Black Country news and blogs Saturday 26 April 2014
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The Chamberlain Files

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Watch out! Miliband’s micro-targeters are coming to get you 

24 Apr 14

There was no shortage of questions following Labour’s decision to hire Barack Obama’s election strategist, David Axelrod, as adviser in the run-up to the 2015 General Election.

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Abusive Trojan Horse row on twitter won’t win Tony award for theatrical merit 

17 Apr 14

One doesn’t normally wish to get involved in commenting on gratuitous insults between two men who really should know better.

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Trojan Horse ‘Islam plot’ claims spinning beyond Birmingham city council control as Michael Gove waits in the wings 

15 Apr 14

It is becoming clear that fallout from allegations of a ‘Trojan Horse’ plot by militant Muslims to infiltrate Birmingham schools is spinning rapidly beyond the city council’s control.

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Birmingham: the Cinderella City which risks missing the Devolution Ball? 

11 Apr 14

Last week Labour leader Ed Miliband promised “the biggest devolution of power to England’s great towns and cities in a hundred years.

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The Birmingham Manifesto: Miliband walks the tightrope 

9 Apr 14

“It’s great to be in Birmingham… And where better to talk about Britain’s economic future than here? The city of Joseph Chamberlain.

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Mark Rogers’ bold bid to be a new type of chief executive for Birmingham 

8 Apr 14

Chief Blogger Paul Dale reflects on Mark Rogers’ first interview in post at Birmingham City Council, his approach to the ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations and whether anyone can ever really occupy…

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Our first women councillors: some commemorated, some not 

3 Apr 14

Today’s theatre is seriously diverse.

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Is Sir Albert Bore planning a ‘Birmingham night of the short knives’ cabinet reshuffle? 

3 Apr 14

Labour councillors in Birmingham are gripped by re-shuffle fever, a seasonal condition created by unsubstantiated rumours that city leader Sir Albert Bore is going to take a scalpel to his…

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We’re crushing local government; now let’s get councillors 

24 Mar 14

Last week’s Budget announcements on pensions gives Files regular Chris Game another angle from which to question the Government’s approach to the size of councils and how councillors are compensated.

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How HS2 changed from the Birmingham Express to the Saviour of the North, and lost a Channel Tunnel link along the way 

19 Mar 14

Time tends to drag somewhat when the UK discusses transport projects, since this is a country with a reputation for taking ages to deliver even relatively minor infrastructure schemes.

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Local government’s devolution problem: powers without money 

14 Mar 14

Great minds think alike, the possibly Confucian proverb insists.

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Our 1,000th post: Greater Birmingham needs a Super PAC 

13 Mar 14

For all our readers counting, this is The Chamberlain Files’ 1000th post.

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Greater Birmingham: United we stand, divided we fall 

11 Mar 14

In his third voyage, Gulliver encounters the floating island of ‘Laputa’.

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Greater Birmingham: has it’s time come? 

10 Mar 14

Whisper it softly, but Birmingham has been on the end of some favourable publicity lately.

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City Region back on the agenda as Birmingham pushes ‘new model city government’ 

6 Mar 14

The prospect of a powerful city region level of government administering economic development, transport, skills and housing across the West Midlands has been raised by Birmingham city council leader Sir…

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GBSLEP ‘barking up the wrong tree’ by backing HS2 college at Washwood Heath 

4 Mar 14

Former DWP civil servant John D Turner says the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP is making a big mistake by promoting plans to use the former LDV plant at Washwood Heath for…

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Why Curzon Street is ‘the wrong place’ for Birmingham HS2 station 

28 Feb 14

Former civil servant John D Turner wonders whether Curzon Street is really the best spot for Birmingham’s HS2 station: Whatever the merits or otherwise of HS2, I seriously doubt that…

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Councillor Sambrook: getting there the hard way 

26 Feb 14

It’s well over a week now since Gary Sambrook’s exceptional by-election win for the Conservatives in Kingstanding forced what Labour’s press office probably announced as a ‘late recalibration’ of Ed…

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Why the mental health cop ban will serve to ‘discourage the others’ 

20 Feb 14

The combination of a press-friendly police commissioner with an enthusiasm for social media and a West Midlands police force where information is controlled through firm rules and procedures was always going to…

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Balancing the scales of Justice – @mentalhealthcop 

20 Feb 14

There has been much uproar about West Midlands Police’s decision to suspend @mentalhealthcop as a result of their twitter posts complaining about budget cuts as it was against their social…

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‘If we trust police with a truncheon, we can trust them with Twitter’ insists Commissioner 

19 Feb 14

West Midlands Police Commissioner Bob Jones has said he is hopeful that the suspended @MentalHealthCop Twitter account will be reinstated “within hours” following a rapid inquiry into claims that the…

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Mental Health Cop’s twitter account suspended as police chiefs take fright 

17 Feb 14

West Midlands Police’s claim to be at the forefront of the social media revolution took a knock at the weekend when the force suspended the Twitter feed of an award-winning…

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Devolution’s biggest obstacle: the centralist culture of contempt 

13 Feb 14

This isn’t really a LEP Week offering, but it was prompted by Alex Jones’ contribution.

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Devolution should be at the heart of 2015 election 

12 Feb 14

LEPs are still evolving, says Centre for Cities chief executive Alex Jones, and cities need to be given the tools to grow their economies, reform public services and respond to…

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A Total Dog’s Breakfast 

11 Feb 14

Prominent backbench Labour councillor John Clancy says GBSLEP is not about the local, is not focusing on the right enterprises and the partnership boundary has been extended in the wrong direction.

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Jobs, jobs, jobs. Are LEPs getting the job done? 

10 Feb 14

The Files’ chief blogger, Paul Dale, sets the scene for our focus on LEPs this week.

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Commissioner Jones, water cannons, chocolate tea pots and the half pint of beer budget 

7 Feb 14

What a week it’s been for West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones.

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How to solve the ‘Birmingham problem’: devolution and an elected mayor 

7 Feb 14

What do you do about a problem like Birmingham? This is a question that has consumed local government nerds for years.

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Pickles to tell West Mids police: ‘Hold a referendum if you want council tax to rise by 6p a week’ 

4 Feb 14

West Midlands Police Commissioner Bob Jones may be forced to abandon plans to increase council tax bills by an average six pence a week because the Government considers the rise…

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Police watchdog urged to substantiate ‘Shariah law is rife’ in Midlands claim 

3 Feb 14

Police watchdog Tom Winsor is under renewed pressure to explain his claim that ethnic minority communities are failing to report serious crimes, preferring instead to operate their own forms of…

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Booming London makes case for devolution, but whose fingers are pulling the strings? 

27 Jan 14

The debate about the size of London and its stranglehold over the UK economy has been around for a very long time.

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Commissioner Jones and Andrew Mitchell clash over police stop and search powers 

27 Jan 14

West Midlands Police Commissioner Bob Jones is at risk of upsetting some of his Labour party colleagues – and a senior Tory MP - by continuing to back controversial ‘stop and…

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London basks in economic boom, while Birmingham ‘punches below its weight’ 

27 Jan 14

  Britain’s economic recovery is dominated by job creation in London, leaving cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool struggling to keep up, a major economic study has found.

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Council in danger of being as outdated as ‘quill pens and gas lamps’ 

22 Jan 14

There will be many pressing issues waiting in the in-tray of Birmingham city council’s new chief executive Mark Rogers when he takes up his post in a few weeks’ time.

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A quick fix for Birmingham children’s social services will be neither quick, nor a fix 

17 Jan 14

Andy Howell’s thoughtful Chamberlain Files article analysing the deep-seated problems faced by Birmingham children’s social services deserves to be taken very seriously by those charged with turning around this failing…

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Children’s Social Services: Time for Wragg MkII 

14 Jan 14

A former deputy Birmingham council leader, Andy Howell, is calling for an independent commission to investigate the city’s inadequate children’s social services and draw up a blueprint for improvement.

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Hurricane Benefits Street: a perfect Twitterstorm 

9 Jan 14

I suggest Benefits Street has achieved what Jon Bounds has termed 0.7 Morans.

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Sir Albert’s Capita headache set to continue 

31 Dec 13

A petition has been launched on the Birmingham City Council website for the Service Birmingham contract with Capita to be made available for public scrutiny.

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The ‘leafy’ Wokingham – ‘needy’ Birmingham divide needs to end 

19 Dec 13

The good people of Wokingham in the Royal County of Berkshire must dread this time of the year.

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West Midlands Police to face a further £23m cut in Home Office funding 

18 Dec 13

Attempts to obtain a fairer Government funding settlement for West Midlands Police have fallen on deaf ears, with the force set to face a further £23 million cut in its Home…

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Birmingham’s end of local government white paper: ‘Don’t panic Mr Mainwairing, we’re all doomed’ 

10 Dec 13

Veterans of Sir Albert Bore’s arduous Green Paper Campaign will be all too familiar with the doom-laden rhetoric adopted by the leader of Birmingham City Council.

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Audacious Yorkshire steals Birmingham’s claim to be cradle of the Industrial Revolution 

5 Dec 13

Think of an English city and region that was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution but suffered a serious decline in manufacturing and is now desperately trying to reinvent itself…

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An Autumn Statement, but a wintery outlook for councils 

5 Dec 13

Will the Chancellor have anything much to say about local government, and if he does will his remarks give a glimmer of hope beyond the gloomy austerity message of the…

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Everyday tale of upper class folk: Lord Whitby upsets Earl of Shrewsbury and is told House of Lords ‘is not a club’ 

2 Dec 13

Chamberlain Files would dearly love to report that Mike Whitby’s elevation to the House of Lords is proving to be a resounding success, but sadly that appears not to be…

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Birmingham’s sharing the pain, but from outside the tent 

29 Nov 13

If there were an online dating agency for councils, would Birmingham join? My guess is no.

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Ed Balls gets a lesson in ‘Clancynomics’… but don’t tell Sir Albert Bore 

27 Nov 13

Whisper it softly and certainly don’t tell Sir Albert Bore but it seems that ‘Clancynomics’, the radical financial policy devised by backbench Birmingham city councillor John Clancy, is making an impact…

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Policing comes full circle: Labour review calls for PCCs to be abolished 

25 Nov 13

Ed Miliband has given the clearest hint yet that he would move quickly to abolish Police and Crime Commissioners if Labour wins the next General Election.

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Remembering Kennedy: the Myth of Camelot 

22 Nov 13

On the 50th anniversary of his assassination, lead blogger (and amateur Kennedy scholar) Paul Dale recalls his personal memories of the day and assesses JFK’s legacy.

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Why we must not rise to Birmingham ‘third class city’ jibe: keep calm and carry on 

19 Nov 13

Fraser Nelson, editor of the right wing Spectator magazine, has penned a vicious attack in the Conservative-supporting Daily Telegraph, describing Labour-led Birmingham as a third rate city.

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Don’t forget to blow the whistle if you think I’m corrupt, Commissioner Jones tells staff 

18 Nov 13

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones is urging his staff to “blow the whistle” if they suspect he or anyone in his office is guilty of fraud, corruption…

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