I’M beginning to feel slightly sorry for the planning and environment committee of Handforth Parish Council in Cheshire.

For sure they had a boorish chair and deputy whose preoccupation with arcane standing orders was only less obsessive than their need to slap down any female voice.

But the fact that their strop on Zoom has now been viewed round the country – maybe the globe – and parodied and deconstructed in several national newspapers, probably means the chief culprits can’t leave their houses right now.

Which will be very bad news to their wives, if such brave souls exist.

For those just catching up with one of the last week’s lighter news items, this particular parish council had acquired such a reputation for online bickering and general uselessness that a woman called Jackie Weaver was parachuted in to try and sort the guys out.

This she duly did by the simple means of just muting them prior to kicking them off altogether.

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Ms Weaver acquired instant heroine status and popped up on Woman’s Hour to offer the female equivalent of “aw shucks, it was nothing”.

But behind the general giggling lay a few home truths.

The first is that any woman who has served on a predominantly male committee or board will recognise only too easily the rule that only bolshie females get to let their lips move. Jackie proved a past mistress on this one.

And she did so with an enviable lack of histrionics, contriving to hide the pleasure she must have felt when, one after another, her tormentors found themselves relegated to the electronic equivalent of the naughty step. An engaging contrast to their visible apoplexy.

But the second is that Zoomery – useful as it is – has some disadvantages over real live gatherings.

At the latter, things can certainly get just as heated, not least the local variety. But at least there’s a chance someone will suggest a comfort/tea/coffee break before anyone risks a handbag to the head.

And the third is that serving on these committees entails commitment to some mind-numbingly boring evenings when the rest of the sentient world is watching Netflix. So, respect! They also serve who only sit and thole.

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