Have you ever attended a local council meeting?
I have a reasonable amount of experience (via my previous work) with the vagaries of parochial local politics. Soapbox missives delivered by all manner of council ‘officials’ and ‘members’ (councillors). Within these group structures there is usually a range of individuals and personalities…
There’s Mr Metcalfe; the moorland owning (less than eloquent but adequately educated) farmer. Mrs Miggins; the ‘street owning’ neighbourhood watch coordinator (AKA busybody). Julian Icud-Becant Esq., the ‘country pile’ owning pompous self-important self-appointed ‘squire’ (has the plot next door to Metcalfe but actually owns one more field).
As an aside; Julian inherited his spread on marriage to Metcalfe’s brother’s daughter whom he met whilst on a shooting trip with some city trader friends up from London for the weekend. He seized on the ‘opportunity’ for love and happiness in the countryside and retired aged forty after selling his small consultancy in the city. Unfortunately the marriage only lasted a year after the old mans death and the ex Mrs Icud-Bucant has gone back to her maiden name. She now lives happily with her uncle in the single bedroom farm cottage next door.
The latest ‘Lady’ Icud-Bucant (my husband has been promised a peerage in the New Year’s honours list; ‘for political services to the local community’), is big in the WI and local equestrian events. She spends a large amount of time “going up to London as you just simply can’t get anything suitable to wear locally darling”. I am informed by their all-seeing all-knowing cleaner (Mrs Miggins) that ‘er ladyship “does favours for some MP or other whilst she’s down there (wink/grin/nudge), if you know what I mean luv”.
As Julian (thus far) had been unable to secure a position at Westminster, he is confident that his keenly honed and well versed spin doctoring (along with the impending peerage) will secure his place in the upper house. He is also somewhat smug in the thought of poking two fingers in the direction of his local constituency party chairman. They had the affront not to recommend his selection as an MP; sighting his relative inexperience and very recent move to the area… But I digress…
Yesterday I went to a District Committee meeting of the County Council as a ‘public’ observer…
On the one hand; you have the entrepreneurial sales pitching skills of the ‘Dragon’s Den’ ilk and on the other hand, petty pointless politics aimed at maximizing personal popularity and gain within the local area. You also have individuals who happen to be concurrent county, district and town councillors, drawing their ‘expenses’ from three separate pots of public money; nice ‘job’ if you can get one!
Interspersed between these two polarities are the council ‘officials’, many of whom are (rightly or wrongly) fighting to justify their employment and worth. As well as a smattering of ‘non job’ think tank liaison group types and the local police and fire commanders.
So with a packed agenda the meeting started promptly at 2pm and steady flow of hot air and bullshit commenced. Meeting delegates sat around the table and blew sunshine up each others backsides about; how well they had all performed since the last meeting.
The chairman asked a question of one council departmental official which only really required a simple yes or no answer… She paused, assuming to collect her thoughts and formulate the content of her answer and then, she trotted off into ten minutes of ‘nothing speak’ interspersed with a good smattering of the usual “in terms of” and “obstensibly”. She continued…
We have examined all the issues and our possible conclusion would dictate that members are required to examine the intricate detail of all the issues carefully and fully before arriving at any final outcome which can’t be formulated in its entirety within this years budgetary constraints therefore finances would probably dictate a different outcome than the most popular one arrived at which as I’m sure you can all understand is far more critical given all the current drivers from differing stakeholders at the present time.
Wow… I bet she’s popular with her partner! Being able to formulate and deliver a sentence like that (without pause to draw breath) would ensure her premier position in the world oral sex championships. Always assuming he/she can stop her from bloody talking!
So after two hours, did I actually get an answer to the questions that made me go to the meeting in the first place? You’re having a laugh aren’t you!
Disclaimer: Any similarity with any person alive or dead, assumed or implied is fictitious and a direct consequence of personal observations of a real life situation. Any individual who replicates the descriptive traits offered should examine the route cause and make appropriate adjustment prior to seeking any form of retribution or recompense which is not applicable DILLIGAF.