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.