Just a note, to flag up our collective [and I know it is collective] thanks for all of the work Ken of the Heed [to give him his formal title] has been doing.
In addition to his massive photographic contributions, which must burn their way through many memory cards, he has done a massive amount of work in monitoring planning applications etc.
Those planning application heads ups mean that we are often months head of readers of the local press, they mean that on the off chance someone wants to build something silly we hear about it here first.
NCC [and I suspect others, though I have less experience] are sometimes a bit C- when it comes to keeping citizens in the loop, Ken's postings at least for us go some way to countering that.
Power surge caused chaos around the country on 09/08/19
Chronicle Live website article from 10/08/19 giving some information about the power outage on the early evening of 09/08/19 due to 2 "power stations" shutting down within a few minutes cutting their supply to the national grid and causing automatic shut down procedures to operate (and also about an unrelated cable problem affecting around 700 properties)
Around 700 North East homes without electricity a day after power surge caused chaos around the country
In the North East, 100,000 homes and businesses were affected with the Metro unable to run between Airport and Regent Centre due to the cut.
Newcastle Airport was also plunged into darkness for around 15 minutes with one traveller reporting that "various alarms were going off".
Traffic lights also went down and trains heading to and from London Kings Cross were severely disrupted as LNER urged passengers not to travel.
Telephone Box removals across various part of the region covered by North East England Forum
On Northumberland County Council Planning Portal 79 planning applications on topic of "remove phone box" covering all areas of the county from the likes of low population areas like Kielder into the more populated areas like Berwick, Haltwhistle, Blyth and Ashington
EXTRACT of 1st on list
Proposal to remove phone box 01661836286
O/S Kwik Save Store PCO1 Front Street Prudhoe NE42 5PU
Map of UK statues that celebrate slavery and racism
Now this is obviously a subject that is very difficult to openly discuss, and tensions are particularly inflamed. I am deeply fearful that the polarisation effect of social media sees any legitimate criticism instead interpreted as a declaration of hatred.
It's one thing to rightfully tear down the statue of a literal slave trader, directly responsible for thousands of deaths and enslavement, but its another thing to tear down a statue based upon the terms in which a former Prime Minister repealed Slavery, or a former arms trader that sold weapons, is for me taking the fight way too far.
We have to understand that in this world, that people are both and indeed both undertake deep evils and incredible goods. We cannot label historical figures as literally good or bad just because of association. We have to make a considered judgement together whether they were active in deplorable activities, or indeed, were associated as a consequence of the economics of the time.
Lord Earl Grey's achievements in literally banning slavery in the British Empire outweigh the necessary evils he felt was required to get the bill through Parliament, and William Armstrong is too tenuous a circumstantial link. This website is deliberately provocative to engender a response, but risks alienating us all to the collaborative and restitutional spirit we need as a society to move on from this.
Wearing momentarily a non mod hat I agree with you. Most here will see that I am a pinko, left leaning Guardian reader [with a verrrrrry odd heritage that makes me sensitive to some of this stuff].
Statues to slave traders belong at best in museums [or perhaps arguably with some pretty heavy duty additional interpretive information as to why they were not very nice people parked beside 'em]. Why there is a debate about that is... baffling.
However as you rightly say knocking down statues with a more tenuous link to objectionable history is a different matter. The objection to the Armstrong statues reads [my emphasis] 'North East based arms trader who sold guns to Confederacy and Union armies during US Civil War.'
Now if it read 'North East based arms trader who sold guns only to Confederacy but refused to supply Union armies during US Civil War one might have reason to question what he was up to and hold your nose as you walk past. So far as I can tell he sold guns to anyone with a chequebook [the same can be said about the arms trade today].
I stand to be corrected but as far as I understand it the NE didn't have much involvement with the slave trade. I am sure that there were slaves here, and god knows that's bad enough but at least we don't have the history that Liverpool, Glasgow and Bristol have.
There's a pub in the groat market with a troubling name but apparently it's actually because it was a smithy that used to sell beer.
So there are some near absolutes in public commemoration, others are more nuanced. As a republican I can list the misdeeds of many monarchs parked in squares and on street names, given the choice I d have 'em in a sculpture park of the type Mrs NP loves visiting with me in Moscow, Sofia or Budapest [she doesn't really...check out the body language...], but they won't be coming down soon.
There's an anecdote [you might be familiar with] of Robin Cook, who was a republican and believer in an 'ethical foreign policy' as foreign secretary. As a good republican he decorated his office with a painting of Cromwell.... until he was visited by the Irish foreign minister - to whom Cromwell was the equivalent of Eichmann.
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