Archives for posts with tag: Steve Beauchampé

As Steve Beauchampé writes in the Birmingham Press and Political Concern, generations of an elite have ruled this nation (with a few intermissions) for as long as anyone can remember, due to a rigged electoral system.

Their dual achievements:

  • comfortable tax arrangements for the few, a political/corporate nexus which ensures highly paid and nominal duties for all in the inner circle
  • vast military expenditure bestowed on the arms industry, as rising numbers of the population survive in relative poverty, wait in hospital corridors, receive a sub-standard education and depend on handouts to eke out their existence.

Direction of travel

Beauchampé:(The) economy is increasingly kept afloat by the economic support of China . . . The modern high-rise residential blocks that have sprung up throughout the capital may give the impression of a modern, flourishing economy, but look closely and you will see that many are all but empty, whilst homelessness and a reliance on subsistence level housing grows . . . “He notes that surveillance is at an historic high with spy cameras, and even microphones installed in many public places -describing the state’s ability to track the population and follow their activities and conversations as ‘frightening’. . .

The elite stranglehold could be broken

OB’s editor agrees with many that electoral reform is a priority for beneficial change – but even under the rigged ‘first past the post’ system, if the weary mass of people (Brenda of Bristol)  saw the true situation they would vote for the candidate with a credible track record who would be most likely to work for the common good.

 

 

 

 

stirchley-baths-best

Stirchley History Group, a heritage project of Stirchley Baths meets on: Wednesday 2 November at 6.45: Stirchley Baths

Steve Beauchampé will give a presentation about our local pools. Please note that this event will be in the Large Community Room – at the Deep End. The room will be open from about 6.00 for welcome and chat.

sb-stirchley-talk

Stirchley Baths
Bournville Lane
Birmingham
West Midlands
B30 2JT

http://stirchleybaths.org/

email hello@stirchleybaths.com

0121 464 9072

 

“Last week’s announcement by Birmingham City Council that it was commissioning a feasibility study into whether to bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games was as surprising as it was welcome”.

sb-played-cover

So writes Steve Beauchampé, co-author of ‘Played in Birmingham’, Former International Officer of the FSA and member of Birmingham’s Euro ’96 Organising Committee.

Beauchampé notes that in general there had been little expectation of any alteration to the local authority’s previously stated position that a bid was not viable, in a period of unprecedented cuts to council services and substantially diminished central government grants. He continued:

“So what has changed?

“Several things perhaps: Chancellor George Osborne’s departure from office, which has seen his Northern Powerhouse project downgraded, or at least reconfigured as a more balanced national approach to devolution; that new Prime Minister Theresa May’s chief advisor Nick Timothy is from Birmingham, which might result in the city receiving a fairer hearing in Whitehall than was previously the case”.

The backing of the recently established West Midlands Combined Authority, as well as that of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership may well have been decisive, according to Beauchampé, who points out that, “both of these organisations are potentially able to access the sizeable funding streams necessary to develop the infrastructure improvements required to put on a high profile global event and deliver substantial economic regeneration as a consequence”. 

To secure the tacit support of central government and then the nomination of Commonwealth Games England, Birmingham must forget the notion of an ‘austerity’ Games:

“The Games, and the physical legacy they leave, must be tangible, its focal point both visible and accessible from the city centre. And whilst most of the facilities required already exist, albeit with some needing to be adapted, expanded or upgraded, several new venues and facilities will both be required and desirable (including a competition standard 50m pool, a velodrome and an athletes’ village)”.

He emphasizes that the region’s history and culture – sporting, artistic, ethnic and otherwise – should be mined and celebrated both in advance of, and during, the ten day spectacular of competition; there needs to be imagination in each aspect of how the event is conceived and delivered, and in how its benefits are to be maximised and secured afterwards. A Greater Birmingham bid needs to show how the region would advance the concept of what the Commonwealth Games can be, as successfully as London 2012 did with the Olympics.

Beauchampé reminds us that Manchester did not see staging the Commonwealth Games as the end of a process, but merely the beginning: “It’s an approach and a mindset that we too should adopt”.

Read the whole article: Bring The Games To Birmingham here: http://thebirminghampress.com/2016/10/bring-the-games-to-birmingham-2/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.playedinbritain.co.uk/authors.php

SAVE OUR BATHS!

pinn moral missions

A former aide to Iain Duncan Smith, Tim Montgomerie, writes in The Times, “You do not have to believe that Mr Duncan Smith’s motives were pure to recognise the letter’s political power”. He then gives four compelling ‘killer facts’ about the government’s fiscal strategy (reordered):

  1. Big decisions on cuts, with far-reaching consequences for vulnerable households, should not be rushed to fund gimmicky announcements that the Treasury hopes might win a few good headlines in one day’s newspapers.
  2. Some of the lowest income families, already working very long hours to make ends meet, are bearing too large a share of Tory spending cuts.
  3. Richer pensioners shouldn’t continue receiving expensive perks while vulnerable groups such as the disabled lose entitlements.
  4. If difficult , are necessary they should fund reductions in the historically large deficit rather than finance tax cuts for the better off, as happened in last week’s budget.

Were ‘Mr Duncan Smith’s motives pure’ or pragmatic: linked via The Brummie, Steve Beauchampé writes in the Birmingham Press (see punning title if you can bear it):

“It may be that not only are a significant number of the electorate becoming tired of Osborne’s perpetual austerity at a time when many economic indices are going south, but that voters have increasingly had it with the continual raids on the income of the disabled and the working poor, worse that they are overseen by millionaire Ministers such as David Cameron, George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith.

atos fit to rule tests

“Yet even without the link to tax reductions that Osborne’s intervention allowed to ferment, Iain Duncan Smith may well have discovered that his plans to reduce PIP payments for the disabled would have courted widespread unpopularity”.

Was this high-profile resignation primarily a matter of principle, or a move towards ‘facilitating the erstwhile Work and Pensions Secretary a swift return to front line politics’ (Beauchampé)? We shall see . . .

 

The three commentators looked at essentials, unimpressed by the headlines focussing on Jamie Oliver, the Budget’s impact on Irn Bru – or Jeremy Corbyn’s clothing. Pandering to the latter obsession we note Jeremy outshining Boris (below).

corbyn boris shake hands

The FT’s political editor, George Parker, describes the Budget as ‘a compendium of grim economic news deteriorating growth, bad productivity numbers and confirmation that the Chancellor had broken two of the three fiscal rules he set himself in July last year’.

Steve Beauchampé refers to George Osborne having given ‘the usual illusory and diversionary (think sugar tax) performance’ and George Parker recounts a list of policies ‘corralled’ by Mr Osborne to improve children’s education and help them save for a home or a pension and salutes “the sheer political appeal of a tax to tackle childhood obesity — with some of the revenues being spent on school sport”.

David Bailey in the Post draws on forecasts and data from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in measured language, to chilling effect: “Robert Chote, the OBR’s director, succinctly noted that for every pound the chancellor found down the back of the sofa in November, he has lost two pounds this time. So borrowing will be higher than Osborne hoped for”.

Beauchampé highlights George Osborne’s selective use of ‘economic data, financial contortions and highly politicised blames and claims’ – strategies attributed by Parker to Cameron ordering the presentation of a Budget that did not inflame Tory MPs or voters before the EU referendum, which the PM sees as “the only game in town”.

Beauchampé, however, sees the chancellor as being driven primarily by a more personal goal: “(The budget) was not primarily designed to address the current economic realities facing the lives of ordinary people or those issues identifiable for the future, but . . . to coincide with Osborne’s anticipated accession to the office of Prime Minister”.

He points out that, though specific measures for London, Manchester and Leeds were announced, there were no references to Birmingham and the West Midlands, commenting:

“Osborne’s much-vaunted devolution of powers from Westminster and Whitehall to the English regions is part of an ideology that sees the dismantling of traditional local government as essential. Riven with unnecessary politics, authority is transferred not to democratically accountable institutions representative of a cross-section of local society but to business focussed organisations and those whom the Chancellor hopes will be malleable individuals”.

After condemning as a wholly political choice the austerity Osborne has ‘so brutally placed’ on those at the bottom of society, to fund capital gains tax reductions and abandonment of the 50p top rate of income tax for those at or near the top, Beauchampé quotes Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘lambasting’ of Osborne’s record:

“The budget…is the culmination of six years of failures.

He’s failed on the budget deficit,

failed on debt,

failed on investment,

failed on productivity,

failed on the trade deficit,

failed on the welfare cap,

failed to tackle inequality”.

A verbal sparring match between the Birmingham Press’ independent Steve Beauchampé and Rachel Sylvester in the Murdoch Times would be well worth turning out for.

Welfare and workers’ rights – so yesterday

Ms Sylvester, working to diminish members’ increasing support for the Labour leader, evident in the recent YouGov poll, sees Mr Corbyn merely “trotting out old arguments about the importance of immigration, welfare and workers’ rights, apparently oblivious to the way in which public opinion has shifted in the last 40 years. . . “ and smears: “There is no sense of passion, more a suspicion that he sees the EU as a capitalist conspiracy against the masses but is nervous of saying so”.

Beauchampé has a different perspective, pointing to David Cameron’s dismissal of many elements of EU law that make a tangible, positive impact on the daily lives of British citizens, “such as crucial environmental legislation, consumer protection laws, the working time directive, social chapter, maternity leave and necessary health and safety legislation.

He adds that the PM’s willingness last autumn to negotiate away British workers EU employment rights, sets the Tory ‘Remain’ vision of Europe decisively at odds with that of Labour, the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.

Ms Sylvester damns Cameron with faint praise – Murdoch apparently backing Boris: “Having conceded a referendum in order to appease his rightwingers, and mounted a bogus negotiation in an attempt to hold the Tories together, (Cameron) has now moved beyond the partisan bickering to put a statesmanlike case for Britain’s membership of the European Union”.

Beauchampe goes to the heart of the matter:

  • “Cameron should have focussed instead on transferring more power to the democratically elected (and by proportional representation) European Parliament, simultaneously reducing the authority of the unelected Council of Europe.
  • “He should have requested greater financial transparency regarding EU budgets (audited accounts would be a start).
  • “And he should have been opposing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as it is currently envisaged, a treaty that threatens to undermine democratic institutions at local, national and international level, in favour of global business interests to the detriment of millions of EU citizens.

A knockout blow?

john clancySteve Beauchampé informed readers yesterday that Cllr John Clancy has been elected to succeed Sir Albert Bore as the new leader of Birmingham City Council, by a meeting of the 78-strong Labour group of councillors.

The first round saw Clancy poll 31 votes, Holbrook 23, Ian Ward 22 and Barry Henley 1. Clancy was finally successful in his fifth leadership attempt, elected by a single vote over Penny Holbrook, securing 38 votes to Holbrook’s 37.

There are now grounds for real hope as new Labour leaders are elected at city and national level.

Steve summarises some of John Clancy’s most promising policies:

  • he has pledged to focus less on grand city centre projects
  • and focus more on the rejuvenation of the city’s 40 wards through a package of devolution measures transferring decision making to the most local level possible.
  • He plans to consider replacing the current Leader and Cabinet system by returning to the Committee system and
  • intends to renegotiate the Council’s controversial outsourcing contracts with Capita and Amey.
  • He has promised an ‘open data’ council where such contracts are open to public scrutiny.

An overlap with Corbynomics, casual dress and negative colleagues

john clancy 3More likely to please those who like their politicians snappily dressed, he can also unwind; there is no fear of him losing votes because he does not habitually wear a tie – as did Corbyn. Clancy’s pledge to launch a Birmingham Bond to raise finance for housebuilding and other infrastructure projects calls to mind Colin Hines’ presentation of Brummie Bonds – a project undertaken with Richard Murphy – one of Corbyn’s advisers.

Steve Beauchampé ends: “However, given that he commands less the support of less than half of the city’s Labour councillors, compromise will need to be high on his agenda in the months ahead, not just as far as the Improvement Panel are concerned, but with regard to his party colleagues too”.


Read Steve’s article here: http://thebirminghampress.com/2015/11/clancy-wins-city-labour-leadership/

 

Author and Birmingham Press contributor, Steve Beauchampé assesses Jeremy Corbyn. Headings added:

My only surprise is that anyone was surprised. From the moment Jeremy Corbyn received sufficient nominations to qualify as a candidate in the Labour Party leadership contest, it was clear that here was someone who could articulate and represent the opinions of a considerable number of left leaning voters, both within the Labour Party and without.

After two decades of Blairites, Blair lites and the worthy but unelectable Ed Miliband, Labour voters were being offered the choice of more Blair/Brown in the form of either Yvette Cooper or the unspeakably vapid Liz Kendall (strategy: ‘the Tories won the last two elections, so let’s adopt policies that are indistinguishable from theirs’) or decent, honest and likeable Andy Burnham, a slightly more radical version of Ed Miliband but without the geeky visage and voice.

That Corbyn has forged a sizeable and potentially decisive lead over his rivals under Labour’s new ‘one member one vote’ electoral system has caused a mixture of consternation and outrage amongst many of the party’s grandees (most of whom are backing either Cooper or Kendall) and demonstrates how disconnected with a large section of potential Labour voters they have become (the more so with opinion polls placing Burnham second).

Corbyn has fended off the criticism and caricatures with ease

Meanwhile Corbyn, demonised and subjected to vitriolic attacks by some within his own party, and inaccurately dismissed as a 1980s throwback from the hard left of the political spectrum by Tories and most sections of the media, has fended off both the criticism and caricatures with ease, as befits a man with decades of experience of being outwith the political zeitgeist.

A politician with a track record of being on the right side of the argument years before those in the ‘mainstream’

However, following several weeks of lazy, ignorant mis-characterisation of him across the press (not least by the BBC), a realisation finally seems to be dawning amongst the more thoughtful political commentators and scribes that Jeremy Corbyn is no joke candidate, no passing fad, but is instead a serious politician, and one with an agenda appealing to many voters previously disengaged from party politics.

No cartoon firebrand Marxist he but a man of conviction and humility with a track record of being on the right side of the argument years before those in the ‘mainstream’ adopted the policies he espoused (Corbyn opposed Britain’s arming of Saddam Hussein in the late 1980s, supported Nelson Mandela and the ANC when the British Government was helping South Africa’s apartheid regime, held talks with the IRA nearly a decade or more before the Major and Blair governments did likewise, campaigned for gay rights when it was unfashionable to do so and voted against the invasion of Iraq in 2003).

A politician with an agenda appealing to many voters previously disengaged from party politics

And just as in Scotland, where the rise of the SNP, under the charismatic leaderships of first Alex Salmond and now Nicola Sturgeon, have helped invigorate politics, particularly amongst the young, so Corbyn’s leadership hustings have been passionate and at times electrifying affairs, populated by a sizeable number of youthful voters.

A victory for Corbyn on September 12th could energise and transform British politics

A victory for Corbyn on September 12th could energise and transform British politics, providing a narrative with which a substantial number of the electorate – many of whom currently feel disenfranchised and perhaps don’t even bother to vote – can feel comfortable and might coalesce around. Because, with every media appearance, every public speaking engagement, all but the most politically jaundiced can see that Jeremy Corbyn is at least a man of integrity, putting an argument that has long been absent from mainstream British politics.

Agree with him or not, but here is a politician to be respected and reckoned with, who is shifting the terms of the debate.

The Conservative agenda will be thrown into sharper definition

Thus those in the Conservative Party and its media cheerleaders who view a Corbyn victory as almost a guarantee of a third term in office may be in for a shock. Because, whilst the opprobrium directed at Corbyn from his opponents both outside and inside the Labour Party will only intensify if he becomes Labour leader, with a coherent and plausible genuine alternative to the Cameron/Osborne ideology and its attendant relentless tacking to the right of what constitutes the political centre ground, the Conservative’s agenda will be thrown into sharper definition in a way that a Labour Party offering merely a less extreme alternative to the Tories never can.

So could Jeremy Corbyn win a general election for Labour and become Prime Minister?

Well, despite his current sizeable lead in opinion polls Corbyn’s campaign could be scuppered by Labour’s second preference voting system, whereby the second choices of the lowest ranked candidate (who drops out) are added to the cumulative totals of those remaining, this procedure being repeated until one candidate has over half of the votes cast, a system expected to benefit Burnham or Cooper the most.

If . . .

If Corbyn can overcome that hurdle, and any subsequent move to oust him from the New Labour wing of the party, then don’t write Jeremy Corbyn off for Prime Minister. Few of life’s earthquake moments are ever foretold and by May 2020 who knows how bloodied and riven the Conservatives might be following the forthcoming EU referendum. Public appetite for the Tories and in particular George Osborne might have waned after two terms and ten years (and barely a quarter of the eligible electorate voted for them in 2015), with the Conservatives needing only to lose eight seats for there to be hung parliament. So a Corbyn prime ministership is not out of the question.

Perhaps the most likely – and intriguing – scenario to that coming to pass would be a coalition between a Corbyn-led Labour, the Liberal Democrats under the auspices of social democrat leftie Tim Farron, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens. Now that really would scare the Daily Mail readers!  

Steve Beauchampé, August 5th 2015.  

Read the Press article here: http://thebirminghampress.com/2015/08/the-john-peel-of-politics/

Steve adds:

Jeremy Corbyn’s policies include:

Re-introduction of a top rate 50% income tax

Tighter regulation of banks and the financial sector to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis (George Osborne is currently proposing to loosen these controls)

Substantial increase in the number of affordable homes being built

Re-introduction of rent controls to reduce the amount the state pays to private landlords

Support for Britain’s manufacturers rather than the financial services sector

The establishment of a National Investment Bank to pay for major public infrastructure programmes such as house building, improved rail, renewable energy projects and super fast broadband

The minimum wage to apply to apprentices

Removing all elements of privatisation from the NHS

Taking the railways, gas, water and electricity back into public ownership

Bringing Free Schools and Academies under the direct control of local authorities

Budget deficit reduction, but at a slower rate than that currently proposed

Scrapping Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent (Trident)

Support for significant devolution of power from London and opposition to unless voted for in a referendum

An elected second chamber

On the EU referendum, Corbyn has said that he is likely to vote to stay in, and then fight for change from inside.

handsworth herald

A lead from John Wight led to the Handsworth Herald, which then led to a clip from Adrian Goldberg’s thoughtful interview on BBC WM (1.53.54 ).

It was the political event of the weekend – the arrival of Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn in Birmingham” – standing room only

adrian gAdrian caught up with Jeremy Corbyn and asked him what difference he thinks he would make if he was to be the next leader of the Labour party. The Herald’s audiBoom extract from the Bordesley event prompted the writer to find the interview on Monday’s programme. 

Corbyn thinks of this leadership contest as being more about democratic expression – the wishes of ordinary people, currently not accurately represented under the present electoral system – and an alternative economic vision: in sum: “We don’t have to accept austerity”.

Osborne’s austerity has increased debt and cut services

jeremy corbyn (2)Corbyn response to two questions: first, that the alternative to austerity is to expand and rebalance the economy, collect taxes due, increase pay, support manufacturing and invest your way to prosperity.

Second, that the crisis in Calais and the Libya refugee camps is a product of wars around world – a shared human responsibility. The United Nations as an internationally responsible organisation should look at the causes of insecurity causing those unable to survive to go somewhere else.

Birmingham author and Birmingham Press contributor, Steve Beauchampé writes – as many think:

“A Tim Farron led Lib Dems, Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, the Greens, Plaid Cymru and Corbyn at Labour … not a bad left leaning alliance”.

BIRMINGHAM’S WATER PALACE: Steve Beauchampé: 1pm on July 21st

Moseley Road Baths history cover

Steve Beauchampé, the author of Pool of Memories – A History of Moseley Road Baths, will present this talk at the Birmingham and Midland Institute.

If you have a Sat Nav, enter the postcode ‘B3 3BS’ (or B3 2BJ for the nearest parking location). The Birmingham and Midland Institute is located on Margaret Street, Birmingham: 0121 236 3591. Free to members, £1 to visitors.

There may still be a chance to join the ‘terracotta army’ of swimmers in Moseley Road on Sunday 20th July and further the ongoing project ,”The Swimmers”, commissioned by Some City. Read more here.