January 2013 Archives
I walk down the high street of Rufopolis and note the run down, intimidating and decaying feel of boarded up shops amidst a scene of rubbish and dirt; a legacy from last nights turn out from the soup kitchens and food banks that now dominate this high street landscape. Here you can also find the many charity shops supporting an increasingly desperate and poor population; marginalised by society and unable to secure full time employment and access to social housing. Here is a high street that has failed to secure the necessary investment in regeneration which has fuelled a vicious cycle of decline and neglect.
Has Birmingham been unfairly targeted for funding cuts by the Government?
This is one of the major bones of contention between Labour, including city MPs and the council's Labour leader Sir Albert Bore, and the supporters of the Government.
But the figures seem to me to throw doubt on any suggestion that the city is receiving larger cuts in Government grant than other authorities. The cuts suffered by Birmingham - as a proportion of total grant - are similar to those experienced by other councils.
Should Prince Philip be King Philip?
This is the question posed by Birmingham MP John Hemming (Lib Dem Yardley), in a Commons motion calling for an end to "sex discrimination" in the monarchy.
One change to the law is already making its way through Parliament. The Succession to the Crown Bill, which had its first reading in the Commons in December, will end the practice of boys leapfrogging older sisters in the order of succession.
I see that the recent gang rape of a young Indian woman in Delhi is still creating a stir.
The incident (which subsequently led to the death of the victim) has become a catalyst for social change in India. It's become a wake-up call for the entire nation to reconsider its attitudes to women and sexuality. In the last two or three weeks, for instance, along with civil protests, everyone - from Indian politicians to film stars - has been echoing his dismay and indignation at what occurred. The people are demanding that the judges sentence the men to death (the trial begins this weekend).
But I'm not so sure.