Rather rattled

I see the alternate reality that seems to pervade the Walsall Civic Centre is still in full effect. Today, Linda Mason, lead campaigner against the horrendous cuts in Walsall Council’s Greenspaces team, received this rather tetchy billet-doux from Councillor Anthony Harris – coincidentally member for Aldridge North and Walsall Wood – who’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture.

It seems that they don’t like dissenting voices up in WS1…


A letter scanned and sent by email to Save Walsall Countryside and Greenspaces campaigner Linda Mason, from Walsall Council Councillor and cabinet member Anthony Harris. Click for a larger version

Fresh from voting himself and other cabinet members a handsome and eye-watering raise in allowances, it seems Mr. Harris would rather we celebrate the reduction in cuts to the Greenspaces service from £400,000 to £300,000 (euphemistically termed ‘Savings’ in the language of the spin doctor). Backed up by a dodgy report from the Black Country Wildlife Trust, who seemed to have the wrong end of the stick, Councillor Harris seems somewhat annoyed that anyone should think cuts of £300,000 could be anything but good news.


From the Walsall Express & Star, 28th January 2012. When is restoring £100,000 still a cut? When the total butchered was £400,000. Utter spin from Walsall Council, and Linda Mason is attacked by a cabinet member for speaking out. Unseemly. Click for a larger version. Thanks to Roger Jones for the scan.

Linda and the rest of us who are fighting these cuts have explained repeatedly why they are bad, and why cuts to Countryside Ranger staffing will result in increased ASB, flytipping and a lack of awareness of the environment in local citizens. The Councillors – the vast majority of whom, of whatever political persuasion, ignored mail shots and requests for help with the campaign – responded by restoring some services to Parks, which isn’t the same thing at all.

Linda said:

Frankly I am disgusted because this is the first communication I’ve received from the council despite promises that they would get back to me about all my concerns!

It is the free speech thing that so enrages me. I can criticise the council when I feel it is justified and on this subject I feel, sincerely that it is. Councillors made promises to me about consultation and keeping me informed. That has been ignored and instead I get this letter. You can understand why I might be a little upset!

One wonders here just who is working for whom – the spectacle of an experienced and well-remunerated councillor lecturing a volunteer campaigner about speaking to the press is both blatant chutzpah and breathtaking arrogance.

Perhaps if they all spent less time playing kindergarten politics, and looked after the people of Walsall instead, we’d all be in a better place.

Welcome to Walsall, where the only green that’s nurtured is the fivers paid to the cabinet…

This entry was posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Followups, It makes me mad!, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local media, Local politics, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Rather rattled

  1. lightbluefish1964 says:

    Reblogged this on DBF and LBF and commented:
    This blogger is legend in my eyes!

  2. Rob says:

    If the local “residents” of Walsall are dependent on council staff for “environmental awareness” then they really have been sucking on the state teat for far too long.

  3. Do the Council fools not know who they are dealing with? I can feel a nuclear PR own goal coming here.

  4. What a totally inappropriate letter from the Cabinet member. I would refer this matter directly to the CEO of Walsall MBC. He must rememebr that free speech and challenging decisions is a right not a privilege, his letter is an abuse of council resource and not neccessarily the view of the whole organisation , cabinet member or not

  5. Sheila K says:

    Thanks for publicising this Bob. It is utterly despicable for an elected councillor to write to an individual like this. The tone is more than a little intimidating.
    I’m with Gazza. The trouble is this pathetic bunch of councillors are not used to having anyone stand up and say that what they’re doing is wrong and that we – the people who they are supposed to represent – will not put up with it. As we all know, apathy rules in Walsall. I for one, and I hope other readers, will not forget these things when elections come round in May. Let’s just hope we have a least one decent candidate to vote for.
    Keep up the good work Linda!

  6. So Councillor Anthony Harris wants to play rough, does he? Okay Councillor, the gloves are off. It`s open season.

  7. William Arthur Smith says:

    Perhaps he thinks that fair is fair

  8. stymaster says:

    Shameful and arrogant. How can cutting budget not worsen the service? As for the E&S story, it’s just plain, simple bullshit. Asserting that they’re not cutting £100k is just smoke and mirrors hiding the fact that they are cutting £300k, instead of £400k. Genius.

    Cllr Harris would do well to remember who he is supposed to represent and who pays his recently increased allowance. As per normal, no response until someone shouts loud enough for it to be embarrassing.

  9. Steve Billingham says:

    Has Cllr Harris had to many goes on the Waltzers as after all thats his backgound ‘fun fairs’ i think this shows that perhaps Mr Harris should stick to shouting ‘ any more riders ‘ and ‘ the louder you scream the faster we go’ as hes useless at a Cllr.

  10. Doops says:

    Despicable, threatening crap from this public servant. What an outrage.

  11. Pingback: Fair enough « The Plastic Hippo

  12. Peter says:

    Bob, If you may I’d like to issue an open invitation to the E&S to come clean on the story and explain why they ran this one suggesting a saving of £100,000 instead of a cut of £300,000. The Council is supposed to represent the people of the borough / community.
    It seems that the E&S and the council are working very closely on this one.
    E&S please reply so we can hear your side of a story that on the face of it seems wholly misrepresentative of any facts. Why dont you join in and explain.
    The threat to free speech, controlled media, cutting of services in a cloud of spin………… welcome to Walsall everyone in the 21st century.
    Mind how you go…………

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