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The Chamberlain Files

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Clancygate: impact of change on local news media 

14 Sep 17

One of the more worrying features of the climax of Clancygate is the way in which the Council’s official statements — both that from the Interim Chief Executive and from…


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Council in Crisis? Blame the media! 

13 Sep 17

As I read John Clancy’s resignation statement, one passage stood out – not least as it came before admitting that he had made mistakes, writes Kevin Johnson.


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Clancy: what’s the legacy? 

12 Sep 17

Just twenty months is not a long time in which to develop an enduring legacy as a political leader.


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Policy tsars – stupid name, but are they useful? 

11 Sep 17

I’d have bet money on at least one turning up in time for my recent round-up of the six Combined Authority mayors’ first 100 days.


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Clancy: Three days, three outcomes 

11 Sep 17

John Clancy, Labour’s leader of Birmingham city council, faces his toughest three days in the job.


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Boards must take positive action to appoint Muslims 

31 Aug 17

The issue of Muslim participation in public life has been laid bare in a ground-breaking report by a Citizens Commission: Islam, Participation and Public Life, chaired by the former Attorney General…


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Did you have your say on Birmingham’s health reforms? 

24 Aug 17

You might not know this but the people of Birmingham have just missed the chance to give a view on one of the biggest changes to the way health services…


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Around the Metro Mayors in 100 days 

23 Aug 17

Better, it’s said, to be criticised than ignored – even when, as here, it leads to one having to apologise, writes Chris Game.


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Council: it’s not all rubbish 

17 Aug 17

Yesterday’s announcement of a suspension of industrial action by Unite the union in the dispute with Birmingham city council over refuse reforms will come as welcome news to residents.


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Combined Authority logos – do they do it for you? 

14 Aug 17

With branding of the West Midlands, as ever, under discussion and the Midlands Engine currently looking to develop a campaign brand, Chris Game wonders if anyone recognises any of the…


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Simon: Street has failed and made no difference 

11 Aug 17

Andy Street won the mayoral election by under 4,000 more votes than main rival Siôn Simon.


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What should the Mayor do on skills & housing? 

10 Aug 17

Andy Street says that negotiations have started over Devolution Deal II and that skills and housing will be the main strands when announced in the Chancellor’s Budget.


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Hyphenated bowlers and other cricketing trivia 

7 Aug 17

Back in January I ventured a blog lamenting the paucity of Birmingham-born international England cricketers.


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Street: 10 days ‘til the big 100 – what’s the score? 

7 Aug 17

The fabled 100 day marker is in sight and Andy Street is heading towards it with the air of a student cramming for an exam.


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Combined Authority decides not to rename 

18 Jul 17

A controversial proposal to change the title of the combined authority and adopt the name of its biggest city along with the term ‘city region’ has been dropped, writes Kevin Johnson.


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Review: WMCA makes a digital mark 

30 Jun 17

Only last week the Chamberlain Files editorial team was commenting on the website of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) hardly reflecting the personality of its energetic new Mayor.


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Boundary changes and fewer MPs: is it now just fantasy? 

30 Jun 17

In an attempt to push the boundaries (or should that be contract them), Chris Game reviews the parliamentary boundary changes – something likely to be an entirely academic exercise.


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Arts Council has backed Birmingham’s diversity and emerging leaders 

28 Jun 17

These remain difficult days for the arts nationally but, as the Chamberlain Files has often reflected, these are particularly challenging times for the sector in Birmingham, writes Andy Howell.


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How other countries deal with the horror of a hung parliament 

17 Jun 17

In amongst all the election results and analysis on the Friday morning after the night before, there was a widely reported quote from Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission…


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Nothing has changed, nothing has changed! 

14 Jun 17

Oh yes it has.


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Election 2017: Birmingham and West Midlands in election spotlight 

8 Jun 17

The end is almost nigh – with just another four hours of voting and then the counting to go.


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What will the international observers make of the British way of doing elections? 

8 Jun 17

Today, as voters go to the polls, Chris Game reflects on the integrity of our electoral system and it’s international standing.


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A Campaign of Contradictions 

5 Jun 17

What a strange election this has been.


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What does our ‘Money In, Money Out’ devo equation look like? 

16 May 17

Instead of just six, we might easily have had at least nine new Combined Authority (CA) mayors by now – a whole baseball team of them – and a very…


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A Right Mayor of a Week 

11 May 17

What a week that’s been – not least for new West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, who will tomorrow chair his first meeting of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), writes…


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WM Mayor: What happened to the others? 

8 May 17

Inevitably, the focus on the contest for West Midlands Mayor is now all on the winner, Andy Street, with a bit of space left for the candidate who lost out…


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New chair to take helm at WMCA – but, what’s it been up to? 

5 May 17

It’s all over bar the counting, writes Kevin Johnson, as Mayoral candidates turn their attention from campaigning back to the WMCA.


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How to cast your vote(s) – a cautionary tale from the polling station 

4 May 17

I popped along to vote this morning, writes Chris Game.


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First Mayor, Last Push 

3 May 17

Elections, elections.


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Will the Mayoral election be decided by Supplementary Votes? 

29 Apr 17

A few of you saddos possibly spent last Sunday afternoon tele-watching the Arsenal-Manchester City FA Cup semi-final.


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Does Birmingham have no monumental non-royal women? 

27 Apr 17

An early General Election prediction: fewer women than men will vote on June 8th – as in every recent General Election.


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Early election alert! Fake facts hit Ladywood 

20 Apr 17

As the world now knows, ‘Brenda from Bristol’ – or #Brenda4PM or Brenda “Not another one?” to her new followers – isn’t a fan of all this voting business.


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Politics continues to surprise, but will Brenda be bothered? 

19 Apr 17

So, who was surprised at 11.00am yesterday morning as the Prime Minister declared her wish to call a General Election, subject to the provisions of the Fixed Term Parliament Act…


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Forget Metro Mayors – parliamentary elections where candidates can outnumber voters 

2 Apr 17

With the appearance of the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ and now barely 726 days left in which to reach a Brexit deal, I thought Files devotees might appreciate a quick run…


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The Death of Devolution or a Vow to Save the UK? 

31 Mar 17

There is a view shared by a number of commentators that we are witnessing the ‘death of devolution.


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Mayoral mail lost in post? 

29 Mar 17

Please, please, Mr.


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Metro Mayor: Your stage awaits…. 

29 Mar 17

One of the criticisms of the campaign to be the first elected Mayor of the West Midlands is that there is little to choose between the five main candidates and…


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Metro Mayor: Getting Down to Business 

28 Mar 17

You may (or may not) have noticed: we’re going to be electing a West Midlands Mayor on the 4th May, writes Henrietta Brealey.


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Metro Mayors: how to big-up without overselling 

21 Mar 17

Tomorrow sees the second of four Public Debates with all five main Mayoral candidates.


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GE2017: shift attention from one by calling another? 

20 Mar 17

There was plenty of media speculation over the weekend about the possibility of Theresa May trumping George Osborne’s news headlines by calling an early General Election.


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Midlands Engine – what is really under the bonnet? 

14 Mar 17

The Midlands Engine Strategy, published last week, has been warmly welcomed by most business leaders and politicians.


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Mayoral race – odds, sods and some stats 

13 Mar 17

Last September, shortly after my last Files blog specifically about the parties’ and candidates’ prospects in May’s metro mayoral elections, bets on the newly adopted Conservative candidate, Andy Street, were…


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And then there were five….no, six 

9 Mar 17

After a number of hustings featuring just three or four mayoral candidates, the first Public Debate took place this week with all five candidates.


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Council Crisis – well, we never expected sympathy 

27 Feb 17

Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s first chief-of-staff and now Chicago mayor, is the accredited author of the tactic of never letting a serious crisis go to waste – the reasoning being…


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That was the week that was 

27 Feb 17

Well, what a week.


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Business rates revaluation – or making Team Trump look like a ‘fine-tuned machine’ 

23 Feb 17

As a former Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, the now Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, will be well aware that when a football club boss expresses “full confidence…


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Council Chief: the hard work starts now 

20 Feb 17

And so Birmingham starts its search for another new Chief Executive, writes Andy Howell.


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Council CEO to leave: the story behind the story 

19 Feb 17

On Saturday night, we broke the story that Mark Rogers, chief executive of Birmingham city council since early 2014, would be leaving the Council this week.


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Turn on all the taps, but non-statutory approach to regional planning is missed opportunity 

16 Feb 17

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board will consider the final report of its Land Commission at its meeting today.


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Birmingham’s ‘literacy crisis,’ although none measured in making of report 

16 Feb 17

It’s hard to tell if last week was an exceptional one for crises, because there are ‘CRISIS!’ headlines nowadays for almost anything that temporarily falls short of our media-stoked expectations…


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Nielsen: get the West Midlands moving and our productivity will motor too 

9 Feb 17

Integrated transport is a vital element of our productivity challenge in the West Midlands, says LibDem candidate for Metro Mayor Beverley Nielsen.


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Staging the Debates 

8 Feb 17

In many ways, today is one of the days for which the Chamberlain Files was started.


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Big city leaders to follow in footsteps of Chamberlain 

26 Jan 17

The Core Cities group of leading UK councils will meet in Birmingham’s Highbury Hall, the ancestral home of Joseph Chamberlain, for an ‘industrial strategy summit’ tomorrow.


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Integration: A two way street 

21 Jan 17

The Casey Review:  “A review into opportunity and integration” (Dec 2016) is not the first, nor do I doubt, the last report that will be published on the subject of integration…


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Council budget: a challenging task made even harder 

14 Jan 17

So where had we got to with the City Council’s 2017/18 Budget before we were so inconveniently interrupted, asks Chris Game?  No, I don’t mean the Christmas/New Year interruption, which…


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Former council deputy leader calls for all party plan and more openness on budget 

13 Jan 17

The saga of government intervention at Birmingham City Council saw a new development this week with the publication of an independent ‘Peer Review’ into the Labour leadership’s proposed budget for…


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Did England’s Indian cricket thrashing start here in Birmingham? 

9 Jan 17

England’s international cricketers have returned to India this week, as part of what might well qualify as a cruel and unusual punishment – the US Constitution’s term for a penalty…


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Metro Mayor: Are you stepping up UKIP? 

5 Jan 17

There are four months to go to the first mayoral election in the West Midlands and we can expect the campaign to move up a gear in the coming days…


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Brexit: what’s the plan? 

4 Jan 17

Yesterday, Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK Permanent Representative to the European Union (the country’s most senior ambassador in Brussels), resigned early from his post.


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Health and social care need radical reform 

29 Dec 16

The crisis in social care is well documented, with numerous heart-rending stories of people unable to access basic care due to the significant cuts local authorities are facing since the…