Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Gamble Too Far

Birmingham not making the final eight of the bid for the supercasino is hardly surprising. As I mentioned here, it is a particularly daft bid not least for the fact that the council backed site was not in Birmingham. The Con-LibDem Council (should that be shortened to ConDem?) seemed more interested in propping up the failing NEC than regenerating Birmingham. Either that or they support the Villa.

And I'm not the only one who is angry at this council's incompetence. Just read this post by PoliticalHackUK: Playing to lose to see some great quotes from Roger Godsiff ("How can we offer regeneration in Solihull, one of the richest boroughs in the country?") or Karen Brady's rant ("sadly we have to wonder if we have a council worthy of running our city as, slowly, their decisions drain us of our second city status." - worth reading in full here. I was no fan of the Labour administration, but after ten years I had forgotten just how incompetent the "natural party of power" are.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Porn Kings

Birmingham City's association with pornography is well-known, in that Messrs Gold and Sullivan made their money from dirty magazines before purchasing the sleeping giant. But apparently now the City of Birmingham has an association with porn - according to this story by the BBC, web surfers in Birmingham are more likely to search for porn on google than any other city in the world.

In a surprise development, Manchester was for once the second city (that is the only time you will see those words together on this blog).

Apparently West Brom topped the charts for the town with the most web surfers looking for porn (cannot find a link to this but here is some evidence).

I am not sure if this is related to the West Midlands particularly poor season in the Premiership.
But would it be cause or effect?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cockney's Arsenal it up

The People's Republic was incredibly patriotic while following the Champions League final, supporting fellow second city Barcelona over the cockney scum of Arsenal. What a pity - it appears a team from London still haven't lifted Europe's premier trophy. And what a bunch of moaners Arsenal are - claiming the referee was biased against them despite the fact that he disallowed a clear Barcelona goal. And haven't the French been told that level is onside - hence Et'oo's goal was perfectly fine.

Meanwhile on Buggers Broadcasting Capital-ism I found this article in the build-up to the game. The offending section is called Capital Gains and I will point out the following deliberate mistakes - my comments are in italics.

"It may seem surprising that Arsenal are the first team from London to reach the final of the European Cup or Champions League. " - no it is not, because London teams are shite.

"But in the competition's 50-year history, only five countries have had a team from their capital city take the honours. " - I would be interested in comparing that figure to the number of different countries who have had a club lift the trophy - I suspect it is not that much larger

"Despite their reputation as footballing powerhouses, England, Italy, Germany and France have never seen a team from their capital lift the crown..." - Rome, Berlin and Paris do not have more than two football teams in their top flight - PSG were only formed in 1974 so there wasn't even a team in Paris for nearly half the years since the competition has been running. London currently has six teams in the top flight, and has had roughly that number for the fifty years since the competition started.

"...- a fact Arsenal will hope to change." Unfortunately David Dein doesn't have the "influence" in Europe that he does in England.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Saucy? Not in Brum

This is the 100th post on the blog and unfortunately yet again it is bad news. Heinz are planning to close the historic HP sauce factory in Aston, moving production to mainland Europe. It comes after Peugeot announcement last month of the closure of the Ryton plant that currently produces the outgoing 206, and a year after the infamous Rover closure that nearly took the Labour government with it.

When added to the many NHS Trusts in the area who have announced job cuts (including Sandwell and West Birmingham and the Women's Hospital) it appears Birmingham will have to reinvent itself again.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Local Election Digest

It may be said that Blair got a bruising nationally on Thursday, but I feel Labour did relatively well in the local elections both in Birmingham and in the country at large given the scale of their recent problems (although apparently Patricia Hewitt believes the Government is having its best year ever). Noteworthy results include Labour surprisingly losing Longbridge to the Tories (thanks to an increase in the BNP vote) and Salma Yaqoob taking Sparkbrook for the Respect party. I was pleased to see this - regardless of what Respect stand for, she tends to be quite a prominent figure in local politics and deserves her place on the council. The Lib Dems managed to pick up Moseley, but not a lot else, and the Tories picked up Erdington.

Unfortunately the city's name was dragged through the mud again with allegations of electoral fraud against a Lib Dem candidate in the north of the city. It's deja vu all over again. And the count at Kingstanding was right royally messed-up, with more votes being declared than were available. This initially gave first place to the BNP candidate when actually the two Labour candidates should have been returned. Unfortunately, as the result was declared this will now have to go through the courts to rectify this, giving the British Nazi Party more free publicity. They no doubt will be spinning the line that it is a government conspiracy to cheat them out of a seat they fairly earned.

The BNP did pick up three seats in Sandwell and one seat in Solihull, and got about 10% of the vote in Birmingham.

But at least they came sixth out of six in Moseley.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Blues for West Midlands Teams

Well it had to happen. The overpaid excuses of players that make up the current Birmingham City side got relegated a week ago today after failing to match Portsmouth's win over Wigan, a result which saw West Brom also go down leaving Villa as the only Midlands side in the top flight next season which is absolutely unprecedented (in fact it hasn't been a good season for the West Midlands teams generally; Blues, Albion and Walsall got relegated, Villa ended up with their lowest ever Premiership points tally, and Coventry and Wolves failed to reach the playoffs).

Yes, Portsmouth may have got the rub of the green with refereeing decisions. Blues may well have had a decent run recently. But when you start the season as badly as we did, there was only ever going to be one outcome - and it happened.

Sullivan has immediately blasted some of the players, saying that Jarosik, Sutton, Butt and Melchiot will not be returning to St. Andrews next season. Sutton apparently earned £1.2 million (at £45k-a-week) for playing in six or seven matches. In a meeting on Friday Bruce was spared from the sack, apparently showing he has the hunger to take Birmingham back to the top flight.

Sullivan thinks we need to replace the overpaid players with some young, hungry players.

The People's Republic couldn't agree more.