I noticed with wry amusement the letter from Gerald Bickley, of Brownhills Local Committee in the Walsall Advertiser last week. It’s interesting and welcome that we finally hear something from the somewhat somnambulant group apparently deeming to speak on behalf of our town.
I assume by the condescending term ‘local laymen’ Gerald refers to Brian Stringer, who’s come up with a viable, workable plan to erect a monument, as detailed in local press and previously here on The Brownhills Blog. Why isn’t Mr. Bickley getting behind that – or if he is, why doesn’t he say so?
Brian Stringer has worked very hard on this, totally onhis own initiative, and the indefatigable local author deserves the support of the whole town. The signs referred to in the letter were a publicity vanity project by Hammerwich Parish Council. If the Committee would like to do the same, go and procure funding and do it, rather than writing to the local press whinging. Only please don’t go for the same design as Hammerwich, who inexplicably featured fluorescent yellow pretzels on their signage rather than a Staffordshire Knot.
Presumably, to be able to speak on behalf of 12,000 plus residents, Gerald and his fellow members enjoy a degree of power and ability to procure funding. Get off your arses and go for it. The reason other stuff is being done – including a plan to erect a £15,000 statue in Lichfield – is because the people with plans and grand ideas have been encouraged by their civic leaders. I look forward to Brian receiving the same welcome support that has been so evident for projects elsewhere.
While we’re on the subject of the Local Committee, I’ve only ever peripherally heard of Mr. Bickley, whilst his fellow burghers also seem to suffer from an unfortunately rather low profile. I’ve have never been made aware of any election taking place where residents could be appointed to such a board, and I don’t see any publicity online or in the inky press as to their meetings. I have never been aware of how I could vote in such an election. I find myself wondering how, exactly, they represent myself as a resident of Brownhills, in terms of democracy and accountability. Presumably, minutes of meetings and details of appointees are available somewhere, hopefully online. Perhaps a member with internet connectivity would care to update the blog with details.
I implore the Committee to support Brian Stringer’s plan and to state such publicly. Brian needs to acquire funding and as broad support as possible. A committee representing the whole of Brownhills surely has a role to play in that, and I would welcome their wholehearted support.
If anyone were to wonder why local people are so disillusioned with the democratic process and governance at a local level in Brownhills, I think I’d struggle to find a better example of the cause.