Holding hands with a plant

Excellent news just received from the volunteers at the centre, which now has power:

‘We feed 33 people from the local community and every one had good things to say,
ABLE did install two domestic gas cooker which helped, And on Christmas day we plan to feed up to 30 homeless people from 10am until 12 then 30 people who will be on their own over Christmas, So that will be a very important day for all of us,
┬áThe new group is called the Corey Tyler Foundation and will be set up as a CIO.’
Power to the People – great news for Christmas.

Got myself into trouble recently when I was asked if I could do anything about the Layden Community Centre. Its lease is held by Easy, I said to myself. Some time ago I was friends with the Chair of this organisation, although I’d not sen her recently, but I hoped to have a quiet chat. I sent her an email, and also one to a local Councillor who was involved.

The volunteers at Laydens had worked hard, and now had a successful centre, well-used by local people. Half the building was taken by a well-equipped kitchen. Some improvements were still necessary but it had a food hygiene certificate, and hoped to serve hot food, especially to the poor and vulnerable.

ABLE Felixstowe had stopped that idea, saying they needed a 5-Star food hygiene award first.

It was a bit of a shock when I was told off for trying to telephone the Chair of ABLE. I then saw the local Councillor who told me that they were sorting it out. This is a situation that’s been brewing for about three years. Something had to be done, at least some explanations should have been forthcoming. Suddenly there would be action.

We now wait to see if the Layden community group can make some hot soup and sandwiches, and to help themselves. Being told by the Councillor that ABLE didn’t need any help as it was being sorted made me very angry. So much so that I was asked to leave my favourite bread shop for making so much noise.

It reminded me of a recording I made some time ago – when we were planning the Big Society (do you remember that?). I looked at that word community.

News from New York Times

New York Times logoThere’s always plenty of news in the New York Times, we look at packaging, cotton, water and fill our time with talk of waste and general complaints about a way of life.

It is a good paper. You should read it. In this piece we are talking about a really old copy but the issues raised are still important.

Jan Candy joins Trevor Lockwood for a chat. Music is Stormy Weather by Bob Roberts, the last commercial Thames barge captain.

Another Week passes

Polit8cal systemsThey all go by too quickly.

Good news today – as I am trying to sell my little house the Chancellor of the Exchequer reduces Stamp Duty on my poor working-man’s hovel. Hopefully it will persuade the lovely people who are poised to buy (whoever they are).

It’s a difficult time. We are now bombarded with political statements as the parties vie for our vote next May. I’m against representational government, particularly our present geographical system. How can I love my neighbour, or any of my neighbours, when they continue to vote, and so elect, candidates who would not be invited to the average dinner party?

A possible first step would be to ban political parties. They are where the trouble starts. A small bunch of biased twerps select a candidate, often under the direction of bigger twerps in Central Office. In most constituencies that’s the end of the process. Some areas are blue, some are red, and there’s a sprinkling (at least there is now) of other colours around the country.

Democracy is a much-maligned concept. A touch of Periclean would help, even better that developed by Cleisthenes in 508/7 who undermined the domination of the aristocratic families. Those aristocrats now masquerade under different banners but the nett result remains. Citizens do what leaders want them to do – which usually has them paying taxes, sending their young away to be killed in war, and not complaining.

Can’t work, I hear the cry. I suspect it can.

We now have a version of the Assembly – it’s within the Internet. Before the Net gets taken over by the powerful elite we need to set up a democratic network.

It could start sensibly looking at small issues – nothing too complicated because our new Citizens don’t have much experience of making decisions.

That said research shows that when given enough time to consider all the arguments before voting then the general population can arrive at a consensus. Not only can they agree but their decision process mimics the classic mathematical Bell Curve, that is a normal (Gaussian) distribution curve, with few voters on the left rising to a peak in numbers in the middle and sloping off down to next-to-nothing on the right.

You can see that at present it is the activists on left and right who decide, leaving the majority in the middle dissatisfied.

Isn’t that what our present political structure gives us?

Start work on an alternative system immediately. Whatever you suggest is likely to be more acceptable than the present confrontational system. We are all capable to assessing rational arguments, and we can all (eventually) agree.

It’s politicians who need to be dismissed.