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Black Country news and blogs Saturday 9 November 2013


Our Birmingham

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City architect and urban designer Joe Holyoak: 2013 Attwood Award, 30th October

3 Nov 13

The award was set up in 2003 in memory of Thomas Attwood (1783-1856), one of the city’s first two MPs, who worked to extend the vote and promoted measures which would lead to full employment, peace and prosperity, including reform of the monetary …

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Stop Press: today at 1.30pm at the Priory Rooms, Bull St

31 Oct 13

  Mentor on the Move – 31st October 2013 The Priory Rooms, Birmingham A free networking event in run by Social Enterprise West Midlands and Social Enterprise Mentor 2:00pm – 3:30pm (Please aim to arrive at 1:30pm) : Quaker Meeting House, 40 Bull…

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First priority: house those in greatest need

31 Oct 13

With the need for more housing in the news, instead of looking at ‘developing’ green spaces in Sutton Coldfield, Harborne and on Solihull’s floodplains, why not renovate buildings such as this long-neglected Georgian terrace sadly lining …

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HS2: Cameron wavers, Birmingham voices advise

26 Oct 13

Speaking at a press conference at a Brussels European Council meeting yesterday, Mr Cameron suggested the scheme might not “proceed” without all-party support.

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West Midlands MEP backs EU move for UN convention on drone strikes

25 Oct 13

An amendment to the European Parliament’s annual report on the EU’s foreign policy called for the EU to advocate a binding UN convention on the use of unmanned drone aircraft for targeted killings.

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West Bromwich MP calls for ban on ‘addictive machines’

24 Oct 13

West Bromwich MP Tom Watson raised the subject in the House of Commons yesterday of Fixed Odds betting terminals; they allow punters to gamble up to £100 every 20 seconds, transforming local bookmakers into “High Street digital casinos” …

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Update: proposed removal of the wholesale markets to an outer district

22 Oct 13

Yesterday a correspondent directed attention to the Wholesale Markets progress report , presented to the Council’s Cabinet members on October 21st by Mark Barrow, Strategic Director of Development and Culture.

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Blogger appreciates Birmingham barrister’s input

20 Oct 13

There has been some concern following a report that, in an instance relating to a case in Estonia, the European Court of Human Rights held a news site legally responsible for the comments put up on their site though they had been taken down after a …

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The politics of austerity: incapacitating local councillors, undermining democracy

19 Oct 13

LWM’s George Morran called last year for further democratisation of Birmingham and now, in an area being subjected to a boundary review, Professor Scott Cato -  a Stroud councillor – questions how well we are represented compared with our …

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Advance notice of a meeting on public services, organised by Aston’s Dr John Blewitt

18 Oct 13

In a generally dismal period for public services, and indeed for the very idea of the public sphere, the opening in September of the new Library of Birmingham has been one bright spot – according to the Green House think tank.

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Eric Schlosser continues the work of a Selly Oak Colleges’ president

15 Oct 13

“a powerful case for disarmament” Eric Schlosser has, no doubt unwittingly, continued the work of a former Selly Oak Colleges’ President, John Ferguson , who was also singer, cricketer, professor of classics and first dean of the OU’s…

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The most beneficially active City MP?

12 Oct 13

In addition to MP  John Hemming’s ongoing work with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas (APPGOPO), a parliamentary group looking at the issues of fossil fuel depletion, and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Family Law and …

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Birmingham members of the NHA are invited to form a local group

10 Oct 13

The National Health Action party was formed by a group of healthcare professionals who strongly support the original principles of the National Health Service (NHS) and are shocked by the failure of the democratic process, demonstrated by the passage…

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The Birmingham Metallurgical Association Lectures

8 Oct 13

The BMetA aims to disseminate information on materials processing and properties to industry and academia in the West Midlands region, primarily through a series of evening lectures.

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Small Heath: raising funds for disadvantaged Ugandan youngsters

8 Oct 13

From his base in Uganda, Ben Parkinson – Director of the Butterfly Project - is organising a parallel fund-raising Slum Run in Small Heath on Sunday, 13th October 2013, at 2pm.

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The University of Aston: a good appointment

5 Oct 13

Professor David Bailey, an expert on West Midlands manufacturing, has been appointed as Aston Business School’s professor of industrial strategy.

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Jonathon Porritt: a message for ‘ordinary’ people and those elected to represent and serve them

2 Oct 13

Exciting, aspirational, high-tech, fair and hopeful In ‘The World We Made’, to be launched tomorrow, Jonathon Porritt – one of the world’s leading environmentalists – sets out to counter the doom and gloom that surrounds today’s …

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Public Meeting at Queen’s in Edgbaston next week

1 Oct 13

The Military Use of Drones You are invited to meet two speakers at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education on Monday 7 th October at 7.30pm: Adam Dickson, an Anglican ministerial student in Queen’s, will describe the activities…

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Cashflow of more than 25% of West Midlands firms seriously reduced by late paying large organisations

28 Sep 13

More than 25% of West Midlands firms polled in August by the Birmingham-based company Bibby Financial Services said late payment of invoices continues despite the introduction in March of the EU’s Late Payment Directive, which aimed to change the …

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Birmingham drone research award followed by university’s policy commission

26 Sep 13

The Economic and Social Research Council , which is largely funded by the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, awarded £289,412.78 in March this year to Birmingham’s Professor Nicholas Wheeler, Professor Stefan Wolff and …

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A Moseley mural

26 Sep 13

Walking past the site of the Meteor Garage in Moseley these splendid murals painted on the hoardings round the vacant building site attracted my attention.

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Award-winning film to be shown in Moseley next Tuesday

24 Sep 13

A Kings Heath reader brings the film 5 Broken Cameras to our attention.

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Moving the wholesale markets outside the city centre is ‘a momentous, colossal mistake’

22 Sep 13

A visitor from London who had not been in Birmingham for several years looked keenly around.

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Celebrating the life of the late Connie Hoey

20 Sep 13

Connie came to this country as a youngster and – during her foreshortened life – made a remarkable contribution to the life of Birmingham and Solihull.

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‘High-level task force’ – Andy Street, council leaders and Jack Dromey – rethink your priorities

19 Sep 13

The Birmingham Post reports the creation of a task force to drive through a training revolution, because of fears that a shortage of skilled workers could undermine Jaguar Land Rover’s  Solihull expansion plans.

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Plutocracy UK: the relatively poor may face ten years in jail but wealthy tax-avoiding corporations ‘agree a settlement’

16 Sep 13

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) merged with the Department for Work and Pensions’ prosecutions division last year and the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has issued new guidelines to prosecutors in England and Wales: …

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750,000 youngsters have been helped by the Prince’s Trust since 1976

14 Sep 13

Only one of these young people is known to the writer.

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Does this appointment enhance the city’s reputation?

12 Sep 13

Former MP Jacqui Smith, who lost her Redditch seat after being involved in an expenses scandal has been appointed chair of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust.

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BBC Radio 5: the noble Lord, Baron Jones of Birmingham, shouts down a Royal Mail worker

12 Sep 13

As the government gives notice to the stock exchange that it plans to privatise the Royal Mail “in the coming weeks” Nicky Campbell hosted a ‘phone-in’ on Radio 5 today.

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Bringing manufacturing back – 2

11 Sep 13

Reinforcing the theme of the forthcoming meeting at Mira , Wouter Schuitemaker (right), the investment director at Business Birmingham, says that manufacturing companies are to hire more staff to cope with an expected surge in demand caused by a re-…

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Government and Birmingham Council: no need to build on greenbelt and green field sites

10 Sep 13

Green belt land in Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell reminds us : “There is a substantial stock of brownfield sites across the West Midlands.

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Bringing Manufacturing Back!

9 Sep 13

13 September 2013 – MIRA Ltd, Watling Street, Nuneaton, CV10 0TU.

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Increase engineering intake: advice for the city’s universities?

8 Sep 13

James Dyson writes in the Financial Times : “After a buoyant summer, the economy seems to be returning to health.

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Back to Business Basics: Part 2 – a positive twist, or ‘uncool and the ranting of an old bloke’ ?

7 Sep 13

Following ‘Spirit of ’83′, an earlier post on this site, Peter Davies who inspired the setting up of the West Midlands Producers’ website , writes: When I re-read my original ‘Back to Business Basics’ I couldn’t help feeling a bit …

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On 28th September, at the Balaji Temple in Tividale, the Zoroastrian Hill will be consecrated

6 Sep 13

Zoroastrians from Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry and further afield, will be travelling to the Sri Ventakeswara Balaji Temple in Tividale, where seven manmade hills will be dedicated to different world faiths that have had an impact on India and the …

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Birmingham’s new Central Library

3 Sep 13

The real image: not floodlit or airbrushed Some may find the new library more eye-catching when artificially illuminated and the actual building obscured, compared with the Madin building which Birmingham City Council had allowed to run down and fall…

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Will the Fox & Grapes be a victim of Birmingham’s “lust for demolition” ?

31 Aug 13

This lust, mentioned by Oliver Wainwright in the Guardian , recalled a reference to the Fox Grapes in Andy Foster’s Pevsner architectural guide to Birmingham (wonderful value, 2007 reprint) and prompted an online search.

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Are expats reading this?

29 Aug 13

Webstats for last week: It would be good to think so.

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Almost too late? Channel 5 News seeks input on HS2

27 Aug 13

On Bank Holiday,  Jacqui Fuller of Channel 5 News circulated a message.

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Full credit for for WM manufacturers from government’s export promotion body?

26 Aug 13

Government, which has been feverishly promoting the global trade in food to the advantage of middlemen and speculators, may now be revising Tony Blair’s Birmingham Chamber of Commerce reported reference to manufacturers as ‘dinosaurs’ .

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MHRA Class 2 Drug Alert withdraws HES fluid drips: BBC Radio 4 tonight

25 Aug 13

The Queen Elizabeth hospital used Hydroxyethyl starches (HES) fluid drips for fifteen years until last year, according to BBC Radio 4’s Face the Facts programme on tonight at 9pm.

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Spirit of ’83: Back to Business Basics

23 Aug 13

Peter Davies , who inspired the setting up of the West Midlands Producers’ website , writes: I grew up in post war Britain, accustomed to rationing and shortages in a period when consumer items – if available at all – were generally ‘…

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HS2: Politicians’ dreams give Treasury sleepless nights

22 Aug 13

The Financial Times reports that there is ‘entrenched and escalating concern’ within the Treasury and officials are privately warning that the cost of the controversial High Speed 2 rail line will hit £73bn.

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Returning to this website

22 Aug 13

Our Birmingham was moved to http://www.

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Will the cost of HS2 rocket?

19 Aug 13

The cost of the UK’s High Speed 2 rail line could rocket to £80bn, according to a new report from the Institute of Economic Affairs , which is described on its website as a free-market think-tank .

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A new tenant for The Warehouse in Digbeth

15 Aug 13

Phil Burrows recently sent news that the Energy Saving Co-operative has moved into a ground floor office at The Warehouse in Allison Street, Digbeth.

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Acocks Green engineer invites all to the Diagonal Lock Roadshow

13 Aug 13

Meet Terry Fogarty, a design engineer, company director and canal enthusiast at the ‘Diagonal Lock Roadshow’, from 10.00am, Saturday 17 TH August 2013 at the Heronfield Animal Sanctuary Wayside Walk, Knowle Solihull B93-OEE on the A4141.

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Birmingham City Centre Peace Trail (3): Dr Mashuq Ally

10 Aug 13

At a working lunch in the BMI recently the City Centre Peace Trail leaflet was launched.

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PPS’ 30th anniversary charity lunch at Carters

9 Aug 13

Celebrating thirty years in business, Professional Polishing Services Ltd marked their anniversary on 30 th July by hosting a charity lunch at Carters of Moseley in aid of Help Harry Help Others.

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Birmingham City Centre Peace Trail (2): Dr van den Dungen

6 Aug 13

After speaking at the John Bright Day held in the city a couple of years ago, Dr Peter van den Dungen , co-ordinator of the International Network of Peace Museums , suggested that a city centre peace trail leaflet be produced.

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