Posted by: John Brace | 7th May 2019

What would happen if Wirral Council’s 5 leaders had a game at the Last Chance Saloon?

What would happen if Wirral Council’s 5 leaders had a game at the Last Chance Saloon?

John Wayne as the sheriff in Rio Bravo

John Wayne as the sheriff in Rio Bravo

The following is meant as satire and didn’t really happen.

Inside a bar at the Last Chance Saloon in a dusty town in the Wild West sit round a circular table five players and a dealer of cards. Sitting next to the dealer is his wife.

The bar staff are at a discreet distance away washing glasses by the bar wondering what will happen and whether they’ll still have a job after this game.

The players are Moira, Pat C, Ian, Pat H and Phil.

The dealer cuts the cards and announces to everyone the rules.

“Right, first of all I’ve got to give out your chips (as decided by the townsfolk) and the first round is the “Who’s the Mayor?”.

32 chips go to Pat H, 22 to Ian, 6 to Phil, 3 to Pat C and 3 to Moira.

Pat H says, “How about Tony for Mayor and George for Deputy Mayor?”

The rest of the players nod.

The dealer says, “Well that’s a good start, but it does mean you’ve got to hand me one of your chips Pat H, you’ll get it back next year.”

Pat H hands over one of his chips which means he now has 31.

Carrying on the dealer explains, “Right, as everyone knows for the last 7 years Pat H’s team has won this game but the townsfolk decided it was getting a little one sided.

Whoever wins runs this bar, this whole town, the next town and the surrounding countryside for a year.

There are just two basic rules you’ve got to follow. Two (or more) of you need 34 (or more) chips and you’d got to agree to work together for the next 11 months.”

All the players nod and the dealer shuffles the cards.

The dealer jokes, “So do you want these cards face up all open and transparent like?” and the players laugh.

Continuing the dealer says, “To show you an example of power sharing, my wife will deal the next round.” and he hands the cards to her.

The dealer’s wife is from the local reservation, but has lived in the town a long time. She picks up the cards, then decides to say something instead, “I was late coming in and outside the bar I saw the four horsemen of the apocalypse Conquest, War, Famine, and Death.”

The five players looked alarmed, in the quiet they heard drumming and shouting outside but the dealer reassured them by saying, “It’s another Extinction Rebellion protest. However conquest, war, famine and death will only happen if you make the wrong choices this evening.”

Five cards were dealt, each had a different picture of Wirral’s greenbelt on as this was the Local Plan round. This was a timed round and players were limited to one minute each.

Pat H started by saying, “Well as you all know, Jeremy has got agreement to declare a climate emergency. If I could come up with a Local Plan to save the greenbelt I would, but that would require some of us to set aside our differences and work together for the good of the Wirral public.”

Pat C countered by saying, “Your team has come up with larger and larger numbers for new houses and the destruction of the greenbelt! In the recent election your Local Plan was rejected by the townsfolk. You know as well as I do that Wirral’s greenbelt could be saved if you started listening to people!”

Ian agreed with, “I agree with Pat, the townsfolk want change. When I got a new dog, I wanted somewhere I could walk it nearby without being pestered by Pat H’s private police force Kingdom (and I’m glad they’re gone)!”

Phil tried to help by saying, “It’s obvious the public want us to have a Local Plan that is decided locally, not one that Pat H’s team will just come up with as a tactic to blame the government.”

Finally Moira said, “All this bickering isn’t getting us anywhere and the townsfolk are annoyed at how slowly decisions have been made.”

The dealer added up the points for that round. “Well nobody is winning yet, but at least you’re talking to each other. Time for round two. If you were in charge what would your priorities for the area be?”

Pat H answered first again, “For the many not the few is one of our slogans, so we have listened to the townsfolk and will take on board what they’ve said and change course. We know that mistakes have been made, but we will do our best to make life better for people by improving roads, creating jobs and doing our best to make things better despite austerity.”

Ian countered with, “Having been in charge of Wirral’s roads for 7 years, how can the townsfolk trust you Pat H? We would scrap the Wirral View newspaper, the Hoylake Golf Resort and the townsfolk would be happier. Without a change of course matters will get worse before they get better.”

Phil replied to this as follows, “Pat H’s team have run out of ideas, we’re happy to tell you our thoughts (at length) on any topic but we realise you haven’t listened in the past.”

Pat C said, “Better roads is just another example of this 20th century political thinking that needs to change. You can’t declare a climate emergency as a PR gimmick to cheer the townsfolk up! Unless there is a radical shift to a greener economy, nothing will change. Investment is needed now to transition the economy to a carbon-free future.”

Moira said, “So far nobody has mentioned the NHS, we would support all the above and make sure NHS services in the area are excellent too.”

And so the game carried on and you will all find out what happened next Tuesday evening!

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Responses

  1. I want to know why i pay Council tax, where some of it goes to the Police, NHS etc when i already pay Income tax for the same thing, so i am paying twice, how can that be right.
    As for spending more money on the roads, 1, less accidents, meaning safer roads, less drain on NHS, people can get to work, school, meetings etc etc, less drain on the enconomy 2, less time spent at traffic lights, road works, 3, means less fuel being burn, = less carbon in the air, better roads means more firms will to invest in the area, 4, more empolyment, more people in work means more council tax coming in

    • Well the way it works it this (giving Merseyside Police as an example).

      The budget is proposed by the Police and Crime Commissioner (which the councillors on the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel chose not to veto).

      The budget requirement for Mereyside Police this year is £318.586 million (of which £74.763 million comes from council tax, with the rest plus a savings target of around a million coming out of other taxes).

      So yes you do pay two sorts of taxes for the same thing.

      As to roads, there’s been a recent decision to spend £1.9 million on Wirral’s roads. You can read the details as to where it will be spent in the Cabinet report. Although the management of road repair is now done in house by Wirral Council, I think the actual road repair is still being contracted out.

  2. I’ll bet in any scenario, the next Mayor will be P Davies. That’s what they do in this council, give reward for toxic leadership, just like his predecessor. There appears to be no ‘Last Chance Saloon’ in WBC, there’s an exit and a secret backdoor that lets you back into the gravy train.

    • Well Cllr Tony Smith (as of last night) is now the Mayor (with Cllr George Davies as Deputy Mayor).


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