A few days ago, we wrote this piece about proposals from Thurrock Council to refurbish their civic centre in New Road, Grays: Never mind us plebs, just build yourselves some shiny new offices! Since then, the proposals were subjected to questioning on Tuesday 20.11 by the council’s Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee: Officers defend plans for £200,000 plus ‘grand entrance’ to council offices. The plans will now go to the council’s cabinet who will decide if the project can move to the next stage which will be a public consultation.

Take a really close, careful look at the report in the Thurrock Independent because it’s actually quite revealing. It really does sound like the council officers had to put in a lot of work to convince the scrutiny committee that this scheme was needed. You could be forgiven for thinking that they may have their work cut out convincing the council’s cabinet. Which does make you think that the proposals to refurbish the civic centre is a council officer driven project.

If that’s the case, it begs this question – who’s really running Thurrock Council? It’s bad enough when jumped up councillors show their contempt for the residents they’re supposed to be working for: A grudging concession from Thurrock Council. Bear in mind that the average turnout at local elections in Thurrock is under thirty percent and that the ‘winning’ councillor doesn’t really have anything remotely resembling genuine legitimacy. That in and of itself is bad enough when these councillors presume to make decisions that affect our lives. When it’s highly paid, unelected and unaccountable council officers making decisions like the proposals to tart up the civic centre, that’s even worse.

This just confirms what we and many other observers of the shit show that’s local politics have known for years – all too often it’s the senior officers pulling the strings and the councillors are the puppets. It’s not unknown for the councillors to turn out to be the muppets as well! Yet again, for the umpteenth feckin’ time, all of this shows that the system of local (and national) governance that we endure is simply not fit for purpose and needs to be swept away once and for all.