The Plastic Hippo

May 12, 2016

The representation of the people

Via M Bird of 82 Walsall Road, Aldridge

Via M Bird of 82 Walsall Road, Aldridge

Although it is tempting to tar them all with one, broad, sordid brush, it would be quite wrong to consider all politicians as nasty, self-serving, mendacious, opportunistic parasites. Given natural selection, the possibility of some form of innate human decency and the hope that bad people are eventually found out, there must surely be in existence some politicians who are not complete and utter bastards. With political hypocrisy currently off the scale that measures a taking of breathe and outlandish drivel being spouted as if it is in some way remotely connected to anything other than absolute garbage, a peek into the quiet backwaters of local government reveals an illuminating insight into the good, the bad and the very, very ugly.

About a week ago, on the eve of local council elections in the Rushall-Shelfield ward of old picturesque Walsall, a final election communication was posted through the letterboxes of an eager, knowledgeable and politically engaged electorate. The leaflet is reproduced above in full and, without actually naming him, referred to the sitting Labour councillor up for re-election, a certain Richard Worrall. Please take some time if you can to digest the “8 facts you NEED to know”. Clearly this information is justifiably in the public interest particularly as the electorate has a duty to scrutinise and challenge the credentials, attitude and basic moral fibre of candidates wishing to stand for public office.

Fortunately, there are rules that govern election literature including section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 which states that it is a criminal offence for “any person to publish any false statement of fact in relation to the candidate`s personal character of conduct, unless he or she can show that he had reasonable grounds for believing that statement to be true”.

Another rule ensures that whoever publishes an election address must be clearly identified. If you look carefully at the small print at the bottom, you will see that the facts are being “promoted by M Bird of 82 Walsall Road, Aldridge” and we should all be grateful to M Bird for bringing these facts to our attention.

By strange coincidence and almost certainly of no consequence, 82 Walsall Road, Aldridge is not in Rushall or Shelfield and is the registered office of Aldridge and Brownhills Conservatives. Even more unlikely is that M Bird of 82 Walsall Road, Aldridge shares a remarkably similar name to Councillor Mike Bird, leader of Walsall Conservatives, leader of the council, renaissance man, thoroughly good egg, philanthropist, kind to animals and able to leap over tall buildings.

Astonishingly, this “facts” leaflet first appeared almost word for word way back in 2008 in the St Matthews ward local election. No mention then of M Bird of 82 Walsall Road, Aldridge but instead the facts were promoted by Barbara McCracken and Mohammed Arif, two sitting Conservative councillors. Obviously a lot of things happened in the intervening eight years not least the removal of the “fact” that Richard Worrall`s involvement with the bus station decision “led to deaths” following an accident there. M`learned friends might take an interest if such an accusation were to be repeated. Let us take a moment to compare and contrast the almost identical 2008 and 2016 leaflets.

Councillor McCracken abandoned St Matthews for a safer council seat in Paddock ward. Councillor Arif was identified as a co-owner of an industrial unit being used for the production of cannabis and has tirelessly supported the people of Walsall by his association with mysterious “groups of local businessmen” untroubled by planning control or enforcement. In 2016 he was deselected in favour of another Conservative who serves the community by offering young women exercise opportunities late at night in special clubs equipped with a small stage and a vertical metal pole.

The Daily Mail regularly and justifiably describe Walsall`s Labour past as notorious and left wing. A little bit like supporting Hitler in the 30s.

As Chair of Centro at the time of the bus station decision, Worrall`s council colleague on the committee was Councillor Mike Bird. One wonders if Mike Bird who agreed to the bus station shares the view of M Bird of 82 Walsall Road, Aldridge that the bus station is inadequate and laughable.

It seems that Worrall single-handedly delayed the construction of the ring road that just happens to turn into a river every time it rains. Strange that the M Bird of 82 Walsall Road, Aldridge should fail to mention the massive delay caused by a Conservative administration too stupid to realise that they were being fleeced, the massive overspend and waste of money and the death trap that is the Arboretum junction that has succeeded in making traffic slower and more dangerous.

Worrall spreads “innuendo” and cannot be trusted with planning issues. Perhaps Mike Bird or M Bird of 82 Walsall Road, Aldridge might like to categorical deny that they are the same person as the notorious Councillor Q in the Brush Garage affair which resulted in the Ombudsmen declaring maladministration at Walsall council and ordering that Councillor Q and another two dodgy councillors having nothing more to do with planning issues. There is a trend emerging here – the hypocrisy is strong.

Back to the Daily Mail – they were forced into publishing a retraction and apology on page 28 regarding the bike/bus/limo falsehood in, typically of the Daily Mail, a typeface only visible from the Hubble Space Telescope. M Bird of 82 Walsall Road, Aldridge might just be best advised to take a look at section 106 of the Representation of People Act 1983

When it comes to sedition, treason, plotting regicide, the unleashing of anarchist hell and the end of civilisation as we know it, crimes against humanity do not come any more barbaric than chaining your bicycle to a flagpole. In contrast, it is perfectly acceptable for Mike Bird, or M Bird of 82 Walsall Road, Aldridge or, indeed, Councillor Q to park his expensive four by four in a Council House disabled parking bay to allow him to haul his corpulent carcass from car to seat of power with the minimum of unnecessary physical activity.

Worrall`s greatest crime, however, is that as a local councillor he has the temerity to hold opinions. Let us take a moment to compare and contrast the contribution of Richard Worrall and Mike Bird. Richard Worrall has organised and presented a sizable paper petition to Downing Street to demand the retention of concessionary bus travel for older people. He stages regular vintage bus tours and steam train trips at his own expense in order to raise thousands of pounds for local charities. He funds a bus route in his ward funded from his council allowance. He entertains with idiot grand-dad dancing whenever a band is playing in the Arboretum.

Mike Bird awarded himself a massive increase in his council allowance as leader. He has rewarded his associates and has overseen the convenient “misplacement” of European receipts. He has ruled as social care, education, infrastructure and regeneration make Walsall a national laughing stock. It is wrong to judge people by their appearance, but if it looks like a small, fat, red-faced unpleasant bully, then it would be counter-intuitive to dismiss the obnoxious individual as anything other than a small, fat, red-faced unpleasant bully. The world of asset stripping and Masonic regalia is clearly missing an idiot.

As a faecal impaction fuelled by hot air constantly rising to the surface of Walsall`s political septic tank, Bird epitomises everything that is wrong in local government. Arrogant, ignorant, clever with tricks but ultimately lacking in empathy or understanding, these creatures are to be pitied rather than loathed. Such is the lack of self-awareness, characters like Bird will shrug their shoulders and dismiss criticism of hypocrisy as the cut and thrust rough and tumble of politics as a source of income. However, Bird and his chums bring democracy, accountability, politics, honesty and the little town of Walsall into disrepute and shame every time they turn to negativity and deception.

It is, of course, the decision of the electorate to remove such embarrassing examples of excrescence but Bird has a time to go in his safe and distant seat and his local association are unlikely to remove him as long as the funding keeps heading over the hill. Interestingly, if we actually believe that there are in existence Walsall Conservative councillors who are not nasty, self-serving, mendacious, opportunistic parasites, then ousting Councillor Q might be in their own self-interest if they wish to re-join the human race. We need to question the calibre of any councillor that would support such a leader and ask the publicity shy recently elected Tory MP if she endorses Bird and the damage he has done to the town and the borough.

We will never know because nasty people like Bird keep their secrets well hidden. We can only hope that the political whoring between the Walsall Labour Group and the incredible shrinking Liberal Democrats will result in a cull of the vermin ruining Walsall.

Richard Worrall was returned to Rushall-Shelfield with an impressive majority. With such a clear result, M Bird`s nasty little piece of poison made no difference. However, given past results so close to require multiple recounts and the tendancy of Walsall Conservatives to experiment with postal vote fraud, the principle of fair and accountable democray needs to be defended against the actions of some rather shady characters. The Walsall electorate can see right through the likes of M Bird of 82 Walsall Road, Aldridge. We can only hope that the Electoral Commission and the Crown Prosecution Service are as wise.


  1. :et us jyst hope that the CPS do get hold of this and prosecutre M Bird or whoever he is named today.. His point with regard to plamnning matters is laughable Councillor Q is the one who should be investigated further re planning.

    Comment by P J Brown — May 12, 2016 @ 8:26 am | Reply

  2. Bird’s remarks regarding Richard Worrall and the 1980s Labour group are absurd. I was a member back then (and have just rejoined), when I was certainly identified with the left group in the borough Labour Party. Worrall was not. He was an independent-minded bloke on the firm side of soft left. I still remember with glee the daftest element of the left-right struggle as it affected me. Walsall was involved in some sort of link-up with Parma, and the borough was duly scoured for speakers of Italian. They lit upon a Sicilian from the Pleck, me, and an Anglican priest who (1) had been an intelligence officer in Lecce during the war and (2) was the father of the (Tory) chairman of the education committee. The son, who knew me from church, secured an invite to the mayor’s reception, where the right-wing Labour mayor looked at me as if he’d wiped me off his shoe, and would no doubt have been gobsmacked to know it was a Tory who brought me in. Returning to the core issue here – has Richard Worrall or the LP leadership in general sought legal advice?

    Comment by Alan H — May 12, 2016 @ 1:22 pm | Reply

    • Alan H

      Your memory is slightly wonky.

      There was indeed an exchange with with Emilia Romania. Councillors Powell and Church were in attendance, together with a Council Officer

      At that time, the region was controlled by the Communist Party of Italy – a movement dedicated to local democracy. After various discussions, the good burgers of Parma decided that Walsall was far too radical.

      You will be pleased to know that although the vicar has inevitably passed, his son (although never Chair of Education) is alive and practising socialism to this very day. His father might consider this an insult, but I regard it as a triumph.

      Problem is, I do not recall your involvement in this matter.

      As for Dick Worrall, I acknowledge that he works tirelessly. He is a super ward Councillor and has been much missed by any ward that he has represented.

      He has undoubtedly been defamed and should do something about it.

      Except that he will again be strangled by his own doubt.

      Comment by The Realist — May 13, 2016 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

      • I think you’re right about the son. He was actually the vice-chair of the education committee. My other recollection of the occasion was that the young man, who began to go bald at an early age, wore a hairpiece for the first time (as far as I was aware) at the mayoral reception. You seem to have identified me correctly, and my sole involvement with the Parma twinning was attendance on that occasion. I knew that the son was becoming disillusioned with the Tories while still in Walsall, He let me know his dad had died – and I understand that he too moved away from his “high Tory” position. When last I was in contact, at least a decade ago now, both gents had also moved away from the C of E and had “swum the Tiber”, the father helping out the Benedictines in Bungay in his last years. Towards the end, he had dementia, which was terribly sad, because he had been a fine example of the erudite “scholar priest”, and he was, in my opinion, undervalued by the diocese. Both father and son were among the good guys in my estimation, and if you’re still in contact wth the son, I;d be glad if you could pass on my regards.

        Comment by Alan H — May 15, 2016 @ 12:09 am

      • Alan

        The man in question became a very fine teacher of adults and a radical socialist.

        For many years, he plied his trade with the much missed Workers Education Association. He remains a champion of adult education. As far as I know, he lives and works in Brighton.

        You are right about him and his father in every respect, including the first and only time the lad ever wore a ‘Crown Topper’. He took the flack well, but rightly consigned the offending item to the bin.

        He then did the same with the Tory Party and the church. As did his Dad.

        Best wishes

        Comment by The Realist — May 17, 2016 @ 11:05 am

  3. Reblogged this on Getting There.

    Comment by Aiden McHaffie — May 12, 2016 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  4. That Leaflet was the work of a man and women who knew they were losing the battle and like always forgot that the people around Rushall vote with their heads and hearts for the best man for the job.The man in question of course is still living in the dark ages, a bully and a dictator of the worse kind and Richard Worrall won well and did so with honesty. It is little wonder that the people of Walsall have no faith in many of their elected councillors to be up front and honest and work for the people rather than for themselves and a few back handers when it comes to getting something through in planning.. Now is the time to remove the cancer in the Council house once and for all.

    Comment by ronnie carleton — May 13, 2016 @ 10:08 am | Reply

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