It has been an action packed couple of days for the politicos in Sandwell with a full council meeting, a cabinet meeting and a Stalinist show trial.
Among the few not gripped by the proceedings was Wednesbury North councillor, Tony Meehan, who like an Irish mist, has disappeared again and tendered his apologies for full council. The man whose former persona was the “looney leprechaun”, a mythical creature, must be in the running, despite strong competition, for the title laziest councillor of the decade,.
Nevertheless, his absence was more than made up for by his colleague Peter Hughes. Pete can not resist replying to requests for questions, whether in council or at cabinet, with a few observations of his own, just to show he’s there, physically, at least. The Beast from Belper, leader Eling, is improving but is still unable to mask the expression of someone who has trodden in something very nasty when calling upon the Wednesbury North councillor to cast his pearls.
Shush, Keep It Quiet.
Amid all the tedious formalities of the full council meeting, the ramblings of the octogenarian mayor, who as a competitor for “Creep of the Year” wanted everyone to know how well the Beast runs Sandwell, and when every viewer felt they had just ingested a magnum of Mogadon, the crafty comrades voted themselves a pay rise.
According to their own pay review body this is to encourage young people to become councillors. Most existing councillors are retired, if they were ever employed. A second justification was that they have not had a pay rise for yonks. The question whether they deserved one was not addressed.
Plus there was obviously no suggestion of reducing the number of councillors, as other authorities have done, despite Sandwell being “cash strapped by cuts”.
Other perks will also increase, including child care subsidies.
What is new and particularly worrying to councillors is a bike allowance scheme for members.
If the Beast suggests a councillor join the scheme is this another way of saying “on yer bike”? Or is the intention more sinister? Given the state of the roads in Sandwell encouragement of cycling on them is equivalent to soliciting suicide. Another ploy of the Beast to drive out moderates and opponents?
Unusually, the council propaganda department seem to have been a trifle slow in publicising the pay rise.
A Kangaroo Court.
Cllr. Yvonne Davies was placed on trial before Labour councillors charged with bringing the party into disrepute. Her offence was revealing to colleagues the truth about Cllr. Marshall’s bankruptcy and dodgy dealings.
In the reign of the Beast, truth is sacrificed to political expediency, the inconvenient swept under the carpet and the swamp is filling and stinking. So the result was inevitable, Cllr. Davies was cast into the light and out of the party.
We understand that Labour’s whips, led by capitalist trot, Cllr. Edwards, have in reserve another charge against Cllr. Davies. It is alleged, she asked a question in council without prior warning to the cabinet member questioned. Given the intellect of the average member of the Beast’s cabinet that could do serious damage. That it might benefit the citizens of Sandwell is irrelevant to the current administration.
Cllr. Davies deserves recognition for the courage and tenacity she has shown in fighting for truth and against consistent bullying and intimidation, as do those councillors who supported her.
Those are the people with whom the Sandwell Conservative party can work for the good of the people of Sandwell.
To some of the others, the electorate has an opportunity, in May 2018, to deliver the clear message;
“On yer bike”.
It's the only way to clean up Sandwell .