While Labour has produced its most comprehensive local election manifesto for many a year, there has been, conversely, a complete absence of a citywide policy document from either the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties in the run-up to next Thursday’s poll.
This can in some measure be explained by the expectation levels among the relative parties and their current showing in national opinion polls.
With Labour almost certain to regain control of Birmingham City Council after eight years in opposition it is perhaps best they have a plan in place. And group leader Sir Albert Bore tells me he does indeed have a plan and it is radical and very detailed.
On the other hand the Tories and Lib Dems are contemplating heavy defeat and a return to opposition which, mayoral considerations aside, could last a very long time.
After winning just three out of 40 seats in 2011, some of the remaining Lib Dems fear they are staring into the abyss after enjoying a share of local power for so long.
And so these parties have pretty much left it to local activists and those councillors fighting to save their skins in the at risk and marginal seats to sort themselves out.
Seasoned campaigners and fighters, like Tory Graham Green in Oscott and Lib Dem Martin Mullaney in Moseley, who saw their wards vote Labour last time out, have been busy filling the recycling boxes of residents with their election material.
Some have even attempted to describe the council’s Corporate Plan as their manifesto – but this is a Tory-Lib Dem coalition document and the parties are contesting seats against each other as well as Labour.
Council leader Mike Whitby says the Conservatives are standing on their record of eight years as the senior partner in the coalition.
“As leader my budget and business plan create the framework for the city’s journey to excellence by identifying the historic successes, the vision, the aspiration and the funding to deliver our priorities in the future.”
He added that the management of the council had been recognised by the world’s leading credit agencies, including Moodys which gave the council a triple A rating.
As the campaign enters its final few days we have seen a series of detailed pronouncements from the Labour Group, including its guarantee of £7.20 per hour minimum wage for the lowest paid council staff – meaning a pay rise for many school kitchen and cleaning staff.
But there has been nothing, not even reaction, from the Tories. A Labour activist complained the party is struggling to get its policies covered on TV and radio news because no one from the other side will go on to put the alternative view.
Backbench Conservatives have revealed that there is a plan, but that it has been suppressed by leader Mike Whitby as he gears up for the mayoral election in November. They are grumbling over a lack of direction.
One told me: “There were some good ideas, but they have decided to keep them back for Mike to use.
‘‘We can’t put them out if they haven’t been signed off. So we are just campaigning on our own records in our own wards.”