Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Battle Lines

David Cameron is telling us to show a little love to the kids in hoodies, but perhaps he should be getting his new Shadow Publicity Stunt Minister for Birmingham Andrew Mitchell to spread some love around the Tories on the City Council. This may be a challenge, but he should start with that unreconstructed old git that is Cllr John Lines (rejected as the Tory candidate for Lord Mayor in 2000 because he was too right wing for a multi-ethnic City like Birmingham) whose outbursts demonstrate his need for love and understanding (and possibly a straitjacket).

It seems that Richard Burden and Gisela Stuart, Labour MPs in the City, don’t get on with the Cabinet Member for Housing. They called for him to resign last year over claims that sharp practice was being used to reduce reported homelessness in the City (entirely accurately). The current disagreement is over the fact that Gisela Stuart had the temerity to turn up to a Bartley Green Ward Advisory Board meeting. As far as I know across the City, members of parliament are usually invited to these meetings – they don’t often manage to make them, but can send a representative to speak. For some reason, the sight of Gisela caused Cllr Lines to throw his toys out of the pram and refuse to continue the meeting unless the Edgbaston MP left the scene forthwith.

Cllr Lines apparently raised it at today's council meeting during a discussions about the West Midlands Police Authority, joking that he might be facing prison. Well, he certainly has form. Early on in his colourful career, John was fined £200 for beating a neighbour with a plank of wood and then holding him down by his throat. More recently, when a barman refused to serve him after hours, Cllr Lines chose to show his respect for the licensing law by waiting outside and punching the young lad in the face three times, causing cuts and bruises. He was cautioned for actual bodily harm - for some reason, he wasn't taken to court as the police thought it was a first offence. Only a few months ago, Cllr Lines pandered to the baser elements of his electorate by signing a new deal to accommodate asylum seekers being dispersed from London, but at least they won't be drawn to Birmingham by the offer of a small colour TV.

Lovely man, Cllr Lines, and a fine representative of the neanderthal wing of the Birmingham Tories.

No comments: