A diverse group of 120 people will gather on Tuesday 22 May for the Annual General Meeting of Birmingham City Council. For some it will be their first time, but for others it will be a ritual with which they are very familiar. Looking around that group, gathered in the Council Chamber, it would tempting to wonder how representative they are? ‘Representative’, of course, can mean all sorts of things. In one sense, councillors represent us regardless of age, gender, class or politics. It is hard to judge how as individuals they competently discharge that trust. But, what about the very crude notion of proportionality? That is the idea that when you look at the 120 faces in the Council Chamber you should see something like a fair and recognisable reflection of the adult population of the city they represent. I’ve taken a sneak preview of May 22 and here are some of the observations that might be made.
Itabarica Napthali of the Haile Selassie I Peace Foundation talks about the services his group provides to the community and the faith that underpins them. Understanding the culture of different communities that share neighbourhoods like Handsworth in Birmingham is the key to serving those neighbourhoods effectively.
It is an ‘unsayable truth’ , but Europe is dying claims Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks. Speaking yesterday at the Theos thinktank in London he warned that the growth of secularism had made people too selfish to have children. The loss of tolerant religious culture leaves us also open to the advance of fundamentalism, he argued.
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