Walking the walk

It seems that walking out of meetings has become all the rage.
First we had the mass exodus of opposition members at the end of the county council’s AGM when newly installed chairman Cllr Tom Richards refused to take further nominations for the position of vice-chairman of the licencing committee.
Cllr Richards claimed that the vote had already been taken so it was too late to add new names.
As it was Grumpette who was attempting to extend the list by the inclusion of Cllr Tony Brinsden, I will declare an interest and take no further part in the discussion as to who was in the right.
However, what I can say with some certainty is that the Western Telegraph’s claim that Grumpette led the walkout is not true because examination of the webcast shows clearly the the first-mover was Cllr Jonathan Nutting.
The webcast casts further interesting light on events because, while Grumpette, the chairman and Cllr Paul Miller were locking horns, the Leader could be seen, off-camera, gesticulating furiously in the direction of the chair.
Cllr Richards seemed oblivious to all this, but his newly-installed deputy, Cllr Wynne Evans, was on the case because he can be seen nudging the chairman and twice saying “The leader says let it go” .
So it would seem that, not satisfied with running the council, the Leader wants to chair the meetings as well.
Following the walkout, in which I didn’t participate, the Leader jumped up to apologise on behalf of all members to the Lord Lieutenant and his lady for the disgraceful scenes that we had just witnessed.
As it happens the Lord Lieutenant had the advantage over the rest of us.
Dressed, as he was, in the full regalia, including a rather lethal-looking sword, he had the means to defend himself and his consort had the mob got completely out of control.
And just to show that it isn’t just the noisy rabble on PCC’s opposition benches who engage in these disruptive tactics, we had another walkout at Pembroke Town Council when it debated a motion of no confidence in the IPPG tabled by Cllr John Harvey.
That prompted IPPG loyalist Cllr Pearl Llewellyn to up sticks and leave the meeting.
Even more dramatic was that she announced her resignation from the council.
According to reports, another IPPG stalwart Cllr Daphne Bush passed a note to the Mayor asking that, rather than consider Cllr Harvey’s motion, the council should ask her Leader, Cllr Jamie Adams, to come along and talk to them.
This was apparently supported by another IPPG footsoldier: Cllr Arwyn Williams the recently retired chairman of PCC.
As neither Cllr Bush nor Cllr Williams are members of Pembroke Town Council i.e. they were there as members of the public, you might think it was a bit cheeky of them to put their oar in.
Interestingly this was the second time in little over a week that Pearl’s the girl and Dame Daphne had appeared on the same stage because at PCC’s AGM Cllr Llewellyn was replaced as chairman of licensing (SRA circa £9,000) by Cllr Bush.
These SRAs are much sought after, so eyebrows were raised when Pearl surrendered without a fight.
However, I suspect that a deal had been done and I for one will not be surprised when Cllr Llewellyn is invested with the vice-chairman’s chain at next year’s AGM.
Of course that plan could hit the rocks if the IPPG should lose its majority over the next 12 months.
That will teach Cllr Llewellyn not to cast her Pearls before swine, and that a bird in the hand is worth two in the Bush.
Last week’s “All in the mind” on Radio 4 carried an interesting report on an experiment carried out in America in which subjects were asked to count how many passes were made during a basketball game.
Such was their concentration on the allotted task that none of them noticed a man in a gorilla suit wandering around on the court.
It is easy to fall into this trap when watching the webcasts of council meetings.
I have referred above to Cllr Wynne Evans’ antics during the the run-up to the “disgraceful” walkout, but if you wind back a minute or two earlier you will find another interesting example.
Cllr Bush was opposed for the licensing chair by Cllr Alison Lee (Lab).
There was a recorded vote and once the votes were in and Cllr Bush emerged as the winner, Cllr Rob Lewis can be seen handing her a sheet of paper.
This contains the names of the nominees for the four vice-chairs of licensing which Cllr Lewis was going to propose had Cllr Bush finished in silver medal position.
Actually, and I’m speculating here, there were five names on the list with the option of Bush/Lee depending on the outcome of the recorded vote.
It was when Grumpette attempted to interfere with the choreography by nominating a fifth candidate that the chairman became so agitated.
And another “man in the gorilla suit” that I spotted while revisiting the webcast is how predictable we members are, because, if you watch carefully, you will notice that, almost invariably, the Chief Executive had his pen down in the correct column even before members had called out the name of their preferred candidate.