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Christopher has decided that his new career is in politics.  He’s joined the Parish Council with a mind to ‘change things from within’.  This is a mighty aspiration, which I applaud, but I think it’s going to be harder to achieve that he reckons.  The council meetings to date are less ‘yes we can’ and more ‘no you bloody can’t’. 

We’ve spent a lot of time at parish council meetings of late while our planning applications for the campsite and schoolroom progress through the system.  Christopher obviously got a taste for it, and when it was announced that they were one councillor short of a full set (I think the official collective noun is an ‘intrigue’ but I could offer a few alternatives) –  he put himself forward. 

Since then he’s attended several full council meetings, and a couple of extra-ordinary meetings too.  Extra-ordinary is the understatement of the year.  Proceedings aren’t very twenty-first century.  Most amusingly they sit around a table in the church hall with their official nameplates in front of them  – I kid you not – I think Christopher half expects to have a nameplate in front of him at the dinner table now.  I might get him one for Christmas.  It won’t say ‘Councillor Broadbent’ on it though – that’s for sure.  

More amusing still is the selective reporting style of the minutes which don’t ever seem to be circulated for approval, giving them a slant, which, if Christopher isn’t careful may soon result in the village bringing back the stocks and putting him permanently in them.  To illustrate – at a recent meeting, a planning application was being discussed for the installation of wooden sash windows in a property dating from the 1950s.  There were some serious objections to this for reasons Christopher couldn’t fathom.  He commented as such – saying this proposal could surely be no bad thing.  This was duly minuted as ‘Councillor Broadbent commented that any improvements to a 1950’s property had to be a good thing’.   Apologies to all our friends who live in properties built in the post war years! 

Clearly I tread a fine line here.  I don’t wish to bad-mouth Christopher’s council colleagues and nor do I wish to compromise Christopher’s requirement to be neutral on all matters council, through pillow-talk pushing my own agenda (I don’t want to become Beckley’s very own Sally Bercow); but suffice it to say that I am sadly not surprised by the workings of the parish council, just rather depressed by them.  

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