Monday, 20 March 2017

My Gang is better than your Gang is!

Put Hemingbrough Parish Council under a microscope today and you will find a seething maelstrom of petty jealousies, rivalries and vendetta allegations.  School playground passions are reaching fever pitch as the yearly ritual of ELEVEN Councillors choosing a Chairman approaches.

The eleven Councillors represent three village Gangs that separately do good work: Parish of Hemingbrough Historical Heritage Society (PHHHS), Hagg Lane Green Conservation Society (HHLGCHE) and the Hall for Hemingbrough Group (HfH).  The Memorial Rose Garden and restoration of the Oldways projects of the PHHHS are perhaps the most valued of their recent achievements.    

The pinnacle of power is Parish Council control with superior access to Selby District Council and subtle manipulation of the village agenda.     

At the heart of each Gang is an ‘inner circle’ formed by a small, tight-knit group and a spouse or partner couple.  The ‘spouse strategy’ is good for controlling votes but invariably irritates some gang members, especially if one has a casting vote in a tie.  Recently, Hemingbrough had a Parish Council featuring the Chairman and his wife, and his political ally the ex-Chairman and his son.  Residents put an end to that nonsense through the ballot box.  

The HHLGCHE Gang has ex-Councillor McCann and wife.  HHLGCHE is trying to stop the Parish Council gaining ownership of Hagg Lane Village Green.  This gang lost three Councillors at the last elections.  The PHHHS Gang has Councillor Jan Strelczenie and ex-Parish Councillor Sue Strelczenie.  The HfH Gang has Councillor Procter and Councillor Carstairs.

It is hard to know which Councillor belongs to which Gang because some walk out after frequent rows about anything, like flagpoles.  I think the following is correct, for now, but I could be wrong.  Parish Chairman Strelczenie belongs to PHHHS Gang along with Councillors Kinsella and Stebbings.  Vice- Chairman Procter and Councillor Chilvers did belong to the PHHHS but left.  Procter is now with the HfH Gang along with Councillors Carstairs and Davidson.  At least one Councillor says he turned down the offer to leave PHHHS for HfH.  Councillor Harrison belongs to HHLGCHE where she is supported by Councillor Drew who correctly claims he is not a HHLGCHE member but has appeared in a gang publicity photo wearing a HHLGCHE badge!  It is hard to know any Gang affiliation of the mostly silent Councillor Sedman.  

Clever Councillor Chilvers was a member of HHLGCHE and PHHHS but he left both gangs.  Now he is an Independent.  See how he was treated at the March Parish Council in the following YouTube clip.       
Click below. 

Respected, independent local farmer Keith Terry has not been a member of any the Gangs.  Maybe that explains why he alone did not vote in last year’s ritual aimed at displacing Strelczenie.

Back to the fever pitch of the yearly ritual of ELEVEN Councillors choosing a Chairman

The latest allegations are this week’s PHHHS meeting will use the spouse strategy to irritate further one member who may then resign from the Gang and Council creating a vacancy for another HfH Gang member to infiltrate the Council having collected 10 sponsors already with an HfH agreement not to contest re-election of the present Chairman, like they did last year, while HHLGCHE wants to field its own gang member to force a costly village election to avoid the blatantly unfair ‘co-option of mates’ alternative.

Where is the younger generation of residents that has a long-term stake in Hemingbrough village prosperity?  Is modern life simply too busy for them to consider standing for election?