Musings From The Padded Cell

Bradford – A Complex Problem

“Today’s public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can’t read them either.”
Gore Vidal

We’ve not had one for a while so, just to keep the local printers busy, here’s another grand plan from the author of numerous similar acts of fantasy and fiction over decades – Bradford Council.

The cynics amongst you might note that local elections are due in May.

Growing up, I remember a campaign entitled Bradford’s Bouncing Back, so old now that if you search for it on the local rag’s website, there is no mention. It had that kind of effect too, so far as I remember.

Since then there have been numerous grand plans, endless architect’s drawings drooled over by simple councillors, many pockets lined, a golden age for consultants quick to see a city on it’s uppers.

For all it’s issues – and there are many – Bradfordians remain genuinely warm, funny plus are often talented and intelligent. The district has produced many great people.

Sadly, few of them have been in civic office, certainly since we failed to start bouncing anywhere other than on our backsides.

Our current leader, Hapless Hinchcliffe, was “elected” almost two years ago and said at the time.

“I want to take us to the next level. As a Bradfordian who has had great opportunities from a comprehensive education and upbringing here, I want even better for future generations.”

It is fair to say that few notice what impression she has made in that time albeit, in the interests of balance, many issues are deep rooted, way beyond sound bites.

So now we have yet another grand plan announced here with Hapless and Cllr ARS fronting this.

The T&A report with Pyongyang style zeal a plan to “…boost Bradford’s economy by £4 billion over the next 12 years and get 20,000 more people into work…to boost the district’s economy by 40 per cent by 2030…raising the value of Bradford’s economy from £10bn to £14bn”

{If you have a quiet weekend coming up you can read it here in full}

It is worth pointing out that if inflation averaged 2.5% per annum over that period then the true growth needed to hit this goal would only be around 5%; which…is Pyongyang.

Trawling through the comments attached to the press article, one succinctly reinforces many arguments I have made in the past about the orgy of housebuilding that has gone on in parts of Bradford in recent years.

“At 2017 the population was estimated as being 537K and the projection for 2030 is that it will reach 565K. That’s a total population increase of just 28 thousand, many of whom will be children. Now, given those figures could the Council explain why it is planning for 2,200 to 2,806 new homes per annum (which figure you get depends on which Council documents you read).

Even the lower of these two housebuilding targets would deliver more than one new home for every new person (the children would each have a home of their own!)”

There are also other studies that suggest an alternative outcome re population growth – see here.

The housebuilders have had Councils up and down the country by their tails, cherry-picking sites.

In Bradford’s case huge swathes of brownfield land remain barren as CEOs of the big boys chase their obscene bonuses with a supine and complicit Council. It has been a failure of the people.

The plan talks of a retail park on the site of the Richard Dunn Sports Centre. The proceeds here were promised to part-fund the new swimming pools, one located on political expediency rather than sporting need to further damage any belief in the Council.

Take time to wade through the readers’ comments – save for the usual deranged elements – and you will see a city hardly full of confidence in Hapless who is up for re-election next year.

Bradford’s problems are many and varied though. Some were intelligently illustrated by Dame Louise Casey’s comprehensive 2016 report – another one for a quiet weekend – brushed away by Hapless.

With uncanny timing the Government announced only this week that Bradford was to be one of five pilot areas for new Government proposals to encourage social integration.

In response Ishtaq Ahmed, a spokesman for the Bradford Council of Mosques, said Bradford’s problems are due to a lack of investment, not integration. This is pitiful and delusional rubbish.

Only if we are honest about the issues we face as a city can we start to tackle them and to deny debate only serves to breed mistrust.

Everyday concerns such as crime, law and order plus public services and education are far more important than another round of social tinkering to satisfy Westminster.

The reality is that Mr and Mrs Unseen-Unheard of Bradford believe there to be different rules applying across the city.

Until local politicians learn how to be honest with the people they serve, they can produce as many glossy reports as they like. The fact that this one straddles such a long period is naive, disingenuous and ultimately meaningless.

The Trumpit

Rupert Murdoch considers selling his UK media empire as The Trumpit relaunches

Our advertising team – me – hiked it around the village this week to spread the word ahead of our June re-launch. Never could I have imagined so many nail bars, tanning salons and hairdressers all warmer than my greenhouse in August.

If you know any local businesses that want a good value advertising platform then contact me.

Readers’ Letters

Available…at a price

Here’s an edited extract from comments made recently by one of this column’s loyal readers re the Winter Olympics.

“5 medals 18th placed for £28m ****ing joke. Nobody really believes this will make people go out and become active. At some point the funding model will have to be rejigged, predicated on accessibility, the potential to grow, to contribute in everyday terms to the common good.

One place to start would be with a move away from the flag-waving, the GB medal obsession, the pretence that all is nice in the nicest possible world, captured in these Games by a BBC team that is just a change of outfit, a plastered smile, a dance routine away from our own version of the North Korean cheerleading cult.”

As I’ve argued for years here, the flood of your money through the purchase of lottery tickets, is being poured down a large drain. These are enormous sums of money being spent to achieve a modest and temporary return.

When kids are getting fatter every year because schools cannot afford either PE teachers or equipment, what sense to fund a middle-class kid to go snowboarding for four years?

And if you want this reaffirming try this piece from The Guardian which is a refreshing throwback.

More Patronising Bastards

Have you heard the Ariel Gel radio advert? It features a local hero named “Ned” who, in the eyes of some poncy ad agency, is a borderline retard battling the elements and shit copy-writers.

Ned is a Yorkshire postman “who delivers post in freezing Yorkshire” simpers the voiceover. The ad lauds the ability of Ariel to tackle muddy socks; isn’t that what a washing powder should do?

“It’s a bit parky out here at minus four or five!” says Ned. I presume Southern versions have translations available.

This also suggests that this is special mud which does not freeze and that Ned only delivers post across fields of the stuff.

In a response to the cold weather Ned, complete with a laughable Yorkshire accent, promises to “pull me socks up and crack on!” Not if they are frozen you idiot.

It is true that advertising does influence purchasing behaviour and this is a case in point. For to purchase Ariel will only convince simpletons who conceive patronising crap like this that it works.

Must get out more!

One Hundred Years Ago

Nothing changes?

Temperance was being urged amongst women – see here – back in another age.

The great bulk of their young men had gone but their places in the public houses had been taken in many instances by women.He thought it was one of the saddest features of life, particularly when they noticed the great efforts that woman was making for her emancipation…that…many of the sex were giving way to the temptations of the drink.

Time for a beer then.

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  1. Reg Nelson says:

    I hope you get sufficient readers to make your literate musings worth the obvious time taken. I can only suggest that the majority of Bradfordians are at one with you but also form the Silent Majority who are absent in a debate dominated by the political Left.

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