Albany NY has been called “the most dysfunctional state capital in the US”, and no-one argued. Governor Thomas Dewey initiated the process of Governor, Speaker and Majority Leader making all major decisions behind locked doors back in the 1940s, and it remained the convention until recently.
It would appear that, in Albany, key legislative decisions have been made by these “three men in a room” and their successors for three quarters of a century.
In Leamington, of course, it’s all very different. Our “three men in a room” are Councillors Mobbs, Rhead and Whiting and, like Brutus, they are all honourable men.
They are all Tories. They are all members of the WDC 'Executive'. They all serve on the Limited Liability Partnership set up by the Council with Cabot Square Capital.
And none of them live in Leamington or represent Leamington wards.
So that’s alright then.
I make no apologies for returning to this topic. Not least because the latest news is that, as part of a “Creative Quarter Draft Masterplan”, we have learned that Leamington’s Town Hall, opened in 1884, is mooted to become the location of a new restaurant and a private members club. (You’re right, it does sound a bit iffy.)
As you may infer, the “three men in a room” have been particularly creative this time, eschewing the boringly obvious solution of moving WDC offices to the under-utilised Town Hall in favour of constructing new headquarters and transforming an existing (and rather splendid Victorian) headquarters building into a restaurant and private club.
I mean, Leamington is crying out for more of these. I bet they could get hundreds on the streets, demonstrating in favour of this dynamic development.
But of course, our three men in a room seldom pay attention to the views of Leamington residents however they are expressed.
We’ve written letters and emails. We’ve called public meetings. We’ve signed petitions. We’ve rallied and we’ve marched.
It makes no difference. They do what they want. And in my humble opinion, it’s a (very English) scandal.
Today from the everysmith vaults: Speaking of the unspeakable, I’ve been listening to Bill Frisell a great deal recently and, serendipitously, arrived at Unspeakable, his 2004 album, as I typed this. By turns raucous and melodic, it’s a joy throughout. His jazz sensibility and love of Americana gel beautifully.