‘We’ve proved our critics wrong once again,’ said Kevin Simkins, the leader of Surbiton Council’s Lib Dem administration. ‘According to our entirely independent survey, we’ve exceeded our targets for ending racism and all types of social injustice,’ he reported.
Simkins said the council will not rest on its laurels, and its next target is to cure cancer and motor neurone disease, with a series of slogans and awareness-raising magazines written in terms that will engage the youth of the borough. There will also be a fashion show, a solemn play written by Surbiton Warehouse theatre’s writer in residence and a guest appearance by TV’s Leslie Grantham, who will talk about the danger of deep vein thrombosis to sedentary workers. ‘Leslie Grantham doesn’t come cheap, but if it saves just one taxi driver’s life, it will all have been worth it,’ he said.
Simkins came under fire from all sides when he committed £20 million to printing, in a range of different languages, what critics have called ‘a series of insipid leaflets containing buzzwords and meaningless corporate jargon’. Others complained that closing down an old people’s home to fund the leaflet campaign probably shortened many of its residents’ lives.
‘If I’m being criticised on both sides, I usually take that as a sign that I’m getting the balance right,’ said the council leader. Simkins gave short shrift to those who complained that his brother’s firm was the only company allowed to bid for the printing work. ‘I will treat that with the contempt it deserves,’ he said.