Tuesday 27 November 2018

Blessed Solicitor Bails Out

Hairy Davies, the Blessed Solicitor and Monitoring Officer has decided to call it a day, after a record breaking 28 months in the post.

The resignation came a month ago, but Blessed Chair Temper Turtle decided not to inform Blessed Members for security reasons, and because none of them would be interested anyway. “He’s only the solicitor” he said. “It’s not like he’s had much to do these last few years”.

Routinely forced to risk his professional reputation by ignoring the law and abusing the Authority’s own processes, Davies finally threw in the towel when asked to make new rules to clamp down on complaints. “I’ve had to re-define so many words that there’s now a Blessed Dictionary on every desk” he said. “‘Defamatory’ now means ‘anything that makes us cry’ and ‘unreasonable’ operates on a sliding scale depending on who’s doing the accusing.”

“The new policy is caused by changing public attitudes rather than our actions” said sacked Chair and so-called “Professor” Granny Burgess. “So we must do more to explain to stakeholders why they are always wrong.”

Her apprentice Temper Turtle agreed. “Unfortunately, the number of complaints has exploded, so we must find new and imaginative ways of dismissing them without investigation, rather than trying to understand why so many people are complaining about us” he said.

Blessed Benevolence

“As a responsible employer, we have a duty to protect our staff from criticism, no matter how justified it might be” commented Dr Pikeman. “Under the new rules, we can dismiss complaints out of hand rather than waste time covering up incompetence.”

“Intimidation of Blessed Officers has always been unacceptable,” he said “and now, under my new rules, we are redefining ‘intimidation’ to mean ‘disagreeing with an officer or pointing out that they are wrong.’ Better to dismiss the complaint than the officer - we have more than enough people leaving as it is.”

Shoot the messenger

“We must remain free to bully people and make up arbitrary policy on the hoof without the risk of being held accountable” Pikeman explained to a group of Blessed Sheep last week. “So we should always focus on the person doing the complaining, and where they got their evidence. Any complaint which refers to unofficial recordings or photographs taken in public places will automatically be dismissed.”

Other grounds for ignoring a complaint include mentioning it to your MP, DEFRA or the National Audit Office, speaking to the press, publishing your concerns on social media or telling your Mum.

It’s been confirmed that anyone using all three stages of the Authority’s complaints process will automatically be deemed a persistent complainant. “I get seriously bored with the repetitive inanity in these intemperate and highly objectionable complaints” grumbled Dick “Vice” Bilson. “All criticism is intolerable and the Authority will decline to engage with anyone who indulges in it.”

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Pikeman Strikes Back

In an audacious move designed to strike terror into the hearts of residents, businesses and councils, Dr Pikeman has announced his plan for the annexation of 93 Blessed Parishes, in an attempted land grab dubbed “Operation Crimea”.

Smarting from criticism that the Blessed Executive Area isn’t large enough to justify it’s own planning department, Pikeman plans to wrest vast swathes of land from the districts and bring them under the control of his dysfunctional Authority - for the purpose of “improving engagement” with landowners and residents.

“Co-operating with neighbouring Authorities has always been a challenge for us,” said Dr Pikeman, “and by taking over their territory, we won’t have to.”

“Our research suggests that we can expect strong support from Parish Councils for this enlargement of my personal fiefdom” he went on, “as well as from Natural England who we think will be grateful to cede control of nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest to me, in pursuit of my Blessed Purpose.”

Hand In Glover

The fiendish plan is part of the Blessed Response to the Mitten Review of Notional Perks, which Dr Pikeman hopes will give him the status he craves.  “The only thing stopping me from being Chief Executive of a proper Notional Perk is this wretched navigation nonsense” explained Pikeman. “But I’ve worked out that, if I re-brand navigation as ‘recreation’, then we can get rid of the Blessed Third Purpose along with that infernal navigation committee and, hey presto, it’s hello Blessed Notional Perk.”

“As a bonus, I get my hands on all that lovely toll income” he said, drooling into his beard. “I need it to fund my huge AxleBridge Erection now that the budget has doubled.”

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Blessed Planners Demand Flammable Cladding

A home owner in Mehstead has been told to rip the cladding off his new self-catering holiday property because it can’t catch fire and is too long-lasting to be sustainable.

Blessed Officers told members last week that the fake timber was a pale imitation of the real thing. “The local building vernacular of the Broads features dilapidated and rotting structures requiring constant maintenance” said one, “and their gradual decay complements our policy of managed decline.”

“The use of materials which will still be around in 20 years is considered inappropriate”, the Blessed Spokesperson continued. “Our policy that materials must be ‘high quality and sustainable’ obviously means ‘must rot and fall apart quickly’, and we’re confident that the planning appeal inspector will agree - despite us having already lost an appeal on uPVC windows last year.”

Officers went on to say that they’d looked at the price of renting out the house and that the £13,000 cost of replacing the cladding would easily be funded by next summer’s income, in fact by their reckoning the building will already have paid for itself by then. [The same officers have worked out the business case for building the AxleBridge Visitor Centre].

Blessed opinions were divided. “You can’t even see the cladding from the river, it’s 75 metres away” pointed out voice of reason Tommy Vicarson, but was pooh-poohed by Blessed Vice Chairman Dick Bilson. “You don’t even own a boat” he said. “I’ve got a boat and I can see the difference with my eyes shut. Anyway, the owner can obviously afford to replace the cladding, it will only cost the price of a round of drinks in a Mongolian brothel”. 

Blessed Chair Temper Turtle said that if the Authority allowed the cladding to stay then the Broads would descend into “planarchy”, where giant ‘temporary’ structures could still remain after 3 years without enforcement action, or huge visitor centres could be erected on riverside farmland against every conceivable policy.  Bilson agreed. “We can’t have the integrity of our planning department compromised” he said, with a straight face. 

Henna Larson apologised for the Authority’s incompetence and advised the applicant to appeal. “It’s just bloody amateur hour here every time” she said, as her familiar nodded in agreement from the floor.