Long-time readers know that, to put it delicately, the alleged council leader Dave Conway isn't the most hands-on of politicians. In meetings with visitors he will simply up and leave the officers to carry on. If the bureaucracy requires a decision, they circumvent him and approach his deputy instead. Not for nothing is the head of the Tory group known as Acting Council Leader Abi Brown. And at all other times, officers simply get on with things in the absence of political oversight. To think Dave once had the cheek to attack his predecessors for presiding over an "officer-led authority".
Or perhaps I'm being unkind to Dave. It is my understanding there's a small project that has captivated all of his attention and has in fact become a top priority. What could it be? An impact assessment on the Tory cuts to the local government grant? A scheme designed to drum up more investment? How to cut SureStart centres without too many people noticing? Or even a feasibility study on one of the City Independents' manifesto promises, such as the Meir-Tunstall tramway? Something far weightier than that.
We're talking road signs.
As part of their six-town regeneration strategy, whatever that is, Dave wants to turn the clock back. If he gets his way, council workers shall issue forth from depots across the Potteries to replace otherwise perfectly healthy signage. So if you see one signposting 'City Centre' expect it to get torn down in favour of one that reads ... 'Hanley'.
That's right, £15,000 is set to be expended on what can only be described as a stupid indulgence. The fools comprising the City Indies might get a warm glow, thinking that a blow has been for the alleged special identities of each of Stoke's six towns, but not only is it a waste of money, it can cause considerable confusion for people visiting the city. In a very Stokieish defiance of logic, the town from which the city is named is not its commercial centre or key shopping district. Having been bamboozled by this when I first got off the train 20 years ago, I can tell you no end of people from elsewhere have and continue to be as well.
Once again, Dave Conway and his gang of wingbags, closet racists, opportunists, union-bashers, and bearers of unsavoury convictions prove themselves to be small-minded, befuddled incompetents. Unfortunately, there's still four more years of this idiocy to run.