Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably

The lesson is, never try



"Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably.The lesson is, never try"
Homer Simpson

Proposed boundary changes – Nottingham's 'Gone West'



Quoting Homer Simpson (b.1956) is not entirely a random act or indulgence in this case.

This is because I can play on his Christian name to go on to reference ancient Greek writers and thinkers, such as perhaps the now less famous Homer himself (who may have lived around 800 BC), and then slip quickly to a later compatriot of his, Thucydides, who lived some four centuries later. Thucydides is thought to have been born in 460 BC, or thereabouts.

I came across the following piece concerning Thucydides and his 'History of the Peloponnesian War', not from receiving a fine classical education, but like most people these days, by browsing the internet. The original article I now quote can be found here:

Over to Ambrose Evans Pritchard, of the Daily Telegraph, and his comments that can be read in the original article above, alongside a fuller translation of the said Melian Dialogue, by Thucydides.

'Athens (then the big bully on the block) wanted control over the little island of Melos as a strategic asset in its quarrel with Sparta. It gave the Melians an ultimatum: either submit to Athenian control or face annihilation.

The Melians chose defiance. They were crushed. Those men captured were slaughtered. The women and children were sold into slavery. But the Athenian treatment of the Melians caused horror across the Greek world; it marked the moment of Athenian overreach and the beginning of their decline, as vulnerable city states allied with Sparta to protect themselves. Athenian arrogance backfired disastrously. In the end, Melian exiles retook their island.
(Thucydides was an Athenian general, but viewed the Melians as the victims of this saga.)

In my opinion the biggest 'big bully on the block' around here is Nottingham City (though only through its Council) and behind them almost certainly a clanking old and discredited European Union agenda of urbanisation and Regionalisation, which pays no respects to the successful organisation of our English democracy for centuries. Clearly the 'bien pensants' have continued to attempt to swallow up the towns and villages to Nottingham's west, despite never achieving a democratic mandate on the topic. Currently they appear to have been working on the same unpopular agenda clandestinely for a decade or more. As such we as individuals, businesses, villages and towns are all, in turn and to varying extents, 'little island(s) of Melos'.

Settlements in the vicinity of Beeston and Barton Moor (beyond Clifton) are the first in line, but Chilwell, Toton, Stapleford, or Barton in Fabis, Gotham and East Leake are there too; as are in truth Kimberley, Eastwood and Nuthall. For not far short of a century, some of these villages and towns have successfully chosen to resist Nottingham's advances when asked directly and democratically.

Perhaps we have subconsciously continued to resist, as our forebears did too, the influence of parvenu Viking or Norman Nottingham?

This time, it seems, the more rural population of the so called Greater Nottingham area is not to be trusted to be consulted at all, until the system has been sufficiently rigged to get 'the right answer', at last.

And so to Tram-a-geddon. This troublesome tram is only part of the story.

Are we all so stupid in Beeston as to not have noticed the expansion of the M1 motorway system, the expansion of the airport, the electrification of the mainline railway, the blurring of the distinction between Nottingham and Beeston by the large-scale destruction of Highfields Park? The massive new flood defences? HS2? The A453? The A46?

Have we missed the mystifying removal from Beeston of many of the trappings of being an identifiable settlement? We have currently lost a town-centre independently-situated Police Station, we have lost our Fire Station, our multi-storey car park, shopping centre, and bus station. We have lost our brooding and lovely Beeston Maltings buildings. We are losing allotments. Much though it pains me to say it even the principal shopping street of the entire Borough of Broxtowe, Beeston High Road is a shadow of its former self, from when in 2008 Broxtowe Borough Council's Beeston Town Centre Plan, loftily claimed:

"Beeston Town Centre will provide a welcoming image, promote choice and design quality. It will attract new investment and create a high quality environment, which is vibrant and attractive and where people will want to live, work, shop and visit. There will be a wide range of national retailers, local shops, bars and restaurants providing a range of places to eat, drink and shop. Pedestrians and cyclists will enjoy improved accessibility to the town centre and the public realm, incorporating public art, will be of a high quality and inspiring. The redevelopment of The Square linked to a proposed new transport interchange will help to revitalise the heart of the town centre."

What we seem to be witnessing is the evisceration of an ancient town to become nothing more than a dormitory for the service of a larger neighbour, where we will all be expected to work, shop and play. Great.

And what has been going on with our much loved green-belt at Toton, Bramcote, Bilborough, Stapleford, and Brinsley? Or Clifton and Barton Moor?

My point is, by all means, artificially create a new mega-metropolis in the area of Nottingham, Derby and Leicester if it is essentially required or desirable, but if you have no clear and open democratic mandate, do not think of getting away with it without a fight and/or suitable compensation for local residents and business owners dispossessed, especially without the consent of the people that currently live there; do not dare to do it by deception, and if you do, be prepared to endure as individuals the wrath of those that you have tried, and thus far failed, to sufficiently deceive.

Returning to the start, the people behind this scheme (whose names are metaphorically in a drawer in my desk) need to learn from history. If they are proud of their agenda, they should reveal themselves to the public at large and make their arguments openly.

They could learn from the humiliating experience of Herr Albert Speer, who was known as 'Hitler's architect', who, on showing his own father (an architect too) Speer's and Hitler's megalomaniacal plans for post World War II Berlin, is reputed to have simply concluded succinctly

'You have all gone completely insane'

Or, failing that, you could consider the words of my great grand-father TH Barton OBE (1866-1946), and one-time East Midlands hero, who reflected on the future in 1944 at the end of his life, and wrote:

Turning to the future, Mr Barton said that what was needed were food and homes - and work to produce those essentials.

What were they offered? Grandiose town-planning and Beveridge reports and a nation of paupers leaning on each other. ..............It would not be with fine public buildings and institutions that they would regain their prosperity but in happy homes and large families, which were the backbone of all national greatness."

Or, as we started, you could simply follow the thoughts of the sage Homer Simpson, and tell these self appointed experts that the game is up, and that:

'Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try