Friday, 29 February 2008

Busy time

Sorry for not posting anything recently. We are very busy getting out our latest leaflet. This celebrates the 3 stars BCC was awarded by the Audit Commission. A really good effort considering the mess the city was in when this administration took over. The most galling thing is that the Labour Group refuse to accept any responsibility for it. It is as if they are in total denial about the utter and total balls up they made of things. More of that later.
There has been the usual round of meetings, casework, paperwork, report reading and writing. Keith is also busy with Northfield Conservative Association work. As chairman he is organising the AGM and making sure the subs come in as well.
The Flying Squads are going well, we have been to Kings Norton, Weoley and Billesley. There has been a good turn out each time. After the leaflet drops we retire to a pub and have food & drink. This also builds teamwork and friendships with people from across the city who we would not often get to meet.
The last Council Meeting went well. It was the Annual Budget meeting and we presented another detailed and well thought out budget which seemed well received by everyone. The Labour group were their usual miserable selves and had little to say. Albert claimed it was all down to the government but this was shown up.
Albert is quite crafty, he puts up Marje Bridle because he knows how much she is detested by our side, with good reason. Marje Bridle was Housing cabinet member for some years and was as good at it as Susannah McCory was at Social Services. She was eventually sacked but still has the bare faced cheek to get up and tell us how to run housing, still if Tony Blair can tell everyone how to bring peace to the Middle East anything is possible. These socialist failures, the ones who don't end up with their snouts in the Brussels trough, seem to have the ability to wipe their own histories from their brains and invent a completely new scenario in which they are the heroes. Marje could not even face John Lines when he got up to speak and she and Jilly Bermingham ran out of the Council Chamber. Cllr Bermingham is another one who will not be missed after May 1st.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

kids stuff

Sue was at Licensing yesterday. A heavy programme including two applications for massage parlour licenses. Both had been visited by inspectors and found beds and scantily clad women plus bouncers and heavy security. One didnt turn up and the other was turned down. The applicant said she would appeal. This is the big question, do we grant licenses in order to keep it off the streets or would that be colluding in prostitution and all the things that go with it such as human trafficking and abuse of women. If we close all the massage parlours would that force more girls out onto the streets which are more dangerous and drug addiction is rife. Your thought would be welcome.
Keith spent all day at the NEC with the National Children's Agency at a seminar on listening to children. This included work on "Hear by Right" and the young people who organised it did a fantastic job. Well done!
Afterwards Keith went to a board meeting of South West Birmingham Community Association. Until recently the chairman was Sir Richard Knowles. He revelled in a persona of being an irascible old bugger, a role he played to perfection, but he was obviously a formidable political operator in his day and a larger than life character who leaves the political landscape a less colourful place.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

The gang's all here! Almost.

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Catching a breath

Last week was fairly slow for Council meetings. Keith had to sort out a lot of stuff for the O & S Committee and Sue attended the Fostering Panel. Keith also visited a Children's Home for a Section 33 visit. If you don't know what that is please ask and all will be revealed.
Mostly we have been delivering our new leaflet. Saturday before last we had 23 people turn out to help, we managed over 4ooo leaflets in 2 hours. Together with our distributors this means that by Sunday we had done 2/3rds of the Ward.
Last Saturday 30 of us went to Erdington to help Jessie Holland. We have a pic on e-mail and if Keith can get it on the blog we will show you it.
Last Friday we held our annual Beer & Skittles night at the Selly park Tavern. We had 54 people turn out and a jolly good night was had by all. We also made a jolly good profit. Enough for our next leaflet.
It seems that the Labour Group may again fail to turn up for the next Council Meeting. If they do we believe their Union Permits should be checked before they are allowed to speak. Isn't it a disgrace that an Elected Member should have to seek permission from a union functionary before he/she can carry out the job they were elected to do. We all know now that the Labour Party represents only a small cadre of union officials and the rest can go hang. Of course this explains why Albert could not push through Single Status. He knew that he would have to bow down to union demands but that these very demands would bankrupt the Council. Perhaps it is time we thought about privatisation.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Bait taken

Yeaterday we said that binmen get on average £40K a year. We knew this was incorrect but had found it impossible to find out the correct figure. Today we have been advised, think red face and spluttering with rage, that the true figure is between £26 and £28K. We are happy to correct yesterdays blog but wish it had not been needed in the first place.
Today Keith was at the Co-Ordination Overview & Scrutiny Comittee. Labour called in another Pay & Grading item. Their argument was well put but readily answered by Alan Rudge and his officers. Labour withdrew the call-in before a vote.
Sue represented Keith at the Northfield LAA Performance Board where we find out how the various theme groups are doing. More later.
We see the Archbishop of Canterbury is suggesting that some aspects of Sharia Law should be imposed in Britain. We trust the one about unbelievers being put to the sword is not one of the first he would like to see brought in. Some of our constituants may want to see amputations for thieves but they don't have a leg to stand on.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

After the Lord Mayors show

After a wide coverage on the strike on Tuesday the press seem to be less than overjoyed with the prospects of more strikes and seem very critical of the strikers. There were reports of binmen having a punch-up in a city pub which put them in a very bad light.
There may also be a reaction from the disclosure that the binmen earn an average of £40000 a year, yes £40K. thats the same as a cabinet member or just £20k less than our MPs. A lot of ordinary folk might be wondering what they do to earn this as they don't clean up after them and finish at about 11am every day. They may be the unions "Stormtroopers" but I wonder how this will go down with the citizens.
Great news today about our 3 stars from the Audit Commission, especially when you consider where we were in 2004. We know our local MP and Labour Councillor check this blog out so it must be particularly galling for them to read this. Mind you our Labour Councillor has gone to Argentina for 3 weeks, just enough time for us to slip out another leaflet!
Did you hear about a court case going on up North where someone has taken the government to court over the refusal to give us a referendum on the EU constitution/treaty?
Brown's lawyers argued that a manifesto is not a promise. Just remember this any time Brown opens his mouth.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Under siege

Today we are ensconsed in the Council House whilst outside a large crowd of union members are holding a rally designed to persuade us that we should change course on the Single Status and Pay & Regrading exercise.
There have been a lot of lies put about by union leaders on this. One on tv said this morning that this is a costcutting exercise. As we have to borrow £200m to finance this and it is going to cost an extra £23m a year for several years it would appear that we are not very good at costcutting.
Of course a lot of employees are on such high salaries that they can easily afford a days pay. If they had to work outside the public forum they would find it much more difficult and a days pay would mean a lot more to them.
Let me give an example, an officer in a senior position was told she would lose several thousand pounds a year. Despite her salary being protected for 3 years she decided to seek employment elsewhere.
She discovered that to get a similar package at another authority she had to apply for a position much higher than her present grade. Thankfully she obtained a higher rated job at another council but this demonstrates how we have been paying over the odds for many years.
Of course we have also been underpaying some jobs and this has to be rectified.
Sir Albert Bore and some of his minions are with the crowd but it is a pity no-one has the courage to ask him why he did nothing for 61/2 years after the Labour administration and the trade unions signed the agreement which set this all in train.