Godless is Shane

I have just finished “Godless”, and the last episode reinforced in my mind, the similarities with “Shane”. It seems I am not alone,. I checked out the Empire’s review which only mentions it in passing, but points at Logan (2017) as a Western so I watched that last night and despite the inclusion of a clip from Shane, I wouldn’t classify it as a Western but Godless is great and someone should remake Shane. …

On Plebiscites

On Plebiscites

I have been looking to see what there is to be said about Referendums and their role in democracies. Much has been said that Referendums or more accurately Plebiscites are the tools of dictators, but I have yet to see a compelling argument as to why! As I explored the issues, it became clear to me that I was pretty ignorant about the development of political theory and its application to the politics of government. I would be happy for any guidance from people more expert to me. …

A free citizen

From Arms and the Man, by George Bernard Shaw, Bluntschki’s second line,has stayed with me sicne school as the most powerful statement in favour of a Republic I’ve ever heard.

BLUNTSCHLI. I have. I have nine thousand six hundred pairs of sheets and blankets, with two thousand four hundred eider-down quilts. I have ten thousand knives and forks, and the same quantity of dessert spoons. I have six hundred servants. I have six palatial establishments, besides two livery stables, a tea garden and a private house. I have four medals for distinguished services; I have the rank of an officer and the standing of a gentleman; and I have three native languages. Show me any man in Bulgaria that can offer as much.

PETKOFF (with childish awe). Are you Emperor of Switzerland?

BLUNTSCHLI. My rank is the highest known in Switzerland: I’m a free citizen.



A campaigning comrade wrote recently to Lewisham Council to ask about the state of its Housing delivery programme, the reply included the following words,

Since the housing Strategy was adopted in 2015 we have been working to deliver on all 4 of the key objectives it sets out. We regularly report on the outcomes of this work to Lewisham’s Mayor and Cabinet, and those reports are probably the best updates on the Council’s progress.

The most recent report was presented on 6 December, and is available on the Council’s website here; New Homes Programme Update

I’ve set out the 4 key objectives of Lewisham’s Housing Strategy 2015-2020 below and noted a few key pieces of work that are  helping to achieve these objectives. This list isn’t exhaustive, but hopefully provides a bit more context on the work the Council is doing to provide and improve housing in the borough.

Key objective 1: Helping residents at times of severe and urgent housing need


–   Building new Temporary Accommodation
The Council is committed to delivering new temporary accommodation in Lewisham to provide high-quality places to live for families when they are in urgent housing need. This strand of work includes PLACE/Ladywell which provided 24 new homes, and will deliver 94 new homes to provide temporary accommodation by 2018.
–   Homelessness Prevention Trailblazer
The Council is deliver an innovative Homelessness Prevention scheme that will use service data to identify households at risk of homelessness, and will  develop a range of support interventions for households at risk of homelessness to enable prevention activities to happen sooner. This approach started in early 2017 and has already proven successful.
–   No First Night Out
Working with Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich, the Council is leading on delivering the GLA’s rough sleeping programme for a No First Night Out (NFNO) Shared Accommodation Scheme. The scheme works with boroughs’ housing services and voluntary sector agencies to identify single people at imminent risk of rough sleeping, referring them to support services and a new NFNO Shared Accommodation Scheme. This will comprise 180 units of shared accommodation and work with over 300 people at risk of rough sleeping in South East London.
Key objective 2: Building the homes our residents need
–   500 New Council Homes
The Council is delivering 500 new Council homes for social rent across the borough. This work was started when the 6 new Council Homes, the first built for a generation, were delivered at Mercator Road in 2015. Since then a further 86 have been completed, with 121 currently being built and 295 working their way through the design and planning process. Lots more detail on the programme, including details of the sites is included in the report linked to above. Of particular note is the project on the Somerville Estate, that will deliver 23 new Council Homes on the site of the former Extra Care scheme, which is in the planning process now, with a decision expected in early 2018.
–   Delivering more affordable homes through partnerships with Housing Associations
By working with different housing associations, to enable and coordinate development across the borough, the Council will be bringing about 2000 new affordable homes in Lewisham by 2018.
–   Providing new homes through Estate Redevelopment
The Council is providing direct support to partners on long term Estate Redevelopment projects at Heathside & Lethbridge, Excalibur, Amersham Vale and the Old Tidemill School. This will deliver 1,902 new homes over 15 years, of which 929 (49%) are affordable.
Key objective 3: Greater security and quality for private renters
–   Besson Street
This scheme will set a standard for how the private rented sector in Lewisham should work. The Council will be working in partnership with Grainger to develop around 232 homes, including 35% affordable homes to be let at the ‘London Living Rent’, on a site at Besson Street in New Cross. ‘London Living Rent’ is a rent linked to median local incomes so that it remains genuinely affordable in perpetuity. In addition to the 232 new homes, the partnership will also develop a health centre for the local community, new office space for the New Cross Gate Trust and an outdoor gym.
–   Rogue Landlords and
Whereas Besson Street will set a gold standard for how renting will work the Rogue Landlords team targets the worst offenders in the private rented sector, and brings forward prosecutions against them to drive up standards.
–   Landlord Licensing
We support accredited landlords through our landlord events and through discounts to licensing fees if they are accredited. We also run landlord forums where all of the London accreditation schemes are promoted.
 Key objective 4: Promoting health and wellbeing by improving our residents’ homes
–   Decent Homes Programme
The decent homes programme has been improving the standard of all Council Homes within the borough across the last years, and will be completed in 2018. Meaning that every Council Home will meet modern standards.
–   Disabled Facilities Grants
The Council provides grants for residents to convert their properties to allow them to carrying on leading independent lives within their own homes.


Second Mandate

Owen Jones posts why he thinks the Referendum vote can’t be wished away, and asks for a considered reply as to why he’s wrong!

I wrote the following; I wrote it for twitter, which is why it is styled as it is, but will reply to the thread by pointing here since it currently has over 250 replies and posting another 9 seems a bit self indulgent.

You and others argue that the Referendum mandate is considered inviolate by the Leave voters, but you don’t know; its mandate has been superseded by the 2017 General Election and it didn’t agree any terms of departure.

It is common sense and the current law, that we should collectively determine if the terms negotiated by the government, when we know them meet the will of the people which would probably need to be by referendum; if departure includes a transitional agreement or joining the EEA, there must be a referendum under Cameron’s European Union Act 2011.

It is not a second referendum on whether to leave, it’s a first referendum on whether a known future is desired. In my words from last year, we are asking ourselves if this is what we meant!

WRT to Labour’s electoral arithmetic, there are more Remainers voting Labour than Leavers. The risk to Labour of supporting an inadequate Tory deal is greater than opposing it. Why do you ask the majority to suck it up, rather than Labour’s Leavers?

Corbyn and his advisors need to be very careful; it’s likely that most of his leadership voters and supporters are Remainers. Most of his closest advisors would seem not to be.

On the messengers, not much to say, when you’re right …. I am not a fan of much of Adonis’s body work but I assume, despite his Progress alignment that he is acting in good faith, the name calling is not helpful but neither is the use of the issue to re-open old wounds.

I agree we need a message of hope, which was missing from the original Remain campaign although it would seem that many have been persuaded to Remain by the debate around the terms of departure. It’s hard, the freedom to learn, love. work and live anywhere in Europe in a human rights based jurisdiction doesn’t seem to be enough. …

More on Millwall

The Dyson Report, the lawyer led enquiry into Lewisham Council’s handling of the planning application is out …

  1. The Council’s summary, which “concludes that, ‘there was no impropriety, lack of due diligence or breach of a code of practice on the part of any council officer or member in relation to.” and the page lists the things that there has been nothing to see.
  2. The Full Report, in .pdf
  3. A Q&A by the Council, on their web site
  4. A statement by the Millwall

Let’s remember, that Lewisham Deptford CLP wants to see football stay at the Den. …