Does Jackie Weaver have the authority? Parish the thought!

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Like many other people I thoroughly enjoyed watching the meeting of the Handforth Parish Council Planning & Environment Committee which quickly went viral on social media platforms this week.

The chaotic Zoom meeting from December 2020 has put the Cheshire town on the map and made instant media stars of Jackie Weaver (2021’s Carole Baskin) from the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, who had actually been brought in to bring some sense of order to proceedings, parish council chairman Brian Tolver and vice chairman Aled Brewerton, although the last two for all the wrong reasons.

The hashtag #Aled’s iPad is surely destined to be a question in Channel 4’s Big Quiz Of The Year come Boxing Day and the moment when in a fit of temper he goes full Linda Blair in The Exorcist has been replayed on news broadcasts all over the English speaking world over the past few days.

Phrases such as “Jackie Weaver you have no authority”, “Read the standing orders AND UNDERSTAND THEM!!!” and “I would like to be known as Britney Spears for the remainder of the meeting” are going to live on in memes and social media posts for the foreseeable future.

Jackie has been in huge demand from breakfast news to Woman’s Hour while the two other main participants in this farce have become figures of such ridicule I fail to see how they can continue in their positions.

But as funny as it was, I can’t say I was surprised by any of it and I’m sure fellow journalists who have sat in council chambers for hours at a time watching what passes for local democracy in action would agree.

In fact, compared to some of the things my former colleagues and I have seen over the years, this was mild.

Parish councils are the bottom rung of local authority, but some members of these little tinpot dictatorships in all parts of the country obviously don’t quite realise that they are just small fish in a tiny pond.

Our sign of respect

At a time where life’s villains seem to get all the press, Captain Sir Tom Moore was a hero in the truest sense of the word. His service for the greater good deservedly made him an icon for these troubled times and his passing from COVID-19 at the age of 100 has impacted on the whole nation.

He set an example more than 75 years after he could have been well within his rights to say that he had done his bit.

Clapping is the very least we owed this incredible man to show our gratitude, but unfortunately even a simple apolitical gesture of respect was tarnished by the comments of Reverend Jarel Robinson-Brown, who claimed on Twitter that support for Captain Sir Tom was “a cult of white British nationalism.”

The comment was subsequently taken down and he is now being investigated by the Diocese of London, but it was an outrageous, insensitive and badly timed statement that is indicative of the rank hypocrisy and utter ignorance supposed people of God can display.

Captain Sir Tom’s achievement was for the benefit of everyone. The only argument anyone can make is that with the NHS starved of resources he felt the need to do it at all.

£33 million plus and someone still has to make something negative from it, twisting it to serve their own agenda

Unfortunately it has prompted far right flatheads to subject the Rev to racial abuse, not that they usually need an excuse, but this was handed to them on a collection plate.

Sir Tom was a symbol of hope in a world gone mad. He was the best of us.

Mission completed captain. Sleep well with our thanks.

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Stupid TV quiz answer of the week:

Q: In 1804, who crowned himself emperor of France?

A: Henry VIII?

Edward Case

Columnist