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.