Monday, October 31, 2011

Wind-bag Councillors

I worked for someone who ran a country on meetings that never lasted longer than an hour. With Prime Minister John Howard in the chair you could guarantee that the discussion would be focused, the agenda results-driven and outcomes understood by all parties. The four-hour gab-fests known as Area Committee meetings are the exactly the opposite. The only items that draw in the crowds, the planning decisions, are always taken last. How many times has some poor applicant sat through 360 minutes of puff and wind before hearing his case turned down - or approved - in the time it takes to read the agenda out loud? Today's News has noticed this.

In 2009 taxpayers spent £195.70 per person to take part. As Andy Bower said then, "The Area Committees need the axe."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Council Loses Housing Fight

The legal dispute between the City Council and housing developers is covered in the Cambridge News today.

The councillors believe that they are not bound by the time limits they themselves agreed to for using private cash to fund new homes. While it would have been 'nice' for the developer to give us money after the deadline, you can see why no sane business would want to be at the beck-and-call of councillors demanding money many years after a project has been completed.

The main point is the inability of the council to use the windfall cash it acquired.

The argument, as usual, sees ordinary people caught in the bureaucratic fight.

A14 Closed Eastbound

Saw this one myself on the way to Huntingdon.

Friday, October 28, 2011


A14 pile-up brings traffic to standstill... The five-vehicle crash happened on the westbound carriageway at junction 27, Fenstanton.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bin the Chip 'n Bin

"Tim Haire, deputy chairman of Cambridge Conservatives, said “bin snoopers” would not be welcome in the city."

Quite right.

Councillors want to know if they can put microchips in your bin that check usage and 'reward' good behaviour. What would happen? Well, the nasty neighbour's rubbish will end up in your bin unless you keep the bin under lock and key, or they'll just do a bit of decorative fly-tipping. A whole new council business of bin-monitoring, bin-theft counselling and petty crime against bins will be born.

The odd defence of including the "chip'n bin" in the survey offered by the City Council was that they know it is unpopular, it is not a preferred option, but they included it anyway. For the curious the survey can be found here.

The interesting questions are...

In order to implement a reward scheme it might be necessary for the bins to have microchips. The microchip would identify your bin so that points could be awarded based on the amount you recycle. Would you be interested in taking part in such a scheme? TICK ONE ONLY

No I would not want to take part
Yes I would take part but I don’t think I would recycle more
Yes I would take part and it would encourage me to recycle more
Other (Please specify in the box below)

Which daily morning newspaper do you normally read?

Monday, October 24, 2011

How the Vote Went for the Prime Minister

111 MPs (including more than 80 Tories) take part in biggest ever rebellion on EU... More here

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Give no Quarter!

The County Council has not increased its allowances for councillors since 2003, the last review was in 2006 when councillors voted not to increase their allowances, and the members voted to pay for their own meals at the full council (including wine). But by deferring the rise for so long, instead of taking rate of inflation rises along the way, the council has created a storm of its own making.

The form of the allowance rise for the County Councillors - opposed by some of the cleverer Tory members - is another example of having the right policy (councillors have been underpaid for their work) but the wrong implementation (do you know how can they can speak with credibility about the need for 'cuts' having had a percentage rise worthy of the most unrepentant banker?).

Oh dear.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Swan on A14 causes traffic hold-ups ... Police officers chased a swan along the A14 after it caused traffic disruption.


Swan on A14 causes traffic hold-ups...

Anarchists Fight... er, parked cars and family businesses?

Well, it is hard to get more bonkers than this story featuring our Cambridge Anarchists who seem to have taken up the class struggle against... family-owned car dealerships. Forget the usual targets of their bile, like multinational corporations, the Cenotaph or the various branches of law enforcement, this time the small family enterprise in a nice street is the source of 'evil' that must be punished. Bonkers.

However, the anarchist website is worth a visit, if only in the hope that it is a massive practical joke.

What caught my eye was the comrades' astonishment that there is such a thing as "Neo-Nazi Bolshevism?!" No kidding. Hitler and his odious henchmen were 'National Socialists', a description which was shortend to 'Nazi'. As Wikipedia notes:

Nazism (Nationalsozialismus, National Socialism) was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany.

Just to repeat: the ideology was National Socialism. It was the one that brought us Kristallnacht and the ultimate 'Neo-Nazi Bolshevist' innovation: the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1970-061-65 / Unknown / CC-BY-SA

Back in the UK

...And in my time out of the country we have a new Chancellor for Cambridge University - "take the money" cried the audience - and yet more lives lost on the notorious A14.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


A collision between a car and a van on the A14 is causing disruption...

Friday, October 7, 2011

A14... Underwater

"A burst water main on a busy A14 slip road caused problems for motorists..."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


"A lorry fire forced the closure of one lane of the A14 eastbound"

Monday, October 3, 2011


"A car overturned on the A14, blocking part of the route."

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Weekly Bin Collection is Bad?!

For centuries, the regular and frequent collection of municipal waste was an asipiration when the reality of "Gardy Loo!" was all too common. So Cambridge City Council's knee-jerk reaction to say "no" to the return of weekly bin collections goes against the grain of history.