John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Friday, January 14, 2005
 

A surreal court hearing


One thing that tends to happen with politics is that things go down totally irrelevant routes. The court case today was something like that. The nub of the case relates to exactly what happened in the Prince of Wales public house on a day in May.

Facts that are accepted.
There was a dispute involving TK and JP.
JP ended up bleeding and concussed.
TK was later attacked by person or persons unknown thought to be in retaliation.
TK was arrested and bailed by the police.
TK was banned from the Prince of Wales pub and is still banned.
The police are no longer prosecuting.
JP is taking out a civil action for damages, but proceedings have not been issued.

TK has no legal advisors (nor does Martin, I was acting as his advisor). At one stage TK asked for a court order to prevent "BarryTheOtter" and 3 others from trolling*. We also had a discussion about mice. Whereas the previous case only had one journalist, this one had three - and it is only a preliminary hearing.

I am quite impressed as to how calm the judge remained.
This is the press report.

Buses


In the mean time my big issue of the day was violence on the buses. I had a very worrying case brought to me.

According to the Standards Board for England I should not take up the cudgels as a councillor on behalf of the person who came to see me who had been hit with a hammer because I am being partisan. I disagree, however. Then again I saw his bruises.

If we do not work to reduce the number of violent incidents on the buses we will continue to have a reduction in the number of people using the buses.

I had a debate yesterday with Chris Crean from Friends of the Earth at an event run by Common Purpose. Chris's argument related to a bus lane which has been suspended on the Tyburn Road - accompanied with a great gnashing of teeth and wailing from the government.

On that particular road there was a bus every 15 mins and the traffic was completely snarled up. We stood on a manifesto which called for "multiple occupancy lanes". This it is alleged may result in considerable sales of blow up dolls, but is a mechanism that will encourage car sharing. The lane was suspended because the M6 exit was diverted and the congestion which causes air pollution and probably as a consequence asthma in kids disappeared.

Most important routes in Birmingham are radial. The really heavy ones generally only have two lanes. We could have one multiocc/bus lane and one all traffic. However, it is not practical to have one bus, one others.

This means we need to experiment with multiple occupancy (fx government gnashes teeth). In the mean time, however, the main reason people (particularly users of the Senior Citizens Concessionary Fares Scheme) are reducing bus usage is concern for public safety.

Part of the solution is to take public safety on buses more seriously. That was one of my big projects of the day.

The biggest news of the day, however, will have to remain under wraps for a couple more months. (Sorry)

Another good bit of news, however, is that the bus real time information is now really happening.

*trolling is where someone posts something into a news group or email list deliberately to wind others up.
 
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