Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

June 07

The Stirrer’s Mayoral Blog

5,000 AND COUNTING AS CHINN SIGNS UP

30-06-2007

Carl Chinn's decision to back the Birmingham Mail's demand for a mayoral referendum will give fresh impetus to a campaign which has already attracted more than 5,000 certified signatures. >more


CINEMA SWEETS - FOOD FOR THOUGHT

30-06-2007

The Stirrer recently had a rant about the “Gobstopper Gestapo” now in operation at Cineworld on Broad Street in Birmingham. They’re stopping customers taking in their own sweets and drinks. Broad Street manager Mike Olley hits back >more


CAMCORDER COUNCILLOR’S VIDEO BOMBSHELL

30-06-2007

Birmingham’s camcorder councillor Martin Mullaney has been unearthing a curious nugget of local history in his latest video - highlighting a so-called “Angry Wall” at the home of Joseph Chamberlain. >more


Get Out More………………………………..Stuff to do

7” LISTINGS

30-06-2007

Our old pals at Birmingham’s 7” Cinema have got a new home for their indie/DIY movie screenings, and no end of other tasty recommendations to keep you out of mischief over the summer including a DJ session in Kings Heath from Dexy's legend Kevin Rowlands. Here's what's really on. >more


BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL

30-06-2007

We tell ourselves that Birmingham is an international city. But do we believe it? Not really, reckons Dianne Benussi. And it’s time we did. >more


Stay in More……………………………………Music Review

THE STILLS

30-06-2007

Ever eager to expand your musical horizons, The Stirrer’s musicologist Paul Samuels advises you to wrap your ears around a band who might just have heard a Joy Division track or too. There again, there may also be a link with Kiss. >more


EXCLUSIVE

HP SAUCE FACTORY FACES DEMOLITION

29-06-2007

The Stirrer understands that Birmingham’s historic HP Sauce factory in Aston is due to be demolished on Monday, to make way for a new business park. >more


DIGBY TO THE LORDS, BYRNE GETS WEST MIDS ROLE

29-06-2007

Birmingham lawyer Sir Digby Jones has accepted a peerage under the Labour whip, and will become Minister for Trade Promotion, as part of Gordon Brown’s attempt to bring outsiders into government. Meanwhile Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne will take the newly created post of Minister for the West Midlands. >more


LANDLORD WARNS - "DIGBETH WILL DIE"

29-06-2007

The landlord of one of Birmingham’s best loved pubs has warned that the unique character of Digbeth will be destroyed after his premises were issued with a noise abatement order. >more


WHY BLAIR’S PATSY JUMPED BEFORE SHE WAS PUSHED

29-06-2007

Tony Blair's Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced she was stepping down on the day Gordon Brown became PM. Dr David Nicholl reckons she jumped before she was pushed, after his embarrassing questions revealed the truth about the government’s junior doctors recruitment scheme. >more


LIFE’S A BEACH FOR BRUM GREENS

29-06-2007

Birmingham’s controversial beach in Chamberlain Square has attracted more critics after opening this week - with the city’s green lobby condemning the sponsors. >more


REDDITCH MP SMITH NEW HOME SEC

28-06-2007

New Prime Minister Gordon Brown has stunned MP's by appointing the Redditch MP Jacqui Smith asBritain's first female Home Secretary in his new cabinet announced this morning. >more


WHITBY CHALLENGES BROWN

28-06-2007

Birmingham Council leader Mike Whitby has challenged the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown to hand over more powers to local government. >more


WHAT'S IN A NAME?

28-06-2007

Would The Beatles ever have been such a big success if they'd been called something else? And would Laurence Inman now be a bloated rock star if his band had chosen a better moniker? Er, probably not. >more


WARMING TO CLIMATE CHANGE

28-06-2007

With many parts of the country still under flooding thanks to the unseasonal weather, will there now be a new impetus for measures to combat climate change? Barbara Panvel examines what's being done in the West Midlands. >more


PERRY BARR SET TO MAKE A SPLASH

28-06-2007

The developers behind the redevelopment of The Rotunda and Fort Dunlop in Birmingham has been selected for an even bigger challenge - the makeover of three rundown tower blocks in Perry Barr. >more


SPECIAL SCHOOLS "PARENTS VIEWS COUNT"

28-06-2007

Questions have been raised on this website about whether the consultation over the future of Birmingham's special schools is wide-ranging enough. The city's Childrens' Services have contacted us to ensure that as many people as possible are involved. >more


IT'S THE STUPID, ECONOMY

28-06-2007

As the Chancellor of the Exchequer morphs into a Prime Minister, The Ecologist's Cassandra columnist John Papworth wonders about the economy he - and the rest of us - have created. >more


£1 MILLION "GOES MISSING" AT THE PUBLIC

27-06-2007

The controversial Public Arts Centre in West Bromwich had such poor financial management that £1 million in professional fees went unaccounted for - ultimately bringing the project down. That's the damning verdict of Sandwell councillors who reported last night. >more


BLAIR TOLD TO PEACE OFF

27-06-2007

As Tony Blair prepares to quit parliament today, rumours are rife that he’s already got his next job lined up - as a Middle East Peace envoy. Mick Temple asks, “is satire dead?” >more


Get Out More………………………………Gig News

KAISER CHIEFS, CROWDED HOUSE

27-06-2007

One of the best acts from Down Under and Leeds’ finest are heading our way over the coming months. >more


“REDS UNDER THE BED” IN BNP TRADE UNION

27-06-2007

The British National Party’s attempt at creating its own trade union appears to have descended into farce - so much so that it’s stopped advertising the laughably named “Solidarity” on its official website. >more


CHEEK BY JOWELL or TESSA’S SECRET TELLY TAX

26-06-2007

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell was at the ICC in Birmingham last night talking up Britain’s Olympic bid but so far she’s avoided questions on another drain on the public purse - her secret telly tax. >more


SANDWELL TORY DEFECTS TO LABOUR

26-06-2007

One of Sandwell’s Conservative candidates at the last local election has quit the party - and joined Labour. His former leader has dismissed the defection as “sour grapes”. >more


STIRRER HOSTS TAKING LIBERTIES DEBATE

26-06-2007

Make a date in your diary…Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg is hosting a post-show discussion after a screening of the hit documentary Taking Liberties next Monday. >more


KNOTTY PROBLEM FOR WOLVO HOSPITAL

26-06-2007

Never mind the dangers of MRSA or the recent round of redundancies, Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital is grappling with a new crisis…the onset of Japanese knotweed. >more


WHEELIE WHEELIE CRAFTY

26-06-2007

It’s the hot topic of the day. Well, it is in Wednesbury where Lynn Hawthorne lives. What are we talking about? Wheelie bins, of course, which it now turns out are an accessory to crime. >more


BELFRY FLAGS UP FIVE STAR AIM

25-06-2007

One of the Midlands most famous landmarks, The Belfry in Wishaw, is to be rebuilt with aim of becoming the Midlands only five star hotel. >more


LIB DEMS DEMAND NEW ELECTION FRAUD ENQUIRY

25-06-2007

Birmingham’s Liberal Democrats are calling for a new investigation into allegations of vote rigging in the 2004 local council elections. >more


FAREWELL TO THE DOOG

25-06-2007

Footballer, trade unionist, politician…the death of Derek Dougan sees the departure of one of the West Midlands most colourful sporting characters. >more


LECTURER FACES BANKRUPTCY THREAT IN DOWNLOAD ROW

25-06-2007

A Birmingham media lecturer has been warned he faces the threat of bankruptcy and redundancies in his department by a record company boss who’s accusing him of promoting “hatred of the music industry”. >more


ONE ROOT FOOTBALL

25-06-2007

Pete Millington’s son could one day be major soccer star…but although Dad is proud, there’s something worrying about the whole thing too. >more


Poets Corner

IN DEFENCE OF THE SPOKEN WORD

25-06-2007

From ever blander radio playlists to podcasts to audiences who never argue back, Brendan Hawthorne wonders if we’re all wrapped up in our own (cyber)space unable to have a decent argument anymore. >more


Exclusive

NEW RAIL OPERATOR AXES 25 BUS ROUTES

23-06-2007

Guess who owns the bus firm which is axing 25 bus routes in the Black Country next month? The same dedicated public transport operator which has just won the franchise to run local trains in the West Midlands. >more


BROWN BACKLASH BEGINS

23-06-2007

Blimey! Gordon Brown isn’t even in power yet, and Labour backbenchers are already getting restless. Two MP’s have put their name to a parliamentary motion slagging him of for inviting Paddy Ashdown to join the Cabinet. >more


MMC2 - CURSE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

23-06-2007

"Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the hospital"...AsDr David Nicholl reports, the sequel to thejunior doctor recruitment fiasco is that it's now the medicswho've beenleftneeding treatment. >more


SWEET BAN HARD TO SWALLOW

23-06-2007

Watch out for the Gobstopper Gestapo! The Stirrer can reveal that one of Birmingham’s most popular multiplex cinemas has launched a crackdown on moviegoers taking in their own sweets and drinks. >more


Team Nice Blog

DOUBLETHINK

23-06-2007

Can you solve the problem of anti-social behaviour just by being courteous to people? The good folk at Team Nice think so. You can judge for yourself when they visit the Cotteridge Community Festival on July 7, but in the meantime here’s the latest blog by Pete Mariuki. >more


BLIND DAVE'S BLOG

BOGGIES AND FALSIES

23-06-2007

It's been a light week on the running front, allowing Blind Dave to get on with building the "penthouse" in back garden in West Brom. It's actually a wendy house cum greenhouse. Not bad for a bloke who can't see. >more


SOCCER’S SOUL FOR SALE - AGAIN

22-06-2007

The takeover of a football club in England’s third city wouldn’t normally trouble The Stirrer - but we’ll make an exception for the buyout of Manchester City by former Thai president Thaksin Shinawatra.>more


BRUM'S TV MAVERICK SELLS OUT

22-06-2007

Birmingham’s best known independent television production company Maverick has been bought out by London-based All3Media - but that might not be the bad news it appears to be.>more


LIB DEMS MERCILESS ON MING

22-06-2007

As the fallout continues from Gordon Brown’s remarkable offer of a cabinet position to Lord Ashdown, there’s chuntering in Westminster suggesting that Ming Campbell’s position as Lib Dem leader has been seriously weakened.>more


ASHDOWN “RIGHT TO REJECT GOVERNMENT JOB”

21-06-2007

Birmingham Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming has said that his former party leader Paddy Ashdown was right to turn down Gordon Brown’s offer of a post in the cabinet as Northern Ireland Secretary.>more


GOVERNERS' GUV'NOR GETS SENSE OF RELEASE

21-06-2007

The General Secretary of the Prison Governors Association has welcomed the early release scheme for convicts - but warns that unless the government resists new crime crackdowns, they’ll face the same problems again.>more


SUNDAY WORKING CLOSER UNDER NEW RAIL FRANCHISE

21-06-2007

The Stirrer’s campaign to get compulsory Sunday working on West Midlands’ railways moved a step closer to success today with the announcement of a new franchise holder.>more


GOOD NEWS AT LAST FOR AIRPORT

21-06-2007

Good news days have been thin on the ground for Birmingham Airport lately so let’s raise a toast to their staff today - BIA has been named the best in Europe.>more


Exclusive

BLACK COUNTRY BUS MASSACRE

21-06-2007

Thousands of bus passengers in the Black Country face inconvenience, confusion and longer journeys next month when a local operator axes 25 routes.>more


QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS

21-06-2007

There are more questions than answers they say. Oh yeah? Well Laurence Inman wants a few of them answered.>more


ASK THE EGGSPERT

21-06-2007

Can you believe that TV watchdogs have banned an advert advising us to “go work on an egg?” No? Nor can Mick Temple.>more


INMATES "GET OUT OF JAIL"CARD

20-06-2007

The government has confirmed today that thousands of prisoners will be released early - just a week after we revealed that inmates from the West Midlands were being taken overnight to cells in London because of over-crowding.>more


SALMAN RUSHDIE - A GOOD KNIGHT FOR HATRED

20-06-2007

One of the most surreal experiences of my life came in the late-80’s when the Brummie Road end at the Albion broke out into a chant of: “There’s Only One Salman Rushdie”. I don’t honestly think many among that footy choir had read “Midnight’s Children” mind.>more


ALAN JOHNSTON’S 100 DAYS

20-06-2007

This the 100th day in captivity of the journalist Alan Johnston after his kidnap in Gaza. Colleagues in the BBC and NUJ will be holding a vigil today - and you can too.>more


ALUM ROCK “TALIBAN” - STILL NO ANSWERS

20-06-2007

The Stirrer brought you disturbing news at the weekend of a possible link between child refugees from Afghanistan living in Alum Rock and the Taliban. Sad to say, although we’ve now had a response from Birmingham Council, we’re none the wiser.>more


ISLANDS IN THE SUN

20-06-2007

The British government acting like a lapdog to the United States and ignoring the interests of its own people? Sadly, it’s not a new phenomenon. Barbara Panvel reports on a shameful episode in British history which still hasn’t been resolved.>more


Team Nice Blog (3)

MOUSTACHES AND MANIFESTOS

20-06-2007

Team Nice are coming to Birmingham on July 7 to spread the word of, well, niceness. They reckon a revolution in courtesy and politness is more effective in changing social attitudes than a million ASBO’s. Here’s Peter Mariuki’s latest update.>more


VICAR’S IN A TWIST

20-06-2007

“Come on Vicar” says Lynne Hawthorne. “Let’s be having a bit of sincerity on the wedding day. For God’s sake”.>more


US SHARK CIRCLES CADBURY

19-06-2007

Cadbury’s plans to lay off more than 5,500 workers worldwide- at least 10% of them in Britain - will send shivers down the spine of the Bournville workforce. And so they should, thanks to the activities of a ruthless American investor.>more


ST BERNARD GOES TO HEAVEN

19-06-2007

Bernard Manning might not have been to everyone’s taste but The Stirrer can reveal that God actually thought he was quite funny. Our religious affairs correspondent Pete Millington has a hotline to Heaven. >more


MARVERINE QUITS WM’S ONLY DEDICATED BLACK SHOW

19-06-2007

The recent row over BBC WM’s African Caribbean coverage has taken a new twist with the news that presenter Marverine Cole is quitting the station’s only programme dedicated to black audiences. >more


"THERE WAS THIS FAT RACIST FROM MANCHESTER…"

19-06-2007

The death of Bernard Manning, one of Britain’s most controversial comics, has been greeted with a mixture of sympathy from supporters and relief from his opponents. The Stirrer’s been getting views - including a comment from Syd Little. >more


13 SACKED AS AIRPORT GETS TOUGH ON SECURITY

19-06-2007

It might smack of shutting the departure gate after the 747 has taken to the skies, but 13 staff at Birmingham Airport have been sacked after a TV investigation revealed shocking lapses in security. Spot checks are also being being introduced to keep workers on their toes. >more


SUTCLIFFE, THOMPSON INVITED TO KITTS GREEN MEETING

19-06-2007

Prisons minister Gerry Sutcliffe and Hilary Thompson, head of the West Midlands Probation Service have been invited to a public meeting later this month in Kitts Green - the site of a controversial new probation HQ. Meanwhile, a protestor has telling The Stirrer why she’s opposed to it. >more


DYING FOR A CHANGE IN THE LAW (Part Two)

19-06-2007

The recent release of Jack Kervorkian, America’s so-called “Doctor Death” has re-ignited the debate about euthanasia. Barbara Panvel recently argued on The Stirrer that helping those in pain to peacefully pass away was the mark of a civilised society. Dr David Nicholl explains why so many doctors disagree. >more


Get Out More…………………..Film Review

TAKING LIBERTIES

19-06-2007

It's firmly established as The Stirrer's film of the year, but what do other readers making of Taking Liberties - the documentary that highlights our loss of liberties over a decade of Blairism? Dave Woodhall offers his view from the back row. >more


BISHOP WALKS THE WALK AS SLAVERY MARCHERS SAY SORRY

18-06-2007

200 years after the Britain abolished the slave trade, should we be apologising for it? Campaigners who met the Bishop of Birmingham yesterday are in no doubt. They’ve been parading through the city wearing T-shirts with the slogan: “So Sorry”. >more


GISELA TALKS UP EU REFERENDUM PROSPECTS

18-06-2007

Birmingham MP and Euro expert Gisela Stuart has said there's an "overwhelming" need for a referendum on the new EU constitution - if any one of three key tests are met. >more


SPECIAL NEEDS SWIMMING AGAINST THE MAINSTREAM

18-06-2007

As controversy rages about the future of Birmingham’s special schools, a MENCAP report published today throws fuel on the fire. It reveals widespread bullying of youngsters with learning disabilities. Jonathan Harris, whose son has special educational needs, says that the lesson is obvious. >more


Get Out More…………………..Gig News

HAYSEED DIXIE (MAC, July 21)

18-06-2007

Hillbilly music meets punk and heavy metal. You know it makes sense. But just in case you haven’t been converted yet to the cotton pickin’ power of Hayseed Dixie, let Paul Samuels fill y’all in. >more


BLACKBOARD BUNGLE?

18-06-2007

Birmingham is about to embark on the brave new world of City Academies, where failing schools are reinvented with the help of big business and millionaire sponsors. Edward Cameron wonders what they’ll want in return. >more


Poets Corner

PLATONIC RAIN

18-06-2007

A couple of days of rain seemed to bring the West Midlands to a standstill. Just like a couple of days of snow/hot weather/average temperatures are prone to do. The Stirrer’s resident poet Brendan Hawthorn wonders what will happen when global warming hits. >more


BRUM FOSTER CARE “TALIBAN LINK”

17-06-2007

Child refugees from Afghanistan who arrive in Birmingham are at risk of being groomed for terrorism - or at least that’s what The Guardian reckons. >more


"ABUSE" CLAIM AS COPS SEIZE KIDS

16-06-2007

West Midlands Police are facing calls for an enquiry after no fewer than ten officers were called in to seperate a mother from her children who were being taken into care. A Birmingham councillor says the youngsters were subjected to “institutional abuse”. >more


MARCH OF THE ABOLITIONISTS

16-06-2007

Marchers celebrating the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery will be walking though Birmingham this weekend, and on Tuesday, you can join them in a rendition of “Amazing Grace”. In the meantime Audrey Miller has got some campaigning to do. >more


OUR MATE, THE COLONEL

16-06-2007

Remember the war on terror? It temporarily seems to have slipped Tony Blair’s mind as he does another deal with Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator whose government has been associated with one of the worst atrocities committed on the British people. >more


Team Nice Blog (2)

JAW JAW WITH BRIAN HAW

16-06-2007

Team Nice - a London based group who just want to spread politeness and courtesy - are coming to Birmingham for the first time on July 7 for the Cotteridge Community Festival. In the meantime, member Peter Mariuki talks about a meeting with Brian Haw the anti-war protestor from Redditch. >more


SPECIAL SCHOOLS AND THE USUAL SUSPECTS

16-06-2007

Jonathan Harris was among the parents who led a campaign to save Birmingham’s special schools earlier this year. Thanks to the protests, parents are now being listened to, but Jonathan remains sceptical about the process. >more


D Day Anniversary

THE SAILOR’S BLOG (Part Seven)

16-06-2007

Sutton Coldfield sailor William “Lofty” Goff kept a handwritten diary of his exploits on HMS Scylla during World War Two. This is the final installment of his account of the D-Day landings which happened this week in 1944. >more


TARZAN SWINGS IN TO BRUM MAYOR DEBATE

15-06-2007

Former Conservative minister Lord “Tarzan” Heseltine has piled the pressure on Birmingham Council leader Mike Whitby be re-stating his demand for powerful mayors to run major cities. >more


BLAIR WATCHES HIS WORDS IN EUROPE

15-06-2007

Tony Blair has apparently rejected plans for a new EU constitution which would hand over more powers from Westminster to Brussels - but The Stirrer warns: “He’s a slippery fish. Don’t take his words at face value”. >more


BRUM SEEKS NEW ARCHITECTURE ADVISOR

15-06-2007

Following Joe Holyoak’s sacking from the committee that advises Birmingham Council on planning and architecture, The Stirrer has been leaked an advance copy of the ad for his replacement. >more


STAFF DEMO AGAINST BLOODY STUPID IDEA

15-06-2007

More protests are expected in Birmingham today against the “reconfiguration” of the National Blood Service - a move which could see the local office closed and half the national workforce
lose their jobs.
>more


TORY “PLONKER” CONDEMNED IN PATERNITY ROW

15-06-2007

Former Sandwell mayor Bill Archer has run into a storm of criticism for his suggestion - aired yesterday on The Stirrer - that a fellow councillor’spaternity leave was “unacceptable.” >more


SOCCER FOR SALE - COULD THE BAGGIES BE NEXT?

15-06-2007

West Midlands footballis already buzzing with the possibility of new owners at Birmingham City, but now there’s growing background noise suggesting that West Bromwich Albion could be the next takeover targets. >more


TALK LIKE A BRUMMIE DAY

15-06-2007

Heard about “Talk Like A Pirate Day” where people walk around going “Oooh Aaar?” and generally mimic ancient seafarers? Well now, The Stirrer is delighted to introduce you to Talk Like A Brummie Day. >more


Blind Dave’s Blog

PENTHOUSE AND PAVEMENTS

15-06-2007

Don’t get too excited, but Blind Dave Heeley reckons he might have one or two major sponsors in the offing as he prepares for next year’s 7/7/7 marathon challenge. Find out how you can help at the end of his latest blog. >more


Exclusive

PATERNITY LEAVE BLAST FOR NEW DAD

14-06-2007

The former Mayor of Sandwell has launched an astonishing attack on a fellow councillor for taking paternity leave following the birth of his second child. >more


New On Stirrer TV

MICK SCULLY’S “LITTLE MOSCOW”

14-06-2007

The latest release from Birmingham based Tindal Street publishing is on the shelves now - and it’s a real corker. "Little Moscow" is a dark collection of short stories by local lad Mick Scully. >more


Get out More...............................................Free tickets

THE BOTANICAL GARDENS (Westbourne Rd, B15)

14-06-2007

Birmingham's Botanical Gardens got the full Radio 4 treatment yesterday when it was featured on Gardeners' Question Time. The Gardens are celebrating their 175th birthday this year, and to celebrate, we've got five family tickets to give away. >more


Exclusive

JAIL CRISIS SENDS PRISONERS TO LONDON

14-06-2007

The Stirrer has discovered that overcrowded West Midlands jails put up the “No Vacancies” signs this week, with local prisoners having to be ferried to police cells in West London. >more


A NATIONAL DAY FOR BRITAIN - BUT IN 1984?

14-06-2007

How about replacing the Union Flag with a butcher's apron? Go on think about it? Laurence Inman sets out to provoke - just for a change - with his musings on a day for Britain. >more


SAFETY LAST?

14-06-2007

The EU is adopting the precautionary principle for commonly used chemicals. Barbara Panvel argues that it should be extended intoother areas of life. >more


D Day Anniversary

THE SAILOR’S BLOG (Part Six)

14-06-2007

It’s 25 years today since victory in the Falklands, but The Stirrer’s also remembering the anniversary of the D-Day Landings with a serialisation of the diary of William “Lofty” Goff - a Brummie sailor who served aboard HMS Scylla. Today, a glimpse of Winston Churchill. >more


Exclusive

PATERNITY LEAVE BLAST FOR NEW DAD

14-06-2007

The former Mayor of Sandwell has launched an astonishing attack on a fellow councillor for taking paternity leave following the birth of his second child. >more


New On Stirrer TV

MICK SCULLY’S “LITTLE MOSCOW”

14-06-2007

The latest release from Birmingham based Tindal Street publishing is on the shelves now - and it’s a real corker. "Little Moscow" is a dark collection of short stories by local lad Mick Scully. >more


Get out More...............................................Free tickets

THE BOTANICAL GARDENS (Westbourne Rd, B15)

14-06-2007

Birmingham's Botanical Gardens got the full Radio 4 treatment yesterday when it was featured on Gardeners' Question Time. The Gardens are celebrating their 175th birthday this year, and to celebrate, we've got five family tickets to give away. >more


Exclusive

JAIL CRISIS SENDS PRISONERS TO LONDON

14-06-2007

The Stirrer has discovered that overcrowded West Midlands jails put up the “No Vacancies” signs this week, with local prisoners having to be ferried to police cells in West London. >more


A NATIONAL DAY FOR BRITAIN - BUT IN 1984?

14-06-2007

How about replacing the Union Flag with a butcher's apron? Go on think about it? Laurence Inman sets out to provoke - just for a change - with his musings on a day for Britain. >more


SAFETY LAST?

14-06-2007

The EU is adopting the precautionary principle for commonly used chemicals. Barbara Panvel argues that it should be extended intoother areas of life. >more


D Day Anniversary

THE SAILOR’S BLOG (Part Six)

14-06-2007

It’s 25 years today since victory in the Falklands, but The Stirrer’s also remembering the anniversary of the D-Day Landings with a serialisation of the diary of William “Lofty” Goff - a Brummie sailor who served aboard HMS Scylla. Today, a glimpse of Winston Churchill. >more


SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE…BRUM’S NODDING DOG SYNDROME

13-06-2007

The Stirrer is reeling from the news that one of Birmingham’s most respected architects has been booted off the committee which advises the council on conservation and heritage. Joe Holyoak has been given his marching orders for apparently having too much of an independent mind. >more


SHHHHH! IT’S THE CITY CENTRE

13-06-2007

Yuppies who’ve moved into Birmingham in pursuit of “city living” have already killed off one of the city’s finest musical institutions. Now they are out to get a nightclub and a fine traditional pub which have been there for years. >more


TV: WHERE HYPE SPRINGS ETERNAL

13-06-2007

The Jamaican police have admitted mistaking Bob Woolmer’s death by natural causes for murder. Will we now get an apology from BBC1’s Panorama which told us he’d been poisoned? Probably not, but the case highlights the growing danger of heavily publicised documentaries which don’t live up to their hype. >more


Mick Temple’s Blog

LECTURING ISRAEL

13-06-2007

While gun battles rage between rival Palestinian factions in Gaza, boycotting Israel has become all the rage in Britain. Journalists in the NUJ have voted not to buy the country’s goods, and now academics want to freeze out their colleges. >more


BLUES FOR SALE - ON E BAY

13-06-2007

Could it really be true that in their desperation to fin a buyer, Messrs Sullivan and Gold have put Birmingham City up for sale on an internet auction site. Pete Millington’s seen the evidence with his own eyes. >more


Team Nice Blog(1)

PENDELUMS

13-06-2007

The Stirrer recently revealed that London-based Team Nice are heading to Birmingham for the first time. They’ll be atthe Cotteridge Community Festival (CocoMad) in July spreading their message of politeness and courtesy. Nice people that they are, they’ve agreed to write a weekly blog too. >more


Get Out More……………………..Music Preview

LICHFIELD FESTIVAL (July 5 - July 14)

13-06-2007

From leading names in the classical world to the bright young sparks of jazz, this year's Lichfield Festival features an impressive line-up. Top names include Philip Glass and the son of one of Hollywood's most famous leading men. Lisa Piddington reports. >more


BLUES: FROM SLEAZE TO SLAVE LABOUR?

12-06-2007

Latest rumours are that one of Birmingham City’s suitors is Britain’s richest man, Lakshmi Mittal. Wot - the same Laskshmi Mittal caught up in allegations of “slave labour” at the weekend? The very same. >more


MOULTON IN FOR LAND ROVER, JAG

12-06-2007

The venture capitalist who failed to buy the Longbridge car factory seven years ago is considering a bid for Land Rover and Jaguar - two West Midlands-based car firms being prepared for sale by their owner Ford. >more


MAKING A CLEAN BREAST OF IT

12-06-2007

New equality laws promise to give women the right to breast-feed in public. But hold on a minute, it’s not exactly illegal at the moment - why is the government wasting time creating yet more unnecessary laws? >more


HEMMING VOTES LABOUR

12-06-2007

Is the Birmingham Yardley MP John Hemming a secret Labour party sympathiser? The Stirrer has discovered that the city’s leading Liberal Democrat can cast a vote for Gordon Brown’s new deputy. >more


TRANSPORTED BACK IN TIME

12-06-2007

“Not here…not yet”. That was blogger Dionne McCarthy’s reaction to the prospect of congestion charging in the West Midlands. It inspired Kevin Chapman to take a journey into the past. >more


Get Out More………………..7” Listings

DEATH OF CINEPHILIA AND MORE

12-06-2007

Seven Inch cinema, the West Midlands funkiest film folk, put together just about the best listing we know of cool pleasures around the region. Amongst other things, they tell us that the Cinephilia film store - a real Moseley institution - is no more. But don’t worry - as this lot proves, there’s still plenty that you can do around here. >more


WHEELIE IRRITATING

12-06-2007

Sandwell resident Lynn Hawthorne went to Norfolk for a few days to get away from it all - only to find that there were the same kind of wheelie bin dilemmas that afflict her at home. Time, she says, for a national recycling strategy. >more


Maggie Jo's Fair Trade Blog

MARLON'S STORY

12-06-2007

Birmingham fair trade campaigner Maggie Jo St John has been updating us regularly over the past year from Nicaragua where she was teaching English to coffee growers. Well, now she’s back and, we’re delighted to say, still writing for The Stirrer. >more


D Day Anniversary

THE SAILOR’S BLOG (Part Five)

12-06-2007

Marking the anniversary of the D Day landings in 1944, The Stirrer presents the latest extract from the diary of William “Lofty” Goff, the father of our webmaster Andy, who took part in the invasion of France aboard the good ship “Scylla”. >more


THE DIRTY TRICKS CLEAN UP

11-06-2007

Lillington Grove in Shard End has been compared to a Third World slum prompting an emergency visit tomorrow from Birmingham’s cabinet member for housing John Lines. But guess what? Since his visit was announced there’s been a massive clean-up operation. >more


BLUES TAKEOVER APPROACH CONFIRMED

11-06-2007

Birmingham City have confirmed to the Stock Exchange today that a takeover could be in the offing - but beyond that, precise details are thin on the ground. >more


Get Out More………………….Film Review

TAKING LIBERTIES

11-06-2007

So how is a documentary highlighting the erosion of our freedom faring at the box office compared to Spiderman 3? Not too well, we suspect, but you can take our word for it - Taking Liberties is this summer’s real “must see” movie. >more


COULD IT BE BOLLYWOOD BLUES?

11-06-2007

Birmingham City are planning an emergency board meeting today, amid feverish speculation about a takeover bid by a Far East consortium. The Stirrer understands that a group of Indian investors have already been sniffing around the club. >more


EXPRESS AND STAR WARNED OVER PENSION CLOSURE

11-06-2007

Union leaders are warning that plans to close the Express and Star’s final salary pension scheme at the end of July could lead to industrial action. >more


BIA CONSIDERS LEGAL ACTION OVER "TONIGHT"

11-06-2007

Birmingham International Airport is considering legal action against “Tonight with Trevor McDonald” following last week’s undercoverinvestigation. >more


Get out More………………………..Gig Preview

RICHARD HAWLEY (Symphony Hall, Setember 7)

11-06-2007

As if having The Stirrer’s seal of approval wasn’t enough, Sheffield’s answer to Johnny Cash has also caught the ear of our top musicologist Paul Samuels ahead of his autumn visit. It's aii the sideburns, apparently. >more


NO GO LOGO

11-06-2007

Brendan Hawthorne, The Stirrer's resident poet, ponders on the design values of the 2012 Olympics logo launched last week >more


POST AND MAIL SALE BY SEPTEMBER

09-06-2007

An offer for the Birmingham Post and Mail is expected sometime next month, with completion due by September. The likeliest bidder is a private equity group, prompting union fears that more jobs will be cut. >more


GELDOF SLAMS G8 AID “FARCE”

09-06-2007

Yesterday, The Stirrer slammed world leaders gathered at the G8 summit for their failure to tackle climate change. Today Bob Geldof has done our workfor us, condemining as “a farce” their efforts to deal with Third World debt. >more


STIRRER UNLOCKS POOL CHARGING MYSTERY

09-06-2007

The Stirrer’s intervention has ensured that free lockers will be maintained at a popular Birmingham swimming pool. Leisure centre bosses had threatened to make the charges compulsory. >more


THE WALL CAME TUMBLING DOWN

09-06-2007

Stirrer blogger Damien Doran told us last week, how he'd witnessed first hand the disastrous preview of "Lord Of The Rings", which had to be cancelled after an actor got trapped in the stage machinery. Andy Goff can say "I Was There..." when the Berlin Wall came down. >more


DYING FOR A CHANGE IN THE LAW

09-06-2007

Most people seem to accept that if you want to end your own life because of a serious illness or injury, you should be able to do so. So why hasn’t anything been done about it asks Barbara Panvel? >more


WHITBY TO BE VOICE OF THE REGION

09-06-2007

Birmingham Council leader Mike Whitby has been chosen to head the Birmingham, Coventry and Black Country region - an unelected quango representing no fewer than eight local authorities and several other public bodies. >more


EVERYBODY’S DOING THE NO PROMOTION

09-06-2007

It’s come to The Stirrer’s notice that down Wolverhampton way, there’s a new tune in town based on the Little Eva/Kylie classic. Not only that, but there are a few jokes doing the rounds about Albion’s Wembley play-off failure. Don't all laugh at once. >more


FOOD FOR THOUGHT

09-06-2007

Jerome Chen Bacchus dreams of becoming a chef - and at the age of 22, why shouldn’t he? He’s got his whole life ahead of him. But as Pete Millington discovers, it’s not Jerome’s learning difficulties that are holding him back, so much as other people’s attitudes. >more


EVERYBODY NEEDS GOOD NEIGHBOURS

09-06-2007

Dr David Nicholl reflects on the folk next door - who in his case include the father of a Guantanamo Bay detainee and a Birmingham handcuff maker. >more


THE SAILORS BLOG (Part Four)

09-06-2007

When we last heard from Brummie sailor William “Lofty” Goff, the action was hotting up as Allied Forces tried to make inroads into France while meeting stiff German resistance. Amid all the mayheam, he still manages to listen to Artie Shaw. >more


HOSPITAL OXYGEN CYLINDERS “NOT TAMPERED WITH”

09-06-2007

Remember that shock horror, front page exclusive about the madman going around Sandwell General Hospital tampering with the oxygen cylinders and putting patients lives at risk? Er, it wasn’t true. >more


TAKING LIBERTIES ON BROAD STREET

08-06-2007

At last it’s here…the long-awaited premiere of Taking Liberties, the movie which exposes how our freedoms are being taken from us and which has been dubbed “the British Fahrenheit 9/11”. It opens tonight at Cineworld in Birmingham and director Chris Atkins has been telling us all about it. >more


"STAR" ON THE WANE AS PENSION SCHEME CLOSED

08-06-2007

Journalists at the Express and Star newspaper, already reeling from staff cutbacks, have today received confirmation that their final salary pension scheme is to close at the end of July. >more


THE RIDDLE OF BRITISH AEROSPACE

08-06-2007

Successive governments stand accused of paying back-handers to senior Saudi officials to win multi-billion pound contracts for British Aerospace and secure hundreds of jobs in this country. >more


HEMMING SUPPORTS “TWO FAT LADIES”

08-06-2007

Colourful Birmingham MP John Hemming has found himself a new role - as the unlikely champion of Britain’s bingo playing classes. >more


GLOBAL WARMING, HOT AIR

08-06-2007

So beneath the bluff and bluster and the stage management and the “hopeful signs” coming out of the G8 Summit in Germany, here’s the bottom line…world leaders have once again failed to agree on any meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gases. >more


CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE

08-06-2007

Dave Woodhall has got more than £5,000 to spend this morning after filling in a simple online form - and that was without really trying. >more


YOU’RE HIRED

08-06-2007

The controversial Olympic logo unveiled this week hasn’t only got ordinary sports fans puzzled. Sir Alan Sugar is fuming at the design and has commissioned an alternative version. What’s more he’s given Pete Millington a sneak preview. >more


A DOCTORS COMPLAINT

08-06-2007

Lynn Hawthorne's feeling sick, but there's no point going to her local GP. That's the cause of her complaint in the first place. >more


COUNCILS OF WAR

07-06-2007

Council workers across the West Midlands are facing a wake up call from their bosses. Sandwell is planning to privatise hundreds of jobs in its waste management and environmental services, while Birmingham is boasting of having sacked 500 lazy, incompetent or dishonest staff. >more


A SPANNER IN THE WORKS?

07-06-2007

One of our Message Board regulars - Chip Trip Janet - wanted to know why whenever there's disruption to the trams in Wolverhampton, services are forced to terminate miles from the city centre at Priestfield. The Stirrer has found the answer - and all down to an astonishing tale of incompetence. >more


SHAMED AIRPORT SECURITY FIRM BRINGS IN DRUGS TESTS

07-06-2007

The company at the centre of Monday’s TV expose of lax security at Birmingham Airport has introduced a drugs and alcohol testing regime for its workers - and removed their local manager. >more


"NO GRAVY TRAIN HERE" - TILSLEY

07-06-2007

Birmingham Deputy Leader Paul Tilsley has given The Stirrer an ear-bashing following our suggestion that the gravy train has just pulled into the city’s Council House. But another senior councillor reckons we were spot on. >more


CROSS WORDS

07-06-2007

Laurence Inman was invited to The Stirrer’s highly select first birthday gathering at a secret location somewhere in the West Midlands last weekend. Only one thing spoiled his fun. >more


D Day Anniversary

THE SAILOR’S BLOG (Part Three)

07-06-2007

This week sees the anniversary of the D Day landings and our webmaster’s dad, William Goff, was part of - serving on HMS Scylla. When we left him yesterday, the British tanks were rolling onto the French beaches.>more


Get Out More…………………………………….Gallery Review

COMPTON VERNEY

07-06-2007

Fifteen years ago, Compton Verney in South Warwickshire was a rundown relic of a bygone age. And then the Peter Moores Foundation bought it. Result? One of the best galleries in the country reckons Paula Elenor. >more


DEADLY DOUG FOR THE BAGGIES?

06-06-2007

Internet chat rooms are abuzz with rumours that former Villa chairman “Deadly” Doug Ellis could be about to take over West Bromwich Albion. The Stirrer assesses the tittle tattle. >more


Exclusive

COUNCILLORS PAY ROW AS GRAVY TRAIN PULLS INTO BRUM

06-06-2007

Birmingham Councillors last night ignored the advice of their own independent pay panel and voted to approve extra allowances for senior colleagues. The Panel has also been stripped of the right to select its own chairman and is warning that its role has been seriously undermined. >more


D Day Anniversary

THE SAILOR’S BLOG (Part Two)

Continuing the first hand account of William “Lofty” Goff who served on HMS Scylla during the D Day landings which happened this week in 1944. >more


BIRMINGHAM RECYCLING - NOT RUBBISH AFTER ALL

06-06-2007

When The Stirrer received information suggesting that Birmingham came bottom of a national league for recycling our interest was naturally aroused. The story was true as well - but the current reality is altogether more interesting. >more


Mick Temple’s Blog

LITTLEJOHN’S REVENGE

06-06-2007

Mick Temple - who’s a professor at that trendy Staffordshire University - ponders on the role of the political columnist. And wonders whether his own column inches measure up. >more


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

DEVO (Symphony Hall, June 22)

06-06-2007

Source: Warner Bros

"Are we not men?" they asked. To which the frankly puzzled late 70s punters answered, "Er, we're not sure." We knew they were Devo though, and they were darlings of the briefly supersonic scene from Akron, Ohio. Remember that? Paul Samuels does >more


Poets Corner

BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE SKIN DEEP

06-06-2007

Stung by the news that Birmingham's entry for Miss Great Britain actually came from Stoke, The Stirrer's resident poet Brendan Hawthorne is moved to verse. >more


BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT -“TONIGHT” AND THE MORNING AFTER

05-06-2007

The Stirrer urged caution before the transmission of last night’s “Tonight” programme, which investigated security failures at Birmingham Airport. Too many well-publicised documentaries fail to live up to their hype. So how did this one fare? >more


BRUM LEISURE CENTRE HANDS OUT “CULT” DVD

05-06-2007

One of Birmingham’s most popular leisure centres has been unwittingly used to promote a spiritual movement described by critics as a “totalitarian” cult. >more


TRAVEL GIRL PUNAM HITS THE ROAD

05-06-2007

Popular BBC WM travel presenter Punam Verma is quitting the station and her hometown of Walsall for a TV career in Dubai. >more


MISSING MADELEINE AND THE "GRIEF CELEBRITIES"

05-06-2007

Tonight’s “Crimewatch” programme will feature an appeal for information from the parents of missing todddler Madeleine McCann - who’ve been criticised in some quarters for being “grief celebrities”. Their detractors are missing the point, says Ros Dodd. >more


D Day Anniversary

THE SAILOR’S BLOG (PART ONE)

05-06-2007

As the anniversary of D Day looms, we’ve discovered the first hand account of a British sailor who took part in the invasion. William “Lofty” Goff is the father of our webmaster Andy Goff. Here’s the first extract of his contemporaneous diary. >more


EIGHT CHARGED WITH LOZELLS DISORDER

05-06-2007

Eight men are due to appear at Birmingham Crown Court today (Tuesday 5 June) charged with offences in connection with the Lozells riot in October 2005. >more


NICE TO MEET YOU

05-06-2007

Fed up with the rudeness and aggression of modern life? You're not the only one. The Stirrer meets a woman on a mission. >more


BLIND DAVE’S BLOG

05-06-2007

Next year, Dave Heeley from West Brom will run seven marathons in seven days and seven continents. In the meantime he has to put up with harrassment on the building site - and Aunty Mavis's cakes. >more


BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT, “TONIGHT” AND THE TV AMBUSH

04-06-2007

Birmingham International Airport faces trial by television tonight when ITV’s “Tonight With Trevor McDonald” will air claims that security staff were sleeping on the job. But with such a publicity ambush before the event does the programme itself even matter? And will the airport’s response be heard amid the clamour? >more


BIG SCREEN FOR WOLVO AS BRUM ROW CONTINUES

04-06-2007

Wolverhampton’s attempted smash and grab raid on Birmingham’s controversial Big Screen isn’t necessary - the Black Country will soon be getting one of its own. >more


THE BROWN LOCKDOWN

04-06-2007

Anyone who harboured hopes that Gordon Brown’s premiership might usher in a new era of liberalism can think again. His proposals to extend the 28 day detention period without trial come straight of the Tony Blair/John Reid school of authoritarianism. >more


HANDSWORTH GATES IRATE

04-06-2007

In January, The Stirrer investigated a new housing development next to Handsworth Park, where residents were still waiting for sports facilities promised as compensation for losing some allotments. That issue has been resolved, but as Simon Baddeley reports the developers are now planning a “minor amendment” with a major impact. >more


DENTAL WASTE TAKES BITE OUT OF METRO
04-06-2007

The Stirrer has discovered that the disruption of services on the Midland Metro - which will continue today - was caused bydental waste. >more


TOLKEIN MUSICAL SINGING THE BLUES

04-06-2007

Stirrer blogger Damien Doran can say “I was there… in the West End, last Wednesday, when the show DIDN’T go on. A preview performance of the musical Lord Of The Rings came to a premature end because an actor got his legs caught in the stage machinery. >more


BRUM"CENTRAL PARK" BID KEPT UNDER WRAPS

02-06-2007

Birmingham’s £22 million lottery bid for a new city centre park at Eastside was finally submitted yesterday - but precise details of the proposal are being kept under wraps to ensure that we aren't seen as lobbying for the cash. >more


TWO STRANGERS, TWO WEDDINGS - TWO DIVORCES

02-06-2007

The Stirrer understands that the couple who married last year in BRMB’s controversial “Two Strangers And A Wedding” promotion are to divorce - just like the previous couple. >more


THE KITTS GREEN LOCKDOWN

02-06-2007

Few stories have generated more passion on this website than the new probation office in Kitts Green. Dave Woodhall sees a sinister side to the protests. >more


Get Out More……………………………..Puppet Preview

DYNAMICS 07 (MAC, Birmingham)

02-06-2007

This weekend, the kids have got no excuse for saying there’s nothing to do. The Dynamics 07 Puppet Festival has loadsa free shows on Saturday and Sunday - and a few you can pay for too. >more


YOU ASDA HAND IT TO ‘EM

02-06-2007

Nine branches of Kwik Save shut in the Black Country this week - in Dudley, Tipton, Cannock, Lichfield, West Brom, Smethwick, Blackheath and Wolvo. As Edward Cameron reports, Asda have seen their chance >more


CONGESTION INDIGESTION

02-06-2007

It looks Manchester has trumped Birmingham by becoming the second city after London to line itself up for a congestion charge. Dionne McCarthy wonders if we’ve had a lucky escape. >more


Get Out More………………………Music preview

CBSO IN BILSTON

02-06-2007

Players from the CBSO’s Berkeley Salon Ensemble will be ditching Symphony Hall for a night and heading to the Black Country town of Bilston. >more


BRUM RECYCLING IS RUBBISH SAYS MP JONES

01-06-2007

Birmingham Council leader Mike Whitby famously claimed “it was the weekly rubbish collections wot won it” in the local council elections, but just try telling that to Selly Oak MP Lynne Jones. The binmen forgot to pick up her stinky refuse sack last week, and she wants to know why. It’s prompted her to ask a few other awkward questions too. >more


DOUBLE YELLOW DEMONS

01-06-2007

The Stirrer has long campaigned against the peril of the pavement parkers, but now there’s a new motoring menace in our midst - the double yellow demons, who apparently break the law with impunity. >more


Get Out More………………………..Gig News

BRIAN WILSON, DAVID SYLVIAN, ONLY ONES

01-06-2007

Two intriguing shows coming up at Symphony Hall with dates for head Beach Boy Brian Wilson and ex-Japan Star David Sylvian. There’s disappointment for Only Ones fans though with news that their Wolverhampton gig is postponed. >more


Mick Temple's Blog

DEPUTY DOG DAY

01-06-2007

What do you mean, you didn't stay up specially to watch the deputy Labour leadership debate on Newsnight? Tut, tut. Luckily for you, Mick Temple is a prof of politics at Staffordshire University, so he gets paid to do it. And don't worry - his report is more entertaining than the event. >more


Stay in More……………………………………TV review

THE APPRENTICE (BBC1, Wednesdays 9pm)

01-06-2007

There are very few TV programmes worth making a date with - but series in, series out I’m there with The Apprentice. It’s in the finest BBC tradition. Great fun, but you learn plenty too. >more


G8 COULD BE GR8

01-06-2007

The G8 summit coming up in Germany once again holds out the hope of debt relief for some of the poorest people in the world. But hold on a minute - haven’t we been here before? We sure have. And that’s why Audrey Miller will be picking up her placard once again. >more


Get Out More………………..........Green Showcase

ECO SHOW (Birmingham And Midland Institute, Saturday June 2)

01-06-2007

Now that the football season’s over what are you going to do with all those Saturday afternoons? Well, we’ve got the first one sealed off. Malcolm Currie’s helped organise the Eco Show at the BMI in Margaret Street, Birmingham. >more

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