"France, with the same population as the UK, builds twice as many homes each year."Twice as many. If London had the same density as Paris, it could more than double its population." Tom Harwood
Saturday, 26 November 2022
Good to meet you both at the last community forum. As a retired old gentleman of leisure and pleasure, I'm still available at any time and any date to show you:
- where the short-lived 1990s monorail went and how it fell short of a vital connection that only added to the tragic incompetence of the scheme;
- the one and only monorail station that can still be seen and is preserved for occasional, anniversary viewing from inside the shopping centre;
- my guerrilla garden up against the rusty, metal sheet piling that is due to be destroyed by the 400 metre concrete and steel viaduct on top of it;
- the route of the devastation wreaked by the Metro across the only public open space at Merry Hill and this:
- 10,000 sq metres at Daniels Land and High Plateau designated for housing but has nature now got the upper hand at Daniels Land and should it be left to enrich biodiversity?
5 July 2019
Friday, 25 November 2022
Notes from Wigtown Book Festival event
Quaker from Laggan Valley - Skarvar village. Port Drumlin country.
Nationalist/Republican/Catholic - the Falls and Springfield Road.
Stormont in east Belfast
N & W Belfast for interface communities
NI has highest suicide rate in Europe.
Setting fire to Republican flags
control zone at night when gates are closed
Kingsmill massacre - workmen on the west coast speaking Irish
98 Good Friday Peace Agreement after 36 years of IRA violence.
Omagh horror put peace in people's hearts.
Quaker service to combat violence in a non-judgemental way.
Quakers started late 60s. Quaker cottage became a family centre and college for cross-community work. In NW Belfast?
Bombay St ethnically cleansed
Internment for male Catholics at Long Kesh army camp that became HMP 'The Maze'.
Petrified 18 year old soldiers from the other 3 countries..
The Falls area is Catholic, as is Springfield Road.
No job, no money but a role in a paramilitary that still has a grip.
One third of peace walls have been constructed since GF 98. 40 feet concrete wall. 59 peace walls in NI.
Police stations are fortresses. Vigilante policing is rife. Paramilitary violence still has a grip.
3,500 killed in the Troubles
4,500 through suicide
Deprived, forgotten communties and divisive, tribal politics.
Don't care a monkeys; no functioning government. Apathy Rules OK.
Thursday, 24 November 2022
This time a definite 20th century, tired, uninviting, slum bus shelter
PHOTO, BELOW - taken in Exchange Street, Kidderminster today, in the 21st century.
The most strange behaviour from the young professionals! And then we ancient elders get blamed for leaving the planet in such a mess for them to inherit! What a cheek!
14 May 2022
12 cycling schemes for £17 m (below) but the UK's major and only 22 Kms, traffic-free mudway, the Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway is not included for upgrading. This is quite disgraceful and shows, once again the weird and wonderful, indeed the eccentric priorities of the WMCA/TfWM. The most peculiar priorities and incompetence are seen for over 40 years with highly expensive, grossly extravagant trams put on railway lines instead of trains and, now with £17 m, on top of the cycling £62 m awarded to Brum last decade given, for example, to the A4123 cycle and bus scheme instead of the 22 Kms, traffic-free, urban-rural-urban, Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway, that still does not even have an NCR number.
15 June 2022
You stopped me when you thought that I was talking about transport on a retrofit Zoom. Fair enough but this was what I wanted to say and I think it needs to be said as clarification and correction. There was a discussion about the WMCC and the WMCA that I was responding to.
As you know, the WMCC councillors were elected and it was they who approved the Metro project in 1981. At one time, if I remember correctly, it was for 200 Kms by the year 2000. Not the WMCA but Andy Street is elected and it was he who published in Jan 2020 his £15 billion tram scheme of 8 lines and 150 miles. He was re-elected with that intention in his manifesto. With both the CC and the CA there has never been a single debate in any council chamber, although I cannot be 100% sure about that in the 1980s but, I very much doubt if there was any vote in the 80s.
Andy's powers, from what I have read, do not include lording it over the seven district council leaders but to be their mouthpiece and representative and public relations man. Hence, there needs to be a fair process of discussion, then debate, followed by a vote to determine councillors' wishes.
Tens of millions are now being spent on trams when that money could be used for retrofitting - urgently. Or, to help with fuel/food bills when many are suffering from inflation and the fuel and cost of living crises, especially those on UC. Therefore, Metro is immoral, socially unjust and is the exact wrong thing to do to build an eco-socialist society!
Transport money is the key to accelerating retrofitting. And free solar electricity from your roof, not solar farms, must be emphasised because it is so urgent to get electricity without using oil and gas from Russia that is our main weapon to punish them and, to try and reign them in. Rather than using violence and certainly not to widen this disgraceful war.
One thing leads to another!
Carbon Dioxide emissions from transport represent the biggest source in the region, and this situation is unsustainable.
Wednesday, 23 November 2022
Dear Bishop Michael - and copied to Tony and Dean Adrian
- What were the conclusions of the Andy Street, 2021 independent inquiry into Metro operations?
- Now that the Dudley Tram will arrive in Dudley town centre, is this the right time to urge TfWM that the promise of reopening the full 120 Kms Black Country Railway has finally arrived and must be worked on? Laura Shoaf, Chief Executive of the WMCA has reassured us that "passive provision" for freight and passenger trains to return through the Black Country is being built into the Dudley tram line.
- In the light of the multiple crises confronting society, is this the right time to abandon further Metro extensions and to concentrate on rebuilding the foundations of public transport - bus and train - and so freeing up the road space for truly essential business users rather than commuters not needing their cars for their work?