Hot on the heels of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s “Thought Showering” episode this week, the latest Borough Council to fall prey to the media is Maidstone.
It seems from both local (Kent Messenger)and national press (Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph) that having taken delivery of a shiny new mayoral car, the Mayor of Maidstone Denise Joy has been told by her officers that it will not display either the borough insignia or flag – usually proudly affixed on the roof and the bonnet of any official vehicle.
And the reason? Health and safety. It seems that when the car is moving, a sudden rush of air might tear either flag or emblem off and fling them into the path of the vehicle behind. Has this ever happened? Well – er – no. But is certainly could do, says Neil Haris, Maidstone’s Democratic Services Manager.
Maidstone councillors are already furious at the switch from a “British” Jaguar to the more environmentally-friendly hybrid Lexus GS450H costing some £40,000. Now, they say, the arrival of the Mayor of Maidstone without insignia could result in her car being diverted to a mere ‘public car park’ by mistake – imagine that.
So now all that’s distinctive about the mayoral vehicle is the prestige number plate – 1 MKP – although perhaps this should be changed in case a member of the public is confused by the plate and begins ‘thought showering’?