Sunday, 18 July 2010

A tree and Labour looks ahead in Nottingham

Before I start, something which is always a sad moment. A pic of one of the London Planes on Lenton Boulevard being removed. This was taken a week ago. Workmen at the scene told me that the tree's roots had broken a electricity power supply cable and needed to be removed. Given that they were still trying to dig the roots out on Thursday (the last time I walked this way), it may well have been cheaper (and quicker) to have installed a new cable around the tree. It makes me wonder if other trees on the same side of the Boulevard could suffer the same fate eventually. I may ask the question. For now, I want to record the moment. I love trees and could not imagine living in a landscape without them — which is why, one day, I would like to visit The Shetlands, which appears to have very few trees, but still appeals to me. I would like to understand why.

A couple of days ago I received a pre-May 2011 Nottingham City Council election 'Survey' questionnaire from Nottingham Labour asking for my views on a range of topics and posing the question what should Labour be focusing on in (its) 2011 manifesto. I thought I would share my answers with you.

The questionnaire began by asking me to prioritise a list of policy areas by numbering them 1–8. The following list is in the same order as printed on the questionnaire I received with my ranking shown in (brackets):
Education (5); Rubbish (4); Crime (8); Jobs and employment (6); Anti-social Behaviour (7); Housing (2); Greener Nottingham (3) and Other (1). Against 'Other' I wrote 'Protect the OAP bus pass scheme' and 'Use the Local Government & Public Involvement in Health Act, 2007 (passed by the Labour Government) to devolve more ward powers and budget controls to ward couyncillors'.

My priorities reflect my age and the fact that us oldies have to fight our corner. I fully accept that others will, quite reasonably, have different priorities. The next question on the form was 'What is the biggest issue for you in Nottingham?'. My reply was 'The provision of suitable housing for families and older residents in student and landlord dominated areas like Dunkirk and Lenton'.

The next question asked 'What is the biggest issues in the are you live? (sic).
I listed four items:
  • Student housing and private landlords
  • Need for more family homes
  • Future of Lenton high-rise flats
  • Dangerous road junctions with traffic lights, but no pedestrian controls (eg. Derby Road/Lenton Boulevard, Derby Road/Gregory Street and Gregory Street/Abbey Street/Abbeybridge).

The final question was 'What ideas or issues do you think we should be campaigning on or championing as Nottingham Labour Party?. My reply:
  1. Turning Nottingham into 'A city of neighbourhoods' where local residents and businesses are encouraged (and empowered) to become more involved in deciding local priorities and needs, then are given more control in partnership with their ward councillors when it comes to managing local assets, resourcers, services and budgets.
  2. Establish 'open' ward committees to replace area committees, whilst allowing ward committees to work together if they decide to (perhaps this might happen in Bulwell and Clifton, both distinct areas with more than one ward).
I hope the Labour Group on Nottingham City Council share the replies they receive with not just Labour Party members, but the wider community as well, perhaps inviting them to comment on the views of the membership. The Labour Group is to be commended for its efforts to consult with members.

I may disagree with them on some things and believe the city council has not treated Lenton well over the years, but I have never seen any other political party attempting to take them on in Dunkirk and Lenton ward. As I have said in the past, the opposition in our part of Nottingham is the Labour Party.

For my part, I remain committed to the idea that 'doorstep' facilities and services can be better managed by local communities and, in the present financial and economic climate, this has to be a priority. I hope Jon Collins and the Labour Group on Nottingham City Council can find the vision to adopt such a policy for the 2011 city council election.

I wish them well in their deliberations. I know that I and others are only excluded because we choose not to get that involved. This is democracy as we know it in Nottingham. It could be worse, but it could be a lot better. However, in the absence of being willing to give my time and energy to help change things, I have, in truth, little to complain about. We get the governments and councils we deserve!

Details of techniques used to inflict pain deliberately on children in privately run jails have been revealed for the first time in a government document obtained by the Observer. Some of the restraint and self-defence measures approved by the Ministry of Justice include ramming knuckles into ribs and raking shoes down the shins.

1 comment:

InvisibleWoman said...

I also love the trees on the Boulevards. One of Nottingham's greatest assets and inspired thinking by some long gone planner