Friday, 25 January 2008

The past is orange

We've been taking a look at what some of our MPs have had to say about the orange one, Peter Hain, being forced out. Most of them congratulate him on "doing the honourable thing". Surely if he had done the "honourable thing" in the first place he would not have had to resign.Don't this lot realise that the public is not stupid despite their attempts to dumb everything down? We think they are so cocooned without their own little world that they have no idea what people think of them.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

A sombre evening

Last night we were at Colmers School for the Longbridge Ward Committee. After a reports on the Longbridge Action Plan and the future of Deelands Hall we presented the cheques and certificates to the winners of the Frankley Christmas Lights Competition. Much mirth with all the to-ing and fro-ing having photos taken etc.
The main topic of course was the subject of the Lickey Banker pub following the events of New Years Eve and the tragic death of an innocent young man.
The debate was conducted in a dignified and respectful manner with family and friends making comments along with the licensee and brewery reps. The police have some good ideas which we want to see followed through and have asked them to come back in March with a progress report. The phrase "last chance saloon" comes to mind.
We are also going to hols a Frankley Summit to try and thrash out some solutions to the widespread anti-social behaviour we are seeing on the estate.
Another busy day today, Keith was at a meeting to discuss the details of an agreement for South West Birmingham Community Association to take on the running of Oddingley Hall when it is finished, hopefully around June.
Sue had talks with the police this morning and then signed off a deal with West Midlands Police concerning the Kickz Project. More on this in the future.
Tonight we are off to Weoley to help out Eddie Freeman.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

sleepy time.

Follow our link to ConservativeHome for a very funny clip of Bill Clinton falling asleep. We can have some sympathy, we've all been there.


It seems I (Keith) got it wrong yesterday when talking about Sue & Ken's trip to the Town Hall with kids from Colmers School. I said the DVD they had made was about the forthcoming visit to NYC. This was in fact a project about knife crime. There was also a rock group afterwards, made up of pupils. I can only excuse myself by saying that there is so much excellent stuff coming out of the school that it can be difficult to keep up. That's my excuse anyway.
Some ructions at the Parish Council last night. I don't know if there are some political overtones creeping in to what is supposed to be an apolitical body. It would be a pity as the Council do a great deal of good work for everyone on Frankley and it would be a pity if party political point scoring were to interfere with that. Of course there is an election coming up and someone may be getting a little worried about the result. Is that the sound of a penny dropping?

Today we have to attend the funeral of a good friend and Party member who died tragically over Christmas. We can only hope that this will be the last of the terrible events we have seen lately.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Monday, Monday

This morning Sue was at the New Frankley in Birmingham Parish Council offices with our Constituency Engineer to update members on the work to be undertaken to calm traffic on Ormond Road. Later she was at St. Andrews (spit) for a "Kickz" meeting. Although this the rest of the city is slow on the uptake with this scheme it is a great success in Longbridge and we can only hope the rest of our fellow Councillors recognise the benefits of it. This evening she is off to the Town Hall together with Ken Wood to see a dvd made by pupils at Colmers School about the forthcoming trip to New York by some of them as Sports Ambassadors.
A little more mundane for Keith. He is back at the Parish Council for their meeting.
You may not realise everything that you can get involved in as a Councillor. We told you last week about Keith going to a meeting of the Employees Consultative Forum but there are a couple of other groups he has been asked to join. Firstly the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust Members Council and next week he will be at his first meeting of the Sir Barry Jackson Trust at the rep. Don't worry, he promises not to turn into a luvvy.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Getting wet for a cause

This has not been a particularly scintillating week after the events of Monday.
Thursday evening saw us at The Reaside Centre for a meeting of Frankley Police Liaison. This was dominated by events at and near the Lickey Banker pub on new years eve where an innocent young man lost his life to a savage attack. He had attended a family party and decided to walk home rather than use his car. How terrible that it seems to be the good guys, those that do everything society asks of them, that suffer the consequences of mindless violence. We saw earlier this week that a respectable family man was murdered by three young thugs, one of which should have been on remand, but was bailed hours before the attack. How is it that young men think they can do whatever they like to whoever they like and get away with it? Is it because they have faced no punishment for their previous offences they think they can go on to bigger crimes with no consequences for themselves? We remember the failed "short, sharp shock" experiments years ago but surely we must start to inflict harder punishments earlier in a criminal career. We are convinced this would deter a lot of young men from persistent offending and cut the number of people in jail further down the line.

Has anyone noticed how Russia is acting up again these days. I suppose some would have a bit of a laugh at the thought of Neil Kinnock's son being hauled in by the Moscow police just because he works for the British Council, of which his dad is the head, just a coincidence of course. But it shows that in modern day Russia the police and other statutory bodies, are regarded as instruments of government policy. It looks as if we can trust this load of KGB heavies no more now than we could during the Cold War. One more reason for going ahead with nuclear power if it lessens our dependence on Russian energy supplies.
The reason for the "Getting wet for a cause" heading concerned our helping out other candidates in other wards. This seems an endless series of wet weather exercises these days but a good crack is always enjoyed afterwards in a local pub.
One item cropped up this weekend, one of our candidates is fighting a seat which Labour has held for some time and which they regard as "their" territory. We have not been overly active there for some time but our candidate is working very hard. At a recent Ward Committee one of the Labour Councillors said that she was going to make him regret standing as she was going to be writing some nasty letters about him. He could not understand why the rest of us were so pleased about this until we explained that Labour always gets nasty when they are worried. It means that he is getting to them and is making a real impression. He will carry on and ignore her empty threats. Labour is a disparate group which always include the Windbag Wing. Full of hot air and bluster but easily punctured.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Saying goodbye

On Monday we attended the funeral of Cllr Adrian Delaney's partner Heather. There was a massive turnout at the church, including a lot of Heather's colleaques from JobCentre Plus where she had worked for some time. She was obviously very popular and her passing leaves a gap in all our lives.

Yesterday we were at New Frankley in Birmingham Parish Council for a meeting with Planning officers and Cllr Neville Summerfield, Cabinet Member for Regeneration. This was to discuss the ongoing redevelopment of the Frankley Centre. After a long lapse we now have a report going to Cabinet on 24 Jan with a recommended bidder for the site. Keith also proposed a Consultative Group along the lines of the Longbridge Consultative Group, this was recieved very well so hopefully once the report has gone through Cabinet we can set this up and meet with the developer and make sure they understand what local people want from it all.

Afterwards Sue went to a meeting of the Forestdale Community Park group and Keith had a meeting with a housing association about a particular tenant's problems but also a general conversation about the area in general. Hopefully we can, between us, put support in place to help the tenant but also open a channel to discuss other issues.
Today Sue has been at the Fostering Panel. This is a heavy agenda with an awful lot of homework to do before the meeting.
Keith was at his first meeting of the Employees Cousultative Forum. This is a meeting with Education Trade Unions and the Cabinet Member to discuss issues concerning schools and those that work there. It is a strange affair with a very lukewarm response from Trade Union representatives to lots of government initiatives.

A name from the past raised its head today. At PMQs a Labour MP named Robert Flello stood and read out, supposedley as part of a question, a long list of Labour achievements. As this went on opposition members got restless and the Labour, sorry, Commons Speaker, Gorbals Mick, called for quiet whilst the Honourable Member tells us the good news.
Robert Flello was Richard Burden's bagman for some time before becoming a Councillor for Longbridge. He soon jumped ship to become an MP in Stoke. This contribution sums up his political career to date.

Monday, 14 January 2008

A bad week

Sorry for not posting much last week but with so much bad news coming in this insignificant outpost of the blogosphere lost out.
Keith had a good Council meeting with a speech about the Longbridge Action Plan. The strange thing was that he was in agreement with the Labour members, and his own group it must be said, but in dispute with another local Conservative Councillor who seems to think that the land should be kept "sacrosanct" for manufacturing. Considering the mess that was left behind when MG/Rover closed we think this is the last thing we should do. Provision must be made for all skill levels for local people, even if this means part-time jobs for our teenage mothers and some of the youngsters with no skills. At the same time we will continue with our efforts to raise the skill base in the area.
Peter Hain seems to have dropped himself in it. They say what goes around comes around and now it seems the time for all those Labourites who hate him to put the boot in. It couldn't happen to a nicer bloke.
We also have a lot of fuss around Single Status. This was always going to be a minefield but it now seems the arch-hypocrite Albert Bore has joined in to support the Trade Unions. Still, he never gave a thought for the tax-payers when he was in office so why should he start now. Of course he could have sorted this out over the last ten years but lacked the courage to do so.

Friday, 11 January 2008

More bad news

Things go from bad to worse.
Yesterday we were informed that the young man who had been attacked on New Years Eve had lost his fight for life. His family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support system.
We offer our condolences to the family, this must be a dreadful experience for them and our hearts go out to them.
Further charges are now expected to be brought but we can only appeal for calm and a resistance to the urge to retaliate. This incident has brought misery and heartache to too many people and we would not like to see that suffering extended. The law must be allowed to take its course.
Yesterday we also learnt that a very good friend of ours who was also a branch member was found dead in his flat. We last saw him on the day before Christmas Eve but attempts to contact him since then had been unsuccessful. We learnt of his death and left a message on his phone asking his brother to contact us which he did last night. It seems he had also been trying to contact him and eventually gained entry to the apartment where he found his brothers body. It appears that a tragic accident occurred which has robbed us of a good friend and an enthusiastic member.
He will be sadly missed.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Happy new year?

Last week was mostly housekeeping. We finished off delivering our Christmas cards, Actually they are "Seasons Greetings" cards. This is nothing to do with not offending other religions, it just means we are not restricted to getting them out before Christmas.
You will have read in our last post about the "Cock Inn" in which we praised the food there. Unfortunately in the early hours of Boxing Day someone broke in and stole several thousand pounds in takings. As most of the cash is not covered by insurance this is a big blow to Damien and Rob as well as the staff and customers. It will mean a difficult time for them and higher prices all round. There is an appeal for information and I would not advise anyone in the neighbourhood to go around flashing a big wad as everyone is well p....d off.

New Years Eve proved even worse. There was an incident outside the Lickey Banker, another one of our local pubs, involving 5 youths. This resulted in a man being badly assaulted. Following this another man, apparently an innocent passer-by was very seriously assaulted and taken to hospital were he is fighting for his life. Another young man was later arrested and remains in custody.
All this because someone thought that the law does not apply to them and they can do what they damn well like. When is this Government going to take crime seriously and at an early enough stage to make kids realise that they too have to abide by the rules. We have so many easy steps, leading up to a custodial sentence for a serious crime, that young people see no deterrent in the law. That, in our humble view, is why we have jails bursting to capacity with people who have long histories of criminality and are set on a course from which it will be almost impossible to turn them.
Now it is back to reality, Group meeting this evening and full Council tomorrow. The big one for us is the Longbridge Action Plan which will be discussed and that will be another step to getting the plans up and running.
The diary looks full for the rest of the week so we should have a bit more to post soon.