BRAKESPEARE: How the Mayor of March became a winner - and loo-ser - at craft fair

CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council’s “new vision” for libraries, Norfolk Police’s pre-Christmas drink drive slogans and how ‘fluorescent jacket man’ nearly fooled the team delivering Wisbech’s Christmas tree are topics also highlighted this week by our diarist.

MY dear old chum Councillor Bernard Keane, the Mayor of March, continues to add a certain piquancy to civic affairs and as ever we try to have a photographer present when he’s out and about.

However, not even we could have scripted the moment he played his cards right on a charity stall ... and won a loo roll!

Both he and his wife Sylvia happily saw the funny side, coming so soon after Cllr Keane had been caught short on official business and forced to use a hedgerow to seek immediate relief.

The actions of the mayor, and a handful of other Fenland councillors, caught the mood of the nation with Bernard even appearing on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 to answer critics.

Some weeks after the event he might have thought the moment had been forgotten but then he turned up at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel to lend support to a two-day charity craft fair and the rest you know ...

JUST in case we weren’t aware, Cambridgeshire County Council has reminded journalists of the “new vision” it plans for libraries.

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I know it’s a “new vision” because in the first paragraph of a press release it told me how library bosses have been touring the county to talk to those who helped shape the “new vision”.

In the second paragraph the council reminded us how 13 under threat communities had helped take forward the “new vision” and paragraph three emphasised the “new vision” would determine library services for the 21st century.

Paragraph four told us how Cabinet member David Harty had used feedback to help provide an overview of the “new vision” and lest we didn’t get the message the press release was helpfully headed “communities champion new vision for libraries”.

I HEAR some Tory colleagues are less than enamoured with Councillor Mike Cornwell, who has joined the minor rebellion against the wearing of civic robes by March town councillors.

The late Peter Skoulding refused to wear the robes – claiming them to be a waste of money – and it’s a view shared by his son Rob, who joined the town council as an independent in May.

Little by way of sanctions can be applied to young Rob but Cllr Cornwell’s colleagues in the Conservative Club may have found a way of reining him in.

That could happen next time there’s an election when Tory candidates for the town council will be required, in all likelihood, to agree beforehand they will not rock the boat over the wearing of robes.

Both Mike and Rob were absent from the fully robed town council contingent on Remembrance Sunday but took their places in the unrobed Fenland District Council segment of the parade.

Councillor Kit Owen, I learn, fretted and fumed over their actions but there’s little he can do.

Apart that is enjoy, as he’s done on two recent occasions, the conviviality of the newly-built Cobblestones pub at Westry where he tells me the only downside is the range of real ales which include my favourite ... Brakspear’s.

I HAD forgotten but thank you Chan Abraham, chief executive of the Huntingdon based Luminus Group – which also runs the Ferry Project in Wisbech – for reminding me that 2011 has been his group’s “year of rescuing dreams and reviving aspirations”.

Being the canny practitioner he is I can’t help wondering if he’s making the slogan more widely available – maybe to David Cameron?

WHILE Cambridgeshire County Council is sharing many of its top-tier officers with Northamptonshire, there will be little by way of shared services locally.

Despite a frenzy of speculation earlier this year it seems Fenland District Council leader Alan Melton is not persuaded of sharing much any time soon.

Minutes of the overview and scrutiny committee reveal that chairman Pop Jolley asked if there are any plans to share officers and services as a way of saving money.

Cllr Melton said axing the post of deputy chief executive had already saved money and shared services will be considered “where the benefits to Fenland are clear”.

However, he described his crew as a “top team dedicated to Fenland and I cannot see how we could work effectively sharing a chief executive with another council”.

A FENLAND District Council report talks about a chef executive and deputy chef executive.

With the axing last year of tea ladies I’m assuming this is not a new catering arrangement for councillors but a simple spelling mistake.

I hope.

WISBECH Mayor, Councillor Jonathan Farmer, rings to tell me of the latest activities of a colourful but usually inebriated character who can often be observed in the town centre wearing a yellow fluorescent jacket.

Jonathan says he was there at 7am Monday just as the town council’s Christmas tree arrived.

“Last year there was a bit of criticism about the tree being a bit small,” said the Mayor. “At 25ft some thought it could have been a bit taller. However this year we’ve ordered exactly the same, don’t ask me why but there it is.”

Obviously fluorescent jacket man knew something of the background since he rushed up to the team delivering this year’s tree and yelled “that’s not the one I ordered. I wanted a 40ft tree - so you can take that one away”.

The hapless workmen were about to do just that when a stall holder spotted the contretemps and rushed to their aid, pointing out the lack of credentials held by the man sporting the yellow fluorescent jacket.

(Cllr Jonathan Farmer: 2005SM711)

NORFOLK Police are beaming with pride over the slogans being used for the pre-Christmas drink drive campaign.

A police spokesman says “this positive marketing campaign takes a new approach to the Christmas drink/drive message and runs alongside a police enforcement campaign which encourages drivers to consider alternative forms of transport, both that night and the next morning if they feel they may still be over the limit.

“Catchy headlines such as ‘Get a new plan, Stan’, ‘Get on the Bus, Gus’, ‘Take the Train, Jane’, ‘Use your Feet, Pete’ and ‘Get a Taxi, Patsy’ appear on colourful, attention grabbing advertisements in local newspapers and magazines plus outdoors, on billboards and petrol station forecourts.”

Personally I’d have liked a weightier campaign – slogans such as ‘Use Your Loaf, Oaf’ or ‘Don’t Slaughter Stick to Water’ spring to mind but hey ho I wasn’t asked.

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