Political activist Luke Holland makes a lot of noise for someone who is basically an enthusiastic foot soldier in the Birmingham Labour Party.

Some have privately said that he is a relative nobody, one of scores, if not hundreds, of rank and file party members, and wonder why he has regularly hit the headlines where the majority have not.

But the teenager has used social media and a fearless attitude to campaigning to promote himself and his causes over the past 12 months or so.

He has been at the forefront of campaigns on library cuts, refugees, action for the homeless and the fight against Islamophobia.

So his decision to complain to both Jeremy Corbyn and council leader John Clancy over homophobic discrimination in the Birmingham Labour Party, of which he claims to be a victim, was bound to cause a few ripples.

He alleges that candidates have been blocked simply because they are gay or lesbian and that some officials and councillors are hostile to homosexuals. He claims he was told to hide his own sexuality in certain meetings.

Some councillors and some areas “do not do gay”, he alleges.

This is now the subject of a Labour Party investigation which will be followed with interest.

It also tallies with mutterings that the council’s CHIPS education scheme – which stands for Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools – does not have the support of many councillors, and it is claimed that some have demanded it is dropped.

Opponents have, probably deliberately, misunderstood it as giving ‘gay’ lessons to under-11s. But it is simply about teaching that a child with two mums or two dads deserves the same tolerance and respect as someone of a different religion or race or a disabled child.

CHIPS was set up two years ago after investigations found that children in the infamous Trojan Horse schools were getting a strict Islamic religious education and being taught intolerance of homosexuals.

But its introduction has not been smooth. There have been angry exchanges between socially conservative parents and staff in some schools over CHIPS.

And some councillors, representing areas with strongly devout Muslim and Christian communities, may fear a loss of support if CHIPS is enforced in their schools and prefer if it was withdrawn.

But it is worth them remembering that Members of Parliament in the 1960s went against popular opinion when they legalised homosexuality and even abolished the death penalty.

They showed leadership and over the intervening decades public opinion has moved in their direction.

Where's Whitby

Lord Whitby defends expense of Tory Party Conference

It has been a while since the name of former leader Lord Whitby has been muttered in the debating chambers and committee rooms of Birmingham’s Council House.

But he will be pleased that his latest act left some egg on the face of the Labour cabinet’s wind-up merchant-in-chief Stewart Stacey.

Since his elevation to the House of Lords a few years ago, despite pledges to battle for Brum in the corridors of power, Lord Whitby of Harborne seems to have taken a complete step back from public life in the city.

Whether, like a duck paddling under the pond’s surface, there is any activity behind the scenes from Lord Whitby, no one can tell me.

But this week it was revealed at cabinet that his Lordship is stepping down from the Harborne Parish Lands charity board and Conservative member Akaal Sidhu has been nominated as a replacement trustee.

To which there was a howl of outrage from Councillor Stacey, who pointed out that there is currently a two-thirds Labour majority in Harborne, so shouldn’t they nominate the successor.

Conservative leader Robert Alden countered that Lord Whitby was resigning part-way through his term and if he heard the replacement was to be a Labour nominee he would stick around.

Playing the diplomat (as well as conscious that the meeting was already two hours old) council leader John Clancy intervened and offered to postpone the decision and move swiftly on to the next appointment.

Coun Stacey clearly had not read ahead as this turned out to be the appointment of Sanjay Sharma as Labour nominated board member for the Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust.

“Sutton Coldfield has 11 Conservatives and one Labour councillor,” objected Coun Alden and, in a perfect riposte to Coun Stacey, demanded the Labour name be withdrawn.

Again playing the role of UN Peacekeeper as the rest of the table descended into laughter, Coun Clancy decided that the original proposals should both stand.

It’s not often that someone gets the last word on Coun Stacey but, in the words of a teenager, Coun Alden totally owned him.

Recycling election material

Les Jones, Conservative candidate in the 2016 election for West Midlands Police Commissioner
Les Jones, Conservative candidate in the 2016 election for West Midlands Police Commissioner

There is much endeavour among our political elite to encourage more recycling and help the environment but I am not sure that extends to websites.

It appears Conservative candidate for West Midlands police commissioner Les Jones has done just that as, under the About Les Jones section, he states: “The people of Dudley deserve a strong local voice as their MP.”

It is a statement no one can argue with but is surely a recycling of Coun Jones’ campaign to become MP for Dudley North last year.