In seven days’ time, voters across 17 Midlands councils will go to the polls to elect local councillors. Last week we published our ‘Five Key Takeaways’ in the first Midland’s Moments article. With the polls firmly in our sights, here is the latest news on the political battles taking place across the communities of the East and West Midlands.
Here are our final four takeaways from across the region with just a week to go:
May 5 – Derby Day – Three Leaders battle to defend their seats
Three of the council’s party leaders are battling to defend their seats. Conservative Leader, Chris Poulter, argues Derby cannot “return to a wasteful, dysfunctional and chaotic Labour-led council”. Liberal Democrat Leader, Ruth Skelton, targets the Conservative national party, saying the “scandals surrounding Boris Johnson reveal the Conservatives live in a totally different world to the rest of us.” Reform Derby Leader Alan Graves, appeals to residents arguing “We are the true voice for all the people”.
Derby Labour Party are campaigning on the Four T’s: Tory cuts, Tory incompetence, Tory waste, and Tory lies. Labour Leader, Baggy Shanker states they have the answers having undertaken “extensive listening campaigns”.
For the suburbs or the centre? Birmingham Tories dither
Birmingham Tories 23-page manifesto aims to ‘unleash the potential of every Brummie in every community’ and distanced itself from the national party. The manifesto commits the party to invest over £100 million in the suburban areas of Birmingham and reverse what Conservative Leader, Councillor Robert Alden argues is Labour’s heavy “focus” on the city centre.
Yet, Councillor Meirion Jenkins, Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources boasts that the Conservatives ‘will bring top quality properties to the city centre, the type of private properties that residents will clamour to purchase. The quality of these properties would not be out of place in Belgravia or 5th Avenue’.
From serial killers to Stalin, the Sandwell Saga continues
Recently, Acting Conservative Leader, Councillor Archer Williams lambasted Sandwell Council Leader, Kerrie Carmichael for inferring Tories are serial killers.
Councillor Williams said at the time: “Both the left and right attack each other verbally…However, this type of language towards Conservatives is all too common. It’s very rare that I see people from our side of the political spectrum using words such as scum or killer to describe the left.”
However, at a Full Council meeting this week Councillor Williams caused uproar by bringing mass murdering Soviet dictator Stalin into the debate. He said: “This council has imposed over a five percent tax increase…this excruciating increase…would make Stalin smile.”
Councillor Williams withdrew the comment but then compared Sandwell Council and its Leader to Victorian Highwaymen stealing “local residents’ dreams”. Councillor Williams was adamant after the meeting he had not compared Councillor Carmichael to Stalin.
Populism, hypocrisy, or greed? Walsall’s Green Belt at the forefront of debate
Independent Walsall councillor, Doug James, argues his colleagues blindly back campaigns to save the Green Belt without questioning the impact on disadvantaged parts of the community.
Councillor James argues “So many local politicians play the populist campaign card without a clue of the costs of Green Belt land to others without housing. Many people who support ‘Green Belts’ are well off and well housed. Why do they wish to prevent others having what they own themselves? Hypocrisy or greed?”