Thursday, 29 May 2008

After the rain

After a prolonged period of heavy rain Lenton Recreation Ground looks as green and lush as it has ever looked. In the foreground is one of the young Elms that features in the park logo. What the picture doesn't capture is the all pervading smell of warm, damp, grass which envelopes you on a day like this.

Tim, who moved to Lenton from Wollaton six years ago. His home overlooks the park. He had just been to the shops on Lenton Boulevard and goes, like me, the 'quiet way through the park'. He's also a member of the West End Bowls Club like myself. Lenton continues to be attractive and a place to live for us older ones as well as for students. I suspect we could bring back families if the planning laws allowed Nottingham City Council to restrict the number of shared and HMO properties to 25% on any one street. The government talks about 'decentralisation' and 'empowering communities'. Its mantra since 1997 of 'we are listening' has been its biggest lie — a 'listening' government would have placed the responsibility for addressing Lenton's problems in the hands of local people years ago! For my part I remain committed to the idea of a democratically elected urban parish council as the first step towards Lentonians having some control over their own destiny.

Up to 500 protesters gathered outside the University of Nottingham's Hallward Library this afternoon to demonstrate against the arrest of two men under terrorism laws. A mixture of students, lecturers and academics planned to march down to the Trent Building, which is the office of the registrar who is alleged to have contacted police, leading to the arrests of Rizwaan Sabir and Hicham Yezza earlier this month. Campaigners stood in silence at the University of Nottingham for five minutes, their mouths gagged with handkerchiefs, in protest at the treatment of Hicham. Alan Simpson, Labour MP for Nottingham South, addressed the demonstration in support of our civil liberties and the two victims.

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