Thursday, 30 August 2012

High Street Works - What's In Store For Us

With my "Bedfordshire Highways Rep" for the Town Council hat on, I have been trying to piece my way through the things that are happening, and the correspondence I have had, with regard to the roadworks  in Houghton Regis High Street. 

Morrison Utility Services are a utility company doing work in the High Street for UK Power Networks. The Morrison name appears on some pedestrian barriers in the High Street area. The work for UKPN happens to be installing cabling for the Morrisons superstore currently being constructed. Information received today says that this work was needed to be in place prior to the main work commencing. A memo from UKPN states that that work will be completed in the next 2-3 days.

Even these works have resulted in some complaints, on Facebook, of long delays in the High Street this week.

Permission has now been given by the Highways Authority's agent (Amey) to allow UKPN to continue with their work next week. This will require three way lights in place of permanent lights in the first week of September, during off peak hours, and manually controlled all day. Being manually controlled it is hoped that this may work better than the non-manual lights do at present.

When the full blown road works begin in the High Street, as a consequence of the S278 requirements for the Morrisons superstore,  the junction of High Street and Bedford Road will be  changed to a roundabout and there will no longer be traffic lights. A 20mph scheme will be brought in for the High Street area to further improve traffic flows. Information about the scheme can be found here.

A date for the S278 road works in High Street, Houghton Regis has not yet been confirmed, but highways planners are mindful of the impact that the major roadworks in South Bedfordshire are having. The start date is not far away.

Meanwhile, traffic flows between Dunstable and Luton continue to be affected by works in Church Street, Dunstable which may still be closed on two further occasions in October,  and Court Drive, Dunstable is likely to be one way only until approximately the end of October. Highway works planners say they are very mindful of the impact the works are having on Houghton Regis, and will continue to do all that can be done to help ease congestion through Houghton Regis in the coming months.

UKIP - "Complete Waste of Space"

Ed Walkington writes in the "easternAgenda" this Summer:

"Rarely in the parliament, frequently missing committee meetings and even plenary sessions, and most frustratingly of all telling constituents they are working hard on an issue when they haven't attended the relevant committee for years, the UKIP MEPs are a complete waste of space in the Parliament. The speeches in plenary tend to be the same europhobic rants, regardless of the matter discussed. One UKIP MEP simply votes 'no' on everything, which I guess saves him the time of reading each report. The greatest shame is that the UK loses out on a potential 12 hard working MEPs."

See how Nigel Farage cynically dresses "working class" to try to win the Old Labour vote.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

How Much We Owe and Have to Pay Back

How Much We Owe and Have to Pay Back In 1997 Labour inherited a budget that was actually in balance. After a painful and turbulent decade under the Tories, the public finances had finally been brought under control. But after four years in office Gordon Brown took out the country's credit card and let rip. By the end of 2009-10 our annual deficit had ballooned to £170.8 billion.

Those Pesky Claw Machines

Here's how they work:

In the owners manual "you can see the default setting is to only use the strong setting on the claw once every 18 games!"

"...There are further controls for the claw to grab in strong mode and then switch to weak mode anywhere from 2-9 seconds after grabbing."

Life is so unfair!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Student Fees

Some people are still upset by the myth that student fees will be unaffordable. Try this video.

No Death Sentence, Then?

I haven't really followed much about the Anders Brievik story, except the headlines that he killed 77 people in two separate attacks, and that his maximum prison sentence will be 21 years (although that may end up as life imprisonment).

Can you imagine the furore if it had happened in this country? "Animal!" Placards waving. Protests. Marches. Lack of respect for authority.

What kind of society is so accepting to not have a death sentence for such a heinous crime? When the court started assembling for the sentencing on Friday morning I ran some thoughts through my own head. "He killed 77 people. What would you do to this guy? Shoot 77 bullets into his own body? tear him apart bit by bit? Hang him?" .

Well, that's something Befordshire top Tory Richard Stay would presumably want. He clearly promotes bringing back the rope to the UK, for people who murder.

I pulled myself into check. This is happening in Norway. They don't behave like that. Why not? Have they ascended to a higher plain? A less knee-jerk society? A collective respect for their laws?

The Independent‎ - Leading article: "Anders Breivik trial exemplified Norway's strengths". Strengths? Ah, that'll be their Liberal society. "...the humanity, dignity and lack of panic with which Norway's leaders responded to the country's most heinous act of terrorism...", "confronted with an extreme atrocity, its social tolerance and respect for the law remained intact."

Aslak Sira Myhre writing in The Guardian "I am... proud to live in a country where my want for revenge does not define the judicial system. "

Way to go Norway. After all, the young lives cut down by Anders Breivik cannot be brought back.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Story of Stuff, Full Version; How Things Work, About Stuff

Why recycling is important.
Story of Stuff, Full Version; How Things Work, About Stuff, You Tube, 21 minutes.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Naked Billiards, Anyone?

Somehow I don't think naked billiards will catch on in Houghton Regis, but if it does, someone give me a shout!

Money Saving Expert

Latest Tip: Instead of spending all day reading the email from Money Saving Expert, and the outcomes of the email,  why not earn some money working?

Presupposes you have paid work to do, of course.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Down the Plughole One By One, or Brace Together?

Jeepers, we're in for a tough time ahead.

Looks like there is an agreement to bail out Spanish banks as their economy is swirling around the plughole... Greece is already further down the plughole and will default again soon... and the rest of us are likely to be sucked down by the inertia, too, before long. How to persuade people to keep their nerve?

How long can ordinary folk, more interested in EastEnders, The Simpsons, or simply finding the time to run from one job to another, spare any precious time to start to understand the issues?

So, to stop us swirling down the plughole into the swamp it looks as if the EU Commission will propose a banking union, this Autumn, to end weak national regulations. And there'll be a bank deposit scheme to restructure the risky banks, and close down the worst.

Fiscal union plans coming up in October, making tax-payers across the eurozone having to assume joint and several liability for a portion of national debt.

December - and we're promised plans for political union, accountable to the European Parliament. No throw-away cheap words from Homer Simpson to "get out of Europe" will make it go away.

Actually, all this could just salvage the euro and make it a welcoming place.

But Dave, the PM, says he won't let Britain join this federal union. (Mrs T. blue rinse, "NO" NO" NO".) Most Tories will be happy to see Britain detached from the EU. Hague has launched a white paper to review the EU and UK relationship, and de-construct the laws that bind UK to the Union.

While the rest of the EU draws up plans to hold hands and brace against the swirling current towards the plughole by making plans for a stronger union,  Britain runs the other way! It's almost laughable when you read this sentence in Hague's paper, "This Government is committed to playing a leading role in the EU and protecting the UK's sovereignty."

And what is London good for, if not financial services? If Britain goes down this isolationist route they shouldn't expect any favours in the City. Why should the other countries care? And that won't bode well for jobs, pension funds, and everything that goes with it. We could just be heading over to a dried out corner of the sink on our own.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Is there a tree bothering you?

The Estates Team at Central Beds Council have advised that it is the responsibility of the tenants to maintain trees within the boundaries of their property.

So, if a complainant has discussed the problem of a neighbour's tree with their neighbour, and if that neighbour then  refuses to cut the tree back, then the Complaintant is within their rights to cut what is over hanging back to their boundaries, but must dispose of the offcuts in the correct manner.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Labour Embarrassed as Con-Man Poses with Police Chief

The LutonOnSunday reports today that a Labour councillor, Asa Rathore, "regrets not telling Chief Superintendent Mike Colbourne, Bedfordshire's Divisional Commander, he was being filmed with Ahmed Siddique .. convicted in 2009 of obtaining more than £160,000 through fraudulent activities" Labour Party organiser Francis Steer said, 'In my opinion Cllr Rathore was very unwise to allow herself and Ahmed Siddique who has been convicted of fraud, to pose for a photo with Chief Superindendent Mike Colbourne".

I suppose we're in for lots of stories like this from the press in the build up to the Police Commissioner elections. I agree that politics and police shouldn't be mixed.

Labour Celebrate - More Public Money Wasted

The Manchester Evening News reports: "Members of Greater Manchester’s axed police authority are to toast their own demise – with a taxpayer-funded bash at the five-star Lowry Hotel. About 100 people are expected for a three-course meal at the swish city-centre venue to mark the scrapping of the authority." Well, that’s one way for the (Labour-run) body to spend tax payer's money… manchestereveningnews/news/s/1586528_scrapped-greater-manchester-police-authority-to-hold-party-at-five-star-lowry-hotel---on-the-tax-payer

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Fundraising Houghton Regis

What a great bunch of charity fund-raisers the folks in Houghton Regis are! I asked on my News Desk Facebook Page for any resident in Houghton Regis who was raising funds for charity and got a fantastic response! If there are any more - and, I'm sure there will be, send a message to me and I'll add that to the article.

What Are They Teaching Kids?

Quoted from 

Edited quote: 
"We have the Year 1 Screening Check. Like you, I am at a loss to see what it tests, actually. 

Last year I was observing in a Reception Class and the teacher was ‘doing phonics’. Gold coins spun in front of the children’s eyes on the interactive whiteboard to form three letter words; some ‘real’ some ‘not real’, although how children are supposed to distinguish between real and not real is beyond me. 

Children had to give thumbs up if the word was real, thumbs down if it wasn’t. 

A little boy called Archie gave ‘thumbs up’ to a word that adults would know didn’t exist. The teacher asked him (very kindly) why he’d given the word the thumbs up. ‘Well, I thought it might be a word that I didn’t know yet,’ he replied. 

Where is the room in the test for answers like that? "

My Previous Blogs

Due to the complications of multiple accounts with Blogger, Google, Google Calendar etc, my previous blogs are discontinued. If they are available you will find them at:


Thursday, 16 August 2012

What Are They Teaching Kids?

Quoted from

Edited quote: "We have the Year 1 Screening Check. Like you, I am at a loss to see what it tests, actually. Last year I was observing in a Reception Class and the teacher was ‘doing phonics’. Gold coins spun in front of the children’s eyes on the interactive whiteboard to form three letter words; some ‘real’ some ‘not real’, although how children are supposed to distinguish between real and not real is beyond me. Children had to give thumbs up if the word was real, thumbs down if it wasn’t. A little boy called Archie gave ‘thumbs up’ to a word that adults would know didn’t exist. The teacher asked him (very kindly) why he’d given the word the thumbs up. ‘Well, I thought it might be a word that I didn’t know yet,’ he replied. Where is the room in the test for answers like that? "

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Those Political Boundary Lines

The latest threat to jeopardise the proposed constituency boundary changes – reducing the number of MPs from 650 to 600 – by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, throws the problem for this area once again into sharp focus.

The proposed new boundary changes would see Houghton Regis and Dunstable being separated into two different constituencies. Dunstable would no longer be a part of South West Bedfordshire. Caddington, Chaul End, Kensworth and East Hyde would become part of a redrawn Hemel Hempstead constituency. Nadine Dorries present seat would be abolished.

But the South West Beds constituency has exactly the right number of constituents at the moment. So, why does it need to change?

It's already fairly confusing for local people as the current area newspapers regularly report the activites of five Members of Parliament. The re-jig would reduce that count to four. But will people, especially those in Dunstable, remember the changes if they do go through, and remember to contact the correct MP? Implementing the proposals would be a recipe for chaos at a time the country needs stability.

Political parties organised by Constituency boundaries face the upheaval of changing their structures and bank accounts to cope with the changes. Spending time on that instead of the real issues of the day is a detraction that we can certainly do without.

There is an overwhelming sense of being mere mortals in the face of these god-like proposals from the Boundary Commission for England.

Dunstable Town Council organised a petition protesting at Dunstable being shifted to a new constituency comprising eight Luton wards and the four Dunstable wards. The petition was supported by local Tory MP, Andrew Selous. The new threat from Nick Clegg may be a blessing for those protestors. Perhaps Andrew will support Mr Clegg?

The new boundaries are designed to even out the number of MPs in each seat, but given that population growth is likely to be strongest from current centres of population, it won't be long before they'll have to look at these boundaries again.

A new poll by Lib Dem Voice, which represents grassroot activists, found that 48 per cent would prefer to be in alliance with the Labour party in 2015 compared to just 19 per cent who want to carry on with the Tories.

Meanwhile, the reform of the House of Lords has effectively been dumped by the Tories. Perhaps now is not the time to be looking at this with the Eurozone in meltdown, but let's not forget that it does need addressing in the future. Inherited priviledges to attend a major place in the UK to decide the laws on how we live our lives is just not democracy.

There’s zero chance of Clegg cutting any boundary deal with Tories over party funding

Estimates by Boundary Commission for England.for the new boundaries:
18 Hemel Hempstead CC 76,457
26 Luton North and Dunstable BC 78,957
27 Luton South BC 75,106
43 South West Bedfordshire CC 77,807
44 South West Hertfordshire CC 79,167
46 St Albans CC 78,920

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Garages Boarded up While Waiting List Exists

Central Bedfordshire Council have a waiting list of 162 for a council garage. In Houghton Regis the Council owns 482 garages, 273 are rented out, and 43 are boarded up. In Dunstable the Council owns 666 garages, 246 are rented out and 80 boarded up. Parkside Houghton Regis town councillor, Alan Winter, obtained the figures through a Freedom of Information request. Cllr Winter commented, "It's a great shame that in our town 43 are boarded up while a waiting list exists. I used to park a Mondeo in a garage the size of a typical estate garage, so I don't buy the argument that garages are too small. A garage is the best place for a car for security, and they should be used. I shall be asking the Central Bedfordshire Council to step up its efforts to bring the boarded garages back into use."