Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Tales of Squirrel Nutkin: Lianne is Unfit for Council

Being involved in campaigning activity and high level discussions elsewhere in Withington constituency LOL were unable to personally cover the West Didsbury Residents Association hustings on Thursday night. But we did have a special correspondent present to listen in on the incumbent party's bizarre pick for candidate Lianne Williams. And naturally the other candidates also.

First things first. The evening's proceedings were ably stewarded by WDRA's own Ian Findlay with nothing but a flickers of subtle eyebrow work to greet the unfolding Lianne Williams' train crash. This election - rather like the last Chorlton fight - is hers to lose. Indeed with a cushion of around 600 instead of a nominal lead of about 40 and "the mo" even she will be hard pushed to throw this one away.

[aside]Whether the South Manchester Reporter's retelling of the Tale of Lianne Nutkin is honest and scathing or the usual sucking-up-to-Leech cover up will not matter. Most people won't get their paper until tea time on polling day, or indeed the day after polling. Was the hustings put on this date to achieve this very thing? And where were Channel M - our "community TV station"?[/aside]

But of that at least Lianne of all people is capable. Let's start with her tour de force over the Lib Dems' major campaign to Save Marie Louise Gardens which I may come back to anon. Asked about this she reverted to a five year old and gushed about squirrels, gush gush, squirrels, gush gush, squirrels, that she had seen there as a child. The images of reddy grey examples in this post, from LOL's own collection and shot in MLG, are a tribute to Lianne's squirrelly gushy inner child.

Earlier in the debate Li-anne's not-so-gushy outer child was particularly found out when she (a) answered first and couldn't say "me too" and (b) hadn't been given a crib sheet by her handlers.

Who could have anticipated candidates for council being asked whether as councillors they could actually achieve anything on behalf of their constituents?

That one comes right out of the blue, from left field, who would have thunk it? Lianne's conclusion? Nope. If elected councillor, Lianne muttered and stumbled her way to the conclusion that ... she'd be able to achieve nothing whatsoever. "The Party" would. And she works in John Leech MP's office (presumably getting paid by our money) and he was like a councillor for the whole area. He could get things done.

Labour Dave followed, demolishing this nonsense with the correct response. He would get things done. Working with local people. Working with local organisations like WDRA. Working with council officers, executive members, and the Labour group. Not standing on the sidelines and jeering like some Squirrel Nutkin*. Tory David Bean likewise was coherent, likeable, amusing even comedic - he's Mr Bean, why wouldn't he be? - and one hundred times better than Lianne.

And here's another one right out of left field. Given the credit crunch and the existing and accelerating closures of shops on one of the ward's main shopping centres Burton Road what could Lianne do about it?

I expect you can guess? "Oooh, we do have some nice shops on Burton Road. Really good shops. But, Oooh, let me see. Oooh, I don't know what we should do about it. I don't know. I really don't. Oooh, er, no, sorry I haven't a clue. We couldn't do anything."

Once again the two Dave's on stage right had useful, thoughtful, positive answers. And Greenie Geoff Evans, perhaps infected by the childish Lianne on stage left, or perhaps just a natural lightweight in his own right, had little to say.

Clearly Lianne can read answers prepared by others. Bit singalong naturally. But she can read alright. But has she an idea of her own? Nope. Can she think on her feet? Double nope. Is she suitable councillor material? Nope and Treble Nope.

Let's hope that the people of Didsbury West see through the deep-lying fog of Focus trash and realise that Lianne represents the Lib Dem tendancy for Stepford Councillors. Simply ciphers, photo opportunists - she points a good pothole does Lianne - and leaflet deliverers for uber-councillor John "Hospital Hoax" Leech.

* BEATRIX POTTER FOOTNOTE: Don't know your Squirrel Nutkin from your Samuel Whiskers? Spoiler alert. Both escaping great jeopardy. The Wiki for Nutkin is here and you can read the whole thing in facsimile thanks to the Gutenburg project right here. The Tale/Tail (geddit?) is very appropriate.

A wise old Owl (which might be the electorate of Didsbury West) eventually getting fed up with the teasing and taunting and useless malarkey of scrumping Squirrel Nutkin (the useless Lib Dems) sets out to skin him alive. Nutkin did of course escape - Beatrix Potter is not a death cultist - but he had lost most of his unbelievably bushy tale/tail.

Lost his seat you might say.

UPDATE 12:15: Mister Bean has reviewed too with engaging combination of fellow feeling and triumphalism, and also provided some retail therapy with bold claims of unique solutions.

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