Monthly Archives: April 2010

No Icelandic Dust!

Farmers Market is buzzing today. First time I’ve ever seen this sign though. No market next week due to the London Marathon.

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Will you allow your medical records into the NHS Database?

NHS opt out medical records

Yesterday I received a slightly scary looking letter from Lewisham NHS primary care trust. It asks whether I will be happy to allow my basic medical information (the “Summary Care Record”) to be uploaded into the Spine- the massive NHS IT project to centralise medical records.

I’m really not sure what to do about this. If any of you are doctors or work the medical profession, what are you advising people to do?

On the one hand, if I fall Ill somewhere in the UK, it would be useful for a doctor to be able to quickly get to my data. On the other hand, I’m very concerned that data can be easily re-sold to private companies in the future (who knows what could happen?) and I don’t want insurance companies to be able to sell my details between themselves.

Also my wife didn’t receive a letter, even though we’re both registered at the same surgery, and live at the same address…

I’m really in a quandry. Please advise!

UPDATE: Her letter came the next day.  To opt out, you have to print this PDF form out, and return it to your GP’s surgery.

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Lewisham gets proper hustings, Blackheath not so lucky

Voters in the Lewisham Deptford constituency will be able to meet all of their main candidates in a room debating with each other. Whereas we seem to be getting one prospective MP from Greenwich Woolwich, one from Eltham, and another from Lewisham East, as mentioned yesterday. It’s a very strange arrangement.

UPDATE: There’s also a proper hustings planned in Eltham on 28th April. Thanks to Raven and the London Masala and Chips Blog.

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Speak to your local politicians

If glaring at them as you enter the station isn’t doing it for you, you’ll have an opportunity to put questions directly to (some of) them, as Blackheath Halls is holding a Hustings event on Monday 26th April 2010, 7.30 – 9.30 pm.

Free entry, and the following prospective candidates will be there:

David Gold – Conservative, Eltham
Pete Pattisson – Liberal Democrat, Lewisham East
Nick Raynsford – Labour, Greenwich and Woolwich

Independent commentators:
Malcolm Levitt – economist
John Palmer – political journalist
In the chair – Sir Ian Mills

Seems very odd to me that they are all from different constituencies, so there won’t be any easy to see differences between politicians in your own voting area.

Send me better links if you have them – (Malcolm Levitt’s Google Juice appears to be rather low).

PDF from Blackheath Society Blackheath Halls Hustings.

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Blackheath Bike and Kite Festival 2010


With the weather feeling sunnier, here’s something to cheer you up! The Blackheath Bike and Kite Festival is approaching (12th & 13th June), and Lewisham Council have made a video to promote it on their youtube channel (did you know they had a youtube channel?!).

If you fancy a stall, you can download the form and request one, if you’ve got between £100-£250 to spare. Looking forward to seeing SouthEastern’s stall….

Here are some photos and a video from the 2009 Bike and Kite Festival, in case you’d forgotten what it was like.

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Booze, cars, trains, and a very pale shade of red

Heidi Alexander, one of the local Labour councillors has just posted an article on her campaign page called Key issues in Blackheath. She reiterates that the local council and MPs are “talking to SouthEastern”. It’s patently obvious to everyone, including SouthEastern’s boss Charles Horton, that she shouldn’t waste her breath. There are only two sets of people who exert any influence on the train companies: their shareholders, and the small group of MPs who get to draw up the Charter between the train operating companies, National Rail, and the government.

A true Labour party would make sure that a public railway service should be affordable and “better” in every sense than the equivalent car journey. I’m sure the local councillors (of all colours) really do want a better rail service for their constituents, but the game is rigged against them. They’re shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic.

On parking and boozing (or BHA and CIZ as they are known in council circles), they have more impact. And it’s a good thing that they’ve made it harder for pubs to obtain late licenses, but what about the bloody trains?! Really, this post just demonstrates how toothless local councils are against national government.

And as for the Library, I’m really worried. Every time we hear from anyone in the council talking about the future of Blackheath library, they always couch in such careful language:

Decisions about the future of Blackheath Library would ultimately be one for the Mayor of Lewisham to take but should we be elected as local representatives, we would want to see Blackheath Library remain open with adequate funds.

I seriously wonder what will happen to that library when all the major parties stop pretending that the billions of pounds handed to the banks won’t come from public service cuts.

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Is this new?

Your Speed flashing mph smiley face sign
I’m sure this flashing “smiley face / speed in mph” indicator never used to be there. Or have I just not been looking? Up near Costa Coffee.

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