The Plastic Hippo

January 12, 2013

Offensive charm

Filed under: Politics,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 2:04 am
Pike and Wilson via BBC

Pike and Wilson via BBC

In a fair, democratic meritocracy, it might be possible to feel some sympathy for councillor Ian Shires. The poor man has talked his way out of a massive pay rise. Sadly, we do not live in a fair, democratic meritocracy.

One of the more amusing aspects of the recent farcical meeting of Walsall council is witnessing scurrilous local politicians attempting to claim the moral high ground. The sunlit uplands of political morality are, however, fraught with danger for unwary councillors with the only hope of salvation being a reliance on the Norfolk Broads Mountain Rescue Team. The honour of being first amongst equals in boldly going into uncharted ethical waters must be awarded councillor Ian Shires, leader of the Walsall Liberal Democrats. If we discount the works of fiction invented for Walsall Labour Group press releases and the blue sky Tory propaganda churned out on the dreadful council website, avuncular Ian is the only Walsall group leader to engage with social media. In one of his latest pronouncements regarding increased allowances for coalition cabinet members, he said: “When people are being asked to tighten their belts it`s only right and proper that those charged with the running of the town should show restraint and forego any increases.”

As a member of Walsall`s coalition cabinet he later did the right and proper thing and confirmed that he would not be claiming the five grand rise his greedy colleagues voted to award themselves in spite of any evidence proving that they are anything other than completely and utterly bloody useless. This raises two intriguing questions. Firstly, the cabinet plan to rip-off Walsall is to be funded from “under spend” in the Special Responsibility Allowance budget which presumably means that more honourable and public spirited councillors have not been claiming their allowances. Either that or the budget was set artificially high to ensure a Council House Lichfield Street Hoard in case the cabinet drinks cabinet was in danger of running dry. Both scenarios are unlikely but does it mean that councillor Shires` £5,123 a year will be divided up between the top Tories in the trough?

Secondly, with councillor Shires declining to join the feeding frenzy, will he have the stomach to share a cabinet table with his new, mercenary Conservative chums who shamelessly insult their employers? Of course he will; he is a Liberal Democrat. He rightly harangues Labour for disgracefully abstaining on the vote but his internet charm offensive makes no mention of those enthusiastic cabinet members giving a hands-up for more swill. He and his yellow friends are, after all, propping up Bird`s inept executive and will jolly well do as they are told.

In his ever decreasing circle of acolytes, Shires still enjoys the loyalty of some Liberal Democrats, particularly a certain councillor Daniel Barker. So impressed is Danny boy by Uncle Ian`s wisdom, that he copies every word his leader writes and reproduces the political bon mots word for word on his own blog. Sadly, the pair seems to have been pork based processed meat product sung about by Vikings in Monty Python by the council. Given the number of e-mails they have “just received” regarding the withdrawal of a planning application for a health facility in their wild west part of the borough, they might need to call their ISP.

Planning applications seem to have become a bit of an obsession for the Walsall online Liberal Democrat behemoth. There was a sense of disturbing triumphalism when the Meadow House proposal for a “residential, low-secure Mental Health Facility” was withdrawn after the good burghers of Short Heath noticed the words “mental health” contained within the application and, to put it crudely, went a bit mental. Always one to appease a baying mob carrying flaming torches and pitchforks and in the hope of garnering votes, our hero was the saviour of those barking in the back yard. It is probably an education thing rather than a planning issue and when challenged on social media, our man of the people heaped praise upon himself for putting “mental health” issues on “the agenda”. His latest planning complaint is to do with the noise that ambulances make in his neck of the woods during the hours of darkness. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Councillor Shires and by inevitable proxy, councillor Barker, claim that Walsall Liberal Democrats are controlling the wildest excesses of a hopeless Tory administration currently ruining the town. Like their better paid counterparts in Westminster, they are becoming increasingly delusional and continue to present abject denial of any responsibility for the carnage yet maintain that they are relevant and credible even as Walsall and the nation descends into utter misery. With only five councillors, Walsall Liberal Democrats could hold their group meetings in the back of a taxi. Let us hope that they pick one that is road worthy otherwise they may become irritated by the noise of an approaching ambulance. One can only imagine the conversation:

“Uncle Arthur, is it okay if I cut and paste one of your blog posts into my blog and pretend that I`m as clever as you?”

“Are you sure that`s wise, Frank? You had better seek permission from Captain Mainwaring Bird first.”


  1. don’t panic, don’t panic…… man again

    Comment by andy — January 12, 2013 @ 8:16 am | Reply

  2. Careful … They won’t like it “Up ’em.”

    Comment by Antony N Britt — January 12, 2013 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  3. […] Anyone taken in by the absolute load of old tut posted in the comments last night by the Walsall Liberal Democrat Membership Officer Paul Wild may also wish to read this post about their political flexibility, also published yesterday by The Plastic Hippo. […]

    Pingback by Ill-Liberal | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog — January 13, 2013 @ 7:31 pm | Reply

  4. […] The Plastic Hippo isn’t cross. He’s just very, very disappointed. […]

    Pingback by They don’t like it up ‘em | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog — January 14, 2013 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

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