The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

New Milton Discussion Group

Zoom Meeting
- Tuesday 3 November 2020

The Zoom Group met on the day of the U S Presidential Election. With 3 offering apologies there were just 4 of us, with one submitting answers beforehand. With such a small group we were easily able to discuss all 5 questions in 2 hours.

When we cannot meet face to face, this is the next best thing and we hope that more people will be encouraged to join us at the next Zoom Meeting, planned for Tuesday 1 December.

Our discussions included the following:

1. “Anyone who tells you they already know the outcome of the US Presidential race isn’t worth listening to”. (Simon Marks, Washington-based Journalist.)
Can Trump win against the odds?

Simon Marks in his article in the Saga Magazine pointed out that Allan Lichtman, Professor of History at American University had predicted Biden would beat Trump. Professor Lichtman had correctly predicted the outcome of every U S Presidential election since 1984.

We discussed:

- The closeness of the vote with Biden being ahead of the national vote but it was still possible that Trump would win key states
- The unusual voting system with the electoral college and huge pre-election day voting
- The extraordinary campaign with Trump (some say appearing to catch) catching the virus himself and at campaigns attendees not adhering to social distancing or wearing masks unlike the Biden attendees
- The possibility that Trump would seek to invalidate the vote, if he lost
- The disinterest/insularity that voters in the U S have in international and some state news
- Some had given Trump cult status
- The strange paradox of extreme evangelism and gun ownership in the U S A
- The risk of reaction from militia groups

In course of typing up these notes the day after voting, the result was still too close to call.

2.With less people willing to “take a knee”, how can we all make “Black Lives Matter”?

– None of the Zoom Group tackled this question when it was down for discussion when we met at the Community Centre

We thought that change had happened slowly, e.g. the increase in Black footballers in the top flight, and would continue to do so. Though abrupt change could be achieved with pressure, e.g. In the award of film Oscars.

We thought that:

- Taking a knee was something of flag waving/a gesture
- What was more important was to educate young people at home and at school, e.g. by showing films and visiting museums
- We needed to accept that there is perceived and actual racism in this country, e.g. in the police

Some of the issues we discussed were:

- The identification of where wealth was built from slavery
- The more recent history of immigration in this country
- The extensive publicity from Black History Month
- Role Models could be useful but their celebrity status might make it difficult for them to make a useful contribution

3.Should free school meals be extended for low income families?

The Group felt that no child should go hungry and free meals, school meals in term time and meal vouchers year-round, should be provided to children of low paid families.

We thought that the money should be provided by Government to local authorities who knew their local community. Then charities could provide food in emergencies rather than being relied on.

We then went on to agree that no one should go hungry. And vouchers should be given to whole low income families. The alternative was to look again at a Universal Basic Wage set at a level where people could live rather than just survive.

We agreed that taxes would have to increase to pay for these changes.

4.Would the NFDC’s plans to introduce fortnightly collections/wheelie bins increase recycling?

In an A& T article, it was said that in the New Forest 34% of our waste is recycled as against 44% national average. 20% of our clear sacks are rejected because some material is contaminated.

The NFDC propose 2 containers for recyclables and more items to be recycled. Food waste would go into caddies (from others’ experience, lockable with compostable bags inside).

It was thought that currently waste in black bags is incinerated for energy.

We thought that:

- There were advantages in the proposals, e.g. bags not being attacked by sea gulls but
- It would be better if the scheme was clearer so that people complied, e.g. if we had the same scheme countrywide and residents had an up to date list of acceptable recyclables
- Whilst there would be an initial capital outlay, there was the possibility that weekly costs would be lower
- One disadvantage was the unsightly wheelie bins being left out
- Looking at wheelie bins in general rather than just recycling, we wondered if fortnightly collections of some bins would be sufficient

5.Saga has a new mantra: Experience is everything. Is it right?

The Group Chief Executive Officer of Saga used the mantra in a particular way to show how Saga had responded to challenging times using their experience.

They has designed their services to include features sought by its customers and provide them with exceptional experience, whether on their luxury cruises or dealing with their call centres.

We thought that this was a marketing ploy on the part of Saga!

In looking at whether the mantra could be applied more generally, we thought that experience was important if it gave us lessons learnt and wisdom.

We also thought that there were great benefits from the process of gaining experience and gathering information/evidence. So it was important to provide opportunities for people to learn, e.g. in education, particularly if there was some group learning and dialogue.

Colin Bower
5 November 2020

Link:

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