Tag Archives: Sion Simon

“Yes to Birmingham” still fighting the Yes Campaign

On May 4th Birmingham voted against a mayor for Birmingham.

The current council system was preferred by 60% of the city’s population. The only ward out of 40 to support the mayor campaign in Birmingham was Ladywood.

Labour MP Liam Byrne, who would have been standing for mayor, blamed the Government for this loss. He said that they were not clear enough on what a mayor would have and could have done for this city. When speaking to The Birmingham Mail Liam said:

“The Government asked residents to take a leap of faith without being straight about what a mayor could do, and with faith in the Government so low, it was not surprising people were not interested.”
He said: “The Government asked residents to take a leap of faith without being straight about what a mayor could do, and with faith in the Government so low, it was not surprising people were not interested.”

He said: “The Government asked residents to take a leap of faith without being straight about what a mayor could do, and with faith in the Government so low, it was not surprising people were not interested.”

Sion Simon, the former Labour MP for Erdington stood down in 2010 so he could put his whole focus on the campaign for an elected mayor. Sion also commented  on the result whilst speaking to The Birmingham Mail and said:

 “Its been the most intense and most rewarding two years of my life. I still believe we need a change in leadership. A Labour council will make a difference, but not as much a Labour mayor would have done.

”I am not going to walk away, we have built up a coalition across the city that wants to make changes, we just have to take a different road.”

A big part of this coalition is the newly retitled “Yes to Birmingham” campaign and its Campaign Director Julia Higginbottom.

Speaking to a blog that is written by residents of South Birmingham called

“We need more Brummies to demand radical change and improvements – in education, skills, job creation, transport – the inequality, deprivation and exclusion have massive impacts on many Brummies’ lives. This has to be recognized and addressed as a matter of critical urgency.”

Julia’s campaign is going to keep people informed and educated on what the Government do and don’t do for Birmingham. Hopefully from this the people of Birmingham will be more aware of what is going on.

Julia said: “Our campaign continues as before – to raise awareness, to get people interested and engaged in city politics so that they can make an informed decision – but crucially they can hold their politicians to account. People need to understand that we can make change happen, we can control our destiny – and we should demand the right to do that.”

By Amrit Pnaiser

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The candidates put forward their agendas

The Birmingham Mail have reported that creating job opportunities and uniting communities is a major priority for the Birmingham mayor candidates and appeared in all agendas.

According to Gisela Stuart and Sion Simon there is a major need to create jobs and wealth within the city as the outcry for opportunity is at an all-time high, with ever increasing prices and an economy in turmoil.

Sir Albert Bore and Mr Jaddoo however seemed more concerned with uniting communities in order to form one umbrella agenda for the city.

Mr Jaddoo spoke of a young person’s charter scheme as being,

“directly linked to the Mayor’s office” and “is something whereby in certain areas of the city we get young people in the city to form groups together and appoint a leader and that leader convenes with the Mayor’s office”.

Mr Jaddoo believes this will help to give young people a voice and to be heard within the world of politics.

Sir Albert Bore who is also concerned with uniting communities has been involved in a number of regeneration schemes and believes that he is the perfect candidate for the role of mayor. He commented,

“I’ve been the leader of the city; I know what these roles and responsibilities are about and therefore what I’d bring in my capacity is the understanding of what the roles and responsibilities are and how those can be taken forward through the political government”.

Many hope like Paul Greatrix (Times Higher Education) that the promise of jobs and community will help students and students unions to focus on cooperation not opposition.

Students unions have always been concerned with politics, especially with the support and representation that students receive, and now also take into consideration core issues of teaching and learning.

We saw this through the student protests on the 9th of November. Students were protesting about the rise in tuition fees but also for the lack of opportunity. Student Danielle Bowen said,

“If there were more job opportunities available for student after university, the impact of the fees may not have come so harshly. The fact is that in order to gain a job we need the education, but only a select few will be able to secure a job once uni’s over due to cuts. We also need jobs now to help us to support ourselves through university.”

The mayoral elections are also having an impact all over the country, especially with students. More students are now becoming involved with their own union elections and becoming involved in politics.

This can be seen through the University of Sheffield’s union vote. More than 8,500 votes were cast in the UK’s largest student’s union election.

This was a record turnout of more than 8,000 and the number of candidates was the highest since 2006.

The face of politics is changing and the question you need to ask yourself is yes or no? do we want a directly elected mayor?

By Elizabeth Johnson

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A profile of… Sion Simon

A profile of… Sion Simon

A well-known Labour politician wants to become the elected Mayor of Birmingham if the city’s Mayoral Referendum sees a ‘yes’ vote in May.

Sion Simon, who was born into a Welsh-speaking family, lived in Great Barr, Handsworth and Handsworth Wood in Birmingham as a child and teenager.

He has always been left-wing and, aged 16, joined the Labour party. He studied philosophy, economics and politics at Magdalen College in Oxford after school, and straight after, became a research assistant to an MP.

After working in business management and as a national newspaper columnist for some time, Sion became Birmingham Erdington MP in 2001. After time out, he was re-elected in at Erdington in 2005 and ran a number of successful campaigns, including protecting the Jaguar car manufactory plant.

Mr. Simon, in latter years, was Minister for Further Education in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, then Minister for Creative Industries, at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a role that Sion decided to step down from in 2010.

Sion Simon still lives in north Birmingham and, as a fulfilled Brummie himself, is determined for others in the city to also become proud of their heritage and history…

By – Bradley Jolly – 19/3/12

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