A paragraph is a series of related sentences dealing with a single topic. 'The Paragraph' is a series of comments aimed at a single town. Boston is a small English town in 'rural' Lincolnshire. 'Rural' is a word for an area predominantly composed of dirt.
18 October, 2010
ASBO Arose from Robbing Hoodies
28 March, 2007
As of the 28th of March 2007 I have removed this post due to the abuse and threats I have been receiving from the supposed 'family' of Tommy Walden. I will however leave behind the eloquently written comments as they say so much more about the mentality of these people than I ever could.
A special mention goes to CLEWIS022@aol.com who emailed me with:
"u wanker why dont u id urself to me i am a uncle to the above and will show u how upset i am"
P.S. I have removed several 'off topic' comments, including some from myself; the general gist being the accusation that I somehow faked other peoples comments and that I am 'sad'. I found this conversation very boring and deleted it so as to avoid contributing to the general banality of existence. You can believe it to be some kind of conspiracy if you like, a sinister censorship plot if you like, believe in a god if you like, the monster in the cupboard if you like...
Cuts, Lies and Videotape
22 February, 2007
Sometimes it seems as if the weeks and months all merge into each other, and everyday brings the same repeated events as those from yesterday. Every week in the local rag - the same names, the same offences; the same drug possession, drunk driving, thieving and vicious assaults. Soon all of this will change.
Dense areas of population are considered to be the breeding grounds for crime, and Boston is increasingly becoming a more populous area. Government figures show the borough's current population to be over 58,0000 with roughly half of these living in Boston town itself. Government and local authority figures fail to show the scale of the current migrant worker population, however The Boston Community Safety Partnership - Crime Audit of 2004 suggests; "The sudden population influx has resulted in some community tensions which have spilled over into violence, damage and disorder."
So, it was comforting when Boston Borough Council's Head of Community Development, Bev Smith announced "Reducing anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime is one of the top five priorities for the Boston Community Safety Partnership".
This week we have cause to wonder what these "top five priorities" are when the council has shown its commitment to our safety by cutting down the number of eyes watching us through CCTV by half. The Council have held secret meetings, free from the public gaze to approve an 'improvement' policy where only one CCTV operator will be watching the entire town's 70 cameras. When this person has a break, has a piss or nods off, then no one will be watching out for criminal behaviour. Councillor Sandra Bakewell is either misinformed or spilling blatant lies when she says "CCTV will continue to be monitored 24 hours a day seven days a week". Clearly her statement is false since one person cannot work without taking breaks. So unless the council plans to break health and safety laws, CCTV will not be monitored 24 hours a day.
In a survey as part of the Councils Community Safety Strategy, one of the things people in Boston are most concerned about is 'levels of crime', and that 'better community safety' would improve quality of life. This is reflected in the "Priority 1" of the Community Safety Strategy as "A Safe Boston". 'Priority 2' is shown as aiming for "A Healthy Boston".
Apparently, documents leaked to The Target show plans for £166,690 worth of cut backs from the Community Safety budget. In an unlinked article in the same issue, Boston Council has set aside £172,500 additional funding to be given to the 'white elephant' that is the Princess Royal Sports Arena.
So it is unusual to see how the council is giving £172,500 to its secondary priority, yet is cutting £166,690 of funding from its supposed primary "Safe Boston" priority! Clearly they are confused about the order of their own priorities. Surely the safety of citizens must come before unused and tax-draining leisure facilities?
Since Boston was rated the Fattest Town in England, the council has certainly failed in its 'priority 2' for "A Healthy Boston". Maybe now it is attempting to spectacularly fail in its first priority of "A Safe Boston". Cutting the amount of people operating CCTV cameras is comparable to cutting the numbers of Police officers; neither will result in improvements to community safety and can only be putting our safety at risk.
Unless the council are guilty of gross incompetence, then it appears they are purposefully wishing to fail the people they are supposed to serve. Why does their passion for cuts not extend to our council tax bills and their own expenses? Why is it that they put so much effort into keeping us fat, poor and dumb victims? In November I wrote about the Council's attempts to Kill Off CCTV, but maybe it is not CCTV staff but US that are the intended victims.
Is This Still Life?
29 November, 2006
The year is 1826...
The place is Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France and Joseph Nicéphore Niépce is busy polishing a simple 16 x 20cm plate of pewter. The ingenious Frenchman paws a mysterious jar and speaks excitedly to himself - strangely in perfect English:
"Aha! yes! my work here is nearly done! Some day in England, my magical invention will be used to document the true banalities of life! AHA!".
Monsieur Niépce swiftly coats the shimmering surface of the plate with Bitumen of Judea and positions it carefully inside his camera obscura. Hours and days of burning sunlight fall upon the plate and weave a solar replication. The surface is cleansed with oil of lavender and white petroleum until an image of reality gleams from the mirror. On this day, the product of this alchemy enters the archives of human history. This is the development of the worlds first photograph.
The year is 2006...
The place is Boston, Lincolnshire and in a darkened pub an experienced photographer strokes the lens of his modern SLR camera. He is a professional; he does this for money - and for no other reason than this. Through the viewfinder the grinning faces of the local darts team swell into focus; their stiff organised posture composed with textbook perfection. Our hero fingers the focus ring, releases the shutter... and with a tiny snap another piece of his soul is flushed away.
In a darkened room the photographer washes a solution from his hands and looks down at what he has done. The image is sharp, well lit with accurate composition. All life and chaos are diffused; balance and order are maintained - just like last week, just like yesterday.. just like death.
The time is now...
The place is Boston, and Sheena rests her eyes on scenes beyond the newspaper office window. The ugly and retarded corpses of men shuffle by like the cadaverous puppets of a re-animation show. The outside door opens with an apology and the dragging steps of a photographers shoes walk their way into her solemn gaze.
The celluloid slut excuses himself and lays six inches of glossy print in front of her face. She takes it, as she always does and examines the offering for blemishes and imperfections. The item is exposed to perfection; the sharpness, the skin tones, the arrangement of faultless equilibrium - everything as it should be, and as it always is. She looks at the arms; held in the customary hand-shake pose and recalls events of a night in memory.
She remembers the hands; touching her, gripping her, hurting her. She re-lives the taste of his cock in her mouth, his over enthusiasm, her feelings of fright, her gag reflex and the unique flavour of acid.
She looks back at the picture, the same as yesterday's, the same as last week's and notices it is shit. For all of it's technical perfection, staring at is makes her feel dead inside. Here is no 'slice of life' no 'moment in time', but a cold and manufactured exercise in visual mathematics. The longer she looks at it, the more she feels her eyes being violated by its existence. She takes the exposure in her hand and pulls it into a gaping drawer. She accepts it, she always accepts it. It's just easier to say 'yes' and endure the sickness. The photographer will get his money; just like last week, just like yesterday. One day he will die... but not today.
Boston Council to 'Kill Off' CCTV
15 November, 2006
I can imagine now the thankless and downhearted life of a Boston Borough Council CCTV worker. Not only do they witness disorder, violence and depravity night after night, day after day but have to contend with their employer's attempts to steal money from their pockets and make them redundant.
This week in the Boston Standard, tucked away on the bottom of page three, we read about the council's plans to move monitoring out of town to a neighbouring authority. The diminutive article states "Boston Borough Council is considering paying surveillance units in Grantham or Lincoln to keep an eye on Boston's streets in an effort to save money". It also suggests that these plans are in direct response to an industrial tribunal from February 2006 in which council workers received years of backdated unpaid overtime; "The council recently had to pay its CCTV workers hundreds of thousands of pounds in backpay following a dispute about overtime rates"
Further study into the tribunal shows that instead of 'overtime' the payments are in fact unpaid 'unsocial hours' payments. These unsocial hours payments are higher rates of pay for council employees working at night and weekends. The council had previously attempted to unfairly swindle its own workers by not paying CCTV workers and swimming pool staff these higher rates of pay when other council employees WERE receiving them. CCTV staff had, until recently, been paid the same flat hourly rate even if they were working at night and at the weekend. The "hundreds of thousands of pounds" was actually £130,000 as pointed out in THIS Borough Council Document.
As punishment for getting what was owed to them, it seems that the council is now threatening to put CCTV workers on the dole line - with complete disregard for the safety of the public. Councillor Sandra Bakewell said "This review is part of an ongoing programme within the council to ensure we provide the best service possible" however, it remains to be seen how cutting essential services can indeed "provide the best service possible". In the Boston Target Julie Alderson, strategic finance adviser said: "Inevitably we will face some very tough decisions in the future about the whole way in which services are delivered to the public and indeed whether some services need to be provided at all."
Also this week, the Council has decided to give 2.5 million pounds from its budget to fund projects that it is not responsible for. In this article the council have outlined £2.5m to fund unnamed and unknown projects to ease traffic congestion: the responsibility of Lincolnshire County Council. Councillor Peter Bedford said "Transport is the responsibility of Lincolnshire County Council, but we are responsible for regeneration – the borough is showing its commitment to the cause by earmarking this money for projects that will support Boston's regeneration by improving the flow of traffic."
The council has, as yet: no idea how, when and what the money will be spent on. We thank you, our democratically elected council, for prioritising the use of OUR money so wisely. Should I get stabbed in the throat by a drunken council estate loser mistaking me for a Polish immigrant worker, I will feel safe in the knowledge that the ambulance driver will have a clear and signposted route to my inanimate corpse.