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12.43 As against trespassers (who, in principle, must take other people’s premises and their occupiers as they find them) …
Charles Arnold-Baker
Local Council Administration,
Seventh Edition
Pagford Parish Council was, for its size, an impressive force. It met once a month in a pretty Victorian church hall, and attempts to cut its budget, annex any of its powers or absorb it into some newfangled unitary authority had been strenuously and successfully resisted for decades. Of all the local councils under the higher authority of Yarvil District Council, Pagford prided itself on being the most obstreperous, the most vocal and the most independent.
Until Sunday evening, it had comprised sixteen local men and women. As the town’s electorate tended to assume that a wish to serve on the Parish Council implied competence to do so, all sixteen councillors had gained their seats unopposed.
Yet this amicably appointed body was currently in a state of civil war. An issue that had been causing fury and resentment in Pagford for sixty-odd years had reached a definitive phase, and factions had rallied behind two charismatic leaders.
To grasp fully the cause of the dispute it was necessary to comprehend the precise depth of Pagford’s dislike and mistrust of the city of Yarvil, which lay to its north.
Yarvil’s shops, businesses, factories, and the South West General Hospital, provided the bulk of the employment in Pagford. The small town’s youths generally spent their Saturday nights in Yarvil’s cinemas and nightclubs. The city had a cathedral, several parks and two enormous shopping centres, and these things were pleasant enough to visit if you had sated yourself on Pagford’s superior charms. Even so, to true Pagfordians, Yarvil was little more than a necessary evil. Their attitude was symbolized by the high hill, topped by Pargetter Abbey, which blocked Yarvil from Pagford’s sight, and allowed the townspeople the happy illusion that the city was many miles further away than it truly was.
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