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Category Archives: Birmingham

This arrest has been brought to you courtesy of Persil

It has come out in today’s Guardian that our local police force is putting out to private sector tender a significant number of its core services – an effective privatisation of the police.

“Private companies could take responsibility for investigating crimes, patrolling neighbourhoods and even detaining suspects under a radical privatisation plan being put forward by two of the largest police forces in the country.

West Midlands and Surrey have invited bids from G4S and other major security companies on behalf of all forces across England and Wales to take over the delivery of a wide range of services previously carried out by the police”.

Of all the ridiculous notions which have been dreamed up by our Conservative / Liberal Democrat government in the two years since they took power, this surely has to be the most ridiculous of all.

Privatisations of other public services done in previous years – by both Labour and Conservative governments alike – have been bad enough; at least it has been possible to see some form of sense in introducing the profit motive into utilities such as electricity, gas, water, trains, buses, and telecommunications, whether or not one agrees with the principle – they were at least examples of services which included products which can be commodified, produced at a cost and sold to customers at cost plus profit. You could see how the introduction of the profit motive, of competition, and the redefinition of service users into customers could be made to work, even if you didn’t agree with it.

But where is the opportunity for introducing profit into policing?

Well, of course down in the East End of London, and in Belfast, (London)Derry, and Portadown they’ve long had experience of profit-driven policing:

“Nice greengrocer’s shop you’ve got here. Reeeeal nice. I do like those big glass windows you’ve got on your shop front there – they really show off your produce well.

“Of course, it really would be a shame if something bad  happened to your shop. Real shame. Cos you know there’s some bad people living round here, don’t you? And look at all those bricks left lying around from the building site on the corner. Wouldn’t take much for one of the local bad people to pick one up and throw it through your nice big window, now would it?

“Tell you what – that’s where we can help. If you just pay us £1,000 a month, we can make sure none of the local bad people pick up one of those bricks and smash your shop window for you. We’re good at protection – we’ve got a lot of experience in it.

“I’d hate to see what might happen if you weren’t protected – and we’re not a charity ourselves, are we? We wouldn’t be able to protect you for free.

“Know what I mean? Have a think about it. I’ll be back next Monday to get your answer, and take your first payment if you decide to take up our offer”.

Need I say anything more?

(You might also be interested in what BrokenBottleBoy has to say)

See also: Guards at Birmingham courts paid late after wages blunder by G4S and Police ‘privatisation’ must be suspended until commissioner election – MP.

Debate on Political Reform, 4 February, 2011, Birmingham


I went to a public debate on political reform organised by the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign, and took detailed notes of what was said. On the panel were: Dominic Fisher, Chair of the Ladywood constituency Conservative Party, Councillor Paul Tilsley, LibDem Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, Jonathan Bartley, Co-Director of the liberal Christian [...]

The Quest

This year we decided to enter the second in the now annual Birmingham creative community‘s 48 hour film challenge, Filmdash. The idea of making a stop motion animation is one we had last year, but beyond doing a test shot of two seconds with Tailycat – our lead in The Quest – we hadn’t got [...]

Give the gift of choice

I was recently walking through the Pallasades shopping centre when i noticed this poster, advertising the Pallasades Gift Card: The perfect present every time, indeed; whose face couldn’t possibly fail to light up at receiving such a kind & thoughtful gift, when the gift of choice includes wares from these fine emporiums: One is – [...]

Complaint – no gritting along Farmer’s Bridge flight, central Birmingham

Dear Dean Davies (Customer Services, British Waterways West Midlands), I’m writing to complain to you in the strongest possible terms about the lack of gritting along the towpath of the Farmer’s Bridge lock flight, Birmingham City Centre. This morning, between the top lock and lock number seven (where I disembark) walking along it to work [...]

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