Labour won the Police and Crime Commissioner by election in the West Midland – hardly surprising when you look at the make up of the Councils in the region. However in Edgbaston Ward, the Conservatives won convincingly which was very heartening.
Comiserations to Les Jones who ran a really good campaign. For my own part, after voting first thing I spent the rest of the day and Friday in Yorkshire. It seemed really strange not to be around on Polling Day!
Today it’s the Police & Crime Commissioner by-election in the West Midlands.
Vote for Les Jones, the Conservative Candidate. Polls are open from 7.00am to 10.00pm.
Great to see the Conservative Police & Crime Commissioner Candidate, Les Jones, and Edgbaston’s Parliamentary Candidate, Dr Luke Evans, with a team out campaigning in Edgbaston Ward last Friday as part of our campaign to keep Edgbaston’s Police Station open. Our police station, at Belgrave Middleway, was ear-marked for closure, probably in 2015, by the former Labour Police & Crime Commissioner – a decision we want to overturn.
When a dog bites a man, it isn’t news. When a man bites a dog, it is.
Likewise, when a Tory Councillor criticises a Labour Council policy, that’s hardly news, but when a Labour MP does – it is.
So step forward Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Selly Oak, who this week has criticised Labour’ infamous garden tax policy, calling for it to be scrapped. I haven’t yet heard Edgbaston’s Labour MP joining him, but then she’s in a difficult position.
The Edgbaston Constituency Councillors and candidates are branded as Team Gisela. I’ve said on this blog before that this is all very well, but a team is only as strong as it’s weakest leak. The weakest link to my mind had to be Councillor James McKay who introduced the infamous garden tax, and resolutely stood by it when all around where criticising it and pointing out the obvious flaws in his policy. (Like the fact that what do you do if a third party dumps garden waste outside your house and the Council refuses to take it away – a problem Steve McCabe has apparently only just thought about, according to the Birmingham Mail story.)
The garden tax and Cllr McKay are inextricably linked. Which rather puts the garden tax at Team Gisela’s door too. So what does Edgbaston’s Labour MP do now her Labour colleague Steve McCabe has decided to speak out? Join him in calling for the garden tax to go? Or defend it to the death as it was introduced by one of her own Edgbaston & Team Gisela’s Labour Councillors? Rather a dilemma! Especially as the cost of re-introducing it is minimal given the scale of Birmingham City Council’s budget, and the ridiculous way it has been introduced – with crews still routinely failing to pick up the garden waste of those people who have paid for the service, and the carrying out of a city wide clean up just before Polling Day (how convenient!) – must be severely eating into any savings made anyway.
The policy is a disaster, Conservative Councillors have been saying so for months. And now a Labour MP has admitted it too.
Dumped green bags in Edgbaston – thanks to Labour’s Garden tax disaster
Yesterday was a busy day in Edgbaston ward – with a team out delivering leaflets for Les Jones, the Conservative candidate in the Police & Crime Commissioner by-election. Les is running a brilliant campaign and will make a great PCC for the West Midlands.
In the evening Cllr James Hutchings and I attended the local Police PACT meeting with local residents. A number of issues including various forms of anti social behaviour were raised. Afterwards we carried out a site visit with residents to look at one particular issue concerning parking.
Today I have been in contact with various Council officers regarding possible solutions.
If you are going to introduce changes to a service – you have to work out in advance what you are going to do about the people who refuse to comply. This is what the Labour Party has completely failed to do on the subject of garden waste in Birmingham.
It should have been obvious to anyone that fining people who dump green waste was going to be more or less impossible – given that there is never any identification in the bag, so how do you prove who dumped it?
You need actual evidence of the dumping taking place. So you need to have cameras or people in attendance to witness the dumping. So far I see little evidence of that!
So, faced with a sea of green waste across the city, then what does the Council do? You either have to pick it up – which blows your charging policy out of the water. Or you leave it where it is – spoiling the neighbourhood for everyone – those who have complied and bought a bin, as well as those who haven’t.
I think it is completely unacceptable to leave Birmingham in the state it currently is. So if the Labour Council cares about environment, it needs to start getting tough on green waste dumpers NOW. But having the city covered by enforcers or monitored cameras would be very expensive. I strongly suspect it would be cheaper just to scrap the garden tax – which is what Conservatives have been calling for all along. Scrap the tax – make Birmingham clean again! But to do that, Labour have to admit they were wrong…..
Edgbaston Conservatives were busy campaigning today – three separate teams out working in the ward.
While out, a resident showed us a leaflet they’d had from the Labour MP raising the matter of Edgbaston’s police station. Our police station was earmarked for closure by the former LABOUR Police and Crime Commissioner. Very few stations in Birmingham are closing, so it’s not a case that cuts are forcing wholesale closures. But one of the early actions the last PCC did upon taking office was to announce that 3 police stations in Birmingham would close – Aston, Steelhouse Lane, and Edgbaston (which is due to close in 2015).
That announcement came on March 26th 2013. You can read about it if you look in the archives of this blog for that day’s entry. If our Labour MP is so concerned about it, why didn’t she take action at the time the closure was announced? Why wait 18 months? Our LABOUR MP had plenty of time to talk to the former LABOUR Police and Crime Commissioner about his proposed closure of Edgbaston’s Police Station. I don’t know if she did raise it with him, but if she did, she clearly wasn’t successful in getting the policy changed.
But now we have a situation where there’s a by-election for a new Police & Crime Commissioner and we have a Conservative PCC Candidate who is promising to do his best to keep our police station open, and NOW she puts out a leaflet claiming to be concerned about the proposed closure. (A closure which, don’t forget, was decided by her own political party – the Labour Party.) The resident who showed us the leaflet was astounded by her cheek! So are we!
Campaigning in Edgbaston Ward today