Archive for category Politics of Satire

WANTED: A Council Officer with a Convincing Explanation!!!

Having lived in the borough of Walsall for the past few years, I thought I had seen and heard of most of the daft things our local council gets up to. Readers of my Black Country Londoner  blog would have previously seen my postings on some of the more “original” ideas proposed by the council for the elderly, including the scrapping of the meals on wheels service in favour of lunchclubs and take-away services. Read full story at 

However, what I am about to describe even manages to trump this piece of lunacy. The estate I live on was built about a dozen years ago, a fact which seems to have escaped double glazing and cavity wall insulation companies. They are forever telephoning or knocking on my door offering their latest deals at unbeatable prices, only politeness stops me from setting next door’s stroppy cat on them!  

Last year the powers that be at the highways department, decided the roads and footpaths on the estate needed to be re-surfaced. Not that there was anything wrong with the old surfaces, on the contrary, they had held up remarkably well. Anyone travelling along Pelsall Road from Brownhills or passing through Maybrook Road Industrial Estate, would have seen far more urgent cases that warranted their attention.           

Despite this, and with hardly any consultation, last autumn we were informed that re-surfacing works would be taking place on the estate. Private contractors were duly employed to carry out the works which involved firstly sweeping both the roads and footpaths, laying down a layer of hot bitumen, then covering it with crushed stone before applying a heavy roller to ensure it set properly. So far so good you might think. However it didn’t take long before some of us noticed little trails of stones following us into our hallways and lounges, on top of which, when the contractors came to clear away the excess material used to re-surface the footpaths, they managed to blow quantities of the stuff onto people’s lawns with the hand-operated blowers they used to collect it into piles.
If that was not bad enough, the snow and ice last winter left puddles of surface water as it melted because the excess  could not run freely into the drains, something frequently repeated when we get heavy rain. But even that is nothing compared to the deterioration in the surface noticed in recent weeks since we began getting the latest, albeit infrequent, spells of hot weather. It would appear the bitumen is melting in places and is seeping through the parts of the re-surfaced roadways and paths damaged by the winter weather. The following little montage illustrates what has been happening. 
Following several complaints by residents, including from one of my neighbours, it finally registered on the council’s radar, and last week they even managed to get an engineer to come and inspect the roads and pathways affected.  His explanation after walking up and down for a few minutes went from “nothing to worry about”, to “an experimental process being tried for the first time” to the ultimate bureaucrat’s response, ” it needed doing.”
Whatever the reasoning, most people on this estate are of the opinion that with the council’s budget under threat and with the need to save some £65m over the next three years, even the highways department could have found better uses for its money than the botched re-surfacing job we have been left with.
However, as another previous blog of mine made clear some time back; finding a council highways officer with a modicum of common sense these days, is almost as difficult as procuring rocking horse manure for the garden roses. The image below illustrates my point all too clearly.

Too bad if you're waiting for the Bus!


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Ex-Public Sector – Your Future’s Being Shafted!!!!

You’ve spent your working life loyally in the service of an ungrateful public, working long hours often for a pittance; you’ve endured public anger, ridicule, sometimes violence; you have been the subject of many a tabloid editors prejudices, and been compared unfavourably with the dynamic, forward-thinking private sector. But despite these hardships, you ploughed on, cushioned by the knowledge that at the age of sixty-five or less, you could put your feet up and enjoy your index-linked final salary pension.

Unlike your private sector neighbour, you won’t have to continue working to keep up with the demands of an inferior money-purchase pension scheme; and where in the private sector, getting caught in a compromising position with a photocopier at the Christmas party would guarantee summary dismissal; in the public sector, such an occurrence would ensure free drinks at least until Easter.

Where a day of sick in the private sector would bring accusations of slacking, in the public sector, a mere sniffle would see you sent home on health & safety grounds. Where in the private sector you were only as good as your last set of results; in the public sector you effectively had a job for life, cushioned by subsidised meals and bars where licensing laws were slacker than the MOD’s procurement programme. 

But that’s enough about being an MP.

Many public sector workers would certainly recognise most of the comparisons described in the first paragraph. At least those fortunate enough not to be contracted out, or because of TUPE legislation, managed to keep their former terms and conditions as their new employers were scared off by the cost of harmonising contracts.

However, not content with fleecing the taxpayer and letting bankers walk away with their ill-gotten bonuses, these same MPs have decided that in order to balance the country’s books, they will do what MPs always do: protect their own interests by screwing the rest of us; especially the old, the sick, the disabled and for them, the real cause of the country’s ills, the bloated, bureaucratic edifice that is the public sector! (Eric Pickles Italics)

According to a Daily Telegraph report last week, The British Chambers of Commerce conducted a survey among 4,000 businesses which concluded that although the labour market is showing signs of improvement, some 4 in 10 firms would be reluctant to take on former state employees. Apparently there is still a perception among some employers, that former public sector workers would not make a good cultural fit into their workforce, as they lacked the skills sets needed to assimilate properly. What it doesn’t make clear however, is what those skills sets are. If this is true, then it puts a rather large monkey wrench in Dave and Nick’s plans for the private sector to pick up the slack for all those public sector workers being shown the door.

So there you have it: ex-public sector workers are likely to remain surplus to requirements in all but exceptional cases.

The exceptional cases of course being former MPs; this is one group of ex-Public servants who never seem to have a problem gaining useful employment in the private sector.

All in this together are we?




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A New Political Acronym – L.E.T.W.I.N

A new acronym has entered the lexicon of english political speak. It’s inspiration is derived from that fine, upstanding beacon of meritocracy and admirer of the lower orders, Cabinet Office minister, Oliver Letwin.

Letwin stands for Little Etonian Twerp Wittering Idiotic Nonsense – geddit?

 It is a term which can safely be used to describe others from a similar background as Ollie, who seem to have trouble engaging their brains before their prejudices. London Mayor Boris and PM Dave could easily fit into this category too – and frequently have!

Following Ollie’s grassing up by Boris over his refusal to sanction additional airport capacity, leading to the now infamous remark about preventing people from Sheffield going on cheap package holidays; the good people of Sheffield are rightly annoyed and bemused at why they should be disparaged in this way. Surely Chesterfield and Rotherham should have been in Ollie’s sights, as they elected Labour MP’s in 2010?

What Ollie may not be aware of, is that Sheffield actually has an airport of its own; it features on all Ordnance Survey and google maps, even though it’s been some years since anything bigger than a microlight actually took off from it. However, this is no reason for Lord Snooty to suggest that people from the north should not join the southern branch of the great unwashed, and invade the working class meccas of Ibiza, Majorca, Lanzarote and Crete, where doubtless they will continue to enhance the already shoddy reputation of Brits abroad.

If only they could become more bourgeoise like that other well-know paragon of middle class virtues, Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull, then there would be plenty of airport capacity for those taking cheap package holidays abroad. The rest of us would travel by scheduled flights to our villas  in Tuscany, The Algarve, and Corfu – would we not?

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