Strange days indeed

Sometimes, you think you know the course a series of events are going to take. Sometimes you’re so confident, that when fate takes a hand and completely rearranges the furniture, you can’t quite believe it. Today was like that. Fate not only rearranged the furniture, it moved the whole house six inches to the left…

Barely a day after the infamous, intemperate, fractious full council meeting that Mike ‘Burger Boy’ Flower blogged about so eloquently, councillor blogs and Walsall’s social media have been alive with discussion about the first meeting with Mike Bird back as leader of the council. The YamYam performed excellently, as ever, roping together separate strands of a story that positively rattled around without ever making it to the conventional media – the Express & Star reported on the same meeting as if they hadn’t attended and just read out the guff fed to them by the publicity unit, not even placing the story on their webshite… meanwhile, Marco Longhi and the intrepid Mr. Flower are attempting to open up council meetings to more scrutiny by staging full (presumably live) webcasts of them. The leader is said to be advancing plans and a rosy glow settles over proceedings as we all consider a new dawn.

Hold it right there a second… lets think about this for a bit.

Mike Flower undertook something last night, that as far as I can tell, is unprecedented in Walsall; he actually stood up and vocalised his distaste at the manner in which a council meeting was conducted. This is a brave act; not least because the new regime has a previous history of exercising tight control over events at the council whenever prudent. I would tenure that his actions have probably not been welcomed in some quarters – in fact, as councillors Marco Longhi and Garry Perry moved to support the statement with similar posts of their own, one wondered if they would have been made at all if Mike Flower hadn’t stuck his head up first?

Since the leader is apparently already costing webcasting proposals of his own, one wonders if this will suddenly become way too expensive and be kicked into the long grass. I wish the councillors the best of luck with that one – I think most constituents would welcome the chance to observe the proceedings of the council they pay for – but I’d be quite surprised if it happened. With Mike Bird’s seemingly reductive agenda, grand schemes don’t seem to be the order of the day. I think the behaviour question, and the supposed moderating influence of being broadcast is probably negated by the attention-seeking nature of some members who’d probably go for oscars…

Stars of the day cropped up in various comments on blog postings; notable mentions go to Plastic Hippo here, and Ambrose here. The Sneyd action group proved that they wouldn’t go without a fight, and what days debate would be complete without a former councillor popping in to remind us how dedicated he was before he defected to the political wilderness? The times they are a-changin. Hopefully.

Oh, and an mention should go to Ian Shires who seemed to be blogging pretty much the same sentiment at the same time as Mike Flower. You didn’t go unnoticed, again, all down to the The YamYam

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