Tuesday, 27 January 2015

GOOD NEWS: Public transport is looking up. We have a new Vision of the future!

"the refreshed rapid transit proposals": -

  • All our West Midland councillors are now ambitious for "public transport connectivity" (report on website http://www.wmita.org.uk/media/1296/item-11-black-country-rapid-transit-review.pdf)
  • To this end, they formed themselves into the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority last year.
  • This year, if they approve a report on WEDNESDAY 28 JANUARY, the seven leaders will form a steering group to review snail-like progress, since 1980, on getting a comprehensive network of trams across the West Midlands.
  • In 34 years of fruitless endeavour, one line from Wolverhampton to Birmingham has been achieved when the Birmingham city centre extension is finally opened to New Street Station - THIS YEAR.  Praise be!
  • The late arrival of the trams has been cleverly designed to coincide with the £600 million cosmetic refurbishment of New Street that is designed 'to enhance the passenger experience' as they wait for their (very, very occasional) delayed or cancelled train or tram.
  • Not content with their lack of success over light rail Metro, our leaders are now wanting VERY light rail while not abandoning light rail Metro on the same one mile line that for 100 years had passenger trains on the Oxford, Worcester, Wolverhampton Railway Company line that took hundreds of thousands of passengers to Birkenhead and the NW.  This was a journey that was considerably longer than the one mile that is their medium to long term ambition, now.
  • Umpteen reports, studies and plans are sweated over, poured over and finally produced.  But to what effect?
  • NO!  That's not fair.  We have had 50 years of ghost trains on 45 miles of our unused or grossly underused double track freight lines - all from our Integrated (no less) Transport Authority.  Extraordinary performance!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Douglas Murray and my reply to his militant, militaristic extremism!

How we love to think that we are God's gift to humanity!
I read every word of the Quran in 2010.  Nowhere does it say, "to ‘slay’ non–believers and chop off their heads", as Douglas Murray believes in this article.  Long, long ago I read, nearly, every single word of the Bible more than once in my evangelical and literalist, fundamentalist, 20s.

On the other hand, the Bible has 'Rules for Waging Holy War' in Deut 20 v 1-20.
The Bible has God telling the people of Israel to commit genocide in order to gain the Promised Land.

Israel gained the Promised Land a second time in 1948 by violence, by terrorism and by overthrowing the League of Nations mandate granted to Britain to rule over Palestine.  The state of Israel continues to extend its borders to more and more of the original Promised Land (Judea and Samaria) by settlement activity, in contravention of international law and the flouting of United Nations resolutions.  Yet, the righteous of the Lord view all this as part of God's plan for Israel and for the end times.  Israel's activity is of the Lord God Almighty and is a sign of His blessing.  Especially, when they win every war they fight against the Muslim Arabs!

During the 10,000 day war by the Judeao-Christian West (France and USA, with the tacit support of the UK and other western European countries), we killed and injured an unknown number of godless Communists in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.  Encylopaedias have varying figures from one to three million deaths.  Evangelist, Billy Graham went out, not to condemn the illegal occupation and war, but to give succour and comfort to the troops in Vietnam.  Not just once but twice!

We cannot blame extremist Muslims for all that bloodshed.  Nor, for the two World Wars turning the 20th century into the most destructive and bloody in the history of humanity.

We cannot blame jihadists for WMD - and, for their use, too!  The Muslim extremists see us lot as the Christian West and are not impressed with our Bible and with our Christian beliefs.  They see us as immoral and decadent.

Our slave trade was more extensive and worse in every way than the Arab slave trade.  As was our Christian Western empires around the globe that thrived not on the biblical injunction, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" but, on the old Victorian slogan, "Grab and brag; occupy and fortify!"  Not for us the silly nonsense of 'yield not to temptation for yielding is sin' (hymn lyric).  Oh no.  We always knew better than Jesus and gladly embraced the devil's offer to bow down to him so that all the kingdoms of the world would be ours!

The hated Islamic jihadists see the Judeao-Christian world and have now joined in the blood letting, the warfare and the horrors that we have visited upon the globe in every single year since, at least, as far back as 1914.  They have a long way to go to match us, the upright Brits, in that aforementioned terrible trinity of torment.  Such is man's inhumanity to man.

May God forgive US - not them!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

from Avaaz on Israel-Palestine

As a new round of violence kicks off in Israel-Palestine and more children are killed, it's not enough just to call for another ceasefire. It’s time to take definitive non-violent action to end this decades long nightmare

Our governments have failed -- while they have talked peace and passed UN resolutions, they and our companies have continued to aid, trade and invest in the violence. The only way to stop this hellish cycle of Israel confiscating Palestinian lands, daily collective punishment of innocent Palestinian families, Hamas firing rockets, and Israel bombing Gaza is to make the economic cost of this conflict too high to bear. 

We know it works -- when EU countries issued guidelines not to fund the illegal Israeli settlements it caused an earthquake in the cabinet, and when citizens successfully persuaded a Dutch pension fund, PGGM, to withdraw, it created a political storm.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Inter-city and commuter Black Country Rail Line now has another obstacle placed in its path!

Dear Mr Ian Austin - and copied to a few of the decision makers and people of influence

The unused, nationally important Black Country Line is the only north-south rail line between New Street Station in the east and the Hereford-Shrewsbury line in the west.

I am attempting to see all the MPs on the Black Country Rail Line to show how advantageous it would be for their constituents.

Thanks very much for your prompt reply that came this morning.  However, you are not on my side at all, as the fine letterhead would have me believe!

In addition, you need to intervene not on my behalf but on behalf of your constituents who might like to have a direct rail connection to all parts of Britain, now.  Do you not feel able to make representations on behalf of the Zoological Gardens, the Castle, Canal Trust and Black Country Museum who might like to be connected, once more, to the national rail network in this decade rather than the next?  And, in this life rather than the dreams of the next!

For about twenty years I have been working, from time to time like you, in trying to get "Dudley town connected to the wider transport network, for businesses to locate here and to bring jobs to the area."  You write, "that the plans are finally making some progress."  They are not, in my opinion.

These are the obstacles:
  1. The plans are still to put light rail Metro trams on a heavy rail double track line.  But, now, the latest plan is to put very light rail tram trains as well as the light rail Metro trams that have failed to turn up even late, in 34 years!  This is absolutely absurd.  The 13 miles is reserved for freight, only and never for poor passengers - and, for only a little matter of 50 years, too!
  2. Only one tram line in 34 years of fruitless endeavour is a truly shocking and laughable record.  'Private Eye' would have a field day, if they knew!
  3. Don't you think that putting existing passenger trains back on the 45 miles of heavy rail lines they were designed for, would be more sensible - economically and ecologically and improve capacity on the rail network in Brum and the Black Country?
  4. At least, the light rail Metro was fully developed, tried and tested before it was put on the Snow Hill to Wolverhampton Low Level rail line.  The ultra light tram train is under development by the Warwick Manufacturing Group.  How many more years will have to creep by before the tram train is sufficiently safe and reliable for the public to use?  For the Parry People Mover, it was getting on for twenty years.  It is now on the Stourbridge Jct to Town branch line - ideal for light rail.
  5. In the meantime, why not put existing diesel trains and stations back on the Black Country Rail Line that would also include inter-city trains from London and Glasgow?  More capacity is urgent - now!
  6. Would you support the Innovation Centre being built at Trindle Road/Castle Hill and using the mothballed line out to Wolverhampton via a new rear entrance to the Black Country Living Museum and directly to Dudley Canal Trust?  Could the Museum and Trust contribute funds?
  7. Alternatively, would you support the Innovation Centre and its ultra light rail, tram train being developed on the flattened Brierley Hill Steel Terminal site at Moor Street (opposite Lindsey Place)?  There is a 2Km line there that could be brought back to test the tram train, instead of the 50 year old, mothballed inter-city line.
  8. Would that not be more sensible than preventing inter-city and commuter trains being returned to 13 miles through the very heart of three Black Country boroughs?
  9. How very strange that passenger numbers and robust business cases all confirm that it is economically viable to have light rail Metro and, now at the same time, an untried, very light rail tram train but, never for run of the mill, inter-city and commuter trains on our unused Black Country Line.  The simple solution is all too obvious!
  10. Are you not intrigued that, including our forgotten inter-city and commuter Black Country Line, there are 45 miles of double track freight only lines in our densely populated and congested urban conurbation of Birmingham and the Black Country?  WHY?  Not just intrigued but pretty livid would be a more appropriate reaction!
  11. ​To the best of my knowledge and belief, in our six council areas out of the seven in the West Midlands, ​
    Network Rail has never allowed passenger trains and stations to return to what are now, freight only lines.  Did you know that?  Is there anything you can do to stop this piece of complete idiocy, please?
  12. In summary, in my opinion, stop all light rail plans until the heavy rail network in Brum and the Black Country is fully used, open and is at least as good as the average on the mainland of Europe.  And, until additional tunnels are built on both approaches to New Street Station - "the UK's rail congestion bottleneck", according to the BBC's Peter Plisner from very many years ago.  This applies, even more, after £600 million has just been spent/wasted in dealing with, not rail and road congestion but passenger congestion - to improve the passenger experience while we all wait for our delayed or non-appearing trains!!
Having just listened to a wonderful and amusing Radio 4 programme on 'Archive Hour' about complaining, is there anything here that you think, Mr Austin, might be a justifiable cause of complaint over the work of our transport experts and professionals; officers and members?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

'Focus on Israel'

Dear friend
My son, this morning, gave me the Summer 2014 issue of 'infocus', that I read at the time when my copy was sent to me - thanks.
My Bible believing and Zionist Christian family are in full agreement with Israel continuing to wage war on Gaza to teach them a lesson that they never seem to learn. Would you, perhaps feel able to write a short piece in the next issue of 'infocus' on the following lines?
This must be one of the most important and tragic unresolved nightmares in the world today.
Over the years, tight road blocks and checkpoints, strict restrictions and searches, invasions/occupations, suicide bombers, rockets and aerial bombing raids have all failed to bring peace with justice for both sides. Three wars on Gaza have all failed.
In our church, it seems that I alone think that non-violent actions must be tried, in the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ of the gospels. Bizarrely, it is not our political leaders with their Judeo-Christian upbringing - nor our church leaders in sermons - who have ever uttered the sentence, " We must use non-violence". In fact, it was a Palestinian MP, Mahmood Bagooti on the Radio 4, 'Today' programme last July. I counted four utterances of the all too rare two words, as he was interviewed by John Humphrys, showing what he was doing to persuade his side to follow in the footsteps of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jnr and, above all, Jesus Christ!
Israel must talk to the terrorists with the help of their ally, the USA, as Margaret Thatcher began to do with the IRA, when she was Prime Minister. John Major and Tony Blair continued to success.
Israel and Palestine MUST talk to each other.  Make friends of your neighbours, O Israel, rather than deepening the enmity!
"The same old story" means never ending violence and aggression - for even the righteous of the Lord/Yahweh. A dismal outlook!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The tram train on the Black Country Rail Line

Here are my points for being apprehensive over ultra light rail going on the Black Country Line:
  1. It gives you all an excuse for further delay to get down to increasing rail capacity, especially when it is so important to take the pressure off New Street Station.
  2. Once ultra light rail is in place, it will be very difficult not to extend it in bite sized chunks, as was the intention with Metro.  The bite sized chunks business never materialised for Metro, so that is a bad omen for very light rail.
  3. Once ultra light rail is in place, it will be difficult to then rip it up and replace it with heavy rail.  Better to put back the everyday, well tried and tested, heavy rail trains, with stations.
  4. Heavy rail can be put back quicker than an innovative tram train that still needs much development.
  5. Nick Mallinson confirmed that what his WMG is developing is unheard of on the mainland of Europe that is generally considered to have an excellent rail service from Spain and Italy to Scandanavia.
  6. Ultra light rail would be ideal for urban areas that have no heavy rail tracks already in place.  Best to use existing heavy rail tracks for heavy rail trains.
  7. Nick wants one track as a test track and the other one for a shuttle service for the tram train.  From John Parry's experience in taking very many years to put his already tried and tested PPM on the Stourbridge branch line, it is bound to take a similar number of years to get permission for the tram train to be able to be safe for a public service.
  8. John Parry had his own circular test track for many years at his business address in Cradley.  Should Nick not be using that?
  9. In other words, it will take years for the tram train to be safe and sufficiently reliable for a public paying shuttle service between Castle Hill and Dudley Port.
  10. There are two possible better locations for an innovative vehicle to be tried and tested.  One might be the open space that once took the Dudley to Wolverhampton rail line before it was built on, further on.  There is space there for them to test the tram train between Station Drive and on to the rear of the Black Country Museum and directly to the Dudley Canal Trust.  The other might be the old line, branching off the Black Country Line, from Silver End in Brierley Hill, through Brockmoor to Pensnett.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Why not make harmless concessions to Muslim extremists - God forbid! Whatever next?

Like, refraining from exercising all our rights of free expression and not publishing images of the Prophet or making fun of him or Islam.
Like, restraining our natural instincts and not invading and occupying Muslim lands or killing Muslims - or, anyone else for that matter.
How about becoming less dependant on Arab oil or refraining from attacking Gaza?
What about the French allowing Muslim women to wear the full burqa, if they so wish?
And letting them have their mosques in western Europe, even with minarets?

Muslim extremism but Jewish and Christian proportionality and utterly reasonable responses to their outrageous attacks on us. And they started it; so there!

Muslim extremism but Jewish and Christian proportionality and utterly reasonable responses to their outrageous attacks on us.  And they started it first, anyway - so there!

Do we accommodate ourselves to Muslim extremism and show restraint to extinguish extremism or, carry on regardless with our behaviours to offend and insult (to satisfy our free speech) and generally dominate the Muslim world to get what we want out of them and for our own ends?
Israel is seen by some as a Jewish/Christian and powerful Western state in the heart of the Arab Middle East.  That US backed State is enough to be a red rag to a bull for some extremist, fundamentalist Muslims who also view Israel as a cuckoo in the nest.  As is our 100 years of military intervention and drawing of boundaries for the Arab countries in the Middle East.  Like the chart of all the cuts of meat that is sometimes displayed in butchers' shops (simile is courtesy of Jewish born Jonathan Miller).
We have had 100 years of official Western Great Powers interfering and setting up, first their empires and then their spheres of influence to counter that of our number One enemy, evil Communist USSR then, slightly less evil capitalist Russia.  Great Powers was how we referred to ourselves before our European empires started to crumble, as one result of the Great Glorious War to end all wars.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Someone else wrote this but ...

.. I would put it like this:

Our religious beliefs can be part of the problem.  Violence is pretty universal for all.  Our faith beliefs control 

our behaviours.  We all want land for ourselves.  And it can be all too easy to say that God gave us the land to 

justify our occupation - the people of Israel taking over Canaan 3,500 years ago or, us lot taking over the land 

from the native American Indian inhabitants.  We brought them God, germs and guns.  Our ancestors thought 

that God was confirming the rightness of their occupation and takeover of what became the USA, by 

wiping out the earlier inhabitants, quite naturally from disease.  But it was disease from germs, unknowingly 

brought by the good Christians from England.

Terrorism can be state terrorism and by others.

Empire building by the traditional Christian nations, who should have known better, is at the root of the 

problem - the going and getting and controlling other groups and lands and their inhabitants . 

The Cold War was also worked out in the Middle East and made the problem worse.

Control and coercion; grab and brag; occupy and fortify.

Those who lose out from those with the power don't always appreciate it.  The battle between Jews and Arabs 

originated three and a half thousand years ago but 95% of the intervening years has seen inhabitants of the 

Holy Land live in peaceful co-existence with one another - until more and more Jews returned in the 20th 

century as they fled persecution from anti-Semitism by our ancestors in Christian majority Europe.

Sadat and Rabin set a good example of compromise to try and get a settlement.

"FINALLY, a much more fair documentary (by Peter and Dan Snow on the Yom Kippur War of 1973).

I am NOT anti-Jewish, nor am I PRO-Arab or PRO-terrorism of ANY KIND!!!

The truth needs to be understood AWAY from any and ALL religious, prejudiced and other biases that totally 

control the conversation on both sides of the situation!!!  The truth is that there were and are terrorists on both 

sides, initially the terrorists were mostly of the Jewish, population, quickly followed by the Palestinian 

population; now, BOTH.

The Jewish state is still a terrorist one; morally and factually, the declaration (and following codification by 

the UN and the US) does NOT allow the now-state-status to continue or began acts that are terrorist in nature.  

The Arab, Persian and others that comprise the opposite side are egregiously horrible as well!!!!!!!!

The problem is a result of Colonialism and imperialism of the West.  If PEACE is ever to be achieved, the true 

facts must be known and acknowledged on all sides.

The problems were made worse when the US and the Soviet Union literally saw each country in the Middle 

East as "Us" and "Them".. The problems that resulted from this application of East/West conflict, especially in 

the 1980's, made the problems much worse.

Most IMPORTANTLY…This conflict is NOT thousands of years old, it is very recent in terms of history. 

Anwar Sadat and Yitzhak (Isaac) Rabin are true HEROES in this conflict!!!"