Friday, 30 November 2007

Vote for Sustrans Win £50 million Lottery Fund

We want more cars on the road. Yes put wheel on streets now! That seems to be the prevailing mode in our vale. The new Princes Mary site development in Wendover will not have a bus link to the Wendover train station nor to the Tring station. There is not much effort going into ensuring that the new 9,000 or so units planed for Aylesbury will be accompanied with a growth in the local job market. And yes, you guessed it, no buses to train stations. Last week we heard the cost of travelling by train is going to rise again by much more than the past and predicted inflation (Who was the idiot who nationalized the trains in the first place?). A recent unbelievable letter to the editor of the Bucks Herald moaned about the bus lanes that are used by empty buses. This person never heard of the chicken and the egg – “Ignorant and lacking of Vision” he said in desperation. So people working to promote cycling sound to me like science fiction. Here is something that landed in my in box:

I’m writing to ask you to help sustainable transport charity Sustrans win £50 million from the Big Lottery Fund to invest in 79 communities UK-wide.

In this winner-takes-all contest Sustrans’ Connect2 project is up against 3 other organisations - the Eden Project : The Edge, Black Country Urban Park, and Sherwood: The Living Legend, with the winner to be decided by public vote over the coming weeks.

I'm supporting Sustrans’ Connect2 because it will transform local travel in towns, cities and villages throughout the UK. By building new bridges and crossings over busy roads, railways and rivers, and linking these into networks of paths, Connect2 will make it much easier for people to get where they want to go under their own steam. So whether children are going to school, people to work and the shops, or friends and family to visit each other, they’ll be able to walk or cycle for many more journeys.

As many as 6 million people live within a mile of a proposed Connect2 scheme, and 1 million children go to school within a mile of a scheme. It is calculated that over 60 million active, low carbon journeys will be made each year on the Connect2 routes, potentially saving 79,000 tonnes of carbon - the equivalent of emissions from 79,000 people's annual car use.

Vote now online for Sustrans' Connect2 at We need your vote to win 50 million pounds for walking and cycling. Phone voting from landlines and mobiles begins on 7 December - please text 'Connect2' to 80010 or complete the form at if you would like to be sent the number to vote. All voting concludes at 12 noon on Monday 10th December.

Remember Sustans’ contribution is pivotal to projects such as the cycle path along Aylesbury road in Wendover and hopefully its next stage – the bridge over the Wendover Arm to the schools.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Why don’t we have yet a real ‘Enterprise’ exploring space?

Sometimes officials make incredibly idiotic decisions, rendering satires such as Yes Minister boring. Would you believe the Beatles were not allowed into Israel for a performance. Another amusing anecdote is that for the sake of equality the TV signal was de-colured for years in Israel. It was thought that if the signal was black & white, although the broadcasting equipment was colour capable, there would be no incentive for the affluent to flaunt their riches with a colour TV set. Yeh-right.

Moreover, no restrictions were placed on other seemingly luxury items such as cars, fridges, and houses. It is amazing that my teacher was allowed to tell us that the world was round and that it was slightly older than the 6000 years (the Jewish count).

How lucky we don’t have such situations here in the UK. Oh – really?! So why does it take 4 working days to transfer, electronically mind you, money from one bank to another and why is it so expensive? Why does it take 11 days to change the phone provider? Why can’t one get health insurance after the age of 70? Or how can one explain the absurd requirement to prove where I live through a hard copy utility bill.

There are many such silly anachronisms that we take for granted now and probably will be thought funny in ten years. But like in mechanical physics the force required to start moving is greater then the force needed to continue moving. There is a stationary friction to overcome. It will take an international force to bring the cost of roaming calls closer to the real cost to the providers, change the ethics of locking mobile phones, to unify the DVD zones, to ensure the internet is really free and to stop mammoth software providers from dictating a slow pace of innovation.

Today the European Commission adopted proposals for a "Telecoms Reform Package". It is expected to become law by the end of 2009 and includes new consumer rights such as the right to switch telecoms operators within 1 day.

We need the European Union more than ever to keep our freedom from those who want to make us live in a gray, un ambitious world – trapped in other’s conservatism.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Hell is paved with good intentions


The Israeli military slang is very rich and colourful. However, like cockney it is almost impossible to translate to another language. In Hebrew the words for putting in effort translates literally as ‘sinking it in’ thus the word play “He who sinks in, sinks!”. Meaning there is no point in putting in your hart, blood, and sweat as it would not be appreciated or worse it would be used against you. It is not hard to find such situations in military and public life. This saying is obviously not politically correct and is in contrast to the fable of the frog that beats the milk into butter by flapping frantically and aimlessly. It asserts that in most cases the frog will drown before the milk churns and in the few cases that the frog is dedicated enough to see the task through, a solicitor will be waiting for it to climb out just to hit it with a claim for damages. All this came to my mind when I heard that the Chair-person of the Wendover Parish Council has resigned. Today a new chairman was elected but the council seemed to tiptoe around the issue. Looking back at the meeting this evening, an official thank you was missing let alone a resolve to clear the waters and learn form the eperiance.

The sad thing about local government is that people don’t seem to care at best. I wonder how many fellow Wendovrian’s will notice that Dr. Shilla King resigned and how many of them could hazard an educated guess as to her reasons. Here is a person who volunteered to do something for her community, has spent many hours, and did her best to fight for our rights. From my corner in the public gallery she seemed to have done a good job at running the council meetings intelligently, made sure actions were followed though, was a positive driving force, was very liberal in her approach, and generally allowed the public to be heard. Naturally, some toes must be stepped on if you do your public job right. The question is not how to keep everybody happy all the time, but how to handle loaded situations. And here leys the gremlin: I believe that the current state of affairs in the Parish Council is down to fear of the litigation culture and the over reliance on legal advisors. This always leads to government paralysis and stifles any spark of originality. It defiantly results in a bad atmosphere and a general feeling of persecution and injustice – no matter who made the first call to the Dementors (a call that should not have been made).

I am sorry to see Dr. King go and I hope her bad experience will not put others off volunteering to help shape Wendover. It would be to the benefit of Wendover, if one day in the future she will decide to give it another go.