It would be a fair assumption to think that this humble blog does not hold a high opinion of either the coalition government or the ruling Conservative group in Walsall. It would also be reasonable to assume that the juvenile, vitriolic badinage contained within these pages considers the opposing alternatives with only slightly less contempt. However, the Tories can claim an unbeatable advantage as they are blessed with the genius of sublime irony.
Attempting to deflect the gathering storm of protest against library closures in Walsall, the empty-headed heavy-weights in cabinet were wheeled out to categorically assert that all libraries would remain open. Proof, if proof were needed, of a caring, listening council. Not quite. The libraries that they have decided to close remain unidentified and will close next year. They will remain unidentified and doomed because that will avoid the inconvenience of local people turning into “campaigners” and the complete waste of time our council likes to call “consultation”. The tactic is clear; put a lid on it until after the local elections in May and then start wielding the axe.
The ironic beauty of this duplicity is embodied in a press release issued by the increasingly detached Walsall Council press office. It seems our noble town will be graced by the presence of a Ms Sara Delphi.
The headline, “Astrologer and clairvoyant to visit Walsall Library” just about sums up the future of leisure and culture in this unfortunate borough. Described as “one of the UK’s best known personalities in Tarot, Palmistry and Astrology”, this oracle will be signing her book on March 3, World Book Day in case you didn’t know, at Walsall Central Library. No wonder Jerome K Jerome legged it out of town as soon as he was old enough to walk.
Quite what library members browsing the religion, philosophy and science sections of our excellent library will make of this charlatan is, of course, unknown and Ms Delphi might be advised to ask the sceptics: “Do you know anyone in Walsall who is fearful for the future? Ah, you see, the spirit world is watching.”
Perhaps, though, her visit to the library is just a front to allow her deep cover to perform Tarot readings on cabinet. “Fear the hanged man”, she will say. “May 5 is an auspicious date.” Her wisdom might inform the cabinet in how to make decisions and second guess the inevitable. She might also direct the hollow men to the poetry section where they can read The Waste Land by T S Eliot. Consider Phlebas, the drowned Phoenician sailor, “who was once handsome and tall as you… Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!”
Maybe our own Madame Sosostris will conduct an exercise in phrenology to ascertain if a brain is present in the skulls of those that currently occupy Walsall Council press office. A palm reading might be difficult unless she removes the bank notes clutched firmly in clenched fists. April may yet be the cruellest month.
Not to be outdone in the race for ironic supremacy, Cameron and Clegg have been at it over electoral reform, particularly over the Alternative Vote referendum in May. One says “no”, the other says “yes”.
Cameron said this:
“It could mean a Parliament of second choices.”
“Can you imagine giving the gold medal to someone who finished third?”
“And there could well be an occasion where we have a genuine second-choice government.”
“And I think any system that keeps dead governments living on life support is a massive backward step for accountability and trust in politics.”
Dave might be right, but he wins hands-down on the irony metre. Like Cameron, Clegg is a liar and should be ignored and the life support to a dead government should be switched off as part of the NHS “reforms” that sees the care provided to Cameron’s own tragic child cut and the hospital that delivered Clegg`s child issuing compulsory redundancy notices.
It is becoming clear that this coalition government, nine months from conception to delivery, is intent on obscuring the termination of the welfare state. The poor will suffer; the ill, the disabled and the vulnerable will actually die because of the actions of this unelected bunch of millionaire public school boys. Their friends in the banks and their future employers in the private sector continue to enjoy vast bonuses.
In the relatively short time that the coalition have been in power, the relentless drive to destruction has been accompanied by failure. The odious Michael Gove was judged to be acting unlawfully in his plans to destroy education. The ridiculous Eric Pickles got his sums wrong over local government and Cameron pushed the laughable Caroline Spelman to the dispatch box to apologise for trying to sell off our national forests. Ironically she said the climb down was a victory for common sense. Proof, if proof were needed of a caring, listening government. Not quite, Caroline.
The smoke screen of libraries and forests masks the real intention of both local and national government. They are driven purely by self interest and will always take rather than give. They now present a real threat to the viability of this nation and the entire planet.
In the Middle East and North Africa, people are taking to the streets. Here, those that care sign petitions. The smoke on the water might soon turn into the fire in the sky.