Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Remember This on Next Election Day

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Remember This on Next Election Day

Article excerpt


THE pantomime so far: David 'We're-All-In-This-Together' Cameron has slain the Goliath of government spending by ordering massive local government cuts.

As a result, Northumberland County Council (playing the part of Jock the Cock-up) issued a scary warning to its 150 or so Cinderella parish councils that in future they would be doing all the spending. Now settle down for Act Two ...

It was, Cock-up County told Cinders, all a misunderstanding: the scary spreadsheet that predicted our tiny parish (which annually collects pounds 900 tax from householders to cover its costs) would now be expected to find an extra pounds 37,000 per year to fund playgrounds, parks, bus shelters and public lavatories had been prepared in error.

In error? You can say that again. Parks? We don't have one. 'Public' lavatories are only open during the tourist season; our sole playground is two garden swings, and 50% of our four bus shelters are provided and maintained by the private Ford and Etal Estates.

So County came to Crookham village hall to say sorry. But the matter doesn't rest there. Who pays for the pounds 20 hall hire and the expenses for at least half-a-dozen dozy 'Morpeth yins' to come all the way up here for their vocals with the yokels? We council taxpayers do, of course.

And after that travelling apology of a 'Radio Wan' roadshow is repeated across the county (150 or so wee councils, don't forget) the cost will be borne by more cuts in services or higher taxes next year.

And we still won't be living happily ever after; remember that when next you visit the ballot box.

WHICH reminds me: which closet Cameron stalking County Hall's corridors of power had the bright idea of removing our local polling station without telling anyone? Our village hall, nestling close to the centre of the parish, has been a polling station for as long as most can remember but this year, come the referendum, we lost out to Etal, necessitating a two-and-a-half mile trip by car (which, using our sparse bus service, would have taken half the day). …

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