Autumn 2016 St Paul Ward Focus

Topics include:

  • Station Approach
  • Station Area Parking
  • New Tory ‘Tip Tax’
  • Our crossing campaigns
  • The local vote to ‘remain’
  • Air Quality
  • Grammar Schools
  • Safer Routes to School

Download St Paul ward Autumn 2016 Focus (pdf, 4.8MB)

Posted in Air Quality, Education, Parking, Recycling, St Paul, Station Approach, Winchester | Leave a comment

Making Shopify work with UK Gift Aid

At the Men’s Health Forum, we’ve been using Shopify for a while now and we really love it.

They have a great value non-profit rate (if you ask nicely). It’s great for handling trading. It’s great for handling digital downloads. All we needed was for it to handle donations and we were done!

The good news is that there’s a pretty straightforward way of doing it by using Shopify’s approach to collecting customisation information – as outlined here.

To make a Shopify product page work for donations we wanted to do three things:

  • Ask about Gift Aid
  • Remove the quantity selector
  • Put the description above the area where people select the donation

You can do all of this by working your way through the customisation page – with a few tweaks along the way.

  1. Create a new template for donations
    Take the same approach as Shopify outline for customisable products – although I called my page donation instead of customizable.
  2. Add customisable form fields that ask about Gift Aid.
    The code I used for this was:

         <h3>Gift Aid</h3>
         <p><strong>Boost your donation by 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate. </strong>Please treat as Gift Aid donations all qualifying gifts of money made: </p>
         <p><input type="checkbox" id="giftaid-today" name="properties[Include Gift Aid made on donations today]" value="Yes"/> <label class="inline" for="giftaid-today">Today</label></p>
         <p><input type="checkbox" id="giftaid-p4y" name="properties[Include Gift Aid made on donations in the past 4 years]" value="Yes"/> <label class="inline" for="giftaid-today">In the past 4 years</label></p>
         <p><input type="checkbox" id="giftaid-future" name="properties[Include Gift Aid made on donations in the future]" value="Yes"/> <label class="inline" for="giftaid-today">In the future</label></p>
         <p id="taxstatement"><small>I confirm I have paid or will pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year (6 April to 5 April) that is at least equal to the amount of tax that all the charities or Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) that I donate to will reclaim on my gifts for that tax year. I understand that other taxes such as VAT and Council Tax do not qualify. I understand the charity will reclaim 28p of tax on every £1 that I gave up to 5 April 2008 and will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 that I give on or after 6 April 2008.</small></p>

    The relatively long name descriptors are needed to make the shopping cart and payment pages look sensible when your visitors check out.

  3. Remove the quantity selector
    Just replace the selector code with a hidden input field. Specifically, replace:

    <div class="product-single__quantity{% unless settings.product_quantity_enable %} is-hidden{% endunless %}">
         <label for="Quantity">{{ 'products.product.quantity' | t }}</label>
         <input type="number" id="Quantity" name="quantity" value="1" min="1" class="quantity-selector"/>


    <input type="hidden" id=Quantity" name="quantity" value="1" min="1" class="quantity-selector" />
  4. Add a bit of JavaScript to hide the Gift Aid text until needed.
    I added the following inside the final script tag:

    var countChecked = function() {
         var n = $( "input:checked" ).length;
         if( n == 0 ) {
         } else {
    jQuery( "input[type=checkbox]" ).on( "click", countChecked );
  5. Reorder the page until you have it how you want it.
    I moved:

    <div class="product-description rte" itemprop="description">
         {{ product.description }}

    just below the form tag:

  6. Create a new product in Shopify as you would do normally, but select product.donation as the template suffix (in the bottom right of the page). The end result should look something like this.

Er. That’s it. Comments and suggested improvements welcome.

Posted in Charity, Gift Aid, Shopify | Leave a comment

Letter to the Hampshire Chronicle about Station Approach

This followed a letter from the Hampshire Chambers of Commerce which totally missed the point of what was discussed by the council…


Nobody opposed the scheme for station approach because they opposed having new offices in the city.  Councillors opposed it because it was a poor design that was slammed by the independent jury, crammed far too much onto the site, was set to create disastrous congestion and air pollution, and would ruin the appearance of the town for people arriving in Winchester.

The argument put forward by Stephen Gates on behalf of the Hampshire Chambers of Commerce last week is the same one that made the Brooks happen. Something needs to be done. This is something. Therefore it should happen.

The problem with that argument is that it sets absolutely no standards at all for the quality of design and impact on the area.

Let’s not forget how mediocre the scores given to this design by the independent and expert design jury appointed by the council actually were.  Nothing about the scheme was scored as excellent. Nothing about the scheme was even scored as good.  And several aspects of the scheme were marked as less than satisfactory.

And that’s on top of the scheme’s failure to take even the slightest notice of concerns raised by local residents about congestion, traffic and pollution.

As others have noted, the Conservative party’s disastrous policy allowing offices to be converted into housing at will is hitting the city hard.  We do need more modern office space. But that doesn’t mean that councillors should approve the first scheme to come along – no matter how bad it is.

Posted in Station Approach | Leave a comment

Unsurprisingly I’ve voted in

Unsurprisingly I’ve voted in.

The EU is flawed, but a system for countries and peoples to work together collaboratively and democratically to solve common problems is better than the alternative.

The economic risk of Brexit is very real. We hear a lot about the £350 million that the Brexiteers say is sent to Brussels every week. Aside from being a deliberate and cynical lie, it’s also smaller than the £450 million in inward investment to the UK that we get every week in large part because of our position in the EU – and a tiny proportion of our £35 billion per week economy and and £15 billion per week government spending. A 1% drop in the economy if we leave will wipe out the “£350 million” in a flash. Anything more than that and we will be worse off. The uncertainly that a vote for Brexit will cause will also have an immediate impact as investors pull their money out of the UK, the pound drops (because fewer people want pounds) and things that are priced in Euros and Dollars (like food, oil and holidays) cost us more. It’s not just the threat to jobs that will hit the economy as investment falls, but a collapsing pound will mean that everyone will be worse off…

We’ve heard a lot about sovereignty. One question I’ve repeatedly asked – and never had an answer to – is “Name a law or regulation – that the democratically elected UK government or democratically elected MEPs didn’t back – that has been imposed on us.” And then there’s silence. I realise people are concerned that we’re being bossed around by Brussels – but surely it’s not unreasonable to ask for a single example of how. I’m still waiting.

There are a lot of issues that this referendum has thrown up that we need to address – housing, pressure on public services, and how we ensure that we create a society where all members are able to look to the future with a sense of positivity and optimism. But most of those problems come from decisions made in the UK – not in Europe – and it’s in the UK that we must find solutions to them. And if the EU does things that work against these goals, we should try to change it, not run away.

And we do need a positive vision for the future of Europe. The question of “where do we go next in Europe?” is an important one. There needs to be much more transparency – real effort put into better ways of engaging people in how decisions are made – and continued efforts to ensure that the EU is genuinely a “people’s Europe” that is responsive to the needs and concerns of people across the continent.

But in the end, I believe in collaboration, cooperation and reducing barriers between peoples and countries. I believe it in my work life. I believe it in my politics. I believe it in my private life. I have friends in countries all over the world. And I believe the more friendship, the more collaboration and the greater the reduction in the sense of ‘other’ in relationships with people around the world, the better for us all.


Posted in Europe | Leave a comment

Who’s responsible for the council’s failings?

This followed a letter in the Hampshire Chronicle attacking council offers for recent failures at the council.
Cllr Gottlieb is wrong to blame all the ills of the council on the council’s senior management team.
The people that authorised the Station Approach Planning Brief and the Highcliffe Consultation – and who agreed to continuing the Station Approach development despite three out of five architects dropping out – and who are also legally accountable for most decisions of the council – are the Council’s Leader and Cabinet.  And for all of the last 5 years – and for all the decisions Cllr Gottlieb mentions – the Council Leader and Cabinet have been Conservative.
While opposition Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors – and, on occasion, even some Conservative Councillors – have been able to put up proposals for reform and arguments against the proposals put forward by the Conservative administration – and have done so in all the cases he mentions, in almost all cases the Conservative Cabinet have ignored them or the Conservative majority have voted them down.
If Councillor Gottlieb wants to know what it will take to change the council and change the priorities of council officers, the answer is simple.  The Conservatives need to be voted out.
Posted in Station Approach, Winchester | Leave a comment