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Secret Election Diary: Leddy’s ‘Food for Thought’ campaign reaches cult status

Secret Election Diary: Leddy’s ‘Food for Thought’ campaign reaches cult status

🕔02.Nov 2015

In the highly unlikely event that Mike Leddy becomes the next leader of Birmingham city council, no one who votes for him can say they didn’t know what they were going to get.

The veteran Labour councillor has bombarded his colleagues with a heartfelt stream of consciousness, otherwise known as ‘Food for Thought’emails, setting out ideas on every conceivable policy from nuclear power to 20 mph speed limits.

We are up to number six in the Food for Thought saga and the wordy messages already have a cult following, although not for reasons Cllr Leddy will appreciate.

In his haste to get all of this pent up policy-making off his chest, the former Lord Mayor has permitted a number of spelling and grammatical howlers to creep in.

We’ve had ‘Foof for Thought’ and ‘Food for Though’ and any number of literals.

Generally speaking, the Leddy vision seems to involve the council ‘doing more’ to help people, although how this can be achieved against a backdrop of swingeing spending cuts and a rapidly diminishing council workforce isn’t quite made clear.

There’s a dire warning for families deemed by the council to be putting out too much waste for collection. They should be given help and “educated further on these matters”, Leddy suggests, rather ominously to my way of thinking.

On the matter of governance, Leddy has some strong words for cabinet members who have, in his view, failed in the past, although he’s prepared to draw a veil over such incompetence should he become leader:

Better government is about better ideas. There are one or two within the present executive who should have put ideas forward, yet they held back, for whatever reason and are culpable and responsible for some of the current mess we are in today.

I will say, the time for finger pointing is now long past, let us hope those individuals have learn (sic) a lesson and lets (sic) move forward.

The Council’s handling of relationships with the media has been weak, there seems little or no strategy, there is (sic) no warnings that something is about to blow. Nobody has a collective hand on the tiller, to steer us in the right direction, so when things do go wrong, we, the whole Labour Group feel the full force of ineptitude descend upon us and the subsequent threats on our chances at election time.

Remember we have elections this coming May and an All Up Election in 2018, as a reminder, traditionally Labour does very poor in All Up Elections, in Birmingha,(sic) so all our jobs are on the line and unlike previous elections our ONLY chance of winning back control (should we do loose)(sic), won’t be until the year 2022.

Leddy’s somewhat eccentric campaigning style has delighted supporters of John Clancy, who appears to be cruising to victory in the race to replace Sir Albert Bore as far as anyone can tell.

A jubilant Clancy supporter told Chamberlain Files: “Leddy is machine gunning himself in the foot with his self-indulgent “Food for Thought” articles.  Full of un-costed high aspirational drivel, they are effectively placing a noose around his neck.

“One recent notion was to have a conversation with every citizen in Birmingham on a range of topics.  This we costed out at a mere £100 million. Expensive navel gazing indeed.”

As things stand, deputy leader Ian Ward and Cllr Leddy look to be locked in a desperate battle for second place, some way behind Clancy. Of course, these estimates are based on canvassing of the 78-strong Labour councillor electorate and assume that those saying they will support Clancy rather than Ward, Leddy or the other contender Barry Henley are telling the truth.

And as someone once said, the truth is a very difficult concept.

Our latest odds:

John Clancy       1/8
Ian Ward           10/1
Mike Leddy        25/1
Barry Henley    100/1

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