We've just celebrated the first anniversary of the 'great resignation' and I wonder just what the 'Somerset Suiciders' hoped to achieve or what they thought they would achieve by their gesture.
Today we are a year further down the road and the picture that has emerged of the old Town Council is of a council run, to the exclusion of the majority of the Council members, by the then Chair of the Council, Keenan, the Vice Chair of the Council, Canvin, and, finally, enabled in this exclusive activity by the Town Clerk, Calderwood. This view shouldn't be seen as offering absolution to those who so obviously looked the other way because nothing will absolve the old Council, as a whole, from their responsibilities but I do wonder if they actually knew what was going on. I'm pretty sure that they must have had some pretty strong suspicions but I doubt they had the wit to understand the implications of some of the decisions that they were scared into making.
I've long thought that Harold Shipman has a lot to teach us about the gullibility of people and, given what went on in Somerton Town Council for more than a decade, I'm no longer surprised that it took so long to catch up with Shipman. He was variously described as a 'good sort' and a 'pillar of the community' and a 'good rugby coach' and, for all of those reasons, people looked the other way whilst he despatched more than 270 souls. So, if the goode doctor could get away with that, then selling the Etsome/Tin Dunny swap to the majority of Somerton's old Town Council must have been a walk in the park for Keenan, Canvin and Calderwood.
So here we are, a year down the road and all we know is that the wheels of justice grind excessive slow but we hope that, eventually, they will grind excessive fine.
In the meantime, Somerton might find itself able to support the new Town Council because, excepting Messers Neale and Harrison, the new Council has no connection with the past other than through the need to address the consequences of the mistakes of the old Council. People complain that the new Council is a talking shop but at least the talking is done in public. And at least the new Council isn't buying a shabby old industrial unit subject to restrictive covenants (one held by a member of the old Council) and which has no legal right of access (unless over land owned by a member of the old Council). Compared to that degree of stupidity, I'm happy that the new Council is doing more talking than acting like idiots.
And when local people complain about their Council Tax, remember that the old Council jacked the Precept by 400+% across a decade and they did it without any accountability. No-one said Boo! So I'd challenge those complaining about the new Council doing too much talking, I'd challenge them to show me how the old Council didn't screw the taxpayer. I'd also challenge those complaining about the new Council to show me how they challenged the old Council.
Till next time, I'm Niall Connolly, sue me!