Monday, October 31, 2005

Royal Duo to Visit New Orleans

As part of their itinerary of the tour of the United States, Charles and Camilla plan to visit hurricane-devastated New Orleans.

Let's hope George Bush doesn't decide to visit Tornado hit Brum to return the favour.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Death of a Legend

Rosa Parks, famous for refusing to give up her seat on an Alabama bus and sparking off a bus boycott that lasted just over a year died this week and it would be wrong if the People's Republic didn't acknowledge the death of this great woman in some way. She was an inspiration to all of us who are oppressed and unjustly treated; instead of standing there and taking it, we should make a stand up for what we believe in.

It's a pity no one organises a boycott of Travel Wind-Up Merchants. With the Government planning to stop alcoholic drinks being consumed on public transport, maybe it's time Travel West Midlands stopped people smoking drugs on the top deck of their buses. They can stop stereotyping people too; once when an inspector came onto the bus, he grabbed my bus pass out of my hand rather rudely and and gave it a longer look than he did everyone elses. I suppose the Travel WM thugs are trained to treat anyone who looks like a fare-dodger as a fare-dodger.

It's called discrimination, and perhaps next time we should make our own stand against injustice.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

US-Style NHS Forum in Birmingham

Birmingham hosted a gathering today at the ICC in which patients gave their views on the NHS.
Apparently others had been held before but certainly this is the first that made the national news and is the biggest.

Birmingham, being in the centre of the country, is the ideal place for such meetings and there should be more of them. The city is famous for being a business conference centre and the Nationwide building society has also recently announced it is returning its AGM to the city following consultations with its members.

Brum's location its greatest selling point and we should be seeking to exploit it to the full.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Violence Hits Lozells

The last couple of nights have seen violence on the streets of Lozells reminiscent of the Handsworth riots 20-years ago when black resentment at the Asian community boiled over and saw shops smashed-up and looted.

The violence 20 years ago was due to a black man being stopped and searched, but the current troubles centre on an allegation that a 14-year-old Jamaican asylum seeker was gang-raped by up to 19 Asian men after being found shoplifting in a store. The problem is there is no evidence of this actually happening. For a start no crime has been reported (apparently because the girl is frightened of being deported due to her immigration status). The only thing I have seen coming close to backing this event up is an apparent family of the friend speaking to a local reporter and claiming that the girl is in no fit state to go to the police. However, the police have since forensically examined the scene of the alleged assault and found nothing.

Any allegation of rape must be taken seriously of course but in this case it appears to be an attempt by pirate radio stations to increase their audience figures. Unfortunately in the process many people have been hurt and two have been killed. The allegation now seems to be irrelevant as idiots on both sides start harping on about alleged injustices that have taken place over the years. There is no doubt however that there is significant segregation and grievances between the communities and hopefully these event will be a kick up the backside for someone to address them.

Interestingly enough, despite all the violence the attendances at City Hospital's A&E department were significantly down over the weekend. Clearly people in the area are being a bit more careful at the moment.

They may have to continue for a few more days although hopefully this won't be the case.

Update 1: The Kaiser Chiefs were playing in Birmingham on Saturday night. They certainly did predict a riot.

Update2: It's alright; David Cameron's now in the city.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Get your Mail!

Over the past three weeks there have been some mysterious changes taking place around Birmingham. The old blue cabins with elderly gentlemen in them shouting "Get your Mail!" have disappeared and been replaced with continental-style tables with umbrellas above them and a more cosmopolitan sales-force. The historic Birmingham Evening Mail is no longer; we welcome a publication called simply "the Mail".

Of course, the reason for this change is declining sales. To its readers, this is not a surprise as the publication has declined in quality ever since being taken over by the Trinity Mirror group. The People's Republic does not want to slag off the publishers of the Mirror, being as it is one of the few national papers to be printed in the region, but the fact is that a previously decent local paper went to the dogs as it adopted tabloid-style reporting.

A fine example of this was how they "reported" the news that a consultant at City Hospital, Mr Stanley Silverman, had left a patient in theatre to help relieve the pressures on the A&E department while it was trying to hit the government target of treating 90% of its patients within 4 hours. They presented it as if they had got an exclusive interview with the consultant himself whereas in reality they had taken the quotes from the minutes of the Trust board meeting. Sh*t stirring, as we call it in Birmingham became the norm, so much so that it drowned out the decent community news that quickly became the domain of the free newspapers.

So apparently the solution is to re-launch the paper as a snazzy read with a new editor and a new reporters. The problem is it looks like something produced by a local sixth-form. The Evening Mail used to stand alongside other local publications such as the London Evening Standard, the Manchester Evening News and the Liverpool Echo. By renaming it "the Mail", Birmingham has lost part of it's history.

So sack the staff, yes. But bring back our (Evening) Mail.

Welcome to the Rudest City

A poll of eight cities yesterday claimed that Birmingham is the rudest city.

P*ss off.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Second Tornado hits Brum

There was another nightmare day yesterday for commuters in Birmingham as heavy rain brought traffic to a standstill on the way home from work, bringing back memories of that snowstorm a year-and-a-half ago. Flooding was rife throughout the city and there is currently a ford outside the delivery entrance of M&S (and I don't mean a Mondeo). To make matters worse, a mini-tornado caused damage in Moseley for the second time in three months.

Any more of this and we'll have to rename the city "Twisterville".

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Natural Party of Power

On the eve of the Conservative Party conference the People's Republic takes a brief look at the contenders for the Tory party leadership and asks if any of them can roll back the years (at least 200 of them) and take them back to where they believe they belong - which unlike the rest of us isn't opposition (or extinction).

When it comes to Conservative Party leadership races, there are a few rules one has to live by. The first is the favourite never wins (unlucky David Davis - despite claiming to be against the politics of envy this rule is mainly due to jealousy). The second is that Ken Clarke never wins (as he is pro-European and will divide the party). So the third candidate (thank you Iain Duncan-Smith) comes through the field and leads the party to disaster (or at least they get rid of him before he can). So the real question is who is the third favourite?

Enter David Cameron. One of the new "Notting Hill" set (although I've never seen him at the carnival) he believes he is part of a natural succession that began with Margaret Thatcher and continues under Tony Blair. Don't rule him out though - unlike previous third favourites he speaks a surprising amount of sense for a Tory and it can appear that he actually cares. Before you think I'm crazy I hasten to add that his wife works in PR, so he doesn't really have to.
Cameron could even be the next Prime Minister. Yes, you read that correctly a Conservative in the 21st century could become Prime Minister by winning a democratic (or the British equivalent) vote. First however he will have to convince the party that he is the right man for the job.

His main problem lies in the fact that Liam Fox is a joke. Unfortunately for Cameron, the current Conservative party are too and so they may think Dr Fox is the perfect man for the job.

Finally of course, there are Malcolm Rifkind and (snigger) Edward Leigh.

Unfortunately for them, even the Conservative Party have their standards.