Walsall Labour: somebody call an undertaker


Austerity is too good to share with the rich. Trebles all round!

Tonight, your local Labour Group on Walsall Council had the opportunity to vote against massive allowance increases for cabinet members and Council Leader Mike Bird. Walsall, you’ll recall, is currently a Tory-Liberal coalition, with three independents holding sway after being Tory for about a decade.

The Tories, naturally, voted for the motion to increase their leader’s pay. The Lib Dems, in power with the Tories, supported by independent Pete Smith, voted against the raise, pointing out that it was morally untenable.

Labour councillors, to a man and woman, abstained from voting. That meant the motion was carried. Labour councillors like Brownhills’ own Barbara Cassidy abstained, knowing full well this meant a rise to around 28k in Mike Bird’s personal allowance, in a year that will see Council Tax benefit to pensioners cut and services decimated.

Labour had failed to table an alternative motion or amendment, and feared they would lose their allowances from April if they voted against.

Fellow Walsall blogger Aiden MacHaffie has written a truly seeding account the meeting. It’s a shameful tale, but wonderfully written.

In the coming months, your services, street pride, education, social care – itself already in some kind of disaster mode – will see savage cuts, overseen by men and women awarded a pay rise because their political opponents had not the moral fibre to stand up for what was right.


After posting, Labour Councillor posted the above ‘explanation’ on Facebook. Kath is a fine, community minded councillor, whom I respect immensely, but this is just risible and at odds with the press release published earlier in the day. Left hand/right hand? Arse/elbow? Gun/Foot?

Walsall Labour: Next time they’re wringing their collective hands, or you hear of Barbara or Steve are bemoaning Tory cuts, think of their group’s behaviour tonight.


This joyous snippet (read from bottom up) is from the brilliant @walsallmeetings twitter feed, and shows just how incisive the political system is in Walsall. Here, councillors discuss the report into the saga of Childrens Services, without actually saying anything. One direction, indeed… click for a larger version.

Labour’s constituents – some of the poorest people in the borough – are teetering on the brink while their councillors prevaricate, talk technicalities and fail to grow a functioning set of balls. Those people were relying on Labour tonight to make a stand morally, socially and politically. Their party failed them.

What Walsall’s Labour group actually achieved in the chamber this evening was unthinkable: They made the Liberal Democrats and arch politician and independent Pete Smith look like principled champions of the people – the irony of which being that Ian Shires, leader of the Liberal Democrats, will benefit from the rise he voted against.

Walsall Labour Party – you are a disgrace to socialism and I am thoroughly disgusted. I will never, ever vote for you again as long as you have a weak, ineffective leadership that cannot see the moral issue in this for what it is.

Can’t wait for the opportunity to vote the grasping buggers out? Best be patient on that score. No elections this year, which may explain Bird’s expert political chicanery. Austerity is for us, not them.

This afternoon, Walsall Labour Party issued this press statement, read it through and see if you can work out what the hell went wrong, because I can’t:

2013-01-07 – Labour pledges to oppose ‘grotesque’ cabinet pay rise.

Walsall Labour’s 28 councillors will again oppose a proposed increase in cabinet allowances being recommended at Monday night’s full council meeting.

The proposal could see Leader of the council’s pay rise by £4494 to £26,850, the deputy leader’s pay increase by £9,232 to £17,534 while other cabinet members could receive an additional £5,123 a year.

Labour will oppose the increases arguing the cabinet has failed to deliver basic services such as child protection and decent education.

Labour councillors fear the Tory/Lib Dem cabinet which runs Walsall will exploit no elections this year to push through the £55,000 increase which has repeatedly been blocked in the past by a combination of Labour and voter opposition.

Labour group leader, Cllr Tim Oliver, said: “In a period when the authority is cutting frontline services by £13 million and sacking staff, any such increase would be grotesque and shows how out of touch the Tories and Lib Dems are. ”

“It comes despite the fact that Walsall council has one of the poorest records in the country for educational attainment and child protection.

“Since 2010 the Tories have considered putting forward this proposal on two separate occasions and each time they’ve reluctantly backed down after opposition from Labour members and fears that would be punished by the voters at the polls.

“But this year, with no elections, we fear the cabinet will try to push through the rise.

Councillors are also highly critical of the way the report containing the recommendations is being presented to the council. If members reject it in its entirety, all 60 councillors would have their allowances stopped being paid from April.

Cllr Oliver added: “Clearly there is an element of trying to limit the options open to councillors opposed to this move. Despite that, we will again oppose the recommendations pointing out that in contrast a Labour council in Walsall would last year have streamlined and reduced the overall councillor wage bill by £50,000 to £100,000 – as did other Labour run councils such as Birmingham. Unfortunately we fell just one vote short, due to the lack of support from the three Independent councillors.”

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57 Responses to Walsall Labour: somebody call an undertaker

  1. Pingback: Walsall Labour: somebody call an undertaker « Getting There

  2. Watching that meeting tonight from the public gallery, broke my heart. Not just for the pay rises councillors effectively voted themselves but because of what was announced for Green Spaces.
    On a lighter note, that picture deserves a caption competition in it’s own right. My effort (FWIW) is Mike to Cameron, “just how far would you like my tongue to go in”. Sorry for my coarseness but it’s kind of got me that way tonight.

  3. aideym says:

    My caption, Cameron “I hope I don’t get Nobovirus from shaking Bird’s hand”

  4. morturn says:

    I too find this behaviour of some Labour Councillors extremely frustrating. Last year we had a Labour Councillor elected on the back of a an unpopular LidDem who shut our transport museum down.

    In almost a year this new bone idle Councillor had not made a single attempt to tell her electorate who she is, what she stands for, or why we should vote for her; shameful.

    When are Labour going to lean that they are going to spend a long time in opposition, as long as they continue to be an ineffective opposition.

    Words like a serious arse booting is required spring to mind

  5. warren says:

    i would suggest that after the next elections we may see one or two more independents taking seats.in the chamber. The general public are getting tired of all the back slapping, from the mainstream parties. Last nights activities add more potential fuel to prospective independent candidates campaign buses.
    All we need now are a few good men/women, who are passionate about their home towns to get to work.

  6. Neil Harris says:

    Independents is what Walsall needs. The council is full of the same old faces. The only way to change this is fresh young blood putting their hands up and standing for election.

  7. Pedro says:

    A couple of days ago Bob posted the article “The Biggest Liar in Town” referring to the three-faced liar. Perhaps the number should be altered!


  8. Anybody elected has a duty to cast their vote. To abstain is dispicable. What they have done is fully support the motion by deceit. If you refuse to use the vote you have been elected to make, you should have the coraqge of conviction to say ‘This job is too big for me.’ All Labour councillors should resign.

    As for the pay rise. This too is a disgrace in a time of cuts when hard working council staff have faced wage cuts. The council is meant to represent the people but all we appear to have is Mike Bird and co, filling their own pockets.

  9. Rob says:

    Why the surprise?
    it’s local government, it’s what they do – troughing at everyone else’s expense, transcending party politics.
    All councils seem to exist for these days are to provide a cushy over-rewarded existence for the employees.

  10. stymaster says:

    You’re on crack, aren’t you? For a start, we’re not even talking about emplyees here, these are elected officers.

    I personally know several employees of Walsall MBC, and they’re hardworking, professional people that struggle against incompetent leadership and tight budgets. Saying “All councils seem to exist for these days are to provide a cushy over-rewarded existence for the employees.” is a lazy, Daily Mail-esque load of bullshit.

    • Rob says:

      I thought they were all in it together.

      I’m sure the ones that you know are hard-working, the problem is that over the last few years we seem to have accrued rather more of them than we can afford.

  11. Thats right Rob, lets get rid of local government, we are such spongers. As employees we just sit around doing jack because we know it upsets so many people.

    So i don’t see why you don’t find your own ways to dispose of the rubbish we collect from your house and the waste you put in that bin because you enjoy a lavish lifestyle,

    At the same time repair your own roads, build your own streets and put lights on them you could do it so much better

    Why not build your own schools as well and health care facilities, us local government officers just exist to have a cushy number don’t we Rob.

    And of course child protection services, let anyone do that job eh?

    Trading standards lets get rid of that too, hell Rob who cares about whether you get screwed over in a shop or you elderly relative gets conned… Your right why pay for these cushy numbers,

    Lets not forget the Planning system, hell lets get rid of that and let everyone build what they like, give me your address and when your happy I will build the ugliest piece of shit building i can for you, That’s okay isnt it?

    Then we must not forget the Environmental Health services , who needs noise control, pollution control, pest control, fly tipping enforcement. Hell don’t need those cushy numbers do we Rob.. That reminds me once I have your address i can fly tip outside your house, i mean look there will be no cushy officers living the high life to enforce…

    What is sick and cushy is that Local politicians feel that they are worth more than the hard working employees within Local government who like you , have families, debts, cuts backs, no pay rise for the last 5 years but we dont go around awarding ourselves more pay, we spend our time loosing pay thinking of new ways to find the money for these idiot politicians to pay themselves more. I call that Cushy so why attack local government officers, do you think we like to hear self awarding pay rises whilst we are desperately looking for savings.

    • Rob says:

      Surprised you manage to cram so much into your mega 37 hour weeks, when you’re not off on flexi, sick, annual leave, “courses”……….
      As for planning, I think you’re a bit late, the shit’s been built all over the place.
      “And of course child protection services, let anyone do that job eh?”
      I thought you already did.

      • oh so you still want your bin emptied then,.. Strange but i am sensing you applied for a job at walsall council and they turned you down…

      • Wasn’t going to bite, but what the hell…..It’s 8.00 Sunday night, I worked all day yesterday, I’ve worked all day today, I’m still working, just stopped for tea. I’m not clocked in, I won’t get overtime (banned) won’t get flexi (restricted). Why am I working for nothing? The work needs to be done, due to understaffing and recruitment freezes (for some) and being in a team of just 3 people there aren’t enough hours in the day or work days in the week. I don’t want sympathy, I could just ‘not do it’ that would be fine, the world wouldn’t end, but there would be a few disappointed people tomorrow, shouting that if we don’t have the resources to do it they’ll pay private companies to do the work. I’m not on my own, far from it, there are hundreds of council employees like me, working out of hours for nothing just to get their 9-5 job done. So when I see morons like you Rob, spouting on about the cushy jobs that council workers have.. I just want to vomit!

        Brilliant article by the way, Walsall councillors should all be ashamed of themselves.

    • William Arthur Smith says:

      With the performance of schools in Walsall it may be better if they were out of local authority control – unless sixth worst in the country is deemed OK. And, as for bins, there are many places outside of Walsall who seem to have a system that works and does not rely on such frequest collections. Who blocked the proposal to reduce them as recycling increased? The was a service improvement team at WMBC – a team of specialists who had experience of working elsewhere. Without exception none lasted more than three years because they were all ground down by entrenched attitudes. There is a maxim that says that if you do the same thing you get the same result. Making cases for baskets is perhaps the limit of capacity of many at WMBC

      • Its not the employees that cause poor performance issues, its poor leadership and poor management. Both together equal low morale, corners being cut by senior management in order to save themselves. Those at the pit face so to speak turn up and try to do the bet they can, after all they have children too , they need the schools to be well run.

        So is it hardly surprising services are failing once more at Walsall MBC. Poor politics, poor management , poor leadership.

  12. kate Goodall says:

    Don’t be so hard on Rob Gareth. It’s no wonder he has such a low opinion of council workers since they don’t have to pay any council tax. I don’t know why the Government hasn’t cracked down on this loophole; it can only be a matter of time.

    • stymaster says:

      You bastards. No council tax, *and* you’re all on £150k a year, aren’t you? Plus, you’ll retire at 45 with a gold-plated pension you get for nothing.*

      *may contain fiction.

    • Damn you’ve told him now, he be whinging about that too. Best not mention the free food and stationary

      • kate Goodall says:

        Thanks for the reminder. Oh yes, the free breakfasts from the council canteen and don’t even talk to me about the amount that’s spent on the numerous Christmas parties. When will the Government take a stand on this profligate drain on public resources?

  13. Pingback: PigBlog » Blog Archive » The Politics Game

  14. Peter says:

    Evening All……. Interesting debate, I think some folk have bitten.
    Maybe i’ve got the wrong impression but I thought that elected politicians were supposed to represent the voters and the council were there to serve the general public. As I say maybe I got the wrong idea?
    Oh well……………
    Mind how you go

  15. 66usual says:

    Hmm, Rob, you are a troll, aren’t you? Gareth nailed you totally and I don’t need to add anything to his comments, although I could. But seriously, got rejected did you? Try match.com . Maybe someone somewhere might love you.

  16. sabcatAndy says:

    Trying to get this back out of idiot boy’s blind council employee bashing alley…

    The Libdems might well have voted against but that doesn’t mean that they’re any more principled than the Labour councillors in this. If they knew before hand that Labour meant to abstain then their vote was nothing more than token.
    As has been pointed out, Labour did not table an alternative motion and abstained. The Libdems who voted against also did not table an alternative motion. It would appear to me that the whole thing was stitched up before anyone stepped into the chamber.

    Has anyone in the know got the balls to tell the real story behind this?

    • Paul Wild says:

      The Walsall Liberal Democrat Councillors decided that the group would not support the allowance rise. And that was for no other reason than at a time of budget reductions effecting staff and services it would be wrong for elected officials to remove themselves from the pain…and vote for an increase.

      You can believe me or not that’s up to you ,but as a group there was absolutely no soul searching on this , it was a very natural , very quick NO.

      As to the comment about this been a token ..sorry that’s not how we work regardless of what you might have been told. The LibDem group makes its decisions on what is right for the people we represent , not a Machiavellian plan to embarrass Labour ( Machiavellian plans are Labours territory)…Labour are perfectly able to embarrass themselves without our help.

      The point also relies on the principle that we have inside information or that Labour in anyway tell us their plans, not in a million years. The press release earlier in the day implied they would vote against the rise …what happened.

      Well you could come to the conclusion following on from their constant pronouncements they will take control of the council at the next elections…that a pay rise arranged by the Conservatives would fit nicely into that new administration. Or you could take another angle , they hoped the bad press would turn more people to Labour..regardless of Labour helping the rise go through. (Political gain from peoples pain).

      If you want to see what the Liberal Democrats are actually about and not just what the media, Labour spin or certain pundits/bloggers tell you, then come out any weekend in the year and see what we do. In fact here’s a challenge, come out for a delivery session with us (Sat or Sun) and make your own mind up. If your a free thinker then email before 8am on any Saturday or Sunday and we will tell you the location to meet up,

      Paul Wild
      Walsall Liberal Democrats Membership Officer

      • Paul,
        you are a group of cynical, political opportunists who have followed anyone who offered you a biscuit for 30 odd-years.
        Watching Ian Shires squirm over the Meadow House application was rather unedifying, and remember, the allowances question would not have happened at all were you and your merry band not propping up Mike Bird’s party.
        Walsall Lib Dems have always been tory lite, and will gladly bend over the desk for anyone for a little bit of power.
        Your opportunism over this is thoroughly indicative of the cynical, insincere soundbite-chasing the party has epitomised locally and nationally for decades.
        A greater history of treachery it would be hard to find.

        The Plastic Hippo summed this up perfectly recently:

        Oh, by the way, advertise for members on your own sites, not mine.

        • Paul Wild says:

          Hi Bob
          Interesting that you think negotiating for the people you represent is taking the biscuit…anyway on to your other points.

          Meadow House.
          The property was bought recently by two Doctors from Wolverhampton who wanted to turn the unit into a ‘secure’ facility for people with psychiatric issues. And would be run as a commercial venture taking in patients from around the country who local health care processionals could not find appropriate local facilities that would or wanted to take them.

          The Local residents contacted Ian and the other LibDem Councillors along with the Labour MP and expressed concern that placing such a unit within a housing estate was not the right place for it to be. The council officers and Health professionals equally expressed concern and the Doctors withdrew their plans. We have asked they look at establishing a much needed doctors practice and health centre on the site

          Ian and the other councillors while looking into the facts of the case concluded that Walsall has an issue surrounding metal health service access and diagnosis. They are now working with the NHS to determine how people are made aware of the services and paths they can take. And what needs to change to prevent our local people from been sent out of the area in some cases for treatment.

          Propping up Mike Bird:
          You’ve now put a horrible image in my mind that will be hard to shift

          At the last elections we ended up with no overall control council, it was discussed within the group and decided that we would get the best deal for our electorate by working with the Conservatives on this occasion. (Labour showed no interest in trying to work with us) We live under a system called Democracy..in fact its in our title which kind off gives the game away as to how we believe people should be represented. We do not live in a one party Labour state in which no one else deserves to be elected. By the way I equally dislike the Conservatives as much as I do Labour…but I’m a big boy now and realise that sometimes you have to work with people you might not agree with.

          ‘Bend over the Table’:
          Wow yet another image I will keep with me for along time. If thats how you see negotiations taking place then I can only hope we never have to negotiate

          ‘Opportunism and Sound bites’:

          Sound bites I stick my hand up to as unfortunately this seems to be the world we now live in and you’ll find it from any political party (although this long reply to you reply kind off says the opposite really). ‘Opportunism’ ….odd how you call making a principled stand , opportunism….but then maybe I’m not as ‘cynical’ as you.

          ‘A greater history of treachery it would be hard to find.’….really…..for a start off I’ll point you to the post YOU started, and I could go on but I get the feeling this reply will never see the light of day.

          As to providing a link to a blog showing us how wrong we are…very interesting ..could almost have come from a Sandwell Labour Councillor 🙂

          As to using you Blog as a recruitment tool….I maybe the Membership officer but I’m not the Borg ( Star Trek reference) we do not assimilate people who come into our grasp…we kind off like people who think for themselves and the point of putting in our email address was for those who wanted to take me up on the challenge of coming out to see what we are really about . By the way how was your morning, mine and Ians was a -2 out in the Ward delivering Focus and talking to residents.

          • Good grief, Paul, you really are up your own arse. I can see why you get on with Ian.

            First up: all replies, unless abusive or illegal go up here. I don’t run this blog like the Lib Dem ones, so you can cut that crap right out. I like to let people demonstrate the length of their rope.

            The other stuff is moot: The Hippo certainly isn’t from Sandwell, and certainly isn’t a Labour councillor. Just a bemused citizen of Walsall. But it’s nice to see your wheels grind.

            Meadow House: Still never had an explanation as to why a mental health unit is bad in a housing estate or residential area. That’s where such units usually are. Surely you aren’t suggesting MH patients are undesirable, are you? Funny, Shiresy always baulked at that question too, before he became Nurse Ratched.

            Before you comment, Brownhills has has several such units, of various types, and as someone who understands the pain of psychiatric illness I understand the necessity to have them, and welcome and applaud the service they provide. We’re none of us more that a shadow breadth away, after all…

            Appeasing the pitchfork and flaming torch mob is nasty. The idea that Ian can fix or help with MH issues is hilarious, too, considering your party is in a coalition government that’s destroying that sector progressively.

            Lets hope nobody in a Lib Dem ward ever slides into metal illness.


          • Anyway, are you going to bless the Hippo with your copious verbiage, or haven’t you got the balls to reply to him?

          • William Arthur Smith says:

            So the leader of the local Lib Dems has successfully argued against the national ‘this is not a top down reorganisation’ health service changes that will provide just the facilities and ownership structures that would have been the case at Meadow House. “We support the national policies provided that they do not affect us” combined with “we support care in the community provided that it is not in our community” is a pretty toxic mix and pandering to ill informed concerns about the nature of mental illness takes a biscuit of a larger nature than that outlined by bob. Squires makes Clegg look principled. Crikey!

          • Hi Paul

            Since your catty, snide and childish remark about ‘This reply never seeing the light of day’, do you think you could clarify what happened to the comments and trackback on Daniel Barker’s blog post, that have all evaporated today?

            He can’t possibly have deleted them, as the LibDems are straight as a die, no deception or spin and full of integrity, obviously.

            You can see why deleting comments might look hypocritical, devious and utterly mendacious. Which would be doubly ironic since Daniel’s last post seems to be lecturing everyone else about behaving with integrity.

            I don’t expect your reply to this to ever appear, but it does justify exactly what I’ve come to feel about the LibDems in Walsall.


      • stymaster says:

        Paul, if you think anyone not excluded from voting on grounds of mental health would vote for the duplicitous Lib Dems, much less actually join the party, I’ll have one of what you’re drinking, and sip it very carefully indeed.

      • William Arthur Smith says:

        With spelling (effect/affect) like this no wonder Walsall Schools are in a mess. Those is leadership have literacy issues themselves. I will not mention absent question marks due to absent principles within the Lib Dems nationally.

  17. Neil Harris says:

    Can I just say, although I disagree with every word Rob has written; his view is shared by a lot of private sector workers, especially in more affluent areas.
    They have an impression of the local council as being a right cushy number, I have spent numerous hours in pubs and clubs defending but all you get back is self employed people saying they get nowhere near the perks the workers get.
    I know it’s not right, but how do you get the message across.

    • stymaster says:

      Dunno. Let’s not forget that being self-employed has it’s own set of perks: a good accountant being the key to that. It obviously has it’s downside too, but so does being a wage-slave, be it public or mprivate sector.

  18. The Realist says:

    What on earth is going on here? It is as though the Sun and Daily Mail have somehow been merged into a rabid, baying mob.

    Let’s get some basic facts straight and start taking some personal responsibility.

    1. Councillors are not Officers, they are elected by us to make policy on our behalf and to appoint competent people to carry out these policies. We get the Councillors that we elect and live with the consequences

    2. Candidates for the Council are, by and large, determined by political parties. These organisations develop policies in accord with the wishes of their members. Membership is a matter for any individual to decide on.

    3. Council employees are also residents and citizens. They live in the Borough, pay the same tax as others (no Council Tax relief), have the same hopes, share the same fears of redundancy and carry the same responsibilities for families and friends

    4. Over 2 out of 3 Council employees are paid just above the national minimum wage. These are the people who sweep our streets, look after our kids, cut the grass and shift the shit that we generate.

    5. Despite the popular view, Council staff, like the rest of us, receive few perks, mostly work beyond their contracted hours and are proud of their contribution

    6. A great deal of the Councils efforts goes towards sorting out problems that are created by the unthinking and uncaring rest of us. Waste disposal, social services, education, public health, housing and conservation spring immediately to mind

    7. Years ago, Councils raised their own revenue through locally-set tax regimes. It was called the Rates in my day. Over a fifty-year period, Governments of every colour have attempted to reduce local independence and impose a centralised system of funding and accountability. Their ambition was to destroy voter interest in local politics, on the basis that it really doesn’t matter much. The electorate has taken this to heart, as evidenced by the pathetic local election turn-out

    8. Despite the appalling lack of vision, talent and committment demonstrated by Councillors, local democracy remains the only option to totalitarianism and even more troughing

    Big Message – do like Linda. Get off your arses and try to change things. It may not work immediately, but over time it will.

    The Realist

    • Yes, Dad.

    • martin says:

      Councillors are not officers, but at the top it is very difficult to tell them apart.
      In theory, Councillors set policy and officers carry it out in the most efficient, effective manner to the best of their ability. However, Walsall councillors are notorious for interfering and (senior) officers are particulalry brown-tongued and surprisingly supine considering their almost legendary immunity to P45s (see below).

      Moving on, many (senior) officers don’t live in the borough – if they did we’d see a huge difference in the quality of some of their decision making. How many senior officer’s kids go to Walsall schools, for example? Not many I’ll bet.

      Council staff don’t have many perks but they have one of the biggest – they are virtually immune from being sacked. I know a few people who are so utterly incompetent it beggars belief but they’re still there, still drawing their salary from my taxes. And they’re not just junior staff, either. There is only the Head of HR post which is, for some reason, a poisoned chalice, but all the other top jobs are pretty much bullet proof.
      To be fair, the majority are dedicated and hard-working but there are an awful lot of (expensive) dickwits still grubbing about.

      It still boils down to the sad truism that you get the politicians you deserve – anyway, we’ve got a couple of years to get ourselves organised so let’s get a move on and do something.
      (I’ll have more to say on this when I’ve done some research and some sums)

  19. Pedro says:

    Surely the real point here is that whether you represent Labour, Conservative, Lib-Dem or are an Independant, if you issue a statement in the afternoon and do not do carry it out in the evening, you forfeit the right to be believed!

  20. Andy says:

    If you run a private business and there is more work to be done you have a number of options: you can turn down extra work (not generally wise), you can work longer and increase your income, you can invest more, you can employ more peope, but, one way or another, you can increase your workload and benefit from it. Either way you don’t get rid of key tools and sack highly skilled, hard working staff and still try to expand your workload. That way lies the disaster of unfilfilled contracts, bad reputation, lost income and bankruptcy. If there is less work you have to be more competitive to stay in business and it’s extremely difficult and stressful. I’ve been there, too – one of the three million Thatcher said was a price worth paying. It’s a risk you take.

    On the other hand you could jack it all in, go to university, get a degree, then a post-graduate professional qualification, while gaining experience, then work a few years more an get to make some minor decisions in the public sector.

    If you work for (say) the Council and there is more work to be done, you probably fall into one of two categories: either you are on or near minimum wage and have no choice as to how you prioritise work and just get on with your schedule, which requires you to go faster; or you have some say in priorities, but are at your wit’s end as to how you do the growing list of things the government (and the law) says you must do with fewer staff and less money. As a council officer you can work longer hours, and a great many do, but you don’t get any more pay or overtime. All you get is a warm glow of satisfaction, but this soon dims. You also take the job home with you – even if you don’t do this physically your mind is still on the job long after you have left your workplace. To some degree you are never really off duty because the things you see and hear, for example in the paper or on telly, remind you of things you are trying to do at work. If you are a council officer, there is never less work to be done, but you still might get the sack, anyway. If you cut budgets and sack workers the council stays in business, but just does less – there comes a point where you don’t get savings or “efficencies”, you just lose essential services. This applies more or less to the whole public sector.

    As I’ve said before, national priorities, policies and budgets so overwhelm local priorities, policies and budgets that local councils are unable to make important strategic decisions. In the face of a deepening deficit in local democracy councillors allowances should not increase, they should reduce. Governance in this country needs a major overhaul, but until then local councillors will continue to squabble over crumbs from Whitehall’s table.

    Anyway, I look forward to Rob emptying my bins and then advising the planning committee on the merits of sacrificing his favourite fishing pool to affordable housing.

  21. Rob says:

    “You also take the job home with you – even if you don’t do this physically your mind is still on the job long after you have left your workplace.”
    Try running and having the financial responsibility of your own business, when you’ve done that, you’ll have some idea what “taking the job home with you” actually entails. I suppose it depends on how long one has left the workplace, as some are notorious for leaving it for longer than others.

    “Anyway, I look forward to Rob emptying my bins and then advising the planning committee on the merits of sacrificing his favourite fishing pool to affordable housing.”

    I don’t fish pools, I prefer the challenge of rivers, so good luck with the affordable housing there.

    • Pedro says:

      Ah, the challenge of the rivers. It took ages to get in to Harris’ Pitch!

      The challenge of lifting that keepnet at the end of the day and separating the barbel in to hundredweights. The long walk back to the Danery in the dark on a balmy evening, and the ultimate challenge of lifting a pint with those aching arms.

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  24. Andy Dennis says:

    Just been reminded of something about politicians. Sir Patrick Moore, when asked if he would stand for election to Parliament, said he would be a poor candidate because he always says exactly what he thinks!

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  26. emell says:

    On a lighter note, the cabinet now enter the meetings to Depech Mode’s classic track ” Everything Counts”………in large amounts…..

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