Birmingham news and blogs Thursday 19 April 2018
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Proportional representation: Nancy Platts 

16 Apr 18

The West Midlands New Economics blog draws attention to a message from  Nancy Platts, a Labour Party councillor, who has worked for London Fire Brigade, Daycare Trust and Consumer Focus.

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March visitors 

15 Apr 18

People from 31 countries visited this site last month TOP POSTS o…

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Vintage Trains (Tyseley) co-operative: share offer still open 

11 Apr 18

Vintage Trains   runs Tyseley Locomotive Works (below) in Birmingham, restores and cares for its collection of historic steam engines and carriages, preserving traditional skills and ensuring steam locomotives from a bygone era remain in service for…

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Britain, as yet neither mature nor a democracy, appears to need its monarch and its mayors 

6 Apr 18

The rational case against metro mayors ably set out by local commentators, Richard Hatcher, George Morran and Steve Beauchampé, has been shattered for the writer by the media-feeding chaotic, emotion-led, vicious, counterproductive squabbling in the…

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Self-repairing roads: Birmingham engineers join a research team 

3 Apr 18

“Is it possible, for example, to have a city where potholes get fixed autonomously, before they become dangerous and expensive?” In the Financial Times* Mark Miodownik, a professor of materials and society at University College London, asks this …

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Gala Saturday 7th: Moseley Road Baths reopening 

1 Apr 18

  M oseley Road Baths CIO ( Charitable Incorporated Organisation) will be re-opening the pool on Saturday 7th April 2018 from 8:45am with public swimming sessions starting at 9am and running until 2pm.

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‘Remote killing’: city academics offer cold comfort for Yemenis 

25 Mar 18

  John Ferguson, Professor of Classics in Nigeria, the United States and England, became the first Dean of Arts at the Open University and was also President of the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham, pacifist, cricketer, singer and opponent of …

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WMNEG meeting: Language and politics 

23 Mar 18

WEST MIDLANDS NEW ECONOMICS GROUP Date: Thursday 29 th March, 5pm-7pm Susan Miles, who will be opening this session, will do a brief introduction.

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Planning for the Future: 1948 – reflections 

22 Mar 18

Planning for the Future: 1948 – Reflections on What Happened and Why is a paper written for the Black Countryman , the quarterly magazine of the Black Country Society.

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Housing 30: £2bn social housing fund five months overdue 

16 Mar 18

Five months after announcing a £2bn fund to build a new generation of council homes, the government has not released the money.

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BRUM GREEN DRINKS: Enemy of the People? 

12 Mar 18

TUESDAY 13 MARCH from 6.00p.

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Air pollution: petition to be handed to Cllr John Cotton 

9 Mar 18

An air pollution campaign mounted by Birmingham Friends of the Earth calls on the City Council to adopt a city-wide approach to tackling air pollution which is linked to 900 premature deaths a year in the city.

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George Morran, (WMCC), Andrew Carter (Centre for Cities) and Richard Hatcher (BATC) appraise the WMCA and metro mayor 

8 Mar 18

 “ The West Midlands is beginning to get its act together under its new metro mayor”: Will Hutton Observer 18th February George Morran, Director of the West Midlands Constitutional Convention and former Assistant Chief Executive of Dudley …

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Moseley Road Baths: news on two fronts 

6 Mar 18

There is an important update about swimming timetables, lessons and prices from Karen Leach from the Moseley Road Baths Charitable Incorporated Organisation, which will be taking on the running of swimming facilities at the Baths from the start of …

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Birmingham press release as Europewide protests call for a ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta 

5 Mar 18

In Cologne Statement by the British Kashmiri Women’s Council, We Engage Birmingham Stop the War Coalition.

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1 Mar 18

The photography of Janet Mendelsohn Presented in association with  Flatpack Film Festival 10 March – 28 April 2018 In the late 1960s American filmmaker and photographer Janet Mendelsohn spent several months documenting the everyday life of Balsall…

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2015-2018: city park, market area with trees & green space, or a fenced vista? 

27 Feb 18

The loss of Eastside Park (above) to HS2 , ‘more of a square than a park’, strengthens the case for greening Smithfield.

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Housing 30: Right to Buy disaster – terminated in Scotland and Wales 

26 Feb 18

o The stock of secure and affordable housing for people who are unable to buy or rent a home of their own has been progressively reduced by the Right to Buy legislation, passed in the   Housing Act 1980 .

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BTUC Conference: WM Economy needs a strategy for inclusive growth’ 

21 Feb 18

The West Midlands Economy: Why We Need a Strategy for Inclusive Growth’ , BTUC Conference 10 March 1.30-4.30, Unite offices, Birmingham See website for slightly clearer print.

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Mayor Andy Street and Bishop David Urquhart could begin to address homelessness 

18 Feb 18

Some time ago West Midlands metro mayor Andy Street travelled to Finland – thought to be the only country in Europe where homelessness is falling.

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Wylde Green meeting on March 8th: the possible implications of Brexit on trade 

16 Feb 18

7pm at Wylde Green United Reformed Church, Britwell Road, B73 5SW Global Justice Now formerly known as the World Development Movement (WDM), Click on the image to enlarge  The decision to leave the European Union is the biggest political choice the …

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WMNEG: Brexit – values, priorities and mechanisms? 

14 Feb 18

WEST MIDLANDS NEW ECONOMICS GROUP Date: Thursday 22nd February, 5pm-7pm John Nightingale, who will be chairing this session, intends to do a brief introduction.

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Housing 29: loss of balance in city ‘humming with noise of regeneration’ 

9 Feb 18

Birmingham is described by Cllr Ian Ward, ‘showcasing’ investment opportunities at this year’s global property and real estate show MIPIM, as   ‘a destination of choice’ for international investment and blue-chip occupiers.

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Digbeth drop-in day: ground breaking disability rights exhibition 

6 Feb 18

Action Village India , a UK based charity pressing for positive change in rural India, is holding an open afternoon on the 14th February (1:30pm – 3:30pm) for people who want to learn more about one of its key projects.

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Stirchley Baths seeks volunteers 

1 Feb 18

Could you help at weekends? With maintenance? Greeting people during the daytime? Write and upload newsletter content? o…

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Localising Prosperity’s short film highlights four local projects 

29 Jan 18

Localise West Midlands recently commissioned a video which highlights four local projects that stimulate local economies and decentralise economic power.

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Commonwealth Games 2022 – Something They Forgot to Mention 

27 Jan 18

“ Two Sandwell community swimming pools to close to help fund Commonwealth Games Aquatics Centre ” , reports Steve Beauchamp é The true cost to Sandwell residents of hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games aquatics events became clearer on Tuesday …

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Further Faster Together for Climate Action – project launch 

27 Jan 18

Climate Action Network West Midlands invites you to the official launch of our exciting Big Lottery Funded project.

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Invitation from the Iona Community: February 17th 

25 Jan 18

TRIDENT – WISE? The Iona Community invites you to this Midlands Regional Event to hear C ommander Rob Forsyth RN Rtd Saturday 17 th March.

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As a local MP writes about the brave new world to come, the FT highlights the tawdry starting point 

24 Jan 18

“As Britain heads out the door of the European Union, where’s the game plan for how we thrive in the brave new world that’s coming, asks Labour’s Liam Byrne ?”    And how do we thrive now? The official purpose of the Presidents Club …

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Human rights after Brexit, ‘reliant on Parliamentary goodwill’ . . . 

18 Jan 18

Jeremy Corbyn’s amendment to th e European Union (Withdrawal) Bill , aimed to retain the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and ensure that it would be transferred, with the rest of EU law, when Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

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“What do you think of the new Cabinet?” 

15 Jan 18

This question was posed last week and I replied cautiously, “Wait and see”.

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West Midlands New Economics Group: AGM 25th January 2018 

14 Jan 18

Annual General Meeting Roundup of news and planning for future meeting 25th January,  5-7pm at the John Lewis Community Hub, available to community groups.

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Labour’s effective opposition in 2017 

12 Jan 18

Steve Walker blogs: In spite of Labour’s General Election surge and its continued polling strength – not to mention more than  thirty  u-turns Labour under Corbyn had already forced from the Conservatives before the election – the line …

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Housing 29: London showing of film, The Great Social Housing Swindle – Birmingham next? 

9 Jan 18

In 2017 housing rose to the top of the British political agenda for the first time in a generation.

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John Madin’s Central Library: January 2018 

7 Jan 18

Gone but not forgotten – but will Birmingham ever learn? Mary Keating, from campaign group Brutiful Birmingham, asks why Birmingham seems to dislike its Brutalist history so much  Birmingham’s Central Library before demolition Read on here :  …

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BFOE supports councillors’ proposal for food waste collection 

5 Jan 18

In July on this site a Gloucestershire reader recommended the local food waste collection which began in 2016.

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“Birmingham banker Thomas Attwood must be cheering from his grave” 

27 Dec 17

‘The Labour party would have found an ally in Attwood’ Dr Geoffrey Ingham, Financial Times (Letters) : “The early 19th century member of parliament, proto-Keynesian and pro-industry Birmingham banker Thomas Attwood must be cheering from his …

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A university ‘spinoff’ – permanent magnets for wind turbines? 

23 Dec 17

Birmingham’s Professor Rex Harris (FREng) is drawing attention to a recent article in the Guardian Review on wind energy giving an up-beat view of off-shore wind farms which, he agrees, are showing a lot of promise, particularly compared with the …

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Presented in Birmingham: plan to give undemocratic powers to the Conservative hierarchy 

21 Dec 17

On November 25 the Conservative Party held a convention in Birmingham attended by 100 invited people, which rewrote sections of the party’s constitution.

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Chamberlain, Mrs May and industry 

17 Dec 17

There is a substantial and interesting article about the work of Joseph Chamberlain on the website of the Centre for Retail Research.

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Head teachers hear Jeremy Corbyn’s programme for the 99% 

16 Dec 17

Corbyn’s core philosophy We must recognise that every single child in this country has talents and every single child deserves the chance to flourish and thrive to their maximum potential in whichever field suits them best.

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Housing 28: will city MPs vote for stable rentals – or retaliatory evictions? 

14 Dec 17

“100 tenants a day lose homes as rising rents and benefit freeze hit” – The Observer July 2017.

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Birmingham Grand Central platforms: dingy polluted subterranean canyons 

9 Dec 17

Reading Christian Wolmar’s article: ‘Rail’s dirty secret’ , recalled last year’s  question on this site : ‘How many lungs and hearts will be damaged by air pollution before action is taken?’ There is concern about the levels of diesel-…

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Bournville’s Visitor Information Centre: a revelation 

4 Dec 17

‘Visitor Information Centre’ is a name that kept the writer away for many months anticipating only leaflets and the usual memorabilia made in China.

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2 Dec 17

Saturday 2nd December, 2-7pm Bournville Village Council will oversee the traditional switching on of the landmark Christmas tree lights 6pm.

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Is the first zero pollution passenger vessel Belgian? Birmingham has had one since 2006 

1 Dec 17

  Congratulations to the   Compagnie Maritime Belge  ( CMB), one of the oldest Antwerp ship owners, which has built the first commercial ship that runs on hydrogen and produces zero pollution.

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U-turn? BCC adopts the Clancy/Unite agreement, with token modifications 

26 Nov 17

In July, Birmingham City Council reneged on an ACAS-mediated, cabinet-approved agreement between the Unite union and Birmingham’s talented Council Leader, John Clancy, which was to end the seven-week refuse collection dispute.

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New Green Party councillor with Birmingham links 

24 Nov 17

Herefordshire Greens decisively gained a seat from the Conservatives in yesterday’s by-election.

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WMNEG: Green Economics discussion introduced by Robert Kornreich 

24 Nov 17

West Midlands New Economics Group meeting: Robert Kornreich’s introduction to a discussion on Molly Scott Cato’s book:  Green Economics: An Introduction to Theory, Policy and Practice will include PowerPoint slides.

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Gentrify Stirchley? 

23 Nov 17

One of the charms of Stirchley is the active community bonding between many of its residents, regardless of age, income or education.

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Difficult winter ahead: West Midlands distribution base for food banks? 

20 Nov 17

The late Hilary Powell, who lived in Shirley, would – like many others volunteering to help food banks – have reacted with great concern to the forecast in the Financial Times by Chris Tighe writing from Newcastle: “Winter is coming, Britain’…

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Housing 28: landlords foresee yet another impact of UC – unpaid rent 

16 Nov 17

Theresa May: “the government wants people to be able to manage their own (universal credit) budgets” Yet again, the vulnerable suffer.

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Housing 27: abandon Section 106 

14 Nov 17

The Financial Times has reported that John Healey, shadow housing minister, has set out Labour’s plans to tighten a housebuilding loophole introduced by the Conservatives that has been blamed for halving the number of “affordable homes” built …

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Employee Ownership Association Annual Conference at the NEC 

10 Nov 17

The Employee Ownership Association (EOA) 12 th Annual Conference represents organisations which are employee owned or transitioning to employee ownership.

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Housing 27: what would a Corbyn premiership mean for the building industry? 

6 Nov 17

In the Financial Times , Jim Pickard, its Chief Political Correspondent and one of Mr Corbyn’s consistent detractors, writes: “After largely ignoring Labour for two years, many business leaders are now scrambling to work out what a Jeremy Corbyn …

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Working to rebuild and reuse the former home of George and Elizabeth Cadbury 

3 Nov 17

Bournville Village Trust has agreed to acquire and manage some of the 138 homes at the Manor House site, which is being developed by Crest Nicholson.

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Edgbaston: meet faiths working for a low carbon future 

1 Nov 17

  Faiths working together for a low carbon future As part of national interfaith week, join Footsteps’ annual event to meet other people faithfully caring for the environment, and share ideas about how we can work together for a low carbon future.

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The Big Birmingham Bikes scheme: next phase 

28 Oct 17

A message from Councillor Mary Locke about city cycling has been forwarded by Peter Walker, Chairman of the Stirchley Neighbourhood Forum.

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FT: Corbyn’s ‘rapturous reception’ in Brussels 

20 Oct 17

Today the FT reports that Jeremy Corbyn was given a ‘rapturous reception’ in Brussels on Thursday, as he warned that leaving the EU without a Brexit deal would be “catastrophic” for the UK economy.