“Life can only be understood backwards”
Councillors arguing about a ‘right’ to a seat on the Hemingbrough School Board of Governors, giving the two local Churches a box of surplus 2002 Golden Jubilee Mugs and residents using the Fishing Club Wheelie Bin as a dumping place for Doggy Doo ..... it was trifling stuff. (These are not jokey subjects – they took up Parish Council time) There was nothing there about which to go to war.
The two factions had been skirmishing since the May 2007 ‘elections, which weren’t real elections as there were fewer candidates than seats, so all eight people who stood were ‘elected’ to the Council. Five Councillors, Bilton, Bygrave, ‘King Roland’ Chilvers (father), Chilvers (son) and ‘Baldrick’ Strelczenie (husband) made up the ‘The Labour Gang’ clique which meant they could always block the other three, McCann, Pickering and Senior, particularly as Chilvers (father) had a second, deciding ‘Chairman’s vote’ in the case of a tie if two of his clique were absent.
Councillors had the right to co-opt mates to fill the three empty seats and Chairman Chilvers (father) got Sue Strelczenie (wife) and Edward Kinsella, who would introduce “swearing on the Bible” into the Council when confounded by the evidence, and ‘The Others’ got Glenis Harrison to add to the Council’s Vegetable Plot. At a stroke, the compliant Clerk had to learn a new mantra “Vote carried 7 to 4”.
The essential principle of any successful Parish Council is that ‘Party Politics have no place’ there; Councillors should be independent-minded individuals who want to serve their community. Chilvers (father) whined on and on about ‘The Labour Gang’ epithet until I unearthed the names of local Labour Party Activists:-
The nominations for the Hemingbrough Ward for the 3 May 2007 elections were Chilvers (father) with his Proposer, Seconder and Assentors that included Jean Chilvers, Derek T Bygrave, Sheila Bygrave, J Strelczenie and Susan Strelczenie. Similarly, for the South Selby Labour Party candidate for the 4 June 2009 North Yorkshire County Council Election, the Proposer, Seconder and Assentors list included Strelczenie (husband), Strelczenie (wife), Jean Chilvers, Chilvers (father), Colin Chilvers (son) and Angela Chilvers – 4 Hemingbrough Parish Councillors and two wives!
The Labour Party Gang that controlled Hemingbrough Parish Council appeared time after time. At a 2009 Parish Council meeting, after Chairman Chilvers (father) resigned his position, the new Chairman, Strelczenie (husband), was Proposed by Chilvers (father), Seconded by C Chilvers (son) and elected ‘By a Show of Hands of 5 votes for and 4 abstentions’. The Vice Chair, E Kinsella was Proposed by Strelczenie (wife), Seconded by Chilvers (father) and elected ‘By a Show of Hands of 5 votes with 4 abstentions’.
Snubbing or treating Chilvers (father) with contempt was much worse than filling the Fishing Club’s Wheelie Bin with Doggy Doo. What was McCann saying about the King chucking his toys out of the Royal Pram? Had Councillors McCann, Pickering, Harrison and Senior fiddled with the Parish Council’s Hagg Lane Green Committee Constitution?
Passions were inflamed, Parish Council matters took a sinister turn and early in 2008 the Labour Gang embarked on a crusade to humiliate the Hagg Lane Green Gang. The War kicked off with ‘Baldrick’ Strelczenie mounting a lone, public protest – had he misunderstood The Labour Gang’s War Plan?