Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

February 2010

DROMEY BAGS LABOUR NOMINATION FOR ERDINGTON

27-02-2010

Union baron Jack Dromey has secured the Labour nomination for the Erdington constituency – the party’s safest seat in Birmingham. Despite claims that the husband of party chair Harriet Harman was an outsider “parachuted in” against the wishes of the local party, he won by a landslide. more


Dave’s Villa Blog

UP FOR T’ CUP

27-02-2010

Thirty-odd thousand Villa supporters will be descending on Wembley on Sunday afternoon. Dave Woodhall will be one of them. more


HELPING WITH YOUR ENQUIRIES

27-02-2010

Why does it often take so long for the police to seek our help? And should we expect safer public transport? Dave Woodhall would like a couple of answers. more


SACKINGS CALL AFTER KHYRA VERDICTS

26-02-2010

Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood has called on Birmingham Council leader Mike Whitby to sack those at the top of the local authority, whose failures led to the death of seven year old Khyra Ishaq. more


LABOUR'S ERDINGTON CHOICE TONIGHT

26-02-2010

Voters in Erdington will find out later today who’ll be their Labour candidate at the forthcoming election, with union boss Jack Dromey favourite to win – although supporters of Steve Bedser reckon it could be “too close to call”. more


Get Out More....Preview

FIVE FOR THE WEEKEND

26-02-2010

Here’s the Stirrer’s guide to what’s on and what’s best in our region over the next few days. more


IT AIN’T OVER 'TIL IT’S OVER

26-02-2010

It’s been taken for granted that Birmingham Central Library will be demolished after the Department for Culture, Media and Sport refused to list the building. Don’t be so sure warns Alan Clawley. more


Get Out More.....Theatre Review

DANCING AT LUGHNASA

26-02-2010

Birmingham Rep have done justice to Brian Friel’s play about family conflict in pre-war rural Ireland, as our correspondent notes. Paula Elenor gives us her review..... more


NORTH V SOUTH

26-02-2010

Peter Millington may or may not have got his geography mixed up – not to mention his eras – as he looks forwards to Sunday’s Carling Cup final. more


Get Out More.....Previews

TOWN HALL/SYMPHONY HALL NEWS

26-02-2010

Gigs by American singer-songwriters Natalie Merchant and Suzanne Vega plus your mum’s favourites The Priests are amongst new shows announced for Birmingham Town Hall and Symphony Hall. The venues’ PR man Lyle Bignon explainas. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

I WISH IT COULD BE 1931 AGAIN

26-02-2010

He’s not going to Wembley but he is starting to worry. Terry Wills raises an eyebrow over events of the past few days. more


KHYRA CASE REVIEW MUST BE MADE PUBLIC - AND SOON

25-02-2010

Now that the case of the tragic case of Khyra Ishaq has come to its conclusion – with a manslaughter verdict against her mother Angela Gordon – there must be no delay in the publication of Birmingham Council’s own inquiry into the little girl’s death. more


GOOGLE CONVICTION “COULD BREAK THE INTERNET”

25-02-2010

Britain’s first blogging MP Tom Watson has condemned an Italian court ruling which saw three Google executives convicted for hosting a video showing a Downs Syndrome teenager being bullied. Watson warned it could “break the internet”. more


QUESTION TIME QUESTION

25-02-2010

Taxpayers should have been able to watch leaders’ question time at this week’s budget setting Birmingham Council meeting on the internet – so why wasn’t it available to view? more


Dave’s Villa Blog

CAST OF THOUSANDS

25-02-2010

Don’t all these smug Villa fans get on your nerves? Dave Woodhall’s just one of a cast of thousands. more


Suburbs For Sale

MARTINEAU LATEST: NO COMMENT

25-02-2010

Peter Millington, editor of the Harborne Gazette and the Spaghetti Gazetti blog reports on the latest developments at the Marineau Centre - a community asset being flogged off by the City Council to fund city centre decelopments. more


A KICK UP THE ARTS

25-02-2010

Big Blank Canvas

Now that Birmingham has made the shortlist for UK Capital of Culture, there could be no better time to open a debate about the future of the city’s arts provision. more


Get Out More.......................Dance Review

ACE DANCE

25-02-2010

Ever known what’s it like to get plugged into the raw power of electricity- and then dance your socks off? Richard Lutz sees the ACE dance company in its current season. more


THE YOUNG ONES

25-02-2010

The next Richard Branson has to start somewhere, and Wolverhampton’s as good a place as any. Next month sees a trade fair taking place in that city that might kick-start the next entrepreneurial success. more


BARING ALL TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR

25-02-2010

A report from the Baring Foundation, a grant giving body which helps voluntary organisations, now known by the authorities as "the third sector", has criticised the commissioning system and commissioners. John Tyrrell reports. more


Martin Longley’s Music Blog

NEW YORK SOUNDS: EVAN PARKER AT THE STONE

25-02-2010

English saxophonist Evan Parker recently hosted a two-week collaborative residency at The Stone in New York City. One of his key improvising partners was Tim Berne, who turns up at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham on Tuesday night, fronting Buffalo Collision. Martin Longley reports... more


"LEARN LIVERPOOL LESSON TO WIN CULTURE BID" SAYS MULLANEY

24-02-2010

Birmingham must learn the lessons of its failed bid to become European Capital of Culture now that’s made the shortlist for the equivalent UK title – so says the Cabinet member leading the bid, Martin Mullaney. more


A REDUNDANT QUESTION

24-02-2010

With hundreds of Birmingham Council staff facing the axe, questions are being asked about their redundancy payments – and specifically whether the terms the “grunts” are being offered will compare with settlement packages for senior officers. more


LOZELLS COMMUNITY PROJECT IS “RUBBISH”

24-02-2010

Claims that Birmingham Council’s CommUNITY project has been fostering better relations in Lozells following the 2005 Riots has been dismissed as “rubbish” by a local community activist. more


Get Out More....Film Previews

SCREEN TEST

24-02-2010

The Birmingham International Film Society have announced their March programme and it includes some interesting screenings. more


HALFWAY THROUGH THE WEEK

24-02-2010

Dave Woodhall is getting philosophical about his rising social status, car parks, big wheels and downsizing Devonians. more


MR AND MRS

24-02-2010

Never mind the Clinton’s – the West Midlands could be preparing to launch its own husband and wife political dynasty. more


SCHOOLS STILL OUT IN ALUM ROCK

24-02-2010

Birmingham mum Naveed Akhtar presented a petition to Birmingham Council yesterday, calling for part of the old Smith and Nephew site in Alum Rock to be redeveloped for a much needed school. Nowt to do with us says the local authority. more


Get Out More......Theatre Preview

THE HOBBIT –WOLVERHAMPTON GRAND THEATRE

24-02-2010

Lovers of fantasy theatre will be pleased to learn about a new version of this classic Tolkien tale, taking place in the region next month. more


IT’S LIKE PUNK NEVER HAPPENED

24-02-2010

As the League Cup final gets nearer, Dave Woodhall has been investigating a disturbing trend amongst Villa supporters and is beginning to wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to let Blackburn go to Wembley instead. more


NO ASBESTOS COMPLACENCY HERE SAYS COUNCIL

24-02-2010

Birmingham Council was accused yesterday of complacency over the issue of asbestos in schools - not least because it doesn’t have a central register of premises that might be affected. The Council denies the allegation. more


“NO APPETITE TO TAKE TO THE STREETS” OVER ISAIAH

23-02-2010

The family of Birmingham youngster Isaiah Young-Sam who was killed in the 2005 Lozells Riots only want justice, not reprisals, according to government gangs advisor Derrick Campbell – and he emphasised there was “no appetite to take to the streets” over the issue. more


MAKING A NOISE ABOUT COUNCIL CUTS

23-02-2010

Campaigners will be bringing their pots and pans to make a noise about job and service cuts outside Birmingham Council House this afternoon. They’ll be joined by a posse of union leaders – including Labour’s prospective candidate for Erdington Jack Dromey. more


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

STEVE REICH

23-02-2010

An evening of music by High Priest of minimalism Steve Reich took place at Birmingham Town Hall on Saturday, performed by the Colin Currie group. Steve Beauchampé reports. more


Schools 1

CITY COUNCIL ACCUSED OF COMPLACENCY

23-02-2010

Birmingham council staff have been accused by complacency with regards to the existence of deadly asbestos in schools throughout the city. A new report outlines the dangers which are still faced in our public buildings. more


Schools 2

SCHOOL’S OUT IN ALUM ROCK

23-02-2010

Revelations that Birmingham’s primary schools are bursting at the seams comes as no news to Birmingham mum Naveed Akhtar. She’s waging a war to get part of a prime building plot in Alum Rock earmarked for education purposes. more


Kingy’s Wolves Blog

REALITY CHECKS IN

23-02-2010

Brendan King is honest enough to accept that Chelsea didn’t have to try too hard to take three points from Molineux. But he’s hoping for better things in Wolves’ next game. more


A SORRY STATE FOR HOME CHILDREN

23-02-2010

The campaign to win justice for the Canadian Home Children – youngsters taken from the West Midlands and other parts of the UK to populate the Commonwealth – moves a step nearer success tomorrow when Gordon Brown is expected to apologise. But as John Willoughby explains that’s only a partial success. more


SKEPCHICK’S HOME TO ROOST

23-02-2010

Cult US podcaster and anti pseudoscientist Rachel Webster (aka Skepchick) visits Birmingham tonight. Adrian Bailey – who organised the visit – got an early word in. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

DUFFED UP

23-02-2010

How can anyone hate harmless little Fulham? Except of course a Blues fan, and Andy Munro in particular. more


VOTERS WILL CUT SLACK FOR "BRUISER" BROWN

22-02-2010

Claims in Andrew Rawnsley’s new book that Gordon Brown is a bruiser who likes to intimidate his staff are occupying the popular press this morning – but it’s doubtful whether this will have any bearing on the outcome of the election. more


HOME SECS APPEAL – “TAKE A SECOND LOOK”

22-02-2010

Home Secretary Alan Johnson has called on voters to “take a second look at Labour” following the party’s election launch at Warwick University on Saturday. more


Dave’s Villa Blog

“.....BUT IS HE LUCKY?”

22-02-2010

Dave Woodhall reckons he’s found one of the secrets of Martin O’Neill’s success. more


JUSTICE CALL OVER LOZELLS RIOT MURDER

22-02-2010

Residents of Lozells have called for the killer of Isiah Young-Sam to be brought to justice - just days after three men were acquitted for his murder. But following claims that tensions have risen following the verdict, they are also insisting the community won't be divided. more


Hope Not Hate - Sandwell


HUGHES PLEDGE ON COMPULSORY REDUNANDANCY

22-02-2010

Birmingham Council’s chief executive Stephen Hughes has pledged to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum in an email sent to staff – and leaked to The Stirrer. It follows news that up to 2,000 jobs could disappear in the next financial year. more


SEVEN OUT OF TEN SAY YES TO NHS

22-02-2010

Lengthy waiting times in A&E, poor access to NHS dentists and dirty hospitals are all identified as priority areas among Health Service users in the West Midlands – but seven out of ten said that overall they were satisfied with what it provides. more


BALLS TO PARKINSONS

22-02-2010

A patient of Stirrer blogger and neurologist Dr David Nicholl is aiming to raise £100,000 to support research to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Becky Hurd, aged 34, was just 29 when she was diagnosed with the condition. more


COMMUNITY SERVICE

22-02-2010

If you have the chance be sure not to miss one of the greats of Midlands broadcasting – a throwback to the time when the region could boast television output worthy of the name. more


LINK TO THE FUTURE

20-02-2010

Just when we thought the region might be getting the rail link it deserves a dark cloud has appeared on the horizon. It shouldn’t be allowed to get any darker, or nearer. more


SHOOTING THE BOLT

20-02-2010

Some of the finest athletes in the world will be coming to Birmingham as part of their preparations for the 2010 2 Olympics. That’s good news, isn’t it? more


CULTURAL CLUB

20-02-2010

Birmingham’s cultural renaissance has been given a further stamp of approval with news that eight of the city’s most inspirational organisations have been given an opportunity to showcase their talents around the world. more


Get Out More.....Gig Preview

FIVE FOR THE WEEKEND

20-02-2010

The Stirrer’s guide to the best live entertainment in the region this weekend. more


LOZELLS TENSION CLAIMS ARE "RUBBISH"

19-02-2010

Claims of serious tension in Lozells following the acquittal of three men charged with the murder of Isiah Young-Sam have been rubbished by community activists – with one telling The Stirrer relations “have never been better”. more


SIR HUMPHREY LIVES @ “ROBBING COUNCIL”

19-02-2010

The Stirrer revealed yesterday that Birmingham Council is attempting to “rob” the city’s taxi drivers by launching a cash raid on reserves held by the Licensing Committee. Now we’ve had response worth of “Yes Minister’s” Sir Humphrey. more


Dave's Villa Blog

FUN PALACE

19-02-2010

Dave Woodhall is looking at matters Astonian and wondering whether he should get a season ticket from Moor Street to Wembley Central. more


HISTORY FEARS FOR FUTURE AT JLR

19-02-2010

Car workers at JLR in Castle Bromwich and Solihull will be anxiously hoping history doesn’t repeat itself following the appointment of two senior managers who were involved with the BMW Group when it made the fateful decision to sell off Rover in 2000. more


WHAT A CURRY ON

19-02-2010

An exploding tandoori oven left a restaurant worker in Handsworth writhing in agony after suffering serious burns to his hands, face and eyes. It emerged that the oven had been installed by a chef, rather than a qualified engineer - – prompting a city wide curry crackdown by trading standards officers. more


PRESSURE GROWS FOR WALSALL-WOLVES LINE

19-02-2010

Rail campaigners in the West Midlands have backed efforts by regional transport authority Centro to revive the Walsall – Wolverhampton rail service which was withdrawn by the Department for Transport in December 2008. more


DANCING THE NIGHT AWAY

19-02-2010

The full programme for the city’s second International Dance Festival Birmingham which runs from 19th April to 15th May this year, has been confirmed and tickets are now on sale. more


BITING BACK AT THE VULTURES

19-02-2010

Debt campaigner Audrey Miller makes a final plea to our hard to reach local MPs - calling on them to turn up at parliament on Friday week to vote against so-called Vulture Funds which prey on the poorest people in the world. more


DO IT YOURSELF

19-02-2010

Ever looked up on stage and fancied a go yourself? Here’s a story of a man who managed to do just that, courtesy of the CBSO and their charity work. more


BY GEORGE - HE'S QUITTING

18-02-2010

Walsall South MP Bruce George is stepping down at the next election – apparently to spend more time with his family. Maybe so – but The Stirrer understands the timing of the decision may have more to do with the parliamentary aspirations of Walsall councillor Mohammed Nasir. more


METRO FINALLY GETS A MOVE ON

18-02-2010

MPs have given their backing to an expansion of the Midland Metro tram system in the Black Country - just a week before the government is expected to sign off the New Street to Snow Hill extension in Birmingham. more


TAXI DRIVERS "ROBBED" BY CITY COUNCIL

18-02-2010

Stumbling into a meeting of Birmingham Council’s Licensing Committee yesterday (well, someone has to) Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg comes across allegations that the local authority is “robbing” city taxi drivers to pay for its budgte shortfall – and all in the name of Business Transformation. more


IN THE ART OF THE CITY

18-02-2010

High rents and globalisation make life increasingly difficult for independent traders. Full credit, then, to the Pavilions in Birmingham city centre for giving local creative talent a helping hand while at the same time filling empty shop space. more


SANDWELL 1% TAX RISE

18-02-2010

Council Tax is Sandwell will rise by just 1% in April – as exclusively forecast last month on The Stirrer. The below inflation rise has been achieved without the cuts in jobs and services seen in neighbouring local authorities. more


NEW BOSS DRIVES INTO CITY TV

18-02-2010

The former manager of Formula 1 racing champion Jensen Button has emerged as a major player on the Birmingham media scene by taking a stake in the fledgling City TV project. more


DRAWN TO DEMOLITION

18-02-2010

Architect and urban designer Joe Holyoak takes issue with a recent public consultation about the future of Birmingham’s Paradise Forum – organised by developers Argent. He reckons the drawings make an unfair case for the demolition of the Central Library. more


A.W. PUGIN – NO COMMON MAN

18-02-2010

Deep in the bowels of the Hardman and Co stained glass factory in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture Martin Mullaney discovers some amasing national and local history – not least the origins of the stained glass used by Houses of Parliament architect AW Pugin. more


Get Out More.....................Dance Review

TRACES

18-02-2010

Acrobatic, gymnastic, dance came to the Hippodrome this week - and it left Terry Wills suitably breathless. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

PASSPORT NOT REQUIRED

18-02-2010

The latest chapter in the continuing saga of West Bromwich Albion 2009-10. Terry watches the Albion abroad and looks forward to renewing an old acquaintance. more


WOLVES COUNCIL TAX FREEZE

17-02-2010

Wolverhampton Council has frozen Council Tax for the coming year - or at least that part of it the local authority controls - leaving householders in the most popular Band D category to pay £1464 per year. Here's Council leader Neville Patten's full statement released today. more


A LESSON IN ECONOMICS

17-02-2010

Parents in Wolverhampton are in for a nasty surprise when the next academic year starts – school milk charges are set to rise by 25% a term, and pupils' meals are expected to rise by 10p per day. more


COUNCIL CONFIRMS SENIOR JOBS WILL GO

17-02-2010

Birmingham Council has confirmed yeterday's Stirrer story that senior officers are facing the axe as a result of a restructuring programme in Chief Executive Stephen Hughes department. Or at least we think they've confirmed it. more


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

CLING TO ME LIKE IVY

17-02-2010

Samantha Ellis’s new play about the certainties – and otherwise – of Orthodox Jewish life gets a run out at the Rep Door until 26th February. Paula Elenor checks it out. more


SINGH WHEN WE’RE WINNING

17-02-2010

Scientist, journalist and telly presenter Simon Singh is currently being sued by the British Chiropractic Association for daring to question their activities, prompting the launch of a campaign (supported by The Stirrer and 68 MPs) to reform our libel laws. Here’s Singh’s latest letter to his backers. more


IS THIS THE COOLEST HOUSE IN BIRMINGHAM?

17-02-2010

Richard Lutz takes a look inside an innovative home that resembles a Lego toy slapped down in the middle of a Victorian terrace. And it’s so ecological it’s giving energy back to the National Grid. more


ST PATS VOLUNTEER APPEAL

17-02-2010

Fancy doing something more for Birmingham's legendary St Patricks Day parade than simply going on the lash? Here's your chance to volunteer as a steward. more


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

GLEE CLUB LISTINGS

17-02-2010

The Glee in Hurst Street maintains its usual high standard of comedy and music. Upcoming stand-up guests include Thick Of It star Chris Addison, Sean Percival and the excellent Irish funnyman Andrew Maxwell. Gigwise, there’s Turin Brakes, Cerys Matthews and Grant Lee Phillips among others. more


TOP CITY OFFICIALS FACING THE AXE

16-02-2010

The thousands of workers facing job losses at Birmingham City Council can take some comfort in the fact that senior officers are in the firing line too. We’ve discovered that posts will also disappear in Chief Executive Stephen Hughes own department. more


THE PUBLIC – REVISITED

16-02-2010

West Brom’s multimedia art gallery The Public has had plenty of stick – much of it justified - but Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg enjoyed a fine family day out at the centre yesterday. Maybe it’s time to finally celebrate an addition to the local cultural scene. more


BEATTIE THREATENS TO FCUK UP WOLVES ELECTION

16-02-2010

The leader of Wolverhampton Council and the city’s next mayor are both in the firing line as Trevor Beattie - the man behind the FCUK ad campaign - gears up to extract his revenge after being snubbed by the local authority last year. Beattie's offer to keep open Underhill House – the home of 106-year old Louisa Watts – was rejected out of hand. more


WIN……..WIN…………WIN………….WIN….

JUS LIKE THAT

16-02-2010

This highly-rated Tommy Cooper tribute starring the Vicar of Dibley’s Clive Mantle is at The Hippodrome this Saturday (Feb 20) and we’ve got two tickets to give away. more


SUBURBS FOR SALE - PART TWO

16-02-2010

The Stirrer recently highlighted the threat to the Harborne's Martineau Centre - a thriving community facility at risk of being flogged off to fund prestigious new developments in Birmingham City Centre. The battle to preserve the Martineau - and others like it - continues... more


DON'T BE THE CADBURY CAD, NIGEL

16-02-2010

Voters in Selly Oak are being whipped up against their local Labour MPs by Tory candidate Nigel Dawkins who accuses them of failing to act to save Cadbury’s from Kraft’s aggressive takeover - but shouldn’t he really be aiming at his own leader David Cameron? more


Andy’s Blues Blog

DERBY DAZE

16-02-2010

A narrow squeak against Derby can’t disguise the shocking truth – Blues are in the last eight of the FA Cup. Andy Munro muses on an even more unlikely scenario. more


CARIBBEAN ART - ANOTHER HAITIAN TRAGEDY

16-02-2010

Yesterday we drew attention to a public meeting aimed at examining why earthquake-stricken Haiti was the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. Now John Tyrrell reveals how the recent devastation has claimed some hitherto unsuspected victims. more


Get Out More.........................................Film News

BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL FILM SOCIETY

16-02-2010

Late notice, we know, but there's a Brazilian double bill at the Library Theatre tonight, as Birmingham International Film Society flys the flag for world cinema. And there's another double bill at the same venue next week. more


BEDSER "ERDINGTON'S LOCAL CHOICE"

15-02-2010

Former Birmingham councillor Steve Bedser has been outlining his credentials to replace Sion Simon as Labour’s candidate in Erdington – and while he’s too diplomatic to criticise his maIn rival, union baron Jack Dromey, it’s clear that he’s positioning himself as the prime local choice in a duel against a nationally backed “outsider”. more


BEST CHINA

15-02-2010

The popularity of Birmingham’s Chinese New Year celebrations does great credit to the city – but as Adrian Goldberg observes, it has now become a victim of its own popularity. more


Richard Lutz's Blog

THE DEATH OF A CHILD ON TELLY

15-02-2010

Richard Lutz peeks behind the scenes of what probably happened in the run up to Gordon Brown’s TV revelations about his personal life. more


SPRUNG FAIR

15-02-2010

The NEC is one of the key drivers of the West Midlands economy and a major local attraction – but Andy Munro reckons after a recent visit that it’s resting on its laurels. more


RAISING FUNDS – AND CONSCIOUSNESS – FOR HAITI

15-02-2010

Fancy a Haiti fundraiser with a difference? Check out the return of former BBC WM presenter and Channel 4 documentary maker Robert Beckford to the West Midlands next month. more


BEDSER SURPRISE CONTENDER FOR ERDINGTON

15-02-2010

Former Birmingham Councillor Steve Bedser has emerged as a surprise contender in the race to replace Sion Simon as Labour’s candidate in Erdington. Union boss Jack Dromey is also in the shortlist revealed exclusively on The Stirrer Forum last night. more


KICKING UP THE PAST

13-02-2010

Dave Woodhall is looking at ways to spend other people’s money. It isn’t difficult. more


WOLVERHAMPTON WAITS FOR SUMMER

13-02-2010

Steve Boyes, Wolverhampton Council's interim chief executive, has defended the city's "top of the league" status as the UK's empty shops capital. He says the figures have been dstorted by the stalled Summer Row development. more


STAFFORDSHIRE HOARDING

13-02-2010

Attempts to keep the Staffordshire Hoard in the Midlands have received a boost with news that the fundraising campaign is well on target. more


COUNCIL CONSULTANTS: AT LAST, SOME ANSWERS

13-02-2010

Serious questions raised by The Stirrer about the cost of hiring consultants at a Birmingham Council department threatening 1300 redundancies have finally been answered. more


FIVE FOR THE WEEKEND

13-02-2010

Here’s the Stirrer guide to the best gigs in the region this weekend. more


REP REDUNDANCIES MOVE INTO SPOTLIGHT

12-02-2010

Staff at Birmingham Rep have been warned to expect redundancies when the theatre goes dark to accommodate the building of the new city library. No official figure has been put on the number of job losses, but The Stirrer understands that it could be around 30. more


SENIOR LABOURITE QUITS WITH SAVAGE BROADSIDE

12-02-2010

Long standing Birmingham Labourite David Spilsbury has quit the party and delivered a scathing attack on officials who he said have “marginalised” ordinary members. Spilsbury accuses them of trying to create a UK equivalent of the Democrats, and says they are “deliberately jettisoning the whole tradition which went into the building of the Labour Party.” more


ONCE A VILLA MAN....

12-02-2010

Dave Woodhall pays tribute to former Villa captain Brian Godfrey, who died on Thursday. more


BEGINNING AT HOME

12-02-2010

Good news for charities in south Birmingham as Moseley Round Table have money to give away. But if you want a slice of the cash you’re up against stiff competition. more


Get Out More........................Festival News

DOING IT YOURSELF

12-02-2010

News from the organisers of Flatpack Festival, one of the region’s more innovative cultural happenings. more


FIVE GRAND A WEEK DEAL UNDER THREAT

12-02-2010

The Stirrer’s revelation that Birmingham City Council hired an Interim Education Officer on a £5,000 a week deal has had an instant result – her bosses have been ordered to renegotiate the contract. more


Get Out More......Gig Previews

TOWN HALL/SYMPHONY HALL NEWS

12-02-2010

Shows from the legendary Ray Davies, eighties chart-toppers Go West and the International Dance festival Birmingham have been announced. As ever, Lyle Bignon from the venues brings us up to date. more


"PISSTAKING" BUS ROUTE RESTORED

12-02-2010

The axed Birmingham bus route raised in parliament by MP John Hemming is being replaced by a new taxpayer-funded service, thanks to the regional transport authority Centro. more


Kingy’s Wolves Blog

WOLVES SPURRED ON

12-02-2010

On Sunday he was suicidal, by Wednesday he was feeling wonderful. Our blogger in old gold, Brendan King, is still celebrating a vital three points. more


WIN…WIN…WIN…WIN…WIN…WIN…WIN

TRACES (Birmingham Hippodrome)

11-02-2010

It’s half term next week, and to celebrate The Stirrer has three pairs of tickets to win for TRACES, an award winning collision of urban acrobatics, circus skills, basketball, skateboarding and contemporary dance at the Hippodrome. more


MORE TAX PLEASE, WE'RE BRUMMIES

11-02-2010

Now here’s a radical thought. Instead of threatening to shed a further 2,000 jobs in a desperate bid to keep the Council tax rise to 1.9% why doesn’t Birmingham Council bump it up to 2.5% instead? more


WOLVERHAMPTON’S PRETTY VACANT

11-02-2010

Wolverhampton has won the unenviable title of the UK’s “Empty Shops Capital”, with almost one in four retail premises in the city centre standing empty. Birmingham, though, is now outperforming London. more


MULLANEY GOES OFF THE DEEP END IN POOL ROW

11-02-2010

Birmingham’s sports supremo Martin Mullaney has threatened to report rival councillor Salma Yaqoob to the local government Standards’ Board in a row over Sparkhill swimming pool. more


Dave’s Villa Blog

DRAWING, DRAWING VILLA

11-02-2010

Villa’s three-pronged march to glory continues, but as Dave Woodhall comments it’s starting to look a bit predictable. more


Get Out More......Review

SWAN LAKE – BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME

11-02-2010

Terry Wills attended the opening night of the latest interpretation of the most famous ballet of all time. What he saw met with his approval. more


COUNCILLORS APOLOGY OVER FREEPOST GAFFE

11-02-2010

A Birmingham councillor has been forced to apologise after using sending party propaganda at the taxpayers’ expense. more


The Stirrer’s Blues Blog

CHIM-CHIMINEY CHIM-CHIMINEY…

11-02-2010

As if playing a team in claret and blue wasn’t incentive enough, Birmingham City were also facing the club controlled by their previous owners, Messrs Sullivan and Gold. But as Adrian Goldberg observes, Big Eck’s side made a poor show of their role in football’s version of Eastenders. more


MORE JOBS GO AS COUNCIL TAX HELD

10-02-2010

Brummies are facing a 1.9% Council Tax increase this year – as exclusively forecast here in November – but the sting in the tail is that up to 2,000 posts could be cut. more


FACEBOOK PUSHES NOISY CUTS PROTEST

10-02-2010

The power of Facebook is being harnessed to fight cuts in services in Birmingham – ahead of a “noisy” protest at the Council House later this month. more


AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

10-02-2010

As NATO troops commence yet another major offensive in Afghanistan, the lives of innocent civilians will once again be put at risk. Steve Beauchampé calls for greater accountability when coalition forces screw up. more


Get Out More.......................Gig Previews

THE BLUES AND BEYOND

10-02-2010

The next few days see some attractive gigs for lovers of blues or post-punk poppery. Stirrer favourite Colin Blunstone and American rockers Skinny Molly are treading the boards at the Robin 2, blues legend Peter Green shows up at the Glee Club while local heroes the Nightingales hit the Little Civic. more


SUPPORTING RANGERS

10-02-2010

Claims that Birmingham’s parks will soon run short of wardens and rangers and might even fail to meet their legal obligations have been extensively chronicled on The Stirrer. In an open letter, Simon Baddeley considers the effects on his own green refuge in Handsworth. more


A GOURMET’S PARADISE

10-02-2010

Birmingham might have more canals than Venice but news today that Broad Street has been nominated for a national food award is even harder to swallow. more


TODAY WEST BROM, TOMORROW THE WORLD

10-02-2010

Ever thought you’d like to break a world record? The Public in West Bromwich are giving you the chance this coming Saturday. more


ELECTION NIGHT WINS POLL

10-02-2010

The traditional election night count has been saved after ministerial intervention - frustrating plans by both Birmingham and Wolverhampton Councils to delay it to the morning after. more


COUNCIL ACCOUNT BROUGHT TO BOOK

10-02-2010

Birmingham City Council has admitted that its accounts have been “qualified” (ie given a “yellow card”) by the District Auditor – as predicted yesterday by The Stirrer - but precise details of their failings remain hard to come by. more


POOL IS HISTORY

10-02-2010

Swimmers who’ve enjoyed taking the plunge at Birmingham’s Moseley Road Baths are being invited to come and share their memories at the launch of an oral history project next week – aimed at celebrating Britain’s oldest Grade II* listed pool. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

“WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE”

10-02-2010

Albion stumbled to the top of the Championship last night, with an unconvincing display against lowly Scunthorpe. But as Terry Wills observes, it’s the result that matters. more


Exclusive

VIGILANCE WARNING TO KIDS AFTER "ABDUCTION" THREAT

09-02-2010

Pupils at the King Edward’s Foundation schools in Birmingham are being urged to be vigilant following a spate of reported abduction attempts - and The Stirrer understands that youngsters elsewhere in the city have also been targets. more


BRUM ACCOUNTS GET "YELLOW CARD"

09-02-2010

Don’t say we told you, but The Stirrer understands that the District Auditor is about to sign off Birmingham Council’s accounts for 2008/09 and apparently they will be “qualified” – in football terms that's effectively a “yellow card” calling into question the local authority’s financial competence. more


CAUGHT ON CAMERA

09-02-2010

Controversial or not, the proposed Library of Birmingham will house some welcome new additions to the city’s cultural life. One such example will be an enthralling collection of historic film. more


Kingy’s Wolves Blog

SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY 1

09-02-2010

Two very different sides of the same Sunday afternoon St Andrews coin. The first comes from Wolves fan Brendan King. more


BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

09-02-2010

Not all rundown areas are beyond redemption. The Stirrer has learned of further good news for what was once a problem estate, and there are hopes that further investment will benefit one of Birmingham’s biggest eyesores. more


THREE GOOD REASONS TO KEEP THE LIBRARY

09-02-2010

Local papers have been publishing drawings of what Paradise Circus would look like if Birmingham's Central Library was demolished - but Alan Clawley insists the current building is an asset to the city. Here he explains why. more


WHITBY TAKES THE MICHAEL OUT OF MAYOR

09-02-2010

Not for the first time, Mike Whitby’s desire for the limelight appears to have eclipsed Birmingham’s Lord Mayor, with the Council leader taking centre stage during last week’s celebrations at the ICC to mark the 60th anniversary of the Republic of India. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY 2

09-02-2010

And the second version of events at St Andrews on Sunday, from our Blues blogger Andy Munro. more


LAST WEEK’S NEWS TODAY

09-02-2010

In its circulation war with the Birmingham Mail, the Express and Star has taken to using the sneering strapline “Today’s News Today”. If only that was true. more


UNION BLAST AT COUNCIL "CONSULTANCY CULTURE"

08-02-2010

Union officials have hit out at Birmingham City Council’s “consultancy culture” following The Stirrer’s revelation that two retired local authority officials have been re-hired at top rates of pay by the department which is simultaneously planning hundreds of job losses. more


NEW CADBURY BOSS AVOIDS JOBS PLEDGE

08-02-2010

Cadbury’s workers will judge their new owners by their actions, not their deeds, but in her first major interview since the takeover, Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld has re-asserted her belief in the company’s Birmingham base – at the same time as shying away from any pledge on jobs. more


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

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

08-02-2010

After the huge leap forward in digital and 3D technology over recent years, this is a “back to basics” Disney cartoon, boasting old school, hand-drawn animation. Yet for all that, Adrian Goldberg finds its lacking in the company’s traditional sparkle. more


WOLVES-WALSALL TRAIN DUE FOR DECISION

08-02-2010

Rail passengers in the Black Country will have their fingers crossed today when the local transport authority debates a motion to re-instate the rail link between Wolverhampton to Walsall which was axed last year. more


Stay In More.........................TV Review

TOP TELLY

08-02-2010

On TV these days, we are blessed with two (count ‘em,…two) brilliant dissections of our island. And, wow, are they different, says Richard Lutz. more


The Stirrer’s Pub Crawls

HALL GREEN

08-02-2010

Just when you thought that it was impossible to manage a full-on crawl in the Brummie ‘burbs, here’s a heartwarming tales of (mostly) busy boozers. more


CAN YOU DIG IT?

08-02-2010

Birmingham Council’s spin department has moved into overdrive with a new publication delivered with local newspapers called Soul Of The City. Remarkably, it fails to document the local authority’s shameful role in trying to suck the soul from the city, and close down some of the region’s funkiest nightlife. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

GARDENER LEAVE

08-02-2010

Yesterday’s 2-1 win against Wolves leaves Blues in a comfortable mid-table berth, but what are their chances of pushing on? Andy Munro assesses the comings and going of the transfer window. more


SUBURBS FOR SALE

06-02-2010

Residents in Harborne and Quinton fear that a much valued community resource, the Martineau Centre, is being secretly run down by the City Council in preparation for a sale. Ruth Hunt and Pete Millington say facilities in the suburbs shouldn’t be sacrificed for flagship inner city developments. more


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

YESTERDAY – BIRMINGHAM REP

06-02-2010

Richard Lutz has his socks knocked off at the British Dance Edition festival at The Rep more


EVERY BOY’S DREAM

06-02-2010

Following yesterday’s comments from Richard Lutz about the remorseless nature of American college sport comes news that a similar tale has struck a chord with the literary fraternity. And we’re happy to claim a link to it. more


DROMEY VIES FOR SIMON SEAT

05-02-2010

Sion Simon’s baffling decision to stand down as an MP has attracted a queue of admirers for his Erdington constituency including one, as yet unmentioned, big hitter – union boss and Labour party treasurer Jack Dromey a.k.a. Mr Harriet Harman. more


CONTROVERSIAL BRISTOL SCHOOLS BOSS IS NEW BRUM RECRUIT

05-02-2010

The Stirrer can reveal that Birmingham Council has hired a controversial education officer accused to telling schools not to sack bullies – as more details emerge of the Gravy Train still rolling through the Children, Young People and Families department where 1300 jobs are threatened. more


GONE PAINTBALLIN’

05-02-2010

Done Dublin? Bored with Barcelona? ‘Ad it with Amsterdam? If you’re looking for a stag weekend with a difference it seems the next boom town is a bit closer to home. more


Richard Lutz’s Blog

NOT SO SUPERBOWL

05-02-2010

Richard Lutz gets ready for the Super Bowl despite hating the system that gave it birth. more


FEELING PARKY

05-02-2010

Could Birmingham Council’s parks reorganisation leave the city without the professional expertise needed to comply with the law? It certainly looks like it. more


YOU'VE GOT MAIL

05-02-2010

Not content with living large on expenses, our elected representatives have come up with another little ruse to piss off voters - automated email filters that prevent voters corresponding with them on the big issues of the day. Which is something of a problem if, like Audrey Miller, you want to engage them with something really important. more


RETURN OF THE MAC

05-02-2010

The region has definitely missed the Midlands Arts Centre since it closed for refurbishment in April 2008. Finally, the date for its re-opening has been announced. more


THE STIRRER’S FIVE FOR THE WEEKEND

05-02-2010

Here’s our guide to the best shows in the region over the weekend. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

OH I DO LIKE TO BE......

05-02-2010

Blackpool in February to is a trip to test the most foolhardy of souls. And that includes Terry Wills. more


POLICE PROBE WOLVO “RIOT” THREAT

04-02-2010

Police in Wolverhampton are investigating a councillor’s threat that funding cuts to the city’s African-Caribbean Resource Centre would lead to riots. Sandra Samuels is also being reported to the local government standards board. more


HEMMING APOLOGY CALL AS BROWN "TAKES THE PISS"

04-02-2010

Outspoken Yardley MP John Hemming has called on Gordon Brown to apologise for “taking the piss” out of Brummie bus users. Hemming was angry after being mocked for raising the issue of the Number 41 route at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday. more


POOL PLAN HITS CHOPPY WATERS

04-02-2010

Sparkhill residents last night unanimously rejected proposals for a privately funded swimming pool on the Moseley School site in Springfield Road. Steve Beauchampé reports on a highly charged meeting. more


Get Out More.....................Gig Preview

ROCKIN’ ROBIN

04-02-2010

Two vastly different bands tread the boards of the Robin 2 this week. Seventies rockers Nazareth will be followed by eighties fashion victims Sigue Sigue Sputnik, but thankfully not on the same night. more


AFTER SION SIMON - ERDINGTON RUNNERS AND RIDERS

04-02-2010

Sion Simon’s surprise decision to stand down as Erdington MP opens up an intriguing race to replace him as Labour candidate at the next election. Runners and riders include a local councilor who previously missed out in controversial circumstances, a top union official and – surprise packet, this – a telly historian. more


Doc Dave's Blog

BODIES REVEALED - IN DA HOUSE

04-02-2010

The controversial “Bodies Revealed” exhibition may have left own at the end of the last week- but as Stirrer blogger Dr David Nicholl (who broke the story) reveals) the debate isn’t over. Last week, Dr Richard Taylor, MP raised the matter in the House of Commons and Doc Dave spoke to Premier Exhibitions about allegations made by a whistleblower. more


OI GORDON - WHAT ABOUT CANADA'S HOME CHILDREN?

04-02-2010

The campaign to win an apology for the thousands of "home children" exported from Britain to lives of forced labour in Australia has enjoyed considerable success - but as we've noted before, the kids shipped off to Canada still remain largely ignored. Here's campaigner John Willoughby's passonate letter sent last month to Gordon Brown. more


MAKE GOK STOP

04-02-2010

West Bromwich residents have got the chance to make sure their town gets on the telly courtesy of fashion makeover icon Gok Wan. But be quick about it. more


Kingy’s Wolves Blog

THE UNHAPPY WANDERER

04-02-2010

Back to pessimism for our Wolves blogger Brendan King as a creditable draw against Liverpool was followed by two dropped points, FA Cup defeat and no more signings. He’s not best pleased. more


VILLA PLAYER TOUTS FINAL TICKETS

03-02-2010

Villa youngster Nathan Baker has been caught selling tickets for the League Cup final to his friends on Facebook. The 18 year-old, currently on loan at Lincoln, was charging £200 a time – but will now not be able to attend the match. more


Exclusive

“BIGGER” LIBRARY GETS THAT SHRINKING FEELING

03-02-2010

Birmingham’s new Central Library was going to be “15% bigger than originally planned” boasted Council leader Mike Whitby recently – but what, we wondered, did that mean? Campaigner Alan Clawley finds that size isn’t everything. more


BLACK COUNTRY POST JOB FEARS

03-02-2010

The legacy of outgoing Royal Mail boss Adam Crozier is ever lengthening queues in the nation’s shrinking collection of post offices – not to mention job insecurity for dozens of workers at a Black Country sorting office. more


Peter Sampson’s Beijing Blog

WHEN I THINK OF ENGLAND

03-02-2010

Peter Sampson is currently living in China and he is perhaps able to look on the country he left behind from a better perspective than commentators back in England are able to. more


LEISURE BOSS ENTERS THE LION’S DEN

03-02-2010

Birmingham leisure supremo Martin Mullaney has agreed to enter the “lion’s den” tonight and attend a public meeting over the future of Sparkhill Swimming Baths – just days after withdrawing from the event. more


SIMON HAS A MAYOR OVER RESIGNATION

03-02-2010

How can you tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving. Who can blame the public for having such a cynical attitude to their elected representatives when the likes of Sion Simon insist they are staying in parliament – only to announce they are standing down little more than three weeks later. more


CUTS, CUTS...AND CONSULTANTS

03-02-2010

Curious news reaches the Stirrer’s ears about Birmingham Council’s Childrens, Young People and Families Department which is already reeling from 1300 potential job losses. It seems that more cuts are imminent – yet for senior officers, the gravy train rolls on. more


Stirrer Comment

SHORT ALSO HAS BLOOD ON HER HANDS

03-02-2010

Ladywood MP Clare Short claims she was “misled” by Tony Blair in the run-up to the war in Iraq – but how come her colleague Robin Cook saw through the former PM a full two months earlier? more


Get Out More.........................Show Previews

LAUGHS WITH WOLVES

03-02-2010

Proof that comedy comes in many forms comes with two very different shows that have been announced for the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton. Slapstick humour from Circus Hilarious and award-winning comedian Sean Hughes both appear within a few days of each other. more


PAPAL FALLABILITY

03-02-2010

It seems likely that Pope Benedict will be visiting the West Midlands during his UK visit this year. Dave Woodhall wonders whether this will be such a good idea. more


CADBURY COUNCILLOR CALLS FOR END TO FACTORY SELL-OFFS

02-02-2010

Cadbury workers are heading to London today seeking reassurances over jobs and investment from new owners Kraft - but local councillor Nigel Dawkins warns that the only way to protect British companies in future will be to change the law. He says we have to backtrack on the “everything’s for sale” culture. more


THE LANGUAGE OF SUCCESS

02-02-2010

Are Birmingham pupils being held back by social deprivation and the lack of English as a first language? “Yes,” says a leading city education official - but one Stirrer reader disagrees, and they’ve got the figures to prove it. more


AN OLD WORLD RECORD

02-02-2010

Dave Woodhall harks back to a golden age when the summers were warmer, beer was thruppence a pint and a new breakthrough in aural pleasure was going to last forever. more


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

CANDI STATON

02-02-2010

After a terrific show last year at Birmingham Town Hall, soul legend Candi Staton returns to the West Midlands in April for a gig at The Robin in Bilston. more


BUS STOPPED : BRASSED OFF

02-02-2010

Residents in two Birmingham suburbs last night turned up by the bus-load to a public meeting to protest against the withdrawal of a bus route, only to find the meeting abandoned as the venue as too small. Kevin Chapman reports. more


CAT STUCK UP TREE

02-02-2010

The Stirrer wouldn’t normally trouble you with a “cat up tree” story, but in this instance we’ll make an exception – because it calls into question the responsiveness of the Fire Service and the RSPCA. more


WOLVES PUSH WHEELCHAIRS FORWARD

02-02-2010

The campaign to get a fair deal for disabled Wolves supporters who lost their parking spaces this season jumped from The Stirrer to Radio Five Live – and finally secured a promise of consultation from the club’s Communications Officer Matt Grayson. Now, as Brendan King reports, the club has been as good as its word. more


IN THE FESTIVE SPIRIT

02-02-2010

It may still be winter but in our hearts we’re looking ahead to the festival season, and one intriguing new prospect has already caught our eye. more


Get Out More.........................Previews

TOWN HALL AND SYMPHONY HALL NEWS

02-02-2010

A second show by Crowded House, a fancy dress salsa ball and a chance to go bear hunting are the latest attractions explained away by the venues’ PR man Lyle Bignon. more


BECAUSE WE CAN

02-02-2010

Amnesty International have released details of a crackdown on anti-government protestors in Iran. Here’s what you can do to help their situation. more


REEVES DOES THE BUSINESS WITH NEW LAUNCH

02-02-2010

“This ain’t no back bedroom pop-up operation. It’s a serious business with serious revenues” promises former Birmingham Post editor Marc Reeves commenting on his new role running the West Midlands operation of thebusinessdesk.com - a dedicated business website for the region. more


A WAYNE BRIDGE TOO FAR

01-02-2010

There are few things more comical than the sight of the English tabloid media in full moralistic hue and cry – but if the News of the World gets it’s way and forces the resignation of England football captain John Terry, there’s a real danger the country will be unable to field anything more than a five a side team in this year’s World Cup Finals. more


"EXPLAIN YOURSELF" CALL TO MULLANEY AFTER POOL LEAK

01-02-2010

Campaigners fighting for the reopening of Sparkhill Baths in Birmingham are calling on the Cabinet Member for Sport Martin Mullaney to explain himself at a public meeting on Wednesday after it emerged on The Stirrer that the Council is considering a private finance initiative for the scheme. Mullaney has withdrawn after apparently promising to attend. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

NOT HARRY’S GAME

01-02-2010

Blues bounced back from defeat at Chelsea with a well-earned late equaliser at home to Spurs on Saturday. Andy Munro was at St Andrews to witness it. more


REG'S APOLOGY CALL AFTER CANADA NEAR MISS

01-02-2010

Birmingham Councillor Reg Corns has revealed how he narrowly avoided being shipped off to a far flung part of the British Empire when he was placed in a city children’s home at the age of 9. The “near miss” inspired his campaign on behalf of the thousands of Canadian Home Children sent from the UK without their family’s knowledge – and he’s now demanding a government apology on their behalf. more


PARKS TRIMMED TOO FAR

01-02-2010

Park users in Birmingham have responded angrily to plans to cut costs by reducing the number of wardens and rangers. They warn that it “undermines one of the city’s premiere resources”. more


Dave’s Villa Blog

OPENING A SECOND FRONT

01-02-2010

Dave Woodhall is watching the Villa make steady progress and wondering about renewing his passport. more


RED HOT AND BRUMMIE

01-02-2010

Before he found world-wide fame as a Stirrer blogger, Andy Munro was best known for being the leading authority on Birmingham’s balti restaurants. Not before time, he’s now turning his hand to promoting them once more. more


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

HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT
LEAMINGTON ASSEMBLY ROOMS

01-02-2010

Mark Gunton recently went along to see some of the twentieth century’s greatest social commentators. He didn’t wear oven gloves, or a football shirt. more


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