The late, great and sadly missed Peter Cook when being stalked by none other than the Princess Margaret responded to yet another invitation to dinner by sending a note that said: “Ordinarily I would love to come and amuse you and your friends but on that particular evening I intent to watch television.”
As an excuse for not turning up, this is far more elegant than the usual “he/she has a meeting” or “there was no phone signal” or “he/she is unwell/on leave/no longer working for this department/has been abducted by aliens/is dead.” It will be interesting to see what excuses the hard working and dedicated councillors representing the fair wards of Aldridge Central and South, Aldridge North and Walsall Wood and other surrounding picturesque villages employ when taking the discretionary decision not to turn up at tonight`s meeting to seal the coffin lid on Aldridge Manor Youth Centre. The boy Flower, once champion of all things youthful, social media and all things Walsall Wood but now strangely silent and almost invisible has the excuse that the Regeneration scrutiny panel is meeting at exactly the same time. Fill in your own ironic joke regarding the regeneration of Walsall. Sadly, and for all the wrong reasons, Tom Ansell is unable to attend.
So perhaps the good people of Aldridge will be honoured by the presence of councillors X and V and perhaps even the goddess of inadequate, councillor Rachel Andrew who continues to fail the children and young people of Walsall. One can only hope the Walsall Meetings will tweet live from the “consultation” taking place two years after the decision to close the youth facility was made. Their coverage this week of a bizarre awards ceremony celebrating the fiddling of youth unemployment figures introduced a new word into the lexicon. “Pre-apprentices” were patted on the head and were told that they were no longer unemployed but were being given lessons in numeracy, literacy and how to talk proper. This avuncular patronage is proof positive that Serco have failed an entire generation.
Yesterday, in something of a knee-jerk reaction, the council issued a press release stating that the youth centre would not close in August but will remain open until Christmas. It is entirely coincidental that a by election in the safe Tory seat is necessary due to the sad death of Tom Ansell, one of the few members of cabinet who cared more for his constituents than himself. For all the fine eulogies from councillor Q, cynical self preservation is the imperative of a cabinet that has forgotten that they are here to serve the people, not rule them.
The Plastic Hippo will not be attending the pointless public consultation tonight in Aldridge. The decision has been made and no amount of shouting at useless councillors will change that. The deal to flog the prime piece of real estate for a knock down price to a wealthy buddy cannot be revoked and we should all wait for a couple of years for a mysterious and unexplained fire. In any case, Nigel Far Right Rage and the odious George Galloway go head-to-head tonight in an idiot contest on BBC Question Time.
On this particular evening, I intend to watch television.