Editor : David Kernek (kernekdavid@gmail.com)

Monthly Archive: December 2020

On the move - Bath, England

Picture by Geoffrey Breeze

Conspiracy Corner

From Guido Fawkes – Order-Order

A conspiratorial row about the baseless negative health effects of 5G masts proposed for erection in Bath has seen local LibDem MP Wera Hobhouse fan the flames of the tinfoil hat brigade. Local groups arguing to the council that the masts pose “a threat to health” have been bolstered by calls from Mrs Hobhouse for them to be listened to – despite, in the words of Digital Minister Matt Warman, there being “no credible scientific basis that 5G has an adverse impact on people’s health”. A year after trying to stop Brexit, Guido supposes she was desperate to find a new conspiracy cause to lose the plot over…

When confronted by the BBC, Wera claims she has finally conceded the masts are safe, however given “the widespread concern… [I] believe it may be worth applying a precautionary principle”. When Mrs Hobhouse says “widespread concern”, she means the total 300 objections from a city of 90,000 people…


There are folks, of course, who are sure Covid-19 vaccines contain micro-chips that will enable Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos to control the planet – as if they don’t already. Some of them might be those who are also sure that Jesus visited North America.

Clean Air design fault …

If Bath Council wants people to take its almost religious zeal for its Clean Air Programme seriously it might have to do better than this strange effort in the art and design department.

It features a floating zone on which can be seen Stonehenge, a hot air balloon, a lighthouse, a waterfall, something that might be Pulteney Bridge, a nice lake and, very bafflingly oddly, The Angel of the North. Who wanted that in? Or any of it?

Opera on the street

Raging against the Plague? Angered by Bath Council’s on-street car-parking cuts? No, she’s the town’s opera busker.

Picture by Geoffrey Breeze.

Wanted: A cop shop for Bath

Mark Shelford – a former Tory Bath councillor and the Conservative Party’s Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) Candidate for Avon & Somerset – says he is ‘delighted the government has recognized the hard work of the Avon and Somerset Police with an extra £17.8 million in funding next year’.

Of course he is; who wouldn’t be undelighted?

Never mind that the creation – by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government – of directly-elected PCCs has politicized policing. The damage has been done, and won’t be remedied until the posts are abolished. That might take some time. A more pressing question is: how is that £17.8 million to be spent?

Here’s something to kick off the list: Bath, by a country mile Somerset’s largest town, has not had a kosher 24/7 police station since 2015, when the Manvers Street cop shop was sold to the University of Bath for £7 million. Police currently have a part-time presence in Bath council’s One Stop Shop and also work from offices in Lower Bristol Road. The ‘custody suite’ – them’s the cells – is based in Keynsham, 9.5 miles distant.

That £17.8 million, then? Some of it should be used for the restoration of a full-time station in Bath, where there’s likely next year to be no shortage of large, empty buildings on the market at firesale prices. Perhaps the University of Bath might be a potential seller?

Bath art on show …

Bath Contemporary Art Fair – picture by Geoffrey Breeze

Shared Experience with Meghan & Harry

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have signed a multi-year deal with Spotify

through their newly-formed production company Archewell Audio. The couple plan to host and produce podcasts that uplift and entertain audiences.

Meghan and Harry said in a statement: ‘What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction. With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other’s stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are.’

Their first offering will be released later this month, a holiday special hosted by the Sussexes that will feature ‘stories of hope and compassion’ from guests. The pair will host and produce podcasts that ‘build community through shared experience, narratives and values’.

Christmas crush at Bath’s PO

The standard of service at Bath’s ‘main’ Post Office has deteriorated steadily since the privatization by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government of the Royal Mail in 2013. Now outsourced and on the 1st floor of WH Smith’s in Bath, service there, with rarely more than two counter staff, reached a nadir even before the Covid-19 emergency. Christmas was certain to test the patience and resilience of staff and customers, as this unsurprising outburst of publishable anger today on local online forums demonstrates.  

‘45min + waiting time in there at the moment … large chunks of time with only two people manning the service point. It’s very badly run.’

‘I find the lack of fundamentals in Bath astonishing: a dedicated central, main post office building and a visible, centrally located police station … I am sure the list could be added to. I am pro-students, I am also pro-tourists. They help to create a diverse, vibrant community BUT ignoring the needs of the local community is just stupid.’

‘It’s a dreadful service in central Bath. Feel sorry for the staff, too.’

‘Prepare yourself. For a very long queue … its madness having a post office in there.’

‘Went in at 9 this morning, got out at 10.10!’

‘I find a city without a proper PO and police station unbelievable.’

‘Sadly, the Royal Mail is now run by an incompetent management … stupid Cameron allowing it to be sold off.’

‘Oh my god. Avoid the post office in town if you can. Mid-Christmas rush, they had only three staff on. One of them I think was a manager, except he didn’t know where anything was. I queued for 45 minutes. The lady in front queued the same, to buy some insurance which, when she did make it to a counter, they said they either didn’t know how to issue to her or they didn’t actually sell that kind of insurance. She started yelling at the staff, and at the poor junior who was assisting at the self-help machine and who was then in floods of tears. The Post Office and WH Smith should be utterly embarrassed at the absolute car crash situation they have created.’

‘The once great post office is a shambles.’

There are, of course, suburban sub-post offices, but these in the main have been outsourced to grocery shops which are also insufficiently staffed.

The Lib Dem minister responsible for flogging the Royal Mail was Vince Cable. His reward? … a knighthood. Well done, Sir Vince!

Bath masked ..

Pictures by Geoffrey Breeze …