The Plastic Hippo

July 25, 2014

The people have spoken

Unlikely Strange Kippers via

Unlikely Strange Kippers via

Well, to be precise, 2250 people have spoken which is about 22 per cent of those eligible to vote in the Walsall Birchills-Leamore by election.

As political earthquakes go, the Labour victory is right up there along with Westminster MPs voting for their own pay rise, Ian Shires spouting nonsense and Mike Bird being an embarrassment to the borough every time he opens his mouth to the media. The turnout and the Labour majority of 365 might be down but the new councillor had a tough act to follow and the circumstances that necessitated the by election could not be sadder. Tim Oliver worked tirelessly for this moment and the poignancy of him not being alive to enjoy it is a tragedy. But congratulations to Chris Jones on becoming Labour`s 30th elected member on the current council.

The unverified result is:
Labour 1075
Tory 710
Unlikely Strange Kipper 445
English Deluded 20

By bringing the full force of his charm, charisma and intelligence to bear, the Unlikely Strange Kipper managed to significantly reduce the Farage vote and converted a self-proclaimed political earthquake to the silent flatulence of stinking, wet bigotry. Our sympathies must go to the English Deluded for having such a small circle of family and friends.

At least these oddballs had the courage to turn up and stand. Walsall Liberal Democrats, once again, did not bother fielding a candidate probably in fear of coming fifth behind English Deluded`s mates from down the pub. Too busy telling the world how hard they work at delivering leaflets, keeping people with mental health issues away from their few remaining wards and staring endlessly into an infinite amount of potholes in the road, Walsall Liberal Democrats mirror the gross hypocrisy of their Westminster masters. Any mention of tuition fees, bedroom tax or the destruction of the NHS is shrugged off with the spurious claim that local is not national. Well, Liberal Democrats, if you don`t like what your leadership is doing, challenge them or leave the party or do us all a favour and just go away. There is no joy in witnessing an extinct species prolonging the agony of total humiliation. Such is the scale of the waste of space and time that if he were still with us; Albert Einstein would have to formulate a fourth Theory of Relativity to explain the depths of the Liberal Democrat black hole.

But now the fun starts at Walsall council. With 30 Labour councillors and 30 “others” including the equally Unlikely Strange Kippers and the less than independent Independents, democracy in Walsall will be decided by a single individual. Mayor and socialist firebrand Pete Smith has the casting vote in the event of a tie. Appointed by virtue of the time spent as a councillor, in effect he has two votes. Ironically, Pete Smith has something of an identity crisis in that on some occasions he is an independent and on others he is Democratic Labour and on ballot papers he and his chums are simply “blank”. On this basis alone, the man that secured the freedom of the borough to an exiled Noddy Holder should surely be granted three votes.

The current leader of the council (at the time of writing) claims that no deals have been done in an increasingly desperate struggle to hold onto control. Believe that and you will believe that councillor Q was not guilty of maladministration, eh Mike? The truth will become obvious if Pete Smith votes twice and with the Unlikely Strange Kippers to deny a Labour administration to take control. Councillor Smith will undoubtedly enjoy the next 10 months of mayoral bling, the limo and the sweet revenge of socialist betrayal but he needs to be careful. If a single Liberal Democrat discovers a conscience and a spine, or a single Unlikely Strange Kipper reverts to type and ends up before a court of law and then barred from public office or some joker creeps up behind an aged Tory and explodes an inflated paper bag, another by election could change everything.

There are an infinite number of reasons to adore Walsall but not least in the panoply of delights is Walsall local politics. It is endearingly, frustratingly, hilariously and completely and utterly bonkers.


  1. A step closer removing Bird and his cronies including Councillors X and Y amongst them. Let us just hope that Labour do take control and have the strength to actually put into effect the things that they have been talking about privately for many years including starting an investigation into a number of planning approvals which have been granted due primarilly to the efforts of the Bantam Cock and the unstinting loyalty of his cronies on the planning Committee. Personally I would also like certain things to be made public, including what action against officers has been made following the large number of Ofsted and LGO investigations which have found Walsall Council officers and Councillors guilty of ineptitude and more seriously maladministartion. Watch this space

    Comment by The Twitcher — July 25, 2014 @ 9:56 am | Reply

  2. I personally have no doubt at all that Pete Smith despite at the AGM saying he would not vote on tied votes will never vote for us to take power.

    Comment by ianrobo — July 25, 2014 @ 10:12 am | Reply

  3. Difficult one for Smithy. He has no time for Bird and co. On the other hand, he owes the Labour Party no favours. It chucked him out after years of membership and council service. (I’d resigned a couple of years before he, Churchy et al got kicked out.)
    With Miliband apparently set on austerity light, what is he to do? To add to the fun it looks as if Bird may have handed a poisoned chalice to an incoming Labour council by conveniently changing his mind on the living wage and letting the LP either pick up the tab or reverse the decision.

    Comment by Alan H — July 29, 2014 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

    • Alan, you make it sound like the splits of the 80’s were sweetness and light when in fact the opposite is true. Pete, Church, Rothery and the rest were downright nasty and threatening.

      All Pete Smith cares for is Pete Smith now, they even folded their party because they could not be bothered with it. If he has no time for Bird then he has a funny way of showing it. All that matters is at the AGM he said he would stay neutral, will he keep that word now ?

      As for the LW, is their a quote on that ? I fully support it but obviously difficult given the budget we have AND given the Tories only made short term fixes year after year.

      Comment by ianrobo — July 29, 2014 @ 1:11 pm | Reply

      • The eighties splits certainly weren’t all sweetness and light. (I was there.) I disagree about Churchy et al. Churchy was, and remains, a self-deprecating bloke. I remember coming out of a meeting at TP Riley and suggesting we repair to the Royal Exchange. A committed young leftie objected that churchy couldn’t go to the Exchange because the gaffer had slagged him off. Churchy replied, “If i never drank in a pub where the gaffer slagged me off, I’d die of thirst. Get your coat on.” The committed young leftie was one of those who went over to the other side.

        The other side contained some fairly unpleasant machine politicians, who had the levers of power in their hands – or those of their national allies.

        The DLP (of which I was never a member) has deregistered as a party for the simple reason that its small membership makes it impossible to comply with regulations intended for large, well-funded parties with professional officials.

        On the living wage, I was relying on a front page story in the E & S a few days ago, saying Bird had changed his position. My guess is that he may have done so in anticipation of Labour taking over the council, leaving them with the choice of paying the LW or getting slagged off for not doing so.

        Comment by Alan H — July 30, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

      • Alan, lest agree to disagree on the splits !!

        I suspect you and I agree on far more than disagree.

        As to the LW, it is the right thing to do and is proper to do it. Cash is the issue and it can be phased in, how many workers does it affect in Walsall is what I would like to know. The fact is if Labour take control the education dept is a complete mess and priority has to be placed there and yes I think we should raise the Council Tax as of course the Tories did and forget that !

        Comment by ianrobo — July 30, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

  4. Bird is I understand working on another one or two statements which will involve spending more money but he will announce that they are of benefit to the borough. All I would ask and expect others to do the same is why if they are of benefit did Bird and his cronies not introduce them before. Simple answer is that along with LW he is simply introducing them to try and embarass the Labour Party. Also understand that Councillor Y has more or less decided to retire before the next election if Labour do take control.
    No news on Councillor X but he does now need more private time to count the cash income from the toy steam engines being sold.

    Comment by The Twitcher — August 4, 2014 @ 10:45 am | Reply

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