Last Week Tonight on tomorrow: how John Oliver could get out the vote in Erdington

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver host John Oliver is known for his viral TV rants about American politics, where he plays on his English outsider status to take pot-shots at President Trump, or ‘Drumpf’ as he’s christened him.

In a startling turnaround this week he moved closer to home—and spoke out on Brummie politics. He explained the electoral position in the UK and then launched into a routine all about the battle for the Birmingham Erdington seat in tomorrow’s election. For one reason or another—maybe the US public wasn’t ready to hear Oliver’s take on Cllr Robert Alden, or maybe censorship, or is it all fake news?—it never made it to the screen. But we have obtained a transcript…

Take my home town of Erdington, it’s supposed to be a safe Labour seat—that’s the Democrats, slightly angrier in worse clothes, but essentially the good guys—but it has become a marginal.

Or so the British media tells us. You can only really trust them to report two things: what’s on TV that evening, and that, yes, Pippa Middleton has indeed got a bottom.

But if it is now close in Erdington in Birmingham, this seems to be down to the personalities involved.

On the one hand, Jack Dromey a former union big wig who’s sort of semi-retired into being a Labour MP. On the other, Robert Alden who for some reason doesn’t seem to have ever had a proper job… almost as though his Dad was the Mayor and his mum is a councillor and wannabe MP too. Young Bobby has spent a lot of time in Erdington casting himself as the local compassionate conservative: all saving the bees, worrying about the environment, and opposing the opening of businesses and community centres which just happen to be run by immigrants.

So Dromey is a Labour guy from down south who got the gig for good behaviour, while Alden is a Tory who has put himself about the place fussing about bins and having photos taken cleaning up alleyways. And fair play to him. Have you seen some of the Erdington alleyways? I often saw them from the inside of those bins, where I was hiding from the local toughs after school. So, in some way thanks Bobby for keeping somewhere open for nerds to hide—after your lot closed all the youth clubs and cut the police.

You see the point is this: a vote for Robert Alden is a vote for the Conservative government. That’s the same conservative government who have forced cuts onto Birmingham Council—the same cuts which, as the leader of the local Conservative group in the council, Alden claims to oppose.

Now, Jack Dromey may look like a squashed cauliflower  on top of a Burton’s window mannequin

but he’s about as likely to change his mind – he’s tribal labour, it’s all in the family,  and that means attempting the best for normal people. Some people on the doorstep object to Jack because he’s married to Labour grandee Harriet Harman, like he’s some sort of cuck, and as though Bobby’s mom isn’t going to pick his ties out for him.

It’s like you’re being offered a choice between a grown man in a Lion King wig who’ll treat your public services like a fucking hyena and the volleyball from Castaway, who at least will vote the right way with Tom Hanks.

Alden thinks he’s Simba but actually he’s Timon and Pumbaa distracting you while Theresa May sneaks in to steal your kids’ lunches.

Animal caste systems are no basis for a system of government, and neither is hereditary councillorship. But in England it’s often the circle of life, in this case the Kingstanding Circle of life if you will.

Pauses for laugh but doesn’t get one

[aside] Kingstanding Circle is a place in Erdington, in Birmingham in Eng- aww, never mind

Oh, and one more thing—at the end of The Lion King Simba basically wins because it rains. No matter what the weather is like on June 8th, get out and vote—vote for the volleyball, vote for Harriet Harman’s husband, vote with Jeremy Corbyn, vote for the many not the few, for an Erdington with a future.

Hakuna Matata: it means No tories.

Posted in lolitics

The last word on the Street: The Paradise Circus view on the WM mayor election

You may not think a mayor of the West Midlands is a good thing.

We’re getting one on Thursday anyway.

Andy Street, right.

The mayor might not yet have all the powers we need to take back that control from Westminster, the devolution deal might not be a real deal for the people of the region. But the mayor will have powers, they’ll have influence, they’ll represent you to the country and the world – and they’ll do that soon after the close of polls on 4th May.

There will be choice on your ballot paper, and the choice will be between someone on the side of central government and someone who isn’t.

Is central government policy working for Birmingham and the West Midlands? A glance around at the people sleeping on the streets, the closed libraries, the lengthening hospital waiting lists say it isn’t.

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Royal flush: Sutton’s town council awash with sponds

an old Royal Town signSutton has a Town council, they were even elected and everything rather that just being the last people propping up the bar at Moor Hall golf club when the motion was passed. The town had a referendum to set it up and allow them to add an additional charge to council tax in the ‘royal town’ – they get £1.8 million a year to spend.

But so far they’re struggling to find things to spend it on. They’ve decided to spunk invest half a million on a ‘CBSO play songs from the adverts concert in Sutton Park’—including ways to keep people without B72-76 postcodes out—but still £1.3 million remains. With the financial year end approaching from behind there are rumours of wolves circling with things like ‘civic wifi plans’ that will cost almost exactly the right amount.

We reckon there are better options. This is what £1.3 million could buy the residents of Sutton:

  • Two cursed restaurants:
  • 130,000 Freddos (pre-Brexit prices):
    • In Sutton Coldfield they have both types of conservatism—big and small c. In an independent Sutton Coldfield children will be able to play football in the streets, you’ll be able to leave your front door open, and Freddos will only ever cost 10p. The town could afford to buy a lot of them with £1.3m and then control the retail price through subsidy. Only two school children will be allowed in the shop at any time.
  • Schools:
    • £1.3m will go a long way to overturn the local effects of national spending cuts. If you just look at one of Sutton’s secondaries, Arthur Terry School, you’re looking at a drop of £900k over the next 2 years—and that’s just one of the town’s state funded schools. If a surplus of £1.3m could be achieved year on year it would relieve a lot of pressure—go further by not bothering with classical music concerts and lumping the whole budget on the children.
  • A wall around Perry Common:
    • Possible disadvantages will include poor stock levels on the shelves at Tesco New Oscott when people can’t get to work, but Ocado does deliver to all Sutton postcodes.
  • 10 buy-to-lets in Erdington
  • Harry Redknapp’s dog’s wages at Blues
  • A new ornate entrance to Sutton park for Andrew Mitchell MP,  with a smaller ‘plebgate’ next to it.
  • Libraries:
  • A shy Tory campaign in the mayoral elections: millions of leaflets, but no blue ink.
    • John Lewises’ Andy Street has spent over a million so far on leaflets to every corner of the West Midlands in order to make cash pay in getting the job of Mayor. Scared of being held to account for the record of the Tories in Brum and Westminster he’s mostly been trying to pass himself off as a green or independent candidate: even in his letters to residents in Solihull where being a Tory is usually considered a plus.
  • 260 biggest rabbits in the World.  
    • (Delivery not included) but they only have to come from Barnt Green.
Posted in lolitics

Too shy Tory, hush hush

Apologies to Conservative (yes, who knew?) mayoral candidate Andy ‘Mr John Lewises’ Street for this image macro. In a previous version we originally suggested the Tories had cut £.13bn from councils in the West Midlands Combined authority. The actual figure is at least ten times that at £1.3bn.

£1.3bn which — ironically for a campaign that is ‘shy Tory’ — is a conservative estimate as it includes some councils only up to 2104 and excludes police, fire and health service cuts in the area.

You can see the figures here.

Please share this image and not the previous one, many thanks.

Posted in In the news, lolitics

Wow Brum! 48 Hours in the Jihadi Capital of Britain

For many years England’s second city has been seen as a cultural backwater, but following significant inward investment it has over the last decade been quietly changing for the better. It is the youngest city in Europe, it boasts a burgeoning foodie scene, a world class shopping experience, and was recently hailed by BBC Radio 4 as ‘The Jihadi Capital of Britain’. We sent Florrie Canaffordan-Internship for a weekend in ‘Brum’ to see what the city has to offer, bab.


I must admit I had my reservations about this assignment, but we journalists must always go where the story is! A little research ahead of my trip quickly convinced me however that Brum is – whisper it! – literally so super hot right now. Here is the story of my weekend in the second city, as told through the regurgitated clickbait listicle format. Enjoy, and don’t forget to click on the ads!

Getting There

Birmingham is a little over 100 miles north of London and is also easily accessible from most other major UK cities. Initially I had planned to jump in the MG and take the M40 through the family seat in Oxfordshire, but groovy new local by-laws instigated by Brum’s City elders have recently banned women from driving. So I hopped on the Chiltern Trains service for a very reasonable £20 return (plus another £20 for my chaperone, of course!)

Where To Stay

Brum has a range of hotels to suit any taste and budget, but if you’re willing to spend some time and effort on the encrypted Dark Web ahead of your visit, you can find some amazing best-kept-secrets at real bargain prices. We opted for a boutique Terrorist Cell located on the Hagley Road, just a mile from the city centre.

Canal Trip

A little-known fact is that Brum boasts more canals than Venice! Regular boat trips will provide you with tours around this engineering marvel of the Industrial Revolution. Friendly guides provide running commentaries about a different kind of revolution, pointing out buildings that line the route which are occupied by Imperialist aggressors such as Price WaterHouse Coopers and Deutsche Bank. The guides are incredibly knowledgeable and are able to point out significant security weaknesses in each building, which made for an informative and fun way to spend the afternoon.

Drinking

In need of refreshment following the boat trip, we headed for The Victoria on John Bright Street. This is a charming city centre hostelry that serves the local theatre crowd from the Alexandra, just across the street. The current production there is a newly-adapted version of Rent, in which homosexuals are publically flogged before going to hell. Tickets are hard to come by, but you may rub bloody shoulders with the cast in between performances. The interior of the pub itself has recently been renovated to it’s original Victorian splendour and has for the last 6 months refused to serve alcohol. Try the artisan peanuts!

Eating

The Ultimate Burka Bar just off Broad Street serves fantastic home-cooked food in a thrilling atmosphere, as the restaurant runs daily Open Mic nights for Hate Preachers. The staff all get in on the act, too, and dress in hilarious traditional English attire. Our waiter’s costume was that of a disgruntled EDL protester, complete with seven empty cans of Stella Artois trailing in his wake. It was all just so authentic and gave a real taste of Britain’s lost identity! We opted for the house special, which came served on a genuine, reclaimed Afghani IED.

Shopping

Wickes in up-and-coming Stirchley is located 3 miles from the city centre along the Pershore Road, easily accessible via public transport. This place is a treasure trove and a real hidden gem. With help from the friendly staff I was able to purchase most of the components for a nail bomb at a very reasonable price (Londoners will be shocked at how far their money goes here!) Sadly Wickes did not stock the fertiliser Google said I needed, but thankfully the charming Wyevale Garden Centre just up the road in Bournville were able to help me out. Pro-Tip: Pay in cash, do NOT use your debit card.

Sight-Seeing

After picking up the fertiliser we took the opportunity for a spot of sight-seeing around leafy Bournville itself. The area is dominated by the Cadbury chocolate factory, and all the homes and gardens here are a monument to the faded and defeated power of 19th Century infidel crusaders. Utterly charming!

…and with that my weekend in Brum came to an end all too quickly. I was amazed at the vibrancy of this landlocked city Caliphate and will certainly be recommending it to my friends. All that is left to say is: Manchester, you have a lot of catching up to do, bab!


“Jihadi Capital of Britain?

On 24th March 2017 at 07:34am the BBC Radio 4, Today Programme broadcast the following

See also:

Posted in clickbait, misc

What time and when are the CHURNies local journalism awards?

It sometimes feels like it’s always awards season in Birmingham — in fact it’s been said we have the second longest awards season in Europe — because if there is a drum to be banged or a trumpet to be blown you can can guarantee that there will be a Brummie standing nearby, claiming that they own it and ready to have a go. And behind that Brummie, press ticket in hat, is a reporter from the Post and Mail. But Quis scribet ipsos scriptores? Who is looking at the real skills of the footsoldiers of our local media?

Those pounding the streets of Tweetdeck and the editorial inbox, we salute you.

Today we launch the Championing Urban Brum’s Real Notetakers awards — inelegantly varied as the CHURNies — celebrating local journalism excellence, from SEO to good Tweeting practise, from erm SEO to desk-based news gathering, with a side order of fries served in a old shoe in order to review the latest craft beer street food hangout. Who will come to our literal opening of an envelope? Who but the Evening Mail will live blog it?

We are now accepting nominations in the following categories:

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Posted in clickbait, Pitch me, I'm dreaming Tagged with: ,

All change? What chance for the passenger on local trains?

All aboard the Midlands Engine.

You may have read in the Evening Mail an article about how our trains are going to be painted a different colour come the autumn – and if you’re a regular commuter on the Cross City line you may have read the article and thought ‘great, that means the end of London Midland and their appalling service’.

If you did read that and think that, I’ve got bad news for you.

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We’re the biggest outside London, inside London it’s too dark to read

A letter we sent to the Birmingham Post the other day, do they still have ‘letters to the editor’ in papers these days?

Dear Sir,

I think we all agree that there are times when Birmingham should blow it’s own trumpet, excepting of course those times when we need our hands free to bang our own drum, but articles such as Birmingham ‘most entrepreneurial city outside London(16 Jan) do us no good at all.

The article – based on data from Startup Britain – informs us that our city has more new businesses were registered last year “than any other city outside the capital.” Great news, for the second city: but it would only really be newsworthy if we weren’t — as we have by a long way the largest population of any UK city ‘outside London (over a quarter of a million more people more by any calculation).

Birmingham (population approx one million people) had 17,473 new businesses, Manchester (population approx 430,000 – less than half a Brum) registered 9,416. It doesn’t take an entrepreneurial maths wizard to see that England’s third city is doing a little better than its second by this arbitrary measure.

Startup Britain’s own data, (which is freely available to all) suggests that Birmingham was in fact the 16th highest area in Great Britain for new businesses registered per 1000 people.

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The same essay about Albert Bore every day

Duran Duran get pilloried for claiming, on their 1995 covers LP Thank You, that ambulances won’t come to their houses because they are black. But they’re right, try to dial 911 from South Birmingham of the late ‘70s: it’s unlikely that any of the emergency services will turn up.

It’s also true that if you phone the Capita-run call centre for some bin bags or to pay your council tax it’s likely you won’t get anything useful. They’re not discriminatory, just a bit crap – hamstrung by both council bureaucracy and  inertia driven by the commercial profit motive.

And while Sir Albert Bore didn’t sign the Capita contract (that was a Tory/Lib Dem joint production back in 2006), he is judged for presiding over the aimless ‘looking for it’ that followed. In an era that started to demand big personalities and decisive action, it was all too easy to assume that Sir Albert’s reticence to ‘find’ the contract was nominative determinism.

“He’s called ‘Bore’, he must be dull.”

“Solihull’s council leader is way more exciting, even if the place is cold and he’s sliding downhill.”

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The same photo of Albert Bore every day calendar 2017

We’ve already signed off for the holidays but we know that some of you are still in the office today — after all, there’s no work to do and the boss will let you go home at 12 in any case so it’s basically a free day off and only a mug would take it as holiday.

Well anyway, as you’re the sort of person who is in the office on the last day before Christmas we figured you’re also the sort of person who has left shopping a bit late — after all, you’re getting out of work at lunchtime so you can just grab stuff on the way home: what’s all the fuss about, right?

If you are still shopping, and if you’re at the office with nothing to do, why not print off a few copies of our FREE 2017 calendar?

We hope you like it, but if you need more gift ideas here’s our handy last minute shopping guide.

Download the calendar, it’s set for A6 pages so you can print 4 a sheet and use the guillotine (careful now), or scale up to A4 for a monster size photo of  Albert Bore… every day!

Get The same photo of Albert Bore every day calendar 2017 now!

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