Today London saw its fourth cycle-related fatality in eight days. Cycle safety in the capital is an issue that is gaining momentum and one of the organisations leading that charge is charity Space For Cycling.
The above image of a memorial that Space For Cycling created this afternoon on the roundabout in east London where the latest causality was taken was tweeted by the charity moments ago.
The issue is causing anger and frustration as Boris Johnson, London’s Mayor, was elected in both 2008 and 2012 on a promise of improving cycle routes and safety and there is very little change since he took office.
In the 5 years since Boris Johnson was elected only 5 cycle ‘superhighways’ (read: proper bike lanes) have been created. The Mayor’s policy is to get to the point where “levels of investment are approaching those of other leading European cycling cities”.
Critics point out that given that London is Europe’s largest city by population and the number of cyclists on its streets have increased by 173 per cent since 2001, aiming to one day match funding of much smaller cities seems slightly lamentable.
The charity has stated that:
“We urgently need the government to start taking cycling as a means of transport seriously and to reallocate space so that it can be done without the conflict.”
The Conservative Party this morning released a new website and accompanying twitter hash tag #sharethefacts.
The Tory’s stated aim for the website is to:
“help us fight back by rebutting Labour’s claims, sharing what we’re doing for hardworking people, and letting everyone know the damage a Labour government would do to Britain.”
The site is optimised nicely for mobile and it enables people to easily share on social networks bite-size chunks of Conservative Party policy, rebuttal or attack.
As is almost customary these days, the hash tag has been adopted by piss-takers, deriders, opponents, wind-up merchants, jokers, bantermen, comedians and naysayers and it has gone viral and is trending across Britain.
A small sample of the tweets that force the freshly-made, delicious, social media campaign cake that the Tory’s baked for us today back into the faces of the Conservative high command are available below.
The Labour Party have released a very strong new video that attacks David Cameron and his governments management and reforms of the NHS.
It borrows from US-style attack ads in two ways:
1. The use of haunting, unsettling music combined with emphatic drum beats when key points are made.
2. Use of historical video footage of the subject of the attack making promises which is then interspersed with ‘facts’ which show the subject to have lied / failed / fallen short.
It’s great to see a British political party producing a piece of video content outside of election time that is coherent, single-minded and with decent production values.
I’m sure the Labour Party have realised in producing this piece of video that making quality content doesn’t have to be expensive. This film would not have required an external director, crew, cast, location permits, lights or cameras.
All that was needed was someone who can use a piece of video editing software and the hard work of one person to sift through the archives of footage and recordings of David Cameron to find relevant NHS commentary.
If I was the Labour Party I would use volunteers to find YouTube footage of David Cameron and George Osborne and ask them to download the files and note the time codes where they comment on areas of possible attack. Then, when the Party needs to quickly respond to something in the news agenda, the video editor has an existing archive of content which they can piece together and have published online in a matter of hours.
Us vs Th3m, a campaign group specialising in creating popular satirical websites, have released Wronga.
It’s a website that functions in a similar way to short term loans companies such as Wonga, but it gives a clearer picture as to the amount you would owe if you borrow money over a longer period of time.
For example, it highlights that if you borrow £10 from “Wronga” for 7 years you’ll owe £48,750,609,537.
It’s a clever way to bring to attention to the vast amounts of debt that users of short term loans companies might land themselves in if they miss payments.
The creative attention to detail is strong – nestled in the typical corporate-style ‘green grass in website header’ is what appears to be a steaming pile of animal faeces crawling with flies. Nice.
Chris Christie was last night re-elected as New Jersey governor with a 60-39 per cent win over Democrat Barbara Buono. The result is significant as New Jersey is a Democrat state (it voted for Obama over Romney by a margin of 18 points) but the Republican candidate won the day comfortably.
Early data shows that Christie drew substantial support from moderate and independent voters, something which the Republican Party have struggled to do on the national stage.
The accepted wisdom amongst most commentators seems to be that whilst Christie is a social conservative and economic liberal (i.e. a typical Republican) he didn’t let cultural issues didn’t come into play; there were no dog whistle politics and race didn’t come into it even tacitly.
The ad I’ve included above shows former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal endorsing Christie; not many Republicans can claim black, West Coast, sporting celebrities amongst their advocate base.
Christie’s record is also notable for the fact that he worked with Democrats such as president Obama on bipartisan issues; this is unlike the stubbornness and bloodymindedness that has been said to characterise much of the current Republican Party leadership.
Chris Christie is now seen as a front-running candidate for the Republican nomination for the White House race in 2016. Christie didn’t shy away from that fact during his acceptance speech stating:
“I know that if we can do this in Trenton, New Jersey, maybe the folks in Washington should tune into their TV sets, and see how’s done”
The Economist have released a new batch of their popular ‘Where do you stand?’ poster campaign.
Issues covered in this series are fracking, Britain’s place in the EU and the morality of electronic surveillance.
The visuals are as impressive as ever and once again I’m left thinking that both sides are right.
Since Party Conference season the battle lines for the 2015 general election are becoming increasingly clear.
The Conservative Party will point to the fact that Britain now has the fastest growing economy in Europe, is cutting the deficit and has made home-ownership a realistic possibility for significant portions of the country.
Ed Miliband’s Labour Party will claim that it is an economic recovery for the few and not the many, that there is a cost-of-living crisis and that the answer is state intervention where markets have got out of control.
I have taken a quick look back into recent political history and found some Conservative Party posters that I can foresee David Cameron adapting for his own use – see below. If anyone can recall posters that are similar to Miliband’s position I would be very interested to see them, as my research has hit a brick wall.