M&B gets into interesting conversations and one of them touched on the subject of a "divided town". The view expressed was that Somerton is now riven with division and, apart from it being M&B's fault, the observation was that "it never used to be like this".
Taken at its most simplistic, there is a certain validity to the position. But one issue is glossed over in this view and that is that today, in October of 2009, there are now debates taking place within the community that are seriously critical of Somerton Town Council, and that is what is new. For the better part of the last century, Somerton has been a 'debate free zone', as well as being a 'tender free zone' of course.
Somertonians have long been used to suggestions that the decisions of Somerton Town Council were being made privately or that decisions taken would benefit one person rather than the rest. But today, the spotlight is starting to shine more harshly on Somerton Town Council as a whole and its failings are being illuminated.
M&B has long been saying that Somerton Town Council is more like a clown show than a Town Council but there is a more serious aspect to this statement than might at first be obvious. Behind the clown show is lies the reality that, with regard to the amenity site application at Badger's Cross, the Town Council were clearly prepared to support the application on the night. They were willing to consider a position without considering the community. The Council would probably have gone ahead and 'approved' the application had not 100+ decent members of the community turned up to remind Somerton Town Council just who they are meant to represent.
The problem that both Somerton and its Town Council share is that behind that particular application lies the business interests of A H Canvin and the fact that A H Canvin is also Cllr A H Canvin complicates the issue for all parties. Where this clear conflict causes greatest difficulty is with regard to whether or not Somerton Town Council were going to consider the interests of the community first or were Somerton Town Council going to consider the interests of A H Canvin first.
But strangely, M&B doesn't see the conflict between Cllr A H Canvin and Mr A H Canvin as being the central problem. The central problem has been that this Town Council, with its 14 other members, hasn't bothered to sort the conflict out. They've tried to live with the problem or fudge their way around it, anything but actually deal with it head on. And in so doing, Somerton's Town Council has actually abrogated its responsibility towards the community that it is meant to represent.
And now we hear the whispered statements, always in private you understand, by councillors and their chums regarding their desire to "get on the side of the angels". Weird. We have all seen this town council, for a number of years now, acting as one. Buy the Tin Dunny! All hands rise. Sell Etsome Terrace! All hands rise. Not one voice of dissent. Not one. But, all of a sudden, in private you understand, some of them are starting to say that its time for some Democracy in Somerton.
Sorry, what did you say? Its time for some Democracy in Somerton? But I thought that Democracy was what you clowns were all about. I thought that your job was to deliver Democracy and the way you're talking, you've only just discovered the word. So just exactly what have you lot been doing for the last decade? Sleeping? Twiddling your thumbs? You certainly haven't been making Somerton Town Council act as if it was Somerton's Town Council. For the last decade it has looked like anything but Somerton's Town Council. And now, as Somerton starts to find a voice, you bunch of jackasses start to whisper the 'D' word.
Well, you'll excuse me for wondering why its taken so long and you'll excuse me for lamenting the £1,650,000 that you've spent along the way, a journey that you lot made whilst you were clearly ignorant of the 'D' word and what it meant.
Till next time, may your God shelter you and keep you from harm.