For The Small Price Of A Lightbulb
One of my favourite authors, Isaac Asimov when editing books of science fiction stories (or even his own stories) used to add an introduction to each story. This is an introduction to a piece by a guest blogger (in future these introductions will probably be shorter).
Many moons ago, I started and ran a video games website (single-handed) that had more readers each month than the Wirral Globe has now. Just in case anyone considers that a “hobby”, I was paid for it, just as I earn money from writing this blog.
Visitors to that website used to submit content (there was a forum too) and believe me having to edit a submission from a teenager who completely ignores any of the rules of grammar and doesn’t use full stops was a stretch.
For a while I’ve been thinking of a new feature on this blog similar to the letters page of the newspapers where users can submit content. After all (apart from a submission by Leonora who I’ve tried to gently encourage to write again) readers of this blog have had to put up with me for the last five years!
I have asked a number of people to write a guest post, however Nick Lauro has been the first to thankfully say yes!
Compared to the experience above, editing Nick Lauro’s submission has been a dream by comparison. I have only made one very minor edit!
His piece is about something that I’ll refer to as a “bread and butter” issue of political activists or a politician and reminds me of a similar problem I tried to sort out once on the Beechwood estate. Writing any more than that about it would spoil the surprise.
By Nick Lauro
Is it really too much to ask? It’s not as though I’m asking for the air fare and the accommodation costs for a trip to China, it’s just a couple of street lamps that need fixing! So began my speculation, as I pondered in the dark about exactly how much of Wirral council taxpayers’ money it costs to send a van and a couple of engineers out to repair a street lamp or two.
It all started around the end of September when unusually, my little cul-de-sac was plunged into darkness by the simultaneous failure of not one, but two lamp posts. Not the end of the world, maybe a bit on the Victor Meldrew side of petty but nevertheless, a valid security risk to my fellow neighbours whose houses sit next to the shrouded, wooded scrubland that provides an obvious getaway/hiding place, for even the most feckless burglar. It’s not the first time a street light has failed over the 11 years I’ve lived in the road, and has always been an easy problem to rectify; contact council, report faulty light, wait a few days, light fixed.
Reporting a faulty street light is as simple as visiting the Wirral council website and filling in an online form that rewards you with a message of acknowledgement much preferable to hanging on the end of a telephone waiting to speak to an overworked, underpaid, first line support employee from an understaffed department. After you’ve completed the reporting process, you sit and wait for the lights to come back on again or in this case, not… four plus weeks and two ignored Tweets later, darkness still prevails when the sun goes down and my train of thought drifts toward ideas of austerity, cuts and a local authority so fiscally challenged, they can no longer provide the same level of service for our most basic of urban requirements. But wait; there is much talk in the local press about my locality being saved from oblivion by the universal panacea for all cash strapped local authorities a ‘Golf Resort’. We have a white knight upon his steed, bringing us promise of regeneration and our council coffers once again, overflowing with bullion surely enough to restore Wirral’s street furniture to working order for years to come?
Alas, our saviour and two of his executive salaried colleagues have departed in what looks to be a strategically planned exit, taking between them, some £500,000 of council taxpayers’ money in remunerations. Who will save us now, from further fiscal disaster? Who can keep the dream alive for ‘Wirral Waters’? Will the money to fix two dodgy street lamps down my road ever be found?
Seriously folks, when an organisation funded by money from the public purse our money can seemingly see fit to play the sort of boardroom games more in keeping with the style of premier league football managers, it is easy to feel bitterly short-changed. The recent monetary machinations carried out by our most highly paid public servants, only serves to cast suspicion and doubt on their ability to even find the money to change a light bulb.
© Nick Lauro 2015
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