The year started positively for Wednesfield folk with the Government being defeated in the boundary changes poll in Parliament. If they had won then Wednesfield would have been split down the middle with Wolverhampton taking one half and Walsall take the other like it was a house being divided while a husband and wife start the process of a messy divorce.
There would have been months of fighting over who got what shops. Eventually the woman would get Dorothy Perkins, Pure Gym and Sainsbury’s while the bloke got Somerfield, Sports Direct and McDonalds. The children (Ashmore Park) would spend most of their time with the mother but visit the father at weekends. As youngsters they would not appreciate the joys of Dorothy Perkins and see their weekends with their father as an escape. “Dad takes me to McDonalds.” They would scream when asked to tidy their room because the floor was full of carrier bags from Sports Direct. “There cannot be this many clothes in the Lonsdale range,” the mother would say while holding her head in her hands and sobbing. Across town the father would sit in the pub on a Wednesday night. Yes, he has freedom but deep down he just wants his family back. He wants to hug his wife, he wants to see his kids each night and the mother feels the same but it’s too late now. They’ve divided the crockery and changed their relationship status to “single” on Facebook. There is no going back.
When you put it that way, it’s a good job the Government lost the vote.
We residents of Wolverhampton and the surrounding areas also got our own version of Monopoly. For £24.99 you can be a disembodied hat and travel to The Civic Hall, West Park and, for some reason, Dudley Zoo before paying to stay in a hotel run by a dog. What would Environmental Health say?
They’d probably say, “Can we have a job?” That is because the big news of the year for our area were the cuts which councillors and council leaders said would require 1,000 redundancies, the destruction of numerous services, libraries having shortened opening hours, children’s centres cut and all youth provisions cut in favour of a single youth club in a far off area of the city that is usually on fire and the children won’t be want to or be able to travel to.
The councillors and council leaders then said that they got their completely maths wrong and instead they would need to cut 1,400 jobs and slash services even more. Fortunately for all of us those council leaders who can’t do maths aren’t going to have their pay cut, nor are we going to see a cut in the number of councillors we have or in the amount they can claim on expenses because let’s face it, that would be the real tragedy, wouldn’t it? At least in 2014 our children can wander the local streets with nowhere to go before tripping over those made homeless because they couldn’t access a free computer at a library to fill in a benefits form and together, in the gutter, the children and the homeless can say, “At least the Chief Executive is still on nearly £200,000 per year and the dozens of councillors looking after a moribund council can claim expenses for their eye strain caused by looking at us all freezing to death.”
Luckily for everyone, the drains will then get blocked because the private company who now has the contract to look after them has decided that they don’t need cleaning in the height of autumn and the Chief Executive forgot to include a “regular cleaning clause” in the contract because he’s only on nearly £200,000 per year and you can’t expect him to get it all right, can you? Then with the drains blocked and the gutters becoming rivers of overflowing rainwater and tears the homeless and the children can simply roll over and drown knowing that they die in City that has its priorities right.
While all this goes on community superstars continue their work. Lindsey Grant brings dancing to the people of Wednesfield and The Crimson Tide Cheerleaders try to keep everyone’s hopes up. Every Sunday our declining parks are filled with non-league football teams, sites like WV11 and Wolverhampton Today try to keep all local residents informed despite the abuse and hassle they receive and volunteers continue manning our charity shops.
It’s been a tough year but these local heroes help make it a little easier. If only we could vote for them, that might make 2014 incredibly interesting.
This post was bought to you by local blogger and stand up comedian Dave Pitt. If you like Dave’s style you can read more of his musings in Starting Out In Stand Up – his book about his journey to the stage while battling depression.
You can also subscribe to his Podcast – Left of the Podium, where he and other local Rob Kemp muse about the fouth best of everything – in what some consider to be the fourth best comedy podcast around