Bridgwater Town Diary

Some things what happen in Bridgwater and some equally personal thoughts about them by Westover Councillor and Town Council Leader Brian Smedley. All opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily not bonkers.

A Very British Lock Down

“Second rank…..Self isolate!”

Well, we didn’t expect this 3 months ago did we. Back then all we cared about was getting Brexit done and making sure that that socialist nutcase Jeremy Corbyn with his command economy  and his magical socialist money tree didn’t get anywhere near government. Bridgwater looks like a wasteland-shops closed, empty streets, queues at the Foodbank, the NHS struggling to cope, oh no that was BEFORE coronavirus…that was after 10 years of Tory austerity, I forgot.  And of course people were dying all the way through that. The difference is that now we’re focused-because we have to be. Focused on the problem and focused on the solution. When we come out of this the world will have changed -that’s for sure. It will have to.

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Coronavirus – So How Are We Coping In Bridgwater?

toilet roll
If you want it here it is…come and get it..but you better hurry cos it’s going fast….

In a county which has had 0 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, 0 deaths and 0 threats to its social fabric (so far…), how come the people are literally shitting themselves? And without even a toilet roll left on the town’s supermarket shelves as well! At this time on a Saturday afternoon I’d normally be sat in front of a TV watching Leeds United’s triumphant march to the Premiership. But with all sporting fixtures postponed I decided to go looking for toilet roll. Not a single supermarket (and I visited them all) had one…apart from Lidl’s-which had literally one. As I reached down to take it, I remembered that old trick where you glue a penny to the pavement…Ha! No…you won’t catch me I thought.  But in this 10th year of Conservative rule why are people being so selfish? Oh, sorry I’ve just answered that one. Of course Government advice changes by the day- maybe this time next week it will have changed again, schools now open will have closed, large scale public events now encouraged will be banned , Diogo Rodrigues will have joined 2 more political parties, and Boris Johnson will have stopped talking about ‘herd imunisation’ as if the plan is for a mass culling of the working class. Either way I thought it was about time we had a look around our town and saw exactly how we’re coping. And with no Leeds game on, that’s exactly what I did…

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And Now For Something Completely F**king Mental – “Brexit”

These are not lovable cartoon characters getting up to jolly japes, people actually voted for them

This week Terry Jones died. Monty Pythons Flying Circus hit the TV screens of  that same generation that voted for the UK to join the European Union in the 1970s and Jones, Cleese, Palin, Chapman, Idle and Gilliam symbolised that world we were leaving. A Britain of uptight, uppercrust, upperclass twits,up with an Empire that had already died and up their own arses. Good riddance to that world. That world of private schools, prefects and fags, women as glamorous scenery (unless they were being played by men, in which case they could be funny), heroic prison escapes, noble twits in uniforms fighting pointless wars to the last working class foot soldier and nudge nudge know what i mean. And we all did. That world had gone. Until this week. When it was back. And there was Nigel ‘F’Tang F’Tang Ole Biscuit Barrel’ Farage and some of the worse people you could ever imagine on show to represent Britain, waving plastic union flags as they took our nation out of the European project. And into the bar next door.

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The Lib Dems:- a Warning From History

lib dims
Won’t get fooled again….or will we?

I have to admit I was a Liberal once. It was at the time when my pet pony Bimbo had died and I wanted to get back at the world without damaging the essentially benevolent nature of international capitalism. And, of course, to annoy my Labour voting parents. It was a time when you knew the Liberals wouldn’t get anywhere and nobody, including yourself, actually wanted them to. How times have changed. These days the Libdems actively try to get into government, even though nobody wants them to. And will do anything to achieve those ends whether its trying to convince people that Labour can’t win in areas where they clearly can and are best placed to, or actively getting into bed with the dastardly but oh-we -love-them-really Tories  and forming coalitions where they sell out almost all of the policies they got elected on in the first place. But the history is out there for us to learn from….but will we?

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Dear Queen, about these shopping trolleys…..

Bridgwater, redefining itself as a tourism destination….

This week a dead cow floated along the River Parrett and came to rest amongst the shopping trolleys under Bridgwater’s famous town bridge. Later that day it floated away. And then came back again on the next tide. For Bridgwater Town Council Leader ,Brian Smedley, who was in the middle of guiding a party of tourists from Bristol Civic Society around the town, this was the last straw. But when he contacted Sedgemoor District Council they told him to contact the Environment Agency. Then when he contacted the Environment Agency they said they wouldn’t remove it as it wasn’t a flood hazard and would probably just float away. It did. But then floated back. Then he contact Somerset County Council who, apart from not having any money to do pretty much anything at the moment, also totally denied all responsibility. For a couple of days a dead cow has been floating up and down our river. But for a year or more a couple of dozen discarded shopping trolleys have also come to characterise Bridgwater at low tide. And no one seems to want to do anything about that either. So on deeper investigation Cllr Smedley discovered that in fact the river bed from shiny sea to Blake Bridge on Broadway is in fact designated responsibility of the Crown Estates. Finally finding the responsible party he wrote to them to sort it out at once. The actual letter is attached herein but the first draft, recovered from the Town Hall recycling centre, you can find reproduced below…

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