Last week was quite varied, starting with Keith meeting with Alaistair Dow to talk over O & S. The Vulnerable Children's Committee has a very busy work programme for next year as you would expect. Paul Dale seems to think we are not doing much in the way of scrutiny but to be honest I haven't seen him at a scrutiny meeting for over 3 years. Perhaps because they can be a bit of a hard slog and don't always provide instant headlines which the papers require these days.
Old Aston Villa fans may remember Ron Saunders saying that football would not catch on in the States because Americans were too childlike and had too short an attention span to appreciate the subtleties of the game. Perhaps we are becoming the same.
We both attended a preview of the Town Hall with 2 elderly guests from the ward. A beautiful job carried out on time and on budget. We are looking forward to the re-opening proper and a full programme of events.
Sue attended the Licensing Committee on Wednesday, her first meeting since her op. Keith went to an Appeals Panel at Centro in an attempt to get a bus shelter removed. Local kids have been making residents lives a misery with there use of the shelter and we will be pleased to tell them that Centro agreed to remove it. Keith walked in to find Cllrs Bruce Lines, Keith Linacre and Zakir Choudry on the panel. Keith gets on with all 3 of them but is sure that it was his eloquence and persuasiveness that won the day.
Sue also went to Colmers Infants School to look at their Forest School which it is hoped to extend.
Among other things Keith went to a meeting to hear a presentation on Adults and Communities Third Sector Partnership Teams. The Third Sector is New Labour speak for voluntary groups. I wonder who comes up with all this renaming and how much it costs.
During the week Sue and Keith also made Section 33 visits to 2 Elderly Peoples Homes and 1 Chidrens Home. These are visits Councillors are required to carry out but which frequently get forgotten. As chairman of the committee Keith will be trying to get Councillors to carry out more visits in the future.
On Saturday there was an "Away day" for the South West Birmingham Community Association which is facing a bit of a funding crisis since Government support was cut. We are trying to find a role for ourselves which will enable us to apply for funding in future.
We find it difficult to get too excited at the "revelation" that government ministers smoked cannabis whilst at uni. If you can't act stupidly as a student when can you? Mind you it seems strange that they all managed to try it a few times without the word "Stoned" being used. Perhaps people with a political bent are not affected like other people, or perhaps their memories are affected by its use. What do you think?
Another strange thing is that though they all now realise that it was wrong and the stuff out there now is so much stronger than the stuff they used back then, none of them spoke up when Blunkett declassified it. Again short term memory seems to have been affected by something. And before anyone accuses us of being partisan we do remember that David Cameron signed the report which led to this and thought it a mistake then.