A year is a long time in politics

Happy anniversary Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg but forgive me if I don’t send you a card and a bunch of flowers. You’ve been busy in your first year of marriage.

'Get that morning breath sorted, Nick.'

Let’s go back to polling day, 6th May 2010.

It began with a bang. Literally.

I was driving to a school from the office when a bloke walking along the pavement decided, for no earthly reason, to start walking in the road. I had to do an emergency stop to avoid squishing him but the huge refrigerated van behind me didn’t make it and ploughed into the back of my car. I know it’s wrong but I love my car, it cost me a lot of money and because of having a job that involved a lot of driving, was my living. It was now sitting in the middle of the road steaming gently, its rear end caved in.

Long story short, the local police patrol stepped in and took over and the man in the road was sent off with a flea in his ear. I went home and went off to vote, still shaken and shocked.

Well the van’s insurance company insisted on giving me a fancy hire car while mine was in the garage so I ended up driving around South London in a Mercedes the size of a boat feeling like a drug dealer.

A few days later, we heard that you would be joining together in holy coalitionamony .

To Mr. Cameron, a boy, Nick.

But I wasn’t worried.

We knew that you would be cutting liberally (geddit) and comprehensively but never dreamed of how far you would go. ‘Don’t worry too much, ‘said my line manager at work, ‘you’re frontline staff, they’re getting rid of backroom staff not people working with children and teachers.’

Sadly, however, it was the backroom staff that ended up doing the cutting so they got rid of frontline staff first. Even my line manager got the chop. No one knew how to manage.

Over the last few months we’ve seen you cutting children’s centres, school sports funding and local authority staff who work with children, disabled people and the elderly. We’ve seen you put up tuition fees for university students and cut the EMA grant.

The people are revolting

But we’ve also seen protests and sit ins and the worm turning. The worm seems to have turned mostly against you, Cleggy but let’s not forget the Dark Lord of the Sith. No disrespect, Dave.

But nothing is your fault is it, Dave? You’re till peddling the ‘we inherited these problems from the previous government. ‘Or rather, ‘a big boy done it and ran away.’  No mention of the fact that you were probably rubbing your hands together in glee at being able to restructure local government, the NHS and schools with gay abandon.

As for me, my job is a distant memory and I’m working on building my business and being a private entrepreneur like you always wanted.

So happy anniversary, boys, and I hope you sleep well at night.

PS I’m listening to the radio as I write this. Grant Shapps is saying, ‘we inherited this deficit, it was the fault of the previous government.’ Sigh.

EZ council my RS

There was a lot of fuss last year when Barnet council announced that it would be adopting a ‘no frills’ service. An ‘Easy’ council if you like. Residents would get a very basic service and any extras would have to be paid for. Many services would be outsourced from private companies while council staffing is cut.

 But the peasants are revolting. Barnet residents haven’t taken this lying down- there have been a series of demonstrations and meetings calling for an end to the cost cutting, especially when the most vulnerable members of society –the elderly and very young- are involved. There is a campaign to keep libraries open after it was suggested that reading real books was a rather outmoded idea and that residents who wished to cling to their old ways could pick up their books in Tesco’s and pop along to Starbucks to have a read.

 Meanwhile Lambeth council have announced plans to become a cooperative (I hope they do those nice fairtade chocolates) and encourage local community groups and individuals to help run things. Well that’s me sorted out after redundancy from my own council then. Perhaps I’ll pop along to Brixton town hall and offer my services to housing. Maybe take a broom with me and give Rush Common a little sweep on the way.

 I wonder how many other councils will choose the no frills option or the cooperative route after the Comprehensive Spending Review and whether this is the future model for council services.

 This summer I went on holiday with EasyJet. I took my own snacks (£4.50 for a buttie? You’re having a laugh), I packed light so I didn’t incur luggage penalties and I queued. And I queued and I queued. There was rather a Dunkirk spirit about it as we swapped horror stories. A mother travelling alone with three children under the age of seven told me how she was separated from her kids on the flight over because there weren’t four seats together. The mum pointed to her toddler who was sucking her thumb and clutching a blankie.

‘They wanted her sit on her own!’ she said.

 Well the flight- perhaps like the easy council model- did what it was supposed to do and got me quite nicely from A to B eventually.

 An adequate, basic service.

 But I’d rather travel BA.

 Wouldn’t you?

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