'And in a sign of rising tension at the Council House, Coun Whitby (Con Harborne) was involved in a blunt exchange of views about the [mayoral] petition at an awards dinner for Broad Street businesses earlier this week. The council leader verbally attacked a Mail journalist, accusing the paper of launching a personal campaign against him. The one-sided exchange, in full view of startled diners, lasted for about five minutes before Coun Whitby went back to his own table.'
'Coun Ken Hardeman said: “Mike got a bit excited, that’s all. He was having a go but none of us had to take him away or shut him up. It was five minutes of Mike speaking forcefully. It was a pointed discussion but I can assure you there was no threatening behaviour. He just got a bit hot under the collar.” Friends of Coun Whitby say that dealing with the mayoral issue is beginning to impose a strain and take up more of the council leader’s time
Frankly, if it keeps Whitless and his cronies from doing any more damage, then more power to the Mail's elbow. The Mail editor was suitably dismissive, describing it as ‘nothing to write home about, nothing more than hot air.’ What else would you expect from Whitless?
I'm not supportive of the idea of an elected mayor for Birmingham, but I am angered at the complete failure of leadership by the Regressive Partnership of the Tories and the Liberal Democrats. I say partnership, but I have yet to find much evidence of Lib Dem policies being enacted - it seems as one-sided an exchange as Whitby's verbal assault on Dale.
With Whitby in charge, is it any wonder that there is a demand for change and for real leadership for our City? The people will have their say, whether Whitby likes it or not.
This week's council meeting will probably reject the idea of combining a referendum with May's local elections - saving a huge pile of money - even though many councillors support the idea. Doubtless, the Liberal Democrats will vote loyally beside their Tory friends.