The spikey-tongued Cassie Vayall

4th May 2011

Bookies offer 1000/1 on royal baby playing Premier League football
William Hill bookies are offering 1000/1 against Wills’ and Kate’s baby playing Premier League football.
Well they’re on a safe one there and that’s for sure.
First, they haven’t had a baby. Second, if they do, it may be female. Third, if it inherits William’s footballing skill (he supports Villa) there’s no chance.
A better bet is the bookies’ offer of 33/1 odds that the baby will appear on the front cover of Vogue magazine before he/she is aged 18.
Now that is surely going to happen. Even if it turns out looking like Will’s great great great great grandmother (Queen Vic), Vogue will be interested.
And by the time it’s eighteen, the plastic surgeons and make –up experts will have it looking like a cross between Cheryl Cole and David Beckham…. or even Kate Middleton and Prince William, come to that. They’re both good looking. Though I hate to admit it.
Another thing I hate to admit is that the Royal Wedding was brilliant. I tried my best to be cynical and grumpy, but it was impressive, and lovely. Made me feel proud to be British.
Odds on William and Kate having a baby in 2012 are 4/5. A cert, so the bookies think. Good luck to them. They’re gonna need it.
And talking of bookies – odds on a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum: 11/2.
‘No’ vote is 1/10 against. The bookies think ‘no’ is a certainty.
Now I’d like to have a bet.
I bet that more people are interested in Kate and William’s unborn – though probably no longer unconceived – baby than they are in the referendum result.
The AV campaign wants to take us into a brave new world of politics.
But many Brits are quite happy living in an old and unchanging world of tradition and history.
The Royal Wedding proved that much.


Cameron venisony… ooops, I mean ‘very sorry’.     28th April
“Calm down, dear,” David Cameron quipped to a female Labour MP, Angela Eagle, across the House of Commons yesterday during Prime Minister’s Questions.
Terrible, said Labour. Patronising. Sexist.
They reckon they had caught him on an unguarded moment. He was being heckled during a debate and his reflex quip showed his true attitudes towards women, especially Labour women of a lower class than the twin set and pearls brigade that attend his Pimms parties, so the argument goes.
Cameron has tried to shake off his posh public school image.
With some, but only limited success.
But there are times when unguarded use of language betrays the real attitudes of the user, no matter how carefully the PR advisers try to hide away the darker side of someone’s personality and attitudes .
A lot of people would say: “So what’s wrong with using the word ‘dear’?”
It’s not insulting. He could have used a much more forceful expression to tell her to be quiet. I’ve no need to spell out the possibilities.
“It’s not important,” say others. “Labour are just trying to find fault. Nit picking.”
So why did this incident cause such a stir?
Because it was evidence that we live in a society of unequals. However much it is dressed up, whatever politically correct language we use, at times the social divisions break through.
Language betrays the user.
Men better than women. Upper class better than working class. White better than black.
Cameron wouldn’t have called a man on the Labour benches ‘mate’ or ‘sonny’.
We’ve travelled that far on the road to equality.
But we’ve got a bit further to go yet before the toffs understand that they can’t treat all women like they treat their wives and mistresses.


Asbo gardeners       22nd April
My neighbour’s got a lawn the size of a billiard table and a lawn mower like a combine harvester. Every time the sun comes out, he’s out there. Boom, rattle, grind.
I could cut his grass with a pair of scissors in half the time it takes him with his wretched machine.
Then he gets the strimmer out. SSSSsssszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. The noise goes right through you.
Then his mate two doors away starts up his Flymo. Then another one starts up over the road. Then another strimmer whirring and zipping away. It spreads like chickenpox.
And when one of them has finished his little patch, he’ll decide it’s time to do something relaxing, like build a wall. But he’ll have to knock the old one down first. So out comes the lump hammer from the shed, and  hey, guess what, he’s got an electric concrete mixer in there that he hasn’t used for a couple of years.
Worst of all are these high-powered water sprays that people use nowadays to clean their patios, and walls. Whoooshing away, drowning and droning, fizzing along the flagstones.
It’s like an orchestra from hell.
The vocals come from people who feel the need to open every window in the house, and turn up their music so that they, and you can hear every word and note as you all sit outside separated by flimsy fences.
As if they think their taste in music was something to be proud of.
I’m hardly likely to share the same taste as a selfish noisy prat who waddles up and down his garden path with his belly hanging over a flymo handle, slurping from a can of cheap lager.
I’m sure they would only settle down to read a book if it involved making a lot of noise. Perhaps they read out loud, like we all used to at infants school.
I don’t mind hearing kids play in the sunshine. They can be rowdy in fits and starts. But adults should have a bit more consideration.
Pleasant evenings in the garden sunshine?
I hope it starts raining soon.
Or else I’m going to the garden centre to buy me a nuclear-powered, super-strimming, turbo-charged, water-cannon spraying, rocket-propelled all-purpose garden manicure set.

A cut too far      20th April
What should a Council be responsible for?
If the parents of a seven year old child are tragically killed in a road accident, who looks after the child, and who pays? If an elderly woman whose grown up children have emigrated to Australia develops dementia, should the Council look after her?
A 48 year-old man who has spent most of his life in prison for various petty offences.
He’s let out, but is homeless.
Who looks after him?
A child whose mother is a crack addict?
The list of tragic, heart-rending cases is endless. And councils cannot look after everyone who has needs. Somewhere they have to draw the line and say: “You are not needy enough; we will not provide for you.”
Councils across the country are making cutbacks. Some are doing it reluctantly, others seem to be enjoying it.
What should they be allowed to cut back on?
And should they ever be told… “No, hang on a minute. You cannot cut back on that. You have a duty to look after him.”

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have had a recession. But we’ve got one, and we’re all facing cuts.
But a mark of a civilised society is the extent to which it looks after the vulnerable and needy, even when it is short of money. That is the real reason we pay taxes. No council should need to be told when it is cutting too far and too deep. But the High Court this week rapped Birmingham Council’s knuckles and said: “No. Enough is enough. You’ve gone too far.”
Fair play to the High Courts, I say.
And thank heavens that we have a constitution that has kept the courts free from political interference. So whatever the Tories, or the Lib Dems, or Labour say, some decent minded people can sit in judgement on them and say: “Stuff your politics. This is a civilised society, and just you remember it.”


A question of trust                   14th April 2011
How do you get people more interested in politics?
Answer: Let them take part. Let them make decisions.
Pick a topic – a controversial one – and throw it open to the public. Have a referendum.
Now and again – every two years, I would suggest – have a referendum.
But the only national referendum we are getting since 1975 is a boring one that is NOT going to fire the imagination of the public.
This referendum on the Alternative Vote… yawn…. is going to give referendums a bad name.
Why on earth did they choose that subject?
They should have had a referendum on whether there should be a smoking ban in public.
There should have been one on foxhunting.
I can name a few more we should have…
Should politicians who fiddle their expense be sacked?
Should the 30mph speed limit in built up areas be dropped to 25mph?
Should we scrap the turning back of the clocks in late autumn, and stick with GMT, as opposed to British Summer Time?
I’m not saying we should have a referendum on everything. In fact, big questions of finance and budgets should be left to people who properly understand economics. And I’d be worried if we had one on matters of life and death, such as the debate about bringing back capital punishment… that would be too dodgy for a referendum.
But some subjects are a matter of opinion on which we could all have a say.
We are fed up with politicians, and largely uninterested in politics.
Regular referendums could be the answer.
Perhaps we should have a referendum on it.


Getting away with it 7th April 2011
If you commit a crime, what’s the chance of being convicted, do you think?
What are your chances of getting away with it?
Why are more people driving off from petrol stations without paying now?
Has the cost of petrol turned decent people into desperate thieves? Or have they calmly calculated that the chances of getting prosecuted are small enough to warrant the risk?
I don’t mean the chances of being caught, or charged….. I mean the chances of being punished … convicted.
The car cruisers who seem to have reappeared on Fort Parkway at weekend nights know full well that there is an injunction, that they are breaking the law.
They have balanced up the chances of being punished compared with the pleasure they get from their racing. Well worth the risk, they think.
There are so many things that get in the way of prosecutions and convictions.
We know that the police are too busy to deal with a lot of minor crimes. You get burgled or have something nicked, and the police will give you a crime number for your insurance, but that’s about it.
You’ll never see your property again.
And the courts system is too slow, and badly organised. It can often take a year or more to get a serious case started in a crown court.
Magistrates courts deal with the petty cases.
Take a trip to any magistrates court and see the lack of organisation. They’re dealing with difficult people, many of whom commit petty crime for a living and know how to get away with it. And the solicitors know exactly how to manipulate the situations to get their clients off.
But the courts don’t help themselves. The magistrates court system is an amateurish set up that professionals take advantage of. That’s why the government is looking to close so many down – including the one at Sutton that deals with Castle Vale.
So what is the answer to the question I asked at the start of this?
A report by the government watchdog nine years ago found that if you commit a crime you have a 6% chance of being convicted for it.
A 94% chance of getting away with it.
That’s criminal.

spotted in a local cakeshop - the Royal Wedding cake, with Harry, a bottle of champagne and a blonde on the floor infront of the top table

Royal wedding fever? – more like a slight temperature 31st March

The Council is being tight–lipped about how many people have asked for a road to be closed so that they can organise a royal wedding street party. It hasn’t exactly fired the public imagination. More than twelve but fewer than fifty, they say. Across the whole of Birmingham. A city of two million people. They’re a bit embarrassed about it because it suggests their city is less than loyal to the royals.
Kent has had the most street party applications. Hull has had zero, bless them. Shetland are on zilch, too. The further you get away from London, it seems, the less interest there is.
But I think it’s a bit soon for the deadline.
Okay, if you’re going to ask for the A38 Aston Expressway to be closed so you can set up a few trestle tables down the central reservation –that might need a few weeks’ planning. But closing Lydd Croft or Dyce Close – it’s hardly a military-style operation.
We’re just not in the royal party mood yet. But as the hype builds up – and believe me, it hasn’t even started yet – we’ll all be sucked into the vortex of hysteria.
What will her dress be like? Will the sunshine? Will he fluff his words? Will Harry behave himself? Forget the ring? Will the magnificently plumed white stallions pulling the splendid ancient royal coach splatter the newly swept roadsides with thoroughbred horseshit?
The world will be watching us weirdo Brits who lavish fathoms of respect and billions of pounds on an undeserving couple simply because they were born into it. The best that can be said of William is that, apart from Her Maj, he’s the least obnoxious of a pretty unpleasant family. If they’d been born on the Vale they’d all have asbos by now.
There’s really no logic to it.
Except to say that the event will be presented as an occasion to celebrate love – if you’re a romantic;  to celebrate Britain’s imperial majesty – if you’re deluded; or to celebrate the fact that you know better than everyone else because they’ll be divorced within a decade and you don’t mind another day off getting rattarsed – if you’re a cynic.
Count me in with that last lot.


The Sun, front page 21.03.11

It could have been Dubya v Libya 24th March 2011
Poor old George Dubya Bush. You don’t hear much of him nowadays. He’d have been licking his lips at this Libya crisis.
Dubya v Libya. No contest. He wouldn’t have let the French and the Brits get in there first, no siree.
Cameron agreed with it. So did Miliband. And 555 other MPs.  The United Nations said go ahead. Obama said yes – though I think he had his arm twisted.
And I know Gaddafi is regarded as a tyrant, a bully, a murderer, a madman, and so on.
But to send bombers in when you are targeting just one person…?
We’ve heard the argument before.
It goes something like this: Osama Bin Laden is evil. Let’s go get him. And wipe out half of Afghanistan in the process.
Saddam Hussein is evil. Let’s go get him. And wipe out the ancient city of Baghdad, killing thousands of innocent children and their parents in the process. And a few other cities, too.
Now it’s Libya.
And the way it was reported in the Sun newspaper. As though it was a game of football.
The civilised world.
The American  artist Roy Lichtenstein showed how we glamourise violence and destruction. Take a look at his painting of a jet fighter in action, below, and then the front page of the Sun at the top of this.

Whaam, by Roy Lichtenstein, 1963


“If you want something doing properly……” 17th March 2011
So Vale residents are thinking of taking over the swimming pool and the stadium, all the football fields that surround it and the conservation area.
A group of volunteers and some suits met last week to set the ball rolling.
The idea is based on something called Community Asset Transfer, and no surprise, David Cameron is pushing it as part of his Big Society.
It could be the Council’s way of getting rid of buildings that make a loss.
Rather than close them, they say to local communities: “Wouldn’t it be nice if you ran it for yourselves?”
Then the locals make prats of themselves, end up with a debt like an elephant’s backside, and the thing closes anyway, just a couple of years later.
But the options are to sit back and do nothing while the Council closes things, or to get up off your arse and have a go at running it yourself.
Now there are some examples of places that have done the latter. Two of them in Birmingham, and one – a very interesting one – in Nottingham.
The Brummie ones first.
Norton Hall Children and Family Centre in Saltley.
Faced with closure, locals got a 50 year lease from the Council and a quarter of a million quid to refurbish it.  Now it’s run locally by a couple of paid staff and some volunteers.
Then there’s Perry Common Community Hall. Run down and ripe for closure. The locals got a 99 year lease off the Council, a quarter of a million quid from Advantage West Midlands, plus an extra £300k from their own money (they have 167 properties). For the last eight months they’ve been running it on their own. They hire out the rooms and reckon it’s full every evening, with parties and stuff. They have six paid staff and volunteers.
But the best of them is in Lenton, Nottinham.
An area of crime, poor housing, and student bedsits. The News of the World labelled one of its streets ‘The Most Burgled Street in Britain 2006.’
The swimming baths and gym are housed in an ancient, run down building. After a long battle fought by some hardy residents, the Council sold them the property for a tenner – yes, ten quid.
And they saved it.
Gym and baths are now close to breaking even. They have loads of schools using the pool, and they charge the Council £50 per hour per school. And £3.60 per casual user.
They got £80k in grants to smarten the place up, and they pay a few staff (manager, assistants, lifeguards etc) and have volunteers helping out.
It’s expensive to run – £6k per year insurance, £22k annual maintenance. But they saved the place from being derelict or knocked down, and gave the locals something to be proud of.
Fair play to them.
Can it be done in Vale?
The suits are looking to see whether it’s ‘viable’ – great suit word, that.
They reckon the stadium is a better bet than the pool.
I wish them luck if they have a go.
Those grants that all three of the above got are harder to come by now.
So it might never happen.
But at least they’re trying.

Hating Nick Clegg 10th March 2011
It’s easy to hate Nick Clegg. The more he speaks, in that oh so sincere, schoolboy patronising, nauseating manner, the more he gets on my nerves.
I expect even the Lib Dems hate him, though they won’t admit it until after he’s gone.
He sold out, just so that he himself could get power.
Not his party.
Just him.
The list of his broken promises is longer than a snake’s tail.
Then, while the Prime Minister was out of the country at a conference and hundreds of Brits were stranded in Libya, Clegg was on holiday, ski-ing.
Isn’t that when a Deputy Prime Minister should NOT be on holiday?
A selfish so and so, with no principles.
The British public won’t forgive him.
Just like they won’t ever forgive Blair for the same reason. Self-obsessed, at the expense of everyone else, and two-faced.
When she was in power, I used to hate Maggie Thatcher. But at least she gave it to you straight. She was a grade one cow, and she never hid it. She wouldn’t say one thing and do another. She waved a big kitchen knife in your face to let you know how shiny and sharp the blade was and then stabbed you with it in the chest, not the back. You can respect a hard-nosed hag like that.
But not Clegg.
Why is it important? Well, I’m thinking that there are 40 council seats up for grabs in Birmingham on 5th May.
Now I’ve got nothing against the Lib Dems, or their policies… when they stick to them. In fact some of them are quite fair and sensible.
But the public hate Nick Clegg so much that the Lib Dems will be battered like a fish cake at these local elections.
And on the same day, we’ll be voting to reform the voting system. The first UK referendum since 1975.
The idea for change is supported by guess who…. Nick Clegg. He supports it because it’s more likely to get people like him into power.
No chance.
If he supported summer, I’d be in favour of winter.

Women Drivers 3rd March 2011

MY BLOOD BOILS when I see tearaway drivers hurtling round the Vale at speeds that are one day going to kill a toddler.
They’re all men. Most of them in their twenties, early thirties. They’re a bloody nuisance, and a danger to all of us.
So when the European Court decided that it was illegal to charge men more for car insurance than for women, my first thought was – what a load of crap. Charge men more. They deserve it.
Psychologists could probably tell me why so many young men behave like morons behind a wheel. They get a kick out of going fast, competing and taking risks.
Young women are more cautious, generally more caring, and often more sensible than young men. Not always, and not all of them. But on the whole, they are.
Insurance companies have to work out how likely you are to have an accident. Then they charge you accordingly.
Men have to pay more than women. Because they are more likely to cause damage.

When I’ve just seen one of those chavs in a revved up car, that’s how I think.

But when I’ve got my sensible head on, I know the European Court have made a good decision.

I know the insurers have to make a judgement: how risky is someone.
But if they are saying: well, he’s a male, so he’s a bigger risk, then I’m sorry, they just should not do that.
No law should allow prejudice.
No law should tell a decent, caring, sensible young man of 22 that he’s got to pay more for car insurance than a woman of the same age just because he’s a man.
The insurance companies may not like it, but my advice to them is: find another system.
Let us suppose that black drivers are statistically more likely to have an accident than white ones. Should insurance companies be allowed to charge black people more to get insured? Definitely not. It’s unthinkable. And so it should be with men and women.
Women have fought against prejudice in this, and other countries, for hundreds of years.
Just because the insurance agencies are being prejudiced in favour of a group who’ve suffered for years doesn’t make it right.
And if that European Court wants to look at another area where there seems to be a lot of prejudice, I can lend them a mirror.
The European Court of Justice has 27 judges.
Only five of them are female.


The Big Society 24th February 2011
We could do without public libraries. We really could.
We could do without swimming pools, too.
We’ve been spoilt, let’s be honest. We’ve had it easy for decades.
If you want a book, you could always go to a bookshop. Now, you can get it cheaper on Amazon. If you want a swim, go to the seaside, or pay at a local fitness centre. Lots of them have swimming pools, and much better than the public ones. Cleaner, less crowded and fewer people weeing in them.
The more you think about it, the more public services we could do without.
Nurseries? They cost a fortune. And there’s only a tiny proportion of families that benefit from nurseries. And most mums who send their kids to nurseries just stay at home and watch Jeremy Kyle.
They could be looking after their own toddlers, reading one of the books with them that they’ve had delivered by Amazon. Like all those fine young mothers Jeremy Kyle has on his show.
The only public facility we really need is the bin collections. They proved that over Christmas. But, the good thing about everyone being poorer is that there’ll be less rubbish. So we can save money there, too. Fewer bin collections.
Schools, I hear you say? Well, we could make parents pay for schooling, like they do now for university education. It’ll make the kids appreciate it a bit more. And the teachers teach better.
Hospitals? Same. Patients should pay.
That way, we all pay for what we get. That’s a fair society. Then people with no kids don’t end up paying for education. And people who are always healthy don’t end up subsidising the sick, or people who pretend to be sick. Or smoke, or drink too much.
Just one thought…… if we’re going to accept these cuts in public services, shouldn’t we be asking more questions about why Birmingham is so unfair?
Look at the unemployment figures.
Over 28% of the population of Washwood Heath is unemployed. Almost one in three.
In Four Oaks, it’s just 2.4%. That’s one in forty-two.
I wonder which of those two areas needs public services more, and which of them will suffer more from the cuts?
Big society?
My arse.

35 responses to “The spikey-tongued Cassie Vayall

  1. in your last section , its to simple girl
    you are comparing nationality,class and income i.e washwood heath against four oaks.
    do people in four oaks use the public services and likewise in washwood heath…
    why cant we do a survey of what services people USE , not what services people dont want to loose..
    the old saying is USE IT OR LOOSE IT…
    dont forget this mess is all down to the last government
    and the people who voted for them…..
    anyway welcome Cassie

  2. David Townsend

    In what is a thoughtful column it saddens me that the close is coarse and spoils it. Perhaps I can persuade her (him?) to please to close in a different way – many thanks!

  3. Brilliant! I look forward to reading your future comments. I would also like to add that it will be women (and children) who bear the brunt of all these cutbacks. If we are lucky enough to have a job at all, we will be on the lowest possible pay that they can get away with – as for the Big Society, I am happy to help others whenever I can, but I will not take food from someone else’s family by offering to do their job for free. It is more than a hundred years since Mrs Pankhurst and her suffragettes fought for the right to vote and now, of all times, is the time for us to use ours and make sure that we have a Council that cares for people and not just money. For those who are not registered, it is not too late. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats run our City and our Country and are nothing short of bullies. We should not let them get away with it.

    The previous comment that the mess we are in is down to the last government is getting very tiresome and none of us are stupid enough to believe it, no matter how many times it is repeated. We all know that it was the fault of the Banks – you know, the ones who are now paying themselves massive bonuses.

  4. Great reply Sylvia. What does a Cabinet packed with millionaires know about the nitty-gritty of real life? Their money cushions them against all the everyday struggles the rest of us face. When they want or need something, they buy it. When we do, we just worry. If it really was the fault of the last Government then there wouldn’t be so many other countries in the same parlous state as ours.
    This “Big Society” existed long before Call Me Dave & his buddies hijacked the idea. Where would the Vale have been without the efforts of people like the late Carol Rafferty (R.I.P.) ? Millions, possibly billions, of man-hours per year are already given, and have been for decades, by all sorts of people in voluntary work – this country’s services would implode without them.
    Why should we now be expected to do for nothing the jobs that are being destroyed by the cutbacks? It’s a total con – a ConDem confidence trick.

    Mr. Townsend, I’d rather read a hundred of Cassie Vayall’s pieces, coarse or not, than just one of the self-promoting waffle you inflict on the Vale Mail every month with tedious predictability. The Editor must be a very tolerant man – or maybe he’s got space that needs filling? You could learn a lot from Cass. V.’s sharp, concise & incisive writing style. But I doubt if you will.

  5. you bury your head in the sand if you want,the cuts are coming..
    they would be coming even if the labour party were in power in
    birmingham..if they were in power,would our council tax be rising
    to help compensate for the cuts,(I THINK SO).
    Im not on benifits , so i would paying the cost ( WHY ) ????/

  6. Labour have never said that they wouldn’t make cutbacks – and they were already doing this before the election. Unfortunately, the Tories (and Lib Dems) are cutting too fast and too deep because they are using the excuse of the ‘deficit’ to destroy the welfare state that our grandparents and parents fought so hard for. I don’t mind paying tax and national insurance if it means that I can live in a society where we care for those less fortunate than ourselves and if we do hit hard times, we don’t have to rely on the rich to throw us a few crumbs when they feel like it. It is common sense that if you want to make savings you don’t knock the whole house down and build it again. In particular, this is what they are doing with the NHS and these kind of cuts never heal.

  7. I have to agree with Silvia and Oddball!
    The Big Society has been going for ever! Castle Vale is a prime example of good people pulling together to turn their community around and improve things, so Mr Cameron it isn’t your Big idea, it’s been going for years here on Castle Vale! It’s worked for us and is so cool it’s untrue! What isn’t cool is cutting back services left right and centre and using people on benefit to do jobs that once people did for a wage.

    It’s a con your right Oddball, I thought there was a minimum wage in this country???????? (Apparently not if people are going to be forced to work for their benefits)
    Let’s cut back on the NHS (MRSA cases going up again I wonder? Dirty hospitals that may be overcrowded and understaffed?)
    Let’s cut the refuge collections to once every fortnight, GREAT rats running around the streets/Weils disease anyone?
    Let’s cut back on the police. Now that might be a good idea because everyone can get off their ass and go and demonstrate (we can make the placards out of the signs that once used to point to the public amenities like the swimming baths, libraries and nursery’s!)
    Him in power (you know the one with the silver spoon in his mouth) hasn’t ever had to manage on 50 odd quid a week, he hasn’t had to walk 5miles to the job centre to get a crisis loan to feed his kids AND he hasn’t got a clue how to run this country!

    He’s going to send it back 100 years in time, he thinks he’s running a progressive government that will make lasting changes!

    Will it my ass!

    Repressive load of toffs that haven’t got a clue about the real world!


  8. If you ask opinion the Big Society is the Big Rip off and one of the greatest confidence tricks the country has seen. in fact its just away of making the poor pooer and the rich even more so. as the song goes I predict a riot, is it so far fetched to see a revaloution in this country where house by house street by street communites reclaim what was once theres big from the state pride and passion. look at eygpt the revaloution and completly non violent.

  9. I have worked for the last 35 years and paid tax into a system which will have no money left to pay me my pension because of the poor decisions made by both the conservative and labour parties when in power. As a child I benefitted from using libraries, swimming baths as my parents, who both worked all their lives could not afford to buy me books as they were busy putting food on the table. I would not like to see these taken away from children who might be in the same position I was, however, too much today is given freely eg welfare benefits. We have whole families, generation after generation who think that they are owed a living and not giving their children a future of responsibility and independance. They need to take responsibility for themselves and so yes, cuts need to be made because if we don’t there will be nothing left for those that really need it such as the disabled who will never be able to do anything for a living, not those who have a bad back or are depressed as there is always something they can do. Before you mark me down, I am disabled but have not written myself off and work to earn my keep. I for one am sick and tired of the sick and tired who will not get off their back side and contribute to the society that keeps them in widescreen tv’s, mobile phones, top of the range pushchairs, computer games etc EARN your benefit nothing should be for free. As for the problems with the NHS, school places, lack of housing, when people from war torn countries arrive by the thousands then there is bound to be less to go round. One cut I would add to the list would be interpreters, why am I paying for them, I will never need them in this country (I hope) this service should be paid for privately as in other European countries. NHS care should not be free for anyone who effectively just walks into this country, then we would not have women giving birth on chairs in waiting rooms. That’s just for starters.

  10. TOM,,that was fantastic,well put,well said and well done..
    Tom for our next leader
    To el che,sammy,oldball and sylvia stick that in your pipe and smoke it…

  11. I think the point is being missed ,this country is the midst of a huge period of cutting budgets. Birmingham will see front line services close forever. Now if your happy to see libary neighbourhood office swiming baths parks etc close never to be reopened then dont complainn when there are no polcemen to answer your 999 calls or rubbish is not colleceted for weeks at a time. The people making these decisions dont care abour our communities and dont for a second belive the the political spin that they do.

    Unless House by House Street by Street community by community we say no more enough is enough then we will only have ourselves to blame for not standing up and being counted when it mattered the most. So my call to arms is are we going allow this to happen or are we going stand shoulder to shoulder and fight for what matters most the communities we live in….

  12. YEAH! Let’s make Tom next leader with the gruesome twosome……….

    Let’s make it a terrible threesome…..

    Let’s publicly whip anyone on benefit and then make them clean toilets for there keep!

    (there are lot’s of complex reasons people are unemployed so don’t make assumptions)

    A lot of negative stuff is going to happen when these cuts are made, it’s not about people on benefit solely, so you are missing the point. It’s about public services and the structure of our society.

    Anyone read the localism bill?

    That could be good if it gets through, but it’s also fraught with pitfalls if not managed properly and it could do some serious damage to the way this country works. This government is trying to do too much radical stuff too soon and will fail.

    Along with the cut’s the futures looking bright (Not) the futures looking as orange as Camerons face when he’s chucked out of power.

  13. Yes of course those who abuse our Benefits system, and our hospitality, should be given short shrift. But these cuts are going to affect EVERYONE, not just those who deserve a kick up the backside or an invitation to depart on the next boat.
    We have no choice, under current EU rules, but to let our NHS give treatment to, and our Benefits system give money to, anyone from EU countries who’s entitled to be here. That’s an awful lot of people who’ve never paid into our system. Instead of taking out our anger on our own compatriots, we should be targetting the scandalous EU system that takes our contributions but cheats us day in, day out. They are having a real laugh at our expense – and CallMeDave & his pals do nothing but swan around EU capital cities talking tough & behaving weak.
    We need a Revolution!

  14. come the day come the revaloution….

  15. I for one do not think I am missing the point. When the binmen were on strike, I did not sit back and complain letting my rubbish build up on the street, I took mine and my elderly neighbours to the tip. When the neighbourhood office was closed I used the phone, went to WH Smith and looked for books or magazines to help with my query, unfortunately a lot of parks are no go areas for a lot of people due to gangs, drugs, people with trophy dogs, all who have avoided getting a good FREE education and making something of their lives. As for the structure of our society, I hate to tell you but WE are society and I for one am not happy with a lot of aspects of OUR society particularly those who deem themselves to have such complex issues that keep them unemployed. I am not so blinkered that I do not realise that there are those in society who are so vulnerable or whose circumstances are so extreme that they may always be dependant on state support BUT these are in the minority. If you can manage to keep churning out kids on benefit then you are fit enough to get a job.
    And who are you to judge that cleaning toilets is a job to be looked down on. Whoever chooses to do this job deserves everyones respect as in my opinion they are as equal as the next man or woman earning their keep doing an honest days work. Oh and of course if and when Cameron is removed from power which numpty is going to take his place……..

  16. I forgot to add, the police don’t come when we call them anyway as we have numpties in call centres deciding whether your situation is urgent enough to be a priority. I yes I agree, the people don’t really care about our communities and its just a numbers game to them (mainly £’s) so all the more reason to be strive to be self sufficient and not reliant on the state and others to pick up the tab. In order to change the system you need to fight it from the inside and to be on the inside you need to be educated and self motivated not ignorant and lazy. Now that’s my rant over!

  17. WOOW ,,,Tom that was fantastic,,,,a TRUE Ernesto (Che) Guevara in sheeps clothing….not your wishy washy placard wavers…..
    please write more,,,i love it……

  18. I think that what we are going to go through with the budget cuts is going to be like post War Britain.There will not be rationing but the cost of food and services will go up mainly because of the costs of petrol and transport.
    Thanks to diddley Dave and Co. We are going to struggle for Years.
    It may be 5 Years to the next election.
    The only way is for the people of Castle Vale to help each other not the Big Society but the numerous Groups of Resident Groups and Volenteers and
    the Various other interested organisations that are based on the Vale.
    Our Parents and Grandparents learned the hard way during the War period
    that the best way forward was through self Help!
    Any one can get involved!!

  19. I agree with the older person forum as for tom and john bloody hell Che Guevara would be turning in his grave, he understood communities and there issues and did something about this unlike I suspect Tom and John Change comes from communities themselves not pointing fingers and say only the educated and self motivated can change things not the ignorant and lazy with the respect the view you have just put forward is ignorant and tars everyone with the same brush. I agree if you comit crime then there needs to be punishment. But lets talk about engaging with young people and raising there aspirations. Yes change will come from with Like i said we need to reclaim our communities street by street house by house. And for the record im not a placard waver im a person of action. Dont assume something you know nothing about..

  20. Yes, Tom, but how can you fight it from the inside when it is going to cost £9,000+ a year to go to university? Way beyond the reach of the majority. We are going to be ruled by the same numpties who have had the best education that money can buy and who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

  21. With respect I stand by what I stated, ignorance and laziness do not change anything, I will also add apathy to that as it is easy to stand by and allow things to happen, talk and moan but if you never actually do anything to change the situation then what is the point. My comments were not directed at anyone personally but purely a statement of fact but if the cap fits so to speak. In my book Knowledge is power. As for the community I come from, well, what community is that, I do not believe a community should be one small estate . My community is my home, my work, my friends and family. My councillors and MP’s are answerable to me as I pay their wages and believe me I am very active in making them earn their keep. I do not sit by and do nothing. Sylvia, you do not need to have been to university to become a councillor, just look at some of them, read their profiles, try getting them to answer a simple question with a yes or no. Even if you have been university educated that does not necessarily make you smart otherwise those numpties in parliament would not have been caught with their snouts in the trough. I agree we need to engage with our youth albeit difficult as lets face it we are not giving them much of a future. Let me ask you El che how many letters have you written to those who have the power to influence decisions, how many ward committee meetings, councillor bureau sessions have you attended, when did you last contact the police and ask for advice, assistance or an explanation of their actions, my list is long!

  22. Forget university, a lot of those can’t get jobs when they come out anyway but if university is on the cards then find out which ones are available without costing £9k even if it means travelling around the country. To get on the inside you need to know what is going on in your area, attend councillor surgeries, get to know the right people, get yourself nominated for committees, elected into the right places, school of governors. The people in local office are not that highly educated, remember those in Nechells who fiddled the elections. You need drive and determination you can learn the rest along the way, it just takes one step at a time.

  23. scientia potentia est
    who are you tom
    where are you tom
    do you live on the vale tom

  24. I am Tom, Mad Man, I am here reading this newspaper as I have done for a long time, Mad Man and why is it that individuals always ask the same question when they do not agree with a comment….do you live on the vale? Maybe someone can answer that one. Whether I do or I don’t is not the point really unless we are happy to have Castle Vale treated as an Island with borders that cannot be crossed if you don’t ‘fit’ and who should make that decision, the funny handshakes brigade.

  25. Tom you do tend to make some assumptions….. I did not in any way say that cleaning toilets was a job to be looked down on.
    The point I am making is people being forced to work for benefits thus taking jobs off people that was once paid for such jobs. (and that’s what will happen like it or not)
    There is a government initiative ILM (Intermediate Labour Market) this is a project that works with people that have been long term unemployed, they place them in jobs (on minimum wage) for 6months and at the end of the 6month period it is hoped the person has up skilled, gained some experience and confidence in the job and they will then be taken on in a PRPERLY PAID post.
    Great idea, it gets people off the dole gives them some experience in something new or lets them brush up on their existing skills, it gives them a bit of confidence and then gets them back in the workplace.
    Er…. well not really, at the end of the 6months period (and I’m not saying this has happened in every case but I know of quite a few) the person has been finished on the project is back on the dole and the employer has got another person on ILM for 6months (guess what! For minimum wage) Leaving the person that has just finished the project devastated as they was hoping it would turn into a full time properly paid job.
    These schemes are good when they work (and ILM has had some real success stories) but unfortunately they are open for abuse and this is what the government need to recognize.
    I’m up for raising peoples aspirations, getting them up skilled if they so wish and HELPING them back into employment, I’m not into forcing someone who is on the dole to work for there money, this to me is just another form of cheap labour.
    Why not get people on the dole into training or collage places?
    Why not get all the men that are in the 40s/50s who have been made redundant from factory jobs (and who know only manual hard graft work) re-skilled and supported back into employment?
    It’s also quite sad that you on one hand slate the kids in the parks who have avoided getting a free education then say what’s the point in university!!!!! You then go on to say you need to be educated to be on the inside to change things….
    You don’t.
    I find some of your views really interesting but some rather blinked and contradictory.

    But that is your view and I respect it.

    The structure of our society will change dramatically if the government does what it says its going to do, (and before you say it I’m not on about the welfare state) Housing/Policing/Health care/Schooling/Services for the elderly and everything and anything in between.

    I just hope it dose some good and not put the country back to times gone by. It’s 2011 we should be progressing not regressing.

    I’ve never waved a plachard in my life but the way I feel about this goverment I might just do it. I think it’s a good thing if people are not happy they need to show it in a non confrontational way.

    And before any assumtions are made I DO things and am active in the community, the last time I phoned the police? Friday.

    One things for sure Cassie has got everyone talking!

  26. Cassie hates Nick Clegg. Hmm… a charity’s publication making overtly political statements about a party in a ward with a councillor from that party. Sailing a bit close to the wind methinks…

  27. Surely the fact that ValeMail allows space to local councillors of all persuasions to state their views (and sometimes slag each other off) weakens your case?

  28. I originally looked at this site to coment on a recent article in the vale male. – Well done to the French for being against the Islamic veils. I have a problem with faceless people (includes anything that hides the identity of a person. This does not include umbrellas!). and as part of the article “Broad Street Beauties” were mentioned and yes I agree some of those need to be locked up for the crime of eyesore. Which lead to the article “vote to abolish school uniform” Uniforms are not just to stop bullying. How are parents going to afford the expense of changing fashion? or I can’t wear that I wore that last week?
    Anyway reading the comments on the cuts I must say I like Tom’s way of thinking. I am all for helping people who really need it and I think Libraries , parks and services are very important but Some people really think that it is their right that someone else does it for them. It always amazes me how someone will drive around to find somewhere to fly tipp when we have recycling tips to go to why not drive to them!. My dad had a saying we don’t build slums
    A lot of good can come from people pulling together in times of trouble. It is suprising how people realise what they can to when push comes to shove.

  29. David Townsend

    I think the date should be April not May – it ‘threw’ me for a moment. My one comment or question in all of this is who pays? And where there is money involved that involves accountants and they are not cheap. We need to educate society in money management. We can’t have everything we want – life is not like that and each of us has to take responsibility. Of course, we care and seek to help the vulnerable but there are limits to all our efforts.

  30. Pastor. Al. Care

    Today’s lesson will be in sacra-critical methods of written expression.

    Whenever the Vale Mail is put through the door I am sure every reader turns to their own preferred section of interest: school children see whether they are in any of the photographs, sports-persons dive into the match reports and many others merely flick through the pages in order to see what is happening on Castle Vale in general. I, myself, simply love reading what Cassie has written. Reason why? Because it is certain there will be no meaning, evaluation or sense!

    When discussing an issue of public importance it is important to assess all aspects before giving a personal criticism of the subject. For example, I understand that Cassie writes to please the misers of the world (adavantage!) but it can also be seen that such writing without solution creates quite the schism (disadvantage!) – there’s no resolution and so society remains stationary. Hence, please, write with some meaning and evaluation!

    Furthermore, it should be considered as to what the real issues are that people are facing on Castle Vale or what can be humorously discussed from the news. Sacra-critical writing uses sarcasm and criticism… oh, and humour! (That’s something that is funny and lightens the mood by the way) So look at the news, look at society and please look further than the end of your own nose… see that life isn’t turning into some cataclysmic end and be happy!

    Life is what you make it and life makes literature. So write with meaning and then you’ll win your reader.

  31. Well well well Tom looks you have been well and truly sucked in and believe everything your told by your goverment and media. I love your solutions to unemployment etc gosh if only utopia existed. How about you discuss something really interesting like the chemtrails that can be seen on a daily basis over the estate or why not disuss the truths about the goverment which is really a big corporation. You assume that most people are on benefits because they’re lazy etc etc….Maybe people are just waking up and realising what mugs they have been taken for hundreds of years and have had enough. Maybe issues run a lot deeper than you can even imagine and are bigger than you can grasp. So if you must write a blog I suggest you research before you give your utopian inspired answers.

  32. We are all freemen, sovereign human beings!

  33. I would like to ask why is it that if c.v.c.h.a is an association that is supposed to operate on a non profitable basis. Why is it registered as a corporation? is making these profits and why? My question comes from reading the following

  34. How you have Cassie writing for this paper is beyond me, she is rude and insulting of people, I’m harmaking statments such as “hardly likely to share the same taste as a selfish noisy prat who waddles up and down his garden path with his belly hanging over a flymo handle, slurping from a can of cheap lager” i find this quite offensive to read and see it as a personal attack. I would choose your words more carefully before someone takes it a step further.

  35. Castle Vale Older Persons Forum
    Coffee/Tea morning.
    Any person over 50 will be welcome to a Coffee/ Tea Morning.

    Time to relax.
    All refreshments free.
    Have a chat, gossip and any issues you want to bring up in Friendly Company.

    The Sanctuary, Tangmere Drive.
    Wednesday 1st of June 2011.
    10.30am -1.30 pm.
    Castle Vale
    Older Persons Forum.