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Posted by: John Brace | 28th November 2016

Why was trouble brewing in the Shire about a fire station? (Lord of the Rings parody)

Why was trouble brewing in the Shire about a fire station? (Lord of the Rings parody)

                                     

This is a parody of local politics based on the Lord of the Rings. As someone referred to in it I’d better declare an interest. As a child I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy in a Wirral Council library that Wirral Council later tried to close (but the government stopped them) because of people who Wirral Council would probably label “unreasonable”.

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The Shire in the Lord of the Rings as imagined in the film

The Shire in the Lord of the Rings as imagined in the film

In the Shire, trouble was brewing. Not only were the hobbits cross at plans to concrete over their beloved countryside with a fire station, but Men had decided (although it was now under review) to spend much of the hobbits’ money on a golf resort project too.

This story had begun some time ago.

The hobbits had decided on a representative called McVey who a group of the Men had taken a dislike to*. The Men had told the hobbits that McVey was why their fire stations must close (even though the Men had decided this). This way the Men could persuade the hobbits to ditch McVey and pick the Men’s representative instead. It was all about power!

* I’m being diplomatic.

So there were consultation meetings of the hobbits so well attended, hobbits couldn’t get in and stood outside getting cross.

At these meetings the Fire Man, who lived in the Shire, told those who actually managed to make it inside that whoever the hobbits voted for the fire stations would still close. So much for democracy!

However the Men got worried, enough of the hobbits were cross about the issue, that if the Men decided to put a new fire station in Greasby (demolishing a much-loved library and community centre in the process), McVey might win again! So the Men gave the credit for stopping the fire station plans to the Men’s candidate instead who had a very Shirey sounding name Greenwood.

Instead as a plan B, the new fire station would now be in Saughall Massie.

Around this time, a man who’d grown up in the Shire as a child and was described by some as a legend (or as the Judge described him “obstinate” and “unreasonable”*) asked the Men for the costs of this project as the Men claimed it was to save money. The arguments around this matter carried on for 1 year and 5 months (despite the law stating this information should be provided within 20 working days!)

* George Bernard Shaw: The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
 

Although the information was eventually provided, it turned out that the hobbits had been lied to during the consultations so that the Men could get the answers they wanted!

Oh dear!

Not only that but the Men had repeated these lies in their planning application for the fire station in Saughall Massie.

Double oh dear!

However the Judge decreed at a hearing (the Judge later admitted that he hadn’t read all the papers about this matter before the hearing took place*) that there was no “public importance” to the hobbits knowing that they’d been lied to and later ordered the man to pay the Men £500.

* thus stating more in a nutshell about justice, fairness and decision-making than the man ever could

This was despite the Men who controlled the Fire Authority having an annual budget of £62.673 million (revenue) and £20.6 million (capital). The Fire Authority had also received £297,900 (revenue) and £4.171 million (capital) in extra funds by the government for the fire stations mergers project.

The Men on the Fire Authority also had decided to pay their in-house solicitor £102,000 a year and picked this person too.

After all the Men had been saying for ages the hobbits should give them more money and the Men really disliked requests for information! This was money that the Men on the Fire Authority could then spend on taxis to public meetings, expensive dinners and stays in hotels.

The fact that the man who had grown up in the Shire had (as a result of this) told the hobbits that ~£300,000* of their money for the land would go to the very body who decided on the planning application (if the planning application was approved) was embarrassing to the Men (who had wanted to keep this a secret).

* at 2015 prices, anybody want to leave a comment on the legal implications of this?

But the legend (that was what people called him) still believed in openness and transparency.

He had realised that the Shire was in danger of being altered permanently and corrupted by greedy Men interested in power.

Not just with the fire station, but with the golf resort too.

Greed had truly corrupted the Men’s hearts.

But what would happen next?

Would the Planning Committee refuse the planning application for the fire station?

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