Archive | November, 2014

Situations Vacant!

27 Nov

Bedford Town and District Council seeks a qualified professional for the position of Town Centre Development Director. Do you have what it takes:

The successful candidate will ideally not live in Bedford, have negligible knowledge of the area other than the quickest ways out and must be prepared to work from home three days per week in order to minimise all contact with Bedford’s terminal but still beating heart. A driving licence would be a good idea because public transport isn’t the best to be honest and the park and ride is a bit of a joke.

Although I've never seen it looking this pretty!

Although I’ve never seen it looking this pretty!

An ability to look down on shopkeepers and traders in a patronising manner would be an advantage although a dismissive approach and overuse of voicemail would suffice. For a town whose motto is “We Never Actually Deliver” you will be adept in moving from one project to another in a deft manner which belies the fact that you’ve not finished the previous biggy off but can blame the more junior members of your team. You will have statistical experience and be capable of over egging the most basic of cases so that 7000 expected visitors through the door is sold as 11,000 for planning applications.

The post comes with a pension plan and you will be eligible to leave after three to four years taking your full pension pot and bung safe in the knowledge that when your abject failure in making any visible improvement to the town becomes headlines you’ll have it banked and be at home in Northamptonshire or wherever.

If you think you fit this description and fancy pulling in circa £127,000 a year then we’d love to hear from you. For an informal off the record chat about the post ring Egbert Donkinson on ext 8753. He’s probably working from home so leave a message.

The closing date was last week as we have someone in mind!

Paddington Beardfordshire

26 Nov
Bennington

Bennington

Yep!  A real blast from the past. Paddington Bear The Movie opens soon rekindling memories from the 70s and there’s a local connection. Paddington is apparently played by Ben Wishaw who grew up in the nearby village of Clifton. All I can say is that it’s seriously good make up and you’d struggle to recognise him.  Worthy of an Oscar or a Bifta and I’ve not even seen the film yet! Bet he was hot!

Local boy Pad

Local boy Pad

 

Man in the Shadows

21 Nov

It looks like the Conservatives round Bedford are struggling to find the enthusiasm to engage with the great unwashed even though they aren’t on the current Mayor’s cabinet and therefore not on the payroll. The chap with the turban is Jas Parmar and he’s the Conservative Mayoral candidate for next year scrap. Despite my extremely jaundiced view of and hostility towards Cameron and his cut-throats Jas is actually very affable. But he’s not going to get anywhere if all he can do to generate publicity is grin in the background when a total donkey like Boris Johnson calls into Bedford.

Bystander Jas just in the picture

Bystander Jas just in the picture

The bloke in the middle is current MP Richard Fuller who’s probably going to lose to be replaced by the embarrassingly dull Labour candidate Patrick Hall. Maybe?  Richard looks set to return to his full time business in the financial industry. Something he will find easy as despite being an MP he’s carried on working his socks off for huge sums of money despite being an MP.

Talking of which despite the town and surroundings being littered with closed down pubs and no end of evidence that the breweries are shafting their tenant landlords both Richard Fuller and Alistair Burt MP who cover much of North Bedfordshire voted against a recent bill that having been passed will prevent breweries over charging for cheap lager.

Photo-shop presents wonderful opportunities!

Photo-shop presents wonderful opportunities!

The comical thing about Bedford is that there are two tory MPs yet a Lib Dem Mayor. Labour may win the Bedford seat but will struggle to make a dent against the Lib Dem Mayor, an increasingly likely option given that they don’t have a candidate. Jas Parmar should in theory stand some chance of giving the current Mayor sleepless nights but given his track record up to now…well! All three sides have succumbed to mind rotting apathy.

Look! I’m not taking sides, I don’t care who wins but I want to see them work for it. It’s good to watch a bun fight from the wings and it’s also somewhat funny watching them squirm and screw things up so the next six months or so should be far better than the crap served up on telly.

Penny, Dullard Patrick and some anonymous MP at Bedford Station.

Penny, Dullard Patrick and some anonymous MP at Bedford Station.

The Labour Lady Vanishes!

20 Nov

A tragedy! After mounting a vigorous campaign against a half soaked Liberal Democrat Mayor the Labour Party Candidate resigns leaving her colleagues including Labour Councillors devastated that their er…vigorous campaigns, their expose’s of the Mayor and his cronies, day in day out there on the stump promising a way out of the financial mess, well it’s all come to naught. Don’t get too excited this isn’t Bedford. Just a bit of me dreaming!

No..what has happened in Bedford though is that Penny Fletcher the Labour Mayoral candidate has resigned after 10 months of following Patrick Hall (Labour wannabe MP for Bedford) and tacky photo opportunities stating family and work commitments as the reason. So with the election looming they’ve got to find some other braveheart to fight their lackluster cause.

The Lady That Vanished!

The Lady That Vanished!

Let’s surmise here. You don’t get elected these days without getting your name about at every opportunity. In Bedford a Mayoral candidate would piggy back on the work and leaflets of local Councillors as they tear vociferously into the activities of the Liberal Democrat Mayor Dave Hodgson. They’d be in town arguing for a better future. And therein rests a problem in that three of the most senior Labour Councillors are well and truly a part of the Mayors Cabinet, his inner circle and therefore part of the whole decision making process, each and every cut, job loss, and closed service embraced by them. I won’t mention the expenses side of things, the circa £20,000 plus that they get for joining in the sterling work of the Mayor. As for the rest of the Labour Group they appear to have mastered the secret of invisibility!

Penny and Patrick are supporting such a such a blah de blah de ZZZZZZZZZ!

Penny and Patrick are supporting such a such a blah de blah de ZZZZZZZZZ!

So I don’t know if this conundrum had any influence on Penny’s opting out but as far as active high profile campaigning went, well it didn’t. Ian Nicholls who is chair of some Labour forum for something bland and uninspiring has said “Bedford needs a strong Labour voice at its helm to fulfill our ambitions for a fairer more prosperous borough.” Couched words given that for the most part the Labour Group has taken a vow of silence when it comes to the current Mayor. I can only assume that they are so impressed with what he’s achieved and their muted stance is nothing to do with their allowances which as I’ve said before is more than a front line care nurse wiping the dribble from an 84 year old Alzheimer’s sufferer’s mouth earns.

Word from within Borough Hall tells me that the Labour Group rather than opt out of their snuggly coalition (Lib Dem and Labour), refuse their expenses, dig their red flags out and get on with the fight for a Labour Candidate have opted to stay “at one” with the Mayor for the foreseeable future. So over to you, work it out for yourself.

Charity…All in a good cause!

19 Nov

Don’t you just love charities? And we’ve just had our biannual opportunity to dress up for the children whilst looking forward to wearing our red noses again.

I’ve had a number of dealings over the last few months with a national UK charity that has a small presence in Bedford however one of the oddities is that the Bedford arm is a totally separate charity to the national head office as are all the other city versions so close on 30 individual charities using one name and a central charity effectively managing the copyright over how they use the name, with increasing force. Now to a degree this is understandable as it counts as “wounded limb” practice and by that I mean if one charity fails through lack of funding or whatever it doesn’t pose a liability to the others.

What exactly are you funding?

What exactly are you funding?

But it’s when you look closely at the accounts for both the HQ charity and then those doing the donkey work, something that I imagine not many people do then you start to realise that despite the collection tins, the very worthy cause, the legacies and substantial grants from bank related foundations (Lloyds being one) there’s a corporate structure that’s sapping money away from front line work, paying substantial salaries i.e. £40,000 for development workers and media hypes while someone in the trenches working with ex street addicts and people who have experienced trauma are getting by on £20,000 and in one case £12,500 for what, again having done the sums seems like approaching a 70 hour weekly working expectancy on an odd form of zero hours contract.

Back to the HQ charity. For the most recent set of accounts the charity took in over £2.5million all in a good cause. It kept most of this but was kind enough to give ££350,000 to the related field charities. It spent £1.8million maintaining its own operation of which the biggest slice, over £950k went on salaries and staff expenses like travel etc. It also took in £150,000 from the member charities and at which point the whole things becomes a very confusing mess with Peter paying Paul. But it’s all in a good cause.

How much goes to corporate structures?

How much goes to corporate structures?

There’s a similar situation happened in London lately with a much respected charity called St Mungo’s which you may recall is a homeless charity that has made much PR of its willingness to accept people from the streets with pets. They recently merged with a related charity Broadway, the Chief Exec got a £30,000 pay rise, made a seriously crass comment about them paying for quality by adding £5000 to the wages of HR advisors whilst slashing £5000 from the salaries of the new frontliners. Typical F**ked up way of thinking.

Back to the local charity which does sterling work and has much local support, like its counterparts it is managing on public goodwill but it seems that when it comes to grants it’s up against the national HQ which cannot survive without big semi corporate donations so that same dog eat dog “Apprentice” style of winning is evident. Unrest is fermenting and by copying the tactics of private enterprise it’s having to deal with all the negatives! And it’s all in a good cause!

Public relations disaster but the boss gets a £30,000 pay rise!

Public relations disaster but the boss gets a £30,000 pay rise!

The best autobiography you will never read!

17 Nov

And its mine, currently stored on scraps of paper in my head, here’s the bit loosely deemed to be from 1976!

100

August 1976: Unemployment was at 1.5 million, rioting broke out at Notting Hill Carnival, and ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ by Elton John and Kiki Dee was number 1. I was at a school on top of a hill in Oldham, Chairman Mao died, the Sex Pistols and the Clash played the 100 Club punk festival and had visited Manchester causing a rush of euphoria and the archiving of Bay City tartan and Osmond posters. To put this in context timewise ‘Dancing Queen’ by Abba was number 1. October The first punk single ‘New Rose’ by the Damned was released, this always makes for a good quiz question. November Jimmy Carter became US President, the Pistols’ ‘Anarchy In The UK’ single came out, and ‘If You Leave Me Now’ by Chicago topped the chart. December After the Pistols swore on the Bill Grundy show most of the ‘Anarchy’ tour was cancelled but word got round that they were playing the Electric Circus located in Collyhurst, a city edge sink estate once graced by Marx and Engels. The area not the club. December 31 I was chucked out of the New Moston Youth disco at the British Legion on account of my mate Gino being high on cannabis. 1976 films included ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’, ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Marathon Man’, and ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ ended after a 20years run although scholars will recall that Dixon as a character was actually shot dead by Dirk Bogarde in a flim called the Blue Lamp. Various big names would visit Manchester and we’d go down and listen to them. I can say I’ve listened to a lot of big names. The Clash. Blondie. The Jam. The Damned. Aswad. Siouxsie and the Banshees. You name them, I’ve listened to them in a muffled style. One attempt to listen to Kraftwerk failed after we went to the Apollo instead of the Free Trade Hall and ended up listening to Kool and the Gang or some similar disco combo. Saturday Night Fever . Eventually we’d acquired both the bottle and the required coinage of the realm to actually get in from time to time so my listening days came to an end although one trick was to wait at the side door with a growing number of kids and eventually someone on the inside would open the gates and there’d be a mad scramble to get past the bouncers without being rendered un-conscious. Free! Another trick was to go early to the soundcheck at the Apollo wearing a boiler suit and holding something vaguely electrical and most of the time they’d assume you were part of the road crew. That way if you got the timing right you’d get a five or so song concert almost all to yourself whilst the got the sound balanced. Along with about 20 kids holding onto their dads drill or spanners. I tried this for a Madness gig in I think 1979 and it worked. I got in. But Madness it turned out were in the pub over the road! I’ve never seen Madness to this day but we’d do that funny joined up walk / dance thing at the drop of a hat!

The 100 Club is still there to this day. Just. I’ve been there just the once. I’ll write about the Broadway Club at some point and maybe Mr Hackett playing the drumkit belonging to The Hollies, getting sacked and then being almost instantly re-employed. At least I think it was the Hollies!

Bedford Borough Council take the P***!

11 Nov
CCEM 7. Waterless Urinals Trial

To receive a presentation on a trial of waterless urinals.

 

Looks like the Bedford Bypass style of sarcastic humour has been picked up by the Borough Council. At the Sustainability meeting tomorrow night which is usually enough to send my false eye to sleep they are talking about “Waterless Urinal Trials” a phrase that has me wetting myself!

Where to hold these trials? Well there’s no point re-inventing the wheel so I suggest they use Luddington’s Passage which is off the High Street as the drinkers in Yate’s often contribute to streams of piddle and more running off down the gutter….and other than natural rainfall there’s no water involved. Various yards are used like the one at the back of the Corn Exchange..in fact there’s no shortage of piss points round town. That reminds me, some years ago I came across Councillor xxxx xxxxx relieving himself in the shadows opposite Lurke Street Car Park after a night on the pop at the Rugby Club! Gill might edit the name out!

Gill has on account of knowing his daughter in law*

Mid the piddle puddle!

Mid the piddle puddle!