Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Faith Leaders on Covid from happening again

Covid emerged in Dec 2019 as a surprise.  Yet, our leaders failed to prepare in case it came to W Europe.  How can our faith and political leaders now prepare for the climate emergency that we have known about since 1988 when the IPCC was formed and we heard the major speeches from Margaret Thatcher and President George Bush Snr in that year?

What exactly was the reason for the virus jumping from animals to humans and how can we reduce that happening again?  Tim Weller

Challenge to West Midlands Faith Leaders

 Will they speak out boldly against grossly extravagant expenditure that will use yet more finite fossil fuels, more greenhouse gas emissions and, therefore, deepen the runaway climate emergency/crisis, as well as resource depletion?


I am thinking of over-indulgent, vanity projects that impress the visitor but only make matters worse for ourselves in a fast heating world. The projects I'm thinking of are Metro tram extensions, Sprint diesel buses that all spell danger, quite apart from making for more changes and a slower journey between yet more public transport modes; and, HS2.  HS2 will give the super-rich a train to travel in, to a very few destinations but the rest of us need a train that stops at the intermediate stations that HS2 misses out.

Should all faith communities be giving full support and encouragement to the Dudley Muslim Association, if they wish to try again with finding a new site for their purpose-built Dudley Central Mosque?

Their present shabby building is in a former Victorian primary school on Castle Hill road, where smart, flash, snazzy Metro will trundle past.
Dudley Council is regenerating the area where the mosque is located but, I believe, there is no plan for a replacement mosque.

I would be glad to hear what the local councillors and Muslim friends want concerning their mosque.  Do they want a new mosque, in fact?

Tim Weller

Monday, 10 August 2020

Mgt Thatcher, as PM in 1988, said ...

It is 1988 and it is the hottest summer on record.  The greenhouse effect is detected and it is changing our climate.  "It is the year that our earth spoke back.  Our land, water and soils support a remarkable range of human activities but they can only take so much." (George HW Bush on the campaign trail, soon to become President of the USA) 

"We have all recently become aware of another insidious danger.  It is mankind and his activities which are changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways."  (her speech to the UN General Assembly in 1988).

Friday, 7 August 2020

MY ENDORSEMENT OF 'POACHER'S PILGRIMAGE' by Alastair McIntosh

Extract from e-mail to Jonathon Porritt:

"Have you ever come across author Alastair McIntosh?  I am reading 'Poacher's Pilgrimage'.  It's a beautifully crafted account of his walk from the southern end of Harris to the Butt of Lewis and interspersed with ecology, spirituality, respect for the old ways on the island and, his brave challenges in official, formal sessions with the military over our alternative non-violent direct action.  Or, at least, diplomacy rather than the militarisation of diplomacy.  And pilgrimage (your "treading lightly") to describe how our three score years and ten should be like AND, not poaching from future generations."

MY ENDORSEMENTS as I was reading the book:

A truly great writer who holds the readers' attention with wonderful descriptions, remarkable knowledge and delicious humour.

An outstanding book.  Nicely left of centre, an amazing command of the English language.  A giant of a man.

Every page keeps my attention and interest.

400 pages of erudition and anecdotes, of walking, talking, recalling - all related so skilfully and often humorously that it made me smile.  A masterclass in writing.  A literary great.  Politically correct, liberation theology supported and, a socialist.

Anti-war, pro-nature, pro-humanity.  This man is a Quaker, a pacifist and argues for Christ's non-violence in both his life and teachings.

This book is pure poetry in prose, with a sense of fun thrown in for good measure.  After the Gospels of social justice, non-violence and other divine ethical teachings, this must be the greatest and most important book I have ever read. 


Thursday, 6 August 2020

They want it; we make it bite, like every other national park

from Mick Freer:
As you are an advocate for this proposed 'West Midlands National Park', I suggest that you study the proposal and advise us how this will protect our countryside from the real threats that we are addressing?

We have to make it so it does.  Otherwise, the National Park is meaningless.  The authorities, the establishment came up with the idea, so they had better make our 32 sq Kms + Lutley Wedge the first AND, with the full protection that the other national parks have.  This is a perfectly reasonable request.  They want it; we make it bite, like every other national park.  Although, I recall that they built a nuclear power station in Snowdonia NP at Trawsfynydd.  At least, they won't do that with ours!!

Boris Johnson's economic growth plans must not affect our countryside.  Cobham's economic greedy growth expansion for Hagley Hall must be the very last.  We want farming and recreation NOT concrete, brick and tarmac.

Economic gain is nature's loss and our ultimate undoing.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

The proof that I'm thick, too!

Dear Ian

Thanks so much for replying.  It's very nice to hear from you.

Can you tell me when I said, "thick" or where I wrote "thick", please?  I am pretty sure I have never, ever used the word.  It is so very rude!  And. partly because it describes me, exactly.  I failed the 11+ and had five years in a secondary modern school in Ilford, Essex from 1959 to 1964.  I somehow managed to pass six 'O' level GCEs with very ordinary grades.

On the other hand, "foolish" and "misinformed" and "incompetent" are much more accurate and correct adjectives to truthfully describe what all you politicians, over the last sixty-plus years, have been doing to our urban tram and railway networks.  Namely, using our railways for running homes, offices, shops, roads and, grossly extravagant "bus on rails" trams down them.  And, now a Very Light Rail test track for 2 Kms to Cinder Bank roundabout on a railway "of national strategic significance", of all things!!

Your first trick, in the 1950s, was when you all happily dismantled the tram network.  Can you believe it?  Astonishing!

What on earth do you all think you are all doing for so many decades?  

Apart from one brilliant, working, train driver who lives in Rowley Regis and, a member of Railfuture, not one other person, including my family and the media, are at all bothered about this further destruction of a railway "of national strategic significance".  Everyone thinks it is just fine and dandy to break up the UK's last and only mainline, north-south railway between Brum city centre and the Irish Sea (apart from the Hereford to Shrewsbury to Crewe railway).  So we all get stuck in traffic jams on motorways and main roads with a double track, mainline railway alongside or near, ready and waiting to go (almost) but, not a single train or station!

You are in such good company, Ian!

Despite living here in Halesowen since 1976, I never realised we still had one local, very important railway until the mid-90s when Roy Burgess, of Halesowen, told me about the complete waste of a good railway through the very centre of Dudley town.  I remember, very soon after I bought this house in 1976, of how you politicians built yet another house on the Halesowen Railway.  This one was on the southern side of the Halesowen bypass, Manor Way.  By my own silence, I was guilty as everyone else.  I just kept 'mum' and never protested.

Will you, Ian please say something to Patrick and to the MMA/TfWM/WMCA?  It is still not too late to save the railway.  Main works on Metro start in April 2021, according to Jim Cunningham of your council.

Thanks again, for writing, engaging and contacting me.

Monday, 3 August 2020

PREPARE FOR THIS RUNAWAY CLIMATE CATASTROPHE

20 November 2018

1. Operation Noah (UK churches acting together to save collapsing life support systems) agrees with the reasons behind the Extinction Rebellion, i.e:

  • We are facing an unprecedented global emergency. Our children and our nation face grave risk.
  • The planet is in ecological crisis. We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event this planet has experienced. Scientists believe we may have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown.
  • The earth’s atmosphere is already over 1°C warmer than pre-industrial levels. The chances of staying below the 2°C warming agreed upon in the Paris agreement are tiny.
  • Recent projections show we are on course for 3 degrees of warming and, potentially, much higher. Children alive today in the UK will face unimaginable horrors as a result of floods, wildfires, extreme weather, crop failures and the inevitable breakdown of society, when the pressures are so great.
  • We are unprepared for the danger our future holds.
  • The time for denial is over – we know the truth about climate change and we know the truth about current biological annihilation.

2. ON acknowledges the Extinction Rebellion has some important supporters, including 94 academics, one of whom is former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

Friday, 31 July 2020

What does a novice walker look like who is all over the place and not up to it?

On my second visit to Knoydart, to climb the Corbetts in four days backpacking, I was starting off and, clearly looked very unsure as to what on earth I was doing.  I was on a route that very few walkers use and in sight of people sitting outside their cottage on a glorious evening.  I was walking slowly and looking around me, comparing what I saw to the map, to make sure that I turned off the track in the right place.  I even stopped to take a layer of clothing off.  One of the distant people who were watching me, came over on a farmer's buggy and asked if I was OK or wanted any help.  He never said,
"You look unsure of where to go, sunshine.  Are you lost?"
"I'm fine thanks.  I've been advised on this way up into the hills for my outward journey.  I'm bivvying out tonight and camping out the rest of the week."

John Harrold, Director, Snowdonia Society wants more sustainable transport.
Yomping over the hills.  Red flag that tells you they haven't got a clue.  What3Words app.  Call us if you don't know what you're doing.  Don't know what they are getting into.  Haven't got a clue.

Adventure Smart    discombobulated - fun, fancy word for 'confuse'. 

West Midlands National Park

Dear Mick and friends

Thanks for the email and your leadership, over many decades in, so far, preventing newly built developments in the 32 sq Kms Golden Green Triangle and Lutley Green Wedge.

It is essential that we do all we can to ensure that the authorities act to promote exactly what Kathryn Moore wants for our triangle plus Lutley GW, as here from the press release:
"We are talking about a new kind of urban national park, one that brings the experience of national parks to urban populations rather than expecting people to travel to remote places.  (SELF: I have cut back on travel because of climate, finite fossil fuels and Covid and I'm exploring, by car and bike, Shropshire and Worcestershire footpaths, instead of Wales and Scotland hills.) It’s about rekindling the relationship we have with the landscape, our sense of belonging and identity our sense of pride and desire to create a better future for our children and grandchildren. (SELF: Yes.  They come first and we each have a duty to them to act responsibly by sharing finite resources - even water).  This is precisely what we need to have at the top of our political agenda in order to deal with climate change, to give plentiful access to quality green space and nature, provide cleaner air, water, soil and fresh food and create thriving self-sufficient communities post Covid-19."  (SELF: Our natural triangle and wedge must be growing our food and for re-creation, ONLY.  No more concrete, brick and tarmac)
Kathryn​, please reply to Mick.

Many thanks and best wishes

Tim

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

3 Top Priorities for Dudley MBC


Councillors and officers must understand that the more they spend the more greenhouse gases (gg). Gg spending ONLY to cut them in the medium to long term. So cancel Metro extensions and use the money (billions!) to extend free public transport from my age group to yours.

Scrap Flood St leisure centre for small to modest-sized, highly insulated, solar-powered homes for rent and purchase in Dudley town centre.  Or, allow Dudley Muslim Association to buy the land for Dudley Central Mosque.

Deal with that major, strategic, 22 Kms Black Country Cycle/Walk Mudway to make it usable throughout and available for ALL fossil-fuel-free users. From Brierley Hill to NW Wolverhampton via Wombourne. Ideal for commuters to cut car use.

Monday, 27 July 2020

OUR 120 Kms COMIC RAILWAY - for trams, trees and cycles or, a joke?


"Reopen the Railways" July 2020 issue, 'RailPro', - but for what?
"Reopening closed railways", p 45 - 'Sustainability'

It has only taken the professionals to come into their sixth decade of destroying our railway lines, to finally come to their senses and to think about trains or trams or tram-trains or train-trams to go on our remaining railway lines that have survived their imposition of houses, hotels, shops, offices and roads that they have put on most of the closed railways.

In the W Midlands, our experts and politicians had used the 1950s to completely dismantle our tram network.  That success led, in the 60s, to them closing and dismantling the railway network, even in urban areas.  The 70s saw more closures and the end for about 100 Kms of railway lines.  However, the 80s saw the authorities regret their earlier decision.  They decided that getting the trams back, after all, would be a very good idea, especially on the railway lines they had closed.  1981 was the beginning of the Midland Metro tram project that was supposed to see 15 tram lines and 200 Kms of trams trundling back - by the year 2000.

However, that year saw precisely 21 Kms achieved.  And all on a disused railway line, too except, for two out of 21 Kms that took over the main road and more traffic lights for more hold-ups for trams and vehicles.  It meant more railway lines lost either side of Wolverhampton Low Level station and no chance of it ever being brought back into use for its original purpose.

In the 1990s, the leader of Dudley Council told me, in person, that our Dudley tram line, going on an even more important railway line than Metro One, would be up and running by the year 2000.  It was not.  However, twenty years later, this very year, did see the start of preparatory work on the Dudley tramline to finish 6 Kms out of 56 Kms unused, slap bang in the middle of the 120 Kms railway "of national strategic significance" between Worcester, Dudley and Derby.  What stunning progress!  Main works on the piddling little shuttle tram line to the West Coast Mainline begins next year, 2021.  In April, to be precise.  At this rate, by the end of the century, all 120 Kms or 74 miles will be finished with something or other.  They might even be trains, trams, tram-trains or train-trams.  Or, the kitchen sink.

The nationally important, half-finished, 120 Kms Black Country Comic Railway - or, is it for trams, trees and cycles - or a joke?

Yours sincerely

Friday, 24 July 2020

FAIR TREATMENT FOR DUDLEY HIGH TOWN MUSLIMS

Dear Lord Bishop David and Bishop Martin Gorick - and copied to fine ecumenist and social justice campaigner, Rev Ernest Cruchley of Weoley Castle URC; retirement to Halesowen but now living in Harborne.

It was great to be in the congregation, yesterday.  I was the guy who came up to you, outside to mention the youthfulness of the Bishop's Chaplain and my thought that you, of all people, hardly needed a chaplain.  You should have been the Chaplain to her.  You did explain - thank you!

You also reminded me of the name of one of your predecessors, Hugh Montefiore.  He was Bishop from 1978 to 1987, I believe.  I had asked for his support over pedestrianisation of Corporation and New Streets.  We achieved it!  However, to this day, one short section in New Street still remains to be secured to keep cars out.  'The Guardian' obituary has, of our man:
"In 1973, he became chairman of an independent commission on transport and its problems; together with those of the environment; they remained abiding concerns." 

FAIR TREATMENT FOR DUDLEY HIGH TOWN MUSLIMS
I am writing now to ask for your thoughts on a little inter faith support, agreement, even collaboration, in encouraging our Dudley Muslims to work, once more, for a purpose built Dudley Central Mosque for themselves.  A shabby Victorian primary school is their present mosque.  In addition, Dudley Council and Dudley town traders are wanting regeneration.  With the far right now a lot happier that Brexit is occurring, now is the time to show a little solidarity with council leaders wanting regeneration.  Dudley voted for Brexit.  Now is the time to get right behind the Muslims, if they wish to upgrade their down at heel mosque.  Their most unsuitable looking building is on the route of the swish, glamorous and glitzy Midland Metro tram that, after 35 years, is still planned to come into the bus station in High Town from the still half finished, of 50 years standing, principal mainline railway at Dudley Low Town (or Dudley Castle Gate).

My new Bishop of Dudley (I live in Halesowen), Martin Gorick is reported as saying,
“So bringing people to God, trying to get out there into the community and working with community groups.
“I guess, as a Christian, we’re called to love God and love our neighbour. We’re the church of England, which means the church for England, and we’re for everyone who lives here equally, whether they’re people of other faiths or no faith.
“In a sense, my faith in God means nothing if I can’t connect that with a love for the people of Dudley and to help them discover God’s great love for them.”
BACKGROUND
My comments in blue:
Bishop Graham Usher is reported bHeather Large | Weekend | Published: Apr 1, 2018 | Last Updated: Apr 6, 2018:
“It was fantastic to see Dudley College full of young people listening to this remarkable young woman and a great example of how different faiths can live in harmony.  Yet, it was hatred of Muslims by the far right that led to such intimidation of officers and members that Dudley MBC changed their mind over parting with the land to Dudley Muslim Association.
“At the start of my time in Dudley, there were three ugly marches by the EDL and other groups and I’m very glad that has stopped.  This was in 2015.  The marches stopped because the marchers got what they wanted - no new Dudley Central Mosque.
“Dudley is a remarkable town of people living in harmony, where there is tolerance and cohesion and people of different faiths and backgrounds are working together to build up their communities for the good of everyone. I’m proud of that,” says Bishop Graham.  With Brexit 'done', now is the time to cash in on this goodwill and to stand with our Muslim friends to ensure that a little fairness is delivered in allowing planning permission for a purpose built Dudley Central Mosque at either the Cavendish House site, Hall Street, Flood Street, Castle Hill road or Wellington Road in Dudley High Town centre.
Some further background is here:

2 GLEANINGS FROM THE INTERNET, about Bishop David:
"For recreation he walks the Scottish hills".  So do I.  200 summits left over 2,000 feet out of about 1,000!  I love: Bishop David's ‘God’s New Society’ (in Dudley and Brum). 

Thursday, 23 July 2020

BORN LIVES MATTER

to Sam Hailes, Editor, Premier Christianity


Dear Sam

I've read 'First Word' and the letter from Geoff Pollard and much else in the July magazine.  I also liked 'The Sins of our Fathers' and 'Walking Through Grief'.  Great reading!

Geoff wrote that "plagues ... are simply part of the way that the world is."  There is more to it than that.  It seems that Covid-19 has only arisen due to our love of killing animals for meat.  And we only eat it because someone else does the killing for us.  It's presented to us in a way that we never have to feel uncomfortable as we chomp and chew.  The fact is, Covid came from a wet meat market where animals were alive, dead and dying.  The virus crossed the species barrier from them to us.

Does this not tell us that we can only blame ourselves and, we had all better start eating more of a plant-based diet?  Especially, to cut deadly greenhouse gases.  And, out of respect for all of God's creatures.  Kill less; live more lightly/simply on the planet for others to simply live (including animals), might be a good motto for us all.​

Tim :  it's also important that the plants you eat are grown and tended without the use of chemical sprays which deaden the soil the plants grow in.    I try to support growers who care for the earth as well as their bank balance.    They do exist and need our support.   Rosanne

from the 'Guardian' today

Green Light wraps it all together in one weekly bundle, with both good news (bison to return to UK for first time in 6,000 years) and bad (CO2 levels approaching highest point for 15m years)

Defying ISIS

10 August 2015

FAO: the Editor of 'Premier Christianity' - and copied to my MP, James Morris and Rt Hon Michael Portillo who is quoted here (in case both may like to put me right).

HEAVENS ABOVE!

For me, "Defying ISIS" (issue dated, August 2015)
  • by not selling our armaments to other countries that may end up in the hands of Isis;
  • through abiding by the resolutions of the General Assembly of the UN;
  • by leaving the Middle East to the peoples of the Book and their governments (regardless of whether or not they toe the Western line);
  • by never again interfering, occupying and drawing boundaries of straight lines on the map;
  • by never again destabilising, overthrowing or supporting coups in the Middle East, Libya and Egypt;
  • by repenting of our behaviour that reminds me of dictatorial, know it all, Roman Emperors;
  • by renouncing our unethical, hypocritical and duplicitous foreign policy that makes sure those Muslim majority countries know who is boss around their countries;
No wonder whites can never dare to show their faces in some Muslim countries for fear of kidnap or murder.

Our example is terrible - and, they see us as the Christian West, too.  What is good for the goose is good for the gander.  No wonder some Muslims want their own Islamic State, like the Jewish state of Israel.

Our disgraceful examples in Muslim countries may have spawned Islamic State.  We even used chemical weapons in our foolish, nonsensical, Christian European war that began 101 years ago this month.  In every single year since, the UK alone has waged war somewhere around the globe according to research by the 'Guardian' in February 2014, including US/UK atomic bombs 70 years ago on civilians.  Mass slaughter of those made in God's image by us clean living British and American believers - and, now, we again impose a vapourised death by fire and flame from the heavens above.  But, our terrorist enemy, in revenge, uses eyeball to eyeball individual slaughter of those they view as too closely identified with the wicked West.

In addition, truly barbaric behaviour by our good friend and ally, Israel in July and August 2014 when Isis also hit the headlines for the first time.  Co-incidence or, after 100 years exactly, did we begin to reap the whirlwind of Muslim temper finally snapping?

OR, this piece:

We have never taught non-violence in our homes, churches and schools.  It always goes without saying that the West can take violent initiatives in the Middle East without a by your leave.

We breed children who take it for granted that Western coercion, force and violence is a done deal every time.  And this has gone on for 101 years as the West has violently interfered in the Middle East.  No wonder, having set such a disgraceful and violent example, some Muslims who are so angry with the West, have now well and truly got the message.  The message of violence and aggression from us sinful reprobates.

Last year, on the 'Moral Maze', I heard wonderful Michael Portillo (a 1990's Secretary of State for Defence) sadly conclude,
"One of the reasons why I think people are being so violent in these countries is that so much violence is happening in those countries.  The alternative to violence is to talk."  (Moral Maze, 15 October 2014)

Was he saying in effect, 'There has been too much violence in the Middle East', as if he was reflecting on NATO action in Afghanistan and Iraq and feeling uncomfortable with his own party's role in it all with, perhaps, giving birth to Isis?
Or, was he saying in effect, 'There has been too much violence in the Middle East, so what else can we expect but more violence?'

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

"Pandemic shows climate has never been treated as crisis, say scientists"

Greta Thunberg and some of the world’s leading climate scientists have written to EU leaders demanding they act immediately to avoid the worst impacts of the unfolding climate and ecological emergency.
The letter, which is being sent before a European council meeting starting on Friday, says the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that most leaders are able to act swiftly and decisively, but the same urgency had been missing in politicians’ response to the climate crisis.
“It is now clearer than ever that the climate crisis has never once been treated as a crisis, neither from the politicians, media, business nor finance. And the longer we keep pretending that we are on a reliable path to lower emissions and that the actions required to avoid a climate disaster are available within today’s system … the more precious time we will lose,” it says.
The EU unveiled its green new deal proposal this year, aiming to transform the bloc from a high to a low-carbon economy without reducing prosperity and while improving people’s quality of life, through cleaner air and water, better health and a thriving natural world.
But the authors of the letter dismiss its target of net zero emissions by 2050 as dangerously unambitious. “Net zero emissions by 2050 for the EU – as well as for other financially fortunate parts of the world – equals surrender,” they say.
They add that the target is based on a carbon budget that gives only a 50% chance of limiting global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the figure set out in the 2015 Paris agreement.
“That is just a statistical flip of a coin, which doesn’t even include some of the key factors such as the global aspect of equity, most tipping points and feedback loops, as well as already built in additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution. So in reality it is much less than a 50% chance.”
The letter also argues that the climate and ecological emergency can only be addressed by tackling the underlying “social and racial injustices and oppression that have laid the foundations of our modern world”.
It says the EU, with its political and economic clout, has a moral obligation to lead the fight to create a fair and more sustainable world.
“We understand and know very well that the world is complicated and that what we are asking for may not be easy. The changes necessary to safeguard humanity may seem very unrealistic. But it is much more unrealistic to believe that our society would be able to survive the global heating we’re heading for, as well as other disastrous ecological consequences of today’s business as usual.”
Thunberg and the other signatories – including the scientists Michael Mann and Johan Rockström – call on EU leaders to immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction and end subsidies. They say the EU must advocate to make ecocide an international crime and establish annual, binding carbon budgets.
Matthew Taylor, Guardian, 16 July 2020

Venus got theirs first!

With an average surface temperature of 462C (864F), Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system today, thanks to its proximity to the sun and its impenetrable carbon dioxide atmosphere, 90 times denser than Earth’s. At some point in the planet’s history this led to a runaway greenhouse effect.
'Guardian' report of scientists' work on venus.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

FIFTEEN SNAPPY SENTENCES OF IRREFUTABLE REASONS!

REASONS for confused councillors and MPs being so completely out of their depth:
  1. Incompetence, negligence, laziness and, 'couldn't care less, sunshine!'.
  2. Corrupt local authorities; improper influence because senior officers at TfWM are, or have been, Directors at Tram UK Ltd, the nationwide tram promotion group.  They're all in the same building!
  3. Obsession with Metro trams because they are sooooo fabulously flash and fancy; glitzy and glamorous.
  4. For the 120 Kms Black Country Railway, we have to do trams first to get the trains running.  "Light rail investment provides the basis for restoring heavy rail services at the appropriate time" (Tom Magrath, Passenger Services Director, Centro, September 2000.  YES, 20 years ago!)
  5. "Trams are a modern form of public transport" so, the more the merrier.  Quote: Leader of Dudley Council last decade.
  6. Only trams on railway lines and roads can get motorists out of their cars onto public transport.
  7. Part of the line is being used for rail-based transport, so that is better than nothing even if nothing is on the rest of the line for yet more decades or, for an eternity.
  8. Trainspotters and rail enthusiasts love trams as much as trains, so they don't mind what the authorities put on railway lines.  We'll have the kitchen sink on railway lines then, thank you very much.
  9. The heritage railway organisations are brilliant at reopening railways.  Much better than the slumbering professionals.  But even the SVR is not interested in even occasional Sunday Steam Specials from Kidderminster up to Derby or somewhere in between.
  10. There is no demand for train travel via the Black Country; only via Big Beautiful Brash Brum.
  11. Since 2000, Network Rail says that only freight trains WILL be allowed back but not until the 2040s, at the earliest.
  12. The authorities have much more money than sense.  Money grows on trees - Rishi Sunak has proved that!
  13. We've had £106 billion for HS2 being built since 2009, so we certainly don't need the £180 million Black Country Railway being finished - ever.
  14. One N-S mainline railway - Crewe to Hereford - is quite enough between Brum city centre and the Atlantic Ocean (or, the Irish Sea, if you exclude Ireland!).
  15. We can't have the Black Country getting above its station; or, Dudley no longer being the largest town in the UK without a railway station.
15 reasons for Sandwell being a bent council - and I think, the other six, too plus, Her Majesty's Glorious Comic Government.  I never thought I would get to 15!

Tim

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Huawei is pron: how-way

A new cold war, this time with evil empire, Communist China.

They are out to get our secrets, to spy on us and to do sabotage in the UK.  Never trust them, never have them as a friend and make them enemy no 1 to justify more defence and armament spending.  It's all so good for exponential economic growth and rocketing greenhouse gases as the nation speeds to shortages of vital resources and yet more waste as we rip out Huawei kit and put in the West is best technology.

Be suspicious, be very suspicious but don't think we might just be paranoid. Who would want our secrets that would cost millions to keep secret?  What are those secrets that must not be shared with anyone?

Monday, 13 July 2020

Rowan Moore on Brexit, climate, Cummings, Johnson and 40 years of Tory power

 

CHARLES MOORE:

As for Trump, no, I don’t believe he is a conservative. His essential message is “Trump first”. The only thing I like about him is his refusal to be cowed by the self-righteousness of his opponents.

On climate change, I resist what I see as a political viewpoint masquerading as “the science”. The aim of the large numbers of alarmists is unprecedented government control and the relative impoverishment of western societies.  (SELF: Charles' impoverishment will come once all the very finite fossil fuels are in short supply and becoming too expensive to pump out of the ground.)  

CHARLES:

Cheap energy is one of the greatest emancipations produced by our civilisation. (SELF: a pretty short-sighted, foolish, grab what you can while the going is good, sort of society.  In fact, a one-off geological inheritance we are blowing in 300 years.  And, in the process, with the downside of turning earth into uninhabitable venus with its runaway greenhouse effect!)

ROWAN MOORE:
Yes, I do take the Leave vote seriously. But it was a narrow vote after a flawed campaign (SELF: "sharp practice" - Cameron on prorogation; Cameron should have initially announced the best of three if no one side got 55% or, advisory for MPs to make the final decision) that has been taken as a licence for whatever Brexiter politicians want it to mean. The missed opportunity was to unite the country around a way of leaving the EU that most people would be happy with. I believe Boris Johnson argued for such a thing at the time.
Re climate: if conservatives like yourself don’t want the issue used against you, perhaps you should try harder to show how capitalism can be reconciled with protecting the environment. Thirty years after Mrs Thatcher raised the issue the noises from the right seem to be saying “it’s not really happening” or “it’s not that bad” or “we’ll muddle through”.
What I find really striking is how strongly you feel that the world is against you and likeminded people, and unfairly so. What I see is 40 years in which the Conservatives have mostly been in power (without ever winning a majority of the vote, thanks to our electoral system), in which Thatcherism has been hugely influential, and in which the Daily Telegraph has, with an amazing blurring of editorial and news, helped to put your fellow columnist into Downing Street.
Of course, if you think you are wrongly oppressed anything is allowable – Cummings’s rulebreaking, Johnson’s lies and betrayals – but I would ask you, too, to check your privilege.
However, you have given me a clearer idea of how liberal assumptions can sound from the outside. I intend to watch myself when I fall into the lazy habits that can go with my worldview. I hope you – or anyone else who feels like it – will point them out to me.