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.
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.