Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Men in uniforms, yes its Sue again.

Last Friday evening Sue went out on a police van doing the rounds of local pubs. As you know she was also out recently with Green Watch from Northfield Fire Station, the only ones safe so far are the paramedics but as we have a station on the Hollymoor we expect they will get a visit soon.
We have some problem pubs in Longbridge but also some experienced landlords who are trying to turn them into family orientated hostelries. Good luck to them. Sadly we also have some landlords who fall into the trap of thinking that poor profits can be countered by failing to follow the rules. One such was visited and quite a few under-age drinkers were found there. Suffice to say that this landlord and these premises will receive much closer attention in future and if this activity continues we will not hesitate to call for a review of the license.
We have now finished our preparations for Christmas and are getting ready to enjoy a couple of days of fun and feasting so to all of you we would like to say


Yes, even Paul Dale.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

I tried saving the world but....

A personal note from Keith.
We are having to change our car from a Micra to a 2lt Diesel Mondeo. Before Paul Dale decides this is further evidence of my climate change denial or that I am on a one man mission to destroy our environment let me explain. Some of you will remember that Sue and I went to the Caravan Show in October and bought a caravan. With the best will in the world a Micra is incapable of pulling a caravan, therefore the neccessity of buying a bigger car. This all means of course that we will not be flying abroad for the forseeable future and I wonder if this means we will be carbon neutral as far as holidays go. Well it is as good a theory as we hear from the Government.
After the knife crime figure fiasco we now have the teachers unions insisting that the numbers of violent incidents in classrooms are not as the information released by the government says they are. Are they therefore saying that all figures released by this government are suspect? Welcome to the world of Nulabour.

Monday, 22 December 2008


Last week saw a couple of small milestones. On Thursday Sue attended her first Adoption Panel. She had previously been a member of a Fostering Panel which met on Wednesdays,this often clashed with the Licensing Committee so Sue decided to swap. Little did she know that the Purple Panel as it is called dealt with Adoptions not Fostering. This requires even more reading than before but Sue's first day went off ok although she had done a full day at Licensing the day before.
Keith, also on Thursday, carried out his last Custody Visit to local police stations. The Custody Visiting Scheme was set up in the wake of the Brixton riots which were in part caused by concerns about the treatment of people in police custody. Lord Scarman recommended a system of unannouced visits by local people to reassure the community that all was well. Keith has been doing this for about 6 years but recently time pressures have begun to tell and Keith decided that something had to give. The first two custody suites were quiet but all hell had broken out at the third where two very violent prisoners had been brought in and both were making a hell of a row which was upsetting the other people in the cells. It was very tense all round but the inspections have to be carried out as normal. The staff were very calm and efficient and it is a mark of their proffessionalism that despite all this the only people in any danger were the police officers themselves.
One disturbing aspect was a 12 year old boy who told us he was in for the third time. There was also a young man who told us he was being recalled to prison and would be spending his 8th Christmas inside. All very depressing.
On Sunday Keith and Sue were at Lyttleton House, an Elderly Persons Home, for their Christmas Party. This was very jolly and very good fun. At least some people know how to enjoy Christmas.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Did we really have a holiday?

Talk about hitting the ground running. Sue and Keith arrived back at Digbeth coach station at 3pm on Monday 1st. This after a day lasting about 35hrs. American Immigration asked for everyone to be available at 6am Easter Standard Time on Sunday so they could allow in all the people they had allowed out 7 days before. This took all of 10 minutes but we all had to wait around for an hour before getting any breakfast.
Travelling from Tampa to Heathrow via Washington was a prolonged experience, 7 hrs at Tampa Airport, a mad dash to catch a connecting flight in Washington after a delayed and very rough flight and then another rough flight over the Easter seaboard before crossing the Atlantic.
Heathrow was fine but the bus station was freezing after 80degrees in Florida and a hr flight waiting for the coach didn't help. This was livened up whilst boarding the coach when a family tried to push into the queue and Keith reminded then of their manners. Words were exchanged but order restored when they decided to get to the back. Justice was served when they had to take turns to stand all the way to Banbury.
The Group meeting started at 5.30, 4.30 for Keith, and it was a surreal experience trying to take it all in whilst jet-lag kicked in.
Here is a tip for anyone going to the States who has had hip operetions, you will set off the metal detector every time. This will entitle you to a free wanding and a massage from a member of the Transport Security Agency.
The following day Keith asked a couple of questions to John Lines without anything kicking off in the public gallery and he also spoke on 2 other matters.
Labour were quite poor again although Cath Grundy made a very good job of proposing a motion. She was quite impressive and Albert did not look a happy bunny. He can feel someone coming up behind him.
After that it was just meeting after meeting. Mind you there were some social opportunities as well. On the Thursday we all went to a Quiz night and fund-raiser for Keely. This was very successful and a great night.
The following night saw 6 Councillors at the Northfield HLB Christmas party at the Greenlands Club. Another great night and our thanks to everyone there especially Ruth Bowles,Kate, and Jackie from the Housing team who made a really good job of it.
On Sunday Sue & Keith took their grandson Christopher to Villa Park for a tour as part of his Christmas present. It is very impressive and even better than the last time Keith took the tour 10 years ago.
Last Sunday Keith and Sue were at the Town Hall for a concert by pupils from Birmingham's schools including Colmers School and Frankley Community High School. This was organised by the Birmingham Music Service and the standards were extremely high.
Things have started to slow down now which gives all 3 of us the chance to do a lot of leafletting and get our christmas card out to everyone in the ward.
We are doubtful if the holiday photos will be of any interest but we will publish them to the web and provide a link if anyone does want to take a look. Keith has a new camcorder and we hope to start putting some videos on here if he can ever crack the technology.