Diary. Monday 23rd July 2007

I hate local councils. Robbing bastards. At the moment I’m aggrieved because this year I’ve been forced by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council to pay for new turf to three – count ‘em three – five aside football pitches in Worsborough. I’ve forked out for a skate park in Grimethorpe. Dug elbow-deep into my apparently depthless pockets and stumped up the cash to fund a resource centre for alcoholics in Athersley. Paid the rent for five thousand job shirkers throughout the borough. And no doubt before the financial year draws to a close I’ll be handing over my hard earned money for dinghies in Low Valley and Cliffe Road at Darfield in order to give past and potential flood victims an alternative mode of transport. Bloody speedboats probably. Do the worthies up at the Town Hall think I’m made of money? How much of it is going on Brasso for the Mayoral bling? And what do I get in return? My maggoty bins emptied once a fortnight. A broken streetlight. Some grit when it’s minus 10. And now the Council is proposing a 3.9% rise in my tax. I’ve read the leaflet that came with the letter. They reckon I can afford it. And it’s all worthwhile. I’m pitching in the extra wedge for the needle exchange and some new posters about littering.

Thanks a lot, BMBC. Twats.

Another thing that really and deeply pisses me off about local councils – shamefully, hospitals are in on this one as well – are parking fees in municipal car parks. It’s not that I’m opposed to paying a fee, it’s more the way that the council stage that fee. Because it’s always “1 hour for £1.10” or “£1.20”, “2 hours for £2.10” or “£2.20”, or some similar sum. NEVER an equal figure. NEVER “1 hour for £1.00”, “2 hours for £2.00” or such like. And the machines NEVER EVER EVER give change. I mean, the one in Graham’s Orchard in Barnsley now SPEAKS. Talks to you. A honey’d voiced female croaks from inside the machine, tells you to stow away your valuables and enjoy your time in the town. But the smug fucker doesn’t give you change back, does she? Crafty, sneaking, devious, deceitful bastard.


So, has some accounts boffin – housed deep in a windowless office in the bowels of Barnsley Town Hall – worked out using a calculator and several pieces of scrap paper, some long division and a devious use of pi that the maintenance cost on a car parking space at Graham’s Orchard car park in Barnsley town centre breaks down to exactly 109.76 pence per hour? Taking into consideration the upgrade needed on the bay markings each year, refuse collection from the litter bins, wages for the parking enforcement robot who scrutinizes the windscreen for a sticker/disabled permit, CCTV coverage…? No. Not at all. Basically the scamming buggers are playing on the fact that most people don’t carry bags of shrapnel about with them. You park up… You search your pockets… You don’t have any 10 pence or 20 pence pieces. Just pound coins. You’re running late… Bugger. So you put £2 in the machine or perhaps you’re lucky and have a 50 pence piece so drop £1.50 into the box. The sticker delights in telling you: ‘This machine does not give change. Please use correct fee.’ What?! No change?! NO CHANGE?! NO BLOODY CHANGE?!!! Are you telling me that in this day and age of technology – when we can supposedly put men on the Moon and construct artificial pets that run on two Duracell batteries – Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council can’t get parking ticket machines that are capable of spitting out the change for two £1 coins?! Bollocks. It’s no wonder the Mayor can fork out for a private registration plate for his shiny petrol-guzzling black saloon. What’s it to him if he has to shake a few leprous hands down at the ‘Barnsley Rough Sleepers’ Hostel’. Have his gibbon grin all over the Barnsley Chronicle as he hugs rescued donkeys and plays charity cricket with limping OAPs. Opens the new single mothers’ drop-in centre and licensed bar – that I bloody paid for!!! He’s raking it in!!! For a start this afternoon he’s just had 90p off me for officially doing NOWT!!!


One comment

  1. deleted user · April 20, 2008

    Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council have a track record of being frivolous when spending tax payers’ hard earned cash.

    George Orwell commented on this when he wrote “The Road to Wigan Pier”, that chronicle of working-class poverty and depravation, in the thirties. At a time when there was a need for over two thousand new houses and a public baths to give hard working miners washing facilities, which their homes lacked, our elected representatives chose instead to build a brand new town hall at a cost of £150,000. This at the time that many miners and their families were literally starving, despite the fact that they were working three days a week. As the councillors looked out of their plush new offices, they may even have noticed the children walking to school in bare feet.

    Fast forward seventy or so years. I’m now being told I have to recycle at all costs, to save the planet, by reducing my carbon footprint. Fair enough, I’ll do my bit, so that scant resources can be conserved and the worst effects of climate change alleviated. Imagine my surprise then when, at two o’clock in the morning, I drive past the new council offices to see every light in the place blazing away.

    It’s not just our elected representatives at council level. Mr Ilsley, local MP, recently used the ongoing police pay dispute as an excuse to reignite twenty odd year old arguments from the miners’ strike. Frankly I expect better from members of parliament. Unfortunately I’m almost permanently disappointed. To see an MP behave in such an irresponsible manner falls well short of what I think I have a right to expect from public officials.

    Stanley Baldwin was referring to newspaper proprietors when he commented, “They enjoy the prerogative of the harlot through the ages, power without responsibility.” It appears this epithet can now be applied to our concillors and members of parliament.


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