Birmingham is indulging in a little back-slapping over a double political coup.

It starts today when the Prime Minister drags the rest of the Cabinet up to the city to hold an important get-together ahead of the Labour conference.

The Cabinet meeting will be the first outside of London and a programme of other events has been arranged for the day.

Gordon Brown will use the visit to meet with business and council leaders in Birmingham following the announcement of a £64 million package of economic aid for the West Midlands, whilst senior Cabinet colleagues will tour the region for various media-friendly engagements.

The Cabinet meeting was originally announced not long after the Tories revealed they would be holding their annual conference in Birmingham, which starts on September 28.

The theme of the Conservative conference will be past, present and future, with Birmingham obviously featuring heavily, whilst the value to the local economy of staging the Tories’ main event to the city and wider Midlands is being put at around £20m.

Both events will undoubtedly put Birmingham and the Midlands in the national spotlight.

As a result, they both do represent a coup and will offer an opportunity to showcase the modern Birmingham and what the 21st century version of the city actually entails. It also provides a platform to highlight the plans for the future development of Birmingham.

The benefits of staging both these high-profile political events are significant. The opportunities to give Birmingham a much-needed image boost will, hopefully, be realised.

But there will be a downside, not just the massive security operation that will have a big impact on Birmingham during the Tory conference in particular.

We will also have to endure politicians of all shapes, sizes and profiles looking to grab their own 15 seconds in the limelight with various photo-ops, publicity stunts and vacuous soundbites.

From the current financial concerns and business prospects, to the state of the environment and violent crime, we’ll be deluged on all fronts.

We can expect a vox pop on almost every street corner, someone will possibly release a large amount of balloons for some unfathomable reason linked to a particular cause or issue , whilst there will also be a shot of senior politicians on a canal boat/bus/tram/train/bike at various points.

These are relatively minor irritations – unless you get collared for a pointless vox pop, snarled up in congestion caused by the “ring of steel” security precautions, or worst of all get asked to shake the hand of some faceless politician as you attempt to find a post office or head for the BOGOF shelves of your local cut-price supermarket.

Hopefully the positives will far outweigh the negatives and the upside of having these undesirables descending on us will be a more positive, up-to-date profile for the city and the wider region.

There has to be some benefit and pay-back for hosting so many politicians.

No pain, no gain.

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6 responses »

  1. Doesn't need to be known says:

    Paul, thanks for leading me up a not so wet garden path. There I was thinking you’d fill me in on Birmingham’s weather report: Undesirable(s) flooding. How delicately put.

    U

  2. Doesn't need to be known says:

    Paul, oh my god, what’s happened to my real name? Do I need to go incognito?

    U

  3. Paul Groves says:

    Ursula: It is happening automatically. Perhaps it is a rude comment from the mighty WordPress machine on your commenting style :-O

  4. […] Taking advantage of these undesirables flooding into Birmingham […]

  5. Doesn't need to be known says:

    Paul, I don’t get easily unsettled. Please be as blunt as you can muster considering you are British: What IS my commenting style?

    As long as I live I like to learn.

    U

  6. Paul Groves says:

    U: I’m just teasing a little as I have no explanation for why “Doesn’t need to be known” is appearing instead of your name.

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