Marvin the Martian returns to talk about closure consultations involving Lyndale, fire stations (2) and libraries
The below is a fictional interview with Marvin the Martian about Lyndale School. Marvin the Martian is trademarked to Warner Brothers Entertainment. Our legal team point out their trademark doesn’t actually cover its use on blogs but in case they try to argue this blog is an “entertainment service”, it isn’t, so no laughing! Yes I mean it, not even a smile! We also point out it’s not an infringing use of class 9 of this trademark as that refers to its use on goods rather than virtually.
We rely on s.30 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and class this as “fair dealing” due to the acknowledgement above. As the The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014 came into force earlier this month, we’ll rely on this too and the new section 30A on parody.
If you are reading this from the UKIP party and are planning to leave a comment questioning the immigration status of Marvin the Martian or disagreeing that he should have any say whatsoever about British politics, we humbly point out that although is not British, he is a fictional character and figments to people’s imagination do not have to have permission to come here.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: The Martian High Command have asked me to survey the Wirral to try to understand its people and politics and write a report back but I find it all very confusing.
JOHN BRACE: Good luck with that! Even I don’t fully understand the Wirral people and its politics.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Well we have a few areas we are unsure of. Let’s start with Greasby.
JOHN BRACE: Yes, Greasby, I know where that is.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Well, we are very confused. We hear reports on your media of a consultation meeting in Greasby about fire stations, but people turned up but weren’t allowed to go to it? What sort of consultation on closure is that?
JOHN BRACE: I wasn’t there, I was covering a public meeting of Wirral Council at the time. Had I turned up I wouldn’t have been allowed in either as the place has to be able to be safely evacuated in case of a fire so has a set capacity. There is however a little irony there as it’s the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service who are doing the consultation. However the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service have informed the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority before that not many people at all turn up to their other fire station closure consultation meetings. So maybe they’re not used to large numbers of people turning up to public meetings?
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Well don’t Wirral Council own the land in Greasby that has the library, the Children’s Centre and other well-loved buildings on? Haven’t they offered (subject to the outcome of the consultation, a further decision and planning permission) a lease?
JOHN BRACE: Yes it does and that’s the Chief Fire Officer’s currently preferred site for the new fire station if Upton & West Kirby close. Yes, they have offered them a lease (subject to the outcome of the consultation, a further decision and planning permission).
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: So why do the people of Greasby have a problem with their library closing?
JOHN BRACE: It’s historical, see your historical files on Earth. The Labour government minister at the time requested a public inquiry into library closures in 2009 so Labour councillors and the Lib Dems councillors were forced into a U-turn. Wirral people seem to still remember that and libraries for a number of years after libraries became a sacred cow of Wirral politics. However Cllr Foulkes said in the recent past that libraries shouldn’t be spared from the cuts and scrutiny.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: And what else is happening on libraries and children centres?
JOHN BRACE: Well on libraries there’s a proposal to reduce opening hours at certain libraries. The decision to consult on the closure of children’s centres has been “called in”, the committee met to consider the “call in” then got adjourned. The committee is planning to meet again on the 12th November 2014 at 6.00pm. However its Labour Chair Cllr Moira McLaughlin was cheered up by some news.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: What news would that be, a U-turn on closing the children’s centres?
JOHN BRACE: No, the news that Cllr Chris Blakeley (Conservative spokesperson) has left the call in committee and been replaced by a different Conservative councillor.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Why would she be pleased?
JOHN BRACE: They have a history of, well how do I put it as diplomatically as possible without taking sides, arguing passionately with each other in public?
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: So let me get this straight, they had a public inquiry into Wirral’s library closures which had been driven through by the then Leader of the Council Cllr Steve Foulkes at the Floral Pavilion chaired by Sue Charteris?
JOHN BRACE: Yes.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Then a few years later Wirral Council made Cllr Foulkes Mayor in exactly the same room Mayor, also at the Floral Pavilion?
JOHN BRACE: Yes.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Wow. This Cllr Foulkes guy sounds interesting. However back to Greasby. Which political party has the three local councillors in Greasby, Frankby and Irby?
JOHN BRACE: The Conservatives.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: And the MP in Wirral West?
JOHN BRACE: The Conservatives.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: And political control of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority is in which party’s hands?
JOHN BRACE: Labour.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Ha, ha, ha. So Labour want to close a few fire stations in Wirral West to cause trouble?
JOHN BRACE: Labour will say they blame the Conservative/Lib Dem government or alternatively they’ll let the unions say roughly the same thing. However the unions have already gone on strike.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: I thought politicians weren’t allowed to be “party political”, however isn’t Esther McVey some type of government minister too?
JOHN BRACE: Yes. She’s currently the Minister for Employment so you can imagine how the public sector unions such as the Fire Brigades Union and other unions feel about that.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Isn’t she facing a General Election in about six months time in what is a marginal seat?
JOHN BRACE: Yes, the unions/Labour Party are already trying their best to replace her with the Labour candidate. See fracking and other issues.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: That’s enough about Greasby, libraries, children’s centres and Esther McVey though, what’s happening in Birkenhead?
JOHN BRACE: The Rt Hon Frank Field MP is telling people that antisocial behaviour is a bad idea.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Really, is he referring to Cllr Phil Davies and his plan (currently out to consultation again) to close Lyndale School?
JOHN BRACE: Don’t be silly! He’s doesn’t mean it like that! He doesn’t mean his own Labour Party! By the language used in press articles he’s referring to young people.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Ahh so the Rt Hon Frank Field MP isn’t picking on the disabled but he’s picking on young people, why do politicians always scapegoat young people? Isn’t Alison McGovern MP, MP for Wirral South in fact younger than you are?
JOHN BRACE: Now you’re making me feel old! Yes she is. Politicians scapegoat young people to play to their base. Politicians of all parties do it. Political parties have a history of having major political disagreements with their own party’s youth wing. See Lib Dems and tuition fees as a recent example of that. However the youth wing of political parties also represents the future of that party, so annoying them can be very short-term thinking.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: And Alison McGovern is the MP where Lyndale School is?
JOHN BRACE: Yes. She’s MP for Wirral South, another marginal seat.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: And as a Labour MP, if the Labour Cabinet decide to close Lyndale School before the election in May 2015 does that harm her chances of reelection next May?
JOHN BRACE: It would make it look (to some voters) if that happened like she had little influence over her own political party’s decision-making process (which isn’t entirely true but that would probably be how it would be spun in the press by her opponents).
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Ahh, but I thought officially the Labour Cabinet on Wirral Council had an “open mind” on the subject of closing Lyndale School?
JOHN BRACE: Please don’t get me started on that topic. There is a second consultation on it now, but I doubt Wirral Council would accept consultation responses from fictional characters.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: So to sum up, there’s an election coming where everyone that can vote will get two votes, one for councillor, one for MP?
JOHN BRACE: Yes, “vote early and vote often (but no more than twice)” I could write if I was being slightly flippant!
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: And in the lead up to elections you get election promises, vote for me and I’ll do this (or my party will do this)?
JOHN BRACE: Yes, even promises they know they can’t possibly keep after the election.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Are you implying party political candidates would deliberately lie about themselves and their own political party?
JOHN BRACE: I’d probably get sued or face an injunction if I answered that honestly! However you can’t libel a political party or a local council. Elections at their heart are a popularity contest and a battle for hearts and minds, so political parties will tell people what they think they want to hear.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: Oh dear. So after the election a lot of people will be disappointed?
JOHN BRACE: They always are, before, during and after. Some of them have even given up on voting or being engaged in the political process.
MARVIN THE MARTIAN: That’s sad really. Well I’ll put all this in my report to the Martian High Command. Thanks for the interview!
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