Friday, 27 August 2021

CREDS = Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions

Transport is the only sector of the UK economy to have carbon emissions that are higher now than they were in 1990.

The upward pressure on car use will be even more acute if bus fares continue to rise seven times more than the cost of motoring as they have in the past decade (Change in the cost of travel in the last ten years).

This graph, from the RAC Foundation is truly scandalous:

Despite the focus of much research on local commuter journeys, it is motorways, trunk roads, railways and airlines where energy demand volumes are growing. These long distance journeys account for a small share of trips, a larger share of travel distances and energy use, and an even larger share of climate impacts.

a future in which people can and will use their cars less, not more.
people can beneficially reduce their car use
Abandoning plans to build more road capacity
tax will be restructured so that car use pays its full environmental costs and is not cheaper to use than public transport, or even flying.
Electric vehicles (EVs) will encourage more car use, not less as it is much cheaper per mile to use a battery electric vehicle than a petrol or diesel one
The upward pressure on car use will be even more acute if bus fares continue to rise seven times more than the cost of motoring as they have in the past decade
increasing share of larger and heavier petrol, diesel and even plug-in hybrid vehicles
Encouragement and enablement of more lift sharing and car sharing. Cars are only in use for 3% of an average day and have no passengers for 62% of trips. Fewer cars, not just newer cars, will be needed to cut both engine and manufacturing emissions and sharing can suit trips which public transport does not

Extracts from Porritt's blog


capturing the emissions from the combustion of these fossil fuels BEFORE they're released into the atmosphere, and then compressing, liquefying and storing that CO2 in old oil and gas reservoirs.

Its noisiest champions are the big oil and gas companies, with governments providing billions of dollars of R&D investment over the last 20 years.

PREDATORY DELAY: diverting policy-makers’ attention away from urgent, cost-effective and proven decarbonisation strategies by promoting all sorts of long-term, costly and speculative technologies – which just happen to ensure a continuing role for fossil fuels.

n short, this is a clunky, ineffective and costly technology. All those tons of CO2 were already captured and stored underground – in coal, oil and gas deposits – and that’s where it should’ve stayed. It’s also increasingly unnecessary when it comes to abating emissions from power plants. A combination of renewable electricity, efficiency, storage and smart grids will deliver a far greater decarbonisation benefit for the same amount of money.

So what’s going on? CCS is clearly not ‘a climate solution’. But it IS a very significant way of helping today’s oil and gas companies in that it permits them to go on extracting, refining and profiting from hydrocarbon resources that would never see the light of day if we were treating accelerating climate change as a true Emergency.

His new book, ‘They Knew’, is out today. It’s an updated version of that Expert Report – and an utterly devastating indictment of the role of different US Administrations (from Carter to Trump) in aggressively promoting the interests of the fossil fuel industries even as they acknowledged the validity of the science behind accelerating climate change. Decades of deceit, double-dealing and craven subservience to Big Oil.

Highlights from Porritt's blog

 Brilliant, authoritative writing from Jonathon, once more.


The rollout of CCS on power stations is about as naked an exercise in PREDATORY DELAY as can be imagined.

about a tonne of CO2 to be released for every tonne of cement produced.

the recent announcement from LafargeHolcim that it will be piloting more than 20 different CCS projects over the next few years.

Does this constitute PREDATORY DELAY? In my opinion, absolutely not.


‘grey hydrogen’ (using natural gas to make the hydrogen through a process called ‘steam methane reforming’), ‘blue hydrogen’ (using the same process, but capturing the CO2 emissions through CCS), and ‘green hydrogen’ (using electrolysis powered by renewable electricity).

all fossil fuel companies, and all EU countries and the UK, that now lump both Blue Hydrogen and Green Hydrogen together as ‘low-carbon hydrogen’.

the extra energy required to power the carbon capture process. What’s more, it takes many tonnes of natural gas to produce a single tonne of Blue Hydrogen.

In other words, unlike with concrete, blue hydrogen represents PREDATORY DELAY at its worse!

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Sandwell MBC emails re climate action

Dear Rajbir

Can you tell me what you make of this idea, please?



DEMOCRACY IN ACTION with councillors deciding, voting on Andy Street's £15 billion of greenhouse gas emissions to replace some buses and some trains with Metro "bus on rails" trams on railway tracks on roads.



I think all you councillors at Sandwell Council should take back control of transport from TfWM at 16 Summer Lane, in Birmingham.  Do you agree that you councillors should be telling the transport planners what you want done, after hearing what the 'experts' advise?


Would you consider and, discuss with Rajbir Singh, that all 72 members, after debate, should be given a free vote over Andy Street's plan for a £15 billion (of greenhouse gases) to 2040 plan for underground and overground Metro trams for 8 lines, 380 tram stops over 150 miles (press release in January 2020 for Metro Mayor election)?  Discussion, debate and vote are essential to get democratic authority for whatever the majority decides.

Dear Jane and Peter

I am very happy to have a Zoom/Teams meeting with Peter.  However, in the past and on every occasion, he has declined to accept a paper version of my concerns and also refused to speak to me when I politely attempted to elicit a response.  Again, now, no response from Peter.  Perhaps, I could meet with both Peter and Rajbir via Teams - and your new Chief Executive?

Here is something I have just written that is extremely important:

"We are screwed, snookered but we must continue the fight and be frugal finite fossil fuel users.

"Andy N, at last night's COP 26 mtg wrote, over the success of the Montreal Protocol, "fossil fuels is a massive chunk of the world economy. much harder to get movement."

"He's right but it's worse than that!  Every time we turn the COLD tap on we are dependant on finite fossil fuels (fff) that in their use, every time, is yet another tiny screw in rising global av surface temps to bring the climate catastrophe we're seeing.  Fff pump water to our homes.

"Although we are very slowly expanding renewable sources of energy that are much less dependant on fff, every £ we spend uses fff a lot along the line. That is why we have to spend ONLY on projects that will cut fff and their attendant greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) urgently.  Not HS2, Metro, Sprint, armaments, WMD, new yacht Britannia, investments in fff exploitation, Nature turned into concrete, brick and tarmac ... "

Best wishes


Dear Mr Weller


Your email to the Leader, Cllr Rajbir Singh, has been passed to me to respond to you.


I would explain that I hold the role of Cabinet Advisor with the portfolio of ‘Clean & Green’/Climate Change, and in that role, I can formulate and suggest new Policies but am not in a position to agree new Policy, which is the role of the Leader and Cabinet Members.


I would make the following observations on your email:


  1. Although loosely included under the heading ‘Andy Street's £15 billion Plan for greenhouse gas emissions’, the text of your email almost all relates to Transport Policy, which is why I have copied in the Cabinet Member responsible for this portfolio, Cllr Jackie Taylor, who will no doubt have greater awareness of the Transport Infrastructure in Sandwell, and its’ links within the WMCA area. She may wish to comment further on your suggestions. I have also copied in the Officer responsible for Planning Policy, Mr Andy Miller, who may also wish to provide you with his perspective on the ideas that you are proposing.


  1. In your email, you are suggesting to Cllr Singh that all Councillors have the opportunity to debate  the motion that you are putting forward, presumably at Full Council. However, before this is done, the Motion needs to be considered, discussed and agreed/refused by the Labour Group for inclusion on the Full Council Agenda. I have therefore forwarded your email to the Labour Group Secretary, and asked her to include it on the agenda for the next Labour Group Meeting on 11th October 2021.


I trust that this information is of assistance to you.


Yours sincerely

Peter Hughes

Cllr Peter Hughes BA [Hons], MBA, ACIH

Cabinet Advisor – ‘Clean & Green’/Climate Change

Wednesbury North Ward

Dear Peter

Thank you so much for this encouraging email.  Especially, if you talk with your Combined Authority colleagues - members and officers - for united action.

I want to underline the urgency of action over reducing expenditure on the wrong things and increasing it on what will reduce greenhouse gases in the medium to long term.  We are totally addicted, indeed locked into coal, gas and oil expenditure - and even more exploration and investment that must stop.  This is why greenhouse gas emissions are inevitable, even with minimum expenditure.  Renewables and, being satisfied with less consumption, are our only salvation.

The top matter is to stop the foolish, irrational and inexplicable decision by TfWM to replace the forgotten Derby to Devon via Dudley principal, mainline railway with Metro trams on a total of 6.7 Kms over two nibble sized sections that will be a further incentive for Dudley and Sandwell residents to shop at Merry Hill instead of their own towns.  This decision can still be reversed.  Cancellation fees and the return of commuter, regional and freight trains, with stations, will still  be much cheaper than you all spending over half a billion pounds to reduce the capacity of the railway network in destroying the 120 Kms railway between Derby and Worcester via Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley.

The second matter is to regenerate your borough with a massive external and internal insulation programme for every building, followed by PV solar panels on every east, west and south-facing roofs.

The third matter is to stop demolishing, wasting buildings and all other assets.  Instead, to restore/refurbish if at all possible and, to future-proof them, as above.

With best wishes for urgent action.


Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Mark's tongue in cheek column in the 'Shropshire Star'

Dear Mark

I picked up the Star at the Minsterley Show on Saturday and enjoyed reading your column.  Some readers will take it seriously and believe every word as gospel!

Boris Johnson had months to persuade Biden.  Yet, you wrote, he "could do nothing about it."  I don't think he even tried in NATO to get them to think again, did he?

Many readers will believe 7% instead of 2% would have made all the difference in Afghanistan and given us victory instead of defeat.
Many readers will think we can go marching into any old poor and defenceless country like Afghanistan, not just the actual four times since 1839 but forty times, especially if we maintain the overseas aid cut from 0.7% to 0.5% and up armaments expenditure from 2 to 7%.

You wrote about "defending our realm" and Britannia ruling the waves.  Is this exactly what we are doing with our £3.5 billion aircraft carrier sailing the waters of the South China Sea, right now?  You and your readers are thrilled with that.  But what if China followed our example and sailed their warships in the North or Irish Seas or the English Channel?  And, we are even getting a new £250 m 'Britannia' to further shock and awe the world with another vanity project to impress!

Best wishes

The Guardian's 'Pick' - two readers' thoughts that I liked!

Having just read the Editorial, it states that the proposed dates for the US withdrawal were already known at the time of the June G7 conference. Had Johnson not been so preoccupied with trying to get out of the Northern Ireland protocol he had only signed a few months earlier, he might have made known his views to the US then. Instead, he is trying to play catch-up, again. It bodes badly for Cop-26.

Meanwhile, it seems Afghanistan is already suffering severe food shortages, partly due to the internal refugee problem. Surely some arrangement could be reached here? A few more million pounds/dollars is small change compared to the money already paid by western governments.

Whether we were for or against the invasion in the first place, we really do owe the ordinary people some compensation for all they have suffered by our governments’ actions. After all, enough of us voted the bastards in.

We live in vile times. The worst in my living memory. I was born in the late 1970s. I can say the 21st century has been the worst of my life. That is around half my time on earth. Mr. B.Liar is a big part of that. Wars, crony capitalism, selfishness, individualism and divide and rule culture wars are now running rampant. It is against this backdrop that hundreds of thousands lives lost in illegal wars are just 'meh' to many, as are 150k covid deaths, at least half of which were avoidable.

Despite problems in the 80s and 90s, we were making progress with multiculturalism culminating in Sir William Macpherson's report on institutional racism in 1999. Since then race relations have been set back by 30 years and Islamophobia has become normalised giving an acceptable expression to the racism within.

As for those who decry the 1970s, my dad was able to buy a large Victorian house in inner London as an immigrant factory worker in the late 1970s (white flight meant houses were cheap) and council houses were still being built. The NHS was better resourced and there were no higher education tuition fees.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Shameful, Disastrous Transport Policy for 50 years - and the military are even worse!

This is a lamentable, no holds barred, 'hilarious' history lesson/diatribe/tirade/denunciation on two fronts - transport and warfare.  I'm desperate to be corrected - please, someone, anyone!


In the fifty-three years I have studied, worked and lived in Brum and the Black Country I have seen so many of the wonderful, glossy transport plans that, always, are so beautifully and convincingly presented.  However, the reality has been disappointing.  Both road and railway congestion have got steadily worse over the fifty years - and, Metro Mayor Andy Street, agrees.  This very year is the 40th anniversary of the Metro trams scheme and the undelivered, failed, promise of 15 tram lines over 200 Kms by the year 2000.

Even the tram, the wonderful Wednesbury to Brierly Hill Extension (WBHE), taking over the principal mainline railway through the heart of the Black Country, was never delivered by 2000, as I was personally promised by Cllr Fred Hunt, Leader of Dudley MBC in the mid-90s.  Instead, we've had six railway lines completely destroyed in Dudley borough, alone!!  The seventh, the Derby to Devon via Dudley principal mainline railway is now being destroyed by the WBHE for only 6.7 Kms on the mainline railway (on two nibble sized sections out of the wasted, unused 56 Kms), plus 4 Kms on roads and a canal towpath (see the photo of the canal bank, below).  This, for over half a billion pounds of deadly greenhouse gases, is the ultimate idiocy, the grand finale of urban railway destruction - for there are no more to destroy - to make for the biggest transport and financial scandal in the history of the UK!

You wrote, "it's time to start checking projects against broad social objectives".  I think it is about time we start checking if giving Broad Street over to the tram is really encouraging modal shift from car to public transport.  Certainly not, when every one of the eleven bus routes now has to join the two queues of cars to get round the roundabout when previously all eleven routes used the underpass.  Cyclists, like me, are now inconvenienced, too.  We, also have to divert on, an admittedly, shorter three sides of an oblong route than the buses, before we can get onto Broad Street to ride in a narrow gap between the widened pavement and the tram tracks.  We can't use the underpass, either.

Their fine motto is 'Forward' - since 1839.  As it happens, the year of our first out of four disastrous invasions of Afghanistan.  'Backwards' would be more truthful.  Unlike you sensible people in Coventry, we began to destroy our fine, free-flowing, complete inner ring road a few years after construction.  St Chad's Circus on the ring road was bulldozed, as was Masshouse Circus Queensway and St Martin's Circus Queensway.  I believe St Martin's was the first to be bulldozed.  The inner ring road did last over ten years but a disgracefully short time after all that concrete pour of greenhouse gases.  It was replaced, would you believe, with traffic lights and longer one-way road systems to spew out yet more of the cocktail of poisonous and deadly greenhouse gases we need to very urgently cut!!  How stupid is that?

Your "local policy makers are coming from" are coming from cloud cuckoo land.  They all mean so well but the task is completely beyond them.  Ancient old crocks like me are blamed for the mess we have left the world in for the young to have to pick up and, somehow solve.  I think the young are as clueless as the useless politicians who have begun to talk the talk but then do nothing, except all the wrong things.  What hypocrites!  At least I'm reducing my hypocrisy quotient by cycling every local journey and cutting my 2019 car mileage by 50% for this year and in future.  70 mpg when I do drive.  And, I had abandoned the car for the bike for almost all work journeys in the mid 90s.

In less than 200 years, our politicians and the military have attacked the people of Afghanistan four times.  Only with our second attack, does Wikipedia conclude that our second war was a victory for our miserable military but, only after "setbacks".

Our fourth attack and invasion that commenced on the 7 October 2001 was a brutal, unjust and the most foolish revenge and overreaction to the 9/11 attacks by 15 Saudi Arabians with four other men.  For many decades, Saudi Arabia has been a strong friend and, in war, ally of ours that has fueled our immoral and most profitable arms industry with billions of pounds of purchases of our military equipment.  Those most responsible for 9/11 were all killed by their suicidal attack.  Those 19 men may have been distressed by our Western military "infidels" occupying, for decades, what they considered was their holy Muslim soil - a sacrilege.  Far from considering whether that might have been their motivation, our politicians and military launched twenty years of revengeful attacks that were disproportionate and reinforced, repeated, continued the offence, for some Muslims, that had prompted 9/11 in the first place!

Apart from a handful of left-wing MPs, every other politician and all of the military are up in arms at their War on Terror, lasting only 20 years, being so abruptly terminated.  After all, their turn of the century Project for the New American Century left five more countries still to be attacked and overthrown to bring compliant American/Western governments installed.

These so self-declared upright and honourable politicians and moral military personnel, did nothing to dissuade Joe Biden when he announced the ending of the War on Terror and withdrawal, some months ago.  It seems, they all fully agreed and supported Biden from the outset.  Not a murmur of concern.  Not a whisper of disagreement within NATO to think again!

NATO is made up of failed states and not Afghanistan.  Certainly not Afghanistan that is our so convenient victim and target for our four failed, incompetent, unjustifiable wars of aggression.  And, we kid ourselves that we are fighting, killing terror not realising that we are the real terrorists.  And, next decade will see the 200th anniversary of the start of our enthusiastic aggression against Afghanistan!

Monday, 23 August 2021

Agenda items suggestions

Would you put on the agenda, please these items of mine?

  • Personal, voluntary pledges to cut our own greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Write to officers, members of Worcs CC, MPs to get behind the mainline, Derby to Devon via Dudley Railway, on the 47 Kms section that can still be used for passenger and freight trains, despite Dudley doing Metro trams on two nibble sized sections, totalling 6.7 Kms in the Black Country.  (It goes through Worcester and Kidderminster and would be a useful, alternative route to avoid Brum)
  • Write to officers, members of Worcs CC, MPs to get behind the national Right to Roam campaign to allow less able-bodied walkers (like me!) to use public rights of way (PROWs) where there are rickety stiles, especially, stiles without steps and, closed footbridges on PROWs.

Truly bizarre behaviour maintained for 40 years, this year. THE ANNIVERSARY YEAR!

Thanks so much for this, David.  Copied to Malcolm Holmes for his clarification and correction, please Malcolm.

"The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill extension will be constructed to allow the route to be used by heavy rail freight services in the future."  FREIGHT IS NEEDED, NOW!!

This is wishful, unrealistic and back to front thinking.  And, anyway, it is a complete waste of a perfectly good mainline railway that was successful for 100 years!
In addition, I am not at all sure that this is being done, anyway with some railway bridges not being strengthened for both Metro and freight, according to Tim Martin at WMCA (has he now left?)

Further, it makes life much more difficult and expensive to build (if they ARE building for freight trains) and more expensive in everyday operation, with slow freight trains being able to operate at night, only for 7 hours out of 24 every day.

It is simpler and cheaper to pay cancellation fees for Metro and concentrate solely on this Derby to Devon via Dudley principal, mainline railway for passenger and freight railway services, ONLY.  It would still work out cheaper, such is the colossal cost of trams and, tram construction - second only to HS2!

Metro is proving a big disappointment in Brum (Corporation and Broad Streets, Five Ways underpass) and wrecks, destroys the only N-S line west of Brum city centre, apart from the Crewe to Hereford line, all the way from Grand Central to the Welsh coast.

A wonderful opportunity to increase freight and passenger capacity on our railway network is being lost, especially when HS2 does not do it (you still must have exactly the same intercity service for the stations HS2 does not stop at - most of them!)


Hi Tim,

Just been reading the "business case"

Midland Metro Birmingham Edgbaston Extension (

Have you seen this section of the report ? Do you think freight is feasible on this line at night time?

Rail Freight 

7.54 Freight movement is an issue within the wider West Midlands Metropolitan Area, with the rail network surrounding Birmingham becoming increasingly congested as a result of a lack of route availably between the north and the south of the Metropolitan area.

7.55 The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill extension will be constructed to allow the route to be used by heavy rail freight services in the future.

7.56 The implementation of this freight connection to serve a number of the core industrial areas of the Black Country will allow the removal of HGV’s from the congested local roads, which will have a significant impact in improving the environment and connectivity of the local routes. In addition, this route will provide supplementary Freight capacity in the West Midlands, allowing trains to move from more congested routes freeing these up for alternative uses.

7.57 The provision of this line will also encourage investment into the area by organisations that require rail accessed facilities such as major industrial and distribution companies. This will result in extra employment for local residents and an economic boost to the area.

High powered, screaming bikes and cars

I was on my 100% self-powered bike on the A456 between the M5 and Grange roundabout yesterday evening, between 9 and 10 pm when the motorbikes and highly tuned cars went screaming past on both carriageways.  I will report it to W Mids Police via: -

and copy this onto the site, word for word. 

This behaviour is the very kind that is worsening the climate emergency as we all burn up our finite fossil fuels as if they will never run out.  And, it brings the disturbed climate patterns and extreme weather events that climate scientists have been reporting since 1988 "whose findings are endorsed by the world's governments."  Yet no action from them in 30 years!

Yesterday morning, I cycled up Manor Lane and saw a WMP speed camera van parked as every motorist went obediently past.  Later that day, it needed to be in the Manor Way layby on the eastbound carriageway between Manor Lane and the M5.  Or, preferably, from 9 pm, parked fully in the nearside lane, exactly halfway between the Manor Lane traffic lights and the M5, to narrow the road to the offside lane, only.  That would solve the problem nicely.

I am asking the Police to catch our selfish, thoughtless and ignorant motorists who are worsening climate catastrophe and speeding the exhaustion of our fossil fuels to bring us all down.  BUT IT NEEDS EVERY ONE OF US TO REPORT IT TO


And that includes me as my wife and I try to get to sleep between 10 and 11 on many nights.  From now on I will report it, every time, the following morning, as I'm doing now!  

Best wishes

To Mike and Joan

I won't be coming up for the festival, next month.  My response to the climate emergency is to cut my trips to Scotland to just the two for hillwalking in an attempt to see if my strength and stamina will remain long enough to complete my round of visits to the Grahams and Donalds (2,000 to 2,499 ft) before I'm 80 in less than 7 years time.  I must have nearly 200 left out of about 250 but must get down to work it out!

To reduce my hypocrisy quotient I'm keeping to 60 to 65 mph on 70 mph roads and that gives me between 70 and 80 mpg.  Plus, a 50% cut on my 2019 mileage for future years.  However, the authorities are clueless, I think even though I'm showing them what they have to do!

We had a lovely 5 day holiday at the Cheshire Warner Leisure hotel last month.  We used our bikes on two occasions, with me adding a third trip on my own into attractive Nantwich one evening.

Yesterday, we met up with Becky, Tim and Gwennan at the annual Minsterley Agricultural Show that is down the road from their home.  Very well done with children's races, Polo, the hunt, the most magnificent bulls, cows, Highland cattle, sheep and goats displayed, followed by a parade of old tractors, motorhomes, cars and one vintage motorbike!

On Wednesday, I cycled to an old 17th-century Puritan church, Langley Chapel, in a remote corner of Shropshire.  This was on my way to meet up with Linda at Becky/Tim/Gwennans' home.  The fittings and furnishings "have been left largely undisturbed", so a time warp of the 1600s!  It escaped changes because the surrounding countryside had become depopulated as people went into the towns.  It was abandoned as a place of worship in the first half of the 19th century.  It has roughly hewn benches for the poor and box pews for the high and mighty!

I have found very few acorns growing and it's now the end of August.  Is it the same with you?  But one oak I have growing in a pot, before planting out, is now having its third growth spurt of small red leaves before they turn green.  The trees, by us, are also showing no sign, yet of losing their green leaves, Linda and I noticed this afternoon.

Excellent improvements at Clent Hills CP

I have not seen motorbikes on the Clent Hills but, in nearly fifty years of visiting the Clent Hills, I had never seen a traffic jam, a slow procession of nine 4x4s on the very summit of the West Midlands' highest hill, as I did on that fine and snowy Sunday evening last January!

I hope I am wrong, but it may be only a question of time before Dudley's gang of dirt motorbikers decide to try out Walton Hill from the big car park and, try out Adams Hill via the Hill Tavern (further away for them).  For years, they have enjoyed parts of the Barrow Hill Local Nature Reserve and the Dudley section of the major and important, supposedly traffic-free, 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk Magnificent Mudway from Brierley Hill to NW Wolverhampton.

Unfortunately, as our population rises, there have to be restrictions and rationing imposed on our human activities if we cannot show some restraint ourselves.  We live on an ailing planet that is not expanding in line with our ever-increasing demands placed upon it.  When Nimmings car park is full, motorists will simply have to drive back home and try cycling and walking, as I and my family do, anyway.

I am keeping to my 50% cut in car mileage this year compared to what I drove in 2019.  Every other motorist needs to do the same, if we are to stand any chance at all of turning things around.

Please, no expansion of Nimmings car park - ever!  Simply, provide more proper cycle parking stands and NOT the dreadful, 'slot your front wheel into the narrow rack to nicely buckle the front wheel', parking!

And support the WMCA's W Mids National Park to include the Clent Hills Country Park in the properly funded, 32 sq Kms Clent Hills Regional Park (my designation).  Funding for arable farming for local food production, hedgerow restoration, woodland management and footpath maintenance.

Friday, 20 August 2021

FOUR Anglo-Afghan Wars: 1839 to 1842; 1878 to 1880; May to August 1919; Oct 2001 to August 2021

THE SECOND WAR WAS THE ONLY BRITISH 'VICTORY' but "several setbacks" and it led to their withdrawal.

Extracts from Wikipedia:

The 1839 war was one of the first major conflicts during the Great Game, the 19th century competition for power and influence in Central Asia between Britain and Russia.

With the exception of Emperor Paul who ordered an invasion of India in 1800 (which was cancelled after his assassination in 1801), no Russian tsar ever seriously considered invading India, but for most of the 19th century, Russia was viewed as "the enemy" in Britain; and any Russian advance into Central Asia, into what is now Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, was always assumed (in London) to be directed towards the conquest of India, as the American historian David Fromkin observed, "no matter how far-fetched" such an interpretation might be.

In 1878, the British invaded again, beginning the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

The second campaign ended in September 1880 when the British decisively defeated Ayub Khan outside Kandahar. A new Amir - Abdur Rahman Khan selected by the British, ratified and confirmed the Gandamak treaty once more. When the British and Indian soldiers had withdrawn, the Afghans agreed to let the British attain all of their geopolitical objectives, as well as create a buffer between the British Raj and the Russian Empire.[12]

The end of the Second Afghan War in 1880 marked the beginning of almost 40 years of good relations between Britain and Afghanistan under the leadership of Abdur Rahman Khan and Habibullah Khan, during which time the British attempted to manage Afghan foreign policy through the payment of a large subsidy.[11]

"Although the campaign was eventually brought to a successful conclusion, the British suffered several setbacks in their struggle to control the volatile country." FROM the National Army Museum at

... the British-Afghan War of 1919[4] and in Afghanistan as the War of Independence,[4] began on 6 May 1919 when the Emirate of Afghanistan invaded British India and ended with an armistice on 8 August 1919. The war resulted in the Afghans winning back control of foreign affairs from Britain, and the British recognising Afghanistan as an independent nation.[5]

The root cause of the Third Anglo-Afghan War lies long before fighting commenced. For the British in India, Afghanistan was seen as a threat. The British worried about Russian intentions, concerned that an invasion of India could be launched by Tsarist forces through Afghanistan.[8] This period became known as the Great Game. In an effort to negate this threat, the British made numerous attempts at imposing their will upon Kabul, and over the course of the 19th Century fought two wars: the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839–1842) and the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–1880).[9][10]


Treaty of Rawalpindi

The war-mongering, thoroughly paranoid, fearful West, yet again, bit off more than it could chew in Afghanistan


I thought in Oct 2001 that it was a most barbaric, foolish, and revengeful over-reaction to 9/11 when our side invaded Afghanistan to begin the War on Terrorism.  It gave the war-mongering, right-wing neo-Cons in the USA the excuse they wanted to go to war to start the invasion of, I think eventually, seven nations to be overthrown.  Iraq was the second.  It was called the Project for the New American Century.

Prominent neoconservatives in the George W. Bush administration included Paul WolfowitzElliott AbramsRichard Perle and Paul Bremer. While not identifying as neoconservatives, senior officials Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld listened closely to neoconservative advisers regarding foreign policy, especially the defense of Israel and the promotion of American influence in the Middle East. Many of its adherents became politically influential during the Republican presidential administrations of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, peaking in influence during the administration of George W. Bush, when they played a major role in promoting and planning the 2003 invasion of Iraq and invasion of Afghanistan.[3]

We are all well and Linda, in particular, is very involved with Gwennan and Jemima.  She shares herself out very fairly, shows no favouritism and gets on so well with the two sets of parents who also, themselves meet up quite often for walks and swims.  B and T have a special cycle carrier for Gwennan that is pulled behind one of their bikes when they go off on bike rides.  The first one was last week when Gwennan was 9 mths.

Proposed resolution to show solidarity with Clean Kilo - the zero waste and organic food shop

Proposed resolution to show solidarity with Clean Kilo - the zero waste and organic food shop at 1 Gibb Street, Digbeth

This meeting of Birmingham and Black Country Left Unity political party has passed this resolution today, ..., 2021

We are very concerned that this low climate impact, sociable and socialist, small business is in danger of closure for reasons that include the devasting road works outside the shop for the very high impacting Metro tram works.

We note that the tram is called a "bus on rails" when we already have buses without rails directly on roads that would be simpler and cheaper to replace with electric ones than the ten times more expensive per Km to construct Metro trams.

We join Mayor, Andy Street in his "utterly unacceptable" description of the £5 m replacement of the five-year-old tram tracks in Corporation Street that is threatening the livelihoods of the workers in the businesses in that road, too.

We fully support the Brum cyclists who are up in arms at their exclusion from part of Broad Street because of the trams taking over from buses and cars - and now cycles, too - in that, former major bus route into the city centre.

We condemn the sidelining of public transport and cycling in this way when it is urgent that we act on the city council's climate emergency declaration in 2019:

  1. by slashing the unnecessary expenditure of deadly greenhouse gases.
  2. by discouraging car use and encouraging the use of buses directly on roads, minus the rails and, cycling.
  3. by encouraging those with disabilities to have greater freedom to choose, if they wish, to move around the city, in their cars, on less congested roads.

Tim Weller

Clean Kilo at 1 Gibb Street, Deritend, Digbeth


"Metro Line Works:
Another great initiative and we see the long-term positives. However, small businesses will be most affected during the construction. Lane closures/traffic/diversions and noise pollution make it undesirable to come in the area. Pneumatic diggers operating only a few metres away from our shop make our Ice Cream bar, outdoor café & Meet the Producer events unappealing - it’s hard to even hear customers talking! Our customer parking from the High Street was blocked off – customers must disregard the no entry sign to come in. There was no public consultation engagement with us prior the works."

Totally unacceptable, as is £5m for replacing tram tracks in Corporation Street after only 5 years; and buses being permanently excluded from Broad Street and even cycles banned from part of it. All at 10 times more expensive per Km than rebuilding a railway!

Self-aggrandisement, vanity, high greenhouse gas emitting in construction Metro tram is definitely NOT: "Another great initiative and we see the long-term positives." When we could have electric buses directly on roads, why have what the authorities call a "bus on rails" tram? And, at ten times per Km more expensive to construct than rebuilding a railway!

"The clean air zone is a fantastic initiative for the health of Birmingham residents & CO2 reduction. However, for this kind of initiative to work, good public transport and cycling infrastructure needs to be fully in place before it’s launched and allow time for city centre businesses to recover from Covid first."

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Doug Thorpe's piece for Left Unity

This is all excellent writing from both Doug and Ken.

In Birmingham and the Black Country, we are discussing the article on Saturday at our monthly meeting.  I find the meetings well worthwhile for serious discussion and for fresh or different insights.  Useful, too for mutual encouragement and support.  I think our distinctive perspective must be brought to bear on the decision-makers in local and regional government, in particular.  We must challenge them and be their conscience over, in particular, climate concerns that seem ever more real and relevant.

I think we must send our point of view as press releases and letters on topical issues to the media, under our banner of 'Left Unity' to make sure we don't get left out but to raise our profile.

We are screwed, snookered but we must continue the fight and be frugal finite fossil fuel users

We are screwed, snookered but we must continue the fight and be frugal finite fossil fuel users.

Andy N, at last night's COP 26 mtg wrote, over the success of the Montreal Protocol, "fossil fuels is a massive chunk of the world economy. much harder to get movement."

He's right but it's worse than that!  Every time we turn the COLD tap on we are dependant on finite fossil fuels (fff) that in their use, every time, is yet another tiny screw in rising global av surface temps to bring the climate catastrophe we're seeing.  Fff pump water to our homes.

Although we are very slowly expanding renewable sources of energy that are much less dependant on fff, every £ we spend uses fff a lot along the line. That is why we have to spend ONLY on projects that will cut fff and their attendant greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) urgently.  Not HS2, Metro, Sprint, armaments, WMD, new yacht Britannia, investments in fff exploitation, Nature turned into concrete, brick and tarmac ...

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

THE BARE MINIMUM TO BE DONE and then the next barest before we bare all, like the blissfully unaware Emperor with no clothes

THE BARE MINIMUM TO BE DONE and then the next barest - before we bare all, like the blissfully unaware Emperor with no clothes.

1st barest: The existing 60 mph national speed limit on the M5 "for air quality" to be compulsory as the new maximum national speed limit.

2nd:  The 1973/4 fuel rationing coupons that were partly distributed but never brought into effect, to be re-introduced for every private motorist.  All business driving to be excluded, to begin with and, certainly all freight.

3rd:  The immediate cancellation of all extensions to HS2, Metro, Sprint and the W Mids WOM; and all work on expanding our armaments sales to all and sundry and, expenditure, including WMD.

4th:  Regional Fare-Free Public Transport extended to ALL to stop the discrimination against the young and middle-aged.

Members of the Young Christian Climate Network want:

1. Reinstate the foreign aid budget to pre-COVID levels 

2. Secure agreement from rich countries to at least double the decade-old promise of $100bn a year for climate finance

3. Ensure finance for climate-induced loss and damage

4. Push for debt cancellation so climate-vulnerable nations can better confront the climate crisis and other urgent priorities.

MY GREEN JOBS SUGGESTIONS:  Exclude jobs building extensions for HS2, Metro, Sprint and 87 Kms WOM and in armaments, including WMD expansion.

Instead, go for making buses electric on bus priority roads, trains back on railway lines, esp to finish the 120 Kms Black Country Railway and our regional 50 Kms of freight-only railway lines without passenger trains.

Small to medium sized homes that are built to Passivhaus standard with PV on every E,W,S facing roof.

PV retrofitted to every other roof and external/internal insulation to every building.

120 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway made fit for purpose as a major business, commuter and leisure route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Every towpath made available for 100% self-powered cycles, plus e-bikes, with an all-weather surface for responsible shared use.

GREEN JOBS in bringing in petrol/diesel fuel rationing for all private motorists as was done in the 1973/4  energy crisis.  Now it’s climate crisis.  Even more urgent. Meanwhile, join my voluntary car mileage reduction idea - 50% cut on my 2019 mileage for 2021 - and being achieved!