The Plastic Hippo

January 6, 2012

Unreasonable disadvantage

Filed under: Politics,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 12:22 pm

Back in November 2010, when three “independent” wise men decided that Walsall cabinet members deserved an increase in allowances, the outrage generated on this internet thingy caused a climb down. But, like a bad penny, the proposal is back.

That cycling iconoclast of the Northern Wastes, Brownhills Bob, might be under the weather and keeping the Andrex in the fridge, but being laid low by a dodgy pie has not blunted his ability to pulverise the disgraceful hypocrisy displayed by the leader of Walsall council and his cabinet chums. His excellent piece “Snouts in the trough” beautifully disassembles and exposes the complete and utter contempt that Mike Bird holds for the people of Walsall. Quite how a pompous, arrogant oaf like Bird got his piggy little fingers on the control of this borough must be the cause of sleepless nights for Conservative councillors.

Similarly, voters in Pheasey Park Farm, soon to be returned to the bosom of North Birmingham, will be looking forward to reducing their massive repeat prescription charges for sleeping pills caused by electing the glorious leader, his mini-me deputy and the keeper of the cabinet cook books. But then again, perhaps the good people there are happy to pay money for old rope.

Bird’s justification for awarding himself a £2k increase in his allowance, doubling the money for his curious side-kick and bunging the other cabinet drones an extra grand is the same as it was before. He works 365 days a year, his experience is worth it and the recommendation came from an “independent” panel of experts. His argument then and now, is ridiculous and it would be pointless to refute them again. This humble blog’s opinion, for what it`s worth, can be found here. That piece could have been written and published today and Brownhills Bob’s piece written and published more that a year ago. However, it is worth pointing out that things are much worse now than they were in November 2010. As cuts bite, redundancy in full swing and the Single Status fiasco still unresolved, Bird’s brass neck is likely to be even more attractive to passing political tatters.

The reaction from the Labour group leader was ponderous and vague. Tim Oliver talked of preferring a different approach “at this time” and it took 24 hours for Labour to state that they would vote against this pocket lining disgrace at full council on Monday. With 27 Tory councillors and 27 Labour councillors, it is down to the votes of the Liberal Democrats. You can forget the single Independent, he usually doesn’t bother to turn up. Like in 2010, the Tories will withdraw this insulting proposal.

Then, given the anger expressed at this blatant attempt at profiteering, national treasure Brownhills Bob produced this stunning critique. The comment from a certain Ian Shires is interesting. The Libdem leader said: “I can assure you that the Liberal Democrat Group will vote against.” Shires has again stated that his group will not support the proposal yet strangely attacks Labour. This means that Bird will again climb down and attempt to claim that he is a listening local politician when faced with certain defeat. This would be a shame as we will not be able to know which Tory councillors up for election in May, including mini-me, agree with the plunder. But then again, we live in hope to see a vote as since May 2010, is it ever possible to believe what a Liberal Democrat says?

So it’s back to the drawing board for Bird and his speculating cronies. The report before full council talks of the unreasonable disadvantage to councillors performing their civic duty. Well, here’s an idea. With Walsall people losing schools, care, hospital beds, jobs, businesses, homes and hope, perhaps the duty and expertise offered by Bird and his like could be volunteered for free. We could call it…hmm, let’s see…the Big Society.

If, though, the leader insists on remuneration from the public coffers, he might wish to consider job-sharing with the Chief Executive, he’s worth a few bob, but there should be conditions. Rather like the Single Status re-evaluation, the great leader’s allowance should be performance related. Ah, slight snag there. The police investigation into the missing EU millions might cast a cloud over his annual assessment. As might a very expensive vanity ring road project that is trying to kill people transiting the Arboretum Junction and seems unable to drain itself during a period of rain. Then there is the issue of the huge bags of pound coins holding down Amey`s lamp posts and the undisclosed pot of money being removed from Walsall by Serco. At this rate, given his performance, councillor Bird will owe us money.

On reflection, perhaps we should pay him what he wants, only in the hope that he might just go away.



  1. “Similarly, voters in Pheasey Park Farm, soon to be returned to the bosom of North Birmingham”

    really ? The parliamentary boundaries actually mover one ward of North Brum into Walsall South and we are not moving councils (yet)

    otherwise as usual Hippo, spot on with all the comments and it is all a political stunt if we are to be cycniocal about thes things

    Comment by ianrobo — January 6, 2012 @ 12:29 pm | Reply

  2. would add that of course listening to Bird last night reminded me of king Canute

    Comment by ianrobo — January 6, 2012 @ 12:30 pm | Reply

  3. You’re quite right there. I often hear Bird and thing ‘What an absolute Cnut.’

    Down the hatch, and pass the immodium


    Comment by BrownhillsBob — January 6, 2012 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  4. one other factor all of these proposed increases are on top of the basic allowance of £10,000 paid to all councillors So Mike Bird’s total pay is £30,000

    Comment by the mushroom — January 6, 2012 @ 2:37 pm | Reply

  5. The voting figures for this are reported as 27-28 so the proposal was defeated. There are 27 Tories. Did they all vote in favour? The attendance records show that three were absent. This means that at least two labour or lid-dems voted in favour of the increases, despite protestations of their leadership. Does any one know who and why?

    Comment by Andrew — January 11, 2012 @ 1:21 pm | Reply

    • Andrew is got complicated by a Tory motion recommending the status quo be kept and 28-27 voted in favour of retaining the current system (Tories and LD’s) with all 27 Labour councillors voting AGAINST the status quo not in FAVOUR of the increases.

      A nuanced agrument I agree

      Comment by ian — January 11, 2012 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

      • Nuanced my bloody arse.

        The Labour group are currently so far up their own backsides that they can’t just read the public mood and vote an unpopular motion down, they have to try and be clever and get the allowances adjusted ‘within the current budget’, with the result that their actions – with no new motion tabled – just look confusing.

        It’s all very well some of the party banging on about how you had to be there at the time – 99.9% of the electorate were not. Nobody gives a shit what motion Labour want, they just wanted a hypocritical, greedy rise voted down.

        And yet still no policy out of the group other than issuing veiled threats to the press office, whose services it looks like the Labour group are really going to need. Should they gain power in May as they expect, they’ll need full time media experts to explain their machinations to the electorate, because they sure aren’t coming over loud and clear right now.

        I look forward to hearing some policy on the stuff that matters – education, social care, communities, that sort of thing. I shan’t hold my breath.


        Comment by BrownhillsBob — January 11, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

  6. It takes some doing to voate against something that you want or for something that you don’t. A revised motion, or a block abstention, would have made matters somewhat clearer

    Comment by Andrew — January 13, 2012 @ 10:52 am | Reply

    • I do agree Andrew, believe an alternative motion was not possible though but will clarify tonight.

      Comment by ian — January 13, 2012 @ 11:12 am | Reply

  7. […] this clearly left the Labour group in a bit of a predicament. The result was bizarre. I’ve been banging on  about this absurd series of events for a few days, but as usual, the two-tonne pink fella strips the thing to pieces in the most […]

    Pingback by You couldn’t make it up… « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog — January 13, 2012 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

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