Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Scotland the wave

Ken is right about Scotland, almost! It is lush not luss which is a town up North, and the weather is awful, the scenery is aweSOME. We keep trying to get him to use spellchecker but we know how hard and long he works so he is always in a rush.
We started off in Dumfries and Galloway near the village of Annan. A lovely site with a pitch right on the shore. There was a view right across Annan Bay and some spectacular sunsets. Next on to the Mull of Galloway again with a great beach although the weather detiorated after the first 2 days. We then went up the coast to Ayr. A great site just on the edge of the town.
We are now staying with friends near Kinross. The weather is like that old song, "Hello Mudder, hello Fadder" which has the line " and they say we will have fun when it stops raining" Still, Nils Desparandum. We are still on duty, the Blackberry and mobile phone keep us in touch with everything that is going on and we can still handle casework. We have just been informed about an application to stick a phone mast up behind the Dingle Social Club. The club probably need the money but the people of Wyre Close just behind it are very unhappy and we will be helping them in their objections. Keely Huxtable will be up there next week with a petition. You won't see our sensitive local mp doing something like that, not unless there is a photographer from the Mail hanging around.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

While the Cats are Away

Keith and Sue have discovered the reason why Scotland has some of the best scenery in world that is so luss and green -- it rains a lot - an aweful lot !! Now dont get me wrong there is no where on earth more beautiful when the sun is shining but when its raining it can be terrible. However to use Keiths phrase " there is no such thing as bad weather - its the wrong clothes" so hopefully he remembered to pack his mac. Anyway Ken has been busy handling the case load and Keith and Sue have been lending a hand as well from afar. Just goes to prove that they never switch off. Recently in the press there has been numerous articles about Longbridge and the redevelopment of the former MG Rover site. Quite a few from people not even from the area. Our local MP has been having a pot at Mike Whitby about Mikes involvement with Nanjing and the return of car manufacturing - albeit on a small scale at the moment - to Longbridge. The demise of MG Rover 3 years ago was dreadful and devastating to the area. It is a tribute to everyone involved, not only the large organisations but equally the various support groups that were established that we now find ourselves about to embark on what should be an exciting period as the landscape slowly starts to change shape.
There are still many questions to be answered about the demise of MG Rover and maybe our MP should apply some of his energy into pushing his government friends to expedite the release of that report. Interesting also that in his capacity of Chairman of the Parliamentary All Party Motor Group he appears to have deserted our Midlands based car manufacturers, choosing instead to align himself with his bosses at Westminster in saying that we should all be driving Toyota Prius'.
Jaguar and Landrover have piled millions into R&D on their engines and now have some of the cleanest diesel engines in their class and they should be congratulated on these achievements but no Labour choose instead to put hundreds of Midlands jobs at risk by continually attacking companies such as these.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Busy, busy busy.

As Ken has said it has been a really busy time. After the picnic Keith had to get along to Aston Science park for a meeting of the CTB and then to the Council House for the selection committee he referred to. The next day Keith was up early for a visit to Leeds to look at some community projects that we may introduce in Northfield. He got back 5 minutes before the deadline to start the selection meeting. This lateness rather irritated Sir Albert Bore but then Keith sees it as his duty to irritate him. Sue was at the Northfield Constituency Offices to hear about the My Places Lottery scheme and that evening attended a Joint HLB meeting.
The following day saw Keith at an away-day at Holloway Hall with SWBCA and then back to the Council House for the selection committee. By this time Keith's diet had consisted of 5 buffets in 3 days and he was dying for a hot meal.
On Friday all 3 of us were at Frankley Resolve offices for 8.30am for an update on the Frankley Summit. More on this over the coming weeks.
On Saturday after an advice surgery at Frankley Keith went off to Leicestershire for a charity golf match. This meant he got back too late to go to the Frankley Forum Awards Night held at the Coldstream Pub. Sue managed to get there and a good night ensued with Sue presenting certificates to people whose efforts are appreciated by their neighbours.
This week has again been busy with the 2 remaining selection committees. This has been really interesting despite the late finishes and the buffets and it has been good to see so much agreement among the cross party group. We also managed to bring in some highly qualified women for some of these senior posts and it will be good to watch how they get on.
On Tuesday we had a view of the less efficient side of the Council. Keith visited a constituent to support him during a Social Care review, unfortunatley no-one from the dept turned up. After a couple of phone calls an explanation and an apology was forthcoming but the guy had taken half a day off work for nothing.
On the way back Sue phoned to say she had received a call asking her to go in to the Council House to take over at a Licensing hearing as another Councillor had to leave. on the way her car had a puncture but Keith had left to take our campervan for it's MOT. Sue called Greenflag who turned up only to find the spare wheel was the wrong size for the car. This meant a recovery truck was needed to take the car to a tyre centre. This in turn meant the Licensing committee had to be abandoned. It also cost Sue £60 for a new tyre.
Sue & Keith are off on their hols on Sunday, back to sunny Scotland. If we find any internet cafes handy we will see if we can put some photos on here for you but if not Ken will probably post a few thoughts. If you are off on your holidays have a great time.
By the way if you like a laugh and have a strong stomach follow the link to Iain Dale's Diary and scroll down to the video he has on there. Priceless!

We are Sailing

On the last day of the school term Keith & Sue were at Rednal Hill Infants school where Keith is a governor. The event was a picnic for pupils and parents and also the opportunity for the official opening of their "Sail". This is a sunshield, imported from Australia and consisting of 4 posts and 2 large horizontal sails to protect the youngsters from the sun. To mark the event Sue had arranged for Kevin Broadhurst, former Blues captain to perform the ceremony. It was nostalgia time for Keith and Kevin as Keith had been at Villa Park on the day a lunging tackle had ended Kevin's career. Kevin is now working for the club and made a real impression on everyone there and he was kept busy signing autographs and posing for pictures. We have put up a couple of photos for you. Many thanks to Kevin. We can't show the picnic itself as the rule is that you cannot show pictures of young people without written permission from their parents. We can tell you that there was a big turnout in good weather and everyone had a great time.
A lovely school!
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Redevelopment Update

Last night (Thursday) saw Keith, Sue and Ken at the Longbridge Consultative Group, which is chaired by Keith, and consists of representatives from organisations from around the site of the former MG Rover plant as well as Cllrs from Northfield and the local MP. There is little doubt that St Modwin have done a sterling job in trying to get as much done as possible within the very stringent constraints that they are tied by. There was a concensus of opinion that the process imposed by the Labour Government has resulted in many things taking much longer to process that would have been expected especially when you consider that it is now 3 years since the gates shut on car production. However we now need to move forward and despite the current down turn in the economy we are extremely confident that things will now start to move with more apparent progress. The redevelopment of Longbridge is one of the largest projects in the UK and we need to make sure we get it right. Ken will be doing everything to ensure that companies coming in employ as many local people as possible and we will all be doing our best to make sure that there is a diversity of opportunities available to suit everyone from those that are currently seeking employment to our school and college leavers.
It is also excelllent news that Nanjing and are getting ready to start delivering Longbridge built cars to their dealerships. It will be good to see cars rolling out of the gates again. Its a shame however that Richard Burden and his Labour party refuses to back British Cars. Instead of flying the flag by promoting Midlands based car manufacturers he and his party believe we should all be driving Toyota Prius'.
The coming years will see many exciting changes but we must be patient as it wont happen overnight.