Wednesday, 15 July 2015

How long before everything is run from Dorchester?

HAS anyone seen the new 2015 Weymouth and Portland guide to Borough Council services?

Yes, I know, you missed it because you were washing your hair, but it does contain one or two “updates” to make you smile.

For a start, we are told that the next three years will see council staff deliver services, improved working between councillors and rationalise office accommodation.

To put that in English, it means council staff will carry on doing what they are already doing and that their North Quay offices will be emptied, knocked down for development and a token council presence set up in the Mulberry Centre on Commercial Road. The real powerbase will be confirmed and consolidated in Dorchester to try and justify the South Walks white elephant building fiasco.

The best bit of this statement has to be the claim that council staff will also improve working between councillors. Yeah, like that’s going to happen.

In all the years I have covered events in Weymouth there has never really been a time when political groups have totally given up their identity and worked together for the common good. You might as well ask them to stop breathing.

Yes, lip service might be paid to a particular hot cause or issue but, when it comes down to brass tacks, most councillors will vote the party line.

Not all of them. Some may feel so passionate about what is at stake that they feel they have to stand up and be counted, but this is the exception rather than the rule and it is certainly not something which council staff will ever change however hard they work.

So we can all look forward to the final touches of a scenario I warned might happen nearly six years ago, namely the death of Weymouth and Portland as a viable council force.

Even worse, North Dorset has joined the “cost cutting” in a tri-council partnership which I understand has already seen councillors in that neck of the woods suddenly wake up to Dorchester’s growing dominance.

To conclude, only a Weymouth and Portland annual guide to council services would have the effrontery to include a line claiming that each council “will remain independent, equal and have their own decision-making councillors”.

For independent council read “provided it does what Dorchester says” and for equal read “provided it does what Dorchester says”. 

As for having our own decision-making councillors? Well, yes you’ve guessed it, this is increasingly becoming a case of  “provided they do what Dorchester says”.

At least the tri-partnership is saving money .... “provided it helps Dorchester”!

WE’VE all had those incredibly annoying cold calls on our phone where we either hear nothing, hear the sound of the call being disconnected or have to endure a pause before a voice with a cheery foreign accent starts trying to engage us.

I’ve got it down to such a fine art now that I’m putting the phone down almost before I’ve picked it up, but not everyone catches on quickly.

A Weymouth woman was recently relaxing on her sofa when a cold call came in on her mobile phone.

She asked who was calling and got no answer, asked again and got no answer and then angrily gave the caller a final warning that if they didn’t reply she would disconnect the call.

Her son then leaned across and told her that this would be difficult as she was holding the television remote control that she’d picked up by mistake!

Unwelcome guest keep me out of my own garden

LIFE in our house is a bit fraught at the moment after a local Weymouth flight crash landed in our garden, but don’t get too worried about burning wreckage.

This flight was by a fledging seagull chick which got a bit too adventurous in its haste to exit a neighbour’s roof.

The result was that we came home from town to find we now had a feathered lodger.

Naturally my wife anthropomorphised the situation and thought the chick was “really cute”, glossing over the fact that both parents regularly fuel their offspring by vomiting up food for the chick on our lawn.

They also take a very dim view of my going out into the garden to read, relax or do a bit of weeding with a cacophony of cries greeting my emergence followed by swoops and over-flights until I go back inside.

The chick isn’t bothered at all and just stumps about giving wheezing cries and test flapping its wings.

How long this will go on for I don’t know but the sooner its feathers grow enough to get lift off the better I will like it!

THIS week’s Growing Old Disgracefully spot looks at computers and whether shouting at them can solve any screen problems.

Of course it can’t! Don’t be so silly! This is a highly complex, sensitive and inanimate object which will be totally unaffected no matter how loud you shout at it.

What you really need to get its attention is a hammer!

Give the keyboard a few initial taps just to show it who’s boss and, if the problem continues, then really bash the hell out of it.

This won’t solve the problem and it will result in a hefty repair bill, but oh the pleasure it gives to beat the living daylights out of such a frustrating contraption.

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