New threat to the transport-poor

Hampshire may stop providing taxi vouchers as an altermative to bus passes.

It’s one of a series of measures being considered to meet a huge deficit in the County Council’s budget.

This could hit elderly and chronically sick people who don’t have easy access to a bus route, and depend on taxis to get to hospiatals and other medical appointments.

A consultation on Hampshire’s bus service plan is running until July 23. Have your say here.

Chance to quiz the Council

Meetings of local CATs – Community Action Teams – resume this week, so don’t miss your chance to ask questions about how Fareham Council is performing.

Council leaders and officials naturally use the meetings to present themselves in the best possible light, but well-researched and relevant questions can sometimes prompt them to think again and address issues that matter to residents.

The meetings are:

Tuesday June 21 – Warsash Victory Hall

Wednesday June 22 – Holy Rood Church, Stubbington

Wednesday July 13 – Fareham Gateway Church, West Street

Tuesday July 19 -Titchfield Community Centre

Wednesday July 20 – Portchester Parish Hall

All the meetings run from 7pm to 8.30pm

If something’s not right in your area, stand up and TELL THEM.

Jubilation

Only halfway through this Jubilee weekend I’m beginning to flag – and I don’t mean flag waving.  But clearly there is a lot of enthusiasm (leastways in England) for a right royal celebration and, after months/years of constraints, it’s no surprise that any excuse for letting off the pressure release valve is very welcome.  Nor is it any surprise that folks like being reminded that amongst us are some good souls who really deserve and appreciate being honoured.

The honours system (despite all the baggage of the long lost / forgotten / regretted / glorious / shameful* Empire) is a really timely reminder that we all need to say thank you a lot more often and tolerate honest endeavour rather than sink into putrid ponds of petty point-scoring.

We might contrast the cost of royalty unfavourably with the plight of those discarded from the hands we’ve been dealt in this casino of capitalism.  We might dismiss honours as a cheap sop to keep the show on the road.  Maybe those objections are pricks of conscience – the sure and certain knowledge that most of us are disengaged from any form of public duty or community concern.  But to those who are recognised, or even considered for recognition, the boost is brilliant, the honour is theirs, and unless we make that process very special it would lose its energizing value.

These things are appreciated in some unlikely quarters – the message from Northern Ireland’s First Minister designate was particularly poignant and very special.  So, look past the tabloid’s predictably type-casted ‘celebrities’ and linger on the ranks of those who dedicate their time and energy, not for fame or fortune, but for the satisfaction of making communities come together.  Jubilation thanks – we could do little without you.

*delete according to belief

Platinum Jubilee letter from Michelle O’Neill to Queen Elizabeth

Personally, I wish to thank you for your warmth and unfailing courtesy on the occasions in which both I and my late colleague, Martin McGuinness, met with you in Belfast in 2012 during your Diamond Jubilee, and thereafter at Windsor Castle during the State Visit of President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins to the UK in 2014.

I wish to record the value and respect I place on the significant contribution you have made to the advancement of peace and reconciliation between the different traditions on our island, and between our two islands during those years of the peace process.

As incoming First Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive I, like you, will take every opportunity to strengthen the bonds of friendship and renew the spirit of co-operation between those of us in the world of politics and public life from different traditions, and also the people and communities we proudly represent.