Wednesday, 14 September 2011

News and Events: Prisoners Education, Record Fair, Good Banking & New US Embassy.


As the prison population rises as a result of the decisions on the Courts on those found guilty of criminal behaviour in the August riots, the whole question of whether prisons work in terms of turning prisoners lives round or simply hardens criminal and anti-social attitudes is rising up the political agenda.  Because prisons concentrate on basic skills education, the need for the Prisoners Education Trust grows ever more important. The Trust funds prisoners to do distance learning courses all the way up degree level. Its South London Supporters Group’s latest funding event is:

Nigel Pascoe QC
'Merely Players'
An Advocate's Look At Shakespeare
23 September, 6.30pm
Garden Hall, St Mary's Church,
Wimbledon, SW19 7BP.

To find out more, email

My wife Ann, who used to be Director of the Trust, is a member of the Supporters’ Group.


I will be selling second-hand classical music records

Sunday 25 September from 9.15am
Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon


In the light of the long timetable proposed by the ConDem Government for banking reform, it is good at last to see the beginnings of an organised lobby for good banking. Brought together by the New Economics Foundation and Compass the Good Banking Forum represents more than 60 UK organisations, ranging from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, to Manchester Business School, Oxfam and Unite. They want a new banking system that serves the economy, society and the environment.

The forum plans to educate the public about the reality of how banks work, while promoting alternatives and mobilising public pressure for reforms through seminars, reports and online campaigns.

Established as an open public forum, the initiative emerged from The Good Banking Summit, convened in May by NEF and Compass, and was launched during an event at Westminster on 13 July 2011.

A report from the summit, titled Good Banking: Why we need a bigger public debate on financial reform, states that the root causes of the economic crisis have not been dealt with sufficiently.

“The real needs of all sections of society and business could be better met if we localised banking, renewed community banking, improved access to good credit for local business, established more co-operatives and mutuals, and lessened the concentration of power in the banking system,” says NEF campaigner Ruth Potts.

Practical, positive solutions include a People’s Post Bank run through the Post Office network, and transforming Royal Bank of Scotland into a Royal Bank of Sustainability to fund the transformation of infrastructure that is necessary for a low-carbon future.

More information on and

And my suggestion? The public do not need to wait for the ConDem reforms or the outcome of lobbying, they can take practical steps to send a clear message of anger with the commercial banks by switch their bank accounts retail/investment banks to the Co-operative Bank or mutual building societies like Nationwide.


The US State Department is currently running a public exhibition of its plans to build the new US Embassy on Nine Elms Lane. In its favour the State Department and the developer of the land around it have agreed to a green walkway from Vauxhall through the site right up to and around the Embassy including a water area which the public will be free to walk and relax in. And it looks like it will be state of the art in respect of solar power and CHP electricity generation and water recycling.

The worrying aspects are actually outside the control of the either the US or the developer. They want a road running down the whole stretch of the railway from Nine Elms Lane/Wandsworth Rd past the Covent Garden Market site and beyond the Embassy and developer's sites. This makes abolsute sense because without it all traffic for the combined devlopment will have to come into and off Nine Elms Lane.

It appears the Market Authority may not be in favour of the road or the green corridor. auxhall Cross. The green corridor will support the Embassy's desire to encourage people to walk or use public transport to get to it rather than use cars, incluidng the 600 odd staff. If there truely was a master plan for the area then Wandsworth and Lambeth Councils and the Mayor of London would require all parties to contribute to the green corridor and the through road along the railway line.

The State Department would like to see a pedestrian bridge across the river to the Tate Britain side. This would encourage people to walk to it from Pimlico Station. It welcomes the proposed station on the Kennington extension line although of cousrse the lack of  link to Victoria Station mean s that people will not be able to get it from that direction .

The next stage of detailed planning application will be in October. The planning authority ios Wandsworth. Lambeth will also have its say and so Lambeth residents will need to make representations both to both Councils.


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