It is September and County Hall is abuzz with political gossip – especially amongst the Conservatives.
Many issues are vying for urgent attention. Just to touch on a few: potential fracking in four Wiltshire sites, the abrupt ending of the Balfour Beatty contract, the latest round of bus service cuts, apprehension over further central government austerity with yet more local redundancies and hacking back of essential services. However, none of these are the number one topic.
No, instead it is the elevation of Jane Scott to the peerage. The talk is increasingly of Jane Two Jobs. For it appears that as well as becoming a working Conservative peer, she is determined to maintain her position as Leader of Wiltshire Council.
There is much speculation as to the reason for this dangerous decision. Some say it is just pure greed, others that there is a paucity of talent and ambition amongst Conservative councillors. Or it could be that the group is split with deadly rivalry and enmity, so much so that no one member can garner sufficient support.
Doubtless there are further considerations, but the fundamental problem is that in the coming weeks Wiltshire Council has to make all manner of important decisions. This is hardly the time for part-time leadership.
One wonders if David Cameron really considered the outcome of his peerage decision as it affects the people of Wiltshire.
Independent Wiltshire Councillor