The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Wirral Council
The following is meant as satire.
Wirral Council [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is one of the most perplexing organisations known to mankind. It’s motto is "by faith and foresight".
Those unfortunate individuals who have experienced its public meetings have said the experience is far worse than listening to Vogon poetry (the third worst poetry in the universe). It is hard to put into words the experience of a public meeting at Wirral Council, but to give one example one evening Wirral Council so upset the universe that nearby buildings owned by Wirral Council spontaneously collapsed to the ground merely to bring one public meeting to an end. People have been witnessed leaving meetings in tears or having to leave suddenly as the whole process made them feel ill.
It is a well-known fact across the universe that politicians seem unable to answer questions (leaving some people to wonder what planet they’re actually from). However at Wirral Council politicians have made this frankly useless skill that would in any other profession get you the sack, into the sort of art form that you’d wonder if they’d actually received a performance arts grant for this from Arts Council England.
Even if by some one in a million chance, your question isn’t consumed by the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal before a politician gets a chance to read it (or said politician hasn’t been bamboozled (which we are told by our own legal team that we have to clarify is the meaning of bamboozle to confuse) by Chief Bamboozler at Wirral Council Mr Tour first), a politician will not give you an accurate answer to the question you’ve asked. You see despite being highly paid, politicians at Wirral Council are reduced to doing something a seven-year old could do and given answers to read out that are written by other people. This is what politicians call "research".
If really pushed for an answer a politician will promise to send you a written answer (which in some cases you will not receive). This system has evolved over time so that the employees of Wirral Council aren’t put under threat by a politician actually having the chance to say anything.
A whole new industry has grown up at Wirral Council to deal with whistleblowers. Whistleblowers are seen as a threat to the smooth running of Wirral Council and persuading the public that black is indeed white. In fact anything outside Wirral Council (and indeed inside such as the trade unions) is seen as a threat to the smooth running of Wirral Council. Therefore information is controlled. English laws (in fact Wirral Council does not recognise the law as applying to it unless it decides it wants to) such as freedom of information do not apply and if Wirral Council was a country America would be referring to it a rogue state.
However back to whistleblowers. Wirral Council has a secret (not subject to freedom of information) playbook for dealing with whistleblowers and troublemakers (a category which covers pretty much everybody including its own politicians) which if it actually considered the law applied would be banned as it would be classed as a cruel and unusual punishment.
Step 1 is whistleblowers will be told they are not being "reasonable". Completely missing the irony that Wirral Council is under a legal duty to be reasonable (which it rarely is), this can be combined with lying to the world and stating whistleblowers are flat out wrong. If the word reasonable doesn’t work, whistleblowers are told they’re "inappropriate" instead.
If a whistleblower isn’t fobbed off in this way and doesn’t fall at the first hurdle and takes some bold step such as telling the press and/or regulators step 2 is employed.
Step 2 is more tricky for Wirral Council as even step 1 can spectacularly backfire (despite highly paid PR advisers). At step 2 the whistleblower is thanked, but told that Wirral Council is seeking legal advice. Properly employed this tactic can stall matters for months. Therefore nothing is done until that advice is received (this advice will however remain confidential). If by some fluke Wirral Council receives legal advice it doesn’t want, it can ask for more until it receives advice it wants to hear. At this stage Wirral Council sincerely hopes the whistleblower will just give up and not force it to step 3.
Step 3 depends on whether denying what the whistleblower stated would get you laughed at and accused of perjury if you tried it in a court of law. By this point the game is up, so it is admitted that mistakes were made in the past (although no individuals can ever be found to be accountable), lessons have been learnt and an action plan has been drawn up with recommendations to make sure it never happens again. This is known in PR terms as a partial hangout. The whole fiasco is never admitted, but it is hoped that by admitting (what by now is in the public domain anyway) that the political pressure will drop and people will "move on".
There used to be a different stage 3 which was paying whistleblowers to keep their mouths shut, but it didn’t seem to be effective.
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