Only 78 Labour councillors will have the opportunity to elect the next leader of Europe’s largest metropolitan authority. The Chamberlain Files thinks a few more should have a say and has profiled the four candidates and created a poll for visitors to the Chamberlain Files here: http://www.thechamberlainfiles.com/your-say-on-next-leader-of-birmingham-city-council/

john clancyHaving watched the constructive egalitarian policies set out by Cllr John Clancy for over ten years, the writer had no hesitation in voting for him – and noted that currently over 50% responding to the poll are doing so.

In the Chamberlain Files, Paul Dale informs us that John Clancy, councillor for Quinton ward, is a former corporate lawyer turned teacher who hails from Labour’s working class moderate trade union wing:

“He has a good brain and has been at the forefront of policy development for Labour, in particular dissecting the accounts of almost 100 local government pension schemes to prove that billions of pounds a year is wasted by councils throwing fees at city investment advisers for poor returns . . .

“Clancy’s big idea, which has been embraced by the present government, is to amalgamate the very many public sector pension funds into four or five large funds, and use the money saved on administration to deliver economic development and new social housing . . .

“Professor David Bailey, head of industrial strategy at Aston University Business School, would be a key member of Clancy’s cabinet. Bailey has been a trusted adviser to Clancy for several years and can expect to make a significant contribution to the city council’s economic strategy going forward, if John Clancy is elected”.

Use the Chamberlain Files’ link to read about Cllr Clancy’s views on New Street Station and the Grand Central shopping centre, HS2, the Southside development of the wholesale markets and the redevelopment of Paradise Circus.

Most of the wider public do not read the Birmingham Post in which Clancy’s articles have appeared, but hearsay arising from his presentation to the discriminating WM New Economics Group indicates that that he is a good communicator and – given more exposure though social media – his policies could have Corbyn-level appeal for the Labour Party influx and the Birmingham electorate. Highlights on record:

  • For ten years, local councillors led by John Clancy and the Hodge Hill MP battled to protect the Brockhurst Playing Fields but finally, in 2010, Birmingham’s Conservative City Council permitted Tesco to build a superstore on them;
  • His 2010 analysis of the 2008 economic crisis stressed the failure across much of the private sector – not the public sector: the failure of global markets, global finance, credit systems and of the light-touch regulation to keep the market supposedly as free as possible. He adds that if the taxpayer not stepped in, there would have been widespread, catastrophic private business collapse across the West Midlands.
  • In 2012 Cllr Clancy urged the council to place the wholesale markets at the heart of Birmingham’s economy. His stirring speech to the full council contrasted the council’s attitude to the German Market with its treatment of the wholesale markets – describing the wholesale and retail markets as the city’s most long-lasting SME cluster. His slogan for Birmingham, a global city with a truly local heart, “Markets matter!”
  • He believes that instead of building a city from global retail, financial markets and office space, it should be built from thousands of small and medium businesses. He proposes less emphasis on the global and more on the local, repeating that global capital got us into ‘this mess’ and local capital and local circulation of capital could get us out of it.
  • In 2014 a new report on air quality in Birmingham showed that our community is on course to fail targets on nitrogen dioxide levels because of traffic congestion. Since 2005 Councillor John Clancy has chaired a local focus group and advocated reduction of harmful emissions.

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  • In 2015, with reference to yet more glitzy city centre Canary Wharf-style development he asked: “Do the people of Birmingham really want to divert investment to ‘destructive casino banking?”

Certainly, if John Clancy succeeds Sir Albert Bore, his intention to make a fairer distribution of economic development investment from the city centre to inner city areas and the suburbs will offer hope to neglected wards and a path to a wider based regional prosperity.

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