Super council plans unravel in spectacular fashion...
Politics is an unpredictable business, vividly illustrated by the abrupt collapse of plans by four authorities to join forces for an East Kent “super district” council.
The carefully orchestrated initiative unravelled in spectacular fashion when one of four – Shepway – jilted its would-be partners just at the point they were walking up the aisle.
Shepway’s reasoning was a little opaque but it seemed to be concerned about the format of the public consultation that had been planned, which strikes Off The Record as rather thin.
Its other concern was losing a disproportionate number of councillors compared with its prospective partners. And politicians never like voting for their extinction.
So, it’s back to the drawing board and we could now be waiting some time before another formal proposal for merger comes forward.
The Conservative leader of KCC gave a sober response to the merger outcome but is probably secretly delighted, having feared that the agenda was all about becoming – eventually – a unitary council, which would in turn have led to a split in the county.
Cllr Paul Carter tells Off The Record he wasn’t surprised. But he gave a gentle warning shot saying that if merger plans came back on the agenda, he would resist them.
Election manifestos are notorious for cliches and generally bland policy commitments and there wasn’t much in the Conservative document that stood out as radical.
We did notice, however, that it had shoehorned in a plaudit from a Liberal Democrat. Although he wasn’t named, the praise came from the education spokesman Cllr Martin Vye, quoted as saying that the education department was “operating at the very best I have ever seen”.
A cheeky endorsement – and maybe a sign that the Conservatives are a little circumspect about losing ground to the Lib Dems.
There is some nervousness at County Hall over the election results.
No, not the actual results but anxiety over a repeat of the shambles that occurred in 2013, when the contractor brought in to deliver a countywide results service on the counting day went into selfdestruct mode and eventually ground to a halt.
It was left to journalists to be the first to bring the results and KCC to apologise for the debacle.
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