In a dramatic move renegade Conservative ex-councilor Joanne Grange is standing in the Stowe ward by-election as her alter ego, the ‘70’s Labour activist Don Palmer.
Ms Granger commented:
‘It’s an open secret in my family that at the weekends I will often don a donkey jacket, pull on a pair of monkey boots and head into town for a chat and a few pints with the local common folk. I’ve found that the lads in Scales and the Angel are more prepared to listen to the rantings of Don, the left wing bloke from the ’70’s than the insane ramblings of a middle-aged, middle-class Tory NIMBY.’
Joe Grange quit the Tory-controlled Lichfield District Council and tore up her Conservative entitlement card after criticising the way planning rules are being applied. Local planning officer Paul Mycock spoke to 5SL off the record, he said:
‘We cracked open a bottle of Newkie Brown in the office when we heard that Cllr Grange-Hill had resigned. She was a typical newly-elected councillor, thinking that she could change decades of institutionalised incompetence overnight. A real pain in the arse to be honest. We didn’t expect it of a Conservative councillor, most of them either don’t turn up or nod through Cabinet decisions or just simply nod-off.’
Acting Council Leader Mike Wilcox has recently returned to “work” after a period of compassionate leave following the untimely death of his own alter ego the Chuckle Brothers, Barry Chuckle.
‘I very much regret that Jo has resigned as councillor, if only she had tried to contact me and opened a dialogue, a meeting or an email would have sufficed. And, if she had, which she didn’t, if only I had replied, then all of this nonsense could have been avoided.
‘I would have explained to her that as a Conservative councillor your job is to turn up (optional), vote for everything I say and collect your expenses. How difficult can that be? I did notice that she appeared at a recent planning meeting after resigning, that is most unwelcome and evidence of mental instability. However I wish Don well in the bi-election.
‘And yes, I miss Barry.’
District Council Labour group leader Cllr Sue Norman was delighted to to discover that candidate Don Palmer is none other than Tory blue rinse Joanne Grange. She said:
‘Does anyone remember that I was a close adviser to Tony Blair back in the day?
‘Back in the day when Labour was a credible, electable, socially liberal and progressive party? Remember that? No, neither do I.
‘Anyway, we are a Broadchurch, if the only way Labour can win an election is to embrace a transitioning Conservative then so be it.
‘If it’s good enough for Dr Who it’s good enough for me.’
The full list of candidates for the 27 September 2018 poll is available somewhere else.
Lichfield member Michael Fabricant credited the Brexit effect with the creation of thousands of unpaid jobs after the number of “unemployed” within his Lichfield constituency fell to 0.9%.
The MP said:
‘I have to say, I completely agreed with the Chancellor Philip Hammond on the Andrew Marr show – there really is no unemployment in our country today. Most of the 0.9% are are accounted for by statistical error and the undeclared benefit fraud deceased relatives.
‘From where I’m sitting, by a raging log fire in the book-lined library of my grace and favour apartment in Cathedral Close, everyone who wants to work can work…now and again perhaps, maybe on short notice or not at all for a week or two. But nevertheless they are all not unemployed and certainly over Christmas in the service industries.’
Local tramp Paul Mycock has been sleeping rough with his partner and three kids in Burntwood’s Redwood Park & Zoo since Michael Fabricant was re-elected in 2015, he said:
‘Fabricant’s a great guy, totally committed to his constituents, especially here in Burntwood. If it wasn’t for his ceaseless campaigning we wouldn’t have a health centre here today.
‘Fab, as we call him, has single handedly reduced unemployment to 0.9% which I applaud. I’m now employed by Amazon in Rugeley – last week I was called in at short notice in the middle of the night to do two three-hour shifts and at the full minimum wage rates, I’m so grateful.’
‘They even lay on the Amazon bus to pick us up, it’s warm and dry and I can get a few minutes kip, I love it and all thanks to the valiant efforts of Mr Fabricant. I’m so pleased I’m not to be one of the 0.9%’s, if I was we’d all really be in the shit.’
Mr Fabricant responded:
‘Although, as a resident of Burntwood, Mr Mycock is not a constituent, I am delighted that he acknowledges that securing six hours work last week at the minimum wage means that he is not unemployed.
‘And anyone who suggests otherwise can expect to receive a writ for defamation. Zero tolerance now, anyone accusing me of repeating what I’ve said in the past will get writ….or a punch in the throat.’
FSL has submitted a FOI request for the statistics relating to fluctuations in benefits claims and calls on food banks by working families during this unprecedented period of 0.9% unemployment period.
Burntwood Town Council’s foray into amateur property development “probably a mistake” admits councillor
Former Burntwood Town Council leader Cllr Richard Mosson has admitted that it was probably a mistake for the Council to commit local taxpayers to a property development vanity project.
The Council offices moved from it’s convenient cost-effective location at Burntwood library to the Old Mining College Centre in 2015. Cllr Mosson said:
‘It was a great opportunity, what could possibly go wrong, signing up to a 35 year full repairing lease of a dilapidated building?’
A meeting of the Town Council’s policy and resources committee last week to considered plans to address the state of the building, including replacement of wooden framed sash windows at a cost of £20,000 and the relaying of floors. The total cost of repairs and refurbishments is currently estimated at over £55,000.
Paul Mycock, an officer in Lichfield District Council’s Legal, Property and Democratic Services department did not want to be identified. He said:
‘I can barely contain myself,’ he laughed, ‘even with the District Council’s resources and proven track record in successful property development projects, we could never make the Old Mining College commercially viable. But we were saddled with a 35 year full repairing lease from the landlord, Staffordshire County Council. We told them we wanted to surrender the lease and they said “fcuk off”.
‘Thinking that maybe they had been a little harsh, the CC came back to us to say that they would take a surrender but only if we could find some other mug to take it on on the same debilitating terms.
‘There was a knock on the door and who should be there but former Burntwood Town Councillor Steve Norman. And the rest, as they say, is history.’
The Town Council meeting considered various solutions to the dilemma. Cllr Sue Woodward suggested approaching the producers of DIY SOS or the Restoration Project. Unelected leader of the Council “Cllr” Norman Baker responded:
‘Don’t be so ridiculous Sue, after all it was you and your husband that got us into this mess. No, what I propose is that we spent £5,000 on flowers and a new lawn and introduce a mini crazy golf course. And we should invest in photo’s of Town Council Chairmen past and present to adorn the stairway and the charge local taxpayers who want to view. We could announce these innovative plans on a new £1,000 message board.
‘Sorted. Now where’s my cab? Has anyone seen Brian? The old fool.’
The Town Council’s plans can be seen HERE
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant welcomed PM Theresa May’s announcement that the Labour Party will be consigned to history in time for the summer recess.
‘I welcome the PM’s bold announcement that was endorsed by a huge majority vote in the Commons. This will undoubtedly secure my place in Lichfield life for another five years. My position is unassailable and no opponent stands a chance, so I say don’t waste your £500 on the deposit, donate it to Lichfield Cathedral and help to keep my rent down.’
Cowed by the colossal Member, only one opponent has so far declared his candidacy. Lib Dem Paul Ray, a long-time loser in the public popularity stakes having chosen to be both a lawyer and a banking specialist, is an early tosser, his hat landing firmly in the ring. Mr Ray, known in District Council circles as X-Ray due to his level of invisibility at Council meetings, said:
The identity of the Labour candidate remains uncertain. Labour’s Mr Chris Whoishey who stood in the 2015 general election refused to be drawn, blaming satnav malfunctions for being unable to visit the constituency from his home somewhere in the Black Country. He said:
District councillor Sue Woodward has been inundated with emails, texts and tweets urging her to stand as Labour’s candidate. Despite being recently distracted by an irritating burning bush on Gentleshaw Common Mrs Norman has found time to treat herself to a makeover and has become a fluent French speaker. She said:
‘Le Fabricunt! Il est un tas de merde!’
Having yet to be formally selected by his local constituency party, Mr Fabricant expressed concerns about the outcome of the West Midlands Mayoral election on 4 May where his long time chum Andy Street is the Conservative candidate. Mr Fabricant said:
‘The BBC hustings on Thursday evening showed the fraudster Simone Simone to be head and shoulders above the diminutive Andy despite Andy being way ahead on my poll.
‘If Andy doesn’t get elected on 4 May he’ll be unemployed and I know he’s had his eye on my seat for years.’
‘Lichfield councillors can barely read briefing papers,’ claims Council’s special educational needs officer.
Lichfield District Council Employment Committee met this evening (Thursday 9 February) to consider a report by officers pleading for elected members to avail themselves of training opportunities.
The annual Learning and Development Needs Analysis form has proven to be too challenging for almost half of Lichfield councillors to complete and return. Human Resources manager Katie Salter was unavailable for comment, she said:
‘At first I thought they were arrogant, egotistical idiots, but now I fear that many members just use bluster and buffoonery as a cover for severe learning disabilities. We are an equal opportunities employer but please, really? Twenty-eight so-called community leaders who can’t fill in a simple form?’
Cllr. Paul Mycock (Lichfield Scales and Spoons), said:
‘Training and continuing education? Give me a break. I wouldn’t need to understand all that rubbish if those ponsey polytechnic losers in the council office did their jobs properly. I enjoy a pies and bars as much as the next guy but I can’t be doing with all these graphs and facts and figures.’
Other councillors claim to have taken full advantage of training opportunities. Burntwood’s celebrity granny Cllr. Sue Norman, she said:
‘As an active member of the Audit Committee I am responsible for overseeing the council’s financial performance. After months of valuable training I am now able to evaluate complex financial reports and recommendations, if they contain graphics in primary colours, are well formatted and run to less than two pages then they get my vote.
‘And IT training has been great, don’t get me started on online petitions! I’ve just knocked one out against HSBC if you’d like to sign up.’
The Lichfield officer’s report on councillor educational needs is available Here
Staffordshire County Council approved almost £5 million in cuts to health and care services in September this year, which would see £439,000 of the Citizens Advice service’s funding being lost.
As part of the cuts Burntwood’s Citizens Advice Bureau has been closed and it’s elderly volunteers replaced with an Amazon Echo, a voice-activated internet-connected intelligent device that answers to the name of Alexa.
The device will be located on a table behind the Bureau’s front door and can be activated by citizens shouting their problems through the letterbox.
One of Burntwood’s many troubled residents is unemployed life coach Paul Mycock. He said:
‘I’ve been a regular at the CAB since I lost my job, especially during bad weather and the Jeremy Vine show.
‘The problem that I don’t really have this week turns on the correct interpretation of the provisions of The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.
‘The CAB volunteers are great, particularly Mrs Norman, she’s a lovely old dear, but she hasn’t a clue – not unless it involves organising an online petition.
‘I knew she’d be on the Google for an hour or more before suggesting I see a decent local solicitor in Birmingham. Plenty of time for a brew and a chat by the radiator.’
Paul was shocked to discover the door to the CAB was locked but was intrigued by the instructions to shout through the letterbox. He continued:
‘I called out her name, “Alexa, Alexa are you there?” She said hello, she has a lovely sexy calming voice. I composed myself, placed my hand in my trouser pocket and told her of my 2013 Regulations based problem.
‘Quick as a flash Alexa came back with the answer, “14 days”. No tea, no biscuits and no time to sort myself out. It may be a quick, accurate and cost effective solution to Staffordshire’s financial crisis, but that’s not the point.
‘All I’m after is a bit of company, is that too much to ask?’
Staffordshire County Council refused to comment on the Echo trials although spokesperson Paula Wright did say:
‘There is an 80% chance of rain today.’
EXCLUSIVE: The leader of Burntwood Town Council has confirmed he will step down next month.
Cllr Richard Mosson says he will relinquish his position at the helm of the controlling Conservative group.
Read Cllr Mosson’s full statement on his resignation below:
‘I will be stepping down in May, but that is not unusual as the Conservative group are rotating the responsibility of being leader in the hope that we can find a decent one eventually.
‘It has been very hard work reading all those agenda documents and briefing notes but enjoyable none the less, once I realised that as Leader it wasn’t really necessary to have a grasp of any actual facts.
‘I would like to take a few moments now to blame the previous council, under Labour control, for all the problems that I’ve caused during the past year.
‘Labour will probably unearth the embarrassment of the consort’s chain again. It cost a bit less than £400 and as this fell inside the budget of the chairman essentially this has not cost the taxpayer a penny. Because the chairman’s budget is not taxpayer funded, as it materialises out of thin air every financial year if I understand correctly.
‘The positives are that the Old Mining College Centre will still be called the Old Mining College Centre, paying tribute to Burntwood’s proud mining heritage. I was delighted that my battle against Labour to retain that name was so successful. The building has new IT facilities that will enable councillors and council officials to maximise cost effective communications with the public through use of social media – another innovation that I have ceaselessly championed during my mercifully short tenure.
‘The official reopening of the Old Mining College Centre takes place on May 8, coincidentally following my departure.
‘Other positives are that everything will seem bigger, better and brighter next year without me.
‘The Wakes which will be also be back, another traditional event that has received by wholehearted support in the past.
‘As a controlling group we have been working hard behind the scenes (in case you thought that we weren’t actually doing anything) and have been in discussions to finally get Burntwood the retail offering it needs to boost the local economy and improve areas in the town that have been left derelict for years. I am confident that we will soon secure a new high profile tenants for the shopping centre, discussions with BHS and Comet are in advanced stages.
‘I have also invited London and Cambridge Properties Plc to purchase the remainder of the town that they do not already own for £1 and have introduced them to Tata Steel who I believe is actively seeking industrial space in the UK for its steelmaking operations at the moment.
‘The town is finally moving forward. We will welcome hundreds of new residents who will be moving into the Milestone Way development when most of the unexploded bombs have finally been removed from this contaminated site.
‘Having totally ignored the Neighbourhood Plan, we have welcomed members of the public to join the committee in the hope that someone with a modicum of insight and talent can deliver some sort of plan for the town that will not be laughed at in public by Lichfield District Council, unlike our first attempt.
‘We are fully aware of the need for improved healthcare facilities and I would thoroughly recommend BUPA Health Insurance and Little Aston private hospital.
‘All in all Burntwood will be a better place without me in charge. As well as all of the above we now have a McDonalds to look forward to which we hope will be the catalyst for more local obesity and antisocial behaviour in the town centre. The defibrillators, that I have persuaded Cllr Darren Ennis raise funds for, will be essential to resuscitate our town.
[Additional reporting by @LichfieldLive]