Friday 11 November 2016

Members disciplined at Mockyard "Torture Tent"

Police investigating screams heard across the Yeurgh valley this month have discovered that a gigantic riverside tent is being used as a Blessed Disciplinary Chamber for errant Members.

Pitched alongside the Blessed Mockyard, the tent - which does not have planning consent and can be seen from space - is estimated to be 100 cubits in height and was originally designed to house the Spirit of Boredom - if it could be coaxed under the bridges of Yarco at a low enough tide.

The £750,000 'flagship' Mockyard is famous for having the world's smallest boat house, which was fatally compromised by Blessed Planners who first insisted on putting offices above the workshop, before complaining that the end result was too tall. Desperate to start building before Members could find out, the height was reduced before anyone realised that the dimensions on the plans were in millimeters rather than inches - resulting in a workshop which could only accommodate scale models of the intended vessels. Unable to find staff sufficiently short to work there, Blessed Officers acquired a rather taller tent which not only has room to accommodate a vessel with the cabin still attached, but with the mast and sails aloft too.

But the unauthorised tent has a double life. We can exclusively reveal this week that it is hired at weekends by Granny Spokesperson for 'disciplinary' purposes - making full use of the suite of high intensity lighting, lifting chains and shackles. It's understood that her first 'invited guest' was local leprechaun and sailor Wilky O'Brian, who had upset her Highness by attempting to stand up for boat owners who were inexplicably affronted by her proposal to slap a wealth tax on gin palaces and historic sailing cruisers. "I've been very disappointed with Wilky," she said, "his members have had plenty of opportunities to be ignored during the token review process, so it's far too late for him to start complaining now."

"What part of 'collective responsibility' does he not understand?" she added, before being consoled with a round of drinks from her pet poodle.

Blessed Planners have confirmed that they are aware of 'a small two man tent' alongside the Mockyard, but that it "will probably have gone by the time we get around to looking at it, as we are rather busy at the moment." The unnamed source said that enforcement action for the unauthorised development "would not be expedient, as our Equal Persecution Policy does not apply to Blessed developments."

"It's not as though it's a bloody phone box or something, is it" said the spokesperson.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Muddle, muddle, tolls will double…

“Oh, no, … damn it, … oh NO! … John, look, when we put the numbers through the high minded principle prism of science, the tolls review numbers come out almost double!  How are we going to get THAT past the Members?”

“Where? Do you mean the tolls review you did all by yourself but let the navigation chairman share a byline? Show me, … ah yes, … ooops!”

“Well, what are we going to do? I can’t face the Members of the Authority and tell them that my carefully orchestrated tolls review to outshine all tolls reviews is a complete flop and a waste of everyone’s time!”

“No, you certainly can’t do that. It doesn’t really matter so much what the stakeholders think - that’s mostly irrelevant - it’s the members who make you Chair, and you can never admit you’re wrong to them. Time to deploy the Pikeman algorithm #1, I think.”

“Which one’s that John? You have so many nefarious methods ..."

“Don’t be ridiculous, Granny. There aren’t that many - and most of them derive from this one in any case. I’m just going to dress this one up a little more than I usually do, using the power of social media. That’ll impress the Members.”

“Step 1. We write a report for navigation committee, make the report wordy and pack it with numbers and appendices and thoughtful little details about the process, how hard key members of staff worked and a special little mention for a member or two.”

“Step 2. Give the EDP an exclusive press release about the amazing results of your AMAZING  tolls review which is wordy with lots of appendices and based on a scientific method of producing exactly the outcome you've decided on. Members will be too loyal to want to embarrass you or me in public, and we’re half way there.”

“Then, step 3. I’ll pretend to go out to consultation with the general public on social media. The real aim will be to pitch private boat owners against the hire boat industry and see what gives. The Blessed Forum is as good a place as any and we might come across a friendly face or two on there so it doesn’t look too bad. The Forum kicks our arse, but that won’t matter.”

“Step 4, we put it to navigation committee.  The usual suspect will make a fuss, but there’s enough bodies from the Toil Review Gang who won’t want to see months of turning up to pointless meetings go to waste AND admit to it being a waste. We tell the members we engaged on social media, don’t tell them we got our arses kicked, we do tell them how lovely and engaging we were online and how hard the team worked behind the scenes to get the show on the road. With special thanks to key team members, that always goes down well. Before you know it, the collective fear of failure will drive them to approve the outcome of the tolls review.”

“Step 5, this is the final step and easiest of all. We tell Authority Members how hard the Toil Review Gang worked, how hard the team worked, how engaging we were on social media and how this has all been such a great team effort and how the navigation committee has given it their blessing and honestly, what do members know about navigation, really, that should all be delegated to navigation committee who know what they are doing AND cue Dick Billson with an amiable remark about how hire boat operators can buy private boat owners a round of drinks with their savings and BAM! Bob’s your uncle, you’re the Granny and I’m laughing all the way to Why Hill.”

“Oh John”, giggled Granny, “do you ever get tired of being such a wizard? I know you promised that I’d be able to afford my own 40ft gin palace by the time I’m done on the Authority, but I didn’t know you’d make all the private boat owners sell up so soon.”

“For you, my queen, anything.  Which gives me an idea … shall we commission a reed throne for you? The Silted Rivers, Lost Moorings and Bogs project has just enough money in it for one of those.”

Sunday 23 October 2016

Swift Recruitment Drive(in)

Following recent criticism of the installation of an electronic bird box to attract migrant birds, the Blessed Authority has come under renewed fire for wasting public money this week with a planning proposal to build a welcoming meeting place for prospective new members.

With the seasonal cull of members seemingly at an end, new recruits are being sought to replace those displaced and plans have been unveiled for a purpose-built reception area to be created; in the car park.

Upper echelons at Yeurght House are of the opinion that new members are likely to follow existing members if they can be shown that membership is rewarding, fulfilling and safe. The new reception spaces will accommodate up to 20 cars with some bays occupied by expensive new high-end vehicles in the form of cardboard cut-outs with the idea being to make the right kind of applicant member feel at home.

A spokesperson for member recruitment, Myopia Atchinson, explained the decision: “We are looking for people who aren’t too concerned with studying things very carefully, hence the cardboard cutouts of new Range Rovers and Mercedes sports convertibles. We’ve even found a paper Tesla to help attract the more environmentally conscious. Anyone who is able to spot that these aren’t real motorcars probably doesn't have the right membership qualities we are looking for,”

In addition, to attract new members from the proper backgrounds, the parking spaces will have recorded sounds played. Audio mimicking the chinking of champagne flutes, popping of corks and the sound of crisp paper money notes being rustled will be piped though to the car parking spaces but also played on a yet-to-be-announced DAB frequency that can be heard up to four hundred miles away, particularly in areas where there are no rivers.

The Blessed Authority was quick to play down the proposal, highlight its ecological aspect and address concerns of public money being misused. A spokesperson from the Obfuscation Department commented, “We have reduced the impact of this on the public purse by convincing the Blessed Trust to contribute some of the Love The Blessed donations to this and other projects. Although this has met with some opposition at some of the donation centres, we consider this to be a brilliant wheeze as it means we can seemingly get money from the public in the form of willing donations via the back door also.”

Turning to the new member parking, the spokesman continued, “The audio will have a very low ecological footprint since our installation of a bio-mass boiler. With the slow withdrawal of paper money, we have secured permission from the Royal Mint to burn all paper fivers that we can extract from boat owners, the National Parks Grant and the Blessed Trust and with this agreement also hope to clarify, once and for all, the commonly held belief that we have money to burn. Yes, we do, but we are allowed to.”

Sunday 16 October 2016

What A Pantomime (Oh No It Isn't!)

The latest money wasting scheme from the Blessed Authority - or “how to get Granny and Dr. P into history books for the most expensive knighthoods ever” - has taken a massive step forwards, with the news that grant funding has been allocated to the Broads National Pike’s own Christmas panto.  

“We were encouraged by the successful theatre production bid announced recently and felt we could go one better in the upcoming Christmas season”, said Fenny. 

The Silted Rivers, Lost Moorings and Bogs project aims to promote “the cultural significance of landscapes” and has been desperately scrabbling around for anybody inside the golden funding triangle between Acle, Yarmouth and Lowestoft to come up with a way of spending some of the millions sloshing around in the HLF coffers. Drama is said to be critical in shaping the future of the Broads, and there's certainly no shortage of it at Yeurght House.

The panto is a production of Cinderella, a much loved festive story. Casting has been successful to date with Granny taking the role of the Evil Stepmother, Dr. P as her adulterous lover and Angelica Short and Caligula Smithson as the two wicked stepsisters. Henna Larson and Jimmy Day have been approached for the roles of Cinderella and Buttons respectively. The role of Prince Charming is still in the audition stages, but the production team can confirm that the two shortlisted candidates are Ian Cheekbones from the Busman’s Inn and Roger Bush from Tripe Island. 

The production is intended to be a realistic portrayal of affairs at the Blessed Authority and is therefore unsuitable for young children or those of a nervous disposition. Unlike the beloved story, the fairy godmother takes the guise of the Department of Accident and Oversight and completely fails to take any interest in Cinderella’s plight. The girl is banished to the darkest cellars of the grand house and Prince Charming has his assets either seized or compulsorily purchased, whilst the evil Granny continues to reign supreme over her chanting throngs of adoring men of a certain age.  

The Samaritans will be available to anyone needing emotional support at the end of the performance and we hope to have key Members of Parliament on hand to answer questions about why nothing is being done to disband this unelected and unaccountable quango. 

We are hoping that this specially commissioned panto is well received. Tickets go on sale shortly and all proceeds will go towards a fund to support Blessed Authority stakeholders who have fallen foul of heavy handed planning practices. Patrons are encouraged to dig deep as it is likely the fund will be completely over-subscribed by the end of year.

Sunday 25 September 2016

Governance Workshop replaced with Play Day

Blessed Chair Granny Burgess has announced that an important workshop - planned to discuss governance issues - is to be scrapped in favour of a Member/Officer Play Day.

The meeting - originally planned for March - was to focus on governance issues & chairing skills and would be 'specifically tailored' for the Authority's needs. However, the event was delayed until September so that new members could go through their assimilation process before being allowed to join in, to avoid "awkward and embarrassing questions".

The Chair had previously commented that the workshop "would be very useful and important and all members should attend if they possibly could". However, with the governance spotlight shining ever brighter where it isn't wanted, she has decided to cancel the event altogether - citing diary clashes, and apparently oblivious to the irony of a member-requested event on chairing skills being privately cancelled by the Chair.

Hopefully Members will challenge the decision at their meeting this Friday - but don't hold your breath, as it seems to have been accidentally left off the agenda.

Blessed Governance has been in the news several times this year, even receiving national attention in the pages of Private Eye, so it's entirely natural for the puppet regime to try to quell concern by pretending that the problem doesn't exist. "I've spoken to literally several stakeholders" said the Chair, "and all the ones who agree with me say that they are quite happy and can't understand what the fuss is about."

Vice Chairman Sir Dick Peterson and Chief Executive Dr John Pikeman both agreed that the workshop was unnecessary. "There's nothing to see here," said Sir Dick, "but with morale amongst members and staff at an all-time low, we've decided that what we need are more fun days out, rather than these so-called 'useful and important' workshops."

Members enjoyed their annual day out to Why Hill this summer, for example, where they were were able to see first hand the restricted river width and poor road access at the Authority's flagship visitor centre, which is capable of accommodating up to 6 people at a time.

"These Play Days provide a perfect opportunity for members to get together with officers in a less formal but still carefully managed setting" said Dr Pikeman. "We want officers and members to talk to each other, but not to the point where they would make friends on social networks or buy boats in joint names." 

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Best Friends Forever

The general public and interested stakeholders were informed last week that the little Yeoman "Gremlin II", who had been jointly owned by the blessed grandmother and her non-Facebook BFF (Best Friend Forever) Head of Blessed Planning, has been placed in full care of Granny Spokesperson and will now be re-branded "Gremlin".

The ladies have been quick to re-assure us that “nothing whatsoever will change” and “our friendship is stronger than ever before” - and that planning committee meetings will not witness “cat fights” over who gets to sail the little boat on alternate weekends.

"The custody arrangements are quite amicable and we just want to keep our friendship out of the constant media spotlight" they told our reporter. "Like most celebrity couples we crave the privacy and normality less important people than us enjoy."

“But hang on a minute", said our hack, "isn't the whole purpose of the staff/member protocol to ensure the public can have confidence that staff and members aren’t forging relationships that could impair their professional relationship and judgement?”

“As I said, our friendship is stronger than ever…”

“You’re not listening Granny. The public interest is in making sure that Authority decisions are properly scrutinised by an independent panel of members, not in whether you two still get on.”

“Our friendship is stronger than ever and there’s nothing to see here…”

“For goodness sake, can you please listen? The. Public Want. To. Know. That. You. Can Reach Planning. Decisions. Independently. From.Your. Friend's. Influence.”

“My BFF and I want to assure all Authority stakeholders that we will remain firm friends regardless of who owns our little boat…“

“But can the public have confidence…”

“Of course the public can have complete confidence that we will not fight over the boat at planning committee meetings.”

Dr Pikeman has confirmed that the purchase was authorised by a previous monitoring officer - shortly before he disappeared in mysterious circumstances. "The staff / member protocol is being refreshed by his replacement's replacement," he said "and I would like to give stakeholders my absolute assurance that I will include sufficient loopholes so that statutory functions and duties of the Authority do not interfere with this beautiful friendship."

Sunday 17 July 2016

Blessed Punishment Beatings Continue

The Blessed Authority was rocked again last week with the news of a third Member assassination.

Following on from the evictions of Alan The Hammer and Wee Jimmy Day, blonde Swedish bombshell Henna Larsson was sensationally removed from the planning committee after she disagreed with a planning officer. 

"It's my own fault" she wept in an interview later. "I'm so used to being able to speak openly as a democratically elected councillor that I forgot all about the Blessed Special Status and accidentally corrected a junior planning officer when she was wrong. I realise now that this was foolish of me and that my duty to protect the Blessed Reputation transcends trivial things like public interest or telling the truth."

Lord Peterson of Hickling, Blessed Planning Chair, confirmed the sudden eviction. "I can't see why anyone's surprised" he said. "Her card's been marked since she said we should talk to those blasted ferals last year. She really does need to understand that we have our own way of doing things here. If an officer says something wrong, then they can't just unsay it can they? That would be quite potty. And having these so-called elected Councillors running around pretending that this is a democracy - well it's simply intolerable."

Blessed members, however, expressed their disquiet after the meeting. "There was no warning of this in the agenda," said one, "so it was a bit of a surprise when the Blessed Leaders suddenly dumped it on us. I did think it a bit odd that we'd received a flurry of Henna's private emails the night before, but didn't expect another execution so soon after the last one. I wonder who'll be next?"

In a blow to the Blessed Elite, members agreed to hold open Henna's post so that they could find out whether she'd actually done anything wrong. "That's ridiculous" snapped Granny, "she's disagreed with planning officers AND me for heaven's sake. How much more evidence can they want?"

In other appointment news, there was joy for Granny as her pet poodle "Round of Drinks" Bilson was rewarded for his unwavering loyalty by being confirmed a complete "Member" by the Secretary of State, though this was tempered by the disappointment of losing her chief whip, the shouty Dick Nigelson. "The bastards. Well I'm keeping my Blessed Sweater, at least" he shouted, as he stomped out of the room for the last time.

Thursday 7 July 2016

New censorship code to ban member-officer friendships

Blessed members will this week consider revised staff / member protocols designed to prevent leaks, stifle debate, and ban 'improper' friendships.

Notable amongst the changes is a prohibition on members being 'friends' with staff on social networks.

The rule change will be embarrassing for Blessed Chair Granny Spokesperson, who famously owns a boat in joint names with a senior officer (pictured above). Although the arrangement was considered to be "just about" within the rules by 2 ex-Monitoring Officers, it is clearly a breach of the new code which aims to prevent cross-fertilisation between officers and members.

I'm In The Mood for Dancing

The new protocol is said to follow the Nolan Principles of conduct in public life, whilst also incorporating the Pikeman Principle which recognises the "special qualities of the Blessed Authority". This permits officers to ignore the nationally-agreed principles "where appropriate", to prevent Members from opposing bad decision making, or exposing unlawful or incompetent behavior.

The first Nolan principle, for example, requires members "to act solely in terms of the public interest". But Pikeman Principle #1, which calls on members to "publicly defend decisions made by the Authority", automatically takes precedence where there is a conflict between the two.

Don't Make Waves

It's been confirmed that any officer opinion is now classified as a "decision of the Authority", making it a code of conduct offence for a member to disagree. The principle is reinforced in the newly revised Blessed Staff Handbook, which says that officers must never back down or apologise, even if they are wrong.

The new code is intended to come into immediate effect, though it "may take some time to work the gremlins out" acccording to a Blessed Spokesperson.

"It's collective responsibility gone mad" said one former member.

Friday 10 June 2016

Please Hang Up And Try Again

The Blessed Authority's bumbling planning department plunged to new depths of incompetence this week when it decided that using a former phone box as a community information kiosk was "a material change of use requiring planning consent."

Our researchers had a quick look at the relevant legislation, and confirmed that Part 12 Class A of the General Development Order expressly permits parish councils to provide information kiosks under permitted development. But Officers were quick to invoke the Pikeman Principle, which states that planning laws do not apply to organisations which call themselves National Parks. Especially ones who have a large planning department and not enough planning applications to justify it.

"Under the Authority's Equal Persecution Policy, we can't be seen to be unduly lenient with parish councils," said a Blessed Spokesperson, "and - in the interests of fairness and transparency - we must ensure that we place as many arbitrary obstacles in their way as we do for boatyards and home owners. Where our policy conflicts with legislation, we may use 'differential interpretation' to justify our position, rather than admit that we might be wrong."

Providing information kiosks is a statutory function of parish councils, so Halvergate PC adopted the phone box, thinking it would be a good community use for an attractive but obsolete piece of history. But Blessed officers insisted that they should have been consulted - “We know all about information centres; in fact we've closed several over the years” they said.

The Blessed Authority have now designated the phone box as a Community Asset, giving the community the right to buy the phone box so that it can be retained as a 'payphone' (Google it, kids). "It doesn't matter that nobody needs phone boxes anymore" said the blessed spokesperson, “we must still preserve them for posterity - along with other anachronisms such as our planning department. Therefore, we will require a heritage statement to demonstrate how the proposed information kiosk would relate to the Halvergate Conservation Area, as well as an ecological survey, a landscaping plan, a traffic impact survey and of course a flood risk assessment including a flood evacuation plan.


"Given the high probability of roosting bats in the phone box," continued the officer, "a protected species survey will be required. If there is no evidence of bats, then they will need to be encouraged using bat bricks, meaning that the development cannot be used during the roosting season of March to October. The information kiosk will of course still be available for use during the 4 months of winter."

Finally, the Blessed Authority will require a lengthy set of planning conditions to ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for future enforcement action if officers run out of work in the future, as seems to be the case right now.

Monday 30 May 2016

Blessed U-Turn Imminent on Houseboat Tolls?

Our Yeorgt House spies have learned that the Blessed Authority may have to make a U-turn on tolls for houseboats in adjacent waters, after an appeal court confirmed that floating houses were 'homes on water' rather than vessels capable of navigation.

Confirming the 2015 judgement of the Crown Court, the appeal Judges said that a vessel must be navigable, and that if it wasn't navigable then it wasn't a vessel.

The judgement contradicts repeated assertions from the Blessed Authority that floating homes are vessels, after they attempted to re-categorise houseboats at Balls Basin in the Southern Broads as 'vessels liable to pay a toll'.

One brave owner, who challenged the re-classification, has received 4 different justifications from Blessed Officers. This is part of the normal BA complaints procedure, in which Officers have up to 3 chances to change their reasoning before a complaint can finally be taken to the Ombudsman. This is known internally as the 'grinding down' process, which is designed to ensure that - by the time a grievance reaches stage 3 - the complainant will be so exhausted or confused that they will simply give in.

In this case, Blessed Officers twice used the Authority's time-honoured tradition of adding words to Acts of Parliament (using Blink) in the hope that nobody would notice. On one occasion, the owner was told that his property "qualified under the 2009 Act as a houseboat" - despite there being no reference to houseboats in the Act - and in another reply, the Act was misquoted to include a non-existent provision for 'anything which could be moved on water'. More recently, it was declared by Dr Pikeman himself that Officers could add any category of floating object to Parliament's definition of a 'vessel', by virtue of the Act including a reference to sailboards. If sailboards, then why not houseboats, goes the flawless argument, which presumably has been approved by the Authority's solicitor.

The new ruling appears to torpedo the Blessed position, by declaring beyond doubt that floating homes are not vessels. The decision follows similar judgements in America, as well as basic rules of common sense and the English language as we know it. However, officers remain stubborn to the last, claiming that they are the final arbiter when it comes to interpretation of terminology, rather than Parliament or the Courts. "In the case of the 2009 Act", said a Blessed Spokesperson, "we can safely ignore the intentions of Parliament, because we drafted the Bill and we know what we intended. And what we intended was to be able to interpret the provisions in any way we like."

Since the Blessed Authority's resources for legal action are effectively unlimited - and those of its customers are not - it's easy to bully most people into paying tolls, even when there is no legal basis to charge one. Officers may also choose to invoke the 'Pikeman' principle which says that Court judgements do not apply to organisations which call themselves National Parks, as they are thought to be above the law.

Amazingly, Blessed Members - and even Members of the Navigation Committee (who advise on tolls) - remain in blissful ignorance of the actions taken on their behalf by officers, as it's all done under Blessed Delegated Authority! And woe betide any Member who does start asking questions - the ejector seat awaits your pleasure, dear Member.

Thursday 26 May 2016

Punch and Jury

From the Spidery Recording Files #343 in May 2016…

“Damn it, I’m really in trouble now”, Granny sniffed into her mid-morning gin.

“What’s up now?”, asked Dr. Pikeman. “Don’t worry, I’ll cover your tracks for you whatever you get up to, I promise!”

“That pesky Monitoring Officer is allowing a code of conduct case against me to be investigated! I can’t be found guilty, that would ruin my career! I’ll never become Dame Granny if that happens…”

“Never fear, the Doctor is here. I know how to fix that one for you. At the next meeting in May, Members will be asked to rubber stamp an appointment process for the Independent Person who will preside over your code of conduct case. I’ll just tell them that you have to do the interviews with a bit of help from a couple of others, they’re all mostly fast asleep and won’t notice that they’ve put you in charge of appointing your own jury. It’ll be fine.”

“Really John? Can that be done? I get to choose the person who decides if I’m guilty of breaching the code of conduct? That’s brilliant, are you sure the Members won’t notice?”

“I promise you, they won’t notice.”

… recording ends here, probably due to a flat battery …

Well, I hope you all know I'm not kidding you. If you think the Pike blog is full of made up nonsense, think again. Check out the Blessed Authority’s agenda for Friday, 13th May 2016. The Authority resolved to appoint Prof Jacquie Burgess, Sir Peter Dixon and Guy McGregor to conduct interviews for the Independent Person in code of conduct cases. Did the compromised lady in question ever bat an eyelid? No. Did she perhaps put her hand up and say, “Sorry, I might not be the best person to sit in on these interviews as I’m personally compromised”? No. The Authority is as broken as it’s ever been and worse.

Till the next time, when Granny appoints her best chums from the body of Members to help the “independent” person decide her fate…

Keep swimming!


Sunday 15 May 2016

Maintaining rivers not our job, says body charged with maintaining rivers

Members of the Blessed Authority were this week prevented from debating a report from their own officers on the deteriorating bank of the river Chet beside Hardley flood, because issues raised by the navigation committee were too frightening for them to contemplate. The work needed could be both ‘high risk’ and ‘high cost’, Dr Pikeman told members, so it was better for them not to know about it yet. 

A specific request from one of the more enlightened Blessed Members for the paper to be included on Friday's Agenda was turned down, as Officers were not yet ready to tell Members what to think. The news follows an announcement by Norfolk County Council that they intend to close a popular section of the Wherryman’s Way riverside footpath, and divert it on to a main road - on safety grounds. 

Three weeks ago, the navigation committee strongly advised that the rapid deterioration of the stretch of river bank could not be ignored, and that the Authority needed to take an urgent and proactive stance.

Blessed Officers claimed that the issue did not touch any of the Authority’s three statutory duties - which are public access, conservation and navigation - until a Member pointed out that it involved a public footpath running between a nature reserve and a navigable river. Officers argued that any structures replaced by the BA now would have to be maintained in the future, so it would be much cheaper to let them collapse further and then find out what happens later, when it might be somebody else’s job. In the mean time, money could be spent on consultants, so as not to make it look as though the issue is being ignored entirely.

Unfortunately, the navigation committee advice could not be reported to Blessed Members yesterday as the minutes were not yet available. “It’s important for there to be an appropriate delay in producing minutes” said a Blessed Spokesperson, “in order that Members have an adequate chance to forget what was actually said. This is the natural way of things here at Yeurgh House."

Finger-in-the-air estimates to carry out the work needed range from £500,000 to £3 million, which Dr Pikeman says is beyond the means of the tiny Authority; such figures are understood to eclipse even its huge planning enforcement and legal budgets.

A Blesssed Spokesperson confirmed that projects which would benefit the public and the navigation do not qualify for grant funding, in contrast to restoring private broads with no public access, and teaching the public about the cultural significance of landscapes and windmills.

Wednesday 30 March 2016

Who wants to go next?

Bets are now on for the second most toxic job at the Blessed Authority! According to the published agenda, the Authority is seeking a Chairman for arguably the most dysfunctional planning committee in East Anglia. 

The news follows the final departure of Minty Beige, a member appointed by the Secretary of Oversight and Accident. Speculation is rife as to who will succeed him

Bookie’s favourite is Granny Spokesperson herself, who according to the known rogue Gary Sheds has no fewer than 6 separate code of conduct complaints against her. 

An undercover source within the planning department has stated that a close second is Dick Niggling, who despite being appointed by a Local Authority possesses enough obedience to fit Granny’s strategy for the planning committee leadership.

“Chairmanship of the Planning Committee is not a popularity contest” ,said Granny. “It is also of paramount importance that I appoint somebody who my close friend in the planning department approves of and that simply has to be either me, or somebody who recognises my leadership qualities. The deciding factor, of course, is how the Chairman feels about Tripe Island and any views opposed to hounding that dreadful man Roger Bush off his property, simply won’t do. My priority is to keep my good boating partner happy, as all this talk of a planning application in line with the 2014 inspector’s decision is making her very sad indeed. She has spent most of her professional life trying to get rid of him and I simply must ensure she retires on a personal high."

The current vice chairman, the blonde Swedish bombshell Henna Larsson sadly marked her ticket by indiscrete use of social media, crowning herself Queen of the Ferals and disobeying the laws of peroxide by forming opinions of her own, which is unlikely to suit Granny’s strategy. The blonde was seen sobbing into her wine at the Pony and Wagon near Yeorgh House recently, promising herself an extra deep spray tan and a new outfit.

“It is vitally important the role goes to somebody incapable of seeing the Woods for the trees", smiled Granny. "It is the Chairman’s duty to follow the officers wherever they may blunder as collective responsibility will ultimately save us all."

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Vaper Trails

Following on from inadvertent public release of the Blessed Invisible Ink (codenamed Blink), our shrimp spies have learned of a further development at Yeorgt House; invisible paper (codenamed Vaper).

It has long been thought that such a technology had been developed, but not until recently was its existence actually discovered (or not).

Released under the guise of Paperless Tolls, the Blessed Authority has unwittingly confirmed that there are certain documents which no longer exist. These include planning agreements and Acts of Parliament. Once thought to be merely a freak and remarkably accurate accident with the slot of a shredder, the Vaper project has been confirmed recently and is being released upon the public under the guise of a paperless tolls trial.

Leader of the Vaper project within the Obfuscation department, Ceefroo Balderdash, told our reporter, “The project has been perfected over many internal trials. We began with the Invisible Ink trials which were pioneered with internal reports, meeting minutes and so on - but it quickly became obvious to those who actually read them that certain documents were being ‘adjusted’; the only solution was for the Blessed Authority to adopt ‘total transparency’.”

Holding aloft a piece of Vaper, Ceefoo, continued, “To the ordinary eye, there is nothing in my hand, but let me assure you that this is a sheet of tolls plaques, printed just moments ago using Blink and Vaper.” He made a hand motion of crumpling the 'document', then tossed the Vaper in the air, seemingly catching it in a brown paper bag he was holding between the fingers of his right hand.

The new invisible tolls plaques will be sent to boat owners in the coming weeks along with assurance that the Blink will not run or, if it does it won’t mark the boat’s hull. These must be fitted to the bows of all boats by April 1st.

Hoarder of Tolls, Rob Yermone, was quick to comment on concerns of toll avoidance under the new Vaper system, “The idea of paperless plaques has often been discussed by the navigation committee who were unaware of the Vaper project at the time. Each occasion this was raised, Officers dismissed it for a wide range of reasons. However, officers have confirmed that whilst the reasons are all still valid, they don't matter any more now that the Authority has decided on a different outcome. And, besides, nobody can find any written evidence of the objections anyway."

"Our stakeholder survey research indicates that the public believes that the BA is a soft touch and does not prosecute nearly enough people, or waste enough public funds on legal fees. As part of the Vaper trials in relation to tolls reform, officers plan to ensure that targets are to be set for prosecutions with incentives given to rangers to find un-tolled vessels in back-waters.  In the fullness of time, we plan to operate a more automated prosecution system requiring boat owners to fill in SWANs (Statutory Above Water Notifications) if their boat is not actually in the river else they will automatically get a summons. To best address the stakeholders' concerns that we don't squander enough public money on legal costs, there are also plans to set a minimum level of expenditure, per case."

Sunday 20 March 2016

Blessed Chair admits to influencing Member appointments

Blessed Authority chair Granny Spokesperson surprised NSBA members this week by admitting to being able to influence the selection of both Secretary of State and Local Authority appointees.

Although the "independent and impartial" appointment process is widely known to be less than transparent, this is the first time it has been admitted in public.

Speaking in response to questions about the under-representation of navigational interests on the Blessed Authority, she confirmed that she could address this by "influencing" the impartial appointments process. Wielding such power was "clearly preferable" to all the trouble and uncertainty which direct elections would bring.

In the short term, she confirmed that she would encourage Members with no interest in boating to follow her example and buy a share in a boat, so as to create the illusion of greater toll payer representation.

In an effort to cement member-officer relations, the self-styled 'Chair' has also shown great leadership by entering into boat ownership jointly with a senior planning officer. "Although cosy relationships between members and officers are discouraged, I can't see anything wrong with this one and of course it doesn't affect my ability to challenge my friend and boating partner in planning committee meetings", she said with her fingers firmly crossed behind her back. The arrangement was allegedly approved by the monitoring officer, shortly before he disappeared without trace.

At the meeting, she was also quizzed about her failure to promote public rights of navigation at Bewilderbroad, when the Blessed Authority was consulted on the multi-million pound injection of public money into a private broad. She promised to look into this, just as soon as she discovered where the broad is actually located.

Granny will shortly be meeting with conservation and tourism groups, where she is expected to give similar assurances about their representation on the Blessed Authority.

Monday 14 March 2016

"Special" ink accidentally used for tolls

Officers at the Blessed Authority were left embarrassed last week after a "special" ink purchased for use in important documents was inadvertently used for the 2016 toll plaques.

The "washable" ink was developed to assist officers when they needed to change documents after they'd been printed. Unfortunately, printers misunderstood a recent urgent instruction to print "everything" using the new washable ink, with the result that this year's toll stickers become unreadable after a quick shower of rain, and can only be used indoors.

Officers are now working on a special varnish to "seal" the plaques from the rain, though there are concerns that this could be used on documents for the same purpose, rendering them "unwashable" - so a special type of paper is in development, which will resist the sealer but hold the special ink until washed. Such methods may seem extreme but, as a spokesperson explained, "it is important to be able to alter documents if they don't say what we want them to. This is the normal way of things, and is essential for protecting the reputation of the Blessed Authority."

Since most documents are shared and stored electronically these days, readers might think that washable ink is a bit of an anachronism in 2016. "Not so," said the spokesperson, "we still print everything here at Yeurgh House - including this article of course. No serious person uses all that 'cloud' stuff do they? I mean, we don't even need our own Facebook presence, we just use another page which we were entrusted with, to distribute our propaganda."

Sunday 28 February 2016

Eviction notice served on BA member

The Blessed Authority this week obtained an emergency injunction to evict the self-styled rebel leader and all-round bad boy Jim Day from Yeorght House. The brings the total number of eviction notices served to 42, which might be satisfying to some.

Senior members had been warning Day for months about his habit of actually reading the committee papers and asking difficult questions, and tensions reached a crisis point this month when he tried to suggest that the Authority should stop persecuting people and try talking to them instead.

Granny Spokesperson, Emeritus Professor of Social Cleansing and "Chair" of the Blessed Authority is understood to have achieved a state of climax when the vote to evict Day was approved - though the carefully engineered result was never in doubt.

"As an academic, I am passionate about the need for an evidence-based approach to decision making processes" she explained. "That's why, as a new Member, I considered it essential to spend £60,000 on stakeholder surveys to tell me all the things which everybody else already knew."

"However", she continued, "there are times when even environmental scientists should ignore empirical evidence and rational thought, and trust to our baser instincts of fear and loathing. The Members' code of conduct is designed to be used against Members, not by them. Once they've actually read it, and start talking about transparency, openness and the public interest, it's clear that it's time to implement my, what I call, decapitation strategy."

Speaking during a brief interlude between holidays, interim dredging committee chair Mike 'Herbert' Shitake commented that Mr Day was guilty of "all kinds of inappropriate shenanigans wherever he goes" and that he had "provided the means for enemies of the state to destabilise our dear leader, by having impure thoughts. "

"I've no idea why I think this, but I do", he concluded, before wandering off in a confused fug.

The eviction notice, the cost of which is unknown but estimated by Officers to be in the region of "Jesus Christ we really didn't think that one through did we", will take immediate effect.

Friday 26 February 2016

You can't have your Pike and Leak it

A leaked email from the executive office at the Blessed Authority has found its way to our watery desks. Alluding to an end of happier times at Yeorght House, the email threatens to stem the flow of Moet to any member who is found to have an opinion of their own. Just days after, the threat was carried out when Jimmy Day was shot out of a newly installed "Acme" injector seat before even being given the opportunity to see the error of his ways and chant "Yesss, masssther".

An excerpt from the email reads: “If members are supporting the petition to save Tripe Island or helping to fund the opposition to the Blessed Authority’s contrived unanimous agreed position on Tripe Island, this will undermine public confidence and is likely to damage the reputation and credibility of the Local Planning Authority.”

The email goes on, “I must remind you that this is the job of the executive office alone. We have been doing it successfully for many years without unwelcome members meddling.”

The long running dispute between the Tripe Ferals and the Blessed Authority has already cost the quango in excess of £100,000, a fact not lost on Dr Pikeman who went on to say that “Opposition such as this could lead rise to a legal challenge which we simply can’t afford without having to employ trolls at all bridges. Also, the champagne cellar is nearly empty. Even if you don’t like Moet, think of those that do!”

This latest revelation follows a number of high-profile events in recent weeks surrounding the eviction of Ferals from the boat basin on Tripe Island and must be a worry for the long-term viability of a gong for Dr Pikeman.

Commenting on the email, Barry Shed, leader of the Ferals, “Things don’t seem to be going very well for Dr Pikeman at the moment; perhaps the only gong he’ll be getting soon is the one for dinner; I understand Pike is a bit of a delicacy”.

Thursday 25 February 2016

A leaky bucket

“Good morning Granny, are you sitting comfortably?” asked Dr. Pikeman bright and early on a Monday morning. 

“Oh, yes, I can’t wait for today’s lesson”, said Granny. “I’m becoming quite fond of my allowance and all the attention I’m getting. I never knew retirement could be so exciting!”

“Lesson for today, Divide and Rule.”

“Fantastic, the old tricks always work best”.

“Doesn’t do any harm to remind ourselves of the basic principles. We are scientists after all”, chuckled Dr. Pikeman. “At the Blessed Authority we’ve always taken particular care to ensure Members can never really unite on a topic and we employ a number of techniques to keep them docile. Alarmingly, the medication we’ve been adding to the hot water system has proven unreliable and there are obvious signs that some Members are attempting to find common ground. Increasing the dose has just pushed some of the more susceptible ones off the scale, so we need to find a new solution. For example, an e-mail sent by a member to everyone last week encouraged THIS for heaven’s sake!

“Perhaps now is the time for all of us to think carefully about openness, accountability, transparency and accuracy within our Authority - all of which we have a duty to promote, as Members.”

“Urgh, I know”, groaned Granny. “Absolutely ridiculous. I had to quickly kick one of my poodles into action to address this serious situation. But as you said, the medication in the hot water may have been a little too much for this particular individual, do you think his reply goes a bit too far … perhaps?”

“I would much rather you had not gone to the bother of haranguing me with this arrant, self- justifying, nonsense. But now that you have, I'm going to exercise my right of reply. 

“I have rarely come across such high-handed, self-regarding, pretentious twaddle beyond the pages of that other disreputable channel for infantile sniping at the Authority, its CEO, and Chair, the Broads National Pike. That you should seek to imbue me with your unique perspective on how we should conduct ourselves demonstrates nothing less than hilarious, breath-taking arrogance.”

“What a beauty” giggled Granny. “Was this the same person who was reported in the press to have said that the increase in tolls would cost less than a round of drinks?”

“No, don’t be ridiculous”, snorted Dr. Pikeman. “You must be really careful not to set up the same people twice in a row like that.”

“Of course. That would be cruel... saying that ... OMG! ... could it have been the same person we set up with that rubbish about hire boats getting a tax rebate on tolls? Now that really was too funny!”

“Seriously Granny, get a grip! We’re manipulative and devious, but we wouldn’t ... or did we? ... I honestly can’t remember ... but I’m not sure anymore … “ Dr. Pikeman’s shoulders were shaking as he tried to suppress a laughing fit.

“Hang on”, Granny was laughing out loud now, holding her sides as if they were about to split, “do you remember the twit who starting talking about a strictly confidential report in the main public meeting? To think we thought we had problems with the riff raff we have to put up with from local authorities!”

“Hahahaha! Hohohoho!”, Dr. Pikeman had tears rolling down his face now. “Now that really was something! Hahahah … ! That reminds me of another one I set up Granny, do you remember this one? I set somebody up to say that landscapes were more important than people …hahaha … do you remember … Granny?”

“That was me and it wasn’t funny”, Granny stamped out of the classroom.

“ Where are you going Granny? It was just a bit of innocent fun, can’t you take a joke? “

“NO! Now leave me alone and find out who is leaking all the email to the press while you’re at it. It’s not fair. I have nobody to trust anymore.”

Friday 19 February 2016

Ferals save the BAcon

In a surprise move, the Feral population of Tripe Island has agreed to pack up their boats and move out of the boat basin that is not allowed to have boats in it.

Explaining the move, Roger Bush commented “It is clear that the Blessed Authority was about to run out of money. Local Members of Parliament have already taken their begging bowls to Westmunster pleading poverty for the cash-stricken Blessed Authority, so we thought that we’d cut it a little slack.”

Our intrepid shrimp asked “Where will all the boats go?”

“Well, we’ll find somewhere for them, I’m sure. There’s a nice bit of green just up the river, I expect they will go there. It’s particularly handy for the pub and bus stop. “

Secret plans to raise funds for the Blessed Authority are now expected to be put on-hold. One such plan was the privatisation of the man-made river that links the Rivers Yeorght and Wovenly and saves a four hour jaunt to the estuary.

Our shrimpy spies learned that the idea had been in place for many years with previous interested parties having been refused permission for development on more than one occasion. However, a new tendering process is thought to now be at an advanced stage with the preferred bidder, Cully Smithe Industries. CSI is thought to be examining new ways to leverage funds from the captive floating audience and secret plans leaked to our shrimp suggest that already CSI has already given the green light to build toll booths at either end.

Quizzed on the leaked plans to raise much needed funds, Andre Short, the Blessed Authority’s Head of Obscure Reasoning, stated “The annual windfall is just around the corner; in a few short weeks we’ll be laughing all the way to the brown paper bag under the floorboards.”

In a verbal statement, Dr Pikeman said “It is quite ridiculous to think that the Blessed Authority would ever consider surrendering control of any of the waters after we have gone to such lengths gaining control of them in the first place. However, I can confirm that we are investigating certain options with our ‘Preferred Partners’. But you can rest-assured that any money raised will be sunk back into the river system.”

“For instance, one plan works very well with our recycling initiative. You see, we are in talks with the County Council about taking the white lines off some of the road network making use of them as lane markers for holiday vessels. Naturally, we will have to remove the toxins from the paint before installation.”

However, there remain other financial pressures at Yeorght House; not least its stocks of Moet getting dangerously low.

Saturday 13 February 2016

Trust in me

Our Shrimpy Spies have today seen a new “Acme” delivery to the Blessed Authority’s headquarters, Yeorght House. A number of large boxes labelled “Ultimate Comfort Executive Ejector Seat” were taken in through the main entrance and some hours of banging and clattering could be heard thereafter.

Our Inside Shrimp tells us that this is all part of a new, super-secret plan to allow the swift removal of members who question the decisions of the higher officials and leadership team which has been in receipt of some eye-opening comments in recent times.

Gleefully accepting an opportunity to play down such a suggestion, the Blessed Authority’s leader, Dr Pikeman carefully and purposely stated, “The Blessed Authority takes very seriously the views of our members. We welcome opinions that are at odds with our own, as it allows us to quickly establish who will and won’t follow our hidden agendas. The new meeting room furniture was thought to be a more cost effective solution than air conditioning in the coming hot summer months. Won’t you come in and try one?”

Accepting the invitation to try out the new seats, our Shrimp reporter was soon in a large, quiet meeting room with subdued lighting and a large clock suspended from the ceiling over a table with piano black finish. Each chair seemed to have a “loft hatch” above it. Quickly seated, our intrepid Shrimp was soon relaxed by the gentle massaging effect of the executive leather. Dr Pikeman explained, taking on a whimsical tone, “You see, my dear shrimpy, we’re one big happy family here at the Blessed Authority.”

In a dark corner of the room, something murmured quietly to itself.

Dr Pikeman’s voice became milder and his skin appeared to be glistening; his body slightly extended, elongated. “We want all our members to have a gooood time here and just let the executivess get on with the hard work; we’re unlike any other organisation you have ever been in; you should conssider joining. You are feeling ssleepy.”

Dr Pikeman, sat on the table in front of our Shrimp and slithered around a little, leaving a glistening trail behind him. “Just back from the Sargassso! Beautiful place, I go every year or sso.”

At that point, the silence was broken by a rather tipsy couple bursting into the room, each carrying a bottle of Moet. Dr Pikeman contorted and spun around hissing his disapproval. In unison, both muttered “yess maassther” and vanished. With the door open, it was clear that there was much merriment being had elsewhere in Yeorght House, but absolute silence resumed when the door was closed once again.

Dropping his voice, Dr Pikeman resumed “Ssorry about that, my dear friend. Just ssome of our other memberss having a gooood time. “, he tapped the side of his nose twice with his index fin. “Now where wass I? Oh yess, you sshould consider joining, I can ssee that you’d really enjoy not working here, there really is sso little to do apart from ssign the occasshional, ssleeeeeepy, document, throw partiess and enjoy yoursshelf”.

Our shrimp could feel himself being very “relaxed”; the huge clock face was gently swaying.

Suddenly, our intrepid shrimp was awoken by the custom ring tone of a mobile phone; “Another One Bites the Dust” was quickly dismissed by the Doctor, but the spell was lost; the clock face abruptly stopped swaying and Dr Pikeman struggled back into his usual fishy form and, barely audibly, muttered, “and you’re back in the room”.

Quickly, an old lady appeared from the darkness towards the back of the room and polished the slime on the table leaving a deep shine on the surface.

Slightly disorientated, our Evasive Shrimp quickly extricated himself from the chair, made his apologies scurried for the door. Behind him there was a sharp “ptoooiiinnnnggg” followed by “Blasst!”.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

The last Pike from Trumpton Dyke

“Bedtime, you little scamps!”

Eduardo the Ancient Pike was on babysitting duties. His son and daughter-in-law were out in the Southern Broads enjoying a quiet romantic weekend away and he was left in charge of the triplets. Again. A treat he looked forward to despite his advancing years.

“Tell us the story about Trumpton, Grampa! Tell us how it became a zombie village and why it’s too scary to go there! Tell us why they put the gate up! Tell us why there aren’t any boats!”

“Well, it happened in the reign of The Granny and Dr. Pikeman ...”

“Aaaaarrrgggghhhhh!!!!!!!”, cried the triplets, hiding under their bed covers, “not the Granny!”

“Granny and Dr. Pikeman were geographers and they decided that landscapes were more important than people. It all went down hill from there. They also had a bad case of boat envy and decided that all boat owners should be banished. Dr. Pikeman came up with this really good trick of re-writing articles of law to suit his own needs and intentions and the rest, as they say, is history.”

“So, when the Agency for protection of wealthy developers building on flood plains decided they didn’t have enough money to replace the quay heading at Trumpton Dyke, they asked the Blessed Authority if they could take it away. Back in the day, in 2008, the Blessed ones agreed, but asked the agency to make sure the boats could still use the dyke once they got around to doing the work.”

“And then what happened?”

“Well, Granny was put in charge of the Blessed Authority and boats became unimportant. The Agency were allowed to take away one of the sides of the dyke and plant a reed edge instead. Before too long, everything slumped into the middle. Some of the bigger boats were trapped and a gate was put over the entrance to seal the dyke off completely. Granny Spokesperson (not to be confused with your fine Grandmother) became so obsessed with the reeds in Trumpton Dyke she could often be found dressed as a scarecrow chasing away imaginary geese and ducks. The subsequent zombie invasion was considered an unfortunate consequence of their actions, but as zombies were neither people nor landscape, the net result was neutral.”

“But Grampa, surely Granny and Dr, Pikeman couldn’t control all the Blessed Authority and the Members who made the decision?”

“Sadly, no-one will ever know. Hand picked, up-standing members of the community, ... once they entered within the walls of Yeorght House, they lost all sense of human decency and the ability to tell right from wrong. It’s a sad, sad story. Personally, I blame the water, never touched the stuff whenever I had to visit the place.”

“And what happened to all the boats Grampa?”

“They all went away. Thanks to Dr. Pikeman and the Granny, the area was called a National Park and all the places for the boats to go and tie up disappeared. The Blessed Authority had become greedy for money and the tolls became too expensive and the Broads got too silted and difficult to enjoy. The National Park was officially closed in 2048 as the whole area was considered unworthy of any special consideration in any shape or form.”

“Now sleep, all of you”, Eduardo the Ancient kissed his grandchildren fondly. “you’re the very last pike in the Broads and you should be proud of your heritage. Never forget and never give up.”

Friday 5 February 2016

True Colours

“Turn the volume up, Granny”, yelled Dr Pikeman, “I love Cindy Lauper!”

The halls and corridors of the Blessed Authority were drowning in 80s pop on repeat. Even the hold music was changed at Dr Pikeman’s behest, occasionally interspersed with a bit of Queen's, Another One Bites the Dust.

We cannot confirm rumours that the techy who injected “I want to break free” was granted his wishes.

As the “ferals” of Tripe Island regroup to lick their wounds and plan a response, the Blessed Authority is reportedly sourcing military suppliers for heavy artillery with rumours abounding over the acquisition of a couple of landing craft in readiness.

However, in a classic planning cock-up, the newly acquired vessels exceed the 46x12ft limit of boats on the river and so the head ranger and tolls department have denied the requisite licence plaques.

It is anticipated that the Blessed Authority will be placing these floating troop carriers in a forthcoming boat auction where you will be able to view them through binoculars only, place sealed, final bids and have to remove them within 45 seconds or incur the wrath.

Meanwhile, a planned after-dark sortie to the Blessed Authority’s riverside white elephant hide-out at Tripe aims to take the hulk of Taurus (until recently sleeping with the fishes at the city moorings) back upstream to be used as a barricade across the mouth of the troubled mooring basin; by all accounts it will now pass under Tripe Railway Bridges at all states of the tide.

Tuesday 5 January 2016

A watery success story

With Christmas behind us, it is a long standing tradition of the British pundit to look back over the year - and Fenny, the Fen Raft Spider, is here to bring you the best of the Blessed Authority’s achievements of 2015.

Hoveton Great Broad is an outstanding 2015 Blessed Authority success story. In total almost £5M of public money will be spent on restoring a rich aristocrat’s private broad and despite persistent bleating of the assembled herd of Members, a petition signed by over 1500 people and the concept being fundamentally flawed, the Authority - charged with looking after navigation interests by an Act of Parliament - failed to negotiate a public right of navigation … why? Speculation is rife and the Authority’s Spokesperson strenuously denies that the Authority didn’t criticise the Heritage Lottery Fund in order to safeguard the Landscape Partnership bid. Rumours that Members had been asked not to comment on or sign the online petition were quashed when a lesser Member decided to break rank and speak out. “It’s really not true that Members aren’t allowed to talk to the public about what we do. We’re just advised not to for our own good.”

Building on the resounding success of the re-branding exercise, Members of the Blessed Authority found themselves stunned to learn that calling yourself a National Park, when you’re actually not, can be considered unlawful - despite your trusted officers’ opinions at the time. So, just to make sure officers weren’t wrong and Dr Pikeman doesn’t miss out on a knighthood when he retires, Members resolved to set aside roughly £60K of public money to the right and just cause of defending a name. Flattered by Members’ generosity of spirit to his retirement well-being, Dr Pikeman issued the following self deprecating statement: “Here at the Authority, we’re just trying to do our bit to protect rare and endangered species. Following Government cuts to Legal Aid, a number of London Barristers are in danger of disappearing altogether and I felt it was our duty to support this ‘at risk’ law society species from extinction.”

Thorpe Island with its latest campaign and petition must surely be the pinnacle of stakeholder engagement success for the Authority. Encouraged by some very wealthy local residents and an MP’s call for swift action, the Blessed Authority delivered its first attempt at a corporate Christmas Card to the feral unwashed on the island. A junior member of the team fell foul of auto-correct and predictive text on the work machine and the message “A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of Roger Bush’s tenants” catastrophically translated to “Will Roger Bush’s tenants please all leave the island to give us a Happy New Year”, perplexing the population into fighting its corner and defending its rights against bully-boy tactics. Fortunately, the Blessed Authority gained some much needed media exposure and several columns of newspaper print. “It’s all a big misunderstanding”, said Granny Spokesperson, “ My distaste for shanty towns is well known and documented, however, as I will be deemed unfit for public office if I stand by my statements, I might as well change my mind to protect my position on the Authority. Who’s for mediation, chaps?”

Finally, I have news on Eddie, who was considered by many to be the founding father of this news bulletin. The poor fish, who had no idea his identity had been stolen, is settling into blissful anonymity and middle aged respectability. RIP Eddie.

Of course, Eduardo the imposter is busier than he’s ever been. Applications for new contributors to the bulletin are being considered, please email the Pike with expressions of interest by 15th January 2016.

Happy New Year to you all!