Since I covered the original story on Monday, several very good online articles have been published about the disgraceful rise in allowances awarded to Walsall Council cabinet members. I’d like to point them out so you can read a bit more about the events, and gauge the strength of feeling locally. You will, of course, recall that the motion to award a raise was passed due the entire Walsall Labour Party abstaining from voting.
There’s been a furious, eloquent and withering article by Linda Mason, which not only lambasts the behaviour of the politicians in relation to the rise, but also in relation to Greenspaces provision and the oncoming countryside services cuts.
The Stymaster, on his Pigblog, addresses the subject with his usual down to earth viewpoint, and laments the loss of public servants serving the people that elect them.
The Plastic Hippo stepped into the fray this afternoon. I knew his piece would be worth waiting for, and so it was. The Hippo excoriates with the precision of a guided missile, and makes all the right connections and points. If you only read one article today, read this one.
Finally, Walsall Central Labour Group published a press release relating their side of things. In an unclear, baffling explanation they seem to be saying that because they didn’t win the last election, and don’t have a majority to push through the changes to the allowance system they’d like to see, they weren’t prepared to vote for anything else, and abstained. This petulant, infantile position has just cost Walsall Council Tax payers £55,000 on what seems to be a point of childish pique. I’m gobsmacked.
On the whole, my feelings gained from scanning social media, comments to phone-ins and on news stories, is that there doesn’t seem to be anyone who isn’t a Councillor that supported this. The Labour Group themselves seem to think what they did made perfect sense, and we’re all deliberately misunderstanding them.
I’ve always known politics in Walsall to be shady, childish and tribal, and this ridiculous saga typifies that.
They say we get the politicians we deserve. I’m not sure what Walsall did to anger the gods, but please, we must have suffered enough by now?