I’m featuring here today an email I’ve received on a very important matter from someone whom I have a great deal of regard for – John Bird of Brownhills. John is a much respected older resident of our town and someone who’s very concerned about a pressing issue: That of Walsall Council’s withdrawal of the Community Alarm Service for the elderly and vulnerable.
This is a story that’s caused a lot of anguish over recent months – Head of Walsall Council Mike ‘Blofeld’ Bird and the ruling Tory group have pushed through this deeply unpopular cut whilst restoring brown bin collections this year to fortnightly and spending a fortune on air conditioning, IT and other fripperies.
It seems Big Mike keeping cool and Streetly’s grass cuttings are more important than the lives and health of the frail and ill.
Linda Mason wrote a beautifully excoriating blog post about this you can read here. There has been coverage at the Express & Star here and there’s a Facebook support group – Sitizens Against Cuts – run by the wonderful Amy Wolfs here.
I’d venture readers should consider these points carefully when casting their vote in the upcoming elections, and try and see the deeper picture beyond the current rash of political stunts on both sides.
John Bird has periodically written clear, eloquent and concise letters to the local press – the ones that have always stuck in mind have been the ones relating to the development and plans for Brownhills High Street, and he’s written some brilliant stuff over the years.
John Bird wrote:
Community Alarm Service.
I am very sad to note that Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council has chosen to close down the Community Alarm Service. I have a number of friends and relatives who have used this service, some of whom have actually been saved from further suffering and in one case, I believe, potentially lifesaving.
This is, to my mind, is another public service that has, effectively, been ‘privatised’ as any users of any replacement service will have to pay for it.
Now I appreciate that the Conservative government’s cuts are eating into the Council’s services but I am sure that savings could have been made elsewhere voluntarily or otherwise.
The Council membership is evenly balanced with the mayor having a casting vote. This prompts me, therefore, to suggest that if members, with a sympathetic approach to this service, had voted with their conscience, then the mayor’s casting vote would have not been needed.
As a concerned Brownhills resident I have to ask, therefore, did the two Conservative councillors, Ken Ferguson and Stephen Craddock, vote for the withdrawal of this vital service? I do hope not.
What do you think? Please do comment here or mail me BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.
Again, thanks to John for making an excellent, thoughtful point.