Sun. May 22nd, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

HOLMSEY: A manufactured bruhaha

3 min read

On the very day our Westminster politicians were being unusually statesmanlike, here, the council’s budget meeting descended into farce. Up there they discussed Russia’s heart-breaking assault on Ukraine. Here they obsessed about Robertson’s, the jam-maker, not the lemon barley people. Were he still alive, Brian Rix would have blended in seamlessly at County Hall.

Do you have a display cabinet at home? Are your bookshelves full of DVDs? Do you have any ‘On the Buses’ (RIP Olive), ‘Fawlty Towers’, ‘Love thy Neighbour’, or worse, ‘It ain’t half hot Mum’? If those ’70s comedy classics are still in your home, I’d advise you to stop reading immediately, clear the shelves and destroy them, although you might want to wait until after dark!

Members of the public often hold councillors in low regard; that’s why they don’t bother voting. Any councillor given the privilege of chairing the council shouldn’t start shouting ‘shut up’ at the public; it’s undignified. Shamefully, the current chairman, ex-Labour man, Geoff Brodie (formerly Lumley), did exactly that last Wednesday. This week he branded a fellow councillor a coward.

Many years ago, Geoff seemed to be one of the good guys, but no more. After his ‘shut-up’ outburst, he cleared the public from the meeting, and that isn’t a wise move either. Perhaps socialist Geoff had been watching too many of those bizarre Putin lectures from the Kremlin, and was subconsciously aping Vladimir, removing witnesses.

After the boring budget part of the meeting, during question time, the still new-ish leader of the Tory group (name escapes me) asked a prepared question about an image alleged to have been in the background of a Facebook post.

The photograph, posted on Bonfire Night, showed the leader’s dog, frightened of fireworks, behind the poor animal, was a display cabinet. Some sad pathetic so-called ‘friend’ of hers, forensically analysed the image and instead of just sympathising with the petrified dog, thought they could just make out some tiny Robertson’s jam figures on display behind the glass and passed it to the press. This pointless manufactured ‘row’ has rumbled on, although most of us owned Robertson’s dolls or badges in the past. I remember school kids wearing their badges with pride on their blazers. Some may have been unaware that to avoid any ‘woke’ unpleasantness, they should have destroyed them by now, along with those aforementioned DVDs.

The Tory group leader clearly felt he must ask a question about Robertson’s marketing accoutrements, but when it came, it wasn’t helped by a wooden delivery. His heart wasn’t in asking the question, perhaps because it was written for him by someone else, someone desperate to continue a pointless political witch hunt? The council’s rules say that to receive an answer, questions need to be pre-notified so, quite reasonably, the leader replied saying, as she had not received prior notice, and the question didn’t relate to the budget, she wasn’t going to answer. Bravo. It was at this point, a minor bruhaha erupted, when chairman Brodie, who had already leaked what he claimed to be a ‘gotcha’ email exchange with the leader, twice insisted that HE wanted the question answered!

His tetchy performance, put me in mind of John Bercow, the often-hot-headed former Commons speaker. Infamously, Bercow was the self-important short bloke who used his chairmanship to try to stop Brexit, costing him his job and a peerage.

Left-wing right-on Brodie is not in charge of the council; the leader is – that’s democracy. The vast majority of us don’t care what may or may not be in her home. We expect her to ignore this politically motivated mischief-making and get on with her job, running the council.