Friday Bloody Friday

Conversations about a People’s Vote have escalated in the past 48 hours. 

Jas Sansi asks whose side would the EU take if troubles returned to the island of Ireland. 


I was visiting friends in a flat in Hammersmith in 1992 when an IRA bomb went off. It damaged the Territorial Army building next door.

The absolute silence that follows an act of terrorism is broken only by the screams of police sirens within two minutes

The area was evacuated and cordoned off whilst media stations were set up and onlookers peered over police lines. This was before the age of camera phones and social media. There were no hashtags.

The Good Friday Agreement marking the end of the troubles between Ireland and the UK turned twenty this year.

There is more chance of progress made, in two decades of peace, being blown away than the candles on any celebration cake.

Both the UK and Ireland joined the EU in 1973. The conflict between both countries was something the EU did not involve itself in.

Imagine a future scenario in which we Brexit without a deal and a hard border is reintroduced between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

There are always individuals who have an agenda formulated in chaos and mischief. What if web savvy individuals trigger an explosive device at a border crossing.

This has every danger of escalating, with UK military deployments dispatched and a return to Irish doors being smashed down by British boots. It used to happen.

A key difference is the EU is no longer a neutral observer. As an EU member, Ireland has a voice amplified by other EU members. Its clear the EU will defend its partner. Its made this position crystal clear during heated negotiations.

There will not be another Sunday Bloody Sunday. But what if there was? What if an operation goes wrong? A young British soldier who has grown up knowing only peace in his time makes the wrong decision, what then?

We risk sleep walking into a greater conflict that we can imagine.

The suggestion of war was scoffed at by Brexit campaigners in the run up to the Referendum in 2016. Is this a risk worth taking?

This whole argument isn’t simply economic or political, for families up and down the country, its the personal security of those they love.

We leave the EU on Friday 29th March 2019. Will history remember it as Friday Bloody Friday?

I don’t want a people’s vote but if it keeps the Good Friday Agreement safe, lets have it.

Over to you Mrs May and Mr Corbyn.

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a trustee for LoveBrum and contributor for The Asian Today newspaper.




With Mates like These…

You can count the number of options to settle Brexit on one hand, even if three of your fingers have been pulled off by the EU. 

Jas Sansi sets out both of them, and resists the temptation of posting a picture with two fingers up to the whole thing. 


A pair of Bengal Tigers, prior to attacking one another have a tendency to pace around each other in a face off. They both know, in the event of battle, one will be killed and the other will die of their wounds soon after. Its a lose-lose. Remind you of anything? 

The EU Referendum in 2016 was a binary choice; In or Out. That’s it, not even an option to shake it all about, which is what the result has done with consumer confidence in the subsequent two and a half years. 

Theresa May heads back from the EU with little to add to a Brexit deal that is locked down and non negotiable. There’s no hope of it being passed by the House.

The 117 Tories who expressed no confidence in the PM won’t back it because they want an exit with no deal. Labour won’t back it because they want a General Election. Lib Dems won’t support it, they want a People’s Vote. 

SNP won’t support it because Scotland voted to Remain in the EU. DUP won’t support it because they’ve spent the £1 Billion bung and there’s no refunds. The Green Party won’t support it for all of the above, except the bung. 

This leaves the 200 MPs who did have confidence in Theresa May to vote Aye. It doesn’t take a genius to calculate the Nays have it.

Why not change the question being put to the house, instead of ‘Do you accept this Brexit deal?’ how about ‘Brexit with this deal or Brexit with no deal?’ This binary option will focus the minds of our elected representatives. 

This will cause uproar. Regular viewers of Prime Ministers Questions know MPs roar more than lions in mating season.  I, for one am mating fed up of it, I wish all the mating MPs would sort it before they mate off for Christmas.  

The only options after the PM’s deal is rejected is No Deal or No Brexit, and that there is the question for the people. 

Very few questions in life have a binary answer. But as a country we’re snookered by Brexit so what is it; Deal or No Deal?

If a People’s Vote returns No Brexit, then we Remain in the EU. If the answer is No Deal, then we leave the EU on WTO rules.

But for heavens sake, can we move on? Even David Dimbleby has left the stage and he’s overseen the election of everyone since William Pitt the mating Younger. 


Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a trust for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today

07930 837 505 @jassansi

You can write a lot with 48 letters

The 1922 Chair has the 48 letters to trigger a vote of no confidence in Theresa May.

Jas Sansi suggests what you can spell with 48 letters. 


Keep an eye on the language being used today about Theresa May, in particular the expression ‘clinging on to power.’ 

The expression questions the motivation of the Prime Minister; is Mrs May trying to solve the Brexit mess or trying to save her job? 

Media confirmed this morning the 48 letter threshold to trigger a vote of no confidence has been breached.

The 1922 Committee of backbench MPs will learn today of a meeting between the PM and its Chair, Sir Graham Brady.

The Conservative party will vote to support the motion or support the Prime Minister.

A decision to remove Mrs May at this critical stage of Brexit would be brave, and by brave I mean foolish, and by foolish I mean incredibly stupid. Using dynamite to blow out oil well fires may be fine in Texas, but the UK is a long way from Texas.

Lets imagine the PM is removed from office, what then? It was no coincidence Boris Johnson appeared on the Andrew Marr Show last Sunday with a haircut and a categorical denial he was after the top job. His mouth said no, his barnet said bring it on. 

Sitting opposite Boris Johnson, should he replace Mrs May is Jeremy Corbyn. In a General Election, will the Conservatives, who have enjoyed only one year of absolute power in the last quarter of a century be able to hold back the tide of support behind Mr Corbyn?

Mr Jeremy Corbyn, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.’ There’s 48 letters Conservative MPs may wish to consider before they make any brave decisions.


Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer, a trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505

Art of the Deal

The Brexit vote snatched away from the Commons yesterday is not the first audacious theft Europe has witnessed.

Jas Sansi paints a picture of what next in the not so Merry Go Round of EU negotiations.


In 1911, Vincenzo Peruggia, tasked with making a protective glass case for Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece ‘Mona Lisa’ decided instead to steal the painting from it’s home in the Louvre.

Images of the painting and news of the theft were splashed across the world’s papers. It elevated the painting to the iconic status it enjoys today.

People queued for the first time ever outside the Louvre just to see the empty space where the artwork once hung. It would be two years before the painting was recovered and Vincenzo arrested. The queues have not dissipated in the 100 years since the theft.

I doubt MPs will queue to gather in the corridors today to stare at the space where the Brexit vote was scheduled, before being snatched away and taken back to Brussels.

The EU are insisting the deal is locked down and can not, will not and shall not be re-visited, which in politics means, it probably will be.

And if you can forgive a single sentence paragraph, what changes made to the Irish backstop which keeps Northern Ireland in the Customs Union until such time it is deemed by the EU to no longer be necessary remains as clear as the mud being slung at Theresa May by all sides of the House.

…however bad your mathematics, 52% has always been bigger than 48%

And if no amendment is forthcoming, the only options are No Deal or No Brexit; the two most extreme outcomes of this most sorry episode in British Political history. 

No Deal will plunge us into Economic crisis. No Brexit leaves us with a constitutional one which threatens Democracy because however bad your mathematics, 52% has always been bigger than 48%.

And to cap it all off, the European Court of Justice has announced they will refund Article 50 without proof of purchase as long as we haven’t worn it to the Nigel Farage leaving UKIP party..!

If the EU refuse to budge on the Northern Ireland question in order to protect the Republic of Ireland, the only feasible option is what the ECJ suggested regarding Article 50, ‘a democratic undertaking.’

There is no appetite for a Commons vote which will reject the deal. It can be argued, all an increasingly number of people want for Christmas is a People’s Vote. 

The two years the world waited for the Mona Lisa to be safely returned is a drop in the ocean compared to the three years we have waited, so far, to see a vote bought to the Commons.

In 1911, the French press used the Mona Lisa theft to criticise an incompetent Government who ran the Louvre and the head of Paris Police retired in shame. Just like the French Revolution, in times of chaos, heads often roll.

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer, a trustee for LoveBrum, the charity for an even better Birmingham, and a contributor to The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505

Maven Capital – Funding for SMEs

Jas Sansi drops in at the Maven Capital workshop at PwC Birmingham to learn more about funding opportunities for SMEs


The Midlands has long been a maternity ward for Enterprise. It was here the newborn screams of the Industrial Revolution were first heard. The region has benefitted from the dividends of Commerce; the parks, public spaces and libraries have proved great levellers for generations not born into wealth. Profit and its legacy should be applauded. However Commerce has to be fuelled with investment before that journey begins. 


Andy Povey from Maven Capital delivered a workshop this morning on the funding opportunities available to SMEs. Taking an overview on success in business, he suggested ‘Turnover is vanity, Profit is sanity but cash is reality.’

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The Government has made available a Midlands Engine Investment Fund to encourage growth and job creation. This is available through Maven who are fund managers to businesses who want to take their companies to the next level.


A number of funding sources exist including banks, crowd sourcing and specialist providers. Andy explained ‘I would always recommend business to have a conversation with banks in the first instance. They offer the cheapest access to finance because they take on the lowest levels of risk.’


Banks may suggest businesses seeking finance undertake a collaborative funding package made up of some funding from the Bank and some from Fund Managers such as Maven. This allows them to spread the risk. 



Joel Blake OBE, a champion for business represented the GBSLEP (Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership) Growth Hub. 


Joel set out the support mechanisms the GBSLEP Growth Hub offers to businesses who are seeking finance for growth. The partnership approach will be very welcome from businesses who are specialists in their industry but may not have access to knowledge in developing  their offer. 


The GBSLEP Growth Hub steers businesses towards finance providers and advisors. It is a gateway service that acts as a bridge between business and providers that support business owners. Joel added ‘The biggest issue for scaling up is having the right leadership and management capability. Is the right team in place to take the business up to the next level?’


Joel explained the key elements of growth;

  1. Strategy – Is the right plan in place for you to achieve your ambitions?
  2. Operations – Are you efficient  and able to deliver your promise?
  3. Talent – Do you have the right team around you? 
  4. Marketing – How do you communicate your offer and are you adopting technology to drive efficiency? 
  5. Selling – Is there a market out there for your offer? 


Sajjad Hassam and Matt Palmer from PwC welcomed delegates with the words ‘London enjoys a monopoly on business funding but it cannot claim a monopoly on the best ideas.


PwC is well known for its work with FTSE 100 and multi national companies but Sajjad was keen to share the support they offer SMEs. 


In the lead up to Parliament’s Brexit vote on Tuesday, one of the PwC slides rang very true; You cannot predict. You can only prepare.


A very insightful start to the day and invaluable groundwork for what Andy Povey summarised as preparing your business to be worthy of attracting investment funding.



Andy was very honest in his advice that the cheapest source of funding is your own cash because it doesn’t cost you anything. But if this isn’t an option, reach out to Maven Capital and the GBSLEP Growth Fund who will advise you on the best source of funding. Support mechanisms exist to help you realise your ambitions. 

See more information about:

Maven Capital funding:

GBSLEP Growth Fund:

PwC Midlands:


Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham. A contributor for The Asian Today and trustee for LoveBrum, the Charity for an even better Birmingham.

@jassansi 07930 837 505

Chaos, not Holidays are Coming

We’re a fortnight away from the vote on the biggest post war decision our elected representatives have ever taken.

The choice is compromise or chaos. Compromise appears to have left the building. Jas Sansi whispers into deaf ears to take the deal and  build on it.


Two weeks today, the Commons vote on the Brexit deal carved out by Theresa May and the EU.
Despite the best efforts of the Prime Minister to sell the 595 page document to the British people, it will sink faster than a Brexit secretary thrown into the Chequers moat wearing concrete underpants.
Full disclosure, I’ll always be a Remainer but I support this deal. Why? To quote the President of the Asian Chamber of Commerce, Qasim Majid speaking at the annual dinner at Birmingham ICC, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.’
The line voting against this deal will be longer than a Black Friday Buy One Get One Free queue snaking around the block at New Street Apple Store.
MPs wishing to get home in time to read the kids a bedtime story are advised to join the express line voting Aye.
What happen’s next?
The EU have insisted this is THE deal and Theresa May has stressed there is no plan B.
Grab a seat, strap yourself in and observe what happens next. You will be witness to an avalanche of insanity.
In years to come, people will ask, where were you in the run up to Christmas 2018 when THAT happened?
Despite the jingly bells of corporate cola adverts splashed across YouTube adverts, Netflix Trailers and Instagram, it is Chaos, not Holidays, that are coming.
Keep Calm and Carry On. 
Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham
@jassansi 07930 837 505

Birmingham Awards 2018

A flawless event at Edgbaston saw Birmingham Awards salute the city’s stars.

Jas Sansi who has captured the event since it’s inception in 2014 reports on what made it so successful. 


Neither cold weather, Black Friday weekend traffic nor the construction projects that stress test the roads in Brum prevented 450 guests arriving at Edgbaston for the Birmingham Awards 2018. A fantastic event awaited them.


Gemma Hill and Dan Kelly welcomed guests to a sparkly night celebrating all that is fab about our part of the world. Both did a sterling job in keeping the night on schedule, no easy task with twenty Awards to distribute over an evening of entertainment, key note speeches and a three course meal following a drinks reception.


And talking of food, there was a boxing exhibition at the same venue with 29 fights listed, however Birmingham Awards had the undisputed heavyweight Champion of Catering, Mahirs Experience who knocked everyone out with dinners for winners. 


Organisers Ifraz Ahmed and Anita Chumber juggled tasks to produce the best event yet in the Awards four year history. The technical team led by Manj at Purple Square Audio Visual were flawless. There are infinite technical minefields at events like this, it’s incredibly rare to see it run like a Swiss watch mechanism. Great work guys, you deserve a huge shout out for this.


The judges were five respected leaders in the region’s business community and headed up by Tony Elvin. Recognised as one of Birmingham’s Power 250, Tony is General Manager at Touchwood Solihull having elevated Hotel du Vin to a whole new level. Still amazed the hotel group didn’t rebrand the Colmore BID venue Hotel El Vin. There’s still time. 


So the recipe for a successful night was written; the audience of finalists, their support networks, friends and family did the rest. A night to remember. Let’s take a look at the winners.


Best Shopping Experience – New Square West Bromwich @newsquarewestb

I was over the moon to see this regeneration project succeed. Local MP Tom Watson who has been instrumental in much of the town’s renaissance will be delighted to read about it. The worthy winners were presented with their trophy by Anjum Khan from Award sponsors, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. 

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Independent Retailer of the Year – Spectacle Emporium @Spec_Emporium

Independents give a place a unique offer and its impossible to quantify the value they bring along side the high street multiples. 

314 Independent Retailer of the Year - Spectacle Emporium

Best Apprenticeship Employer Award – Severn Trent Water @stwater

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Community Initiative – Suited for Success  @SuitedForBham

A team I had the pleasure to meet with LoveBrum. One of the barriers for securing a job is having suitable clothing for interview. Suited for Success address this and have been instrumental in transforming lives through employment. Well done guys.

319 Community Initiative - Suited for Success 

Social Enterprise of the Year – Devenish Girl Bakery @Devenishgirlb

Super pleased to see Melanie join Deputy Vice Chancellor from Headline Sponsor, Birmingham City University to collect this award. Great work Mel. 

324 Social Enterprise of the Year - Devenish Girl Bakery


Contribution to Education – Services for Education

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Professional of the Year – Clive Read (VWV) @Cliveread4

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Arts & Culture Award – Birmingham Hippodrome @brumhippodrome

Fresh from receiving The President’s Award at the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce, Mike Hopkins from South and City College presented Birmingham Hippodrome with their first of two awards.

Birmingham Hippodrome is one of the city’s gems staging world class performances. They reach out to the community promoting inclusion and inspire the next generation to realise the power of story telling on the stage. Bravo, team. 

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Venue of the Year – Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery @BM_AG

At the very heart of Birmingham stands the breath taking Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. It never fails to inspire, delight and surprise me even after almost half a century of visiting. 

An exhibition, WOMEN POWER PROTEST celebrating the 100 years anniversary of women winning the right to vote is on show at The Gas Hall, one of many spaces the Gallery has available to host incredible events. 

The Round Room which houses Jacob Epstein’s Lucifer can be used for unique drinks receptions, the Devil is always in the detail. Congratulations to all of the team. 

383 Venue of the Year - BMAG

Excellence in Media Award – Ed James @edjames_

Heart FM breakfast host and partner at HDY Agency was invited to the stage by his radio co-presenter Gemma Hill and category sponsor dluxe Birmingham and Solihull’s Lilith Holsey-Sheppard to pick up this very well deserved award. 

Ed James is a fantastic event host and ambassador for Brum. He’s also one of the nicest people you could meet. He introduced me Johnny Rotten a few years ago who went on to tell me my camera flash was fu**ing blinding him! As a fan of The Sex Pistols, it genuinely remains one of my happiest memories as a photographer. Well done Ed. 

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Blogger of the Year – Ruth Millington @ruth_millington

This was an incredibly strong category and one of the most important ones given the influence media, print and social has on our lives. 

I was delighted to see Ruth win this award because she operates in both spheres, traditional print and social media. Ruth also has a unique online influence focusing on Art & Culture, something the Arts Council describes as having immeasurable benefit to Society, Health & Wellbeing, Education and the Economy. 

Arts & Culture contributes £20 Billion to the UK economy and employs 162,000 people. The industry needs influencers like Ruth Millington to generate footfall and focus eyeballs on our region’s priceless collections especially to younger audiences who operate exclusively across digital platforms. 

Ruth’s twitter is @ruth_millington, reach out. 

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Bar of the Year – Malmaison Birmingham @BirminghamMal

Stephanie from the boutique hotel popular with celebs visiting Brum joined Tru Powell and Denise Morris on stage to collect the award for Bar of the Year. 

Malmaison Birmingham has a Ozzy Osbourne room at the hotel equipped with a huge round bed and hot tub. Rock and Roll hey? 

411 Bar of the Year - Malmaison Birmingham

Restaurant of the Year – Laghi’s Deli @LaghisDeli 

No one cheered louder than Pat Murphy Wright when this was announced. The restaurant is just near Five Ways in Birmingham. Congratulations on a very popular category. 

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Sporting Initiative of the Year – City of Birmingham Rockets Basketball Club @cob_rockets

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Best Use of Social Media – Birmingham Hippodrome @brumhippodrome

50,000 Twitter followers can’t be wrong. 

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Businesswoman of the Year – Sophia Cooper – OneFitMama @OneFitMamauk

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Businessman of the Year – Sam Piri ITAE Group

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Small Business of the Year – Oxbridge Home Learning @OxbridgeHome

Not even being in Las Vegas can stop Matt Jones from claiming another Award. Great work everyone. 

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Business of the Year – Rimilia @rimilia

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Young Achiever of the Year – Matthew Loughrey @gentinghotelRWB

485 Young Achiever Matthew Loughrey Genting Hotel

Special Recognition Award – Kari Lawler @KariLawler

There is nothing artificial about the intelligence of 15 year old Kari Lawler who was also recognised by Future Faces earlier this year. 

490 Special Recognition Award Kari Lawler

Brummie of the Year – Tim Andrews & PJ Ellis (Joint winners) @TIMjohnANDREWS @BRUMMIE_PJ

A wonderful penultimate end to the evening with this award going to two of the most well known business leaders in Brum.

Tim Andrews paid tribute to his father dedicating the award to him. PJ Ellis said he was humbled and not expecting the honour. Very well deserved for two great individuals who have collectively raised £2 Million for causes in the city region. Great work gents. 

509 Brummie of the Year PJ Ellis and Tim Andrews.JPG

Lifetime Achievement Award – Rustie Lee @Rustie_Lee

Rustie Lee burst onto television sets in the 1980s and was unlike anything that had been seen before in a medium that failed to reflect the demographics of the country.

Rustie was a breath of fresh air, you instantly warmed to her. I always looked forward to her food programs that introduced Caribbean foods to audiences who may never have seen a Caribbean takeaway or restaurant.

The survival of all media is dependent on its ability to echo the voices of those who are accessing it. Rustie Lee’s immense contribution saw the transition from Black and White television to the age of colour, and I’m not talking about the screen resolution.

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And that’s it. Thank you to everyone who made Birmingham Awards a night to remember. 

A huge thank you for supporting LoveBrum in making Birmingham an even better place. 

See all the images from #BrumAwards18 on Flickr here:

Facebook link:

Please comment, tag and share. Let me know what you think? Look forward to seeing you all at Birmingham Awards 2019. 

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today

@jassansi 07930 837 505