Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Farewell Bishop Sentamu

The former Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev John Sentamu, has taken up his post as the first black Archbishop of York, the second most powerful post in the Church of England. Now while the People's Republic considers this a demotion, we accept it is not universally regarded as such. Archbishop Sentamu fully deserves his new role after his fantastic service to the city of Birmingham, during which he offered his personal mobile number to anyone who had any information over the Aston shootings.

We wish him all the best.

Another Successful Night for Midlands Football

Birmingham City scraped through to the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup last night by beating Millwall 4-3 on penalties, hardly an inspiring result given that the Londoners are currently bottom of the Championship. Meanwhile city rivals Villa lost 3-0 to the footballing might of Doncaster, the lowest positioned team left in the competition. Every cloud has a silver-lining however; they can now concentrate on their Premiership challenge. Their challenge being to stay in it.

With Chasetown losing 4-0 to Oldham in the replay last week it appears that the West Midlands sides have peaked too early. Time to go further afield, and support Worcester City in their televised home match against Huddersfield in the FA Cup 2nd round on Sunday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Birmingham Becomes Biggest Fair Trade City

Birmingham became the biggest fair trade city yesterday, a fact which seems to have been completely missed the national press. Perhaps they were still covering the fall-out of Live 8 in London earlier this year which did absolutely sod-all for the poor, but resurrected the careers of quite a few has been pop-stars.

Fair trade can be controversial but is based on the idea of giving the producers a fairer price for their products, rather than it being swallowed up by faceless multinational corporations. On the other hand, multinational corporations can invest a lot of money in the developing world making the countries richer.

I'm sure they won't mind a little competition though.

Richard Burns 1971-2005

The People's Republic was saddened by the news of the untimely death of former World Rally Champion Richard Burns on Saturday. The first Englishman to win the world title, he died on the 4th anniversary of his win after a two year battle with a particularly virulent brain tumour. George Best may have hogged the headlines, but Richard Burns was taken in the prime of his life, at the top of his game and could well have been remembered as one of the greatest rally drivers ever if his life hadn't so tragically been cut short.

Of course football is a bigger game and George Best was more famous, but I think the real reason he got more coverage is because he was a hero of the middle-aged who write the news rather than of my generation. As a result, we also here a lot about housing booms, family credits and pension problems, but nothing about the fact that the rate of inflation used to calculate interest repayments on Student Loans has doubled over the last year.

This is one of the reasons I increasingly use blogs as a source of news.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Falling Tower of Birmingham

It took me two-and-a-half hours to get home from work on Thursday night, even longer than the usual hour-and-a-half since the clocks went back. It is high time a congestion charge was introduced in Birmingham, along with forcible re-tests for those idiots who think it is ok to block junctions so they can wait two minutes at the next set of lights five second earlier. I doubt that Birmingham City Council will have the guts to introduce the former however - another reason why Birmingham needs its own elected mayor.

The problems on Thursday were caused by panels falling from Beetham Tower, which will become the second tallest building on the Birmingham skyline after the BT tower. This is the second time something falling from the tower (last time it was scaffolding) has brought traffic to a standstill. Major roads were still closed on Saturday as a result of the incident, while a safety check on the tower was completed by abseilers (is that a proper word?). This morning it was claimed Birmingham City Council are threatening to sue the company involved for the problems it has caused.

While the People's Republic agrees that something needs to be done about this, we hope this does not adversely affect any future developments in Birmingham city centre.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Walsh Welches on Resignation

I have been proud to share my name with some great men of the past. Louis Pasteur, famous his work in microbiology; Louis Braille, famous for his work for the blind; and Louis Armstrong, the first man to play jazz on the moon.

Unfortunately I also share my name with a waste of space called Louis Walsh who sensationally quit X-factor this week because he felt "under-pressure". Under-pressure? He doesn't have any problems putting pop-star wannabes under-pressure by slagging them off for no other reason than they didn't do a Westlife song or aren't Irish. On Saturday Simon Cowell had to vote of his own act to prevent Louis Walsh from keeping the Conway sisters in for no other reason than he shares their nationality. Louis Walsh may have sold a lot of albums over the years, but this is mainly because he knows what sells rather than producing anything exciting musically.

Presumably he came back so he can continue to make a shed-load of money for leaching off other peoples talent.

Which is something he is not used to working with the likes of Westlife and Girls Aloud.

Watch it Boris!

Bumbling tory Boris Johnson has a habit of knocking Birmingham when he appears as a guest presenter on Have I Got News for You. The first time he claimed the £3 charge on the M6 toll motorway was worth it to avoid Birmingham, and last night he used the same statement with regards to the infamous RAC route-planner which decided to traverse two places in England via Ireland and France.

We don't want your snivelling apologies here Boris - we've got enough sorry excuses for (would-be) Tory MP's already.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Spend a Penny on the 50

In the Birmingham Mail this week there was an article about a protest by residents of Druids Heath over the drivers of the 50 route using the terminus as a communal toilet. Apparantly they are urinating in the hedges or into bottles which they are then throwing into the hedges.

Is this proof that the service is after all piss poor?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Come on Chasetown!

It hasn't been a good start to the season for the West Midlands Premiership teams. With just over a quarter of the season gone, the West Midlands teams occupy three of the bottom four places, with only Sunderland providing some semblance of dignity for our local footballers. Add to this the recent defeat by Villa, and Robbie Savage smirking that his team are "above the bigger club in the league", it's enough for most Birmingham City fans to take up something less boring instead.

Thank God for Chasetown. They claim to have made £5000 from gate receipts last year, which is according to David Sullivan 1/18 of what Blues pay for their three main strikers (between them) each week. They made as much money from the match against Oldham Athletic as they earned in the last 15 years. A great performance yesterday saw them earn a replay against a team roughly a million places above them in the football league. Chasetown may have a hard time winning the replay, but at least it gives us something to be proud about.

Which is more than can be said for our Premiership clubs.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Cool for Cats

On the local news last night there was a report that said Birmingham City Council were looking for a replacement for Brummie the resident cat, who retired three years ago after catching more than 2000 mice.

Presumably this makes him the most efficient council worker in Birmingham.

The People's Republic is unsure if this is the reason why there are now more rats in Birmingham than people.

Brummie, you are already missed.