Attending the mammoth 90-minute question time session at the city council meeting, you would be forgiven for thinking that the only issue of any concern to anyone is wheelie bins.
It has been stated before that these plastic receptacles are quite happily used by the majority of UK citizens, but in Birmingham it has become the most controversial issue of our time.
There are several reasons for this; the first being that anything to do with bins is important as it is the one council service used by every household, every week.
And the second is that every Englishman’s home is his castle – and we can’t have people cluttering their well manicured front gardens or blocking rear passageways with brightly coloured plastic tubs.
Finally there is sheer, naked, political opportunism and the opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors have wasted no time in turning it into a party political issue.
Up and down the country councils of all political hues have introduced wheelie bins over the last 15 years. It was only last year that former Conservative councillor Graham Green came unstuck claiming that wheelie bins made Tamworth look dirty, only to find out that Tamworth borough council is Tory run.
I have been told by many councillors, Labour ones included, that their surveys, polls and postbags are coming back overwhelmingly negative to the idea of wheelies.
Then again people rarely write to councillors, or even local newspapers, to say they are quite happy with stuff.
You never see a petition calling for Britain to stay in the European Union, or one calling for petrol prices to remain at current levels, for example.
So when reports come back of angry meetings where the good people of Harborne and Moseley have let rip at Labour politicians and council officials as they peddle the policy – we have to remember this is the vocal minority. Quite what the silent majority make of it we don’t know.
But the Tories in particular smell a weak spot and, with the bins set to be rolled out by the local elections in 2014, see a campaign they can all get behind and launch a decent defence against the national trend.
To many Tory leader Mike Whitby’s Harborne seat will not seem as vulnerable as it did a few months ago.
At this week’s city council meeting there were six written questions, and a similar amount of oral questions on the bins, although some strayed into privatisation of the service – a subject on which Sir Albert Bore rather bluntly refused to commit to one way or the other.
One question raised the accusation that Labour councillor Lynda Clinton had told residents in Castle Vale that the council has been told by the coalition government, via the £30 million grant, that they have to introduce the bins, rather than use it to protect existing services.
Of course the Labour council asked for wheelie bins first, but then the coalition never made the offer of £30 million for wheelie bins or social service funding – it was bins or nothing. All parties can play at those games.