Thursday 14th of December 2017

Chat Room

It's been suggested that we have a regular time for the Chat Room. It certainly doesn't get used much, and until we get a good Instant Messenger system it's the only way we can actually touch base with one another.

To start I'm making a habit of being in the chatbox when I'm on line so people can come and say 'hi'.

Also, to start with, I'll start tonight and commit to being there every Tuesday from about 6.30pm. Please join us.

Showing that in a huge metropolis, you can also be a community

Big City Bosses: Best Practice of Exceeding the Citizens' expectations Builders, planners, salesmen, trash collectors — and political heavyweights. Meet the mayors who are making a difference Walter Veltroni really gets around. During a typical working day recently, the mayor of Rome started with a visit to a children's hospital in the morning, attended a groundbreaking ceremony at a center for the homeless in the afternoon, and then dropped in on an outpatient rehabilitation clinic on the other side of town before the day was through. The gangly, bespectacled Veltroni, 49, may look like an economics professor, but some Romans call him the Plumber because of his hands-on approach to governing the Italian capital. Like an actual plumber, though, Veltroni isn't always available when people need him, so he's set up a network of municipal employees and volunteers who make the house calls he's not able to make himself. As part of the Solidarity Pony Express, a new assistance program for senior citizens, some 500 young people hop onto their scooters every day to deliver food, medicine or company to the elderly. In another initiative, about 3,000 mostly retired people fan out across schools and parks to keep a watchful eye on children. Forum. We want to show that in a huge metropolis, you can also be a community," says Veltroni, sitting in his frescoed office at the Palazzo Senatorio, overlooking the ruins of the • Chatterboxes: Meet the mayors who are making a difference

Has Germany sold its post-war liberties for a mess of pottage? Sixty years after the end of hostilities in Europe, Günter Grass argues, global capital has ensnared parliament, and democratic progress is in danger of becoming a commodity to be bought and sold on the markets The high price of freedom

The country goes to the polls today after what many feel has been the most remote, unedifying election season ever. But when Simon Schama hit the campaign trail for the first time since he canvassed for Harold Wilson 40 years ago, the godless knockabout of British democracy felt like a breath of fresh air. And even Rousseau would have approved Now that's what I call democracy Jozef Virtual Reference