Friday 10 May 2019

Lame Turtle “Staying To Finish Job”

The Blessed Authority this week suffered it's most high profile eviction yet, with the dismissal of Blessed Chair Temper Turtle.

Ex-copper Turtle had thought himself bullet-proof, openly supporting Dr Pikeman’s Blessed Land Grab as well as championing his Councillor-Abolition Policy. But, in a rare moment of personal insight, Turtle told Local Authority leaders that their appointees “lacked the necessary skills” to serve as Blessed Members - apparently forgetting one minor detail of his own appointment.

Taking him at his word, Turtle’s council leader sacked him due to his “lack of necessary skills”.

The dismissal completes a dismal week for the Turtle, who was on Thursday handed his arse by the voters of Phlegmburgh after they voted 1050 votes to 151 in favour of the village postman in the Yarco borough election.

“It’s a bit of a relief, to be honest” said Turtle. “I told Lord Gamekeeper a few weeks ago that Dr Pikeman was out of control and he told me it was my job to sort it out. That’s when I realised I was massively out of my depth, and engineered my own removal by supporting ridiculous policies and insulting my colleagues.”

With several other councillors also departing the Blessed Authority, however, and the unthinkable risk of Vice Chairman Dick “Round of Drinks” Bileson occupying the chair even for one meeting, Dr Pikeman has invoked statute and demanded that the hapless turtle carry on to the bitter end rather than fall on his sword.

As panic stations were declared, puppet-mistress Granny Burgess assumed control and wrote to the press, explaining that the Turtle would continue as Chair for another 3 months, despite having lost the confidence of his leader and his voters.

“He’s been a wonderful and obedient Chair” said Granny. “But he has one more job before he goes, which is to appoint my favoured candidates for Blessed Secretary of State appointments next month. So I won’t let him resign just yet.”

Meanwhile, Pikeman is preparing himself for the biggest single intake of new members in Blessed history. “It’s the first time I’ve had to do this many simultaneous assimilations” he said. “But I’m sure they’ll all be willing supplicants by the end of their training.”

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Wheels Fall Off Pikeman’s Folly

Blessed Members are this week putting the finishing touches to a code of conduct complaint against the Chief Executive, citing a number of “activities likely to cause reputational and financial harm to the Authority”, following a string of recent PR disasters.

Last week it was revealed that local authority leaders had written to the Government to complain about the Blessed Authority’s detachment from reality and refusal to play nicely with others. The leaders’ patience finally snapped when Dr Pikeman announced his fiendish plan to absorb half the county into his personal fiefdom and abolish elected members into the bargain.

Members are now reeling from the totally unexpected shock news that the Broads National Pike Visitor Centre at Axlebridge will cost twice as much as Dr Pikeman’s random guesses, due to the architects ignoring the design brief as well as national & local planning policies - and using the wrong side of the scale rule.

“In fairness, we never said that the building had to fit on the site” said Dr Pikeman from his bunker, “and I applaud the winning architects for being bold enough to look beyond traditional spatial constraints, and instead design something which ignores practical considerations and planning policies, in favour of playing to my vanity.”

“I told members last year that the costs had doubled, but since they’d never signed off the budget in the first place, they didn’t need to agree a new one” he went on.

Henna Larson, Blessed member for Birdland, pointed out that members had never actually asked for a visitor centre, or agreed to go ahead with it. But Dr Pikeman dismissed her view as “the kind of populist nonsense we’ve come to expect from these so-called elected councillors, which is why they need to go.”

“Members are kept fully informed of my increasingly narcissistic ego-trips and it’s their job to be ambassadors for them, not to ask awkward questions. Both Larson and Uncle Paul will be having their collars felt by PC Turtle for embarrassing the Blessed Authority through their failure to observe collective responsibility for decisions that haven’t been made yet.”

Dr Pikeman confirmed that the project was going ahead, despite the lack of a coherent business case or funding proposal, the escalating cost, the breach of planning policies, the practical challenges of scaffolding across the river, the loss of moorings, the navigation hazard presented by a wall of plate glass beside tacking yachts, the dangerous road junction, the lack of parking, the reluctance of the adjacent farmer to sell his land for a pittance and the complete absence of any stakeholder support whatsoever.

He did, however, acknowledge the importance of transparency in the planning process, confirming that “the Authority will follow its normal practice in determining its own planning applications, by paying a consultant to make the application on our behalf.”

“By getting someone else to make the application, our planning committee can pretend it’s nothing to do with them. I’ve already paved the way, by making sure they don’t know anything about it.” he said.

Saturday 26 January 2019

Blessed Meltdown as Evictions and Gaggings Continue

The ethnic cleansing of the Blessed Authority has moved up a notch with the dismissal of Wilky O’Brian from the navigation committee and full Authority. Despite having more experience of navigation and engineering than the rest of the Authority combined, an “independent panel” decided that this was outweighed by his apparent inability to vote in the prescribed manner.

“Wilky supported an alternative candidate to me for the Chair” said Temper Turtle, “and didn’t vote for Jimmy Day to be evicted either. So that was that.”

Unsure how to deal with the recalcitrant O’Brian for his final meetings, the Chairs Group decided to stop him from speaking on any subject where he was known to have an opinion. “That will fix him” said Dr Pikeman. “He’s got an opinion on everything!”

And so, in a spectacular misrepresentation of the law of predetermination, Wilky was gagged during an already controversial debate on the display of vessel registration numbers, unable to intervene as the debate descended into disarray and confusion.

For years, some boats have been excused from putting numbers on their transom, as long as they have them on the bow or bowsprit alongside the tolls plaque. But with the plaqueless tolls system judged a success, blessed officers say that it’s now too difficult for rangers to identify yachts that don’t have numbers on the back.

“In the old days, rangers would just walk up to the front and look at the plaque” they explained. “But without the plaque, they have to, err, walk up to the front and look at the numbers instead.”

The Blessed Spokesperson went on to claim that rangers couldn’t identify a speeding sailing boat from behind. “The speed of our ranger boats is no match for a heritage yacht. It would disappear into the distance and we’d have no way of identifying it other than the name on the transom, the gigantic number on the sail, and the fact that the rangers know all the boats anyway” she said.

In their report, officers gave members the choice of recommending enforcement, or a warning letter followed by enforcement. A suggestion that the Authority should revert to the previous arrangement, instead of enraging stakeholders further for no reason, was dismissed on the basis that officers didn’t want to. “In any event” said the officer, “members agreed to ditch this arrangement in November 2017. Though funnily enough that’s not in the minutes.”

“Of course, minutes are not a verbatim record, though you can ask for the recording if you want” the officer went on. “But we take 21 working days to provide recordings - and as the monitoring officer only works one day a week - that’s 21 weeks, ha ha.”

New members of the navigation committee - invited to observe before their assimilation meeting - were left wondering what on earth they’d got themselves embroiled in.

Saturday 12 January 2019

Back to school for planners after fisticuffs

A fight broke out at yesterday's meeting of the Blessed Planning Committee, when two members accused another one of having a conflict of interest.

Uncle Paul Special Fried, chairman of the Blessed Society, was about to declare that he’d chosen not to speak on an application they’d objected to - even though he has every right to speak and indeed vote if he wants to - as long as he keeps an open mind.

Before he’d managed two words, though, Scottish new boy Keithy The Bruce threatened to give him a Glaswegian kiss if he didn’t “shut his mooth” and Granny Burgess leapt into the fray, confirming that Uncle Paul’s membership of the Blessed Society meant that he wasn’t allowed to have an opinion on anything. “That’s why I resigned from it, after they said those rude things about me” she said.

In the absence of “Man Thursday” Hairy Davies, or anyone else who actually knew the rules, it fell to Henna Larson to remind the antagonists firstly that pre-disposition doesn’t equal pre-determination, and second that the interests of other members are none of their damn business. If they’d actually paid attention at their planning committee training classes, she pointed out, they would know this. Chairperson Mel Rio de Janeiro, meanwhile, smiled sweetly as she looked on in total bemusement, not really understanding any of it.

“The Granny made me say it” said Brucey after the meeting. “She told me Uncle Paul had a conflict of interest and I just believed her. She’s made me look a right plonker in front of the others now.”

Back-bencher and control freak Burgess still appears to hold on to the reins of Blessed power and regularly attends all the secret briefing meetings, despite being sacked as Blessed Chair last year. “I keep having to wipe the rouge from Temper Turtle’s ear after she’s been whispering into it” confirmed his trusty sidedick, Dick Bileson.