"Eurovia (VINCI) is a world leader in transport infrastructure construction and urban development. Thanks to our industrial network – production of aggregates and materials for road and rail infrastructure – we control our own supply chain. In addition, we provide a vast range of services, including infrastructure maintenance, design-coordination services, and expert consulting as part of public-private partnership projects."
Currently Eurovia are working on a transformation of Hull City Centre ready for its 2017 year as City of Culture.
The state of play as at Tuesday May 31, 2016, is the city centre resembles a war zone.
A necessary trip to town was on the cards Tuesday. It could not be avoided. So hubby and I trundled off to the city centre via local transport.
The local buses have a limited route to and from the town due to the ongoing works.
These works started in late October 2015. Earlier in October the Hull Daily Mail reported:
So already not good enough as it should read 100% not NINETY-five per cent.
Garry Taylor, the council's director for major projects and infrastructure, said: "We are confident 95 per cent of the public realm work will be completed by December next year.
Last winter the weather was relatively good but according to sources work is currently six-weeks behind.
During the Christmas shopping period local retailers lost money; a lot of money as chaos ensued in the city centre.
If you venture into Hull City Centre June expect inconvenience and more.
Shop-keepers continue to lose money as access to their premises is via an impromptu set of maze like paths.
Narrow areas have been left while huge central areas dug up. These large areas have resembled mud baths for some time. Little if anything ever looks much different or complete.
Today as we walked back from Whitefriargate, in front of the magnificent Ferens Art Gallery which closed in the summer of 2015 for a major City of Culture refurbishment, toward our relocated bus stop on Anne Street, we observed Eurovia workers.
Hubby counted 39 men in suitable orange work-wear and hard-hats and noted just seven were actually doing any work.
This is not a one-off.
Like many other residents who venture into the city centre even rarely these days that is par for the course.
No matter what time of day there is a great deal of hands on hips, chatting on the phone, one worker doing something while a colleague looks on talking to him and very little work-related activity.
Today we also witnessed four men. Two stood by watching talking as one man slowly applied mastic to a small oblong slab on something another worker was holding.
The paths that are left for use are in a dreadful state. It is not that long ago these were all block paved but now they all need serious attention.
At the bus stop a group of us chatted and complained about the situation.
We were told Eurovia is an out of town company and has not employed Hull workers. Instead it has brought in its own workers.
If any person at Eurovia or Hull City Council would like to comment and set the record straight please feel free.
We were left wondering why this company was chosen.
Was it the cheapest? Did it offer best value for money? Is someone, somewhere getting a mutual back scratch? Are there no local companies big enough for the job anymore?
Of course there used to be a Hull City Council City Engineer's department that carried out works in the city. My Dad worked for them on local house building decades ago.
But the Thatcher, then Tory, then Blair and then more Tory years probably ended that public sector department. It may have been watered down or outsourced.
Looking at the city centre it is difficult to see a good outcome.
We may end up with a beautiful looking city centre but how many retail outlets will have survived? How many shops are going to the wall?
A series of boarded up, empty shops will hit council revenues and could ruin the year of culture.
Closing the New Theatre and Ferens Art Gallery for more than a year each is a mixed bag. Yes we may end up with a much improved gallery and theatre but will people flock back to the city?
It may not be so easy drawing visitors back in.
City Centre retailers who have complained to the council have been shooed away. But with city centre business rates often outstripping profits that is a recipe for disaster.
It may be that money for the work was slow in coming through but either way at least for now Hull City Centre is a disgrace and there is no hiding from that truth.
The speed and quality of work appears poor so who chose Eurovia and why?
'City centre work is killing us' – Hull traders say shops may close before 2017 - Hull Daily Mail
Eurovia [The Company generates 47% of its revenues in France: 33% in Europe; 20% in Americas]
United Kingdom: transforming the 2017 U.K. City of Culture
Opinion: Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.
Those words of Bill Shakespeare may have been written years ago but they remain as true as ever; I sometimes wonder if they are an unofficial mantra of many British politicians.
If you tuned in to Marr on BBC1 or Peston on Sunday on ITV you will have watched a series of politicians, current and former leading players, ducking and diving as they spun and spun again.
Retired these days in some ways every day is Sunday for us but if you work your weekend should be too precious to waste on Sunday politics.
Even so today it was a brief watch of both shows in our household.
The big story coming out of Peston on Sunday was David Cameron is toast
According to Tory MP Nadine Dorries she is one of a number of Conservative politicians calling for Cameron to quit.
Letters are being sent to the Tory 1922 committee aiming to seal Cameron's political fate. It will need 50 letters and individuals to instigate a Tory Party leadership challenge.
PM David Cameron fought a general election in 2015 on the basis he would serve a full term, near enough, but step down sometime before the electorate goes to the polls again in 2020.
Dorries however says his position as PM and leader of the Tory Party is no longer credible. How it plays out will depend on the result of the EU in / out referendum.
She believes a vote for BRexit will result in Cameron being quickly shown the door. If we remain but the vote is close Dorries still believes Cameron will soon be removed from office.
One certainty is the Tory Party is broken beyond repair.
Dorries called David Cameron and George Osborne downright liars Sunday saying neither can realistically survive the EU referendum.
And if Ms Dorries has called it right Cameron will be replaced by dangerous buffoon Boris Johnson.
If Trump is elected the next POTUS satirists will have a field day.
Former Minister for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith, also appearing on Peston, stuck the knife in further but was non-committal on an early post EU referendum Tory Party leadership challenge.
Duncan Smith stepped down from his role at the DWP in floods of crocodile tears in order to support the BRexit campaign. His attempts at distancing himself from his ministerial role in order to play Mr Nice Guy continue to fail miserably.
Sadiq Khan on Peston was a mixed bag
What to make of Mr Khan?
For me he came across as someone trying to please everyone.
I guess that his is the right approach for a new London Mayor as he represents cross-party politics Londoners and London.
Or is it?
He was in some ways all over the place supporting Jeremy Corbyn vaguely, calling on others in the party to support him, dodging bullets fired earlier by Tony Blair, but sounding a little too familiar when talking about Chancellor Osborne and Cameron.
It was a diplomatic interview. By the end he had almost won me over.
But then there was Tony Blair
Blair popped up this weekend in the press, on radio and on the Andrew Marr Sunday but was he a welcome guest?
On Marr former PM Tony Blair tried a damage limitations exercise regarding Saturday's headlines that a Corbyn government would be a dangerous experiment, according to Tony.
Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis also appearing on Marr summed up Blair's interview by saying at the end of the show it was hesitant. Yes Blair's words were measured, scripted and spun.
His claim that his radio interview Saturday which had sparked the damning headlines on Corbyn was not directed at the Labour Party leader was bunkum.
Overall the two political shows centred on the EU ref but surely the big story is King David is dead long live whoever?
The Independent- David Cameron ‘toast within days’ if Britain votes to leave European Union, says Tory MP
The Telegraph - David Cameron facing leadership coup as Tory MP calls for him to go live on TV
Opinion: Tony Blair is all over the mainstream media Saturday preaching that Jeremy Corbyn would be a dangerous experiment for the UK if he ever became Prime Minister.
The headlines actually scream to the world "Corbyn government would be a dangerous experiment for the UK."
So presumably Blair is damning those who might opt to serve alongside Mr Corbyn in government.
Does Blair suspect an early election post the EU referendum? If not why is he speaking out now?
Could it be that Blairites within the party are re-grouping ready for a leadership challenge post the EU referendum June 23 as predicted? June 24 Labour Party members elect the party's NEC candidates and a swing to the right here could open the door to the so-called Bitterites.
The next general election is scheduled for 2020 so what's the rush Tony?
Could it be more about the long awaited Chilcot Inquiry which is finally set to be published?
Perhaps Blair is responding to a report in the Independent five days ago which claimed "Jeremy Corbyn 'still prepared to call for Tony Blair war crimes investigation'."
According to that report "During the Labour leadership election Mr Corbyn said he was convinced the Iraq War was illegal and that anyone who had committed a crime should be put on trial."
That was then spun again into "Jeremy Corbyn is prepared to call for an investigation into Tony Blair for alleged war crimes during the Iraq War, according to reports."
Reports from who or what?
Tony Blair was a successful Labour Party leader and Prime Minister if you judge him on election wins.
But for many his reputation was tarnished by the Iraq War and his commitment to watered-down Thatcher, Tory policies. I remember the warning bells ringing in my head, post the 1997 election, as Blair greeted Thatcher with undue reverence.
New Labour under Blair was swings and roundabouts. NHS waiting times were slashed but at a huge price. The minimum wage was a godsend for many low paid workers in the UK but it was hardly a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Ultimately Blair's politics moved from the centre ground over to the right and he was toast. He did opt to move on before the proverbial hit the fan but his legacy is tarnished unless you are a die-hard fan or personal friend.
So let's take a look at what he is saying Saturday
1 - "In an interview with the BBC, the former Labour prime minister said populist politicians, whether on the left like Corbyn or on the right, were worrying and he spent a lot of time thinking about how people in the centre should respond."
Presumably then Mr Blair puts himself in the centre ground of politics? The centre ground is an area awash with political parties all aiming to maintain the status quo when it comes to the establishment.
Blair refuted he was to blame for Corbyn's leadership success instead saying it was the "way of the world" these days.
2 - He said: “It’s a big challenge for the centre and, when I’m not thinking about the Middle East, I’m thinking about this because I do think, by the way, it would be a very dangerous experiment for a major western country to get gripped by this type of populist policymaking left or right, a very dangerous experiment. “I do think the centre ground needs to work out how it gets its mojo back and gets the initiative back in the political debate because otherwise these guys aren’t providing answers, not on the economy not on foreign policy."
Mr Blair was the UN's Quartet Middle East Peace Envoy from until 2015. Draw your own conclusions of that one. The Middle East is screwed.
"The Quartet are the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia. The group was established in Madrid in 2002, recalling Madrid Conference of 1991, as a result of the escalating conflict in the Middle East. Tony Blair resigned as the Quartet's Special Envoy on 27 May 2015."
And note centre politics again.
They are the ones that allow the British Royal Family to continue and prosper while imposing austerity on the rest of us. Those politics that shy away from a Mansion Tax or an increase in taxes but fail to remove a Bedroom Tax.
I always thought one thing in Blair's favour was the introduction of the Hunting Act but if mainstream media reports are correct he was not bothered either way.
BBC News adds more Saturday saying "Mr Blair said the dislike many felt for him was less to do with the Iraq War and more to do with him winning three general elections for Labour."
Mr Blair has been in the news more than once this week as yet again he said a ground war was needed to defeat ISIS.
He may or may not be right on that score.
A few certainties are:
Note from the Guardian post - A spokesman for Corbyn declined to comment.
Opinion-Jacqueline Walker is Vice Chair of the National Steering Committee of Momentum, a leading activist in Thanet Momentum, and an Executive Committee member of the LRC – but in May she was suspended from the Labour Party accused of anti-Semitism.
Friday that suspension was lifted.
This Labour Party member is one of a group of people who were appalled at the suspension of Jackie and happy that good sense has prevailed.
Living in Yorkshire I have never met Jackie but the supposed broad-church of the Labour Party makes us colleagues, comrades and friends or it should do.
Ahead of local elections in May a series of accusations and allegations of anti-Semitism against some in the Labour Party hit the mainstream media and in some cases, if not all, they were helped along by people within the Labour Party who oppose party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Jackie's prominent role in Momentum is worth noting again. Momentum was instrumental in Jeremy Corbyn's successful Labour leadership campaign of 2015.
Using or creating allegations of anti-Semitism to undermine the Labour Party leadership is surely anti-Semitic?
Ken Livingstone and Naz Shah, like Jackie, were hung out to dry in the mainstream media after social media timelines were scoured for anything that could be used; perhaps even taken out of context. In the case of Ken Livingstone a very public row, thanks to the BBC, was aided and abetted by Labour MP John Mann.
An image of Ken Livingstone at home answering the door to a man in the process of hanging an Israeli flag on said door as the media jostled led to a range of emotions including anger and sadness.
Jackie's partner, a man of Jewish faith, posted a "Personal statement re anti-Semitic allegations against the Labour Party" and those who wanted to hear what Walker had to say on the allegations were able to “Invite her to speak at your local Labour meetings."
Throughout this tough time Jackie has stayed strong and remains true to her beliefs.
She has faced social media trolls and been abused but who cares about that? Thankfully she has supporters who do care.
Best wishes are sent to Jackie who has prevailed though it took a tough fight.
Many lesser individuals including this writer would probably have walked away.
Friday Jackie spoke at a meeting in Thanet and posted the image below to silence trolls on social media.
Read Jackie's story in her words at Labour Briefing here.
Op-ed: Friday in the UK is another day on the scariest rollercoaster ride around - the should the UK quit the EU or not?
In twenty-eight days time the die will have been cast.
But as we enter the final stages of the BRemain and BRexit campaigns scare tactics rule.
The latest comes by way of the Tory government Chancellor George Osborne and is directed at pensioners.
Future pensioners are also targeted but it is more about existing pensioners, especially those aged over 65.
As always there is method in his madness as the saying goes; people aged over 65 are more likely to get out there and vote and reportedly more likely to be considering an 'out' vote.
As an exisitng pensioner I listened to Osborne with a wry smile on my face.
According to that man the value of pensions will drop in real terms and the older generation will take a serious financial hit or two.
As a so-called WASPI woman married to a man aged 65 going on 66 I had to shake my head in despair.
We are the lucky ones in some ways although both of us are excluded from the new state pension due to the years of our births. For me that costs around £60 a month though I have a couple of small occupation pensions which ease the financial burden.
But wait the Tory government is considering pension changes which will hit those small occupational pensions; they are considering changes to 'help out' British Steel.
Running true to form this Tory government want some of the most vulnerable in society to pick up the tab.
If changes are made they will be negative for existing and future pensioners whether we stay in the EU or leave.
Expect the pensions of politicians to be safeguarded though.
As for being a WASPI woman what does that mean? Basically that women born bewteeen 1950 and 1955 have been given a bum deal.
They are expected to work longer before they can retire and how long depends on their year of birth.
The goalposts have been moved and moved again putting retirement just out of reach of many women over and over again.
And more negative changes could follow.
Talk to most people and they believe the State Retirement Pension in the UK is set to become a thing of the past in the not too distant future.
Osborne's final pitch was the value of properties owned by older citizens.
Their value according to the Chancellor who was citing a Treasury report will fall.
Plenty of older citizens do not own a property. Those that do will surely not fall for Osborne's crystal ball predictions?
Most older citizens have experienced boom and bust house prices during their lives. They know that high interest rates, a lack of affordable homes, the value of properties and more is down to government and not the EU.
Our Tory government already opts to veto benefits for the people when it suits.
The EU in / out referendum is a cross political party issue.
That means you have Tory MPs trying to appeal to Labour, Green, LIB Dem, Ukip voters and more.
But this is how a self proclaimed leftie assesses that situation.
People tend to vote Conservative as they are greedy. That may be a sweeping statement as there will be other reasons but it is a valid point.
The Tories promise a return to hunting for the hunting community, high income tax cuts for the wealthy and a reduction in inheritance tax and it appeals to people's personal 'greed'.
Look at the Tory manifesto and it is full of similar promises aimed at appealing to greedy bones.
Left-wing manifestos tend to offer broader promises that offer real help to those who need it.
You may think the generalisation is off the mark but it is not.
People on the left of politics differ in many ways from those on the right.
Perhaps Osborne's scare tactics Friday will hit the mark? Perhaps more Conservative supporters are home owners?
If so playing the personal wealth scare card may work out well for Osborne.
But people are not so easily categorised.
This pensioner is a lifetime Labour supporter and voter and yes she is a home owner too.
So does she believe a word George Osborne says?
Why would she having heard him, PM David Cameron and previous Tories such as Maggie Thatcher lie and lie again.
Labour Party member Jacqueline Walker is suspended from the Labour Party accused of anti-Semitism.
Jackie has been fighting back and has taken the tough decision of attending venues as an invited guest to talk about the allegations and more.
She was scheduled to speak at the Momentum Thanet Haringey debate on anti-Semitism, racism and freedom of speech Friday May 27 but that event has been suspended.
In true biased fashion the Jewish Chronicle posted a report which begins "Momentum, a hard-left group loyal to Jeremy Corbyn, has been labelled “insensitive” for hosting an antisemitism debate on a Friday night. Jeremy Newmark, head of the Jewish Labour Movement, has criticised the group’s Haringey branch for hosting the event this Friday – arguing that observant Jews will be unable to attend because of Shabbat."
Why biased? Note the 'hard left' description of Momentum.
Even though the timing of the event had been difficult to arrange and already agreed the event has been cancelled.
But Jacqueline Walker posted on Facebook Thursday "Today, because of pressure from the Jewish Chronicle and others, Haringey Momentum decided it would be best to cancel the meeting I was to speak at as too much of the meeting would be in the Sabbath. Momentum Thanet will now be hosting tomorrow's meeting in Haringey. If you are in London please post this event as much as possible so people know it's still happening at the same time in the same venue."
One man commenting was spot on when he said "If a pro-Netanyahu rally was happening on a Friday night they wouldn't complain. Don't take the Jewish Chronicle too seriously. Most Jews don't and they stopped reading it long ago. It has a small declining readership, it represents the most conservative and insular and unquestioning elements in the community. It is currently edited by its most right wing editor ever - a UKIP - friendly Tory called Stephen Pollard who they picked up after he fell out with the Daily Express."
This is the motion passed by Jeremy Corbyn's constituency. - please share everywhere