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Sleuth 12/12/2008

Manchester Civic Society in crisis, evil Brummie Santa, mad bus drivers, want to become a judge?

Published on December 11th 2008.

Sleuth 12/12/2008

Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to print. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows.>

Manchester Civic Society crisis
Tonight (Friday 12 December) is the AGM of Manchester Civic Society at the Museum of Science and Industry. Chaired by John Kershaw it looks like being feisty to say the least. The big question is whether the Civic Society actually exists in any useful or real form. There have been no events for many months, the Civic Society’s periodical Forum has not been published in its quarterly form this year, the AGM is six months late, the website has disappeared, the main committee has not been meeting, corporate sponsorship has all but disappeared. The Society looks like it’s in a mess, riven with internal disagreement. To most outsiders it’s become a laughing stock. Sleuth thinks Mr Kershaw is in for a rough ride to say the least.

More un-Civic Society
The story above is a shame. Because Sleuth thinks that previously the Civic Society has done some sterling work in questioning municipal and corporate interests in the city. They are one of those checks and balances necessary in a democracy. They forced rethinks over the Free Trade Hall redevelopment (now the Radisson Edwardian Hotel), pushed the Princess Street/Kennedy Street derelict buildings issue, helped ensure that Heaton Park wasn’t encroached upon by an educational building project and much else. It was also seen, in its heyday, as a model civic society nationally.

What shall we have a political row over next, Sleuth wonders? Ranters on Confidential over the last eight months have let fly with hundreds of thousands of words on whether we should agree to the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF), aka Congestion Charge. Just one story attracted 27,474 finely chosen bon mots. This was the one which invited people to ask Manchester City Council Chief Executive, Sir Howard Bernstein, questions on TIF. Wowsy. Despite congestion charge fatigue setting in towards the end of the campaign the way local politics became energised was splendid. So let’s do it all again with a referendum on whether Greater Manchester needs an Elected Mayor along London-lines.

Nothing left to talk about
Sleuth was talking to a prominent local politician the other day. She said, “With the congestion charge debate finished, what will we talk about now? It filled our lives. There’s nothing left.” As far as local politics are concerned Sleuth thinks she might well be right. It’s back to recycling bins. Let's have an Elected Mayor vote please.

Father Deathmas
Sleuth was in Birmingham the other day. He could have been in Manchester, Leeds or Nottingham. All the Christmas markets are literally identical. In fact Sleuth thinks the stall-holders have mastered travel in all dimensions of space and time – they can promote inflated festive prices in several places simultaneously and make a killing in cities all over the country. The only major difference was the Birmingham Santa. Sleuth has decided he likes the Manchester Zippy now. The Brum Father Christmas has the sort of manic-look that dolls in horror movies have before they come alive and dismember you. In fact that hand is ready for the killer blow.

Prediction and challenge
Confidential has a mentalist reader from Birmingham who obviously has some form of notification thing going on whereby every time the word Birmingham flashes up on Confidential (once a year or some such) he gets on our comment boards and gives Manchester a good kickin’. He’s goes by the name of Prof Rob Right. Come on Rob boy give it all you’ve got. We all want a laugh.

Bus route
This sign in Piccadilly Gardens amused Sleuth this week. It’s at that junction close to Marks and Spencer where buses swoop round at that safe bus speed of forty miles an hour despite lots of accidents happening there. Or they rev up and accelerate to get an advantage on another bus on Parker Street. The sign asks us to Look Behind. Is that possible while looking forwards and sideways as well? Sleuth reckons there are three types of bus drivers. Gentle ones (10%), Polish ones with little English (10%) and rude mad bastards (80%). Statistically you're more likely to jump aboard a vehicle being driven by one of the latter. It's just the way it goes. Sleuth also got his hands on these other proposals for bus warning signs at that junction: click here and here and here.

Training sessions for bus drivers
Sleuth hears the Passenger Care training sessions with bus drivers go one of two ways. Type one: “Right,” says the tutor, “let’s do the register of everyone.” Pause. “Ah nobody’s here again.” Type two: “Would you all agree,” says the tutor, “it’s best to smile at passengers as they get on board and welcome them. If they have queries we should be patient with them and help them arrive at their destination feeling content and cared for, after all they are paying our wages. All agreed?” Pause. “No,” say the bus drivers, “we want to look as though we’ve got severe problems at home, we want to mutter at passengers when they ask us any sort of question and we want to drive as though we’ve got something much more important to do somewhere else.”

Brought to Justice
Sleuth was odding around the Civil Justice Centre on Bridge Street the other day when he saw this flyer. ‘Ever thought about becoming a judge?’ it asked. Sleuth hadn’t until that moment but given his reputation for justice and fair-mindedness - especially amongst bus drivers - he’s thinking about doing so now. Sleuth reckons the girl in the picture on the flyer isn’t a model either but clearly a lady who really wants to have her way with briefs. Good for her thinks Sleuth, and looking at her hair all she needs to do is bleach it and then she wouldn’t have to put that silly wig on.

Advertising doom
Sleuth has been intrigued by the A-frame boards outside newsagents advertising the CityLife website from the Guardian Media Group. Odd thing for a newsagent to do thought Sleuth. Advertise something helping to put them out of business. Very queer.

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18 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Mancunian Exile living in SalfordDecember 11th 2008.

Aaaah, dear old Rob Right. He used to turn up on the BBC regional message board for Manchester, slagging the city off and bigging up Birmingham. Then he'd log on under another account and agree with himself!He's as mad as a box of frogs. About as mad as Paul Nolan I reckon.

Kershaw the right winger and right loon needs the sackDecember 11th 2008.

£5 to go to an AGM? What sort of power trip is the jumped up John Kershaw on now?

DrakeDecember 11th 2008.

You liars! You put this up on the 11th and are claiming its Friday. Are you intending to have the day off? Watching the rolling Channel M coverage of the c charge result I've no doubt.

SURFACE2AIRDecember 11th 2008.

I was on the 58 bus from Shaw to Oldham last week and swear the driver was re-enacting the final scene from Mad Max 2!We even had some punks with mohicans climbing all over the back seats.Perhaps this is First Buses new entertainment policy famous chases from the movies?

Confused !?!December 11th 2008.

EDITORIAL,why do profanities get edited to hide their true meaning on this site within rants, yet you feel happy with the article on crazy bus drivers to have the same?just wondered...:@)

Brum funDecember 11th 2008.

Why hasn't that Rob Right responded yet, I've been looking forward to him coming on?

AeronDecember 11th 2008.

I'm guessing the person who ordered the Brummie 'Santa' may have been dyslexic given how demonic it looks!

In the knowDecember 11th 2008.

I know Kershaw (MCS), he has spent a lifetime trying to take over clubs and associations (see Carlton Club where the members had to break in to retake their club, reported in the MEN). He destroys all, the MCS has no future with this slimeball as chairman

Ali McGowanDecember 11th 2008.

Sleuth, you have made my day :D ... as I sit at my desk eating my fish n chips, I have tried to muffle without much success my hysterical laughter at your bus driver musings and new bus warning posters. Meanwhile, the Brought to Justice piece is a small stroke of genius. Briefs. Hilarious.

Stan ButlerDecember 11th 2008.

I have been a bus driver for 25 years and it would be a great job if it wasnt for the passengers.People want to get where they are going as quick as possible which is why i drive as fast as possible.As for Surface2airs comment about re-enacting movie chases this only encourages me to drive even faster in future!One of my routes takes me over a humped back bridge so if you are ever on my bus Surface2air we really will be going Surface2air my friend.

DebsDecember 11th 2008.

I remember reading Robs posts on the BBC Manchester message board! Poor bloke, makes you wonder why, if Brummie land is as good as he makes out, he feels the need to bombard Manchester based message boards and sites with his bitter tosh.

cping500December 11th 2008.

CORRECTION The Manchester Civic Society told they were meeting at THE BRITONS PROTECTION.... at 8.30 Its a £5'er. See you all there!

The Reverend AlwaysrightDecember 11th 2008.

I would urge everyone who is thinking of becoming involved with the MCS to stay away .They practice the black arts and go against Gods Holy teachings.Be aware my children.

eddy rheadDecember 11th 2008.

Ive found, on many occasions, that people who have wider political aspirations and who fail in those wider political aspirations often jump on board smaller, less overtly political bandwagons to live out their little power fantasies. What this usually achieves is alienating those who cared about that cause in the first place, ultimately nothing gets done and it ends up with fully grown toddlers fighting over toys. I say this obviously in reference to the MCS. Manchester deserves better.

Prof Gob ShiteDecember 11th 2008.

Who you calling 'mentalist' you ******* piece of ***** ****** **** Manc **** ****** ;)

AnonymousDecember 11th 2008.

Re MCS - my husband and I tried to join a few years ago and we went to an evening Christmas event. The experience was peculiar to say the least as we seemed to be regarded as unwelcome interlopers, even though we had paid a membership fee. Our attempts to introduce ourselves were stone-walled, and we gave up and left early. There were a couple of such awkward encounters with MCS over the following couple of months, along with issues such as not receiving a membership card or copy of the newsletter. We made a complaint and our membership fee was refunded. However, we have from time to time received communications from various people at MCS asking us to reconsider joining and promising a relaunched society. Unfortunately for MCS, people who are sociable, active community members and lead busy lives soon fill their time with organisations and people who make them feel welcome, or at least tolerated!

27474December 11th 2008.

I hardly think the congestion argument is over.Just wait until those results come out! We will have a huge explosive debate soon im sure,I am just waiting in the wings and have lit the touch paper...te-he....

cping500December 11th 2008.

Curious...I've been invited a meeting of the Manchester Civic Society at the Rain... which includes the AGM on Friday. I will investigate further Incidentally BT thing it is based in Eccles :-) See you there Sleuth.

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