It’s gone all touchy-feely over at Walsall Council

Things are seemingly a bit odd up at the council of late – the change of leadership seems to have caused an outbreak of cognitive dissonance amongst the minions of the ruling Tory group. Some time ago, they were busy trying to bury the body of the last Mike Bird leadership under the Dave Church memorial cabbage patch, but have just exhumed the corpse, and after a thorough jetting and a splash of whitewash are currently scurrying around trying hard not to complain about the whiff of casuistry.

Our leader has wisely been keeping his presence pretty much out of the local media, and has clearly been concentrating on securing his cabinet against embarrassing contradictory opinions surfacing in the ether. Since Councillor Mike ‘Burger boy’ Flower’s shockingly honest, thoroughly brave blog post of the 20th May 2009, and the sympathetic, definitely not me-too followups by councillors Longhi and Perry, things have been uncharacteristically quiet on the local authority blog scene. Even the formerly buzzing twatter feeds have reduced to only carrying infrequent inconsequential irrelevance, including Marco Longhi attempting humour with multiple choice punchlines (25th May) and a little all round drum-beating for the choice of Richard Shepherd as speaker, as if anyone outside parliament had any influence at all. One can only conclude that there’s been a clampdown, and that the politburo have had the folly of too much information pointed out to them at some length. There would seem to be little other reason for the sudden dearth of terribly meaningful web 2.0 communication from those who were previously so good at it. It surely is a wonder…

That’s not to say that the postings that have been made aren’t welcomed and useful – Mike Flower continues to support his cause diligently with the support of his fellow councillors, but there’s little else going on; certainly not to the levels of previous months when there was a veritable outbreak of digital diarrhoea. Thus I wasn’t really surprised to note this evening that Councillor Flower had swapped, or had swapped for him, his portfolio of Children’s Services for Environment. You can’t get into very much mischief with wheelie bins, and everyone knows where they stand with dogshit. I should think Mike will be quite happy not to find himself the axe-man when it’s time to meet the needs of Mike Bird’s next round of cost-cutting. What’s it to be, chaps, Gigaport or decent Social Services? Past experience suggests that the business bods needn’t be worried, but if you need any support from your local social services, I’d consider moving elsewhere… and don’t get too attached to Bryntisillio, either – the lease is up and we’ll need to stop foreign investment when the time comes, I’m sure.

Meanwhile, there’s apparently been a really chilled meeting about all this happenin’ web 2.0 shit down at the Civic Centre; a surprising side effect of Flowergate seems to be that certain statements were made about webcasting council meetings and they were rather speedily taken at face value by the media. Mike Bird – his throne barely warm at this point, the white Persian cat not yet fully ensconced on his lap – was cornered into stating that he was personally looking into it (notice how the article says ‘will be filmed for webcasts’ which is a bit different to a live broadcast as expected by some observers) and now we have a group formed, apparently unlike the rest of the current council, from cross-party membership. It’s all very cosy and relaxed, apparently outside the normal framework of such things. I wish them well, but it just doesn’t smell right. If any of this stuff is to be done, it needs to be sorted like any other civic business, not in an informal framework that’s easily euthanised when everyone has forgotten what the fuss was all about. Be diligent folks, and don’t fail, the local blogosphere supports you in your desire for a more open authority where people can actually see local authority business in all its’ absurdity, actually being done. Perhaps then, more people will feel driven to, well, maybe even vote.

Ian Shires, of course, continues to produce the best blog of any amongst the incumbents of Walsall Council, and he was an early exponent of this stuff. Marco Longhi also deserves a great deal of credit for pressing this forward – as does Dan manning the council Twatter presence – it seems like he’ll be fielding intemperate tweets from the twatterverse on the subject for some time to come…

Stay tuned to this blog, and keep an eye on the excellent Walsall news site The YamYam for further developments – just don’t hold your breath.

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4 Comments

  • The Plastic Hippo

    Bob,

    There are rumours circulating the Council House that the Wunderkinder Flowers was dragged by three senior prefects to the new Head Boys study and given a sound slippering for his “unwise” blog following the food fight at the the last full council meeting in the refectory.

    The fresher has not blogged since and has been made to clean out the bins rather than speak for people of similar age.

    Quizzing – ego.

    Character forming – I think.

     
    Reply
  • Gigaport eh?

    What a load of marketing tripe.

    Reagrding the period of silence, I had wondered, things do sometimes go quiet, but since you started the Bond villan thing:
    [Dr Evil]
    This organisation will not tolerate failure!
    [/Dr Evil]

     
    Reply
  • Some less charitable folk might suspect that, when Walsall Council meetings finally begin to be broadcast online, ’twill be just like the MPs expenses being ‘published’ – all the naughty bits cut out and the ‘usual suspects’ wearing black ‘Lone Ranger’ masks so you cant tell who they are…

    But mayhap we shall yet be pleasantly surprised. I await with bated breath, sirrah.

    Nothing quite like the sound of loose cannon rumbling down the corridors of power, eh :O)

    Your obdt. svt.,

    The Forrener

     
    Reply
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