Keith’s Column: Wake Up, Smell The Coffee
Tuesday, 28th October 2014
I remember enjoying a great cup of coffee a while back with the guys from Java Lounge. They were telling me what trouble they were having trying to get their chairs and tables outside, with signage and other issues. I had a similar conversation with Lewis from the Deli and with the guys at Cafephilia. Each business faced a lot of opposition. It seemed the representatives of the community didn’t want them.
Here’s the thing: Wiki’s definition of community is a social unit of any size that shares common values. Moseley does not. Yet a small group of people, with their own agenda and their own vested interests, need to keep pretending that we do share common values in order to ensure that vision of the future triumphs.
It comes down to this: would you rather live in Brighton or Bournville?
Clearly if you are like me, you want to live in Moseley but the question becomes would you prefer its future development to move us towards somewhere that has more in common with Brighton or with Bournville?
Brighton has a rich heritage, many historical buildings, a great day time economy and fabulous night life. It also has a Green Party MP! Now we could never have the sea and a pier in the Park and Pool’s lake would also be a step too far. Yet there is much we could learn from Brighton.
I don’t pretend to represent anyone. The views here are my own. Diane and me have been here with our family for 12 years and we clearly want a future that has more in common with Brighton, than with Bournville.
Running the Prince for the last seven years, talking to people of all ages in the garden, in the front bar, smoking cigars together does give me a unique insight into how a large number of people view the Village and what they want. Tradesman, small business owners, pensioners, graduates, academics, lawyers, window cleaners. Almost all would feel very positive about Bournville, but none of them want to live there.
They want Moseley to get its mojo back. They came here because of its vibrancy. They love the night-time economy and they would love to see Moseley move forward to develop its tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors further. They don’t want to see the Village centre turned into the new Broad Street and neither do I.
Yet our customers at the Prince reflect the problem. They are disenfranchised, not engaged, sometimes despondent with our representatives pretending that they represent our views.
It’s the problem with democracy. It’s a poor excuse.
So Moseley CDT, Moseley Regeneration Group, Moseley Society you need to broaden your membership base, beef up your governance, be more accountable. Don’t go for a weak consensus, aim instead for strong civic leadership. And don’t forget … just because just because I don’t turn up does not give anyone consent to claim they act on my behalf.