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Friday, June 19th, 2015

Eight Hundred Not Out!

The celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta this week has been a disappointingly muted affair.

We may ask what an ancient scroll that has been largely superseded means to us today, but the answer is clear cut. Rather a lot actually. It represents the birthplace of the democratic, free society we enjoy and

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Friday, June 5th, 2015

Pushing the Powerhouse

So, what are we to make of this talk of Combined Authority? Is Solihull and its independence under threat from big Birmingham? Will our ability to meet the needs of our communities be pruned through diversion of resources into the Birmingham and Black Country conurbation? Should we resist it with all our might?

If we look

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Friday, May 22nd, 2015

A Seven Day Service?

The NHS became a football during the recent election and now, after the PM has pledged a ‘7 day NHS’, a queue of experts has formed to tell us through almost every media channel that he has no chance (eg BBC News and The Guardian).

At face value, it looks straightforward. Other service sectors have gone

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Friday, May 8th, 2015

Beyond the Ballot Box

Well, the people have spoken and we have a new Government. Much to our surprise, given the way our expectations were teed up by the polls and the media, it will not be a coalition. The tenure of the new Government will, no doubt, see much more change, and the democratic process does not end

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Friday, April 24th, 2015

Are We Tuned in to Health Matters?

A report published this week is a worthy read for those working in the provision of health and care service provision from the charity/community sector on one hand and for those involved in the public administration of health and care on the other. It examines how well the two talk to each other and work

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Friday, April 10th, 2015

Quality Television that Packed a Punch

I watched the BBC3 drama Murdered by My Boyfriend over Easter. Having missed it completely when first broadcast in June last year, I had been alerted to it after seeing the equally excellent follow up documentary on the same channel, Beaten by My Boyfriend.

Both deal head on with the increasingly troubling matter of domestic violence

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Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Learning From Ross?

There was a very interesting article in the Sunday Times in which Benji Wilson talked of the relevance of Winston Graham’s Poldark stories, as currently serialised on TV, to today. He wrote

“its story of a radical hero battling greedy bankers still resonates”.

He also quoted Karen Thrussell, executive producer of the TV series, who said:

“There is timelessness

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Friday, February 27th, 2015

Icings on Cakes

I have two significant events to share this week. Firstly, I now have a copy of a book. Not just any book, but:

“From Then ‘Til Now – The Story of Chelmsley Wood”

and a cracking addition to the canon of local heritage publications it is, splendidly structured, richly illustrated, easy to read and infused with

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Friday, February 13th, 2015

Reversing Home Ownership Trends

What will be the hot issue in the forthcoming election, the economy, Europe, the welfare system or immigration?

There is another topic I would like to see at the forefront of debate because I would like my own head around it, and it relates to each of those four topics in one way or another, that

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Friday, January 30th, 2015

An Apple A Day

Details of a study, released this week, show that the growth in obesity rates amongst the young in England is ‘levelling off’. The number of children being overweight or obese had at one point been increasing by 8% per year but is now remaining relatively static.

This is hardly good news, though, because over a third of

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