Parish matters: Whips and drinks

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With a title such as I have chosen for this month’s tale, you might be forgiven for thinking my council attended a rowdy whore house.

But that isn’t the case, I chose it because it suitably introduces the two subjects that I want to tell you about.

In the big council which meets in Parliament, the absence of party members at voting time brings out the Whips, a band of gentlemen employed to encourage reluctant, ill, or absent on holiday MPs, to turn up at the appointed hour, and cast a vote in favour or against a particular policy, whichever their party might be encouraging at the time.

But what happens at lowly parish council meetings, particularly when as happened to me recently, I spent a week in hospital missing a full council meeting.

Can the subject be held over until a councillor can attend? Can a vote be held over until the councillor can attend? I’m afraid not.

Unless so few councillors turn up for a meeting, when it might be held over, what’s missed, is missed, and any item a councillor thought worthy of the full council’s attention, could be missing an important direction changing vote if councillors cannot attend.

So it’s take note prospective councillors, every meeting deemed important, cannot be missed, though who would miss a meeting if there were wine to be tasted.

Which leads me nicely on to my next subject.

Ever heard the phrase: “Couldn’t organise a drink up in a brewery”? Then you’ll know what it means.

Unfortunately I sometimes want to apply this same phrase at meetings of the council.

This is because everything the council dose has to be beyond reproach, every ‘T’ has to be crossed, and every ‘I’ dotted.

Some matters being discussed at council meetings could be easily discussed and voted upon, but others require the matter to be further investigated by a working party.

Before the matter can be discussed by the working party, the working party itself has to be chosen. That in itself may take another meeting to resolve, after which the working party can retire to its own meetings to discuss the issue, formulate a report, then report back to the full council on its conclusions some several weeks or months after the matter was first raised.

Frustrating it is, but I think you’ll get the point, counselling ‘isn’t easy’

And now, a little chest puffing. Less than a year on the council I’m elevated to the position of vice chairman of the Amenities Committee, there’s no stopping this lad!

Well, in truth, I volunteered to be proposed into this position, and another councillor soon seconded the proposal, so here I am.

Next month: Budgets.