Thursday, 29 August 2019

Write to these people who rule us!

Tim Martin ,
James Morris ,
Margot James ,
Margot James ,
Mike Wood MP ,
Ian Austin ,
John Bills ,
"Cllr. Hilary Bills" ,
Tom Dare ,
John Spellar MP ,
Dudley Council Plus ,
Julie Dunn ,
"Kerry Jones (CE_SEC)" ,
Alan Hopwood ,
Alan Lunt ,
Cllr Karen Shakespeare ,
Cllr Mike Evans ,
Helen Sharp ,
Iain Povey ,
Kevin O'Keefe ,
Parmjit Sahota ,
Tim Johnson ,
Simon Phipps ,
Keith Harrison ,
Peter Rhodes ,
Mark Andrews ,
Cllr Dave Tyler ,
Black Country Bugle ,
Black Country Chamber mag ,
Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust ,
Stewart Towe ,
Sarah Middleton ,
Corin Crane ,
"Cllr. Les Jones" ,
Sam Hadley ,
Gary Sambrook ,
Gary Sambrook ,
Helen Martin ,
Jim Cunningham ,
Green Care ,
Matt Rogers ,
"Matt Williams (DUE_AD_EnvMan)" ,
Cllr John Martin ,
Patrick Harley ,
Qadar Zada ,
Peter Lowe ,
Lowell Williams ,
Neil Thomas ,
Editor Blackcountryman ,
Stuart Everton ,
Deborah Cadman ,
Deborah Cadman ,
Express and Star ,
Birmingham Mail ,
Adrian Chiles ,
Adrian Goldberg ,
Nick Gregory ,
Radio WM ,
Radio WM ,
Mayor's Office ,
Andrew Browning ,
Valerie Vaz MP ,
Adrian Bailey MP

Wednesday, 28 August 2019


Dear friends

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

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.

Please write to, speak to and lobby the people whose e-mails are public - MEPs, MPs, councillors, Dudley Council officers.

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 nearly all built development on land that has never had built development.

to Maria Machanoses - one pertinent question

Dear Maria

When there is a half used, 120 Kms main line railway between Worcester, the Black Country and Derby, would you agree that the more responsible and prudent expenditure would indicate that the middle, unused section in the Black Country and South Staffordshire, should be used once again for the freight, regional and commuter trains we so desperately need and that were so successful for 100 years until 50 years ago?  More information, below.

Many thanks and best wishes


5 Clever Tricks

  1. Why is it that for decades our political leaders and transport experts are so useless that they dismantled our extensive tram network?
  2. Their next clever trick was/is to rebuild the tram network using the railway  network, of all things!
  3. At the same time, idiocy no 3 is still to think that homes, shops and offices are meant to run down railway lines!!
  4. Today, £35 m is to be spent to build an innovation centre on the only feasible site for the Dudley Castle Hill railway station. This, on the UK's only mothballed and easily reinstated mainline railway.
  5. But it's being turned into a piddling little shuttle tram line! THIS IS SUCH STUPIDITY THAT WE NEED THE EU TO BAIL US OUT!

Your piece on XR

Dear Peter (Rhodes of the Express and Star)

Is it fair for me to liken the Combined Authority/Network Fail to Extinction Rebellion?

You wrote, last week, "when ... Extinction Rebellion (XR) block a motorway they are, in effect, taking over the lives of thousands of other people without their consent."

Over the last 25 years, we have seen more than a doubling of railway passenger numbers to bring overcrowding on our trains and the continuation of 'Grand Central Shopping Centre and Diesel Perfumed Station Tagged Along As An Afterthought In The Basement Of The John Lewis Store' as one of the worst railway congestion bottlenecks in the UK (BBC Midlands Today reporter, Peter Plisner but my name for Grand Central station).

In addition, the officers and politicians of the Combined Authority (CA) and the VIPs of Negligent Rail (NR) steadfastly insist that they can only finish the 120 Kms Black Country Railway "of national strategic significance" with 6.7 Kms of shuttle trams, a trail of trees and an extended cycle-walkway in rural South Staffordshire.  This, on a mainline railway alongside or near to congested, slow moving traffic on the M5/M6 and main roads.

Therefore, am I entitled to say that our railway and transport authorities are acting like XR on nearly every day by refusing to do something positive, practical and helpful to relieve congestion by putting the much needed commuter, regional trains and stations on the middle 56 Kms of the 120 Kms between Worcester and Derby?  Like your XR, CA and NR even more frequently, make life more difficult for us all by deliberately impeding our progress on both roads and railways.  And nicely enhancing the natural greenhouse effect to copy planet venus.  Not a nice model to follow, unfortunately.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

I want the GP to be upstanding and outstanding

Dear Andi - time for me to reply, in blue, below to your most welcome last e-mail of the 23 June, when you wrote:
"Hi Tim 
"Thank you for the respectful and less aggressive tone in this email. I do appreciate it.  Certainly not aggressive, I hope since I am forever going on about trying non-violence and making friends as a more helpful and positive UK foreign policy!  Sometimes I have to be forthright and straight.  And, you are in a prominent leadership position, Andi so I do expect more from you.  You are my leader, too after all.

"However in my last email to you I also made it clear I won't respond if you copy lots of others in. Let me restate that it's not polite to spam all sorts of people with no declared interest in the subject. Jonathan Bartley is not involved in this conversation. Jonathan is even more important than you are, Andi.  I met him in person in a public place when I tried to tackle him about my concerns.  He explained that he could not speak to me, then but, gave me his card for me to contact him.  A week or two later I wrote to him.  There has never even been the courtesy of an acknowledgement, let alone a reply.  This is no way good enough, Andi.  Neither are our Solihull or Birmingham councillors, or any of the others you have included. Do you understand that by copying all and sundry it is perceived that your intent is to publicly embarrass the primary recipient of your email? Conversations like this must be private and confidential, or there can be no trust between us.  Andi, others have got to be aware of what is going so very, very wrong.  It is not just you but all your GP members who must be won over in order to change your very mistaken transport policy.

I have been campaigning and working for a greener and more sustainable, sensible and ecological society since I moved here, to this house, in Jan 1976.  I have been attending FoE meetings since the 70s and GP meetings since the 80s.  I have been, largely, a successful failure.  However, in those matters where I have got my way, it has been through maximum publicity, making waves, well and truly stirring things up and making a nuisance of myself!  Only by pleasantly but constantly pointing out that something is wrong and that there is a far better, more constructive and helpful way forward, have I won.  Well, actually, mostly lost!  I have used mock battles (x2), interviews, press releases, petitions, letters/e-mails, phone calls, personal visits, gate crashing politicians surgeries, observing umpteen boring meetings at council HQs and transport HQ and catching the politicians before they skipped off to evade me.  I even went to the Strasbourg Parliament to see one MEP who never held surgeries or wrote to me but did see me, there (but a complete waste of time)!

"But as you have listened to at least one of my requests I will reply on this occasion. 

"It is true that WMGP has not debated or voted on rail policy. This is not good enough, Andi.  And my very own political party has never given me a fair hearing.  I attended one Dudley GP meeting, this decade where I was allowed to tell the meeting about the idiocy of turning our local mainline railway into a short, shuttle tram line on part of it.  But, only while you were all voting on some important matter or other.  None of you were interested or at all bothered!  However, I think you misunderstand how the Green Party works.  It should work by hearing my side of the case and not just the Establishment's.  Please don't be one sided in formulating transport policy.  Hear the other point of view.

"Members democratically decide national policy, with proposals subject to energetic debate and taking evidence into account. This sets out our broad policy agenda.  What about deciding on LOCAL policy, a wasted mainline railway almost a stone's throw from where we were sitting in that Netherton GP meeting?  Never a debate/discussion, no evidence and no hearing of my side of the case on a vital local and regional and even a national issue

"We don't set regional or local policy in this way. There are many reasons for this. One is that we simply don't have the time or resources to do so at  regional level, given our current electoral position. Manifestos are drawn up by small working groups given authority by the regional executive. They will do so in line with national policy and adapt it to local circumstances. There is no members vote on developing regional policy - if we tried to do this we would never do anything else! And we certainly wouldn't have an MEP and around 100 councillors, as we do now.  Deciding to no longer run roads, buildings or extremely extravagant Metro trams on railway lines should NOT be a highly complicated issue for GP members to grapple with and to come down on the side of ONLY trains going back on train lines.

Is your first priority, Andi getting members elected or postponing extinction?

"On public transport nationally the Green Party sees roles for tube-like metro systems, for both heavy and light rail lines including trams as well as investment in bus services. Like you, we want to massively expand the provision of public transport and make it as cheap and accessible as possible - free public transport is something we'd love to see happen.  Excellent.  So please shout about it using the evidence I have provided you with.

"But as a political party we must keep all options on the table that aren't diametrically opposed to our objectives. NOT options that are stupid and scandalous and unsustainable, Andi just because they are public transport.  What is politically possible isn't always our ideal scenario but that's just politics - it's messy and imperfect. Most of the time we have to compromise or we get nothing at all. Of course - we could crusade for utopia and be proud of our glorious failure. But we're more interested in making change happen. So don't be preoccupied with getting councillors elected who still don't do much when they are.  So our much vaunted and hoped for Cllr Will, only lasted one term before shooting off on his grand tour of Europe with Vicky.  The Solihull Opposition GP have not lifted a finger to help me because, like you, they want trams as their top priority instead of using the £2 BILLION to get the trains back and reversing the gradual decline in bus use.

At the last count, in Stourbridge in May, did you say something to me about not standing yourself because you were co-ordinating all the other GP candidates who were standing?  Should you not have been leading from the front, Andi and doing the two jobs?  At least, I stood simply to have the opportunity to courageously mutter something, anything green and sensible from the platform.  I would have loved to have heard other GP candidates spout off for one or two minutes, as I tried to do rather lamely last May.  The most important sentence was my last: "You are about to authorise something as silly, for half a billion pounds, as putting London Underground trains for 6.7 Kms on the London to Paris, Eurostar, HS1 line."

The 'brief', parabolic history of humanity must now be on the slide and the prophetic Green Party is silent.  A guilty silence.  Truly disappointing.

"As I've said many times, we support bringing back trains on the Black Country line, but we can't rule out trams or Sprint buses in all circumstances everywhere. But you should as a true green and Green!  It would be unethical to mislead the public about what is possible given the political and financial constraints that exist.  But you are misleading the public.  The financial constraints demand that you understand that fareless, electric, priority at traffic lights, bus lane, buses PLUS, the trains and stations back where the lines still exist is the politically sensible, prudent and the financially responsible thing to do.  NOT FINANCIALLY BRUTAL, FISCAL STINGING, METRO-LIKE TRAMS, ANYWHERE.  My advice gives the least greenhouse gases.  And that is all that matters.

"You are completely free to disagree and campaign for your own vision, if that's what you want to do.
I first stood for the Greens in the 1992 General Election.  In my own constituency of Halesowen and Stourbridge as it was called then.  My agent was the wonderful Quaker and Green activist Joyce Millington of Stourbridge.  For years, she had been rightly calling for fossil fuels to be rationed, as we nearly had in 1973 during the three day working week to save oil.  I completely agreed with her.  It is even more urgent, now that all good Greens and greens should be calling for fossil fuel rationing; that we should be getting out of all fossil fuels as quickly as possible - out of enlightened self interest.  That is what I will be doing if there are any public platforms that I can get on, if I get nominated as an Independent candidate for Metro Mayor next year.

I want the Green Party to be fearless and outspoken.  To be different from the other parties.  To stand out from them with integrity and honour.  To be as different from the grey parties as the awesome Greta Thunberg in sailing instead of flying and, in using buses and trains instead of cars.  PLEASE Andi!

All the very best to you, my friend


Friday, 23 August 2019

WMCA declaring a climate emergency is pointless and hypocritical without GREEN ACTION!

“The more we spend, the more we burn up fossil fuels, it seems to me.  Have I got this right?” SELF, 16 Feb 2019
“More or less right! … ”  SIR JONATHON PORRITT, 17 Feb 2019
For me, the first green action is to scrap pointless Metro expansion that involves, for five schemes, over £1.5 billion of fossil fuel burning to make for more ecocidal greenhouse gases, tipping points passed and extinction of all life.
Use the money to get Andy's wish: "the West Midlands will have the first clean bus fleet outside of London by 2021." 
FINISH with the widespread thinking that closed urban railway lines are for conversion to buildings, roads and tram lines.
Instead, urgent action on using our train lines for commuter and regional trains, not trams.
Scrap over £300 m Sprint diesels on only three routes and use Metro and Sprint money to urgently bring in fareless, ELECTRIC buses for all.
100% bus lanes on dual carriageways, traffic light priority for buses to speed them on their way at the expense of car commuters and car shoppers.  To free up road space for essential vehicles.
Reward, with payments those whose school run is on foot or cycle - or motorbike!
Upgrading every towpath and cycle-walkway to give them a hard, free draining, all weather surface for responsible shared use.
Every E,W, S facing roof to have PV panels to make the building a mini power station for free electricity.
Start thinking that maybe, it is as anti social jumping in the car or, burning natural gas and oil or, entering a plane, as those who smoke in public.
Lag yourself and your home.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

4 delicious nouns naming Trumpian benchmarks

What followed might have swept away all previous Trumpian benchmarks for incoherence, self-aggrandizement, prevarication and rancor in a presidency that has seemed before to veer loosely along the rails of reason but may never have come quite so close to spectacularly jumping the tracks.
Over an ensuing half-hour rant, Trump trucked in antisemitic tropes, insulted the Danish prime minister, insisted he wasn’t racist, bragged about the performance of his former Apprentice reality show, denied starting a trade war with China, praised Vladimir Putin and told reporters that he, Trump, was the “Chosen One” – all within hours of referring to himself as the “King of Israel” and tweeting in all caps: “WHERE IS THE FEDERAL RESERVE?”
Leaving aside those who were left merely gape-jawed, the performance inspired reactions from new expressions of doubt about Trump’s fitness for office to evocations of “the last president I know of who compared himself to the Messiah”.
(That turns out, according to Brookings Institution fellow Benjamin Wittes, to be Andrew Johnson (1865-9), whose articles of impeachment cited his “intemperate, inflammatory and scandalous harangues”.)
After the news conference, the hashtag #25thAmendmentNow was the top trending item on US Twitter, referring to a constitutional proviso by which cabinet members and the vice-president can band together to remove a president deemed unfit.
Guardian 22 Aug 2019

Macron said that EU will not risk peace in N Ireland

Ahead of the meeting with Macron and the weekend’s G7 summit, a French official said: “If the UK considers that having a backstop is absolutely excluded, that is its right, but in that case it limits the possibility of reaching an agreement.”
The official added: “The idea of saying, ‘There’s not a deal, so I won’t pay’ does not work. We cannot imagine that a country like the UK would back out of an international commitment.”
Later, Macron flatly dismissed demands from Johnson to renegotiate the UK’s exit from the EU, saying it was “not an option”.
He said scrapping the Irish backstop was impossible and would mean giving the EU an unacceptable choice between protecting its internal market by reintroducing border controls at the Irish border, or preserving peace on the island.
Macron insisted that Europe would not risk peace in Ireland and that it would be “irresponsible” to do so: “We must all remember recent history – there was war in this part of Europe until recently and those who play with that forget history too fast.”

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Last 2 Corbetts and a twin pinnacle Graham on Rum Cuillin traverse

I did one stunning, twin rocky pinnacle Graham on Rum when I did my very last two Corbetts at the end of April.  I had to climb both pinnacles just to make sure!  It was then a terribly steep descent with thin air between my feet that meant I had to go way over to the left to find safe ground. I finally did the last, fifth summit at dusk and then had to find the bothy.  Never did, so had a semi emergency bivy on the bare hillside.  I was cold but survived to see the bothy below me a little over a Km away when dawn finally came.  I caught up with some sleep at the bothy and had a 3.5 hr march out to Kinloch in the afternoon on the coast path.  That night I slept in the smart, new, four year old bunkhouse in the only settlement on the island.  Very comfortable it was too. Met two other guys in the morning one of whom has done many more Scottish summits than me!  My tally is over 700 different ones visited at least once since the 1970s.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Measure twice, cut once. Very provocative to distance NI from ROI. 3 years with the wind behind you but ...

No deal withdrawal from the EU means we do a Trump and break an international peace agreement

Withdrawal is a throwback to the 1940s and the heyday of our mighty British Empire that had just been so victorious, yet again, in 1945.  As Prime Minister Attlee observed, in explaining his feelings about Western Europe coming together: "The so called Common Market of six nations.  Know them all well.  Very recently this country spent a great deal of blood and treasure rescuing four or 'em from attacks by the other two."  Germany and Italy attacking France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Netherlands.  It revealed Attlee's incomprehension that perhaps the six were coming together to create a new future of friendship, co-operation and economic progress to such an extent, that war would never again be possible.  We were invited to take part but Andrew Marr in his 'A History of Modern Britain' tells of one minister, Herbert Morrison who had to make a quick decision over whether to attend a meeting on future European collaboration.  "He thought for a moment and shook his head.  'It's no good.  We can't do it.  The Durham miners won't wear it.'  For many Tories, watching from the sidelines, this was a disastrous mistake."  Marr p 129 and on p 26:
"Herbert Morrison, for his part, declared that the new socialist government of Britain was, 'friends of the jolly old Empire; we are going to stick to it'."

In recent decades, it was always a small number of Conservative MPs (about 80, I've heard) who, for ideological, doctrinaire and sovereignty reasons, were convinced that UK in the EU was fundamentally wrong.  Rather like some who are similarly convinced that every word in the Bible is literally true and inspired by God.  The fundamentalists.  The MPs in the ERG are convinced that sharing sovereignty with other countries is immoral, foolish and deeply wrong.  Yet, countries of the UK share their sovereignty with the UK Houses of Parliament.  Regions in those four countries share sovereignty with their national Parliament or Assembly.  District and borough councils share sovereignty with their Parliament or Assembly or Metro Mayor.

The EU is about nations coming together and working in co-operation with one another where that is sensible and practical, to benefit all.  But, for my wife the EU is wrong for Christian reasons.  She cites the story of the Tower of Babel where the people reached up to heaven to make a name for themselves.  They thought they knew better than God.  He was being challenged by their presumption.  He put a stop to this co-operative effort, the peoples were scattered and had their own languages.  The tower was never finished.

I remember, when at teacher training college from 1968 to 1971, there was one evangelical Christian who was strongly against the UK entering the EEC.  If I remember correctly, it was something to do with the number of countries in the EEC if Britain was to join and a quote from the book of Revelation in the Bible.  I remember his name more clearly - Fouzi Ayoub.

Many people, like me, made decisions on what to do about the 2016 referendum for the most weird and wonderful reasons.  One friend told me that he really had no idea how to vote for the best.   For many people, it was shear pot luck how they decided!  Three years on and we are all much better informed.

I abstained in the withdrawal referendum in 2016 because of the inability to get to see my MEPs or to even get a sensible response from them over the destruction of our railway network for buildings and trams.  Clearly, the EU was as keen on trams taking priority over reinstating the trains as our own politicians and transport planners.  Hence, I voted but put an 'X' next to where I had written in 'Abstain'.  Come to think of it, I may not have turned up at all to abstain.

Since the referendum, some are more aware and better informed over the implications of Brexit.  I realise that withdrawal is very disruptive throughout Europe and is endangering the Good Friday peace agreement.  Anything that distances N Ireland from the ROI is a red rag to a bull to those militant Republican dissidents who are already not hesitating to return to violence - more in 2019 than any previous year this century.

The move to devolution for Scotland and Wales was done slowly over a number of years.  With the even more important decision over our future in the EU, it was rushed with only one referendum and, even then, only a simple majority of 50% plus 1 required for such a monumental matter to be decided!

Probably, Jo Cox would still be alive today if Cameron had not called the referendum.  It was a massive mistake by him.  He could have decided on a 60% majority being needed for withdrawal.  Or, he could have said it was advisory only.  Or, that the final decision was up to a free vote for the MPs as to what we should do.

The debate over our future in Europe did not begin until after the June 2016 referendum.  Very few were fully informed before we all had to make a decision.  Many of us did not know whether it was best to go 'Yes' or 'No'.  Mine was a protest abstention believing, as one reason, that it should never have been called. What Ian Hislop said that Margaret Thatcher advised was right.  Apparently, she said it was too complicated an issue to put to the people in a referendum.  So don't do it.

Above all, billions are spent on getting out of Europe that means yet more greenhouse gases, fewer finite resources, more strain on the planet's life support systems and, at the very time when closeness and collaboration is essential to deal with extinction episode no 6 that we are in the midst of.

Three years have gone by, with the Prime Minister, her ministers and Whitehall trying to get a deal acceptable to a simple majority of MPs of remainers and leavers.  There have been three years and three big defeats for the 52% who wanted out.  That should be enough to make it obvious that a Brexit deal of any kind - hard, soft or anything in between is unachievable.  The final desperate throw of the dice for a disorderly crashing out is totally irresponsible and was never voted on anyway.

After 3 years of trying and being very trying, a 'true' or 'fundamentalist' or 'literal' Brexit is undeliverable.  Revoke Article 50.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  Measure twice, cut once.  In 2016, many did not have a clue how to vote or not vote.
The whole thing was rushed with only one vote to decide such a monumental matter.
Very provocative for the violent thugs and criminals in distancing NI from ROI.
3 years with the wind behind you but still nothing achieved because the leavers want a range of different things from leaving.
The herd instinct now demands a thoughtless, impatient, desperate 'Get out at all costs' Brexit.  'Stop the world I want to get off', meaningless mentality!
The rather better informed MPs should be allowed to trump the people on something as life changing as EU membership.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Letter: 'Trains and trams together' July 2019 Railnews

Michael Denholm is not comparing like with like.  The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro tram extension will have 17 tram stops at every 630 metres on average, with six to ten trams an hour on only 6.7 Kms out of the 56 Kms that are available for passenger trains from Stourbridge to Burton on Trent.  The empty 56 Kms is the desperately needed middle section on the 120 Kms Black Country Mainline Railway "of national strategic significance", says Network Rail and DfT. Trams are costing £449 million for the full 10.7 Kms of road and railway running trams.  Yet, Network Rail is parting with it knowing that Birmingham stations urgently need a mainline railway to bypass them to relieve "one of the worst railway congestion bottlenecks in the UK" (BBC 'Midlands Today' reporter Peter Plisner)

The Taxpayers' Alliance, now on my side, says reinstating trains would cost £120 m, with three new stations between Stourbridge and Lichfield because every crossing for two motorways and every main road is already built for commuter, regional and intercity trains.  Why spend nearly half a billion pounds to stop the 56 Kms from being finished with fast trains on the full 120 Kms between Worcester, the Black Country and Derby?

Our wasted, empty 56 Kms has new settlements in south Staffordshire and runs through the densely populated and traffic choked Black Country boroughs with their 1 m population and about 100 Kms of railway lines destroyed for roads and buildings over the last 50 years.  The Metro tram has resulted in only three out of four platforms at Snow Hill now being used; is responsible for converting the impressive Wolverhampton Low Level principal station into an events and conference centre; and, for obliterating three or four Kms of double track railway line on either side of this former principal and busy station.

The UK tram promotion group has its HQ in the same building as Transport for West Midlands and the W Mids Combined Authority.  Hence, for nearly four decades, the money has gone into trams instead of stopping the destruction of our railway network and in returning the fast trains to the UK's only, easily reinstated, mothballed, mainline railway "of national strategic significance".

From this damning evidence, every layman must agree that West Midlands Metro, since 1981 is responsible for the biggest and longest running scandal in UK finance/transport history.  Yet, the slow "bus on rails" trams have the full and active support of every section of the railway industry, including the unions, Railfuture and every railway periodical, including 'Railnews'!

Saturday, 3 August 2019

"UK council refused to host Palestinian event over antisemitism fears" Guardian 3 Aug 2019

"Officials at a London council that refused to host a charity event in aid of Palestinian children did not tell the organisers the decision was based on fears their criticism of Israel could breach antisemitism guidelines, internal emails have revealed.
The exchanges among officials at Tower Hamlets council also reveal they thought the event should be turned down, in part because of the row over antisemitism in the Labour party."
​The State of Israel, and certainly the Jewish people, are seen by many evangelical Christians as God's Chosen People.  It cements further the closeness of Christians with the Jewish people.  It therefore, behoves both ​Jews and Christians to follow the example of the Good Samaritan in the story that Jesus told as part of His teaching on how we are to get on with one another.  Jesus told the story against His own Jewish religious leaders, put them in a very poor light and put on a pedestal the wonderful example of a member of their 600 year old enemy.  Jesus' teaching in the story was all about loving our enemies, doing good to those who hate us, blessing those who curse us and praying for our persecutors.  In today's climate of the new antisemitism, this story must be seen as anti-Semitic.  And, I as the person who has written this is, most definitely, anti-Semitic.  I have been told as much by the now Independent, former Labour MP, Ian Austin in an e-mail from him.

It could be seen as being disloyal to one's country and our Western ways of dealing with other countries that are not part of the West.  Israel is part of the West and, therefore, criticism of its violence, coercion, crushing and marginalising of Gazans must be seen as hatred of one's own side.  Criticism of one's own side could well be seen as treachery.  It is certainly called anti-Semitism in today's climate, in order to maintain solidarity with unfortunate Western ways of working.

Jesus' non violence towards the hated occupiers of His time might also be seen as disloyalty towards His compatriots' ways of force and hatred towards them.  Jews/Christians as God's Chosen People means that when they resort to obvious un-Christ like practices, they must be called out or, you yourself risk the charge of collusion or agreement with what is wrong. But then you must also accept, with good grace, the label of anti-Semite.


(the Moral Maze,  BBC Radio 4, 24 July 2019)

Thursday, 1 August 2019

M6 Jct 10, M5 Jct 4 and Brum inner ring road broken

It seems to be acceptable and orthodox conventional economic wisdom; both a deficit of £1 bn and spending £78 m on Jct 10; spending over £1.5 billion on five tram projects to replace bus routes and to destroy our second and even more important urban railway line; and spending over £300 m to replace Platinum diesel buses with Sprint diesel buses.  For me, Metro and Sprint are complete idiocy and neither are wise spending of public funds.  However, widening Jct 10 is understandable and follows on from their widening of Jct 4, Lydiate Ash on the M5, earlier this decade.  I would have preferred a flyover at Jct 10 for traffic crossing M6.  I opposed the destruction of flyovers and underpasses on Brum's inner ring road - at Masshouse Circus and St Martin's Circus.

If we put trains back on train lines, scrapped tram extensions and brought in fareless for all, electric buses across the West Midlands with traffic light priority, we would have less road congestion and less train overcrowding.

I am wanting a greener and more sustainable understanding and practice of economics and spending based on finite resources, finite planet, not enhancing the natural greenhouse effect and, living in harmony with natural systems.

Thanks again for letting me hold forth last Friday.  I am now attending my own, local Pensioners' meetings at Shenstone Theatre in Halesowen.