Plenty of sporting opportunities

notting dale

Dale Youth Boxing Club

It has been hard not to be impressed with Team GB’s Olympic success. Just about every day over the last couple of weeks we were able to celebrate a new medal across a range of sports.


We’ve ended the Games second in the medals table behind only the USA. That is a stunning achievement. It is not just the number of medals that gave me cause to be proud but the sheer breadth of sports that we ended up on the podium for.

Whether it is trap shooting, show jumping, cycling, swimming, gymnastic or athletics and I could go on, it seems that we can hold our own with the best in the world.

I really hope that as a result of watching the greatest sportsmen and women on the planet showing us what elite performance is like that some people feel inspired to get involved in a sport. Whether that is with a desire to become an Olympian or just to get in shape doesn’t matter. Continue reading

Claims of asset stripping are junk

The proper answer to recent claims of asset stripping is show me the teapot.

Asset stripping is a less serious charge than social cleansing I suppose and for that at least I am grateful.  But it’s irritating nonetheless that yet again an ugly charge has been levelled against the Council that has no basis in reality whatsoever.

Call me old-fashioned but I think serious claims ought to be backed up by serious evidence.  Cleverer men than I have made the same point, and far more elegantly.  Carl Sagan said that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.  Christopher Hitchens offered us Hitchen’s Razor: what is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.  But my personal favourite is Russell’s teapot.  Bertrand Russell pointed out that it is really up to the person who says there is a celestial teapot orbiting the Sun to prove it, not for me to disprove it.

Now I know these big-brained chaps were making a larger point, but their logic is just as sound on the somewhat smaller stage of Kensington and Chelsea.  If you are going to protest outside North Kensington Library saying that the Council is “closing the library”; that it is leasing the building to its friends “on the cheap” and “asset stripping the community of all its public spaces” then there ought to be some sort of evidential test to pass before your claims are taken seriously.  Let’s apply that test now, taking the largest claim first. Continue reading

North Ken and our ambitions to restore traditional street patterns

There is a lot to enjoy about The Blue Lamp, the 1950 crime drama made by Ealing Studios.  There’s the cast for one thing.  The excellent Jack Warner plays PC George Dixon, a wise and respected veteran bobby.  Although he is shot dead during the film, his character had such appeal to the British public that he was resurrected for the TV series Dixon of Dock Green Dixon of Dock Green which ran for 21 years.

As indicated, poor old PC Dixon is cruelly gunned down, when he happens upon a robbery at a local cinema.  As you would expect, he tries to convince the villain to ‘come along quietly now lad’ but unfortunately he is up against a twitchy psychopath played by a young Dirk Bogarde.  The Blue Lamp is supposed to be ‘social realism’ but its insights into the 1950s criminal underworld seem to have been provided by RADA’s cockney research department – ‘cor blimey guv’nor, and no mistake.’

What is very real, and the real star of the show, is west London circa 1950.  Paddington Green, Edgware Road, Westbourne Park, Harrow Road, Little Venice, the obligatory shot of Piccadilly Circus at night – all of them feature and are fascinating to see. Continue reading