Fans of satirical political fiction may be familiar with the blog of “Councillor Terry Kelly.” It’s an incredible effort, as these things go – constant musings about the “laugharendum”, jokes about wee Eck and his tartanshirts, over enthusiastic use of inverted commas in “inappropriate situations“ etc. etc.
Whenever I read it, I get the stench of stale bevvie and sweaty rage which I’d always assumed whoever the author was wished to convey. I sometimes felt a bit guilty about how far it went in roasting the angry, tribal patriarchs of local government, yet their essence is so well captured in the mass of varying fonts, Arthur Scargill tributes and constant insinuation that Scotland is drifting towards fascist dictatorship with Alex Salmond (BOO!) at the helm.
My feelings of guilt/amusement were rather diminished this week when it was pointed out to me that Councillor Kelly is not the creation of an eager Yes Scotland intern with too much time on their hands but an actual person who holds a position of elected office, as a Labour member of Renfrewshire Council. It’s really not that funny when you think about it.
The Paisley North West ward he “represents” includes 2 areas which were listed in the 5 most deprived in Scotland, according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. So given that his blog reliably informs readers “I’m a socialist” and is adorned with lists of nice things he’s in favour of, bad things he’s against and misspelt communist song lyrics, you’d imagine he’d have quite a lot to say about the effects of relentless deindustrialisation, then privitisation, and now austerity on his own area. Turns out, he’s not *that* kind of socialist.
He demonstrated exactly what kind of socialist he was when someone commented on his blog with this quote, taken from an interview with someone who works at the Maryhill Food Bank, which appeared in the Evening Times,
I have worked in social work for 20 years, so I am pretty hardened but we had a family come in on a Tuesday at 3pm having not eaten since the previous Friday.
There had been a problem with benefits and because it was a Bank Holiday weekend the mum had no money for food for her or her two children.
I watched the mum pick up and put down can after can, wondering what she doing, before I realised she was looking for one with a ring pull.
She ripped the top off and starting eating the beans with her hands, she was so hungry. At that point I had to go to the toilets and have a cry.
Clearly moved by this, the Councillor declared,
what a terrible story, a woman and her 2 children going without food for 4 days, did they have to walk several miles in their bare feet through howling winds and driving rain to get there as well?. No wonder you prefer anonymity, what a crock of bulldung. If your social worker with 20 years experience actually exists, you should ask her what caused this catastrophic breakdown in the social work system which has provision to make sure that such an incident could not happen. Hyperbole is difficult to avoid when you are an idiot.
When the poster returned, again citing the source of the quote, the Councillor stuck steadfastly to his faecal based defence,
I don’t care if you read it in the fecking Bible, it’s a crock of s**t and you are an idiot.
We’ve covered the scandalous growth in demand for food banks before and while there are no official statistics for food bank use in Scotland, the largest provider of food aid, the Trussell Trust, gave out 71,428 food parcels to Scots in 2013 and the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee said last week that food bank use may have risen by as much as 400% in the last year. The committee (and everyone else) blame the relentless attacks on the unemployed, the vulnerable and the disabled being carried out by the Westminster Government. But your local Labour representative thinks that’s all a crock of shit made up by idiots.
Shocking as this particular outburst is, it’s not the sole reason for Councillor Kelly’s induction. There have been plenty of silly things he’d said before and there will be plenty more in future. It’s more that this level of detachment from reality made me wonder if even Terry Kelly actually knows he’s supposed to be a councillor. I ‘ve come to the conclusion he doesn’t…which goes some way towards explaining why there is something missing from his wonderous online world – any mention either of the people he represents or what he’s actually doing to represent them.
It shouldn’t be hard to make yourself look busy on your own website but there isn’t even the pretence he gives a fuck – no glum photos standing next to potholes, no testimonials from “concerned local residents” about how the seperatists on the council have their eye on cancelling the number 14 bus, no ribbons being cut, not even a picture of a baby recoiling in terror at the threat of a kiss, just him furiously fumbling on about Nazi nats and opinion polls conducted among school kids in Moray which prove everyone hates Alex Salmond as much as he does.
On the rare instances he documents his attendance at council meetings, it’s usually to tell us about the dastardly Renfrewshire SNP doing things like waking him up when he’s trying to sleep in the chamber and wasting his precious time by discussing how to best support children who’re struggling to balance their education with their role as carers for their families.
Stating that Mr. Kelly is a wanker may not send earthquakes through the corridors of power, even the slightly dank ones at Renfrewshire Council but the Councillor Kellys of our local politics have been hiding in plan sight for too long. He may be a much more rounded satirical character and a more damning indictment of Scottish Labour and its “unique” brand of socialism than anything we could invent but the arrogance, denial and downright derision directed at those who’ve been shoved below the breadline by the political class is no laughing matter.
Instead of attacking social workers or blogging about what weans in constituencies almost 200 hundred miles away think about the referendum, we’d recommend he take a trip to see some of the “bulldung” provisions a little closer to home. Although given how unlikely it is that any users of the food bank in his own ward would be rolling out the red carpet/flag to greet Comrade Kelly, maybe the wank bank is the safest place for him after all.