It has been revealed this week by the Express & Star that Sandwell Council will soon be doing a considerable amount of jet-setting at the expense of their ever-tolerant residents, who have also discovered today that the multi-million pound The Public gallery has yet to lease out any of its office spaces to private business.
Not only will six councillors and officers be travelling to Amsterdam on a ‘fact-finding’ mission to find out how the city de-clutters its streets (and yes, they do have internet access), but Allison Fraser, the council’s Chief Executive will be flying off to sunnier climes in Florida USA for a ‘self-awareness’ training course.
The course, run by Avatar, promises a journey of self-exploration, with the following learning benefits:
- Allison will be more likeable and able to like herself more (although others may find themselves less taken with her).
- Allison will be more real and authentic.
- Allison will learn to protect herself against the abrasions of the world (and perhaps to ignore the disastrous failings of the council she presides over).
- Allison will gain a connection with the undefined self.
- Allison will obtain the keys to successfully operate in the world.
If such psychobabble seems familiar, it’s because Avatar was founded by Harry Palmer, a former Scientology missionary who devised the “Avatar theory” during a prolonged session in a flotation tank. If such sessions generally give rise to ways of making money hand-over-fist for peddling intangible mumbo jumbo, then perhaps Allison would be better having one of those, because Sandwell Council could certainly use the cash.
The chief executive has already completed stage one of the course in Germany, and her more real and authentic self will join her undefined self for the second stage of the course in Florida.
Oh, and far from staying in some squalid kibbutz-style set-up in order to fortify herself from worldly abrasions, she’ll be put-up at he International Drive resort, billed as one of the most “dynamic vacation destinations” the like of which most Sandwell residents could only dream of…
It isn’t just the cost, it isn’t just the location, it isn’t just the fact that this course teaches pancake-deep, self-indulgent drivel, and it isn’t even the fact that this £5k buys absolutely nothing for residents in Oldbury, West Bromwich, Smethwick, Tipton etc. that makes it such an affront. It’s the attitude of these executive officers who’ve become so detached from life in Sandwell that they’ve actually convinced themselves that this is a worthwhile and value for money project, and cannot see just how insulting this is to hardworking taxpayers in the Borough, many of whom have cancelled summer holidays in their efforts to make ends meet.