Wirral Council in the Three Little Pigs, did the wolves blow their house down?
John Brace looks at what the wolves wanted to achieve
I will briefly relate what happened last night at Wirral Council in the style of The Story of the Three Little Pigs.
First, a little back story. In February 2012, the wolves had huffed and puffed and blew Labour’s Cabinet down. One of the wolves then became Leader, however a different party won a majority at the elections later that year and he resigned.
Last night was an attempt by the wolf to do something similar.
First, the wolf had a lot to say about the piglets but wanted more time to say how terrible the pigs had been treating the piglets. This was denied.
The Leader of the pigs said he was “disappointed” with a recent “tough but accurate” report about the piglets. He had met with the wolves and there were 19 recommendations to put matters right!
The Leader of the wolves had a somewhat less optimistic view of the report referring to how the pigs had managed it as “spin”, “news management” and referred to the pigs as being “over optimistic”. He said they were hiding from “media scrutiny”.
A wolf referred to the leaked letter to the Echo and the comments in the report on the piglets.
One of the key pigs in the matter started squealing, there was now a Piglet Improvement Board, £2 million had been found and they weren’t the only place having trouble with piglets!
Deputy Leader of the wolves used words such as “complacency”, “arrogance” and “secretive behaviour” to describe the pigs. She referred to the “Most Improved” award as a joke and said the pigs had been too busy with alternative bin collections, a newspaper, a trip to China or the Liverpool City Region which meant they had “taken their eye off the ball”.
A pig squealed back, he didn’t like the wolves using a word like “appalled” and instead thought they should be using, “surprised and disappointed” instead.
One of the wolves referred to the pigs concerning themselves with rubbish (surely people know pigs like rubbish?), newspapers and how none of the pigs had resigned or sacked someone.
Another of the wolves referred to the £2 million extra and how more millions had been shifted around earlier in the year. The pigs’ finances were in his view on a “rollercoaster”, he made some suggestions for how one of the pigs’ jobs should be done by two pigs and how there should be better scrutiny by the wolves over what the pigs were doing.
A key pig wanted to thank people. She thanked the workers, she thanked the residents, she thanked the workers again. She said how wonderful the piglets were and of course how wonderful the pigs were, she thanked so many that the Mayor asked her to wind up.
She finished by saying it that the responsibility was everyone’s, both pigs and wolves alike and that pigs and wolves should work together.
One of the wolves had a terrible message to tell the pigs. He had worked for two organisations that had failed and no longer existed. That was because they had scrutinised themselves! He asked the Leader of the pigs to resign!
Another of the wolves referred to “bad management” and “bad governance” and how a lot of energy had been put into promoting a Youth Hub for the piglets in Birkenhead and the Hoylake Golf Resort.
A wolf referred to the OFSTED report and the culture of “over optimism”.
One of the pigs rose to say it was all the fault of the wolves and (ironically) that there was no attempt at spin. She asked pigs and wolves to come together and for pigs and wolves to look at themselves.
A wolf made his “maiden speech” (for the 4th time). He said that whether the pigs or wolves were in charge, the piglets were still “let down”. The wolf described the situation as “unacceptable” and said that when the pigs left office they would have regrets. He referred to the Improvement Board and reminded the pigs that they had asked for the wolves to resign in 2010 when the bins were collected a week late. Also he asked for the Piglet Improvement Board to meet in public.
A pig congratulated the wolf on another maiden speech, however went on to criticise what another wolf had put on Twitter.
A wolf drew parallels between what happened with the piglets to four years ago and how the pigs had driven someone out of their job who told them what went wrong.
Another wolf referred to how much the pigs spent on agency staff, a different wolf bemoaned the lack of staff reviews.
A pig described what had happened as merely a “perfect storm” going on to again blame it on the wolves.
A wolf used the idiom “fall on deaf ears“* which means ignored.
*It was pointed out by later that this phrase was seen as discriminatory towards those with deaf ears.
Another wolf described herself as angry.
One of the pigs who’d been asked to resign, congratulated one of the wolves on his 4th maiden speech. He said they had, “let people down”.
A wolf referred to various reports, thanked the other wolf for his maiden speech and referred to his analysis that in one team of workers eight out of thirteen were agency staff.
Leader of the wolves again referred to the piglets and his view on the pigs’ news management. He said that in 2012 they [the wolves] had offered people extra money to work there and referred to the new furniture for nearby buildings. He said he had not heard the pigs say sorry.
Leader of the pigs said it was a wolf who should apologise and he didn’t accept the wolves’ assertions. Staff worked hard, there was a Piglet Improvement Board, which had been suggested by a wolf. He went on to say how the wolves didn’t take things seriously. The budget matters were in his view all the fault of the wolves. He congratulated a wolf on his maiden speech and said that alternate meetings of the Improvement Board would be in public as issues had to be dealt with “in confidence”.
He announced that no pigs would resign, that the wolves were outrageous and should stop their “personal attacks” as the workers couldn’t defend themselves. He would engage in a robust Improvement Plan to move forward at a pace.
There was then the huffing and puffing in an attempt to blow the pigs’ house down.
Twenty-four wolves did their best, but thirty-six pigs squealed back. So in the end, the house didn’t blow down and no pigs resigned.
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