Su­per coun­cil plans un­ravel in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion...

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Letters And Opinion -

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.

Fol­low Paul on Twit­ter @ Paulonpol­i­tics for all the county’s po­lit­i­cal news and gos­sip.

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