So you’d like a say in who leads Birmingham City Council?

Want to feel enfranchised? Like you have some influence in the direction of your city? Then you need to have a say in who leads your local council.

How to get that? Well you need our guide.




Of course, only 0.01% of Birmingham residents actually get a vote.  Find out more and sign the petition for a more open process.

Uncivil List — the sacking of Paul Sabapathy

Like me you’d probably be quite shocked to learn of our Lord Lieutenant, so to have heard about him at the very same time as you hear he has been fired from his post will leave you quite beside yourself.

Yes, sorry to tell you that Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands is a thing and further more I must to tell you that the current Lord, Paul Sabapathy, just got shit canned for the sort of thing that the boss’s husband does twice a day before breakfast: he did a bad racism about Pakistanis.

It seems that, whilst he likes them individually (and probably has a lot of good Pakistani friends), he finds them as a group to be a bit rude. You see he popped into the Pakistani Consulate in B-Town on official Queen business for Liz, and they were just generally a bit shitty. And it must be hard for a man with a weird vestigial feudal responsibility to know how to voice a grievance in the modern day, now that we’ve outlawed duelling pistols, so he sent some emails all about the place and, well they, got out and it turns out you can’t say things like “Pakistanis are lovely people individually but there is a lot of work to do to teach them basic common courtesy and civility”. Who knew?

Sabapathy hasn’t just let the Queen down with this, he’s let the region down. And he’s given a bad name to all our unelected officials like the High Sheriff of the Midlands and Andy Street (who doesn’t need this shit when he has a shop to open).

We’ve heard that to make amends Sabapathy is going to make a guest appearance in the new series of Citizen Khan, where he’ll get his head stuck in a wheelie bin while trying to hide from the Imam.

Birmingham without a Lord Lieutenant: what it means to you — an interactive guide


BRUMHOLE: 6 Birmingham Pubs for party leadership hopefuls

Still available for booking tonight.

If you’re a member of the Labour Party you’ll be inundated right now with texts and emails from the various comrades who want to lead the party, or even stand around in the background while someone else does.

From the triumphalist Andy Burnham campaign, whose emails read like they’re shouting “we’re alright” at you in a hall in Sheffield, to the terse, Hemingwayesque prose of a Jeremy Corbyn text message* (“Running for leader. Text STOP, messages will be ended”) via Caroline Flint and her amazing x-factor-emotive backstory VT (“growing up we had it tough, me mom taught me to work hard”).

And then this week we had an email from Liz Kendall, asking us out for a drink in Moseley at “the Dark Horse public house”. Yes everyone knows that the working class likes a drink (just ask Nige), so it’s good for Liz to have a go at reaching out to us proles. Her researchers have let her down a bit though as “public house” is the language of someone who might have an occasional Campari at the golf club but wouldn’t really be found propping up the bar at The Gate, in Sutton Coldfield, talking about the latest transfer news from local boys West Ham. It’s a strange choice of pub too, unless you’re keen to appeal to an aspirational slate-as-a-plate gourmet burger munching third way metropolitan voter type. We suspect it was the name that attracted her to the venue. Well you may think you’re a Dark Horse, Liz but we all know you’re a shy tory.

Here’s a rundown of some of the other political events happening in Birmingham pubs this weekend:

Continue reading “BRUMHOLE: 6 Birmingham Pubs for party leadership hopefuls”

An open letter to Jess Phillips, the camper van beef over

An open letter to Yardley’s new MP. It has to be open as we’ve not got a fixed address to sent it to.


Dear Jess,

Congratulations on the election. We were chuffed, never big John Hemming fans, and we had a good joke lined up for when you beat him. You’re a breath of fresh air. Much like the fresh air you say you intended to camp out under in protest at the cost of London accommodation.

But we’ve got a question to ask, about your methods. Nice van, but the plan is dodgy.

Were you planning to:

a) camp illegally? In the UK camping is controlled by several pieces of legislation, including the Public Health Act of 1936 and the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. And well – it’s not going to be a restful night with all the undesirables that live locally. There’s that Cameron chap for one.

Continue reading “An open letter to Jess Phillips, the camper van beef over”

Lolitics: The power of civic satire


Local councillors often communicate in a torturous combination of management speak and political spin. They share the oratory and obfuscatory ambition of government ministers but lack the support of hundreds of SPADs or the rhetorical benefits of a classical education. But for a time the ruling officials of Birmingham — the largest local authority in Europe — spoke to the city in the simple, grammatically incorrect, language of the internet cat.

A site called Lolitics from 2008 to 2012 took the publicity images — hard hats, awkward grins, pop-up banners and all — of the politicians and added lolcat-style captions, poking a very new type of satirical fun at a group of people who hadn’t quite grasped how communications were working in the world of social media. Council Leader Mike Whitby, a blustering older David Brent in a multicoloured tie, was lampooned as a man who spoke in one noun sentences, while Councillor Deirdre Alden, the most thrusting of a husband/wife/son team on the Conservative benches, became a paranoid princess obsessed with building her ‘shiney (sic) army’ (a group of supporters, most often in hi-vis jackets performing some community good).

Continue reading “Lolitics: The power of civic satire”

You can lead a horse to Severn Trent Water, but can you make him think?


The Trojan Horse story is a Trojan Horse itself, with more Michael Gove reforms inside. Howard Wilkinson prescribes a shot of localism to be injected into the moral panic.

Do you remember when you could drive right up to an airport terminal door to pick up or drop off your loved ones? But then someone tried to drive a car into Glasgow airport and now you have to spend a fortune to park a long way away instead. There’s no profit in peace boys, but the cunning can derive themselves a real benefit by sneaking in wrapped in a cloak of moral panic and moving everything around whilst you’re not looking.

And so it is that this story of Islamist school governors is a real gift horse for Michael Gove, and he’s gone Greek on it; the moral panic of the Trojan Horse opens a door through which the Education Secretary can burst with a fresh crop of reforms that also happen to play well as a response to “the UKIP earthquake” (copyright everyone). Yes, the real Trojan Horse here is the story itself, and Michael Gove is hanging out of its arse waving a policy paper that says “Britishness”. GOTCHA.

Continue reading “You can lead a horse to Severn Trent Water, but can you make him think?”

Help Bill Drummond sue UKIP



Artist Bill Drummond defaced a UKIP billboard. He isn’t the only one to do this but his intervention has been the most widely reported. The billboard that Mr Drummond worked on is just around the corner from Eastside Projects, where he has been staging a month-long artist’s residency. The painting over the poster was one of his artworks.

UKIP’s West Midlands spokesman Bill Etheridge called this “mindless vandalism” as well as making a formal complaint to the police.

In fact this was a very mindful act, as the artist explained eloquently well before Mr. Etheridge made his comments. Drummond’s statement has been widely disseminated and it provides a clear and thoughtful rationale for the work; this was not, therefore, a “mindless” act.

For a performance artist to be described in these terms is potentially harmful to their ability to work especially when this has been reported in the national media and may be the first contact with the artist’s work for many people.

The action, Drummond admits, is an act of vandalism but not an act of mindlessness. Artists and citizens should be able to enact dissent. Where their act of dissent involves a criminal activity, those harmed should have full recourse to the law but they should not be allowed to denigrate the sentiments of the act.

If you agree please pledge a small amount for us to help Bill to sue UKIP.

Let us know how much you can spare in the comments and we’ll be in touch when we have enough to collect it in.

We should point out that the artist has not asked for this to happen. If, in the event that we hit our target and we have the money available, Mr Drummond would prefer not to sue UKIP we will ask him to nominate an arts based charity to receive the funds.

So farewell then, green waste collections


First they came for the paper recycling, and I did not speak out — Because it was about 6am and I was still in bed.
A week later they came for the glass and metal, and I did not speak out — Despite them waking me up with their reversing lorry.
Then they came for the landfill waste, and I did not speak out — Because they do it at the same time as the other collections.
They didn’t come for the garden waste — so I took it to the tip on Sunday.

E J Thribb, after Pastor Martin Niemöller

Birmingham’s Musicians head up plans for the Birmingham Republic

Following the news that Happy Mondays’ Bez will run for parliament in the 2015 General Election, Paradise Circus has discovered plans by a group of Birmingham musicians to run for office next year under the banner of The Peoples Republic of Birmingham Party.

If all musicians are successful and gain seats, Birmingham will immediately make moves to declare itself independent of the United Kingdom: Ron Saunders will be on the £10 note, Jasper Carrott on the fiver, and border controls will be put in place at Junctions 5 and 7 of the M6.

Here is how the cabinet of the brave new dawn is shaping up… Continue reading “Birmingham’s Musicians head up plans for the Birmingham Republic”