Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

January 07

BRUM MUSLIM LEADER -"WAIT AND SEE”ON TERROR RAIDS

31-01-2007

The leader of Birmingham's Muslim community is calling for a “wait and see” reaction to today's anti-terror raids, which saw eight people arrested in Sparkbrook and Alum Rock. more


BREAKING NEWS

EIGHT ARRESTED IN BRUM ANTI-TERROR OPERATION

31-01-2007

Eight men were arrested in dawn raids in Birmingham today under the anti-terrorism act. West Midlands police led the operation, whichalsoinvolved MI5. A number or premises in the city have been sealed off, but it's said that there is no specific or immediate threat to local citizens. More details as we have them.


NO ROVERS RETURN AT LONGBRIDGE

31-01-2007

The good news that cars are rolling off the track at Longbridge again begs more questions than answers - questions which Rover's new owners Nanjing Automobile are currently unable or unwilling to answer. more


WEST MIDS COPS "TOO BUSY" CLAIM

31-01-2007

West Midlands police insist they haven't abandoned a disabled Black Country man being targeted by local youths - amid claims that they are often "too busy" to respond to non-emergency calls. more


BLUES RELOCATION BID BACK ON

31-01-2007

Plans for a Birmingham Sports Village which could also provide a new home for Birmingham City will step up a gear now that Manchester has been chosen to host the country's first supercasino. more


DAVID CAMERON AND THE RACE FOR BRITAIN

31-01-2007

David Cameron's speech in Birmingham on Monday is continuing to reverberate…not least his comments that Muslim women should have the freedom to study and work. Derrick Campbell, chief executive of Race Equality Sandwell offers a personal view. more


MONEY FOR NOTHING...EXCEPT SCOTLAND AND WALES

31-01-2007

The Stirrer whipped up a storm recently when questioning the discrimination which allows Scottish students to study free while their English counterparts have to pay fees. Now John Mellor has spotted another favour to the celtic fringe. more


EXCLUSIVE

TORY CONFERENCE ON THE DOUBLE FOR BRUM

30-01-2007

The Stirrer can reveal that the Conservative Party is about to sign up for two party conferences in Birmingham - not just one as reported elsewhere. They'll commit themselves to 2008 and 2010, by which time they could be the party of government. more


TORIES COMING TO BRUM - IT'S NEARLY OFFICIAL

30-01-2007

Following David Cameron's visit to Birmingham yesterday, local media are reporting that the Conservatives are set to name Birmingham as the venue for their 2008 Conference. This is no news to readers of this website, who read all about it here a week ago (check the story here). It follows a campaign, kicked off in the Stirrer's Birmingham Mail column to bring all three party conferences to Brum.


SOLIHULL, WOLVES HIT CASINO JACKPOT

30-01-2007

Solihull and Wolverhampton have both been granted a licence to host new casinos - but the Casino Advisory Panel has sprung a surprise by handing Britain's first “supercasino” to Manchester. more


ONE MAN'S LOSING WAR ON CRIME

30-01-2007

John Reid wants another two and a half years to sort out the Home Office, but victims of crimewant solutions to rising lawlessness today. People like thisdisabled Black Country man who's become a victim of bullying by street thugs who've been causing havoc, unchecked, for years. more


FLATPACK BACKCHAT

30-01-2007

Weird and wonderful just about sums up theFlatpack Festival, Birmingham's most innovative film event which runs from Thursday through to Sunday. Programmer Ian Francis recalls its origins in the 7 Inch cinema club, based in a Digbeth pub.

more


GETTING TWITCHY

30-01-2007

Lynn Hawthorne joins in a great Britishevent -and ends up giving it the bird.

more


EXCLUSIVE

SKY HIGH COUNCILLOR SAYS EYE WASN'T SCARED

29-01-2007

Can you imagine the terror of being stuck 450 foot in the air on the London Eye when it's broken down? A Black Country councillor has been telling The Stirrer how she and her sister faced up to the ordeal for more than an hour after a sightseeing trip went wrong. more


COPS BLAME WOLVES BUT KEEP THE PEACE

29-01-2007

West Midlands police were hailing a successful operation after yesterday's Black Country derby at Molineux despite attempts by hundreds of fans to cause trouble. Unusually, the police put the blame for aggro fairly and squarely on the home supporters. more


REID ALL ABOUT IT - HOME SEC SAFE

29-01-2007

John Reid's misfortunes have got the Conservatives and their allies in the media sniffing blood - but The Stirrer's Westminster sources have rubbished rumours that the Home Secretary is in line for the chop. As one well-placed Labour insider bluntly told us: “Tony Blair can't afford for another cabinet member to go.” more


BLACK PATCH DEMO GOES ONLINE

29-01-2007

Campaigners against the decommissioning of Black Patch park on the border of Sandwell and Birmingham have launched their own online petition to save it. Check out the video here. And read ourrecent article about why the park is so important here. We are still waiting for Sandwell councillor Bob Badham to answer our enquries by the way, after contacting him last Wednesday. original article


Zero Hour

29-01-2007

Organisers of the forthcoming London Fashion Week are still resisting calls for a ban on Size Zero models, even though Madrid and Milan have both taken tough action against anorexia on the catwalk. So will The Stirrer's resident poet Brendan Hawthorne be ogling the skinny birds? Fat chance. more


NEW BRUM AUTHOR BOOKS RAVE REVIEW

29-01-2007

Debutant Birmingham author Catherine O'Flynn has just received her first coverage in the national press, earning a rave review in The Observer for her novel "What Was Lost". O'Flynn can be seen reading extractson Stirrer TV. more


BAGGIES FANS CRY FOUL OVER KEEPER BAN

27-01-2007

West Bromwich Albion fans have responded with a mixture ofshockand angerat the club's decision to suspend goalkeeper Russell Hoult ahead of Sunday's Black Country FA Cup derby against Wolves. The Baggies acted after footage of the player havinga threesome was featured in The Sun. more


GetOut More.............................Gig Preview

THE FALL, THE ROBIN, MARCH 5

27-01-2007

After a stonking showing at the Custard Factory last year, The Fall are back in the West Midlands in March, playing The Robin in Bilston on singer Mark E Smith's 50th birthday (and he doesn't look a day over 65!) Paul Samuels thinks of the present…and the past. more


Food For Thought In A Field Of Vision

27-01-2007

Far-sighted bosses of the new Morrison's store in Wednesbury are dipping into their pockets to commission some new public art on the site . TheStirrer's resident poet Brendan Hawthorne has been hired as the wordsmith and muses on the value of putting out your ornaments in public. more


EXCLUSIVE

VICTORY FOR FRED GROVE

26-01-2007

Battling Brummie pensioner Fred Grove has won an amazing victory by forcing Birmingham City Council to withdraw the Compulsory Purchase Order on his canalside cottage in Eastside. It means that Fred can continue living in the house that has been his home for more than 40 years. more


EURO LAW HELPS FRED TO VICTORY

26-01-2007

The Stirrer's long-running campaign to get justice for Birmingham pensioner Fred Grove was ultimately successful due to the controversial Human Rights Act according to his lawyer. more


WAR OVER WHITBY “HYPOCRITE” CLAIM

26-01-2007

Birmingham Coucil leader Mike Whitby has been branded a hypocrite after voting for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq. Critics claim that as the boss of a Black Country engineering firm with defence links, he stands to profit from the conflict. Check out more in the Stirrer's weekly Birmingham Mail column (click here). There are also some puzzling questions to be answered about the merger of Moor Green FC and Solihull Borough.


THE BATTLE FOR THE BLACK PATCH

26-01-2007

Despite it's name, Black Patch is actually a neglected patch of green on the Birmingham/Sandwell border, but it's got a fascinating history and was the place the ex-Baggies hero Darren Moore learned to kick a ball. Now though, as Simon Baddeley reports, it's future is uncertain. more


Get Out More ………………….Theatre review

RICHARD III, RSC, STRATFORD

26-01-2007

It finishes in the middle of February, so time's running out if you want to see it, but Paula Elenor has a hunch that the current Richard III will be remembered as a classic. more


THE PUBLIC VISION “STILL SOUND”

25-01-2007

Consultants have told The Stirrer that the original vision behind the troubled Public Arts Centre in West Bromwich “is still sound” - even though Sandwell College has pulled out of discussions to lease an entire floor. more


COUNCIL "SORRY" OVER SPECIAL SCHOOLS BLUNDER

25-01-2007

Birmingham education officials have apologised for misleading parents over the future of the city's special schools and giving the impression that closures were inevitable. They are insisting that the entire issue is still up for discussion. more


DAMIEN RICE, LIONEL BLAIR, ACORN ANTIQUES

25-01-2007

Soulful Irish crooner Damien Rice has announced a Birmingham date on his forthcoming tour. Others coming to the city in the coming monthsinclude Simply Ballroom hoofer Lionel Blair and a musical by local lass Victoria Wood. more


DUMB AND DUMBA

25-01-2007

Tony Blair seems obsessesd with his "legacy". Well never mind his achievments in the Iraq war or reducing social mobility, Laurence Inman suggests a way the soon to be departing PM could really leave his mark on Britain. more


EXCLUSIVE
LES BE 'AVIN YOU ON WM

25-01-2007

Veteran broadcaster Les Ross ismaking a surprise return to full-time broadcasting by replacing Danny Kelly on BBC WM'safternoon show. With Ross, Doolan and Tony Butler all now frontline voices on the station, one insider commented "it's like BRMB 1974 all over again".

more


14 STOREY TIME AT THE LIBRARY

24-01-2007

Campaigners fighting to preserve Birmingham Central Library are warning that a replacement building in Centenary Square could be 14 storeys high - or else swallow up the nearby Peace Gardens. It's been announced that a major debate on the future of the library will be hosted by Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg. more


NOT SUCH A GAY DAY FOR EQUALITY

24-01-2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury who represents 77 million Anglicans has added his voice this morning to calls by the Catholic church for an opt out on new equality legislation which would otherwise force them to allow gay couples to use their adoption services. Birmingham psychologists Dr Mike Drayton prays for a religious conversion. more


SPECIAL SCHOOLS - LONDON CALLING

24-01-2007

Campaigners for Birmingham's threatened special schools will be lobbying the Council's lifelong learning scrutiny committee today. In the meantime, we've discovered that parents in the London borough of Lewisham have been fighting a similar battle. Valentine Pelka shares some of their campaign strategy. more


CATHERINE O' FLYNN - NEW ON STIRRER TV

24-01-2007

New Brummie author Catherine O'Flynn has her debut novel “What Was Lost” launched by Tindal Street Press tonight at the Jam House. more


BLIND DAVE'S BLOG

24-01-2007

Just fifteen months to go until Dave Heeley attempts to become the first blind runner to complete seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. In the meantime, there's DIY to be done back home in West Brom. more


BLUE AND GREEN SHOULD NEVER BE SEEN

24-01-2007

The traditional blue of the Tories has been replaced by a distinctly greenish tinge since David Cameron took over the leadership. But as Barbara Panvel has discovered, the message still doesn't seem to have reached Solihull. more


TORIES EDGE CLOSER TO BRUM

23-01-2007

Birmingham's hopes of hosting a major party conference - as championed by this website - are moving ever nearer. Our sources tell us that the city is “very close” to securing the Conservatives, possibly as early as next year. more


WOLVES PIE AND PINT HARD TO SWALLOW

23-01-2007

Wolves fanzine editor Charles Ross has branded his own club's directors “pillocks” for their handling of this Sunday's Black Country derby against Albion. more


BLIND DAVE ON THE RADIO

23-01-2007

Regular Stirrer contributor Blind Dave Heeley can be heard in a BBC Radio WM documentary tonight, marking his decision to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. more


THE DRUGS DON'T WORK

23-01-2007

Stung by the claim that "nothing much happens" in her ordinary Black Country street, Lynn Hawthorne reflects on police chases, burglary and open drug dealing during the day. And she wants your help. more


CHANNEL FLAW

23-01-2007

Last night Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson apologised forany offence caused by the latest Big Brother series but insisted that "the show must go on" until its scheduled end on Sunday. DerrickCampbell reckons theprogramme is the symptom of a disturbingBritish condition - and he ain't talking about racism. more


GET OUT MORE………………………………………GIG PREVIEW
BRIAN ENO PLAYS MUSIC FOR AIRPORTS
Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Sunday February 4th 2007

23-01-2007

Brian Eno's ambient classic Music For Airports gets a rare outing at Symphony Hall next month, performed by the Bang On A Can All-Stars - a US outfit described as "part rock band, part chamber orchestra. Steve Beauchampe assesses Eno's contribution... more


“LIBRARY CAN BE SAVED” - ARCHITECT

22-01-2007

The architect of Birmingham Central Library has launched a passionate defence of the building - hitting out at the “disgraceful” council policies which allowed it to be surrounded by “cheap” shops. He also believes it can survive into the 21st century despite plans for demolition. more


"END AWAY FAN BAN" - WOLVO COUNCIL LEADER

22-01-2007

The leader of Wolverhampton Council has told the Stirrer he hopes there'll be no repeat of the away fan ban which saw Cardiff supporters barred from Molineux on Saturday. more


BIG BROTHER BRADY'S “NO COMMENT”

22-01-2007

Birmingham City chief executive Karren Brady is refusing to comment on the Big Brother racism row - despite being a non-executive director of Channel 4. more


AIRPORT BOOZE BAN HARD TO SWALLOW

22-01-2007

We all know that in these post 9/11 times there arerestrictions on the liquids we can carry thorugh airport security. But as Edward Cameron has been discovering, passengers have been legally buying booze for flightstaking off fromBirmingham International - only to have it confiscated atthe other end. more


LESS IS MOOR

22-01-2007

South Birmingham's most successful non-league football club Moor Green look to be heading for oblivion after a meeting at the weekend proposed a merger with Solhihull Borough. Can this really be the end for the team which "discovered", among others, Ian Taylor of Villa? Steve Beauchampé reports... more


Goody: The Baddy and the Ugly

22-01-2007

What curious times we live in.People around the globe are coping with unseasonal weather, while Britain isstill counting the cost of last week's freak storms. No one's sure if it's proof of climate change, butas The Stirrer's resident poet Brendan Hawthorne observesthing havedefinitely been hotting up in theBig Brother house. more


TOP COP CONDEMNS WOLVES BAN ON CARDIFF

20-01-2007

One of Britain's leading police officers has criticised today's ban on Cardiff City supporters from their team's game atMolineux. More than 250 fans are expected togatherinstead for a protest meeting in the centre of Wolverhampton. more


NEW STIRRER TV

20-01-2007

Check out new footage on Stirrer TV. There's an amazing short animation by local film-maker Paul Martin called “William The Cog”.


THAT'S NO LADY…IT'S LADY SOVEREIGN

20-01-2007

White British rapper gets up to some Yanky panky on the other side of the pond. So will we love her all the more because she's successul over there, or quickly diss-own her? Paul Samuels on the life and ryhmes of Lady Sovereign. more


DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY

20-01-2007

Happiness - it's the holy grail isn't it? But according to The Stirrer's resident psychologist Dr Mike Drayton it's not an uttainable goal. Here are his tips on getting a smile on your face. more


MP JONES BLAMES BROWN FOR QUIT DECISION

20-01-2007

Birmingham MP Lynne Jones has described the moment when she decided to quit parliament. In her first filmed interview since making the announcement, she tells Stirrer TV that Gordon Brown's support for replacing Britain's nuclear deterrent was a crucial factor. more


BRUM SPECIAL SCHOOLS "CONFRONTATION" ROW

20-01-2007

Parents campaigning to keep open Birmingham's threatened special schools have responded with barely concealed anger to a condescending and frankly baffling letter sent them by the city's Cabinet member for education Les Lawrence. more


MP'S BACK BID FOR NEW BROADCASTING CENTRE

19-01-2007

TV and radio regulator Ofcom has officially announced plans for a new public service broadcasteron the internet- and The Stirrer's campaign to get it based in Birmingham has already won the backing of MP's and local politicians. more


BIG BOTHER

19-01-2007

There's no doubt that if a TV show watched by millions of people gives a platform to bullies and racists, it deserves to be widely discussed. But are the shenanigans in the Big Brother house really this week's biggest news story? The Stirrer's got a few alternative tales worthy of the front page. more


GET OUT MORE……………………CONCERT NEWS

SYMPHONY HALL GOING FOR A SONG

19-01-2007

Two important music updates today…tickets for legendary American singer songwriter James Taylor go on sale this morning at Symphony Hall, while at the same venue cut-price CBSO tickets are available for one week only from tomorrow. more


THE SHOE-LACE MOMENTS

19-01-2007

Now here's something to complain about. The Stirrer's resident grumpy old man Laurence Inman is - just this once - in a good mood. Bah! I want my money back. (Well, I would if I paid him any). more


BITE SIZE REVIEW…

BRASSERIE BLANC, OOZELLS SQUARE, BRINDLEYPLACE

19-01-2007

The Stirrer tests out a lunchtime “dine with wine” offer at Raymond Blanc's gaffe, just across the road from the Ikon Gallery. more


GET OUT MORE……………………….GIG GUIDE

MARTIN LONGLEY'S LIST FOR FEBRUARY

19-01-2007

Fancy yourself as a bit of a musical adventurer? Try Martin Longley on for size. This man could see three gigs before breakfast without batting an eyelid. Here's his selection of the best in weird jazz, alt. folk, and offbeat rock for the month of February. more


TRIBUTES FOR TRAGIC AIRPORT BOSS

18-01-2007

Tributes are being paid to Richard Heard, the 49-year old Chief Executive of Birmingham International Airport, who waskilled this morning when high winds blew a tree onto his car in Bridgnorth. more


NEVER MIND THE BBC…LETS HAVE THE PSP

18-01-2007

Today's news that the BBC's licence fee settlement is less than it argued for is bad news for the West Midlands. But our local broadcasting sector shouldn't be over-reliant on the Corporation anyway. We've missed that bus…it's time to catch the next one. more


U-TURN ON BRUM SPECIAL SCHOOL CLOSURES?

18-01-2007

Campaigners are giving a cautious welcome to an apparentU-turn by Birmingham's cabinet member for education Les Lawrence - in a meeting with head teachers yesterday he was heard to say that plans to shut half a dozen special schools "are history". more


Manchester VS Brum

18-01-2007

Listeners to BBC Radio WM on Friday will be able to hear a live debate between breakfast show presenter Phil Upton and his Mancunian counterpart Terry Christian over which is Britain's true second city. It's like two bald men fighting over a comb I hear you say, but Pete Millington knows which one will win it. more


GET OUT MORE………………….FILM REVIEW

THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND

18-01-2007

For Britons of a certain age Idi Amin was a curious mixture of hate figure and comic icon. The Ugandan despot was a mass murderer who expelled tens of thousands of his country's Asian population, yet in the dark days of pre-punk Britain he was also good for a tabloid larf. Natural material for a movie then. more


NO FANS, NO FUN

18-01-2007

The Stirrer has been reporting over the last week on Wolves decision to ban visiting Cardiff supporters on Saturday. Villafan Dave Woodhall will be joining the protests at 9 on Saturday in the piazza by St Peters Square in Wolverhampton. more


BLAIR'S POWER PLAY

18-01-2007

Tony Blair has called for a debate on Britain's future role as a military power. Well, you asked for it, says John Mellor. more


EXCLUSIVE

NO MEMORIAL TO FALLEN COPPER

17-01-2007

Birmingham police officer Mick Swindells who was killed in the line of duty is to be awarded the Queens Gallantry Medal - but The Stirrer can reveal that talks to get a memorial erected to him in the city have stalled. more


STAY IN MORE…….TV REVIEW

SHAMELESS, C4

17-01-2007

In amongst the multi-channel dreck that passes for TV entertainment these days there are still some real gems to be found. Judge John Deed who came out of hibernation last week, and now the return of Paul Abbott's wonderful lowlife saga Shameless. more


BRUM "GREENS" UP

17-01-2007

Some of the West Midlands biggest companies will pledge to introduce car-sharing schemes by the end of the year and BirminghamAirport willexplore a voluntary "green" taxon flights - that's if a new plan for combating climate change announced today gets the go-ahead. more


THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER

17-01-2007

Make a mistake in your tax return or forget to pay your VAT on time and youcould end up paying through the nose for it. But as Barbara Panvel observes there's one group of people who make costly errors which are never punished. Now who might that be? more


BLUES NEW PITCH

17-01-2007

The Stirrer has beenobtained exclusive pictures of Birmingham City's new pitch - now finally relaid at St Andrews after problems with the turf forced the postponement of last saturday's match against Leeds United. It certainly seems like an improvement. more


BLIND DAVE'S BLOG

17-01-2007

Last Thursday, Black Country marathon runner Blind Dave Heeley announced plans to become the first disabled athlete to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents - and The Stirrer will be with him every step of the way. Here's his latest blog. more


EXCLUSIVE

BNP COUNCILLOR SHUTS DOWN DODGY BOOZER

16-01-2007

The BNP councillor who runs one of the most notorious pubs in the Black Country has called time in his efforts to keep it open afterfights on the premises involving guns and machetes - news that will shake the party's claim to be tough on law and order. more


BIRMINGHAM MOSQUE HITS BACK ATC4

16-01-2007

The mosque at the centre of last night's TV documentary exposing Islamic extremism in Birmingham has hit back at Channel 4, claiming that the broadcaster had a “pre-determined agenda to create mischief”. more


PART OF THE UNION?

16-01-2007

Today's Newsnight survey showing that 61% of the English want their own parliament comes as no surprise to The Stirrer. Here's his column from last week's Birmingham Mail which highlighted how Westminster politics is failing those who live south of Hadrian's Wall. more


IDENTITY CRISIS

16-01-2007

The government has announced plans for a giant national database which will allow its various departments to share the vast amounts of information they already have about us. Lynn Hawthorne wonders when it will start working the other way around so that we can know everything about them. more


NOT TOUR! TOUR! BUT WAR! WAR!

16-01-2007

It's that time of the year when TV adverts tempt us with summer sunspots and the papers are full of supplements for trips overseas. Andy Goff reckons it's time to put away the brochures and start a war on tourism. more


MAGGIEJO'S FAIR TRADE BLOG

16-01-2007

Birmingham fair trade campaigner MaggieJo St John is in Nicaragua teaching English to coffee farmers and seeing at first hand the impact of policies aimed at ensuring that those who cultivate our morning brew get a decent return for their work. She's just gone back after a spot of r n' r in Costa Rica. more


MAC BRINGS GOOD NEWS FOR BRUM'S BUTTOCKS

15-01-2007

Edgbaston's MAC Cinema re-opens tonight after a £60,000 refit - with programmer John Gore promising that the new seats will bring “relief to the buttocks of Birmingham.” more


JONES FAREWELL BLAST AT BLAIR

15-01-2007

Retiring Birmingham MP Lynne Jones has been talking of her “weariness” at constantly battling against her own party - and has accused the Labour leadership of “laying down the foundations for the break-up of the NHS”. more


SPECIAL SCHOOLS PARENTS LAY DOWN CHALLENGE

15-01-2007

Parents of children at Birmingham's threatened special schools have challenged the city's cabinet member for education Les Lawrence to fulfilhis pledge to consult with them before any major decisions are taken. more


BT TOWER GOES MISSING

15-01-2007

Eagle-eyed visitors to a scale model of Birmingham in the Pavilions shopping centre have noticed that the city's tallest building, the BT Tower has gone AWOL. more


NOTION WAVE

15-01-2007

Think of the tune to "Imagine" as you catch up with The Stirrer's resident poet Brendan Hawthorne who's been contemplating, among other things, the colour of David Beckham's balls. It takes all sorts... more


STIRRER READERS RALLY ROUND JONES

15-01-2007

Stirrer readers have been calling on Selly Oak MP Lynne Jones to think again, after we revealed her decision to stand down at the next election. more


GET OUT MORE……………………….THEATRE REVIEW

THE SNOWMAN, BIRMINGHAM REP

15-01-2007

The Rep's much travelled Snowman returns home after a Christmas spent in London and Edinburgh - but how well has this festive standard stood the test of time? more


TRIBUTES FOR MP JONES AS SHE QUITS

13-01-2007

Fellow Labour MP's have been paying tribute to Birmingham Selly Oak MP Lynne Jones who on Monday will announce her decision to stand down at the next election. more


BLUNDERING BLUES"SHOULD PAY COMPENSATION"

13-01-2007

Leeds United supporters are calling for compensation after Birmingham City's newly relaid pitch failed to take root in time - forcing the cancellation of today's Championship game at St Andrews. more


GETTIN IN A FUNK ABOUT FRED

13-01-2007

The Stirrer's musicologist Paul Samuels heads on down to pray at the Wesleyan chapel. Er, Fred Wesley that is.... more


RUTH KELLY'S SPECIAL NEED

13-01-2007

What might that be then- a desire to get thebest education for her son? Ora wish to keep bad publicity at bay? Ros Dodd ruminates. more


DRESSING UP CHARITY

13-01-2007

Had one of those charityleaflets through the door lately,asking you to donate your old clobber?Edward Cameron notices that these days those old clothes collections aren't even being disguised as charity. more


BLUES DOUG IN THE RIBS

13-01-2007

News that Blues official 2007 diary contains the honours list of another Birmingham club (the one based in Aston) has inflamed local football rivalries. Pete Millington issues a serious plea for calm. more


MP JONES TO QUIT

12-01-2007 16:00

Selly Oak MP Lynne Jones is standing down at the next election. Updated 17:44 more


SPECIAL SCHOOLS CLOSURE FEAR

12-01-2007

Claims by Birmingham Council that it has no confirmed plans to shut special needs schools have been undermined by documents seen by The Stirrer. They indicate that in an official funding bid to the Department of Education, the city anticipated shedding more than 1,000 dedicated places for youngsters with learning difficulties. more


COP CONFUSION OVER WOLVES AWAY FAN BAN

12-01-2007

Plans for a protest by Cardiff City supporters in Wolverhampton next weekend in protest at their ban from Molineux have been given the blessing of West Midlands Police - contradicting claims made by the force's Chief Constable. more


FANCY A BATH? TRY MOSELEY ROAD

12-01-2007

Nothing has stirred controversy on these pages in recent weeks as the future of Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath. Tomorrow, you can see what all the fuss is about for yourself on an organised tour. more


WHAT'S SO CLEVER ABOUT PASSING EXAMS?

12-01-2007

The government has announced plans to scrap SATS tests for 11 to 14 year olds, but it's toughened up its approach to GCSE league tables. Mike Drayton wonders whether we ought to use a bit more brain power when it comes to assessing the talents of our children. more


GET OUT MORE................................................TRAVEL GUIDE

GHENT, BELGIUM

12-01-2007

It's off the beaten track, but surprinsgly easy to get to and real treat when you get there. Let Dave Woodhall introduce you to Ghent. more


NEW FOREIGN POLICY? GO TO IKEA

12-01-2007

Tony Blair is calling for a debate on Britain's future in the world, and asking if we really want to be a military power. Whoops, it's a bit too late for the people of Iraq, but a worthwhile discussion nonetheless. We make no apology for re-printing a recent contribution from Andy Goff. more


GUANTANAMO PROTEST IN BRUM

11-07-2007

Dozens of protestors gathered outside the factory of Birmingham handcuff manufacturer Hiatt to mark the fifth anniversary of Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay - the US detention centre where four men from the West Midlands were held and later released without charge. more


LICENCE TO THRILL

11-01-2007

BBC bosses were due to hear today about the new licence fee settlement - though it now seems the decision has been delayed. The tragedy is that apart from finding out how much we all have to pay to watch telly, the news won't make that much difference to the West Midlands anyway. Compared to Manchester we've become a broadcasting backwater. more


£5 MILLION LONGBRIDGE CASH HOPE

11-01-2007

Birmingham mum Gemma Cartwright is hopeful of securing an extra £5million for the communities devastated by the closure of the Longbridge car factory after visiting Tony Blair in Downing Street yesterday. more


ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL

11-01-2007

Laurence Inman on the four-wheeled killers we take for granted - even tough they're slaughtering our kids and destroying the planet. Hmmm, I think I'll walk, more


OFF THE BUSES

11-01-2007

Proposals to fine bus companies for turning up late and running unreliable services have been greetedwith a lukewarm response after they were first revealed by Birmingham councillor Martin Mullaney on this site. Barbara Panvel reckons we need to change the terms of the debate (and bring back conductors, of course) more


BLIND DAVE LAUNCHES 7/7/7 MARATHON BID

10-01-2007

Black Country runner and Stirrer blogger Blind Dave Heeley has announced his most awesome challenge yet - he aims to become the first disabled athlete to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. more


NO ROOM AT THE INN?

10-01-2007

It will soon be illegal to discriminate against gay people when providing goods and services after attempts to overturn the new Sexual Orientation Regulations were defeated in the House of Lords last night. Pete Millington asks a few tough questions of the religious groups who opposed thelaw. more


STAY IN MORE……………………………..TV REVIEW

JUDGE JOHN DEED

10-01-2007

Yes, he's back. Judge John Deed… the nation's randiest judge and the conscience of liberal Britain ready to stand up as a one-man opposition to the totalitarian excesses of New Labour. more


COUNCIL WALKOUT AFTER “AFFRONT TO DEMOCRACY”

10-01-2007

Birmingham's Labour leader Sir Albert Bore led an astonishing walkout of last night's City Council meeting after being refused extra time to discuss the war in Iraq. more


KELLY'S "AYE" ON PRIVATE SCHOOLS

10-01-2007

The decision by Communities Minister Ruth Kelly to send her son with special educational needs to a private school continues to attract comment. Derrick Campbell wonders what all the fuss is about. more


BLUES ORIGINAL ZULUS

10-01-2007

Birmingham City's Zulu Warrriors were a notorious hooligan gang of the 1980's - but does the origin of their name lie buried deep in the club's history? Just check out this old programme cover. more


A TAX ATTACK

10-01-2007
John Mellor with a few radical proposals to tackle the ever growing mountain of unpaid council tax bills. more


CAUTIOUS REACTION TO SOUNESS WOLVES BID

09-01-2007

The editor of the Wolves fanzine A Load Of Bull has given a guarded welcome to news that Graeme Souness has lodged a £20 million bid for the Molineux club. more


LONG HOLIDAY FOR BLAIR?

09-01-2007

Another day, another government gaffe about the environment, this time with the Prime Minister insisting thathe won't be stopping his long-haul flights anytime soon. Andy Goff ponders where he'll go next... more


BRUM PARENTSSPLIT ONKELLY

09-01-2007

Parents of special needs children in Birminghamboth condemned and sympathisedwith Communities Minister Ruth Kelly after it emerged that she's taken one of her youngsters - thought to have dyslexia - out ofstateeducation. more


NHS JOB FREEZE CHILLS NURSES

09-01-2007

West Midlands nurses leader Ann Leedham Smith has warned of “job freezes like we've never seen before” as the cash-strappedHealth Servicestrives to reduce budget deficits before the end of the financial year. more


CHINESE TAKEAWAY

09-01-2007

It seems that even Christmas has been "lifted and shifted" to China muses Lynn Hawthorn, as she suggests a New Year's resolution for every Stirrer reader. more


GET OUT MORE............................GIG LIST

MARTIN LONGLEY'S LIST

09-01-2007

Martin Longley offers his usual eclectic selection of musical choicesin the jazz/folktronica/plain old weird category more


BLIND DAVE'S BLOG

09-01-2007

On Thursday Blind Dave Heeley, noted marathon runner of this parish will be announcing his next project - and it will become the talking point of the nation. Stay tuned for first news here on The Stirrer, but first here's his reflections on the 12 months gone by. more


TIME FOR SILLY MILLY TO EAT HUMBLE PIE

08-01-2007

Desperate to cosy up to agri-business, dumb-ass environment minister David Milliband reckons organic food has no proven health benefits when compared to crops grown with pesticides. Hmm let's see which he'd rather eat then - an apple sprayed with dozens of chemicals, or one that's been grown naturally? more


STAY IN MORE……………………………TV REVIEW

UGLY BETTY

08-01-2007

The Stirrer enjoyed areal comedy treat over the weekend, catching the first episode of US import Ugly Betty. more


BAN PAINT SALES TO UNDER-18's CALL

08-01-2007

Birmingham Lib-Dem councillor Martin Mullaney wants the sale of aerosol and spray paints to be banned to under-18's - even though his own party opposed the measure in 2003. He made his comments as he released a video showing some of the damage caused by graffiti in his Moseley ward. more


MULLANEY 2: "YES, I RIDE A SCOOTER"

08-01-2007

No apologies for another story about Birmingham councillor and transport watchdog Martin Mullaney - it's been revealed that the man who wants us all to travel by bus actually goes to work on a scooter. more


BRUMMIES SPEEDWAY ON TRACK

08-01-2007

Today (Monday) supporters of the reformed Birmingham Brummies speedway team get the chance to take part in a little bit of history by watching the ceremonial lifting of the first square of turf at their Perry Barr track. more


INCREDIBLE STRINGLESS BANDS

08-01-2007

The Stirrer's musicologist Paul Samuels is inspired by Jools Holland to explore the curious world of musicians who are few strings short of a full set. Seasick Steve and Morphine to name just two. more


HOME FRONT

08-01-2007

The Tories are demandingan enquiry into the cost of tarting up the Ministry of Defence's Whitehall offices - estimated at£2.3 billion over the next 30 years. Contrast that with the lousy conditions Forces families have to live in. Stirrer poet BrendanHawthorne goes to war. more


BLOGGING BOB IS BACK

06-01-2007

Bob Piper, the Sandwell councillor who suspended his blog three weeks ago after a race-row when he “blacked-up” the face of Tory leader David Cameron is back online again. more


A RELIGIOUS CONVICTION

06-01-2007

The "guilty" verdict onBirmingham man Umran Javed, charged withincitement to murder, hopefully marks a turning point in Britain's attitude towards religious bullies of all kinds. more


TWO LITTLE BOYS - SADDAM AND BUSH

06-01-2007

Top Birmingham psychologist Dr Mike Drayton reflects on the execution of Saddam Hussein, and the hidden bonds uniting the former Iraqi president and the current US head of state. more


UP FOR THE CUP

06-01-2007

Local heroes Tamworth FC getnational attention this weekend when their match against Norwich is televised on BBC1. It can only mean one thing - the Third Round of the FA Cup is here. Damien Doran can't wait. more


WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH

06-01-2007

Don't complain about the council's inability totidylitter onthe streets writes Ros Dodd. It's time we cleaned up our own act. more


POOLING RESOURCES AT MOSELEY ROAD BATHS

06-01-2007

The campaign to save Balsall Heath's Moseley Road Swimming Baths earned the contempt or Laurence Inman on The Stirrer this week. He accused those behind the rescue plan as "middle class tossers". Was he just swimming against the tide Steve Beauchampé reckons so. more


POT CALLS KETTLE BLACK IN AIRLINES ROW

05-01-2007

The Environment Minister and Dudley South MP Ian Pearson has denounced major American airlines as a “disgrace” and called Ryanair “the irresponsible face of capitalism” for its attitude towards climate change. Yetless than a month ago, his own government re-affirmed its commitment to airport expansion. Baffling. more


SEXY GAMBLING? YOU BET!

05-01-2007

Edward Cameron onhow frittering away your fortune in online gambling can make you truly irresistible to the opposite sex. Honest. more


“DUMBED DOWN NHS” ON THE WAY

05-01-2007

The West Midlands most senior nursing union leader paints a bleak picture of a “dumbed down” NHS…and claims that the government was warned about a long term staffing crisis a decade ago. more


LITTLE CHEF GET SECOND HELPING

05-01-2006

One the very day that one of The Stirrer's contributors danced on his grave, Little Chef came - Lazarus like - back to life. more


STAY IN MORE……………………………….TV REVIEW

THIS LIFE and BEEFCAKE

05-01-2007

Now that the dust has settled on the festive period, The Stirrer reckons that amid all those vast oceans of TV programming, there was so much flotsam and jetsam only two programmes actually justified the tag “essential viewing”. And one of those was a dud. more


COUNCIL BACK FLIP ON SEGREGATED SWIMMING

04-01-2007

Wolverhampton Council is now denying that it's been running “apartheid” swimming lessons for members of various ethnic minorities - having previously defended the practice in a statement to The Stirrer. more


PULL THE PLUG ON MOSELEY RD BATHS

04-01-2007

Saving a landmark swimming pool in Balsall Heath has become an article of faith for many well-meaning Brummies. Laurence Inman isn't one of them. more


SUPERMARKETS MILKING THE FARMERS

04-01-2007

The Stirrer's campaign to persuade the NEC to guarantee fair-trade tea and coffee on their menus strikes a chord with Barbara Panvel. But, she asks, shouldn't the milk you put in be fairly traded too? more


BIG CHOP FOR LITTLE CHEF

04-01-2007

The demise of Little Chef has had plenty of misty-eyedpundits crying into their (over-priced?) big breakfasts . Cool Hand Luke reckons the tubby cook only has himself to blame. more


GET OUT MORE.......................................................GIG PREVIEW

NICE GUY LIONEL'S LOCAL HAT-TRICK

04-01-2007

All round nice geezer Lionel Richie has just been booked in for his third local date - with a show at the NIA to complement two earlier performances at the NEC. more


"FINE BUS OPERATORS FOR RUNNING LATE" CALL

03-01-2007

Birmingham's bus watchdog has called for fines for bus companies who consistently run late or who miss out services altogether. more


It's a Punky Reggae Party (Part One)

03-01-2007

Pete Millington offers a personal tribute to Brum's two tone musical heritage more


THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT (1)

03-01-2007

Have you seen it yet? Even if you haven't chances are that someone you know will have done, and Edward Cameron is one of them.We're talking of course about Saddam Hussein's execution. But what purpose does it serve to watch the desktop death of a tyrant? more


That's Entertainment (2)

03-12-2007

More on Saddam'shanging,filmed on a mobile phone and watched by tens of thousandson theinternet. Derrick Campbell writes.... more


BNP BALLERINA MUST KEEP HER JOB

03-01-2007

Calls for the sacking of the so-called “BNP ballerina” are growing ever louder, but Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg - who lost his grandparents in the Holocaust - reckons she should keep it. more


BALTI BACK TO BASICS

02-01-2007

As a keen culinary trend-spotter, The Stirrer brings you first news of something cooking in Birmingham's legendary balti belt - back to basics Pakistani cooking that revives memories of the city's original budget eateries. more


HEY, WHERE'S ME SPACE HOPPER?

02-01-2007

Here it is at last... just 28 years late ...Brendan Hawthorne's thank you letter to his Great Aunt Sis, for the present he didn't get in 1969. Not that he's one to hold a grudge or anything.. more


SANDWELL'S TIP TOP TIP TIP

02-01-2007

News of a great initiative by Sandwell Council - a webcam designed to stop queuing at one of their tips in Oldbury. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on my (relatively) top of the range computer. more


MISSING INACTION

02-01-2007

The Stirrer's boy in blue, retired copper John Mellor, reports on the strange disappearance of a suspect in one of Britain's biggest robberies. more


POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR

01-01-2007

Our elected representativesoften get a bad press but at least three local figures have shownover the last year that they're willing to stand up andbe counted. The Stirrer gives praise where it's due and names his West Midlands Politician Of The Year. more


RING OUT THE OLD

01-01-2007

Marking the New Year, Lynn Hawthorne details the ten most irritating things about 2006 that she'd like to see the back of. more


BEST KNIGHT OUT

01-01-2007

The Stirrer reflects on Bono's honorary knighthood and suggests another deserving candidate closer to home. more

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