The Plastic Hippo

February 23, 2010

Ethelred the Unready found safe and well in Walsall

Filed under: Politics,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 3:08 am

The discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard in a muddy field near Burntwood has had a seismic effect in the world of archaeology and has led to claims that the history of the middle ages may have to be reconsidered. The response from Walsall Council to this remarkable and profoundly important find also needs some consideration.

The ever dependable YamYam has run a story ahead of the local dead tree press reporting on our long awaited civic reaction as to where the shiny treasure should be kept. It seems that our leader, the irrepressible Mike Bird, believes that Walsall is incapable of housing the trove. He says that Walsall does not possess the capability to care for and examine this momentous discovery when every archaeologist and historian in the country would sell their souls just to see this collection of gold.

The purveyor of corporate insignia has described suggestions that The New Art Gallery in Walsall should be the home of the Hoard as “irresponsible”, a word he seems to use as often as a sufferer from Tourretts syndrome uses the F word. Perhaps he has Coprolalia, a condition that results in the involuntary utterance of socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks. His performances in the council chamber might verify this and his mental state has to be questioned.

He was joined in council by Adrian Andrew, the deputy leader, in proposing that the government should pay to keep the Hoard in the Kingdom of Mercia. Councillor Andrew has overseen the death of the ancient Brownhills Market, also in the Kingdom of Mercia. Two other councillors signed the motion, David Turner, the invisible man of Brownhills and Alan Paul who, as the hippo has observed, has something of the Tommy Cooper about him.

Councils in Staffordshire, Lichfield, Tamworth and Birmingham and the Art Fund are campaigning furiously to keep the goodies in the Midlands and have already come up with over £800,000 to keep them here. Walsall has raised nothing – zilch – nada – zero.

Ethelred the Unready is regarded as one of the worst Kings of England. Unable to resist Viking attacks, he decided to pay the Scandinavian raiders to go away with Danegelt – a tactic that proved remarkably unsuccessful. Ethelred`s very name is an Anglo-Saxon compound word meaning “noble” and “counsel”. This was soon corrupted to mean bad council after his decision to try and buy his way out of trouble, hence Ethelred the Unready.

Councillor Bird may wish to contemplate his legacy when considering what he has achieved for Walsall. Unready or incapable – history will be the judge


  1. This hoard was found only metres away from the Walsall boundary. Walsall should have a rightful claim to house this Anglo Saxon treasure, but as per usual those in power are intent on burying not preserving the past………..the list goes on and on. What’s next the sale of the Arboretum perhaps?

    Comment by Late Night on Watling Street — February 23, 2010 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

    • “…only metres away from the Walsall boundary” is still outside Walsall, ie in Staffordshire.
      If you are going to lay claim to anything nearby, where do you stop?
      Does that make Lichfield the centre of the leather industry? It isn’t far from “…the Walsall boundaries.
      Or has Walsall actually got two premiership football teams ?
      Villa and Blues are quite near “…the Walsall boundaries”

      Not only has Walsall not got a credible claim on the Hoard, but it hasn’t got the resources to deal with it anyway.
      Let’s stop squawking about about something that is clearly irrelevant and focus on something that might make a difference in our day-to-day lives; let’s look at how the council is failing to run the schools via serco, or failing to maintain our roads via tarmac, for starters!

      Comment by ian — March 30, 2010 @ 11:23 pm | Reply

  2. I think this is Captain Clueless confusing the light at the end of a tunnel with an oncoming train…
    He daren’t agree to house the hoard in Walsall because that would commit him to all sorts of expenditure he can’t afford.
    Don’t forget he has already changed his mind about Willenhall Leisure Centre, Bryntisilio Outdoor centre and the Illuminations, to name but a few.
    If he throws his weight behind housing the Staffordshire Hoard, god knows how much money he will have to steal from Childrens’ Services or Older Peoples’ Services or Highways.
    To be fair to the good captain though, at least he is trying not to make any promises he knows he will have to break.
    Normally, he breaks promises like others break wind, but here he is trying not to get up shit creek for a change.
    There must be an election coming….

    Comment by Martin — February 25, 2010 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

  3. Perhaps it could instead be sold off to pay down part of the banking debt accumulated by Tony the Ever-too-Ready.

    Comment by theothergardener — March 3, 2010 @ 2:34 am | Reply

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