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. 

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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

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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.

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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

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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. 

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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.

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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.’

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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. 

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

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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. 

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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?’

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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? 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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: http://funds.mavencp.com/meif

GBSLEP Growth Fund: gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

PwC Midlands: pwc.co.uk/midlands

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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? 

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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

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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. 

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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. 

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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: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jassansi/albums/72157703958909475

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156874271116419&type=1&l=2f175d4a9f

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

 

 

 

Come in Number 3. Your Time is Up

This deal, no deal or no brexit. It may be time for number 3. Jas Sansi considers this unholy trinity of options on the table. 

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Just in case you’ve been down a mine for the last three years, here’s a summary on Brexit; The Conservatives were haemorrhaging votes to UKIP, they were unable to beat the most dour Prime Minister in modern history, Gordon Brown and had to rely on the Lib Dems to create a coalition government which against all odds survived the full five years. 

In an effort to ditch Nick Clegg, Prime Minister Cameron offered an ‘in out’ Referendum on our EU membership if they secured an all out majority victory in the 2015 General Election. The electorate accepted the offer and Dave returned to Number Ten as leader of the first Conservative Government in a quarter of a century. 

Within a year he delivered on his promise, lost the Referendum and resigned. He was Prime Minister of an all Tory Government for less than 12 months. 

The country voted Brexit, all the Brexiteers abandoned ship and it was left to Theresa May to pick up the poison chalice of delivering the impossible; exiting the EU without significantly damaging the UK economy. 

Another General Election was called in 2017 to strengthen the Conservative’s position. Lets not dwell on what happened.

Fast forward two and a half years. An exit deal is on the table awaiting a vote in the House of Commons. It has zero chance of being passed. 

Prime Minister May warns it is this deal, no deal or no brexit. This deal isn’t going to happen. 

Business will not allow the option of No Deal. Nissan did not come to Sunderland for the view. 

That leaves No Brexit. Obviously the PM cannot just announce the whole thing is binned but she can put it back to the people in two ways; another General Election or another Referendum. 

Would Remain win this time? I suspect we would but I wouldn’t want to take the gamble. If Leave wins again, this begins another three year cycle of stagnation with the country in zombie mode. 

Would the Conservatives win a General Election? I doubt it very much. They have tried to deliver Brexit but it can’t be done. Step up Mr Corbyn with your inappropriate coat.

If the key issue was controlling immigration, then all we need to do is control immigration. Allow free movement of workers with a job who contribute to the economy but draw the line at those who want to tap into the UK’s welfare system. If you’re not working six weeks after entering the UK, its probably best you leave. Same with Brits who travel to the EU. 

No EU country should provide welfare payments to non nationals. If you can’t provide for yourself and your family, return to your country of birth and tap into their state aid. I’m a UK tax payer, I have no problem with Brits who need assistance. To be honest, I’m fairly relaxed about offering assistance to anyone who genuinely needs it but if it causes the sort of tension that leads to Brexit, then I can accept this compromise. 

So we abandon the illusion of Brexit, return to the EU table and consider the last three years an error of judgement. Yes its humiliating for the UK, but if your friends can’t forgive and forget, who can? 

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

@jassansi 07930 837 505

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relocation Relocation Relocation

Leeds win the race to host Channel 4 beating Birmingham and Manchester.

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Consider the irony of Twitter’s plan to remove their ‘Like’ option on the day Channel 4 announce Leeds as their new HQ. It’s a decision that will illuminate few hearts across twitter accounts in Birmingham and Manchester.

Losing the opportunity to house Channel 4 is a bitter pill to swallow following a hard fought campaign to attract the national broadcaster to Brum. The #WMGeneration pitch showcased Birmingham and the West Midlands as an incubator for tomorrow’s producers, writers and developers being the youngest and most diverse city in Europe. 

The campaign galvanised community, business and political support. We demonstrated our region can unite behind an ambitious campaign. The call to welcome Channel 4 to our region has not been heard but it does not mean we lose the will to fight other campaigns.

Congratulations to Leeds for persuading Channel 4 to move out of London and making the North their new home. It’s a positive step in the journey to rebalance the UK economy away from the South East.

For us here in the West Midlands we will continue to focus on creating the headlines if not broadcasting them; lets keep those Michelin Stars twinkling, the cranes soaring, Metro expanding, Commonwealth flame burning, FTSE 100 headquarters coming, 5G testing and HS2 roaring. We have much to be proud of in the pipeline. Let’s get them delivered.

Today we lick our wounds. Tomorrow, Forward.

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

@jassansi 07930 837 505