Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Heroine of the Hour 2021 – Jackie Weaver

2021’s redoubtable “Queen of Zoom” Jackie Weaver moves on from pesky parish council punch-ups and commandeers comedy and literary lavishness after one of those infamous councillors is convicted of calling his neighbours “tarts” and “Peeping Toms”

After having “barely blinked when being yelled at” by some especially unctuous male councillors and made a guest appearance in The Archers even, “2021’s Queen of Zoom” Jackie Weaver has put-pen-to-paper and written about her experiences “getting things done without fuss, keeping cool in the face of adversity and pressing mute on the noise.”


In You Do Have the Authority Here!: #What Would Jackie Weaver Do?, this “indomitable lockdown sensation” and “feminist political icon we didn’t know we needed” shares her “standing orders for life” in what she terms a “non-nonsense, witty and incisive way.”


Contrasting with an especially Victor Meldrew-esque “maverick” member of Handforth parish council, of which she remains the “doughty clerk,” named Brendan Murphy – featured in The Steeple Times in March after he was convicted of harassing his elderly neighbours and calling them “perverts, tarts and peeping Toms” – Jackie Weaver has also moved on and put her ‘fame’ to use on the comedy circuit.


In February, this fearless female hosted an evening titled The Comedians’ Council in Balham, London. Described as “the ultimate council meeting,” the event challenged “comedian-councillors” to “tackle tough audience questions.” They included: “‘Is wearing socks and sandals a criminal offence?’ or ‘Can you really trust people who prefer baths to showers?’ These important questions will be posed by the live audience and, just like a real council meeting, the panel will engage in friendly debate before voting each issue.”


What’s on the agenda next for Jackie Weaver as we move into 2022? A cheese and wine standoff with Boris and Carrie Johnson at 10 Downing Street or a non-sweaty Sloppy Giuseppe with Prince Andrew at Pizza Express, Woking? Subject to ‘Bosie The Clown’ actually making any kind of decision whether to allow us freedom or not in the New Year, we’ll all be waiting, watching and wishing this wonderfully wacky woman well.


Jackie Weaver Handforth parish council 2
Elsewhere yesterday in ‘The Times,’ chief officer of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils Jackie Weaver shared her thoughts on how she would deal with Christmas fall-outs and declared that for her “this year has been a whirlwind.” A pesky parish council meeting most certainly turned her into a star whilst ‘Good Housekeeping’ recently rather appropriately suggested her book to be “an essential guide.”
Brendan Murphy Handforth parish council
Handforth parish councillor and “the first Macclesfield Tory to ever be sacked” Brendan Murphy was convicted of harassing his neighbours Christopher and Margaret Boyd over a 13-year period in March 2021. When deservedly dragged before Stockport Magistrates’ Court, without an ounce of remorse this bombastic bore pontificated pugnaciously and stated: “I call Mr Boyd a ‘Peeping Tom’ and his wife a ‘Tart’ for a good reason and I think my legal response is justifiable. I saw a CCTV camera on the wall filming me and I jokingly said, ‘I see you are a peeping Tom.’ I also said: ‘Mind you don’t fall off that roof, I cannot give you the kiss of life,’ but that was a joke too. On one of the occasions, I was out with my dog. Mr and Mrs Boyd were walking down the road hand in hand swinging their arms looked very happy. I said: ‘I’m glad to see you are so happy’ but instead of crossing the road she lurched into me and the dog whimpered in pain and that is when I called her a tart. I think they are making a big deal out of this. I do not do it every day. I am an elected active councillor and I do a lot of community work. There have been instances where I did say in response to them and they would stare, laugh, and sneer. Mr Boyd is a very active DIY man with improving the garden, etc. His garage is his workshop, and he makes a loud noise that I do not want to hear. People use the word ‘tart’ in lots of different ways and I will continue calling them a Peeping Tom and a tart as long as the cameras are still there. I say these words 100 times when I see the cameras and it just gets it off my chest. There are nastier things I could say.”
David Eggleton Henley parish council Bingate
Elsewhere in 2021, ‘The Steeple Times’ reported on a similarly stupid debacle in Henley-on-Thames. “Henley’s 9/11,” as Henley’s “BinGate” saga was somewhat crassly branded, involved an eccentric actor “in many popular soaps” turned councillor named David Eggleton “storming away from his camera” and resigning after he didn’t get what he wanted over the installation of bins in this especially tony town. “I don’t believe in waste… I think the report was misleading and taking out the option of refurbishing is not democracy. I have the knowledge and expertise around waste and they are not listening to me… Okay, goodbye” declared gobby granddad Eggleton before he threw one of many tiresome tantrums.
During the “chaotic” Handforth parish council meeting that made Jackie Weaver famous, this “doughty clerk” dealt with “argumentative male councillors by kicking them off the Zoom call.” She “kept her cool” and “got her revenge with another remorseless click of her eviction button.” Speaking of the experience, in an interview with ‘The Guardian,’ the Cheshire Association of Local Councils employee stated: “It’s harsh to take some pleasure from that, but I’m afraid when you are being bullied, if you can see that the other person has lost it, then there is the sense of: ‘I did OK there because I managed to hold it together.’ There is an element of bullying and bad behaviour in local councils and a lot of us are working very hard, and that includes central government, to try and do something about that.”
Prior to her cameo in BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Archers,’ “Internet star” Jackie Weaver declared on Twitter in March 2021: “I really feel the #TheArchers need a parish council advisor – I am their girl!  Parish councils are in their ascendance – let’s use every platform we can to encourage engagement.  #TheArchers please get in touch!” They most certainly did and in August this year, she put a stop to a protest in the fictional village of Ambridge even.
Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.



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