A whiff of Big Screen hypocrisy

Former LibDem Councillor Martin Mullaney scents a whiff of hypocrisy over Labour’s decision not to show any Euro 2012 matches on Birmingham’s Big Screen. He writes….


Big Screen Birmingham

Big Screen Birmingham

The Labour administration that is now in charge of Birmingham City Council have today announced that none of the European Football matches will be shown on the Big Screen in Victoria Square. The article in today’s Birmingham Mail can be seen here.

Now I agree with this decision, since it is similar to the one I had to make two years ago, as Cabinet member for Leisure, sport and Culture. We decided then, on safety grounds, not to show the 2010 World Cup matches on the Big Screen.

But hang on a moment, what did Labour, and Councillor Ian Ward – now Deputy Leader of Birmingham’s Labour administration– think of my decision in 2010? Well let’s have a look at the minutes of the full Council on 15th June 2010, where Councillor Ian Ward’s comments were recorded verbatim:

Councillor Ward Supplementary Question

“Lord Mayor, England have not made the best of starts in the FIFA World Cup, unfortunately. I could quite agree, Lord Mayor that the Government have not made the best starts either, however, I cannot help but feel that Birmingham have scored something of an own goal in not ensuring that football fans can watch World Cup matches on the big screen in Victoria Square. The screen of course has laid dormant for several years at a cost in excess of £1m to the Birmingham tax payers. When Manchester, Bristol, Southampton and Swansea have embraced the World Cup and encouraged fans to watch the games on big screens in their cities, why is it that Birmingham has failed to get in the game?”

So as you can see above, Councillor Ian Ward then thought that not showing the World Cup football on the Victoria Square Big Screen was “something of an own goal”.

Move forward two years and in the new Labour administration, where the post of Leisure, Sport and Culture has been abolished and its responsibilities distributed amongst 14 senior politicians. Councillor Ian Ward will now be one of four Cabinet members who had to be jointly consulted on whether or not to show European Football on the Big Screen in Victoria Square.

Does our Deputy Leader now think that not showing football on the Victoria Square’s Big Screen is “something of an own goal?” and what made him change his mind?

The Birmingham Press will publish a response from Councillor Ian Ward should he choose to provide one to [email protected]