Jumping ship


All aboard the good ship Local Government

I LOVE how creative our readers are. Today’s guest post is one beautiful extended maritime metaphor and I think its great!

I boarded my Local Government vessel several years ago filled with optimism for a long and trouble free voyage. Starting as a lowly deckhand, I had aspirations of becoming a trusty midshipman. The kind of middle ranking officer, that would be dependable in troubled seas and one day given command of a boarding party to capture a marauding Pirate Ship and win pride and bounty for my Captain.

To be honest, looking back the seas were a little choppier than expected, the food was edible (though riddled with maggots) and I still find myself scrubbing the decks and manning the oars but for a little forays up to the Crows Nest. It’s fair to the say that the ship has had a few leaks, the timbers are past their best and it’s had to be patched up on several occasions, with some fairly poor craftmanship. It is none the less seaworthy.

My ship however is now under attack, by a very large vessel flying the colours of the current Conservative Government and an Eric Pickles size hole (which is very large indeed) has been left in the hull following a recent exchange of fire. The crew has begun indiscriminately casting off cargo over the sides, in a desperate attempt to raise the ship high enough above the waterline and outrun the immediate danger. Despite desperate attempts, we are sinking.

The officers are running for the lifeboats and those more able swimmers have already jumped ship. Like most of my shipmates though, I am standing at the rail, contemplating my jump into the icy waters. Naturally I have a certain affinity for this old ship, it has after all given me my livelihood for the past few years and I believe in the fundamental premise of the voyage. I can’t escape the fact however, that the ship is still sinking slowly and the Tory vessel may emerge from the mist at any time and deliver another devastating broadside. For the time being though we have been left alone.

The crew knows what this ship needs; a quiet harbour and a competent shipwright to make some proper repairs and not those hurried, patch up jobs we have had to make recently. Scrape off the barnacles and replace the sails and our ship would be able to outrun even the most ruthless of Government vessels. Alas, a few months in a quiet little port is not an option right now.

And so, with the ship lying low in the water I am left with the decision to jump or to remain on board to try and save the ship. Looking to the upper deck, it seems that the Captain is procrastinating over what to do, meanwhile there is widespread panic on the lower deck. It’s every man (and woman) for themselves and whatever I choose, I intend to keep my head firmly above water.

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7 Comments on “Jumping ship”

  1. localgov Says:

    This might be my favourite post in recent time! It really captures where local government is, and the image of Eric Pickles being fired out of a cannon has made my day!

    Now to dust off my peg leg, find a parrot and practice the yell of “avast, me hearties!”

  2. Big K Says:

    To continue the sailing metaphor I would guess that the advice from Admiral Pickles would be to save the ship by chucking the captain and all the officers overboard, spend less on flags, sell all the hammocks and share navigation with other vessels.

  3. Sid Burgess Says:

    Loved it. I love metaphors.


  4. It’s just sad that instead of helping save the government, most of those who are in it try only to save their own selves. So, instead of being salvaged, it sunks down into the deep.

  5. Mike @ Australia Says:

    Why oh why can’t politicians look beyond knee jerk, unilateral, populist measures that demoralise the crew and cause huge long term collateral damage?

    Raise the white flag me harties – offer talks on smart ways to improve productivity in the old ship of local government. If the offer is rejected, then hoist the scull and cross bones and plan a revolution through the social media.


  6. [...] our favourite post from January was tough but in the end we passed over a guest post comparing local government to a (pirate?) ship and a slightly controversial post looking at the power of children’s services departments to get [...]


  7. [...] The cuts have had a monumental effect on us all but have been reacted to in different ways.  Some, such as children’s services, declared that they couldn’t be cut for reasons as grand as ‘a child might die‘, whilst some individuals have considered how the whole situation affected them mentally and emotionally.  It’s also not easy when the focus of the cuts has been local whilst the debate has stayed national – shouldn’t people be thinking of us and the challenges we face a little more?  However, our favourite analogy of the situation remains a guest post comparing local government to life on the high seas. [...]


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