Dear Stuart - a word of explanation about my lack of visibility at your excellent events.
My life of public campaigning started in the 1980s, when I led the campaign against the 16 Kms KBH - Kidderminster, Blakedown, Hagley motorway standard bypass, followed by the WOM - the 87 Kms Western Orbital Motorway. These were public because a large section of the public agreed with me that our countryside should not be buried under concrete, brick and tarmac.
In the 1990s, took up the cudgels against Metro going on the Black Country and Brum's railway network and roads. I felt that it was a solution looking for a problem, an over indulgent, vanity extravagance of all style over substance and that we should be concentrating, instead on getting the bus and, railway networks being fully used and, both at least as good as the average on the mainland of Europe. Certainly for trains back on the train lines, instead of running homes, offices and shops down them.
This time, I have not been able to take the public along with me so I have concentrated ever since on writing letters, then emails, followed by text messages and phone calls to the decision-makers - the senior officers and councillors and, even the odd MP in the W Mids when I've gatecrashed their surgeries.
I am now enjoying making the most of my five minutes in Dudley Council committee meetings when they have a public forum item on the agenda - at some of them. This is to highlight mistakes and misdemeanours, idiocies and incompetences over planning, countryside matters, transport and their hypocrisy in declaring climate emergencies and then carrying on with business as usual.
At 6 pm last Wednesday, I laid into them over their seven railway lines - all in their borough of Dudley - that they had destroyed in their enthusiasm for Metro trams to replace trains and buses. And, at Merry Hill, most of the shopping centre's last public open space being buried under concrete, brick and tarmac for the tram that also destroys the nearby principal mainline railway which it uses on two nibble-sized sections in Dudley borough. Chief Exec of the WMCA, Laura Shoaf was in attendance on Teams, I discovered when it was her turn to speak. I have spent years laying into her transport decisions before she became even more important as CEO!
My time is also taken up with guerrilla gardening at the public open space they intend destroying with their massive concrete viaduct for the tram at Merry Hill. I'm also renewing the hedge and public footpath at Illey Lane, rewilding the central reservation of Halesowen Bypass and tree planting at Frankley Services, northbound to try and blot it out, since the 1990s.
Some weeks ago, on a dark evening, I was on my way, by old fashioned pedal cycle to one of your demos in Brum but crashed on the bike. I chickened out, I'm afraid and went home!
At 74, I'm also attempting to complete my round of over 1,000 summits in Scotland over 2,000 feet, before my body fails me completely. All I have left are the lower ones between 2,000 and 2,500 feet, so that is something!
In summary, I'm targetting the decision makers since the public are not on my side and are not as interested as I am in these local matters. Local matters that local councillors are ultimately responsible for but are all too happy to leave to the officers and to rubber-stamp their decisions. Well, that is how it seems to me.
Keep up the great work you are doing