Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

THE Horse Meat Scandal Unexpectedly Arrived

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

THE Horse Meat Scandal Unexpectedly Arrived

Article excerpt

THE horse meat scandal unexpectedly arrived back on Tyneside this week...thinly veiled in council banter that, luckily, Scribbler was present to decipher.

You can't fault the perennially sunny leader of Gateshead Council for trying to lighten the mood of local politics.

Dressed in his trademark suit with Marie Curie daffodil attached to his lapel, Mick Henry was holding court over councillors joking away like children at the world's most serious and dimly lit tea party. In a two-hour meeting of the authority's cabinet at Gateshead Civic Centre there were jokes galore about the length of time it was taking to deliver each other's reports and the fact that if there were any tough questions it's "best to ask the officers", which lightened the mood and cast doubt on the elected members' competency! When it came to the delicate subject of how Gateshead should deal with the problem of its many horses grazing on council land, the joking intensity reached feverpitch.

After it was agreed to get tougher on rogue horse owners, someone dutifully piped up:"Why the long face?" Someone beforehand had audibly whispered: "How many horses have you killed?" to the officer reading his report. You see, it was positively brimming with banter.

Mick Henry topped it off, though, by making a reference to the fact they were discussing how to deal with the borough's equines while at the very same meeting there was an agenda item on hot food takeaways.

And adding little else to that statement than a knowing glint in his eye, Coun Henry left you to fill in the blanks and come up with your own wonderfully inappropriate local government gag.

And the food jokes didn't stop there.

At the back of the room were the three stern-faced representatives of democracy. Opposition Liberal Democrat councillors Dr Jonathan Wallace, Frank Hindle and Ron Beadle sat through the cabinet meeting adding remarks where they saw fit.

Of note was self-sufficient farming advocate Dr Wallace's entirely humourless comments on hot food takeaways and how in fact a bit of fat in one's diet is actually quite good. He then described how he likes to eat deep-fried Scotch eggs dipped in pig fat that he makes at his ranch. …

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