28/03/2012 Midlands Today


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


The headlines tonight. A generation without hope blamed


for the riots which terrorised Birmingham and the Black Country


last summer. We have got a crisis with young people. A crisis in


terms of hope, a crisis in terms of their engagement with society.


Hundreds protest in Birmingham over plans to execute a Sikh separatist


in India. We will settle for nothing less than Balwant Singh


Rajwana being released. Worries over plans for yellow


tourist buggies in Stratford. It's claimed it will make the place like


a theme park. And with a factory about to be


built there, helping thousands of Good evening, welcome to


Wednesday's Midlands Today from the BBC.


Tonight, August's riots reveal a crisis among our young people. The


Riots, Communities and Victims Panel report into the causes of the


disturbances, which saw three days of violent scenes and looting in


Birmingham and the Black Country, was officially published today.


Steve Botham, who met the panel when it visited the region, says


the riots show a crisis of hope and a crisis of engagement with society


among young people which needs to be urgently addressed. Joanne


Writtle reports now on the reaction here to the panel's report.


Rioting and looting in Birmingham. A raid on a jewellers in


Wolverhampton. Some of the scenes prompting this comment from a man


heading a community development group in Birmingham. Steve Botham


met the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel. Within Birmingham,


we have a crisis with our young people. It is a crisis in terms of


hope and their engagement with society. There are some big


questions for society to answer that the report highlights.


This was the chaos in Wolverhampton. Hairdresser Louise Johnson won


bravery awards after becoming a human shield to protect her


business. I was just standing here, swearing.


Today, Louise is turning her attention to helping youth. She's


just given a full time job to her apprentice hairdresser. Employers


should give young people opportunities. The young people say


that no one wants to give them a job. When this girl turned up and


she was so polite and willing to work, I told her I would take her


Annaliena Clements says not all young people are troublemakers.


is kids being stupid. They should not have been out there causing


trouble and making a mess of their town. They are meant to take care


of it, not destroy it. Here in Birmingham, 300 children


come to this youth centre. It is open five nights a week. It has


suffered a cut in public funding last year.


The teenagers here were as shocked as most by the riots.


Young people are now losing the way to find out what they won because


there is not much out there. that is not much of an excuse.


it is not. Parents and need support for their young people. They need


help in finding places for young people to go to. There has to be


more things are for young people to do. There needs to be more youth


clubs. They should be here, not rioting.


Visiting a supermarket in Redditch today, the Labour leader condemmed


violence, but said young people needed a stake in society. Nobody


nobody excuses criminality. But we do have to understand how our young


people can be given a stake in our society. That is what this panel is


talking about, showing people that there is a better way forward.


Criminality and irresponsibility is an acceptable. There is a way


forward for them where they can make more of their lives.


Young people like Annaliena Clements are already making the


most of their lives. Under the watchful eye of a woman brave


enough to protect her business. Joining us now is James Morris the


Conservative MP for Halesowen & Rowley Regis.


What is your reaction to the report? I welcome some of the


suggestions in the report, the importance of parents and families


in bringing up young people so that they have a stake in society.


are we let him down young people in our society right now however?


There are problems in certain areas. That is why the Government has set


up this troubled family's unit to support families who are having


problems. But we also need to invest in skills, that is why we


are increasing the number of apprenticeships for young people so


that they have a stake in the future of society. The youth


schemes, we saw that project in a report which as having their


funding cut. How will that Kate young people off the street? Before


I was elected, I was a volunteer youth worker myself. I know some of


the issues here. There are many good voluntary youth support it


projects out there. You the support from the voluntary sector is


excellent and we need to support that. It is not necessarily their


statutory sector which provides the best support. Surely the more


things out there for young people, the better? We need to be giving


young people mentoring, and opportunities to take jobs and the


prospects that are there in the future.


One in five 18-24 year olds are out of work in this region - 70,000


people in all. How big a part of the problem is this? We are putting


�1 billion into the Youth project, we are doubling apprenticeships in


my constituency. We are trying to improve the situation for young


people. Thanks very much indeed. We'd like to hear your views on


this. What do you think caused last summer's riots in the Midlands? Was


it poor parenting or different problems in society? Email us or


our go on our Facebook page and we'll have some of your comments


later. Still to come in the programme


tonight. History in the skies over


Warwickshire, as one of the world's oldest jets takes off once more,


some 70 years after its first flight.


Hundreds of Sikhs took part in a march and demonstration in


Birmingham today. They were protesting against plans to execute


a Sikh separatist who helped assassinate a politician and 17


other people in a bomb attack in India.


Balwant Singh Rajwana was due to be hanged on Saturday for his role in


the conspiracy to kill the Chief Minister for Punjab in 1995.


Rajoana has been in prison for 17 years after being convicted of


acting as a back-up suicide bomber in the plot. Tonight, the Indian


government put the execution on hold. Our reporter Bob Hockenhull


has been following today's events. The Sikh community on the march


through the streets of Handsworth in Birmingham, mobilised by anger


over the fate of a prisoner 4,000 Eventually, 1,000 people joined the


demonstration outside the Consulate General of India in the Jewellery


Quarter. They are furious over plans to execute Balwant Singh


Rajwana on Saturday. He has already served 17 years after admitting he


conspired to murder the Chief Minister for the Punjab in 1995.


want to put pressure on the local government and the natural


Government of the UK to use his influence on the Indian government


to stop this execution from taking place. As at this protests and


faults, along with demonstrations around the world, talks are taking


place at the very highest level in India aimed at stopping their


execution. Protesters are hoping to put pressure on the Indian


government. Tonight, it seems to have worked. India has put their


execution on hold. If it had gone ahead, it would have been the first


since 2004. People power is the most important power. Once that the


people start working and going forward, there is no stopping.


should now be released. We want nothing less than release for


Balwant Singh Rajoana. This is a very controversial case because of


the political nation of the Sikh separatist movement at the time,


that is one reason we have seen the kind of reactions that we have a.


That demonstrations in Birmingham ended police fully without arrests.


We are trying to minimise disruption, but people have the


right to peaceful protest. Hopefully, we have achieved a


mixture of both. But six say they will be back on the street if the


threat of execution is not removed. -- Sikhs.


A woman's died following a house fire in Coventry this morning. West


Midlands Ambulance Service was called to an address in Willenhall


just before 6 o'clock. Crews discovered the body of a woman who


was confirmed dead at the scene. Plans for a �120 million casino at


Birmingham's NEC have been approved. It will form part of a larger


development including a hotel and cinema. Solihull Council have


approved the project. The complex is expected to create 1,000 jobs.


A man has died following a crash in Shropshire in the early hours of


this morning. It happened on the A41 near Stanford Bridge at around


1am. The victim's car left the road and hit a tree leaving him with


multiple injuries. He was confirmed dead at the scene.


They're small, they're yellow and they're causing a stir in our


cultural heartland. The introduction of a fleet of


motorised tourist tricycles has caused a row in Shakespeare's


hometown. A former mayor claims they are


vulgar and unsuitable for Stratford Upon Avon. Here's Joan Cummins.


They cost more than �3,000 to buy, but now it is hoped these 50cc


motorised tricycles will bring an added extra to the tourist


experience in Stratford Upon Avon. We need to move into the 21st


century a little bit. It is an historical time, but people can


still have fun. Stratford has seen its top


posistion as a tourist destination slipping in recent years, but it is


hoped this year's World Shakespeare Festival will help re-establish the


Warwickshire market town on the world map. But the prospect of the


self-hire vehicles becoming part of the general tourist traffic has


caused some to describe them as vulgar and simply not fitting for


such a world class destination. It is a bit naff, a bit vulgar. But


people have their own taste. But the town does not have the harder


to take this on board. We are very fortunate in this town, I do think


we need to protect it. Shakespeare will be turning in his grave of.


Drivers have to be at least 21 with a full driving licence, but not


everyone sees them as a cultural invasion.


Stratford's main job is to provide what its visitors want. Our job is


not to educate people or raise their social status, it is to


provide them with entertainment and enjoyment while they are here.


With plans to introduce electric versions of the three wheelers next


year, I asked today's visitors if they were persuaded by the �35 an


hour buggies. I think it looks fabulous. As long


as there is not too many of them. Yes, very good. But a bit noisy.


You do not want to see them on the street. It is yet to be seen


whether this will improve the situation for tourists in the


Stratford. But at least parking is free.


That is a big plus. Free parking. And great in this weather.


Perfect in this weather. A big rescue operation is underway


to move thousands of breeding toads from the site of a new car engine


factory near Wolverhampton. They are being moved before building


work can continue on the Jaguar Land Rover plant on the i54 site.


As the name suggests, common toads are widespread and found throughout


Britain. They follow the same route back to


ancestral breeding ponds each spring. In Britain, the common toad


is protected by law from sale and trade. Ben Godfrey's has been down


at the pond side. It can be a difficult life being a


toad. You want to build a colony in a picturesque pond, but somebody


moves you on before you have a chance to spawn. So these


volunteers are mounting Operation Rescue. 4,000 mating common toads


are breeding on the site of Jaguar Land Rover's soon-to-be built


engine plant, at i54 near Wolverhampton. We have got one here.


It is covered in month, it was at the bottom of the pond. -- covered


in mud. The toads have migrated back to the pond to breed. They


hibernate, but they have will come with a warm weather.


So far, 1,000 toads have been scooped from the murky depths and,


for these amorous amphibians, time's pressing. On Monday,


construction workers move on to prepare the ground on this 120


hectare site. We are putting him a new M42 junction. -- motorway. This


is meeting season. But at the Newlove lest it is a quarter of a


mile away. -- New laugh at messed It's a journey alongside the busy


M54 to a new toad enclosure surrounded by steel. They get a


larger pond, some quiet neighbours and just about the tightest


security they could get at short notice. Ben Godfrey, BBC Midlands


Today, Staffordshire. Looks a better place. You can read


a full report on that on our website.


Well, we've still got this sensational weather, haven't we? I


hope Ben isn't going to spoil it! Well, Nick, all good things come to


an end. After one more very warm day tomorrow, our temperatures are


going to slide back to where they should be by the weekend. The


We are being terribly spot by the weather.


It's nearly three weeks since Port Vale football club went into


administration owing around �3 million. Tonight, the fans are


gathering at the ground to hear the latest news on when new owners


might take over. Nick Clitheroe is there too. What are the fans likely


to discover this evening, Nick? They are going to get the latest


briefing from the administrators. It came to ahead at the beginning


of March when be found out that the players were not being paid. There


was a meeting at the supporters' club when one of the members of the


previous club had to leave the meeting. After that, we had the


process of the council put in the club into administration. I have


one of their administrators here now. What can you tell the


supporters tonight? We are going to keep them fully informed of what we


are doing. This is really a question and answer session. We


have got three parties who have already submitted offers. We have


not got a from a favourite at this time. We have not closed of the


bidding. But I am hoping there will be some good news next week. So you


hope to close the door for beds next week? We may impose a deadline


for bids. Possibly Friday night, or Monday my day. We will consider


those beds and become -- consider those bitters and make a


recommendation. That is excellent news. Hopefully, we can start


moving forward. It is good news that three beds are in. There will


be more from the administrators at this meeting. -- bids.


Light at the end of the tunnel for Port Vale, hopefully.


Shrewsbury Town have praised club staff and the fans for their


reaction to a fire which caused the abandonment of last night's home


game with Port Vale. The fire broke out in the electric control panel


for the floodlights at the Greenhouse Meadow just over an hour


into the game. The East Stand had to be evacuated, but no-one was


injured. Shrewsbury were winning 1- 0 at the time after James Collins


scored. A new date for the game is yet to be arranged.


It was a better night for fans of Walsall and Burton Albion who both


enjoyed home victories. Walsall moved out of the League One


relegation zone with their first win in five games. Emmanuel Ledesma


equalised Colchester's early goal and Walsall went in front when Mat


Sadler scored just before half-time. A late third from George Bowerman


leaves them two points above the relegation places. Burton Albion


fans had been waiting 17 games for a win. And it needed an own goal


from Matt Fish to finally break their drought against Gillingham.


The Olympic countdown has begun for a beach volleyball player. She is


packing up and heading for the Sam &. But it will be no holiday.


Denise John's is embarking on her Olympic dream. That means precious


little time at home with her husband. We do travel a lot because


there is no indoor beach volleyball court. But we travelled to lovely


places. This is where where she hopes she will be going. Last year,


she and her partner finished 4th. The test event for the Olympics was


incredible. There was great support from the fans and the British


public. Her accent is not what you would expect for someone living


near Gloucester. Her nationality has been a controversial Olympics


subject. But she says she is definitely British. My dad is


British. I grew up with British Customs. I do feel British. I have


lived here for five years. I just love being around British people,


they have been so welcoming. I love it here and I will definitely stay


here. If the test is having a cup of tea, she certainly qualifies.


A piece of aviation history took to the skies over the Midlands today


as a special thank you to a group of dedicated volunteers who have


helped to keep it flying. The Gloucester built Meteor T7 is the


oldest twin engined jet fighter still airworthy.


Kevin Reide was there. Coventry Airport, and takeoff for


one of the world's rarest flying jet fighters. There are just five


Gloucester Meteors still flying and this model T7 is the oldest aged 63.


This flight was specially laid on for a team of more than 40


volunteers who make sure this aircraft keeps flying. We want to


keep that in Britain. It is one of their earliest jets. The media,


because they did not feel that their initial in just did not have


enough power, they put on two. It has an iconic cellaret. -- iconic


silhouette. This 89-year-old former RAF pilot


flew Spitfires in the Second World War and saw them being phased out


for the state-of-the-art Meteor. was moved up. Lone voice in the


cockpit. -- smooth. This is our anniversary. What a way to spend it.


It says me buying a present. Meteor is based at Coventry airport


and will be flying at air shows of the summer.


Happy anniversary. Now it's been another unseasonably


warm and beautiful day today, but can it last? Here's Ben Rich with


the details. Yes, it has been incredibly warm


for March, and I'll have the forecast in a moment. But talking


of all things unseasonable, a group of pupils at a school in Birmingham


made an attempt on the record for the biggest number of simultaneous


conker games today. Nearly 800 pupils and staff from King Edwards


School took part. The current world record stands at just over 500.


It's a game usually played in the autumn of course, but there has


been nothing autumnal or even been nothing autumnal or even


springlike about the weather recently. In fact, it's been more


like summer. Today, we have had some very impressive temperatures.


They got up to 21 Celsius in Birmingham. Plenty of other places


not far behind that. One of the reasons for that is the sheer


amount of sunshine we have had. This is a satellite picture, hardly


any cloud. That bank of cloud across Scotland is heading our way


across the next few days and that will turn things cloudier and


cooler. Turning pretty cool tonight as well. Temperatures are going to


drop a way, quite close to freezing in places. There could be a touch


of grass frost and some patchy fog tomorrow morning. But that will


dissipate very quickly tomorrow. Up similar day with plenty of sunshine


tomorrow. Some high cloud by the end of the day. A slightly


increased a breeze as well. Another beautiful evening tomorrow and a


fine, dry night as well. But we will see more cloud spreading in


from the north. Quite a lot of cloud on Friday. Things should have


brighten up slowly, but it will be cooler, temperatures around 15


Celsius. This rage of high pressure that has been in charge of our


weather is going to move to the west over the weekend. The wind was


which to northerly, bringing Bin cool air and increasing amount of


cloud. But no sign of any much- needed rain on the horizon.


Thank you very much. And earlier in the programme we


asked you to get in touch with your views on what caused last year's


riots. Lots of comments on our Facebook page.


Jane Bremer says, A lack of proper education and the fact that schools


and parents aren't able to discipline the kids is the problem.


Nick Savage, I think that it is because they are angry about the


high unemployment situation. It strikes me that they don't realise


that rioting won't help. Dom Nash. The riots were not youth


failure only, it was whole of society's failure.


Gary Jordan says, Pure greed and criminality - we don't need the


report to tell us that. Plenty of decent people are unemployed but


didn't go looting. Jake Williams, It would not have


happened if they were all in jobs! Young people have got to have a


sense of belonging and feel a part of a community.


David Ford, When they see the super rich running the country and taking


so much from so many while making even more of a fortune, well, it


doesn't take rocket science to work out what's going on.


Lots of emails too. Lillian Webb says, I find it


utterly preposterous that everyone is making excuses for the rioters.


These selfish people showed no consideration at all for anyone


because they know they live in a society which has grown soft.


A look at tonight's main headlines. David Cameron says motorists should


top up their tanks in case the fuel strike goes ahead.


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