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.