Alfold Parish Council had a rude awakening this week. The usually sleepy parish which allows its Councillors to do pretty much what they like when they like, how they like, was called to account when one of its residents spotted that over a quarter of a million pounds had flowed through its bank account. Yep, you did read that right – a QUARTER OF A MILLION POUNDS!
Unsurprisingly, that gentlemen nearly choked on his cornflakes and uttered an Anglo Saxon expletive that we’re too mealy-mouthed to repeat here. Intrigued, we asked someone over there to investigate, which they duly did, and we posted their findings. After all, despite the alleged disdain with which the Waverley Web is held by the local establishment – by which we mean the Tory Party, Waverley Borough Council and the uptight Parish Councillors – we know damn well they all read us. The proof is in the pudding and our ratings shot through the roof during Awfold-Gate!
Oh boy, did we hit a nerve? Nic Pigeon – the chairman and local lawyer – was on the phone to the Parish Clerk quicker than a rat up a drain pipe. Sadly, unlike the FBI, WW can’t tap phones, so we’ve made do with our fertile imaginations – believing the conversation went something like this:
Pigeon: ‘Now pay attention, Beverley! We’re in, potentially, deep do-do over our love-in with POW and the other Parishes. Not that we did anything illegal, you understand, but, let’s face it, Capt’n Bob and the Boy Britten aren’t too popular with the Waverley Web and, somehow, they’ve managed to make them the laughing stock of the Borough. God knows how but we don’t want that happening to us. Mrs P would fall off her horse- and then we might have to give up our Springbok land.
Bev: ‘Oh, I wouldn’t go that far. I’m sure no one takes the Waverley Web seriously …’
Pigeon: ‘Are you mad, woman? Of course, people take it seriously! Even Julia Potts has been overheard admitting she reads the Waverley Web. WBC doesn’t bother issuing internal memos now – it’s a waste of time – because the Waverley Web knows what’s going on at the Burys before they do! We have to nip this in the bud and fast!’ Before they start looking at the VAT returns!
Bev: ‘That’s a shame. I’ve had several compliments from friends who’ve seen my picture on the Waverley Web.
Oh, I know it’s not like being on the front cover of Vogue but, you have to admit, you’re no one in Waverley if you don’t get a mention on the Waverley Web. I’m quite enjoying my 15 minutes of fame and …’
Pigeon: ‘Dear God! Get a grip, woman! soon you’ll be suggesting I ring up and offer to pose for an official photograph to go with their next article!’
Bev: Actually, a good idea. If you submit your own photos you could airbrush out the bits you don’t like. They managed a very flattering photo of me (thank God they didn’t find the one of me with my trousers rolled up, paddling, at West Wittering.
Pigeon: Never mind West Wittering. Stop wittering and CONCENTRATE! We need to think … come to think of it you might just be on to something! That’s just what we need to do. I take it all back. You’re a genius! We need to start wittering. Take a letter, Beverley, we’re writing to the Waverley Web …’
Bev: ‘What? Betty won’t like it …’
Pigeon: ‘Bugger Betty! Well, not literally, of course … God, perish the thought!’
Bev: ‘You cannot be serious?’
Pigeon: ‘What? About Betty? Of course not!’
Bev: ‘No, not about Betty. About writing to the Waverley Web!’
Pigeon: I never thought those words would pass my lips, but, I’m afraid, we need to hold our noses and just do it. This is about damage limitation and the only way out of this is to offer a carefully choreographed explanation. I know we don’t consider ourselves accountable to anyone but, sadly, the days of what goes on in the Parish Council stays in the Parish Council are long gone. Nowadays, what goes on in the Parish Council goes on the Waverley Web and what goes on the Waverley Web ends up on Facebook and Twitter! Their reach is … well, let’s just say it’s far-reaching.
Why else do you think Groucho Ground retired and went to work for POW? Why do you think I’m retiring? Just you wait, Charles Orange The Big D’s final stretch. will be the next one stepping down, mark my words. He’s never been the same, you know, not since they outed him as an out-of-town developer … And, no, I didn’t know about that. I must say he kept it very quiet – very, very quiet – but then, of course, he would. Not that I blame him, anyone would. Development’s a dirty word around here! You can be a developer’s solicitor, his accountant, his bank manager, his planner even … but you can’t actually be a developer! That really is social death! Unless, of course, you’re really, really, really successful and you do it in someone else’s backyard. It doesn’t do to dump on your own doorstep! That’s bad form. So,. Let’s put our heads together and see what face-saving narrative we can come up with for laundering all that cash for POW. Pity we didn’t let one of the other Parishes do it but it seemed like such a good wheeze at the time …’
PS. Has anyone else noted that the Parish Council’s website is now, suddenly, bang up to date, with even draft Minutes being posted? Now there’s a first and, if nothing else, maybe they’ll be a little less complacent going forward.