The joyless council jobsworths strike again!


What a joyless, pitiful, over regulated and petty country we’ve become. Okay, so this isn’t the most important, Earth shattering example of it but it is a bit of an real eye roller, of the “bloody typical” kind. The “happiest lollipop man in the world”, one Mr. Mdikane, ensures the pupils of Aitkenbar Primary school in Dumbarton cross the road safely. Not only that but he puts a smile on their faces and that of their parents and passing motorists. That’s right, a singing, dancing, laughing, joking, high-fiving lollipop man! The children love him, in-fact you can well imagine they look forward to walking up to the spot where Mr. Mdikane is, so much so that they always cross safely with him rather than rushing to cross elsewhere. When they get there they are greeted with a cheerful grin and a high five, what fun! A great example of good old British eccentricity from this chippy emigrant from Vereeniging, South Africa who chooses to work as a lollipop man after retirement. Good on him.

Well, he won’t be singing, dancing or high fiving any more. The joyless busybody regulators of the council have spoken. Now the local authority has insisted that he should immediately cease all expressions of personality and repress any individuality that has seeped into his job, lollipop men should “remain static with one hand on their stick and the other stretched outwards”. This is despite the fact he has been doing this for two years with absolutely no issues and has become something of a local hero. Having previously praised his “excellent service” West Dunbartonshire Council have imposed the singing, dancing, high-fiving ban due to safety reasons…. there has been no issues of safety, no accidents, no problems, but that doesn’t matter to this most dubious of authorities.

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Councillors used to give up their time voluntarily out of a sense of duty and a desire to serve their community, then in the 90’s they began to draw a salary.Then my,my, didn’t they begin to think they were jolly important. Councillors with delusions of significance, their battalions of high-vis jacketed busy bodies and their jobsworth regulatory instinct. They have become ever more self-important and self-aggrandising, believing more and more in their imagined authority. They are busy bodying all over the place ready to slap on a parking ticket, tell you what you can and cannot do in a public space and demanding you hold a licence to do this and that. Would a voluntary council willingly serving their community be so joyless and pathetically uncompromising as to ban Mr. Mdikane from putting a smile on children’s faces against the wishes of the people he, and all the councillors, work for?

Okay, so you could argue that the job has a clearly defined role, and there are rules and guidelines etc. etc. But then I think, didn’t he do his job while also going above and beyond? For goodness sake, get a grip, why did they not just think, ‘well, its unconventional but what is the harm?’ instead of being so mean spirited, so pettily uncompromising. Again, it doesn’t seem that important, does it? But that’s how it happens, its incremental. Don’t do that becomes don’t do this, or this, nor that. For safety reasons, for health reasons, for security reasons, or just… well, because I they say so.







  1. “Mean-spirited” is exactly the right word.

    But after all, Dolores Umbrage has got to feel important too, ya know.

    What would happen if the parents–and it would help if it were most of the parents, and especially if a few of the parents were Big Noises in either local business or politics or a church or a charitable body–were to storm the office of Council and demand — yes, demand — that the crossing guards be allowed to do their work their way, as long as the parents were satisfied that they were doing good jobs and there were no accidents that could be laid at their doors?

    Naturally there would be lots of throat-clearings and harrrumphings and hemmings-and-hawings, and the Council would insist that it simply could not do such a thing, it Cannot Be Allowed! The safety of The Children comes first!

    The parents then explain why they simply cannot allow their children to attend a school where such dictatorial, Nazi-esque (yes, the “N” word!) methods are used to try to cow such worthy citizens as themselves, AND to instill in their children the inner compulsion to Obedience to Authority.

    And that their children will not be attending that school anymore, until such time as their demands that Mr. Mdikane be allowed to guard according to whatever methods he and they find mutually agreeable are met.

    And then, the little dears do not show their dear little faces around the school until the Council sees the light.



  2. Unless Scotland is very different from England “councillors” will have no say in this decision – indeed any effort to intervene (to defend the man) would have been greeted with outrage.

    What people “know” about local government is, normally, just not so.

    For example, when disaster strikes an American town elected people are in charge – in Britain officials are (by law).

    We used to have “Town Clerks” – we now (since the early 1970s) have “Chief Executives”.

    No one elects them.

    By the way if you really do want elected people to “run” local government – well that salary you spoke of would have to be rather more than about three thousand Pounds a year.

    And, no, I do not claim “expenses”.



  3. Well (she said with some asperity), if the Councils or the elected officials or whatever restricted themselves to the proper functions of government — which certainly does not include running educational establishments nor the health-care system — it would take considerably less time, and therefore pay for serving thereon would be properly small or even non-existent.

    Although being a volunteer is no proof of freedom from Umbrageism.

    [As a matter of fact, our Public Library (largish and not poverty-stricken) naturally has some volunteer helpers, and for a while I noticed a large sign to the effect that applications to volunteer were currently solicited. Included in the sign was a very short list of requirements or do’s and don’t’s or some such, and among them was a statement that volunteers were expected to treat the public with courtesy and (paraphrasing) not with snottiness or snobbishness.]



    1. I suspect that the towns and cities of England and Wales were better governed (and by that I mean less governed) when the only “local government” was the local aristocracy and gentry (the unpaid J.P.s) in the rural areas, and the “closed corporations” (basically private clubs) and Church Vestries in the towns. For example in Manchester the Liberals promised that local property taxes would fall when the new elected council (under the Act of 1835) came into force – of course the local taxes went UP (there and everywhere else that got an elected council).

      However, I did not write that – no not at all, it would be outrageous for anyone to write the above paragraph.

      Seriously – I would say that Kettering continued to improve even after the introduction of local government in the early 1870s and the School Board in 1891 – at least to look at. However, after the First World War some unpleasant looking government housing (like this one I think) was added (for a description see the houses that the men of “Sharkey” used to build as described at the end of the Lord of the Rings), and then after the Second World War the big private estates started to appear, then from about 1960 buildings started to get destroyed in the town and replaced by ugly looking buildings.

      Still it could be worse – vastly worse.

      Had the plans of the 1960s and 1970s been fully carried out this town would look like something the “Daleks” built (if you have heard of them).



  4. This man is exercising a right granted by statute to stop traffic, in State-funded employment, and therefore to impede passage on the Queen’s Highway of motorists in favour of pedestrians. As he is doing so by lawful authority, it is incumbent that he do so only within the limits of his authority.

    If he delays one motorist on one occasion for any conceivable period of time, then he is in the wrong.

    Be you ever so high, the law is above you.



    1. Yes Mr Ed – your logic is correct. The Chairman of the K.B.C. R&D Committee (at least till his inevitable doom) sadly sighs and says “the next item on the agenda is ….”



  5. Just because someone complains, does not mean the complaint must be pandered to.

    There are too many in positions of authority with a lack of common sense and critical reasoning skills



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