I’m in a holding pattern. It’s just under a month before I take office, so I remain very much excluded from the official correspondence between the Councillors. Were I not being covertly blind copied in to pretty much every email by two of them, I would be going crazy with anticipation. As it is, I am extremely well briefed on the complete lack of meaningful activity during this transitional period. Apparently a Purdah period applies even at this level of Government, ensuring the outgoing administration does not commit the incoming administration against their will. As I understand it, the situation is thus:
- Three weeks next Tuesday, the existing Council is disbanded;
- Moments later the new Council is appointed (it is worth noting that 6 of the 7 are replacing themselves – so this all feels a bit artificial);
- At this point I will be formally ‘sitting’, which as a minimum means I’ll be straight copied into emails and the blind copying can stop.
- Roles and responsibilities are discussed and assigned
Point 4 worries me slightly. I visualise the scene in Only Fools and Horses when Rodney reluctantly agrees to join the Nelson Mandela House Resident’s Association, and is instantly ushered in as the Chairman as the sitting Chairman immediately resigns. I have started to wonder if the Prosecco fuelled discussions, and manipulative pints in the local, have all been geared around allowing the existing Councillors to relieve themselves of their responsibilities and saddling the ‘Young Blood’ with all the work.
Whilst preparing a late pancake breakfast one Saturday morning, the wife spots a group of individuals clad in Hi-Vis assembled by the local. They resemble a very middle class ‘gilet jaune’ protest, just without the flaming bales of hay and violence. However, the small pile of black sacks gives away their true motive – a neighbourly litter pick. I spot a handful of Councillors among their numbers, one of whom seems to be taking a leading role. My concentration is broken by the smell of an unattended pancake that has welded itself to the base of the frying pan. As I scrape the burnt remanence from the ‘non-stick’ the wife escapes to engage the group in conversation, and enquire as to how I can be of assistance.
I am delighted to hear on her return that they are wrapping things up for the day after a good few hours clearing a stretch up to, but not one millimetre beyond, the boundary of the Parish. Apologies are passed on about not involving me in the ‘event’, which allegedly isn’t official Parish business. Naturally I become suspicious that I haven’t been blind copied into everything after all. What else are they keeping from the newbie?
I need to clear my mind of such thoughts, or it’s going to be a long three weeks. Maybe a neighbourly drinks event could help relax things and give me a fix of Parish talk to satisfy my new found craving.