An Extraordinary Swanage council meeting.

Having to curb our spending for a while but we’ve had a good time and transformed our little house and especially the garden. Except I had to order another case of wine to replenish the bare rack.

Read an article today about the crap American health system in which it was mentioned that 5 year survival rates from cancer in Britain are currently 54%. It’s reading and hearing little snippets such as this which cause me to pause and reflect every now and then. 5 years is the arbitrary time period chosen by medics as ‘surviving’ cancer and it is sobering, hence the ordering of wine, to learn that almost half diagnosed with cancer will die within 5 years.

So, off to an extraordinary meeting of the Swanage town council last night. A rather inappropriate name as it was anything but extraordinary. Anyway, I presume it was an extraordinary meeting because the ordinary meeting was abandoned last week. It was my first time at such a council meeting held in a rather wonderful building that is Swanage town hall (Kate and I were married in the main room a few years ago). The mayor, officers and councillors are arrayed at tables on 3 sides of the room and us plebeians sat surveying the scene at one end. Agenda item number 13 was ‘Panorama Road – Next steps in respect of Resolutions passed at the Parish Assembly held on 18th April’. The two resolutions passed were read out, one regarding a risk assessment of the road, the other that Suttle’s quarry and any future use of the road by any company they be responsible for any damage caused by their vehicles.

Until this agenda item there had been a fairly relaxed atmosphere, but as it is something that perhaps unsettles the conservative coterie the mood changed slightly and it was quieter in the room. I should add that at the beginning of proceedings the mayor spoke about Jason Haisleden filming proceedings; it’s OK to film councillors and officials but plebeians can object and not be filmed. One of us plebs objected but he was assured by Jason that any film with him on would be destroyed, the gentleman quietly expressed that Jason might not be trusted to do this.

Anyway, only one councillor spoke about the resolutions which he stated ‘seemed reasonable’, even though he voted against them at the Parish meeting. It was decided they be presented and discussed at some future committee meeting or other and we’ll see whether or not they find their way into some pampas grass. By the way, did you know that pampas grass in your front garden is a signifier of swinging?

So a rather ordinary, but relatively swift meeting came to an end for us plebs as the last items 18 and 19 were to be discussed with no plebs or press present. Under standing order No.1)c) ‘it is envisaged that in view of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted, it is advisable in the public interest that the press and public be excluded from the Meeting during consideration of the items marked *.’

The 2 items were: Seafront stabilisation scheme – update on defects rectification works, and Punch and Judy – award of concession. There had been a significant slippage of the cliffs behind the beach and threatened a Swanage hotel so there have been major works over the last few months to ‘stabilise’ things. The other is that after 27 years Peter the Swanage Punch and Judy man has retired.

This little plebeian mind instantly wonders what the confidential nature of either might be and that no matter what ‘standing orders’ might be invoked that there will be suspicion about whatever is going on. Obviously the seafront works involve significant amounts of money (follow the money) but Punch and Judy? This does rather lend itself to satire which I will resist, (follow the sausages).

Either way, money or sausages, as a Swanage plebeian I am interested in why it is in my interest to not bear witness to discussions.

Oh, and there’s going to filming of a Warner brothers film in Swanage the week before carnival.

And finally a statement by nick gibb, tt schools minister, that stats tests of young children are not testing the children but are for judging schools. So of course no school will put any pressure on their pupils knowing that their pupils scores will be used to judge the school. The lunatics are in charge.

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.




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