Do WBC do ANYTHING these days? My lad has just told me even Building Control is run by Wokingham. Perhaps that's the idea, empty the offices and they could be used as a day centre for the OAPs who are said to be a problem.
Hard to disagree, it's blatent discrimination. I've no issue about being made to pay but not on this basis. Is this a sign that NWN is in desperate straights. They have to maintain a 'click rate' to justify prices for their declining advertising business. However, they are clearly missing a trick, because if they didn't discriminate, they'd get some really useful marketing data.
Plus, Richard B's website is wholly free. I can understand the irritation about NWNs paywall, but the same objections to it can also be applied to the print version, which we had to okay for. Back when it first started, NWN was the only source of local news - there was nothing else at all.
Not really surprised. I suspect the day of the local newspaper is over. Although the cover price is now quite high, it still doesn't cover the costs, sales are declining. Advertising, once the real profit stream has now declined even further - another 'online' casualty. Once, local papers fed Fleet Street with trained journalists / reporters - but that career route gas also gone. So it's a perfect storm, I'm not convinced that even the few pence they might get from the pay wall will solve anything. Arguably, it's another symptom demonstrating localism is dead, the centralisers have won. We'll still pick up the local vibes, social media will do that, but will those who perporting to be local politicians take heed? Certainly not, and even less than they did in the past.
I suppose it would be rather too much to ask that these students demonstrated a little closer to home? Perhaps outside the school gates trying to persuade parents to walk their kids to school, or say having a litter blitz bagging up the litter which is strewn about the vicinity, or demanding the elimination of the food waste coming from primary school 'free dinners' which kids can't stomach and so forth. No, a nice jolly to London is so much nicer - almost an extra bank holiday.
It's quite sad really, because a good few good causes get hi-hacked by hard line political activists who then can, in their eyes at least, legitimise their own dogmas. So Trendy Wendy, Dim Tim, Mes Muddlehead et.al. can bring a bit of colour to their lives. Excaserbated by our national dearth of good and effective leaders and dare I say, by the sole political focus on Brexit. I dread to think what else has 'slipped the net' because of this. Summing up, our politicians have stopped listening.
Locally, we have a wonderful example of why these frustrations are exploding. Our Chief Executive makes snide comments about West Berkshire people failing to give up their cars, then just a few months later his Council presides over significant reductions to public transport bus services.
Reap what we sow, and I'd put money on the result of the upcoming elections, the old gang will be back, light or dark blue.
The bit I also have massive difficulties with is that our present Councillors, who have heard their CEO, give lame excuses time and again, for basic but serious clerical failures, yet say nothing, let alone impose any discipline.
N.B. An election is in sight, has the CEO checked that the staff involved can count?
Discounting the LibDem everyone must cycle mantra, for decades, WBC has done nothing, absolutely nothing, even to try and reduce car use or poor lorry movements. For most, cycling is not an option. The district geography and elimination of school catchment areas also mitigate against cycling. So, what about public transport? A subject on which WBC actually employs staff to look after. What about detailled road design? Again, WBC actually employ staff to do this!
So, even me, just an untrained member of public can see our bus service is as expensive as it is inadequate. Our roads, even new ones, are not even designed to take account of buses. Equally, have you seen any bus stops with live information displayed? We still have no bridge over the railway at Thatcham, no useful route from Hambridge road, no direct route from Basigstoke to A34..........
Oh, we can't spend the money we get from new developments for infrastructure can we?
Two very frightening reports in NWN recently, which received scant attention. Essentially the same type of violent, very nasty 'domestics'. Men murdering their partners / girl friends and then claiming they had mental health issues, so couldn't remember / be held responsible. Both were known to be violent.
Where have we failed?
- 'my kids are Gods' parenting - 'no punishment' methods used in schools - closure of local courts - cessation of local press reporting local court results - cessation of beat policing and even the pale replacement wardens - legitimisation of lower category drugs, like cannabis - soft policing and management of presently relaxed licencing regulations. - .....and now the ability to blame all personal failings on 'mental health'
Wouldn't disagree - it's an old technique, been done before and will again. Nonetheless, the faction concerned only gets much interest where there is a vacuum. So, for me, putting myself in the shoes of an idealistic adolescent on the verge of leaving school my future looks pretty bleak. I get taught about environmental matters at school, look round at the filthy mess everywhere and see 'the Council' making it far worse buy removing bins, not cleaning streets. Supermarkets doing nothing at all about double wrapping or plastic bottles. I've got a ready made campaign. No, I'm not even going to listen to the lying mainstream local politicians who can't even lead themselves. Not a good time to be young, so the only thing I'm surprised about is the peaceful nature of the protest! In my day, cobbles would have been lifted!
Must admit my first thought was that the kids are simply emulating their 'betters', following the recent Head Teachers demo in central London. Mind, from my experience environmental issues are a big concern of youngsters. Locally of course, the reinvigorated Green Party has realised has a ready made target in attacking the local lazy Lib.Dem / Conservative consensus on such issues.
The New York example is good, but would it work in the UK? In the US, fear of punishment is still a potent inhibitor. Not so much here; where simply to save money our Policing and Criminal Justice arrangements are demonstrably not fit for purpose.
Is our 'official' response really acceptable or adequate. The Mayor of Hungerford and the local beat copper have a chat!
First, just like all the other mayoral appointments in West Berkshire, these dignitaries are toothless tigers. Appointed simply as ceremonial heads of councils which have no real authority or power. Second, as this issue has escalated so dangerously, rather than chatting to the foot soldier, what has the Chief Constable, or more to the point, the Crime Commissioner (who actually lives in the area) got to say about this, or more to the point, what are they going to do?
In my view, the feeble official response simply highlights our impotence and we can therefore at best, we can expect this nasty situation to continue.
Not sure I'd recommend Hungerford as a place to visit, let alone live.
That they were founded in Newbury and born out of West Berks Council one could be forgiven for thinking that they do know something. These credentials and the nature of the business mean that in my book this is a shocking indictment of the Council and its capability of actually delivering it's published vision.