Nearly one month after Sandwell Council stated that it would not be carrying out any more goose culls in the foreseeable future, we have yet to see demonstrated any action plan or signs of intent from this local authority to undertaken any non-lethal methods.
There have been a few reportable developments involving the council process. Following the scrutiny meeting on 15/2, the minutes of this meeting are recorded below, yet they are in my opinion not really an adequate summary of what was expressed.
This appears to gloss over the fact that a greater number of people did not think Canada Geese to be a problem in the two parks, which fundamentally undermines the council’s entire original unadvertised, unjustified and unscrutinised cull. This is what real scrutiny would look at if it were really holding the executive to account. This is of course separate to the officer lies which promoted the cull in the first place.
This item agenda appeared at the recorded Full council meeting on 8th March at the council house. For those who can bear to watch the full cringing spectacle of each of the scrutiny chairs giving their reports, Zahoor Ahmed is the last to deliver his. Skip to around 1 hr 52 and 37 seconds to avoid the rest of the unquestioned waffle proceeding his report. It would be safe to say that he is unlikely to be applying for a job as news presenter anytime soon.
The council now appear to be swaying towards its own agenda of “public feeding”. This of course has nothing to do with the geese, or even to the two sites where culling took place. In Victoria Park Tipton, the issue is non apparent, largely because trade waste dumpers cannot pull up at the roadside and offload their ghee/chapati based crap. Unfortunately however, politically correct Sandwell Labour will not tackle this “cultural issue” in the areas that it is occurring- i.e Smethwick . Ironically this is the area where both the leader of the council who claims to have endorsed the cull and Ahmed have their wards. We are also of course now into the mating season again and votes of Hindu’s/Sikhs are important in this part of the world. Let us be clear that we do not have an issue with either of these groups feeding the birds a well balanced diet.
Another development is a letter from Jan Britton, CEO of Sandwell council to Andrew Tyler, Director of Animal Aid, who have supported this campaign throughout.
At first sight, the chief officers comments are to be welcomed, yet the final paragraph is open to question because the officers of the council have yet to express what they are actually going to do. If this involved widening footpaths, more frequent ground care to reduce complaints and the continuation of egg pricking then this would be welcomed. Most importantly the management of nature reserves and formal parks being undertaken to benefit geese being attracted to the former and discouraged from the latter by grass cutting/ leaving the grass longer is crucial to any plan. Yet the absence of this commitment being stated publicly or decisive practical action suggests that all that will really happen is the park wardens will lecture a few people (white single mothers and dads) about feeding bread to birds in areas away from “cultural” sensitivity.
That of course raises the spectre of fines for feeding, which as we keep being informed by the local press, this council is “cash- strapped” and needs to raise dough to keep its delinquent dependants in cheddar.
It is basically the changing human face of public park visitors which is the issue that Sandwell council and the geese find themselves in, and although Satchwell et al may publicly deny it, they know that what I am about to say is the real truth of the matter. Pitched on one side are an increasingly dwindling stock of elderly white residents who value civic pride and spotless parks. On the other are a young and increasingly prosperous non- white community whose culture encourages feeding birds. Where this conflict of interest arises public officials find themselves in the situation of appeasement , and it is with regret that the one thing that unites the said communities- feeding the birds in an act of compassion is frowned upon. The most disgusting aspect of this is that the birds are destroyed for politically correct “community cohesion”, even though no-one ever asked people what they think, and when they do, they appear to speak with one voice.
For the benefit of even the most dim-witted SMBC councillors pulling the strings, here is what scrutiny should have considered, and which the Local Government Ombudsman will hopefully summarise soon.