Tag Archives: austerity politics

Moving beyond ‘No’

Yes, I’ve been reading. But we’ll come back to that.

When I got talking to people in Granby in Liverpool, about seven years ago now, they asked me to help them get over a very specific problem:

“We all know what we don’t want. We don’t want our houses to be knocked down. So we’ve got very good, over many years, at opposing any and all plans to do this. The trouble is though, we can’t agree between us on exactly what it is we do want. So could you help?”

I said “Yes, maybe” and we began to work on something together, loads of us, that has largely worked. Not perfectly and it’s not finished. But we moved beyond that skilfully confident “no” to a curious and more friendly “yes,” and in so doing changed a piece of the Earth very much for the better.

What I hadn’t realised until this week was that in learning that lesson in Granby, that yes is stronger than no, we were beginning to learn something that may yet help to create a better future for the whole of the Earth, if we could be fairly quick about it. Continue reading

Ten years

Ten years ago today Sarah and I got up worried and early to begin one of the longest days of our lives. We travelled to the Royal Hospital here in Liverpool, to the Rapid Diagnosis Clinic, to find out what we found out.

And ten years later part of me finds it hard to travel back to what Sarah has written here. But most of me is immensely relieved, and grateful, that she is alive to write it. And that the years have in no way dimmed her fire and passion for our National Health Service, or her determination to keep it safe from officious predators, as you’ll see when you read on.

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22nd February 2007

This is me on the 22nd of February 2007. It is the day after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, age 43.

So today, the 21st of February 2017, marks ten years from that diagnosis. There is no whoop of delight, no fist pumps here. No, this is not a celebration. It is a mere observation of a fact, a fact that I am still here to observe. And of all the questions I asked that day ten years ago during the hours in the hospital, the main question, the one I remember the most, was when I said, ‘Will I die?’

But thanks to modern medicine and surgery, some great doctors and surgeons, a hefty dose of luck and some of my own tenacity, I did not die of breast cancer. At least, I haven’t so far. Continue reading

From the Planet Zogg: The Libraries of a Different World

dsc07973In this last week or so of January 2017 there has been much talk of dystopia. Living through these bleak days in the opposite of a world any of us would want to live in. Waking up in a science fiction novel you never thought you’d actually have to live through.

All of which has reminded me of a science fiction story I wrote a few months ago about libraries and their future in a world where we are free to have opinions, travel freely and generally be a planet of cultured and tolerant human beings.

It’s a story that starts and ends in Liverpool, where else? But as of this week it could be pretty much anywhere. Unlike most of my blog posts it contains no new photographs. Being, as it is, a radio broadcast back to those left at home from the not that fictionally distant Planet Zogg, some time in the imaginable future.livlib08

“The Libraries of a Different World”

The TransLibs

It was like this, we knew things were going to change for us in a big way and a few of us got together to discuss it all before we left. Before we left for the new planet.

You’ve probably heard this basic background a thousand times before, but just in case this story ever gets picked up, say in a library somewhere because, hey, this part of the story is going to be mainly about libraries, here it is. Maybe for someone who’s never heard of Earth, never mind Zogg, here’s the background once again. Continue reading

The Small Matter of Democracy

DSC04262It’s been a confusing week in politics. The Referendum and its European aftermath that I’ve already written about on here. Followed by the spectacle of our two main political parties choosing consecutive days to appear to tear themselves apart. No one I know was very surprised to see the Tories behaving so badly, but when the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party decided to turn on their own recently elected leader I was, to put it mildly, disappointed.

But we’ll come back to that after a bus ride to town.

Upstairs on the 80A.

Upstairs on the 80A.

A day of sunshine and showers.

A day of sunshine and showers.

Continue reading

On Lime Street: The Futurist

DSC03446I do the houses, it’s what I’m best at. And through that I do my best to help with the economy and the quality of life in the place where I live. I have very little time for some of the campaigns to ‘save’ this or that which others get very exercised and excited about. I’ve written before that if I had a year to live, even though they’re ‘quite nice’ I’d put none of my dwindling energies into saving Sefton Park Meadows, as they’re now known. I feel much the same about The Futurist.

But yesterday I was walking along Lime Street and took these photographs. Looking at the closed-road-beleagured place as an analogy for a city struggling with austerity politics. Continue reading

St George’s Hall, Liverpool – what’s it for?

Well, what exactly is St George’s Hall for? Hardly an urgent issue but something I ask myself now and then.

As I walk along Lime Street.

As I walk towards it along Lime Street.

Liverpool's most respected building by Pevsner and the like.

Liverpool’s most respected building by Pevsner and the like.

Here standing between the brutal vulgarity of the St John's market car park and the elegant grace of Lime Street Station.

Here standing between the brutal vulgarity of the St John’s market car park wrap-around screen and the elegant grace of Lime Street Station.

Well it just is, isn't it? Just there.

Well it just is, isn’t it? Just there.

I can’t imagine Liverpool without it. Continue reading

Pay As You Feel, in Everton

– Let’s really feed the world –

A misty morning for my second visit to the open for five weeks now Pay As You Feel Café in Everton.PAYF - 1

The city centre's just down there, somewhere.

The city centre’s just down there, somewhere.

As I walk along Shaw Street to the café.

As I walk along Shaw Street to the café.

Continue reading