Thursday, 22 January 2009

we'll meet again, and again and again.

The last couple of weeks have seen all 3 of us attending an intense round of meetings. Sometimes they can be very productive with progress being made and decisions taken. Others can seem like wading through treacle whilst at others you sit there wondering why the hell you are wasting your time at this *@"+^* talking shop.
Some are of course compulsory such as the recent Council Meeting.
This started off with a debate(?) about the events in Gaza which some people thought may have had more to do with Hall Green Politics than the tragedy unfolding in the Middle East. Some people are calling for the Council to boycott Israeli goods and services, in fact they have extended that to include ANY company that does business with Israel including Coca Cola and Wonderbra. Some of our party colleagues decided that this was an abuse of the Council's time and procedures but we think it is best to let people have their say instead of smothering debate. Sir Albert got into a bit of a tizz when it was announced that he would not be allowed to speak, quite right too as on such an ocassion it would be unthinkable that the Leader of the opposition was silenced. We may not agree with what he says but we will defend his right...etc, etc.
During the debate on the Government's economic policy Ken made his maiden speech. This was well received and made some very good points. From the Labour side we had Sir Albert at his oiliest trying to drive a rift between ourselves and the Lib Dems. He forgets that although we may be unlikely partners, both groups have a horror of what this city would be like if the comrades had still been in power for the last 4.1/2 years. That is the kind of thing that wakes you up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night.
We also had Cllr Carl Rice giving us his potted history of British political history which is always heavy on the miners strike and Margaret Thatcher but always misses out Arthur Scargill and his manipulation of the miners for his own vainglorious ends.
We then had Cllr Tahir Ali attacking Cllr Grahame Greene who moved the motion. This turned into the usual socialist trick of attacking the messenger. You always know when they are in trouble as they always turn to the personal attack. The only thing missing was Marje Bridle asking "Where's the vision?" which is her standard speech.
At the end of a long meeting there was a request by the local SAS(TA) Regiment to be allowed to March through the city with all ceremony. This was granted but they won't be exercising the honour for obvious reasons.
Keith had an early meeting yesterday at Lloyd House with ACC Stuart Hyde to discuss an upcoming review of partnership working involved in the Birmingham Reducing Gun & Gang Violence initiative. As befits his position ACC Hyde is an intelligent & thoughtful man and his senior officer concerned with this was right on top of her subject, and the bacon butties were excellent. Also yesterday he had the unusual experience of appearing before the Health Scrutiny Committee. Keith was a member of the committee for 2 years but this time he was there to give evidence concerning his role as a member of the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital's Members Council. This is of interest to Keith as it is within the Northfield Constituency and he was also a patient there. On a different note Keith & Ken joined other councillors on a day of media training, This helps you to perform better when appearing on TV or radio or talking to journalists. Very interesting and an eye-opener to what is really happening when you watch an interview.
Due to illness Ken was the Lead Member for our group on the Housing Scrutiny Committee. This has seen some really excellent news as the service has been awarded 2 stars by Government Inspectors and is now among the top 5% of Housing Authorities in the country. Remember what we said earlier about what it would have been like with Labour still in charge?
Sue is Deputy Chairman of the Northfield Constituency and has now been elected as the Chairman of the Northfield Constituency Employment and Skills Programme which aims to equip people to obtain jobs when they come. Of course with the economic disaster that this Government has brought upon us that becomes harder every day.
On top of all these we have meetings in the Constituency and the Ward as well as all the smaller groups who welcome a Councillor to their meetings. There is also of course the political campaigning that takes place all the time. This includes delivering leaflets, canvassing, fund-raising and, of course, the inevitable meetings.

Viva la video

We hope you like the first efforts at putting videos on the blog. We will be trying out more of these, especially to show you some of the events we get involved in.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Friday, 16 January 2009

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Balaam's Bramble Bash

Back to work on Saturday. Keith was at an advice centre at the Parish Council offices whilst Sue was bashing the brambles at Balaam's Wood. This involved digging up lots of the brambles which proliferate in the wood and which prevent the Bluebells coming through later in the year. In case anyone is concerned about cover for the birdlife there are plenty left and the meadow is surrounded by deep cover for the birds. It is hoped that this will lead to many more sightings for those that use the meadow.
As members of the RSPB Keith and Sue are concerned that a balance is maintained between flora, fauna and people in the wood. Luckily we have the Friend's of Balaams Wood and the Local Nature Reserve Management Committee, of which Sue is a member, who all do a splendid job looking after one of our most prized assets.
As birdlovers Keith and Sue have been delighted to find several Goldfinchs coming to their garden feeders. This is the first time these wonderfully coloured birds have been seen in their garden and are welcome additions to all the others species which feed there.
Ken has been very busy delivering leaflets and our end of year cards. We hope they are useful with the calendar, contact numbers and handy numbers and would encourage everyone to keep them all through the year, you never know when they will come in useful.

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To Boulder go....

Just before Christmas Sue took a trip up the M6 with several local schoolchildren to Stoke. The object was to take a look at a "Play Boulder". This is a large artificial rock designedto be climbed upon. Funding has been acquired for one to go onto the Lickey Hills Centre and the youngsters were there to get some ideas of the actual design. There will also be a poem on the boulder produced by pupils from Colmers School helped by local hero Spoz, our former Poet Laureate.
Keely Huxtable and young Katie also made the journey and were most impressed, particularly with the other play equipment on view which will give us some ideas for the Forestdale Community Park.
Here a couple of pictures, one is of Sue, Keely and Katie inspecting a Boulder and another of one of our intrepid officers scaling it. His face is obscured out of respect for his politically neutral role.