Tag - council

Welcome to The Perfect Curve.

There are 3 posts in total.

The last remaining socially acceptable form of racism

simon gray 2010-05-04, 11:21:07

Whilst there’s no denying that racism still exists in Britain, it is fair to say that by and large, racism is now considered socially unacceptable. Except, that is, racism against one particular group – and no, I don’t mean people with ginger hair:

An emergency notice has been served on an illegal gipsy camp, which was set up at the weekend on greenbelt land in Meriden. It is believed the travellers had purchased the plot of land from a landowner but did not have permission to build on the site.


Travellers bulldozing a field in a peaceful Solihull village to create a caravan site have been ordered to stop work by the authorities. Angry residents set up a road block with farming trucks stopping lorries taking building materials to the site.

This is not, as is often the case, travellers just moving onto a piece of common land and setting up, or even a case of them moving on to somebody else’s land without permission. This piece of land, they have legally bought.

Admittedly, they haven’t got planning permission to set up a camp on the land – intending instead to try to gain retrospective planning permission part way through the work. This is of course still illegal – but is a common practice carried out by big time developers and small time homeowners for their rear extensions alike. Overwhelmingly, when applied for, retrospective planning permission is granted.

But in this case, planning permission for the travellers’ site probably won’t be granted – even though [...]

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Elections – do your candidates want you to vote for them?

simon gray 2010-04-29, 11:27:36

Over here in Ladywood, if it wasn’t for the televised party leaders’ debates, we wouldn’t actually know there’s an election going on. Barely any posters can be seen (I’ve seen just two, in the same site on Summer Row), there have been no cars driving around with megaphones, few of us have had any leaflets dropped through our letter boxes, and apart from one event organised before the campaign kicked off that was just for residents of one tower block, there don’t seem to have been any elections hustings organised – or at least, none that we’ve been made aware of.

This does seem strange – in terms of the General Election, by all accounts with the retirement of Clare Short it could go either of two ways between Labour and Liberal Democrat, and even the local Conservatives think they’re in with a fighting chance. So you would think all of the candidates would be bending over backwards to try and persuade us to vote for them?

You might reasonably ask, if the candidates – both local and general – can’t be bothered to come to us and campaign to us, why should we be bother to turn out to vote for them? There was one occasion recently where the control of a whole council changed on the basis of the flip of a coin – the two main parties in the council had an equal number of councilors, and the last ward to be decided had the two main contenders with an [...]

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Birmingham Artsfest – my ideas for change

simon gray 2009-09-16, 11:06:06

Birmingham’s Big Weekend – Artsfest – is over for another year. An estimated 270,000 people attended an eclectic mix of music events, craft demonstrations, theatre groups, film shorts, and dance performances, both organised as part of the official festival and spontaneously occuring on the street.


artsfest 2009 from simon gray on Vimeo.

Although the festival has been going for years, it’s only the last two years that I’ve been able to get to any of it; most years of its life it has clashed with me being away for that weekend on some committee meeting or other.

The last few years there have always been mutterings that the event was to be cancelled – 2007 was rumoured to have been the last one whilst it was taking place, but unexpectedly good reviews and turnout led to 2008′s event being hastily confirmed.

The two years – this year and last year – that I have managed to get to any of it I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen, but there’s the rub; at the end both years I’ve felt I’ve seen barely any of what’s been going on, whilst spending a large amount of the day wandering around looking for something to see. As a big arts festival, my experience of it has it hasn’t felt terribly user friendly – especially as a city centre resident (admittedly not a key demographic in the target audience) where the temptation to simply go home during a gap and come out again later is all too great.

With a new cabinet member [...]

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The code behind this site is a bit of an abandoned project; I originally had lofty ambitions of it being the start of a competitor for Twitter and Facebook, allowing other people to also use it turning it into a bit of a social network. Needless to say I got so far with it and thought who did I think I was! Bits of it don't work as well as I'd like it to work - at some point I'm going to return to it and do a complete rebuild according to modern standards.