'King' Jim Currie's reign marked by defections and dissent
King Henry the Eighth,
to six wives he was wedded.
One died, one survived,
two divorced, two beheaded.
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FOR years this has been a simple way for schoolchildren to learn about the marital history of King Henry VIII.
And with Conservative councillor Jim Currie on the throne of Cornwall Council leading a Cabinet which has seen more shuffles than a magician's deck of cards, it could equally be applied to his reign as leader in the duchy.
King Jim the First,
a Cabinet of ten he headed.
One resigned, one was sacked,
four stayed the same, four defected.
The revolving door of the Cabinet has seen members leave or change political allegiance.
However, unlike King Henry, Mr Currie has not been the architect of the changes – bar one.
His succession to the throne at County Hall came amid turbulent times in the council chamber.
An artist's impression of what council might have looked in King Henry VIII's time.
Former leader, and Tory colleague, Alec Robertson was ousted after steaming ahead with plans to hive off council services to a new private venture.
Mr Currie publicly denounced the scheme, claiming that vital details had been changed without his knowledge.
Mr Robertson's Cabinet then fell apart with Steve Double, Julian German, Chris Ridgers and Graeme Hicks resigning on the spot. In a bizarre series of events Mr Currie was put forward to take the crown, nominated by Lib Dems.
One of 'King Jim's' first jobs was to appoint a new Cabinet.
He kept the support of some remaining members of Mr Robertson's round table – Conservatives Lance Kennedy, Carolyn Rule, Joan Symons and Armand Toms, as well as Independent councillors Neil Burden and Mark Kaczmarek.
Joining them in the new Cabinet were Tories Fiona Ferguson and Stephen Rushworth, along with Independents Bert Biscoe and John Pollard.
But the first crack in the new Cabinet appeared when Mrs Ferguson, started to question decisions being made by the Cabinet. She argued against a budget proposal which would result in a council tax hike.
Then she discovered a council contractor was using lie detector software to flush out benefit cheats. After calling on King Jim to end the practice and finding he did not agree, she very publicly resigned.
Soon after it was the turn of King Jim to show who was boss – there was a hint that Stephen Rushworth was not singing from the same hymn sheet when he decided not to back the Cabinet's budget proposal which would increase council tax.
The alternative budget was passed at full council and Mr Rushworth was one of those in support – going against the Cabinet.
That was enough for King Jim and he was removed from his Cabinet position.
In the aftermath, Tory Cabinet members have been falling over themselves to distance themselves from the party.
First Mr Kennedy announced he was crossing the floor to the Independent group, soon followed by Mrs Rule and Mr Toms.
So we have the Cabinet of today – two Conservatives remain, King Jim and Mrs Symons. King Jim will end his reign in May and has announced he will not stand for election on May 2. It remains to be seen what the new political make up will be.