A missive from Nick on Covid and County.

Here at the Waverley Web, we have found Waverley Cllr Nick Palmer’s regular updates on the Covid-19 pandemic very helpful, easy to understand and relate to. 

Here’s his latest missive.

nick palmer
WBC Labour Councillor and former Member of Parliament Cllr Nick Palmer.

Hi all,

Just a few updates this time, but significant ones. Health warning: point 3 is partisan!




I won’t comment on the national debate, but it’s worth noting that the pandemic is edging upwards here in Waverley as everywhere else.

The latest daily reports note 558 confirmed cases so far in Waverley and currently an estimated 93 active cases, with 7 new cases this week. The active cases are not yet a big proportion of the population (around 1 in 1000) but it’s a reminder to stay on the safe side.

If you have a few contacts with people from other households now and then with luck, you’ll be OK, but if you see lots of people regularly without taking care you’re running a significant risk, especially if it’s indoors (e.g. a pub), which seems to have a much higher risk than out of doors. While it’s true that younger people generally don’t die from the virus, it can have nasty long-term effects on your health at any age, quite apart from the risk of passing it on. Wearing a mask when you’re out and encountering others remains a very good idea, both for you and for those around you.

Waverley Borough Council is quietly preparing to do all it can to help in the difficult months that we expect are coming. Please keep an eye on

https://www.waverley.gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest updates.

Council power grab aborted?

Is Surrey County Council’s bid to abolish all borough councils collapsing? We can answer that with a firm “Maybe”. The ludicrous sequence of events has been this:

  1. a) The Government let it be known that it was planning autumn legislation encouraging abolition of borough councils, with their powers merged into one central county council to rule us all. This would, however, “only be done where there was consensus”.
  1. b) Thrilled by this Lord of the Rings-style prospect, Surrey County Council rushed into preparing a bid to be one of the first, employing expensive consultants, printing glossy leaflets and conducting push-polling (phone polls in which you indicate what you want to hear and ask if the recipient agrees).Bye, Bye ‘ Your Waverley’ Hello ‘ Surrey?’
  1. c) All 11 borough councils opposed the proposal, and a grassroots campaign against it rapidly gathered thousands of signatures. This appeared to demonstrate a lack of consensus.
  1. d) The Government indicated that when they said “consensus”, they didn’t actually mean that most people needed to agree. Encouraged, the County Council continued to press ahead.
  1. e) Then the Government let it be rumoured that on reflection, it wasn’t going to do it after all. The Surrey County leader said grumpily “I don’t know why the Government keeps starting fires and then walking away”, but conceded that this seemed to mean the proposal was dead.Is Surrey’s Leaders bid for a Unitary Authority crashing and burning.
  1. f) Further rumours now suggest that perhaps it may not be quite dead after all.

Government by rumour is just irritating, and when the County Council spends large sums of taxpayers’ money on an unannounced policy it’s ridiculous. And does it make sense to abolish local government at borough level at exactly the time when boroughs are being asked to prepare to be the front line of tracing COVID contacts through the winter? Note that none of this is partisan in itself. The Government, County Council and many of the borough councillors are Conservative. We are paying for them all to squabble among themselves. Wouldn’t it be good if they concentrated on the real problems – notably COVID and the impending impact of Brexit – facing us all? If you’d like to sign the non-partisan petition asking them to stop, it’s at


County elections

You’ll be able to take a view on all this next May when Surrey is due to have County Council elections. The Government flirted with cancelling these in view of the imminent reorganisation, but they now look likely to go ahead. If you feel that the Conservatives are doing well, this will be a chance to confirm them in post. But if you’d like a coherent alternative, Labour is preparing actively and we look forward to playing our part in Surrey to showing that people across the whole country want a genuine, intelligent alternative to multi-level Conservative rule. If you’d like to look into joining in, the link is here:


Best wishes

Nick Palmer

One thought on “A missive from Nick on Covid and County.”

  1. The petition to stop Surrey’s cynical power grab has amassed over 4,000 signatures now. It was organised by RASSU (Residents Against Surrey’s Single Unitary) Looks like the Government might be focussing their sights up North (Yorkshire?) but Tim Oliver still lives in hope as he hasn’t received the letter from Robert “bob the builder” Jenrick yet to confirm the rumour that the Surrey bid is dead.
    But don’t be deceived or fall into a lull of false security. Surrey has already splashed the cash and has a cunning plan up their sleeve, ready to be pulled out when Downing Street gives him the nod.
    Hopefully, by the time that happens, we will have exercised our democratic rights at the County Elections to have given them a bloody nose!

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