Quelle surprise that when Lincolnshire County Council blew the thick end of £5,000 on a promotional video the content was dominated by Lincoln.
The clever and inventive caption that opened the 1 minute 42 second epic told us “Lincolnshire is GREAT” (eat your heart out, creators of slogans the likes of "Beanz Meanz Heinz” and “Go to work on an egg") then went on to stress the delights of coast and county, the quality of education and the fast transport links (so long as you live in Grantham.)
Clearly, this was not a tourism video, but it didn’t prevent the great and the good from near and far leaping in to moan that their town or borough was absent.
What worries us most of all in this debate is the promise by Worst Street “leader” Pete ‘Nipper’ Bedford that Boston Borough Council will be producing its own video.
Readers with long memories will recall the last Boston video – produced by the hapless Boston Business “Improvement” District to try to win a £100,000 grant from the Mary Portas Town Team Project.
Our bid failed … probably due in no little part to the appalling promotional film that accompanied it – which you can no longer view, as someone has had the good sense to delete it.
Before we embark on any kind of promotion of this sort, we need to ask some big questions …
Most importantly, we need to know who we are trying to reach and how we intend to reach them.
The internet these days is littered with attempts to catch our attention – literally millions of them – and most fail because they are small fish in a massive ocean that fail to stand out.
And whatever we do, let’s not be stupid enough to think that it is something that can be done in-house.
We’re sure there are a few wannabe Cecil B De Milles lurking in the Worst Street corridors – but we need people who know what they’re doing for once!
Whilst county hall is a repeat offender when it comes to ignoring Boston – then so is the BBC.
Whilst Aunty’s East Midlands TV weather forecast covers this part of Lincolnshire – Boston doesn’t rate a name check on the map.
Skegness and Spalding however, do rate a mention – but only when the forecast temperatures are shown – otherwise they do not appear.
The first thing we need to do to put Boston on the map is – to get these people to put Boston on the map!
A none-too-subtle attempt by Boston Borough Council to obscure its enthusiasm for the iron fist in the iron glove approach that it so enjoys came with the fatuous claim that “there is a growing appetite in Boston to vote.”
This was based on a record 60% response to the present canvass to “encourage” people to confirm or update their details on the latest electoral register.
Everything to do with the registration campaign is laden with threats – the warning that it is a legal requirement and that defaulters could be fined an initial £80 … reaching £1,000 accompanied by a criminal record for continued disobedience.
Fortunately, there are no penalties for the abuse of the English language …
We always thought that an electoral role was the part played by the returning officer!
Whatever, so delighted is Worst Street at this new found enthusiasm for democracy that it is already making “personal” follow-up visits, followed by a third and final “reminder” visit in October to hunt down those who fail to embrace it!
We still find it frustrating that Boston Borough Council is investing so much in the Mayflower 400 event when it has so little to do with the town.
The date they’re getting worked up about is 9th November 1620 when the Mayflower arrived at Cape Cod and the group later dubbed the Pilgrim Fathers established the settlement of Plymouth.
As any fule kno, there was no one from Boston – or even remotely connected with the place – on board.
It was another ten years – September 7th 1630 – before the founding of Boston Massachusetts by a group that actually had some connection with our own town.
Even so they initially named their new settlement Trimountaine, because a hill nearby had three pointed peaks. That’s Boston thinking for you!
Representatives from so many councils and other organisations that have a direct interest the event were at a recent dog hanging in London that we fear that once again, Boston is riding on the coattails of others’ claims to fame, and will end more or less in the cold.
Still, that didn’t deter our leader and another cabinet member plus two officers enjoying the junket by joining 396 other guests in a talking shop.
Apparently, Boston Borough Council is looking at 2020 being a celebration to start a ten year countdown to 2030. That, of course is after the current countdown to 2020 is over.
As an interesting aside to all this is that for the second year running Boston Borough Council is allowing the arty-farty Transported group to remove the burden of Christmas from its shoulders.
It comes as a major government review warns that traditions such as the celebration of Christmas are under threat and must be vigorously upheld.
Is the fact that yet again, Boston’s big celebration will be on American Thanksgiving Day the thin end of the wedge?
In the same week that Boston Borough Council waxes poetic over the success of its garden waste collection scheme comes news that neighbouring East Lindsey residents will have to pay £40 to have their weeds carted away next year – a stonking 60% rise on the current £25.
We suspect a bit of psychology has been exercised here, as one proposal was to increase the charge to £60, so ELDC is probably hoping that people will feel that they have been let down lightly.
This week’s Worst Street stroll down memory lane – aka the Worst Street bulletin – went to some lengths to report what a success the collection scheme has been.
With no sense of irony whatever, the council’s rubbish supremo Councillor Michael Brookes, told us: “The reasons for needing to charge to take away garden waste are well documented – central Government austerity measures, the council’s budget gap and the fairness of only the users having to pay.”
What he omitted to add was that his own promises that the service would remain forever free were equally well documented before being kicked into touch with a series of wily manoeuvres and excuses.
Worst Street tells us: “Details about how to register and pay for the new round of garden waste collections will be published shortly.”
As no mention is made of keeping the charges unchanged, should we anticipate Worst Street citing the East Lindsey experience as a reason to increase our fees from £30?
We would not be surprised.
Boston Police tweeted earlier in the week that the Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership was hard at work this morning to tackle street drinking in Boston. This appears to involve tie-wrapping multi-lingual sighs on railings in Norman Avenue telling drinkers that their habits will not be tolerated,
Another tweet a couple of days later reported that the signs already seemed too flimsy to withstand the wind and rain, so it remains to be seen who successful this initiative will turn out to be.
Meanwhile, as Lincolnshire Police continue to bemoan their lack of funds, we read that they have issued body worn video cameras to all operational police officers across the county.
The issue is less one of finance – the scheme is partly funded by a Home Office innovation fund, – but that only 500 cameras have been issued to officers on the front line – oit of a total of around 1,100.
What do the other 600 do, we wonder?
One possible explanation came in a job advert for an “opportunity” in the Local Policing Team at Boston for a “Performance and Policy Officer.”
We are told: “This exciting and challenging post will allow the individual to play a key role in developing and improving the performance framework within a specialist unit. You will monitor, analyse and collate a range of performance information and assist the management team by undertaking research and projects as required.”
Sounds like something that’s been sadly lacking to date.
And of course, meetings play a part.
The Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones – who’s probably attended more meetings since taking office than most of us will in a lifetime, recently tweeted: “For those interested in the process of governance & assurance in Lincs here is the framework laid out for the Police and Crime Panel.
There will be no blog next week, but all things being equal, we hope to be back on Friday 14th October.
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