Today I, Reckless Rat of the Newton Says No Revolutionary Council, went to the Council Meeting. Not to support one point or the other, because it makes no difference whether the Council adopts the DPD Plan, or one appalling plan over another. It’s all a pile of crap.
I went there to contest the fact that they were doing it at all and to help with a groundswell of local defiance. Of course the fact that the whole thing is wrong is the last thing they wanted to talk about. The official line is ‘You’re too late; it’s in the Local Plan; we don’t have to listen to you”. Which they have been saying since 2005 when this started. You're too late, but then you always were. There was never a point, with this council, where your objection would have been timely.
I was happy to see so many NSN supporters had turned up on a work day; sadly there were too many for the public gallery although it seemed to me that there was room for more chairs. The council workers (ie the civil servants) are all very lovely and the hardest part of today was going from being polite to them, because they deserve it, to being angry with the councillors who seem to demand ‘respect’ every two minutes but have done very little to earn it. What must it be like bringing tea and biscuits for some of these twerps.
Anyway, the whole thing started with a prayer to bless the forthcoming discussions. This segued into a one-hour discussion on dogshit which seemed blasphemous if anything. At its nexus was the vexed question of whether professional dog walkers should be allowed to walk four dogs or six. Perhaps five was a sensible compromise, but we all know that Council Meetings are not about compromise. They’re about everyone talking for too long about dogshit and being told to shut up and sit down by Mrs Speaker Bovey Tracey Keswick Whatsit for going over their allotted dogshit talking time. Most of these people have been councillors for about 4,000 years and yet still haven’t learned the art of precis. None kept their dogshitteries down to the three minutes of allotted waffle.
How do you do a job forever and not get better at it? It seems that these monkeys are still just hitting their heads on their typewriters.
Having won the six-dog battle (I think, it was hard to follow what the procedure was) the dog walkers fucked off, because actually having a place to walk a dog was seemingly neither here nor there to them. But of course I’m forgetting; like most of the chamber they were from Everywhere Else in Teignbridge, and Newton Abbot - to the people from Everywhere Else in Teignbridge - is just a dog toilet; a smoking shelter; a canteen. A place for the superannuated to talk nonsense without being interrupted by nurses and pill reminders (which is a relief, because Christophers says we’re not getting any more healthcare). It’s a place where problems get dumped, not solved.
Come to think of it, somewhere between the vicar and the dog poo were questions from the public. Two NSN comrades had a question, as did Bryn from the Wolborough Residents Association. However it seemed that the council had neglected to put one of them on the actual agenda, and had disallowed three other questions from NSN members because they ‘couldn’t be answered straight away’. Neither did they bother answering ANY of the supplementary questions offered to them on the day, for reasons unspecified. I suspect that it’s because the truth is always readily available at a moment’s notice, whereas bullshit needs to be dug out of a field and sprayed with Council Febreze.
So when business turned, eventually to the DPD Plan the rebels were already in a foul mood. After only three minutes of the usual odious waffle from Humphrey ‘Concrete’ Clemens about how NSN ‘didn’t want any houses built anywhere in Newton Abbot’ (NSN has said that when, exactly?) Humph detailed his appalling treatment at the hands of some awful website. “You’re being held to account!” shouted someone from the gallery, and it wasn’t long before Christophers was demanding that Lady River Bovey Brecon Beacons clear the chamber. However she wasn’t having any of it and it passed over to Gordon Hook.
Gordon Hook, who has told us, at various times, “There is no point fighting the Local Plan”, “You might as well give up” and “Look, you have to have a Local Plan” knew as well as anyone that there was no point fighting the plan in principle because it’s already ‘decided’. But Gordon was playing to the public gallery today. It was nice when Gordon appealed to the great unwashed when the Tories leapt on him like dogs on a horse (apparently, you had to be there) to debag him. “You see what we’re up against in here?” he asked us imploringly. Yesiree! We do see that. For example there was Councillor Charlie Dennis, taking a brief sojourn from staring at his mobile phone like a fat teenager 24 hours before prom night, to snipe: “He’ll say anything for a couple of votes!” But now Gordon was saying that he will “Do everything within the law to fight this plan”. So yay.
By this point there had been so much clapping, yelling and horn-blowing that the Right Hon Mrs Bovey Castle Lodges Spabreak had had quite enough of it and told us that after one more outburst she would clear the chamber. Figuring, I guess, that the next outburst was about two seconds away Richard Daws removed himself from the chamber declaiming that the names Christophers and Clemens would live forever in shame and infamy in this town. He was followed by Liam Mullone who said he’d been told to shut up by the Council at every point since the NA3 thing started.
Soon after, Comrade Claire Sampson was narked on by a councillor for recording the proceedings on her phone. She pointed out that Ashburton Councillor Charlie Dennis had been not just staring at his phone but PLAYING SOLITAIRE on it throughout the entire discussion on Newton Abbot’s future. “That’s because this meeting is boring,” Mr Dennis replied
Yep. A member of the Tory Executive of Teignbridge District Council thinks that the biggest project to affect Teignbridge in a generation is unworthy of his attention. The look he got from Council Leader Jeremy Christophers was absolutely priceless; dirtier than most of Jess Shears’ films. Probably. Obviously feeling shamed (hallelujah!) Christophers told the security guy to lay his mitts off for a moment and let Ms Sampson speak.
There was more barracking, and Christophers undermined an objection from someone with something about how all the objectors already had houses, as if only objections from the homeless would henceforth be valid. But it wasn’t long before more shouts, including “Get your P45 in order” had Baroness Bovey Daycentre Chiropractor Dreamcatcher clearing the plebs out.
At this point Reckless left, because although he had been clean and teetotal for 35 years he now desperately needed to inject some heroin into his eye over a nice pint of turps. But he is informed that some of the party went in to see how the vote turned out.
How did the vote turn out? And what difference does it make? Don’t know. None.