There we were thinking that the last Full Council meeting before Christmas would be full of bonhomie and Christmas spirit – before everyone slopes off for a Christmas drink in the Mayor’s digs – than wham bang and off go the fireworks!
Cllr Carole Cockburn had obviously been sucking lemons before bowling down the A31 to Waverley Towers. She grabbed the opportunity of commenting on the Council’s new Communications Strategy to settle old scores with two of her colleagues.
No sooner had the new administration presented its new strategy for communicating with councillors and the public, than out came Carole with all guns blazing.
“The irony of this is that Cllr Paul Follows is telling us how to communicate when it was his wild accusations when he first took office that `Local Plan Part 1 would basically be torn up, which almost scuppered the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan (2) before it had a chance….. to …
At which point Cllr Follows interjected – but was stopped in his tracks with… “I am speaking – and I am allowed to speak without interruption.” And she did, by now firing on all four cylinders and with a face resembling a patient after root canal treatment turned on Farnham Residents’ Cllr Jerry Hyman.”
Who she claimed, – “came along to preliminary hearing to communicate directly to a Government inspector – correct me if I am wrong – and repeated what Cllr Follows had said ‘thankfully’ the Comms Team had issued a press release on the eve of the public examination refuting this.
This was a good example of uncontrolled communications. We need more control of media and communications.
Cranleigh’s Ruth Reed swung in behind to congratulate the Portfolio holder for providing the new strategy and lightened the mood with something along the lines of “it’s not what we do it’s the way that we do it – it’s not what we say but the way that we say it”
Then upshot Tory Michael Goodridge still smarting from having to earn his council seat at the May polls – full of the same festive goodwill stoked CC’s flames – in his own pompous inimitable way by saying the new Strategy was “similar to ours.” He argued that communication was a two-way matter and there were 57 members of the council, with whom the new administration should be communicating.
Then used the same document as an excuse to fire another missile into the new Administration for not going out yet to consult on Local Plan Part 2. Which was a bit rich bearing in mind it was the TT’s who postponed it due to the damage it may do them in the May elections? An outrageous use of political advantage to serve political ends.
Cllr Hyman ended the debate by saying he had had no communication with the Lib Dems – Paul Follows -before the Farnham NP hearing – and he was happy to provide Cllr Cockburn with a full recording of the hearing which would confirm exactly what he did say.
So ended the last council meeting of the year in the true spirit of Christmas. A year during which there was more togetherness in Eastenders than between the Tories and the new Coalition of Greens, Labour, Independent and Farnham Residents.’