24/10/2011 Midlands Today


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Welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines.


How important is Europe to the West Midlands? We talk like to the MDP


that triggered the debate going on now in the House of Commons.


son is about ordinary people instigating this new process to


force a debate in Parliament. 1 in 10 sixth-formers are thinking


about -- thinking twice about university. I am thinking about


doing a course from home so that I get a qualification at the end but


I don't go to university to get into debt.


JCB invest �5 million in an exhibition to tell potential


customers exactly what they are about.


The secret world of the wild ponies Good evening and welcome to


Monday's Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight:


The Midlands MEP who's forced the biggest debate on Europe for years.


Nikki Sinclaire became a Member of the European Parliament purely to


push for a referendum on whether we should be in or out of Europe.


We'll speak to her in just a moment, but first Sarah Falkland has been


talking to Black Country businessmen to weigh up the pros


and cons. What does Europe do for She's travelled the length and


breadth of the country for this. A moment of victory for Nikki


Sinclaire as she hands in another 20,000 signatures to add to the


100,000 already delivered to Downing Street. In pushing for a


referendum on Europe, the independent MEP has sparked


possibly the biggest rebellion of the prime minister's leadership.


The ripples are felt 100 miles away in the Black Country. Garrick


Groves runs a plastic bag manufacturing firm and, in his view,


it's far from rosy in the European garden. When he invested in new


machines, like this printer, he qualified for a European grant,


albeit a small one. We spent �1.5 million and we had about a quarter


of a million pounds in grants against capital equipment. If we


had a comparison of Eastern Europe, they would get three or four times


as much grant as we would. He wants Britain to claw back some of its


powers from Brussels. Down the road at Merry Hill, at one time Europe's


biggest shopping centre, shoppers are divided. Parliament has lost


its powers and everything is being dictated to us by the European


Union, which wouldn't be so bad if the other countries in the union


actually abided by the Rules. They don't. I want to be part of the


Union but no so financially tied up with it. We are only a little


island, so it is good. I think we should take a leaf out of France's


book. What they do is say, yes, we like that, no, we don't like that,


and they don't take any messing. Eurosceptics say the huge cost of


the EU is now outweighing the advantages for Britain. So how much


do we pay? Some organisations say That's thousand pounds per man


women and child. -- that's �1,000. What is fact is that between 2007


and 2013, the West Midlands will receive �345 million from the


But some business experts agree with the PM and say now is not the


time. Certainly not now. Not in this economic climate. And


certainly not whilst the banks are frightened of their own shadows and


while the industry is considering whether or not to help development


and growth. We need calm and collected thinking. Europe paid for


better roads around Merry Hill to avoid snarl-ups. Could pulling out


of the EU bring us as a nation to a standstill?


As you can see, the debate continues right now in the House of


Commons and will continue right up until the vote at 10 o'clock. Rebel


Tory MPs are expected to include Aldridge Brownhills' Richard


Shepherd, Stone's Bill Cash, The Wrekin's Mark Pritchard, Dudley


South's Chris Kelly, Tewkesbury's Laurence Robertson and Dan Byles,


the MP for north Warwickshire and Bedworth. Labour's Edgbaston MP


Gisela Stewart also intends to vote in favour of a referendum. We hope


to talk to Nikki Sinclaire later on. After their second consecutive


defeat, Villa manager Alex McLeish urges fans to be patient.


A survey of more than 1,000 A-level students for the BBC suggests one


in ten are being put off university by higher tuition fees coming in


next year. Half of the students questioned said they would think


about studying closer to home, while two-thirds said they would


consider an apprenticeship. The survey is released on the day UCAS,


the admission service for students, said the number of applicants to


West Midlands universities for next year had fallen by 11%. Jackie


Kabler reports. It might not be the high-flying


fashion career she once wanted, but Zoe Jackson decided against


university and couldn't be happier. The 18-year-old from


Worcestershire's working in a supermarket and has no worries


about debt. Financially, it was a good decision because it means I'm


getting money in for Christmas and stuff, and I want to go travelling


next year as well. I am thinking of doing a course from home for events


planning so that I get a qualification at the end but don't


go to university and get into debt. So, for Zoe, no university was the


right decision. But a survey commissioned by BBC Inside Out


suggests more than 80% of students still believe the benefits of a


university education outweigh the costs. Are they right? One person


that disagreed was Coventry born Pete Waterman. He paid a visit to


Staffordshire University to argue his case. Pete thought university


was a waste of time with many degrees not equipping students to


get jobs. Lecturer Ellis Cashmore disagreed and introduced him to


students, graduates and their prospective employers. So did it


work? I think that learning is vitally important. And, in fact,


there is not enough learning in this country. I believe we are too


focused on universities and not focused enough on general education


of. What can you do? You present evidence and hope people change.


When they don't, you think, they are entitled to their opinion.


going to university can be done on the cheap. Shropshire student


Harriet Moore is doing her degree in Slovakia, where the cost of


living is so low she spends only �100 a month. I am trying to save


money on my flight, so hand luggage it is! Financial expert Alvin Hall


says it's a great way to avoid university debt. And Harriet agrees.


If you're considering it, go for it. It is worth doing. Get on a plane.


So while debt's a big worry, there are options - combining work and


study like Zoe, apprenticeships, studying abroad. But most, it seems,


still think university is And there'll be more on university


tuition fees on Inside Out tonight. The programme also looks at a


support group which helps twins when a sibling dies. That's on BBC


One at 7:30pm. A Staffordshire company with a


major contract for work at London's Olympic Village has closed with the


loss of 150 jobs. Parry Bowen, a building cladding specialist based


at the Burntwood Business Park in Chasetown, has ceased trading with


a view to going into administration. A spokeswoman blamed what she


called the "dreadful state" of the construction industry for the


company's collapse. Now, let's take you back to the big debate over a


referendum on Europe going on right now in a House of Commons.


Listening to the debate has been the West Midlands MEP Nikki


Sinclaire who led the campaign for it to take place. She joins us now.


Good evening to you. Good evening. You are an MEP working in Europe,


supposedly for our benefit. Why I use a passionate about it? I am


working for the benefit of the West Midlands and the first thing I said


when I was elected is that I was working for the redundancy of every


other MEP and former M. I think that we have been arguing about


Europe for all of my adult life and the debate has been going on and on.


What I would like to see is a full national debate about the pros and


cons of our membership of the European Union and a binding


referendum so we can decide our future. Three years ago our The


Politics Show did some fact-finding on you and it was interesting. It


was found the West Midlands got more out in the EU grants then we


put in and it has created 15,000 jobs between 2007-2013. That is not


true and I will give you are example. We lost more than 2000


jobs because the EU subsidised the jobs in Pershore and send them to


Slovakia. I would challenge them again. I would love to come on your


programme to argue that because I have got the fact that refute those


figures which are bogus. What about that this is not the right time?


This petition was started one year ago but there is always a crisis in


Europe. We cannot negotiate our membership because if we do, you


have to have a unanimity of 27. But is one of the problems. We took


invoke Article 15 which allows withdrawal and you need the vote of


this place. The people... Polls show that 66% of people want a


referendum and 52 want to leave the European Union with only 30%


wanting to stay in. Why are they so afraid of the people? The


politicians... Let me ask you this. Isn't this black-and-white? People


don't want to say yes or some to magnetic everything you.


understand that. All I am talking about is a national debate about


the pros and cons. I'm not -- I have called for a national debate


about the pros and cons to let the people decide. We employ these


people behind us and I am employed by the people, not the other way


around. Trust the people with this to a decision. If the motion is


going to be defeated, haven't you set back the cause for this


referendum? No, because we will start another petition tomorrow and


we will keep going because in 1996, only 8% wanted to leave the


European Union and it is now 50%. We will leave the European Union


one day, and we will make sure it is sooner rather than later.


Digger maker JCB has opened a multi-million pound exhibition


designed to generate new business across the globe. It's hoped the


permanent display will be pivotal in helping the company win orders,


particularly in emerging markets. Our Staffordshire reporter Liz


Copper has been to see the exhibition at the company's World


Headquarters. This exhibition charts the


company's industrial heritage, beginning in Staffordshire in the


1820s. But, as the chairman explained, it's not just a museum,


chronicling history. Its purpose is to win new business for the future.


It shows you have been in business for a long time and been through


all sorts of recessions, and products have developed through


that time. In our case, we managed to compete and win all around the


world as well. This is a �5 million investment at the firm's


headquarters in Rocester. It's taken a year to construct and


involved craning in diggers through the roof. The models on show go


right back to the company's roots. In the early 19th century, the


Panthers were blacksmiths. This exhibition highlights the work of


Bamford Ltd, famous as agricultural engineers. Henry Bamford famously


sacked his nephew by sending him a note saying his services were no


longer required. Of course, Joe Bamford's subsequent success led to


the founding of a company which now employs ten thousand workers around


the world. It's not just been a family business for the Bamfords,


though. This family, the Boots, can trace their history at the firm


through four generations. Today, they were amongst the first to view


the exhibition and reflect on more than 400 years' combined service.


In the early years, Mr Bamford himself was involved. He was always


on the shop floor. He was the sort of man that would never ask you to


do something he couldn't do herself. My great-grandfather -- great-


grandfather started, helping Joe out. I am the 4th generation, still


carrying it on. It's expected 20,000 business visitors a year


will view this exhibition. There'll also be some opportunities for the


public to see the attraction, which it's hoped will secure lucrative


Still to come, the orchestra at putting their classical


performances to one side and going on tour with Nineties chart act but


And it has been a link to eventually almost all day but does


that mean we are next in line? Find Autumnwatch is in full swing on BBC


Two and all this week we will be joining in with a series of films


looking at wildlife in the region as it prepares for winter.


Today our environment correspondent joins us from Sutton Coldfield.


What are you looking at tonight? are here in a Sutton Park because


here the landscape all around me is partially shaped by a herd of wild


Exmoor ponies that were brought here at more than 10 years ago. We


thought we would come back for Autumnwatch to try to film the


ponies become -- because it is the best time to film them. Let us try


and find them in some of the secret places they go due to get away from


some of the human visitors to this This is something most people never


see. It is a place of refuge. A lot of the time, especially in the


summer, you get flies, or they are skittish and get spooked. They tend


to go in there and that they will spend hours and there. Sutton Park,


north of Birmingham, is home to the largest herd of Exmoor ponies


outside of Exmoor itself. There was a lot of opposition when I first


drew up the scheme and it took a lot of convincing to persuade


people that this was the right thing to do for the park. 14 years


since they first arrived and the parkland it is now flourishing.


That is thanks to the herd of 30 at small ponies. The Spencer is


designed to keep the ponies away from a nearby road but it also


allows be to show you the difference between the grazed aside


and the and grazed side here. It is covered with tough grass. You can


see the positive impact the ponies have all over the park. Around the


water's edge, you can see the different indents in the mud, it is


called poaching. It creates a great habitat for dragonflies.


In autumn, the ponies are getting ready for winter, laying down fat


reserves and growing a winter coat. It is almost like a weatherproof


Pope. It is durable and keeps them warm -- weatherproof coat. It is


ideal for the conditions. They are twice the size as they are in the


summer months! Bhopal on the weight and that takes them through the


winter. -- they pile on the weight. If you are lucky, you might stumble


on this, their secret place, where they go after a hard day looking


after the landscape. Of course, you might just as easily walk right


past and never see them at all. Beautiful film! On a completely


different subject, I understand you have an update on something we


asked our viewers to help with last year? This was back in June last


year, on a Springwatch. We asked viewers to tell us what they were


feeding their garden birds. We did a report on research by the


University of Birmingham that appeared to show that birds had


fewer eggs and fewer checks obviously if people put out food


for them. Hundreds of youth took part and that is going to be really


useful for the researchers. experiment is really about why we


feed garden birds and the effects upon their reproductive biology.


This questionnaire has provided us with lots of details about the


extent of garden bird feeding and whether what we are doing


scientifically reflects what is going on on the ground for the


general public. The advice is still to keep feeding your garden birds.


But longer term, the research might come up with smarter bird feeding


plans for our garden to make sure we are not doing them any harm.


There is more on my block including a full analysis. -- on my block.


Tamara, we look at crayfish. A moody setting. Very spooky. But


it does not Hallowe'en yet. Now the sport.


The Villa manager Alex McLeish is asking the fans for patience after


they were beaten at home why we as Bromwich Albion for the first time


in 32 years. Several thousand supporters were back at the Lampard


this morning to watch a training session. -- back at Villa Park.


Patience is usually in such as the -- short supply in football. All


the more heartening that so many turned up to watch the training


session despite the home defeat on Saturday. We were not very happy


with it but that is the way it goes. We are looking onwards and upwards


to the next game. They had no fight about them. It was not for the


first time. I am not worried. My son is! The men are worse than the


women. You have got to stand by your club and you will always


support them. You win some, you lose some. Many of those at Villa


Park were not around when Albion first one at the tail-end of the


70s. Darren Bent scored a penalty but this was the moment that's


caught at -- changed the fortunes. Chris Herd was sent off. Villa will


try to get that overturned. We have been told that it was not a good


decision so we are going to appeal it. We think we have got a


watertight case. Even there are being missed the resulting penalty,


they went on to dominate with goals either side of half-time. That


ended the long wait for a victory. I am so delighted for the


supporters because we get amazing support, especially away, and it is


a decent result. You could see their celebrations! Hopefully, we


will get the understanding and a bit of patience. It is about


results, I know that as well as anyone else. Attendance was also


down on last year's equivalent game. That makes building community ties


through games like this even more important for the future.


What about Wolves? You have covered them since Mick McCarthy has been


there. You know him well. How is he going to feel about fans screaming


his name? When he arrived at Wolves back in delighted 1006, he


appointed initials M M and said he was not known in addition. --


Merlin magician. He believes he deserves more respect. Surely, the


fans are frustrated. But when his own supporters started singing, you


are getting sacked in the morning. He must have been very angry indeed.


They were trailing when he made his substitution. But then they drew


the match. It was not a bad outcome. We will hopefully hear from a Mick


McCarthy on Midlands Today tomorrow. Birmingham City have now five wins


on the spin with two home games coming up, Leeds United a Wednesday


and then Brighton on Saturday. Chris Burke scored both the Blues's


golds. The manager Chris Hughton said we are on a roll right now and


who knows how long it will continue. The Blues are now four points


outside the play-offs with at least two games in hand on all their


promotion rivals. You can watch extended highlights of all our


football league teams. Have a look at the BBC football website.


The format Villa boss Martin O'Neill is the bookie's favourite


to replace then Goran Eriksson as manager of Leicester City. We will


have more on that tomorrow. Interesting! A classical orchestra


are swapping Beethoven for some good old rock and roll. The


Orchestra of the Swan from Stratford upon-Avon have been hand-


picked to tour with a Nineties indie rock band James. They are at


the Symphony Hall in Birmingham tonight.


Or inspiring, isn't it? I think it is one of the best concert halls.


They are used to having classical bombers is here and a number of


bands. It is rare to have both on the same night. -- used to having


classical performances here. I have been finding out how this


It is not often that classical and rock musicians perform together but


when James take to the stage at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham this


evening, they will do it with a choir and a 25 piece chamber


orchestra from Stratford upon-Avon. It is sounding fantastic. We stand


there, sometimes you can see band members peering up, getting very


moved. There is more emotional heft with an orchestra, with a choir,


with the violins, the cellos. You get carried away. It is easier to


lose yourself. The idea came about when James and an orchestra played


a one off charity concert two years ago. The Orchestra of the Swan were


specifically selected by the man who has written all of the


arrangements for this -- these songs. They are a lot of hard


working great classically-trained orchestras of which this orchestra


is one. I have worked with them in the past. I love their spirit and


their playing and everything about the way they go about the business.


I thought they would be an ideal group to work with. It is something


different to get our teeth into. We always tried to find a different


edge on it so working with James is great because it allows us to work


-- let our hair down. If # Sit down. This is a long way from the early


Nineties when it James were at the height of their success. For


Orchestra of the Swan, it is a chance for them to play it some of


the biggest of its -- concert halls in the country. It is very


different compared to having music on the page. It is very liberating.


A they are having great fun and I think they are enjoying being


taking it out of the penguin suit straitjackets. Just how much fun


the audience at the Symphony Hall will have, we will find out later.


With me is the artistic director of Orchestra of the Swan. How big is


the orchestra? This is a UK-wide tour, finishing up in the Albert


Hall. It does not get any bigger than that. It does not get any more


beautiful than Symphony Hall. It is great to collaborate with James.


puts you on the map, doesn't it? The orchestra has a growing


national and international reputation. I hope the audience


tonight will hear the orchestra and a break down some ideas about what


an orchestra really is. It should be a great night in Birmingham.


We have escaped the rain today. The focus has been on Wales, Cornwall


and Devon. They have had torrential downpours there. Low-pressure is


dominating this week so you will find it is unsettled. The winds


will increase and decrease as the France move across. We have some


rain to come tonight. It will clear later on. The question is how much


we will get an where it will fall? It is still raining quite heavily


across Wales. As the band up news our way, it will become lighter.


Parts of Hereford and Worcestershire will get persistent


rain this evening. As it take so East with, it will clear. -- as it


heads eastwards. It will be relatively mild overnight, with


minimum temperatures of 11 degrees. There will be a fair breeze blowing


overnight. The winds will be higher tomorrow. It will be quite dusty,


especially over the hilltops. To start with, it will be dry with


some sunshine. Then at the cloud will increase from the south-west,


introducing a scattering of Light showers. Temperatures only up to 15


degrees. In combination with the dusty winds, it will feel colder


than today. The outlook, cold and clear. More showers on Wednesday.


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