May 2010 Archives
Attention has quite rightly been focused on cabinet positions in Mike Whitby's mini reshuffle of posts at Birmingham City Council.
One of the more interesting appointments, however, involves chairmanship of the new finance scrutiny committee, which has gone to Edgbaston Conservative councillor Fergus Robinson.
Robinson, an accountant, is clearly well suited to the position, but might there not be a slight clash of interests given that he remains the Conservative group chief whip with responsibility for disciplining the troops?
He has built his career on successfully implementing council leader Mike Whitby's wishes by making sure that grumbling backbench Tory councillors toe the line by supporting at all times the Tory-Lib Dem coalition that has been running Birmingham since 2004.
Robinson the chief whip is not known for tolerating dissent.
Parliament's new expenses watchdog has received loan applications from 11 MPs so far, it tells me.
The money will be used to put down deposits on rented accommodation in London.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority insists it can't tell me how much the loans are for (I thought this type of secrecy surrounding expenses had ended?) but the maximum MPs can borrow is ÃÂ£19,900.
The new deputy leader of Birmingham City Council's Conservative group is Philip Parkin.
Okay, not exactly earth shattering news.
Playing second fiddle in group matters to Mike Whitby wouldn't be everyone's first choice of a career move.
But Parkin's election by the 45-strong Tory group did surprise a number of pundits who had assumed the other contender, Longbridge councillor Keith Barton, would get the job.
I asked Birmingham's Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming whether he thought Gordon Brown's announcement that he plans to resign would make a coalition between the Lib Dems and Labour more likely.
He told me that one obstacle had been removed - Gordon Brown - but the obstacle of Labour's policies still remained.
But to listen to many Labour politicians in recent days, most recently Gordon Brown this afternoon, this isn't what the Lib Dems should be saying at all.
Along with a number of Labour-supporting commentators in the media and high-profile activists such as Billy Bragg, they claim the public actually voted for an "anti-Conservative progressive majority" on Thursday.
This is disingenuous nonsense and displays almost unbelievable arrogance.
Who are they to tell Lib Dem voters what their votes represent?
No one could ever accuse Jack Dromey, the new MP for Birmingham Erdington, of being anything other than one of Labour's loyal footsoldiers.
That, presumably, is why he was rewarded with a safe seat.
The fact that he is married to Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman, and is the leader of one of the country's largest trade unions obviously helped too.
I've kept silent on this blog while electioneering happens. My thoughts are inchoate on what will pan out on Friday morning, so my writing on such matters would be even more so.
But here's a recommendation. Take a look at this informative website: tacticalvoting.org; scroll down for constituency lists.
Their aim is, they say, "to provide information, in an independent and non-partisan way, on how to make the most of your vote. Starting with the coming UK general election on 6th May 2010". And they do it rather well.
Birmingham is aiming to produce one of the first election results of the night - and possibly the very first on the UK mainland - when it reveals who won Edgbaston early on Friday morning.
The city council, which is responsible for the count, says it may even be ready to announce a winner as soon as half past midnight.
Labour's Gisela Stuart made history when she took Edgbaston from the Tories in 1997, as part of Tony Blair's landslide election victory.