The Plastic Hippo

November 9, 2013

My Maserati does 185

Filed under: Literature,Politics,Transport,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 8:18 pm
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Image via

Image via

When young drivers and some older people who should know better, spend inordinate amounts of time, effort and money in turning their wheels into a statement, it seems unduly cruel to point out that the statement they are making is: “look at me, I`m a prat.”

False eyelashes on headlights, butterfly decals on a two-door hot-hatch and a parcel shelf full of teddy bears obscuring the rear-view mirror is, I`m afraid, in no way amusing or endearing. I recall observing the son of gullible neighbours spend a week or two “pimping his ride” as the urban cognoscenti would have it. Week one involved installing a sound system into the boot of a car that was considerably smaller than the bass bin being fitted. Rather than modify the four by twelve speaker, the nascent Jeremy Clarkson took an angle-grinder to the body work of an impressive Fiat Punto thus rendering his very expensive insurance premium null and void. His choice of a Drum and Bass CD to test the sound system had pigeons falling dead from the sky and disrupted the turn to final approach into Birmingham International Airport by a Boeing 777 inbound from Dubai.

The second week involved shenanigans under the car. He seemed to be lowering the suspension and fitted lighting units to the chassis. He worked tirelessly for days helped out by his adoring posse and finally the great Friday evening arrived. Firing up the sound system brought us all to our front doors and bay windows, he revved the Fiat for all it was worth blowing exhaust fumes through the open door of the homestead and set off on his first cruise. Starting carefully, he eased the F1 beast onto the street and then went for it as if imaginary lights had gone out at Monza. Sadly, he had not considered the speed bump some 10 yards down the road. The undercarriage lights were smashed causing the electrical fuses to blow which, mercifully, silenced the drum and bass torture prohibited under the Geneva Convention. The rear left wheel fell off. To add insult to damaged pride, the car alarm activated which offered a considerably quieter alternative to the aural assault of the monster bowel movement inducing sonic array housed in the boot. Attracting status and attention via the medium of ghastly automotive vulgarity is to be avoided if you are not very bright.

If a pampered youth can show his under garments to the world in the name of street credibility, then what is to stop a local authority manifesting the same level of idiocy in order to demonstrate that they are grander than any evidence suggests. Here in the picturesque community of Walsall, our superb executive have decided that the Mayor requires a new set of wheels at a price of £50,000 or possibly £70,000 depending upon vagaries of VAT or the share prices of Indian steel manufacturing companies. It is clear that if we are to command respect in the global economy, then it is vital that we have the capability to transport a man in a frock wearing some inherited bling to the opening of a garden fete in a conveyance worthy of his station. It is inconceivable that a representative of “ordinary people” should suffer the indignity of driving to a school assembly in his own car or, democracy forbid, on a bus. To shamelessly misquote T.S. Eliot:
“The sleek (or Indian) jaguar
Does not in its Arboretum gloom
Distil so rank a feline smell
As mouse scented vomit in a meeting room.”

Having already spent £700K doing up the Council House and a £1million refurbishment of the Civic Centre, our representatives have bunged Primark £8 million to save us from penury. Primark, incidentally, have recently posted record profits even as the corpses of women are being dug out of collapsed slave colonies in Bangladesh. The Mayor, however, requires a Jaguar because “he” is representing the Queen and Walsall and every idiot that needs a car to prove that they are not an immobile moron with anything resembling taste. It is obvious that a £32K resurfacing of the councillors car park in front of the big house on Lichfield Street is essential if it is to be graced by the pneumatic bliss of a Jaguar parked alongside Mike Bird`s splendid silver four by four and the monster trucks used by councillor Harris (all rides £3 – nothing to do with Leisure and Culture okay).

It seems perfectly reasonable that members of Walsall cabinet awarded themselves an increase in allowances as they are obviously doing such a fine, public spirited and selfless job. Let`s have a round of applause for councillor McCracken, closing a vital mental health facility in her own recently adopted ward. Make some noise for Rachel Andrew; presiding over a shambles in the care of looked after children and the end of state education. Big it up for Adrian Andrew for being a complete waste of space worthy of an allowance increase that could support umpteen small businesses or a number of social workers. I don`t think it would be kind to mention cannabis factories or drink driving offences or the out of court settlements or the missing receipts. Let`s just say that a limo is a priority because a big, vulgar, throbbing car indicates status and not just compensation for something missing in the look at me, I`m a prat contest.

What is so amusing about this whole waste of public money is that a Tory council is spending money on a limo for a Labour Mayor. Before any remaining Liberal Democrats start bleating about a coalition holding the Bird administration to account…err no… you are now the problem and it is sad to witness your extinction. Bye bye. Residents of Walsall might remember a former Mayor who performed his civic duty using a bicycle and even now funds a bus service using his council allowance. He was, of course, ridiculed by Bird and his troughing chums and even though the national Tory press were forced into a retraction, the myths and the lies continue to this day. It does not take Almighty God to work out who is taking the moral high ground and who is taking the urine.

The bad news is that the Deputy Mayor has to do with a second hand limo. It is utterly disgraceful that a socialist man of people, a man who has done so much to harm the left in pursuit of ego and power is forced to ride around in a used Jaguar in a frock less attractive and with less bling considerably less shiny. After his heartfelt appreciation of Margaret Thatcher, “Woolfy” Smith will clearly be shouting power to the people from the back of a dream car 20ft long.

It will be interesting to see the Walsall Labour Party`s reaction to this latest nonsense. If they can master the spelling and syntax (grammar is too much to ask), we can surely expect bellowing, clenched fists and a complete misunderstanding of the basics of opposition. Negativity and childish cries of “it`s not fair” cuts no mustard unless you have an alternative plan. I guess the choice between a limo and public service is a no brainer. Life`s been good so far.

If you remove the obvious musical talent, the wit and crazy charm of Joe Walsh, the sentiment of local and national politicians remains the same. I`m just looking for clues at the scene of the crime.


  1. Two things strike me about this. Firstly, Mike Bird’s original comments are so stupid and crass that one is left wondering if he deliberately set out to undermine himself and his party. Mike is known for his howlers but surely even he realises that describing the Mayor’s limo as ‘sacred’ as the council cuts into social services and education is a massive political own goal. Maybe he has decided that a period in opposition while his own party sets about the destruction of local government might not be a bad thing. Secondly, the smug and self-congratulatory tone of the author is so self defeating. It just reinforces my belief that in politics, sarcasm is employed by those who are too afraid to act themselves. That is only reinforced by the anonymity of the author. What is it with bloggers in Walsall? Are they so afraid to of our local politicians that they have to hide behind ridiculous aliases such as the Plastic Hippo, The Mushroom and Brownhills Bob to make snide points? And to what end? Are you telling us anything we didn’t already know, do you offer an alternative or are you trying to tell us how clever you think you are? To those already disillusioned by the petty name calling and bickering of political parties you come over as no better than those you criticise, indeed you’re worse because at least their real names on the ballot paper.

    Comment by juliet — November 10, 2013 @ 1:35 am | Reply

  2. One thought that did bring a smile to my lips was that Councillor Paul Bott appeared to be the spokesman who criticised this extravagent spending in the press. I do feel that he should put the brain in gear before opening his mouth. Is it not true that The Bantam Cock and his Pheasey cronies would not be in power if he and his wife had actually voted upon more than one occasion last year instead of abstaining. I think come uppance is the term to use. Perhaps in future he will vote and possibly assist in getting an alternative leadership elected. I still don’t think we have to worry too much as isn’t our leader a Fellow of the Institute of Cost Management, whoever they might be. or does FICM stand for being a Fellow of the International Confederation of Midwives. If it is the latter then his baby Walsall Council should be safe anyway.

    Comment by The Twitcher — November 10, 2013 @ 10:09 am | Reply

  3. The lead article in today’s E&S was even more laughable. Our esteemed Leader, the Bantam Cock , now states that the mayoral car is a ‘tool of the trade’ and compares it to a bricklayer’s trowel and a painter’s paintbrush. Should he not really be comparing it to a white van which any tradesman requires to do his job properly/ If this is the case buy a white van, which would be a lot cheaper that a .Jaguar and could also be used more conveniently for museum exhibits. Is it just me or is he becoming more like Walter Mitty everyday, or is Victor Meldrew a closer comparison. He actually looks more like Sepp Blatter every day, who for the non football supporters amongst us is the head of FIFA, who has been involved in some rather dodgy business in the past but still survives in his job, which our Leader will while Councillor Bott and others refuse to use their votes. Why bother being a Councillor if you only take an interest in your own Ward rather than think of the Borough as a whole?

    Comment by The Twitcher — November 13, 2013 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

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