Following the recent resignation of Marion Bland as local district councillor, Paul Ray of Chadsmead Liberal Democrats has declared his intention to stand in the forthcoming by-elections to Lichfield District and Lichfield City Councils.
As a banking lawyer with Midland law firm Browne Jacobson, Mr Ray has successfully blended two of the most derided professions into one career. A serial electoral loser Mr Ray commented:
‘I have worked closely with Marion, helping and advising her for many years – I’m pleased to say that she eventually took the hint and resigned. For the record I’d like to praise Marion for all the hard work that she has put in over the years and to personally thank her for keeping the seat warm – a job she is admirably equipped to do.’
Tributes have poured in from across the political spectrum. Labour group leader Sue Norman said:
‘I’d like to thank Marion for her valuable contributions to Council meetings. Yes, I’d like to, but..’
A local authority officer commented:
‘Marion can be quite a formidable lady, especially when drinking pints and wearing lederhosen.’
Mrs Bland spoke of her resignation, she said:
‘I’m resigned to the piss poor prospects for the LibDems nationally and locally, it makes me sick so I’m off. In the circumstances Paul Ray is the ideal candidate to enhance my reputation, folks will look back and say, you know she wasn’t that bad in comparison.
‘Paul upholds many traditional LibDem values, particularly the ability to lose elections. He lost to me in 2012 and again 2015 when he simultaneously lost the Parliamentary election, quite a track record even for a LibDem.’
Paul Ray has never lived in Chadsmead for over 14 years, he is married with children. Paul’s wife Xena Ray is his strongest supporter, she commented:
‘This is great news for Poor, I’m pleased Marion eventually saw sense. His work out in the badlands takes him away most evenings and weekends, we hardly ever see him – it’s great. He hasn’t even realised that we’ve moved out yet.’
Defeated Labour party parliamentary candidate Chris Worsey has blamed leaflet drops to every door in the constituency for his defeat in the general election.
In the wake of the ballot box thrashing which saw incumbent MP Michael Fabricant re-elected with an increased majority on a reduced turn-out following five years of austerity imposed by the Conservative-led coalition government, Mr Worsey gave his in-depth analysis on Twitter, he said:
‘Labour needs to learn these lessons and fast – no more leaflet drops to every door in a constituency.’
Speaking from his home in Walsall, the Sandwell councillor for Great Barr elaborated:
‘It became clear to me, immediately after I failed to get elected and the number of Labour councillors on Lichfield District Council was reduced to four, that the weeks that I spent posting leaflets through Conservative voters’ doors in Yardley had been a complete waste of time.
‘Another key reason for the result was that the Tories spent £100,000 a month on Facebook. That’s ten times as much as Labour did.
‘I recall saying to my mate, paedophile-hunter Tom Watson whilst out canvassing with him in West Bromwich, that I should
spend more time on Twitter. At the time he disagreed, saying that not everyone in Lichfield and Burntwood were Aston Villa fans. But I think he was wrong. Look at the runaway success of the Lichfield Hobbit MP who spent all of his “campaign” tweeting and twanking from Cafe Nero.
‘’Wherever that is?’
Recently appointed Leader of Lichfield District Council’s Sue Woodward was equally disappointed. She said:
‘We clearly failed to connect with our core voters. I understand Chris’ argument, what’s the point in pushing leaflets through the letter boxes of people who can’t read?
‘I will be launching a petition calling for all ballot papers to include photo’s of all of the candidates. Not only would it help identify me as the out-and-about nosey local councillor but it would also frighten away voters who may otherwise have inadvertently voted for LibDem Marion Bland.’
Defeated former Labour Group Leader agreed with his wife, Steve Woodward said:
‘I say Chris is a nice lad, a nice lad I say – I almost met him once. And I agree with his comments on social media – is it really just a coincidence that FiveSpiresLive twitter nonsense is frequently retweeted by Fabricant, ignored by me and Sue and blocked by failed LIbDem Poor Ray? The results speak for themselves.’
Lichfield social landlord Bromford Housing has recently written to one of it’s enterprising tenants threatening her with eviction if she doesn’t stop selling home-grown mushrooms from a stall in her front garden.
Dimbles resident 43 year-old Bessy Banks has lived in the north Lichfield all her life. She said:
‘I got this letter from Bromford and took it to show our Kieran when I visited him in Swinfen. He’s good at reading, being a convicted forger and all that.
‘ “Mom,” he says, “Mom, they’re gonna kick you out the house if you don’t stop selling them bleeding mushrooms!” ‘
‘It’s really hard when you’re living in a house that ain’t fit for human consumption.
‘It’s so damp that mould is growing on the walls in every room, it’s even spreading to the furniture. If it takes hold of me fella’s 80in 4k Ultra HD 3D Curved LED TV there’ll be hell to pay, he don’t even live here really, if you know what I mean.’
Not being a woman who is easily beaten Bessy has tried to make the best of her predicament. She told us:
‘So I thought, I’ve got this house that’s covered in mould, mould is a fungus and so are mushrooms! I’ll grow mushrooms and sell ‘em to the neighbours!
‘I’d got all the raw ingredients, all I needed to do was to push the bed in the Bedroom Tax room up against the mouldy damp wall and let nature take its course. The mattress was sprouting with mushrooms in no time.’
Bromford Housing struggle to manage and maintain over 5,000 former council houses in the Lichfield Area.
Local manager David Ahktar said:
‘I sympathise with Mrs Banks but the tenancy agreement clearly states that the premises cannot be used for any business purposes. With the appalling conditions in these substandard homes we could have a whole new hydroponics industry sprouting up right under our noses if we’re not careful.’
Bromford have been paying lip-service to the complaints of tenants for years but have recently arranged for each complaining whiny tenant’s house to be inspected by a professional surveyor with an undeserved superiority complex.
Martin Sixsmith is one such surveyor, he commented:
‘We recommend that tenants turn up their central heating to the maximum temperature, regardless of the cost; keep open all the windows; never take showers or baths; and refrain from boiling water for any purposes in the kitchen. All furniture should be moved to the centre of the room well away from the walls.
‘If tenants choose to ignore our advice and continue to pursue this anti-social behaviour then they only have themselves to blame for the dreadful conditions in which they live. Scumbag scroungers the lot of them.’
Mr Akhtar of Bromford added :
‘For just £1.79 tenants can buy their very own hygrometer and monitor their ever-increasing despair for themselves. We are also handing out complimentary thermometers to enable them to chart their children’s temperature as they decline towards a chronically sick adulthood.’
Having received nothing but blame from the Landlord, as a very last resort Bessy has turned to local politicians:
Labour County Councillor, self-employed chiropodist Caroline Wood said that the lives of poor people could be considerably improved if they would only take good care of their feet. Mrs Wood promised Bessy a voucher for a complimentary chiropody appointment.
Liberal Democrat District Councillor Marion Bland said in an email :
‘I’m very sorry to hear of your plight and know only too well what it’s like to be a discriminated minority. By the way, I live just round the corner, could you drop off some mushrooms after dusk one evening?’
Hoping to raise the profile of her campaign, Mrs Banks tweeted incumbent member Sir Michael Fabricant and young Labour firebrand Chris Whoishey.
Eventually Sir Fabricant informed Bessy that she must write to him to request an audience:
‘A missive addressed to me at Cathedral Close, written on the finest quality vellum with a quill pen fashioned from a swan’s feather stands the best possible chance of receiving a patronising response,’ he advised.
Mr Whoishey tweeted Bessy offering to breath heavily down the phone to her early one morning:
‘As you may know I have no interest in visiting the Lichfield and my life insurance cover specifically excludes any claim arising from entering the City from the north via Dimbles Bar. Good luck, and if you ever relocate to Sandwell please vote for me in the next Election 2020 which I plan to take seriously.’
Bessy has vowed to continue selling her mushroom but all parties are looking to the future and considering their options.
You can follow Bessy’s ongoing campaign here bessybanksgrave.wordpress.com