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Michael Edwards

recognition for the improvement of public services provided in Nottingham

@ 6:56 am, Fri 30th Nov 2007

Recent events have seen recognition for the improvement of public services provided in Nottingham and progress on environmental & climate change matters.   

External assessment of the adult services provided by Nottingham City Council now ranks the authority as fifth best, a jump of over 80 places.  December’s full Council will be focussed on meeting the needs of adults who need help most.   

Nottingham City Council manager Martin Jackaman has been named as the nation’s top public servant.  He won a Guardian award for his pioneering work to provide state-of-the-art toilets to enable people with severe disabilities to make use of them.  The Changing Place toilets are part of the new £500,000 facilities developed in Greyhound Street to replace those in the Market Square.     

The new Old Market Square has been praised in a major national design awards.  The square is currently alive with both a German Christmas market and a temporary ice rink.   

-  

Regarding climate change, being able to easily recycle is seen as an important way for the public to join in.   

Kerbside collection of glass has begun in Nottingham.  Nottingham is already the best at avoiding waste going to landfill and around 30% of domestic waste is now being collected separately for recycling.  

The CBI’s commitment on climate change is broadly welcome and there are 2 firms in Nottingham - Boots & Experian - that are doing well on this. 

The Australian elections are good news for the Kyoto Treaty (and for Labour).  Only the USA will be left, refusing to sign.    

-  

England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008 has brought out a number of issues concerning English football.  But the European tournament is often not a test of who is the strongest football nation in Europe - indeed Denmark and Greece have previously won the competition.  A good number of the nations that came third warranted a place in such a tournament.  A 24 nation tournament would be a recognition of the growth in the strength of international football (remember 1973 when England’s group only included Poland and Wales) and could be organised so that there are fewer qualifying matches & more opportunities for national teams to develop their style of play. 

John Heppell, MP for Nottingham East, has been drawn 5th on the Private Members bill list.  He is exploring whether more can be done to protect workers during takeovers of companies by private equity firms.   

recognition for the improvement of public services provided in Nottingham

@ 6:56 am, Fri 30th Nov 2007

Recent events have seen recognition for the improvement of public services provided in Nottingham and progress on environmental & climate change matters.   

External assessment of the adult services provided by Nottingham City Council now ranks the authority as fifth best, a jump of over 80 places.  December’s full Council will be focussed on meeting the needs of adults who need help most.   

Nottingham City Council manager Martin Jackaman has been named as the nation’s top public servant.  He won a Guardian award for his pioneering work to provide state-of-the-art toilets to enable people with severe disabilities to make use of them.  The Changing Place toilets are part of the new £500,000 facilities developed in Greyhound Street to replace those in the Market Square.     

The new Old Market Square has been praised in a major national design awards.  The square is currently alive with both a German Christmas market and a temporary ice rink.   

-  

Regarding climate change, being able to easily recycle is seen as an important way for the public to join in.   

Kerbside collection of glass has begun in Nottingham.  Nottingham is already the best at avoiding waste going to landfill and around 30% of domestic waste is now being collected separately for recycling.  

The CBI’s commitment on climate change is broadly welcome and there are 2 firms in Nottingham - Boots & Experian - that are doing well on this. 

The Australian elections are good news for the Kyoto Treaty (and for Labour).  Only the USA will be left, refusing to sign.    

-  

England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008 has brought out a number of issues concerning English football.  But the European tournament is often not a test of who is the strongest football nation in Europe - indeed Denmark and Greece have previously won the competition.  A good number of the nations that came third warranted a place in such a tournament.  A 24 nation tournament would be a recognition of the growth in the strength of international football (remember 1973 when England’s group only included Poland and Wales) and could be organised so that there are fewer qualifying matches & more opportunities for national teams to develop their style of play. 

John Heppell, MP for Nottingham East, has been drawn 5th on the Private Members bill list.  He is exploring whether more can be done to protect workers during takeovers of companies by private equity firms.   

recognition for the improvement of public services provided in Nottingham

@ 6:56 am, Fri 30th Nov 2007

Recent events have seen recognition for the improvement of public services provided in Nottingham and progress on environmental & climate change matters.   

External assessment of the adult services provided by Nottingham City Council now ranks the authority as fifth best, a jump of over 80 places.  December’s full Council will be focussed on meeting the needs of adults who need help most.   

Nottingham City Council manager Martin Jackaman has been named as the nation’s top public servant.  He won a Guardian award for his pioneering work to provide state-of-the-art toilets to enable people with severe disabilities to make use of them.  The Changing Place toilets are part of the new £500,000 facilities developed in Greyhound Street to replace those in the Market Square.     

The new Old Market Square has been praised in a major national design awards.  The square is currently alive with both a German Christmas market and a temporary ice rink.   

-  

Regarding climate change, being able to easily recycle is seen as an important way for the public to join in.   

Kerbside collection of glass has begun in Nottingham.  Nottingham is already the best at avoiding waste going to landfill and around 30% of domestic waste is now being collected separately for recycling.  

The CBI’s commitment on climate change is broadly welcome and there are 2 firms in Nottingham - Boots & Experian - that are doing well on this. 

The Australian elections are good news for the Kyoto Treaty (and for Labour).  Only the USA will be left, refusing to sign.    

-  

England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008 has brought out a number of issues concerning English football.  But the European tournament is often not a test of who is the strongest football nation in Europe - indeed Denmark and Greece have previously won the competition.  A good number of the nations that came third warranted a place in such a tournament.  A 24 nation tournament would be a recognition of the growth in the strength of international football (remember 1973 when England’s group only included Poland and Wales) and could be organised so that there are fewer qualifying matches & more opportunities for national teams to develop their style of play. 

John Heppell, MP for Nottingham East, has been drawn 5th on the Private Members bill list.  He is exploring whether more can be done to protect workers during takeovers of companies by private equity firms.   

Now Belgians and Parisians can get to Nottingham even faster

@ 12:32 am, Thu 15th Nov 2007

The new Eurostar link to Belgium and France is up and running.  Now Belgians and Parisians can get to Nottingham even faster. 

St.Pancras is great, although I'm biased.  The estate I happen to live in, was the clay pit from which Mapperley bricks were made to build St.Pancras station (as well as a large part if the city). 

Good to see environmentalists celebrating the new link too.

Aims to improve the link from Europe still further include - 
1. prevail upon East Midlands Trains to improve on their re-timing of trains to include more faster, direct service to Nottingham from London;
2. see the re-signalling of the Midland Main Line through, including not only faster & more bi-directional running into & out of Nottingham station; but also the ability for trains to pass each other between platforms 3 & 4; 
3. win the planned GBP100 million investment for the Midland Main Line, aiming to save a further 8 minutes in journey time; 
4. improve Nottingham station (the City Council is developing a masterplan to do just that); 
5. extend the Nottingham tram; phase 2 will pass over the station, with a new tram halt. 

Meanwhile, local Nottingham transport has won further national recognition

Nottingham City Council "scooped the Claudia Flanders Memorial Award for Accessibility, for its improvements helping disabled people, while Nottingham Tram Consortium (NTC) won the Street Transit Award, for its innovation in public transport" says the Nottingham Evening Post.

-

The paper also covered the story of a Year 10 pupils at the school I chair being the top of the world for "mathletics" - but despite the time and effort I spent getting coverage for the story, they didn't use my quote.  Hey ho. 

If you've the time, answer the 20 mental arithmetic questions in the NEP article in less than 18 seconds!  That's how quick Ashley Cannop from St.Ann's is.   

Now Belgians and Parisians can get to Nottingham even faster

@ 12:32 am, Thu 15th Nov 2007

The new Eurostar link to Belgium and France is up and running.  Now Belgians and Parisians can get to Nottingham even faster. 

St.Pancras is great, although I'm biased.  The estate I happen to live in, was the clay pit from which Mapperley bricks were made to build St.Pancras station (as well as a large part if the city). 

Good to see environmentalists celebrating the new link too.

Aims to improve the link from Europe still further include - 
1. prevail upon East Midlands Trains to improve on their re-timing of trains to include more faster, direct service to Nottingham from London;
2. see the re-signalling of the Midland Main Line through, including not only faster & more bi-directional running into & out of Nottingham station; but also the ability for trains to pass each other between platforms 3 & 4; 
3. win the planned GBP100 million investment for the Midland Main Line, aiming to save a further 8 minutes in journey time; 
4. improve Nottingham station (the City Council is developing a masterplan to do just that); 
5. extend the Nottingham tram; phase 2 will pass over the station, with a new tram halt. 

Meanwhile, local Nottingham transport has won further national recognition

Nottingham City Council "scooped the Claudia Flanders Memorial Award for Accessibility, for its improvements helping disabled people, while Nottingham Tram Consortium (NTC) won the Street Transit Award, for its innovation in public transport" says the Nottingham Evening Post.

-

The paper also covered the story of a Year 10 pupils at the school I chair being the top of the world for "mathletics" - but despite the time and effort I spent getting coverage for the story, they didn't use my quote.  Hey ho. 

If you've the time, answer the 20 mental arithmetic questions in the NEP article in less than 18 seconds!  That's how quick Ashley Cannop from St.Ann's is.   

Now Belgians and Parisians can get to Nottingham even faster

@ 12:32 am, Thu 15th Nov 2007

The new Eurostar link to Belgium and France is up and running.  Now Belgians and Parisians can get to Nottingham even faster. 

St.Pancras is great, although I'm biased.  The estate I happen to live in, was the clay pit from which Mapperley bricks were made to build St.Pancras station (as well as a large part if the city). 

Good to see environmentalists celebrating the new link too.

Aims to improve the link from Europe still further include - 
1. prevail upon East Midlands Trains to improve on their re-timing of trains to include more faster, direct service to Nottingham from London;
2. see the re-signalling of the Midland Main Line through, including not only faster & more bi-directional running into & out of Nottingham station; but also the ability for trains to pass each other between platforms 3 & 4; 
3. win the planned GBP100 million investment for the Midland Main Line, aiming to save a further 8 minutes in journey time; 
4. improve Nottingham station (the City Council is developing a masterplan to do just that); 
5. extend the Nottingham tram; phase 2 will pass over the station, with a new tram halt. 

Meanwhile, local Nottingham transport has won further national recognition

Nottingham City Council "scooped the Claudia Flanders Memorial Award for Accessibility, for its improvements helping disabled people, while Nottingham Tram Consortium (NTC) won the Street Transit Award, for its innovation in public transport" says the Nottingham Evening Post.

-

The paper also covered the story of a Year 10 pupils at the school I chair being the top of the world for "mathletics" - but despite the time and effort I spent getting coverage for the story, they didn't use my quote.  Hey ho. 

If you've the time, answer the 20 mental arithmetic questions in the NEP article in less than 18 seconds!  That's how quick Ashley Cannop from St.Ann's is.   

Tories to centralise even further

@ 10:13 pm, Tue 13th Nov 2007

The Tory plans announced on Council tax have (according to the Guardian) apparently been developed by David Cameron without reference to Tory local government leaders.  And it´s for referendums!  Are local elections to be left with any meaning at all?

And by focussing on the increase, rather than what is delivered for an increase, the idea is sustained that residents would never want to come together for more services.  Labour in Nottingham has raised tax to pay for neighbourhood wardens (to help people feel safer at home and in their local streets).

Despite such a blow for Tory local government leaders, the Tory controlled LGA Press Office still managed to lead with Cameron´s idea (rather than with a condemnation) -

VOTERS CAN BLOCK BIG COUNCIL TAX INCREASES, PROMISES CAMERON
Council taxpayers will be given the right to block big increases in their bills if the Tories win power, David Cameron will pledge today. Any authority wanting to impose a rise above a rate fixed annually would be forced to hold a local referendum seeking the approval of the voters. The maximum increase would be determined by Parliament each year. ...

The Guardian article rips into the proposal - 

... According to one senior source, the Tory-controlled Local Government Association was not even consulted about the plan
... Tories in local government clearly regard the Cameron plan as both ill-thought out and impractical. For a start, it relates to all 'precepting authorities' in a given area – which means that, in a two-tier county, where services are provided by a county council and a district, electors could potentially face two referendums – and a third, and fourth, if a fire and a police authority decided they wanted increases above a level set by parliament.
... the proposals represent a return to ... annual spending curbs ... councils have now been given an idea of council funding levels over the next three years under the comprehensive spending review. ...

I´d add other concerns -
- unless you plan for a referendum, the tight schedule from early December when you receive the first announcement of the final settlement of grants and revenue support, puts an announcement of the actual Council tax levels for the new financial year at risk (unless you plan on re-billing);
- who phrases the question and how do you get a consideration of the total package in the question?
- what's the cost and how do you put in some kind of test or threshold that prevents vexatious calls for a referendum? 

Tory Leaders now make a point of speaking at the LGA Annual Conference and they invariably slam increased centralisation.  Classic amongst the appearances was Michael Howard´s last, as to great roars from the blue side of the hall, he announced the end of Comprehensive Performance Assessments of councils, only 30 seconds later to mutter (to silence) that it would be replaced by something else. 

When councils provide so much of the services, but to allow an equalisation of resource and opportunity, so much of the resource is provided via the centre, a negotiation is required over expectations (minimum standards) and outcomes to be delivered.  A national framework is needed to avoid a debilitating charge of national lottery.  Nottingham needs the national framework to be radical, so that we do not have to do the brave things on social justice and environment in too much isolation from the rest of the country.   

Tories to centralise even further

@ 10:13 pm, Tue 13th Nov 2007

The Tory plans announced on Council tax have (according to the Guardian) apparently been developed by David Cameron without reference to Tory local government leaders.  And it´s for referendums!  Are local elections to be left with any meaning at all?

And by focussing on the increase, rather than what is delivered for an increase, the idea is sustained that residents would never want to come together for more services.  Labour in Nottingham has raised tax to pay for neighbourhood wardens (to help people feel safer at home and in their local streets).

Despite such a blow for Tory local government leaders, the Tory controlled LGA Press Office still managed to lead with Cameron´s idea (rather than with a condemnation) -

VOTERS CAN BLOCK BIG COUNCIL TAX INCREASES, PROMISES CAMERON
Council taxpayers will be given the right to block big increases in their bills if the Tories win power, David Cameron will pledge today. Any authority wanting to impose a rise above a rate fixed annually would be forced to hold a local referendum seeking the approval of the voters. The maximum increase would be determined by Parliament each year. ...

The Guardian article rips into the proposal - 

... According to one senior source, the Tory-controlled Local Government Association was not even consulted about the plan
... Tories in local government clearly regard the Cameron plan as both ill-thought out and impractical. For a start, it relates to all 'precepting authorities' in a given area – which means that, in a two-tier county, where services are provided by a county council and a district, electors could potentially face two referendums – and a third, and fourth, if a fire and a police authority decided they wanted increases above a level set by parliament.
... the proposals represent a return to ... annual spending curbs ... councils have now been given an idea of council funding levels over the next three years under the comprehensive spending review. ...

I´d add other concerns -
- unless you plan for a referendum, the tight schedule from early December when you receive the first announcement of the final settlement of grants and revenue support, puts an announcement of the actual Council tax levels for the new financial year at risk (unless you plan on re-billing);
- who phrases the question and how do you get a consideration of the total package in the question?
- what's the cost and how do you put in some kind of test or threshold that prevents vexatious calls for a referendum? 

Tory Leaders now make a point of speaking at the LGA Annual Conference and they invariably slam increased centralisation.  Classic amongst the appearances was Michael Howard´s last, as to great roars from the blue side of the hall, he announced the end of Comprehensive Performance Assessments of councils, only 30 seconds later to mutter (to silence) that it would be replaced by something else. 

When councils provide so much of the services, but to allow an equalisation of resource and opportunity, so much of the resource is provided via the centre, a negotiation is required over expectations (minimum standards) and outcomes to be delivered.  A national framework is needed to avoid a debilitating charge of national lottery.  Nottingham needs the national framework to be radical, so that we do not have to do the brave things on social justice and environment in too much isolation from the rest of the country.   

Tories to centralise even further

@ 10:13 pm, Tue 13th Nov 2007

The Tory plans announced on Council tax have (according to the Guardian) apparently been developed by David Cameron without reference to Tory local government leaders.  And it´s for referendums!  Are local elections to be left with any meaning at all?

And by focussing on the increase, rather than what is delivered for an increase, the idea is sustained that residents would never want to come together for more services.  Labour in Nottingham has raised tax to pay for neighbourhood wardens (to help people feel safer at home and in their local streets).

Despite such a blow for Tory local government leaders, the Tory controlled LGA Press Office still managed to lead with Cameron´s idea (rather than with a condemnation) -

VOTERS CAN BLOCK BIG COUNCIL TAX INCREASES, PROMISES CAMERON
Council taxpayers will be given the right to block big increases in their bills if the Tories win power, David Cameron will pledge today. Any authority wanting to impose a rise above a rate fixed annually would be forced to hold a local referendum seeking the approval of the voters. The maximum increase would be determined by Parliament each year. ...

The Guardian article rips into the proposal - 

... According to one senior source, the Tory-controlled Local Government Association was not even consulted about the plan
... Tories in local government clearly regard the Cameron plan as both ill-thought out and impractical. For a start, it relates to all 'precepting authorities' in a given area – which means that, in a two-tier county, where services are provided by a county council and a district, electors could potentially face two referendums – and a third, and fourth, if a fire and a police authority decided they wanted increases above a level set by parliament.
... the proposals represent a return to ... annual spending curbs ... councils have now been given an idea of council funding levels over the next three years under the comprehensive spending review. ...

I´d add other concerns -
- unless you plan for a referendum, the tight schedule from early December when you receive the first announcement of the final settlement of grants and revenue support, puts an announcement of the actual Council tax levels for the new financial year at risk (unless you plan on re-billing);
- who phrases the question and how do you get a consideration of the total package in the question?
- what's the cost and how do you put in some kind of test or threshold that prevents vexatious calls for a referendum? 

Tory Leaders now make a point of speaking at the LGA Annual Conference and they invariably slam increased centralisation.  Classic amongst the appearances was Michael Howard´s last, as to great roars from the blue side of the hall, he announced the end of Comprehensive Performance Assessments of councils, only 30 seconds later to mutter (to silence) that it would be replaced by something else. 

When councils provide so much of the services, but to allow an equalisation of resource and opportunity, so much of the resource is provided via the centre, a negotiation is required over expectations (minimum standards) and outcomes to be delivered.  A national framework is needed to avoid a debilitating charge of national lottery.  Nottingham needs the national framework to be radical, so that we do not have to do the brave things on social justice and environment in too much isolation from the rest of the country.   

Core Cities summit and stripy ties

@ 12:26 am, Fri 9th Nov 2007

The Core Cities summit started in Nottingham on Wednesday.  Local Government & Communities ministers Hazel Blears and John Healey visited Nottingham to speak.  

I spoke at a fringe meeting on transport and rather than focus on the detail of the reform possible in new proposed legislation, I told the Nottingham story of -
1. resisting the growth of inner-city motorways in the sixties;
2. trying to develop a radical policy to promote bus use for access to the city centre in the seventies;
3. persuading the public to stick with established bus companies (rather than the "cowboys" who tried to operate in the city) in the eighties; 
4. sustaining public transport networks with popular measures to promote bus use for older people and the less mobile, in the nineties;
5. taking advantage of the new measures available from the new Labour Government in the late nineties, including the emphasis on integration of land use & transport planning;
6. the drive for a quality bus fleet, payment in advance (smart cards) & integration (including of tickets), this century, along with the introduction of the tram, in this decade.

On Thursday, Joan Ruddock signed an agreement between the Government and the Core Cities on action on climate change, significant I think for committing Gov´t to action at the same time as the city councils. 

The debate was lifted by David King, the Government's Science Advisor who showed once again how the planet hasn't been so hot for a very long time.  It was a pleasure to have 15 minutes with him before the debate to tell him how much Nottingham has done (and to bewail the lack of recognition for what Nottingham does & has been doing, often for over a decade). 

The whole event was lifted by the compering by Jon Snow of Channel 4 news, who got a Paul Smith tie as a momento of his visit.  Apparently, if the tie wasn´t bright enough for his programme, the stripy bag it came in certainly was.

Youth Councillors from each city had also turned up to raise their concerns. 

There was also a breakfast on Thursday morning highlighting Nottingham's progress on skill, transport and ICT as a clever city.  I´ve taken away some of the suggestions from delegates, including the notion of insisting that every new house developed should be connected to telecoms networks by standard optic connections. 

Core Cities summit and stripy ties

@ 12:26 am, Fri 9th Nov 2007

The Core Cities summit started in Nottingham on Wednesday.  Local Government & Communities ministers Hazel Blears and John Healey visited Nottingham to speak.  

I spoke at a fringe meeting on transport and rather than focus on the detail of the reform possible in new proposed legislation, I told the Nottingham story of -
1. resisting the growth of inner-city motorways in the sixties;
2. trying to develop a radical policy to promote bus use for access to the city centre in the seventies;
3. persuading the public to stick with established bus companies (rather than the "cowboys" who tried to operate in the city) in the eighties; 
4. sustaining public transport networks with popular measures to promote bus use for older people and the less mobile, in the nineties;
5. taking advantage of the new measures available from the new Labour Government in the late nineties, including the emphasis on integration of land use & transport planning;
6. the drive for a quality bus fleet, payment in advance (smart cards) & integration (including of tickets), this century, along with the introduction of the tram, in this decade.

On Thursday, Joan Ruddock signed an agreement between the Government and the Core Cities on action on climate change, significant I think for committing Gov´t to action at the same time as the city councils. 

The debate was lifted by David King, the Government's Science Advisor who showed once again how the planet hasn't been so hot for a very long time.  It was a pleasure to have 15 minutes with him before the debate to tell him how much Nottingham has done (and to bewail the lack of recognition for what Nottingham does & has been doing, often for over a decade). 

The whole event was lifted by the compering by Jon Snow of Channel 4 news, who got a Paul Smith tie as a momento of his visit.  Apparently, if the tie wasn´t bright enough for his programme, the stripy bag it came in certainly was.

Youth Councillors from each city had also turned up to raise their concerns. 

There was also a breakfast on Thursday morning highlighting Nottingham's progress on skill, transport and ICT as a clever city.  I´ve taken away some of the suggestions from delegates, including the notion of insisting that every new house developed should be connected to telecoms networks by standard optic connections. 

Core Cities summit and stripy ties

@ 12:26 am, Fri 9th Nov 2007

The Core Cities summit started in Nottingham on Wednesday.  Local Government & Communities ministers Hazel Blears and John Healey visited Nottingham to speak.  

I spoke at a fringe meeting on transport and rather than focus on the detail of the reform possible in new proposed legislation, I told the Nottingham story of -
1. resisting the growth of inner-city motorways in the sixties;
2. trying to develop a radical policy to promote bus use for access to the city centre in the seventies;
3. persuading the public to stick with established bus companies (rather than the "cowboys" who tried to operate in the city) in the eighties; 
4. sustaining public transport networks with popular measures to promote bus use for older people and the less mobile, in the nineties;
5. taking advantage of the new measures available from the new Labour Government in the late nineties, including the emphasis on integration of land use & transport planning;
6. the drive for a quality bus fleet, payment in advance (smart cards) & integration (including of tickets), this century, along with the introduction of the tram, in this decade.

On Thursday, Joan Ruddock signed an agreement between the Government and the Core Cities on action on climate change, significant I think for committing Gov´t to action at the same time as the city councils. 

The debate was lifted by David King, the Government's Science Advisor who showed once again how the planet hasn't been so hot for a very long time.  It was a pleasure to have 15 minutes with him before the debate to tell him how much Nottingham has done (and to bewail the lack of recognition for what Nottingham does & has been doing, often for over a decade). 

The whole event was lifted by the compering by Jon Snow of Channel 4 news, who got a Paul Smith tie as a momento of his visit.  Apparently, if the tie wasn´t bright enough for his programme, the stripy bag it came in certainly was.

Youth Councillors from each city had also turned up to raise their concerns. 

There was also a breakfast on Thursday morning highlighting Nottingham's progress on skill, transport and ICT as a clever city.  I´ve taken away some of the suggestions from delegates, including the notion of insisting that every new house developed should be connected to telecoms networks by standard optic connections. 

Phone-in

@ 12:32 pm, Wed 7th Nov 2007

Just taken part in a phone-in programme on Radio Nottingham with David Kirkham (Leader of Notts County Council).  

I'd been told that people were going to raise detailed cases on the show and along the lines of why hasn't the Council done this and why isn't it good enough at that.  But I actually found that the concerns were expressed in a constructive way.  More in terms of the ambition we should have for the city in terms of cleaner streets and tidier gardens.  The concern that more people needed to do more for the appearance of their street really came through.  

There was even praise - for the fireworks display on Monday night.  (Labour Councillors had to discuss next year’s budget so we missed it!)   

Phone-in

@ 12:32 pm, Wed 7th Nov 2007

Just taken part in a phone-in programme on Radio Nottingham with David Kirkham (Leader of Notts County Council).  

I'd been told that people were going to raise detailed cases on the show and along the lines of why hasn't the Council done this and why isn't it good enough at that.  But I actually found that the concerns were expressed in a constructive way.  More in terms of the ambition we should have for the city in terms of cleaner streets and tidier gardens.  The concern that more people needed to do more for the appearance of their street really came through.  

There was even praise - for the fireworks display on Monday night.  (Labour Councillors had to discuss next year’s budget so we missed it!)   

Phone-in

@ 12:32 pm, Wed 7th Nov 2007

Just taken part in a phone-in programme on Radio Nottingham with David Kirkham (Leader of Notts County Council).  

I'd been told that people were going to raise detailed cases on the show and along the lines of why hasn't the Council done this and why isn't it good enough at that.  But I actually found that the concerns were expressed in a constructive way.  More in terms of the ambition we should have for the city in terms of cleaner streets and tidier gardens.  The concern that more people needed to do more for the appearance of their street really came through.  

There was even praise - for the fireworks display on Monday night.  (Labour Councillors had to discuss next year’s budget so we missed it!)   

Advice upon stopping

@ 5:50 pm, Fri 2nd Nov 2007

Today was the first meeting of the East Midlands Regional Assembly following the Government's announcement of an intention to run regional planning via the Regional Development Agencies instead.  Overall, the response was pretty mature and resolutions were made to make the handover work. 

Less proportionate had been a press release from the Chair of the Assembly on Monday proclaiming that "English MPs supported by the East Midlands Regional Assembly".  In fact the Assembly had never discussed the matter and once the Chair understood the nature of the disrespect shown to the Assembly, he apologised. 

The press release had been an obvious attempt to tune in with Tory national activity at the weekend and it is striking that now Scotland produces less oil and tax revenue, the Tories are bolder in seeking to reduce their influence on the national stage (they want to reform the Barnett formula).  A similar attitude (but on the poll tax - that it would be ideal to test it on Scotland first) was the trigger for the reaction that eventually led to a Scottish Parliament. 

Meanwhile, the wide-ranging nature of the reports considered at the Assembly offered plenty of opportunities for intervention; and I took at least 4. 

1. In response to a formal question, the Assembly resolved to support the Sherwood Forest Lottery Bid (in contrast to Nottingham City Tories a fortnight ago).

2. The Assembly agreed to start a long term proposal for extra rail capacity into London for the Midlands, following the difficulties arising as more rail capacity is being given to the London commuters in the South-East. 

3. The success of the Midlands bid for the National Energy Technologies Institute was welcomed (having been omitted from the reports).

4. The UKIP MEP explained that he had been achieving near 100% attendance at the European Parliament etc., so I gently reminded him that this merely meant that the average attendance for each East Midlands MEP elected on the UKIP ticket was less than 50%.

It reminded me of the argument that some prefer opposition cos it can be more fun.  (No, it wasn't fun when nationally Labour was in opposition.)

The Tories chose to emphasis the proposed Post Office closures and the imposition of challenging targets for the number of houses to be developed in each local authority. 

Sarcastic remarks were also made about measuring the population, but the rub here is that a range of projections are suggesting that that British population is set to rise from 60 million to between 61-68 million by 2030 cos of a range of social factors - fewer babies but longer lives, ageing populations, more immigrants & diverse and fragile families - see Understanding Demographic Change by Prof David Coleman

So do we seek to provide more houses or do we let homes for young adults and new families become more unaffordable? 

-

Elsewhere, I travelled today to a car showroom by bus and when I pressed the button, not only did the NCT bus say it was stopping, but it gave the name of the bus stop too.  Nottingham City is now starting to introduce the real-time tracking systems that enable this and display the waiting time at stops until the next bus.  The roll-out will take place over the next 18 months.  All part of the work to give people more confidence in the public transport system. 

I went to a car showroom to see what kind of replacement for the civic cars used by the Lord Mayor and the Sheriff of Nottingham we might purchase.  Whatever we do, we just know the local newspaper is primed to slam us.

Indeed, at a meeting to talk about visions for Nottingham 20 years hence, representatives of the business world took the chance to say what a missed opportunity the Evening Post is for talking up Nottingham and being part of the Nottingham offer.  The Political Editor (who's been keen to be part of the future-scoping exercise and was chairing one of the groups) was sat next to me as the (softly-spoken) tirade prevailed.  I put my hand on his shoulder to offer sympathy, and then joined in. 

These kind of events tend to be city-centre focussed rather than addressing the wider challenges we face - fewer jobs for unskilled workers; increased population; a need to care for more older people (the care crunch); higher fuel prices in real teams; an economy & society shifted to combat climate change.

Instead there's a tendency to ask for double of what we have already, or to call for things like a Chinatown that so misunderstands Nottingham's offer - of a range of restaurants from across the world. 

I made suggestions including building on the Nottingham's games sector.  (Talking to my nephew from Caerphilly on the phone, I found he is able name quite a few of the companies from Nottingham & Derby in this sector). 

And yesterday I was told that the secondary school I chair has a pupil who at one stage headed the world rankings in a game called "Mathletics". 

Advice upon stopping

@ 5:50 pm, Fri 2nd Nov 2007

Today was the first meeting of the East Midlands Regional Assembly following the Government's announcement of an intention to run regional planning via the Regional Development Agencies instead.  Overall, the response was pretty mature and resolutions were made to make the handover work. 

Less proportionate had been a press release from the Chair of the Assembly on Monday proclaiming that "English MPs supported by the East Midlands Regional Assembly".  In fact the Assembly had never discussed the matter and once the Chair understood the nature of the disrespect shown to the Assembly, he apologised. 

The press release had been an obvious attempt to tune in with Tory national activity at the weekend and it is striking that now Scotland produces less oil and tax revenue, the Tories are bolder in seeking to reduce their influence on the national stage (they want to reform the Barnett formula).  A similar attitude (but on the poll tax - that it would be ideal to test it on Scotland first) was the trigger for the reaction that eventually led to a Scottish Parliament. 

Meanwhile, the wide-ranging nature of the reports considered at the Assembly offered plenty of opportunities for intervention; and I took at least 4. 

1. In response to a formal question, the Assembly resolved to support the Sherwood Forest Lottery Bid (in contrast to Nottingham City Tories a fortnight ago).

2. The Assembly agreed to start a long term proposal for extra rail capacity into London for the Midlands, following the difficulties arising as more rail capacity is being given to the London commuters in the South-East. 

3. The success of the Midlands bid for the National Energy Technologies Institute was welcomed (having been omitted from the reports).

4. The UKIP MEP explained that he had been achieving near 100% attendance at the European Parliament etc., so I gently reminded him that this merely meant that the average attendance for each East Midlands MEP elected on the UKIP ticket was less than 50%.

It reminded me of the argument that some prefer opposition cos it can be more fun.  (No, it wasn't fun when nationally Labour was in opposition.)

The Tories chose to emphasis the proposed Post Office closures and the imposition of challenging targets for the number of houses to be developed in each local authority. 

Sarcastic remarks were also made about measuring the population, but the rub here is that a range of projections are suggesting that that British population is set to rise from 60 million to between 61-68 million by 2030 cos of a range of social factors - fewer babies but longer lives, ageing populations, more immigrants & diverse and fragile families - see Understanding Demographic Change by Prof David Coleman

So do we seek to provide more houses or do we let homes for young adults and new families become more unaffordable? 

-

Elsewhere, I travelled today to a car showroom by bus and when I pressed the button, not only did the NCT bus say it was stopping, but it gave the name of the bus stop too.  Nottingham City is now starting to introduce the real-time tracking systems that enable this and display the waiting time at stops until the next bus.  The roll-out will take place over the next 18 months.  All part of the work to give people more confidence in the public transport system. 

I went to a car showroom to see what kind of replacement for the civic cars used by the Lord Mayor and the Sheriff of Nottingham we might purchase.  Whatever we do, we just know the local newspaper is primed to slam us.

Indeed, at a meeting to talk about visions for Nottingham 20 years hence, representatives of the business world took the chance to say what a missed opportunity the Evening Post is for talking up Nottingham and being part of the Nottingham offer.  The Political Editor (who's been keen to be part of the future-scoping exercise and was chairing one of the groups) was sat next to me as the (softly-spoken) tirade prevailed.  I put my hand on his shoulder to offer sympathy, and then joined in. 

These kind of events tend to be city-centre focussed rather than addressing the wider challenges we face - fewer jobs for unskilled workers; increased population; a need to care for more older people (the care crunch); higher fuel prices in real teams; an economy & society shifted to combat climate change.

Instead there's a tendency to ask for double of what we have already, or to call for things like a Chinatown that so misunderstands Nottingham's offer - of a range of restaurants from across the world. 

I made suggestions including building on the Nottingham's games sector.  (Talking to my nephew from Caerphilly on the phone, I found he is able name quite a few of the companies from Nottingham & Derby in this sector). 

And yesterday I was told that the secondary school I chair has a pupil who at one stage headed the world rankings in a game called "Mathletics". 

Advice upon stopping

@ 5:50 pm, Fri 2nd Nov 2007

Today was the first meeting of the East Midlands Regional Assembly following the Government's announcement of an intention to run regional planning via the Regional Development Agencies instead.  Overall, the response was pretty mature and resolutions were made to make the handover work. 

Less proportionate had been a press release from the Chair of the Assembly on Monday proclaiming that "English MPs supported by the East Midlands Regional Assembly".  In fact the Assembly had never discussed the matter and once the Chair understood the nature of the disrespect shown to the Assembly, he apologised. 

The press release had been an obvious attempt to tune in with Tory national activity at the weekend and it is striking that now Scotland produces less oil and tax revenue, the Tories are bolder in seeking to reduce their influence on the national stage (they want to reform the Barnett formula).  A similar attitude (but on the poll tax - that it would be ideal to test it on Scotland first) was the trigger for the reaction that eventually led to a Scottish Parliament. 

Meanwhile, the wide-ranging nature of the reports considered at the Assembly offered plenty of opportunities for intervention; and I took at least 4. 

1. In response to a formal question, the Assembly resolved to support the Sherwood Forest Lottery Bid (in contrast to Nottingham City Tories a fortnight ago).

2. The Assembly agreed to start a long term proposal for extra rail capacity into London for the Midlands, following the difficulties arising as more rail capacity is being given to the London commuters in the South-East. 

3. The success of the Midlands bid for the National Energy Technologies Institute was welcomed (having been omitted from the reports).

4. The UKIP MEP explained that he had been achieving near 100% attendance at the European Parliament etc., so I gently reminded him that this merely meant that the average attendance for each East Midlands MEP elected on the UKIP ticket was less than 50%.

It reminded me of the argument that some prefer opposition cos it can be more fun.  (No, it wasn't fun when nationally Labour was in opposition.)

The Tories chose to emphasis the proposed Post Office closures and the imposition of challenging targets for the number of houses to be developed in each local authority. 

Sarcastic remarks were also made about measuring the population, but the rub here is that a range of projections are suggesting that that British population is set to rise from 60 million to between 61-68 million by 2030 cos of a range of social factors - fewer babies but longer lives, ageing populations, more immigrants & diverse and fragile families - see Understanding Demographic Change by Prof David Coleman

So do we seek to provide more houses or do we let homes for young adults and new families become more unaffordable? 

-

Elsewhere, I travelled today to a car showroom by bus and when I pressed the button, not only did the NCT bus say it was stopping, but it gave the name of the bus stop too.  Nottingham City is now starting to introduce the real-time tracking systems that enable this and display the waiting time at stops until the next bus.  The roll-out will take place over the next 18 months.  All part of the work to give people more confidence in the public transport system. 

I went to a car showroom to see what kind of replacement for the civic cars used by the Lord Mayor and the Sheriff of Nottingham we might purchase.  Whatever we do, we just know the local newspaper is primed to slam us.

Indeed, at a meeting to talk about visions for Nottingham 20 years hence, representatives of the business world took the chance to say what a missed opportunity the Evening Post is for talking up Nottingham and being part of the Nottingham offer.  The Political Editor (who's been keen to be part of the future-scoping exercise and was chairing one of the groups) was sat next to me as the (softly-spoken) tirade prevailed.  I put my hand on his shoulder to offer sympathy, and then joined in. 

These kind of events tend to be city-centre focussed rather than addressing the wider challenges we face - fewer jobs for unskilled workers; increased population; a need to care for more older people (the care crunch); higher fuel prices in real teams; an economy & society shifted to combat climate change.

Instead there's a tendency to ask for double of what we have already, or to call for things like a Chinatown that so misunderstands Nottingham's offer - of a range of restaurants from across the world. 

I made suggestions including building on the Nottingham's games sector.  (Talking to my nephew from Caerphilly on the phone, I found he is able name quite a few of the companies from Nottingham & Derby in this sector). 

And yesterday I was told that the secondary school I chair has a pupil who at one stage headed the world rankings in a game called "Mathletics". 

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