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Monday, 12 January 2009

A wet day in Birmingham

I enjoy this weather; raincoats, umbrellas, wet streets and at one point - as though he'd walked out of a Giles cartoon a sour face framed by a damp turned up collar sees me on my bicycle and, I swear, alters course towards me and when I steer away, alters course again, to savour being discommoded by 'another ruddy cyclist'. I cycled into town for a tutorial from Ash at Apple Bullring on using Final Cut Express - a more sophisticated piece of film editing software than I've been using so far; then over the road to New Street Station and a swift free train ride to Coventry and a three mile cycle along the Kenilworth Road - well protected from the drizzle - to meet Jonathan Davies on Warwick University campus, to talk about our overlapping interest in networked governance and the possibility of doing some joint research that might challenge a concept worth 12400 hits when I checked it on Google just now. Could we, in J's words, produce original research 'exploring the proposition that networked governance is better understood as a mechanism for the construction and maintenance of hegemony than as the institutional form of the differentiated polity?' * * * I found Amy on patrol the other evening. It was freezing. She'd been on duty several hours with six more to go. I cycled to Black's, got her a neck warmer and lent her my gloves - rather better than her standard issue. Later she came over to cut Oscar's dewclaws that we'd allowed to grow so long they'd turned back on themselves and were pricking their pads. Oscar trusts her especially and she'd clipped them free in seconds. Lin put Teetree on the small wounds on each dewpad. The swelling on them was down by morning. On a lot of working dogs dewclaws and pads are removed when their born, but we didn't get Oscar until he was over 3 months, by when removing dewclaws is complicated. * * * I spoke to John Martin in Australia on skype. I'd just had a morning shower; John and Annie were about to go out for the evening. John's going to film some politician-manager conversations in Australia to mix in with the films I've made, when I make another visit to run workshops later in the year. * * * * There are lots of conversations I enjoy for their tension and their potential for achieving greater wisdom and even conciliation but some are more challenging: colour inside race; mutable gender inside feminism; class inside equal opportunity; dialogue with someone who can't talk because of illness that disrupts speech; is a stranger always a danger - caring for an unknown child amid paedopanic; differentiating between anti-semitism and opposition to Israel's state policy; how to do the right thing if conversation takes a turn.... * * * * Some scamps at Greenpeace have gone and bought a little allotment astride the proposed route of the third runway at Heathrow. We've signed support to oppose its compulsory purchase.
From Greenpeace: It started like most good ideas around here, with a conversation down at the pub. And there have been many times over the last few months when I wasn't sure we were going to pull it off, but we're now the proud owners of a small piece of land within the site of the proposed third runway at Heathrow. We're expecting the government will announce that they're going ahead with expansion at Heathrow this week and we now need you to join us. Sign up now to get your own piece of the plot. It's not a financial thing, but you will be included as an owner on the legal deed of trust. Heathrow expansion isn't only an issue for those of us unfortunate enough to live on the flight path. If expansion goes ahead Heathrow will become the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the whole country. As legal owners of this plot we will take the opportunity to oppose airport expansion at every stage in the planning process. We're joined on the deeds by Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson, comedian Alistair McGowan and prospective Tory parliamentary candidate Zac Goldsmith. Along with Greenpeace UK, that's the maximum number of owners we can put on the deed, but sign up to add your name and stand beside us to resist all attempts of a compulsory purchase of the land.

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Simon Baddeley