The Plastic Hippo

September 28, 2013

This ole house

Filed under: Politics,Society,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 2:01 am
Picture by Adrian Rothery on Gegograph under a Creative Common license and image via

Picture by Adrian Rothery on Gegograph under a Creative Common license and image via

He ain`t a-gonna need this house no longer
Ain`t a-gonna need this house no more
Ain`t got time to fix the shingles
Ain`t got time to fix the floor
Ain`t got time to oil the hinges nor to mend no window panes
He ain`t gonna need this house no longer he`s a-getting` ready to meet the saints.

Talking to a wall can, on some occasions, be therapeutic to those engaged in deep contemplation. Articulating complex thought processes by vocalising at some stout bricks bonded by two parts sand one part cement can be helpful even if the activity attracts some funny looks. Walls, however, are not great conversationalists and unless you happen to be in procession of a very loud trumpet in the manner of Joshua before the Walls of Jericho, it is pointless to ask any questions. Given a reputation for stubbornly refusing to engage in any form of dialogue, it still remains more likely that you will receive a straight answer from a wall rather than a straight answer from Walsall Council`s breeze block cabinet.

The shameful litany of deception, subterfuge and sheer arrogance surrounding the sell-off of the Aldridge Manor Youth Centre is a case study in how to operate a thoroughly rotten borough. For an example of how to run rough-shod over a community and disregard a group of people too young to vote, look no further than Mike Bird, Adrian Andrew and the rest of the “members” with a cabinet portfolio. After kicking the issue into the long grass on the back burner and bricked up in the attic until a by election was won with a shockingly low turnout, promises can now be casually broken. To justify the duplicity, Walsall`s cabinet once again turn to their deception of choice, a bogus, meaningless, carefully spun “consultation” smoke screen. The people have spoken, they claim. No, their rich mates have spoken and said they want a nice piece of real estate at a knock-down price. When a council press release states that after the young people have been kicked out, the building will be “protected by…a specialist security company in order to help avoid it becoming a target for vandals” you can almost hear the Swan Vestas rattling in the pocket of the borough arsonist.

In looking for role models and examples of probity and public service, the young people of Aldridge and beyond would be well advised to avoid any scrutiny of Walsall`s Planning Committee. Guilty of numerous counts of maladministration, three elected members cannot legally be named because that would bring the council in to disrepute even though their actions have already brought the council in to disrepute. Thank goodness the councillors representing Aldridge Central are above that sort of thing and I am certain that council leader Mike Bird has had a quiet word with Councillor Q about his misdemeanours. Mike is good at talking to walls and also talking to himself.

The Walsall Labour Group continued to amuse by screaming outrage but then saying they will close the youth facility anyway just at a later date. The local Liberal Democrats turned the other cheek of one of their many faces and it emerged that kicking the kids out will save £18K a year. That is an enormous amount of money especially when compared to the increase in allowances to cabinet members and the £8million that appeared from nowhere as a sweetener for slave labour purveyors of cheap clothing. In the spirit of inclusion, the cost of making the Manor House fully accessible to young people with disabilities has proved to be prohibitive and the only final solution is to close the place down. Gordon Bennett, those pesky wheelchairs eh? Spoiling it for everybody else.

The promise of a public meeting has been dropped in favour of a “drop in” session on October 1st when residents have the opportunity to talk to a wall. Well, perhaps not a wall exactly, but council officers already in fear for their jobs doing the dirty work for cabinet members who took the decision and are too frightened to face the public. Councillors Q and X and V and the Andrews Sisters are likely to be otherwise engaged.

For a local perspective, the indomitable Linda Mason offered these wise words earlier this month. She has also started a petition asking for the promised public meeting so that those who make decisions are held accountable by the people that they are supposed to serve. If, unlike Walsall cabinet, you are more interest in the future of young people rather than flogging off the family silver, the petition can be signed here. There are two days left before the petition closes.

Forget Shakin` Stevens, Rosemary Clooney sang:
“This ole house once rang with laughter
This ole house heard many a shout
Now he trembles in the darkness
When the lightnin` walks about.”


  1. “unless you happen to be in procession of a very loud trumpet” What that? Ed.

    “until a by election was won with a shockingly low turnout” ie the leftie didn’t win.

    On to the petition, and it looks as though at least four different families have put their names to it.
    Still, the residents of Aldridge don’t realise their good fortune in having Linda “savage cuts” Mason amongst their number.
    Who needs democratically elected local representatives when you’re blessed with a woman who knows exactly what everybody else wants all the time and just can’t stop telling them in case they forget?

    Comment by Rob — September 28, 2013 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

  2. Charming as ever Rob.

    Comment by BrownhillsBob — September 28, 2013 @ 7:20 pm | Reply

  3. Fuck you Rob

    Comment by Aiden McHaffie (@AiDeyM) — September 28, 2013 @ 9:18 pm | Reply

  4. Usual condescending response to an alternative viewpoint from the lefties.
    Playing the man not the ball, as usual.
    Drivel about “mummy and daddy”.
    You preach tolerance, but only for those that agree with you.
    Desperate, but Uncle Joe would be proud.

    Comment by Rob — September 28, 2013 @ 10:57 pm | Reply

    • Rob, while I appreciate your views are different to many of us local bloggers, do you think you could at least maintain some decorum and refrain from personal attacks, or at least grow the fuck up?

      Comment by stymaster — October 5, 2013 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

  5. Rob, your comment is unworthy of my time, you stoop to insult which’ in my view means you have nothing constructive to add to the debate and your input is worthless. Point of information though, I see at least 3 different families, no relation but share my very common surname. Finally a question, you’ve always got lots of destructive comments about plenty of people but do you ever do anything constructive for your community?

    Comment by Linda — September 29, 2013 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

  6. Hi Linda.
    Thank you for your civil reply.
    I’ll skip my worthess petition comments as you’ve already formulated your opinion there.

    Re: community.
    I’m puzzled.
    I pay my taxes.
    I don’t do illegal drugs or any other ASBO offences.
    I don’t interfere with the activities of others, even when I don’t approve personally, I mind my own business and don’t presume to inflict my own personal agenda on the wider public, I was under the impression that our local electoral system gave reasonable opportunity for those sufficiently exercised to register their viewpoint.

    I don’t bother voting in local elections because I think cross-party politics is transcended by a cabal of useless, self-serving, unaffordable councillors and senior local government officers, in cahoots, all gorging at the same trough. Even the euro-zone’s champion of public excess and waste is slowly realizing that this state of affairs cannot continue:
    These are proper cuts, not just a reduction in the rate of increase in spending that we are experiencing.

    I’m not aware of a specific requirement to do anything at all for my “community” beyond my legal and monetary requirements which, by pain of lack of legal action or imprisonment, I can only conclude I have met. Although, thinking about it, I do teach a few kids how to fish and help out with a bit of dog training.
    If my actions re: the community (which is an abstract concept to me) are in any way deficient or judged wanting, I look forward to an apparaisal of my short-comings.

    Don’t take it personal.
    I always try to respond objectively to what I’ve read.

    Sometimes I get it right!

    Comment by Rob — September 30, 2013 @ 11:23 pm | Reply

  7. My dear “Rob”,
    As an avid and possibly obsessive reader of this blog, you will know that all comments are welcome. None are blocked and only a very few are edited for legal reasons or to correct spelling and grammar. You will also have noticed that I tend not to respond to comments preferring to leave the readership to form their own opinion. However, your recent contributions have moved me to offer you a little bit of help.

    You ask; “what that? Ed”. Firstly, your ignorance of scripture can be reversed by reading the Book of Joshua, chapter six, verses 1 to 27 and secondly, I am the “Ed” of this blog, not you. I suggest you start your own blog and even if you think “community” is an abstract concept, you could be king of your own domain and share your infinite wisdom with your own audience rather than mine.

    You say that I have played the man rather than the ball after you launched a rather ungentlemanly and frankly offensive attack on a woman I named and linked to in my piece. Rather than accuse you of hypocrisy, let`s just say your opinion is less than gallant and I trust that there will be no repeat of such unpleasant behaviour in the future. I can`t decide if you are referring to “Uncle Joe” Stalin or “Uncle Joe” McCarthy or, indeed, if you are simply talking mint balls. You seem to despise local government councillors but refuse to vote in elections and instead preach intolerance on other people`s blogs by minding your own business and not inflicting your own personal agenda on the wider public. Thanks for that.

    “Rob” your comments are always most welcome and I always enjoy reading them. Your insight and wit is a constant reminder of how much more work still needs to done before we can realistically describe ourselves as a civilised and compassionate society. Who knows, after another 20 or 30 million years of evolution, you may catch up with the rest of humanity. I`m sorry to hear that you don`t take illegal drugs as your contributions would be even more hilarious if you were actually off your head on recreational pharmaceuticals.

    Keep the comments coming, big boy. I love `em.
    The plastic hippo.

    Comment by theplastichippo — October 5, 2013 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

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