Of old trout and political wiles

JUNE 27, 2008: WATCHING a fly fisherman at work is a treat: how he studies the water and the weather, and his quarry. How he ties the fly, binding feathers and fluff to his hook in cunning imitation of the trout’s favourite dinner. How he fastens the deadly lure to his line and, walking carefully to the river bank, begins to flick the line back and forth, almost silently, until the fly dances through the air and settles gently as a bubble on the water.

BUT Ted Fry is a wily old trout.

When Councillor Sue Dann (Labour, Moor View) asked the Tory deputy leader at a meeting of the full Plymouth City Council this week whether he supports plans to have student accommodation at Argyle’s new hotel development, Fry spotted the barb straight away.

“There is nowhere in the forward plan that mentions Argyle and Home Park,” he said.

Fair question, fair enough answer: members were debating the council’s forward plan – a chance to hook a Cabinet member or two and play him or her for a minute’s harmless sport.

 But Dann is not the angler, only the fly – a “white muddler”, perhaps. The real angler is Isaac “Tudor” Walton  – (Labour group leader Tudor Evans) – and he gave his fly a tempting little tweak: “I’m sorry to disturb the equilibrium of this meeting,” he huffed. “Councillor Fry is wriggling like a worm on a hook.” (Tut tut, Tudor. It’s not sporting to use worms when fishing for trout.)

“I want the Lord Mayor and the chief executive to compel Councillor Fry to answer,” he said, possibly displaying too much impatience for angling.

Fry eyed the hook: “As Cabinet member for planning and regeneration I can’t involve myself in planning applications. Anything to do with the Argyle hotel will have to stand on its own merits,” he said. “This is a trap that I’m not going to fall into.”

It is not the first time the Labour group has angled to snare Fry – in fact, they do it at most full council meetings. As Cabinet member for Planning, he is not allowed to comment on the detail of any development. If he did, he would be reported to the Standards Committee for misusing his position.

Seems to me the ruse would be a hollow victory if it did succeed. It’s very funny, but it does smack of entrapment.

POLITICS is a lot like angling. Perhaps you know how off-putting it can be to go fishing with a small boy who won’t sit still. Young Steve Ricketts (Con, Drake) used to be that boy, but his new Cabinet role seems to have focused his mind on greater things. After presenting the ludicrously named “Draft Best Value Performance Plan and Outturn Data (Annual Report)” to council, he borrowed the phrase Gordon Brown always used at the end of his Budget speeches:

“I commend this Budget to the House,” Ricketts said.

BEFORE he moves up to 11 Downing Street, Ricketts has to pacify residents in his own ward. They are up in arms at what they see as an assault on democracy by the planning system.

Local people fiercely oppose a development of 36 flats on the old Beeclear site in Central Park Avenue, and Ricketts spoke on their behalf at a planning meeting last month.

Committee members wanted to visit the site. When the application returned to planning this week, Ricketts was not allowed to speak again – even though the composition of the committee had changed.

“It’s outrageous. I’m furious,” Ricketts said later. “It’s like having no goalkeeper in a football match.”

The application was approved, to growls from the audience.

HERALD readers with long memories may recall Jill Saward, the rape law campaigner who lived in Tavistock in the 1990s.

Now she has popped up in Yorkshire where she is one of 25 by-election candidates giving Tory MP David Davis a run for his money.

Mr Davis resigned his seat two weeks ago to force a by-election after the Government narrowly won a parliamentary vote to extend the time a person can be held without charge to 42 days. Mr Davis said he wanted an election to keep the debate alive.

Labour thumbed their nose by refusing to contest the seat.

COUNCIL workmen turned up in St Budeaux to repaint zigzag lines and ‘School Keep Clear’ signs on the road outside Barne Barton school, says Mr J. R. Martin.

Shame they didn’t notice that the school had been demolished.

A council spokeswoman said: “There appears to have been a communication breakdown between our education and highways departments. “In fairness to the crews, unless they

had personal knowledge of the area they would not have realised the school had closed down as it was a Saturday and the school would naturally be shut.”

  

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

WATCHING a fly fisherman at work is a treat: how he studies the water and the weather, and his quarry. How he ties the fly, binding feathers and fluff to his hook in cunning imitation of the trout’s favourite dinner. How he fastens the deadly lure to his line and, walking carefully to the river bank, begins to flick the line back and forth, almost silently, until the fly dances through the air and settles gently as a bubble on the water.

BUT Ted Fry is a wily old trout.

When Councillor Sue Dann (Labour, Moor View) asked the Tory deputy leader at a meeting of the full Plymouth City Council this week whether he supports having student accommodation at Argyle’s new hotel development, Fry spotted the barb straight away.

“There is nowhere in the forward plan that mentions Argyle and Home Park,” he said. 

Fair question, fair enough answer: members were debating the council’s forward plan – a chance to hook a Cabinet member or two and play him or her for a minute’s harmless sport.

But Dann is not the angler, only the fly – a “white muddler”, perhaps. The angler is Isaac “Tudor” Walton, and he gave his fly a tempting little tweak: “I’m sorry to disturb the equilibrium of this meeting,” he huffed. “Councillor Fry is wriggling like a worm on a hook.”  (Tut tut, Tudor. It’s not sporting to use worms when fishing for trout.)

“I want the Lord Mayor and the chief executive to compel Councillor Fry to answer,” he said, possibly displaying too much impatience for angling.

Fry eyed the hook: “As Cabinet member for planning and regeneration I can’t involve myself in planning applications. Anything to do with the Argyle hotel will have to stand on its own merits,” he said. “This is a trap that I’m not going to fall into.”

It is not the first time the Labour group has angled to snare Fry – in fact, they do it at most full council meetings. As Cabinet member for Planning, he is not allowed to comment on the detail of any development. If he did, he would be reported to the Standards Committee for misusing his position.

Seems to me the ruse would be a hollow victory if it did succeed. It’s very funny, but it does smack of entrapment.

POLITICS is a lot like angling. Perhaps you know how off-putting it can be to go fishing with a small boy who won’t sit still. Young Steve Ricketts (Con, Drake) used to be that boy, but his new Cabinet role seems to have focused his mind on greater things. After presenting the ludicrously named “Draft Best Value Performance Plan and Outturn Data (Annual Report)” to council, he borrowed the phrase Gordon Brown always used at the end of his Budget speeches:

“I commend this Budget to the House,” Ricketts said.

BEFORE he moves up to 11 Downing Street, Ricketts has to pacify residents in his own ward. They are up in arms at what they see as an assault on democracy by the planning system.

Local people fiercely oppose a development of 36 flats on the old Beeclear site in Central Park Avenue, and Ricketts spoke on their behalf at a planning meeting last month.

Committee members wanted to visit the site. When the application returned to planning this week, Ricketts was not allowed to speak again – even though the composition of the committee had changed.

“It’s outrageous. I’m furious,” Ricketts said later. “It’s like having no goalkeeper in a football match.”

The application was approved, to growls from the public seats.

HERALD readers with long memories may recall Jill Saward, the rape law campaigner who lived in Tavistock in the 1990s.

Now she has popped up in Yorkshire where she is one of 25 by-election candidates giving Tory MP David Davis a run for his money.

Mr Davis resigned his seat two weeks ago to force a by-election after the Government narrowly won a parliamentary vote to extend the time a person can be held without charge to 42 days. Mr Davis said he wanted an election to keep the debate alive.

Labour thumbed their nose by refusing to contest the seat.

COUNCIL workmen turned up in St Budeaux to repaint zigzag lines and ‘School Keep Clear’ signs on the road outside Barne Barton school, says Mr J. R. Martin.

Shame they didn’t notice that the school had been demolished.

A council spokeswoman said: “There appears to have been a communication breakdown between our education and highways departments. “In fairness to the crews, unless they

 This article first appeared in The Herald in Plymouth in June 2008 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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