THIS ISLAND LIFE I SUSPECT the euphoric feelings during the run-up to an election — for those directly involved anyway — are rather like the emotions most people experience during the first flush of true love.
Promises are made and things said in the heat of the moment which sometimes turn out to be hopeful at best and a liability at worst when passions have cooled and developments are scrutinised in the cold light of day.
The 'independent’ candidates who stood for election to the Island Council in May set about wooing the electorate by whispering sweet nothings in the ears of anyone daft enough to listen.
Blandishments abounded as they set out to have their wicked way with us.
"We will put people before politics", they whispered seductively, before making some gullible voters swoon by nibbling their lobes and adding huskily "and we won’t keep any nasty little secrets either.
"If you pledge your love and support to us, we promise you openness and transparency in return." It seemed like a match made in electoral heaven but no sooner had the independent paramours bewitched the electorate than they immediately put politics before everything else — and not just
people — by forming their own party in an attempt to run the show for four years.
The love affair has lasted just four months and now the first real test of 'openness and transparency’ threatens this fragile accord.
It concerns the settlement pay-outs given to two council officers who were exonerated of any blame over the Cowes Enterprise College debacle after an eight-month inquiry.
As no-one has yet been held accountable for the 12-month delay in the £32 million project, the County Press, not unreasonably, wanted to know how much the officers concerned were paid for apparently having done their job in such an exemplary fashion.
A Freedom of Information request was submitted to this effect but the council, following the advice of its legal eagle, Justin Thorne, refused to disclose the sums, claiming the figures were confidential. But one of his comments in particular caught my eye.
He wrote: "In these circumstances there was no reasonable expectation of the individuals concerned that these details would be made public and released in response to such a request."
What about the reasonable expectation of the taxpayers, who have every right to know exactly how generous the new administration is being with their money?
This newspaper is appealing against the ruling and it would be nice to think support will be forthcoming from 'independent’ members of the high-minded, principled cabal which now controls County Hall.
But isn’t it time one of them broke ranks and supported the call for the type of greater 'transparency and openness’ they were so eager to champion and for the absence of which they were so quick to lambast the previous administration.
It hasn’t taken Knocker Stephens and his crew long to go native and leave their swaggering principles on the County Hall steps for collection by the bin men.
Here’s a TIP for the visitors
The latest Tourist Information Point is opened, at Brading.
Many years ago, most newspapers in this country dispensed with the use of full-stops in lists of initials because they were considered jarring for the reader, as they tended to disrupt the smooth look and flow of a sentence.
As a consequence, some acronyms, deprived of their punctuation marks, eventually developed seamlessly into words, with laser, scuba and nimby being familiar examples.
However, we are now inundated with abbreviations, thanks to the advent of the wretched textspeak, an abominably scruffy form of communication capable of rendering simple sentences virtually unintelligible.
And even the most celebrated among us don’t always get it right.
For instance, it became clear during his exchange of intimacies with former News Corp chief executive Rebekah Brooks that David Cameron thought 'lol’ stood for 'lots of love’.
Everyone knew, of course, in his case it stands for 'loves other lefties’.
An acronym appeared on the County Press website recently which had me doing a bit of a double take — 'Another TIP for visitors’, it proclaimed.
The fact TIP appeared in capitals with no full-stops just added to the drama of the announcement, giving the appearance of a headline-writer deliberately setting out to emphasise the calamity about to befall us.
A rubbish dump especially for visitors, with access denied to locals. How dare they?
Closer inspection revealed the TIP in question to be a Tourist Information Point, which have replaced the TICs (Tourist Information Centres) foolishly deemed surplus to requirements by the last Conservative-controlled council.
The latest TIP opened in Brighstone and two have already been established in Ryde and Shanklin, with more planned throughout the Island.
But I regard myself as a one-man TIP, ever prepared to respond with a warm smile and a kindly word to inquiries from anyone flaunting milky-white legs and a gleaming new pair of trainers — the cast-iron confirmation one is in the presence of a grockle.