I guess many of my readers have already seen this. If not, enjoy! It is a video of a Chesire (UK) town council meeting gone wrong, and for me it is so typical of those very local government kinds of meetings. After over a year of digital meetings, I really needed to see this and have a good laugh.
I have watched it several times and cackled just as much every time.
- “when do we plan to start?” *F###k off’
- The pompous chairman telling Jackie Weaver (what a hero) that no one can remove the chair from a meeting. Just before she removes him from the meeting.
- ‘You have no authority here, Jackie Weaver! NO AUTHORITY AT ALL!’
- The deputy chair hissing in the backround like Gollum (at 5.47 minutes in), after shouting at her ‘READ AND UNDERSTAND’.
- ‘We’re trying to have a Teams meeting, you fool,’
- “I’m the deputy chairman, I’m in charge!!!!!!
- ‘STOP TALKING’
- Who is this woman?’ a voice in the background asks
- ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about’.
- Someone flushing what sounds like a toilet
- Jackie asking people to refer to her as Britney Spears.
- ‘he did not attend meetings for 6 months, the fact there were no meetings during that time, however, is irrelevant’
- ‘the chairman of the council..is the..the..chairman of the council’
- someone taking a call during the meeting
I work in national politics and have done for 22 years now. If you are not focused and driven and if you do not know what you are doing, you don’t last long. If you are rude, pompous or patronising, you really shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to your political future. Meetings need to be both efficient and effective, stick to the agenda, and start and end on time.
In total contrast, my first local meeting in a small-town aesthetics committee (responsible for what colour people can paint their buildings, what kind of flowers can go in window boxes, painting of benches etc) was an eye opener. It was full of people with plenty of time on their hands to have meetings that dragged on and on and on. There was A LOT of mansplaining and a lot of nitpicking about tiny things. No decisions were ever made because people would get fixated on tiny things. This video just puts it all together in a bottle and shakes it up!
If you find the video hard to understand because of accents and background noise, here is a transcript of the first part:
Councillor Brian Tolver: When do we plan to start?
Unknown: F**k off
Jackie Weaver: I think we can start any moment, Chairman. I think it is just helpful to go through the same things as we went through before which is to encourage people to just switch off their microphones because it does reduce the background [noise]. I’ll continue to admit people if you’d like to start the meeting Chairman.
Cllr Tolver: Can we be assured that we won’t be thrown out of the meeting like last time?
Ms Weaver: As long as we have reasonable behaviour from everyone, no one will be excluded from the meeting.
Cllr Tolver: I was thrown out of the meeting. So was Councillor Brewerton.
Councillor Peter Moore: Quite rightly.
Ms Weaver: As a point of order Chairman, could we start the meeting?
Councillor John Smith: Chair?
Cllr Tolver: We haven’t started the meeting yet. Do you want to speak anyway?
Cllr Smith: Yes I’d like to ask a point of order.
Cllr Tolver: We’re not in a meeting so points of order are not applicable.
Cllr Smith: Has it started yet? No?
Cllr Tolver: Points of order apply during the debates. And I want to ask Jackie was it you who quoted a point of order?
Ms Weaver: Yes it was indeed.
Cllr Tolver: Are you here as the Proper Officer?
Ms Weaver: I am here offering support to Handforth Parish Council in the conduct of this meeting this evening.
(From Aled’s iPad): You’re not the Proper Officer.
Cllr Tolver: Is that as Clerk or Proper Officer?
Ms Weaver: There’s no difference between Clerk or Proper Officer.
Cllr Tolver: Of course there is.
(From Aled’s iPad): Yes there is.
Cllr Tolver: You must know under basic law, I would have thought.
Ms Weaver: Are we going to start this meeting?
Cllr Tolver: It isn’t the role of somebody who, however kindly volunteers to do the clerking for a meeting, to act as a Proper Officer if they haven’t so been appointed. That’s against the law.
Ms Weaver: This meeting has been called by two…
Cllr Tolver: And let me also quote to you the standing orders of Handforth… will you stop talking?
Ms Weaver: Unless we are prepared…
Cllr Tolver: Will you please listen? Will you please listen? Will you stop being whatever it is you’re trying to be and just clerk the meeting if that’s what you want to do. Points of order, according to our standing orders, are determined by the Chair. If you want to raise a point of order as a councillor, you ask if you can raise a point of order, you state it, and then the Chair decides. It is not for the Clark to raise a point of order. It is not for the Clark to decide a point of order. You must be aware of that. God knows what you’re doing here if you’re not.
Ms Weaver: Shall we elect an alternative Chairman? So Chairman, albeit late, shall we get this meeting started?
(Unknown): I can’t see Jackie Weaver
(Unknown): It’s this woman here.
Cllr Tolver: Right, we’ll start the meeting, and I want to remind people of what I said at the start of the last meeting. That this meeting has not been called according to the law. The law has been broken.
Ms Weaver: It has been properly called…
Cllr Tolver: Will you please let the Chairman…
(From Aled’s iPad): Mrs Weaver please!
Ms Weaver: If you disrupt this meeting, I will have to remove you from it.
(From Aled’s iPad): You can’t.
Cllr Tolver: It’s only the Chairman who can remove people from the meeting. You have no authority here, Jackie Weaver. No authority at all.
(Cllr Tolver is removed from the meeting).
(From Aled’s iPad): She’s just kicked him out.
Ms Weaver: I have indeed.
(From Aled’s iPad): No she’s kicked him out. No don’t. She’s kicked him out.
Ms Weaver: This is a meeting called by two councillors…
(From Aled’s iPad): Illegally.
Ms Weaver: May now elect a Chairman.
(From Aled’s iPad): No they can’t because the Vice Chair is here. I take charge. Read the standing orders. READ THEM AND UNDERSTAND THEM!
David Pincombe: Dear me.
Ms Weaver: Appalling behaviour. A copy of this will in fact be sent to the monitoring officer.
(From Aled’s iPad): I’m the Vice Chair.
Barry Burkhill: Where’s the Chairman?
(From Aled’s iPad): Given the standing orders, it now reverts to me.
Cllr Burkhill: Where’s the Chairman gone?
(From Aled’s iPad): Read the standing orders.
Ms Weaver: … like to elect a Chairman for this meeting?
Cllr Burkhill: You don’t have to elect a Chairman. There’s a Chairman already installed. The Chairman of the Council.
Ms Weaver: Cllr Burkhill we’ve been through this.
Cllr Burkhill: What are you talking about? You don’t know what you’re talking about.
Cllr Smith laughs.
Cllr Burkhill: The Chairman of the Council is the Chairman of the Council.
Susan Moore: Cllr Burkhill could I ask you to be respectful to Jackie Weaver please?
(Cllr Smith says intelligible words. Laughter from Aled’s iPad).
Jackie Weaver: … will now elect a Chairman.
(Aled’s iPad): Here comes a subpoena.
Ms Weaver: Chairman?
(Aled’s iPad): I want to leave. She’s kicked Barry out so I’m leaving.
We’re trying to have a Teams meeting you fool. We’re trying to have a Teams meeting you fool. We can’t, have you got that? You just don’t…
Cynthia Samson: Jackie Weaver, I find that the person on Aled Brewerton’s Zoom is being very disrespectful to everybody.
(Aled’s iPad): Oh coming from you from [intelligible] that sounds good.
Cllr Smith: My first point is to apologise to Jackie but welcome to Handforth. May I start?
Ms Weaver: Indeed, indeed. Nothing if not lively in Handforth.
Cllr Smith: What I would say is that it was a very good example of bullying within Cheshire East.
Cllr Moore: John can I make a very quick point? Rich coming from the Chairman who hasn’t held a meeting since March to try and call this one illegal and he’s a complete disgrace.
Cllr Smith: Ok, thank you Peter.
Parish Council meetings were never this much fun when I was a PC back in UK!! All boring stuff like the bowls club and the allotments and a bit of planning… oh look they haven’t included an en-suite bathroom in their new house extension… do we allow that!!