Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

December 2009

JEWELLERY QUARTER CLOSURES A "BODY BLOW"

31-12-2009

Plans to close Birmingham Council’s regeneration offices in the historic Jewellery Quarter and shut the Tourist Information kiosk – revealed exclusively on The Stirrer yesterday – appear to be confirmed by a leaked letter sent by the Chair of the Jewellery Quarter Association. He describes news as a “body blow”. more


The Stirrer Review of the Year

DIGBETH - THE BATTLE CONTINUES

31-12-2009

We continue our look back on the events of 2009 by recalling the ongoing debate over the future of Digbeth. As Dave Woodhall ponders, should it be the symbol of a bright new city or a reflection of our past? more


Kingy’s Wolves Blog

THE JANUARY SALES

31-12-2009

Brendan King casts his eye over recent games and works out who Wolves should be signing. Of course they’ll want to come to Molineux. more


Audrey’s New Year Blog

31-12-2009

This time last year, Audrey Miller pledged to eat home grown food every day in 2009 – and she succeeded. Now she’s taking up the cudgels on behalf of public transport. more


JEWELLERY QUARTER DEMANDS WHITBY MEETING OVER CUTS

30-12-2009

Businesses in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter are demanding an urgent meeting with Council leader Mike Whitby to discuss planned cuts which, it’s claimed, could stall the regeneration of the area. more


CAFE OWNER'S HOT STUFF FORCES COUNCIL U-TURN

30-12-2009

A café owner’s offer to provide hot breakfasts to the eight remaining residents of Underhill House in Wolverhampton has forced the local Council into an embarrassing u-turn. more


Dave’s Villa Blog

£50 MILLION IS ALL IT NEEDS

30-12-2009

Christmas hasn’t been too merry for Villa, with defeats against fellow Champions league contenders. Dave Woodhall wonders how the gap can be bridged. more


Get Out More............................Panto Review

CINDERELLA

30-12-2009

Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre is packing them in for this hardy perennial, starring The Krankies, Stefan Dennis, and local X Factor lass Niki Evans. Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg gets festive with his five year old. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

POSH ALBION IRON OUT THE FLAWS

30-12-2009

It’s a very merry Terry Wills who pontificates on the last few days at the Hawthorns and wonders where exactly it all went right. Having two of the opposition sent off might be an clue. more


MULLANEY – WHY HILL TOP HAS RUN ITS COURSE

29-12-2009

Golfers angry at the proposed closure of Handsworth’s Hill Top course have been sent a detailed justification by Birmingham councillor who made the decision – the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture Martin Mullaney. He explains that the number of rounds played there has almost halved in five years, and that it’s biggest loss-maker among the city’s municipal courses. more


TOO LITTLE TOO LATE

29-12-2009

The Stirrer’s exclusive story about Labour’s failed – and hugely controversial – attempt to “call in” Birmingham’s new Central Library continues to reverberate around the corridors of power. But for campaigner Alan Clawley it’s all part of wearisome lack of accountability. more


Get out more............................panto review

SLEEPING BEAUTY

29-12-2009

It’s that time of year again when men dress as old women, women dress as young men and Terry Wills is at the Birmingham Hippodrome to witness it all. more


The Stirrer Review

BIRMINGHAM LIBRARIES

29-12-2009

As the New Year approaches we’re looking back at some of the biggest stories to have occupied Stirrer minds during 2009. Kicking off is the long-running saga of the new central library development more


Richard Lutz’s Blog

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY

29-12-2009

You may wonder what those Crazy Yanks do for Christmas. Richard Lutz offers you one on a plate. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

LAMPS IN THE SHADE

29-12-2009

Blues maintained their impressive recent run with a 1-0 win at Stoke yesterday – but Andy Munro is still purring with pleasure after their Boxing Day shut out of Chelsea, which even saw England star Frank Lampard subbed off. more


THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

28-12-2009

Dave Woodhall was at the Emirates where Villa were beaten by Arsenal yesterday. But he saw one incident to gladden the heart. more


MERRY XMAS

25-12-2009

The Stirrer wishes all contributors and readers a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy yourselves, one and all..


"CALL IN" FALL OUT

24-12-2009

Birmingham councillors voted amid ill-tempered scenes yesterday not to “call in” the city’s new Central Library. Allegations of arm-twisting and backdoor chicanery surfaced after one senior Tory refused to support his own leadership – while a Labour councillor blew the chance to embarrass the ruling coalition by failing to show up. more


VOLUNTEERS SICK OVER HOSPITAL TREATMENT

24-12-2009

Angry hospital volunteers who’ve been told their services are no longer required have hit out at callous managers who they say have failed to recognise their lengthy service. The WRVS, which has traditionally run a shop and canteen at Selly Oak, is being replaced after declining to tender for a “commercial retail space” at the new privately financed QE. more


Get Out More.............................Gig News

CAPSULE LISTINGS

24-12-2009

The good a folk at Capsule have been bringing some of the finest left-field musical entertainment to Birmingham for a decade now - and there's no let up in sight. Lisa Meyer leads us by the hand through next year's early highlights. more


"MACHO" MULLANEY SLATED OVER CUTS

24-12-2009

Festive spirit is in short supply among Birmingham councillors with Labour’s deputy leader Ian Ward accusing Lib Dem Cabinet Member Martin Mullaney of “macho posturing” over proposed cuts in Hall Green – the constituency at the front line of massive savings due to be rolled across the city in the New Year. more


Stay In More.................Book Review

WEST BROM’S GREATEST GAMES

24-12-2009

Terry Wills reviews the latest tome about the Albion, which is bound to start a few arguments. more


FAREWELL BASH FOR UNDERHILL RESIDENTS

24-12-2009

There was plenty of Christmas spirit at Underhill House yesterday as elderly residents enjoyed their last Christmas party in the home - which is due to close next month. more


ANOTHER STABBING IN LOZELLS

24-12-2009

A man was stabbed in an unprovoked attack in Lozells last night – the seventh assault in which a knife has been seen or used in the area in the last six months. West Midlands police believe the incidents may be linked. more


Kingy’s Wolves Blog

MID-TABLE SAFETY AHOY

24-12-2009

It’s been a long time since all out top clubs were doing so well. As Brendan King points out, even Wolves can face the Christmas period with optimism. more


YO HO HO

24-12-2009

In which Dave Woodhall is finally overcome by the compliments of the season. It won’t last. more


“BLACKMAIL” ROW AS XMAS LIGHTS GO OUT

24-12-2009

A furious row has erupted over the lack of Christmas lights in Balsall Heath amid claims of “blackmail” by a senior council officer. There are fears the issue could be used to whip up grievances and racial hatred. more


VIRGIN PEAKS EARLY

23-12-2009

Virgin Trains aren't only increasing fares by up to 6% in the New Year - they are also cutting back the availability of off-peak travel. Passengers returning to the West Midlands from London will have to head home before 3pm in the afternoon, or wait until the evening rush hour is over. more


COSTING THE EARTH?

23-12-2009

Birmingham taxpayers had to cough up almost £3,000 in hotel fees for deputy Council leader Paul Tilsley and a senior officer to attend a recent Mayoral summit in Copenhagen, which ran alongside the failed intergovernmental conference on climate change. more


MEALS ON WHEELS PROTEST SERVES UP 10,000 NAMES

23-12-2009

More than 10,000 Wolverhampton residents have now signed up to save Meals on Wheels – a service which opposition Labour councillors claim is under threat following proposals to more than double the cost. more


THE GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST

23-12-2009

The Stirrer has received an anonymous contribution about this “special” time of year. Let’s hope your December 25th isn’t as memorable. more


Get Out More............................Gig News

WHAT’S ON AT THE ROBIN

23-12-2009

The Robin2 in Bilston have announced their listings for the early part of 2010. Here are some of the highlights. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE ...WORRYING

23-12-2009

Terry Wills is starting to feel a bit apprehensive as Christmas approaches. And it’s nothing to do with having to buy loads of presents. more


“EYE WATERINGLY” EXPENSIVE LIBRARY FACES NEW HURDLE

22-12-2009

Birmingham’s proposed new Central Library in Centenary Square could be unexpectedly “called in” this week following revelations about the true cost of the building. Opposition Labour councillors say the real price is “eye wateringly high”, and substantially exceeds the £193million regularly quoted by city leader Mike Whitby. more


WALLS COME TUMBLING DOWN AS REP GETS GRAFFITI

22-12-2009

Plans for a poetry performance cum graffiti exhibition which will leave the hallowed walls of The Rep sprayed with aerosol for a week have drawn stinging “Disgusted of Acocks Green” style criticism from some of the theatre’s regular patrons. more


Richard Lutz’s Blog

YOU’RE ALL A LOAD OF BANKERS

22-12-2009

Richard Lutz grits his teeth over the weight of buying Christmas presents. And while he’s at it, what about those bankers…. more


Stirrer Comment

HIGHBURY NEGLECT SHAMES CITY

22-12-2009

Highbury Hall in Kings Heath is one of Birmingham’s architectural treasures – and a precious gift to the people of the city by the Chamberlain family. Its long-term neglect represents a stain on the Council’s reputation. more


Doc Dave’s Blog

CAM ON DAVE

22-12-2009

Now that all three party leaders have agreed to participate in Britain’s first televised hustings at next year’s general election, there’s no good reason why voters shouldn’t get to quiz candidates at local level either. And where better to start, asks Dr David Nicholl in this open letter to David Cameron, than scandal hit Bromsgrove? more


Andy’s Blues Blog

BLUES SHOW STICKABILITY IN TOFFEELAND

22-12-2009

Blues failed to equal their club record run of six top flight wins in a row, but Andy Munro wasn’t complaining after a hard fought draw at Goodison. more


RATIONAL DEBATE

22-12-2009

Fancy a night out that really is with a difference? Skeptics in the Pub qualify on just about every ground you can imagine, plus a few you might not have thought about. more


“NO NEW CHARGES” – SO HAS MIKEY HAD JUSTICE?

21-12-2009

The Stirrer understands that a six-year campaign to discover the truth about the death of a Birmingham man in police custody is unlikely to lead to any new charges. An inquest concluded on Friday that Mikey Powell died from “positional asphyxia” after being restrained by officers. more


KITCHENS CLOSE AT UNDERHILL - TWO WEEKS EARLY

21-12-2009

Catering staff at Wolverhampton’s Underhill House have been told the kitchens will shut in early January - two weeks before the old people’s home is due to close. The Stirrer has also discovered that once existing residents have been moved out of their allegedly unacceptable accommodation, other old folk will continue to use the building. more


Dave’s Villa Blog

IT’S LOOKING GOOD

21-12-2009

Villa’s win on Saturday cements them into the top four. Dave Woodhall wonders what the management are playing at. more


TROUBLE BREWS FOR WHITBY

21-12-2009

Reports that the real cost of Birmingham’s new flagship £193 million library could be as high as £590million are intriguing enough – but what’s truly revealing is the identity of the tail-gunner firing the bullets at Council leader Mike Whitby who has made this his pet project. more


EBENEEZER IS INNOCENT

21-12-2009

If you were in Birmingham city centre yesterday afternoon you might have some sympathy with Dave Woodhall. But probably not. more


GISELA'S PINEWOOD MOVIE PLEDGE

21-12-2009

Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart has pledged to write to Lord Mandelson in a bid to protect the British film industry after it emerged that movie powerhouse Pinewood Shepperton has signed a major studio deal with Malaysia. Stuart has been attempting to persuade the company to expand into the West Midlands. more


EAST PARK RESTORATION PLANS PASS FIRST HURDLE

21-12-2009

Good news for Wolverhampton residents as East Park’s bid for lottery cash moves a step closer. more


BIRMINGHAM'S TRUE GRIT

21-12-2009

Motorists in Birmingham have been assured the City Council has done all it can to prevent Monday morning traffic chaos by gritting the entire road network four times in as many days - and at double the normal density. more


ONE LAST CONFESSION

21-12-2009

From the author of Brummie Mummy....... more


SORRY SIMON REPAYS 21K

18-12-2009

Erdington MP Sion Simon has become the latest MP to get caught up in the expenses scandal, after it emerged that he claimed rent on a flat owned by his sister – in breach of House of Commons rules. Simon has apologised and repaid £21,000. more


DOING THE TIME – FOR ALL TIME

18-12-2009

An author convicted for child abuse has had his books removed from stores. Dave Woodhall wonders why some criminals are damned forever, while others are more easily rehabilitated. more


Get Out More......................................Film Review

AVATAR

18-12-2009

At a cost in excess of $200million, James Cameron’s 3D sci fi epic which opens this weekend is one of the most expensive movies of all time. Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg checks out the film. more


"GOBBLEDEGOOK" ROW REACHES PARLIAMENT

18-12-2009

The “gobbledegook” of Birmingham Council’s accounts – previously exposed on The Stirrer – was raised in parliament yesterday by Northfield MP Richard Burden. more


FIVE STAR LINE UP

18-12-2009

Bringing you the Stirrer guide to the best live events in the region this weekend. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

WE’RE GONNA WIN THE LEAGUE!

18-12-2009

Well, he can dream can’t he? Andy Munro is in seventh heaven after Blues latest win. more


SWINE FLU UPDATE

18-12-2009

The number of cases in the region continues to fall but NHS West Midlands says there’s no room for complacency. more


COUNCIL DENIES LEGAL THREAT OVER AXON

17-12-2009

Wolverhampton Council has denied issuing legal threats to councillors who sought to make last night's vote on the Axon contract open to public debate. Here's the full text of a joint statement between Council leader Neville Patten and Steve Cardell, President of Axon Solutions. more


BLOODY NOSE FOR GRANPA IN AXON FIASCO

17-12-2009

Councillors in Wolverhampton delivered a bloody nose to the local authority leader Neville ‘Granpa’ Patten last night when they voted in secret session for an independent enquiry into the Axon fiasco – which has resulted in a £7.1 million pay out. Four Lib Dem councillors showed up splits in the ruling coalition by opposing the ruling Tory party. more


RESIDENTS HIT FOR SIX BY CRICKET DECISION

17-12-2009

The redevelopment of Edgbaston cricket ground moved a step closer yesterday with a legal adjudication in favour of Birmingham City Council who supported the proposal and gave it planning permission. Campaigner Vijay Sarathy said he was “bitterly disappointed” by the decision. more


Get Out More...........................Gig News

PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED

17-12-2009

Ex-Pistol's "what happened next...?" band re-emerge after a lengthy hiatus, apparently funded by the Country Life butter ad. Phil Calcutt gets out of his (metal) box... more


RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

17-12-2009

The perfect exercise in brainwashing? A middle-aged man without a scintilla of street credibility, but considerable control of the means of production and distribution tells young people what music they should like and hundreds of thousands dutifully do precisely what he tells them. Time, says Steve Beauchampé (a middle aged man without a scintilla of street credibility himself) to Rage Against The Machine.more


Get Out More...............................Theatre Review

ARABIAN NIGHTS - ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

17-12-2009

Richard Lutz is impressed by the Christmas offering from the RSC. more


FOOTBALL’S COMING HOME

17-12-2009

Hopes of World Cup football coming to Birmingham have moved a step nearer. But is England really up to staging the tournament in 2018? more


Get Out More....................................Gig Review

RAY DAVIES

17-12-2009

Her name’s spelt L-O-L-A Lola! But where is she wonders Andy Munro after seeing her creator Ray Davies at Symphony Hall. more


Beijing Blog

CHINESE CRACKERS

17-12-2009

Our man in China, Peter Sampson reflects on the difference between a Beijing and a Brummie Christmas. more


NEW SHOWS AT TOWN HALL/SYMPHONY HALL

17-12-2009

A rare solo show from Status Quo frontman Francis Rossi is amongst the latest events scheduled for Birmingham Town Hall and Symphony Hall. Over to the venues’ PR man Lyle Bignon for more details..... more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

JUMPING THROUGH HOOPS

17-12-2009

At long last Terry Wills has found the Albion have something in common with Manchester United – a vital last-second goal. more


Council Secrecy 1

SECRET TREES BILL COULD BE 500k

16-12-2009

Its not only Wolverhampton Council which enjoys secrecy – their counterparts in Birmingham are also keeping stumm about progress in the long running legal drama surrounding the city’s disastrous trees maintenance contract. Some estimates suggest the row has already cost taxpayers £500,000. more


Council Secrecy 2

PAY OFF REVEALED - BUT COUNCIL MEETING STILL SECRET

16-12-2009

Wolverhampton Council is still planning to hold tonight’s discussion about a pay off to business consultants Axon in secret – even though MP Ken Purchase has used parliamentary privilege to disclose the full amount. more


DAYS LIKE THESE

16-12-2009

Has there ever been a brighter morning for Birmingham football fans, with both Blues and Villa in the top six of the top division of English football? But Wolves fans are still musing on Mick McCarthy’s curious decisions to field a weakened team against Manchester United. more


ST MARY, ST MARY...QUITE CONTRARY

16-12-2009

Sybil Ruth wrote on The Stirrer yesterday about the battle for the future of St Mary's Church in Moseley which centres on a row about solar panels. She argued that they would do little to harm its visual appeal, but architect and urban designer Joe Holyoak begs to differ. more


HOW I CAME TO LOVE THE SOUND OF MUSIC

16-12-2009

Birmingham's Electric Cinema is Britain's oldest working cinema and it is about to celebrate it's centenary. Walsall journalist George Makin recalls a job there in the mid-1970s when the celebrated cinema in Station Street was known by the racier name, the Jacey... more


TICKET TO RIDE?

16-12-2009

The long awaited arrival of London-style Oystercards could be just around the corner for bus passengers in the West Midlands following a £20million government handout to regulator Centro. But as Kevin Chapman suggests the slow delivery of an established system, begs questions about how public transport is run. more


FIRST THINGS FIRST

16-12-2009

Yesterday we reported on how Birmingham city council deputy leader Paul Tilsley was off to Copenhagen for the climate change summit. Dave Woodhall would like to remind him that a problem closer to home needs sorting first. more


BLUE IS THE COLOUR

16-12-2009

After The stirrer kicked off a campaign to have Phil Lynott’s birthplace commemorated, Dave Woodhall wonders who should be next. more


TILSLEY JETS OFF - TO SAVE THE WORLD (AGAIN!)

15-12-2009

Don’t bother hassling Birmingham Council’s deputy leader Paul Tilsley about problems with your bins or street lighting just now – he’s jetted off to Copenhagen for the Climate Summit for Mayors. This no doubt essential trip will generate more than a fifth of a tonne of Co2 - all in the name of combatting global warming. more


IF IT AIN’T BROKE......

15-12-2009

Dave Woodhall’s been doing a spot of travelling. And he’s come up with an obvious solution to a fiercely-debated problem. more


OPERA'S AB FAB

15-12-2009

Who was that at Birmingham Opera Company's performance of Othello in Digbeth at the weekend? None other than Absolutely Fabulous star and all round national treasure Joanna Lumley. more


THE NIMBY CITY

15-12-2009

Birmingham's new bus station will be officially opened on Friday by England footy manager Fabio Capello. The city's former Cabinet member for Transport John Tyrrell reckons it's a rare achievement in a city blighted by nimbyism. more


Kingy’s Wolves Blog

LIGHT HEART LANE

15-12-2009

Villa’s win may have grabbed the headlines but Wolves’ result at Spurs was the real shock of the weekend. Brendan King peers down a tunnel and can definitely see some light. more


A DEVELOPING NATION

15-12-2009

Everywhere you look there are proposed building developments. Barbara Panvel wonders how many of them will ever be finished. more


VISION OFF

15-12-2009

A much-loved friend will soon disappear from our telly screens. Richard Nevin laments its departure. more


NO RELIEF FOR SELLY OAK AS PETITION NEAR 5,000

15-12-2009

The petition to upgrade the Selly Oak Relief Road – which hasn’t even opened yet – has now attracted almost 5,000 signatures. more


“SYCOPHANT” BLAIR “TRICKED US INTO WAR”

14-12-2009

Tony Blair’s former Director of Public Prosecution’s Sir Ken McDonald, has launched a withering attack on the former PM, accusing him of a “foreign policy disgrace of epic proportions” by entering the Iraq war. He said Blair showed “sycophancy” towards US president Blair, and deceived the British public. more


CADBURY - DON'T LET KRAFT BUY US ON THE CHEAP

14-12-2009

Birmingham chocolate maker Cadbury has launched a robust defence against American predator Kraft by warning – “you can’t buy us on the cheap” more


RAISING THE ROOF

14-12-2009

Moseley’s iconic St Mary’s church could soon be graced by an energy saving solar roof – but they’re facing opposition from conservation groups who want a precious slice of Victoriana maintained in its traditional style. Sibyl Ruth reports on an unholy row. more


Dave’s Villa Blog

MUCH WANTS MORE

14-12-2009

Dave Woodhall looks back at a memorable win and forward to a time when it won’t be quite so memorable. more


GANG CULTURE "MAY TAKE YEARS TO REMOVE"

14-12-2009

An offer by a senior Birmingham councillor to broker a peace deal among warring gangs has been given a cautious welcome by one of the leaders of the African-Caribbean community in the city – but he warns that eradicating the culture which created the likes of the Johnson Crew and the Burger Bar boys may take years. more


A LOAD OF BULL

14-12-2009

Fed up with the re-invention of Birmingham's famous Bull Ring as "bullring"? So is Spaghetti Gazetti blogger Pete Millington who's launching a campaign for the restoration of the proper name. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

‘AMMERED

14-12-2009

Media darling West Ham came to St Andrews hovering close to the relgation zone, while Blues fans can get excited about the prospect of European football. Andy Munro reports on strange times at St Andrews. more


CULTURE BID II

14-12-2009

Birmingham’s bid to become 2013 UK City of Culture has been launched . But libraries campaigner Alan Clawley wonders just how culturally aware city leaders are. more


NOT JUST HOT AIR

14-12-2009

Switching to green technology isn’t just about climate change. Barbara Panvel offers more reasons why we have to think about our energy sources. more


WEST MIDLANDS LAUNCHES UK’S LARGEST
PUBLIC ELECTRIC CAR TRIAL

13-12-2009

Birmingham continues its efforts to be at the forefront of green technology with the launch of a revolutionary new transport project in the city centre. But are you ready to drive electric? more


NEW SHOWS FOR BIRMINGHAM

13-12-2009

A rare chance to see two of the greatest names in British blues is the highlight of a new batch of local gigs announced today. First, though, Birmingham Town Hall/Symphony Hall PR man Lyle Bignon tells us about upcoming shows at his venues. more


PEACE DEAL OFFER TO INNER CITY GANGS

12-12-2009

A senior Birmingham councillor has offered to try and broker a peace deal among the city’s warring inner city gangs the Johnson Crew and the Burger Bar Boys. He’s also called for police to swamp areas where – as we revealed yesterday – their rivalry is striking fear into the hearts of local residents. more


CADBURY'S PETITION NO LONGER TAKES THE BISCUIT

12-12-2009

Peace has broken out in the battle of Cadbury's, with Birmingham Council finally accepting a Labour petition calling on the government to protect workers in the event of a takeover by Kraft. more


CONFESSIONS OF A BRUMMIE MUMMY

12-12-2009

Hankies at the ready. It's the final episode............ more


"BY ELECTION" WARNING OVER BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION

12-12-2009

News reaches The Stirrer of a lively spat between Birmingham’s backbench Tory councillors and Paul Tilsley – leader of their coalition partners the Liberal Democrats and guv’nor of the city’s controversial Business Transformation programme. One jokingly warned “it could lead to by elections” more


FIVE STAR LINE UP

12-12-2009

Here’s the Stirrer’s guide to the best of what’s on in the region this weekend. more


GANG TENSION RISES AFTER CITY STABBING

11-12-2009

Fears of heightened tension and an upsurge in gang-related violence on the streets Birmingham have been reported to The Stirrer following a recent stabbing – but West Midlands Police insist they are on top of the issue. more


SMOKE AND MIRRORS’ CLAIM OVER DISABLED ALLOWANCES

11-12-2009

Brendan King has previously warned of the effect proposed legislation will have on some of the most vulnerable members of society. Now he reacts to news that redundancy notices have been sent to 5,000 staff at Birmingham City Council. more


INJUNCTION THREAT OVER SECRET AXON DEAL

11-12-2009

The Stirrer has been threatened with a High Court injunction if we try to publish details of Wolverhampton Council’s secret deal with business consultants Axon. Details of the estimated £7million payoff are due to be considered by councillors next week, but still haven’t been disclosed to taxpayers. more


A LIBRARY TO BE PROUD OF

11-12-2009

Last week Alan Clawley raised concerns that the proposed Library of Birmingham would be even more expensive than first envisaged. Matthew Bott argues that the price is well worth paying. more


SWINE FLU UPDATE

11-12-2009

There’s mixed news from NHS West Midlands in the latest update on swine flu, as well as a new campaign aimed at encouraging vaccination against the illness. more


COUNCIL BANS CADBURY PETITION

10-12-2009

The campaign to keep Cadbury’s jobs in Birmingham in the face of a hostile takeover bid by US company Kraft has been snubbed – by the City Council. The authority has rejected an e-petition placed on its website by opposition Labour Sir Albert Bore. more


CULTURE CITY BID UNDER STARTER’S ORDERS

10-12-2009

Plans for a new cultural festival and the development of a creative quarter in the city were amongst the keystones of Birmingham’s bid to become the UK’s first city of culture in 2013, launched yesterday at the Hippodrome theatre. more


THOUSANDS GET REDUNDANCY WARNING

10-12-2009

Thousands of council staff in Birmingham’s Adults and Communities Directorate have been sent official “Section 118” redundancy notices, warning them that 405 jobs are at risk - despite rising demand for their service. more


Stirrer Comment

AXON GAG FLIES IN THE FACE OF DEMOCRACY

09-12-2009

News that councillors in Wolverhampton have been issued with a legal threat warning them against discussing an estimated £7million pay off to consultants Axon flies in the face of democracy. Why, you wonder, is the local authority running scared? more


UNDERHILL HOUSE CLOSURE

10-12-2009

Yesterday we reported on plans by Wolverhampton Council to close local old people’s home Underhill House Our story brought this reply from the city council. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY

10-12-2009

Terry Wills gives us his take on a disappointing few days at the Hawthorns. Robbie Savage’s family had better stop reading now. more


DARLING'S PRE-BDUGET REPORT

10-12-2009

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling’s pre-budget report has received a mixed reception, although most have praised his initiatives for small business and green technology. more


COUNCILLORS GAGGED OVER AXON DEAL

09-12-2009

Wolverhampton councillors have been threatened with legal action if they call for a public discussion on the cancellation of the controversial Axon business transformation deal. As we’ve previously reported the cost of axing the contract is being hushed up. more


BRUM SAFEGUARDING KIDS "STILL INADEQUATE"

09-12-2009

Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood has called for the resignation of Birmingham Council’s Cabinet Member for Childrens’ Services Les Lawrence. His comments came after Oftsed repeated its “inadequate” verdict for his department's record on safeguarding children. more


UNDERHILL EIGHT GET FESTIVE NOTICE TO QUIT

09-12-2009

The remaining eight residents of Wolverhampton old people's home Underhill House, including 106-year old Louisa Watts, have been sent a charming Christmas present by the local council - a notice to quit next month. But plans are afoot to ensure they at least have one last day to remember over the festive season. more


Get Out More......................Gig Review

NEW YORK DOLLS
LEAMINGTON ASSEMBLY

09-12-2009

Some old bands just reform for the money, and it shows. Dave Woodhall’s glad they’re not all like that. more


COULD DO BETTER

09-12-2009

Birmingham city council has received the results of a recent government audit. But while the council has been praised for its work in many areas, there’s still room for improvement. more


TROUBLE IN THE AIR – AND ON THE GROUND

09-12-2009

The transport industry in the West Midlands has received a double blow within the last 24 hours with the closure of one of the region’s airports and news of job losses at a major bus operator. more


Get Out More..............................Theatre Review

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL TWO

09-12-2009

The disturbingly popular teen movie phenomenon gets a stage outing at the Alex in Birmingham. Spaghetti Gazetti's Pete Millington - and kids - check it out. more


MP AND UNION ACT TOGETHER OVER SILVER STREET

09-12-2009

Actors union Equity and Birmingham MP John Hemming have joined forces to condemn the BBC’s decision to axe Birmingham based drama Silver Street from the Asian Network – as revealed last month on The Stirrer. Hemming reckons the Beeb is in breach of its Charter commitments. more


TAXPAYERS SPENDING STAYS SECRET

08-12-2009

Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet meets tonight to sanction a pay-off to management consultants Axon – but councillors have been sworn to secrecy over the precise amount. It’s previously been claimed that around £7million of taxpayers’ cash could be at stake. more


THE NAKED TRUTH

08-12-2009

Motorists in London have blamed increased traffic delays on the introduction of a “naked high street” – similar to one proposed for Moseley in Birmingham. more


Get Out More...............................Opera Review

OTHELLO

08-12-2009

After an outing at the NIA, Birmingham Opera Company get back to their roots with a performance at the Argyle Works, a disused factory in Digbeth. Paula Elenor feels privileged to see it. more


TIME FOR CHANGE

08-12-2009

As the UN climate change summit gets underway in Copenhagen, Northfield MP Richard Burden calls on the government to set a green agenda. more


The Stirrer’s Pub Crawls

NORTHFIELD

08-12-2009

After discovering that we were headed for a night out in Northfield, our cabbie commented, “I hope you’ve got your body armour on”. He wasn’t joking either. more


THE STIRRER’S CLAMPING CAMPAIGN

08-12-2009

Birmingham city council have long since vowed to get tough with car clampers. However, as Adrian Bailey reminds us, the battle is far from over. more


Get Out More......................Theatre Review

SING-A-LONG ABBA

Alexandra Theatre

08-12-2009

Abba don’t just appeal to women of a certain age. Either that or Terry Wills should be telling us something. more


CAN MANDY SAVE CADBURY’S?

07-12-2009

Business Secretray Lord Mandelson’s warning to Kraft over its potential takeover of Cadbury’s – he’s said that any potential purchaser must “respect the brand” – amounts to nothing more than posturing and will do nothing to reassure thousands of workers at Bournville anxiously awaiting news of their future. more


THE ROAD TO RUIN

07-12-2009

The long awaited relief road for Selly Oak is within an ace of being completed – but local resident Dr Dick Rodgers warns that it won’t stop the traffic snarl-ups. What’s needed, he reckons, is a dual carriageway. more


QUACKLASH

07-12-2009

Adrian Bailey sticks the boot into homeopathy ahead of a great night out with campaigner Simon Perry at Bennett's in Birmingham tonight - the latest in the unmissable Skeptics in Pub series. more


Dave's Villa Blog

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS

07-12-2009

Dave Woodhall looks back at a few days which have seen some important games and the prospect of Aston being twinned with Blackburn. more


Richard Lutz’s Blog

WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE

07-12-2009

The West has had been trying to deal with Afghanistan for centuries. Maybe it's time we let them sort their 'problems' out for themselves argues Richard Lutz. more


BRAIN DRAIN

07-12-2009

Birmingham neurologist Dr David Nicholl examines the evidence for a new kind of lie detector test - using MRI scans. more


Kingy’s Wolves Blog

HAPPY TALK

07-12-2009

There’s not been much for Wolves fans to shout about this season. Three points against Bolton, though, helped put a smile on Brendan King’s face. more


THOUSANDS OBJECT TO MEALS ON WHEELS RISES

07-12-2009

Another 2,000 signatures were added on Saturday to the petition against Wolverhampton Council's planned 83% increase in Meals on Wheels prices. The names were gathered in just three hours in Bilston - bringing the total number of objectors to more than 3,000. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

WIGAN PEERING

07-12-2009

It’s nosebleed time for Blues fans as they’re now ninth in the Premier League. But Andy Munro is casting his ambitions even wider. more


"HOKEY COKEY" WOLVES REVIEWS BUS LANE

07-12-2009

Wolverhampton has been described as the “hokey cokey Council” after ordering a review into a city centre bus lane. The news comes little more than a year after they squandered £1.7 million in another move against bus users. more


Martin Longley's Music Blog

NEW YORK SOUNDS: PART 360

07-12-2009

Martin Longley has now fled to New York City. And he ain't never comin' back, y'all... more


Get out more......................gig preview

NEW YORK DOLLS
Leamington Assembly 8th December

05-12-2009

The phrases ‘New York Dolls’ and ‘Royal Leamington Spa’ don’t exactly belong together. That’s one of the reasons why the band’s appearance at Leamington venue the Assembly on Tuesday promises to be so memorable. more


Alan Clawley’s Library Blog

WHY SO EXPENSIVE?

04-12-2009

Birmingham taxpayers aren’t just shelling out for a new library in Centenary Square. As Alan Clawley reveals they’ll also have pay unspecified compensation to The Rep for lost earnings, and to replace perfectly functional buildings which are being demolished. more


AXON AXING STAYS SECRET

04-12-2009

Council taxpayers are being shut out of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet next week – when councillors discuss the latest phase in the authority’s costly cancellation of a “business transformation” deal with consultants Axon. more


BOXING NEWS

04-12-2009

There’s a busy weekend ahead for local fighters. Dave Woodhall gives us the low-down. more


COUNCILLOR DENOUNCES CLIMATE CHANGE “FICTION”

04-12-2009

The “Birmingham Declaration” setting out the Council’s plan of action to combat climate change was approved this week ahead of the Copenhagen Conference – but one bold backbencher described the science behind it as a “fiction” and claimed the cause had been hijacked by “authoritarians”. more


Get Out More.....................................Comedy/Music

GLEE CLUB LISTINGS04-12-2009

04-12-2009

Bookings now being taken for Mark Thomas, Richard Herring and, on the musical side, a solo show from Fyfe Dangerfield from The Guillemots. Check out the Glee's listings for December, January and beyond. more


MEGABARGAIN

04-12-2009

Some travel writers go to Barbados or the Maldives. We gave Dave Woodhall three fivers and told him to bring back change. more


Get out more.............................gig review
LEE KONITZ
CBSO centre

04-12-2009

Trevor Fisher reports on a memorable night for the city’s jazz fraternity. more


NEW TWIST IN PINEWOOD DRAMA

04-12-2009

Stirrer blogger Jonathan Stuart Brown reports on a week of fevered share activity in Pinewood Shepperton PLC – owner of Pinewood Studios. Regular readers will know that their planned expansion on green belt land near London has been rejected, creating an opportunity for the West Midlands to make a move. more


SWINE FLU LATEST

04-12-2009

News that someone in our region has died from swine flu this week is a stark reminder that the peak season for such illnesses is fast approaching. Here’s the latest advice from West Midlands NHS. more


Martin Longley’s Music Blog

NUMUSIC 2009

Stavanger, Norway

04-12-2009

Martin Longley reports from the recent Numusic festival of electronic music in Stavanger, Norway, where the beer is astronomically-priced and the water is warmer than you might think... more


WIN...WIN...WIN...WIN...WIN..WIN

03-12-2009

Birmingham Opera Company returns with their latest stunning site-specific performance Othello this weekend - and The Stirrer has two pairs of tickets to win for next Monday's performance - December 7th. more


AFGHANISTAN: SO NOW WE KNOW

03-12-2009

President Obama's announcement this week that the United States is committing 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan has ended months of uncertainty. But Andy Goff reckons it will solve nothing. more


16 TORIES FAIL TO BACK WHITBY

03-12-2009

The Stirrer can reveal that 16 Conservative councillors in Birmingham failed to back their leader Mike Whitby on Tuesday, in a vote about whether to offer the public a referendum on the issue of an elected Mayor. more


Get Out More..................................Play Review

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

03-12-2009

Birmingham Rep's Main House Xmas offering provides Paula Elenor with festive cheer. more


Terry's Baggies Blog
BRAZIL NUTS

03-12-2009

Albion face up to their second consecutive game on the road this Saturday when they take on Derby. As Terry Wills reports they'll be in fine fettle after demolishing Sheffield Wednesday. more


CONFESSIONS OF A BRUMMIE MUMMY (PART 45)

03-12-2009

The rescue is complete. So will Brummie Mummy and her lover Ian finally consummate their illicit relationship in the wilds of Shropshire? Read on. more


Kingy's Wolves Blog

McCARTHY FEELING BLUE

03-12-2009

Wolves blogger Brendan King is giving long odds on Mick McCarthy's survival at Molineux - at least if current form is anything to go by. more


Opera Blog

DRESS REHEARSAL

03-12-2009

Birmingham Opera Company’s Othello opens in Digbeth on Saturday, as part of the People Dancing programme. Assistant Choreographer Jen Irons is gearing up for dress rehearsal. more


PROBE ORDERED INTO WNF SPENDING

02-12-2009

Birmingham councillors have voted for an independent audit of the city’s controversial Working Neighbourhood Fund – a spending pot designed to tackle joblessness which has been partially diverted into propping up the city’s ailing Social Services budget. more


TORY EXODUS OVER MAYOR REFERENDUM

02-12-2009

Backbench Tory councillors staged a remarkable walkout from Birmingham Council chamber last night when Labour opponents proposed a referendum on how the city is governed. more


NOISE ANNOYS

02-12-2009

The campaign to bring speedway back to Cradley received a boost at the weekend. But as Dave Woodhall reports, would its return be as popular as some might think? more


COUNCIL BACKS STIRRER LYNOTT CAMPAIGN

02-12-2009

Last week the Stirrer launched a campaign to have rock legend Phil Lynott recognised in West Bromwich, the town of his birth. It seems Sandwell Council agrees with us. more


Get Out More...........................Gig Review

GARY NUMAN – WOLVERHAMPTON WULFRUN HALL

02-12-2009

Here’s something to make you feel your age – Gary Numan’s Pleasure Principle album is thirty years old. Mark Gunton reports on the return to live action of a true eighties icon. more


TAXPAYERS CLEAN UP AS COOPER SWEEPS IN

02-12-2009

New Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper has announced a “root and branch” restructure of the authority’s senior management in a bid to free up more money for front line services. He also pledged to clean up the borough and peg Council Tax increases to inflation or below. more


Get Out More....................Gig News

PETER KAY

02-12-2009

The Tour That Doesn’t Tour Tour now on tour. The rise and rise of comedian Peter Kay shows no sign of slowing down, with three new shows confirmed for the NIA. The venue’s press officer Chris Mills breaks the news. more


PASC FORCE

02-12-2009

They’ve been called enemies of democracy. But as Barbara Panvel reports, the government seem reluctant to curtail the influence of lobbyists. more


Get Out More...................Concert Review

SINATRA - LIVE AT THE SANDS: Alexandra Theatre.

02-12-2009

Old Blue Eyes is back in town, or at least as close as you can get to the original. Terry Wills was there to watch him. more


"BIBLE" BASHES BRUM DINING SCENE - AGAIN!

01-12-2009

The self proclaimed “bible” of the restaurant scene Hardens Guide has again dismissed Birmingham’s dining scene despite the fact that three establishments in the city have three Michelin stars – more than any city outside London. more


Exclusive

PUBLIC FOUNDER RETURNS

01-12-2009

The founder of West Brom’s controversial Public Arts Centre Sylvia King writes exclusively for The Stirrer about a return trip on Friday when the building’s architect Will Alsop was in town. Despite the teething pains surrounding the £72 million project, she sees good times ahead. more


WINNING THE POSTCODE LOTTERY

01-12-2009

On the day that the postcode lottery in cancer survival was revealed, Selly Oak MP Lynne Jones has urged women over 50 to take advantage of free breast screening on the NHS. Jones has revealed that she’ll undergo surgery for her own cancer in February. more


GREEN FOR GO

01-12-2009

Birmingham city council is throwing down the eco-gauntlet with a new initiative on climate change. Meanwhile, their counterparts in Wolverhampton can celebrate winning national recognition for their green efforts. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

THE TAMING OF THE WOLVES

01-12-2009

It’s trial by radio for our Blues blogger Andy Munro who can’t quite believe the ease with which three points were taken from a toothless Wolves. more


W’TON COUNCIL HIT BACK AT ‘MEAN SPIRITED’ CLAIM

01-12-2009

Yesterday we reported about opposition to Wolverhampton city council’s proposals to drastically increase the cost of their meals on wheels service. Now the council have replied to criticism of their proposed new charges. more

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