Secrets from the Council Chamber

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With his knowledgeable and humorous approach in telling these stories from a westcountry council chamber, Ted Sherrell provides a wry insight into the workings of local government and what it is that councillors actually do – or perhaps that should read ‘don’t do’. At the meetings councillors are faced with the most unlikely proposals and subject matter. They could be dealing with trees that are in the way or dropping their fruits on people, or dogs that leave their droppings in public places, or unreachable flagpoles, decrepit bridges or even the need to set up committees under government policy that never actually do anything! The problem with all the discussions and decisions is that each of the councillors have their own strong individual personalities and quirks, and these can quickly make them appear either outrageous or extremely inflexible. Whilst democracy is obviously essential, there are other considerations – can they afford the proposal, which proposal will close the meeting quickest to allow them to go home, and will the outcome affect their chances of re-election? When we consider that many of those who eventually reach the hallowed halls of Westminster start out as elected councillors, it is perhaps not surprising that the one true principle that can be seen running through our democratic system, just as occurs in this book, is that of procrastination – and perhaps it’s just as well!