Crime was back on the agenda at the council meeting on Tuesday. No, not John Lines' criminal record, nor yet the wanton vandalism from the Tories/Liberal Democrats running my city.
Deirdre Alden (pictured left with Ken Hardeman), the former beauty queen turned politician, matriarch of the Alden family bloc and perpetual parliamentary loser in Edgbaston, returned to her usual claims that everything in the Edgbaston garden is toxic. This time, she was alleging that her local coppers are being economical with the truth when they claim that crime is down on their patch. She just can't handle the truth that crime is falling and has been for years - you are as safe now as you were back in 1981. Besides, where's the votes if the population aren't scared?
By the way, Deirdre - one of your aims under the constituency plan is to reduce the fear of crime. No wonder Richard Bashford, a Labour councillor from Quinton, compared her to Senna, the soothsayer from Up Pompeii. I was reminded of a Times piece from the last general election, which followed Deirdre around Edgbaston and came across a fine example of the lesser-spotted Tory voter, 57 year old Jacqueline Howell:
'I think your policies on immigration could swing it for you. If I was an immigrant, they’d give us a nice big house and a car and a mobile phone. This country is solely and purely for the immigrants. We may as well pack up and leave.'Deirdre tackled those lies with her usual forceful rebuttal and firm grasp of the facts about immigration.
“Yes,” agrees Mrs Alden. “We’re being swamped.”She wasn't the only one getting all confused about policing, though, according to a source at the meeting.
Ayoub Khan, the Liberal Democrat councillor and new Birmingham lead member on the West Midlands police authority didn't seem to know what PCSOs are (Police Community Support Officers, as it happens) and was concerned that a £9 million investment in these uniformed patrols was diverting funding away from real coppers. In a typically consistent Liberal Democrat way, his mate Tariq Khan then stood up and announced that the people of Washwood Heath welcomed the new PCSOs. So come on then - are you in favour of them or not?