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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Roads and parks also the victims of child abuse

Over Christmas I supplemented the log fire, case of port and pile of new books with a few old Rumpole DVDs of programmes originally transmitted in the 1980s. Amongst them was an episode that was a savage critique of naive and credulous social workers, who had convinced themselves that some stolen carnival masks were indicative of child satanic abuse. Mortimer clearly based this on the nonsense of a contemporary Salem-type witch hunt in Scotland in which health professionals were trained to inspect school children's anuses for signs of Satanic interference. Thirty years later little has changed.

Social workers may be utterly crap at noticing real threats to children as they are happening - baby P's fractured limbs and bruises, a thousand pubescent girls sexually abused by Pakistani grooming gangs - but they're superbly skilled post-hoc in using those failures to lever-in more money, more staff, greater bureaucracy, new tax funded scrutiny and NGO bodies and so on. It's a pretty good model; every time they screw up and the public gets angry, they commandeer more tax money, all existing staff get a promotion and the pyramid grows another layer. 

Boundaries have been blurred by the merging of health, education and social work functions in local government and it's become increasingly hard to tell the cost of one part of the service from another. And of course it's not just children; council responsibility for elderly care budgets is also straining budgets to crisis point. 

As local elections are a bit more than a fortnight away, many electors are looking at the poor states of their post-winter roads. Roads and parks are the first recourse for councils making cuts; both can be trimmed attritionally year after year and nothing will collapse for a long time. Parks other than London's Royal parks have become sterile biological deserts of turf and trees, the only maintenance being a fortnightly shave with a gang mower in the growing months. Fences, gates, lighting, paths, ornamental planting are allowed to gently degenerate, the councils only intervening when a H&S risk arises. Roads are the same - I can't remember the last time I saw a B road regularly resurfaced. Roads and parks can be cut year after year and the effects will be far less noticeable than closing a library, for example, or shutting a day centre. All the money that used to pay for parks and roads is almost certainly sitting in the council's extensive meeting suites having case conferences. 

It can only go on for so long, of course. Eventually local tax payers, faced with ever-increasing bills and ever-poorer refuse collection, street lighting and sweeping, road maintenance, parks, libraries and leisure facilities, stuff people actually don't mind paying a reasonable wedge for, will demand change. 

But not this year. Yet. 

(London is insulated from much of this by the massive TfL budget being largely ringfenced to, erm, transport and very hard to transfer to social workers, and the high standards of the Royal parks disguise the poor condition of other council parks)  

11 comments:

right-writes said...

What confounds me is the idea that the business practises of bureaucrats are in some way honest dealing.

The reality of course is that they are worse than the mafia, since they use all of the same techniques and have state protection.

Changing the subject slightly but on a similar theme, yesterday the airwaves were ringing with woeful stories about "generation rent". Accusation and nuance was being directed at landlords, buy to letters, house builders and of course Margaret Thatcher for selling the council houses. The usual suspects...

Never omce did anyone think to mention that all avenues of investment had been made pointless through government's sticky fingers attaching to any profit. Gordon Brown destroyed the pension system. The chancellor with his banks too big to fail and government desiring low interest rates so that they can afford their deficit, are never mentioned. But that is the reason why ordinary folk have been forced to invest in an extra property to pay for their pension, or become so hard up that they can't help the next generation onto the ladder...

And there in the middle sits the great big fat lardy bureaucracy with its smug satisfied fat belly and its very shady business practises... Sucking the life blood out of all living things...

And all the time having the audacity to blame us for it. Blame us for voting to have less of it.

right-writes said...

Ohhh....

I almost forgot, the elephant in the room.

Uncontrolled immigration.

Anonymous said...

We have the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race coming through around roads in Leeds and guess what.... the potholes have been filled in. So money can be found when they want to look good or don’t want to be sued when some cyclist fell off their bike with TV cameras present!

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed that you can't find a public toilet when you are desperate? I always thought it was to keep gays away, but perhaps it's just money.

Dave_G said...


Common Purpose.

'Leading Outside of Authority' takes funding....... and we can see what methods they are using to extract it..... incompetence.

Anonymous said...

UK Councils can find the money for all sorts of vanity projects, now townhalls/civic centres but not libraries and road resurfacing. UK councils, they have been allowed to borrow (on the markets) on the never, never by the Exchequer, God only knows what massive debt is being accrued but it's all OK the bank of you and me can be raided anytime to fill the coffers and assuage the international pension funders, hedgers, gulf soveriegn bosses.

Meanwhile, corruption is an industry.

Low turnout, no one votes - enough, inner city wards are full of postal voters too and it all concludes with 'the asian mafia getting elected'.

Councillor aktar and aziz will attend to your local needs and with their oxbridge educated sons and daughters in the legal section, housing and planning departments and fixing the council house waiting lists will draw in, on the QT thousands more southern asian 'relatives' to fill the houses that they rent out, bought on the cheap from - the council, what a lovely stitch-up it all is. Need a local empty buidling 'firing' sorted, just get some local druggie scally to do it (bubble him up) the time and bobs your uncle and new building space at a fraction!

I could go on, it is too depressing and all backed up by the ECHR - the end draws into night.

James Higham said...

That's as maybe but I was first complainant many decades ago in a case where it did turn out to be just that. I agree the roles have been merged and most cases are just parenting issues ... but those other ones do exist.

Anonymous said...

A good word for Bridgend County Borough Council - I thought I'd never say that!

But praise where praise is due. Last year the Council planted swathes and swathes of seeds on public common land, i.e. next to busy roads, in what some people would call, run-down areas and some not-so-run-down areas, resulting in a long-lasting absolutely fantastic display of summer flowers. Well done Bridgend Council and please do it again this year. It lifted peoples spirits.

wiggiatlarge said...

Potholes, it is worse than you could imagine.................

http://www.infrastructure-intelligence.com/article/mar-2018/no-magic-money-tree-britains-pothole-problem-has-reached-crisis-point

Dave_G said...


@ anon - 20:10

so.... you don't recognise 'distraction politics' when you see it?

meanwhile, back in the real world.........

Anonymous said...

The BBC and Islam: Let the children be raped

Between the liberal-Left BBC and the hopeless British police who have internalised far-Left neo-fascist political correctness, little children are being raped and then blamed for being raped because the rapists are Muslim


http://www.thecommentator.com/article/5597/the_bbc_and_islam_let_the_children_be_raped

Never in history anywhere has a government been so vile and depraved, that it first ignored, then hid the mass gang rapes of young children, tgeorn oiw kith and kin, by immigrant Muslim men. Never.

And its not thousands of victims but tens of thousands, possibly nearer 50,000. This atrocity, or war crime was well known to the imams, but Islam condones the rape of young Infidel children - so their hands were tied.

DP111