Zoom but no oomph

The initial meeting conducted by Zoom by South Somerset District Council was not a resounding success. But nor was it a disaster – in the end. SSDC have obviously tried hard, as have a number of councils to enable business to carry on.

The first meeting, an Area South meeting, was the selected lamb to the slaughter.

However the best efforts of those involved could not mitigate some of the more infantile efforts of the public. With lots of people at home with not much to do, photo bombing a council meeting obviously seemed like a good idea.

Before the meeting could get under way, Peter Gubbins in the chair spent 7 minutes trying to mute the mic of people contributing bad language and generally taking the Michael.

In the end images and mics were switched off for everyone who was not a councillor meant to be at the meeting.

All was finally ready to go when the Chair’s mic was inexplicably switched off. The screen went blank. Mr Gubbins finally re-appeared and the meeting got underway.

Then it came to planning officer Simon Fox. Only when he tried to speak it transpired his mic had been muted by accident.

No sooner had Mr Fox started talking on the business of the Keyford sustainable urban development. At which point sporadic photo bombing started. Images of an intimate nature and a dog doing its business temporarily replaced Mr Fox.

In the Chair, Peter Gubbins was initially mostly visible from the top lip upwards having not apparently got used to the camera level. He asked that the SSDC IT gurus get involved and find out who was causing the problem and asked they be reported to the police.

We returned to Mr Fox who had a slide show but to be honest the slides presented were not really legible and there’s no capacity to magnify them onscreen. Half way through the unfortunate Mr Fox’s presentation we got, “yea yeah wrap it up mate. I don’t have all day.” Turns out not everyone had had their mic muted.

Mr Fox had much to say. Unfortunately someone decided to relieve the boredom by inserting random councillor video images on screen while he was speaking. The images vanished reasonably quickly but it was all a little off putting.

Mr Fox finally staggered manfully to the end of his presentation. At which point we lost the chair completely, No image and no audio.

Several members of the public seemed to have found out how to image bomb the video link, albeit for micro seconds…..

Back to the Chair. he had real trouble working out if someone had or had not indicated to speak. “Peter, you’ve lit up. No I may have lit up, but no I don’t have a question.” Eventually the chairs screen crashed completely and Dave Recardo had to take over.

Was it a disaster?


After around 45 minutes everyone had started to get the hang of things. The meeting started to flow more smoothly at least most of the time. There were other issues raised around democracy but more of that another time.

The final oddity is that under the new regime the CEO must approve all decisions made by the committee. He was not present at the meeting. One wonders if it might have been beneficial for him to do so given that he has the final sign off….


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