Peregrine strikes again

Birds of prey tend to do what birds of prey were designed to do. Their attacks are usually unannounced. Sometimes the results are gory. But at least the carnage is swift.  St Mary Magdalen Church in Taunton has now installed cameras and nest boxes to encourage the town’s Peregrine falcons to stay where they are – I believe Taunton Deane Council stumped up some of the money for this ornithological exercise (what on earth will Taunton think of spending our money on next!) Speaking as a fully fledged and properly christened Peregrine myself, may I assure readers that I have absolutely no intention of leaving Taunton alone. I intend to sink my talons into the Rotten Borough until the mad plan to annex West Somerset is abandoned.

Yesterday I was given Parliamentary time to spell out some of my criticisms of the Rotten Borough’s regime.

“The rotten borough that I have been talking about is already packed with new estates and urban extensions, with much more to follow. Most of them are pushed through with reckless disregard for local people. Let us take as an example the plans for a lovely area called Staplegrove, a comfortable, leafy corner of the rotten borough that is soon to be bulldozed to make way for 1,700 brand new brick boxes. The residents are rightly furious, and I am not surprised—that is the way it is. When the planning committee meets next week, it will hear directly from the developers, but anyone with an objection will be locked out. That is intimidation. As Mr.Spock would probably have said, “It’s democracy, Jim, but not as we know it!”

Left to his own devices, the leader—let us call him Mr Rotten—would much prefer to concrete over most of the wide-open spaces and watch his pals get rich quick. Come to think of it, his own building firm seems to be thriving. I have alarming evidence of highly profitable land deals and the relaxation of planning rules—shoddy! Some senior officials were so concerned about the leader’s direct involvement in one application that they took legal advice to cover their own backs. I have said it before and I will say it again: this is a rotten borough.

The council has secretly squirreled away large sums of money from the housing revenue account, which is meant to be ring-fenced for vital maintenance, in order to buy new computer equipment. That is immoral and, I suspect, illegal. It has been reported to the fraud squad by one of its own for miscalculating council tax. It is squandering £11 million to do up its HQ, and I am sure that Mr. Summerfield and Mr. Haldon, the stool pigeons, are getting excited. I wonder where the sub-contracts will go—a local building company, no doubt. It is a mad, vain project, with money meant for the electorate that the town, district and county councils should be looking after going down the drain. The building will never be worth more than what has been spent to tart it up. It is the action of a council that has totally lost the plot.

I fear that there is worse to come. The plan to annex West Somerset Council should have been properly placed before the people—35,000 people. All they actually got was a cheapskate online survey organised by the rotten borough. People saw it for what it was: a pathetic excuse for a public consultation. Most of those who took part disagreed with the idea anyway, but the subtle game of intimidation never mentioned that fact. When the rotten borough presented the survey to Ministers, it did not even bother to break it down. Instead, endless pages of raw material without any explanation at all were submitted. It is no wonder that the civil servants did not read it; it was deliberately designed to mislead the Government.

Last week, “Johnny Rotten’s” chief executive—let us call her Cruella de Ville gave an extraordinary interview to a specialist local government magazine called The Municipal Journal, a good publication that many here will know about. She said that she was trying to turn the screw on the Secretary of State—I am sure that he is frightfully excited—and threatened that if the rotten borough did not get the green light to take over West Somerset, she would sail away and let my district council drown. Intimidation! What is going on here?

There is no way that West Somerset is doomed—that is a complete and utter lie—and it is a disgrace that a jumped-up chief executive should ever use blackmail. I have seen the intimidation from the rotten borough of Taunton in action. If one reads the County Gazette, the extremely good local Taunton paper, one will see that it is certainly not just me speaking. The good people of un-precepted Taunton are being led over a cliff, and that must be stopped before the intimidation gets worse.”

There are no prizes for guessing the TRUE identities of this pair: