We are all Bourgeois now

AKA Nimby or not Nimby, that is the question.

So I have a couple of moral dilemmas to face about my home. There are 300 houses planned for a field behind my house, not social housing, those that a developer will make a handsome profit on and double the local population. It’s actually adjacent to the field behind my house, so not quite in my back yard, more like down the field and on the left. It will though have a real impact on the area while they are being built and afterwards in terms of need for school places, traffic and the likes.

The other dilemma I have is my next door neighbour wants to evict a large tree from his back garden, a tree that has stood since before I was born and is twice the height of my house. He says he had the tree inspected and it has some type of internal unseen damage that will deem it unsafe soon if not already.

The immediate response is obvious. NIMBYism, cut the tree down and protest at the housing plans and the disturbance of my semi rural idyll. But…..

We have a city, a county and country in desperate need for new housing, and the shortage leads to prices at premium for both house purchase and house rental. In a time of severe austerity and many claims and counter claims made over who caused what and where we are heading, it’s obvious to a layman like me that more housing will bring down costs of said housing or their rental by simple economics such as supply and demand. This will also free up spare cash for those renting and make housing more affordable for those on the housing ladder. Personally, what it will also undoubtedly do is bring down my own house value as the new houses will be just that, new. They will have fully fitted kitchens, central heating, 10 year guarantees, indeed all a buyer wants whereas my house is like me, up to the job but middle aged and creaking a little.It will spoil my view somewhat as green fields will be prettier than red bricks. However I have got my house, I worked hard and got on that ladder 20 years ago when prices were more sensible and could be afforded on 3x your salary systems before debt was sold and leveraged ad infinitum, I lived in this house before central heating. When we had just a gas fire and metal framed windows failing to retain any heat in the Winter. For those reasons and others I will not object to the plans, it will also give the local children an influx of new characters to play with on the football pitches, who knows we may even get a local pub and shop thriving again one day.No idea is perfect but the plans are a bit like my house, indeed like most things in life….

On the other hand that tree, it predates me, for all I know it could be 100 years old, I do not even know what make and model it is, but it’s really big. I am not a Tree Surgeon so I am unaware of the severity of its condition. I plan to find out and oppose its removal if at all possible. It obscures my view, it shades the Summer sun, it covers much of my garden in Winter when it drops it’s leaves but it is also a reminder of the beauty of nature. Birds nest there, roost there at night, then there is the effect on the atmosphere in an over polluted world. It’s just one tree and I will have to defer if a report comes back saying my house could be crushed if it stays and falls in a gale. I may miss the old lump of wood but I wouldn’t like it sat beside me in the living room.


Ready for drowning

Music in 2012 has been a poor year, as was 2011, 2010 , you get the point. When I was younger and first getting into music in the late 1970’s early 1980’s we had The Clash, The Specials, later The Smiths and others.
Recession and economic depression led to rebellious young musicians creating music that still resonates thirty years later. This Christmas we had the Hillsborough single topping the charts and one that I was pleased to support, 23 years was far too long. All of us old enough to remember recall that day in 1989 and personally I remember it for another reason.
Carlisle United drew Liverpool at home in that FA Cup run, in January.
Me and my brother in law were the video cameramen for Carlisle United back then, having just started out with very poor equipment filming our local very poor team. But we drew Liverpool, he filmed the game I was in the Warwick Road end.
liverpool 2

Of course it was popular, and I sold some copies of the game, enough copies in fact to buy a better camera within a couple of weeks and continue filming Carlisle United for a decade up in the gantry on freezing cold days watching a very poor team at first, thankfully a team which improved and I visited Wembley and met some great people.
If it was not for Liverpool coming to Carlisle I doubt we would have lasted the season.
I ultimately was sacked but that’s a story for later… Thank you Liverpool and its fans.
I digress though, like many of us I also listened to some awful music looking back and my education took longer than some. And had my phase of The Communards, Erasure and others which a certain recently reported Conservative MP would disapprove of.
Among the groups I ultimately grew up alongside was and is the Manic Street Preachers, initially finding James very hard to decipher as he sang so I would read along with the lyrics and I would learn things I was shielded from in the far North of Cumbria.
A couple here that spring to mind are Paul Robeson and Capel Ceyn.
and the Manic Street Preachers taught me about both, first………

Capel Ceyn was the Welsh village flooded to provide water for Merseyside, in 1956 a private bill was brought before Parliament for the reservoir, very controversially and despite 35 of the 36 Welsh MP’s voting against the plans it was passed in 1957. A bitter 8 year fight followed but eventually the area was flooded in 1965.
This hastened the impetus for Welsh Devolution. Liverpool City Council officially apologised for this in 2005.

Paul Robeson was a Civil Rights Activist, an actor and singer blacklisted under McCarthyism, involved in the Spanish Civil War and a campaigner for South Wales miners. He took unpopular Political stances throughout his life to many leading to his passport being confiscated for a number of years for his refusal to recant his beliefs.

I could go on but if you’re interested I suggest that you Google either or both.
Its only a matter of time before we have protest music back at the top of the charts like this one …..


Suppose it was inevitable, I was not planning to be Political or opinionated in this Blog but I do. I have not seen many concerts this year, I have listened to a lot of music though, one such artist is David Ford, who I met briefly at a concert and bought his book ‘I choose this’ which he signed. The local gig perhaps had less than 100 capacity but he belted it out like it was the most important gig of his life. He sang a song called Stephen, and explained the song in the book. The song and this article explains what happened. Social injustice and prejudice comes in many guises and affects people deeply. I watched Stephens widow on David Fords Milk and Cookies live broadcast and was in awe at her eloquence and bravery, the least I could do was donate a token amount to the fund. Not asking you to do the same, sometimes its enough that in a world full of Simon Cowell and boybands singing about nothing that there are still people out there making protest songs, my blog is likely to have a lot of angry music in it so if you prefer a world of 1D and karaoke perhaps this is not the place for you.

Published on Tuesday 23 October 2012 09:00

KATE Carroll will launch a foundation in memory of her husband next year, in a bid to both keep his memory alive and deter young people from violence.

The Steve Carroll Foundation will be launched at Stormont in January 2013, almost four years after the Banbridge policeman was shot dead in Craigavon.

The Continuity IRA claimed responsiblity for the killing, and earlier this year former Sinn Fein councillor Brendan McConville and 21-year-old John Paul Wootton were jailed for their roles in the murder.

Wootton’s sentence of 14 years, as he was 17 years old at the time of the killing, was met with outrage from Kate and others who said it had simply been ‘a rap on the knuckles’.

In announcing the launch of the foundation in memory of her beloved husband Kate said she is desperately seeking sponsorship for awards to be offered through the body.

Two former Banbridge Academy pupils are currently the first two youth ambassadors for the foundation. Kate commended Enya Doyle and Lauren Sloan for their work in trying to organise sponsors for the First Beacon of Hope Scholarship, Northern Ireland Youth for Justice Campaigner’s Prize, Beacon of Hope Medals, and Beacon of Hope Inspirational Teacher.

If anyone would like to get involved in sponsoring awards for the Steve Carroll Foundation please contact stevecarrollfoundation@hotmail.co.uk.

And a bonus David Ford track which is my own personal favourite……


The week preceding Christmas, a decade ago Joe Strummer died. I did have the pleasure of seeing him with the Mescaleros twice, and a fitting tribute was written by the author of a great blog.
I have stolen it and hope they wont mind as they write it better than I could have.

The Outlaws post is below, as is the link to a fascinating blog combining personal issues as well as the history perhaps we don’t get to read in school and MSM.

(UPDATE – permission to publish received, many thanks)


Posted by Outlaw on December 22, 2012

‘I’m Gonna Keep Fightin’ for What I Believe Is Right’

Ten years ago today, December 22nd 2002, I received a phone call that informed me that Joe Strummer had passed away. He was just fifty years old and had died suddenly of a rare heart condition while at home with his family in Broomfield, Somerset.

I lost something that day, Joe had been a constant companion in my life since the late 1970′s when I first heard ‘White Riot’ played in anger, I became a fan and have remained so ever since. I played every 7″ Single and Album I could afford to buy, to destruction, often having to replace some that had become so worn and scratched, that the arm on my ageing Record Player used to dance about on the surface skipping between the tracks. I knew every word to every song on every record and cassette I owned, and voraciously absorbed the passionate and heavily political messages contained in the lyrics.

This was Thatcher’s Britain, I was in Care and was as rebellious as any other teenage lad, and Joe’s music spoke my language and narrated my life. I became interested in politics, usually of the radical kind, as complacency was not in my vocabulary. I read, I educated myself, disappearing into the works of Marx and Engels, and becoming ever more aware of the world around me.

This continued after leaving the Care system, I began to travel around the country, settling in London for a decade, and grabbing life by the scruff of the neck and shaking the life out of it. I saw Joe and the Clash perform many, many times during those days, and I had the privilege of meeting him on three occasions. Twice while standing at the bar of the Marquee Club, and once when we briefly chatted as he was walking down Tottenham Court Road with his dog attached to the ubiquitous piece of string that served as a lead.

He always had time for people did Joe, always ready to give himself over while putting the world to rights over a drink or a spiff. He showed young people there were alternatives to the complacency, opportunism, greed and political apathy that dominated the culture of Britain. He was the face of rebellion, his resistance shone through in both his politics and his music and remains an enduring legacy to this day.

One song in particular, ‘Clampdown,’ affected me deeply. The song is a stark account of living and working in a capitalist society. It presents the contradictions that are made to make us believe that if only we work hard, don’t complain, and don’t rock the boat, we can get ahead. Look out for number one.

The song expressed the anxieties of working-class youth only fit for menial jobs, to become part of the state’s repressive apparatus, or to join racist right-wing and ultra violet groups.

“You grow up and you calm down
You’re working for the clampdown
You start wearing the blue and brown
You’re working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It makes you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
You made your first kill now”

So, many, many thanks for the music and the memories Joe, and for giving this angry, aimlessly drifting young man the inspiration to find himself.

Rest In Peace Joe.

“Authority is supposedly grounded in wisdom, but I could see from a very early age that authority was only a system of control and it didn’t have any inherent wisdom. I quickly realised that you either became a power or you were crushed”

Joe Strummer
(21st August 1952-22nd December 2001)

I wish it could be Christmas every day….

I do not really wish it could be Christmas every day, but I just fancy putting song titles as page titles for now. Its Boxing Day, I had just about forgotten about this blog so had a look around it and have decided that I will definitely probably post more in 2013. There are a few reasons for this and I will go into those in the next entry before New Year.



I did attend that Anti Austerity march I mentioned, saw a few famous people and perhaps 100,000 of us Average Joe’s, and apart from the fact that ‘That London’ is an expensive place and the landmarks have shrank since I last visited I had a good time there. It seemed worthwhile to me at least, it was a long journey mind you and I was very pleased to return to this backwater I call home.
Enough for now, I will put my reasoning for blogging again in the next update, and a thanks to one or two bloggers who have inspired me, it will not be an in depth Political Statistical Analysis blog, nor a conspiracy theorist one, nor do I think the Royal Family are necessarily Reptilians. It will be my own take on whats going on around me, as well as those strange thoughts we all have about life in general.
So January the 1st I will let this loose on public opinion and see what the response it, therefore I better have something interesting or at least legible in my head by then.