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Naughty Eddie, long may he live!

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I'm not sure how but I suspect that the KGB is involved.

Quo, food for thought, thank you.

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Sunday, 22 November 2015

Brave Members Reject Assault on Free Speech


“I’m bored!”, exclaimed a more equal member of the Blessed Authority, “These questions from the public are the same every single meeting, somebody do something before I fall asleep at my desk!”

“We could try and answer the questions properly and act on them accordingly”, offered a lesser amongst equals. “I'm fed up with this business of hearing the question and being told the answer before I've had a chance to say anything.”

“That’s just potty”, said a voice, “we simply need to change how we want the public to participate, that’s all!”

“I have the solution”, purred Dr. Pikeman, “leave it to me, I shall confer with the Great Brethren of Blessed Parks, they will surely give me guidance, so we can become more like them in every way.”

So, proposals to limit public participation at the Blessed Authority's meetings were firmly presented to Members this week - who, somewhat remarkably, sat on them just as firmly.

Never one to miss an opportunity to restrict free speech, Dr Pikeman saw the request as a mandate to prevent anyone from petitioning the Authority, restricting what sort of question could be asked - and even bypassing Members entirely when the questioner couldn't be at the meeting.

“Meetings are a place where Members conduct business of the Authority and really don’t need to be distracted by the public interfering with the carefully engineered decisions I need them to make. If Members notice there are alternatives to Option 1 (Save the Authority by charging more and delivering less), or Option 2 (Doom the Authority and all it holds dear to a fate worse than death by not choosing Option 1) then there’ll be a riot.”

Former senior member Dave Pond commented that the Authority is "not a democratic and accountable organisation in the first place" and that the proposal was "unnecessarily provocative".

In an unprecedented last minute rebellion, however, Members decided that enough was enough after all and the proposals were taking a ridiculous step too far, even by the Blessed Authority’s standards.

"It's the complete opposite of what we asked for" complained one new Member.

“Get used to it” whispered the fen raft spider which had fallen off the Divine Ecologist’s skirt earlier in the meeting.

“Of course, we accept the will of the Members” said an official spokesperson, with her fingers firmly crossed behind her back. “We didn't want to limit engagement, just improve efficiency.”

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Broads National Pike


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Maintaining rivers not our job, says body charged with maintaining rivers


Members of the Blessed Authority were this week prevented from debating a report from their own officers on the deteriorating bank of the river Chet beside Hardley flood, because issues raised by the navigation committee were too frightening for them to contemplate. The work needed could be both ‘high risk’ and ‘high cost’, Dr Pikeman told members, so it was better for them not to know about it yet. 
A specific request from one of the more enlightened Blessed Members for the paper to be included on Friday's Agenda was turned down, as Officers were not yet ready to tell Members what to think. The news follows an announcement by Norfolk County Council that they intend to close a popular section of the Wherryman’s Way riverside footpath, and divert it on to a main road - on safety grounds. 
Three weeks ago, the navigation committee strongly advised that the rapid deterioration of the stretch of river bank could not be ignored, and that the Authority needed to take an urgent and proactive stance.

Blessed Officers claimed that the issue did not touch any of the Authority’s three statutory duties - which are public access, conservation and navigation - until a Member pointed out that it involved a public footpath running between a nature reserve and a navigable river. Officers argued that any structures replaced by the BA now would have to be maintained in the future, so it would be much cheaper to let them collapse further and then find out what happens later, when it might be somebody else’s job. In the mean time, money could be spent on consultants, so as not to make it look as though the issue is being ignored entirely.
Unfortunately, the navigation committee advice could not be reported to Blessed Members yesterday as the minutes were not yet available. “It’s important for there to be an appropriate delay in producing minutes” said a Blessed Spokesperson, “in order that Members have an adequate chance to forget what was actually said. This is the natural way of things here at Yeurgh House."

Finger-in-the-air estimates to carry out the work needed range from £500,000 to £3 million, which Dr Pikeman says is beyond the means of the tiny Authority; such figures are understood to eclipse even its huge planning enforcement and legal budgets.
A Blesssed Spokesperson confirmed that projects which would benefit the public and the navigation do not qualify for grant funding, in contrast to restoring private broads with no public access, and teaching the public about the cultural significance of landscapes and windmills.
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Perhaps the Authority could afford it if they weren't so keen to hive off so much dosh for their undeservedly high pensions pots from our tolls. 

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