Dear Editor, I note your article and comment column in the Birmingham Post (February 11) where you say that “the leaders of the three main political groups on Birmingham City Council are running scared of debating the mayoral issue openly and honestly”.
You should appreciate that at the meeting at which this matter was raised, there was simply a request to respond to the government’s consultation paper on “Changing council governance arrangements” to be put forward by the council’s director of corporate governance. My comments at the meeting were that my views were likely to differ from the other two political group leaders (Conservative and Lib Dem). Now that I’ve read the article in which the leader of the council is quoted, I can confirm my views are indeed different to those he is expressing.
You will be aware that the position of the Labour group on Birmingham City Council is that we would wish the people of Birmingham to decide on the governance arrangements of the city.
The Labour group took a decision several years ago that we would campaign to urge that there should be a referendum on whether or not there should be a directly elected mayor. Indeed, we assisted with the Birmingham Mail’s campaign that sought to bring this about.
A number of the proposals the government makes would make it easier for there to be a referendum and, therefore, the Labour group will be in support of changes to the current requirements on a trigger for a referendum.
I will be submitting comments to this effect to the director of corporate governance. I have no doubt my comments will not be acceptable to the other group leaders and, therefore, the Labour group will have to submit its own views independently of the city council.
To make matters totally clear, the Labour group is keen that the people of Birmingham decide on whether the city should have a directly-elected mayor or a council-appointed leader. If there is a referendum, there will be members of the Labour group supporting the point of view that there should be a directly-elected mayor; other members would be supporting the Council-appointed leader.
Coun Sir Albert Bore, Leader of the Labour group,
The Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham
Stars can help to open pupils’ minds to maths
Dear Editor, David Cameron’s announcement that he has asked Carol Vorderman to lead a maths taskforce may prove a shrewd move.
If we leave the politics of this to one side, the use of a celebrity to undertake such a role can have a positive effect.
Maths may not always be the most interesting subject, but when handled correctly it can open up a whole new world for students. How and when they are introduced to this new world is important; some may have a fear of maths, and the reassurance of someone like Ms Vorderman – who is clearly passionate about her subject – can be very useful.
As head of one of Birmingham’s leading independent preparatory schools, I understand how important it is that any opportunity to enthuse our youngsters in the field of maths is grasped and nurtured.
This is much more likely to happen when those youngsters are encouraged not just at school, but at home and – where appropriate – through the implied endorsement of a well-known figure.
Norfolk House School, Edgbaston
New name for SMEs
Dear Editor, Can we rename SME companies. SMD. small medium and disappearing?
Andrew Siddon, Jesson Road, Walsall
Dress down Fridays
could be adapted to
allow us to salute our
hoodie role models
Dear Editor, What an eminently good suggestion “HH” makes in trying to promote a ‘Hoodie Day’ for all! (Letters, Feb 9)
Where I work the management allow a concession to have a Jeans Day on a few Fridays. All can cast off those jobsworths dull suits, wear more practical jeans and donate worthwhile cash to charities.
Similar arrangements could be made for hoodies and some of us could recall our hoodie heroes of yesteryear.
Mom left me sitting on the lap of an old hoodie when I was a tot. Although I was a little puzzled as to why an unshaven elderly stranger should promise me presents I was reassured that he was called Father Christmas and honoured his word.
On holiday a couple of years back I left my money and valuables on display in my room at a resort where men and women wandered around in permanent hoodie tops.
They chatted and informed me that they were sisters or brothers and that these were their uniforms. Well I was staying in Vatican City!
For those of us who are folically challenged, a hoodie not only makes sense but also is far less threatening than if we wore balaclavas. Role models such as footballers train and preen in their fashion hoodies for hours I assure you.
A widow at her bingo hall would turn a few plastic rain netted heads if she wore a cool hoodie to win a line but then I’d rather queue at a cashpoint alongside a hoodie any day rather than with a mugger type bank manager or City gent.
Steve Kirkham, Grange Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham