Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Today saw the Conservative party conference come to an end, the first party conference to be held in the city by a party in power.  There were some interesting announcements as might be expected for a newish government, including the proposal to end universal child benefit and speculation that a married couples allowance would be reintroduced to help offset some of the unfairness of the change.

Meanwhile last week saw the biennial Labour party conference in Manchester which included the announcement of Ed Miliband as leader, beating his older brother David by 0.1%.  David did not seem to take the defeat graciously, particular as he challenge Harriet Harman for applauding Ed when he claimed the Iraq war was wrong.  This was proof that Ed was the correct choice for the party: David, throughout the campaign, often failed to answer serious questions and kept a very safe, Blairite line on policy and announcements.  Winning the party nomination requires a person to enthuse the grassroots, but all David seemed concerned with was continuing failed New Labour ideology. While Ed may well move back to the centre now he has won the nomination, he demonstrated he understood where the party was now and where the problems lie.  We may have an interesting few years ahead.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Delhi Jealousy Belies Little Britain

Today marks the start of the Commonwealth Games, but so far all we have heard from the British media is how it has been beset by problems.  One cannot help feeling there is a touch of the old colonialist attitude towards the reporting of the build up to these games: how dare those darkies believe they can hold a successful international competition!  An excellent article by Mick Hume makes this point.

This of course follows on from the criticism of Beijing 2008 which, I can guarantee, in two years time will have provided a better competition than our overrated dump of a capital (what else did Seb Coe mean when he said London would not match the Beijing Olympics).  Want to see how well we can organise things?  How about a major golf competition in Wales which has been delayed by the surprising element of weather. Who would have though there would be rain in Cardiff in October?  Not the organisers of a British hoster Ryder Cup.

And if Britain is so great at hosting major international sporting events as the BBC and other media outlets are so quick to have us believe, what did Olympic president Jacques Rogge mean in 2002 when he said the Manchester Commonwealth games had gone a long way to restoring Britain's credibility in terms of hosting big sporting events.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Parking Cube

Reading this article on the new high-tech car park at the futuristic (Borg - sorry it had to be said) Cube complex in central Birmingham reminded me of the car park in the original Bullring that heralded the future. As the following article quotes the idea was simple:

Motorists left their car with a uniformed member of staff who would then drive it into a huge lift serving each of the four floors. It stopped at a level with spaces and the car would be driven out onto a trolley, then pushed to the nearest available space where it would be placed.

Unfortunately the idea was too labour intensive and was abandoned after three days, leaving the car park empty until it was demolished to make way for the new Bullring. Hopefully the Cube's version, said to be the largest car park stacking system in the UK, will be more successful.

Jasbir Authi drew a similar comparison in the Birmingham Mail yesterday.