How very stupid to leave the Black Country gloriously isolated on our principal, mainline railway to Worcester to the SW and to Derby to the NE.  Isolated because the mainline railway is being turned into a shuttle tramline, with still three great gaps on the 120 Kms railway between Worcester and Derby.  A shuttle tramline on Dudley's mainline railway to Sandwell's at Dudley Port!  How foolish is that?
Sandwell Council firmly believes that this would have a greater value in reducing congestion on roads through Sandwell than a heavy rail service linking Worcester with Derby, given that it would not cater for journeys to West Bromwich, Wolverhampton or Birmingham which make up a high proportion of the trips in the area.  The best way to reduce congestion is to use the £449 BILLION (plus cost overruns) for WBHE to give everyone fareless, electric buses and not just free for old crocks like me.  Less than £200 million (2015 figure) to finish your forgotten, the half finished 56 Kms between Stourbridge and Burton on Trent.  And, this, with Railfuture's nine new stations, too.  And, it even gives a new railway line into Brum via Bescot into Snow Hill, if the new curve is built at Benson Road.

As you are aware, the metro scheme is designed to accommodate future use by heavy rail. This is very questionable.  You cannot have freight, commuter, regional and intercity trains on a principal mainline railway when two short sections have been given over to six to ten trams every hour from 0600 hrs to 2300 hrs.  The tram train is still a tram and is unsuitable for a principal, mainline railway.  As you know, the Council has little influence on Network Rail’s planning for freight services and at present, there is insufficient demand in this corridor to justify passenger rail. Complete rubbish.  Funny that it justifies passenger tram and not passenger trains.  Passenger demand has more than doubled in the last 25 years.  Finishing our principal mainline railway is urgent to reduce train overcrowding and train congestion at Grand Central Shopping Centre.  However, we will continue to support efforts to reinstate the route for freight traffic and, should future demand justify it, passenger services.  By then, it will be too late and it will be a train-tram-train railway of changes between the two modes to make progress between Worcester, the Black Country and Derby.  Very foolish.

I am so sorry to hear that you are still supporting West Midlands Metro.  This project, since 1981 by the councillors and officers of Centro and now TfWM, has meant that you have all failed to give us the 200 Kms and 15 tram lines that was the aim by the year 2000.  As you were all working so hard on not achieving this goal, you were, at the same time, giving planning permission for everything but the kitchen sink to run down about 100 Kms of mainly urban railway lines that had been so successful for 100 years.

Metro trams are being rolled out to 2026 and costing over £1.5 BILLION!  I oppose them because of the enormous cost to simply replace trains and buses with trams.  Trams are the most costly transport mode to build, after HS2 when you compare construction costs per Km.  As regards the Edgbaston tram extension, this is nearly four times more expensive per Km than the like for like comparison with M6 Toll construction, when it opened in December 2003.  Admittedly, that was 16 years ago, so not a true comparison.  But gives some idea of the shocking costs involved in this decade of austerity.

The Edgbaston tram extension means that we will, always now, have a longer and slower journey by bus into Brum from Stourbridge, Halesowen, and the King's Head.

I think it would still be more sensible to use the £1.5 billion to simply put the regional and intercity trains back to finish the mainline railway.  The money left over to extend the free bus passes for old men like me, to youngsters like yourself.

Does this seem reasonable to you, Cllr Jackie?  Or, am I entirely out of my mind?  I do wonder if it is me who is mad!

Best wishes

Thursday, 31 October 2019

On leaving the EU

Over leaving the EU, I do feel that such a monumental decision should not have been so rushed and simplified, as I felt it was.  I was blissfully ignorant of the dangers for Northern Ireland and the impact on the Peace Agreement in leaving N Ireland distanced from the Republic of Ireland (nationalist disquiet) and treated differently from the other three countries (unionist disquiet).  The real debate and the full information, like the threat of more troubles breaking out from militant nationalists and militant unionists, did not materialise until after the referendum, I thought.

I abstained (mine, a protest vote) on the 23 June 2016 because I was so upset about the refusal of my MEPs to take seriously and to engage with me over the hundreds of millions of pounds going into our tram extensions when other transport priorities were very much more important and helpful in reducing congestion, pollution and greenhouse gases.  I only got to see one MEP when my wife and I went, with UKIP, over to Strasbourg in either 2014 or 2015.  MEPs never have surgeries in the UK!  My wife is a strong leave voter.  UKIP were brilliant in organising it all.  I can't remember the name of the excellent woman who did it all.

UKIP in Kidderminster and Wellington have also been the best political party in giving me time to explain the problems of Metro blocking/stopping the 120 Kms Black Country Mainline Railway from ever being finished.  However, they still did nothing, as far as I am aware of!  And Bill Etheridge refused to even reply to any e-mail or text.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

This autumn, I had seven days cycling and walking over the hills of the Scottish Borders

This autumn, I had seven days cycling and walking over the hills of the Scottish Borders.  I met a guy who commented that our society and culture is locked into fossil fuels. Such is our deep rooted addiction and complete dependency on them, we cannot survive without them.  Yet, they are quickly being burnt and, in the process, changing disastrously the chemical composition of the atmosphere. As Margaret Thatcher was well aware in the 1980s but did nothing!

Our food and drink landing on our table depends entirely on finite fossil fuels.  Without them we cannot feed ourselves or even get our drinking water.

Of course, we all have to become frugal fossil fuel users and, I think follow the example of Greta Thunberg.  I am also urging us all to insist that our political and civic leaders get their priorities sorted, show real leadership and reverse their spending priorities that lock us even more firmly into exploiting oil, coal and gas.

Apparently, Brexit is costing us billions that boost fossil fuel burning and disastrous greenhouse gas emissions.  As is the £1.8 BILLION, to 2026, to replace some buses and trains with trams in the Black Country and Brum. I am referring to Metro and Sprint that, along with Brexit, are all foolish diversions and a dangerous irrelevance from responding to climate catastrophe and the very mixed blessings of burning our remaining fossil fuels.  In the 1980s, I accepted the science that we are sleepwalking into a nightmare entirely of our own making.

If you think I am on the right lines, please write and speak to the leaders and their addresses, here:   September 2019 A5 flyer
Plus, to your MPs and MEPs and councillors.  Our priorities must change. Our personal life styles to one of minimum fossil fuel use.

“The more we spend, the more we burn fossil fuels, it seems to me.  Have I got this right?” SELF, 16 February 2019
“More or less right! … ”  SIR JONATHON PORRITT, 17 Feb 2019

"Just one caveat: as we decarbonise our grid, we’ll obviously be burning rather less of the reserves of remaining fossil fuels, and relying more on green electrons. But the rule of thumb still holds for the time being!"  Porritt, 27 October 2019


We are living infinitely on a finite planet;
Living unnaturally on a natural planet.
The epitomy of folly!

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Their "passive provision" is so passive that it is non existent!

I have re-read your email, below. 

Your crusade, you mention, needs to be, I think, on the most achievable and urgent goals. That  means:

Helping me stop the folly of building on the only feasible site for the rebuilt Dudley Castle Hill railway station.​  ​This, when the authorities SAY they want the passenger trains to return but are only building in "passive provision" for freight trains as they use the line for six to ten trams every hour!​  ​This is either a lie or incompetence or, to put it more kindly​, ​the top people are being disingenuous,

Do you think, Andi as men of integrity, that we should be doing all we can to point this out?​  ​Should we politely point out that their "passive provision" is so passive that it is non existent?  How about a little activity to end the dearth of absent trains in the congested, traffic choked Black Country?

Should we helpfully point out to them that they are planning to spend ten times more per Km on the glitzy glamorous trams than simply putting back the commuter, regional and intercity trains​,​ with Railfuture's nine stations?​  ​Do you think that all this might just be in line with your "political and financial constraints that exist", below?

Did you know that national FoE wrote​,​ earlier this year​,​ that there are 100 ​towns and cities with free bus travel, including 30 in the USA and 20 in France?

How about the W Mids GP arguing for this rather than​, at a time of continuing austerity,​ nearly £2 BILLION on Metro and Sprint?

Please comment, Andi. You are our leader, after all.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Proposed Clent Hills Regional Park

Dear Prof Kathryn

I am delighted to read about the W Mids National Park that you have drawn up. I wonder if you feel able to go one step further?

I am asking for your agreement, support and promotion to give national park standard protection to our 30 sq Kms Clent Hills Golden Green Triangle with its boundaries of one motorway and two dual carriageways around the 1,000 feet high Clent Hills and its foothills of fields, woodland, footpaths and fishing pools.

The 30 sq Kms Triangle has obvious and natural boundaries from the three major roads south of the Halesowen bypass that is one of the major roads.
It has the Clent Hills Country Park on one side of it.
One Woodland Trust property and many other delightful woods.
The unofficial, but still walked for 150 years, Dowery Dell Trail following the line of the Halesowen Railway from Hunnington Station to Longbridge Station.
A large network of public paths and bridleways.

This proposed 30 sq Kms regional park is adjacent to the two million population of the Black Country and Brum.
It is vital that it is now used, increasingly, for organic food farming to cut back on very harmful fossil fuel food miles.
It is essential for recreation and for amenity - for all the population on its doorstep.
It is urgent to stop the insidious urban encroachment, with national park standard of protection.
It can help postpone Attenborough's "collapse of civilisations", "extinction of much of the natural world" and "time is running out" warnings.

IT IS INEXCUSABLE THAT IT SHOULD EVER BE CONSIDERED FOR RESIDENTIAL AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT. 46 'Call for Sites' are within Dudley's green belt.

Would you, Professor Kathryn, feel able to support national park planning constraints and laws governing this important triangle?

The more people who can go along with my suggestion, the sooner we can stop built development of all kinds coming to the Clent Hills Regional Park.  Please call it by this name that then helps to get the authorities to also accept the name, to use it and therefore to live up to that name and all it entails in forbidding built development on land that has never had built development.

With best wishes

Tim (Weller)

Can you find the COMPLIMENT in this piece?!

16 March 2017

Dear Russell - and copied to Railfuture as a question for their Transport Forum on Thursday 6 April in the Banqueting Suite of Birmingham's fetching Council House, please.

Mark Cooper has sent me a copy of your e-mail to him, dated 7 March 2017.

What is pertinent to ask is this.  Why has Network Rail and its predecessors disposed of:

  1. Many tens of kilometres of urban, double track railway lines and stations in the West Midlands?  They have been turned into roads, homes, trading estates and, used for retail use.
  2. Other urban, double track railway lines that had successful passenger trains for one hundred years are still denied today's commuter and intercity trains, plus stations.  Why is this?
  3. Why is the half used (well done for achieving this, by the way) the half used, 120 Km Worcester, Black Country, Derby railway line still without passenger trains between Stourbridge Junction and Bescot and between Walsall in the Black Country and Burton on Trent in Staffordshire?
  4. Why is your transport infrastructure, that you own, only partly used and even totally unused except for trees, a proposed 2 Km test track and a planned 7 Km of trams on the 120 Km Black Country Railway?
  5. Please explain why trees, a test track and a short tramway must have priority over much more useful commuter, intercity and freight trains.
  6. Are you aware that road congestion is now costing the West Midlands economy £2.3 billion every year?  Never mind railway congestion and overcrowding!
  7. Are you at all bothered about rising greenhouse gas emissions from wasted and, even many years of destroying perfectly good railway infrastructure - in the four boroughs of the Black Country, in particular?

I would be glad to understand Network Rail's rationale, your logic, or just your very strange thinking for wasting and even destroying your very own assets and infrastructure, please.  Are you all of sound mind? It cannot be a shortage of cash or staff, when your HS2 partners are being given £55.7 billion to add new lines to your national railway network while busily destroying ours in the heavily congested and traffic polluted Black Country!

Please ensure that Mark Carne, Chris Grayling MP and Cllr Roger Lawrence all read this even if, as usual, they have no answer to my rather obvious questions.

Best wishes for a little better success with your railway in future years.  Could you pick up some tips as to how to do it from Europe?


Dear railway industry and ORR.  Declan, please could you take a look and comment on my e-mail at the very foot?

Thanks for your decency in replying, Russell.

However, should you not be so ashamed of your industry's performance that you would want, immediately to pass my e-mail on to the ORR, yourself?  Like your good selves this august body (dormant or dead?) is also quite unabashed and apathetic and acquiescent in the non use, part use, misuse and even total obliteration of railway infrastructure that was in high demand for 100 years.


Best wishes for better - whenever you can all start