Advent Farewell 7 – Frank Field’s Permanent Bank Holiday

fairy-godmother-frank

Message to Birkenhead constituents : Frank Field will always be the Fairy Godfather if you toe the party line and be ever so ‘umble for his celestial support. If not – you’re fucked.

Apparently Frank Field has made a Tory cry. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean he kicked Boris Johnson in the nuts.

Oh no ,the Tory involved was Heidi ‘ Uriah Heep’ Allen, the Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire. Who clearly needs to get out of her constituency and the House of Commons more and appreciate what her political party are doing to the rest of the country. Heidi from on high (and mighty) said : 

“I’m humbled by the words from my honourable, good friend from Birkenhead [Field],” she said. “No government is perfect, no benefits system is perfect, no debate, no motion is perfect, but by God we work together and make this better.”

Field intervened to give Allen a chance to compose herself, saying: “I’m just amazed for the first time I’ve been able to report those events publicly without weeping. I’m so affected by them, I’m affected as she is. That’s the debate we’re really having – how do we represent here the desperateness of many of our constituents when many of us feel we can’t offer them hope.Earlier Field said his constituents were being hit by the cumulative impact of reforms under Labour and Conservative governments.On my last surgery Friday, for the first time ever a gentleman rose after we had spoken, I had tried to persuade him not to commit suicide, such was the desperateness that he saw the future for himself, and I realised the hand that shook my hand was wet. He’d been crying. And the hand that shook my hand was the hand that wiped away those tears,” he said. Universal Credit Impact speech

Wirral Globe upped the ante on the sentimentality by additionally quoting from Frankenfield’s poverty travelogue :

On Friday, Feeding Birkenhead – which is the most brilliant but ought to be unnecessary organisation – reported a family coming in of husband, wife and young child.The child was crying with hunger. The family was fed.The father said it had been a lucky week for him because neighbours had taken pity and invited him to a funeral so they could finish off the food after the other funeral guests had been fed.When the little boy was shown a shelf where toys were, but also on that shelf were lunch packs, he chose the lunch pack. Frank goes on sentimental journey via Wirral Globe

Bleedin’ hell  , pass the sickbag Alice. Frank puts Charles Dickens at his most mawkish to shame with that particular speech. Remember this is the man who uses the term ‘starving mites’  in the 21st century and takes no responsibility for the fact that his greatest political achievement in 38 years as an MP is ‘ Feeding Birkenhead’. A Wirral Council ring-fence funded evangelical ,ego trip.

We can’t help thinking he’s using his downtrodden constituent as a Dickensian plot device or a political prop in the vein of Little Nell  (The Old Curiosity Shop) , Pip (  No, not that one, the one from Great Expectations) and particularly Tiny Tim ( A  Christmas Carol) . It’s like a Victorian melodrama – pious ,patriarchal, sanctimonious ,self indulgent, self righteous and utterly vomitous.

The right response to his constituent’s predicament is not political points -scoring and sentimentality . It is ANGER. However we’ll leave the last word on the subject to our old friend Oscar Wilde :

From De Profundis:

A sentimentalist is simply one who wants to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it. We think we can have our emotions for nothing. We cannot. Even the finest and most self-sacrificing emotions have to be paid for. Strangely enough, that is what makes them fine. The intellectual and emotional life of ordinary people is a very contemptible affair. Just as they borrow their ideas from a sort of circulating library of thought—the Zeitgeist of an age that has no soul—and send them back soiled at the end of each week, so they always try to get their emotions on credit, and refuse to pay the bill when it comes in. You should pass out of that conception of life. As soon as you have to pay for an emotion you will know its quality, and be the better for such knowledge. And remember that the sentimentalist is always a cynic at heart. Indeed, sentimentality is merely the bank holiday of cynicism. 

Voluntary Termination

Wirral Council Twitter

Although we do have an account  @WIRRALLEAKS we really don’t do Twitter. Even 280 words would never be enough for us and the relentless self promotion on this particular platform would put us off our stroke (or give us one).

However talking of which we couldn’t help commenting on Wirral Council’s Twitter header which has winged its way to us.

Forgive us – but when some of the most self serving people on planet earth have the temerity to ask us “When was the last time ……you did something for someone else” and use, not so much a picture as a visual tick box , it makes us want to empty the brown paper bag full of fresh vegetables and throw up into it – especially when you consider how the high and mighty at Wirral Council seem to have such little regard for ethnic minorities and the vulnerable . And furthermore as Her Ladyship said about the woman in the fingerless mittens – somebody needs to call  Kingdom’s fashion police and tell them to issue a Penalty Charge Notice.

Now we’ve said this before , we know kindness is never wasted and all that , and people who do voluntary work and who don’t expect to win awards and plaudits for doing so are to be valued. However the relentless promotion by Wirral Council of doing something for someone else to make us feel good about ourselves doesn’t sit well with us when it is presented in a queasy mix of  virtue signalling and guilt tripping . Might we suggest that encouraging people to plug the gaps in what’s left of public services makes highly paid public service ‘transformers’ feel even better ? Isn’t this what David Cameron’s ‘Big Society ‘ was largely all about? He must be happy as a pig in muck that this part of his vision for Britain where voluntary work replaces paid work and which hastens the termination of hard fought public services has been lovingly embraced by Labour councils?

Furthermore isn’t there’s something a bit sickening about Wirral Council workers who are enduring pay freezes, redundancy threats and imposition of unpaid leave are encouraged to undertake further work for no pay as when Wirral Council piously launched  a Voluntary Leave Policy      earlier this year :

To support this, the Council will promote volunteering and encourage employees to volunteer their help, time and support to make a difference to their local community.

Interestingly enough we’ve had a few people who used to work for Wirral Council and who were quite happy to do voluntary work  but were put off when they discovered that they were being asked to do complex work dealing with vulnerable people that used to be undertaken by the statutory services they had previously worked for! The further irony being that Wirral Council were part funding the management of this service!

Of course we should expect that Wirral Council’s senior management would want to promote this volunteering initiative and lead by example. Shall we look forward to a picture of Wirral Council CEO Eric Robinson emptying his recyclable Waitrose bag full of ethically sourced goodies at a Wirral soup kitchen on Christmas Day ? Or failing that do as one of his predecessors , Steve Maddox,  used to do and donate his Returning Officer expenses to a worthy charity? Or will we see interim head of law Philip McCourt popping into the one stop shop to do a bit of pro bono welfare rights work when the flawed introduction of Universal Credit wreaks havoc ? Let’s hope Wirral Council’s  communications department don’t forget to obtain pictures and post on their Twitter page  – as nowadays an act of selflessness didn’t happen unless there’s a selfie!