Brownfield Sites First: Infrastructure for Residents First.

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It is with great disappointment that the reasonable and considered arguments of my fellow councillors, Cllr’s Barrie and Wood, and myself, were not listened today in the Council Chamber of Birmingham City Council. As acknowledged by all those present, and the Lord Mayor himself, my speech- representing the views, interests and a 10,000 strong petition- was met with heckles and fell on deaf ears.

We entered the chamber with a cross-party set of proposals- build on some of the 28,000 identified brownfield sites first, get the infrastructure in first so that residents are spared the misery of inadequate local services.

projectfields3I left disappointed and crushed with how party politics had won the day.
http://www.suttoncoldfieldobserver.co.uk/plan-for-6-000-homes-on-greenbelt-approved/story-30053821-detail/story.html

https://birmingham.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/262065

10: Birmingham development Plan adoption.

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An efficient Birmingham Council

Efficiency is at the heart of any strong business and country. The answer cannot be relentlessly throwing more money good after bad, but living within our means, a strong growing economy, a fair society that works for everyone and crucially making sure that resources are directed to where they are needed and not wasted needlessly.

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Birmingham’s Labour Leadership in Council are undoubtedly wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds of tax payers money on consultants instead of putting it towards front line services. Cllr Jenkins highlighted the case in Full Council where some £300,000 was paid to outside consultants to advise the council on the Service Birmingham IT contract- a contact that is part owned and negotiated at great cost to the city. £27,000 was spent on a report into school transport for special needs children which proposals that were unworkable, nonsense and ultimately ignored. Some £4 million has been paid to consultants since the start of 2014 to support Children Services- a department still in special measures and now being taken from the failing Birmingham authority into a governmental trust.

A PR Consultant was hired for almost £1000 a day to improve the image of the city.

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Syrian War

I feel it is important to keep the news alive when it starts to fade out of the public consciousness. No matter how many times I watch this video which was made a year ago, the complexities confound me and the scale of suffering I cannot imagine.

Quick facts:

There are more than 4.7 million Syrian refugees. More than 13.5 million need assistance inside Syria. Half the country’s pre-war population- more than 11 million people have been killed or forced to flee their homes.

More than 250,000 people have been killed. Some say between 300,000 and 470,000. What is certain that it will have gone up from when you started reading this.

To see all the names of all the children would take over 19 hours.

Andrew Mitchell MP was a stand-in speaker at a dinner I went to this week. He was co-Chair with the late Jo Cox MP of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Syria and I was Continue reading

Safety on our roads

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I was delighted to submit to Council a petition of some 4,404 names calling for safety improvements to a junction near a secondary school. This junction has seen many accidents, cars turned over, speeding, and is used by thousands of school children.

Our first priority should be to ensure the safety of our children and residents, and the voice of residents should not be ignored. Many people have said how dangerous this junction is, how fast cars drive down it and how a life is waiting to be lost. I hope that residents will be heard before it is too late.

With students, residents and road users I call on the council to make the necessary funding available to make this junction safe for all users.

Brexit and racism are not the same.

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Afew months on from Brexit, the country has felt the shock, reacted, and now settled down into looking once more ahead and making what we have and where we are work.

The nation was asked in a referendum, and by a margin of 52% to 48% the country has voted to leave the EU. 72% turn out, a margin of some 2 million votes.

Once all the emotions have subsided two things stand out to me; the resilience of the country and the impact on ethnic minorities living here. One of the great things about Britain is the power of our democracy and the strength of the institutions that run our country. The pound fell, purchases from foreign currencies rose. Interest rates went down protecting the market, the stock market fell then rallied. We had a change of government, new leadership, clear and strong direction forward. The country needs to move forward and I feel we are.

What has worried me though is the intolerance that was sometimes revealed felt legitimised in some areas. Reports of hate crime and racist abuse increased, some 500 incidents in the weeks since the referendum result. Polish people especially were singled out for attack with leaflets proudly displaying nazi slogans and signs “no tolerance” gangs of people challenging others to speak English told to ‘go home’.

Even amongst the Chinese community, in the main descendants from Hong Kong- a British colony- international students and law-abiding citizens from the ‘silent community’ were not spared.  Two British Chinese friends were shouted at “you’ll be next” and verbally abused.

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The Death of Jo Cox MP

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We are profoundly shocked, horrified and saddened to hear of the death of Jo Cox MP, a passionate campaigner for social justice, Syrian refugees, a former head of policy for Oxfam, a public servant elected to represent residents and make a difference to Britain.

No matter what our differences, our personal beliefs, we can all listen and disagree with respect, speak with passion and conviction on any issue, but never let that strength turn into anger and hate. Everyone only ever seeks to do what they believe to be right and what is best. 

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March 2011- Syria Civil War

Truly the death of one man is a tragedy. The deaths of millions is a statistic.

Since March 2011 a brutal civil war has consumed the residents of Syria killing some 250,000- 400,000 people. An estimated half are believed to be civilians. Some 14,000 children are reported killed. Half the country’s pre-war population- some 11 million people- have been either killed or forced to leave their homes. There are some 4.3 million refugees.

The hope with the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings are a distant memory replaced with a ruinous future and loss.

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