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.