The Full Council meeting on Wednesday 6th July was another episode in farce mingled with tragedy. There was an impending sense of doom over the whole proceedings. The public gallery was full and there was general confusion as the minutes and agendas were mixed up. No member of the public seemed to have the same minutes and agenda. Councillor Jim Halford’s chair was again empty; and when he arrived he joined the congested public section, rather than sit at the Council Table.
There was also confusion over the minutes. Public questions on healthy & safety, the exclusion of a member of the public and the bizarre dealings around the selling of the Woodlands were brushed aside. It seems that everything around the proposed sale of the Woodlands for 2 million pounds is “sensitive” & must remain secret. There does not seem any realisation that this is not the way to deal with the sale of public lands.
No understandable answer was given to a detailed question on where the missing £500,000 had gone. The Tory council surely cannot believe that the public is just going to forget about this or let it go? We need to keep asking this question until there is a satisfactory answer given.
Tory Councillor Halford joined the meeting late and sat with the public. He started to click his fingers and then stated that he wanted to make a contribution to the proceedings. He was informed by the Mayor that, because he was sitting with the public, he could not make a contribution to the meeting. Tory Councillor Jim Halford then stormed out, saying as he went he might as well go and watch the football, and he hoped “Portugal would win”.
The other Tories continued as if nothing happened. Labour Councillor Hogg raised serious questions about the Tory Council failure to cut the verges and maintain Swanley District to the high standard it had achieved in past. There was no effort to give a serious reply on why the grass verges were allowed to fall into such a state. There was also no reasons given for why the grass verges were then cut is such a disgraceful way.
Tory Leader of Council, Victor Southern gave a weird report on the how it was due to the weather and the unseasonable rain. It seems the weather has also made a mess of his lawn which has now become a bed of weeds. This reminded observers of British Rail’s problems with types of snow.
When Councillor Hogg pressed the Tories on the way the Woodlands had been put up for sale and had subsequently been left to fall into disrepair the Tories started to criticise “young vandals”. It seems that it in the Tory mind it is the “young vandals” that are “everywhere”, that are causing all the problems. Councillor Morris even saw “young vandals” on his way to the council meeting.
Previously all the problems in Swanley was due to the Labour Party, then it was the council’s own computer software. Now it seems it is young vandals, that are everywhere.
The Tories seem unaware that for many residents it is the Tory Council who are vandalising our community with their mismanagement.
The feeling that there is an impending sense of doom was underlined at the end of the meeting when Tory Councillor Harry Willingale flew into a rage with the former Mayor, Janet Sargeant.
The other Tory councillors looked on as he shouted at her, desisting only when a member of the public politely interjected and said repeatedly that it was unacceptable to shout at someone in that way.
These proceedings would seem comic if it did not seem that a disaster was looming. There is a vey definite sense of crisis; a feeling of impending doom.