Link: Wirral Globe
Date: Tuesday 8th March 2011
Author: Leigh Marles
The leader of Wirral Council has told anyone thinking of joining a rebel protest against paying council tax: “Don’t get any ideas.”
Is it just us, or does this sound just a little too above itself? In a democracy people are allowed to “have ideas” and to raise objections to what they perceive as unfair treatment; in a democracy council and government officials answer to the people who put them in office. Surely any attempt to prevent people from “having ideas” is akin to fascism.
Adolf Hitler wanted to rule a world where people had no “ideas” of their own but simply followed party policies and he killed anyone who got in the way of his desire for world domination – this image is taken from one of the propaganda posters produced by the third reich during this period (the word “redeverbot” – which translated means “to ban from speaking” – taped over the mouth) – Mr Green is obviously proposing that members of our “democratic” society should keep our mouths shut and know our place – are we closer to a totalitarian state than we think? Hitler succeeded because good men sat back and did nothing; offered no challenge – the rest is history.
If anyone has an “idea” that councils waste money or has the “idea” that they are over-staffed, self-serving, and incompetent they should be free to express those “ideas” and to expect the councils to be brought to task and answer questions.
Wirral’s town hall chief Cllr Jeff Green is obviously blissfully unaware that public libraries around the country are under threat of closure and have been for many years. Sure Start centres are also under threat despite the levels of council tax being applied across the country.
As a government initiative, Sure Start benefits from £billions of tax-payers money, isn’t it right that tax-payers should have a say in how that money is spent? Another government initiative operated by the DWP called Remploy gets grants of £111million a year and loses £2.2million a week; gives it’s senior managers £1.75m in bonuses while at the same time 2,500 workers (many disabled) lose their jobs; should not the people of this country have an “idea” about such inequity and waste? Mr Green seems to be suggesting otherwise.
There are many charities that depend on public donations or for grants from non-government sources who work tirelessly doing far superior work to many of the government initiatives that consistently fail due to mismanagement, greed and incompetence where a substantial amount of the tax-payers input is used to administer the initiative and very little used to assist those in need.
On page 11 of a House of Commons report on Sure Start Children’s Centres published 17 July 2007 it is shown that:
A third of the children’s centres that the National Audit Office visited in the fourth quarter of 2005–06 could not provide a financial forecast for 2006–07 as they did not have an agreed budget with their local authority. Where centres are uncertain about the funding that they will receive in future, they can find it hard to plan services and retain staff. They may also be obliged to devote resources to fundraising, when the resources could be used more profitably in providing services.
So clearly, the funding is being used to self-serve the initiative.
In the Wirral Globe a report dated Thursday 2nd Sepember 2010 headed “Report on Wirrel Council’s Provision of adult social care will be considered tonight” highlights findings in a “scathing report” on Wirral Council’s provision of adult social care. The report criticises Wirral Social Services for its poor performance in safeguarding aduls with learning disabilites and more. On Wednesday 24th November 2010, the Globe reported on Wirrel Council’s “throwing staff to the wolves” to make cuts of £100million over the next four years during which “austerity measures” means redundancy for 1,600 staff while senior staff are granted pay rises. It is suggested by Cllr Steve Foulkes that a “senior officer clique” exists that looks after itself by giving preferential treatment to itself and that the idea that “we’re all in this togther is a ‘sham'”.
Lawful Rebellion against council tax is more about the 33 senior officers on pay scale 49 which represents a salary of up to £75,000 each and a senior officer who received an extra £31,000 on top of their salary for “stepping up their responsibilities”. Lawful Rebellion is not about tax avoidance, it is about making councils and government responsible for how they spend our money.
Mr Green, we suggest that tax-payers are entitled to “have ideas” about such matters and we have the idea that £2.475million on pay scale 49 salaries for 33 senior council workers could support 10 libraries for a year – what do you think of this “idea”?