LAST Tuesday evening I went to the town council meeting. I went because the agenda included a discussion of a new shield and motto for Glastonbury.
To my amazement it seems that the members of the council, some of whom have been on the council for decades, do not know how to draft an amendment.
The motion was actually extremely carefully worded and allowed the councillors to stay in total control of the process. Nevertheless, the Tory backbone of the council did not want to “accept” the motion, they wanted to “note” it. Therefore the correct way to draft the amendment would have been: In paragraph 1, in the sentence “the council accepts the report...”, delete “accepts” and replace with “notes” – or something similar. That would have made it clear that the difference was between “accepts” and “notes“, allowing relevant discussion.
As it was, the possibly amended motion, which was quite long and with only one word altered, was considered as the amendment. Thus discussion of the substantive motion was invited whilst supposedly debating the amendment. Confusion ensued. This meant that neither the amendment nor the substantive motion got properly debated.
The amendment was passed. OK. Now we need to pass the substantive motion. “But we’ve just voted on this”. Well, yes. But actually you were supposed to be voting on the amendment. Only thanks to the insistence of the town clerk, was the amended substantive motion eventually passed.
I wonder, was this deliberate obfuscation? Or just irritation at spending time on an issue where they knew what the result was going to be because there was such a tight whip? Either way it was unedifying to see the predictable line-up trying to reject a process that currently has strong momentum.