Sunday, 30 November 2008

A Grand Night Out

I and the lovely Mrs OscottLocal spent a lovely evening last night at the George Coller Memorial Fund' s annual ball. The charity, which I have been known to help out with on occasion, is a wonderful Birmingham institution that aims to help children with asthma. It was founded after the death of the Chair's son a few years back following a prolonged battle with asthma.

But beyond the serious message of the evening and the serious fundraising work we were entertained by the likes of Jo Enright, Andy Townsend and Ben (the guitarist). I would urge anyone who wants to help the charity to give them a call on 0121 681 9587.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Brummie of the year

Birmingham: It's not Shit asks you to cast your vote for Brummie of the year.. my vote went to Adam Smith a nice guy and a journalist form the old school (i.e get pissed before sending copy)

A very bad idea?

So Damien Green the Conservative Shadow Immigration Minister has been arrested and his offices searched. Regular readers will know that I am no fan of the Tory Party but i have very serious concerns about this action. There will be a perception that Labour is using the Police, a point made well by PoliticalBetting. Even if the Police are acting on their own initiative then this is very dangerous territory for a democracy to be getting into.

Green has clearly annoyed someone at the Home Office a great deal and I do not believe for one instant that this was not done without the knowledge of the Home Secretary. I am sure the truth will come out in the wash but whatever Mr Green has done this is no way for the British Police to behave. Whatever your feelings about the way Mr Green uses sensitive information we must respect the position of parliament as an institution.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Big City Plan

So Birmingham's ruling Tory-Lib Dem coalition have set out the first stage in the 'Big City Plan' - their vision to make Birmingham a more pleasant place to live and do business.

Some of the ideas sketched out so far are actually quite could like providing better links to Digbeth and the Jewellery Quarter (surely the best two parts of the city). But lets not forgot that it was the Labour party under Dick Knowles and Albert Bore that began the process of breaking down the Queensway Collar which did so much harm to our once glorious city centre. For those readers who don't know Birmingham well, the Queensway is a giant 1960s ring road that encloses the retail and commercial heart of Birmingham and has acted as a deterrent to growth ever since it was built.

I just hope that the final plan includes a proper proposal for dealing with mass transportation. Whilst I accept that Birmingham may never get the tube system it so desperately needs we should at least see a tram (or the existing metro scheme) extended to bring more areas of the centre of our city into the zone of prosperity that extends from the Bull Ring to Brindley Place.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Its Aubry....

By just 102 votes Martine Aubry, daughter of Jaques Delors and founder of the 35 hour week, has become the first secretary of the French Socialist Party. This means that the Socialist nomination for the next French Presidential Election is wide open. Royal may yet prevail but this is a boost to the anything but Royal camp.

From a British perspective the battle for the leadership of the PS should be used to shine a light on how our own leadership battles work, do we have powerful regional fiefdoms? and if so what role do they play in the selection of our leaders?

Monday, 24 November 2008

The French Socialists - It's a virtual draw

Congratulations must go to the PS for managing to cock up the relatively straightforward process of selecting a leader. Aubry (of 35 hour working week fame) beat Royal by less than 1% and already accusations of dodgy voting are circulating. At least Gordon Brown's 'succession' as Labour leader resolved the issue quickly this dispute could go on for months.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

How not to write a law...

Jacqui Smith, who I am normally a big fan of, today announced plans to make the buying of sex from a women forced into prostitution or who has been trafficked illegal. This is a noble idea indeed but I cannot begin to imagine how it will work.

Do prostitutes who have not been forced into the trade get a certificate of some kind?
Are men meant to ask prior to the commencement of the 'transaction'?
Or are men simply assumed to be psychic?

This Bill is going to get torn about in the Commons and will probably end up as a meaningless shambles. Nice idea through.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Sports Report

Well done to Aston Villa, a fine win away at Arsenal. Just a shame they managed to cock it up at home to Middlesborough. I still think 4th is beyond them but 5th really should be the target from now on, it's worth remembering that Villa could get to the final of the UEFA cup an still not be in Europe next time round unless we get that 5th spot.

Moseley continue to fight hard for scant rewards as they went down to a wet 19-12 loss to Doncaster at Billesley. Fair play to Donny, they are a decent side and fought hard defensively to ensure Mose never really looked like winning. A slightly worrying sign was the small crowd obviously the weather and the England international has an impact but if we want Mose to stay competitive in the 1st Division then we need to start getting more fans through the gates. On the pitch Mose must learn how to hols their lineout in the face of pressure from a bigger team, as the old syaing goes 'you don't win nout without the ball'

Friday, 14 November 2008

Idiot Journalists

Can someone please tell all journalists everywhere that a percentage point is a different thing to a percentage. for example when describing cuts in interest rates a cut from 5% to 4% is not a 1 per cent cut it is a a cut of one percentage point. This may seem picky but this annoys the crap out of me.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Home News & the International Story of the Day

On the Oscott front our esteemed local Councilllor Keith Linnecor has launched a campaign to save local shops, I wish him all the best it would be a real shame to see our part of Birmingham become a wasteland like some parts of South Birmingham where all the little independent shops closed a long time ago. One of my greatest complaints about the UK is the dire state of independent retail, we must value our little shops as they are what give our towns and cities their character.

Away from Home (in France to be precise) comes the news that Ségolène Royal will run for the leadership of the Socialist Party. For those not well versed in the ways of French politics the story so far runs a little like this. Ms Royal's former partner and father of her children, Francois Hollande is the current leader of the Socialists he is standing down, Ms Royal stood as the Presidential candidate and lost to Sarkozy, she blamed those inside her own party for not supporting her, M. Hollande wanted the gay mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë to be the next leader, it was speculated that rather than stand herself Royal would support a weak third-party candidate, but now it appears she wants to do a Sarkozy and have the party to herself. (Thanks to French Politics for most of the info)

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The EU Audit

I've always considered Iain Dale to be a reasonably responsible blogger. but today he seems to have got his wires crossed. The BBC had widely reported that for the first time in 14 years the EU accounts have been passed by the annual Audit . Regardless of your feelings towards the European Union this must be viewed as a step in the right direction, however Mr Dale sees it differently.


Monday, 10 November 2008

Go Mose Go

Another win for Moseley RFC as they continue their fight for mid-table safety. This time the Black & Reds travlled to Sedgley Park (its between Bury & Manchester) and coming away with a 17-44 win. Good news, I am sure you will agree. But with the visit of Doncaster to Billesley next Saturday Mose are heading for a much tougher test.

It's just a shame Villa coundn't show the same kind of steel as they surcumbed to the mighty Middlesborough 2-1 at Villa Park. Lame.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Glenrothes - What it all means

There is no way to argue that this result was anything other than a slam dunk victory for the Labour Party. The SNP will try to claim that a slightly increased vote share is a positive result. it isn't, not by a long way. The most interesting aspect of this election is that Labour got more votes than it did at the last election, the party's base therefore remains strong (in Fife at least)

3 things we learn from this result.

1 - The Lib Dems are F**ked
2 - This result will have very little to do with anything that may happen in England at the next election
3 - Salmond and Independence have very little traction in Scotland as a whole.

I will ponder over the weekend if i can describe myself as a Unionist... I have always assumed I was not but maybe its time to consider my position properly.

Can this week get any better?

Holy Crap..... Labour holds Glenrothes by nearly 7,000 votes. Labour actually increased its share of the vote. This is an outstanding result and one which illustrates that Salmond is a busted flush.

Congratulations to all involved especially Lindsay Roy MP!

More thoughts later..

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

A great day

No words can really describe the feeling you get on a day like today. It was a wonderful night and the United States has a president it's people can be proud of. Rather than go into a long diatribe about why this result is important, i'm pretty sure you can all read newspapers and other blogs for that sort of thing, I just thought I would give my highlights of the night.

10 - Watching Simon Shachma go toe-to-toe with John Bolton on the BBC
9 - Florida going Blue
8 - Wolf Blitzer on CNN - what a name!
7 - Hillary Clinton trying to look happy as she cast her vote
6 - A Million people crowded into Chicago's Grant Park
5 - Al Franken battling to become a Senator in Minnesota
4- Elizabeth Dole losing
3 - Ohio
2 - Jesse Jackson crying like a baby as California declared
1 - Obama and his family stepping on the stage, the moment it became reality rather than fantasy

So there we have it a true moment of history, i just hope our US cousins enjoy it.. It is their May 1st 1997.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

US Election

To all my US readers... make sure you vote and for all that in holy and good in the world vote Obama. Not just because he is a Liberal, very intelligent, surrounded by wise counsel and will symbolise the victory of decent America but also to stop nut bags Palin getting anywhere near the White House.

As for me i shall be staying up late, eating chili and not going to bed like i did in 2000 thinking the Dems had one only to be horribly shocked at 7 in the morning by the news of idiot boy Bush's win in Florida. It still hurts.