Saturday, February 24, 2007

Don't Mention the Poll

As if the title of second city can be decided by a poll. The monkeys must be mistaking this country for a democracy. As people have mentioned since, our city is not great at promoting itself so here are some aspects of Birmingham to be proud of.

1) The Lord of the Rings. The three books (along with the Hobbit) that created the whole fantasy genre were written by a Birmingham author, JRR Tolkien, inspired by Moseley Bog.

2) Black Sabbath. I am fed-up of listening about how influential bands from Manchester are (in any case, sporting and musical achievement is greater in Liverpool). They only dominated in this country for a small section of the 90's. Black Sabbath are one of the most influential bands in the world with Tony Iommi credited with inventing the heavy metal riff. And can you imagine an MTV show called "the Gallaghers"?

3) The Mini. This characterful car was first developed and built in Birmingham in 1959 until production ended in 2000? The new Mini was developed in Birmingham but is now built in Cowley by BMW.

4) The Lunar Society. In one of his books on the history of industrial Britain, Adam Hart-Davis devotes an entire chapter to Birmingham in which he states you cannot write a proper history of Britain without mentioning Birmingham and in particular the work of the Lunar Society.

5) Modern architecture. Birmingham may not have the tallest skyscrapers (in fact I believe we cannot because of the nature of the soil round these parts) but that has not stopped us creating some of the most recognisable buildings in the country. The Rotunda is being redeveloped, while the new Selfridges building may be controversial, but at least it is different.

The fantasy genre. Heavy metal-riffing. One of the most (if not the most) iconic cars in the world. Power when Britain was emerging into a superpower. Modern Landmarks. Birmingham's greatness transcends the city.

Tell you friends how great Birmingham, England is.

Friday, February 23, 2007

First or Second?

There has been a lot of coverage this week of the petition opposing the introduction of congestion charges, which in the end managed to accumulate 1.8 million signatures. While on the Number 10 petition site however I managed to find a more important campaign.

For the less ambitious, this petition might be more relevant.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Convicts Return to Roots

The England Cricket teams physio was robbed at knife-point in the Sydney Hotel where the England team were staying.

Surely there was an easier way for the Aussies to get their hands on the Commonwealth Bank Trophy?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Blog Updates

The People's Republic of Birmingham has finally upgraded to the new version of blogger. You may notice some changes to the blog as a result of this over the next few weeks and indeed some changes have already taken place. On the links section of this blog I have removed some of the more right wing blogs that have started to annoy me, and a left wing one which has deteriorated in quality. As a result of the new blogger, you will notice tags which I plan to put on all previous 139 posts so that you can find related topics more easily. Nice to see Google are taking recommendations from the People's Republic seriously.

Also, you may have noticed a lack off updates on this blog recently. This is due to my new pet project, Support City Hospital which is a campaign blog to keep acute services in Birmingham from being damaged by short-sighted government and local healthcare policy. Pop by if you have some time and don't forget to sign the petition.

Some topics PRoB would have mentioned include Lynne Jones unfortunate announcement to retire at the next election as a result of boundary changes, leaving an inferior Blairite (Brownite) MP to "represent" Birmingham Selly Oak, Manchester winning the Super Casino (I wish I had put a bet on that!), the London Olympic finance fiasco, the spare Wembley pitch that Blues tried to unsuccessfully lay at St. Andrews and probably a lot of others that I can't remember.

Those of you who know me probably could guess what I was going to say anyway.

Birmingham or Baghdad?

Birmingham was once again the centre of a terrorist plot in the land that has become Al-Qaeda's number one target as a result of our glorius leader's "prescient" (spelled president?) foreign policy. A plan hatched by disillusioned muslims to kidnap a Muslim British soldier and behead him on television was allegedly foiled by the police, leading to 9 arrests and numerous houses across the city being searched. Leaving Big Brother to fill a gap in the market.

The media is full of angry muslims or so the national press would have us believe. On a local report I saw a lot of Muslims supporting the police action, but presumably this would not go down well in the rest of the country. So instead we are treated to the assorted cranks and nutters you can find in immigrant communities, who presumably would vote UKIP or Conservative under Michael Howard if they were white and middle-class (maybe the latter is a bit harsh).

One such nutter unfortunately is chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque, Dr Mohammed Naseem. In a previous post I took his side against Khalid Mahmood, but I was glad to see I did not support his views unequivocally. In his latest outburst he compares treatment of Muslims to that of Jews in Nazi Germany, and claims that the arrest were an example to the government justifying its political agenda.

Not quite Dr Naseem. Although I am no fan of this government, I am also no fan of those who seek to exploit their idiocy with their own brand of tomfoolery. These were not comments that helped the community, and not a great advert for British or Birmingham Muslims. Perhaps Khalid Mahmood is right after all.