THE VIEW FROM HEREA RECRUITMENT advertisement put out by the Highways Agency demonstrates in glorious fashion the superiority of our council over all other public bodies.
Responsible for the management of England’s motorways and trunk roads, the Highways Agency is seeking a director to oversee the delivery and development of a PFI contract for its M25 network.
Here on the Island, we know all about PFI contracts. Shall we see what this upstart Highways Agency has to say on the matter?
"You will be responsible for one of Europe’s busiest motorways," boasts the advertisement. Yeah, yeah.
Has the Highways Agency ever observed the traffic queues on the dual carriageway between the hospital roundabout and Coppins Bridge as the Island heads home for its tea? Now, that’s what you call busy.
What next? The successful applicant will, apparently, "manage the country’s largest road Private Finance Initiative contract."
Says who, pray? It surely can’t be any larger than our PFI, whose glories have been trumpeted forth by County Hall with the kind of veneration normally reserved for the arrival of the Messiah.
It seems the M25 PFI contract is "valued at more than £6.2 billion." Well, £6.2 billion schmillion to you, too.
Ours is worth, let’s see, what is ours worth, Cllr Giles? £260 million?
Well, that’s sort of like £6.2billion, especially if you put it back to front and stick a dot in and change the 'm’ into a 'b’.
See? With all this Greek euro stuff going on, you can’t really tell any more. Crazy days, crazy prices.
So the Highways Agency needn’t get all cocky about its PFI. Ours is just as good.
And, look, here’s where we really score. What do you think it’s paying this director it’s getting in to manage the country’s "largest road PFI initiative"?
After all that swanking about "one of Europe’s busiest motorways", it had better be good.
Excuse me? What kind of measly salary is that?
Utterly pathetic. Here on the Island, we’ve already got a PFI director. His name is Jay Jayasundara and the latest published figures on his pay packet reveal that in 2010/11 he scooped a magnificent £181,121, including £148,934 salary, with expenses of £31,900 and £287.
No, I don’t know what the £287 was for. An extra biccie with his elevenses, probably.
That’s the way to do it. None of your silly little £85,000 rewards.
Remember Mr Toad? Only the best for him when it came to roads and motoring.
The Highways Agency can brag all it likes about having the largest PFI contract but we’ve got Mr Toad right here in County Hall, soaking up potloads of lovely money in the grandest manner. Poop poop!
A cheery sound on the minutes
AS the Island’s smart set (with our councillors) arrived last week for the council’s annual meeting, they were given a cheery musical welcome by members of Medina College’s Ukulele Orchestra.Strumming away on their jolly little instruments, the students perked up the atmosphere no end.
It takes a lot to lift the council chamber out of its almost perpetual state of tetchy ineptitude but the ukulele never fails to produce a smile and these kids gave it their all. They sang along, too, and it was a treat to hear at last some words in County Hall which actually made sense.
The orchestra was started two years ago and has around 20 members, aged between 11 and 19, with 60 more learning to play. They perform at all sorts of events, including the IW Festival, and recently wowed members of the Women’s Institute with a ukulele rendition of Jerusalem.
Why not book the Medina ukuleles for your own gig? If they can cheer up the council, they can do it for anybody.
A little night music
I RECENTLY had to get a 4am ferry to the mainland, which meant staggering out of bed just before three. I groped for the radio button, expecting to hear some dreary World Service programme about the economy of Botswana or engineering factories in Minsk but not a bit of it.
I was whirled into the frenetic world of the BBC’s "learning zone" for very young children.
First they told me a cutsie little story about talking fish and then there were songs ("Sing along, everybody!") and then they said it was time for a dance.
"Find a partner, make two lines, stamp your feet and one, two, three, off we go!")
Marvellous for insomniac kiddies and, if you’ve got to get up in the middle of the night, really quite uplifting.
They should rethink the group dance though. I thought of waking up the entire street so I could do it properly but, in the end, I just had to ask my imaginary friends to join in.