December 2011 Archives
Here's a poem to mark this year's Christmas - albeit written more than a decade ago!
A gentle rain falls through the universe now
Not snowflakes on this Christmas Eve -
A trickle that shimmers like diamonds
Against our Nordic galaxy.
All around, the stars glimmer, these words,
Like omniscience that see all -
Eluding the hands of fate like beings
Of a different world.
Amidst the darkness of this space,
Wet-silence seeps into our thoughts
Like the flickering flame of a diva,
Or a hush of hymns in a church.
And this could be an insoluble instance,
Or an enigma for the essence of earth,
Projecting a collision of sparkling rain
With an image of that Child's birth.
A very merry Christmas to all our readers and a peaceful New Year.
Hark the Select Committee Angels Sing: Planning Reforms need significant rewriting
Christmas has come early for those of us who care about the planning system in England.
The Select Committee has published their report on the government proposed National Planning Policy Framework and in their 81 pages of critical analysis they confirm that the NPPF is not fit for purpose.
- The NPPF was short but vague leading to uncertainty and ambiguity
- The definition of sustainable development presented was inadequate as it was based on economic development
- The default answer to development being yes was misplaced.
- The golden thread of sustainable development was not suitable for decision making as it was too vague
- The lack of a town centre first and brown field first policies were leading to increased pressures on greenfield sites
- The attacks on planners as the enemies of enterprise were found to be baseless with no evidence to support allegations that planning inhibited growth or development.
The recommendations focus attention on the local plan as the decision making tool for sustainable development with the ability to tweak and adapt this to the local situation where there is clear evidence to do so.
Staffordshire MP Aidan Burley (Con Cannock Chase), who attended a Nazi-themed stag do in France, has issued a fulsome apology on his personal website.
He said: "I am deeply sorry, and want to take this opportunity to offer the people of Cannock Chase an unreserved, wholehearted and full apology for the terrible offence this incident has undoubtedly caused . . . I feel ashamed that Cannock Chase has been placed in the limelight as a result of my behaviour."
He also added: "Being involved in a fancy dress party does not mean you endorse, tacitly or explicitly, the actions and philosophy of the person that is being impersonated. In fact, quite the opposite is true. I have no sympathies whatsoever with Nazism, racism, or fascism."
The Children's Society has published the results of a survey which found most 13 to 17 year olds and adults believed the main reason for the summer riots was that rioters wanted "to get goods and possessions they couldn't afford to buy".
According to the Children's Society, this proves that Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was wrong to claim that the riots were about "instant gratification".
Instead, according to the Children's Society, it proves that "poverty" was one of the key causes of the riots.
American politicians constantly go around stating how religious they are, ending their speeches with 'God bless America'.
For them religion is a badge of honour.
David Cameron was in Oldbury, in the Black Country, launching a new project "to radically transform the lives of the country's most troubled families" today.
Almost £450 million will be spent trying to help 120,000 "troubled families" through measures such as the creation of "a national network of Troubled Family 'Trouble-Shooters' who will be appointed by local councils", according to a statement issued by the government.
Officials working for Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, have contacted me to correct a story which appeared in today's Birmingham Post and on our website about the Government offering more powers to cities if they choose to have a mayor.
I believe our story accurately reflects what we were told by a Government Minister yesterday - and Government policy as set out in a new document published today.
I am amazed at the double standards we have to put up with in regard to public broadcasting in this country.
You might remember when Hardeep Kholi - the Glaswegian comedian - made a relatively stale, though sexist, comment to a researcher (or was it a make-up assistant?). The BBC suspended him almost immediately from the shows where he was a regular contributor. And it was even worse for Raj Persaud who used to present a psychology programme on Radio 4 until that is, it was said that he had plagiarized his paper. And before you could say 'cheat', the man was presented with his UB40 card and packed off to the nearest job centre.
Did you know the Conservative Party has been infiltrated by Guardian-reading liberals?
It has, according to Shropshire MP Daniel Kawczynski (Con Shrewsbury and Atcham), who said he was dismayed to discover that so many of his colleagues were members of the liberal elite when he tried to discuss Saudi Arabia with them.