Friday, 13 June 2014

Welcome to The Twilight Zone

Does anyone remember a 1960s cult TV series called "The Twilight Zone".

According to the narrator, the Twilight Zone could be found...

"somewhere between now and then in the hours from dusk to dawn,
- where no-one is quite what you think, and nothing is quite what it seems."

I am not sure what made me think of that, it must be thirty years since it was last on TV, perhaps hosting the Kent Area Management Executive at WK Towers!

The Kent Area Management Executive is akin to a nomadic herd of ageing bull elephants, roaming around Kent in search of a purpose. Don't get me wrong; the concept is fine. The Area Management Executives should provide an important link between CCHQ, the Region and the Associations. Their purpose is to share best practice, help with the training, development and management of the Associations (on a peer to peer basis) and to generally encourage, support and motivate. The problem is it has no real sanction, so cannot enforce. As a consequence, those Associations who are open to change and willing to listen are the ones which least need changing and the ones which perform least well are those who are afflicted by a permanently closed mind.

Anyway, I digress.

Almost as soon as the meeting commenced we entered the parallel universe. The South Zone Oberleutnant suggested circulating the latest West Kent News to the every Association in the area as an example of good practice, but the Chairman couldn't recall seeing it. After a lot of paper shuffling he remembered that he had, but apparently it was lining the cat's litter tray. This set off a bizarre round table conversation about cats, during which time the South Zone Oberleutnant informed us that he had just spent £800 at the vets whilst someone else had problems with fleas. That started Allan Sullivan off scratching his arm. Then came the most surreal moment of all; someone turned to Tracey Crouch MP and said (completely free of irony) "how is your pussy following your trek up Cotapaxi".

We then had a long discussion about holding a Kent Area Conference, and for the fifth successive meeting we all agreed that it was a good idea. We resolved to do something about it - but we would delay a decision until after the anticipated cabinet reshuffle in case the person we invite to deliver the key note address is sacked.

Then yet another debate about the Kent Area website. The Kent County Council Conservative Group owns the domain the Kent AME want to use - and there have been discussions for two years now about transfering ownership. I have personally attended two meetings, the last one being at Manchester during the 2013 conference, where this was agreed, only for reasons to be found for it not to happen. So we had yet another discussion - and guess what ? We are going to set up a sub committee to discuss the options. 

Then came the wimmin. The excellent Cllr Jane Martin is i/c wimmin - but she started her report by saying "an awful lot of Conservatives wonder what the wimmin are for" which is ironic as most Conservative women clearly think the same about the men.

By this point Tracey Crouch was getting restless as she had another meeting to go to. "I must head off", she announced. The Chairman, whose mind had probably wandered elsewhere completely misheard. "Tracey Crouch has just said she's going to take her clothes off", he announced loudly, adding to the sense of confusion and absurdity. Even the South Zone Oberleutnant managed to look surprised, and he's had 30 years experience of hiding every emotional reaction at meetings like these.  "I am not going to take my clothes off", said Tracey, to the *relief / *disappointment (*delete as appropriate) of all concerned.

"Oh" said the Chairman. Shall we move on to the Treasurer's Report?

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