It’s the key to being in control

FROM THE CHAMBER by IAN MacKELLAR THOSE who have the keys get to drive the steamroller – and there s little sense in standing in its way. So it was at Huntingdonshire District Council last week, when the Liberal Democrat opposition did not bother to prolo

FROM THE CHAMBER by IAN MacKELLAR

THOSE who have the keys get to drive the steamroller - and there's little sense in standing in its way.

So it was at Huntingdonshire District Council last week, when the Liberal Democrat opposition did not bother to prolong the proceedings at the annual meeting. The controlling Tories had stitched everything up beforehand - as you can when you have 80 per cent of the seats.

Councillor Philip Swales, from Ramsey, will be chairman for the next year, and Councillor John Davies, from St Ives, his vice-chairman. These appointments carry no power as the chairman's casting vote is hardly an issue in Pathfinder House decision-making.


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It was apparently entirely coincidental that the Rector of Ramsey, the Rev Richard Darmody, who had conducted prayers at the start of the meeting, was present as his own parishioner was installed with the chain of office. The cleric looked slightly bemused by the proceedings - this is an ordeal that ministers of religion have to endure by turn - but, unusually, he stayed until the end of the proceedings.

Cllr Swales paid tribute to his predecessor for the past two years, Earith farmer, Councillor John Eddy, with an obscure analogy about a cricket match.

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It suggested his knowledge of village cricket was a tad rusty.

The tale proposed that Cllr Eddy who, by his own repeated admissions, is as deaf as a post, had scored a double century for the church council team against a local pub side.

Fat chance, unless England's Test side was dropping catches by the score for the Riverview tavern. Perhaps he didn't hear the umpire giving him out. In any case Cllr Swales didn't tell us who won, which makes us worry a bit about HDC's forward planning.

It seemed curious that nobody bothered to pay tribute to Councillor Peter Bucknell, who has been one of the most diligent vice-chairmen of recent years and who was re-elected last month in Warboys and Bury.

That oversight was mitigated a few minutes later - and I put it no higher than that, because it would still have been courteous to have thanked him - when the newly re-elected leader, Councillor Ian Bates, revealed he was to join the cabinet.

He will be responsible for planning strategy.

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