HOW I SEE THE SEEDS OF RUSSIAN ANGER FINALLY COME TO FRUITION
Saturday, 27 August 2022
Western glee, we put the boot in, we get our comeuppance!
Wednesday, 24 August 2022
Wood pellets at Frankley Service Area
My idea is, I'm afraid, more onshore wind farms and, definitely, on roof PV solar to provide some electricity for the building beneath. However, there will be supply problems, if there isn't already, for the raw materials to make PVs as demand grows.
Left Unity stance on Transport for Greener Together Forum
Mike's summary is excellent and I agree with everything he has written and appreciated the debate on how to respond to the cost of living crisis.
- Is it true that the cost of living crisis has meant that there is a £300 million shortfall in the cost of the Dudley Tram (Wednesbury, Brierley Hill Extension or WBHE) construction project and this is leading to only half of it being built - for the time being? Over the 40 years of planning and constructing the 10.7 Kms tramline on mainly a railway "of national strategic significance", the cost has ballooned to £550 million. Is that the current figure?
- Are you still insisting that the only way to finish the missing middle section of the 120 Kms Black Country Mainline Railway is to put Metro trams on a total of 6.7 Kms out of the 56 Kms that is available to be finished with the regional and commuter, fast trains between Worcester and Derby via Dudley? The official line that has never been withdrawn in 22 years is this: "Light rail (trams) investment provides the basis for restoring heavy rail services at the appropriate time." (Heavy rail services mean trains between Worcester, the Black Country and Derby.)
- Could Laura Shoaf, CEO of WMCA be called to the forum to explain what exactly she meant in a 'Midlands Today' interview that "passive provision would be built in" to the WBHE Metro tram scheme to allow the mainline railway to be completed with fast passenger and freight trains, in due course?
- Has the cost of living crisis delayed the reopening of the Wolverhampton to Walsall Railway with its two new stations at Darlaston and Willenhall?
- Is the Kings Norton, Kings Heath, Moseley, Balsall Heath railway still going ahead with its three new stations?
- Has the cost of living crisis caused the postponement of the Walsall to Brum via Sutton Coldfield railway being brought back into use?
- Are there plans for the Clean Air Zone to be made tighter to improve even further the quality of life and health of those living and working within the Ring Road?
- Have our transport experts ever talked of road pricing to free up road space for essential business users and to deter car commuters who should be using bus, train and tram to get to and from work?
- What is the latest cost of the Birmingham Eastside Metro extension?
- What was the final cost of the Brum Westside extension?
Tuesday, 23 August 2022
Crimean War imbecility by all nations, players, killers
to Jonathon Porritt re economic growth
to Pat Willoughby re High Plateau
My own nature planting is off to the left of the photo and is not in view. It also gets obliterated.
to David Morris re water meters
Monday, 22 August 2022
I have just heard on Radio 4, a journalist ...
... a journalist who said that today's Russian ultra-nationalist and far right idealogue, Alexander Dugin, whose daughter was killed in a car bomb explosion on 20 August and who may have been the true target, was a firm ally of Putrid. Both men wanted the war on Ukraine to make the point that Russia was part of the Asiatic-Chinese world (or Eurasia from the Atlantic to the Pacific) that needed to show that they could rival and stand up to the American-led Western world - mainly the white world or the Atlanticists. Russian expansionism was to stand up to ours and the war on Ukraine was part of Russian greater destiny, as this big looming epoch or cultural battle with the West" (BBC's Newsnight's International Editor, Gabriel Gatehouse). Syria and Ukraine wars were about proving that America was not the unique (only?) boss of the world. Some blame the car bomb on National Republican Army, Russian dissidents who are opposed to Putrid, to bring down his regime.
Friday, 19 August 2022
Carrot and Stick for car commuters
Morning, Bob - but copied to Sharon, Mike, Sandra, Bob, Robert, Jake, Tarsam - especially for their expertise over my final para on wheelchairs in trams and buses.
Wednesday, 17 August 2022
GREENER TOGETHER FORUM ON TRANSPORT
HS2, Metro and Sprint are three very expensive and quick ways to use up finite fossil fuels and to accelerate climate catastrophe or ecocide from the burning of fossil fuels. Is this a correct view to take?
- You can take a passenger train from Derby to Burton on Trent.
- Freight only past the National Memorial Arboretum to Lichfield. Therefore:
- Passengers are forced to take two sides of a triangle, via Nuneaton to get to Lichfield.
- The line from Lichfield to Walsall is built but unused and the full length may be turned into a cycle-walkway. Therefore, hire a bike in Lichfield to get to Walsall.
- Walsall to Wednesbury section of the railway is also unused. Therefore, catch a bus to Wednesbury tram stop to catch the Metro to Dudley bus station.
- A bus is again needed to bypass the existing but unused double track railway from Dudley Castle Hill tram stop to Stourbridge Junction railway station.
- TRAIN - AT LAST - to take you to Worcester!
Tuesday, 16 August 2022
from Quora on B Johnson Esq
Why are so many people "gaslighting" Boris Johnson?
Many people are raising concerns about Boris Johnson’s dreadful premiership.
Mr Johnson’s three year premiership was marked by negotiating the economic partition of the UK, an unlawful attempt to prorogue parliament, persisent government attempts to break the law, a police fine, a botched attempt to save the career of a disgraced MP, a failed attempt to rig the chairing of the intelligence committee, among the highest number of Covid deaths in Europe, numerous resignations from his Downing Street operations, the most number of ministerial resignation in a single day ever, the resignation of two ethics advisors and the first prime minister to overrule the Lords appointment committee.
Elected by the party membership for his campaign and vote winning skills, Mr Johnson chose to resign because of his collapsing government. Mr Johnson will never lead his Conservative party ever again.
To watch: the Conservative party’s post mortem on the reasons for electing and backing Mr Johnson as their leader.
Monday, 15 August 2022
A Point of View on river salmon - 14.8.22
The Samsara of Salmon by John Connell
"John Connell goes fishing in northern Spain, home to one of the oldest populations of Atlantic salmon in the world. But he discovers a world on an ecological edge - with water at dangerously low levels, distraught fishermen and virtually no fish. 'What is a fish without a river?' he asks. 'Indeed what is a river without a fish?' "
NOTES AND PART TRANSCRIPT:
Samsara "describes a form of emotional or existential distress caused by environmental change. It is best described as the lived experience of negatively perceived environmental change." Wikipedia
"The word solastalgia was coined by philosopher Glenn Albrecht in his 2003 book Solastalgia: a new concept in human health and identity. He describes it as "the homesickness you have when you are still at home" and your home environment is changing in ways you find distressing. In many cases, this is in reference to global climate change, but more localized events such as volcanic eruptions, drought or destructive mining techniques can cause solastalgia as well." Wikipedia
"The former poet laureate, Ted Hughes (Connell calls him a great environmentalist) in 1964, talked about the wild places that formed these rivers. These are the remains of what the world was once like all over, he wrote. They carry us back to the surroundings our ancestors lived in for 150 million years."
5 salmon had been caught all season. All the N Spain rivers were near empty. Asturias people spoke of fears of extinction of the entire local salmon population. The main talk was of drought and rising temperatures. Even in the sanctuary there are only tiny numbers of salmon.
"Those empty rivers have radicalised me. Often I feel the earth cries but we do not listen. Or rather, we do not have the ears to hear it anymore. We have removed ourselves to such an extent from nature that the cries are not discernible from the traffic of a large city or the constant interruptions of our phones.
"Samsara means the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. All is connected. Without the salmon there are knock-on effects for a whole ecological system. They are vital to the marine environment. Other fish depend on the juveniles and predators depend on the salmon. They are also an iconic indicator of the health of the water. Being good environmentalists is still a choice we have on these islands of ours. They say it is not too late - yet to reverse the damage done to our climate. But reading that the earth hasn't been this hot in 125,000 years, I wonder how much longer we've got? And looking at the rivers drying out across Europe in these heat waves, where fish are dying for want of water, one wonders what the future will hold for the great kings of the rivers. What is a fish without a river? Indeed, what is a river without a fish?"
"Ted Hughes said the salmon are owned by everyone. These ancient animals are connected to us through legends, through ritual and through their very beauty. They encompass the best parts of our natural world."
Sunday, 14 August 2022
Questions for Left Unity
Thanks for these emails that I have just re-read and appreciated.
Finland and Sweden joining NATO. As a master chess player, Putin must have foreseen this long ago. Why does Putin want to force Finland and Sweden joining NATO? What he's trying to gain from it?
You put Putin on a pedestal by imagining him as a fine strategist. It is true that Putin has long had this reputation, but the moves he has made in recent months clearly show that Putin has lost his foresight.
His worst nightmare was to see NATO on his borders. His worst nightmare was to see the West getting stronger again.
Instead of letting the moribund NATO (SELF: Hardly moribund with NATO military exercises and nukes in E Europe!) do its thing, Putin was so afraid of the democracy that was beginning to flourish in Ukraine that he decided to invade Ukraine on February 24, 2022, thinking that no one would do anything except a few words of indignation.
SELF: The invasion started in 2014. With 14,000 dead up to Feb 2022 since the violent overthrow by pro-Western firebrands of the pro-Russian President of Ukraine in Feb 2014, the invasion must have started then. It was like a red rag to a bull to a nationalist and patriot like Putin.
Putin underestimated NATO, the West, and the Ukrainians while overestimating his weak and unmotivated army.
In the end, Putin is getting his worst nightmare and has locked himself into a strategy from which he cannot escape, or else he will be humiliated in front of his people and end up losing their consent. Even people who have been trained by strong propaganda and oppressed would not be able to bear to find out that Putin has started a useless war for the sake of his ego.
The end of Putin has already begun. The beginning of the end is known: February 24, 2022. The exact date of his fall is yet to be determined.
Friday, 12 August 2022
POLITICS MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Bob WF wrote recently,
Thursday, 11 August 2022
MERRY HILL IS AND CAN BE MERRY HEAVEN EVEN MORE MERRILY
All of this nature gets wiped out for immoral, "bus on rails" Metro trams - greedy, grandiose, shamelessly extravagant and so unnecessary:-
to Bob Whitehead
Sorry I missed the meeting on Tuesday. I had been out nearly all day - with Richard Worrall, Chair of Transport Delivery Committee (TDC) in the morning on a tour of the destruction at Merry Hill and the more sensible alternative; in the afternoon, in Digbeth at Metro Eastside extension consultation - now £220 m for 1.7 Kms.
to Richard Worrall
It was brilliant to have our walk and talk yesterday.
You were the third councillor who had agreed to meet with me for that conducted tour. The first was a Dudley Labour councillor and the second a Dudley Conservative councillor. Both are not members of TDC. Both seemed to understand the importance of saving the housing site, the tree and grass canal embankment and did not disagree with me over the cost of £100 million for the two bridges and the 400 metre concrete and steel viaduct on its stilts. Both did not disagree with keeping the trams on the railway "of national strategic significance" from Dudley bus station to save the £100 m. And so link it to the national railway network.
By email, I had personally and individually invited, all 72 councillors to meet with me to see the important public open space and wasted mainline railway. Only two were interested and showed some concern - when it was their borough, too. The three ward councillors declined or did not reply!
I agree/saddened about your experiences at 16 Summer Lane when you became Chair of the TDC. I thought it was unacceptable for John McNicholas on TV to defend the 49% rise in the already grossly inflated salary of the seriously over-paid airport boss. In my opinion, the airport should not be owned (or partly owned?) by the seven district councils.
Now, a suggestion:
Please question the ways things have always been done
With your second occupancy as Chair of TDC, would you feel able to see your role as a consumer watchdog, as another Martin Lewis and, as someone who stands up for the very best value for money? Therefore:
Would you invite (even summons!) Linda Horne, the WMCA Finance Director to the very next meeting of TDC to explain the costs per kilometre of each tram line (from 1999 opening of the first Metro) and each tram extension, since?
After you left, yesterday I had lunch at Wetherspoons and then cycled and took the train to Digbeth to ask about the Metro Eastside extension. I was told it is now £220m for 1.7 Kms that makes it £129m/Km. Could Linda confirm that with your TDC - but in person - Richard, and these figures, please?
£7m/Km for the 2015 Borders Railway rebuilding through the Southern Uplands.
£21m/Km for the 2003 M6 Toll greenfield motorway.
£51m/Km from £550m for 10.7 Km Wednesbury, Brierley Hill Extension in 2022
£80m/Km from £160m for 2 Kms Metro Westside in 2022
£129m/Km for Metro Eastside in 2022
over £200m/Km for HS2 in 2020
£62m/Km for 150 miles or 241 Kms of Metro in W Mids costing £15 BILLION to 2040 - Jan 2020 figure.
Do you think we should be pushing for a public announcement over the scrapping of the West Midlands, Jan 2020, £15 billion to 2040, 150 miles of underground and overground tram routes, in the light of the multiple crises, all exacerbated by wrong, foolish expenditure like this?
Such is our total dependence on finite fossil fuels, it is alarming but accurate to believe:
Every £ spent = lb weight of greenhouse gas emissions to worsen the climate emergency. Venus is further away from the sun than mercury but is hotter because of its runaway greenhouse effect and high CO2 content in its atmosphere. We are doing the same to earth!
Would you invite Linda to your next meeting, perhaps Richard?
PS:- Could you mention to Mike Bird please, about the housing designated 10,000 sq metres of High Plateau for very low-cost energy apartments for the most badly housed, including or, especially all asylum seekers and refugees? Mike is Chair of the Housing and Land Delivery Board on the CA.
Wednesday, 10 August 2022