Tory u-turns and in less than a week – classic

Ah, the joys of living in Walsall. OK, Walsall’s always had a reputation for being a bit of a rotten borough and even at times when the other workings of our political system sometimes seem lifeless, there’s always the prospect that Walsall will come riding to the rescue and liven things up a bit.

So without further ado, I present you two rather curious pieces of reporting courteous of the last remaining bastion of impartial news reporting, our veritable own region’s favourite newspaper, the Express & Star.

First article here and second here.

At the risk of being accused of having some personal vendetta against Cllr. Rachel Walker as this is now the third time I’ve dared to criticise her/department I think it’s just fair to say I simply don’t like muppets with a propensity for cocking things up.

Here’s the scenario then. The other week local Government workers undertook a nationwide bit of industrial action over pay. Nothing wrong with that but it seems unlike every other local authority in, well the country I think, Walsall seems to have cocked this one up royally.

Unlike the others who seem to have sorted out any bins not collected on the days in question Walsall has ever so wisely decided in true huggy cuddly New Tory fashion to turn this into a nice bit of union bashing.

So up pops Cllr. Rachel Walker with the “we’re not going to pay those oikish filthy trades unionist scum extra money to collect the rubbish mounting in the streets that wasn’t collected while they we’re being filthy lazy sods and just so you hideous little proles out there know, we’re not going to let them pick up any extra bags the following week either so don’t even think about getting the service you’ve already paid for through your council tax either, what do you think this is a public service or something?”

OK, not the exact words but you get the gist of it.

Then, oh hang on, people ain’t happy about this. Bugger bugger the proles are complaining and it’s getting into the meeja, better call in the Walsall Council Communications Unit to sort this one out.

So now we have a new litter ‘hit squad’ with the obligatory “we’re still not going to let those oiksome trades unionist types get any extra money for striking because they’re scum I tell you, scum.”

Except, hang on a moment here. According to Cllr. Walker herself, these ‘Hit Squads’ (sorry have this really perverse image of blokes dressed all in black with balaclava’s on roaming the streets of Walsall SAS style) are made up of “extra teams of binmen”. So here’s a question.

These ain’t binmen on their normal rounds picking up a bit of extra rubbish on top of the normal. They’re dedicated teams that have required additional organisation and presuming that Walsall council doesn’t have an army of binmen sitting around doing nothing to be called in to sort stuff like this out then where did they come from because presumably all the other binmen would be working on their normal rounds.

They’re not by any chance binmen doing a bit of overtime perhaps?

I wonder how much all this extra organisation and staffing is costing the council to sort out a cock-up that could so easily have been managed within normal services at no cost whatsoever.

Incidentally, kudos to the local Tories for managing to get the timing spot on. Let rubbish mount in the streets during the hottest week to date this year, you couldn’t make up this level of incompetence.

Strangely the comments section on the two articles on the E&S’s website are closed. Heaven forbid people might be critical of a Tory council eh? Got to be trailblazers for freedom of speech you know.

3 thoughts on “Tory u-turns and in less than a week – classic

  1. I think the E&S has something of a pegging order in terms of what it allows comments for. They seem to enjoy allowing things rip on certain subjects, things related to anything that might annoy car drivers being one of them irrespective of any other biases that might be knocking around.

    In terms of my post I was more working towards the general drying up of comments, post this years local elections as prior to them there seemed to be an almost free for all and some nice juicy ones that were coincidentally anti-Wolverhampton City Council. Now it’s not what odd articles they don’t allow comments on but which odd few they do.

    To be fair to them they probably should restrict commenting, especially on sensitive issues and those involving due legal process like trials etc but why an issue relating to rubbish collection shouldn’t be available is beyond me.

    Actually I think it’s sad to see the way the E&S has gone. I used to read it daily, so did my parents and lots of other people I know. I don’t know anyone who has it delivered or reads it daily anymore such is the dumbing down of our printed media.

    I also used to know a number of the ‘older’ journos on the E&S who were your archetypal local investigative hack types, good people btw. I don’t think any of them are still there now after the change in the editorial direction it’s taken over the last 7 years or so.

    It’s sad but they all seem to have been replaced by far too many freshies straight out of journalism courses at university and it shows in the standard of reporting.

    Do you mean the comment by Jonsi? That’s interesting, wasn’t aware of those little bits of the PFI.

    I think the problem is with particularly Walsall if we’re talking about the redevelopment of the ring road or transport around the centre in general is that it has always been rubbish. The town is badly planned and laid out.

    Take for example, I live almost as near as damn it, equidistant between Walsall and Wolverhampton. Where do I shop, apart from Willenhall itself of course? Wolverhampton, because despite the same distance either way to each town/city centre, it takes 13 minutes on the bus to Wolverhampton and anything between 25 and 35 minutes depending on traffic to Walsall. This is wholly traffic management and congestion related because late at night this time comes down to roughly 18 minutes or if you’re really lucky and that young asian driver who wears a bomber jacket is on the 529 route I did once clock the journey time at 12 minutes when he was driving.

    BTW, apologies for you getting referred to moderation, more than one link in the comment, you know the routine.

  2. I used to live in Wolverhampton, and generally, traffic and road planning there seemed better. Walsall’s ring road always has been a joke, and seems to be continuing that way. Walsall is a foul place to drive to, and yet public transport is continuing to get worse.

    Interestingly I live halfway between Walsall & Lichfield, as does my brother-in-law. He drives more at the weekend than I do: If they have shopping to do, they go to Lichfield to avoid Walsall. I’d do the same if there was a decent bus service, as I minimise driving when I don’t *need* to. Walsall MBC seems to be trying to drive people out…

  3. Funny you should mention driving people out. Can’t remember where I came across the particular piece of information but it’s interesting to note that Walsall has a net outflow of people for work purposes, ie people live here but don’t work here of something like 40,000.

    I must try and remember where I got that figure from and admittedly it’s a couple of years old but I doubt a great deal has suddenly changed.

    Makes you wonder if Walsall is essentially a housing estate to feed the working areas in neighbouring autorities. For myself it would be true. I’ve never worked in Walsall. Well apart from currently working from home but I don’t think that counts.

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