On Tuesday a protest took place outside the council house concerning the Mayoral meal- a civic “tradition” apparently whereby the “great and the good” of the rotten borough council have a three course meal paid for from the new incoming Mayors’ allowances. Of course this is paid for by the taxpayer. The object of the protest organised by Ric Keeling was I believe not really related to the amount that this meal cost, rather the message that it was sending out in times of austerity- which of course the one party state at Sandwell council keep reminding us is the fault of the big bad Tory wolves.
I really don’t care for the politics of the event, there was a Green party representative there alongside UKIP, as well as others with no allegiance- including myself and Gooseman. The point of our attendance was about the pointlessness of not only the cull of geese, but also the hypocrisy of those who claim to be of the people, yet time and time again by their own actions consider themselves to be above the people. When a member of the public challenges the authority of the councillors they fly into panic mode and attempt by deception to silence or just quell the rebellion with spin and the impression that a democratic process has been followed- one notes the joke manner in which our petition was treated, and the “scrutiny” meeting at which it was presented.
Foodbanks are a clearly emotive subject. No one really wants them- or do they? Are people who have through no fault of their own lost their jobs and find themselves in dire straits to be compared to the slobs portrayed on reality television shows which provocatively portray a “scrounging” underclass? I have fortunately never had to rely on food banks, and hopefully never will. I know a bit about survivalism to know what I could eat given the need, and I can also budget and live within my means without spending on material rubbish that is not needed. I recognise that not all people are as fortunate, but I am not going to lecture them about it- that is where schools need to educate people that money does not grow on trees.
My concern with foodbanks is that they are now being described as being “popular”. As one who scrutinises most things that we are fed by the media, I am concerned as to who runs them, and what their connections are with local officials as regards funding of this voluntary organisation? “Voluntary organisations” in Sandwell are a very dirty world to be in. Connections with family members to local Labour councillors is becoming endemic, and the funding, championing and promotion of these organisations through taxpayer funded literature is worse still.
That being said, I thought the protest was right in its message. Gooseman enjoyed himself enormously and even contributed some of the money he has earned by squeegeeing cars on the Wolverhampton road to keep him in corn during his residence in Sandwell.
The Mayors chauffeur driven car (lazy bastard sotto voce), gleamed with scratches on the car park along with the leaders equally black estate car. There would later be a game of guess which of the two entrances they would leave by- not that difficult really.
Not long after some initial speeches were made outside, the farmers inside began to spill out to join the less equal animals outside.
Different responses were noted. Some smirked and quickly left without comment. Others such as Councillor Sidhu of Greets Green notably and respectfully donated into the bucket, and those that did give money should be applauded. However there were some individuals who know who they are whose statements including “piss off” and “what a load of shit” did not exactly show the colours of socialism, more the spectre of Capitalism and autocracy. Not very philanthropic bread dividers here and more suited trousered misanthropists than ragged trousered ones.
One elderly gentleman appeared to be looking for a selfie opportunity with a prominent local campaigner, and approached Gooseman instead. It’s easy to mistake some peoples identity however.
According to the event organiser, over £100 was raised on the night together with a creditable supply of food to be donated. Whatever the parodies, mocking and indignations of the controlling group of councillors, the protesters were perhaps not the ones gulping when consuming whatever was on the table in West Bromwich, but one wonders to some of them if guilt is a concept that they would even recognise. We know this because of the needless deaths of 220 geese. Some animals are more equal than others.