Saturday, 27 August 2022

Western glee, we put the boot in, we get our comeuppance!


We were not magnanimous, understanding or fair in taking over, lock stock and barrel all the friends and allies of the enemy we had vanquished at the end of the Cold War in 1991.  And it was this no 1 sworn enemy who had graciously retired from the field of battle too, to allow us to claim a mighty victory in the Cold War!

There followed the arrival in Moscow of the Chicago Boys' neoliberal economics under Milton Friedman that didn't help either, I have heard from a Radio 4 programme.

But, it's even worse than that, for in 2014 the properly and fairly elected pro-Russian President was unceremoniously bundled from power by over-enthusiastic pro-American/European fanatics to put their man in the top spot.  This was like a red rag to a bull to Putin, according to Philippe Sands, a British and French lawyer in an interview on the Jeremy Vine Show.  In revenge, Putrid took back Crimea, given to Ukraine in 1954 by Krushchev.  Hardly surprising.

Next, through 2021/2, we called it appeasement to comply with Putrid's security concerns.  These were to withdrew our nukes from E Europe, stop our military exercises in the former Warsaw Pact nations and to refuse Ukraine membership of NATO.  There was no way that the American led West would comply.  As a result, the war of 2014 ratcheted up to full blown war.  The Russian world and the American/Western world both suffer from bloodshed and sanctions resulting in sky-high energy prices, with the attendant cost of living crisis.

24 August addition:
This very day, 31 years of glorious independence for Ukraine. However, after the last 21 years of deeply nationalistic Putrid, they still failed to cosy up to their very big brother neighbour - if only out of sheer self interest and for a little peaceful co-existence. Instead, they very foolishly, without waiting for the next election, violently overthrew their 2010 properly and fairly elected pro-Russian President in February 2014. That was like a red rag to a bull for our dear friend Putrid. Thus, 14,000 killed in the first eight years of the war before Putrid upped the stakes and escalated the killings exactly six months ago today, 24 August 2022. Now, the death toll of Ukrainians is 9,000 military deaths and 5,500 civilian deaths I heard on Radio 4 today.

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.

My own local motorway service area has had wood pellets supplying its energy this century.  Moto Hospitality own Frankley Services on the M5, 2 Kms south of Jct 3.  I shudder to think where the pellets come from but will ask Moto, via their website and why they converted to wood pellets.

In the final analysis, we will all have to level down our far too high energy-rich lifestyles and start to live more simply so that others may simply live - both the least well off and future generations, as I've suggested here:

Comments, feedback, criticism welcomed!

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.

Pertinent to that is the second 'Greener Together Forum' on Monday 12 Sept where the subject is transport.  This time, I would like our own 6 Sept mtg at 7 pm to discuss if we can ask the transport speakers to talk about the following regional and relevant transport matters.  My own questions for them to talk about in the forum are these but, do they have your approval and does anyone have any others?:-
  1. 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?
  2. 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.)
  3. 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?
  4. Has the cost of living crisis delayed the reopening of the Wolverhampton to Walsall Railway with its two new stations at Darlaston and Willenhall?
  5. Is the Kings Norton, Kings Heath, Moseley, Balsall Heath railway still going ahead with its three new stations?
  6. Has the cost of living crisis caused the postponement of the Walsall to Brum via Sutton Coldfield railway being brought back into use?
  7. 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?
  8. 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?
  9. What is the latest cost of the Birmingham Eastside Metro extension?
  10. 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

Dear Jonathon

Would you like to write a post, please in reply to what I have just heard on Radio 4's 'Today'?  We had Luke Johnson, Vince Cable and one other, chaired by Amol Rajan at about 8.35 am to about 8.50 am.

Decades ago, you said that all governments' great golden target of 3% economic growth every single year for 25 years would result in production and consumption being doubled - clearly unsustainable and ruinous in a finite world that is not growing in line with our ever greedy demands upon it.  My "living unnaturally in a natural world and living infinitely in a finite world - pretty foolish."

Please listen to the discussion and write your comments, corrections, wisdom on your blog - PLEASE.  I need your political and ecological education!

All the best and thanks if you have time to oblige.


to Pat Willoughby re High Plateau


Dear Pat and Cllr Padda

It was lovely to have a quick chat with you and Charn before the meeting yesterday morning.

Since the 1990s, I believe I am correct in saying, High Plateau at Merry Hill Shopping Centre has been a valuable brownfield site, designated for residential, that has not been used.  It remains wasted.  PLAN, here:

This is a very serious oversight that may have partly arisen because of the Metro extension (WBHE) that is due to take a corner slice of this much needed site.  A site for low running costs, highly energy efficient, solar powered apartments, using only electricity for heating and cooking, for sale and rent from, preferably, the Combined Authority and for "the stranger in our midst".  Metro trams must keep off and keep out of ALL of this site.

Metro trams must also keep off the only public open space at Merry Hill.  This is also the valuable, green space that is essential to continue to sequester CO2 thanks to the area of grassland, shrubs and trees that extends for 400 metres.  In addition, if you do as I advise, you will save £100 m.  This is the likely cost for the two double track tramway bridges over the Dudley No 1 Canal and for the massive, standard gauge, double track, concrete and steel tramway viaduct to obliterate the beautiful, nature rich canal embankment.  Add to the destruction, my landscape enhancement scheme to hide the rusty iron wall that holds up the High Plateau!  PHOTO of only a part that gets destroyed:

My own nature planting is off to the left of the photo and is not in view.  It also gets obliterated.
INSTEAD, keep the trams running on the "railway of national strategic significance" from the Cinder Bank roundabout on Duncan Edwards Way, through Brierley Hill and on to Stourbridge Jct station to connect with the national railway network.  Tram stops at the Waterfront, Brierley Hill and Withymoor on the railway route to Stourbridge.

Turning the UK's only mothballed, principal mainline railway of 120 Kms into a piddling little shuttle tramline over two short sections totalling 6.7 Kms is incompetent.  And the enormous cost of well over £500 m is immoral in the face of increasing poverty for those who are struggling both to eat and to heat their homes.  It is socially unjust and proves you are climate deniers, when you should be climate champions.
I hope you and the CA will act urgently.

Very best wishes Pat as you all address the climate, nature, ecological, housing and cost of living crises.


to David Morris re water meters

Hi David

We talked about water meters at church, yesterday.  When we got one many years ago, at least Jonathan was still living with us, if not Becky as well.  Our water bill definitely went down from £30/mth to, I think, £20+.  Now, with living on our own, earlier this year the DD went down from £18/mth to £17.50/mth from S Staffs Water.

Our Nov 2013 purchase of 24 PV panels has made us loads and loads of luverly MONEY!!  I was so glad I put them on Les Hardwick's house, too in Feb 2014.  He and the present young mum living there both benefitted and she is, too.  I was so sorry I could not do it on your dad's roof.  My solar electrician was so overwhelmed with work he switched off his phone and, then, your dad changed his mind.  However, even with no FIT payments it is even more worth doing if your dad can switch to electric heating and cooking, as we have done.  It sounds as though you and Ruth will, one day, move into dad's house and will benefit if you, this time, pay for the max PV panels you can fit on E, W, S rooves (even N, as I saw in Dornoch, Scotland!).  Or, I can lend you the money (or part).  With low inflation, the cost has gone down.  The cost in 2013 was £8,000 and Les's bill was £6,000 for his fewer panels the following year.  The cost of energy is now very quickly rising and thus inflation must be pushing up prices of PV, plus rising demand for them, too.

For Linda and I last month, Octopus wanted £11.50 for elecy and £15 for gas, including VAT.  It will rocket in the winter, of course.  This month's bill will come in shortly.

All the best and thanks for all your hard work in leadership on a Sunday morning.  Much appreciated.

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.

You are so right about FFPT and, re-regulation to bring our bus services like London's.  But, as I have done, please write to ask for the official transport speakers to cover the subjects.  They must prepare something to present to us on the 12th and it must be to our agenda.

My other concern is this.  FFPT is the carrot or the reward for car commuters and others who leave their cars at home, as I do.  However, motorists are so wedded and welded to their cars there really must be a stick, too.  Hence, road pricing is essential to send the right signal that cars must be used more sparingly and definitely not for commuting to work in!  I think it should be brought in on the main arterial roads like my own A456, Hagley Road as an experiment for two years.  What do you think, Bob and the others?

Do you agree that we have to badger/encourage/suggest/work with the officers and members to do the right thing, as here?

By the way, there are only two official wheelchairs allowed on Metro trams, with 52 seats and 208 allowed to stand.  Max 2 wheelchair space is the same as some of our buses.  Is that right?  Without mentioning the subject, my daughter, Becky volunteered this, recently.  With two small children under 21 months, she told me that she will give up the space she uses for the double buggy and will fold it up, if four wheel passengers enter the bus.  I am banned with only two wheels!

I want us, also to press for bus step free access by asking and being persistent into eternity!  E-mails to these VIPs or, just stick with

Wednesday, 17 August 2022


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?

Does the introduction of multi-modal public transport make for more changes between the different modes and, therefore, a slower journey?

Do HS2, Metro and Sprint all duplicate existing services?
Could the existing services be upgraded to make them as least as good as the average on the mainland of Europe?
Or, could road pricing deter car commuters and open up road space for essential business users, be better value for money and be more effective in cutting GHG emissions?

How do you decide when to replace a Platinum bus with Metro "bus on rails" trams and when to use, instead a Sprint bus, "the bus that thinks it's a tram"?

HAVE I GOT THIS RIGHT?  The tortuous journey from Derby to Worcester!
  • 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!
Tim Weller

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?' "


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.[1] 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 eruptionsdrought 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.

What exactly are we saying about the cost of living crisis?
That the rich, like me, must pay more in taxes to level down so that those on only state pensions, benefits and other low incomes can level up?

Do we agree that the war between Russia and Ukraine (fueled by the West) must be quickly ended by talks, compromise, negotiations, settlement so that Russian oil and gas can be released once more to fund our lovely high fossil fuel lifestyle and to get energy prices down?

Do we support a windfall tax on the companies that have unexpectedly found themselves in the happy position of being cash cows?  Or, what are we saying on the financial bonanza that only shareholders and directors are benefitting from?

Do we want the energy price cap to be frozen, as Labour is saying, to knock hundreds of pounds off bills?  Paid for by a tax on energy company profits, according to Starmer writing today in the Sunday Mirror.

To help tackle the energy/cost of living crisis, does anyone out there join me in calling on the WMCA to make a public announcement that there will be no more Metro "bus on rails" tram extensions beyond Dudley bus station and beyond the current construction in Digbeth High Street?  Similarly, with no new contracts going out for more Sprint extensions.  The money saved to extend FFPT to the young and middle aged and to bring in more electric buses going directly on the roads without the very high GHG emitting railway tracks going on the roads (to bring cyclists like me crashing down when our wheels get stuck in the rut!)?

Could we discuss this last paragraph at our next meeting and then vote on it, perhaps?

I would be glad of some clarification and, even some help/support/agreement/encouragement (delete what is impossible!) would be quite magnificent, please!

from Quora

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


Bob WF wrote recently,

"I am not opposed to members of the Breakthrough Party attending branch meetings but I would like to see a joint meeting with them to see where commonalities and differences exist.

"I am not going to write letters to people in power as this is not how I see politics making a difference."

My own practice is that I join with anyone of any and of all political persuasions to stop what is blindingly obvious a mistake and to put it right.  Like joining with Sandra and Bob WF for step free access at bus stops that we already have at tram stops.  To be specific, like that campaign of theirs and, indeed, Bob's Fare-Free Public Transport.

To target, for decades one obvious stupidity and its disastrous offshoots - and to concentrate on that blindingly obvious blunder that is an easy win.  You don't wait to get elected.  You join with any old bod who wants to make a difference and then bombard the decision makers to educate and inspire them to change the obvious idiocy and to do the right thing, instead.  It is called political and ecological education.

We won over getting lead out of petrol.  "The U.S. began phasing out leaded gasoline in 1975 not for health reasons, but because it fouled catalytic converters, which were just then being mandated to reduce emissions."

Rachel Carson was outstanding.  She "swayed public opinion and led to a reversal in U.S. pesticide policy, a nationwide ban on DDT for agricultural uses,[2] and an environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.[3][4]  " Wikipedia
"In 2006, Silent Spring was named one of the 25 greatest science books of all time."

The green movement that includes all ecologists, the Green Party, FoE and Greenpeace have been right from the very beginning over replacing finite fossil fuels with renewables.  We have been shown to be correct.

We were right over insisting on nuclear disarmament - and winning that one.  Right over the link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

We were right over the hole in the ozone layer.  That was an easy win last century for ecosocialists and environmentalists.

We were right over economic growth/greed/GHG emissions and wanting a more sustainable or steady state economics as if people and the future mattered.

I think I have been right since I took up the cudgels in the 1980s over fighting the Kidderminster, Blakedown, Hagley motorway standard bypass (KBH) and, insisting instead that passenger and freight trains be reinstated on the partly used railway alongside or near to the KBH - the one I'm still working on, for trains, over the full 120 Kms (74 mls).  40 years so far and winning is as far off as my getting to the moon!

We were proved right when, last decade, Metro was finally banished from the Kings Norton, Kings Heath, Balsall Heath line and the years of building three railway stations began.

We won when we stopped most of the E arm of HS2.  It is expected to end at East Midlands Parkway.

All this is exactly what Bob WF is wanting - only "politics making a difference."  But it starts and ends with individual and group activity, with the individual activity involving writing, phoning, listening and learning, speaking here, there and everywhere and using persuasion to eventually win the day.  Asking questions, attending forums, meetings and surgeries of the decision-makers.  And, individuals supporting and encouraging one another in their individual concerns, if at all possible.

Group activity would be writing press releases that are agreed by all, sent out and, then meeting with the decision makers to get feedback.  Partnership working.  Working together.  Showing solidarity and encouragement.


Thursday, 11 August 2022


All of this nature gets wiped out for immoral, "bus on rails" Metro trams - greedy, grandiose, shamelessly extravagant and so unnecessary:-

​are wiped off the face of the earth for energy intensive, GHG emitting, concrete and steel viaduct on the embankment.  The only public open space at Merry Hill!

This great shopping centre was one of the earliest, after the 1970s Metrocentre on Tyneside.  It was built by Don and Roy Richardson throughout the 1980s and took good farming land in the south and Round Oak Steelworks in the north that had closed.

For three years from 1991 to 1994, it had a Swiss engineered and built monorail from the Waterfront East offices to the heart of the shopping centre and on to the southern stores.  A distance of over a kilometre. A station, too, that still exists and can be seen in the roof of M&S from the Dudley No 1 Canal towpath - and still visited by lift when open!

An enigma - why did Don and Roy not link it to the mainline railway at Round Oak steel terminal, next to the Waterfront and only 400 metres from the terminus monorail station, Waterfront East?
Did they never realise there was a railway "of national strategic significance" only a quarter mile away?
Did they really think that no-one would want to arrive at the Waterfront offices by train, with shoppers too continuing their journey by monorail into the mighty shopping centre?

As good Black Country men, was this all part of the post war consensus that trains and railway lines were old hat and only cars were what was wanted and would, forever, be the future?  After all, this was the attitude that destroyed seven Dudley railway lines, with two still not finished even as cycle-walkways!  I'm referring to the UK's longest urban-rural-urban, most important but badly neglected, 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway.  It starts at Fens Pool Avenue, in the DY5 Enterprise Zone and only 200 metres from the forgotten mainline railway.  The 22 Kms ends in NW Wolverhampton but continues north on a canal towpath into Cheshire.  It does not even have an NCR number!!

Another blunder - It was not just Richardson Properties who were asleep on the job.  Dudley Council and the transport authority, Centro also never realised that the monorail could be linked to the mainline railway to help ease road traffic congestion and pollution.  Or, that the railway even existed and should be used.  And this was Transport HQ, too slumbering into a blunder!

MAP here:

An easy solution - The Midland Metro is coming to Brierley Hill from this same railway "of national strategic significance" and, on its double tracks that the freight trains no longer use, from Dudley town.  The steel trains from Port Talbot via Stourbridge Jct Sta only use one track.  The Metro can save over £100 m in construction costs by using the other track of the mainline railway from Round Oak Steel Terminal to link up with the national railway network at Stourbridge Junction station.  The Waterfront tram stop can bring office workers and shoppers onwards by electric bus or, but this is not compatible with climate action, by the reinstated 1990s monorail.

In this way, nature is saved and the public can continue to use the 400 metre grass and tree-covered Dudley No 1 Canal embankment.  Merry Heaven is SAVED!!

Tim Weller

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.

Do you think we should be pushing for a public announcement over the scrapping of the 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?

to Richard Worrall

Dear Richard

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?

Best wishes


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

Birmingham Airport

 Andys Photographic

"we've also got to look to the future and ensure we have the right person in the post." Will you also be insisting on 49% increases for all the Airport Staff so you can enter the future with the right people?
Replying to @newbie_tog @CllrJMcNicholas and 3 others