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Archives for February 2010

Remembering Cy Grant

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Kurt Barling | 16:28 UK time, Sunday, 28 February 2010

Cy Grant has died after a brief illness at the age of 90. He was born on November 8 1919.

Back in 2007 the Museum in Docklands launched its controversial permanent exhibit of London's considerable role in the Slave Trade.

The great-grandson of a Guyanese slave, Cy Grant, was on hand to dispense wisdom and a famous face, as is the way with modern marketing. But it didn't take long in conversation to realize that the first black man to appear regularly on the BBC was a multi-layered talent who'd navigated an extra-ordinary personal journey through life.

He told me about a recent set of correspondence with a Dutchman who'd been trying to track down the location of his Lancaster and the surviving crew, Cy was the Lancaster's navigator.

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Why Vauxhall matters

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Kurt Barling | 13:26 UK time, Monday, 15 February 2010

The world of motor manufacturing in London and the South East is dealt another body blow. This slimming-down sector looks increasingly anorexic.

Vauxhall Motors moved from Vauxhall on the South Bank of the Thames to Luton, Bedfordshire in 1905. It needed space to expand and it became one of the few giants of motor manufacturing outside of the Midlands. General Motors took over the company in 1925. It has been one of the principal employers and generators of wealth in the town ever since.

So when it is announced that around 25% of the Luton workforce is to be shed in its latest round of cuts it's a big deal. Here are the raw figures 369 of the 1411 current workforce will lose their jobs. 154 administration workers will also go nationwide. Overall Vauxhall management say nationally with 11% cuts they have got away lightly.

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Closure needed for Pc Blakelock's widow and Tottenham

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Kurt Barling | 09:51 UK time, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

So, a fresh arrest in one of the longest running murder inquiries by the Metropolitan Police.

Having promised Elizabeth Johnson, the widow of PC Keith Blakelock, never to give up the hunt for his killers, Detective Superintendent John Sweeney has been true to his word.

The arrest of a 40-year-old man in Bury St Edmunds has come from a combination of intelligence and fresh witness statements naming specific individuals.

The sequence of events on 6 October 1985 that ended with the murder of PC Blakelock was sparked by the death from a heart-attack of a middle-aged mother, Cynthia Jarrett, during a police raid on her home.

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More local powers must mean more scrutiny too

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Kurt Barling | 15:42 UK time, Monday, 8 February 2010

An election looms. In fact if you live in London a couple of elections loom. As always, London seats will be key battlegrounds in the general election, but at the same time council chambers are also up for voter scrutiny.

With Parliament facing unprecedented, in recent times, criticism, local authorities are becoming ever more important in delivering open and accountable government.

Even if we are technically out of a recession, most economic forecasters expect the outlook to remain pretty turbulent for the first part of the next government's term.

In particular, public finances are in such a trough that some kind of limitation on public services seems inevitable. More for less is once again the watchword for local service providers.

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