Sunday, 29 June 2008

Eddie's party

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The comeback

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Eddie Freeman, 50 today!

Actually yesterday. Eddie threw a party at the Allens Cross working mens club to celebrate his 50th birthday. It was a great night and everyone really enjoyed themselves.
It may surprise a lot of people to know that at this party in a typical working class community there were 8 Councillors, including the Chairman of Planning, 1 committee chairman, 1 member of the Fire authority and the City's Children's Champion. There were also 2 PPCs along with 2 local election candidates. It would not of course surprise the people in the club as they are used to it and as we could all rightly claim to have come from working class stock we are in tune with their aspirations and their disquiet at the country's present state.. No Tory toffs there last night. This is typical of how the Conservatives are attracting the working class vote in the same way that Margaret Thatcher did it back in the 80s. The Labour Party made a big play for big business and left behind their traditional support some years ago, that is now coming back to haunt them as we saw at Nantwich and Crewe recently.
We have a photo of Eddie, on drums, recreating a scene from his past and one of a few of our group. Tim Huxtable may look as if he is listing to port but as a new father he was on Tango all night.

What a load of rubbish.

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Constituency Committee

This Saturday saw us at the Northfield Constituency Committee at Colmers School.
It did not seem as well attended as previous years and we wonder if the format is becoming a little stale. Perhaps a rethink is in order. We have a couple of photos for you. The first is of Ken, Sue and Keith with Parish Councillor Karen Bolton and Dave Joynes from the Reaside Centre. 2 of the large group of dedicated people who work selflessly to make things better on Frankley. The second one speaks for itself, Keith talking rubbish!

Friday, 27 June 2008

Ken's world

We've been a bit remiss in keeping you up to date with what Ken has been up to lately.
Last week he had to miss the Longbridge Ward Committee as he was in Harrogate for the National Housing Conference. Ken is very involved in Housing Policy, hence his membership of the Housing O & S Commitee which held it's first meeting of the municipal year this week. Ken believes that Birmingham should be at the forefront of housing policy-making for the country and should be setting the agenda for everyone else. We are after all the largest Housing Authority in the country .
Just imagine you wake up on your first wedding anniversary to find your bride can't stand the sight of you and wants a divorce, your neighbours hate you and the in-laws have taken out a restraining order against you.Your once faithful dog s..ts in your shoes every night and you have come 5th in a popularity contest behind a fourth placed Bob Mugabe. Still, things could be worse, you could wake up to find you were Gordon Brown.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

The wisdom of Sion Simon

For anyone who enjoys a really good laugh go to Guido Fawkes blog.

Constituency Committee

We were all at Colmers for the Constituency Committee on the evening. A very poor turn out from residents, this may be due to poor publicity or perhaps there are not enough problems to concern people.... If only.
Keith was up early on Wednesday to meet members of the Children, Young pPeople & Families Audit Commission. This is a process the Council goes through to say how well, or badly, we are doing. Keith was there with Councillor Margaret Sutton who is taking over as chairman of the Vulnerable Children's Committee as Keith is taking on the new Human Resources & Equalities Committee. Margaret is an experienced & intelligent Councillor and will do an excellent job with the committee.
That evening all 3 of us attended the Frankley & Cock Hill HLB. Another good turnout but a bit more input from Cock Hill would be welcome.
Today Sue has been to a meeting of the Kickz Project at St. Andrew's whilst Keith had a meeting with the Ward Support Officer to discuss the agenda for the forthcoming Ward Advisory Board. This is where representatives of local groups have their say on Community Chest expenditure. This is another group where attendances have dropped off and we are working to bring more people in.
This evening we are off to St. Leonards Church for their AGM followed by a pig roast.
Thats the only porky you will hear from us.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Disaster strikes

We set off for Wem in bright sunshine looking forward to a nice weekend. Saturday was a real dampener with rain all day. On the evening the wind got up and at 6.30am on Sunday there was an almighty crash as the awning was blown up and over onto the roof of the motorhome. 2 of the anchorage point were pulled out of the side of the van and the awning mechanism was wrecked. We will have to see how much it will cost before deciding whether to claim on the insurance.
On the way home the cooling system started to overheat, suddenly there was a snapping sound and steam and hot water started pouring into the cab.
We called out Green Flag and the mechanic bypassed the heating system and we went on our way. It soon became obvious that the problem was not solved and we ended up being brought back on the back of a rescue truck. C'est la vie.
Today Sue was attending a Licencing Sub-Committee whilst Keith was at Frankley Library for a management meeting and then went into the Council House to meet Cllr Margaret Sutton and officers to discuss Friday's Vulnerable Children Committee.
This evening we have been out with Ken getting signatures for a petition against yet another mobile phone mast on Frankley Beeches Road. Tommorrow evening is the Northfield Constituency Committee which will be at Colmers Leisure Centre at 7.30pm.
This is open to the public and all are welcome.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Frankley Summit

On Saturday we held the Frankley Summit at the Reaside Centre. There was a good turnout but mostly the same people we see at most meetings. This follows a pattern, a group of dedicated people take a real interest in their neighbourhood but others are very difficult to engage. Keith has had more responses following an article in the Mail but we must find ways of bringing people on board who don't usually get involved. We know from our own experiences during elections how difficult it is. You can leaflet a road and go down there a day later knocking on doors and most people will deny having received or seen the leaflet.
We had a good group of kids there with some good ideas. One of the main problems are the older youths who are too old for youth clubs. How do we find outlets for them beside drinking and causing trouble? Suggestions please.
The week so far has been a busy round of meetings although Keith did find time on Tuesday to go to Worcester for the Worcestershire/Warwickshire 20/20 cricket as a guest of AWM. The traffic was horrendous, much worse than anything in Brum but it was a good match, especially as the Bears won.
The Ward Committee was very poorly attended on Wednesday evening. This may have been due to a late change in venue as Colmers had a Parents Evening on the same night and we had to make a late switch to Frankley. Again we must find alternative ways of advertising these meetings. There was some good news, it looks as if we will get a speed camera on Lickey Road. This follows several deaths on what has become a racetrack with 2 junctions that have seen many collisions. It is nice to know that we can sometimes make a difference.
There was some bad news as well, the appeal against the decision to reject a mast application on Licket Road was allowed and we have had another application for one on Frankley Beeches Road. We have been asked to organise a petition and we will put that in next week.
We see on the news today that Ed Balls is criticising Grammar Schools, is this the same man who last week said that failing schools could be taken over by Grammar Schools to bring about improvements? We have heard of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing but this man seems to have a barrier between the right hand and left hand hemispheres of his brain.
On Monday Keith conducted a Custody Visit. At one police custody suite he came across an Afghan man waiting to go to a centre to await deportation. He had been there for 4 days waiting for transport. This is unacceptable. After 4 days in a cell with only the clothes he was wearing it was quite ripe. He distrusted the food and found it difficult to sleep, police stations are not the quietest of places as you can imagine, especially over the weekend when all the drunks are being brought in. Try to imagine how you would feel after 42 days, there may not be any physical torture involved but the mental pressure would be emormous. We sometimes think that people who want terrorist suspects locked up for 42 days would really like all Muslims locked up for 42 days and there may be a certain amount of racialism involved here. You may disagree, let us know.
Don't expect an answer until next week though, we are taking the campervan to Wem for the weekend.

Friday, 13 June 2008

When Irish nayes are smiling!

Keith will be sinking a couple of pints of the black stuff tonight. It is ironic that the ONLY nation allowed a say on the EU Constitution, sorry Lisbon Treaty, have rejected it. Already the Euro-Socialists are saying that another one should be held and another and another until the Irish get so fed up of going to the polls they allow themselves to be coerced into agreeing. That's what passes for democracy in the EuroEmpire. It does show that Brownstuff was wise not to allow us a say, he knew what the result would be.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

We're back!!!

Sorry about the hiatus but problems with the PC as well as being incredibly busy have stymied the blog for a while but hopefully everything will be back to normal again.
Today we see the resignation of David Davis. We have met him several times and admire him greatly. He is not a man for gimmicks and this is a genuine attempt to give the country a kick up the backside and get people talking about the way we seem to be sleepwalking into a Stalinist surveillance society with internment without trial. The 42 days may appear to be aimed at a few Muslim terrorists but truly we are all at risk from a government headed by a control freak and a party that thinks it knows best about everything and everyone. But then Socialists have always been that way inclined.
The main personal news is that Keith is switching to take on the chairmanship of the new H R and Equalities committee. This will be a very powerful group which will be looking at Personnel issues post Single Status and Pay and Grading. Hard work, a lot of detail but a fascinating subject.
On the personal front Sue has finally had the cast taken off her arm. Relief at last!
Her arm will be in need of some TLC for a while but at least she can now get some movement into her shoulder and elbow and she will be glad to get back behind the wheel again.
We are in the middle of having a new bathroom fitted, complete chaos for a while but now starting to look a bit like the finished article.
In amongst all the meetings, briefings and seminars we managed to get to see "Madhouse" at the Rep. What a show! Great music, pure energy and a proper story with great twists and turns. GO SEE!!!!.
We had the first proper Council Meeting on Tuesday. Labour still look demoralised, Sir Albert tried to have a go but doesn't look as if his heart is in it and the 2 amendments they put down were really weak. It seems obvious that they have lost some important members. Selma Yaquoob made a really powerful speech condemming postal votes on demand as a way of manipulating the vote and denying some Muslim women the opportunity to vote as they see fit. Even Labour ended up supporting her after some reluctance, they started off with only Sybil Spence applauding her but by the end of the speech they were won round. Hopefully we can see the end of this pernicious system.
This Saturday we are holding the Frankley Summit, an attempt to get local people involved with the issues they face and to see if they can come up with some solutions.