SEASONED viewers of Medway councillors are used to the Tory bruiser, Alan Jarrett, battering opponents with verbal cudgels.
It's what the party faithful expect - and the twinkle-eyed Tory is quick to dish it out, and prepared to laugh when it comes back at him.
This week those under attack from his razor wit and battering ram verbosity were not the usual cannon fodder. They were Conservative ministers.
He accused them of doing exactly the same that he had attacked Labour's ministers for doing. The had hidden bad news as they slashed council budgets.
However, that was the least of their sins in the eye of the Deputy Leader of the Conservative administration. He is endeavouring to serve 260,000 residents and more than 8,000 staff without any of the powers conferred at Bethsaida.
For a Government which had talked about openness, he accused his party's top people of "not having the courage to be up front and say times are hard."
Cllr Jarrett - a one-time constituency chairman - said: "They are hiding it in a totally disingenuous way.
"Next year we have to publish every expenditure over £500. It is part of the oppenness they expect from us."
He said the government was forcing councillors to get rid of their most valuable asset - staff who delivered high quality services and went the extra mile for the community.
David Cameron's local government programme is in disarray. Today it takes away, tomorrow it throws something back in, the next day it says it is reconsidering its previous decision and will let people know sometime in January what they will get - or may be not get....
How anyone can plan a accurate £650 million budget when the chief source of funds can't make up its mind is one thing. To have to plan the whole lot in a matter of days - and yet remain democratic - is beyond me.
The treasury and the chief executive's team will be burning the midnight oil from now until February 24 as they try to pull together a working budget that will continue to provide services.
The trouble is the threat that some of those services will disappear is becoming more and more a possibility in the next few years.
Meanwhile if you want to see a council in disarray pop out to Allhallows.
Councillors there have decided they need to spend around £74,000 in the coming year - compared with £35,000 two years ago.
They had planned to give up a few hours after Christmas to try to find a more acceptable spending level. Now the finance committee chairman has decided to put it back to Monday January 10 - which just happens to be the date the previous committee chairman is unable to make. Of course, that is a coincidence... it has nothing to do with representing the minority faction, experience or anything like that.
The trouble is they then have a full council meeting on January 12 at which the members are expected to rule on the budget. It doesn't leave any time for the public (or absent members) to consider and comment constructively on the detail.
Parish councils have a duty to ensure that their agendas and all relevant documents are available to members and the public a minimum of three days before the meeting.
Allhallows parish council does not welcome members of the public questioning its decisions. That was very evident at their last meeting.
I am still trying to get the papers for that meeting, but the clerk "only works five hours a week", I was told. Fine. That doesn't excuse the council from making available (as a matter of course) all relevant documents three days before the meeting that are to be discussed in the public section. It gives them no excuse for ignoring lawful requests.
I have written twice to the council requesting the documentation for that meeting and for the next meetings. To date they have not responded.
Small wonder Medway's monitoring officer has received four separate complaints about the operations of Allhallows council.
Someone muttered "Is this the Vicar of Dibley coming true?"
No. This is for real.