Let me start by stating my strong belief that we should celebrate our patron saint on his day. Since celebrations to do this have been arranged I’ve been there at some event or other and for all the years Sandwell have organised the party in the park enjoyed the event immensely.
This year the question of the parade has become a hot political topic. There are two references I wish to make.
Firstly, the Observer newspaper Friday 20th Feb when, Tom Watson MP chose to make this the subject of his regular Westminster Observer article. He refers to a Facebook group of 2000 who want a parade. I fail to see the relevance of this comment because these folk could all be the people who allegedly caused the problems last year and subsequent council withdrawal of funding for the parade. The council are still funding the event in the park and a concert. Tom goes on to criticise Cllr. Edwards who is chair of the councils watchdog committee and published a report towards the end of last year. Knowing both these people my money is on Cllr Edwards to be more in touch with what is happening on the ground here in Sandwell. Always the “listening” MP Tom has set up a online survey at www.tel-tom.com/stgeorges Not to impressed with the survey either.
Second, the Politics show BBC1 on Sunday the march was the major local topic with input from Cllrs Rowley and Edwards both of which I thought well presented with a strong argument against the march. Stone Cross St Georges’ Day Association was also represented well. Tom Watson was interviewed when again he apparently went directly against his local council. I thought his interview was quite frankly embarrassing. I could not help thinking what is really going on here?
Local MP loosing his political support in some of his wards, Newton, Great Barr, Charlemont? sees an opportunity to get some good publicity. A bit like the campaign to save our A&E which came back and bit him in the butt. I hear today that a local business man has stumped up the £10K to finance this so it will now probably go ahead unless of course Ch. Supt. Dugmore has the final say on safety grounds and opposes the application to close the roads.
I’ll make a little prediction the march will go ahead with our MP somewhere leading it. I can’t help feeling though there are a lot more pressing issues in the constituency that his time would be better spent on. But then what would I know I only live here.