Local Government officers want to know if you’re ready,
because they aren’t.

Hot on the heels of the Slog’s rundown of UK local government’s financial mess, a reader from the Thames Valley writes with electronic evidence that everything’s alright really, because the deficit is other people’s money, not theirs. The irate curse-spitting Slogger alerts us to his receipt of a

’25-page booklet entitled “Are you ready?”, which I actually think should have been called “Are you thick?”.

‘Are you Ready?’ has form: it’s also been used in the West Country here and there to use up spare budget funds, when it was called ‘Are You Prepared?’. Obviously the national reading age couldn’t cope with two-syllable words.

This particular version of the meaningless obvious has been organised by The Thames Valley Resilience Forum. This radical group has its own “Emergency Planning Officers” and “Resilience Managers”, more silly-billies made possible by the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act.

It was one of New Labour’s 37,600 new laws, requiring Councils to ‘make information available to the public’ – a somewhat broad and ill-focused brief. It seems that Milton Keynes is even planning a “Launch Event” for the brochure. The things to be prepared for include:

Building evacuation
Severe weather
Heavy snow and extreme cold
High winds
Hot weather
Infectious diseases
Loss of power and water
Security incident
Volcanic eruptions

and I made the last two up. A lady at West Berks said taxpayers should not worry about the cost to Council Tax, as contributions had also been made by Thames Valley Police, the NHS, the Environment Agency, the Health Protection Agency , and three Fire & Rescue services (Oxon, Buck and Berks). And they, as we all know, get their funds from the tooth fairy.

The fact that the Councils ‘have to’ do this is rubbish: the 2004 Pitt Act is vague enough to allow for the sending of one A4 mono leaflet once a year saying ‘Hello we are local council, you unfortunate citizen. You pay us money, we arse about’.

The thing that I find most concerning about the mentality of NALGO’s finest is what on earth they’re going to do when Osborne’s machete falls upon their necks. Because clearly, they are quite unfit for a life which has anything to do with commerce, long division or reality. Which leaves only teaching – and we certainly don’t want them anywhere near that.