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Peoples Republic Of Teesside by Teessider Forever

First Published: 07/01/2012 17:30:38

Peoples Republic of TeessideWhilst idly iPhone Googling, or iGoogling shall we call it, I came a cross the Wikipedia Add Wikipedia to your favourites Page for Teesside. To quote Jimmy Wales' excellent website "It [Teesside] has also been adopted for various other purposes as a euphemism for the former county of Cleveland. The area has become, partially through Middlesbrough Football Club, affectionately named by locals as The People's Republic of Teesside."

I've never heard of the Teesside being referred to as The People's Republic of Teesside. Is this really part of the Teesside vernacular? The phrase does have socialist overtones and I'm not really into socialism for no other reason that there are no examples of it ever working. I do however like the phrase.

My fascination for the phrase led me to explore further. There's also a People's Republic of Teesside blog. "[A] socialist blog of news and views for the people of Teesside and surrounding area."

These purveyors of a failed ideology were blogging in support of the recent public sector workers protests and strikes. With respect to public sector workers downing their tools I'm leaning towards Clarkson on this. I wouldn't want to deride the public sector with generalisation, however I would assert that there are a significant number of workers in the public sector that rarely pick up their tools.

Shell recently announced that it is to close the FTSE 100's last remaining final salary pension scheme to new starters. If a guaranteed, pain-free pension is closed to those in the private sector why should the public sector feel they have a right to a gilt-edged pension. Put to one side my doubts about the general levels of industry in the public sector. All things being even, pensions just aren't as good as they once were. That's a fact in the private sector, where people once promised non-contributory final salary pension schemes are now required to make employee contributions. The closure if final salary schemes to new members and having to contribute towards your long and comfortable retirement is just a consequence of us all living longer lives.

I feel I should validate my slight derision of public sector workers. I worked for Cleveland County Council Surveyor and Engineer's department from 1985 to 1989. At that time the County Surveyor was a chap called Garth Drabble. Great name and a gentleman we all respected. OK there was a period around Christmas 1989 when a picture from the Gazette of Mr Drabble shaking hands with the leader of the council became an informal caption competition.   This spread like a virus in the days before the internet.

Garth Drabble: My staff are revolting
Counci Leaderl: You're no oil painting yourself

You get the idea.

Generally however I seem to recall Mr Drabble commanding a level of respect. It may have been the name that wouldn't have been out of place in a science fiction novella, but this was probably not the case.

In my time with CCC CSE I worked with some very professional, hard-working people. I did however come across a number of people who didn't deserve to draw a salary. Never mind a gilt-edged pension.

I remember one bloke called Gary who worked in the street lighting team. He spent a lot of time onsite counting the lamp posts or whatever he did. He drove an old banger on these junkets.  I suspect this was the best way to extract the most from the mileage allowance. On the occasions that Gary returned to the office he would refuse to use any other car park than the one directly outside Gurney House. In his defence his walking range was probably limited by the timber he carried and a lung capacity reduced by the demon weed.

Peoples Republic of Teesside T ShirtSo rather than find a parking spot that wasn't on the door of old Gurnitz he would sit and wait for a spot to become available. One more than one occasion he fell asleep and missed several opportunities to park up. Someone somewhere might still have the evidence. We took a photograph.

It's wrong to say that characters like Gary are peculiar to the private sector. You will find slackers in most walks of life. However, the wage (and pension) bill of the pubic sector is picked up the tax payer. Given how hard it is to make enough money to keep your head above aqua currently, a people's republic deserves more.

Fan or not of the socialism but I do like the term the People's Republic of Teesside. It personifies the humour of god's favourite county. My final bit of iGoogling uncovered the best thing.  There is a company called DJTees that have emblazed the phrase on a tee shirt which they are selling in a range of colours though Amazon.

Buy a People's Republic of Teesside Tee Shirt from Amazon for £18.99 - £21.99 + postage 

From Teesside With Love


People's Republic of Teesside logo artwork © Dawn Rossiter

P.S. Best of luck to Darlington FC in their fight for survival

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A general and mostly ill-informed rant about the world and beyond from an ever so slightly cynical northerner.