|"I got a couple of carrots round the back of the bike shed, no turnips mind..."|
Julian Bray writes: It is rare for PBROTRIB to doff its cap at the weekly newspaper, you understand if they were up to the task of holding the council and councillors properly to account then the PBROTRIB would need not exist. But lately the paper has toughened up, and for the first time in many years (the Paul Stainton column we should add, being a notable exception as PS has always challenged councillors and council officers both in print and on the wireless) seems to be furtively challenging the council, in their editorial columns, better late than never, perhaps? Welcome to the Club.
The truth is like a typical Italian donkey, in a certain Italian village, the donkey works hard for years on end, transporting impossibly heavy loads (or just really fat people) before being ceremoniously thrown (still alive) off the top of a building as part of a carnival ritual celebration. Take a visual spin round our City...
Hold that image for a moment, and you have what appears to be a spot of scrutiny for the budget document masterminded by the former lap dance king Cllr Fitz, clearly no 'angel' but like the lap dance club he was intimately associated with for many years, the image works for us. Especially after a few Aldi premium mince pies ( better than Waitrose we say ) and a slug of brandy from Lidl.
And possibly a mug of soup from the nightly soup kitchen behind the Brewery Tap... keeping many Peterborough homeless people alive this Winter, and there are hundreds of them no matter what council officers will have you believe.. its getting worse not better.
Naturally before the watershed, we'd prefer Cllr Fitz keeps his clothes on, tassels in place, and doesn't give the Club bunch of keys to the yobbo convicted lag Cllr Peter Hiller for safe keeping. No telling what he will do in a B&Q Car Park. We had during the meeting in effect the writhing 'naked female entertainers' performing a lap dance within close proximity to a terrified punter, the terrified punter being collectively the worried citizens of Peterborough.
Even though the Dear Leader is standing on the top of a building, and looking over the edge. He has already confirmed the City can hold out for a couple of years before the game is up. So you really do wonder why the 'no overall control' dear leader is still in post and hasn't called it a day? These is nothing, I repeat nothing, but a black hole ahead....
Clearly the Labour faction want to keep him on show like a piñata, or the donkey, as they would have to carry out a like function, and watch the whole fabric of the City crumble before their very eyes. This way they can heap the blame on Cllr Cereste, whilst Lisa Forbes knocks back a few in Weatherspoons Drapers Arms - the unofficial Labour Parliamentary Committee room, judging by the time spent in there....
So faced with the collapse of many essential, some lifesaving services, you'd expect the assembled councillors to give some serious consideration to the implications of what they were about to do. Some clearly were very off message. Cllr John Peach (who, some say, joined the council on the direct orders of William Cromwell, or King Billy as he likes to be remembered...) was mortified that the bowling greens enjoyed by his core voters were to lose the council owned and expensively maintained facility.
Better to see pensioners starve, disabled disadvantaged, chucked out of residential care homes, others confined to their freezing homes due to poor bus services than to lose a couple of bowling greens, and not forgetting the tennis courts too! Money will be found. Ha! Ha! (Hopefully The Cresset can use some of this in their Aladdin panto) Comedy Gold.
So you'd expect the scrutiny committee to knuckle down and critically examine the budget and make a series of key recommendations for the Cabinet. Ah but not so fast this is the Dear Leader we are talking about. So anything is possible, as Cllr Cereste in one of those out of body experiences, he has from time to time mused : "We have one of the best city centres in the whole of the country"
Make a note, Must take him to Bath, Cheltenham, Guildford, or even Glasgow sometime.
Out of the ether comes a recommendation "Cabinet to consider the impact on how this will affect the lowest paid people in Peterborough" and it gets passed. Suddenly the jumping jack (a now banned firework) the dear leader has rashly stowed in his pocket is ignited, he starts to leap around everywhere.
He turns on his cohorts and even says he takes serious offence on the suggestion that he doesn't consider the impact. Even calls it appalling. He might even be right, many of his decisions over the years have been appalling. No be fair far worse than that! Freemans, Solar Farm, Neighbourhood Councils, tatty ads on street lights, the invasive LED street lighting scheme that doesn't work but dazzles drivers when it rains...we could go on...
If that isn't enough, the Dear Leader then says he spent DAYS considering the impact - this process has been going on FOR YEARS MARCO, less time in Clarkes Restaurant and more on the documents perhaps? And with the Dear Leader at the centre of it all!
Meetings need a dose of Cllr Murphy, always good value, the Don Quixote of Peterborough, Cllr Murphy starts talking about council tax benefit cuts following on from an earlier meeting. Cllr Seaton neatly heads him off at the pass, and says he will talk to him, possibly behind the bike sheds. Better than a public spanking, Councillors? Good old Spanker!
Stagecoach with Virgin who have just won the contract to run East Coast Trains and paying Govt over £3 BILLION for the gig. Should be really ashamed, they are to be given "£150,000 worth of savings for a new bus route" in Peterborough. Sheer madness. Still an early Christmas present.. Canny Scotsman behind it all. And we don't even get NEW buses all the time, the old decals are peeled off but not always the adhesive revealing the previous town to have been served by the 'secondhand' bus..
We all put in budget suggestions usually they end up in a document never to be seen again, but one seems to have surfaced. The Dear Leader agreed to look at roles and responsibilities of cabinet members after it is suggested their number could be reduced. Easily done Marco just check that all are still breathing and the robotic voting arm is attached to the string you pull! Ideally do away with the Cabinet system and reinstate an open Committee style of working. Won't happen of course. Give him a call on 01733 452481, add a few ideas.
The Dear Leader simply does not understand what a blue badge is all about or for. This remark for example "Cllr Cereste says there are more free blue badge spaces than ever before." Have to declare an interest, I have a blue badge. The blue badge is for disabled drivers and those who drive around people with a disability.
So it is probably a good idea if disabled parking spaces are in close proximity to the target shops or resources. Charging for the disabled spaces, is an oxymoron. With the cost of petrol dropping like a stone (Unleaded 111p a litre earlier today at Stanground Applegreen Filling Station) the choice of shopping venues opens up. Pay Marco a disabled parking charge or quit the City Centre and head for the free parking at Asda, Lidl or the new Aldis or head for Serpentine Green or even Cambridge for roughly the same cost. Go figure Marco! Time Peterborough retailers became really concerned. Oh whilst I remember expect to see Amazon pulling out of Peterborough now that the Chancellor is to apply a 25% tax on their profits. Ie a 25% on cost for Amazon.. overnight!
The dire state of childrens services in the City was discussed with we consider the grossly overpaid postholder Sue Westcott ( who we honestly and truly believe is well meaning but clearly out of her depth) holding out the begging bowl for £2.3 million to prop it all up. Adult Social Services have already taken a hit of £7 million. Ms Westcotts Social Workers by the way are paid very little, have difficult early burn out workloads. That is the real problem...but no one will hold her properly to account!
So what can be done? Very little, unless all citizens who can vote actually use their vote both in Local Government Elections and during the General Election. Its not Marcos money, its public money, your money. Have a say USE YOUR VOTE. Merry Christmas!
Elf 'n' Safety: No animals were hurt or disadvantaged during this event.
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