A critical eye, by John Duckers

A critical eye, by John Duckers

It’s been another bad quarter for Birmingham. Headlines like ‘Terror chief to lead Trojan Horse probe’ just confirm the city’s wretched image.

We’re talking about the alleged takeover of schools by hardline Islamists, said to be segregating boys and girls, with attacks on Christianity. Blackened already this year by TV’s Benefit Street, Birmingham is in crisis again with 25 schools under investigation.

What’s particularly disgraceful is that these claims, still to be proved, have been around for ages yet never looked into with any intent.

There’s no incentive for the Labour-led council to upset wards vital to keep them in power – with local elections taking place as this BQ goes to press. Seemingly, it’s been easier to brand whistle-blowers as racist, and so the problem has been swept under the carpet. Until now.

Rightly the Government deems it so serious that it has sent in Peter Clarke, a former national co-ordinator of counter terrorism. Schools are the future – if they are poisoned there is no hope. As a city we need to know once and for all what is going on, deal with it, and move ahead.So let’s tot this up: Muslim takeovers of schools; Benefits Street; recurring child killings because Birmingham seems incapable of protecting its youngest and most vulnerable.

Unemployment in the West Midlands has still risen despite joblessness dipping below 7% nationwide. Even the Aston Expressway is apparently on the point of falling down. One step forward and two steps back: new library, new railway station about to open, new Paradise Circus near, but all tarnished by the scandals which keep surfacing.

To the outside world, Birmingham seems to be a byword for failure: and it will stay that way until we address the festering sores.