The vital ingredient in a perfect banana daiquiri is Rose’s Lime Cordial. Lime juice or, heaven forbid, lime squash will simply not do. Trying to buy a bottle of the stuff in Walsall three days before Christmas proved to be as elusive as finding citizens eligible to vote in local elections.
In a borough where strategic policy only extends to supermarket development and parking charges, it should come as no surprise that Thursday saw empty council car parks, queues of traffic waiting at the entrances to supermarkets and almost deserted polling stations in Birchills Leamore. Whatever bright sparks decided to exercise their democratic right to force a ward by election three days before Christmas will be delighted that democracy has been served with a woeful 16 per cent turn out.
Following the sad death in November of Joan Barton, a popular and hard working ward councillor, the result of the poll was a foregone conclusion. In a safe Labour seat, with a Tory government slashing and burning its way through the very fabric of Britain and a completely clueless local Conservative council, the Labour candidate would need to don a Gestapo uniform and drink a toast to Hitler not to be elected. Oh, sorry, yeah, that`s Cannock.
But all that is not to say that Tina Jukes does not deserve her victory. To embark on an election campaign so soon after her mother’s death is courage beyond the call and a fitting tribute to Joan Barton’s many achievements. The new councillor for Birchills Leamore will be a fine representative and her 300 plus majority will be the envy of other Labour councillors who consider themselves to be in safe seats. It seems a shame that she will have to contest the seat again in May.
However, after setting aside the congratulations of a “good” win, the Labour group in Walsall cannot indulge in the triumphalism of assuming control of this basket case borough. A victory in a safe seat with a turn out of 16 per cent is no reason to celebrate, especially as Labour has yet to offer any alternatives to municipal melt-down. There were many more people in ASDA Bloxwich and the retail experience hell of the town centre Tesco than there were in polling stations on Thursday. In other regimes, people are throwing rocks at tanks. Labour are downloading the latest Status Quo single. Facing an open goal with the goal-keeper sent off, Labour refuses to swing a kick because the ball belongs to the club chairman.
So who forced the unnecessary by election in Birchills Leamore that could have so easily waited until May? The Labs and the Cons immediately blamed each other but it turns out that this was not the case. It couldn’t have been a bunch of idiots called English Democrats who wish to take any opportunity to peddle their nonsense, UKIP are not that bright and the Greens just go with the flow. It was probably some random anarchists intent on wasting money and causing mischief in an attempt to draw attention to their failed and rather pathetic ambitions at being somebody.
Interestingly, and completely unrelated, the Liberal Democrats did not put up a candidate in Birchills Leamore. Clearly this is a similar paperwork error that occurred at the last by election in Bloxwich and is not in any way a lack courage for the fight. With Clegg in government and local Liberal Democrats in full retreat, the increasingly monosyllabic Ian Shires continues to have a go at Ed Miliband. As obnoxious as Miliband is, this utter shambles is not his fault and we are seeing the Liberal Democrats being absorbed into the public school Tory hierarchy as fags. Is it any surprise that people wish to legally loot Morrisons rather than go to a polling station?
For the perfect banana daiquiri, the Rose’s Lime Cordial was found at the local corner shop. Mr Singh also stocked the white rum, the bananas and the demerara sugar. We provided the ice and the Pisang Ambon liqueur. Watch out for banana skins in May.