Plunged into despair by baffling debate
It never ceases to amaze Off The Record just what county councillors choose to debate at their meetings.
KCC reached new heights of navel-gazing with a tortuous, not to say painful, consideration of what should be included in the minutes of full council meetings.
Ukip tabled a motion calling for the minutes to include answers to written tabled questions at such meetings.
You’d have thought this proposal could have been dealt with in a relatively straightforward way. But not at County Hall where such constitutional upheavals are taken very seriously.
The ensuing debate proved so baffling that no-one seemed entirely clear what was going on, descending into a chaotic argument about the constitutional rules that led one councillor to mutter in despair “Am I wasting my life?”
While the disruption caused by a record-breaking series of days of Operation Stack remains vivid, Kent County Council is trying to make the most of it by pressing forward with its £468m solution.
Except that one part of the solution may prove rather hard to swallow for some – namely, the element that involves a “holding area” for as many as 4,000 HGVs somewhere off the M20.
Not everyone on the Conservative backbenches is enamoured. Ashford county councillor Andrew Wickham, not known for dissent, warned there could be “enormous opposition” to the idea.
The former Ukip MEP Janice Atkinson is facing questions about why she has not fulfilled her own commitment to stand aside as an MEP in the event that she moved to another party. In a Facebook posting that has returned to haunt her, she said all Ukip candidates had signed a contract that were they to defect, they would stand aside for the next candidate on the party list.
Ms Atkinson has joined the Europe of Nation and Freedom group in the EU after being expelled by Ukip amid expenses allegations.
There appears to be nothing the county council, in its bid to save money, won’t consider outsourcing or privatising.
It is testing the water over its country parks, inviting would-be operators to put forward their plans to run them on KCC’s behalf.
Or as the invitation puts it: “Kent County Council is looking to engage with potential suppliers to deliver, through one or more of the above sites, an inspirational countryside experience for all Kent residents and visitors in the most cost-effective manner.”
There is some confusion over the long-awaited publication of the IPCC report into whether Kent crime commissioner Ann Barnes had valid car insurance following a crash.
It was due to be discussed this week by the Kent and Medway Crime panel but apparently wasn’t complete – even though the accident happened last November.
Follow Paul @PaulOnPolitics