Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Government Scrappage Scheme Launched

In a bold attempt to revive the government's flagging popularity, Downing Street announced a new scrappage scheme today. People will be able to trade in their old government for a new one and get a reduction in government spending.

Prime-Minister-By-Default Gordon Brown welcomed the news. 'If the focus groups are anything to go by, I'm sure that this will be the post popular policy we've ever announced. Millions of people up and down the country will benefit from scrapping their government, and it will also give a much-needed boost to our beleagured manufacturing base.'

Chancellor-In-Name-Only Alistair Darling added, 'Gordon sent me a text about this, and I'm fully behind that text. I'm already looking forward to my date with the crusher.'

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Happy Birthday Quinton!

On 9th November 1909, Quinton became part of Birmingham. That's 100 years ago tomorrow, and we're having lots of events to mark the occasion...

Saturday 14th November, 7.30-10.30pm (doors open 7pm): Concert at Christ Church Parish Hall by four-piece band Giggetty with a repertoire ranging from Abba to folk. Tickets £9 (includes fish 'n' chip supper) available from Quinton Local History Society, 15 Worlds End Avenue, Quinton, Birmingham B32 1JF, or phone 0121 422 1792.

Sunday 15th November, 12.30pm: THE MAIN EVENT. Procession led by Birmingham Pipe Band, Starting from Christ Church Rectory on Hagley Road West. The procession will go along Hagley Road West, High Street, Ridgacre Road West and The Green, crossing Meadow Road into Quinton Park where the Lord Mayor will arrive at about 1.30pm to officially mark the centenary and officiate at the planting of two commemorative trees.

Saturday 21st November, 10am-4pm: Quinton history exhibition by Dr Michael Hall at Quinton Methodist Church Hall, Hagley Road West. Admission free, small charge for refreshments.

Saturday 21st November, 7.30-11pm (doors open 7pm): Concert at Bennett Hall, Quinborne Centre, Ridgacre Road by seven-piece band Penny Short with a guest appearance from Quinton Community Choir. Tickets £5 from The Office, Quinborne Centre or phone 0121 682 7474 and ask for Linda.

Tuesday 24th November, 7.45 (doors open 7.15): Meet the authors of 'The Quinton – A History in Words and Images' (Kate Creed, Michael Hall, Andrew Maxam, Anthony Rosser and Bernard Taylor). This evening of nostalgia is only £1.50, payable at the door on the night.

Saturday 28th November, 10am-4pm: Quinton history exhibition by Quinton Local History Society at Christ Church Parish Hall, Hagley Road West. Admission free, small charge for refreshments.

For general information on any of the events, please phone 0121 422 1792.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Police Halloween Events

I spent yesterday evening helping the local Police with another successful pair of Halloween events in Quinton. Older homeowners can feel quite intimidated at Halloween as they are often inundated with trick-or-treat callers through the night. The Police try to solve the problem by running a family event at the Day Centre on West Boulevard, to give potential 'trick-or-treaters' something else to do, and a dinner for older people at Onneley House on Court Oak Road, so they are not at home anyway.

I went to both events which were very well attended and a huge success. I was further impressed when I found out that all the Police helping out were doing so in their free time and won't be claiming overtime.

Well done everyone, and looking forward to another success next year!

Action on Graffiti

My fellow Quinton Councillor Jane James and I spent much of Saturday removing graffiti from various places in the ward. Graffiti is highly antisocial and has a tendency to bring down an area if not kep in check. I've also passed several photos onto the local Police so they can add to their database of tags in use in the area.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Supporting the Half Marathon

Today saw Birmingham host the World Half Marathon and the Birmingham Half Marathon, aka the 'Race against climate change'. The former is for elite runners and the latter for anyone - both follow the same route, which passes through the Constituency.

It was great to be able to support the event and cheer on the runners - I even saw a couple of friends run past - an added bonus! It's superb that, once again, Birmingham has been able to stage a world-class event.

Line Dancing at Quinborne

Fancy learning how to line dance? The Quinborne Centre will be holding lessons from Tuesday 3rd November. Only £3.50 per session - bargain! (Click the picture for a bigger version.)

Quinton Neighbourhood Office Open Event, Wednesday 14th October, 2pm-3.30pm

Quinton Neighbourhood Office is holding an open event to provide information on all sorts of important topics - see above! (Click the picture for a bigger version.)

Halloween Community Family Event, Saturday 31st October, Adult Day Centre, West Boulevard, 6pm-9.30pm

The local Police have asked me to promote this event - I went last year and it was great fun. Do come along! (Click the picture for a bigger version.)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

At Conservative Party Conference

Phew! I've just returned from Conservative Party Conference and what a conference it was. There was such a positive atmosphere everywhere: in the conference hall, at the fringe meetings and at all the informal gatherings in and around the conference venue in Manchester. There's a real sense that we have the the right Leader, the right team, the right policies, and the support of the British people to form the next government, whenever Porky Pie Man has the nerve to call a election.

Highlights for me were a panel discussion on the first 100 days of a Conservative government and a meeting of Salford Conservatives, where we swapped ideas on campaign methods and strategies.

I couldn't stay for David Cameron's closing speech but I've just watched it on the telly. The big themes were the economy and the Conservatives' natural mistrust of big government.

Next year, Gordon Brown will need to spend more servicing the public debt than on schools. Rather than being in denial about this huge mess, we've announced policies to do what's necessary to start getting that debt down.

David Cameron also pointed out that a single mother with two children earning £150 a week has an effective tax rate of 96% for every additional pound she earns, due to loss of benefits and additional taxation. Don't be under any illusions - despite the minimum wage (which we're committed to keeping), Labour fails the poorest in our society. We will ensure that you keep more of the money you earn.

David's speech had a similar theme to the late Ronald Reagan's famous quote, 'Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.' This is a longstanding Conservative philosophy - big government undermines responsibility and delivers less than just trusting people to get on with it. We will work to give power and responsibility back to where it belongs - you. I look forward to working with our excellent Parliamentary candidate, Deirdre Alden, to deliver the change that people want and expect.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Tale of Two Saturdays

Last Saturday, I visited Centenary Square to support Artsfest, Birmingham's annual festival of arts. There were many interesting sights and sounds and I had a very enjoyable time. Staging such a large event is a massive undertaking and I would like to thank everyone who played a part.

In Quinton today, we had a event promoting healthy living at the Keystone Centre in Purbeck Croft, Wesh House Farm. The event featured activities and events including children's car safety, healthy eating and tacking alcohol abuse. It was well attended by local residents and was a very worthwhile day.

And while we're on the subject, don't forget that all adult residents of Birmingham can now use all of the city's swimming pools free until March 2011. All you have to do is sign up for a Leisure Card, which you can do on the spot at any pool or leisure centre. Children and senior citizens are already entitled to free swimming. So what are you waiting for?!?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Strike a Pose!

I've just been to Dimmingsdale Bank (between Simmons Drive and Highfield Lane) with fellow Quinton Councillor Jane James and our Parliamentary Spokesman Deirdre Alden. Many residents had reported litter building up under a hedge on the road, so we donned the rubber gloves and got stuck in.

We pulled out several bags' worth, and then carried on around the corner, finishing off by The Village Inn and the shops next door. We'll go on fighting the good fight to keep Quinton clean and green!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Out and About in Quinton with Deirdre and Jane

I spent the morning with fellow Quinton Councillor Jane James and our Parliamentary Spokesman Deirdre Alden weeding, collecting litter and cleaning graffiti. Here's what we've been up to...

White Road: Trimmed back a hedge and cleared up the litter inside it, which unfortunately included a lot of undelivered Air Ambulance charity bags.

Lower White Road: Cut back the worst of the overgrowth in this alleyway and cleared away litter.
Simmons Drive and Moat Meadows: Got stuck in and cleared away lots of litter.

Moat Meadows: Removed graffiti from a cable TV box.

Corner of White Road and Ridgacre Road: Same again. Except this one already had the green anti-graffiti paint treatment, so we needed less elbow grease!

Post box at the same location.

Right, I'm off for a cuppa!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Street Lights in Simmons Drive Area

We were recently informed that some street lights, including the two above, were out of order on the pathway that runs behind Simmons Drive. Street lighting is important to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour and I am pleased to report that these lights are now working again. Sorry for any inconvenience!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pitching in at Pitt's Wood!

Believe it or not, Pitt's Wood is an ancient piece of woodland in the middle of Quinton, off Overdale Road. I joined local volunteers, fellow Quinton Councillors Jane James and Len Clark and our Parliamentary spokesman Deirdre Alden for a session of weeding, chopping and general tidying.

It was fun and everyone was very pleased with the results.

Police PACT (Partners and Communities Together) Meetings

Please find below a list, in chronological order, of all of the forthcoming Police PACT (Partners and Communities Together) meetings that are relevant to Quinton ward. There are quite a few of them, but I'll do my best to attend as many as possible.

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that two different meetings are on the same date - I'll try to get hold of a TARDIS!

Also please remember that you don't have to wait for a PACT meeting to let me know about a problem. You can come to a Ward Committee meeting, a surgery, call me (07502 102 617) or email me (

Quinton East
Welsh House Farm School, Welsh House Farm Road, Quinton

Quinton East
Welsh House Farm School, Welsh House Farm Road, Quinton

Quinton West
Quinborne Centre, Overdale Road, Quinton

Harborne West
Onnelly House, Court Oak Road, Harborne

Quinton East
Welsh House Farm School, Welsh House Farm Road, Quinton

Quinton East
Welsh House Farm School, Welsh House Farm Road, Quinton

Quinton West
Quinborne Centre, Overdale Road, Quinton

Quinton East
Welsh House Farm School, Welsh House Farm Road, Quinton

Quinton East
Welsh House Farm School, Welsh House Farm Road, Quinton

Quinton East
Welsh House Farm School, Welsh House Farm Road, Quinton

Quinton West
Quinborne Centre, Overdale Road, Quinton

Quinton East
Welsh House Farm School, Welsh House Farm Road, Quinton

Quinton East
Welsh House Farm School, Welsh House Farm Road, Quinton

Quinton Ward Committee

The next Quinton Ward Committee meeting will be held on Thursday 3rd September at 7pm, at the Forum building, Four Dwellings High School, Highfield Lane, Quinton.

It's an open meeting and as usual we'll be discussing some very important issues, not least how the Building Schools for the Future programme may affect the facilities at Four Dwellings School itself.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Team Tory

Following on from my last post about Bobby Alden, here's the full list of Conservative candidates who were selected yesterday:

Erdington: Robert Alden
Hall Green: Jo Barker
Hodge Hill: Shailesh Parekh
Ladywood: Colin Hughes
Perry Barr: William Norton
Yardley: Meirion Jenkins

This completes the team for Birmingham, which already includes Andrew Mitchell MP for Sutton Coldfield, Nigel Dawkins for Selly Oak, Keely Huxtable for Northfield and our own Deirdre Alden for Edgbaston.

Congratulations to you all!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Well done Bobby!

I've just found out that Erdington Conservatives have selected hard-working local Councillor Robert Alden as their Parliamentary Candidate. Quite right too, and congratulations from Quinton Conservatives!


I've been on Twitter for a while now - please feel free to follow my Tweets at

Sunday, July 05, 2009

You Wait Ages for a Fun Day...

...and then three come at once!

This weekend's my first back since our honeymoon - yesterday I visited three Quinton events along with other local Councillors, including Jane James and Deirdre Alden, our Parliamentary Spokesman.

First up was the Four Dwellings School Fun Day. There was a good assortment of stalls, a fire engine, a bouncy castle, a land train - plenty for everyone.

Next was the Ss Faith and Lawrence Fun Day. This included a demonstration by a kick-boxing champion - we kept our distance at that point!

Finally there was the Brownies Fun Day at Woodgate Valley Country Park. I had a go at the skipping challenge - I wasn't as good as some of the Brownies, but in my defence I hadn't skipped for at least twenty years! Northfield's Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Keeley Huxtable was also there and was central to the organisation of the day - well done Keeley.

Then off to North Quinton to do some leafleting about the next bulky refuse collection for the residents there - once again, each and every resident in Quinton will have their own over the course of the municipal year.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Well, Where Do I Start?!?

OK, let's start with the Conservative successes. There weren't any local elections in Birmingham yesterday, except for a by-election in Lozells and East Handsworth. Not exactly fertile Tory territory you might think.

Well actually, we polled 1,622 votes and went from 4% of the vote last year to 23% this year. This is a huge swing and proof in itself that people everywhere are turning to the Conservatives.

Now lets look at the national picture - the graphic below shows the current state of play (thanks BBC):

Bearing in mind that we've had several successful years on the trot already, this is a brilliant result for us. Closest to home, we're now in control of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, which Labour had controlled since (wait for it!) 1981. We've also taken Devon and Somerset from the Lib Dems - we're winning everywhere.

If you look at a projected share of the national vote, we're comfortably ahead with Labour now in third place.

In other news, I've been trying to keep track of what's been happening at No 10 today, but in all honesty there's just too much madness going on to know where to start.

Apparently Sir Alan Sugar's going to become a lord and made some kind of enterprise or business tsar. This is the guy who, in last year's series of The Apprentice, awarded the job to someone who admitted lying on his CV. Hardly inspiring stuff.

And then we have Caroline Flint's final salvo as she returns to a life on the backbenches, 'Several of the women attending Cabinet - myself included - have been treated by you as little more than female window dressing.' She also points out that although she was Europe minister until today (a position that's been taken over by Glenys Kinnock?!?), she wasn't even invited to the Cabinet meeting preceeding yesterday's European elections!

Gordon Brown has transformed No 10, that venerable and internationally respected British symbol of good governance, and home to generation after generation of statesmen, into his own version of the Big Brother House. But he can't hold on forever. We will all have our say before much longer.

I look forward to the day when David Cameron and his team start restoring dignity and common sense as the next Conservative government.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

European Parliament Elections TOMORROW, Thursday 4th June

Don't forget to vote for the West Midlands Conservatives team tomorow!

Polling stations will be open from 7am until 10pm and you don't need your polling card to vote.

If you'd like to know more about the candidates, please have a look at the following:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Harborne Pool Taking Shape

On Wednesday, nearly all of the Councillors across the Constituency met to discuss important local issues.

Top of the list was Harborne Pool, which the Conservative-led Council is committed to rebuilding on its current site. The pool is very popular with Quinton ward residents, especially those who live in the 'B17' part of the ward.

I inspected the plans along with fellow Quinton Councillors Jane James and Len Clark (pictured). There are some very interesting features, including fitness rooms and a grassed roof.

I asked some questions about the suitability of the building in an urban context. A lot of wood is being used externally to improve the visual impact of the building, and I was interested to know how easily any graffiti could be removed from wood. I was informed that the wood facings would not be used on the ground floor. I also asked what features are being designed in to prevent the flat areas, kerbs and so on being poached by skateboarders, and I was assured that this will be addressed at the detailed design stage.

A lot of thought has gone into the plans, and I look forward to the day when residents of Quinton, Harborne and elsewhere can enjoy our new pool.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

European Election Canvassing

I started the day at the launch of the West Midlands Conservatives European election campaign, which the Party held in Edgbaston constituency (which includes Quinton). We heard from many excellent speakers, including all of our European candidates, Cllr Deirdre Alden, Parliamentary Spokesman for the constituency, Cllr Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, leading local businesspeople and others.

Then the real work started - I took a joint team from Birmingham University Conservative Future and City Branch over to Quinton, where we did several hours canvassing. The responses on the doorstep were very positive; we're set for a great result on 4th June, and we're ready for the General Election, whenever it comes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Supporting Our Forces

Today, I spent a very worthwhile evening attending a presentation by the Royal Air Force at the Jaguar plant. I met many serving members of the RAF and members of the Air Cadets.

I was interested to see the varied career options available to those who wish to join, and the RAF's array of aircraft and other vehicles and equipment is second to none.

I'm always pleased to be able to support any of our armed services. They have a tough and demanding job to do and deserve our support.
Pictured with me are the The Right Worshipful, The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Birmingham and the The Worshipful The Mayor and Mayoress of Solihull.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stop Press!!!

The new pedestrian crossing for Woodhouse Primary School is NOW WORKING!!!

And the Number 10 bus is SAVED - thank you Central Connect! And thanks Cllr Deirdre Alden and others for organising the petition!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pitt's Wood Open Day

Today, Cllr Deirdre Alden and I went along to the Pitt's Wood open day. Pitt's Wood is a piece of woodland behind Overdale Road and there are some committed volunteers who make it a great resource for local children and adults alike.

One of the volunteers was showing the kids how to make bird and bat boxes. I helped with some weeding and litter picking.

All very worthwhile, and I got to take home a bat box too! It turns out that you're supposed to face them South - the opposite direction to bird boxes. Now I all I need to do is work out where in my garden to put it...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Welsh House Farm Off-Licence Application

Quinton's Parliamentary Spokesman Cllr Deirdre Alden, Quinton Councillor Len Clark and I met with Welsh House Farm residents yesterday to discuss an alcohol licence application from Wisley Way News. The shop has applied to sell alcohol from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week.

The residents we spoke to were very concerned that this would lead to a rise in antisocial behaviour, just when we're starting to see improvements in Welsh House Farm. We've recently improved much of the Council housing in the area. We've coated local cable TV boxes with anti-graffiti paint. And of course, Conservative activists from all over the country renovated a local community centre in the 'We Love WHF' project.

There's a petition going round to object to the proposals and I've asked the Police to consider their views on the application too.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bob's Got on his Bike!

Quinton ward resident Bob Holland is cycling all the way to France to raise money for the Little Sisters of the Poor, who run a residential care home for older people in Harborne. Bob was inspired to raise money for the home after his uncle became a resident there about eighteen months ago.

Bob says, 'I have seen at first hand how, with extraordinary dedication, the nuns, their staff and team of volunteers have created a wonderful home. The quality of the surroundings and service is exceptional and I felt compelled to do as much as I could to raise funds for them.'

Bob will be taking part in the London to Paris Cycle Challenge, which takes place over three days this June. It will also be a very personal challenge for Bob, as he took up cycling only three years ago to regain fitness after surgery for cancer.

I'm very pleased to support Bob in his bid to raise thousands for St Joseph's. If you wish to sponsor him yourself, you can find out more at

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Below Inflation 1.9% Council Tax Increase - FOURTH Year in a Row!!!

On Tuesday, the Conservative-led Council passed the annual budget, setting your Council Tax increase to only 1.9% - below inflation for the fourth year in a row. This means that it's the fourth effective cut to your Council Tax in a row.

The Labour group looked thoroughly demoralised at the meeting and for the first time in years didn't even present an alternative budget. So the voters of Birmingham have no idea where they stand. What would they spend your money on? How would they pay for essential services? Would they cut or raise your Council Tax?

Why they've given up this opportunity to participate in the normal democratic process is anyone's guess, but the most likely explanation is that they're so riven with splits and divisions that they simply couldn't agree amongst themselves.

In the meantime, we'll get on with the job of running Birmingham effectively and efficiently.

Cable TV Box in Purbeck Croft / Moreton Close / Wisley Way Area

If you live in the Purbeck Croft / Moreton Close / Wisley Way Area, you might have noticed some unsightly graffiti on a cable TV box. I noticed it too and arranged for the box to get the 'green paint treatment' I've mentioned before.

The photos above show 'before' and 'after'.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

City Branch Interview

Conservative City Branch, which is the branch of the Party for Birmingham's city centre professionals, has recently interviewed me. Check it out at the following address:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cable Boxes Going Green!

As promised, the programme to paint cable boxes in a special green anti-graffiti paint is in full swing. We're confident that this will reduce the amount of graffiti in Quinton and continue the upward trend of keeping Quinton clean and green.

Also have a look at Cllr Deirdre Alden's blog for news about new measures to reduce speeding in Quinton Ward: