ADMIT it, how many of you were watching from the sidelines, jaws open wide, when the “are they or aren’t they merging the fire and the plod?” story broke the other day?
#PCC Adam Simmonds certainly seemed to be sending messages out that it was a done deal (even if one affirmative tweet to our crime reporter was mysteriously pulled). County Hall, by contrast, clearly didn’t think it was a full merger.
As Norman Hacker (now 21 years in charge of the Tories at County Hall), tells the Chron elsewhere today, “merger” talks are premature and he’s effectively kicked the whole thing into the long grass, especially in an election year.
At the height of “Merger?-gate” it was left to Binners to wade in with the strongest comments on the subject, but perhaps the real victim of all this bluster is the county council cabinet member for public protection: Gonzo. All the whispers now are that Gonzo cuts a very isolated figure among the Tory grandees at County Hall.
For it was he who was stood there posing for pictures and apparently endorsing the #PCC, while his boss clearly didn’t share that view.
At Derngate on Monday, where Binners was hosting a visit by a Conservative minister, County Hall Tories were snuggled up to Norm while Gonzo was somewhat adrift, looking like the rejected cub of the lioness’s litter.
As if that wasn’t enough, he had last night’s meeting of that wasps nest of a parish council – Wootton and East Hunsbury – to deal with and, specifically, the motion calling on him to switch the street lights OFF in his own Manor (Simpson) which have miraculously stayed ON throughout the switch-off programme which he has overseen.
The motion by his near nemesis, Liam Costello, reminds Gonzo that, after all, ‘We’re all in this together’. Aufona strongly suspects we may now be in the very final days of cabinet glory for Gonzo and he could be swept away if the Tories win on May 2.
It will mean no more vanity shots with visiting Royals, but, heh, at least there’ll be more time to do business.
Whatever that is, exactly...