THERE used to be the old story which pupils passed down through the generations that if the temperature in a classroom peaked at a certain level, then legally the school day had to be cancelled and they all got to go home. Nobody ever really knew what the magic trigger centigrade was, but optimistic kids would still ask teachers in hope.
It’s possible the class should’ve been dismissed early from last night’s full council meeting in Camden due to the sticky, sweltering climate inside the Town Hall chamber. A couple of stand-up office fans at the back of the room were never going to do the job after a day of baking heat, but persevere the councillors admirably did. Suit jackets were removed by most, the water cooler was drained and agenda papers waved around.
The election-winning freshers generally fared well on their opening night, played in by their colleagues for an introductory go on the mic. If there was an odd missed cue, it could be excused by the unkind conditions. Maybe council leader Georgia Gould should’ve used her quick-booking pass to set us up with an outdoor meeting in Talacre Gardens or Russell Square.
As it goes, this swelter was the last all member meeting in the council chamber horseshoe for some time, with the councillors set to decamp to a temporary chamber in the Crowndale Centre after the summer holidays while the old Town Hall is refurbished.
By the time they return, the whole council term cycle will almost have clicked past. It’s a shame then that this one-pace sweatbox evening will be the only real taste of a full council meeting in the old place for the new starters until some distant date. It’s not always so hot, and although it may feel like a jail for some long-servers (I’m projecting) Camden has a lovely old chamber really.
Suggestions for the refurbishment: a bronze of Ellen Luby heckling from the public gallery, or a plaque at least, and a return to some form of refreshment on the civic floor. The old dollops of mutton curry were pretty ropey but so many councillors seem to be living off a quick Pret sandwich on the way to the 7pm start. Let’s go further: a bar. Then we might find out what our loosened-up members really think.
In reality, our councillors probably just want a sound system that works well and super broadband wifi, so they can continue surfing the internet – sorry, I mean making important notes – on their ipads during meetings.
And some air conditioning.