25/10/2011 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today with Suzanne Virdee and Nick Owen.


The headlines tonight: An exclusive interview with the


Prince Charles he talks about his hopes for the future of Stoke on


Trent's pottery industry and regeneration. This part of the


world, Stoke-on-Trent, and the Potteries, has such a remarkable


place in this country's history. Travellers a step closer to being


told to leave the greenbelt site where they've been living illegally.


Calls for an English Defence League protest to be moved away from


Birmingham City Centre amid fears over violence.


And Wolves manager Mick McCarthy slams the fans who called for him


to be sacked after a string of defeats. It is cut -- destructive


and no good to me or anybody else. What I know is I will keep picking


Good evening. Welcome to Tuesday's Midlands Today from the BBC.


Tonight, a message of hope from the Prince of Wales as he visits the


Stoke-on-Trent pottery firm his charity salvaged from closure. --


the travellers appealed but after a public inquiry earlier this year,


an inspector backed the cancer's original decision of the government


says the inspector was right to say no to the plans.


Celebrating the news they'd been longing to hear. This morning,


campaigners in Meriden were told that the Secretary of State for


Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, had backed Solihull


Council's decision to refuse planning permission on this patch


of greenbelt land for eight pitches to site eight mobile homes and


eight touring caravans. It was on April 30th last year that the


travellers, who own the greenbelt land, moved onto the site and began


developing it. We are relieved the Secretary of State agrees with


local residents and the council this is an unlawful unsustainable


development causing day leak harm to the green belt. Although they've


spoken to Midlands Today a number of times before, today they refused


to comment on the ruling. Next week will mark a year-and-a-half since


residents set up a 24 hour vigil against the development. They say


they will stay here until all the travellers have gone. The big


question now is just how many days that will take. The ruling doesn't


mean the Council can now evict the travellers. That will be a decision


for the High Court. And with the scenes at Dale Farm in Essex fresh


in many people's memories, Solihull Council are determined to make sure


everything is done to keep this situation peaceful. The situation


is very different from Dale Farm and we have continued dialogue with


the travelling community here and there is nothing like the scale of


Dale Farm. The circumstances are different. We don't anticipate


those sorts of problems and will be taking every step we can to make


sure it doesn't happen. The corks are in the champagne bottles and


will not be out until this site has been restored to green belt.


that could still be weeks if not months before it happens.


There are calls tonight for a protest by the English Defence


League in Birmingham's Victoria Square on Saturday to be moved to a


less high profile venue. Anti- fascist groups are planning a


counter-demonstration, raising fears of a repeat of the violence


during a similar protest two years ago. Our reporter Jackie Kabler is


in Victoria Square now. Jackie, is this protest still likely to go


ahead? Yes. The police told me the Sutton


and they have no plans to Madrid from Victoria Square and, of course,


it is going to be a static demonstration. They have no sort of


powers to ban that sort of demonstration. You can see Victoria


Square is occupied by these anti- corporate greed protesters and


there is going to be an anti- fascist group demonstrating as well


so there are concerns we might see some sort of trouble like we saw in


August in Telford went EDL groups and anti-fascist groups clashed


during a similar demonstration. You're still very concerned they


should move it, aren't you? I wrote to the Chief Constable and the


chairman of the city council. To have the fascist groups protesting


here in Victoria Square, the prominent Victoria Square it would


be difficult for the police to handle in light of the lack of


resources. And few resources they have. I am concerned the USAF group,


counter demonstrating, and the light of what happened last time


and the police found it difficult to keep on top of it, I will be


break-ins and they can keep it together. There will be a lot of


pressure on the police with two football matches. West Midlands


Police do is say that they will have officers deployed throughout


Birmingham to provide visible reassurance and any criminal


offences will be dealt with robustly. That is a reassuring


message from the police but it seems that protest will be going


ahead. A march to highlight the plight of


the young and unemployed arrived in Rugby today. It's tracing the same


route as the historic Jarrow March from the North East of England to


London, which took place 75 years ago It comes at a time when 234,000


people in the region are out of work. That's 8.9% of the working


population. 54,000 young people are currently claiming Job Seekers'


Allowance in the West Midlands. Andy Newman reports.


Times may have changed. Their cause has not. The latter-day Jared


jobseeker's arrived on the outskirts of rugby this afternoon,


three-quarters of a century after their four fathers followed the


same route. The original march has become an icon of the fight for


jobs in the 1930s. Today's activists may have been fewer in


number but nonetheless determined to have their voices heard. What's


your impression as you come through the Midlands of the unemployment


situation? It is as bad as it is everywhere and it is a national


question which is why we are getting the support we are. In the


Midlands it is similar as across the country with a traditional


industry being decimated. As the modern-day marchers pass through


Warwickshire, we thought we would take the economic temperature of


rugby. The unemployment rate is just over 7%, lower than the


regional and national average. The town still has more vacant shops


than it would like that stop general consensus is that the town


is doing very well. The town centre, we feel, is the area we need to


concentrate on most, and the general theme of the town has


scenes -- lacks some confident. shortage of confidence at autumn


but of installations at rugby. They make noise dampening parts for cars


and they have doubled their turnover in the last few years,


winning a �1.3 million contract with Jaguar Land Rover and


expanding their work force. From our point of view, we are busy.


Some of our neighbours are working 24 hours and we are on two shifts.


So, very good. There may be some hope for the young unemployed for


rugby. As for the marchers, then next stop is Daventry and they are


due to arrive in London on Guy Fawkes night.


Was Shakespeare a fraud? That's the controversial claim of a new


Hollywood film which portrays the Bard as an illiterate oaf who was


the front man for the Earl of Oxford. The accusation has angered


Shakespeare enthusiasts so much that they covered up a statue of


him today to let the world try and imagine what life would be like


without the world's most famous playwright. Here's our Coventry and


Warwickshire reporter Joan Cummins. It's taken four years to come to


screen and presents Warwickshire born William Shakespeare not as the


worlds greatest playwright, but a front man for the Earl of Oxford's


writing ambitions. Congratulations, you have at an epic poem published


today. In a book? I am drawn to these kinds of things went there is


something there when people could argue about. I think it is the


function that movies should have, much more than they have now.


street signs with Shakespeare's name on were covered and at first


light the iconic statue of the Bard in Stratford found itself shrouded


from the gaze of the public in protest at the impudence of


Hollywood suggesting intellectual theft. The whole thing is total


bunkum. It is just rubbish. Of course, film-makers have the right


just as novelist to twist history, just as Shakespeare did, but


anybody who is taken in by this must be bonkers. Almost five


million tourists visit Stratford every year generating �300 million


for the local economy, so is there a fear that questioning


Shakespeare's skills could reduce the town's income? Shakespeare is


Stratford and Shakespeare is such a wonderful person, and I cannot...


Cannot understand or cannot believe that anyone could doubt that he


wrote the plays. Look how many people are here. He is not a fraud.


They will be questioning Father Christmas next, won't they? It is


nonsense. Perhaps the test of Shakespeare's legacy though is that


even hidden under a sheet he was still attracting interest from


visitors. Bizarre, isn't it? Still to come in tonight's


programme. Shefali with all the weather details.


You could say we got off lightly with the rain last night after the


hammering Wales got. But next time we may not be so lucky. There's


more to come this week. Tonight, a message of hope from the Prince of


Wales as he visits the Stoke-on- Trent pottery firm his charity


salvaged from closure. The Prince's Trust rescued the Burleigh Ware


factory in the summer saving 50 jobs as part of a major restoration


and regeneration project. It's now hoped that the factory in


Middleport will become a catalyst for much needed economic growth and


job creation in the Potteries. During the visit, he spoke


exclusively to our Staffordshire reporter Liz Copper and said he


hoped it would help rebuild hope and self-confidence in an area


blighted by job losses. Arriving for this, his first visit


to medal port. As the gates opened by Prince Charles was greeted by


the Potters whose jobs he has helped to secure. He has taken a


very personal and direct interest in this factory's future. Speaking


to the BBC, he explained why he had chosen to support this private.


is a very special and unique survival here. And still incredibly


popular around the world. But I also wanted to see if we could use


this remarkable place as a means of helping to gradually regenerate


other parts of England and perhaps to spread brings further out.


unemployment is a big problem in the Potteries and in the West


Midlands as a whole more generally. How can heritage projects and


regeneration projects like this one help address that problem? At a


time like this when it is so difficult anyway, you cannot do


everything, but we can to try to make some difference here and there.


Add half the battle is to try to bring an investment from elsewhere,


and we have managed, for instance, here, to bring in private


investment. Earlier, the Prince had been shown the traditional


techniques used here, unchanged since the Victorian era. He also


had a chance to see the factory's collection of pottery moulds.


17,000 data facts, it is one of your's oldest and largest


collections. This pottery has been described by English Heritage as a


national treasure. Its workers have welcomed the Prince's support.


think it is fabulous. It is putting the heart back into the company


which is what we need. A lot of factories have closed in this area.


And I think with the Prince's Trust coming in and saving the building,


I really do think it will keep it going. We need to retrain the


younger generation, to pick up the scale, because it is one of the


last places doing this old skill. As well as preserving skills, this


product will also see the renovation of these historic


buildings. There are plans for an education centres so visitors can


see and learn for themselves about the inner workings of this unique


factory. It is hoped that will provide a spoke for new employment


opportunities. This is the street right opposite the factory.


Families living here hope the investment by the Prince's


regeneration trust will have wider benefits. He has come out and said


he will do this and that, and nobody else has, so good on him.


During his visit, the Prince spoke to every member of staff at the


factory and it is hoped this will mark the start of a long


association between the Prince and Joining us from Stoke-on-Trent is


the former mayor, Mark Meredith, now the councillor responsible for


the city's economic regeneration. Thank you for joining us. You heard


Prince Charles talking about what he will do to help regenerate towns


and cities. What are you doing in Stoke-on-Trent? You are breaking up


a little bit, but we are pleased to see the Prince here today. He has


spoken to every worker in the factory, and everybody associated,


including all the partners in the private sector. Do you see a


brighter future in the potteries as a whole, because it is a bit dismal


or around at the moment, isn't it? Yes, we are all quite optimistic.


At the moment, there is the British ceramics biennial taking place in


the potteries which is a six week- long festival of the ceramics


industry, not just of British manufacturing, which is in a


revival state at the moment, but also of new businesses that are


coming in and new young artists that are basing themselves in


Stoke-on-Trent, that are coming out of the universities and design


studios. Indeed, we have also been talking to Chinese potential


investors, and also to local pot banks that are bringing back some


of their production from places like China to produce again in the


world capital of ceramics, this great city of Stoke-on-Trent. We


are all very optimistic. Bentley for joining us this evening.


-- thank you. A pool on an industrial estate could hold the


key to the long-term survival of the increasingly rare British


crayfish. It has been almost completely wiped out in some areas


by its larger American cousin. The British version is thriving so much


in Warwickshire that it has become to's largest surviving population.


Our Environment Correspondent has been finding out more in the latest


You might imagine that when people move into an area the wildlife


moves out, but that is not always the case. Here in the Midlands,


some of Britain's rarest wildlife is to be found in some of our most


Hello. Nice to see you. I'm looking for crayfish? Yes, indeed. Around


about here? Yes, they are in the shallows of relief. We are looking


for the extremely rare native British crayfish... Oh, wait.


There's one! It turns out that in this very special Paul, they are


not so rare. That was quicker than I expected. How many are in there?


We think something like 100,000, so a massive population. But these are


really rare. These are the native crayfish. Yes, for most of the UK


they are not around, but we have got some sites which are really


special for them, and this is one of them. This is one of four main


populations in the UK. Strangely, it is surrounded by all this


urbanisation and really in an area you would not expect to find them.


But it is that urbanisation that has sealed off this pool in


Nuneaton, which also meets these crayfish are sealed off from the


invasive American signal crayfish. But how can you tell the native


crayfish from the invaders? A key distinctive feature, as well as the


coloration and size, is this ridge along here. If you just run your


finger back on that one. Big claws! It catches, little tiny spikes.


and it just catches. That is distinctive. So, as the native


crayfish struggles, this population could well help save it. At least


in a similar locations. What we are planning is to look at similar


balls elsewhere that up isolated urbanised pools, where we can move


a population from here. Again, it is a safety population, if you like.


It is like creating an ark for these animals. Well, that was


really incredible. I guess the most incredible thing is it is


urbanisation that has saved that population, Britain's largest


population of native crayfish. It is this housing estates, the


industrial estate. Without these, the American signal crayfish would


have invaded and probably killed them all off.


David joins us in the studio. He said 100,000, how does he know


that? Obviously they cannot count them all. They catch a batch, mark


them, and release them again. There may go back a bit later and catch a


second batch and see how many are caught the second time that have


the mark. That over that, with some clever mathematics, there's your


estimate. He did say between 50,100 1000. That is enough to know, for


example, that you can take some out and restock another pond. I had a


crayfish salad for lunch so I am feeling guilty. Are these the same


variety that you would get in the supermarket? You can eat them, but


there are rules. You can't do the native one because that is a rare


and we want to protect that. But the invaders, if you have a licence,


you can catch them and trap them. But you need a licence from the


Environment Agency. You need to know what you are doing because you


could inadvertently spread the disease by moving tracks between


different rivers. If you go to my blog you can find out more about my


-- about the licence that you need. Onto football, and Mick McCarthy


came out fighting today. First, the Wolves boss slammed the fans who


called for him to be sacked at Molineux on Saturday as "mindless


idiots". Then he thanked everyone else for their unbelievable support


over the past couple of days. As Wolves prepare to face Manchester


City twice this week, McCarthy has been talking to Ian Winter.


Mick McCarthy was fuming on Saturday, but now he has calmed


down. All my toys are back in the pram and I am all right. But


sometimes I have a bad day, and Saturday was one of those. I am


fine. But if he is no longer at boiling point, he is still


simmering on a low heat it is those Wolves supporters who sang, you're


getting sacked in the morning and you don't know what you are doing,


when he made his double substitution.


Do you feel that it can create a siege mentality among Store


Players? Yes, this chanting does not help. These mindless idiots who


do it, do not give them any credit for getting us playing well or


getting a result, because they don't deserve any of that. Exactly


12 months ago this week, Wahlstedt Manchester United to the wire in


the Carling Cup before losing 3-2, and four days later, they shocked


everyone by beating Manchester City in the Premier League. But the


bookies don't believe lightning will strike twice. They are quoting


odds of 130-1 against was completing a Cup league double


against City in back-to-back games this week. I hope it will be that


way so they can have a whingeing get shot of their manager. They are


not getting shot of the chairman of the players, so let's give it to


the gaffer. We are having a tough time. Give the lads some support,


don't give us aggravation. As the new stadium takes place at Molineux,


Mick McCarthy says he has done a great job over the past five years.


He talked of solidarity at the club and the unbelievable support he has


had this week from players and fans alike. Few could doubt his passion


for keeping balls in the Premier League.


-- Wolves. You can hear the full interview with Mick McCarthy on BBC


WM at 8pm tonight. Plus, full coverage of all


tonight's Football League games on your BBC local radio station.


And, while we're talking sport, there are only six days left now to


send in your nominations for this year's BBC Midlands Sports Unsung


Hero Award. For the details, go to our website or the Midlands Today


They were part of the so called forgotten army - thousands of young


men sent from the Black Country to fight the Japanese in the Burmese


jungle during the Second World War. Now their ordeal has been made the


subject of a feature-length documentary in which some of the


veterans talk about their ordeal for the first time. The film,


called For Your Tomorrow, has been six years in the making. Bob


Hockenhull reports. The untold story of the Black


Country's Burma war veterans, uncovered after 70 years by


Wolverhampton film-maker Don Clark. They were nicknamed the forgotten


army, rarely ignored by a public at home, both during and since the war.


It's estimated 17,000 Allied soldiers died. Less than 1% of


survivors from the Black Country are still alive. Don recorded 80


hours of interviews for his documentary, For Your Tomorrow. It


received its world premiere last night. George Hill and Charlie


Maber, both in their eighties, are featured. To be quite honest, I


feel ashamed of myself. I get emotional. God knows why. Charlie


was just 17 when he joined up. He flew sorties over the jungle -


back-up for the advancing troops, among them his friend, George.


I wake up some might and it is as clear as a bell. I can see their


faces, I can hear them. Other than that, I'm not doing so bad, really.


I was one of the lucky ones to come back. Arms, ammunition, food...


Wolves president Sir Jack Haywood is one of the veterans featured.


The film shows young descendants of the forgotten fighters finding out


about their brave past. These anonymous black countrymen


that we walk by in the street every day of the week had some incredible


memories that they can share with us, and I am very glad that I have


recorded these stories. Lottery did these men have to contend with


fighting the Japanese, they had to make do dense jungle, put up with


tropical diseases, and encountered deadly species like snakes and


scorpions. The documentary will be taken to film festivals around the


world, and it will be released on DVD this Remembrance Day. A fitting


tribute to the bravery of these veterans.


The brave men we will never forget. We will be alternating between two


lots of whether this week. Sunny and dry, and also cloudy and wet.


Those wins are toned down for the time being, but could whip up again


by the weekend. Today has been pretty decent. A few showers, not


many, but for those of those -- you who need them, we have more


migrating up from the south, moving north through the first part of the


night. Then you can see they move off to the north leaving all parts


dry and quite clear. Because we have got colder air coming into the


region, temperatures will fall to a minimum of six Celsius in towns and


cities. A chilly start to the Data error, but when you have clear


skies during the night, it lends itself to a sun-kissed morning.


Plenty of sunshine around first thing. Then slowly we start to see


more cloud and some showers developing through the afternoon.


More widespread than today. Most of them will be light. Temperatures at


Murrough in the north of the region any reaching highs of 12 Celsius.


Elsewhere, 13 and 14, so a touch colder than today. The winds are


slightly lighter. Through tomorrow evening, no sooner have those


showers cleared off to the north, we see the next system arriving.


More cloud from that, and we will start to see some light, patchy


rain developing as well. Heavier on Thursday. Then it starts to drive


up for Friday, but the legacy of that rain will be more cloud on


Friday, although it will become sunnier but breezier on Saturday.


A look at tonight's main headlines: David Cameron insists there is no


bad blood after the EU rebellion by his MPs.


And, here Prince Charles has visited the potteries and said he'd


do all he could to help regenerate deprived towns and cities.


Earlier in the programme we talked about the English Defence League


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