Musings From The Padded Cell

Barney And The Prickly Bush

“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Anybody who watched the BBC’s Panorama – Police Under Pressure will have doubtless watched with dismay.

Inevitably, Bradford was highlighted as part of West Yorkshire Police’s challenge to keep order on our streets. Whatever your view of the police there is no doubt that we simply do not have enough of them.

And when you see highly emotive things like below, any rational person would wonder how we got ourselves in this state.

All in it together?

Austerity was a necessity borne of politicians inability to balance the books. It is clearly time to take a fresh look as the very fabric of our society is placed under threat by a criminal fraternity getting younger every year.

That we blow £12bn a year and often have no idea where this ends up is a disgrace. Even a 10% switch in this bloated do-gooders budget to the police would surely have an impact where it matters most.

The Hundred

As English Cricket’s Chairman Colin Graves spouted that young kids are “just not attracted to cricket” to promote another stocking filler for Sky – see here – down in the rotting basement of club cricket, a tale to truly tickle.

Our near neighbours Hepworth Idle CC – otherwise known as The Tracksuits – have a few ex-Villas lads in their Dead Men X1. Last week they were playing Embsay.

I spotted this in the local rag

Gary Orrell and Paul Haigh helped Hepworth & Idle II to amass 244-7 at home to previously undefeated Embsay II and the visitors were skittled for just 143 in reply.

Realising that Paul was really ex-Villas Phil “Barney” Haigh, I awaited tales of his heroics in The Scruffy; a few beers did the trick. Bear in mind that Phil is the wrong side of 50 and Gary a sprightly 71.

Barney described the opposition bowlers.

“They ‘ad a 13 year old and his grandad!” he said “And the old man was quicker than the lad!

What threat did they pose I asked.

“Only problem we ‘ad was me and Gary were four pints to the good before we batted!” said Barney giving an insight into the preparation for today’s club cricketer. “I were desperate for a pee!”

I asked Gary for a comment but he’d still not got his breath back six days later. He wrote down that he was looking forward to the 11.30 meet in the morning for a few pints before a trip to Sutton-in-Craven.

They had nominated previously thrice-retired – “I’m never playing again” – Macca as designated driver on the basis that he is crap sober or pissed.

Club legend Pedders had also been pulled from his garden chair to make the team again.

Sadly, Barney’s pre-match preparation went awry. On the way home he tripped up over a fence, fell into a bed of nettles and awoke Saturday looking as if he had a return of teenage acne.


A resounding win and a 31 ball undefeated 29 for Barney despite stinking of calamine lotion and looking like a spotty 13 year-old.

One Hundred Years Ago

A look at a different world here in this wonderful archive.

Bradford’s Idiotic Housing Policy: Where Return On Capital Trumps Social Need

Hapless Hinchcliffe

We are told that Bradford has a chronic shortage of housing, hence an idiotic plan that has approved 42,000 new houses up to 2030. There is an acute shortage of affordable housing which is why any sane person would question the following.

Take a look at this piece which describes plans to demolish five tower blocks close to central Bradford.

This is not a party political view as neither the Conservatives nor Labour come out of this with any credibility.

Sure enough the Manchester Road flats are not design masterpieces but they should be low-cost, affordable homes in a low wage city. So why knock them down?

Incommunities Group Ltd was established in 2001 and is now a £100m plus turnover operation. It has substantial debt levels and has lost money after tax in each of the last two financial years.

And here follows some corporate guff.

We are one of the largest social housing providers in the UK and formed in 2003 after a stock transfer from Bradford Council. Our main business is to provide and maintain affordable high quality housing for our neighbourhoods.

The blocks were built in the 1960s but have been modernised in recent years so should be ideal stock for Incommunities. But reading some intelligent readers’ comments, you get a far better understanding of the bizarre issues here and the law of unintended consequences.

Most of the flats are two-bedrooms but the Government’s bedroom tax coupled with benefit reductions have meant these have become unaffordable to those that need them most; single occupants. As one reader points out:

“…if they are moved on to private one bedroomed tenancies (they) may well have to pay more rent but because they only have one bedroom the housing benefit will match it. It looks as though an ill thought out Government Policy may be driving an increase in the housing benefit bill and a loss of social housing.”


Now I am not suggesting a Corbynite torrent of state money but, as one reader points out with a clarity well beyond that of your average local councillor there is a commercially viable solution here.

“…why not simply remove a bedroom wall and create a larger living area? Everybody’s happy then, except Incommunities of course who want to asset strip these flats as they have done elsewhere.”

Logical? Perhaps not if you need to boost your rent roll.

Surely this would be far better solution than dumping people further into poverty. And as a provider of social housing Incommunities remit should be just that.

Incommunities and Bradford Council ought to have a few semi-intelligent people in their organisations to see that knocking down these blocks simply makes no sense at all.

And Finally

Villas poster boy Louis Brown

“Controversy” rages as a local school plans a shake up of hours – see here – with an early Friday finish. Head of PE Louis Brown, in an exclusive interview with the Idlelord, commented.

“Finishing at normal time just doesn’t give me time to get ready for the weekend. I mean, do you know how long a sunbed, manicure and facial takes these days?”

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  1. Ron Hutchinson says:

    Re: Police under Pressure

    I am sure you realise the BBC use only the footage that supports their biased message.

    I understand the majority of filming that was edited out showed a positive view of our local police.

    However I fully support the suggested budget reallocation.

  2. If school finishes at a ridiculously early 2.45pm every day does that not leave a good 2 & 3/4hrs of a regular working day remaining for “professional development time”! The rest of us seem to fit that in without the luxury of short days/weeks.

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