Usually, the bit at council or community meetings where last time’s minutes get signed off is over in a flash.
But on Wednesday, a meeting of the St James’s Area Local Action Team spent more than half an hour discussing the last meetings minutes – with a bitter row centred on whether they reflected residents’ concerns about the after-Pride street party or not.
One disgruntled resident said: “I’ve had a look through these minutes and, frankly, I don’t recognize the meeting I was at.
“It’s no wonder so many residents don’t come to these meetings when their views aren’t even recorded, let alone acted upon.”
I almost found myself feeling sorry for Chris Cooke, who has been selected by the Labour Party to stand against us Green Councillors in next May’s local election – when the talk afterwards turned to a vote of no confidence in him as chair.
But then I remembered that he used to be a member of the Green Party – and, it is rumoured, the local Tories – so he’s clearly a man who likes local politics but isn’t really sure what he believes in.
And then I heard that the other two Labour candidates for the ward have resigned, finding Chris difficult to work with.
And is if that wasn’t’ enough, I heard he wants to see smoking banned on the outdoor areas of the pier (for the record: I think the existing smoking ban goes quite far enough, and people should certainly be free to smoke outdoors if they so choose).
Chris undoubtedly joins a lot of community groups, but has a bit of a tendency to upset people and, often, walk away: I can only say if it’s true his personality means he’s unpopular with residents and is driving other Labour candidates away I’m glad he decided to leave the Green Party.
Anyway I do wish him well in next year’s election – I hope he manages a good fourth place behind the three Greens who already serve the ward so well (I would say that wouldn’t I!)