The Alternatives: how Preston took back control – podcast

In the first episode of our new mini-series, Aditya Chakrabortty speaks to Preston city councillor Matthew Brown about his alternative approach to keeping wealth in the local economy

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A new podcast that showcases the people and ideas in Aditya Chakrabortty’s new fortnightly column The Alternatives. Every two weeks, we’ll bring the characters – and the places in which they live – to life as we hear their alternative approaches for making the economy work for everyone.

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In 2011 Preston hit rock bottom. Then it took back control | Aditya Chakrabortty

The outlook was grim, until someone asked: why give money to multinationals in London when we can spend it locally?

The city of Preston in Lancashire dates back to Roman times. It is listed in the Domesday book as Prestune. It’s where inventor Richard Arkwright kickstarted the cotton trade. Yet ask local people to tell you its history and they jump straight to 2011. That was Preston’s year zero, when the grand schemes for the city fell apart. For more than a decade the council had bet everything on a massive shopping mall. The Tithebarn would sprawl over the city centre, cost £700m and be built by two of the biggest developers on the planet. It was going to have a Marks & Sparks, a multiplex and a huge John Lewis store. It was the lottery ticket, said the council leader. The lifeline, the turnaround, the magic bullet.

Then came the banking crash, and cranes across the country stopped dead. Businesses grew cooler on the Tithebarn until, in November 2011, John Lewis pulled out. The council found its sums no longer added up, and killed the entire scheme. Where once there was a masterplan, Preston now had a vacuum.

Has you or your community come up with answers to doing things differently? If so we’d like to hear from you.  Share your stories via this form and we’ll be in touch. 

In 2012 Preston declared itself the first Living Wage employer in the north of England

Related: Britain is being stalked by a zombie elite – time to take them on | Aditya Chakrabortty

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“Oh Yeah, 100 Percent” – Trump Tells Republican He’ll Release The Memo

After what even the mainstream-est of mainstream media admitted under duress was a solid SOTU address…

Nearly half of those who watched President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday reacted “very” positively to the speech, according to a snap CNN/SSRS poll.

According to that survey, the results of which were announced on-air on CNN, 48 percent of respondents said they had a “very positive” reaction to the speech — Trump’s first since taking office. Only 22 percent said they had a “somewhat positive” reaction to the speech, while 29 percent reacted negatively.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said that the policies outlined by the president on Tuesday would move the country in the right direction, according to the CNN/SSRS poll. By comparison, 35 percent said they would move it in the wrong direction.

Which was followed by the exact opposite from The Democratic Party’s official response…

 

It appears President Trump has managed to set another narrative as he left the House Chamber.

As Trump shook hands up the aisle after his SOTU address, Rep. Jeff Duncan called out to Trump, asking him “Let’s release the memo,” referring to the House Intelligence Committee’s FISA memo.

As the following clip shows, Trump responded instantly: “Oh yeah, don’t worry, 100%.

So that seems pretty clear.

As The Hill notes, Republican members of the committee said on Tuesday that they are working on a transcript of the closed-door vote and will release it when its finished. 

CBS News reported on Tuesday that representatives from the FBI, DOJ, National Security Agency and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are reviewing it.

Rep. Trey Gowdy said this week on Fox that the memo is “embarrassing” to Democrats. Gowdy said:

My Democratic colleagues didn’t want us to find this information. They did everything they could to keep us from finding this information. I think it will be embarrassing to Adam Schiff once people realize the extent to which he went to keep them from learning any of this. That would be the embarrassment…. if it were up to Adam Schiff, you wouldn’t know about Hillary Clinton’s email. You wouldn’t know about the server. You wouldn’t know about the dossier. I do find it ironic that he has his own memo right now because if it were up to him, we wouldn’t know any of it.

Is it any wonder Nancy Pelosi was making faces…