Congratulations to Edward Timpson for his magnificent win in Nantwich & Crew. This is a real sign that Labour voters are not just staying at home but now coming over to the Conservatives.
We were at Mondays meeting with David Cameron and he was really impressive. It is a problem about making policy announcements as they end up being filched by Darling & Brown within weeks but the "Living within our means" theme touched a nerve and will, we think, resonate with hard pressed families across the country.
To get back to our Diary,We told you about Keith and SWBCA and the Oddingley Hall event. This is a brand new building at Wychall which will replace the old hall which is past it's best. South West Birmingham Community Association will lease the hall in order to carry out its Development Agency role as well as managing the Hall. There are changing rooms attached for the use of local football teams and we hope it will become a focal point for the local community.
Keith's talk to new Councillors about Section 33 visits went down quite well. Section 33 requires Councillors to visit Children's Homes and Elderly peoples Homes once a year to check on conditions. We have been running behind on these this year and need to make an effort to catch up.
On Wednesday Sue was at the Fostering Panel for much of the day. We may have told you that this involves a grat deal of reading in preparation for what is a very important subject to a great many families. Keith went to a site meeting at Oddingley Hall followed by a tour of this wonderful building. That afternoon he was at the Council House for a meeting of the Central Technology Belt where there were presentations about a science park at Worcester and another one at Parsons Hill which would take £2.5 million to remediate the land. Guess who would be expected to cough up the loot?
We have forgotten to mention the Mayor-making ceremony at the Council AGM. Randal and Sandra Brew have been magnificent this year and have now given way to the new Lord Mayor Cllr Choudry Rashid. He is a really nice man and we are sure he will be a credit to the city.
Last Thursday Keith, Sue and Ken attended a Neighbourhood Tasking meeting on Frankley. This is where the Police ask local residents what their priorities are for the area. Keith was very disappointed that 2 minor problems of fly-tipping and tagging were selected. This can be dealt with without having a meeting with the police. After the selection a women in the audience complained about drug dealing on Arden Rd. This is the sort of thing the police should be dealing with and Keith asked why she had not raised this as an issue, the Police Inspector then intervened and told the audience that this was their meeting and they should not do as the Councillors tell them to do. Salt was rubbed into the wound when after the meeting the police sergeant said to Keith " you can deal with these can't you?" This seems like a typical piece of New Labour bulls..t.
The rest of the week has been taken up with more meetings, this morning we were at Frankley for a working party on the Frankley Summit to be held in June. This follows on from the Ward Meeting and is intended to come up with some ideas to cut the amount of ASB on the estate. Afterwards we went to Northfield Fire Station where there was a launch of a pilot scheme using fire-fighters on bikes to patrol arson hotspots and also contact local kids in an effort to cut hoax calls and other problems. As this is a joint Edgbaston/Northfield effort Cllr Deirdre Alden was there. Deirdre is a really hard working councillor and PPC and will be a great MP for Edgbaston when GB is dragged kicking and screaming to the ballot box. Photos to follow.
Keith has been involved in the tragic case of the young girl who died last weekend in Handsworth. As Chairman of the Vulnerable Children's Committee he has attended briefings and has been contacted by the press. One of the problems we have is that whilst there is an ongoing police investigation we can say nothing as it may prejudice any trial that may come of it. Thats why it is very unfortunate that the local MP has been so vocal about it. He may see it as an opportunity to bash the Council but we have processes which we must go through, processes laid down in law by the government of which he is part.
Have a good Bank Holiday weekend, we are going to Cannon Hill Park on Sunday to see local youngsters from the Kickz project take part in a footbal final at the Lord Mayor's Show.. Good luck to them.