Sunday, 28 April 2013

Local History

A Walk in the Wilderness


Zero Tolerance


A Fact of Economic Life in England


The deputy prime minister, John Prescott, tonight experienced the bitter taste of defeat after the north-east overwhelmingly rejected his dream of an elected regional assembly on his doorstep.
Over three-quarters of voters showed themselves unwilling to test out devolution, voting against the proposal by a majority of 499,209 on a turnout of 47.8% of the region's 1.9m electorate.
696,519 (77.93%) voted against devolution, with only 197,310 (22.07%) voting in favour of an elected regional assembly to give the region a stronger voice.

A disappointed John Tomeney, chairman of the Yes 4 The North East campaign, said that the result reflected "something bigger" than the rejection of a regional assembly.
"It is a growing breakdown in the belief that political institutions can affect people's lives for the better. This should concern us all."
He added: "While many people in the north-east feel more prosperous than ever, the north-south divide remains a fact of economic life in England. Successive governments have failed to resolve it. It needs to be addressed."

Least Resilient

"The reason there's a north-south divide is because we lost our major industries in the 80s, like steel and shipbuilding, and jobs from those sectors went into the public sector.
"We recalibrated the economy along those lines to the benefit of the North East."

Sir Stuart said the government was making a "fundamental" mistake in thinking that the private sector would step in to create jobs.
He added: "You don't go from the public sector to the private sector, you go from the public sector to the dole queue."

She Would Have Sunk By Now, If She Hadn’t Already Hit the Bottom of the River

There are ripped-out doors and shattered glass everywhere. John says the ship is being stripped for scrap: "They're smashing the portholes just to get the little brass knobs off. They've stolen miles of cables. They're spending whole weekends on board. We've found sleeping bags. A few months ago you could have started the generators, stocked the bars and run it as a club. She would have been up and running. Now look …"
It really is a shambles. The decks are strewn with debris. Mangled cables cascade down from the smashed ceiling tiles. The mirror balls are missing their mirrors. The thieves have stolen so much they've gone right through to the water. She would have sunk by now if she hadn't already hit the bottom of the river.
"All this …" John waves his hands across the devastation, "has happened in the last fortnight."

"They had this vision," John says. "This place would be second only to Dubai. All these multibillion-pound futuristic buildings." The plans were incredibly elaborate. There would be a primary school in the shape of a spelling block, a cinema designed to resemble a Rubik's cube, apartment blocks inspired by Prada skirts, a hotel in the shape of the game KerPlunk, a brand new college and an Anish Kapoor sculpture.

The scheme was launched at the Venice Biennale. The Middlesbrough mayor, Ray Mallon, ceremonially handed his excellency a Middlesbrough football shirt. Part of the deal was that the Tuxedo Royale had to go.

‘Politics = criminality’

Mr Mallon said: "I am satisfied that these attacks are linked and that the victims were deliberately targeted because they are councillors.

"There is a tiny minority of political obsessives in this town who believe they can intimidate and bully councillors out of office, but in this instance it seems their obsession has spilled over into criminality.

"This is an outrageous attack on democracy by people who prefer the petrol bomb to the ballot box.

1 comment:

Paul Hebron said...

Just finished watching 'Our Friends in the North' and the ship Tosker buys and does out (symbolizing I think some of the 1995 optimism about renewal/relevance) is the Tuxedo Royale, the very one mentioned here and the focus of the Jon Ronson article. It was docked in Newcastle during the 90s and made its way to Middlesbrough later on ot eventually rust and die.

Poignant and relevant to the story of Our Friends in the North, which I'm convinced is the best tv thing I've ever seen.

But then I say that about just about anything really.