Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

May 2010

OH TILSLEY, WHERE ART THOU?

31-05-2010

With David Laws sudden departure from frontline government, Richard Lutz tries to meet up with Birmingham’s Lib Dem deputy council leader Paul Tilsley. He fails. more


LIBEL LAW AND THE PIGGY BANK RAIDS

31-05-2010

As we reported at the weekend, Lord Lester is introducing a private members bill to amend the libel laws. George Makin argues that change is long overdue. more


COMMERCIAL BREAK

31-05-2010

Most music-based local radio is in decline - and no wonder argues legendary jock Robin Valk. But in this passionate polemic taken from his excellent Radio To Go blog he argues there's plenty of scope for hope. more


END OF AN ERROR?

31-05-2010

Budget constraints have seen staff at Birmingham Council’s planning and regeneration department switch from Alpha Tower in the city centre to Lancaster Circus on the edge of town. One worker – let’s call her Molly Malone – is strugglomg to adapt to her new surroundings. more


WHO ARE THE SCROUNGERS?

29-05-2010

Spongers and scroungers, the feckless and the reckless…yep the usual suspects were rounded up and paraded in full tabloid view this week, as the new Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith unveiled plans for a crackdown on benefits cheats. But who are the real scroungers? more


Birmingham Central Library

CHANGING TIMES – PART II

29-05-2010

The building of the new Library of Birmingham was predicated on the sale of the current site in Paradise Circus, which would help fund the new project. Alan Clawley claims the sums no longer add up, leading to the creation instead of a “cosy” relationship between local authority and favoured developers. more


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

JONSI

29-05-2010

The former frontman of Icelandic oddballs Sigur Ros heads to Birmingham’s 02 Academy in the autumn on his first solo tour. Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg catches him in action at London’s Kentish Town Forum. more


CUTS BLAMED FOR MUSEUM JEWEL THEFT

29-05-2010

Thieves stole jewellery from Birmingham's Museum and Art Gallery yesterday afternoon from under the noses of security staff who've been complaining about cuts in their budget. more


IT'S LIBEL TO CHANGE

29-05-2010

Changes to the libel laws were one of the hottest topics of the last session of the new parliament - before being scuppered by West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson among others. Now new legislation has been launched in the Lords. more


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

BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL FILM SOC

29-05-2010

2010 marks 50 years of independence for 15 African nations and the ever enterprising BIFS - based at Birimingham's Library Theatre - are showing a film each from two of them. Here are next week's selections. more


“OBSERVER” CALL FOR BRUM ELECTIONS

28-05-2010

The Stirrer recently reported on calls by Birmingham councillor Ayoub Khan to introduce photo ID at the ballot box to combat postal voting fraud. Local Conservative blogger Guy The Mac reckons the city might need independent observers after a day spent touring the city’s polling booths which revealed numerous abuses of the system. more


Stirrer TV

THE LUTZ REPORT......................ON POGUS CAESAR

28-05-2010

Birmingham photographer Pogus Caesar talks to Richard Lutz about his latest exhibition, his days filming the Bullring under construction and how his snapper-career all started. more


BEER GOGGLES?

28-05-2010

The Stirrer’s less than flattering review of the Toby Jug in Rubery on a recent pub crawl has drawn a polite but firm rebuttal from landlord Robert Cornwell. more


Doc Dave's Blog

THE KILLER INSTINCT

28-05-2010

Neurophobia - the ‘disease’ you have never heard of, and its more dangerous than swine flu says Dr David Nicholl. more


RUPERT MURDOCH: HERO OR VILLAIN?

27-05-2010

Is it time to re-evaluate the British media’s “Mr Nasty” Rupert Murdoch? You bet says Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg. more


I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE

27-05-2010

Residents of Walsall are the third most likely in Britain to be snooped upon by Town Hall officials, but that doesn’t trouble Council leader Mike Bird – in an astonishing interview this week he said he was aiming for top spot. He’s now been given a national “Bad Boy” award and been compared to M in James Bond. more


JOBS' WORTH?

27-05-2010

Is this a sign of things to come at cost cutting Birmingham Council? New Tory Cabinet member Tim Huxtable will have to grapple with three top jobs instead of just one. more


EDL WALSALL DEMO CANCELLED

27-05-2010

The controversial English Defence League have called off a planned demonstration against a proposed mosque in Walsall after learning that the biggest single group opposed to the scheme are Muslims. George Makin reports. more


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

OKLAHOMA

27-05-2010

The classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is at the Alex in Birmingham until Saturday. Terry Wills goes wild for the wild west. more


CAMERON PROBE CALL INTO WALSALL "FRAUD" CLAIMS

27-05-2010

Walsall Council’s Labour Group is demanding Prime Minster David Cameron launches an investigation into the running of the local Conservative Party after a second Walsall Tory has been arrested in connection with electoral fraud. more


CLAMPER IMMOBILISED FOR TWO YEARS

27-05-2010

Congratulations to Birmingham Council's ferocious anti-clamping watchdog Neil Eustace and his colleagues at Trading Standards - they've claimed their biggest scalp yet with a two year jail sentence for Andrew Baker whose notorious Inter Park company bedevilled innocent motorists across the West Midlands with unfair penalties. more


ALL WHITE NOW - WELL, ALMOST

26-05-2010

Birmingham Council's reshuffle of Cabinet and Scrutiny positions has left the "Progressive Partnership" echoing the make up of the coalition government - it's mostly male and almost exclusively white. more


UAF "APPALLED" BY BNP TEACHER VERDICT

26-05-2010

West Midlands Unite Against Fascism has said it's "appalled" by the decision of the General Teaching Council to clear BNP activist Adam Walker of racial intolerance at a hearing in Birmingham yesterday. Walker had used a school laptop to post vicious comments condemning immigrants. more


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

CROWDED HOUSE

26-05-2010

The needle on the rock n’ roll cool-o-meter barely rises past mildly chilled for these mild-mannered antipodeans – but Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg reckons they’ve clocked up more great tunes than the Stone Roses. And even from the Grand Tier at Symphony Hall, he knows talent when he sees it. more


BOSSES CALL FOR MORE MIGRANTS

26-05-2010

Birmingham business leaders have hit out a plans - outlined in yesterday's Queen Speech - to cap the number of non-EU immigrants. They warned that it could hinder their development. more


IKON REMEMBER THAT

26-05-2010

An archivist at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery has uncovered original images showing the aftermath of a 1970s terrorist bomb blast. The gallery is now asking members of the public if they have memories of the bombing, which tore out their front window. more


Martin Longley's Music Blog

NEW YORK SOUNDS: PART 28

26-05-2010

Martin Longley syringes his ears once again in NYC. He was able to hear Acid Mothers Temple, the monstrous Japanese psychedelicists, who are crashing into Kings Heath tonite (followed by Coventry on Saturday). He also eared Pere Ubu, Manorexia and Growing. Now he has made another appointment with the specialist... more


Exclusive

CITY TREES CONTRACT BOTCHED AND AXED - IN SECRET

25-05-2010

Bumbling officials at Birmingham City Council has been forced to re-tender the city’s £20 million a year trees maintenance contract – but won’t tell taxpayers how much it spent fighting a lengthy court case which forced it to scrap the last one...more


NO CUTS HERE - AID ESCAPES THE AXE

25-05-2010

At a time of savage cuts across Whitehall – with much, much more to come – Sutton Coldfield MP and International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is entitled to a moment of smug satisfaction. His department is one of the few to escape the spending axe. more


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

SCARY BONES

25-05-2010

Brummie in exile Ron Dawson's latest kids' adventure gets a warm welcome from Andy Goff. more


COLLEAGUES “DEVASTATED” BY COUNCILLOR’S DEATH

25-05-2010

Friends and colleagues have been left “absolutely devastated” by the death of Wolverhampton councillor death Gill Fellows on Saturday morning – news which, as well as the undoubted personal tragedy, leaves the authority in a state of political turmoil. more


BANNED COUNCILLOR DEFENDS STANDARDS BOARD

24-05-2010

A Birmingham councillor has spoken in defence of the local government standards board – even though it once suspended him for a month. more


OI, GRIFFIN, WHERE'S MY DOUGH?

24-05-2010

There’s an anti BNP rally in Birmingham today. Richard Lutz uses it as a platform to keep his legal battles alive with the right wing party. He wants his £50k repatriation dough… more


ONE TRACK MIND

24-05-2010

Work has now begun on the long-awaited Selly Oak relief road in Birmingham, but despite a vociferous one-man campaign Dick Rodgers has been forced to accept defeat, and accept that it will be a single carriageway. He reflects on an opportunity wasted. more


LIBRARY FACES UNVEILED TODAY

24-05-2010

A boxing poet and an 82-year-old artist are among the "real" Birmingham people chosen to become the first ‘Faces’ of the city's new Central Library in a promotional campaign launched today. Their faces will appear on hoardings around the site - although we're confident at least one mugshot will be missing. more


A STING IN THE TALE?

24-05-2010

Revelations that the Duchess of York was apparently willing to trade access to her former husband Prince Andrew in return for cash are rather less important, argues Dr David Nicholl, than the revelations might have on her mental health. more


Exclusive

ASBESTOS POISON FEAR OVER SUTTON LIBRARY

22-05-2010

The Stirrer’s hearing conflicting reports about the recent discovery of asbestos which has forced the closure of Sutton Coldfield Library and Neighbourhood Centre. Some insiders suggest the health of members of the public are being put at risk by Council complacency – but that’s disputed by the local authority. more


ANTI BNP RALLY IN BRUM ON MONDAY

22-05-2010

Anti racist campaigners, political figures and trades unionists are planning a protest in Birmingham city centre on Monday morning against what they claim will be three days of demonstration by the British National Party and two closely related organisations. more


Get Out More.................................Event Listings

7” LISTINGS

22-05-2010

Our friends at 7” Cinema have a mobile film night at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath on Tuesday, and details of all manner of interesting events – including a celebration of Pebble Mill drama at the new MAC. more


AWM - "IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT"

22-05-2010

Business leaders have denounced the government's suggestion that it might scrap regeneration agency Advantage West Midlands - which has an annual Whitehall budget of £48m. They say - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". more


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

SUPERSONIC FESTIVAL

22-05-2010

The first tranche of acts have been named for the sonic assault course known as the Supersonic Festival in October. It follows the recent announcement that Swans are the headline act. The cast list includes fearsome noisemongers like Necro Death Mort and Japanese punkers Melt Banana. more


RAPE CAMPAIGNER SLAMS I.D. BAN

21-05-2010

Midlands anti-crime campaigner Jill Saward has accused the government of “sticking two fingers up” to rape victims after proposals to ban the identification of men accused of serious sexual assault were revealed. more


Get Out More...........................Comedy News

JOHN CLEESE’S ALIMONY TOUR

21-05-2010

Here’s a bit of a coup for Birmingham Hippodrome – Fawlty Towers and Monty Python star Cleese heads into two for two dates on May 10 and 11 next year. more


ASBESTOS SCARE SHUTS SUTTON LIBRARY

21-05-2010

Sutton Coldfield Library and Neighbourhood Office have been closed “for the “foreseeable future” following the discovery of asbestos during refurbishment. more


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

NOISES OFF

21-05-2010

Michael Frayn’s backstage farce gets a re-working at Birmingham Rep. “See it if you can – it’s great", enthuses Paula Elenor. more


BIRMINGHAM MAYORAL VOTE "NEXT YEAR"

20-05-2010

Brummies are likely to get the chance to decide if they want an elected mayor as early as next year, The Stirrer has discovered. The new Conservative-Lib Dem government is planning a “Referendum Day” which will also include a ballot on electoral reform. more


WHY DAB AIN'T FAB

20-05-2010

The government’s obsession with DAB continues with the announcement of a “scrappage scheme” offering discounts for listeners willing to trade in their analogue radio sets. The question posed by Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg is “why”? more


Richard Lutz’s Blog

TIME FOR THE TRAIN

20-05-2010

Richard Lutz is no Rail Anorak but let the train take the strain for his holiday. And the verdict… more


WITHER THE STIRRER? PART TWO

20-05-2010

With the future of The Stirrer up for grabs, webmaster Andy Goff adds his two penn'orth. more


Get Out More......................................Theatre Review
DREAMBOATS AND PETTICOATS

20-05-2010

A night of nostalgia as Birmingham Hippodrome's show gets the thumbs up from Terry Wills. more


BLOODY STUPID

19-05-2010

The tragic case of Joshua Macauley, the 15-year old Jehovah’s Witness from Smethwick who died because he refused a blood transfusion, highlights how cultural sensitivity has overtaken common sense. more


HUMAN RIGHTS BOMBSHELL

19-05-2010

There’s the usual right wing media frenzy today about two Pakistani students who can’t be deported despite allegedly plotting to blow up a shopping centre in Manchester. As well as the would-be bombers, the other villain of the piece is - all too predictably - the Human Rights Act. more


I DON'T WANT TO GO TO...ISRAEL

19-05-2010

30 years ago Elvis Costello didn’t want to go to Chelsea – now he’s struck Israel off his list as well in protest at the treatment of Palestinians. more


WITHER THE STIRRER?

19-05-2010

“Bloody hell, I’m tired,” reports Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg – as he opens a discussion about the future of the website. more


Health 1

TREATMENT BAN STICKS IN THE THROAT

18-05-2010

Stirrer reader Christopher Abbleby from Bromsgrove rages at his local health trust for refusing to allow him access to a medical trial which could help his recovery from throat cancer. And he’s angry at the bureaucratic hurdles being placed in his way. more


Health 2

STROKE BUSTERS

18-05-2010

This week sees the official launch of a stroke thrombolysis trial at City Hospital in Birmingham led by Stirrer blogger and neurologist, Dr David Nicholl, who explains why there are still many more questions in stroke treatment that need answering. more


BRUM'S FAIR VOTES DEMO

18-05-2010

Around 100 people gathered in Victoria Square on Saturday to support the Fair Votes campaign organised by the Take Back Parliament campaign - and you can see the pictures here. But what precisely is the movement campaigning for? more


MR SHAKY HANDY

18-05-2010

Disgruntled Labour councillors in Wolverhampton who feel the Liberal Democrats held out the prospect of an alliance purely to secure a better deal with their Conservative coalition partners are busy circulating an embarrassing election poster featuring soon-to-be Mayor Malcolm Gwinnett. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

ST.ANDREWS SCHOOL OF FOOTBALL

18-05-2010

Head Teacher Andy Munro offers his end of term report – with marks out of ten. more


WHITBY BLOW AS BARTON SNUBBED

18-05-2010

Signs that the tectonic plates are shifting beneath the feat of Birmingham Conservative leader and Council boss Mike Whitby emerged last night when his preferred deputy was snubbed at the party's AGM. more


EASTSIDE BACK TO DRAWING BOARD WITH HOWELLS

18-05-2010

It's back to the drawing board for Birmingham City Council whose stop-start planning policies for Digbeth/Eastside were ripped up earlier this year following the government's endorsement of a new High Speed rail route to the city. more


TREASON AND TRIESMAN

17-05-2010

In an unusual show of solidarity, the red tops have piled in to support the Mail On Sunday today for their exposure of Lord Triesman – aka Lord Treason – the man behind England’s World Cup bid who has lost his job after alleging corruption in the world of football by both Spain and Russia. more


LIB DEMS “DISSEMBLING SHYSTERS” AS TALKS FAIL

17-05-2010

Roger Lawrence, the leader of Wolverhampton’s Labour group has called the city’s Liberal Democrats “dissembling shysters” after they turned their back on a coalition deal and instead entered a formal pact with the Conservatives. more


Get Out More...............Gig Review
THE FALL

17-05-2010

You can quantify the number of albums - 50 - but the changes in band line-up have reached a number so astronomical, mathematicians haven't yet invented a formula to count them all. Paul Samuels checks whose hanging out with Mark E Smith these days. more


CULTURE VULTURES

17-05-2010

Birmingham’s much vaunted desire to become the UK’s Capital of Culture are ringing hollow for three young members of a Digbeth-based dance troupe, whose hopes of appearing in a high profile event at the Bull Ring on Saturday were strangled by red tape. more


Get Out More.............................Theatre Preview
NEW SEASON AT BIRMINGHAM REP

17-05-2010

In its last season before closing its doors to accommodate the new Library of Birmingham, The Rep has put together a strong programme including Tom Stoppard's adaptation of The Cherry Orchard and the spoof musical Little Shop of Horrors - not to mention the West End hit Enron. more


WOLVES CON-LIB COALITION SAVED

15-05-2010

Wolverhampton’s ruling coalition has been saved after the Liberal Democrats were granted a Cabinet seat by the Conservatives. Their leader Mike Heap will also be allowed to speak – but not vote at all Cabinet meetings. more


FAIR VOTES RALLY

15-05-2010

Fed up with the new coalition government already? Campaigners for a fairer voting system will be staging a "purple protest" in Birmingham's Victoria Square outside the Council House at 2pm today (Saturday). more


TRIDENT BOMBSHELL FOR LIB DEMS

15-05-2010

With the Liberal Democrats due to discuss their new coalition with the Conservatives in Birmingham on Sunday, CNS is calling on the party to clarify its position on the Trident nuclear deterrent - which in opposition it was committed to scrapping. more


THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE

14-05-2010

Britain’s first coalition Cabinet for years has a curiously old-fashioned look, with just four women among its 30 members, and only one non-white face – but it’s the threat of a new legislation making it harder to dissolve parliament that should really worry voters. more


WOLVES LEADERSHIP TOTTERS

14-05-2010

Wolverhampton Council’s ruling coalition continues to totter with the Liberal Democrats putting forward a “shopping list” of demands to both Labour and their current Conservative partners. more


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

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED

14-05-2010

After the disappointment of Four Lions, Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg is rather more impressed with this tightly plotted British thriller starring Bond girl Gemma Arterton. more


BRUM'S PUNKY REGGAE (AND BHANGRA) PARTY

14-05-2010

Birmingham’s great musical heritage - or at least the reggae, punk and bhangra bit of it - is being celebrated in a new documentary slated for festival screenings later this year. more


"PATHETIC" TORY LEADER THROWS TOYS OUT OF PRAM

14-05-2010

The former leader of Sandwell’s Conservative party has thrown his toys out of the pram after being voted out of office this week – as revealed on The Stirrer. more


Get Out More........................Event News

TUNING OUT WITH RADIO Z

14-05-2010

Birmingham-based Stans Café who toured the world with the amazing rice-based show “Of All The People In All The World” are back with their latest venture – a six hour theatre show cum radio station which can be enjoyed both live and online. more


SCHOOLS "EXPERT" MYSTERY

13-05-2010

Parents who lost their voluntary roles as governors of Birmingham’s Moseley School have been asking awkward questions about Thelma Probert – a former head teacher appointed to the Interim Executive Board which replaced them. more


UPGRADE FOR BIRMINGHAM FOSTERING

13-05-2010

Birmingham’s beleaguered Childrens’ Services department has received a significant boost this week, with Ofsted upgrading its fostering service to “good” – with several areas classed as outstanding. more


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

FOUR LIONS

13-05-2010

There’s no bigger fan of Chris Morris than Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg, but he’s unimpressed by this piss-take of Muslim suicide bombers. more


Doc Dave's Blog

THE LAST BRIT IN GUANTANAMO

13-05-2010

Where is Shaker Amer, the last Briton in Guantanamo? Dr David Nicholl wants to know. more


CHANGING TIMES

13-05-2010

Could the change in government herald a change in heart over the decision not to list Birmingham’s existing Central Library and replace it with a fancy new one in Chamberlain Square? Alan Clawley hopes so. more


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

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE

13-05-2010

Florence Welch brought her ever-expanding Machine to Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Monday for the first of two sell out shows. Steve Beauchampé reports. more


HEATHROW'S LOSS "COULD BE BIRMINGHAM'S GAIN"

13-05-2010

Birmingham Airport is once again pressing its case to be regarded as London's "extra" airport following the government's decision to scrap the third runway at Heathrow. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

END OF SEASON BLUES?

13-05-2010

Blues season ended in disappointing style at Bolton, but Andy Munro reflects on a satisfying 10 months at St Andrews – and then tucks into some ‘nouveau canteen’ at the end of season awards ‘do’. more


HEMMING: BIRMINGHAM IS COALITION INSPIRATION

12-05-2010

Birmingham Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming is taking inspiration from the city’s “Progressive Partnership” as his party begins its first day as a member of an historic coalition government with the Conservatives. more


SANDWELL TORIES TOPPLE LEADER

12-05-2010

The leader of Sandwell’s opposition Conservative group has been unexpectedly toppled in a coup, just days after the party lost two of its 13 seats. His replacement has vowed a much tougher challenge to Labour. more


PHOTO ID CALL TO BATTLE BALLOT FRAID

12-05-2010

Defeated parliamentary candidate Ayoub Khan is launching a campaign to clean up the voting system by demanding photo ID at the polling booth. more


Get Out More.............................Event News

GOOD HAIR DAY

12-05-2010

Fancy a free family afternoon where you can dress up and get a 60s hairdo? Then (ahem) head for Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre on Sunday May 23, for a special themed event based around the West End musical Hairspray starring Brian Conley and Les Dennis which is coming to town next month. more


CONSERVATIVE LIB-DEM COALITION CRUMBLES

12-05-2010

The leader of the opposition Labour group on Wolverhampton Council has confirmed that negotiations are underway with the Liberal Democrats about a possible change in the city’s ruling coalition. more


Beijing Blog

OF ALL THE RESTAURANTS, IN ALL OF BEIJING

12-05-2010

Exiled Brummie Peter Sampson considers confusion, caution and risk in Beijing. more


TINDAL STREET CALLS FOR BRITISH ASIAN WRITERS

12-05-2010

Writers who define themselves as British and Asian are being sought by Birmingham's celebrated Tindal Street Press. Author Kavita Bhanot is editing an anothology of the best submissions. more


"NOT FLASH. JUST GORDON"

11-05-2010

Outgoing PM Gordon Brown “stands head and shoulders” above any other politician for his ability to deal with the global economic crisis reckons Labour MP Khalid Mahmood. Other backbenchers have also been paying glowing tributes. more


LEADERSHIP UP FOR GRABS AS COALITION UNRAVELS

11-05-2010

In an uncanny echo of events in Westminster, Wolverhampton’s Liberal Democrats are preparing to open coalition negotiations with Labour – placing their current agreement with the Conservatives in jeopardy. more


WIN...WIN...WIN...WIN...WIN...WIN
THE HARDER THEY COME

11-05-2010

The musical based on the hit 1970s Jimmy Cliff musical returns to Birmingham Hippodrome later this month - and we've got a pair of tickets on offer in a great Stirrer competition. more


HEMMING ADMITS "PERSONAL PROBLEMS" WITH LABOUR

11-05-2010

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming has admitted he has “personal problems” with Labour – just as his leader Nick Clegg considers entering a coalition with them. more


SPARKHILL BATHS KEEP ON RUNNING

11-05-2010

Controversial proposals to allow Birmingham’s Sparkhill Baths to be run by a private contractor – first revealed on The Stirrer – go out to public consultation tonight. more


LIB DEM DIVISIONS OVER LABOUR TALKS

11-05-2010

Divisions have emerged among Birmingham Liberal Democrats about Nick Clegg’s decision to start talking to Labour about the prospect of a coalition government – with one senior councillor arguing that he the Tories should be given the chance to rule. more


Martin Longley's Music Blog

NEW YORK SOUNDS: PART 5348

11-05-2010

The veteran jazz pianist John Bunch shuffled off to a higher keyboard just over a month ago. Martin Longley was fortunate enough to witness one of his last gigs in New York City... more


HEMMING RAISES PROSPECT OF "NO PR" COALITION

10-05-2010

Birmingham’s most senior Liberal Democrat John Hemming appears to have held open the prospect of a coalition with the Tories – even if there’s no deal on proportional representation. His party leader Nick Clegg is currently locked in talks with David Cameron about forming an alliance following Thursday's indecisive General Election. more


CLOUDS LIFT ON MAHMOOD, DROMEY - BUT NOT GODSIFF

10-05-2010

The future of the government may still be unresolved, but whatever the outcome, the general election has at least lifted the clouds hanging over the selection of two Labour candidates - who are now MPs. But Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg argues that a third should hang his head in shame. more


The Stirrer’s Legendary Pub Crawls

COSELEY

10-05-2010

There are still six boozers and two social clubs open within short stagger of Coseley railway station – a tribute to the continuation of the Black Country’s fine boozing culture. more


STUART ADMITS "I THOUGHT I'D LOST"

10-05-2010

Re-elected Birmingham MP Gisela Stuart, who arguably had the result of Election Night by holding on to her seat, has admitted that she expected to lose – and asked the returning officer to read out the result twice because she couldn’t believe she’d won. more


PUNCH AND JUDY KNOCKOUT

10-05-2010

It's looking likely that David Cameron will soon be Prime Minister - probably in alliance with the Lib Dems. But Dr David Nicholl wonders whether an alternative should be considered to prevent the country heading the way of Greece. more


Get Out More........................................Charity "Do"
ACORNS FUNDRAISER

10-05-2010

Here's a worthy cause - the Spotted Dog in Digbeth is raising cash for Acorns on Sunday May 23. Sounds like a good 'un. more


BRUM LABOUR BUCKS TORY TREND

08-05-2010

Birmingham’s Labour Leader Sir Albert Bore was celebrating last night after the party bucked the national trend by picking up four Conservative seats – and a fifth from the Lib Dems. more


BNP EJECTED IN SANDWELL

08-05-2010

Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper is jubilant at having driven the BNP out of the chamber in Thursday’s election. All three of the councillors elected to represent the far-right party four years ago were ejected by the voters. more


LAWRENCE HEAPS ON THE PRESSURE

08-05-2010

Wolverhampton Council’s Labour leader Roger Lawrence has issued a cheeky challenge to his Lib Dem counterpart Mike Heap, calling on him to follow Nick Clegg’s lead and forge a coalition with the city’s biggest party. more


Local Election Round-Up

SOLIHULL HANGING AROUND

08-05-2010

Voters in Solihull face the prospect of a Westminster-style hung parliament – although in their case the coalition is likely to keep the Conservatives out of power. There was better news for the Tories in Dudley and Walsall. more


Election 2010 Results

SMITH TOPPLED - BUT GISELA CLINGS ON

07-05-2010

Redditch MP and former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was the highest profile casualty of last night’s cull of Labour MPs – but her party colleague Gisela Stuart defied the odds by holding on to her Edgbaston seat in the face of a Tory onslaught. more


IT’S NOT TO BE GORDON’S

07-05-2010

With a hung parliament in the offing, Gordon Brown’s cronies like Peter Mandelson and Alan Johnson are talking up the prospect of a Labour alliance with the Liberal Democrats – but while it may be constitutionally possible Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg argues that such an arrangement would be morally wrong. more


BALLOT BALLS-UP

07-05-2010

Dozens of voters in Birmingham were denied the chance to vote in the General Election because of a ballot box balls-up that was repeated elsewhere in the country – including London, Merseyside, Manchester and Hull. more


Doc Dave's Blog

CAMERON FAILS POCKET MONEY TEST

07-05-2010

Would you trust David Cameron with your daughter's pocket money. Respected business broadcaster Jeff Randall wouldn't - and neither would Dr David Nicholl. more


X-IT POLL

06-05-2010

This is an essential election in which to cast your "X" argues Dave Woodhall - who reckons that, in any case, voting should be compulsory. more


BEER GOGGLES

06-05-2010

What a bunch of miserable bastards we are. We complain about how much everything costs – yet when one of the simple pleasures in life becomes available for a budget price, we moan about that too observes Adrian Goldberg. more


Dave’s Villa Blog

THE (OTHER) LEADERS’ DEBATE

06-05-2010

What future now for Martin O’Neill following Villa’s failure to qualify for the Champions League? Dave Woodhall sifts the fact from the friction. more


TREVOR BEATTIE'S UNDERHILL OFFER IN FULL

06-05-2010

Wolverhampton Council leader Neville Patten has claimed that Trevor Beattie’s offer to keep open Underhill House, the old people’s home at where 106-year old Louisa Watts lived, was “not serious” - a suggestion which has led Beattie to threaten legal action. Now you can judge for yourself, as we print in full the proposal sent to the Council last October. more


Canadian Home Children

GONE…AND EVIDENTLY FORGOTTEN

06-05-2010

The battle for justice for continues for the UK children – including hundreds from Birmingham – who were shipped off by the government without permission to work in Canada and other “white” Commonwealth countries. Linda Lunardi berates politicians for unfulfilled promises – and the media for their lack of interest. more


Get Out More...................................Theatre Review
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY

06-05-2010

The 80s movie with that restaurant scene comes to the Alex this week (until Saturday). Terry Wills tucks in. more


LINES ENQUIRY INTO HOUSING REDUNDANCIES

05-05-2010

Birmingham’s housing boss John Lines has ordered an immediate enquiry into news that almost half the workers employed to carry out council house repairs in the south of the city are being made redundant. more


Election 2010 – Key Battles (5)

BIRMINGHAM

05-05-2010

The Stirrer eyes up the contenders for Birmingham’s parliamentary seats – complete with (no doubt) dodgy forecasts. more


Election 2010 – Key Battles (6)

THE BLACK COUNTRY (AND BEYOND)

05-05-2010

The Stirrer eyes up the contenders for the Black Country’s parliamentary seats – complete with even more (no doubt) dodgy forecasts. more


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EARL THOMAS AND THE KINGS OF RHYTHM

05-05-2010

Here’s an amazing coup for the Adam And Eve, a fine music pub on Bradford Street in Digbeth – a free gig tonight by Ike Turner’s old backing band. We kid you not. more


DUDLEY MOSQUE - IT WASN'T THE EDL WOT WON IT

05-05-2010

Although doubt has been cast on claims that Dudley’s Muslim Community Association has withdrawn plans for a new mosque and community in the town, it now seems likely that a deal will be done with the local council to refurbish the existing site instead. Local resident Brendan King bemoans the politicians who he says have robbed his area of much needed improvement. more


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

CANDI STATON

05-05-2010

Soul legend Candi Staton returned to the West Midlands after last year's Brum Town Hall gig with a show a The Robin Bilston. Paul Samuels booked the babysitter. more


Terry's Baggies Blog
BARNSLEY CHOP

05-05-2010

It was celebration time at The Hawthorns on Sunday, as Albion celebrated promotion with a game against their traditional whipping boys Barnsley. But as Terry Wills observes, all eyes now are on the future. more


EDL Rooftop Protest - 1

A BAD DAY FOR ENGLISH VALUES

04-05-2010

How ironic that plans for a proposed new mosque in Dudley were withdrawn on the same day as four protesters from the English Defence League staged a rooftop protest on the site. Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg argues that while the decision was pragmatic, it was also a bad day for tolerance. (Additional reporting and photos by George Makin). more


EDL Rooftop Protest – 2

UP ON THE ROOF

04-05-2010

Dudley resident Al Jackson aka Captain Reggie files an eye witness report on the latest EDL visit to Dudley. more


HIDE AND SIKH

04-05-2010

The leaders of Birmingham’s Sikh community have moved to distance themselves from Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood who claimed their support in an election leaflet. more


Beijing Blog

COMRADES YOU HAVE WORKED HARD

04-05-2010

Peter Sampson reflects on a Bank Holiday Monday in Beijing….. more


STRANGE PATTEN EMERGES OVER UNDERHILL

04-05-2010

New light can be shed on the dispute between advertising executive Trevor Beattie and Wolverhampton Council leader Neville Patten over Underhill House – the old people’s home controversially closed to residents (including 106-year old Louisa Watts) in January. E-mails obtained by The Stirrer suggest that an offer to keep the home open was regarded as genuine – despite what’s being said now. more


£20M DEMAND TO PHOENIX FOUR
04-05-2010

MG Rover workers could miss out on long-awaited payments from the company Trust Fund because it’s emerged that the bailed-out HBOS bank might have a prior claim on the cash – a wrangle that’s set to go to court. Northfield MP Richard Burden calls on the ‘Phoenix Four’ who ran the company to cough up £5million each to help their ex-employees. more


BROWN DIGS FOR VICTORY

04-05-2010

It was a week when Labour’s error-strewn, accident-prone campaign, threatened to derail completely. Yet by the end of it the party was rising again in the opinion polls. Steve Beauchampé reports on an election campaign which continues to defy expectations. more


EDL’S ROOFTOP DEMO IN DUDLEY

03-05-2010

Members of the English Defence League are staging a rooftop demo on the site of a proposed mosque in Dudley – just a month after their last protest brought the town centre to a standstill. One Stirrer blogger reports that there were violent outbursts last night, including hand to hand fighting between the EDL and the police. more


COUNCIL LEADER'S DEFAMATION THREAT

03-05-2010

One of Britain’s top advertising executives is threatening to sue the leader of Wolverhampton Council over claims that he wasn’t “serious” about an offer to keep open Underhill House – the old people’s home where 106-year year old Louisa Watts and eight other elderly residents lived before being evicted in January. more


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

GUANTANAMO AT THE MOVIES

03-05-2010

Two chances to see a documentary about Guantanamo Bay in this week - and quiz Moazzam Begg, the Birmingham man held captive there for almost three years, and Omar Deghayes, another Gitmo prisoner who previously studied at Wolverhampton University. more


Election 2010 – Key Battles (4)

BIRMINGHAM ERDINGTON

03-05-2010

Jack Dromey has inherited a whopping 9,500 majority in this mostly working class constituency, and it never fell to the Tories even at the height of the Thatcher era– so why are local Conservatives excitedly talking up their chances of pulling off a surprise victory? more


BOMBER SCORES AGAIN AT THE HAWTHORNS

03-05-2010

Baggies fans were given an extra reason to cheer during yesterday’s promotion celebrations against Barnsley – it was announced that the club’s record goalscorer Tony “Bomber” Brown was being given the freedom of the borough of Sandwell. more


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

WORLD UNLIMITED LISTINGS

03-05-2010

World music, nu folk and Americana specialists World Unlimited have some choice morsels coming up in the next few weeks including Dreadzone and Show of Hands. Here's their latest listings. more


A LESSON IN FAILURE?

01-05-2010

Angry parents of children at Moseley School - where the governing body was recently taken over by Birmingham City Council - have set up a website to keep alive their campaign of reform. In this provocative article, they argue that state education has failed too many pupils. more


BNP DISCRIMINATION SHOCKER

01-05-2010

News Flash…US citizen Richard Lutz has just found out how much the BNP will give him to leave Britain. But, there’s a hitch and he loses out… more


GET OUT MORE........................................GIG NEWS

ENGLISH ORIGINALS WEEKEND

01-05-2010

John Martyn

The third year of this fabulous mini-festival sees a celebration of the late, great John Martyn, features contributions from the likes of Graham Coxon, Badly Drawan, Martin Carthy, Eddie Reader and Beth Orton. Here's the full line-up for the weekend which runs from May 14-16. weekend's full line up. more


VEG OUT

01-05-2010

Thousands of visitors to a well-loved Midlands beauty spot – including Brummie actor Martin Shaw – have signed a petition to save a veggie diner which provides both a home and livelihood to the man who runs it. more

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