Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 12/03/13

Arseholes To The Left And Right, Arseholes All Around

So many times I've said it here (the most recent occasion being only last Sunday (fourth paragraph), but if there is one thing which really makes my wig wobble it's the high-handed behaviour of those who hold power.

(Power, note, not 'authority'. The two - though often spoken of as a matching pair - are not the same thing. If you're not clear on the difference, may I refer you to G.K. Chesterton?

"If a rhinoceros were to enter this restaurant now, there is no denying he would have great power here. But I would be the first to rise and assure him that he had no authority whatever.")

It isn't just on the national or global scale that this phenomenon emerges like a large fart in a small swimming pool. Every organisation has those within it who believe either that their position accords to them a sort of Divine Emperor status whereby their decisions and utterances are to be disseminated like wisdom from the gods, not to be called into question lest the Empyrean Heaven fall; or they simply believe that they can just do as they choose and sod everyone else because they've got what they think is 'authority', often because they possess a piece of paper telling them so.

Often, these attributes combine in the same individual to produce someone who is so full of himself that you couldn't get a Smartie in at one end or a suppository at the other...

(I concede that it may be possible - if not advisable - to use Smarties as suppositories, but my tastes don't run that way in any case; although it does remind me of the rejoinder used in my uncouth youth to dismiss an irritating person: "Shove a peanut up yer bum, it'll come out a Treet!" But I digress.)

...and whose whole identity - at least in their own mind - is so utterly wrapped up in their position that no decision that they make, however inane, however cloddish, however downright bloody stupid, can ever be a matter for challenge. And often, the smaller the position of power, the smaller the mind which occupies it.

There is, alas, no danger of such exotic creatures featuring on the endangered-species list any time soon.

Just in the last hour or so I have come across three examples of the breed in its natural habitat without even having to go beyond the Wales pages of the BBC News website. So, we have...

Howell's School, Denbigh: Head wins unfair dismissal case

Howell's School is a posh girls' school (or a school for posh girls) in Denbigh. It seems to cater mainly for the daughters of the horsey set, as its academic achievements appear to be rather less than stellar.

The School has - or rather, had - a rather flamboyant head teacher. His manner obviously didn't accord with what the Trustees - no doubt conscious of their brand image (though not so conscious of it that they haven't previously behaved in a thoroughly twattish fashion) - wished, so they seem to have hatched a plot to get rid of him (and his partner, who also worked there) using the by now tried-and-tested 'social media' ploy, in that they objected to Mr Bernie Routledge communicating with pupils by such methods (although there was no policy forbidding him from doing so).

Trustee (and was there ever so inaccurate a word in the context) Robbie Locke said that he had been "...horrified to see he was communicating with pupils". Shocked he was, shocked to find that communicating was going on in there. Captain Renault (sorry, Mr Locke) consulted an un-named school inspector who told him to refer it to the police and social services...who both told him that no crime had been committed. So Capt...erm...Mr Locke referred it to another authority - his brother, who was (and what an interesting insight into family mores this is) also 'horrified'.

Thus thwarted, Locke dismissed Mr Routledge and his partner. During an earlier session of the Employment Tribunal hearing which was the inevitable consequence, Locke's wife Nicola accused Routledge to his face of being a 'paedophile'. Nice lady.

The Tribunal concluded today with a thumping for the Lockes...no, sorry, as much as it might have been justified, it was just a thumping victory for Mr Routledge and his partner Helen Price. Once again, the 'Trustees' of Howell's School, Denbigh (to be distinguished from its sister establishment in Llandaf) have proven themselves incapable of enjoying the trust of anyone, least of all of those parents whose commitment to snobbery outstrips their sense, if not their bank balance.

One-nil to humanity, then.

No such happy outcome (at least, not yet) in another case, however.

Sick leave shark wrestler Paul Marshallsea sacked

Paul Marshallsea was the project co-ordinator for Pant and Dowlais Boys and Girls Club in Merthyr Tudful, where both he and his wife had worked for a decade. Having given it their all for ten years, both Paul and Wendy Marshallsea had to take sick leave for work-related stress. Their doctor advised them to take a holiday, so they went to visit some friends in Australia.

On the beach one day, by one of those twists of plot which not even the most desperate of Disney's script committees would dare put forward for a movie, Mr Marshallsea saw a shark's fin moving towards a group of children playing in the shallows. Nothing loth, Mr Marshallsea waded in, grabbed said shark and 'persuaded' it away into deeper water away from the kids (all this was captured on video). Local lifeguards praised his courage and the story went world-wide.

None of this seems to have impressed the stout buggers...erm, sorry...burgers...erm, I mean burghers who run Pant and Dowlais Boys and Girls Club in Merthyr Tudful, who sacked Mr Marshallsea. In their letter to him, these thugs said:

"Whilst unfit to work you were well enough to travel to Australia..."

Of course he was, you Valleys wankers! He was deemed by a qualified medical practitioner to be unfit for work. Get that, twerps? For work! You know, the work for your organisation which had caused his illness in the first place?

A second letter (as if the first wasn't enough) whined that there had been a:

"...breakdown of the trustees' confidence and trust in you..."

I think the breakdown is in the other direction, don't you boys and girls?

I think I know what has happened here. Merthyr Tudful is one of those parts of Wales where the Labour Party has exercised almost unbroken power since the 1920s, creating in the process a one-party state which even Enver Hoxha would have boggled at. Two things typify such areas: firstly, that they have become areas of generational poverty not only of economy but of ambition; and secondly, the one thing that the apparatchiks of Valleys Labour really hate is being upstaged by someone better than they are. That petty jealousy has often transmitted itself by acts of petty spite against anyone who crosses them, and that is almost certainly what impelled the twopenny commissars of Pant and Dowlais to issue their edict against a man who is quite clearly their superior in every important respect.

If we had any courageous politicians (which we don't - the gravy on the train is an addictive soporific), then they should immediately be demanding not only the resignations of the pillocks who sacked Mr Marshallsea, but a thorough independent audit of the Pant and Dowlais's affairs, on pain of being denied a single penny more of public funding for refusal to open the books.

So, one-all now. But, I'm afraid the killer goal is about to be scored for the opposition:

Llanover Estate tells Ochran Mill couple told to pull up 20k garden

David and Elaine Rolfe were tenants of Ochran Mill on the private Llanover Estate in Monmouthshire. Over a period of eleven years, they spent 20 000 of their own money on creating a fantastic garden which attracted widespread attention and praise.

Sadly, Mr Rolfe was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour last summer and, in order to care for him properly in his final months, the family had to move out of the mill.

The response of those running the Llanover Estate? Sadness, perhaps? Maybe a commitment to keeping the gardens going as an attraction for visitors or even botanists?

Not a bit of it. The 'managers' of the estate (and you know where this is going when the word 'managers' appears in a story; right to that destination marked "Tiny-minded, self-regarding, grasping arseholes") have ordered Mrs Rolfe to pull up the whole garden and return it to the condition of rough pasture, on pain of having to pay the estate 5000 to have it covered in gravel.

There seems to be no sense of decency or decorum left in the 'managers' of the Llanover Estate. The very last vestiges of human compassion seem to have been squeezed out of them by the necessary avarice of those who own or 'manage' property.

The 'resident land agent' for Llanover, one James Perks, whined:

"It's not going to be sustainable once they have left."

Adding, with the arrogant disingenuousness one has come to expect from the species:

"We have tried to be as sympathetic as we can..."

Before giving the game away somewhat with:

"We can't leave the property empty for months."

No, we can't let any sense of humanity stand between a landowner and his profit, can we? The age of chivalry may be dead, but the age of rentier avarice shall never die!

A few interesting facts:

(Note, please, that I have not provided any links here; as satisfying as it would be - at least in the short term - to e-mail Mr Perks to tell him he combines the social attributes of an incontinent dingo with the ethics of a mad arsonist, it's not for me to facilitate such actions. Please feel free to Google and do as thou wilt.

So, after time added on for stoppages, the final score seems to be Humanity 1 Arrogant Assholes 2. It wasn't always thus: will I be alive long enough for it not to be thus again?