Council cuts to hit families and children
Plus: Brace for snow!
Dear Patchers — Welcome to your Tuesday briefing.
As has been long in the offing, I (the occasionally spotted Dan Cave) have collated some of the replies to my request for Midlands institutions, sports teams, or individuals making waves in the diplomatic arena. Thanks so much. These are truly scratching the itch I had for understanding more about how the West Midlands has had an impact outside its borders.
The example I want to share today is potentially the most eye-catching: it involves Aston Villa’s 1938 team reportedly not giving the Nazi salute when playing a German Select XI in Berlin. Just two days earlier, with pre-war Anglo-German relations in an extremely strained place, the England football team had given the salute. It was reported that the national team initially refused to do so but relented after an intervention by the British Ambassador to Germany. Likewise, Aston Villa were on governmental orders to be on their best behaviour and give the straight-armed salute.
There are differing accounts as to why the Villa players didn’t do as they were told: one suggests they refused and another suggests that they gave the salute at a different time. Despite these disagreements, it’s a fascinating window into the role Aston Villa, then the world’s most famous team, played in European diplomacy just before one of history’s most horrifying periods.
Please do keep other examples coming in. I hope to share a few more across February.
There are now 338 of us with paying subscriptions. These help fund thoughtful, in-depth reporting, such as Kate’s look at the dividing lines around the Ringway Centre and Sophie Atkinson’s piece on the West Midlands’ influence on a sci-fi genius. Thank you for the growing support.
Brum in Brief
👨👨👧Brum’s families and young people hit by cuts: As Birmingham City Council looks to balance its books, Birmingham Live has revealed at least £112 million is to be cut from youth services, early help services (included transport for disabled children) and Birmingham’s Children Trust. In addition, job cuts and rising fees for affected families are on the cards. Read more here.
⚖️Arrests after shooting: Three men have been arrested in Handsworth after a victim turned up at hospital with bullet wounds last Thursday. The arrests follow a raid on a house in Hamstead Rd after police launched a probe. Anyone with further information is urged to contact the force.
🚗Teenager tragically dies in car crash: A teenager has died after a car he was driving left a B road in Nuneaton and crashed. Tributes have poured in, with the young man’s rugby team posting a statement on Facebook. “[He] became a well-loved and respected member of our rugby family both on and off the pitch.” This tragic incident is the latest in a line of Midlands car-related news, with a recent Guardian piece looking at street racing while social media is awash with fear regarding suburban crashes.
🌨️Snowfall watch: Two weeks ago Midlanders were rumoured to be getting a blast of snow. Instead, most of us were buffeted by strong winds. However, those snow rumours are circling once more with the Met Office issuing a yellow warning for Thursday and Friday night, with sleet and genuine snowfall predicted for the whole of the West Midlands. At The Dispatch, we’ll believe it when we see it.
🎨Ikon returns: For fans of the Ikon Gallery — both Kate and myself are — exhibitions re-open this week after a short hiatus. Start the Press! is an interactive show which will fill the gallery walls in real time as prints are made with a functioning press from Wolverhampton School of Art. Exodus Crooks show is a response to the University of Birmingham’s AI-themed public programme and coincides with the launch of The Stuart Hall Archive project. Both launch at a free event on Thursday from 5pm.
🎨FA Cup dreams: Both Aston Villa and Coventry are in action in FA Cup fourth-round replays this week. Later this evening, Coventry host Sheffield Wednesday at the Building Society Arena while the Villans take on Chelsea at Villa Park on Wednesday. Neither team has made it to the fifth round in over five years. The Villa match can be watched on ITV1 but, at last check, tickets were still available for both games at the team’s respective stadiums.