Thursday, July 27, 2006

Reservoirs of goodwill

And elsewhere, Cllr Paul Tilsley has given in to public pressure - including a letter-writing campaign by local schoolchildren - and agreed to give the Elan Valley project a £20,000 grant. That's not quite how he saw it, though
'It was not due to public pressure. We have been trying to find a way of going forward with our colleagues from Elan. This was some time in its gestation.'
He's talking utter rubbish - which is no surprise.

In any case, this is the right decision.

A good day to celebrate good news

At long last, the people of Kingstanding can have a real councillor working for them, as the High Court in London declared the correct result from May 5th's election battles and corrected the mistake to removed the 'councillor who never was.' For all her promises of hard work, Sharon Ebanks never bothered to turn up to either of the full council meetings during her brief tenure.

Sion Simon makes a fair point about the need for Labour recognising that there are issues in the white working-class wards. There will always be the bile-filled nutters who use the BNP as an outlet for their hatred of other human beings, but there is a percentage of the BNP vote that feels ignored and we need to be making our case to them. They are typically working-class voters who have always voted Labour, but some do feel let down and abandoned by us, so seek the solace offered by the cheap policies of the BNP, while others simply don't vote. We need to remind them that Labour does deliver for them and prove it by ensuring that their concerns about crime, the local environment, education and employment are properly addressed, as well as tackling the lies put out by the BNP. That's our challenge - to show that real political parties - not those based on lies and hate - are able to make a real positive difference to their lives.

Odin's Eye will be back with her own special brand of political insight and her generosity of spirit, but we must be ready to prove that Labour is the only viable choice for Kingstanding and the rest of Birmingham.

Congratulations to Cath Grundy on resuming her rightful place in the council chamber.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Oaten gets his

This evening, the death of Mark Oaten's political career was announced. It had been kept on life support for the past few months, but it was too weak to survive and was finally put out of our misery today. No flowers, by request.

By the way, I believe that Mr Oaten was being advised on his comeback by the same people who are advising Ming on relaunching his leadership.

Oh dear.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Funny money

In all the fuss over the question about party funding, Iain Dale has an interesting revelation - the companies established by Michael Brown and used as vehicles for a donation to the Liberal Democrats of £2.4 million are about to be struck from the register at Companies House for failing to submit returns.

Needless to say, the Liberal Democrat anonymous bloggers are out on Iain's blog with their own version of the truth. One holds that the Political Parties and Electoral Registration Act 2000 - which legislates for all of this - defines a company as doing business in the UK if it is registered and suggests that this might be a legal loophole that would allow the Liberal Democrats to keep the cash. OK, for the benefit of the tape, here's the relevant section of PPERA


54. - (1) A donation received by a registered party must not be accepted by the party if-

(a) the person by whom the donation would be made is not, at the time of its receipt by the party, a permissible donor


(2) For the purposes of this Part the following are permissible donors-
(a) an individual registered in an electoral register;
(b) a company-
(i) registered under the Companies Act 1985 or the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, and
(ii) incorporated within the United Kingdom or another member State, which carries on business in the United Kingdom


The company must be registered, but it must also carry on business. As the Inland Revenue have had no dealings with the company and no returns have been filed, it seems unlikely that the Liberal Democrats could claim that the company was carrying on business at the time the donation was received.

Another comment says that the Electoral Commission investigated the donation and found that the Liberal Democrats acted reasonably.

True - up to a point.

You see, the initial investigation last year did indeed find that they acted reasonably, but also required the Liberal Democrats to tighten up their checking processes - which had previously amounted to an assurance from Michael Brown that his company did indeed 'do business' in the UK. However, the Electoral Commission haven't given up and the investigation is ongoing - it is currently suspended to allow the police a clear run at Mr Brown pending possible charges.

If the donation is deemed to be unlawful, then the Electoral Commission can obtain a court order to forfeit the sum. That order would be obtained under the civil standard of proof - the balance of probabilities. Unless the Liberal Democrats can come up with some very nifty legal footwork, then I think they face a real funding crisis. Perhaps one or two of their tame millionaire MPs could be prevailed upon to donate some extra cash?

The worst thing about it is that the donation came too late in the campaign to make a real difference and was just spent recklessly, rather than being targetted on key activities like voter identification.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Ming cracks

Newsnight devoted a large chunk of time last night to an assault on Ming the Merciless and it wasn't good news for him at all. If that's the best relaunch his new publicist can think of, he's in real trouble.

Even though his performances in PMQs have improved, he's still not able to land serious punches on Blair - amazing given the news agenda at the moment. Campbell is being run ragged by Cameron. His problems run much deeper than a weekly appearance in the Commons - which is the main shop window for the Liberal Democrat leader outside election time.

A Newsnight/ICM poll of voters saw over half preferring the alcoholic Chatshow Charlie as the leader of the Liberal Democrats, with only a quarter backing the charmless Campbell. This can't be good news - not least with the reminder that Chuckie might be considering a return to the throne. Only a few weeks ago, Charlie reminded us that he would have liked to contest a leadership election in order to remove the question mark that hangs over the whole sordid affair and I'm sure that there would be great personal satisfaction in bringing down one of those responsible for Kennedy's unseemly defenestration at the start of the year.

Part of Campbell's problem is that there is little focus on the third party outside election times and even less when the second party is in the ascendant. Let's face it - the Liberal Democrats have no chance of forming the next government, whilst the Tories are in the strongest position they have been in for a political generation. The best the LDs can hope for is to hold the balance of power between the two parties - a possibility that Ming studiously avoided discussing. So, the leader of a junior party always faces a major challenge to get any decent coverage, but this isn't helped by Ming's complete lack of charisma. Even on Newsnight, he berated one poor student who was considering voting Liberal Democrat and treated her as a hostile witness - barking questions at her regarding tuition fees and Iraq. When challenged about his lack of passion, he responded by telling us that he had been offered a seat on the High Court bench back in 1996, but he was so passionate about leading a third-rate party down the drain that he refused it. Increasingly, that's looking like an error of judgement.

Apparently Ming's biography has been held back because it describes how Campbell pushed the knives into Kennedy's back. I suspect that the truth (apart from the risk that nobody outside the lickspittles making up the LibDem front bench these days would buy a copy) is that everyone suspects that this autumn will require a new chapter - 'Downfall of the House of Ming' or 'The Return of Chuckie.' Don't turn your back, Ming.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

An early start to the silly season?

Iain Dale has revealed exclusively that former Labour MP David Hinchcliffe has taken on a non-executive directorship of the South Yorkshire Mental Health Trust, something that brings in less than £6000 a year in remuneration. Iain reckons that this is an example of another Labour snout in the trough.

Nope.

David Hinchcliffe has a strong record of interest in health issues. A former social worker, he's been a local councillor and then an MP, finally chairing the Commons Select Committee on Health. With his experience in the public field, he'd be an asset to any health trust board. He's not a New Labourite by any means - he's made his opposition to the Iraq war and to the creeping privatisation of the NHS very public.

So, Iain's wrong to identify this as an example of Labour sleaze. The announcement was made a few days ago by the trust and David's former political activity was revealed as a direct result of the Nolan recommendations - something that wouldn't have happened under the Tories.

Unless he wants to suggest that the former Tory council candidate Thiruvenkatar Krishnapillai has also got his nose in the trough as a non-exec director of the same Trust.

Iain - you are out of order on this one and I've come to expect better from you than just mindless trashing of opponents or a self-destructive pandering to those who follow the theory that all politicians are devious and venal. Simply turning round and now blaming New Labour and those paid by the Labour Party to comment on your blog (I'm not proud - if anyone wants to pay me to blog or sit around all day commenting on others, I'm up for that, but currently, this is just a hobby) when comments tend to go against you, shows that you are firmly on the back foot on this one.

You're wrong.

Anyone seen a kettle?

This week was probably not the best week for a Liberal Democrat MEP to suggest that money management and budgeting lessons become part of the curriculum:
'All too quickly a small debt grows out of control and people don't know where to turn.'
The LDs ended the last financial year £200,000 in the red and may end up further in the mire if the Michael Brown affair goes badly for them and they need to find £2.4 million to repay some rather large banks.

And yes, I know that the problems within the Labour Party and the Conservatives are significantly worse. Anyone got a spare five million quid or so?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Start as you mean to go on

In a move calculated to win the hearts and minds of Labour's bloggers, John McDonnell - who has identified himself as an early challenger for the vacancy when Tony finally decides that we've had enough - has threatened a fellow Labour blogger into taking down a post. It wasn't a brilliant post, to be honest, but that's not the point.

I wonder if John supported the changes to the PLP rules - the ones that seem to allow the Chief Whip to threaten elected members? Anyone know how he voted? If not, to use them like this is simply hypocritical.

Well, John. When the election comes, I've got a voice and it won't be raised in your support, nor will my vote(s) go your way. Waving m'learned friends around is simply childish and makes you look like a thin-skinned novice, not a serious player. In any case, trying to silence the blogosphere is like trying to nail jelly to the wall.

Grow up.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Flip-flop Cameron

During his leadership campaign, Dishy Davey C made a commitment to the Eurosceptic wingnuts of his party to secure their support - to leave the European Peoples' Party grouping in the European Parliament. This has been pretty much the only policy decision he's made - as we should discount the vacuous mood music that he's been generating ever since.

Today he declared that he'd fulfilled that pledge. By not leaving the EPP. Until 2009.

In itself, this is pretty much irrelevant - the Tories are simply looking to create a new, less-federalist group and need the support of another handful of countries to do it, or they face sitting on the sidelines as outsiders. Cameron made the deal, not realising that the initial plan would require the Tories to ally with people like the Polish Law and Justice Party, which has rather old-fashioned views on equalities and homosexuality - entirely out of kilter with the New Tory ideology. He thought the Czechs would play ball, but the Civic Democrats are suddenly finding that they need their European friends, so aren't quite so anti-Brussels as they were. Cameron knows he's in a bind and he hopes that this will delay action for three years, by which time an election campaign will have either been won or lost. If it is won, then Cameron will be PM and can say that times have changed since the original declaration and the time isn't right to leave the EPP. If it is lost, then the new leader of the party will have to deal with it.

But the truth is that despite whatever the loyalists say over on Iain Dale's site, Cameron has broken his promise. In any case, that promise would have itself broken a European election manifesto pledge to stay with the EPP for the 2005-09 term.

Indeed, back in January, any MEP who failed to leave the group was threatened with deselection. Now, any MEP who LEAVES the group will be deselected. As he put it on the World at One on the 16th January:

'I've said that I think the Conservative Party ought to leave the European People's Party because I believe in consistent politics... and you'll have to wait and see for the steps... we're going to take together to deliver this important promise, which is about being consistent.'

Let's face it. If you voted for Cameron as leader thinking he'd keep his word, you've been had.

Tilsley's no dummy

Iron Angle returned to the story of Paul Tilsley's peculiar TV interview the other day, to tell us of a further segment of the unbroadcast programme, where Cllr Tilsley's response to a question about whether he would have refused a request to help fund an Elan Valley museum, as Whitless did. After the interviewer had to repeat the question, Paul again dodged an answer, before
in the manner of an ageing end-of-the-pier ventriloquist, Tilsley grabbed a glass of water and uttered "gottla-geer,gottla-geer"
That makes a change - we all thought that Hemming was working the dummy.

Woe, woe and thrice woe!


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?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

How to fiddle the figures

I mentioned in my last post that the Housing Department of Birmingham City Council are being encouraged to fiddle their figures to reduce the number of people reported as homeless.

One reason that people can be made homeless is if your landlord serves a Section 21 notice to quit - entirely legitimate for a whole range of reasons - and gives you, say, two months notice. At this point, a sensible person might pop into the local council neighbourhood office and ask for help, thinking that eight weeks' notice might improve their chances of accommodation. Sadly, they would be wrong, because this means that you appear on the list as homeless and drive the figures up. The council will not consider that you are homeless until you have the bailiff's 28-day notice in your hand. Their advice is that you stay put and force the landlord to go to court - probably landing you with a bill for costs and winding up reasonable landlords for no conceivable gain. You will certainly find yourself stressed beyond belief by the fear of eviction, but at least the figures look good and that's the most important thing in the World of Whitless.

All this was reported in the House of Commons last year and John Lines claimed that the council was acting in line with government policy.

They aren't and they are still doing it.

Cllr Hemming declared that John Lines was unfit to be Lord Mayor. Is Cllr Lines fit to run the Housing Department?

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.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Cameron's Right

I see that Bob Piper got there first, but I was amazed by the speech from David Cameron, urging the rest of the country to capture the spirit of Birmingham - perhaps he was referring to a sub-standard Tory/Liberal Democrat administration that we risk after the next election. Fortunately for the rest of the UK, he was referring to the great Victorian Joseph Chamberlain - a man of vision who left a mark on the city still visible today. He referred to
'what Joseph Chamberlain, in 19th century Birmingham, called the 'municipal gospel' - the good news of reform, improvement and rebuilding. If ever a city needed a gospel, 19th century Birmingham was it...but Chamberlain had a bolder vision for Birmingham. The centre of Birmingham became an economic powerhouse, and a place of beautiful urban design. I want us to recover his spirit. The spirit of civic pride. For there are great things which local government can do.'
David, I'd settle for somebody bringing that gospel to Birmingham today.

And slapping Mike Whitby and Paul Tilsley about the face with it.

If you hear a faint whirring sound around the City today, that's Old Joe spinning in his grave.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Democracy - Liberal-style or How to Keep Voting Until We Get the Right Result

I've been meaning to write about this for a couple of weeks, but work and other commitments have kept my blogging to a minimum.

A little while back, the Iron Angle column in The Birmingham Post mentioned a Lib Dem plan to rerun their group elections - deciding which of those clowns get to make a mess of my city - in the autumn. Ostensibly, this is because cabinet responsibilities are being reshuffled and this would be an ideal opportunity to review the situation. Actually, this is a symptom of the acute embarrassment in LD circles that the Cabinet and scrutiny committee chairs overwhelmingly represent the white, male side of the city and entirely ignore the ethnic minority groups that make up a large chunk of the population. As none of the existing members seem prepared to do the decent thing and give up their paypackets, the back seat driver of the Lib Dem group on the council, one J Hemming, has decided that the issue will be forced. John points out that if the seven Asian councillors all voted en bloc, then one of them should secure a seat at the top table - although he fails to explain why these councillors couldn't also rely on the votes of their white and black colleagues. Poor old Dave Radcliffe could find himself the shortest-lived deputy group leader ever if he's summarily ejected in the autumn. That's democracy for you.

However, Hugh McCallion, a venerable old stalwart of the Labour team in Birmingham, had an excellent letter published, which uncovered some of the hidden fault lines in the Asian 'party-within-a-party'

Ayoub Khan makes no secret of the fact that feels he should be rewarded for the work he did in the Aston postal vote trial.... Shaukat Ali Khan was desperate for a position and certainly let it be known that he thinks his claims are stronger that those of Ayoub Khan. The departing Deputy Leader [only because he knew he couldn't win (PolH)] Tariq Khan... thinks his claims are stronger than either of the other two... because he was one of the first to defect from the Labour Party. Abdul Aziz presses his claims to anyone who will listen.

Does Hemming really think that such a diverse group could ever unite behind one of their number? The more sensible of the Lib Dems - if that isn't a contradiction in terms - realise that this group and those who identify with certain individuals in it, have the capacity to wreck the party and indeed the coalition.

It isn't possible to satisfy all their aspirations and any movement in that direction can only cause dissention and chaos. It's all very well going round collecting dissenters and mavericks when you're in opposition, but it's a very different matter when you are in goverment and expected to deliver...


Speaking of the destructive ability of certain former PJP councillors, don't forget that there is a scandal bubbling under in Bordesley Green where there have been accusations that a council scheme to provide rubbish skips to domestic users may have been used to lever votes in the recent council elections. It seems that the two Liberal Democrat councillors managed to overspend their budget quite impressively - each councillor was effectively allocated 120 skips from a central budget of around £39,000. The Labour councillor handed out 161, but was outstripped by the generosity of his Liberal Democrat opponents, who managed to sort out 615 of them and then had the nerve to ask for another £80,000 on top of the already massive overspend. And one of them wants to be a Cabinet member?

There are also questions over the shining performance of Paul Tilsley as Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Deputy Leader of the Council, Insulter of the Welsh and Brownnoser in Chief to Mike Whitless. Remember, he only won the leadership by a single vote last year and a slight shift in the dynamics, along with a change to the STV voting system could see him unseated. That would be highly entertaining.

Speaking of Whitless, I note that he's started a royal visit to China. Well, it keeps him from doing any more damage at home.

Oh no John, no John, no John, no...



All is not Rosie in the world of Prezza.

Look, John, you may be the most prominent of the traditional 'beer and sandwiches' brigade of the Labour Party. You may be the mortar that holds the Blair/Brown bricks together. You may be something of the working class conscience at the Cabinet table. You may be a far more entertaining speaker than most people are prepared to credit.

But what you are now is an embarrassment. The time has come for you to decide which is more important to you - the non-job that is the Deputy Premiership to which you now cling or the party that you have served (and has served you well) for decades. You hung on last time as the Blair government seems determined not to shed any more members of the crew for the time being, no matter what the cost, but now is the time to call it a day.

Your performance in being beaten up by John Humphrys on the Today Programme on Radio Four wasn't bad until it got to the question about your affairs, which you tried to dodge and obfuscate. Frankly it was embarrassing to hear. Perhaps you know that one of them won't spill the beans, but what of the others? The rumour mill puts the figure at three, but I've heard up to five mentioned - is that it or are there more skeletons in your locker waiting to jump out on us?

You have become the story. Let's get back to policies and away from the tittle-tattle.

Time to walk the plank, John.

Is it a right-wing blogging conspiracy? Probably not. I don't doubt that Iain Dale is grinding a particular axe and taking great pleasure in doing it, but I'm not hypocritical enough to criticise him for doing so when I did the same thing on Chuckles Kennedy, John Hemming and Mark Oaten.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Water under the bridge

The fallout of Paul Tilsley's spiked TV interview rumbles on as a councillor from Rhyader in the Elan Valley and two directors of the CARAD Elan Valley project write in to the Birmingham Post to put the Liberal Democrat leader straight on a couple of points.

Cllr John Jones points out that his family used to farm the Elan Valley and were very far from being poor, as Paul suggested - they could afford to have a tailor come to the farm to make thier clothes. Birmingham Corporation flooded their best fields in the valley, leaving only the poorer higher ground. Cllr Jones disputes Tilsley's claims that the construction was a source of economic stimulation to the area, as many of the labourers were itinerant workers. As for his ludicrous claims that the compensation payments allowed the tenant farmers to buy out the freehold of their plots, Cllr Jones points out that the farms would be underwater at this point and thus perhaps not ideal for growing most crops or supporting animals. A hundred of these farmers were turned out with no compensation at all and Cllr Jones cites Emmeline Pugh, who was five months pregnant and faced a 70 mile walk to find somewhere to stay, sleeping under a cart for three nights on the way. Over a century later, the surviving farms are still tenanted and lack electrical power - apparently the Corporation refused to provide that for them.

The CARAD directors weigh in to confirm that Paul Tilsley was in no way responsible for a £50,000 donation from Severn Trent - they report that the donation was £10,000 and arose out of a visit by the company to the project. In an extended article, the chairman of the Elan Valley Museum Trustees comments on the shared history that we in Birmingham have with the people of the valley and how the locals remember
'the busloads of city children brought here to see where their water came from; they remember the Lord Mayor of Birmingham making annual visits to the Elan Village School to present prizes and host a special tea for the children; and the Birmingham Police Cadets who trained here and contributed greatly to our community; the farmers here remember Birmingham Corporation as good landlords who cared for the tenanted hill farms and respected the community that was so radically affected by the drowning of valleys here to supply water to Birmingham.'

That relationship is now being ignored by what passes for the leadership of this council. While they could find hundreds of thousands to restore a Sutton Coldfield town clock, finding a small amount to support our friends in the valleys has proved impossible. And that is a disgrace.

But despite the evidence cited above, Cllr Tilsley won't let it lie. In a letter, he waspishly accuses the editor of the Post of conducting an 'unprofessional sting' with a 'freelance interviewer who was very poorly briefed and prepared' and cherry picks a couple of more positive phrases to support his arguments - conveniently ignoring the facts put forward by those better placed to understand these things. Clearly, Cllr Tilsley knows more than the Welsh in these matters. He even whinges that the council lost control of the water system in 1973 in a further attempt to muddy the waters around the issue.

The 350 million gallons of water that flow into Birmingham from the Elan Valley daily are provided thanks to the very real hardships suffered by some residents of the area, that is indisputable. Certainly, some may have had alternative employment prospects thanks to Birmingham Corporation, but our fresh water came at a very high price. A few thousand pounds isn't a lot to pay - let's stop arguing about the past and look to the future.

Cllr Tilsley feels that the debt has been discharged. I don't and nor do many people in Birmingham.

Monday, July 03, 2006

A fine day

Well, another hot summer day to start the week. Hopefully, we'll get the right result today as the official count for the Kingstanding ward in Birmingham is restaged in a London courtroom.

Cath Grundy will shortly join Zoe Hopkins on the Labour benches, ejecting the cuckoo councillor for Kingstanding and forcing her to return to the obscurity of far-right politics.